Monday, January 28, 2013

how to get your infant to sleep

{ let me start this off by saying i am by no means an expert. and i have only had 2 children from which to draw any kind of experience. i am just offering my humble opinion. }

i feel like, other than trying to figure out how to nurse, lack of sleep is one of the most common complaints among parents with infants. new parenthood is portrayed that way in media with that bedraggled mother, stumbling around as the infant cries in the background. and many parents suffer from lack of sleep, especially in the early weeks. but after having 2 very different babies, i believe firmly that that doesn't have to be so.

when you think of getting your infant to sleep, the first things you may think are "ferber" and "cry it out". while the ferber method is not ''leave your baby to cry all night long until they finally figure out you aren't coming", i don't think it's for us. (as a matter of fact, dr. ferber never says you should simply allow your child to cry on his own.) 

i have read several theories and i am sure that they all work for someone. but i am not big on following a laid out plan for babies or children. mostly because they are so different that what works for one, will almost certainly not work or the other. there is a reason the hospital doesn't send you home with a guide book. 

but i like to subscribe to the guide book of common sense and/or instinct. because that's what parenting is, really, at it's core. if you shut out all the advice and all the "experts" and focus on what feels right, focus on that voice inside your head (not the crazy one.....), that's where you find the easiest way to enjoy the whole process. 

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1. have realistic expectations. sure, some babies sleep 10 hours at a time from the time they are 4 weeks old. they are the minority. most babies sleep an average of 3-5 hours before waking to eat. as a matter of fact, "sleeping through the night" is generally defined as sleeping for 6 hours in one period. so if you put your baby down at 8:30, waking at 2:30 would be considered sleeping through the night. but that is not my night. at that point, i have had no more than probably 3 hours of sleep. but even that is not entirely common, especially not early on. infants need around 18 hours of sleep a day, 12 of which generally occur at night. but if they get their days and nights mixed up, that can mean a spell of wakeful nights. 

2. take the pressure off. along the same lines, don't feel like your success as a parent relies heavily on how long or how often your child sleeps. it feels that way in the beginning. as though, if your baby can't figure out the sleep thing on day one, you will never amount to anything as a parent. but this simply is not so. and it doesn't mean your child will be messed up for the rest of their life. bella didn't sleep more than 3-4 hours at a time early on, and even then she wouldn't sleep soundly unless she was in a swing or on my chest. i felt so much like a failure then, because people would talk about how their child slept through the night, only waking once to nurse. bella woke 4 times a night to nurse. 

3. don't believe the hype. like losing weight, quick and easy does not exist for the long term. it's tempting to try more extreme measures that promise to have your baby sleeping all night at the ripe old age of 4 weeks old. if you follow their advice, it may be true. but at what cost. again, i am not suggesting you will screw your child up, but i am under the impression that infants never cry for no reason. even in the middle of the night. maybe they just want comfort, but when you are a teeny tiny little human in a big cold world, maybe you just need a little comfort. so go, pick up your baby. comfort them until they fall back asleep. it costs you a few minutes of rest and maybe makes your next day a struggle, but it means telling your baby, whatever happens, i'm here. 

4. swaddle. i live and die by the swaddle. there are so many swaddlers out there and they are all fantastic. we used this one with bella. revolutionary. she hated it for the first couple of weeks, so i tossed them in the closet. at around 5 weeks, and out of desperation, i pulled them back out and tried again. i was more confident with her, so it didn't feel so much like a torture device anymore. i wrapped her up and once the velcro was secure, her whole body seemed to relax. within seconds she was asleep, and she slept deeply. i'm not saying she slept for 12 hours straight, but she did have a very sleep filled night after that. it increased her sleep time from around 4 hours straight to around 6, followed by 5, followed by another 2 (my memory is shot, but i wrote all of this down in her baby book! so i am not making it up!! swearsies!) with cora, we use this one. and have from day one. 

5. snuggle. i said we don't really follow the books much, but i kind of lied. i am a big fan of dr. sears. bella slept in my bed until she was 3 months old. granted, joel was deployed the majority of that time, but once i started bed sharing with her, we both slept wonderfully. dr. sears advises against this if you are severely overweight, a smoker or drinker, as it can cause you to sleep too deeply, not being cognizant of your child. but in cases of normal weight, nonsmokers/drinkers, bed-sharing can be very safe. if you don't feel comfortable with this practice, don't do it. it's that simple. but it was amazing for us. i nursed bella, so when she did wake, i barely needed to even lift my head to allow her to nurse, and even though i wasn't technically sleeping, i had my eyes closed and was laying down, so it barely felt like my sleep was interrupted. co-sleeping, with your baby in a bassinet beside the bed is a very similar way to go without the fear of rolling over on them. personally, it seems like my babies sleep deeper snuggled up, and i am a light sleeper. 

6. routines are your best friend. not schedules. and not rigidity. flexible sleep routines that cue your child in to the fact that it is time to wind down. ours is like this: 

7pm: 
bath, brush teeth, brush hair, jammies
7:30pm:
 read books-bella gets to pick 4 books and then she does a page in her sticker book
8pm: 
she climbs into her bed and i sing her "her" songs. the ones i have sang to her since she was a newborn
by 8:30pm 
i leave, we say good night and i crack the door, with the contingency that if i hear her, i shut the door. 

that routine isn't based on the clock, though. it's the same no matter what time we start. i aim to start at 7, so that she is down by 8:30. when joel does it, she is usually down by around 7:45 (he reads fast?), and if we get home late, it starts later. it doesn't always take 1 1/2 hours. as a matter of fact, if she is behaving, it can take up to that long, but if she fights me brushing her teeth, or refuses to let me brush her hair, she may lose a book. if she throws a fit getting her jammies on, or cries about not getting 17bajillion books, she may lose another one. she has gone to bed a couple of times with no books, because she wasted too much time begging to stay awake late. (it's not a fight, it's simple. you are wasting your book time. you have run out of time for 4 books because you won't get through brushing hair/teeth, so you now only have time for 3 books. ) but, unless we are not home, she is in the bed with the lights off no later than 8:30. 

7. create an environment conducive to sleep. babies in the womb are used to noise. so keeping your house super duper quiet can actually work against you. during naps, we would run the vacuum, play music, whatever we would normally do during the day. at night, white noise was and is our best friend. both girls have sound machines set to either rain or ocean. we never used mobiles, as they can actually distract your children from sleep. we eliminate light noise by using black out curtains, and now that we are in germany, both girls have humidifiers, because the dry air has sent bella into hacking fits. 

8.  remember, it won't be like this for long. it really won't. bella had a hard time adjusting to life on the outside. she had colic, it took us a good 6 weeks to figure out the whole nursing thing, she mixed her days and nights, she didn't sleep for long stretches and she woke 3-4 times a night. this went on until she was 14 months old. but we co-slept until 4 months, and even then, if she would have a hard time sleeping, she came back in and slept with us. if she cried in the night, i picked her up kissed her and swayed with her. i rocked her to sleep every night. people told us we were ruining her. that we would have a 10 year old sleeping with us every night. that she would never be able to go to sleep without being rocked or nursed down. untrue. she is 3 now and every night, she goes to sleep on her own, sleeps for 12 hours, doesn't wake, and sleeps in her own bed. that started happening around that 14 month mark. occasionally, she would get scared and would come into our room, climb into our bed and sleep with us, but i think the simple knowledge that that is an option allows her to sleep soundly and confidently. 

9. if all else fails, have a second baby who is completely different from your first. i am kind of kidding here, but whereas bella was the rule, cora is the exception. we coslept with her starting in the bassinet then, after she woke around 4 to nurse, i would leave her in the bed with me. then 3 nights ago, i put bella to bed and while i was singing to bella, cora fell asleep in my arms, so i laid her in her crib. where she slept until 4. so the next night we did the same routine. and last night she slept from 8:45 until 6:30 this morning. we include her in bella's routine-she gets in the bath with bella (in her infant tub, of course), then i put her in jammies along with bella, she sits in my lap nursing while i read to bella, and then it's lights out while i sing to them both. generally, by the time i walk out of the door, cora is asleep. and that's that. i would like to say i am awesome at getting children to sleep. but i think it's more likely that her personality is more conducive to compliance. 

read whatever you want, use your judgement and common sense and figure out for yourself and your child what practices are best for you. then stick to them. your timeline will be different from every ones else's. be patient and remember that you are teaching your child how to sleep. just like everything else they learn in life, it may take a while, but they will get it. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

potty trained!

i think it is safe to say, bella has potty trained herself.

you remember how bella expressed no desire to pee in anything but a diaper?

welp. that was annoying. and went on for way longer than i would like to admit.

BUT. the big but! one morning last week, she walked out of her bedroom carrying undies, took off her pull up and put the undies on. and that was that.

she wears her undies all day, goes to the potty on her own and wipes and pulls up her pants by herself and it's all good.

but, until today, she wore a pull up whenever we would leave the house, because i am so afraid she will just pee all over herself, and i can barely remember my name half the time-i sure won't remember an extra outfit in case she has an accident.

today was gymnastics class, and as usual, i put her in a pull up and sent her on her way. i ran upstairs to get in my workout (thursdays are quickly becoming my new favorite day!) and shortly after i got back down, her teacher came out with her, and said, "she said she needs to use the potty". i shake my head, wondering why now, in the middle of her class, she decides to use the potty. i admit, i was slightly irritated because i knew, just knew that once we got to the potty, she would miraculously not have to go any more. but i went through the motions, because i don't want to discourage her.

i got her to the potty, started pulling down her pants and she declares, "i don't need to use the potty!"

"you are sitting on the toilet until something comes out." i say, as rationally and calmly as i can muster.

2 seconds later, her face lights up and i hear that little tinkle!!

"I DID IT!!!"

so there we are. i mean, she will still wear pull ups at night, because i am too lazy to clean sheets in the middle of the night. and probably when we are in the car for a long time and out on the economy (since there are no toilets anywhere), but i guess technically, i can claim that she is there!

it takes a huge burden off my shoulders. especially when it feels like every one we know has a potty trained 2 year old, and here we are, 3 years and nearly 2 months old.

i'm proud of my girl. mostly because she chose to do it on her own.

i should have known better. bella works on her own timeline and always has. usually she does things early, sometimes she does things late. i guess peeing in a toilet was just low on her priority list.

now poop....that's a different story. pooping still makes her cry. apparently, her poop is scary.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

why multitasking with a toddler can be deadly

scene: i walk into the kitchen to get my lunch, where duke is sitting curled up on the floor. bella follows me in, expecting her lunch too.

me: "you're a good boy dukie. such a sweety. except when you crap on the floor. that's not so sweet."

{i go to dish bella's food, giving her more than i intended.}

me: "shoot"

bella: "mommy, don't SHOOT him! he doesn't poopy on the floor on purpose!"

that really happened. and yes he does.

toddler activity-color mixing


today, bella did a little experiment. this activity covered science, math and art and in the process bella had a lot of fun making a mess. it' pretty much her favorite thing to do.

first we gathered our supplies: 


some cheap shaving cream
food coloring
crayons
plastic bags
a piece of paper to record our results

we started out with cheap ziploc bags. this was a bit of a science experiment in it's own right! we found that the zipper style ziploc bags are much better at containing semi-liquids. 


so, first result, use better bags! 
i had zipper bags on hand, so i brought those out. 

next, we listed the colors we would be using: blue, red, yellow and green came in our box. so those were our colors. 


first, we filled bags with shaving cream..


then we added the color combinations. we started with red + blue. i even let bella add the coloring. 


we added 10 drops of each color. she counted them out (math!).
then got those little hands mixing!!


 once she was done mixing, i had her identify the color we made and then pick a crayon that most closely resembled that color. she then drew a circle and colored it in.


 then we got a fresh bag and tried a different color combination.




this is a messy activity. but it doesn't have to be. if you add the colors yourself, it can stay relatively clean. bella just must help with everything.


check out your results! we talked about our observations-what colors mix well: red+blue, yellow+red, blue+yellow. which led us to talk about "primary colors". and which colors didn't mix so well: all of them mixed together. 





her results. 


as i tap this out, we are hanging out in the bathroom. she is enjoying a nice LOOOONG soak. and some play time! 


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

spring fever

i know it's still winter. there is snow EVERYWHERE! but i keep getting these pesky e-mails about spring clothes! at first, i didn't even open them, but then i used my gymbucks to get the girls some new clothes and OH! the cuteness. so i thought i would share the things i am crazy for right now!

i've always been crazy for sperry's. bella has had a pair each spring. which means cora has a pair each spring (once she is in hard bottom shoes). these are my new favorites. 

kelly's kids romper. love! 

kelly's kids romper

kelly's kids.
bella has several of these skorts from seasons past. they are fantastic  for the way she plays .

ah!! kelly's kids. i LOVE the seersucker and lobsters. with the perfect little bows at the bottom. 

janie and jack have the BEST swim suits. ever. 

janie and jack 

kelly's kids 


gymboree anchor shirt

gymboree shorts


i am clearly digging the nautical theme. it just stinks that for the first time in....ever....we are more than a few hours from the coast.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

calendar DIY

we are getting busy again. the holidays are over, the baby is starting to assimilate better (seriously, night and day, these two kids!) and we are finally starting to resemble actual people again. 

which means, i need to get organized. 

i am on a rampage-i've been scouring pinterest and blogs for organizational ideas, planning my weeks (in advance!) and trying to get a good routine down on freezer meals, so that dinner time goes more smoothly. 

i am a big fan of having a calendar centrally located so everyone can get on board with what i have planned knows what is going on. but i am not a big fan of generic calendars, or those hang up ones with kittens on each page. in the past, i have made calendars through pictures places, and i particularly LOVE this one

but i also realize that not everyone wants to purchase a calendar starting at $29.99. while i spend way too much on kids clothes and food (hello...schnitzel and doner kebab. oh yum!), i am a cheap-o when it comes to home decor. i like making most of it myself. 

a few years ago, i made a dry erase menu for the kitchen, complete with a pocket on the back for recipes. 





then i made us a dry erase board to write our crossfit WOD's on and record our times, reps and rounds, so we could do it quickly. 

(i don't have any pictures of that because it is down in our basement, hidden away.)

now, i have been working on a simple, cute calendar to hang in a central area to help keep us on task! 

here is mine. very simple. but i like it. it has a space to write in the week, and then areas to write in what we have going on during the week including a little notes section. 


and a yellow version: 



i'll just slip it into a frame and viola! dry erase! 


=========

on a much cuter note, someone has started to become very cheery lately. i can't get enough pictures of this little munchkin! we go in for her 2 month appointment on the 29th, more than 2 weeks past the 2 month mark! 






now we are off to play in the snow!! i have never seen so much snow in all my life and i am so in love. it's supposed to now another 2-4 inches tonight, and joel has tomorrow off, so i fully anticipate sledding all day tomorrow (making 4 straight days of snow play!).

Saturday, January 19, 2013

30 reasons you know you are an american family living in germany

I saw this on facebook and thought it was so perfect! and so true! we have only been here for 6 months, but we are settling in well enough that this all sounds about right! except #27. we don't watch afn.

1. Ausfahrt isn't funny anymore, and roundabouts are second nature.
2. You no longer mind the person behind or next to you only giving you half an inch of space.
3. 2 hrs for dinner is "fast food".
4. You judge mustard by how well it opens your sinuses.
5. Jumping across the border to get away for the day is no big deal.
6. You reach for the J├Ągermeister instead of Pepto Bismol.
7. You think family pictures taken at a castle are "so cliche."
8. You forgot how to use round doorknobs.
9. You forget how to flush a toilet that doesn't have a push button.
10. 100 MPH seems like you're driving really, really slow.
11. You no longer think it is strange that beer and water are the same price.
12. Even at home you don't put ice in your drinks. You never go shopping off base without a shopping bag or VAT form.
13. You NEVER shop on payday or the day before a German holiday.
14. You never leave home without your keys, ID card, license, and passport.
15. You think anything with chocolate sounds like a good breakfast.
16. You think it is natural to pass Army tanks on the highway.
17. You answer the phone "Hallo" instead of Hello.
18. You need a power drill and sledgehammer to hang a picture on the wall.
19. You rig your lawnmower and vacuum cleaner to give you an electrical shock if you try to operate them on Sundays.
20. You no longer even want ketchup for your French Fries.
21. Christmas is incomplete without Gluhwein at a castle.
22. You sing "Tsch├╝ss" instead of say Good Bye.
23. Your children no longer say please or thank you ... it is bitte and danke.
24. You wonder how you ever lived without Rouladens.
25. You wear a scarf every singe day .... even in the summer.
26. You plan your route around ESSO locations.
27. You believe AFN is quality programming.
28. You own shoes just for walking .... and know you will walk everywhere.
29. You no longer need google translate at the grocery store
and last but but not least ....
30. You have said out loud at least once .... Darn Americans !!! (We say this a few times a day at least! LOL)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

8 things i am grateful for

i'm going to be honest. we were in a dark place this week. we all had the crud, and it hit bella pretty hard in the way of temper tantrums, lots of crying, hacking coughs all night, falling asleep in really awkward ways, only to wake up cranky, and general awfulness. typically, when kids get sick, they get all snuggly and lethargic. while i would never wish ill upon my babies, those would have been welcome symptoms around these parts. 

in light of that, we are all pretty much recovered and i woke up this morning with an overwhelming feeling of gratefulness. 

8 things i am grateful for:

1. an abundant supply. of milk. i nurse exclusively, but pump so we can go out in the future. i currently have nearly 60 oz of milk in the freezer and just added another 5. while i didn't have a lacking supply with bella, i could never pump more than 2 oz at a time. 

2. a baby that will take a bottle. bella would only be fed from a straw. her highness was special like that. cora will take milk in any form a long as it goes to her belly.

3. cora. she is such a fantastic baby. we had friends over last night and she was awake or asleep, but quiet the entire night, allowing us to enjoy the company of our friends. then, they left and she went to sleep. and is still asleep. it's 11:30 am. and at this point, she only wakes twice to nurse. 

4. awesome friends. you know those friends who can't really over stay a welcome? we've got em. we had "game night" for a few hours and when everyone was getting ready to leave, i kinda wished it wasn't time to go yet. a couple even stayed later watching the game, and they could have stayed longer. good friends, good conversation, good fun. 

5. coffee. i know this one is a bit trivial. but after last night, i didn't go to bed until 2 am. so, i am pretty happy with my daily caffeine intake. it's the one thing i won't give up. it doesn't just give me energy, but it warm (almost literally) my soul. it makes me think of all kinds of things, like good friends i'm not near anymore (especially as i drink out of my colorado mug, gifted by one of those friends). it's like a giant cup of comfort each morning. 

6. a great husband who is such a great dad. you've seen that saying, "i never knew how much i loved your daddy until i saw how much he loved you."? that is always in my head. as i tap this out, i am listening to him in the other room with bella say, "i love your head {kiss}, i love your toes {kiss. *bella giggle*} i love you big {squeeeeze} i love your nose {bella squeal}". he doesn't do diapers, and he isn't crazy about screaming (i don't blame him....) but the man is a rockstar with a toddler. and she is crazy about him. 

7. germany weather. there is snow outside and we have a sled date for an hour from now. it's pretty much the thing i have wanted my whole life. and now i have it. i live in a snow globe. and it is every bit as fantastic as i thought it would be.


8. bella. as wild and demonic as she can be, she is a sweet little thang at her core. she says things like, "mommy, i need to ask you something. can i hug you?" with her hands behind her back and her puppy dog eyes. and she is so full of love and life and spunk. if i knew that i could have her be a quiet perfect little girl, but she would lose her quirky personality, i would never make that trade. she has a huge personality and that pendulum has to swing somewhere. it just helps when i've had enough sleep to deal with it.


Friday, January 11, 2013

my child is annoying.

i have an annoying child. i said it. 

i know this to be true because i often hear the voices in my head telling me so myself think, "man, my child is annoying." it's that calm, too.

i know at her core, she is sweet and cuddly and precious and a perfect little gift from the big man. but it's like that stupid tootsie pop commercial.....how many licks does it take? 

the world may never know. 

the problem, i'm sure, is me. somewhere, i have taught her what annoying looks like, and that it's all, "heck ya!" partyville fun. or maybe (more likely) it's her daddy's fault. but wherever it came from, it needs to pack it's sassy bags and get the heck out of dodge, because it is no longer welcome here.

on a serious note, dang! she is obnoxious. 

and i lay on the bed, looking at my sweet little 2 month old (2 MONTH OLD!?!?) and think about how bella used to be this tiny. this innocent. this purely perfectly perfect. 

and now she is evil.**

ok. that's a bit dramatic. but let me take you on a journey. a journey you will praise God you are not a part of. (unless you have a three year old, then you are most certainly on this journey with me.)

it all started when she turned 3 really. it's like, one day, her little world was too little for her. she decided that no longer would she stand for all this bossing around and being told what to do. oh no! that would not work. she was in charge. miss smarty britches, with her panties in a bunch. 


it started with insistence. she needed what she wanted and it had to be NOW! her favorite demand? a "schnack" which she demands as though i am in some sort of servitude. 

"momma, GET me a schnack!"

and she preys on the weak. 

the black death hit our house hard and i lost my voice. so the little demon on her shoulder tells her it would be a real funny thing for her to choose today to run around screaming. each time i try to tell her to knock it off, she screams. i open my mouth to whisper at her (because, that's all i got...) and she screams. so i smack the table. she screams. at this point, i can feel the tears welling up. have you ever been waterboarded by a toddler? it's kind of like that. 

RAAAAARRRR!!!!!

and if i dare put her into her room, she now throws things at the door. and screams. she screams that blood curdling scream that only a future horror film actress can manage. it literally makes my vision go blurry, which, in this case, i guess it's good that she is secured behind that door.....

and nursing an infant? such a sweet display of affection has no place in the presence of the mighty mistress. she will just come over and pour an entire bag of grits over your shoulder. it happened. on my new chair. 


but there is hope! "don't despair!" i tell myself over and over again. she will go to sleep. and then it's all over. for 12 hours. until it all begins again. 

**disclaimer: i do not, in fact, believe my child is evil. or possessed. sometimes. but not really. just....i hope....i mean.....sometimes it get's ugly around here. but she is most certainly NOT a terrorist. and she is not making me say this. and i think she should rule the world. 

but seriously. she's not evil. look at that face.


cora is clearly not convinced.......

Monday, January 7, 2013

bella turned 3!

bella turned 3 last month. it went by so fast, and i am afraid it will every year being so close to christmas. 

we always try to make a point of not really doing christmas until her birthday passes, but it makes our christmas season 12 days short. so this year, we put up the tree and decorated on the 5th (when my mom got here). bella loved that almost as much as having a birthday party.

this year, bella's birthday theme was cupcakes. the only thing she asked for was a pinata, but we have very limited selection here on base-a fire truck, a donkey and a monkey. after her birthday was over, she said she liked the monkey one. but up until then, she wanted a cupcake one. so i made her one. 


after three days of work and decorating up to the last minute, it went down with one hit. but bella loved it and the kids loved all the gummies that came out of it, so i guess it was worth it. 


we did a mac n cheese buffet for dinner, and while the parents all seemed to enjoy it, i don't think any of the kids ate it. 

since the theme was cupcakes, i made 2 dozen cupcakes and left them frost free and let the kids go to town decorating their own. i made each kid their own apron so they stayed semi clean while they decorated. they each had their names on them and a little bit of decoration, and they seemed to really like them. these also doubled as party favors along with the cutest little cupcake magnets that my friend, cara, made. 





other activities included coloring sheet and running all around the dining hall we reserved, chasing balloons and each other and trying to avoid corners. 






bella had a great time and cried when we had to leave. the next morning she asked to have another birthday party. all the work that went into the planning and executing of the party totally made it worth it when she said that. 


all in all, i would say it was a success, especially for doing it all with a 4 week old! 


Sunday, January 6, 2013

life as we now know it!

i feel like my brain is just reeling! i keep meaning to sit down in a moment of silence and talk about how our life is. spill out my heart about our travels, our trials, our tribulations......

only i sit down and i get distracted by facebook, then i remember that i needed to balance the budget, only to notice we've been paying double car payments since we have lived in germany, then i try to call the bank to stop the double payments and remember that i need to write out a grocery list, then bella poops and cora starts crying, then cora poops and bella starts crying, and duke is whining, then duke stops whining and i smell poop......

what was i sitting down to do?

and where did all these chocolate wrappers come from?

and where are my clean socks!?!? 

yeah, it' like that.



i'm not complaining. we get a full nights sleep, and if we don't it's our own fault-bella sleeps 12-14 hours a night and cora sleeps beside me and only starts grunting and making a bit of noise when she is hungry, and then promptly falls back asleep. she is down from around 10 pm to 10 am {knock, knock, KNOCK on wood!!!}. and of course, she naps quite a bit during the day. 


i could potentially be really proactive and get up when joel goes to work and shower,dress, clean, get on the computer, catch up on grey's, all before bella bats an eye, but i value those 3 hours of deep, whole bed to myself, still pitch dark outside sleep too much to get up. 



over the last month, my mom came to visit, bella turned 3, cora is turning 2 months (tomorrow!), we hit all the major (and some of the minor) christmas markets in the area (stuttgart, ludwigsburg, esslingen, heidelberg and rothenburg), we had a pretty fantastic christmas ourselves, we celebrated a toned down but just as fantastic new years and we spent the first few days of the new year in munich. 



it's pretty much been a whirlwind of a month. i didn't get hardly any christmas presents sent out (and still have several sitting on my kitchen table) and i still have a stack of christmas cards/birth announcements on the hutch. i have to drive 30 minutes to buy stamps (or do it on wednesday between 1 and 3) and have to send all packages to be shipped with joel, and he can only do it between the hours of 3 and 6. it's complicated. so if you're reading this and haven't gotten a christmas present or card, you know why! 


and if this seems disjointed? it's because joel is currently taking apart the couch, calling me to help him every couple of minutes, cora has been up and down from her nap spitting up all over the bed, and bella has pooped and then decided to play a game on the computer and keeps needing my help. 

i wouldn't say being a parent of 2 is "hard", so to speak. it's just busy. and a little tiring. and disjointed. and full of poop!!