Bedtime [Baby] Blues

Does this one look ready for bedtime to you?

All he wants to do is babble and talk. And I’m such a sucker for good conversation, so I took him to Martin, who was sorting socks. From what I could hear, the baby babbled for a bit, but he was zonked O-U-T within 15 minutes. Sorting socks will do that to you!

Continue reading

Those Talks

With Martin away for a business trip, and our nanny visiting family in the United States, I am completely on my own with the kids this week. Just on Monday morning alone, I dealt with a missing permission slip crisis, a tick discovery followed by tick removal that sounded like major surgery without anesthesia, school drop-off, and a “sprint” to my own appointments and meetings at my full-time job until I had to dash back home to get the girls to their spring music concert.

And the frantic pace continued today.  Continue reading

Behind the Scenes

Photo of Miss C and Martin from 2005 … because I’m full of hormones and feeling sentimental.

Because she’s going to German school next year, this upcoming formal dance may be the only one of its kind for Miss C.

So, we allowed her to ask one of her friends (a fellow American in our village who used to attend the same school) to be her date. Strictly as friends, but as expected, Martin isn’t very enthusiastic: he was shocked when he saw Miss C trying on my formal dresses, and he’s pretended not to be supportive any time the subject came up. Continue reading

The Teenager

She’s a teen now.

Not a preteen. Not a tween.

But a teenager.

I feel like I should say that Martin and I are completely knocked over by this, but the truth is, we were a lot more emotional when she turned ten. Weepy — a little — when she turned five, but ten really did it to us. Something about the double digits, the necessity of both hands to display her age, the idea that an entire decade passed since she was born.

It seemed inconceivable.

But 13? Nah. We’ve known this was coming. Continue reading

Tween Life

My neighbor and I both have tween girls in middle school, and yesterday’s “driveway huddle” reminded me so much of these SNL characters!

Our conversation went like …

“I love, love, LOVE my daughter! Seriously, she is THE BEST! … But sometimes?”

*drops voice to whisper*

“Sometimes, she can be, like, really annoying, and I’m like, are you seriously my daughter right now?”



Shoe Shopping

It is now cold enough to turn on the heated floors in our house.

As you can imagine, our pets are very pleased by this. Especially Patches Der Hund. Our house is heated by the floors, and each room is controlled individually. I have no idea why America doesn’t have it yet. Apparently, this type of home heating system has been around since before the Roman Empire!


Miss C’s reflective selfie

I just spent more time than I would like to admit searching various websites for shoes in Miss C’s newest size, becoming increasingly annoyed that nobody sold shoes or boots in her size!!!

And then it dawned on me … I have to stop looking for kids’ shoes, and look under the women’s section.



There’s no WAY these little feet fit into women’s shoes already?!

1000th Photo

This is my 1,000th Instagram pic. A selfie, of course. First Instagram pic was taken in October 2011 as Martin and I headed into downtown DC for our first date night after our son was born. #1,000 was taken in our hallway in Germany after sending the girls off to school and before I headed to work, and the boys went out with Martin’s mom and brother.

Life is good.

The kids had such a good time with their Oma and Onkel Christian!
The kids had such a good time with their Oma and Onkel Christian!


I know that Germans love their peace and quiet, so I try to be respectful when I’m calling for the children as they are playing outside.

But every now and then, I forget myself and I end up yelling [in English] something like, “If you don’t get your lil’ asses into this house RIGHT NOW, you will be SO SORRY, you have no idea. YOU HAVE NO IDEA!!” Then I scan the neighborhood as my children run into the house, certain to see some older German frau on the phone calling me in, but I never do.

And now I know why. I just heard my German neighbor calling in her children. I have absolutely nothing to worry about. 😉

Flashback Friday: Miss C’s Fabulous Makeover


This girl went to her “end of the year” school dance this evening. Since it began in the late afternoon, while I was still at work, she got herself ready. The dance followed a beach theme, so she picked out her favorite summer dress, strappy summer shoes, and a seashell necklace. She also added [adorable] blue streaks in her hair to complement the blue in her dress.

Martin texted me a photo. Continue reading

Flashback Friday: Cake


[dropcap style=”color: #9b9b9b;”]W[/dropcap]e’re celebrating a birthday next week, so I went shopping today. Miss C will be 11, and since she’s still in Ohio with her Dad and siblings, what better time to sneak away and pick up a few items for her, right?

While at the book store, I ordered a caramel frappuccino and took my time walking through the aisles, adding books to my basket, checking out the newest titles. Before too long, I ended up in the parenting book aisle, and I smiled at the rows of familiar books I read while pregnant with my own babies. I think at one point, I owned all the baby name books, and I noted that the mother on the latest edition of “what to expect” books looked even more fresh and hip than I remembered her.

Then I noted that after three whole bookcases full of pregnancy and babyhood books, there was one bookcase devoted to raising toddlers and preschoolers. And then it stopped. When I tried to find the books that provided guidance on how to raise tweens and teenagers, the section morphed into books on ways to deal with a problem child or a specific special need. It took some investigating to find the few books that are specific to raising a tween or teenager. I looked at the other aisles, even asked the nearby book clerk if there was a section I was missing (there wasn’t), and later did a search for more tween-specific books online.

Compared to all the books available for the first few years of life, there really isn’t very much out there for parents of tweens and teens.

No wonder the prospect of raising a teenager is so daunting!

After years of being offered advice on how to feed our kids, swaddle our kids, get them to stop crying, introduce them to Mozart, get them to aim for the toilet, how to feed them, get them on a sleep schedule, how to plan the perfect birthday party, how to make flashcards, how to overcome separation anxiety, how to keep them alive until about the age of nine … the parental advice business runs cold.

It’s as if the book industry said, “Hey, once they are ten, the cake is baked. Good luck.”

Good luck indeed.


For today’s Flashback Friday post, I’m sharing this entry from 2006 when we celebrated Miss C’s birthday at our townhouse in our old neighborhood. It was the first birthday party we had for her since moving back to the United States, and it was so much fun. And super hot. The strawberry ice cream cake we got for her promptly melted between the time we took it out of the fridge to the time we lit the candles and sang to her.

But with ice cream cake, who cares? Soggy deliciousness.

You can read it HERE.