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.

Mittwoch, 30. Januar 2013

Ryan- 13 months

I cannot believe that my little baby boy is now 13 months old!  Thirteen months is way worse than one year, because he's not even one year anymore, but one year plus.  And to make matters worse, looking back on my sweet baby boy's first year, I feel like the world's worst mom, because I was really, really bad at documenting it.  I believed in my baby book.  It turns out that looking back, my baby book is just a tiny snippet into Ryan's life.  I think this is another reason why I'm having so much trouble with Ryan being 13 months- I feel like the first year flew by, and I don't have much to hold on to.

So please bear with me while I go into a little more detail about the first month of Ryan's second year.

The month started off with a fantastically fun birthday party,

 and a trip back to Germany.  We lost a week to jetlag, and 3:00 am bedtimes.  Ryan had his one year checkup, where he weighed in at 23 lbs (no wonder my arm starts burning when I hold him,) and measured 29 inches.  The good news is that he's close to the 50th percentile now for height, which is a triumph, at his 6 month checkup, he was in the 10th percentile for height.  But he's gone from 80th percentile in weight to 50th, which would be good if it were only due to his largely increased mobilitly, but we struggled for months with food.

My little boy became a full-fledged toddler this month!  On Ryan's birthday, he was able to walk pretty well, so well that we stopped counting steps because there was no point where we were waiting for him to fall.  He still needed help getting up off the floor, and would have to crawl over to a piece of furniture or the wall for a little help getting up.  During the month, Ryan slowly started assuming a position that looked like he was going to do a summersault, which was his attempt at getting up.  All of a sudden, one day, while sitting, he put his hands on the floor, butt up in the air, and with a little wobble, stood up all by himself!  We clapped and laughed together at his triumph.

He's also started running.  It started during our 20,000 times a day game of chase around the island.  The game that started with me crawling behing him around the island, then turned into walking around the island, finally became run around the island.

 He runs best barefoot, and preferably, naked, as his favorite time to run is right after a bath.  I have to dry his feet off quickly now after a bath, because he's off like a shot.  I have to say, its an awfully adorable sight.

Fortunately, he's still not good in shoes though.  I say fortunately because I dread the day when he starts running in public.  Its pretty easy to corner him in the house, not so much in the outside, wall-less world.

And this was also Ryan's month of climbing. This is one of those milestones that is good in terms of development, and scary as anything in terms of parenting!

I would call December also "Ryan's month of eating."

I wonder if it was the move towards table food and away from chunky purees that made the difference.  Whatever the change, Ryan moved from barely eating three meals a day, to eating 3 full meals a day plus two snacks.  Ryan tried so many new foods this month it was amazing.  He ate sausages and potato salad, spaetzle with sauce and pork steak, kiwi, oranges, eggs (he's had scrambled egg yolks before, but they were never a hit,), just to name a few.  Ryan's favorite snacks are Babybel cheese, or fruit mixed with yogurt. 

Ryan also transitioned from formula to cow's milk in December.  The transition went really well.  Saturday, December 22 was Ryan's last day of having formula at all, and by then, he was down to 2 oz. of formula per bottle anyway.  I think the transition to cow's milk was harder for Mommy though.  It seems strange thinking how formula became such an essential part of our lives, from the day before Ryan was released from the hospital until December 22nd, it was always on our minds.  We were always running out to buy more formula,  measuring out scoops of the stuff, storing it, and cuddling with Ryan while he drank it.  When I think back to our trip home in the summer, we brought 20 boxes of the stuff- it fit in a large trash bag.  It was a mountain of formula.  And all of a sudden, its all gone.  Yes, there are many positives to being off formula, but its just one more reminder that my little baby isn't a little baby anymore. 

In Ryan's world experience, Ryan visited New York City for the first time this month!
Yes, he's flown in and out of New York twice, but he's never actually visited the city.  It was so much fun to watch him take in, and get a little overwhelmed by, all the sights and sounds that make up the coolest city ever!

 Ryan flew yet again- from the US back to Germany.  It was fun to let him walk around the airport in his jammies while we were waiting at the gate.  And just as I predicted as we stood at the Frankfurt airport watching our little boy percariously toddle around taking three, four, five steps; by the time we flew back to Germany, Ryan was walking all over.  He and I spent lots of time walking from one side of the building to the other side to look out the windows and see the airport workings.  He did fantastically well yet again on the airplane.  Since the flight was overnight, he slept the majority of the time.  Very few tears, and lots of smiles when he was awake.

Ryan visited only one Christmas market this year.  Jet lag, and the lady on the airplane with the bad cold, really messed up our Christmas preparations this year.  But, it was okay.  Ryan loved looking at all the lights and the booths in Stuttgart!

Ryan had a very important anniversary in this 13th month of life:  we celebrated Ryan's homecoming from his time spent in the hospital.  We celebrated by taking Ryan outside to play in the snow- for the first time ever!  Ryan didn't feel it was much of a celebration, apparently, snow isn't his thing.  But, he also found out that he loves sled riding!

And of course,the holiday celebrations.  Ryan had his first visit from the Christkind and his second visit from Santa Claus. This year, Ryan had the pleasure of unwrapping gifts and trying to take down the ornaments and lights from the Christmas tree.  He got to enjoy visitors.  And, he got to be the star of this year's Christmas card.

Rounding out Ryan's last days of being just a one year old, and not a one year plus months, Ryan got to celebrate the New Year.  Ryan's first New Year was as to be expected with a newborn: he spent the time cuddled in a blanket, fast asleept.  Ryan's second New Year's celebration was completely different.  He stayed awake way past midnight.  He got to eat our special New Year's meal with Oma, Opa, Mommy, and Daddy.  And most importantly, he absolutely loved the fireworks!  If you're going to like fireworks, then Germany is THE place to celebrate New Years!  We watched fireworks shoot up into the sky in all directions for at least half an hour.  Near the end, Ryan was even saying, "Baaa," when Oma and Mommy said "Boom" to a firework!  It was so exciting to celebrate the New Year with our handsome little man.

All in all, it was an exciting month!  It was so fun to watch our little toddler explore the world in a new way!  We love you so much Ryan!

Sonntag, 6. Januar 2013

Ryan's second Christmas

I have to admit, there is a HUGE difference between celebrating Christmas with a 4 week old, and celebrating Christmas with a one year old.  Some of my friends whose December babies were born early, like Ryan, lamented over that "missed," first Christmas.  Ryan spent his first Christmas in his bouncy chair, parked under the Christmas tree.  I was trying to get his attention with the lights on the tree.  He could have cared less.  Ryan still wasn't too sure of us that first Christmas, and his world involved eating, pooping, sleeping, and cuddling.
This year, Christmas was a completely new experience for Ryan.  Of course, I'm pretty sure that next Christmas will also be a completely new experience for Ryan, he'll understand a lot more next year.

Ryan's first Christmas was really for us.  Although we were in that sleep haze, we had this perfect, tiny human being, it was like the most amazing, yet totally surreal Christmas ever.

Ryan's second Christmas though was totally for Ryan.  He gulped in everything. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes.  It was the year to see it all through his eyes.  Christmas this year to Ryan was not about the presents, or the prep, or even the dinner.

Christmas for Ryan meant meeting a man with a fluffy white beard dressed in a furry red suit.  And then, Mommy and Daddy left him with this man for a minute.

Christmas was sitting down in Grandpa's car, and waking up in a really large city.  Mommy and Daddy kept saying "you're in New York."  Being all snuggled up in a  teddy bear suit, and seeing a huge tree with lots of people ice skating in front of it.

Christmas was having Mommy dress up Ryan in a silly outfit to go on a "Santa Hunt."
 Only to find Santa had left his hat on Pooki:
 But, it made Christmas fuzzy and exciting.

Christmas was lights and a giant tree in the middle of Ryan's living room

Christmas for Ryan was playing with Onkel Marcel
And a very fun visit with Aunt Mandy and Uncle Doug

Christmas was going to Oma and Opa's house on Christmas Eve (or Christmas in Germany.)  Where Ryan had his first taste of Würstchen und Spezial Salat, or a sausage and potato salad.  And a visit from the Christkind.
Christmas meant new pajamas, with a green, sparkly guy on them.  Who is this man on my jammies?
And waking up to find the mantle filled with hanging socks for everyone
And gifts under the Christmas tree
Christmas was warm and cuddly
But also crinkly and rippy
And new
Christmas was putting on fancy clothes,
sitting at a fancy table
and trying new, big boy, food, like twice baked mashed potatoes.

It was so exciting and amazing to experience Christmas through Ryan's eyes.  I love Christmas, but for adults, it usually becomes a holiday of hustle and bustle, stress, and exhaustion.  For Ryan, it was a feast for the senses, a time of discovery and love.  I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful little boy to help me see the world in a completely different light.