Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Things I Think I'll Miss

As I wind down my time here in the states, I thought it would be fun to write down the top 5 American things I think I'll miss the most while living overseas. This list is strictly pertaining to convenience/luxury items. It goes without saying that I'll miss my family and friends more than anything else. Once I have been settled and living in Germany for about 6 months or so, I plan on revisiting this list and seeing if I was accurate or if the things I considered to be big deals now are really inconsequential.



Hmm, here goes...



5. Walt Disney World

Let's be honest, did any of you all really think the first item on my list would be anything OTHER than Disney? If so, then you don't know my family very well.

Living 6 hours away from our happy place has been a luxury I don't think I always appreciated. For as long as Alex and I have been together, Disney has just been there. We have always been able to hop in our car in the early morning hours and be at a resort by check in time.

In the 7.5 years Alex and I have been apart of each others lives, we have visited the world 11 times together. (I've been without him twice.) We honeymooned on a Disney cruise, participated in 2 runDisney races, and attended 2 special ticketed events. Landon has been to the parks twice in  the womb and 7 times since he was born, and Evie has been twice in the womb and once since birth.


Honeymoon on the Disney Dream Oct. 2011



Landon's 1st Haircut July 2015
Pregnant in July





Our home is decorated around Disney paraphernalia, my coffee mugs are all Disney related, even my Pandora charm bracelet is bedecked with Disney exclusive items.


Disney is where Alex and I are happy. We believe in the company's business model, we strive to have the same work ethic Cast Members promote, and we honestly believe the high cost of the items is worth the expense. We also know that not everybody agrees with us, and we understand that. Alex and I don't get the appeal of Mardi Gras or camping or cabin getaways but we respect other families' passions.

They do what they do and we do what we do.

So long as families are spending time together and are happy while they do it, does it really matter where the event is going down?


By this point, Walt Disney World holds too many special memories for me for me NOT to miss it once I leave.

I went on my first inverted coaster at Disney when I was 12, completed my first 5K inside Animal Kingdom, went on a first vacation with a boyfriend in 2010, ate a 50's Prime Time Cafe lunch next to Neil Patrick Harris in 2013, got one on one time with my mom in Epcot in 2014, watched my dad go on Mission:Space over and over again in 2002, and witnessed both my children see Cinderella's Castle for the first time in the last 3 years.


And I know I'll be near Disneyland Paris while I'm in Germany, and you better believe Alex and I will take advantage of the opportunity to see a new Disney park.

Multiple times.



But it won't be exactly the same. Walt Disney World in Orlando is home. It has Starring Rolls cupcakes in Hollywood Studios, an O'hana dinner at the Polynesian, the bridge from Pop Century to Art of Animation, Expedition Everest at night, spring evenings at Epcot with the Flower and Garden Festival underway.


Disneyland Paris is going to provide us with special memories, I have no doubt. It's where both our kids will probably ride their first coaster, where they both will get to stop using strollers, where Alex and I can potentially visit without them in tow. Heck, Alex and I could even celebrate our 5th Anniversary there if we tried hard enough.


But no matter how many times we go the Paris parks, there will always be a part of us longing to be stepping on the monorail from the Polynesian and waiting for Cinderella's Castle to come into view on our left.

I really have no doubt about this.





4. Local Phones


Thank goodness we live in a world where there's FaceTime and Skype and Messenger Apps. Those are going to be my lifelines to family back home. And however convienent and easy they will be to allow me to get in touch with people here in the states, nothing will compare to the ease of picking up my phone and sending a quick text to someone. I will soon have to teach myself to call German numbers and condition myself to not give out my current number, the one I've had since I was 15 years old.

That's going to take a lot of practice.





3. Chick Fil A and Panera



If you've got a toddler or small child, chances are you are a frequent visitor at one or both of these eating establishments. Landon's obsessed with "chicken nuggets." (His name for Chick Fil A.) We can go to another restaurant, have him eat a king's worth of food, be driving home and pass one of the Chick Fil As and he'd STILL scream to for some nuggets. He demolishes the 6 count grilled chicken with the applesauce and white milk, and if he's lucky he gets to go play in the play area for 5 minutes.

If Alex and I are out and about with Landon, we usually have 3 food options. Chick Fil A, Panera, or Moe's. All three are somewhat nutritional and all provide food for my picky toddler eats.

I'm really not looking forward to moving overseas and having the base's options for quick eateries. If this new base is anything like every other military base I've lived at, then I'm sure we'll be stuck with a Burger King a Pizza Hut, and a Subway. None of which my family eats.

Not having our go-to "quick Mom didn't get home in time to cook dinner" places will kind of suck.


Guess what we'll be binging on when we come home for visits???












2. Target


Does having this as number 2 make me sound superficial? Perhaps, but I am just being honest.

I love Target.


Love, love, love it.











I love that there's a Starbucks inside the store, love the quality of food they have in their grocery department, love their clothes, love their Cartwheel app, their 5 cents off canvas bags deal, their occasional 10% off itunes gift cards deal, their Melissa and Doug toy selections, everything.

My absolute favorite thing about Target is their kid's clothes. Having a boy, the selection for him can be pretty slim, but all the male attire at this store is adorable. Not to mention, my kid is short.

Really short. And the Cherokee brand that Target sells fits him like a glove. The pants fit in the waist but aren't dragging at the heels, and the shirts aren't extra long in the sleeves or the belly.
Every time I've gone into a Target the past few months, I scour the clearance racks and buy Landon clothes in larger sizes so that I've got him outfits I know will fit him later.

And while the popular clothing pieces are a tad bit more expensive than other stores, Target typically releases a 10% or 15% off Cartwheel coupon for hot items that actually bring the prices down to mere dollars.


I could go on about Target for days.


Poor Alex might secretly be glad to not have any stores where we're moving. He might enjoy not breaking out in a cold sweat every time I text him saying I'm headed to our local store.

"How much is she going to spend this time? How many more shirts does Evie need? Why does she keep stocking up on floss? We've got 5 in the drawer already?!"



I already have a system in place for getting some of my beloved Target necessities while overseas.

I'll go online, order what I want, ship it to my mother's house, have her box it all up and mail it me, then transfer the shipping cost to her account. Or if she says she's headed that way soon, I'll email her pictures of the items I'm on the look out for.


Yes, this is something I thought of way back in December.



Don't judge me.




1. Date Nights/Kid Free Weekends



Oh gosh, I don't even want to type this one, because the mere idea of not having these readily available anymore makes me want to weep ugly tears.


I love my kids.

Love them to death.


Couldn't imagine my life without them.


But man is it nice to have some time away from them for awhile.















Alex and I have been extremely fortunate in the fact that my parents live 20 minutes away from us. We are able to drop both littles at their house right before nap time, go to our local theater, see a movie, and be back before Evie needs to nurse again.


For about 9 months now, Landon's been spending the night at the grandparent's house once or twice a month. And while I miss him terribly, it's refreshing to get some time alone. Evie's so young that Alex and I can get away with watching tv in front of her. We get so much more time to ourselves when we don't have to cook dinner, clean up the meal's dishes, bathe Landon, and put him to bed.

We're talking about HOURS of extra time. To do whatever we want. Catch up on our shows, play games, read books, sleep in...

Sleep in.



Landon, like any other 2 year old, has an internal alarm clock that gets him up at 7am sharp.
Every morning.
Every day.


Doesn't matter if he goes to bed at 8 or at 10.

And once he's up it's straight to cooking breakfast, changing diapers, picking the day's outfits.


When Landon's at my parent's house, Alex and I can wake up when we want, take our time getting out of bed, cook our meals at a leisurely pace.



It's the most amazing gift a grandparent can give a parent. Not only does it give Alex and I a chance to see each other and reconnect as a couple, it also recharges our parental battery. Our patience is renewed and we're ready to tackle the constant toddler battles that come the minute we arrive to pick him up.


It makes us better spouses and better parents.



What the heck am I going to do without it come May?


Send them to school, that's what.


Landon doesn't know it yet, but come this fall I'm enrolling him in a school a few days a week. He'll need the platform to make new friends, and I'll need the break.


But no matter how awesome the school is or how beneficial it will be, it won't replace grandparents. They are probably one of the only people on the planet that I completely trust my kids with. They love and care for my children just as much as I do, and they do everything in their power to keep them safe and well cared for. Who else will do that?
From now on, when I leave the kids with someone, I'm always going to have that fear of how they are doing in the back of my head.


Great.




Well, there it is.

I cannot wait to check back on this post in December or January and see if I was right.




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