No Internet, No Problem (Sike!)

Elizabeth Chocolate in Belgium | R.Simple Life

Hey guys. Mallory of R.Simple Life here. Remember me? I blogged here for like two years and then moved to Germany and disappeared (that’s me with the green purse and drool)? Well, Germany has brought about a great number of pleasures as well as a few unwelcome surprises, and top of the list of unwelcome surprises is the fact that apparently it can take 3+ months to get internet. You read that right, I have no internet, still. And I really don’t want to talk about it. (Unless you want to, Telecom…)

Anyway, we’re still here, alive and happy. Happy as can be, really. Germany is beautiful and we’re having a blast. And I promise, promise as soon as we enter the year 2000, I will be back – though I can’t promise my blog won’t have turned into a LiveJournal by then.

Thanks for holding out. I’ve got so much to tell you about when I come back. We’ve been to Versailles, Brussels, Heidelberg, and we’re going to Switzerland next weekend. I have officially been spoiled on chocolate (picture taken at my favorite Belgian chocolate shop).

xoxo Mallory

More Things Never to Forget

Things to Remember, 17 Months | R.Simple Life

+ “Edy” (pronounced: Ee-dee). It’s what you call yourself.

+ The feeling of your little hands grabbing the sides of my face when you want to come in for a kiss.

+ The temper that is so close to the surface right now. I don’t particularly like it, but I don’t want to forget it.

+ Your little engineering mind. Snaps and buckles and tools are the favorite toys right now.

+ The way you squatted right down next to Frau Veronica and helped her put together her bench.

+ Your fake laugh. And while we’re at it, your fake cry.

+ How one kiss from Mama can make everything all better.

+ “Noo?” Even when I want you to say yes, when you say “Noo?” with a question in your voice, I melt a little bit inside.

+ Your back rubs.

+ Your voice when you sing. Well really, just your voice. It’s so sweet.

+ How much you love and seem to think you need “e-d-ent” (deodorant).

+ The first words out of your mouth when I come in to get you in the morning. “Peanut butter banana.” Always.

+ Your funny little happy, dancing feet.

+ The way you slept soundly on me the whole flight from Baltimore to Germany. And then the next night when you needed to sleep on top of me in bed too. I never want to forget the weight of your little body sleeping on mine.

+ Every single flower is an opportunity to stop and smell. You’d spend your whole day smelling flowers if I’d let you.

+ How, at 2AM the other night, you woke up with a little fever and a big toothache, asked for medicine, then dates and peanut butter banana, and watched Frozen. At 2 o’clock in the morning.

+ How much you love balloons. (“BA-oons”)

+ “Two, Un, Two, Un, Two, Done.”

+ The way you smile your cheesiest smile at me, and shrug your shoulder my way. And then say “Love you too Ama.”

Love you Edy.
Mama

House Number Four

House number four was the house that almost got away. The listing for the house included very little details (“bedrooms” but how many? large living/dining area, but how big was the house?) and even fewer photos (none). We called the realtor three times with no answer and no voicemail. When we finally got ahold of her, we scheduled an appointment for “2:30 or 3″ and hoped to get through the house quickly, because we had another appointment at 4.

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in GermanyHouse Hunting: R.Simple Life in Germany

We got to the village (which is about 15 minutes from work) at 2:30 and hung out in the cutest park EVER waiting for her call. As the clock ticked closer to 3, and then 3:10, Jon was ready to leave and check out our 4 o’clock appointment, but I was dying to see this one. I loved the area, the park was beautiful, and I just had a good feeling about it. At 3:30, we finally got an address and hopped in the car to find it.

The second we got out, we were floored. Our jaws dropped then quickly formed into the goofiest grins ever. A giant, two car garage. Ridiculous views. A castle behind the house. German charm coming out of our ears, and a backyard. A backyard with a view!

Turns out, we were looking at the wrong house.

The house we were there to see was actually behind this house (it was number 11, we were looking for 11A). The switch up threw us both for a loop, but that loop ended us in perhaps an even better home. We walked into the garage and smirked at each other. The biggest we’d seen yet (2 car and TALL) with plenty of room for our gym and a car.

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in GermanyHouse Hunting: R.Simple Life in Germany

A quick walk through the laundry room showed us this home was recently updated in the inside. In fact, the owner had just added onto the back of the house, keeping the German feel on the outside, but upping the ante on the inside. Downstairs was a small guest room, a huge guest room/office, and the one of the nicest bathrooms I’d ever seen. Complete with urinal (uh…) and waterfall shower head.

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in GermanyHouse Hunting: R.Simple Life in GermanyHouse Hunting: R.Simple Life in GermanyHouse Hunting: R.Simple Life in Germany

Up the stairs was a giant kitchen, newly updated, an even nicer bathroom, two bedrooms with views, a bonus room that could be used as a closet or pantry or even a nursery one day, and a giant living room that lead out to a balcony (with views!) and the backyard.

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in Germany

The backyard winds all around to include a grassy area, a patio, stairs to the entryway, and a back garden.

I mouthed to Jon “I love it, it’s perfect.” as he mouthed the same sentiments to me. He looked at me with trepidation while he said to our realtor “We love it, I think it’s the house for us.”

The Pros?

  • 15 Minutes to work, and even closer to the busy city where so much happens.
  • A giant garage! Room for our gym.
  • The house is huge, with plenty of room for us and guests.
  • The outdoor space is ridiculous – charming and winding, with beautiful views and church bells chiming outside, and a castle just up the hill.
  • Recently updated and so nice, yet still charming and warm.
  • The village is perfect – a butcher, a baker, (still looking for the candlestick maker) a few restaurants, parks, trails for hiking, etc. etc. etc.

The Cons?

  • No fireplace. I believe Jon’s exact words, upon seeing the house for the first time, were “If this place doesn’t have a fireplace, I’m going to be pissed.” After our walk through, I had to bring it to his attention that the house was missing a fireplace. He didn’t even realize it.
  • That’s it.

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We got the lease on the spot and already have the keys! We move in next week. This house was, without question, the perfect house for us. We were hemming and hawing between two different houses (House Number One and a different, new construction home I didn’t feature because it was all cement and unfinished on the inside) for days before this, and the moment we walked into this house, we both knew it was home. Even Harry plopped himself down on the steps and said “Home.” as he measured who knows what – flowers and bugs and steps and rocks – with his tape measure.

This was actually one of the first times we had ever truly house hunted. Usually, we are handed the keys to a home that is picked out for us due to availability, or we find something quickly online that “will work.” I’ll admit it was a little discouraging at times, feeling like we’d have to compromise a whole lot on what we wanted, but it was so much fun, and in the end, we found the perfect house. German homes are very different from their American counterparts. They’re built to last a lot longer, and therefore aren’t always updated on the inside. The layouts differ in ways you don’t really think about (smaller rooms, no closets, giant bathtubs and small showers), but all in all, the house hunting was ridiculously entertaining, and I’m already dreaming about how to decorate this house. How to make it our home. How to grow some of these beautifully crafted climbing rose plants on that staircase.

I hope you enjoyed house hunting in Germany with us! I can assure you this will definitely not be the last you see of our little German home. After all, I may need a little input on the design…

xoxo Mallory

House Number Three

We went into House Number Three completely blind. We had called a landlord about a different house, and he told us he had another house we might be interested in taking a look at in… who knows what village. The realtor was not originally from Germany, so English was his THIRD language, and I couldn’t understand what village we were going to be checking out for the life of me. To be honest, I was only planning on going to this house so that we could go see the original house afterwards (which we didn’t even end up seeing!).

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in GermanyHouse Hunting: R.Simple Life in Germany

Due to a scheduling error, we showed up for the house tour about an hour and 15 minutes too early, so we checked out the backyard and then hit the village. It was about 25 minutes from work, and there wasn’t a whole lot to it. It was one long, busy street with a few shops along the side, but the village was surrounded by beautiful rolling hills. The house itself was huge. Three stories, nice and cool (it was hot that day and walking into the house felt like a breath of fresh air), and nicely updated. The first floor had a bathroom and four bedrooms (you had to walk through one to get to the second on either side of the house). Up a stair case was an extra long living room with a fireplace, a dining room, and the smallest kitchen I’ve ever seen. Ever. One more level up was a giant room, complete with closet and master bathroom.

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in GermanyHouse Hunting: R.Simple Life in Germany

The Pros?

  • More than enough room for us. The house really was huge.
  • The backyard was beautiful and big, and backed right up to the beautiful surrounding hills, so the views off the balcony in the back were stunning.
  • It was close enough to work, even if it was right at the edge of our distance cap.
  • It had a basement! So uncommon here.

The Cons?

  • It was on the busiest road yet. Cars fly past at 30mph at regular intervals, which made me extremely uncomfortable with Harry.
  • The backyard, though beautiful and huge, was actually shared with an older woman who lived in a small home behind the house.
  • No garage. No gym.
  • The layout was funky. We would have had to go through our room to get to Harry’s room.

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in Germany

I have a bet that you were guessing you’d see our house today. After all, it is House Number Three Day. But alas, this is not our house. We actually crossed this one off our list before we even saw the inside, because of that busy street. It turned me way off and I was on edge the whole time Harry was playing in the driveway. Coupled with the lack of garage and the awkward layout, this most definitely was not the house for us, as big and beautiful as it was.

Tune in tomorrow for Haus Nummer Vier (which might just be OUR home…).

xoxo Mallory

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in Germany

House Number Two

The second house on the list was very promising in it’s listing. A backyard that opened up to a small park that backed up to a field. Big, open, and German. Lots of gingerbread-esque charm. And available right away. We were really excited to see it.

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in GermanyHouse Hunting: R.Simple Life in GermanyHouse Hunting: R.Simple Life in Germany

The village was about 20 minutes from work, but it was tiny. Not much happening in the town.  The house was huge. Huge. 200 square meters, tons of bedrooms (the listing says five), three bathrooms, a balcony, etc. etc. etc. You walk into the three story (plus basement!) home to find 4-5 rooms and a bathroom. They were all interconnected (read: you have to walk through one room to get to the next). Up the stairs was a kitchen, living room, dining room, bathroom, and a bonus room (and a balcony leading out to the beautiful backyard). Up one more set of stairs were two more attic style bedrooms with sloping ceilings and built in storage!

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in GermanyHouse Hunting: R.Simple Life in Germany

The pros?

  • It was huge. There was more than enough room for us.
  • Pet friendly, with a big backyard, and a beautiful park.
  • It was nice and updated, the floors were nice, it was pretty light for the most part, and it was nice and cool.

The cons?

  • No garage. Womp, womp. That means no gym. So that was a big one.
  • It was a very small village, so it felt a bit isolated.
  • The layout was a little confusing. We weren’t sure how we’d be able to use it. The rooms on the first floor were hard to use because you have to walk through bedrooms to get to other bedrooms, and the rooms on the top floor were DARK.
  • The house was on the main road of the village. It wasn’t loud inside the house, but it was a big, fast road. And with a toddler, that wasn’t too exciting.

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in Germany

As excited as we were to see this house (we were pretty sure we’d love it and almost expected to sign a lease on the spot), this was not our house. With the confusing layout, the dark bedrooms, the isolated village, and the lack of gym space, it was not perfect, even with that beautiful backyard and the German charm.

Tune in tomorrow for Haus Nummer Drei!

xoxo Mallory

House Number One

First on the list was a house nestled in the hills of a quaint Germany village, complete with village pool, trails through the woods, baker and butcher, and lots of charm. The village was connected to another more bustling town with a bit more life to it. Definitely promising.

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in GermanyHouse Hunting: R.Simple Life in GermanyHouse Hunting: R.Simple Life in Germany

As for the home itself? Well. It was built into a hill right at the edge of town. We walked into the house to find two bedrooms, one with phenomenal light, and the bathroom/laundry room. Up a set of stairs was a kitchen which was set to be redone before the new lease would start, a guest wash room, and a large dining room/living room with access to the backyard and patio (both secluded, quiet, and full of lush florals). Up another set of stairs was a bathroom and two bedrooms, one of which held the view. One step on to the balcony and I think we both forgot to breathe for a minute.

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in Germany

The pros?

  • Four bedrooms, two and a half baths, 180 square meters. Plenty of room for us.
  • Pet friendly, with a beautiful backyard – and secluded!
  • A fireplace and German charm coming out of the windows.
  • The view, the view, the view.
  • The village was good, but the adjoining village was perfect, and only a quick walk away.
  • A garage.

The cons?

  • The garage was not tall enough for our squat rack, which means we would have to use one of the first floor bedrooms for our workout equipment.
  • The house was about 35 minutes from base, so further out that we had hoped. Which brings me to…
  • It felt isolated. It was really nice and secluded, but I worried that in the dead of winter when Jon was away on a trip, I’d get a little lonely.

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in GermanyThis house was at the top of our list for the longest. I actually kind of thought we’d end up here. It wasn’t perfect for us, but we could both picture our family there. We could make it work, with minimal effort. It came in under budget, and the charm factor was there, while still appearing updated and bright. It had a lot of pros, but coupled with the fact that it wouldn’t be available until two weeks too late, the cons really were pretty huge. Ultimately, this was not the house for us.

Tune in tomorrow to get a peek at Haus Nummer Zwei!

xoxo Mallory

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in Germany

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in Germany

House Hunting: R.Simple Life in Germany

We looked into House Hunters International, but there were so many requirements, it’d be tough to hit them all with a military move. Plus, it would have just been one more thing on the list of over 3 million things (roughly) to do for this move. BUT we’ve decided to do a little HHI on the blog. We toured eight houses before we found OUR house, and I’ve narrowed it down to three for the sake of the game. Ready?

Before we jump into House Number One (later today, promise!), let me give you a little background. We moved to the area (Rheinland-Pfalz) due to Jon’s job in mid-May and immediately started house hunting. So what did we need?

  • 4+ Bedrooms – While we really will only fill two of them, we hope that we’ll have visitors, and to encourage that, we wanted a guest room. Also, with Jon doing his Masters and me working from home, we really needed an office.
  • A backyard – For Duke, obviously, but also for our growing 16 month old. Harry’s a bit crazy if he doesn’t get outside every day, and a backyard will be necessary for him.
  • Pet friendly – We brought Duke and Calvin with us, so obviously we needed a house that would allow them both.
  • Garage - We’re regular users of our pretty extensive home gym (did you know that??) so we definitely needed somewhere to store it.
  • Close to work – We really didn’t want to go much further than 20-25 minutes from Jon’s work.

We also really wanted to live in a village with a little life to it (a park, a market, a restaurant, a baker, a butcher at the minimum… but I wanted to see people outside). We were really looking for a charming home with a German feel to it, but something somewhat updated and fresh feeling, with great, natural lighting.

So there you have it. Our very tall order. If I’m being honest, we had to kiss a few toads before we found The One. House hunting in Germany is a whole different beast. Think: a laundry room in the second bathroom which was outside (yep), a living room on the second floor with a spiral staircase opening right up in the middle of it (saw it), floor to ceiling floral tiling in the bathroom (floor to ceiling guys). Lots of charming gingerbread-esque homes… but lots of toads too.

I’ll be back in a bit with Hausnummer Ein!

xoxo Mallory

PS: we dreamt up this little game AFTER touring all of these houses. So unfortunately, the pictures aren’t great. Just pretend they are and play along anyway, okay? Bitte?

On Having a Second Baby

siblings

Before you get excited, let me preface this with, no, I am not pregnant, nor is that the plan at this moment in time. Yes, we’d like to have another baby one day, and hope that it will be possible, but right now, there is no bun in the oven (grandparents).

That being said, many of Harry’s peers are getting little brothers or sisters right now. Is there some unspoken rule that all siblings must be two years apart in age? My siblings and I were, all the way down to Oliver, who was three years behind Dylan. I always thought I wanted my kids to be about two years apart in age. But when Harry hit the 15 month mark and I wasn’t pregnant – and didn’t plan on being pregnant – I realized that the two year mark was not going to be hit. And most likely not going to be even remotely hit.

So, thus, brings up the topic of conversation: when? We were asked this question a lot (though surprisingly, not as much as I expected) on our recent trip to Michigan, and I honestly didn’t have an answer. I’d really like Harry to be somewhat close in age to his younger brother or sister, but I don’t feel ready to enter the arena again. There are more days than not that I still feel like I have a baby (even if there are more and more moments when I’m reminded he is most definitely not a baby) and I can’t imagine adding another one into the mix. Jon and I love our life right now, as a threesome. It’s finally possible to go places (somewhat) on a whim. Travel is much easier. There are two sets of eyes and four hands to keep on that little boy. Right now, one is enough.

And, if we’re being completely transparent, sometimes I wonder if we should be done altogether. I know ultimately, it’s not my decision that will bring along a sibling. Just because we have Harry does not a healthy second pregnancy make. But sometimes, just sometimes, I think about the dynamics of our family right now, and how much time I want to spend with that little boy, and the reality of adding a second wee one to our brood, and I wonder if we even want to try for another. 99% of the time, I know we want a second baby. If for nothing else, once they hit about five or six, the built in buddy aspect. So yes, we want a second baby. I think. (I can’t be the only one who thinks like this, right??)

How far apart are your kids (or would you like the spacing to be)? What about you and your siblings? Were you/are you close? My hairdresser’s kids are five years apart in age, but she claims they are the best of friends, saying “they’ll be as close as you make them.” I’m so interested about the timing of siblings. Let’s chat.

xoxo Mallory

Guten Tag

Guten Tag | R.Simple Life

Hey guys, just your dear pal Mallory here, writing from Germany, where I live! We made the cross-Atlantic trip Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and we’ve been settling in since. Jon’s been busy working already (lets hope he gets some of that promised time off for house hunting soon!) and Harry and I have been busy getting to know the little village in which we’re renting a flat while we house hunt. Duke and Calvin made their first (three) plane rides and I think they love us a little more for “rescuing” them from that plane. Score!

Anywho, just a little note to let you know we’ve made it, we’re eating schnitzel and knackwurst, and enjoying this beautiful weather. I’ll be back with more, after I nap a bit (how is it that I got the worst jet lag?! Harry has barely any at all, but me, jet lag all the way.).

xoxo Mallory

Update Your Readers, Yo.

papa_harry_new_orleans

Hey guys, it’s me. Things just got a little more legit because we’ve dropped the wordpress.com from our URL and I’ve actually had a little design work done. It’s not totally up to snuff just yet, but I have been waiting to blog until I got everything just right, and I’m just realizing that, as it is with many crazy things going on in my life, getting everything perfect on this blog is going to take a minute, and why should you have to wait to see what’s happening over here just because I’m being a perfectionist? You shouldn’t.

So this change won’t affect you much… unless you read the blog via email or on a reader. If that’s the case, you’ll need to update your reader (just add www.rsimplelife.com). If you want to follow by email, sign up in that sidebar on the right of the page.

So there you go. Too legit to quit now, so I guess I’m in this blogging thing for the long haul!

xoxo Mallory