Writing about the post-Christmas part of the time with my family has proven to be unexpectedly hard for several reasons;
a) I didn’t really do that much while I was in Germany this time, so I don’t have any pretty photos of places that I visited or stories of the get-togethers with all the friends that I saw didn’t see,
b) I am still finding myself in a little bit of a state of homesickness, so just looking through the pictures that I did take on my trip makes my heart incredibly ache-y, and
c) I don’t want to bore you to death by swooning over my niece and my nephew; BUT I am afraid, this is all – or mostly – what you will get today.
I hate to turn this blog temporarily into a “Mommy blog”, when I am not even the Mommy!, and I understand that you can only handle so many pictures of cute babies/toddlers that you don’t even know, but I promise you’ll only have to endure this today and then won’t hear a word about kids from me until either my next visit home (which won’t be for a while), or until my sister sends me more cute pictures, whichever comes first (possible the later!).
But tell me honestly, how could you not miss those cute little faces?
We also spent some time with my cousin and my other godchild Luca during my visit. He’s 4 years old already and it so hard to believe that not too long ago he was a helpless, tiny baby. He’s a very sweet and kind little guy and it was wonderful to see him play and interact with Greta.
Here’s my Mom. She’s a saint. When I am back home, she makes me feel like her little girl again (but in a good way!). She puts my favorite sheets on my bed before my arrival, she cooks all the food that I crave while I am there, she goes shopping with me and insists on paying for my drug store and grocery purchases (the stuff that I brought back to the US), and she really made sure that I felt like I was on vacation.
Tom is such a relaxed and laid-back baby. It’s pretty amazing to see him so happy and smiley all the time. He barely fusses around (only if he’s a) hungry or b) uncomfortable) and he’s such a good sleeper. You can just put him down, he’ll turn his head to the side and sleep. Every Mommy’s dream child :)
Greta makes up for Tom’s quiet nature. She’s always on the go, never sits still. It’s amazing how much energy she has. Her brain is like a little sponge. She absorbs every single words that has been spoken around her and throws it back at you (in proper context, I’d like to add) when you least expect it. For only 26 months, that’s pretty amazing!
For good measure, I am throwing in a picture of my dear great-aunt (or, as I’d like to call her, our “acting grandma”, because she has been our surrogate grandma ever since our real grandma died when my sister and I were six).
I tried to spend as much time as possible with her as well while I was there, because after all, she 88 years old and you’ll never know how much longer we’ll have her with us. She’s the sweetest little old lady and I love her so dearly (and she’d be completely terrified if she knew that her photo was on the Internet, so it’s probably a good thing that she doesn’t have a computer. Promise me, you won’t tell her.)
My Dad and Greta are so, so cute together. When I see them, I always wonder what it was actually like to be around my Dad when my sister and I were Greta’s age. My Dad was/is such an awesome Dad!
And don’t you just want to grab and cuddle this little guy?
We spent a quiet, but fun New Year’s Eve at my parents’ house with my sister, her husband and the kids. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We made a fabulous feast on a raclette and hot stone grill and sat, ate and chatted for hours. Then we went outside to enjoy the fireworks and exchange New Year’s wishes with our neighbors!
My sister and her husband. I love them both to pieces. I wish we lived closer.
On my last day, we went for a walk in the snow. It was a beautiful sunny day and Greta had so much fun outside!
The best part of my trip?
How normal it felt for me to be back home and how normal it felt for the kids to have me around. Granted, Tom is still a little too young to remember my visit from May, but Greta clearly starts making connections and remembering things.
I love how my sister includes me in Greta’s and Tom’s daily life (she put a picture of me right next to the dressing table, which she points at every morning when they wake up and every evening before she puts them to bed) and Greta talks with me on the phone and over the Internet.
The hardest part this time?
Don’t let this last picture at the airport fool you. We were all pretty much trying to hold it together. Goodbyes are awful every time, but this time it was especially hard, because our time together was substantially cut short and I wasn’t really ready to go back. Usually my sister is the first one to start crying at the airport, but the fact that it was me this time should tell you something.
Kudos to you, if you made it all the way down here!