It was freezing on Easter, literally! But, it was sunny so the Easter bunny hid the eggs and put out a great lego zoo for the girls. There were also lovely baskets with chocolate hiding inside on the table.
Since it was so cold, the easter egg hunt was expedited. Lily had no interest, which was great because the grass was wet and cold. She was happy to hold her basket while Opa carried her.
Clair did all of the hunting, and she even spotted one out of the upstairs window a few hours later (the Easter bunny didn’t count correctly).
She requested this photo to be taken (she is getting the idea of documenting her life).
A short swing ended the outdoor activities before we headed in for a nice breakfast.
Lily was up for a game of football and some legos inside.
And princess Clair (as she has become) enjoyed her dress all day. Actually, she has worn this dress everyday since. I think I need to hide it tomorrow she she doesn’t make a mess of it.
She said this was NOT a princess face, but I disagree. I think it is an awesome princess face.
On the subjects of princesses, Matthias’ mom has some antique children’s’ books of classic fairy tails. It is interesting to read them and see how they differ from the Disney version I grew up with. For example, there was no magical kiss in Snow White. As the dwarfs were taking the body of Snow White to be buried, they tripped over dopey, and as her body flew out, the poisoned piece of apple flew out freeing her from the curse. The prince just happened along around that time but was kind of secondary to the story. Also, in Hansel and Gretel, he is imprisoned by the witch, and she single-handedly puts the witch in the oven and rescues him! Who know these feminine archetypes were so much more kick-ass in the older versions!
I needed a haircut, badly. Usually, I go to a friend who has done a great job, but at the last minute on Saturday, I just decided to head to the mall. I had Clair with me, so I decided it was time for her first haircut in a salon. it ended up being a great way to distract her long enough so that I could get a trim. She was bouncing off the walls until the lady came and asked her to go get her hair washed. As soon as she left my side, she behaved beautifully!
By the way, the brown you see all over her face is not dirt. She decided that she was a monster that day and colored all over her face with a brown crayon. I asked her if she wanted to leave the house with a brown face, and she insisted. I must have explained that she is a monster about five times at the mall. Everyone agreed that she was very scary.
Another first for the big girl is advancement to peddles! She has shown very little interest in her Laufrad (what is the English for a bike with no peddles?) until very recently, and she has pretty much outgrown it at this point. So, I got some training wheels last week to see if she might like trying a proper bike. She LOVED it. I think she liked not falling over the best.
She is getting used to peddles, and we even made it to Kindergarten today on her bike (a very frustrating hour of her mother’s life but sometimes you have to suck it up). With a lot of whining and a lot of help, she proudly made it “a lll by herself”.
Baby girl is also having lots of new firsts. I have to watch her now because she loves getting up on stools. We have a lot of stools to help Clair get to things, but once in a while, I walk in a room and see Lily up on the stool looking a bit shocked to be up there. Once she get up, I think she doesn’t know what to do or how to get down. She is a little like a cat that way.
We headed to Nuremberg Zoo over the weekend. Sunday was beautiful but a bit chilly, so the zoo wasn’t too crowded. I like that place more every time I go. This time, the train was working. It was closed every time I have been there because they were building a huge exhibit for the dolphins, sea lions and mane tees, and it cut into the train tracks. Finally, the really nice lagoon is finished, and the train takes you from the entrance of the park directly to the big playground (the place we generally end up going to first anyway).
This was the first time Lily could walk there. I think it was the first time she really got excited about seeing animals too. We were there on an awesome day because a bunch of the goats just had babies – as in, we missed a few births by a few minutes. The petting zoo was closed to give them space, but crowds were gathered watching.
Here are a few photos from the day:
Lily getting excited for animals
Lily is giving a monkey the stink eye. She wouldn’t take her eyes off this one
Tired, grouchy toddler getting put into the carrier to calm her down. SOmething about my body or my posture there reminds me of my grandmother – that can’t be good! Maybe it is the shawl.
Lily was blown away by the pigs. It doesn’t take much at this age.
Out exploring on her own two feet!
With a little help from daddy
Walking is so much fun!!!
Finally, Clair is over 12 Kg so she could jump higher than she has every jumped before!!!
FInally, after a long day, one loop on the train before kiddos passed out in the car.
Here are a few photos from an afternoon at a local petting zoo. It is one of the easiest things to do when you are at a loss for somewhere to take the kids on a nice day. A few friends from Clair’s dollar skating group were there with us, so there was lots of playing to be had. I just like the series of photos at the end of the day. Lily’s red jacket is just fabulous.
Lily has a new love. Her name is Micha, and for the past few weeks, every time Lily sees her, she puts her arms out looking for a big snuggle.
Physics of falling babies
When Clair fell, she ALWAYS fell on her knees. Her knees still, generally, take the brunt of her falls. For whatever reason, Lily’s poor face seems to take the brunt her her falls. I suspect we will have a lot of bloody lips and noses with her. She has three nice bruises on her face today (I only know where two of them came from). Maybe it is her gigantic head that makes her prone to face plants.
OK, I have been blogging while the baby is here, and she is done being patient and is trying to attract my attention by climbing on things and throwing food on the floor. I should do something about that (proofreading? what is that).
So, Lily has figured out that walking is so much cooler than crawling. Now, it’s time to move on to climbing! We had to hide a stool today because she was obviously bent on killing herself falling off of it. One of her new favorite things is climbing into this chair and then slouching into it. Then, she gets out an does it again.
Has it really been two weeks since I posted? How did that happen? I think it was the sick part I mentioned in the last post.
So, Spring kind of appeared out of nowhere, and with it is coming healthy bodies again!! We have actually left the house this week. It is awesome.
Here are a few photos from the month. I plan on getting some videos up soon too as soon as I snag them from Matthias’ iPhone.
First, and most importantly, we have FIRST steps! She took the first steps on March 3rd, and three weeks later, I think we can officially call her a toddler. It took her a while to by into the while walking thing. But being able to carry food or toys in your hand while walking finally convinced her that it is worth the effort.
We took a very quick trip up north to visit Oma and Opa. The occasion wasn’t a pleasant one because we attended the funeral for Matthias’ uncle, but it did give us a chance to all be together. Despite the cloud over the weekend, the kids had a great time.
Some cuddles with grandma
Clair and Maxim had a great time washing Lily in the bath
Clair loving a relatively new dress. She is suddenly into dresses
Some cuddles with Opa
Today (one of the warm days), we went to a petting zoo with the girls.
This is the whiny face that I see A LOT these days.
This is Clair telling me something very important. So important that it requires big hand gestures.
And, here comes the toddler….
Chilling by the lake
There are a few more photos worth posting, but I need to get them from Matthias………
OK, tired now. I think I am almost recovered from the two weeks of sickness. Bronchitis sucks. I hope I never get it again!
So, I know i mostly post about the kids these days, but there really are some other things happening. Some of them are even kind of interesting.
1) Sick! (OK, not really so interesting)
After two weeks of barely sleeping thanks to two sick kids, I finally caught one of the multiple viruses floating around here and it took me DOWN! At first, it was just a regular cold. By Wednesday (or was it Tuesday?) afternoon, I found that I was way to cold to even get out of bed with my two blankets over me, much less pick Clair up from Kindergarten or stop Lily from destroying the bedroom. It must have been the 39 Degree fever (that’s 102 for you Americans).
Thank God, my friend Penny called me in the afternoon to see how I was doing AND offered to pick up Clair and bring her to my door (before I even had to ask – I was prepared to beg). THANK YOU, THANK YOU, Penny! Matthias, who couldn’t get out of some afternoon appointments got home shortly after and took the children away so I could suffer alone. The fever carried on into the evening but it dropped a bit.
I figured things would get better quickly after that. Well, it’s Saturday, and I still needed a few hours in bed today, but I have to say that tonight, I am doing decidedly better. Matthias, being the loving spouse he is, decided to join me for the ride, and is about a day behind me in this cold. He got to skip the horrible fever and body aches though. We were quite the pair of pathetic parents today, switching back and forth between the kids and bed. Luckily, the girls were really great and handling the boredom.
So, Matthias created an App. He taught himself the language and came up with a nice tool for engineers interested in filtering signals. That sounds a lot simpler than it was, but it kept him entertained for many evening and weekends. It has been many years since he learned a new programing language, and come to find out, he really likes that kind of thing.
So, I designed and put up the website, and he published it last year. I am completely impressed by the whole thing!! It has been really fun to create a product and put it out there. Which leads me to…
3) more Apps
So inspired, we are now working together on a new App idea! This one is a lot more complicated, but we are doing it together from the beginning. He is pushing is boundaries with the coding, and I am pushing my boundaries with some content development and also web design. Well, if I ever got more than two minutes in front of a computer with a coherent thought (has not been happening a lot lately).
it should be a nice challenge, and maybe we will even get a cool App put there. In the mean time, I need to figure out how servers work. Here, all this time, I just used a server for storing files (like these blog posts). it turns out, servers can talk to other servers and share data and stuff!! Who knew? I wonder how a server talks….. I have a lot of work to do.
4) Speaking of work..
So, I have taught six Yoga classes recently. It has been wonderful to get back to teaching again, and I was happy to see that my teaching has improved a bit despite the time away. I think I am finding a style that works for me, and that helps tremendously.
I also decided to take the plunge and rent a room for the entire year, which means that I need to plan more Yoga classes in the coming year. I think starting late April/early May, I will do a ten class series on Yoga cleansing as a celebration of spring/summer. I haven’t decided what to do after that, though I have at least one idea for a Yoga workshop.
Also in the Yoga teaching area, I bought my plane ticket to Italy for September when I’ll be assisting one of my teachers in a workshop she offers in Assisi. It is a fantastic retreat, and I am so grateful not only to get to go back but to help run it and even teach! I also promised to lead an evening of astronomy and star gazing, which I haven’t done in years! I am looking forward to it.
A few other things are bubbling up with Yoga teaching as well, but they aren’t as well developed yet. It all seems to come at once, which is quite alright with me!
aside from that, we are trying to plan some travel for the coming year. Which means, we may actually travel this year! The trip to the US was the reawakening of the Travel bug. We need to check out flights tomorrow, but if things work out, we are going to meet up with friends in Sardinia in August! Then, we need to sort out end of the year in the US plans. We were thinking a lay over in DC for a couple of days could make the trip a bit easier, and also give us a chance to show the kids our favorite museums (and see an awesome friend, of course, Brian).
OK, that is the laundry list of life outside of the cuteness of our adorable children. It may sound exciting written on a blog, but really, it all looked very much like me being trapped at home with sick kids and a sick self for a few weeks now. Really need to get out of the house. Let’s hope the wheezing is finished tomorrow!
I have been building a lot in the past couple of years. Well, ‘a lot’ by the standards of someone who builds in the corner of her tiny kitchen using two IKEA dinner chairs as a make-shift work bench.
I need up building a lot of things that I never properly finish by doing things like painting and just putting on the touches that make something look finished. However, last week, I finally finished one!
So, in September 2010, I built Clair a kitchen – version 1.0
Christmas that year, I upgraded it a bit to version 2.0
I was pretty satisfied with that version, but lately, I have been feeling the need to add some color to our life. So, Clair and I set to work on finishing her kitchen. She was totally jazzed about painting it, and I used tons of masking tape so we could attempt to isolate the different colors (she is even worse than I am about putting the paint where it belongs). I even tried to mix a few of the colors and was happy with some of the results. I even found a cute little coat rack with colorful frogs on it that had been sitting around our house for years (I couldn’t figure out where to put it). I took it apart, used the frogs as a back splash and used the pegs for little accents at the top. I LOVE it now.
Here is the kitchen just after the final paint was added
And here it is with the accents and all of her stuff in it (just before that stuff exploded all over the kitchen and living room). Note the happy little girl who helped paint her own kitchen.
It only took me like two years, but the end result is great. I think the total cost was on the order of 75 Euros (the initial inspiration for building a kitchen was because the nice wooden ones were REALLY expensive)
Next project is a toddler double bed. I may cheat and hack up some Ikea stuff, but maybe paint would make the whole things nicer in the end.
Here are two girls in the same costume my mom made for my brother about 40 years ago. Talk about getting your money’s worth. Go mom!
Clair on Halloween 2009
Lily on her way to a Fasching party today. Note, Clair had been walking for two months by the time she was Lily’s age! I am waiting, Lily. My back could use the break.
I was invited to join a few friends at a local Fasching party today. I still don’t really get what Fasching is all about over here, but I do get that small kids like to dress up in costumes, dance, and play games, so I am on board. Today’s party wasn’t too crazy, so I could handle being in a room with music playing while small children made lots of noise. Usually, I try to avoid that.
The one today was organized by the local youth groups (like the boy and girls scouts), so it was run by some teenagers whose energy could keep up with the gaggle of kids. Aside from having to carry Lily about half the time, I didn’t have to do much except watch and chat with friends.
I have been to a few of these Fasching kids’ parties before. I was introduced by my friend An, who, I must admit, came to mind several times during the party today. She dragged me to a couple in her small town outside of Regensburg, and it was somehow always a chaotic adventure! She may have found today’s party a bit boring….. she always had more energy than me, though!
A few more photos from the first Fasching party of the year.
Lily and her little lion friend Rafaela.
What are you looking at, mommy?
A blur of Clair. Very hard to capture with a camera unless she wants to pose.
A rare photo of Clair interacting with strangers at a public event! She must have really wanted that cake (it is an eating contest the kids do over here often at parties, for those who are wondering what is happening in the photo). Jana is giving Clair a bit of moral support, which I think helped tremendously.
In the haze of travel, I never posted a very important thing; Lily turned 1!!
Technically, she wasn’t one until we got back to Germany, but since we are not German, we celebrated a bit early in Phoenix. Who am I to deny grandma the chance to bake her a cake? Since my brother and dad’s birthdays were all within a few days of each other, we combined them for a fun, 1st, 40th and 67th birthday celebration.
Clair, of course, had to help grandma make the cake.
The finished product was lovely, and it is also very similar to Uncle Mark’s first birthday cake (and also mine, I think).
The obligatory standing by the first birthday cake photo. Lily was having none of it, so this was the best photo we could get.
Perhaps, she just wanted grandpa to hold her
Clair was not too thrilled with the fact that everyone was singing happy birthday to Lily rather than her.
But then she got cake, and she was OK with it.
Lily got her own train car and went to town
And, then grandpa’s cake started to look pretty good too.
After some cake, Grandpa absorbed some of the sugar crazy, and also composed what is now known as the “Lily Song”
This is my aunt Sib – may her genes be somewhere in my aching middle aged body.
She is the sister of my maternal grandmother, and she is 90 years old. She lives on her own in a nice house in Prescott. We went to visit her while in Phoenix, and she looks amazing as always. Actually, looking at old photos, I could honestly tell her that she looks even better at 90 than she did at 70!
What is even more amazing is that her good health is not just superficial. Thanks to some recent medical issues, she had a full neurological work up. Fortunately, the problems she been having may be easily treatable. But, the doctor told her that she has the brain of a healthy 60 year old! I guess that explains why she can still take care of herself and her home. Not to mention that she knitted the girls matching caps this time (she also sewed Clair a dolly the last time we were there).
Man, I hope I have inherited some of those genes!!
Boxes, Little boxes
We are definitely not in Phoenix anymore. Rather than walk out back into the sunshine in the morning, we need to do this before taking the girls out for a walk (if we leave the house at all):
Fortunately, we have had the benefit of boxes to help fill the time! First, we got a new ceiling lamp so Clair got to practice being a contortionist. This photo also shows off Lily’s giant and surprisingly square head.
Then, thankfully, Clair’s new car seat came to us over the weekend, and it came in a huge box! It couldn’t have come at a better time since both girls we sick, and we were stuck inside for two days. So, how much can we get out of one box?
Well, we built a house on the first evening. Then, the next morning, of course, we had to paint it. Fortunately, Santa brought the girls some painting supplies.
The next day, the house was far less exciting. so WINGS! Clair needed wings! (not sure where that came from).
Lily needed a pair as well, and then we had to watch the Sesame Street episode where they try to teach a baby bird to fly. This, upon reflection, was not the best idea. It did distract them for a few minutes, but it was quite a let down when Clair realized that her wings didn’t actually work.
By the end of day 2 of the big box, Clair needed a puppet show.
Not bad for one box. It is still standing so far. I give it another week before we have completely chopped it up.
As an aside, and because it is such a cute movie, this is something else we spend time doing at the moment. Someone is very enthusiastic about peak-a-boo (that someone may be me). sorry about the sideways video; I was distracted by the baby cuteness.
Finally, after WEEKS in the US, we made time for a nice hike in the desert! Between jet lag and sicknesses, we haven’t had any time to just go out and enjoy nature on a hike (sitting on the beach watching the waves and sitting in my parent’s back yard was about all we could handle of nature). So, the other day, Matthias and I finally drove down to south mountain and went for a bit of a hike. It was WONDERFUL!
Interestingly, once we arrived to go for a hike, I remembered all of the desert safety lessons I had as a kid and realized that we were completely inappropriately dressed for a hike in the desert! Well, at least in December, a lot of the little things that could bite through my thin, little shoes are hiding underground. The trails were pretty clear too, and we stayed on them.
It was a lovely hike, and nothing bit us or busted through the little shoes I was wearing. I did sit on a cactus thorn, but it was at an obtuse angle to my back side, so it didn’t do any damage.
(note: no needle in my backside)
Downtown Phoenix from South Mountain
So, after our hike, we though, we thought how nice it would be to bring Clair on a little hike. So, the next day, we went to a park nearby with Clair to take her hiking.
She cried the entire way from the car to the trail head! As we tried to get her to walk with us, she started yelling, “My legs hurt! Hold me!!” I don’t know what was up with her (aside from being 3). So, Matthias put her up on his shoulders and walked about half way up the hill. Eventually, she figured out that hiking is really walking, and then he was able to put her down. She walked with us as happy as can be up the hill.
She did really well until we were about half a mile from the car, but by then, it was flat and Matthias could carrier her a lot easier to the car. We had to bribe her with ice cream some time along the way, so we had to stop by for ice cream on the way home.
This is her refusing to walk.
Now, she has realized that hiking is really just walking
Enjoying water at the summit
Not enjoying the bees flying around on the summit
She even posed for a photo with a cactus
Giving Daddy a good workout in the last half mile
And, of course, the ice cream treat for not screaming on the hike
After our first hike up South Mountain, Matthias and I got lunch at Whole Foods. God, I miss Whole Foods!! I am with ‘my people’ there I love the smell of lavender as you walk in, and the fact that one of the guys working there asked me how I like my Vibrams (the brand of crazy finger shoes I where). The coffee at their little bar is the best coffee we have had here so far. It may be worth another trip just to get another espresso.