Saint Nicholas Day and Holiday Concerts

Saint Nicholas Day
On December 6, we woke up to find gifts from our landlord on our front porch! We were so touched that our landlord, Inge, would go to the trouble of bringing gifts for us. I immediately wanted to open them, but Charlie said we had to wait until Christmas morning. I was impatient, but agreed that it would be nice to have something to open on Christmas morning. He left for work, and Connor and I went to our weekly playgroup. I was literally in the middle of telling another mom about our gifts when the doorbell rang and the host’s landlord walked in with gifts! I told her that our landlord had done the same for us that morning, and she told me it was Saint Nicholas Day. I hadn’t realized it! We celebrated Saint Nicholas Day when I taught at Our Lady of the Assumption. The students would put their shoes outside the classroom, and “someone” would put a treat in them. (The fun part was figuring out which shoes belonged to which student, since they all wore the same uniform shoes!) Now that we knew the gifts were for Saint Nicholas Day, we opened them when Charlie got home from work. Inge gave Connor a musical instrument set (egg shakers, tambourine, glockenspiel, and claves) and a beautiful handmade card, and a tin of homemade cookies for Charlie and me. (Good thing we didn’t wait until Christmas Day to open the gifts…the cookies wouldn’t have been quite as fresh!)

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Connor loves his new tambourine!20121212-152525.jpg

Charlie’s holiday concerts
The USAREUR Band and Chorus had a busy holiday performance schedule. Unfortunately, out of all the performances, the closest concert for Connor and me to attend was in Heidelberg, about 45 minutes away. We planned on going, but it started snowing that morning. I don’t drive much anymore since we only have one car over here, and Connor isn’t used to being alone in the backseat…add snow and an unfamiliar place on top of that, and it just wasn’t worth attempting the trip. Charlie said the concert was great, and I was disappointed to have missed it.

There were two more concerts in Grafenwoehr, a few hours away, so Charlie was gone from Friday through Sunday. The concerts went well, and Connor and I kept busy while he was gone. Friday there was lots of snow, so our plans to get together with other Band wives and kids got pushed to Saturday. We enjoyed our time with the other families on Saturday, and on Sunday we helped out at our town’s Christmas Market! The American Club had a booth selling chili, coffee, and baked goods. There was also a raffle for a gift basket. The “American” gift basket included Oreos, Ritz crackers, Velveeta cheese, canned frosting, spray cheese, and barbecue sauce…and apparently, the Germans go nuts over that stuff!

Charlie was off on Monday, so the three of us were able to enjoy time together. You know – grocery shopping and laundry. He was back to work Tuesday, and on Wednesday he left again for the last few concerts in Wiesbaden and Ansbach. He will be back on Friday. The wives are planning to meet at a Christmas Market in Worms tomorrow, but of course there is snow in the forecast, so we’ll just have to wait and see if Connor and I will go or not. Once Charlie gets back on Friday, he is on block leave for the holidays!!

There are some pictures and video clips from the Heidelberg concert on the US Army Europe Band and Chorus page on Facebook. If you “Like” the page, you will see updates in your newsfeed when new pictures or videos are posted.

Here are a few pictures Charlie took at the concert hall in Wiesbaden:

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