Friday, January 31, 2014

Weird People

Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic

It's Friday, thank goodness. Work is still crazy, but hopefully, things will quiet down as my colleague is returning for a few hours starting next week. To start into this weekend, It'S time for the Finish The Sentence Friday prompt of the week:

A funny thing happened on my way...

.. back into my office today, when one of my colleagues stopped me to ask whether I, as a half-American - kew how to line dance. Well, I'm not half-American (our daughters are), and my husband is from the East Coast, so no. No line dancing at our home.

... to the yard to play with Lily back in Washington. The apartment manager's son, about 18 back then, walked up to me, telling me that he wanted to join the military and go to Germany, since German women actually showed respect to their husbands, unlike American women. For the records, dear useless teenager, I am not a war bride, and I do respect my husband because he respects me. German women are no subservient tools, and I hope you'll find out one day.

... to a well-baby visit with Violet. She was just a few days old, and while getting into the car, we met our elderly neighbors. They asked me if our new baby was a boy or a girl. We told them that we had another little girl; she looked at me with a consoling shine in her eyes, telling me to not be sad, she had had two girls first, too, but then had two boys as well. Thank you, dear neighbor, but to be honest, I'm really happy with our two girls, and should we never have a boy, I'll be fine. No problem, there are plenty of boys in this world to keep the human race going, even without me adding to it.

People are indeed weird sometimes, but especially in hindsight, they do make me chuckle.  Have a great weekend anyone!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Guitar Fun

Lily loves music, so we decided to get her a guitar as a holiday present. And since it's more fun learning an instrument together, I surprised Richard with a guitar as a gift as well.

Last Sunday, Lily and Richard practiced with their guitar together for the first time. Some time later, Lily showed up with red eyes. We asked her what was wrong, and she almost broke into tears again, confessing that it was so hard to learn.

Just a couple of days later, when I came home from work, Lily was running at m, beaming with pride, telling me that she was again practicing with her Daddy and that it went a lot better than last time. She knows how to tune her guitar by herself now and some easy chords.

That night, when Violet was too tired for a good night story, I heard Richard playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on his guitar for her after tucking her into bed.I almost teared up seeing the two of them!

Lily playing Daddy's bass and her own guitar

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

Keeping Tooth Fairy Busy

Can you believe that Lily, not even 6 years old yet, is growing a molar?

Remember, a couple of months ago, after months of nursing her wobbly tooth, Lily could finally present her first gap.
Now, she's been complaining about a sore spot in her mouth for a week or so. When I brushed her teeth this weekend, she mentioned this weird, hard spot in the back of her mouth that she couldn't get rid off. I checked, and couldn't believe that I found: a molar. And Lily freaked.

I thought that she'll lose her teeth the way they've come in as baby teeth, from the front to the back. Well, obviously not for our girl, she has her own mind.

So, is Tooth Fairy going to pay a visit this time? She hasn't lost a tooth after all. But just maybe she'll find a pixie book and a letter from Tooth Fairy under her pillow one day, telling her that it is totally ok growing teeth back there  :-)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (32)

Ten Things of Thankful

What a fun week. What an exhausting week. With, once again, tons of things to be thankful for. I didn't get to spend as much time with the family this week as usually, but I had the opportunity to meet many new people, catch up with some I had met before, share interesting conversations and many a laugh. The best of this last week?

1. Fresh apples from the north of Germany, hand-carried to me by my co-worker!

2. The official dinner with all the coaches and attendees for the training. The food was ok, but the fun we had was totally worth nearly starving in between the pasta and the fish course  :-)

3. My training on Wednesday going well. It was my first time speaking in front of a larger number of professionals. Some of the colleagues had decades of experience, some were fairly new to the company. It was definitely a great experience (and I got at least one "excellent" rating).

4. A great dinner with one of my co-workers from the training. Hubby made his yummie pasta sauce, we talked (way too much about work, but what to expect??), played with the girls, mused about the future.

5. Despite having my colleague over for dinner, I caught an early to-bed. I so needed it after 2 late nights in a row.

6. Hubby being my rock and supporting my professional antics without ever complaining. He's such a wonderful man!

7. The girls for being supportive, even though I know it's difficult for them. I'm glad to enjoy lots of quality time for them this weekend.

8. Surviving an afternoon with "terror girl". I met Lily's friend's mom while out grocery shopping, and she told me that both she and her husband were sick. So my helper's syndrom kicked in and I invited Lily's friend over for the afternoon. Much too much candy was consumed, Violet was properly pestered and prodded, Lily forgot her manner, and hubby had to really contain himself during dinner to not give her a crash course in table manners.

9. Having the chance to attend hubby's concert tomorrow. My parents are going to watch the girls and I'll meet up with a friend and two colleagues, one with her husband for the concert. I'm so excited!

10. Hubby asking me to be his "+1" for the buffet reception after the concert. Love it if he officially asks me out on dates.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tradition Or Not

Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic

It's finally weekend again, and I so need it this week! It was training week at work this week, so a lot of extra duties on my day (and night) planner; it was fun, but plain and simply exhausting. But as there are no major plans this weekend, I plan on tanking as much sleep as possible.  Before officially moving on to the weekend, it's once again time to celebrate Friday with the "Finish the Sentence Friday" link-up. This week's cue:

We can either be traditional or non-traditional in the way we do things...

... so we do it both ways, OUR way.

As a barely 22-year old, I married an American soldier not even five months after we met. Definitely not something my family or others around me had in mind for my life at that time, about to graduate from college.

We believe in family. We have decided to keep our kids at home until the age of 3, before kindergarten starts in Germany. But it wasn't me to stay home, but Richard.

We stage big easter egg hunts to celebrate spring, and nothing else.

We celebrate the winter holiday with all its beautiful pagan symbols, with family, togetherness, and peace on our minds.

We blend our lives with traditions from two worlds, from two cultures, and our own, new ways. It is a constant flow of some things disappearing and new ways being adopted; one day, we might have found the most perfect way for us, in the meantime, we enjoy our lives as a sometimes traditional family.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

When The Job Takes Over

I've been gone the last two days. Work has been crazy busy; this week, we have a group of people from all over the world visiting for training. Tuesday was the official dinner, and yesterday I had one of my colleauges from Portugal over for dinner. At the same time, I started feeling under the weather and developed the first headcold of the season.

After doing my training session and sat through a formal lunch, I was glad to get out a little early with my colleague and we had a nice evening; hubby made his delicious pasta sauce and we played a game with the girls. When it was bath-time, I took my colleague back to her hotel; poor Lily became upset, worrying that I again would leave for the night. But luckily for them, Lily and Violet got to stay up and watch some cartoons until I came back and got to tell them their good night story. Afterward, I went to bed myself, hoping to get over he cold; well, not that lucky!

Today, I managed to get out on time. I made baked tortellini with left-over sauce for dinner, and afterward, I got the best cuddles with the girls. I got to share quality time with the hubby, shower the girls, rub ointment in the injuries of the day and read stories cuddled up in bed.

This is how it should be every single night, but in reality, it doesn't always work like that. And at those nights, I miss them, no matter how fun the night is. Sometimes it does indeed happen, and my job takes over my first, my more important life, my family. 

Let me tell you, I'm so looking forward to this weekend!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Imperfect Housewife

I should make this a series, because if I'm good at anything, it's failing to run a smooth, organized household. But more than anything, I hate ironing. To the point that it simply does not happen in our house, except if Richard needs his dress shirt ironed for a concert.

Today, you could see an unusual sight: me equipped with a bath towel (no ironing boards in our house! yes, it's that bad!!) our iron, and some moist cotton dish towels, ironing some slacks like a little mad person, with creases and all. Yes, one could say I'm slightly nervous for the training session I'm scheduled for on Wednesday.

But on regular days, how do we keep our clothes neat and tidy without ironing if I'm not going to stand in front of a bunch of international colleagues?  First of all, we mostly don't use the dryer but air-dry our clothes. Once the laundry is coming out of the washer, I straighten out the clothes before putting them on the drying rack; they come off there much straighter than from the dryer. Tons of time saved on the ironing board. Let the procrastinating continue!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (31)

Ten Things of Thankful

Saturday already, and today passed so quickly. First of all, big congrats to Lisa at The Meaning Of Me for scoring the open co-host position that was left by Joy. Thank you for hosting all those months, Joy!

This past week, even though quite stressful, once again held many things to be thankful for. Here are my 10 for this week:

1. Hubby surprising me with my favorite comfort food, the plain old spaghetti and tomato sauce, for dinner this Friday. Even though he prefers to put "stuff" (onions, mushrooms, etc.) in the sauce he made it just the way I love it, he's so selfless sometimes  :-)

2. A wonderful Saturday morning outing with the girls today. Hubby had a rehearsal for his concert next week, so I took the girls to get their hair cut and run some errands. We had a fun lunch date at a cafe, and the girls got to pick out some wool for a little project and potential holiday present. Yes, I'm planning ahead  :-)

3. Baking with Violet. It was actually pretty relaxing this time, because she relaxed and didn't panic about being left out. We definitely had tons of fun.

4. Getting approached by a co-worker if I wanted my name to be put on the list for the employee's council elections. To be honest, I have thought about signing up, but then I was insecure, didn't want to push myself into the spotlight. When my co-worker asked me to sign up, I was very moved, and I'm excited for the elections in spring!

5. A fun evening with wonderful friends. Our friends had to leave early, but the few hours we spent talking, eating, and playing a fun game, was so much fun as usual.

6. My grandpa, who got to celebrate his 85th birthday last Friday. I'm really looking forward to visiting them tomorrow.

7. Getting great news from the constuction site: There's going to be power within the next 2 to 3 weeks, and at the same time, we'll most likely have water and gas. Please keep your fingers crossed that everything works out as planned!

8. Getting a recording of hubby's performance of the Carmina Burana. Since I couldn't get any concert tickets any more, at least I will be able to listen to it at home now.

9. Having almost finished a project that I had started months ago. Yes, I'm just a mean, old procrastinator.

10. Tiramisu.

11. Snatching the Book of Secret Rules from Clark and adding # 815.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and thank you very much for hosting, Lizzi!

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Rainbow On My Skin

Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic

It's Friday, another crazy week is over, one co-worker is going to be back in the office on Monday and I can tend to new projects, likely to accrue a ton of more overtime. But now it's time to relax, and look forward to a fun weekend with tons of sleep, good food, great friends, new games, and a visit to my grandparents.

To ring in the weekend, here's this week's cue to the FTSF:

I once saw the biggest...

... bruise. In one of my former lives, I was a martial arts fighter, the only girl among a bunch of guys who lived under the motto that, if a girl is daring enough to enter a ring with them, she's not getting any mercy. I stood my ground, until one day, I was felled by a low-swung kick. I heard a cracking sound, and the worst pain I had ever experienced by then. Somehow I got back up, and finished the fight. It was ugly. The bruise reached from knee to ankle, wrapping around half my leg, the shin bone was partially fractured. I was able to watch the beauty for about 2 months, turning from nearly black to a lighter blue, purple, green, and finally yellow, moving all the way down to my toes eventually. My mom was freaked, and I kept fighting. Just don't like to give up.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Power Of Friendship

For those who don't know me very well, I tend to be an optimistic pessimist, someone who expects the worst and hopes for the best. And I always try to find the grain of good in whatever situation presents itself. Having a positive outlook on life has has made situations much more bearable in the past, and I'm doing my best to teach this attitude to the girls.

Lily came up this evening today, telling me with tears in her eyes about a situation with the bully today. While getting ready to head outside to play, he had torn of her hat and thrown it to his friend, making fun of Lily. There have been various situations with that kid before, so I asked Lily if she had gotten her hat back or if we should do the step and contact his parents. Lily said that her best friend had snatched her hat from the other boy and her other friend was telling off the bully, demanding that he'd leave Lily in peace.

I hugged her, asking if she was ok, and tried to help her see that this situation, as bad and unnecessary as it was, also showed her something very, very important: that she had friends she could rely on and who were standing by her side.

Seeing her eyes light up with the realization definitely was a highlight of my day!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Now You've Got To Work This Off

I've been thinking about that little episode I'd encountered last week for a while now.  I was just walking down the stairs in a store when a mother with her about 10-year old daughter is coming up. The girl was lagging behind, trying to convince her mother to take the elevator, saying she was tired. Her mother encountered that the girl now had to work off the piece of cake she'd had earlier.

Yes, I know that it is important to eat healthy and be active, but the mother's approach still somewhat flabbergasted me. Having dealt with eating and body dysmorphic disorders for many years, one of my major goal as a mom, especially to girls, is to raise them healthy and happy. We teach them healthy eating habits, but sweets are always allowed. And while I couldn't agree more with the mom that they should take the stairs whenever possible, I don't agree at all with her reasoning. Pre-teens are often so sensitive when it comes to weight and body image, and being told that she had to "work off that piece of cake" does not sound very supportive to me, especially since the girl did not look as if she had any weight issues.

Why is it not possible to enjoy a treat without thinking on "levelling it out"? Why do people feel the necessity to connect food with guilt and as a consequence excercise instead of enjoying both without that link?  Am I overly sensitive or is this an increasingly serious issue?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (30)

Ten Things of Thankful

Half of my weekend is over already, time to wrap up this week of tons of things to be thankful for. This weeks top ten:

1. Hubby for cooking delicious veggy chili for me. He's taking so good care of me!

2. Tons of cuddles with the girls on the couch this afternoon.

3. Lily surprising me with her passport picture on Monday. We've had some sort of a situation when she refused to have them taken, claiming to be scared. After no promises (or threats) could change her mind and she announced that she'd rather never travel again, I had a heart on heart with her, firmly telling her that her antics were neither cute nor funny but rather annoying to us. I told her that I loved it so much that she was so understanding and reasonable, and that she didn't need to compete with Violet, who's much younger than her. She double-checked if she'd still get ice cream for dessert, which I confirmed, and Monday she went and got that picture taken. Love this girl  :-)

4. Violet bringing home an absolutely cute gift from kindergarten. So adorable!

5. Jammie pants.

6. Kids who get excited when there's baked salmon and cream spinach for dinner.

7. Home-made apple pie, and the smell that comes with it!

8. Having a boss who cares about my well-being at work. I had major issues with dry eyes before the holidays, to the point that even false tears didn't help any more and I bare could keep my eyes open by 3:30 p.m.  She contacted our corporate medical services to inquire about relief options and will also contact workplace security. Come Monday, we'll implement the first steps.

9. A lazy Saturday that is much more cherished after a busy work week.

10. A wonderful, wonderful friend!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Million Dollar, Baby!

Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic

Friday, finally! I've put in overtime almost every day this week, and I'm properly spent. I'm looking forward to a weekend of relaxing, napping, and maybe baking some apple pie.

In the meantime, Janine is dreaming of a $61 mio. jackpot and came up with the cue for this week's FTSF:

If I had a million dollars...

... I would continue our life. Pay off the house, reduce my hours at work to be able to spend more time with the family, maybe buy a cabin in WA, our second home, for fun family vacations. I'd help my parents to fix up their house and my dad to go into early retirement. We'd put aside money for the girls to have an easy start into life, get a prime education, maybe studying abroad. The rest, we'd save, maybe buy some real estate as investment, all the boring stuff.   Oh, and I'd buy a Pandora bracelet for myself  :-)

Have a great start in in your weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Let's Sing A Song

My girls love to sing. And they sing a lot - one reason why Daddy retreats to our room after dinner on work days, there's just so much high-pitched, repetitive feeping one man can stomach, poor lad!

I bet Christine and all the other moms out there can tell tons of stories about mis-heard lyrics, the most epic songs can come up from little ones just singing what they're hearing. Lily provided us with this beautiful gem tonight, singing the theme song of My Little Pony:

...  My Little Pony, all the magic $h!t could be...

She was so innocent of what she was actually singing, it was beautiful, and very, very hard to keep a straight face  :-)

Enjoy your Thursday!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

Holiday Photo Dump

Since I haven't posted many pictures of the holidays, here a little compilation of the (pre-) holiday fun at the Powell house:
1. Decorating the tree; 2. Wish lists waiting to be picked up by Santa; 3. The girls enjoying their stocking stuffers;          4. Can't wait for the morning; 5. Unwrapping palooza; 6. The girls enjoying their presents; 7. More fun with their gifts;   8. Lily staging her first shadow play; 9. Violet making music.