Tag Archives: Germany

Something to do on a cold rainy early Feburary afternoon

Something, that I’m sure the other German parents thought I was crazy for — letting my girls stomp in puddles and walk in the rain for 20 minutes in 41F weather. I am positive the other parents thought I was off my rocker when they picked up their children and saw me encouraging mine to stomp in puddles.  Hey, at least I brought their rainboots along.  And they had a fleece sweater under their winter coats, and hats on so they were in no way cold out there.  And when we got home we had Kinderchinos (luke-warm not-so-chocolaty chocolate milk) to really warm up.

And, if you can’t tell by the photos, the girls L-O-V-E-D it.  I got a couple of good mom points yesterday afternoon for this one.  : )

When I dropped them off at Kindergarten in the morning I told them I would walk to pick them up and they could use their new colorful umbrellas they got for Christmas.  But, when the time came to pick them up I couldn’t find my umbrella and didn’t want to walk the .75mi round trip with only my rain jacket.  I often have to carry one or the other kid for a period on this walk home (we walk most days) and wasn’t about to do that with the rain, their bags, our umbrellas, it being wet.  No thank you.  So, I drove to pick them up and they were elated to see their umbrellas and jump in the rain.



DSC01686She was upset when I took the umbrella from her as it was being pulled away by the wind.
It wasn’t like I was trying to keep it away from her, silly girl.
I gave it right back and all was well with the world.

Ireland viking horn hat courtesy of dad.

DSC01685Let’s scoop the water from the puddle with the umbrella!!!


DSC01676This was her favorite puddle.
It was maybe a few centimeters deep and perfect for splashing with little feet in pink Hello Kitty boots.

DSC01677My sweet girls.


DSC01673Can anyone explain her recent fascination with pulling her hat down over her eyes and attempting to walk?  She does this nearly every day when we walk to school.  I don’t get it.


DSC01679“Why, yes, I think I will close up my umbrella while it is still clearly raining.  That is a good though, Self.”

DSC01680Perfect puddle jumping.

DSC01675Most of the time the girls ran around with their umbrellas everywhere except over their heads.  Oh, to be 2 and 3 years old and not have a care in the world but to find the best puddles to stomp in.

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[daily life] language + 3 recent photos!

DSC05309 Trying to climb the castle ruins about 30minutes from our house on New Year’s Day.

From my sister: As I close the door to get ready to shower my niece yells through it, “Let me know if you need anything, ok, Auntie? Ok?” Lol she’s so sweet…
-Big Ive 05.11.2013

Kane-kuh so much!
-Little E 05.11.2013 (Thank you so much!)

Auntie, can you be nice to me?
-Big Ive 14.11.2013

Mommy, you’re a genius!
-Big Ive 15.11.2013

Tiggy tail.
-Little E 15.11.2013 (Piggy tail.)

I am a Mom.
-Big Ive 17.11.2013  (Probably said after I told her to stop mothering her sister as I was the mommy and she is the sister.)

Me, to the girls: say night night baby cousin!
My little brother, speaking for his infant daughter: night night toddler cousins!
Big Ive: We not cousins. I Big Ive and she Little E.

Me: What did a Big Ive say?
Big Ive: No. I said, what-da what-da hey!

Can you put that down? So you don’t fall?
Big Ive 17.11.2013, in reference to my armrest in the car

Lindberger cheese became hamburger cheese and muenster cheese became monster cheese in the car on the night of November 17, 2013.

On this same car trip Big Ive was very intent on finding the cars while we drove on the freeway.

Gampers is making mom a princess! (Looking at wedding photos with AZ Grandma-grandma.)
-Big Ive 18.11.2013

I sthoakin’ wet.
-Little E 18.11.2013  (“I’m soaking wet”, when she was perfectly dry.)

Hey – pay wif me!
Little E 20.11.2013 (Hey, play with me!)

“Sthcusthe you.”
Little E 21.11.2013 (excuse you).

Ida hasth boogiesth in meinsth earsth.
Little E 23.11.2013 (I have boogies in my ears.)

I-stha hooldin sthisthersth handsth.
Little E 23.11.2013 (I’m holding sister’s hand.)

Umi go-gglsth (umi goggles)
Umi dollarsth (umi dollars)
Little E 23.11.2013

Ge-off uh my da-ee.
Little E 23.11.2013 (Get off of my daddy)

ZWEE-bah. (Zebra)
Little E 26.11.2013

A fishing-dadoh. (Aficionado )
-Big Ive 28.11.2013

It’s a button, Dad. It’s a button!
Little E 1.12.2013 referring to his nipple

They’re song-in’, mama.
Little E 12.12.2013 (They’re singing mama.)

DSC05314Silly little girls sitting on a wall of the castle ruins.  Big Ive climbed up by herself and Little E desperately tried to follow, but couldn’t do it herself.  LOML lifted her up and placed her a little away from Big Ive.  That’s when they decided they had to be right. next. to. one another.

You love Big Ive? You love Little E? You love momma? You love Kleenex? You love soap? You love Little E?
-Little E 12.12.2013, Said as we were taking her up to bed I told her to say I love you, dad, and we had a whole conversation about who and what dad loves.

Little E: What’sth dat?
Me: My necklace.
Little E: I wear it?

Let’s get out of the cool afore we get our jammies wet.
-Big Ive 13.12.2013
(Lets get out of the [pretend] pool before we get our jammies wet.)

This afternoon, after we had gotten back from a day trip to Metz, France, Big Ive saw that LOML had just finished his beer. So, she does what any good 3.5 year old daughter does, she went to get him another beer. The best part is that she noticed his preferred brand of beer was not in the refrigerator, so she took it upon herself to get 3 beers from the case in the pantry and put them in the fridge. Unfortunately, she dropped one and it broke, getting beer and glass shards all over the pantry floor. But, it’s the sweet thought of a loving daughter that counts most.

I’m finding out I’m a kid!
Big Ive 26.12.2013

Patty cake, make der Mann.
Big Ive 26.12.2013 (I love how they combine the 2 languages.)

The pans are made out of mirrors!
-Big Ive 26.12.2013 (The pots and pans are shiny and look like mirrors.)

I have 4,000 teeth.
Big Ive 26.12.2013

Sthkusthking. (Disgusting)
-Little E 28.12.2013

I’ll eat this for a few more minutes and then I’ll have ‘zert. (Dessert)
-Big Ive 28.12.2013

I appreciate it Mom’s cooking.
Big Ive 28.12.2013

Here, Mom. I got sthalad.
Little E 29.12.2012 Said while handing me a toy plate with a toy piece of lettuce.

I make a bidge. For toolsth.
Little E 30.12.2013 (“I made a bridge for tools.”)

Ber is Big Ive’sth pucup. Ber is Big Ive’sth sthcool cup. I found she’s cup!
Little E 06.01.2014
(There is Big Ive’s sippy cup. I found her cup!)

Where isth my knucklesth?
Little E 06.01.2014 (Where are my nipples?)

I eat my yogurt alwaysth.
Little E 12.01.2014

Ber isth da odder one blankie! I found it!!
-Little E 12.01.2014

Big Ive: Is our cooking done? Oder nicht? (Or not?)
LOML: Nicht. (Not.)
Big Ive: Daddy ‘sagt, ‘nicht’. (Daddy said no.)

DSC05325Having fun at the castle ruins.  Big Ive thinks she’s so big now because she can climb up on small wall ruins by herself.

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Are We Staying or Are We Moving???

We have come to a decision on where we will be living for the next couple of years.  It was a very hard decision that physically ate at us for months this year.  It wasn’t easy.  In making a decision we would have to say no to one group of people so we could say yes to another group.  That is so hard when you have grown to love two countries, two communities, so far apart you could have never imagined this would happen even 2.5 years ago.

We chose to stay in Germany for right now.  It was so hard to say no to moving back to family, moving back to friends, to a community we had grown and lived life with for 5 years.  But, it was almost like the decision was made for us.  We didn’t have an easy way to return to Arizona right now (which was our preferred place), and prospects of living closer to LOML’s family weren’t panning out.  LOML and I didn’t want to have to uproot and start over again somewhere new for another short period of time.  We’re not really those kind of people that move often.  If we were going to move, we were going to move back to family, as the benefit of living closer to family (blood or not) has been made very clear to us after living countries and an ocean away for two years.  Yeah, we could have moved back to the States—somewhere—but we didn’t want somewhere.  We wanted one of two locations and that didn’t work right now.

I know I am disappointing some people by this decision.  And I know I have made some people happy by this decision.  I am sorry if this has hurt you.  I’m sorry if this will further impact and harm any friendships we had before I packed up and moved to Germany.  The decision to choose to stay here was definitely affected by those friendships and family-ships (if I am allowed to make up a word :) ). LOML and I tried to find a way to move home.  We desperately wanted to do that, but I think God didn’t have that in the plans for right now.  Right now we stay where we are.

As I explained to many people when we first started telling our decision to our friends in-person here in Germany, is that this is a very bittersweet decision.  We are sad to not be returning to family and friends.  But, if the decision had been reversed, we would be equally sad to be leaving our new friends and family in Germany.  How is it possible to have deep feelings for two lands?  Two cultures?  I never understood that love and pain until living here. (There was no way I could understand having lived in the same city for the first 27 years of my life.)

But, there are good things about staying.  The girls and I can work on our German language learning a lot better living in Germany than in the US.  Big Ive is practically fluent for a 3 year old speaker.  Little E is coming along quickly now that she’s been in the German Kindergarten full time since March.  I am slowly getting a grasp of this crazy, funny language through my classes.  Maybe sometime in the near-ish future I will be able to hold a conversation.  I hope.  LOML will have some new opportunities with his job here in Germany that he wouldn’t have had we never moved here, had we not chosen to stay.  And I get to keep playing music in the village band with my German friends.

We can continue to grow community with our German friends here in our village, with our church a few villages away, with the American military community around here.  We can continue to do God’s Kingdom work, which we believe we can do where ever we are.  (And for those that read this who don’t believe in God, you can think of that as just doing good things, giving selflessly, choosing to live an intentional community life.)

If you skipped everything I wrote above, the bottom line is:

We are staying in Germany for now.
It was a hard decision.
We love our family and friends back home, and miss them dearly.
There are good things happening here in Germany that we are a part of.

P.S.  If you have any questions or want more details, please ask.  I purposely kept the details off and this sort of vague because this is a public blog and I like to keep it semi-anonymous. You can email me at hausmilleradventure (at) gmail (.) com if you don’t already have another way to contact me.

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hail – a how-to guide

When it hails heavily one afternoon, whatever should one do with all of it?  Here is a quick helpful Hail How-To guide.


All of this came down in about 10 minutes time, I would guess.  I don’t have a stopwatch.  And besides… Who ever remembers to start those things at the moment an activity you wish to time begins?  For reals.

1. You eat it.

The girls were eating it out of the bowl as if it were popcorn.  If you are feeling more dignified, please feel free to use the proper hail eating utensils.


Exhibit 1a.


Exhibit 1b.

2. You make a scotch on the rocks.

LOML enjoyed his hail-cooled scotch on the rocks that afternoon.  However, he did note that hail of a slightly larger diameter would have been preferred.  Please keep this in mind should you wish to attempt hail-scotch-on-the-rocks.

A handsome devil, that one.

And there ends our quick Hail How-To guide.  Please stay tuned for another photo of an adorable toddler watching hail.


dress courtesy of Gampers Hand Creations

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The question for which I still have no answer

The question that everyone asks — LOML and I included — is how long will we be living in Germany.  The short answer is that we still don’t know.

When we were in Arizona this winter we thought we would know in March.  We thought we would have some resolution to this open-ended question by now.  We told our family and friends we should know by the end of March/beginning of April.  The end of March has come and gone.  The end of April has come and gone.  We are rapidly approaching the middle of May and we still don’t know.  Right now LOML’s current project ends this fall.  His company is waiting to hear if they have another project in this region.  They are waiting for a response.  We are waiting for a response.  Our family and friends are waiting for a response.

What are we doing in the mean time?  We live life.  We wait.  But we don’t let the unknowns rule us.  We keep living our regular lives.  We keep trying to do God’s Kingdom work here and now.  We don’t hole up in our house making plans and sub plans and alternate plans.  It took a while, but we have gotten to the point where we are mostly content to not know.  Would it be nicer to know where we’ll be at the end of this year?  You better believe it!  Is that going to be something that I let drive my life?  Prevent me from fully living, experiencing, loving right now?  Absolutely not!

Now you know as much as we know, which isn’t much.

EDIT 06.05.2013: We got an update today!  But it doesn’t help anything, so no real news to share.

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[daily life] language

“I ‘member baby fwogs in da office, Mamma.  Swim! I lub a swim in da office.  Krocodiles, Mommy.  Where da Krocodiles?” -Big Ive 27.02.2013
This was said after asking what an illustration for a tadpole was.  Krocodile is the combination of the English and German words for crocodile/Krokodil.

“It’s beautiful outside.  Look at all the colors in the sky.” -Big Ive 16.02.2013
This was said while we were driving in thick fog with lots of snow on the ground.

“See all da skofe comin’ off da cookie?  See all da skofe?  Burns myself.  I have ahtch out.” -Big Ive 22.02.2013
See all of the steam (hers is a mixture of ‘smoke’ and ‘steam’) coming off of the cookie?  See all of the steam?  It’ll burn me.  I have to watch out.

“Mamma, stay you eyes out.” -Big Ive 22.02.2013  This was directed at me when she was sitting on the toilet and I was standing in the bathroom waiting for her to finish.  Apparently she needs her privacy when doing her jobs.

“She’s a licah nady.” -Big Ive 22.02.2013
She’s a nice lady.  ::  It took her a few times of throwing this one out of her mouth before we could understand what was being said.  This is for Ms. Mary, our friend from church.

“Big Ive’s busy.” -Big Ive 22.02.2013
Big Ive is dizzy.  (after spinning in the living room with dad)

“I like balsamic, Mamma.” -Big Ive 23.02.2013

Lavendader (lavender) -Big Ive 24.02.2013

Little E was ‘reading’ a book.  When she closed it she said, “Amen.” 25.02.2013

“Birds da not get da Lawlix.” -Big Ive 04.03.2013
She was commenting on the birds flying away from the lion character, Alex, on Madagascar III.

“I wanna play ball soccer, Momma.  I wanna play ball soccer.  Ball soccer.”  -Big Ive 04.03.2013
I wanna play with the soccer ball.  I wanna play soccer.

“We don’t hit people with cows.” -Big Ive 05.03.2013  Said with a very straight face.  While holding a toy cow.

“Twelve. Thirteen. Fourteen. Eleventeen.” -Big Ive 06.03.2013

“Eleven.  EE-twelve.  EE-thirteen.  Eleven.” -Big Ive, on the walk home from Kindergarten afternoon of 06.03.2013

“Big Ive, what do you think I got at the store today?”
“Nope. Try again.”
“Watermelon.” -Big Ive 11.03.2013

“Alright! Beer!” -Little E 11.03.2013  Said as LOML was bringing a case of beer into the house.

“Ring around the rosie, pocket on da tuna, atches atches, all fall down! That’s all it’s about!” -Big Ive 12.03.2013

“I wanna sing you another book.” -Big Ive 13.03.2013

“Where my fasipier, Mamma?” -Big Ive 25.03.2013
Where’s my pacifier?

“The floor get me wif my head!” -Big Ive 25.03.2013
She was playing with some boxes and feel down hitting her head on the floor.

“I wanna full of chocolate on a spoon, Mamma.” -Big Ive 27.03.2013
I want a spoon full of chocolate cookie dough, Mom.

“I want ___________ mag.  I want __________ mag.”  -Big Ive 01.04.2013
Fill in the blank with whatever it was she wanted — me, a drink, a toy, etc.  Mag is a conjugated form of the “to want” verb.  So she was saying “I want ________ I want”.

“Mochte kiss, Mamma?  Mochte kiss?” -Big Ive 02.04.2013  [Mochte is pronounced mosh-tuh, with the o like oats.]
Would you like a kiss, Mamma?  —  This one is interesting because she use the “I would like” conjugation of this verb and not the “you would like”.  She’s starting to put them together, though.  It’s a good thing I know a little about German because I would have absolutely no idea what she was saying otherwise.

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My Frosty Walk

This morning I dropped BOTH girls off at the Kindergarten and took a walk around the village by MYSELF.  I have lived here for over a year and I’m not sure I have really taken a walk by myself before.  At least, not a walk for pleasure.

It was a sunny day with blue skies.  The wind picked up a tiny bit later in the day, but the morning was mostly calm.  It got all the way up to 51F / 11C today.  That is pure bliss compared to the upper 20’s we’ve been having for weeks now.  The blue skies were the best part.

At 9:20am, when I left the Kindergarten, it was starting to warm up, but the mud was still mostly all frozen.  Frozen solid mud with frost on it is a new sight for this desert kid.  I very much enjoyed being able to stop and take photos and videos during my walk without at least one small human bothering me.  Usually I meet at least 1 other person walking along the path, but today I didn’t, which was nice so I didn’t feel the need to explain why I was taking photos of frozen puddles, frosted grass and leaves, and videoing the bubbling brook that runs through our village.

Here’s what I saw.

puddle_frozen-20130304Look how the puddles froze.  I’m not sure I’ve seen puddles freeze like this before.  #desertkid

puddle_closeup3-20130304Frost on the crystals.

puddle_closeup2-20130304puddle_closeup1-20130304What are the proper conditions to make water freeze in this kind of structure?

frosty_leaf-20130304Frosty leaf with frozen mud.  Much harder of a surface to walk on frozen mud, but much cleaner.


frosty_snowcloseup-20130304The snow has frosty crystals on it, too!

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Little E’s first day of German Kindergarten

This afternoon (well… Monday 25 February 2013…when I started this post) was Little E’s first day at German Kindergarten.  And true to that saying of your first born getting all the photos and subsequent children getting none?  Well, I managed to take ZERO photos of Little E at the Kindergarten today.  Thinking about that makes me feel guilty and like a terrible mother.  Oh, well.  I did remember my camera — and to take photos! — the second day.

Let’s get on to the happy part of this post, shall we?

LE_pointing_1dayKgd-20130227A little Haferflocken on her face after eating the snack.

LE_carrytoy_1dayKgd-20130227There was lots of toy dragging / moving / relocating going on.

Little E did really well this afternoon.  She went from 1-2:15pm.  She was paired with a teacher who speaks very little English, which was interesting.  That teacher is just as nice as the rest and loves all of the children just like the rest, so it’s not a problem . . . just an interesting pairing.  She has told me a couple of times that she learned English in school, but since she didn’t use it much she forgot how to speak a lot of it, although, she does understand much more than she can speak.

Little E was SO EXCITED to go to school.  She walked right in like she owned the place.  Started to take her jacket off mere seconds after the door closed (exactly like what we do with Big Ive in the mornings).  I had put her in slip on shoes because we drove up there.  She knew regular shoes weren’t supposed to be worn and had to remove them quickly, as well.  Guess that means I’m getting her some new Hausschuhe.  [[New orange Hausschuhe on the second day were a hit!]]

She was very happy to walk room to room, but kept coming to check on me sitting on the ‘Mother’s Bench’.  It might be better if Big Ive is there to help guide her around.  Big Ive has been sick so we’ve kept her home from school 3 days so far.  She had to go eat her snack we brought, just like Big Ive does every morning she goes to school.  A few times Little E has sat at the kitchen table and eaten snack in the mornings with Big Ive, so she was familiar with it.  LOML remarked that she seems to be doing things and hitting milestones about 6 months ahead of Big Ive.

LE_kitch_1dayKgd-20130227Sitting with the big kids eating her snack.  She thinks she IS a big kid!

I asked her to go find a cow, thinking she would go over to the area with the animal toys.  No.  She went over to her little bag we brought that has a cow on it!  Smart kid!

Coloring on the first day.  Painting on the second day.

LE_stamps2_1dayKgd-20130227I lost track how many times she tried to climb this shelving unit.


LE_coloring1_1dayKgd-20130227She’s one of those kids who scribbles all over the paper with whatever color they grab.  Big Ive was never like that.  It is so different to have a kid who does not carefully color on a paper.

LE_painting_1dayKgd-20130227She wasn’t terribly fond of the painting.  She started to get alarmed when she got paint on her fingers.  The teacher tried to reassure her it was ok, as she had paint on her own fingers, but Little E was wary.  The painting didn’t last long.

The third day we got to school at 9am.  We got her settled and then I told her, “I love you. Tschüss!”  She hugged me, watched me leave.  I came back an hour later.  They said she did good.  She would play for a big, then walk to the door and cry a little.  Go back and play with something else, walk to the door and cry a little.  Big Ive did the same thing, the teachers said.

I am not worried about leaving her at the Kindergarten.  They have been treating Big Ive really well — she loves to go to school.  You can see how much they love and care for the children there.  There is no doubt that they feel the same for my girls, too.

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[daily life] language

“You want Big Ive’s yorgit, Daddy? You want Big Ive’s yorgit? – 14.12.2012  Big Ive said this as LOML came downstairs.  She was offering him her breakfast yogurt.

“I want pitabutter. Wif spoon on it.” 05.01.2013 She was trying to say she wanted a spoonful of peanut butter.

I wanna carry ya.
Carry ya (because Elsie knows now that I respond to that request she asks all the time.)
I have no idea how to spell E’s version do orange.
Auntie, saying it and recognizing her while she sleeps

As I was putting Little E into her car seat she farted. And then she said, “I heard that”. LOML always says that to Big Ive when she farts. I guess Little E picked up on it, too. 06.01.2013

“See it, da fwags, in da window?” = Do you see the flags in the window? 10.01.2013

“It’s hab polka oughts on Schuhe.” -Big Ive 13.01.2013
It has polka dots on the Schuhe (shoes).

“Kan-kuu. Welcome.” -Little E 15.02.2013″Thank you. You’re welcome.”  She says this almost every time we give her something.  Instead of just saying ‘thank you’ she always has to say both thank you and you’re welcome.  She’ll do it in German, too: Bitte, Danke.

Half of the time Big Ive refers to her Aunt Leah as Uncle Leah.  She is also working on sorting out how to correctly use pronouns — he/she, her/his, mine/yours.  A super cute thing she still says (incorrectly) is, “I wanna carry you”.  This actually means I want YOU to carry ME.  I think she says it that way because we would ask her, “You want me to carry you?”

Sometimes Big Ive speaks in third person and sometimes it’s first.  This whole language development is fascinating to watch.

On Tuesday (12.02.2013) we walked up to Big Ive’s Kindergarten in our village to say hello to the teachers.  She heard German being spoken (obviously) and a couple kids and a teacher spoke to her in German.  That night she brought a big German children’s book over to me to read.  I can fake read German to an extent.  I don’t know exactly what I’m reading but I can mostly sound out words and pronounce them right.  Well, those 2 activities got her jump started back in German mode.  She then grabbed a little book (can’t remember if it was German or English) and started ‘reading’ it with her German babble.  LOML was home and we both kind of stopped what we were doing because this was more than just German babble.  This was a mush up of more German words than we had ever heard from her before.  The kid had been seriously holding out on us!  There were quite a few real German words we could recognize.  It was awesome.  She had been away from German speakers for 2 months and then hears a couple sentences and decides to bring it all out.

“Atches, atches, all pall down!” -Little E 15.02.2013
Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!  Ring Around The Rosie has become a favorite in our house lately.

“Go! Go! On ‘denture!” -Big Ive
“Go! Benshure!” -Little E
‘I wanna go, go, go, go on an adventure, the thingamajigger is up and away. Go, go, go, go on an adventure, flying with the Cat in the Hat today!’ — It’s a song from the TV show, Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That.  The girls love it.  I sing this song when we’re getting ready to go somewhere.

Playing in the snow on the back terrace this morning.

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NaBloPoMo Day 22 – Happy Thanksgiving!

For all those American’s celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.  May you be surrounded by friends and family and enjoy some good food, wherever you may be and whomever you are with.

For all those Germans, happy November 22 to you.  May your Thursday be good.  :)

I think this is the first Thanksgiving I haven’t spent with my family (one side or the other).  And right now I am ok with that, not sad.  But I mostly think that is because this is not a holiday in Germany so there has been no advertizing, no decorations at the stores, no one asking me about my Thanksgiving plans.  Autumn decorations went up in the stores about the beginning of October and then Christmas decorations came into the stores the beginning of November.  This is the second Thanksgiving in a row that LOML has been away from extended family and friends.

I met some people in my German class that invited us over to their church for a big group Thanksgiving (with lots of Germans in attendance).  It was a nice, simple dinner.  Our girls got to play with the other kids.  LOML and I were able to chat with some adults in between wrangling children.  And we were able to leave without a meltdown from either child.

I am thankful for my husband, my girls, our families and friends back home, our new ‘family’ here in Germany.  I’m thankful for this experience, hard as it can be at times.  I’m thankful for growth — even the painful kind.  I’m thankful for my trials, as they are shaping me into a better, more loving person all the time.  And I’m thankful for my God that has provided me with immense and seemingly countless blessings my entire life.  I am overwhelmed when I start to think about everything in my life and how incredibly blessed I am.

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