Friday, September 16, 2011

Classic

It's been too long since i've "blah"ged. This is so long. It wont hurt my feelings if you skim.

 I thought maybe I'd just share an update--real, "Letters From Blayne" style. Classic.

7 months old.
We've been doing a little traveling lately. Every month Steven gets a four day weekend, and we take that time to go places that are close to home. Steven's mom and sister were here for about a week, back in August. We went to Neuschwanstein (the "Cinderella Castle") Dachau (the concentration camp) Rothenburg, Munich, and Prague. We're saving the big name places for times during the year when it is NOT tourist season. Tourist season makes things impossible over here.

Steven is liking his job. He's currently a platoon leader. It has it's ups and downs, but from what I can tell he's doing a really good job. We're really proud of him.

Ava has two teeth, that have almost fully sprouted through her little gums. Needless to say she's been biting everything and everyone, and drooling uncontrollably. She's crawling, and scooting, and rolling around. She's such a happy baby, (just look at her pictures). And why wouldn't she be? Her life is awesome. She thinks everything is hilarious right now.

Except she has a dairy allergy, (and potentially an allergy to something else as well--though we haven't confirmed it, or figured out what it is) that we discovered (via her diaper--eww, TMI) a few months ago. She is NOT lactose intollerant--a totally separate issue that rarely effects babies. Her Pediatrician, (whom I love SO much) confirmed that Ava is allergic to the proteins found in milk, milk products, and milk by-products, (casein and whey). Unfortunately that leaves both of us "dairy-casein-and-whey free" until Ava turns at least one year old. At that point, we'll be able to re-introduce dairy for the first time,and then see if she has a reaction. Most babies outgrow the dairy allergy within a year. Although it's normal to take up to three years. And then I suppose it's also normal to never outgrow it. We'll see.


Flourless Chocolate Cookies, (baking chocolate is  generally free of dairy--win!).

It was hard to give up the most basic delicious dairy items: ice cream, cream, butter, chocolate (that's right---even dark chocolate). It was also hard to discover all the items that are hiding dairy: store bought bread crumbs, lunch meat, breaded or battered dishes, baked goods, anything processed (pretty much), sandwich bread, sausage meat, just to name a few. It hasn't been easy, but a friend of my reminded me that this will enhance my cooking abilities. And it has. We are eating even healthier now, and my ravenous desire for Ben &Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream, is slowly fading away. Baking again has been a little bit of a science experiment. I love to bake. love to bake a lot. I am adamant  that there is absolutely NO replacement, or proper substitute, for butter or cream when baking. There just isn't. So rather than insult my chocolate chip cookies, or slap the delicate faces of my coconut cupcakes with some imposter ingredients--I decided to move on to brand new recipes instead. That way there was no comparing. 

Ava has normal diapers again, and that's all that matters to me.

Carrot Cake with "Cream Cheese" Frosting. There is no cream cheese here. It's cashews! Cashews, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. PRESTO MAGNIFICO, PEOPLE!





Alright, enough "comblayning."Moving along...

It took us a really long time to get settled in here. There are days when I feel like we're still not totally there yet. We are slowly but surely overcoming the language barrier, and learning German. Being able to speak the language is the best thing ever. It helps me feel less isolated, and more connected to our new home. Consequently though, I'm sure I'm still butchering the language, and talking in a way that would embarrass both Tarzan and Tonto.

A lot of building a home here is trial and error. Trial and error with voltage, and electricity. Trial and error with driving, and navigating. Trial and error with speaking, and communicating. Trial and error with shopping, and buying, and EXCHANGE RATES. Trial and error with...well, I could go on forever---snoozefest.



A "day in the life" currently looks something like:

Ava wakes up between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m. Around the same time, Steven is leaving for PT ("Physical Training"; they run 4 miles...or something terrible like that). I nurse and change Ava, and we go back to sleep until about 7:30 or 8:00, which is about the time Steven is coming home to shower and eat breakfast. This is also when we watch THE TODAY SHOW,(well, some of it anyway)!

The jogging stroller
         Side note: Finally, NBC has acquired international streaming rights, and I can watch bits and pieces of the Today show. It's so wonderful. And by the way--I can't believe you didn't tell me that Meredith Vierra was leaving.

At this point either I put Ava in the jogging stroller and we go for a run, (it's barely even a jog really--that jogging stroller adds serious resistance)...


 OR, I jump in the shower.

Then I Facebook for awhile, (why lie about it), clean, or menu plan, or do laundry. Or work on projects...

Hanging in the kitchen. Get it? 

A banner that says encouraging things like, "happy," "love," "kindness," blah blah blah blah.

Because I will.


The rainbow trees are intellectual property I stole from Keely Steger, who has something similar in her home. I made the banner, but I did not paint the alphabet letters...unless it looks like I did...in that case, YES--I did. ;)

The Seuss speaks the truth.
Another piece of intellectual property I stole from Keely Steger, who has a sign that says this, (yes I know it should say "whom" but that would look stupid). 


 Around 10:45 I start getting Ava ready for a nap, (she needs a lot of support to take a nap successfully). I don't take a nap with her; because I'm silly. Normally I do laundry, and clean. Then Steven comes home for lunch.

After lunch we play or read. After we play or read, either stay home, go shopping, run errands, (perhaps to the german grocery store?) etc.


Edeka! A German grocery store down the street from us.

A mix of German and American-ish (they're sort of like what we have at home...but always a little different) products.

You buy your coke or beer on deposit. Buy up a crate, return the bottles  (to be recycled) for money back.

It's Cola Light, by the way, NOT "Diet Coke," here...and yes, it does taste a little different.


Perhaps your familiar with Nivea? So are the Germans.

or have coffee with friends...

My friends Emily and Darcie, (and lil Henry, a baby gentleman).


more nursing, changing, playing, cleaning. Until about 2:30 or 3:00, when Ava takes another nap, lasting about 30 minutes, (that's not a nap though. That's a joke.).

Then we Skype, or watch Lost, or a movie. Then I start Dinner, and attempt to feed Ava solid food, which she STILL hates...
YES, I have baby spoons now. NO, it didn't help.


Then Steven comes home!

Around 6:30 or 7:00 we get Ava ready for bed. Baby Spa Time, nursing, story time. The end. Ava is a wonderful, and fun, and funny, little bunny---but some days, her: "I'm-7-months-old-let's-play-every-second-while-I-try-to-avoid-naps-and-eat-everything-in-sight-especially-if-looks-even-a-little-bit-dangerous" self,  can really take it out of me at the end of the day.

Whew. 


Sometimes after she's in bed, I go for a run. Because it's so much better to run without that stroller.  But after Ava is asleep, we can finally have Blayne and Steven time (instead of Mommy and Daddy time) and that is awesome. If I you were here, running with me--we'd see this:




















I wish we could have this conversation in person. I wish you could come over, and have coffee with me. I'd show you around town, and take you places that we go to often. Since I can't do that--I'll leave you with some pictures of just that: home.







Home










You might remember this as what I called a "giant awkward space.' No longer, dear readers! This space has a purpose, (even if that purpose will technically elude Ava for a good two years...whatever).












Office. I suppose if coffee isn't your thing, Steven could offer you some "Scotchy-scotch-scotch."


I once tried to find a "theme" for her room. After failing miserably, I've decided the theme is "whimsical," (also known as, "too busy").

I used this to show you how much I love our blinds. When you shut them--it's total darkness. It was 2:00 p.m. when I took this shot. 



The naked wall finally has pictures.







I was hoping you could see--but you can't really tell; it's the smallest shower ever.

Neighboring town of Weiden. It's nice to shop, and eat here.



There is no air conditioning in Germany, because it doesn't get hot. Everyone eats outside in the Summer.


They don't drink "tap" water here, and water is NOT free. It does, however, come "still," or "sparkling," and they serve it in pretty bottles.






Whew.....Enough about me--let's talk about you.