Friday, April 26, 2013

The last three days

The last three days in Munich have been absolutely gorgeous!  I guess that's to make up for the incredibly long bout of dreary weather that Germany has had since we arrived in February.  We went from 40 degrees to 75 degrees and haven't had anything in between.  Here's hoping the 75 stays around.

Wednesday:

This was Pippa's first experience with grass.  She wasn't too interested in it.

This little park is right in front of our apartment complex.  Between literally every apartment building on our street is a different small park.  Then are also three huge parks all one block away from us in different directions.

Check out the pink blooms on the trees in the background.  Also, I love our little neighborhood.  It is ridiculously cute, European, and so child and pedestrian friendly.  I really wish we could take this neighborhood back to The States with us.


Thursday:
Pippa's second experience with grass - pretty ambivalent, but did pull up a few handfuls of grass and tried to sample a leaf.  Then we met T on his way home from work.  I love that she crosses her feet like this.  Always left over right and toes touching.  Kinda reminds me of the way my mom does it...


Friday:
A new park (for us) by the Hauptbahnhof.  The hyacinths smelled heavenly.

A perfectly lovely way to spend an afternoon.
I really love this photo.

Way more interested in the grass, but still hasn't tried to eat any.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

European Adventures - The Bodensee

For Easter T got Good Friday and Easter Monday off (who knew Easter Monday was a thing?!) So over the Easter Holiday we went on our first European adventure to the Bodensee aka Lake Constance.    The Bodensee is right at the boarder of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and only about a three hour drive from Munich.

We rented a car (that T had to pick up from the airport(!) - apparently everyone else in Munich had the same idea to go on holiday over Easter) and left on Friday morning.  You hear about all the fabulous German engineering and sweet German sports cars... Well, this is what we drove.  A station wagon.  On the bright side, we didn't have to cram our luggage and the stroller in.

Even though Pippa has flown a five times this was her first road trip.  She handled it like a pro.  Of course she would - look a the road-tripping families she comes from on both sides!


T drove and Pippa and I napped.

We chose the Bodensee because we heard the start of April was a wonderful time to visit Insel Mainau (an island in the Bodensee full of flowers) because all the tulips would be in bloom.  And you know tulips are my favorite!  When we started booking things for the trip the weather forecast was looking great - between 55 and 60 degrees and sunny for the weekend.  However the closer we got to V-day (vacation day) the colder and more dreary the forecast got.  By the time we left on Friday it was supposed to rain and snow all weekend with a high of 37.  But the car and hotel had already been paid for so we went anyway.  Because it's adventure and that's what you do.

There are a lot of vineyards on the lake shores.

As we drove in we noticed that everything (everything!) was closed for Good Friday and that the churches (like this one) had full parking lots.  That misty stuff is the lake, so you know that is some pricey real estate.


We left late on Friday then we had to stop and feed baby on the way so it took a bit longer than the three hours we expected.   Friday was supposed to be the best weather wise so we headed straight to Insel Mainau.  It was the best weather of the trip, but that's not saying much.  It was drizzling and barely above freezing the entire time.  Most of the flowers had not bloomed yet because it was so cold.  Sad face.

At the entrance

The crocuses (crocusi? haha) were the only things blooming but the yellow, purple, and white did look cheerful amongst all the brown.

There were a few indoor exhibits, like this butterfly building, so we didn't spend ALL day in the cold.

Pippa really loved watching the butterflies.  She was quite focused on them. (The butterfly is a bit hard to see, but is on the leaf with it's wings closed.)

The butterfly to the right of my head was only medium sized compared to some of its friends.

We saw so much potential in all the shoots and buds that we actually plan to go back next year (but not so early in the spring!) to hopefully see everything in full bloom.  It's going to be gorgeous - hopefully like this!


Look at the buds on those tulips and how many there are!  There were seriously huge fields of tulip shoots and we just missed seeing them in bloom! Click here to see what it will look like when everything is blooming.

Sometimes the iPhone takes exceptional photos.

Family Photo!


Just on the other side of the lake are the Alps.  There were literally just a few miles away and it was so foggy our entire trip that we never saw them.  (You can also see them from Munich, but I'll believe that when I see it - aka we haven't yet.)

This swan statue made me giggle because I know they are supposed to form a heart and it romantic and such, but really all I see is two swans chest bumping.  And that's hilarious!

Faberge eggs in flower form in front of the orchid building.


This indoor flower arch was in a small chapel.  I'm not sure if it's an all the time thing or if it was set up special for Easter, but it was extremely lovely.

Just around the corner from the chapel was a greenhouse with a huge orchid display.   The orchids were quite lovely, but it was more memorable because it was the first time I nursed Pippa while she was in the carrier and we were walking around.  I did use the cover but still kind of felt like a star.  

Orchids hung from a palm tree - this is taken with a vertical panorama shot, kinda cool, right?

Toward the end of the day, Pippa was getting fussy.  I fed her again (in a really nice wickelraum (changing room)) but it didn't seem to help so we decided to head back to the hotel.  However, we were on the opposite side of the island as our car.  Pippa screamed for a good chunk of the walk back and it started to rain pretty hard.  That's why T didn't look so thrilled when I asked him to stop for a quick photo.  How gorgeous will this be when all the flowers (not just a few daffodils) are in bloom?!



Pippa wouldn't stop crying and we didn't want to stop in the rain to get the carrier on so T carried her under his coat for the last bit.

Our hotel was actually about 45 minutes from the closest thing we wanted to visit on our trip.  But that hotel was $150 cheaper a night than the hotels that were close so it was worth the extra driving.

Pippa fell asleep on the drive to the hotel.  Since Pippa had been in the carrier or car seat for pretty much the entire day as soon as we got to the hotel we let her out on the bed.  She rolled and rolled and rolled back and forth and back and forth and back and forth for a solid 20 minutes.  She was so excited to be free!  This is toward the end when she had slowed down considerably.  (I'm eating gummy bears in the video while I talk so I sound a bit funny.  I really should just remain silent when I do video.)


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We had some surprisingly good pizza for dinner.

Our hotel room had two double beds and no crib so T slept on one bed and I slept with Pippa on the other.  We all slept surprisingly well this way.

The view from our hotel room.  Doesn't everything just look so European?!






Since we had already decided that we would be visiting the Bodensee again next spring we didn't have to try to cram everything in on this visit.  So we saved some castles and lighthouses for next year.

We visited the Altes Schloss (old castle) and the Neues Schloss (new castle) which were right next door to each other.  The old castle was definitely old but the new castle was built after the American Revolution!

First, the old castle:


Old castles are dark. And cold because they aren't heated at all.

It was so much fun for Pippa and me (not) to change Pippa's very messy diaper on a cold stone floor in a basement bathroom.

The castle had been occupied for hundreds of years so some rooms had different authentic furniture.  This four poster bed was surprisingly cool looking.

Just hanging out with some suits of armor.

How could a person even hold a sword out when it was as long as them?

And the Alps are where, exactly?  We're starting to think they don't exist...

I could go for a couch like this.  This couch was part of a display of some German poetess who lived and died in this castle in the late 1800's.

These are knights helmets.  Yes, that is one with a swan on the top of it.


So the Altes Scholss is what I would think of when you say "castle" and the Neues Scholss is more what I would think of when you say "palace."  It was swankier.  And heated.

Who doesn't love a great staircase?
The only reason I would even consider having a huge house is so I could have an amazing staircase like this.  

I nursed Pippa in the carrier again.  It was easier the second time around and I realized that if I flipped the back / side part of the carrier up and adjusted Pippa a bit lower I wouldn't need the cover.  Wining all around.  


After the castles we went to Micky D's for dinner and P.S. the drive through is called McDrive.  Just strikes me as funny.  I hoped the Burger King's drive through that was across the way was called King Drive, but no such luck.  On our way to dinner we noticed this carnival which is sort of strange in and of itself, but even more strange is how incredibly popular it was, even though it was miserable weather!  There was a legit traffic jam of people and cars trying to get to the carnival!

We started Easter Sunday springing forward an hour - this was the notice in the elevator the day before:

It just made me laugh because no one told mother nature that winter time was ending!

On our way back to Munich we stopped to visit the Zeppelin Museum.  Every time I say that I want to say "Led Zeppelin."  I can't help it.  There was a pretty good exhibit about the Hindenburg (including a life size replication of some of the rooms of it) but other than that I didn't really find it interesting.  T got the audio guide in English so he probably liked it more than me, but I'm not really into mechanics, machinery, and aviation to begin with.

The trip to the museum was notable for a few reasons.  First, when we got to the parking lot we changed Pippa's messy diaper in the car and she had leaked out of her outfit.  Good thing we had a back up outfit.  Second, even though it was a museum that we paid admission to we still had to pay to use the WC.  We are starting to see that this is extremely common in Germany.  Third, while we were in the museum, Pippa had another messy diaper and leaked through that outfit, too!  We did have another back up outfit, but T had to run out to the car to get it.

This is what the drive home looked like:
Definitely still wintertime.  

T drove, Pippa and I napped.  
It hurts my neck to look at this picture!  We had just taken out the head support the day before our trip because we thought Pippa was too big for it.  The day after we returned, we put the head support back in so this wouldn't happen again!

Ta-da!  Our first adventure!

*We didn't go to Austria or Switzerland this time because we would have had to buy an extra pass to use the freeway for the rental car and plus everything we wanted to see was on the German side!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Yesterday

Dear Bloggy Peeps,

Yesterday our stuff arrived.  Yay!  Finally!  For those of you keeping track at home, the last time we saw our stuff was February 12th -  64 days ago.

Anyway, the day before our stuff arrived, T and I noticed a nail over the doorway between the living room and kitchen.  It wasn't even close to centered over the doorframe and we couldn't come up with what could have hung there.

As we were unpacking we found our clock and we immediately wanted to hang it up because there are no clocks in this house (the microwave doesn't count because we never set the clock because every time we use it, it blows the breaker several times).  But when we went over to the doorframe we couldn't find the nail.  It was so trippy and we were sure we hadn't imagined it.  Eventually we realized the "nail" must have been a bug!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Baby Pippa - Five Months

* I can't believe I forgot to put Pippa's four month photo at the start of her four month post!  I just added it to the very top of that post.  Click here to see it!

Here is our beautiful Pippa on her five month birthday.


This post contains photos and updates on things between her four month and five month birthdays.  There are SO many photos in this post.  I just can't narrow them down, she's adorable in all of them.

The Stats:  15 lb 13oz.  No height, but she's still a tall one.

Nicknames:  Same as before and two new ones from T: "Little Zebra" (pronounced Zeb-rah) that originated from a new zip up sleeper that has zebra faces on the feet. "Little Monkey" because of all the "ooo, ooo, ooo" sounds she makes.  A few times when T has been putting Pippa down for a nap she'll be in her crib, almost asleep, sucking on T's finger then she'll out of nowhere "ooo, ooo, ooo" then go back to sucking and almost asleep then rinse and repeat a few more times.

We bought this zebra outfit just after Christmas and it is definitely one of our favorite outfits for Pippa, thus she wears it quite often.




T is "lion king-ing" Pippa.  


Likes:  Exploring everything with her mouth and tongue.  She really likes chewing on her hairbrush.  The first time she chewed on the bristles it was the greatest expression.  Definitely a new sensation for her.

Sucking on our fingers instead of the pacifier.  (We bought several kinds of pacifiers to see if she will take them.  We don't want to give her the pacifier all the time, but it would be nice if she would take it to fall asleep instead of a finger.  She still likes the newborn green soothies best - the three month soothies are slightly harder and bigger and she won't take them.  Next to the newborn soothies, she'll sometimes take the pink or purple latex Nuck.)

Sucking on her jungle gym elephant's trunk.  Sucking / chewing on  anything that gets close to her mouth.  Including, but not limited to: noses, arms, cheeks, chins, and fingers.

Pippa also still loves being in the K'tan.


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The mark Pippa left after sucking on T for just that short amount of time.
















Dislikes:  I'm sure there are some, but they are escaping me right now.  Here's a photo of Pippa crying, so obviously at some point she disliked something...




Favorite Baby Gear:  Bibs made by Bestie E - They have snaps instead of velcro so they actually stay around Pippa's neck.  Plus the patterns are way cuter than any of the store bought ones!


Aden and Anais swaddle blankets - They are the perfect size and have the perfect amount of stretch for our new way of swaddling.

Prince Lionheart BebePod Flex Plus Baby Seat - This was Pippa's Christmas present and it is pretty fabulous.  It's better than the bumbo because the leg openings are bigger (some chunky babies can't fit in a bumbo!), it has straps so you can securely fasten it to a chair (making it a little highchair), and it has a toy that attaches to the tray that baby can't pull off or drop.  It's really handy to put her in this for a bit since she is just about outgrown the bouncer.  Plus, she looks so tiny and grown up all at the same time when she sits in this, so bonus points for making our cute baby look even more adorable.

She looks really bald here, but I promise she's getting more and more hair!


Check out Pippa's friar tuck hair!  It doesn't look this bad anymore.

Pippa is just humoring me as I stack a bunch of headbands on her for my entertainment.  I still think it's funny how far she will stick her tongue into the holes in this ball.


The Baby K'tan from last month is still a favorite - we use it every day.



I had Pippa in the K'tan and was unloading the dishwasher.  Pippa repeatedly used her feet to open the silverware drawer while I was putting away dishes in the cupboards.  (This is my view looking down while she does it.) She's quite a clever girl.


Achievements:  On 01/03 Pippa grabbed her own foot for the first time.

On 01/12 Pippa giggled for the first time.


Sleep:  The night of the 4th of January Pippa started her four month sleep regression by waking five times in one night.  The next night she woke up once, the night after that she woke up twice.  Now she wakes up about four times a night instead of once or twice and she takes forever to get back to sleep instead of quickly nursing back to sleep.  She's waking around 11p.m., 2 a.m., 4:30 a.m.  For two months Pippa had been waking up for the day at 7:20 and with her sleep regression she is usually up around 5:45 a.m. now.  Sad.  But very typical for babies.  We started reading the "No Cry Sleep Solution" so we'll see how that goes.

Pippa will sleep with her facing right sometimes (remember before she would only sleep facing left and I would constantly try to turn her head to the right, risking waking her).

When Pippa is really close to falling asleep she will bang her head against the mattress repeatedly.  She's been doing this for a while and I asked about it at her four month appointment (and found out it is not uncommon and it's nothing to worry about).

I have mostly stopped trying to help Pippa transition into another sleep cycle during her naps because sitting on the bed leaning over her crib was crazy uncomfortable for my hip / sacrum.  My hip was bothering me during the day and really bothering me at night so I couldn't sleep.  Boooo.

In January Pippa was busting out of the swaddleme so T found a new way of swaddling.  It's nice because you can do the arms looser, but she still can't get out.

Pippa usually takes three 30 minute naps (exactly 30 - you could set a watch by it!) and one 2 hour nap from 2 to 4 pm.  Though sometimes during her long nap she'll wake up exactly after the first 30 minutes and I have to jiggle her back down, but then she'll sleep for another 1.5 hours.


When Pippa is fighting going down for a nap she will sit all the way up from lying down on my lap.  Those are some strong abs, baby girl!

I still like to hold Pippa sometimes while she sleeps.  She is just so perfect and it makes my heart glow.

Pippa was not going down for a nap so I thought I would try to get her to sleep by taking her for a walk in the stroller.  But it was cold outside so I walked the halls of our apartment building.  Pippa still wouldn't sleep and was vocalizing quite a bit.  Since the hall carpet is very textured and bumpy it made her little voice vibrate and it was adorable enough to make up for her not sleeping.
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T peeking in at Pippa to see if she's still asleep in the carseat after a drive home.  

It's nice when she falls asleep in the car because then I don't have to do the work of getting her to sleep.

Check out those great cheeks!

Sleeping face palm!



Pippa had been asleep on me for half an hour on Sunday afternoon, but I had to go visiting teaching and didn't want to wake her.  We successfully transitioned her to T and she slept on him for another hour and a half. 


Pippa has some great waking up faces.  

Pippa tuckered T out and he fell asleep in this very uncomfortable looking position.   


My two favorite people both fell asleep, but there isn't room for me to sleep next to either of them.

T got Pippa to fall asleep during Sunday School, which is no small feat because if there is anything going on around her, Pippa doesn't want to sleep.  Pippa won't sleep in the mother's room either because there are always other moms and crying or eating or getting changed babies in there.  I know that parents have been struggling with this forever, but MAN! Three hour church sure messes with a baby's nap schedule!  A few times we have had to drive around for a bit during Sunday School to get Pippa to nap.  



Eating:
  Pippa has been eating her fingers and talking at the same time.  It's pretty adorable.  (What? Eating fingers isn't really eating?  I say it is.)  Okay, on to real eating...

It's harder to tell when Pippa wants to eat now.  Before (like newborn to 3.5 months) if we tapped a finger on her lips and she tried to eat them she was hungry.  But now she wants everything in her mouth all the time.  She's also become more efficient at eating so sometimes nursing sessions are short and I wonder if she's more efficient or if I tried to feed her and she wasn't actually very hungry.

While nursing Pippa's top arm goes around front to back, front to back just like she is swimming.

Dancing in her sleep after eating.  Or is she raising the roof?  Or surrendering to the police?

I stopped dream feeding Pippa because she wasn't really eating, more just comfort sucking and she had started to wake up on her own at 10 p.m. (because that was when we always dream fed her), which is not what we wanted.

Now a bit about my eating... I went dairy free this month because Pippa had been having a lot of green poops (sorry to talk about poop - I didn't want to be that mom) for about two months and she seemed to be a bit more fussy.  Both of these things can indicate a dairy sensitivity.  So I went completely dairy and soy free for four weeks.  Not just milk and cheese free, but completely free - no casein, whey, soybean oil, etc.  I have a new level of respect for moms who do elimination diets for their babies who are breastfeeding.  Going dairy and soy free didn't make a difference at all for Pippa (though it can take up to six weeks for dairy to clear out of a baby's gut) and it was hard to find things to eat that I hadn't already eaten 12 times that week.  It got to the point where I was definitely eating less because I was so tired of the same foods and I'm pretty sure it was affecting my milk supply because the last week I was dairy free Pippa always seemed hungry and never quite satisfied at the end of a feeding.  Anyway, about two weeks after I started eating dairy again, the green poops disappeared and haven't returned.  They might have been caused by a lingering bug or who knows what, but it wasn't a dairy sensitivity.


Superficial:  Pippa's friar tuck is much less noticeable.  It's gone more on the right side than the left which doesn't make sense because she still likes to sleep mostly facing left.
Pippa is drooling like crazy - she soaks through bibs and clothes.

Pippa's cheeks have been a little chapped because it's winter time and I kiss her all. the. time.  No exaggeration I still kiss her at least 100 times a day.
Pippa's knee dimples disappeared temporarily because her legs swelled up from her four month shots.
Her eyes are still mostly blue, but change all the time.

Hello there, beautiful eyes!




Pippa still loves to talk and I love listening to her. 
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Visitors:  My cousin A (my dad's side) was in D.C. from California for the Presidential Inauguration.  We met her at her hotel so we could chat and she could meet Pippa.




Walking back to the car after hanging with cousin A.



Out and About:  Pippa visited her first art museum, The East Building of the National Gallery of Art.  We saw a bunch of modern art and Pippa was not impressed.  We visited that building because it was impossible to find parking for the Botanic Gardens and it was raining and by the time we found a spot we only had half an hour left and the Botanic Gardens were far away.  But we visited the Botanic Gardens the next day to check out the awesome Christmas display.

Pippa is not impressed.  


Other Things:
Occasionally Pippa does some legit thumb sucking.  And her fingers usually end up in her eyes when she does.  Hasn't quite figured out how to curl them down...



Pippa still poops (loudly) four or five times a day.  Three in the morning (within two hours) and once or twice in the afternoon.  Bloggy peeps, I know you didn't want to know that, but it's something I want to remember and as you well know, this blog is pretty much our journal.

When I change Pippa's diaper I can't help but say "squish-a, squish-a, squish-a" and squish her little bottom.  And her little thighs.  And her face.  She is just just so perfectly squish-able!

I don't know what it is about the changer, but Pippa seems to do most of her chatting / cooing / talking on the diaper changer.  I guess she just feels at home on the changer since she is there so often!

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Once, when we were skyping with my mom, Pippa was standing on my lap and she started bowing.  It was the first time she had ever bowed and it was pretty great.  Then my mom started bowing back and it was hilarious.  It was like that movie clip where the white guy bows to the chinese guy and the white guy bows back and it just keeps going like that.

We think she's teething because she loves to chew and is drooling up a storm, but there are no signs of any teeth.

Lately Pippa has been doing this running / swimming / tap dancing move when she is on her tummy.  It's pretty awesome.
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And now for just a total onslaught of photos!

I had to include this profile shot because her cheeks, chin, second chin, nose, and ears are just so cute.

The paint chip art in the background totally looks like old school 8-bit video games.

I love her chubby wrists!

Her eyes look really dark here. 

This outfit is another one of our favorites.  

Tummy, sitting, standing progression

She tolerates it a bit better these days when we read to her. 

I think Pippa looks so different with a hat on.  Well, plus she looks a little grumpy here.  


I'm balancing Pippa on my chest.

T wearing Pippa's bib to protect him from her drool.  Really it's a velcro bib that fell off Pippa while they were playing.  But the first explanation is quite plausible  too.

Her sweet baby toes and cute jeggings.



Scheming hands

Scheming hands in action
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Seriously, who puts their baby's thumbs in the thumbs of mittens.  No one.  


A Saturday morning hanging out with my two favorite people.  

K'tan'd, binky'd, and bibbed twice in one day. 

A cute hat made by cousin A (on my mom's side) topped with a bow from T's cousin K. 

Pippa is quite the critical reader.  Despite this expression, her review of "Hippos Go Berzerk" was favorable.

All zipped up in the pink winter thing from my brother W and his wife K. 

More reading!  This makes me so happy!

Pippa intently watches T shred paper.  She really does stare every time we shred things.  

T hefting Pippa to the car on Sunday.  She is getting heavy in that carseat!


And that's all she wrote.  If you read this whole thing you get a gold star.