Monday, July 4, 2016

Summer Looks Like This . . .

We've had a few weeks of summer in between the end of the school year and the move to Germany and they've been very busy.  Our typical day has been hanging out with the kids in the morning swimming, with friends, or at the library, followed by an afternoon of TV while I clean, sort, purge, organize, call people, pack, and try to figure things out for an inter-continental move!!

Once Chopper was given the official O.K., we've had to work with the army to arrange the move, tickets, passports, etc.  Thank goodness when he had an unofficial job offer we went ahead and got our regular "tourist" passports.  I also ordered extra copies of all our birth certificates and did get 2 copies of our OFFICIAL marriage certificate (yay!).  We've had to drive down to Fort Hood (army installation about 4 hours away) to accomplish the other things and it's all been a process but it's happened quickly and we are set up.  Finding temporary living in Germany has been a bear though too.  Most German hotels offer single and double rooms.  And by that I mean that a single is a twin bed and a double is a double bed.  Some have suites (2 double beds or a double bed and pull out couch), but we have not come across a single one that offers the 2 queens and a pull-out couch that we're used to reserving for our family of 5 in the states.  The area that we're going to is pretty rural so our options are limited and there aren't any major chain hotels that you would probably find in the large cities.  So we started with reservations for 2 rooms at a hotel and then have called and searched and email every few days.  We have finally secured an opening at some furnished apartments and I am particularly happy that I won't be spending the next month or two in a single room with the kids!! It's also in walking distance of the base on one side and the German town on the other.  I'm actually looking forward to the experience!!

Anyway, all of this has added up to a great amount of stress of course and we've all been feeling it, but we've been able to participate in some fun things as well.
At Fort Hood we had to take a moment to look at their field "museum" of military vehicles.  This helicopter apparently is used to carry large things - like tanks!  They had some pretty cool stuff.

On the way home we stopped in Waco to go to Magnolia Market, the store that was built at the old silos by Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fame.  And famous it is -- Monday afternoon and it was soooo packed!  We walked in AAAAAAND walked out.  Which was disappointing.  But it was just too busy for our liking.

Our library does summer programs for the kids and some of pretty cheesy (the magic puppet show this year was actually pretty bad) and some were good.  They always have a creature teacher come in and this year she brought Australian animals.  I expected the usual birds, reptiles, small mammals.  I did NOT expect the kangaroo with the diaper that they let loose in a room full of small children and who tried to escape out the door.  It was awesome!  The kids were in love.

 He was bigger than most of the kids!!  William actually came running to me when he started standing up and I don't blame him!  They pack a powerful punch with their hand legs I'm told!

They also had a Wallaby which was smaller of course and a little easier to pet.

With each activity, the library has also been bringing shaved ice trucks for free snow cones and the kids have loved that.  They have a new director and she is fantastic and really reaching out to the community to get programs going.

And then of course the kids go find their own wildlife!

My two best friends got together and threw a German-themed goodbye party for us that was a lot of fun.  I tried really hard to get pictures with everyone.  We've had friends everywhere we've lived of course, but these women and families have been kindred spirits.  They've been there for all of our children, including Aaron, and we've had endless amounts of playdates, struggles, and triumphs as moms and women.  There were tears that night and there will be more before we go but I am so blessed to call these people friends.  I told Chopper that in a way I'm really glad to be so sad to leave. It means that we have lived well and loved so many.

I was in the Relief Society presidency with these ladies!  And then Lisa (center) was released and I was called and we became just good friends -- especially where quilting is involved!

 This is Sarah who replaced me as Relief Society president and does so much better than I ever did!  And that's her oldest son Lawson who I taught in primary and who is exactly the goofball that he looks like here!

Her other son Porter is Abby's age and they're actually really good friends although they go to different schools so they don't play together as much anymore.  What's funny is that Porter is actually a few months younger than Abby . . . . 

 You know how Megan hates to take pictures right?  When I asked her if she would take a picture with Sammy (her absolute best friend in the world) she ran to get her and took many happy pictures.  This girl and Megan I feel are almost total opposites in personality but they get along so so well.  She's probably the one friend that we haven't had a fight with and just has an amazing happy disposition.  Megan told me today that she doesn't want to make new friends in Germany, she just wants to keep her old friends.  We are going to try really hard to make pen pals out of those friends and keep in touch!!

One of our favorite families!  Bronwyn and her son Ethan -- who is like an adopted son to us as well. He just turned 18 and will be in college in the fall and is taking German so we're hoping that maybe some time they'll be able to come out and see us.  Bronwyn is my British-obsessed kindred spirit!!

 My friend Rhonda did fun but simple decorations and Lisa made this cute bricks quilt with plenty of white space for people to write messages.  And they did!  She's going to have it quilting and sent to me later which I am very excited about!

 This is Erin -- I still remember the first time she contacted me on Facebook.  She was getting information about the area and the ward and must have stalked me because she sent me a message stating that she thought we would be great friends -- and we are!!!

Rhonda -- zumba dancing, party planning Rhonda.  She is the brains AND the work behind a lot of fabulous Relief Society activities and book club meetings and a sweet sweet lady.

Jenn, my best friend honestly which is why both of our eyes are red . . . 

Trulee, Sammy's mom and probably my other best friend.  She is an amazing friend and strong spirit.

These twins are 2 of the girls I've had in my primary class this year and not only have they been wonderful for me, they are wonderful to Megan and have helped to bring her in to Activity Day girls this year.

 And Jenn's kids.  Ammon was brand new when we met which means William and Aaron and Auggie hadn't even been born.  And that her oldest was like 7 or 8.  They are like my own children honestly.  We talk books, we joke around, I love them like my own.  And despite the fact that they are almost all boys (poor Madi but I know what it's like to be the only girl!) and that they ages aren't quite exact, our kids have always played so well together.  Well until William started taking apart Grant's Lego creations . . . 

Oh and I should show this -- my sister-in-law is pregnant with another girl and didn't have a real preference for a baby quilt so after seeing this on Pinterest, I diagrammed it out and put it together in orange corals, blue and grays.  It turned out so beautifully!!!

 We hacked off Megan's hair too.  She actually doesn't like it this short anymore now but it's easier to take care of and it will grow!

I found this in her room.  She really is struggling with the move as we get closer to reality and there's nothing I can do but promise her that we will try to stay in touch.

I just thought this was cute from a hotel night.  And considering that he has had a lot of late nights with everything going on and is already cranky from the upheaval, this is about as sweet as it gets!

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