Thursday, December 27

merry christmas!

Merry Christmas! Marius has had over a week off for Christmas and we're all really enjoying the time he is able to spend at home. Our Christmas was quiet - just the three of us at our home in Germany opening presents in our living room and enjoying each other. Iris gifted us with the best present of sleeping in until almost 9am! We saw how Santa ate the cookies she left for him and opened the stocking full of presents he left for her. Then I made blueberry pancakes for us and then put together the smoked salmon on toast for snacking on while opening presents. Marius so thoughtfully surprised me with a bottle of champagne and we spent all of the late morning and early afternoon slowly opening presents.

Poor little Iris was pretty overwhelmed by everything different going on and was thus feeling a bit grumpy, but she loved all of her presents. She received many gifts, thanks to everyone who thought of us! Some of her favorites were the clothing/accessories, a huge kitty blanket, a tea set, a box set of Looney Tunes cartoons, a set of three stuffed puppies, a wooden toy with small screws for manipulating, a musical book, a huge wooden dollhouse and more! She has really been enjoying her new toys, accessories and books! 

Marius bought me a new laptop, a kettle, bloody mary mix, a wooden recipe box and some over-the-knee socks! My parents and sister got me lots of clothing related items as well as some adorable salt and pepper bowls, two bottles of delicious Marmite, and numerous other little things that I love! Marius' family got us a giftcard to Amazon which we love, as we use Amazon all the time and sent lots of clothing and books to Iris. Even the Kitty got a couple of new toys from Santa. 

Go back and see photos of last Christmas, watch a video of Iris' favorite present, and read about how our family views the story of Santa

Happy christmas baby!

Kissing "My Lime!"

All the ingredients necessary for the best cookies ever. 

Best (secret recipe) cookies ever!
Decorating sugar cookies for Santa!

Christmas Eve cookie making.

Iris and Papa kisses.

Dumping sprinkles on the cookies.

Silly bunny!

Our Christmas tree.

Eating the little bit of cookie Santa left for her and opening her stocking.

Everything Santa brought her in her stocking, minus the horse covered fleece PJs that she immediately donned after opening.

One of the best parts of Christmas - Moët and smoked salmon on toast.

A bit overwhelmed with Christmas present opening, but loving her new accessories. 

Changing for the second time into her new clothes!

Pouring tea for everyone.

Playing with her new dollhouse!

My sort-of-risen Yorkshire Pudding!

Friday, December 21

liebster award!

Thank you to Meg over at Borrowed Heaven, for nominating me for the Leibster Award!
borrowed heaven

Funnily enough, "liebster" is a German word pertaining to the idea of: "sweetheart, darling, beloved, dearest." The definition is applicable to the intention of this award, which is to support and shed more light on small blogs with less than 200 followers. When you are done reading this post, please take the time to visit a few of the blogs that I am listing below, and show them some love!

If you receive the award, there are a few rules to follow…

*Each blogger nominated must make their own blog post with 11 things about themselves
*Then answer the 11 questions the tagger has asked
*Blogger must then create 11 questions of their own to ask the bloggers they decide to nominate
*They must choose 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers to nominate and link them on their blog post
*Bloggers must be notified of their award!
*No tag backs!

11 Things About Me:

1. Mother to one or three, depending on who you ask! :)
2. I am planning to open my own business on Etsy or some other site, selling my felt food and stuffed animals! I hope to get it up and running this year, though it will be quite an undertaking, especially considering that each piece is hand-sewn!
3. I'm very grateful that I don't mind repetition. When Iris decides she loves a movie, it is the ONLY movie she will watch for a period of about two weeks. Her current favorite is Pinocchio, which we have watched every single day this week. She always laughs hysterically at the scenes including Figaro.
4. I am very indecisive about just about everything unless I feel strongly about a subject. For example, while shopping online for a puzzle for Iris, I spent about 10 minutes trying to decide between a kitty puzzle and a train one. I drive myself nuts with this!
5. My most recent tattoo, made in October, turned out a lot differently than I had planned in my mind. My artist's vision was very different from my own but instead of nit-picking and making him redraw the entire thing, I just went with it. The entire process of getting the tattoo and of living with it as a new part of my body for the first few weeks was a journey that surprised the hell out of me. I went through every conceivable emotion about it, and now have settled into acceptance and appreciation for it. While it's very different from what I had in mind, it turned out to be exactly what I needed.
6. After Marius patiently taught me to play videogames, I discovered that I loved playing PS3 and got rather good at it! My favorite game is a relatively old one for PS2 , Dark Kingdom - it's the first I ever played with Marius and replayed about 10 times.
7. A new thing I've learned about myself lately is that I must be "getting old!" I made sugar cookie dough a couple of weeks ago and took a small bite of it. I had no inclination to eat more, in fact I found it rather revolting. Odd, considering I used to covet the stuff and sneak little bits here and there while my mother made it. "Stop that! I need to bake some of this dough!" she would warn. Well, don't worry Mom it only took about 20 years, but it'll never happen again, haha!
8. I use men's deodorant. Old Spice to be exact.
9. Not counting airports, I have traveled to and/or lived in 7 foreign countries - Mexico, Spain, Italy, UK, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium.
10. I don't like when people dress in costumes that cover their face. I have strong facial recognition skills and am usually very good at reading expressions and microexpressions. Thus when I can't see someone's face, it makes me wary of their intentions since I can't easily predict their behavior.
11. I have webcam sessions with Iris where I take dozens of pictures just of whatever we're doing at that moment. I love looking back at the ones I took when she was a tiny baby. Now that she's older she's a ham for the camera and loves to see herself on video!

Meg's 11 Questions:
1. What are you most looking forward to this holiday season? All of the things! I'll be making my family's traditional Christmas cookies in a few days, something I will post about soon. On Christmas Eve it's been a tradition on my side of the family to prepare and eat Asian food - dumplings, lotus soup, and other more complex dishes - not sure where that one came from.  The last couple of years we ordered out for Chinese. This year, we may do Turkish, since Turkish restaurants are everywhere in Germany. On Christmas Day, it's morning coffee while the children open their stockings on the groggy parent's bed. Then we head downstairs and eat smoked salmon on toast and drink champagne during present opening, which stretches out all morning long as we revel in it! I have great childhood memories of this and I love continuing these traditions with my own little family!
2. Why do you blog? I blog to keep a record of stories and memories of my little girl, my thoughts on parenting and occasionally random things that strike my interest. In part, I do it for our relatives and friends, since we live so far from most of them. I've been a slacker recently with posting and really need to get back on the bandwagon!
3. Do you have any piercings or tattoos? I have 4 lobe and one cartilage piercing in my ears and my navel is pierced. I have three tattoos - one small symbol on my left wrist, a Latin phrase on my stomach and my newest piece covers the entire front of my right thigh. We have to travel to Berlin some time in the next couple of years for me to get it finished. I have another new one scheduled for early February!
4. Where will you be 5 or 10 years from now? Wherever the military decides to put us!
5. Where is one place you would love to visit? There are many places... but I'd love to live in Asia because things are so drastically different. Maybe South Korea, Thailand or Japan.
6. Summer or winter - Why? I love the winter because one can always put more layers on to stay warm... but if you're too hot in the summer there's not much to be done about it and I find that rather miserable. I like my winter clothing, hot drinks, snow, comfort foods and holidays!
7. If there was one crazy thing you wish you could do in your life, what would it be? If I could do another crazy thing, I would love to go skydiving.
8. Favorite dessert? I love rhubarb pie, all types of cake with homemade frosting (I think the store-bought stuff is gross), mint chocolate chip ice cream, Crème brûlée, and I could go on...
9. Any guilty pleasures? Pleasure does not cause me guilt (assuming it fits into my personal code of ethics.) Though I may hide the fact that I occasionally take a swig out of the maple syrup bottle...
10. Favorite original diy/craft/recipe? My mother's rhubarb pie is my favorite (highly coveted and secret) recipe. In regards to crafts, my favorite are the ones I create - original, hand-sewn felt animals and play-food.
11. What's your typical daily online routine? I usually browse Facebook, G+, blogger, Tumblr, etc while I drink my coffee in the morning and Iris plays quietly. Then I am on and off a few times during the day usually to email back and forth with Marius. Then again in the evening. One of my goals this coming year is to progressively spend less time on the computer, or at least be more productive while online!

My 11 questions:
1. What is your earliest memory?
2. What makes you feel most at home?
3. What types of things do you do for personal-time away from daily schedules and demands?
4. How did you do in school? Did you enjoy it?
5. If you had to eat one meal and drink one drink for an entire year, what would they be?
6. If you had to live the rest of your life in the body of an animal, which would it be?
7. Do you donate money to charity? Why or why not?
8. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
9. How does your life now compare to how you imagined it would be as a kid?
10. Do you prefer country or city living? Why?

I don't follow 11 people who have less then 200 followers, so I will only tag those I can:
Patty at Make It Cozee
Meg at most.peculiar.thing
Susan at An Air Force Wife Just Trying to Get By...
Melissa at The Alchemist
Kelly at The Teeny Tiny Mommy

Saturday, December 15

2 years, 2 months.

My baby, the holidays have been particularly exciting for you this year. You've made your very first snowman with Papa, tasted the flaky chill of snow and added decorations to our little Christmas tree. You love to watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, read your 12 Days of Christmas book and open the little doors of your Playmobile advent calendar each morning. You refer to all Christmas trees and decorations as "Kissmass Stuff!" and you all but lust after cranberry sauce and egg nog. I have to lure you inside from playing in the snow to warm up with "hot chockatea wif keem" (hot chocolate with whipped cream).

You've also become quite the comedian in the last few months. For one thing, you've taken to mimicking your best friend's laughter, which you are completely aware of and find hilarious. After a recent play date with one of our pregnant mommy friends, you came home poking at your tummy and pushing it out as far as you could, exclaiming "I'm a BIG tummy!!" One of the first times I gave you a cup of eggnog - you sipped and sipped until it was all gone, then pulled the cup away from your face slowly. Looking shocked, you shouted into the empty cup, "Oh Egg Nog! Come back! Come back!" While reading one of your word books, I was teaching you what a jellyfish is... when you exclaimed, "ohh Mama! A jelly-shit!" I about died laughing.

On another note, we fully weaned from breastfeeding a couple of weeks after your second birthday. After slowly cutting down the nursing sessions, night-weaning and reaching my goal of two years, you almost effortlessly accepted that my milk was "going nigh-nigh" for good. However, when we're snuggling together on the couch or you're watching me get dressed in the morning, you will occasionally ask me to pick you up. Then you'll pat my chest gently, and with a very matter of fact tone remind us both that "memes go nigh-nigh." And then, you go on with your day, perfectly happy to drink from your cup and simply cuddle with me. Weaning seems to have helped you grow closer to your Papa as well, which I know he appreciates very much.

You are very perceptive of emotions and fully recognize happy, sad, grumpy and tired. You often voice your own emotions, muttering "I'm sad" or "I'm grumpy" when I've told you something you dislike. A few days ago while we were at the market, you most uncharacteristically refused to listen to a word I said and kept running away from me. As we were leaving, you ran back into the market and I had to chase after you and grab you. I scolded you a bit outside the market, though you didn't cry as I think you knew you'd done something unacceptable. We talked about how "you're a good girl, but we need to work on your listening." You told me you were sad and grumpy and after a few minutes of walking and discussion, you sighed slowly and said, "okay, I'm sorry. I'm happy now." I feel that much of what is considered to be "terrible" two year old behavior has been curbed by honest discussion of emotions. I try to remind myself often that children learn by example, so I do my best to model stillness and empathy. Letting go of the reactive behavior I was programmed to create has been a long journey down a path I will continue to walk, probably for the rest of this life.

My little bunny, you are such a loving child. Our friends are constantly reminding us of what a pleasure it is for them to be around you. You've fallen in love with your best friend's mama; you're constantly wanting to show your affection to her, to Mama and Papa, and to all of your animals too. You've taken to bringing your hard plastic Schleich animals to bed with you. How you sleep through rolling over their hard little plastic figures I will never know! You mimic the way I put you to sleep at night with your animals. After our bedtime routine is over, I give you All The Kisses before you go to sleep. When I sit next to the bed to let you drift off, you give your animals All The Kisses too, repeating "Okay one more All The Kisses and then time to go nigh-nigh. Muah! Muah!" Your pretend play as really taken off and you recreate stories we read and movies we watch with your toys. You love to make art with glue and sparkles, and you are simply thriving in our homeschooling pre-school environment. 

You've grown into such a beautiful little person and you are so, so very loved.

Wednesday, November 21

turkey day.

Yesterday, Iris and I had a Thanksgiving themed play date with one of our friends! I brought some supplies for crafts and our friend made some super cute turkey shaped sandwiches for their lunch! They shared toys so well with each other while playing and chased each other around squealing and laughing. After playing inside for hours, we took them out to the bridge nearby to feed the ducks. Iris had such a great time with her little friend; she was so happy and energized for the rest of the day!  Here is a post my friend made on her blog Make It Cozee! Here are a few photos she took!

Iris' turkey craft - an original craft idea by Me - though the huge googly eyes were Iris' inspiration!

Turkey sandwiches by Make It Cozee

Our little baby-burritos going "nigh-nigh" together!
Goodbye hugs!

Thursday, November 15

feeding the ducks.

Yesterday, Iris and I took a walk down and down the hills into the valley of our town. She carried a little bag full of bread to feed the ducks who live on the river Kyll. Now that it's quite cold here, it's rare to see the ducks swimming about. They remain in their sheltered homes on the bank... until you stand on the bridge for any amount of time. With the expectation of being fed, small groups of ducks soar over from the nearby trees and congregate in an excited flock of about two dozen. They get rather aggressive with each other, and the bolder ones will even fly up towards the railing of the bridge, in hopes of catching bread before the others have a chance.

Iris is absolutely taken with the feathered creatures. We spent a good twenty minutes tossing bread to the birds, our fingers red and growing numb. Iris quacked at them and giggled at their splashing and scrambling for each piece of bread. Afterward, we walked further down the road to the market, and bought some things for dinner and a little piece of chocolate to sweeten the chill outside. 

One of the hills down into town, towards the river.

The river Kyll. The ducks live just past the little waterfall.

Here they come!

Enjoying feeding the ducks. 

Throwing bread.

Two dozen ducks. 


Little observer. 

Monday, November 5


Last week was filled with plenty of toddler friendly Halloween events. First, my friend hosted a Halloween party at her house. She made all the decorations by hand and did such a fantastic job. It was the cutest thing to see all of Iris' little friends dressed up in their costumes and playing together. My friend is actually a fellow blogger, so you can see lots of pictures of the beautiful spread she made here on her blog

Iris painted her first pumpkin this year, we read Halloween stories and went to the Family Fun Night on base for food and a costume contest. On the 31st, we took her Trick or Treating for the first time! I handmade her kitty costume myself. She sat patiently as I painting her nose and whiskers, and then asked to look in the mirror and spun around with her kitty tail with pride. She said "trick oh treet" and "thank you!" to almost every house we visited - it was the sweetest thing! She really had a good time and happily ate her one allotted piece of candy after dinner. Here are a few pictures of her in her costume during each of the events we partook in!

Photo booth at the Halloween party.

Making slime at the Halloween party! She refused to get near it, of course, but Mama had fun with it!

Beep beep!

Iris and her new friend.

The costume contest was VERY loud.

Overwhelmed by the noise, but happy to be there. 

Painting her pumpkin!

The masterpiece. 

Ready to go Trick or Treating! 

Look at the little whiskers on that baby, she loved them! 

Sunday, October 28

birthday pt.II

A few days after Iris's 2nd birthday, more presents came in from our family members! This little girl had about a week long birthday this year! A few of the things she got are a sweet autumn outfit, an early-math game, a sock monkey, two baby dolls, a new kitty hat and a big ABC foam mat for her bedroom floor.  She enjoyed opening each card and gift and has since loved play with all of them! I wasn't able to get many pictures of her opening the presents, as she wanted me to be more involved in just sitting with her and watching, but here are a few to enjoy!

She wanted Winnie the Pooh to wear her birthday crown.

What's inside?

Reading her cards.

Now it's Bear's turn to wear the crown!

Papa helping her unwrap gifts.

She decorated herself with the stickers! 

Super excited for more presents!

A kitty hat!

Love at first sight.
Making the babies kiss!