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.

Samstag, 31. Juli 2010

Our second week home

During our second week home, we continued shopping, and preparing for the container's arrival on Thursday the 15th. We also had a little traveling to do, as Joern found a yo-yo company in Fall River, MA that he felt would be a wonderful potential supplier. Joern set up an appointment with the company on Monday morning at 10 am. We left at 7, and made our way up I-95 to Fall River. The trip was quick and uneventful.
When we arrived in Fall River, we quickly found the company, thanks GPS! And I decided that I would go to the meeting as well, instead of sitting outside in the car for who knew how long. It was so cool as we entered the building, to find the following:

We met first with the sales director, who showed us around the facility, and described the products. He then brought us back to the conference room, where we met with the president, and all four of us talked about the plan and vision to get the product on the market here and to foster sales growth. It was so interesting, and the everybody we met from the company was so nice. They seemed so level-headed. I have to say, Joern's parents' business is so incredibly interesting!
After our meeting, which was surprisingly long, we decided to stop in Newport before heading home. We love Newport. Altough it is well known for the gigantic houses dotting the coastline, I really enjoy all the little shops along Bannister's Wharf, and the general atmosphere in Newport.

After lunch, we took a lovely ride out to Ocean Drive to see the houses, and the beautiful Altantic vistas.

We came home to a message from the shipping company that the ship was overbooked, and our container would need to be moved from Thursday to the following Monday. Slightly frustrated we accepted that the container would not come for another 4 days after we expected.
At my godfather's cookout on Sunday, we brought up the fact that were were looking for crown molding while we were home. My godfather, who happens to be a carpenter, quickly jumped on this discussion, and offered to purchase crown molding for us at the lumber yard he works with, and to provide it to us at his cost. We spent a good portion of that evening disucssing crown molding and looking at samples. We agreed to meet my godfather at the lumber yard on Tuesday morning.
I quickly learned on Tuesday morning that if you are overwhelemed by decision making, it is not such a good idea to go to a lumber yard to look at crown molding, and baseboard, and beadboard. There were so very many choices! My godfather was able to help us narrow down our choices, and let us bring home some samples.

We also headed back out to the outlets in Riverhead on Wednesday. After 7 or so trips back and forth to Long Island, with truck-fulls of furniture, it finally rained. Fortunately, we had my father's car, fully closed. The five medicine (3 white, 2 espresso) cabinets we purchased all fit nicely inside.

photo from www.restorationhardware.com
While at the outlets, we also purchased a fab set of pots and pans from All Clad. We can't wait to use them on our new oven!
After 6 months of knowing we could always run out to the outlets and pick up one more piece of funiture for the house, it was a strange feeling to leave Long Island that day, knowing that the container would soon be coming and we would be finished with this furnish the house experience.

When we got home on Wednesday, we headed back to my godfather's house, where he gave Joern a lesson on mitre cuts for the crown molding. He spent quite a bit of time showing Joern how to cut the crown molding, as well as gave us lots of tips on installation.

Somewhere along the way, we made it Joern's favorite restaurant, Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Not the healthiest, but sure tasty twice a year!

Saturday night, we headed to Waterford, CT to the Speedbowl. I must admit, 15 years ago, I was humiliated to go to the races. Now, it has become a fun Saturday night, and a good way for my dad and I to spend time together when I'm home.

Sunday was busy, but lots of fun. We started off at Bruegger's Bagels with my dad's breakfast crew. Over the years, my father has formed a special friendship with a bunch of, mostly retired, engineers who have their morning coffee and bagel at Bruegger's. Joern and I call it the Stammtisch, which is a German term for a table in a restaurant that is reserved strictly for regulars who gather often to drink beer and talk. My dad's Stammtisch is similar, but gatherings occur in the morning and involve coffee instead of beer: the American version. The group has come to know Joern and myself well, and it is always fun to say "hi" in the morning.
We then headed to South Benson Marina in Fairfield to spend a couple hours on my godparent's boat. Growing up, both my dad and godfather had boats. Since they are best friends anyway, we often would head out on Sunday, drive somewhere, and tie the boats together for the afternoon. I have many fond memories of lazy Sunday summer afternoons laughing with my godparents, and a very spry little me, who loved to jump between the two boats.
My father has since sold his boat, and my godfather has since upgraded. Their boat is really beautiful, and perfect for a drive out on the Sound. We headed over to Westport to Cockenoe Island, a popular spot for boaters to hang out. It was perfect timing when we arrived, because the water was little more than waist-deep, so it was great for cooling off without worrying about washing away.

After some swimming, we had lunch, and chatted for a while. We were out about 5 hours. It was so much fun, and such a wonderful way to share a piece of my childhood with Joern.

We ran from the boat back to Trumbull, to another cookout. This time, the cookout was held by one of my dad's friends from the bagel place (his Stammtisch.) It was really enjoyable to meet and chat with the many people there. The food was great and a fabulous way to round out our second week at home.

Freitag, 30. Juli 2010

Our first weeek home

Time really flew by while we were home, and now that we're back in Germany, maybe I can start to figure out where 3 weeks went.
Once I got through the $100 name change on my ticket fiasco, we arrived safely and comfortably in New York on July 5th. As I said in my last post, it was so very kind of my aunt and cousin Elizabeth to come pick us up at the airport. Our first few days home, it was visit, visit, visit. Then, well, it all became a blur. I know sometime, maybe Wednesday, we headed to Riverhead on Long Island, to go to the outlets. Joern walked out of Williams-Sonoma with an entire cart full of grilling tools and pans all 50% off! We left with two more pieces of furniture for the house too, both again from Restoration Hardware.

The Camden 11 Drawer Dresser
for our room.

The Hutton Extra Wide Vanity Sink for the children's bath.
Both pieces, of course, were scored at an incredible discount. Hurray!
We went to a lobster dinner cruise out of New London, CT on our first Friday at home. It was a really enjoyable evening, and something a little different. I haven't been out on the water since our whale watch two summers ago, so I was really happy to spend a few hours sailing out on the Sound out towards Fisher's Island, New York.
We went out on the Mystic Whaler, which is a schooner. Although we certainly didn't have a schooner growing up, it was enjoyable to feel the familiar rocking along the water with the wind in your hair.

The weather was perfect for the three hour sunset cruise. It was so beautiful!

During the cruise, we also enjoyed a delicious dinner of Rhode Island clam chowder, steamed lobster with cole slaw, and cheesecake with coffee for desert.

The whole evening was really relaxed. The captain was very cool, and all the people working on the boat were helpful and easy to talk to. On the way back in to the harbor, the crew sang some songs as the sun set. It was so fun!
Joern and I liked it so much, we have even talked about going on one of their 4 night cruises!

Saturday became a crazy day. We started off at a sports bar to watch the Germany- Uruguay in the 3rd place World Cup game. It was fun, and something different. Germany won, which of course, made the experience even better :)

On our first Sunday home, we went to my aunt's house to watch Spain beat the Netherlands and claim their first World Cup title. Then, while my cousins and I enjoyed our Aperol Spritz, we met up with my aunt's brother and wife. Unfortunately, we did not have too long to chat with them, because we then had a cookout at my godparent's house with my dad and sister. We enjoyed good food and even better company.
Looking back, I guess our first week was filled with finishing up last minute furniture shopping for the container that was to come the following Thursday. Unfortunately, we found out it was not meant to be, but that's a story for our second week's recap!

Mittwoch, 7. Juli 2010

A brief "hello from the USA!"

Over the past few months, it seems free WiFi has become more popular at restaurants and coffee shops. I am so happy, because it helps a lot to have internet access in Connecticut.
Joern and I arrived in Connecticut on Monday morning, after a lovely flight on Singapore Airlines. So uneventful, and I got to watch The Bounty Hunter, with Jennifer Aniston, which was very cute. I also got to watch Slumdog Millionaire, which I have dying to see. It was moving, and very good. Wow. The movie was super for a daytime flight, when your eyes are not lolling closed every few seconds.
Since we've been home, we've been generally busy, but good busy. My aunt and cousin were nice enough to come pick us up at the airport. Despite all of our travel, I've noticed that the most lovely trips begin with a familiar face and a hug at the airport.
On Monday afternoon, we went to my stepmother's house, to hang out with my dad, stepmom and sister. It is amazing to go away for 6 months and see the change in a kid. We had a really nice afternoon.
Yesterday began with a familiar taste of the Bagel King, a New York style bagel shop- so good! We went shopping at the outlets, and then went to my aunt's house to watch the Netherlands-Uruguay soccer match. It was so nice to relax and chat with my family. I really miss them!
Last night, we enjoyed food from one of our new favorite restaurants- a Turkish restaurant in Bridgeport. Yes, I know you can get Turkish food all over Germany, but not with the uniquely American twist. Plus the food is out of this world, and Joern made fast friends with the ower, who used to live very close to us in Germany. Small world!
Today is a day of getting things done, and then Germany plays Spain this afternoon. I'm sure it will be a nail-biter, but I'm sure it will be lots of fun!

A brief "hello from the USA!"

Freitag, 2. Juli 2010

An exciting start to the summer!

Thursday was our last day of school with the kids. It was a very hot, busy day, but the kids were all so sweet and I will miss them this summer. I received some very kind gifts, including a some tea and a mug, body lotion, chocolates, flowers, and perfume. The kids are always so proud to give you a gift at the end of the school year. So sweet!
I had a fun afternoon on Thursday. After work, I went out with my friend Iris. We checked out the Cupcake Boutique, but unfortunately, were not really in the mood to eat after our free ice cream at school. So, we just went to a cafe and chatted for quite a while.
Yesterday was our last work day. It was so hot at work, it was difficult to work. But, we got most of the room settled for the summer. Everything put away and everything off the floor.
I had a doctor's appointment yesterday afternoon, so sadly, I could not attend the staff barbecue. But, I got amazing news at the doctor's. He showed us my recent blood work. My medication requires that I must have monthly blood work. The doctor said that in the last few months, I have tested negative for an infection, something which has not occured since I started having my blood taken a few years ago. But then he also told me that for the first time ever, my white blood cell count was also in the normal range. Then he said, "your blood work is so good, you can apply to NASA :)" It was so very exciting to receive the news that not only has my medicine helped me to feel better, but now there is proof in my bloodwork that it is really working. Hooray!
Not only did we have that good news to celebrate yesterday, but it was also Joern's last day of working for the salt company. I can't believe that after almost 8 years, Joern is no longer the Salt Man. The management at the company changed in the past year, and the working conditions have really taken a downturn. The beginning of the end was when they merged with a ketchup company, which gave the salesforce too many products, not enough time, and resulted in a pay cut. This was really the best time for Joern to leave, as his parents' company has really picked up and they cannot keep up without Joern working with them full time. Of course, he will also be taking over the business in the next few years, so it was really time for him to move over.
Well, there you have it. An exciting start to our summer for both Joern and myself. We shared a delicious bottle of champagne with my in-laws, and now realized it is time to go back to Reims, to the champagne houses, as we're out of our direct-from-the-source Champagne.
Today and tomorrow will be busy working days around the apartment, and we leave at 8 am Monday morning for home!