Frohes neues jahr!


Frohes Neues Jahr


from the future!


 



Ryan and I just wanted to let all of you know that we’re thinking of you as we ring in this New Year with fireworks in The Land of Fairy Tales hours ahead of you…


Hopefully this will be loaded soon and it will play! 


 


Here, fireworks aren’t illegal, so everyone sets them off and our whole skyline was ablaze! 


 


Just imagine that while most days we live thousands of miles away from all of you, at this moment we live in a different year completely!!!


 



I hope and pray that this year will be a year of hope, a year of blessings, and a year of dreams fulfilled!


 


With love from the future!


 


Ryan and Courtney


 

Do you have the Code?

Guten Tag Xangaland!


Song of the day?  More Than it Seems by Switchfoot… because when I listened to the words again after all these months of living here it seem eerily appropriate to where I am in my life, right down to the little detail about living in a far away land!


I hope that all of you had a lovely Christmas!  Ours was truly wonderful.  I had expected for it to be sad and bitter sweet but, really, we had a wonderful time!  We were able (through the miracle of technology) to sit with both sides of our families and open each other’s gifts, to be a part of the conversation, and chatter back and forth (We all have webcams and ours is hooked up to our TV so it was almost like having them here for Christmas)  It was really splendid. 


In between phone calls Ryan and I made our traditional Christmas breakfast and then I made a full Christmas dinner!  Here I am posing with the full spread right before we ate!  Goodness it was a lot of food!  We still have leftovers!  (Or we did until I emptied the fridge to make room for groceries today!)


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We got to sit down at our little table for two and enjoy our first Christmas dinner alone…  And though there wasn’t raucous and loud conversation there is something to be said for a quiet dinner for two.


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After dinner we decided to take a few more Christmas pictures with each other in front of our very first real Christmas tree…  (We took it down next day so we wanted to make sure we had a few good pictures) 


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We really love it here so much more than we expected…  it surprises me sometimes to see how happy we look!


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And here is where it begins….  We had taken another picture before this one with me standing up all the way and my hair blocked out Ryan’s face… but he wanted a picture of the new shirt he bought me for Christmas so I ran over after I set the timer and crouched down and almost fell right before the flash…  all seriousness left our little photo shoot… as you will see…


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 Here we decided to do a nice Wesley and Buttercup pose and it didn’t quite work out…  He said something funny and I started to laugh and then that was that… (by the way when did I grow elf ears?)


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 And then I bit him.. yeah I said BIT!  I got Jaws Unleashed for Xbox and we had been playing it just before this…  You get to BE Jaws and really it’s more fun than it should be!  Well Ryan started humming the Jaws theme right before I took the picture and so I played Jaws and bit him!!!  Look at those pearly whites!


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Ah and our very favorite Christmas picture… maybe you had to be there for this to be truly funny but I’ll give it a shot…  We have a DVR so that we can still watch our TV shows (all of them are on while we are sleeping so the DVR is kind of crucial if we want to watch our shows AND get some sleep)  All day Christmas Eve we were catching up on shows and the commercial for the new Armani Code cologne for men kept coming on…  It’s so soap opera cheesy that we just giggled at it all day long… then when we were taking pictures Ryan blurts out the line from the commercial… and we posed and got this…


 “Do you have the code?  The Ultimate code of seduction?”  


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“The Armani Code a fragrence for men.  By Georgio Armani.”


Maybe you did have to be there but it really was funny!!!


And then of course we started giggling about it and couldn’t take another serious picture!


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 And just for fun… I made a slide show of our (almost) first six months in Germany!



And that as they say is that!  We hope and pray that you all had a Fröhliche Weihnachten! and that you have a Frohes Neues Jahr!


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Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney


 

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Guten Morgan und Fröhliche Weihnachten!


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The song playing on my site today is called The Gift by Aselin Debison.  If you have not heard this song, I encourage you to listen to it!


The very first time I heard this song I hated it… the very sound of it coming on the radio made me run for the dial… and then one day I sat and listened to the words and I just dissolved into tears.  It is such a beautiful painting of our relationship with God… Of how we come to Him with nothing worthy to give, except for our willing heart and He makes our small offering into something that will bless the world…  Of how God gives us an amazing gift in spite of and because of us being unworthy… For me it is the perfect portrayal of the true meaning of this season.


~ll~


The Gift


A poor orphan girl named maria
Was walking to market one day
She stopped for a rest by the roadside
Where a bird with a broken wing lay
A few moments passed till she saw it
For it’s feathers were covered with sand
But soon clean and wrapped it was traveling
In the warmth of maria’s small hand

She happily gave her last peso
On a cage made of rushes and twine
She fed it loose corn from the market
And watched it grow stronger with time

Now the christmas eve service was coming
And the church shone with tinsel and light
And all of the townfolks brought presents
To lay by the manger that night
There were diamonds and incense
And perfumes
In packages fit for a king
But for one ragged bird in a small cage
Maria had nothing to bring

She waited till just before midnight
So no one would see her go in
And crying she knelt by the manger
For her gift was unworthy of him

Then a voice spoke to her through the darkness
Maria, what brings you to me
If the bird in the cage is your offering
Open the door and let me see
Though she trembled, she did as he asked her
And out of the cage the bird flew
Soaring up into the rafters
On a wing that had healed good as new

Just then the midnight bells rang out
And the little bird started to sing
A song that no words could recapture
Whose beauty was fit for a king

Now maria felt blessed just to listen
To that cascade of notes sweet and long
As her offerings was lifted to heaven
By the very first nightingale’s song


~ll~


This Christmas season finds Ryan and I half a world away from our family, from the traditions we have kept since our childhoods, and from the traditions we forged early on in our marriage.  Yet we have been incredibly blessed despite the distance forced upon us.


We find everyday that we have here in Germany is another adventure, another learning experience, and another memory made. 


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Every small town and every city is decked out like a Christmas village and the smells and sounds are overwhelming.


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The streets are crowded with people who smile and wish you a Fröhliche Weihnachten! (Merry Christmas) There are no politically correct expressions here…


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Everything is decorated in fresh cut pine boughs so that the scent permeates the air… overladen of course by the scents of mulled spiced wines and fresh donuts and a number of other treats…


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Fresh flowers and forced bulbs adorn every corner just begging you to buy them and have a bit of spring in your home for the holidays…


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The scents and colors are staggering… I find myself torn about which way to look.


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In the square dozens of booths display the wares of local merchants… inviting you to browse what they have to offer and to sample some of the treats they have prepared.


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And the people mill about slowly, enjoying the day, talking, laughing, and drinking their mulled wine… no rushing to and fro in this town today!


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Sounds of traditional Christmas carols fill the air as the tiniest children ride horses, tigers, swans, and airplanes…


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Everywhere you look are families enjoying just being with each other…


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And overlooking yet another Christmas market, is the ancient Trier Cathedral… this is why I believe in fairy tales, because here in The Land of Fairy Tales, we are surrounded by them…


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This culture is saturated with the Christmas story so that everywhere you go you see something that bears witness to it…


This is a Christmas pyramid (similar to the one I posted a few weeks ago only on a much bigger scale) There is a full nativity spread out over all three levels which spin under the starry night sky…


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Never in all my years have I felt the Christmas spirit so heavy in the air… Not the elbow-jarring-fighting-for-the-last-toy kind of spirit, nor the bite-your-bottom-lip-groan-and trash-your-apartment-because-your-boyfriend-bought-you-BestBuy (Have you guys seen that hideous commercial?) kind either, but the simple beauty of being with the people you love and spending the time to sit and talk with each other over a hot drink and a meal kind of spirit.


It really is lovely and I find the traditions beautiful… 


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And so we wish you a Fröhliche Weihnachten! From our home to yours… 


Know that there is someone halfway across the globe that is thinking of you today and wishing you a Christmas filled with family, with fun, with faith, with good food, good memories and peace…   


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Auf Wiedersehen!


~ll~


Ryan and Courtney


 

Crash! Boom! Bang!

An old episode of Batman or the performance my computer gave today?

Yep that would be the computer…

I was online checking emails and I noticed that my computer was being really slow… the thought flitted into my mind that I should back up my music and photos before something happened but since we were scheduled to go to the Christmas market today I opted to reboot for now and back up tomorrow.

Big mistake…

I sat here unaware of the tragedy about to befall me until suddenly I realized that this start up was taking too long… I watched it scroll through it’s PC babbel and then I knew… My computer was stuck in a start up loop… never actually reaching my desktop…

We had to reformat the whole thing… sigh… All the pictures since I’ve been here in Germany… GULP… gone…

Thank goodness I put most of them on my website… you can bet that as soon as I can I’ll be over there sucking them back into my PC and making a back up disc…

So it will probably be a few days until I’m back up and running… Wish me luck!



Courtney

Christmas Time is Here…

Guten Morgan Xangaland!


This weekend Ryan’s office had their annual Christmas party.  I did not attend for finacial reasons (The prices were a little high for what this was and I’m not a social function kind of gal anyway!)  however we decided to take a few Christmas pictures in front of our tree before he left for the evening and I thought that I would share!


Ryan being all GQ isn’t he so handsome!?!


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 Posing pretty for the camera. 


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 Awww he loves me…


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 And I love him…


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 Don’t we look pleased as punch about it?


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Now here is one to show you who we really are!  We may pose pretty but really what’s pretty when you can have goofy and fun?  Believe it or not, I didn’t even ruin the tuck of his shirt!


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 Yesterday we went to the Christmas market in Trier!  It was so beautiful and we really did enjoy it… however we forgot the camera!  It was also frigidly cold and horribly crowded so we didn’t stay too long and only bought an ornament for our tree. 


Ryan has a comp day coming to him so we are going to go back tomorrow during the day and enjoy a bit less crowded turn through the shops… WITH THE CAMERA… so we can share it with all of you.


I hope that your Christmas season has been wonderful so far.  I am absolutely amazed that there is only one week left!


Auf Wiedersehen!


Courtney

Christmas Memories…

Guten Morgan Xangaland!


Today I give you my Holiday Challenge from the Kween_Of_The_Queens webblog. I think the Kween herself best describes what you’re about to read. If you wish to read other like this one please go HERE.


~~~~~


I want your favorite Holiday Story! Be it Christmas, New Years, Chanukah, or any holiday at all! We’ll call this;


BEST HOLIDAY EVER


Whatever holiday you wish to write about, just make sure it’s a memorable one to you!


Make it long, or make it short, make it REAL! No fiction this time, alright? What made it so wonderful? What was special about your holiday?


~~~~~


This challenge was a particularly difficult one for me. I sifted through long forgotten memories… glimpses of gazing bleary eyed at the dazzling lights of my Grammy Lois’s Christmas tree while the sun still slept on winter mornings… wispy tendrils of long ago Christmases when my Grandfather would put on a full Santa suit to hand out gifts and I was so afraid of the strange man in our midst… hazy days long past, days not remembered well but always remembered with fondness…


Then I sifted through things more recent… memories of my last Christmas at home in Phoenix, my first hosted in my own home. The Christmas that passed with a small edge of sadness after my Grandfather had passed and his Santa Suit was put away for good. The first Christmas Ryan and I spent together full of anticipation and newness… and odor… Never mind!


All of this I took off the shelf and examined. I became desperate as the time passed, to choose one that could be called my very best. Just as I placed them back on the shelf in defeat, I saw one, tucked far back and pushed out of my memory. As I revisited it I realized just how precious it is to me and how desperately I want to remember it. The way I felt and the lessons it brings. The first Christmas Eve after Ryan and I were married.


We were so unbelievably broke that first Christmas… We had no money for gifts and certainly none for a lavish dinner… That night the only gifts under the tree were the ones for our family that would go with us next morning and the only dinner we had was three day old pinto beans…We lived in a small apartment in the worst part of town. We used to joke around about the 6 o’clock gunshots and now looking back on that it’s quite frightening.


We decided to watch Its A Wonderful Life and drink hot apple cider. (Though it was only hot apple juice since we couldn’t afford the spices…) After the dinner was eaten, I began heating the juice and suddenly Ryan jumped up and ran to the tree… He pulled a small package from under it and said with great flourish, “Happy Halfaversary!” I stared at him completely dumbstruck and asked him what he meant! I don’t remember what was in that box but I do remember the look on his face when he explained that December 24th was our sixth month anniversary and therefore our halfaversary. Six years later we still celebrate it… No matter how good or how bad things are there is always some small token that we open Christmas Eve to celebrate the Halfaversary of our marriage


We curled up on the couch and quietly watched the movie and drank our ‘cider’, settling into a quiet spirit of Christmas…In the middle of the movie we started to talk of life and family. Though we were as poor as church mice we decided that night that we didn’t want to wait to have a family… No one knows what the future holds and we didn’t want to wait. We talked about the possibilities until the wee small hours… of the joy of becoming parents, of the thought of having a child that was a part of both of us… of cuddling a baby, of playing catch, or flying kites, or dressing up dolls… We were so excited, so young, so innocent.


For many years now I have pushed this memory aside… aching at the innocent excitement of the young girl and boy who were about to face trials that would almost break them… Aching for the sense of loss I face every Christmas on the anniversary of the beginning of our journey. This Christmas Eve will mark six years of trying to conceive a child, of desperately wanting to become parents and of failing to do so…


Why in heaven’s name did I choose this memory? Because it is a milestone for Ryan and I. A moment that should not be forgotten, a moment that changed us forever. And though I do not yet know how the journey will end for us, I want to always remember how it began… With joy and excitement and hope.


Courtney


~// ~


New Traditions…

Guten Morgan Xangaland!


The Christmas Season is in full swing here in The Land Of Fairy Tales.  The fairy tale of the season?  Saint Nicholas!  This place is just steeped in folk tales, legends and tradition.  We feel like two little kids skipping through the countryside with our eyes as big as saucers trying to take it all in…  We are having a splendid time learning old traditions and making some new ones for the two of us and our someday family.


This weekend we woke up early and on a whim went down to Ramstein to go Christmas shopping…  We have always shopped for each other alone or with another family member but this year we have only each other and so we did something new! 


We arrived at about 8:30 am and sat in the food court together and had breakfast.   We just talked and took our time and enjoyed each other company… and then we shopped. 


We split at the door, took two separate carts and proceeded to hide from each other like little kids…  We stealthily crept around the store finding little treasures to give each other and all the while keeping an eye out for “someone” peeking! 


You should have seen us dodging behind old ladies and breaking into a run to hit the end of an aisle before that ‘someone’ could see what we had… It was so much fun! 


And when all was said and done and we had used our cell phones to set up the “drop off” at the car, and covered all our purchases with sheets I brought along… we strolled arm and arm back to the food court and had lunch together and laughed over the silliness of the morning.


I think this is something that may have to become a tradition for us!  We had such a good time… 


This weekend we are going to try to go to the Christmas market in Trier.  It’s supposed to be the biggest and most amazing one here in Germany!  Here’s to hoping we can squeeze it in!


And so I wish you Frohliche Weihnachten! 


And new traditions…


Courtney


~//~


 

Guten Morgan Xangaland!


I’m feeling much better this morning after sleeping in and taking some meds before bed…  But I think I’m still going to take it easy today…


So I’ll leave you with this cute little Panda video… YouTube had it posted with a dare not to smile when you watch it so I had to watch it, of course, and I lost!!!



Seriously, how funny is that?


Hope you all have a great day!


Courtney

Chili cook off and stuffy noses…

Guten Morgan Xangaland!


So today I was asked to participate in a chili cookoff for Ryan’s office…  I made a big pot of chili and sent it in…  I came in dead last… as far as I know I only got one vote… Ryan’s…  Would you like to know why?


The general consensus was that my chili had great flavor… but


IT WAS TOO DARN HOT!


I ask you… Isn’t that the point?


Then again I am from the Southwest…


Oh well…


Oh yeah, and does anybody but me really have a problem with the Nasonex commercials with the congested bee?   



Am I the only person on the planet who notices that this bee doesn’t have a nose?  Why not pick an elephant?  That might be funny….


(And no, I didn’t tape this one…)


Well I’m off to take a nap, I think I’m coming down with a flu now… great… 


Courtney

Everybody Dance!

Guten Morgan Xangaland!


I apologize for being so long between updates.  I hope that this finds all of you well.  


I wanted to show you pictures of something “Ryan” bought me this week!  🙂  I went into one of our little shops where they sell things from the economy and from other places around the region… they were having a huge sale and I got some pieces that I’ve had my eye on for next to nothing!  Oh how I wish some of you ladies could have been here with me… I have a feeling between all of us we would have wiped out the store.


This first piece is an Egyptian glass egg inlaid with gold leaf… it’s hand blown glass in the same technique that has been used since the times of ancient Egypt…  The ancient Egyptians were the first to work with glass so that goes back quite a stretch.  This piece was originally 85 euro… which is about $100.00…. I got it for 10 euro which is about $13.75 or so.  What a deal!!!


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This second piece is part of a five piece set.  It is actually blue with a bit of a tint though the pictures insist on making it look purple…  It is a traditional Egyptian glass decanter and comes with 4 goblets, and is also inlaid with gold leaf.  It was originally 100 euro which is about $135 and I got it for 14,50 euro which is about $19.75, can you believe the savings?  I’m just beside myself!!! Here is one of the four glasses.


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And the decanter which was worth the price alone… as far as I’m concerned the four glasses were a bonus!


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And just for fun, here is a picture of them all placed in my curio cabinet and decked out for Christmas.


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Over this last weekend Ryan and I had errands to run for work but in between all of them we found time to do a little shopping on the economy…  We had thought that this year we would forgo decorating for Christmas… that we would just save our money for next year and buy a few things… but as the festivities draw nearer and the Christmas lights began to go up around the base we could not resist.  So without further ado…


Here is our living room all decked out except that we don’t have a tree topper yet!


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I want to break it down a little so you can see the different types of things you find for Christmas here in Germany.  Christmas is a very big deal here and every little village becomes a Christmas village right out of a book…  We even got to stop in at our very first Christmas market though we forgot the camera in the car!  But there will be others… any who…


This first… um… thing… for lack of a proper name is a local craft… it’s a stiff kind of material rather like twine stretched over a wire frame and they have them for every holiday and for every season… I have some on my balcony…  You really can’t go anywhere without seeing them, and they really do grow on you…  Any way… I got a set in green…


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and a set in orange… (Orange is a VERY popular color here in Germany and fall colors are pretty much all they decorate in so for any of you who know my tastes… I’m in heaven… it’s just finding things I can use and can afford!)  Then of course there is my hand made live wreath… I so love the smell of pine…


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Which brings us to the arrangements I made from some spare bits of pine boughs… One to top the television… and in the middle is a yule candle propped up on our very own tiny yule log…


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And hanging ones for the sides of my bookcases…


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So where do these tailings and our little yule log come from you may ask?  Our very first real Christmas tree!  Which, as I said, will look much better with a topper!


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Then we have the Holz-Pyramide!  I guess in English they just call them a Christmas pyramid.  These are really some of the neatest things I have ever seen… You can’t really tell but inside the tiers of the pyramid are platforms that spin around driven by the fan on top… In the very center is a stationary nativity and then on the platforms that spin are the three Wise men on the bottom, the sheppards and their flocks on the middle tier, and the angels on the top… on the base are six candle holders that take a special candle and the heat of the flame is what drives the fan and makes all the little figures move!  It is so awesome!


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 Here it is all lit up and moving…


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I also found these beautiful Star of David crystal votive holders…  They are so pretty all lit up… 


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 The boys posing pretty just for you!


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Okay and as if this isn’t long enough already I have a few videos to share with you…  This first one is my little old man Yoda performing his brand new “Butt Dance”  as Ryan calls it.  He has taken to dancing and hopping around to bump his nether region against things to itch himself… It really is so funny and yes he started doing this “before’ the sweater!   


 


And then he started doing it on Ryan’s hand and it was just too funny to pass up!  Then we realized that Gandalf was displaying one of his new things… his drinking problem…  He has started drinking for long stretches of time when he gets overly emotional… lol stressed or upset or super excited…  


 


And then I have three videos from our fourth of July dinner shortly before Ryan and I left Phoenix of Ryan being silly with the family and I thought that you might want to see them… especially if you enjoy his particular sense of humor!


So here is a good healthy dose of: The Air Clap, The Patrick Swayze, and The Happy Troll Dance.


 

 


And then of course we all had to egg him on to do more of his air instruments!  So I give you The Air Everything!   


 

 
Then later that night, he and my sister Charly decided to make some beautiful music!
 

 

And with that I bid you farewell!  Oh wait no I don’t… I almost forgot to tell you all that Ryan just took his first of two EOC tests to make five level in his new job and passed it with a 93%!!!  Way to go Ryan.  He will also be testing again for Tech Sgt in January or February, so keep him in your prayers! 
 
 
Auf Wiedersehen!
 
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Ryan and Courtney