Moving – A Real-Life Moment

Being totally honest- I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t really know what I am saying. I am just free writing this in the hope that something will stick. Maybe I’ll come back in a little bit and edit it, maybe I’ll just let it post exactly as it is. We shall see…

A little caveat before we get into my rambling- this is not the post I had originally anticipated posting. This week I had a quarterly favorites post (which will be up on Wednesday) and then was going to do another installment in the Utterly Ridiculous Short Stories of My Life about our HHG delivery. HOWEVER, my brain is fried and quite honestly, every time I look at the partially written short story I just crack a little more. I want to be able to do these posts justice and share good content so instead of giving you a half ass short story, I am going to just blabber for a minute about how I’m actually feeling. I hope this isn’t an issue for anyone.

So, if you haven’t been following along…never mind that – If you are reading this post, you are probably well aware of our move. If you follow me on Social Media you are even more aware of it as I think I’ve mentioned the words “our move” more than anything else…I wish I was kidding,

It’s safe to say that I am very excited about our move. Brief breakdown (just skip two sentences if you don’t want to hear this bit for the umpteenth time), we moved to Germany in February of this year. We’ve been living in a hotel apartment up until a little shy of a week ago. Moving to Europe has been a dream come true and I can say without a doubt that within the first week or two we (as a family) had the overwhelming sense of home. It just feels really good to be here.

More than that, our neighborhood is one of the really good ones in our area. We have had the most welcoming and happy neighbors (on both the American and German side) and our house is perfect for us. The boys have been able to have all of their toys back and they have a large yard to go run laps…err energy off in.

And now? Well now my brain is absolutely fried. My body is exhausted. And I still feel the stress and anxiousness of “things to be done”. I am one of those people that, when moving, has to do it all right then. I don’t take breaks very often in the unpacking/settling in process, preferring to just go, go, go until it is all done. That is a) not a very healthy mindset, and b) not something that is really possible with two kids.

**Side note, but relevant- I am also one of those people who can’t slow down/rest while there is a mess or clutter. It’s all got to be cleaned up and put away before I feel like I can sit down.***

My goal by the end of the first week was to have the house 75-80% completed. I would say as of writing this post (Sunday afternoon), we are at around 60%. No big deal. We’ve got most of the main floor done, minus décor/final touches, and we’ve got pretty much all of the second floor done, again, minus décor/final touches. In some ways I’m feeling really good about where things stand this afternoon. In fact, as I am sitting here, cataloging the rooms in our house, I am getting a little relieved at how much has actually been done.

BUT I know that the moment I walk all the way down the stairs, down to the basement, I’ll be feeling a different type of way. It’s the one area of the house that hasn’t really been touched. In one way it’s because it is a lot of the décor stuff, which we aren’t doing until the end, but also because it is where the things that we don’t know what they are, or don’t know where to put them, go. It’s the stomping ground for everything that doesn’t have an “official” spot yet. And it has quickly devolved into a catastrophe. It’s a catastrophe that is going to be handled this week.

All of the above to say that moving has been the most incredible, exhausting, exciting thing ever. It’s been fun to basically design the interior of our new home, to feel all of the good vibes flowing through our house (this may sound a little out there depending on how you think, but I truly just feel like this house has such a good feeling to it, felt it when we walked through the first time, when we got our keys and off and on throughout the unpacking), but it’s also been absolutely exhausting on both a physical and mental level.

In all the heyday of moving and the excitement of our new home, being in a foreign country, traveling all over, we forget that moving is HARD. There is a lot going on, a lot of sorting, of unpacking, of setting things up. And while I’ve been so excited to set everything up, to find the right spot for all of our furniture (and nick knacks and artwork when that time comes), I’m also sitting here, almost a week in wondering what the hell has happened over the past week.

I know it’s a phase. I know it’s coming to an end. I know we’ve been able to accomplish so much in the short few days we’ve been here. And I know, at the end of this it will feel so good to just be settled and be able to go on vacation and relax. But first we have to get to that point. One cup at a time (which I am brewing a plenty of cups).

It’s the first of July and even though we are not done unpacking, I am hopeful that we are past the worst of it, that we can have this first day of a new month serve as a fresh start. That we can start getting our actual routine back. That I can breathe and start finalizing the little details for our trip this month. I’m feeling positive. Basically: That light at the end of the move tunnel is shining really bright.

So, there’s my current status. I don’t really know if this has made any sense at all. If you’ve moved recently, let me know how it went for you! Also, let me know if you are a go, go, go kind of person or a take the needed breaks kind of person.

A Cuppa Cosy Heads International – A Home of Our Own

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This picture pretty much summarizes my feelings today 🙂

Today is THE DAY. The day that we finally get the keys to our home. The day that our move to Germany becomes really real. The day that we can start to truly feel settled and home in our area.

If you haven’t been following along with our adventures, earlier this year we embarked on an international move from America to Germany. We’ve spent close to 4 ½ months in the hotel at this point, and have been without our “home comforts” (aka all of our stuff…) 5 ½ months. We’ve been incredibly lucky with our hotel situation, being in a hotel apartment (basically a 1 bedroom apartment) and being able to travel at every opportunity.

*You can read all those posts HERE, HERE, and HERE.*

Overall, our hotel time hasn’t not been that bad. We’ve had a couple rough spots here and there, but, as with anything else, it is all about your attitude. We’ve been able to stay positive and look at all the good things about our time in the hotel and that has helped us…not want to go crazy in such a small space with our things.

Even though it has been a positive experience, I’m very happy to be leaving. We got the opportunity about a month ago to walk through our house and get an idea of floor plans, location, and just a sense of what we were working with. Since that point it’s been very much a time of just wanting to be in our house for us and for the boys. Our older son, Colton, asks just about everyday if we are going to the house and they are ready to have the room to stretch their legs (not to mention finally get all of their toys).

Honestly, for me I am just looking forward to getting our new home set up, arranging everything just so, and getting that “finally settled” feeling. I am looking forward to cooking full, healthy meals and on the cooler days baking. I’ve been missing being able to clean the way I want to clean, and having the space to have a good full morning routine. I’ve missed late evenings on our couch, with an evening cuppa, and a show on tv/book in my hand.

So, today is our big day. All of our household items start coming in tomorrow and the next day, and we will be spending the next week (or so) getting everything set up and settled. We are on a bit of a time crunch due to travel, but I’m also just one of those people who just does everything right then and there (can’t rest until it is all set up and done). I CAN’T WAIT.

There will be one final post in this series, once the dust has finally settled to wrap up all of our experiences/ give tips for folks who are looking at the same type of move.

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.

Travel Trips – Traveling with Toddlers

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Keeping those smiles strong!

Good morning! I figured this morning I would take a minute to talk about some of the things that I’ve learned over the past month about traveling with toddlers. If you’re new, we recently moved from the US to Germany, which included a total of 53 hours of travel (by the time we checked into our hotel) and I learned a lot. Some things I had already known would be a “thing” (rather they are kind of common sense), but others kind of took me by surprise.

Tip #1: Don’t lost your boarding pass, but don’t panic if you do. The most common sense tip on my list and the one that might not even matter anymore. This tip might actually be obsolete now in the commercial travel world with technology and smart phones becoming so much more a part of everything, but if you are given a paper boarding pass try your best to hold on to it. You can read all about my fun time losing mine HERE.

Tip #2: When packing your carryon bags, pack appropriately for TSA. When we packed up our carryon bags, we packed them with the knowledge of what we would need to take out per TSA regulations. Liquids in a plastic back in the outside pocket. Electronics right on the inside flap of the carryon (we dressed accordingly as well, but this is more natural than you think). Once we arrived at the gate we repacked our carryon bags to what we wanted while we were flying. By doing this, we not only saved a bunch of time in the TSA line, but we it actually made for a much smoother transition from the line, to the screening, to the gate.

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Andrew using his favorite bear as a pillow.

Tip #3: If you have a child (and are on an overnight flight), pack the blanket and stuffed animal they reach for the most. Another common sense tip, but one of the most valuable one’s I’m offering. We did not put our children into pajamas, and I didn’t really find it necessary (although it may be for some) but having the blankets and stuffed animals helped so much. Not only does it get cold on the planes, so the blankets are good for warmth, but it’s a comfort thing. I know I like to have a little bit of comfort and I figured kids would definitely appreciate it. Plus, it’s a good extra toy to have.

Tip #4: All About Food. Ok, so here are my thoughts on food (I’ll try to keep them short, straightforward, and to the point)…I packed a couple of things, snacks for the first flight for the kids and then purchased a couple of snacks and dinner at the airport. I know that the airport is going to charge more for food and won’t have as healthy of a selection, but the portion size for my children is a lot better and it means I’m not carrying a whole bag just devoted to food. If you are doing an overnight flight (especially if it is military), make sure you purchase extra because where you are going may not have a food option within reason. We found this out the hard way when we landed in Germany. Thankful for the little USO desk!

IMG_1256Tip #5: Car seat Carrier.If you have young children, you know all about the fun that is car seats. Now, you can certainly carry the car seat on the plane and have your children strapped into it (that is the safer thing to do), but we did not do that. We gate checked our car seats and the children each had their own seat on the plane. This worked for us, but even before gate checking, we were concerned about the damage that could be done to our car seats. The last time we gate checked baby gear it was broken in transit and with us needing the car seats shortly after landing I was especially concerned that they not be damaged. Enter a car seat carrier. We purchased two and spent I think about $70-$80 total and they were more than worth that price. They had some points where the bag was dirty and the bottom of one showed a decent amount of wear & tear, but it was the bag, not the car seat itself. They both arrived completely intact with no damage. It also made it boat loads easier to transport the car seats both to the first ticket counter and from baggage claim to the second ticket counter.

Tip #5: For Military Specifically.If you are in the military, check out your USO. A lot of times they are before security, so definitely keep that in mind, but often times they will have snacks, comfy seats, and an enclosed space for kids to stretch their legs. The USO at Baltimore is especially nice, although it can get packed fast. We spent a little over an hour and a half out the USO just relaxing and letting the kids play. It definitely made a difference for us.

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This wasn’t even everything, but it made getting from claim to ticket counter much easier!

Tip #6: Another Military Move Specific Tip.If you are needing to transport all of your luggage from one place to another (and let’s be honest even if you are just unloading a vehicle or transferring flights we’ve all had to do it), do yourself a favor and pay for the luggage carousel. It may be a hassle getting all your luggage to magically balance (and they are definitely overpriced), but it is 100% worth it for the sanity of not trying to wheel all the bags, car seats, kids, pets, etc. through the airport.

Those are my tips! I know a lot of them are just common sense, but sometimes we can forget these things in the hustle of planning trips, moves, or just travel in general. I hope you enjoyed!

The Boarding Pass Fiasco

***Disclaimer: I have not flown since 2017 and before then had only flown as a young child/adolescent. I don’t typically fly, but rather drive or ride a train when we travel. In this case I don’t know much about the whole electronic boarding pass (or boarding passes in general other than how important they are) or how that goes.***

Whenever she had previously flown she had always been taught: “Don’t get separated from your boarding pass”, “Always have your boarding pass nearby”. It had been so ingrained in her for a few years that when it came to flying, the boarding pass was the only thing she would think about and remember. From the moment it was printed (whether at home or at the ticket desk), she would cling to her boarding pass, never letting it leave her hands, unless she absolutely had to (such as restroom or eating).

They had made it through the first flight, made it through checking in for the second flight, had a little break, and just sat down for dinner in the airport. Everything seemed to be going really easy, much easier than she had anticipated. The kids did really well during their first flight, they had played together nicely in the play area, and (shockingly) they were both eating their dinners with no problem.

“We got this” she thought, “So much easier than I thought”.

This she thought, but even the best travel days come with SOME blip in the road. It can be all sunshine and daisies.

She had managed a couple bites of her food, and a sudden thought hit her. She jumped up from the table and started frantically rooting through her bag.

“What is it”, her husband asked.

She didn’t really hear him, just continued her frantic search. She looked everywhere in her purse that she thought it could be. Opened her book, her wallet, the random papers in her handbag. Nowhere.

She could feel the panic start to rise. Her breathe started becoming shallow.

Nowhere. How could it be nowhere?! Sudden realization had dawned on her. Did she collect the boarding pass from the container that held her laptop and kindle? Was is still in the TSA bin somewhere?

“What is wrong?”, her husband asked again.

“My boarding pass is gone.”

He told her to check his bag where his and the kids boarding passes were. Not there. He suggested completely emptying her bag out just to make sure. Not there.

He told her to stay calm, this wasn’t an issue. That only increased her panicking.

This was a military organized flight- they had chartered the plane (is that the term?) to fly a whole bunch of people over to Germany. It wasn’t just a commercial flight. Would they be able to just re print a boarding pass? Did she need to go all the way back out to the ticket office? If she had to go all the way back out to the ticket counter, did her husband have to come with her (as he had to provide documentation for the original check in that she couldn’t provide).

Her husband continued to look at her and tell her that it was no big deal. This could be fixed.

She couldn’t hear that. She couldn’t sit still. She couldn’t eat. She couldn’t be calm. She needed to get this fixed and get it fixed now. She didn’t know what had to be done or how long they had to do it and with only an hour and a half before take-off she felt an even greater sense of urgency.

She took off with her bag and headed down to TSA. It had to be there, someone had to see it enfolded in the stacks of bins and turn it in. This could be a simple fix.

No such luck. The officer at the information desk for TSA told her that the gate could reprint the ticket though. She messaged down to her husband and said she was going to go to the gate and see if she could get them to re print it.

The panic was still present, but now she was doing something about. She had a first step to take.

Where they were eating dinner and where the gate was, were on opposite ends of the terminal (just about). As she walked over to the gate, she tried to calm down. She didn’t want to show up in full blown panic, but it was hard. She worried that they would have to go all the back out to the ticketing office. That no one would be at the ticketing office. That it would get closer and closer to boarding time and they would still be searching for the boarding pass. The thought of not being able to board the plane with her family had crossed her mind too many times.

She turned up at the gate they were originally given and there was no one there. She looked at the screen above the desk and there wasn’t even any information included. The panic started to rise again. All the calm that she had worked to achieve on the walk over was gone.

She started to walk back, she noticed another gate that had their flight information listed on it. Gate change, but still no attendants to talk to. She turned around and look around her. It seemed the only people that were around were passengers for various flights.

While she was looking around she happened to catch the attention of another gentleman. He passed her and something in her gut said to ask him for help.

***Ok, I don’t mean for this to get weird right then, but honestly I don’t remember what caused me to ask this guy for help. I don’t remember if he said something, I don’t remember if he was talking to someone else, I don’t know. In the midst of all the panic I forgot***

She somehow got the words out that she had lost her boarding pass. He was a little confused at first, as she had made it through security and was near the gate, but somehow they understood each other. At first he didn’t really know what they could do about it, whether she would have to go all the way back out to the ticket counter or if they could do it at the gate, but he was able to flag someone else down.

Together they were able to make a phone call to the ticketing office, put an order in for new boarding passes, and later on (about 15 minutes before boarding time) she was able to get a new boarding pass. Once she had the new boarding pass in hand, she was able to calm herself and start to enjoy her travel again.

**Authors Note: Alright, another installment in my utterly ridiculous short stories of my life. This one may not have been so fun and comical as my others, as this was a serious problem, but looking back on it- it was memorable. Deep down, realistically I knew that I would still be able to board. That they had me marked down on the passenger list and that all would work out, but in that very moment, in the midst of panicking you are not thinking entirely rationally. I don’t know that I really care to admit the amount of times I thought I would be left behind. Ironically enough, when I think about it I have a chuckle. Obviously it wasn’t a total catastrophe and it was fairly straightforward to get it fixed correctly.

 

Hallo from Germany!

Hallo aus Deutschland. Wie geht es dir?

If you have not been following me on Social Media (ACuppaCosy on FB & IG), then you will have missed that we made it safely and {somewhat} soundly to our new area in Germany. You’ll notice I did not say home, but rather area and that is because we are not in a home just yet. More on that in a minute…

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve posted, so I figured I would make this just a chatty/Round the Kettle/Life Update type of post. Where to begin, where to begin…

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We had a total travel time of 53 hours from the time that we took off on our first plane till the time that we checked into the hotel that will be our home for a little while. Two flights, one overnight (in a really cute hotel) and one {loooonnnnnggggg} bus ride with two active toddlers and a total of 11 baggage items. We survived it though and looking back at it, it was not that bad at all. I will do a post on some travel tips that I’ve picked up with this move in the hopes that if you are ever in this type of situation, you can take something away from ours.

Our first flight was a quick commuter flight (an hour and a half) and the boys just played with some random toys, looked out the windows and had a little snack. We had a long layover before our second flight, and after checking in for that flight we went and took a little breather in the USO. The boys got to play with some new toys, we got to put our feet up for a minute before we headed back through security and to our next flight. We did have a little blip in the road during this time (look forward to that short story coming later in the week 😉 ), but overall this was a really nice breather.

IMG_1369Second flight was an overnight flight, which I honestly think saved us. The boys slept for about 80% of the flight and we tried to sleep as best we could. Once we landed it was time to go through paperwork. They were fairly well organized where we flew in and once we were through the initial passport and customs section, we were taken to a hotel to stay the night in. This was our first night in Germany.

 

 

IMG_1641Early (ish) the next morning we were up and ready to get a bus ride to our final area. I think out of all of them, the bus ride was the hardest part of the entire journey. It wasn’t long (~5 hrs), but it felt much much longer, but we made it, checked into our hotel and just took a minute to breathe. It was such a relief to finally make it to our hotel and be able to not have to worry about being up at a certain time, what the next round of travel is, or even how we were going to manage all the suitcases.

Over the past couple weeks we’ve just been trying to settle into a routine and get the boys adjusted to being in a little apartment for the next few months… yes, you read that correctly. We are going to be in our little apartment or hotel for quite a period of time while we work through all of the housing. We are fully prepared for that and while the boys are struggling a little bit, I am sure that once we have two vehicles it won’t be too much of a problem.

We’ve been eating out quite a bit and I will say, the food here is incredible. I’m looking forward to finding more gems of food here, because they are not only fantastic with German food, but the international options are great as well. I may do a separate post on our food adventures some point soon, so stay tuned for that.

So, that’s what we’ve been up to lately! I’ve missed writing and blogging, but I have to say that it’s been so good to have a little break while we worked through this move. Not only because we moved to a whole new country, but also because I needed to step back for a minute and just re align my goals, my plans, and my posting. Now I’m back and ready to get down to it! Posting will not change; the blog posts will continue to just be posts all across the board of lifestyle and the schedule will stay the same as well. I’m happy to be back!

What have you been up to over the past couple weeks???

A Cuppa Cosy Heads International – Heading International

Here we are. Just a matter of a day or two before we board a plane. Head out on our new adventure. Walk into the relative unknown.

I’m not going to lie and say that I’m not excited about this new adventure. I’m ready for our family to walk down the gateway and board the plane and fly away.

I’m writing this a couple days in advance as I know that the next few days are going to be full of seeing family, finalizing some last minute details, and packing. Packing all of the things, all over again.

If you had asked me when we first started this whole process how I felt, I would have said excited. There would not have been any hesitation, nothing beyond excited. As the process continued on, the excitement never faded, but new feelings started to creep in. Daunted, by what we were going into, the process itself, the move, the housing situation when we get where we are going. Sad, for leaving behind friends and family, for the bittersweet goodbyes that we’ve said over the past few months. Scared, as we are going into a new unknown, and I’ve never truly excelled at that. Stressed from time to time, for the amount that there is TO DO and the amount that there is not to do. A lot of this move has been a hurry up and wait situation, a do all the things and then just sit around.

If you ask me right this minute how I feel, I would say bittersweet. I am so beyond excited to get to go on this adventure, to explore a completely new place, a new culture and to be able to explore all across Europe is a dream of ours. But, I also know that once we get on that plane, we are not planning on coming back to America until we have finished out our time in Germany. Which means that we will see family much less, each side will come and visit on occasion, but not the same amount as we would see them in America. I know that we will not see the friends that we have made.

I know that Social Media and technology is a wonderful thing these days. We are able to keep in contact with everyone in our lives and will be able to take them along on our adventures as we travel Europe, but it isn’t the same.

So, bittersweet. I’m at the bittersweet, but still excitedstage of our move. I know the nerves will ramp up the day that we actually leave and everything kind of hits home, but at this point, most of the nerves are hiding.

I want to take a quick minute and let you know that I will not be posting for the next couple weeks. We are going to need a couple weeks to adjust to the new location, new time zone, new everything and I want to be able to get my feet under me before I start writing blog posts. I will still be active over on IG and Facebook (A Cuppa Cosy on both), so you can certainly follow our journey there. Once I feel like I’ve got my feet back under me, I’ll be chock full of blog posts for you to read!

Thank you for everything over the past bit of time, as I’ve navigated not only this personal blog, but life in general. It’s been a pleasure sharing with you, hearing your stories, talking with you, and I look forward to taking you along on this next adventure!