Oh my lawd, I feel like I've been recapping trips since the dawn of time, and I still have to finish Croatia and get to our Baltic adventures at sea! But I'm going to take a little break from that and hit some of the highlights of the fall before we're officially into winter!
September and October were super fest-heavy--as it should be whilst in Germany!! We drank wine at Bad Durkheim, ate a variety of pumpkin delicacies at the Hitscherhof and Ludwigsburg pumpkin fests, imbibed beer at the Stuttgart Volksfest (in traditional German tracht, natürlich), and picked apples at the aptly named Appel Happel Apple Fest. And miraculously, we had gorgeous weather for all of it except Bad Durkheim, which wasn't too much of a tragedy since we managed to score some seats in a tent.
Then we rolled on into Halloween, which we celebrated with a trick or treating event at Colby's squadron and later that day with a neighborhood block party. The girls were pretty excited about being LSU tigers, but not so excited about wearing their hoods. But then they rolled right back around to excited when they realized that CANDY. It was a really fun day, and all of my stress about potential almost-two-year-old-girls tantrums was for naught.
Just a few days later, our almost two-year-olds actually went and turned two. And with a stunning sense of timing, they have been behaving like two-year-olds ever since. What a blast! But they really are learning and growing with alarming velocity, and I have to remind myself at times to have patience because they're still so young. When so often they can tell me what they want or need, I struggle to keep in mind that sometimes they still just need to cry and lash out, because even as an adult, expressing yourself constructively is no easy task. And fortunately they provide me with plenty of love and giggles throughout the day to survive the hard parts. We had a wonderful circus-themed birthday party for them with many of our nearest and dearest local friends, and were able to Skype in both sets of grandparents for the cutting of the cake. Technology man.
Our next big event was Colby's and my seventh wedding anniversary. He told me a couple of months ago to hold the weekend before our anniversary, but wouldn't let me in on any more of his secret plan. Then, on the Thursday prior, he sent me a weather forecast and packing instructions. telling me that we'd leave on Friday. Just as I was finishing up packing and asking if we should load the girls in the car, who should show up, but one of my best friends, who unbeknownst to me, was TOTALLY IN ON IT! She and her husband ended up staying at our house with the girls and the dogs while Colby and I headed to Paris for the weekend! He had booked an apartment between the Louvre and Notre Dame, and planned a cooking class as well as a string quartet concert at St. Chapelle Cathedral, and we also squeezed in a whirl through the Louvre. I don't think I've ever been more surprised or impressed by anything in my entire life. The whole weekend still feels like a perfect dream.
And that brings us up to our most recent holiday, Thanksgiving. We were lucky enough to be able to spend the holiday with a number of friends, and it definitely took some of the sadness out of being so far from our families. We had a pre-Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday night with my sweet friends from one of my book clubs, then on Thanksgiving proper we had dinner at noon with another group of friends from our squadron, which led perfectly into family nap time, before heading out for Thanksgiving desserts with our neighbors. I often feel very disconnected living overseas and spending the vast majority of my time with two foot tall terrorists whose idea of communication is screaming, so it's always good to be reminded of how thankful I am for the friends we have connected with over here on this crazy adventure abroad.
Next up is Christmas, which we have already begun celebrating with Germany's famed Weinachtsmarkts, and we will be opening up our home to both of our families starting next week and lasting through the New Year. I am so excited to have a full house, and to share this, my most favorite time of year, with our loved ones. And maybe I'll even get around to blogging about it!