a year of travel

We have traveled the US and part of the world this year.

March – drive to AZ for spring break

May – Germany for 2 weeks (including dinner in France one evening!), then Pennsylvania to visit family

June – add in a quick trip to Massacheusetts, Delaware and New York while we’re on that side of the country

July – the baby and I went back to Massacheusetts for a university promotion

August – quick 6 day trip to Colorado

September – the baby and I will be making a quick weekend trip to Minnesota to visit family and see a tractor show.

November – the whole family is driving to Phoenix for Thanksgiving with family.

December – we are heading back to the farm where LOML grew up to spend Christmas with that side of the family. We are excited about this as most of them have not met the baby, yet.

Coast to coast and across The Pond, it’s been quite a year. It makes me feel exhausted reading that list. Somehow we managed to do all of that with a 5 year old, 3 year old and a baby who is now just 9 months.

Travel should slow now that Big I’ve has started her Kindergarten year at a public school here in SoCal. No more taking the kids out of school whenever we want.

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[daily life] language

Long overdue. I’m trying to figure out life in our new city and most days it’s pretty crazy. I hope to post more soon.

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I’m a resth-cute.
“I’m a rescue,” said while wearing her batgirl cape.
-Little E 21.01.2014

I tryin’ a yuppin’. (Said while trying to sweep.)
– Little E 29.01.2014

You daddy, daddy.
-Little E 06.02.2014

How she sit correctily?
“How does she sit correctly?” She was building a mega block chair for a stuffed sheep.
-Big Ive 11.02.2014

Can I machen zu?
“Can I close it?” ‘Machen zu’ is to make closed.
-Big Ive 22.02.2014

I have applesth (pointing to her ankles).
-Little E 26.02.2014

Very first thing Little E said when she saw me upon waking in the morning: Eisth cream. Can we go get Eisth cream?
-03.07.2014

-03.08.2014: I like to move it, move it. I like to move it, move it.

Daddy, I’ll fleug it to you.
“Daddy, I’ll fly it to you.” She used the German word when talking about her paper airplane.
-Big Ive 11.03.2014

Compitated. Mom’s compitated. Daddy’s compitated. Little E’s compitated.
-Big Ive 20.03.2014 ‘complicated’

Uhh, Daddy? Disth is a bycthacle.
-10.04.2014 Little E, when she first noticed Big Ive’s new bike (before Big Ive had gotten up in the morning).

Dersth a tummy in you baby. (There’s a baby in your tummy.)
– Little E 14.04.2014

…with a very serious look on her face.. ‘His birthday is in 20.’
-Big Ive 26.04.2014 I’m not sure what kind of 20 that is.

Da balloonsth are growin’ outsthide, Daddy! Da balloonsth are growin’!
-Little E 27.04.2014 We had balloons on sticks for Big Ive’s birthday party and they were stuck in the flower boxes outside.

Me: Big Ive, do you want to play I spy?
Big Ive: ice pie?
-03.05.2014

I’m not the sweetest one. I’m the cool one. Little E is the sweet one.
-05.05.2014 Big Ive, after I said I have two sweet girls because I usually call Little E my Sweet Girl.

I’m thinking the baby should have red hair like me. I’m thinking the baby should have green eyes like you. I’m thinking the baby should have a mouth. And I’m thinking the baby should have a nose.
-06.05.2014 Big Ive

He’sth a little bit! (He’s little!)
-08.05.2014 Little E

A present-taper?
“Present-paper?” (Meaning wrapping paper. These were said very slowly, trying to get the new conjoined word out.)
-11.05.2014 Big Ive

We were at a restaurant and Little E managed to knock over Chris’ beer. Both Chris and I let out a f*ckin-A. To which a Big Ive echoed, clear as day, flockin-A. It was hilarious. So now we are saying that, which I’m sure is not any better than the real words. Little E has picked it up now, too.
-16.05.2014

Oh, my neck doesn’t put the noodle inside.
-Big Ive 21.05.2014 She was eating noodles and felt like one got caught in her throat a little. Took a drink and all was fine.

Be carefully, ok? Be carefully.
-Little E 05.30.2014

Oh, my tummy. My tummy doesn’t have so many choices!
-Big Ive 05.30.2014

Here’sth sthome a-more butter. Sthome a-more.
-Little E 30.05.2014

I’m an engtineer. I’m a fix kid.
“I’m an engineer and a fix-it kid.”
-Big Ive 09.06.2014

I put my lips in my mouf and make elephant words.
-Big Ive 12.06.2914

I hear something over there. It’s the washmacleaner. (washing machine)
-Big Ive 29.06.2012

I just wanna stay away from mommy.
<Why?>
I’m allergic.
-Big Ive 01.07.2014

Da ansthwersth (answers in Little E-speak) are gonna get usth (us)!
-Little E 02.07.2014

Squirt water! (Sprinkler)
-Little E 14.07.2014

Does Little E have a tail fox zipper? A tail fox zipper?
(A fox tail zipper, because her new little backpack looks like a little red fox.)
-Big Ive 15.07.2014

Little E: I don’t know where your hair is.
Grandpa: I don’t know either.
-10.08.2014 Little E referring to grandpa’s balding head while playing

I have room. It’s on the side!
-10.08.2014 Big Ive, referring to the room in her stomach for frozen yogurt

Bubblegup.
(Bubblegum. She was so sure of it being said like that.)
-18.08.2014 Big Ive

No, pleasthe.
“No, please.”
-29.08.2014 Little E’s version of ‘no thank you’.

Stop putting air in my ear! (I was breathing too closely to her, I guess.)
-Big Ive 18.09.2014

I wanna slide down a big mountain where there’s lots of snow on the bottom, lots of snow on the middle, and lots of snow on the top.
-19.09.2014 Big Ive

Kritzel-kratzel drawing = scribbling in German
-23.09.2014 Big Ive

Little yelled over to me, “Hey mom! Come see Charlotte.”
I walk over to her in the back patio and she says, “Hi, Charlotte. My name is Little E.”
-29.09.2014 Little E talking to the little spider she found in the cooler in the back patio.

I don’t want them take my bed!
-29.09.2014 Little E said this about the movers packing up her bed.

I’m gonna miss Germany a lot.
-01.10.2014 Big Ive. [[I know, kid. Me, too.  Me, too.]]

Mommy, it’s no schlimm.
“Mommy, it’s not so bad.”
-02.10.2014 Big Ive, said after I pointed out she dribbled chocolate milk on her white shirt.

Me to Little E: Shhh! You’re so loud!
Big Ive’s reply: I can’t hear my paper.
-03.10.2014

I want some so viel!
(‘so viel’ means ‘a lot’. She wanted a lot of coins to play with.)
-04.10.2014 Little E

Ooooohhhh, dat’sth stho Süß.
(Oh, that’s so Süß. Süß =sweet. Said while flipping to a new page in a coloring book.)
-06.10.2014 Little E

This is yummy salt.
-12.10.2014 Big Ive, referring to the sugar on her donut.

Hey, my thumb is wrinkly. Can I suck dis one (the other one)?
(Said as she walked in the living room right after waking up in the morning.)
-13.10.2014 Little E

Mommy, I see a knuckle on my leg.
(Mommy, I see a freckle on my leg.)
-15.10.2014 Little E

After finishing her alphabet game Big Ive exclaimed, “I won the whole entire iPad!”
-26.10.2014

Trinkle trees!
(Trick or treat)
-31.10.2014 Little E

I have a piece of mastisstance!
(The piece of resistance from Lego movie)
-17.11.2014 Little E

Little E has eye-brawls (eyebrows) and Big Ive has eye-leashes (eyelashes).
-12.05.2014

Adacado
“Avocado”
-01.04.2015 Little E

The hot is still there.
(Trying to say her oatmeal is still hot.)
-01.04.2015 Little E

Big Ive kept calling the enchiladas “bazanya”, like lasagna.
-01.22.2015 Big Ive

“Base-ket-ball” Basketball
-01.18.2015 Little E

Big Ive: What are those called that goes on a string and has a hole in the middle?
Me: Beads.
Big Ive: Yeah!
-01.16.2015 This was a conversation with Big Ive in the car on the way home from school one afternoon. We have many conversations like this where she describes something in the strangest details and expects me to fully understand.

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Little Guy is here!

At 13:52 on November 12 our Little Guy made his debut into the world.  He weighed 8lb 14oz (4030g) and was 20.5inches (52cm) long.  He has a small amount of dark brown hair, although a lot of that has fallen out or rubbed off in the 2 months he’s been with us.  It was a routine scheduled cesarean birth, as the girls were both cesarean.  No problems or complications.  We spent 4 days in the hospital before we went home.

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He looked a lot like Big Ive at birth.  It was almost like time travel.  As he grows and gets more fat on him he looks less and less like her clone.  He really likes the baby swing (something Big Ive hated).  And he has just started smiling.  Those full-face and body smiles that exude from every fiber of his being.  Another thing he does that Big Ive also did was really enjoy the changing table.  We have the same red changing pad we used with Big Ive.  It was like a secret happy maker for her and seems to be very similar for him.

The girls are completely in love with him.  Big Ive has certainly taken to the big sister role.  She asks to hold him all the time.  I bet she’d pick him up and walk around with him if left alone with him.  Little E likes him, but isn’t as interested in holding him.  It is just the age difference.  She is not quite old enough to care about doing things like that — which is perfectly fine with me.  She does like to come up and talk to him and try to get him to play with toys once in a while.  And she is very concerned when he is fussy or crying.

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LOML is pretty smitten with him, too.  When he holds Little Guy it makes the baby look so small again.

Bow-ties are his signature wardrobe right now.

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Little Guy is the perfect addition to our family.  I really like his sweet and calm personality.  He’s pretty carefree right now.  I wonder what he will be like as he grows older.

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Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas from Haus Miller Adventure!
Gesegnete Weihnachten und ein glückliches neues Jahr!

I_E_Xmas2014An Arizona Christmas.
Eine Weihnacht in Arizona.

fam_xmas2014Christmas Eve after church.
Heiligabend nach Kirche.

fam_xmas_stockings2014Our new stockings for all 5 of us.
Unsere neue Weihnachtssocke für alle Fünf.

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Big Ive and Little E decorating the Christmas tree.
Big Ive und Little E schmückend der Weihnachtsbaum.

Cry of My Heart

For the past month the cry of my heart has been to be able to stay in Germany for another couple of years.  So many times a day I cry out in prayer to God with just the thoughts that my heart is broken at the thought of moving away right now.  That I just want to stay.  Nothing lyrical or profound.  No extra words or explanations.  Just the deep desire that I don’t want to move away from my adopted home of Germany, my tiny little rural farming German village.

We might be moving back to the US in October.  There is a pretty strong possibility.  And it makes me cry to think about that.

I want to stay.  I don’t want to move.

I looked back this morning when I was thinking to our three years here in Germany.  We have felt like such foreigners and outsiders for so long.  The first year we lived here LOML and I frequently had conversations about how hard it is, and we questioned if it was worth it to move here.  We felt like we hit wall after wall after wall (social, community building, church, friends, language, government protocols, etc).  At some point we either became better at climbing the big walls in front of us at every corner or the walls became smaller and smaller.

We are still foreigners and outsiders — something I doubt will ever change even if we lived here the rest of our lives.  But now I can say we do actually fit in.

-It was comfortable to be with my German band at our concert on Sunday.  We had conversations in German.  There were 2 strangers that asked me questions — and I could answer them appropriately!  They missed me when I was gone this summer.  They care about me and the new baby.
-Our kids feel comfortable in this culture.  (They are a little awkward back in the US, actually.)  They effortlessly flip from English to German depending on who they are speaking to — and they instinctively know which one is correct.
-The other parents in the Kindergarten are willing to be our friends and show us great kindnesses.  I shared with a mother a week ago that I was having pain because of this pregnancy and that’s why I was walking so slowly to pick up the girls in the afternoon.  She gave the 3 of us a ride home.  And when she saw me walk up to school, as she was driving away, the next morning for drop-off, she called school and told the teacher to let me know she would pick me up at my house so I wouldn’t have to walk for that afternoon’s pickup.
-All summer long Big Ive would get teary-eyed and cry that she wanted to go back home to Germany.  At least once a day, nearly every day of the 2 months we spent in the US.  This is home to them.  They know nothing different than living in Germany, long airplane rides to see grandparents.  [[I understand they would most likely feel this way about where ever we might live as long as it was home.]]
-The girls have friends at school.  Friends who missed them when we were gone for such a long time in the US this summer.  The first day back at school a group of kids stood at the window yelling out, “Die Big Ive und die Little E! Die Big Ive und die Little E! (The Big Ive and the Little E!)”  They were so excited the girls were back at school.  I wish I could convey the excitement of those children through these simple words.  It just made my heart glow.
-People know who we are in the village.  I can’t walk to school, the little store, the butcher shop, the playground without waving or saying hello to someone I know.
-Our children have adopted grandparents here in our village.  The girls LOVE these people and they love our kids just as much.
-We have friends and have begun to grow a community.

It was a difficult and stressful summer dealing with the many changes in our lives (much beyond just moving back to the States).  It was so full of many different emotions.  I know that being pregnant during all of this has definitely intensified any reaction I would normally have.  I didn’t fully realize how much I like living here and want to live here until we were getting ready to move.

Until we hear otherwise we are planning to move.  Constant prayer, fingers crossed (or thumbs pressed, as the Germans say) we hear otherwise.  And sooner would be better than later.  But I’ll take whatever I can get if it means we can stay.

I trust God.  I trust His will and timing.  He’ll provide for us where we will be moving.  But, damn, is this a hard time for us.

I want to stay.  I don’t want to move.  Yet.  I’m not ready.

Will I ever be ready?

Sandbox morning fun

Sometimes you don’t have the camera when you have a near perfect morning. I guess that means we’re supposed to try to enjoy it even more since we won’t have the digital memories.

This morning was like that. The girls and I played in the sandbox in our backyard for an hour this morning. It was sunny and warm enough to not even need a light sweater. We pulled the leaves out, I raked the rain-trodden-down sand up so it was fluffy again.

We built a fish pond, complete with pretend water because my very wise 4-year old knows extra water in the sandbox messes up proper building. We built bucket castles. Some were near perfect. Others fell down before they got up. She also knows how to make doors and windows with her fingers in her bucket castles. I asked where she learned that and she replied, “Daddy teached me. Dad teached me how to make doors.” “Dad is a pretty smart guy, huh?” “Yeah, he is.”

Shoes were removed and sand was wiggled through little toes. Hands and feet were buried under cool wet sand.

Big Ive toppled over one time when she lost her balance and bumped her head on a cobble stone. But the spectacular somersault she managed to do in the toppling totally made up for it. Maybe I was a bad mother at the time because I was laughing so hard while she was crying. A half a minute later and she was laughing too. Proves once again laugher can be the best medicine. She does have a red spot on her forehead, which may turn into a bruise, but her bangs cover it well so most people won’t even know.

Playing in wet sand made us have to remove sandy clothes before entering the house and proceeding straight to the bath. Now we have 2 clean girls almost ready for lunch, naps, and a fellow 4-year old friend’s birthday party later this afternoon.

sweet simple memories of a regular day in the life of our adventure.

Party for Little E’s 3rd birthday

On Saturday we had a birthday party for Little E. This was the first birthday she has celebrated in the United States.  I thought it would be fun to have a cow and bird themed party for her since she loves cows and birds so much.

There is a take a toy to school day once a week at their Kindergarten and she brought at least one of her cow toys each week for a month.  And then she tried to take one of the cow toys from school home.  :)  Kid loves her cows.

We walk by some chickens on the way to school and every single time we have to stop at look at them.

Whenever she sees a bird flying in the sky or hopping on the ground she exclaims, “Der’sth a birdie!” (That translates to, “There’s a birdie!”  She still has a little bit of a lisp, which I think is pretty cute.)

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Cow skirt made by Grandma.

 

The party went really well.  We had a boat load of people over.  A lot of our family who lives here, and a lot of friends from our church here in AZ.  My dad grilled burgers for us to go along with chips and salsa, avocado & black bean dip, hummus, fruits and veggies.  There were only a tiny bit of leftovers and no one appeared to be hungry when they left so I count it a win!

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And I made over 6 dozen strawberry cupcakes from scratch.  I think they turned out really well for using 2 new recipes (the cake batter and the frosting).  I think we had about 12 left when the party ended.

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My sister filled about 100 water balloons for the kids to throw.  So much time was spent filling the balloons and it took the kids all of 3 minutes to throw and break them all.  A little bit later it started raining.  Just about every kid here was playing in it and completely soaked.  The rain was possibly better than my planned activity of water balloons!

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DSC05606Buckets of water attract children like bees to honey.  : )

DSC05608Post water balloons.  She doesn’t look terribly happy in this photo but she did have a great time with the water balloons.

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Opening the presents was pretty darn chaotic.  There were about 10 children helping Elsie and making her rush through them all.  Thankfully my sister was good at taking notes and wrote everything down on which presents came from whom.

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She wanted to sleep with this cow baby, but I said no because it moos.  I didn’t want to be awoken in the middle of the night from a mooing cow baby.2014-08-03_K_ipad_pics 796
You can see the excitement on her face in this photo.  I love it.

 On her actual birthday on Tuesday the 5th of August we had a slow day.  My mom made a batch of pancakes — maybe even her best since she used half-and-half instead of regular milk.  Little E was up before Big Ive and was able to eat all of the strawberries with her pancake.  And then she started on the tomatoes, finishing with raspberries.  I made sure to save at least a few raspberries for Big Ive.  She requested “frwench frwiesth and chickie bitesth” (french fries and chicken bites) for supper.  So I made some great baked chicken tenders, fries, and homemade mac-n-cheese.  It was a big hit from everyone who was over.  We ended the night with some frozen yogurt.  The girls loved being able to pick the toppings for their frozen yogurt.  All in all, a very fun birthday for a very special little 3-year old girl.

Quick Update

Sorry for the delay in posts the past 2 months.  There has been a lot and nothing happening at the same time.  Here’s a quick list of the highlights.

  1. I am 17 weeks pregnant today.  The baby is due in November.
  2. I developed a crazy bad sudden allergy to rapeseed during this pregnancy.  Rapeseed is grown abundantly in our region in Germany, unfortunately.  I thought I had a bad sinus infection for 3 weeks before I finally got an allergy test.  As the flowers disappeared on the fields my symptoms have been decreasing and I finally feel better.  Between the first trimester pregnancy exhaustion and the allergy I was literally sitting on the sofa for 3 weeks and did basically nothing.  Thank goodness LOML was working from home and was able to help so much.
  3. We threw a big birthday party for Big Ive a couple weeks after her 4th birthday.  We invited a bunch of her little German friends from the Kindergarten.  The puzzle themed party was a big success, even if it was a bit on the chaotic side with so many kids.  :)
  4. My mom came for a 4 week visit as a birthday surprise for me.  LOML worked it out and paid for her ticket over.  It’s been great having her here.
  5. LOML’s parents were also here for 2 weeks and we had a blast.
  6. We took a 5 day trip to Belgium with my mom and LOML’s parents and all 4 of us — Brussels, Oostende (stumbled upon a sail boat festival!), Brugges (went to an organ concert in the Our Lady cathedral for the dedication of their brand new organ), and just about the best zoo I’ve been in in the world called Paira Daiza.  Fantastic little road trip.
  7. The Schwimmbad opened in our village and we’ve been swimming 2 times in a week.  The girls seem to be ok with the frigid water temperature.  As someone who grew up in the desert, I don’t like to swim until the water is about 80F.  The Germans think that is far too warm.
  8. The girls and I will be visiting the States for 2 months starting tomorrow.  My brother is getting married and we’ll be spending a week with LOML’s family and lots of other things planned.  It’s a little too long to be gone from home, but it’ll be good to have enough time to spend with family and friends.  LOML will be there for part of the time, but he has to return for work for some of the 2 months we’ll be gone.
  9. LOML and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary the beginning of June.  It’s crazy to think we’ve been married 9 years.
  10. I celebrated my 30th birthday.  We had a great day of German breakfast at the bakery, time playing in a local castle ruin, and then LOML surprised me with my German band who played a little birthday serenade in the town square.  It was the best birthday and one I will remember forever.

Hopefully now that I’m feeling better I can get back to more regular posts with photos.

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4 years of Big Ive

Big Ive turns 4 on April 10.  It is always hard to imagine she has been with us for so short and so long at the same time.  When these milestones come up I always think about how it feels like we never had a time without her.  I know that’s not true, of course.  But sometimes memories play tricks on you that way.  Sometimes, I think, when we love people so much we forget a little bit that life existed before without them.

I think back and remember her birth.   Remember that we were so lucky and blessed to even have had this baby.  Remember that she came out a whopping 9lb 6oz, 21.5in at 41weeks 3days.  Remember the crazy events that lead up to a scheduled c-section birth (she flipped breach at nearly 9.5lbs).  Remember the worry when she didn’t cry right away, when they finally got her to it sounded like an engine starting up with small whimpers consistently growing to bigger and bigger until the relief of a great cry.  Remember the shock of having a redhead (we love it, we just weren’t really expecting it).

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I think back and remember her first year or so of life.  The head-shaping helmet she wore for 3 months because of mild plageocephaly.  Remember feeling guilty for not being able to enjoy her first 1.5 years so much because of the unplanned pregnancy of Little E.  Remember the worry when the pediatrician said she didn’t have enough verbal words, and at the same time remember feeling defensive and maybe a little smug that she had so many signs.  Remember how little she felt up until the day Little E was born.  And then how completely huge she instantly became, when I wasn’t expecting it, when I didn’t know it would happen, after Little E was born.  I remember how much this tiny toddler/big baby loved her baby sister, how much joy she had.  Remember thinking that Big Ive should somehow look much bigger next to a newborn Little E.  Remember how she used to click her tongue to make a kissing sound when she gave you a kiss (and once every very little while still does).

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I put her name in the skinny part on her left temple, but blurred it for my semi-anonymous blog.

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One or 2 days before Little E was born.  She climbed up and fell asleep like that.

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First time meeting Little E at the hospital the day she was born.

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Signing ‘juice’ Big Ive style.  There were a few months where she added a few new signs a week, thanks to my little sister who is majoring in Sign Language Interpretation at college.

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Double binkies in Switzerland Christmas day 2011.

I think back and try to remember the third year of her life.   And I don’t remember so much.  Because I was a sleep deprived mother of 2 very young children (one a baby who didn’t sleep through the night until after 1 year of age and thought no solid foods were good until 8 months of age…).  But, that’s ok.  Because I know we had a good year.  I remember traveling.  Remember Big Ive sleeping in every place we traveled (Paris subway? check.  Florence city streets? check.  Beaches of Croatia?  check. …).  Remember starting to attend the Kindergarten in our village, attending Krabbelgruppe, so many walks around the village, times on the playground, picking flowers out in nature.  Remember right at her 2nd birthday she decided she would really start to talk.  And then 4 months later we threw her into the German-speaking Kindergarten and watched as her English language progress suddenly stopped for a few months.  Just to pick right back up, but this time concurrently learning German.  Remember when she started to remember things (like my parents house, and how it takes 2 airplanes to get there).  Remember when she couldn’t hardly ride walk her Laufrad (balance bike).

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My stacker of blocks kid.  She has always been good at stacking blocks and working puzzles.

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Easter morning 2012.  My favorite part is her still-swollen-with-sleep eyes after just waking.

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LOML giving her the tour of the cathedral in Metz, France.

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Sass and a map at a vineyard in France, spring 2012.

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How many dandelions can a little girl pick? Summer 2012, along the wooded path around our village.  The sap in those dandelions stained that flower dress that day.  I still have the dress.

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Totally rockin’ it on the first day of real Kindergarten, August 2012.

I think back and remember her 4th year of life, the one she just completed, now starting on her 5th year. Remember that she spoke very little German at the beginning of the year, only to have it suddenly explode and she became a near-fluent 3 year old German speaker.  Remember the times my heart swelled when she, out of the blue, says that God loves her and lives in her heart. Remember when she suddenly could out-run me on her Laufrad.  Remember all the funny things her brain puts together and spills out her lips.  Remember the wonderful feeling of a content child feeling safe and falling asleep in mom’s arms.  Remember bringing her to my German classes and she responded to the teacher, talking about her bike.  Remember when she ran up to our Landlord and hugged his legs outside of the Kindergarten one afternoon at pickup (and remember the look of shock and joy on his face).  Remember her asking for her babysitters to come back to her house soon.  Remember the look of her face when she tells you it takes 2 airplanes to get to Gampers’ house.  Remember the heart-wrenching sadness she felt when LOML was apart from us and she told me she missed her daddy.  Remember how much better and how willing she is of a helper with chores and me around the house.  Remember how caring she is when I had a sore back, or was sick.  Remember her ‘softing’ my hurts away.  Remember her addiction to her pacifiers.

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After opening her new birthday present of puzzles, April 10, 2013.

DSC03118Trying out the Laufrad from Uncle Fred, Spring 2013.

DSC03307Drumming on toy kitchen pots and pans.

DSC03561Walking to the beach in Croatia, July 2013.

DSC03934Castle tour July 2013.  Note the dinosaur in her hand and the over-thrilled expression.

DSC03960She is often finding a place to sit like this to just observe the world.

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Running in the fountain, when Uncle Robot and Tia were in Germany.

DSC04621At the playground near my parent’s house.

DSC04722One of my favorite photos of both girls together — perfect capture of their personalities.

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I like the expression she has in this photo New Year’s Day 2014.

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I look forward to the future.  I made the commitment to live in the today and not be sad about what is in the past, and I’ll continue to do that with you, looking forward to the many years to come of our lives together, watching you grow.  You and me, we’ll keep living life in our little family, on our crazy adventure.  I love you, Big Ive.  You’ll always be my Big Ive-baby.

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Rambling Thoughts for the Day

  • I made a great post for Big Ive’s 4th birthday a couple of weeks ago.  So, in my brain, I have this epic post waiting to go out on her birthday on the 10th, and can’t write any others until it is published.  Not like we’ve done anything spectacular the past few weeks that the general public, friends, and family really care about, though.  :)  That’s why there’s been a little bit of silence from HausMiller.
  • Tonight I made homemade mac-n-cheese and used a French shredded cheese mix, along with some Velveeta.  It turned out surprisingly incredibly delicious.  Perfect combination of French cheeses and American processed cheese stuff.  Normally I don’t use Velveeta (I don’t think I can readily buy it here in Germany), but a friend gave us a block as they were moving away.  And I can’t let perfectly good food product go to waste, so I’ve been trying to incorporate that into our meals the past few weeks.  Totally doesn’t mesh with the healthy eating we’ve been trying to do for the past month or so.
  • Big Ive was chatting with a friend at Kindergarten this afternoon at pickup.  She said a whole sentence in German, but didn’t know 2 words, so she substituted the English words.  The German kid gave her a slight funny look but kept going with the conversation.
  • Big Ive managed to misplace all of her pacifiers.  [[I know, I know, she’s nearly 4 years old and still uses pacifiers.  It’s really not that big of a thing here in Europe.  It is not uncommon to see kids with them until age 4 or 5.  The plan is to get rid of them on her 4th birthday.  We’ll see if that really happens…]]  And she came up with this idea that somehow someone came into our house and took all of her pacifiers.  That was the reason we couldn’t find any when we had 4 the day before.  And then she told one of her friends this at school today.  Crazy kid.  It’s awesome to see her brain working on these things.
  • I witnessed an I-have-more-Oma’s-than-you fight between three or four 2-4 year old’s at the Kindergarten this morning.  One kid’s Grandma (Oma) dropped her off.  Then another kid said, “I have 3 Omas.”  This was countered by Big Ive saying, “I have 2 Oma’s and 2 Grandma-grandmas.”  The mother of one kid came and clarified she had 2 Omas and 1 Urgroßmutter (Uroma…great grandmother).  Then Big Ive said the names of her grandmas, which really confused the mother.  She had no idea what Big Ive was saying, as one of the names is a nickname, although Big Ive did say it all correctly in German.
  • All of our neighbors and acquaintances here in our village are convinced I speak great German.  I think my German is not so good — I feel like I can barely function when I have to.  I had to translate for a friend with their neighbors in February.  As I was walking home from Kindergarten drop off one morning, a person in our village came out their front door when they saw me.  They verified that I knew German.  I said yes.  Then she asked a couple of questions, which I tried my best to answer.  When I was going to leave I said something incorrectly 3 different ways, which she finally laughed at and then told me the correct way to say it in German.
  • I always feel like I’m a little slow when having a conversation in German.  The German will say something.  And when they’re at a point where I’m supposed to respond, I take just a bit too long translating back what they were saying, formulating a response and translating that into German, they get this look on their face.  If they know English they have then started to say what they said by this point.
  • A mother at Kindergarten pickup asked if Big Ive will be going to the actual Kindergarten class in the fall.  I didn’t quite understand what she was saying.  I mean, I understood the words, but wondered if I somehow didn’t know about different school options here in Germany that I suddenly needed to become aware of.  Anyway, after a couple back and forths, it came to be that she thought Big Ive was 5 and of Kindergarten class age.  She is only turning 4 on the 10th, so she has another year of pre-school here.  Then the mother commented that she was a tall girl, also.  I smiled and said something along the lines of, have you met my husband?  She smiled back.
  • We are planning a birthday party for Big Ive, later in April.  This will be the first time we’ve had a kid-party.  Ever.  And I think we’ve only ever been to 1 other kid party.  I’m concerned about doing it ‘right’.  How American do I make it?  How thoughtful to the Germans do I make it?  Will any German kids even show up?  What if ALL of the kids we invite show up out of sheer curiosity of ‘the Americans’?
  • I’ve lost track of how many times we’ve watched the movie Frozen in the past week.  A friend let us borrow her copy.  The German language DVD comes out in about a week, which I am planning to buy for the girls. [[EDIT 07.04.2014: I ordered it on amazon.de so it should be here soon.]]
  • LOML and I have decided that if the girls are going to watch TV it should be German language TV shows.  That way we can call it education and not feel so bad about the screen time.  Ha!  Our landlord is working on getting us German TV instead of the military cable we’ve had (which stopped working a few months ago and we’ve yet to troubleshoot why.  No big loss, we didn’t watch it much more than kid shows anyway.).
  • LOML and I joined the gym in a German village about 5 miles from our house.  We’re probably the only Americans with a membership.  The gym is pretty cool.  They have a full sauna (with 3 or 4 different sauna rooms) and everything.
  • LOML bought me a FitBit.  Did you know they can help track your sleeping, too?  Not sure of the accuracy, but it sure is interesting to see it every morning on the computer.
  • Lastly, I am not a fan of the Daylight Saving Time change that happened here in Germany on Sunday.  From what I’ve heard, it doesn’t save any energy and actually causes more accidents the weeks after the change.  Where’s the world petition to end this nonsense?
  • 07.04.2014   We got the girls a sandbox for the backyard and our Landlord let us put it under a big tree by the swing set.  Big Ive was making sand castles from her star-shaped bucket today and she told me 2 were for Queen Elsa, 2 were for Princess Anna and the big cobble stone she put in there was the mountain that Christophe had to climb.
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