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.

Montag, 22. April 2013

A Greener Me

Since yesterday was Earth Day, I've been thinking about the changes that I've been making that are resulting in a greener me.

I don't know where it started.  There are probably two points in my life where I can say, "my greener journey started here."  First, moving to Germany changed a lot of my thoughts on being green.  I'm definitely not a hardcore Green Party member, like the ones they have here, and I often think I would describe myself as a light green, or a slightly soggy cereal, and not super crunchy.  But, I've defnitely changed since living in Germany.  We separate garbage a lot.  We have paper garbage, glass garbage, recyclables, compost garbage, and the "leftover garbage."  When I go back home, I often ask how to dispose of egg shells or the cardboard that doesn't go in the recycling bin.  We use energy efficient appliances.  We built a well insulated house, with a very efficient heating system. Joern and I drive an alternative fuel car and we've become a one car family.  I could go on and on about the greener changes in my life that resulted from moving to Germany.

But, I also realized that none of those changes were my decision.  Many green acts are required here, you must separate your garbage and you must build a house to high energy standards.  Other changes are out of necessity, like my car that I could not afford to drive here with traditional gasoline.

The other greener changes in my life are smaller than those necessary changes, but they were changes that were my decision.  This conscious step towards being green probably started with Ryan's move to cloth diapers.  I have to admit, I didn't start with cloth for green reasons.  I started using cloth diapers because we had fit problems with disposables and because the ones that fit smelled really bad.  Once I started using cloth diapers though, I realized that I do like the idea of reducing waste and I really like the idea of not having so many chemicals against Ryan's skin constantly.  And the longer I've been using cloth diapers, the more often I've been thinking of waste.

I decided to reduce my use of paper towels, because I'm a paper towel addict.  I use them for everything!  I now try my hardest to grab for a dish cloth instead of a paper towel, and I bought a set of unpaper towels from  Joyful Girl Design on Etsy.  I love them!  I think that for me, they work so well because I put them right where my paper towels used to live, on my paper towel holder, which happens to be in a super handy spot.

We're also reducing our plastic shopping bag useage.  Although we have to pay for plastic bags here, it isn't enough of a charge to deter us from using plastic shopping bags.  But, I do realize they are wasteful and unnecessary.  We try our hardest now to remember to put our various shopping bags and totes in the car when we head out to the store.  My favorite of all my items is my Large Utility Tote from Thirty-One Gifts. It fits a ton of food in it, and it fits across a shopping cart perfectly, so you can throw all your stuff in it in the cart, unload to pay, and reload when you leave.

From here, I'm getting ready to make the move to cloth napkins and reusable produce bags.

Another greener move is to try to buy as much locally produced food as possible.  Its not easy to buy local here in the winter, but we do have a farmstand here in our town that works with other European farms that use their standards of food production.  Buying locally isn't only a green act because it saves on transportation and ensures that the fruit and vegetables are truly organic, but its also fair, because local, small farmers are more and more often being pushed out by larger farms here.

In the end, my steps toward being greener are really small steps, but they're all doable.  And every little bit helps!

Dienstag, 9. April 2013

16 months!

The months are just piling up and Ryan is inching up to 18 months.  I just can't believe that my baby, who isn't so baby very much anymore, is almost one and a half years old.  Sigh.

The past few months have marked more change, and the only reminders really that Ryan is still a baby are the rare occasions when he cries at night.  Somehow, his night cry is still that baby cry.  We have moments still when he takes his bottle of milk, and he's sleepy and cuddly, and 100% still my baby, but these moments are becoming rare.  More often, bottle time, is wiggling, and pointing in a milion directions, and a slide off my lap as soon as the bottle is empty.  

Since Ryan has pretty much mastered walking, running, and falling with ease, he's been working on climbing. He climbs everyhwere, on every thing.  He climbs on the toilets, he climbs on the book shelf, he climbs on chairs by himself.  He's figured out how to stand on the toilet and turn on the bathroom faucet, unfortunately, he has also figured out that if he turns the faucet, the water can go from running nicely down the drain to running all over the bathroom floor, which is obviously, much more fun.

Ryan is also looking more and more like a little kid.  In the past two months, three top teeth have come in.  Bringing his grand total of teeth to 5.  His hair is growing like mad, but only in the back.  I don't have the heart to cut his hair yet, so instead, we call him, MacGyver.  Ryan has moved out of his 18 month clothes, and is in the end of baby clothes, and wears lots of 2T shirts now.   18 month was one of those sizes for Ryan like 0-3 month.  He wore size 12 month from 6 to 13 months, and 28 month from 13 to 15 months.  And now, its all 24 month.  
 He is also rapidly outgrowing the shoes we bought him when we were home.  We bought him size 5 shoes, which were intentionally big so that he could go to spring in them.  The shoe salesman was right, its spring and I don't see him staying in his shoes much longer. 

Ryan had a wonderful visit with his baby cousin, Liam.  Liam and his parents came to visit just in time for Ryan's second St. Patrick's Day.  Liam and his family live in Ireland, and brought Ireland with them for our St. Patty's Day celebration!

And, we celebrated Ryan's second Easter.  Last Easter, he could have cared less about his Easter basket.  This year, the look of surprise on his face when he found a big basket in his play tent was absolutely priceless!  We spent at least 5 minutes just looking at all the things in his basket before opening it up!

The biggest change in Ryan was definitely language.  He has a huge animal sound vocabulary.  He can do the sounds of cat, cow, fish, seal, bear, lion, dog, goose, monkey, sheep to name a few.  He also now yells "go go go," (chug, chug, chug) when he sees a tractor.  He yells because he loves tractors, and gets so excited when he sees them that he can't keep quiet.  
Ryan also has words!  Words happened during the end of 15 months, but they're there!  Ryan can say "Dada," but he always whispers it, and its a very intentional, talking about Daddy, "Dada."  He also says "up," and "ba ba" for bicycle.  And, the most impressive, NO!  "No" took me by surprise.  I had made Ryan a lovely piece of salmon for lunch one day, he took two bites, spit them out and said very big, very clear, and very emphatically, "NO!"  Thanks kid!  But, its very exciting to see his language grow and change.

Ryan has also started dancing.  We dance to songs, we dance to chants.  Ryan loves dancing.  Most dances are twirls, but he also shifts from side to side during some songs too.  He loves music.  Ryan does the hand motions to "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." 

It has been a real adventure with Ryan these past few months.  I will try my hardest to post at the end of this month, just because too much happens in one month to wait for another.