Thursday, December 16, 2010

My sister's wedding in photos

The wedding started out the day before, with the wedding party arriving at the "wedding facility" (basically a hotel which exists only to cater weddings) the day before. There was a series of game rooms downstairs. Here Marie is watching my nephew, Alex, and my very-nearly brother-in-law, Justin, play a guitar video game. (I'm sure there's a more correct term, but I can't remember what it was.)
 In the adjoining room there was Wii, shuttleboard, air hockey, a pool table, and even some toddler toys. Probably more. The children were well entertained.

Here's a photo of part of the bride's suite:
 We didn't take a photo of the groom's dressing room, but it was considerably less impressive. When I commented that that wasn't fair, my brother-who-won't-be-named said, "Are you so out of touch with reality that you don't know that the wedding is all about the bride?" I answered, "Apparently so. And glad about that."

The actual ceremony was planned for outside, but unfortunately, rain ended up moving it inside.

My sister-in-law, Kristy, helping to set up the Christmas tree. Guests were invited to bring an ornament to hang on the tree just for the evening, but I have a feeling that we weren't the only ones who actually got an ornament to give to Ruth and Justin.

My brother Shawn, who always goes goo-goo over babies:

Shawn with his wife, Lindsey. They got married last December. Our anniversary is also in December, and the other brother's is in January, so the four of us have our anniversaries within just over a month of each other.

Unfortunately a blurry photo, but this is Ruth getting the daffodils ready. I think she said that they had 150 plants? Each table had one big pot and several small ones, and all guests were supposed to take one home. We couldn't, of course, but she had an empty pot for us as well as some bulbs, and we did get them safely home, although we haven't planted them yet!

A (slightly blurry) close-up of the sticker on the large pots:

My dad, my sister-in-law Lindsey, and my dad's sister, Aunt Dolores.

My brothers with their wives. (The brother who isn't Shawn asked me not to put his name or face on my blog, but his wife, Kristy, didn't mind at all.)

 Lazing around waiting for the rehearsal to start (it was several hours late, but that didn't matter--it's not like we had other plans, and we had a great place to hang out!) This is my dad, my mom, Aunt Dolores, and her husband, Uncle Jerry. And Elisabeth, of course. :-)

Unfortuntely, this is the only photo we have of this particular dress. Ruth found it partially sewn in a box of fabric from our paternal grandmother. Ruth finished it and wore it for the rehearsal, and it wasn't until that day that Aunt Dolores saw it and told her that our great-grandmother brought the fabric back from China!

The hotel also included a bar, which had dozens and dozens of hats hanging on the walls. Katie and Lukas, aided and abetted by various uncles, had fun finding hats for everybody. This one matches Lindsey's outfit so well, one would think it was a British wedding. (At the actual wedding, as far as I noticed, the only hat at all was the groom's.)

All the children got baths before the wedding, but we only took a photo of Elisabeth getting ready.

 The board for holding the place-cards, before and after the cards were hung up.

 When Ruth and Justin got engaged, they had a professional photo shooting. The photos on the background are from that, and Ruth's matron of honor, Amanda, put this together.

Each table was identified by the name of an author (the children's table, for example, was Maurice Sendak, and we were at Roald Dahl, and the wedding party table was Douglas Adams), and guests were assigned to tables, but not to specific seats. Each guest had to find his or her name ont this board, then go to the assigned table and choose a seat. I liked that system quite well, and also liked having authors' names.

The cousins: ushers Alex, Jacob, and Kyle in the back, flowergirls Helen and Katie flanking ring-bearer Lukas and reader Marie on the couch, holding cutie-pie Elisabeth.

My mother is a United Methodist pastor and she performed the ceremony. Here she, Justin, the best man, and Lukas are waiting for the bride.
Katie was extremely proud of her job as head flowergirl.

Katie also stood attentively next to Amanda during the entire ceremony.

Ruth came in on my father's arm to the band playing and singing "Hey There, Little Red Riding Hood", accompanied by wolf whistles from the guests. (For those who don't know the song, as I didn't, here's a link to one version on youtube: )

Helen had a moment of panic walking in behind Katie and cried out for Katie, then for Mommy, and ran to me. But then she remembered her job and turned her whole basket of petals upside down in front of me and said loudly, "I pour it, okay?" She then wore her basket as a shoulder bag and enjoyed the rest of the ceremony, watching the candles, and occasionally going up to Ruth and holding her hand.

The intentions were woven into a Celtic hand-fasting ceremony. 14 people (including the siblings and their partners as well as a few friends) each laid a cord across Ruth's and Justin's joined hands and said what the color represented. I had white, which represented peace, serenity, and...hmm...something starting with "D", I think. Once all 14 cords had been placed, the four parents tied them--this photo shows my dad tying them, although we don't have any photo of the actual cords.

I'm not sure exactly what was being said here, as they're both facing forward, and they faced each other for their vows, which they each wrote individually and read to each other. Justin told Ruth that she's his 42. :-) The "vows" were really cool, in a way telling a history of their relationship. Not having spent much time with my sister in the last 20 years, I really, really enjoyed that part of the ceremony as a bit more insight into her life.

Marie read the love passage from 1 Corinthians.

First kiss as husband and wife.

The cake. (Obviously. I'm getting tired! Incidentally, it didn't taste anything like most U.S. wedding cakes--it was actually quite good. There was one little mix-up, however...apparently, there were three different flavors. The one I had was "red velvet", which I'd never heard of before and as far as I understand, is chocolate with red food coloring. Not sure of the point, but it tasted fine. There was also a dark brown one, regular chocolate, I guess. And there was one light-colored one, which all of the parents assumed was vanilla and quickly chose to give to their small children to make less of a mess than chocolate would. I never tasted it, but did think it was strange that Helen hardly ate any of it. It turns out that the light-colored one was the only one with alcohol in it! I don't remember what flavor, but I'm glad Helen didn't like it, and I'm also glad that Lukas and Katie refused to take it and insisted on chocolate...)

First dance:

Marie dancing with Uncle Justin:

Somehow, most of the photos of the dancing were from the back. Oh well, here's one of my parents anyway:

Ruth and Helen :-)

There wasn't a lot of dancing, for some reason. Helen and Lukas were the only ones that kept dancing the entire time, all the way until we couldn't stand up straight anymore and made them go to bed!

At breakfast the next morning, Ruth wore our maternal grandmother's wedding dress.

And at home the next evening she showed us our paternal grandmother's wedding dress, which Grandma had made herself. It's missing the buttons on the sleeves, as they happen to be on the sleeves of my own wedding dress, which my mother made for me. :-)
Ruth considered wearing this dress for the wedding, but although it fit perfectly once on, it was very difficult to get on and off, which would have meant getting her hair done after getting dressed. She did consider getting it altered, but because Grandma had made the dress herself, Ruth didn't want to change it, and when she found another dress she loved, that made the decision that much easier. I did pick up my wedding dress in Germany on the way to the wedding, so we could take the buttons off and return them to the original dress if Ruth wanted, but because she didn't wear it after all, I didn't do that. I brought the dress back to Cyprus and it's now hanging in my closet here. I like trying it on on my anniversary, but I think I'll skip that this year, as it was a bit depressing when I tried it on in November...

Anyway, it was a beautiful wedding and I'm glad we were able to go. I look forward to seeing the professional photos as well as snapshots from other people.

Planes, trains, and automobiles (and trams and buses)

From December 5th to December 15th:

two cars
ICE (InterCity Express train)
S-Bahn (local train)
two cars
three cars
two cars
two cars

This afternoon the three little girls and I walked to Sue's house and then walked to the hardware store and then walked to the pharmacy and then walked home--it was wonderful! :-)

Eight days in Germany

We got home to Cyprus yesterday, and people keep asking me about my sister's wedding and our time in Germany, since I didn't manage to blog anything else after Thanksgiving. I'm starting with the time in Germany, since those photos are quick and easy to sort, there not being many...

We left San Francisco on Sunday, December 5th, arriving in Amsterdam on Monday morning. The flight was slightly delayed, but still left us enough time to get our connection to Düsseldorf, if we didn't dawdle too much. However, after traipsing through what felt like the entire airport to get to the gate listed on the monitor, we discovered that our flight had been cancelled. One employee told us it was because of fog in Amsterdam (plenty of other flights were taking off, however), and another told us it was because of snow in Düsseldorf (but there wasn't that much and other flights were arriving), so we don't really know why, but in any case, the flight wasn't going. Our choices were to try to get on a much later flight, which was also possibly going to be cancelled and was already overbooked, or taking the train. We opted for the train--paid for by KLM, of course, but we had to schlepp our luggage ourselves.

Eight people, seven suitcases, two carseats, and nine carry-ons made it onto the first train without a problem, and switched to the second train in Utrecht without a problem. Both were very crowded and had no seats free, so Helen curled up in Elisabeth's car seat and Katie laid down on a suitcase and went to sleep:

These are the only photos we took after arriving in Europe...Our next train-change in Oberhausen also went well, and then we got off in Düsseldorf with a huge sigh of relief that we had almost arrived. We counted the children and the suitcases and started to head for the stairs when Jörn suddenly said, "Where's my back-pack?!" It was still on the ICE that was just pulling out of the station, on its way to Frankfurt. Which is why we didn't take any more photos--the camera was in the back-pack. As were the children's U.S. passports. (Their German passports and Jörn's and my passports were in my back-pack.) So instead of getting the next train to Eller, we went to report the lost bag. Finally took the local train to Eller, missed our stop, got off at the next one and took the train back one stop, and some six hours later than planned, arrived at the Es' house. One suitcase was packed for Cyprus, but the other six needed to be taken up to the fourth floor (fifth floor in American--Americans count the floors, Europeans count the flights of stairs). 69 steps. We had dinner with Johannes and Lisa (first floor, only 50 steps between their apartment and our rooms) and then collapsed into bed.

In my experience, the first night on jet-lag isn't generally too bad, because I'm so exhausted I just sleep. The problem this time was that Helen and Elisabeth had both slept during the they woke up around 1:30 and took turns being awake for the next seven hours. I think Katie joined them at some point, as well, but I'm a bit fuzzy on the details now. I just know that they were awake, and therefore, I was awake, but I sure didn't want to be.

Tuesday I was pretty much in zombie-mode, but we didn't have anything planned until the afternoon, so that was good. We all took the train to the C family's house in Angermund, where an hour or so later our friends Margaret and Phil picked up Elisabeth, Jörn, and me to go the 20-year celebration of Globe Europe in Hamminkeln. The original plan had been to borrow the Cs' car, but I was SO glad not to have to drive back that night. Jörn stayed in Hamminkeln for a conference, and Elisabeth and I returned to Angermund, where the children and I all spent the night.

At 11:00 Wednesday morning Jill woke us up and offered to get the children ready and let me sleep a bit more (as I'd been awake a lot with Helen and Elisabeth again), and I gladly accepted. What a wonderful friend! What a glorious 90 more minutes that I SLEPT!

In the afternoon I took Marie, Jacob, and Helen to the doctor, as they'd all been coughing non-stop and it seemed to be worse. Happily, they just had very active colds, and even happier, as we were about to leave the doctor's office I saw Inga, who had been my next-door neighbor for the three years I lived in Düsseldorf nearly 20 years ago. That was a cool surprise, although we could only talk for a minute or two, as she was on her way to an appointment.

And in the evening, the four younger children and I took Jill's car to Oberhausen to have dinner with Barbara and stay the night there, while Marie and Jacob stayed with the C family overnight. Barbara's daughter, Andrea, is staying with us in Cyprus at the moment, volunteering in a rest home, and it was fun talking on the phone with her from her house while she was in our house. :-)

Thursday morning Barbara kept Lukas, Katie, and Helen while I went to a doctor's appointment. (I haven't been too impressed with the gynocologists here in Cyprus...) There had been a lot of snow in the night and the streets weren't yet cleared, so I was going very slowly to begin with, and then when I braked ever so gently and still nearly rear-ended the car in front of me in the left-turn lane (there was happily nobody in the lane for going straight, and I managed to steer that way and miss the car by about half a meter), I slowed down even more and was half an hour late to my appointment. Then I rushed (streets were clear by this time!) back to Barbara's, threw our stuff and the children into the car, and drove back to Mülheim for the children's dental appointment, arriving nearly an hour late. (Marie and Jacob should have been there, too, but I figured that with their coughing, there wasn't much point, and the offer of the car was too good to pass up, but meant I could only take four children with me.) Katie had one tiny cavity on a loose baby tooth and Helen had no cavities, which was a relief, but Lukas had six. This was why I'd made sure to take them to the dentist while in Germany--last year I took him to a dentist here, who said that there wasn't any point in doing anything about cavities on baby teeth, and the one filling she put in fell out a few days later. And then she charged more than our German health insurance was willing to reimburse, too, so I wasn't too happy. I made this appointment way back in August--and this dentist is SO good, I didn't even have my choice of appointments in December! Anyway, Dr. K filled three of the cavities but said that the other three teeth really had to come out and referred us to an oral surgeon and said to say she had sent us and explain that we were only in Germany for a few more days. Of course, the other office had already closed for the day, but on Friday I was able to make an appointment for Monday.

Early Thursday afternoon we got back to the Cs' house and hung out for awhile, then went to Margaret and Phil's for half an hour or so before getting the train back to Eller, leaving Elisabeth's car seat at their house. (The car seat is the one we'd gotten for Marie and had used until we moved to Cyprus, but as we had more than one seat in that category--rear-facing for an infant and then front-facing until about age three--we left it with Phil and Margaret for their grandchildren. On our way to the U.S. in November we "borrowed" back our car seat, but have left it in Germany again.)

Back at the Es' house we were excited to have a letter from the Deutsche Bahn that Jörn's bag had been turned in and was waiting at Frankfurt main train station! I talked with Jörn on the phone that evening and we discussed possibilities of recovering it. Birgit, another friend at the conference in Hamminkeln, ended up offering to pick it up on Monday, as she would be nearby, and ship it to us with overnight express, as that seemed the safest (and least expensive way) to get it. She did do that, and it worked, and we were glad to be able to tell her that on the phone the next Tuesday evening just before her flight left from Franfurt for Lima, Peru.

Friday morning our friend Hildburg visited for a couple of hours, then in the afternoon we set out by train to Mülheim yet again, where the three younger children and I went to Mutter-Kind-Kreis ("mother-child-circle--a playgroup for children from birth to six years, that I attended for the eight years we lived in Mülheim) and the three older children went to Jungschar (a sort of junior youth group, ages six to 12.) The boys went to a gym and played soccer and the girls dressed up and modeled--which bored Marie to pieces, but at least she ended up being assigned the job of photographer. After that, our friend Benita and another lady gave us a ride to Peggy's house, where we had a wonderfully relaxed evening and spent the night. That was also the first night that I got to sleep almost all night--Helen was only awake once, and only for maybe 20 minutes or so.

Saturday morning back to Eller, where Jörn had arrived only about half an hour earlier, to await my brother-in-law, Lars, and his wife. We hadn't seen them in nearly two years, since just before we left Germany, because they were snowed in the day they were supposed to come see us when we were in Germany in February. Lisa took a few photos, so here's one:
Not the greatest photo, but at least we have one. Lars is on the couch with Marie and Jacob, and Claudia is on the far right.

Sunday another early train to go to our church in Unterrath (Unterrath, Eller, and Angermund are all neighborhoods within Düsseldorf, while Oberhausen and Mülheim are separate cities.) It was the children's Christmas program that day, but Jörn was given the chance to speak for a few minutes and show some photos, and we of course hung out afterwards for as long as there were people around. Then we went out to lunch with three other families before going back to Eller.

Monday started even earlier, as all eight of us had an 8:30 eye appointment in Kaiserswerth (yet another neighborhood of Düsseldorf). That took a train, a tram, a bus, and another tram, because there had been an accident on the tram tracks and we had to take a bus to pass by. After the eye doctor appointment we had breakfast in a bakery (a treat!) and then took the tram to Duisburg to go to the Christmas market (a German tradition that I did think was pretty cool the first 10 or so years I lived in Germany, but don't miss--but the children did, and that was the only chance we saw). From there the train to Mülheim, where Jörn and Lukas headed for the appointment with the oral surgeon, and the other children and I went for Poffertjes. (Little Dutch pancakes that, in Germany, are only to be had at the Christmas market, and ARE something I missed!) A lady walking by gave me four free tickets for the children's rides, so Katie and Helen went in a little car that beeped, and I gave the other two tickets to two other children. On the way to our tram, we were delighted to run into Andrea Z. and her son Jan, but as they and we were both in a hurry, we only talked for a minute. That was long enough to miss our tram, however, and the next one ten minutes later meant that we missed our bus to Ratingen (another city) by about five minutes...and the next one was 45 minutes later.

So...although I thought I'd left more than enough time to get to Elisabeth's six-month check-up, we ended up getting there 15 minutes late. (And only made it then because when the bus arrived, I told Marie and Jacob to take Helen and Katie and catch up with us, and I took Elisabeth and ran. This is Germany, where punctuality is everything.) I not only got a big lecture for being late and a stern request to be on time the next day with Katie and Helen (they had refused to schedule all three check-ups on the same day, although I made the appointments in September, because they said that would be too stressful for the children), I also didn't get to see "our" pediatrician. Still, Elisabeth was labeled healthy, etc., and received her second set of vaccinations.

A bus back to Kaiserswerth where I had to pick up a prescription, then we spontaneously took the bus to Rahm (in Duisburg) rather than wait longer for the tram to the main train station, which meant we had to wait even longer for the train to Eller. Jörn and Lukas had gotten back before us and Lukas was sleeping off the effects of the tooth extractions.

Tuesday morning we all set off again, this time arriving at the pediatrician's office 45 minutes early. Jörn and Lukas didn't go with us, as at the oral surgeon's the day before, Jörn had made an appointment for Lukas with an orthodontist for Tuesday morning. (If she's successful in convincing the health insurance that it's necessary--and one look at Lukas's x-rays should be convincing enough--Lukas will be getting a Zahnspange in six weeks or so. I'm not exactly sure what to call that in English. The idea is the same as braces, but it's not fixed on the teeth, so it makes me think of the word "retainer", but it's actually for moving teeth around, not just keeping them where they are.) Katie and Helen were both pronounced healthy (and also had vaccinations...I keep having mixed feelings about them, but keep getting them, just a lot more spread out than the usual schedule) and we very much enjoyed seeing our regular pediatrician, Dr. A. We've always liked him, and then when years ago he told us that he'd be happy to testify on our behalf if we ever had any trouble with homeschooling, we liked him even more. So it was pretty cool when after he asked us why we're in Cyprus and what my husband is doing, he told us that he is also a Christian, and prayed God's blessings on our ways!

In the afternoon Marie helped Lisa bake a cake and then took care of Elisabeth while Helen slept and Jörn took the other three children out to play in the snow, while I packed. Just after lunch, Jörn's back-pack arrived, with everything in it, which was also exciting.

Wednesday was our earliest day yet, rolling out of bed at 5:30 a.m., but everything went very smoothly. We'd taken the suitcases down to the ground floor the night before, so it was just a matter of waking up the children, getting dressed (I made the five younger ones sleep in the clothes for Wednesday or in nothing to speed things up...), and stumbling downstairs. Johannes helped get everything to the train station, which meant that we took an earlier train than planned, and had just over 20 minutes to wait in Düsseldorf for the ICE to Frankfurt. No more changes, and better yet, Lufthansa has a check-in counter right at the airport train station! So we didn't even have to lug our luggage to the airport terminal. The one irritation is that we had tried to check in on-line, but it wouldn't let us because we're a group with more than six people and fewer than 10. So we were given seven individual seats in seven different rows. Once we got to the gate we asked again about having some switched, and the lady there was rather embarrassed about her colleague not having managed to get us even two together. She did get us two sets of two, and two middle seats that were at least in the same row, as well as one other seat by itself. Jacob and Lukas were in a weird mood of brotherliness and wanted to be together, and Jörn and Helen took the other two, while Katie and I took the two middle ones in the same row. The seat next to Katie ended up being empty, though, as did one of the seats next to Lukas and Jacob, so all of us did a lot of moving around for the whole flight, with nine seats to choose from.

Anyway, a smooth, punctual flight to Larnaka, Immigration didn't bat an eye at my lack of visa (and I sure didn't ask any questions!!), all of our luggage came immediately, and Richard F. and Tim P. soon arrived to take us home. Where we are VERY glad to be!! :-)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

This was my first time back in the U.S. for Thanksgiving since 2002, so the first one for three of my children, and the first one in memory for two of the other three.

My mother took Lukas and Katie out to the garden in the morning to harvest what was left. There wasn't a whole lot, but they were very pleased with themselves:

The morning was occupied with various activities. Mom, Katie, and Jörn folded won-tons:

My sister-in-law played with her two littlest nieces:

The big cousins played tag and hide-and-seek outside in the gorgeous weather:

Dad and my brother (who requested that his name and face not appear on my blog) put a new cat-door in the new outside door they got for the bathroom:

Here's the old one, which is proof for why it had to be replaced: (we didn't take a photo of the new one after it was installed and it's raining now)

Then my sister Erin and my sister-in-law took a turn at the won-ton folding:

 ...and various people flopped on the couch.

Finally, the turkey:

For some reason, we didn't get any photos of my Grandma, who was happily able to come for a couple of hours and enjoyed herself very much, nor of my aunt and cousin, or of the festive tables. There were 19 of us all together. My sister-in-law did take some photos, which I might be able to add later, but for now I just wanted to get this posted.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010



"I can get a bathroom in there in two days."

"Do you like my princess?"

"And then she said okay."

"I'm not sure if they're open then."

"We go through a lot of milk in our house."

"Oh, I think we'll be in the Mediterranean for a good long time still."

"Leave the dog alone!"

"So, do you think you'll get the roof done this week?"

"This storm wasn't anywhere near as bad as they said it would be."

"Someone needs to change the baby!"

"Dog! A pet it!"

"See? The princess has a pink skirt!"

"So do you really like the Nook?"

"Leave the dog alone!"

"Who wants to see the movie?"

"Dog! I like it!"

"Okay, so I might not have it painted in that time."

"Do we need more milk?"

"We raced the boats in the ditch canal."

"I need to go on Farmville because my crops have all died!"

"Did you see this photo of a bear?"


"Turn the TV off!"

"So did you hear that his sister had the baby?"

"Just help me."

"Don't scream at the cat."

"They are shooting ducks."

"These are cabernet glasses."

"I'm sure she needs her diaper changed."

"This is fake sugar but it has the same volume."

"What are you looking for?"

"This toaster is slow."

"He's a Cream-of-Wheater."

"Pick up the train pieces."

"Away! A throw it!"

"Can I go on e-mail?"

"Where are my socks?"

"So what time are you leaving?"

"No, I don't want to see the movie."


"And he said, 'But he CAN'T go back with them!' "

"No, not even when he was a baby."

"How short can I make it?"

"No, you don't need to be on there."

"I'd just like to know if it's fixable."

"These socks never stay on."

"When are we going skiing?"

"No, she peels it herself."

"Leave the dog alone!"

Guess what: there are 14 people living in this house at the moment, and we had up to 18 on the weekend. And two dogs (well, just one now--the other one went home with my sister) and three cats (not that we've seen more than two--one of them stays away from children). And it did snow Saturday night but was raining Sunday morning and has been raining almost ever since, and now it's Tuesday morning and I'm going just a bit stir-crazy...

Friday, November 19, 2010

California at last!

November 17th--We flew from Minneapolis to San Francisco, and were met at the airport by my sister, Erin:

Erin called Dad that we had arrived, and he came to the airport with the van. By the time we got back to my sister's house (ten minutes from the airport), my mother had also arrived at the house, and Helen knew Grandma immediately:
Each of the children gave Grandma one rose, one for each decade, as we arrived on her birthday. :-) (Unfortunately, the photo with the roses didn't come out so well.)

We then drove to my parents' house, stopping halfway for dinner and then stopping again to visit my sister Ruth at work, but didn't take any photos.

Thursday, November 18th--Lukas helped Grandma make pancakes and bacon, and then he made fried eggs for those who wanted them:

 Then my future brother-in-law and I put a new tarp on the roof of the shed in preparation for the storm expected today. First I took off the old one--most of it was disinigrated, but I had to remove the boards holding it down and sweep all the pine-needles and leaves (and wonderful composted soil consisting of pine-needles, leaves, and shingles) off of the roof.

 Here we're nailing the boards on the new tarp, while Jacob hands us nails and Mom stands down below, holding the ladder and telling us to be careful:
The only injury of the day was a nasty splinter I got from the broom. I'm definitely happier hammering than sweeping.

This was the most fun--this side of the shed is two storeys above the ground, so we decided that lying on the roof and nailing under would be easier than trying to reach the eaves from a ladder:

 And Ruth got bonding-time with one of her nieces while her fiance and sister worked on the roof!

 Once we'd finished, Mom and Jörn took Jacob and Lukas to be fitted for their tuxedos for the wedding:

 In the afternoon we went to Grass Valley to see my Grandma. The colors are nice enough here in Weimar, but just half an hour away were that much more gorgeous. This tree was in front of the nursing home where my grandma lives:

 Youngest great-grandchild Elisabeth with her Great-Grandma Elizabeth:

 Thanksgiving dinner (one week early) in the nursing home. Residents were allowed to have two guests each, but when my mom asked if we could all be there, they said yes, of course, although they had to set up an extra table in the entryway for us:
There were a few other tables there with larger families, as well. The staff members were all wonderfully attentive and are so nice. If someone has to be in a nursing home, this is a great one to be in and my grandma enjoys the social aspect as well as the care. It was a little bit difficult for me seeing her there, though--when we visited in January, she was in the assisted living facility next door and had her own room with familiar furniture, etc. Now she shares a room with two other ladies and it definitely feels much more like an "institution." Also, Grandma wasn't entirely sure who we all were and asked several times if the baby was a boy or a girl and what her name was. Every time I answered, though, she did laugh and say that she should be able to remember that name!