How Many Blog Posts Are Allowed To Be Titled ‘Welcome Back!’? (asking for a friend)

•Write one blog post in January

^^^this was on my to-do list for this month & I’m choosing to view the fact that it is indeed the very last day of the month wherein I can accomplish this goal as a victory of completion instead of as a buzzer-beating, nail-biter of an ending to this the first month of the year 2023. Because optimism & glasses with some liquid in them & all that.

As I was stressing over pondering what I should post about in this definitely-not-inaugural-but-somehow-novel blog post, I came up with a little structure that will serve as a guide for now. I might ditch it later BECAUSE I AM IN CHARGE OF THIS BLOG, but it’s cute for now, so here goes:

  • What I’m Reading
  • What I’m Seeing
  • What My Kids Are Saying
  • What’s Been Freeing

I know, guys. It’s, like, really something special. I’m impressed too.

Without further ado…

•What I’m Reading

Last year I read 54 books. I realize the heading of this section is NOT How Many Books I Read Last Year, however that information is relevant as I explain what I’m currently reading. I read a LOT last year with probably over half consumed as audiobooks. I read some winners & some losers & overall had a great time (you can follow my reading life over at my Goodreads profile). This could be categorized as a win through & through, but as I reflected at the end of the year I came to a hard conclusion: I read (& listened to) that many books as a way to escape a rough year. So, I’ve decided to read (& listen) less this year with a goal of 0 audiobooks (!!!) & 12 books each for fiction & non-fiction.

  • That being said, my Ansbach Book Club of almost four years, will continue to hold priority as we choose a (typically fictional) book each month. This month’s read is Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (which we will probably discuss over two month’s meetings because SHE LONG).
  • In February, I am planning to Buddy Read A Gentleman in Moscow with my sister, Hannah—whose book blog is a phenomenal resource if you need inspiration.
  • This is my year to read the Anne of Green Gables series. I enjoy rotating this in every few years & it’s been three years since the last read-through. Already almost through the first installment & I’m delighted to be an Avonlea resident again.
  • I am aiming for some soul-lifting non-fiction this year, starting off with none other than my beloved Sally & Sarah Clarkson’s The Life-Giving Home & Ann Voskamp’s Waymaker (a birthday gift from my sister, Sarah Ann). Already feeling joyful & held with these lovely women’s words echoing through my mind & heart.

•What I’m Seeing

This is an artful catchall for any photos I have to share or travel updates. Recently, Oakie & I had the immense joy of spending a weekend away while some dear friends watched our children. We galavanted off to Baden-Baden, a historically famous spa town in western Germany situated right on the French border. We luxuriated in a centuries-old Roman Irish Bath experience, got couples massages & ate lots of delicious (& quiet) meals. It was delight itself.

Lunch & tea at the König’s Café
Aforementioned Roman Irish Bath (which included a 17-step process!)
Some classic prop work because we LOVE a randomly accessorized hotel lobby situation…

BTW, how we managed to spend an entire weekend alone & fail to take ONE SINGLE PHOTO OF THE TWO OF US is a burden I will attempt to carry with grace for the rest of my life. Thank you for your thoughts & prayers in this trying time.

But to bring some reality to the frame, most of life these days looks a lot like this. Overflowing—often loud—joy that Daddy is home; toys & the stray sock strewn across the abode & lots of hugs (& fussing, but mostly hugs).

•What My Kids Are Saying

Ahhh the section where I share the conversations I overhear, the funny phrases of childhood & what I think, personally, is objective hilarity out of the mouths of babes. For context, these are pulled from family group chats & I’m leaving the tone & heavy emoji use unedited. Welcome to the family 😉

Cinco: I want a snack, Mama.
Me: Ok, you can have pistachios or a clementine.
Cinco: I don’t want those. Wow, mom. You just want me to starve.

Oakie gets Jack dressed in his sweatshirt that matches Cinco’s:
Jack: Matching! Cacki! (What he calls Cinco)
Me: Oh yeah, you’re matching Cinco?
Jack: (mad face) No! Cacki matching me!

Cinco & Skye bickering while they clean up their room:
Cinco: Skye, you’re not cleaning up!
Skye: Cinco, you don’t know me!

Made homemade hot cocoa & Jack called it ‘Christmas tea’. 😂😍

Sore from my workout, so I sat down gingerly:
Jack: Awww, mama stinky?

After Cinco got in trouble earlier, he said, “Mom, is this ok? I don’t like you, but I love you.” I was like, 🤷🏽‍♀️ relatable.

Welp, I’m pretty much sure I’ve traumatized my children. We watched the 2000 Disney movie Dinosaur (I remember seeing it in theatres) & it’s about an orphaned dino joining with a lemur family who also loses it whole colony after a meteor hits their island.
The next day I walk downstairs hearing the kids talking & quietly crying, but before I can ask what’s wrong I hear them talking about their favorite dinosaur family members they will NEVER SEE AGAIN & THEY ARE CRYING REAL TEARS. Just sitting on the couch together reminiscing over pretend lost & gone forever dinosaur family 😭😭😭

To be clear, as soon as I rounded the corner they were smiling & asking if I thought they were really crying or just pretending (granted they WERE really crying but they knew it was pretend). Cinco did tear up again as he said the names of the deceased 😂 Bumpy, Long Neck & Bronty, RIP.

I had the the door open so it was just the screen door open during this afternoon’s thunderstorm & I asked Cinco if the floor was wet inside. His response: No. Just dirty. 😂

•What’s Been Freeing

I don’t know about y’all, but I sometimes feel like a pinball in the machine of life. Ricocheting off each new event with no sense of direction or predictability, just trying to simultaneously score points & avoid falling down into the pit. Didn’t know arcade games could be so dark, did ya?

We moved to Ansbach, Germany in 2019. We had one glorious year before the world turned upside down & have spent the last three years waiting for it to make its way right side up again all while living as foreigners away from the built-in support from family & hometown friends. We’ve made a home here, a haven from the upheaval. But we’ve also felt like the unlucky-short-stick-drawers, the underdogs & I’ll admit, I haven’t maintained the holiest perspective about all of it either. I’ve pouted & complained &, as you know, read a lot of novels to escape into a story I liked better than mine. But this isn’t a sob-story. It’s not a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps sermon either. It’s a true glimpse into the past few years of our lives where we’ve felt anything but free, but where I’ve found a few things that feel freeing to me.

If anything has been made abundantly clear, it’s that I’m not the boss of the geopolitical landscape. Or our own journey through a military career. Or even choosing when or where we move. I’m mostly not the boss of basically anything EVEN THOUGH MY INITIALS ARE CEO & I FEEL THAT WAS MISLEADING. But ya know what I have the God-ordained rule over? The culture & atmosphere of my home. & who knows? That could end up effecting the geopolitical landscape one day…but for today, I’m in charge of choosing well how I will spend my time. How I will invest my mind. How I will discipline my body & mind to serve me & my family well. I’m the boss of my phone. I’m the boss of my bedtime. I’m the boss of my alarm clock. We can both relinquish control over the major events of our lives & take up the reins of those things we have within our stewardship. & that is freeing to me.

If you showed back up here & this feels like a lot & a little at the same time, it does to me too. How do you reappear after 4-ish years & casually drop some travel photos & inner-world thoughts? Beats me. But thanks for sticking around to watch me try. All four of you. It’s a pleasure to be back in the blogosphere. Is that a word? No red line appeared prompting me to rethink my spelling so we’re going with it.

Until next time…

Love from the Osbornes!


9 thoughts on “How Many Blog Posts Are Allowed To Be Titled ‘Welcome Back!’? (asking for a friend)

  1. Love it, love the structure, love YOU!
    Also, when I heard you were doing KL for your book club, I mentally kicked A Gentleman in Moscow to March, but I am still here for reading it in February. And does this mean you are actually reading a physical copy of KL and not listening? Because wow. Really. I cannot hang with your book club.
    And another thing, if you were feeling like doing a bonus post in February, I’d love all 17 steps to the Roman bath process. But that’s just me.


    1. Oooh honestly I hadn’t yet thought about the potential unattainability of trying to read KL & pretty much anything else in a month without the help of an audiobook haha we prolly need to kick it to March! Here for the the idea of a bonus spa post. All. 17. Steps.


  2. It was such a joy to read your blog❤️
    What a whirl wind we all have been through the past few years.
    Keep posting I need to read more from the world’s greatest CEO 😉


      1. Journey! Adventure!
        We have 3 Grand Children and a 4th one that will be born before the 19th🥰


  3. So great to catch up on your life’s story!! Keep the joy coming! (JOY is my household focus. I have a lot that I can wallow in as well, but I choose to put joy as my main focus! Same concept as you. Thanks for the encouragement that I’m not the only one who struggles with this!)


  4. I like to pretend like these posts are just for me because you frequently post after I’ve been think “hmmm I miss Caroline. Wonder what she’s been up to?” So thank you. And you’re welcome to all the other readers! Love these little glimpses into your world.


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