Drink, Drank, Getränkemarkt...

It seems like years ago that "bulk shopping" was such a big part of our life with at least one weekly trip to Costco.  Our refrigerator and pantry were always stocked for at least a week or month.  However, that is a past time because we just don't have room in our refrigerator or pantry here in Germany for any "bulk".  I also haven't noticed 'bulk shopping' to be a big trend here in Germany with the exception of liquids. 

I guess I am adjusting to German living and don't even notice (at times) how much my life has changed in the past year.  I was loading up my car to take all of our empties back to der Getränkemarkt (beverage shop), because you pay a deposit on the bottle (pfand), which is refunded once you return all the empites, when it hit me that I am starting to live in Germany as a local.  My first clue... It doesn't even cross my mind to throw an empty bottle in the trash can.  The next clue...I can carry at least 4 empty cases to the car at once.  I may just get all of this German living down pat in the next few years...if I can just figure out how to pronounce "Getränkemarkt".
Returning the empties...

Including one I better not bring home to J

Every kind of fruit juice I've never heard of ...

 A very popular drink here in Germany is coke mixed with orange soda.  You can find many brands of this mix (our kids plus this = too much noise).  One popular drink that IS allowed in our house is Apfel Schorle (carbonated mineral water with Apple juice)
Every type of bubbly and non bubbly water...

And of course just a little bit of German Beer (which does seem like a big trend here) and wine. 
just a little beer..

lots of German, Spanish, and Italian wines...



As I got back into my "German routine" this week, I pondered what to write about from our life this week that would be 'exciting' to others....my driving on a sheet of ice-maybe, Karina's fever-probably not, our friend's dinner party with incredible food and long German conversations-entertaining but didn't take pictures nor do I remember the names of the foods we ate

However, the one thing I continue to find exciting here in Germany, is the passion for walking.  I am finally beginning to understand why so many Germans go for walks just for the joy (not for weight loss)  This week, I found pure excitement during my walk...


Life's snowballs

Life will throw snowballs…..

As I was boarding the plane from N.C. to head back to Germany, my father asked, “Well, are you going to blog about this past week?”  My immediate answer was, “no, who wants to read about all these emotions?”  
I was on vacation in Switzerland, when I received the news of my brother, Chris’ unexpected death.  Thanks to Cooper, I had already learned that in the ‘land of snow’ that a snowball can hit you when you least expect it!  The sudden death of my brother Chris, hit our family members like a snowball, each coming from a different angle. 

Now, as I brush the remaining remnants of snow off my shoulders, take a deep breath, give the last hug goodbye and board the plane to head back home to Germany, I am changing my answer to, “yes dad, I am writing about this past week.”   For these snowballs are what make our family strong and I will not dodge them by ignoring this past week. 

I am who I am today because of the family I have and am surrounded by in my life.  Are we a “perfect” family? NO.  We don’t always agree, we don’t all live our life in the same ways, and sometimes we struggle to communicate clearly.   But, when snowballs hit us, we come together to build a snowman and are true to ourselves about the appearance of our snowman. Our snowman may lean a little, but it is a snowman that will be hard for others to knock down.

So, yes dad, I will blog.  There were MANY emotions that we all felt this week in my family, but the emotion I feel mostly strongly- I LOVE MY FAMILY FOR OUR OWN “PERFECT” WAY, AND WE SEEM TO ALWAYS COME TOGETHER TO BUILD OUR OWN TYPE OF SNOWMEN. Rest in peace Chris and know that you gave us all a chance to add one more snowman to our family tree.


Zumba not needed...

Who needs ‘Zumba’ when you can pull a ‘sled-a’? 

I am not sure if we are on vacation or a total fitness overhaul.  It is no wonder our hotel doesn’t list any fitness classes, or have big banners pointing to the gym... but did make sure to advertise that they had available massage times throughout the day.  Who would have thought two days of pulling the kids around the Swiss Alps would leave Jason and I feeling more like wet noodles at night than the fun mom and dad.  No wonder all the people flying past us on their cross-country skis are so fit.  Our workout began after one wrong turn which put us smack in the middle of "back" Alps.  We didn't many people walking around these parts, but did see some Longhorns, horses and even watched a new born calf being nudged up to it's feet for the first time by it's momma!  Maybe our legs hurt and we pulled an
getting a little tired here dad:)
extra mile or in the thick snow (while it poured snow all day) but it allowed us some time to admire many of the things we seem to busy to enjoy in our everyday life.   And to think Cooper whined, “my legs hurt!” after his first climb back up the mountain after the sled ride down.

I will take this workout any day over the gym....gorgeous views, fun with family, and only a few times did I take notice of my heart rate speeding along!


we found an igloo

out in the middle of nowhere

Look hard-little calf just stood for first time!

Our sleds parked with all the skis

Mom had to give over the job to Karina for a bit

This looks like a good "hill"

Let's go find some hot chocolate!


Take me home....

Our room with a view.
Off to the Slops...

I get the giggles so bad when we hear a Europe "piano man's" versions of the songs I grew up listening too on my dad's 8-track.  Tonight, I couldn't help but laugh out loud at the melody as it was so ironic that we were sitting in a cozy restaurant, trying to warm up from the artic air we spent 7 hours in, and I daydreamed of the days of Alabama when sweat was dropping down my back.  As the piano man starts singing the Swiss rendition of John Denver's "Country Roads, take me home,....to the place where I belong"  I turned to Jason and laughed but was really thinking, "I am not really sure where I belong anymore."  When I'm cold, I miss Alabama, when I am sweating in heat of the south, I miss the cool air of Germany.
I guess our children also don't always know where they belong anymore.  Today, in one of the Switzerland ski meccas, I was a little peeved that our children were "too nervous" to go to ski school without us and therefore skiing was void since a huge snow storm is coming in tomorrow.  As always, things seemed to fall into place 'where they belong' that is, after we PULLED them halfway across Switzerland on the sleds Jason ran out and bought.  He was also on a mission to find the perfect sledding mountain.  Yep, that time pulling a sled thru artic winds and snow can quickly help one make an attitude adjustment-which is exactly what I did.
Off to the Sledding...

It is a fact that our family doesn't always do the "normal" things in life and a fact that we often seem to beat to a different drum.  But I asked myself, "What is normal?"and "Who is beating that drum anyway?"  We ARE home  when we are together and walking down any country road as long as we are together!  So look out Severe Snow Storm, it takes more than butt cold air, snow beating your face, and frost bite to keep the Hoff family off the Swiss Alps...for a bit of sledding on some country mountains where we belong!! 
Jason finding the perfect sled spots!

This is a workout...not for Cooper
Mom-Can you pull faster?

We're going to get you daddy!

Country roads....

"help, fallen in deep snow& can't get out!" Dad to rescue mom

They didn't like the looks of Ski school..but loved watching the snow board competition!!!


Enjoying the ride to Switzerland...

Now THIS is a ride! (Konstanz)
Let me try to "ride"
One of my New Years resolution (the easiest one) is to try to 'enjoy the ride' a little more instead of always trying to hurry to 'get somewhere'.  I must say, I am off to a good start on this 3rd of 2012.  I know my good start must somewhat be credited to the fact that Jason was driving.  We enjoyed our ride down to Davos Switzerland and even took a long route so we could stop for lunch in the quaunt town of Konstance situated on Lake Constance.

If the drive down is any indication of the ‘prizes’ one gets for enjoying the ride, I think I am going to be pretty good at this resolution.  This ride was one spectacular show, at least for me.  Poor Jason had to put up with me reaching over him driving to click a shot and the kids had to hear me say shout every 2 minutes, "look how gorgeous".  They are also keeping their resolutions of appeasing me as they were nice enough to pipe up with a “wow mom” every few minutes. 

Here’s to a great first ride of the New Year!

Almost...but still enjoying!

I think we are there...

I think they enjoy this more than the RIDE!!

About Me

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Stuttgart, Germany, Germany
We are living as non-military expats for a second time in Stuttgart Germany. The first time, we moved from Alabama to Stuttgart, Germany in December 2010 for three years and now are back after six years.. This is a great adventure for our whole family that we enjoy sharing.