Monday, December 30, 2013

Snowflake Swap

Paris recaps are coming, I swear! I'm just getting around to the 700+ pictures Mr. took...
At the beginning of this month one of my friends, Jane, posted about a Snowflake Swap that she and a few others were hosting. I was expecting the holidays to be rough for me(spoiler alert-- I was right), and thought that giving more would help. Plus, I ran two winter gift exchanges, so it was nice to be able to just enjoy it, instead of worrying about everything.
I happened to be paired up with the lovely Brittany of Aviation of Love, who is stationed at Ft. Bliss, Texas. Both of us have been at Ft. Bragg, and both of us have immediate feelings of inadequacy when it comes to gift giving. ;) I can say though, that her gift was super thoughtful. I didn't get a chance to take a picture of it all wrapped up, so here are the pieces:
I got magazines- Food and Wine (now severely dog eared for all the recipes I want to try) and Self...which I had been wanting to buy but haven't. 
  A really cool Essie nail's chrome! I can't wait to paint my nails for NYE.
An awesome Ft. Bliss t-shirt...which made me wish I had sent her something German. (See above comment about inadequacy)
Really excited because my preworkout  matches!
And then she was thoughtful enough to include treats for both girls... Which have promptly been devoured!
Thanks so much to Brittany, and to the "JAM Awesomesauce" ladies for putting this together! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

OCONUS Jealousy

 By the time y'all are reading this, the Mr. and I are on our way to Paris for my birthday! I just wanted to share some thoughts about living overseas for the weekend.
If you live overseas for any amount of time, two things will happen. 
1. People will make you feel like you're not doing "enough" traveling at any given point. Maybe this is just a me thing, but we hear (often) about how everyone has all these plans for every. single. four day. See, if you were in the states,  your plans for a four day would probably be to relax, maybe see or do something in your town or just nearby, but that's about it.  Here, people go NUTS. The Mister is taking a four day for my birthday, and we're going to Paris. We're not traveling for Christmas or New Year's. When we say that...we get the wide, unblinking stare of disbelief. How DARE you have time off and not use it to see more of this country!

Look, we love it here, and we love travel. We just also have some debts to take care of, work to do, Pets that need us, and Doc appointments. We can't take off every month-and that's okay. We're still seeing as much as we can.

2. Related to number 1, your friends and family romanticize your time here. People say things like "I have no tips for you, not all of us can go to Paris for a weekend!". Or, "Gosh, I'm so jealous it must just be awesome to be there and get to Travel all the time".  Yes, it's awesome to be here. Yes, we feel very blessed to have these opportunities...however...

I get to go on a 4 day birthday trip to Paris, because I gave up having holidays with my family. 
I get to experience this wonderful culture, because I am willing to deal with the 6/7/8 hour time difference from people I love. 

Not everything here is rosy, and it's not wonderful all the time (But it is pretty close!). Just remember that being in Germany isn't all beer, schnitzel, and traveling throughout Europe. It's also missing home, missing family, and a language/culture barrier that is insurmountable at times.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

On my birthday Eve..

Tomorrow is a pretty awesome day.... I'm turning 26!

There's a lot of things I could say about it. I could say that I'm not where I thought I would be, that things are hard, that even though things are hard-they are also great, that I'm SO excited about Paris and traveling by train, give a recap of the major events from this year, and on and on.. and none of these things would be wrong... but they aren't what I want to write about.

Today, I'm writing about what I am going to work on for year 26...And intersperse some photos from 25 throughout.

My best girlfriends got in my house and decorated it for my birthday last year :)

I want to look back at 26 and see that this was the year that I let it become my guiding principle, that I let that be how I approach people and situations.
The girl who made it SO hard to move from Fayetteville!
To take this to a religious side of things-Jesus gave us two commandments- To love our God and our Neighbor.  This year, I'm going to focus on those two things, and let the rest fall where it may. 
The best meal of my life, while celebrating 25 (belatedly) in Vegas!
This means trying to let judgement go. This means letting things that hurt or annoy me roll off my back.

Seeing these two tie the knot is definitely a highlight of the year. And I still cry. Cause I'm a little pathetic.
Like I could leave my favorite munchkin out of this...

Most importantly, it means Grace. And not just for other people-It means for myself...maybe even most of all!
Waiting for our plane to Germany!

Like most people, I am my own worst critic. This year, I'm going to learn to extend grace to myself, and love myself-flaws and all. Who am I to say that I'm not smart enough? Maybe I'm just the right kind of smart to accomplish what I need to. Who am I to say that I'm not pretty? My 'haters' will be quick enough to tell me that-do they really need my help?! This also means less hiding when someone breaks out a camera-I'm resolving to take more pictures with me in them this year!

I hate the shadows in this...but this was our 2nd Market!

So, here's to a year of Love and Grace... makeup. I can say a lot of things about this picture-but it's me. This is me on a daily basis-mascara and hair messy. Feeling heavier than I'd like, but loving that I'm still healthy and alive and able to enjoy all that I have.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A TTC Update

I realized the other day that I hadn't posted a TTC update for awhile, so here goes. 

The Mr. and I were on a break for a few months. I wanted to make sure (as much as I could, anyways) that I would be able to make it to my friend Staci's wedding, and hopefully to Alpha Chi convention.  We have since started "actively" trying again, which means taking temperatures, OPK's, etc. 

I was due for a well woman exam, so I spoke with my PCM(Primary Care Manager) here about how we have been trying for awhile. She said that since we were so close to a year of trying, and it's hard to get in with the doctor here, that she'd go ahead and write me a referral to a doctor here for a female infertility workup.

We've seen him once so far, and I just had some blood work done today. He's thinking that it's a hormonal issue, which should be reflected in today's testing.  I've had an ultrasound (Me and Wandy...we're not friends) and he's taken all our history and information. We go back to see him again in just over a week to get our results, and the Mister goes in for testing the following day. From there, we just work with everyone to hopefully formulate a plan and get pregnant!

Because I have TriCare, it is unfortunately not the easiest process. After this next appointment, my German doctor will write up a report. This gets returned to TriCare/my PCM who then decide what their course of action is. They could decide to handle it themselves, send us a Military Treatment facility, or just hand us back off to our German Doc. We are hoping that the plan will be to allow us to continue seeing the German doctor. His office is convenient to our apartment, and he is just a really kind, reassuring man.  If you know me, you know I tend to be a worry wart and jump to the worst possible conclusions at all times. The fact that this guy calms me down is pretty big. ;)

So, we're starting the process. We're not sure infertility is even something we're dealing with just yet. Right now is the information gathering phase.. hopefully things get to working soon!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

It's all so quiet...

It's been awhile, hasn't it?

It's not that there's nothing to blog about, or that I haven't thought about blogging...

It's moreso that I keep promising blogging to myself as some sort of prize. Like, finish your Anatomy and you can blog.

Well, by the time I finish my Anatomy I don't want to do much of anything. At all.

Good news-By tomorrow afternoon that won't be a problem anymore! I am officially in finals week, and I can not wait for it to be over (already!).

Better news- By the end of this week the Mr. and I will be in Paris and I will give exactly 0 cares about school and all the other little stuff piling up. just get to the end of this week!

Monday, November 18, 2013

On blogging...

As part of one of my courses, we were instructed to keep a blog. For simplicity's sake I am using this one. I figured I'd share why I blog!
I started this blog as a way to keep family and friends up to date on what's going on with us. Being in Germany puts us 6 hours ahead of eastern time, so it's pretty difficult to keep up with family, especially family that works. I also thought it would be a good place to get "out of my head" on our journey of trying to expand our family. It's not easy,and the journey can be very isolating. I blog because it's fun for me! I blog because it helps me keep up with my Army Spouse friends. 
Blogging, however, isn't for everyone. It's been hard to keep up with (as evidenced my long spaces between posts..), but it's worth it for me. So many people in my course are saying that they don't enjoy it, which I can understand. If you're more private, then blogging definitely isn't for you. 
Why do you blog?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Snowflake Swap

Thanks to some lovely ladies, I am participating in blogger gift swap-The Snowflake Swap this year!

Snowflake Swap

It's going to be a rough holiday season this year. It's my first time not being with my family on Christmas, and they're pretty much everything to me. It's hard to think about, and I'm sure there will be tears (See here for my tendency to cry. A lot). But the experience of having a Christmas on our own will be a memory we cherish for years to come. Nonetheless, I'm trying to guard myself up as much as possible with plenty of gift exchanges and holiday spirit to distract myself from the emotions that I know will come. 
 Interested in joining in? Just click on the picture above and sign up!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Christmas Rush

Like most people, I am of the whole-hearted belief that Thanksgiving doesn't get a fair chance. Between Candy and gifts, most people are rushing through the season of Thanks dreaming of Sugar Plums.

I'm a planner-I like to have things set and ready far in advance. But this most recent challenge? I didn't think even I was up for it!

Have (nearly all ) of the Christmas shopping and wrapping done by 12 NOV.

WHAT?! I do my gift draws in October, but spend most of November obsessing over what people may want, before purchasing in early December. Unfortunately, since we are in Germany it's recommended that we ship anything we want to arrive by Christmas back to the states by 12 NOV.

With this in mind, the Mister and I headed out to a few different souvenier shops this weekend to try and take care of our gifts. We did great (and got to see the supposed World's largest cuckoo clock!) and only have a few more to go.

What are your usual patterns as far as Christmas shopping is concerned?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Slowdown

I love Sundays.

It's one day of the week that I strive to really slow down, not rush through things and just enjoy the day with the husband and the animals. We go to Church, we might eat lunch out, or we might just come home and do laundry and hold the couch down.

Believe me, after this week-this slow down  was MUCH needed. Nothing was overwhelmingly bad, just seemed like we had a hard time getting things to break our way. 

Of course, it's also much easier to slow down when you have a cold and the Mr. has Arkham Origins to keep him occupied.

What's your Sunday ritual? Are you a slow down person, or do you keep running?


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I remember....

I remember when the Mr. first told me he wanted to join the Army. I was 19, and after he told me I cried. You see, I was dating a goofy theatre kid and I never thought the military would be a plan (I should've...serving in the military goes way back on both sides of his family). I cried because I didn't know what that meant. I cried because I knew at the least we were a country at war and that meant he was going to be deployed.

He had just busted out of his cocoon and is now a beautiful butterfly.

I cried because I was a drama queen. (Seriously. Pulled my Gbig aside to ask her advice and cried at meeting. Drama queen).

Then that Summer he dumped me. I remember sitting in my sorority sister's apartment and watching chick flicks and talking about how he'd be back and he's just a dumb boy.

Then that fall he realized he's really dumb sometimes, and we got back together.

I remember doing pretty horribly on an assignment right after he left for OSUT (basic Training). I remember that professor pulling me aside. He'd never had me in class, but said that it didn't seem like me. I cried to him and told him my boyfriend had just left. He patted me on the shoulder and said his son had left too, but it gets better.  I remember that extension of grace. (And I remember that I was yet again, a drama queen)

Photo from Ciulla Photography

I remember after we got married, that I was so excited in April because he was done with school, I was about to be done with school, and we were going to be able to be done with long distance! (I can hear my veteran spouse friends laughing...). I remember him holding me when he told me that he'd be deploying the following month. 

I remember the joy of buying our house, and getting a puppy.

She's grown just a tiny bit...

I remember crying when the rumors of the next deployment came up.
I remember crying the nights before he left, but not at the parade field...which garnered me criticism. (Seriously).

I remember crying with relief to hold him in my arms again both times.
I remember the blast we've had on marriage retreats, at balls, and at Hail/Farewells. 

I remember falling apart on the drive away from our first base, our first home.
I remember crying on the plane to Germany. 

Why post this? (Other than to illustrate that I'm a pro-level crier/drama queen)

So often as military spouses we tear our fellow spouses down... whether it's that she's crying over him being in the field, or NOT crying during the deployment. That our civilian friends couldn't possibly understand what it's like to live through a deployment, and how stupid they are for thinking that a business trip is in any way equal to one. (For the record, most know it's nothing alike. They're just trying to connect on the premise of missing their person). What if we remembered how it was when we first started out? When that first week of him gone felt like walking through hell? The time we learned to turn off the news when he's gone? 

I have a feeling we'd be much kinder to each other. And in a life like this-where we are often uprooted away from family and friends, and expected to do it all with minimal resources- shouldn't we be more focused on helping one another, instead of laughing at or criticising someone who is just starting out, sad and scared? When will we, as a community, realize that our war stories are very rarely helpful?

I remember...the day I decided to start living in and extending the grace and understanding afforded to me many times over by many people.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I kept trying to think of a creative title for this post, but I'm fairly certain there isn't one. 

I was SO EXCITED for yesterday- We found out our HHG (House Hold Goods) got here and would be delivered. Let me tell you... You don't realize how much you miss *your* couch and bed till you're without it for almost 2 months. It was even better because C's unit here is actually very understading and family oriented, so they told him to hang out here and help as much as he needed to, and even offered to reschedule his meeting with the commander.  I was so glad that I would be having help! What a novel concept. ;) 

As it is now, we had some losses this move. The lamp, tv stand, hall tree, and a serving dish are all damaged. Our bathroom things have been lost... so I'm out medicines, my makeup, and towels. I can (and will) be filing claims on all of it, but it just stinks to have your things broken! C and I have previously talked about replacing a lot of our furniture while we are here with good quality antiques.  It's just something we will have to keep up on--I'd hate to get to the end of our tour and not have replaced anything!
Today, We have people coming to pick up our rental furniture, so once that is gone I can unpack and settle more than just the kitchen. Looking forward to making this apartment our home!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Getting to know Deustch...Getting to know alll about Deutstch(land)

Last post, I mentioned that I had been doing a 3 day course called culture college. It was intense! 9-3 for three days, with about 40 of my new friends. 
Day one: Classroom learning
This was an all day thing in a chapel basement with poor acoustics..not so good for the deaf girl. The information was great, however. They taught us a lot about German history, culture, and language. Our instructor is from Germany so she was SO helpful. 
Day two: walking tour

So this was my favorite day, because it was the most applicable to daily life. From post, you can walk downtown, and we did! They took us to see all the major historical sites, some interesting  places to shop and eat, and some places that are just helpful to know. For instance-they took us into the train station so we could aquaint ourselves with how it is laid out and how to get tickets. Seems self explanatory, but it was actually good info to know.
Day 3: Garrison Briefing
By far, my least favorite day. Is that bad? It was a bunch of the different offices on post telling us about the services they offer and what's in store for our post. I did love learning that there is a new PX opening in the near future! Currently, our shops are all spread out. The main PX isn't with the outdoor stuff, which is separate from the electronics, which is separate from the sports store, which is separate from the home store. It's incredibly frustrating-especially for someone like me who isn't driving.  I did end up winning a sweet BMW sunshade for the car because I can say 9:30 in German.
All in all, I'd definitely recommend this (FREE) seminar to anyone moving to Wiesbaden, or it's equivalent in other garrisons. Even though we've been here for a month and I thought I wouldn't learn anything, I walked away with a lot of good knowledge and orientation to the city. Here's to another couple of years of German adventure!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Random Thoughts...

I can't seem to get much of a consistent train of thought going today, so we're going for the bulleted list with some pictures.

 - I've been in a seminar called "Culture College" for the past few days learning about Wiesbadern and Germany-traditions, customs, language, orientation to the city and the post, etc. It has been great, but also exhausting. EVERYONE pregnant right now? Cause that's kind of how it feels. I'm just sitting over here...on a break till the end of the year.

 - I'm now in the time of year where I don't buy things for myself. My birthday, Christmas, and my anniversary are all very close to each other (like... 13th, 25th, and 31st....) so I try not to buy much for myself, so that I can give more gift ideas and thus be surprised and happy with them.

 -blog is about to get a facelift thanks to Jane! She is all things fabulous and isn't even mad that it took me almost two weeks to finally look at the mockup for long enough to tell her what I thought. Seriously, she's an angel.

 -I'm excited to hopefully explore Frankfurt and Ludwigsburg this weekend!C is on a four day so we're going to explore some of the local area. (and hopefully get some castles in before the end of castle season. Yep...there's a season for castles. Who knew?!)

 -I really need to start carrying around a notebook for blog post ideas.. and reminding myself of what I wanted to tell/ask people and things I need to do.

 -Still no HHG. I just want my bed people!!

 -I'm excited for the next few years for us. But I'm also already planning the next move, even though I barely know when and where that will come along. I know this time next year, C will take command and do that for a year, and then we'll have a few months before our DEROS date (earliest we can go back to the states). but otherwise everything is up to what his next move is...and that changes daily. Gotta love it, right?

 And now, I leave you with two photos from our Farmer's Market adventure! More to come once I upload them to my computer. :) xo, Jess

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Since there's no more GoogleReader, a number of sites to help you keep up with blogs have popped up. I've been using BlogLovin' for a few months, and I'm pretty much in love. I get a daily digest email of all the blog updates that have happened. I think their site is exceptionally easy to use... Basically it's just amazing! Click the link below to follow my blog on bloglovin! Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday, September 16, 2013

Shipping your pet to Germany, pt. 2- The cost.

Phew-what a 2 weeks this has been! Before we got too far out and I forget everything that's happened, I wanted to update on the costs and realities of getting your pet to Germany.

So. We bought 2 crates (PetMate SkyKennel). We got the cat the small size, and JB the Giant Size. It cost us $240 for both crates. $200 of that was JB's.'s Expensive. Yes, I would've preferred it to be cheaper. But... we really lucked out later.

You have to get health certificates. It's only good for 10 days, so wait as much as you can! You can get it at your post vet. If you don't have an on-post vet, you'll have to get it from a USDA certified Vet, and hope they have room! We were able to be seen on post, where the screening for health certificates is free, so long as you have a copy of orders. SO- Vet Exam: $0

Since JB had such a large crate, we had to have it disassembled untill we got to the airport. Well, as luck would have it at BWI, pets have to be in crates to go in the terminal. So C and I got to assemble that giant thing in the vestibule between outside and inside. Luckily, at this rate we're like a NASCAR crew with that thing. Once assembled, we got her inside.

Ready for the next bonus? If you are a family with kids or pets, you get to cut the line! I was so thankful for that-we had 4 checked bags, 2 crates, and 4 carry-ons, so we needed the cut.

At check in, the agents gave the animals a quick once over, weighed them in crates (as well as our bags), and then we paid. It was about $350. WHAT?! so much cheaper than I was expecting. Then we had to wait... we checked in right around 7:30 PM, our flight left at Midnight. We couldn't drop the pets off till 10:00 PM. So, we had 2.5 hrs to kill without going through security. We ate, took the pets to the pet relief area a couple times, and talked with family and friends.

Finally, 10 rolled around and we dropped the girls off back at the check in desk. I won't lie-I cried a little. (Story of my life! ha...I'm a cryer). I told JB and Adi that nothing bad could happen to them because if it did I'd lose my sh!t and that's a bad first impression. ;)

It was a quick walk through security, then onto the plane! We got little slips once seated that let us know that our babies had been successfully loaded onto the plane.

That's not where the pet story ends- See, in Germany the pets are examined once more to make sure that they're healthy and not bringing in any crazy illnesses. That cost 55 EUR.That was the end of our costs! Our sponsor picked us up, thankfully in a minivan, so We were able to keep them in their crates till we got to the hotel.

So, when all is said and done, it cost $590 to get them to Germany. Once in Germany, it cost us about 55 EUR for the exams, then probably another $80 in supplies we had shipped ahead of time (Thanks Amazon!).

All totaled- $670. (about $750, once you convert the Euro!) It was extra time. It was money we didn't necessarily want to spend. But these are our babies, so there was no way that we weren't going to find a way to make this work!

Random notes- Our agents didn't care if there was food/water in the crates, or if all attaching hardware was metal. We didn't have to have anything crazy, just the normal paperwork for them and we paid for them as "excess bags".

Please, if you have any questions (or know someone who does) about bring pets over to Germany-especially giants-send them my way! We've met so many families missing their big babies and I'd love to help however I can.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Odyssey to Germany, pt 2

Good gravy--y'all came back for more?! ;)

So, last I left off we were about to land in Germany.

We landed around 1 PM German time, so it was about 7 AM EST. Again, deplaning was done in sections. High ranking officials, people folllowing on (Our flight was making further stops in Turkey and Manas), and lastly people stopping in Germany. Once off the flight, we were directed to get rid of meat products, so I had to dump a TON of slim jim's that C had bought, which he was sad about. He was instructed to stay in a room to fill out some paperwork, while I got to go ahead and get in line to have my passport checked. A quick question about where we were headed and we were through to baggage claim!

Baggage claim at a military passenger terminal is pretty much nothing like baggage claim at a regular airport. You walk in and bags are everywhere! You just have to grab yours and arrange them. Our girls were also at baggage claim! Both a little mad, but okay otherwise. ;) We had to have them checked out, pay a fee, and then loaded our bags onto the carrier they were already on, and got herded into a different waiting room. This one had wifi and it seemed like things were going to go easier-more people to help us out. ;)

Here's where we hit a hiccup. See, we thought our sponsor was picking us up. The reception desk said he hadn't checked in, so we had to take the bus. We walked out, and a very enthusiastic man took my bags and loaded me on the bus telling C to wait...only for our sponsor to arrive shortly thereafter. After a few more pieces of paperwork, we then loaded everything up in our sponsor's van and headed out!

The autobahn was terrifying to me. I'm fairly certain I will not be driving here, or at least not on the autobahn. It too us about an hour to get to Wiesbaden. Now, at this point it's about 1430 (2:30 PM). Last time we ate was around midnight, or 6 AM German time. We're starving, but exhausted. All I wanted at this point was to go to the hotel...but apparently there was a form that needed to be signed. So we spent some time driving around to find him... to give up and go to the hotel, and find the guy there. Typical Army, right?

It's probably around 4 by the time we got in our room, with the animals. C took JB out as soon as we got there, I went straight to the room with Adi to set her up.  We decided to rest, and then C would go get food at the bowling alley (less than 5 min walking from the hotel). Well, by the time that happened I was exhausted and nauseous. C picked up on that and grabbed me some plain food, plus some things he knew I loved (Pizza with hot sauce). We had been napping on/off for most of the afternoon, and fell asleep still almost right after we finished eating.

Since then, it's been a flurry of activity! We've set up an apartment and our phone/internet/cable/etc. We're working on cell phones, and trying to keep our heads above water.

More to come on the pets, our apartment, and Germany in general!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Odyssey to Germany, pt 1

Hello all! It has been crazy here. We have an apartment and are moving in this weekend, we've got everything but cell phones set up, and C should hopefully be getting his license this week! Once that happens, we're officially mobile. :)

I figured I'd go back to actually getting here, then blog about the pets/housing/ everything else later.

So, if you remember from my earlier posts, C and I decided we'd drive from Sierra Vista to Baltimore. We did this to ensure we'd have our girls with us, and because the Army agreed with us that $3k to ship them was ridiculous. So we stopped in Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, O'Fallon (IL), Union (KY), and then Baltimore. We were on the road from 8/28 to 9/1, then had an overnight in Baltimore.

So, the morning we were flying out from Baltimore, Cody ran around doing little errands, and I was organizing our bags. Looking back now, there's a few things I would've liked to have had, or grabbed in the States where we had more choices. Post on that later too.

Around 2, Cody went and returned our rental car. Our hotel had a shuttle and agreed to let us on there with the girls and all our stuff, so we figured that would make this whole thing a little less stressful. We were right! It ended up being pretty tough just to get us all out using the shuttle, I can't imagine having to do it with rental car return.

We took the 6:20 shuttle to the airport, for our flight at midnight. A little crazy, but since this flight was so packed, it was a great idea. We finangled all our bags into the vestibule between the two sets of doors into the airport. That's as far as we could go, untill we assembled JB's crate. That had a slight hiccup-the metal wingnut C had gotten to secure the kennel didn't fit, so we had to just use the plastic pieces. Then we had to convince JB to get in the crate, not freak out, and load the crate on a push cart. Thankfully, that went ok. ONce that and our other bags were loaded up quickly.

Special note: If you have pets or kids (or both) you can cut the line at check in at AMC in Baltimore. SO THANKFUL for this! We snuck through the HUGE line of people, and got helped nearly immediately. After all my worrying about the crates, the paper was barely a second glance at them, and not expensive at all! You'll be shocked at how not astronomical it ended up being to fly them. So when we finished checking in, we were told to bring the animals back at 10 PM. That was at about 7... so we had 3 hrs, and couldn't go through security. We ate, talked with families on our flight, and answered a lot of questions for kids about how big our dog was.

Finally, 10 rolled around and we dropped the girls off by the check in desk. I was pretty emotional-not only had it been a long day, but these girls are my babies and I would have been devastated had something happened to them.

Going through security was surprisingly simple, and I didn't have to throw out my water. From there we went to our gate, just to be the last group to board. The boarding order was: High rankers, Families with small children (Or really any children, because there were defintely some with teens who took advantage of that. LOL), those travelling in Uniform, and then "Others". We lucked out and had in seat entertainment-not that we got to use it much! We took off around midnight and I only cried a little. It's just hard to leave a family and country that I love...

In the most confusing move, they served a dinner?! I would've much preferred that they give us breakfast, because at 0100, I really don't want food. So we had oreos and drinks, I fell asleep but Cody ordered me a meal (that I ended up not eating), then snacks again in the morning, which we also slept through.

I'll write and publish the journey about once we hit the ground in Germany later; This is long enough as is! Cookies if you made it through. :)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Wir kamen nach Deutschland!

(We came to Germany!)

Well, C and I are starting to settle in here! We got to Germany after a LOT of traveling and visiting with family. Probably not as much visiting as we would've liked, but that's our cookie crumbled this time.

We arrived around 1 PM Germany time on Tuesday, and hit the ground running. Our sponsor had some issues getting to us, thanks to a traffic accident on the autobahn, and so we had confusion on whether we were taking a bus or not. Thankfully, we were able to work it all out and get on our way...only to hit a hiccup trying to find the right person to sign a certain form in Wiesbaden. Thankfully, that all worked out the next day.

We had zero issues with the girls, and I'll do a follow up post of all the costs and steps about that. Spoiler alert: it was WAY cheaper and easier than we thought it would be.

C has been in-processing since we got here and it looks as though that will continue for at least another 2 weeks. We have no idea when we will be getting an apartment (We do have to live on post, fortunately/unfortunately),  but we are #2 on the waiting list so it shouldn't be too terribly long. I think we're now hoping for the part of housing we currently stay in with lodging right now.. so we'll see!

Hopefully in the next few days, after some schoolwork catch-up, I'll have more posts headed y'alls way! Unfortunately, it's 2330 here and I need to get on a normal sleep schedule.

Auf Wiedersehn!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Final Countdown

Well, in less than a week, we leave AZ! I am truly glad to be leaving this post behind. It is pretty, but there isn't much here, the weather is crazy, and I didn't really have the opportunity to make friends. We were here for 6 months, and I was the only person without kids in Cody's class soo that doesn't really help.

It's crazy to think we're leaving this chapter behind. I've left a few other things here... 4 to be exact. I had my wisdom teeth taken out yesterday. Mine were uncomplicated-they had already broken through the gums. They took all four out, and I feel fine. I was so scared to have them done-so many people tell you their horror stories about how they took weeks to feel better. I felt fine yesterday, i feel fine today. It hurts, of course, but not that bad. It's not the worst pain I've ever felt, that's for sure. It's annoying, but not life ending.

Because of the above, Cody has confined me to bed, and set two bed guards on me... JB and Adi hardly let me up. I'm taking it easy, taking antibiotics and using my mouthwash. Of course I'm me and bored so I'm doing homework, blogging, and watching lots of Grey's Anatomy.

I got as much done as I could prior to Yesterday for the move, and I have put Cody to doing the rest. I have most of my clothes together, even in a bag! I need to get a backpack and travel bag together...I am taking all my schoolbooks with me, since I don't know how long it'll be till I have all of our household things. I really don't want to be packing it all in the backpack...the Computer Science book alone would kill me!

In amazing news- We are closing on the house next Wednesday. After changing realtors, our former buyers got their confirmation letter. So, our new realtor being the amazing person he is, was able to make everything come together! So the house will be off our hands on Wednesday, the day we drive out of Arizona. Poetic Justice, no?

That's about all I can handle for now-more Anatomy & Physiology await me. :)


Friday, August 16, 2013

Taking your pets to Germany, pt.1

Receiving orders to Germany was followed by a ton of "oh gosh,.. What now?" Moments for my husband and me. What do you do with the car, the stuff, everything. One thing was a non-negotiable for us, and that was taking our pets.

Now, we knew at the outset that this would be expensive and time consuming. See, we have a giant breed dog. Our JB is a Great Dane. She is small for a Dane, weighing in at right around 95 lbs. This limits any travel/pcs plans we ever have. She can't fly on most commercial aircraft- her plus a crate is easily over 100 lbs. Luckily, as a military family we can take (and are urged to take) the Patriot Express, which is a military operated flight. Their weight limit is 150 lbs, which we will be skirting awfully close to.  As I've done my research, I've found there aren't many options for those of us with big babies. :) there's not much out there, so I'm compilining all I know into this post, in hopes to help someone in the future!

First- you have options. Know that no matter what, it will be expensive. There is no such thing as shipping a pet OCONUS for cheap.

Option 1- using a service like pet flight. We got a quote from them. For both of our pets (we also have a cat), they wanted over $3,000. This took care of a lot of the things for us- they'd handle the crates, make sure we have the right paperwork, etc. They'd fly the pets into Frankfurt, and we could pick them up there.  You are definitely paying for convenience. If you have kids to wrangle or you just don't want to deal with the red tape, this is definitely a good way to go.

Option 2- travel with them. This is the option we chose. In the long run, it is cheaper, plus they'll be on the plane with us. We chose to fly them both in cargo. Our cat could technically fly in the cabin with us, but she is typically not a good traveler. (Read: she mews every 5 seconds in the car) I didn't want to find out in the midst of a 9 hr flight that she wasn't good in planes either. Our crate costs are probably right around $300. $260 of that is the dogs crate. We got them both petmate sky kennels. They come with all the stickers and bowls they need to fly.  It is costing us to rent a car, though we got a great deal from USAA on that! The post vet does the required checks and paperwork for free, so we save there. There will be "excess baggage" fees for both of them, and a mandatory veterinary examination upon landing in Germany. We don't know what that bottom line looks like yet, but I am keeping a running total. I will share that information once we have it!

There is a third option. You could rehome your pets for the duration of your overseas tour. Some send their pets to live with their grandparents or trusted friends. If they are up for that, it's a great option! I imagine it would be tough to be without your pet for so long, but you know that they are being taken care of and that they are very loved. Plus, you can get them when you go back to the states.The other option is to rehome them in other ways- Craigslist, rescues, local shelters, etc. if this is the route you take, you are giving up what I believe to be a family member. I recommend this only as an absolute last resort.

I'll keep you all apprised of what happens from here on out! Our next step is the girls' appointment for our pre-screen and health certificates for the flight!

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Suck List and Moving On

So.... I had written this great little whiny piece about how life is hard. And that things are crazy right now. And then I realized that at this point...that's just par for the course. So- A quick "Suck" list and then we'll move forward. Yes? Yes.

1. The Army is dumb. Who's surprised? No one? Okay.
2. Moving is difficult. Moving is exponentially more difficult what you're moving to a different country.
3. I want to be pregnant. I'm not pregnant. People I love are pregnant, and that makes me happy, and also intensely jealous. Taking a break from trying sucks. Stupid Uterus....get it together! (in a few months...I'd really like to make it to Staci's wedding. Kinda Important.)

So. Now that we're done with that... I'm getting excited about Germany. It's a tenative, Type-A I need to plan things kind of excited, but that counts, right? I know we will probably be living on post, but I've been looking at AHRN (Army Housing Referral Network) just to get an idea of the area, and to have  back up plan. I mentioned I'm a planner, right? There's so much beautiful architecture there! I am so excited to explore it, even if we're living on post.

We'll be there in time to experience an Oktoberfest, just not the main one.

We'll get to try Gluhwein (spiced wine) at a Christmas Market... Wiesbaden's is star themed, I

We're going to be living in the heart of Riesling country. I'm not a huge sweet wine person, but it's gotta be good when you're living there!

We will have a whole new set of experiences and memories to share. I'm going to buy my niece a Dirndl.

Life is good, ja?

Friday, August 9, 2013


I've touched on it before here, but I guess I should explain further.

C and I have known from day 1 that we want kids. We both have siblings that we love (most of the time), we both love kids, and it's something we both feel called to. We have considered starting to try a number of times-but we always had a reason to reconsider. Between deployments, family events, finances...there's always a reason. Finally, after deployment 2 and our post deployment vacation, we thought it was perfect timing. So on our anniversary, we started actually trying. I had gotten off of birth control when he left for Afghanistan, so for us it really meant me learning about my body and timing things.

I have done everything I know how to. I have taken my temperature daily, I have checked my cervix, I take ovulation tests, I take itamins and read up on what's best. I have tried just about everything short of doing eating pineapple core and 45 minute handstands after sex (UTI much?) to try. At what point do I assume that it's just not God's plan for me? At what point do you start seriously looking into adoption/fostering/just giving up? How far is too far into assisted reproduction?Or is there a too far when you're looking at being parents? There's a lot of questions for us....

Right now, like I've said, we are on a break from trying. I still take my temperature, since that lets me know where I am in my cycle and how to time everything else. This is month 7, for us. When we resume actively trying again (once we're settled in Germany, whatever that may mean for us.), we'll probably weight another 7+ months before seeking additional medical help. The traditional recommendation is that after a year of trying, you should see a doctor (if you're under age 35). We'll see if we make it that far. I certainly hope not, but you never know.

It's not about "Just relax" it's not about "Well, have you thought about/tried/whatever?". It's hard. It's deeply emotional because as a woman this is what your body is supposed to be able to do! You spend years avoiding pregnancy. You think that it's SO easy to get knocked up so you are double/triple stracking birth control methods, only to find out that when it's's actually pretty tough to get pregnant. It's not just one drunk night, it's lots of nights of trying, praying, crying,  and finding the bottom of that "half full" glass.

So now, we wait. We wait on us, on God, and on future Baby M. <3

Monday, July 8, 2013

The post that isn't really cohesive at all.


I'm still not pregnant. I actually started AF this morning. I want to say I'm shocked, but I'm not. I'm tired of trying, but not losing hope. There is nothing sweet/romantic/sexy about trying to have a baby.  It's stressful, it's upsetting. Upsetting to get your hopes up each month, to have it dashed. To not know what you did wrong- if anything! Some websites say you have a 20% chance each month... That's low. That means that most people will not succeed. But what does it say that We've been trying for 6? Nothing. It says nothing.

This also means we are now taking a break from all of it. It's sad for me, but good in the long run... I need some time to lose some of the weight I piled on, use our wine tasting groupons, and move.

My brother had a beautiful wonderful wedding and I'm so glad I was here for it. I'll do a picture post once we get those back from the photographer.

The move is really becoming real. I have less than 20 days left with my car, I'm under 60 days till our flight. Lots of organizing to happen. Lots of selling crap to happen.

I read the divergent books and loved them and need the third one to be out already.

C and I are taking some time to work on us and that is needed and lovely.

We've received sponsors and they're pretty helpful.

I'm trying to remember to praise in the middle of this storm. What is for me will not pass me by.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Armyed, part 2.

Answer to the situation below was actually D, none of the above.

Our flight was moved to 2 September, which is C's report date. They are amending his orders to allow us to arrive a day later. We will be flying out of Baltimore, so we are driving over there. We could still fly commercially to Baltimore, but the Army will not cover costs for the Girls so we are taking it upon ourselves to cut costs a bit. We will hopefully be shipping the car earlier, so we will rent a car and do that drive, potentially stopping in with family along the way.

On the bright side- I am no longer worried about my passport not getting here in time, or not having enough time to pack and declutter and sell stuff.  I have more time to study German and the German driving laws too.

I'm a little sad to have to push everything back, because now we are using up Cody's leave, and he doesn't have that much to begin with. Plus I was actually looking forward to getting there and getting things figured out. Oh well!

Cody's class social got cancelled, I guess the commander didn't like them having it at a winery. So the plan for the weekend is to hang out and relax Friday night, then drive up Saturday and spend some time with my Grandpa and his companion.

The only constant in life is change. :)

Friday, June 14, 2013


Have you watched How I Met Your Mother? It's one of my favorite shows. Marshall gets in a habit of saying "Lawyered" after winning arguments, as evidenced here:

Well, today, we got Armyed. Cody and I were so excited to have official paper orders, and get things scheduled! We had no problem scheduling the pick up of our belongings, the transportation agent said we shouldn't have any troubles getting a flight with our girls, everything was looking pretty good and by the weekend we'd be able to circle our departure date on the calendar.

Then, we were Armyed.

Turns out, there is no space for the pets on the flight to Germany we were scheduled on. And the flight out of San Diego they put us on can't handle a dog as big of JB.  The agent would look into other flights, and we were to talk to United (currently has the Gov't contract..) and a pet shipment company. Luckily, our agent understands that our pets are more than just pets for us. They are not LIKE children, they are the closest thing we have to children. This agent gets that-and her priority is getting us on a flight with the girls, whether it's on a military flight or commercial. So here's our options, as of right now:

Option A: Change our military flight (Baltimore---> Air base in Germany) to a different date, fly and ship our car out of Los Angeles instead of San Diego.

Option B: Fly Commericially from Los Angeles to Frankfurt Airport, take a bus to inprocess at the Air Base, take a bus back to our post (20 minutes outside of Frankfurt, for those keeping track).

Option C: Keep all of our flights (Starting in San Diego), but ship the girls via PetAir, who will fly them into Frankfurt. We'd fly directly into the air base in Germany, then take a bus ride and pick the girls up after arriving at our post.

Cody has the feeling that we will be going with Option B, and I wouldn't be opposed to that... the 4 extra hours of travel feel like a little much for me, but if that's what we have to do, that's what we have to do.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Hurry up and Wait

So quick updates first:
-Still no paper orders or welcome packet
-AF ended up arriving, the whore.

Ugh. I was so hoping for this cycle for a number of reasons, one of which was to be able to tell my family in person. But now, that's not so much the case. So we're waiting now for go time. I've been taking a break from temping, since I usually ovulate pretty late, and its been very nice. I'll start back on Monday. That will be cd6 so that's more than enough time for Fertility Friend to catch a pattern. Never thought we'd still be trying at 6 months...but that's life. After this cycle, I'm taking a break for a little bit. My friend (more like a sister) is getting married next May and I want to be able to be there...especially since I'm the MOH. so I'll avoid a little for that and potentially for convention. We'll see. This cycle... I should be getting AF right after my brothers wedding, while I'm still home. So I'm not sure what I'll do about testing.

I'm getting really frustrated with the move. I NEED to apply for my no fee passport, and soon. It has similar processing times to a regular passport, and if we are expected to be there by September, I need to have it by August. I can't apply, however, until  we have orders. C went to his levy brief yesterday and gave them all the paperwork they needed, so we should have orders this coming week. If that whole situation wasn't enough, we have no idea what we will be getting into as far as housing. There's a lot of rumors but not a lot of straight answers. Since we do not have children (and apparently only one child would not change things), it looks like they would be putting us in a 2 bedroom apartment...not a fan. I've heard rumors that C should get an extra room authorization for his Army crap, but nothing concrete. I have an email into our post's housing office to see what they can tell us. I can't decide which scares me more...the idea of living in a 2 bedroom apartment or living off post and having a landlord that doesn't necessarily speak English.

Hopefully next week will bring more answers and better news!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Storm before the Calm

Most people talk about the calm before the storm...that moment where you know everything is about to hit, all at once.

I don't know that feeling. I know storm before the calm. I used to live in Oklahoma, where storms can appear suddenly, with no warning. That's what Army Life feels like, at least for me.

Right now, I'm in the middle of frenzied activity that will eventually calm as we move to Germany. I'm not worried about the actual travel, getting housing, even finding my way around. I'm worried about the first storm of getting all the paperwork in order. We're still waiting on H's RFO(Request for Orders), so we're on hold for most everything else. I have gotten my physical (and cleared!), gotten the rabies certificates (correctly done),for the animals... but that's as far as I can get right now. It's a storm that is coming and going...constantly keeping me on my toes. Once that RFO hits, BAM! we're off again, in another flurry of paperwork, cleaning, and organizing.

I'm waiting in the storm right now in the 2ww, 9 DPO and crossing everything I have that Vegas last weekend brought us the luck that this will be the month... A Valentine's baby would be nice, but I'll take any baby right now. :) 

Here's to waiting for another storm to hit.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


It's been a crazy few weeks, but I'll start with introductions.

I'm Jessica(Jess). I'm starting this blog to keep family and friends up to date with my H and I's move to Germany, to vent, and to give myself something to do. I'm 25. I love food, cooking, crafting, the whole nine. I'm a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, and I'm trying to start the process (a long one for me, most likely) of becoming an Registered Dietitian.

H is in the Army, got promoted to Captain recently, and just a soon after found out he would be going to Germany-Wiesbaden, to be exact. He will be going to MI brigade there, hopefully to take Company Command.  He's 27. He's all things wonderful, 98% of the time. ;)

We're also trying to start our family. We've been TTC for 4.5 months now, and are crossing our fingers for a BFP sometime soon. We've been pretty quiet about the fact that we're trying, because we didn't want to get people too excited, or get the unsolicited conception advice. However, as the months drag on...I find that I want people to know. I don't want to have a huge coming out when it's been over a year. I think so many people (myself included) that thought this would be a quick process. It's not easy for everyone, and that story needs to be told just as much as "I didn't know I was pregnant" and the much longer infertility struggles. I never thought it would take half a year, or maybe even longer for us to conceive a child. I didn't think that taking my temperature every morning would become old hat.

 I do think and know I want support from my family. I promise, if there is something worth updating about, that I will tell you, but please don't ask otherwise.  If you are pregnant-I want to hear your updates and support you! It gives me some ideas of what to expect, what I want to do or avoid... And I love you, so there's that too. ;)

Note to self...start acronyms glossary..

I think that's all for today. Updates to come!
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