Christmas in Germany

image

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! AND this time we are in Germany!! I feel extra fortunate. Aaaand… Daddy has been home since Thanksgiving!

image

Oh, how I love this time of year. All of the anticipation, the preparation, the holiday shopping, the get-togethers make me feel like a kid. Talking about:kids, they especially enjoy counting down to Dec 25 with the help of their advent calendars. This year both big kids got creative and helped make 24 little fabric bags.

imageimageimageimage

First they drew holiday inspired motives onto fabric, then they cut them out and sewed them together into cute little pouches which I filled with 24 little surprises. Every year I try not to go overboard with candy. This year I DID opt for candy in half of the bags though simply because it’s our first holiday in Germany and so much of the candy here reminds me of my own childhood… 🙂 I couldn’t help myself. But the other half of the bags had toys in them. I have to say the kids enjoyed each little surprise. A few mornings they fought over who gets to open the bag… Overall though a big success.

IMG_8456

The wait until Santa’s arrival seemed especially short this year with all the hoopla around town, around school etc. the Weihnachtsmarkt that started right after Thanksgiving, the skating ring that opens downtown at the same time, the events at school, Seda’s dance recital, the advent teas, and of course the gift shopping all made December busy, enjoyable, but really short:

imageimage

image The kid’s LOVED their gifts from Santa. They have been practicing and performing! My husband is a very good teacher in all things sports and music. That freed up some time for me to do my own creative juices and sew, craft, glue, read… 🙂 Couldn’t have asked for a better gift.

image

image

image

I am eternally grateful how 2014 ended up for us. Started out in a small town in Texas and now we are here!! So so grateful. So so blessed.

May 2015 be filled with joy, love and good health for you and yours!

image

Love,

Yasemin

 

Fall in Germany – A love affair

image

Days are definetely shorter. I don’t get to write as frequently as I would like to but with the temps falling and our first European winter scratching at the window life is best spent outdoors. We bundle up in our cozy coats and hats and scarves and march through the colorful leafage – rain or shine. Actually we didn’t have as much rain as I expected. The air is brisk though. On the way to school and as soon as the sun sets at 4:30’ish. We’ve stayed well above 40 degrees and that’s just perfect! It feels GOOD to experience the seasons though. Just as we arrived in Germany mid June the temperatures were still moderate, spring-like. Then came two months of amble sunshine with bathing in the Baltic Sea … Now, a perfectly sunny, crisp fall! It’s perfect! It really is! We take lots of walks in the nearby woods, by the water or go window shopping in our gorgeous Holtenauer Strasse. But no matter where we end up getting our 10k-steps in we finish of our day with a yummy treat.

image

image

image

image

Oh the gorgeous bakeries and cafes! Oh the lattes and the hot chocolates! It’s delicious no matter where you go! Haven’t had a bad cup of  java since moving to Germany.

image

I could literally be content just sitting in a cafe all day but then I’d miss all the wildlife!

imageimage

imageimage

image

Also, I’ll never get tired of being by the sea:

image

image

Awwww, fall, I could really get used to this! It’s like spring minus the allergies! I am in love! Stay a little longer, will you?

Now, you probably get the impression that all we do here is take long walks by the sea and eat delicious bread… Not so fast! The kids do go to school. After all, their learning the language is a top priority for us but they are only at school until 12:30! That gives us lots of time to eat lunch together every day, explore Kiel, do sports and be in bed by 8 pm – full of unforgettable impressions.

image

These three littles monkeys are thoroughly enjoying this new pace of life.

imageimage

image

And so do I!!! 🙂

In deepest gratitude,

Yasemin

image

Back to school and a very special visit

imageimage

The last couple of months have flown by. We enjoyed every little sunray we could get and have spent more time out than in… No time to sit and reflect on all that was going on. After all, moving into our new home and settling in right before the two big kids had to go back to school. With only six weeks of summer break in Germany there is no day wasted!!! In a blink of an eye it was seaside to school bench! Isaiah started fourth grade this year! His last year in Elementary School! Wow! Where did time go?

image

Seda got to enjoy two more days at home as first grade means the first day of school for all six-year olds in Germany. Germany doesn’t have a Kindergarten year which makes first grade a big deal. Einschulung, as the first day of first grade is called is celebrated with a service at a near to school church and a little program at the school’s gym in the morning. Kids get these huge cones – called Schultuete – filled with candy, toys, art & craft supplies and whatever else parents decide to put in. There she is my big school kid (in her Anna Maria Horner paper fan dress) proudly holding her Schultuete!

image

By the way, school days are really short here in Germany. First graders are at school from 7:45 am – 11:25 am. There is after-school care however for those with working parents. Since class starts rather early in the morning the kids eat breakfast in their classroom together after the first period. Afterwards there is recess after each additional period! That’s lots of outdoor time every single day!

Fourth graders stay at school an hour longer. I like having the kids home for lunch every day. With only 15 minutes of daily homework the kids get lots of time to play outside and do sports in the afternoon, too. Or like in our case wave good bye to the Color Line cruise ship at two pm! 🙂

imageimage

Being able to spend time by the sea every day is one of the many improvements to our life quality since moving here… We have been very fortunate with the weather this summer too! With only a short dip in temps in August, the mild, long summer days have spoiled us with ample sunshine And clean fresh air. It served as the perfect setting to welcome a very special visitor at the end of August! ButchMo! Finally after a very very long time of separation our family was complete again!

image

Welcome daddy! Kiel showed off her most beautiful side :

image

We had a month to enjoy as many of our favorite places and take as many pictures as possible. Selfie here and here…

imageimage

And even an opportunity for an annual family portrait in the studio here:

image

The above shot is sure to get a very special place on one our new bare walls. The Mosbys 2014, in Kiel. A new chapter! Grateful for this special moment in our lives.

More studio shots:

image

And super adorable individual shots of this big girl:

image

Grateful we are also to be able to celebrate not one, not two, but three birthdays this month. Starting off the birthday month: Happy 7th birthday Seda!

imageimageimageimage 

She got a weekend with a huge party and all our family members present! Something we’ve never had before! And how about that gorgeous little sewing machine she got from her god mother? Perfect for my little crafty lady!

A week later it was Stella’s turn! Happy second birthday baby Stella!

image

We decided to hop on the train and spend the day on the other coast in Sylt! It was the first time for the kids and Butch in the North Sea.  More family pics at the beach.

imageimage

What a beautiful sunny day at probably the best beach in Germany!

imageimage

image

Last but not least it was our first born’s turn to be spoiled on his double-digit birthday!

 image

 Happy 10th birthday Isaiah the playa! We ditched the train for his special day and got in the car to fulfill one of his birthday wishes: driving on the Autobahn! (He is such a boy!) Our ride took us from beach, this time in beautiful places like Kalifornia and Brasil! Just a short car ride from Kiel! Who says you have to get on the plane to get some vacation feeling!

imageimage

image

Isaiah also wanted to visit this place by the North-Ostsee Kanal. One of the world’s busiest water ways where ships are announced via loud speaker and greeted with their national anthem. What a beautiful welcome. And again all boy standing by the shore expecting every little detail of this process. This was indeed a special treat for all of us.

image

Hopefully you didn’t get sea sick from this water logged post about cruise ships, container ships, canals and seas… 🙂 I sure appreciate you stopping by and hope to share more of my sewing in between school, birthdays and travel.

Happy fall friends!

image

Love,

Yasemin

We LOVE to travel, summer 2014

imageAt the Brandenburger Tor with family. Summer 2014

We got to live our dream of travelling this summer. In the short six weeks of summer break here in Germany we explored near and far. We travelled an hour south to Hamburg:

imageimage

imageimage

After some sight seeing in the heart of the city we spend the afternoon at a playground  in front of the Queen Mary 2. A cup of strong Assam tea at Mesmer Tea house rounded out our day trip to gorgeous Hamburg.

imageimage

Above: My girls in YaseminTea skirt & dress en route to the big City.

imageimage

In between our busy travels some home decorating was in place too. As decorators measured and installed curtain hardware my sweet Hala and I sewed away covering the bare windows of our living room.

imageimage

Love the warmth that fabric brings into a room.

imageimage

Warm it was a few days in mid August too when the best place in town was the Seebar where we cought craps, rented paddle boards and people watched while enjoying our ice cream.

imageimage

Below: on a much cooler end of August day we had friends visiting from out of town.

imageimage

And last but not least we squeezed in a final little day trip to a town just 30 short minutes by train: Eckernfoerde! We even got to play on the beach, did some shopping and enjoyed this quaint nautical town just north of us.

image image image image image image

image image

I know this summer was one we will remember for many years to come. It was the start to our new life in Germany. We really made the most of it. We got to explore our neighborhood, we rested, we explored, we shopped and made our apartment feel like home. It’s so easy to love this place. It’s easy with all the lakes, canals and the seas surrounding us. I for one know for sure: #ilovethesea!

Thank you Kiel for such a sweet & warm welcome! I think we are going to stay awhile. 🙂

Love,

Yasemin

Finally summer

image

 ICH WILL FERIEN! – I want vacation! The poster of a pouting child in front of the many travel agencies here in Germany. I feel like my kiddos should be screaming that by now. For almost eight weeks we have been on the go go go. The kids didn’t get much of a summer break once we arrived in Germany. First four weeks of school then two weeks of summer camp plus an additional week of soccer camp for Isaiah.

imageimage

That’ll make you melt down, act up, go coo coo all kinds of ways… Isaiah enjoyed his first soccer camp with the Holstein Kiel Stoerche (storks) very much but he was also all worn out by the end of the week.

imageimage

The girls had a little down time at least while big brother showed off his skills and learned many new ones.

We all have been giving it our all this summer. We wanted to settle into our new home town quickly, soak up our new environment, make new friends, get to know our neighbors, catch up on all the family get-togethers.

But it’s about time that summer comes for us too with all its lazy afternoons and re-lax-ations… We are slowing down this week. Finally no schedules, no appointments, no running… Instead we are chillin’ and enjoying these absolutely gorgeous long sunny summer days. Because we are worth it! Because we earned it! Oh, if only daddy was here too … He could admire these gorgeous sailboats and cruise ships with us:

imageimage

imageimage

Even the youngest Mosby is always mesmerized by the water.

imageimage

 Stella LOVES water!!!

imageimage

Seda loves ice cream!

image

And Isaiah loves to read – though still not German books.

image

We all love these: berries!!! Straight from the bush on the side of the road or from our bi-weekly farmers market.

imageimage

 We are also very content exploring the many playgrounds of our neighborhood.

imageimage

A little hike in the woods behind our place.

imageimage

The girls love posing in front of this brick wall every morning although you couldn’t tell by the look on Stella’s face. 🙂

image image

Hope you all have found your happy place this summer.

image

Love,

The Mosbys

 

Germany – one month later

image

Life one month after our move to Germany is just as we dreamed it. It’s busy – no doubt. It’s exciting! It’s eventful!! And sooooo much fun! :-)) We are surrounded by family, we bumped into old friends AND we are making new ones. kids have successfullyfinished of the school year here in Germany after graduating their grades back in Texas in early June. Now they are officially on summer break – but not so fast. I signed them up for a two week camp just down the street from the house. We have been so fortunate to squeeze them in for two weeks on such last minute notice. Kids get to hang out with other kids, half of which speak english! Some have american, others british and one little girl has an australian parent. Kids felt at home from day one. They have even gone on a field trip together! Best of all the facility is only a skip and a hop from home and next door to the Elementary school they will eventually go to once they’ve caught up on their German. Who knows once they’ve transferred hopefully in the fall I might sign them up for after school care here. It’ll be great to keep speaking German and play with friends. Afterall, school is only until 11:30 am for Seda and 12:30 for Isaiah.

image

Once all camps are done we still have three more weeks of vacation. Kids and I have been brainstorming what we’d like to do and see in our new hood… Top of the list is a little one day cruise with a beautiful ship we see almost everyday. There is also a day trip to one of the island in the North Sea… Then there is the beautiful city of Hamburg, of course the capital city of Berlin. In Hamburg we would visit our dear friends Christiane & Torsten, in Berlin my Hala (aunt) and cousins and of course the famous sites…

This weekend we have already visited the beach in Laboe.

imageimage

We took the almost hour long bus ride there and a relaxing boatride back. Now the kids have had a chance to swim in the Pacific, the atlantic, the mediterrean, and the Baltic Sea. Maybe by thee d of the summer we’ll be able to add the North Sea to it. It’s been 28 or so yeRs since I went to the island of Amrum in the north sea on a school trip.  It was such a unique experience. I would love to experience that with the kids soon.

As far as the new apartment is concerned we have been spending time and money at Ikea – of course! Lots of bare wooden floors and white walls needed attention…

image
image

Some measurements were taken by two – I mean ONE guy! :-)) I don’t blame the guy though… There are some ladies sun bathing at the park across the street. So Germany!

image

A couple of gifts & multiple Ikea trips later…we ended up with white sofas And multiple yards of fabric that I am going to turn into curtains -ahem – at least I’ll give it a shot. I have my Hala (aunt) as a back up!! 🙂

image

The curtain rods alone will take up to three weeks to install. So will the floors in Isaiah’s room. Even a basic wireless internet can take up to three weeks to hook up here in the land of steep salaries and long summer vacations… Oh well, I waited this long. A few extra weeks won’t make a difference now.

In the meantime we have lots of sightseeing to do. With the Fjord in our backyard we are not getting board at all.

image

imageimage

Oh and then we missed this:

image

My hubby’s birthday :-(( the kids made these wood tiles at this cute fish restaurant called Fishbar. We are planning on taking him there in a few weeks when he comes to visit and see for himself how beautiful and colorful life is for us here in Kiel.

image

Until then hang in there my love,

Yasemin

P.S. All the waiting gave me an opportunity to try out the antique sewing machine my aunt gifted me.

image image image

Germany 2014, Week two

image

image

A lesson in gratefullness. We dreamed of, we planned it, we executed it and so far our expectations of what life would be like in Germany were way exceeded. So many friends and strangers made our transition smooth, successful and even fun! my heart is grateful for all the good fortune we have encountered since moving here. Life is colorful, new, exciting, busy, fun, stimulating and full of love. So many positive attributes.

image

I feel so fortunate to have the choice to live in the US and in Germany or anywhere else within Europe. The system is so well organized that with the proper knowledge and preparation a move such as ours is manageable and easy, so easy. I wished more people took advantage of our globalized world and experience the world like we are able to do. The children have completely immersed in the German life and are loving school, their sweet teacher and the cute friends they are making everyday. Stella and I get into gear just as soon as the big kids are dropped of at school and walk the streets, run our errands, get things done! Not a dull moment. Stella loves all the hustle and bustle of the city, she loves the many parks and green areas, but most importantly she loves the water!! She squeals as soon as she spies the smallest body of water. WASSER she says WASSER!!!!!

image

And water there is in this beautiful city of Kiel. Lots of water, ponds, the fjord and rocky and sandy beaches. I am definitely happiest by the water. I am glad my kids, especially the youngest appreciate it just as much.

image

Any day now we will be moving into our new home. So far my mom has been a life saver and money saver too for letting us take over her tiny apartment and replace picture frames and vases with toys and books and other trinkets the kids collect every day. She has been doing our laundry, at least a load a day, and washing our dishes, buying groceries etc. Her little quite life has been enriched by three little happy faces and my smile as been as the State of Texas.

 image

I don’t know what divine power is working here but I am grateful that it is working for us. Thank you thank you universe for this experience. And thank you to all our friends in the US and in Germany for their well wishes. Your positive energy is working. 🙂

image

Love,

Yasemin

 

Germany 2014, Week One

image

The three dual citizens have arrived! It was a loooong trip but well worth it. The clean air, the blue sky, being surrounded by water, drinking clean water straight from the tap, having family close by and much more. It all feels like a dream come true. Each day is full of new experiences.

image

Playing at one of the many parks around our neighborhood, visiting the bi-weekly farmers market across the street, meeting new people…

image

A little world cup soccer by the fjörd anyone? Even Stella couldn’t resist.

image

The kids finished school in the US. A week later they are back to school in Germany. What troopers they are.

We have quite the commute to this elementary school but it is designed to teach new kids the language as soon as possible so that they can be sent to their respective  neighborhood schools once they acquire the necessary skills. This can happen as early as three months from now but won’t take longer than a year. Our neighborhood elementary school is only a two minute walk from our new home! My dream come true! Also coincidentally is the same elementary school that I went to 1982! Say what? 🙂

image

Of course, school isn’t everything and one has to play too. In our case that means: soccer – better yet Fussball!

image

Isaiah is so excited about his upcoming soccer camp at Holstein Kiel. My brother kindly offered to take him to the facility for a tour. That was sweet.

image

Here he is playing table tennis with a complete stranger cause mama is chasing after this one:

image

Generally, this first week in Germany has been especially sweetened by the support that my family has given us. Whether we needed a ride, a high chair, help setting up a new cell phone or ‘handy’ as it’s called here it has been absolutely wonderful. In the 13 years that I’ve spent in the US I’ve never had that kind of support. So far i was able to secure a whole room full of loot: a marble top dining table & 6 chairs, an antique sailor’s chest with custom pillow made from famous toile du jus fabric from France, an antique sewing console (can you say Biedermeier??), a mirror you have to see to believe it, an original piece of art, lots of household items including two teapots, plates from France!, several baskets, lots of fabric, and the list goes on and on…

Overall, this week has been eventful, exciting, emotional, full of energy and not enough sleep. Tomorrow we are signing the lease to our new apartment. Although we won’t be moving in just yet it feels so good to know that our new home is going to be in Kiel, my hometown, the place where I met my husband 19 years ago.

image

This is the place the foundation for the future Mosby family was laid. I am thrilled to have an opportunity to this all over again with my children. Now, all that’s missing is daddy! He is still in Texas tying up some loose ends. We cannot wait to be reunited!

Love,

Yasemin

P.S. And just for the sake of continuity here are the final pictures from our countdown to #GermanyHereWeCome:

image

One day until departure we all squeeze onto a sofa on the patio of a quaint South Beach hotel in Miami.

image

And finally bye bye USA, at the Miami International airport right before we went through security.

This is it! It’s Moving Day!

How did this happen?

Just the other day we started a countdown to moving day and I am pretty sure it said: 30!

image

Today, my daughter is posing in front of the chalkboard at our favorite grocery store and it reads: 3 days left!

 image

This can’t be! What a whirlwind of events! The kids are out of school, the house is emptying out, a storage unit of 5 x 5 is filling up, suitcases and piles of clothes in random places begging my attention… It happened so fast – all of this. The transition. The preparation of a new chapter!

These are the pictures we posted for our friends on Facebook (days 10 – 3):

#10, My husband spoiled the kids with a dozen donuts!

#9, The next day he had jury duty – how ironic is the timing! (I am guessing the gods punished him for the donuts :-))!

#8, My babies finished third grade & Kindergarten respectively.

#7, A week before our departure our social commitments exploded as everyone demanded QT! Thanks friends.

image

#6, My husband the self-declared WaterPoPo found some water wasters!

#5, I’ve spent way to much time labeling and numbering all boxes.

#4, We got to spend some quality time with our dear friends Nick & Jen and their cool kids.

#3, We are eating out every meal since all our household goods went to Andy and Peyton.

imageAs far as logistics,  the international moving company that I am working with is pretty east to work with – so far. They were very informative and up front with the cost and time involved.  They have a international minimum of 100 cubic feet. A 5 x 5 unit holds about half of that. Our alternative to ship everything via fedex UPS would have cost much more! Benefit: it would have taken them a week or so. The container on a boat option we are going for will take up to 9 weeks in transit!!!

Here is a view of a typical storage facility. That place looks like a high-security prison to me… not a real fun place to spent an afternoon.

image

For customs purposes I was instructed to label each box with the content and number them as well. I did’t mind since labeling a box is obviously handy when moving.

image

These 40-something boxes will have to remain ‘locked up’ for a while.  At least until I sign the contract to our new living quarters. Once we give the shippers the ok they will retrieve these boxes from the storage unit and deliver them within 9 to 12 weeks to iur new address! I am sure by then I wont even remember what I packed in the first place…. In order to avoid paying taxes and import fees all of the things being shipped need to be your own property, you’ve owned it for 6 months at least, you are subject to bringing the same amount of alcohol, cigarettes, perfume etc as if you were putting them on your suitcase on the plane… Well, i wont have that problem. I never purchase wine and definitely no cigarettes when I am traveling overseas. About 80% of the content of our boxes are toys, kid’s artwork since preschool, yearbooks, their books, photos, photos and more photos! The rest is winter clothes, my sewing stuff (let’s just leave it at that!), and only the most precious plates and tea cups i’ve owned for almost two decades now.

And because these boxes will be en route tht long I am maximizing my baggage allowance for the first time. We each get to check in a suitcase, and have a carry on plus a personal item each on the airplane. I think I am allowed an additional carry-on for the baby but I had to stop myself there… That would have been eay to much for us to carry around once we land in Duesseldorf. The second plane to Hamburg is relatively small and full of business travellers. I am going to liok like a pack rat with my three children and a handful of bags to squeeze through the tiny aisles. Never ind there is never any overhead compartment space left by the time we board anyway… First world problems really.

Ok friends, this is it. It’s time to say good-bye to the life as we knew it in North Texas. Tomorrow morning I’ll zip up the suitcases, check all travel documents, pack a huge diaper bag, make sure kid’s backpacks are full of snacks and entertainment. We are ready for the next chapter!

Love,

Yasemin

May in pictures

May meant packing for us! The shelves started emptying, the boxes started filling. But with school still in full swing and soccer season in session there was still a lot of non-moving things happening in the Mosby house.

My May Instagram looked liked this:

Field trip to the Perot Museum in Dallas chaperoning my son’s 3rd grade:

image image

My sweet girl finished a very successful and fun soccer season with her Darlin’ Daisies:

image image image Teacher Appreciation week:

image image

No matter how busy I am, play time with Stella always comes first:

image image

And a little break on Memorial Day yielded this family picture at the DMA and another one with only us girls:

image image

Of course the older kids still needed to play with friends & at sunset at the park:

image image

And then there was the daily countdown to Germany picture, of course: Days 30 through 11

image image image

image image

Now it’s time to get serious. With only nine days until departure there is still more work than time left!

Let’s go!

Yasemin