Rückbildung – building yourself back up after birth

German health insurance pays for classes after the birth of your baby to start getting back into shape again and, most importantly, strengthen your pelvic floor. That’s what that extremely long word up there is.

Organizing my going to this class with Theo was a lot easier than it is now. Tobi has two kids to take care of by himself while I go off to sports, which is not a problem for him except for hoping that Avi drinks enough milk before I leave and isn’t screaming out of hunger while I’m gone. The toddler is usually hard enough to deal with when the baby is happy, let alone when the baby is crying!

I went to one class at the end of September, but haven’t been back yet, and there are 7 more that I am allowed to take. I still plan to do the classes, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to do some more exercise on my own. I’ve got to do more to strengthen my sore back from all that babywearing and toddler lifting and stretch out my tense muscles.

I enjoyed the [little bit of] prenatal yoga I did at home during my pregnancy, and I was glad to get an email from Melany over at Melany’s Yoga Couch. She’s another American expat living in Hamburg and teaches live classes as well. It’s hard for me to get out of the house sans kids, so it was great that she reached out and shared with me that she has a YouTube channel and there’s even a video geared specifically towards new moms to strengthen your pelvic floor. I tried that this week, as well as the Wrist-Free Yoga, as I often have trouble with my wrists during exercise, and I am happy to report that I really enjoyed the workout.

Thanks, Melany, for sharing your videos with me. I hope someone else might find this useful.

What do you other new moms do to get back in shape?

Tauschkiste Tuesday

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you’ll know about my obsession addiction love of the Tauschkiste.

Someone had the fantastic idea of making a little wooden structure in a nearby park to hold items that people no longer want. The Tauschkiste, or “trade box” is the size of a telephone booth, made of wood, and has shelves and a place for hangers to hang up clothes.

Not only have I gotten rid of a lot of things I didn’t need anymore, but I have also found tons of things I didn’t need! Just kidding, I’ve found a lot of great treasures here, and I’m a big sucker for getting things for free. Plus, once that thing has served its purpose, or if we get tired of it, that’s okay! Right back to the Tauschkiste it goes! One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as they say.

And because I take a lot of walks these days (thanks, maternity leave!), I often make sure my route includes a stop by the Tauschkiste. Sometimes multiple times in one day, because you never know when someone will put something new in there!

Some of the treasures I’ve already found include this baby gym, a kids’ table for Theo, and two hats for Avi (1, 2). And those are just the ones I’ve documented on Instagram.

So out of the thrill of the hunt, and the fun that comes in sharing, I want to start a new series. On Tuesdays, I will post my interesting finds of the week.

These finds are from a few weeks ago, before we went on vacation.

First up, my new favorite scarves, which also work super well as a pair!

A set of cloth napkins:

A little book about snow that had the sweetest illustrations in it:

And a big metal planter that I want to put some chrysanthemums in soon!

Falling for fall

It’s been an eventful and awesome October so far. I turned 30 (!!) on the 6th and we left two days later to spend 10 days on vacation in Mallorca, effectively escaping the true beginning of real fall weather and instead spending just a little while longer in flip flops and t-shirts and shorts. Hallelujah, the timing was good!

Vacation with a toddler is a very different definition of the word ‘vacation’, but Theo had the time of his life and it forced us to do the little things we had at some point stopped doing, such as digging holes in the beach and building sand castles and running into and out of the waves. And you know what? It was fun. We got down and dirty and something about it was more enjoyable than lying for hours in the hot sun with a good book and a cocktail, although that sounds nice, too. It’s so fun to watch your kids experience new things. While Avi didn’t really notice much if we were in Mallorca or in Hamburg, he enjoyed putting his feet in the sand and liked the water more than we’d expected. Theo quickly learned to say, “Hola” to passersby and he found the new foods we ate every night for dinner — green olives, canned tuna, and ham cut straight off of the pig leg — utterly delicious.

Now we are back and the leaves are changing on the trees. It’s cold, dreary, rainy, and starts getting dark at 4 pm, and I realize now that we don’t have any warm hats for Theo in his current size. The temperature difference was quite a shock to the system, but I’m also starting to enjoy the coziness of the season. Bring on the cinnamon toast, hot chocolate, and soup for at least 50% of our meals. Bring it on, fall. Don’t get too cold on us too quickly, though, okay?

Sewing class

My friend Andrea convinced me to sign up for a jersey sewing class with her. It’s a good thing I did — she and I were the only students! It was 2x 3 hours and we came with our own projects to complete. I started small and made a hat from Frau Mathilde using her free pattern. I didn’t quite finish it in the first lesson, but was able to finish it up a few days later at home. 

My second project was a pair of pants for Avi. Except maybe it’s the pattern I used…but it ended up way too big and almost fits Theo in the waist and just barely on the height. Oh well. But it was a good first try and I definitely gathered some helpful tips from the teacher during the process that will make my sewing better overall.

I got so excited about sewing that I finally finished up a new sun hat for Theo. The pieces had already been cut out, but had been sitting around for a month or more. It ain’t perfect either, but I’m happy with it and it will be nice to have a new hat for our upcoming trip to Mallorca.

My next project is to make some leg extenders for that Ergo carrier. Theo likes being “Daddy’s backpack” but his legs are too long now. I found a nice pattern on Pinterest.

Has anybody else done any crafty projects lately? What’s on your DIY to do list?

Shifting priorities

Not in big ways, really. But having two kids to deal with now — even though the older one is at Kita for 8 hours a day, which is a huge help! — is exhausting sometimes.

I often find myself with a bit of free time when Avi is sleeping or Theo is in bed and I only have Avi to deal with, or, on the rare occasion, BOTH kids are sleeping at the same time. And during that fleeting bit of free time I run through a little list in my head of things I might possibly be able to accomplish before somebody needs me again. Little things like eating something. Showering. Using the toilet (ahem!). Cleaning up the kitchen. Or maybe, if I’m feeling ambitious, getting out my sewing machine again after its long hiatus in the cupboard.

Usually I’m too tired to do anything much, so eating takes priority. Then showering. Then cleaning. If I sew when I’m tired, I’ll make dumb mistakes. So I haven’t really done much of anything lately except just get by.

I have been spending a lot of time with my family, though, and that has been wonderful. That’s what Elternzeit is all about, anyway. Time to spend with my little baby. And much more time to spend with Theo on the playground after Kita.

My parents were here at the end of July, and it was really lovely having them here. They came right at a time when Avi had just started smiling and cooing. Theo’s Kita was out for a 3-week break, so he had plenty of time to spend with Grandma & Granddad. And after they left, we took advantage of some nice weather and the proximity of the Nord-Ostsee-Bahn and took a trip up to Sylt to spend time on the beach at the North Sea. Life is pretty grand. And though this summer hasn’t been the warmest of summers (until this week! the next few days are supposed to be hot!), I’ve still been enjoying it. Because there is a lot to enjoy, and sometimes you have to look at the bright side and be happy with where you’re at.

So even though I’ve given more priority to the basics these days instead of the blog, I’m still around. I’ll still check back in. I can’t make promises as to how often, but I’m sure there will be much more to come. If you want to keep up with me and my little family, Instagram is the place to find me these days.