2014: A Crazy Good Year In Review

Another year has gone by…flown by I should say. I guess when you have big life events, time just seems to coast right on through. I’m ok with that and more importantly I’m really looking forward to 2015 being a pretty low key year. More time for acclimating! 🙂

Before I give myself fully to 2015 I wanted to give a proper salute to 2014 by reviewing my favorite memories of the year! I’ve shared many great times between two different countries and strangely enough…Toblerone and I are feeling a bit homesick for Germany. It’s been fun going back through my blog and looking at all the pictures and reliving the moments! Can’t wait to go back there for Easter!!

Here’s a look back into my favorite memories of 2014!!!

1. Father-in-law’s 60th Bday Party – nothing like having a party for the half the town to celebrate your bday! 🙂

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv6-57=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-8;-7459;239ot1lsi

2. Fasnet in our town – nothing like crazy costumes, drinking, music, and parades to get you in the spirit!!! We are so sad to be missing it this year!

Toblerone is in the red rooster costume :-)

3. Being in two places at once (First trip to Italy) – The absolute most memorable trip (besides my engagement in Ireland!) thus far. What a fantastic country Italy is… and being on the country line between Austria and Italy, I was able to knock off an item on my bucket list!

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv7;49=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2--6438-3-239ot1lsi

4. Hiking in the Alps – I say it every year that I won’t go but I’m glad I went this last time. It was a view worth the exhaustion!

IMG_9702[1]

5. Wedding in August – Cape Cod, pink wedding dress, lobster bake…whats not to love?!

Mattes64

6. Going Away party in Germany – Bittersweet, but a great excuse to wear my drindl and party with the family! It was a warm send-off!

10277801_10154668873630593_2664036994396427145_n

7. Buying our first American home – We were lucky to find it so quickly and seal the deal a week and a half later! BAM!

home

8. Thanksgiving with the family – We loved having Toblerone’s mom and my parents with us on our first hosted Thanksgiving in the US. I just hope we can host many many more!

10384915_10154888529055593_2621778915003588264_n

9. Christmas Market in Chicago – Hands down my FAVORITE city! The Christmas market gave us that little bit of that special German Christmas magic we were missing!

Chi 12

10. New Years bowling with the parents – Great end to the year! We decided last minute to do a little NYE bowling while my baby sis lay sick in bed with some kind of crud. We were home by 10:30 and relaxed while watching the ball drop. Was really low key and I didn’t have a hangover the next day! WIN!

b

2015 has a lot to live up to and I’m hoping it brings a lot of great changes for us! I’ll be taking my Placement test this coming week for school! Can’t believe I’m really going back!!! Of course we still have hopes for a baby just like every year for the past 6 year. Lets see what miracles will happen!

Wishing you all a wonderful start to the new year! Take a moment to reflect on all the wonderful memories that you made and make a plan to make more this year! Travel, meet up with old friends, make goals, make bucket lists, take a cooking class, join a choir! Do something outside of your box. I think you’ll find a great memory just waiting to be made!

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

Happy Birthday, Pauli!

There is just something about Germans and their “fests” that they take very seriously. And when they party…they party well! Of course most of you know that from my Oktoberfest survival. I mean…I’m almost 30 (eek!) and I can barely hang with the rest of them because now I think about the pain I will feel the next day. However, this particular party I let loose and had a great time…and paid for it the next day.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv6-57=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-8;-7459;239ot1lsi

It was the 60th Birthday Party of my father-in-law, Paul. Before I go any further, let me remind you quickly how birthdays work here in Germany. When it’s your birthday you are the one responsible to provide cake or breakfast to your colleagues. As well as host your own “kaffee und kuchen” at your home for your family and friends. Personally, I think thats CRAP. With a capital C-R-A-P.

Us American folks know how to get down on our birthdays! We order people around and expect that the world showers us with gifts and pays for all our drinks when we drink away our past years. Afterall, the best gift is that we were born into this world..so people should clearly thank the heavens for this amazing gift. I still can’t believe that my first birthday here in Germany I actually baked myself a cake and invited people over, German style. NEVER. AGAIN. Just….NO.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv6496=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-8;-94326239ot1lsi

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv7448=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-8;-73484239ot1lsi

In Germany when someone turns 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, or 100…these are big years to celebrate. It was no different for my FIL (father-in-law). He planned a great birthday party in the party hall in his town. There was a lot of planning involved. From the invites, catering menu, decorations, table organization, and the events, he had planned it all perfectly. With a little help of course!

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv9856=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-8;-7347-239ot1lsi

His party was basically a concert. He’s big into music and belongs to three different bands. All three of them played a few songs each. All three bands were different from each other so it was a nice change up between each of them.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv;3-7=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-8;-74579239ot1lsi

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv776-=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-8;-94349239ot1lsi

Inbetween songs was of course dinner but also gifts were presented. Typically, at these parties a group of people say a funny poem, sing a song, or talk about the Birthday boy. At the end he is given a present that usually ties the whole skit together. Makes it a bit more fun!

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv6543=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-8;-7349-239ot1lsi

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv7966=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-8;-9436;239ot1lsi

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv5326=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-8;-7348;239ot1lsi

Approximately 130 people helped celebrate the 60th birthday of my beloved FIL. It was a great turnout and I think a really special time for him. Something he really deserved.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv4783=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-8;-839;3239ot1lsi

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv6425=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-8;-95624239ot1lsi

I stayed and closed up shop with the last of the folks around 5am. I then woke up around 8:30am and cleaned up the mess that was leftover from the night before. And this of course…is the aftermath of no sleep. This 29 year old can NOT hang anymore. 🙂
232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv33--=ot-2346=34-=357=XROQDF-2-8;-839;7239ot1lsi

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

Throwback Thursday – People, It’s My Birthday

Today is my birthday. Holy hell. The past 4 birthdays seem to really bring me back to reality. The truth is as simple as it sounds: I’m not getting any younger. To me, this is terrifying! Like shakin in my boots scared. Where did my life go? Am I where I want to be? Did I do all the things I wanted to do up until this point?

Today I’m 29…Like…whoa…

…and here is a little blurb of me on my 3rd birthday ( I think )

12858_364882485592_2077286_n

Today I had so many wonderful birthday messages through all sorts of different social networks and emails. It kind of makes a girl feel special. So to those of you who wished me a Happy Birthday, I THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Being so far away from what is normal it helps me stay grounded. I forget that living in Germany means that I have to follow their traditions, which is hard since I’ve been celebrating my birthday a different way every year. But I know that next year I will get to celebrate my birthday back in the US next year and it will be amazing!!!! Can. Not. Wait.

So I have one year left in my 20’s. One year as of today to do something great. I’ve got my life bucket list, I have my German bucket list which I am plucking away at but I want something different. Another blogger friend did 30 German towns before she turned 30. That inspired me to want to do something of my own. 30 things before I turn 30. But I need your help and your inspiration to give me ideas. What should I do with myself?! Give me your thoughts!

Here is to another year…correction, another wonderful year full of taking roads that are less traveled and making our own stories. Chapter by chapter.

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxo

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
-Robert Frost

Omi’s 88th Birthday and German Traditions

Back at the end of September ( I realize I’m behind in my blogging! Laptop issues, remember!!), Toblerone’s Omi celebrated her 88th birthday party! All her children and grandchildren went to a restaurant to toast a beer to the milestone.

She got presents, we all got loads of drinks, and ate full meals. It was really nice to be with everyone in one place since its unusual that we are.

I forgot about birthday traditions in Germany until the end of the night when the check came. Omi paid for everyone. Almost 400 Euro!! On HER birthday!!! Then I had a moment and I asked her why she was paying on her big day and she said, “Well I invited all of you and besides, who else will pay?!” She’s sweeter than she knows!

Then I remembered the company I used to work for in the US was German and our German colleagues or bosses would bring in their own cake on their birthdays to celebrate. They would provide drinks and food if they wanted as well. So, it’s the opposite in the US. We expect to be treated like royalty on our special day and in the German culture, they treat everyone else! I think I like the American way better!!

Until next time, Readers!! Xoxoxoxoxoxo

30 Day Blog Challenge – Day 29

Day 29- In this past month, what have you learned

That’s a loaded topic. But I’ll give it a shot in numbered format.

1. To Relax – The Europeans have this down to a science. I was never able to really sit outside and enjoy it. I always had to make sure I had water, sunscreen, towels, a book, music and other such distractions. Now, I throw on my sun screen and just sit there. Taking in the silence and the fact that I don’t have to do ANYTHING for that moment.

2. Stop Stressing – It’s no laughing matter that every time I vacuum and mop the floors, which takes me a good 2 hours, it’s dirty within 5 minutes again. This happens with a dog who sheds and loves to play outside. I used to tell Harley and Toblerone that if they didn’t fly through the house then I would have their heads. One little crumb, hair, or spec of dirt used to boil my blood. Now, I’ve learned that there isn’t so much I can do about it. Just have to keep to a cleaning schedule and let it be.

3. Be Patient – It was never my virtue however after these past 30 days I had hospital duty and care-taker duty, and dog-sitting duty, among all the other things I do. So, I was taking it day by day and trying to help Toblerone heal as quickly as possible (so he could get back to doing some chores…ha, jk!) but patiently. I didn’t get upset easily when I had to take the dog out in pouring rain 8,000 times that day as I felt a cold coming on. I didn’t get upset that every time I went to sit down, I needed to get something else situated. So for 30 days, I’ve been exhausted beyond recognition. But patience served me well and now I have some moments to relax and Toblerone is back on his feet and helping out here and there as much as he can. It’s great!

4. Just Do It – Whenever Harley is around Toblerone’s parents…if he needs to go out, his Opi comes right to the rescue. He gets right up without thinking and takes Harley outside. He doesn’t get upset, doesn’t say, “Yeah maybe later.” He just does it. So, before I used to be too caught up with everything else and the thought of having to take the dog out was difficult for me. Then I realized. It’s not that big of a deal, it just needs to be done! So, I made a game out of it and would watch to see how far we could walk and count the steps. I started to lose weight from this and realized that not only was I just doing what I needed to do, I was doing something for me too!

5. Family Ties  – I learned that not only is my family far away, I feel like they are with me every step of the way. When Toblerone was in surgery I must have emailed my mom a million times just updating. Even though on her side of the world, she wasn’t awake yet, I just felt a sense of calm when I would hit the “Send” button. Eventually I would get an email back and it was with overwhelming delight that I would almost hear the words she wrote as if she was saying them right next to me. The homesickness I feel sometimes isn’t too intense, nothing I can’t handle. I think once in this type of situation, you learn that it isn’t easy but your family doesn’t change. Your life may have been uprooted and twisted 180 degrees but your family remains the same. Crazy and there for you no matter what the circumstance. This is exactly the type of family I want to raise as well.

UPDATE TIME: So my birthday was pretty great! Minus the SLIGHT problem with the “condensed milk” portion of my recipe for my cheesecake! That was almost a disaster. Toblerone told me I was having a party at our house but didn’t tell me who would be coming. He only invited a few which was good. It was hectic! And so so so very hot! 86 and humid. Did I mention that these people don’t have air conditioning???? We had one dinky fan trying to cool us all down. I was still sweating as I went to bed!

Anywho, I had a great time and was so happy to have some people over to eat my chocolate chip cheesecake! Recipe will be up soon! 🙂  We played loads of foosball table games and unfortunately the jacuzzi isn’t up and running just yet. Some electrical stuff needs to be properly set up.

On Facebook I had so many “Happy Birthday” comments. I told myself I would reply to ALL of them. That was crazy. This morning I was still replying back! I would still love more subscribers (as my birthday wish of course) so please subscribe in the upper left hand side under “Sweet Tooth”!! THANKS!!!

Today is a cleaning up day, landscapers are still here and should be done this week! I can’t WAIT to show you people. ANNNNDDDDD….I have GRASS!!!! It’s slowly growing but it’s there! Yesterday Harley went outside and smelled around in his new “pee place” and just laid down. Splat! It’s still mud but the little grass that was there was nice and cool for him. So sweet! Anywho, thanks for reading! Last day of this blog challenge TOMORROW! We’ve made it!!! This post happens to be my 100th post! Whoa….I need to get a life, right?

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

30 Day Blog Challenge – Day 28 (A SPICE BIRTHDAY!!!)

Day 28- A picture of you last year and now, how have you changed since then?

Ha… Perfect topic for today!! Just another reminder, if somehow you forgot, but today is my BIRTHDAY! I could barely sleep. You know that anxious feeling you get the night before your first day of school or a big game? Yeah… That’s me before my birthday. I’m always excited to see how it turns out!

So… As a birthday gift I would LOVE it if you would be sure to subscribe! The option is in the top right under “Sweet Tooth.” All you do is enter in your email, hit the button, confirm the subscription confirmation in your email and voila! You’ll get tasty little bits to your email when I post a new blog! After all, you wouldn’t want to make me cry on my birthday would you?!

So I’ve made it to 5,500 views since starting this beast of a blog in January! Very happy about my small contribution to the blogging world!

Here’s a pic of me this time last year:

Me in Cape Cod for my birthday! This year we couldn’t go so that’s already different!

What has changed? Everything! I was living in the US still, didn’t really think about going to Germany at this point. Was doing well in my job and started a new treatment for my chronic back pain which we think is caused by Endometriosis. Look it up if you don’t know what it is. So the treatment was putting me through menopause basically for 6 months. HELL in other words. I packed on a bunch of pounds that were out of my control, endured heaps of hot flashes, and serious mood swings. lol, I was a peach! At any rate…that was what I was dealing with then and my life was pretty simple!

Now, I’ve moved my whole life to Germany – all my things are here but it still feels empty. I do miss the life I had but I also like the challenge of living here brings. It’s not easy, never is but I get by. I don’t work now which is strange since I’ve been doing that since I was Sfull time. I just have to be. I’m soul searching to figure out where I stand in this new life and where my place is in our small family. It’s struggle but it wouldn’t be fun if it was too easy, right?

What have I learned in the process so far? That living away from your family is NEVER easy…and life goes on for them just as it does for you. You will miss birthdays and anniversaries but it’s not the end of the world. Also that taking life by the horns and testing out the waters across the pond is scary but how many people can say they’ve been able to do this? Not many. I’m so lucky to have this opportunity (again!) and these memories.

I’m wishing you all a great day! This birthday girl is off to start her day. And to find that GIANT spider that found it’s way into our house. I’m sure it’s just waiting to surprise me on my birthday. (I’m talking it’s the size of my palm!)

Update: After I wrote that about the spider…I got up to clean and lo and behold, the beast was hanging out in my sink after I lifted up a pan to wash it! Psycho girl went into effect and gasps for air and loud screams could be heard outside. The landscaping guys were slightly concerned.

Anywho you know how the story goes!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo