Thankfully, I have a big car, because when it comes to packing for a week long holiday, I pack just about everything BUT the kitchen sink! Honestly! Sometimes I even go so far as to pack the wok and my favorite SHARP kitchen knife. And for a winter holiday all that winter gear takes up space, add what Christmas presents you have (more on that later) and groceries - including favorite spices, etc., a toy box for Little Boy... well, a big car can be nice. And this time around, I am pleased that so far it seems like I only forgot sugar, butter and my everyday winter scarf. Not bad!
We have left the city for my DH's childhood stomping grounds in the mountains and will be here until after Christmas. My DH's family start arriving today and while they do have a house here it will be crowded so we have our own small apartment for the week which is super close by so we can just go back and forth between the 2 places. Convenient!
A bit short in the present department... I paid a small fortune airmailing boxes from the US this year and wouldn't you know - the box with my bathrobe and goofy odds and ends (like icecube trays - they don't have decent ones in Europe which I think is why you never get ice in your drinks in the first place?) that I mailed the morning of my departure arrived very quickly. But nothing else. And then, finally ONE box with the explanation that it had been mistakenly routed to AUSTRALIA instead of AUSTRIA. So, I fear the majority of Little Boy's presents, plus lots of other things that I wanted for Christmas (like my hot chocolate thermoses and knitting project!) are somewhere enroute. But - smart Momma, packed the Christmas stocking and the 2 requested items of Santa in my luggage, phew (Lady and Diesel 10 - both from Thomas the Train). Actually, only 10% of Austrian's have Santa come - this is the land of Chritkind who is the baby Christ angel. Little Boy will also have presents from Christkind, but I figure if he was brave enough to climb up on Santa's lap while we were in the US and ask for these 2 items, and THEN proceed to make sure Santa knew how to get to Austria and that it would involve a long airplane ride and it would hurt his ears... well, I figure, he certainly can have a Christmas stocking this year too!
Today we spent a wonderful 3 hours outside just enjoying winter walking, pulling Little Boy behind in the sled when he got tired and sending him down the hills as we came to them. Seeing his absolute JOY made all the shopping for HIS winter clothing worth while (my snowsuit is true vintage 1980's, but with kids, you just have to bite the bullet and buy new stuff every year because they are growing, growing, growing!). Do I have a story about his winter boots this year? Well, gosh - yes I do! You see - I went to one store and they had very reasonably priced winter boots, but the sales clerk could not tell me any type of temperature rating... and where we go in the winter it can sometimes be -20C so a temperature rating is a bit important to me! So, I brought Little Boy to LL Bean in Maine where they had 2 different syles of boots that the sales clerk felt fairly confident would be nice and warm. The 1st pair was tried on and the biggest temper tantrum ensued with Little Boy lying on the floor screaming and tears just popping out of his eyes and kicking his little feet as hard as he could on the floor (have I ever mentioned just how much he hates going into a store in the 1st place?). All parents and kids stare at us. Sigh. So, I very nicely tell the salesperson that he doesn't like that pair could try the 2nd pair. The salesperson seems a bit surprised, but none-the-less brings out the 2nd pair, which were tried on... and Little Boy was instantly transformed into a ballerina doing flying leaps through the air and twirling around with GLEE. "We will take that pair", I instantly say. One father was there was his 2 girls asking - does this fit? does this hurt your toes? do you like this pair or that pair? etc., etc. He came over to me and said - well at least you instantly know what your son likes - no guessing games there! You could say that again!
Photos: Little Boy with his Advent calendar - in a pair of PJ's that he wore for all of about 1 hour and then decided he hated them - he likes the ones I make for him so much better! He just loves this calendar and we had "peeked" in many windows well before the actual day arrived - "just one little peek, Momma!" And - a photo of my little rhinestone Christmas trees...it is hard to photo them, but they are really lovely - all glittering in the light, surrounded by a real greenery swag.