Feb 11, 2013

Saying Goodbye

Well, I started to write my "goodbye" post sometime in August, and never posted it. Now here it is, January, and I've decided to just do it. A lot has changed since I wrote the following, but that's OK. This is what I was thinking back when we'd only just arrived in Tampa, and it seems a fitting way to close out this blog and start a new one. So, please forgive the outdated parts, and come check out our new blog once it's up and running!


It took me a long, long time to get around to writing this post. I think there are probably a number of reasons for that--we've not exactly had oodles of stress-free time on our hands, lately. Still, I think one real reason is that it's hard to accept that our time in Germany is over.

On the one hand, we are just thrilled to be back in the U.S. I call my sister and my mom on my US-time-zone cell phone every couple of hours, just because I can. We saw more of the sun in our first 2 weeks in the US than we had seen in several months in Germany. (And that's not an exaggeration. I know that's hard to believe, so I'll say it again...that was NOT an exaggeration.) We had weeks and weeks of time with family this summer, and at the end of it all we didn't have to get on a plane to start another 20 hour marathon of travel. All of this is pretty awesome.

On the other hand, Anja and Emmanuel don't live around the corner anymore. Claudia doesn't pop by to pick up David and head to the playground, or sit and have coffee with me. There IS no playground around the corner to pop over to, or anywhere, really, that David and I can walk to. And nobody here speaks German. So how am I supposed to practice this crazy language that I worked so hard to learn?!

And another thing. It has been exactly one month and one day since Michael has gone around the corner to get us all warm rolls for breakfast. (Or, as David likes to remind us, pastries. I think he especially misses the pastries.) Do you know how nice it is to have warm rolls brought to you for breakfast? It's pretty nice.

All that to say, it's slowly dawning on me that we're really not going back anytime soon, and that's a little weird for me.

It's time, though, to close this blog up and start a new one. So here's my attempt at capturing our last few weeks in Germany. There are a ton of pictures, but I couldn't have picked fewer than this so that's just how it's going to be.

David and I at our last "Mutterkindkreis" (Playgroup at church)

(I don't how know the other children did it, but David was never very good at
playing once the cookies had been placed on the table.)

Emmanuel's baby brother, Artur. (David calls him Baby Ar-tur-tur)

Jun 3, 2010

Playground with Emmanuel

We went to the new playground with Emmanuel today, and now it's time for photo overload!

(Both boys had their bike helmets on, and neither wanted to take them off.)

First, some fun on the seesaw.

And now this swings:

And, of course, the spinning climbing structure...

At this point, David slipped away, quickly and quietly, when he noticed that Emmanuel's crane had been left unattended. He grabbed it, peeked over his shoulder (I swear!) and ran far, far away to play with it.

While Emmanuel chatted with Michael:

After the park, Michael, David and I stopped at our favorite restaurant for dinner. It's right down the street, the owner loves David, it's extremely inexpensive and delicious, AND, if we eat outside, David can bring his Bobby Car.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Now I have a confession. When I first got here, I thought German food was the pits. Now I find myself wondering what I'll do without it! (The answer, of course, is that I will gorge on Mexican food, but that's not the point.) The first time I saw this meal, I thought it was the nastiest idea ever. I mean really, who eats fried eggs on pork chops?

I do.

I do, and I love it, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Michael does , too, for what it's worth.

Oh how I will miss Schnitzel mit Spiegelei und Bratkartoffeln.

But since that would be a weird photo to end with, I leave you with this...

May 26, 2010

What We've Been Up To

Things are getting kind of crazy here as we prepare to move back to the U.S. In addition to the practical things that need to get done (like unloading, one way or another, the contents of our apartment!), there's the constant fluctuation between thinking about what we'll miss, and thinking about what we're more than ready to leave. (The weather. We are more than ready to leave this weather. It is simply inexcusable.)

We've had some nice times too, of course, and David just gets funnier and funnier. I'm amazed at how old he all of a sudden seems to be. I can't even put my finger on it, but this week in particular I feel as if he's had a developmental growth spurt. It's really fun, and of course good, but also the tiniest bit sad. There's very little baby left in that boy! (Ever-present pacifier to the contrary.)

I realized that I never write much about his little accomplishments, so here are a few David-brags: he loves counting, and can count (with some prompting) to 20. He can count to 10 with no help, and loves counting objects---which he can do up to about 6 or so. He seems to know his left from his right, which we can only assume comes from Dr. Suess's "The Foot Book." He has demonstrated the ability to go to the bathroom both in the potty AND on the floor.

My favorite: He can tell us when something is too spicy. "Too 'picy! too 'picy!" This doesn't necessarily mean he'll stop eating it, mind you. Often he'll just wait a minutes, and then start chowing down again--with watery eyes. It makes us very proud. :)

That's all I can think of for now! My plan for this blog was to just post pictures, but as we all know I never can manage to do a short post. In any case, here are the pictures of what we've been up to lately.

There are really no words for this one:

Or this one:

David is still sort of obsessed with all things vehicular:

Anja introduced us to a new playground, and it's awesome! It is at a school, and there's a blacktop and a great play area AND the streetcars drive by--which, if you're a toddler boy, is just about as good as it gets.

This big ropey climbing structure actually spins! I think it's pretty cool.

David: "If I stare long enough, maybe she'll come and sit on the other side?"

The difference between a stay-at-home parent and a working parent, I've discovered, is this: a stay at home parent would never take one of the very few things that a child plays with, happily, on his own and turn it into a game that requires a lot of parental work.

But it was still fun to watch them zipping around like this. :)

David throwing rocks, with his beefy arms that we love so much:

And here are those beefy arms again, with what was, I think, supposed to be a camera smile:

And finally, more snuggling with Franz:

May 8, 2010

Trucks, Tractors, Cars and Ice Cream

That basically sums up David's favorite things in life. About 6 weeks or so ago, David decided that cars (or motorcycles, trucks, tractors, busses, or street-cars) are the best things in the whole wide world.

When he wakes up, he runs to find his toy cars as quickly as possible--as if the night had been far too long to be away from them. Then he putters around, vrooming all over the furniture, lost in his own little world. It's adorable. (It's made my life unbelievably easier, actually, since these are the first toys that David's really shown and sustained interest in, and he happily plays alone for the first time in his little life!)

Even better than toy cars are real cars. He's forever claiming cars that he sees as his own. ("David's car! David's car!") Michael has told him that we're going to have a car in a few months, and he cannot wait. He talks about it all the time, and his first plan is to listen to Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) in the car--like he does in Oma's car. David thinks we should get a Police Car, or at least a car with lights and sirens. He's thought about it, and that's the car he thinks we should buy.

So, here are some photos of David that capture this newfound love of machinery. (Not just automobiles, mind you, but also lawnmowers, jackhammers, construction equipment of all kinds.)

A few weeks ago, there was a wood-market/festival downtown. David couldn't believe his luck.

(David and Michael watching the chainsaw sculptor.)

We also watched this for a while. It chopped wood and shot the wood into the trailer. David thought it was pretty awesome.

David liked this wooden train...

...but the real tractors were his favorite, hands down. He kept trying to climb the fence, saying "David in there! David in there!"

They even set-up David's favorite carousel, which they had for the Christmas Markets.

He LOVES this thing. He cried so hard when he had to get off, it broke my heart. His little face looked absolutely betrayed. (OK, it mostly broke my heart and also made me laugh a little inside...he's a very dramatic little guy, and it's hard not to find that a tiny bit funny.)

We ended the day, as we often do, with ice cream. My (ill conceived) plan was to get one for Michael, and one for David and I to share. David wanted nothing to do with sharing, and he took one of the cones and ran off with it.

So, Michael and I shared and David got to eat his cone.

A few days ago, we took David out to fly his kite. The kite flying was a total flop, but we did find...

more tractors!

Here we have David trying to find a way to get INTO the tractor. He kept asking me for help, and I couldn't help but wonder what on earth he thought he would do if he could just get into that tractor.

One last picture, taken yesterday morning--David's new car. (Best 14 Euros I ever spent on Ebay. :)

This picture was taken in the bathroom, oddly enough, where he was driving Elmo and Baby Lamby around in his PJs. (Yep, he is still wearing those Christmas PJs. Yep, he was driving his dirty car all around the house. It was pouring outside, and freezing cold, and I pretty much let him do whatever he wanted to while we were stuck inside.)

David LOVES this car, and we love watching him drive it all over the place!

Apr 20, 2010

Biking to Weimar

Last Saturday, we had a family bike trip to Weimar. It's not very far, 25 kilometers (15 miles)by the bike path, and it was the perfect way to enjoy the weather.

Sadly, as we were leaving, Michael discovered that he had a flat tire. Fortunately, he and David were able to make the necessary repairs:

David is pretty happy in his bike seat, as long as: (1) he can see me, and (2) he gets regular breaks. When he can't see me, he yells "maMAAAA! maMAAA!" Then, when I manage to catch up (this is often on an uphill) he says, very sweetly, "hi Mama!"

It's mostly cute, but sometimes not. Like when I'm gasping for air pedaling up a steep hill, trying simultaneously to say "It's alright, David, I'm right here..."

I'm totally on board with the regular breaks, though!

David loves taking pictures together now, where I hold the camera:

You just have to love this face:

We did eventually manage to reach Weimar, and even stopped at a beautiful palace just outside the city:

We had a bite to eat there, and David grabbed the Soljanka we were supposed to share and made clear it was not to be shared. Oddly enough, this is one of his favorite foods:

The palace grounds were beautiful, and we spent our time there just wandering around outside:

David's favorite, of course, was walking up and down the palace stairs. (And up, and down, and up, and down...)

He also enjoyed standing up there, his personal stage, and telling us elaborate, very dramatic stories, often about a bumblebee. Or just surveying all that was his.

Once we got to the city itself, we did some more wandering and some more eating. (Very, very mediocre bratwurst, unfortunately.) We capped the afternoon off with MY favorite: Ice Cream!

Michael ordered a coffee-ice cream float (an eiscafe), we ordered David a scoop of mango ice cream, and I ordered the sundae that's named after the city--the Weimar.

I think it's safe to say I chose wisely. Michael chose poorly, and so I had to share the rewards of my wisdom.

David was VERY pleased with his own decision. He usually eats strawberry ice cream, which he calls "pink ice cream." (Don't offer him strawberry, he won't eat it.) This time, he did NOT want pink ice cream, so I suggested orange (mango.) Yes, orange ice cream, that was what he wanted. And he was right.

We had to wait a full half hour as David, slowly but surely, finished that scoop of mango ice cream. We had long since finished, and he was getting colder by the minute, but he was determined (and feisty!)

It was a great day.