Sunday, November 25, 2012

Out with the Old Part 2

A few weeks ago I shared some pictures of our ongoing patio project. The Garden Goddess continues to work miracles; yesterday she cut the strange shaped stones to fill in the gaps that were still there. Today PJ took advantage of another warm spell and a brand new patio to play football (soccer).

I don't know about you but those last few seconds are a.) proof that this kid is a natural in front of a camera b.) a little astonishing because - hello? - PJ is 16 months old, not 20 and/or c.) by far the most adorable three seconds of film I've ever gotten of him.

What do you think?


Monday, November 19, 2012

St Martin's Parade!

This year was my - cough - I mean, PJ's first Saint Martin's parade. It was totally rad!

It started with a shared dinner with new friends who also happen to live in our same little town. The mom and I met on the playground when we had first moved to Schwetzingen. Meeting her was like taking a nice sip of an excellent wine (her) right after having taking a swig of vinegar wine (the other moms that stopped talking to me when I told them I was 'already' working). Our little guys are about the same age but couldn't be more different.

Her little guy is a quiet watcher. He walks along the outside of the group, checking out the dynamics and options. Only then does he his move towards a toy or a person that interests him. He isn't one for conflicts and tends to hand over or move away from whatever toy another child finds interesting. Lets call him Watcher.

PJ is, um, the opposite. He dives right on in...he may not know what he is diving into, but he is right in the center. And he is the guy who is helping himself to everyone else's toys.

It isn't always easy to be Watcher when PJ is around but over the past couple of months, he has gotten a bit tougher, a bit stronger, and he has even learned to 'schmipf' (scold) with PJ from time to time. Even with all that, buddies they are and I hope buddies they will stay. Cause the mommies and the daddies get along...and how often does that happen?

After dinner, we got all bundled up, grabbed our lanterns, and headed out the door towards the castle. The Watcher was a bit smoother with his paper lantern than PJ who took the more energetic "slam against the ground" method before losing interest.

PJ with his lantern. 

Our new friends!

At the castle hundreds of people gathered together to parade through the castle garden. We were led through the dark by a brass band. From the far back we could watch the dancing lanterns weave and pop through the flowers and the trees towards the castle itself. When we finally caught up, we joined the crowd in a massive, closed circle. In the middle of the circle pranced a large dark horse with a knight - who later became St. Martin - dressed as we imagine a knight from biblical times would be dressed, including a massive cloak. 

All those little lights are lanterns! All the way to the castle (building on the left).

Its a long walk and PJ has little legs.

Apparently there was a bit of a play in which a St. Martin on his horse offered part of his cloak to a poor, cold beggar. I missed all of that because a band was playing and PJ and I were busy dancing in the back.

After the beggar had his cloak and the knight morphed into St. Martin, the crowd slowly meandered towards the castle doors. There each child got a croissant-like thing. I'm not sure what that is suppose to represent but I'm pretty sure PJ thought it was super yummy.

Pickle, PJ, Watcher, and Watcher's Mommy

To close out the night both families went to a temporary ice skating ring set up on the platz in front of the castle and enjoyed a hot wine or beer.

PJ with his buddy.

Then we slowly walked back home, all of us tired but satisfied.

It was an awesome night. I'm looking forward to our second year!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Three Milestones: Dance, Dance

This post marks three milestones: Today PJ is 16 months old. This is the 400th post on Pickles and Onions. And as of today, this blog has been viewed almost 41,000 times.

The only way I know how to celebrate all those together is to turn up the music and get my groove on. Naturally, not alone ... cause, really, who wants to see a video of me dancing? I'm guessing not even my mom would be in for that one.

I'm dancing with PJ of course!


We make a great dance pair, right?

Though I'm guessing I'd get voted off if this was "Dancing with the Steinbachs". In that light and considering it is another month day for PJ, here's another video of just PJ with first his favorite stuffed puppies, then his mommy's giggle, then getting his groove on, and finally jumping onto his papa.

Don't you just want to join in? Go ahead and thanks for joining us on this journey, for celebrating with us, and for sticking around!


Sunday, November 4, 2012


Remember when Aunt Sally helped the Mr. ride a horse for the first time? That was also the first time he ever grabbed onto electric fencing. I'm pretty sure his favorite part of the story was the horse riding...mine is and remains his face when he got a surprising shock.

Lord, was that funny.

Anyways, PJ isn't going to wait until he is 29 years old - he is already practicing his cowboy skills. On Mommy.


I'm an extremely willing pony, especially when I see that smile at second 14.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween!

PJ went trick-or-treating for the first time this year. Since we live in Germany, where trick-or-treating is just entering into the mainstream, making this night possible bordered on magical for me. I have great memories of trick-or-treating in all the different neighbourhoods we lived in or visited. When we lived in the middle-of-freaking-nowhere my mom would even drive us up to Dayton to enjoy the night.

I guess I wanted PJ to have a taste of that too. Thankful the weather was on our side, although it wasn't warm, it didn't rain and it wasn't windy.

PJ as Eyore, nice and warm.
Friends of ours invited us to their small village for a night of awesome people, easy-going trick-or-treating, good food, and fun music. There were even jack-o-lanterns.
First stop, pumpkin review.

The Steinbach clan. I really did have a costume on - you'll see it later.

As soon as it got a little darker, we took off to trick-or-treat. The older kids ran off with two dads and the rest of us came together in a rag-tag sort of group. PJ was the youngest in our group - the others were seasoned pros. At the first two houses, PJ was confused. But by the third place, he carefully climbed the stairs, scooted through the kids who had already gotten their candy, to confidentially stuck out his open hand. As soon as he had his piece of candy, he'd throw it into his little bag - made by Aunt Sally a year ago - and head off to follow the older kids to the next house.

The 'older' kids setting the pace.

PJ getting his piece of candy.

Heading off to catch up with the others.

After a few hours, little PJ started to get candy picky. Sometimes he even had to be convinced to take a specific piece.

Hum....which one should he take?

This one shall do.

After he got the door part of the trip down, he noticed the other kids were carrying their bags. He got into the game...for a very short period of time. Bags slow ya down, you know?
PJ with his bag of candy. It was a big bag.
 Then we got back to the party, where the dancing recommenced and...

...PJ met fire! We had to hold him back with both arms, the entire time. Who doesn't like fire?

Finally we wrapped up the evening with some yummy salads, which somehow made PJ very excited.  That should make me happy but I'm pretty sure it was still the rush from the trick-or-treating, the dancing, and the fire (!!!).

It was totally the fire. Or the candy. Or my own excitement at sharing something so fundamental to my childhood with my own child that rubbed off on the entire Steinbach clan.

Yeah, it might have been that. 

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