Tuesday, January 28, 2014

All too well

My girl, Taylor, killed it at the Grammys a few days ago.

I don't watch any of the awards shows ever but I knew Taylor Swift was going to be performing so I checked out just her performance after the fact.  Taylor always puts on a good show (hello, "Entertainer of the Year" 2011 and 2012), but I really do think this was her best live performance ever.  I liked the album version of "All Too Well" but the live version from the Grammys blows it away.  I don't want to sound too much like a fangirl (too late) but the emotion was just so awesome in this performance.  You could really feel it.  Taylor has a million excellent lyrics, but my favorite lyrics ever are in this song:
"You call me up again just to break me like a promise
So casually cruel in the name of being honest"
And the way she delivered them (at 2:57 in the video) was beyond perfect.

I'll stop gushing now and just post the video (which is safe for small children to watch / listen).

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Waking up is hard to do

(when reading the post title you should actually sing it to the tune of Neil Sadaka's "Breaking up is hard to do")

Yesterday we had new carpet installed in our apartment.  There was a cat living here before us and some areas reeked even though the carpets had been cleaned twice.  Anyway, because of the carpet installation Pippa had a very short nap in the late morning.  We tried to get her to nap again later in the day but she wasn't having it.  She finally crashed on the car ride home from Home Depot.  She was out hard.  She barely even stirred as T pulled her out of the car seat.

We couldn't let her sleep more (she'd been asleep for about 15 minutes) because it was 5:00 p.m. and we usually put her to bed at 7:00 p.m.  So we had to wake her up.


I love that she's super drowsy and falling back asleep until she realizes that she hears "babies" (aka kids) outside (yes, it was warm enough we had the balcony door open).

It's funny because "baby" is always the first thing she signs when she wakes up.  If we go in to her room to get her after a nap or in the morning if she doesn't sign baby right when we walk in there is a chance of getting her back to sleep.  But if she signs "baby" it always means she is up for good.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Germany vs America

Some German things (of course with more to come later):
  • German ambulances drive so slow.  Like the same speed as everyone else.  Also, as you've probably noticed in the movies, European sirens sound different.
  • Everything is smaller in Germany.  Everything.  Even the giant blue Ikea bags are smaller in Germany.
  • German roads (suburban, freeway, rural, and city roads) are SO well maintained and so smooth to drive on.  I literally didn't see a pothole the entire time we were there.  
  • You have to bag your own groceries in Germany.  And you better do it quick because those cashiers scan three times faster than any American cashier and the people in line behind you aren't patient.  The cashier will shove the next person's items right into yours if your items aren't all bagged yet. (The thing to do if you're buying a lot is just put all your items back in your cart as they are scanned, pay, then move to the side and bag your groceries from your cart.) 
  • American cashiers are so chatty and friendly.  Germans (not just cashiers) are all about business. Most of the time I really enjoyed not having to do small talk (especially because my German never got very good).  With Americans, I feel the general mindset toward interactions with strangers is "I don't know you - we could be friends!"  While the German mindset is more of "I don't know you - why would we be friends?"  That's a pretty broad generalization and that's not to say that Germans are rude.  They are very polite and very helpful.  I can't count the number of times people offered to help me with the stroller getting on or off busses or held elevators. And of course, our first day in Munich everyone was so wonderful.  T had to go to work and we couldn't check into our hotel until the afternoon.  So I had baby in the stroller and vague directions and headed to a museum. But I had no idea how to buy a bus ticket (you buy it on the bus from a machine, not the driver).  I didn't know any German so I just asked in English and several nice people on the bus helped me get a ticket and get me and the stroller situated.  Then people offered to help me off the bus before the bus even stopped (it was pretty obvious I was struggling).  The older woman who helped me was so sweet and made sure I was okay and headed the right direction before she left us.  So Germans are very nice and helpful, just more reserved.
  • Along those same reserved lines, I almost never saw German couples holding hands and I think I only saw two couples (and one couple was teenagers) kiss in public the entire time we were in Germany.  I hope T and I didn't make the Germans blush with all our typical American PDA.  
  • Munich public transit is awesome.  It is my favorite system in the world (and we've seen London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Vienna, NYC, DC, LA, and SF).  There are so many busses, trams, S-bahns, and U-bahns and they run all the time and are always on time and so clean.  Every stop is labeled clearly (inside and out) and almost every stop has a board stating how long until the next tram or whatever is arriving. You can get anywhere in Munich on public transit.  It's also fabulous because all public transit is so stroller / wheelchair friendly.  Every station has elevators and escalators.  There are big dedicated places on busses and trams for strollers and wheelchairs, and there is lots of space (though not dedicated) for them on the S-bahn and U-bahn as well. 
  • The German grocery stores carry food specifically marketed as "American."  Two examples (though there were many more):  "American Hot Dog Pizza" (exactly what it sounds like - pizza with hot dog slices as the topping) and "Chocolate yogurt with carmel and toffee bits" (this wasn't pudding - it was yogurt).  These aren't my translating errors, it's actually written on the product in English.
  • Everyone smokes. Everywhere.  All the time. (This is not specific to Germany, it's all over Europe).  It's very common to see parents smoking as they push their infants in strollers or while watching their kids at the park.  It's considered rude to ask someone to put out their cigarette.  It's also very common to see groups of teenagers smoking.  The signs in the store say they will check id if you appear to be under 18 when trying to buy cigarettes.  Which is a joke to begin with but even more of a joke when you realize that there are cigarette vending machines on every fourth street corner.  We rarely ate outside at restaurants (well, we rarely at at restaurants anyway), even though that would be easier with Pippa, because that's where all the smokers were.  Pretty sure I inhaled more second hand smoke during our nine months in Europe than I have the rest of my life in American combined.  
And since you just read all that text, here's a photo (chosen at random) of Pippa from our time in Germany.  She's about 8 months old here and double fisting her broccoli and chicken.  Her eyes are still grey / blue here.  Now they are definitely hazel (grey / green / brown).

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Utah!!!  It was a last minute kind of trip.  T was going to be commuting further for work for 10 days and he was also going to be working strange hours so instead of hanging out in the apartment with just me and baby, baby and I went to Utah to visit our families!  We bought tickets less than a week before we left.  Luckily I bought the travel insurance and was able to change the days of our trip so our trip would overlap with cousin M who was visiting from NYC.

The day before Pippa and I left T got sick.  Like really sick.  Like pale and puking and shaking sick.  But he told us to go on the trip anyway so we did (and he was already on the mend by the time we left).  On the drive down to the airport I could tell that I was getting sick (sore throat and cough).

We flew into Provo and the plane ride was probably the worst one Pippa has ever done.  She had three messy diapers in 1.5 hours (one just before we boarded and two on the plane).  The last one was all over me, her, and the seat and of course I forgot a diaper when I went back to change her.  And of course I ran out of wipes.  And of course it was right when we were getting ready to land so the flight attendants were telling me to hurry.  So I wrapped my sweater around Pippa then had to put her in a diaper on my lap in my seat.

Anyway, all is well that ends well and it ended well because we were in Utah!  But I was definitely sick.  In five days I went through four bags of throat drops and five pitchers of orange juice trying to keep my throat from feeling like it was on fire.  It was actually really nice to be at my parents because they played with Pippa a lot so I could rest.  My mom even got up with Pippa a few times in the night.  How nice is she?!

Now for the photo-tastic portion of the blog post.

Pippa taking off her hair bow.  Her favorite thing to do with hair bows.

With cousin M at the family party.  SOOOO glad we got to see her and all the other relatives.  But I wasn't thinking and only took two photos the entire party!
 Painting nails at the party.

Sunday we had dinner with T's family.

When we were in Germany we skyped with one of T's sister's and her two kids regularly.  Pippa hugged both of the kids when she saw them (I wasn't fast enough to get a hugging photo with the other kid).

Pippa always wants to be in on the big kid action.

Grandma and one of the cousins were helping Pippa put on the giant princess necklaces.

Lately Pippa has been doing this lip tuck thing.  Sometimes it makes her look a bit like an old person without her dentures in.

Playing the piano at my parent's house.

I haven't taken very many photos of me and Pippa lately.  I'm glad I took this one.  I also love how you can see how Pippa's little belly is so full after she eats a lot.

Pippa has been taking steps (and quite a few of them) for a month.  But she still preferred to crawl.  Until we got to Utah, that is.  Maybe it was the grandparent's touch, but Pippa really started to walk without being prompted at my parent's house.  She would go from the couch to the guest bed and back so many times.  I was going to put the video here, but blogger is being ridiculous and just says there was an error uploading the video no matter which way I try to do it.  Gah!

Monday my sister and her boys came over.  This is her oldest son and the first grandchild.  He's so grown up and completely awesome.

The boys were pretty tolerant of Pippa playing "with" them.

My sister and Pippa were having a pretty good conversation.


Then out to lunch with M.

Then off to a playdate at H's house.  Monday was a very busy day.

New Year's Eve Day I met J and her son at Scheel's.  I had never heard of Scheel's before.  It's a sporting / hunting / outdoors store that has a lot of kid friendly stuff to do inside.  Pippa really loved the giant fish tank and signed fish about a million times. 

J and her son.

We only took one photo of the four of us.  I think it turned out pretty well considering Pippa was absolutely done.

Pippa fell asleep in the car and I picked up my parents and we headed up to Aunt J's house.  We drove a bit extra because Pippa was still asleep at the correct exit.  Here she is on Aunt J's stairs.  Pippa REALLY love stairs.

Six adults adoring Pippa at the same time.

Pippa asking Uncle J "help" to open the case.

Pippa was just dangling here.  She didn't try to get down or get more onto the bench.  She was just happy hanging out.

Feeding Aunt J raspberries.

Aunt J helping Pippa feel cousin J's beard.  Love the expression on all three faces.  I think this is my favorite photo from the entire trip.

Just having a little rest on the rug.  Pippa does this sometimes at random times and places.  It makes me giggle.

Love this family!  Missing M here!

Again Pippa fell asleep on the car ride home.

Her favorite thing to play with at my parent's house was this little people ferris wheel.  She loved putting the people in the seats while the wheel was moving.  Pretty good hand eye coordination to do it while it's moving because the seats swing, too!

Her second favorite thing to do was put the gas hose in it's little hole in the gas pump.

Peek-a-boo with grandpa.

Pippa tickling my mom's feet.  T taught her how to do this just a few days before we left and now she's kind of obsessed.

Spent New Year's Eve with these beautiful ladies.

Reading on New Year's Day.  My sister's boys came over again and they were all so quiet while Pippa and I napped (I was still coughing and having a burning throat).  I didn't even hear them leave.  And it's no small feat to get 5 young boys out the door with no noise!

D tickling Pippa's feet.

My brothers built a little sled run in my parent's tiered back yard so we took Pippa out for a ride and her first experience in snow.  Well, she's been in snow before.  A lot.  We did live in Germany in winter, you know.  But she was too little then to not be held or in the stroller.  My brother loaned us this cute snowsuit.

Pippa LOVED being pulled in the sled.

So impossible to keep this girl's mittens on.  But I hear that's a common problem with little people.

My dad was putting new batteries in this toy.  Pippa helped him unscrew the panel to get to the batteries.

I had a lovely breakfast with T's sister and sister in law.  I totally forgot to take a photo :( Then T's sister and I saw "Saving Mr. Banks."  Loved that movie!  Really want to watch "Mary Poppins" again and read the books.

Sewing with grandma.  Well, eating the bobbins is more like it.

Hanging on the stairs at J's house.  Did I mention Pippa likes stairs?

Playing peek-a-boo over the couch.  Love these two people!

My parents baby sat the cousins (They do that a lot - they are so nice!  And my siblings are so lucky to have them so close!)  Cousin H (just a bit older than Pippa) wouldn't leave my mom's lap when Pippa was around.  He was a bit posessive / territorial as babies sometimes are.

Pippa signing baby (about cousin H) to my mom.

With my dad the morning we left.

Just before we left the house for the airport.

We left a bit early so we could meet T's mom so she could say goodbye to us.

Asleep on me on the plane on the way home.

It was such a busy trip.  And hard trip because Pippa had stomach issues the first part of the trip and I had (probably) bronchitis the whole trip.  It was so nice to have my parents take care of us.  Much better than being sick at home while T worked long, strange hours.  Just wish I could have seen a few more people and met the newest baby.  The good news is it's a short flight, a relatively short flight, and Pippa still flies free so hopefully we make the trip again soon.