November 2, 2016

Halloween 2016


We had a such a fun weekend! We had Trick or Treating moved to the 29th. The commander of the base thought it would be best if Halloween was celebrated on Saturday. That way the soldiers and personnel would be able to join in the fun and not have to rush back home and then back to the base during rush hour traffic. And with the time change, it wouldn't be dark until later so it was nice to Trick or Treat on Saturday and have the sun shining until 6:30pm. 

     Vida had so much fun Trick or Treating. Compared to last year when she only wanted to be held and cried if we put her down. This girl had us sprinting after her. She was running from house to house like candy was running out and she was the only one who knew this information so it was her ultimate goal to get all the candy before the other kids. We were with a group of friends and we lost them, Vida was going that fast. 

But when you start fast you loose steam real quick. About 30 mins in and she wanted to be held. 

This was Leo's first Halloween. My little Dalmatian had a blast being carried around and then took a nice long nap after. 

We ended up bringing the stroller because he gets heavy. 

My costume was pretty much clothes I already owned, my blazer is from Gap kids and I found it at the thrift store. My wig was purchased off amazon and my cigarette holder was wooden dowel I painted black and the tip white. I think the red lip stick  tied it all together nicely. 

 As for the kids, I bought Vida's white clothes from the thrift store. $2 for the shirt and leggings, I painted the black spots with black paint and made the dog ears out of felt using a dog ear pattern I found on Martha Stewart's website. My friend painted spots on her face. 
For Leo, I put a Disney Dalmatian onesie over his white overall and cut out tiny felt puppy ears and glued them to a little white hat he had. He looked good enough to eat. 

On Sunday we stayed home and enjoyed a lazy day watching movies and staying in our pjs all day. Vida carved a pumpkin with her dad, but she wanted nothing to do with the inside. It's was "yucky" she thought it was so cool to see him all lit up at night. 

Last year she pronounced the word pumpkin, "Cal-quee" so we named him that. I never want to forget how she said that. It was so adorable. Now, she says pumpkin clearly.

So on Monday, we did Trunk O Treat at the base. It was so dark by 6pm, again I was very happy Trick or treating was changed. This was a nice and quick event, Vida wasn't running away and she knew to walk from trunk to trunk. 

 Getting candy from the T-Rex. 
It was so cute to see young couples giving out candy to the kids,so glad they came out and participated. 
We ate dinner at the event, can't go wrong with bratwurst and French fries. 
We arrive home and the German children in our neighborhood are standing in our driveway all dressed up. The parents that know me told me they were heading to our house to ask for candy since we are the only American family on the base, I didn't know the kids in our town did this. It's slowly becoming popular here in Germany, just didn't think our tiny little town would. Vida was so tired and ready to bed she handed a few pieces of candy and asked to go to bed. Maybe next year we will go with our German friends and go trick or treating. 

It was such a fun weekend with friends but I'm glad it's over. 
The Halloween decor is all packed up until next year, the candy has been sorted and now it's time to plan Thanksgiving. 

Hope you all had a wonderful night with your kids. 
I'm  glad we get to enjoy these moments with our kids and make
 memories that will last a lifetime.  

October 14, 2016

Leo: 3 months old


Weight? 24 inches 

Height? 14.5 pounds 

Clothing size? 3-6 to 6 month

Milestones this month? Babbling and sucking on his hands. 

Special outings this month? Apple Orchard still have to take the kids to thePumpkin  patch 

Thoughts about the past month? It flew by and can't believe how big he is. 

What is his routine like? Hasn't changed, long morning nap, breastfeeding every 2-3 hours and taking naps throughout the day. Sleeping through the night. 

Any big changes? His babbling is intense and he can be very loud too 

What are his favorite things right now? Watching his sister play and car rides. He looks out the window. I'm scared he's going to get dizzy. 

What are you looking forward to? trick or treating with two kids. Need to work on our costumes. 

September 24, 2016

Leo| 2 months old

Weight? 13.2 pounds 

Height? N/a

Clothing size? 3-6 months 

Milestones this month? smiling and giggling and following people with his eyes and turning his head when he hears my voice. 

Special outings this month? Took the kids to a Teddy Bear Picnic 

Thoughts about the past month? I feel like we are in a good balanced routine and having two kids feels so normal now 

What is his routine like? Sleeping through the night, still napping throughout the day. When I have both kids napping I feel like a rockstar 

Any big changes? He's so heavy and is breastfeeding longer and fewer times throughout the day 

What are his favorite things right now? Watching his big sister. He always has his eyes on her. When we go to a playdate she'll play right under my feet and Leo watches her from my lap. He also loves when you blow raspberries, he smiles and sometimes a little laugh comes out and it's adorable. 

What are you looking forward to? his first Halloween. Can't wait to see him all dressed up. 

September 13, 2016

Leonardo's Newborn Shoot

Our little Leo was not an easy newborn to photograph. He didn't want to stay in one position for too long even though he was really sleepy. He just wanted to do things his way! He hated being naked and it took some time to soothe him into a deep sleep but 
Anja Hunt, our wonderful and super patient photographer was able to caputre some amazing shots that day.
I highly recommend her if you are in the Wiesenthal-Rheingau Taunus area.
She specializes in maternity, newborn  and family photography.

My sweet boy at 7 days old

Thank you Anja for capturing there precious moments for us.

September 7, 2016

Back to Schule

 Someone was so excited to be going back to 'Schule'

Her school only takes a short two week summer break, so after she was done with her acclimation period,she went on summer vacation and was ready to go on her own and I was able to go home. It was a big milestone for both us.

My happy girl, she went to school at 9:00 and when I picked her up at 12:30 she asked me if she could take a nap, she was so exhausted from playing all day.

I was finally able to take a few photos of her classroom and school when the kids were outside playing.  Here is a little tour of her school. 

Walking to school 

When you walk in, you go down a few steps to this little area where the kids hang their coats, and take off their outdoor shoes and put on their "hausschuhe" which translates to house shoes or slippers. 

We go up to the second level to where the classrooms are. 

Family photos on the door of her classroom 

This is one side of the classroom. They have a tree house inside. Vida loves playing in there. 

The little wooden desks are beyond adorable 

The other side. The Windows look out to the fields and vineyards

 Taking a little drink of "wasser" the children in her class all drink sparkling water. Vida is not use to drinking that and it made her gag  each time she drank it. Her teachers couldn't understand why she didn't like it. But my girl always tried it, 
knowing she wasn't going to like it. Thankfully the teachers let me bring in water for her. The children are also served strawberry tea if they do not want water and now my daughter is hooked on tea 
This is her little hook in her classroom. We got her the cutest Peruvian knapsack from this little town not far from ours where this lady from Spain, who travels to Peru and sells merchandise here in Germany. Anthony, is half Peruvian and we love to share our cultures with her. 

Where the kids hang their  "rooksack" love their little artwork on the wall. 

 When you step right outside the classroom they have a little room full of playmats for the kids to play in. On the second level they have a full gymnastics room. 

It's really a great little school and Vida enjoys her time here. It's been a great transition for her. 

August 15, 2016

Leo: 1 Month

For Leo's monthly updates, I'm going to use a variety of fruits and veggies to make out the numbers. You've probably seen moms using flowers to spell out words and numbers for their baby's monthly updates and I think it's adorable. Since Leo had me craving lots of fruits and veggies during the pregnancy, I thought it would be cute to use fruits and veggies. Of course I had to use a banana to match his Honest Banana diapers. 

Leo 1 month, August 1st 

11 pounds & 3oz

22 Inches

Newborn clothing is finally starting to fit a bit snug, 
he's slowly moving into 0-3 months 

Milestones this month? 
Putting on some good amount of weight and holding his head up. 
I feel like he is extremely nosy and needs to be looking around all time. 

Special outings this month?
Took BOTH kids to the splash pad. I was so nervous, but it was good. We even got lunch at the park and Leo napped the whole time we were there. 

Thoughts about the past month?
I was so nervous to be a mom of two and a newborn all over again, but just like every mom told me, you learn your limits and you get into a routine pretty quick. Can't believe I lost sleep over this, I was worried it would be overwhelming and I would feel so lost but in the end it all works out. 

What is his routine like?
Pretty much sleeping and eating all day. 
He's been sleeping longer stretches at night now. 

Any big changes?
He is very strong in his movements, he will kick his legs really hard if he's upset. 
He also knows that crying gets him more than grunting. He no longer likes to be swaddled, makes me sad, because I love baby burritos. 
He's looking around more and smiling. 

What are his favorite things right now? 
His contrast cards, sleeping on my chest and the sound of the vacuum, it puts him right to sleep. 

Things he doesn't like?
Taking a sponge bath, he cries and cries until I change him and bundle him up. I finally was comfortable enough to give him a bath in the sink and he loves that way more than the sponge bath. 

What are you looking forward to? 
More baby chunk lol. 
I can't wait for him to be so big and fat with big rolls on his arms and legs, 
just like Vida. I love chunky babies.  

One week

Two weeks

Three weeks 

Four weeks 

We love using our Made by Joy milestone cards. 

You can purchase your set over here

July 20, 2016

Leonardo's Birth Story


I still cannot believe I am a mother of two! Two!! It's so surreal. I feel like it's a dream and I'm going to wake up any minute now, on my couch, pregnant, sweaty,
uncomfortable and with food all over my shirt. 
But it's real! We have two wonderful children. 

Our little man made an early appearance, just like his sister. They were both born at 36 weeks and 6 days. Is there a calendar inside my uterus that tells my babies that they need to leave the womb at that time? Seriously! 
Again, I missed a hair and nail appointment because my children decided to come early. I just want to be pampered before going into labor, is that too much to ask for? So there I was, again on that hospital bed with frizzy hair and split ends and no nail polish on my toes or fingers. Sigh... Maybe next time.... 

So, on to his birth story and my experience giving birth at a German hospital. I was nervous. Nervous because my German isn't perfect. I can order French fries, ice cream, ask where the bathroom is in German, but labor jargon in German, yeah, not so much. 
I kept thinking, what if I go into labor and the midwives and doctors that are working that night don't speak a word of English?! What am in going to do? Have my phone out and translate everything in the middle of contractions?! No way!! All was good though, everyone that night spoke perfect English, and were so accommodating. Not only did they accommodate me and Anthony, they also accommodated our toddler. Yes, we brought Vida with us to the hospital. More on that later!! 

So, June 31st, Vida and I headed to the annual German and
 American Friendship Festival on base in the late afternoon.
 I was having minor contractions all morning but I thought it was just Braxton Hicks, they hurt but weren't too bad and I had to get out of the house to get some delicious fair food. 
We arrive at the fest and she rode some rides, we got on the Ferris wheel, we ate some delicious food and had an amazing time just the two of us, I knew I had to soak all in these moments with her before the baby was born.
 We were there for about 3 hours, of course she didn't want to leave but I got very tired and my belly felt extra tight that afternoon, I was just ready to go home and take a nap. 

We arrive home and Anthony was already there. Anthony took her to the park and I headed to our room for a nap. It was a glorious nap. 
I woke up and we had a late dinner, around 9:30pm. I end up having an extremely painful contraction that I had to stop eating and hang onto the chair for support. Anthony asks me if the baby is coming and I reassure him that it's way too early. The contractions subsides, we eat dinner and watch a movie with Vida. Since it was a Friday, we decided to keep Vida up late and let her finish the movie and put her to bed. 

11:45pm rolls around and I feel this pop inside me, almost like someone cracked their fingers. I get up from the couch and sure enough, a little bit of water starts leaking. I sit on the toilet and the rest of the water comes out. I couldn't believe it. Anthony was outside with our dog, I open the back door and I tell him "hey, my water broke" of course he's all excited but asks me if I'm sure?  I said yeah, it's all over my pants. 
He heads inside and I go shower and prepare for the contractions, I'm nervous. 
I feel like it's my first time all over again. a little bit of panic sets in.

About an hour later the contractions start to get intense but still bearable, I can sit on the couch and relax. We timed them and they were very far apart and very mild. I told Anthony "we have lots of time, I'm not in active labor yet"  
It's about 12:30am and I messaged a friend to see if we could drop Vida off, 
I felt terrible on how late it was. 
Nobody knew he would come so early so I wasn't really prepared with the sitters for that night let alone that weekend. I knew who I was going to use, I just didn't think I was going to be using them at 1:00am. I didn't hear a response, so I called and messaged a few other friends, still no answer. It was about 1:15am and the contractions were now starting to get a bit painful. I had to concentrate on the pain and my breathing so I set my phone aside. Vida was sound asleep by this point. We had her in her pjs ready to go.

 1:30am rolls around and I tell Anthony that we should go to the hospital so I can get in the tub there and just relax with my essential oils. 
I reassured Anthony that I was sure someone will answer their phone and someone would pick her up from the  hospital. 

He loads up the car and make the 20 min drive to the hospital. I hate sitting while having contractions, It is sooooooo painful. That car ride lasted an eternity. 
We arrive, check in at around 2:15 and the midwife comes to get us and takes us to this little room to check the baby's heart rate. She does a quick cervical check and tells me I'm only at 3cm. I wanted to cry, the contractions were painful, I was hoping I was further along. 

We had Vida sound asleep in the stroller next to us. We told the midwife that we were hoping someone would be picking her up soon. I'm not going to lie, having her in the room with me gave me peace of mind. I wasn't worried about her being her crazy self at a friend's house or crying looking for us and being so confused on where she was. I get annoyed by her,  but I'm a bit attached to my daughter, we do everything together, so having her there in the little corner of the room sound asleep just made me happy. I have a hard time letting go, I'm not afraid to admit that. 

It was about 2:30am and the midwife comes in to let me know that in a few minutes my room and tub would be ready. They were very busy that night, around 2:45 the doctor came in to introduce himself. He came right when I was having a huge painful contraction. His timing couldn't be more perfect..not!

Germans are super polite, they will say hello or good morning when entering a room full of perfect strangers and will shake your hand if it's their first time meeting you, even my mail man shook my hand when he handed me my mail the first week we moved in to our home. 

 So this doctor comes in and extends his hand towards me. I'm standing, facing the bed, with my hands on the bed railing, breathing in and out a very painful contraction, gripping that bed until my knuckles were white and I look over at him, I'm probably red in the face and he doesn't move his hand. I barely shake his hand and quickly placed it back on the bed to prevent myself from falling. I'm sure he thought I was a rude with my quick and weird handshake. "Dude, I'm sorry my body is bringing a baby down my birth canal. I can't do handshakes right now. Let's do a head nod next time, okay?"

 This doctor is super friendly and bubbly and I just want to punch him. 
He seems too excited. This ain't Disney world. He's just way too excited for my liking. lol

So, I'm still standing while having these contractions. Since I'm no longer hooked up to the machine, Anthony wasn't able to see when the contraction was coming. So I had to gesture for him to hold me while I let my body just relax in his arms. It's the feeling of weightlessness that makes the pain a bit more bearable. The problem is that I can't speak when the contraction starts, it's so painful, I feel like I'm slowly going to pass out. 
My husband is great during these moments. I would just raise my hand slightly and he would hold me and I would just release my body, I probably look like I'm dead in his arms. 
My body, arms, neck and head just go limp. Once the contraction is over I hug him and tell him that I can't do it anymore and he reassures me. He hugs me so tight because he knows how scared I am. I really am scared in those moments. For me and epidural is not an option, and when I did the hospital tour they asked me if I wanted to sign up to get an epidural. I ploitly said, no thanks. Only in an emergency C-section will an epidural be available to you, if you had not signed up for it.
I was so relived not to have nurses pushing the epidural on me like when I gave birth in the states, nurses asked 5 times, and they would ask right at my weakest point, at the start of the contraction, they messed up my breathing and left me confused and angry, two things I do not want to feel during labor I want to be calm and relaxed! Here in Germany, not once was the epidural mentioned. They let me do my thing.

It's about 3:15am now and bubbly doctor tells me the room isn't ready yet and he apologizes. I can hear the women down the hall screaming while they give birth. It sounds like they are being murdered. It scared me to my core, even though I been though birth before, It was just scary to hear those sounds. It's like oh my gosh, I'm next. 

 The midwife comes in to check me, I tell her I feel like pushing. She tells me that the baby is right there!!
The nurse holds my hands and walks me down the hallway and tells me if I  can walk a little faster or if I can run a bit, and I said, no way!! 
Then I feel the urge to push and I get super nervous and I move my little feet faster, and we walk into the room as the midwives are frantically setting up all their stuff. 
A sweet nurse took the stroller to her office and watched Vida for us while we went to the delivery room. I can still remember the nurse gently pushing the stroller around the corner. There goes my first baby...she doesn't even know her life is about to change in a few minutes.

I lay on the bed and they tell me to start pushing, I wait for the contraction and I push and little man's head starts crowning. 
The "ring of fire" doesn't hurt that much the second time around, you kind of expect it and you prepare yourself for that burning feeling. It does feel like your vagina is on fire though. 
The first time I felt that, I was scared. I didn't know that was going to happen and kept asking my OB if everything was okay down there.
So we go through this pain and we only get one day off a year? I know right? Motherhood is the shit!! 

Then they tell me not to push, I hate those words. I heard those words when I was delivering Vida. You can't fight that urge and do so gracefully. It's horrible. Your stomach does this awful jumping sensation, the midwife tells me to wait for the contraction. 
I do one more big push and he's out and it was like an out of body experience once again.  
I look at him and he's so tiny and they quickly place him on my chest and I'm crying and completely in awe of what just happened. His little tiny cry was so sweet. 

Another fast, drug free delivery, my hair is a mess, I didn't get to use the tub like I wanted too, but I'm just grateful for a healthy baby and a safe and fast delivery. Leo was born at 3:45am, weighing only 5 pounds. He was so itty bitty. 
Thank goodness he didn't have to go to the NiCu. 

Leo latched immediately to my breast  and I'm so tired at that moment, I could pass out but I force myself to stay awake so I can just stare at him. 

The midwives and Doctor leave the room and give us time to soak in these moments with our baby. Anthony goes to check on Vida. She's still asleep and the nurse is still there watching over her. I'm so grateful to that staff. They were so wonderful to us. I wish the delivery room would have been ready earlier but it was a busy night. Sometimes if there are no rooms available or you are less than 3cm dilated you can be turned away 
and sent home, hospitals are not as big as they are in the states. 
I'm glad I quickly went from 3-10cm because that drive back home would have been a horrible idea. 

I ended up staying in the hospital for 24 hours, I wanted to rest and give Vida some time with her dad. In the USA I had to stay for 3 days. I was so ready to go home when I had her. Recovery the second time around, was much faster. I felt like my body knew exactly what it had to do. With Vida I was scared to walk too much for too long. 

The nurses at the hospital were so sweet and took such good care of us.
 The language barrier was tough but we managed to communicate with one another.
 They would come in throughout the day to our room to hold Leo. One British nurse would say "oh Leonardo, oh Leonardo" when she would see him, i think she was in love. When he went for his bath the following day, they had bundled him up and put the cutest hat on him. I looked at him and said "oh my goodness, he looks so cute" the German nurses asked me "what is oh, my goodness?" and I explained it to her and the whole day she would say to all the babies "oh, my goodness" it was so adorable.  

Anthony brought Vida to see Leo, and I couldn't believe how huge she looked. 
She looked so big to me. I couldn't stop staring at her. She held him and my heart burst with happiness. She looks at me and says she has to go because she was going to the park with her Dada. My stage five clinger just wanted to leave and without me. It made me tear up. Friends reassured me that it was normal and she wouldn't be like that forever. 
They were right. 

I went home the following afternoon and cuddled my two babies and now we are a family of 4 and everything feels perfect. I loved giving birth in the German hospital. I wasn't forced to do anything I didn't want. Nobody offered me drugs or tried to rush my labor. They respected me and catered to me. The room not being ready was not their fault, but I'm glad they got me in quick when they saw he was coming out really fast. I'm thankful to the staff and my husband for being there for me and Leo. 

Here are a few  photos

Totally forgot how to swaddle a baby. Thank goodness for Google lol

Thanks for stopping by.