Saturday, December 25, 2010

An exciting night and a clear answer

Jakob was dead-tired when Markus brought him to bed and within a few minutes after having finished his night bottle he was fast asleep and as soon as the adults were complete again the distribution of their presents kicked off. As its been introduced a few years ago the "secret santa" rule has been applied again and so everyone had to organize the present for one other person. The handover of the presents is always a pretty funny event as the unwrapping of each present is a real ceremony and each of us has to find out who secret santa has been.

This year kicked off with an impressive present from Sandra consisting of several parcels including self-made pralinees in a glass deposited i the snow outside and we all believed that all other presents would be far less exciting and impressive than the first one. For some reason hardly anyone made the right guess who his/her secret santa was as a large majority thought it was uncle Werner for them. Large confusion came up when we realized that there was one present too much underneath the tree with one of them not having a name tag.
The surprise for Flo was large when he picked up a present for Kerstin as it was him who had picked Kerstin and it was him who forgot the name tag on his present. Unfortunately for Kerstin Jakob woke up just when she was unwrapping and we had to interrupt the process.

Jakob must have anticipated something special to come up as he did not want to go back to sleep and so Kerstin brought our junior down to the living room and he helped her unwrapping the present. Actually he Jakob rather took away the small box from Kerstin and opened it himself and showed the content to everyone in the room with pride and honor. Within the wooden box a small whitegold/platinum ring was embedded with a small diamond on top. After a few minutes of having shown the present to all the others apart from Kerstin our sunshine finally handed over the ring to Kerstin who answered the question with a clear: YES.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

White Christmas

On Thursday we left Vienna early - just after lunchtime in order to avoid heavy traffic - and headed for Vorarlberg for the traditional christmas holidays with Kerstin´s family. For the first to hours Jakob slept peacefully in his seat and when he woke up he was in very good mood, enjoyed overtaking many cars and lorries on the highway and was not demanding a stop on the way. As traffic was very modest and the weather conditions good - no freezing temperatures and thus safe roads - we reached our destination afer 5 hours and we could enjoy dinner with grandma Heidi.

Christmas Eve started early for us at 0600 and it seemed as if Jakob knew something special would happen that night. Markus did some shopping in Bregenz in the morning and he went into town again with Jakob in the afternoon to visit the donkey in the city centre where met Flo and his friends for a tradition: mulled wine and lots of chats just before Christmas kicks off. Once the boys returned home they got ready for the big night, got into neat clothes (coincidentally in partner look) and while it started snowing nicely outside we all waited for the arrival of the "Christkind". When we heard the bells ringing in the living room - which was locked all day - Jakob not only got nervous but also a bit scared. Kerstin had to cary him when slowly opening the door in order to find a beautifully decorated and enlightened christmas tree with many presents underneath.

Like father - like son

Our sunshine was fascinated by the looks and when we started singing christmas carrols alongside Katrin´s guitartunes he was all excited and full of joy. Jakob soon detected the parcels that were left underneath the tree and enthusiastically unwrapped the child table & chairs, pencils, a blue doll´s pram, cans of spanish olivs with anchoas, a xylophone, books, CDs and pictures. He actually did not even know what to use first and was running around in the living room like crazy so that he almost diregarded the food which was brought to the table in the meantime: sausages, potatoes and horseradish. After dinner he continued playing but it was pretty obvious that he was dead tired and we soon brought him to bed while the adult´s presents were unwrapped. The night was long and Jakob took another prominent role lateron.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Buy turkey for christmas

Due to a stomach virus which Markus caught on his way to Frankfurt Monday morning ended up spending the rest of the week in Vienna which Jakob really liked as it gave him a lot of opportunity to play and have fun with Dad. Working from home when fit again on Thursday and Friday gave Markus the oportunity to plan and prepare everything for Saturday's christmas lunch with his parents. First thing Friday morning he headed to the supermarket and bought all necessary ingredients for roast turkey with currant glaze. In the late afternoon Stefan came by and together they prepared the 4kg turkey by drowning it in salt water and putting him on ice. simultaneously the starter, a carrot-ginger-soup as well as the currant glaze were prepared.

A salty bath for the bird.

Early evening Kerstin headed off toward her office as she joined her colleagues for the corporate christmas dinner and in order to make her departure easier Jakob and Markus joined her on the way and while Kerstin had her first drink the two boys wanndered through the cold but beautifully decorated city towards home. At home Jakob was absolutely lovely, had dinner , played with Markus and got ready for bed withou any complaint of any question about mum. He fell aspeel peacefully and when Kerstin came home after 0100 Jakob was still fast asleep in his bed.

Lots of raw meet in the morning...

Saturday morning we started early again as the turkey needed a lot of time for the final touches and even more so for the roasting. Stefan made his way to the wintry city - it was snowing all night long - and the two chefs stuffed the bird and prepared it with the delicious glazing before putting it into the oven just before 1000. When the grandparents and Ines arrived in Vienna Jakob was again on excellent form and enjoyed the large group showing all his skills. Lateron Ines and Kerstin went to the toboggan hill together with Jakob in order to make him tired for a lunchtime sleep before the bird was finished.

... and a crispy Turkey 4,5 hours later

After almost 4,5 hours we finally could take the turkey out of the oven and get ready for lunch. It was a mouthwatering sight and a delicious smell that we could all enjoy when the roasted turkey sat on the dining room table and was waiting for being filletted. The taste was definitely living up to the smell and sight and noone dcould recall when we had such a tender meet last and we all were stuffed even though we did not manage to finish the whole bird. Given the big success of the lunch - we can live with the large knife Stefan broke preparing the side dish - it seems that a new tradition has been borne for the christmas celebration in Vienna. With this years experience we will make some adaptations for a repeat next year.

Jakob, Kerstin and Markus

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A penguin on the roof

In sharp contrast to Saturday, when the sunshine made the cold temperatures feel much less cold, Sunday morning the sky was all grey and the -10 degrees felt like -10 degrees. Overnight St. Nicholas stopped by and left behind a bag full with goodies for Jakob (whereas one or the other chocolate bar was reserved for Markus) as well as a new classical tea-pot. Sandra and Flo unfortunaltely left us right after breakfast heading back home together with friends and so we were left all on our own. Given the unfriendly weather we decided to spend the day indoors and make use of all Jakob's toys.

No need to leave the building when there is snow all over the terrace

In the later afternoon however we put on our snowgear after all as Markus and Jakob decided to play on our terrace which is all covered in snow as well. The attempt to build a snowman failed as the snow was far too fluffya nd not sticky enough. Mrkus could however make snowballs and so the two guys were tossing snowballs onto the handrails and Jakob liked it when the ball busrt into pieces once hitting the glass. When Markus then pushed Jakob in his bobsleigh through the snow and tried the penguin slide Jakob was all excited and cracked up. This showed once again, that it cna not be wild and crazy enough for our sunshine.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Jamaica Run

Throughout the past week winter dominated Austria and Vienna almost drowned in snow. Especially towards the weekend the snowfalls got richers and only on Friday 25cm of fresh snow covered the city and Markus was really happy that he did reach home with 1,5 hours delay coming from Prague. As the clouds cleared up that night temperatures dropped into double digit negative territory and Saturday morning, when we had breakfast together with Sandra and Flo the sun was shining, we had a blue sky and yet very wintry temperatures.

The fresh snow combined with sunny weather and the fact that our guests bought Jakob a little bobsleigh almost forced us to get ready to get outside once we have finished breakfast. We wanted to enjoy the powder snow on the nearby Jesuitenwiese which not only has a floodlit tobbogan hill but also a few other mounts more suitable for beginners. Jakob was not very impressed when we pulled him along the footpath across the Jesuitenwiese and he only started laughing when Markus ventured out rning through the powder snow. Finally there was some action thanks to bumps and an uneven surface. When however the bobsleigh tipped over and Jakob ended face-down in the snow he was not ammused at all and complained loudly.

It can't be fast enough for Jakob

The good thing however was that Jakobs love for the snow was not cooled off by this accident and he happily boarded his vehicle again as the beginners hill gor closer and closer. After a first successful run down the hill "on the leash" Markus sent our junior off on his own and Jakob liked that even more which he epxressed with loud laughter full of joy. He could not steer the bobshleigh but that did not bother him at all - he just liked the speed and bumps. Markus had to pull our sunshine uphill countless times and he did not get bored to that. The biggest problem was that Jakob's woolen gloves got more and more covered in snow and Jakob's fingers were freezing. hence we returned home in order to warm up again.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Frosty the snowman

The winter has a tight grip on Central Europe providing not only freezing temperatures and a lot of snow but also influencing traffic both on the ground as well as in the air badly. Markus and his client were quite anxious throughout Tuesday whether their fligh to Prague in the evening would really happen and were preparing for a plan B - an overnight train. By the time they left the city for the airport it has staretd snowing again, while the airlines stilkl showed no sign of any delays. Once checked in and waiting in the terminal building, it turned out that the plane has not arrived yet and so they left Warsaw with more than 1,5 hours delay, but at least they made it: The "White Hell" was left behind.

A frozen smile can not be pretended

Judging by the weather development on Wednesday in Prague it seemed though that LOT has not only taken numerous pasengers to Prague but also carried the snowclouds as the intensity of snowflakes increased every hour. When Markus left the ofice in the evening returning to his flat - his client dinner was cancelled as his client has not arrived yet due to the bad weather - he felt an urge to be active. Hence he put on all parts of his running outfit available - 3 layers of long sleeved Nike DryFit shirts and headed off for a run alongside the Vltava River. It was very refreshing to run through 15cm of powder snow with fresh flakes falling on his head and the -6 degrees or the frozen eyebrows were not felt at all. The fact that hardly any people were out on the roads and traffic was very very light provided a very peaceful setting and when Markus returned to the apartment 45 minutes later he felt like new-born and the hot shower gave back moe energy than he used for the activity in the snow.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus