Wynter is Leaving

After more than 13 months working as our family au pair, Wynter is leaving us. Long before the sun rises tomorrow morning, we’re making the trek to the airport to see her off as she returns to her family in Northern Virginia.

We’re not really sure what we’re going to do with ourselves in her absence.  Continue reading

Chores and Allowance

The girls and their chores. Photo from December 2012.

Our household has been in disarray since the move last month. Martin and I have been cleaning, repairing, painting, and unpacking while simultaneously working full time, and managing the lives and wellbeing of four children — three of whom have been on school holiday for most of the month — all as I’ve been wrapping up my undergraduate program, too.

If it weren’t for our au pair, Wynter, to help us keep afloat, I am fairly certain Martin and I would have lost our minds a long time ago. A lot of things have slipped — chores, bedtimes, and family meetings — but as it stands now, we’ve reached a point where we can begin etching out a family routine once again, and that includes nailing down routine chores for the kids.

In the past, we used a single chore chart hung up in the kitchen or laundry room, in a place where it was seen on a regular basis near our family calendar. But considering the layout of our new house, there isn’t really an appropriate communal space for a chart of chores for multiple people. Plus, with the kids being older, and taking on additional responsibilities while also going in different directions with school and extracurriculars, I wanted to come up with a new way of managing household duties without creating an enormous chart that would soon become an overlooked piece of scenery and not a part of our daily lives.

So I literally put it all in their hands. Continue reading

Sleep Mates

Getting my heavy-sleeper son to use his inhaler when his asthma flares up is impossible, so last night, I carried him into our room to use the nebulizer after he resisted my attempts to wake up and administer his puffs.

I propped him in my spot on the bed, got the nebulizer set up, turned it on, and watched the mist appear around his nose to ease his breathing. Once that started going, I went to get a glass of water, and returned to this.

My husband and son, holding hands, resting contently while the nebulizer hummed. Completely peaceful and serene. Continue reading

Doozy Week Ahead

This week is gonna be a doozy. Not only is there work and school, but we are packing. We are painting. We are moving. And we are hosting about 25 relatives for our biggest Thanksgiving feast ever. We are optimistic, but I think the baby is a realist.

Two Peas in a Pod

One of my fave pics from this past week with Nona. These two have so much in common. Two peas in a pod, I say. Both are the second-born in their families, both the second daughters. I know Lola really appreciated it whenever Nona pointed out that it’s “a second child thing” … almost like a badge of honor. These two are part of a club, and since I’m the oldest daughter myself, I don’t belong to it. (But Aunt Jill does, too!)

Continue reading

Special Guest

This photo was taken the day we said “auf weidersehen” to my mother a few weeks before we moved to Germany in late 2014. Despite constant check-ins via Skype, Facebook, and messages over the years, I know she’s going to have a heart attack when she sees how big the kids have grown since that day.

And of course, Junior’s ready to meet his Nona! See you soon!

Slow Down

Another morning of seven people going in 20 different directions as fast as possible. According to my planner, we have down time scheduled in February. Until then, I take photos like this (from the weekend) to capture those fleeting moments when we can slow down and catch our breath and some Zzzzzzzs.  Continue reading

Together With Family

This is a photo of Martin’s mother with her seven grandchildren, taken earlier today when we attended the baptism reception for our newest little niece.

It was the first time we met Carola’s little girl. You can’t tell from here, but Junior (who is 11 weeks older) looks like a giant compared to his month-old cousin. His Oma ’bout had a heart attack when she saw him again for the first time in two months. Continue reading