A Reason to be Thankful!

I just got a phone call…

The best phone call any military wife can receive!

In less than an hour I’ll be in Ryan’s arms again!

HE’S HOME!!!

What a Thanksgiving we’re going to have.

Since I’ll be too busy to come around tomorrow I’ll take this opportunity to say…

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Courtney

The fall of Winter before the end of Fall?

Oh what a weekend it has been! 

I have too many pictures of the snow from this weekend and I’ll apologize to those of you who are used to it, but please remember I’m from Phoenix, Arizona and the last time it snowed enough to stay on the ground back home I was in first grade!

So here you are, my weekend of snow in pictures!

The morning of my last post, it was still dark when I took pictures and wrote about it… but you should have seen the dawn! 

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 The sun came out on a world of white and the clouds actually rolled back to give us a few beautiful hours of blue skies!

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 Everything was so hushed… the whole village smelled of ice and wood smoke!

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The fields were blanketed and looked like something out of a Christmas book.

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So I took the boys out and they romped in the fresh snow for a while!

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I also figured that this was the day to introduce you to an addiction of mine. 

CLOAKS!

Most of you will remember the red wool cloak I got when I first moved here… well I also have this satin lined moleskin that I LOVE!

(Psst!  See how powdery that snow is?)

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 The cloak is lined with a chocolate brown satin and is unbelievably warm!  I was in a thin sweater and jeans and wasn’t even chilly!

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 The dogs love to wrestle when they get excited and they were having a blast!

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And then, with the sun still shining, the snow started to fall again. 

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 I took a few moments to take pictures of my rose bush though.  I desperately need to cut it back but this freeze took me off guard!

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 Look at the size of these rose hips! 

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Blue skies and snow flakes!

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Oh what a pretty wind swept snow day!

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As the sky began to darken that evening (which now falls at about 4:30pm) the snowfall was mixed with wind…  

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18 mile and hour winds!  It quickly became hard to see!

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And the result was stunning!  The snow just blew and sparkled in the wind.  Of course it was not fun to be out in it when the dogs had to go out before bed but hey, it’s better than driving ICE like last year!

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 This morning when I woke up the snow was beginning to melt but there was enough to take the boys out to play!

Oh how Gandalf loves the snow!

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He also loves to eat it!

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Yoda is pretty fond of it too!

(And for those of you who will ask, yes my dog has multiple hand made sweaters.  Yes I know that’s horribly stupid.  However, you have to see it to believe it, this dog LOVES his sweaters!  He hates being cold and if I don’t put him in one he’ll follow me around shivering until I figure out what he wants.  Then all I have to do is hold one up and he’ll start twirling and barking and trying to climb into it.  In fact if I hold up two he’ll pick the one he wants.  It’s quite hilarious, just ask anyone who has visited me here!)

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Sorry for this slightly indecent picture but it so completely illustrates the boys’ personalities!  Yoda launches himself at Gandalf with all the confidence of a much larger dog and Gandalf awaits the attack cheerfully having just swallowed a huge bite of snow!  They are such good brothers!

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There was a quick break for Yoda to prance in an untouched patch of snow…

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And for Gandalf to eat it of course!

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 And then it was back to playing!

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As I’m sitting here writing this entry it’s already begun to snow again!  I hope that this points to a white Christmas!  I would love for Ryan and I to have one this year! 

Well, I’m off, I have much to do this week in preparation for big events!  Tomorrow I’ll begin my holiday baking and laundry.  Then Wednesday is an all day clean-a-thon and if all goes well a quick trip to the base to pick up a very important package.  If that package arrives my Thanksgiving day will be complete!

Keep warm and enjoy your holidays!

Auf Wiedersehen! 

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 Courtney

 

Still Snowing!

And so the ‘dusting’ has become a couple of inches and there looks to be no end in sight! 

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I awoke at 0630 to find the quiet hush of a dark winter morning.  The only sound, the falling snow.

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What a gift for our last winter in Germany!

Well I’m off to enjoy the snow and the fact that I’m snuggled down in my warm and cozy home.   I’ve already done all my Thanksgiving shopping and picked up my mail so I don’t even have to leave the house until next week!  So come on snow!!!!

I just hope we continue to get snow so that Ryan and I have a chance to go and play when he gets home!

You can bet there will be pictures later!

Courtney

Holy Snowflakes Batman!

Ryan and I moved to Germany in the summer of 2006.

Our very first snow?  March 19, 2007.  We were shocked as we had expected a white Christmas and all the tales of this winter wonderland to be true but alas we arrived at the cusp of their warmest winter on record!

Until this past winter that is…

Our first snow of the very next winter?

March 21st!!!!  I was so excited that I posted pictures of it!

In all our two Christmas seasons here in The Land of Fairy Tales have been less than fairy tale perfect.  Instead of having snowball fights and making snow angles it’s been, ‘get up early to salt the driveway and slag through the ice and sleet everywhere you go.’

I just got in from taking the boys out for a potty break to discover….

SNOW! 

Not a lot… barely a dusting… nothing to get excited about… except for the fact that…

I AM EXCITED!

We have snow forecast all week long…  That’s right folks… for two years the first snow hasn’t fallen until we should be well on our way to spring and this year it happened BEFORE THANKSGIVING!!!!

Okay back to my quiet evening….

Courtney

A Pretty Fall Day

 So my few days turned into the rest of the week…  Oh what a LAZY week I’ve had!!! 

I’ve done my chores and gone to get the mail and all the other things I NEED to do but basically anything else has fallen by the wayside…  It’s been gloomy and grey with plenty of misty rain and even a bit of ice.  In fact we have snow forecast for most of this week!  That would be lovely because though still cold and wet, snow is NOT rain!  In any case, the gloomy grey days have given me the perfect excuse to get some reading in.  So I’ve basically been holed up in my house reading, drinking tea, and listening to the wind howl in it’s frustration that I’m warm and cozy!  It’s been lovely and much needed because this next week is going to be BUSY!!!

I have some fun fall pictures to share with you today.  The sad thing is that in the week I’ve procrastinated sharing them with you they have come to do nothing but hold the memories of beautiful sunny days and glorious foliage!  That is to say that the wind and rain has knocked every colorful leaf to the ground in this past week.  So I’m enjoying these pictures as much as you are today!

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This is the tree in my front yard.  I would truly love to have one of these no matter where I live for the rest of my life.  It blooms with yellow flowers and blood red leaves in the spring.  Then it slowly darkens to eggplant purple in the summer months and then this in the fall!  Just gorgeous!

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When I went out to take pictures this day I took along my trusty tripod.  I can’t believe so many of you were surprised that I use one!  It’s the most invaluable piece of camera equipment when your husband is gone half the year! 

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 My neighbors bush that bloomed so pretty and white this spring is simply covered in these lavender berries! 

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 The fields are beginning to green over again with our winter moss.  For those of you who have been reading me for a while you’ll remember that our ‘grass’ does not die.

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 My snapdragons are blooming still too!

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 So while I had my tripod up I decided to show you my new coat!  This thing has the most amazing skirt on it!!!  I’m in love!

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That of course is how I got this picture with the skirt rippling around me, that I have as my banner on my site.  Yes, I was twirling, and no, it was not a great idea to twirl in high heeled boots on a very steep incline!  I nearly died! 

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 The tree in my front yard that booms white in the spring blooms deep pink in the fall…  It’s the most unusual tree! 

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 Just a few more weeks and I’ll be out taking cuttings from this tree.  The cuttings make the best garlands around Christmas time. 

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 Isn’t this just the oddest bush? 

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 I saw it on one of my walks and couldn’t resist getting a few shots of it. 

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When I got home from taking pictures I let the boys out.  It was such a pretty afternoon.

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 Pretty blue skies!

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 And a lovely sunset…

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 I also took the time to run down to the base to take pictures of our static display.  We’ve never made the time to do that and I figured it was about time!

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 Pretty cool huh?

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 There are five planes in all…

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 It’s a very cool display…

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 This is my favorite plane… the F-15

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 It was a pretty day for it!

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 Well that’s it for me today… back to my book and my Earl Grey tea!

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Auf Wiedersehen!

Courtney

The last of my travels…

Good Morning! 

These are the last pictures from my trip and sadly enough only four of them are actually from the states!

On the morning I left mom, dad, and I woke early to get to the airport on time.

I got to watch my last sunrise in Phoenix, and there is nothing quite like an Arizona Sunrise…

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 Especially since here in Germany you don’t actually ever get to see the sunrise!  Ah palm trees and traffic control towers…

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My flights home were uneventful… in fact I truly believe I was granted traveling grace after my last trip!!!  My travels were smooth, everyone was polite, and the flights went quickly!  Heck, even the food was good, and there were no nuns!  Who could ask for more…

I landed in Germany bright and early the next morning and was met at the airport by Ryan…  We set out on the two and a half hour drive home.

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I was so pleased and delighted to come home to a bright, clear, sunny, fall day.

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 The colors of fall had just popped in the five weeks I was stateside.

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And then….  about an hour from home we drove right into the fog…

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It kept going and going and going…

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 Even when we were right at our doorstep it was as thick as thieves…

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 The next day Ryan and I ran down to Ramstein to do a little shopping and to try to keep me awake! 

It was another beautiful day! 

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 We had a fun day together!  We haven’t had many of those this year… (the together part not the fun part 🙂

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The next day we headed out to take some fall pictures together and maybe get one for our Christmas card!

We parked in a pull out…

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Set up the tripod…

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And got a few shots!

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 This was the one that won out for our Christmas cards! 

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 Shortly after that Ryan was off for the middle east.  He’s now been gone for over two weeks and I can’t wait to have him back home again!

I’ll be back in a day or two with some fall pictures from the last few weeks! 

Auf Wiedersehen!

Courtney

 

Comfort Food

There is nothing I like so well as finding a new recipe.  One that satisfies and becomes an instant addition to my family cookbook. 

Unless it is the knowledge that this new recipe will not only be an addition to the cookbook but also become instant comfort food.

I like even better when that thing turns out to be a warm soup on a cold rainy day!

I have found an easy, inexpensive, crock pot soup that just made my day today!  So I thought I would share it with you…

Kielbasa Stew

This recipe is made in the crock pot and will make a full 5 quarts!  So be prepared for tons of leftovers and it does freeze VERY well!  This is one of those things I will make and freeze for Ryan in single serving tupperware when I travel.

1. 4 medium potatoes diced (peeling optional, I use baby red potatoes so I don’t peel them)
2. 14 ounces of frozen broccoli florets (I thaw and then chop them into much smaller pieces)
3. 1 medium yellow onion diced
4. 2 (16oz) packages of Polish Kielbasa Sausage (I would suggest dicing the kielbasa into small pieces but you can also do the rounds)
5. 4 (10 3/4 oz) cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
6. 1 tsp salt
7. 1/2 tsp pepper
8. 2qts water

In 5qt crock pot add 2qts water and then stir in all the cream of mushroom soup and stir until smooth.  Add salt and pepper and stir.  Add diced potatoes, onions, broccoli, and kielbasa.  Stir well and cook on high for six hours and ENJOY! 

Courtney

 

 

Random

*Seriously random factoid*

I LOVE green olives.

I HATE pimentos.

The only solution to my closet addiction is the buy organic WHOLE green olives… which means I have to pop the whole thing in my mouth chew off the meat and spit out the pit.

That means my teeth scrape on the pit.

I HATE that sound almost as much as the pimentos.

Why don’t they sell pitted EMPTY green olives?  Would the world end?

*End seriously random factoid*

Bump in the Night!

 

I am an avid reader.  It is one of my all time favorite past times.

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One of my favorite genres is murder mystery.  I LOVE a good thriller. 

When Ryan is gone I read for a while in bed before turning in for the night because I suffer from a little insomnia when he’s not home.  So last night I went to bed super early (9:30pm) and curled into my nice warm bed with my current thriller.

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I read for over an hour while the wind howled outside and pelted rain (and eventually ice) against my bedroom window. 

My window faces the fields and so when it storms the wind sweeps down those fields and beats against my widow.  One of the latching mechanisms is broken on that window and so it doesn’t seal against the wind.  It seeps through the cracks and makes a nice creepy howling noise.  Add to that the fact that this book almost instantly gripped me and sucked me into it. 

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I was so wonderfully creeped out when I finally turned off the light!  Then I realized that I was going to have to fall asleep with all those goosebumps and creepy wind as my ONLY company.

Oh how wrong I was.  Did I say only company?

Nope I had Gandalf.

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I fell asleep at midnight only to be forcefully awoken at 2am by my very big and very loud dog exploding into Cujo like barking.  I sat straight up to see him standing at the end of my bed staring out into the dark hallway with his hackles raised and a horribly frightening growl rumbling from his deep chest.  As I sat there panting and trying to decide what to do the motion lights in my backyard blinked on and I heard creaking and rattling over the wind. 

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I, quite frankly, panicked!  Images from my book started rolling through my head…

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What did I do? 

Did I jump out of bed grab the nearest heavy object and charge with my monster (and admittedly coward) of a dog by my side? 

Nope. 

Did I creep stealthily down the stairs to check locks and doors? 

Nope. 

Did I look out the window to see what had caused the lights to come on and the noise? 

Nope.

What, then, did I do you may ask?  Easy! 

I pulled the covers over my head! 

I lay in my bed trembling like a little kid afraid of the bogey man with my covers over my head listening with everything in me for another noise and trusting that my dog would make another noise if someone came up the stairs.  Somehow in the middle of all of that I fell asleep.

When my alarm woke me this morning I rushed around, so much more brave in the weak light of morning, looking for the cause of the horrible noises in the night… I checked every door and window… I checked the basement… I checked the garage… I checked the gate and my car and I could find nothing!  Finally I gave it up and went to get ready for the day only to find the source of the noise!

My backscratcher had fallen off the wall in the shower in the middle of the night.  Apparently between the wind and the noise it spooked poor Gandalf and he decided to share his distress!

I guess I’m in very good company after all, seeing as we’re both big babies!

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And with my head hung in shame I’ll say Auf Wiedersehen!

Courtney

 

Social Butterfly!

During my trip to Arizona I had so many social engagements.  It felt like every day I had two or three things planned!  Dinners, get togethers, breakfasts, lunches, an afternoon or morning meeting for coffee, ect. 

As much as I always have my camera with me, there are times when I simply am so caught up in enjoying my time that I forget to take it out of the bag! 

So I have pictures of a few engagements but by no means all… (or even a quarter!)

 

~l~

Only a few days after I arrived in Phoenix I went to a softball game.  All the guys we grew up with like to play and it was their final game of the season.

There I saw my cousin’s wife and one of my very closest friends, Debbie!

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 Along with her husband Matt of course!

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 My Brother-in-law, Zach is on the team as well!

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 After the game we all went to Applebee’s (Yuuuuum!) for dinner.

Here’s a clear one of Matt all worn out after the game… 

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~l~

This next outing requires a bit of background…

Here in Germany, Ryan and I have a deal.  We don’t go see movies.  We only have access to one theater an it is, um… how to say… not exactly the best environment to enjoy a movie for the first time.  (Read; stinks of body odor, six month old popcorn, and baby vomit, the sound system stinks almost as bad as the theater, it has one screen and plays three movies a week.)  Being that we love movies we wait until they come out on DVD, buy them and enjoy them on our 65 inch big screen TV.  I can get most new releases for 15 dollars on Amazon.com and let’s face it, that’s less than the price of two tickets these days.  With the big screen TV and the ability to pause a movie to go pee so you don’t miss anything there’s just nothing bad about the deal except that we are behind… but after those initial six months we have as many new movies (to us) as you do so the hardest part is hearing everyone talk about a movie we know we won’t see for six months. 

The Deal bleeds over into trips away from home as well.  When he’s deployed he doesn’t go see movies without me and when I go home neither do I.

Just a few short weeks before I left for Phoenix he broke the deal.  He went to see The Dark Knight without me in Doha.

So when I went home I broke the deal too and did him one in the eye.

I also went to see The Dark Knightbut I saw it in air conditioning and on an IMAX!  Ha!  Take that deal breaker!

I went to see the movie with my two sisters and their husbands.  It was a blast (and incidentally a great movie!)

Here are Zach and Charly

(For those that don’t remember this is my sister and Ryan’s brother! 

And TODAY is their one year anniversary!

Happy Anniversary you two!) 

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Me with Charly

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Becky and Ty (Who, since everybody keeps asking, lost a lot of weight and looks amazing!  GO TY!)

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Me and Becky  

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The boys waiting anxiously for the movie to start!

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My sisters and their guys! 

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~l~

One afternoon Charly invited Becky and I over for brunch.  She prepared sandwiches and pastries, tea and coffee, and we had a great time just visiting with each other.

It’s rare for the three of us to get together alone anymore so it was so much fun to girl talk with my sisters!

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Charly and Zach had a special house pet all summer long.  On the way into the house I saw him and couldn’t resist the opportunity to catch him on film.

Meet Bob

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 Bob likes long walks on the stucco wall, the moths that flutter around his light, and threatening Zach when he comes home from work.

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 Bob also likes to speak through Zach with a hilarious accent that sounds suspiciously like Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride.

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Once I had taken the pictures it was back inside to enjoy the company of ‘the girls’.  We look freakishly alike huh?

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~l~

One morning I met my friend Lynne for a cup of coffee and some chit chat!  (This is the high school buddy who came to visit me here in Germany back in March.)  It was a blast to see her again!

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~l~

One evening my mother-in-law and father-in-law came to pick me up and we drove down to the restaurant that Ryan’s other brother, Andy, works at.  (Incidentally, that would be the Olive Garden! So yummy!)  We had a lovely dinner and business was slow enough that we got some time to visit as well.

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 Isn’t he so handsome?  Love you and miss you oh brother of mine!

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~l~

 On one of my last days in Phoenix I got all dudded up and we had a family dinner!

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My Aunt Susan and Uncle Robert and their son Lucas, my grandma and grandpa, both sisters and their husbands, Savannah, me, and my mom and dad made for a full house and some great fun!

Uncle Robert and Dad spent a fair amount of time on the patio shooting the breeze…

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Grandpa went back and forth between the hustle and bustle of the indoors and the quiet of the patio.

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 Grandma buzzed around and made us all smile and laugh as she always does!

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 Of course, Miss Savannah was the bell of the ball and she let “Chopped liver” tag along.  (Sorry family joke.  She’s such and cute and happy baby that Becky gets ignored… a lot!  So after a few times of her saying “Hey, what am I, chopped liver?”  We just started calling her that as a joke!)  Poor Becky, but I must say she looks a little better than chopped liver to me!

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 Here are my Aunt Sue, my Grandma and my Mom (from left to right)

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 The guys did their best to be sociable but hey, there was a game on!  (Don’t you find it funny that my two brothers in law were wearing the exact same outfits as the day three weeks earlier when we went to the movies!?)

And of course there is my cousin Lucas… doing his best to not smile!

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 Of course there has to be one goofy shot of my sisters to end it! 

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There were so many more dinners, lunch dates, morning coffees, ect… but that will just have to do! 

Hope you all have a great day.

Auf Wiedersehen!

Courtney