Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Scenes From Ohio

Last Wednesday, we got up early(ish) and went to Southern(ish) Ohio.
There’s a place called The Wilds, where you hop onboard an open air vehicle and go on a safari-like trip through a wildlife preserve.

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Cousins waiting to go on safari

We got up close and personal with all kinds of animals.

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This one was my favorite.

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The birds loved Hannah…

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...and my shoes.

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The next day we woke up early and headed out to the lake for some boating with my mom, Shawn’s parents, aunt and uncle and the cousins.  It was the most perfect day – warm, sunny and we practically had the lake to ourselves.

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The captain.

Along with the boat, we rented a jet ski.  Shawn’s uncle spent most of the day taking the kids for rides.

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We tubed.

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Do you know who that is out there?  It’s my mom.  Oh, yes.  It is.
She also went on the jet ski.
Who knew she was so adventurous?!

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Finn had a great time, but he was so happy to get that bulky life jacket off at the end of the day.

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So, what else have we been doing while we’re home?
Well, my sister came to town.

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We got facials and manicures and took flowers to my dad’s grave.

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And Finn got his hair trimmed.

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We spent lots of time with cousins…

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…and tried to get everyone to pose for some pictures.  But sometimes you just gotta take whatever you can get.  (I hope these kids recreate this one in 20 years.)

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Shawn was here in Ohio for just one week – he had to go back to Lux for work, but the kids and I stayed for a bit longer.  We’ve been spending time with family and friends and enjoying some of our favorite foods and places that we miss when we’re in Luxembourg. 
Although, I haven’t been to Target yet.
Oh, the shame.

Later this week, we’ll be heading back across the pond.
That’s one overnight flight and two layovers with two kids.
Or, as I like to call it – a personal test of endurance.

So I’ll see you on the other side…if I pass.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

August

It’s the first week of August, and that means that most of Luxembourg has closed up shop and everyone’s either on holiday or has headed to their country of origin.

That’s what we’ve done.

We left Luxembourg what feels like 30 hours ago, flew to Amsterdam and then on to Detroit, where I’m writing from Gate A59 as we’re waiting on our final connection to home sweet home.

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So far our travels have been smooth, so here’s to hoping that the rest is, too because I’m so tired I can barely stand up.  I suppose that going out with my girls the night before a transatlantic trip wasn’t the best idea, but I wouldn’t have missed it.  I’m so sad that two of these ladies are moving away this summer and I had to say au revoir to them just before we left. 

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We sipped Crémant and laughed until we cried.  I can’t say enough about these girls.  They’re simply the best.

And speaking of Crémant, I promised a few friends back home that I’d be bringing them a bottle, but when it came down to it, I just couldn’t make it happen.  Because on top of all the other stuff you have to pack in your carry-on luggage for two kids, the thought of wheeling my bag through security, onto the plane and then stowing it in the overhead compartment in the same manner one would handle a crate of eggs didn’t sound like much fun.  Neither did opening my bag to find four bottles of busted Crémant.  So, if I promised you a bottle, I won’t show up empty handed.  I’ll swing by Giant Eagle to pick us up something REAL FANCY.

In the few weeks between school letting out and our trip to America, we did a lot of swimming and hanging out at the pools with out friends.  Luxembourg has beautiful swimming pools, and despite the fact that we live in the home of the Speedo, it’s always a good time.
Oh, and here’s Hannah receiving her swimming award at the end of the school year.

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During the summer months, the Grand Ducal Palace opens its doors for folks to take a guided tour of the place.  This is something we’ve never done before (not sure why) so Hannah and I booked tickets.  There were no cameras allowed on the tour, but let me tell you that the inside is spectacular!  Just like you’d imagine the inside of a palace to be.  Even though Luxembourg’s royal family doesn’t actually live in the Grand Ducal Palace, there are royal living quarters but they weren’t of the tour so I was kinda disappointed about that.  Not that I’d be snooping around in closets and cabinets, but I was curious. 
Oh, and also – I should have known, but the palace is not air conditioned.  I don’t know why I was expecting air conditioning because no one in Europe has air conditioning.  I felt kind of sorry for all the royal family who have to sit around in fancy, stuffy clothes because that palace is hot as blazes in the summer.

Well, we’ve got big plans for our time in the US.  Hannah’s going to Vacation Bible School this week at a local church.  Last week I told her that I signed her up.

”Oh, ok.  What language will it be in?” she asked.
She’s such an expat kid.

We’re also going to be doing some swimming, boating, spending time with family and friends and whatnot and whathaveyou.

And by whatnot and whathaveyou, I mean enjoying the air conditioning.