Dreaming of Europe

Shortly before I turned four, I moved to southern Spain. My dad was in the military. We were actually supposed to go to Italy but, three weeks before our move, orders were changed and Rota was our new destination. It. Was. Amazing.

We lived in Spain for three years. I spent my summers traveling around Europe. I lived in a tiny, safe, friendly little town. In school we learned Spanish starting in first grade. I would spend my afternoons outside, wandering around base with friends. Each holiday was spent with all the neighbors. There would be 40 people at one house. It was fun. It was a great way to spend my early childhood. It’s what I want for my boys.

I have had the strongest desire to move to Europe recently. It has always been there but lately it has really been tugging at me. We can’t move overseas right now. We are in Ca for at least another year. After here we have four “options”, one of which is to stay put. The other three are Florida, Hawaii, or Japan. We have a few month to decide on which order we want to list our preferences but, lets be real, it doesn’t matter how we order them, we will get what the Navy needs from my husband. (Hence the quotes around options above.)

After the next tour, we *may* have the option to move to Europe, most likely to Germany. This is when it is supposedly easiest for us to be stationed in Europe. My husband can take a joint tour job and the boys and I will traipse around Europe. At that point, the boys will be 5 and 10. How perfect!! But (and it’s a BIG BUTT), I hate the cold. I struggle in southern California with the chilly weather. I had a hard time in the winters in Jacksonville, Florida because a few days would see highs in the 40’s. I’m that person who needs a jacket when it’s 73*. Eek!

Maybe we will be sent to Japan next and I’ll learn to live in the cold? Maybe I’ll be that ridiculous American wearing 3 pairs of pants, 5 top layers, a hat, scarf, multiple pairs of socks, boots, and a ski mask to leave the house when it’s 35*? And, let’s be real, when I would leave for work in Jacksonville on those cold days, I would most certainly be wearing all of that, minus the ski mask. Maybe I’m getting way ahead of myself and we won’t be given the opportunity to live in Germany?

Sigh. I think I’m going to watch another House Hunters International.

-KB

January Reads

I love to read but I don’t always make time for it. I’ve been putting more effort into getting everything done early so I have at least 20 minutes to read each night before bed. It doesn’t always work but I’ve read more books in 2017 than I have in a long time and I’m hoping for even more this year. Here is what I finished in January…

The Aviators Wife by Melanie Benjamin

The book follows the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh as she meets, travels with, begins a family with, and eventually lays to rest her husband, Charles Lindbergh. It was an interesting story. It provided a lot of insight into the life of someone I knew very little about and the trials and tribulations of their marriage, other than the kidnapping and death of their first born. It was fascinating and heartbreaking. Benjamin is a good author. Unfortunately, I didn’t really care for Anne or Charles as people. It took quite a while to really get into the story but I’m glad I stuck it out and finished the book. I learned a lot. I give the book a 3.5/5. Worth the read if you’re interested in the Lindbergh’s or WWII historical fiction.

Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham

I read this book because of my love of Gilmore Girls. It wasn’t my favorite but not terrible either. 3/5 stars. It follows a woman who is trying to make as an actress in New York. She works as a waitress, lives with a friend and acquaintance, and takes frequent acting classes. The story was kind of predictable but it was easy and quick.

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer by Fredrik Backman

I loved this book. It’s a novella about a man who is aging and his family connections. Some parts were a little confusing but you can really see the pain of being on both sides of a family member aging. 5/5

What are you reading? Have any good suggestions?

-KB

 

 

 

 

Balboa Park with a Toddler and First Grader

Wednesday’s are early release days at my son’s school. When the husband is away, like he is now, it makes for a looooong time before bed for the boys. I like to take them somewhere to pass the time. This week we explored Balboa Park which we haven’t done since moving back this summer.

We started at the United Nations Building and Gift Shop. There are a bunch of houses to check out from many different countries but they are only open on weekend. Boo! The gift shop was really cool though. My first grader loved checking out all the knick-knacks from different countries. He wants to come back on a weekend and explore the houses. I think it would be best without the toddler.

From there we headed to the Organ Pavilion. It’s a great place for kids to run around. I was hoping to tire out the toddler and knew this was a great place to get out energy. We spent about 20 minutes running and playing and yelling and having a ball. Perfect place for a toddler! The first grader loved it as well.

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Walking out of the pavilion, we stumbled upon the Japanese Friendship Garden. My first grader really wanted to check it out so we paid $10 (for me, the boys were free) and made our way through the garden. It was beautiful, although I didn’t get to enjoy much as I was trying to keep a 20 month old on the path and quiet(ish) while people were meditating. The boys both loved the water features, particularly the toddler who tried to throw rocks, leaves, and sticks into the ponds. (Joy!) If you’re visiting Balboa Park with a toddler, I suggest you skip this one. It’s beautiful but it’s hard to enjoy the beauty while focused on the 20 month old sprinting through the flowers.

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After leaving the garden, we walked to the Model Railroad Museum. If you’re kids are at all into trains, TAKE THEM HERE!! It was pretty cool. They had so many model trains. We got there 30 minutes before closing so it was just $4 for the three of us. Score! There were multiple windowed areas with huge landscapes and hundreds of feet of track. At the back there is an area really meant for kids. We spent 20 minutes back there until they kicked us out. The toddler kept saying “choo choo!” and the first grader asked me three times before we got to the car if we could come back. Success!ZuKfEPxsS3+mhDNjJTNcXQ                         zIZ6wDU2RC6CaY+Lg62Okw

We ended out Balboa Park trip with a walk by the art museum which is closed on Wednesdays. The boys ran around the front steps and ate a snack before we headed back to the car. All in all, a perfect afternoon.

-KB

Our First RV Outing!!

Last weekend we were supposed to take Roxie out for her first overnight. Long story short, due to the Navy, the weekend didn’t go as planned (shocking, I know). We did still manage to get her out to a campsite where we had awesome family time.

On Saturday afternoon we headed to Sweetwater Summit Regional Park in Bonita, CA. We got to our campsite around 1630. After hooking up to power, the boys and dog headed to the park while I got started cooking dinner. I brought my Instant Pot and made turkey chili. I’ll post a recipe later because it turned out really well! They came back before dinner was ready and built a campfire and played on the bed. We enjoyed our delicious dinner sitting outside by the fire. Everyone really enjoyed themselves, except the dog who was a little freaked out about the whole situation. (She did enjoy the chili though.) After cleaning up, we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. This was probably the best part of our evening. The air was cool but the fire was warm. We sat around (as much as a 20 month old will allow) and talked and ate and laughed. Perfect first evening in Roxie.

Any tips or ideas for taking your RV out in SoCal with a toddler?

Can I Clean the Toilet?

Those are the words spoken to me tonight by my 6 year old. He asked me if he could clean the toilet. I did “let” him clean the toilet.

Other sentences he uttered tonight:

“Can I clean the windows?

“The dining room table should be cleaned. I’ll do that.”

“Ben, you want to help me sweep?”

That’s right. My 6 year old swept the kitchen, living room, and dining room. He also vacuumed all those rooms as well as the hallway. He cleaned 1/2 the windows in the house. Then he finished by cleaning that table.

As he’s asking me if he can clean this and clean that I just kept telling myself, “play it cool, don’t get too excited.”

It’s now 8pm. Both boys are asleep. And the house is clean! While they cleaned, I finished the dishes. I have been relaxing since they went to bed! What?!?! I keep seeing “ways to make your life easier” and “steps to decluttering your life” and I feel like I have cracked the code. Make your kids clean every night after dinner. It’s our new routine.

Roxie the RV

So…we went to Vegas and came home with an RV! (No, we did not win her, we bought her.) She’s a little thing, Class B. We are very excited. We’ll be taking her out tomorrow to spend the day at the beach. Look for her soon on Outdoorsy! We’ll be renting her when we don’t plan to travel.

Which, speaking of traveling, we are starting to plan our Yosemite vacation! Deployment is coming this summer so we will be taking the boys, dog, and Roxie on a two week vacation before the husband leaves. Any Yosemite travel tips? I’d love to hear them!

-KB

 

What’s cooking?

I eat and feel so much better when I meal plan. Plus, I don’t spend nearly as much money on take out. Here’s what’s cooking this week…

  • Monday:
    • Breakfast: Eggs with broccoli
    • Lunch: PB & J Sandwiches
    • Dinner: Briam from My Little Expat Kitchen
  • Tuesday:
    • Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs
    • Lunch: Celery with PB
    • Dinner: Baked Potato bar with ground turkey
  • Wednesday:
    • Breakfast: Eggs
    • on the road the rest of the day
  • Thursday-Saturday we will be in Vegas without the kids!! Woohoo!!!
  • Sunday:
    • Dinner: Instant Pot Hamburger Helper (recipe coming soon)

What are you making this week? I love to try new recipes!