Sunday, November 17, 2013

Travel Traffic

Just wanted to generate some traffic for my new Travel Blog... go check it out. Gonna post all my travel shit there, and here, and really anywhere it will get traffic. 

So go check it out. It's all about validation folks. Oh and yea... I wanna share my travel Dos and Don'ts.


Click Here! Well not on the click here part, but on the Travel Blog underlined words below. Click there. Please. NOW!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's Ok Tuesday... on Wednesday.

Hello everyone! Hooking up with Amber at Airing My Dirty Laundry, One Sock at a Time to join in her Tuesday feature: Hey It's Ok.

It's been a week full of angst and anger and anxiety and just plain old piss and vinegar. Yea I know, it's only Wednesday. Next week will be better. Next week I am on Norwegian Cruise Lines sailing the Med. *deep sigh*

Here goes:
It's OK-

*  To be angry that your son through dirty laundry in a basket of clean clothes. DOH!

* To want to kill someone only 10 mins after you wake up in the morning. That's normal right??

* To be excited to be leaving on a cruise in less than 7 days! 

* To be worried about the back and neck pain I have been experiencing.

* To cry when you hit your head on the car door frame SO HARD that it rattles your teeth and you instantly get dizzy. Fooking A!

* To be a raging bitch because on Wednesday your house doesn't look like you spent 4 hours cleaning it on Monday- of the SAME WEEK!!! (And I have ADULTS living in my home, not small children!)

* To really want a puppy! 

* To be pissed hubby won't let me get a puppy. 

* To be concerned about the public schools in our next duty station, which are NOT good. 

* To be shocked at the cost of private schools in the south. Holy Socks!

* To be excited about the Walking Dead theme Halloween block party tomorrow night!!!!

  OH AND DON'T forget to click on the  VOTE FOR ME block below! Thanks! :)

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Techy Issues

I want to apologize in the event that you go back through any of the past blog posts and find a weird image at the bottom. That's because I moved my photobucket image and jacked up all the posts that had it in there.

My bad. Technology isn't always your friend.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hey it's Ok Tuesday.... a day late.

Hello everyone! Hooking up with Amber at Airing My Dirty Laundry, One Sock at a Time to join in her Tuesday feature: Hey It's Ok.

Hey it's Ok

*  To be nervous, worried and anxious about our next PCS move, especially since we don't have order but we do have a DEROS date of 16 Jan 2014. 

*  To be worried about being stationed so close to family (same town)- new concept alert!

*  To be pissed that my American dollar sucks ass against the Euro. 

*  To be sad and disappointed that my family's Christmas vacay (in lieu of presents) to Ireland is cancelled because apparently $3K is STILL NOT enough saved because of #3. 

*  To be concerned about finding gainful employment as a teacher again...ever again.

*  To be excited about my BFF and Ma coming for TurkeyDay and Christmas, respectively. 

*  To be thankful my daughter didn't get hurt in her recent car accident. 

* To be pissed that said accident might have totaled the car.

* To be writing again, on my blog, on my schedule. *smile*

What's OK in your world?

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Girls Gone Wild.... for pottery??

My European life has been a whirlwind of tastes, sounds, sights, and even smells, often times associated with a trip to this or that village, town, city or country. Our latest rendezvous landed us in Poland on a girls trip. 

I know you are probably wondering what could we possibly want with Poland, and a girls trip no less. It doesn't conjure up the warmth of beaches like Barcelona, nor does it scream fancy footloose like Amsterdam. Uh yea... so what exactly did we expect to find in Poland? 

Beautiful, hand-crafted, spectacular and inexpensive Polish Pottery. And boy did we ever find it! Yahtzee!

Four grown women going wild over baking dishes. Kinda silly, a little bit sad, and a whole shit ton of fun! Make no mistake- we made purchasing pottery look like a science. Mad science!

All smiles at the start of shopping day!
We used another military spouses blog review of some of the stores as our point of reference, and while it was incredibly helpful to have the addresses and descriptions at our disposal, we had a different experience. So here is my take on our little Polish adventure.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

It was a simple Hello that changed my life

There are events in your life that change you. There are moments that you can look back on and say "Yup, that was a doozie. That shit rocked my world, and I was never the same." This is one of those moments. 

The Phone Call

Saying goodbye to a child

I don't think of myself as a religious person. I believe in God, and I pray. Not as often as I should and probably not for the reasons I should, but I know he has a plan. I'm also pretty confident I would never understand it. I'm not on his level. I know this; I'm good with this.

What always baffles me about God's plan is when children die. I'm not quite sure how a parent can say goodbye to a child. I am not talking college goodbyes here. I am talking about burying a child. It just isn't natural to be left on this Earth without your children. I can't imagine nor do I ever want to. 

This week my daughter lost one of her former classmates. A young 19 year old college student enjoying the final days of summer after completing her freshmen year. She was blessed and had so much to look forward to in her life. She was on the right path, undoubtedly doing what God was planning.

And now she is gone. In a blink of an eye. In the span of a few hours her life is gone and her family will never be the same. I just can't imagine this. I can't fathom the sense of loss and heartache her mom must feel. It hurts me and I am just a bystander, never having met this young woman or her parents.
I don't ever want to go through or even think about what it must be like to muddle through life missing a part of you, missing a child. So today I hold my children a little tighter, and tell them I love them a little bit more because the truth is you just don't know. You don't know the plan or how it plays out. All you have are a few stolen moments on the continuum of eternity, and in a blink it can all change.

Today, all I offer are prayers. Prayers that God grants them some semblance of peace. Prayers that the pain subsides and no more tragedy befalls this family. Prayers that every day it will get easier. Prayers that they eventually come to understand that she is in a better place.

Go with God and rest in peace Josie.

My heart goes out to the Seebeck Family. Send them a little prayer.... please.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Being Good at Something, Anything

I want to be good at something. I want to have a talent. I wanted this blog to be my aha moment. I wanted my life to amount to something. 

I am not dying. I am relatively healthy, minus the severe allergies and asthma. I have gainful employment, well at least until June when my teaching contract is up. The kids are healthy and hubby is perfectly ok as well. So what then you ask?

What? That's it. What now? 

I feel idle. Not bored, but idle. Like I am not sure what my purpose is in life. I am not sure why I was put on this Earth. I am trying to find the answer to my existential question: Why am I here? What am I meant to accomplish?

So I teach myself how crochet. (Thanks YouTube!) I join a 365 Photo-A-Day group. I fall off and get back on the exercise bandwagon. I travel. I attempt my hand at new languages. I blog (although I haven't done this in quite some time.) I volunteer with Boy Scouts. I volunteer to coordinate a Prom. I over-task myself. 

I want to be relevant. I want my life to be relevant. I want to matter. 

The irony? In my quest to matter, in my endeavor to over-task myself, I become irrelevant! 

How delicious! None of it matters! 

So what's next?

Maybe I will learn to play an instrument.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fat looks better tanned.

It's the third week in January, and it's my third week on this here thirteenth journey down Weight Loss Lane. Conservatively I have attempted this every year for the last thirteenth years. Conservatively. No bullshit.

Salad or chocolate? That's a no brainer!
I don't know that I have been "fat" all my life, but I have struggled with the yo-yo of weight gain and loss. I think a lot of women struggle through this. My struggles are no different than the next person's and truth is I might not be struggling if I hadn't started my Mommy-Hood so early in life. 

Maybe I would have enjoyed my youthfulness for longer. Maybe I would have learned better eating habits and workout strategies. Maybe I would have learned to combat stress without overindulging. Maybe if my aunt had balls she would be my uncle. There are a shit ton of maybes that change absolutely nothing. 

None of those maybes count. What counts now are the number of times I have attempted and summarily failed at losing the weight and keeping it off. What counts now is that I am tired of it. What really counts, and I hate this part, is that I am fucking getting older. It's no longer as easy to get rid of the excess poundage. What counts is that my body is not cooperating with the weight loss. What counts is that I am trying my damnedest and I am not even seeing minimal results. What counts is how the hell am I going to push myself through this until I do see some results. 

What counts is how I overcome my past habits and instill new ones.

I have been doing well these past 3 weeks. I have been exercising about 4-5 days a week, some days 2 a days. I have been trying to keep my step count above 10k every day. I have been counting calories and tracking what I eat. I have been weighing and measuring my protein (meat) and choosing fresh veggies and eating more of them. I have increase my water intake astronomically, and decreased my sugar. I am going what I am supposed to. 

Then why does the scale fucking hate me?

That darn thing hates me. I think it's sole purpose in it's existence is to torture people. I bet in medieval times people were put on those balance scales and placed in the center of town for all to see, right outside the church- maximum visibility. They would offset the weight of the individual with rocks or mud which is where the term big as a house could've come from. They were balancing your fat ass with all the makings of a thatched home... so you were big as a house. Or maybe fat as hell came from there as well considering you were outside the church and only the devil could have made someone so gluttonous. (Oh shit... that is my Catholic guilt talking there. Ignore this last statement. My bad... I went a lil' overboard there. It's that Catholic self-loathing....deeply ingrained. Carry on.) That is my theory anyways....

Those numbers are my albatross. 

For starters I can't get an accurate reading ANYWHERE in the fecking house. I move the scale from one room to the next, trying to find level ground, and I can gain and lose 7 pounds in the process. There isn't one piece of level tile in this here establishment. So I get on it this morning....BAM! I am 189 pounds! Nothing like 3 numbers to bring you to tears. 

Tears. I know melodramatic. But when last week I had lost just shy of 3 lbs, watching those number creep in the wrong direction is heartbreaking. 

Then I move the scale again. BAM! I am 187.9. Really? 

I strip down to my bra and underwear. Move it again....186. Move it... 185. I figure if I keep moving it maybe just the process alone will have me shedding 10, 15, 20 pounds. Uggh. I am frustrated.

Look I just want a small victory. A pound or two. Something to keep my going and motivated. Something that let's me know that I am doing this right. Anything? Bueller?

So I am staying off the scale until tomorrow morning for my Biggest Loser weigh in. When in doubt... I might go tan. Fat looks better tanned. 

Pray that I don't throw the darn thing from the second story window. 

Pray that I don't have to start this shit over again in 2014, 'cause this shit is getting old. Fast. 

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Weight loss: EPIC FAIL

I do it every year. And every year I fail at it.

I started in December 2006. I lost a shit ton of weight by Spring 2007. Then summer happened, and I slowly packed it back on. Every year since then I have tried but I can't manage to finish it, much less keep it off.

Just look at my sparkpeople profile. It reads like a bad nightmare. Like a string of failed resolutions. Like groundhog day, every year.

Jan 2012: Here we go again! It seems every year I try to do this again, and every year I fail to some degree. Not this year. I found a workout buddy. I don't have the same level of work responsibilities. So I have decided to go big or go home. I tend to go home but not this time. I am training for a Triathlon! I have joined a local Biggest Loser contest and have joined several smaller challenges. I have a swim challenge at my local pool, and a circuit training challenge at the gym. So let's see if all these challenges can motivate me to a healthier lifestyle. 

April 2011: Ummm yea so I could literally copy what I wrote last May and it would read the same. What to do? Can't get motivated and skinny pictures are not motivating enough? HEEELLLPPP!! 

May 2010: So I haven't accomplished my goals since the last time I updated my SparkPage. I feel horrible and I can't express how disillusioned I am with myself. I ordered the DVD collection, Slim in 6 and I am planning to start Monday May 10. I will post here and show my progress. I want to leave my "skinny" pictures up for motivation. I am going to give it my all.... for real this time. 

January 2009: Ok, so it has been since January 2007, when I started this journey. I am now back at the 180lbs, on a good day. I can't do this anymore. I am going to join my Diva sisters and lose this crap for good! I am tired of feeling sick and tired! So here it goes, FOR GOOD! My new years' resolution is to resolve my weight issues and be a healthier me.... read below to see where I was....and where I hope to get back to! 

"My name is Melissa and last year I joined my Diva sisters in our move from BLC to SparkPeople. I was doing wonderfully! I had gone from 182lbs all the way down to 157lbs, at my lowest. Then summer came along! As a school teacher, summertime means leisure, hanging out and little structure. Needless to say I fell WAY off the wagon. Now I am back up to 179lbs and hating every bit of it, cursing myself for the lack of discipline and will power. BUT NOW I'M BACK! and I am going to achieve this goal and keep it off FOR GOOD!" 

WOW- that was my message to 'SELF' at the beginning of last year. Amazing that summer 2008 is here and I am still at the WHOPPING 175lbs. I am disappointed in my lack of follw through. So I am trying this AGAIN... because that is all I can do. I must push myself and see this through. I can't go through life feeling like a slug and justifying it to myself. SO let's see what I can do this summer!!! I am putting my money where my mouth is!! 

Horrid! I know. Look at my posts from last year about Finding Fitness.

It's all so depressing. 

The worst part is that I don't know how to break the cycle of the yo-yo. 

All I can do is start over, again and again. In the hopes that at some point it will stick and I will keep the healthy smaller version of me. 

Yeah. I am starting it again this year. I am starting the Biggest Loser again, like I did in 2007. Hopefully it will have that same boost effect it did last time. Only time will tell. Let's hope my BL sisters can help me, help myself to get to where I want to be. I'm tired of struggling to keep the weight off. It's emotionally exhausting. 

I start today. 

I'll keep you posted on the progress. 

*deep sigh*

Here is my profile description for the BL page. 

My Journey

My journey is not unique, it's like everyone else's who struggles with weight loss and gain. I woke up one day, looked at pictures and realized I had to make a change. And I did...that year.

It was winter 2006 and I had joined the Biggest Loser, trying to find someone, something to motivate me. I connected with a wonderful group of women, my Dynamic Diva Sisters. (I was formerly known as ArmeWfe.) Through early 2007 and into spring they pushed me through challenges that got me losing weight, and toning muscle. I went from 180 lbs down to 157 lbs at my lightest. Then our group moved to Sparkpeople, and for me it was downhill from there. Summer vacations, work schedules, children, deployments and life in general moved in a direction that saw me yo-yo-ing through different sizes and weights. Every year it was the same crap "I'll lose it this year!" "I'll train for (fill in the blank) this year." And every year it was the same disappointment. Every year it was the same excuses and and hard truths to face. That was every year until last year. We moved to Germany in summer 2011, and I no longer was working full-time. I had time, and less responsibilities and I found a friend. We started working out, training for a triathlon. At first it was hard, and then it was great. I was running 4 miles! Something I had NEVER done. We were swimming and biking. We started a hybrid of P90X and Insanity. The weight was coming off (not fast) but more importantly I felt healthy and I was stronger. Then summer happened, and traveling, and summer turned into winter and winter turned into more excuses.

Now it's a new year and I am promising myself all over again that I will get it together, and do it this time. Except I looked at my SparkPeople account, and I have said that every year since 2008 after I gained all my weight back. I haven't seen 157 lbs since early summer of 2007. I would like to see it again. I am hoping I will do it and make the habits stick this time.

The girls are back in town, my Diva Sisters, and we are back on the BL. Let's hope we can do this again. I did it last time with my girls and I have faith in their motivating capabilities. I am hopeful I will persevere this time.

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Why I hate New Year's Resolutions...but I'm making some anyways

Tis the season for New Year's Resolutions. I hate them.

I make them, but I hate them. 

See I never follow through on them. I haven't accomplished one yet. Well maybe one, but I can't think of it off the top of my head. I'm sure there is one resolution I completed.... fuck, what was it. Irrelevant. I digress... resolutions.

Then you have all these people who start posting quotes and pithy comments about success and failure going hand in hand. And shit about failing to try, and end of the road, and love lost and I just threw up in my mouth.

Nausea. Indigestion. Upset stomach. BARF!

New Year's resolutions drive me crazy. They really drive me bat shit crazy. 

Mostly because I suck at them. The worst part is that every year I make them. It's like I set myself up to failure. I make resolutions that I made in previous years, and I didn't finish/complete them then. What in fuck's sake makes me think I will complete them NOW??

So did I make any for this year? Of course. I am a glutton for punishment. BUT I am trying something different. I am making broad resolutions that don't have specific deadlines or measurements. 

Ambiguity is the name of the game this year. Yup! 

I have a few resolutions this year, but mostly I have a WORD that is going to define my actions. See that way I am not bound to the success or failure of a particular goal. I can say that I held to my word of the year. May not make a whole lot of sense, but it will make me feel better when at the end of 2013 I haven't failed miserably at goals I never had a chance of being successful at in the first fracking place.

The word for the year is Perseverance. How's that for a word?

Here are my vague New Year's statements. (Yea, resolutions seems so final with no room for error. Statements are changeable.)

1. Spend more time with my family. This should be easy since I rather like my hubby and kids. ;)

2. Travel more. Not hard since I love to travel and I am a self-proclaimed travel-whore. Done.

3. Take more pictures. As these are the last few months before The Princess leaves for college, I am going to be snapping the heck out of pictures. 

4. Get fit, again. It's the again part that kills me. See every start of a new year I start the weight loss process, and I do GREAT... until summer rolls around. Then I get caught up in summer, and I gain it back. Then fall and winter are nothing but a string of excuses, until the New Year. Then I am back at square one. Uggh. It's frustrating, but I will apply my word to this statement: persevere!

5. Worry less about the shit that doesn't matter. I will worry less about the things that I can't change, and the things that don't matter. There is no use in stressing over it. So let it go. 

I am stopping here. I think that is a reasonable amount of change. Besides, there is a lot that goes into each one of those, and I won't add statements just to have them. Again, I don't want to set myself up for failure. 


I got another one.

6. Don't set unrealistic goals. I will set goals that I can accomplish, even if it means I am taking baby steps towards a larger reality. 

There. That outta do it... for this year. 

What are your resolutions/statements/word for 2013?


Check out what I thought I was gonna accomplish last year. Here is my grade sheet:

To do list:
#1: F. Didn't complete the tri or half-marathon.
#2: D: I know a little more German and some Italian, but not enough to constitute "knowing" a 3rd language.
#3: I completed 3 scarves: A+  on that. No afghan: F.
#4: A++ Traveled my ass off this year.
#5: A++ Spent tons of time with kids and hubby!

Don't list:
#1: A+ Done. It was a truly drama free year. Well almost, but it was Hubby's ex-wife...totally not my fault.
#2: B-. I didn't beat myself up, but I did the yo-yo diet thing and I failed at #1 on the to-do.
#3 C-: They totally had chore cards, and I wasn't exactly the best at holding them to it.
#4 & #5: A. I totally had a good year in this department.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

What's in a name?

I found it. I figured it out.

For a good long while I have been wanting to change this little ol' blog's name. There are many reasons but mostly because I didn't ever feel comfortable with it. It didn't seem to adequately define me. 

I threw around military related names. Hence the banner below my blogs in recent months: Mel At Ease.

I looked at names that defined my profession. Nope. 

I tossed around ideas of naming it something that had to do with being an empty-nester soon. However that reality isn't happening until Bear leaves, and he is in 6th grade for crying out loud! That was dumb. 

Then tonight I had the epiphany. It came to me while thinking about the photo-a-day challenge I am participating in. It just washed over me, and right then I knew.

I didn't have to mull it over. I didn't have to chew on it and see how it felt in my mouth.

I just knew. 

The Pieces of Me

That's what it's always been about. My role as a mom, wife, friend, teacher, daughter, and every other role I play, they are all pieces of me. It's what I leave behind here on this blog: a piece of me. 

It's what I hope you take from here: a piece of me. 

I would like to be able to hit that delete button and wipe out the entire name and retype The Pieces of Me. Have it stand solo, proud, an icon, the culmination to what has eluded me all these months, but I can't. The Deliberately Unintentional Mom stays. I can't get rid of it. *sigh*

What can I say? It's a piece of me. 

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Rewind, Review, Relive: 2012.

Often times we get bogged down in all the negative things that happen during a year that we fail to highlight all the positives. So here is my review of 2012, lots of positives and some negatives (Oh and a few Thank you's.)
We did A LOT of living this year, and it shows. 


I rang in 2012 working at my local Irish pub. Yah. It wasn't exceptionally busy nor fun but I hubby had recently deployed and the Princess was with friends. So there really was nothing else, besides I don't really remember having a choice since I hadn't worked Christmas. If I remember correctly, it was just my turn in the holiday work barrel. No matter what, I made the best of it that night, and looking back it wasn't so bad after all.
My girls and I hard at work at the Dubliner.
January also brought in a commitment to exercising and eating healthy. There was weight to take off and depression to shake off. I don't think I could have done it without the help of my dear friend Jill.
I made a great friend/family, one that I am sure I will have for many years to come. We bonded in our likeness, sarcasm, parenting styles, husbands deployment and in the many things that brought us together last year. We stay bonded in the friendship, mutual respect and love that grew in that miserable winter last year where sunshine seemed like some other worldly occurrence. I can't thank her enough for her support.

You should already know my travel-whoreness tendencies, and 2012 was a stellar year for travel! While hubby was deployed, he had a mission that took him to parts undiscovered by us. With a perfectly safe location for me to join him, I took full advantage of it! We explored London and Brussels together and what a time we had! It's always good to reinvigorate a marriage with some time yourselves. This was good for our year.

Bear and his Arrow of Light

February crossed us over from Cub Scouts (Webelos II) to official Boy Scout status. The ceremony was awesome and he did an excellent job at advancing through belt loops and badges.

We did quite a bit of local traveling and did some castle exploration. We got to see a FREE show performed by Cirque du Soleil courtesy of USO. It was spectacular! And considering it was only a shortened performance, in an aircraft hangar, they did an AMAZING job!

February also packed in some unexpected surprises like pneumonia! Not fun. The positive side of being deathly ill was the commitment to quitting smoking. I had been a smoker on and off since I was 17 years old. There had been plenty of years where I didn't smoke (pregnancies and nursing and infants in the home) and then there had been years where I smoked regularly. Over the last five years I had taken to being a "summer" smoker. Weird. I know. Except it isn't. When most of your drinking, BBQing and hanging with friends happens in the summer, and as a school teacher I am off all summer... it seemed logical to take it up during the dog days of summer. Either way...February's illness presented me with the opportunity. I have been smoke free ever since. Hooray for me!

February was all peachy and cheery. I struggled with trying to loose weight, inches, something, anything. To no avail. I finally broke down and get signed up for Weight Watchers online. I struggled with seasonal depression which was made worse by being sick and the fact that the sun didn't shine with ANY regularity. It was tough, but I marched on through.


Bring in the start of Spring and warmer weather. We spent this month exploring the Easter Egg Markets here in Germany. I had never seen so many beautifully adorned eggs! We purchased our first three Easter eggs for our collection. This will be something we explore again this year!

March is also the start of the birthday season in my home. We have a March bday and two April bdays, so Spring is truly the time of birth! Bear celebrated his 11th bday in March and also went on his first SOLO overnight Boy Scout camporee. I was nervous he would be frozen to the bone, but he did well!

Sibling tomfoolery on the bike rides!
We spent many a Sunday riding our bikes around the villages and enjoyed what we named Triple F: Forced Family Fun. It wasn't always fun, but it was always a good laugh.

Edinburgh Castle
For my travel addiction, I took my long awaited Three Girls and A Gay Guy trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. Now that was an amazing trip! The history, the people, the sights, and even the weather was agreeable. After this trip my husband labeled 2012, the year of Mel or YOM for short. Cute. Real cute.

We did encounter some difficulties in March. Like the time I came home from work one night to find someone hit my hubby's car right in my driveway! Jacked up the right rear tire and quarter panel. And no, they didn't even leave a note or knock on the door. Fuckers!


To celebrate the Month of Fools, I got my hubby back from the short deployment. Any month is a great month when you get your husband back from Afghanistan! With his return he brought back the sunshine to Germany, literally. On the day he returned, it was sunnier than it had been all winter and spring. 

View from the top of a hill in Garmisch. 
We celebrated birthdays and just being back together again. We took Sunday bike rides and enjoyed our family time. 

Our travels took us to my favorite area of Germany: Bavaria! We were blessed with the opportunity to attend a Marriage Retreat in the German Alps, with Bear and Princess courtesy of the US Army. Thank you so much! It was a great weekend for all of us! 

Our travels even got to a historical site: Dachau Concentration Camp. The kids were excited to take a day from school to visit this historical site. They learned more that day from experiential history than any history book could every convey in words. 

April was a month of renewal. My family was back together, the sun was shining again and I felt like the weight of winter had been lifted. Literally and figuratively since I lost several inches and pounds. All the hard work with P90X and Insanity was paying off. 


Circles were completed in May as I finished the last of graduate work and closed the chapter on my Administration Internship. That was relief! Talk about an albatross hanging around my neck. Sheew!

Hubby and the Graduate
We traveled back to the states for the first time since we moved to Germany for my stepson's graduation from high school. It was a bitter sweet moment. Many divorced parents are able to set aside differences for those momentous events in the child's life. Many divorced parents can "play nice" even for just a few hours. Not here. Hubby and his ex have not played nice in over a decade, if not more. It's truly not for a lack of trying. Hubby has really tried and I don't say that because he is my hubby, but because I really believe he has given it the effort it deserved only to consistently get slapped in the face by lies, and manipulations. The ex really gives a new meaning to the word c*nt. I could go on about her injustices against the boy and Hubby, most egregious is her total devolution of the father-son relationship. Graduation was just more of the same. After watching the graduation in the stands avoiding "her". We slinked out of the stadium, unable to take pictures with Oldest since Mom was hovering like a hawk. We finally got to see him at the local Olive Garden for approximately an hour, and that was like from 9:45-10:45pm. It wasn't pretty. Oldest was ambivalent. Hubby was hurt. Not the best of situations. 

The worst was yet to come. Oldest told his Dad that he would not be visiting him this summer. He wanted to "hang with his friends and girlfriend before basic." To further add insult to injury, he was going on vacation with his mother and step dad to see his step dad's family. Words still fail to heal that wound. We will see what time can do. 

Our trip to the states did give us a chance to see and hang out with old friends! That was truly the highlight of the trip. 

Mother's Day was great this year, and in keeping with the spirit of YOM, I got my first NEW car. My kids call it "Mom's first new cool car!" I love it! My other Mother's Day gift was an iPad. I guess maybe it was YOM. 

Other travel news took us to Disneyland Paris where I got to reunite with an OLD friend from high school whom I hadn't spent time in 10 years. 


June brought heartache to the Princess as she said goodbye to a new love, and hello to old friends. She finished the dreadful Junior year, which was quite rebellious and ushered in a fresh new grounding for the summer! Uggh how I hate those as much as she does!

We traveled stateside again for the family vacation. We visited friends in Maryland. We attended a 40 year vow renewal, and drank ourselves stupid. We visited family in NYC. We happened to be in NY when the heatwave of June rolled through, and we roasted in a Bronx apartment with the circulation equivalent to a jail cell.  We spent a fuck ton of money, and went way over budget. However, we had a wonderful time! It was good to be home, even if we didn't have a home stateside anymore. 

For Father's Day, I made sure I returned the good favor of YOM, and got hubby his very own laptop! 


Gma fooling around with a beer!
As if the summer hadn't already been costly, we received our first visitors! My uncle, his wife, my cousin and my grandmother all made the voyage out to Germany. It was wonderful to have my grandmother here! We took her everywhere, to include Prague, Czech Republic. She had a wonderful time and it was heartbreaking to put her on that plane to go home 3 weeks later. 

A week after her departure, we embark on the cruise of a lifetime. Our graduation present to our daughter, yes the summer before her graduation, was a Mediterranean cruise. Words can't express how awesome it was! We travelled to Barcelona, Spain; Marseilles, France; Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice and Sicily, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia. Talk about getting my travel fix in!  AMAZING! The food. The drinks. The ports. The excursions. The family time. The adult time with kids taken care of. All of it was pure perfection. And in the words of my Hubby, YOM. 
The family at the port of Civitavecchia (Rome)
Fucker was right. 

While on our cruise, I discovered I had been offered an interview at the local high school for a job! It was turning out to be a FABULOUS summer!


School started and I started a new job! It was great to be back in the classroom and out of a smokey pub working nights. The job offer was a dream come true: part-time, every other day, teaching electives Psychology and Sociology. Cha.Ching. Oh yea.. the money is spectacular too!

August was a restful month as we got back to the daily grind of school, routine and end of summer blues. We did the back to school shopping, the unpacking, the post vacation rest which were coupled with the post vacation blues. It was a month to get back on track with savings, considering how expensive the summer had turned out to be. Ouch!

August also saw the start of Volleyball Season. As the new Assistant Coach and head JV Coach, I had my work cut out for me, especially since I hadn't coached in over 6+ years. But it was worth the adventure!


Like every fall in Germany, September starts the season of wine festivals! The weather is beautiful and the wine is delish! We made our rounds to a new wine festival in Bernkastel-Kues, and what a good decision. It's a beautiful city on the river and what gorgeous country-side! Good friends, good wine = Good Times!

Sports was a consuming event this past fall. Volleyball kicked in full gear mid-September and my schedule was consumed with it. I had a great group of girls, albeit a bit prone to drama, but it was exciting and fun!

At his final game, with snow flurries, like a BOSS!
Bear started soccer and had an excellent season! It had been years since he played, but he got back into it and did well. Add to that starting middle school, learning to play the Oboe and Scouts his played was plenty full.

Princess got busy with her Senior year and plenty of AP classes to keep her busy. With the idea of college looming on the horizon, we saw a new Princess emerge with a more settled sense of being. Thankfully!

While September didn't bring many opportunities to travel, we had a great month getting back to the business of daily living, and that is always good! 


Bear had his first Oboe concert! He did a great job and sounded great for only having learned to play it for less than 6 weeks. We were so proud! 

Volleyball season was a huge success with JV losing only 1 match the entire season! AWESOME! Our Varsity team was heading straight to European Championships and on its way to another victory. 

Alex and I, WHOOP!
One of the highlights of the month (year) was the chance to audition for Jeopardy! I had the opportunity to test and retest with the Clue Crew and I even met Alex Trebek. I have the picture to prove it! :) 

Our travels took all four us back Stateside to see the Oldest graduate from OSUT (Basic Training and AIT). This too was a disaster! While we made it there to watch him graduate, it was a fuckton nightmare with the ex. I won't divulge all of it here because it isn't my story to tell, but it wasn't pretty. Suffice to say that when it all shook out, we saw the Oldest for about 10 minutes after graduation. That was it. We traveled half-way around the world, drove from SC to GA, and got to spend 10 minutes with him WITH an audience of his mom, stepdad, grandmother, aunts, cousins and every other swinging dick that was there. Epic fail. 

We also took the time to take Princess to see her first college campus. It was a great experience. She loved it. I loved it. Hubby loved it. It was a reality check that she would be graduating and leaving soon. *deep sigh* You would think that would have sunk in when we ordered her class ring and announcements this month. Ouch!

We also got a chance to see my mom and grandmother. While Mom was a planned part of the trip, Grandma was not and it was a perfect surprise. We spent a few days in Savannah enjoying the weather, the company and Mom & Grandma. 


Us at Cologne Cathedral
Start of the holiday season, my favorite time of the year! We ushered in my 38th birthday with a day trip to Köln (Cologne). It was an adventure given the celebrations going on there, which had the city infested with over 70k people. A hot mess I tell ya! 

Hubby, Bear and I in Austria. 
Thanksgiving brought us a quiet dinner with friends as the Princess traveled to visit her real dad in FL. This year was better. I was more settled with my new life in Germany, and my usual seasonal depression was kept at bay with a busy schedule, travel and volleyball. Bring on the Christmas season!

Our travels had us on the road again. Hubby planned a SURPRISE trip to Salzburg, Austria! We had a fabulous time going to the Christmas Markets and touring the city. The only downside (not really): the drive! 


Bear had his second Oboe concert and we had our first German snow!!!We Christmas Marketed almost every weekend, sometimes two in one weekend. We ventured to Bastogne to the historical walk, and we walked 13km in mud and yuck! We ice-skated. We drank glühwein. We did the Christmas carols all month long! We enjoyed our Christmas season, like we were unable to last year. Time has a way of helping you adjust. 

Bestie and I
Another chapter closing in the book of our life. December brought us another visitor as well. My first stateside friend/family to visit. My bestie from MD make the journey over, and we spent a whirlwind 10 days touring as much as possible. From Frankfurt to Heidelberg, to Saarbrucken, and even down to Strasbourg, France. No Christmas Market that was available was left untouched. :) We ran ourselves so ragged we caught a stomach flu and spent two days bed ridden, but we had a great time! I can't wait for her to return this summer. :)

Christmas was good to both the kids. Princess got her class ring, and sweatshirt, and memory book and all sorts of other class memorabilia. She also got a few other things in there as well! 

Bear got the usual clothes, new coat, books and other small necessities. His big present for the year: iTouch. He was happier than a pig in poop. :)

The New Year celebrations were quiet and peaceful, which was much needed after the holidays and the year we had! We can't wait for next year. 

Our family is lucky. Beyond lucky, we are truly blessed. 

I know it. Hubby knows it. I hope to hell the kids know it. 

We crammed a shit ton of living into one year, (and I'm sure there is sooo much more I am missing), and I am grateful we were able to do so. 

I am grateful and appreciative for our health: financially, emotionally and spiritually. As we embark on this new year, I want to thank everyone who supported us this year, through thick and thin. 

I want to thank my husband who a truly patient man, and who loves his family unconditionally. I want to thank my kids who are not perfect, and sometimes there are a true pain in my ass, but they give my life purpose and meaning. 

I want to thank God who has guided me to a better place in my life, one where I can accept the challenges he presents to me as well as the blessings. 

Here is to the hope that 2013 is as wonderful as 2012! 

Happy New Year!

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