13 May 2014

This one is for you, Mom.


Anyone else remember these dolls?

Well, I had one like it (I won't choose to reveal the year at the moment), and LOVED it.  I loved it so much that it still sits at my parents' house, shorn hair, pierced ears, 'make-up' stains, stitched cuts and all.  My mom had it out for Little G while were in the US recently.  She thought it was pretty great, and I realized what a perfect doll it is for little girls - soft and carryable, and actually cute.  We tossed the idea around of bringing "Jenny" (though her name according to Fisher-Price was "Mary") back to Germany for Little G.  But Jenny was so loved...she didn't really look like she'd be up to another round of such deep affection.  Instead, I found one in good condition online.  I opted for an official "Jenny" doll this time, and Little G was delighted.

Today, Jenny was the toy of choice.  Little G dragged her around by the neck as she crawled around playing with other stuff.  I snapped a photo to send to my mom.

And then I noticed something.  Little G kept lifting Jenny over her head, then over her shoulder, trying to get something right.  Finally Little G had Jenny dangling by a pony tail over her shoulder and onto her back.  She turned to me and smiled, satisfied.  Suddenly I realized what she was trying to do.

Little G loves riding in her baby carrier.  So much so that she starts squealing with delight and doing a little wiggle dance as I start hoisting her in.  She was trying to put Jenny on her back.  Of course!  Why wouldn't Jenny love one of Little G's favorite activities?  I found a cloth, tied Jenny on, and Little G cruised around, happily going about the business of playing with Jenny situated on her back.

Amazing to me.  She just turned one on Sunday.  She's not walking by herself yet, but she's convinced she needs to wear her baby on her back.  So Mom, there's your granddaughter, copying her mommy - just the way you like it.

26 August 2013

Baby G

I have a choice - play catch up or dive in like it hasn't been months and months since we blogged...

Diving in sounds way easier. :)

So, Baby G, who arrived in May, is consuming my time quite nicely.  I have written multiple blog entries in my head since she came - "Expectations" and "On being a mom for the first time at 41" were standouts.  Well, they would have been if they'd ever made it out of my head and onto the screen.  Maybe if I find myself looking for something to do one day....

In the meantime, some highlight moments.

The day she was born -- all wrapped up in white knit hospital clothes.

And those first few hospital days.  There was this beautiful light coming through the wall of windows.  It was great for setting her in to take care of jaundice.  And how great to watch John just drink this little tiny girl in!  He did almost everything at the hospital since I really couldn't move.  I don't think I changed a single diaper until we were home.

We have 'honorary nieces' here in Kandern.  This was a week after she was born.  The pictures don't really capture the shrill delight and battles over who 'gets to hold her'.

She was just so little.  And yes, before we knew that we could simply rent a baby scale from the pharmacy for 1 Euro a week, I was trying to weigh her in a baking pan on our kitchen scale.  I'm pretty sure my mom was at least a little bit mortified.

It was an absolute gift that my parents could come those first weeks and help with everything while tolerating my daily crying and crazy.  This was the stretch that inspired the "Expectations" blog that doesn't exist.  My expectations were wildly inaccurate, compounded by the realities of c-section recovery.  And the most bittersweet part was being absolutely bowled over by the reality that people who desperately loved and wanted to hold this little girl were and will be so many miles away.  I walk the edge of that grief for myself regularly, but including Baby G in it? More painful than I could have anticipated. 

This little girl was just swimming in even the newborn-sized clothes.

Her first real social outing was appropriately German. The very generous couple that John has helped with grape harvesting hosted a private wine tasting and tour of the co-op winery that they're a part of.  It was followed by a grill party (which we hadn't quite realized until we were about to head home - "Aren't you coming for dinner?" - language stuff.  We still miss key info!)

And these two... I can't get enough! She absolutely adores him.

John's parents came too.  I have to snag a good photo of them from John's computer!  Again, what an amazing gift that they could come and spend the time getting to know this little girl and traipsing around with us. This, among our various day trips, is Baby G's first visit to Starbucks.  Some of you are cheering and some cringing.  I'm alright with that.  Consider it symbolic - first taste of America, be that what it may.

I'll give you more photos from this next time, but world of difference from screaming bath time when we switched to a Tummy Tub. But this is also a shout out to John and his photo skills and the beautiful light that comes through the window into our bathroom. 

And of course, a big part of life as an expat - government paperwork to take care of in offices far from home.  We drove to Bern to do all her official paperwork.  We're still waiting to pick up her passport.  Fortunately, Bern is beautiful.  A little sack lunch between the Bear Pit and the river was a great summer treat.

So I think we're doing alright, figuring things out one piece at a time, enjoying as much of it as possible.  Good stuff that God is really gracious and generous and merciful in.

19 November 2012

special visitor

Our friend Lucy thought that Flat Stanley might like to come visit us in Kandern.  He arrived comfortably tucked away in a green envelope.  He was tired from such a long trip and took awhile to get over jet lag (its 9 hours later in Kandern than in Oregon!), but he was happy to arrive.

It was a nice fall day, so he started with a walk along the Kanderner, the river that the town is named after.

This part of the Kanderner had a cool covered bridge. 


Right by the covered bridge was the Rathaus.  At first he was excited, thinking it was a place to go see pet rats, but he was wrong.  Its the city hall, where everyone who lives in Kandern goes to register and pick up their recycling bags.

On another day, he took a walk past this big old church. His camera couldn't even fit the whole building in!  There's a clock tower at the top with bells that ring to count down the hours and quarter hours.  That means there are bells ringing every 15 minutes.  Sometimes they ring extra, like to wake everyone up at 7 in the morning, or to let everyone know there's a wedding or a funeral.

Next to the church he found these cool bells sitting outside with the year '1949' on the side.  During WWII, the German army came through and took the bells out of the churches to make weapons.  In Kandern they left the smallest bell behind, so the people from the city took the small bell down and hid it in the hillside.  That way, when the army came back, they couldn't steal the last bell.  While the little bell was hidden, it got broken.  But when the war was over, the people hung it up anyway so they could have a way to tell everyone when it was time to come to the church.  It didn't sound good, but people were happy to still have a bell.  After the war was over and they were rebuilding everything, they made new bells - but not fancy ones.  This is one of those bells.  One year ago, everyone from the church decided to put in new bells out of nice metal so that the bells would sound pretty ringing through town.  They had a special ceremony and the bells had special writing on them, saying "Peace" in several languages - including Hebrew, the language of the Jewish people who had been mistreated in the war. 


He got pretty excited when he spotted a library, and he thought these books looked like lots of fun to read -- if he could read German!

'I'm with you, you're with me'
'And me?'
He was feeling a little homesick and decided to make a quick call home from the T-mobile booth.
 He saw these huge snails and decided to climb the wall to check them out.  It turned out they were just made out of stone.  He'd never seen somebody glue stone snails to the side of their house before.

He was also a little bit surprised to see how many buildings had this fancy old writing painted on them.  This one tells the story about a blacksmith.

All these German names!  It was hard to keep track.  But he spotted the word "museum" in this one and was curious.  When he found the museum, it was closed for the winter, but he found out how old it was.  It opened as a museum in 1776.  The USA was about to become a brand new country the same time Kandern was old enough to have a whole museum about it's history!

It turns out Kandern is REALLY old.  In some historical writings its mentioned as early as 776.  That means the museum opened on the 1000 years later!  And it means that right now, Kandern is more than 1200 years old.  That explained why he kept finding so many old things.  Like this watering fountain/trough.

It was kinda hard to see, but it says 1766 on it.

Or this old sled that looked kind of strange to him with the animal head on the front.

And this old building had huge doors!  It was probably for bringing horses and wagons through.  People turned this building into offices and apartments, but it used to be part of brewery, where farmers brought in the ingredients for making beer.

Flat Stanley liked Kandern, but he's ready to fly back home!  He was kind of disappointed he couldn't find Lederhosen in his size or eat any sauerkraut, but he did have Fondue and Swiss chocolate!  Yum!  Kandern is in Germany, but its so close to France and Switzerland that they eat lots of Swiss and French foods like Roesti (kind of like hash browns) or Tarte Flambe (a tiny bit like a pizza with creme instead of pizza sauce).

Thanks for coming, Flat Stanley!