Sunday, March 25, 2012

Koln, Germany

Im extremely behind on my travel updates. Way back in December we took a little road trip up to Cologne, or Koln as it's known here in Germany. (Yes, Im just now getting around to blogging about this!) We'd never been before and wanted to see the town as well as their many Christmas markets. It was M's first road trip and she did really well. The car ride home sucked, but at least she was good while we were there. 

We stayed at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel. We were very impressed with the hotel. It was very international, clean, everyone spoke English and the bar made a very tasty pineapple mojito. We had a corner room and it was a bit cramped with the three of us plus all of the baby crap we have to haul around when we go anywhere, but it was nice. I was disappointed that there were only three English speaking TV channels. Breakfast was an outrageous 25 euro/person, so we skipped that and instead ate at the Starbucks down the street. 

We loved Cologne. It is a beautiful, vibrant city full of international flair. As with any city we travel to, we were most concerned with the food. Your taste buds will be satisfied whether you want Brazilian, Japanese or even New Orleans Cajun. They have it all. On our first night, we went to a local restaurant called Pfaffgen that brews its own beer. The beer was so delicious and the food was artery clogging good. We ate at a Portuguese restaurant on our last night. Amazing tapas and beer. 

cute trash cans

Great locally brewed beer

"What killed Elvis"- J

A little taste of home....

Finally found some good sushi!

We had a great time and would love to go back in WARMER weather! =) 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Update to Professional Problems

Thank you all so much for your outrage on my behalf and your supportive words. This is a ridiculous situation that still has me in disbelief.

I emailed the credentialing center and explained my situation, that I was a military spouse living overseas without an opportunity to work, etc. It took a couple of weeks for them to reply, and when it came, it consisted of only four sentences which went a little something like this:

You must meet the 1,000 hour practice requirement within the given time frame.
There are no clauses, extensions or exceptions.
You must submit your application 1 year before it expires.
You can get the hours by working or volunteering.

That's it.
They might as well have said F-you, you're screwed lady.

Living overseas, the only TV we have is AFN. I cant tell you how many commercials Ive seen that say how the government and businesses are doing anything and everything they can for military members and their spouses to keep them gainfully employed. Seeing those is like rubbing salt in an open wound. My next step is to call the credentialling center and actually speak to someone about this. Preferably not the lady who emailed me.

I went ahead and reapplied for practicing privileges at the hospital here and was accepted, so I can legally work or volunteer. Now I just need a nanny to keep M 7-8 hours a day 2-3 days a week. Oh, and she needs to be weaned from breast feeding. And because of our crazy schedule, I wouldnt be able to start until July.....  This is getting complicated.

So that's where we stand as of now. Im going to make the phone call soon and plead my case. Hopefully Ill get someone with a sympathetic ear who can help me.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What's Been Going On

*It seems like this past month has been busier than ever. M is such a good baby, so much happier these days, which makes it easier for me to get out of the house with her. I actually enjoy going places with her now that she doesnt have an epic meltdown every time we're in the car. Seriously, she hated the car and carseat passionately (and loudly), but about a month ago decided it wasnt so bad. Im relieved since we are traveling people.

*Speaking of traveling, we have A LOT of it coming our way. In fact, we're booked every weekend from now until July 4th. Craziness. We are trying to see it all before we PCS next summer, but I know that's impossible. We'll never be able to see everything we want to see over here. But we're going to make a darn good effort to do so while we can. This month we're taking a few day trips to places that are less than 2 hrs from us. We went to France twice in the last month. We're headed to Holland for a weekend to see the huge tulip festival and parade next month, plus more day trips. Then we head to the States for a whole month! I am SO excited about that trip. Both of our families will get to meet M, Ill get to shop and eat my way across the country and J will be in training for the month. Seems fair right?
After that, we're off to Normandy for a week for the D-Day reenactment celebration and later than month, we head off for our 10 day Baltic cruise. In the months following that we're planning a four day trip to Rome, one to Barcelona, a week long trip to the Romantic region of France and the French Riviera, and who knows what else. Whew! Im exhausted just thinking about it all, but super excited too. Luckily, M is a great little traveler. She's never been on an airplane though and I am incredibly nervous about all the flying we'll be doing soon. Any tips on flying with a baby?

*We had family photos/M's 6 month photos taken last weekend by the same photographer who took my maternity shots. The photos are AH-MAZ-ING!!! I cant say enough good things about them. M was a doll and so, so good during the photo shoot. I cant wait to get the CD of them all.

*We're on a great schedule now. M is sleeping in her room at night, which was going well until she got her first cold. That set us back two weeks, but she's over it now and Im hoping we're headed towards good, restful nights again. She's using a sippy cup and eating solids like a champ. Im starting the weaning process today from breast feeding. She wasnt impressed with her first bottle of formula. We'll keep trying. Id like for her to be weaned completely by the end of next month. Hopefully that's not unrealistic.

*The weather here in Germany has actually been rather nice, a surprise and huge difference from last year. We've been getting out in the sunshine as much as possible.

*Im in love with the app Draw Something. An artist, I am not, but it is so much fun to try. Everyone's drawings are hilarious! My username is kmack143 if anyone wants to play.

*I have some news regarding my professional situation. Ill write a separate post on that lovely situation.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012



We are incredibly happy.
We rarely argue.
We make up quickly and sweetly.
We have been together almost six years. 
We can't believe it's been that long.
We are looking forward to seventy or so more.

We cloth diaper and love it.
We co-sleep and never thought we would.
We miss sleeping more than five hours in a row.
We aren't ready for another child...yet.
We live on coffee and willpower.
We love unconditionally.

We are tired of the freezing weather and snow.
We are warm weather people.
We need the sunshine.
We can't wait till summer.

We love Europe.
We love traveling.
We are blessed to have this opportunity, but
We can't wait to get back to the States. 

We are best friends.
We genuinely like each other.
We are each other's happy.
We don't know many people like us. 
We think that's okay because, 
We are happy with who 
We are.

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Professional Problems

I'm not sure how many of you know this, but I am an Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Sounds fancy doesnt it? It just means that I can work with adults in an acute care setting. I graduated from grad school six months before we moved to Germany. I passed my boards just three months before we arrived here. I never had the opportunity to practice while we were in the States. Now it looks like I might never have the opportunity to practice at all....

After high school, I went to college with the intent of becoming an occupational therapist. I had done some summer internships at our local hospital and really loved working in OT. I chose the school with the best OT program in our state and off I went.

Once I arrived though, I began doing research on other majors, other careers. I dont remember why, but ultimately, I changed my major to nursing with the purpose of becoming a nurse anesthetist. I wanted to make a lot of money, but not have to work too hard to do it. (Admirable, I know.) I guess OTs just didnt make enough money, plus I wanted to go out of state for grad school and the locations of CRNA schools was highly appealing to me. I loved working in the operating room, so I thought becoming a CRNA would be a good fit for me.

So I switched to nursing and loved/hated every minute of it. I found nursing school to be easy in that the skills came pretty easily to me. I felt like I was born to be in the medical profession. I truly love helping people, having all the right answers and seeing my advice and skills make a difference in someone's life.

Somewhere along the way though, I realized that nurse anesthesia wasnt for me. I wasnt that person. Money wasnt going to make me happy if I was bored with the job. I was already too far into my major to change it again, so I decided to push on and become a nurse practitioner. Nurses have a remarkably high level of job opportunities and can do anything from work in a hospital, clinic or school to teach, manage or direct. I knew if I became an NP, I would have lots of opportunities for a career, and, big money or not, I would be happy. My end desire was to teach grad school.

I put in my time after college at a large local hospital's surgical intensive care unit, a job I loved to hate. I can say now that it was a great experience, but one I am very happy to have over with. I applied to grad school, in state, and got in two years after graduating college. It took three long, stressful, expensive years to get my graduate degree, but I did it. I graduated with my Master's in Nursing and couldnt have been more proud.

During my clinical rotations, I rounded with an endocrinologist who specialized in diabetes. Before meeting him, diabetes was one of my least favorite subjects. I was scared of all the treatment options and the seriousness of the disease. This doctor completely changed my way of thinking. He treated his patients in such a novel way that made total sense to me. He had high success rates and an easy demeanor. He inspired me to want to be like him, a diabetes specialist. He even offered me a job if we were to stay in the area after my graduation. I was elated, so happy to have been offered my dream nursing job.  .... And then we found out we were moving to Germany.

Again, I was elated for the opportunity to live and travel overseas and I havent regretted our decision once. But I am at a professional crossroads now. There are remarkably few opportunities for civilian nurse practitioners to work over here. I tried for months to find a job before getting pregnant. Now that we have a little one and no childcare, my options are even fewer.

In December I received a letter from the national certification board stating that my certification, along with several others, was being eliminated. If I didnt meet the requirements for recertification within five years of taking my boards, I would lose my certification and be unable to practice as a nurse practitioner, ever. I couldnt believe this! I havent even had the chance to work as a nurse practitioner yet, the career I worked so long and hard to get. And now it might slip through my fingers. Years of school, money, stress and time wasted. Before March 2015, I must get 3,000 working hours and around 75 educational hours. I can get the educational hours relatively easily, but the working hours? Not so much. Im not sure what's going to happen at this point.

I never intended to be a stay at home mom. Ive worked and/or been in school since I was fifteen. Ive been a little lost with all of my free time since moving here. Hobbies and social gatherings only take up so much time. And really, how many times can you clean your house? Since having a child, my "free" time has been drastically reduced, but I still feel like I am floundering. I feel so blessed to be able to stay home with our child, to watch her grow, teach her about the world around her and see her flourish. But I never intended to be a stay at home mom. I feel like something is missing. I actually want to work. My mom worked while I was growing up and is still working to this day. I admire her so much for making it all work, for being an awesome mother, plus juggling a full-time, demanding job. I feel like I have so much to contribute to society. I want to be out there helping people. Being a mother is the most rewarding and important job I will ever have. I just want to do that and more.

*Hold your hateful comments. Please remember that these are just my opinions of myself and not in any way a reflection of how I feel about other people. I think being a SHM is an awesome and incredibly difficult job. So difficult, that it's just not for me. I greatly admire all moms, whether they work in the home or out.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shout Out

I just wanted to give a shout out to Shabby Apple, the sponsor of my last giveaway. They truly are a great company!

I received a very sad email from the winner, Casey pertaining to her prize. The package for the necklace arrived...without the necklace. The package was a flimsy envelope and was open when delivered. So either the necklace fell out, or, more likely, someone took it from the envelope. I really dislike that things like this happen. Makes my heart sad.

Anyway, I was upset for her and unsure what exactly happens in situations like this, so I emailed my contact from Shabby Apple and explained what had happened. I was hoping they had taken out insurance before mailing the necklace. When I received the reply, it was even better than them having insurance. They stated that they would replace the necklace at no charge. Woohoo!

The replacement was mailed right away and Casey received it last week. Im so thankful for the wonderful customer service provided by Shabby Apple and their quick resolution to this situation.

Casey, we want to see a picture of you wearing this gorgeous necklace! =)

*I wasnt compensated in any way for this post. It's just my honest opinion and appreciation. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Shabby Apple Winner!

The winner of the Shabby Apple giveaway is............

#13 Casey!

Casey said...

I follow your blog. Duh. :)

Congrats Casey! Send me your shipping information and Ill pass it along to Shabby Apple. Im totally jealous and just might have to buy the necklace for myself! =) 

Thank you so much to everyone who entered! 

(I used but cant get it to copy over at the moment.)