Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Germany

Leaving Germany is a bittersweet thing. This has been my home for my entire married life, I spent both of my pregnancies here, both of my daughters were born here, I have friends that I hate to leave, and I will miss the traveling. I love that everything is closed on Sunday, that people walk to the bakery for their bread, that the church is the most prominent building in town, and that every town has paths through the fields and woods for wandering. I'll miss the eis cafes, the chocolate, rolls with pumpkin seeds, the white asparagus, and the sweet, white wine. Living here has been a wonderful experience and I hope the opportunity presents itself again in a few years.

At the same time I cannot wait to celebrate Christmas with my family. I have not been in Oregon for Christmas since 2005. I want to sip peppermint mochas as Starbucks, throw snowballs with my family, and see all my old friends.

Moving to New Mexico will be an adventure. It's our first time living in a desert climate and we're a bit afraid of the spiders and scorpions. I'm not a big fan of dry skin and chapped lips either. We do love small towns and we'll be buying our first home there and we're very excited about that. I can't wait to paint walls and decorate a home that is really mine. I'm looking forward to good Mexican food, sunshine, real camping, and cheap flip flops at Walmart. Even though I'm not a big fan of tv I like the idea of being able to watch the ball drop at midnight instead of 6am, seeing superbowl commercials instead of AFN commercials, and letting the kids watch Sesame Street occasionally. I want to watch streaming videos online and listen to country music more than once a week. It will be nice to not have to pay to use a public restroom and to use a changing table for the baby instead of my lap when she needs a dry diaper.

Germany, thank you for all of the wonderful memories. I will miss you and I hope to be back again someday.





Friday, December 11, 2009

The move has officially begun

Yesterday a 3 man moving crew packed up almost all of our belongings and crated them all up in a truck.


They were so efficient! It took 6 hours to pack it all in boxes, label everything, and get it all on the truck.
They did have a little helper


and took some shortcuts


We are now truly living the minimalist lifestyle that I aspire to. Eric and I (and Emily for most of the night) are sharing an air mattress. Anika is in Emily's crib with the side rail off, and Emily has a pack n play. Thankfully, a couch, chair, kitchen table, and 3 chairs came with the house so we don't have to sit on the floor. We have one 4 serving dish set, silverware, a few basic utensils, and a pot, a pan, a cutting board. I should have kept my potato masher, but it turns out that a fork works just as well (a little harder on the wrist). The laptop is now our dvd player, music player, and computer. The girls love all the open space.


We now have until Monday to get this house spotless before the movers come for our unaccompanied baggage and we move into lodging on base. Eric took Anika this morning and they are trying to get the VW to pass inspection so it will sell. It should be easy for me to clean with just Emily, but she has discovered the joy of climbing so it's a struggle to keep her in one piece.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

my little chatterbox

Emily says "bubbles" now :) We don't count a word until she has said it a few times so officially she says "mama", "papa", "hi", "hatzi", and "bubbles". I think she says "sissy" and "more", but am not sure those weren't flukes. Her big sis was all action and slow to talk so having one talk at such a young age is new for me. It's fun to see how much alike and how different they are at the same time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

house hunting

When we make it to our next base in mid January we'll need a place to live, of course. The base housing has a long waiting list and we aren't given much time in lodging so, as much as we would love to buy a home right away, we may need an apartment. I've narrowed it down to these 2

alamo

las ventanas

Hopefully we can rent on a month to month basis and find a home to buy quickly. It would be nice to find something by April and get the tax credit.

Here are a few homes in the neighborhoods that we like in our price range.

Basswood


Mosswood

Eagle

Columbia

Monday, November 23, 2009

party time!

For Anika's birthday we played at Happy Land with a few friends and opened a couple presents at home. Omi and Opi sent her a warm fleece jacket and pants, a shirt, and a ladybug game that is helping us teach her to count. Eric and I gave her a box of lego and she and Eric have been making little houses and cars.

On the weekend we had a bigger party at home with the same friends and lots of food. For our little fishy we did an undersea theme. I made sushi, seashell pasta salad, and the cake and everyone else brought yummy dishes to share. We all ate so much food that there wasn't room for dessert so I have lots leftover.

The kids just played in Anika's room. We couldn't even get them to come out and eat, but they all had fun until it got late and everyone was tired. They did come out for presents. Anika loves her new baby doll, her crayons and paper, memory match game, and her town rug to play with cars and trains on.







Friday, November 13, 2009

organization

One of the blogs I follow had a great post on organization that I thought I'd pass along. Simple yet brilliant and her kitchen drawer looks a whole lot like mine does after I organize. Here it is.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

a little rant of frustration

I'm just going to type this all out, get it out of my system, and move on with my day. It's too early for the whole day to be ruined.

Emily had a 9 month check up this morning. First, a little background. I first took Emily to the doctor when she was several days old. She was born at home and the pediatrician's office was confused by the lack of paperwork and irritated at me for not letting them vaccinate her, but checked her out and said come back in 2 weeks. We came back for her "2 week check up" when she was about 3 weeks. I was told I couldn't breastfeed in the waiting room! I did anyway, but didn't make a fuss about it. Then I was bullied into getting Emily a second PKU test because "the American test is better than the German one she already had".

On a side note, if that is true then why does America want to model it's health care system after Germany's?

Anyway, I wasn't happy after that appointment so it took me awhile before I felt like trying to get her in for another appointment. Then I was in the US for a several weeks, spent several weeks traveling, had no transportation for awhile, and the few times I did try to make an appointment no one would answer the phone or I was told they were fully booked and to try again next week.

We get there early this morning and I'm given paperwork to fill out. The paperwork is for a 10 month old because they don't usually see 9 month olds. They quickly call us to a room, have me undress Emmy, and weigh and measure her. 17.1 pounds and 27.5 inches I think, they never actually told me. I'm told the doctor will be right in and we are left alone in a little room with nothing to do. The girls play peek-a-boo, we look out the window, Anika and I do the eye chart on the wall, I feed Emily, we count the bubbles in the underwater scene painted on the wall, we get really bored... 30 minutes later the doctor comes in and says hi, reads Emily's chart, is concerned about her drop on the weight percentile (70th at birth and 20th now), and then notices that we haven't been in and asks why. I told her I was out of town a lot and that they were booked when I did try. Then she asks about shots and I tell her we wait until the kids are older. She gave me the little lecture on how there is no medical benefit to waiting and that anything I read online isn't fact and that I should look at the CDCs website. Little does she know I am very familiar with that website. She tells me I am very fortunate that my kids are healthy, several times... She goes on to say, "It's very important to come in for more well check ups, but I realize you had other priorities." Is it just me or was that an implication that by showing my children around the world, instead of calling every week to make appointments made me a bad mother? She finally got around to talking to Emily who smiled and babbled at her and fully cooperated with all the arms, legs, eyes, ears stuff. She looked over the questionnaire I had filled out and said that she was well above average developmentally (and this was the 10 month paperwork). Then she asks if I'd like to give the girls the flu shot. I said, "no, thank you" and she says, "I hope you guys will be ok. 4000 people have already died of the flu this year, and that's just in the US". She was talking to Emily when she said that! A little manipulative!? Considering that 36,000 die of the flu every flu season I'm not sure why she felt throwing that number at me would make some kind of point. We never get the flu shot and I'm not going to let the swine flu hype scare me into it this year.

I am used to people not approving of my vaccination choices. That doesn't bother me. The way she talked down to me, repeatedly told me I had been fortunate, said I was lucky I'd never had to see the measles or polio, tried to scare me into the flu shot by telling my kids that she hoped they would be ok, that is what pissed me off. I really don't know why I didn't snap at her or just walk out of the appointment. I guess I have no snappy comebacks when I'm going on 4 hours of sleep.

Couldn't she have just checked Emily out, said that she perfectly healthy and advanced for her age, and said "good job mom? And the best part is I get to do this again next week for Anika's birthday.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

yuck!

I STRONGLY dislike this weather! I don't like wearing shoes and socks. I don't like getting my head wet. I don't like hats. I don't like umbrellas. My kids don't like being cooped up inside. I don't like my kids whining because they can't go outside. I don't like paying for more heating oil. I don't like mopping mud off floors. I could say more, but this is more than enough negativity for one post.

Monday, November 2, 2009

new rule

No computer on Sunday! Keeping the computer off yesterday was rough, but you know what? My emails were still there to be read this morning, everyone's Halloween pictures on Facebook are just as cute today, and it rained whether or not I looked at the forecast.

Sunday is now our official family day. It will not be a day of grocery shopping or house cleaning. We will sleep in as late as the kids allow, have pancakes for breakfast, play games, go to the pool, watch a movie, go out to eat, go for a walk, etc. Obviously I still have to do a little cooking and dish washing and Emily's diapers won't change themselves, but I'll do as little as possible. As a stay at home mom I can't leave work behind for the weekend. There is always another load of laundry to do, another diaper to change, and another dish to wash. It's going to take real effort to take a day off, but for my sanity and happiness I need to. The kids deserve a mom who isn't too tired to play and Eric deserves a wife who doesn't nag about the socks dropped on the floor. We'll have to plan ahead enough to have a clean home and groceries in the fridge for our day off and Mondays will be busier, but maybe now I'll start off the week with some energy and a good mood :) Wish us luck!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Our kids did a trunk or treat on base last night and got a good amount of candy for me ;)






Poor Emily had to sit in a pumpkin for some pictures. She wasn't thrilled, but I got a couple good shots.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

wasting time

As I sit here nursing my little one I have been browsing through blogs about simplifying, organizing, decorating, keeping home, and saving money. I am looking forward to our upcoming move as an opportunity to start over with our home. The place we are in now has ugly, painted wallpaper, borrowed furniture, curtains that came with the house, and bare walls (try hammering little nails into stone and you'll know why). It's a nice enough place to live, but it doesn't seem like home. I want to choose paint colors, sew curtains, and frame photos of our family and all the places we have been together.

Here are a few photos that capture the "look" I would like to go for.





Monday, October 5, 2009

the Real Oktoberfest

Now that our time here is coming to an end we are feeling like there is so much that we still haven't seen in Europe. One of those things was Oktoberfest in Munich. We went all out and dressed up for the occasion. It wasn't all about getting drunk for us so we went first thing in the morning before the crowds. Anika loved the little rides and we enjoyed some authentic Bavarian food and music.



Thursday, August 27, 2009

busy summer

Since it has been such a long time since I updated anything on here I made a photo montage of our summer. The girls and I took a trip to the US and visited lots of family and friends. A week after returning home we headed out on a European road trip and did a little camping. In between travels we have been enjoying the sun here at home and playing in the pool.

Anika is talking more every day and is becoming even more of an amazing swimmer.

Emily is attempting to pull herself up to stand and trying to crawl. She has one tooth now and is enjoying trying new foods.


Monday, May 11, 2009

mirror conversation

As I was walking past the bathroom mirror with Emily in my arms I noticed that she was watching herself move by. I paused to see what she would do and for the next few minutes enjoyed my baby interact with her reflection.

She started out just staring and then a little smile started. As she saw her reflection smile she grinned happily. Then she laughed at herself and started to coo and babble a bit. I imagine that they were discussing how funny it was that they both had the hiccups.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

homemade sushi rolls




We don't have any great sushi options locally so I've been intending to make my own for months now. Today I finally got around to it. The crab and cucumber rolls turned out amazing and while the salmon rolls are ok, I'm not impressed with canned salmon and I'll try lox next time. Maybe some avocado too.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

Yesterday was my birthday and I treated myself to dinner out with friends and made myself a turtle cheesecake. It was a gorgeous, sunny day so the girls and I hung out at the playground with a couple friends in the afternoon. Eric is working swing shift so he missed dinner, but I saved him some and he enjoyed the cheesecake as a midnight snack. My car and iPod were my presents this year and I got them early so it was a quiet birthday.

Friday, April 24, 2009

tulips!

We finally made it to see the tulips in the Netherlands. It was a long drive, but the Keukenhof gardens are gorgeous and we had a nice afternoon there.





Friday, April 17, 2009

it's been a busy week

I have a car! After sharing Eric's car for the three years since we got married I finally have my own :) It's a 2009 Ford Escape with plenty of room for the kids and all sorts of buttons for me to figure out someday when I have time to read the manual.


We drove to the port to pick up the car so while we were so many hours from home we went ahead and made a long weekend out of it and visited my uncle near Hamburg, bought some pretty marzipan in Lubeck, and wandered Berlin and Potsdam. The weather was gorgeous and we all had a great time.




Friday, March 27, 2009

spring cleaning

I rearranged furniture and cleaned clutter from 11am to 7pm yesterday. With frequent breaks to change diapers, help Anika, and feed one or both kids of course. In the winter we only heat half of our upstairs to save on gas. Our bedroom is on the cold side though so we moved our bed and dressers to the "office" for the winter. Now that it's warming up (sort of) I wanted to put things back where they belonged. Anika's toddler bed is also the crib and it was time to give it to Emily. So, the king sized bed and 2 dressers went across the house. The queen sized bed went to Anika's room (the frame makes it too tall for her so it's just the box springs and mattress), the toddler bed/crib into my room, and some toys and the changing table into the office. Now I just need to find all the parts to put the crib railings on.

Here is Ani's room (she literally oohed and aahed when she saw it)




our bedroom



and the office/playroom