Archive for May, 2012

Cottonwood Season

The weather here in Karlsruhe is fantastic. No, it’s BETTER than fantastic. Summer started weeks ago, at the beginning of May. We have already had plenty of days around 27-30°C (That’s the high 80’s to low 90’s in Fahrenheit) It was even sunny in the WINTER. Everytime I look back at the weather in Paderborn, where we used to live, I laugh a little.

Oscar throwing his hands in the air in front of the Karlsruhe Palace with a huge blue sky in the background

Oscar enjoying the weather in Karlsruhe

It isn’t really Schadenfreude since I do feel bad for the people left behind there. They don’t know what they are missing. But then again, so many Paderborners claim to actually *like* the weather there, so I guess it’s ok.

You have to understand that Paderborn is in a rain black hole. It literally sucks the rain out of all the surrounding regions and doesn’t let it leave Paderborn. It’s not the kind of rain I was used to from Michigan, either, where there is a big storm for an hour or two, and then the sun comes back. Or when the clouds are out that there are some variations in the clouds allowing the sun to peak through. No, in Paderborn the sky is an endless sea of grey, and the rain is just a light drizzle which goes on for days and days. (Who am I kidding? it is more like *months*.)

Balcony full of rain

the view from my old apartment in Paderborn

It is grey all the time, to the extent that in the winter time you don’t even know weather the sun is rising or setting. Add that to the extra short days in a German winter and you have one big recipe for dreariness. Even in the summer it doesn’t always get that much better. Last summer (2011) we had like 1 week of really nice hot weather, but the rest of the time it was too cold to even go swimming. And it rained a lot then, too. We all kept wondering when spring would end and summer would arrive. But then we looked at a calander and it was already the end of August. ?!what!!??

You wouldn’t think that the weather in Michigan would be anything so special that one would miss it. But compared to Paderborn, Michigan weather is like a shining rainbow. In the summer it’s hot, broken up by some very violent thunderstorms which then pass and give way to glorious sunshine. In the winter it’s bitter cold but the sun still comes out often, glittering on the ice and snow like crystals. In the fall the trees all turn colors and the air is nice and crisp. In Paderborn all the seasons just kind of ran together and most of the trees just turned a dull brown.

And of course, Oscar, who is from Mexico, obviously really missed the sun – I probably don’t even have to go into details for you to believe me.

But we moved to Karlsruhe in January (one month before Olivia was born) and it really is bliss. Karlsruhe is right on the edge of the Black Forest, and is the sunniest and warmest region in Germany. People even plant *palm trees* in their yards!! (Albeit they have to heavily protect them in the winter since they do get snow.)

All this is simply to say, that we are very happy here. And of course, to finally come to the point of my post, which is that I am keeping all the windows and doors wide open to enjoy the nice weather right now, which means that all of the cottonwood seeds are blowing in all over the place. They are all over the floor and I even found them in the toaster. So it’s a little bit annoying, but still definitely worth it. I would take the cottonwood seeds over a constant drizzly rain any day.

My little Gourmet

I have always been a slow eater and often find myself only half-finished when everyone else has long since cleared their plates.  I love food and I like to take my time and enjoy every bite.  But I also enjoy the conversations and time people spend together during a meal.  To me there is absolutely nothing better than spending 5 hours over several courses. And restaurants are always one of my favorite parts of taking vacations.

This is not to say that I am picky or something, I have no problem with burnt fish sticks and broccoli that ended up getting seared to the bottom of the pot since I forgot to add water when steaming.  These kinds of things often come out of my own kitchen and I eat them without complaint.  But I absolutely could not rush a meal to save my life.

So I suppose it should come as no surprise that my daughter is the same way.  She loves to eat and savors every drop of milk.  And she takes a year and a day to do it, too. At 3 months she is still eating every 2-3 hours (except for at night, thank goodness) and often stays at the breast for 30-45 minutes.  Often she will stop eating and “talk” to me for ten minutes; cooing, laughing and gaa-gaaing.

Olivia is laughing at me instead of nursing.

Olivia is laughing at me instead of nursing.

Her eyes turn into little crescent moons, smiling at me with her huge toothless grin.  It’s so cute it’s hard to be annoyed.  But at the same time it is a huge lesson in patience since it really does take forever.  My restless brain wants to jump up and whittle away at my mountain of pending issues.  But I know it isn’t right. She deserves to enjoy her meals, spend time with mommy and not to be rushed.

Tough Days

Well, I almost deleted my blog because I decided it was too much work.  It’s so tough taking care of a baby sometimes, and I barely find time to get anything done, let alone writing in a blog.  But… well I guess the bug bit me again, and so here I am to update on the past couple of weeks. Olivia is really starting to explore her voice now.  She has a very interesting way of “screaming” which she mostly uses to express glee, and I’m starting to think that she is trying to imitate me singing.   She adds all kinds of cooing and ga-ga’s into the mix, too, and it’s just overall super cute.  Oscar and I love to “talk” with her. Olivia laughing and singing Although she has really learned a lot with her voice and it is super fun to watch her, we are fighting with another old enemy, burping.  She seems to have regressed a bit with burping…  and I often find myself putting her to bed only to have her wake up again within 10 minutes screaming because some air bubble is still in her tummy.  Then we spend a good hour or so cycling between the different possibilities of what could be wrong, (maybe shes actually hungry?  Maybe she needs to poop?  Maybe she’s just mad because we put her to bed?  Maybe she’s overly tired and can’t sleep because of that…?)  It almost always turns out to be a burp lurking around in there, and yet it sometimes takes so long for it to come out that I give up and try other stuff instead, only to find out in the end that it was a burp all along.  Fortunately she hasn’t had any colic in more than a month, except for a couple of isolated episodes, both while visiting friends out of town.  The burping is really nothing compared to colic, so I’m happy to have come this far even if it is still pretty tough and I am totally exhausted.

I also should note that that “early morning” I wrote about in my last post wasn’t really the great idea I’d thought it would be.  By the time 5pm rolled around I was so exhausted I could no longer function.  So I guess all that extra “time” I’d thought I’d gained by getting up early while Olivia was still asleep wasn’t actually time gained after all. Funny how you just can’t beat time.

An Early Morning

Today, I actually am on top of things!  It always helps to get up early.  Of course, I’ve realized by now that if I go back to sleep after Olivia’s morning feed then the day is basically lost.  Once she’s up for the day, I hav3e no time left to do anything for myself.  Her morning nap is spent taking a shower and eating breakfast.  Her afternoon nap is spent doing dishes and laundry.  And wait a minute, often there IS no afternoon nap, and sometimes there’s no morning one either.  


But today, glory of glories, after feeding Olivia from 4:30-5:15am, I decided to just stay up.  I put her back to sleep (which she does pretty easily in the mornings) and ate breakfast.  I showered.  I cleaned up all the laundry.  I finished the dishes from last night.  It was GLORIOUS having more than a 45 minute chunk of time to myself.  She didn’t wake up again until 7:15!   I even ironed one of my husband’s shirts.  And that is somthing I *never* do, just ask him. 

 On a side note, I’d like to praise my husband for being so wonderful.  He has always ironed his own shirts for as long as I’ve known him.  He doesn’t ever make a big deal out of it either, even when it makes him late for work.  Sometimes he even ironed MY shirts for me!  I think I only ironed his shirts for him maybe once?  He is such a loving, selfless guy, I would never trade him for anything.


So anyways, after Olivia woke up, I fed her, and for some reason she vomited twice… sometimes she spits up a little, but this was really a lot, and it came gushing out all over the place.  It soaked right through my jeans all the way down to my underwear.  Poor girl.  But she is such a happy, easy-going baby, right after vomiting she started smiling at me!  She squealed and trilled and looked as if nothing had ever happened.  It was so cute, I didn’t mind the vomit at all.  


Well, now it is 9:00 am and Olivia is back down for her morning nap.  It was so easy to get her to sleep, I couldn’t believe it.  Maybe the string of tough days is finally over?  I sure hope so!   

Me, starting a blog?!

I only got 4 hours of sleep last night, my arms and legs are about to fall off, I have an ear infection and am walking around like a zombie.  Little 3-month-old Olivia is finally sleeping, so I should probably get some sleep too.  Or do the laundry.  Or the dishes.  Or clean up the huge mess on the kitchen table.  Or start dinner.

So because I am responsible and know how to prioritize, I am starting a blog instead.  (wait, what…?)

It kind of reminds me of the time as a freshman in college when I stayed up all night making a website about how to do the Rubik’s cube the night before my calculus exam.  Yeah, that wasn’t the wisest choice of timing.  And neither is this.  But I’m going to do it anyways!

After all, as moms, we need to do something for ourselves once in a while or we would go crazy!

I have to admit, I’m a little scared to start a blog.  What am I doing trying to enter the blogosphere?  I studied mechanical engineering.  I haven’t written anything creative since the 7th grade.  Although to be fair, Mrs. Bricka DID say my stories were really good.

This blog is going to be about motherhood, and my perspectives on life as an American living in Germany.   I guess we’ll see how this goes!


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