All things awesome: fall, visitors, and free things

This is the best time of year.  I won’t even soften it with, “In my opinion…”  It is just a fact:  fall (or autumn, as I like to call it) is the best.  Cooler weather, boots as acceptable footwear, all things pumpkin, football, and the start of the holiday season all combine in a three month span. Did I also mention that Lorelei’s and my birthday are during this time?  I love birthdays and make a big deal of them.  It is the one day of the year that is yours, and I fully exploit this every year.

To start off our fall season, we had some visitors:  my sister Elizabeth and brother-in-law Tyler.  They are the coolest aunt and uncle to the girls and Leo.  They also happen to be one of our best friends, so we miss them terribly.  They have taken advantage of our living in Europe to see us in Italy and now in Germany.  They could only stay for ten days (damn jobs and adult responsibility!), but we tried to make the most of their trip.  Andy picked them up from the airport and took them straight to Oktoberfest in Munich.  They had a VERY good time.  🙂  We also took them to Nürnberg for the Nazi Party Rally Grounds and Museum and city sightseeing, Ludwigsburg for the pumpkin festival and city sightseeing, a fest in Vilseck, Dachau Memorial grounds, and tons of food and family time.  I think we did a lot, but it is never enough time to see your family.  We loved having them here, and as much as we love living in Europe, we really look forward to being closer to all our family.  Here are a few pics from their time here:

The boys at Oktoberfest 2015
The boys at Oktoberfest 2015
Dachau
Dachau
The gate at Dachau
The gate at Dachau
Leo at the Nazi Party Rally Grounds Museum
Leo at the Nazi Party Rally Grounds Museum
Elizabeth and I at Residenz Ludwigsburg
Elizabeth and I at Residenz Ludwigsburg
Last night, last dinner :(
Last night, last dinner 😦

Speaking of the pumpkin festival – it is amazing!  It is held on the grounds of the Resident Ludwigsburg, which is amazing by itself.  It is about a 2.5 hour drive from us, but it was not terrible (it helps that my sister and I can talk non-stop during the ride.  I felt bad for Tyler in the back!). There is also a small park on the grounds with a garden, boat rides, and more.  The festival features pumpkins of all kinds – more than I have ever seen before.  There are sculptures of pumpkins, pumpkin food, pumpkin wine, entertainment…it’s awesome.  I took Elizabeth and Tyler there during a weekday, and I think I want to take Andy and the kids again.  Maybe just for the pumpkin food!  We each ordered something different so we could try each other’s, and all were amazing.  Enjoy our pics!

Pumpkins from around the world!
Pumpkins from around the world!
Lunch
Lunch
As Tyler said, 'Merica
As Tyler said, ‘Merica
One of the many sculptures.
One of the many sculptures.
The weirdest looking pumpkins I have ever seen!
The weirdest looking pumpkins I have ever seen!

With the departure of our visitors, October started.  Birthday month!  I do not care that I will be 31 this year – it is still birthday month.  Our month is very busy, but I hope to be able to celebrate a little bit.  Last year, I was thrown a surprise party at one of my favorite restaurants, but I had just found out I was pregnant and was very sick.  Here is to hoping for a smoother birthday this year!

Other than that, life is normal.  The girls are crazy busy, and I just spent the day home from work with them since Lorelei and Anya have been sick.  Lorelei literally vomited from her bunk bed to the bathroom – not a fun thing to clean up in the middle of the night.  Leo is still awesome, and the animals are being as crazy as usual.  Anya is starting her orthodontic work soon, with an expander and then braces.  Why is this such a big deal?  Because while she can see the on-post orthodontist here, it is free.  FREE!  When we return to the states, I will have to start paying for her treatment, but having the first year free will save us so much.  Military perk!

The only issue I am having trouble with is the upcoming wedding got my other sister, Jessica. I hate that I am missing it – I do not have Leo’s passport, and I have never left the kids younger than 1 year old.  I want to be there so badly, but I know I cannot.  I always talk about the perks of military life, as I try to be positive all the time, but moments like this make it very tough.  If I could snap my fingers and make his passport appear, I would do it.  I know that my sister understands, but these are the things I miss the most.

Now, I will snuggle my baby while getting all the things done I cannot do during the day – becoming a night owl during school was great presswork for adulthood – and counting down the days until my birthday (19 days).  Is it shameful to still make your own birthday countdown as an adult?  If so, I do not want to be right…

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