Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why Wood Floors Are Awesome

I like wood floors because they look good. They are easy to keep (relatively) clean and are allergy-suffers-friendly. Since everyone likes pretty things; neither of us like to clean; and the Mr. suffers from a wide range of allergies between March and September, we are a wood floor household. 

Yet, I only recently realized how awesome wood floors really are...and boy are they awesome. Wood floors make crawling chasing games fun, fast, and, with the right players, furiously loud. 

Proof point 1

Proof point 2 (which also shows just how awesome Aunt S-Squared is)



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Good News: She's Ours!

Its official: the Steinbach clan is buying a house. Which means we will have loads more space, lots less stairs, and a big fat mortgage.

When did we get all grown up I ask ya?


My Little Russian

When I was a little over four months pregnant, the Mr. and I took a short trip to Moscow to visit one of my favorite people (also known as Cold Snob or Iso) and get to know two new, good people.

I was greatly impressed by the trip, both positively and negatively. It seems that even though PJ was still a little worm, hidden under too many layers of clothing, he was pretty impressed too. 'Cause he's started to "Russian dance" his way all over our apartment.


Don't know what I'm talking about? Well, then you sure haven't been watching a lot of the movie Fiddler on the Roof recently. For shame! For comparison, watch this video (skip to 4:10 for the PJ-related part).

Now, of course, this is Hollywood's version of a Russian beerhall dance, so I have no idea how authentic it is. I'm guessing not too much. And, anyway, totally topped by PJ's absolute hilarity.


Friday, April 20, 2012

The Best Part of Being a Working Mom

About two weeks ago I returned to work after enjoying nine months of paid maternity leave. Thankfully I got to return to work part-time after four weeks of shared parental leave with the Mr, who is now enjoying three months with PJ (and without my constant interference).

Ah, socialist capitalism, I do so very much love you.

Frankly, dear readers, I was genuinely worried about returning back to work. How would PJ be without me? How would the Mr. cope? And, personally, how would I manage without PJ? Would I like working? Would I be able to hack being a working mom?

I'm only two weeks in but so far the answers are all pretty good. How is PJ doing without me? Lets just say that 'Da-De' is only growing in popularity in these parts. Naps are going great. Eating is going well. Playtime is getting rougher. Confidence is growing. Little man is doing very well.

My men doing their man thing.
And the Mr.? Yeah, he was a bit overwhelmed at first and expressed a good amount of concern about how repetitive the days with a baby are. But I do think he is enjoying the time and I know he is loving the time without me putting my nose into his parenting all the time. He might have mentioned that aspect of me working a few times.

Okay, more than a few times.
I do not recommend this approach.
And me? Allow me to pontify:

Being with a baby all day every day is physically exhausting. The walking, the crawling, the rocking, the soothing, the constant touch - especially the constant touch. Now? I sit in a comfy chair at a desk. I may walk to a coffee machine or a meeting room or not. The most physical contact I get may be a surprise hug from a colleague stoked to see me back at work. But mostly my body is just that: mine.

As physically challenging as it may be, being with a baby all day is at best intellectually draining. Honestly, it is mind-numbing: eat, play, sleep, eat, play, sleep, eat, get the point. As an employee of one of the world's most successful software companies there is nothing but intellectual stimulation going on. Every conversation, every email demands that my brain focuses, digs through numerous sources and mounds of data, to work towards understanding and then begin considering, reevaluating, correcting (myself), estimating, get the point.

Oh, and for four hours a day, I get to go to the bathroom all by myself, with the door closed, for as long as I'd like. No babies climbing on my legs or whining outside the door. No rush because PJ has bumped his head or fallen down or whatever it is that he does as soon as I'm sitting on the toilet. Seriously, who would have guessed that a solo trip to the bathroom would be a highlight of returning to work?

But its not the best part about working. The best part is returning to my little man. Seeing his smile and hearing his giggle when I walk through the door. Holding him close and smelling his skin for the first time in five hours. Enjoying being part of that oh-so-special eat, play, sleep routine. Or, like tonight, spending almost 45 minutes on the night-time sleep routine and not only enjoying every single minute of it, but being especially thankful for the opportunity to be the person holding my little boy close, rocking him gently, and singing softly as he drifts into sleep.

That is the best part of returning to work. The gratitude.

The baby outranks the computer.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Little Reader

I've written before about how much I love to read. There were the bookshelves that the Mr. gave me for my 30th birthday and when I outed myself as a compulsive reader. I've also mentioned how I hope to give this joy on to my little boy and how he has shown some interest in books.

Well, dear readers, I have been holding back. My little guy loves to read together. Loves. I've been a bit scared to share this here because each time I share something it seems like he makes a big fat liar out of me the following day.

But now I have some BE-UUU-TE-FUL (beautiful, for those non-southern speakers) pictures of us reading that just need to be shared.

PJ's most favorite book is "Chirpy Chick". Until I started back at work we read it at least once, mostly twice, a day together. I have the entire book memorized and so does the Mr. Sometimes PJ pulls the book out and then looks at me. It is still a bit too large for him to carry to me, so I pick him up, sit him on my lap, and then he takes over: he opens the book, turns the cardboard pages, and squeals with delight at the well-known characters.

And it warms my heart each and every time.

Getting started - always gotta give the book a little nip first.

Turning to the next page.

Checking to see how many more pages to go.

"The End"

I adore this kid so much it hurts.

Thanks to the extremely talented Aline Lange for sharing these with me. If you are in the Heidelberg area and looking for an awesome photographer, click here. For weddings with an extra special flavor too!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Easter ... Oops

Opps, there was a holiday in there somewhere. In my excitement to write this blog, I forgot to post anything about easter. Forgive me, dear readers?

Since we aren't church-going people, we enjoyed a long brunch as a family and then spent the afternoon with the Mr's family celebrating two of his cousins' birthdays. For PJ's easter surprise, I skipped the plastic eggs and the chocolate. Instead, he got his first hard boiled egg. It was dyed yellow by the lovely people at our local grocery store.

PJ's first reaction was quite positive.
"I have the egg and the egg is mine!"
"Nice golden color, lovely shape..."

But once the shell was off, he was far less impressed.
"What the hell happened to my golden egg?"

 After one bite...
"That. Was. Gross. "
The easter egg was not a hit. Unless you count how it hit the ground and then exploded in every direction. Oh, Baby Led Weaning, how delightful you are.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Michael Jackson of Socks

Continuing the crunchy mommy theme ... gotta be a "FaceBook friend" to get that reference: The Mr. and I buy into the concept of 'free feet' (who comes up with these names??), which essentially means that little people get to enjoy moving around barefoot, without socks or shoes, until they are able to confidentially walk on their own. We aren't crazy though, everything in moderation; when we are outside or in a house that is honestly cold, PJ has socks on - usually layered socks - but inside he is generally barefoot.

We've been doing this since PJ was just starting to move around on the floor. He is obviously a huge fan because he has become the Michael Jackson of socks: one sock on, one sock in his mouth. Even when we put socks on his little feet, he takes one off faster than we can look. Thankfully it is getting warmer, cause I keep finding him like this:

"What? One sock is enough. I've got my style to think about."

Sometimes we even have to struggle to get the socks ON him in the first place. I think he does it because it makes us laugh so hard.


p.s. Mom: this one is for you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wild, Wordless Wednesday!

Remember our first "Wordless Wednesday"? For those too lazy - you know who you are! - to click on the link, here is a redo:
First outside bath...

...with a hell of a view!
 Here is the wild part of our second Wordless Wednesday:

PJ's favorite German aunt about 25 years ago.

The "wordless" (or not so wordless) part?? No doubt that our little man is a Steinbach!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

9 Months!

9 months. Nine months. Our little man is officially nine months old. That is just sheer craziness. PJ was still in my belly at nine months - that kid held on for an extra two weeks - but we are closing in on that special time when he will be an "outside" baby longer than he was my "inside" baby.

Us at 40 weeks as an "inside" baby.
Us at 40 weeks as an "outside" baby.
Nine months also means that I return to work - first day is Tuesday - and the Mr. has parental leave alone. Man, oh, man. Those two are going to have too much fun!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

First Vacation

We just got back from our first vacation with little man. We went to "the center of the world": Lago Maggiore in Northern Italy. We've been there a couple of times* and thought it would be good to have our first family vacation in a location that we both know and enjoy.

This was also PJ's first extended car trip. The trip usually takes about five or six hours. On the way there, we left at 3am (or something equally as insane) and it took us about six hours to get there. PJ was a great sport, enjoying each of the rest stops, and then quickly falling back to sleep in the car. The way back home was another story, but lets focus on the positive, shall we?

PJ and his favorite friend at our first rest stop.
Thankfully most of the rest stops have kid corners and are pretty children-friendly. PJ loved this one is particular. He is a huge fan of slides already.
Long car rides are made a little less painful when slides are involved!
When we finally got to the house we were staying at, PJ explored all the rooms and quickly laid claim to them all, including the patio.
"I claim this land for the Kingdom of PJ."
Then there was no stopping him as he explored the yard, crawling through grass for the first time. He wasn't a huge fan of how the grass felt on his hands but his curiosity got the better of him. In the end he had a great time throughout the week playing with us on the patio and in the grass.


When we go to the Lago house, we tend to do a lot of nothing. This time wasn't much different: we spent most of the week relaxing at the house, enjoying the amazingly warm weather. Having PJ around made "nothing" so much more interesting though. Especially as he started clapping (see video above) and making faces at us.
"Check it out, mom, I'm a wild little boy."
Can this kid get any cuter?
Seriously, this kid totally cracks me up.

We did, however, get out of the house a few times. We even broke with all tradition and crossed the lake in a boat. I get car and boat sick easily and it took a while for my stomach to catch up with us when we landed. PJ loved the waves and the rocking though. No complaints from him!
PJ's first boat ride was a big hit.
Another day we went to visit a church that sits high up on a cliff, surrounded by raw beauty. The weather could not have been better and it was a great way to spend an hour or so.

Mommy and PJ on a very sturdy rock wall, enjoying the sun and fresh air, while Daddy repeats, "Get off there! Its dangerous!"

All in all: an awesome vacation. Even more to come soon!

*in fact, we got engaged there and PJ was born 9 months after our last vacation there

Friday, April 6, 2012

Baby Led Weaning

Have you heard about the latest craze: Baby Led Weaning (BLW)? It's basically handing your baby "food in a suitably-sized piece and if they like it they eat it and if they don’t they won’t...No purees, no ice cube trays, no food processor, no potato masher, no baby rice, no weird fruit and veg combos… just you and your child, eating food that you enjoy with you and your family." (source:

The first time I heard about BLW on some online mothers group, my reaction was "you have got to be kidding me" and "another rich, stay-at-home, gotta-be-perfect-mommy, woman thing". This reaction included eye rolling and heaving.

I seriously have. to. stop. doing. that. (This is a trend, has anyone else noticed??)

Because PJ, would call BLW something like: I-eat-what-you-eat-and-that-is-so-much-cooler-and-don't-try-those-mushy-things-or-I-will-shriek-without-end. Remember the shrieking without end picture?

So, BLW it is! The Steinbach Clan is Baby-Led Weaning. All Hail King PJ.

In some ways BLW is a pain in the ass. It is super messy. Little man has been learning all that coordination stuff, like picking things up, getting it towards his mouth, opening his mouth at the right time, holding the food still enough for long enough, then biting, chewing/mashing, and finally either spitting it out or swallowing. Watching him learn to eat on his own at such a young age has impressed upon me just how hard eating really is. Way to go us adults for figuring it all out and not having about half of it land on the floor.

There is also the whole salt issue. Babies can't deal with salt and PJ really can't deal with too much salt. His skin flushes with a rash quickly and he is generally uncomfortable. Since we live in Germany, the land of extra salt in everything (and then 90% of people still add more salt), we have to be somewhat careful giving him meats and the like when we are out, and we've learned to cook low-salt.

And, lastly, not everyone reacts well to watching a little baby eat real adult food. We've been accused of encouraging him to "play with his food", "making him grow up too fast", and "not caring if he chokes". Ouch.

But in most ways, BLW is awesome. With exclamation points: !!. Nah, three of 'em: !!!

BLW is awesome!!!

PJ has eaten so many types of food and he enjoys almost all of them. Bread? Sure! Fruit? Absolutely! Meat? More! Asian food? Yeah! Spicy foods? Totally! Cheese? Yummy! Yogurt? Yes! Sweet Food? Bring it on! I highly doubt we will be dealing with a restrictive eater in a few years (I pray!).

And also, meals are almost never a fight. There are no "lookey here - in comes the airplane!" moments. PJ takes what he wants from a small plate we prepare him. He eats until he is full and then we wash his hands.

No one is whipping up separate dinners for him. We have a fabulous vegetable steamer that my colleagues gave me that we use that for our vegetables these days and we are all eating low salt meals the majority of the time. So, everyone is eating healthier and we are all saving time.

If PJ gets hungry anywhere and we are out and about: no problem, no stress, no oh-shit-I-forgot-the-baby-snack-again. Just find something that he can hold in his hand (or that we can break into pieces small enough) and problem solved.

When we are at home or at a restaurant, both the Mr. and I get to eat our dinners when they are warm and tasty. Until you've eaten cold food for months, you have no idea just how precious this really is.

And, lastly, the pictures are awesome, of course. These are just three of way too many from our recent vacation to Italy.

Does this yogurt make me look adorable or what?

Hahahaha: I have the complete apple! The apple is mine!
You're saving more of that pizza for me, right?


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

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