Friday, December 28, 2007

Let it snow...

It snowed in Heidelberg the day after Christmas. We hopped on the Strassenbahn to go to Mediamarkt (Germany's {poor} version of Best Buy) when we discovered that everything (almost) was closed. We decided to continue to the "end of the line" and have hot cocoa on the Hauptstrasse. It was nice to get out of the house! I, by the way, had a Hefeweizen.
When we got back home, the kids and B somehow scraped enough snow together to make a snow man. Within a couple of hours or so, a juvenile anarchist on a bike rode up and kicked the pudd'n out of him (while Robert watched in horror from the Wintergarten!). Poor Mr. Snowman. The kids were upset for about 3 minutes but, as Buddha said, all things are impermanent.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Disco nightlight...

Santa brought Emily a microphone and a disco light to encourage the little American Idol in her. When I went to check on Sophia and her last night before going to bed, I found that she was using the colored strobe as a nightlight. Most amusing. The crown she wore to bed was a nice touch too.
Zero hour...

Yesterday we weathered (unscathed) the chronologic epicenter of every child's life: Christmas morning. The kids woke us up at around 6:30 and tore into their presents with reckless abandon. Among other things, Robert got a digital camera and a bunch of Spider-man/Superman toys. The girls got a play kitchen and Barbie dresses. Emily also got a microphone and disco light. More on that later.

Enjoy the pics!
By the way, Saint Nick's intelligence gathering capabilities passed muster. He found us in Germany and put a pretty serious dent in the pile of cookies the kids left for him. Finally, although I hope she aspires to greater things, I think Emily's predisposition to spokes modeling could be her vocational ace in the hole (see pictures above -- the shot with the shoes is priceless). I assure you there was no training or coaching. Something tells me The Price is Right will still be on the air when she reaches the age of majority. I'm assuming a can of Cool Whip will cost a not-so-cool "hundie" by then.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sticking it to the man in the Yuletide season...

Since we now live in Europe, have tons of DVDs from the States and the collection continues to swell with DVD gifts from America and Brazil, we are thrilled to finally have a DVD player that knows no "zones". Did we spend a lot of money on a special DVD player for transnationals like ourselves? No way! We bought a "normal" Philips DVD player and then used a super cool trick we found on the internet to make it region free. It took all of 10 seconds. While I am loathe to lead others astray and/or afowl of the film industry, I can tell you that a quick Google with "DVD region crack" got me the info I was needing. Thanks go to a reader of this blog (who shall remain nameless) for the heads up.

So, relatives in both the Americas, feel free to flood the kids with DVDs: they can finally watch them all!
By the way, the Mrs. and I couldn't be happier that the kids now have a good reason to hang out in the play room. Thanks to Philips for making their DVD players so crackable!
A sizzling Christmas Eve...

While most of Germany was escaping the December cold inside their warm homes (getting schnockered on Glüwein, I would imagine), the Prickril girls were getting in touch with their inner Brazilians. Copious amounts of sunscreen protected their young hides from the imaginary Brazilian sun, which in reality feels like fry lights at Burger King this time of year. BTW, Emily's front tooth simply refuses to give in to the inevitable. It's been flopping around for weeks and, at this rate, will cost us a fortune in retouching for her high school graduation pictures.
Since both of us are technically challenged in the kitchen, B and I decided to outsource Christmas dinner to the Bolz butcher's shop here in beautiful downtown Kirchheim. We chose well. We had incredible ham, some of the best stuffing I've ever eaten (although it seemed very meatloafish) and incredible duck. I highly recommend this place. Duck will now replace its dry cousin (turkey) at Prickril holiday gatherings. Anyway, we had a very cozy evening with the kids, even though they were on fire with excitement. We coerced them into bed at about 8:30 with the typical Christmas Eve threats and didn't hear a peep out of them until 1:00 AM, when Robert woke up briefly. Even though Santa had come, he curbed his enthusiasm until his sisters woke up at about 6:30. Details in a future post.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Can it be true? B is 32!

We celebrated by having the Brazilian mafia at the ranch on Friday night. Much fun (and more than a few caipirinhas) was had by all. In the unlikely event that my neighbors are reading this, I apologize for the noise (retroactively). The looks on the faces of people passing on the street were priceless. We did manage to wind things down before midnight though.

By the way, it was not easy, but we managed to take a few pictures without Thomas in them.Back to Thomas, I managed to irrefutably document his expert picture crashing technique. Need I say more?
Dancing with the stars...

The girls had their ballet recitals. Very cute, no?

I won't sully this cuteness with poor attempts at humor. A first on this blog!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Wintergarten...

I've been meaning to take some long exposures of our wintergarten from the street for some time now. I finally got the gumption. A bit exaggerated for my taste, but should get even the most ardent humbugger in a Yuletide kind of mood.
As you can see, B buys candles by the gross this time of year. Nice effect I must say.

I thought this pic of the Strassenbahn passing turned out pretty cool.

Not up to gingerbread code...

For undetermined (probably) structural reasons, Emily's gingerbread house collapsed today. Unfortunately, the root cause of this disaster will likely never be discovered as the remnants of said house were quickly devoured by a rapacious family of Americans. Emily's disappointment was quickly assuaged by this unexpected mid-morning snack. As usual, the important thing is that nobody got hurt...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A gingerly start to the weekend...

B made gingerbread houses last night for the kids to decorate, which has become a bit of a tradition. The kids had a blast, but not as much as B. See below the fruits of their labor in descending age order.
We then went to the Weihnachtsmarkt here in Kirchheim. It wasn't particularly large or impressive, so we quickly filled up on Glüwein and wurst then headed back to the ranch. It is getting really cold here!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


This is (of course) the time of year that these street, or "Christmas markets", start opening up around Germany. We went to the one in the old part of Heidelberg (Altstadt) on Saturday and in Speyer on Sunday. The weather wasn't too cold so it was a good excuse to walk around and get our jingle on.
The kids managed to get pictures with Santa at both. BTW, did you know that in Germany it's baby Jesus who delivers gifts? If I understand correctly, Santa jobs is to bring a few chocolates, and not even on Christmas day.
Both markets had rides for the kids, tons of readily comestible pork products and Glüwein, a Wassail-like concoction that goes down quite nicely when there's a nip in the air. As I was the designated driver, I took it easy. I shutter to think what a Glüwein hangover must be like.

Anyway, one more week of hard labor and I'm off for a week or two. Also just found out I'll be headed to the States the first week of February or so. I'm looking forward to it.