NOTE: this post contains copious pictures and catch-up news. Apparently life keeps clipping right along, even when you (I) take a little internet-break! Since I've been on a bit of a hiatus for the past week-and-a-half, I am terribly behind on emails and such, so please forgive me if you're waiting on a response. If I don't get back to you within a few days, and it was important, please email me again.
Thank you, everyone, for your outpouring of love and congratulations via comments, phone, and email. As a family, we are so delighted to be back together again. Although Greg has been home less than two weeks, we have slipped comfortably back into normal life, almost as if he'd never left. The children are bigger, and I feel some small differences in myself -- an independence and ability to make decisions in a way I never did before -- but Greg is more relaxed than he ever was, and the transition is going smoothly. From what I've heard from many other families, this reintegration is supposed to be tough stuff, but...I truly have nothing juicy to spill. We are together, and we are happy. Good times.
After a year of having the children to myself, it's wonderful to see them with Greg.
Jonah already looks at Greg like he knows he's someone special. He's a generally cheerful little guy, but he reserves special looks of total adoration for the select few. And Greg is one of them.
For Mother's Day, Greg took me out to a nice restaurant nearby, run by a 3-star chef. (Well, OK, actually I booked the babysitter, picked the restaurant, chose the time, and programmed the GPS to get us there...so I suppose I took him out. No matter.)
We had a fantastic dinner that included a salad, decorated with a lush slab of foie gras (to the far left):
A tender, rare steak (both rare-cooked, and rare in the sense that it's nearly impossible to find a decent steak here in Germany. This restaurant also happens to have it's own butcher though, so for them anything is possible), and local white asparagus:
(Greg got a fish entree, although I didn't manage to shoot that)
And a beautiful dessert ensemble which incuded a nutmeg Panna Cotta and a vanilla Crème brûlée:
This week, Lavella received her birthday gift from Hannah:
She loves it, and it's been in almost constant play since it was opened. Thank you!
Another package arrived from my parent's house -- this one from my Dad. I had bought a bunch of summer clothing for Lavella last year on clearance at Old Navy and Wal Mart, and Lavella has now grown into that size (3T). I'd left it at my parent's house for whatever reason, so I had my dad send it here. Along with the clothing, he also threw in some of the children's favorite candy, which they were very excited about.
"Thank you Grandpa!!!"
My parents also gave Lavella and I Amazon gift certificates via email, which I've finally cashed in, so those will be arriving in the next week or so (mail to Germany is a little slow.)
While we're on the topic of birthdays: I also got my birthday present from Hannah a few days ago. She and I have birthdays only 2 weeks apart, and traditionally never get each-other gifts on time (why? I could not tell you. But I don't think we've ever been even close to on time).
Hannah called me a few days after my birthday this year, wondering what I wanted. I, of course, pointed her to my Amazon wishlist, and also mentioned gift certificates at The Loopy Ewe or Spunky Eclectic. Apparently, those are all boring suggestions. Then I mentioned that perhaps she could contact either Amy (Spunky Eclectic) or David (Southern Cross Fibre), (two online shops I frequent with such regularity that I have become friends with the owners and they know what I like), and she could have one of them put something together for me. She liked this idea, because it could still be a surprise, of sorts.
So, a few days ago: SURPRISE!
The funniest thing was reading Hannah's (mildly sarcastic) greeting in Amy's handwriting.
Thank you THANK YOU to both Hannah and Amy for putting together such a great birthday package for me. I'm going to have a lot of fun with this!! (To the fiber-curious among you: this will be used to blend batts for spinning.)
(Oh, and Hannah, I promise I'll send your birthday gift soon. As soon as I decide what it is.)