Friday, August 28, 2009


...are in order!! Our friends Jen and Martin welcomed a son into the world today! Jonah Daniel was born this morning at 8:43 weighing just over 8 1/2 lbs and just over 21 inches. We can't wait to see pictures!! (I'll share them with you if Jen says it's okay - not that she okayed the upcoming shot, but she's too busy to ask right now :) ).

This picture was taken Wednesday evening. It was their last evening of peace and quiet for the next 18+ years - and we crashed it! :)

Jen is also from Indiana, she and I studied together both in Bloomington and in Freiburg in 98-99. She has been living in Mainz since 2002, which is GREAT! It is so wonderful to have a friend from "home" in Germany. It's the best of both worlds! She and Martin got married in Noblesville, IN, in 2007 and we are ecstatic to have them so close - I have big plans for these boys to be best buds :) We are looking forward to taking part in your parenthood journey, to sharing and learning with you (and from you!) and most of all we can't wait to start taking Field Trips with Martin (who is a biologist! :) ).

Congratulations, again!


Michelle, Jan and Blaisey-Man


Hello Sleepy Friends,

Last night wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Not that it was stellar or anything. B got up sometime after 10 and was up for an hour. Jan finally got him back to bed. The next time he wanted to nurse, I just brought him into bed and nursed in bed and left him there. He conked. We were up for the day at 6:45, which really isn't bad, it's almost sleeping in. Only one nap today, but it was a long one - 2 hours and 20 minutes! I'll take what I can get. We had an appointment this morning, so his morning nap ended at 12:10, kinda late, normally I'm ready to put him down for an afternoon nap between 12 and 1. So, I'm not complaining today.

I'm open to any tips though, thanks to Jen for her comments already.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Worst (Sleeping) Day Ever (I think)

Wow. Where to start?

I walk around all day thinking, oh I should blog about this, or I should blog about that. I even write some posts in my head. Obsessed, much? Anyway, one post I have been writing and re-writing in my head is about sleep (or lack thereof...), and today just lends itself as a good backdrop to my sleep post.

I guess it all started yesterday when Blaise took a late morning nap, a subsequent late afternoon nap, getting up after 2hours and 20minutes of respite at FOUR O'CLOCK! Okay, so I don't know what the rest of your baby schedules look like, but my poor sleeper gets put to bed between 6 and 6:30. So, ya, napping until 4pm not such a great thing. Why didn't I wake him up you ask? Well, I kinda did, finally, at 4pm. But, again, he's not the best sleeper, so I hate to rob him of it when he's in his groove, ya know? Back to my story, he went to bed later than usual of course, but not *too* late, it was about 7:45 I think. His first sleep phase was okay, he was up at 10:something and then stayed up for 2 hours. He has a BIG BIG BIG problem of scratching. Some days are better than others, but it tends to wake him up when he gets into a fit. The rest of the night went okay. One 4 hour stretch and then up around 6am.

I can only assume the chaos of yesterday led to today's major sleep deprivation and frustration. Or maybe he's finally teething, or maybe he's growing, or maybe it's just too hot, or maybe, or maybe, or maybe, or maybe...


Today was a sleep nightmare. Until recently, we had Blaise on a pretty good 2 nap schedule - a morning and an afternoon nap. Each ranging from 35-90+ minutes. Ever since last Sunday we've been having some unexpected and unwanted napping issues. It took me 40 minutes to get him to sleep this morning, and as I expected he slept a whopping 35ish minutes. After being pushed around the city in his buggy with Willi late morning, I thought FOR SURE I'd get him to nap relatively easily in the afternoon. Wrong. He didn't nap again. At all. Once we hit 3pm, I gave up. I had tried everything: bouncing, singing, nursing, cuddling, leaving him alone, rubbing his back, rubbing his belly. Everything. Nothing worked. He was tired, but would. not. sleep.


We went shopping. I bought a Baby Gift for Jen who will be holding her little bundle of joy in less than 12 hours. I bought some super cute hats for Blaise, a light fall hat, and a big fluffy winter hat. They were on sale. I love sales. Did you hear me, Mom? I already bought some hats for Blaise. I promise to post pictures of the hat cuteness.

In the meantime, here is a picture of his current hat that we are addicted to. It's great for early Saturday morning walks with Daddy. We've stretched it to the limits and it's pretty much too small. :( We love it, though. It was a present from my cousin, Anne, and it definitely got a lot of use! (as I am sure you blog followers have noticed!)

He's so cute

Let's not get totally off topic here. I come home from our shopping spree and get him ready for bed. Not an easy task because he is (obviously) overtired. I change his diaper, make him a bottle, nurse him and he falls asleep. I wasn't too overjoyed though, I knew it wasn't going to last. He was up 30 minutes later. I tried to give him the bottle. He drank a little. He cried. He was tired. I gave up, Jan was only minutes away. I handed him over when Jan hit the door. He tried everything, even a 45 minute buggy ride. Nope. I nursed him again and now he's been asleep just over 2 hours. I'm not too optimistic for the rest of the night.

If you are keeping track he was up for a total of 13 hours, with two 30 minute "naps." Seriously, what baby does this? Okay, besides Baby Michelle...

If you're still with me, kudos to you. That was just the backdrop.

We've been having sleep issues for months. Blaise really isn't the worst sleeper ever, I've read *much* worse stories, but I have serious sleep envy when I hear "my 6 week old sleeps through the night." Boo. I'm really not asking for the moon, one or two night feedings would be an improvement.

He is usually up 3 times, sometimes 2. Sleeps 3 hour spurts, sometimes 4. He was making progess until about 2 months old and has regressed and never moved forward from there. Having said all this (and it has been a lot) things actually have gotten better recently (except for the previous 36 hours). I found this website: which I have found really helpful. I even bought 2 emails and got Nick's advice about our situation. Her major piece of advice: put him down drowsy but not asleep. We're working on it. It's getting better. I think we are seeing some results (if I look at the big picture). I nurse him every time he gets up, that will be the next step, trying to get him back to sleep without nursing. Good luck.

All of this makes me feel like a sub-par Mommy. My tired baby was awake for 12 of 13 hours. Nightmare. Red eyes. Clingy, tired baby. I'm not fishing for 'you did your best, don't worry, you're a good Mommy' comments, I am just saying it like it is. It makes me feel like a sub-par Mommy.

Tomorrow is another day. Wish me luck. Good Night.

A Shout-Out to My Mom and Dad

There are many things I could give them a "shout-out" for (does that make sense?), but what I have on my mind this morning is this:

I am so proud of them for being so active and so pro-active in their retired life. My Mom deserves much praise for being so committed to becoming healthy(ier) - I have never seen her honestly working so hard to be healthy and be able to enjoy her retirement...she is doing it for herself! A must! While she was visiting us recently she was very mindful of eating healthy foods and getting out and walking. Walking is a way of life here, it is how I get around the city and it is something I always miss when I am home visiting. She has just undergone surgery on her foot to hopefully keep her able to be as mobile as possible.

They are both pro-active in getting the health care they need to assure that any medical issue can be dealt with immediately.

I am also very proud to say that they are using their retirement to travel. They have some serious responsibilities right now taking care of my Grandmother, but I have encouraged them to continue to travel. (not that I am trying to take all the credit, they are the ones who are actually doing it!) Of course, this works to my advantage too, because then they come to visit! They decided last minute to head out west. They're camping. In Rocky Mountain. For me, this is normal, but if I take a step back and look around me I see that it is special. Thank you both for not only making it normal, but for living and enjoying your retirement. I expect nothing less.

See you in Hawaii :) See you at the Christmas Market :) See you in Alaska? ;)

(jan and i are still working on the alaska thing)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What We Call You

We have accumulated a few nicknames for Blaise in his short little life, in no particular order:

Poopy Man
(in our defence, the "poop" nicknames were born in the hospital, after we were so excited that he could, in fact, POOP!)
Hyde Baby
Little Man
Blaisey Man
Tired Baby
Crazy Baby
Funny Baby
Sweet Baby

I think there must be more, so I'll let you know if I think of any others :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Family Cookout in Wackernheim

Jan's family gathers a few times a year and this past weekend we were invited to his cousin, Renata's. They have a nice backyard with a grill and we have spent some relaxing evenings out there with a "camp" fire and wine. The occasion this weekend was their cousin, Jitka, was visiting from Prague. Of all the first cousins in Jan's generation (7 women and Jan!) she is the only one still living in Prague, along with her mother and son. We don't get to see her that often unfortunately, so it is always nice to get the family together when she is in town.

Curious Blaise arriving at Renata's
Renata was sweet and put some toys out on a blanket for the kids. Blaise attacked the books.

Enjoying his sweet potato dinner

Blaise hasn't been too interested in animals until recently. Jan pet the bunny, which Blaise thought was really funny. He also got the chance to pet "Alf" the bunny, which he really liked. On the way home in the bus, he laughed at a dog for the first time. Today he laughed at fish in an aquarium - I think he's figured out the magic of animals!

Checking out the bunny


Andrea's boyfriend, Andreas, with Adrian

Is is wrong that I am jealous of a 4 year old's eyelashes? :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

10 Things I Love About Jan

1) His attention to detail - and that it is so important to him.

2) His ability to "do stuff" around the house. Like, put together closets, or install kitchens, or make the wireless internet work!, or hook up appliances. I'd like to think I could figure this stuff out if I had to, but, ya, not so much...

3) How he loves to entertain. He was a born host. He enjoys making others happy.

4) How supportive he is of me in every way.

5) His love of traveling! We have been to some great places together and I am looking forward to adding to the list!

6) His willingness (and eagerness) to try new things, and to introduce them to me. Example: until recently neither one of us ate olives. Since Jan has now found "good" ones we are addicted!

7) Not only is he understanding that when we fly to the US, it is not only vacation for me, but also time to visit with family and friends, but he wants to spend time with them too!

8) His ability to cook.

9) His ability to cook. (oh, did I mention that already? oh well, it deserves two numbers!)

and last but certainly not least,

10) How much he loves his family.

Happy Birthday, Jan! Blaise and I love you.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

JK Wedding Entrance Dance

For those of you who haven't see this yet, this video will make you smile and give you a warm fuzzy feeling. This couple is from Minnesota (I think) and their Entrance Dance to their wedding has had over 20 million hits on Youtube.

check out their website too:


Paper Products

In an effort to try and be "greener" I have sort of banned buying paper napkins and towels. I say "sort of," because I haven't really banned it, I just get mad when they make their way into my home (so, same thing I guess). Jan (and my Mom, too!) found this a bit frustrating because I didn't really have an alternative. Note to self: have plan in place first before banning. In order to replace the need for paper towels, I put some old, ugly and stained dish towels under the sink to use for spills. I also bought a washable glass cleaning towel a while back to do windows with, so next time my Dad is here, he'll be ready to go :)

I have been thinking about buying cloth napkins for almost a year. I looked online and found some nice looking ones (at I think). I just never got around to buying them because it was hard to tell how good the quality was online. Last week I found some at a local grocery store. I bought 4 to start (for only €3.99!) and they seemed to wash up well. Okay, if you are really serious about it, you'd have to iron them...luckily I'm not that crazy - hey, that's energy I'm saving! :) They are just a plain navy blue color. I bought a dark color in the hopes that they wouldn't show stains. I think they'll be a great everyday workhorse, maybe I'll get some fancier ones at some point for special occassions. When we were shopping yesterday, I picked up the last box of 4 they had - 8 should be good for a start.

As I said before, becoming "green" is a step by step process, but it always feels good to make progress!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kissy Face Baby

Blaise has started giving (wet) kisses! Yummmm! :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009


You might have noticed that my little ticker has begun to slowly move in the "right" direction! :) I have been working out regularly for 6 weeks now and I can really feel the difference. The first 4 weeks I actually gained some weight, but I was assured that muscle weighs more than fat, so that was all good. After 5 weeks I had dropped 4.1% in body fat and added around 3% in muscle mass (even with gaining weight!). I could tell last week that I was at a turning point though and that my body was ready to lose...and now I am down 4 pounds! My ticker is in kilograms so I don't have to look at *really* big numbers on the other end (and my scale is in kilos, too, so that makes it easier).

Something I also started doing differently this past week was really making sure that I didn't eat carbohydrates in the evening. Please don't misunderstand, I think no-carb diets are BOGUS and NOT HEALTHY! I made sure I ate carbohydrates for breakfast and usually had some kind of pasta for lunch. What I am trying to also be careful about is to get *enough* calories since I am still nursing. My target is between 2000 and 2300 a day for this reason. One night I was lying in bed and I realized I had calculated something wrong and my calorie intake for the day was too low (like 1450!), so I got up and ate.

Another thing that has helped me have an overview of what I am eating and taking in calorie and fat-wise is this website: I am a sucker for things like this - it's fun! - and it has really helped. It is free and offers you an online journal of what you are eating daily. You just enter in your food and the amount and it calculates the dietary information. You can also add your own custom enteries with information directly from the food packaging as well as activities.

Thanks for all the support everyone, the first signs of success are sweet!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fall Mourning

Near 3rd St. and High St. in Bloomington

We are planning our fall trip and I can't believe how quickly it is coming up! I hope I don't sound like a whiny little child who has too many toys, but I am going to miss October! I didn't really think about it until recently, but every summer I begin longing forward to October - the orange sweaters, brown coats, Federweisser stands (early wine, sold in fall), crisp air, crunchy leaves, colorful trees...I could go on and on... Where am I going to be this fall? In HAWAII!! (I know, I know, poor baby, but let me be sad for a minute and then I'll keep my mouth shut)

Fall always brings back memories of camping in Horicon, WI and southern Indiana. Campfires and trails, marshmellows and raccoons. Those are memories I treasure and I am looking forward to creating similar ones with Blaise. Fall also brings football, and although I don't follow sports too much anymore, tailgate parties and the electricity in the air on Game Day are things not to be missed.

Hopefully September will bring an early Fall and November will be somewhat mild. And, of course we'll have a great Fall weekend in Baltimore celebrating Carrie and Ian's wedding!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Reconnecting in Palmengarten

A few months ago I found a former colleague of mine on a german social network website. Under occupation she had written "currently Mommy" - I thought wow that's great! I sent an email congratulating her only to find out that her son was also born in January, only 3 weeks after Blaise! Parthena and I worked together at KPMG in Frankfurt and we shared an office for 2 years. She was great to work with and lovely to share an office with! She was one of the colleagues I regretted leaving (although I have never regretted leaving the company).

We have had email contact since then, exchanging mommy-isms, comparing notes and asking advice. We got our little families together on Sunday and had a relaxing afternoon in the park. We met up at Palmengarten in Frankfurt, since we unfortunately live on opposite sides of the city. It was so great to see her again and meet her sweet little Alexander. Thanks for a great day you three!

There were so many cute pictures, it was hard to choose, here are the winners. We didn't think to get one of the photographer, time.

Blaise and Alexander checking each other out for the first time

Buddies already!

Sweet Alexander

The new family: Frank, Parthena and Alexander

Blaise enjoying Alexander's toy

Getting some good tummy time in on the blanket in the park

'Hey, man, do they make you go to bed early, too?'

Blaise eyeing Alexander's toy

My bully baby *taking* Alexander's toy!

Awww, holding hands

Fast friends smiling for the camera

'Sorry, my Daddy is always putting that black box in my face'

'Don't worry, my two do that to me all the time, too!'

Playing footsie

Mommy's walking through the park (with *sleeping* babies!)

Alexander eating his carrot lunch

I love this face

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Baby's Breath

No, not this kind:

This kind:

I am *addicted* to Blaise's sweet baby breath! I never knew how intoxicating breath could be! I also don't remember ever reading about this, or hearing a Mommy Friend mention it. I sometimes wonder where our days go, but after thinking about it, I spend a good portion with my nose in Blaise's mouth! Maybe it's the breastmilk? Any input? If so, I'll be so sad when the sweet odors go away. Baby breath, mmmmmmmmmm...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pass the Peas

Blaise got peas for the first time today. He liked them! (no surprise there) I am really thankful that he is proving to be a good eater so far. I bought the peas yesterday at the Farmer's Market and Jan steamed them last night. We also ate them for dinner yesterday, so it turns out I didn't buy enough for the whole week. 2.2lbs sounded like a lot, but I guess not when you still have to de-pod them. I bought a bag of frozen ones from the Organic Grocery to tide us over until Friday.

Blaise got a great high chair from Tante Andrea, which can later be used for a desk chair. He started sitting in it on Monday and yesterday when I brought in his espresso cup :) of avocado, he got MEGA excited! So, I tried to capture the excitement on video today. There is obvious excitement, but really not compared to yesterday's shock and subsequent panting. I also didn't take into consideration that my hand was going to be in the way of you seeing his mouth. This is a shame, because when I ask if he wants more, he opens his mouth (wide). Next time it will be better.

So, without further ado, Blaise and his Peas:

Pea information:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Art and Wine

An american friend of mine lives at a winery. Sarah married a German winemaker and he runs Schloss Janson - a winery that has been in his family for over 175 years!

They are currently working together with a local artist to have their animals painted and they will be matched to a wine based on their personality and become the label! This is the first one that has been done - their horse "Spezi".

This past weekend they had a wine and art event at the winery. The artist had her paintings on exhibit and Kurt had his wine available for tasting. A combination that is right up our alley! We drove out there early Sunday afternoon, and had a great time sipping some wines and trying to decide which painting to buy for Blaise. It was not easy! She had some super cute ones! We finally decided to buy an animal representing our trip this fall. So we purchased Herbert the Hai:

Isn't he great? It was a really tough decision though - the toucan was super cute, not to mention the moose(!!). We'll have to get the moose after a trip out west one year. I love the idea of not only supporting local artists, but also having something unique.

Here are more examples of her artwork:

The winery's english website:

Monday, August 3, 2009


In an effort to lose the rest of my Blaise padding, I joined a gym. "Moves" is similar to "Curves" in the US, if I understand correctly. I have been going for 4 weeks, at least twice a week, but usually three times. I like it for various reasons - besides the obvious I feel better reasons - there are:
* there is always a trainer there training with you
* it is a circut, so my workout lasts only 33min!
* it is a mix of weights and floor exercises, so I am building strength along with a cardio workout
The first few times I went, I took Blaise with me. The first time, he was content to play in his buggy. The second time, not so much. He is so alert and active now, that he wants to be part of the fun, so just putting him on a blanket with some toys *outside* the circle of activity isn't a possibility. Now, I have worked it out with Jan's mom and step-dad, Noemi and Willi, that one of them (or both) takes Blaise for a walk while I work-out during the week. (Daddy gets to have Blaise all to himself on Saturdays!) Andrea also got in on the action one morning. I think this solution is the best for everyone - I can do something for my fitness (in hopes not only to stay healthy myself, but to act as a good example to Blaise), Babi and Willi get to spend time with Blaise, and in turn Blaise gets to spend time with them instead of watching me sweat.
I have added a ticker to the top of my blog for you all to keep track of my weight loss progress. Hopefully it will serve as motivation for myself and seeing it move will be a great pat on the back!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Swimmin' Hole

We went to the pool for the first time on Wednesday. We tried the outside pool, which has a little kid area with about a foot of (cold!) water. Blaise wasn't too impressed with this. So, we sat him in the adjacent flooded sand pit. MUCH better. He squished the sand through his hands and splashed a bit in the water. That was our first attempt at "swimming".

Determined to keep trying, we went again on Friday. This time; however, we sprung for the ridiculous €11/adult ($15.50!!!) for 2 hours and went inside to the "thermal" area where the air is warm and the pools heated. We started in the baby pool to get him used to the water, then we went into the big pool. He really ended up loving it! He had fun splashing in the water and zooming around between Mommy and Daddy. We even let him go under water a couple times. Next time, we'll be braver and keep working on getting him to actually swim. (I'll get an underwater camera, too!)

Love the serious look on this one

And now, two short films: