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Fall Break!

I’m off for a week and spending most of it in Germany.  Woo hoo!  I sooooooo need this time off to breathe and reflect and enjoy the beauty of living.  Joe and I joined some friends for a long but fun drive to Munich where we spent the weekend sipping, strolling and eating.  Today, Joe is off to Prague with the friends, and I am off to Hamburg to spend time with family.

I always love being in Germany, and I still hope to one day find myself getting transferred to a school here.  It won’t be much closer to most of my family since none of our locations are up north, but Stuttgart is near my niece and sister — so, fingers crossed, one day.

That is not to say I don’t also love Belgium.  Germany is just so much easier for me since, well, some of it is in my DNA.  I’m more at home here.

We were blessed with beautiful weather yesterday.  Munich is ablaze with autumn colors.

But the long, dark, cold, wet days are right around the corner.  I’m okay with those too because it means candles, hearty stews and soups (a fat girl’s heaven), and the holiday season — whoop whoop!

My sister Angie and some of her family are visiting from Virginia; we’ll meet up again today.  Her first few days here I was so busy with work I didn’t get much chance to enjoy time with them, so the next few days will be all about fun, family time.  We head back to Belgium on Halloween where I’m sure more fun will be had, and when they leave Shannan arrives to spend a few weeks with us.

Sooooo, I’ve got plenty of cheer ahead of me.

My only complaint is I won’t get to spend Halloween again with this little guy..

But, isn’t he adorable in the space suit I bought this summer?!  Cannot wait to see him in December!  He’s hobbling along now, so he’ll be running all over the Christmas markets.

Well, I’ve got to pack up and get myself ready for the train ride to airport.  Happy Halloween and Harvest cheers to all of you!

p.s. I’m including this photo only because it’s a rare good one of me (lol I’d make a terrible model with my crazy facial expressions).  Thanks to Joe for knowing the right angle to snap his wife at! AND, hello?  I’m outside in Munich this time of year without a jacket on — in short sleeves!

Family and Friends…

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I’m a lousy blogger in that when I had down time I didn’t spend it writing about my wonderful vacation.  I did, however, use that time to sleep, shower, and thank the powers that be for the people in my life.

The last time I posted we had just arrived in Rothenburg om der Taube (or something like that), and oh what an adorable little town that was.  At night we walked the wall that surrounds it. Call us Game of Thrones freaks, but we kept chiming “You Know Nothing Jon Snow.”   Then we cruised on to Herrenberg to spend time with my niece and her beautiful family.  Her girls are just way too adorable, and she should be proud of the love that obviously surrounds her and her little ones.  We also got to spend the night in a tiny, tiny town where the church bells became hells bells for us during the 6 a.m. ring-forever chime.  After that it was on to Cologne where we had a lovely hotel room, which felt like an apartment and where we enjoyed way too much German hospitality — thanks to the best waitress on earth.  Cologne (Koln) is such a beautiful city, and my advice is to not miss it if you ever get to tour Germany.

Berlin after that, which was also a great time — with more food and drink (see a pattern here).  And, then, finally on to my family in Wedel, near Hamburg.  I’m a lucky girl who gets to travel all over the place, but nothing feeds the soul more than hanging with family.  And, I get to do it again when I visit in December.  I am sooo, soooo grateful for this.

I’m also lucky to have friends who’ve also become family, so seriously just go ahead and hate me now because yeah I’m that lucky.  I know I should tell you some of our stories — we have plenty of them — but I’m now back in Phoenix waiting for my daughter to wake up, so that we can go out to breakfast.  So, instead I’ll just blast you with some of our photos, which are all about family and friends.

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My cousin Yvonne and her two balls of energy.  I had so much fun playing with these two.

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Charles, her husband, made us some braziian drinks — let’s just call it happy hour for now.

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Lilly, my cousin Nicole’s, lil princess.

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My aunt Birget, Lilly and Nicole.  we don’t look related at all, do we…. (why do I have the potato head?)

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My uncle Michael and Ericka.

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Shannan and me eating our gazzionth wurst on this trip

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Birget serving my favorite German dish, Rolladen!  Jana’s boyfriend cooked us Polish ghoulash, Michelle’s fiance cooked us a roast pork with dumplings, Yvonne and hubby cooked us the German version of collard greens and ham, and oh my goodness were we fed and fed and fed by my family.  It all tasted so darned good.

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Michael in his man cave

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bike riding in Berlin

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Pimp daddy Derek!

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Warning sign on tour bus in Cologne

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My niece Jana and her oldest

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Good God that’s just too much cuteness to handle

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the wall by day

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the wall with night walkers — before I took this pic with flash we couldn’t see them hiding there.  Almost gave me a heart attack.

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Schmetterling!  hahahaha that and WonderBra!  became our chant.

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we did a lot of this …. A LOT

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My cousin Michelle is a tattoo artist.  I’m not a tattoo person, but I couldn’t resist being her canvas. Me before tattoo — really, really nervous about it.

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And very, very happy about it later. It’s a beautiful piece of work, and I will treasure it always.

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And, Kaylene is awake!!!  Time to go get some grub.  I’ll try to do a better job of posting something or other while I’m in Phoenix, but of course I am also so very happy to be home with my kiddoes, man and dogs again.

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