In the military life, it’s no small thing when friends and family make the effort to come visit you, so when six people load up and fly to Germany you know you are loved. In 2019 we had BOTH sides of our families do just that! In April, the Hamrick side came for two weeks, just in time for Hayden’s high school graduation. In December, the Hyatt side arrived!
To summarize the entire trip I could use the word: chill. (Notice, this is the word I would pick, though not necessarily what my brother and sister-in-law would pick! Stay tuned to find out why.)
For my part, I got to stay home, sleep in my own bed, skip jet-lag, and take time off my full-time job as homeschooling teacher. I still cooked most nights but those with large families know it’s easier (not to mention cheaper) to cook than go out and making a meal for 13 is no more difficult than for seven.
Here is a fast look at what was a lovely visit filled with sleeping-in, coffee constantly being brewed, and lots of BFF time (Parker and Mason, Anna and Madi.)
The skinny tree was my attempt at putting some decorations in their AirBnB. I brought garland and THE only place to hang it was on the coat rack!
By the time everyone got to our house they were pretty exhausted. They had already been traveling for a week. They had flown overseas, done London together, and then parted ways. Josh, Ashley, and their kids, Mason and Madison, headed to Paris. My parents went to Venice (because they’d already been to Paris and because, well… Venice).
Our local fun included a castle (Hohenzollern), the Rittersport Museum, a Christmas Market (Esslingen), Rittersport Museum, and Rothenburg.
The green sign said to get in, so we did.
The choices at the Rittersport store are staggering so I really wanted to take everyone there. We made purchases that we snacked on throughout the visit, and found a new Christmas Market flavored one we love.
Of all the nights to take my family to the Esslingen Christmas market, I picked the worst. It was the most crowded place I’ve ever been… we had to fight to take turns at any activities, bullishly protect our spot in line to buy dinner, and getting from one place to another in a large group was miserable. I think I ruined Christmas Markets for them!
I had heard about the man-powered Farris wheel in medieval part beforehand and really wanted the kids to do that. All four kids shot arrows, the boys threw axes, and the girls (+ Hayden, for safety reasons) rode the Farris wheel. I wish I had videoed the man and woman who were physically spinning this thing!
My parents’ favorite place in Germany is Rothenburg. They make it a point to stay overnight each time they come. We went down for the day, saw all the things, and then left them there for the full experience. I am mad that I didn’t get a picture with the photographer of our group shot! We ran into the Byers family!!
Christmas Eve service…
The day after Christmas Josh and Ashely took off on a 2nd honeymoon to Italy. While they were seeing all the sites the kids were here having fun with cousins! (This is why I can pick “chill” to describe the visit while they would have pick something more like “whirlwind.”)
We had a blast and I believe the Hyatts went back with fond memories! I know how cool it was for my kids to be able to recognize famous locations in movies and TV after we lived here the first time. Now my kids will have some of those experiences in common with their cousins! Big Ben, Tower of London, Crown Jewels, Mona Lisa, Eiffel Tower… Priceless Christmas experiences all around!
Next time the cousins will see each other should be over the summer… the countdown is on!
PS: My brother officially (and legally) got to drive the Autobahn!