First Day of School Again

It’s the first day of school for my girls over here in Germany. They go to the American school on the military base. Lola is off to 2nd grade while Miss C starts 8th grade … her final year in middle school! So excited for them!

TBT: Julie and Martin in 1999

I’m certain I’ve shared this photo at some point before, but nevertheless, here’s Martin and me taking a selfie while waiting in line at Kings Island amusement park in Ohio during his first visit to the United States in August 1999. We did this with his big SLR camera and had to wait for the film to be developed a few days to see if it turned out okay.

See You Later

All the love and “see you laters” to my Aunts Sue and Tracey!

We loved having them here in Germany with us, and look forward to the next visit!



Look That Way

Me on the phone in my office in Stuttgart: “Martin, I can see you are in the city center there at Rothenburg. If you have everyone move around you, I’ll take your photo.”

Martin: “I see you’ve been tracking my location.”

Me: “And I can see that it’s not crowded there either. Okay, turn toward the clock and smile.”

Martin (to confused family members): “Hey, look that way, smile, and say cheese. Julie’s taking our photo from her office, using the city’s webcam.”


I should add … my office is at least 90 minutes away from Rothenburg. I was using the city’s online webcam. I *wish* this was my view every day! I was spying on them using our Find My Phone app and Rothenburg’s online live webcam. I admit I didn’t trust Martin to remember to bring home some Schneeballs, so I checked to make sure he was still in town before I asked. 

Best Day Ever for Jaz

We have a 5-year-old in the house!!! That means today is the BEST DAY EVER.

BEST DAY EVER is a birthday tradition in our family. It was first celebrated on Miss C’s fifth birthday. Though we had a birthday party planned for her friends for the weekend, her actual birth date fell in the middle of the week. For some reason, that didn’t sit well with me.

After all, it was her FIFTH birthday.

In kid-speak, that’s a whole hand. Continue reading

Pulled Over

This was my family’s reaction when both Martin and I were pulled out of our cars and given breathalyser tests in the middle of our village after dinner at a Greek restaurant to celebrate their arrival from the United States.

No worries: both Martin and I registered 0.00. It was all part of a random, standard German police checkpoint. There was no need for my stepmom Linda, and aunts Sue and Tracey to come bail us out of jail.

Their faces, though … priceless. 🙂

The police man was so impressed with my German. Martin’s cop made Martin show him the car’s safety packet and registration, but I managed to get by with just my driver’s license and ID card. Both of us had to do the breathalyzer.

The whole time, my stepmother and two aunts were in my car — the kids were in Martin’s car — clutching my purse and keys, and wondering what would happen if we got arrested.

“Ummm .. does anyone remember how to get back to their house?”

We told them we wanted them to have the FULL German experience and arranged for all that to happen. I think they believe us.

My stepmom later apologized for not taking pictures while we were being questioned and breathalysed. She knows my priorities.


The Phone Call

As many of you may know, Martin’s father Klaus passed away when Martin was 6 years old. Due to a variety of circumstances, Martin and his brother were raised with no connection to his father’s side of the family. It wasn’t until shortly before our move to Germany in 2014 that we learned the names of aunts, uncles, and cousins, and we’ve been reconnecting with many of them over the past year. Continue reading

The Teenager

She’s a teen now.

Not a preteen. Not a tween.

But a teenager.

I feel like I should say that Martin and I are completely knocked over by this, but the truth is, we were a lot more emotional when she turned ten. Weepy — a little — when she turned five, but ten really did it to us. Something about the double digits, the necessity of both hands to display her age, the idea that an entire decade passed since she was born.

It seemed inconceivable.

But 13? Nah. We’ve known this was coming. Continue reading