Saturday, August 30, 2014

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (63)

Ten Things of Thankful

Last night has not been one of the "good" nights. It was a back and forth between hubby's snoring waking up the baby who, in return, woke up the hubby with his complainy-squeal, and mommy (that's me) did not get any sleep at all. Plus, we're currently taking care of a lot of 5 kids total (no casualties as of now, but hubby and I sure count down the hours until our little guests get to go home), so quiet time is not happening. But still, last week was again full of things to be thankful for!

1. Fall fruit, which translates into yummie streussel cakes!

2. Sleeping in with Calvin. There's nothing better than cuddling up with the little guy after the 6am feeding and sleep another 2 hours or so.

3. Hubby being a gem and taking Violet to kindergarten the last week so that Calvin and I can sleep in.

4. A great afternoon with a friend and her baby, who is only a good month older than Calvin.

5. Cuddling with the girls before getting up in the morning or at bedtime.

6. An awesome and supportive boss. I've been doing the paper work for my extended parental leave last week (I won't be working full time until the little guy is 2) and couldn't remember if we had agreed on an arrangement once I'll work 30-hour weeks again. I called to check what she'd prefer, and she told me just to write down what I prefer and if another arrangement would prove to be a better fit, we'll be flexible and re-arrange my hours.

7. This!!

8. Fall shopping (yes, I've started browsing!)

9. Lily being excited to start first grade. I know, in the years to come there will be plenty of moments when she wishes she wouldn't have to go to school. But right now she can't wait until her first day of elementary school.

10. Getting the furniture delivered on Monday and Tuesday. I've only ordered the furniture for the girls' rooms back in mid-May.. At least, they are going to set everything up for free for us since they went over 6 weeks past the agreed delivery schedule.

What are you especially thankful for this week??

Friday, August 29, 2014

Easy Four

Bath time sometimes is quite a pain in our home. From stalling to undressing in slow-motion to tantrums over having to wash themselves or arguments on whether or not it's a hair wash day.

This evening, we did not only have to get two but four girls ready for bed. Friends of ours who are in the midst of a move asked us to take their girls overnight so they can catch up on their schedule and finish the move on time before hading over the keys to the old place on Sunday.

The two little girls arrived this afternoon; after some drama just before dinner time they played quite nicely until bathtime. We called the girls to brush their teeth, hunted for jammies, fresh undies and socks, ensured that rooms were picked up, set up two beds for our guests, and finally showered four little girls.

And for some reason, this bath time with four girls went smoother than it often is with only our two girls. No arguments or questionings, Violet managed to undress in record time, there was no whining or stalling and in no time, our two little guests called their parents to say good night, I read a story to all of them (no arguments there either!!) and four little girls were put to bed.

So, to the question of the day: Why is it easier to get 4 girls ready for bed than 2??

Anyways, I'm actually looking forward to pancakes for breakfast tomorrow!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Money In Your Pocket

In just 3 short weeks, we'll have a first-grader in our house. As another way to mark that new stage in Lily's life, we plan on starting her on an allowance.

With Lily being our oldest, she oftentimes ends up to be our "lab bunny". We agreed to give her a euro a week for personal necessities like extra candy or, if she decides to save up, a small toy. At the same time, we will probably add a chore to her duties around the house, probably engaging her more in taking care of the dishes (set the table, help loading the dishwasher, etc.).

If you have kids yourself or in your family, when have they first received an allowance? Did the kids have to help out more in exchange or was it a benefit without duties attached? I'd appreciate your thoughts and advice  :-)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (62)

Ten Things of Thankful

Blink. Week over. Yes, I totally stole this from Dyanne, but it's the best to describe this week; and it makes me panic just a tad bit because Calvin is now another week older, and before I know it, our baby won't be a baby any more. And then Lily is graduating, and Violet will move out, and ... I know, I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself now, but still...

Back to the 10 things I am incredibly thankful for this week:

1. Lily enjoying her vaulting class. She looked so natural performing her excercises on the horse, and we're happy to have a holiday gift of more classes for her.

2. Violet being happy spending the mornings home with us while Lily was at her riding class. We played games, did jigsaw puzzles, or read stories.

3. Sleeping through the night. Besides waking up once around 6, Calvin and I slept in until 10:30 in the morning. I so needed that!

4. Cooking dinner with the girls. Lily wanted to make a carrot soup from one of her books for a few days now, and tonight we finally got to it, and it was delicious!

5. Growing closer to hubby with each of the kids. Even though with another baby in the house, there's even less time for just the two of us, but we enjoy even the short moments much more than before we had kids. And seeing him with his children just makes my heart want to burst with love for all of them.

6. My mom and aunt coming over to meet baby Calvin. I haven't seen my aunt in quite a while and we all spent a fun afternoon.

7. Not being confined any more. We went and visited my sister on Monday and went into town for a shopping trip later in the week, enjoying what would be probably the last ic cream outside for the season  :-(

8. Having a tea party with the girls. Lily and Violet prepared coffee and pancakes and set the table in Violet's room. SO cute!!!

9. Going out. A colleague had invited me to a traditional German pre-wedding party and I attended with Calvin. It was great getting out of the house, connecting with some colleagues, eat yummie food, and show our adorable little boy around  :-)

10. A hubby who shares the household chores without complaining. And he even does a really good job  :-)  Yes, I know I'm lucky!  We have a clean house now!!!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Waiting For Fall

Somehow it seems as if this year, the seasons are about a month ahead of how it should be. In late March, the girls and I had our first picnic of the year at the playground, wearing short sleeves, which is very, very unusual of Germany. And now, in mid-August, the hight of summer, it basically feels like September. Lily has been asking me when Calvin gets to wear his cute little summer outfits. As it looks now, he won't be wearing them at all  :-(

On the upside, we're definitely entering my favorite season! I am looking forward to this season all year long. I can't wait for the foliage to turn into all possible colors, take walks in the forest to collect leaves, acorns, and chestnuts for crafts, fall cuisine, Halloween with trick-or-treating with the girls, the lantern parades, and in a few months one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving.

Our plans for the coming months:

- visiting my colleague at her alottment with the girls and help her harvesting her apples and giant zucchini.
- going shopping with Lily for her first-day-of-school outfit.
- spending a day at the wildlife park.
- visit my friend in Munich.
- making it to the corn maze before it gets cut down in mid-September.
- taking the girls horseback-riding.
- buying a kite and take it out with the kids.

Am I excited? Totally  :-)  What are your plans for fall?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What We're Up To - First Week With Baby

I can't believe that it's been a week already that we've welcomed our little boy into our family. And even though I've done my best to rest to recover from the birth, we've been busy to run some essential errands and also received the first visitors to meet little Calvin:

On Tuesday, we receive the first visit from the midwife (did I mention that I love this woman??) and relax a lot. I get to take a long afternoon nap with Calvin, which I really needed after basically not sleeping at all during the night of Sunday to Monday.

On Wednesday (the EDD), Calvin had his second well-baby visit and we ventured out for the first time as a family of five. Calvin is doing well, his hip sonogram looked great and he only lost a little bit of weight. The midwife also did the newborn screening for metabolic disorders. Since we haven't heard back from the lab so far, we assume that he tested negative on everything. Lily went to a birthday party and baby Calvin received his first visitor, Lily's friends' mom who was kind enough to take Lily to and from the party.

On Thursday, poor Calvin spent over an hour of crying during the morning because of a tummy ache. It's fairly difficult to burp him, so we know we need to watch that more carefully. In the afternoon, Lily had a friend over to play while I played board games with Violet while Calvin slept on my arm.

On Friday, the midwife came over again; Calvin had almost reached his birth weight again. Later in the morning, we ventured out to Forchheim to submit all our documents to have Calvin's birth certificate issued. We had lunch in town before heading back home. In the afternoon, a family friend came visit to meet Calvin and we all had a great time.

On Saturday, we all ventured out grocery shopping for the first time. I spent the afternoon laying on our bed cuddling Calvin and enjoying his newborn smell. Pretty low-key day for us, time to relax and unwind.

On Sunday, my mom and aunt came over to meet Calvin. The girls were so excited to see Oma, as usual. It was a pretty relaxed visit as we didn't stress out about having the house in perfect condition. Unfortunately, my dad felt under the weather and did not come out.

On Monday, we went to visit my sister to look at her new home and run some errands in my former home town. As a surprise, my dad also came over! My sister loved to see Calvin again, and my dad is so in love with his first grandson. The girls played with their cousin all afternoon long; it was loud, but the girls did fairly well as a three-some. We came home late, had grilled cheese for dinner and a quick bedtime. I was so exhausted that I fell asleep on the drive home a couple of times and also while watching TV with Calvin. I probably should take more breaks!

Today, we finally received the birth certificates, so we can start all the paperwork registering in our town, applying for the monthly government child benefits, the parental leave benefits, and his insurance card. Calvin also had his newborn hearing test today and passed wonderfully. Lily started her 4-day horse riding class and also had her last appointment with her ergotherapist with a laughing and a crying eye. In the afternoon, Lily went to play with a friend while I did board and card games with Violet and Calvin cuddled with Daddy. Violet and I took Calvin out in his stroller for the first time to buy dinner.

Even though it is stressful sometimes, and there's definitely some guilt on my end over not being able to give the girls the attention the need, we have definitely settled into our new life with baby. The girls are in love with their brother and a big help watching him so I can take a shower or brush my teeth in peace. I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for us. Next week, Violet will go back to kindergarten, and only a few weeks later, Lily will have her first day of first grade. Life definitely won't be boring for us any time soon!