Monday, May 28, 2012

Liebster Award



I was honored to receive the Liebster Blog Award from my friend Kelby a few months ago but for whatever reason it has taken me this long to post about it.  I guess it's better late than never.

Here's how the Liebster Award works, Kelby awarded myself and 4 other bloggers with the honor of being her very favorite blogs with less than 200 followers.  Now it's my turn to pass on the love. So, here are my top 5 little blogs.


Mi Querida Familia
Renee is one of my best friends from college and has been my helping hand, leading me down this bloggy road.  She's a work from home mama with plenty of everyday life adventures to share.  She blogs about her faith, family, and work with plenty of pictures of her adorable little boy.


FamVoyage - Traveling with Kids
Heather and Jeremy are some of our best friends who share our love of travel and adventure.  Their blog is all about how completely sane we are for doing all of our traveling with our kids.  Not only are the stories fun but the information is helpful ta'boot.


This aMACEing Life
Not only is Christina a good friend of ours but she and her hubby may even be crazier than Jon and I.  They don't just share our love of adventure, travel, and Jack Russells, but they do it all while calling the road their home.  Their blog is all about life on the road with Wicked, their little man and pup.


You Auto Know
Cheryl is one of those friends that you can go a year without talking and three without seeing each other but the minute you do make contact it's like you've never been apart.  Her blog is all about her family, their business, and the adventures of being young entrepreneurs.

Colour Her {Hope}
Jami is an amazing lady traveling down the road of raising a family after the loss of a child.  I love her honesty and tenderness... and her DIY projects are just too cute to not attempt.

Now I just need to go let the lucky recipients know just how amazing I think they are in their comments sections and I then this Liebster Award has been officially passed along.  :o)

Charmian




Friday, May 25, 2012

Updates

Why is it that when you have things to blog about those things actually keep you from blogging.  Oh time, you're such a precious thing, why do you slip away so quickly and quietly?

A few updates.

Jon and I finally got hair cuts about 3 weeks ago.  It was so crazy - we called this lady and she came to our house and cut our hair.  They aren't the best hair cuts we've ever gotten but for the price and convenience we may just do it again.  Maybe.  But I am happy to say that I finally have my short hair back.  I tried really hard to like it long again but I just couldn't do it.  I guess I'm a short hair girl, which is  weird because when I picture myself I don't have short hair.


After nearly six years of being a vegetarian I am slowly adding meat back into my diet.  It is really hard to be a vegetarian here in Germany.  None meat protein is hard to find and when you do find it it's usually pretty pricey.  Which has led me to relying on eggs, nuts, and dairy for my main source of protein.  Now that Alessandra is definitely not a baby anymore I decided it was time to start losing my baby weight.  I've been trying to lose the weight by cutting back on the nuts and dairy I was consuming.  When I started cutting back I started craving meat for the first time since becoming a vegetarian.  So I have been very slowly adding meat back into my diet.  A few nights a week I'll have fish or shrimp.  My stomach still gets upset when I eat it but my cravings have gone away so I think I'm on the right track, for now.


Alessandra has started potty training herself.  You may think I'm being crazy but I'm not lying.  Well, to be honest I did start potty training her about a year ago I guess.  When she was really small whenever I noticed her going pooh (and I don't mean winnie) I would set her on the potty because - well let me be frank - it was way easier for me to pay attention to her and set her on the potty than to have to clean up a poopy diaper.  Lately I've been noticing that at some diaper changes she was dry or mostly dry so I'd plop her down on the potty and tell her to let all of her pee out and she'd go.  Before long she was running to the potty and telling me when she needed to go.  So for the past week while we've been home sick we've started naked time.  Alessandra is naked or bottomless the entire time we're home.  Obviously I put clothes on her before we leave the house but when we walk in the door the shoes and pants come off.  She has done really well.  In the past week she has had less than 10 accidents.  When she does have an accident I have her "help" me clean up and we talk about where we should put the pee and poop.  I also bought some Smarties for her when she does go in the potty.  So far so good.  But I still don't feel like I really know what I'm doing so...

When did you start potty training your kids?
How did you do it?
Did you use treats/awards?  If so what did you use?
How long did it take?
How did you know when they were ready to go out and about sans diaper?

Thanks for helping a mommy out.


Jon also found out today that he has been invited to join Beta Gamma Sigma because of his academic performance at HHL.  So, my life long dream of marrying a frat boy is finally coming true (okay, not really) .  :o)  I always knew he was a smarty pants in fact it was one of the many things that made me fall in love with him.  But now it's officially official.  Jon's super smart!


Well, I guess that's all the updates for me - for now.

I will however leave you with one more super cute clip.  It's Alessandra having a dance party with her reflection that is of course until she bonks her head.  Enjoy and have a happy long weekend to all of my American friends and family.



Charmian

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Nick of Time!


5 minutes earlier we were walking barefoot through the playground, digging in the sand, and enjoying the warm sunshine.  I'd say we made it, just in the nick of time.

Charmian

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I AMsterdam

Just a day trip to Amsterdam.  
I can't believe I can say that - I'm still amazed that we're actually living in Germany.  

WEIRD!!!  


Okay, back to my day trip.  I met a new friend Rhonda, from Alberta, while having an impromptu birthday party for my friend Moe.  We exchanged numbers and she told me to let her know if I was ever home alone so she could keep me company.  Well, due to a mix up in schedules and the fact that we still haven't found a puppysitter here in Dusseldorf, I was going to be home alone this weekend.


 I told Rhonda about the sudden change in our plans.  The next thing I knew we were packed in a rental car on our way to The Netherlands to watch some of her old friends play in a 7's rugby tournament.  I was able to see the U.S National Team and the Canadian National Team win two games a piece and I can't wait to check with Rhonda to see how our teams ranked by the end of the tournament.


We had a great day, that was until Alessandra had a total melt down in the car on the way home. But until then it was a pretty darn fabulous day.  Who knew rugby would be so awesome!

Charmian

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Sweet Pea is 18 Months Old

I didn't want another month to pass without me doing a milestone post so even though it's pushing midnight and I have to be up tomorrow morning at 6:30 I'm going to get this done.


18th Month Milestones

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HEIGHT/WEIGHT
 Teeny Tiny and if I'm being completely honest I sometimes worry about your size.  You still fit comfortably in your 12 month clothes.  When we attempted to weigh you, you were approximately 9kg.  And your height when we went in on Tuesday to become official residents was 75cm.  


SLEEPING
Somedays you're a two nap a day girl (like today) and other days you prefer to hold out for a lunch time snooze.  When you decide to only nap once you're ready to call it a night at about 7:00 p.m.  But on a normal two nap day you prefer an 8:30 bedtime.  I finally decided to do some night weaning and at 17 and a half months you were sleeping completely through the night.

HOORAY!!

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EATING
Besides nursing every now and again during the day, at bedtime, and first thing in the morning you eat everything I eat with a few exceptions.  I wouldn't say you were a picky eater but you eat like a bird and prefer snacking all day long to big meals.  Your favorite food is still hard boiled eggs but now you've added bananas to your favorites list.

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PLAYTIME
You are always busy.  You love to dance, and sing, and run, and hop, and read, and play mommy, and play weeble wobbles, and go to the park, and play in the sand, and chase the ducks, and dance, and cuddle the dogs, and army crawl, and sing, and climb on and off of everything, and go down the slide, and swing, and play legos with your friends, and see saw, and dance and sing.

Did I mention that you sing ALLLLLLLL the time and just like when you were a little itty bitty baby you are constantly dancing.  Even if you're just dancing to the song that you're singing.  The only time you aren't dancing and singing is when you're being bashful in a room full of strangers, or bigger kids, or heaven forbid a room full of strange big kids.

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WHAT'S NEW 
Since the last time I posted it seems like everything is new.  You aren't a baby anymore in fact the only sign of your babyness that is still lingering is your hand, elbow, and knee dimples.  

You have 12 teeth.  Your most recent molar came in during our May Day vacation.  You are walking and talking and have your own idea of how everything is going to go.  You can throw one heck of a tantrum when things don't go the way you have envisioned.  We are slowly learning that the best way to handle your tantrum time is to totally ignore you.  I know, I know that's what everyone says to do, but do you know how hard it is to ignore you when you are having a total meltdown.  It is almost impossible.  And anything can set you off - you don't like the fact that I put your shoes on before mine, or I touched something in the house or, or, or....  At first we got mad, and then we tried reasoning with you  - but then we realized you are 17 months not 17 years old.  Then finally we just ignored you.  You know what just ignoring you works the best and we really should have done that option first since that's what everyone says to do but it's just so stinking hard.  You haven't had an official hair cut but I have been secretly trimming your hair for a while now.  I've just been slowly fading your baby mow-hawk into a little bob.  

Anywho - you are a little firecracker, you are constantly keeping us on our toes, you are the sweetest little girl who really loves her friends and family.  And we wouldn't change anything about you.  

Happy Eighteen Month/One and A Half Year Birthday!
Love you!!!

Mommy

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day to Me!!!

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Who needs flowers and cards 
when you get smiles and snuggles.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco de Mayo...

...and The Expat Phenomena!

Jon has been here in Germany for going on 2 years and I'm just shy of a year and a half and in that time I've come across a really cool phenomena.  I'll call it the Expat phenomena.  When you meet an expat (or a spouse of an expat) there is this bond - friendship - respect (okay so I'm not exactly sure what it is) that instantly forms and you find yourself connected to each other more quickly and deeply than in a normal relationship.  Let me tell you five little stories to demonstrate my point.


I moved to Germany and didn't have a single friend besides my busy husband and 3 month old baby.  Jon arranged for his friends wife to come and pick me up so we could go "climbing" with them.  I was scared to death.  I don't know this woman and I'm going to get in her car with my baby and have her drive us to an abandoned query.  Smart!  Well it was actually the smartest thing I did.  That was my good friend Katrin and we were fast friends and I can see us staying in touch for years and years to come.


I was sitting with Alessandra and the girls in the park when a mother/daughter pair approached me and started chatting.  I apologized for my bad German and we started talking in English.  Just like that I found myself with two new American friends that live right across the street. Knowing I have these English speaking ladies so close puts me at ease a bit.  Now I know if anything were to happen, if God forgive there was an emergency, I have someone close by who can help me.


Since the move we haven't found a babysitter or more importantly a puppysitter.  I put up an inquiry on facebook if anyone knew of a good puppysitter in the area. Then I added, more out of humor than anything else, or would anyone want to cuddle on our pups for the weekend?  And what happnes... you guessed it, an expat comes to my rescue.  These particular expats are from England and they took our girls without a second thought.  And what was more impressive is the girls were returned happy and healthy.  AMAZING!!


When we were preparing for our May Day trip I was desperately searching for a used Ergo baby carrier to buy for our trip.  You may remember that half of my carrier got stolen along with the stroller while we were in Leipzig and since then I've just used Jon's carrier - which starts to hurt my back after about 15 minutes because it's too large.  Or use the remaining half of mine with half of Jon's - not ideal but it works. I really want a carrier that is soft/structured, easy to put on/take off, and could go on my back or front - the Ergo does all of these things.  Everyone I know who owns an Ergo says they love it but I was not willing to spend the money for a new one.

While on this last minute, frantic search, two amazing expats came out of the wood work.  Now keep in mind these two folks aren't my friends in fact when this story came about I hadn't even met them yet.  The first offered to let me borrow his carrier for the long weekend.  How did he know he could trust me?  That I wouldn't ruin it, or lose it, or steal it.  He didn't, but I was in need so he took that chance for me - a fellow expat.  The second told me about an Ergo carrier she saw at a store, she not only let me know about it but offered to pick it up for me.  What?!?  Once again she didn't know me but offered to go out of her way to help me.  I was humbled and floored - what an amazing little community I've stumbled upon.


The fifth and final story brings us to today.  We headed to the grocery store but I had a hankering for a coffee and some down time before we did our shopping.  We were enjoying our warm drinks and conversation when Jon says to me - "He's an American."  about a guy who came in and placed his order.
"What?  How can you tell?"  I asked.

"He has an American Accent."  Jon said assuredly.

As we were leaving I noticed he was right.  The man was speaking English with his wife and sure enough they were American.  I asked them where they were from and before we knew it we were making dinner plans with them for that evening to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.




We had such a good time.  We enjoyed our (slightly more) Mexican cuisine, each others company, and margaritas, margaritas, and more margaritas.  It was such an easygoing night.  We visited like we were old friends that were trying to catch up on the last few years.  But the few years we were catching up on was our lives.  We talked about everything from first dates, to babies, to accidents, to the things we missed the most.  We left that evening with loose plans to meet up again for another round of margaritas and stories.


I am missing my friends and family from back home so much.  It's been almost a year since I've been home.  But finding this amazing community has really helped Germany and this little adventure we've gone on seem a little less scary and a lot less lonely.

Charmian