Sunday, January 31, 2010

Crayola Heirloom

I remember loving crayons when I was a kid - and I had plenty of them!  I got new crisp crayons often from both of my grandmothers.  When I came to Germany eight years ago, I must have packed these crayons.  One never knows when crayons will be called upon!  I think my Mom actually is the one that handed them down to me, but they came from her mother, Grandma Marie.  I love how she wrote on the box, "Love, Grandma Marie".  Now my baby can play and create with crayons from his Great-Grandmother Marie.  Today was the first day we brought them out and he was very interested in taking them out of the box and once that was taken care of, he had fun pounding them on the paper.  He did "color" a little bit, but mostly Mommy just scribbled as an example.  I am looking forward to our next crayon adventure already!

Ladies Night Out

Saturday night was Ladies Night!  I went out with my friend Kathy to see a friend of ours from work perform.  Barbara is a jazz singer and she was accompanied by two guys on the electric guitar and bass - and she played keyboard.  They were playing at the Hyatt bar and it was a wonderfully relaxing evening with great music!  I even met Blaise's (upcoming) music teacher, Christiane!  He is going to be starting "Baby Musikgarten" this coming Tuesday.  Jan will go with him this month while I'm teaching and I'll pick up in March.  I am so excited for him to learn things about music that I cannot teach him.  He is so interested already and we hope to encourage his enthusiasm with knowledge and fun!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1.  Our good friends, Jen and Jeremy, welcomed their fourth child into the world on Sunday.  A boy (their third), Brooks Andrus.  He is a sweety and the spitting image of his brothers and sister.  Congratulations!!!

2.  I am really enjoying being "back to work."  In order to clarify I am just working as a freelance instructor during Jan's two months of paternity leave.  I am teaching as many hours as they can offer me, which aren't too many right now, but it seems to be picking up a little.  After Jan resumes work full time on March 7th, I'll be home full time during the day again, but still teaching some evening and maybe even weekend classes here and there.  Yesterday was kind of tough though, I was gone a lot and Blaise seemed to notice.  Maybe it is better that we've been forced by the slow month to ease into Mommy working.

3.  Blaise is pulling himself up all over the place and crusing between the couch and coffee table.  I'm still guessing we have about 8 weeks before we have ourselves a walker, but he sure is getting some good training!

4.  I have been snacking on popcorn a lot lately.  It is very yummy and light.  I just pop it in olive oil to give it a creamy taste and then add some salt.  No butter needed!

5.  I have seen more snow this winter in (my area of) Germany, than I have total over the other 8 years I've lived here.  We had another "snowstorm" on Sunday night.  We only had one, maybe two, inches in the city, but still more than usual.  Outside the city they had up to a foot which made for traffic chaos Monday morning.  I was supposed to teach a class at 8:15 on-site at a company, but my student didn't show up until 8:40 because of the "storm" - easy morning for me!  especially, because I was able to walk there!

6.  We have pretty much given up two naps a day :(  He does seem to be taking a longer afternoon nap which helps, but I can definitely tell a difference.  Having said that, B is taking a "morning" nap now, he fell asleep at about 10:30, I just hope he'll sleep a bit later this afternoon, otherwise it will be a LONG afternoon!

7.  Blaise ate like a monster yesterday!!  He has always had a good appetite, but even I was surprised.  He ate his whole (big) bowl of cereal, a whole (big) banana, bread, pumpkin and tofu pieces - all before his 12:30 nap! - 2 more pumpkin helpings later and a little bit of spinach and potato for dinner, but by then he was pretty tired and cranky (and full, I'd think!)!  And water and milk of course!

8.  I started doing our tax return last week, but I stopped when I realized I am pretty sure we are going to owe money.  We always get a refund, but this year all the money I received during maternity leave is tax-free; however, it is added to our total income to calculate our tax rate.  Jan's withholding obviously didn't /couldn't? take this into account.

9.  Still no teeth!

10.  We still seem to all be battling with staying thing to look forward to with warmer weather!

11.  Did I tell you that Blaise whistles?  He also now roars like a lion in addition to his one-armed beating the breast gorilla imitation.

Friday, January 22, 2010

2 Things

1.  Blaise woke up Thursday morning with a temperature of 98.6, woohoo!! :)

2.  I broke even with my weight loss ticker this morning, so be on the lookout for that thing to start jumpin'! :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1.  Blaise said "duck" yesterday.  I was getting him ready for bed and trying to keep him "still" for more than 20 seconds by distracting him with his duck book.  I said "duck" and he repeated it.  Poor Jan thought something was really wrong when I yelled hysterically for him to come into the bedroom.  He theatrically repeated it for us over and over again. :)  This probably isn't the first word that Blaise has said, just the first one we have really recognized as one.  (although he's made some "th" sounds referred to teeth as well).  My baby said "duck".

2.  Blaise had a pretty yucky fever when we put him down to bed.  We gave him some tylenol and I hope hope hope it will be gone in the morning.

3.  Sleep has been hit or miss recently.  We have crazy nights mixed in with not-a-peep nights.  Who knows?  Blaise does seem to have decided on one nap a day though :(  He dropped his morning nap right before his first birthday, but I was hoping we could get him to pick it back up.  No luck so far.  His one nap a day is usually at least 1:20, but I swear I can see the difference that only sleeping once is doing to him.  He is definitely more overtired.  Per the recommendation of Nick we have been putting him to bed 30 minutes earlier at night to help him adjust to only sleeping once during the day.  Not sure if that is helping yet, because he came down with said fever that threw everything off.  :( :(

4.  Update about said fever:  Blaise had a pretty high fever we noticed Monday evening - about 102.6, so we gave him some tylenol and put him to bed.  We had a horrible night and the little guy was hot hot hot!  Around 1:30 his fever had spiked to 103.5, so we gave him more tylenol.  He finally slept some then until morning, but the fever was still strong at over 102, so we went to the doctor.  The doctor said he didn't see anything abnormal, and that he had a virus so let him fever through the day and give him tylenol at night to help him sleep.  Tonight he went to bed also at 102.6 (but woke up at 100.6, and in a MUCH better mood, so we are on our way to recovery!).

5.  I am going to be working as much as possible for the time that Jan is home with Blaise - until March 7th.  Things began rather slowly, since there hasn't been much work, but I finally started back on Monday.  I will be freelance teaching this year; after Jan goes back then I'll continue with evening classes and even some Saturdays perhaps.  It really felt good to be back at work - even though I only had a 45 minute class.  It was the best start I could have had - teaching two young brothers (7 and 5).  I told them a few times how cute they were - hopefully they didn't get the wrong idea and report me!  (Thanks to my Mom for making sure I had a wardrobe - I got the pants hemmed last week!)

6.  My parents left last week after having been here for 4 weeks.  We had a nice visit with them, celebrating the holidays and Blaise's birthday.  They were sad to leave, but I also think happy to return home.  Thanks for putting up with us for so long!

7.  I have been working out more and have given up sugar for three weeks.  I am almost back to where the point it says on the ticker - it was a long holiday season.  A few more days. 

8.  I finished the last book in the Twilight series.  It was a fun read.  There was a point in the third book where I thought it was going in a different direction and I was seriously going to be pissed, luckily I was wrong.  Back to my Happiest Toddler on the Block reading material.

9.  Has anyone seen Food, Inc.?  I'd like to check it out, I am just sure it is going to freak me out!

10.  I think I had something else to share with you, but now I can't seem to locate it in my head.  Humpf, sorry, next time!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Day of Thanksgiving

On Sunday, January 10th, Jan, Blaise, Grandma, Grandpa and I went to Uni-klinik Children's Hospital to give thanks for what we inofficially named Blaise's "second" birthday.  It was the day he was admitted and operated on and the day he was healed.  It was a strange day for me, I kept watch on the clock and kept thinking about what I was doing a year ago at that time.  It was a day full of terror, emotion and relief.  Our trip to the hospital was a reminder for us of how thankful we are and to pass on our thanks to the medical staff who are there every day helping families like us.  We visited the NICU, the "normal" floor where he moved after his NICU stint and dropped something off for Blaise's surgeon.  We took with us a miniscule token of our appreciation in the form of pasteries for the doctors and nurses.  We have vowed to do this every year on this day to show appreciation for all those this field and to make Blaise aware of how these talented people saved him.  Should we not be in Mainz one year we'll visit the closest Children's Hospital and give our thanks for medical staff who is helping babies like our friends Sam and Liam

I don't really know how to say thank you, but to just keep doing it over and over again.

Here are pictures from our walk up:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Birthday Celebration

What a lucky Mommy I am to have Blaise in my life.  His first birthday was such a milestone and I felt as if I numbly watched with disbelief from the sidelines.  I still frequently ask Jan, 'how did he get here?', unable to fully comprehend that Blaise is here in our lives - it's too good to be true.  I took a lot of pictures, so that when I came out of my stuper I would have some way to really remember what took place.  On the day of his birthday, Jan made him some breakfast muffins and Grandma, Grandpa, Jan and I sang "Happy Birthday."  He was so cute, but wanted to play with the lit candle...have to remember to teach him the concept of hot.  We played and tried to take some one year old pictures (they left something to be desired) and then went to Jan's mom's for dinner in the evening.  Jan's sister, Andrea, was also there too with Adrian, so it was a nice birthday dinner for Blaise.

On Saturday we had a party for him with all the traditional trimmings.  Grandma Rose made a beautiful clown fish cake for Blaisey since he loves him some fish (both the swimming and the on-my-plate kind), we had chili and opened presents.  It was a success.

Birthday morning muffin

Opening birthday presents at Babi's with Adrian

Helping Grandpa decorate for the big party

Testing out his wagon birthday gift from Mommy and Daddy

Loving his musical card from Grandma Scofield

Blaisey getting down to Ol' Macdonald

Puzzling with Jan's cousin, Jana

Cuddling with Tante Andrea

Martin and Grandpa sporting Hoosier colors

Jan's uncle Georg and cousin Caroline

He was pretty taken aback by everyone singing to him, as seen here:

Showing off presents to Babi

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby Blaise!

Thank you for making me a Mommy, Blaise.  I love you and treasure every day we have together. 

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Blaise's 1st year
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1.  Our euchre score is US: 16  Grandma and Grandpa: 4.  I obviously wouldn't be blogging about this if it were the other way around, but as it is...

2.  My wonderful friend Quinn from IU and her husband Ben welcomed twin boys on December 25th, Liam Victor and Sam Gordon.  They were born at only 29 weeks at 3lbs 14oz and 3lbs 7oz respectively, but are the tough little guys and are really doing great at meeting milestones.  She has recently set up a Caring Bridge website with updates of their progress, let me know by leaving a comment or sending an email if you'd like the link and I'll gladly pass it on.  Those of you who are friends with her on FB can also find updates and pictures of the sweet babies there.  I know she can use all the support she can get, for even though her boys are tough cookies, it will still be a long road.

3.  Blaise whistles.  He's been doing this for a few months.  At first I didn't think he was doing it on purpose, but now at least after he's gotten out one out he immiates the action again.  He's a whistler!

4.  Over the holidays I decided to read Twilight, and wouldn't you know, I was so fast, I got New Moon in as well.  I did really enjoy the books, I have always enjoyed a good vampire story, but I honestly don't understand the hype.  She must have been in the right place at the right time with the right story.  It surely is a fun read, don't get me wrong, but I don't feel as sucked in as I was for example with Harry Potter.  (HP is my benchmark for all books from now on ;) ).  And, having said all this, I must also admit that I read New Moon in 2.5 days, so maybe I was more sucked in than I thought?  (Please don't excuse my cheesy vampire pun).

5.  Can it be possible that we will be celebrating Blaise's birthday this week?

6.  As his birthday approaches, I can't help but replay it all in my head and also remember the looming surgery and stint in the NICU.  Seriously, was it really a year ago already?  My memories are so clear so in somes ways it seems like just yesterday, but in other ways a lifetime ago (which I guess it was, Blaise's lifetime, anyway).  These events shaped who I am today.  We are planning a trip to the Uniklinik Children's Hospital on Sunday to bring treats to all the teams who took care of Blaise (at least those currently there and representing his medical staff), as well as his surgeon.  I think I am looking forward to honoring them more than to his party on Saturday.

7.  Lisa left for home on Saturday.  It was so nice spending this relaxed time with her - thanks for spending the holidays with us!!  and a huge thank you to Jen and Martin for allowing her to stay in their apartment while they were spending the holidays in Indiana with her family!!  Can't wait to see you guys and how much Jonah has changed!

8.  We've mostly been taking it easy these days "between the years."  My Dad has taken some walks, my Mom as well, she also gets a daily dose of Spider Solitare, Jan has been doing his fair share (or more than fair) of cooking, and I've been reading and trying to keep up with my blog.  All the while playing with Blaise and taking him out for short walks in the frigid January weather.

9.  While my parents are here I really wanted to go see a movie one evening, but NOTHING good is playing.  Very disappointing.  I even considered seeing a less-than-interesting-looking movie.  Maybe some good ones will come out this weekend, but I am not counting on it.

10.  My Mom did 12 days of Christmas with me as a child to spread out the onslaught of gifts.  Blaise is now also enjoying the 12 days with Grandma Rose.  It is all very sweet.  He loves his Grandma Rose and Grandpa Lynn.

Happy New Year! Frohes Neujahr!

This was the celebration in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate.  Ours was a bit less rambunctious.  We had a nice fondue dinner at home, then waited for midnight and toasted with wine as we watched and listened to the fireworks being shot off from all directions, all the time praying Blaise wouldn't wake up, which thankfully he didn't.  There was plenty of action out there, but it seemed to be less than previous years and we found out later that the city had forbid fireworks in the old historical part of town where we live.  That must have at least helped keep the noise level down for my sleeping babe.  It was a great way to ring in 2010, with my parents and cousin Lisa.  I hope 2010 brings much peace and health to us all!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The New Year 50

I frequently read the Valley Girl Has Baby, Goes Crunchy blog.  She has some good tips about being green, I enjoy her pictures and her kids are a cute bonus.  She is doing the New Year 50, something she found last year in Real Simple magazine.  I thought it sounded like a great idea - find 50 things to get rid of - try and donate or upcycle and toss only if necessary.  We did get rid of some things before my parents got here, but going through our closet would surely yield more stuff.   Man, I really do hate stuff and we don't have that much storage space (which is probably a blessing in disguise). 

Here is my list of things:

1.  Hairbrush I never use - toss
2.  Electric toothbrush heads that I don't use - gave to my mom
3.  Electric toothbrush that is old and I don't use - toss
4-10. Bath oils that I never have time to use - donated
11.  Old clinique facial soap that I never use - toss
12/13.  Strange twirrly decorations that I just push around the house - donated
14.  Vase - donated
15.  Frame - donated
16.  Can opener - donated
17/18.  masher - donated
19.  apple slicer - donated
20-23. hot pads - donated
24. pot - donated
25.  nail file - toss
26.  turner - donated
27.  Christmas deco - donated
28.  Christmas scented oil - donated
29-31. peelers - donated
32/33. garlic peelers - donated
34. cookie cutter - donated
35-41. coffee cups - donated
42.  espresso set - donated
43/44. trays - donated
45.  ice tray - donated
46. bread maker - sell on ebay
47. ice bucket - donate
48/49.  old squash paddles - donate
50. card game - donate
51. bug light - donate
52-56. hot pads - donate
57/58. aprons - donate
59-72. clothing - donate
73. sports bag - donate
74. vase - donate
75. camp stove - gave to my Dad
76-89. clothing - donate

We tried to get 100 (for 50 each), but this was pretty good, and I'll keep my eyes open for things to purge!

Christmas Day(s)

We decided to put off our family Christmas morning until the 26th, since we were going to Jan's sister's, Andrea, for the 25th.  We were planning on being there early afternoon, with Jan leaving earlier in order to be able to cook with his sister.  We had had a pretty bad sleeping night, so we were slower than planned out of the house, but we finally made it out with breakfast AND a much needed baby nap behind us.

We watched a David Garrett concert on DVD while the master chefs did their thing and I found it really amazing.  He is orginally German - or has some German background and must have lived here from the sound of his language, but currently lives in New York and is an amazing young violinist.  I love the violin anyway and seeing him be able to excite young(er) generations with his music is pretty amazing - check him out if you haven't already.

Also happening simultaniously to the kitchen magic and violin amazement was that Blaise was taking an afternoon nap!!  I was prepared for the sleep demise the holidays would bring and knew it was possible that he wouldn't sleep, but we tried anyway of course.  He didn't sleep long - 35 or 40 minutes, but even a short nap made my afternoon much more relaxed knowing that he got some rest.  I'm sure me being relaxed helped everyone else enjoy their Christmas celebration as well!

Dinner was nothing short of amazing and Blaise had fun taking apart Tante Andi's table decorations.  :)  Adrian, who is now almost 4 1/2, encouraged us to eat faster and skip dessert so we could move to the next phase of the day: PRESENTS!!  Now, oddly the Christkind seems to bring these as well?  I am becoming more and more confused.  Anyway, Blaise got some cute things from his Babi, Jan's mom, and a super dooper cute pirate toy chest from Tante Andi.  He loved being in the middle of the action, ripping open presents and much to Adrian's disapproval, checking out his older cousin's loot! :)

As I mentioned, we did our family Christmas morning on the 26th.  My Mom and Dad flew over with 4 suitcases, of which only a little over one held their things.  With his first Christmas and first birthday coming up, you know Blaise was going to bring in a big haul.  My mom filled her bags with many of my old toys, and Blaise found them under the tree on Christmas morning:

Lisa waiting for the fun to begin

I tried to capture the expression on his face and his "running" start to the presents, but he was too fast and they didn't turn out quite like I'd hoped, but you get the idea:

Spying the presents

Pausing to take it all in

Checkin' in all out - you can also tell here how he had a stuffy nose :(

Bath toys!

Serious Blaise

He is loving holding on to the table now and checking out all it has to offer.  Christmas morning brought a bowl of crinkly candy canes.

Lisa received a treasured gift from Kim

Grandma Rose must have been good this year

That pretty much wraps up our Christmas celebration 2009.  It was a fun first Christmas and I am already looking forward to observing the developmental changes that 2010 will bring for Blaise.