Monday, March 31, 2014

Four-Year Check-Up

With Violet's birthday just around the corner (or this Saturday), we were headed to her well-child appointment today. Again, she's grown and even gained a little bit of weight, compared to last year. Finally, Missy Violet is not only tall but also heavy enough for a booster seat! She'll be so excited to finally get out of her "baby" seat.

But besides her physical progress, also motor skills, language, and other areas were taken into consideration and evaluated.  For a while now, we are suspecting that Violet has some sort of auditive comprehension issues, and her kindergarten teacher is in the same opinion. The results at the doctor confirmed a lot of what we've already knew. She's still a little behind on her motor skills, which may well be due to her long, skinny body built, her rapid growth spurts, and her vision impairment. Her language skills are fairly good, with only minor issues. She was able to concentrate so well during the tests and also scored well on the hearing test.

Our greatest issue at the moment is definitely her auditive comprehension. We have received a referral to a special clinic to check if there are any physical issues that may cause her problems even though her primary hearing may be well. We are also going to schedule an appointment with early intervention to have her evaluated there.

As Lily is leaving the program, Violet will most likely follow on her heels. We are very thankful having the opportunity to give our children the support they may need for a successful future. Having been through the experience with Lily, we know that they are sometimes over-correcting things, but as she always enjoyed the sessions and showed rapid improvement especially in the beginning, we are confident that Violet will also benefit greatly from the project. We're also planning on enrolling both girls in dancing or gym classes, to help them improve their body awareness and support Violet's development in motor skills.

Violet herself seemed to have been exhausted by the appointment. I came home late tonight, and she definitely needed some extra cuddle time this evening. She's currently sleeping peacefully in my bed after having been cuddled to sleep.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (41)

Ten Things of Thankful

Today was a glorious day, filled with enough things to be thankful for to be done with the ten. I actually managed to go to bed at a decent time. After wiping a poopie butt at butt-crack in the morning I also got tons of cuddles from our little Violet who rather came to bed with me than return to her own. Lily and Violet both got up at 6; I made them breakfast and we agreed that they'd brush their teeth and then play until about 8 while I would catch some more zzz's. In return, there would be a surprise in for them. So after I got up and ready for the day, I packed the car with two excited girls to head to IKEA for a mommy-daughters breakfast and then playtime for them at Smalland and serious exhibit viewing for me for the next two hours. Back home, hubby made breakfast for the girls and we had some quiet time. The rest of the day was filled with dancing, cooking, talking to my mom / grandma, and playing outside. The weather was just so beautiful, perfect t-shirt weather, so I went to the store to have the first grilled sausage dinner of the year. Can't wait for more of these to come this season!!

Besides this perfect day, there were still tons of more things to be thankful for this week:

1. Figuring out another task at my work, being thrown into cold water by my co-worker. I was pee'd as hell first, but now I'm actually glad I had the opportunity to learn yet another part of the processes our team is dealing with.

2. Not working for 3 any more come Monday. One of my co-workers is back, and I can't wait to hear all about her 3 weeks of backpacking in Thailand!

3. Having gotten closer to a girl I obviously went to college with back in the days but didn't remember at all at the reunion 2 years ago. She's working as a free-lance translator now and is going to have a baby about a month before our little one is due. Can't wait to spend more time with her!

4. The opportunity every new day brings. I was pretty uninspired around New Years this time, but by now I have tackled a few more areas I definitely need to improve, and it's not going bad so far.

5. A new microwave, which is going to nuke the raspberries to go with my vanilla ice cream later.

6. Getting business cards!!  I know it's completely shallow, but I'm excited like a little girl having gotten a pack of them on Friday..

7. Working out with the girls. Besides running with Lily every once in a while, I'm starting doing yoga with them in the evenings now. Violet was too tired today, but Lily loved it!

8. Spring having arrived early. Many trees are in full bloom already and I'm excited that we're not going to miss the beauty while we're in TX.

9. Our girls loving me even though I'm the most sieve-brained person one could imagine. I had totally forgotten Lily's trip to the planetarium last week, and therefore didn't pack her a drink. She mentioned it during dinner, but added that it didn't matter as she drank a glass of juice before heading out that day. Love that girl!!!

10. Finally getting our car washed. It was much, much, much overdue, but eventually managed to overcome the spirit of procrastination.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Of Concerts And Fan Girls

Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic

It's Friday, weekend, finally! Somehow,. the second half of the week dragged along, still covering for two of my co-workers at work. But come Monday, at least one of them will be back, and I hope she doesn't sign off right back into vacation once she sees her email inbox.

But back to today, Friday, which means I get to Finish a really fun Sentence Janine and her friends came uo with:

I went to a concert once...

... with a friend. It was spontaneous, and unplanned, and crazy (for someone like me), and somehow an event I remember with a grin on my face.

I think my friend came up to me in between classes one day, asking me how about to go and see this lad in concert that night. In Karlsruhe, a town about 150 miles from where we lived, which, for Germans, is half a world away.

We jumped in my car right after class and were pretty lucky that we didn't hit any major traffic. We actually found the concert hall, without a navigation system or anything, which was quite an achievement for two chaos-girls like us, and we managed to be there in time for the concert. It was awesome, and the minute he entered the stage I forgot my pledge not to be a screaming fan girl and screamed my poor lungs out.

We arrived back home late that night - or early the next, to be exact, not talking much on our way back for a lack of voice, but having huge grins on until our faces hurt.

We were friggin tired during class the next day, but it was definitely worth it for both the experience and the memories over a decade later.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sappy Movies And Porn

Funny thing I saw on TV last night:

Mom (around 60) and daughter (late 30s) are watching a certain sappy vampire movie.

Daughter: For goodness sake, couldn't they at least TRY to be somewhat authentic??
Mom: But this IS authentic!!!
Daughter: Authentic?? THIS?????? Mom, PORN is more authentic!!!!

I'm totally with the daughter, even though I've neither read nor watched any of this crap; what I've got stuffed down my throat unvoluntarily was more than enough! 

Oh, and that:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Somewhere Over The Big Pond...

Plane tickets: booked
Rental car: booked
Hotel room: in progress

Activities planed:
- Beach day in Corpus Christi, TX
- Botanical Gardens in San Antonio
- San Antonio River Walk
- maybe meeting with a friend in Austin, TX
- lots of running and morning yoga with Lily
- TARGET!!!!

Yes, it's true, we're about to take another trip over the pond to visit hubby's family in San Antonio, TX before welcoming our third little one and Lily starting elementary school later this year. We'll arrive at Houston Intercontinental Airport on April 22, driving down to San Antonio the next morning.

I know that some of you have taken trips to the area before, so please share your advice what to do in the area with two little ones to escape the family compound for an afternoon or more. I'm looking forward to your tips!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (40)

Ten Things of Thankful

Can you believe it's been forty plus some rogue weeks of Ten Things of Thankful?? Can't believe it. What a wonderful place Lizzi has created to focus on the good things in our lives, no matter how we feel. At the moment I feel totally exhausted and over-tired. Anyone ever heard of second trimester fatigue? Don'T remember it ever having been that bad. But even though I've spent part of this week in a haze, there are plenty of things to be thankful for:

1. Having reconciled with my sister. A couple of weeks she'd suddenly called me, after more than 2 years of absolutely no contact at all, and wanted to meet. We had a really good day together walking through a park and having coffee and cake together. I am so glad having talked about all the hard feelings of the past, the arguments, the attacks, and finally laughing it all off together. I'm more glad than I can express to have her back in our lives.

2. Having a new nephew! Welcome to this world, little Julian!

3. Beautiful spring weather for a few days this week. The trees are starting to bloom, there are yellow and purple and green spots everywhere, how beautiful!!

4. My co-worker being awesome and taking me out to my favorite ice cream place for the first time this season.

5. Another translating job. It was only a very small job, but still.

6. Finally having finished a crafting project I've started ages ago. Pretty good feeling!

7. Getting a new Starbucks mug for my collection.

8. Getting to accompany Lily to her first race today. The weather was not very nice, and she was one of the youngest there, but she still ran a great race. So proud of our Lily!

9. Baked goods. We're going to visit my grandparents tomorrow, and since I haven't given them much (or any) prior notice, I'm going to bring the cake (afternoon coffee and cake is a very German tradition).

10. Hearing more about hubby's concert in July. He's going to play first bassoon for half of the concert. So excited to hear him play again!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

PS: In order to keep this blog somewhat pregnancy-free, I've started a second blog with regular updates. Check out the link in my top bar if you are interested how things are going.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - The Most Dangerous Creature

I still can't understand how something that looks like a trash can upside down on wheels with a wire wisk and a plunger can the be most dangerous thing in the universe. That's why I love this show, absurdities!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Not An Artist??

I was talking to my very *special* co-worker about our side jobs a while ago. He's earning tons of money on the side as a piano player and a magician. I have just started earning some play money on the side in my first profession (and passion), translating.

For whatever reason, he has managed to secure a special exemption to be allowed to work more than the additional 10 hours a week that we're legally allowed to; he explained it that he was working as a free-lance artist, while I was only.. well what?

Is a sculpter not an artist because they are not creating anything new but re-shaping materials already present?

Is a musician not an artist because they are only re-playing notes that a composer has put to paper?

Is the writer who transcribes a book into a screenplay not an artist simply because it's not their original idea?

I think art has too many faces to discard one aspect for another. I enjoy my kind of art, my play with language and words; it fulfills me and makes me happy. I love hubby's art, his music, whether it's classical or rock; I love watching him perform, no matter if it's just for me or a full concert hall. I love looking at pictures, exploring scultures, watching movies, reading books, etc. And whether you feel like it or now, every single one of you is an artist, in whatever way.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, March 17, 2014

I Would Love To Sleep With...

Ok, I admit, I totally stole that from our dear Lizzi, the Considerer, partly because I am totally uninspired today from my own imagination, and partly because it's bed time!

If I could sleep with anyone (as in sharing my bed with, not doing stuff I only do and want to do with hubby that sometimes results in rapid, temporary weight gain and stuff), it would be this fuzzy fellow

This is Samson, a character from the German version of Sesame Street from my childhood. Someone I'm definitely missing from the Sesame Street the girls are watching.

Who would you love to sleep with??

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (39)

Ten Things of Thankful

Today was a sucky day for me, don't ask my why. I was in a foul mood from the moment I got up, and no matter what I did, it wouldn't improve, I was simply annoyed as hell. I tried cappuccino for breakfast, even got some time to myself to read my magazine. I tried baking, I tried soup, but nothing seemed to help. Therefore, this week's TToT is definitely an excercise of focussing and meditation of the blessings in my life.

This week's top ten:

1. Having a good appointment with our midwife and OB/GYN on Monday. Baby was hiding from the doppler again, but we got a good heartbeat after searching a little. And we found out that we'll have our big ultrasound on our wedding anniversary!

2. Work being not overly busy this week, which helped a lot subbing for two colleagues on vacation on top of my own work. Still got some overtime in.

3. The weather, beautiful, beautiful spring weather.

4. Being off work on Thursday and very, very productive. I took off work because it was sign-up day for elementary school, and the kids of working parents were conveniently scheduled in the middle of the day. But that way, hubby and I shared a quiet breakfast at home, I folded two loads of laundry (or what was left of it after we started picking the clean clothes out of the basket already), we comleted the paperwork and faced the reality that come September, we'll have a 1st-grader, spring-cleaned the car, I ran a round with my neighbor, and got to spend some time crafting with the girls.

5. Orange-ginger infused green tea. My vanilla black tea had run out, and I felt adventurous...

6. Another impromptu  geeky-date with hubby watching "Cosmos" by and with Neil deGrass Tyson, and I even managed to stay awake!

7. My colleague cooking some veggie stew and sharing it with me.

8. Patient, patient little girls. I know, I was a really mean parent today, and they were still so sweet. Tomorrow will be a better day.

9. Finding a show with David Tennant for tonight. The dubbing is weird, and I may have to get the show again in English, but I guess any David Tennant is better than the other stuff that's on.

10. Not being able to drink wine at the moment. If I could, I guess tonight would be a night when I'd drink a glass or five too many and would regret it tomorrow.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend, and thank you, Lizzi et al. for hosting this wonderful link-up!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Why The 2000s Were Awesome-Ish

Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic

Today was a weird Friday, because I was off yesterday and kept referring to Wednesday as "last Friday", I think people thought I'm not quite there. But a wacky schedule and having to sub for two coworkers does that to me.  And here comes today's Finish The Sentence Friday, something I felt like I answered a few weeks ago, wondering whether I was ready to turn 30:

My favorite decade is...

... the 2000s.

I know, it sounds boring, but I'm still one of the young'ns. The 80s, I don't remember much of, I was only 6 when it all ended. The 90s, well the teenage time wasn't my friend. Add weird hair, even weirder clothes my mom got me, and some extra punds (besides being an awkward kid in general), and you have the class target.  On to the 2000s, time of my evolution, my rebellions, my time as a party girl, and eventually calming down. I remember decent clothing (the revival of the extreme flare pants had died down again), better hair (bye-bye perm), and somewhat better music, even though Metallica's "St. Anger" was a huge disappointment!

On the upside, Ville Valo cleaned up his act and managed to do concerts sober! (Yes, I sometimes have a weakness for goth lads)

The 2000s were also the revival of one of the best TV shows ever. Susannah knows which one I mean  :-)

It was also the high time of a certain pre-FaceBook platform that lead to me tripping over that certain lad to whom I'll be married for 8 years come April.

And that's the 2000s for me.

What's your favorite decade??

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

From The Bully's Perspective

Lily has been having issues with a bully in her kindergarten class. At first, I thought that it was only Lily, but now it seems that many other kids have issues with this particular kid as well. A few weeks ago, we had one of the bi-annual meetings with Lily's teacher, discussing her progress and any issues she may have. And since it is really something on Lily's heart, we also discussed that particular boy. Which options there are to not only help Lily but also the boy.

It actually turns out that the two have a few things in common. When Lily started kindergarten, she also still had issues with the language. She started to have issues with other kids, which was partly caused by the language barrier, and partly by Lily trying to be one of the adults, the only group of people who have offered stability in her life.  But the big difference is that Lily was a 3-year odl girl back then; the boy is now 5, only a year away from 1st grade.

Tonight at dinner, Lily suddenly started bad-mouthing the boy, how he was annoying and always bothering everyone and that she would never let him write in her kindergarten class-mate book. While we definitely dislike bullying, ostracizing a kid that obviously has troubles and not way to express his feelings than being mean or violent against others is not a solution either. And bad-mouthing is certainly not tolerated in our house.

She became quiet and listened as we explained to her possible reasons why the boy behaved the way he does, and that excluding him would not help the situation but rather make everything worse. We are really lucky that Lily is not only a very kind little girl (mostly) but that she also has a very soft heart and feels for others. We suggested that instead of writing him off as a trouble-maker, she should meet him with friendliness and show him that he is still welcome in the group. 

She definitely got the idea, so we need to see how the next weeks go and if the situation improves.  Keep you fingers crossed!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Be A Match

I know, I'm pretty late jumping on the band wagon, if you can actually call it that, maybe more a public service announcement?

Lizzi, aka The Considerer, and Zoe from Rewritten have brought the attention to a young boy in need of a blood marrow donor to save his life. But not only little Steven needs a donor, thousands of people worldwide are hoping every day for the call that a donor was found. Most cases are not known, many people suffer and die in quit, but they are still there.

So what can YOU do?  Find a local or national bone marrow registry and get registered. It's easy and completely painless: cells are taken with a cheek swab, examined, and your markers saved in the registry.

The largest bone marrow registry in the U.S. is Be A Match, which also shares its information with other registries worldwide. You can join the registry online and receive your test swabs in the mail or search for a local bone marrow drive.

If you live in the U.K., register at the British Bone Marrow Registry. If you are a regular (or first time) blood donor, an extra sample can be taken during that appointment to determine your markers for the registry. If you are not a blood donor, simply contact the BBMR via phone or email for further information.

I, myself, am registered with the German bone marrow database, DKMS. Registration was easy and painless. I know that the chances of ever receiving a call is only about 5%, but should the call ever come, I will be ready to donate.

You are eligible to become a donor if you are generally healthy and between the age of 18 and 59. The process of donation is described at the homepage of the BBMR:

The first, and most frequently used, is to donate stem cells from circulating blood. For the four days preceding the donation a nurse will inject you with a drug which vastly increases the number of stem cells in your circulating blood. On the fifth day you will have a blood test to check that you have enough circulating stem cells. You will then be connected to a cell-separator machine, without the need for a general anaesthetic. The machine collects the stem cells from your blood via a vein in one arm, returning the blood to your body through a vein in your other arm. If you are already a platelet donor you will be familiar with this type of machine. Occasionally you may be asked back on the sixth day for a further donation, if the dose of cells obtained is not sufficient.

The second method is donation of bone marrow itself, which involves the removal of stem cells from your hip bones. This is done using a needle and syringe under a general anaesthetic in a hospital. Although this is not a surgical operation, there will be marks on the skin made by the needle. As there may be some discomfort where the needle has been inserted, you will need to stay in hospital for up to 48 hours and have a period of recovery at home of up to five days.

So gather your information, get registered, and maybe save a live. Should you not be eligible or able to register, you can still help by donating. Testing all those countless tissue samples and storing the information is expensive, and all registries, big and small, are thankful; even small amounts help. Especially consider registering if you are a minority or bi-racial, as it is often especially difficult to find matches for those groups.

Thank you all so much for reading and considering your options!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (38)

Ten Things of Thankful

I received a completely unexpected phone call today. I'm not ready yet to share any details yet, but hopefully soon. Besides that, this first half of my weekend was pretty uneventful, as planned after this week. I got to sleep plenty, and this annoying pony tail is finally off. Not quite as short as I had planned, but definitely better than before.

Ten more things to be thankful this week:

1. An unexpected and spontaneous couch date with the hubby on Thursday. As usual, I fell asleep, and when I woke up, I saw hubby watching me instead of Myth Busters, mentioning that he had already seen that episode, but it was always funny again to watch me fight sleep and losing.

2. Doing well answering to Lily's question: "Mami, there is no hole in the belly, how does the baby come out??"  At least, she's not freaked out about my response..

3. Carneval being over. I hate this so-called 5th season, and coem Ash Wednesday every year, I feel relieved that it's going to be almost another year until I'm tortured with horrible music and loads of drunk people again.

4. Hearing the hubby giggle from our bedroom. Tonight is game night for him, and two more of our friends in the U.S. have joined in. I'm so glad he still can play with this group of wonderful people, and that we do have the technological means nowadays.

5. Surviving the office move, and having a hubby and daughters considerate enough to let me collapse on the couch and nap for an hour right after getting home from work.

6. A lovely colleague who acts as my external hard-drive at the moment and calls me after I had completely forgotten an important appointment with HR and went shopping during my lunchbreak.

7. Another great colleague saving me from moving chaos and convincing me that an early lunch break in town is absolutely necessary.

8. Great cuddles with both Lily and Violet this evening. I had one little girl in each arm, while watching The Simpsons with them and letting them rubbing my tummy.

9. The beautiful weather during the last few days. The girls got to play at the playground in Erlangen today, after everyone got a hair cut and Lily's glasses were fixed.  Can't believe it's only early March and already so beautiful outside! On Friday, I even saw the first bushes starting to blossom. Hoping for an easter egg hunt outside this year!!

10. Lily being able to communicate her feelings better these days. She's been dealing with quite some mood-swings in the past weeks, and instead of letting us know what was going on she withdrew and moped quietly, which was stressful for her and us. This morning, when she was in one of her moods again, she walked up to me, saying that she was not feeling well and would rather be left alone and sleep a little more. And off she went, just to emerge as her usual happy self an hour later.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!

Friday, March 7, 2014


Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic

What I really want to scream out loud is:


Today was fairly good, apart from just being mommy-brained so badly it annoys me. But the days before were chaos. Moving office was more stressful than I'd thought, not being able to work, stepping between moving boxes, saving my delicate orchids from the movers, being in the way, etc. My sleep wasn't the best all week, and towards the end of the week, I just became increasingly exhausted. But now, it's weekend, I get to sleep in and take naps during the day. I get to relax, and finally, finally (!!!) get that pony tail cut off tomorrow.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!  And thank you to Janine for hosting this great link-up!