Monthly Archives: April 2012

[and other daily happenings 20.04 – 23.04.2012]

Big Ive was changing her baby doll’s diaper with many many wipes on the evening of the 22nd.  This was the first time I’ve seen her play with her doll and her doll’s diaper.  We’ve asked about the doll’s stinky diapers a few times in the past, but she has never tried to actually change the diaper before.  She got one of her diapers out, opened the snaps of the onsie, and started using the wipes.  She would pull a wipe out, wipe it once across the baby’s crotch and then put it aside, take out another wipe and repeat.  I guess this was a pretty stinky diaper.  : )

She also started putting shoes on her her baby doll to walk her around.  She tried using her own shoes, but they were too big and fell right off when she stood up and moved the doll.  I knew there was a pair of infant shoes from when Little E had just come over here upstairs and sent LOML to fetch them.  He put the tiny purple plaid shoes on the doll and Big Ive was elated.  They didn’t quite fit right, either, but it didn’t matter to her.  It was just really good to have shoes that stayed on her baby doll.

After the diaper and the shoes she walked around holding the dolls hands pretending to walk the baby like I walk Little E around.  “Walk! Walk! Walk! Walk!”


Little E has figured out how to drink from Big Ive’s sippy cups.  Drink might not be the most accurate word.  Guzzle is better.  She has a homing signal for Big Ive’s cups and crawls straight over to them.  After she gets them in her little hands she manipulates the cup to get the spout in her mouth.  I’m not sure if it’s because this one kind of cup is now leaky and she gets big gulpin mouthfuls  guzzling Big Ive’s juice cups.  Subsequent sticky and fuzzy neck rolls.  This baby still doesn’t have much of a neck…


(20.04.2012) Little E has been super fussy the past few days, mostly, I think, because of a new tooth.  No bueno.  This is not fun for her, nor me.  She hasn’t been sleeping well, napping well, she wants to be held a lot.  It makes it hard to get anything else done when you have to hold a baby that doesn’t want you to do anything but hold her. That puts the tooth count to 3 teeth.  And, get this.  She’s not getting the front center top tooth.  She’s getting the tooth just to the left of where her front top center teeth should be!  Fang baby!  Big Ive did this, too.  No front top teeth, just side top teeth.

EDIT 24.04.2012: I saw the beginnings of the 4th tooth coming in (second for this round of teething).  It is the front top center tooth next to the fang!  No true fang baby this time.  Bummer!  But . . . we’ll have a lopsided tooth baby!!!


Bacon wrapped tilapia was on the menu for supper on Saturday night.  I found the recipe on a blog I read occasionally.  It was really good.  It was strange to pair fish with pork, but the flavors just worked.  Recipe coming soon.  Along with a baked oatmeal recipe!


Tomato and pepper plants now have blossoms.  LOML keeps saying how proud and surprised he is of me that I’ve managed to keep all of the plants alive this long.  He has no faith in my green thumb abilities.  I knew they’d all stay alive as long as no one knocked them over and broke them.  And no one (ahem, Big Ive, ahem, Little E, ahem) has done that.  Even when they’re on the patio (terrace in German) and we play with the soccer ball she hasn’t knocked any over.


Homesick.  It took me 4.5 months, but I got a huge wave of homesickness this weekend.  I was really missing my family and our friends and community back at home.  I don’t think I’m missing the 100+ F heat, but I am missing the people a whole ton.


We talked to Grandparents on Skype on Sunday night.  Big Ive was talkative this time to them so they were finally able to see how much she speaks, her cute little personality and all the things toddlers do at age 2.  Little E delighted them with standing on her own in the middle of the room, unassisted, and playing ever so cutely with toys for them.  I found out my Grandpa goes in for a surgery this week, so please keep him in your prayers.  Depending on what they find it might require another surgery.

It breaks my heart every time I talk with my Grandparents.  They start to tear up on the phone and it makes me want to cry.  I always feel bad that I “took” their great-grandbabies away from them.  The girls are the first great-grandchildren on my


LOML and I sat on the floor and tried to get Little E to walk between us.  She didn’t even get close.  She’s really good at standing up and balancing on her own, but moving her feet for forward motion is not one of her skills.  Yet.  Maybe we won’t have a 9 month walker.  Maybe she’ll hold out until 10 months.  She is cruising hand over hand around furniture better than ever.

And some photos from a little while ago, because I know that’s all you people care about on my blog!  : )

“MomMom, you just relax for a bit and let me drive for a while.”

daffodil (which are almost all withered and gone now)

I wonder what the neighbors think of me taking photos of all their flowers all the time.

Some sort of fuzzy purple flower.  Anyone know what it is?

tulips getting ready to bloom.  They’re in full bloom now (3 weeks later).

She loves walking around this fountain.  We have to stop just about every time we walk on this street.

dirty hands.  Such a clean freak.

Why not lay down on the bus stop bench?

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The Village Band Is Serious Business

Friday evening was the village band’s (Verein’s) annual committee meeting.  Just like any other organization this one has a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, committee members are large, director, etc.  There are active and inactive members, too.  The active members are all of the musician players and the inactive are not (currently) musicians.  Most of the inactive members were a lot older.

They take this stuff seriously.  It’s not just some little community band.

There were speeches — multi-page speeches — given by different people to recognize and award people for years of service.  I don’t think they’re allowed to give speeches without at least 2 pages typed up.  It must be written into their bylaws.

They recognized the current president (who is not a musician) with a lapel pin (they’re big on the lapel pins to denote how many years you’ve been a part of the Verein), a plaque and a bouquet of flowers.  Then, a former director was recognized for his many years of service with a framed plaque.  Also, about 6 of the players got their pins for their certain years of being a part of the band.

We stood in silence to recognize the members who had passed away in 2011.  They read their names and told how many years they were a part of the Verein.

The director gave a synopsis of concerts so far this year and those that are scheduled for the rest of the year.  He introduced all of the new players — me being one of them.  I found out Sunday morning that he said he was excited to have a bassoon player and no other Vereins have bassoon players.

AND, there was a newspaper reporter there who took pictures of the people getting awards.  Everyone who was in attendance will be noted in the paper.  I guess I made it into the local German newspaper!  EDIT:  One of the band members emailed me a PDF of the newspaper and it mentions me.  They are excited to have me, a bassoon player, as there aren’t many bassoon players in this area and no other bands have them.

They talked about how much money they made at the few concerts so far this year.  One was a party we hosted for a radio station in our village’s gymnasium.  They made little sandwiches and bratwurst to sell, but there weren’t enough people and they had WAAAAY too many rolls.  So, the president had the leftover rolls dried and ground up into breadcrumbs.  Which she put in small plastic bags with a cute little curly ribbon tie and gave to everyone at the meeting.  It was really funny.

These Germans are very serious, but so funny at the same time.  The whole meeting was a serious affair, but people kept telling little jokes throughout.  I guess that’s the way we do meeting back in the States, too.  Serious meeting with an agenda punctuated by humor.

It was a fun time.  I didn’t understand much of what they said, but it was good to go and show that I’m a part of the group and committed.

As I was leaving (LOML sent me a few text messages saying that Little E had not stopped crying since I left and that I needed to come home right away) I met the village mayor as I was paying for my Schorle, because the meeting was held in the bar.  Of course.  The mayor knows our Landlord and knew that we had moved in shortly.  He asked how long we would be here.  He was surprised that we weren’t military, that we had chosen to move to Germany on our own.

Visited village bar :: check
Went to annual band meeting :: check
Given breadcrumbs as gift :: check
Met the village mayor :: check
Made it in the region newspaper :: check

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[and other daily happenings 17.04.2012]

17 April 2012
LOML was scaring Big Ive in the bedroom the evening of the 17th as we were getting the girls ready for bed.  He was on our bed and Big Ive was walking around the bed.  Big Ive would get scared and come stand behind me, away from LOML, and as soon as she calmed down a little she would ask for more.  “MORE!?”

Little E was freaking out because Big Ive would get scared.  She is such a sweet natured baby and gets scared easily.  She would see LOML with a snarled lip, growling at Big Ive and her eyes would get huge, start to well up, the bottom lip would start to quiver and then she would burst into tears and sobs.  It’s still adorable when she sobs like that (when she’s not hurt).

Sisters playing and laughing by and under the table.

Running down the hill during our walk after supper is a new thing for Big Ive.  LOML took her down a big grassy hill on our way back home.  She loved it.  Then Big Ive had to run in the other field next to our house at the end.  We didn’t know there was a pit of water in the middle until she walks past it and says, “Water”.  I didn’t look closely at it, but it was a well of water.

I tried to wake Little E during our walk to no success.  I didn’t want her to sleep that early because then she’d be up for another couple hours and I wanted to get to sleep at a decent time.  Talking to her, tickling her, jiggling her cheeks, nothing worked.  It was funny.

Big Ive got to use one of those miniature little kid carts in the store and knocked over a coupon display in one aisle.  Not terrible.  At least I prevented her from running into any people with the cart.  Also during our errand running that day she got a sucker from the bakery and loved it.  It was like a sweet tart, not the typical hard candy kind of sucker.

Big Ive and I got to dance in the living room during some songs on the TV.  It’s one of her new things to dance with me instead of just by herself.  I LOVE IT.  She came over to me, grabbed my hand and brought me to the living room so we could dance.  After about half a minute of her and I dancing hand in hand she had me pick her  up so I could hold her to dance with her.  So.  Cute.

Pics of us dancing from the a couple days later.

Little E had to join in.


On Sunday the 15th we re-potted the tomato plants into bigger ceramic pots.  They had met their limit of the small plastic pots.  Very soon we’ll have to pot the seedlings into those small plastic pots.  Our Landlord said that next week would probably be a good week to start planting in the garden as it’ll be warmer.  I’ll have to do a post on our next gardening steps.


I can now fit into the smallest pair of jeans I brought along to Germany.  They didn’t even fit me when I bought them before I got pregnant with Big Ive.  If I remember right, they were on sale and they looked nice and I knew I would get down to this size at some point so I bought them anyway.

The ultimate goal is that these pants would be too big for me, but that will still take more time.  I don’t know how much I weight I have lost to date since the peak with Little E’s pregnancy.  I have an idea because of the size I’m fitting in, but I’m not sure.  We don’t have a scale in our house.  Maybe I’ll remember to buy one one of these days.

I’m sure I could get better results much more quickly if I did better than my no-diet diet that includes eating just about anything and everything I want while chasing 2 small children around a 3 level house and walking daily in a village with some good hills.  I’m happy how things are going right now, so I’ll just keep going.


The progression of Big Ive’s shiner from eine schaukel (a swing) at the wine fest in a village about 45 minutes away.

The offending schaukel.

Day 2
She got a hold of my camera and was looking at these photos and said, “Ouch”. 

Day 3, making faces at me while I took pictures.

Day 5

It’s looking a lot better now that it’s been a full week.  Just a little of the bruise and tiny bit of scab over the scraped part.  No more Rocky in our house.


Big Ive was walking around the living, dining rooms and kitchen with her baby doll’s hands in her hands saying, “Walk, walk, walk, walk” pretending to help it walk like I do with Little E.  It was so funny.  She has never done that before.  I’m always amazed when they mimic things like that.

Little E has her 3rd tooth coming through the gums.  It is the top tooth just to the left of where her front center left tooth would be.  Baby # 2 with fangs for this family.  Big Ive didn’t get her top front two teeth until her top front side ones came in.  It was hilarious.  I loved my fang baby.  It looks like I get another one!  Wa-hoo!

And that completely makes sense why she’s been such a fussy butt the past 3 days and didn’t sleep well the past 2 nights.  My kids are extremely good teethers, so I can’t complain if I only get a few days of fussiness.  The horror stories I hear from my friends are terrible.  I feel badly for those kids and parents.  I hadn’t thought about another tooth being the culprit until LOML said maybe that’s what it was.  Today I looked and saw the little white line where her tooth had just broken through the gums.  Drei Zähne.  Three teeth.

Speaking of the word Zähne… I can’t get Big Ive to say this word.  I say Zähne and she says teeth.  She knows that Zähne means teeth but refuses to say the German word.  Funny kid.

I have been making a concerted effort to use the German word in my speech if I know it with the kids this week.  It’s probably not very grammatically correct to throw in the odd German word here or there — usually just nouns — but that’s what I’m doing.  It’s making me think of it more, making Big Ive (and Little E) hear it more and then Big Ive is saying more German words, too.

She’s starting to say new words all day long.  I’ll say a few sentences to her and she’ll parrot back a word or two.  She’s in what I call the Captain Obvious stage pointing to everything and saying the word for it.  It’s really fun to have a toddler in this stage.  I might have said sh*t in the car the other day and she definitely said it right back to me.  I very quickly said shoot and she repeated that, hopefully completely forgetting about the other word.

LOML: I think we need to Get Big Ive some new  clothes for when she starts Kindergarten soon.  What do you think?

MomMom: I think that’s a good idea.  She does need a few things.  Where do you want to go shopping?

LOML:  France.

MomMom:  Really?

LOML:  Yep.  Did you notice all those kid stores in Metz?  I think we need to go there.  When I think of back to school shopping I think of shopping in France.

I love this man so much.  You all have no idea.

“When I think of school shopping I think of France.”  Only when you live in Germany near the boarder of France!  Or only as an excuse to go back to France to get more French food!!!

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Easter 2012

It started with us waking up and finding a couple of easter baskets out on our front step.  LOML asked his co-worker (who was with us that weekend) if he had put them there.  Then he asked me if I had put them there.  Nope.  It was our wonderful Landlord.  They put out 2 plates with real moss and real grass — not that fake plastic stuff — with real hard boiled eggs, colored with onions.  Also, lots of chocolate candies, a small toy for Little E and a big sand beach toy set for Big Ive.  It was a hit.

Big Ive has just gotten up so she still has puffy sleepy eyes and a whole mess of bed head. I thought it was adorable.

Then we went to church.  Easter service was good.  Big Ive stayed in the toddler room without any issues.  Little E fell asleep after I fed her so I was able to sit and enjoy the entire sermon.

Big Ive sitting on the floor at church during the music before we took her to the toddler room. 

I had LOML take this shot of me and Little E during church.  He gave me a look, but I knew there would be no other shots of me today so I made him. 

We took a detour on the way home from church and found the wild animal park.  We made plans to come back on Monday if the weather was nice.  It wasn’t.  So we didn’t go.  Some day we’ll get there.  It’s only a 15 minute drive from our house (gotta love GPS!).

Afterward we came  home, opened the easter baskets from LOML and me and other goodies my parents had sent over.  I’m not sure how much chocolate Big Ive had to eat that day.  She was H.Y.P.E.R.  I have never seen her like that before.  She was almost literally bouncing off the walls.  Maybe not the best parenting move to let her eat so much.  We figured it was only one day; she normally doesn’t get chocolate every day, nor anywhere near that amount.  She took a nap at some point (I think…I can’t remember now).  When LOML took his co-worker home that night near bedtime I asked him to take Oh Chocolate One with him.  He reported back that she was chattering away to herself for half of the 40 minute ride over and then fell asleep and didn’t wake until he got home.

Also not the best parenting move: letting your baby gnaw on a foil wrapped chocolate bunny and only realize when she has chewed through the foil and is eating the chocolate. 
She was pissed when I took it away from her.  Thankfully I didn’t find any foil pieces in her mouth.

Then we had an easter egg hunt on the back patio.  LOML hid all of the colored hard boiled eggs in our flower and lettuce pots for Big Ive to find the eggs.  We asked the Landlords to come watch because they like our kids.

And then I cooked Easter dinner.  We had herb dry rubbed pork tenderloin with garlic cloves stuck in it (what’s the right term for that?), green bean casserole, French bread, foi gras, butternut squash soup.  It was a really good dinner.

Only the French bread and butter got a photo.  I forgot about the rest of the food.  Oops!

So, yes, I know that just about all of my photos are of the “Hallmark” kind of Easter — goody baskets from the easter bunny, egg hunt, chocolate overload.  But that’s not the big celebration of our Easter.  The bigger celebration was church and celebrating our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I was most excited about that celebration; going to church to celebrate with our big extended church family.  This Sunday, and Christmas, are the biggest church holidays and I love them.  I love the planning that goes into both days with advent and lent.  It is an awesome preparation time for me to really think about and remember all that my Lord has done for me.

Now that Big Ive is starting to understand more and can comprehend the bible stories, I am excited to tell her about it and have her see for herself in church.  It was Maundy Thursday or Good Friday and LOML and I were putting Big Ive to bed, so we said our prayers.  I told her about why that day and the weekend was special.  She looked like she understood.

It was hard to not be with my whole big extended family this Easter.  Just about every single holiday we would all always get together.  If there wasn’t at least 20 of us there, it seemed like we had a lot of people missing.  I miss my big crazy extended family.  Maybe Big Ive won’t remember this one, but I hope to have lots of these holidays WITH my family so she’ll have that kind of a memory, too.

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Metz, France daytrip 07 April 2012

On Saturday before Easter we took a day trip over to Metz, France.  LOML and I have been having some serious cravings for real French baguettes, butter and cheese ever since we left Paris in January.  The more we travel over here with kids, the more it is becoming about food and culture, as we can’t go into many museums or do a lot of that kind of activity.  A baby and a toddler are just not conducive to those kinds of things.

We talked about leaving the house before 9am.  Ha.  That was a funny thought on our part.  We forgot to set an alarm and didn’t even wake up until after 7.  Oh, well.  It was nice to sleep.  We got out of the house around 10:30, I think.  The drive over was uneventful — the girls both slept just about the entire way there.

Our first experience with Metz resulted in us driving down a pedestrian only street.  Because the GPS told us to.  And we were following a bus.  And we ignored the Do-Not-Enter sign on the bollard.  Oh, well.  We were cautious and courteous to the pedestrians and made it through with no police ticketing.  We found a parking spot and started our walk of the downtown Metz.

LOML had about 3 places he specifically wanted to go and programmed those into the GPS so we could walk there.  1.  A butcher shop recommended by the Cookin’ With Class people in Paris.  2.  A cheese shop, also recommened by them.  3.  The covered market building.  4.  The cathedral.  I guess that’s 4 places now that I write it out.

Spring has sprung in France, too.  : )

It was no surprise, really, but no one spoke English (or would admit they spoke English) at the butcher shop.  LOML got a tiny bit of foi gras and when they handed him the bag there was a little container of clear gelatin cubes.  We had no idea what it was.  (Googling it later LOML found out they use the gelatin with molds to shape up the foi gras all pretty like.)

On our way to the cheese shop we we forced to stop in about 4 chocolate shops.  Yes.  Forced to stop.  LOML loves fleur de sel chocolate and was on a mission to find it.  In at least one shop we asked about it, they said no they didn’t have it, and then we saw it on the shelf.  Oh, well.  In one shop I also found some amazing French maracon cookies.  Those are amazing.  If you all live in Phoenix, you need to visit essence bakery ( in Tempe and try them.  Pricy, but So. Worth. It.  ((I never got to eat any as we ended up giving the package of macarons to our Landlords as an Easter present, but that’s ok.  It just means we need to go back to France.))

We found a bakery and bought the good baguettes.  Then we got lost on our way to the cheese shop, but found it rather quickly.  LOML got a few different kinds of cheeses and we also got fresh butter.  After that we wandered toward the market and cathedral.

The market is a building that has many stalls of people selling fish, meat, cheese, produce, tea, flowers and plants, and a could of restaurant places.  I needed more Earl Grey tea so I bought a big bag of loose tea leaves.  LOML got another chunk of cheese as the first cheese shop didn’t have the specific morbier cheese he was looking for.


candied fruit.  I have never seen so many different kinds of candied fruit before.

Big Ive sipping some juice and eating fresh French baguette in front of the cheese shop while LOML got his morbier.

Little E sucking her thumb in front of the cheese shop.

Then we went in the cathedral, which was right across the square from the market.  I was unsure how Big Ive would do in there.  Little E was asleep in her car seat carrier in the stroller (big surprise, right?).  We walked in and got Big Ive out of the stroller and explained to her that this was a special place where we needed to be quiet and respectful of people praying.  LOML took her throughout the entire cathedral and showed her the great big colorful stained glass windows, explaining that they have stories on them like her books because most people couldn’t read words back then.

She. Was. In. Awe.  Completely in awe of the place.  LOML said she walked around with her head back so she could see the ceilings and all the way to the top of the windows saying, “Wow” over and over.  She did so well in there.

Great shot of Big Ive and LOML walking hand in hand in the cathedral.

Time for a late lunch before leaving.  On our way home we passed through a small French village and saw a sign for an English Cemetery and followed it.  There is a large cemetery for American military that died in Europe right near where we were.  The cemetery we found was not it.  And we tried to find it by going to the town it said it was just outside of, but we weren’t able to find it.  Maybe on another trip we can get a better address and put it in the GPS and find it.

Dance time at lunch.

Us girls in the restaurant after lunch.  Blurry, but I liked the photo, anyway.

The girls slept almost the entire trip home, even with our detours and added time.  It was a great day trip for our family.  LOML and I really enjoy taking these drives to places and spending time together as a family.  We’ve gotten some great conversations and discussions going during our drives and walks.  Yeah, it’d be fun to get into museums and explore more in-depth all of these places we’ve been, but our life isn’t that right now.  Right now it’s leisurely walking down streets with a gigantic double stroller, corralling a toddler, watching a baby sleep, having good conversation and working on our family.  In Europe.  I’m not sure we would be able to do this living at home.  Our lives would never have changed to this extent to allow/make us spend this intentional time together as a family, strengthening that relationship.  It’s not always a walk in the park living over here, but times like these help to make this season in life definitely worth it.

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Running Errands With 2 Small Children

Since we now have 2 cars the grocery shopping and general errand running has mostly shifted to me.  That means I have to bring both kids with me where ever I need to go.  Not the easiest thing to do with a 2 year old and and 8 month old. Into car seats.  Out of car seats.  Into cart/wrap/stroller/arms.  Shop, pay.  Out of cart/wrap/stroller/arms.  Into car seats.  Out of car seats.  Rinse and repeat with each errand stop.

Here are my options for when we go to the grocery store:

1. Big Ive in cart kid seat + me wearing Little E in the Moby wrap

This is not a bad way to work it.  Big Ive is contained and can’t easily run off or escape or wreck havoc on too many people or product displays.  Little E is out of her car seat carrier and happily seeing everything I see.

The bad part is that I have limited ability to pick up products and anything I grab Little E tries to grab and then put in her mouth.  If something falls on the floor it is difficult for me to bend down and pick it up.  Case in Point: Big Ive was being a little stinker one grocery trip and purposely kept dropping the 50cent coin I gave her to hold.  After picking it up about 10 times I just left it on the floor.  Some other kid probably was in heaven when they found 50cents on the floor.

Also, we get A LOT more looks from EVERYONE in the store when I have a baby strapped to my person.

2.  Big Ive in car cart + Little E in the Moby wrap

You might think this would be a great idea.  It is the OPPOSITE of a great idea.

I tried this on Big Ive’s birthday and she was content to sit in the little car for about 3 minutes — the amount of time it took us to go down one aisle.  With a fully ambulatory child with her own free will and her father’s genetic wandering off-ness this option is a complete No Go.  She tried to run up and down the aisles, trying to get away from me.  She would place random products into our cart.  I gave her one bottle of soap to put in there and she thought we needed 3 more and proceeded to pick out her own.  Needless to say, this shopping trip ended very quickly and before all items could be procured.

It was impossible to get her to stay in the cart, let alone get back IN the cart once she had gotten out.  She managed to squirm out while I was pushing the cart down one aisle.  She didn’t seem to care the cart was still in motion.

3.  Big Ive on a child leash + Little E in the cart kid seat

I haven’t tried this one, yet, because I’m afraid of the looks of my fellow Germans when they see I put a leash on my child.  LOML told me I shouldn’t do this.  My mom said it might work.  Maybe I’ll try it some day when we only have a few items to get.  In theory, Big Ive would be happy to have the freedom to walk around, but not be able to just run off and Little E would be happy to not be in her carseat and I would have my arms free to pick up objects.  I’ll report back when we try this.

4. Big Ive in the cart kid seat + Little E in her car seat carrier in the big basket

We tried this today and it works really well.  Except that you have almost zero cart space available for products.  I was able to stuff a few things between Little E’s seat and the edge of the cart basket.  The bottom of the cart doesn’t have a small enough mesh with the bars so you can’t throw small objects down there.  I carried a large canvas bag to place my products into.  It got rather heavy by the time we were done and I didn’t purchase any canned good items this trip.

Also, Little E gets fed up at being in her carrier for so long so that generates a new time constraint.

5.  Put the kids in the stroller

This is good if I only have a few items to get that can all fit in the under seat basket of the stroller.  It doesn’t work for large items or lots of items.

6.  Leave both kids in the car

Just kidding.  I’m sure the Polizei would not look lightly on that.  I did leave them in the van when I went to the ATM, though.  It was quick, not hot out, both kids were happy, and I locked the doors.

7.  Leave both kids with dad / have dad do the shopping / hire someone to do the shopping / eat out every night

a. Not that he’s not fully capable of caring for both kids, I just don’t think he’d like that.  Especially since it limits our already limited time together as a family.
b. I’m sure he’s tired of being the grocery shopper.  See limited time argument above.
c. We didn’t win the lottery.
d. That doesn’t take care of cleaning supplies and paper products.
e.  A combination thereof just might work, though.  : )

Any one have any other ideas, combinations, iterations, of ways I could try to better grocery shop with the kids?  I’m open for suggestions.

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Big Ive’s 2nd Birthday!

We got a pudding pretzel from the bakery and shared it.

We went to the car wash.

We ate chocolate and took a long nap.

We danced in the living room to the music from Dancing With The Stars.  Every time a song would end she’d look up at me and say, “More?!”

Big Ive said a couple of 2 word sentences and I think a 3 word sentence this morning.  It was Mommy + noun + verb.  I can’t remember the actual words she, though.  : (  I think it was when she was really pissed off at me for not giving her her juice cup or a part of a pretzel or her binky because she was a holy terror in the grocery store this morning.  She has never acted that badly in a store before.  And I learned my lesson to NEVER use one of those kiddie car carts again.  Children will be contained and not able to get out on their whims while grocery shopping from here on out.

Yesterday we opened presents and blew up a few balloons.  LOML had to drive to the airport this evening to pick up a co-worker and wasn’t going to get home until well after Big Ive had gone to sleep.

I made the Happy Birthday Big Ive banner for her.  It took a number of hours to carefully cut out all of the circles and flowers and letters by hand (wrapping paper is probably not the best kind of paper for this type of project, FYI).  The gluing and stringing together were the quick and easy parts.  Big Ive got up from her nap just before I finished stringing them all together, so LOML came over and took one end while I took the other and we unveiled it for her.  Her face lit up, breaking into a gigantic smile and said WOWOWOW!  She squealed with delight.  It was a really great feeling for me.

Then it was onto the cards and presents that my mom had mailed a couple weeks ago.  Big Ive didn’t quite understand how to open the envelopes or get the cards out so I had to help her a little.  My Grandma sent a card and it had 3 little stickers holding the flap down.  She had to peel each one off, individually, and stick it to the envelope so she could open it.  My OCD child.  Opening the presents was a similar method, slowly ripping small chunks of paper off and having to set them off to the side, one by one, in an orderly way.  There was no haphazard ripping and tossing of paper.

Little E tried to get into everything Big Ive had.

The play pots and pans were a big hit.  And now they are being hit as percussion instruments.  Did IKEA really think it was a good idea to make them so loud? The kitchen ware had to go on a time out shortly after making it down to the floor.

The noise makers were a hit, too.  Big Ive didn’t quite figure out how to blow hard enough most times to make a noise.  So she improvised and just made noises with her mouth while holding the noise maker in there.  Super cute.

(It broke so she’s signing ‘broke’ while saying it and holding the 2 broken pieces.)
(Little E is having a grand old time playing with all of Big Ive’s new pots and pans.)

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lots of words for catch up . . . photos coming later this week [and other daily happenings 26.03 – 09.04.2012]

I have all of these thoughts in my head I want to get out on ‘paper’ and there seems to be no time to do that.  The girls and I have had this mild cold for over a week now (26-03-2012).  It is just having me feel really run down all day.  And LOML has been working slightly longer hours to make up for his co-worker’s absence, so I have to be the child care longer by myself.

09April2012 Still not feeling too good, but the girls are getting better.  Highlights of what has happened as I jotted them down so I wouldn’t forget.


26 March 2012
About a week ago the girls and I took a walk around one of the trails in our village.  This one goes around the soccer field and by the restaurant and schools.  Big Ive was happy to walk with me most of the time.  We got almost to the near side of the soccer field and she decided that she wanted to walk the other way.  She stopped, turned halfway, looked back and me with a glint in her eyes and said, “Bye.  Tschuss.”  And then started walking the opposite direction on the path.

That child… sure is like her Daddy.  I hear stories about him trying to run away from home at about age 3.  Something along the lines of he got stuck in a fence so he couldn’t get any further.

And then this weekend when we were out walking as a family she did it again.  LOML got to witness it firsthand that time.


We had to take Big Ive to urgent care at 8pm.  Her pediatrician closes early on Wednesdays and the urgent care place doesn’t open until 7pm.  She had an ear infection and bronchitis.  Then we had to drive to another village to get prescriptions filled at an after hours pharmacy.

LOML came home with a flat of little lettuce plants.  He’s on a healthy eating kick since his co-worker’s heart attack and surgery.  I’m not complaining about the food changes.  03 April : I got the lettuce plants put in pots until we find out where my garden plot will be.  I think they’re happier with more

I got the sprouted tomato plants put in peat pot starter pots.  03-29 One is already sprouting up with the smallest leaf through the soil.


Big Ive is feeling better, saying a lot more words I haven’t heard from her before.  Playing on iPad with animal sound app and she knew a lot more of the animals than I thought she did.  She called M&Ms something like ABCDs.

Earlier this week Big Ive started singing the ABCs something like ABCDCB, with a slight lisp on the Cs.  She sees her foam bath letters and calls them ABCDs.

I ask her to bring me Little E’s soft little comfort blanket and the vast majority of the time she listens right away.  She loves her sister and likes to help mom.

Last week Little E passed the peanut test – she got a hold of Big Ive’s peanut butter sandwich and took a big bite.  She was pissed when I scooped it out of her mouth.  Little E LOVES the puffs my mom sent us.  She’s intrigued by small pieces of fruit to pick up to eat (I gave her some kind of hard pear that she loves).  She seems really interested in sign language during feeding times.  Big Ive has been signing to her, too, which is a change because she’s been refusing to sign since she started talking more.

Our Landlord has been working on redoing the walkways and driveway here at the house.  He’s re-doing the cobble pavers.  Big Ive really likes to watch and “help” him.  I think he likes the distraction of our toddler.  I try to wrangle her and bring her in when we’ve overstayed our welcome, interfering with his faster pace of work.  He found one of his children’s old sand shovels and let her play in his pile of sand.  She loved it.

Big Ive at bedtime pickin nose saying, “Mine!” when she put it in her mouth.

Little E can stand unassisted for 12 seconds, my highest count.  She lets go more and more every day.

We met an Oma on a family walk on Sunday afternoon April 1 who said, “I don’t speak English” and then proceeds to have conversation with us in English with a little German mixed in.  Yeah, right.  No English…  J

The long walk through the wooded trail with the fam was nice. said it was about 2miles.  Big Ive kicking ball in open field with LOML.  Little E in the Moby.  Drinks and fries at the restaurant in our village when we were done.  Saw all the horse property up the hill from our village.

Planted lettuce plants in pots.  Gotta get tomatoes transplanted this week [[EDIT 09April2012:  This hasn’t happened, yet]].  New tomato seedlings popping through each day.  Up to about 6 now [[EDIT 09April2012: About 19 or 20 of the 24 seeds sprouted and most are working on 2nd or 3rd sets of  leaves now.]].  Flowers are growing like crazy and are deliciously beautiful to look at.  There are 5 new blooms coming up on my dark red ranunculus.  I’m so excited.  I loved it when my mom planted that kind of flower when I was a kid.

Baked pretzels from scratch.  This recipe was pretty close to authentic without the use of lye.  They were amazing fresh out of the oven.  Ate another just before bed and it wasn’t nearly as good.  These are not to be stored for more than a few hours if you want anything that tastes really good.

Little E is standing up on her own more and more.  Tonight she was playing a game with herself and would keep standing up again and again.  I only counted 9 seconds.

Big Ive learning to take pictures with my camera on the Kinder soccer pitch.

Big Ive says lots and lots of new words each day.  I can’t keep track of them all.  Last night (02 April 2012) she said her first 2 sentence word: Daddy shoe.  LOML had gotten new shoes in the mail and was trying them on and Big Ive pointed at them and said, “DaDa shoe.”


05 April 2012
Coming up the hill from a walk to the quickie mart and playground our landlord drove by in his tractor.  He was driving slowly with about 5 big 55 gallon sized barrels in his tractor trailer.  He waved.  We waved back.  I wondered what he could be moving, but then Big Ive did something and I couldn’t think about the barrels anymore.  LOML came home and I mentioned it to him.  A little bit later we were out on the back patio and he came over to talk with us.  He told LOML that his barrels were his home-made schnapps!  Then he gave us a taste of 2 kinds – pear and a 1989 yellow peach.  The ’89 was really good.  I don’t think I could have finished a whole shot of either, but the older one was good.

He also said after his holiday next week that we will figure out a place to plant my garden.  I’m so excited about that.  [[EDIT 09April2012: He fixed up a raised garden plot in the back yard for me to use.  More on that later.]]

This village is awesome.  I’ve said it a few times before, but, these are really, truly the nicest people I have ever met.

The landlord seemed pleased when he said that Big Ive now knows who he is and is mostly comfortable with him.  He’s been re-doing our front driveway and walking path.  They got some new concrete pavers to mix in with the old stone cobbles.  He took up ALL of the old cobbles and then put them ALL back. One.By.One.  Big Ive had so much fun trying to “help” move the cobbles to the side.  And then she got to play in the sand base course, which she LOVED.  Landlord went in his garage and found an old toy sand scoop from one of his children (they’re 16 and 20 now) so Big Ive could play.


About 2 days ago (03 April 2012) Big Ive decided that she would start to say words.  Lots of words.  Lots of different words.  I’ll say something and she’ll pick our 1 or 2 words from the sentence and say them back to me.  We’ll be on a walk – heck, even just in the house not doing anything special – and she’ll point out a common item and tell me what it is.  “Wall! Wall.  Wall. Wall.”  “Yes, Ivy, that is a wall.”  “Wall. Wall.”

LOML’s co-worker left something in our car that I brought into the house and placed on the table.  Big Ive saw it, recognized it was his and said his name!  She said it so clearly I could understand it!

Have I mentioned how much I love this kid and am continually amazed at what she learns?

Little E is working on getting her balance down.  She can stand unassisted for at least 17 seconds now.  Every time she gets herself to standing (in the middle of the room, not by letting go of furniture, mind you) I start to count.  Usually it’s less than 10 seconds, but she surprised me today (05April) with 17.  I guess she wanted to celebrate her 8 month birthday, too.


Good Friday service in German church with my band playing.

Easter Saturday in France.

Easter Sunday church, family time and surprise Easter baskets from the Landlords.

Easter Monday spent at home very low key.

I think I might be starting to feel better.  My sinuses have been killing me the past few days.

Little E stood 19 seconds.  She almost took a step – thought about it and then thought against it.  She likes to stand up in the middle of the room not hanging on to anything.

Big Ive heard Little E cry as she woke up and said, “Baby sad”.  I am so excited to hear more words and sentences from her.  She asked where LOML’s co-worker was at supper because he spent the weekend with us.  It was sweet.

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Things I Will Be Missing Back At Home This Year

Arizona’s Centennial.  AZ turned 100 on Valentine’s day.  As a student in AZ for 16 years I longed for this centennial.  For years I sat in public school classrooms daydreaming of being there for the centennial, happy that my state was so young that I would be able to experience this when it had happened to most other states decades ago.  I think most other school children did, too.

And then I lived in Germany at the time.  Doh!  To celebrate, Big Ive and I made a paper AZ flag to commemorate the day and I wore my ASU shirt.  (ASU shirt doubled as a special Valentine’s Day attire for LOML as we met at ASU and he bought me that shirt.  How sweet.)

My older brother’s 30th birthday.  It is his golden birthday, 30 on the 30th.  And I missed it, too.  And I got his card in the mail about a week after his birthday.  Little sister fail.

My little sister’s 21st birthday.  My youngest sibling will finally turn 21.  (That means all of us kids are getting old!!!  Agh!!)

She was my nanny for about a year and a half with Big Ive and then with Little E.  Dangit.  I miss her and I’m sad I won’t be there to celebrate in a month’s time.

My high school reunion.  Strangely, I have been looking forward to my 10 year high school reunion for a long time.  I still can’t believe I graduated from high school 10 years ago.  That means I really am getting older.

LOML and I threw around the idea of going back home at that time so I could attend, but it happens to fall when the biggest concert is for our village band so I definitely can’t miss that.  Bummer.

A friend’s wedding.

My nephew was born.

Those are the ones I can think of right away.  I’m sure there are more big events I’m missing back home this year that make me sad to be here.  Not to mention the countless dinners with family, various other “small” holidays, birthday parties for friends, get-togethers, etc, etc, etc.

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