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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.”


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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.


Their very last picture together, in their favorite pose.

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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 I shot are stunning.

It was a dream photo shoot. Both girls are naturally beautiful, and at the age where they love having their picture taken.  The trees were breath-taking, in their full fall glory, and we went to the monastery in Hirsau, dating back to the 11th century.  I had hoped for one shot, and I wound up with so many I can’t pick just one.

My goal had been to do a canvas, one for each girl.  Becca leaves Germany on December 4th. I’m dreading December 4th.  I have more than enough perfect photo’s to canvas an entire wall.  I think I’ve picked the canvas for the big photo, and I will do one of the collage posters over at  Persnickety Prints too for the rest of the photo’s.

Now all I need is a quiet afternoon, my computer, the new MCP Photoshop Actions to edit my images, and I will have the perfect photo’s be, um, even more perfect!


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