Saturday, October 31, 2009

Baby Jason

Jessie, who was brave enough to attempt to teach me cake decorating, was nice enough to indulge my need for a baby fix and agree to let me keep her son, Jason, when she was going to be out of town overnight. Jason is just the sweetest thing - always smiley and in a great mood. Laura, who has kids the same age as Jessie's, was going to be keeping Jessie's other little girl, Erica since Erica and Sophia (Laura's daughter) are BFF's.

As wild and crazy as my kids can be, they LOOOOOOVE babies and they are really good with them. Very gentle, very patient, and the even offer to share their toys, food, clothes...whatever. So when I told them that we'd be keeping Jason, they were so excited. I picked him up after I worked out, so by the time I got home my kids were already in bed. R and I gave him a bottle, changed his pants, got peed on (how quickly you forget that happens), and put him to bed. No crying, no battles, just pure baby love.

Unfortunately for Jason, the kids couldn't stand it and woke the poor little guy up at 6:30 in the morning. Even so, he was a great sport. The kids initially treated him like a dog - T would clap his hands and say, "Here baby Jason. Come here. Come on, coooooome on" and S would pat the chair or floor beside her and say, "Come here! Come here!"

Uggg. So, the bonus was that the kids were fascinated and totally absorbed by Jason. They wanted to help feed him, diaper him, dress him, hold him, etc. They also wanted to slip him some of their food, which turned out to be quite the battle between the kids and I. 'No, Jason cannot eat Apple Jacks because he's just getting his teeth. No, baby Jason can't have a pb&j because he can't chew. No, baby Jason can't have Cheetos, or triangle chips (Doritos, natch), or carrot sticks, or an apple, or celery, or a juice box, or a sucker.'

But we all survived quite well with a third little one in the house. The kids fought over who would sit beside him, who would play with him, who would share what toy with him - all good stuff. I loved every minute of it and it was SUCH a fun day. But it wore me out and I'm glad that it's just my two. I don't think I could deal with three and admire anyone that can! Kids are hard, man!

T and S were so sad when Jessie came to pick him up. They seriously wanted to keep him 'forever and ever'. The next morning, when T got up, he came into our bedroom with a very sad face and I asked him what was wrong. "Mom, I want baby Jason back. I want a house full of babies." UH OH. This baby machine is in retirement. "How about some Apple Jacks?" I suggested. "Yeaaaahhhhhhhh" (whew) "and then can we go and get baby Jason?" (double uh oh!)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just One of Those Days

This morning I wake up and jump into the morning routine - the kids and I head out to the car (on time, ifIdosaysomyself), and I push the unlock button on the remote. Nothing.

Oh. NO!

I manually unlock the van, say a little prayer to the battery gods who were obviously busy with real problems, and try to start the engine. Yeeaaaaahhh. Not gonna happen. I don't even get an almost out of it - just a rrrrrrrrrrrrr. R's at work, no one I know lives very near here, and this is just not good. I get the kids back into the house which is surprisingly more difficult than getting them out the door, and do my best Winnie the Pooh impression (think, think, think!). I decide my best option is to appeal for help on Facebook, but I go ahead and call R at work anyway. No answer. So then I call Kellie - but remember that she's probably at aerobics already (which is where I'd rather be) when she doesn't answer. Lucky for me, R calls back and says that he can come and help.

While we are waiting, I decide to actually made good use of the time and clean the kitchen. I mean, it's not like I can throw the "gosh, I've been running around all day and I just haven't had a chance, honey" excuse at R now (darn it!). He shows up right about the time I'm finishing up, so we head out to the cars to jump the van. R goes to hook up the jumper cables and as soon as he connects the second black jumper handle to my very dead battery, my car alarm goes off. Well now, that's not good. In all the times I've had a battery die (and there have been many), I've never had the alarm activate when trying to jump the car. Hmmm. So we disconnect and try to figure out why that's happening (totally have no idea). We notice that the connectors are wet from where they hit the ground, so we dry them off and try again. Same thing. Well, now, this is strange.

A few minutes later, we decided to just jump the car anyway. I've got things I have to do today and R can't hang around all day either. The van starts, but the alarm is still going off. We can't get the alarm to turn off until the van has enough battery power built up to respond to the remote. So - to our neighbors, I'm really, really sorry about that. At least it wasn't 6 am, right?

The kids and I get back into the car and R follows us long enough to make sure we aren't going to get stranded. I pull up outside of the CDC, and darn if their fire alarm doesn't go off. That's just weird. I kept waiting for random alarms to go off when I walked by, but so far, things seem to have settled down. You know, that actually wouldn't be a bad idea for a super power - I could be Siren Girl: able to damage ear drums or trigger a migraine in one short minute.

Finally, we get the okay to enter the building, I drop off S, and T and I head to the BX to look for some jeans for him. I was actually hoping for sweatpants, but typically, there were none to be found. By the time we find some, pay, and get back home, I've basically got 30 minutes before the bus picks up T. We pull up and T announces, "I have to go potty!" We've been fussing at him about going outside because he likes to pee over the wall dividing our property from the neighbors yard. When no one was living there and the yard was overgrown, I didn't see a problem with him going. However, it's an entirely different matter now so we are highly encouraging him to go inside. Because of that, I'm rushing to unlock the door to let him in when the urge suddenly hits me so I tell T to hurry up because I have to go too right as our landlord walks up. I get the door open and T rushes inside to go to the bathroom. Mr. Lua wants to know if I mind if he adjusts the furnace for the time change. Not at all. But he needs my keys, so I give him the keys and try to think of things not related to bathrooms or water. Right about then, T yells for me, so I excuse myself and run upstairs. I left our front door open because 1)the bathroom's upstairs, and 2) I know I'll be right back down. T just wants a sandwich and some juice, but nature is screaming so I dash into the bathroom.

Now - somewhere, somehow T has started putting the whole lid down, which is great. However, he thinks it's hilarious to start to go and then flip up the seat, which gets pee all over everything. So as I'm hopping from one foot to the other trying to pull down the workout leggings I've FINALLY lost enough weight or inches to get back into, I flip up the lid to see pee all over the seat. I have to go too badly to wipe it off first, so I decide to just squat. Except my leggings prevent me from getting my legs far enough apart to stabilize myself and I promptly lose my balance and manage to pee on myself. Oh good lord. So I finish going, clean up myself and the 'accident' site (oh, flushable and Lysol wipes, how I truly, truly love thee) and hobble to the sink to wash my hands. Yes, my leggings are still around my knees because I'm NOT taking my shoes off until I cleaned the floor up and there's no way I'm getting my leggings off until my shoes are off. As I'm washing my hands, the phone rings. T brings me the phone (MOM! The phone is ringing.) It's my friend Kellie. I'm trying to sound like everything's normal when T starts trying to tug up my pants announcing loudly, "Mom, you need to pull up your pants. I'll help you. UGGGGGGG. I can't! They're too tight." Sigh. As I start to explain this to Kellie, I hear Mr. Lua say that he's all done and he wants to give me back my keys. Well, one thing's for sure - there is NO way I'm walking out of the my bathroom bare bottomed to get keys. UH-UH! And, I have no other pants handy since our bedroom and all our clean clothes are on the other side of the house. I call out "Danke" to him and ask him to just leave the keys, Kellie thinks I'm talking to her, Tucker is still announcing that I have no pants's just not my day. Finally, Mr. Lua grasps the situation and says he'll just leave the keys on the inside of the door. Vielen Dank, truly! I explain to Kellie what's happening and put the phone down long enough to go and grab a pair of pants. Crisis averted, and T totally lucks out because in the ensuing confusion, I didn't say a word about the toilet seat, even though I have NOT forgotten.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

And another week goes by

In just over a week, it will be time to pack up our house and truly start the move process. I feel calmer than last time by far which I'm sure has something to do with the fact that we are moving back to the States. We are, considering past moves, ahead of the game this time. We've gotten rid of most things we can't use anymore and started the deep cleaning process.

Ever since we moved into this house, there's been a the downstairs bathroom. Sometimes it's much stronger than others, but it's almost always there a little bit. Well, I walked into the bathroom after going to the gym yesterday and almost gagged. Considering I'd been in there just prior to going to the gym and been fine, I'm not sure what changed in that short amount of time. Be that as it may, YUCK-O! So I grabbed our new mop and and got my Clorox and hot water on. Apparently, T had managed at some point to pee on the floor and not mention it. Ahh, but how on earth is that possible without seeing it you may wonder? Our floor is an avocado green and brown tile that could probably disguise blood as long as there wasn't too much of it. As I made the first pass with the mop, there was a noticeable smell attached that moved with me and the mop as we moved. Three wash and rinses later, the bathroom smells 'normal' but - ugh - we've been walking all over that floor for how long with it dirty? EWWWWW. Now I feel the need to just sanitize the whole house. Twice. BLECH.

It makes me wonder - if I had had kids 10 years ago, would this same stuff gross me out like this or would I just shut up and clean? Of course, I ask T - hey - did you have an accident on the bathroom floor and not tell us? And he says, yes, but I wiped it up with your towel. WHHAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTT????? Ewwwww - EWWWWWWWW. I use a towel more than once and the thought that I used a towel covered in pee to dry off or dry my hair - OMG - please just dip me in Clorox or shoot me now. Or both.

But surely I would have smelled it, right? I mean, a pee soaked towel would SMELL wouldn't it? So I ask him to show me the towel, and he points to the one I use to wipe off the shower stall when I get out of the shower. Well, okay- I mean, still EWWWWWW - but I can spray the shower with bleach water no problem. I do wonder why the towel didn't smell like the floor did though...maybe because wiping the water off the shower diluted it?!!? Sigh. So who wants to come over for dinner this week?!?!?!? LOL!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Today, like almost every Saturday, we went out to do some errands. We had some boxes to mail and while I was finishing that up, R and the kids went to check the mail. In the mail was a birthday card for T with a check in it. We've been trying to introduce the kids to the concepts of money, spending, budgeting, etc. This isn't something I would have thought they were really ready for, but the credit union that we belong to here gave the kids a Money Mammals DVD that introduces them to the the basics of saving, spending and 'sharing' (using your money to buy things for others -- like presents).

So today, when T got a birthday card with a check in it, we took him to the credit union and cashed it for him. Then we gave him the choice of going to the toy store on base or going to the German toy store. With the exchange rate right now, the dollar only buys about .65 Euro cents, which means that he'll have less money to spend in the German store even though they have (in my opinion) better variety and selection. T considered his options and finally said he wanted to go to the toy department on base. He spent a good while looking at different things, his first stop was the (thankfully) very tiny Thomas the Train section where he stood for a long time wanting to find something to buy. Finally, the Matchbox cars and other small cars and toys distracted him (since he didn't have any of those) and he finally announced he wanted a toy motorcycle. He looked through all the styles and eventually picked one, but then decided he wanted to get the other one for S. He took it over to her and asked her if she wanted it (she didn't) and then tried to talk her into wanting it. When she wouldn't bite, he put them both back and wandered over to the learning game section where he became entranced with a vTech phonics pad that teaches you how to write letters. With that and a jumbo Thomas the Train puzzle in tow, he went to the cashier and even paid for his own stuff.

We were so proud! First that he considered several things before buying something he didn't already have (that wasn't car, truck, train, or motorcycle related), second that he stayed within budget, and third that he offered to buy his sister something with his birthday money. The fact that he plans to buy as many peanut M&M's as possible with the remainder of the money doesn't even bother us - especially since he's already forgotten where he put it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Planning to turn? Try using your turn signal!!!!!!!!!!

This week, we've done a lot of running around. Monday was a holiday so R was off work and the kids didn't have preschool, so we ended up taking a short trip to Belgium to check out some furniture for my one of my mothers-in-law. (Both R's parents and my parents have divorced and remarried, making our kids lucky enough to have four sets of grandparents.)

We didn't really find what we were looking for, but it was a pretty drive and I like the rural parts of Belgium. Belgium, God bless that country, has a similar highway layout and road attitude in general that's similar to the US. Wider streets, (gasp) shoulders on the roads, exits that are easy to get on to and off of, and the street layout (so far) makes more sense. And, they speak a version of French there. I understand a lot more than I can actually speak, but it's nice to actually be able to decipher what people are saying.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were full of typical running around. Germany is full of traffic circles, which I surprisingly don't mind because traffic circles really do seem to help traffic flow better. In Germany, it's required by law to signal if you are turning, changing lanes, or in general changing the position of your vehicle on the road. I'm sure that's true in most US states too, but I grew up in NC where the intent to turn was most often indicated by the vehicle actually turning. However, in Germany, my spoiled, pampered self has gotten used to seeing signals actually work the way they are meant to work, and when people don't do this (read: AMERICANS) it can get a little dangerous - especially in those traffic circles where the locals take three inches between vehicles as an indication that they can merge into traffic - indicated, of course, by USING their turn signal. So, today, we are happily driving along and probably not paying as much attention as we should when a car stops in the middle of the road to turn left across traffic but doesn't use their signal. Unusual! Then he started to turn, so he flashed his left signal once and then darted through traffic. I saw this a lot today. I don't know if I've never noticed this before or if it was one signal Friday and no one bothered to tell me, but for whatever reason (perhaps because I'm in a pissy mood this week) it really irked me and I felt the need all day to turn on my signal about half a mile before I actually planned to turn anywhere. My maturity level even astounds me at times (snort). Obviously, this is a sign that I needed to go home and stay there to avoid getting a nice, fat fine for shooting someone the bird, which is actually illegal here. In the States, I'm a chronic flipper off-er, so it's been a true show of restraint for me to keep all my fingers where they belong.

Not that I didn't already kinda know this, but re-reading this post has convinced me that I really might want to consider therapy soon. I can spout off about being a good example for the kids, which is true, and about a million other reasons that therapy might be a good idea, but the bare truth of the matter is that I'm finding drivers as rude as society in general here (again, mostly American related) and I'd really like to leave this country without getting into trouble or teaching the kids some really, really bad habits that will be embarrassing and difficult to explain to say the grandparents or teachers. I'll be sure and keep you posted on how it's going =)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sneak peek from our photo session on Sunday

I met a fabulous gal through the MOMS Club I joined here and she's a photographer. Once I saw her pictures on her blog ( I was determined to book a session if she had an opening. We got lucky and she took our pictures yesterday.

Today she sent a sneak peek out and you have to check them out (and her work in general). I LOVE the ones on her blog and feel very blessed that we had this opportunity to capture Germany in a positive way. The kids were great - very good sports and they listened well to most everything they asked her to do. What a great note to leave this country on!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fire Prevention Week!

This was Fire Prevention week so we all headed to the parade on base. We stopped off for haircuts for R and T first, which went amazingly, outstandingly well. I wanted to badly to take a picture of T sitting there like a little man getting his hair cut, but was afraid to jinx it. Plus, S decided she wanted to get her hair cut too just like her big brother, so I had to distract her. Here are some pics...enjoy!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Decoration is everything

Today Jessie came over with her husband and kids to show me how to decorate cakes. She had her work cut out for her, no doubt about it. In a surprising show of lack of common sense, I hadn't figured out that the student kit I bought would help me learn without the benefit of taking a class. There are printed 'cheat sheets' that you slip under a clear plastic practice board that allows you to basically duplicate the design step-by-step. I choose not to embarrass myself any further by revealing how I thought that was all supposed to work. (Shaking my head at myself)

At any rate, a couple of hours later, I ended up with a firm grasp of the basic designs I was interested in and a desire to take a more extensive cake decorating class once we get back to the states. It really was therapeutic to produce a decent looking cake. Now I just have to figure out how to ice a cake without spreading crumbs all over the icing.

The kids were suitably impressed, but truth be told, they just wanted to eat the cake. I don't blame them, it was really good. I can't wait to try another one. T's birthday is coming up soon and it would be nice to make him a decent looking cake myself. It was totally worth having a couple blue fingers (since I poked my thumb through the foil on the icing tint gel). Next cake I do, I'll take pictures and post them - bad or good results.

The only thing that surprised me was that with my recent lifestyle improvements in exercise and eating habits that I still ate some of the icing which was literally Crisco, butter, sugar and vanilla. It's so not fair that something make up of those ingredients tastes like heaven on earth.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I've been out of high school 20 years? Really?!?

Next weekend is my 20th high school reunion. Totally not going. I wouldn't go if I still lived in the same town, which so many of my former classmates do. I do wonder when I get an email about the reunion who might show up, but to be honest, I feel like I've caught up on most people through Facebook. And, judging from the entries on the reunion website, it's going to be one of those "job resume" events where stay-at-home moms become domestic engineers who facilitate the education and training of their genetic offspring. Not that I have a problem with that, but it would be nice to hear the honest truth, not the souped up PR version of it. I mean, really now, let's whip out the pay stubs and the declare the highest earner the winner of the evening. It will save a lot of time and energy.

Besides, there's something about me that truly believes people want to know how I am or what I've been up to when they ask. Turns out, it's generally a rhetorical question and is really supposed to 1) serve as the segue for what the person asking has been doing or 2) be a quick assessment tool to see if the high school hierarchy should still be in place, or 3) serve as a nice big ego stroke for the 'more successful' person in the conversation. Although, I do admit, I think that success is subjective in many instances. For example, let me get myself up and ready, the kids up and ready, the kids fed, and all of us out the door at my 'target' time, and I feel pretty successful for the day - regardless of what happens afterward. I'm a goob that way.

So, next weekend I'll safely be thousands and thousands of miles away while my high school class reunion-izes. Allow me to raise a glass of sweet German wine in all of your honors, totally happy with the fact that I am not in the middle of squinting at name tags because I refuse to wear my reading glasses while squeezed into three pairs of Spanx and starving because I haven't eaten anything but lettuce, soybeans, and water (what I call the Posh Spice diet plan) in a month. Have at it Titans - send me the mass produced postcard. Word to yo' mutha!

Time to go back to bed and start over

My first sign that today wasn't going to breeze along smoothly - the sanitary pad that I pressed firmly to my underwear ended up somehow twisting and providing me with a mini brazilian.