Monthly Archives: August 2013

It’s Ok To Fall

Have you ever had those days, that sometimes turn into weeks, where you are just disappointed or depressed? Lately, it seems like there is this funk, you know I mentioned it here, that I have fallen into and can’t escape. I keep trying new things, attempting to meet new people, I have definitely been writing more, but it is still there. I chatted with a good friend tonight who made me feel better as he always does. M and I have a date night coming up for my birthday, so there is that to be excited about. I have a lot to be thankful for and happy about. And yet, Negative Nelly I remain dependent on others to find happiness.

So I sat down to look at some pictures I took today of my little monster at the park and the walk we took and decided to read a blog I have been meaning to check out. It was exactly what I needed to hear at this moment. It felt like she was speaking to me and it motivated me to not only write this post, but to practice what she is preaching; gratitude. It is so easy to get caught up in what is negative or sad or depressing. It is so easy to turn sometimes into “always”. But I know this is not the person I am and I know I am usually happy, positive, and optimistic. That being said, I am going to try out Erika’s process of abundance and gratitude. I have high hopes it will help me get my groove back (not quite like Stella, but close!).

These photos do a great job of showing what I have to be thankful for:

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And sometimes, our children do a great job at reminding us of the simplest of lessons:

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GRAD-ITUDE 101: A Linkup By Chimerikal

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Hagenbeck Tierpark

A couple of weeks ago, M had to take a trip to Hamburg for work. He was going to have to drive a transporter pulling a trailer in order to pick up the item he needed. He thought it would be a great idea for us all to go despite the 7 hour road trip with a 15 month old. We decided to take the chance as we were excited at the possibility of taking Monster to the Hagenbeck Tierpark.

Hagnebeck Tierpark is a zoo in Stellingen, now a quarter in Hamburg, Germany. The collection began in 1863 with animals that belonged to Carl Hagenbeck Sr. (1810–87), a fishmonger who became an amateur animal collector. The park itself was founded by Carl Hagenbeck Jr. in 1907. It is known for being the first zoo to use open enclosures surrounded by moats, rather than barred cages, to better approximate animals’ natural environments. - Wikipedia

We didn’t know really what to expect by the park, only knowing we read online, that there was both the animal park and an aquarium. We left early, but the trip took longer than expected and after picking up the equipment and checking in to the hotel, we rushed to the park worried it was already closed. Luckily we arrived at 5pm and the park stays open until 7pm. The woman behind the desk explained the options: only the animal park (20 euro), only the aquarium (14 euro) or both (30 euro). Children under 4 are free so we would just be paying the adult ticket price for each of us. We chose both but she then explained it could take 4 hours just to get through the entire animal park and around 3 hours for the aquarium; basically we should pick one. We chose the animal park and were not disappointed! The animals are in such an open environment and some even roam the park on their own! The collection is amazing and my only regret is not having enough time.

In addition to the animals, the park had little cafes, wine/beer stations, candy shops, gifts shops and huge playgrounds for the kids with large and fun equipment. (I meant to get a picture!) You could spend the entire day there, especially if you have older children.  The ticket prices for children ages 4-16 are slightly less than the adult prices and they also have family group prices.

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Not sure you can see it, but she is feeding a baby deer behind the bench.

Not sure you can see it, but she is feeding a baby deer behind the bench.

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I love this picture! I was trying to get the little baby, but instead I got all their backs facing me! Cute!

I love this picture! I was trying to get the little baby, but instead I got all their backs facing me! Cute!

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I ended with my personal favorite picture, of course. :-) I hope you enjoyed the “mini” tour of this amazing animal park in Hamburg, Germany.

*This post was also featured as part of Travel Germany on the Young Germany website.

A Compass Rose

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Monster Momday: Debbie Downer Paradox

Welcome to the second week of Monster Momday. If you were ever wondering why I chose Monday {maybe you think it is because of the alliteration} I’ll tell you. I chose Monday because this is the day most everyone dreads. It’s the beginning of the work week, whether you work outside or inside the home. It’s the end of your weekend, your free time and the beginning of obligations and responsibility. For me, it is the beginning of loneliness and boredom. [Cue the violins and Debbie Downer pity party] M starts his work week today and that leaves me here alone with my little monster.

To be clear, this is how I feel as a woman, as a wife, as a mother and as a person. It is not an indication of how I feel about my son or my husband. They are the brightest lights in my life. This is about only a moment, a glimmer of an insight to some less than happy feelings. bad day

The paradox of this whole situation is that if you changed it to a perfect scenario allowing me to work outside of the home, it wouldn’t change how I feel. I’m not unhappy being a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) and haven’t reached that point where I miss having a career yet. I enjoy spending these precious moments with my son because before too long, they will be gone. I already missed the first year of these sweet times. enjoy mama

I don’t mind keeping house or cooking. I do hate the current phase of toddler eating, but that will be a post for another day. But what I miss is human contact and interaction. I miss connecting with people and having a genuine conversation. I feel isolated.

I don’t think this has so much to do with being a SAHM as it does the combination of being a SAHM AND an expat. Having a toddler doesn’t always provide you with the freedoms necessary to go out and meet new people. I have to schedule my day around when he needs to eat and sleep. Also, M and I are currently sharing one vehicle which is not conducive to allowing me much freedom either. We are working on getting that second car, but until then I’m somewhat limited. I have received invites to meet other expats, but typically they are in City Center and after 8:30 at night. M is on second shift right now, so I would have to find a sitter, which I typically save those requests to actually spend time with M. I want to just go out and explore on my own but so many times, the monster loses his patience. He gets bored and fussy and is ready to be out of his car seat or stroller doing what he wants to do. I can’t blame him. I want to be free too. For another paradox and to continue my circular thinking here, I think I would feel this way in the states as well. Maybe it would not be to this extent if we lived back in Las Vegas where I have my family and friends, but they all have lives. They have moved on since I lived there so many years ago and we are all at different life stages. So again, it still comes down to meeting someone in a similar life stage as myself.

Maybe I am bored and lonely simply because I am a SAHM?? Maybe I am in denial? Oh geeze….that takes me into those “Am I a bad mom” types of questions.I don’t want to go down that path because that too could be a post in itself. Moms these days put way too much pressure on themselves.

Don’t worry, I can see the bigger picture. I know this is temporary. We will have a second car eventually. Monster will start kindergarten next year. I will return to work at some point. I will meet people along the way. I know these things. But they don’t help me on Mondays and they don’t help me in this time period of my life where I feel so alone.

So I leave you with these questions, how do I find things to do with my son with so many limitations? How do I learn about this new place in which I live other than the internet? How do I meet other SAHMs who can relate to how I feel? Is there something I should be doing that I am not? Would love to hear any feedback you may have to help this first time SAHM and maybe get my week on track!

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The Move to America

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It’s A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Can’t you just hear Mr. Rogers now? Or am I dating myself? Either way, it is a beautiful day in my neighborhood! I LOVE where I live and it occurred to me I should join up with the “Lately” link up and share those weekly reasons why my life here is so wonderful. I also think this could be a great way to stay positive and prevent that “expat funk” from setting in as we all know it can sneak up on you!

This is my past Saturday: waking up hearing hot air balloons over my roof {yes, they were so low I could hear them and you could see others in the distance}

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then shopping with my two boys in the beautiful Trier Hauptmarkt….

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Life is all what you make of it and lately, I’ve made it pretty wonderful. Happy Friday!

We Took the Road Less Traveled

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Awarding Wednesday

The more time I spend in this blogging community, the more I learn what a close-knit group of people you begin to work with and even befriend. I started blogging only 5 short months ago and in that time I have met some WONDERFUL people. Along the way, they have decided they have been so deserving of certain “blogger awards”. Previously I have been given the Versatile Blogger Award on two separate occasions (see here and here). versitle-blogger-1

But in the past two weeks I have received some sweet recognition. The recent birthday girl, Bevchen, from Confuzzledom, nominated little ol’ me for the Liebster Award and the ever-so-kind, Amy, from, Creatrice Mondial, selected me for the Versatile Blogger Award. I appreciate it so very much ladies and I am sorry for the delay in responding. As some of you may be aware, I am currently contemplating making the jump over to self-hosted WordPress and this decision is occupying A LOT of the space in my brain.liebster3

So in an effort to be concise and not repetitive, I am going to combine the response for these two awards. The rules for both are similar in that you provide a number of qualities or unique information about yourself, nominate fellow bloggers and respond to questions you received as part of your nomination. So here goes!

ABOUT ME

1. I love butterflies! I love them because of what they symbolize; something so beautiful after going through a huge transformation. A butterfly was my first tattoo.

2. Gerber daisies are my favorite flower.

3. I don’t own a single skirt and don’t think I’ve worn one outside of a work necessity since I was in the 6th grade.

4. I don’t particularly care for chocolate or cheesecake. These are big ones, I know!

5. My guilty pleasure is nachos of any kind….chips & queso, full on nachos, you name it.

6. I can’t parallel park. I live in Europe. This is a critical situation.

7. I think it would be cool to be an auto mechanic. (hope I don’t lose you on that one)

BEVCHEN’S QUESTIONS FOR ME

1. If you could change your first name to anything at all, what would you pick? I love the names Sofie and Emily, which would have been what we have chosen had our son been a girl.

2. Where were you born? Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

3. What is your favourite quote? “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

4. Tea, coffee or hot chocolate? Coffee all the way, every day!

5. If you could own any animal, what would it be? Hmmm…not sure about this one; probably just a simple dog or cat. Right now, apartment living is just not suitable and I miss having a pet.

6. Why did you start blogging? To document our journey, express myself, and hopefully inspire others

7. Who is your favourite author? I haven’t been reading much since the baby, but I used to really enjoy Augusten Burroughs.

8. What is your favourite flavour of crisps (chips for the Americans)? Dill Pickle!

9. Apart from blogs, which website do you spend most time on? Twitter

10. Do you have a talent? If so, what? I think I have a few talents that need some TLC before I could share them ;-) Seriously, though, I think I have some hidden talents that are works in progress such as cooking and writing.

11. What was the last song you listened to? Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke….LOVE THAT SONG!

MY NOMINATIONS

According to the rules, you were to select blogs with less than 200 followers. However, not everyone has this shown and I found it difficult to always be accurate, so I have chosen some great ones who I feel deserve more time in the spotlight. In other words, do yourself a favor and check out these lovely blogs!

Gypsy In The Me

Brit in Bavaria

Tylor in Trier

Allie & The German

Read, Sugar

Co Kerri

American Abroad

The Move to America

For all that I have selected, please feel free to choose either award or not participate at all. It’s up to you! If you decide to, please follow the format and list 5-10 random facts about yourself and nominate other bloggers. I have so many wonderful blogs I follow everyday, but I know I could not choose them all! I look forward to reading your random facts!

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