Monday I picked up my little sister who had gotten a ride to Indiana with some friends from her school and we had some nice sister time running a few errands for our mama.
On Tuesday afternoon I headed to one of my favorite coffee shops for coffee and chatting for more than 2 hours with a dear friend whom I hadn't seen since May 2012 before I left for Germany. I love that girl with all my heart and although we had kept in touch via the internet during my time abroad, it was great to sit down and chat face to face. I was so glad to hear about all of the great things going on in her life these days and could tell that she is really really happy and doing what she loves!
Tuesday night Elizabeth, Jimmy, and Logan came over for dinner followed by decorating the Christmas tree. We streamed the Pandora Christmas station and hung all of our favorite ornaments on the tree. It's nice to have a young one around who is still so excited about Christmas. We also got our stockings hung up that night and the house was starting to look pretty festive. It's exciting to think that this time next year little David will be about to celebrate his first Christmas and not too far off from his first birthday! Also, Mario has already been promised his very own "Grandma Barker stocking" for next year when we come back to the States to celebrate the holidays :)
Wednesday morning I took Mackenzie out to breakfast for some more sister time. I also had plans to meet some high school friends and we had a lovely girl's lunch together. It's hard to believe that we're all about to finish university, but it's so exciting to see where we are all headed next! I had my first ever Baby Guinness shot and it was mighty delicious! I mean, how can a shot that is Kahlua and Bailey's not be???
Wednesday evening we went to Thanksgiving Eve service at church followed by a pie social afterwards. It was good to see everyone there and the pie was most delicious! After church we packed up the car and were on our way to Grandma and Grandpa's house.
By the time the actual holiday of Thanksgiving was here, I already felt like I had been on vacation for a loonnnnggg time! I haven't had so many days off from school since the semester began. The morning was spent drinking coffee and chatting with my relatives. It was a full house with 17 people, but that is WAY on the low side by my family's standards. Peter wanted to know where the Germans were who visited him in Michigan :) We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving parade on TV a little, but it was mostly just on in the background. My mama french braided my hair for the first time in many years and we reminisced about the days when I would knock on her bedroom door every morning requesting all varieties of braids and other hairstyles.
The Thanksgiving feast itself was delicious and I was filled to the brim with all of the Thanksgiving classics, accompanied by a nice glass of wine. And of course, we all had to save a little bit of room for pie after dinner!
And just in case we hadn't eaten enough that day, there was cake and ice cream at night to celebrate my uncle's birthday. After that little birthday celebration we decided to hit up some of the sales that were already beginning Thursday night. The only place it was really crowded was Kohl's, but we got some awesome deals there, so it was worth it. Our shopping excursion went pretty late into the night and even included a midnight stop at McDonald's :)
Friday morning we all slept in a bit. Mom and I went to a couple more stores and we got in some more quality time with the cousins before they had to head back to Michigan.
Saturday we were up early to make our way to Bloomington for the Purdue vs. IU football game. Elizabeth and Jimmy even came down for the game! I didn't spend a lot of time watching the game, but was happy to see IU winning for once, especially against their oldest rival.
Sunday it was back to the books to gear up for the last few weeks of classes before Christmas break!!!
I'm thankful for such a fantastic fun week at home with family and friends. I'm thankful for good food and a warm home. I'm thankful for my education and all of the opportunities I have had and continue to have. I'm thankful for God's beautiful creation and how much of it I have been blessed to see and explore. I am thankful for the most loving, caring boyfriend, who has never stopped loving me these past 2+ years, no matter how many miles we are separated by on a given day. And I am thankful that by this time next year I will have been living in Germany for almost six months! There's a lot to look forward to in the coming year!!!