Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas with a Stuard

Last year was technically our first Christmas together, but I don't look at it that way. I hadn't been in Germany for two weeks yet and we had pretty much nothing in the house. It was a wonderful Christmas though. We were together for the first time in three months and we still managed to have pumpkin pie. This year, we are more set up and we actually have a tree that was given to us. Unfortunately, we were just NOT in the Christmas spirit this year. There is no snow on the ground over here (last year we were covered in feet of it), we didn't have the tree or any decorations up, and after watching other couples fly to the states to be with family, we became a little homesick. Nothing felt like Christmas.

Because of this, I didn't make any plans for Christmas day. I thought it would just be us, at home, enjoying movies, and eating by ourselves. I was looking forward to it. Besides, by this point, it was too close to Christmas to plan a big meal and invite people over. After watching my mom be the perfect Southern hostess for years, I have a lot to live up to and it takes me a lot more time of planning and preparing to even get somewhat close. We were past the point of no return and nothing big was supposed to happen.

The night before Christmas Eve, at exactly 8:45, my husband and I were at the commissary picking up a few things before the store closed. It was at this time that Tyler suddenly got the idea to invite two couples over for Christmas. He looked at me, told me his plan, and then started to call his work friends. I was ok with this. It was only two couples and we still had a day to get a little dinner ready. I immediately went to the frozen section to grab a ham. Thankfully they weren't out of them. Yay, check one, ham. Since the store was closing in 10 minutes, we decided to come back the next day and get the rest of what we needed.

The next day, Christmas Eve, we woke up and finished the funiture moving we had started the day before (give us time off and we start rearraning the WHOLE house) It was crazy and exhausting. Why did we do this and not go grocery shopping right away....like the moment we woke up?? I have no idea. I would like to say it was Tyler's idea, but I actually don't know who's idea it was. But, we finished that and THEN went to the commissary. Which of course, was CLOSED at this point. Oh yeah, the commissary does close early Christmas Eve, doesn't it? At this point, I was ready to cry. I had people coming to my house the next day and all I had was ham and a few things at my house. Not the perfect feast I was thinking of. But there wasn't much we could do; so we raided two shoppettes and grabbed anything they happened to have. And I must admit, the meal actually turned out great. It wan't traditional or anything; but there was plently of food and it was good. Thankfully I had a mother who taught me the importance of keeping a good stock of basics in the house and I am blessed with the means to do so. There was no pumpkin pie, but there was chocolate cake. And we finally put up the tree Christmas morning. Its amazing what a simple act like putting up a tree can do for your Christmas spirit.

This was a Stuard type Christmas. It went against my Benoit training, but it was a very enjoyable Christmas. I didn't stress (execpt for maybe a few minutes in front of the commissary) but instead we went with the flow and had fun together. Next year though, I will not be caught in front of a closed commissary with a list in my hand. Old habits die hard :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Let's Go to France!

Anyone who knows me knows that I have always wanted to go to France. Ever since I was a little girl, I've asked my dad to tell me how to say this and that in French. I knew I wouldn't remember what he said, but I still just wanted to say it in French. In high school, I did my two years of French and loved every moment of it. So when I learned that I would get to live in Germany, I was ecstatic because it was that much closer to going to France (not to mention my lifelong dream of being a Stuard was taken care of ;)

    Well, Tyler is on leave for a little while now and we went to France! We woke up one morning and Tyler told me to be ready in 15 minutes. I was pretty comfy and didn't necessarily want to move so I looked at him and asked why? He said cause we're going to France today. Yeah, I moved.....got ready really quick that morning! We got ready and we took off. I found out we're only an hour away from the border of France! It's really cool to be this close to the borders that you can leave the country for a day. Our destination was Strasbourg. Its only 2 hours away from our house and a very beautiful drive. Aah I was so happy driving up there. Tyler said there was a constant smile on my face the whole time.

       After driving 2 hours, we reached Strasbourg, but we didn't actually know where we were going. Every city has a center or an old part of the town. That's the place we always look for. We drove around and around and after about 20 minutes of seeing sights like this, I was griping at Tyler saying why am I not walking around in this! :) We finally found a parking garage and set out on foot. It was like a dream. I was in France, walking down a French street, hearing the beautiful French language all around me.

     First sight you see is the huge cathedral. Cathedrals are everywhere it seems over here in Europe; but I never get tired of seeing them.  They are so big and extravagant and beautiful. We didn't walk in this one though. You had to pay to get in and honestly at this point I had my sights set on seeing the Palace!

      The Palace Rohan was our first stop. This palace was the home of four cardinals of the Rohan family from 1704 until the Revolution. It was the first palace I have been able to see and I thought it was beautiful. Unfortunately we didn't see the whole thing. It now houses three separate museums and we chose the museum that showed the actual rooms of the family. The whole place was extravagant. Gold and velvet everywhere. I'm sure this wasn't even one of the most decorated places either (waiting to see the Palace of Versailles!) It was such a cool experience to walk around the big open sitting rooms staring at the pictures and walking down the big halls seeing all the bedrooms and libraries.
After the palace, we were both in need of food so we started looking for a place to eat. This was another crucial part of the France experience. When you think of dining in France, what do you think of? I think of an open cafe with lots of tables crowded together and music floating in the air from somewhere in the city. You may laugh at my image, but we found a place just like it! We found the Cafe Rohan and sat down to our first French dining experience. It took awhile to order (we're still getting used to the slower pace of the Europeans sometimes) but in the meantime we were entertained. A few cafes down, there was a woman walking around playing some beautiful flute music. (music..check!) But there was also an older gentleman dressed up as Charlie Chaplin doing a routine right by our table. It was very amusing...the first time around. After the third go around, it lost its charm. Still added to the experience though! Our food was delicious by the way. I ordered a pizza and Tyler ordered the salmon. Both were very yummy!    
       After lunch, we headed off to the boat tours. We figured it would be the best way to see more of the city without walking so much. The boat had head phones and a recoreded tour to tell you what you were looking at. Its nice that everywhere we went, English was an option! Unfortunately we didn't get may pictures because our boat had a plastic top which was a little annoying. Still a good way to see the city though.
       At the end of the tour, I was ready for my last French treat....a CREPE! I've only ever had one (here in Kaiserslautern) and I was ready for a real crepe from France. The chocolate crepe was amazing! Everything I wanted it to be. And the perfect accessory while strolling through the shops.

      Strasbourg was such a wonderful city. It was a spure of the moment trip; but it was my favorite one so far! I have officially been to France now.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Oh my goodness, Edelweiss Resort was such a blast! It was gorgeous and just perfectly relaxing! I am very thankful we were able to go on the marriage retreat.

The morning started very early with all the couples piling onto our buses for the six hour drive to Garmisch. It was a beautiful drive though! We saw a castle along the way and even got to cut through Austria for a little bit. When we finally got to the actual resort, I was amazed. Edelweiss is surrounded by mountains. Everywhere you look around the resort, you are able to see mountains! It is truly a breathtaking scenery you have to see for yourself.

The reason we were able to go to Edelweiss was, of course, because of the marriage retreat. Now I have to be honest, I wasn't expecting much from the retreat part of the trip. It was hosted by the Army chaplain and I just honestly wasn't expecting to get very much from the whole seminar. Boy was I wrong though! First off, I would like to say that we have an awesome Chaplain. He is a very down to earth man who has a heart for serving the Lord. The way he runs his service is more like the church services I went to growing up than the standard Army chapel service. I did not know this though because I had not met the chaplain yet. During the retreat we did two awesome studies. The first was Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage by Mark Gungor and the second was the Five Love Languages. If you haven't done either of them, I highly recommend going through them! They are wonderful!! We watched the video series for Mark Gungor and he is very entertaining but truthful! As for the Five Love Languages, I had heard of them but had never actually gone through the book. I am very glad we did that weekend though. To know how your spouse receives love and is trying to show you love is crucial. We were both blessed by the conference that weekend and we learned so much about each other.

The majority of our time was taken up by the classes during the retreat; but we did have one afternoon set aside as a mandatory date night. Because all the tours and much of the popular attractions in Garmisch were closed by the time we were let out of our class, we decided to go with the one thing that was always open...the bike rentals. We rented bikes along with another couple from the retreat and we started riding around the paths that surround Edelweiss. Biking turned out to be the best activity! We were able to cover a lot of ground without walking! It was the most beautiful bike ride I have ever been on. The whole time we were surrounded by snow capped mountains and green hills. Honestly it reminded me of some scenes from The Sound of Music (the dad does sing a song called Edelweiss in the movie doesn't he??). We came across a ski jump that hosted the 1936 winter Olympics. I have seen the ski jumpers on tv; but I am telling you that until you see the jump in person, you cannot grasp just how crazy those people must be to jump off that thing! It is very impressive in person.

We continued our bike ride through the town and made it just in time to eat dinner and shop around a little before the stores closed. We ate pizza at this quaint shop that we were told had the "best pizza in Garmisch." Of course we had to try it out and I will admit it was very good. We stopped by a chocolate shop called 'Amelie's' and browsed through their two stories of chocolates. It all looked so delicious!

Our weekend ended with a couples massage at the resort. It was my first massage ever and I loved it! It was so relaxing! I actually fell asleep right at the end. They do the massage in special rooms on the floor that you're staying on and I was very thankful for that. We were both so relaxed and drowsy after that we didn't want to walk very far!

The whole weekend was amazing! Not only did we get to see some beautiful sights in a gorgeous city; but we were also blessed by the classes during the retreat. The time spent in the conference was just as memorable as the bike ride through the city. We had a wonderful experience through it all! We definitely want to go back sometime and see the other sights we just didn't have time to hit this go around.

Through this retreat we were able to meet the Chaplain and get to know him a little bit. During the weekend we learned that he was starting services at the Patriot Chapel and they were just starting out with about 30 couples attending. He invited us to visit. We went and checked it out and we both thoroughly enjoyed the service. We have continued going to his services and now Tyler is helping to get a live worship group started for the services.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


When you're married to a Stuard, nothing ever happens in a normal way. I learned this when I lived with his parents for a little while; but now it is a daily part of my life as his wife. Life is never boring to say the least because you never know what to expect. And when you do expect something, it doesn't happen the way you expect it to. Or maybe that's just from being in the Army. Yesterday we found out that we were indeed on the list to go on the marriage retreat. We had originally been told a few weeks ago that we were not and that the slot was going to a couple who actually had marriage problems. Well they were wrong. Hmmm, the Army has tons of paperwork, but they don't have any organization. Anyway, we learned this yesterday and the bus leaves tomorrow at 6am!! Woo Hoo!! We weren't expecting to go anywhere this weekend; but now we get to go to Edelweiss....and it's paid for! I am very excited and I promise I will blog all about it next week.

Another bit of news is that we got an almost complete living room set yesterday when we weren't expecting it. Tyler's master sergeant just bought a whole brand new living room set and he was going to put his 'old' (one year old) living room set in his downstairs room. The hitch was that it wouldn't fit through any of his downstairs doors. At that point his wife just wanted it out of the house so he sold us the whole set...including couch, coffee table, end tables, area rug and pillows...at a fabulous price. I have been searching the yard sale website trying to find living room stuff and then boom....one night, when we're not looking, we get a whole living room. God blessed us with that one. And now Tyler gets to put the little leather love seat upstairs and have his own 'man cave.' Pics will be posted when the furniture is all in place. Tyler was called out last night and didn't come home 'til this morning. So the furniture is all over the place right now. I just have to wait for him to wake up to move it.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekends!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's About Time!

I have found something to help keep me busy and productive thanks to my new friend! Recently I met a fellow Army wife who moved into a house right down the road. This is not her first time living here; so she knows a thing or two about Germany. She also has programs to learn German. Yippee!! She has graciously let me borrow this program called Linkword.

 I love it! It is such a cool way to learn German, and it is actually what I did in my own way to learn French. What Linkword does is help you with word association. It tells you the German word and what it means, but then it gives you a scenario to envision and link to that word. For instance....

Lobster = "hummer".....imagine a lobster with a sense of humor
Mother="mutter"........ imagine a mother who mutters to herself   (hey, I have one of those!)
Sister = "schwester"....... imagine a sweater on your sister

It does this for every word. It gives you something to visualize. For me, what helps is the quirky associations. I have always been able to remember facts with the most random associations. It also goes on to help you remember the gender of the word. The whole program is just very cool and I am in love with it.  Finally, I am beginning to learn some German!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hello Again

Ok, ok, ok. I'm am very sorry about not blogging lately. Last week I was sick, and I'm sorry, but I didn't feel like blogging about my virus :) Unfortunately I gave it to Tyler so we were both knocked out for a little while. Thankfully we're feeling much better now. Last weekend we were even able to take a little drive. The idea was to go to a town called Saarbrucken. There's nothing of much historical value there, that I know of; Tyler and I just randomly picked a place to go. Little did I know, my husband had something up his sleeve. That is one thing I have learned about my husband. He is good at surprises. He's very good at making up stories along the way so I don't figure out he's trying to surprise me and he is excellent at acting surprised or keeping his cool when the big surprise is at hand. Point in case, my husband surprised me by taking me to France. Now, I was VERY excited; but really nothing happened. The border of France is like right next to Saarbrucken and with these open borders it's very easy to accidentally go into a whole nother country without meaning to. This is exactly how Tyler 'accidenatlly' went to France. The thing is he played it so well, I thought he really had done it by accident and I started to get a little antsy the whole ten minutes we were in France because he didn't have a pass to be in another country and that could have meant trouble if he got cuaght or something happened. We were in France about ten minutes altogether; which may not sound like much at all, but for me it was FANTASTIC. I saw French words and felt more at home than I do around all these German words. I am hoping Tyler can get a pass soon and we can go spend a day in France since it's only about an hour away from here. Now unfortunatley I didn't get any pictures. As I said, we were trying to find a place to turn around and we didn't get very far into it and we didn't see anything of picture importance. Next time I go though, I think I will fill up the whole camera because I won't be caught off guard. As far as actually making it to Saarbucken, well, we found it; but we couldn't find the 'heart' of the city so we ended up going back to Kaiserslautern and going out for lunch. But that didn't matter. I was out of the house, with my husband, and I got to be in FRANCE. That day was already perfect and nothing could bring it down.

 Speaking of sight seeing, Tyler and I are hoping to be able to go on a marriage retreat this month to Edelweiss. The trip is paid for by the Army and we would get to spend the weekend in a hotel in Edelweiss going to seminars and seeing the city. I would love to because Edelweiss is on my list of places o see. Tyler submitted the paperwork; so now we're just waiting to hear back from the chaplain whether we get to go or not. I pray we do. It would be awesome!

 And finally, I now have a way to get to our Army Ball picture. For those of you who aren't friends with my mom on facebook, I'll post it here so you can see it.

I just love the way he looks in his uniform! That was a very fun night. We had a good time at our first army ball. If Tyler's sergeant ever gives us the other pictures from that night, I'll post those too. And I will update the blog again soon. I value my life and do not wish to make any certain individuals...third mothers...Mrs. Angie... upset :) (just teasing!) I will do my best.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Saint Barbara's Ball

A few weekends ago Tyler and I got to go to our first ever Army Ball. When he told me he had signed us up for it, I was pretty excited. I was looking forward to getting dressed up and attending a 'ball'. Thankfully, I already had a dress; so we didn't have to go out and by one. Several years ago, I had found a ball dress at the Goodwill in Washington. It was pretty (despite having velvet one it....UCK!) and inexpensive. I'm so glad I picked it up because it definitely came in handy this past weekend. The only thing left was to find shoes that matched it. We went to downtown Kaiserslautern and found plenty of shoe stores to pick from. We walked into this particular store and I was like a kid in a candy store. There were shoes everywhere! I was a little overwhelmed actually....but in a good way :) There were just so many pretty shoes. A sales associate came over and spoke to me in German. My heart nearly sank because I needed her help but I couldn't understand her; but when Tyler said something in English, she switched right over and spoked the clearest English. Quite a few people here know English and I was glad she was one of them! This whole scene just makes me want to learn German even more. We moved into their country and we expect them to know our language; but we don't learn their's. It's not right, especially when they have taken the time to learn English. But that's just my pet peeve. When I told her what I was looking for, she brought me these, and I fell in love.  She said they were made by a London designer named L.K. Bennet. That's nice, but I don't shop by designers, so it didn't matter to me like it probably should have. Honestly I was even more excited that they were on sale. The whole store was having a special sale and I was just happy to have caught the sale. My mother has had a very strong influence on me :)

Then the night of the ball came and it was time to get ready. That was fun. I had never been to anything like a ball and I thoroughly enjoyed getting dressed up. Tyler looked great in his Class A's and I felt good in my dress. When we got there the first thing we did was get our picture taken; which was perfect because I had been wanting a picture of us with Tyler in his uniform. The whole night was fun. It started out with the normal national anthem and the toasts and introductions and such. The coolest thing to see was the Table of Remembrance. Remembering the soldiers who would not be there and listening to the semblance of each item on the table. It was very touching to see it firsthand. Dinner was delicious. I had the chicken cordon bleu and Tyler had steak medallions. We enjoyed the conversation with people. I met  a few other women and had fun. Unfortunately neither Tyler nor I know how do dance; but I really want to learn! After watching other couples get up there and dance, I am definitely going to convince Tyler to learn how to dance with me. It would be nice go on the dance floor and actually know what to do.  I don't have any pictures of the ball, unfortunately. The 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Single Rose

Last night when my sweet hubby came home, I met in at the bottom of the stairs and he had his hands behind his back and a big smile on his face. I was about to ask him how his day went when he suddenly brought out this beautiful big rose. He is so thoughtful and sweet. I love him so much! He doesn't have too much free time right now. He comes home, eats, and then has to spend some time studying for his E-5 board in March. I don't mind though. This is a big deal for him and us and I want him to do well on the board. But it was very nice of him to think of me on his way home from work and want to get me something special. I love being married to a man who thinks of the little things that mean a lot.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Walk Through Rodenbach

For a little while there the weather was beautiful and fairly warm.
It still is pretty; but today  it is back to being really cold. Despite that fact, I needed to get out of the house. I needed to go for a little walk; so I decided to walk to our little bakery here in Rodenbach and take a few pictures along the way. The first thing that catches your eye where we live is this huge steeple around the corner. I don't know what type of church it is but you can see this steeple from just about anywhere you are in Rodenbach. I also wanted to show you picture of sidewalks here in Germany. They're not the cobblestone sidewalks you see downtown or the smooth plain sidewalks you see in the states. I like them. They're pretty and add character to the streets; but if I'm too caught up with the scenery and not watching my steps, I end up tripping over myself quite a few times. They're very bumpy and I'm not very graceful.  I usually catch myself and just pray no one saw me almost fall...again :)

As you get into the heart of Rodenbach, you run into this interesting angel statue. I have no idea what it is and unfortunately it had no plaque on it. I just  like the way it looks. After I took this picture an older German man came up to me and asked me a question. I have no idea what he said, but I managed to  say, "Mein Deutsch is nicht so gut." That didn't seem to phase him because he just asked me another question, smiled and nodded his head. I just smiled and nodded my head back and that seemed to satisfy him. He is the first person who has said anything to me on the streets. Unfortunately I have no clue what he asked. I guess they don't see many people walking around with cameras in Rodenbach.

On my walk today I found a new building. It is right by the bakery but I have never seen it. It is some type of tower that I think was jointly used as a church and a school at one time; but has since been torn down. At least that's the jist I got from trying to translate it. Mrs. Angie? Does any of this look familiar to you??

                                        Finally I made it to the bakery. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the inside; but next time I will.  My treat today was a coke and a pretzel. Mrs. Penny you were right. The pretzels from the German bakery are delicious! And I am now addicted to German coke. It has no fructose corn syrup, just real sugar. I love this stuff and it goes perfectly with a pretzel.

There are many more streets to walk in Rodenbach. I'll have to venture out and find new walking paths. I'm sure I'll get lost; but that's the best way to find things.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Home Sweet Home


Hello Everyone!
Quite a few people have been getting impatient with me and I am sorry! I haven't done a very good job of updating people. I'm trying to get better at that though; and I thought making this blog would be the best way to do it. Now everyone can be updated at the same time! Anyway, now that I've been here a month, Tyler and I have settled into our little routine. He
goes off to work and I have fun doing new chores as a wife...(no really I do :) Hopefully I'll be filling the rest of my spare time with college classes. In the meantime, Tyler and I are having fun slowly getting our house set up. Our latest addition was a cherry wood table from Ramstein yard sales. I was so happy to get that table. I will never again take for granted being able to sit at a table and eat. You don't realize just  how nice it is until you don't have a table! We also recently went to Ikea and got a reading chair for our "office" and a matching bookshelf to go with it. I am now patiently waiting for a little
 couch.  I can't wait to start decorating this house! Curtains, rugs, things on the walls (if we're allowed to)  I'm looking forward to hitting up some second hand stores and seeing if I can find any treasures. But for now, here are the pictures of what the house looks like now that we've moved in. I love our little home.