Friday, November 19, 2010

In-law Land

Simon and I made another trip to Sweden in October - our second since we got to Europe! It was my first time flying alone with Simon. I had to get creative but it worked out. :)

Simon also experienced his first snow on our first morning in Stockholm (October 21!). Luckily it wasn't sticking around, as my my Farmor (Simon's Grandma), Simon and I were heading out on a 3 hour drive to Vastervik, Sweden to celebrate my nephew's 2nd birthday.

Marina, my sister-in-law, also has a 5-month old girl, Nora, so it was quite the full house. Simon LOVED being around his cousins. He was so well-behaved (during the days) while we were there that Marina finally asked if he ever cried. Simon and Nora could sit in their highchairs facing each other and play forever. Even though it was a bit hectic with all the kids, it still felt like a break. Simon and I stayed with Marina and Johan for a week before heading back to Stockholm where Pappa joined us.

We were able to dress Simon up for his first Halloween!

I have to admit, I am excited for Christmas! And watch out world - I think Simon will be crawling!

Want to see more pictures? Check then out here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

St. Martin's Day

November 11 is St. Martin's Day here in Germany. No, it's not a day to celebrate my husband ( I do that everyday, of course!). I didn't know much about it, but I knew that it was something that children celebrate with parades - and there was going to be one in our neighborhood, so we decided to check out. I got Simon bundled up and headed out to find the parade (his first!). Sure enough, I found its source at a local Kindergarten where parents, kids and Kinderwagens (strollers) were streaming out. All of the children and many of the Kinderwagens were sporting paper lanters - all with various colors and shapes. From what I could tell, most of them are now electric rather than sporting real candles.

What I hadn't realized, was that this was more of a participatory parade than a spectator parade. Simon and I walked along the sidewalk while the parade streamed down the barricaded streets of Pempelfort. Bands played and children sang traditional St. Martin's day songs. And all along parents and children continued to join the parade. We made it to the front of the parade and found St. Martin himself leading the parade, riding a horse and wearing a red cloak. If only Simon were a little older (and not asleep) to enjoy in the excitement.

Admittedly, because we were not participating it really was not a terribly exciting event. But in some ways it was. It got me to thinking about the time when Simon will enjoy these kinds of things - and the joy it will in turn bring us. I can't wait!

(For a real explanation of St. Martin's Day in Germany, click here.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Sundays. I have a love/hate relationship with Sundays now that I live in Germany. Saturdays too, really. It has been nearly 5 months and it really hasn't changed much. I thought it would. I thought I would appreciate it more by now. But it's hard sometimes. An adjustment. I am still adjusting.

The thing is, in Germany everything is closed on Sundays. I mean everything. The grocery store at the airport is open, most restaurants are open for at least part of the day, and I guess gas stations are open . The rest - shopping, groceries, etc. - closed. When we first moved here, I thought it was so perfect - it forces you to take Sunday and relax, not go out running errands all day, feeling like you have to be productive. But in doing so, it has turned Saturday into a clusterf*&k of squeezing it all in.

Today is Saturday, for example. It wasn't bad, really, but here's how it went:

7:30 - Wake up and feed Simon
8-9:30 - Clean the kitchen, play with Simon, feed Simon
9:30-11:30 - Simon naps, I go to the market, Martin cleans up around house
12-2 - IKEA (it's painful, but it has to be done sometimes)
2-3 - No idea - suddenly it was 3
3-5 - Met some friends for coffee (and to check their car seat!)
5-6 - Simon napping in stroller, we did our grocery shopping
6-7 - Made dinner
7-8 - Fed Simon and put him to bed

So, not a bad day, I'll admit. We are getting better at this. But nonetheless there is this constant stress hanging over my head on Saturdays. What are we going to eat on Sunday? Monday morning? The fruit-veggies shops and the butcher shops close by 2 or 3, so think ahead, way ahead. Want to bake a cake? Make soup? Better be prepared!

But then Sunday rolls around, and we can't go back to IKEA to return the defective pillow case (it's always something) and we can't go get Simon a new toy. And I can't make that soup because I don't have the beans and I can't make the cake because I forgot we are out of flour and eggs. So maybe we will just relax, organize the house, do some yoga. If it's not raining, we'll take a nice walk. Maybe Simon can even play on the swings. It's just that to get to Sunday, you have to get through Saturday, and it's not always pleasant. And on Sunday, you have to just let go.

But I am learning - it's getting better. There are a lot of new things here - a lot of adjustments to make. Some days it's easier to accept them than others. Today was one of our best Saturdays. We are still adjusting.