Monday, February 27, 2012

Does This Make Me Look Fat?

A package arrived from American-land today full of goodies for me: brown sugar iced PopTarts; skippy peanut butter; Theraflu; peanut butter cups; and teething tablets (customs took that one though - add sad face here). There was also a little bib for PJ and a shirt for me.

The bib says "P is for Perogi" - one of the very best foods to be found in Pittsburgh - and the shirt says "Dear Pittsburgh, I love you." And everyone knows that I do love Pittsburgh. So, in one word, appropriate.

Unfortunately my dear friend, Sparky and her lovely husband Captain Pittsburgh, bought my t-shirt a few sizes too small for me. Leading to the dreaded question, "Does this make me look fat?"

The shirt does, however, fit little man much better. 

Wait a sec....


Monday, February 20, 2012

Congrats? Nine Years in Germany

This January marked a special anniversary for me: this, 2012, is my last year living in Germany with a single digit anniversary. Next year - and I have every reason to believe that we will still be living in Germany come 2013 - I will enter the double digits. As in, ten years in Germany.

I moved here in 2003, a recent college graduate, dating another American, and planning to stay here for eight months, maybe 18, possibly 24 months at the very most. 
Here I am just a few days before I moved to Germany in December 2002.

Now I've been here for nine years - that's 108 months, which is 100 months more than I originally thought. And I am no longer the young, college graduate. Instead I'm an experienced professional, married to a handsome German, a first time mommy, and planning to stay here until - well, I don't know.  

As my months in Germany turned into years in Germany, I began to mark each annual anniversary. Each found me with clear, if sometimes conflicting, feelings: some years I really celebrated and other years I really grieved. But this year, my ninth, my feelings are, well, they are complicated. I'm not happy but I'm also not sad. I'm both. 

My feelings are so conflicted, so complicated that I've written, deleted, rewritten, and then edited again and again this blog entry. I still don't know if this is really how I feel and it certainly isn't the whole story. The short version, the Reader's Digest version, is that these days I'm too American for Germany and I'm too German for the US. 

I miss so much from the US: the welcoming and ready friendliness in almost every situation; the belief that everything is possible if you try hard enough; the shopping hours; the easy access to PopTarts; my beloved (and very missed) college friends; and, especially now that I am a mother, my baby's grandparents, aunt, and uncle.
My college girlfriends just a few months after I moved to Germany -
can you believe I thought I could lose weight back then???
But there is a lot in Germany that I don't know how I could give up: the fresh bread on every corner; the ability to travel to many different cultures and languages cheaply and easily; the 30 days of paid vacation, the wonderful health insurance, and all the other aspects of the incredible social net; and, especially now that I am a mother, my baby's grandparents, aunt, and uncle. 
The Mr. and I when we started dating in summer 2004.
Nine years. I'm not happy but I'm not sad. I'm both. So, congrats to me. Or congrats to me? Either way, congrats to us.
The Steinbach clan

And, yes, I took pictures of pictures from back in the day. Feel free to make fun!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Top Teeth

PJ has six teeth poking through, with two more on their way. His smile is just getting cuter and cuter. Check out those top teeth.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

We Got Played

I gave birth to a player. This morning Oma came over so that I could attend my yoga class. Thing is, I woke up with a nasty headache and a throbbing throat. So, I skipped class and went to bed as soon as she arrived.

Everything went great for the first hour. PJ played happily with Oma and Oma helped him explore new toys and practice his new skills. I slept. Awesome, right?

Then he started to rub his eyes. Then he yawned. Then he snuggled into her chest. After about a half hour of this behavior - and the start of some tired sounding tears - Oma thought, rationally and reasonably, "My beloved grandson is tired."

So although PJ had only been awake for about 90 minutes in total and his normal naptime was still about 60-90 minutes out, she came into our bedroom and regretfully woke me up so I could put him to bed.

You know what's coming right?

Awake. Totally, 100%, absolutely awake.

Player was not tired. He wanted mommy. And as soon as he saw me, he was ready to roll some more. One hour later - after eating some yummy breakfast, playing more with Oma, and then sadly waving her goodbye - he took his nap at his normal time.

We got played. By a seven month old boy.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Video: So Much in So Little Time

It's been an exciting, busy couple of days: PJ has started sitting on his own; really crawling around the apartment; and pulling himself up all around the apartment. Oh, and did I mention he cut two more teeth and is enjoying his first running nose?

Yeah, it's been a little crazy around here. Here is some video proof, look carefully and you'll catch the new teeth and the snot, along with the crawling, standing, and laughing.


I'm a proud mommy!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Carnival 2011

Its carnival season again! Last year the Mr. was Captain America; this year he was a cockroach. Does that mean he's gone up or down in the world?

This year's fasching season is a bit different. Instead of partying until the wee hours of the morning, we dressed little man up as Simba from Lion King and then watched the Mr's tiny village's carnival parade. The parade is small but full of surprisingly good music and costumes. Don't believe me? Check it out!


Can you imagine it - PJ actually slept through almost all of this!

I continued my personal tradition and did not dress up. Someone's gotta be the rebel around here. Here we are as a family:

And here are my oh-so-adorable men


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

7 Months!

Who gave this kid permission to turn seven months old?? Seven months is clearly closer to turning one year old than just being born. Turning seven months old also means that we are just one month away from the Mr starting his parental leave. Yeah! But that also means that we are only two months away from when I return to work. Does anyone else wonder where all the time is going?

The past few days have been full of new and exciting  experiences. For example, this past weekend little man got to meet an even littler man who is just as interested and engaged in the world at a tender age. Check out those eyes! 

Then just yesterday we got to spend some quality time with Oma. PJ learned the joy of flying on his little belly, safe in warm arms.

And, as all good (half) German kids should, PJ discover beer! The first day he was more interested in the sound of the bottles jingling against each other...

...but by day two he repurposed the crate into his own standing prop. This marks the first time that a crate full of empty beer bottles helped someone stand up straight. And aint he proud?

Happy seven months, Little Farter. You are the best little guy ever.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Sleeping, Sleeping

After weeks and weeks of little man's night time sleeping patterns worsening, we finally took some more drastic measures to help him sleep better. It wasn't easy and it wasn't fun but it was worth it. Little man now eats one time a night and we are all getting much more sleep. In fact, I've even had to wake PJ up once or twice so that we could get to appointments on time.

He is also adorable when he is asleep. I'm pretty sure I forgot that for a while.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Such a Challenge

As a mother I face a number of challenges, including but not limited to: changing a boy's diaper when that little boy wants to be anywhere other than laying calmly on his back; figuring out how to get a shower before the neighbors smell me through closed doors; balancing a squirming little boy, a heavy diaper bag, and an awkward bag of groceries up four flights of stairs; staying patient and kind during extreme sleep deprivation; and trying to figure out which of my men is the most adorable.

Such a challenge - impossible, really.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Look Mom, No Hands on the Floor!

It appears that remaining horizontal is out of fashion. Although little man isn't properly crawling yet - an effective army crawl gets him everywhere, fast - he is hungry to build leg muscles with some vertical pull-ups. Exciting, right?

Wait, on second thought, this is kinda scary? I mean, I'm just getting use to picking stuff up off the floor - and now I've gotta think about table tops? Hum ....
The first pull-up, late last week.

The second pull-up, just a few hours later.

Just a day later, he took on the coffee table challenge.

Which he then built upon, growing even more courageous on Sunday. 

Monday he decided he was ready to climb the office chair - please notice the wheels. I put really heavy books on top of it so that I could grab the picture.

And then yesterday he started pulling himself up onto his high chair - and everything else at about that height. This is the only picture because I may be relatively hands-off and encourage PJ to stretch himself ... but I'm not crazy! Those legs are ambitious but they are not stable.

Oh, third thought - can I write that? - my little boy is reaching higher, farther, faster. And I'm there, behind him, helping him laugh off a safe fall or maybe cushioning a possible nasty one, but always letting him know that while today it may be his high chair, tomorrow it could be the stars. Or maybe even past the stars. And I will be always be there.

So, yes, exciting. Definitely exciting.

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