Welcome to our life!

Hi, I'm Allison! I'm a thirtysomething, freshly baked, stay-at-home mom. I'm originally from Connecticut, now living in Germany, hence the name of the blog. I live in southern Germany with my German husband and our baby boy. Life has turned out to be nothing I ever expected, and am so incredibly happy with it! We certainly do have a lot of laughs! I hope you will enjoy following our new experiences raising a little half American/ half German in a little German town.

Montag, 23. Juni 2008

My Mosaic

I found this idea on the blog of a fellow expat, Sarita in Sevilla.
It looked like a way cool idea, and they really do come out great.

Here's what you have to do:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Where do you live?

1. The Plumeria Doric Allison, 2. Whole Wheat Spaetzle and Turkey Sausage Bento Dinner, 3. Immigrant children & Education By: Kaitlin Ahlenius, 4. The closed window, 5. OUT16199951, 6. Apple Martini, 7. sunset meridien, 8. My Yummy Heart.., 9. Happiness, 10. Alcázar, 11. I Love New York, 12. Mercedes-Benz McLaren

It would be cool to see some other's mosaics!

Donnerstag, 19. Juni 2008

The Zoo Trip

Today was a big day for the ISS Junior Kindergarteners. We marked the end of our fourth and final unit, "It's a Small World" (the insect unit) with a trip to Stuttgart's zoo, the Wilhelma.
It was a huge day, but a triumph for our Junior Kindergarteners!
Amazingly, we traveled to the zoo via U-Bahn (Stuttgart's tram system.) It is incredibly frightening to herd 28 four and five-year-olds on to and off a train, especially when you have to change trains! But no worries, we made it there, all with seats, and all together!
We arrived at the zoo just in time for snack at 9:30 am. Once we entered the zoo, we made our way first to the elephants.

Then, we made our way to see the tigers, and other big cats.

After the big cats, we made our way over to the apes and monkeys. All the kids loved the monkeys, apes, gorillas, and orangutans. After the primates, we stopped for lunch. It seems quick, but by then, it was already very hot, and the kids were getting tired and hungry. Following lunch, we took all 28 of our Junior Kindergarten monkeys to the playground. The playground there was quite nice, and the kids really enjoyed the run-around.

We then made our way over to the Insectarium, to see our Unit of Inquiry come to life. The kids really enjoyed the butterfly house. They all were willing to stand still in the hopes a butterfly would land on their head or hand. Even more exciting to us though was the occasional soft butterfly songs the kids were singing as they looked at the beautiful creatures.

Once we finished our tour of the butterfly hall, it was time to make our way back to the exit. We had 28 very exahusted kids! All in all, it was quite an enjoyable day. And of course a wonderful end-of-year activity.

Mittwoch, 18. Juni 2008

Feeling Appreciated and Other News

Since the school year is rapidly coming to a close, the parents did a super- wonderful thing for the staff at ISS. The parents put together a gigantic teacher appreciation lunch on Friday. The spread was incredible! Since we are an international community, the food was from all over the world! We enjoyed homemade sushi, Indian samosas, Mexican guacamole to name a few. There was so much food, that many of us were able to come back after school and bring home an entire dinner for 2!
Of course, the best part to us was that the parents took over our lunch and recess duties, which allowed each of us a full hour break! My friend Alison, who is on maternity leave, even came by. It was wonderful to have the time to really enjoy each other's company, and to indulge on some amazing food.
The funny part was the drawing that they were holding. Since I never win things, with the exceptions of a drawing at Laura Ashley in Westport and the gift certificate for a haircut I won at our Christmas party this year, I figured that my odds at winning this drawing were pretty poor. I was wrong. I won a really cool box containing, chocolate pasta (no kidding!), honey and lavendar vinegar, and the benefit cookbook put out by our school this year.

I can't wait to try the gourmet winnings! And I can't wait to try some of the amazing recipes, like, Zucchini Blossoms with Tomato Sugo, Grilled Breast of Duck with Honey and Lime Glaze on Ginger-Lime-Carrots and Coconut Risotto, and Sweet Berry Lasagne!

And on to the other news. Today, I received the official news that I will
be working in First Grade next year! I am both sad and excited! It will definately bring new challenges and new smiles!

Montag, 16. Juni 2008

My first 29th birthday

Last week Wednesday was a big day in my life. Joern and I marked my entrance into a very special group, the "Forever 29 Club." Argh!
Actually, it was a wonderful day, and I am pretty certain that I would not have changed a thing in the world, not even my ever-growing age.

At work, everyone was wonderfully kind. I shared my cupcakes with my colleagues, and the kids. I have never gotten so many complements about anything I've baked before. It was so cool! I received a beautiful begonia plant from the parents, and a beautiful bouquet from the Junior Kindergarten team.

We all gathered in the larger Junior Kindergarten room, and all 28 Junior Kindergarteners sang "Happy Birthday" to me, in both English and German. Honestly, there no words to describe what a feeling it is to sit there and have all the kids sing to you. I was on top of the world! After that, I was given the gift from the class, a book in which each child had drawn a special birthday picture for me. Best part? It was all pink :)

My friends from work also gave me wonderful gifts. I got pink salad servers, a pink polka dot cup, pink pens... see a theme here?

After a wonderful day at work, I headed downtown to do some shopping (aka. bag hunting) before meeting Joern for dinner. We went to one of
my favorite restaurants, Ciba Mato. Ciba Mato is an "oriental lounge," which serves Asian Fusion cuisine. I even had a yummy alcohol free cocktail! Joern had an Asian pork meal, and I had a delicious chicken curry. We even split wonderful Terryaki Strips.

I also had the opportunity to indulge in 3 birthday cakes this year! I enjoyed a wildberry panna cotta cake with my in- laws. My friend Julia made me a mini marble cake. And Joern bought me a "Rübeli Kücheli", which is Swiss- German dialect for carrot cake. But, since we are smack in the middle of the European Soccer Cup, my birthday cake was decked out for soccer. Which was fine by me!

Of course, Joern gave me wonderful gifts. I got my PINK Asus Eee-PC, which is a computer about the same size as a paperback book. He also bought Wii Fit!

I can't forget to mention all the well-wishes from my friends, family, and internet friends. The day definately made me realize what a great life I have. I certainly don't need to run away from 29 - all in all, its a pretty cool age!

Donnerstag, 12. Juni 2008

Return to normalcy

In the past three days, we've had two major celebrations. Now, I'm tired, and the apartment is neglected, but I feel truly happy.
We decided to go to a restaurant on the Swabian Alb. The restaurant, Forellenhof Roessle, is a wonderful restaurant, specializing in trout, which is farmed on the premises. We have been to the restaurant a few times, but decided that it was truly special enough for our anniversary.
Not only is the restaurant wonderful, but it is nestled in a beautiful area. Towering on a hill high above the restaurant is the Schloss Lichtenstein During my first trip to Germany, Joern brought me to Schloss Lichtenstein. I love looking up at the castle
from the restaurant and reminiscing about that first trip 8 years ago.
Dinner itself was incredible. We began with an Angus beef Carpaccio with truffel vinaigrette. It was amazing! For dinner, Joern departed from his usual Wiener Schnitzel, and instead had traditional Swabian roast pork with onion. I had an amazing "Miller style" trout with cream style potatoes. Aaah, heaven!
After our wonderful meal, we stopped by to visit the rabbits kept by the family who owns the restaurant. No worries though, I checked, they are not food rabbits!
It was such a wonderful, romantic evening.
Tuesday night did not bring any rest with it. I had to make cupcakes for work on Wednesday. In Germany, one brings cake to work on their birthday. As an American, I always looked at work birthday celebrations as a time when others bring in cake or lunch or whatever for the birthday celebrant. Not the other way. During my time working at Patch High School, I made many birthday treats for my colleagues. Never once, did I make my own birthday cake. But, now, I am working in a German school, and must follow the German cultural traditions. Therefore, I spent the night before my birthday making vanilla cupcakes with vanilla and raspberry frosting.
I used Paula Deen's 1-2-3-4 cake and Martha Stewart's Mix and Match Cupcake Frosting

Sonntag, 8. Juni 2008

German Football Widow

One of the funny things about living in Germany is the definition of a "Football Widow" Joern is a big soccer fan, yet, for the most part, he does not regularly watch the games. This changes though at times of major sporting events. These include, the World Cup and the European Cup. 2008 is a European Cup year.

Not only is it a very important time for soccer fans, it is also a time when in Germany, it is culturally appropriate to be patriotic.
Due to its history, Germans as a whole rarely display patriotism. As an American living in Germany, it can be difficult to understand the lack of pride in one's country. Further, I was often put through rigorous questioning about America and patriotism, and what it was like to feel patriotic. The first time in our generation when Germans showed patriotism was during the World Cup 2006. All of a sudden, flags were proudly displayed on buidlings and cars, and Germans proudly wore black, red, and gold. For the first time, in 2006 I felt that people began to understand pride and love for their home country.
Of course, these emotions were strongly pulled back inside following the World Cup, but you could feel that our generation of Germans had fundamentally changed. And now, that it is time for the German national soccer team to represent the country Europe - wide, you can feel the pride swelling again.
Since Joern's friend, Georg, has decided to hold a European-Cup "viewing salon," in his home, I will not be attending the viewing parties with Joern. I may make some food to send with Joern, but this is as far as I am going. As for me, I will spend the next 3 weeks quite pleased that Germany does not play on our anniversary, nor my birthday. Of course I watched the game tonight, from behind my ironing board, steaming iron raised in triumph when Germany scored both goals tonight. In celebration of victory, I chose to put the freshly ironed clothes away.

Donnerstag, 5. Juni 2008

Happy Anniversary Baby!

June 9, 2001

Gras, France. April, 2005

Punting. Cambridge, England. October, 2006

Holiday After Party, December, 2006

NYC. December, 2006

It seems hard to believe that 7 years ago today, Joern and I promised to spend the rest of our lives loving each other. Over 7 years, we've had our share of good and bad. We've traveled back and forth to America, Mallorca, Monaco, England,Italy, and many other wonderful places. We've dealt with job changes, family illness, personal illness. We've spent days straight together, and months apart. We've welcomed and lost family members. We've had countless cups of coffee together and eaten hundreds of kilos of asparagus. We've hosted some incredible parties, and had just as much fun on our own. No matter what, we've stuck together. Our relationship has grown and matured along with us. Despite the cultural differences, despite the miscommunications due to language, we've managed to do it all with a smile and a hug. Our love continues to grow and improve. Joern and Allison then, now, and forever.
I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!

Venice, Italy. June, 2007

Mallorca, Spain. March, 2008


Its been over a year since officially receiving my diagnosis of Psoriatric-Arthritis. I have been on a variety of medications to get the symptoms under control. It has been 9 months since I began treatment with Methotrexate, a very common arthritis treatment, to slow the progression of the disease.
In those 9 months, I have faithfully gone to my doctor bi-weekly for blood tests to monitor a variety of organ functions that can be effected by the medicine. Further, my doctor monitors my white blood cell count, which was quite high, and was a dead give-away of an infection process in my body. My doctor has faithfully called every other Saturday morning to let me know the blood test results. Every call for 9 months was "no change in the numbers, everything is stable." This past Saturday, my doctor called to deliver the results, "there was a change- the white blood cell count is near normal. After 9 months, this is a sign that the treatment is working."
I went to my rheumatologist yesterday. He too was quite encouraged by the results of my blood tests. Of course, he warned me that there is a strong likelihood that I will live with arthritis for the rest of my life. But he said that he is confident that we will at least get it under control. He also referred me to a specialist in hand surgery for people with arthritis. He feels that I may be a candidate for joint surgery in two of my fingers. I never really thought about this as an option, but I am interested to see what she has to say.
The amazing thing I have learned through this is how much living with arthritis has changed me. I vividly remember Joern telling me for years that I was the most negative person he had ever met. When I began the treatment, I remember feeling like being negative about the disease would not help me in the slightest. Because the medicine most often works within the first 6 weeks, my doctor would always ask me how things were doing, to which I would reply "no better, but no worse either. And I am happy with just that." A few months ago, my doctor told me how amazingly positive I was being about the whole thing, and that a positive outlook can only help things along. I have noticed that my positive outlook has gone beyond just the arthritis, it has found its way into all aspects of my life. I think this has helped my relationship with Joern, and has helped me with my job.
So here's to hope. Four little letters that can make a huge difference in someone's life.

Dienstag, 3. Juni 2008

For the love of three letters and other Neckartailfingen adventures

Life between Fairfield and Neckartailfingen has mostly provided me with calm. Both highly suburbanized towns are quite uneventful. One way both homes are uneventful are with the weather. I can count the number of major storms I experienced in Farifield on one hand (Hurricane Gloria in 1985 included.) Yet compared to the Neckar Valley, I always felt like a bad-weather pro. I quickly learned that a passing summer thundershower is refered to as a "bad-weather storm" and people here really feel these are major severe-weather events. I often giggled at Joern when he would gravely warn me of an approaching "bad-weather storm" or "unwetter" My response would always be the same, "I wish you could see a hurricane, just once."
Last night though, we had a "bad-weather storm" that shocked me. Maybe these Germans have more reason than I previously thought to fear these storms.
Since we had been having our fair share of heat-related thunderstorms, I felt little concern over the approaching thunderclouds, as we set down to eat our delicious steak dinner. But, when the hail started to fall, the mood in our home went from enjoyable to worried very quickly. Worry? Why? We have our 1988 7-series, the "L", sitting outside in our driveway. The consequences of hail can be horrid to cars.
We waited until the hail got very loud, which meant very big, and knew it was time to run to save the car. In a half-dressed state, the two of us ran out to the car, and made our way to my in-laws house in the hope that their garage was open. We sat out the 15 minute hail storm, which is amazingly long for our area, and then thought it would be safe to leave.
As we turned the car around though and started down the long hill of a driveway, we saw a sight I have never seen. Joern's parent's street, which is also a large hill, had turned into a muddy, fast moving river. The water was about 5 inches deep. It was simply incredible.
Joern and I were really worried about our own cellar, and Joern decided that since other cars were making their way down the street, we needed to as well. We had to drive a really non-direct route, because the fire department had closed the street. It took us about 15 minutes to drive the 2 minute drive, but we finally made it, and fortunately we were not affected. Joern's grandmother was not so lucky though, she got quite a bit of water in her basement.
The drive back to Joern's parents was sad to me though. People began cleaning out from the 15 minutes that caused chaos. Some of the side streets were impassable due to the flooding, and people had water up their front stairs and into their homes.
What made me feel so sad was the look of helplessness on all the people's faces. All they could do was clean out their homes. There was nothing they could do to prevent the water from coming in though.
What made me smile through it all? The many people high on the hill who came out of their homes to look and to help their neighbors. And of course, the bottles of schnapps and shot glasses they brought with them to bring luck, and to wish away further troubles.