Thursday, November 30, 2006

New Email

Please update your address books to reflect my new edress:
FaithAD@gmailDOTcom (obviously, replace the DOT with "." I'm just spam-bot proofing it.)

My Yahoo account will only be used for my mailing lists now, so make sure that your email doesn't get overlooked! Thanks!!

Kisses and baby bumps

Neither have learned to kiss with mouthes closed yet.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
No one seems concerned about the slobber factor. But really, nothing is sweeter than baby kisses, no matter how messy.

Today I was sitting down and felt the baby kicking pretty hard. I put my hand over the spot, wondering...and yes! I felt it! I called Andrew over, and he felt the baby kick too. His first comment "And the baby's kicking me because it wants to come out and play tiger and monster trucks with me."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The good, the bad, and the downright ugly

The belly grows.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
This picture is clickable and will drop you in the belly gallery.

Tulsi Mint tea by Yogi Tea is my newest drink of choice. I have a cup almost every night. It's soothing instead of "sparky" like most mints are (which I love, but am not in the mood at the moment), and has a sweet aftertaste. From what I can gather (I searched around online) it doesn't seem like you can get this in the US; you can't even find it on the Yogi Tea site, so it's not all that fair that I'm telling you about it. The only way I justify this is because if you don't already know about Yogi Tea and you're a tea drinker, find some! They have some of the most lovely flavor blends around. If you enjoy a complex cup, check them out. You will not be disappointed.

My day today started out well. Normally I save videos for when I'm cooking dinner or tired out in the afternoon and we're waiting for Greg to come home. This morning, I felt washed out when I hit the floor, so I put a long one in (Thomas The Tank Engine adventure of some sort), locked the front door from the inside (with a key, and the boys don't know how to work it), set the guys up with cups of cheerios and sippy cups of water and went back to bed. My door was open and I was sort of half awake, so I knew it'd be ok. A few times Andrew came to me with some sort of problem, and I fixed it and went back to sleep. The boys came to me at 10; the movie was over and they were bored.

I felt wonderful from the extra sleep. We were out of bread, and since we all enjoy making it, the little team helped me throw together a loaf.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Having this much fun is pretty serious business.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

By the time the dough went in to rise, it was time for lunch. We had a fun spread of tacos from the night before and hotdogs. What could be happier for a toddler? They were in a fantastic mood as I put them down for their nap/quiet time. Elijah went to his bed and stood there drinking his bottle with a pleasant face while he waited for me to tuck him in. Andrew happily kissed me from his bed in the attic (he sleeps in "Hannah's" bed for his quiet times and then gets out to play with his spread of toys up there. He thinks it's great fun.) Everything was calm, and I looked forward to my quiet time, which is my "me" time to get things done -- no work, only play, I've decided (i.e. knitting, spinning, blogging, online snooping, etc.) The quiet time usually lasts a good 2 hours or so.

About a half-hour passed and Andrew came downstairs to use the bathroom. When he went back up, it was pretty clear that he'd decided his time alone was done. About every 5 minutes from there on, he had some sort of problem or would sit at the top step wailing his lungs out for me, threatening to wake Elijah with the volume. I was so mad. There was nothing that I could do, and I assure you that I tried everything. I got so frazzled, and of course Elijah woke up early.

The rest of the day went back and forth from bad to good to bad, and Andrew was unpredictable and terribly behaved for the most part. Maybe I should have spent more time with them in the morning? Maybe we should have gone outside and run around? Maybe this? Maybe that? I have no idea. I just know that by the time Greg came home I was just about to throw dinner off the balcony.

To add insult to injury, the bread pretty much didn't rise at all. We've got a nice tasting brick.

After we ate, I had to lie down for the next hour or so because my stomach was so tied up in knots from the stress. I hope to goodness sake that tomorrow is better. My plan is to start the day by throwing rocks off the bridge behind the house, which should be a hit. Should be.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Hey everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving. I've taken the week off from responding to emails and blogging, but I'm back!

Just because, here's a funny video of Elijah, trying an olive for the first time.

Hannah was here from England with a friend from school (she's Australian). We went to Heidelberg to see Schloss (castle) Heidelberg, and intended to go to the farmer's market as well, but we were one week too early. Oh well. She'll be back in two weeks for her winter break, so we can always go again.

Unfortunately my camera died after just these two pictures, but I will post more when Hannah comes back (her/Grace-and-Joy's camera worked for the whole trip, but she left her computer hook-up cable here)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We also went to a castle today, which happens to be about 10 minutes from our house. We took the pics on real film though, so I can't show you for a week or so, or however long they take on post (so old fashioned, I know, but we were taking our annual Christmas shots, so it's traditional to use the "real" camera.)

More details about Hannah's visit and our German/American Thanksgiving tomorrow or sometime next week.

Friday, November 17, 2006

A beating heart

On Tuesday, we got to listen to the baby's heartbeat! You can listen too. Click here. For those interested, the heartbeat falls right between the supposed "boy" and "girl" range just like Andrew's and Elijah's did, so no clues!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The piano

**Edited to add (ETA) piano video clip**

Please brace yourself for a picture heavy post. The first picture is clickable and will take you to the gallery where you can watch a slideshow of it instead, if you wish. This will also allow you to see the pictures in greater detail if you should so desire.

When we moved, no one told us (and I'm sure that the Army should have!) that we might not want to take things like our washer, dryer, and -- oh yeah -- proabably not our piano. No one suggested storage, or hinted that the apartments might actually be too small to even get anything up stairs or through doorways. So. The washer and dryer are not much of a problem. They're clutter catchers in the fron entryway, but as it's a pretty large space, it's not very noticable. We can't hook them up, and the Army has supplied us with "lenders" that are hooked up in the basement (another post to follow this week about the insanity of that). However, the piano wasn't so easy.

First, they told us that there was no way they could get it up the stairs. Surely they would damage something or themselves on the trip up two flights of stairs. They told us they'd never been asked to move a piano -- does no one play piano in Germany anymore? They called in a special moving company to scope things out, and those guys tried to convince us to ship the piano back to the states for storage. I flatly refused. They said they'd talk to their boss and see what they could do. Greg told me to suggest the rooftop porch that we have off the kitchen. I suppose the guys didn't want to argue with a stubburn pregnant girl, because a few days later they called back with the news that they'd be here with a crane on Monday morning (today!)

I woke up at 7am to make sure that I was properly dressed and awake before they got here. When they arrived, it was pretty unbelievable. They really did have a huge orange crane. I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story. The last one is a little video clip. So sorry that I couldn't have gotten more -- Elijah woke and started yelling "Mommy!" from his room and the camera battery was running low.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

They were probably using ultimate self-control when, after all that, I told them that the piano would need to be moved all the way across the L-shaped house to the opposite side, and placed in the sunroom. But it's all done now. Thank goodness.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Pink Hat

This is Elijah's new look. He puts the hat on himself. Don't dare touch it or try to adjust it in any way. You'll have a fit on your hands that won't be pretty. Not that it's happened to me or anything.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
As I've told you all, I've been doing a really big potty training push lately with Andrew. Elijah thinks this is fascinating, and started getting jealous. "Pee! Pee!" he'd yell, running in to the room. He'd rush up behind Andrew (who stands on a stool to pee), and push him, wanting to stand there himself.

Andrew started screaming at Elijah every time he'd charge in, and push him violently back out of the bathroom, slamming the door behind him. Sometimes Elijah would hit his head on the door-jam; all the time he would be pissed off. So the little man came up with a plan.

The small bathroom that Andrew usually chooses to use happens to have the light-switch panel just outside the door. Instead of trying to share the peeing experience with Andrew, Elijah has started just switching the light out on him instead. He's a quick learner.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I don't know about you...
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

...But this is pretty much the cutest bunch of trouble I've ever seen.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


On Sunday, Greg walked in the door from work (he's working 7 days a week right now, which sucks), and said that a ton of people were walking around in the street outside, which was blocked off, and there seemed to be fair of some sort going on.

The boys and I pulled ourselves together (we'd been wandering around in sweatpants all day, since I delaired the day off from everything serious -- including getting dressed), Greg changed out of his military costume and we headed out.

Somehow, we'd missed the memo, but there were vendors all up and down the street and in the market square, selling everything from spiced nuts to clothing to sausages. Remember how I said that I was going off sugar? I may have fallen off the bandwagon a bit.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Ok, it looks more like I jumped off. But could you blame me?

The heart was some sort of a lightly spiced ginger bread (not very sweet at all -- Andrew didn't like it), and the bon-bon thing...well, that was something else all together.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
My neighbor said it's called a Mohrenkopf, which means something about a little hat. The translation was unclear, but kopf definitely means head, and she says it also means hat. It was about as big around as the palm of my hand, and 4 inches tall. There was a waffle/wafer on the bottom, then gooey milky super sweet stuff all coated with chocolate dipped in almonds. Yes, it was good. My leg ached a little the next day, but I put it up and drank a lot of water. (More poison, please! No, I need to start being consistantly good, for real.)

There were also rides for the children including a jumpy castle (Andrew wouldn't go in it because there were bigger kids already jumping -- probably a good thing, since he might have gotten hurt, and then Elijah would have wanted to try), and a little merry-go-round. Andrew begged to go on the go-round, so we finally put him on...and about 5 seconds later, he was all fallen to pieces. I would have taken a picture, but Greg was refusing to jump on the moving ride with him. I passed the stroller to Greg and jumped on myself (my dad is getting nervous thinking about how dangerous this might have been. No worries, it wasn't going that fast.) Somehow, Greg thought that I'd gotten a picture already, so he didn't document me calming him or anything, but anyway, it all happened.

Yesterday I visited with my neighbor from downstairs and she said the "thing" was called Uerkaufs Offfener Sonntag, which, loosely translated means "The One Day In The Year When All The Shops Are Open On A Sunday And There Are Vendors And Rides In The Streets For Fun". This "thing" travels from town to town towards the end of each year, and it's the only day in the year when you'll find shops open on a Sunday.

This has nothing to do with anything, but here is Greg's van:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Monday, November 06, 2006

Need more Faith in your life?

Click here to listen to my latest episode of The Knitting Cook. It's not all knitting and cooking, I talk about my life in Germany too. It just MIGHT interest you. Let me know if you do end up listening! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Will post more tomorrow (we accidentally ended up at a street fair -- check back for the full story). It's past midnight here, and I've only just gotten the show out, so I need to head straight for bed.

Friday, November 03, 2006

I am a tourist in my own town

Since week 9, I've been able to feel tiny flutters of the baby moving, just like with the boys. Yesterday though, I finally felt Tiny kick For Real for the first time. The boys were talking about stuff at the table with me, and suddenly the baby struck out, and I really felt it. So cute!

If you don't usually stop in at my knitting blog, you might not have seen Andrew's new hat. From the looks of these pictures, I think he may have wanted you all to see it too. (Click for bigger.)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Today was market day, of course, and we got there an hour before it closed (they start shutting down at noon). Elijah was pretty fussy, but I had some little boxes of raisins in my purse, which saved the day. I always get them little things to eat when we're out, but when he starts freaking out before we can even get to the vendors, I can't hope to communicate with anyone properly. It's already challenging enough to struggle with the Deutsch (German) language.

I was much braver with my picture taking. I did get chuckled at by a passing shopper (an older guy), but I just smiled pleasantly at him.

Today we were at the cheese truck, and the lady got her mother (turns out be the egg-lady) to come over and translate for me. I was very proud of myself though, because I was able to communicate mostly without help ("Kann ich mal probieren?" pronounced kan ish mal probeeren and means "may I taste it?" Note to those who, for whatever reason, actually want to walk around saying this and feeling cool: the "r's" are rolled ever so slightly. Not a lot.)

I noticed that the egg lady also had handmade pasta at her stand, so we went over there, and ended up having a nice conversation with her. I love it when that happens.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
She has five children (her oldest daughter runs the cheese truck), and thinks it's terrible that the current generation here in Deutschland don't like to have children, and is quite pleased that I'm working on baby #3.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
For the last 52 years, she has been waking up at 3am to prepare for the market. I'm not sure what other places she hits; she must work several towns, because this market only comes to town on Fridays. She raises her own chickens for eggs, then brings some of them to a tiny one-man pasta operation. One of her daughters lives in New Mexico, US, so she goes there to visit once every other year, thus the great grasp of English. I'll definitely visit her cart again. She has lived a life of many stories that will be very interesting to learn.

The vegetable stand (which is the largest stand in the Markt Platz)
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Here is what we ended up with:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

My favorite lunch of a big soft pretzel and some cheese (along with a protein shake):
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Coffee from across the street (that I spoke of the other day). As you can see, one pour of cream hardly lightens it. You can see the foam from the brewing process on the lid.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Maybe tomorrow I'll take some pictures of the boys playing outside with their new friends.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

That Good Coffee

Last night Greg and I watched Lucky Number Slevin. I had never heard of the movie, but it turned out to be very good. The plot was tight and engaging. We both enjoyed it muchly.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

To read a little bit about it, go to the IMDB. To read a lot more and spoil the plot for yourself, check out Wikipedia's description.

Really though, anything with Josh Harnett, Lucy Liu, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley has got to rock. (If violence and sex are a turn off for you though, you may want to skip this one, as it has elements of both.)

This morning I was feeling much better, so the boys and I set off on our usual little shopping adventure. Strangely, the street was quiet. There were almost no cars on the road, and the sidewalks were empty except one man walking his dog. We went to the whole food store first, and then the bakery (both only across the street, thankfully) but they were both closed. The produce stand was also closed down. I couldn't find any signs in the windows to suggest what might be the cause. I'm guessing it's a German holiday of some sort? Can't figure it out. We finally went over to another bakery, also across the road, which we've never visited. They have a little cafe (as do most), so I ordered pretzels for the boys, and a cup of coffee for myself.

To make my coffee, the lady pushed this button on her machine, and it ground the coffee, then brewed my cup, just for me. It had a layer of crema on top (that caramel colored foam that naturally tops a well brewed espresso), and was thick, dark and rich. In the States, we would call it a cup of espresso, but here, apparently that's just plain coffee, served in a regular sized mug. Very interesting. It was quite good, but since I haven't had caffeine in so long, I'm totally feeling the buzz. (For those concerned -- pregnant women are advised that it is safe to drink up to 2 cups of coffee a day, so I'm safe.)

In Germany, when you sit down at a table in a restaurant, it's considered yours for as long as you choose to be there. No one rushes you or imagines that you'll leave soon. In fact, if there's room at your table, another patron may even ask to sit with you (which you can refuse if you'd like), since there's a possibility of a long term unavailability of tables in a crowded place. The boys and I camped out in the cafe for about a half-hour, while Andrew stared at the table next to us where there was a lively conversation going on in German between four older folks, and Elijah jumped up and down in his chair and looked out the huge glass store-front. The people at the nearby table kept smiling at Elijah (I think he was making faces at them), and talking about him, but they could tell that I couldn't understand them, so I'm pretty sure that they also discussed the fact that I was pregnant too (I could just imagine "and a third on the way! Oh my!"). Or maybe they weren't at all.

In answer to Joycee's question from the other day: Yes, I do experience back pain during pregnancy. I have scolioses (spell?), and pregnancy makes that worse, generally permanently. The only real relief I've found is by regular chiropractic care throughout. Right before I got pregnant with Elijah, I got into a car accident (when I totaled the Jetta), so I was getting free care from my care insurance. It worked out to last almost all the way through the pregnancy, and was an amazing thing. (Who knew that a car accident could pay off so well?)

When I am pregnant, I get this click in my lower back where my spine meets my sacrum, and this occasionally prevents me from walking. I have to stop and stretch it out until my leg is "released", and then I'm ok again.

The best thing other than going to a chiropractor is regular Yoga and Pilates (for those of you who don't practice either, both borrow from each other extensively, so no matter what your workout video or class at the gym claims to do, they will certainly include poses from both forms. Hannah and I are work-out video/gym class junkies, and Hannah's a certified fitness instructor. We know.) Both of the above focus on core body strength (the strength that comes from your belly, chest and back), balance and flexibility -- all things that are very important to everyone, but especially to pregnant women.

Whenever I am doing my prenatal yoga or pilates videos, I feel so much better. I am more energized, and my back feels a good deal better. The cool thing about working out in this way is that it's very body honoring. There are always modifications suggested in the poses if something doesn't feel quite right. You can work out to the same video with progressive results, since the more you practice, the more effective the moves become as you get better at them.

Yoga and Pilates are appropriate for men and women of any age -- I would highly recommend trying them if you haven't yet.

If you need prenatal stuff, I recommend the following videos: Fusion Pilates For Pregnancy with Gennifer Gianni, and two Gaiam videos (you've probably seen this brand in Barnes & Nobel with yoga mats, etc.) Prenatal Yoga and Postnatal Yoga, both with Shiva Rea.

If you are not pregnant and would like to try out something cool that is also body honoring and pretty fun, check out Balanced Workout with Janice Saffell and Scott Cole. This combines Tai Chi with Kick Boxing in a fun and safe way. They never speed up too much, so if you're new to Kick Boxing, you would still be able to manage this. Scott manages to tie in the Tai Chi without being boring or spiritual. Love this video for when I'm un-babied.

Yoga, Tai chi, Belly Dancing, etc. are no longer the scary "spiritual experience" practices of yesterday. They have now morphed into mainstream, safe, effective ways to improve your strength, flexibility, and balance while learning about your body's needs and limits, quieting yourself and learning to be calm in the middle of whatever is going on in your day. In our culture today, we don't often make time to just be. These exercises help us to do just that.