Monthly Archives: February 2012

[and other daily happenings 28.02.2012]

I know I’ve said it before, but I’m amazed at the progress in Big Ive’s language skills each day.  She is trying to say more real words all the time.  And more words are coming out clearly each day, too.  She’s picking up words that we aren’t asking her to say.

She came up to me asking for help with a mega block person.  It’s a doctor lady wearing a doctor’s jacket.  She wanted to take the jacket off.  But, it’s a part of the molded plastic.  I told her it was a doctor and so she wears a jacket and can’t take it off.  She looked at me kind of funny

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Little E is getting to be a really good fast crawler.  It used to take her 5 minutes to get from the living room to the kitchen.  Now she’s by me in the kitchen in less than a minute.  The slick tile floors are getting to be no match for her any longer.

She’s getting more and more daring by the day trying to pull herself up to standing.  Unfortunately, most of the time it doesn’t work out so well for her.  Her balance is terrible and she tends to fall and smack her head on the ground or whatever it is she’s climbing on.

Speaking of smacking her head on things… The dear child whacked the radiator corner with her forehead and got a nice purple bruise as a prize.

bruise day 1

bruise day 3

LOML called her the all-terrain baby as she was going over a mound of pillows and toys this weekend and making quick work of it.  A week ago she would have been baricaded by the smallest of objects.

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We’ve back slid with the sleep for Little E this past week as we’ve all been sick.  This has been one really crappy cold.  I’ve been really sick–probably worse than the girls.  She’s waking up every 2ish hours to eat or be fussy.  I’m tired and sick and don’t want to try to get her back to sleep without feeding her so I’ve been giving in a feeding her just about every time she wakes.  I’m just starting to feel a little better today so maybe we’ll start work on it again tonight.

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Feeding Little E solid foods is not a top priority for me.  It’s difficult to do it when we don’t have a high chair to tie her into.  I’m still working on getting LOML to think my $250 high chair is a good buy.  ((Along with the 500 euro stroller…))

Here she is attempting to feed herself cheerios (or the German cereal equivalent of Cheerios).

She is the kind of baby that tries to eat every little thing she finds on the ground.  Big Ive was not that way so it’s a new thing for us to be more vigilant with cleaning every little thing from the floor often.

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Little E is starting to let her temper show.  She gets pretty pissed when she can’t do something or when someone isn’t there actively engaging her all the time.  I’ve started to let her fuss a little bit to see if she’d figure out how to entertain herself.  And it’s working.  Yesterday she was upset about a toy or something.  I checked to make sure she was ok and hadn’t fallen over.  She was fine.  I let her get a little mad and fussy, but a couple minutes later she was happy and cooing again.  She found another toy or something else to occupy her.

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Big Ive took all of her castle animals and rocked them one by one saying, “A-baby, a-baby”.  Then she placed them on the floor in a neat orderly line.  The picture of the animals in a row is after she got up and messed them up a little, but you can still see the row she put them in.

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And some more pictures because I can.  : )

Little E almost standing up on her own. I swear one day she's just going to right herself and start walking.

Big Ive's crazy hair one day. Not entirely sure how it managed to get that way. Probably a combination of fork covered in food and water.

Big Ive and the beer scarf from the Getränke.

Big Ive grabbed this scarf, put it around her neck and said, “Bye! Tschüss!”, and waved at me heading toward the door.

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The 3-month Transition

Looking back on this time when LOML lived in Germany and we were still at home in Phoenix, it doesn’t seem like it was too bad.  Day to day it was hard, but overall I think it wasn’t that bad.  I think time can help change your feelings a little bit.

Here’s the story…
Two weeks before Little E was born LOML noticed the job posting on his company intranet.  We talked about it on the drive over to my parent’s house for supper on Friday evening.  He asked me what I thought.  I told him the worst they could say is no and to apply.  He thought the same.  We both figured they would just say no and life would continue on as it had.

They didn’t say no. Continue reading

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Meet Our Village Goats!

Here are our village goats.  They live up the hill and down a short gravel road.

There are 5 of them.  3 brown and 2 white with horns.  I think the white ones are cuter with their long floppy ears.

LOML and I might just have to buy this kind of goat for Big Ive’s cousin in Oklahoma.  : )

They seemed less afraid of Big Ive because she’s a miniature human.  They’re skittish of us full-sized humans.

We kept on the walk path around our village and both girls napped in LOML’s new red wagon.

A view of one of the streets on our walk home.

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First Haircut! [and other daily happenings 24.02.2012]

This morning Big Ive has decided she wants to sit on the potty.  It’s usually right after she’s peed in her diaper.  But that’s a step in the right direction for potty training, right?

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Because I couldn’t resist this photo.  I think she’s cute even if she was pissed off at the time.  : )

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We are all sick with colds.  Again.  It really sucks.  Big Ive came down with it on Wednesday.  Little E and I followed suit Thursday.  Today (Friday) we’re all in the thick of it.  We weren’t able to go to Krabbelgroupe on Wednesday and we’re not able to go to Kindergarten today.  Kinda’ sad about that.

It’s bound to happen sooner or later.  When kids enter the “herd” of other children they get sick.  And they bring it home for their parents and other siblings.  I don’t think it would matter if they started daycare from a few months old, pre-school at age 3, Kindergarten, homeschooled until high school; they would eventually come down with all these stupid illnesses.

Whatever it is, we’re in it now. No backing out.

Sunday, and we’re still all sick.  Transformed into the cough from the runny noise death feeling.  At least I don’t feel like I’m dieing today.

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Big Ive watched everything we do.  EVERYTHING.  She attempted to cut up a slice of quiche yesterday using the side of her fork like we adults would do.  She was wielding that fork like she’d been doing that move for years.  Except that she didn’t put enough pressure on the quiche and it didn’t cut.  It’s crazy, when I stop to think about it, how much kids learn just by watching us do normal, every day things around the house.  She likes to try to use the vacuum.  She tries to ‘clean’ around here.  Usually it’s just pushing crumbs from one place to another, but I appreciate her enthusiasm about it.

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Little E is trying to figure out how to clap her hands.  It is beyond cute to watch her watching us do it.  She’s mostly in the grasp hands together and raise and lower, like she’s celebrating a victory, stage.  Yesterday and today I’ve noticed one hand hitting the other, like she does with 2 toys.  I shouldn’t compare, but Big Ive didn’t learn to clap until after she was 9 months old.

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Little E looks like she’s going to stand up and walk every time she goes to sit herself upright from crawling.  She gets on her hands and feet and then does a little twist and leg bend and then she’s sitting.  But for a half a second it always looks like she’s going to just stand up.

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I had a whole menu planned out for this week and I think I’ve cooked 1 meal that was planned.  Last night LOML got us döner kabobs for supper.  I was so tired from needy sick kids there’s no way I could have gotten a meal on the table.

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Little E is no longer my sleepy baby.  Since she started crawling she has decided to wake up.  For the longest time she would sleep most of the day and the night, not having too many waking hours during the day.  I no longer find her asleep on the pillows in the corner of the room.  She used to scoot over there and just fall asleep.  Now she’s too interested in toys and getting around.

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I gave Big Ive her first haircut on Saturday.  She had a little bit of hair that didn’t fall out from when she was born and was longer than the rest.  It was a natural mullet.

before

LOML has been asking me to cut it for a couple months now.  I wasn’t ready to do it, yet.  I was afraid I would cut all her curls off.  I was trying to wait until her 2nd birthday.  She is 22 months old, so we almost made it.  The hair on the sides of her face is still short.  It grew out a tiny bit about the time Little E was born — enough that you could finally see it — and now it has stopped.

I think it’s super cute.  She looks so much more grown up.  And so far it’s  looking like it’s still curly.

after

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Big Ive grabbed a box of soy milk out of the pantry by herself.  She must have been thirsty.  She took it to the coffee table, opened it, and drank some.  She managed to get that little silver tab off all by herself, too.  I was impressed with that and a little upset about the self-serve milk.

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[and other daily happenings 21.02.2012]

Yesterday Big Ive took the ring of plastic toy keys and tried each one about 3 or 4 of our doors and her bed.  It was cute.  I’ve never seen her do that before.  She’s starting to do more and more pretend play.  It is fascinating to watch.

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Big Ive will do something (like jump) and it will get Little E into the biggest giggle fit.  No one else can get her to giggle and laugh as much as Big Ive can.  I love it.  I’ll admit that I ask Big Ive to jump and make Little E laugh more than once a day.  : )

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Little E is now trying to climb up anything she can.  She has managed to reach cups and toys on the coffee table.  She tried to scale our bookshelf one day.  She has tried to get up on Big Ive’s little kid chairs.  She climbs the toy boxes.

sisters. Actually, Little E was coming over to try to "help" Big Ive "read" her book. Big Ive did not like that idea so much.

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I ordered quinoa, dried mangos, butter toffee cashews and some chocolate from nuts.com (formerly nutsonline.com) on Thursday.  LOML just emailed to say they had already been delivered at his office.  It’s only Tuesday.  These people are fantastic getting orders out and quickly.  They send it regular mail and it still manages to get here faster than any other package.  I should ask their secret.

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Little E does not like baby food.  I have stopped trying to get her to eat anything that is traditional first baby foods.  She is getting whatever vegetable or fruit we have at the table during the day.  I’ve given her some bread and plain pasta, too.  So far, she’s a fan of green beans, broccoli, grapes, sweet potato, carrot, peas.  Pretty much none of these are mashed up, either.  She prefers to just mush small cooked bits in her mouth.  Maybe she just doesn’t like the spoon.  Not sure.

It doesn’t matter to me if I feed her nutritious fruits and veggies instead of icky tasting grain baby cereal.  The book I’ve been reading about French parenting says they start their babies on yummy fruits and veggies, too.  I figure in lots of places around the world rice cereal doesn’t even exist and they are feeding their kids the local spicy fare.

This kid just like to eat.  (Did I ever tell you how she gained nearly 6 pounds her first month?)  She still likes to breastfeed about every 2 hours almost around the clock (occasionally she’ll give me a few more hours at night or in the middle of the day).  I’m working on stretching that to 3 hours for now and then to 4.  While I believe she may actually be hungry after 2 hours, I’m hoping by distracting her or playing with her it’ll teach her to ignore that little hunger.  And that she doesn’t need to eat that very minute to survive.

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In other good news, I am fitting nicely into pants that did not fit before I got pregnant with Little E.  I guess this eat whatever you want, whenever you want (including bread and chocolate and butter) diet is working.  I think it’s all the chasing after 2 little kids, up and down 2 flights of stairs in our house, pushing a 70-80 lb stroller up and down all the hills in our village.  A good start on my goal of being about 2 more sizes smaller.  I think it’s attainable and this gives me hope.

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Little E is trying to figure out how to clap her hands.  She will watch us clap and grab her hands and raise and lower them.  She started banging 2 toys together in her hands this week, too.  My little baby is growing up so fast right now.

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LOML and I were talking about how both of the kids are growing so much right now.  They’re both going through developmental milestones in light-years, it seems.

Big Ive is picking up words left and right (English, German and sign language).  I told her to say please to me and she said bitte.  When we tell her to say thank you she says her version of the German danke and signs it.  It’s fun to see her interpret which words in which language to say.  And it’s interesting to try to figure out her version of the spoken words.  Little kids just aren’t able to correctly say words the first time they try.  I wonder how long she’ll say her version of the words before she starts to say them correctly.  I remember for the longest time she would look at my earrings of necklaces and I would ask if she liked my pretties.  She would say Wow, instead of pretty.  It was stinkin’ cute.

The German equivalent of goodbye is tschüss, which sounds like juice.  Big Ive knows the sign for juice (make a J in the air with your pinky).  So when we ask her to say tschüss, she says and signs juice.  It’s funny.  Just yesterday she said the most clear tschüss I have heard along with a wave instead of a juice sign.  She is definitely figuring out this language thing.

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Big Ive likes to help cover Little E up with a blanket when I’m feeding her.  She is very intent on tucking the blanket around her.  Unfortunately, she usually only gets one leg covered.  : )  It’s really cute.

She just pretended to put her binky in her baby doll’s mouth this morning.  Basically, I love this kid.

Big Ive "reading" her book. She decided to do this all by herself.

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Little E is a thumb sucker.  She found her thumb when she was 3 months old and hasn’t wanted anything since.  Occasionally I can get her to suck on a binky, but that’s only until she gets her hands up there to take it out of her mouth and chew on it.  She thinks binkys are chew toys.

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All I Want For Christmas Is … A Flat Tire On The Autobahn?

We drove to Interlaken, Switzerland for Christmas with my sister, Joy.  A couple hours into the drive we got a flat tire on the Autobahn.  LOML pulled off at the nearest exit — thankfully there was one coming up right when he heard the tire deflate.

Moooo

It was dusk at this time. And because of all the recent rains the side of the road we pulled off to was all mushy wet.  LOML didn’t even want to attempt to fix the flat himself.

LOML had just gotten his card for the German version of AAA, ADAC, so we called that.  They said a technician would be out soon to fix the tire.  In that time 2 or 3 German drivers stopped to ask if we needed help.  These Germans are all so nice, even strangers.

The mechanic technician arrived, decided he couldn’t fix it on the side of the road, so a tow truck was called.  The tow truck pulled the van up on its flat bed with me, the kids and Joy still sitting inside.  It was a strange, fun ride to the tire shop nearby.  LOML rode in the cab of the tow truck.  They were quick to put 2 new tires on the van and we were on our way.  The whole delay was about 2 hours total.  We were a little worried the tire shop wouldn’t have the right size tires.  If that had been the case ADAC would have gotten us a car rental so we could finish our trip.  They had tires, put them on and we were soon back on the autobahn on our way to Switzerland.

double binky!

The kids, my sister and I all dozed on and off most of the ride.  LOML was awesome and got us there safely.  I woke up as we were driving by the lakes next to Interlaken.  It was a neat site even in the dark.  There was a little bit of snow, but not too much at the bottom of the valley.

Little E in her Christmas dress. She's sitting in the kind of high chair that I want to buy.

Breakfast at the family hostel.  Then we drove around for a bit.  Up the mountain a little way until it started snowing and LOML turned around so we wouldn’t risk getting stuck with no snow tires or chains partway up the mountain.  We walked around in the cold in Interlaken, had a nice little lunch at a cafe.  Big Ive managed to knock over LOML’s cup of coffee spilling practically the entire thing on her and causing the cup to shatter on the floor.  I jumped up with my water bottle in hand ready to douse her if the coffee was still hot.  Thankfully, by that time it was just warm and she didn’t get burned.  That’s the kind of moment I call a mom-heart-attack.  It makes your heart race and you are all pumped full of that heart-racing hormone.  (What is it called?)

Big Ive in her Christmas dress in our room.

We ate a traditional Swiss cheese fondue dinner at the hostel that night.  I thought it was good.  The cheese was different than we normally eat.

My sister met a few people from around the world and hung out with them that night.  We also went grocery shopping so we  could cook supper on Christmas day in the hostel kitchen.

The next morning was Christmas!  We opened a few presents (vast majority for the girls) in our room and ate breakfast downstairs.  The hostel provided a nice little continental type breakfast each morning.

Joy decided to go up the mountain with her new hostel friends and LOML and the girls and I went up the mountain, too.  Joy ended up taking the train the entire way up.  We drove part way and then took a cable car to the village of Gimmelwald.  It was a fun little trip in the cold clear Christmas day.  I don’t remember if I’ve ever been on a cable car before.

full cablecar

waiting for the cablecar

 

We get to Gimmelwald and it has lots of snow.  Everything is beatiful and white and clean looking.  Since they don’t have vehicles in this village none of the roads are plowed and none of the snow is dirty looking from dirty cars driving on it.  It just looks really neat.  LOML was worried about pushing our big double stroller in the snow up the path.  I didn’t really know how we’d manage both kids otherwise.

We made it up the hill and went in an inn restaurant that was open.  There was no one else in there at that time.  It was still probably too early for most people, being late morning on Christmas.  I think LOML said the waiter was from Australia.  He was really nice and chatted with us a bit.  We ordered zucchini and carrot soup and a grilled cheese sandwhich.  That was some of the best soup I’d eaten.  The cheese was Swiss mountain cheese from the cows nearby.  It has this distinct flavor to it.  It would probably take me a while to get used to it and want to eat more than a small amount at a time.

Big Ive was wandering around the place, playing with the waiters.  After a little bit LOML took her outside to play in the snow.  She L O V E D it.  LOML said if she had had mittens and better snow pants she probably would have never left the snow.  She threw a little fit when he had to bring her in.

We hung out at the restaurant for a couple hours.  They have sleds you can borrow, so we let Big Ive drag it up the road a bit.  She did not want to let anyone help her pull the sled.  After a little bit I convinced her to lay on it while I pulled it.  But that didn’t last long, either.  After we got up to a cow barn we turned around and sledded (sled? what’s the proper conjugation of sled?) down together, me and Big Ive.  She thought it was fun.  She was very tired and very much needed at nap at this point so we left and went back down the mountain on the cable car.

   

We drove around for a while that afternoon so I could get a look at the beautiful clear blue water of the lake.  The whole area is just completely picture perfect.

After that we played in the hostel’s kid play room for a while and I cooked supper.  It was my signature sausage pasta salad with sauteed veggies.  We used a sort of pancetta we found at the grocery store instead of sausage and balsamic vinegar from a squirt bottle that was in the kitchen labeled “Free Food”.  It ended up being really good.  The kitchen was SOOO busy that night.  It seemed like everyone decided to cook Christmas dinner.  LOML and I tag teamed it between kids and cooking.  He chopped veggies, then I cooked the rest of it.

 

The next day we walked around Interlaken for a while and then drove home.  This drive was uneventful.  : )

It was a good Christmas holiday.  We missed our family and friends, of course, but it was a nice way to spend the holiday weekend.

 

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It’s What We’re Eating – Baked Chicken Tenders

I made chicken tenders for supper on Saturday night.  They turned out freakin’ amazing.  I was impressed.  LOML actually ate everything on his plate.  That happens practically never.

I was concerned the breading wouldn’t stick to the tenders because we had no eggs.  We used them all up for breakfast in the morning.  (Big Ive got to crack them for the first time that morning and just kept going until we’d cracked every egg in the fridge.)  I decided it would have to work with only milk.  And work it did.  Yum.

The chicken tenders came from our village Metzgerei up the hill.  I cut up the 2 chicken breasts into long tender-sized strips.

Breading technique:

Three bowls were used for the breading steps.  In one bowl went a little bit of flour with salt and pepper to dredge the tenders in.  Then a bowl of milk.  (If I had egg that would have gone in the second bowl instead of milk.)  [[EDIT: I have never used eggs subsequently.  The milk has always worked well.]]  Then a bowl of crushed corn flakes and french fried onions.

Dredge the tenders in flour so all sides have a light coating, then dip in the milk so it is all moistened, then put in the breading bowl to cover the entire tender.  [[EDIT: I like to flour, milk, flour, milk and then crunchies coat the tenders.  I think they turn out even better this way.]]

Place breaded tenders in a baking dish.  I sprinkled a little season salt on the top side at this point.  It is basically a salt and pepper season blend with a few herbs and spices.  Use your preferred seasoning blend.  I added a little olive oil to the pan, but they don’t actually need it.  Next time I’m going to try it without the oil.  [[EDIT: I haven’t used oil since the first time and they have never stuck to the bottom of the pan.]]

Bake for 20ish minutes in a 180-200C (350-375F) oven.  I always cut one of the fattest ones to check for doneness.  Then, devour!

We are definitely making these again soon!  [[EDIT:  We make these often.  Sometimes once a week.]]

Oven-Baked Chicken Tenders

about 1 c crushed corn flakes
about 1c crushed fried onions
about 3/4c flour
salt & pepper
about 1 c milk
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into chicken tender-sized strips (pre-cut tenders can be used)
seasoning mix

In a bowl mix crushed corn flakes and french fried onions. Set aside. In a separate bowl mix flour, salt and pepper.  Set aside. Put milk in a third bowl.

Dredge chicken pieces in the flour and salt and pepper mixture, making sure to cover all parts.  Dip in milk.  (You can try dredging in flour mixture again and then back in the milk, if you like.  I do it both ways.)  Then cover with the crunchy mixture, making sure to get a good coat on the entire piece of chicken.  Place in pan (I use a glass pan, because that’s what I have here in Germany!).

Sprinkle season salt seasoning mix over coated chicken pieces, if desired.  Bake in 350F oven for about 15 minutes.  Check doneness by cutting a thick tender.  It should not be pink inside.

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[and other daily happenings 18.02.2012]

Big Ive helped me crack eggs this morning for breakfast.  It was the first time I’ve let her hit them on the table and then get her fingers in there to break the shell apart.  She only crushed one egg on the table and not in the bowl.

After she crushed that egg in her hands they were full of egg liquid.  She is the kind of kid that does NOT like dirty hands.  She started to freak out about the sticky egg on her hands until I showed and told her that mine were full of egg, too.  After that, she went on being happy cracking the rest of the eggs with me.  We probably cracked too many, but she was having so much fun I couldn’t stop her.  All 10 eggs were made into breakfast this morning.

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LOML finished putting together the red wagon.  He had to borrow a wrench; ours tools are in the car which is still at the mechanic’s shop.  He tried out Landlord first; they weren’t home.  He tried our military friends across the street; they weren’t home.  So, he grabbed the empty bottles and walked up to our village Getränke to see if he had a wrench we could borrow.  Mr. R. was very happy to help LOML out, but his house was at the bottom of the hill.  So, LOML and Mr. R. walked down there to get the wrench.  LOML left his instructions at the Getränke so they walked back up together to get them.  Once back to our house, he put the wagon together with LOTS of “help” from Big Ive.

"helping" dad with the wagon assembly

Then then took it on its first outing up the hill to return the wrench to Mr. R.  And to return the glass beer bottles for deposit.

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Kinder Fasching party in village was fun.  Had a fellow band member and her family come sit next to us at a table.  It was nice to have someone from the village choose to sit by us when there were lots of other places and people they could have say by.  We got to meet her husband and 2 kids, too.  LOML got to meet some people I know, including one of the Kindergarten teachers.  Big Ive got to run. A lot.

The other kids had small bags of paper confetti they were throwing around at each other and us.  Big Ive did not like it when she got some on her.  She tried to clean up the floor, too.  She would pick up little bits one by one and bring them to LOML or me.  A little girl threw a handful on me and Big Ive was very concerned about cleaning me up when she noticed my confetti.

Little E got to bounce and baby pterodactyl scream to her heart’s content.  Big Ive’s costume was a bust.  It didn’t stay on right so she asked for it off a minute after I got it on her.  Bummer.

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Cooked kick-ass baked chicken tenders for supper.  Both LOML and I wanted more.  Big Ive didn’t want to take a bite at first.  I shoved a small bit in her mouth so she’d get a taste of the goodness and then she ate more.  An ‘It’s What We’re Eating’ post forthcoming…

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Big Ive is going through a binky addiction phase.  She was almost done with it, except to sleep and now it’s in her mouth almost all day.  She whines and screams and cries for it when she doesn’t have it in her mouth all day.  I don’t want to deal with the screaming when I try to not let her have it.  She tries to talk with it in and I don’t let that fly.  It’s annoying.

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Little E has been crawling for 10 days now and she has managed to pull herself up to standing by the toy box.  That can only mean she’ll be an early walker, too.  We’re in for it now.  She has reached to the top of the coffee table to get Big Ive’s sippy cup.  She will try to crawl and climb up you when you’re sitting on the floor.  And then she falls and smacks her head on the floor and screams.  At least she’s getting better at rolling into her falls resulting in less screaming.

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[and other daily happenings 17.02.2012]

We went to kindergarten this afternoon.  Big Ive must be making an impression on the kids because her friend J asked about when she would be coming back this week.  It made me smile to hear that.  The kids are really taking to her and playing with her more and more.  She’s still in the toddler play-by-myself stage, but she’ll walk around with kids and share things with kids.

Little E is like a great toy for the kids, too.  They LOVED playing with her this afternoon on the floor.  Since she’s crawling she would crawl over to a kid and sit and they pretended that she was trying to get them.  They would scoot back a little and she would scoot toward them.  It was cute.

Big Ive is starting to talk more.  She said “door” asking me to open it for her to leave with the baby doll stroller.  It’ll be interesting to see her vocabulary increase when she starts school.  I’ve been reading that some bilingual kids are slower to talk as they take more time to process the languages.  I predict by the end of the summer she’ll have better German than me or LOML!

She was so tired from play that she fell asleep soon into our short walk home.  Little E had fallen asleep after I fed her before we left school.  Both are still sleeping as I type this in my quiet house.

both girls zonked in the stroller

The teachers told me there is a Fasching party for the kids tomorrow afternoon.  All of the kids were dressed up today.  I didn’t know they were going to dress up so I didn’t bring Big Ive’s car costume.  : (  Bummer.  I guess we’ll have to try it out tomorrow at the party.  : )

I think it’s fun when all the German kids come up and just talk to me in German.  I can guess at some of what they’re saying using context clues and understanding the occasional word.  But most of the time I have no clue.  I do a lot of smiling, and saying “Ja”.

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LOML got his red Radio Flyer wagon in the mail yesterday.  It was a late birthday present for him.  He tried to put it together but we don’t have all of the correct tools right now.  It is the kind with inflatable rubber wheels so it’ll be good for uneven terrain.  But, man, do those rubber wheels stink!  That VOC off-gassing is terrible!  It is sitting in our hallway/entryway and is smelling up the entire house.  I wish we had garage space so I could put it out of the house.  The back patio isn’t covered so I can’t put it out there where it’ll get rained and snowed on.

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I gotta get those tulip bulbs planted.  Maybe LOML can help watch kids while I plant tomorrow morning.

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Little E took her maiden voyage sitting up in the back seat of the stroller on Thursday.  We went up to the butcher to get ground meat and to see if they had whole chickens to buy.  (They do, but they didn’t have any at that time.)  She seemed to like it.

After the butcher we walked down the hill.  That is where the small child playground is.  Big Ive spotted it and told me we had to go swing.  Swinging we went.  She slid down the slide a couple times, but Little E wasn’t too happy about having to stay in the stroller so we left.  Big Ive wasn’t too happy about that.

We stopped at the quickie mart to pick up a couple of things.  I left both kids in the stroller outside the door while I went in.  I don’t think you could even get one of those umbrella strollers in here the isles are so small.  I purchased some gummy bears to keep Big Ive happy on the walk up the hill to our house.  She seemed ok with that.

Of course, Little E soon fell asleep on the walk up the hill.

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I seem to only find Little E sleeping all the time.

You, too, can fall asleep in the middle of the floor surrounded by toys.

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Sisters.

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Big Ive decided to try out a new binky the other day.  (It’s the valve/spout of one of her sippy cups.)

(Check out the big belly on my skinny kid.)

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Missing Family

I had LOML print up a copy of my blog for my grandparents back at home to read.  They don’t have the internet and probably don’t have the slightest clue how to even turn a computer on.  My grandmother had an email address for a while when she was watching my younger cousins full-time.  But, she didn’t check it for a while and it expired.  : )  Her older sister just got a FB account, so maybe Grandma needs to step up her game to keep up with her sister.

My parents brought one copy of the blog printout home with them as they live nearby my grandparents.  My brother, Baron, brought the printout to them.  He got to watch my Grandpa read it.  He said Grandpa was laughing and thoroughly enjoyed it.  They weren’t there when Grandma read it, but she called to say she loved it.  All of the photos are in there, so they were able to get a glimpse of their only great-grandchildren.

I have another copy that needs to get mailed out to my other Grandmother who lives in the mid-west.

This is the kind of thing that makes me really sad to be so very far away from my family.  I miss my family a lot.  We are a very close and big family that does so many things together.  Growing up we would spend just about every Sunday after church at my grandparent’s house.  We’d eat lunch and go swimming if it was warm enough.  Otherwise we’d hang out, play games, talk.  For big holidays (read that every holiday) we would have EVERYONE over — parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, great-aunts and uncles, second cousins, great-grandparents.  It was unusual to have less than 20 people — 20 of our family — there for gatherings.  Growing up, this was normal.  Only when I got a little older did I realize other people rarely had 20 people over, let alone 20 of their family members over.

My siblings and I are pretty close.  We kind of had to be.  Growing up we lived in a 3 bedroom house with 7 people.  My three brothers shared a bedroom, my sister and I shared a room and my parents got the last room.  It was a small house for 7 full-sized humans.  (That’s why we never had pets!)  The first of us to move away was my youngest brother who went to school on the other side of the country almost 2 years ago.  Until then all 5 of us had always lived in the city we were born and grew up in.

LOML and I talk about the differences with our siblings.  He and his sisters have lived in different places for years now.  Me and my siblings are just beginning to experience that.

My little sister was Big Ive’s nanny for a year (and Little E for a few months before we moved).  She is probably one of my best friends and I miss our conversations, her listening to all of my crazy thoughts, and giving into my odd cravings around town.

I miss the crazy impromptu family dinners we would have back home.  My brother and his wife would come to my parents house where my sister, older brother and me and my family would be eating supper.  Nothing to celebrate.  Nothing planned much ahead of time.  Just nice family time with lots of laughter and time spent together.

My grandmothers both hugged me like they would never see me again at my going-away parties.  They cried.  It made my eyes well up.

I took a trip back to my mom’s home town for Thanksgiving before we moved to Germany so I could make sure I could see my Grandma.  She is doing really well at the young age of 87, but you never know what tomorrow will bring.  A sad thought, yes, but it is reality.  She needed to meet Little E, too.  When Big Ive was 3 months old I flew up there with her by myself.  This trip I flew up there with my mom and both girls.  It was a fantastic trip.  And this time my Grandma didn’t break her ankle!  Thanksgiving with my mom’s sisters and family was a lot of fun.

It’s hard to be away from my family living here.  We’re all alone.  I’ve never been all alone.  My family has been a quick (local!) phone call or 20 minute drive away my entire life.  I miss not being able to call my mom in the mornings.  We usually skype in the afternoons, but I would really like conversation in the mornings here.

My sister-in-law is going to have a baby any day now.  We won’t be able to drive over to see them to meet the baby.

The girls and I are trying out best to assimilate into our new village.  Going to play group and school each week is helping Big Ive get used to the other kids.  Little E loves the stimulation of all the sights and kids running around.  I’m getting to know some of the other moms and kids around here.  Playing the in band has given me instant camaraderie with my fellow musicians.  I may not speak German, but music is our shared language.  I was nervous at first, but each time I go I feel more and more comfortable.  Walking around town, visiting the village butcher and quickie mart, going to the restaurant in town, makes it so other people see us around here and know we want to be a part of this German life.  I’m almost positive by the time we leave we’ll be sad to leave all our new friends and ‘family’.

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