New post!

22 Sep

Okay, for anyone who hasn’t made the switch yet- there is a new post up at    Come visit over there for all the latest!


Change is a comin’…

13 Sep

So, as you already know, I’m waaaay behind on blogging.  I have tons of pictures to post and stories to share.  I promise.  They are coming.

In the meantime, I have been working on a few changes.  You know, blogs are sort of like rooms in your house- sometimes you get tired of looking at the same thing.  And you need a change.  This is the case for me.  I’ve been growing tired of the look of my blog and wanted something new.  What started out intended to be just a simple change of appearance turned into a completely new site.  So now you need to check it out!  If you want to still read about what cities we see, what German words we butcher, and what toys Quinn is throwing in the toilet this week…you’ll have to subscribe over at the new site.  All my posts going forward will be made over there.  And all of the previous content of course has been moved too, so it’s all there under one nice, new roof.

I realized that everything contained in this blog basically amounted to the best and worst (wurst…get it), the good and the bad of living abroad and doing it with a toddler in tow.  I hope you’ll continue to follow along over at the new site!



Baby got lag…

27 Aug

Yes, that is to the beat of Sir Mix-a-Lot.  That’s what lack of sleep does to you.  It makes you CRAZY.  We are just back from the U.S. and until Quinn figures out we’re not on Central time anymore, we must all bow to her schedule.

It’s been so long!  How is everybody?  I’ve got SO much to write about, many pictures to post, and who am I kidding- laundry to do.  But for now the main task is getting back on schedule.  Today the Gummersbach family slept until noon.  Yes, 12pm.  Uh, I haven’t slept that late since I was a teenager.  But, when your kid is awake between the hours of 11pm and 3:00am wanting to romp around and play, and eat and play, and read and watch “ELMO!”, well it takes its toll on you.

Let’s see, in the last 6 weeks we’ve had my parents visit, my sister visit, and been to the U.S.  Throw in mini trips to London and Zurich in the mix and that makes for a very full summer!  It’s been great and there is so much I want to share.  For now though I just want to say hello, let you know we’re alive and there are more blog posts to come!  At this very moment Quinn is screaming- torn between going to sleep (like she should!) and thinking it’s only dinner time…thank goodness for husbands who take their turns with restless kiddos.

Hopefully within a few more days we’ll be heading into our normal routine again and I will be able to organize photos etc. so that I can get this blog updated with everything that has happened over the last several weeks.

Hope everyone has had a lovely summer!

Come and gone…

15 Jul

Our first visitors in our “new” house (since moving in Janurary) just left today.  My parents were here for just over a week and it was fantastic.  Of course the time always goes too quickly and there is always more you wish you could have fit in- but, I am grateful for the time they were able to spend here.  I enjoyed every second of their visit and am so happy they had a chance to see our new surroundings and experience a bit of our life in Germany.  We spent time in Frankfurt and Heidelburg, shopped in a nearby town of Bad Homburg, rode bikes, and went to the zoo (among other things)!  Here are a few pictures (mostly taken by my mom) of their time here.  I wish I had time to write a more detailed account of the last week but this will have to do for now.  Life is good and having family here to share it with is even better!

Frankfurt Roemer Platz

Dom Cathedral in Frankfurt

Grandpa and Quinn in Frankfurt

Grandma and Quinn at the duck pond

Quinn loved the bike trailer we rented! And so did Kitty.

Opel Zoo

Is it just me, or does this giraffe look surprised?

Definite style points Quinn. I like the approach.

"I'm just 24 years old, leaning up against this fence. What? You don't think I'm getting back in that stroller do you?"


Part of Schloss Heidelburg

Hotel Gummersbach is the hot place to stay this summer.  My sister is booked next and so we’re on to ready the house and prepare the suite, ha!




As American as…blueberry cookies.

5 Jul

Happy Fourth of July…a day late!  Not exactly celebrated here, understandably so I guess.  Over the last few days I sort of sadly (and almost stupidly, I mean duh) came to the realization that Fourth of July would come and go here without much fanfare.  And while I did take time out to think about the importance of the holiday on all the significant levels ( and by the way living abroad can make you really appreciate other cultures/histories while still boosting your patriotic feelings for your own country), mostly I longed for a good ‘ole fashioned American style barbecue.  It sounds silly and superficial but it’s true.  I really wanted that long picnic table covered in red and white checks lined with an array of summertime favorites.  And I grieved, if just a bit, for the passing of Independence Day without the usual feast.  And fireworks.  I don’t want to forget about the fireworks.

Moving on.  I went shopping this morning and one of my stops was Aldi.  I think most of you are familiar with Aldi right?  Discount store, no frills etc.  What was on special for the week?  Three guesses.  Your stumped?  Okay, American style food.  Seriously!  There was a whole display dedicated to all things “American” and they were seemingly even more specific to cooking out.  Ah, Eureka!  Surely I could find a taste of home here right?  As I excitedly surveyed the selections, anticipating the sweet success of finding longed for items, the first thing I saw was “American Blueberry Cookies”.  In a box.  What?!  I am not going to claim that there aren’t plenty of boxed cookies, and well boxed anything for that matter, in the U.S.  I mean, it’s true…we love us some preservatives and long shelf life.  BUT, when I think “American”, I DON’T think of boxed blueberry cookies.  Not wanting to be deterred I continued scanning the items to see what other familiar things may be available.  Hmm, mayonnaise (called Hamburger sauce), ketchup, pickles…seriously?  This was disappointing to say the least.  I did come across bagels and hamburger buns (neither of which I have seen previously) and bought those for an upcoming cookout I’m planning.  I guess all was not lost.  But, come on.  Mayonnaise, ketchup, and pickles are available here all the time.  So, the big “American” selection really boiled down to bagels, buns, and boxed cookies…I guess that’s how we’re seen over here!

Generic logo which was used for the packaging on all items in the "American" display. I had no idea Hamburger Broetchen was so American.

So the question is:  What foods do you associate with being American?  And what foods would you miss the most if they weren’t available to you?

Hessentag 2011…done.

26 Jun

I’m a little late with this recap, but I’ve been meaning to tell you about Hessentag.  So, the overall conclusion is: it was fine.  Fun while it lasted but nice to have things back to normal around here.  Driving was a complete pain- don’t even get me started on the obnoxious 20 minute detour I had to take to get to my house when I was all of 500 meters (yes, I’m all metric now) away.  So frustrating.  And I’ve realized that no matter where you go, you can’t escape bad Neil Diamond covers.  I mean EVERYONE wants to sing “Sweet Caroline”, and tone-deaf Germans are no exception.  But aside from a few inconveniences and a bit of additional noise at night, things weren’t too bad.  In fact, I think Quinn was rather happy to have so much to do right outside our door.

On the first Saturday that Hessentag was going on there was a huge party in one of the outdoor arenas that was set up for concerts.  It was called “Just White” and you’ll see why below.  Apparently it was “the best party ever!”.  We wouldn’t know.  But Joe and I did enjoy sitting on our front steps watching the swarms of enthusiastic party-goers pass by.  The couple pictures below were taken from our third floor window.

"Just White" party goers passing by our house.

"Hey, let's all wear white and head into a field for a big party!"

Quinn rode a little carousel for the first time.  Of course the very first time we put her on, we didn’t have our cameras.  She loved it and didn’t want off.  The next couple times, she seemed a little less sure about the whole deal.  Her friend Sophia however, was obsessed and threw a monster fit when she was finally pulled off the ride kicking and screaming.  I didn’t take a picture of that either, but is it terrible that I sort of wanted to capture Quinn maintaining composure while another child came totally un-glued?  I was so tempted.

Quinn and Sophia riding in the truck... Quinn is locking in on where Daddy is.

And now she is checking in with me...Sophia on the other hand doesn't care at all where her parents are, ha!

One of Quinn’s favorite parts of Hessentag was venturing to the area set up with animals for the kids to see.  The horses were a particular favorite.  Almost daily she went to the door “neighing” to let us know she wanted to go see the horses.  I wish I would have taken more (better) pictures because they were so beautiful.  And there were a few foals there too who were only 4 weeks old.  Precious.

Side note- it was so sunny, I could barely see at all. And yes, it was cold enough for sweaters in June! It was freezing actually. Not the best picture, but it shows some of our friends we visited every day for a week and a half!

We also made many trips to see the ducks:

Quinn watching the ducks..and yes her feet are in the fence and off the ground. She tried scaling the fence several times, but it was pretty wobbly and wouldn't really support her weight.


Quack, quack. Um the ducks here are different. I don't think you can really tell in this picture, but I've never seen these kind before.

"Why do we have to be separated by a fence? I hate boundaries."

Here are a few extra miscellaneous photos:

These carts stuffed with huge pretzels and breads are at all German festivals/ street parties. Personally I find them to be disappointing though- they never taste as good as they look. Do you think Dr. Atkins was German?


These however were not disappointing. With a light dusting of vanilla sugar, they were quite delicious!

People starting to get their spots for a parade.


Sassy pants thinks she's a big shot walking through the crowd of people.

We survived the set-up, tear-down, and 1.5 million people streaming through our little town.  I guess the highlights were: the food, the animals, and the people watching!  Now it’s back to our normal, quieter daily routines.






Bracing for the storm…

9 Jun

Of Hessentag.  Every year in the Bundesland (state) of Hessen there is a party, festival, outrageous number of people herded into one particular city- whatever you want to call it.  This year it’s in…wait for it….Oberursel!  That’s right everyone, we will be the lucky recepients of over a million (anticipated) visitors between the 10th and 19th of June.  I mean Bryan Adams and Roxette are performing.  Need I say more?

Preparations have been going on for quite awhile now to bring the city into it’s most shining, glorious state for all others to see.  There has been roadwork, painting and a renovation of the train station, among many other improvements.  And now the town is literally buzzing with the constant movement of people setting up booths, building stages, and finalizing all the details that have been planned for months.  You can practically feel the frenzy of activity as soon as you open our front door.

Here are just a couple pics I took on my walk to the bank this morning:

This huge ferris wheel is right down the street from us.

We will probably hear the screams of thrill/ fear all day and night even in our house.

Huge sand replication of a castle in nearby Eppstein

I was trying to get the castle, not all the signs and protective fencing...but basically if you destroy this sandcastle, you're in BIG trouble!!

This sandcastle is literally under video surveillance.

I actually watched part of this being made which was pretty amazing.  It took several days and the man doing it had a paper with a picture of the real castle on it and a shovel.  Seriously.  And maybe some little pics or something for the finer details, which my lousy pictures just don’t show.  He literally just looked at a picture and sculpted as he went.  Pretty impressive.  Sandcastles were never my forte.  I mean, I could barely get enough sturdy molds of sand to make the most basic of structures.  This guy had some serious skills.

We will undoubtedly enjoy some good food and entertainment over the next week and a half, but ultimately I’m sure we’ll be ready for things to go back to normal.  You know, no porta-Johns across the street, no driving restrictions, and a quieter hum that normally fills the air.

Eine kugel banane eis in der waffel.

26 May

Whew, I think I said that right.  Translation: A scoop of banana ice cream in the cone….loosely.  Anyway, here is Quinnifer enjoying a little treat at the mall today.

Eating ice cream AND people watching....she's a multitasker.

Maybe she wanted another flavor?? Mighty serious face for someone eating ICE CREAM.

"Drinking" the ice cream from the cone. Unfortunately you can't hear the slurps through the picture.

While we’re on the topic of ice cream I should mention it’s really popular here.  I mean, duh right?  Who doesn’t like ice cream?  But back home you don’t just pass by people eating cones everywhere you go.  Here you do.  All the time.  Seriously at 9 am there will be people at the eis cafe ordering a cone.  Quinn of course wants to embrace this aspect of the German way of life.  She’s so into having an authentic experience over here.

It gets me every time…

23 May

I’ve gotten used to lots of things over here.  And I don’t mean “Oh, feel sorry for me.  It’s been such an adjustment”…blah, blah, blah.  No, just literally, you adjust because you have to.  Life goes on.  You figure things out, you do things a new way, and pretty soon you forget how it used to be.  For example, grocery shopping is a completely different experience over here.  Shopping several times a week, taking my own bags, and usually just walking to and from the store has become the norm.  I barely remember the huge, weekly (sometimes less often) trips to the store, leaving with an overflowing shopping cart, only to come home and spend what seemed like ages putting it all away (in our 2 FULL size refrigerator/freezers).

But there are just some things I can’t get used to.  And this is one of them:

cluck, cluck

Finding feathers in my eggs just creeps me the creep out.  Ewwww.  Why?!  Never until I lived here did  Big Bird come home with me in my carton of eggs.  NEVER.  This is not the first (or second, or third) time that I’ve been able to trace the lineage of my breakfast just by the contents of the container it came in.  No, unfortunately, the incredible, edible egg often comes with a “full history” here, which I personally just don’t need.  I like in the back of my mind knowing “oh, yeah, eggs come from chickens”…not getting HIT IN YOUR FACE with “some chicken (whose feather lays here for proof) just laid this egg you’re about to eat”.

I know I am a bit squeamish about my food and it’s appearance and all…aaaaannd, I know that eggs do come directly from chickens.  And if I were on a farm collecting eggs, I’m sure there would be feathers.  BUT, since I go to the store and not the farm- is it too much to ask to get only the eggs?

What do you guys think?  Not that big of a deal?  Or super-duper gross?

Board books are sooo boring…

17 May

Like most kids her age, Quinn LOVES books.  In fact, “reading” by herself is one of the things she does to stay entertained while I make lunch or clean up around the house.  That and throwing things in the toilet.  You know, both equally entertaining.

She often takes her books to a large floor cushion we have and plops down to enjoy the printed word.  Ads, newspapers, and discarded letters (if they’re written in German we just pass them on to Quinn!) all qualify as interesting reading material too these days.  But apparently Quinn has a yearning for something deeper…more meaningful.  

This Max Lucado book was sitting on the end of the table the other day as Quinn was finishing breakfast.  She HAD TO HAVE IT.  You know, the kind of stretching and reaching that kids do to get their hands on something….the kind where you’re afraid they might pull a neck muscle.  As if their heads can reach further than their hands.  Anyway- Quinn wanted the book.

Sorry “Pat the Bunny”…you ain’t got nothing on 223 pages of Max Lucado.