Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stupendous Solids

Should have known it was coming faster than I expected (or hoped) after the high chair: PJ is eating solids! He has been staring us down and trying to steal food (with at least one success) for the past two weeks. Although he is a little younger than five months, we offered him the chance to eat some carrots and he leaped at them, quickly swallowing each and every bite. 

We started slow: 

But by the second night he was going crazy, getting more involved in the process, and eating almost half a jar before rejecting the spoon.


Extra points for those that can identify the music in the background. Seriously, this kid has no chance of having bad taste in music!

As much fun as it may be to share some more solid food with PJ, the diapers are significantly less fun. Thanks to the person who so cleverly designed this onsie: 
The fun part

The Not-Fun Part

My, my, how does the time fly!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Markets!

The Christmas season has started big time in Germany and that means Christmas markets, glühwein, and unlimited waffles. I still love my waffles! This weekend our small town had our Christmas market and we all checked it out.

Small side story: on our way to the market, I decided to take out some trash. Normally the Mr. takes care of this chore but the bag was sitting there, ready to go, so I picked it up and carried it down the stairs. Turns out that we are only allowed to take our trash out during specific times of the day...and this wasn't one of those times. I'm not sure why but I felt the strong need to rebel on that one; I was super quiet and threw the trash out anyway.  The Mr - ever the German - actually hid behind some cars in case I got "caught". Look closely and you'll find him:

Back to the point of this blog ...

Before we could hit up our little town's Christmas market, the Mr. had to take care of something very important: voting on a policy question. One this I like about my hubby is that he always votes, taking advantage of his vote to impact his country. This time little PJ went with him and already learning about democracy and voting!  Super, right?

As soon as that happened, we were off to the Christmas market. Naturally our little guy was quite the star! I think we spoke to more people this year than any other year. PJ stayed super warm, all cuddled up to his papa in the Ergocarrier (love the Ergo!). The Mr. got some glühwein, I enjoyed some hot juice, and we ate yummy market food.


A very successful start to the holiday season!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sitting Tall

For about as long as we have had Mr PJ's bouncy chair, he has spent at least a little bit of breakfast, lunch, or dinner time in it, like on Thanksgiving.

At first PJ sat in the chair for a short period of time. Over a few weeks it grew to last almost the entire meal time, as long as we played with him a little bit and generally included him in conversation with our verbal and nonverbal communication. But over the past two weeks he has grown increasingly impatient in his chair during meals, demanding more and more often to sit on our laps. There he would watch us eat and explore the table with his hands.

Since he can sit with the smallest amount of balance support, I decided to perform an experiment and ordered a hanging high chair. To say that PJ was pleased to join us at the table would be downplaying his joy big time. He was stoked, swinging his legs, playing with his spoon, and banging his hands on the table top.

It seems that more solid foods are really just around the corner. 


Saturday, November 26, 2011

How Are Babies Like Pets?

Remember the post "Things to Say ... and Not"? Number 8 on Things Not to Say was: 
8. Oh, I totally understand. My dog/cat/hamster did that and …
Really? My child, your pet? Um, thanks, I think we aren’t quite on the same wave length.
I still think this is a seriously shitty thing to say to new parents. But it turns out that at least one thing is the same:

...the fascination with washing machines.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Day 2011

Thanksgiving is by far my most favorite holiday and being away from my extended family and my country has always been difficult. It just doesn't seem right that Germany keeps trucking on when there's Thanksgiving to celebrate. Each year I ensure we partake in turkey and stuffing and a round of thanks. In 2009 and 2010 we hosted a collection of guests. This year we were hosted by the lovely L family for a Thanksgiving lunch instead of dinner so that we could all enjoy a bedtime-friendly holiday together.

Dinner was yummy...
The fabulous turkey Professor cooked. It was even yummier than it looks.
We were all - even the little guys - mesmerized by the turkey carving. 

The pumpkin pie came out really well this year (finally!). pleasant...

We took time out to enjoy a good book.
The little guys getting comfortable with each other.

...and traditions were upheld. I have so much to be thankful for this year that I was a bit concerned they were going to cue the orchestra while I listed out my thanks a la Oscar night. They didn't. Good people.

Turns out we all had much to be thankful for, even PJ who after some excited shrieking and desperate grasping enjoyed his first morsel of adult food (he will still be waiting to make this a habit): 

With a child these traditions become even more important and it becomes even harder to be away from home. I want PJ to grow up celebrating Thanksgiving, knowing that it is a special day for him as a key aspect of one of his two cultures. I want him to look forward to the special day just like I did and to trust that it will come, that family and friends will come, that thanks will be shared. I want him not to believe in a fairy tale about Indians but to learn to stop for a moment - hopefully more often than just once a year - to give thanks because he is indeed a very lucky boy.

And, really, aren't we all?


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Birthday Celebration of a Different Sort

Last year I ushered in the big 3-0 with a party with loads of friends and a little secret now named PJ. This year, I celebrated my first birthday as a mommy and, while it was totally different, it was just as good.

Instead of a large party, I celebrated with my first post-pregnancy massage; a lingering brunch with my boys; an afternoon at the swimming pool; and finally a home cooked meal (no chili this year), excellent red wine, and a silly romantic comedy. It was quiet, refreshing, and just right.

I wasn't quite sure what the gift was at first - turns out it was a fountain pen. Awesome!

PJ helping with the wrapping paper.

My perma-cake from my parents a few years ago.

Of course the calls, text messages, and over 100 birthday wishes on Facebook were a nice touch. Thanks everyone!


Sunday, November 20, 2011


Last night the Mr. got home from a four-day business vacation*. PJ was already in bed, exhausted from the trials of cutting his first tooth that has led to more frequent night wakings, shorter naps, and more (justified but tiring for us both) whining and discomfort. I was starting to wilt from exhaustion on the couch. The best sound I've ever heard in my entire life was PJ's first healthy scream but the click of the Mr's key in our door is definitely on the top 10 list. Because that click means less work, more joy. For I have not just a husband, not just a friend, not just a partner-in-crime and a partner-in-silliness. I have a partner-in-parenting.

For a variety of reasons, I didn't grow up with a consistent, positive male in my life. As a teenager I didn't quite know how to act in a home with an engaged father but watching from the outside I knew that if I ever had children I wanted them to have at least one. I knew I wanted my potential children's father to be more than just "there" but "there" would be a good place to start. I hoped for more and as I got to know the Mr and his family** better I grew a quiet, strong belief that he would absolutely be "there" - and he would be and do so much more.

I was right. I am now married to a man who gratefully and whole-heartily takes up his share and sometimes more. He does big things like:

  • sleeping two nights in the hospital with his family to share those precious first hours with us
  • signing up for months of parental leave
  • skipping meals because he was so busy supporting us and walking countless kilometers with PJ in his arms (losing weight too quickly as a result)
  • holding tight to me throughout the breast feeding issues and post-partum shocks that induced post-partum depression
  • taking over feeding PJ when I just couldn't anymore
  • being fully responsible for PJ's bedtime routine over a period of weeks when all I needed was sleep
  • reminding me often that I'm doing a good job, that PJ is lucky to have me
And smaller things like:
  • taking out the trash before I notice it needs to be done
  • ensuring that we have groceries in the house
  • cleaning the kitchen
  • rubbing my neck
  • telling me I look beautiful
  • calling while at work just to "see how things are"
  • replacing world of warcraft as his blackberry background image with a picture of PJ and I
And amazing things like waking up frequently throughout the night to screen if PJ is awake because he needs hugs while his mouth aches or if he is really hungry. As a result I was up only three times last night, sleeping an almost five hour stretch and getting almost 8 hours of broken sleep.

I am an awesome mommy; he is Superpapa.

Together we are Family Steinbach.

*These days anything with one or more nights of uninterrupted sleep is a vacation. Don't argue.
**Single ladies, I offer two pieces of unrequested advice.
1. Be friends for a while first; even if you think he is totally hot and he thinks you rock, men speak and act differently to and with girl friends. You also speak and act differently if you aren't sleeping together. You'll both learn about each other's character, way of life, and maybe save yourselves a lot of time by either staying together or skipping the drama.
2. Meet his parents as soon as you think "hey, I could be with this guy for a while". Then study them. They are his normal and you're going to get that for better or for worse. Mr. is loyal, devoted to family, good with money, responsible, and solid. He also tends towards impatience, eats fast, and hears "chaos" instead of "change". Basically, while still unique, he is like his dad.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pleasantly Slapped

Wow is this blog really overdue. 

A few weeks ago, like, before Halloween (cough cough), we got to meet a beautiful new addition to this world. At the time that little guy was only six or so weeks old and PJ was just under four months. It was like a pleasant slap in the face to compare the two little boys: 
  • pleasant because I couldn't believe just how far little PJ had already grown, changed, and developed
  • slap because it all flies by even faster than I could have ever, ever, ever imagined
In fact, I bet if we held our two bundles of joy next to each other again this week we'd all be pleasantly slapped again.

And, oh, how proud the papas!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mommy Got Her Hair Did

Last week I realized I hadn't gotten my hair cut in about six months. Six months. With long hair that means: tangles, tangles, and even more tangles. Ouch. Since I'm celebrating my birthday (like that plug?) next week, I decided I had - HAD - to get my hair did. Then I learned that the hair dresser who has been taking care of me for years was off duty getting her masters. Double ouch.

After asking around I got a recommendation and discovered that the only appointment available before my birthday was during the afternoon when the Mr. was unavailable to take care of PJ. That could have been a reason not to get my hair done. Instead I swallowed big and arranged for our little man's first babysitter while awake. Thankfully Opa jumped at the opportunity.

Today when Opa arrived, I had to again swallow really big and walk out the door. Good thing PJ loves his Opa and cuddled up close as soon as he could. That made walking out the door a hella lot easier.

Thankfully the hair appointment went really well (and quick) and PJ was a happy camper until about ten minutes before I got home. I don't like when our little man cries, but it sure is good for my ego when he is crying because he misses me...and stops as soon as he is snuggled into my arms.

Thank you very much to Opa! I'm sure PJ enjoyed his time and is looking forward to another go at it sometime soon. 

ps. Like those red cheeks? 'Cause they herald in little man's first tooth - it just broke through his gums!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

3-0 ... Ohne Holland ...

Last night Germany played against Holland. In the case that you either a.) life under a rock or b.) are an American and clueless about international football (that's soccer for us) - Germany and Holland have a serious, storied rivalry with each other. Personally I think the Dutch are adorable in their orange and the one time I got to visit the country I had an awesome time ... but football knows no "halbe Sachen" (half-measures / half-heartily) ...

So, just like last time, PJ pulled out his black and whites to support his and his daddy's team. Although he was already in bed when the game started, he made sure to talk a little bit of smack pre-game with his new spit skill:

And it worked: Germany won 3-0. PJ was so exhausted by all the excitement that he slept past his normal 6am wake-up until 7:15.

I tried to get a picture of PJ post-celebratory sleep-in with something orange, but it turns out that we don't have anything orange in the house that isn't dangerous to give a baby*. Instead of sharing a picture of little PJ dominating the Dutch orange, I'll share one of him with pappi right when he wants him: on a leash.

*any Dutch colleagues want to fix that? ;)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

Ladies and Gentlemen, I finally saw PJ roll from his back onto his belly! I think just about everyone caught it before I did but now he is rolling and flipping every single time I put him on his back. 

Here he is, for your enjoyment!


I think I might be taking too many pictures - check out how that little man looks right into the camera!


Friday, November 11, 2011

A Laugh A Day

A laugh a day keeps everyone happy, including little PJ who clearly enjoys kisses from his daddy.

Happy 11.11.2011 everyone!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

English and German Lullabies

Ever wondered to yourself: what's the difference between English/American and German lullabies? Yeah, me either. Well, until recently when little PJ arrived on the scene. Turns out that the vast majority of the melodies are the same. The sentiments, however, are not.

Lets take, for example, the lullaby set to Johannes Brahms wonderful melody. You can hear just the melody here on youtube.

The German version is:
Guten Abend, gut' Nacht
Mit Rosen bedacht
Mit Näglein besteckt
Schlüpf unter die Deck'
Morgen früh, wenn Gott will
Wirst du wieder geweckt
Morgen früh, wenn Gott will
Wirst du wieder geweckt

Guten Abend, gut' Nacht
Von Englein bewacht
Die zeigen im Traum
Dir Christkindleins Baum
Schlaf nun selig und süß
Schau im Traum 's Paradies
Schlaf nun selig und süß
Schau im Traum 's Paradies

Guten Abend, gut' Nacht
Mit Rosen bedacht
Mit Näglein besteckt
Schlüpf unter die Deck'
Morgen früh, wenn Gott will
Wirst du wieder geweckt
Morgen früh, wenn Gott will
Wirst du wieder geweckt

For those that don't read German - you can hear a translation of the actual German into English by the lovely Dean Martin (also from Ohio, by the way) also on youtube. If you're not into hearing the entire song, no fear! Keep reading.

The English version is:
Lullaby, and good night,
With pink roses bedight,
With lilies o'erspread,
Is my baby's sweet head.
Lay you down now, and rest,
May your slumber be blessed!
Lay you down now, and rest,
May thy slumber be blessed!

Lullaby, and good night,
You're your mother's delight,
Shining angels beside
My darling abide.
Soft and warm is your bed,
Close your eyes and rest your head.
Soft and warm is your bed,
Close your eyes and rest your head.

Sleepyhead, close your eyes.
Mother's right here beside you.
I'll protect you from harm,
You will wake in my arms.
Guardian angels are near,
So sleep on, with no fear.

But lets take a closer look, shall we? Do some comparative analysis (and for my English professor friends here, cut me some slack, I haven't written a paper in about 10 years and this is my tongue-in-cheek blog).

The first verse ends in German with (translation here):
"tomorrow morning, and if God will,
you'll wake up again"

The first verse ends in English with:
"Lay you down now, and rest,
May thy slumber be blessed!"

So the German version is something like (watch out: emotional translation!): Okay, little baby, its time to go to sleep and if you are really lucky and God likes you and everything maybe you'll also wake up.

I don't know about you guys, but I don't think those lyrics would really help me feel safe, secure, and lead me to sleeping peacefully. Sure the song sounds nice but I'm imagining a final prayer along the lines of: "Um, God, please, pretty please let me wake up tomorrow." Then a private, "oh, shit, I really hope she didn't see me leak poop; pull mommy's hair; poke my little brother; stick out my tongue; and so on." And finally a desparate promise, "God, if you let me wake up tomorrow I prooooomise I won't .... "

Hello, insecurity!

Whereas the English version is more like: Okay, little baby, its time to go to sleep and recharge your batteries because you and your sleep are so special and under God's watchful eye.

Yeah, those lyrics give me a warm, fuzzy, lets-go-to-sleep feeling. A little huggy, huggy feeling. A stretch-and-smile kinda feeling at the end of a day.

Hello, self-confidence!

The Mr's response to this? A very loving: "You and your American, politically correct crap."

Pause, cue goofy grin and then a sly: "Babies have to toughen up."*

Ahhhh, the differences start way early and last forever.


*The Mr. claims he never said the second statement. He so did and it was hilarious.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Four Months

PJ is Four Months today! One-third of his first year is already over - remember when it all began?

This weekend I closed up the first box with the clothing he's outgrown, saying goodbye to all of his 0-3 month size clothing. All of those adorable little outfits, outfits, outfits, and outfits. As I carefully folded up the clothing, arranging and organizing, many memories came back, like this one, and this one, and this one.

And we are "only" one-third into the year - what will it be like in a few months? Thankfully I was told to enjoy this time often enough that I actually started to listen. Thanks everyone.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Video - Our Little Reader

PJ was introduced to his first play book yesterday. He took an instant shine to it. My little reader!

It may help that it makes noises, feels soft, and tastes yummy. Or what do you think?


Friday, November 4, 2011

Mommy and Daddy's Night Out

The Mr. and I enjoyed our first Mommy and Daddy's Night Out last night. We put little man to bed and then slipped around the corner to enjoy a six course tapa meal accompanied by excellent wine. We consciously tried to have adult conversation about work, politics, hobbies, and other non-PJ centered topics. It took two or three reminders but all in all was pretty successful.

I even wore a non-nursing shirt which constitutes "getting all done up" for me these days.

My hottie babysitter from June did an awesome repeat performance. I think we're all looking forward to the next time.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Grumpy Pants

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have one heck of a grumpy pants today. PJ's sleep has been off since daylight savings time, the birthday party, and most likely another wave of mental development. And boy do we feel it! I'm pretty sure that he does too.

At least he is already a tree-hugger, right?


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Daddy & Baby

Remember when I bragged about PJ's excellent taste in music? Add Metallica to the list ... as a lullaby!



Mommy & Baby

Little man and I were hanging out recently and I grabbed a quick picture. That's my little sweety-pie!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Little man got all decked out yesterday for a special day times two: Halloween (of course) and Oma's birthday (even better). 

Mommy was super proud of her little pumpkin: 

The birthday girl, also known as PJ's Oma, was also proud. Oma was extra beautiful for her birthday, even PJ was super impressed.

As usual PJ couldn't get enough of his uncle ...

...or his aunt.

Usually PJ goes to bed between 6 and 7pm, so staying up for a party that started at 6pm took some nap planning. I somehow managed to get him down for three morning naps in his own bed and then three short afternoon naps by taking a walk and by driving to the walk and then to the party. Although PJ was overwhelmed a few times by the sheer number of new faces, smells, and sounds, he was able to party with the guests until about 8pm.

Then he got a little grumpy (and slight demonic, or is it just the lighting?) ...

...and began to baptise friends and family with his late-night dinner.

Thankfully the Mr. managed to help PJ fall asleep and then PJ stayed asleep in a pack-n-play in a back room long enough for mommy and daddy to have something like a date night. 

What a good looking family we are, right?

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