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Dec 31, 2011

2011: A Year of Changes

I'm finding it hard to wrap my brain around the fact that 2011 has come to a close. Where has the time gone?! So much has happened this year that I thought I'd do a little recap of the things I found most important to the story of my 2011. {Don't forget to click the links to see various blog posts chronicling the last 10 months!}

 2011 began and I found myself newly jobless. I spent most of January enjoying my time off, entertaining my best girlfriends at our home in VA, and starting up new projects. My blog wasn't up and running then, but it sure was in the works! We were also patiently awaiting orders for our summer PCS. But, the biggest thing that happened that month was D coming home from his 6 month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 
Best. Day. Ever.

This video is a compilation of the photos our lovely photographer Leila Wylie captured of D's homecoming. Still makes me cry.

The end of January also brought the retirement of Flat D...one of the best ideas I'd ever had. D went everywhere I went and did everything I did for 6 months. Never missed a beat. He was the life of the party everywhere we went!

D was finally home, I was happy, and we were adjusting to life back in the same house together. We spent 2 weeks back in North Carolina for D's post-deployment R&R and were still, although rather impatiently now, waiting for orders to Lord knows where. D also spent a week recovering on the couch from PRK eye surgery. Oh and I also officially started blogging! Granted, it was only a test post, but I had to start somewhere!

Here are photos from D's ThanksChristmaBirthday celebration! We threw a big party with both of our families to celebrate each holiday D missed while deployed. My mom kept her Christmas tree up from Thanksgiving through February 10th that year. How epic is that?!

I surprised D with a little "Reintegration Vacation" to Asheville after he returned home. We spent 4 days in an adorable cabin in the mountains. We went to the Biltmore House (pictured below), it snowed, AND I got food poisoning and spent a day and a half sick in bed. Story of my life. We still had a great time, even with my unruly tummy.

The scenery during drinks at the Grove Park Inn. So beautiful!


March was home to one of the biggest surprises of our lives, which you can read about (link above) in one of my first REAL blog posts. This month was basically one big blur after that.

We held a huge yard sale back home in NC in preparation for our big move abroad! Most of this month was spent going to meetings, organizing life, and making big decisions. 

We sold Pearl...and I cried. My family came to VA for the Air Show and one last visit to VA beach before the big move. This month we also attended more meetings, tied up loose ends, and unfortunately lost one of D's friends and co-workers in Afghanistan. Oh...and the first round of MOVERS CAME!

The movers came and went. We spent 5 glorious days in the Langley TLF before saying goodbye to Virginia and heading home to NC for 2 weeks of soaking up the USA and saying
'Auf Wiedersehen' to family and friends. 
On June 23rd, 2011 we left America heading for the land of beer and lederhosen! We spent our last few days of June starting the adjustment to our new life in Germany.

We bought Greta and started exploring more of Germany! Unfortunately, we were also still stuck living in a hotel room on base. The good news was that among exploring Wiesbaden, our new city that month, we were able to find a flat! Hotel living would soon be coming to an end! July was also special because we made new friends and celebrated our 4th year of wedded bliss in Rothenburg ob der Tauber (which I totally forgot to blog about!).

We geared up for a month full of moving into our new flat! Thankfully we were also able to squeeze in a little trip to Heidelberg among all the boxes and unpacking. Towards the middle of August I up and hopped a flight to back to the USA to attend the nuptials of one of my favorite Kansas cousins! D was left here in Germany to start his new job. I know, I'm so mean.

I was stateside enjoying home this entire month. D was lucky enough to have his job send him to Baltimore for a week, so naturally we met up in Washington D.C. on Labor Day weekend. After our sweet vacation in D.C, D went back to Germany (sad face) and I headed back to NC to throw my BFF the best Bachelorette Party in the history of ever!

I spent the first 2 weeks of THE GREATEST MONTH OF THE YEAR stateside (with D) celebrating the wedding of my BFF and her sweet hubby, Jacob! Sadly, soon after the wedding we said goodbye to our families once again and headed back to Germany. Per the usual, the rest of October was spent celebrating my 25th year of life! We took an AH-MAZING trip to London (part 2 can be found here), made our first television debut, and I finally showed off our new flat on the 'ole bloggy blog!

I must say, we're getting pretty good at this "hold the camera 5 inches away from our faces and try to take a normal picture" thing when we travel alone.

The first edition of my German Idiosyncrasies series came to fruition and gave everyone a good laugh (second edition found here). D and I did a lot of sight-seeing this month...a winery on the Rhine River...a pumpkin festival at a castle...and downtown Wiesbaden, our new city. We also celebrated our first Thanksgiving in Germany!

This month was full of holiday cheer and held a lot of firsts for us. First time we've visited France. First time we've ever shoved a 7.5ft Christmas tree into a the trunk of BMW. First time we've visited a German Christmas Market. First snow day in Germany. And the first time we've spent Christmas away from both of our families (well, second time for D...but who's counting).

2011 has been full of big changes, hello's & goodbyes, traveling, and making new memories in a beautiful new country. God has blessed us so richly this year. I can't imagine what blessings 2012 will hold for Team Coté! Happy New Year to those, near and far! Wishing you and yours a healthy and prosperous 2012!! Until next year, yall!

Our First Christmas in Germany: Christmas Day

Our first Christmas Day in Germany, through photos:

Santa left me 6 bottles of my favorite German wines under the tree! Does that jolly guy know me or what?!

Cooking up a DELICIOUS breakfast of real, fattening, center cut bacon, Monkey Bread, and sugar cookie coffee! The smells coming from our kitchen that morning were other worldly. Mmmm.

Eat your heart out Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray! My Monkey Bread was insane. Perfect in every way!

After we enjoyed our breakfast bounty in front of the Yule Log, we opened up gifts from D's family!

Of course, no Christmas would be complete without watching the single greatest Christmas movie in the entire world, White Christmas! We played it while opening gifts. I love me some Bing Crosby.

D was such a happy boy! He got the first 3 seasons of one of his favorite shows, Boy Meets World! This guy can watch hours of Corey and Topanga and not get sick of it. Just one of the many things I love about him. :)

Then it was time to open presents with my family via Skype!

I see you Tucker Bear!! Tuck always gets SO excited when the presents start coming out. He's just like his mommy! Got his nose all up in that bag!

Momma got D and I a little Tucker dog replica. It's solar powered and lights up! Sadly, we've yet to see sun...so it hasn't worked yet. By the way, dontcha just love my Santa hat!? I found in in Strasbourg and just HAD to have it!

I got the most awesome gift ever! A Nikon D5100 DSLR camera, Adobe Photoshop Elements 10, AND a Kelly Moore bag to put it all in! Hubby totally surprised me on this one!

Then D opened one of his big presents from me. This was his reaction:

Yes D, yes it does rock. Moments like that are what gift giving's all about. 

The aftermath...

D and I spent the rest of the in our PJ's on the couch. I love it when we've got not place to be, no one to see, and we can just cuddle up and enjoy each other's company by a glowing Christmas tree. Since we splurged that morning with a super decadent breakfast, we kept it low key for Christmas dinner. I made Baked Club Pinwheels (with the leftover bacon from breakfast) and Caramelized Onion Dip. Both were a home run. I've been on the cooking ball here lately!

For dessert, we dug into these adorable little treats called Mohrenkopf...which I think is the equivalent to a Mallomar in the USA...that we got at the Christmas market in Rüdesheim the day before. They're basically different flavored marshmallows with a waffle cookie bottom and covered in chocolate. The flavor on the far left is Latte Macchiato, the middle was Bailey's Irish Creme, and Zebra (regular marshmallow flavor) on the right. The Bailey's one was the best by far.

Even though Christmas was a little different this year, we still managed to make it wonderful. Now, it's almost time to ring in the new year! Happy Holiday's, everyone!

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