Remembering the Fallen on Memorial Day

This year, for Memorial Day, we decided to head out to the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial in St. Avold, France. A total of 10, 487 brave military members call this their final resting home. It's the largest WWII cemetery in Europe. According to the brochure found in the visitor's office, "Free use as a burial ground was granted by the French Government without charge or taxation." There are several American cemeteries in Europe, and it's on my bucket list to visit them all. You can read more about American Battle Monuments by clicking HERE. We have visited the Luxeumbourg American Cemetery before, but this one has always been on my list. Since we went to Luxembourg last Veteran's day, and had been there twice, I saved St. Avold for our last Memorial Day in Europe. The Memorial Day ceremony was held on May 25, 2014 (the day before our visit) and all the memorial wreaths were still in place. I had to hold back some tears when I saw the War Orphans wreath honoring their … [Read more...]

Cows, Kids and Horses Pt. 2

Back in 2012, I wrote a blog post about the walks that we go on around here, and they really have not ended. When the weather cooperates, we love to walk around in our neighborhood. It is the number one thing I will miss about my village. I can literally walk about 1 minute and be in forest, walk on paths, and see a lot of serious nature. Cows, people on horses, snails and bugs galore. Yesterday, we went on a walk, and A snagged his bike because he felt like taking his trail bike for a spin and I grabbed the camera at the last minute. Last Wednesday I went on a walk without my phone or camera and it was like I had this nervous twitch, at first, because it was gorgeous, but it was really nice to enjoy the walk, and not be encumbered by equipment. This time, I traveled as light as I could to get some pictures of the magical cows I try to capture every year. First, these are some serious free range cows enjoying the German countryside. There are the cows and the calfs and they looks … [Read more...]

10 on the 10

Recently, I joined a great group of photographers that have a goal of doing 10 pictures that all reflect one day of your life. Then, on the 10th of the month, you post the pictures. The purpose is two fold: start taking more pictures of your own family and gain more practice with the camera. Well, today, February was my first time participating, and it was indeed quite the challenge. I lead a pretty hectic life (who doesn't!), so taking the time to stop and take pictures kind of interrupted the flow of things, but I caught some great pictures that I normally would have breezed right by. Hopefully, I can include these in my yearly yearbook efforts in their own section. First, right after dropping J off at school, C took a break on the sofa to reconnect with her DS before we started Homeschool (aka known as Mom School). Next, I grabbed my second cup of coffee and kept reading Rick Steves' London. I made some loosey goosey reservations for London in April, but I am still not quite … [Read more...]

My German Adventures with Cows, Kids and Horses

Around here, we like to go for walks! There is a huge forested area that is behind us where we like to go walking around, and it's always gorgeous. We always see or find something new. First, some background. I have NEVER lived in place that is so....rural and had open spaces like Germany. In other states I have lived in, there ARE forests and green areas, but NOTHING like Germany, and none right outside my front door. Germany takes their outside spaces very seriously, and Germans are huge on nordic walking, getting outside, and just taking some long deep breaths of clean, cool air. There is nothing like it. Therefore, I love to go for walks around my village, and we go to a lot of lakes just to look around. There are usually a lot of playgrounds attached to all lakes/open spaces, so it's great entertainment that is free. It's just a chance to clear your mind. On our last walk, we walked down to where Rodenbach and Siegelbach meet and there are a lot of farming areas, and … [Read more...]

Japanischer Style in Germany

When I plan field trips for my little family of three, I look for three criteria: 1) Where I go is stroller friendly 2) Where I go is Kid friendly and 3) Where I go is Truck Friendly. The Japanese Garden near downtown Kaiserslautern fit two of the three criteria (2 and 3) so away I went. This trip could be be described as a five hour affair that was worthy of a gag reel. At 8am I decided to go. After a long, drawn out breakfast and getting the kids and myself dressed, we were finally ready to go at 10:45am or so. While driving, I toss the kids in the car, grab my coffee and away we go. Five minutes into the trip, Joaquin fell asleep. As we arrived downtown, Camille was passed out. Well, I was going to still try, because I had just made the 15 minute trip. Then, when I got to the Japanese Garden, I realized the only parking was by Gartenschau (the Dino Park and Botanical Garden. Well, that is all well and fine and dandy, but not going to work because I...forgot.the.double.stroller.Sigh. … [Read more...]