Wednesday, November 17, 2010

and we're back...

It's been a crazy couple of months for us here in the States.  We're beginning to adjust.  Finding a rhythm.  The season is changing here and the cool, crisp air is calming.  Many thanks to you all, dear friends, for the sweet prayers and thoughts of us over the past few months.  We are so grateful.  We weren't expecting the transition to American life to be such a wild ride, but we love where we have ended up.  Finding a home was one of the most stressful experiences of our lives.  And two months of moving between family had its ups and downs.  A lot of stress but also a lot of splendor.  Sweet (early!) mornings of strong coffee with grandparents and afternoons at pumpkin patches were beautiful moments between days of disappointing house hunting.  The Lord knows what He is doing, though.  Our new home is a delightful answer to our prayers.  God is so good.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

eight months

Dear Eleanor Jane,

Today you are eight months old.  As you've become so good at showing us, you are "so big!"  I haven't written you a note in a few months thanks to one of your new abilities - mobility.  Your last note coincided with our last few days of the blissful and serene life as we knew it.

You are a constant whirl of energy.  I see those blue eyes of yours light up, and I know it's only a minute before you're tearing across the room to make a new discovery.  You are so good for me.  I am always too cautious about life.  I think and re-think every move I make.  Not you, my dear.  You dive right in - head first - laughing joyfully all the way.

I love your curiosity.  I love your smiles.  I love the way you sound like a baby pterodactyl when you get super excited.  I love the rare moments you slow down enough to get sleepy and let me snuggle you close and smell your sweet head.   You are deliciously darling.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

morning, sunshine

In an attempt to get a bit more sleep each morning, we usually bring Ellie into bed with us when she wakes up around 6:00 am.  As you can see in the above photo, she really only humors us for a few minutes before she's wide awake and ready to play.  As much as I crave more sleep these days, there is something so special about those early morning moments.  Seeing her excitement for each new day is contagious.

With some good hugs (and a of a cup of coffee!) my girl is turning me into a morning person.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

made it

See that gorgeous ocean?  We made it to St. Malo!  Nearly eight hours of train riding on Friday, and we woke to beautiful, crystal clear waves gently washing ashore in front of the La Reine Marine hotel.

We walked to a 17th-century fort that is completely inaccessible at high tide.

Meandered along a medieval port city's walls.

Took a nap.

Enjoyed fantastic food.  (Sorry, no fruits de la mer for the littlest ones!)

And ate a giraffe.

It was lovely.  Merci beaucoup!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

ze french

Hi there.  I am the woman who writes this blog.  Really, I do write it - all the time.  In my head.  Oh, that doesn't count, eh?  Well, how about a little update...

See this forlorn luggage sitting in my dining room?  That is a miracle-turned-disaster.  So this is what happened, first we planned this lovely trip to visit our friends in Paris and do a bit of hiking along the coast in France.  Beautiful, right?  After a sweet (but early, as usual, thanks to a certain someone who shall remain unnamed) morning of coffee drinking, we got to work packing.  And, believe it or not, we were finished an hour early.  No, I'm not kidding, an hour. With a six-month-old.  I should have known it was too good to be true.  David even rigged a handy-dandy way to attach the pack n' play to a suitcase so we didn't have to carry it.  He's awesome like that.  But back to my story, there we are, making our way to the train.  We were so early, we stopped at a bakery for some yummy snacks for the train.  As we come up from the Ubahn into the Hauptbahnhof, I notice the departures board doesn't have any Paris destinations.  Strange - must be a mistake, I think, but really, what was I thinking?  I'm in Germany, they don't make mistakes here.  Undeterred, we head for the platform, only to discover that our train isn't going to Paris.  No trains are going to Paris.  Because ze french (and yes, you must say it with an awful accent) are on strike.


So now my bags are sitting, somewhat unpacked, in my dining room.  And I am supposed to be in this beautiful dining room...

talking, laughing, drinking and planning a trip to St. Malo while little darlings play at our feet.


Sunday, June 13, 2010


It isn't quite babbling yet, but it sure is sweet...

Ba Ba Ba from David G on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


This is what I usually find when Ellie wakes from her morning nap.  You know you've napped hard when the fingerprint evidence is imprinted on your forehead.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

and we're off

What do you do with a nearly six month old when her daddy has to travel to Berlin for two weeks with no notice? Why, you hop on a train and run like mad for your dear friends in Paris.  Oui, oui!  So that's exactly what we're doing.

Eleanor and I are spending three days next week with Ingrid and Gabriella (a cutie also born in December at the Geburtshaus.)  I foresee lovely walks in the park, munching on crusty baguettes, and consuming cup after cup of dark French roast.  Perfect, non?  Now I just have to figure out how keep the girl entertained during our four-hour train ride...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

must post

I'm writing this post in my bathrobe.  On my living room floor with a cup of coffee and the Today show in the background.  This is my new spot since Eleanor has decided that staying put is for babies, and she is most definitely not one of them.  I am so proud of her, really, I am.  But I am going to lodge one complaint against the universe.  Five months!?!?!?!?!!??  That's all I get?  I only had five months before I had to start chasing her around?  Couldn't we make a deal, maybe, more than four hours of sleep in a row in exchange for not being able to run to the bathroom without setting up barricades?

So needless to say, I haven't had as much time as usual lately.  I've taken photos, but the act of putting them on the computer apparently requires the strength (and time) of two mamas.  That, and we haven't seen any sun in the past two and a half weeks. And I am tired of taking dark photos.  All the furniture in my house is dark.  So I have to turn on the lights which gives my photos that awful yellow haze, and no amount of Photoshop work will make it better.

Okay, enough complaining for me.  In lieu of cute Ellie photos, I'm uploading a video of her showing off how quickly she can make it across the living room.  Seriously, nothing is safe anymore!

going for the computer from David G on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

four months

Dear Eleanor Jane,

You turned four months old on Easter Sunday.  You are now closer to five months old than four, but oh well, that's just life right now.  You're turning into such a little person.  Your eyes are the most beautiful cornflower blue, and they light up and sparkle when you smile.  You delight everyone around you, and you're just generally darling all-around.

As much as you have enchanted your daddy and me, I still have a hard time believing that I'm your mother.  Not that it's you, I would have a hard time believing I was anyone's mother.  I don't know why, but I just can't shake this feeling that I'm faking it.  That one day, someone is going to show up at our door and announce the fun's over, it's time for Ellie to go to a real mama.  It's just that moms are so...together.  So smart and responsible.  And I?  I am about 16.  I like to sleep in until 10.  I never turn my socks right-side-out.  I don't finish things. Frequently.  I still dream of being famous.  I want to eat cookies for breakfast. Every day.  I can't, for the life of me, keep the kitchen full of food.  No joke, I can leave the grocery store with a carload of groceries and return home to find there is nothing for dinner.  How is this even possible?

It's only been in the last month that I've come to terms, a bit, with all of this. Maybe that's why this month has flown by.  Because I'm working to embrace my imperfection.  Maybe even find joy in the freedom of it.  Because I've learned that an afternoon of snuggles and smiles is worth far more than a clean house. Long story short, I have no clue as to what I'm doing.  And, Ellie, I love you for not caring.  You don't care if the laundry is done, or the house is clean, or if we're eating pasta, again.  Thank you, my little one, for helping me see that I'm not perfect, but I am, indeed, blessed.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

oh so soft

I'm not sure why, but it seems most hooded towels for babies are really thin and not so snuggly.  After nearly four months of warm baths followed by a rather cold wrap-up for the little one, I had had it.  After searching online, I found a fantastic plan on Prudent Baby for making my own hooded towels for Eleanor.  A few soft, white towels plus some leftover quilting fabric, and we had a cute new towel in no time at all.  Now bath time ends with a cozy, Daddy snuggle - just the way it should.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

on being apart...

This weekend, David and I went out for a real date.  Offered free tickets to the Frankfurt Skyliners and  having friends willing to watch Ellie, we knew there was no excuse to not make it happen.  I'm afraid to admit this was only our second time away from Ellie.  The first time was a few weeks ago while my mom was in town.  We went out to dinner, talked about Ellie 95 percent of the time, scarfed down some Lebanese and hurried back in two hours.  This is not because I'm afraid of leaving her; my dear friend Tammy has offered many times to watch her. There are only a few people on the planet I trust to watch Ellie, and Tammy is right up at the top of that list.  No, the real reason we haven't been out is that I just like being with Ellie.

So anyway, this weekend Ellie went to Tammy's, and we went to a basketball game.  Think LA Lakers only far more cheesy.  And in German.  Got that picture in your head?  It's okay to laugh, I did.  But we had a really fun time together.  I did quite well not worrying about Ellie until we got to our car, and proceeded to wait 30 minutes to get out of the parking lot.  There is nothing more annoying then usually efficient Germans being completely inefficient.  By the time we arrived on the Siedlung, it took every ounce of strength in me to wait for David to park the car before tearing off my seatbelt and running for Tammy's.

When I got there, Ellie was quite content and gave me a little smile.  But Tammy reported that the moment David and I had left, Ellie's little bottom lip popped out and began quivering, leading to all-out wailing for a bit.  My heart just broke for the girl.  Usually, Ellie will go to anyone who wants to hold her.  She's a total charmer.  I figured I was just the lady with the breastmilk, not to be lost for fear of starvation.  Come to find out I mean a bit more to her.  And as I carried Ellie back to our house, I couldn't help but smile... glad I'm not the only one who doesn't want to be apart.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"e" is for elephant

It appears that I'm going to have to start Eleanor a small elephant collection. When we were considering the name Eleanor, we never thought about how people may call her "Ellie the Elephant."  There seems to be an inordinate amount of baby things with elephants on them in stores right now, so the nickname has caught on.  I think it's really darling, but I'm a bit worried about the negative connotations for when she gets older.  I mean, elephants are rather huge, and I don't think my daughter is going to be short.  So, rather than trying to fight it, I think we're going to jump right on in by telling Ellie all about how amazing elephants are.  Not only are they cute, but they have such beautiful symbolism in literature and different cultures.  They are known for their dignity, strength and power, and of course, wisdom and patience.  They are even associated with royal status in the Far East.  The more I learn, the more excited I get for Ellie.  Oh, and I can't forget one more association her Pappy will like...the Republican party. We'll see how her daddy feels about that one!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

little leprechaun

Ellie Jane would like to take this opportunity to say happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone!

And also a special thank you to her Great Aunt Laura for making her such a fun green blanket!

Monday, March 15, 2010

baby steiff

Ellie just started grabbing and holding onto her toys.  Well, actually, her only goal is to get them into her mouth.  She seems to really love this little baby bird by the German company Steiff.  We call him Baby Steiff since he wears a cute little diaper.  Before Ellie was born I didn't know that Steiff is this well-know, pricy baby brand here.  We were given some Steiff things as gifts, and I just thought they were sweet - end of story.  Then, we went shopping and spotted the Steiff brand - ohmygoodness!  Suddenly I was thinking twice about letting Ellie drool all over them.  But all kidding aside, there does seem to be something special about them, because Ellie seems to love all of her fuzzy Steiff toys more than other ones.  As her daddy says, "they're worth their weight in gold."  So hug him close and drool away, my sweet!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

three months

Dear Eleanor Jane,

You are growing too much!  Every day I wake to find you a bit bigger.  It's bittersweet.  You get cuter by the minute, but at the expense of your smallness. Last week, when telling your grandma about something you did weeks ago, she laughed at me when I started my sentence with, "when Ellie was a baby..."  Silly mama, I know.

This past month has been filled with a lot of learning.  Mainly, that you want us to put you down.  After weeks of walking around, swaying, rocking, shushing, dancing, singing, and all around begging you to go to sleep, we discovered that you really only wanted us to wrap you up and put you in your bed.  Oh, and pop a binkie in your mouth - at least three thousand times before you fall asleep.  But we do it willingly because suddenly, you take naps!  And you have a schedule!  And your daddy and I can eat dinner!  Hallelujah!  You may laugh about that, but seriously, it was bad.  Not just three weeks ago, after discussing the millions of different ideas out there, your exhausted daddy said, "right now, if someone told me to dancing around with chicken bones would work, I would do it."  Please note this is your daddy, whom I have to give a few beers before I even try begging to get on a dance floor.  Yep, he'll do anything for his girl...and some sleep.

But speaking of your daddy, this month marked a special birthday for you both. On March 4th, you turned the big three months, and your daddy turned the big three-oh.  He used to tell me that he couldn't imagine life after thirty.  But since you've come, what he can't imagine is life without you.  We often talk about how we can't remember what it was that we used to do with ourselves before you arrived.  My goodness, we had a lot of spare time!

Now all of our time is filled with watching you discover your world.  I think we can safely say you are a social baby.  You offer a smile to anyone who coos at you. Wide mouthed and toothless; it melts each and every heart.  You started laughing at 13 weeks - just in time for Grandma's visit.  We spent hours sitting on the floor with you, drinking pots of coffee while making all sorts of silly faces and noises to get you to laugh.  Each delightful squeal was well worth the effort.  And the talking!  Oh my, do you have a lot to say!  No one needs an alarm clock in this house - you makes sure everyone is up with your good-morning discussions!  Good job, my little one, I think you sealed the deal to get Grandma to fly back in June.

Well, my sweet, you're another month older.  Time sure does fly...

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Yesterday, the sun came out for the first time in a looong time.  The minute it peeked through, we bundled up Eleanor and shot out of the house.  The sunshine is so fleeting here.  One minute it's out, and the next minute it will disappear - for weeks.  So you better not mess around with getting out of the house.

We strolled around Gruneburg Park and soaked up some much-needed vitamin D.  Believe it or not, we have to give Ellie vitamin D supplements because she sees so little sun.  Poor girl.  It's hard for her California-girl mama to comprehend.  Oh well, at least she looks darling in her winter hats.

Monday, February 15, 2010

utterly smitten

...with my two loves this Valentine's Day.  Eleanor and her daddy surprised me with this sweet necklace from Lisa Leonard Designs on Valentine's Day morning.  They were so sneaky!  There was a delicious pot of coffee and a plate of sweet treats waiting for me alongside the beautifully wrapped gift.  Eleanor's daddy is doing such a great job of teaching her how to melt her mama's heart!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

being someone's mama

Pregnancy is the ultimate act of letting go.  Nothing is yours anymore.  It takes you over - mind, spirit and body.  And you believe when your baby arrives, you will go back to who you were before.  It is only once the blur of the first few weeks has given way to a bit of clarity, and you have a moment to think, that you realize you aren't you anymore.  And you look back and realize that you crossed a one-way bridge, and you are standing on a different shore.  You are here now.  You will never be there again.  This new patch of earth is beautiful, but oh so different from where you came.  Your sweet baby will never know who you were before she was here.  To her, you will always be the woman on this shore.

It's bittersweet - this new journey of being someone's mama.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

two months

Dear Eleanor Jane,

On Thursday, you turned two months old. Congratulations! Your daddy and I sat and exclaimed about how much you have grown and changed. There are times we can hardly remember how tiny you were just a few short weeks ago. Sometimes we can see you growing while you sleep. Really, I'm not kidding. There are days when an outfit you wore not just three days before doesn't fit, and you look at me like, "um, I would really like to be able to extend my legs. Kinda important for all that kicking I like to do." Seriously, you've gotta give me a break kid. I'm still wearing clothes I went to high school in - this overnight growth spurt stuff takes some getting used to.

You are also no longer terrified of yawning. Some day when you read this, you will look at me and give me one of those annoying teenage looks and say, "really? yawning? I was afraid of yawning?" Yes, you were. And it was hysterical. At first we felt really terrible for you, poor baby, but then it got funny. And we laughed. In fact, I'm kind of sad you figured out it's okay now. I know, I know...BAD Mama.

And have I mentioned how strong you are? You've been holding up your head since day one - an accomplishment noticed by everyone who holds you. I think it's because you're so curious. You are adamant about seeing everything around you with those bright eyes. You love it when we walk around the house so you can see things. I can't believe you aren't tired of looking at the same stuff all the time. I know I am. But it is cute. If only you would let me sit down once in a while, life would be perfect.

But oh, the smiles! They are the reason I stumble from bed with you each morning. Once we reach the changing table, I'm rewarded with the most fantastic smiles. I'm not sure why the changing table is such a magical spot, but I'm not complaining. I could spend hours changing your diapers - um, actually, I do spend hours changing your diapers. You make sure of that.

The past two months have been unbelievable. From sleepy, 2:00 am feedings to toothless grins. You arrived and turned our world completely upside-down. And for the life of me, I can't seem to remember what we did with ourselves before you came.

Monday, February 1, 2010

holding tight

afternoon sun on a snowy winter day + warm breastmilk from your mama =  one sleepy baby

Since we get so little sunshine here during the winter (or summer, for that matter), Eleanor doesn't get much sunshine.  So when the sun does make a blessed appearance, we crank up the radiator in the office and strip her down to a diaper to catch as many rays as possible.  Then we pinch chubby thighs and sigh over dimpled knees.  Such a glorious way to spend an afternoon!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

about a girl

This is my Ellie Jane.  She is my delight and my joy.  In her eyes, I see the past and the future.  I see hope and love.  I can't describe how amazing it is to be her mother.  She is the only person in this world who truly believes I can do anything.  I am well aware of my limits, but to see yourself as limitless through another's eyes is a very inspiring thing.

She has given me wings.  And for that, I will be forever grateful.