Monday, April 9, 2012

Our First Ever Easter Away from Home

It's been almost two year since we've called Pittsburgh our physical home, although it's remained our home in our hearts.  Being away, we've made every effort to be home for any holiday we could.  There were some, especially when we were in South Carolina, that we just couldn't make it up because it took a day to drive each way.  Even though we missed some minor holidays, we never missed a Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter.  This year, we had no choice but to miss Easter and that really made me sad.  There were no pictures with the Easter bunny for Brady and no family gathering to attend.  I brought only a few small gifts for Brady from home and didn't bring his basket, mainly due to it being too fragile to ship.  Without the family surrounding us, Easter seemed like it would feel like any ordinary day.

During our time here, I'd heard of some toys that were not available back in the States, and I wanted Brady to have them. That made them perfect to supplement the few things I'd brought for Brady to receive from the Easter bunny.

 What the Easter Bunny brought, waiting for Brady by the door.

When we opened the accordion doors and let Brady in, he went for the bike first.  This is a special bike that is very common in Europe.  It has no pedals, so the kids have to balance and push with their feet.  I've heard that this helps them not need training wheels later because they've already learned how to balance on two wheels.  Brady is so active, so this would be a perfect gift for him and to have forever as a reminder of our time in Germany.

 He's so used to his stationary bike, that he hopped right on.  It's a little too high for him, but by next spring it'll be the perfect size.  The seat is adjustable, so even when he's bigger, he can still use it.

 Next, he went for the pre-made basket I'd bought at the grocery store.  He's learned the word "candy" in the past month or so and knew there were goodies inside.

 So excited for a chocolate bunny.

 A big chocolate egg.  I know the candy looks huge, but everything here is hollow, so it's not as much chocolate as you might think.

 When he got to a smaller egg, he decided he was going to open it and eat it immediately ;)

 Oooh, a wrapped present.  I wonder what it could be.

 A Bosch tool set! Awesome!  Bosch sells both tool toys and kitchen toys here in Germany and they don't in the States, so this was something we had to buy to bring home.

Once we said they were tools, he started saying "tool" every time he picked one up.

 He had to open it right away.

 The last few gifts were the ones I'd brought from home.  Shown above is a daily planner, that you put the days of the week, month, year, weather, etc. on each day with velcro pieces.  The teacher in me couldn't resist a learning opportunity.  He also got a small children's Bible that is seen in a few pictures here and there.

 There are also velcro pieces about what activity you're going to do that day.  Surprise, surprise, he found one in the shape of car that said, "Go to grandma's."

 Then he wanted to drive the velcro car around.

When we first found out we were coming to Germany, my godmother, my Aunt Rosemarie, called me and wanted to know which area of Germany we'd be in.  When I told her Stuttgart, she mentioned that our German (originally Austrian) cousins were living not too far.  My dad's first cousins are eldery, but their children and grandchildren are closer to my dad's and my age.  The granddaughter of my dad's cousin is actually attending university in Stuttgart.  My Aunt Rosemarie passed on their contact info and we got to meet not too long after we moved here.  Her name is Eva (pronounced Ava in Germany), and her mom, Ingrid is my dad's cousin's daughter.  Eva and I got together a few times in Stuttgart.

I got an email from Eva a few weeks ago, inviting us to Easter lunch (dinner in Germany) with her family.  They live near Augsburg, which is about an hour west of Munich and an hour and forty minutes east of Stuttgart.  We graciously accepted and were excited to meet more of our family.  Our families have exchanged Christmas cards over the years and my dad is the only one who's met them, when he came over to Germany before I was born. We got to meet Ava's parents, Ingrid and Joseph, for the first time yesterday, and they got to meet us and Brady.  Eva hadn't met Andy before since we usually got together during the day.  We had a very nice meal and lots of great conversation.  They gave Brady some Easter candy and let us have a Gotchee (the place where our family is from) cookbook, so we can keep our culture alive (my Oma still cooks the ethnic food for us).  We had a really nice time with them and certainly hope to keep in contact with them once we've gone home.

 After a full day, Brady passed out on the car ride home.

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