Back in Action

Thank you for following us while we were abroad in Germany! We are now back in action in Alaska… see our new blog below if you are interested in following our latest adventure

Borealis, Bears & Brock

Hello friends!

After almost 7 months apart, our family is finally reunited and based out of Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska. I loved keeping in touch with you all via our blog Beer, Brats & Brock while we were in Germany and it seemed fitting to do the same for this next adventure in America’s Last Frontier.

Make sure to follow us, now at Borealis, Bears & Brock to keep up to date with our adventures. Simply add your email (below on mobile, to the right on a desktop) and continue to receive updates for each of our posts.

We haven’t even been here a month and already I have so much to tell you… I hope you join us.

P.S. The picture at the top of the page was take Sept. 8, 2019 in the Fairbanks area 🙂

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Knowing Fort Greely is a remote base in Alaska, from the start we understood an unaccompanied assignment was a possibility. Now it is reality. Fil’s tour has been reduced to one year, and he will go alone. Because of Brock’s IEP for speech, the Alaska garrison has denied us. Please don’t take that harshly, it is for our own good. Basically what it boils down to is that the services he requires are not available at the location. The army does these screenings so that family member’s needs are taken care of. We absolutely knew it was possible that we could be denied but were hopeful. I researched and know that the school there does have the services available but it is our guess that their caseload is already full or maybe those services will not be available in the future.

I have been given the ability to choose where I will live with Brock during our upcoming year apart. We are going to have a lot of conversations in the coming days and weeks, and just as many decisions to make. Where I will go, what I will take, what goes with Fil, sell our car or keep it, where to send the things we put in storage 4 years ago before we left Virginia, the process of setting up two households, finding the best credit card/frequent flyer card for all the airline miles we will be raking up on visits, and lucky for us we need to make all these plans fast. Because that the army. We have 45 days until we absolutely have to be out of Germany with all loose ends tied nicely but ideally Brock and I will fly out in about 20 so Brock can have a proper Christmas with most of our family. Fingers crossed Fil makes it out in time. With all this mess the least we can do is make sure Brock can feel the Christmas magic with his Grandparents. (and you can bet your butt that he is getting that too expensive toy that he really wanted)

I’ve said it before, but now it is really true. Worst PCS ever.

P.S. We are not unrealistic. We know we are fortunate. We are so thankful that we are not facing a deployment. Leaving an overseas posting and going to another has its complications, and those complications just got a lot bigger.

P.P.S. the picture above was taken almost exactly 4 years ago. TIME FLIES. If we have learned anything over these 4 years it is just that, and our next year will fly too.

Black Forest Getaway

A miracle happened. As you all know, Fil came home for a week around Halloween but was due to go back to the Norway. He was due to leave on a Sunday, and I somehow convinced him to come away with us to the Black Forest Friday through Saturday. Most of the day Friday I could tell he regretted it. At that point he still did not know where nor when to meet on Sunday for his flight and was anxious it would get moved up while we were 3 hours from home. Around 4 pm, just as we came down from the mountain waterfall, Fil got a call and relaxed. They had it covered and he could stay home with us! Now, fully relaxed we really enjoyed our little getaway to the land of smoked ham, chocolate cake, and cuckoo clocks.  Continue reading

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone! Neither Fil nor I grew up in families that made a big deal of Halloween. I always had a cool costume thanks to my mom and her sewing machine, but trick or treating was it for us. This year Brock was REALLY excited for Halloween. I don’t know where his excitement came from but he was all about it. We listened to Halloween music every time we got in the car during October and as the month went on we hung more and more decorations. Our living room and dining room are decorated to the max!  Continue reading

Strasbourg, Stroudsburg… so not the same

Growing up so close to the Pennsylvania Poconos, Stroudsburg is a name I am quite familiar with. However, over here, Strasbourg is all the rage. I think within our first month here I had heard of the French village and that their Christmas market was one of the best. The only problem was with my knowledge of Stroudsburg I couldn’t for the life of me pronounce Strasbourg correctly. I hope I haven’t sounded too out of touch when talking about it over the years. Being so close, many Americans from the bases here visit Strasbourg, and I would venture to say that most of them come away in awe. It has been on my list for sometime and with Elaine visiting, I finally made it there.

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Getting Real

Today I want to get real with you all. This life in Europe is a dream come true, yes. I have gotten to see and experience so many things I dreamed of, and so many more that I didn’t even know about before coming here. I feel personally blessed to have been able to live abroad for these nearly 4 years. But it is also a struggle every single day. My heart is breaking for Brock. He misses his daddy so much he cries for him saying between the tears “I want daddy to come home”. In many ways Brock is flourishing here, but as of lately has been regressing and I can only attribute it to his heartache. As a mother that kills me.  Continue reading

Bernkastel Best Life

I mentioned in my last post that during my friend Elaine’s visit we hiked the Mosel Valley vineyards in Bernkastel-Kues and had one of those days I will remember forever. This was completely unexpected but I am so glad it unfolded as it did.

Until now, Bernkastel-Kues has been somewhat of an awkward town for me. In all of the groups I am in online over here for Americans, Bernkastel is consistently listed as a favorite destination for so many people not only as a great place to visit, but also as a top Christmas Market town. A few years ago we went one afternoon to check out the market, and aside from the fireworks once it was dark, we were left unimpressed. The town was absolutely stunning with the endless half-timbered buildings and charm oozing from every crevice, but the market seemed small, crowded, and overall just did not make our top 5 list. I was baffled why so many Americans say this is their favorite.  Continue reading

Shopping along the River Saar

Sometimes things just work out perfectly. Towards the end of July, the moons aligned and a really good friend of mine was able to come visit. Timing was perfect for her, but also me… Fil had 4 days off so she and I were able to explore Germany sans Brock for a few days, and when she left it led right into a crazy week so it was nice to be out adventuring.

As with everyone who ventures across the Atlantic to see us, I try to find new adventures so that we can share the new experience. For Elaine’s visit, we did a treetop walk with views of the Saar river, a wine hike in Bernkastel-Kues, Schloss Drachenburg, and finally a day trip over the border to Strasbourg, France. We really filled everyday with adventures and I am so grateful she came to share these with me. Big plus—Elaine is a photographer so we have amazing pictures! Most of the pictures I will use in these blogs about our travels are hers, and you can see them all and more at this link (this is a temporary album so make sure to look at them soon).  Continue reading

Our boy is 4!

I think that time actually flies quicker in Europe. It is hard to believe that when we boarded our first flight to Germany Brock was only 3 months old, and now, as of yesterday, he is 4 years old! It went too fast! The lead up to this birthday was chaos in our house. One of my oldest friends came for a 10 day visit, more on that later, that took us right up to Thursday. Friday was Fil’s Change of Command ceremony, Saturday was Brock’s Birthday party, Monday was the big day, his actual birthday, and today, Tuesday, Fil left bright and early for a well-deserved fishing trip before spending the next few months away on mission. I almost feel like I can catch my breath, but alas we have a busy week before flying to the States for my sister’s wedding. Whew! I am looking forward to September.  Continue reading

Musical Alpine Weekend

For us, Julie Andrews’s voice rang true. The hills were alive with the sound of music on our trip to Berchtesgaden earlier this month. I only wish we had more time to capture all of the beauty of the German Alpine Mountain region. It was truly breathtaking. Our trip was far too short to do even half of the things on my list, but I left in-love with the region and so glad we had ticked the destination off of my list. You could almost hear the music pouring over the Alps and through the valleys, running with the glacial rivers, and then leaping across the grazing fields that were bursting with wild flowers. Germany is a beautiful country, but this corner of Bavaria is by far the most beautiful. The icing on the cake was the alpine chalets with masses of flowers pouring over the balconies. I am not one to take many pictures of homes, but I simply could not stop. Continue reading