Weekend musings

We had a pretty awesome weekend over here. It was my friend’s birthday yesterday and she invited a ton of people over for brunch out in their garden. The sun was shining and it was just lovely out, and even quite warm in the sun! And then today they had people over again because their daughter, Juliette — Theo’s fiancée, we joke — was baptized today. Everything about these past two days was just wonderful.

I’m sitting here on the couch trying to rest a bit. I’m absolutely stuffed from all of the food we ate. But I think it was the 5 (!) pieces of cake that did me in! Juliette’s French grandmother made a delicious, custardy cake called Far Breton. YUM. (English recipe here – with or without alcohol!) I am definitely going to make this cake myself sometime soon!

In other news, I’ve been doing a lot of shopping. I bought Theo a Halloween/Karneval costume on Saturday. I just couldn’t resist this tiger at TK-Maxx. (Germany changed the name to TK instead of TJ…I wonder why? – Never mind – apparently the first European store opened in Bristol , where there was another store called TJ Hughes and they didn’t want it to be confused with that. Funny!) Theo was really amused when he saw his reflection in the mirror, and he growled a few times. But then he ran out into the hallway to play with his fire truck, so back to business as usual. Germans don’t really do much for Halloween here, but I’m hoping it will still fit for Karneval in February.

I also couldn’t resist buying him some cute shoes. He didn’t have any that fit him (EU size 20). And he only has one pair that is too big still. All of the rest are suddenly too small! It’s crazy how fast his feet are growing. And I bought a snowsuit that I really liked. More on the shoes and the snowsuit another time when there’s better light for pictures. :)

Unfortunately, I have a bit of a cold. My voice is so deep, I can sing along with the Chocolate Rain video perfectly. (Anybody else remember this one? Sorry for the ear worm…) Here’s hoping it goes away quickly!

Christmas is coming: Origami Stars

You all know I love Christmas. One of my favorite things about it is all of the fun crafty, DIY projects for the season. I don’t know about you, but for me, once Thanksgiving hits, it’s a whirlwind of activities and fun, seasonal things to do. Which makes it hard to do very many craft projects, of course! So I’m starting now — yes, in September. Before any of the leaves have changed to their autumn colors. It’s early, I know, but there are only 13 weeks left, and about 20 different craft projects I’d love to do. These things take time! And I want to be able to relax a little more during the Christmas season and have as much prepared before-hand as I can this year.

So…that brings me to my first project: five-point origami stars. Because this year, I don’t think it’s a great idea to use my Gram’s vintage ornaments when we have a very active, very curious little toddler in the house who is definitely testing his boundaries. I still plan to teach him that he is not allowed to mess with the tree, but I do want to avoid any breakage of precious ornaments or injuries to my little guy. So I turned to Pinterest to find ideas for non-breakable ornaments.

Sure, Theo could still unfold these ones, but at least my gorgeous, 1950s-style Christmas ornaments won’t turn into piles of shattered glass on the floor. My earliest memory was at Christmastime when I was about 3 years old, and I accidentally broke a tiny blue glass Christmas ornament and it cut my finger. Oops. I’d like to avoid any of those types of situations with Theo!

I followed this video tutorial and my first star was an utter fail. (I’m pretty awful at origami!) Plus, my paper was too difficult to work with. I just used a page from an IKEA catalog (since it was already square!) and it was too thin and flimsy. Once I tried some actual origami paper from the local craft store, it was a whole different story! My stars aren’t perfect, but they actually look like stars and not a dilapidated starfish.

Not a pretty sight, is it?

I had much more success with the real origami paper. Any thicker paper would probably do. I’m very happy with the finished product, and I think these stars will make a nice addition to our tree. In fact, I think I might make a few extras as gifts.

Has anyone else already started any DIY projects for Christmas? Or gotten a head start on their Christmas shopping?

Excuse me while I make a few more while Theo is still napping!

Just like that

Wednesday, Tobias and I both went to pick up Theo at Kita. And just like that, his teacher said, “Ich würde sagen, er ist jetzt Eingewöhnt.” He’s now an official Kita-Kind. Eingewöhnung ist vorbei.

THANK GOODNESS. Honestly, it was kind of a stressful time for Tobias and I. The first week and a half of it was wonderful — Theo did a great job, was happy there, everything was going well. And then, all of a sudden, all three of his teachers were sick at the same time. I had to drop him off there when he didn’t know anybody — all of the replacement teachers were new to him (and me). A feeling of chaos reigned that day at drop-off. The director wasn’t there and the substitute teachers didn’t really know what was going on. And then I had to leave and Theo cried. Hardcore. I went outside to the street and I could hear Theo’s hysterical crying through the open window. I called Tobias to let him know how it went, and then I went home and cried, too.

It would have been one thing if he’d cried when I dropped him off with his normal teachers. The ones he’d gotten used to during the first part of his Eingewöhnung. I fully expect there to be periods of time where he will cry at drop-off. But this time it felt different. The Eingewöhnung was supposed to be different. Normally, the new kid is assigned one main contact person there to get used to at the Kita. From the beginning, it wasn’t really clear – neither to us nor the teachers! – who was Theo’s main teacher. And then, when they decided on one, she suddenly wasn’t there for a few days.

It was like Theo was a whole different person. He suddenly became uncharacteristically clingy and cried a lot. He would only eat breakfast there while sitting on Tobi’s lap. He would take two steps away and come back crying. All of the progress we’d made as far as getting him used to things had been undone. Not only undone, but made worse – he had a harder time then than he’d had at the beginning. He had two full days of only wanting to sit on Tobi’s lap. That’s not the outgoing, fearless Theo we know, we started to feel so helpless and hoped so much that things would go better soon. While it’s possible other factors were making this harder for Theo (he caught his first Kita cold and was feeling a little sick, plus he’s working on some molars), the lack of a clear plan of Eingewöhnung mixed with the bad luck of having all of his teachers sick simultaneously made it even worse.

We ended up having to start all over again with the Eingewöhnung. Thankfully, the director got things organized better and made sure that Theo’s contact person would be there for the remainder of the week. That definitely helped. He went right to her when she was there the next day. We gradually were able to leave him there for longer periods of time [again…] and Theo once again warmed up to the situation. Whew. It was a really tough week for all of us. But we made it through.

And today, Theo didn’t even say goodbye or look back when Tobias dropped him off at the door of his classroom. Our little guy is growing up!

This afternoon the Kita is having a party in a nearby park for all of the kids. I’m excited to go to his first “school” event. There will be music and food, and I baked some brownies to bring. I’m looking forward to it.

Happy Friday, everyone.

New graffiti trend

It’s new in Hamburg, at least: graffiti on plastic wrap, stretched between two poles.

I think it’s pretty great because it doesn’t actually vandalize anything and can be taken down easily. In fact, it feels kind of special to see them because they don’t usually stick around very long. I’ve enjoyed seeing them around town. There are a lot of eyes, but I’ve seen a few other pictures as well. Once, I even saw one in progress – a guy on my street was spraying a picture of a sunflower. When I came back later that afternoon, it had already been taken down.

This morning, after dropping Theo off at KiTa, I saw this cute little hedgehog.

Have you ever seen this type of graffiti before where you live?


Tomorrow’s the big day. Theo goes off to Kita. (German daycare.)

I’ve been a mess this entire week, on the verge of tears at any moment. From what I hear, all my other mom friends felt the same, even if they were also excited to get back to work. I won’t go so far as to say that I’m excited about work…but I am thankful to have a job to go back to, as well as to have had this amazing opportunity to stay home with my firstborn as long as I have.

Kita starts off with what Germans call Eingewöhnung, which means that the parent accompanies the child for their first day, both only staying a short time before going back home. The time spent there will gradually increase before the parent has to leave the child all alone at the Kita for the full day. This gives the child some time to get used to their new surroundings, schedule, teacher, and other kids. It’s also good for the parents to get an idea of what goes on there.

Tobias is going with Theo for the Eingewöhnung. I will be taking over a few days next week because Tobias has to work, so I am also excited to get a chance to get to know his new “school”.

Tonight, as I was getting Theo ready for bed, I talked to him a little bit about his big day tomorrow. Zipping up his sleep sack, I told him about how he will go to school tomorrow with Daddy and how he gets to meet his teacher, make some new friends, and play with a lot of new toys. I told him he would have lots of fun, and I asked, “Are you excited?” And YOU GUYS, no joke…he nodded his head yes.

He will be fine.

Mommy may not be fine…not yet, at least…but he will be just fine.