window dressing that is…..wasn’t there a (great!) movie in the 80’s that was titled mannequin and the whole premise, aside from him loving a mannequin, was that his job was a window dresser at some premier department store in downtown NY? and the windows were changed every night and excited and surprised every morning? stopping passersby with awe? yeah….thought so. so what happened to that in the states? does it still happen in big cities (ie: NY?)

i adore driving home in the evenings from work or strolling downtown in the mornings. not just because it is great exercise. not just because i always see a new store. not just because it’s a gorgeous day or i teach j something on the walk. but also because every time i walk by the windows of clothing stores (some other stores as well) the windows are changed. new. vibrant. i’m never looking at the same thing in the windows…consequently, even if i just went into the store the other day i want to go in again because i see something i missed or something equally adorable that i would not have paired together…..and umm, isn’t that the point?! so why don’t stores do this? sure i’ve seen little boutiques here and there that change their windows every season or perhaps twice a season but that really doesn’t cut it. i really like this trend of window dressing on a daily basis. and here in wiesbaden they still offer the surprise element. the windows are covered from the outside while they are removing and replacing outfits, the covering is taken down, and voila its new and exciting! and pretty!

that’s my random two coppers…or brass or zinc or blend of several materials (and i was referring to my 2 cents in case you didn’t get it!)

*and thanks to my husband for reminding me of the mannequin movie when i was commenting on the ‘neatness’ of the daily window dressing…then again, the poor man has probably had to sit through me watching the movie several times!


it’s a small world after all…

could i have come up with something different for the title of this post? something more clever? absolutely! however, i would hate to deprive any readers of the chance for that song to become stuck in their head on endless loop for the next several hours…..!

either way, it really is a small world. this has become apparent through my life. when i was 5 or so i met a family in texas that lived next door to us. fast forwad 10 years and there is that same family living less than a mile away from us….in north carolina. sometimes there appear to be ties in your life that wind in and wind out as they may, of their own choosing and design.

here in germany i go out walking (after midnight- a little patsy cline for you) and drool over the beautiful things in the windows. i’ve already dedicated a post to clothes and i could dedicate several more but i won’t bore you. but the bath items (i asked for a bathrobe for my only birthday gift- its positively beautiful and gorgeous in every way- and who knew a bathrobe could be beautiful?!! soft pink and ruffly and soft…sigh!) and the home items. practical, efficient, yet stunningly fun and pretty! anyways, one of these stores i have become enarmored with is a store full of home goods. on one hand its somewhat of a home decorating store. on the other its got a bunch of accessories. it also has these amazing bags. purses is the wrong word, although many women use them as such, but they are bags. to carry a few groceries. or to use as a baby bag. or to carry all of your day-to-day needs (ie: your wallet, day planner,  keys, phone, etc). these bags are beautiful. not cheap, but beautiful. i could sell these to stores in the US and act as a broker and make a million dollars- in the nice little theory i have in my head anyways! its not so much that they are rare but rather the combination of everything that is a part of them…in short they are very unique. well, as often as i have drooled over these i finally mustered the courage to go inside one day and talk to the proprieter. she’s a lovely woman with personality to spare (and a gorgeous shoe collection!). and i found out her bags are not cheap- then again for what you are getting i would have been surprised if they were. at roughly 200 euro not cheap. so i drooled a bit, promised i’d be back to buy one at some point (when i adjusted to the pain of parting with 200 euro) and left. she closed up a week later for holiday for 3 weeks and left.

tonight we took a stroll and upon arriving home there was the son of the landlord at our house doing some minor gardening and straightening. his mom and pup were with him- apparently she owns the building that we are renting at. so after striking up a conversation with them and touring the rest of the empty building (which is UNBELIEVABLE by the way, pictures to come if i can get a second tour…almost hard to believe how stunning after what we initially moved into on our level) it dawned on me….this was the bag lady! not a bag lady you’d see walking on some street, but THE bag lady! from the exquisite little shop! she remembered j and i as well and its just odd. this world really is so small. imagine when picking out a home in germany simply based on a few criteria online, then arriving and strolling the city to end up drooling over a certain shop, to then find out the owner owns both your flat and that shop. this world sure can be quaint! i’ve convinced myself its a sign i need one of her bags……at some point….

the little things….

random stories…

random story 1: everyday i become more and more enamored with germany as i notice and pick up more and more in and around town…we walked to town again today (shocker, i know) and in the middle of the stores and streets near benches was this square on the ground comprised of about 9 metal sqaures. and kids jump on them and they play music- they sound like wind chimes or bells. how cute! something so small and simple- yet you should have seen the kids that were getting enjoyment out of this! it’s amazing. all the little things. and how all people from all walks of life and all ages enjoy little, unique aspects provided just for the towns people’s amusement. absolutely amazing!

random story 2: i was really liking roughing it- i felt like i was camping of sorts with a little hot plate or the grill. and i love camping! we had just a few pans and one very small hot plate and grill. and i was doing pretty good. (and yes i get that this is not roughing it technically, but it was definitely an adjustment for me.) and anyways, i made pancakes one sunday morning before i left. they started out in little clumps, more like bread crumbs. it was pathetic. but i learned. the right consistency of butter, the right temperature for the hot plate…little by little i learned. and look how pretty my last ones were!!!….but then i came home and my wonderful husband had bought a bigger hot plate/grill thing and a few new pots and pans. which is wonderful….but i’m kinda going to miss devising some scheme to outsmart our meager supply of pots and pans….turning the impossible into the possible and even edible! so thankful that marv was looking out for me but now what stories will we make and laugh about later?! i imagine we will have fun finding out…

random story 3: leave it to j to make the most random statements. and leave it to my husband to teach j all the car logos while i was gone! j now has just about every logo on every car over here down pat. and so the following conversation took place:

marv: what is that

j: what? i didn’t see it

marv: it’s ok, it was a smart car

j: a smart car?

marv: yes, a smart car, you know the little, tiny, itty bitty cars

j: ohh, yes, little, just like me

i love my munchkin! and he is still little but perfectly sized! of course he is constantly waiting to grow up and i am constantly enjoying the exact size he is. i am sure one day i will be looking up at him, not that he has to grow much more with my height for that to happen (!), but for now i love this stage. how his little hand holds mine and when he wraps his little arms around me and gives me a hug…such a great (little but not for long) munchkin!

random note worth mentioning: i am soooo excited for Christmas this year! picking out presents will be so fun! i love taking my time and choosing specific presents for specific reasons for specific loved ones. this year my job is made even easier with unique (to the US) and different things over here! i’ve already picked out a few and am so ready for Christmas time!

vacationing in….

style would be a word. not the right word. but a word. comfort would be another word…..not sure that one fits either. although vacation started off great, and it was a vacation, so i’m grateful, well, here’s the story….

everyone should experience just once the following scenario:

i have a 5am flight heading to one airport before boarding for my final destination. i am (slightly) awake and i am one the plane. i am dreaming of coffee. nay, salivating thinking about it. i land after roughly an hour. i grab my things and am off. first to find coffee, second to find where my best friend will land. i am walking down what seems like an endless concourse to where i know there is a starbucks. i am half awake on the moving, walking belt thingy (technical term to be sure) and suddenly someone says rather urgently, “here, take this” and thrusts hot, steaming coffee in my hand. starbucks no less. i look up- it is my best friend standing on the moving, walking belt thingy headed in the other direction….. before i go any further is there any need to clarify now why she is one of my best friends?!

meanwhile, the half asleep guy in front of me looks startled and alarmed at this odd interaction…and a bit envious. i smile while sipping my coffee. i feel like looking at him and saying, “do you think this counts as accepting packages from unknown sources?” however, i am still waking up and so i just smile at his bewildered look and wait for my friend at the end of the walkway. great start right?! it gets even better….and then it gets a little ‘ehhh’…. but again, its a vacation so i am happy to have had one!

we fly into miami. its hot but amazing. grab a convertible and head to our hotel. i got a good deal on our hotel and since it is new, swanky, and on south beach i’m pretty excited. we arrive. the hotel is wonderful. beautifully done, comfortable, attentive (bordering on a little obnoxious), and fun. we are only there for a day so it is time to change quickly, grab food, and head to the pool. the food was amazing. the ceviche was easily the best i’ve ever had. the pool had comfortable lounge chairs and big, soft towels. kinda perfect. fast forward to dinner- a great meal. tapas plates with a bottle of wine and some after dinner cocktails. upstairs to fall instantly asleep in a comfy bed.

the next leg of our vacation was a mini cruise. 3 days, 2 ports of call, 1 tiny little room. suffice to say after our miami hotel the little cabin was a slight adjustment. the ac was broken the first night in our cabin, at 4am they started dropping what sounded like kegs on our ceiling, and by 7am we gave up and got up. the rest of the cruise was fairly uneventful. saw a pretty good comedian and spent days lounging in the sun or spelunking in underwater caves. there were a few dramatic differences between this cruise and the last cruise, six years ago, that the same best friend and i had taken. they are as follows:

1. we not only knew that there was a gym on the ship and where it was- but we even used it.

2. our bedtime went from midnight (or later) to 10pm (or earlier)!

3. we had previously ordered drinks nonstop from any steward walking by….drink of the day, pina colada, margaritas, etc. we now ordered drinks nonstop from any steward walking by…..sparkling water please and lots of it, keep it coming.

4. we barely ate. may have been the only two who lost weight on the cruise. the food was definitely lacking to two foodies.

but all in all it was a great trip. i missed my husband and son like crazy and while it was wonderful and needed to catch up with one of my best friends- i am so happy to be headed back to germany.  i love girls weekend. its a yearly thing and has been for six years now. and we have done everything from camping to cruising to lounging. i adore the time we get to spend together and reconnect and take a small break from busy lives, hectic schedules, and the demands of life- and am lucky to get to do so with someone who i have known so long, respect so much, and enjoy her friendship/company so much. and as always i look forward to the next one. but for now i am on a plane and heading back to my wonderful husband and son,  and my real life adventure begins again….and i’ve never been so excited…

hot, hot

so i am stateside again. and my first thought upon exiting Dulles was “oh my gosh i forgot what heat felt like!” it is so warm here! and humid! wow! i forgot about this in two weeks. now….it was 2 weeks of approximately 60-68-degree weather. and i only packed one sweater. now, its not necessarily because i am completely inept at packing, but more so that i was trying to make sure that j and marv had enough clothes as i knew i was coming back in two weeks. but…..i went two weeks with one sweater. towards the end marv and i started making jokes about it. i would wake, shower, and our conversation would go something like this:

me: so what do you think i should wear today?

marv: i really think you should wear your striped sweater, rain jacket, jeans, and sandals. i haven’t seen you those in a while

me: hmm, sounds like a plan!

every once in a while though marv would get really funny and smart and say (whilst holding my 2-week sweater and feigning complete ignorance): “honey, when did you buy a new sweater, you didn’t tell me”….yeah, that’s what i live with! worst part is that it usually takes me about 5 seconds to realize the joke he is making….ahh, oh well!

but anyways, it is hot here! and i’m not used to it! two weeks and i have already forgotten the humidity and temperatures. i also have found that my thinking has changed a little bit already. i had less than zero in my house food wise and thought about heading to the store. whereas my first thought would have normally been, “its soo hot out, i’ll just hop in the car and go” my new first thought was, “ehh, its only about 12 blocks, it will be a nice walk”…..and then i smiled, realizing how my thinking was changing!

these next few days are going to be pretty hectic. and the end of the week wraps with the start of a girls weekend. its kind of one of those things i make time for. and, its one of those things my husband helps me make time for! and its really worth it. last year was camping in colorado. this week is a cruise- we only picked the cruise because we were both too busy in life to really plan and this was the easy, no planning required (once we selected a destination) solution…and it was pretty cheap! we did a cruise in 2006- it was fun then so we’re both looking forward to the fun now too!

in heading to girls weekend and back to germany i have four flights (one down now) and i have started to get a small fear of flying. i used to fly with no regard, no second thoughts. but now i find myself with some hesitation and anxiety. i don’t let it stop me but i am acutely aware of it. why the sudden change? i am only guessing that it has to do with before j and marv were in my life it was just me. and so yes, while i really didn’t want anything to happen to me i didn’t have a ton to worry about leaving behind. but now, being so completely in love and happy and complete- i don’t want to miss out on anything. so there is a little more fear getting on a plane or being away from my guys. ridiculous? i’m sure. but it is what it is. hasn’t kept me from flying…..but it did cause me to call my mother and apologize to her for picking on her for a fear similar to this when i was younger and had no fear! so many things you start to understand when you get older, or so many times you pick up the phone to call your parents and tell them you were sorry (for something silly you did when you were younger) or they were right. i probably think about one lesson learned a week. i guess that’s a part of growing up…..

now i’m off to brave the heat (lol!) here in dc…..only to go absorb even more heat in miami! i should probably get re-adjusted to the heat about the time i head back across the pond….go figure! 🙂

perfect j, perfect day!

wow, the pressure is on. i finally uploaded all my blog posts and people are reading them! i even had a random stranger like it! does this mean my time in germany is interesting? does this mean i have to continue to be interesting?! ha, yeah, not so likely. but i will continue to post thoughts and experiences and random stories as they occur! and if you follow my blog you’ll get notices when i update! just bear in mind- i am completely new to this whole blogging realm. i have not a clue how to follow people, nor do i understand how my blog shows up on searches or pages (i presume it has to do with my tags), or how or why to search for other’s blogs. so i’m learning and exploring and we’ll consider each blog post practice!

(note: as i type this i listen to j squealing, laughing, and giggling uncontrollably as he no doubt tries to best marv in a tickling war!)

so j has been so good while here in germany. our schedule consists of waking up, getting some granola and orange juice, cleaning up, grabbing our pack and heading out the door. from there it is a short walk to town stopping for caffe or frisch obst (fresh fruit) and hitting the playground or window shopping or just aimless meandering! being here is still so new to me and i am just like a sponge soaking up the sights, the sounds, the experiences. around noon our time we head to a meeting point and my husband leaves the office and comes to get us. we then head back to the office and stay there through the afternoon/evening. it is during this time that i am home schooling our son and give him activities and learning tools that he concentrates on while my husband and i work. throughout that we have times that we all stop and work on some lessons together (home schooling ideas appreciated!). and we add in a few new german words each day. my favorite to hear j say is über. Last night he was über tired- so were the trees, the sun, his parents, and of course the cars! He also now says danke schön and bitte schön in german for everything! Then, depending on what is going on with our work we leave around 6-ish and head to the house where we both monitor email and work responsibilities the rest of the EST day. its not too difficult. if my husband has pressing work, j and i find things to do to occupy our time. if i have work, then my husband steps in and takes the reins with j and they go get into some sort of trouble, errr activity! and there is always time once j goes to bed to catch up on any work!

the latest trouble, errr activity, errr project my husband has found to do is cleaning and landscaping our backyard. i’ve warned him that this could lead to trouble! because when we do head back to the states i’ll want the same thing recreated at our house! right down to slate and granite tiles and vegetation! it could get pricey! but he is so gifted at doing things like this- see the pictures of before and after! and our little one has become his mini me. he is so eager to “work” on our backyard. its a constant question of when they can go “work outside again?” he loves to help him and be helpful in any way. so he is given tasks of carrying sticks and small branches away. and “helping” to lift things- although i think a lot of the times this makes it harder for marv to actually carry things. he not only has to bear all the weight but also accomodate and carry it in such a way that j thinks he is carrying it as well. marv is such a great sport! and j is learning how to build things and work in the yard and organize.

jordan is definitely learning and thriving. i think we all are really over here. and i’m starting to adjust and realize that i am not here on vacation. that i don’t have to worry about trying to squeeze everything into one day. if i don’t see a shop or taste a new dish or see some historic building it WILL be ok! i can do it tomorrow! i think the next thing on my to-do list is get my hair cut/colored. now, i don’t speak german, and most stylists probably won’t speak english so…….!!! should be interesting! as one of my friends recommended, i will be taking a picture or two. its a universal language right?!!! well, we will see i suppose!

miscellaneous blog notes here:

A: oh- the other side note- no one take credit cards here! debit cards, credit cards- nein. its all euro bills or coins. which is very hard to adapt to. i am used to merely using my debit card and then recording what i spend later in my register. easy. if it $160 and i thought it was going to be $130 no worries. but, here, i have to very clearly know what the cost is so that i have cash ready to give them. odd! note to self- remember this and get prepared!

B: In other news….he’s got it, by George I think he has it, he’s really got it!!! J asked me tonight how to say something in german!!! He’s learning!!! He understands that there is a new language! Yay! Totally stoked! Only problem now…..keeping up with his need and want to know and being able to translate!! Lol!!! i suppose i best get off this blog and hit the books….

C: all pictures are taken now….so yeah-the ones of the guys in full on coats- it was taken in the middle of july! have i mentioned how much i love germany?!!!

pictures above: 1. & 2. are the backyard pre transformation, 3. & 4. is a preview of the amazing things marv can do!, 5. & 6.- no explanation needed, i’m the luckiest woman ever, these men steal my heart!

pictures below are just all random of j because the lighting was soo good tonight! who needs instagram when i’ve got perfect natural light?!!!

and why not?!

Can “women have it all, is this something we should even be striving for”…..this was the subject of a Redbook FB status…so I will take a moment away from my ‘I love Deutschland blogs’ (lol) and respond….

Isn’t there a saying that goes: shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will land among the stars?  doesn’t the same principle apply to this? Aim to have it all. If you don’t quite make it well you will still be better than average!!

Personally, I aim to have it all. And (I say this without intending to be vain or arrogant whatsoever) I really do a damn good job of achieving it all. But “having it all” probably means something different to me than others. It in no way means to have a perfect life! Nothing is easy or perfect. It means a constant balance. And I will say that I work very hard for it all. I juggle and I understand and practice what I think to be a very important (yet basic) principle: give AND take. I give everything when I have it, freely and completely. And likewise, when my reserves are depleted (emotionally, physically, etc) I am lucky that I have a strong partner to help. I feel like I have it all…but this means there are times my house may not be über clean (ie: a dish in the sink or an unmade bed or dog hair in the corner of the floor) because my “having it all” at that moment was for j and i to go play and enjoy a beautiful day! And there are times that Marv takes j and gives me some time to space out, read, or watch mindless tv. I consider this having it all. Having it all is not having life be picture perfect or keeping up with the Jones’….having it all is probably different for every person. It is not a measure of success but rather, I think, a measure of where you are in reaching your goals and most importantly, setting them high in the first place so you never stop growing, learning, and reaching!