Round the Kettle Ep. 31 Dipping MY Toes Back In

It’s that time again…it’s time for me to talk about how I’m bringing these posts back once again, but this time it’s for real (see last POST dated 4/21 :|). If you don’t know, or are new, Round the Kettle is a biweekly series that I do that I use as a bit of a brain dump of life. It wasn’t intended to stay in blog format, but rather transition into a podcast, but that quite obviously hasn’t happened yet. I keep talking about doing it, about getting the podcast going, but then I get these little thoughts in the back of my mind…what if it sucks, what if no one listens, what if I can’t do it. But then again, are you here? Are you reading this? Am I screaming into a void? Screaming into a void can be quite nice though…A thought for 2022 possibly.

I digress. That’s the beauty of Round the Kettle, you get my pure unfiltered, unadulterated thoughts on a wide variety of things. Quite honestly, I sit down at my desk with a small outline of what I’d like to cover from the previous two weeks, then I type a bunch of stuff, do a basic spell check and hit publish. It’s great. 

I originally had stopped these because we were moving, things were hectic and chaotic and, I finally found a routine with the blog and doing one post a week. That was manageable. Then somethings shifted in the world at large and I really needed to take a step back from everything and breathe in my own headspace. However, things are levelling out now (I say that- back to school is right around the corner and the world is still doing its thing) and I feel like I want to maybe…dip my toe back in. 

First things first, some lighter things to talk about…

Surprisingly, I’ve actually watched quite a bit of TV that I want to talk about. I’m not a massive TV watcher, mostly due to the fact that the TV tends to be monopolized by my husband and children, but also because I tend to prefer reading quite a bit more. However, Netflix has been doing a lot on the docuseries and reality shows that have been working for me and I’ve watched several. 

On the reality side of things, I obviously watched the After the Alter Love is Blind special and I’ve got a couple of quick thoughts: 1) STOP. Stop dragging these people through this, if we want anymore updates, we can see those on their social medias. I basically only watched to see Lauren and Cameron because they’re adorable, but the rest of the cast is full of such toxicity that it just turns into manufactured drama that doesn’t need to play out on a screen in front of us (especially that whole Damian and Gianina situ- so manufactured and edited my goodness). 2) If you want to keep the team of the Love is Blind “phenomenon” (which the first season and reunion WERE), then do a season two of all new people. Let the show continue to move on. Put this first season to bed. 

I also watched the second season of Too Hot to Handle and…oh my word was this next level compared to the first season. I mean, anything really went and they really went with anything. I don’t have much more to say on this one, except that I really rooted for a couple of people and I’m so happy with how it turned out and who is still together post show. 

Finally on the reality side of things, I’ve gotten about halfway through My Unorthodox Life and…I don’t know if I’ll go much further in it. Here’s the thing, I think the show is great at showing Julia’s life and how she has found “herself” and who she wants to be. I LOVE that she advocates that for everyone, that each person needs to find their own way and what they want out of life…BUT (and it’s a massive but) I feel like in some ways she doesn’t allow the same grace to others as she expects to be allowed her. Let me see if I can explain that better…Julia wants to be accepted and acknowledged as a woman who is no longer part of the Orthodox community, she wants to be free to be herself (which we can sit and debate the true realities of different parts of that statement- there are plenty of people already covering that), BUT she is disappointed or makes snide remarks that her children may hold a different view than her. Point in fact, she regularly referenced the fact that her older son still held some facets of orthodoxy (I think both her older daughter and son would be “modern orthodox”, but I’m not sure- I’m not a fan of labels) such as keeping Shabbos and Kosher as disappointing or confusing to her. If you want people to accept what you have decided for your own life, you need to accept what they have decided for their own lives, even if you don’t understand or agree all the time. It got to be a bit too much judgement and hypocrisy (especially with her older daughters marriage- my goodness) that I had to stop watching. And I don’t know if I’ll continue. 

We’ve also been watching Man with a Plan, The Heist, and I’ve watched an episode of Cooking with Paris as well as Shadow and Bone. I’ve been binging on a few YouTube videos and Podcasts- notable ones would be The Morning Toast & Not Skinny but Not Fat on Podcast, Observe, Morgan Long, The Book Leo, and Emmie on YouTube. It’s been kind of an eclectic time and I find myself being drawn mostly to aesthetic styles in my content consumption (outside of TV and Books) rather than specific topics. 

I referenced this earlier, but I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading. I talk about all of the books in my monthly wrap up, but I’m currently reading These Violent Delights, which is a Romeo and Juliet retelling taking place in Shanghai with a supernatural twist. I’m enjoying it quite a bit (I’m a bit of a sucker for a hate/despise to love romance) and while I think it’s good, so far it’s not GREAT, just good (like the difference between a 3 and a 4 star book). I recently finished both Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca (which I don’t even know what to rate or say about) and The Royal Art of Poisoning by Eleanor Herman (which I loved). It’s been a pretty stellar period for reading this August. 

In the real world, it’s been a lot of heartbreak hasn’t it? Devastation from Mother Nature in Haiti, heartbreak in Afghanistan, and a world still very much in flux and fighting over this pandemic situation. Sometimes it feels like we can’t do anything, we see all this destruction and pain and heartbreak and we get paralyzed with the sheer amount of it all. It sits heavy on our soul and we carry it forward with an additional feeling of “what can I even do about this?”. Sometimes its hard not to feel like a small ant in a very big colony, but we can each do SOMETHING. Whether that is sharing links to resources, sharing information with our community, writing our leaders, or simply being the ears and shoulders for someone to share their burden, it all matters. Everything matters, from everyone. I want to say, that while I don’t or can’t always share my personal opinion on certain topics publicly (for a couple reasons that I won’t bring up here), note that I am ALWAYS doing something behind the scenes, something in my community, something in my home. I will always fight for what I believe in and what I feel is right, even if that’s not always a public fight. 

And that wraps this super long, super rambly new episode…there is something just freeing about the fact that I am about to just press publish and walk away. So many of my blog posts are so well thought out, edited down, researched, and worked on over a period of time. And I LOVE them, but I also love this style too. 

Which is your favorite?

Round the Kettle Ep. 30: Back into the Fold

Happy Wednesday! I’m coming at you technically on Tuesday, in my comfiest jeans and a sweatshirt outfit, on a blustery, rainy day. To be honest, as much as I love the sunshine (and its necessity to our lives), my favorite weather is happening right now. I really love when it’s overcast, a soft pitter patter of raindrops hitting the windows and roof, and we are quietly cozied up in our home with books or a movie or a puzzle. That last part is incredibly rare in my home (with 2 boys and a husband it’s rarely ever quiet), but today must have some special powers because it’s happening. I’m upstairs in my office, typing this post up and the boys are downstairs playing an alphabet puzzle/game. This is rare. So, let’s take advantage of it and chat.

How are you doing? Like, really actually doing, not the standard “Things are good” or “I’m fine”. What are some specifics?

Today’s post was originally supposed to be the first in my “welcome to our new home” posts, but I STILL don’t have everything in place for that (dang counter stools). Then it was going to be a blog post about Heidelberg Castle, but…in a moment of full transparency, as much as I loved Heidelberg, Heidelberg Castle, and all of the history, there is SO MUCH history to that castle and my brain is oddly struggling to keep it all straight. So, that’s been tabled for now (maybe even indefinitely) too. Feeling at a bit of a loss for what to write about, I realized I hadn’t really done a casual chatty post in so long, definitely since before we came back to America. 

I work really hard on every blog post that goes up, usually putting a week or two of work in each post. Most of the content is worked, and reworked, and then maybe reworked again. And I love that, but I also like when I just sit down at a computer, type away, then hit publish without thinking twice (except maybe to run it through spell check or grammar checks). In some ways, that feels more vulnerable than a lot of the vulnerable stuff I share. I used to do these types of posts twice a month (if you remember Round the Kettle, there ya go), but they kind of faded away when things got busier, and I was pre planning a lot of posts. Right now though, it seems like the perfect time to bring them back.  

So, gosh, where do I even begin? My blissful peace that I referenced just…3 paragraphs ago has left. Replaced with a high amount of noise that I didn’t know two little boys were capable of making, right in my office (right behind my office chair and desk to be specific). Which is the nature of my days anymore. The boys have handled the transition of coming back to America with a poise that us adults didn’t even have, but they’ve struggled with the transition of Daddy going back to work, school starting back up (though Colton is super pumped about that), and just a general sense of normalcy returning. The minute one parent leaves, they cannot seem to let the other parent out of their sight, which means that they just follow from room to room. If there was any “sign” of what 2020 did to our children (beyond the whole school/social life downfall) it was that when we go to stores now, Andrew just randomly stops and watches in wonderment at EVERYTHING. It’s been that long since he’s been shopping in stores and such. 

Which, let’s talk about that for a minute, because a lot of us are starting to “see a light at the end of the tunnel” these days. While I personally am feeling so good (because it’s VERY different here in America than Germany- so I’m already feeling much more free) about things, I do still have a bit of a cautious feeling too. For all the bad that 2020 was (and it was bad), there was also some good that came out of it. My concern is that we are all going to rush to “getting back to normal” that the lessons and good that came from 2020 are going to be brushed aside. Let’s try not to do that, ok? 

So, normalcy is returning to our house. Colton has gone back to in person schooling two days a week at his new school, and he’s never been a happier little boy.  Andrew is still a bit attached to mommy (and daddy realistically), but he’s also really starting to become a little social butterfly. I swear, that kid will handle all the introductions I would ever need for me- he just runs up to people and starts talking to them. It’s something we are working on. Spring is…springing, which we are learning basically looks like “whatever goes” up here in the northern part of the country. We are supposed to get 5 inches of snow Wednesday, but then it’ll be back in the 50’s/60’s for the weekend before hitting 70’s next week. “Whatever Goes”. 

We are starting to explore our area, to branch out from our neighborhood and see some of the closer small towns. It isn’t anything like full blown traveling, rather little day trips here and there, but they’ve been special in their own ways. It’s nice to explore the area, to learn the history, and to see those little “American Small Towns”. We went to Sackets Harbor this past weekend, walking through the battleground from the War of 1812, learning the history of the battle as it happened, and then wandering through Main Street, stopping in a little bakery, an antique store, and a tea shop for some shopping. It was a lovely day and it felt good to just see something new for the day. 

And that is basically it! I feel like we’ve gotten a pretty good routine going, cleaning, writing, reading, schooling for the kids, socializing, etc. I always talk about feeling settled and the desire for “home”, and I feel like we are at that point. With that, I’ve got some big plans for the rest of this year. I’ve got two projects I’m working on outside of the blog as well as some big reading goals. 

Ok, post writing all this, but I felt like I needed to add a bit more. I wrote this before the verdict came back in the Derek Chauvin trial. I feel like first we need to address the fact that we were all waiting to see what the verdict would be, knowing full well what we all saw and witnessed in the video. The fact that we had to have a trial (instead of him pleading Guilty), and then had to wait for a jury to reach a verdict (what that verdict may have been), says A LOT about our system. But it’s also important to note that this is not justice. This is not something we should be grateful for (though many of us are). This is simply a man being held accountable for his actions. It is not the “sign that our system is changing”. It is not a time to say, ok we did this, we’re good. No, this is a time to keep pushing forward. To keep listening, learning, and fighting for the changes that we want to see, that we need to see. 

Round the Kettle Ep. 29: What A Time…

Man, oh man, what a couple of weeks. What a time we’ve had. I’m writing this on Friday morning after a couple of really tough motherhood weeks, tough mental health weeks, AND the election still hasn’t been decided yet. What a time. 

I’ve been trying to be a bit more open and honest on my social media in regard to the struggles that have been presented the past few weeks in motherhood/parenthood. It’s been rough, not going to lie and sharing that is hard for two reasons…

  1. There is this societal expectation that we are supposed to present the happy family, with the well-behaved children, perfect parenting techniques, a smile at all times, and a thankful/they’re only young for a while mentality. Not only does society place this expectation on us as mothers, but it’s so ingrained that often times we place this expectation on ourselves, and when we are “off” our games, it hits ten times harder in a feeling of overwhelm and failure. 
  2. There is a multi-layered fear of being so “open”. We all know that there are very real problems in our world, and there are levels of “there are worse things”, there is the judgement that comes (as mentioned above) that is much more difficult to navigate online as people tend to be a bit more open with their fingers and keyboards in a way they wouldn’t be with their mouths in person (let’s not dissect that sentence too deeply…please). This is a very valid fear, that is tied to point 1 above.

I know for me personally part of the problem is I’ve always been the “strong one”, the “cheery/positive one”, the person who is there for everyone else, who shoulders others burdens so they can unload. The safe place. And being seen as that, it makes it so much harder to then be “weak”. To be vulnerable and open about when I struggle. 

Further, I come from such a privileged position, that often times my problems in my little corner seem so small in comparison to that of the world’s problems. When I have a rough day, it is nothing in comparison to someone else. I recognize this and it makes me shrink into myself even more. BUT, that’s not healthy and it’s not a way to live. 

I posted the following on my social media and I feel like it perfectly encapsulates everything: 

“Even the strong can grow weary, the stoic can break, and sometimes those falls can be the quietest of all.”

So, I’ve been struggling. I’ve been struggling being a mother, I’ve been struggling to feel like myself, I’ve been struggling to find moments to breathe. Sometimes it has felt like everything has been stacked against me and I’m backed into the corner of “just do what you do to get through it- deal with everything else later”. That’s a very real feeling. That is something that happens so often to people. 

I have been trying to get some solo time, to do a little self-care, to find the little joys. I’ve done my nails. I’ve done yoga, gotten dressed, put makeup on. Little things here and there to remind me of myself. I went for a 6-mile solo walk that included picking up fresh baked goods and tea for the journey, and reminding myself what peace feels like. And that walk? That probably helped the most out of all of it. A couple hours where I had nothing. No decisions to make. No conversation to hold. No children to watch out for. Nothing. While I came home and was semi thrust back into parenting (thankfully my husband had the boys outside on bikes, so I got a bit more peace and then naptime), I still saw the smallest glimpse of the cheery, strong, Mia. 

I’m not saying the walk fixed everything, and that couple hours solved all the problems. In fact, if not careful, those moments can be taken away in a heartbeat (I’ve got a whole rant on this coming…), BUT a few more of those moments in time, a little bit more attention on finding those moments in the everyday, and it’ll add up.  

On a cheerier note…

I’ve started planning out the big one, the big holiday, dare I say it? Christmas. I’m one of those people who likes to be way ahead of the bandwagon and I usually have a “plan” for gifts by end of October, with everything purchased in the beginning of November. That’s great! How organized! Except then I’ll wait until Christmas Eve to wrap them…so win some, lose some I suppose.  Anyways, all that to say, I’ve got all of the boys presents mapped out this year, as well as a couple of friends. I always feel really organized and ahead of the curve, BUT it makes the wait time till Christmas excruciating. I’m not good at surprises or keeping things to myself. I love to see the reactions, the excitement, the massive grins and squeals of joy, so having all of this stuff just sat in my house waiting is torture. 

Are you an early planner or a wait till the last-minute shopper? 

Finally, I’ve done a fair bit of computer work the past few days. A lot of computer admin, clearing out older photos and files, exporting everything to hard drives, freeing up space both on the computer and on my phone. A lot of writing, sorting through information, planning out posts. I’ve found that maybe I have a bit more to say about certain things than I thought I did…so here lies a question for you. 

What do YOU want to see more of? What questions do you have? What is something you want to hear more about? Let me know. 

Round The Kettle Ep. 28: An Anniversary

October 18, 2014. A day that marked the next step in our lives. The day we pledged ourselves to each other. In sickness and health, for richer or poorer, as long as we both shall live. And now here we are. 6 years, 2 kids, 1 domestic and 1 international move, and countless adventures later. Still as madly in love as we were the first day we met. 

I remember the day that I met my husband. It’s funny because looking back…oof there could have been so many things to be wary of, but for us it worked. We had been chatting for a little while, but finally getting the chance to meet in person. It was a gray, drizzly day and our original plan was to go for a hike together, but the rain wasn’t clearing so we had dinner instead (then the rain cleared, we went for a hike, and it was all very romantic and cheesy- I’ll spare you). 

I remember the first time he told me he loved me. It’s funny because of my response. Walking home from a friend’s house and he just stopped us in the middle of a bridge. He says, “I love you” and me? I say, “Are you serious?”, followed by “I love you too”. I was in such a state of shock that my brain, heart, and mouth completely stopped communicating with each other. 

I remember the day he proposed to me. It’s also funny because it also happened to be the day I snapped at him about dropping hints but not following through (ya’ll- it had been MONTHS of teasing about proposing…I was over the teasing ha-ha). I remember him being extra paranoid about the weather (rain and gray skies again- starting to see a theme). We hiked up to a natural bridge and he got down on one knee. I remember the flurry of butterflies, the choked-up feeling of saying yes, the thrill of sharing our happiest news. 

I remember the day we got married. Gray skies again, which seemed to bode well for us, but a beautiful Autumn day, nonetheless. I had never been happier (and I think the same could be said for him). The entire day was spent as if in a dream and a feeling of such joy and love I thought I would burst. I remember the little details about the day that most would forget, they are implanted in my mind. I remember the feeling of my hands in his, the feeling of sliding the rings on, lighting the candle, and being introduced as Mr. & Mrs. And, since the funny bits still seem to follow us, I remember my husband spending the entire morning of our wedding day in the woods hunting, while the girls and I were in the hotel room watching Harry Potter and getting our hair and makeup done. 

I never truly expected where our life would take us, that we would be celebrating this anniversary in Germany, drinking alcohol we purchased in Italy, watching our two little boys play and grow and learn. I love this man more than I did all those years ago, and I know that love will continue to grow and change as the years continue. I love the family and life that we have created for ourselves. And, most importantly, I can’t wait to see what is next for us, for our family, for our lives together. 

Round the Kettle Ep. 27: CAtching Up

Hey! Hello! Long time no chat! 2020 has been a year (as we all can attest to at this point) and I’ve been shifting things around throughout all aspects of life. However, that means this little catch up post I like to do twice a month has kind of “check in”, how are things style, has slipped from my radar. And maybe that was wrong, because I think right now is when we need this type of thing the most. However, that is all changing now and I am back to doing these chatty posts twice a month. I’ve changed my posting schedule ever so slightly, only posting once a week on Wednesdays in the hopes that that will be a bit better all around.

So, how are you? How are you really?

I’m OK. In the grand scheme of things, things are good. Colton is in school (in person, with masks and mask breaks) and loving it, Andrew and I have a good little one on one time while he is at school, doing school or walking or independent play, I’ve been reading, and we’ve been traveling. Things seem, in a way, back to normal. However, there are also moments of melancholy, moments of burn out, moments where it just feels like an endless cycle of “run on empty”. I’m trying to focus on making the most out of these last months of 2020, even when it seems like sometimes everything is falling down around us. 

Let’s be honest, things are a bit of a mess right now. 2020 has been quite the year and I’m sure there is more to come. I can only encourage you to look ahead, to look above, to try and find the bright little moments, and to make sure, above all else, that you are taking care of yourself in whatever way that looks like for you. I think 2020 has shown us the power, and resiliency, of human beings. We’ve been tested in so many ways and it’s been a real show to see how we react, respond, and handle everything going on in the world. 

So, what have I been up to? Apart from traveling (safely following our strict regulations), I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading, a lot of walking, and have even watched some new shows and films! We recently watched Wild Wild Country on Netflix, which was insane, but good to watch. We also finished our re watch (start to finish) of Big Bang Theory on Netflix and started Brooklyn Nine Nine as our next comedy. I watched the Enola Holmes film with a close friend and loved every minute of it. I also, much like everyone else, watched Selling Sunset (and peaked at Carole Baskin on Dancing With The Stars- oof). In terms of reading, a few stand out favorite books from the past month or two have been Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson (I just finished this- might be my favorite Sanderson yet), Born A Crime by Trevor Noah, and The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. 

What have you been up to???

Finally, I have a bit of a hairbrained idea that I’m thinking about…

When I am doing research for blog posts, I often times have “extra” information that doesn’t make the cut for the post (for many different reasons). I also gleam tidbits of information with podcasts, internet, and reading. All of this random information I get just chills in my brain waiting for a moment that I can share it. I was kind of thinking about doing a post maybe the last Friday of the month with just a list of bullet points of the random tidbits that I find interesting that I’ve learned throughout the month. Would this be something you would be interested in? Let me know because this are things that I would like to share, but don’t know if you would be interested in reading…

And that is all for this Sunday Afternoon. I hope that you are holding your head up (at least somewhat) and doing alright. 

Round the Kettle Ep. 26: Home Again

Hello! Long-ish time no blog. It’s been a nice little breathing point; I’ve been able to focus on our traveling and some much-needed family moments. It’s funny as this blog is my hobby. It’s my outlet. It’s like my library- my little corner in this great big world. And it’s a lot of work. It’s something that I love to do, that I feel a responsibility with, and that also takes up a lot of my brain space. I love it, but I get worn out from time to time. It’s not just sitting down at the computer, typing up some words, and then pressing publish (although it has been and can be that at times- especially these Round the Kettle posts). I try to put thought and information into each post I publish, I try to make it cohesive, and try to correct my grammar throughout each post. A break is a good thing every once in a while, to let my brain pause and let new ideas come. 

So, what did I do with my break? We took a little summer holiday. I spoke about our decision to start traveling HERE and originally that was limited to within Germany (where we live). However, we got a last minute “OK” to travel to some other countries (this is a longer story and maybe I’ll talk about it sometime…) and we jumped at the opportunity. We took a little under 2 weeks and explored areas of Luxembourg, France, and Belgium. 

I’ll be honest…it was glorious. Yes, we were overly precautious with masks, hand sanitizer, and washing our hands, but we also got to see places without the bulk of tourists. While there are positives and negatives to tourism and seeing tourist hotspots with all of the tourists, I won’t deny that walking through parts of Paris without a million other people was incredible. I will have blog posts and tip posts for every location, but it was a really great time overall. I didn’t know how much I truly missed (and needed) travel until we started traveling again. It was like something clicked back into place in my soul and I realized just how important that is. 

We do not have any immediate plans to travel again (beyond our German borders), as work schedules will start to pick back up again, school will start at some point in some way, and we are still carefully evaluating locations based on numbers (and approval). We have hopes though that late fall will have us planning another trip as well as sometime in the holiday season. 

Finally, now that I am starting to work through blog posts and content I wanted to give a little insight as to what you can expect coming up on the blog…

To start off I am going to be doing a little post about what the actual travel and Covid restrictions were like. What we noticed, what we practiced, and just what that was like. If you have any questions, please let me know and I’ll try to address them in that post. I will say- I cannot advise plane travel as we drove. 

Then, much like every other holiday, I will have blog posts on each city we went to, along with the tips/tricks posts, and a couple of castle posts (as we visited a couple of those). I’ve got a lot of thoughts and opinions to share on this particular trip so I’m looking forward to compiling those together. 

I will also have my standard reading wrap up post coming up at the end of this month/beginning of the next, a chatty post about the upcoming school year, AND hopefully a big announcement towards the end of next month (August/September time frame). 

All of this kicks off on Wednesday with my experience traveling in this new unprecedented time. 

How have you been? Have you started to see things open up near you?

Round the Kettle Ep. 20: A Life that Seems Like a Vacation

I’ll be completely honest- I’m writing this on a Friday when I’d rather be reading, snacking on some super healthy snacks called tortilla chips, and hoping for the day to end soon. Ironically, today is the first day that I am feeling like a human again after a rough couple of days. I’ve been dealing with a migraine for the past few days, and while I have been able to manage most of my migraines, this particular one is not one that I can easily prevent.

Thankfully the kids have actually been relatively well behaved over the past week since I’ve been dealing with this migraine and have been going solo with Robert being away. They’ve been like charming little angels, which has been a nice reprieve. I’m hoping that maybe we’ve crossed an imaginary bridge into a different phase of their little lives. One that is calmer, maybe?

I want to talk about something today that I have been seeing and experiencing a little bit recently. I actually spoke about this with a friend earlier today during our children’s playdate and I found that we had pretty similar experiences and thoughts on the subject. I briefly spoke about this on Social Media, but am going to expand now.

We currently live in Europe and have lived here for about 9 months now. Just saying that still feels so surreal I can’t even describe that feeling. We are so blessed and are taking advantage of the time that we have here to do a fair amount of traveling and learn about the culture here.  We love it here, truly, and have made a home out of our house and neighborhood. We’ve made friends, the boys have such a great social life, and we plan on starting up with sports come Spring. We are creating a life for ourselves for the next few years, a semi-permanent existence.

We travel a fair bit over here, trying to do some sort of trip a couple times a month (no more than that though- it’s exhausting, more on that in an upcoming post). Our traveling is what works for us, we travel more than some, less than others.

Honestly, we live a life that almost seems like a vacation.

We always share the good sides, the happy moments, and all the travel that it often seems to paint a picture of pure bliss and constant travels. I have gotten swept up in sharing that as that is what so many want to see. They want to live a life through you since you’ve gotten this incredible opportunity and I won’t begrudge anyone of that.

Here’s the thing though, we are building a life here. We have a home here. My husband works here. Our life is not just one big happy vacation. Sometimes it is weeks and weeks at home, having playdates, reading books, writing posts. Sometimes it is trips to castles, to other beautiful countries, to festivals we had never even dreamed about. Our travels are a dream come true and yet a struggle with two toddlers (because even the most easy-going kids have their moments). We have bad days that aren’t just magically solved because we are in Europe, in fact some struggles are unique to actually being IN Europe. I try to show the good and the bad, what we like and don’t like, and what we’ve learned, but understand that I get swept up in showing only the good just like anyone else. It’s not just a long vacation, even though sometimes it can feel like it, this is our life here.

With that being said, the past couple weeks have been down weeks. We spent the week doing normal things, playgroup, playdates, coffees…laundry and cleaning. I dealt with a migraine. Robert was away for work. Just everyday life. Is it more exciting with a European backdrop? Yes, it certainly can be. Little things can be big adventures that you wouldn’t be able to experience in the states. But we also still have bad times and we don’t get to not feel bad about those bad days just because we are living in Europe. We aren’t able to just spend all our days here traveling and that’s not reasonable at this stage of our life. With two toddlers, traveling presents its own unique travels. And we have pretty easy-going traveling boys.

So, that’s where we are at now. Just a little side tangent. How are you doing? How is your Sunday going?

Round the Kettle Ep 19 – Turning Home

Oh boy. When I originally started this little feature, it was meant to be every other week (at least twice a month) and as I went to go check what episode number it is I realized it’s been a whole month since we have had one! To be fair- it’s been an exciting, busy, in some ways exhausting month. I’ve gone from festival to festival, trip to trip, day to day activities without stopping.

We’ve gone from adventure to adventure and are now, as the title suggests, turning home for a few weeks.

But first, how are you? Are you enjoying the Autumnal weather and colors? Has Autumn even started to creep in where you live?

I’m sat here at our Dining Room table typing away (not in my office for once) and as I look up and out the windows I can see the storm brewing for a rainy afternoon, the bright orange and yellows of the trees across the field, and leaves dancing through the air when the breeze hits just right. It’s pure bliss for me.

I’m falling even deeper in love with Autumn here. It’s like the area comes alive with festivals, colors, a lightness, and warmth (even though most days it’s a wet chilly and rainy). Our days are full of off and on rain, with little bursts of sunshine peppered throughout and the trees have put out a full show like I don’t see this early on. I’m looking forward to seeing what a quiet rest of October feels like- just soaking in the changes around us.

The past month we’ve managed to travel over to Austria for the Almabtrieb (HERE), to a spectacular light show that everyone is STILL talking about (HERE), experience what a small town festival feels like (HERE), experience Germany/German Culture at its finest with Oktoberfest (HERE), take a little river ferry to a nearby Abbey, and finally cross a few castle’s off of our list (blog posts to come).

I’ve been trying to breathe in those little pockets of time in between, but we are all eager to get a chance to just breathe at home. To be able to put our feet up for a little while.

I say all this now, but in a week or two I’ll probably catch the travel bug all over again. Living in Europe we’ve really managed to catch that travel bug, trying to turn any free moment into a chance to explore, to head out on a new adventure. Luckily we’ve managed to figure out how to make it work for us so we don’t feel this burnout all the time (we can go a few weeks of off and on before we need a little longer break), but, in the sake of honesty, that travel burnout is a THING and it is something that surprised us in a way. I’ll talk more about that soon, but wanted to mention it now.

Have you caught the Travel bug before? Done any good traveling? What was your favorite destination?

I’ve also started to look towards the end of the year. We are in the last 3 months of this year (let alone the last 3 months of this decade- way to put pressure on that) and I’ve been evaluating the year, evaluating the last couple of years, and just taking stock. So many things have changed, so many have stayed the same. I think it’s always a good idea to take a little bit of time towards the end of the year and just look back. Look at what is working, what isn’t working, what you want to change. I try to do this before the proper end of the year as the last couple weeks of December just tend to blur together anyways ha-ha.

So, that’s the basic gist of this post. We are looking forward to a little quiet time at home after the past few weeks. The boys have really hit their stride here with friends and activities and I think I have too. I feel like I’ve got a good circle around me and things are really going well. I know this post has been a bit…all over and maybe a bit different, but it’s just where my head is at on this Thursday afternoon.

How about for you?

Round the Kettle Ep 18 – Autumn is Here

It may be 76 degrees F when I am posting this, but I am calling it…Autumn is here and it’s here to stay. Aside from this random, almost “hot” day, we’ve had upper 60’s, some days grey some days sunny, both with that crisp morning air. I’ve started seriously switching my wardrobe around to be full of sweaters instead of tanks and you can just feel the changing season all around.

Autumn is MY season and I’m not just saying that to be basic or anything like that. I’ve always found comfort in the changing leaves, the weather shifting cooler, and the return of cozy long sweaters. There’s that feeling of comfort, of cozyness, of staying in that just really resonates deep in my soul. To top that off, I am looking forward to spending this Autumn (and the next couple) in the German countryside. Our area is already breathtaking, I can only imagine seeing the landscape painted with the reds, yellows, and oranges of the changing leaves. Seeing that Autumn sun peak through the trees on our drives. I cannot wait.

Are you getting any doses of Autumn?

Other than the dream of Autumn, we’ve been all about getting out of our house, getting involved in some of the local events, hanging out with friends and neighbors, and making some exciting purchases. We spent last weekend doing all things German Fest season- getting our dirndl and lederhosen, spending some time at our little town festival, and figuring out Oktoberfest (still haven’t figured that out haha). We followed that up with a Lazy Day at Home, which was the perfect combination.

We’ve been spending most of our weeks either out of the house, or hosting playdates. The boys have found their “friends” (like at that age everyone is a friend, but they definitely have their “best friends” that they play with regularly) and thankfully I’ve found some friends with the moms. It’s been good all around and it’s been really nice to have the freedom to our days. I know I’ve talked about that before, but it’s just been so good for our entire family.

We don’t really have too many plans for the rest of the month, my husband’s schedule picks back up for a little while here so we will be putting our noses down and just trying to get things done and keep some sense of normal. We do have a couple of day trips planned to semi local events around us that we are going to go to with friends to keep us busy, but overall it’s going to be another homey bit of time for us.

How are things with you? How has the start of your September been?

Round The Kettle Ep. 16: A July and August Debrief

Oh, hi there! Long time, no speak…

How are you? I’ll be honest, it feels a little weird doing this this way, but I couldn’t just jump right back into normal blog posts without doing something else. That felt much weirder. How did July treat you? It’s a little crazy to think that it is now August 2019. I feel like our time is just flying by and there really isn’t any stopping it. It doesn’t help that we’ve just been a busy storm over here.

I figured that I would take this Round the Kettle as a way to sort of…organize my thoughts. Let you in on a little background of what has happened and what will be happening and just kind of have a chance for us to catch up properly. That ok? I hope so 🙂

So, July, whew what a month! In our area and my husband’s job, July tends to be a mass holiday time period with everyone going on holiday throughout the month (to different spots and times obviously). To be honest, we only truly started taking summer holidays a couple years back, we used to just save the time off days up for winter holiday and take a month-long December/January time period. But, once we started the summer holiday, we haven’t really been able to stop.

One of the benefits to living overseas is being able to do a lot of foreign travel. It’s not “cheap”, but it also isn’t expensive (as compared to traveling to Europe from the States). We are definitely changing our budget around to accommodate our travel and are very happy and willing to do that. But, I digress… It’s been really fun to watch where all of our friends have been traveling to as there is such a variety to the trips here. I’ve seen people go to France, Croatia, Italy, Prague, and then our very own trip over to England and Scotland.

Did you go anywhere in July? Any Summer Holidays?

I’m going to be completely honest; I have no idea how I’m going to be breaking down our travel into reasonable blog posts. We saw so much. We did so much. We experienced and learned more than I could even imagine. And I have SO MUCH TO SHARE. It’s something that I’m actually really struggling with in a weird way. I think I’m going to do a breakdown of our trip in this post, and then go from there, although after the breakdown if you have any idea’s, please let me know!

So, our summer trip. To say that England and Scotland were a dream holiday for me would be putting it very mildly. I’ve been dreaming of a chance to visit these countries for a long time. I’m a huge Anglophile, a huge reader, and the Highlands of Scotland have always held a sacred place in my heart (now a much bigger much more sacred place). When hubs agreed to the trip, I could not wait!

We did a total of 14 days away as follows: Day 1 and 2 travel, stopping in Calais for the night, stopping in Dover, Kent, England and then arriving in London, England early evening of Day 2. We did the Eurotunnel to cross the channel both going to and coming from. Day 3- 5 were in London, Day 6 we headed up to Edinburgh Scotland. Day 7-8 in Edinburgh, Day 9 headed up to Inverness with a stop at Balmoral Castle. We spent Day 10-11 in Inverness/Black Isle and then used days 12-14 to come back home with a few pit stops in Bastogne and Luxembourg.

Over all the trip was absolutely perfect, we would have preferred to have one more day in Inverness, but more on those specifics in all of my numerous travel related blog posts coming up.

Now, looking forward, August is going to be equally busy, but more in the home sense.

I’ve got to finish up putting our house together for starters. All that’s really left are the “final touches”, but those can be a bit of a pain to get just right. I do plan on sharing some of the things from our house, but, again, more on that later in the month.

I’m going to be participating in a readathon for the entire month, with a goal of reading 9 books by the end of the month. Which means I’ve spent the past week trying to get everything sorted so that when August 1 came, I didn’t have nearly as much on my plate and could focus mostly on reading.

To top all of that, my husband is now going into his busy time at work. He will be in and out for the majority of the next couple of months which means that everything is going to be double what it is normally. It also means that everything that can go wrong probably will and we are just going to have a fun time on this ride called life.

So, overall that’s where I’m at. Tell me, how was your July? Are you ready for it to be August? Before too much longer the temps will start to fall and Autumn will be upon us. Are you excited? I sure am.