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!

Monday, February 4, 2013

17.12-23.12: Christmas Prep

I spent this week at Sabrina's again. Don't know why, just felt like it I guess :)
I had decided to bake a whole bunch of cookies for my translation class on Thursday and for my kids on Friday. I did that Wednesday and frosted them Thursday. There were soooooo many! I didn't think baking would be so difficult in a different country. But it really has been for me! There were over 100 cookies, maybe more like 200... that's a lot of cookies!
This week we ate well, watched funny movies and just waited for classes to be over.
Translation class on Thursday was nice. Glühwein and cookies. And translations of course :)
Afterwards Dayna, Sabrina and I headed back to the Mexican restaurant for dinner. It was sooooo yummy! This time I got mozzarella sticks as an appetizer and then a burrito for dinner. There was soooooooooo much stuff in that burrito but that made it just that much better! LOOOOOOVED IT!
After dinner we headed back to our rooms (well I went to Sabrina's but that's no surprise) and I finished frosting cookies. I attempted to get myself ready for the early morning ahead and have things packed up to go into Sabrina's car. I can't remember how well I did at that, but I'm going to guess not too well... Whoops.
I got up around 6:30, thus giving myself a good chunk of time to get ready. I attempted to take the fewest trips back and forth from the bathroom to Sabrina's room hoping not to wake her. I threw on clothes, did up my face all pretty, packed up the millions of cookies and flew out the door thinking I would almost miss the bus. Well the bus was just 10 minutes late. Slight panic attack....
The sun had yet to rise by the time I got to the school. The kids had started to gather in anticipation of the school day beginning. Frau Jung found me almost immediately and took me up to the classroom. Not too long after the bell rang and the kids came rushing in. And with the kids came more and more and more treats! The tables were overflowing! The parents really out did themselves.
Once all the kids were there, we headed to the church for a quick service. A few of the girls were fighting over who got to hold my hands. I think I had 3 or 4 total. They were happy to hold someone else's hand who was holding mine. So that helped.
We got to the church and settled into two pews. The service wasn't too long well for me at least. It was for the kids. My kiddos started getting fidgety. We sang some songs, some older kids put on a little shadow puppet play, sang more songs, the priest talked and then it was over.
We headed back to the classroom for treats and some Christmas fun! They were all so excited for the cookies. They pigged out. It was adorable.
When the kids went outside to play Frau Jung and I went upstairs to the teacher's area. I met a few of the other teachers and the principle. 15 minutes later the break was over, and we were back in the classroom with the kids.
We finished up the advent story Frau Jung and the kids had been reading. She had me help out with that too. Then it was back to eating cookies and having fun.
At the end of the day, the kids wanted to sing some songs for me. They sang the gingerbread man song we had worked on the weeks before. It was hilarious. They were so much fun! They really seemed to pick up a lot of the english. I was impressed.
Sabrina picked me up in a very fully packed car! It was crazy full. I can only imagine how full it will be when we have to try and get all my suitcases in there....
Saturday and Sunday we just sat around and got our presents (or lack there of) ready for Christmas.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Exams, papers, end of the semester!

Hey all.
So some of you might have noticed my total lack of posts recently....
I promise I have tons of them planned, written down on scraps of paper, jumbled up in my head screaming to be let out! I have so much to tell, so much to talk about.
But right now I just don't have time. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. School started after Christmas break, I saw some old friends, Sabrina got sick, and now I'm writing papers and studying for exams! Where did the semester go???
So I promise to get back on the horse as soon as things die down! Give me 1 more week and I will overload you with posts! PROMISE!!!

Lots of love from Germany!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

10.12-16.12: A sad and rough week with some perks

Class Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday as usual. Thursday night was a rough one. I'll save all the drama for another post.
I spent this week at Sabrina's. I think I went to my dorm room once for a few hours on Tuesday. It was a hard week for both of us. We both had things going on at home. Sabrina's Opa was still in the hospital. It's been really hard for her and the family as a whole. And she was really starting to break under it all. We started looking at different options for New Years. Originally we were going to go to Belgium with Dayna and Bert. But then her international friends from her semester at GV decided to all meet up in Amsterdam for a few days and she wanted me to come with. But as of the beginning of this week she just didn't want to be that far away from home in case anything happened. So we started looking for other options.
We spent a lot of time this week watching funny, uplifting movies. No Grey's. No hospital stuff. Not the right time.
This Friday was the second lesson we were going to have about the Gingerbread man in my second grade class. I somehow was put in charge of planning it all. But with everything swimming around in my head (especially after Thursday) I let go of the reins for it and turned it over to Frau Jung and the others. I just didn't have the brain power or the concentration or the energy. I barely slept Thursday night. I spent most of the time skyping with my family. It was rough.
Friday morning I got up and went to my school. Frau Jung (and the kids too of course) were really happy to see me and almost immediately upon walking into the room I had a smile on my face. It's like the kids somehow knew I needed some cheering up. They were super loving and clingy. Bert wasn't with us again this week because he was already heading home.
We reviewed the gingerbread man vocab. Then we moved on to the activities. There was a song for them to learn. I read the story them again. There was a counting game (with candy) and another activity with different spices. The kids had a lot of fun and time went waaaaaay faster than we thought! We only got through one rotation of the activities. Oh well. Maybe next week!
Sabrina picked me up and we headed to Adelberg. On the way we stopped in Göppingen to do a couple quick errands. We picked up a gift certificate for a massage for Mama Binder's birthday. Then we went in search of a fabric store for me. There were a couple of crafty things I wanted to do. The store was a major bust though. They didn't have much fabric. Oh well. It can wait until I'm back in the states. We stopped at DM and picked up some things we needed. Then we grabbed lunch at the Weihnachtsmarkt. Why can't those be up year round? For reals though. The food is so yummy and cheap and quick to eat! Finally we headed home to Adelberg.
That night I got the devastating news that my mom had to put our cat down. And then about an hour after that I learned about the shooting in Conneticut. There will be a post about that soon.
My baby boy. I miss him so much.

Saturday was a day of respite. Lazy day. Preparing for Sunday.
Sunday was Mama Binder's birthday. So people started arriving not too long after 10 am and stayed until about 4 pm. Sabi's cousins Nico and Tom were there. I got to meet some of her dad's side of the family too. It was a nice day. It makes me wish my family lived closer together. It's practically impossible to get us all together and completely impossible to get together as often as Sabi's family. But it helps that they all live within a half hour of each other...
Monday back we went to SG. Ready to go for the last week of classes before our 2 week Christmas break! Woo hoo!

Lots of love from Germany!

3.12-9.12: Gingerbread man, Mercedes Benz, Weihnachtsmarkt

Just another boring week in school :) But the end of the week got a little more fun!
The English lesson for my second graders this week was about the gingerbread man. Frau Jung had brought up this idea a few weeks before. The lesson this Friday was going to be working on vocab and reading the story. Bert and I were in charge or reading the story. Well Friday morning I received a message from Bert that he had a family emergency and wouldn't make it to class. Poor guy. (All was okay in the end. No worries people!)
So off I went to read the book solo! The kids were sad that Bert wasn't there but they got over it and were very excited for the English lesson. They are so much fun. They work so hard to remember those words and there were a lot of them! Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, flour, eggs, baking powder, old man, cow, horse, fox, old man, old lady, farm, oven, river. They did so well!
I read the story twice. Then switched to the other book Frau Jung had. We read that one twice. Then we talked about the differences between the stories. They actually caught a lot of them! I honestly didn't think they would understand so much! I set the bar waaaaaay too low for them. What little amazing sponges these kids are :)
After school I headed back to the Wohnheim to finish up a few things before I headed to Sabrina's for the weekend. Bert needed to borrow my bed again this weekend because he had another friend coming to visit. So I had to clean, change the sheets, pack, and I was finally finishing up Sabrina's birthday present. Her birthday was in August. Whoops. But it's hard when we are so far apart. And then I just never got around to it. But I got it done! I made her a big poster with pictures of the two of us and put a couple of cute sayings on it plus the TWO cards I had for her. One store bought, one hand made!
She picked me up and then we turned around to take the bus to go into town. She had to buy train tickets for our excursion the next day so we stopped there first. Then we went to Marktplatz to buy her some tights to keep warm tomorrow. We stopped at H&M, got tights, and then walked around the Weihnachtsmarkt. I really wasn't in the mood to hang around downtown but I didn't have much of a choice. A couple of her friends met us in town and they all went and had Glühwein. It's this warmed up wine pretty much. The Germans drink it at Christmas time. There is also a non-alcoholic kind (Kinderpunch) which is what Sabrina normally drinks due to the fact that she doesn't like wine normally. I didn't feel like having any. I really didn't feel like doing anything but curling up in bed. Don't know what was wrong with me that day. It happens though. Another friend came too. Sabrina saw I was kind of miserable and shaking because it was cold so she found us a spot in front of the fire. Not too long later we headed home and I went to bed right away hoping sleep would help me shake off the bad mood.
Saturday we (as in all of the Erasmus and tutors) were going to the Mercedes Benz museum and then to another Weihnachtsmarkt in Esslingen. A good 8 hours of sleep sadly did not help shake the bad mood. First thing that made me smile that day was Bert :) He was borrowing my room for the weekend and I realized I didn't have a good purse with me for Saturday. So in the morning I sent him a text begging him to bring me a specific purse. And he's a rockstar and did! :) There he was, on the bus, carrying a purse :) Love that kid!
We went to the train station and waited around for the train. I chatted with Christoph a little who I hadn't seen in what felt like ages. We all got on the PACKED train. Sabrina, Dayna, Bert (and his friend), Christoph, and I all stood together. It was a good train ride. Let's just say that by the time I got off the train my head was in a MUCH better place. We walked to the Mercedes Benz museum and waited outside while Sabrina bought the tickets.
 Alas, inside we went to put away our coats and bags. I kept mine with me because it was just easier and I didn't really trust the big bin everyone was using...
We all got an audio tour thing to carry around. I got the kids version but in German. :) Sabrina, Christoph and I walked around together looking at everything. Cars aren't really my favorite thing. And neither is history. But it was nice to look at all the different things. If only all the walking didn't make my back hurt so stinking much! :/
Christoph was taking tons of pictures. Sabrina and I just walked and talked. Dayna found us at one point and joined our little group.

We had fun.
We finished walking through the museum and sat at the cafe downstairs to have a snack. Then we went back up to meet everyone else and then head to Esslingen. Once people got their ducks in a row (which took way too long for a bunch of college students) we were off to Esslingen. We got off the train in Esslingen, Sabrina told them when trains would take them back to SG, and off we all went in our little groups. Sabrina and I just stuck together. The Weihnachtsmarkt was huge! There were 2 parts: one normal and the other was medieval/middle age! It was cool. Sabrina got Glühwein (the real stuff this time!) and we walked around. I had a lot of people I was trying to find gifts for but nothing grabbed my attention. Bummer.

There were so many people it was hard to get any good pictures of anything. After about a half hour we were pretty much ready to head back to SG but had to wait almost an hour for a train. So we did a few more walk throughs, got food, and started walking back to the train station. But we STILL had time to kill. Plus it was cold. There was a small mall that we decided to pop into just to warm up and waste time. There was a huge Christmas tree inside where we snapped a few photos.

We finally headed to the train station but we were still early. So more pictures it was.

We got on the train (apparently the rest of the Erasmus students were on it too) and headed back to SG. When we got off we decided to go back to Marktplatz. I had some shopping I wanted to do and was finally in the mood to do it. Plus it was only like 5:30 or something like that. We started walking towards town and Bert and his friend followed us :) As we were walking Bert stopped. He had found a nice (and it looked practically brand new) smartphone in the snow! A couple of teenage boys claimed it was their friends but couldn't prove it. We decided to take it to the information center in Marktplatz if it was open. The boys came back with their friend on the phone who they claimed was the owner of the phone. The kid on the phone said it was his brother's phone. But once again couldn't even tell us the color or make of the phone. So sorry greedy boys. You aren't getting this phone! As we continued to walk the phone rang (just as I was saying we should look for a home contact or a mom or dad and call to let them know we have the phone). The name on the caller ID was Mama! She was so grateful we had found the phone and was at the Mexican restaurant just down the street. Bert and his friend had somewhere to be so Sabrina and I took it to the lady. Just to be sure we asked her a question about the phone and she got it right so we gave it to her. She was so happy she forced us to take 5 euro, no matter how much we said no. So we decided to give it to Bert and were on our way (finally) to Marktplatz.
So we went to H&M again where I found a couple of things for a couple of people back home (which I have yet to send. Not sure if I reeeeeally like what I bought....). We were cold and hungry and tired so we decided to go back to Sabrina's, pack the car and go to Adelberg.
Another low key weekend for us. Just the way we like it :)

Lots of love from Germany!