Friday, August 26, 2011

A new Journey Begins

3 days...21 hours...and 56 minutes...until Kaylin and I are on a plane back to the good ole' US of A!

A lot has changed recently and the more that develops, the more I am thankful to be leaving Germany. Yes, I will miss my friends, who have become more like a family away from family. But everything else, I'll be glad to leave behind. With the exception of McDonalds nuggets...its like Ashlee crack or something. Anyways, I am trying to keep it all pretty positive and not focus on what we're leaving, but what we are going to. Its a new chapter, not the closing of a book. :)

The movers came for the majority of our stuff on Tuesday. It really sucked watching our life be packed away, but as the evening came upon me, it wasn't nearly as sad as I thought it was going to be. I took Kaylin to the CDC just because I knew that it would be easier to not have her here. Being away from her for 8 hours, really sucked though. I honestly think that's the longest I've ever gone without her!

Wednesday the movers came later in the afternoon and took the rest of our stuff, basically the stuff for Kaylin. Her crib, her high chair, the umbrella stroller, her second car seat, and whatever else random that was left from the previous day. Moving is gosh darn stressful, I'll tell ya that!

Now we sit in our house full of government furniture and random things until Tuesday. Tuesday, and our feet will be on American soil, back in American time zones. My adds on Facebook will be back to English, no more having to find IP blockers online to watch my favorite TV shows, no more stupid AFN commercials. Don't get me wrong, I love the opportunity and the things we saw together. Germany is an experience on its own and I'm sure that if we had traveled more I would have loved it here even more. Its rough when you don't speak the language at all, every word looks like jibberish (I can't even imagine going to Korea :-/). I remember telling my parents that I knew now what it felt like to be unable to read. Because to me, the majority of the German language looks like letters put together.

Soon we'll be saying auf Wiedersehen Germany and HELOOOOO America!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Little One

My Kaylin-

How can I even begin? You mean the world to me. 1 year ago today I laid in a hospital bed waiting for you to arrive. The day was long, and sometimes it seemed unbearable; but in the long run it was the most incredible experience of my life. At 9:42 I heard you cry for the very first time. It was a while before I actually saw you, but the wait was completely worth it. You laid in my arms completely and I had never felt so much innocence. You were completely dependent on me. When they brought you to me later on that day, I laid you on me for the first time and was in love. You loved me more than I could ever imagine, and I knew it then, your very presence made my world completely.

Over the last year I've seen you grow from a tiny little baby to a beautiful little girl. You are so smart and so cute. You're personality is amazing and contagious. You have made the darker days lighter, the cloudy days sunnier, and the bad days better. I can't believe how much you've learned over the last year. You pick up on so many things it amazes me. I love to see you're little mind work and problem solve. Every day is something new and I am so glad I get to share it with you. You are the light of my world and I love you more than anything. I thank God that you are here every day. Its like He knew I'd need you, you are my blessing from Heaven.

I love you Kaylin, you are my everything. Happy Birthday big girl!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A First Birthday

Being in Germany throwing a birthday party can be quite the challenge. Top it off with a one year old and a Mommy that has never thrown a birthday party and you've got yourself quite a story.

It all begins by looking for a theme. And over here the chances of having 1st Birthday party supplies are slim to none. So the online search began! I checked all over the place, Amazon, Party America, Google, and finally found a theme I fell in love with at Party City. Hugs and Stitches was the decided theme. Its cute, girlie but not a lot of pink and frills. I made a tentative guest list, counted and re-counted the people invited. I bought her party supplies and even had a coupon for $4.99 shipping. Shipping things to APO is always a hit or miss situation. Sometimes stuff takes a week, other times it takes a good 6 weeks. There is just no telling, so I had to get it ordered in plenty of time and keep my fingers crossed it would get here. So instead of banking on it, I decide to pick a back up theme. Zoo animals, definitely not girlie but still cute. I didn't buy anything. I'll never forget when I got her package in the mail, I was so excited I had to open it up in the office! Once I had invitations I started writing them all out, and cleverly saved one for Kaylin's scrapbook later.  I had to pick a place indoors because the weather here is so unpredictable that taking the chance for an outdoor party isn't going to happen. I managed to book our golf course clubhouse for the day before her actual birthday. Since her birthday is on a Sunday, it's easier to get people together Saturday rather than on Sunday.

I've invited quite the crowd and quite the mix of kids. So I had to think of something to for the older kids to do. Kaylin would be happy with a few toys and a big room to crawl around in. So I decided to buy a pinata. Simple and more for the older kids to play with. I found a nice flower one from Ramstein, cute and simple. I also grabbed pink and purple streamers as the decorations because I already have a nice "Happy Birthday" banner for her in the set. I didn't bother with balloons because I planned on getting some from our arts and crafts center.

Next task was the food. What to serve older AND younger people? I went back and forth for days, do I want to do cupcakes or an actual cake? Do we want home made or store bought? So many options, so little time. I looked at both our commissary and the one in Ramstein but didn't see any cakes that jumped out at me. No first birthday cakes or anything, so time to go home made. I got a normal yellow cake and it'll have chocolate frosting. Don't forget about the letters I plan on using, pink and purple. Then some pink icing for the border. I practiced with some of the tips and I think I'll be able to make it look good, so I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed! Keeping on the simple side I figured Little Smokies in the crock pot, home made Mac-N-Cheese, and my friend offered to make meatballs. I figured no big "lunch" food, just more snacks. Cheaper and easier. Then I also bought a few different types of Capri Sun (but the good German kind :D ) and a few things of soda. Lets not forget the ice cream, Neapolitan that way everyone is happy. I bought the only mixed bag of candy I could find...Wonka. So now there are a mix of nerds and laffy taffy that are going into the pinata.

Next came the balloons. The arts and crafts center didn't have any 1st Birthday either, so we settled for a nice princess balloon that said happy birthday. Those will be blown up and picked up on Saturday. Now all I really have left is getting a picture of her in her pretty dress and get it into the frame for her. And then we'll be done. My sweet baby girl will be 1.

I hope the day will be perfect my little girl, she's going to have so much fun!