Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Weekend :: Mandelblütenfest (Almond Tree Blossom Festival)

Weekends have become full of family time for us.  LOML has been having to work longer hours while his co-worker is recovering from a heart attack and heart surgery.  The girls and I miss him when we don’t get to see him for as long in the evenings.  We try to make up for it by doing fun family things together on the weekends.

SATURDAY

On Saturday LOML had to work in the morning, so the girls and I went to the grocery store.  I went to the grocery store.  On a Saturday at noon.  With both kids.  By.  My.  Self.  I’m not sure what I was thinking.  Since everything is closed on Sundays here in Germany Saturdays are a big shopping day.

Actually, it wasn’t that bad.  The kids both fell asleep on the ride over so I sat in the parking lot for a little bit to let them sleep.  Then I put Little E in the Moby wrap and Big Ive in the cart kid seat and headed in.  Big Ive was pretty good.  She started to get antsy a little more than half way through.  That’s when she started to repeatedly drop my list and the 50cent piece I had given her to hold.  Normally, not that big of a deal, but when I’m wearing Little E it is harder to bend over to pick things off the floor.  After a few times of that I grabbed the list myself.  But that meant I had to keep it away from Little E’s grasp and mouth.  I’m happy to report she didn’t get and paper in her mouth.

I can only imagine what the Germans thought of me with 2 little kids going grocery shopping.  They all smile when they see Little E in the Moby, but I’m sure they thought I was a crazy American.

At the bakery counter I asked for 3 preztels, in German.  ‘Drei’ (German for 3) sounds very similar to ‘dry’ and the baker thought I said I wanted dry pretzels because he heard me speaking English to Ivy when we waited in line.  He wasn’t expecting me to try to speak German to him.  It was kinda’ funny.

Driving to and from the store by myself was good.  I’m not used to these small, windy, German country roads.  They have these speed limits posted and I have no idea how anyone can even attempt that speed and drive safely.  I was definitely going A LOT slower than the speed limit.  When I get used to the van and the roads I will speed up to where I’m comfortable.  Until then, the Germans can pass me all they want.  (Only 2 have passed me so far.)

When LOML got home we took a walk to see the village goats.  This time they actually ate the pear and apple we brought.  Big Ive really wanted to feed them, but when they’d get close to take the piece of fruit she would pull away or drop it.  Then we walked around on one of the trails in our village to the little kid soccer pitch.  Big Ive kicked the ball around a small bit, but just wanted to go home at that point.  We had to walk past the restaurant to go home and she walked right in.  Maybe we go in there a little too much that she is so familiar with it.  : )  She had a little fit when we walked past her Kindergarten because she wanted to go play.  I ended up carrying her most of the way home because she was so tired.  It is so nice to see everyone getting their yards and gardens and green houses ready for spring on our walks.  Makes me smile.

SUNDAY

Sunday (the 25th) we drove over to a town about 60km away to see their almond tree blossom festival, Mandelblütenfest.  [[Side Note:  It is kind of fun how you can put 2 or 3 or 4 (or more!) German words together to create another word.  It gives you the freedom to create new words easily.  Mandel (almond) + blüten (blossom) + fest (festival) = Mandelblütenfest]]

We forgot to get an exact address for the GPS and had no idea where we were going.  That means we drove around the town for a little bit.  After a while we kept driving and got to the other side of the town and saw more and more blossoming trees and then finally vineyards.  I joked with LOML that if we follow the blossoms it will lead us to the festival.  It was pretty much true, actually.

Sweet ride parked in a vineyard.

The trees are planted alongside and between the vineyards.  We parked a considerable distance from the little village that holds this festival and walked through the vineyards.  Some of the vineyards had what appeared to be broccoli planted between the rows.  Some had rose bushes at the end of each row.  Others had none.  We didn’t understand the broccoli companion planting.  Anyone know about that?

There was a pretzel seller at the beginning of the village.  That guy picked the best spot to sell his giant soft pretzels.  I would say about half of the people that walked buy purchased at least one.  And they were good.  Truthfully, I’ve yet to meet a fresh German soft pretzel that I didn’t like.  : )

Partway through the village there was a small green area that we decided to picnic in.  LOML got us lentil and wurst soup and a mandarin orange and cream cake to eat.  That soup was fantastic.  I need to try making some lentil soup.  Big Ive had a fantastic time walking through the daffodils planted in the grass and playing with the other children.  She makes an art of trying to get away from us and LOML was always on his toes keeping watch of her and chasing her.

And life with small children is never free from public changings of stinky diapers and breastfeeding of babies.

I heard a few remarks about our big double stroller when we were out.  I’m not sure what they said, but they were pointing at the big rig and it sounded like they were surprised at the shape of it and that we had 2 kids in there.  Maybe by the time we leave Germany I’ll be able to understand a bit more of casual conversations in public in German.

The weather was amazing – nearly 70 degrees and sunny.  We drove with the windows down almost all the way home.  We drove through Frankenstein and LOML was sure to point out any Ninja Training Facilities we passed.  A detour through one town made us drive on this incredibly narrow 2 way road.  You could not get 2 cars passed one another it was so narrow.  That kind of road would never be a 2 way road in the US.

It was a really really good family weekend we had.  I’m glad we decided to get out on Sunday afternoon to this festival.

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Stretching My Green Thumb

Last weekend we went to the garden store and bought flowers, seeds and other gardening accoutrements.  I am very excited about my garden here in Germany!  I can’t wait until I find out where our Landlord will let me have a plot of earth  (a field in his words) to garden.  We might have gone a little overboard in our seed selection.  We got a bag of starter onions, too.  They look like little pearl onions.  I have never grown onions before like this.  If everything grows here as well as I can get stuff to grow in Phoenix, then we will have an enormous garden.  I’ll be giving away produce!

tomatoes x 3, carrots x 2, German herbs, broccoli, peas, green beans, zucchini, flowers, leeks, green onions!!!

Big Ive “helping” me pot the flowers one afternoon.  She was really good at taking small shovel fulls of dirt and putting them in all of the empty pots.

Please notice the “small” gloves Big Ive is wearing.  : )  She put them on herself.

Little E watching everything from her pack-n-play.  She was watching Big Ive closely here.

So far, I have all of the flowers and herbs in pots sitting on our back patio.  They have been placed closer to the house so they would stay warm enough during the cool nights.  It might be getting warm enough that I can move them so I can see them better during the day and not have to move them 2 times each day.

Do you see the snail that Ivy found?  She poked her finger in and jumped back.  I don’t think there was anything alive in there.  Just dirt.

If the seeds weren’t enough, LOML decided we needed tomato and bell pepper plants, too.  : )  He brought home 6 tomato plants (2 of 3 different kinds) and 4 pepper plants (2 green and 2 red).  I asked why so many tomato plants when I don’t even eat them and he said he figured I’d have a kill rate of one half!  That’s not very supportive, LOML.  The only kind of plant I’ve managed to consistently kill is basil.  Those are hard to get started, but once you get them established it’s very hard to kill them.

6 tomato plants all in a row . . .

4 pepper plants, 2 green and 2 red, to join the show . . .

Big Ive was a big help with getting the seeds ready to plant.  LOML put them on paper towels to germinate for a couple of days before we place them in little peat pots.  After LOML was done Big Ive took the watering can and proceeded to dump the water into the wagon which still held the rest of the seed packets.  We scooped them up quickly and dried them off, so no harm done.

We let Little E loose on the ground for a bit.  She decided that she would only crawl on hands and feet outside.

Big Ive getting the little green house out of the new shed our Landlord just built us.

LOML and I were cleaning up and moving plants around, not fully paying attention to what Big Ive was doing.  She had seen LOML take the paper towels earlier for his seeds and decided she needed to start her seeds, too.  She put a long line of paper towels on the ground and then put this smaller bit with the little seed starter pots.  It always amazes me at how much she watches every little thing we do.  And how much she takes in and then tries to copy it.

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Sick Baby = No Krabbelgrouppe [and other daily happenings 21.03.2012]

Little E is sick again.  She and Big Ive are  both all snotty but only she sounds raspy and hoarse and coughs occasionally.

She may be sick and have a snotty nose, but she’s happy to be climbing on mom!

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Every night when we’re putting Big Ive to bed we go through the routine, which includes saying bedtime prayers.  We do the typical thank-yous and bless-these-people and thank-you-for-sending-your-son-to-save-us (because you can never tell them the Gospel too many times).  I asked Big Ive what else we needed to pray for and she thoughtfully said, “Ummm”.  It was HILARIOUS.  So, I prayed a few more sentences and asked her again what else and she said, “Ummm” again.  I laughed so hard.  You don’t realize everything you say until it is parroted back at you from an almost 2-year old.  The inflection and the way she drew it out was perfect.  Like she was really thinking about what else we had omitted from the prayer that night.

Headband bowtie.

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Supper was at the local restaurant this evening.  Little E was sick and needy today and I wasn’t able to get supper started in time.  Not to mention I was just exhausted this afternoon.  I’m a little bit sick, too.

The owner, ‘Herrn K’, is so nice and accommodating to us.  He brought Big Ive a small portion of fries before our food came out.  He brought out a soccer ball so she could kick it around the restaurant.  [NOTE:  We were the only ones having supper.  There were about 5 older gentlemen having beer at the bar counter.]  The older gentlemen, Opas, were more than happy to play soccer with her for a few minutes.  She would dribble the ball over to them and they would kick it away.  One of the men put the ball under his shirt and then popped it out.  She laughed at that.  They were so nice and very happy to have her play near them.

LOML was at the bar settling up the bill and we got to meet the Opas.  They asked where we lived and when we told them who our Landlord was, they knew exactly where we lived.  This small village lifestyle is vastly different from the life we had in the 5th largest city in the US.

2 of my band mates came in shortly before we left.  I found out one owns horses — he had just gotten done riding and was still wearing his riding boots.  I officially met the other one and found out his name.  It was nice.  It is nice to be recognized out in public and to have people say hello and make small talk with you.  Even with the language barrier issue.

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Sisters.

Little E climbing inside the toybox.

My view of Big Ive.

Little E climbing on mom.

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First Village Band Concert!

Saturday night was my first concert with the village band, Arbeiter Musik Verein.  We had to drive to another village about 60km away that is slightly larger than our village.  It was a great concert.  They sold tickets and the vast majority of the people were elderly, probably 70+.  In typical German fashion, they sold drinks, pretzels and little sandwiches – belegtes rbot –  during the concert.  During the intermission a number of band members got food and drink.

[[ Did I ever tell you that there is beer, water and coke to purchase in our rehearsal room?  A fridge is stocked with beverages.  It’s pretty common to see about a dozen people swigging beers between songs at rehearsal.  So unusual from what I’m used to. ]]

I think we played really well.  The audience loved it.  We played a number of old songs — polkas and German songs — and they sung along when they knew the words.  It was fun and made me smile.

You can’t see me as I’m sitting directly behind the director.  Since I play flute and bassoon I sit in the front row.  It’s really strange to be playing a bass instrument and be sitting in the front row.  Oh, well.  It’s so quiet the flute players on either side of me don’t even usually hear me.

LOML did really well with the kids; it wasn’t easy as the concert started at their bedtime and lasted nearly 2 hours.  The auditorium had a back room where they had the bar and little kitchen and that’s where he hung out with the girls.  At one point I saw him walk back in carrying Big Ive.  I didn’t see at first that he was carrying Little E in her carrier.  Big Ive needed a serious diaper change.  Near the end he ended up taking the girls out to the car where they both easily fell asleep and waited for me to finish.  He managed to get a few photos while wrangling children.

There was one song LOML was holding Big Ive where she spotted me, pointed and yelled, “MAMA”, but I think I was the only one that heard it on stage.

She was a hit with all the old German people.  LOML said at one point she started babbling with hand gestures toward an older German man.  He said in German that he didn’t understand her.  Then he said it in English and LOML told him that he didn’t understand what she was saying, either.  She was so into her conversation with the man.

LOML made a new ‘friend’ sitting in the back.  He kept trying to give LOML drink after drink.  LOML kept trying to explain that he had to watch his kids and be able to drive home later.

We finished with the German national hymn.  I was afraid I would be sight-reading a hymn I had never heard, but I was familiar with it.  It is a common hymn that I grew up singing in my Lutheran church at home.

I had a really really good time.  I didn’t realize how much I missed playing in a band like that.  I’m thankful for this village we live in, full of the nicest welcoming people, for this opportunity to play music using my talents, for the time spent with my family.  I’m looking forward to our next performance.

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[and other daily happenings 19.03.2012]

Wednesday evening we were out on the back patio when our Landlord walked past in the backyard.  He noticed all the pots we had stacked out there and asked if I was going to plant flowers.  I told him yes and some vegetables, too.  He asked which kind and I listed a few off.  Then he asked if I wanted a field.  A FIELD!  I’m not sure what size or where it’ll be, but he said they’ll find a place for me to grow veggies.  So!  Excited!!  I get a field!

Now I just need to figure out how to grow veggies in a cool climate…  This desert kid doesn’t know these sorts of things.

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A bunch of blooming spring flowers in our village.

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Big Ive got the broom out of the pantry and started trying to sweep saying, “Muhtz, muhtz, muhtz” (the z is very slight) her version of “mess”.  It was funny and kind of annoying at the same time because she never decides to sweep when it is convenient for us.  We were in the process of putting groceries away.  That’s when you have to step back and realize she’s not doing it to purposely annoy you, but she’s genuinely trying to help out.

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We went to Kindergarten on Friday afternoon, like normal.  It was warm enough that we went outside to play on the playground.  Big Ive got to play in the sandbox with all the sand tools and loved it.  Somehow she got this bruise on her cheek while we were out there.

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Saturday morning we went to the bigger town about 15km away to buy a music stand for me.  The girls fell asleep on the short drive, so LOML stayed in the car while I went in to buy it.  Being in the village band gets me a discount at the store.

We then drove to the garden store so we could get some flowers and vegetable seeds to start our garden.  3 types of tomato seeds, zucchini, carrots, leeks, little starter onions, German herb mix, broccoli, peas, green beans, squashes — Holy Cow, if everything grows we’re going to have a huge garden!

Later that afternoon while LOML was visiting his coworker in the hospital I put Little E in the Moby wrap and Big Ive and I walked out the backyard.  We ended up playing with the neighbors across the road to the back of our house.  Big Ive likes to play with their toys; they have bikes and baby strollers and things we don’t have.  The 2 kids are really good with her, too.  The parents are super nice and the grandparents live across the street, too!  LOML got to meet them, which was nice.  A couple of Big Ive’s Kindergarten friends rode by on bicycles while we were out, too.

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Saturday night was my first concert with the village band.  I’ll have another post soon about that!  It was great!

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Yummy.  Yummy.

On Sunday we went to go see LOML’s co-worker “Inga” at the bakery she works at on Sundays and Big Ive said a version of her name.  It was cute.  Instead of being 2 syllables she somehow merged it into one.  I’m still unsure how she does that.  Inga took Big Ive to the kitchen and let her help get her buttered bread ready to eat.  She also let her walk behind the cake and pastry counter.  Big Ive thought that was pretty awesome.  She started walking around like she owned the place after that because she was allowed just about everywhere.

I think that’s a pretty good photo of our little family.  Big Ive’s doing something with her hand and Little E is looking off into space, but all in all it looks good.

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Happy Pi Day! [and other daily happenings 14.03.2012]

Happy pi day!  π = 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510…  Since I didn’t get a post up on Leap Day I am making sure I’m getting my pi day post up!  Ha!

Square and round quiches for pi day:

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Big Ive said ‘down’ like ‘noun’.  I smiled and made her say it again so I could hear it again.

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When it’s time for bed Big Ive will start walking to the door to go upstairs, usually with either my or LOML’s hand in her hand.  She then says to the other of us, “Come on”.  Somehow, in toddler-speak, come on gets pushed into a 1 syllable word.  I’m not entirely sure how she says it like that.

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I think Little E is trying to mimic our noises more and more.  She hears us laugh and does a sort of laugh noise.  A few days ago she started doing that noise where you suck in air and make your vocal chords make noise.  Big Ive and Little E will do it back and forth to each other.  I’ve probably said it a few times but it is so funny to watch Big Ive mimic Little E and talk and interact with her.  I wish you all could experience the look of joy they have on their faces when they see each other.

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Yesterday I drew a number of simple 5 petal flowers on a sheet of paper with a pen for Big Ive to color.  I left her to it and focused on something else.  During the day I had to put up the paper and crayons so Little E wouldn’t get into them.  After LOML got home I put that paper back on her table for her to color.  LOML asked me if I had colored the orange on there.  I told him no, I just drew the flowers.  Big Ive had scribbled a little yellow when I was watching and that’s all that was on there.  LOML told me to look closer and that’s when I saw that Big Ive had colored the centers of about 5 flowers with the orange crayon.  Just like her dad does when he colors with her.  It’s the first time I’ve seen her trying — and accomplishing! — coloring in the lines purposefully.  She’s still in that typical scribble all over the page phase.  ::sniffs::  My baby is a genius!!!

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Little E is now really cruising around the furniture.  This morning I watched as she moved around the toy boxes that block off the tv table.  She may be an 8 month walker.  Yikes!  My mom said that I was walking just before 9 months.  Apparently I wasn’t steady at all but I insisted on walking everywhere.  And subsequently falling everywhere.  I think we might be experiencing that.

And then there are those times when she tries to crawl under furniture too small for her.

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LOML’s co-worker is in the hospital here in Germany.  He had a heart attack and needed heart surgery.  He made it through surgery and his wife will be here early tomorrow morning. He doesn’t have any family that lives here in Germany with him so we are kind of his family.  The whole situation really hit me hard — and I don’t even know him very well.  We’ve had him over for supper a handful of times.  I was tense and felt upset inside about the whole thing, as if he had been family for a long time.  It was quite a relief when LOML got the call that he made it out of surgery and is in recovery.  Not done with this journey, but one of the big hurdles is over.

It is scary to think about how fragile we really are as humans here on earth.  I’m thinking of an entire post based on this.  LOML and I are continuing to work on how our faith should be shown here in Germany.

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My plan this morning was to get out of the house early enough to stop at the quickie mart to buy a couple of pretzels before going to Krabbelgrouppe at 10.  Surprisingly, we made it out of the house in enough time to stop quickly at the store.  But, they didn’t have any pretzels ready!  The man said they would be done in 10 minutes.  We didn’t have 10 minutes to wait as Krabbelgrouppe started in less than 10.  I told him we’d pick them up on the way back.  He looked at the lady, who I assume is his wife, and she translated for him.  He said he would hold 4 fresh pretzels for me.  We live in an awesome little village.

Krabbelgrouppe was good this morning.  I felt a little more included in the group this time.  I know some of the German kid songs they sing now.  Some of the kids are more friendly with Big Ive and the moms are getting used to Little E now, too.  It’s nice.  I’m starting to hear more German words and understand a tiny bit more of the spoken language.

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This Morning’s Walk

We took a walk this morning down the hill to the quickie mart to get some fresh soft pretzels.  They didn’t have any regular pretzels left this morning, so I bought a cheese and pumpkin seed one and bread that is similar to pretzel, but not actually pretzel.

Sisters.  Little E is touching Big Ive’s finger.

It’s always a bit of work to get them both ready to go outside since it’s still cold out.  Feed Little E.  Change both kids’ diapers.  Different thicker pants for Little E.  Socks for Big Ive.  Jackets and shoes on both.  Up the stairs and into the stroller.  Can’t forget the house key, mobile phone and camera.  Oh, and a jacket for mom.

Big Ive wanted to go out the back door as we were getting ready.  I usually have 3 throw pillows on the floor by that door and she was throwing them out of the way so we could open the door.  She was thinking we were going to go on the back patio and kick her new ball around, like she’s been doing with LOML this weekend.  At first she was disappointed that we weren’t going out back.  But then, she got excited when I told her we were going out the front door.

Down to the quickie mart we walked.  I would say it takes about 7ish minutes to walk down the hill with 2 babies in a stroller at a leisurely pace to get there.  They have a nice selection of freshly baked goods in the mornings.  Not much is left if you go in the afternoons.

My German toddler can’t get enough of her bratwurst.  It was lunch.  I know the photos are out of order for my story.

Bratwurst or Kinder toy.  Bratwurst or Kinder toy.  Hard decision.

BigIve was really good and listened well in the store so I got her a kinder egg.  She LOVES those things.  She wanted to open and eat it right in the store, so I told her we had to pay for it before we could open it.  She was patient and happy to wait to pay for it.  As soon as I got her in the stroller the wrapper was off and she was chowing down on chocolate.

Smelling the flowers.

She wanted to walk up the hill with me.  She’s a good little helper pushing the stroller.  We came to this house by a fountain and stopped for a bit.  Big Ive had to walk on the little wall around the fountain a few times.  Then we played and ran around the fountain.  Then we stopped to look at all the pretty little purple flowers springing up from the ground.  This house has tons of them in their flower beds by the street.

Spring . . .

. . . is . . .

. . . here.

Big Ive and I walked all the way up the hill.  Then we went to the road to go to the back of our house so we could go visit our (landlady’s) chickens.  BigIve’s friend from Krabbelgrouppe was there with his Oma feeding the hens lettuce.  We had a little conversation — she only in German and me almost only in English with a few German nouns thrown in.  We seemed to understand enough of the other.  She took “salat” today.  I usually bring “brot”.  She said salat and brot are both good to bring.  I think she said her grandson was kind of in a mood today and wouldn’t say hallo.  Which was fine because Big Ive didn’t say hallo, either.  Kids kind of bridge that language gap, too.  Big Ive wanted to get our fresh pretzels out to feed the chickens, but I told her we were going to eat those.

The neighbor behind us decorated their tree with little plastic colorful Easter eggs.  Big Ive thought that was just great.  She was so pleased with herself when she figured out how to touch the blue one if she walked up the hill a tiny bit.

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[and other daily happenings 11.03.2012]

We went to church this morning, the early service.  It was really nice to be back in church.  We haven’t really gone since moving here due to various reasons (traveling, illness, no car).  We had tried the 11am service previously, but it is too close to naptime and the 9am service seemed to work better this morning.

Big Ive was happy to dance and walk around before the service started.  She  either stood by LOML or I or was in our arms during the rest of the beginning songs.  The first time we went to church she decided to lay in the aisle.  It was strange and funny.  She didn’t do that today.  She was actually content to sit in my lap eating crackers or on LOML’s lap paging through the bible for a good portion of the sermon.  She did get restless and noisy so we ended up taking her to the back.  Little E soon cried out and I had to take her to the back, too.  The girls and I went in the toddler room and played.  I left Big Ive after a bit and she was fine for a while, until she realized I wasn’t there (even thought I told her I was leaving).  Then she cried with the whimpering and big tears.  It only took her about 30 seconds to calm down after I got in the room, so I’m not terribly convinced of the magnitude of her tears.  : )

After church we went to LOML’s co-workers French bakery.  His co-worker works there on the weekends.  They make cakes and sweets and also chocolates.  MmmmmmMmmm, chocolate.  Specifically, French chocolate.  Ya’ll, I’m addicted.  I admit it.  I was never a chocolate fan until I got pregnant with Little E.  And now I’m a super fan after having that amazing chocolate from Paris.  Obviously, LOML and I stocked up on chocolate this morning at the bakery.  We were able to park right in front of the shop, so while the girls both stayed sound asleep we went in to buy our goods.  A slice of some cherry cake, a slice of some sort of chocolate mouse cake, ciabatta bread loaf, fleur de sel caramel chocolate bar, little flavored chocolates or various kinds, a few chocolate Easter candies for Big Ive.  Quite the haul.

We got home and noticed one of the chocolates was melting all over the other chocolates.  LOML decided that we had to eat the melty chocolates immediately.  I concurred.  They were hazelnut ones.  Yum.

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LOML and Big Ive played with her new soccer ball outside on our back patio this afternoon.  We got her the ball yesterday (Saturday), along with new sneakers that she’ll need when she started Kindergarten after she turns 2.  That kid still has fat feet.  We tried to get some cool shoes with elastic “laces” onto her feet and it was a challenge.  Needless to say, we didn’t buy that pair for her.  She now has nice velcro sneakers that look very European.

Little E standing up on the widow watching Big Ive and dad play with the new soccer ball outside.  She SO wanted to join them.

I also got my white collared shirt for my village band concert coming up this Saturday.  I’m so excited for my first concert with the band!  LOML and the girls are coming.  The concert starts at 8pm, which is their usual bedtime.  Little E won’t take a bottle, so we can’t be apart that long.  I hope the kids are good for LOML while I’m playing.

I wonder if the new reeds I ordered will arrive in time…

Notice Big Ive using the broom on the patio.

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Today LOML and I are starting a new resolution, if you will.  We now have a car so we went to church, which is the first thing on our list.  Go to church every Sunday possible.  The church may not be everything we hope would be in a church, but it is a good one.  And we just need to make the most out of it, putting more effort into the teaching and digging deeper ourselves.

The next thing is to devote at least 2 nights a week after the kids go to sleep to work on Rosetta Stone.  I came up with the idea of one of us being responsible to the bedtime routine for both kids while the other gets to work on the software.  We’ll see how it works.  I’m sure it’ll be difficult for the first week or 2, but if we keep chugging along it should become routine and get easier.  At least that’s what I hope will happen.

It’s hard to do Rosetta Stone when you are sleeping with a toddler on top of you.

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I made a roasted chicken and squash soup for supper tonight.  I am really struggling with lack of sleep lately and it showed in my cooking tonight.  The chicken took F O R E V E R to finish cooking and I totally forgot to put the herbs in the soup while it was cooking.  My brain is tired.  LOML was talking with his family on Skype while I prepared the food, so maybe the distraction of listening to the conversations messed up my cooking…?  Maybe…?  At least they still tasted good.  Not the best, but not terrible.  Big Ive ate the soup and liked it.

Roasted chicken before shot.  Note the chunks of butter under the skin.  Equals super yum.  LOML calls it breast augmentation.  : )
No after shot because it took forever to cook and didn’t look as good as it could have.

ED: I gave Little E a small taste of the soup warmed up for lunch today (Monday) and she LOVED it.  No bitter beer face at all!

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One of Big Ive’s new words is “ta-da”.  But she says it “Ah-dah”.  She will remove a napkin from something and yell out Ah-Dah and think she’s so cleaver.  It is adorable.  We think she said, “Baby’s sleeping” this evening because we kept saying that to her.  I don’t usually hear the soft S sound from her, so it caught my ear.

Illegal computer usage by a toddler. 
She climbed up on the chair, put the headphones on and started using the mouse.  This kid is too smart.

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Kindergarten, the High Chair and Mittagsschlaf [and other daily happenings 09.03.2012]

Little E was a big hit again today at Kindergarten.  The kids ask for Big Ive during the week, too, mind you.  They all want to play with her when we get there.  But, when Little E comes out and is awake and happy and interacting, she steals the show by playing the little baby card.

I had her on the floor on the rug in one of the classrooms.  She was crawling around, trying to get to all the toys that I was trying to keep her from.  The kids were playing with her — tickling her, giving her toys, pretending she was after them when she would crawl around, trying to hold her.  They were fascinated by her.  It’s like the best toy in there.  There must have been 6 of them around me, but not Big Ive.  She was off playing in the toy kitchen room with her big friends.  I guess she gets enough of Little E at home all day.  : )

 

The blonde boy is Big Ive’s friend, J.

Big Ive tried to put a puzzle together.  She doesn’t understand, yet, that the pieces only go in a certain way.  I tried to show her that the picture needed to line up, but she didn’t seem to care about that.  2 of her big friends at Kindergarten helped put it together.

Big Ive’s friend, J, was talking with me and I was able to understand a word here or there.  That’s a huge improvement for me and my German.  I still call it baby German.  I know a handful of nouns and about 3 useful sentences.  It’s fun at the Kindergarten because I can ask what things are and they’ll tell me the German words.  I’ll tell them the English words.  They seem to like to try to roll the English words around on their tongues.  It’s a fun little game.  The kids that speak some English feel very proud of themselves when they know the English words and understand what I’m saying.

Another little girl put these puzzles together and Big Ive took them one by one over to the window to sit by the big one that was already there.  My neurotic child had to make the rest match.

As I was putting Little E in the stroller to leave, Big Ive went in the other classroom.  There was one little boy in there, probably not much older than she.  Something happened and he was looking sad and upset at Big Ive.  I told her to say sorry and give him a hug.  She gave him a hug and instinctively took her binky out to give him a kiss on the lips because that’s what she does with her sister when she needs to apologize.  It was incredibly cute to see two little humans hugging.  He looked a little bit less upset after she hugged him, but I’m not sure he was completely convinced.

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The brand new high chair is a big hit in our house.  Little E loves being up high and able to see everything.  I love that I can lay food out for her to feed herself and I’m not straining my back holding her and trying to feed her.  Big Ive loves to sit in it and eat breakfast.  She also likes to try to scale the backside of it like a ladder.  And to buckle and unbuckle the seat straps endlessly.  She does that with the baby buggy at Kindergarten, too.

Big Ive was being helpful yesterday giving Little E some cereal to eat.  She dumped her small container of cheerios onto her play kitchen plate and brought that over to Little E in the high chair.  That didn’t work out so well; moments later every piece of cereal was on the floor.

I laughed when I saw her bring her toy plate full of cheerios over.  It was so cute, helpful, thoughtful, nice, heartfelt and funny-toddler-action all in one.  Big Ive really loves her little sister.  And wants to make sure she is eating enough.  : )

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8am Mittagsschlaf (naptime) . . .

. . . can only be helped by a loving older sister . . .

. . . but a kiss and a “Shh, shh, baby” will make it all . . .

. . . better.

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Village Soccer Match, Family Style

Here is what it looks like when an American family attends the local village’s soccer match at their home field.  We’re the guys in yellow.  We won.

Little E enjoying the game with dad.

Big Ive enjoying the game with dad, up close to the action.

They have this neat kid’s soccer pitch next to the adult full-size field.  It has these short walls so the ball goes out of bounce less often.  Big Ive LOVED it in there.  My friend from band said they went 1 time with their boys without a ball.  Never again.  We are SO getting Big Ive a ball this weekend now that we have a car again.

She love, Love, LOVED kicking the ball around in here.  Most of the kids were super nice to her and let her use their balls, too.  I love these Germans and our village.

Sometimes she just stood there watching the other kids.

Little E enjoying all the action.  Soon after this she got pissed about being stuck in her carrier that I had to hold her the rest of the time we were there.  She’s heavy, if you couldn’t tell by all the chub.

Enjoying the bratwurst specialty.  Schneiden.  : )

Feeding Mom.

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