Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tuesday Ten

So I am coming to terms with the fact that I just really stink at blogging, or at least keeping up with it on a regular basis. Oh well I guess. I have a lot on my plate (purely an excuse). Hopefully I'll hit publish before it's actually Wednesday...

1) I'm working my butt off to lose weight. It's been a week. A week of me watching and counting ever. single. calorie. A week of me running and swimming and lifting and hoping and praying that the pounds will come off easily. And the result? I gained weight. What. The. Heck. Anyone want to tell me what I'm doing wrong here? I'm frustrated. And a little defeated.

2) My dad leaves for Germany this weekend. I'm so jealous. Too bad I don't fit in his suitcase...

3) In 11 days the "next generation" of GV students go to Germany for the summer program I did last summer. I can't believe it's already been a year.... (You had better believe that there will be a long post in 11 days about how much I miss Germany... what else is new!) As I said to some friends today, I'm half tempted to drive to MI and steal their tickets so I can go instead :)

4) This week has/will be crazy busy for me in the "work" department. I will be sitting babies (and toddlers and preschoolers) every day this week! Heck yes :) Good thing I LOVE my job and ALL of my families.

5) I had a cookie fail today. I didn't use enough flour (because I was 100% OUT of flour.) But my mom rocks and brought me more flour! :) Thanks mommy.

6) Brini is half way done with her exams! Hooray!! 21 more days until she is totally done with her exams! Then we start counting the days until she is here with me! :) I couldn't be more excited!

7) Hopefully within the next month I will get to go look at a few more schools. I want to figure out where I'm going and what my plan is. There are just too many variables in my life right now. It all needs to calm down.

8) With the craziness of my work schedule, there are days I'm tempted to just start a babysitting service.... It's crossed my mind more than once in the past few days. But really. How awesome would it be to help other girls earn some money but I would still earn money too. And all the families that need a sitter gets a well trained sitter (cause I would train them of course) they can trust, with back up sitters built in!

9) There is a good chance I'm going to start painting my room and crafting and rearranging furniture soon. I'm just sooooo bored. I need something to do with my life. Before I had the task of getting the house ready for Alycia and the gang, but now I have nothing.

10) I have started going to Wednesday night trivia with Andrew which is pretty much the best part of my week now. I can't go this week due to work, but next week I'll be there. It's so nice to go out and socialize with people my own age for a change.

So. There is this week's Tuesday 10. And it only took me 15 minutes. Awesome :)
Maybe y'all will get another post this week. Maybe not. Depends on how determined I am. (And how bored I am....)
Until next week! (Or sooner!)

Lots of love!

~Katy Jo

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Ten!

Two posts in one day! I know. Craziness...

1) Loved having my friends here for a weekend. Made the house feel so full of love and fun. Plus seeing them all was ahhhhh-mazing.

2) I doubt anyone will find this as enjoyable or funny as I did but.....
Baby gates and a kids' step stool in a shower...
My hilarity and I will go hide in a corner now....

3) My best friend Sabrina is studying her butt off right now for her final exams. So send her some good vibes people. She's got 28 days until she is DONE DONE DONE (as long as she passes, which she will because she is the bomb.com).

4) Mumford and Sons = my new music love. "I Will Wait" is my favorite song EVER at the moment. Like on repeat all day kind of love. It makes me wiggle and dance and smile. Nothing better than that!

5) Speaking of music, I'm super sad I'm not going to the Carrie Underwood concert that is coming up. I love her. Her concerts are magnificent. I've seen her twice at Ravinia and she was jaw dropping good. 

6) It's hard not being in Michigan with my friends and teammates. I see things they put up on Facebook and Instagram and I'm just sad. I wish I was there with them. I have to keep reminding myself that this is what is best for me right now.

7) I'm also terrified of going back to school. I start classes in May and they are all online. Hopefully it won't be too awful but I'm keeping my fingers crossed anyway!

8) Tomorrow I'm going out with a friend and being social. I don't get to do that very often so I'm pumped. Hopefully I remember how to be social with people my own age. I spend my days with kids age 8 and under. AND it's a trivia night. Oh boy.

9) All the college kids come home soon! Hooray! That means more opportunities for a social life! I can't wait to see my high school friends. It's been so long. I wasn't home last summer so really, it's been a long time.

Do you see what doesn't belong here???
The boys I was babysitting the other week did this to a painting in their house. All 3 of us were dying of laughter.

Alright. Well that's it for now. Have a great end to your Tuesday! Hope to post tomorrow about my weight loss goal!

Lots of love!!

~Katy Jo

My weekend with my Michiganders!

So do you remember last Tuesday when I mentioned I had friends coming to visit???
Well they came! (and then they left... but after being here for a few days)
We had a great time, or at least I had a great time.
So Alycia, Chase, Little Miss and Tipter came to visit. We had been planning this for about a month, maybe more. I've spent the past month cleaning to get the house ready for them to live with us for a weekend. Our house isn't very big, barely big enough for the 4 of us some days. But we had to find a way to fit 4 more people, granted 2 of them were much smaller than the rest of us, but regardless a total of 8 people had to fit in our house... Mission impossible? Almost. But I got it done.
So Friday (after mucho drama and one person almost not being able to come) my 4 loves were on the road to Palatine! We got everyone in the house, did some introductions (Little Miss decided to be shy for once in her life), and had dinner. After dinner we left Mom and Dad at home and all headed to Coldstone for a nice treat.
We ended the night soon there after due to a VERY tired Little Miss (who wasn't feeling the best either). Alycia and Chase went to investigate a hotel for Saturday night and once they were back we all went to bed.
Now Little Miss and I were in my brother's room and around 2:45 she was up, therefore so was I! She was WIDE awake, crazy kid. By 6 am we were downstairs playing with my old baby dolls. Kiddo was a hoot. We talked a lot about our plans for the day: taking a train, then a bus, then going to see some fish, dolphins, whales and penguins! Boy was she excited.
Everyone got up, dressed and we were out the door to catch the train. The train ride was good, nothing too special I guess. Little Miss seemed to like it, Tipter could care less, as you can see.

After a bus ride to the Shedd and a bit of waiting in lines, feeding Tipter and a potty break, we were finally looking at some fish!
Little Miss LOVED the aquarium. Her nose was pressed to the glass the whole time. 

We didn't get to see the show they have but that just means they will have to come back again to see it! 
Down in the viewing area for the dolphins, whales and penguins there is an area where the kids can touch a star fish and some other cool things, along with water to splash in. 
Little Miss LOVED that too. It was hard to peel her away from it. She wasn't so sure about the star fish, but the water, LOVED IT! :)

We ended our day downtown early. Leesh was sad we didn't have time to see more. We finally took a picture together (as we were walking...). But the Shedd with the two littles was a lot to do in one day. Plus Alycia and Chase had a niiiiiiiiiiiiiiice hotel room calling their names. That meant I got the kids for the night (after our dinner at CPK). Baths, a bottle for Tipter and some play time for Little Miss. My brother actually started to enjoy playing with the kids! A first for him.

Momma P snuggling with Tipter

 Off to bed we went! Sunday we were up and playing away. 
Happy baby Tipter took an awesome nap and John actually held him! (First time he's held a baby!)

Chase and Alycia came around 11:30 for our Chipotle lunch and after that they all went home. The house is wayyyyyy too quiet for me now.
All in all a wonderful trip. We loved having them here. Little Miss charmed and chatted her way in the hearts of my family and Tipter just smiled and giggled his way in :) Love this whole family soooo much!
I can't wait for them to come back! :)

Lots of love!

~Katy Jo

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hello again! Tuesday Ten

Hello blogging world. Long time no read/write. My apologies for the overly long dramatic pause. I left you with quite the cliff hanger there. I didn't even make it to Christmas!
But alas, I survived christmas, and finals and leaving Germany. I survived finding a job (that i love love LOVE!), I survived moving back home (so far at least), and I'm surviving being so far away from my best friend.
I know I say this a lot, but I'm hoping to catch back up. I promise to shorten it up a little. I am using this blog as a sort of diary, a way for me to remember my trip. so please bear with me.
Today I'm going to start something I hope I can keep up, Tuesday Ten! Here goes nothing!

1) I'm currently getting the house ready for my girly Alycia and family to come visit! As I told a friend this week, I'm not a fan of cleaning, but I don't mind cleaning for a reason! And she couldn't be a better reason!

2) Spending so much time in my room, cleaning and organizing has brought back many high school memories. People swear that your college years are your best years and while I don't want to completely call them out, I really loved high school. Those were the good days. The easy days. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving the college years too!

3) Whilest cleaning, I've been rewatching Criminal Minds. LOVE this show. I thought I had seen most of the episodes and would end of skipping most of them. But behold!! I was wrong! There are a ton that I hadn't seen before! Hooray for "new" episodes!

4) I'm waiting for the dreams about the Criminal Minds BAU team members to start... When I was watching Grey's Anatomy day in and day out, I started having dreams and thinking of the characters as real people, my friends even. Pathetic I know, but it was spring break and I had to stay on campus...

5) Last week I starting helping out in a second grade classroom. Today when I walked in (first day back after the weekend) and all the kids said good morning to me. It made me smile. I'm so easily pleased.... :)

6) I've been trying to find a new planner. Mine ends after July and I'm so picky. The one I have isn't exactly what I want. I'm so specific about it! Anyone know anyone who could customize some pages for me? Or just make me a template? I want it to be fun and colorful, but I'm 99% positive I don't have the means to do that.

7) Cleaning/organizing my room has more than just the purpose of getting it ready for my guests. While I was in Germany I started daydreaming about redoing my room here at home. So once my room is clean and semi-organized, I will hopefully be painting, rearranging and doing a whole slew of crafty projects to spruce up my room!

8) My walls look so bare without all the high school posters. It's almost sad. Yet at the same time, it's freeing. No more staring at the walls and reliving my high school days. Life is so different now...

9) Look at these gems I found today while cleaning out my brother's closet.


I also found the lack there of attempts at a baby book my mother made. Good times y'all, good times.

10) I miss Germany y'all. It's crazy how much I miss it. Not just my friends, or the freedom, but the language, the lifestyle, the city, the landscape, everything. And it's been almost a year since I went with 14 others from GV to spend the best 6 weeks of our life in Germany. TAKE ME BACK....

Lots of love!!

~Katy Jo

Sunday, February 10, 2013

24.12.12-30.12.12: Christmas and Bad Nauheim

Sorry for my 98% lack of posting. I seem to go through phases where I write a bit, then there is a dry spell, then I write a bit, cue another  dry spell, and then yep you guessed it another whole bunch of posts! I'm working on it I swear. Once I get home I hope to carve out a little blogging time each week, or each day if I'm lucky!
Big-ish things are on the horizon for me so keep your fingers crossed that everything works out! I still have to tell you all about my goals, hopes and dreams for this year! But hey, it's only February.... yeah no. I'm a little late aren't I? Whoops...
So back to the blog post! Remember December? Around Christmas time? Here we had no snow and it was gloriously warm! Like almost (if not over) 50 degrees Fahrenheit!!!! I'd take that over a white Christmas any day!
Germans do Christmas a little differently, but that is (yes you guessed it) a another post of its own. I have a whole list of things to talk about and trust me, one day I will write all of them... one day. That day will hopefully come in this life time, hopefully this year, and even more hopefully this month! Not going to push it and say this week because well... I have a lot going on! Sorry internet friends...
The 24th is Sabrina's cousin's birthday so a chunk of our day was spent with relatives. There was cake and coffee and more importantly champagne, hehehe. I tried this chocolate that ended up having some kind of jam in it. Not my favorite but I survived! We chatted with Sabrina's cousin and her friends. One of her aunt's kept asking me questions. I think there was a whole little group of them talking about me. What can I say, I'm a pretty hot topic around here! :)
No one really stayed too long because after all it was Christmas Eve. We headed back home, finished making some food, and headed downstairs to Sabrina's Opa and Oma's flat for dinner. Her mom's sister and her daughter Kim, and Kim's boyfriend were there, along with the four of us, Oma, Opa (who had just returned from a long stay in the hospital), and a great-grandma (Opa's mother). We had lots of starch for dinner, french fries, potato salad and spätzle along with some meat and sauce. There was salad too. Dinner was yummy, as usual. We exchanged some gifts. Oma gave me a gift too. I was beaming! Then they gave Oma and Opa a big gift, a digital picture frame! We set it up and watched for a good 20 minutes! It was fun seeing all of the pictures of the family. I think they really enjoyed it! From there we cleaned up from dinner and headed back up to our flat.
Binder/Stähle Christmas
Sooner after, we were joined by Aunt Mani, Kim and her boyfriend for opening gifts. Sadly my presents from my parents hadn't arrived yet which meant the big part of my gift to Sabrina was here yet, sadface. I thankfully had one small thing for her, so she wasn't left totally empty handed. I did receive gifts from Kim and Mama and Papa Binder, and of course Sabrina :) I was more than thrilled to be such a part of the family! I am overjoyed with the thoughtful things I received and all the chocolate.
My favorite gift was definitely the ticket to see the circus from Sabrina!!! I've never been to the circus!!!! I'm so glad she heard me say that a month ago when we walked past a poster for a circus that was coming to SG. She is so amazing. Love her to pieces!

My circus ticket and my favorite person!

We wrapped up the night by skyping with my family!! I was finally able to introduce some of my favorite people to some of my other favorite people! Sabrina has met both of my parents and my brother at least via skype (if you have a good memory you might remember her meeting my dad in Bad Nauheim in November, if not there is a link conveniently placed right there...). But they had never met Mama and Papa Binder! It was really cool to watch them "meet" for the first time! To top it off my parents had sent the Binders flowers for Christmas and to say thank you for taking such good care of me! It was a sweet moment when they figured out who the flowers were from :) Well I ended up talking with my parents for over an hour with Mama and Papa Binder close by and Sabrina right next to me. It was a great end to a great night!

We took one final Christmas picture and called it a night! I had to get a good night's sleep, I was going to the circus tomorrow!!
The 25th we had a normal morning: woke up late, laid around in bed, had breakfast, did nothing productive, etc. For lunch we had Raclette which Aunt Mani was here for! There was lots of cheese, salami and bread involved and it was DELICIOUS as usual! Maybe, just maybe I can find the means to do this back home too!
After lunch Sabrina probably worked on her thesis. But she was in the last weeks of it so I let it slide. We had an early dinner and then all 4 of us (Sabrina and I gave her parents tickets to the circus for Christmas too!) headed to the CIRCUS!!!!!!! I was so pumped!
 Inside we bought some popcorn and waited to go inside to snag some seats. The acts were either really cool or hilarious. There was a ventriloquist. He was probably my favorite. Him or when we got to bounce around the giant balls!

Keeping to giant balls afloat!
Bored at intermission

It was one the best Christmas presents ever. I loved it! Thank you Sabrina for such a wonderful night! It was an added bonus having your parents there too! :)
The 26th is still a holiday in Germany. They spend 3 days celebrating which is fun and all, except everything is closed all three days. On the 26th we spent most of our day with Sabrina's mom's side of the family at Tom and Nico's house. We played games with the boys and had lots of good food and good family time. I really enjoy my time with Sabrina's family. It makes me wish my family didn't all live so far away and taught me to treasure the time that we do have!
The 27th was nothing special. Just a regular lazy day for us. Sabrina worked on her thesis. I got ready to go to Oma's the next day.
The 28th was Oma's 88th birthday. I knew I had to go see her. I had hoped Sabrina could come with me but she had her thesis to attend to. She dropped me off at the train station early in the morning (7 am), I bought my ticket and got on the train. The train ride there was simple. I'm practically a pro at this point. I only had my half full suitcase and my backpack. I arrived at Oma's around 10:15 am and she couldn't have been happier to see me! She told me about all the calls she had received so far, specifically the one at 8 am from my niece. Apparently she babbled for a few minutes as her happy birthday to her great-grandma. She got ready for her birthday lunch and my dad's ex-wife came to pick us up. Yes it was awkward, but that's the norm for my family... who knows. We drove to the restaurant where a few of her friends were already waiting for the birthday girl! Mark, Nadine and Cutie Pie would be joining us soon, Cutie Pie just needed a nap first. Nadine's parents were there as well. I think in the end there were 14 of us (including my brother, SIL and niece who eventually showed up).
When they all finally showed up I was amazed by how much Cutie Pie has grown since November! I feel like she is suddenly sooooo big! And she is starting to mumble a few words, mostly mama and papa. We worked on Opa for a bit too. She started off a tiny little bit shy, mostly just wanting to hang on mommy and occasionally on daddy. We let her toddle around for a bit before I scooped her up and we started playing.
Toddling around cause she was bored...
My favorite picture of us to date!!!

I have come to the conclusion that my father is the carrier of the weirdo gene. My evidence is this picture.
 We had a great time at lunch catching up, talking and playing with Cutie Pie. I really was wishing it didn't have to end. Nadine's mother saw how much I was enjoying the time with my brother and family so she told me I was just going to go home with them, unbeknownst to my brother. As we were walking out of the restaurant Cutie Pie was waving at me all crazy and giving me these hilarious faces. I think it made her day when I got in the car with her! Her face just lit up! Gosh I love her.
So back to their house I went and it was wonderful. Mark had some things to do in the basement so it was mostly just Nadine, Cutie Pie and myself and boy with Cutie Pie being cute. Wonder how she got the nickname... ;)

She really really really loves books.

 Our afternoon started with her showing me each and every single toy she owns. She took them all out of the bin and shoved them in my face. I said "thank you" each time and exclaimed at how wonderful each toy/book was. Cutie Pie also has her own language as many kids her age do and it was the best I've ever heard. She sounds like some is fast forwarding her. It's hilarious. I'm also pretty sure I got her to say "Katy" at least once. It wasn't perfect, but it was good enough for this proud Auntie. She enjoyed climbing all over me and especially liked snatching my iphone as I tried to snap a few good pictures of her. So I ended up distracting her with books. Now I have a ton of pictures of her looking at books, but not too many good ones of her looking at the camera. Oh well. They are cute pictures none the less. She also enjoyed using her toys to comb my hair. It was hysterical and she thought it was absolutely amazing. Obviously mom and dad don't let her do that very often.
Mark took me back to Oma's around 5:30. In the car I attempted to pester the gender of the bun in the oven out of him, but I had no luck. They found out the baby's gender but won't tell anyone. They also won't tell what names they have picked out. How rude. I don't do well with such big secrets and surprises. I can't wait until April/May to "meet" my next niece or nephew. Sadly I will not be able to meet him/her for quite some time, but if my dad is lucky enough he might just be there for the birth of his SECOND grandchild!
Back in Oma's room we played Rummikub until I was half asleep. In the middle of one of our games my dad called to say happy birthday which meant I got to talk to him too! I gave him the scoop with Oma, how she was doing and all that jazz. We wrapped it up after a bit so I could go back to kicking my Oma's butt at Rummikub. Seriously though. It was kind of pathetic at some points... until she suddenly went on a winning streak. Not cool Oma, not cool at all.
The next morning we had breakfast and sat around chatting before I had to head to the train station. A good friend of hers insisted on driving us there which was super sweet of her. I'm glad my Oma has friends like that. It makes me feel a tiny bit better about us being so far away. She is living in a great place and is surrounded by great friends. Makes my heart smile.
We were extremely early which was fine. Just meant we had more time to talk. I had to buy my train ticket at one of the machines which amazed Oma. She thought it was pretty much the coolest thing since sliced bread. After 45 minutes of sitting around it was about time for my train to come. I said my tearful goodbye not knowing when I would see her again. I boarded the train and off I was back to Sabrina.
Three and a bit hours later I was back in Göppingen getting picked up by Sabrina. The feeling of "going home" was overwhelmingly wonderful. Like I had butterflies in my stomach. And I was gone for just over 24 hours. It was weird and a little pathetic. Just means I love it here.
She informed me that she had to go visit the hospital the next day because her Opa wasn't doing so well again and her family wasn't sure he would make it through New Years. She still wanted to go on our little trip, but she needed to see him first.
The 30th Sabrina spent some time at the hospital in the morning and came back sad. It was really hard for her to see her Opa like that. A lot of emotions. So we spent some time watching funny movies and videos on youtube. Anything to make her smile again. Then we packed up for our New Years trip.

The details of that coming in the next post!

Lots of love from Germany!