Monday, December 20, 2010

Treasure hunting


Belly buttons. Everyone has one, and every one's is different from the next persons. One thing I learned becoming pregnant was that my belly button does not connect to my baby's belly button from the inside. For some reason I have always thought that, but come to figure out, my belly button is my own and nothing is connected to it besides my body.
Along with my emotions, my husband, my cat, and just life, my belly button has also undergone some extreme changes. Before I started showing I could not imagine myself with a belly the size of a pumpkin hanging in front of me. Now I can't imagine myself without it. Curious as to what my belly button would end up looking like, scared that it might just pop out at any moment, I have to say that almost every month it has changed in some little way. At about 4 months of pregnancy, when i first started showing it became obvious to me that my belly button was turning inside out, which at first was very frightening but soon became a curious thought as to what the bottom of my belly button might look like. You are probably thinking, how in the world can this story amount to anything worth reading. Well, if your curious like me, it may be worth your time to hear what my little belly button has been hiding for the past who knows how long.

At months five and six of pregnancy my interpretation of my belly button was me pressing my lips together and squinting my eyes imitating the small opening of a balloon and telling Christoph...."This is what it looks like" as I was making the face and made a slight grunting noise. My interpretation of prego belly button is now hard to mimic as it is almost flat and protruding slightly. One day when the end of my belly button was in clear view, I found a little treasure and had I been a clam and not a human I would have found myself a beautiful pearl. Low and behold a tiny little pebble. Perhaps a rock or a large grain of sand had lodged itself in my belly button, never to be found until this day. The reason I knew it has been there for quite some time was simply this. It had become apart of my body, meaning my skin had grown and formed around it. I first examined it carefully, amazed by this rare occurrence and then pulled it from the place it had called home for a very long time. Not only was it weird, but it was ten times better than pulling out something from your teeth that had been stuck for years. Relieving to say the least.

After removing the pebble I discovered there is now a permanent indentation of that little pebble only to be seen when I am fully baby loaded. It was exciting to find such a diamond in the rough, but now my Indiana Jones days are over and treasure hunting will soon turn from finding belly button rocks to searching and destroying poopy diapers. I literally can't wait to meet my little poop maker. I love my life.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Follow the Dotted Line

Baby Hillstoph: Currently 5.7 lbs. and of coarse fully loaded with plenty of hair as seen on today's ultrasound, and being a child of Christoph is completely expected.
Hillary: Sleeping less, and noticing more and more lovely body changes. 'It's for a good cause' is what I constantly keep telling myself.
Christoph: Stress level high not only because he is moving across the world tomorrow and has spent the last 3 weeks preparing for it, but because he has to travel with our dear cat Velvie with a five hour layover in Washington.
Velvie: Doesn't realize yet she has to hold in her poop and pee for about 30 hours.

Life has definitely changed a bit in the past month. I would say for moving across the world in one month, we have handled things pretty well. I have been able to observe the live out loud American culture since being back and little did I know it would be once again another culture shock from what I have been experiencing in Germany the past year and a half. From having a southern woman interrogate me about my baby on the flight over, to an elderly black man wearing sunglasses in the airport telling me, "That baby has overtaken your body sweetheart! Your giving birth to a miracle! Keep smiling pretty girl!" was not only a culture shock realization, but a realization that you wouldn't catch a German dead saying or asking those things, let alone even talking to you. Experiencing both cultures in many different ways has enabled me to come to a pretty good assessment of the two, and being married to a German has also aided in the process. Realizing that my cultural observations have only been in Germany, I can only imagine what cultural shocks would be experienced if a German or American were to move to Africa, or Asia... or visa versa. The way I see it, my cultural change trying as it was, was only an ounce of change compared to people who have gone from eating things like macaroni and cheese and pizza to boiled chicken feet, and fried frog legs. Fortunately my colon only had to adjust to things like delicious bread, pastries and schnitzel. I never got around to liverwurst though. No thanks.

That being said, I have found pleasure in observing the two, taking what I like and what I don't like on either side. Not that there is a side, but rather a dotted line so to speak. When it comes down to it we are all people created by God, we all have insecurities and are determined to be accepted in some way shape or form, so finding common ground can easily be discovered between the spaces. I was talking to a dear friend of mine the other day who delights in everything about Germany. We were discussing the fact of relationships and interactions with both Germans and Americans. She thoughtfully explained that Americans are soft on the outside (meaning easy to get along with at first) and hard on the inside (later will you experience their true colors and be able to determine on whether they become sincere friends who will stick around or just another aquantence). Germans on the other hand are hard on the outside making it difficult to really get to know them at first, later melting with no tricks hidden under the belt and become life long friends. They are who they are. Now of coarse this is a generalization and I am not one for generalizations, but I would have to agree that this is the case probably 90% of the time, surface speaking of coarse. Dig a little deeper and you will find that every person is different and unique in and of themselves and any form of culture or labels is no match for determining who they really are.

I just ate four chocolate chip peanut butter cookies and I am not feeling so well so I am going to go take a little nap to let the sugar settle.
I miss writing in my blog but have found my mind continuously leaning toward having a baby and not so much on explaining to everyone what is going on in my heart or life. Little baby is on my heart and literally in my life I guess you could say, which is probably the way it should be. I am going easy on myself knowing that not too many things can be accomplished right now, not just physically but also emotionally and socially. So who knows when the next blog will be. I have to be in the perfect mood to do such things.

Thank you to all the people who are thinking about us and praying for us through all of this. It means so much to know we have such wonderful people who love and support us.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Humility feels good at times

Here I am, once again in the basement of my parents house trying to understand and get a glimpse of what it is that God has planned for us. To be honest, this was a humbling experience for me. I have always been an independent person, wanting to do things my way and I'm sure my husband can vouch for that. I find it interesting that through this God has brought me to acknowledge who I am when I don't rely on Him. I look back on this year, back to Hamburg where it all started. The place I felt so lost both spiritually in who I was as a person and as a wife. I look further from that to where I came out of that, and how God truly showed me that it is not in what I do as a job or an occupation that makes me important. That as a wife, I have to be moldable in His hands. I look back to Ulm and the hardships I encountered there. They were all unique in and of themselves and all brought me to a place of absolute helplessness in and of myself. I look back to how many times I turned my back on God and said to Him, "You are not enough and there is no way you can get me though of this." How selfish I was. I look back to how devastated and angry I was at myself and at my circumstances. I look on from there to where I realized that my circumstantial emotions should not control me, even though pregnancy hormones were weighing down on me fully loaded. I look back to that sweet release when I finally admitted I needed a change of scenery. I look to today and how I will never be happy in and of myself unless that happiness is because I see who I am in Christ. I have thought so many times before...'If only my circumstances were different. If only I could speak the language better. If only I had some good friends....If only if only.

I now realize my "If only's" were what was keeping me from experiencing true happiness in the circumstances that surrounded me. Sure no one wants to be put in a place where they feel uncomfortable, but that doesn't mean God is not teaching us something through all of that. Through my discomfort, or what I though was discomfort I realized that my agenda is not always parallel to that which God has for me. I thought that through all of this I was drowning. That growth was over for me, and this was it. How wrong I was to second guess the God who has brought me through it all.

Self reflection is not something you come by everyday. It's actually something that rears itself to be absolutely necessary to take any further steps in life, and if experienced everyday would not be useful. Through our selfishness and inability to see our wrongs, we come to a point where we are so discusted with ourselves that in order to come to a place of true repentence, we have to first experience what it is like to be selfish. Although you would think self reflection is something we have to do ourselves, it is actually something we can't do ourselves. God has to bring about change in our hearts in order for us to accept the fact that we are selfish and wrong.

It all brings me back to this. How quickly do I sink, and how quickly am I once again rescued by a God who has the world in His hands. What a beautiful thing.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Away we go


I never thought I would say it out loud, but it came to the point where I had to. I believe that God gives us breaking points. Points in our lives where we just can't take anymore and send forth backed up anxiety from our souls stomach all the way out through our mouth. I recently has one of those breaking points.

Seeing myself in Germany, or living in some European country has been a popular day dream of mine ever since I went to bible school. I had imagined myself living in one of those adorable German houses that is older than America nestled in some village in the Bavarian farmlands. Perhaps vacationing to Italy every so often to get a tan, and return when my tan had faded. I saw myself walking through old villages where kings and queens had once ruled and learning the history of a very old and accomplished country. After I met Chritsoph our dream furthermore expanded to working in or starting a church and being a part of helping Germany see Christ. The family business seemed like a good fit for us to work and be apart of those things with owning our own business as well. Everything was planned and set into play, but as many of you have experienced for yourself not everything always works the way you thought it would.

Sometimes we see ourselves the way the world wants us to see ourselves. Through the worlds eyes, stepping away from something that looks good from the outside is a rather stupid move, especially if success is included in the equation. In our own situation people could look at it this way, but to us it is where God is leading us. That is enough for us.

A couple weeks ago we packed our bags once again to go visit the states. In the very distance back of our heads was one thought. 'Will we ever move to the states?' A couple instances specifically had set off the conversation of this very topic. The fact that I couldn't even talk about life in Germany to other people without nearly having a breakdown said it all to us. Never thinking we would actually make such a drastic decision, we came to a place in our lives that we absolutely had to one way or another. I personally had not yet accepted the fact that I was going to be raising a child in Germany with only a year of experience under my belt. But in the depths of my heart I knew there had to be a decision soon and being in America once again gave me that extra gusto to finally spit out, "I don't want to live in Germany anymore." But actually making the decision I had to leave up to my husband. In my point of view as a wife I could never see myself telling my husband, "I have to go back" when all seemed to be going as planned with business and many other things. A couple months left and we would have to be signing a huge contract that would mean us staying in Germany for the next fifteen or plus years. I was willing to make the decision to stay here, and I know with Gods help He would have seen me through it. But deep down Christoph knew for a while now how I had been feeling. He said to me, "I have a responsibility as a husband to take care of my wife, and if she is not where she wants to be then I am more than willing to give up the business." That said it all. It went from there, praying, talking and finally discovering that God was moving us in a different direction then what we had thought for some time now.

I simply can't explain in my blog or even in words face to face all of the reasons that led us up to this point, but I can tell you one thing. Even thought from the worlds eyes giving up such an opportunity living here in Germany and having our own business is stupidity, we just don't see it that way. After God, our family, meaning Christoph baby and I comes first and foremost. With that God gives us decisions to make, and what a beautiful thing that is. I feel relieved in so many ways and I wouldn't even know where to start explaining that. We are happy with our decision through and through and know that God will continue as He always has to hold us in Hands and take care of our every need.

Our time here in Germany together will always be some of those most precious memories. We did get to live in a house that is older than America. Walked down the old cobble stone streets to go to the butcher, the baker, and the farmer. Traveled to places I have always dreamed of traveling learning about old German or Italian villages. Walked on a frozen seas. Biked along the Donau for hours. Hiked in some of the most beautiful mountains I have laid eyes on where we fed goats and saw baby lambs. Took long day trips to Lake Constance. Made new friends and met with old one's. Had family so close, and got to know and love them more everyday. Learned to be married, or at least started to learn. Made a baby. Freaked out for awhile.

So here we are. I leave in a week or so to go back to the states, and Christoph follows three weeks later. Once again we sit on packed boxes, not really knowing what to do next but we are totally fine with that.

Away we go.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

When Animals Attack


I love my cat, but sometimes I just don't know what to do when she gets crazy. Since she was a little kitten she has always been a feisty cat, and this comes as no surprise being that every animal I have owned in my lifetime has been either crazy or stupid, not including my childhood best friends Abby and Tiger. The best dog and cat ever. In general though, I have had some winners of animals including our cat Golda. She was evil, but on the other hand I was about 3 years old when I put her in the dryer before we went on vacation for 3 days. We later gave her away to a farm. There was my snake Balfazar that I shared with my roommate, and I couldn't stand having him anymore being that we had to feed it the cutest little mice every week. We kept one once because it was so cute. There was my sugar glider that didn't let me touch it unless I wanted to hear the creepiest noise in the world. My two turtles were pretty low key, not crazy or anything. I once had a rabbit that actually danced, leaped and frolicked in our backyard. His name was cookie and he later got eaten by a fox. My angry purple bird was eaten by my cat. I always caught bugs and kept them as pets in my pink Kabootle. Fish were of coarse one of my favorites, but they were quickly replaced as well. I once made my parents let me bring home 10 crabs in their shells that I caught on our Padre Island vacation. 15 hours in the car ride home with a bowl full of crabs in the back seat reeking the place up. I believe the only reason my mom let me do this was because she knew they would die and wanted the pretty shells they lived in. I mean, I can't imagine my dad actually thinking that table salt would turn regular water into oceanic salt water. They didn't really die but rather disintegrated.

Yes, it was one of my many childhood dreams to become a veterinarian. Then I discovered that even watching animals die on TV was an unpleasant experience for me and that being a vet would mean I would have to see this perhaps everyday.
Nowadays I am less interested in animals and more interested in paying the bills, which is what I believe happens to most childhood animal lovers unless they go so far as to be a member of PITA. This reminds me of the other day when Christoph and I were walking around Lindau (a small town on lake constance) and noticed a smaller, older female army of animal rights ladies marching around holding signs with pictures of ducks being force fed by machines, and baby chickens getting their feet stuck in wires, attached with the saying "Don't eat mistreated animal meat". The question that Christoph and I had was, how on earth are we supposed to know if our delicious chicken breast got its feet stuck in some wire? Very disturbing pictures to look at while you are trying to enjoy some ice cream. Two feet behind these people came walking an older, farmer sort of looking guy who yells very loudly with a smug smile on his face..."Eat more chicken and meat! Eat more chicken and meat!" He was satisfied with himself as the poor ladies turn around and gave him nasty looks.

What I was trying to get was to tell you of my daily routine walking from the bathroom to my bedroom every evening. For some reason it only happens in the evening and it only hapepns to me. Our sweet little Velvie cat has some serious issues. You see, I get ready for bed, brush my teeth and so on to later head back to the bedroom as I am tired and done for the day. This is of coarse in my cats mind the perfect time for attack. Her victim is tired, and not so quick to block the attack. Perfect timing.
With my bed on my mind all of the sudden I hear the take off of kitty hiding behind the wall coming around the corner and if I am quick enough I can block her, but in most cases she is just too quick for me. Before I know it here teeth are sinking into my calves and I am screaming once again. As Christoph thinks this is very funny and is laughing in the bedroom, I am left frustrated and confused, wondering what I did to deserve such behavior. I lose it. And putting up with it every night is getting to be a bit of a problem. Curious as to why she does this I decided to research it. Turns out she just has some spasms from being cooped up all day and attacking her owner is the only way she can express this. i think an owner of PITA write that so I wouldn't hit her anymore after she did that. I decided it might be a good idea to start letting her outside. We'll see if it gets better, otherwise I am going to have to wear rubber boots in the trip from the bathroom to the bedroom. Posted above is the little devil herself.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Just like Samson






















Have you ever heard the song "Fly trapped in a Jar" by Modest Mouse? Well, this is the exact song that entered my mind the other night while watching some new Office episodes in bed with my husband. Christoph, as some of you may know has been blessed with luxurious locks of beautiful hair, including a generous amount on his chest. As we were sitting there laughing at the many wonderful things that Dwight does, I noticed a little miniature moth flying around my face annoying me. Then it started to annoy CHristoph, and I litarally thought to myself as I do when bugs fly in my face...'I want that dead'. Just as I thought that the little moth flew down and landed on Christoph's hairy chest and got strapped, like a fly trapped in a jar, or a moth trapped in a Christoph's web. Immediately after, CHristoph swatted his chest with the poor little moth underneath and this moths days of annoying people were over. When this happened I laughed because the whole situation was funny, but then I realized something. Christoph, in his wonderful little way has a way of giving me exactly what I want, even if that means trapping a moth in his chest hair and saving me from being annoyed. It's as if he read my mind and said,"I'll get it with my super powerful chest hair!" Just like Samson, his power is in his hair. Christoph, I promise I will never cut your chest hair in the middle of the night, otherwise you might lose all of your strength.

This past weekend was our one year anniversary, so we decided to celebrate it at the a little place called the Hibertus in the Algoy, (that's not how you spell it) which is the beginning of the German alps. We spent part of our honeymoon there and had a marvelous time, so we thought repeating it would be a good idea. Unfortunately this time it wasn't quite the same. Along with our waiter ignoring us at dinner so that we didn't get to leave until 10pm, a great many other annoying little things happened that shouldn't happen at such a place. One of them was my fault and it's the most awful one so let me tell you that part. It was about 3 am when I woke up and needed desperately a drink of water. I had forgotten that I had left my water bottle next to my bed incase this would happen, but I also had to use the toilette so a trip to the bathroom would have been necessary anyways. After I went to the bathroom I looked in the mirror just to see how awful I look at 3 in the morning as I picked up the glass drinking cup sitting next to the sink. I filled up my water glass, gulped the thing down as I noticed something on the side of my face which had not been there before. Mind you I was half asleep, and when you see a giant pillow mark when you are half asleep you are caught a little bit off gaurd by what exactly it is at first. Startled by not quite knowing what was wrong with my face, being half asleep, and so on I dropped my glass drinking cup to bounce once off one side of the sink, bounce another time off the other side, and finally crash into a million pieces onto the tile floor. It all happened so fast that even if I was completely awake I would have not been able to prevent this from happening. Blame it on the pillow mark, or on the fact that 3am is not my best hour, it happened none the less and breaking the glass was not all that happened. After swearing a couple times in my head hoping I didn't wake Christoph up, I look down to see that a quarter sized chunk had chipped out of this probably 1000 dollar sink by my meezly little drinking glass revealing a nasty dark spot. Now I had to wake Christoph up. Do you know that feeling when something terrible happens and you try to justify it in your head of why it shouldn't have happened, I did that a lot in this moment. Christoph woke immediately but I don't really think he was actually awake, and asked me with a not quite pronounced yell, "What happened!" I explained the situation the best I could not even really knowing myself what happened and it went on from there. Christoph was tired, I was tired and in this stupid hotel at 3 in the morning we had a stupid fight because of a stupid drinking glass.
The next day we thought we would be honest and tell the front desk what had happened. Two days prior Christoph has just given me a speech about how the honest person is always the loser, even though he does the right thing. I guess in this moment he was quite right. The hotel decided they were going to charge for an entire new sink and installation for this little incident and probably with a very hefty bill I might add. To our knowledge we had no insurance for such a thing, and were prepared to suffer the concequences and tried to enjoy our anniversary day none the less with eating some ice cream and writing each other letters on the Lake Constance harbor. Despite the mishap it was the best anniversary I could have imagined and I can't believe that I have been married for one year with a baby on the way. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with my wonderful husband falling more in love with him everyday.
The good news is, Christoph later called his mom who gave us some pretty great information. We did have insurance through the Gruener business on things like your wife breaking stuff in hotel rooms. The perfect ending to the perfect day.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hillstoph


In attempts to keep our baby name a secret until his birth, the very opposite has happened. First it slipped with some friends, because one very lovely Polish girl got very nosey when she came to visit. I said to her, "I can't tell you because you will probably accidentally write on facebook, 'how is little.......doing?' and I accidentally actually said his name out loud to her. Then it slipped, well maybe not slipped my lips but rather slipped my mind that I should not be telling my parents without Christoph present. Then it slipped his mind when we were eating lunch with his parents, and his response to my "Hey what are doing!" was "Well, you told your parents." Then we had to tell my brother and his wife of coarse, which led to us having to tell all of the rest of the Gruener family realizing that our need to be fair in this situation overcame the fact that his name will no longer be a secret.
I am normally very good in keeping secrets, especially other peoples, but when it comes to my secrets well I think I have the right to tell my own secrets I guess. I need to work on that.

A series of unfortunate events just occured in the past couple days. One, my brother and his wife( my very own little piece of America) left me from visiting in Germany for a couple days. Two, I am now sick in bed after I just had the longest "conversation" with my husband about how I need to set some actual goals for this year and get my butt in gear instead of playing sad little prego house wife. I agreed in a my stubborn little way and was fully prepared to get out there and make some genuine goals. Here are some of them.

1. Finish my stupid book that I never seem to want to finish.
2. Get out of the house a little bit and hang out with people.
3. Read a lot of books
4. Practice my German for 2 hours a day
5. Translate, read and understand a German book. I started that one yesterday and so far this orphan kid has found a carrot in his soup. It takes longer than I thought to read a book in a different language.
6. Practice a lot more piano
7. Work out.....I hate this one right now

I have many other ideas as to what I should be doing, but actually doing them has proven to be a bit more difficult. You see, when a little human is growing inside of you it has a side affect called....emotional laziness. That comes with emotional breakdowns, emotional fights, emotional complaining, emotional eating, emotional rationalizations. I am basically an emotional nutcase. There's nothing I can really do about it though. I just wished my mother would have warned me.

As to an update on what is happening with our finding a needle in a haystack of a building for our kitchen business, I will give you the lowdown. As I am writing this very phrase, Christoph is in a meeting with the "chief" of Germany's Bultaup representatives. Meaning....We will find out in the very near future if we get this building or whether it is suitable or not, and when the store will open. This was a bitter sweet realization. Bitter being, if all goes well that means America is years down the road if ever, and sweet because I know God is in control and it feels pretty good to trust Him with our future. The verdict is in.

This is just one small part in Hillary Gruener learning how to live and let go. There are some old jars I have held onto a little past their due date, but I'm ready to buy the new jars. Now it's just a matter of picking out the new jars. That made sense in my mind.

3 more months!! 3 more months and this baby inside of me will pop out like a champagne cork on new years eve and a great many things will happen from there. I am counting down the days.

Oh and you're probably wondering why I put a picture of a goat on here. It's only that I love goats and I think you should too. If I had to give birth to an animal I would want it to be a goat. But it's better that humans give birth to humans.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just another day

Looks like I brought my bad accident streak to Germany with me. Since I've been eighteen or so I have been in 4 car accidents, 2 of which I wasn't even in the car. One was in a round-a-bout....I could poop on round-a-bouts I hate them so much. One was a silly 16 yr old girl who ran a stop sign and t-boned me which still remains the worst one. And the final little dilly dally was yesterday of coarse when Christoph was out of town, in downtown Gerstetten. When I say downtown Gerstetten, I mean a 200 foot stretch with a couple stores along the way. This little village is where Christoph grew up, and all five minutes I was there, someone sought out my exact car just to hit. All I wanted to do was get some money so I could get some delicious bread and go home to make myself a delicious sandwich. This is what happened instead.

I parked rather close behind some car,thinking maybe I should back off a little, but I was in too big of a hurry to go to the bank that I shrugged it off and continued on my way. Gerstetten is such a small town, that I happened to call my sister-in-law to ask her where the bank was. She told me she was actually just around the corner, so we met up and she drove her car up to mine so we could leave together to find the bank. You would think I could find a bank in such a small town. As I am walking up to my car this man starts talking to me in a really thick Swabian accent (This could be compared to a really thick southern accent but the German version). I've never been a fan of strange people coming up to me and talking to me for many reasons and I think you already know that. I am a magnet for that though, and obviously this guy I couldn't avoid. He was a larger man with white hair, tiny little glasses and wore a flannel red shirt with blue jeans. I could at least understood the part where he asked me if this car belonged to me and I couldn't help but notice that part of his teeth were gone. That would later on distract me from understanding at all what he was saying. I answered "yes that's my car", and he pointed his thick farmer finger in the direction of the front of my car and I followed it with a deep pit forming in my stomach. Did I do that? I can't understand this guy! Oh no, Christoph will be so mad at me, I thought to myself. But as I listened carefully I came to the realization that hillbilly man hit me, and all that had its last breath was our license plate. He picked it up off the ground, still talking, me in my own little world as he was trying his hardest to bend the plate to it's original shape and obviously failing. My sister-in-law pulled up a second later and helped me in communicating with this guy, having a hard time herself understanding him. He was most likely one of these German guys who has never left the general area in his entire life. He was very nice though and of coarse offered to pay for the damages which was probably a total of 10 Euros. Turns out he ended up living across the street from the Gruener business, but the Grueners had never even met him before. Small world.

This then lead to me hanging out with my sister in law the whole day having a great time while my car got fixed. Turned out to be a good day, and I finished it off with a couple episodes of Leave it to Beaver then went to bed. Thankfully the last night without Christoph.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Swaddling practice


Who knew there would be so much to say on swaddling, swaying, sucking, ssshhhing, and side laying. I have been reading this book, "Happiest baby on the block" and I'm sure if you're an American who is having a baby you know exactly what I am talking about. This book is great for a couple reasons which you can find in pages 190-192, and the rest is just repeating itself. Actually the whole book is pretty good, but I could have done without the five time repeated explanation that baby's need another 4th trimester etc.
Upon learning the many techniques of swaddling, I decided to give it a go and try swaddling none other than my very own husband. It took convincing but he finally agreed to it. Even though it was hilarious and I haven't laughed so hard in awhile, I think wrapping a baby is a bit different. I am going to have to get a baby doll to practice with on account that my cat would NOT sit still.

Apart from swaddling there is so much to learn about baby's, and mastering them comes with practice. But there is one thing that I have already mastered and that is loving him with all my heart. I know for a fact that I am already head over heels for our little guy, and that there is nothing in this world I wouldn't do for him. I of coarse already feel that for my husband, but I surely can't roll him up in a ball and cuddle him every minute of every day. That would be unhealthy in so many ways. But that's what's so great when you have babies. They are completely helpless without their mom and dad, and I have complete joy in knowing I can be there for him. I just keep imagining that first day when we bring him home, and how it will be. I'm sure I will never forget that day.

This summer has been absolutely unpredictable and amazing all at the same time. Unpredictable because I am a very unpredictable person that pregnancy makes even more unpredictable. Amazing because getting closer to having our baby grows us closer together as husband and wife. My husband has been the most wonderful and helpful man in the days that have past, and I definitely couldn't have done this without him. From letting me swaddle him to hearing me complain about how fat I am every day, I would say men like this deserve some reward or something. Dealing with a pregnant woman can drive someone crazy, and I know because I drive myself crazy. At the beginning of my pregnancy I hadn't yet felt any nauciousness or emotional instability and I thought to myself, "Maybe I will be an acception and not have all of the symptoms a normal woman has. Low and behold with my hormonal imbalanced history God knew that would never be the case and a week later I was on the journey to crazy land. Poor Christoph.

As I have heard a billion times before, the second trimester exceeds the first trimester in many ways. I find this to be true. No more sickness, super power smelling, inability to eat, emotional outbursts, "poofyiness" as Christoph calls it. Yes, one day he said to me, "You don't look as poofy any more in the second trimester." Oh thanks love, I said as I held in my laugh. I would have normally been hurt by something like this, but the fact that he said poofy made think of myself as a freshly dry load of laundry and I let it slide. Poofy. Ha.

As a matter of fact as a pregnant woman, feeling poofy is nothing but normal in an everyday thought process. You wake up, you feel poofy, you eat...poofy. You take a shower...poofy. I don't think there has ever been a time where I haven't felt poofy. Then my next thought is..."There's nothing I can really do about, so just don't think about it." And that's all there is to pregnancy. Poofiness.

I know I am only talking about babies and pregnancy, but the truth is that's my life right now. Other than two days at the office, a hair cut here and there, I would say it's kinda how it has to be right now. I am ok with it too. I don't think I have ever been happier. The smell of fall in the air remind me that I am only getting closer to getting little Hillstoph our of my body and having his own. My brother and his wife are coming in a couple weeks, then we go to the states, then Christmas will be just around the corner, and then the baby will come. Oh boy. But for today there is the sad fact that Christoph is leaving me for a couple days for a managment training in the mountains. I hate being alone, but that's probably because I am alone most everyday. I am trying to enjoy it before I'll never get to be alone.

Hopefullly that was somewhat of an update.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This is me




I as well as many if not all other women struggle with the feeling of inadequacy in who I am. There are a couple of things I know I am, some good and some not. God is first in my life. I am in love with my husband. I am weird and silly. I say and do inappropriate things, sometimes intentionally but most times not. I do not get along with everyone, even though I always thought I was a person who did. I tend to say things I don't mean when I am pregnant. I like my laundry to smell like the snuggle bear. I love it when people can enjoy something I cooked. I love people and getting to know them. The feeling of becoming a mother is one of the best feelings I have ever had. I hate it when people treat me like I am a child. I mostly find circumstantial things the funniest, which is why I like shows like Arrested Development and The Office. Sometimes the most awkward things in life are the best, like when we saw a guy riding his bike yesterday with tight spandex on and a very prominent hole on his right butt cheek framing the pushed white skin coming out. I know many things about myself, but trying to express them here is sometimes as though I'm trying to fit my finger through a needle's eye.

When I came to Germany I never thought that ever so difficult feeling of inadequacy would be so prominent in my everyday life. The culture, the loneliness, sitting at a table of people speaking German at record speed and straining to understand what is being said. Getting lost in translation, having it later translated and fake laughing ten minutes after the joke was said has never been something I have ever experienced in my life. When I first started high-school I had a similar feeling because I was shy, but I got over it. I started making myself apart of things. That's the thing, if you want to be apart of things it has to be you making the effort and not expecting everyone else to accommodate for you. I have learned patience in one of the hardest way's possible. For me to fit in is to learn the language and I certainly can't learn a language overnight. It takes years. People are very kind in offering to speak English, but the problem there is I will get used to it and not learn the German I need to. Understanding in the heat of the moment that this is life right now and I need to accept things the way they are is one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. Sometimes you just want to give up. I was talking to another American girl who married a German and now lives over here who is going through a similar thing as I. We expressed how we feel like a part of our personality is gone. We can not always express how we really feel, make jokes, or just be us.

Last night after dinner with a bunch of Germans I realized something. I was not in control. That's the part I have a hard time with. Sometimes you feel invisible because people don't even look at you when they talk, they only look at the people they think are understanding them. It's not intentional, it's just natural. Taking little trips to the bathroom to pray and to remind myself it is temporary helps a lot. My heart now even more than ever goes out to the people who even in their own culture don't fit in.
I have learned that as much fun as it is to be apart of things and included, it's not all there is to life. If I thought that my life would be pretty pathetic right now. Yeah at times I tend to think that and I have a breakdown, then later realize it's not true.
I catch myself feeling sorry for myself when I over and over again feel like I'm an alien here, but it only makes it harder. Ultimately I need to turn to God for those feelings of inadequacy and reflect on being me and how fitting in doesn't make life happy or more complete.

Some people may wonder why I share such personal things of my life on my blog. I don't really care. For one it's a way for me to express how I feel and hopefully other people get something out of the lessons I learn in my life. There's something about seeing some one's raw insides, then you know you can identify and perhaps learn a lesson from it or not make the same mistake I did. If I weren't sharing the shitty stuff in life as well as the funny and exciting things I would be lying and making my life here look like it's a fairy tale when it's not. It's hard. But to help me get through the hard God gives me the good. I do have some really great people here who care about me and are there for me, and I am so grateful for that. And the best part about it is that I am never alone, because God and my husband are always there. I have certainly gotten to know both God and my husband in ways that I wouldn't have hadn't all of these events happened in my life. Christoph has been there for me through thick and thin, and his life is the only one that being a part of really matters. He is now my family, and of coarse the grapefruit sized baby in my tummy.
Today is a wonderful day because God gave me breath and life, a husband who loves me, and a little bundle of love on the way. I would say that including the difficulties because those are the times that make you grow, I have a great life and I thank God for it everyday.

This is me and who I am does not depend on things I always thought it would.

There is a verse that reminds me of something very crucial in living my life to it's fullest.
Philippians 3:13-14
"....But one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The true story of American vacations






























Some days I think to myself..."Am I really living the way God intended for my life?" And before I persist any further in that thought process I get lazy because even trying to figure out the way that God thinks of how He wants me to live, and figure out whether in most circumstances I have pulled through for the Big Guy I get my panties all twisted in knots. Then it came to me as it has before but then I forget again and again. It's almost like watching a great movie with an intense ending and coming back to watch it years later happy that you have forgotten what happened and the whole experience is new and exciting once again. That's the feeling I mean when I open up the Bible, and read the mind of God and the people He spoke through and somehow I had forgotten how yes, I should love my enemies, and yes I should be patient and kind, and yes it's not all about me, and yes I do need to trust God. All of these things I have learned over many years and still everyday God reminds me in His word that no matter how hard I try to live how I think God wants me to live, all I have to do is surrender to Him and He will do the rest. Well, first you surrender but that doesn't mean you sit at home waiting for God to physically make something happen in your life. I have to move forward, trusting Him with every step even if that means I could stumble from time to time.

I am eating frosted mini wheat's while I am writing this and I am very disappointed in myself because I know better, eating them at a slow pace causes the white delicious sugary side to disintegrate into my milk. All I have left now is sugary milk and soggy wheat blocks.

I am sometimes mad at myself for not writing down in the moment all of the funny and interesting things that happen in my life. I forget so easily. But here is one, or rather a series of some events that mostly include my parents visit to Europe. While they so kindly visited us and slept in our living room for one week in Germany, we also had the pleasure of enjoying a wonderful short trip to Italy just the four of us. You know how I feel about Italy so I don't have to explain it again. The only part I would like to repeat is the "Stripes of chicken's chest" translation of good ole plain chicken strips. We went to the same restaurant where I first saw this. Entertainingly enough the German's are also at fault for this "Lost in Translation" series of words. Whenever traveling through Europe you must pay attention to the translations, they are priceless. So we ended up taking my parents to Lake Como, knowing that since that had never been to Bella Italia this would be a wonderful first experience for them as it has always been for us.

Now, if you know my parents you would agree with me in describing them as "True Americans," straight down to the two large SUV's they drive and the American flag proudly flowing in the wind on their front porch. Once I caught my dad marching around the house, flag in hand, yelling the Declaration of Independence. Just kidding, but I did see him walking around with it in the house and it looked very much like he was marching....anyways. Now that I am older and MUCH more mature I can say that things like this make me love my parents all the more rather than embarassing me. Except when my mom fake's a German or Italian accent. Well, even that is pretty great. I love that they are "True Americans."

Welcome to Italy. One of my favorite parts of going to Italy is the amazing drive through the Swiss and Northern Italian Alps. It will take your breath away. Four hours of this, and you will almost be looking forward to the drive back already. We got to our hotel, and while the gentlemen waited in the lobby for our room's availability, us ladies got straight to it and soaked up the sun on the lakeside pool. You had the option of cooling down in the hotel pool, or bading with the fishes in the crystal clear mountain lake that was the perfect temperature. Another thing about vacations that I love is people watching. We were mostly surrounded by Dutch people, which is a language I am not used to hearing and before Christoph told me who they were I was straining my ear in confusion hearing an English word, then a German word thinking..."what the? Are you English or German, figure it out!" Apparently that is exactly what Dutch is, a mixture of the both. Silly Dutch. If their personalities are also a mixture of the two, I would like to get to know some Dutch people.

After the poor guys waited in the lobby for a couple hours they soon joined us, and like little boys they jumped right in the lake in the most dangerous way possible. Every vacation I can ever remember growing up, my dad has in some way or another tried to kill himself (figure of speech) in doing something stupid. If we are on a water vacation it usually has to do with swimming to the most dangerous place possible like the middle of the ocean, and swimming back. If we're on a mountainous vacation he would be jumping across cliffs having all the bystanders staring with jaws dropped, calling him crazy. He likes it. My dad is neither Micheal Phelps nor George Mallory (He died trying to climb Everest and yes I just googled that) but he thinks he is.
So that's "Vacation Kelly" in a nut shell, and "Vacation Josh" (my brother) was always following right in his footsteps. Of coarse since then my brother has probably exceeded my dad's series of stupid events by one thousand. My brother is no crocodile hunter but very very close. He once caught a 100 lb snapping turtle and kept it as a pet, so I guess we could call him turtle hunter.

That night we enjoyed a delicious meal or should I say series of meals, 3 coarse, my dad had it in his mind it was a 5 coarse but he got over it. We enjoyed the Italian wine, Italian music, and Italian servers. 3 hours later, because this place was no Texas Road House, we were wined (well not me I am prego), dined and to finish it off my husband ordered the snops to settle his food (Apparently it's good for the digestion process) and my dad was a big fan of that so he tried some too. I don't know if it was the wine or the fact we were in Italy but my dad did a wonderful "Vacation Kelly" thing that night. We had a beautiful candle on our table, and my dad as he is trying to stomach this snops had a bright idea to stick his finger in the snops and then proceed sticking it into the candle starting his finger on fire. A four or five star restaurant mind you, and my dad the American is lighting his finger on fire. We were all laughing hysterical and I said. "If Josh were here he would take a drink and blow it on the candle." Totally true fact, I wasn't even kidding. I think the more Christoph hangs out with my family the more he can understand me. I once at a very nice place when we were with his parents at a furniture fair in Milan, thought the flower decorating my desert was edible. Christoph's mom caught me eating it and trying to hold in her laughs told me to just spit it out. There I am while we are making some important decisions in what furniture we are going to buy from our Georgetti sales guy gagging on a flower and spitting it out. Hopefully no one noticed. I felt like what's her name form Princess Diaries. It's not like I do it intentionally though, it's genetics of an American father.

The next day in Italy we roamed through the city of Lake Como and enjoyed the day just laughing and spending time together. It was wonderful, not only to have a little piece of America with us but to have fun with my parents again. They are so easy to hang out with. I miss that so much. Oh and they were so kind to get Christoph and I our very first baby stroller. When everyone got together, the Germans an the Americans we all tried it out before we had a lovely dinner together. I think our baby is going to be pretty spoiled by it's grandma's and grandpa's:)

I love you mom and dad!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Time is quickly fading and memories are being made that no pictures could capture to be put in a frame, but rather tucked away in the many treasure chests in my heart. I could write Hallmark cards.
But yes it's true for two reasons. Our camera broke from me (or Christoph, we don't really want to say who it was) putting an open water bottle in my purse for all the water to spill out and ruin our camera among a couple other things. So no memory capturing with pictures. The second reason is completely tangible, at least in my opinion. Have you ever seen something so beautiful that you know there is no way a picture could ever capture the essence of the memory? Well, living in a place like Europe and traveling to places like Italy for instance, I feel this way so many times. I find myself trying to capture the smell, the touch, the light, the food...everything, call it a name, and put it where it belongs to be treasured forever.

Last week was full of doing such things as my parents visited us for the first time in our new apartment.
It started with my mom coming on Saturday and later my dad meeting up with us on Tuesday after he attended a work meeting in Bremen. Having some quality time with just my mother was just what I needed since finding out I was pregnant and going through different things that are so new and uncomfortable at times. I was pleased to take her along to our new church so she could experience what I experience in my German world. This Sunday church was particularly heartbreaking as I struggled to translate to her the testimony of a man who's wife died just days before of breast cancer. The attitude of this man, who was our pastor's brother -in-law was that I have never seen before of someone who has just accepted the fact that the mother of his two children at the ages of 8 and 6, and his loving wife was never to be seen again on this earth. Among some of the many beautiful things he said, he explained with tears withheld that who is he to say when his wife should pass away, and he is nothing but grateful to God for the beautiful times and memories he had while his wife was still alive. The last hours of his wife's passing was so peaceful because she was nothing but accepting of leaving this world and going to meet her Savior.

As I was intensely listening, not understanding every exact word, I found myself realizing something which I am sure many others realized at that same moment. Life comes at us with so many unexpected circumstances, and to not enjoy our marriage for what God has given us is to deny ourselves of a beautiful blessing that was meant always by God to be some of the happiest times of our life. This man and his heart was such a beautiful memory of what it means to be married and to enjoy every minute of our lives for what it is. The little fights about whatever, the memories ruined because of selfishness, all of these things have been given to us to make a choice in the matter to give up our right and to choose our battles wisely. Everyday I have to remind myself of this, and of coarse everyday I struggle with it. My heart gets hard once again because for some reason I feel that I deserve to be right. I loved this man's attitude, and little did he know that through his wife's death if not only me, but many people would see that there is always something to learn in your marriage and to never take advantage of the time you have together.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The little things that make you go crazy


There's something about seeing an ant floating in a pool on its back, struggling for life that you just can't help but feel sorry for it. When I was little, wherever I would walk I would particularly pay attention to not stepping on and killing ants. I don't know what it is about ants more than any other bugs that you just want to let them be, building little ant hills, making the queen happy. Maybe it's because their so cute, and maybe I think their so cute because of the movie A Bugs Life. I'm not really sure. I'm also not really sure why I am telling you this. Sometimes in my pregnancy as I'm sure many other women feel, like I am high on the little things, just enjoying life. Then you have someone like your husband who comes along and takes something very special from you and all of the sudden your life is over.

Let me explain. The other day I went to a decorations fair for store owners with my mother-in-law Hannah. Christophs mom and I ventured to Munich to take a look at the halls packed with gadgets and gizmo's a plenty, and found some very wonderful things for the store and also for an event I am running in October. Anyways, on our way there we stopped and went to the bathroom at some rest stop off of the autobahn. I later after going to bathroom searched for a delicious cold beverage and discovered something wonderful. A Nescafe Ice cold Caramel Macchiatto. I hadn't had or found something as wonderful as this since I lived in the states. This particular day it was about 30 degrees C out, which is about 95 F and an ice cold coffee drink was just the thing to wet my thirsts appetite. So we both got one, Christoph's mom not so sure of this new thing she had never heard of before. She absolutely loved it by the way, and within seconds our 2,50 Euro tiny little European sized sips of coffee had disappeared into our not quite satisfied bellies. I think at the very moment we finished them we both had the same thought. We wanted another. It was planned, we would get another on the way home later on that day. I have never seen anything so cute as to seeing my mother-in-law enjoy such a thing as a cold American coffee drink.

After much walking and decision making, we were on our way home and the Nescafe coffee drink had probably not left our minds the entire day. First stop, gas station. I went to the bathroom and by the time I got out Hannah had already bought me another along with a delicious ice cream bar. This is where the disappointment started. It was warm. And if you have ever tasted a warm nescafe caramel macchiato, you know that it is NOT very good. I was upset, but I decided with much self control in not gulping that whole thing down right then and there that I would wait it out, put it in the fridge when I got home and have it the next day. At least I had the ice cream bar to distract me. I did that very thing, and after setting it on the shelf very proudly, thinking of how wonderful it would be after a cold night in the fridge I quietly uttered to myself as my smile turned to a scowl...'If Christoph drinks that'.....I won't tell you the rest of my though process.

Later that night Christoph and I were at home getting our stuff together to go swimming at his parents pool. I was standing at the kitchen counter talking with Christoph about something funny, I don't remember what it was, but as we were talking he opened the fridge, took my Nescafe coffee out, opened it and before he got it to his lips I yelled at the top of my lungs something I will not repeat and you can imagine what happened from there. CHristoph was only laughing at me as he was threatening to drink it as I was screaming and yelling trying to grab it out of his hand. I was out of control at this point thinking to myself, 'I must look like a crazy person...I think I am a crazy person but I don't care, I want that coffee drink'. He got a kick out of it, but little did he know how much that little coffee drink meant to me. I was enraged by now and seeing that he finally realized he had better put it back in the fridge and I am sipping it at this very moment of writing to you, savoring every ice cold gulp of sheer tongue delight. I bet you go buy one right now.

Later that night we go to his parents place where of coarse Hannah had done the exact same thing and put hers in her fridge. Christoph, just like a little boy opens the fridge to see what he can find and immediately takes out her little coffee drink and proceeds to guzzle it down. I start yelling at him again, and Hannah walks in and says, "Oh, it's ok if he has it." It her German little accent. I felt like a selfish fool after that. I'm sure she is used to giving up food she has saved for herself raising four boys who raid the fridge every time they come home, even to this day. I guess I have a lot of patience and selflessness to learn. After all, I could have just bought another one the next day. I guess to me, growing up and having my dad eat all of the cookie dough I had prepared for an event later on that week had left me scarred with wanting to protect my food at all costs. I was always putting labels on my food living at home, "Dad, if you eat this I will eat you."

Monday, July 5, 2010

No title today

As much as I love spiders and how they creep and crawl and are always in places that surprise you, I never ever again want to find one in my bed ever again. They've been in my shower, on my lap while sitting at a nice restaraunt, in my clothes, my towels, my hair, but today was an entire new surprise when I had one dead in my bed! I must have when I was sleeping subconciously known that I needed to kill a spider. They have been everywhere on and around me, finding me wherever I am. Every time I get scared about a spider, Christoph say's, "They don't bite in Germany, they wont hurt you." I know that by now thank you darling husband, but I still don't like them. They are evil and every time I see one I will have Christoph kill it. The one in my bed I killed but only because I didn't know it was there. Stay away spiders. It's bad enough Germany has horse flies that attack and bite you when you get out of any sort of body of water. You have to rush to dry yourself off because apparently they like little beads of water. Creepy little b.........

Can you tell I love the bugs here. They are a delight.

I've started my new job, and I must say I think I am going to like it. I am the new events planner for the Gruener company. This is a big step for me going form the cleaning lady to the events planner. I am pretty excited about it. I only work two days a week, and when I have my baby I can even work from home. It's creative and just up my alley. You're probably wondering what happened with the whole kitchen business we were going to begin? Well, at the moment we can't find a building so that part is on hold. We are trusting that everything that has happened is for a reason only God knows. We found ourselves in a place that was out of our control and sometimes that makes you take a step back and look at why and for what reasons did this happen. It could be that God is protecting us from such a disasterous thing, and that we need to wait on it. That's what trust is about right? To make a decision in the direction that not knowing what will happen or how it will happen, give up control and let it be. I need to do this in many areas of my life. I must say this has been a year of lesson after lesson in how to trust and I still feel like I want control and don't want to let things go. What makes us as humans so reluctant to just live and let go? I think it is a mixture of many different things in our life that we have taken credit for. If something wonderful happens you think, 'I've got this under control now and if I am just always in control then everything will turn out ok. You forget that the One who actually made it happen was not you but in fact God. This is why I think God sometimes let's us fail, so that we can examine who we are, broken and in need of something greater than us. So we can come to the understanding once again we are no more in control of when we live or die, than we are in control of what happens in a day. I will give you an example.

Yesterday we went to church and I have been pretty down about church lately. That part doesn't really matter because I was being selfish anyways. I was expecting something, the same old thing, and something completely different happened. The moment I arrived to church I changed my mind set. I disregaurded the fact that when I cannot say everything I want to say to make my personality and who I am come out because of the language barrier. I thought, I'm just going to say as much German as I am capable of and if I sound like an idiot I don't really care. You get to the point when speaking a different language that you just have to go for it and be open to making mistakes. So I did this trusting that God was in control. Normally I just wouldn't say much. Funny thing happens when you do that. I go in expecting one thing and come out amazed at what God does. This goes for everything in our lives, this thing called trust. I know I will never master it but I can sure grow in it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bilbo Baggins

The last time we were in Italy at a restaurant the English translation of the menu read things like 'Stripes of chickens chest' and 'Scallops' that were not actual scallops but rather veal. It's what I ordered of coarse. my mouth watering for scallops. I love the Italians and how they translate English.
This time in Italy the restaurant we visited was a bit different, including the company. Let me explain.

Christoph and I were sent from the Gruener company to go on a 2 day tour of the Giorgetti Italian furniture in one of most beautiful places in Italy....Lake Como. Did you know that the people of Como are so nonchalant, that when Brad Pit and Angelina Jolie visited they could have cared less of who they were. George Clooney has a Penthouse there because he likes to be treated like a normal person. One time his motorcycle broke down, so he went to a repair guy by where he lives. The guy let him in, and didn't have a clue who he was. The repair guys daughter eventually came in and dropping here jaw knew exactly who he was. He plays basketball with his Italian friends in a special spot up until the paparazzi got hold of it. I was told all of this by our Italian entourage from Giorgetti sitting on the lake for a fancy dinner, thinking he was George's best friend or something. I asked him how he knew all of this, and in his Italian bouncing flare he answered. "Wella youa knowa, the newspaper, anda the worda justa get a rounda." There was about 7 Germans total, all male have you and me, one little pregnant American girl who had no clue up until now what Giorgetti produced and how they produced it. I found it very interesting, not just learning about the furniture going through the production factories, but also being the only woman there among older business German men who all were so happy I was having a baby. It's funny, once people know you are pregnant they treat you completely different. It's like I could do or say whatever I wanted and they wouldn't care less because after all..."She's pregnant." I could fart as loud as I want and no one would care. I could start swearing uncontrollably and they would just say..."How are you felling? Ok?"

We were picked up by a large van that contained three of the men we would be seeing the tour with and later we would meet up with the lot. There was one particular guy that CHristoph and I didn't quite understand. His last name was Mutta which means 'mother' in German. He was a doctor, so we called him Doctor Mutta. Completely translated it means "doctor mother." Sounds like a swear word to me. He was a strange little man, grey hair with a white fluffy frame around his face. I finally after two hours of studying him came to the conclusion he was the spitting image of Bilbo Baggins. That about sums up his physical appearance. As for his mannerisms. He sat in the back of the van and said a total of about 4 words the entire 4 hour trip. That's about one word per hour. We drove by a strawberry stand and he yells out, "Strawberries!" The next stop of coarse he found himself a fruit stand and bought himself a bag full of different fruits which would later cause him more stress than good. Every time we got in and out of the van he came running and yelling. "My fruit! Don't sit on my fruit!" Now if we were to actually sit on his fruit we would have to be a couple of things. 1) blind 2) stupid 3)downright mean. Now, thinking of normal business doctor men, you would think they would be a bit prestigious, usually ellude that if they don't know everything they are certainly close. Well, not this guy. He was....well a hobbit to be quite descriptive. We would neither say much nor do much other than scurry from furniture piece to furniture piece, touching, sitting, smelling, smiling. I swear if he took off his shoes we would be sure to behold a hairy forest of hobbit feet. Extraordinary those hobbits.

Now on to the tour. From the beginning I was always curious of how exactly people make furniture. Now I know and find it absolutely wonderful how a small piece of maple, tropical, oak, cherry, olive wood can after many stages be transformed into a beautiful piece of furniture. This particular company strives for a classic ritzy antique who cater mostly to VERY well to do people (A dining table running you to up to 30,000 Euro) in areas such as Russia and Africa. A small but good percent attracts the Germans as well as many other countries. Giorgetti himself is a very Italian man who looks and sounds like he came straight from the Godfather. His son even got killed by the Italian mob! I could of met him but right as I went in the ladies room, he walked by and of coarse Christoph got to nod his head at him. Stupid bladder. He is the Godfather in the furniture world.
9:00 in the evening rolled around and finally we were on our way to dinner. I was starving. We were taken to a fantastic restaurant on the lake, where we had great conversation, mostly with the Italians because the German guys didn't have much to say. Italians always have something to say which I find absolutely wonderful. Finally our night ended at 12 with yet another dessert after about 2 and we were off to our hotel room. The next day was completely the same, included with tours and lunch.

There's something about Italy, something in the air that makes everything seem like it's gonna be ok. My experiences there have always been wonderful and surrounded with wonderful people. It was truly an experience to remember. I love Italy.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Giddy up little baby!

The other night I made beans for dinner. I hear that beans are good for you, especially for being pregnant. They are filled with protein and fiber, enough to make a person regular and satisfied if beans was all they ate. I also made a delicious bean soup at the beginning of my pregnancy. I actually made about 3 gallons of this soup, thinking we could freeze it and eat it later. Come to find out, I can only eat things once and then I am disgusted by it except for grilled cheese, eggs and mayonnaise, and fresh cherries. So I made this wonderful bean filled chicken vegetable soup that I later that night put in a huge Tupperware and froze for later. Over a month went by and every time I opened the freezer that Tupperware full of disgusting looking soup haunted me. We have been trying to save some money too and having some leftovers would definitely save some cash. Finally I got myself to put it in the fridge in order for it to thaw for the next day. A couple weeks went by of evening dinners consisting of grilled cheese or egg sandwiches washed down with milk...mmmm, and the soup had still not been eaten. By this time I knew it was not edible, and if indeed eaten would cause me to projectile vomit and not because I am pregnant.

Now we are back to the other night when I made beans. That night I had to throw out this large container of soup, and if you have ever thrown soup out you know it is more than difficult. It's not like any other leftover that goes bad where you can just either throw all of it down the drain or in the trash. No, you have to separate it. I don't have a disposal you see. Actually having a disposal is illegal in Germany because your old food will eventually go to feeding the rats that live in the sewers. I wonder if the police here would actually arrest you if they found out you had a disposal. I can't imagine anything more ridiculous, but knowing the Germans it is possible for such a thing to happen. Now, having experience on the no disposal factor, I have gotten used to throwing all of my food into a bio bag and having it smell to high heaven in my kitchen until thrown out. I am going to go on one more tangent before I get to the point of the story.
On this particular day when I threw out the bean soup and made other beans, I had the urge to clean our entire apartment from head to toe. It took me a good four hours, but since I felt like cleaning for the first time since I have been pregnant I thought I had better take this opportunity. I cleaned out the fridge, the pantry, the cabinets, and even dusted the vacuum machine.
Ok now back to the beans. I just wanted to sound good by telling you that I cleaned so you would be proud of me.
Christoph got home that night around 7:00, and we sat down for a nice bean dinner. Now, we have been having beans a lot and I think this raised some concern in Christoph. He looked at me and said..."Did you know that if you eat too many beans while being pregnant our child with have hooves?" I replied, "No I didn't, that's so awful, I have never heard that. Oh No!" Now I was really frightened. I thought back to all of the bean dinners we had had, and even the bean soup I had just thrown out. I started to get really paranoid. Christoph continued to say. "Yup, then we will have to name it "Chalf" because it will be half child and half calf. Ha ha ha ha ha he he he ah ha ha!"

Chalf Chalf Chalf....Oh this is not good, not good at all......I immediately imagined our child born looking that something of a retarded centaur. Poor Chalf. I will still love it.

I woke up and it was about 3 in the morning. Have you ever had one of those dreams where you woke up and realized what you dreamed and laughed so hard and thought, 'I have to remember that in the morning.'
That's what happened here. The dream started at the bean dinner...I really did clean the apartment and throw out that nasty soup with only throwing up once.

I have been laughing about this dream and how rediculous it was for the past couple days. Where in the world did I come up with something like that in my head?

Here's to Children with hooves and bean soup.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Baby clouds



Picture: Little did we know

It's been awhile since I've blogged. I guess being pregnant makes you want to do nothing other than sit on your butt, eat, barf and sleep. That's right, we're having a little baby. It's about the size of a kumquat right now and looks pretty creepy. I'm just glad it doesn't come out that size. I wouldn't know what to do with such a tiny thing.
This all came as a surprise to us about 2 months ago, but we feel so blessed by God to be apart of bringing somebody into the world. I can't wait to see what it looks like.

I find myself digging into my heart lately trying to figure out my feelings, emotions, dreams, living situation, and after digging for awhile I realize I am only trying to dig through a huge cloud that I am floating on. This cloud is where all the pregnant women go when they find out they are pregnant. On this cloud consists crazy realistic dreams of having my baby coming out as a full grown toddler, or me trying to buy something at a store here in Germany and trying to speak German and all that comes out is glleeeebooooofarrrrrrleeedooooo. It also consists of emotional breakdowns wondering what my life is all about and why I have this overall feeling to do absolutely nothing. Slothfulness, all I want to do is sleep and going to the grocery store sounds worse than doing the laundry. I find myself wandering around the house doing one thing let's say wiping off the counter, finishing it 1/4 of the way, getting distracted and sitting down. Yesterday I was preparing to make dinner for Christoph at 6 o clock. I looked at my phone at when I thought it was 6 to call Christoph, and it was 7! When I realized I had miscalculated time by an entire hour I had to accept the fact that I am indeed one of the most stupid people on earth right now. I crave the strangest things and none of my cravings include vegetables. I'm putting important papers in the fridge, answering questions at German class that don't make sense whatsoever.

90% of the time I am floating around on this cloud to nowhere. But the interseting thing is the more I feel this way, the more I realize what a great cause it is. I can live through 6 more months of these feelings if that means I get a precious little baby in return. It's like God prepares you and makes you a little bit stronger before you need take care of another living creature. He also prepared me with taking care of Christoph. Anyways, I heard the worst part is almost over.

I am never around babies here, and I wish I was just so I could get a little practice. The other day we met up with some new friends who have a one year old. Unfortunately I asked..."How old is he?" she replied and said..."SHE is 1 year old." Luckily she is the type if person who doesn't get offended by something like that. We kept having the conversation like nothing happened and on the inside I was like 'Oh geeze, on a scale of one to ten how offended is she?" and my face turned bright red.

I will never get offended if someone thinks my baby is the opposite sex than what it is. I know how difficult it is to tell sometimes. But if it's like 5 and it's still happening then things might get nasty.

Well, I don't know if anyone even reads this anymore but I like writing, and I miss it terribly. I finally had the time after wiping off a couple counters to sit down once again and write.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Treasured Trash


The new love of my life has arrived. Last week it was my kitchen, and now it's my brand new washing machine that Christophs parents got us. Now my poor mother in law doesn't have to wash our clothes and that is good for a couple reasons. I don't think I have ever met anyone who can make laundry smell as good as she does. When I first met Chritsoph there was a specific smell he had that I was always wondering where it came from. Come to find later when I visited his house, a step in their home is like walking into a valley of flowers or hugging the Snuggle bear. Phillipp, Christoph's brother could be working all day in construction, come home and still smell like a princess from 10 feet away. Anyways, I tried out my first load yesterday and it was nothing like how my mother in law made it smell, and it literally put me in a bad mood. So many times I think, "I can do it like the Germans" or "I can be organized too." but it is always falling short. I guess I have to remember I am just not German, and there are some things that never change. I do have to say that I am 10 times better at...

a) cleaning b) washing dishes c) organizing d) taking care of my cat d) calling people back (maybe that's because I only have an average of 2 people calling me a week) e) eating. Last but not least I would like to believe I am way better at cooking by now. I am learning, slowly but surely. When we were repacking all of our stuff we left at the Gruener's home over the past year, I opened a cabinet full of my clothes and was appalled at myself and how I stuffed everything in there. It's good that I see that now, whereas before I would think that is completely normal.

When I was little I used to put trash in boxes and stack them neatly in my closet. My mom didn't find out until she looked under my bed and saw all of my dirty laundry stuffed to the point of no end which made her further look in my junk yard collected closet.

It was maybe five years ago I used a bag of frozen lima beans to ease my shin splints after soccer practice. Two weeks later I smelled something rancid lingering. I finally cleaned up my room and found a bag of rotting lima beans under a pile of clothes. Friends, I am only telling you this because I want you to be proud of how far I am have come, and this sentence is mostly written for my mother. Mother, I no longer hide things in dark places. My kitchen is all white and I keep it looking like a Mr. Clean commercial shoot.

I am always admiring how the Germans are so organized and always getting things done. But there will always be some things I will never understand, and that's not their fault it's just the way everyone has learned. Let me give you an example and it starts with locking your garbage can.
The other day we had to register our new place of living from Gerstetten to Ulm. Now, coming from the States I am very used to filling up your garbage as full as you can get it, put it out on friday morning, fill it up again etc... Well not here! We had to go to some government official building, change our residence, and go to a special desk called "Muell", which means "Trash" and pay for our yearly fee of our gallon sized trash bucket we can only fill up once a month. Don't get me wrong we can still have a special bag for plastic, another for paper, another for glass, and so on to recycle. I am all for recycling to a certain extent, but now I know the reason why people have locks on their garbage cans, so that no one else can sneak any of their trash in there. Yesterday Christoph said he needs to start eating more so that we don't throw extra food away. Now we are both gonna get fat just because we can't leave any leftovers to throw away. I said to Christoph yesterday, "It's amazing that people don't start throwing their trash out of their car windows." He said, "We were trained really well I guess." I believe that if Americans were given the same regulations a great many horrible things would happen. a) our streets would be knee deep in trash b) There would be a new police department specifically for trash called the "Trash Brigade" and c) Mary J Bleige and P Diddy would come out with a new song called, "Look at all the Trash."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Crooked walls

Well, after hard work and a lot of decision making we are finally staying at our new place! I am going to post pictures soon, because I want you to see how gorgeous our place is. I have never in my life ever imagined living in a cute little newly renovated house that is older than America, in the most beautiful part of Germany. We get two great features in one....The feeling of an old unique building that is hundreds of years old, and the newly renovated inside so that nothing is falling apart. It's fantastic! The walls are all crooked because they just covered the old walls with new walls. And what makes it really special, is they left one wall open with the old wall, and you can see all of the old stone shingles from the olden days. You will see it better in all of the pictures soon. The problem is, it's currently a huge mess right now so no pictures for a bit still.

Well, just wanted to let you all know we are finally at our destination. We only had one injury, Christophs pinky finger. He rushed to bandage the scratch up with a band-aid before any permanent damage was done. Ok, so I have to write about one more thing because it is hilarious but I know I will hear from Christoph later on.

You see Christoph was born with many "beauty marks" aka "moles" None are overbearing or weird, he just has a lot. Now if you know my husband, or any man for that matter, they are hypochondriacs. Oh man my spelling is at an all time low. Anyways, I hear almost every single day from him..."Is this a new mole? How does this one look? It looks different right?" Now if you go back a couple months it was all my fault in starting this new mole obsession. I simple said one time, "Make sure you get those checked every once in awhile." (Once every couple years is what I meant) Little did I know he would be self examining himself everyday asking me to be the diagnoser. I have no idea what moles should look like, and even if I did I am not a doctor!

I love you Christoph, and I love that you are the way you are....it makes me smile:) I will delete this blog entry if you so wish:)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Auf Wiedersehen!!!!

Today's the day we move, and how I found time to write in my blog I have no idea. In about two hours we have some help from friends and family to get this party on it's way to Ulm. Our stuff has doubled in the past 6 months, mostly because of my clothes gradually being shipped with my poor parents and their luggages.

Christoph is still slumbering away, and I am too jittery the get a wink more in. One of Christoph's favorite things to do is sleep...He is just like a new born baby. I think it's a German thing too, like one time I tried to wake up his brother Phillip to come eat dinner (It was like 1:30pm) and I will never in my life attempt something lik this. I have never heard him sound so angry...justa like a bear woken from hibernation.

Although, poor Christoph has to put up with some pretty rediculous sleep behaviors from me. Sometimes in the night when I have dreams that he was a jerk to me, I wake up and hit him with my fist, turn around and go back to bed. Apparently this happens a lot, but I only remember some of the times. I'm sorry but my dreams are sometimes so real it wouldn't matter if really happened or not, at that moment he deserves a smack. Now he knows to say..."What did I do this time?"

Thursday night was a sad night. Some of my new favorite people and us got together, ate some risotto, drank some wine, and just enjoyed one last night. It was absolutely wonderful. Last night Christoph said something, and I believe it is a German saying..."To leave Hamburg makes one eye smile and one eye cry."..(.then Benni and I actually tried that....It looks pretty funny)
But seriously it is this way exactly. The people we have met here, the people at my school, the people on the streets (Like 19 cent guy), have all been apart of something so dear to my heart. Unfortunately, looking forward has always been a struggle for me, so i am trying to keep my head up, accept some more change, and start again in Ulm.

One thing I am sure of though. Everything in life happens for a reason. The people we meet, the places we go, the kombucha's we spill, all happen for a purpose that is so much bigger than we can know. I am so delighted in the fact that God uses all of us to bless and to help one another. So....friends of Hamburg you know who you are, you will be greatly missed and you have made an impact in my life more than you know.

Tschuess Hamburg, Tchuess language school and all of my crazy teachers, Tschuess metro station and all of the wonderful people watching. Tschuess tiny little moths that fly around our apartment and we thought were gone. Tschuess diaper couch, and coffee stained carpet. Tschuess little shelf above the toilet that always shifted and let all of my lotions and perfumes drop down into the toilet. Tschuess stupid bed. Tschuess to the Schanzestrasse and all of it's awesome Cafe's and shops. Tschuess carzy people I encountered on the street. Thank you all for giving me so much to write about. Tschuess wonderful new friends. Tschuess to you all! I will miss you!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

What makes the clock go round?

This week we leave Hamburg...and today for the first time in awhile it has been sunny all day. I feel uncomfortable about it, some of the reasons being my kitchen and all of it's discusting bacteria breeding places are now illluminated. Haven't seen that yet. But thankfully on Saturday we are on our way, into our very own place, our very own kitchen, and our new life.

Gos has blessed us in so many ways here. Besides getting to know each other on a new level...aka being married, we have made some wonderful friends and have experienced what living in a big city was like. I can't say it's my favorite, but it sure was a good experience.

Sven comes on saturday to take back the apartment. It will be interesting to see what he has to say about all the dishes I broke, the coffee stained carpet, and his broken lamp. I can't see him being upset mostly because everything here is old and almost broken anyways. We'll see. I hope we get our deposit back.

To say the least I have had some pretty interesting interactions/experiences with the Hamburgers. Let's just sum things up. There was all of the people who have approached me not knowing my response would be awkward and somewhat confused.There was the time I fell on some guys lap in the metro. Oh, and I won't ever forget seeing that woman get hit by a car. That very same day I thought my wallet was stolen, but it showed up in my bag just yesterday. Good thing because I almost filed a police report for a stolen wallet that was really hiding in an almost invisible pocket in my backpack. Oh, and let's not forget the incident with the Kombucha at the grocery store the other day. Right in the check out area of the grocery store my new bottle of kombucha flew out of my bag and exploded all over the floor and onto some guys shoes. Everyone was starring at me. My first thought, "What am I going to say in German?" Second thought.."Just say you're sorry." so I did. I apoloized profusely and then continued to try and clean up the mess I had made by picking up the shattered glass. Before I knew it, the chashier lady was yelling at me in German, so there was nothing left to do but....leave. I left. I had already had a pretty awful day and this just put the frosting on the already burned cake. What an interesting experience, living here. But all in all it was a time i will never forget, and I'm sure I will always look back after I am fluent in German and say...."Wow, I was pretty rediculous." Not in a sense that I was stupid, just that everytime I walk outside I feel misplaced and terribly alone. I know I shouldn't feel this way because it's pretty silly, but it's just a fact when you live in a foreign place. It's get's better day by day.

One more thing...Today during break at school I went to the reception office to ask a question. I took a glance at the clock because I had to be back in about 2 minutes. The time said 2:58pm on the hand clock. Two minutes later I looked back at the clock and it was winding around at record speed and was already at about 4:30 and still ticking. It was so strange I have never seen anything like it. When the lady at the reception finished talking with the other person, she then helped me. Before she said anything I told her something was wrong with her clock. She stared at it for a bit, and turned around so confused. By that time it said it was 8:00. So, I'm not a supersticious person about these things, but I couldn't help but think...."Do I have some sort of power I am unaware of?" Ok for like a split second I thought that, but really how often does a clock just after you look at it start freaking out and do about 30 seconds per second untouched? It was freaky.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Quick update

I am having writers block, even though in this past week my wallet has been stolen at school, I saw a man who looks like Coronal Mustard walking down the street, I exploded a whole bottle of Kombucha in the grocery store, and saw a women get hit by a car. It's been crazy to say the least.

We move back south in a couple weeks, and I am both sad and happy to leave. I have made some pretty great friends here, and now I have to leave once again. On the other hand, I can't wait to look at something other than storage boxes and Svens shirts before I go to bed.
Hamburg is lovely, don't get me wrong. I am just ready to start our new life, in our own place.

It is so amazing looking back, and seeing all that we have been through. God has brought us through once again, and from different trials we are growing both individually and together. I am so absolutely grateful for my wonderful husband and all that he has done for me.

School is great, everyone there is great. I love it and I couldn't ask for anything more. Although, I would like Andreas to lower his voice at times, because it is starting to give me migraines.

My other teacher resembles Gendalf the grey from Lord of the Rings. He has a voice that could shake a mountain, but he never smiles.

The third teacher is a freak of nature. I am not even sure how to describe him. He is very nice and patient, and in between his sentences he has about 20 variations of faces that he makes. Hi should be on Broadway or something.

I have to go but I will try to write more frequently. I have been busy, and that is not a problem for me. I love being busy right now:)

I would also like to describe the first sentence of my blog in detail, because all of those things that happened are definitely a story to tell.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ice skating anyone?

If you have read my blog "Nineteen cents", then what I am about to say will entertain you. If you have not, then read it before you read this one.

So, the other day my new friend from school Timbit (I love that name) and I were heading back to class after our much needed cappuchino break when it happened again. The nineteen cents man came out of nowhere, and said ever so directly to my face, "Haben Sie neunzehn cent?" Except the way he said it was exactly as before...in English now "Do you have niiiiiinnnnneeettteen cents?" Now, this time he was just as aggressive, his breath still smelled of liquor, and he still had very long grey coarse curly eyebrows framing his bloodshot eyes.
Usually my first impression of these things happening are in most cases sympathetic. When he asked me the first time, about 2 months ago, I thought perhaps he was asking for 19 cents because he was just short 19 cents, or maybe was not aware that there is no 19 cent coin. Maybe he has been asking for 19 cents from people all of his life, so from when he was a kid which would have to have been 50 years ago, 19 cents was quite a bit of money. It could be he is smarter than all of us and has figures out in his head that asking 2 million people for 19 cents will give him a pretty good monthly salary. Anyhow, I am baffled that he still to this day is asking for 19 cents. I am also baffled that when he asked me the first time I was in a completely different part of town. How did he find me again!

Unfortunatley this time I was not as sympathetic. He was drunk again, so I did not give in to giving him more money so he could go buy some liquor and further ruin his life. I just could not. But I will tell you this much. If I ever see him again, which in my case the stakes are high, I will hopefully know enough German to tell him that I think he is pretty great, and that I don't think he should be drinking his life away.

In other news, the hospitals are at an all time high in occupants mostly consisting of clueless young Hamburgers who have had a keen time breaking their limbs from the sleek frozen sidewalks. Yes you think it would be old people, that's what I said, but it seems that older people are smarter than younger people and know that they shouldn't walk, run or bike on an ice skating rink. What happened here? You see, Hamburg is not famous for getting snow and being so cold, so I think the store and building owners had no idea that layer upon layer of snowfall would scientifically create the most deadly sheet of ice for all of us city dwellers to break our limbs on. I could literally ice skate to school now. I should actually. I could show off my 7 years of practice from when I was younger. "Oh hey excuse me real quick I need to use the whole sidewalk to get a good speed for my triple axle....Danke!"....Then I am skating away in my little ice skating outfit. I think Hamburg would love that.

Well, I would love to write more but I have to go solve a problem.

By the way, school is going great!

Aufwiedersehen!!!