We are Open Water Certified


The family are making the blog today because this past spring break we did something really incredible: the four of us became open water certified scuba divers. Wow! The sea is so incredibly–literally and figuratively–breathtaking so thank goodness for that tank on our backs. Scuba diving used to be something Kevin and I had both said the “n” word to (never). Basically we remembered our ninny days of snorkeling in Saudi Arabia, and the thought of going under water for up to 50 minutes at a time was terrifying. But then, Interim came along. (That’s the high school trip that Vincent went on this year during March.) One of the options he mentioned interest in was a scuba trip, and we said, “No way!” Kevin and I thought to ourselves: if he’s going scuba diving, we’re also going scuba diving. Well, we kept to our word! For spring break we went back to Bohol, Philippines, (we went out first year in Hong Kong in 21013 for spring break), but this time we got open water certified with Alex at Tropical Divers. This is an understament: it was amazing!!

[Read more…]

Being a Mother


I’m not sure what’s going on with me, but I’ve been thinking a ton lately about being a mother. I mean, I’ve been a mom for 16 years now, and I have never been one to overthink it; I just do it. But, with Vincent turning 15 this past Sunday, for some reason I’ve been thinking about it a ton these days. Here’s the main thought that goes through my head: I only have three more years with Vincent under my roof. I have limited time wherein my reach might meet him. It’s not like I believe I can make him a certain way, but my time of influence with my son is definitely fleeting. I recently took a personality test. One of the questions focused on the character trait of intelligence verses kindness. I most definitely, strongly answered that I want my children to be kind over smart. I’ve always felt that. Now with three years to go, I’m bustlin’ my mommy buns to make sure I can raise a gentlemen. These have been my thoughts on being a mother lately. But there’s more….


Thinking about being a mother has always left me in thoughts about how I am being a daughter. I’m guilty of not being very good. I should write home more, call home more, reach out more. Over the weekend Kevin made a phone call home to his mom. First I thought, “Gosh, I hope my son calls home when he does move away.” Then, I was left with such guilt because I don’t call home very often. So being a mother has left me realizing I need to be a daughter–a good one. Ironically, yes it is Mother’s Day this weekend, but all these overly deep thoughts on mothering, they are being brought on by the two men in my life. My husband who is very dear to his mum all the time, and my son whom I hope very much takes after his father. And as for me, I need to do better and reach out to my mom–Mother’s Day or not!!


These pictures were taken during our spring break trip to Bohol, Philippines, and there’s really no correlation between these pictures and my thoughts on being a mother. Yet, in the above picture, I especially feel like I look so much like my mom. It’s like I’m identical to her or something. And then lately, the way I interact with strangers, wanting to know more about them and reaching out to make connections with people, I’m reminded again of my mother. She’s just like that making friends with the cashier at the super market or the seat neighbor on a plane. I’m a lot like my mom–both in looks and demeanor. It’s time I embrace these similarities and take pride in them especially since I admire my mom—A LOT!


(By the way…. since I attempt to fashiong blog over here on Kremb de la Kremb, I’ll offer some details on what I’m wearing. This $15 dress was perfect for sunsets on the beach. I highly recommend it because for the price, it’s a real winner–plus wearing white after a day in the sun is always a complimentary look. I was quite happy with this lippy (Cannes lip matte by NYX) that I brought–again it was the perfect shade for after a day in the sun. Finally, my earrings were a total score in one of my favorite shops in the New Delhi airport. I went back to get them because I couldn’t stop thinking about them. They remind me of something Kelly Framel, The Glamourai, would wear, and she’s just the coolest of all cool. And finally, because all the best flip flops are found in beach markets, the pair I’m wearing were picked up in Bohol’s little beach town. There’s my style update for this memorable sunset night!)

*This post has been linked up to Not Dressed As Lamb’s #iwillwearwhatilike.

A Must Stop in Rajasthan: Rawla Narlai

Rawla Narlia 1There is one place we always tell travelers to India that they must go: Rajasthan and in particular, Rawla Narlai. Rawla Narlai is a heritage hotel in the village of Narlai, and it is the old hunting lodge of the king of Jodhpur. (In fact, while we were there, the owner of the lodge, who is considered the king of Narlai, came by for a visit. See below for evidence.) It is rare to make a hotel an actual destination, but there are so many magical experiences at this hotel that make it worth a vital addition to any Rajasthan tour. First, it’s location is perfect: it’s situated between two other must visit cities, Udaipur and Jodhpur. Car is the mode of travel in this area, so any way to break up the trip is gratefully accepted. When you arrive to Rawla Narlai, you really feel like you’ve stumbled onto an old, Mogul home. Everything about this heritage hotel is serene: the lush landscape, the quintessential rooms, luxe sitting areas everywhere you look, and impeccable treatment by the hotel staff. Ask for Lala. He will take you on a village tour at dusk, and you’ll have a chance to really see how Rajasthani folk live. If you want those silver anklets that the village women wear, he’ll take you to the local silversmith (I haven’t taken mine off yet!). The moment we arrived, humble Lala even remembered us and still had the picture of him carrying Gigi all around when she was just a little toddler. When we were deciding where to travel in India for our three week tour, returning to this magical spot is what steered our vacation to Rajasthan. I love Rawla Narlai–so much! I hope one day to mimic a courtyard just like their’s and spend my days reading and drink nimbu pani (sweet lime water)!

Rawla Narlia 2

Rawla Narlai 4

Rawla Narlia 3

Rawla Narlai 5

Rawla Narlai
Village Narlai, Rajasthan, India
Tel : + 91 2934 260443
Fax : +91 2934 260596
Email : crs@rawlanarlai.com

*Aside of the dusk tour through the village, there are other options in this countryside stay. But I’ll leave that for a later post….

A Mini-Me Post to Start 2017

Mini-me 1
It’s 2017! Actually for a while now, and this is a very delayed first post for the new year. Despite many attempts to post on Kremb de la Kremb, the wifi was never quite strong enough, but our return family trip to India was beyond amazing. I can’t wait to share more of that in the near future….

Posting problems aside, I am very, very happy to have this mini me post be the first of the Kremb de la Kremb new year. Yes, this blog is an attempt at a style blog, but my family does come first, and therefore deserves the first post of the 2017 year. Back in late November, the four of us–our two mini-mes (I have looked up the plural of mini-me and it is mini-mes) went up to the Peak in Hong Kong for a walk (my first with the new hip which was one of my goals) to take our Christmas picture. This was the Christmas picture that was supposed to be sent out in December as a Christmas card, but hey, the picture of the four of us together was an awful picture that wouldn’t work, but these pictures did! (The Christmas card will now be a New Year from a picture chosen from one of the many family pics taken from our trip to India…)

I call reference to mini-me of this first post of 2017 because I’ll be honest: I think each one of our kids is a little mini-me of each of us. Gigi definitely has my facial structure, freckle complexion, and Freuen nose. Yet, Gigi’s eyes are all Krembs–seriously, she’s actually a mini-me of the other Ann Krembs, Kevin’s sister. There are pictures of the other Ann at 13, and it’s seriously hard to tell the two of them apart. Meanwhile, Vincent is a total mini-me of Kevin; I mean they seem identical. But while Gigi’s eyes are all Krembs, Vincent’s face my be Krembs but his eyes and eyebrows are all Freuen. See, each of our kiddos are each a mini-me of each of us. How lucky are we?! I have to admit seeing myself (and Kevin) in each of my kids is such a wonderful pleasure. What else is a pleasure is when these two cute and handsome teenagers allow me to post them on the blog. It’s a special moment when they give me the yeah. So here are the four of us, playing around in an exercise park up on the Peak of Hong Kong. Enjoy! And happy, happy belated new year!

Mini-me 2

Mini-me 3

Mini-me 4

Mini-me 5

Mini-me 6

Mini-me 7

Mini-me 8

Mini-me 9

Mini-me 10

Mini-me 11

Meet Pinky, My New (and very improved) Hip!

new hip-4
This Friday will mark 8 weeks with my new hip. I’m pretty much at a loss of words. I will be so bold as to say my new hip is miraculous. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to walk normally, that to be 8 weeks post a hip replacement and walking without crutches, without a limp, well it is astounding to me. How can this be? To say I am elated would be an understatement. Yes, I am young at 44 to have an artificial hip, but wow, this one already works so much better than the one I was struggling with for far too long. I still have a long way to go. I need to build up the muscles in my legs and around the hip to stabilize this new joint. But, I can walk again, like actually walk. I can take a stroll with my family, and I can even foresee maybe going on a hike with them at some point. That was one of the main goals for replacing the arthritic one–to just be able to walk normally again, and I can. I have even started to go on walks for exercise–as shown from these happy pictures here. Oh! It feels so good!! And this is only 8 weeks post op. Yes, I will remain the steady tortoise in this race–I mean recovery, but already I am so, so, so very happy with my new hip. Pinky (that’s how I lovingly refer to it), you’re a winner, and I’m pretty happy with you. You can stay!

new hip-3

new hip-5

new hip-1

It has been a really long time since I bought exercise gear–like forever. I still have the original–but perhaps now out of style–Lulu Lemon boot cut, yoga pant. I splurged on those pants and the black Lulu Lemon hoodie back in 2009. With Pinky causing a smile and a desire to get out and walk, I treated myself to some new workout clothes. Yes, these are not the ever-so-standard black version; rather I’m thinking of sunset days in San Diego where the palm trees streak all the promenades. Leggings, fun, overly bright ones, are having a moment, so I’m going to celebrate walking with the whimsical variety. Oh, I got this sports bra too, and it is surprisingly very supportive for my 36Ds! (Just get a size large.)

*Thanks for capturing these pictures I’m a Norbyah–even though I’m in leggings!

Gigi is a Young Lady

gigis-13-7
Gigi is 13 today. It’s cliché to say this, but it really does feel like yesterday when she was my little cuddle bunny born in Venezuela. Yes, she was a bit tremenda as an infant, crying her way through a colic stage, but she was always and still is so close to me. I used to pat my chest, and she would climb atop me and we would sleep just like that. To this day, we snuggle most nights, Kevin leading her to her own bed after we’ve fallen into an entangled sleep. I’ve already wondered how I will handle her departure for college six short years away. I suppose this mental prep starting now will hopefully ease the heartbreak. I also sometimes wonder if it’s natural to feel so close to my daughter–should I be more distant offering her more space as she becomes a young woman. Then I remind myself to quit worrying and let the natural closeness we have continue. If we cuddle in another 13 years when she’s 26 , I will not be surprised.

gigis-13-6
Of course being close to someone exceeds physical touch. The two of us, most likely similarily to other mother-daughter teams, can read one another so well. Gigi always knows how I’m feeling and can offer me wisdom to alter my state. I’m not quite sure how she’s always been able to have a wise-soul philosophy about her; her emotional intelligence and intuition have always been beyond her years. She reads people and know instinctively how they might be feeling in any given situation.

gigis-13-4
There are so many ways that I look up to my 13 year old girl. Again, can that be normal? Oh, who cares!? She is really quite amazing. Gigi is kind and thoughtful–attributes I admire and try to be in my own daily life. She’s creative with an imagination that helps her soar. Her athletic abilities amaze me–to see her run is to feel free. Then her gumption to just give anything her all is quite aspirational–an example, dropping in on skate ramp this past weekend. Finally, Gigi’s just fun: her giggle and smile are always and forever will be contagious.

gigis-13-3
Gigi is 13 and becoming a young lady before Kevin and my eyes. The sporty tomboy is still ever present, but there is a feminity also maturing in our daughter. She recently started cotillion–etiquette classes where the students learn to dance and socialise in a formal setting. On this first night, she appeared angelic, and yes, she brought mist to Kevin’s eyes when he witnessed his daughter as a young lady, a beautiful one at that. The very best part of Gigi’s beauty is she is also so very pretty on the inside as well. My mom always told me “Beauty is as beauty does.” I’ve never had to say this to Gigi–she just is.

gigis-13-2
Happy Birthday Dear Gigi! I love you so much!!

funny-gigi
And this girl’s got a sense of humor! I love that she doesn’t take herself too seriously! Gigi, you’re a hoot and so fun to be with.

Seal Rock in La Jolla

Seal Rock in La Jolla 6
It’s hard to believe school has started for the Krembs family and August is just about to end. Summer in Hong Kong is gratefully still going strong, so trips to the beach will continue on into October, maybe even November. Meanwhile, I am reminiscing about how our summer started in La Jolla, San Diego. The last time (and first actually) I had been to San Diego was as a junior in high school. For this trip to southern California, it was so very fun to start out with just Kevin. We had three nights all to ourselves; it had been years since we’d gotten away like that. Then, three days later Kevin’s folks joined us with our two kiddos. We have such fun traveling with his mom and dad, and while this is going to sound very spoiled, starting our summer vacation out with a little trip away to somewhere new sets us up for an amazing summer as a family!

Seal Rock in La Jolla 10
There are so many highlights to visiting San Diego. One of our top activites included a trip to Seal Rock. The seals are just with in reach perching and sheltered on their rocks. Meanwhile, out at sea, the waves are ginormous and the surfers are crazily going about catching them! I mean, whoa! I’d be totally scared of running into the rocks or even more scarily being taken out to sea. The surfers on the other hand were apparently not phased. My other top activity was biking: we biked around Coronado, along Pacific Beach, and all around La Jolla. It was such fun to hop on a cruiser and, well, do just that–cruise!

Seal Rock at La Jolla
We really do have the best time traveling with Alex and Jane. We’ve taken road trips with them as well as gone camping with these two. They’ve always come to visit us wherever we’ve lived, and we’ve also taken trips abroad–one of our favorites being a trip to Greece. A lot of times couples have other couples that they travel so seamlessly with; I never would have guessed it would be with my in-laws, but we truly have the best times together. I find it to be so valuable for our kiddos too. Living overseas obviously means we aren’t around for the entire year. That’s why quality time definitely has to outweigh quantity times. Luckily this is the case with Jane and Alex!

Seal Rock in La Jolla 9

Seal Rock in La Jolla 3
I have so many layers on in these pictures: underneath that DIY patched denim shirt is a sweatshirt and a long sleeved shirt. It is very important to wear layers while visiting San Diego–it’s a gloriously hot/cold place especially in June. One minute the sun was out, the next the wind was howling. At all times it was comfortable–just so long as I had my layers. (I get cold easily!)

Seal Rock in La Jolla 5

Seal Rock in La Jolla 7

Seal Rock in La Jolla 8
These two….Alex has always been called The Wild Zuper and now his son is definitely Wild Zuper Junior!

Seal Rock in La Jolla 1
Finally, here are the kiddos: Gigi and Vincent. What fun memories were had during this first summer trip to La Jolla, San Diego in June of 2016!

Seal Rock in La Jolla 2

Thursday is the New Friday

This Thursday is the new Friday. At least for me. My summer has been a paradox of emotions. On the one hand it’s been so fun to reconnect with family and make  new memories. On the other hand, my hip pain has gotten to such a drastic point, that I must take action. This decision isn’t made all on my own: I have an amazing husband who helps and supports me so much, and my two kids are there to give me the love and attention that they as children should be receiving–not their mom! Just recently the pain got to such an excruciating point, that we made an appointment for my hip replacement this September 2nd. Than, as if it was a miraculous night, the office wrote to say there was an opening this Friday, August 5th. Yet that was the day I was traveling back to Hong Kong with the kids. However, my husband’s nickname isn’t KevStar Travels for nothin’! He managed to switch our tickets home for Wednesday. So, yes Thursday is the new Friday–I leave for Hong Kong today on Wednesday, arrive on Thursday evening, and check into the hospital on Friday morning. To say I’m excited is an understatement. I am so excited to get this hip out of me and start to get the old, yet youthful and active, Annie back. Perhaps this post might give some insight into Kremb de la Kremb’s low activity level these days.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share some little items that make my 14 hour flight a little more bearable….

Krembs Family (Semi) Cabin Candids

Krembs Family Cabin Candids 9

During the summer when we have such fun reconnecting with our families, I try to make sure and take pics while we’re all together. It wasn’t until the very last moment with the Krembs Family that I realized I hadn’t brought my camera out, and there were 14 out of the 18 of us. (Unfortunately Brian and Jen Krembs were not able to make this weekend–maybe next summer at their place!! Hint hint!) Kevin set up my new lightweight tripod and did the running back and forth with the timer ready to make the portrait–remember when that was the way and not the extended selfie stick? (I still remain that the selfie stick is basically a personal tripod. You can read my rant here!) We had a great time with all the Krembs as seen by the following shots:

Krembs Family Candids 7

Here are Kevin’s folks: lovely Jane and funny Alex. I love them like my own parents–in fact it was during this weekend that I called Jane “Mom” instead of “Jane.” For both of us it felt very nice. They’ll be back this Sunday–with a new family member, but I’ll save the surprise for another round of Cabin Candids!

Krembs Family Candids 4
Here’s Corky and his family. Cork and his wife Sally live in Hong Kong, so we feel especially lucky to see them and our cousins Alex, Lauren, and Sofia all year long!

Krembs Family Cabin Candids 8
This is the other Ann Marie Krembs. Oh we have a lot of fun having the same name. These are her two boys Conor and Seamus.

Krembs Family Cabin Candids 3
There’s the Kremb de la Kremb Krembs! Love this photo of us in front of our cabin–maybe it will be seen again as our Christmas card this year!!

Krembs Family Cabin Candids 6
Teenagers–or the strange kiddos that are now becoming men in our family that we just don’t recognize!

Krembs Family Cabin Candids 1
Seamus and Gigi could pass as brother and sister, don’t you think?

Krembs Family Cabin Candids 2
Auntie Annie Squared!

Krembs Family Cabin Candids 5
And of course one last Krembs Family picture. Let’s go wild!!

Panoramas and Cabin Candids with Rusty and Ted

Rusty and Ted
I can’t say Rusty is our oldest friend–that’s not correct, but he is the friend that Kevin and I have shared for the longest amount of time. We met Rusty exactly five days after getting married when we arrived with him for both of our first posts overseas in El Salvador. That means Rusty has been a friend of ours for 19 years! Now with Ted as his partner and fiancé (Rusty proposed this last November), Ted has also become our good friend. They were with us this past weekend. Even though the weather was bad, with plenty of sleepy rainy mornings, we had a great time playing ladder ball, barbecuing plenty of flat irons, and returning to poker games or campfires at night.

Panorama Ted
These panoramas are a no-brainer, but we’d never done them before. What fun!! Here Ted is contemplating Ted and below Gigi and Ted pointing with some oohin and awing.

Panorama Gigi and Ted

Panorama Ann
I managed to get an #ootd in plus some smooches.

Panorama Kissing

On to the boat for some true cabin candids…

Gigi Wakeboarding
Gigi wakeboarding and her broad, toothy smile after.

Gigi

Vincent Wakeboarding
Vincent is so strong now behind the boat. He’s now at that age when you can feel him pulling the boat back. That equals man. Yikes!

Vincent Krembs

Annie 2
I had to pose with my tied scarf. While these little bandanas are half for fashion they are fully for warmth. I slept with one around my neck last night. They serve as a make shift turtleneck.

Annie 1

Kevin Krembs Lake
I love catching a candid of Kevin driving the boat–there will be some more. And even though we don’t actually see sun set, we receive glorious sunsets all the same.

Sunset
The next round of visitors arrive on Wednesday. I’ll try to catch some candids of Kevin’s family during their visit to the Kremb de la Kremb cabin to post next week. Stay tuned for some more pics from our trip to San Diego later on this week. And as for a little DIY–I do have something up my sleeve there as well.

I hope you are enjoying your Summer ’16. Have you joined the Snapchat craze. I have….it turns my day to day life into a reality show! Hahha! No but really, if you’d like to follow what happens out here at the Kremb de la Kremb Cabin, follow me on Snapchat–I’ll let you guess the username. *wink wink* (Ok, it’s krembdelakremb.)