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Tessa

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned, but Cole is in American High School on base.  We pulled him out of German school when he started his freshman year.  Life is filled with enough challenges being a military brat. We wanted to give him as an easy-as-possible opportunity to complete all the right credits for college.

Having kids in both the German & American school systems, living under one roof, means very little overlapping vacation time.  So when it is vacation time, we let our hair down & let schedules go.  I love vacation time!

We are all night owls.  Leave us to our own devices and we are easily up past midnight, preferably till 2 or 3 am, sleeping till noon or later.  I’d hoped we’d be magically cured moving to Europe.  That maybe our night owl-ness was really my European genes passed down to the kiddo’s and we were innately on an European schedule.

But no. As soon as jet lag was over (6+ weeks!), we lapsed right into our night owl schedule.  When needed we have grumpy mornings at least 5 days a week.  Those first hours are a bear, even with pots of coffee.  Getting the kids out of the house, especially Dane & Cole, is a fight each & every morning.

I now have almost 4 weeks of NO SCHOOL! No early mornings.  No fighting. No bears.  I’m in hog heaven!

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If you ask Tess what was the best part of our whirlwind trip back to the states; the answer is one word: “Becca!”

The dynamic duo was reunited and their unbridled joy at seeing each other had all of us, at least us mommies, in tears.  I could feel waves of warm happiness radiating out from them. The air literally quivered with their joy. They hugged, squealed, hugged some more & stormed off to a bedroom, not to be seen again except under pressure to eat or be photographed.

I’ll be honest, my own reaction to see our dear friends Emmett & Karen was pretty darn squeal-y, hug-y and happy too.  I’d missed them so.  You know you have friends for life when they will drive 5 hours, each way, to see you for 1 day.  And share you with family, family and more family.

The thing is, after so much time together, so many amazing experiences and the bazillion life’s-little-moments shared, they are my family.  The number one best thing the Army has given me is more family.  Yes, it is hard when they move, or we move, but without the Army they would never have been put in our path.  I would never have this big, amazing, family I have now.

Even Tess, moping in her room much of this week now, agrees.  The best day of her life was when Becca walked through our front door.  Nothing can take that from her, no matter how many miles we have to fly, ride trains, drive cars or walk.  Of course after I said all this to Tess, while having a heart-to-heart talk to help her cope with yet another good-bye, she rolled her eyes at me:

“Mom.  We have Skype.”

26APR14

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Today is much better.  I can breath again, and tell random strangers “I’m okay” without bursting into tears, turning me into a liar.  Our friends made it back stateside, after an extra long day of travel, safe & sound.  Even their puppy made it, United Airlines treated her with extra care & love.  It is always good to hear something positive about an airline.

Once home, they made a beeline for their favorite Chinese restaurant.  I drooled quietly over here, all by myself, staring at my computer monitor blankly while imagining some delicious American Chinese.  Definitely in the top 10 things I miss from the states.  Do you think they can send me some?   Maybe with dry ice to keep it fresh, if not exactly hot?

Next on their list of must-do’s was new phones for everyone.  Germany is a little behind on the affordable cell phone plan.  I’m the only one with a smart phone, and that barely over a year, Dave has a flip phone and the kids are phone less.  Not because Germany doesn’t have cell phones (they call them “handy’s” LOL!), but because an affordable family plan is not so affordable for us.  Thursday afternoon a glowing Becca showed up on my facebook newsfeed showing off her brandnew Galaxy III (I have a II!). Almost immediately after a message popped up from Karen:

“Hey! Becca has a phone!  Can Tessa call?”  Of course Tessa can call! Thankfully calling to the states is free for us.  I hollered at Tess to come into my office, gave her Becca’s very own cell phone number (and watched my daughter grumble and grin at the same time), and soon I could hear both girls excitedly chatting away from Tess’ room.  Tess is a huge fan of speaker phone, and honestly, I really don’t mind.  It was almost like having Becca back here.  Almost.

07DEC13

Their very last picture together, in their favorite pose.

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Naturally Beautiful

by Toiny Westberry 30 October 2013

Remember last week?  When I was complaining about gorgeous trees & totally-uncooperating kids (Fall Family Picture Day)?  We had another stunningly beautiful day over the weekend.  I tried again, this time with Tess & her best friend.  I could complain again, but this time it would be that almost every single one of the 300+ images […]

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Zwiebelkuchen

by Toiny Westberry 21 September 2013
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Exploring our town one day, we ran into the Mayor.  An ebullient, extroverted kind of guy.  After half an hour of talking, I found myself drafted into the town choir.  Hysterical because I can’t carry a tune. I can’t even carry a note!  Since then I’ve gone to several Tuesday night practices.  Everyone tolerates me, […]

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Tess’ First Day

by Toiny Westberry 11 September 2013
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Yesterday is a blur. It was Tess’ first day in secondary school.  Unlike American school with elementary, middle & high school, German schools have Grundschule (elementary school) and secondary school.  There are 3-4 different types of secondary schools, and honestly I’m still learning the difference between each.  Tess started the Realschule, the middle-of-the road school […]

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Adorable Dentist

by Toiny Westberry 14 August 2013
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There’s my beautiful girl with her beautiful purple teeth!  I miss her.  She has a best friend, it’s summer, and they are either at Becca’s or squirreled away in her room making Littlest Pet Shop videos.  I’ve been loving how happy she is, how adorable those videos are, and then, yesterday, I suddenly realized I’ve […]

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Lekker Vlaai

by Toiny Westberry 27 July 2013

One of the best parts of any visit up to Holland is visiting with family.  This time we stayed with my cousin Leny, in Schin op Geul, right outside of Valkenburg.  Anyone lucky enough to visit Holland, I highly recommend a trip to the “south” to see the beautiful rolling hills, farm country, Maastricht, cathedrals […]

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Fahrrad überprüfen

by Toiny Westberry 11 May 2013
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Tess is in the middle of her fahrrad überprüfen (literally to check bike), however, it turns out, there is an awful lot that goes with this.  I apologize to my German friends if I’m not completely clear in my understanding, while my German is good, my German-legal is abysmal. And Tess translating German-legal for me is […]

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Camel Farewell Memorial

by Toiny Westberry 17 April 2013
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Saturday was the farewell memorial for My Beloved Camels.  It was the first warm, sunny day this year.  No snow, no rain, just beautiful skies with light clouds.  Tess & I had a stunningly beautiful drive through the Black Forest to the camel farm, a half hour away. It was busy.  My camels were loved […]

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