Tuesday, October 26, 2010

First Holidays

Halloween is the last 'first' holiday for Jackson. Totally bittersweet. Andy won't be here but we'll be celebrating anyway. It's sad to think of all those 'first' holidays being over. . .but just imagine the fun he'll have in years to come. Soon he'll be unwrapping presents, searching for eggs, decorating cookies, carving pumpkins, and probably refusing to let me dress him in oh so cute hats.

Last Halloween Jackson was snug as a bug as the 'peanut' in my M and M costume. . .dancing to the music at our friend's Halloween party. . .I was almost afraid to sit on her couch for fear of my water breaking (I had a dream about it the week before). . .enjoying time with my husband. . .it turned out to be the last Saturday night before we became parents, totally (ok, moderately) oblivious as to how much our lives would change in 6 short days.  

We did carve a pumpkin this year- by we I mean 'I'. . .I got to gut it, I got to bake the seeds (Yes, I got to eat them), and I got to carve it. .  .but it is totally worth it to know we're starting traditions that will enrich his childhood and create special memories.

A little costume 'preview'.

I'll give you a hint. It goes "Neah". . .and while Googling 'what does a goat say' I found this video I remember from college. . .I WAS an Animal Science major. . you'd think I KNOW what a goat says. 

Also, if you don't think goats say "Neah" or even if you agree- leave me a comment and tell me!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ready or not. . . .

Sunday, October 17, 2010


So, obviously we love our time here in Germany- it's been such an experience, one I'll treasure for the rest of our lives. . . however the, by far, biggest drawback is the distance from loved ones.

Thankfully in this day and age there are a multitude of opportunities to stay in touch. We have the internet, free stateside calling and we've even made two trips back to the states to reconnect with family. But when you don't know when you'll be back next, it is tough.

Technology has come so far. These days we Skype with our families frequently. This summer I spent many 'days' just 'on the computer' with my sister. Doing mundane things. Feeding the baby, washing the baby, playing with the baby. With her 'there' it was great to be able to share our everyday life, and close the huge distance between us.

We Skype often. Mostly on the weekends- due to the time difference- for an hour here and there we get to talk, chat, watch in awe of the awesome little guy we all love so dearly. The first trans-Atlantic waves shared with Yaya were a momentous occasion. The first crawl-steps they saw, the first walking steps they will see, I'm so thankful to be able to share these with them.

I can't wait to be back in the same time zone (or even continent)! But until then- thankful that we have an awesome way to connect. Some of my favorite pictures from these times are captured with the tiny, grainy webcam.


I'll always remember the first year of Jackson's life, wondering how I did it without the constant physical support of my family. . . and remember, they WERE there, they did get to share, and shower Jackson with a ton of virtual love.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


We arrived in Germany this time two years ago. It’s incredible to believe that two years have passed so quickly. I can still look back and remember seeing our little part of Germany for the first time. The beautiful fall colored hills, the windy roads, freshly plowed fields and heavily wooded views. I love this time of year anywhere, but here in Bavaria it is extra special, and something I want to hold onto.

(from our first days here)

The weather has been beautiful lately- intermittent bright, crisp days mixed with cool, foggy, damp days. As Jackson’s gotten older we’ve enjoyed being able to share the world outside with him- bright, crisp days we make frequent trips to the park, explore the nearby forest, and often walk the windy German roads near our house. The cool days hold precious memories as well. . .failed pumpkin bread, quickly picking up the dining room with a baby balanced on my hip, listening for the distinct sound of our 1992 BMW pulling up to our garage 3 doors down.

Today is one of the ‘cool, damp, foggy’ ones. I’ll admit Jackson and I are both in our pajamas and other than standing at the back door to let the dogs out and a quick run to put the bio bag out, we’ve been inside. Curled on the couch together watching tv. It hasn’t been a perfect day with my extra crabby friend, but it’s been our day, to do with as we please.

I’m so thankful to have this experience, to live in a land so foreign, to gain perspective. I miss home daily- though really only the people. Learning to live without conveniences, to live without every possible ‘need’ being met, and learning what are mere ‘wants’. In Germany EVERY grocery store is closed by 2000 (8pm). . .as well as every Sunday. Family time is valued. HOME is a priority.

With just under a year until our expected return to the world of FAST. . I’m taking time to enjoy the slow.

Vielen Dank, Deutschland. Leaving you with some new favorite fall family pictures.

*most photo credits go to my dear friend Cassie

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Stroller Envy.

This blog is entirely about how much I love my new stroller. If you don’t want to continue, I totally understand. Just skim the pictures.
In Europe strollers are a BIG deal. I've even heard stories about people FINANCING their strollers (they cost THAT much). Everywhere we go I’m checking out strollers. The European ones are BIG, all terrain, convert from a pram (with bassinet) to stroller, sometimes with doubles options, generous sun shades, and, my favorite, rear-facing abilities. I’ve looked at purchasing some of the European options but they either don’t have the features I want, or come with a much to large price tag. . .before figuring in the crappy exchange rate.

Before Jackson was born I took it upon myself to research baby gear. . to the max. I researched every kind of baby bottle (a lot of good that did us) as well as sleeping options (crib, co-sleeper, bassinet) but my biggest hang up was the stroller. I wanted it all. . .you know, the light weight, full size, super easy micro-folding stroller that can fit one kid. . or two WITH a cup holder. I read tons of reviews and just COULD NOT decide. So for the first 6 months we used a Snap-n-Go which was perfect. It was SO light weight and tiny, perfect for our needs. While in the States we needed a new stroller (as we didn't take his infant car seat) but I still wasn't ready to 'take the plunge' so we bought a small, cheap, umbrella-ish Combi. . .yeah it worked. It saw us through Slovenia, Austria, Croatia, France (soon to add Italy, Greece, Croatia again, and EGYPT. . .can you tell I’m excited?) and countless sidewalks and shopping malls in Germany, but it wasn't (isn't) my favorite.

Now that Jackson is creeping up on a year old I decided it was time to figure it out. Originally I wanted a Phil and Teds. If you haven’t heard of it you should google it. It’s a regular all-terrain stroller but by adding a second seat to the back/basket area you can have two kids where one was before. Awesome, right? I just couldn't get over the negative reviews- bad sunshade, tires popping, and the biggest drawback was you can’t put a car seat on it and still have a second seat option (or you are no supposed to).

Thankfully, while I was waiting (due to my inability to make a decision), multiple companies came out with single strollers with the “add a second seat” option. I looked at the Baby Jogger City Select, the Uppa Baby Vista, and finally, the one we got, the Britax B-Ready. All of these strollers have pretty hefty price tags- but the fact that my first two strollers were so cheap combined with the fact that this can become a double if/when we need it sold my husband on the higher-than-we-would-like price tag.

I bit the bullet and ordered it (with free shipping!). Amazon is amazing at shipping to APOs. I ordered the stroller on the 20th. . it shipped on the 22nd  and arrived 5 days later!

Jackson loves the stroller because it has a bumper bar he can chew on and he sits up nice and high. The easy to use one handed recline is great. I also love the adjustable foot rest so his little legs aren’t dangling off the front.

We’ve taken it for walks on gravel roads, through grass and on dirt paths without a problem (using the front wheel locks).

I adore our stroller but there are a couple of negatives. Weight. This thing is HEAVY (especially after two VERY lightweight strollers) and doesn’t fold up very small. I don’t have a problem with it fitting in our SUV- but it IS a full sized stroller, with a full sized weight and full sized fold. Ok, those are the only complaints I can think of right now. I LOVE the sunshade (135 degree coverage)- it is amazing. I LOVE LOVE that it can be used either with the baby forward facing or rear facing.

Rear facing is what I use most of the time right now. I love being able to look at and talk to Jackson while we go for walks. I’m sure one day he won’t want to face me- and at that time he can face out, but for now I love the interaction with my little guy on a long walk.

Add a HUGE basket that is accessible from all 4 sides, the fact that it pushes one handed like a DREAM, and a super easy brake system, and I can say that instead of stroller envy I now have stroller LOVE.

Now I’m sure some of you are wondering, as I write about my awesome stroller that CAN accommodate two babies, if we are expecting. The answer is no. Not right now. Just wanted to clear that up J