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Doggy-sitting Sammi for 10 days! 

26 Feb

   
    
   

Flu bad!

26 Feb

   
    
 

Hanging by his arms in between the living room chairs and he said: “wow. My hands are getting colder and colder and colder” 😂

13 Feb

  

Asher is “FWEEEEE!”

21 Aug

Asher doesn’t nap anymore… Aaaaaand… I’m behind on my posts again (Correlation AND causation). At this point in my life/Asher’s life, I can’t sit down and realistically hope to write (or do) anything (substantial or not) when Asher is around. He will play by himself really well when I am cleaning or sometimes when I cook or just up doing something. But heaven forbid I sit down. I absolutely cannot sit down by myself without ticking him off. He especially hates when I try to sit with my computer. We don’t really give him much screen time, so perhaps he thinks that if he can’t have screens then neither should I. I don’t know what the deal is, but I know that I can’t sit with my computer without a huge fight going down that leaves us both frustrated and nothing having been accomplished. heheheh Oh, life! (to illustrate this, I started writing this 4 days ago. Today is Thursday).

So anyway, this is to tell you a bit about Asher’s birthday! Woohoo!! He was so excited this year! He understood exactly what was going on and was SO happy to be celebrating his birthday. His birthday was on Sunday, but we decided to celebrate the whole weekend starting on Saturday by taking him to a little German town right on the border. We mainly went to see the aquarium for his birthday, but we ended up shopping and having dinner there too. Rather than explain everything, I’m just going to post pics from his birthday in various slide shows on here and attempt to share our day with photo captions. That might be easier for me to write and easier for you to read or not read – whatever you prefer. 🙂

 

I think you have to click on them to see the actual slide show. You can do that, or you can just thumb through here enlarging whichever ones you want to see better. I don’t know. Do whatever you want. Oh, one more thing — I made multiple slide shows. There are four of them. I tried to separate them so you will know where they end/begin. Hopefully it won’t be too confusing. This isn’t my best Blog post, but I am struggling for time right now and I just want to do this! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few other random pics from the Saturday birthday day trip:

 

 

These are from his birthday-day

 

 

 

These next ones are mostly from our afternoon at a park by the lake on his birthday. After this we went home and bathed him (he was FILTHY) and made his favorite dinner (pasta with fresh veggies on the side) and had a “dinner date” so he could watch Cars 2. He has sort of seen it before, but never really paid attention. He loved it! It was a great day. 🙂

Vienna!

15 Jul

Vienna! Ah, it was so beautiful! I am going to try to tell you all the great things we were able to do while in Vienna. Woo! Here goes…

We arrived on Saturday around lunch time. We spent a little bit of time wandering around the airport buying local SIM cards for our phones and figuring out what types of train tickets we needed. Then we headed into the city to find our hotel. The airport train brings you only to a single station that is in a mall, so we walked around the mall for a while to get Phil some socks and Asher some food. The app we were told to use for train/tram/bus connections was no good, so we were completely lost and not at all feeling up to walking for an hour to find our hotel. It was difficult to figure everything out, but we were able to figure out via 3G that there was a tourist info office not too far from where we were, so we headed there to get help with public transportation. Um… even I’m getting boring as I type that, so I’ll skip ahead.

Phil’s conference officially started Sunday afternoon, so we had a semi-slow morning on Sunday, then Asher and I decided to head out for the day to let Phil work on his presentation before leaving for his conference. Asher and I went to the Schönbrunn Tiergarten (zoo), which is the oldest zoo in the world. It was a beautiful zoo with a great selection of animals. Asher loves elephants, so we were both happy that we were able to watch the elephants get some special treats that day. A bigger elephant kept pushing a little guy one when he tried to steal her treats. It was, as zoos often are, a good mix of adorably entertaining and sadly depressing. We also saw some HUGE hippos. The hippos at the Zürich zoo are kind of small — like the size of fat sheep or something — nothing like the whoppers they had at the zoo in Vienna. Hippos are super dangerous, right? We couldn’t really get in to the hippo pen, but I was kind of shocked at how low the gates were (maybe almost as high as my chest) and how close these enormous hippos were. I feel like I just read a story recently of a woman who was bitten in half by a hippo. Oh well. No one was eaten the day we were there, so we went about our business as usual. We also saw a panda bear, which was fun to see. There was a woman next to me who was recording a video on her iPad of the panda eating some bamboo (she said he was eating eucalyptus, but it was bamboo). She eloquently narrated some very interesting facts about panda bears (they are one of the rarest mammals on Earth? Is that true?) and said many times that it was such a “beautiful creature.” I agreed that the panda was a beautiful creature, but I just didn’t have the heart to tell her that she hadn’t started the video recording. We also saw koala bears, which were tiny and adorable. I have been to several zoos in my life, but I don’t remember if I had ever seen a koala before. Oh, another favorite of the day were 3 PRECIOUS baby cheetahs! They had tall skinny legs, super thin bodies, and the most preciously beautiful little kitten faces. Oh! So cute! Asher and I stood and watched the baby cheetahs do absolutely nothing for a solid 15 minutes as we echoed each other with rounds of “awwwwww.” So cute!

 


Monday was supposed to be super hot. I didn’t bring a strong SPF sunscreen and really didn’t feel like sweating all day, so I took Asher to an indoor water park. It was a teeny bit ghetto, as water parks have a tendency to be, but it ended up being a really great day. It was inside in the middle of the city, and I’ll tell you what — Europeans sure know how to make excellent use of the space that they have available to them! It was just one large room that included: a lazy river, a big wave pool, a single water huge slide that went all around near the ceiling of the building, a baby pool (that was super warm… presumably from all of the urine in it), a little kids pool complete with playground equipment, a bigger kids pool with some slides and a pirate ship to climb in, and a little ring-around type pool that had water that pushed you SUPER quickly around the twists and turns (that was my favorite – I held on tightly to Asher and we both zipped around and around, enjoying the cool stream and trying our darndest not to drown). Since it was just the two of us, I didn’t get any pictures of Asher swimming, much to my dismay. I snapped a few selfies when we took a break for lunch, but that’s it. That night we met Phil at the hotel and went to a great little Italian place near our hotel.

Tuesday Asher and I went to the Leopold Museum to see the Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele collections, among other Viennese artists. I was a bit nervous bringing Asher to an art museum by myself, but that little boy did GREAT. I explained to him that we had had lots of fun at the zoo and swimming, but that this was an adult place that was not for playing. The rules were that he had to let me hold him or sit in his stroller quietly and that he was not to walk around on his own. He said okay, so we went in. I carried him around and we talked about everything we saw on the first 2 floors. Though I hadn’t planned out how I was going to talk to Asher about war yet, we ended up talking about war, since there was an entire section dedicated to Viennese art depicting World War 1-inspired images. (this month marks the 100 year anniversary of the start of WWI, so there were exhibits all over town about it). Asher seemed both interested in and saddened by war, which I guess is good enough for a toddler. When we saw pictures of violence he said “Oh! No…” with a vocal tone that emphasized a disappointment in humanity well beyond his two little years of age. He enjoyed pictures of children, but not when they were sad. He enjoyed colorful pictures and definitely saw some of what we call in this house “booty-butts” …and he saw plenty of other other body parts that I tried not to talk too loudly about with him. You know the types of images I’m referencing, right? A lady ought not type such words on her Blog, but I will say that the body parts he saw rhymed with “Bagina” and “bun-bircumcised benis.” Art! Amiright?

Wednesday we had an appointment to visit the ZOOM Kindermuseum in the Museumquartier in Vienna. I was particularly excited about this since I used to bring DJ and Finn to the awesome children’s museum in Richmond and I have always wanted Asher to experience something like that! I just assumed that all children’s museums must be great. The one in Vienna, though… eh. It was alright. The organization of it all, in my opinion, was terrible. You can’t go in without a reservation, which seems strange. Then they bring EVERYONE into the little ‘age-appropriate’ area at the same time for one hour. We were in the “Ocean” room for kids ages 0-6. It was beautifully decorated and had lots of really great play areas for little kids… but not when they are all let in to run amuck at the same time! And that’s a big age range. There was a daycare/school group of 5-6 year old who were basically just terrorizing all of the little kids. Asher was really overwhelmed by all of the kids pushing and yelling and taking and just being dreadful (you know that type of kid). No one was watching the school-aged kids and I very quickly became “that” mom who was shouting “NEIN! GEH!” at random kinds when they started shoving poor Asher around. There was an “ocean” area, then you could go up into a big boat, and then step off of the boat and into the “jungle.” Again, it was a great place, but just not entirely conducive to great play when everyone goes in and out at the same time together. I got some pictures, but I feel like they are the kinds of pictures that lie, since they look like Asher was having a great time when in fact he was borderline miserable. We were in the room for exactly one hour and then in a quick rush, they told us all to leave. Asher and I were both a bit irritated when we left. We did that and then we got lost walking around the city for a bit. We ended up going to the House Der Musik that same day, which was a great time for both of us. We learned about what sound is and how it works and got to listen to lots of different sounds. That museum wasn’t necessarily geared towards small children but it was extremely interactive and Asher really enjoyed most of it. (*Edit* After I wrote all of this, I realize I think we did the Haus Der Musik after the Leopold Museum and we actually went shopping after the children’s museum, but I don’t want to rearrange my photos and paragraphs after all of that… and because Asher is demanding some attention right now so I really just need to be done!)

If you’re not on Facebook, then you have not yet seen Asher’s great dance video that I posted the other day. Here it is: 

Thursday Asher and I got up fairly early and went to the fabulous Schönbrunn Palace. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that, since it seemed like a big trip, but it ended up being SO worth the time and effort. It was gorgeous! We took the smallest tour available. It was like 25 rooms or so, which ended up being perfect. I was given a little audio guide and was able to move through at my own pace, which, once I got a room or two ahead of a guided tour group, was great. I learned a lot about the Austrian imperial family and some about the culture and architecture of the 17th, 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries (I think that’s about right). I realized just how much we normally focus on religious history while walking through the palace because every time we’d see a new painting or wall mural Asher would say “Is dat Jesus?” After the palace tour, we walked along some of the back gardens and took some pictures. A person or family could easily spend a day or two there because there was so much to do and see! There were TONS of gardens, plenty of tours and demonstrations, and everything was just gorgeous. We ended up only staying for a few hours, but it was a great trip that we both really enjoyed. That was the place I most wished Phil could have visited with us. He would have really enjoyed it. Then after the palace Asher took a short nap in his stroller and we headed over to the Prater, which is a famous amusement park in Vienna and the reason I decided not to stay all day at Schönbrunn. I had read some really excellent reviews for the place, but man. It was strange. You know that bad feeling you get at skanky carnivals? The one where you keep wondering if someone just grazed your butt with their hand? The one that sneaks into your stomach when an acquaintance full-body hugs you for a few seconds too long? Yeah. That’s the vibe I got from the Prater. Since I was alone there with Asher, so we stuck to the little kid rides and they were all, I’m quite sure, from the first generation of carnival rides ever created. Shoot, maybe they were THE very first kiddie carnival rides ever created. First of all – They were FILTHY. And they so old and run-down looking that I really felt like I was walking around a list of Buzzfeed photos depicting abandoned places. The people who worked there seemed either to be stoned out of their minds or just plain ol’ out of their minds. Seriously. One of the younger guys who was running one of the kiddie rides went into a back shed looking thing between ride-runnings with another doped-out looking skinny guy for a few minutes. I have no idea why they were going in there, but I assume it was to do lines of drugs… or drop drugs… or whatever the correct drug-doing terminology would be. The other ride operators were really old people who had overly-expressive clown-like facial expressions and walked around talking to themselves. Maybe their faces looked like that because they didn’t have any teeth. Maybe they looked like that because they were partially melted after being outdoors for the better part of a century. Who knows? A few of the rides that Asher went on the ride operator turned on the ride for Asher and then literally WALKED AWAY. Ummm… is that safe? They also never questioned his age (lots of the rides he went on said they were for ages 4 and up), even when I said “he’s only 2” they just looked through me like I didn’t exist and motioned for him to hop on. Don’t get all up in arms with me about it, Asher made it out unscathed. There were a few that I just outright said no to because I didn’t know if I could trust that he’d be safe on them, but I did let him go on the ones with strings, er, safety belts I mean. It was a really, really weird place. It smelled bad and felt… sad. Just weird. We didn’t go on the super famous and old ferris wheel that I had originally planned to ride, but we went on another ferris wheel. That was the only ride I went on that day and it was, despite the rest of the place, nice. I’ll tell you, though, I used to love the thrill of being way high up in the air, but the last several years I think I’ve developed a relatively stressful fear of heights… especially when my 2-year-old wants to climb around and look out everywhere while the little circle-thing we’re sitting in wobbles back and forth and when the guard rails are too short and the doors are practically non-existent. We quickly made some “rules” and then we snapped a few pics when we were high in the air. It was a bit of a rush for both of us, and, though it was a little bit scary, it was worth going up there for the the cool breeze and the great view of the city.

That was the last day of Phil’s conference, so Friday we were finally able to spend the day with Phil! It was great! We got up and went out for a nice relaxed breakfast. Then we headed to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which I had been excited to see with Phil all week. It was, of course, gorgeous. We ended up going on a tour of the catacombs beneath the cathedral, which was quite interesting. I had never seen human skeletal remains before… and now I’ve seen several the skeletal remains of thousands of people and stacks and stacks of human bones. Spoiler alert: They look just like the fake ones you can but at Party City in October. Asher was pretty interested in the coffins and the bones. I was really interested in the tour guide’s weird accent. Both his German and his English sounded like he was speaking with a rubber band around his tongue, which is kind of typical for Austrians, I think. Weird. After St. Stephens, we went to enjoy a world-famous Café Sacher torte and some coffee. It was a cold and rainy day, so we were happy to have anther opportunity to do something we wanted to do indoors. After that, we headed to the Jewish museum. Vienna was a very important city for Jewish people for a long time, since it was the home to a huge population of Jews for many years. The museum had a LOT of plaques and things for reading. LOOONG readings. It was all very interesting, but not entirely practical with Asher. He did well, but still. Neither Phil nor I read everything, but it was definitely worth seeing. We learned how the Jewish population grew and prospered in Vienna, and then of course there was a lot dedicated to the Jews being exiled and killed during the war, and then the rebuilding of the local Jewish population and a bit about the modern day Jewish community in Vienna. What a sad, sad history this world has. I will say that that museum in particular made me proud to be an American. America may not be perfect, but thank goodness for America’s support of Jewish people in WWII.

Saturday we had another fairly slow morning. We all took showers, had some coffee, then packed up all of our stuff to check out of the hotel. We left around 11 and then went to see the city with our 2 little suitcases in tow. We ended up not doing tons of crazy stuff that day. We went to the Augustine church, which dates back to the 14th century and was where some of Austrian’s imperial family were married. It was small, but worth seeing. We took Asher to a playground for a while, so he could burn off some energy and do his little kid thang for a bit. There were lots of beggars in Vienna. There are plenty of homeless people in Zürich, but not so many decrepit-looking ones with their hands out like in lots of other big touristy European cities. We passed one guy in particular near the playground. He looked so sad. I watched him for a while while Phil and Asher played in the park. I saw tons of people pass him, and only a few people acknowledge his existence. That broke my heart. I have no idea why he was homeless and unhealthy-looking and poor, but he was a person. I always used to think it was cheesy when my Mom would say “there but for the grace of God go I…” when seeing pitiful looking people, but I thought it that day. Bless that man’s heart. I gave him some change the second time we walked past him. Though we really don’t have many people like that in Zürich (at least not that I see), I’m going to try hard to “see” people like that, rather than looking the other way, even though it makes me uncomfortable. Anyway, after the playground, we went to the Austrian National Library museum, which houses over 200,000 books that date all the way back to the 16th century and is absolutely beautiful. There was a really interesting WWI exhibit set up in there, which we enjoyed. I know a bit about WWII, but until last week I didn’t realize how little I knew about the first world war. I really learned a lot from all of the WWI exhibits I saw last week and it, like the second one, was terrible. After the library museum, we went to see St. Charles’ Church. It was gorgeous from the outside, but for some reason they charged 8 Euro per person to enter and see the sanctuary, which we were really not interested in paying. It was too hot and we had already spent too much money and we thought it was stupid to charge people to go into a church, so we turned our noses up at the people and stormed out, which I hope taught them a lesson on being normal. Well… we didn’t exactly “storm out,” or make any sort of “impression,” but still… we left quietly. We then headed to the airport, had a quick and easy flight home, and then sprinted through the pouring down rain from the bus stop to our lovely home and practically straight into our lovely, lovely, lovely beds, which were the very best part of coming home. Asher fell asleep on the way home, which always makes bedtime a breeze since he just transfers right to bed at night. He was SO out of it when I took him to the bathroom and took off his clothes, but as soon as I put him into his own cozy bed that he had obviously missed all week, he let out an excited giggle and wiggled into the blankets with a HUGE sleepy grin. He was happy to be home. 🙂

Though our main daily excursions before Friday didn’t include Phil, Asher and I were happy to be able to have dinner together with him every night. We rarely-to-never eat out in Zürich, so we all enjoyed getting to try new and different delicious foods together. We went to a few different Italian places, a Mexican place (no bueno this far from Mexico), a few Viennese places, and an indian place. It was great. The German word for “Viennese” is “Wiener.” I must share that I giggled seeing the word “Wiener” everywhere, just like I used to giggle when I first moved to Zürich and had to get used to seeing and hearing the word “Fahrt” at all the train stations. hahaha Silly German language! And just for kicks, here are a few random pics that didn’t fit into the other spots:

 

So there you have it! That was our trip!

Update on Asher: He’s 2!

31 Aug

Just a quick update about our precious little boy: 

Asher is 2 big years old! He went to what seemed like his last “well baby” type of checkup last week. The doctor said that they sometimes do 3-year-old checkups too, but since Asher has already reached certain developmental milestones that he would check for at age 3 (language development, ability to identify colors, motor skills, etc.), that unless Asher gets sick or we have a concern, he’ll see us again when Asher turns 4! Amazing, right?! 

2 year old stats: 

Weight: 11.05 kilograms (24.4 pounds, 25%)
Height: 84 centimeters (33 inches, 25%)
Head circumference: 49.5 centimeters (19.5 inches, 50%)

So he has gained nearly 3 kilograms and grown a total of 10 centimeters since his 1 year check-up! He’s still small for his age, but growing at a perfect rate. His head has always been pretty big compared to his body, but his body seems to be catching up to his head size… for now. 🙂 

In addition to his size, the doctor asked about Asher’s language development. He said that by 2 kids should have a decent-sized vocabulary and should be able to string a few words together here and there, though they are not expected to have mastered all of the sounds of language. Asher very much has the adorable toddler way of saying things (i.e. He calls his pal Scout “Sowk,” and a peanut butter sandwich “Peedow buddow sevish”), but his vocabulary is enormous and he is stringing as many as 6-7 words together sometimes. He is expressing emotion and mood to us, which is interesting. When he cries about something he’ll say, “I’m sad.” or “Asher upset.” He’s starting to pretend more and more by making scratchy man voices when he plays with his cars and “guys.” He also stalks us and jumps out and roars randomly these days, telling us that he is a tiger or lion or whatever. 

Asher is very interested in learning and wants to know about everything. He can identify circles, squares, triangles, rectangles, and stars. He knows the colors red, blue, green, black, white, brown, orange, yellow, purple, and pink (some of these he says in German if it is appropriate to the conversation: Rot, blau, grün, gelb) Asher knows the entire alphabet (though he can’t say it alone from start to finish, he can fill in pauses or blanks with correct letters and can most certainly identify every single letter). He also can identify numbers 1-10 and can count in English at least to 15 and in German to 10. He knows the different names for worker trucks and likes to shout out what he sees when we’re out: “Tanker truck!” “Container truck!” “Forklift!” “Mixer truck!” He looooooves loves loves LOVES busses and tractors. We bought him a garage with ramps that make his cars drive fast. He likes to play with it, but his favorite thing right now is still a silly tunnel (“tuddow”) made from Duplo Legos that he will drive his cars through all day every day. He is going through a phase where he doesn’t want to sit and play by himself, but when we sit to play with him, he often turns his back to us or gets mad if we try to take a turn driving his cars through the tunnel. He will drive every single one of his cars through his tunnel (he has a lot of cars), then say “sit by Mama/Dada” and drive them all back the other way… and then get mad if we end up standing up to go do something else. 

Asher still loves music and dancing. He is able to recognize even quiet humming of small parts of songs from very random things and ask to hear the specific song. For example: Phil or I will unconsciously hum a song from a TV he has seen, and he’ll say what the TV show is and then say “pweez watch it!” He doesn’t really sing much, but he’s kind of starting to try. Outdoor festivals are a big thing here, and he’s definitely a fan of live music. He actually gets upset when the music stops either just between songs, or at the end of a set. He will say “Pweez, meeseek!” 

Ash has been using the toilet now for about 5 weeks and is doing GREAT. The first several days were, of course, pretty rough. He seemed to go through the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) in the first 5 days of being without diapers. It’s difficult suddenly to have to pay attention to when your body is about to expel something, then to have to learn to hold it, then to have to learn to release it, and everything in between. Overall, though, he did very, very well and we are very proud and very relieved to have had a fairly easy and quick transition away from diapers. We were especially nervous about our trip to Rome after only 4 weeks in underwear, but he did really well! We were not accident free, but 2 very minor and understandable accidents were perfectly fine. Overall he did really well telling us when he needed to go and then doing his business quickly and neatly when it was time. 

As for eating: Asher seems to be a pretty typical toddler when it comes to eating. Well, a toddler snake, I guess, since he will eat non-stop some days and other times go 2-3 days without eating a substantial meal. To us he seems very picky. He eats pasta (no sauce), bratwurst, all fruits, most veggies, bread, peanut butter, crackers, raisins, yogurt, and some other random things, but those are his staples right now. Oh, and eggs. He lives for eggs. 

He is kind of obsessed with the tv, iPod, iPad, and his MobiGo game system right now. Certainly we know that screen-time isn’t the best for a kid his age, but we go with it when we need or want to. 

Asher loves playing outside. He loves playgrounds and kind of likes swimming (though he doesn’t like to swim where it’s crowded). He loves to jump and run and climb… all things that he does exponentially better now that he can see, but those things still make me really nervous. He has a few friends that he really seems to enjoy playing with. His friend Nellie just turned 3 and the two of them will follow each other around, pass toys back and forth, and even talk to one another some while they play (she does most of the talking). They fight too, but they play well together. Another friend he plays well with is named Naomi. She is about 3 months younger than him and we haven’t known her and her family for long, but Asher and Naomi very legitimately seem to enjoy each other’s company. It’s fun to see him playing with other kids! He also has a friend named Maximillion, who is also 3 months younger than Asher, that he seems to enjoy being around. Sometimes he still just plays on his own around other kids too, but those three and a few others he seems to really like. 

Asher likes to cuddle. When he is tired or sad or scared (“say-ewd”), he says “Need hug! Need hug! Sit me! (His way of repeating how we ask “do you want to sit with me?”). He will bring me a blanket and go-go and his Bear and say “Cuddle bug” when he is tired, which means he wants me to wrap him up tightly in a blanket and rock him for a bit. He smiles and laughs and gets excited when he’s going to get “cuddle bugged,” but then he gets very serious and just melts into me (or Phil) when I hold him tight like that. Precious! I hope he lets me do cuddle bug to him until he’s 30, because I can’t imagine myself being ready to stop before then. He still loves his Bear. He had 2 Bears, you know. We bought one as a back-up in case we needed it, but he found it and has wanted “TWO BEAWS!” or “Both Beaws!” ever since. Sadly, we lost one Bear in Rome. We know exactly when he last had it, and Phil went looking for it the night we lost it, but it’s long gone. 😥 I think we all wanted to cry when we realized that one of his Bears was lost. I am very hopeful that a little child found it and will love it like it was/is loved by Asher. I looked online for another one, but the few I could find were being sold on eBay for around $80! I guess we will just try to be very, very careful with Bear from now on. I don’t think our hearts could stand losing our now-only Bear. 

Asher still has his go-go. We’re not really working on it, but we will soon, I assume. 

I could go on and on about my precious baby, but I guess I will stop for now. I’ll try to get back to updating more frequently so I don’t feel so inclined to write so much in my next posts. 🙂 I hope you enjoyed a lengthy update about our 2 year old boy! We are so proud of Asher and wish we could share every wonderful moment of his life with our family and friends! If you’re reading this, especially if you made it all the way to the end, I assume that means you love Asher too. Thank you for loving him! 

Funny guy

10 Jul

Since I’ve not had time to update much lately, more videos will have to suffice. 

Yesterday Asher and I spent the entire afternoon at the lake with our German class. Consequently, he did not nap until he completely passed out (just before 6 PM) when he got into his stroller to walk home. I let him sleep for about half an hour. He woke up a complete wreck: We practically force-fed him some yogurt, force-bathed him, and put him to bed… where he stayed for a whole 10 minutes before freaking out. He goes to bed without a peep every other night, so when he said “No bed! Asher wate gup (wake up)! Door Open!” we let our cute boy stay up and play cars while we watched Everybody Loves Raymond. Around 9:30 he (Asher) was getting pretty loopy and acting hilarious. Here are some of my favorite clips from last night. hehehehe

Update again!

12 Jun

Hello, all — 

Long time no Blog post!

 

I have been more productive in the past few days than I had been in the past several weeks, so it’s only fitting that I post today. I felt like a lot of things piled up on me again and I started feeling overwhelmed and shutting down a bit. Then Asher and I got sick for a few days, which somehow seemed to turn our home into a dumpster (you don’t realize how much picking up you do until you don’t do it for a few days!)(Phil was out of town, so it certainly wasn’t his fault). And then we’ve just been busy! 

I have lots of random thoughts that I want to share, but again I’ll have to just settle for a pretty straight-forward update for now. 

Phillip: Still doing his thing. He’s working long hours right now, since he’s got a lot that he needs to finish up in the coming weeks. He typically doesn’t work during the evenings, but he gets up early to get started on working and stays up late either to read or to hang out with me. He and Asher will have their first guys weekend in a few days! I think we are all excited about that! I’m going on our church’s ladies retreat and I will be gone for 2 days (just one night, though). I’m feeling very excited about it, since I really like a lot of the ladies whom I know and I am excited to get to know others. I love my husband and son more than anything in the world, but it will be nice to get out of the house and do my own thing for a few days. I’m also excited about the theme for the weekend: “Exploring Solitude and Silence.” Rather than bring in a speaker, the coordinator thought this year she wanted to try to have a quiet weekend that centers around study, reflection, and prayer. We will be using a book to guide  study/reflection times and then meeting in small discussion groups, but a large portion of the weekend will be spent in solitude. I am really looking forward to it! I get so busy and lost in everyday tasks and appointments, I need some quiet time with God. My German is going okay. After taking several weeks to feel frustrated and overwhelmed after hitting my first big plateau in learning, I’m back in the game and trying to work hard again! I can already see my new-found motivation paying off both in my understanding and in the ways in which I am able to express myself. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m moving forward again and it feels good. (I guess I just put updates about myself in Phillip’s paragraph. Marriage united our update paragraphs for life!) 

Asher: He is such a precious precious precious PRECIOUS little boy! We love him so much that it hurts! He is talking like a little champ now — putting 2 and 3 words together and repeating everything (EVERYTHING) we say! We certainly aren’t the most vulgar people, but there are certain words that just sound terrible when a baby says them. We are watching our language and attitude and all of that cra….ziness.

Asher is in his 5th week of physical therapy to help strengthen his neck. He is doing pretty well. It’s basically just super fun games/play time with lots of great attention for him, but I think he’s felt a little pressured to do well when we’ve gone. Our typically laid-back little boy threw a couple all-out fits the first few times Sylvia, his physical therapist, tried to go near him. He likes his personal space! He’s warming up to her, though. He climbs slides, balances on boats (a giant swing) and gets teeny little massages. It’s been excellent so far! He is already showing improvement and I am learning so much about what exactly his issue has been and how to help him. I read a lot about torticollis. And I watched all the youtube videos I could find and asked the doctor, but it just didn’t make sense to me given what I would see when I looked at/worked with Asher. But I’m FINALLY feeling like I understand the actual issue that has kept him from correcting his torticollis completely. I’m seeing the benefits every time we go and I am SO thankful to finally have the opportunity to get him this help. Come to think of it, I don’t know if they still refer to his physical condition as “torticollis” now that he is a little bit bigger. He has full range of motion, which he’s had for a long time, but he still tilts his head on a regular basis (which is why we asked his pediatrician for help). The reason for this, according to Sylvia, is because his neck muscles developed unequally. The muscles on the right side of his neck are much stronger than the muscles on the left side of his neck. When he does things (crawls, lifts heavy objects, balances, etc.) he does well to maintain symmetry, which is good since it means that he is physically capable of doing what needs to be done, but when he relaxes or uses only his right hand (we’re pretty sure he is right-handed) he tilts his head and all-but stops using the muscles on the left side of his neck/shoulder. Both Sylvia and Asher’s pediatrician think that this is completely muscle-related, so once we are able to strengthen and even out his muscles, the problem should go away. Sylvia said today that the exercises we have him doing are already helping and that he will probably be more and more likely to cooperate as he gets older and begins to understand more. Today he did really well to use his left hand whenever she asked him to, so I’m also going to try to get him to work more with his left hand. His therapist is German and she seems fairly young. She is very nice. Her English is pretty good, though she mixes up random words in funny ways. I don’t have the heart to tell her that it’s confusing for her to tell Asher “Okay! We are ready for today!” at the end of his sessions. haha Anyway, we are all very happy with the progress Asher has made and with all of the things we have and are learning. 

Now to Asher’s eyes: *Sigh* Today was Asher’s big eye checkup and I have literally been counting down the days. Everything I’ve read seems to indicate that some children only need vision therapy for a short couple of months, and of course I was really hoping that Asher would be one of those kids. Certainly I know that many (most) kids with his condition(s) are treated in some way for years. Honestly, though, I was really hoping that his glasses would be enough treatment alone. Anyway, back to the exam. It wasn’t an exam at all! She just wanted to see how his eyes were responding to the Atropine (chemical) drops…?? I don’t understand what she was doing, actually. It is extremely apparent that the Swiss have a different approach to certain physical/medical issues. I don’t think anyone would argue that. Phil and I are really happy with the seemingly-balanced approach where medical professionals seem to prefer natural remedies, but aren’t afraid to use drugs when necessary. We’re good with that. But come on, eye doctor! Just check my son’s eyes and tell me exactly what is happening! All of my sources of information come from the US, so I see people talking about how their kid’s visual acuity is 20/200 or 20/80. I asked the doctor today about Asher’s visual acuity and she seemed confused as to why I would ask her. She showed us what a 1-year-old should see and how he should see at age 11… so? I asked her again how Asher sees and she said there is no way to really know since he can’t tell us. Ugh! I was so frustrated by that. She can tell that he isn’t seeing well at all, since she can see that he has a refractive error with her light/tools, but I guess there’s no clear way to know how he sees until he can tell us. He wears his glasses all the time, and I think he kind of likes them, so I guess he must see pretty poorly without them. I was also frustrated because I wanted to know her thoughts on some other issues that I realize probably should have warned us that Asher had vision problems. She basically said “yeah, that could have happened…” and that’s it. I think her approach is “yeah, these not-very-good-things might have happened, but it’ll be fixed so it’s fine.” I am having a hard time figuring out if I deeply appreciate or loathe entirely her approach. She said that she wasn’t used to having parents come in with so many questions, and because I had so many questions she would do a thorough exam (what I thought she was going to do today) in October, though she would normally wait a year (!!!!!). I think she was trying to be nice. I was a bit flustered after we left. Phil was a little bit frustrated too, but he thinks that the vagueness of her answers might have been associated with her discomfort in speaking English to us today. I guess she wasn’t prepared for us to have questions? She seems very welcoming of questions (she has repeatedly told us to call or email if we have questions), but I guess I caught her off guard. I just want to know what’s happening! I want to know how long Asher has to use the drops (he hates them) — I think she said that it is likely he will use them for a minimum of a year, but probably more like or two years. I was worried about a very serious thing that could be associated with a white pupil in photos, but she checked and said he is fine and it was probably just the position of his eyes/light in the photos. I was glad she checked and said that everything was okay. Um… I think that’s it. So now we wait until October. She said she wanted us to stop giving him the Atropine drops 2 weeks before we return for his examination, so she can see how his eyes behave off of the Atropine. But then she indicated that he would start them again after her examination. 

That’s all, I guess. I had so built up this appointment in my mind that I guess it’s my own fault that I’m left feeling a bit frustrated and unsatisfied. I wanted straight answers regarding progress, but I guess it’s just too early to tell. Look at me, being all impatient and whatnot. It’s only my baby’s vision we’re talking about. 

That’s all for tonight. I committed to being somewhere entirely too early in the morning, so I need to get myself to bed. 

Asher videos! 

I love his happy little face here! By the way, this is a few days ago (in June) and we were wearing sweatshirts! It was warmer this week, though. 

 

Here is another one the same afternoon. He was cracking me up diving around in the rocks.

Sorry that one was a bit long. This next one is longer than I typically post too, and it gets a little slow here and there, but overall it’s cute and a good representation of a very ordinary time for us right now. Asher likes putting things “up” when he’s done with them and this is him putting his cars up. Though it is now common for him to do more “labeling,” notice that he describes some of the cars and trucks and busses and tractor (Bah-tohs!) before putting them “up!” 

Asher counts

30 Apr

I was just sitting here with Asher and he counted to 6 in German! I knew he could count to 3, but counting higher was a new one. He has a little bit of a lisp where he sticks his tiny tongue out while saying an “s” sound… he’s so cute that it hurts! 

He says: 

“Eisss” 
“Eye”
“Deiii”
“Feeew”
“fooof”
“etss”

1983

21 Apr

1983.

10,957 days.

1,560 months.

Three decades.

30 years.

In just a few days I will turn 30. What?! That is, without a doubt, the most adult age I will have ever known before. Certainly I’ve been an ‘adult’ for a while now, but never in my life have I approached a birthday so void of excuses that might keep me from identifying as one. Am I afraid of aging and being an adult? Certainly not. But I’m not gonna lie, “thirty” feels painfully foreign to my identity.

There has got to be more to aging than just ‘not dying.’ I feel like my 30th birthday is something that should remind me that I am aging. Right? So… how does one become “30?” How can I turn and feel 30 and all that encompasses that magical age of pure adulthood? I am an adult already and I know this because…hmm… adult qualities… adult qualities… Well, I’ve been sleeping through the night and using the potty for a super long time now – I wipe myself and everything! I find teenagers annoying. I’ve known my husband now for nearly a third of my life (met him when I was 20) and been married for almost 6 years. I sleep in the guest room when I visit my parents. I have a son. I pay bills (legit, expensive bills). I clean things that people under 25 don’t realize need to be cleaned like light fixtures and grout. Do these things make me adult enough to be “30?”

I’ve been mentally keeping a list of the things that I need to do and not do in order to start feeling more 30:

-Stop whistling. I’m not good at it anyway and I can feel that it makes little wrinkles around my lips. I guess I’m okay with getting lip wrinkles, but I’d really rather not rush them. Thinking about lip wrinkles seems like a very 30-year-old thing to do.

-Exercise. Other than when I gained the “freshman 15” (or in my case, the freshman 30), I’ve never really had  weight issues. Having said that, I know that being healthy is more than just a number on a scale, so approaching my 30th birthday I decided to do Yoga again. I did 19 minutes of yoga while listening to the instruction of an airy-voiced lady (who had a very distracting camel toe) on Hulu. Done and done! 30-year-olds have to work hard to stay fit, so I guess I may end up doing another 19 minutes at some point in the next decade.

-Sing 90s music really loudly. Since Asher is still so young I think I’ve got a little while until I really need to perfect my outdated music singing, but my 30th birthday is, I think, a great time to start promoting outdated music. I truly, madly, deeply do… [plan to] do that thing [I] do… lying naked on the floor… Oops! I did it again!

-Is 30 old enough to poot loudly in public? No. Probably not. I guess I’ll hold that one in for a while longer.

-Choose something to obsess over… like chocolate. Sure. I’ll go with chocolate. Forreal… I loooove chocolate! I live and breath chocolate! I’m not talking about PMS cravings or birthday party goody bags, I’m talking about turning every conversation into a joke about chocolate until people catch on and start buying me ironic home decorations about chocolate and womanhood.

-Get glasses?

-Sit on the points of my butt bones. This is very important to me. You see, when I was a little girl, I think I was about 6, I remember sitting down on the toilet to pee and was horrified to see my thighs flatten as I rested them on the toilet seat. My eyes got hot, my heart raced, and I sat there alone, pantless and crying because I did not feel old ready to become a woman. I don’t know why I thought that flattened thighs meant that I was a woman, but to me in that moment, flat thighs were epitome of womanhood. My childhood was over. No more playing with dolls and not knowing how to clean up spills, suddenly I was in a world of flat thighs, high-waisted jeans, and scrubbing grout and I wasn’t ready. Fast forward to today: I am no longer afraid of ‘turning into a woman,’ I do still notice my thighs flatten on chairs. In order to maintain some control over my aging body, I will henceforth sit on the very tippy-tip-pointy-points of my butt bones so that my thighs will never flatten. I may live the rest of my life with teeny little bruises on my buttcheeks, but I swear I will have the legs of a 6-year-old FOREVER! Because THAT is what is important.

 

<I accidentally posted this before I had a chance to write an ending. Since Asher thinks he too should tap his fingers all over the computer any time I so much as look at it, I typically write Blog posts in sections when I have a few moments to myself. The last time I was working on this I accidentally pushed “publish” instead of “save draft.” I accept this. Sorry there is no wrapping up at the end. Maybe I’m too old to tie all of my thoughts together? Next time.>