Tag Archives: memories

4 years of Big Ive

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

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


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

2010-10-10 114 - Copy
I put her name in the skinny part on her left temple, but blurred it for my semi-anonymous blog.

from phone 118
One or 2 days before Little E was born.  She climbed up and fell asleep like that.

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

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

double binky!
Double binkies in Switzerland Christmas day 2011.

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

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

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

2012-04-10 044
LOML giving her the tour of the cathedral in Metz, France.

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

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

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

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

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

DSC03118Trying out the Laufrad from Uncle Fred, Spring 2013.

DSC03307Drumming on toy kitchen pots and pans.

DSC03561Walking to the beach in Croatia, July 2013.

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

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

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

DSC04621At the playground near my parent’s house.

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

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


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

Tagged , ,

Christmas Letter 2013

Note:  I printed a similar, but shorter letter for the handful of paper Christmas cards I sent out this year.  I didn’t want to print and send you all 5 pages of Things HausMiller Has Done In 2013.  If you’ve gotten one of those, please do also read this.  More fun details and info.  :)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and welcome to the year 2014!

Like usual, I did not get anything written or sent out before Christmas last year.  Oh, well.  It’s always kind of fun to get the late holiday or birthday cards in the mail because it makes the holiday seem that much longer.  It always brings a smile to my face.

family photos 028January 2013 :: Big Ive 2.75 years, Little E 1.5 years
(a year later and Little E has now outgrown the clothes Big Ive is wearing in this photo)

2013 was a year of travel for the Miller family.

Christmas 2012 and January 2013 were spent in the United States visiting our family and friends and loved ones.  Christmas 2012 was super fun for us in Iowa with LOML’s family.  7 kids age 6 and under made for quite a crazy full house.

The girls and I spent the rest of January and a week of February in Arizona at my parent’s house.  LOML had to go back to work in Germany a week after Christmas.  We were sad to not have him with us to enjoy the beautiful sunshine.  I really did feel bad that he endured nearly the darkest winter in 43 years back in Germany without us (it was almost the darkest winter ever on record!!!).

In March we visited Munich.  LOML had some work function, I think, so we tagged along.  We got to see the main square and took a day trip to the Neuschwanstein castle.  This is the one Disney used as inspiration to make their castle.  This castle has a theme of swans, as the king of that area really liked them.  Little E decided they were all chickens, and during our very full guided tour she would yell out, “Chicken!”, every time we saw one.  No explaining on our part could convince her they were actually swans.  Needless to say, we hung at the back of the group and tried to keep her quiet.  Thankfully, most of the other patrons thought it was funny and we heard them laughing with us.

April had us in the Netherlands to see blooming bulb flowers at the Keukenhof gardens.  It was a cold winter and spring and there weren’t many flowers in bloom when we went.  We did enjoy ourselves and the girls had a blast on the playground equipment and with the petting zoo.

In May LOML sent me to Paris for a day as a birthday present.  A friend of mine came with for a bread baking class.  I got to make real French baguettes, brioche, and another bread I can’t remember the name of but was beyond delicious.

In June my dad and older brother, who the girls call Uncle Baron, visited us.

We drove to Croatia in July (through Germany, Austria and Slovenia) with my dad and brother.  LOML wasn’t able to join us again because of work.  That dang work is always getting in the way of a proper social life and a good holiday. We visited the Plitvice Lakes National Park, which I can’t recommend enough for someone thinking about a fantastic European vacation.  And then we spent a few days on the coast near Zadar.  This was the 3rd time I had been to Croatia, and the girls’ 2nd.  We talk about going again this summer, we love it so much.

Also in July, my youngest brother, who the girls call Uncle Robot, and his girlfriend, Tia, visited us.  We went on another Rhein River cruise, toured castle ruins nearby our house, and had a great German breakfast at a bakery.

In August Little E turned 2 and LOML’s parents came to visit for a couple of weeks.  We love having them visit.  LOML was busy with work again so we didn’t get to take a little vacation with them this year, unfortunately.  I also started my 5th German language class so I wasn’t able to take time off of that.  Happy to report that I can understand a good amount of German, but that I have difficulties formulating responses when asked questions or if I’m participating in a group conversation.  Coming along, but not as good as I would like.

September was little festivals in nearby villages.   Random day trips to France, 45 minutes by car.  At this point, I can’t remember a specific festival we went to, but there are so many, well within 1 hour’s drive from our house.

In October, LOML and I went to Stuttgart for the Cannstatter Wasen festival (Stuttgart’s Oktoberfest) with my German band for a fun day.  LOML wore his Lederhosen and I had on my Dirndl.  It was great.  We took a train over at 8am.  My wonderful band president was ready with the first ‘Good Morning’ drink of champagne on the very first train.  The other 2 trains followed with snacks and more drinks to set the stage for a very fun day with very fun people.

Mid-October we flew back to Arizona.  We then spent a week in Iowa with LOML’s sisters and their families.  It’s amazing what 10 months time does to those 6 little kids that were such a handful at Christmas.  The weather was better in October so lots of outside play was available.  Not to mention everyone was almost a year old and that much more able to play without direct parental involvement.  LOML was only able to stay in the States for 2.5 weeks, so the girls and I got to enjoy a few more wonderful weeks of warm sunshine in AZ before we headed home the week before Thanksgiving.  It was like a second summer for us.  A much-needed second summer for me.  The cold, dark, rainy, way-too-long winter was too much for this desert-kid.

In November (while we were still in the States) I flew up to Minnesota to visit my other Grandma and some aunts, uncles and cousins for 4 days while LOML’s parents and my parents graciously watch the girls.  My grandmother turned 89 in December.  There was no way I was going to have made a trip to the US and not go see my other grandma.  I wish I could have brought the girls with, but it was equally nice to have 3.5 days alone.  I didn’t realize air travel could be so stress free until I didn’t have my kids with me.

[[Side note:  I added up the number of airplanes my children have been on.  Big Ive has been on 29 and Little E 25, if I counted correctly.  Big Ive took one trip with me to Minnesota when she was 3 months old.  That’s where she gets 4 more airplanes than Little E.  I can’t believe we’ve been on that many airplanes in just under 4 years.  And I can’t help but notice how blessed we are to be able to live in Europe and visit family 6000mi (9000km) away almost twice a year.  God is good.]]

And Christmas 2013 was spent quietly in our house in Germany.  LOML and I didn’t realize how much our big crazy families mean to us on major holidays and we missed them all dearly.  And I didn’t realize how much traditions mean to LOML.  He really REALLY wanted me to make a whole turkey or ham for Christmas.  I told him I wouldn’t make a turkey because I don’t eat it, and we can’t get a good American-style ham in Germany.  I tried to compromise by roasting a whole chicken and he was finally ok with it after he took the first bite.  Having certain traditional foods for our family holiday get-togethers was never quite so important for my family.  It was more important to have everyone get together.  But passed the food traditions talk, LOML and I mostly noticed that it didn’t really feel like Christmas last year.  There was no hype of getting together with one of our crazy extended families, no big preparations for Christmas Eve services in our church, and a very big lack of family on Christmas day.  All my life my family would get together and we’d number no less than 20 for every single major holiday.  That’s a hard thing to get used to.  It made us a little sad to know this was the first Christmas the girls would probably understand and maybe remember, and they have no memories of giant family Christmases.  I hope we can give that to them in future years.

Lest you think our life is all happy travels to endless destinations with nary a care in the world, we had our share of illnesses, work challenges, uncertainty, child tantrums, sadness, worry, and plenty of instances to seek forgiveness.  We tend to recap the good things when we write these letters (or the major bad things), but that doesn’t necessarily paint a realistic picture of what really happened day in and day out during the year.  We know we are incredibly blessed to be able to live in Europe for a time, to give our children a chance to learn a second language fully submerged in the culture, being able to travel to places with our children we could have only maybe dreamed about taking them ‘some day’.  Daily life is pretty much the same here as in the US.  We have the same issues with our kids, house, car, what we are going to cook for supper, did you remember to do thisandthat, crap–not another unexpected German bill.  It’s great to live here, but we struggle with sadness about having left family and friends back in the US.  We love you all so much and miss you more than this simple letter can convey.

Love from Haus Miller Adventure

DSC05295retouchJanuary 2014 :: Big Ive 3.75 years, Little E 1.5 years

If you need our contact information (phone numbers, addresses, Skype names, etc.) please email hausmilleradventure [at] gmail [dot] com. Please fill in the correct symbols for the words in brackets.

Tagged , , ,

2013 year in review [part 3 of 3]

This is the third — and last — in a series of 3 posts about our 2013 year.


We went to a fall festival in a nearby village.  This was the best photo the two rugrats would let me get of them by the big pumpkins.  They were buggers that day, not wanting to listen worth a darn.  The pumpkin soup was really good, though.DSC04462

Little E wanted to go play on the piles of hay bales like Big Ive, but she wouldn’t give me her new stuffed animal so it wouldn’t get dirty.  The softness of the new toy won over playing on bales of hay. Big Ive liked climbing on the bales, but there were too many big kids jumping and running for her to feel comfortable enough to make the big jumps.




LOML and I enjoyed a day trip to Stuttgart for the Cannstatter Wasen, which is Stuttgart’s Oktoberfest.  We went with members of my German band.  It was a whole day trip planned out to the minute, I’m sure.  We all wore lederhosen or dirndls and took the train over.  The first of our 3 trains one of the band members opened up the champagne for a good start to the morning drink.  The rest of the ride and day continued like that.  It was great.

The middle of October we made a trip back to the US and saw lots and lots of family and friends.  We were in AZ for a week and then went to IA to visit LOML’s sisters and their families for a week.  This past fall was so much nicer with 7 kids under 7, than last Christmas when it was 7 under 6.  10 months time makes a big difference in children’s development.  Not to mention the warmer weather made it easy for us to be outside a lot of the time.

Walking through the corn.  I love how it looks almost golden in this photo.

Auntie tried to make farmers out of the bigger cousins with straw in their mouths.


Back in AZ the girls got to spend time at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and neighborhood and meet some relatives for the first time.  This photo below depicts my girls’ personalities well.  Little E is content to play in the water quietly and Big Ive is running and jumping all over the place.  Little E sat fascinated with the fountain for as long as Big Ive ran around this courtyard.

Dinner with grandma and grandpa and some family and friends.



During our US trip, I went to Minnesota for a long weekend to visit more of my family.  LOML’s parents and my parents were generous enough to watch the girls for me while I traveled alone for 4 days.  I never knew getting through airport security and waiting for your airplane could be so peaceful.  :)  What a treat to not have to worry and take care of my little ones for a couple of days, and to enjoy time with family I don’t see often.  I wish I could have brought the girls with so they could have time with family, too, but it didn’t happen this time.

Minnesota fish fry while it is snowing!  Many thanks to my favorite cousin for cooking it for us.

The girls and I spent some more time at LOML’s parent’s house.  One day we made and frosted cookies.

I think those are halloween sprinkles that she is very carefully placing on her cookie. 


Sometimes it’s more fun to play with toy magnifying glasses with Grandpa, though.DSC04908

  Or snuggle with the puppy.  Kid would absolutely love it if we got a dog.DSC04935

They did this all by themselves, if you can believe it.DSC04942


The day before we flew back to Germany we spent some time at my grandparent’s house.  Little E had a great time playing with her Grandpa-grandpa and Grandma-grandma’s cat.



We also tried to see some of my other family members, some of whom had never met Little E because we moved to Germany when she was just 4 months old.  And I’m so happy we were able to see a number of them.  I felt a big need to make this visit more about seeing and being with family where possible than to hang out and have a good time with my friends (although we did a lot of that, too).  When my uncle unexpectedly passed away a year and a half ago, and another family member was in a near-fatal accident a year ago, it has solidified that we need to spend time with those we love and care about.  You honestly never know when the last day you will see someone will be.  I’m so very glad I have these memories (and photographic evidence of them, too) and can share it with the girls as they continue to grow and really remember things.

Thus concludes our year 2013.  As blogs usually go, these are the highlights of mostly fun and good things that happened.  We sure have our share of downs and valleys throughout the year, too.  Plenty of times when our children are behaving much less than stellar, days when we’re in a funk, days when we need to seek forgiveness from our loved ones that we’ve hurt, days full of illness.  Basically, it is a regular year had by regular human beings.  We love living in Germany, but it is incredibly hard to be away from family and friends.  I’m so glad the human mind tends to blurr the bad days and remember more of the good.  :)


If you missed them, check out [part 1 of 3] and [part 2 of 3].

Tagged ,

2013 year in review [part 2 of 3]


May ended up being a pretty quiet month around here.  No big trips or doings.  This photo shows a regular weekend afternoon eating quiche with freshly picked wild flowers after we had taken a walk around the village.  They were the prettiest little golden wildflowers to grace our table in old wine bottles.  I think they stayed there for a week before they had shed most of their petals and we had to throw them out.



Patio gardening. We have 2 garden plots our landlord lets us use in his garden space, but tomatoes and peppers grow better in pots on the patio where they stay warmer.

A little later the sun hit the back patio and Little E and I laid in the glorious heat of it – the first warm sunny day of the year.DSC03266

Uncle BaronBaron visited and brought super hero capes.



My dad and brother visited us for a few weeks.  The girls and I, and my dad and brother drove over to Croatia for a week vacation.  LOML wasn’t able to take time off from his job last summer, so we had to have a beach holiday without him.  This was the 3rd time I had been to Croatia, the 2nd for the girls.  I highly, highly recommend it if you ever make it to Europe.  The coast and the inland and the national park and the people are all fantastic.  It’s relatively inexpensive, too.

This is a photo of one of the lakes at Plitvice Lakes National Park.  These lakes are all this glorious clear blue/green color due to lots of minerals and sediments.  There are a number of waterfalls between the levels of the lakes.  And they put these wooden pathways over, around, and through all of the waterfalls and lakes.  The wooden paths literally go over waterfalls and across lakes.  With no handrails.  It was heart attack city for a number of places with my 2 little girls.  They cried a number of times when we held on extra tight to their hands so there was no chance of them slipping or falling over.DSC03358

We must have walked a few miles that day because we misread the signs.  We tried to do the medium-length walk around the major lakes and falls and ended up going nearly to the end.  Woops.  That resulted in 2 very tired toddlers.  I put my backpack on upside-down on my front and made a kid-carrier so Little E could sleep for a little bit.  35lb children are too heavy to carry for more than a couple of minutes.

This is at the beach near Zadar, Croatia.
My dad and brother are holding the girls as the water laps at their feet.
Cute, custom swimming suits courtesy of Grandma (drives me crazy there is a lack of decent swimming suits for little girls.  There are one pieces that aren’t long enough for my tall kids and itty bitty bikinis, which I feel are inappropriate for anyone of any age.  Not to mention I have a very fair-skinned redhead who needs to be a little more protected from the sun. Every time I encounter an issue with something I feel lacks in children’s clothing I have the urge to start my own company…but that’s a whole other rant.).


Jumping off of some ruins in the old city of Zadar.
She had to attempt to do everything Big Ive did.
And she still thinks she has to and can do everything Big Ive can, which is simply not the case because she is 16 months younger developmentally.  Poor kid.  They’ll even out soon enough.


A fun day at another castle back in Germany with my dad and a friend from our church.  Highlight of the trip — we paid for the guided tour and got into the 2nd room when Little E wouldn’t stop crying.  She had hurt her arm somehow in the backpack.  LOML, me and the girls ended our tour at that point and probably vowed to never go on a guided tour with small children again.

Sad day was when we dropped Grandpa (my dad) off at the airport after his 3 week visit with us.  We tried to get a decent photo of the girls and us in the airport, or the girls with my dad, but they would have nothing to do with it.  Running, jumping, climbing, crawling, basically just being the almost-2 and 3 year olds they are.  LOML refreshed himself by taking us to a Trappist monastery in Belgium that afternoon so he could buy beer.


Here we have 5 different veggies for supper from our garden that we cooked one night (baby onions, zucchini, green beans, broccoli, and fresh raw peas).  The girls will gobble up these veggies like nobody’s business.  I can’t take the peas out of their pods fast enough for them.  I make LOML plant rows of peas so we can eat them straight out of the garden.  That is the best and only way to eat peas.DSC04065

We had lots of fun when my little brother, Uncle Robot, and his girlfriend, Tia, came to visit.  Highlights of their visit include: cruise boat down the Rhein River (complete with a slide for kids), getting completely soaked in a village’s fountain (where we misplaced the extra clothing we had packed and LOML had to buy a new dress for Big Ive), climbing all around castle ruins (Uncle Robot is a bad influence on 2 little girls :) ).

DSC04096      DSC04099


On August 5, Little E turned 2.  We had a very small celebration with LOML’s parents and us.  It was so nice to have them visit in August and be able to be there for both of her birthdays so far.

Little E’s 2nd birthday!

Climbing all over the elephants in Trier, Germany with Grandma and Grandpa.
DSC04236 (1)



Check out [part 1 of 3] and [part 3 of 3].

Tagged ,

2013 year in review [part 1 of 3]

I’m reading the blogs I follow this month and everyone is doing a year in review.  I didn’t even think about doing such a post.  And then I thought about it some more and decided it might actually be kinda’ fun and a good idea.  So here goes, me jumping on the year in review bandwagon.

EDIT:  I put this post together and it became ridiculously long with an insane amount of photos so I split it into more than one post.


family photos 002

Look how little the girls both looked!  It’s hard to believe they have changed so much in just 1 year.  It is incredible to have photographic evidence to compare the changes.  A friend of ours came and took family photos of us when we were in Phoenix.  My brothers and their significant others, sister, parents and grandparents were all there.  My mom has a couple photos of us when we were younger with both sets of our grandparents.  They are wonderful keepsake treasures and I hope these photos will be like that for our girls.

Do you know how rediculously hard it is to get 2 young toddlers to both pose acceptably for a photo?  Yeah, damn near impossible.  We gave up and embraced the ‘this-is-real-life’ stance on photos with these two.family photos 028

My brothers, sister and me.
It’s like old times…except now we’re all grown-ups.  How did that happen?family photos 076

We were in the US visiting family for Christmas.  The girls and I were able to stay for about 8 weeks.  LOML had to go back to Germany after 3 weeks to get back to work, unfortunately.  We missed him. My parents were grateful to let us camp out and tear up their house during our stay.  The girls loved waking up to Grandma and Grandpa and Auntie every morning.  The park in the neighborhood was a fan favorite of Grandpa and granddaughters.  They played at the park with Grandpa nearly every day.


LOML’s parents live nearby and we had lots of days spent playing with all of their super fun toys.

A very cozy cozy coupe with the other grandma and grandpa.

A favorite memory is when Cat in the Hat joined our family at Kohl’s
because an older gentleman decided he would buy it for Big Ive.


We were still in AZ during the beginning of February.  I tried to make sure we spent time with my grandparents when we were all feeling healthy enough.  They have a few citrus trees in their backyard where the girls were able to help Grandma-grandma pick them up.

Picking oranges with Grandma-grandma.DSC02683

A wonderful addition to our trip back home was my mom being able to join us.  Here we are in the airport headed back to Germany.  LOML flew back for an unexpected trip for our last week in the States.  Because of an event that happened a couple week prior to this I was extremely grateful for his physical presence with me.

in the airport heading back to Germany

For Valentine’s Day LOML and I went to our favorite little restaurant in France.  My mom was a wonderful grandma and watched the girls while we got away for a short bit.  She’s the best mother around.

Valentine’s Day dinner in France with LOML

My German band makes a walk every winter to another village, usually through the snow, to eat at a restaurant.  They actually scheduled it for when we would be back in Germany so we could participate last year.  LOML, the girls, me and my mom all made the hike to a great restaurant in a tiny village about 5 miles away.  LOML had parked the car half-way and drove the girls from the Schnapps stop half way.

Schnapps stop in the middle of the snowy German countryside.
Don’t worry, they had pretzels and wurst to snack on so we wouldn’t be drinking with empty stomachs.  : )

And Little E started at the Kindergarten on the 27th!  She was 18 months old in this photo.  With her in Kindergarten during the day I was able to take my German language classes.


We took a trip to Munich for a long weekend.  The girls took turns sleeping in the stroller and posing with LOML’s beer at the Augustiner Beer Hall. That stroller has been a great purchase.  It is huge and was expensive, but it functions really well off road and can still hold both of our rapidly growing girls.



A trip to the Munich area is not complete without visiting the Neuschwanstein castle.  A common theme in the castle is swans.  Whenever Little E would see one she would yell, “Chicken!”  Try keeping a small toddler quiet in a guided tour of a castle that is full of swans, which she thinks are chickens, which happens to be an animal she loves.  She still loves birds and chickens to this day.



A quick weekend trip to the Netherlands to the Keukenhof Gardens to see the flowers.  Unfortunately, it was a long, cold, dark, wet winter and spring so most of the flowers weren’t blooming, yet.  They did have some from their green houses we were able to see.  The girls had more fun at the petting zoo and playing on the playground equipment.  Which means we could have stayed at our house and walked to our park for equal enjoyment from them.DSC03071

Big Ive turned 3 and we made cupcakes to take to school. 4 dozen cupcakes in various swirl colors with a flower gummy on top.  That was the first time I piped frosting on cupcakes.  The kids all very much enjoyed the cupcakes at school.  I’m not sure there were any left to take home!DSC03139

Check out [part 2 of 3] and [part 3 of 3].

Tagged ,

So where did the first half of 2013 go?

I feel like my life keeps speeding up, going faster and faster, and no one else notices.  Maybe LOML does.  He’s on this roller coaster with me.

So, yeah.  If you are still following my blog you will have noticed I have not been so good with the postings lately.  This half of a year has been very busy.  January was in Arizona.  February we came back to Germany and got re-acquainted with this time zone. March I started my German classes, which I am still taking.

Err… they finished the end of June.  It is now the end of July.  Time.  It keeps getting faster.  Didn’t I say this at the beginning??

March, April and May were kind of a blur for me.  We were sick a lot with the Kindergarten Kold because the weather was so terrible for so long.  So cold and dark and wet and long.

I did, however, enjoy my German classes.  I really like learning this language.  The classes are every week day from 8:30am – 12:30pm.  Each module is 1 month long.  So far, I have completed 4 modules and am at a beginning/intermediate language level.  You can think of it as a part-time job, my 20 hours a week of class time.  I have to get up and ready in the morning.  Then get the girls up and ready and dropped off at the Kindergarten at 7:45am.  Well, ideally they would be there between 7:30 and 7:45.  That usually doesn’t happen.  Yeah, I think I’ve gotten them there at that time about 10 times the past 4 months.  Normally it’s closer to 8, which makes me late to school because I have a 30 minute drive each way.  Whatevs.  The teachers are super nice and understanding.  Mostly they can’t believe that a mother with 2 small children would be taking this class to begin with.

The last week of class my dad and older brother arrived for a visit.  The first week of July we drove to Croatia for a week-long vacation.  (I feel very European now because I only want to refer to it as a holiday, not a vacation.)  We searched for — and found! — the villages of one branch of our family tree.  It was awesome to experience this with my dad and brother.  It would have been better if the rest of my siblings had been able to make it this summer, too.

The past 2 and a half weeks I have been home from school while the girls are in Kindergarten. (Today is their last day before a 3 week summer break.)  In my mind, I envisioned myself getting loads and loads of stuff done around the house.  Refinish the dining room table!  Organize the stored clothes!  Clear out the clutter!  Yeah.  Not so much stuff has gotten done.  Do you even know how much clothing miniature humans require in a year and a half time span?  Ridiculous.  Like, at least 12 diaper boxes worth of clothes.  And that’s not counting the ones in their dresser, the ones my mom took back with her, and the ones folded from when I did laundry earlier this week that haven’t gotten put away.

Little E wore 9 month sized clothes when we moved here (at 4 months of age) and is now in 3-4T size (kid is big.  and dense.  and super cute.).  Big Ive is only in size 4-5T herself (she’s a skinny tall one, my ginger).  I know kids grow, but I forget in the day to day until I see evidence of what used to be.  Somehow Little E is turning 2 in 11 days.  That can’t possible be right.  No way.

Onward and upward to finish out the rest of the calendar year, I guess.  At some point LOML and I will know where we’ll be living after September.  Until then we keep living each day, enjoying the gift of life we’ve been given.  When we know what we’re doing I will definitely let you know.  This Germany adventure may continue for a couple more years.  Or we could be moving back States-side.

Tagged , , , , ,

NaBloPoMo Day 29 – [daily life] train village, re-fried beans, tractors

The train village.  LOML’s handiwork while Little E (a.k.a. Godzilla) was taking a nap.  It was mere minutes after she got downstairs until it was entirely destroyed.

Cute village with cars parked on the street.  Don’t worry, the animals are in pens/behind fences.

The forest.

“Bears love. milk.” -Big Ive, said while watching Madagascar 3, the scene where we meet Sonia the bear.

Lately she’s been asking to go to bed when she is tired.  If we don’t move fast enough she goes to the sofa and lays down and falls asleep in minutes.  But then I get her up to bed and she tosses and turns forever.  Oh, well.

I fit 4.5 dozen Russian Teacakes (a.k.a. Mexican Wedding Cakes) on a cookie sheet tonight.  I don’t know of many other cookies that you can fit that many on one pan to bake.  It’s a great dough, too, because it’s just butter, flour, nuts and a small amount of sugar.  Hopefully our German friends like them.  They don’t tend to like things that are very sweet, so I think these will work.

I taped 3 diaper boxes together and taped the Christmas tree stand to it to place it behind the TV.  There was no way I could have kept the kids away if I put it on the floor or the coffee table.  Now I just need to buy a power strip for the strings of lights.

The tree reminds me of my sister.  She was here last year when we set it up and decorated it.  This memory reminder is on top of washing a little glass Nutella jar that she bought in Paris.  Silly things that remind you of people and times in the past.

We walked into the school and Big Ive yells out, “Guten Morgen!”  I’ve been trying to get her to say good morning or just morning when we walk into the school every day.  It usually takes a lot of prompting.  She finally got it and said it by herself before I could even say it when we walked in the door.  :)

Little E put her tennis shoes on her feet by herself for the first time yesterday (28.11.2012).  They were on the wrong feet, but she did it without any help. She has started putting any article of clothing she finds around on her body somewhere.  Sometimes it is the correct way, but most times not.  She was trying to put a pair of pants on last night and she put one foot in the foot end of a pant leg and then she crammed the other foot in.  And then she tried to stand up and show off.  That’s when she fell hard onto her butt, on a small wooden cow.  She’s getting good at getting adult-sized socks on.

Little E is talking up a storm.  I can get her to ‘perform’ a few words for people just about every time.  And you can totally tell what she’s saying.  I’m sure I understand a lot more than most people since I’m around her all day.  She has started to be good at using signs now, too.  Go figure, now that she can talk she chooses to sign.  To her, it seems like the sign is just a part of how you say the word, though.  At least it appears that way when I watch her.

I think this was refried beans.  Oh she was a mess.  That highchair was a bigger mess.

Big Ive decided to bring one of her tractors back downstairs the other day.  LOML said, “But how will she farm upstairs now?”  It was hilarious.  I guess farming is only a downstairs activity now.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

NaBloPoMo Day 27 – vocabulary

I get a daily email from Merriam-Webster online with a vocabulary word to learn (in English).  Sometimes it is a word I remember from high school English class vocabulary and it transports me back in time.  Sitting in my high school’s desks with the plastic chairs attached, looking at the whiteboards, willing the time on the TV monitors to go faster, thoughts of homework and essays and what will be happening with friends later.

It’s funny how a single word can trigger so many memories.  The same with a slight whiff of a long-ago remembered scent.  Or a sound that you haven’t heard in years will bring you back to that place.  I still remember the sound the front door would make at the house I grew up in.  That musty basement smell brings me back to Minnesota every time.

I wonder which sounds will remain with my children as they grow.  Will it be a silly door creak like I remember?  Or will it be the clang of blocks?  Or something else I can only imagine?

Tagged , ,

NaBloPoMo Day 8 – Memories in my Brain and other random happenings + 2 photos of the girls!!

Does your brain remember some of the strangest things like mine does? Like what I wore on Valentine’s Day in 2nd grade, when I walked into a door and my tooth fell out into my palm, wacky clothes day in 3rd grade, making paper hats in 4th grade and having a boy in my class start singing a song to himself, the pain felt when I screwed something up at work that was small, the feel of the sidewalk extensions at my childhood home on my bare feet, escaping the rest of the family to enjoy the multi-colored rosebush on the side of the house. Crazy random stuff.  Why does one’s brain remember and elevate some memories, but dims others?


Big Ive is starting to talk in more full sentences with 5 or more words. I’m working with her to use nice asking words when she wants something.  “I would like…” “Will you…” “Can you…” Instead of “I want…” “Get me…” It’s a work in progress.


I like to double space between sentences. In my blog it messes with the code to do a double space so I’m learning to single space. This is important when I import the text and photos to a document to edit and print. Anyone else a double spacer? It’s what I was taught was the ‘correct’ way to type. Researching this a bit (yes, I did actually research this some) there are different standards and acceptances.


I’m hopeful to learn to speak and write German mostly fluently, but I’m scared at the same time. It’s the perfectionist in me not wanting to screw anything up ever.


Along those same lines I am afraid to put a bucket list down on paper for fear that I won’t be able to check everything off.


Who can resist a photo of a baby sleeping sitting up in a wagon on a beautiful fall afternoon?


And her big sister whose hair color expertly matches the fall leaves.

Tagged , , , , ,

A Betime Story – in one act

A Bedtime Story, in One Act

“What Really Happens When You Think Your Child Is Sleeping”


  • mother in downstairs living room relaxing while surfing the internet after putting her 2 small children to bed. In unseen upstairs bedroom 2.5 year old toddler is NOT sleeping and systematically getting herself into more and more trouble digging through drawers and cabinets.


  • Mother
  • Big Ive (almost 2.5 year old red-headed toddler with a personality to match the red  hair)
  • Little E (baby sister sleeping in crib)

Mother: (Thinking to herself) I thought Big Ive was asleep in our bed. It’s way past her bedtime.  Surely she is fast asleep by now. What is that small feet padding around I hear upstairs?

Big Ive: (softly) Mommy.

Big Ive meets Mother at the landing with her palms facing up, arms outstretched.

Mother: What’s that on your hands, Big Ive? (clearly knowing she had found my foundation makeup)

Big Ive: Mud.

Mud. BigIve’s hands.

(I admit I laughed a little inside at this statement.  It was funny to see her put a word she knew in the place of a word she didn’t know.)

Mother: Where did it come from?

Big Ive: “Bathroom.  Right here. (pointing to Mother’s travel bag)

Mother: (Not seeing the container of makeup I ask her to tell me where it is.) Show me exactly where the container is.

She leads me into our bedroom where I see the container with the lid off, a good portion of the contents spilled on the bed. Also on the bed is the iPad (playing Pirates) and a battery operated flashlight with the battery compartment screwed off. She got a stern talkin’ to. She wanted to cry but she didn’t. She knew she had done something very bad. (Good thing LOML is not home so I don’t have to worry about washing the sheet until tomorrow.)

Mother: Go into the bathroom right now and we’ll wash your hands.

Once hands and a spot on her face were washed I explained that she would be going to her bed by herself and that she was expected to go to sleep. I told her I didn’t want to hear from her until the morning when the sun came out.

Oh, that child. She sure does whatever she wants and is her own person. No doubt about it there.

Tagged , , ,