Cyber Glühwein und Lebkuchen - the German and Austrian advent thread(489 Posts)
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A thread for anyone living in Germany or Austria, or anyone else who fancies a chat.
Happy first Advent to everyone!
Previous thread: here
Grinch Poor you; you sound so fed up. I think the sleep deprivation on its own would be bad enough, or just being in constant pain - but with everything coming at once, it must really get to you. Can anything be done about your foot (apart from the painkillers, that is)? Did you decide on the ironing service in the end? (Sorry if I missed it.) And would you consider a cleaner?
If it's any consolation (probably not) my three are fighting constantly at the moment and that alone is enough to send me round the bend some days. And don't get me started on ILs and sweets, which are another constant source of arguments here. I keep talking about banning them, but feel like I'm a stuck record. DH has bought them a Haribo calendar, but they don't need a) any more sweets, b) any more Advent calendars. Aargh!
advent Thanks for the suggestions; KiK is a good idea, as they have lots of affordable bits and pieces. I don't think there's a spending limit, but I was thinking about 5.
Yes, DH got the cheese box in the end and DD2 has taken it into school this morning - it's one of those round cardboard ones that has triangles of rubbery cheese inside.
outnumbered We also have loads of snow to shovel (although not at the moment), as we have a long path down to the road, which is partly shared with some of our neighbours, a big area in front of the shared garage and then a small stretch of pavement. I don't mind doing it if I have time but it's backbreaking work!
Glad you found an elf in the end. DS loves ours (I think the girls are a bit old for it now) and has been telling his teacher all about him, apparently; she's probably wondering what strange Christmas traditions the British have.
Ban sweets, I mean; not the ILs. I would just ban entitled ILs.
morning! Thanks for the new thread advent. I've never had a Christmas namechange - need to get me thinking cap on. We had a fair bit of snow over the weekend - enough to build a snowman but its gone sleety today so its not lying. Glad you all had a good 1st advent.
nutella - love that your nesting - it means our thread baby is nearly here. Glad you liked the midwife - it makes such a difference. With my ds2 (in the UK) I saw the same midwife at every antenatal appt and then she just happened to be doing her 1 a week shift on labour ward when I came in so she delivered him too - it was so nice. Had heard there is no G&A in Germany - wonder why. I found it helpful with all 3 deliveries but also found TENS really useful (can you get that here?) and most of all hypnobirthing. Ds1 (the whopper baby)'s labour was so lovely because of it. If you can get your hands on a CD I'd definitely recommend it.
advent - I've never had the glühwein from Lidl but I'm only really a fan of it when I'm outside in the cold - it never tastes the same at home. Glad you're feeling better and have more energy but now is the time to get those dc into the habit of helping more so that by the next time you're poorly then they'll be able to let you rest!
grinch - glad your ds2's lip is on the mend - it always amazes me how awful they look but then how quickly they heal. I like outnumbered's tip about the sugar tho - will try to remember that. Is there any chance you feel a bit low becasue of the dark winter? Do you have that SAD? I can definitely sympathise - I could feel like hibernating at the moment. Is there a place soon for your ds2 at a Kindergrippe? That would give you some time to recharge in the day?
bienchen - how was the first day at work and the snowy drive? Good luck with the "fuzzpot" landlord .
oh linzer - I could have written your post - dd also got a boy in her secret santa - this is the second year running and since all boys are "so annoying" at the moment then she's no help in what to buy. Think last year I got hims om playing cards from the euro shop then added some chocolate. Like advent's ideas tho - need to go and get some Christmas shopping tomorrow so will look then.
Dont feel anywhere near prepared for Christmas - DH and I are buying ourselves some cross country skiis so dont need to get him anything and we're sorted for dd but I'm still not sure what to buy ds2 - he wrote a list that just had loads of wii games on it and he got one for his birthday so I'm reluctant to buy one for Christmas too. But he has no idea of anything else - he's not a fan of Lego and they already have loads of playmobil. He's more of an active boy - so tricky and it feels like time is running to fast towards Christmas.
Thanks Linzer and Advent I did once try to employ a cleaner, but she only came once and then had a tragedy - her husband committed suicide - and she disappeared off the radar - the lady who recommended her to me had spoken to her a couple of times but then she stopped being able to get hold of her too. That was months ago, back in spring. I only know that one lady locally who has ever mentioned having a cleaner and I don't know how to go about finding one except through recommendation - DH tried to find me one when we first moved here, when I was pregnant and DD was the age DS2 is now and was deeply fed up to discover just how rural we had ended up and how poorly it compared to what I had left behind, but nobody responded to his adverts at all. It really doesn't seem to be considered at all "normal" around here, though I know all the ex-pats who live further into Munich seem to think it is impossible to live without a cleaner even if they only have one 8 year old and don't work... They mostly seem to have Polish and other non German cleaners, and there isn't the migrant population looking for cleaning type work out here in the sticks. Most mothers don't work, or just a very part time job once kids are older, and also have grandparents or other extended family living in the same house/ next door or similar so I think its more normal to palm the kids off on relatives and do your own cleaning than employ somebody - I always get the impression Bavarian country-side folk are rather like the Scottish sterotype in terms of money and would think it mad to pay somebody else to clean your house! The ironing service is something I will use, but maybe not til spring when DH starts wearing shirts to work again (he's wearing fleeces atm!) - they only advertise a shirt service so I'm not 100% sure whether they take general ironing.
I don't think I'm getting ill, although who knows as DS2 was ill all last week, but I think I'm just fed up, I guess I'll get over it, winter doesn't help, although I like snow in theory and like to see the kids out in it, the long dark mornings and evenings and the cold aren't great and being inside too much. Feel like other people cope better than I do with everything, which I never used to feel like at all, used to feel very capable. I do wonder if living here has eroded my confidence, there's nothing like not having a fluent command of the language to make you feel ignorant and cut off by turns...
We have to shovel the snow too, as we live in a house, bit of a pain with a toddler but better than last year and 5 years ago with a tiny baby. Outnumbered I wouldn't like having to shovel to the middle of the road and having nowhere to put the snow!
Hello Ploom sorry cross posted! I don't really want to put DS2 into a Krippe, it doesn't really sit well with me for under 2s unless necessary, and I could never justify the expense if unless I was working while he was there. There is only one Krippe locally anyway and you have to send your child at least 20 hours a week, and also have to apply the previous February (I think) for the following September, and they rarely have places come up mid year (I looked into it for DS1 when I started working part time when he was 2, and then again when I thought about going back after having DS2, and that's how it worked). There is one private Krippe a bit further away that an acquaintance uses and speaks highly of, which does have the option for just using a small number of hours, but its eye wateringly expensive - in fact I think more for one morning than the state one charges for the 20 hours a week! DS1s Kindergarten are not full, for the first time since we've lived here, because there are "not enough" 3 year olds, and theoretically they can take 2.5 year olds when there is space (I think 1 2.5 year old "takes up" more than one space due to staff ratio rules) but I have never known anyone do it. DS2 seems quite keen to stay there some mornings, so maybe I'll ask about that in a year's time...
How old is your DS? Would he like on of the big wheeled older children's scooters? We got DD (7) the puky r07l for her birthday and DS1 wants one too, though he has also asked for various other things so that will wait for his next birthday, he is getting a Carrera Bahn for Christmas from us, and Playmobile police station from my parents (bought by me). He has also asked for a proper grown up digital camera - are any of those options for your DS?
ploom how about one of these waveboards for ds? Or this 3d puzzle. Both things ds has been delighted with in the past! Not that he would even like them now of course, he's an impossible to buy for teenager so he'll probably end up with money. I might get him one of those 3d puzzles to give him something to do!
Last year I got them both a couple of these small crystal puzzles each as they are really hard to do and kept them busy for a while.
Grinch I was one of those weird children who dont like chocolate! although strangely, since my first pregnancy I now like it if it isnt pure chocolate iykwim. choclate bars, chocolate with whole nuts etc are sadly all my friend now.
I'm sorry about your foot - it must be hard being in constant pain unless stron painkillers are taken and I'm sorry you are feeling so tired. ds3(2) started kiga last month. Here in Rheinland Pfalz Kiga is FREE from 2 years onwards!!! Otherwise he would probably still be at home. and tbh I quite liked spending time with my baby while the older too were at kiga - but ds3 wasnt too convinced. It was too quiet and boring for him and he was more than ready for kiga. with ds2 it took 4 months until he was more or less settled there, ds3 was settled within half a day. Now I really do enjoy my free mornings. I can do the shopping without a toddler, can actually get some cleaning done (unless I get side tracked on MN...)
re a cleaner, grinch if you cant get someone through recommendations, would you consider going through one of those agencies that supply cleaners? I know some people who did that and were happy with it. And going through an agency just seems less of a lottery game than just placing an ad yourself. It does work out a bit more expensive I guess but maybe worth a thought?
advent well, we are paying aboput 1200 Euros (kalt) in rent! i guess the south is a bit more exxie than the north anyway, and we wouldnt really be able to anything below 1000/month, unless I was willing to live in a 'bad' area or out in the sticks.
Linzer I am sure ds1 will be telling his pre schook teachers about our elf too. This morning he was whispering to him, telling him what he wants for Christmas
right, must get the house clean as we have 4 children plus their mums arriving this afternoon!
lots more snow here again!
No time to name check this morning as I'm dashing off to the house to see an electrician about a cable. New levels of excitement round here
Just wanted to pop on and say Nutella I have a hypnobirthing CD if you want it? It's packed but I could dig it out over the weekend and post it on Monday. It did't really help me but then my labour was so quick I didn't really have time to think about anything, but Ploom said it really helped her so I reckon it's worth a go. It's yours if you want it, just let me know!
I'm sure I read somewhere that the reason gas & air isn't used here is because the German health authorities (or whoever decides these things) felt that there wasn't enough evidence that it was safe or something like that. I had some sort of drip-painkiller but I was too far gone by that point for it to have been any use. In fact, I'm not actually convinced they gave me a painkiller at all A friend with a massive needle phobia had an epidural (!) and said it was great. The needle didn't bother her for whatever reason and it meant she had no pain whatsoever during the birth. I think whatever method you read about different people will have different experiences and will tell you different things.
Hope everyone who was/is ill is feeling a bit better. It's horrible being ill at the best of times but somehow it seems worse when it's cold and wet outside.
English Have you had chance to go to the Dr about your foot? It sounds like one more thing on top of everything else that you really don't need at the moment. (Stating the obvious, I realise.)
Antique I felt the same about the painkiller they were supposedly giving me after my C-section! The epidural didn't work on me either so I had to have a GA.
outnumbered I really enjoyed spending time at home with DD2 while DD1 was at KiGa, but DS also seemed to find it too quiet and boring at home on his own so he went to nursery at 2. KiGa is now free from 2.5 here, but at the time mine started, children couldn't start until they were 3.
DS has also been whispering to our elf, but I'm not quite sure how realistic his wishes are.
Grinch Everyone here wonders how you cope if you don't have a cleaner - even if you don't work and your children are all at school/KiGa in the mornings. And all the cleaners seem to be Eastern European; I've even heard of cleaners who still live there but travel to Austria just to clean.
Almost everyone I know has sent their 2.5 year old to KiGa, but there's such a difference between 2.5 year old and 5-6 year olds... plus so much more time goes on changing nappies etc. (DD1 was the only child still in nappies when she started, but there are lots of Windelkinder now) that the staff don't have as much time for the older children. I actually think 3 is a better starting date, at least if you have all the children in the same group.
Ploom I'm lucky in that DH has bought, or rather is still buying, all the DC's presents. The fact that he's bought about 10 times as much as I would have done is the price I have to pay. The price he has to pay is having to listen to me going on about how I was happy with a satsuma and a couple of nuts as a child. Sorry, that isn't much help... Apart from Lego, he's bought lots of bastel-type things for the DC and a digital camera for DD1 for her birthday. She keeps pestering me for a tablet, Nintendo or smartphone but is definitely not getting any of those!
Thanks for those suggestions - I like the waveboard but we live at the top of a hill so I'm not sure how much use he'd get out of it.
linzer - wow wish my dh would do all the shopping. He's quite good at ordering things online but not so hot with ideas. We're giving dd an old iphone of dh's as part of her Christmas - I think she may well faint with the excitement. That and a basic Kindle means she's well & truly spoiled this year!
LInzer great that your dh does all the Christmas shopping! When does he do it though? Is most of it online or does he go in real life shops after work?! I agree, bastel things are goo da sit gives the dc something to busy themselves with although can be messy too.
antique wel done on mastering the move! You haven't even been on here crying or having a breal down so alot better than me when I have to move! Was/is there alot of decorating to do (as in papering or painting, putting down new flooring etc)? Still can't get over the number of places we looked at that didn't even have decent flooring down. We looked at a lovely house but neither upstairs or downstairs had and flooring (just concrete) and it would have cost us a fortune to do it properly so we missed out on that one.
Well, dd just showed up with a friend so off to make them some lunch then make our gingerbread house!
DD1 would love an iPhone Ploom, but she'd spend all her time playing games and on the Internet - there wouldn't be much point in banning screentime during the week and then giving her a smartphone! Is this the Kindle you're getting your DD? I thought about it for DD1, but I don't think she needs any more big presents - her birthday is definitely sorted, although I think she'd get more out of a Kindle than a camera. But DH prefers taking photos to reading (not that the two are mutually exclusive, I know!).
advent He does it all online; most of the presents he's bought from Amazon, plus he got a couple of things from Jako-o. He was looking at Lego again last night as it's 20% off on Amazon if you spend over 80, but I think I dissuaded him. Although at least one of the sets is still in his basket...
Have fun making the gingerbread house - you'll have to post a picture afterwards!
Antique glad the move is well under way - hope the cable issue is sorted... I have been to the doc about my foot, and now have insoles and prescription pain killers, but really I suppose I should go back and ask for a referral to an orthopaedic specialist, as the insoles are painful in themselves (I can only tolerate them in my snow boots or a thin pair of summer ballerina flats, my in-between season boots were so painful with them I had to stop the car a couple of km from home and take them off as I couldn't concentrate on driving with the pain) and I've been using them 2 weeks now with no sign they are helping.
I must say I agree Linzer 3 does seem the right starting age for Kindergarten to me too - its when my older 2 started.
DD would have been fine to start earlier I think, maybe at 2 or 2.5, she has always been very sociable and loved group situations and being with lots of other kids, and she settled into Kindergarten immediately - but then at 3 her language and understanding were excellent and she fully grasped and embraced what was going to happen and was not confused or over-whelmed when she started.
DS1 definitely would not have done well starting Kindergarten before he turned 3 - at 2 he used to cry if anyone he didn't know spoke to him, and sometimes if they looked at him! I did used to worry that he might be on the autistic spectrum because he didn't seem to get social situations at all - at least by comparison to DD.
In fact retrospectively I don't think he was that unusual, I was just used to a toddler who, at 2, walked up to children she didn't know and introduced herself and asked what they were playing - probably DD was the odd toddler, not DS1! Still he would not have done well thrown into an unfamiliar situation at 2 - even at 3 it took him the best part of a year to start talking to the teachers above a whisper, or to say anything other that "Ich Weisse nicht" when speaking in front of more than one person, though he accepted Kindergarten and settled in without upset following the normal week of visiting with me and then gradually longer sessions starting at an hour.
I tried DS1 at a "Kinderpark" - more like an old fashioned drop off playgroup, that ran in a Pfarheim twice a week just for 2 hours, and gave up after 3 sessions as he apparently just stood and cried the whole time, except when eating his Brotzeit! Some people here keep their children out altogether til 4 - especially the farming families all seem to do that - and certainly I don't know anyone (German) who stays home and uses anything other than the 2 hourly twice a week Kinderpark from 2 - though I know an ex-pat Aussie who uses a private Krippe for her 1 year old and doesn't work, and a couple of working mums who use TagesMutter and Krippe part time.
Sorry, wiffle wiffle... I'd always rather pay somebody to do the cleaning than look after the kids, as I like the kids (mostly) but I don't like cleaning and I'm not much good at it Mind you I used to be good at the whole parenting and creating interesting and stimulating activities thing, but I've gone down hill rapidly and DS2 only tends to get an hour in the playground or a short walk (him on running bike, me hobbling) and then dragged on errands or following me about while I try to do stuff. I used to be all try hard with planned activities with the older 2 but I just feel so uninspired and frazzled these days Mind you the older 2 are making plaster of paris models now, and DS2 is quite happy playing an inexplicable game with a toy tractor, a knight's horse minus the knight, and a drum...
outnumbered I'd happily use an agency, to be honest the rather more impersonal and professional idea appeals to me more than the risk of having somebody I know respond to an ad! I have never heard of a cleaning agency around here though, I think we are just too rural and there is no demand so no supply - if we lived closer to Munich I'm sure there'd be plenty of choice.
We rent our house for 850 Kalt But then we live slap bang in the absolute middle of nowhere - nearest train station (the very last stop on the S bahn) 8km, nearest tiny village shop, bank, Kindergarten and Grundschule 4km, no bus route except the school bus, nearest supermarket 7km, nearest doctors, dentists and clothes shops 20km... DH's work is about 70km away... and so on!
My midwife told me they don´t use gas and air because it doesn´t work. She said there is a delay between breathing it in and it working and by then the contraction is over. However, this seems to be contradicted by most of my friends who used it in the UK. I had an epidural here, but I had to meet the anesthetist and sign all the paperwork a couple of weeks before my due date. They said I could only give informed consent if I wasn´t in pain and they wouldn´t allow me to do it if I was already in labour.
admylin How´s the gingerbread house looking? I must admit I´m going to try to avoid building one this year. Unless the dc mention it, I´m going to save myself the mess and stress.
Linzer That´s good that your dh organises the presents.
Sorry I´ve got no ideas for the secret Santa - I´d probably end up buying chocolate.
Grinch Sorry to hear about your foot. I had foot pain a few years ago and ended up getting orthopedic insoles which really helped. I haven´t worn them for ages now, but they did the trick at the time. Do you know what´s causing the pain?
Hello to everyone else. I´ve got to go, dd is stuck with her maths homework - oh joy!
Grinch It sounds like you need a break! Bless you, like the others have already said, the sleep deprivation, the sore foot and now it's winter (which gets me down too - it seems to be grey a lot of the time in Hannover and I miss those crisp winter days.. ) is all a lot to take and you have every right to moan, especially here. - hope you do find a cleaner asap!!
DP damaged his Achilles in June ish and is still having problems with it - he took painkillers for weeks but it just didn't make it better and even though the (big scary looking russian guy) physiotherapist practically made him cry the first time he says it feels heap better and actually enjoys his appointments now so I can recommend that!
advent I haven't totally figured out why the midwife thing works the way it does but your midwife you choose (from a looong list of freelance midwives) can't come to the hospital for the birth - unless she works at that hospital and then I guess it would only be if she was on shift/duty .
ploom you're so sweet to be excited about my thread baby my poor DP tends to get the full brunt of my nesting urges when he tries to help and doesn't do something to my satisfaction ... then I go and do it (vacuumed on Sunday after he vacuumed on Friday) and apologise to him afterwards for being a bit of a nutter
Antique I'm in two minds about a hypnobirthing CD... I'm curious but I'd rather have your fast labour; can you please send me that in the post?
outnumbered I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my chosen Klinik has a bath or birth pool free when Nutellachen decides to make it's appearance
I've eaten two
doughnuts Krapfen, one had a sort of chocolate filling and the other a kind of custardy filling they were great! But I'm not sure I should really have eaten them both ... a local bakery started doing them recently and I treat myself to a chocolate one every now and then but today might have been excessive <happy to wearing maternity trousers >
Will try to write proper post later, this one just quickly to nutella. What you have found out about the midwives isn't completely correct. There are the hospital midwives, then there are freelance midwives, and then there are freelance midwives who have an affiliation with certain hospitals. Those midwives are called 'beleghebammen'. They are freelance and will do all the normal antenatal and postnatal care. But on top of that you'll ring her as soon as you go into labour, she'll join you at hospital and will stay with you until baby is born. I had a beleghebae for ds3 after having had not so nice experiences at hospital both with ds1 and ds2 and wanted to make sure I have a midwife who knows me and my wishes really well, and one I know I can completely trust. Best decision I ever made as it made all the difference to my birth experience.
Will come back online later
Is it wrong to not namechange for Christmas ... I am too pooped after a few long days.
Nutella you must be getting more excited by the day and to have a Christmas baby is very special. I did not know you could not get gas and air in German hospitals as I had both DC in the UK. Just go with the flow and keep upright and moving for as long as you can and as close to the birth. Concentrate on your breathing, it makes a huge difference. Is your DP equally excited?
hupa I did not make a gingerbread house either this year. In fact I haven't done any baking at all, partly because we have been so busy with getting organised and partly because we are in a holiday let and not very well set up for lots of baking. There is a lot of pressure here on all the housewives to bake and I am quite happy to buck the trend for once. There is so much going on in the run up to Christmas that if you don't feel like doing something, then you should not feel obliged.
Grinch I feel for you. It must be hard if you are hurting and of course you cannot put your feet up if you have DC. It would get me down, too. Def. a good idea to go back to the Orthopaede and get it checked out. Are you getting enough vits and minerals to help with the tiredness? I can't offer any advice on cleaners as DH and I have always done it ourselves. How awful for your previous cleaner.....
Linzer well done on having a DH who does the Christmas shopping.
Advent good luck with the gingerbread house.
Outnumbered I am another beneficiary of a free KIGA place. We used to pay around £40/day for DD and could only send her for 3 days a week but I did not mind not working every day and I always felt it would be difficult to try to bring up a bilingual child if they spend every day at nursery. DD understands German but always refused to speak it. She is starting to speak it now because no one at KIGA speaks English (or not much anyway) and she really wants to play with the other children.
I have survived two days of my new job, actually I really like it but it will take time to learn the ropes. The killer is the long commute but it is only temporary, so I focus on that thought. Both commutes have been tricky, due to either sleet or heavy rain and heavy traffic. I am contracted to 40 hours a week.... but I have good news: we have got the apartment. The landlord is preparing the contract over the next few weeks. I wasn't sure about how much competition there was but I have heard that there is plenty of housing available in the new town atm. I can commute by public transport plus the walk to the station is through a pedestrianised part of town and should take about an hour door to door.
bienchen Glad you are enjoying your new job (what is it?) and hooray to you getting the flat!!! When will you be moving in?
In Lüneburg we paid 210/month for ds1' Kigali platz, which was only from 8am-12pm. Having 3 dc at kiga now I really should be glad we are not in niedersachsen anymore!
I agree, I also think the under 3s should be in separate groups! It would not just be beneficial to the teachers but def for those younger children too. Ds2&3 pre school has 4 groups, with an open-group approach. I think it is FAR too much for such a little child to take in. But the alternative would be for him to be bored at home with me.
Anyway, still on my phone which makes it difficult to post.
Ds2 birthday party went well, although only 2 of the 4 girls turned up!!! One of the girls' mum just rang. She thought the party was tomorrow and was clearly upset. She has 4 dc plus has a job, so I can see how she may forget a few things... As I know her daughter was really excited about coming over to the party, I suggested she comes home with us on Friday arvo instead. The other girl has apparently been ill since yesterday. I only know from another mum. Wouldn't you expect the parents to ring and let you know??
Anyway I'm off to bed now.
grich I hope you'll feel a bit brighter tomorrow. Do you like living out in the country? Or would you prefer to live closer to a town? Does your dog work on Munich?
Great that you got the apartment, Bienchen, woo hoo!
And I am glad you like your job too.
Glad your DS2 had a good party, out, despite the no shows.
Grinch, sorry you are a bit bogged down at the moment. Hope the Christmas spirit cheers you up (and fixes your foot).
Interesting about the comment that gas and air is not safe. I would far rather that than a needle in my spine! Though obviously, ultimately, whatever helps get that baby out safely.
Ploom, how about NoPloomAtTheInn?
No news from me, we are pootling along fine. Bought DS a lovely snowsuit today, so there had better be lots of lovely fluffy snow soon for us to play in!
Hello to everyone I didn't namecheck.
Sorry, was awol a little bit as was really grumpy and sick yesterday and didn't want to bring the thread down! Also I was in bed before the dcs so that didn't leave much MN time!
Thanks for the new Christmas thread admylin - desperately trying to get the last of my cards written so I can send them off before the deadline. Went to the Bend Christmas Parade at the weekend which was lovely but no Gluehwein available. Excuse our local news, but it is a nice piece of Americana for anyone who is interested!
Your post about dh thinking his dcs were lovely but noisy made me English. I find mine particularly noisy atm too, maybe because of my cold and sore throat. I think maybe you could press him to read dd German stories as it would help with her education and they are more interesting now. I hope you feel more lively soon too. My dcs are also really wearing me out just trying to get them out of the house these days!
This is already an essay and I haven't replied to everyone so apologies for that. Hope you managed to get the flat Bienchen. Hope you all have a great Wednesday.
And I missed an entire page of posts then [slinks off in embarrassment emoticon]
Jenny hope you feel better soon. Me and dh spend a night in Bend on our honeymoon! we drove down to LA from Seattle via Crater Lake (which is still one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited).
Santa I like your name suggestions! ! I am not creative at all myself, so will probably just keep my name...