Welcome to the Montgomery Academy where learning isn’t optional it’s required. As a kid I loved school and I was excited every morning to get out the door. I was a good student with above average grades but I had to study! My parents expected me to do well but didn’t put a whole lot of time into my education as far as helping me stay ahead of the game. I had to teach myself all sorts of study methods and make sure I remembered to mark my calendar for assignments that were due. It was a lot for a kid but it made me a great teacher in the classroom and a great teacher at home. I absolutely love teaching my kids and I have always thought I would home school at some point. I thought when we moved abroad I would have the perfect opportunity to home school and travel with the kids. I’m all about the field trip experience. I lived in the land of the free so I had the option of homeschooling my kids wherever I wanted. Im American so of course I can…HA! One thing you learn when you live abroad is that you “aren’t in America anymore”! I had ASSUMED that homeschooling was a worldwide option…silly me. As we say back in my child “hood” nawl son, they don’t do that here. It is illegal to home school your child in Germany. You are not allowed to decide your child education or as we have learned question it. Its Germany and your child must go to school or you go to jail. I was shocked at this as my mind couldn’t comprehend such craziness. We have had school issues since day 1. It hasn’t been a smooth road by any means, but we have friends living here and in America who support us and make us feel like we aren’t alone. Living in Germany, you have to learn the system and be your children’s biggest advocate and show up so the teachers and other kids see your face. In Berlin, the schools are not great by any means. We have had a lot of ups and downs and tough decisions to make because of the lack of education and laxed authority when issues come forth. I have no problem with educating my kids as I have always supplemented their education as I don’t think it’s the schools job to solely educate my children. The fact that I MUST educate them for the entire summer and 2 more hours after school each day during school year irritates me. I admit I was laxed on the education when we first arrived because I was extremely stressed and I thought to myself “its Europe, education should be amazing”!
After our first year and a half I had to get back on it and educate my children. I found all sorts of resources on the internet and went to the bookstore and picked up our Summer Bridge, and sign up for Spelling City summer modules. They are accustomed to this as we have always done it and it’s like waking up in morning. This summer I pushed them harder to make up for lost time. We had a schedule and it was to be complete  before any outing for the day. It was a fantastic learning experience for them and myself. The kids went back to school last Monday and on Wednesday I had a teacher from the previous year tell me that I must have done a lot with the kids over the summer because she could tell just by their handwriting! Yes, I still have my kids journal two paragraphs a day(dh’s idea) and write postcards to friends and family. I think handwriting is an important skill to posses. I know that we are in the high technology age where everything is done on a computer, but as an expat that travels I know that “everybody ain’t able” to have a computer or iPad regardless of how necessary we think it is. I’m constantly teaching and showing my kids life lessons on this journey for his purpose. summer learningksummer learning2Summer learning

Being a mom can feel like the most thankless and yet most rewarding  job on the planet at the same time. I have been feeling really overwhelmed lately because school is about to begin and I am not as organized as much as I would like to be. Dh has been really busy at work and so I have had a very busy life lately, not to mention its summer! Apparently my girls noticed and when I woke up the other morning there was an entire morning dedicated to me! They woke themselves up at 7:00am  and quietly began decorating and making me breakfast! It was one of the many wonderful things that they have done for me. The fact that they noticed and wanted me to notice their appreciation was PRICELESS!

I would not trade my “Minons” for anything in this world. They are the reason I strive to be the greatest mom to them and why we relocated so they could experience life abroad. They have experienced a life that many kids their age won’t ever have the opportunity to appreciate. My little “Minons” just kept the ball rolling despite their new the world as they knew it changed in 3 months.  Relocating was hardest on me  but the benefits of the young adults that they are becoming make me want to get up and do it all over again! Danke, my little Minons, danke!
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Hallo Freunden,

Is it crazy that I still wake up and wonder how did I get here? I look at my day-to-day life and think how in the world am I functioning in a totally different culture other than what I am use to. I’ve  had to do things I never would have imagined or even attempted to do in the “states”. I have never had trouble making friends as I am a social butterfly at heart. Making friends in a new country is a different story, especially when southern hospitality is an “unknown”! I feel that adjusting to a different culture is hard but especially to us southern girls.

I’ve managed to make a lot of wonderful friends here in Germany. I don’t mean the kind of friends who say they will call and don’t. I have met most of my friends through blogs, expat meet-ups, and twitter. Yes, social networking isn’t  one of Gods limitations. I have found life long friends and a support system that I could have never imagined!

I am grateful that I came to Germany as an expat with an open mind. I don’t have frivolous hang ups about people as I don’t have the time or desire. I was terrified, but it was nice knowing that I wasn’t alone. The only difference among the friends that I’ve met is that I am the only one married to an American. I get to hear all sorts of cultural differences within married life. Did I mention that it was a plus that I met a lot expats of color? Let’s face it, there is an abundance of Schokolade in Germany but it’s not girlfriend from down the street!  So I was delighted to see women like me and my girls here in Berlin.  This is amazing because my friends represent the world abroad and here in Germany!

Let me introduce a few talented women. I often wake up in the mornings with my bloglovin alert and have my “morning coffee read” with Tatiana! She has put me on a schedule and spent and entire day helping me organize, redesign, and simply give me ideas to help me with my blog all through imessage! I love technology! She has been an amazing friend who showed up from Wolfsburg when I asked her to come to the premiere of Breaking Dawn in Berlin! She thinks I’m inspiring, when the truth is her blog post is what reminds me that not only do I have a friend but a great neighbor who is here to help and share in each others lives.

TyFelly over on twitter is the most inspirational writer and friend I know. Her tweets make you say “hmmm”! There is just something about “Ty”! I love how she embraced me the moment we met and after one of my Zumba classes she fell in love and decided that she would become a licensed Zumba instructor! It has totally changed her life and the lives of those in her classes! She is one of Berlin’s finest instructors! Be sure and check her out on twitter!

Jive Turkish, EugeniaJQAbroad, Mickla, Nicole, Antoni, and so many others  make you shout amen! Sometimes I laugh so hard you can’t tell me I haven’t known them a lifetime!  These women are hilarious and make you feel like you are at home with your girlfriends back in the day! We laugh and joke around so much on twitter that we have had the “top tweets” quite a few times. These women have made living in Berlin a little bit easier! You need friends and support when you make a continental change! Its been a Wunderbar Mittwoch when I think of all I have in my life! We are expats from all over the world who like to travel!

Travel-writing

How has your experience been living abroad making new friends?

Hey there!
Friday Family Nights are back! It’s been a while since we moved across the pond that we have had regular family nights. In the States every Friday was family night at our home. We sort of gave that up when we moved because it was so hectic and I wasn’t familiar with the lay of the land. We are all settled and life is flowing as it did in the States. Everyday is still a challenge and I’m still not thrilled with the education system but its where God has us. We decided to invite 3 friends a month and share our Montgomery Crew Family Nights. It was “P Night” and the boys just had to go there! We made pizza, popcorn, pretzels, and punch. Our guest loved our family night and said that he can’t wait until the next time! It was so nice and familiar making Pizza and talking to each other with no distractions.

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In Atlanta, there was a bakery called ABC(Atlanta Bread Company). Me and one of my girlfriends became regulars. We always ordered a different sandwich but always the same cookie. Chocolate chip toffee was our cookie. We always bought all they had. More often than not if we arrived at the bakery after 5:00 they would be completely sold out! This was not a good feeling. It ruined the whole experience. It’s funny that something so simple could change the experience of lunch.
I began to think as I received this picture from “S”. There I saw it…the best cookie I have ever tasted. At first I really missed the cookie. Then came the reality. I missed everything about Atlanta, the food, the heat, my family, and most of all my circle of friends. “D” taught me about the circle. your circle can be as big or as small as you like. having many friends in life and having a circle are two completely different things. My circle was huge while I was in Atlanta, but God will do it won’t he? Distance does a lot of things. Since moving my circle of friends has gotten smaller. That was hard because I didn’t think it would as I’m a friend for life no matter the distance. I grew up a lot since moving to Germany. It was a hard journey but I survived and I love my much smaller circle. It’s a genuine circle and its my support system. I still miss every single person back home, but its hard to always be the one who reaches out. Living abroad you need the door to swing both ways. It’s the text, pictures, phone calls, the daily encouragement, and packages in the mail that come unexpectedly. You see I miss this cookie,but most of all I see that it’s still there waiting to be shared when I return. I took a piece when I departed….

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Have you heard of a girls trip? Well we did one better! A birthday girls trip…because birthdays happen once a year!! It was one of this trips that I have yet to find the words for, which is why this post is a month late! I decided to let the pictures do the talking. Friendships were made, we sang all night, the tapas was off the chain and the sangrias were righteous!! The highlight was we had a taxi take us to McDonalds at 2am after eating tapas,while singing in the car. It was amazing!! What happens in Barcelona stays in Barcelona because we got 5 on it(wink at my girls)!

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In lieu of recent events of the Boston Marathon…my condolences. From this point on every race I run I will run for the victims. This is indeed a tragedy and I have no words to explain my anger. Running is one of my favorite things to do! I’ve met some pretty fantastic individuals along the way to the finish! My friends think I’m insane for running half marathons. I get a lot of crazy looks when I mention I love running and far. Everyone has their “thing” and running is mine. Running is fun but now it’s all about finishing for the victims. I hope that I’m able to somehow donate each medal to the families that lost a loved one or one that was injured. I will run for the victims and not living in fear of the cowards who took innocent lives. I have a whole new perspective on running….watch me finish with a smile!ImageImageImageImageImage

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Roman Holiday
Let me begin by saying that life was good in America. I mean it was fantastic. I had everything in order and things had finally began to flow. The kids were getting older and we were starting to get our groove back. School, work, Zumba, church, small group, and just doing life with others were apart of our day to day life. I was in my groove, and like I said life was good. When I left my friends said they would come visit and keep in touch. They did! I have had a total of 4 visitors in a year and a half and 4 more are coming in September! I met these fantastic ladies in small group and through mutual friends about 8 years ago. After small group ended we remained friends. We have scrapbooked, gone on couples vacations, attend holiday celebrations, and even traveled europe together! When I left one of them said she would come visit and the other said I will keep in touch through emails and phone. Well they did all of that! Our first journey was to Italy! We took the city by storm! We decided to visit the Vatican City, eat gelato, and visit Bocca della Verita.
The Vatican City was breath taking. My camera could not take it all in as we were just too close. I was silent pretty much the entire time as I had seen it on it on the history channel but never in real life. I was amazed at the architecture of the buildings and how enhanced they looked against the blue sky. I couldn’t believe how small I looked against the building either! Inside the Vatican in breathtaking! It was the most surreal moment that I have ever experienced! There is no way to take in all that your eyes are seeing in that moment. This is art at it’s finest. I needed 2 days just for the history and to take it all in. It is indeed a place that you must visit before you leave or arrive in Europe!
The chocolate gelato was heaven! It taste exactly like you would imagine..it takes like FUDGE! We said that everyday that we ate gelato and we ate it everyday. Italian gelato has its own taste. I have had gelato in Germany and I thought it was fantastic until I ate it in Italy. THERE IS NO COMPARISON! It’s smooth, rich, creamy, and yet light texture will make you understand why the Italians are happy and romantic people. The taste of the gelato alone on the right evening in Italy can put one in the “mood”! Yes, the city of romance and gelato is what I call it.
One of the things I did back home in the states was watch movies with my girlfriends while on scrapbook retreats. One of the movies we had watched before was Roman Holiday! We thought it would be cool to get an actual picture with one of our favorite movies. We are huge Audrey Hepburn fans! We were so giddy that the employees probably thought we were “Americans” they would be correct. We were loud, happy, and proud! It was the beginning of our Roman Holiday!

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Once upon a time I dreamt of waking up in a winter wonderland of snow. There is nothing prettier and brighter than fresh fallen white snow. The trees have a light dusting with green peaking through. The streets are lined with white snow as if it were a blanket. The kids go sledding, drink hot chocolate, have snowball fights, and I get to take lots of pictures. Well I have had the real life experience of it since just before Christmas 2012…it’s March 2013. Can you say “Over It”? I have seen more snow in 4 months than than I can bear. Its beginning to affect my mood and motivation on a daily basis. Sometimes I just stare out the window and shiver at the thought of being outside. A southern girl who is use to sunshine and humidity. On average it’s been about 25-31 degrees in Germany. So what’s a girl to? Other than working out, kids, activities, and just exploring the city all while freezing, I need a dose of warmth. There is no guarantee that it will get a warm as I would like this spring or summer so it’s time to take some mini trips heading south! 1st on the list is Barcelona! I absolutely can’t wait! What’s the weather like in your neighborhood?
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My girls and I have a favorite song called “True Beauty” by Mandisa. We love it because it talks about inner beauty as well as outer beauty. I believe that its important for them to understand that first God created you and in that alone you are beautiful. Secondly, it’s our job as parents especially as moms to always make our “girls” feel beautiful as an individual inside and out. As far as dads, I have always encouraged my husband to take our girls on dates and give them flowers for no reason so that later in life when they begin dating they will expect to be treated like a lady. The first man in their life, their dad treats them as such so I am setting the “norm” for them now and what come later is a plus. I want them all to expect to be treated with respect. I always tell my girls and my son that when you are picked up for a date or you go and pick up a date the horn had better not be blown. That is just rude and you are not an animal. Demand the respect of walking to the door, ringing the bell, and saying hello. If the horn get blown for you that’s and automatic “Nawl Brah, we don’t do that”. I hope they remember because I sure will.
As look into their eyes and I see how big their hearts are for Jesus and others. If nothing else I can stand proud and know that I did well. Of course you always want more for you kids. I want them to be successful mature adults that make a difference and walk in Christ. I think it’s harder with girls as they seem to have more issues with body image, self esteem, friends, and peer pressure. I love that my girls can talk to each other or me about anything. Another reason I have them share a room. They talk to each other and I am bound to find out what’s going on. It’s hard to listen to at times because some of these little girls..smh are just mean. I have to reassure them of who they are in Christ and in this house. I also let them know that sometimes they are to blame for situations that occur with friends, siblings, etc. “Let he who is without blame cast the first stone”, is what I tell them. I make mistakes all the time and it’s important for them to know that. They reply with “they started, they said”. My response is they may not know Christ and want to do the right thing but YOU DO so apologize and ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness is optional but your mom, and Christ will always forgive and guide you on the right path. I have seen a little roll of the eyes but then I usually get a letter with “you were right mom”! I absolutely love it that they can come and admit to me they were wrong. It’s not about me being right its about them being able to be humbled.
I love my girls unconditionally and I am only trying to enhance whats already inside. The world wants to digitally enhance them and make perfect what God has made in his image, as he is the only perfection. I get it and I hope the world does one day…

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