Friday, February 26, 2010

God's Probably Laughing at Me...

So a good friend of mine (we'll call her Sam, cause that's her name) once told me (yesterday) about a quote which states, "Us making plans in our life is allowing God His chance to laugh at us." I'm not sure that the quote is correct (neither was she), but it made a whole lot of sense today.

I have been thinking a lot about what to do my Graduate work in when I get back to the states next year. I know it's a long way off, but I'm a planner... Well, actually I try to be a planner, but it always changes about fifteen times before I make an actual plan, and then five more times in the process of getting started. I guess that's still planning, though... Haha... Anyway, as I was talking with Sam she said, "Just don't worry about it. You have a lot of time before you have to apply and you should just relax. The answer will come." Then, she shared the quote above with me.

After today and my thinking process, I bet that Heavenly Father has some pretty hilarious material via me to go on...

I had the opportunity to visit with Patrick's cousin from Austria, who is staying with us tonight. He talked with me about his life and things that have and are happening to him, his history - and it was great to visit. He's had some hard times and as I listened I would pop some advice or thoughts in here and there. Anyway, he knows that I am currently debating what to do for Grad School, and he studied psychology. He owns a private practice now in a small city in Austria. Well, he was very encouraging to the fact that I should go into psychology. I told him one thing on my maybe list had been Marriage and Family Therapy, but I kinda thought no on that as I didn't do a lot of psych in my undergrad work - I took four or five classes.

Anyway, he was very supportive. "You're easy to talk to and you're hitting the nail each time with each issue. You're very good at this and very perceptive." I talked with him about other options, but then kinda dropped that part of the conversation because I didn't wanna focus on it. I was going to try/am going to try to back-burner this internal debate over my future, right?

Wrong. Whenever I try and do that... It lasts a grand total of 24, maybe 38, hours.

So, as I cleaned the kitchen I thought to myself, "Maybe I should do psych... I love helping people and problem solving. I think it's fascinating, and I enjoy the studies I've read and studied. I think I'm good with people and a good listener when one on one..." Then, I started laughing (out loud) to myself. I'm sure I looked like a nut-case - great for one who's thinking of going into therapy, eh? Haha! I was laughing because I thought, "Great - another option to add to my very low list of things I could do with my life. Why not add one more in?" Haha!

I have a huge list of things I could do and might want to do after returning to America, but I can not seem to choose... and I know in this case, the Lord just wants me to make the call and go for it. He isn't going to guide me more than I'm willing to 1) guide and direct myself, and 2) let him truly guide me.

Yesterday, I was reading a talk in the Ensign during the boy's music class. It was the address from Russell M. Nelson, given in the last General Conference. He talked about the importance of asking God about and for things with "real intent." Then, he said this, "'Real intent' means that one really intends to follow the divine direction given." That sounds simple enough, but it's not how I had ever thought of this principle before. I had always looked at asking with real intent within the same parameter as faith, and never really separated the two. However, I now have the whole new understanding of "real intent," and I asked myself, "Have I really been intent to follow through with what the answer is when I ask Heavenly Father a question?" I think that I have told myself I am/was, but that I haven't really been preparing myself in that way. I think I have been praying that God would figure out my problems for me, and fix them for me... and I was missing some steps in there where I need to do more.

Sure, I research the questions and come up with my own answer to take to the Lord, but there is SO much more to asking the Lord for something than just asking. It sounds complicated that way, but it's not. It's just more about me and my agency than I think I realized... I said that I knew and understood that, but I didn't fully... until now. I think I am growing and understanding more fully that I must make my own choices, take them to the Lord, but really be content with his answers and forge forward - even if His answer is, "Linze... suck it up and just do it." Then, I need to actually DO IT.

Perhaps this sounds like rambling, and perhaps it is, but this is my blog and I'll ramble if I want to! Haha... No, really it's great to just talk/type ideas out sometimes and then step back and read. It helps me focus my thoughts and really make clearer, more concise decisions.

So, I'm going to back-pocket my plan-making skills and not give God any more material to go off when we sit back and laugh at my life. Haha! However, I will do this... Here is a list of the things I am thinking about as a possibility for Grad School:

- MBA: Mainly focusing on Music Business or Sports & Entertainment. I could get the ins and ideas about the entertainment business and still do music on the side. It would give me a one up over competition, but allow me to make things happen for other talented individuals who are good, clean people and just need a break.
- MFA: Master in Fine Arts focusing on acting and musical theater. I love theater and acting and have ALWAYS wanted to do something with music and/or theater/film. I just don't know if it's right for a Master's focus.
- Masters in Psychology: Emphasis in Marriage & Family Therapy & working with youth. This would be really hard for me, but I would really help people and I think I'd really like it.
- Masters in Education: I like teaching and I'm good at it, but I'm not sure if it's the "safe route" that I would be taking. It's hard, don't get me wrong, but it might be a cop-out for me - I'm trying to figure that out right now.

Those are my thoughts and ideas right now... and really have been for the past year. I have gone back and forth with them over and over in the past year and a half, and really... I just need to make a decision, and make a move.


Nico was SO funny today... His dad was trying to see if anyone wanted to go pick up "Uncle David" with him, and the boys were being reluctant. Finally Nico said, "Dad... If no one would like to go with you, just leave it that way. I think it's for the best." Haha!

Other funny moments include when Nico and I were reading about the dinosaurs and the what we can do to help today, and he said, "I'm not exstinking the dinosaurs!" Haha... OR, when I was quietly singing the Dinosaur song by Kesha to myself, and I turn to hear him singing it... It really is a HILARIOUS song, if you haven't heard it. I'm just glad he only learned the beginning from me - The part where they say, "D-I-N-O-S-A- UR a dinosaur!" Haha!

Oh, and for Finni? I walked into his room yesterday after not seeing him downstairs for a bit and he was wearing his sweater, and no pants or underwear - he likes to do this. So, I said, "Finni you know the rule. You have to have underwear and at least long johns on." He whinned and said, "But I don't like to!" I just looked at him and finally he said, "Ok... I want sweats... I need to borrow some sweats." Haha - It reminded me of Nacho Libre! Especially because he was SO dramatic about it.... haha! Classic!

I love these boys.


Song of the Day: I really dig this girl... I just discovered her thanks to a friend's blog (Kate - here's a shout-out! Haha...) and this song is just good. It's about bringing yourself up and realizing how great YOU are... Love the message - and really dig her voice and whole CD. Her name is Francesca Battistelli, and the song if Free To Be Me. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Am So Lucky.

I am so lucky.

I have two of the cutest and funnest boys ever in my life right now... They make me laugh and they make me smile. They say the FUNNIEST things... Like this morning when Finni decided to get himself dressed... Usually he wants a lot of help, but today he said, "I will do it alone." So, he started getting dressed... Look below, so far so good right? Keep looking down...

Haha! Yea, he didn't get stuck or anything. He merely decided he was going to pretend to be a ghost and walk around with his shirt half over his head... What was so funny about this? How funny he thought he was made him hilarious!

Then, there was Nico who saw me pull my camera out and shouted, "Let's practice our angry faces!" I said, "Nico, I don't like to be angry though," to which he replied, "That's okay. I'll teach you." Haha! So, we put on what I call our "game faces," and he thought that was downright hilarious. For some reason, it really was...
Perhaps it was the early morning, which was actually not too cold! Perhaps it was the lack of sleep because I was up watching "Modern Family" - BG, you were right... I love it. Whatever the reason, this morning we spent a good twenty minutes on sole laughter, and there's almost nothing I love more than hearing that from my boys.

I am so lucky.

P.S. I made dinner tonight again and it was a success! I know this seems pathetic to triumph over my cooking successes, but it's so different over here that it makes me happy when things turn out well. It takes a little more effort and thought on my part to cook here, because things are not as readily available. However, I'm getting better at learning to adapt recipes and just try something out. To the left is my stir-fry with fresh carrots, snap peas, broccoli, red peppers, onion, garlic, and roasted pineapple - cause why not throw some fruit in there. Haha! It was FABULOUS! Oh, and to my future husband, if you will ever be reading this, I assure you I CAN cook. Haha!

P.S.S. I NEED to write an entry about my Ensign studies... My word, I love the Conference Talks and am learning SO much right now. I feel SO different about my spiritual studies as I have been here and the way I have been studying... I am become SUCH a different person - more focused on what's important - and I really like that.

Song of the Day: I was re-watching the 4th and 5th seasons of The Hills - scoff if you must - and this song caught my attention on an episode's ending credit reel... I looked the artist up and found I loved their entire CD... They're fabulous! This song is called On Your Own, and the band is named Green River Ordinance. You should check out their whole CD though - they really are great! Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Das Ist Gut!

I have so much to potentially blog about, and yet I can't seem to pick a cohesive subject or direction for this entry... Mostly, I just really wanted to give you my new song of the day. Haha!

Nein, in reality I DO have many little things to record and share. First, in my language class alles prima - or everything is excellent. I'm doing well in there with writing, spelling (surprisingly), and hearing to understand... However, ich kannst sprechen deutsch nicht. In other words, I cannot speak German... yet. It's just really hard to speak and think about. The structure of sentences is SO different from English, and it's hard to pull myself away from that. For example, the way I wrote "I cannot speak German" is directly translated from German as, "I can speak German not." It'll come and I will get better, but it's a VERY hard language. I have started studying each day though, and will make myself try to speak German when ordering or checking out at a store. It's little things like that which should help me out with really learning the language. If any of you RMs have other advice for learning languages, other than prayer and the gift of tongues, let me know. Haha! :)

The boys are doing fabulously and I truly adore them... They are SO cute! They make me laugh and smile... and roll my eyes or sigh exasperatedly, but it's all great. It's all a learning experience and it all somehow brings me happiness. Let me also say that I am LOVING the weather here right now! It has been really beautiful this week - in the 40s even! I am riding my bike without gloves and without my boots on - awesome! It might not stay like this, but I'm enjoying it right now. The only thing I hate is when it starts to rain while I am riding... especially on Fridays. I have an extra long bike ride that day across the Rhine, and when it's raining, it just sucks. Haha! There is no articulate way to say it either. It just sucks. Haha.... but for now, the weather has been beautiful!

This week we had Stake Conference on Sunday, though it wasn't really suppose to be Stake Conference yet. However, Pres. Uchtdorf was addressing the Stakes in Berlin and requested they broadcast it through Germany. Thus, we headed up to Koln/Cologne on Sunday and listened as different leaders in Germany and Sister & President Uchtdorf addressed us. There was even an English translator for the general broadcast, so we got a great translation of each talk. What was interesting was that before we got there I felt that somehow my feelings about living in a different country were going to be addressed... I had no idea why that would even be the case, but I felt like I was going to hear something specifically for me.

Well, when Sister Uchtdorf got up and gave us her talk, I was instantly shocked at her words and how spot on they were to how I have felt on and off since living here in Germany. The majority of her talk was about living in America. She told the people of Germany that her plan was always to live in the US for a small time and then return to Germany, but they her husband was called to be in the Quorum of the Twelve... which is a lifetime commitment. Well, she of course was supportive and started learning more English and tried to make America more of a home, but she talked about how hard it was/is. She said that living in a foreign land is one of the greatest opportunities for growth and humility, and above all gratitude... but all this comes because it's a hard thing to do.

She spoke about how we are so much happier when we recognize God's hand in all things, including where we are taken in life's journey. She said, "God has a view from a higher vantage point." I loved that! These are all things I know, but needed simple reminders about... I am LOVING living here in Germany - I really am now. I have been loving it for awhile now, but it still gets hard and I still long for home at moments. For example, when I'm doing my Friday biking in the rain - haha! TRUE. However, I have been given an AMAZING opportunity to LIVE IN EUROPE, travel through Europe, learn a new culture and new language, and to learn how I can someday be a better mom, wife, and individual. I am learning more patience and understanding, and how to have an even greater faith in following the spirit. I have seriously been blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime, with a family that I really love and connect with, and I am SO grateful for that.

Other things that are perhaps not as deep that I am grateful for are:
- The facial expressions that Nico makes when he's making an adult comment or decision.
- Finni always wanting to kiss me on the nose and his desire to always make funny faces with me.
- The sunshine when I'm biking.
- Speaking of biking, the fact that I am trimming myself slowly, but surely, because of that bike - haha!
- American TV via Internet. American Idol, 24, The Hills, and The Office are all found on one website for me to enjoy oversees, as will be Flash Forward and Glee when they are on again - I love that. Haha!
- Skype. I can talk to my mom and other family members or friends everyday... It's really heaven and SO incredible.
- My mother's cookbook and learning new ways of cooking... though it's really hard sometimes. No joke - haha!
- Cute jewelry. I know I have talked about my love for jewelry before, but it really IS great cause a cute set of earring or necklace can keep the boys occupied for a good space of time.
- Good books... Seriously, I am returning to my love for amazing literature. I read a good chunk of each day, and am discovering new and different kinds of books I enjoy. Along with that, I am so thankful for the scriptures and the strength I get from daily study.
- Joghurt Crisp! Okay, so in my last entry I talked about my love for Corner's Yogurt - the cool yogurt from England I use to always eat... Well, upon return to Germany I was shopping at Aldi for Kindergarten dessert (we're in charge this week) and saw this yogurt chillin' there that looked like Corner's Yogurt a bit... I thought, 'I'll try it out and see if it's similar...' Oh my word! It tastes JUST like it - and I'm not remembering wrong because you can recall, I JUST had one in England. OH - HEAVEN.
- My camera! Oh my blessed camera... Haha! I really am a picture-a-holic. However, if there was a ever a thing that was a positive addiction, I think it would be the overwhelming desire to capture moments. Thus, I have FINALLY put some pictures below of downtown Bonn, where I was on Saturday.
This is the subtle tribute to Beethoven... Oh wait, there's more to that. Haha! Seriously, they LOVE him here - haha! It was his home, so it's legit. I have yet to be to the museum though...
Note the way the stores and houses just blend one right into the other... very common - very Eastern... I love it. You can't see well, but on the left side of the picture there is a random part of a castle on the side. Yea, don't worry... We have random parts of castles all over Germany.
This is the old Rathaus - The mayor's old crib. He's got a new residence now.
One of the many cathedrals around here... This isn't the most famous one, or largest in Bonn - that's on the other side of the University. However, the cathedral in Cologne is HUGE! It's the second largest one in the world, and you feel like an ANT next to it.
Below part of the University in Bonn is pictured... The University bldgs. are mostly closer together, and this one is SUPER long. Above is a shot from outside the market in the middle of the shopping streets.

Really it comes down to this... Das ist gut - Alles Prima! Things are pretty darn good.

Song of the Day: So there are a few I COULD choose, but I HAVE to choose this specific one - There's a girl who got signed after being discovered via YouTube (happens a lot more than you think now-a-days) and her first official CD was released yesterday. The entire CD is fabulous, and if you check out her site right now, it's live streaming till March 1st - but go buy it. Haha! Her name is Kina Grannis, and the video I'll show is for her single, Valentine, which you can also get free from her site right now. Enjoy!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010


I saw London, I saw France… well, part of Northern France anyway.

OH MY WORD. My trip to England was EPIC for me! Really, I saw a lot of new things and some things I had seen before, but more than anything I was so excited to spend time with my mom, brother, and Cami. It was so great to see all of them… First, my brother and Cami are just two of my BEST friends, and I loved being around them. I’m a bit bummed that I was pretty sick while I was there, because I can guarantee I was not my fun self and we could have had a bit more fun joking around had I been tip-top shape. However, we DID have fun!

Second, seeing my mom… it was just so great. The first night I got there, my plane had been delayed and customs took FOREVER to get through, and they had all just gotten in a few hours before me, so they were jet lagged like mad. We were all exhausted. However, as we got back to the hotel, my mom and I caught a second wind and stayed up chatting until 4:30am… yea, not the smartest choice in the moment, but it was worth it. It was just SO great to visit with her and see her – loved that most.

So, now is the time I brag about the amazing trip I took to England and show tons of pictures. If you do not wish to hear about my amazing time and will potentially feel a bit of envy, you may stop reading. Otherwise, enjoy – cause I know I did!

I got into London Gatwick Airport on Friday night, and since my plane was so late we had to find a bus back, as the tube was already closed. We found a Night Bus (not to be confused with a Knight Bus, from Harry Potter! Haha… not funny? Ok.) and hopped on to get back to Paddington Station, near the hotel. As the night unfolded its self, my mom and I couldn’t help but show each other all the fun things we had brought to exchange and talk about everything that was going on with us, even though we talk every day –haha! Also, around 3:30am I was SO hungry, I made myself a makeshift quesadilla with some of the tortillas she had brought me… Yea, my dad is awesome. He sent me REAL tortillas –SO amazing… I love Mexican food and the stuff over here is not very authentic – eh! Haha… I wasn’t expecting it to be.

Anyway, moving on!

Saturday morning, after only about two-three hours of sleep we woke up and met Derek and Cami to catch the train and head to Stonehenge, Salisbury, and Bath. Let me start by saying that Stonehenge was way cool to see, but IT WAS FREEZING! I mean, it’s definitely colder in Germany the majority of the time, but it was HORRID up by Stonehenge. Haha! Anyway, I don’t have a lot of the pictures from this day yet because I had to dump them on my mom’s camera – I ran out of room on there. However, I do have some off my brother’s facebook, so I’ll stick some in!

Sidenote: I have a camera again! I’ve been going picture CRAZY since it was placed back into my precious hands… I love it!

So, after Stonehenge and our many crazy photo opts there, we got on out double-decker, red bus and headed to Salisbury to see the Cathedral and grab some grub. Salisbury Cathedral was absolutely beautiful. It was neat to hear about some of the old traditions of priests and bishops there and see all the amazing architecture and stained-glass. I just love old cathedrals – especially the architecture. We spent some time just walking around the city and then grabbed lunch from a random little sandwich shop that was AMAZING, and had to literally RUN to catch our train. We barely made it, but got on and found seats (splitting up, two and two) and ate lunch on the train.

Our train ride led us to Bath! Now, these were all places I had never been to before, which was awesome for me, and I was really excited to see Bath. The city is very resort-like and ritzier than other “outside-the-city” towns, and I loved it. We saw this street show that Cami and I HAD to stop and watch, and Derek joined in too later… This guy was riding a unicycle and juggling fire!!! However, the best part you ask? He was ridiculously funny… so classic! The Roman Baths were way cool to see and it was just relaxing to be there. I took some way cute pictures with my mom there, but I don’t have them yet. I’ll try and get them this week. Here is one from Derek's photos - If you look across the picture on the top level there is a girl in a light blue coat and white hat... Yeap. That's me. As a sidenote, if you ever go and don’t want to listen to really long commentary, listen to the kids commentary numbers instead. Haha! It sounds crazy, but it gives the same info in a condensed and more fun manner. I loved it! Haha…

We walked up to see the Royal Crescent, which was cool, but I think us girls were tired by then and not as into it. So, after that it was getting late (as in 6pm) and our plan WAS to go to where Privet Drive in the Harry Potter movies is located, but we bagged it and went back to go to bed early. We stopped at a local Indian restaurant for dinner before bed though, and it was SO good! Their curry and pan bread was OUT OF THIS WORLD! I have eaten at some other good places, but I think that was my favorite Indian restaurant I have come across thus far. If anyone wants the address, let me know – it’s worth a trip over by Paddington Station.

So, moving on to Sunday… We did not go to church. I know – we’re sinners. Eh. Haha! No, we actually took the time to head to Leavensden Market, which I had never been too, and Camden Market (a place I love and have been to before!). Leavensden Market was cool because no one was there, but it’s way old-fashioned in appearance and was actually they shot some of the Harry Potter, Diagon Alley shots in the first movie. So, we got some good pictures! I guess it’s where J.K. Rowling got her inspiration for Diagon Alley too… Yea, we DID do some Harry Potter sight pictures – we’re dorks, and I shall never apologize for that. I love it!

Speaking of HP, we DID stop and get pictures in front of the Platform 9 ¾ sign in King’s Cross Station on the way back because… why not?! Haha… I already had some from before, but I couldn’t resist doing it again.

Anyway, the markets were a lot of fun, though one lady DID try and pick-pocket me… Too bad all my stuff was INSIDE my coat and I gave her a look of pure DEATH. Haha! We found some cute souvenirs for Natalie and Koko, and it was just fun! After the markets, we headed back to the hotel to drop stuff off and eat – we grabbed baguettes at the Station from this great place called Upper Crust (they’re all over) and it was again, superb. Derek and Cami then headed to a Villa futbol/soccer game, while mom and I headed over to my old street by Hyde Park so I could show her where I lived and Kensington Palace. We even met someone else from Utah there, go figure! Haha… We walked through Hyde Park, and then it was getting dark and I was coughing up a storm, so we headed back to the hotel for an early turn-in, but not without chat time together! J

Sidenote: Sunday morning I switched my plane ticket and decided to stay an extra day… Yea, kinda last minute and a little pricey, but it was worth it. SOOOOO worth it!

That night was retched for me… literally. I wasn’t sick to my stomach at all, but I was coughing up so much stuff I just gagged and… yea. Sorry if that is TMI, but it’s the truth. Thus the next day I took things pretty easy, but didn’t regret staying at all because Monday we got up early and caught a train heading to Dover. Dover was suppose to be SO beautiful, but that’s not how I would describe it – though it was way cool. The castle was fun to poke around in, though I felt held back a bit by being sick – eh! I got some awesome photos and even saw France’s coast from there… Crazy! THAT was pretty cool to me… and it was even cooler thinking that this year I would have the chance to go there. It’s just amazing to me the opportunities I will have while being there.

Anyway, my favorite part of the whole time in Dover was seeing the Underground Secret War Tunnels there! I absolutely LOVE anything that has to deal with World War II, and so for me I thought all the info and stuff there was fascinating. We weren’t allowed to take photos in the actual tunnels, but Derek was sneaky and got some – haha! I didn’t even know he was doing it until the very end of the tour – I’m not sure how the pictures turned out, but I’m sure he got SOME good ones. He’s good like that.

So, after time in Dover we walked back to the train station from the castle (we did there and back, and definitely got our workout in for the day – haha!) and all fell asleep on the train back – haha! NOT before the train got stuck on the tracks for a bit though, and we made “Pop Goes the Weasel” and “Throw It on the Ground” videos. Yea… I love my ideas of creativity. I just thought, “I have a camera, and Derek/Cami at my disposal… done.” Haha! It was funny and they WILL be uploaded below… so enjoy! Haha…

When we got back to London, we grabbed a sandwich again for dinner and stopped into the local grocery store to get some cough syrup I could smuggle back to Germany. Haha! However, in the train station I was joking with mom about not seeing me for awhile, which brought on tears from her. I stood there comforting her and holding it in… we both are NOT criers. When we finally got back to the hotel and were eating, I started crying. Haha! It really was good… I can’t explain it, but it was therapeutic almost to just have a “good cry.” I think that is good sometimes, I guess.

Anyway, we talked about everything we were both feeling and how we just missed each other… I don’t think I realized how much I would miss my mom until right before I came over to Germany, and even more so three weeks into being here. It’s weird how it takes leaving to realize what you love the most, but it happens to the best of us.

So, mom and I went to Skype Dad, and then Derek and Cami came over to visit for a little bit before turning in for bed. Well, the other way around, but – eh! Haha… When we came back to our room it was just after 8pm and we knew we had to get up at 3:30am to get me to the bus that would take train that would take me to the airport on time – haha… So, what did we do? Go to bed? Oh, no… we stayed up till 11pm chatting and then finally hit the sack… after eating some Corner’s Yogurt of course. Haha! I tell you, that is the BEST yogurt I have ever eaten… Ever. I love it.

The next morning, mom and Cami walked me to the bus station to catch the Night Bus at 4:22 am… EW. I got to the airport okay though and had a good flight… However, getting back into Germany – phew! I’m glad I got back in! Haha… My visa for working here/living here is in processing right now, so I don’t have papers to carry with me. However, my papers ARE processing… So, when they saw my passport and said, “All looks gut! How long will you be staying here?” and I responded, “Oh, I live here now! For the next year I’m a nanny here,” I really didn’t think it would cause a commotion. They had to have me fill out all this paper work and they reported me to the alien office… It was exhausting because I just wanted to be home in Bonn, and take a nap, and my bad was SO heavy... It was just annoying to deal with. So, next time I’ll be sure to have all my paper work.

What’s my next trip, you ask? Well, I’m going to Davos, Switzerland in three weeks from now with the family for a skiing/snowboarding week getaway. I’m SO stoked for that because I hear it’s SO beautiful there and a lot of fun. I’m also planning to meet up with my third cousin and his family, whom I have never met, in Holland! My father has been in contact with him for years via email and Skype and I just started emailing him since I knew I’d been in Europe. Well, he contacted me back and said we could go to the tulip festival together if I wanted. Of course I do! So, in April I’m going to be heading to Holland for a few days to see the tulip festival in Keukenof and check out Amsterdam. It’s going to be amazing! I’m really itching to go to Paris, so I was thinking of doing that in May… but I hear it’s better in Fall and Sam might actually be able to go with me in November… we’ll see! Perhaps May’s trip will be Rome… or Venice? We’ll see! :)

On a totally new topic, for just a moment, I don't know how many of you have seen the footage of Madeiras, Portugal, but they have been having some CRAZY experiences this past week with massive flooding and mudslide. If you were unaware, this is the place that my best friend, Sister Ray, is serving her mission and is currently living. If you look at the video below, her street is shown at the 1:12 mark... She is fine, but it's a bit crazy there. I'll leave an exert from this week's letter from her and ask everyone to PLEASE keep her and the people of Madeiras in their prayers - It would mean a lot to them, and to me.

Madeira has been hit by a series of super heavy storms that it was not prepared for. As a result all of the drainoff Ribeiras have overflowed, and flooded a large part of the city, as well as taking out a whole lot of houses in the poorer regions. We also happen to be on an island that is just mountains, so there are a whole lot of landslides and mudslides which have covered and-or taken out of the roads on the whole island. It is pretty rough in a lot of places, but we have enough water to last us a while. We didn´t have electricity for two days, and we still don´t have running water, but it will be okay. We actually live in one of the worst parts because we are right in the middle of the two main drain-rivers so we are still without water, but a lot of people already have water again. We were able to shower at a members house, and if needs be we can kick the Elders out for a couple of hours- the part of Funchal where they live doesn´t have problems. They actually canceled church today and we just went around helping people try and dig out their houses or get things out of their house before it collapsed. Kinda reminded me of tornado clean up....except with a whole lot of mud and huge boulders everywhere, really you would think we were back in a third world country. It is absolutely crazy, but really an eye opening experience. We are starting to understand better some of the passages from Revelations.

Today we were able to bring water to some people who didn´t have any ( I know, like anyone wants any more water after being flooded for three days and the whole island falling into the ocean), and it was actually pretty funny. No one had water, and we heard that one store was open, so we went and managed to buy 18 5-liter bottles of water. The problem then became how to move that between the two of us. Well, as I have lots pretty much all fear and shame on the mission, I asked the security guy if we could use the cart to get home and then we would bring it back. Well, the benefit of being in a little place is that he said yes. So, there we were pushing our grocery cart full of water bottles down the streets that are completely flooded with mud, trees and boulders in the rain (yup, still was raining, luckily not so bad). It was pretty funny actually- that little cart was durable, it made it all the way down the mountain (it took both of our weight to keep it from running away, but we managed.) When we got it back later it was super funny to see it in the line with the rest looking like it had lived through a war. We also were able to help evacuate a family from their house, which is going to fall into the RIbeira any second.We only have one member of the church who was injured and it was the house we were helping to try and evacuate today. Their house is the only house ruined I think, but her husband was in the hospital since half the house collapsed and he was hurt. Unfortunately, there isn´t a whole lot we can do to help the majority of the people. They won´t leave their houses even though they are in super dangerous situations, I think they don´t believe it could happen, even though the majority of houses are trashed all around them, if they still exist. President has told us that this whole week will just be service pretty much so we are trying to help people get their lives back in order. Pray that we don´t have too much rain in the near future. It is supposed to start up again in a couple of hours, so we will see what happens. Who knew that our little island would make it to world news!"


Song of the Day: You know, I wasn’t sure what song to suggest here because I have come across so many good ones lately. However, I think in honor of my many adventures I am having and about to have, I will chose a song that does this time in my life justice… It’s from the A Bug’s Life here is Randy Newman singing, Time of Your Life. Enjoy the song, and enjoy this time in YOUR life! :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Celebrate Good Times - and Carnival!!!

Over this past week I have discovered (and realized) that Germany and many other European countries celebrate a little differently from us Americans. See, we know how to party all the time it seems, but they know how to soak it ALL up in a weekend - or week. Haha!

This week in Bonn/Cologne, and some other cities in Germany it is Carnival, or Karneval. Apparently it's biggest in our area too! What's funny is that I will only be here for half of the festivities. Tomorrow is when things really take off, the Thursday before the beginning of Lent. You know everyone has to get that partying and such out of their system before the 40 day fast from it all. Haha! There are a million and one traditions that surround this time and it begins with "Women's Carnival Day," where the women carry scissors with them around the city and cut men's ties off, and can kiss any man they wish. Praise Germany! Maybe I will continue this celebration back in the states... Haha... Just kidding. Really mom, just kidding.

Anyway, Thursday is just the celebration of women being able to participate in Carnival and pretty much be free to do anything. The two days following are filled with little parades and partying non-stop - and EVERYONE (men, women, children, animals) are all dressed up each day like it's Halloween. It's a lot like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, which was actually modeled after Carnival - just sayin'. Haha!

I will be missing that part as I will be in LONDON with mein Mutter. I am totally okay with that though... BECAUSE, I will be back on Monday right before the big parade starts! Rose Monday there is a HUGE parade in Cologne and also one in Bonn - though the BIGGEST one in all Germany is in Cologne... which makes me think I MIGHT try and stay up there for the parade after my plane lands on Monday. I'll only have a half hour to get wherever I need to in order to see the parade.... Hm.

Anyway, Monday the parade is apparently like nothing anyone has ever seen -so, I'm excited for that! Tuesday is called "Fat Tuesday" in America, but here I haven't heard much on that... All I know is that some people east fancy pastries... Really Tuesday is about what is called
, Nubbelverbrennung. That is meant to be the burning the spirit of carnival to atone for the sins committed during the carnival session... kind of intense. Haha! My question is, why don't you just not sin? The response, "What's the fun in that?!" Haha...

After Tuesday everything comes to a giant HALT for lent, as Ash Wednesday starts off the 40 days and 40 nights. It's really a cool cultural thing... even the kids are really into it all. Nico and Finni are both dressing up for school tomorrow (Nico a cowboy and Finn a tiger!), and the day is a half-day where the spend the entire time celebrating Carnival. The kindergarten was DECKED OUT today when I went to pick them up. There were streamers and balloons, and colorful fabric draped all over the stairs, walls, ceilings... It was AMAZING! Haha...

This is their biggest holiday, along with Christmas, but other holidays (though they are present) seem to fall more to the wayside. For instance, Valentine's Day is this Sunday, but no one is really going to be thinking about that - haha! I mean, there are some things out in stores for Valentine's Day, but it's not celebrated the same way here, and it's only started in the past 5-6 years. Kids don't give out Valentine's cards at school or anything like that, it is strictly given only to your lover. In German class today we were talking about giving them out, and the instructor had a look of slight horror when I suggested giving them to every kid in your kindergarten class. Haha!

I had the boys make Valentine's for their parents today, and it was fun, but I thought it odd that they hadn't really done that before... I'm sure other nannies did it with them, but it's just not important here. Plus, normally kids wouldn't make them for parents because it is only for the one you love romantically. It IS a bit less commercialized that way! Haha...

Sidenote: Their Valentine's were pretty cool if I do say so myself... and I do. :) I taught Nico how to cut a perfect heart too, which made him excited! Haha...

Anyway, I'm excited for the bit of excitement this weekend, but I am MORE excited to be with my familie in London! It's going to be SO fun! Saturday we're going to Salisbury, Stonehenge, Bath (Roman Baths & Royal Crescent), and Martin's Heron (AKA: Harry Potter's Privet Drive) on Saturday - all things I hadn't done before! Then, on Sunday we're hitting up some markets (one I didn't ever go to!) and then mom and I have the second half of the day to ourselves. Derek and Cami are going to a Villa game and out for V-day, and mom and I have a lists of ideas for things to check out. It's more about spending time with my mom for me! Haha... I am just SO excited to see her!

.... and THAT will be my hundredth post. YES!

Song of the Day: It HAS to be Colbie Caillat's, I Never Told You. I am in LOVE with this song right now... It has to have the highest play-count on my IPod! Haha... It makes me pensive about things... Hm. Here's a live version of it - Enjoy! :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Chef de Cuisine? Well, I'm gettin' there...

So, a little victory that I had this week was tackling the kitchen once again. Now that grandma and grandpa have gone home (I was sad to see them go - it was great having them here!), I will have to pull a little more weight in the cooking department. Normally, everyone knows this would be no issue - I love to cook! However, as I have expressed to many before, cooking in Germany is a whole other thing.

Well, on Friday evening after the boys and I got back from Max's (that's the violin teacher), we decided to make banana bread! I had seen some old bananas in the corner while putting away the new ones we got the evening before (fresh fruit and veggies are delivered each Thursday), and I liked making banana bread at home, so I went for it. Finni helped me with the cooking, and Nico played our "supervisor," telling us good job here and there. Haha! Finni is actually a really great helper in the kitchen! They both are, but Finn really likes to do it more. Anyway, we made the bread batter up and then found a pan for most of it, and some cupcake pans for the extra batter. (The picture here is me cooking with Finni before, but it works!)
So, what was the outcome you ask....?

It was a success! It turned out SO good! (The picture is not my bread, but it looked the same... so, yea...) I was ecstatic because it was a little victory, and yet monumental to me. It gave me more courage in the kitchen and I have faith that I'll mess up with some recipes, but find way to make things work and do just fine with cooking here in Germany. It's weird cause I've been here over a month, but I haven't done much cooking because Grandma was here. It was nice, but I'm ready to give it more of a shot now.

Anyway, another more hilarious tid-bit from the kitchen was what went down the NEXT evening... Patrick and I decided to whip up something small for Saturday dinner while playing with the boys. I was working on the salad when suddenly, to my right, one of the pans on the stove BURST into full-on flames! I said, "Woah! Patrick... Is that...?" I was gonna finish, with "...suppose to happen?," but was cut-off by his yell and lurch to the stove. The boys in the dining room gave little gasps and stared wide-eyed as the flames grew...

We took it off the stove and Patrick set it in the sink as I said, "No, it's a grease fire!" He turned on the water and the flames became bigger, to which he said something about "knowing better," and I offered to get baking soda or flour to put it out. He finally pulled the pot out of the sink, set it on the stool nearby, and covered the top with a lid, smothering the fire. Then, WE burst into some laughter... and coughing from the smoke.

Again, the picture is for dramatic effect and was not taken during the actual event... though, we certainly stared at it long enough to do so! Haha...

Needless to say, no one was hurt and everything was fine. We opened the windows and put the pot outside, and continued to cook. It was a good little moment though in a way... very humorous because it all turned out fine, but we were a bit dumbfounded in the moment... haha! Perhaps you had to be there though.... All that's left of the incident is a large black spot that is burned into the stool from the heat of the pan.... a reminder. Haha!

P.S. I go to London to see my mom, Derek, and Cami in five days! I am BEYOND excited! It's going to be fantastic...
P.S.S. Nico has reminded me a few times this week that I am his girlfriend and should remember that... Haha! I said, "Nico... you have a really cute girlfriend then!" He will shake his head and say, "Yep, I think so." He also DID tell me today about another girl in his life - his "kindergarten girlfriend." I guess that makes me his "home girlfriend?" Haha!


Song of the Day: This song just makes you HAPPY! If you need a pick-me-up check out Train's, Hey, Soul Sister and you'll be jammin' along the rest of your day. I love it! Enjoy!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Diary of a Perfectionist... I Never Knew!

You know, I try to write all the positive things in my blog and keep it fun to read. Now, this is not going to be some dark, dismal entry - no, no, no. I simply want to start it off by saying how hard it is sometimes over here. Not that this will come as some huge surprise to anyone, but it's hard work taking care of two boys and also just living/adapting in a new country. Do not get my wrong, most of the time I am enjoying myself and laughing at each "adventure" I am a part of here. However, there are times where it's just been a hard day and I feel worn out, or homesick. There have been some great days this week, and some tough ones... and I figured out why, in all honesty, the first month here was a bit harder for me than need be.

While talking with my mom yesterday, I expressed a few times that I was just stressed about "messing up" or not doing what was needed or wanted of me. My mom said, "Have they expressed that to you?" I responded with a no. She then asked, "Haven't they told you that you;re doing a great job?" My response was, "Well, yes...," to which my mom said, "Then what are you worried about?"

I will relate this to another time in my life when I got my first "C" on progress report in my junior year of HS. I got the "C" in my Pre-Calculus class because I had been slacking off a bit and not done as well on my last two-or three tests. Well, I was really upset about the bad grade. I had never gotten below a "B" in a class, and that was also rare. I was a worker, and got good grades. Well, after I saw the dreaded "C" I called my mom at work after school, and with tears told her how sorry I was and how I knew she'd be disappointed in me. Her response, you ask? She laughed at me. Yep, my mother just laughed at me. You might be appalled at this moment, but don't be. She went on, after some laughter, to say,"Good. This is good for you... It will teach you that you don't have to be perfect. Why would I be mad? You're doing great."

My mother taught me SO much in that moment and I still relate back to that story often with kids I teach, friends, family, etc. My mom always was a good teacher... :)

The real reason I tell this story is because there is a direct correlation to my inner turmoil over that "C" in High School and my emotional hardships here in Germany this first month. I am way too hard on myself sometimes. I am my own pressure-cooker. Even when I am being told that I am doing a good job, I stress about ways it could be better... and because I do this, I sometimes spend some much time worrying about how good a job/project I do could be, that I don't give it my all. I mean, I spend effort on the self-given pressure that I could be shifting to the project before me. That would relieve the stress all together, now wouldn't it? Haha!

I have spent this past week on a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, and all because I felt like I wasn't matching up to what I needed to be. However, if I spent that time and energy used on worry on something more productive, I would have been happier. Not that I'm not giving my all to this job or other things in life, I'm just realizing how I can be happier in what I do in life.

The moral of the story: I don't have to be perfect. I am not going to be perfect. It's okay. When I take on a project, I do a good job... and I'll just learn to do it better next time. Regarding nannying, I was hired because of my experience, abilities, and love of children/teaching. I am good at what I do, but when I mess up a bit (which I know, I will. I won't do everything right the first time...), I will learn and grow from the experience and must forge forward. I am not perfect, and that's okay.

Some food for thought: Remember how amazing you are and all the things you are capable of doing. Remember your strengths and recognize the weaknesses, so you can grow from them. The Lord gave us weakness to help us make them strong... Turn to Heavenly Father in all things. Honestly, that's what I've been doing, and it's been my saving grace.


Song of the Day: I'm diggin' this jam today... It's got two great artists, and although in the past I haven't been as big a fan of Alicia Keys' entire albums, I bought the recent one and love it. I say this because this song is on there - obviously. Haha! Here's Alicia and Beyonce's, Put It In A Love Song. The song is great - video not, cause there isn't one... so just listen. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Moments That Matter Most...

So, today was one of those days that contained some of the BEST things about being here, and some of the WORST. Haha!

Let me start off by telling you about the not so great event of the day - get it out of the way. So, I lost my U-Bahn ticket in transit somewhere between Plittersdorfer Str. and the stop before the University. I had the impression I should buy another one actually, but I thought that was ridiculous cause I had already gotten a full one. Well, the U-Bahn transportation services did a check today (first time since I've been here) and I got "caught" without one - they thought I didn't buy one - I'm sure they get my story all the time... Anyway, I have to pay 40E in 40 days and I was SO upset. I get my month pass in the next week or two, but I was still SO upset. That money could pay for a train ticket to Paris. Haha! Oh well - I know to always put my ticket in my wallet now. Done.

Even in another country, I find ways to accidentally break the law.... in America it was parking violations.... Here it's parking my behind on a train violation. Eh!

On a positive note, I had a GREAT time hanging with Mike, Michelle, and the missionaries this morning! We all went over to Mike's apartment for a final goodbye brunch and hang-out. It was really great to visit and laugh... I really enjoy the missionaries that are here - they're so funny! All of them are from America and I actually was a able to draw a connection to each one of them through our facebook friends - classic! Haha... Anyway, it was really good.

The later day continued on as usual, nothing really exciting till this evening. First, I have been teaching Nico the PB&J EFY Line Dance and he almost has it down, just not quite fast enough. He's very excited about this, so when it's good and ready, I'll video tape it and post it up here! He is so cute singing the song I taught him to remember each move. LOVE IT! Haha... Finni sings the song too, but he won't do the dance. He just runs around jumping and flapping like a bird. Haha!

Now comes the REALLY cool story!

Tonight I had the most amazing opportunity with Nico while putting him to bed. After some stories and prayers, I sang some primary songs to him and Finni. Well, part way through my singing "A Child's Prayer" he stopped me and said, "I feel like God doesn't always listen though. I feel like I feel misfortune and all of her companions around me, and I can't get her to go away." So, we talked about prayer and praying more specifically for what you need. I explained you have to ask for that comfort. So, we said a prayer and I was praying in my heart as I promised him that if he asked with faith in Heavenly Father, he would feel that comfort. I told him about the time I was really feeling homesick the other Friday, and had been crying and praying right before him and Finni came in out of nowhere and grabbed my hands, cuddled up, and said they loved me. I had prayed for comfort, and they were my angels. Heavenly Father used them to answer my prayer, and they didn't even know it. He thought that was really cool. We talked some more about how he was feeling, and then he asked me to sing some more.

After a few more songs, he stopped me and said, "You know what? I feel better. Love is like stairs... You have to climb to the top and you feel better. I was at the bottom and now I feel like I'm at the top." I replied, "Nico, you know why that is? It's because Heavenly Father heard your prayers, and my prayers, and sent you the comfort you needed. He loves you." We talked more about that and he said, "I still feel a little bit sad because mom is gone, but now I know someone can comfort me." I bore my testimony about that again, and told him he can ALWAYS pray and feel that if he has faith.

We talked some more about other examples of love and I said, "All of these things you have said have been examples of who's love?" He responded, "Christ." I said, "Yep, so you know that you can always feel love through who?" He responded with great excitement, "Jesus!" Before I went down I told him I loved him a billion million and he said, "I know... So does God. I love you too." So tender. :)

Sidenote: I just have to add that Finni DID chime in once while Nico and I were talking. His was a bit more humorous - still sweet, but, yea... He said, "We need to learn to follow God's rules." I asked what those were and he responded, "You should not bite or hit people, cause biting people's skin is mean..." I agreed and said thank you for sharing to which he responded, "Yea... I'm gonna close my eyes and go to bed now. Night."

I really love these boys... They are such a blessing in my life, even when they're being little pills. Haha! The best part is when I have had something really crumby happen in my day, and the little moments with the boys just cheer everything up for me. Those are the moments that really matter most...


Song of the Day: I have fallen in love with listening to this song while biking in the rain... Haha! It's SO relaxing... Here's Ingrid Michaelson's song, Keep Breathing. Enjoy!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Happy One-Month Mark To Me!!!

Well, I have officially been here one month! Haha... I hit four weeks on Friday and I could hardly believe it. It's somewhat ironic that this week I hit my one month mark and it was also the first week that I began to feel solidified, and truly happy here. Not that I was unhappy before, but there was a bunch of combating emotions... and this week things started to settle. I have felt the whole time that this was the correct decision, but this week I finally felt peace within myself. It's a good feeling.

The first month, looking "oh, so far," back (haha), was a difficult transition for me. I felt somewhat aloof in a new space and was trying to gauge my abilities with the children, the city, the parents, my bike (I finally fell! Haha...) and my emotions... Now, it's all straight.

I'm grateful for a few things... One, I am grateful for the power of prayer. Scoff if you must, but I have concluded that there is no tool more powerful on earth than the ability one has to speak to their Heavenly Father. There were SO many moments these past few weeks that I have just felt like crumbling, and something was there to buoy me up as I prayed. There were instances of answered prayer that are undeniable for me. For example, one night I was in charge of the boys because Patrick had night duty at the hospital and Koko was out of town. The boys both went to bed around 8pm and were out... until around midnight when Finni woke b/c he needed to use the restroom and then Nico followed with a spat of huge coughing fits. Nico called to me and I came rushing downstairs to the rescue - haha! I couldn't find cough medicine, so I tried giving him water, warming it up, having him sleep on his tummy instead of his back... everything. I even called my mom in the states finally, and she had no more help to offer me. Nothing seemed to be making the coughing cease. He was still drifting in and out of sleep, but I was so worried about him that I couldn't sleep. The mini-miracle? Nico finally fell silent and asleep - we were both definitely comforted.

Another example, I dropped my cell phone in the street and didn't know I had done so... I went back to look thirty to forty minutes later and found it in the middle of the street (literally), not ran over... after a few prayers. Also, one morning I realized that I had lost my IPOD and prayed saying, "Someone else has to come across it, cause I have looked everywhere and I am too tired to look anymore." This was after the night with Nico and I was EXHAUSTED! A few moments later... Patrick walked in with my IPOD. It sounds like coincidence, but it's SO uch more than that. There are little miracles like that everyday, and I'm realizing more and more how many little things come to pass through prayer because Heavenly Father loves us.

One last one to mention, because it was so dang cute... I was riding in the rain for the first time on Friday and was keeping a positive attitude, but was wet, cold and tired, and the bike gears were being weird... it was a grouchy day where I had to force on a platic smile. Sometimes, you just have those days! Anyway, after riding the boys to their violin lesson I went to the restroom and tried to dry off... A tear or two might have slipped from my eyes - I was a bit overemotional last week at times, haha! Well, I said a silent prayer for comfort and then put on a smile and walked back into the room to wait for the boys lesson to start. Finni was smiling when I came in and reached out his hand to me. He told me to sit, sat on my lap, and said, "I love you." Then, Nico curled to my side and said, "Me too." They sat there until I was warm and they started class... and I was at peace. The little boys knew how to answer my prayer - whether they knew if they were doing that or not, doesn't matter - just that it was done.

Sidenote: I DID fall off my bike for the first time this past week, in the slush - haha! The boys were nice about it, though they thought I looked funny. However, I know I was protected on that bike from falling SO many other times. I did not fall until I was 100% fine with the idea (knowing it would happen eventually) and could just get right back up. In fact, I was surprised at how easily I got up, looked at my wet clothes, and shrugged, thinking, "Well, I'm almost home and what else can I do but get back on and ride home?" That's JUST what I did. Another mountain, conquered! Haha...

That's another thing I'm grateful for - the relationship that is growing with my Savior and Heavenly Father. I feel so much closer to them and to the goals I am making for myself. I am able to understand more of who I am and who I want to become, because I know who I am suppose to be and what I am suppose to become. I have a stronger relationship with my scriptures and the true power of STUDYING them, rather than merely reading them... or skimming them. I know that this will only continue as I am here in Germany. It's amazing.

I am grateful that Mike and the grandparents were here for my first month, during the hardest part of my transition to this new place and job. I needed someone to walk me through things, and Mike could do that regarding the city, the language, and just became such a good friend. It was good to have someone my age to talk to and hang out with. I'm sad that he is leaving this Wednesday, but I'll meet other friends, I"m sure. It's hard here, but I can do it. The grandparents helped show me a bit of how Koko and Patrick run things around the house and what they like... also, grandma gives great cooking advice. Haha! Learning to cook over here will still be a challenge I think, but I'm learning. It was good for me to have someone else to talk with here at the house and have a touch of America around me for the first bit of me being here. I really think that again, Heavenly Father knows what we can handle and wnen to give us certain trials, and certain help in our lives.

I am grateful for German bread, cheese, and chocolate. Haha! I know - this will be the bain of my existance here if I'm not careful... but don't worry. I'm eating right (better than ever before actually) and not partaking of TOO much junk. I'm being smart. Actually, I'm grateful for my bike and riding it so much! It's actually de-stressing, a great form of exersise, a good mode of transportation, and kinda fun! It's gonna be a good way to keep those crossaints off my thighs! Haha... One more time, let me give it up for German breads, cheeses, and chocolate.... Mmm!

Well, I certainly am learning a lot here, and it's only been eins (one) month! I have elf (or eleven) more to go! Crazy... Speaking of learning, German is SOOOOO hard! BUT, I'm actually doing alright in my classes. I think I might have mentioned before I am NOT in the beginners class. Nope, I'm in the second level class... eh. Yea. Haha! However, me and the other new girl are keeping up and working hard. She's probably a little ahead of me, but I'm definitely ahead of some of the others in the class, who have taken level one before.

Oh, more pictures are on their way! MY camera is currently in Chicago being fixed, and my mother will bring it back to me when she comes with Derek and Cami to meet me in London in twelve days! Boo-yah!!! It's my first of the monthly trips.... Each month I'll take some weekend trip and see another part of Europe. I've already seen England (and lived there), but I figure it's a perfect way to start and I get to see my mom. Done and done. Haha! So, thus far I know January was being in Germany for the first time, February is going England, and March is Switzerland with the family, for a skiing week! Haha... I'll have to plan the other months, but I'm thinking Denmark and Holland (maybe Poland) in June/July, France and Italy in April/May, Greece and Prauge in September/November, and we'll see where else. I'd love to go to Sweden, Spain, and Portugal too! I go to Austria in August, which is way cool, and I need to see where the family is going on there Fall trip in October, cause I won't go there... It's going to fly by so fast, and I'm living up every moment...

Today I found out about a HUGE Young Single Adults conference in Europe that people come from ALL over for, and that's in August. This year, it's to be held in Finland! I'm hoping I can make it and go with Mike and Michelle (Mike's sister, whom I already adore!) - keep those fingers crossed! Haha... By then, I can speak German too! Though I'm sure everyone there will be speaking many different languages.

Sidenote: I was wearing my new tweed jacket the other day and Nico was curling up inside of it. I needed to put it on, so I said, "Nico, let's get YOUR coat on so I can put mine on." He responded, "NO! I want to wear something an old lady would wear." Haha! When I relayed the story to Mike, he stated, "Well, the kid may be right..." He was walkin' on thin ice! Haha...


P.S. Today I walked 5 miles in the snow and sleet to Bonn, just cause I felt like walking... awesome. I am officially a European... kinda. Haha! I also bought some HOT heels... YES! Haha...

Song of the Day: I haven't put much thought in this time, but I am obsessed with this song right now... Lady Gaga's "Reloaded." SO good - my favorite of hers - Enjoy!