Our new house came with a little apartment on the ground floor. We use it mostly for game nights & so-mom-doesn’t-hear the x-box. But it is a fantastic little space for guests. I sent emails to my Design Team, friends & family that I had room. I’ve already had friends & family come to visit, and this week I had my first Designer come! Karen (SnickerdoodleDesigns) and her husband Rick stayed for three waaaaay too short days this week.
We all fell in love with both Karen & Rick. Last night, their first night not here, I had two sad, small children nestled in my arms. Tess even had tears she missed Karen so much. If that doesn’t tell you what a truly warm, loving, amazing person she is… well, I have no more words. I would move both of them in, permanently, in a heart beat. What a blessing to find a friend through scrapbooking that now feels like part of my family.
I drove them around several of the little villages here in the Black Forest, both of us whipping out our camera’s and using the beautiful scenery and my kids as models. We especially enjoyed the old monastery: Kloster Hirsau, dating back to the 11th century. Much of it is in ruins, some still blackened from a big fire in the 1500′s. My kids happily climbed broken stone walls & showed off their monkey skills. Karen briefly donated her bright orange sweater to Tess so we could get better contrast photo’s of her against the ancient backgrounds.
Karen quickly realized how I get such good shots of both kids… they love to pose! The second they saw her camera even waver in their direction, they pulled out their photoshoot faces. They make it easy! I quickly realized Karen is an amazing photographer. She is very humble, but I noticed! Rick, being a fantabulous husband, told me she’s even won prizes. Karen blushed! But I got copies of all her photo’s. He’s not lying. She is prize-worthy & I wish she was here longer so I could learn from and have a partner as I walk around & shoot photo’s. I really miss them. Funny how only 3 days together can bond you so close.
I’m working on editing & getting more of the photo’s up & sharing. This picture says it all though, Dane & Rick are best buddies:
We have a now made it a daily ritual in our house to go out for a walk in the Black Forest. I still (almost) pinch myself in awe that I actually live in the Black Forest. That I can step outside my door, pass 3-4 houses and I’m amongst the trees. It is an immediate break from reality, incredibly peaceful, mind-blowingly beautiful and such a joy.
Dave & I are both working on improving our health. Stronger bodies means we will be able to hold off illness & pain, such as his Tietze Syndrome flare-ups. But these daily walks are also improving our marriage bond, and our family bond. Dane especially loves racing through the outdoors. The added benefit for us is not just quality time with him, but also a tired Dino, at an earlier hour. Score!
Thursday was particularly beautiful, and I’d remembered my camera and memory card. It was hard to not stop every 2-feet and hold a photo shoot of the little details in the forest (mushrooms! road markers from 1700! old bridges! ponies & buggies!). I had to force myself to focus on walking at a good pace, enjoying with my eyes, ears & nose and spending time with my family. A simple walk is a very complicated, multi-faceted task.
Twenty minutes from home, Dave and I got very excited as we approached some natural springs. The smell in the air changed, the forest floor got softer, mossier, and the foliage thicker. Chatting about how the villages must have depended on this spring for running, fresh water, how life must have been even 100 years ago, we temporarily lost sight of Dane. I realized it was really quiet, except for our voices, and quickly looked around, slightly panicked, for my youngest. I spotted him just around a bend in our path, not even 100 yards back, quietly sitting on the forest floor, meditating. It’s something he picked up from one of his favorite cartoons. How could I get mad at him for dropping out of sight when our forest is this peaceful? How can I get mad at him for taking full advantage of his surroundings to just be?
Remember how last week was not my week? This week is already 1,000% better. Except. Well. I goofed. Big time. Last week was so hectic, the racing around between home, schools, hospital and our on-post vehicle registration kept me hopping. I had little to no time to drag out my beloved camera and take pictures. I managed a couple of shots of the little ones and my cousins right as they were leaving. You can tell I’m rushed because adorable little Dane is in the middle of blowing a bubble. Awesome.
This week is once again beautiful. The sun is out, after weekend rains, and it is slowly warming up without getting hot. Absolutely perfect for me. Dave came home a little early last night, and together we set out on an early evening walk to enjoy the Black Forest and the sunset. It was breathtaking. I’m bowled over with the incredible beauty surrounding us. Sometimes you see pictures and you think; “hmmm maybe they oversaturated the colors in a bit in photoshop.”
I thought this last night. But I was using just my eyes, I wasn’t looking at pictures, I wasn’t taking photo’s, I was just looking at the nature around. The greens were vibrant, the sky so vivid. The sunset gorgeous pinks, oranges and that perfect, glowing red. We saw a fox, though it was possibly a deer, or a big rabbit. We definitely saw some more deer (why do they freeze when I can almost reach out & touch them?). We discovered hidden meadows, ponds, brooks and an extra village just a kilometer away.
Twenty minutes from home, in the deep, dark, cool forest, I discovered that socks would have been a really good idea. I finally resorted to stumbling through the woods shoeless & barefoot, blisters on both feet. I’m positive that all our neighbors out walking are really wondering about that strange American woman that moved into town. I also discovered it was pointless to stop and take stunning landscape photo’s. A memory card in my camera would also have been a good idea. Thankfully it is beautiful again today, and tonight I will give this another whirl. Dave is picking up socks & moleskin as I type.