1st Quarter 2019- Favorite Things

Good morning! It is April!! I can’t believe that we are already a quarter of the way through 2019, boggles my mind. I like to think of the year in quarters, in both evaluating my own goals, looking at business/blogging posts and such, as well as in just a general sense. I feel like tracking every month is a bit much for me, but I can’t not check in with myself and others at all, so quarterly is my happy place. I do an overview for what my intentions are for the year, how I’m achcieving (or not achieving) what I want, how my writing and posting are going, as well as how my reading is doing. I look atour family finances, what we’ve done as a family, our activities, etc.

This morning I am going to talk about some of my favorite things from the First Quarter of the year. This ranges far and wide from food and drinks to clothing and accessories, to movies, music, and TV Shows. I will try and include a variety of items and things that I talk about from quarter to quarter.

Clothing/Accessories:

IMG_0265.jpgIf you follow me on Social Media you know that I’ve been pretty much living in sweaters over the past couple of weeks. We are starting to get to that middle ground where it isn’t quite spring yet and winter still has it’s moments. I really like sweaters in general, but especially on those days where it may be a bit chilly when you leave in the morning, but warms up as the day goes on. I’ve been loving this particular sweater as it includes one of my intentions for this year and is the perfect warmth/lightness ratio.

Of course, we cannot forget the new slipper socks that I’ve fallen in love with. The coziest slippers I’ve worn (aside from my Uggs), these have been pretty much on my feet during the day when we are in the apartment. I can’t find the exact pair that I have, but THESE cabin socks are also a really good option!

IMG_9585I also picked up a new handbag of sorts. I’ll be talking about this more in my travel favorites, but I’ve been eyeing a new backpack/handbag for our little short travels. I wanted something that felt more…not diaper bag and all of my nicer bags are packed away in a shipping container with the rest of our household goods. Enter this Michael Kors backpack. It’s been a back/shoulder saver and I really love it!

Multi Media (Music/TV/Podcasts/Movies):

IMG_6705.PNGMusic is such an important part of our days and lives. I use it to calm down, to get pepped up, to have dance parties with our boys. We listen to just about anything, although lately I’ve been gravitating to Alternative and Classical. I’ve been really loving listening to Charlie Cunningham of late. Something about his music is just really calming and comforting right now. I’ve also been loving Billie Ellish, The 1975, and Imaginary Future. If you know of any good Alternative artists, please comment them down below because I would love for some new music to listen to!
IMG_6706As for TV, I quite honestly don’t even know what my favorite is anymore. In January A Discovery of Witches came out on Sundance Now and Shudder and I binged those 8 episodes about 3 times before we left the states. I am OBSESSED with the trilogy and am equally OBSESSED with the TV Show. It was really well done in terms of Book to TV adaptations. They are going to be doing a series 2 and 3, so I’m looking forward to those as well as to getting the first one on DVD whenever that can happen.

The only movies we’ve watched lately are animated ones on Netflix for the boys and with those I can’t think of one truly memorable one…

Books:

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I’ve decided to make books it’s own category because reading is such a big part of me and who I am. I didn’t just want to lump it in with something else. So, it gets its own time JLet’s see, I’ve done a lot of reading over the past couple of months, but a few standout favorites are Us Against You by Frederik Backman, Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield, and Educated by Tara Westover. I also really enjoyed An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekannen. I’m looking forward to the reading plans I have for the next few months, more non fiction and memoirs alongside my standard adult fiction and mystery/thriller selections.

Food/Drink:

Let me start by saying the food here is absolutely delicious. I don’t think I’ve had something that was bad yet! I’m not going to touch on all of the food that I’ve been eating (stay tuned for the potential of a later post), but rather talk about some of the snacks that I’ve really liked over the past few months. This is going to probably be the most unhealthiest couple paragraphs you will ever read from me, but I figured why not share the yummy stuff.

First off, for travel I LOVE Kind Bars. These are healthy, filling options and even my picky toddler will eat a bar or two. IMG_6707.jpgOnce we got here, we feasted on the local candy options- which have been plentiful. I’ve been loving the Milka Oreo Bars, and the Cadbury chocolate eggs. We also found a chocolate mint filled stick, Choceur Mint Deluxe Chocolate Sticks, that we’ve absolutely loved.

As for drinks, we are just going to keep up the unhealthy options and I am going to talk about a soda. Now, I try to only drink soda a couple times a month, but I’ve had this particular soda a couple of times already and have loved it! I still love my regular Coca-Cola, but this one is just as good. It’s a mix soda that goes by many names, Mezzo Mix, Spezzi, Cola mix just to name a few. It’s basically Coca Cola mixed with Orange Fanta (or rather just Orange Soda) and it is delicious.

Now that all that crap food talk is over…

Beauty:

I don’t know if I will always have a beauty category because, let’s be real for a minute, beauty is only partially my thing. I know enough to put myself together and to keep my skin clear and not much more than that. I’m also forever behind the curve so there’s that too. My favorite this month is the perfect example of that…I’ve been loving the Too Faced Chocolate Bar eye shadow palette. It has the perfect amount of colors and the shadows are the creamiest. There have only been maybe one or two shadows that I’ve had an issue with in the palette, so I’m pretty pleased with it.

Other Random Bits:

I am going to share a couple of other travel and kid related favorites here in the Other category. The first being car seat carriers for travel. These carriers saved both our car seats and our sanity of trying to transport car seats from the car to the check in gate to baggage claim back to the check in gate. The next item I am going to talk about are the Vtech laptop computers. These have been great for our boys to a)sit calmly for a little while at the same time and b) be learning in a developmentally appropriate way. They don’t get a lot of time on them, but they’ve been so great for our older son to work on mastering his words and letters.

IMG_9313.jpgAnd finally, since I can’t seem to get through a post without mentioning mugs, I picked up a couple mugs over the first quarter of the year, and I’ve been loving this floral find that I got in a little tea shop. It is the perfect size and has the perfect hand hold. The floral design is minimal enough for my tastes and perfect for the spring weather ahead (and the cold winter days we just dealt with).

That’s all I’ve got for my 1st Quarter Favorites! What are some of the things that you are loving and have been loving lately?

 

 

 

 

Friday Morning Cups – Thoughts on History

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“Each of us today is shaping the background history of tomorrow”.

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I don’t really talk politics on here (and I’m not about to start so don’t worry), but I felt that this was too important not to share. I saw this quote at Dachau Concentration Camp and it just really…said something that I’ve wanted to say for a while, in fact tried to say for a while, but much better than I can. 

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This was placed at the start of the exhibit. The exhibit, of course, details the rise of Nazism, Hitler, hysteria, etc, but it also goes a little further back than that. It goes back far enough to give you a much clearer view of what ACTUALLY happened. Not just the xyz gloss over that we all know. This quote was placed at the very beginning. 

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“Each of us today is shaping the background history of tomorrow”. Repeat that. Over and over and over again. 

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This should not just be applied on a global scale, but on a community one, a familial one, an individual one. Take this- recognize these words, understand the meaning and connotation that they carry. ▫️

We can ALL do better. What background history are you shaping?

March In Travel

Good morning! We have reached the end of March, say what?!, and it is time to recap our travel over the past Month! It has been a month of exploration for us, both “close to home” and a long weekend away. All of it exiting and full of new adventures!

The first weekend we ventured out to a semi nearby town called Amberg. I think that at this time this is probably my favorite city that is near us. It is just so quaint and has the perfect combinations of olde world and modern, crowded but still quiet with cobblestone lined streets and little shops and bakeries. There is so much to just explore by walking through the streets and a wide variety of shops to be found. We spent a lovely day here.

The next weekend we decided to stick to somewhere that we already ventured to for two reasons: 1) We needed to pick up some things and knew that it had the stores we needed and 2) It gave us a chance to experience the train system. The train system is really user friendly here and is fairly straightforward when you are making those easy commuter trips. We boarded and road for about 30-40 minutes in to Regensburg. Didn’t have to worry about finding parking, paying for parking, or navigating in and out of the city. Once we were done with our shopping and exploring (because we did still head over to a couple spots we hadn’t been to yet) we simply boarded the train back home.

The third weekend in March (St. Patricks Day weekend), we headed to Berlin for the weekend! I’ve already done a whole post breaking our trip down to inredible detail, chock full of pictures that you can read HERE and I’ll be do a recommendation/tips post in the next couple weeks for Berlin. I won’t touch on it too much, but I really loved this trip. It was a last minute decision and whirlwind 72 hours, but it was so much FUN. I think this is the way to travel and I can’t wait to do more of it in the coming years.

This past weekend we made a very important, but very difficult visit to Dachau Concentration Camp. I am not going to go into too much of it here as I have a full blog post prepared to post about it, but I’ll just say this-No words. There are no words.

We do have plans for the upcoming weekend, but I don’t know how they will all end up working out. Whatever we do end up doing I will share over on IG/Facebook, and will try to remember to include in my April Travel Wrap Up.

Time to Stop Reflecting and Start Doing

I feel like when we are in a rut or having a tough time, we tend to focus on where we are at. What is going on with ourselves. Why are we in this rut. What has caused this tough time. In fact, I feel like this is something that we do a lot in general. There is A LOT of self reflection going on in our world these days. Reflecting on who we are, how we’ve gotten where we are at, what we want to do, the list goes on and on.

While I am not opposed to a little self reflection and spending time sorting ourselves and our feelings out, I feel like I am starting to see a bit of a problem. The problem where we spend to much time reflecting and not enough (or really any) time DOING. A lot of times we will sit in our thoughts and feelings and try to work through all of our problems and we forget that to work through our problems we have to…well WORK THROUGH our problems.

Thinking can only get us so far. Doing is the next step. And sometimes, sometimes we over think when we should just jump.

Now, I don’t mean let’s just throw rational thought and decision making out the window. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t think things through at all and I’m not saying that we should never reflect on who we are, what we are doing and how we are living.

What I am saying is that there is a time and place. There is a moment that we should reflect, but there is also a moment where we need to stop.

If we are constantly searching for who we are, constantly looking within ourselves that does not leave anything left to experience. It does not leave space for us to explore and truly find ourselves in other situations, in other instances, in other people. There is a whole world out there and we need to go experience it. For we do not truly know who we are until we have lived our lives.

I do not mean to get all personal development-y/serious/meditative here, but this is something that I am seeing more and more of and it is aggravating.

We don’t all need to always be trying to find ourselves. I’m not saying that growth and change do not occur, we are ALWAYS growing and changing (you can see my many blog posts on this), but 90% of this time that growth comes from new experiences, new situations, new people. Only about 10% of our personal growth comes from self reflection. (These are not scientific numbers or study results or anything like that, just my own opinion)

All this to say, that self reflection is good and is something that we all should do from time to time, but it is not something that needs to be taking over our lives. Self Reflection should not be stopping you from living life to the fullest. Make sure that you are not constantly looking inward and trying to find yourself. Sometimes we can only find ourselves by living life.

 

Round the Kettle Ep 10: An Unplanned Reality Check?

How are you? How have the past couple weeks treated you?

We’ve been…keeping busy over here to put it lightly. But, I’ll be completely honest with you, I don’t really know what else to share about the past couple weeks that I haven’t already talked about in previous blog posts. You can read about our Berlin trip HERE and catch my most recent Friday Morning Cups post HERE. These two posts kind of sum up the biggest bits from the past couple weeks.

No, today I want to talk about something completely different than what I thought I would be. I thought I would be touching on what we’ve learned from travelling with two toddlers, our must haves, and just general thoughts, but I just don’t feel like talking about that right now. I may do a full blog post on this later on, but I wanted to go back to something that I heard a couple weeks ago.

There is a lot of conversation around where we are at. The area that we are, the goods, the bads, work schedules, lack of work, etc. I hear both ends of the spectrum, the love, the hate, the ambivalent. I’ve tried to see different perspectives on each situation and conversation I’ve been in and have tried to be understanding to others, as we are all going through different things in life and that affects how we handle things. I know this is all very vague- I’m sorry!

BUT honestly, I feel that we all need a bit of a reality check. Maybe a couple…bear with me for a minute as Reality Check 1 is one that applies to my specific situation, Reality Check 2 is the one that applies to life as a whole. Honestly I’ve been seeing some negativity going around, and not only just here where I am at, but across Social Media as well.

Reality Check #1: How many people would dream to have the opportunity that we have?

Yes, it may not be ideal all the time. There may be times where we miss family, where we miss some of the amenities that we have grown accustomed to and sure there may be times when we just want our family to be together (to be honest, when the work schedule is free it is free, when it is booked, it is booked solid), but we are in Europe. I NEVER dreamed in my wildest dreams that this dream I had held on to for so many years would actually get to come true. Even if Europe was not a dream of yours, it is an absolutely incredible opportunity. Travel here is so much easier and accessible. The number of things to do, history to see, places to go is endless.

Also- this could apply to anyone, not just myself. Think about the good in your life, think about the opportunities that you have been blessed with. I guarantee you there are some. We’ve all been blessed, some more so than others, yes, but we’ve all had some blessings.

Reality Check #2: Your Life and Your situation is what YOU make of it.

Here’s the big life altering piece of advice that is coming in this Round the Kettle…We get one life to live and WE get to choose how to live it. Yes, sometimes there are situations out of our control, yes sometimes there are hiccups, but WE get to choose how we respond to those situations, we get to choose what options we make and where we go from there. If you go into a situation thinking of all the things that could go wrong, thinking of all the negatives, you are setting yourself up to be miserable and to fail. If you go into a situation thinking of the positives, the doors that can open everything changes.

Now, none of this is new or anything like that, but I can’t help but remind myself of this all the time. There are always positives and negatives to any situation, but it is what we choose to focus on that determines our outcome/life/lifestyle/attitude/whatever you want to call it.

Ok, I’m getting off my soapbox now. I just get so aggravated when I see the constant negativity. I know that life isn’t all sunshine and daisies, hell I had a moment this week where I got annoyed because we were in a little hotel instead of our home and we didn’t have all the toys for the kids, and I didn’t have access to some things, yada yada yada. Yea, I had a moment, I GET it. I just don’t dwell in it. I don’t focus on it. I will share about the frustration sparingly, because as much as I believe in sharing the good AND the bad, the moment you let it fester- the moment you give it more than the initial frustration- is the moment it starts to take over. So, I’ll share every once in a while and in sharing, I’ll put a little reminder at the end that the situation is what we make of it. While life isn’t always perfect and things aren’t always happy, that doesn’t mean it can’t be.

If you only take one thing away from me/my blog/my life it is that our attitude, our thought process, our mind controls 75% of our life and outcome.

What do you think? This Round the Kettle went completely sideways from my initial intention and honestly this whole post should either be scrapped or a totally separate post, but I am keeping it as it is. Round the Kettle isn’t intended to be like my regular blog posts, rather just a catch-up chit chat style post. This is just something that I’ve been chatting with others about and has been weighing heavily on me over the past week or so. I wanted to share and chat about it because it is something that even I need to be reminded of from time to time.

In other, more light and fun news, I am taking a couple steps forward in turning this into a proper Podcast! I am doing some research, learning how things work, what is best to do, reading, etc. I hope that I can get things really up and going shortly after we get a house (which we still have no clue on haha).

 

 

Berlin – A Long Weekend

Good morning! This morning I am going to talk {A LOT} about our recent long weekend trip to Berlin. My husband had his first 4-day weekend through is work and we felt as if it would be remiss to not go SOMEWHERE for the weekend. We debated between going to Berlin and Munich and Berlin ended up winning (obviously…). We did this a little bit last minute (although we have a bucket list of places to choose from, as well as a breakdown of potential amounts of time that we would need to feel comfortable traveling those places), but we booked the hotel and such only a few days before we actually left. I won’t go on too much longer as I have A LOT to tell you. I’ll be doing a whole “Things We Learned” post separately, so this will just be what we saw/did…which is still A LOT.

I will say, it is currently mid-March. This means rain, cloud cover, occasional snow and 40-50Farenheit temperatures. We had planned for this to happen and while the weather didn’t impede us from doing what we wanted to do, it is definitely a factor.

We left for Berlin early Friday morning and had decided to drive there, but then park the car and rely on public transport while we were actually there. It’s about a 4.5-5 hr drive for us (including stops) and that was a decent distance for both us and the kids. They were able to be occupied for most of the drive by everything outside and they napped for a little bit. It was a pretty easy drive, just a hop on the autobahn and away we went.

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My husband had done a bit of Expedia shopping around and settled on the Kastanienhof Hotel. This was such an incredible hotel to stay at. A little on the pricey end, but it’s also Berlin, so it could be a more inexpensive option. We got a “suite” option which had a separate little bedroom set up for the boys that we could close the doors on at night for sleeping. We had a good-sized bathroom and a little minibar set up. The best part is the hotel is right next to a pick-up point for the Streetcar, so it works perfectly.

We spent Friday afternoon/evening at the Berlin Wall Memorial. This is a notorious spot in the wall, which bisected an apartment building, park, and was one of the original crossing points, the wall has portions that are still intact and portions that were picked at when it “came down”. This is a running theme throughout quite a bit of Berlin. There are portions of the wall still up in a quite a few areas, both museum/historical and just regular spots. Across the street from the tower/wall you can head in to the Documentation Center and up to the overlook. The overlook gives you a good look from above at what the wall was like. There is an exterior and interior portion, with a tower in the middle.

IMG_5373.jpgOnce we finished there, we headed out for dinner at a local hole in the wall barbecue joint, Chicago Williams BBQ (which was delicious) and then back to the hotel for some sleep. I will say- just on this first day we had walked just over 2.5 miles, and this was our “light day” (we walked a total of around 20 miles through the whole weekend and I don’t know how many flights of stairs).

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The next morning, we woke up somewhat early after a night of…”sleep”…amongst the city sounds of Streetcars, Bikes and regular cars outside our window. I am not opposed or even mad about this, it was just something that we had to spend that first night adjusting to. Saturday morning, we decided to head over to another hole in the wall restaurant, this time a bakery for a quick breakfast before heading out for a day of exploring. We had lofty plans for the day and even the forecasted rain wasn’t going to stop us.

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We started at Checkpoint Charlie. Checkpoint Charlie is probably about the only crossing point you’ve really heard about in terms of crossing at the Berlin Wall. It has seen demonstrations, stand offs, escape attempts and was demolished in a full formal ceremony. Now they have the building for the checkpoint where you can take pictures (they even have a couple actors that you can pay to take pictures with) and a full museum across the street. The museum covers a brief history of the wall, but focuses mostly on different escape attempts, including vehicles and such that were actually used, and people that are closely tied to the Berlin Wall. This was a must see on our list.

The second must see on our list was the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe/Holocaust Memorial. I had heard about what walking through this memorial was like and let me say, words cannot begin to describe it. The site is filled with concrete slabs of varying height and there is an underground area that lists out the names of the murdered Jews of the Holocaust. It has a cold, sobering almost inhuman affect as you walk through it. It feels like a cemetery, but the slabs do not have any notations (like tombstones would) which I think adds to the sobering affect. It can be a bit overwhelming when you think about the actual facts and numbers, but this is one of the most well-done memorials I feel.

Since we were in the area (and needed a bit of an uplifting view), we headed over to one of the biggest tourist spots in Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate. It certainly did not let us down as we fought around people, street performers, and cars to take a look. It was totally worth the fight. From there we decided to walk down the road a little bit and take a look at The Soviet War Memorial. This commemorates the Soviet soldiers who fought and died at the Battle of Berlin in Spring 1945. You can walk through the memorial and into the Tiergarten on the other side. With the Tiergarten you can walk the paths and head over to the Reichstag Building Deutscher Bundesta- Plenarbareich Reichstagsgebaude). This building has a long and storied history of being built, fires, wars, divided country and reunification. It currently houses the Parliament of Germany and if you would like to tour the inside, you will need to purchase a pass/ticket and go through background, etc. Think of it along the lines of The US Capital or White House. It is an official government building.

 

1231152903949824964_IMG_0581.jpgThe last place we stopped at on Sunday was the Fernsehturm Building (or the TV Tower). Built in the 60’s and at 368 meters, this is the tallest structure in Germany, and it serves a couple of purposes. It serves as the location for TV and Radio, but also has a viewing platform at 203 meters up and a restaurant at 207 meters up.

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We picked the very wrong day/time to go up to the observation deck as the fog was coming in just before we went up, but we still enjoyed a decent view. The longest part of the timeline was waiting to go up. We finished the day with dinner at a restaurant right near our hotel and then headed almost straight to bed afterwards.

Sunday started out as a beautiful day. We wanted to make the most of the sunshine, so we headed out early for breakfast and then planned to go over to the East Side Gallery. For breakfast my husband had found this little bakery on Trip Advisor that he decided we needed to go to.

Called Zeit Fur Brot it had the most delicious variety of Cinnamon Rolls I’ve ever had. They are huge, heaping with both icing and cinnamon, but not too sugary sweet, baked right there in the shop fresh throughout the morning (you can watch them do this as well which is really cool). This is hands down a MUST stop place (in fact my husband went and got them to go on Monday morning for us).

After a delicious breakfast we hopped on the underground (and then a bus) and headed to see the East Side Gallery. This is a mile-long portion of the wall that has been painted by various artists. It showcases artists from around the world and some of the paintings are quite moving.

It was so beautiful and truly showed how you can take something that is such a horrid piece of a history and turn it into something good. The way this has been repurposed is wonderful. It also sits right on the water and once we were done walking (and while we were trying to figure out our next stop) we sat and watched the water, the birds, and the storm come in. It was so relaxing and a nice little moment.

Noting the incoming rain storm, we decided to head over to a museum, this time The Topography of Terror which (I think) is the only museum dedicated entirely to World War 2. The landscape has both Berlin Wall remnants AND WW2 building remnants which was very interesting to see. This site was where the most important institutions of the Nazi’s were located. It served as the headquarters of the Gestapo, the Leadership and Security Service, and the Reich Security Main Office. The museum goes through the specifics of the command and people that were involved in these offices as well as facts about the Nazi rise to power, their actions, and their downfall. You can walk through portions of the build site on the outside.

7297860356480843521_IMG_0542Our second to last stop we made on Sunday was to the Berlin Victory Column. This is actually not the original spot of this particular monument; the Nazi’s had moved it from its original location to where it now stands. At 66 Meters (almost 67) the open-air viewing platform is dizzying, not to mention the thin circular stairs that you climb to get to the platform itself.

 

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From the platform you can see all across Berlin and we got a much clearer view of the city. There is also a lower platform (much much lower) that gives a nice all-around view as well. As terrified as I am of heights (and the almost panic attack I had on the tiny platform), I really think that this is a spot to visit! The view was unforgettably beautiful even on a cloudy day.

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We stopped over at the Berlin Cathedral to take a peak. I really enjoy seeing cathedrals, with their massive domes and bells that ring every hour. We weren’t able to go in due to a service starting and dinner rapidly approaching, but we were in awe of what we did see.

-3894708180345114520_IMG_0604.jpgOur final morning in Berlin we decided to make a last-minute decision and head to one of the animal attractions that Berlin boasts of. We figured this one would be solely for the kids (although we got a lot out of it too) and it would be a good energy release before the long drive back home. We didn’t go to the Berlin Zoo, rather we opted for Tierpark. We had several reasons for this, I think this one is the bigger more spread out option and it took us out of the city a little bit. We picked the right spot.

Let me be clear, we spent 3 hours here and didn’t even see a fraction of the animals that they have. Not only do they have a large {mostly} open air zoo, it also serves as a park, and they currently have several baby animals. We saw so much mother/baby animal bonding going on it was too much for my momma heart to take! I can’t even begin to tell you how incredible the little bit of time we spent here was. Not only do I highly recommend it, but I would caution you to budget a whole day for it.

That about sums up our Berlin Weekend!I know this was a LONG post, but we just did so much, and I wanted to share some information about each of the spots that we went to. I’ll be sharing my own recommendations and tips in a separate post coming soon. I also have a video up on Facebook that shows some clips of our travels. I hope you enjoyed seeing Berlin through our eyes.-1279016770161338670_IMG_0552

Hotel Living With Two Toddlers

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about something that I’ve referenced before, but felt deserved it’s own blog post and that is living in a hotel with two {very active} toddlers.

One of the things that we knew ahead of our move was that we were going to be in a hotel for quite some time. This wasn’t a breaker for us, just something that we tried to prepare for ahead of time as best we can. Knowledge is power and preparation is key for this type of situation. We weren’t really able to prepare the boys though and honestly we didn’t know what we were actually walking into with our room set up.

I’ll start by saying that we are lucky. At this point we actually have a little one bedroom/one bath apartment style set up, with separate living room and bedroom areas. This allows us to have our own “space” separate from everything else when we need a little breather (which does happen). I don’t want to trivialize what this has been like at this point, but I do feel like it is important to acknowledge that we have had a better option than some of the other families.

We have two very active, very loud little boys. They love to run, wrestle, and create as much noise as possible. We’ve never had a problem with this and have generally let them explore and create and play as they want to (realistically, within reason so no one gets hurt or anything). They thrive on being able to have the room to run in circles or sing a song or heck, even just play with their own toys.

We packed several of their toys in their luggage and have purchased a couple of items, but the vast majority of their toys are still in transit with the rest of our household goods and we wont get any of them until we get a house. So they get a little bored playing with the same games and toys (which I realize may make them sound incredibly spoiled which they are not, but boredom is a factor at times here).

I think the hardest thing for the boys has been that they can’t just play as they please. We are trying very hard to keep our noise level down as best we can (considering we are at the top floor of our little building) and while I know that at times kids will just kids and others will be understanding, I also want to be understanding towards them. I know that not everyone wants to hear the pitter patter (or elephant thuds) of feet across their ceiling during the day. When they will, I encourage the boys to sit and draw/color, read a book (sort of), or watch a movie/tv show that they like to watch. They do get to wander around and be active, just in a quieter way.

The biggest help has been getting out as much as we can. We try to leave the apartment 3-4 weekdays in the mornings, whether its just going to a café or shops or going to a play group, and then we are out and about on the weekends. I try to leave one day to have a cosy day at home just to break up all the out and about stuff and to give them a bit of a break. I find that by doing this, they aren’t as “hyped up” on the days that we are in the hotel apartment and are more likely to take it easy.

Our boys are quite resilient and aside from a few rough days here and there have been doing remarkably well, but it’s not all sunshine and daisies. They do fight (A LOT), we do run into issues of noise (although most of that is just us being extra aware that we share walls) and sleep and there have been a couple of moments that we have just needed a little 10 minute break. I’m not going to lie and say that I haven’t just wanted to scream at moments. It hasn’t been “easy”, but with everything that we are experiencing, the memories that we are making, and this opportunity that we’ve been given has made it all worthwhile.