KathyBou’s Blog

A sampling of things that are going on and around.


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I’ve always liked September.  It’s a good month.  And since both the boy and the baby are Virgos, it has become an even bigger month.

This particular September though, is chasing D and me around in circles.  Just one thing after another, you know how those things go.  This post for example has been a draft for about a week now.

We spent a good part of D’s birthday at the new apartment, getting paint on old clothes, and the walls – Happy Birthday!

I didn’t suggest it though, he did, so it’s not so terrible. And we did do proper celebrating later.

We‘re moving moved Saturday (yesterday) if all goes well, and it went pretty well.  One of our friends came over to help move the big stuff and my other friends watched baby A all day, which was a relief.

Baby A has been moody all day today, while we have been unloading/cleaning/discussing what to do with this and that.  You would think she would be in heaven with so much lying around for her to inspect. But I guess it’s a little too much for her at the moment.  She finally fell asleep just now for a nap.  Right now D is at IKEA, getting random various things we need.

The kitchen, that we bought from the old owners, is our problem area right now.  There is no hot water  in there, and the faucet doesn’t properly shut off.  On the oven, which was also part of the “deal” from the old owners, the temperature dial has no temperature indications anymore (we already decided we are buying a new oven/cooktop).  On the bright side, the refrigerator that we bought new is very nice!   Go figure.

Okay, back at it, while I still have a sleeping baby!


Written by Kat

September 19, 2010 at 12:23 pm

We are actually moving

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I thought we’d stay in this apartment until we left Europe, and then we’d have this story to tell over and over about how we lived, and even had our first born, all in this tiny 55 sq. meter (~590 sq. feet) apartment in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Hah, we’ll keep that story to tell.  And to the kids, how we biked to work everyday, uphill both ways. Hehe.

Finding a new place took a l-o-n-g time.  Last month we finally found one that fit most of our (not so crazy) criteria, but I figured we wouldn’t get it, because we’ve been looking for forever with no luck… But then we got it.  And the property manager was even nice and seemed to like our internationality. Crazy.

There was still some hesitation on our side because we were waiting on some news from work.  In the end we took the risk and signed anyway, and what do you know, things at the office seem to be going the way we wanted. I’m stunned.

So I guess it’s really happening.  Of course now that I know we are moving I’m getting a little sentimental about leaving this place.  Not enough to want to stay cramped up in here any longer, but still.

And I just found out how old the building actually is.  We knew it was old, you can tell just by looking at it:

But also, once in a while we see a tour, led by a man or woman with a cloak and a lantern, one of those historical deals, and they always stop in our courtyard and talk (I’m assuming) about the history of this apartment complex.   It’s in German so we haven’t ever taken the tour, but this building is special or old or both.  Anyway, I just found out, that the big numbers we mistook for old apartment numbers, these:

are actually the date for the building: 1873, fancy that!

We’ve been mentally preparing to pack, but not packing yet because, honestly, we don’t have space to pile boxes. The new place isn’t overly large but it is roughly double what we have now. I see at least one trip to IKEA in the near future.

Written by Kat

August 26, 2010 at 10:50 am

Posted in germany, Life

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On baby watch

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Earlier this year I counted 9 of our friends/family who were pregnant.  Nine!!  And that was off the top of my head so I’m sure I probably missed a couple.

D’s sister is “up to bat” next – today she’s 5 days late, so it could happen at any time now.  I realized that we will be expecting news now for every month for the rest of year, awesome!

Written by Kat

August 24, 2010 at 10:59 am

Posted in bebe baby, family, Life

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10 months

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She’s officially 11 months old today, so here’s my hurry up and post about it already for baby A’s 10th month.

It is amazing how much of personality can fit in such a small body.

Madame curieux

I can’t say I know that many babies, but she is by far the most curious of all her baby friends.  Her inquisitive nature makes feeding her almost impossible when something else is going on in the room.

She’s also turned into a little copy cat.  After her baths she gets lotion, and we rub our hands together, in a lather motion,  before applying it, which she loves, and just last week she is able to do it herself.  She gets her own tiny dab now.

Big milestones

But by far, the biggest news for baby A at 10 months is two part:

1.) She’s walking!

2.) She’s letting her parents sleep through the night – thank you, thank you, thank you.

She’s an early walker and it makes me both proud and a little sad – life is changing all the time, and I love her at this age.   She loves practicing walking around outside now, and purposefully turns away from me, her minder! – the nerve I must have to follow her around!

The sleeping through the night (most of the time) is rather fabulous.   I actually have the energy and motivation to be preemptive again, if I choose.  So sometimes the floors get cleaned before you know, you can see debris rolling in the breeze.

She also loves to climb the stairs when we forget to place back the security gate back right away – she’s training us pretty fast.

Also, just last week, she started to wave bye-bye and actually said “bye-bye” to papa.  It was seriously adorable.  It could just be my imagination, but she seems to be focused a bit more on other things now, like talking and hand motions, now that she has the walking thing mostly figured out.

We were at shoe store in Aachen a couple of weeks ago  for D, and along with some great finds for him (2x pair), they had some perfect little baby shoes there.  The sales woman said that babies should be able to run in bare feet before buying lauflernschuhe (learning shoes), which sounds a bit backwards to me, but okay, I’m not in a rush.  We checked her size anyway and she’s a EU size 19 but will probably be a 20 by the time she’s running.  For now I have her in some Tip Toey Joey’s, that are considered “prewalking” shoes – she has to wear something when she’s outside (and I think they are sweet):

Emphatic head shaking

D and I do this to her, when she’s acting silly so I have no idea if she really gets that a head shake means no.  Still, she does this, vigorously, when she doesn’t want to eat something, or when she’s done eating.  She also does this when I ask her if her fruit is good, or if she’s ready to get out of her high chair, so who knows.

First face to object infraction

This week, while I was 2 feet away and strapping on the baby carrier on so we could take out the trash, she walked over and fell into the stand for the neighbor’s big sun umbrella.  And then back onto the floor.  There was a little blood.  She has a cut/scratch under her lower lip. Sigh.

We went blueberry picking in Belgium last Friday.  I can’t say this is a 10 month old friendly sport but it was fun anyway.  Baby A liked the blueberries straight from the bucket.

Written by Kat

August 10, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Posted in bebe baby, family, Life

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Definitely summer

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It’s been hot here.  Sweat in your underwear doing nothing hot.  And since there is no air conditioning to be found (even in retail shops), we’ve been doing a lot of hiding in the shade.  And eating watermelon.

Germany, in May, means lots of time off in the form of holidays, most of them being religious.  I’m not sure if this was engineered, or just happened, but it’s rather ridiculous.  We ended up having two 4-day weekends and one 3-day weekend within the span of a month.

During one of our long weekends, we went to London.  It was our first time, and our first hotel trip with baby.  It was amazing how much we packed (for her) for a short 3 night stay.  Still, it worked out well and we really liked London.   It was beautiful, the food was great (contrary to popular opinion), and there were lots of green spaces to visit.   And our hotel had a doorman with a top hat!  We managed to see a lot during our short stay, even with a baby-on-board, and I would definitely go back to see more.

Outside Harrod's

Looking at The Thames

Last week we returned from a big trip home to see family.  Nine month-old Baby A got see alot of different family and friends for the first time.   It feels like the trip was mostly that – time with family.  D and I missed some of our old haunts, but hopefully next trip will be a little more relaxed.  The flights were okay, all things considered.  The plane home was the hardest, it was an overnight flight, and Baby A had a hard time falling/staying asleep.  So none of us slept and then we had a 2 hour drive to get home, and the next three days were all out of whack.  We found out around then that she is also teething again too.  More fun!  She has 8 teeth and is working on 1 or more molars now.  Poor little petite.

Written by Kat

July 12, 2010 at 11:21 am

8 months

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I could easily launch into a “where has the time gone” speech but I’ll spare you.  The first year is going by terribly fast, just like everyone says.

New things for 8 month-old Baby A:

  • Clapping.  First time on her 8-month birthday.
  • Five teeth.  Fifth came in over the weekend (May 15, 2010).
  • Crawling over or under almost anything.  Like under the wall in a changing room (shopping alone just got harder).
  • Eating a decent amount of baby food.  Instead of 3 or 4 bites.
  • Crying when D or I leave the room, i.e. separation anxiety.  Fun!
  • Standing in her crib and see over the top rail.   So she can pull on her mobile now.
  • Eating some real food, and actually doing it quite well.  Teeth are a big help.

I’m sure I’m forgetting at least a few things.  One of her new fun activities is pulling the dish towels off their rack.  And balancing herself precariously on furniture, sometimes one-handed.

This week we’ve stayed at home more since we all are sick and baby A has a runny nose.  We take walks when the apartment gets boring.

It’s been a cool year for Europe so far, so even though it’s May, we are still dressing like this:

Every day she understands more.  It’s amazing to see her figure things out, and to find new things to laugh at.  She is still a happy baby, or good humored, as D’s mother always says.  Today, balancing a soft toy on her head makes her crack up.

We love you baby A!

Written by Kat

May 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Posted in bebe baby, family, Fun, Life

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PEKiP impressions

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PEKiP, otherwise known as “the naked baby playgroup”.

During one of Chicken Little’s first play dates, one of the mothers said she had enrolled her baby in a PEKiP class.  Where in her words, the babies all get together naked on the floor and “go wild”.  I must admit, my first reaction was in the range of “what?! why?!”  I mean, they invented diapers for obvious  and tidy reasons.  I really like hanging out with this mom, but she fits more the “free spirit” parenting style category, whereas D and I are still solidly “by the book”.

But then we were finishing up our physical therapy sessions and the doctor said PEKiP would be good for little A.  Even though she’s now advanced for her age, the doctor said “it’s good for her to see what the older babies do.”   Two endorsements for PEKiP in less than 2 weeks, and one by a medical professional.   Hmmm…  Let’s try it.

We arrived with some trepidation (on my side) on Monday morning.   I paid for the class and left the stroller at the door.  Upstairs, the room was set up very similar to any childcare room.  Exercise mats covering the whole floor, toys piled in one corner.  There was a large plastic mat in the center of the room and some space heaters in the corner making the room quite warm.   After we worked out that yes, I was the English speaker with the bad German, and said hello to everyone, we waited another 5 minutes and then the class began.

First off we get the babies naked and then each was given a beach ball to stand/lay over, stomach to the ball, and facing each other in a circle.  The instructor said this was so the babies could see and touch each other as they wanted, and at a distance they felt comfortable.   I’m not convinced babies this age really have the proper body-to-ball coordination, but okay.   At this point I find out that the instructor has her own “baby”, a doll, that joins in on the activities too.  Then we sing a song that goes “Guten Tag, something something, Guten Tag” and roll call’s all the mamas and babies in the room (oh yes, the doll has a name too).

Next up, the babies move over to a set of hexagonal-shaped platformed cushions, made of soft (waterproof) material and at varying heights.  Perfect for climbing.  The babies love this.  I was happy that baby A got right in there.  And then the instructor brought out two shallow tubs of plastic balls.  Another hit.

Towards the end we put on diapers and held the babies in our arms to dip and sway for a song.  Then we listened to other music on the floor and played with sheer, colorful scarves, while re-dressing the little ones.

I think 4 out of the 6 peed on the floor at some point during the 90 minute session.  You wipe it up with your own towel, and then wash the area with some soap and water they provide.  It wasn’t as bad as I imagined.   All those baby cheeks were cute but I didn’t want to offend anyone by whipping out my camera, especially one our first day.

This class could be done fully clothed.   So why naked?  From what I have read, it is for better motor development and a more sensory experience.   And just as valid a question, why not naked?  Once you have everything waterproofed, a bunch of naked babies playing together sounds like fun (and it is).

More information about PEKiP can be found here.

Written by Kat

April 30, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Posted in bebe baby, Fun, germany

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