Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Bad And The Ugly

I feel like I'm walking down a dead-end road these days. I'm just out of it, going through low-level panick attacks that sometimes last for days. I cannot sleep, I'm over-worked, stressed out, and in a serious depressive phase. At the moment, I just feel like I'm missing my life. I'm going through the motions, doing everything that is expected from me (or at least try my best), but feel, as if my life is passing by me and I'm missing it all.

I see so many people just doing what they want, no matter if it's smart, or reasonable, or responsible, and they are being rewarded for it. This one time in the last year that I have gone out of my comfort zone is biting us in the butt big time right now. Our house (or what is supposed to be our house at some point) is causing trouble after trouble; on top, we have Richard's health issues, so it's all on me again. And I just want to break down and cry. I'm feeling the weight getting heavier and heavier by the day, but I cannot get out, because I have responsibility towards my family.

I thought about seeing a therapist again, but I simply don't have the time to do so, if I want to see the girls at all. There is the option of medication, but I have made the commitment to myself long ago that I would not put those chemicals in my body ever again. During the last weeks, I've been drawing on my stores, and now they are nothing but empty, but there's no way out right now.

While I think that way, the guilt comes. Why are you thinking like that? Be happy you have a wonderful husband; there are plenty of people out there who are by themselves and wish to have a partner by their side. Be greatful that you have two wonderful, healthy children; many wonderful couples out there struggle or have given up on ever hearing little feet tap through the house. You're lucky to have such a great job; look at the job market and tell me why you think you are in such a bad place?

And here I am, in the dead-end between not knowing how to get out of bed tomorrow morning and carry on while dealing with the incredible guilt for feeling the way I do. Maybe I just miss the sun; probably, once summer hits, the depression will lift and I'll be able to pick myself out of the hole. Things will come together, the surgeries will be fine, the house will eventually be built, and next year, a new year will come. But right now, I am where I am, struggling to keep my head above the water while all I want to do is giving up.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Some Q&A Fun

Jen over at The Adventures Of Our Army Life posted this set of questions open to her readers to take part. Since I have absolutely nothing original to say today (i.e. brain fried), I'm letting you in on some fun facts about me and my family:

1. How did your husband pop the big question?
Well, I just wrote a little about his proposal on a post about the beautiful ring he gave to me a little over a week after he poped the big question. He had asked me on our second date, if I would go back to the States with him when he would have to leave a mere 8 month from that time. I agreed, and we started planning the wedding, or actually, getting his paper work together. Germans LOVE their paper work! But even though we were planning out our future together, he had not actually asked the question. Since the holidays and New Year were ahead of us, I assumed he was waiting for a special day. Well, this special day was a Friday. I had come to his place after my classes and we were awaiting one of his friends for dinner. Suddenly, he noticed that we were out of toilet paper (so romantic, right??) and we rushed to put on our shoes and jackets to run to the Shopette on post before his friend arrived. I was getting ready, when he suddenly said: "Wait a second!". I turned around to him as he went down on his knee, took my hand and asked me the question. I knew it was coming at some point, but was so surprised, and I bawled like a baby. Of course, I said "yes", standing there with one shoe on!

2. What are the three most surprising things about married life?
Difficult question. First, I guess, to realize what "for better and for worse" really means. We have had some rough patches in our marriage, but always worked it out. There were moments when walking out might have seemed the easiest way, but I cannot imagine being without that man any more, so there is nothing as bad as being without him!
Second, that relationships to get better with age. I have gotten to know him so well, we sometimes don't even have to say a word but still know what the other one thinks or wants to say. Even on random stuff, it's so funny sometimes!
Third, I'd say that I am really surprised that this guy managed to deal with me for over 7 years!!  :-)

3. How did you find out you were pregnant for the first time?
I was eating pickles and salsa by the spoon, so the hubby thought it would be a good idea to ask the stick-gods for their opinion. I took the test first thing in the morning on a Sunday and way to nervous to look at it. Richard had to go and check for the result, and when he told me, I jumped on the bed  :-)

4. How did you choose your first baby's name?
Honestly? We chose it on our first date  :-)  We were talking kid's names; my favorite girl's name was Lily, his Miranda, and we thought that it sounds nice together. That was back in the day when no-one would call their kid "Lily"; three years later, it had become an "in"-name without me even knowing, because I never researched girl's names during the pregnancy as we had already decided.

5. Describe where you see yourself in 10 years.
Well, by then, the German bureaucracy will hopefully have allowed us to build our house, so definitely living in our own little slice of house. I would like to have at least one promotion under my belt by then (it's not that easy at my work to get promotions, it's more like applying for a higher-grade job) and hopefully made our Violet a big sister, too. But basically, I just wish for all of us to be happy and healthy.

6. Describe how you find bliss using words or images.
Well, there's waking up to a huge Violet-kissy in the morning, getting a surprise little back-rub from the hubby, having Lily run me over with a big hug after stepping in the apartment after work. My family is my life and bliss..

I'd like to invite any and all of you to join in the fun and answer those few question!! Enjoy!

If you have any other questions for me, just ask and I'd be happy to answer them in an upcoming post!!
Ask and I'll answer!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Social - Something About Childhood

Sunday Social

Linking up with Ashley on Ashley Lately for Sunday Social. This week, Ashley thought up some childhood questions I probably wouldn't have thought about, but they are certainly fun to answer:


1. Did you sleepwalk as a child?
No, I didn't. But since my uncle did as a child (he once jumped out of his bedroom window), my mom put on window locks in all of our bedroom windows  :-)
 
2. Did you ever try to run away or sneak out of your house?
I had thought about running away a few times, but never actually did it. I didn't ever sneak out of the house per se, but wasn't always where my parents thought I was.
 
3. Did you have any imaginary friends?
I don't remember having any real imaginary friends. I imagined my favorite stuffed animal to be alive, but not quite to the "Calvin and Hobbes" degree.
 
4. Did you ever go toilet papering?
No, not really a German thing. Unless you mean the party game of wrapping the team partner in layers of toilet paper like a mummy, that was fun!
 
5. Did you ever sneak tv shows you weren't allowed to watch?
Oh, totally. My mom didn't want us to watch TV, so most of the shows I watched, especially in the afternoon, I sneaked in.
 
Looking forward to next weeks Social!

Weekend Recap

Another weekend is over. And how exciting it was!

Friday:
I had to work late again. I introduced one of my colleagues to Erlangen's famous Eishaus (ice cream place with the most amazing flavors!) during my lunch break though. When I finally got home, I found a letter from the district building commission in the mail box. More issues to deal with! Luckily, the developer of the subdivision is taking care of it and I hope to finally receive good news about the building application by the end of May. Lily had her first ever sleep-over at a friend's house, and was set and ready to head out as soon as I opened the door. Definitely a bitter-sweet moment, the girls grow up so quickly! Violet was very upset about her sister not being home for bed time and ended up sleeping in Lily's bed to feel better. Later in the evening, we had our friends over for another night of D-20 Modern; lots of fun, as usual!

Saturday:
Violet and I went shopping in the morning before picking up Lily from her friend's house. Those girls have barely slept!! Later that morning, Lily, Violet, and I baked a whole bunch of chocolate chip cookies; all the chocolate easter bunnies are gone now! My parents came over for Lily's kindergarten open-door event. The motto was "media", and the kids had put so much effort into it. Each classroom had a different exhibit, from picture books the kids had made, to an exhibit on message transmission from 1900 until today, musicals, audio books, movies, etc. Lily's new classroom was also officially opened. The highlight (at least for me) was the group of older kids dancing the "Gangnam Style", it was SO much fun watching them. Our mayor was supposed to dance with them but had to cancel due to a pressing engagement, bummer. Lily's class created a journal of the building of the new rooms with illustrations and pictures they took themselves and also shot a documentary about it. Needless to say, it was a busy day and everyone was so tired at the end of the day. Lily fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. Richard played a game with his friend online and I finished some laundry and read my book until I fell asleep.
One of the two pages Lily designed on "Electricity"


Sunday:
Violet cuddles with us until 9am!! It's so good to sleep in for once. We all had breakfast and cleaned the house a little. I watched the Sunday noon fairy tale movie with the girls before making lunch. The afternoon was spent crafting, drawing pictures, and watching Wallace & Gromit, definitely a lazy day! The girls and I snacked on cookies and milk before cooking dinner. We had a broccoli and cauliflower cheesy caserole and turkey steaks for Richard and the girls. Yummie! After bath and bedtime, Richard and I watched the new "Doctor Who" episode. Love "Doctor Who"!

On to a new week! Monday, we'll meet with the oral surgeon to determine the treatment plan for Richard and Thursday, Violet is hitting yet another huge mile stone: our baby is starting kindergarten!! I'm so excited for her to go, but I'm a little sad as well; won't be able to tell myself that she's my baby for much longer...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Modern Cooking - Vegetable Couscous (New Recipe April)

I spent most of today at Lily's kindergarten party. Unfortunately, the weather was pretty bad, so all the fun had to be moved inside. Therefore, I just felt the urge to share my latest go-to comfort food: couscous! My husband bought the pre-cooked one, so it is amazingly easy and quick to cook. I love it because it provides and awesome last-minute dinner that's also nutricious and healthy!

Vegetable Couscous
Ingredients:
2 large carrots, chopped
3-4 scallions (white and green parts), chopped
5 large brown mushrooms, cut in bite-sized pieces
garlic (to taste)
2-1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup pre-cocked couscous
olive oil, freshly ground pepper, lemon jouce

Place couscous in a large bowl. Bring vegetable broth to a rolling boil, pour over couscous, and cover. Heat some olive oil in a skillet and cook garlic, carrots, and scallions until just a little bit browned but still firm. Add mushrooms and let cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add vegetables to the couscous (it will have absorbed all the liquid by now) and stir. Season with pepper and a splash of lemon juice.

Enjoy by itself or as a delicious side to chicken or steak. You can use about any vegetable you have on hand, so it is also a dish to go to to clear out the veggy compartment in your fridge.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The One

I saw this at Susannah's page (the awesome lady behind Simple Moments Stick) and just HAD to jump the band wagon:


The topic of this month is The Ring. I would like to share the story of my special ring with you:

Background:
I had been engaged twice before meeting Richard. The first time, we were kids and madly in love. He never actually proposed per se, but he had been talking about marriage and we were committed to eloped once I'd turn 18; needless to say, there was no ring. He was a really good guy, but life just lead us apart, him back to the US and Iraq, and me on to college in Germany. A few years later, my second engagement happened, he actually proposed several times, on his knees. Well, it fell apart in a big mess; no ring involved there either.

Two year later, I met Richard online, and a week later in person. From the very first moment I knew that he was the one; he asked me on our second date if I would come to the States with him and we started talking about our wedding, but he had not officially proposed yet. One Friday, we were hanging out at his place, waiting for his friend to come over for dinner. Richard noticed that he had run out of toilet paper (just saying it as it is), so we got ready to head out to the shoppette really quick to get some more. I was just putting my shoes on, when he said: Wait a minute! - I turned around and he went down on his knees asking me to marry him. I was bawling, standing there with one shoe on... It had been spontaneous on his side, so again there was no ring yet, because he had not found The One yet.

The Ring:
Since Richard hadn't found anything online and at the tiny on-post jewelry store, we headed out the next day to go ring shopping in Bamberg. I wanted it to be a ring from HIM to ME, so I did not want to get involved in what he picked but only acted as a translator for him. We had agreed on white gold, since we also would get matching wedding bands later. Several stores later, he still hadn't found what he was looking for. He didn't it to be just a generic ring. Eventually, we ended up in this tiny store run by a gold smith. Richard looked around and ended up ordering a ring to be made especially for me. He picked out the band and stone and explained how he imagined to setting to be.

It took another week until he went on his knee again, on an icy Sunday evening in December, and putting the second-most important ring on my finger. It was perfect and showed all the thought he had put in it. It was simple and classic, yet still unique and special. It was all me!

I had been asked in the past when I looked at jewelry if I was on the look for an upgrade for my ring. No, I'm not! I don't have a huge stone, but I have what I wanted, and I'll wear this ring for the rest of my life, because this is the ring he gave me as symbol for his heart over 7 years ago, and no other ring will ever be able to match that.

The Ring with our wedding bands

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Things That Made My Day

These weeks are pretty hard. Last week, I had 3 people missing that share my responsibilities (or those that I used to have) plus a few scheduled processes going on. I've been putting in overtime every day, and still the work is piling up. But today, when I just saw the tail lights of my bus and I knew I had another 15 minutes to wile away at the bus stop, I sat down and tried to focus on everything that's getting my spirits up these days.

Well, SPRING has finally made it's way to Germany. Yes, it's finally here, and almost at a point of early summer (even though rumor has it that the weekend is going to be rainy and cold again).

And spring for me means more than a little more sun and daylight savings time. With spring comes green, and scented air, and colorful flowers everywhere. The cafes put their tables outside again, the ice cream places open, and the playgrounds are populated again. Spring elates me!

This is what spring means to me:
Lace ballet flats by H&M
 I simply love ballet flats. But since I do a bit of walking around in town almost every day they are not all too practical during the winter months. So once the days are getting warmer, I am using a lunch break to buy the flats for the season. Love my flats!


Vanilla ice cram coffe (image by Feneberg Fotografie)
It's a German thing, but I bet you all would love it! You cannot imagine my disappointment when I ordered an iced coffee during my first week in the States and what I got was plain coffee with ice cubes. Well, I've grown used to it, but it still can't beat the German iced coffee: vanilla ice cream with coffee and a little bit of cream and cocoa powder on top. Yummie!!

Erlangen's palace gardens in spring (image by Erlangen Info)
Yes, people, this is my town. I have moved here as a 19-year old student. I have moved far and often just to come back to this place. I cannot tell you how much I love this town!

And most of all I love about spring:

Playground in WA
Yes! Most about spring I love heading outside again. During the cold months I miss taking the girls to the playground after dinner. And today was the first of hopefully many of these evenings! I love their laughs, I love them getting excited about the swing and slides, I love to chase them over the greens, and once the fountain is on again, to splash with them, build dams and little lakes.

Happy spring everyone!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Almost Pee'd Myself

The hubby didn't have a good day today. Violet's having issues going on the potty for #2 these days; he did not have one dirty pair of undies but TWO to clean today. So, when he needed a break badly, he went to check out the forums on the internet he usually contributes in (or reads) and found this:
Hoott!!
Something tells me that "Maximilian" points and laughs at "Hootie" every single day, poor guy!

This picture just completely cracked me up and I had to share. I was laughing so hard I was laying down on our bed. I don't know if I alost pee'd myself laughing or because Violet thought it was a good time to play trampoline on my bladder. Hope this picture brings at least a smile to your face as well!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Modern Cooking - Veggy Chili (New Recipe March)

I have made some goals I want to achieve before heading into a new decade. One of them was to try one new recipe every month in the coming year. Now I noticed that April is almost over and I haven't even posted the meal I cooked in March yet!

So, since I am not eating meat, I tried a vegetarian chili from scratch.

Veggy Chili
Ingredients:
2 bell peppers (green and yellow), chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 can sweet corn
1 can kidney beans
1 can pureed tomatoes
salt, freshly-ground pepper, a tiny pinch of sugar, green tabasco sauce, olive oil

Heat olive in a pan. Sautee onions until slightly browned. Add carrots and later the bell peppers. Add pureed tomatoes, corn, and beans. season and simmer for about an hour. Season again to taste.

Serve with fresh tortillas, french bread, or rice and sprinkle with grated cheese (major cheese lover here!!)

I hope you enjoy the chili!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weekend Recap

Weekend is almost over again. For most people doing exciting stuff all the time, it would have been boring. For me, at least Sunday was pretty awesome.

Friday:
 I worked late, like almost every day of the months so far; we were 3 out of 11 people in the office. We had leftovers of Richard's awesome tofu lasagna for dinner. I was briefed that Lily would have her first ever sleep-over next week. How exciting!! Richard and I had a movie night, watching "The Woman In Black" with Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe. Highly recommend the movie! I finally folded the three or so loads of laundry I had lying around and read a little before bed.

Saturday:
I did some sleeping in, with some interruptions of making a quick breakfast for the girls and changing Violet from her night-time diaper to her undies. The morning is somewhat blurry, since I was not feeling well. Didn't manage to eat or have a coffee until about noon-time. I had some me-time reading my magazine while watching the girls play with the new stamp set Violet got for her birthday from her aunt. After lunch we spent some time at our very private rock concert (i.e. Richard practicing bass on Rocksmith). Violet did her usual singing and dancing, and we cheered. Lily took a nap and Violet did her usual following me around. In the afternoon, we all went to the store to buy the groceries for the rest of the weekend. I was very excited to find local strawberries for the first time! We cooked chicken breast and couscous with veggies for dinner; I have never cooked with couscous, but I love it! After the girls had gone to bed, I read my book until I fell asleep over it.

Sunday:
Violet woke me up with the most sweetest little kisses anyone can imagine! I picked up breakfast from the bakery around the corner for family breakfast. We did some cleaning and sorted the girls wardrobes, stored all the winter clothes and put out the spring/summer clothes; later, I watched The Program With The Mouse (absolutely awesome show for children that I had watched as a girl) with the girls. After lunch we did some relaxing before heading out for a walk to enjoy the nice weather. We headed over to the other side of town to see the progress on our lot. The trees and shrubbery was to be removed and the ground leveled for building. The work had not progressed as far as we hoped, and some littering had taken place, about which we were pretty annoyed. But we could see exactly where our house will be build within the coming year. It's definitely exciting! Afterward, we enjoyed some coffee with vanilla ice cream (ice cream and fresh strawberries for the girls) on the porch. The first afternoon snack on the porch is always again special! Hopefully, we will enjoy this moment in our own yard next year! We had veggy pasta salad for dinner. Doctor Who is available for watching, so the Mr. and I have our Sunday night entertainment once the second little one has turned in for the night.

Yummie strawberries
On to another week, looking forward to next weekend  :-)

Sunday Social Today

Sunday Social

Linking up for Sunday Social with Ashley at Ashley Lately. Here are this week's questions:

1. What is your shopping weakness?
H&M  :-) I usually always find something cute for the girls or a nice, inexpensive , simple shirt for me there. My wardrobe is all about basics.

2. What is your food weakness?
Anything sweet. And spaghetti with tomato sauce. It is my favorite go-to comfort food, and always brightens a hard day.
3. What is your go to movie to watch when nothing is on?
Hard to say, it depends on the mood. Most of the time I don't watch anything at all and rather go read a book or surf the internet. The other day I watched "The Graduate", solely for the soundtack, and bcause Dustin Hoffman was indeed attractive at 30 (apart from the hight).
4. What is your go to breakfast food?
When I'm home and don't have time I usually just have a bowl of cereal. At work, I just had nutella sandwiches (or low-fat cream cheese and jelly, if I feel guilty about starting my day with nutella)
 
5. Do you drink coffee? If so, how do you take it?
Love coffee! At weekends, usually a triple espresso with steamed milk and three sugars. During the week just regular coffee with about 1/3rd of milk and 2 sugars to go.
 
Birthday morning coffee (2012)
 Thank you for the awesome questions, Ashley! Looking forward to reading all the other answers!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Of Comedy And Tragedy

As I write here, Richard is playing on the computer next to me. His game has a super-computer in it that constantly offends the player in one or the other way. Well, one of it was that piece of philosophic algebra:

Comedy = Tragedy + Time

Image by Anni Murray

And once again, my mind went wandering. How many events in my past seemed like utter tragedy and possibly the end of the world at the time, but in hindsight, whether it is five minutes, an hour, or 10 years later.

I remember all the break-ups with boyfriends in the past. Some were mutual, some initiated by me, but mostly I was plain and simply dumped. Of these, some I got over quickly, others brought me to tears thinking about it even years later. About some of them I laugh today, because the guys were laughable at best, in hindsight. But I'm thankful to all of them, since without it I would not be married to the most wonderful guy in the world today.

Many years ago, in my early 20s, I have read a journal I had written about 10 years earlier. Oh, and all my worries and the little tragedies of my daily life as a 14-year old were somewhere between funny and embarrasing, believe me!

I am also watching this in the girls. Sometimes, the smallest things can be a catastrophe, exclaiming that this is so horrible and will destroy their lives (well, the latter is more Lily, Violet is not quite as dramatic). Today, Lily asked if she could have a Princess Lillifee bike like her friend has. I told her no, but she would get a different bike. Needless to say, the disappointment and tragedy that has followed, but I'm sure once she's presented with "her" bike, she'll be happy beyond anything.

It is said that time writes history, not necessarily events. If one compares history books about the First World War from the 30s and 40s with the ones today, history will have changed. I would love to see a history book from 100 years into the future on our time to see how it is perceived by then, events like the Iraq War, the Arabian Spring, the Economic Crisis.

What kind of history book would you like to read? Have you written journals and read them years later? What is your opinion of your younger self?

SO Cool!


Finish the Sentence Friday


Linking up with Kate at Can I Get Another Bottle Of Whine for Finish the Sentence Friday. This week's awesome sentence to finish:

I thought I was SO cool when... I would have braces and play the recorder. Yes, that's what I considered the coolest thing when I was a second-grader. Not much later I actually had to meet up with the orthodontist and got a retainer. Not nearly as cool as braces. And a year later, I signed up for recorder classes Tuesday morning before school. And, let me tell you, 10 third-graders semi-simultaneously feeping away on their recorders may be one of the reasons why I am completely tone-deaf.

I eventually got my braces to give me a somewhat pretty smile again, after having my jaw widened and two teeth pulled to make place for my canines to come in. And again, it wasn't cool. But just felt like sharing some insight into a 7-year old brain  :-)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

No Top Gun

I have a problem with guns. I’ve never particularly liked them, even though I was quite a good shot with both the air pistol and rifle during my active time at pentathlon. My love is more for traditional weapons like swords, knives, and traditional Eastern martial arts weapons; basically weapons that dated back to an age when war still meant man against man in close combat, when it was still bloody, dirty, grisly business, before killing was de-humanized to be only a move of a finger to pull a trigger or push a button. Nowadays, war and killing has even become little more than a computer game, where kids, who have grown up with joy-sticks or controllers in hand, steer unmanned drones on a screen to deliver the blow.


I do have a problem with the Second Amendment and public gun ownership. I hope that most of you will agree with me that there are some people out there that simply should not own a weapon, no matter what the Constitution says. I don’t think that introducing gun control would decrease gun crime, since most crimes are committed with stolen or illegally-acquired weapons. But there is definitely a pattern of carelessness among gun owners.

Two very sad incidences during this last week show that: a little 4-year old boy shoots and kills the wife of a Tennessee deputy. According to preliminary investigations, the owner had shown his weapons to his friends as the woman and child joined them. At some point, the boy must have picked up a weapon and shot the woman
Another tragic accident happened just days apart when another 4-year old boy shoots his 6-year old friend with a .22 rifle; the 6-year old dies a day later from the head shot.
These tragedies show clearly, that a change of mind has to take place. Everyone is talking about the RIGHT to own firearms, no-one about the responsibility that comes with it. I have no problem if a person buys a gun, takes the proper training classes to be able to handle the weapon safely and stores it in an appropriate safety closet, unloaded and saved. Responsible gun owners keep their weapons out of reach of children and teach them the responsible handle of weapons once they are old enough. I cannot understand why people see their need to keep loaded weapons lying around. Is there any sense in owning semi-automatic weapons in a private household, as happened in the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut last December? Spontaneously, besides the mere right to do so, I don’t see any reason why.

In Germany, we have very strict gun laws. We still have gun crime, but much fewer spontaneous shootings, because it is very difficult to legally obtain a gun. I do fell safer here. I don’t think I would feel safe and comfortable in my house if I knew that there was a gun. I have knives that are well out-of reach of the girls. I have been trained in martial arts, and even though I am more than rusty, I know I would be able to use it should there ever be the need. 
Why only is the weapon lobby in the US so adamant against more gun control? Law-abiding citizens would have little to nothing to fear. Why not introducing a limitation on the number of functioning weapons one can buy? Why not limiting the type of weapons one can own without special permits? Is the arguments still about freedom or has it become fanaticism? 
I would love to hear your opinions on that matter!
 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Loving My Children

Channel-surfing for tonight's entertainment, I came across My Sister's Keeper. The first few minutes of the movie had me sold. For everyone who doesn't know the movie: an 11-year old girl, Anna, is suing her parents to gain medical emancipation. As the story goes on, backflashed from the point of view of different family members draw a picture of hope, desperation, and cruelty. The family's older daughter, Kate,  is diagnosed with leukemia as a child and neither her parents nor her brother qualify as bone marrow donors; they decide to have another child, designed to be a genetic match to her sister. Anna is shipped from procedure to procedure, until one day, when her mother wants to force her to donate her kidney, she decides to put a stop to it.

Source: IMDb
Being a mother I can understand Sara, the mother in the movie, who does everything to save her beloved child's life. What I cannot fathom is how she can put her other daughter through so much pain and suffering. Did she ever love her designer baby, or did she distance herself from Anna from the beginning to be able to go through with the plan. But how can one carry a child for nine months and not love them like crazy and would give the world for them to be healthy and happy?

Violet was not planned, and I had a very hard time accepting the pregnancy at first, but when I first saw her wiggling around on an ultrasound picture, I fell in love so hard, I have no words for it. From this moment on, I knew that she was meant to be with us. But despite that, I was still finding myself sitting at Lily's bed at night, crying and wondering how I could ever love another child the way I loved our girl. Then, I held our Violet in my arms for the first time. She was still a little squeezed up from her little journey, but there she was, this tiny little baby, and it felt as if I had always had the two of them. I love them both so much; they have taught me that I can love them both equally but in very different way, since they are both so different in every respect.

So I know a little about having a much anticipated child, and one that was not planned at first. I could never imagine not loving them both. It was heartbreaking how Sara confronted Anna about being selfish for not giving one of her kidneys to Kate. She kept arguing that Anna never minded helping Kate and having the procedures done; a flashback showed Brian, the dad, carrying Anna as a pre-schooler to the operation table, kicking and screaming and fighting. I once had to hold Lily down to have a medical procedure done. She was very, very sick and seriously dehydrated, but still she fought as hard as she could when they tried over and over again to get an IV-needle in her little, dried-out body. I was able to do it because I knew that she needed it to save her life, and I knew that I needed to be the one by her side. I could have never done it otherwise.

I hope that I will never have to be in the situation having to say good-bye to one of my daughters, having to go a much harder path with them, giving them hope when I am losing it myself. But I know that I could never hurt one of my children to save the other.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

This And That

I'm back in the daily business I guess. Not much exciting to report from this end any more since my vacation is clearly over. While the first week just flew by with trying to get my in-box under control, this week just seems to drag on forever. Lily asked me yesterday if today would be Friday. I wished, my live, I wished... But instead of going on about what's not happening, I should probably focus on what IS going on around here:

Well, the sickness has taken over the house. Both girls are sick with seriously stuffed noses and a bad, dry cough. Violet has been having fever bouts the last few nights, which turned the parent front to somewhat sleep-deprived zombies *cooooffeeeeeee*. I'm obviously not used to getting up several times a night any more. To improve our odds for a somewhat restful night for everyone, Violet received a preventive dose of tylenol before bed. It really helped last night, but that was at 2 am.

Spring is finally here! Actually, the last two days were in the 70s, almost summer weather! We really hope the girls will get better soon so they can go out and enjoy the weather. And I hope my colleague is coming back from her much-deserved vacation soon, so I can stop doing over-time every day and take the girls to the playground for an hour after dinner!

Since it's at least spring, I've gone up to the attic yesterday to put the winter shoes in storage and bring down the spring/summer footwear. Yes, today was my first day in ballet flats this year. And to top it off, my colleage treated us all to the first ice cream of the season. And if that wasn't enough, the weather gods decided to also bring us the first summer thunderstorm in the late afternoon. I cannot tell you how wonderful the air smelled! Yes, I am even excited about a thunderstorm these days, the vitamin D of the last days is doing its job!

Oh, and a teeny tiny update on the house: the developer of the subdivision is meeting with the town this week or next to discuss the details for the sewer and drainage. If we're lucky, there will be  an officially recorded map soon, which will be important for us to start building before the storm sewer is actually built. Oh dear, I'm excited about a storm sewer...

I'm off now, catching up on some much-needed zzz's. Good night, everyone!

Monday, April 15, 2013

*BLEEP*storm

I am a lover of the written word. I have read hundreds of books; I have become a translator because of my love for words and the fact that I am simply not anywhere near creative enough to write a book myself (but dream of translating one). I'd rather read than watch a movie and a beautiful piece of writing can evoke the entire range of emotions in me. If you want to know what I mean, heck out the writing of the wonderful Chantel or Jessica's beautiful poems.

Having said that, I have a new pet peeve: the word "shitstorm". Yes, I said it. I cannot hear it any more, I cannot read it any more. Since when is it acceptable to use a word like that in the media? And I'm not talking some trash paper but even political magazines. I cannot believe it! Is it really necessary? Why is it all of a sudden not just acceptable but almost fashionable to use this word (and I am talking German media!)? It's not cool, it's not funny, and it's definitely not clever! It's trashy, nothing more.

Immediate disqualification!

I have to admit, that there is a time and a place even for four-letter words, but I simply cannot stand casual use of them. And yes, there may also be a time and a place for the *bleep*storm, but it's taking over. A *bleep*storm about a referee's decision during a soccer game, a *bleep*storm on some star's comment, a *bleep*storm after some immature crooner's entry in a guest book. I'm done! Seriously, what's wrong with "storm of outrage", or "outcry of rage", or whatever, but *bleep*storm?? Really?

Dear Journalists:

I kindly ask you to remember your profession. Fecal teenager-lingo is not appropriate for publication! It is not fit or archiving and I would not appreciate if the first word my daughter can spell after her name is *bleep*storm.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Stephanie

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Team Rumelstiltskin

I love fairy tales, I really do! And I'm so happy that the girls are reaching the age where they start to truly appreciate the stories. This morning, we watched the Sunday fairy tale movie on TV, which happened to be Rumelstiltskin. And I wonder: did anyone ever feel sorry about this poor guy? Well, I do!

Rumplestiltskin, illustrated by Walter Crane
To see the story from his point of view: There's this poor creature living all by himself in the woods, probably outcast by society due to the way he looks. The only thing he has going for him is his magic powers. Then one night, he hears the cries for help from this girl, who has been locked in a tower and is supposed to spin straw into gold. Obviously, no normal human can do that, so Rumpelstiltskin helps out, all of three times. The first time, he asks for the girl's ring, the second time for her necklace, and the third time, as she has nothing to offer him, he asks for her first child she has once she's queen. Each time she complies, without even thinking twice, even when he asks for the baby. He helps her out and saves her life.

The girl, however, never mentioning the help she had, is marrying the king and forgets all about the little creature that saved her life, until the day he returns to pick up the child she had promised him.

Yes, I do understand as a mother that most women would not just give up their children; however, she doesn't even try to find a solution. So Rumpelstiltskin gives her three days to find out his name in order to keep her child, meaning he gives her three more days with her child that years ago she has sold to him in exchange for her own life (he doesn't see a chance that she will actually find out his name). Since she has massive resources at hand now as queen, she indeed finds out his name, which sends the poor guy straight into hell.

The last scene is actually a common motif in mythology that a spirit can be banned by saying his name. I wonder, why did no-one ever try to find a real compromise. Why did no-one ever had the idea to invite Rumpelstiltskin to live at court, as he has indeed saved the life of the queen three times. That would have probably helped with his loneliness and solved th dilemma in the end.

Well, I at least feel sorry for that guy sometimes since there are always different takes on a story and no-one ever seems to care for his side of it. Maybe this whole post is non-sense and no-one cares, but I think that I really am Team Rumpelstiltskin, and not Team Queen  :-)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

My Husband's A Genius!

Today was a busy day! I did some baking for the neighbor as a "thank you" for helping us out with the car a few weeks ago. And I got to meet a blogger friend, Adrienne, in real life. It was certainly exciting. We had Starbucks and walked through town just enjoying the nice weather.

Since TV sucks today, I plugged in "The Graduate", because I seriously love the sound track (and I do think Dustin Hoffman looked hot at 30, if also very small). Well, do you remember the last scene of the movie, where Ben and Elaine run away from her wedding. In Germany, we have a weird wedding custom, the bridal kidnapping, where the girls kidnap the bride from the reception and go on a bar hopping spree. The husband and his groom's men try to track them down, picking up the tabs the girls have left for them in the bars.
Saturday night entertainment

The other day, we were hanging out with friends talking, when the topic came to the wedding we're going to attend this summer and said custom. Suddenly, Richard suggested: you girls should do that!

Well, I'm a little slow, so I mused that I don't know my way around the town where my friend is going to get married, when suddenly, it dawned on me.. Who needs a REAL bride and a groom's party to follow? Well, you can only do that once in any given town, but it would be a somewhat fun thing to do.. And the best thing, I know girls who would totally be in on that  :-)



PS: no, I am not seriously planning on just "drink and dash", that would be a crime; but a girl can have a littly crazy thoughts sometime  :-)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Gaming Friday

I'm experiencing withdrawal; it's been over a month since we've played our table-top role playing game. But today is the day again!!

For everyone who's interested: we're currently playing a campaign of D-20 Modern. The setting is a small Maryland college town in the mountains. There's murder, there's mystery (any former Buffy fans here??), and there's an unlikely band of people trying their best to solve the riddle and save their own lives that is threatened by the Slender Man.

To be honest, this might just be game I'm most involved in. I still have to get familiar with the game mechanics as it is different than D&D 4th edition, and sometimes it's frustrating, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it soon.

We have just lost the only other girl in our round due to a break-up, so I'll have to fend for myself again, but hope to have another friend join our circle of nerds, soon!

Keep your fingers crossed I don't die!

The Slender Man (by Ray-Kanen)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thirsty Thursday - Ohhh Bootylicious!

Obviously MARvelous

Linking up once again with Mar for Thirsty Thursday.

I'm so excited to share a piece of very, very shallow news: Yesterday I bought THE SHOES!! I've been visiting them in the store for a few weeks, trying to figure out if they are going to love me back, and then I just went out and got them with my birthday money from my parents.

LOVE

And because I'm an excited girl, I wore them to work today. Yes, it was torture but SO worth it (of course, I did NOT bring shoes to change throughout the day, that would have been SMART). I squeezed into my dark blue skinny jeans and paired the outfit with a simple grey sweater. And just as I was walking back in the office after getting my first cup of tea, I was greeted with: I've got to tell you that now, your butt looks so hot in those jeans! Why was that great? Because it came from a girl. Somehow, compliments about looks like that from a girl are more honest since they usually don't have ulterior motives.

Yes, it kind of made my day, to be honest  :-)

Channeling my inner Dorothy


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Liebster Love

I've been a bad award winner! It's been about two weeks that the wonderful Kimbra at Mommy's Rambles nominated me; and before I could properly attend to the honor she bestowed on me, another one arrived from the awesome Miss Jessica from The Wonderung Brain.

I would have loved to give both of these ladies the individual attention she deserves, but if I had done so, I probably would have never made it through, so I'm going to double the love (and the Liebster) and put it all in one big Liebster post  :-)





22 Facts About Me:

  1. I'm a natural blonde but prefer being a brunette.
  2. I dream of publishing a book but aren'T nearly creative enough to write one.
  3. I'm a pescetarian.
  4. I'm from Germany, the promised land of beer, but the only beer I like is Corona.
  5. I almost failed high school because of math but work in the financing sector now.
  6. The chance that the hubby and I have blonde, bue-eyed children is 25%; we scored 100%.
  8. Both of our girls are named after flowers.
  9. I love science.
10. I am a gamer girl in training, only like table-top games though.
11. I love "The Song of Ice and Fire" series, but the idea is scary that I'll probably be almost 40 once the
      series is competed.


Kimbra's Questions:

1. What inspired you to blog?
I just love to write but don't see myself capable of writing something big, so I am blogging.
2. What are a few of your favorite things?

Books, weekend morning cappuccino, cuddling on the couch with the girls watching a cartoon.
3. Mattress.. Hard (firm) or soft?

Medium I guess..
4. What is your favorite type of music?

I love classic, alternative, and rock.
5. Are you tattooed/pierced and proud? If so how many of each?

I have a total of 6 earrings and used to have my belly button pierced. I also have 3 tattoos. I'm definitely more into tattoo than piercing.
6. Who is your biggest influence? Why?

My boss. She juggles professional life and her family just perfectly. She's such an able person and I wish to become like her one day (without having to work all that over-time). 7. What is your biggest fear?
Losing my family.
8. What is your wildest dream?

Abducting the hubby to a vacation to Cuba  :-)
9. Who inspires you the most? why?

Our girls. They are still so full of wonder and innocence. They teach me patience and to stop in the tracks to enjoy the moment. I want to become more like them again  :-)
10. What famous person would you love to spend the day with?

David Tennant, aka the last Doctor Who. He's an awesome actor!
11. Do you remember your first love?

Yup; his name was Brian. We were way too young and life just led us apart. But we're still talking occasionally, no hard feelings.

 
Jessica's Questions:

  • What does your blog name mean?
    • That life is exactly that: unexpected. I started writing a few months before our surprise baby was born. This pregnancy made us contemplate our life and decide to move back to Germany. Who would have known?
  • What's your favorite day of the week?
    • Saturday.
  • Where do you find inspiration for your blog?
    • The girls, my family and friends, things I read or see on TV, life in general.
  • What's your biggest accomplishment?
    • Giving birth to two healthy girls.
  • What song represents you?
    • Oh dear, that's difficult. Richard and I decided that, should we ever have a renewal of our vows, we would have "No Children" (The Mountain Goats) as our first song, because it's the stellar opposite of us  :-)
  • What's your favorite dish?
    • Spaghetti and tomatoe sauce.
  • What were you in high school - jock, geek, or reject? 
    • Total reject!
  • Bath or Shower?
    • Shower
  • How do you relax?
    • Watching a movie without doing anything else while doing it.
  • Wine or Beer?
    • Definitely wine.
  • If you had an opportunity to succeed, what would it be? 
    • I'd love to be a recognized translator (a girl can dream, right?


My 11 Nominees for a Liebster:

Alice at Adventures into Domesticland
Adrienne at Adrienne Rose
Jen at Break The Parenting Mold
Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe
Christine at Musings of a Single Mama
Karen at Tales of a Library Lady
Meredith at The Southern Northener
Erin at The Unexpected Army Life
Chantel at Life Unexpectedly 
Erin at Searching For Sanity
Heather at Beyond the Aisle



My 11 Questions to the Nominees:
  1. What's your favorite fruit?
  2. Do you get your "5 a day" on a regular basis?
  3. Sweet or savory?
  4. Do you have a lucky number?
  5. What do you order at Starbucks?
  6. Share your comfort food?
  7. Have you filed for your taxes already?
  8. What was the last thing you bought (except groceries)?
  9. What is your favorite animal and why?
10. What is a color you would never wear?
11. Are you happy with your name?


Thank yo again for Kimbra and Jessica for nominating me!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Why Not??


One issue has been causing me headaches for a while: why does the society not accept that men are indeed capable of taking care of kids – and taking care of them very well at that?
We have a very good friend back in the states, a young man in his early twenties. He’s been babysitting Lily when she wasn’t even 2 years old so we could have an adult date out before baby no. two had her big day. Whenever we came visit, he spent time with Lily, playing with her and watching her shows with her. Last year when we were back for a visit, he even took care of both girls all day long while we were out on a group date. When we came home we found them laying in a pillow fort on the floor in front of the TV, one girl being cuddled up in each of his arms, and the dog at his feet. 
Violet and Thomas
His dream is to become a pre-school teacher. When he talked about his goal with his advisor in college, he laughed at him and told him he would never find a job working in a pre-school, because he’s a guy.
Why is it that a guy can be a psychologist, therapist, or a coach but not a primary care-giver? An increasing number of children are growing up without ever having a proper male figure in their lives. I strongly belief that it is important that children, both boys and girls, have male and female role models in their lives (not necessarily as a traditional family, since I equally support family rights for same-sex couples). 
We have had to face prejudice from different areas of our environment about having Richard be the one who is primarily raising the girls. There are voices who would prefer them being in day-care of pre-school for 10 hours every day rather than spending most of their day with their dad. Back in the States, Richard did rarely dare to take Lily out by himself, fearing she’d have a melt-down when leaving the mall or a playground and being arrested (which is not unheard of!).
Why does society expect that women are the natural care-givers while men have to be the ones to go out and earn the family living? Why are men not allowed to take care of children, whether they are their own or in a professional environment such as nannies, day-care employees, and pre-school teachers? Why is it considered unnatural or sick if men enjoy playing and spending time with babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers? There is diversity out there, which also includes diversity in human nature and interests; this should be embraced rather than shunned!
And yes, I am gladly writing a recommendation for this wonderful young man on a quest to break the mold and work with little children.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Daddy's Girl

Today, we were all out in town to get to Richard's orthodontist appointment. We were walking while Lily was chattering, when she suddenly took her Daddy's hand, looked up to him and said: Daddy, you are my Hero!
No words necessary!

Yes, I wanted to hug and cuddled the two of them right on the spot, never mind that we were late for the appointment already.

Lily has always been a Daddy's girl. Even as a newborn, all she wanted was her daddy, whenever he was around. Once it was around 2 pm, she would start actively waiting for him., always looking at the door and being fussy until the door opened, and HE came in. She would sleep on his chest for hours and later, she would be so excited when Richard took her out for daddy-daughter dates.

Violet sleeping on her Daddy
There was a time when she was getting closer to me, especially after Violet joined the family and needed much of my attention. But more recently, she's turning into a perfect Daddy's girl again. It warms my heart each time she cuddles up to him and tells him how much she loves him.

Richard is a wonderful dad to both of our girls, and I am very thankful that they can grow up with a strong attachment to their father. Both Richard and I had fathers we barely saw during the week and who were not too eager to spend time with the kids when they were home. I had been a daddy's girl, and probably still am, despite everything, and since Lily is very much like me in personality, it's not surprising that she's a daddy's girl.

I am just so happy that I have a partner who is such a wonderful father to our girls. When we were pregnant with Lily, I asked him if he hoped for a boy or a girl; I know that many men hope for a son, but not my man. He told me that he would love to have a daughter. I was so happy that I could give him our perfect little girl, and the love in his eyes when he first held her was amazing. Those two are definitely a perfect daddy-daughter match!

Daddy and his daughter


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Once Upon A Time... (Our Story)

Seven years ago today, I got up, put on a white dress, and pledged my heart and my life to this one special man.

I have hinted before at our story but would like to tell you all about it to honor this special day:

Once upon a time, there was a princess girl, who was lonely and sad; she was approaching a crossroad in her life and didn't know where to go from there. One boring night, she looked in her magic mirror logged on to MySpace, where she stumbled upon the picture of a knight from a far-away land across the ocean a U.S soldier. He had the most beautiful, sad eyes she had ever seen and sent him a fairy message email. He responded and for about a week, they wrote letters emails back and forth every day. After about a week, she asked him to send her a bird carrying his voice to her for his phone number. Their first conversation lasted about two hours, and they kept on talking for hours every day, until she asked him to meet her. The following Saturday, she mounted her horse got into her car to meet the man sh already loved for the first time. When she first laid eyes on him, she couldn't believe that he could be even more handsome than in the picture. They walked together along the river banks, first side by side, then hand in hand. They shared a meal and many, many conversations. Only the next evening did she return home. The following week, he came to visit her and send a message ahead that said: I love you. She was beyond happy and all her worries had disappeared. A week later they were planning their wedding. About a month after their first meeting, he kneeled in front of her and asked her to marry him. She cried and accepted his proposal. However, the king and queen her parents were not happy that their daughter would marry a man like him and tried to prevent their plans. But their love prevailed and less than five months after looking in each others' eyes for the first time, they entered the palace together to speak their vows that would bind them for the rest of their lives.
THE kiss


Yes, that's about our story. I can't believe that it's been seven years already, and I'm pretty sure that there a some people out there who can't believe that we're still together. We had a short and intense courtship and engagement, but we knew that we were made for each other.

During the last seven years, we moved four times, had two beautiful daughters together, an have grown into a unitiy. I cannot imagine ever being without him any more. Our relationship hasn't always been perfect, but being with him has always been better than anything else I could imagine.

I am lucky enough to be married to my rock, my partner, my love, and the best daddy to our daughters I could possibly imagine. I love this guy beyond words and can't wait what's ahead of us. I know that it might not always be sunshine, but that I'd rather share my umbrella with him than facing the storm by myself.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Challenge 2013 - Book 4: The Book With No Name

It's April, and I cheated. I finished my last book early and have read two in the meantime. This month, I would like to share a book with you, that I, as an unrepenting Quentin Tarentino fan, was very excited about. When I found the book in the library at my work, I was intrigued by the cover info on the author: unknown. All that is verified (or not?) about him (or her??) is that he's British and that he self-publishes his work initially by himself online. The book was further described as a mix of Quentin Tarentino and The Da Vinci Code; I'm in!

The hard facts:

Title: The Book With No Name
Author: unknown
448 pages

Publisher: Michael O'Mara (reprint April 2012)
ISBN: 978-1843175766
Find it on Amazon.com
 
 
The story:
 
After a massive massacre in small town Santa Mondega five years ago, things have mostly gone back to normal. Now, another full solar eclipse is due in this small US town, and the citizens are getting nervous. A federal detective for paranormal activities arrives in town and is paired with an otherwise retired cop, who no-one likes. A woman, who was severely injured during the last massacre awakes from her coma only to find her care-givers murdered gruesomly. A couple of monks are deployed from the secluded island of Hubal to retrieve the "Eye of the Moon", which has been stolen once again.
 
What ensues is massive bloodshed, especially after the killer from five years ago, Bourbon Kid, re-appears in town. While the corpses pile up, several parties are now haunting for the mysterious gem and a book without name and without an author seems to hold the key to the mystery. As the town prepares for the moon festival held during the eclipse, the dark forces are about to take over power, which ends in an epic show-down.
 
My opinion:
 
I LOVE it! It's so Tarantino-esque that I actually want to see Tarantino making a movie about it. I could be seen giggling while reading it and imagine the over-the.top scenes (yes, I enjoy really dark humor!). If you enjoyed "From Dusk Till Dawn", do yourself a favor and read this book. I am just reading the next book in the Bourbon Kid series, and hope that the author keeps up his work. I think you'll either love it or hate it. There's plenty of violence and bloodshed. There's morbid humor. It's not high literature, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Not So Typical Day In Our Lives


Finish the Sentence Friday





Another "Finish The Sentence" Friday, and darn, I'm tired. Today's cue:

A typical day in my life looks like... THIS

Therefore, I'm writing about a not-so-typical day, like today. I've been on vacation all week; today was Miss V.'s birthday, so we decided to celebrate to take a little trip to Munich to visit Sea Life and meet up with the girls' favorite Auntie.

7:15: Violet wakes up in my bed (she's come in sometime earlier to cuddle) and decides it's time for
         breakfast. We cuddle her and wish her happy birthday.
07:30: We get up, Lily joins us; I make coffee for us and hot chocolate for the girls; Lily helps putting out the
         plates for breakfast.
08:00: Violet's dashing to the table with the gifts and starts unwrapping. She LOVES all the gifts.
08:15: I convince the girls to go brush teeth, wash their faces, and comb their hair. The girls get to wear their
        new shirts.
09:00: The car is packed with the family and all the stuff we need. Off to Munich we go.
09:45: Potty break somewhere off A9; the toilet seats are metal and friggin cold!
11:00: We arrive at the Olympia Park in Munich; my friend is waiting already.
11:15: We enter Sea Life. It's so much fun!
Missy V. checking out the fish

12:45: We're emerge on the other side. Potty break with Violet and we're off for lunch.
01:15: Arrival at Pizza Hut.
01:30: We are seated.
01:45: The world's second-most unfriendly waiter arrives at our table.
02:30: FOOD!!
Pizza for the birthday girl

03:15: We head out to the Olympia Tower.
03:30: Up we go; yes, I hate hights, and see the girls fall down 500ft through a wall that comes up to my shoulder and the fence on top of the wall.
I don't show it, but I feel REALLY uncomfortable

03:45: There's a rock music exhibition in the tower! And we have muffins at 500ft above Munich.
04:15: Muffins at 500ft above Munich.
Happy 3rd Birthday, Sweetie!

04:15: Lily stops at the visitor's center to ask a question.
04:30: We say out good-byes; Violet and I score presents  :-) We're heading back home.
05:00: Out of Munich, searching for a gas station. We're lucky and will be able to drive home that night
          without the help of AAA.
06:30: We arrive back home; I make fruit salad for dinner for the girls while they play with the new toys.
06:45: Great-grandma no. 1 calls to say happy birthday to Violet. The girls eat dinner.
06:55: Great-grandma no. 2 calls to say happy birthday to Violet. The girls eat dinner.
07:10: Oma and Opa call to say happy birthday to Violet.
07:30: Bath time!!!
08:00: Story and bed time!
08:10: I wash dishes and clean up the dining table.
08:30: Checking my email, FB, blog.
10:00: joining the hubby to watch a show.

Good night!!