Tuesday, October 31, 2006

squishy (but tasty) bread

Yesterday, I made two loaves of bread -- one for me, and one for the kind neighbor who has befriended me. Unfortunately, when I went downstairs to deliver it last night, she wasn't home. I'll have to bring it down sometime today.
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(The squished one I'm keeping, of course. Took it out of the oven a little early and had to drop it back in the pan. Whoops!)

This bread is from the recipe that I shared on the most recent episode of my podcast. The recipe is all laid out in the blog, in case you're interested in making it too.

Speaking of making it too, a listener of the show, Lisa, made the bread already and loved it! Check out her blog. It thrills me to no end that I can share a recipe, and then people on all parts of the globe can make it and taste for themselves. I never imagined that I'd be able to share food quite like this. (This must mean that my mom is famous now, since it's her recipe!)

This morning while I was getting the boy's breakfast ready, they ran outside on the porch to play for a minute. Thankfully I'd already put their shoes on and managed to slip hats on each of them, because it was so cold, that I could see their breath.
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They didn't seem to mind though.

Since last night I've had a killer headache. I went to bed at 9:30 (the earliest in months!), and thought that would take care of it, but I've still got it today. It's so bad that it's difficult to bend over, because that just makes it feel worse. I took two Tylenols, which seem to be helping some, but I have a feeling that today the boys are going to have a video marathon while I knit, read Saveur and drink hot tea on the couch.

Tomorrow, I will answer Joycee's question about back-pain in pregnancy.

We don't celebrate Haloween, so I always forget it's approaching and end up running out at the last moment to pick up a load of candy for little visitors. Do they even celebrate it here at all? I haven't seen any decorations around town. I'm not feeling well enough to go out, so I suppose I'll just have to hope that no one will knock on my door tonight...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Friday's Markt-Platz

All of you are just waking up now, so I thought you might like to share in this morning's breakfast. Click here.

Here is a view of the Markt Platz from yesterday. I took the pictures as though I was shooting the boys, but "secretly" included the rest of the place too. I desperately don't want to come off as a tourist, and I never see people taking pictures here at all, which means the bloggers are either in hiding or non-existent, so I am very hesitant when it comes to shooting in public. People might say "do what you want! Take pictures! It's fine! Be who you are!" But for goodness sake, I do live here! It's quite a small town, and I see the same people every day, including the same rotation of shoppers who are out when I am. So there's no recourse. I must be sneaky.

Here you go (or you can click here to see the slideshow):
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First, I started out by snapping a shot of the boys, enjoying their market spoils. Andrew ended up finishing that entire pretzel, which is a first for him. The boys never figured out that there was candy inside of those whistles. They were given to them by the well meaning lady at the fish truck. I hate whistles. It's worse when the children blowing them are already high on the sugar from packs of gummy bears given to them by the vegetable lady.

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I still pretend to take a picture of the boys, but now you can see the market a little bit better. Directly over Andrew's head is the egg cart. That lady just lays the eggs out on the table in cartons, and you can buy them loose. Not entirely sure how you're supposed to get them home without breaking them, but I'm sure they're very fresh if they don't even have to be refrigerated at her stand (or I would hope!). Greg always buys about 5 dozen eggs for me at the commissary every other week, so I never have the need, but it seems that Germans buy eggs as needed, each day. Hmmm.

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The fish and seafood truck, where the lovely whistles came from. If you stood on the side where the awning is, you would see that there is a deli counter (just like the cheese truck, picture following) where you order. We picked up some Perch that I'll broil tonight with an orange marinade and serve with a spicy tomato-orange salsa. The tomatoes here are never hot-house ones -- just the kind actually ripened in the sun, so I've got to use them in everything!

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I started getting a good deal braver. Now I used the zoom, and hoped that none of the people at the egg cart would turn around and notice me. (I'm incredibly conspicuous as it is with my two children -- and the one kindergarten age but not in school! Add to that the American look to me, in a small town where we are the only foreigners, and you can see why we are remembered wherever we go.) You can see the produce stand further on behind the eggs.

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The cheese truck. You can ask for a taste of any kind before you buy, which is cool since there are mostly only types that I don't recognize. Andrew loves this part, because they give generous slices, and of course I always share part with each of the boys. This angle shows the deli counter part of the truck fairly well. Thankfully, once again, no one turned towards me while I snapped off the shot.

So there you go. You've visited a German market place. Cool, huh? My (German) neighbor never goes, but I look forward to it each week. I would have gotten a better shot of the vegetable cart, but we weren't close enough.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A belly, some SNL and a health chat

I know this is a few days late, but here's my official 16 week shot:
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(I found that if I sit down, the neighbors probably can't see me behind the wall.) (Not sure how anyone would see through a wall.)

J, your answer to the SNL trivia question was wrong. However, you do get points for answering at all. (Does no one else watch that show?) So I'm going to give you all one more hint and see if anyone can guess the skit. If Jom reads this he's totally going to guess it. In fact, I'm supposing that he didn't read the question to start out with, because I have a feeling he would have figured it out already. Here we go:
The skit has to do with hairspray and being "excited". I was reminded of it when I sprayed that terrible hairspray for about 10 minutes and can still run my fingers through my hair (although, of course, I was on the opposite end of "excited"). The skit was featured on a "best of" show, . If you have iTunes, I'm going to give you even another hint: do a search for "saturday night live best of" and this person stars in one of those (as in "best of Adam Sandler, although its' not him).

It's terribly silly and unimportant, but this amuses me, and it's all about me, right?

Today was the Markt Platz, which I look forward to each week. I actually took pictures today, but I'll post them tomorrow.

For my last two pregnancies, I was very careful about removing refined sugar from my diet. At my prenatal visits, my birth assistant had told me that especially because my mom has had trouble with varicose veins in her legs (from pregnancies), that I needed to be very careful about staying away from white sugar. She explained that when refined sugar (white or brown) hits the system, it causes the walls of the veins and arteries to thin, which can allow the blood to pool and parts of the veins to bulge out. This ends up as varicose veins. For pregnant people this is especially a possibility because of the huge weight of the uterus and the 200% increase in blood, which often makes circulation sluggish anyway, particularly in the legs.

There was one time when I was pregnant with Elijah that I finally broke down at one point (maybe 7 months pregnant or something), and went to Duncan Donuts. I'm pretty sure I only had one doughnut, but within an hour I could hardly walk. My legs were throbbing with pain. I put them up, put ice on them, a hot water bottle, but nothing helped. Finally I called my birthing assistant, and she told me to take 1 Cayenne capsule, 2 Yellow Dock Root, and 2 Vari-Gone (a Horse Chestnut Seed blend for vascular health by Nature's Sunshine) either every meal or once every two hours -- can't remember -- for 3 or 4 days. My digestive system hated it, but within the first day the pain had subsided, and by the end of the week there was no pain left at all. I didn't eat any more doughnuts until the day after Elijah was born.

It's interesting though, how memories can quickly fade. With Andrew, I stayed off of sugar from when she gave me this information at about 2 months, and followed through for my entire pregnancy. With Elijah, I cheated through the first trimester, then got into gear for the second, jumped off the bandwagon for that doughnut, then finished out the pregnancy sugarless. With this baby...well, let's just say that up until today, there has been no bandwagon. Doughnuts? I'll have half. Cookies? I'll try Andrews. Frosted Mini Wheats? Fiber is good for me. Straight sugar candy? Why not. If I'm craving it, I'll have it in moderation.

This week I've discovered German chocolate. I had some after lunch, and then some after dinner (I place the blame for the second serving squarely on my neighbor, who brought over two huge bars for me to try. I only had a few chunks...)

This morning Elijah woke me up unusually early at 6am (bad dream?) I got up to give him his bottle, and when I got back into bed, I noticed that familiar throbbing ache. I was so pissed off that my sleep had been disturbed, and then to add insult to injury, I instantly knew that I'd brought this leg pain upon myself, so then I was mad at myself. A fantastic way to start the day. I made myself fall back to sleep on my left side (the best side for circulation when pregnant -- has to do with where the vena cava is located; lying on the left side relieves uterine pressure and allows optimum blood flow to mother and baby), and by the time the boys woke me up at 7:30, my leg felt a good deal better. By the time that we got home from our morning trek through town, however, my leg was not really feeling so well. At breakfast I took my last Cayenne cap and 2 Vari-Gone, and I'll continue to take 2 Vari-Gone at each meal for the next few days, but this sucks. I suppose I'll have to order some more herbs on eBay. My leg is up on the desk as I type.

I really wish that I would have been more careful...unfortunately I found this incredible pudding yesterday made by Dannon, available only here...I might have picked some up...I might have it in chocolate and vanilla. Who will eat the chocolate if I don't? Is it a good idea to let it go bad? Oh, so many questions.

On a random note, I saw Catherine Keener the other day (Being John Malkovitch, Capote). I think it was on Tuesday, the boys and I were out walking around town in the morning, and I saw this lady walking down the street towards us. We had almost reached her by the time she got in her car, so I had a very long time to keep looking back at her and wondering "where do I know you from?". I felt like she must be a shop keeper...or a familiar shopper...but definitely someone I'd had a few real conversations with. I could not place my finger on it. Yesterday it dawned on me that it was someone from a movie, and this morning it hit me out of the blue. I looked up her picture online, and sure enough, it was her. Or perhaps her sister? Can't find a pic. However, Catherine has a very distinctive face. I'll let you all know if I see her again. I know you'll be holding your breath.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Birthday buns and messy guys

Ever since Greg and I have been together, I've struggled on his birthday to come up with something special and memorable. He lacks for almost nothing, and often during the week we try to do special things for each other. This makes it very hard to invent something new and different for Special Days.

For my birthday, we usually go out to somewhere nice, or go somewhere cool. (Two years ago for my birthday/Mother's Day we went to a bed and breakfast in the Binghamton area for the weekend while my parents watched Andrew and we went out to dinner, took walks, etc.) For his, he's often gone for whatever reason (well, Army reasons), and if he's home, he doesn't want to spend a lot of money on himself, especially since it's close to Christmas. This leaves me with only inexpensive options. Someone might suggest cooking a nice dinner for him. But the trouble is, I almost always cook nice dinners for him every day.

This year, I finally thought of something a little bit different. He's not a big dessert person. In fact, he's usually not in the mood to eat anything sweet even if it's something that he does actually like. Something that he's always enjoyed though, is cinnamon/sticky buns. So I decided that I'd make that this year.
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Also on the menu was a pasta dish with tons of wild mushrooms (he loves all mushrooms, especially wild, and I can get them for a good price here because they're "normal"), and a salad of mixed greens with tomatoes, cucumbers, calamata and spicy olives. Normally I don't go to the trouble of making a salad, so I thought that it would add to the "specialness". Unfortunately, Greg's guys are coming home a bunch of days this month, so he's had to do all kinds of prep for it. His birthday was the last day before a long weekend, so...he didn't even get home until 8:30pm. The boys were already in bed. Andrew was a little bit sad, because all day we'd been talking about how we were going to make "happy birthday sticky buns" and sing Happy Birthday to Daddy when he got home. (I promised we'd be able to do it the next morning, so he was OK with that.)

When Greg got home, I was just pulling the buns out of the oven. We ate dinner, and then a few minutes afterwards, he was so tired he just went to bed. The next morning, the movers arrived here with our stuff, and Greg had to direct them. I suggested that he eat a sticky bun for breakfast, but he'd already had a power bar and was fully engaged with the arrival of our stuff. Finally, that night after dinner, we all sang Happy Birthday, and Greg ate one of the buns. "So how is it?"
"It's a little stale."
I wanted to put my head through the wall. He rescued himself a little by saying that the flavor was good, and he wished that he'd had one the night before when they were fresh. He continued to rescue himself more by eating them warmed up in the microwave throughout the next few days.

So that's the story of Greg and the sticky buns. Maybe I'll make them every year for him. Maybe he won't eat them for a week next time (you know, the Army will suddenly call him out into the field for an unexpected "field problem excercise" and he won't come back for days). Who knows?

(It should be noted that I had a bun right before bed the night they were baked, and they were incredible. I put a little bit of cardamom in with the cinnamon and sugar. Mmmm. I'll have to post the recipe. Greg says he would have liked a Cinnabon-style white frosting, but I thought this one was oh so good.)

Click this picture to see how the mess started
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Elijah, straight out of a bath, requested to "pee" like Andrew.
Immediately after placing him on the stool, he got a bad attitude.
(Click on picture to enlarge)

Saturday, October 21, 2006


I'm not sure if I've ever posted about this band, but definitely have everyone gather 'round the computer for these two videos: OkGo -- Here It Goes Again, and A Million Ways.

Oh, and thanks to everyone for reminding me of my birthday.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

it's someone's birthday...

It's Greg's birthday today! He's 29. Of course when I reminded him last night, he hadn't even thought of it, and then today when the boys and I called at lunchtime to say "Happy Birthday", he was once again suprised. We've got a few plans for him tonight; Andrew's excited, but I can't write about it now in case Greg checks the blog from work.

It's been raining all day, and the sun just broke through a few minutes ago. We'll be headed out to the market in a few minutes.

The boys have been mostly very good at amusing themselves all day. Here's a glimpse of how our day has been thus far:

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Andrew is holding some hairspray that I bought from the salon downstairs. Doesn't it look like the cheap 80's stuff that only old ladies still use? Yeah, I thought so too. As it turns out, in this salon, they don't have ANY selection. This is the only brand. It smells like crap, and doesn't hold my hair for a second. In fact, I put a ton of it in my hair this morning, and I can still run my fingers through it. Reminds me of an SNL skit. If anyone can tell me the male actor who starred in this skit, you get a prize. Or just the entire blogging world's endless admiration, whichever.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Snapshots of my week

Interestingly enough, even though Andrew spends most of his time with me, his accent strongly reflects Greg's. Examples of the way Greg says things: "forest" (four-est), "orange" (or-ange), "chocolate" (chak-late), "forehead" (four-head).

Earlier this week, Andrew fell down and bumped his head on the floor pretty hard. He was crying and came to me. I asked him what was wrong. "I hurt my two-head" (I know some of you still haven't "gotten" it, so let me help: put this together with the above paragraph, and you'll see where Andrew made his "numerical" error.)

Elijah has been coming out with things lately, sometimes repeated phrases, sometimes offered up of his own accord.

The little man had been playing by himself for a while, which usually means that he was working on a little gift for me. I looked in the back of his diaper, and he offered the answer "No poop" (the phrase was a little more mangled than that, but totally understandable).

The other day I was trying to fix something while holding Elijah. It wasn't working. "Oh shoot." I said. I heard an echo "Oh shoot."
"Elijah, did you just say 'oh shoot'?"
He looked at me with a huge, crooked grin, one eye squeezed shut and then "Oh shoot."

Two days ago I was preparing a bottle for Mr. E's nap, and started calling to him so that he'd be in the kitchen by the time the bottle was done. There were no answering footsteps, and I realized that I hadn't heard him in a little while. Once the bottle was set, I went to find him. He still wouldn't respond when I called, but finally I found him in the shower (water turned off, thankfully), busily stuffing bits of rice cake down the drain.

How many times can two little boys pee in one bath? I think the record is 5 times for Elijah and 3 for Andrew, to date. I don't even drain it anymore. If they've peed "too many times" though, I'll usually rinse them off one last time under the shower afterwards. Also, Elijah has recently taken to pooping in the bath, which is fantastic. He is utterly unconcerned by this, and doesn't even seem to notice, although Andrew thinks it's really nasty. Of course I drain it (and rinse the tub and Elijah) after that. Little boys and their baths. Always an adventure.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

boxes and forts

This was the morning from hell. Usually, as I've said, our mornings consist of breakfast, and then a trip outside Into Germany to shop or play or whatever. This morning though, I wanted to get a few things done online, so I brought the boys into the office with our cream of wheat, and we all sat together eating, with half the computer screen playing home videos while I worked on the other half.

This was fun for a while, until Andrew started saying with every video "I want to do that. I want to jump off of Daddy again in that house" (a Watertown video), "I want to sled with Poppy" (two Christmases ago), "I want to live at Poppy's house" (dinner at the Darlings), etc. The crying and the whining (which had been going on and off all morning anyway) intensified, until he was just flat out sobbing. "I want snow. I want to sled. I want Poppy. I want to live in Georgia. I want I want I want." I think that he finally realized that we really are very far away from everything he knows, and he just feel apart at the seams. I felt bad for him, but at the same time, I couldn't let him just wallow in it. Whining is not ok, no matter what. So. I said that we were going to get dressed and go outside to play in the dirt. This was met by crying. "No dirt, just snow". ARRRRHHHGGGG!

Then I noticed a big box that Greg had brought in last night. It was from Pete, and that always means happiness and jelly beans. Andrew thought it would be fun to open (first smiles of the morning!) so we unpacked it and sure enough, there were snow boots (for some reason much anticipated by Andrew -- he's been talking about them for weeks), snowsuit for Andrew, hats for both boys, a few other things, and of course, the Poppy trademark: plastic Easter eggs full of jelly beans, candy corn and Good N Plenty's.

(Note to friends and family with interest in maintaining relationships with the boys: send them stuff! Not bunches of toys or expensive things or anything, but getting stuff in the mail is a huge bright spot in their day. Pete's already sent them two boxes, and they've been hugely appreciated by the little people.)

(Note to Pete: Andrew is now obsessively fond of candy corn.)
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Unfortunately, the pleasantness was short lived. Apparently Andrew's world was caving in. I was concerned that I'd have to drag him down both flights of stairs to get him outside, screaming and kicking my (in the belly?) the whole way, and then possibly have him wail outside and refuse to play. This was not an option (I really can't carry both of them all the way back up by myself). So I called Greg and asked him for some "pull it out of the sky" ideas. "Bath, Coloring together, play in attic, build a fort". The last suggestion appealed to Andrew, and finally, we had a happy morning.
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As it turns out, Greg must be a genius.
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(Note to my dad: the motorcycle Elijah is holding is the Harley you gave to Andrew -- now the favorite toy of both, along with the police man from Pete.)
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Later on, I felt like a genius myself. I've been struggling with getting Andrew toilet trained. He doesn't seem to care, and especially enjoys pooping in his pull-ups ("You change me Mommy!"). Today, however, I put him in bed with no pull-up or pants on, and told him to tell me when he needed to poop. Sure enough, 10 minutes later he came running out and I sent him to the bathroom...and he accomplished the deed in the toilet! I had him call Greg to be congratulated and paid him with a few gummy bears. I put his pull-up back on and sent him back to bed. A half-hour later Andrew came back out of the bedroom with a dirty pull-up. Excuse me while I put my head through the wall.

Answer to Sarah: no, didn't find a midwife. The hospital here seems kind of ok, and one of the doctors is actually really cool, so that's our current plan. Unfortunately, there's no way to guarantee that this particular doctor will be there, but at least we can have a birth plan. I'll update you all if this changes, but for now, that's the deal.

Also, the Italian food is only mediocre. It's like American Italian in the way that it's Italian food the way the Germans think it should be made. Hmm. I suppose I'll just have to go visit Italy.

Monday, October 16, 2006

One fine belly and the Umbrella Boys

Well, I forgot to have Greg take a belly pic over the weekend. On workdays he gets home pretty late usually, so he wouldn't be able to take a good outside shot. I was reduced to taking a timed shot off of my kitchen counter (balanced on top of the honey jar) of me standing on the balcony/porch/roof-cut-out-open-air-room.
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Not too bad, eh? The only trouble is, they're very private here about pregnancy and such, and I'm sure that any number of neighbors could have looked out their windows (and probably did) and saw me posing. Oh well. The things I do for you all.

Someone's going to ask, so I'll answer it now: yes, those are my normal jeans. Unlike some people I know, who are terribly excited about getting into their maternity jeans ASAP and try them on weekly from the moment they find they're pregnant, I, on the other hand, dread the things. See, they will not stay up on me. Even when I get a bit fatter and my belly is huge, the pants will not stay up no matter what. I've tried under-belly stretch panel, the full over the belly thing (so itchy!), and no-panel with a stretchy waistband. Only the last one seems to be of any help at all, and still I'm hitching up my pants every five minutes.

When I was pregnant with Elijah, I shared my frustration with a friend in Watertown. She was hugely pregnant, and wearing a very cute pair of jeans that I didn't see her hike up once. She suggested an alternate option: buy a pair of stretch jeans (the only kind I wear anyway) in whatever size I happen to be, and then if need be, unbutton the top and fasten with a rubber band to the button hole. (As it turns out, Motherhood Maternity sells a stretchy panel that buttons on to both sides of your normal jeans, but the rubber band works just as well and happens to be free.)

I would strongly encourage other girls to try this. It just might end up being more comfortable for you. Then again, if the thought of maternity cloths in general leaves you breathless with anticipation, strap them on, my friend! Whatever works for you. =)

You may also notice that I look a little skinny, and be worried about this. Once again, let me answer that here, lest people be worried. No, I have not gained any weight yet. Yes, I have lost some. Yes, that's ok. In the first two months of pregnancy, I couldn't eat much more than raw tomatoes, pineapple and peaches. That doesn't put a heck of a lot of meat on the bones. However, the baby is fine feeding off the mom for the first few weeks during the Sick Time.

Then, for the first two weeks of living here, we were in a hotel, and were living off of restaurants, microwave meals and fastfood. One would think that this would have fattened me up a little, but instead, it turned me off so much that I could hardly eat anything at all, even though I was feeling a little less nauseous.

Finally, we moved into our new apartment, and I was able to start cooking again. The only thing is...we live on the top floor, which means that I run up and down 2 flights of stairs several times a day, and then we also take walks to shop every morning. So. There you go. I'm sure that I'll start eating more as time goes on (my appitite is already increasing), and I'll get a little more of the "healthy pregnant fatness", but for now I'm not concerned, my doctor's not concerned, and you shouldn't be either.

Every day we pass by this store that has children's umbrellas on a display outside. Every day Andrew begs me for one. Finally I gave in, and now they both think their umbrellas are the coolest thing ever. It hasn't rained since they've owned them
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The things sticking out of their mouths are these strange lolly pops that the lady at the drug store gives them whenever we go in there (like a CVS, but I think it's called "1Hr Platz"). They're sort of strawberry flavored, but it's more like smelling a Strawberry Shortcake doll; you feel like you can taste it just by smell, but when you actually taste it, there's almost nothing there (not that I've ever tried to taste my Strawberry Shortcake doll...A-hem.). They are not the usual hard candy. It's slightly porous white square thing. Hard to describe. I've never had something like it before.

Since this is the first post where I've included a picture of myself in a while, here's another one of Elijah and I when our little family dined at a tiny Italian restaurant in Baumholder.
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Friday, October 13, 2006

Market day

Hurrah! Our internet is up once again! Hopefully this time for good. Or else. No idea who I'd speak to since most people at T-Mobil only speak German ("Spricht hier jemand Englisch?" = "Does anyone here speak English?" "Nein, blah blah blah blah something else in Deutsch" Click. Dial tone.) Anyway, enough with the bad.

Today is Friday! My favorite day. As stated in the previous post, the boys and I go out nearly every morning to explore and shop for the days needs (produce, bread and such). The shops are lovely, and I have a few favorites where they know me already and are either kind to my stumbling attempts at Deutsch, or else speak quite good English themselves, which makes things pretty easy. But on Friday, market trucks pull into this hidden square in town to create a Markt Platz with fresh seafood, produce, sausages, cold cuts, bread, and a huge selection of cheeses. They look like large delivery trucks, but one side is missing, and in it's place is a deli counter. (Well, except for the produce cart, which is actually a cart. The egg cart is a cart as well.) I'm not sure if the prices are any better here than at the little shops or the big grocery store, but it thrills me to no end to walk through this doorway of building into an open air market that magically appears every week. This week we loaded up on the produce that we'll need for the weekend (which feels strange to do, since we usually shop for the day only, but stores are only open half-day on Saturday, and most not at all on Sunday.)

There is a produce cart that pulls up behind some buildings right across the street from us Wednesday-Saturday. Yesterday we picked up some grapes that tasted of flowers from there, then some warm pretzels from the bakery, and picked out two kinds of cheese -- one spicy and the other sharp (no idea what the names were, but they tasted good to Andrew and I, so we got 100 grams of each). When we got home and spread it all out on the table for lunch, I had the most wonderful sense of well being and good fortune of living a very good life.

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For those of you who care about such matters, I hope to have Greg take a picture of my ever growing belly tomorrow, and will post it soon. Here is a baby update from fitpregnancy.com:
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Your baby is about 4 to 4 1/2 inches and about 1 3/4 of an ounce. If you could see your baby's face, you might be able to see her wince and grimace, because her facial muscles are developing and flexing. All of her tiny organs, nerves, and muscles are starting to function. The intestines have moved farther into the baby's body; her liver begins to secrete bile, which will later aid in the digestion of fats; and her pancreas begins to produce insulin, a hormone which turns sugar into energy.

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After the market, we stopped at a bakery to pick up a baguette. Just like my mom did for us when we were little, I found myself tearing off hunks to give to the boys as we walked towards home. Here, they are sitting on a bench (one of the many situated along the streets everywhere -- just for sitting, no other purpose) in front of the Persian rug shop where we will probably make a few purchases soon.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

late in posting

This post was written on October 2nd, 5:00PM

It's been a while since my last post, but don't worry, we're all safe and doing well. Unfortunately, as I noted before, the online service at the hotel was less than stellar, going out for one to three days at a time, and often randomly out at night as well. Very aggravating. The second reason is that since moving into our new home on Thursday, we haven't had internet service here at all. The instruction booklet for hooking up our DSL is in German, with one page of English interpretation which badly needs updating. Greg attempted following the directions and we got shut out of the internet altogether. The English speeaking operatorsraters at T-Mobil only work limited hours, so since Friday night we haven't been able to get any help. T-Mobil has a monopoly here; they don't have to worry about other competitors doing the job better, so they just do as they please. This is very frusterating, and we don't have any choice.

The internet is still not up but I've got a moment (Elijah is watching a video next to me here on the couch and Andrew is finishing up his nap) so I'll just post this whenever I have the chance to.

So. Enough with the bitching.

I LOVE our new apartment. Interestingly enough, it's the largest one in the building. We have the entire third floor, and the other two floors are divided up into two apartments each. One thing that is bad is that I have to climb two flights of stairs every time I come home from somewhere, along with Elijah and whatever else in my arms. Thankfully, this seems to be a very good area (as in, not shady), so I can throw things into the community laundry room as a holding place (which is where we keep the strollers) if needed while I take care of the boys.

We are on the main street of a busy, smallish town. Our building is set back in a courtyard that has a narrow driveway entrance, so it's the best of both worlds: a few steps away from the heart of the town, yet removed from it a little so that we don't walk out into traffic when we exit the front door.

A walk down the first two blocks of the street reveals at least 5 bakeries/pastry shops. When my family moved from New Jersey to New York, the main cultural/area thing that I missed was accessable bakeries. At our house in NJ, we had a similar bakery situation that I have here; they were everywhere. In NY, the only place to get any decent baked goods is Wegmans, which is a half-hour drive from my parent's house.

Directly across the street from us are two of those bakeries, a natural food store, and an Eise Salon (Ice cream shop that also serves liquors tea and liquers). I cannot even say how much of an ideal location we live at. The only unfortunate thing is that we haven't been able to find a playground yet. Andrew really wants to meet other kids, and playgrounds tend to be a good place. Also, running around in the house (even though it's big) or running errands on foot only expend so much creative energy for the little guys. They still feel the need to run on grass and such, so I'll have to find something.

Every day, I memorize German phrases that will assist me with my errands for the next day, and then each morning the boys and I set out into the town to try and get things done. It's invigorating and challenging to learn to communicate in a new language (broken German with bad sign language is my current mode), but people have been very patient with me so far, which is great. In the US, I appreciate so much when people who immigrate there make an effort to learn our language and culture, and don't expect me to just know theirs, so I feel like I'm honoring the Germans in the same way. If I'm going to be here for three years, I'm sure that I'll get to know the shop keepers at the different places and they'll be glad to see me meat out my German vocabulary before I have to leave.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Quick Update

Hello All,

Sorry for the lack of updates. We are getting settled into our new apartment, in a town called Kusel. We've been having issues getting the internet hooked up, and possibly won't have it running until October 12th or later. So blog updates and Skyping probably won't happen until then. We'll post pictures, etc. as soon as possible.