Welcome to our life!

Hi, I'm Allison! I'm a thirtysomething, freshly baked, stay-at-home mom. I'm originally from Connecticut, now living in Germany, hence the name of the blog. I live in southern Germany with my German husband and our baby boy. Life has turned out to be nothing I ever expected, and am so incredibly happy with it! We certainly do have a lot of laughs! I hope you will enjoy following our new experiences raising a little half American/ half German in a little German town.

Freitag, 23. Dezember 2011

I'm 3 weeks old today!

Today is a funny day for me, one with mixed emotions.  Only a few short weeks ago, Joern and I walked into the Women's Clinic in Stuttgart, and set a date for my c-section.  Today was the day I was supposed to have had my baby.
Instead, we have a 3 week old.  We have a 12 day hospital stay behind us, and our first full week at home is also past.  We're starting to learn more about Erbse's personality, and we just had a big discussion today about how much Ryan has grown.  Erbse doesn't look like a newborn anymore, his chubby cheeks, while still chubby, have slimmed down a bit, and when he opens his eyes, they are wide and taking in everything.  It is incredible that our baby has changed so much in such a short time, and it is a funny realization to make on the day when he was scheduled to be born.

I have mixed emotions because I wouldn't change a thing, but I also know that things would be different had Erbse decided to stay in until today.  Of course, how different is something we'll never know.  It just wasn't in the cards for Erbse to be born today. 

I am so proud of my little boy, for overcoming his problems with eating early on.  He is growing like a weed and eating like one of those guys at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.  And of course, he is so adorable. 

So happy 3rd week Erbse!  Your Daddy and I love you so very much and can't wait to see what the next 3 weeks bring!

Samstag, 17. Dezember 2011


Well, most of you readers now know, Ryan is here!  He made his appearence on Friday, the 2nd of December, 2011.  So yes, he is already 2 weeks old!  Although he has only been with us a short time so far, it seems hard to imagine our lives without him anymore.  We are so in love!

After I completed my post on Thursday night, I decided to lay down on the couch for a while.  My back was hurting pretty bad, and I still had not decided if my back pain was due to my back problems or a sign of labor. I went upstairs at about 10:00 to assort all of the gifts we had received at the showers, because they were all just sitting in the middle of the room for a few days.  I wanted to start assorting to know what we had, what we needed, and to start making room for the furniture delivery.  I worked for about an hour, but by then, my back was really painful, and I was tired, so we went to bed.
At 5:00 am, I was happily asleep, when all of a sudden, I felt this gigantic gush, and I knew immediately that my water had broken.  I jumped out of bed, and woke Joern and said, "we need to go to the hospital now."
Of course, I had not packed a bag for the hospital, because that was on the day's plan for Friday.  So, once the flow of fluid calmed a bit, I asked Joern to go get his mom, ask her for some pads, and once she got here, I ran around for a few minutes packing some clothes, some towels, and of course, Erbse's "welcome home outfit."  I also had to find my "Mutterpass" or "Mother's passport."

While I was getting ready, Joern called the hospital in Stuttgart, where we had planned my c-section for the 23rd of December.  Surprisingly, they told Joern that they were full, and suggested that we go to the hospital in Esslingen.  So, Joern called Esslingen, and they said that of course, we should come right away.  Joern, his  mother, and I all loaded into the car.  The only things I kept saying were, "We're going to meet our little boy today" and "Holy cow, how much water is there?"

We arrived at the hospital at 6:00 am, and they met us outside with a stretcher.  I was wheeled into the birthing center, and immediately, hooked up to a NST.  Erbse's heartbeat was as strong as ever, and it showed I was continuing to have contractions, which I was still not feeling.  A doctor came in and informed me that they were going to do some bloodwork to check for infection.  If I did not have any signs of infection, they would monitor me over the next few days, and were hoping to keep Erbse in for a few more days.  Then, they brought me into another room, where we waited.

We called my father not too long after I was off the NST.  Afterall, not only was Dad's grandson on the way, but it was around 1:00 in the morning, which meant it was Dad's birthday too!  I can imagine, it was a good reason to wake Dad up, to tell him that he and his grandson were going to share a birthday!

 Around 10:00, I started having contractions, they lasted about 1 minute and came every 5 minutes.  My contractions were mostly all in my back, and they were painful, but handlable.

At 11:00, Dr. Kindermann, which is a very cool name for the chief doctor of the birthing center, to discuss a cesarian.  We discussed the reasons why I was leaning towards a c-section.  He agreed that it would be the best course of action, given my strange back and neck issues, and then told me that I would be having my cesarian that afternoon.  Afterwards, the anesthesiologist came in and we discussed options for anesthesia.  Evidently, because of my prolapsed disk, and not knowing the location, general anesthesia could have been an option.  But, then, we told her of the problems that the anesthesiologist encountered during my operation last year, where he had problems inserting and removing my breathing tube.  She decided that it was probably a more dangerous decision to go with general anesthesia, so the decision was made to go with spinal anesthesia.

At around 1:00, I was brought back to a birthing room, where I was again hooked up to an NST.  The results of the bloodwork had come back, and I had elevated white blood cell levels, although that was probably attributed to my arthritis which had flared up really bad in the weeks before Ryan's birth.  I was hooked up to an antiobiotic drip, as a preventative measure.

At 2:00, two nurses came to get me, to prep me for surgery.  Joern was taken to another room, and a few nurses prepped him to enter the operating room.  I was scared, nervous, and excited.  The operating room was really frightening.  Since I had general anesthesia last time, I didn't remember much of the OR, but this time, I was wide awake while they curled me into a ball, and had to inject the needle twice because they had problems straightening my back enough.  Once the spinal was inserted, the doctors rolled me onto my back, and strapped my legs and arms, which is not my favorite experience.  They then put up the paper tent in front of my face, so that I could not see anything.  I have to admit, I was starting to wonder if this was really the best decision.  Of course, the whole time, the only thing going through my head was "we shouldn't be here, Erbse should still be baking."  I could no longer feel anything below my ribs.

The doctor told me that she was going to start cleaning my belly area, and a nurse explained to me that I will have some sensation, kind of like "going to the dentist."  Of course, this totally freaked me out, because I didn't really enjoy my wisdom tooth removal.  They also warned me that people often get nauseated, due to the combination of the anesthesia, mixed with the knowledge of what's going on behind the tent, and that I needed to tell them if I felt nauseous, that they would then administer another medication.

And then, they brought Joern in.  He was wearing blue scrubs, and they sat him on a stool near my head.  Joern rubbed my shoulder, and I kept looking at him, which helped a lot.  The doctor then said, "we're going to begin."  Of course, I had no idea how long everything was, but it seemed that in about 3 minutes, I heard a lot of scrambling around and then the most beautiful sound ever- A HUGE SCREAM!  With thankful tears streaming down my face, they rushed Erbse to the peditrician waiting.  A few minutes later, they asked Joern to come join them, while they finished sewing me up.  Joern returned to the OR a few minutes after, with a huge smile on his face.  Erbse was very healthy and perfect in every way.

Once the doctors finished, they wheeled me to the recovery room, and on the way, they stopped by an isolette- and proceeded to remove the sweetest little baby ever, and place him on my chest.  Oh yeah, this adorable little guy just happened to be our precious Erbse.  As our luck would have it, our camera battery died, and we have no proof of this event :(

After cuddling for a minute or so, Erbse was placed back in his isolette, and I was wheeled off to the recovery room.  Joern joined me for a few minutes, made sure I was okay, and ran up to the special care newborn nursery, where Erbse was to spend the first few days of his life.  Joern returned to me a while later to report that Erbse was indeed doing quite well, only hooked up to a heartrate monitor, and they had him on a temperature controlled mattress.  He drank well the first night too.

I was in the recovery room for about an hour, I had to stay there until I could move my legs again.  Once I was able to move my legs, they brought me to my room in the OB area.  I had to stay in my room until around 8:30 pm, which was hard because I just wanted to go see Erbse.  But, it was probably good, once I was in my room, I was placed on some pain meds, which were really necessary as the pain was getting pretty bad.  But, by around 8:30, the pain meds had kicked in, and I was able to get out of bed.  Surprisingly, it wasn't bad, just felt like a giant rubber band was pulling me in towards myself.  I was able to spend about half an hour with Erbse up in his room, before being brought back down to the room for the night.

What an incredible day!  The doctor did warn me at the beginning of the week that Erbse might be on his way, and that she really hoped that I would make it to my appointment on Dec. 13.  Obviously, I didn't.  It turned out that we were in for a rough couple of weeks following this excitement, but by now, its all past.  We have a perfect, beautiful little boy, our little Ryan Charles.

Donnerstag, 1. Dezember 2011

35 weeks!

How far along?  35 weeks!  Tuesday should have been the highly coveted 35/ 35 date (35 weeks down, 35 days to go), but Little Erbse is going to be making his appearance before then, since I am having a c-section.  I'll explain more in a little but, but Erbse will be a December baby!

Total weight gain:  about 10 kilos, or 22 lbs.

How big is baby? Our Little Pea is the size of a honeydew melon.
Your baby doesn't have much room to maneuver now that he's over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (pick up a honeydew melon). Because it's so snug in your womb, he isn't likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times he kicks should remain about the same. His kidneys are fully developed now, and his liver can process some waste products. Most of his basic physical development is now complete — he'll spend the next few weeks putting on weight.
from www.babycenter.com

Maternity clothes:  I've now graduated to a lot of Joern's big, comfy sweatshirts and sweaters.  But my maternity shirts still fit well too, but the tanks are starting to expose belly again.

Sleep?  Okayish.  I now get up 2-3 times a night to go to the bathroom, and the leg cramps have returned again.  But, it is so helpful to be on maternity leave- I can sleep past 6 am, which is so helpful!

Best moment this week?  Last week, we FINALLY purchased Erbse's carseat!  We also bought a bassinet for the bedroom.  I wanted a co-sleeper, but Joern was really afraid that the baby would somehow end up on the floor with the co-sleeper.  But, no worries, I already made him promise to help me in and out of bed with the Erbse for the first few weeks while my incision heals.
Another amazing moment this week was when we went to the Frauenklinik in Stuttgart.  We had an appointment last Thursday.  The hospital is really nice, and well organized.  The doctor took us in pretty quickly to speak with us.  She said that given my back and neck problems, there is a 50/ 50 chance of me having no problems or I could have major problems with a natural birth, and then she said, but if something goes wrong, we will all have huge regrets.  So, she explained how the c-section will work. Joern will be allowed to be in the room with me when they do the surgery, and we'll get to hold Erbse soon after he is born.  She said that I should be in the hospital around 4 days or so, and that we should be able to get a hospital room converted into a family room, so that Joern and Erbse can stay in the room with me.  Amazingly though, we also scheduled the c-section!  Unless Erbse decides that he has had enough and wants to come out, he'll be here on Dec. 23rd! Yes, we truly will have the best Christmas present EVER this year!

Movement?  Erbse has settled into a pretty strong pattern of two very active days, one very sleepy day, one semi-active day, and back to the two very active days.  I think he's getting hiccups too, because my stomach   kind-of is reacting like when I have the hiccups, but I don't have them, its like a rythmic stomach movement. Very sweet to know that Erbse is practicing breathing!

Food cravings:  Salads and pumpkin pie :)

What I'm looking forward to:  Well, the topper on the list is meeting our little guy!  I'm also looking forward to the arrival of Erbse's furniture and fingers crossed, making it to the next doctor's appointment.

Labor signs:  I am crampy sometimes, especially if I stand too long.  But according to the doctor, there are lots of labor signs!  I am having regular Braxton Hicks contractions, but of course, still not feeling those.  The doctor said that Erbse is head down, and that my cervix is short and soft. She isn't so confident that we'll make it to the 23rd of December!

Other Erbse related news:
I'm still waiting for pictures from the baby shower to do my baby shower post.  But rest assured, Erbse has tons of gifts waiting for me to sort through!  I also received in the mail today Erbse's coming home outfit.  I also ordered a few "my first Christmas" outfits from the Children's Place, a store which conveniently now delivers internationally. Hopefully, the order will make it here before Erbse, because I ordered the most perfect hat for him to come home!

Mittwoch, 23. November 2011

34 weeks!

I admit, I have been a horrible blogger.  In my defense, we are living between our house and our apartment, and I have hit the fun of the third trimester, which means I am often exhausted, crampy, and just want to sleep. 
But, I figured in honor of my very first day of Maternity Leave - wahoo!- I would do a post.  I am hoping that I'll be able to get Joern to take a bump picture today, and when he does, I swear, I'll update!

How far along?  34 weeks.  Yup, you read that right, only 6 weeks to go before my due date!

Total weight gain?:  Our little guy isn't so little anymore, I'm up about 20 lbs. now.

How big is baby?
Your baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds (like your average cantaloupe) and is almost 18 inches long. Her fat layers — which will help regulate her body temperature once she's born — are filling her out, making her rounder. Her skin is also smoother than ever. Her central nervous system is maturing and her lungs are continuing to mature as well. If you've been nervous aboutpreterm labor, you'll be happy to know that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine. They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, they usually do as well as full-term babies.
from www.babycenter.com

Maternity clothes?:  Besides the trouble with keeping my maternity pants up now, the rest is okay. I don't have maternity pj's, so I have to wear tanks under my pajama shirts now.

Sleep?  Can't complain.  My crazy nightmares are continuing, now on a nightly basis, and I have to get up 2- 3 times a night to go to the bathroom, but I can fall back asleep okay.  And now that I'm on leave, I can sleep past 6:00 am, and if I need to, I can always take a nap.

Best moment this week?  Sheesh, its been a few weeks.  I had a good doctor's appointment two weeks ago.  She said that my cervix is shortening, but normally, which is all a part of my body preparing for delivery.  Little Erbse's heartbeat was seriously like a galloping horse on the NST as well last Monday- it was so strong, they had to turn down the volume on the monitor.  I had two incredible baby showers last week as well, one at work, and one held by my friend, Mandy.  I'll write a separate post about the showers, but suffice to say, Erbse has a LOT of stuff now!

Movement? Erbse has been really busy lately.  I think he's taking swimming lessons, because his movements are really fluid now, like a swimmer, and the bump is moving in very visible waves. I can always find a spot on my stomach now where I can distinctly feel a part of Erbse- which to me seems to indicate that he's running out of room.  I still can't tell the parts, but you can easily now say "butt or head," or "hand, foot, knee, or elbow."  I'm interested to see how this plays out in the next few weeks.

Food cravings?  Back to salads.  Hooray!

Labor signs?:  I'm having contractions, but think they are Braxton Hicks contractions.  I don't feel them, but they showed up on my last two NSTs.  The doctor said that they aren't causing any dilation, so there is no reason for concern.  I am also having some low back pain and cramping.  The doctor said that the pain and cramping could either be muscular discomfort, or signs that Erbse would soon like to make his arrival.  She did explain that because he is big, and I am not, he is definitely putting quite a bit of strain on my muscles.  

What I miss? These past few weeks, I can't say there is anything that I'm truly missing.  Maybe tuna, but not so badly.

What I'm looking forward to?  Erbse's furniture should be arriving within the next few weeks, and I can't wait to get working on his nursery.  Of course with 6 weeks left, the most exciting prospect though is meeting our little man!

More Erbse related news:  A few weeks ago, we met with one of the teachers at school who agreed to do a maternity photo shoot.  It was so fun, and the photos turned out beautifully.  Now that I have a little time, and internet access, I can do a post about these too!
I have started childbirth classes, although I am having a cesarian.  The classes are held weekly, on Tuesday mornings, and there are a total of seven, and even though there is quite a bit that has to do with natural birth, the teacher does a lot with pain management and strengthening after the birth, which will be important for me anyway.  I also am happy to go because the classes are taught by my Hebamme, or midwife.  She will be coming to the house often after Erbse is born, and I would prefer to know her a little bit before she comes into our home.  The nice thing about my midwife is that she is the mom of one of Joern's friends, so she knows him well.  I like this because their knowing each other has kind-of removed some of the formality that is very present here, and I don't really feel comfortable with.

Joern and I also had our first hospital tour last Thursday night.  It was in Reutlingen, a town not too far from here.  One of our friends had her c-section there, and said that she was pleased with the care.  I have to say, the tour left us a bit disconcerted.  When we arrived, the woman at the information desk led us on a wild-goose chase through the hospital, and we ended arriving in the meeting room 20 minutes late because we walked all over the place.  I also thought it was poor that there were no signs for the information night either.  To make matters worse, the nurses were very disorganized, and although very nice, they didn't leave us feeling too confident in the hospital.  Plus, the hospital is in bad need of renovation.  It isn't uncommon to have very old hospitals here, but this one is probably one of the more needy for an update.  Joern commented that the birthing rooms looked like medieval torture chambers!  We have a meeting tomorrow with the Women's Clinic in Stuttgart, which many people have recommended.  We'll see how that goes!

Freitag, 4. November 2011

31 weeks

How far along?  31 weeks

Total weight gain: I gained a lot between appointments, now I'm up about 18 lbs from the beginning.
How big is baby?
31 weeks: Baby weighs as much as four orangesYour baby now weighs as much as four navel oranges. (Length: over 16 inches, head to heel.)

This week, your baby measures over 16 inches long. He weighs about 3.3 pounds (try carrying four navel oranges) and is heading into a growth spurt. He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his skin. He's probably moving a lot, too, so you may have trouble sleeping because your baby's kicks and somersaults keep you up. Take comfort: All this moving is a sign that your baby is active and healthy.
From www.babycenter.com

Maternity clothes:  I had to break down and buy a few more pieces, although buying maternity clothing this far along is painful.  But, I went to H&M and bought a beautiful sweater dress for 30 Euro, and I even bought a sweater for our baby shower!

Sleep:  Pretty good, weird dreams, but overall, I'm sleeping fine.

Best moment this week?:  My doctor's appointment.

Movement?:  Fewer jabbing ninja kicks, and now I think he's either trying to ride a bike or swim, his movements are very fluid from one side to the other. I had to laugh this morning, but they showed a scene from movie where an alien popped out of a man's stomach on CNN.  I had to laugh because I always feel like one of these scenes when Erbse is moving around in there and my stomach is moving all sorts of funny ways.

Food cravings?:  Cake!

Labor signs?:  Fortunately still none.

Belly button in or out?: Still the same, shallow, but there.

What I miss?:  Coffee still!

What I'm looking forward to?: Well, the obvious- we're getting very close to meeting our little Erbse!

Milestone?: Less than 10 weeks to go!

Other Erbse related news:  
We had a great appointment with the OB on Monday!  It started with another NST (Non-stress test) and I figured out that there is something about them that Erbse does not like, because he squirmed and kicked the whole 20 minutes they had me hooked up to the machine.  I love them, because I get a full 20 minutes to listen to Erbse's heartbeat, which sounds much more like a galloping horse than what you would expect a pea's heartbeat to sound like, if a pea had a heartbeat.  Then, I had a growth scan.  Even though I have an ultrasound at every appointment, they do three growth ultrasounds here:  between 9 & 12 weeks, between 19 & 22 weeks, and between 29 & 32 weeks.  I've now had all my growth ultrasounds.   We found out that our little Erbse isn't so little at all.  I noticed during our last growth scan that all of Erbse's measurments were at the 75th percentile and above, but the doctor didn't say anything about it, and I forgot to bring it up at subsequent appointments.  Well, this time, he's measuring at or above the 90th percentile in all areas!  We asked if this was a problem, but the doctor said that if everything is measuring around the same size, there is no cause for concern.  It just happens that we're on our way to having more like the Jolly Green Giant than a little pea.  He's measuring about 2.02 grams, or close to 4.5 lbs.  No wonder I gained 6 pounds in the past month!  But, our little bruiser is doing very well.
We also talked again about delivery.  Joern and I would like to go look at a few hospitals for delivery, which we will do over the next few weeks.  The doctor wants me to make an appointment at the hospital where I will deliver at 35 weeks, I have to say, its really exciting to get to the point where we're talking about delivery!  

Besides the doctor's appointment, we made a little progress in Erbse's nursery.  His furniture was picked up from my stepmother's house last week and should be loaded by now on a ship.  We only had one little blip in the process, part of the crib was left at my stepmother's house.  Fortunately, the shipping company will come and pick up the other part, and has agreed to also ship my rocking chair from Pottery Barn Kids that is arriving way late!  

Sonntag, 30. Oktober 2011

30 weeks

How far along?  30 weeks

Total weight gain: now around 11 lbs.

How big is baby?
Our "Little Pea" is now the size of a head of cabbage.
30 weeks: Baby weighs as much as a large cabbageYour baby rivals a good-size cabbage in weight, tipping the scales this week at 3 pounds. (Length: about 15 3/4 inches, head to heel.)
Your baby's about 15.7 inches long now, and she weighs almost 3 pounds (like a head of cabbage). A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds her, but that volume will decrease as she gets bigger and takes up more room in your uterus. Her eyesight continues to develop, though it's not very keen; even after she's born, she'll keep her eyes closed for a good part of the day. When she does open them, she'll respond to changes in light but will have 20/400 vision — which means she can only make out objects a few inches from her face. (Normal adult vision is 20/20.)

From www.babycenter.com

Maternity clothes:  My maternity jeans, that I once praised for comfort, are now starting to stretch too much during the day.  I spend my days now running around, pulling up my pants.  I'm looking forward to a week break, during which time I will be sporting only my yoga pants! 
Sleep:  Alright.  I still am having trouble going back to sleep if I wake up during the night, but its okay.  I am having some crazy dreams though!

Best moment this week?:  Reaching 30 weeks!  I can count the number of weeks left until my due date on my fingers!  Oh my gosh!

Movement?:  Erbse has now gotten to punching one side of my stomach and kicking the other side.  That and he has found a new, very comfy to him position, where he stretches out what feels like at a 90° angle to my stomach.  I am assuming he puts his back against my stomach, becasue I have a long hard spot, and presses really hard against my stomach.  It is so cute that he is comfy in there, but it such a horribly uncomfortable position for me!

Food cravings?:  Philly cheesesteak, thanks to my friend, Carol.

Labor signs?:  Fortunately still none.

Belly button in or out?: A shallowie, but it pops out if I press on the sides of my belly button.

What I miss?:  Coffee still and salami.  I blame Joern for the salami, he had some the other night and it really looked yummy!

What I'm looking forward to?: My last monthly doctor's appointment next week.

Milestone?: Reaching the 30 week marker!

Other Erbse related news: 
The nursery continues to evolve.  Joern is working on the baseboard, which look fantastic against the blue walls and wood floors in the room. 

Montag, 24. Oktober 2011

Heavenly Apple Crisp- aka. one of my last baking projects in our apartment

Fall has been my favorite season pretty much all my life.  I have moved to a country where fall is nice, but not quite as lovely as fall in New England.  In an effort to savor some yummy American fall flavor, and to celebrate our upcoming move, I decided to make an apple crisp.
I can't really imagine many smells better than the combined scent of apple, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  It reminds me of home, and it is a scent that puts me in my happy place when I get stressed about packing, moving, and unpacking.  I am already getting a little sentimental about our tiny, but happy, apartment, and am probably trying my hardest to fill it with as many happy memories before we move away.  New England fall memories are among the best, so our apartment needs some fall baking this year.

I found this recipe on a lovely blog recently, Rachel's Nest, which prompted me to bake some delicious apple crisp tonight.  As I'm typing, the air is filled with the lovely, spicy scent of baking apples and cinnamon.  Aaah!

Fortunately, apple crisp is really easy, and fine for a Monday night.
I started by making brown sugar.  For most people, making brown sugar isn't a necessity, but for those of us living away from readily accessible brown sugar, my baking always requires homemade brown sugar.  Fortunately, homemade brown sugar just requires mixing 1-2 tbsp. of molasses (or Zuckerrübensirup) per 1 cup of sugar. Just mix the two together and smush all the molasses into the sugar with a fork.

And when its all worked in, you have fluffy, wonderful brown sugar:

Once the brown sugar was all set, I got to work peeling and slicing the apples.  Once all the slices were in the baking dish, I mixed together sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little flour, and sprinkled it over the apples:

Once the apples were set, I got to work on the crisp topping.  I mixed together melted butter, brown sugar, oats, and flour.  I then decided to throw in a little extra cinnamon and a dash of vanilla for good measure.  A little extra cinnamon and vanilla never hurt anything.

Once the topping mixture is good and crumbly, spoon it evenly over the sliced apples.  Then, just pop the baking dish full of appley goodness in the oven, and bake at 350° (175°ish C) for about 40 minutes, make sure to enjoy the wonderful smell!

 Here's the full recipe (adapted slightly from here)

Apple mixture:
5-7 apples, peeled, cored and sliced 
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Oat topping mixture:
2 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (Kaiser Natron here in Germany)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter, melted
*I added a little vanilla extract and some cinnamon to this mixture too*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the sliced apples in a lightly greased 9x13 inch dish. Mix the white sugar, 1 tablespoon of flour, nutmeg and cinnamon together and sprinkle over apples. 

Combine oats, 2 cups of flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and melted butter. Spoon over the sliced apples until evenly covered. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or vanilla sauce.  

Mittwoch, 19. Oktober 2011

How far along?  29 weeks

Total weight gain: still about 10 lbs.

How big is baby?  Our "Little Pea" is now the size of a butternut squash.
Your baby now weighs about 2 1/2 pounds (like a butternut squash) and is a tad over 15 inches long from head to heel. His muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and his head is growing bigger to make room for his developing brain. To meet his increasing nutritional demands, you'll need plenty of protein, vitamins C, folic acid, and iron. And because his bones are soaking up lots of calcium, be sure to drink your milk (or find another good source of calcium, such as cheese, yogurt, or enriched orange juice). This trimester, about 250 milligrams of calcium are deposited in your baby's hardening skeleton each day.
From www.babycenter.com

Maternity clothes:  Since its gotten much cooler outside, I've had to go back to some of my non-maternity, but far warmer, sweaters.  The good ones are cardigans.  My non-maternity tops are hitting now about mid-bellybutton.

Sleep:  Eh,not the most desirable.  I'm still having leg cramps.  I also have trouble falling back to sleep after my 2 am bathroom trip.  Plus, I have a miserable head cold, and haven't been able to breathe the past few nights.

Best moment this week?:  Well, since this post is actually two weeks worth, the best was getting a 3D picture of Erbse's face at the doctor last Monday night.  It was the first time that he was sleeping at the doctor, so she could get a good shot of his face.  This past week, the best thing was seeing Erbse's room painted a perfect shade of "Little Boy Blue." You can see me in Erbse's room in this week's picture.

Movement?:  Erbse has been moving so much that two weeks ago, I was worried that I hadn't felt him move in about 20 hours.  I called the doctor and she had me come in right away and they hooked me up to a fetal heart monitor.  Of course, as soon as the nurse strapped me up and drew the curtain, I got a little karate chop to the stomach.  I was slightly embarassed, but the doctors and nurses agreed that it was best that I come in.  We've decided he is going to be a soccer player or a ninja.  Erbse's kicks are getting much stronger, which has really surprised Joern, and are getting a little painful to me.

Food cravings?:  Nothing really intense.

Labor signs?:  None yet, crossing my fingers that we don't see any for a while. 

Belly button in or out?:  A shallowie.

What I miss?:  Coffee.  I miss coffee so much!  I know I can have some, but don't want to get back to my 2 cup a day habit, so its safer to avoid.  Boo hoo!

What I'm looking forward to?: Next week is 30 weeks! 

Milestone?:  We're well into the third trimester now.  Because so many websites and books disagree as to the beginning of the third trimester, I've definitely been in the third trimester for over a week now!

Other Erbse related news: 
As of last Monday, Erbse weighs approximately 1200 grams (about 2.5 lbs.).  According to the doctor, this is perfect, according to a website, he is measuring about a week ahead.

We finally went into a baby store to look for a stroller and car seat.  I am trying to decide between the Britax/ Roemer sleeper, which allows the baby to lay down in the car and is supposed to be much more ergonomically correct; or the Maxi Cosi Pebble, which is more of a traditional car seat, but has the bonus of being more in a laying position than the average car seat.  One of the parents at school gave me a beautiful convertible stroller, that looks barely used.  The only problem is that it doesn't fold down very small, so I would like another stroller for when we travel, or when we want to put something more than the stroller in the trunk of the car. 
The parents at school are so generous, and have given me quite a few baby clothes.  I can't believe how many clothes we have now! 
The room is all painted, and the shipping company is headed to my stepmother's house next week Wednesday. All of the furniture has now been shipped.   I  even made a few last minute orders, including the wooden letters for Erbse's name on the nursery wall, and the Fisher Price My Little Lamb swing, that will hopefully get in before the shipment leaves.  I can't wait to get all of Erbse's furniture set up in the nursery!

Donnerstag, 6. Oktober 2011

On naming a baby

Its no secret that Joern and I are having a lot of difficulty finding a name for our Little Erbse.  Today though, I probably got some of the best baby naming advice of all time.
One of my students from 3 school years prior was in the library today after work.  Oh yeah, I work in the library now, I'll have to write more about that later, now I'm talking about the serious work of naming a kid.  So, this girl who is now a fourth grader, was asking me a bunch of questions about the baby.  She asked me about the baby's sex, so I told her that we're having a boy.  She said that it was good to find out the sex so that you can start shopping before baby comes.  I agreed, but then added that for me, I am very glad that we know we're having a boy because we only need to choose a boy name, and that's stressful enough.  The student responded by saying, "well it shouldn't be that hard, I named both of my rabbits with just a little help from my mom."

So there you have it, I guess it should be pretty easy if I want to name the baby either "Floppy," or "Misty."  Apparently, I shouldn't stress about this name decision!

Dienstag, 4. Oktober 2011

27 weeks!

How far along?: 27 weeks

*Total weight gain: about 10 lbs.
*How big is baby?: The baby is still the size of an eggplant

 *Maternity clothes?: I've been wearing a few non-maternity t-shirts lately, because it is so warm here, and I don't have that many maternity T's.  But, they make me look even bigger, and I feel much more comfy in my maternity clothes.

*Sleep?:  Pretty good.  But, if I roll too far over onto a side, then I get a pretty bad cramp pretty quickly.  And of course, Erbse kicks pretty good when I roll over too far too :)

*Best moment this week?: Reaching the third trimester!  That and when Joern definitely felt Erbse kicking, quite a few times!

*Movement?: Lots and lots!  He is managing to kick up under my ribs and probably punch down below my belly button at the same time.  Lots of kicks also end up in a little bulge in my belly.  I can stare at my stomach for hours now waiting for Erbse to move :)

*Food cravings?: milk

*Labor signs?: Too early!

*Belly button in or out?: Popping out on the edges.

*What I miss: being able to bend over without being in pain

*What I'm looking forward to: doctor's appointment next week

*Milestone: Third trimester!  We only have three months to go!

*Other Erbse related news:  I have to send in my documents for the shipping company, and Erbse's furnitre is set to leave my stepmother's house on the 26th of October.  I'm pretty sure Erbse will be here before his bedroom, but he doesn't really need his bedroom immediately.  I have tons and tons of clothes now, both gifts and very gently used clothes from moms at school.  I have washed everything, and am in the process of packing by age / size.  This weekend WILL be shopping weekend- we desperately need to look at strollers and car seats!

Mittwoch, 28. September 2011

How far along? 26 weeks

*Total weight gain: 8 lbs.
*How big is baby?: Our Little Pea is the still size of an eggplant!

Let your spouse put an ear to your belly -- he might be able to pick up baby's heartbeat (no stethoscope required). Inside the womb, the formation of tiny capillaries is giving baby a healthy pink glow. Baby's also soaking up your antibodies, getting the immune system ready for life outside the womb. Eyes are forming, and baby will soon perfect the blink -- perfect for batting those freshly grown lashes.

*Maternity clothes? Pretty much everything

*Sleep? I would say 90% good. 

*Best moment this week?:  Making it to double digits until my due date!  As of today, its 97 days until Erbse Day!  That and Joern FINALLY felt a real, strong kick!  Hooray!

*Movement?: Lots and lots of movement!  Erbse has been kicking really strong the past few days, and now, my stomach moves when he kicks hard. It is so cool, even though it does seem like something out of a movie about aliens!

*Food cravings?: not really craving anything

*Labor signs?: Too early!

*Belly button in or out?: My scar from my surgery is now halfway inside and halfway outside.  There isn't much more belly button left there.

*What I miss: Coffee

*What I'm looking forward to: More kicks from my little guy, my upcoming doctor's appointment in two weeks. 

*Milestone: Most definitely hitting double digits!  I know that time will really fly anyway.  I just checked the calendar for October, and was shocked to see that Oct. 10th is already two weeks away!

*Other Erbse related news:  Erbse and I had a brief sick-leave last week, due to a case of scarlet fever at work.  We enjoyed our time home though, if I wasn't busy with the laundry and packing, I was sitting on the couch staring at my stomach.  Its amazing how interesting it can be to watch your stomach bulge out :)  I also ordered Erbse's mattress over the weekend.  The only thing I have left to order for the container is the changing pad, and then Erbse's room will be all ordered.  Wahoo!  I only have to wait till October 13th for the chair to be delivered, and shipment is on the 26th of October. 
I also found a ton of pop / rock based lullabies on I-Tunes.  Erbse and I now are enjoying lullaby versions of Coldplay and Eternal Flame, by the Bangles.  He seems to especially enjoy "Eternal Flame," and "Clocks."  He kicks quite a bit when I sing :)

Dienstag, 20. September 2011

25 weeks!

How far along? 25 weeks, sorry, I missed last week!

*Total weight gain:8 lbs.
*How big is baby?: Our Little Pea is the size of an eggplant!

Let your spouse put an ear to your belly -- he might be able to pick up baby's heartbeat (no stethoscope required). Inside the womb, the formation of tiny capillaries is giving baby a healthy pink glow. Baby's also soaking up your antibodies, getting the immune system ready for life outside the womb. Eyes are forming, and baby will soon perfect the blink -- perfect for batting those freshly grown lashes. 
From www.thebump.com

 *Maternity clothes?:Most all of my clotes now are maternity clothes.  But I did wear a non-maternity shirt today.  Its one of myz favorites, and I'm not sure how much more time I have with it.

*Sleep?: Pretty good! 

*Best moment this week?:  Well,a lot has happened over the past two weeks!  First off, we passed the glucose tolerance test!  It was only very entertaining to have the Erbse get super-active about 10 minutes after I had to drink the glucose syrup!  No one can tell me that there is no correlation between sugar and activity!
We also had a great doctor's appointment last week Monday!  Little Erbse is measuring right on target.  Of course, what was cutest of all was seeing Little Erbse with his entire hand stuffed in his mouth.  That's when we realized, we're going to have a healthy eater!  But he really knows how to make your heart melt!

*Movement?: Erbse is quite busy, often.  Joern thinks he felt a kick the other day.  Tonight, he kicked, or punched really high up, and it was so strong, it really took me off guard.  He also started kicking at 6:00 this morning, just as I rolled over to try to get 20 more minutes sleep.

*Food cravings?: fruit

*Labor signs?: Too early!

*Belly button in or out?:Getting more shallow.

*What I miss: not much these past few weeks, I'm enjoying the pregnancy right now.

*What I'm looking forward to: Erbse getting stronger and stronger with his kicks!

*Milestone: 25 weeks today!  We only have a few more days to go before we're into double digits until Erbse's birthday!

*Other Erbse related news:  I am having trouble with iron.  My blood work in August came back that I'm anemic.  The iron tablets my doctor perscribed had a really negative impact on my arthritis, and for a week or so, I was barely able to walk.  I've tried a few other iron supplements, and we may have found a good one, that I can tolerate.  I also turned in my paperwork from the doctor for maternity leave.  The HR lady at work is on vacation until next week, so I am looking forward to meeting with her when she returns to find out how this whole maternity leave thing works.

Mittwoch, 7. September 2011

Sprinting to the "finish" line

Well friends, faithful readers, as of yesterday, we began the "end phase!"  Yes, the "end phase."  The house has come from a hole in the ground to the point where everything being done now is the interior finishing. 
"Cute Tile Guy," began yesterday.  From here, we are looking at 2-3 weeks of tiling, 2 weeks of plaster work/ painting, plumbing fixture installation, 1 week of wood floors, and the kitchen.  Kitchen is the last thing to go in before us.  We're looking at about 3 more months total.  But this is the exciting stuff!  From here on out, the house is coming together, the accumulation of all of our hard work and stressful decisions.  We're obviously freaking out excited!
Yesterday's job by cute tile guy was all prep work.  He installed water barriers underneath the tiled floor master shower and the bathtub. 

He also installed drywall along the back of the vanity and behind the bathtub.

We also now have in our possession the majority of tiles!

Our cellar tiles that Joern had to pick up and offload.  That was a lot of lifting!

And the rest of the tiles, from the tile showroom, that were definitely offloaded with a crane:

Although, I do believe that we have not yet received the tiles for the floor in the master bath.

Besides the tile flooring, our salesman from the floor company stopped by yesterday.  He needed to make measurments and to check that the floor is indeed dry enough to lay the parquet. 

The guys who laid the "Estrich," that concreteish material on top of the radiant heating tubes put little "markers" in the floor, marking easy places for the flooring companies to come and remove a section to measure the humidity level in the floor. 

They removed a small section on the first floor and a small section on the second floor, and put each section into a special instrument that measures how much humidity is in the concrete.

The good news is that the floor is pretty much dry now, so it will be fine at the beginning of October, the tentative begin date for the floors.

The salesman also spoke with us about a solution for our hearth.  Joern was vehemently against tiling the hearth in front of the fireplace, insisiting on a glass plate.  The only thing that the salesman warned against the glass plate is that we will be forever bumping into a raised surface and stubbing our toes.  For someone with arthritis in their toes, the act of stubbing my toes usually ends up with me in crying jags because the pain is just unbearable.  He suggested a solution of removing one of the bottom layers of parquet in the area surrounding the fireplace, this would take about 6 mm off the height of the parquet.  Then, we will install a 6 mm thick glass plate in the lowered section, which will give us a seamless, glass-covered hearth.  Genius, I tell you!

The floor was officially ordered today, although we still haven't made a final decsion on the stairs.  Really, stairs aren't a big deal though, and we could even move in before the stairs are covered.  And part of me would prefer to move in first, just so no one drops any of our lovely, very heavy furniture on our stairs.  The stairs are ultra-expensive, and we're now considering only putting parquet on the stairs heading up to the bedrooms, and using tile instead on the stairs heading up from the basement.  I am also undecided as to whether I would like wood only on top of each step, and painting the concrete a high-gloss white on the rise, or if it is better to completely cover the rise and steps.  I'm not going to stress about this decision, nor do we want to rush the decision.  Here, we have time.

Well, that's it.  The beginning of the end.  Of course, the house will be nowhere near complete when we move in either, but this is the beginning of the end of the uninhabited time in our house's story!

Dienstag, 6. September 2011

How far along?: 23 weeks

*Total weight gain: I will probably find out tomorrow
*How big is baby?: The baby is still the size of a papaya

Watch what you say -- baby is now able to hear outside noise from down in the womb. Studies show that baby finds gentle music and your own voice most soothing. Nipples are starting to sprout, and that little face is fully formed. And, baby's starting to settle into sleep cycles, snoozing about 12 to 14 hours a day. It shouldn't be hard to figure out when -- just pay attention to those kicks as they start and stop.  from www.thebump.com

 *Maternity clothes?: All I can say is "yoga pants at work." 
*Sleep?:  Sleeping pretty well. 

*Best moment this week?:  Comparing my pictures from last week and this week.  The bump grew!

*Movement?: Erbse has been wiggling around at work and at home.  He's busiest in the morning, from about 8-12, and then again around 5:00.  I get a few kicks when I am getting ready to sleep too.
*Food cravings?: fruit, veggies

*Labor signs?: Too early!

*Belly button in or out?: Still an innie, and still rather painful!

*What I miss: sleeping on my right side

*What I'm looking forward to: more Erbse kicks!

*Milestone: Two weeks till 25!  17 more to go!

*Other Erbse related news:  Tomorrow is my glucose tolerance test.  I'm super nervous, but know that it is the right decision.  No name yet.  Oh, and my goal for this week is to order a mattress. 

Mittwoch, 31. August 2011

22 weeks

How far along?: 22 weeks

*Total weight gain: still 7 lbs.
*How big is baby?: The baby is the size of a papaya

Watch what you say -- baby is now able to hear outside noise from down in the womb. Studies show that baby finds gentle music and your own voice most soothing. Nipples are starting to sprout, and that little face is fully formed. And, baby's starting to settle into sleep cycles, snoozing about 12 to 14 hours a day. It shouldn't be hard to figure out when -- just pay attention to those kicks as they start and stop.  From: www.thebump.com

 *Maternity clothes?: I wore my new maternity dress today.  So many complements!  I love it!

*Sleep?:  Still tossing and turning quite a bit, but pretty much well rested.

*Best moment this week?:  Feeling the Erbse kicks from outside.  Now, if only Joern was patient enough to feel too!

*Movement?: Erbse made his presence known to me quite a few times at work this week.  It was so hard not to giggle when Erbse wiggled around while the director of the school directed his "welcome back" speech.
*Food cravings?: fruit, veggies,  macaroni & cheese

*Labor signs?: Too early!

*Belly button in or out?: Still an innie, and still rather painful!

*What I miss: sleeping on my right side

*What I'm looking forward to: more Erbse kicks!

*Milestone: We're in to month 5 now. 

*Other Erbse related news:  Still no name.  We can't land on one that we are both in love with.  We met with my friend, Mandy, on Friday at the Stuttgart Weindorf.  She asked if she could host a baby shower!  I was certain that I would not have a baby shower here with all of my friends.  I am soooo excited!

Donnerstag, 25. August 2011

21 Weeks

How far along?: 20 weeks

*Total weight gain: still 7 lbs.
*How big is baby?: The baby is the size of a banana.

Baby gulps down several ounces of amniotic fluid every day, both for hydration and nutrition and to practice swallowing and digesting. And, these days, those taste buds actually work! Studies show that after birth, babies are most interested in tastes they've already experienced through amniotic fluid. Meaning, think about what you want your future child to eat as you prepare your own lunch.
 *Maternity clothes?: Most definitely, tank tops and t-shirts for length!  I put on my shorts today, and well, I hope the heat breaks soon, it was a struggle!

*Sleep?:  I'm tossing and turning quite a bit.  I get uncomfortable on my left side, so I flip on my right for a few minutes, then back to my left.  When I wake up again, its time for another few minute break on my back, but I don't fall asleep this way.  Blargh!

*Best moment this week?:  Feeling the Erbse move while sitting, not just when I am laying down!

*Movement?: Feeling Erbse move when I sit and lay down.
*Food cravings?: fruit, veggies

*Labor signs?: Too early!

*Belly button in or out?: Ouchie!  Still an innie, but the scar from my surgery that is in my belly button must be stretching.  It really hurts!

*What I miss: not having to bend over to see my feet

*What I'm looking forward to: more Erbse kicks!

*Milestone: Breaking past the halfway point.  Its all downhill, until I become a mountain, from here!

Mittwoch, 24. August 2011

Bella Italia- July 2011

We made two short trips to Italy in July.  Instead of lots of explanation, I thought it would be better just to sum up the two weekends with a bunch of pictures.

In the Alps, near Lichtenstein.

Splügenpass.  Elevation: 6,932 ft.

Chiavenna- I'm in love!

From Milan to Venice

Lido di Jesolo

Enjoying an evening cocktail (alcohol free, of course,) by the hotel pool.



Venice at night

Festa Redentore (Feast of the Redeemer)

Last stop before home- fruit, veggies, and wine!