Saturday, July 25, 2015

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (110)

Ten Things of Thankful

I'm still old, I'm quite tired right now, and still promise that I'll produce some proof that indeed, I'm old..  Later.. (is procrastination a sign of old age??). But despite my shortage of free time last week, there are many, many things to be thankful for.

My Ten Thankfuls for this week:

1. Finishing a larger translation project and have the evenings to myself again.

2. Many, many sticky Calvin cuddles.

3. A good thunderstorm to really saturate the ground and bring the temperatures down.

4. Sharing stories of Thor with Lily to make thunderstorms less scary for her.

5. My friend Mamta. She has the most peculiar sense of humor, and I love her so much for that!!

6. A fun afternoon at the movies with the girls and my colleague Sarah.

7. Getting to watch Lily's magic show at her school's summer fest. She did such a great job showing her magic tricks, and Violet even got a confetti shower.

8. Picking my very first home-grown tomato. (no pictures, it was eaten way too quickly)

9.  My strawberries spreading as if there was no tomorrow. We have about twice as much strawberry plants as when we planted the first ones. Hoping for tons of fruit next year!

10. Mommy-Daughers-Time, aka: yay, our tow nails are painted!!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (109)

Ten Things of Thankful

Oh, look, a new banner!!!! Right for our TToT #109. Doesn't it look contemplative? Thoughts growing wings and flying off.. Oh, and I've made a realization last week: I'm getting old. Stay tuned for the details on why I'm getting old..

My Ten Thankfuls for this week:

1. The high 80s feel SO great after a week of near-triple digits.

2. A fun barbecue with friends. I went there with the girls, because Richard hat blood-pressure issues due to the heat and preferred a boy's night with Calvin. I got to talk to our friend's new wife quite a bit and our first impression was confirmed that she's really a great woman and we're happy to see more of her!

3. Being stalked by an albino ladybug. If I have to have a stalker, I'd prefer it to be a ladybug. And I've never seen an albino ladybug before, let alone getting such a close look at one!

4. Another great trip to the pool with my favorite 3-some. The weather was sub-prime, and my skinny-bug had to be pulled out of the pool a couple of times to warm up, but we all had so much fun!

5. Meeting friends at the local beer cellar and having a great time chatting while the entire girl gang played.

6. Dr. Ice Cream

7. My Dad being home from the hospital and doing wonderfully. We got to visit him at the hospital on Tuesday, the day before he was released, and he looked so great, being smoke-free for over a week. His scar is healing so well already. It was great to see him and see for myself that he's doing well.

8. Lily having enough trust in us to tell us about her worries. There have been and are issues with bullying in her class,  and now she's a target as well. I always know when something's wrong with her, because she becomes so withdrawn and defiant at home. It usually takes us a while of locking heads until she talks, but she's always comes out encouraged. As much as it hurts me that she's being bullied, it's good to know that she always knows that we have her back, no matter what.

9. Dornfelder Pinot Noir from Rhine-Hesse. We make good wine in Western Germany!

10.Having Richard, who's a partner in every aspect of our lives. I always cringe when I see moms reprimanding their partners in public about their interaction with their kids. Yes, there are some (minor!!!) things the kids are allowed to do with me that they aren't allowed to do with Richard and vice versa, but I would never dare to talk to him in public or private like that woman did at the pool today. Dad's are Dad's, and not occasional babysitters if Super-Mom is busy, therefore witnessing scenes like that just make me so mad.

I hope you all had a great week!  What are you thankful for?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (108)

Ten Things of Thankful

You know the good thing about triple-digit temperatures?  When the temps finally "drop" to the low- to mid-90s, it feels heavenly. Last week, we've had temperatures from the low-80s, which saw me wearing a sweater, to the mid-90s, which felt hot but not as bad as the triple digits the previous week. Sleep - once I actually made it to bed - had been good in our house, and the kids spent many hours outside running through the sprinkler, enjoying the playground across our house, and playing with the neighbor's kid.  Yes, Christine, the sun indeed is still an item, even though we seem to be hogging an unfair share here in Germany right now!

More thankfuls for this week:

1. (which should actually count for at least 10 thankfuls!!) My Dad made it through his surgery. He had a stent placed in his aorta, which had to be cut open as the stent was quite big and an aneurism had to be removed as well. We were all so worried about him, as there was a chance that he wouldn't make it out of the OR alive, or that he wouldn't walk again or need dialysis for the rest of his life, but everything went well, so well even that he was almost released on Saturday after only 4 days. I cannot say how relieved I am to be writing this, as it's been a burden on our minds for quite a while now.

2. A really good outing to the pool with all three kiddos to get my mind off the surgery on Tuesday. The kids were perfectly behaved and we all had tons of fun! When we were packing up, the mom next to us, who was out with one little girl, asked me how I do it with 3.. Well, quite honestly, there was a stern talk beforehand about what I'd expect from them and what would happen if they didn't stick to the rules, and three kids in a really good mood to make their mommy happy  :-)

3. Violet walking a bit in my shoes. Quite literally.

4. Being serenaded by our new tenant. Meet Kermit, the maybe-frog  :-)

5. FINALLY getting Violet's glasses back. A few weeks ago (yes, WEEKS!), Violet and Calvin broke her glasses in a good old joint effort. And thanks to the postal worker's strike, it took over 3 weeks for the piece to arrive and the glasses to be repaired. So thankful for Violet to be able to see properly again!

6. A spontaneous barbecue with our neighbors. Decided just before they fired up the grill, and I ended up sitting outside until after 10pm, enjoying a delicious glass of local wine.

7. Lily getting a new hair cut. We had quite a discussion Friday night after her shower that she wanted a boy's hair cut. I asked her why exactly a boy's hair cut, and she responded that it's shorter than the bob she had. We talked about that there were also very pretty and very short girl's cuts, and went the very next day to get her exactly that. I can't imagine another cut that could catch Lily's personality better that the one she got!

8. Our neighbor being home from the hospital again and doing well. We were all quite worried when he was admitted during the heat wave with an infection of undetermined origin.

9. A really important leadership review last week. It showed that our boss really had no idea how bad the morale within the team was, and what the reasons were for it. And it showed that we really has an awesome boss, because she's started measures immediately to get to the bottom of the problem and not just cover over it.

10. Distant relatives of ours coming for a visit later this month. We haven't seen them in nearly 3 years; their precious little daughter was just a 3-month old baby back then, and now she's almost 3 years old!  So excited to see the three of them again!

Have a wonderful week, everyone!!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (107)

Ten Things of Thankful

I hate the heat. I'm one of those people, even if it never got above about 85°, I'd never miss anything. Right now, I'm melting. It's been in the high 90s up to the low triple-digits for over a week now, and I'm so absolutely done. I want to sleep again, I want to cuddle the kids and the hubby again, and especially, I want to feel "not yuckie" again.

Before I take the exit to "self pity", here is why I am also thankful for the heat wave:

1. All the hot water we currently get is 100% heated by the solar panels on our roof, so real savings right there!

2. My friend Mamta being absolutely happy. She was born and raised in India and after about 20 years in Germany, she's still not acclimatized to our climate. So she's mierable in various degrees for about 50 weeks out of the year, and the two weeks everyone else is miserable, Mamta is revelling in the heat.

3. Getting to dry my laundry on the back porch. More saving money and power plus the laundry just smells like sun. Love it!

More of this week's thankfuls (some of them even non-heat-related)

4. A fun neighborhood barbecue with the neighbors. Delicious food, great company, good drinks, sparklers for the girls to celebrate 4th of July, what more could a perfect barbecue need?

5. Richard's summer concert being very beautiful again. There were a lot less visitors than last year, due to the heat, but they did put of shades for the orchestra, so they didn't need the ambulance this year either. The program was shortened, but everyone enjoyed themselves and the concert was over about the same time the temperature reached its peak.

6. The kiddy-pool on our porch; so refreshing just to put my feet in and not move for a while.

7. Costa Rica Banana and Cookie ice cream. Delicious!

8. Surviving my colleagues going-away party without too many tears, and hopes that the girl who covered for me during my maternity leave and continues to do so while I still work reduced hours is going to become a permanent colleague.

9. A few good nights of sleep after a few days of hard teething, poor Calvin!

10. Hubby for being a responsible adult, a partner,

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (106)

Ten Things of Thankful

I've been busy this week, and therefore not very active on the internets.  I've fixed Lily's dress for the wedding, prepared the gift, pre-packed for our overnight stay near Frankfurt (still a little bit frantic about travelling with all three kids), and tried to not go to bed too late. It has been a good week indeed, even though I'm glad that it's over and we're safely back with all the kiddos.

My ten most thankfuls of this week:

1. After one week of nearly non-stop rain, it has finally stopped and the kiddos stormed outside to play.

2. All the rain made our yard look all nice and green. And the weeds also grew like crazy, so I got to get my hands and fingernails dirty with a little spontaneous weeding session.

3. Watching Violet's self-confidence explode. For the longest time, she's been our little insecure little bird, always checking people's reaction regarding her. In the last months, she learned how to ride a bike, she's become a little fish in the water, just about to earn her early swimmer's badge. She's getting defiant, and sassy, and stubborn, and truth to be told, even though she's driving me nuts sometimes, I love it!!

4. Getting to witness two wonderful people pledging their love and their lives to each other. It was a nice wedding and an even better party afterwards. The weather was perfect for the indoor/outdoor reception they had planned.

5. Booking a room in a beautiful, family-run hotel rather than a big chain hotel. We and another friend of ours who was invited to the wedding were the only guests, the hosts kept the breakfast buffet up until almost noon and we could check out late because it's been quite late (or early??) when the guys came back from the wedding.

6. Having very nice weather today, so we could make a quick stop at a local reconstructed Roman fort before heading back home.

7. A last asparagus dish made from local asparagus. I refuse to buy imported asparagus, and June 24 was officially the last day asparagus was harvested here in Germany. Now, the waiting begins for next year.

8. A fun barbecue with my co-workers. Almost all the 2014-babies from my work were present and the little ones had so much fun getting to know each other, even though there were confused looks on the babies' faces when yet ANOTHER baby showed up..

9. Getting compliments on allowing Calvin to sit on the ground and dig in the dirt. The older lady was so excited about it, obviously it's a rare sight nowadays here in Germany.

10. An early bed-time today to recover from the weekend  :-)

Good night, everyone, and have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How To Do Things Right?

I read a short comment about the plight of the modern woman: it is impossible for her to do things right.

If she decides not to have children, she's selfish.

If she decides to have children and stay home, she's a lazy home-body.

If she has children and goes back to work, she's abandoning her children.

If she's having a few pounds too many, she's lazy.

If she's in a good shape, she's self-centered and ego-centric.

In order to not feed the Tumbler-feminists, these comments are rarely ever made by men. They are made by women about other women.

Why is it that some women seem to have to look down on the choices others make? Are they so unhappy with their own lives that they have to berate others for their choices? Are they so self-conscious that others can't do right in their eyes if they not make the same choices?

Why do women have to make lives more difficult for other women?  Why not accept the choice not to have kids, or take into consideration that it possibly was not a choice but a result of circumstances or medical issues. Why not accept that a woman wants to stay home raising children if the family can afford it?  Why not accept that being a mom may simply not fulfill a woman completely, or that it may not be a choice and the additional income is needed to support the family? Why not accept other people's looks without assumptions, criticism, and judgement?

Meeting other people with kindness instead of criticism may make lives for everyone much easier. No matter our choices, I have to admit that I sometimes wonder whether it was right to take that particular path. And meeting random judgement instead of support or constructive criticism can be hard and I often second-guess myself as a result; and even if I am sure of the path I've chosen, being met with open criticism is painful.

Even if we may be insecure and other life choices may prompt us to question our own, being graceful and kind should be the way to go. It's free, and ultimately, good thoughts will make ourselves feel better as well.