Logan and his dad

Allen had to return to relaxing on the beach, erm, I mean working in Crete when Logan was almost 3 weeks old. From that time, he only saw Logan through pictures, and one time on the

live camera on the computer (I actually figured it out!). He returned home when Logan was 6 months old. He had spent a long day at several airports in Greece, missing trains in London, only to take a very expensive taxi to get home at 3:30 in the morning. I stayed up waiting. After the initial hugs, he asked about the kids. I said that they were asleep and he asked if he could turn on the bedroom light where Logan was sleeping and said "I just want to see what he looks like". I feel teary remembering it. Needless to say, I have given them plenty of bonding time.

The Morning Routine

Nicholas has to have cereal almost as soon as his feet hit the floor in the morning. He pours the cereal and then "pat-pat-pat"-he pats his cereal down. I have made the mistake of pouring the milk before this ritual commences, and milk goes everywhere. On this particular morning we are conserving milk so that everyone can have some. We need to make a quick trip to get some basics (milk, bread, bananas, washing detergent, chocolate for mommy) at the local market. Nick had eaten one bowl and wanted another. Brother Ryan was back in his room because he couldn't seem to talk without whining. He still needed breakfast.

Nick "Just little bit of milk?"
Me "Yes, save some for Ry please"
Nick "This much?", filling the bowl and shaking the now empty carton

Ryan had soymilk on his cereal this morning. I hope he didn't notice.


The one where we can't go to kindergarten and L gets braces

Got your attention? I forgot to tell Poppy and Nana (despite at least 10 phone calls) that there is not a place for Nick to attend kindergarten at the local school until September. I know Poppy will be sad. It seems that there are waiting lists everywhere and we arrived too late to start. Oh well. That means that Nicholas can stay with me for a while longer. We can play and color at home a little while longer. I will miss him next year when he goes off to school. We did put Ry on the list though. Maybe he will be the German speaker in the family.

Lauren had a dentist appointment today. Apparently, they are going to try and correct several of her teeth with a few braces. She is excited, and is already planning what colors she will choose each month. Oh boy.

6 Months

(o.k. I just couldn't leave this post alone, and tried to mess with the spaces. I made it worse. Help!)

I arrived in this country 6 months and 1 day ago. Initially I didn't like it. I didn't like the weird feeling that I had getting used to driving on the right side of the road again. I didn't like not being able to go into a restaurant or store and be able to ask for something without stumbling on my words. I didn't realize how much I depended on language within my environment-advertisements, store signs, information signs. I missed being able to understand the news and weather on the radio. It's hard getting utility and phone bills in the post box and having to interpret them. I think we are all getting more comfortable here and we are looking forward to warmer weather and a chance to travel and explore. We lived in the UK for eight years. That is longer than I have lived in most places! Four of my five babies were born there. It will always be a special place.

Things we miss about the U.K. :

  • Our friends. We made some great ones. Some are still there, and others have moved on. Some are trying to get back here!
  • Spending a day in Norwich, Bury St. Edmunds, Cambridge. It was fun to shop, play on the green, and explore the area.
  • Taking the train to London. It took several hours by train and tube, but it was worth it. The masses of people, the red buses (coaches), undergrounds, cafes and stores everywhere, theaters (or theatres). My last visit there was with the girls. I called my mom from outside Harrods. I was teary. I told her how I would miss it. She understood-she missed it, too. I am surprised that she could hear me from a mobile phone with traffic noises-halfway around the world. There was just something cool in thinking-I went to London. Silly, I know.
  • The dialectal differences. The word differences. The personality differences. Most people were friendly-some stoic. That's o.k.
  • Markets in the town center. It was a nice place to buy fresh veggies and fruits, flowers, odd gadgets, etc. Bury St. Edmunds has a great one on Wednesdays. Starbucks was nearby, too. (sigh).
  • Our primary and preschool in Beck Row Primary. The teachers were great! The teachers knew all of the children, and most of the parents, even if you didn't have a child in their class. There are only 7 or 8 teachers, and about 110 students. The girls really miss the school and the lunches! Many are homemade and offer a variety of fruits and veggies. They have improved most recently, thanks to Jamie Oliver. Seriously, we are doing our children a great disservice with the school meals offered here. Frozen, bagged items-they can get that at home ;).
  • Exploring castles and historical sites. I really enjoy British history. I think Windsor Castle, some of the castles in Wales (names?), Lincoln Castle and the town of Lincoln, Sandringham and local estates were my favorites. I know there are many castles and beautiful sites here in Germany. In fact, we can see Burg Lichtenberg from our house. Trier is slightly over an hour from here. I think it borders France and Luxembourg. We have been there once, But I would like to go again.
  • Being able to smell and touch the yummy items at Lush. Some favs include "Honey I Washed the Kids", "17 Cherry Tree Lane", "Rock Star" and "MaBar". I also like the homemade face masks.

  • British tea and tearooms. There were several nice ones nearby. I'm glad that I stocked up before we moved. The tea at the commissary just isn't the same as Tetley, Typhoo or the ones from Whittards. After I linked this I saw that Whittards is now in the U.S.? Oh, happy day. Whittards and Boots (at Target?)!

  • Friends, did I mention that? :)


Did someone make a switcheroo?

I thought we had a 12-month-old in the crib, but he seems to think he is a newborn again. He just isn't as cuddly as a newborn-too squirmy! He has been awake during the night 3 of the last 4 nights (twice last night)! Help! Maybe the sleep fairy will sprinkle a little dust on him and keep him asleep. If not, maybe I will take a few sleeping pills and let DH deal with the newborn in disguise. Point being, this waking up has really rocked me. I forgot how it was to wake up several times a night. It hasn't been that long ago, really.


Why we leave our shoes at the door

While the kids and I were waiting in the car recently we observed an old man first spitting multiple times on the sidewalk as he walked along. He topped the performance by blowing his nose on the sidewalk and kept walking. We were all speechless. Enough Said.

Speaking of shoes, a few of us tried on some different ones and went ice skating this afternoon. Pictures will post soon.


Logan's 1st Birthday

I, personally think this is a fabulous use of my flowery crock pot! I am always multi-tasking. This guy needs a hug :)

We are a few weeks late in posting these, but, eh. We had a great family night with cake and ice cream. For once, I didn't make the cake! Wilton would be so disappointed. I guess that's the difference between the first and fifth child. We love him just the same. The big hit was the Busy ball Popper! All of the kids LOVE this.
Wait!! Is that a lighter within reach of our precious baby! I am red-faced. The shame of it. A momentary lapse I am sure. Thanks to DH for helping me with uploading these. Bear with me while I figure things out :)

Our House

Maybe you are curious-maybe not, but here are the details. After living in very small accommodations for many years, we were determined to find a large house to spread out. I'm not exactly sure how large this house is, but probably at least 3000 sq. feet. For us, that's a huge difference. We previously had a 4 bedroom house in the UK that was between 1300-1400 sq. feet....for 7 people. Ugh. Needless to say, storage and living space was at a premium.

Our new van is on the left. I am not sure who owns that other van parked in front. Our house is about 20 minutes from DH's work, and about the same amount of time to the girls' school. The distance is actually shorter to school, but the roads are curvy up the mountain, so a much slower speed than using the autobahn. We live in an established residential area. It is a mixture of apartment buildings or flats, and free-standing (single dwelling) homes. We actually live in a building that used to be 5 apartment flats. It is 3 levels, plus the basement. The first floor is above street level and has the kitchen, living room, dining room and bathroom/storage/utility. The landlord has 4 other rooms (with a wall dividing) and separate entrance on this level as his offices. The second floor has 2 full baths and 5 bedrooms. The third level has a large family/play area ,a bedroom used as storage, and the "Princess Suite" for the oldest daughter. This consists of a bathroom and two adjoining bedrooms. We really have lots of space! So much, that some days I wish we had a smaller space so that I could keep up with the daily maintenance! It really is difficult to keep up with this 8-9 bedroom/4 bath house. The tile floors attract quite a bit of "fluff". However, I'm not sure that we'll ever have this much space again.

I really miss having closets. That's where I keep everything so the house looks tidy. When you just have wardrobes, it's really hard to hide your stuff effectively. The kids are sure enjoying lots of space to run, hide and play!

Update: I forgot to mention that the house was built in the post-war 1950's. This, apparently, was not a great time for architecture. It is a stucco, like many of the other houses here. It looks pink in this photo. It really is more of a peach-y color. Not my first choice, but you won't see me on a tall ladder to repaint. It doesn't have that "cookie cutter" wood look like other houses here-it's a building. It was a bit of curiosity to the neighbors. Our landlord gutted the house and put in new pipes, heating, floors, walls, etc. When we first moved in we noticed small groups of older German ladies on the sidewalk chatting. Maybe they were speculating how one family could accommodate such a large house. Or...just maybe they were wondering how one family could afford to heat this monster house. This is a discussion that we have very often ourselves :)


On a Brighter Note

Getting up so early yesterday allowed me to get quite a bit done! Here is a small sample:

  • 3 loads of laundry washed and 3 others put away
  • dishwasher emptied and refilled
  • playroom cleaned
  • a basket of random papers, stuff to file...tackled
  • several overdue phone calls...accomplished
  • 2 girls picked up at school
  • aforementioned girls and 3 boys taken to new playground by school for an hour
  • floors of 1st and 2nd floor "swiffered" and mopped-we'll tackle the 3rd floor later :)
  • breakfast, lunch and snacks for 3 little guys
  • e-mails...somewhat cleaned up old messages...needs more work
  • 3 packages sitting in laundry room...now ready to mail

Of course this doesn't include the daily picking up of toys, wiping up messes, etc.

I do feel another cold coming on (the 2nd in two months!). I had one just last month that turned into an ugly sinus infection. Hopefully this will keep me caught up for a while.

And...tah-dah!! The SUN finally made an appearance today! (Hence the playground detour ). We haven't seen the sun much. There has been a grey, ugly cloud hanging over Germany for the past few months. It seems to like us. My mother will be nodding in agreement as she reads this.

Ryan helped me push the swiffer today. He has been worried about some dust bunnies that he has seen, "Look Mommy, dere's the dust bunnies...we need to wiffer". It seems like a never-ending battle with tile floors (do they just "hide" in carpet?!?). It seems like we just tackle one or two floors and they are back within a few days (sigh). Hmm..maybe Logan can help out by eating them :)-just joking..although I cannot be totally sure that he hasn't contributed in some similar way.



I really dread the beginning of the school/work week. It seems like that is a restless sleep night, and I'm not sure why. Last night had to be one of the worst. Allen flip-flopped all night-which kept waking me up. I gave up after a while. So, I was up at 5:30 unloading the dishwasher and putting away laundry. When I woke up Lauren at 6:15 she started crying and said "But I just got to sleep! I didn't sleep at all!!" How's that for the start of a day?

To add to the fun-the playroom has bits of everything to clean up today-from Polly Pocket, Lincoln logs, mega blocks, Barbies, craft items, you name it. I also found out that Ryan had been playing with the toilet brush in the playroom yesterday. Nick assures me that he only touched the handle and not the "scrubby bit". Um, o.k. I haven't made my bed yet. Maybe I can still crawl back in.


Ahhhhhh Sleep!

It feels like Logan has finally understood the benefit of sleep. I can actually put him in his bed now and listen and.....just quiet. Ahhh. He really didn't get it until November or so. Yep-that was about 10 months of interrupted sleep for me. He is the kind of baby that gets louder if you go in his room and just pat his back or turn on some music to "distract" him. Understandably, now that he is sleeping much better, he is much happier ( and so is mommy!). I am always trying to find ways to enjoy him. Don't get me wrong-I really LOVE him with all of my heart , but there have been some days that I really didn't like him (the fussiness, LOUD CRYING, frequent night waking, and little tantrums have all added up over time). He really is becoming a sweet little boy. He like to imitate sounds and some words (like "poop"-always an occurrence in a baby's day). He loves to laugh-especially if someone is lying on the floor-his territory. He will roll all over that person.

So, back to the sleep. Now that he is sleeping, I need to change my habits of staying up late and actually take advantage of the quality sleep that I could be having. So, having said that-I am off to sleep! Both Logan and Ryan have wellness check-ups tomorrow. I will post the stats later.


A Year Ago (long post)

A year ago today I was scared. I had been home a few days with a newborn and recovering from surgery. We had our first outing with him and the siblings to have his bilirubin levels re-checked at the hospital. While we were waiting for the results we went across the street and had lunch and did a little shopping. Little did we know that our mobile phone wasn't receiving in that area. While we were out that morning I started developing a headache that subsided after I ate lunch. I attributed it to not taking some pain medication (which made me sleepy) recently, or not having caffeine (which I was trying to cut back on teas while I was nursing). We revisited the hospital and discovered that our ped was desperately trying to reach us since Logan had a high level and had to be hospitalized for light therapy and monitoring. Well, the flurry of activity to get some things back to the hospital for my overnight stay and his admission just egged on the headache. By this time my head was throbbing. This is the by far the worst headache I have ever experienced-light sensitivity, nausea, etc. I can just guess that a migraine is similar? I casually mentioned to my husband that I was going down to OB/L&D to ask the nurses. When I mentioned all of this to the nurses on the unit, she suggested that maybe I have some coke and lay down while she took my blood pressure. It was sky high.
Background: The last month of pregnancy I had been monitored for high BP since I had two borderline readings (both of those occurred after I was running late for the appointment-imaging that). My pressures had been very normal after that. I had been advised to let the staff know if I had severe headaches, etc......but none until now. Luckily, my dear doctor was on call at the hospital that evening. He had an IV with magnesium started to prevent seizures and a medication to lower my blood pressure. I had the nurse call my husband, who was unknowingly waiting several floors above with our son. I remember him asking me (amid the extreme pain in my head) what was going to happen, and all I could reply was "I don't know"-because I didn't. All I knew at that point was that I had a five-day-old son who needed me, and four other children at home with a babysitter who needed me. I felt like my body was failing me-arghh. I bet the nurses on the medical/surgical unit were shocked that the mother who had admitted her baby a few hours earlier was now a patient with him.

We stayed several nights until things subsided. I am so thankful for my friends who stepped up and took care of my children (again) while we recovered. Needless to say, that began an eventful year for me. It has been a year that has taught me so much. What a difference a year makes!The uncanny thing that happened that evening: I had just returned to the hospital room for less than 15 minutes when the phone rang; it was my mom. Nobody had called her to let her know that Logan and I had been readmitted. She just had a need to call our home and found out from the sitter that we were at the hospital. She lived in Texas and we were in the UK-about 5000 miles away. A mother's intuition? I think so.



Yes, it has only been 13 months since I originally registered for this site, but if you consider the events that have occurred over the past year-it's amazing that I even remembered the site. I'm not sure why I had time to set up a blog while raising a one-month-old and four other kids last year while my husband was serving a remote assignment in Crete, but I did. Maybe I was just wondering if anyone had a hectic life to compare with mine?

I really am excited about this as I see this as a way to record the daily events of our family (hey, it might be fun to laugh at in later years, right?), and to keep our family and friends updated. I have been so behind in updating them with pictures and events. There are quite a few kinks to work out. I don't know why the pictures are so HUGE! I will resolve that soon and post some more. I'm still not sure about the layout and links, etc. I have to admit that I have been a blog junkie lately. Initially I was just looking at blogs to get ideas about layout, wording, etc. But it is so fascinating to see the journals of others! I love reading and identifying with them. If you happen to see this blog from one of the comments I have posted-thanks for sharing your events. I hope you enjoy my words as much as I have enjoyed yours. Another kink: my site randomly shows up in German. Great chance for me to try and learn some German you say? But it's really frustrating to type the same things over and over...and over (*sigh*).

Recent events ( a big one at that): My BABY TURNED ONE! I just can't believe that little Logan has reached his first birthday. Honestly, there were some days that I wasn't sure that we (or he) would make it. He has really settled down since he STARTED WALKING! He had been taking a few steps here and there a few weeks before his birthday. Just a few days before the 9th, he just started cruising on his own. It's just so funny to see him coming around a corner toddling around. Then again, it's not so funny since he is much faster and can grab my leg as I try to get something done quickly.

I will try and post some more in the next days. I saw on the weather report that rain is expected all week. It has been cold and icy here. In fact, I know two people who had accidents this past week. I foresee a week of playing indoors with the boys and getting those errands done later in the week. I am trying to get to bed earlier. I think that I just try and extend that "me" time in the evenings. However, the 6:15 a.m. mornings are rough. I am a night person by nature. It's even harder to get going in the mornings when the sun doesn't make an appearance until after 8:00! Here's to a new year with more sleep.