Monday, February 28, 2011


Rock Climbing

Okay, so Jon was the only one to do the rock climbing but we did have our first rock climbing adventure as a family which was fun.

Gabe and Jon
I was also able to meet Jon's friend Gabe, his wife Katrine, and their daughter (who is only 6 hours younger than Alessandra) Sophia.  Jon found Gabe on a rock climbing forum and they became fast friends.  He's originally from NY and met and married his German Frau Katrine.  Gabe is working full-time/going to school and Katrine is on her yearlong maternity leave.  I can't tell you how happy I am to have met this family.  They are about our same age, and love the outdoors/climbing as much as we do.

Gabe, Katrine, Charmian, Sophia, Alessandra, and Jon

Katrine and Sophia

Katrine is absolutely amazing.  She is as smart as a whip and is, thank God, bilingual.  She studies bugs and bug migration for her job and hearing her talk about it reminded me so much of my Chisa that it was like I was riding in the car with an old friend all day.  Except instead of cloud this and precipitation that it was insect this and slug that.  :o)

The girls all set and ready to go.
The weather was a bit too wet and cold for us girls to stay, so we headed over to GKS's house and hung out and "played" for the rest of the day.  It was great!  And to top it all off we've set up another play date for later this week - YEAH!!!



Sunday, February 27, 2011


I hope I don't offend or upset anyone by writing this post; I am simply sharing my observations.

Here in Germany there are individuals with disabilities, just like there are all over the world.  What I have noticed, however, is that there are fewer people in wheelchairs and "hover rounds" then in the States.  Is this because there are fewer individuals with disabilities, or is it because living in a wheelchair is not as convenient here?  There are ramps, but not in every building.  When you do find a ramp it is often very - VERY steep.  There are not elevators in every building and most of the buildings have multiple floors and a step or two to access them.  

There are two men and one woman that I see on a weekly basis, I'd like to tell you about them.  

One man I see every day looks like he has suffered from a severe stroke.  The entire left side of his body hardly works and yet every day I see him walking.  He and I must be on the same walking schedule, or maybe he's out all day - I'm not sure.  When you see him you can tell it is extremely difficult for him to walk yet he does not use a cane, walker, or wheelchair.  His good hand is curled with arthritis and his back is curled with age and yet he still walks.  I'm not sure if it's for exercise or if he's walking so he doesn't lose the little mobility he still has.  

The second man I see about once a week.  He only has one leg and is very thin, but I wouldn't call him frail.  He uses a walker, one of those fancy one's with the seat built in.  To get around he stands on his leg and uses his walker for balance.  He pushes his walker across the cobblestones and walkways to the grocery store, does his shopping, and then walks back home with his bag slung over his back.  When he gets tired or if it's raining he'll sit on his walker under the cover at the bus stop or the awning at the grocery store.    

The woman I see about once a week as well.  She's in a wheelchair.  I've only ever seen her with her husband.  When I first saw her, she and her husband were leaving the building I was in.  She had to go up a flight of stairs to get to the main entry and then go down a couple of steps to get out of the building.  Her husband had taken her out of her wheelchair at the bottom of the stairs and he carried the wheelchair up.  She didn't wait for him to come back down to help her get up the stairs; she did it on her own.  Holding onto the stair rail she would pull herself up a bit then with her outside hand she would lift up one leg then the other.  She did this all the way up the stairs.  Her husband helped her to get back into the chair and then helped her get down the couple of stairs at the front of the building.

Leipzig and most of the other European cities we've visited haven't been handicap accessible.  But because of this inaccessibility people adapt and I think they are stronger for it.  It isn't convenient for people to be in wheelchairs and scooters so they find other ways of getting around.  The population as a whole tends to be more aware and willing to help.  When people see someone who does have a disability (or even just a woman with a Kinderwagen) they help without being asked.  Because the infrastructure isn't in place to accommodate these individuals the society does. 

My question for you is this.  
Are we doing our Americans with disabilities a disservice by making their lives more convenient?

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Tonight Alessandra and I met Jon and his one and only American classmate, Scott, downtown for dinner.

Okay, so that's not Scott, that's Yatin, but this picture was just too cute not to post.
On the way the ticket machine in the tram broke after I put my money in.  Luckily the "tram police" saw me and gave me a "replacement" ticket.  About one stop later the tram itself broke and we were all ushered off.

I met up with the boys and we hopped on another tram to take us to the restaurant and guess what,

Jon and Scott in our tram.


it broke.  

So far I wasn't meeting very good odds.  So we decided to walk the rest of the way.

We were on the South side of town and I haven't spent any time over there yet.  As we were ambling around a broken ambulance crossed our path, it was sooooo funny (Jon even said "man, I wish you got a video of that for the blog").  Let me see if I can explain this well enough for you to see the humor.  Here in Germany the ambulances screech eeeeeeooooooo eeeeeeooooooo eeeeeeooooooo.  Well this ambulance said, eeeeeeooooooo eeeeeeooooooo eaeaeauuuuuuu.  Okay, so that doesn't sound funny at all but it had the three of us in stitches.

Back to my evening, the buildings on the south end of town were amazing, I tried to get some pictures but my camera DOES NOT take good pictures at night, or actually any time it isn't REALLY well lit.  But here is the Neues Rathaus anyway.

We made it to the restaurant and had an amazing meal of handmade perogies and then headed home.

Our tram wasn't running anymore so we had to walk all the way to the main train station to catch our tram home.

It was an awesome evening, even though it seemed like everything was broken.  


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hi Family!

I've received some messages and notes from various family members saying they love the blog.
Can I tell you how happy that makes me.  For a while I was wondering if anyone ever came out here and now that I know you are I just wanted to tell you all hi!!!


I'm glad your here!  I love you, I miss you, and I'd like to know what's going on with you.  So send me an email, or leave me a comment, and let me know what the heck you've been up to.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sit - Stay - Good Girl!

Alessandra likes to sit up so she can see the world like a big girl.  The only problem is I can't just sit with her all day while she's holding my fingers for support.

Today I walked into the living room and noticed Dotty curled up in the Boppy.  I haven't used the Boppy for nursing in a little while but Dotty loves it as a make shift bed.  But I got to thinkin', I bet the Boppy would make a great support for Alessandra.





Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Jon has been really busy with school, and has been away A LOT.
This past week the only day we had together was our Sick Day Sunday.
I was missing my little Booger!

So what's a girl to do?

Well, I decided if Jon can't come to us then we'll go to him.

So tonight we met at our absolute favorite restaurant, Tamer's.

This is Tamer!  He's one of the most patient, intelligent, and friendly guys I know.  He also makes one mean Dürüm.  He is Turkish and has been living in Leipzig for ten years now.  His German is amazing, and he doesn't mind sitting with me and helping me with my deutsch sprache fähigkeiten.  He'll talk very slowly and correct me on my pronunciation.  He's awesome, and he's the reason Jon stayed fed for all of those months that I was away.  

Tamer has decided that he wants to learn English.  So now we take turns, a little English here, a little German there.  It's so much fun.  Tonight's silly mistake, I asked for die Kasse (cash register) on my calzone instead of der Käse (cheese).  OOOPS!  We all had a good laugh and he said he would make it a special. 

We had a great night and it was nice getting to see Jon for a couple of hours today!


So Cold

On "blue bird" ski days my Dad would always tell us to bundle up because, "the clouds weren't there to keep the warm in."  Now, I don't know if it's true that clear days are colder but on those beautiful sunshiny days it always felt that way.

Today we had a "blue bird" day.  It was so cold!  Alessandra and I took the girls out to go potty like we do everyday.  She was bundled up in her normal attire, looking like the most adorable snow bunny bear that there has ever been.  When we got back inside her little cheeks and nose were so red.  I thought the redness would go away after she warmed up but nope, it looks like they got chapped.  Poor girl.

I feel absolutely horrible - I can't believe I didn't keep her bundled up better.  So next time we go out on a "blue bird" day she needs one of those scary ski masks that cover her whole face except for the little holes for her eyes and mouth.  She'll hate it but at least her little nose won't get chapped.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sick Day

Okay, so I don't really get sick days.  When I'm sick, it usually means Jon's sick too.  This is where we found ourselves today.

The morning started with me coughing, sneezing and blowing my nose in the closest thing I could find, a burp cloth.  The girls heard me and decided it was time to go outside, I rolled over to see if Jon was going to get them and that's when he told me how horrible he was feeling.  UUUGGGHHH!  Now I have three sick babies to take care of.  I grabbed Alessandra and quickly changed her diaper and then handed her back to Jon.  I put on Jon's sweats over my jammies, threw on my cap and coat, and took the girls outside.

When I got back up Jon and Alessandra were having their usual morning time flirt fest.  I decided to take advantage of the few minutes of free time and grab a shower.  After I was just about done I hollered in to Jon to strip down Alessandra so she could get a quick "bath" too.

Jon stood by while I lathered up Alessandra and then gave her a quick rinse.  I was finishing up shaving my legs when I thought I heard Jon.  I turned off the water and yup, he was yelling at me.  "What's wrong?" I hollered back.  "She peed on me."

You would all be so proud I didn't burst out laughing.

"Okay, what do you want me to do about that?"  I said.  He yelled back, “I can't move or I'll spread it all over the floor."  I quickly dried my legs off and wrapped my hair in the towel.  I pulled on my jammies as I walked back in to the bedroom.

Boy oh boy I wish I had a picture.

Jon was standing holding Alessandra who was butt naked and smiling from ear to ear.  He was in the little space we have between the crib, the changing table, and our bed.  He was wearing only his white boxer briefs and his daughters pee.  You heard me right, Jon put Alessandra on the bed to dry her off and then in the time it took him to pick her up and rotate to the changing table she peed on him.

Now I was laughing.

I grabbed a few of her colorful wipes and started to wipe up the floor.  Then I finished getting her ready while Jon hopped in the shower.  Parenthood is definitely a fun and messy time of life.


Now you know why we call her Sweet Pea!  
Or should I say Sweet Pee?

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful.  We ate breakfast, lunch and a snack in bed while we watched movies and napped all day long.  I think we all needed the rest.

Good news - Alessandra seems to be past the worst of it and is only coughing occasionally now.  So tomorrow I'll only have two sick babies to take care of.

I've already tucked Alessandra, Jon and the girls into bed, I better join them.

Good Night,

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Sweet Pea is Three Months Old

3rd Month Milestones

I'm not sure exactly how tall you are or how much your weigh, as we haven't been to the doctor in quite some time. Plus, we don't have a tape measure or scale here at our flat to weigh you or measure you.  If I had to guess though, I would say you are nearing 12 pounds. This is just because you're almost out of your three month clothes that say they're for babies up to twelve pounds.  If I had to guess on length I'd say just shy of two feet tall. :o)

You are sleeping so well, and although you aren't sleeping through the night, you won't hear me complaining  (except for that one time to Mrs. Enfume). On most nights you go to sleep between 8:00 & 9:00 and you wake to nurse at about 4:00 & 7:00.  Once you wake up for that first feeding, I  bring you to Daddy and my bed so we can all get a bit more sleep.  When you do wake up in the morning, usually about 8:00, you are always so happy and talkative. You turn and look at your Daddy and swat him in the face while you babble and coo.  It takes him a little while to wake up and pay attention to you, but you are always very patient.  I think you both like waking up that way so I usually don't stop you.

You are still nursing about every 2 1/2 to 3 hours and it only takes you about 10 minutes to eat.  I was worried about it at first, afraid you weren't getting enough to eat, but for several hours afterward you don't "ask" for more. You still have your little rolls on your thighs and a double chin, so I'm pretty sure you're getting enough.

You still love, Love, LOVE your play mat, and all of your toys, but you have also become very fond of this necklace type thing.  It has rainbow beads that all have different textures.  You will look at, play with, and chew on that thing all day!

You love trying to sit up and you get so frustrated when we aren't able to give you a helping hand.  You still love dancing during diaper changes with your Dad and groovin' to the music with me.  You are also constantly trying to stand up, which is so much fun to watch.  When you do get your feet under you, you push up, and that's when those Elvis hips of yours get going. The smile on your face and your look of achievement are just too much fun.

We haven't done any traveling this month but we've been staying very busy getting to know Leipzig.  We did visit your first play group, which you loved.  You didn't do much playing. You just stared at the other kids running and playing, but the smile on your face was infectious.

We've had many get-togethers with friends, from kegeln with the HHL boys, to dinner parties and movie nights.  The two things we hear from everyone at every get-together is, "does she ever cry?" and "she is such a good baby." To this we respond, "yes she cries, but not often." and, "yeah, we're pretty lucky we got her."

So Very Lucky!!!
Mommy and Daddy love you - all three months and almost two feet of you!  

The Things I Don't Want to Forget

Month 3

I don't want to forget... 

the way you flirt with your Daddy every morning while we're all cuddling in bed.

the dimples in your knees.

our "talks" at the changing table.

how much you love to fly.

the days when you would only nurse lying down.

how small you look in your carrier.

your finger and toe jam.

your raspberry blowing.

how you "help" us change your diaper by lifting your little tushie in the air.

how you hold my thumb while you're nursing

how hard you try to sit up on your own.

how you sleep with your little hands by your face.

the dimples in your hands.

the time you attempted to suck your paci and both thumbs.

I love you,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sicky Poo

My little Sweet Pea is sick for the first time and 
every time she coughs, sneezes, or wheezes it breaks my heart.  

She even fell asleep on her playmat which has never happened before.  

 Don't those teary eyes just tear your heart out - UUUGGGHHH!

We've cuddled with her and let her stay in her carrier as long as she wants.  
We've kissed her and wiped her nose.  
Hopefully we've seen the worst of it and we won't have to go visit our Pediatrician here in Germany.
I'm not sure I'm ready for that first.

But even though she doesn't feel good she still smiles at me every time I look her way.
What a sweetheart!!!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Hands

These are the hands

that dirtied the knife
that was cleaned by the wife.

The wife's hand slipped
and then she got nicked

but super glue did the trick.

And now for the rest of the story.

So after the dinner party there were, as you can probably imagine, a ton of dishes that needed to be washed.  So after breakfast I decided it was time to get those dishes done.  We only have one sink so I pile the dirty dishes on the left, I wash them in the sink and then I pile the sudsy dishes on the right.  Once I have finished washing all the dishes I wipe down the left side of the sink, drain the dirty water, put down a towel, and then I rinse the dishes and set them up to air dry.  

I am and have always been afraid of cutting myself.  In fact I have never, until now, cut myself which is probably why at the young age of 31 I am still so scared.  This fear of being cut (I wouldn't really call it a fear of knives) has made me less then confident when handling knives, so just like Jon said after he mended me, this accident was a long time coming.

I was just about done with the dishes.  I was cleaning Jon's favorite knife, the one he had just sharpened a couple days before.  The gunk on the knife had some time to set up overnight so I was having a hard time getting it clean.  I gave it a little elbow grease and my hand slipped off the blade, I was mid scrubbing motion so I pulled the back of my finger right into the blade.  I couldn't believe it.  Just like I had always feared, I looked down and the knife was sticking in my finger. 
Oh my gosh!!!  
I just cut myself!!!
I pulled the knife out of my finger and it started to bleed really badly.  I rinsed it and then started to squeeze my finger just above the cut to 1. hold the cut together and 2. stop the bleeding.

I made my way to the computer and I skyped my mom.  All I have to say is thank God for skype.  Anyway she answered right away and in the calmest voice I could muster I told her my predicament.  Which is this, I am home alone with my almost 3 month old, my hand is cut pretty badly and I don't have a phone to call anyone for help.  The only one close enough to help would be the mean neighbor downstairs but even if I did go down to her I don't know how to have her help me.  I don't know where a doctor, urgent care facility, or hospital is (not that this cut was bad enough to go to the hospital for but regardless I didn't know where one was).  She sent Jon an instant message via skype.  For whatever reason he wasn't responding and it wasn't until I looked over at his desk that I realized the reason he wasn't answering was because he didn't take his computer to class.  So she called him and he was finally on his way.  Normally when he's at school he can make it home in about 7-15 minutes but he was on a field trip with his German class, which is why he didn't take his computer, and it took him nearly an hour to get home.  

When he finally got home and saw my hand he said "Wow, that's a good one!"  Which really means, boy that's pretty bad.  I have to be honest hearing him say that made me a little proud - Yup, I did a humdinger on myself alright!  He had me open the wound back up and wash it really well - that hurt like a son of a gun - then he sprayed some stuff in it and got me all bandaged up.  After talking about it we decided that we would just super glue it as opposed to going and getting stitches so once the wound had stopped bleeding again, he super glued me shut.

So the lessons we learned from this.
1. Charmian needs a cell phone.
2. Charmian needs to know where she can go to get help i.e. doctors office, urgent care facility, and hospital.
3. Charmian needs to wear kevlar gloves when handling anything sharper than a butter knife.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Dinner Party

Hyun Soo, one of Jon's classmates from Korea, his wife Eun Jung, and there little girl Min Seo came over last night for dinner.

Well that's not a very accurate description of what happened.  Let me rewind.

We met Hyun Soo and his family for dinner at this swanky restaurant/bar on Friday night.  They asked if it was okay for us to sit in the "love lounge" because the low tables are more what their used to.  Now when I say "love lounge" what I want you to imagine is this - the lights were low and it felt like we were under a huge canopy because there was billowing fabric everywhere.  There were big beds on platforms with low tables on them and pillows everywhere.  The couples that were already there were snuggling while they were lovingly feeding each other their meals.   We agreed and while I'm sure all of the other patrons were thrilled to have a couple of babies with them during their romantic dinners the "love lounge" was actually a really ideal place for us.
We kept the conversation pretty light mostly talking about their trips to the States, our families, and of course food.  Eun Jung asked if I liked Korean food and I told her I wasn't sure if I had ever had it.  She was, of course, appalled and wished she could make me some.  They wanted to have us over to their place but thought it would be too small.  So what did I do - I invited them to come over to my house to cook me dinner - I know real nice Charmian, but they thought it was a great idea.

So back to last night.

They came over and although it was stressful trying to keep our girls from loving on their girl (Min Seo decided she was afraid of the girls for the first hour of their visit.) it was fun.

All eight of us were in our tiny little kitchen preparing our Korean feast.


Isn't she too cute for words!
Her Daddy said smile big in Korean and this is what she gave me.
Absolutely Adorable!

It was so delicious and I am definitely planning on having more soon.