I do miss this space here: my little corner of the Internet. To be honest, I’m kind of in way over my head with this parenting two kids gig. It hasn’t left me with enough energy to do much of anything else. How many times have I posted since Avi’s birth? I’m embarrassed to think about it.
So, around here recently: Theo turned 3. We went on a trip to Sylt and stayed in the big Bundeswehr Zelte (army tents) again. Avi turned 1.
Perhaps most importantly, and another reason why I have so little time, is that I am taking a 12-week online parenting class over on Aha! Parenting. It has been so very helpful. It’s also a lot of work and I will admit that I have lost some steam as far as trying to complete all of the tasks, homework, and reading. But I am glad I am doing it, and I am picking up tips and tricks and learning new skills – rewiring my brain is hard work, but so worth it. Since Avi’s birth, and having a 2- to 3-year-old, I feel like I enjoy parenthood less than other people seem to, and I feel like that can’t be the way it is supposed to be.
I suppose that’s all for now. Both kids have been sleeping for a long time and I hear humming from the other room, so my ‘me time’ will be coming to a close shortly. In fact, I’m just going to publish this without even adding a picture, like I usually do. Otherwise it will sit for several more days before I finally get around to it. No more perfectionism necessary – no pressure on myself.
How are things with you?
Here’s another super old post that I never published! I answered several of these questions in 2015, but never finished. Now I’m back, 2 years later, to finish it up!
Courtney at Welcome To Germerica (one of my favorite expat blogs!!) has nominated me to answer some questions.(Back in 2015, haha. Oops.)
1. What is the most unusual item you always have in your carry-on?
Tough first question! I wouldn’t classify any of my carry-on items as unusual. I travel with normal things. Now, with the kids, it would be unusual for me to bring a book – because I would surely never have time to read it!
2. What is your favorite social media platform?
Instagram. I love all of the inspiring images there, and it’s where I chronicle most of my day to day life. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. That being said, I use Facebook way more often, and lately, I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed with Instagram. If I miss a day or two, without checking to see what’s new, there are so.many.pictures to scroll through.
3. You are going on a weekend getaway 4 hours away. What do you prefer: driving, going by train, or flying?
Going by train is what we usually do! But before we had kids, I loved a good road trip. You can blast the music if you like. Stop wherever and whenever. But now, having two kids strapped into car seats doesn’t sound that fun for a long trip. I’d rather go by train and have a little more wiggle room!
4. What are you in the mood for: a relaxing beach vacation or a trip to a big city you have never visited before?
Beach vacation! For just a few days, alone with my husband! Sounds dreamy!
5. What is your favorite breakfast food?
French toast all the way, baby! God, I love it. But really it’s hard to choose, because I adore breakfast food. Eggs over easy with cheese on toast, eaten as the messiest sandwich ever, is a close second. And hash browns with ketchup, which I have never made at home before. I could eat breakfast food all day long.
6. Have you ever had a vacation destination not live up to your expectations?
Not necessarily. I usually have pretty low expectations of the places I visit. That said, we recently took a vacation to Oberstdorf and it was kind of challenging having all four of us sleep in the same room together at the youth hostel we stayed at, with no common room for us to hang out after the kids went to sleep. So we usually went to sleep with them, super early.
7. What is your favorite non-US TV show?
I’m a dork, but I watch Lindenstraße, Germany’s longest-running weekly soap opera. But it’s helped me learn a lot of German through the years – when I first started watching, I only understood about 10 words an episode. Now I can understand everything and it’s fun to see how they keep all the stories going.
Tatortreiniger is awesome, too. I can’t wait for some new episodes to come out, because it’s just so darn funny!
8. You are going out for the evening with friends – what drink do you order?
Fun drink? Probably a caipirinha. But…realistically? In the past three years, with pregnancy and then breastfeeding, it’s alcohol-free beer. I’m still breastfeeding so I don’t indulge in alcohol much yet. And honestly, I don’t miss it all that much. Alcohol makes me so tired and I fall asleep at parties. #lame
9. What is your favorite souvenir that you bought on a trip?
I don’t usually buy souvenirs! But while I was living in Paris, I bought some Paris metro boxer shorts that I wore as pajamas for many years. Too bad I had to get rid of them post baby! They didn’t fit anymore.
10. And lastly, share your favorite inspirational quote!
I find new favorites all the time. But one that is particularly helpful in this season of life is this: Tomorrow is a new day.
While writing in my blog the other day, I realized that I have a whole bunch of drafts that for some reason, I never published! So rather than let that work go to waste, I will post it now – totally out of order – but I feel like there is some good stuff in there! 😉 I will add some notes in italic.
I didn’t have a baby shower. Though it has become a bit more popular in Germany, probably thanks to the influence of the US, it is generally not done here. I do feel like I missed out a little bit. I didn’t get any diaper cakes or have to play any silly baby shower games. I had a lot of fun co-planning my friend Jessica’s baby shower. It would have been fun, and I’m a bit sad I can’t attend my sister-in-law’s shower for baby #2 next month. (Eloise is 2 already, and she was actually born before her baby shower – I guess she wanted to attend, too!)
Because Germans don’t do the baby shower thing (they call it “Baby Party”, by the way), you’ll need to buy all of the bigger items (crib, car seat, bassinet, stroller, nursery gear, etc.) yourself. After Theo was here, we found there were plenty of people asking us, “What do you still need?” because we’d already gotten most of the things we really needed for Theo’s first few weeks of life. (Apart from the crib, which a bunch of friends pitched in for and gave it as a present for Theo’s baptism.)
But never fear! “Baby party” or not, you’ll still be showered with gifts once your little one has arrived. And they will be good ones! Everyone will find different things useful, of course, but now that I’ve been on the receiving end of baby gifts, there are a few things that have stood out apart from the basic things like diapers, clothes and swaddlers. I’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite gift ideas. (No affiliate links here, just trying to make life easier for y’all!)
So, without further ado…
11 Great Baby Shower Gifts!
- Mobile – We received a wooden fish-shaped mobile by Goki, and Theo has loved it from the beginning. We liked it so much that we gave the animals mobile to our friends when their baby was born a few weeks later. Other friends of ours have this dragon one, which is also very cute! We got this one from Djeco the second time around. I love it so much!
- Personalized pillow – from Theo’s godmother. And another one that our friend sewed with his name on it. Babies don’t necessarily use pillows, but at some point they will, and it’s a keepsake for years to come! Theo, now 2.5, has been using his pillow the last few nights!
- Burp cloths – Seriously, folks. You can never have too many burp cloths! You can even make your own if you can sew a straight line. Or even if you can’t…crooked lines make it even more charmingly handmade! Old t-shirts with cute fabric on the other side make perfect burp cloths. Otherwise, you can buy a cute set. We only have one of these, but I really like the ones that have a slight contour to them, because they fit over your shoulder perfectly! For my second baby, I bought myself a set of rainbow burp cloths. Because I didn’t want to use the stained ones from last time. And just a few days ago, some second-time moms and I were discussing which gifts to give and nice burp cloths definitely made the list!
- Triangle drool bibs – Fashionable and cute, and perfect for when baby starts drooling nonstop. Bonus points for DIY. Just the same with the burp cloths, these are super easy to make!
- Soft leather baby shoes – Because shoes on babies are entirely unnecessary, but extremely cute! The key is to get some that will actually stay on…before becoming a parent, I actually didn’t realize that babies kick their feet A LOT! We have some experience with Daisy Roots shoes from the UK (more on that later!) and they’re (so far) impossible for Theo to kick off. On Amazon, from another brand, these moccasins are cute, as are these other designs!
- Personalized onesie – We love our MD appliqueed onesie from etsy, gifted by Theo’s American godparents, but if you’re feeling crafty, you could also embellish your own! There are tons of tutorials on Pinterest.
- The Oball – Very easy for baby to grip, and a lifesaver when it comes to keeping baby’s hands out of their pants during diaper changes! Of course, that won’t necessarily keep the Oball itself out of the poopy diaper…which hasn’t happened yet (knock on wood!)…but if it does, at least it’s easy enough to clean! There’s apparently been a recall on ones made after January 2016 with the rattle – so please check to make sure! Or get the one without the rattles.
- Teething toy – There are plenty of good ones out there, and this is a little typical, but: Sophie the Giraffe (she’s a classic!). Even though it sounds like a dog toy (it squeaks!), Theo and most other babies I know seem to love it. Also, 9 times out of 10, squeaking that toy makes my baby stop crying. And now you may have heard about the mold issue – yuck! But there are several other Sophie teether toys that don’t have this issue, so take a look! They don’t squeak, but at least there wouldn’t be mold. But teether toys are a great gift. Because teething sucks and once we realize it is happening, we’ll be glad to already have something suitable in the house for baby to soothe their aching gums on!
- Pacifier clip – Not everyone uses these, perhaps, but if your baby does end up using pacifiers, it really helps when out and about so that it doesn’t fall on the ground! Plus, there are some really cute designs! I really like this rainbow one from Heimess. There are also some really cute ones on etsy, and if you know the baby’s name already, you can get them a personalized one! I received a lovely personalized one for Avi, and I also bought one before from Leo & Lea. And of course Avi didn’t end up taking a pacifier. Hah. But still, some work as teething toys, like the one with silicone beads on it, and you can also use it to attach small toys to the stroller. Win-win.
- Bath toys – We got this cute fishing set from my parents (although I picked it out). They will surely be used for years to come! There’s even a fishbone…how hilarious is that?! We haven’t actually used ours in the bath yet, but it also made an awesome makeshift baby gym when I tied them to ribbons onto a coat hanger. I also think a foam letters and numbers set would be an awesome gift. I remember having a set when I was a child. We loved it! Here’s a similar one. Theo still
- Thermal cherry pit pillow – This doesn’t seem to be quite as common in the US as in Germany, so this site explains the benefits well. Warm it up in the microwave and it helps calm little tummy aches. Check etsy for personalized ones. I kind of really want to buy this beaver one for
myselfTheo – beavers used to be my favorite animal when I was a kid.
We received so many wonderful presents from everyone and we’re really grateful to have these things. So if you’re looking for ideas as to what to bring to your next baby shower, I hope this list helps!
Ahh, my old German notes. My very first day in German class, I took these notes:
I can only hope I wrote it down wrong on the board (and not that the [American] professor that got it wrong – no, I’m sure it was my mistake!), but…”Deutsche” 101 means German as in a German person, not the language!
Unless you’re talking about “das Deutsche”, which is used for linguistic purposes to say “the German language”. Which is kind of close. But really, it should have been “Deutsch 101”. That’s like saying “Frenchman 101” or “Swede 101”.
It’s funny (and super embarrassing!) to look back on my old German notes from the beginning, but it’s also encouraging to see how far I’ve come. Sure, I still don’t have the best grammar sometimes and God knows I get the gender wrong at least 75% of the time, which is just awesome (not) because your grammar can then be wrong just by the nature of using the wrong gender. Because that’s how crazy the German language is.
But in the past 7 years I’ve lived here, I’ve really picked up a lot. And I learn new things every day. Learning a new language is hard. But oh so worth it.