Thursday, December 24, 2009

Little Cindy Lou Who

We didn’t think it was possible, but somehow Stella has figured out how to walk in her sleeping bag. Taking smaller steps than kimono wrapped geisha she shuffles along the floor. Put a barrette in her hair and you’ve got the spitting image of Cindy Lou Who from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas (the original cartoon version).

You may have noticed that there have been fewer pictures lately. Part of it is because it gets dark at 4pm and we’re not out and about as much lately. Part of it is that we’ve been really busy. But another is a new character trait that has recently surfaced. Stella would rather be behind the camera directing. Wanting to make some movies I pulled out the tripod for the little camera. As soon as that comes out, Stella runs behind the camera to see who is on the screen and push buttons. One time she set my white balance to underwater. Luckily I caught it before I started filming but it has since been a challenge to get her on screen. Do we have a director in the workings? You know she’ll have her own camera before long. ;-)

Stella’s cognitive and motor skills are really showing an advancement this past few days. As if overnight, we’ll it was overnight, she grabbed her Legos and started pulling them apart and then attempting to stack them on the big “house” we had built. Then she started taking them off the house and attaching them in a long tower. These are the little square pieces. She’s not 100% but I’d say 70% of the time she can get the pieces on herself now, no problem.

She’s also “using” more and more words. She can say Oma (mmmmMa) and Opa (ohPA). She wants lights turned “on”, things opened (auf), closed (zu but sounds like two). Stella uses the German slang word “Heia” (hiya) to signal that she wants to go into her bed or that someone or something is sleeping. She’ll take her stuffed animals, say Heia while laying the animal down and then tuck it in with a blanket. Ya Ya is Stella.

“Holly” (hoyya) although sounding very similar to Heija is very clear that Holly is meant. And lastly, “Oya” is telephone. We’re not sure where this comes from. There is nothing in German or English that sounds like this for telephone or cell phone but Stella is clear that her little toy phone is meant. And Auto, well is auto. Anything with wheels is an auto and Stella makes sure to point it out to you.

Surprisingly she is also using the German word “Doch” There’s no direct translation but its meaning is similar to actually, or really. For example, no I don’t want something, oh yes I really do. I thought I misheard her the other day. I held out my arms and said, “Come to daddy”. She shook her head saying no and a half a second later she said “doch” and came running into my arms. Since then she has pulled this trick several times. Talk about being able to grasp complex meanings before you can formulate full sentences.

Do you remember the old stick doll toys? There’s an up-side-down cone with a stick through it. On the other end is usually a clown and with the stick you can make the clown dance or hide in the cup. Stella loves to take this toy and pull the clown down into the cone, acting surprised that it’s gone saying “oh”. Then after looking around, she’ll pop the clown up screaming “DA” (there) and laughing wildly, then repeating.

She’ll also hide herself in a corner or behind a door and then jump out and yell “DA” (there).
Stella has become a jumping fiend. She wants to jump everywhere. Especially when she is in her crib she’ll grab the ledge and start jumping manically, working herself up into a fever where she’ll then let go, spin around, stumble and drop only to get up and repeat. And as if a caged animal, she’ll run from one end of the crib to the other back and forth, back and forth building up steam to stop and then jump again.

And yesterday, she jumped (without spring help from the couch or bed) for the first time. Standing in the middle of the living room she jumped and booth feet left the ground. She landed solidly with a big grin on her face.

Stella has learned that water comes out of a faucet and that we use the water to wash dishes. The last two days she has helped or played at the sink.
I really hope that Stella’s molars come in soon. Besides having her fingers (sometimes fist) inside her mouth the last week, she has been having major problems sleeping. So much to the point that she won’t go down easily like she used to. Her gums are as thick as marbles and I think the pressure is sometimes unbearable. Two nights ago she would only lie on her stomach with pressure on her face. Last night was extremely bad. She would lay quietly in your arms but as soon as you would move to put her in her crib, she would scream terribly and crawl up you as if the boogie man was waiting in the crib to get her. After an hour with maja and then an hour with me she finally fell asleep…on the floor. She had to have physical contact and well daddy doesn’t quite fit in the crib. So I pulled her out of the crib and we laid down on the floor. First on my belly and then on the side. When ever I moved she would stick her head up to make sure I was still there and then bury her head under my arm. Slowly I inched my way to detach ourselves and finally I was able to leave the room. I covered her with a blanket and then left the room. Later when we went to bed we checked on her. I was so afraid that we’d wake her but
Maja and I quietly lifted her into bed. Of course she didn’t sleep in and shortly after 7 we were up and ready to start the day.

So that’s our tale for today.
Wishing you all a merry Christmas and we’ll post again soon.
Maja, Jeremy, Stella and Holly.

Friday, December 18, 2009

New type of head banging

Daddy has lost his bedtime privileges.

I’m not taking it personally though, its one of those things. It’s kind of weird. She’s super excited when I come home from work. We play and rough house. But the last few nights when I sit down in the chair for our nightly routine she screams bloody murder and mom has to put her down. Is it the over stimulation and lack of sleep she’s had the last few days? Could it be that her teeth are painful and she wants the comfort of mom? (She’s practically sticking her whole fist in her mouth now and the lower molars are working their way out.) Or daddy has a new role. We’ll well see how the next few days pan out since I am finally on vacation and will be home in the mornings too.

This past week day care was closed. The Moms traded taking care of the girls (Hannah & Stella). It was interesting to be able to directly compare personality traits. I’ve always admired how Suzanne and Daniel could show such insight to the personalities of the twins. Stella is Stella we have no other point of reference. But this week we did. But then the question is where is your reference line? How do you compare?

I could make a blanket stereotype statement that Hannah is a hog. A downright cookie monster. She devours everything in sight. Stella doesn’t even have a chance to grab any food. But it also could be that Stella isn’t as assertive…nah we know she goes after what she wants. Or maybe it’s that Stella continues in the line of very slow eaters. We do have to beg her to eat sometimes. Who knows but it is a fact that after Hannah left the other day, Maja brought out a snack for Stella so she could have some food too.

Stella doesn’t have a sweet tooth. Often she’ll want a cookie, take a bite and want nothing more to do with it. Usually sneaking it to Holly. Stella received a red Christmas boot for Nicolas day stuffed with all sorts of wrapped chocolate bon bons. She has had this boot for two weeks now. She loves carrying it around, taking the bon bons out and putting them back in. Just playing. Then Hannah came over. Before Maja could say anything Hannah downed 2 bon bons, needless to say the boot is now empty.

The two are also funny, copying each other. Whatever one is doing, the other has to do it too. Their favorite game is still by far sitting on the piano next to each other banging away. I see duets in the future.
Stella loves the game of scaring you or being scared. She’ll hide around the corner then stick her head out. She has this funny little grin, sticking her bottom jaw out, drawing her lips tight. Holding her hands clasped together and squinting her eyes at you, she’ll throw her head back and give a quiet and ghostly “boo”. Then giggle with joy as you act startled.

This evening Stella wanted to be put in her bed. Not to sleep but to play. It was as if someone has wound her up and then let go. She spun around, running back and forth. Throwing herself to the ground, moving her animals from one end to the other. Having so many close calls with banging her head on the sides that made mommy and daddy cringe. I almost couldn’t watch any more. And of course the main activity, grabbing the crib rail and jumping up and down like a hyperactive chimpanzee on speed. Yes, the mattress will be lowered tomorrow.

She had us rolling on the floor with laughter. She took her teddy bear and had him jumping up and down, just like “the monkeys on the bed.” Then all of a sudden she smashed his head on the bed railing. She then paused as if in reflection and then said “Owa” And with that he fell to the mattress arms and legs sprawled in every which direction. Maja said, yes you hurt teddy, you need to blow on his booboo and give him a kiss to make him feel better. And with that she bent down, picked teddy up and blew on his forehead. Then she put teddy down and after prompting from Maja, she covered the teddy with a blanket.

This was only a momentary lapse in activity because she promptly started running from one end of the crib to the other
again. Spinning and throwing the animals out of the crib. She threw a fit if we tried to get her out. However, her laughter was infectious and we all had a good time.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Music Lovers, lets share

Sunday December 13th, the third week of advent was celebrated with an advent concert in the 800 year old Carlow church. The billing was the Carlow Choir (including Oma) and a brass quintet.

The youngest member of the standing room only audience was our 19 month old Stella.

For readers of the blog, you know she can’t sit still for more than a half a second. Yet for an hour and a half, she watched with wide open eyes as the choir and quintet created their magic. Sometimes we stood in the center isle so she could see better, other times she sat on Opa’s lap. She picked out Oma in the crowd on the risers and pointed to her.

And when “Go tell it on the mountain” rang through the hall, Stella tried to clap with the rest of the audience.

When she did eventually get antsy, she turned around a played with her shadow. Shaking her head so that the shadow showed the two bobbles from her hat flying around, she would smile and point then shake her head again. A couple of minutes later she would turn around to enjoy the music again.

We are extremely proud of her for holding out so long and yet I’m not surprised. She seems to like music; dancing when she hears something she likes, testing her voice in what sound like weird scales, banging on the piano. And now holding her attention for an extended period of time. There could be a future.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lübeck Weihnachtsmarkt

Yesterday Stella experienced the Lübeck Christmas market fort he first time.

Although the weather was overcast and rainy, she fully enjoyed it. So many new stimuli, people and shiny lights.

We started at the Fairytale world where several scenes from famous fairytales are depicted with puppets. Stella was fascinated by the animated creatures and the spinning carousel. When we would turn to leave a particular attraction she would start fuss but two seconds later she would see something else to attract her attention and all was good again.

From fairytale land we moved onto the crowded marketplace. Sitting on Daddy’s shoulders she had a birds eye view of the packed market. She started dancing to the music and shouting “ohh, ohh”. The passerby who happened to look up at her instantly had a smile on their face.

Stella tried the large soft pretzel with cheese melted over it and she especially liked the chocolate Bannana.

Finally we were by the big Ferris-Wheel. Although it was huge and colourfully lit, Stella didn’t take any notice. There were PONY’s! Stellla stared transfixed on the little Shetland ponies and when they stopped she would pet them. We had to stand there at least 15 minutes. She did not want to leave.

When we finally got home, she was worn out, over stimulated, fussy and crashed.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bucket head breaks the unbreakable

Corning, famous glassware. Oven safe, microwave safe, dishwasher safe, Virtually unbreakable. This is what I told Maja as Stella was pulling out and stacking the small corningware bowls we have. „Maybe“ says Maja, „but is it Stella safe?“ Good question I say as Stella looses her grip on a bowl and in super slow motion, the bowl drops to the tile floor shattering into hundreds of tiny pieces.
“Guess not.” I laugh back to Maja as I swiftly pick up Stella and Maja moves in to clean up the mess.

Picking up, stacking, and moving things, especially bowls (usually she only has access to the Tupperware cupboard) is a favorite pastime. She’ll even help you clear or load the dishwasher. She needs clear oversight though, otherwise she gets confused and will put dirty in with the clean ;-)
And if she isn’t stacking the bowls then she is happily wearing them as a hat. I call her bucket head.

I am happy to announce that the snuffles promptly went away with out further increase of systems. In its place are two top molars and two on the bottom about the break through.

The teeth though I don’t think have helped with her attitude. Or its just the struggle with learning to handle independence or the understanding the lack there of. Stella knows what she wants. She tells you what she wants. If you don’t understand, the pitch of her groan lifts, eyes shake in frustration, face turning red. Okay, nothing new. But now tell her she can’t have something, or it’s time to stop and watch her drop to the floor in a heap burying her face in her blanket, arms or stuffed animal that is in hand. A rather amusing display which is rather short lived. Sometimes I’ll get down on the floor and put my face right up next to hers. I’ll look for a second then say “boo”. From underneath the pile of blanket you’ll here a frustrated giggle.

These new tantrums have disturbed our nightly routines. As we sit in the rocking chair and read our books, we’ll pick out one last book to read. When it’s done of course she wants another one. I say no it’s lights out. I’ll turn the light out and she’ll start squirming and crying. As soon as I move her from a sitting position to a lying position in my arms, she’s out.

This happened three nights in a row. On the fourth, I got her to bed with out the crying. I put our book down and just before she started fussing for another book, I pulled another bunny from behind my back. She grabbed it with glee and buried her face in it and the other ten animals she had in her hand. At that moment I turned off the light. She contently lay down in my arms and then I was able to put her down in bed. Whew. Good night.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Deck the halls… with non-breakable items

A little background: after we have given thanks, spending the week with my father and family in North Carolina. We would cut down a Christmas tree, jam it in the car and on the long drive back to Baltimore, blast Christmas music passing truck after truck full of trees headed for the big cities.

This marked the start of the Christmas season for us.  Now we're in a different situation. Spending Thanksgiving in North Carolina isn't always going to be a possibility let alone bring a tree back.

However, the German tradition of putting up the tree on the 24th is not an option.  The tree is too beautiful not to enjoy for the month of advent.
Saturday morning, the sun peaked out for a few hours. A welcome break after 4 weeks of rain, we set off to start a new tradition. Packed into the car (minus Holly) we headed out to find a tree farm we had heard about.

Less than the 8 hours to North Carolina, 20 minutes later driving out of Schoenberg, we almost passed our destination. To the left we saw a house with two dozen rows of trees in front, all about the size of a big twig, something Charlie Brown would be happy with but not what we were hoping for. We kept on driving and found the perfect tree at the local Nursery in Schoenberg.
Saturday night we had our own Thanksgiving dinner and after Stella went to bed, we put the tree together.

Do you remember the movie "Close Encounters of a Third Kind"? Remember when the Alien spaceship landed and all the humans just stared up, dumb in amazement, eyes glassed over, speechless?

This is the only way I can describe Stella when she first saw the Christmas tree all lit up this morning. This little being, dwarfed by this enormous, luminescent, living tree with all sorts of dazzling and sparkling things…in our living room. She stood motionless for a few moments, then kicked into high gear, inspecting every corner, branch, light and ornament. Stella is especially enamored with our bugs bunny ornament. Every time she runs into the room, she points it out. We purposely tried to keep all breakable ornaments out of reach and the classic Norman Rockwell image comes to mind as she is standing on her tip toes, stretching as far as she can, trying to reach the shiny antique glass ornaments above.

She is enthralled with every ornament, the snowmen, the snowboarding Santa, the sparkly bells, the "balls". She roars back at the English Bear. Stella runs around the tree pointing at all the different ornaments and sometimes grabs them. We're trying to tell her that they are for looking only. Hopefully she'll get the hang of it soon. I would hate to put a gate up around the gorgeous tree.
This evening while at the dinner table, Stella grabbed the newspaper and opened it up as if she was really reading it. Now this isn't anything out of the ordinary, Stella loves to look at books and magazines. But what made this such a funny scenario is that she grabbed the paper, sat back in Maja's lap to read and when she was done with the page, she folded the paper together, grabbed the next page and opened it up again, looking intently at what was on the page. If she wasn't a toddler, her actions would mimic a wall street investor reading the numbers with his morning cup of coffee.

Stella loves to dance. When I come home from work, before I can take off my coat, she's asking, well demanding our hands to dance. Singing "wir haben eine ziehharmonika" (we have a harmonica), we stand in a circle stomping our feet. By the chorus, instead of swaying, we lift Stella up swinging her back and forth. She finds this totally cool and doesn't want to stop. When she hears a song playing over the stereo that she likes, she'll start bobbing to the beat.

There is a trampoline at the toddler gymnastics that Stella loves to jump on. She is now getting the hang of jumping on her own. It is really funny to watch her try and jump by herself. She hasn't quite gotten the hang of it yet. If she is walking when she tries, she it looks like she is trying to take long exaggerated steps as she lifts off of one foot, extending to her toes, look of amusement on her face, reaching with her arm as she lands with her other foot, only to repeat.
If however Stella has your hands, let the stomping action begin. With both hands secured, she lifts off and stomps and stomps and stomps. She loves the exaggerated spring Daddy gives her as she jumps up too.

We've mentioned that Stella currently has a total aversion to the bath. She loves looking at the water, throwing her toys in, even dipping her foot in. She screams bloody murder when you try to set her in though. As an alternative we filled the tiny tub with water and washed her while she sits at the wayside. Then she found her cups, which she promptly filled and dumped all over herself.  Mommy, the carpet and the bathroom were soaked. But the child was clean!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Do the Crab

I am grizzly, hear me roar
There is a lot to be said about Old Bay seasoning. The zesty taste that just screams Baltimore and I think a little bit slipped through the umbilical cord when Maja was pregnant. We’ve brought in Stella’s sand toys for the winter and amongst them is a crab. Maja showed Stella what the crab does and when I came home today, Stella had a new greeting for me. Sitting on mommy’s lap, she raised both hands open and closed her fists, crab style. Next we’ll teach her the sideways crab shuffle.

Stella has become Holly’s Bain. She terrorizes her every second she can. Stella chases, pets, sometimes in her over exuberant arm movements hits and the biggest new thing is stepping on her. Even when you are holding her back telling her no, Stella sticks her leg out as far as she can, just trying to get a toe on poor Holly. Any dog in their right mind in this kind of situation would distance themselves. It could be the mother instinct, it could be a bit of masochism, or just plain craziness but Holly always wants to be around. And thus the constant shuffle routine of running around, chasing and Holly moving to a new spot only to move 30 seconds later.

I must admit that Stella is not a total terror to Holly. She likes to and tries to pet her as often as possible in a loving way and she loves giving Holly treats.
Mafioso Stella with her "stogie"

Yesterday during this game, Holly perched herself as high as she could on the couch, on top of the arm, on top of the cushions. When Stella came her way, she even unsuccessfully tried to run across the unstable, cushioned back of the couch. Stella found this hilarious and tried to climb after her. And this is when dad’s foresight paid off. A while back I purchased a foam pipe insulator and put it on the hard windowsill. Maja said it was ugly, didn’t they have other colors? I, well, I don’t see it. So as Stella was chasing after holly, she slipped and hit the cushioning with only a startled gasp, no harm done.

Stella hasn’t limited herself to climbing couches though. A new pastime is to climb daddy. Taking both hands, she “walks” up Daddy until she is standing on his shoulders, Queen of the hill.

If she isn’t climbing things, she’s dumping things out. No matter what it is, and what it is in, it’s gotta come out; a bag of pasta, clips, lunch, anything. If we’re lucky we can coax her to playing the “put it back in” game but as soon as the last piece is in, flop it’s out again.
Stella watches like a hawk and is starting to mimic what we do. The other day while sitting on mommy’s lap, she grabbed the knife and fork and tried to cut the bread on the plate. She’ll grab a knife or spoon and try and get the jam out of the jar and loves eating with a fork. She does sometimes regress to her doggy roots and pull the bowl or plate up to her face to suck down a piece of meat or bread.
fun on the teeter totter

She has become a big help taking off her coat. She’ll try to undo the zipper herself and when open, she grabs both sides and tries to yank pulling both sides at the same time. After coming in from outside we can ask her to take her shoes to the shoe rack and she’ll run over and place them next to daddy and mommy’s shoes. Stella wants to put her “house shoes” (grippy socks) on but she hasn’t figured out quite how that works yet but she’ll extend her foot to you to put them on. She loves her new once piece pajama’s from grandma and will try and put her feet in her self. The other night she was so tired that she grabbed her pajamas and tried to put them on herself. When mommy laid her on the bed to wash and get dressed she lay there like a lump on a log and promptly wanted to lie down in her bed. She didn’t even want to look at a book.

One of Stella’s favorite books is “five little monkey’s jumping on the bed” She laughs when their jumping on the bed, she says “ow” and grabs her head when they fall off and bump their head and she wags her finger in disapproval when the doctor says “no more monkey’s jumping on the bed”. Last week she took the story to heart. Stella decided it was time for one of her tornado storms. Not on the ground as usual but on the bed. Daddy warned that it wasn’t a good idea but she was having too good a time. Daddy caught her as she started to slip off. Daddy warned again. The tornado increased in fury until in the blink of an eye she was on the floor. Luckily she sort of rolled off the bed, only lightly bumped her head and had a good scare. Needless to say, she hasn’t done this since but I think this is only because she is having too much fun running back and forth giving her parents other things to have ulcers over.

Winter is fast approaching and to help combat the influx of mud and dirt, we bought a red matte for inside the front door. Stella was drawn to it like a magnet. Bringing her toys, sitting on it, lying on it and running from the kitchen to the matt, back to the kitchen for a bite to eat and back to the matte. This is one of her favorite new places to play now.

Stella and her red carpet

The friendship with Hannah is cemented. They are practically twins. Last Saturday we took a short walk with Hannah and her mom. The two were like tweedle dee and tweedle dum. If one ran, the other ran, one would laugh, the other would laugh. Stella sat down on the curb; Hannah plopped down right next to her. And in one instance they even fell, as if on cue, Hannah tripped, two seconds later…Stella tripped.

The two are inseparable. When we walk by their house, Stella runs over to the gate and starts shaking it furiously, wanting in. When it is time to part, she will nicely shake Hannah’s hand goodbye but then put on a horrendous fit when we turn to go.

Stella has also become fond of her bike trailer. Today Maja wanted to take Holly and Stella for a walk. Stella ran over to the bike shed and wouldn’t budge, insisting on going for a bike ride. She’s a sly little one too. In the shed we have a box with what is supposed to be Stella’s Christmas present. Apparently as Maja was putting the bike and trailer away, Stella grabbed a piece of the present (a little house) and carried it inside. Maja didn’t even notice until she had locked everything up and was inside. Guess we’ll have to become a little bit more shrewd with our hiding spots.

Friday, November 13, 2009

An owl hooting, twirling monster, jabbering little daddy’s girl.

The other day I had a conversation with Stella. She spent the day with Opa. When I got home I asked her how her day was, did she have fun, did she take a long nap etc. Although I steered the conversation so that all she needed to do was answer with “ja”, An affirmative that she now has in her vocabulary. She looked at me as if she comprehended al that I was saying and answered each question with an exuberant ja.

This got me thinking about speech development. Some may think it weird to lead her like this. Practially putting words in her mouth. But I see this as just another piece in the puzzle. Showing her cause and effect, the interaction between to people and how to engage in a conversation. She beat the statistics that say she should have thrown a nein into the group. She not only answered my questions but is trying to learn and use new words

I know that children are like sponges and that they soak in everything that they hear and see. What astonishes me though is that Stella is doing this in a bilingual world. She is learning and comprehending two languages. You can see it in her face. I can ask her something in English, Maja in German and she gets it. Of course as we continue to increase the complexity of our questions, we have to help her out, but she’s getting it. She knows that an “Affe” and Monkey are the same, that on and off are the same as an and aus. She’s getting it.

One of our new favorite games is to search for things within the book. Reading the actual story has taken a sideline to the hunt and search. Questions like: Where’s the balloon, where’s the boy ,where’s the doggy, what’s the horse say, what does the owl say, etc. That’s her new favorite animal sound. The whoo whoo of an owl. And you see her search, and if she doesn’t point right away, you see her eyes find the item.

A new favorite book is a farm book. Yes we have lots of those. This one has big illustrations of different farm situations like the horse stalls, cow stalls and orchard. It has scenes full of characters and lots of flaps to find things under. Stella loves looking under these and flipping up all the flaps. The last scene is of the woods. Hanging on a tree is a big is a woodpecker. Stella taps her finger on the page to show the what the woodpecker does. Then I ask where’s Daddy. She happily lifts up a flap that is disguised as a tarp. Under it is a bear with a camera on a tripod. Guess she has me figured out. Then I ask where’s Opa. On the top of the page there’s a bear with a chain saw cutting wood. Opa’s favorite hobby.

While not yet using full on words, stella loves telling you stories or holding items up and describing them to you. She’s learned Heiss (hot) and says that for the oven, or food that is too hot. Also Nass (wet) when she dumps her drink all over herself. She definitely tries to communicate with us and you can see the frustration when she’s not getting through.

The Thyne’s left us a little wicker chair when bought the house. The seat is still a little high for Stella to pop a squat but it is light enough for Stella to lift and move around. She takes it all over the house. She’ll crawl onto it. Standing up with the aid of the high back then turn around and slide into a sitting position.

If she needs your help moving the chair, wants to show you something or simply take you somewhere, she will run up to you and extend her hand upwards for yours. What used to be a symbol of needed stability is now a sign of determination to bring us into her world as she drags you along trying to communicate with you.

Typically when I come home from work, Stella is extremely excited that I am there, shouting “daddy daddy daddy.” But when I open my arms to her she wants to stay with mommy. Not as depressing as you might think though. After dinner we’re playing and rough housing as usual. A new development is that she has now become a daddy’s girl. And I’m soaking it up. If we are in crowds or over stimulating situations, she knows there’s security being in daddy’s arms. And sometimes she even prefers it to mommy’s. Although I would say we’re 50/50 but it’s nice to be held up to the same level as mommy after so many months of mommy’s girl.

Maja and Stella have started going to a Childs gymnastics group twice a week where there are lots of kids and fun things to crawl up, over and around. She has brought this practice home by climbing on anything and everything, scaring her parents to death as you turn around and she’s at the top of her high chair, a moment ago she was on the floor.

An interesting personality trait has surfaced. Stella likes to observe from afar. If there are too many children at a particular object, she will watch from a distance and contently play at another not so crowded object. Once the crowd has died down, she will go over to the first object, explore and play.
This is not to imply that she doesn’t like crowds because she does, but on her terms. She loves the energy of everyone and runs around like wild.

At the end of these days, when she is home, she will quietly sit in your lap and hang out, apparently tuckered out. A stark contrast to her normal bee in the pants restlessness. Lately after dinner, it feels like someone flicks an overdrive switch on Stella. She becomes hyperactive, running back and forth, up and down, climbing on things and jabbering up a storm. This is some great fun if not also quite a challenge to wash and change her and get her ready for bed. Then she’ll crash into bed after her milk and book.

In our “guest” room we have a mattress lying on the floor. Before, this was a safe place for her to learn to walk and balance. Now it is an oversized trampoline. She loves to run in from another room and fall onto the mattress. She loves to roll around, flail her legs and spin like a tornado until she falls.
But all this energy is spent in things she enjoys. For things that she doesn’t, well you’d think we’re torturing her. Cutting nails is a two person effort. We’re lucky any more if we can get her on the potty and my gosh, forget washing or worse taking a bath.

Our once half fish now has the wicked witch of the west complex. She thinks that water is going to melt her. Stella will look interestingly into the bathtub and throw toys in there but as soon as you put her in, she starts screaming bloody murder. We have had to resort to baths once a week and it is basically a quick dunk to avoid permanent hearing damage. One time Stella screamed so hard while getting her toe nails cut that she threw up. Hopefully this is phase will end soon.

Needless to say, if you haven’t gathered form the stories above, Stella is at an awesome age right now. We feel so fortunate to have her and these wonderful experiences. Time is really flying (as you may have noticed from the lack of blogging the past month) I am going to try and get back to blogging regularly, stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Who do you choose?

I was astonished and appalled this evening when I opened the website.

Before the page fully loads the following question is visible…"kids or spouse, who do you love more?"
I'm sure this is supposed to be one of those cutsie little quizzes like should I go blond or redhead. But somehow in our disposable society, in a time when people preach about low morals, during a financial crisis where relationship are strained as it is, this really seems to be the wrong message to be sending to the public.

Does it have to be one or another? Have our attention spans been strained to a point that we don't have the capacity to love more than one person at a time? Are we so insecure that we have to rank even our family members? Talk about feeding the fire for divorce. "see honey, you like Timmy more than me anyway, sign here, you get the house"

I love my wife!

I love my daughter!

Together we make a family!

They both mean and are the world to me. Why do I have to choose? I don't want to. I don't see any value in doing so.

I wrote parenting and told them these exact thoughts. If you feel the same way, even if you aren't a parent follow this link and tell them too that this is not the way to promote family, peace and love.

Yours truly, Jeremy – a loving father to all

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The great Pumpkin and the Wandering Teddybear

Fall is in the air. A short break from the stories to post some pictures we’ve taken over the past few weeks.

Click here to see the pictures.

In the album you will find pictures in of Stella by the Great Pumpkin

A visit from the Twins Sidney and Spencer

And the wandering Teddybear

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


"Durchgedreht" This single German word sums up Stella the last few days. English? The translation doesn't quite get it right… Wound up, to spin, nuts, to blow a gasket, skid, slip. What ever it is, it is as if Stella has had a bee in her pants Since Sunday evening. Maybe she was watching the fevered action of the twins Sidney and Spencer at work and was taking notes, who knows. Now I know that Susanne and Daniel will not believe us. "What? The quiet and reserved Stella gone wild?" they'll say. Well yeah, she's a bit reserved around people she's not that comfortable with. But once she is, hold on to your hat, it's going to be a wild ride. Sunday night I was out of breath by the time I got her in bed. Running between rooms, flipping around, running away from you…oh look, there's something cool bam she's off like lightning.

Regardless of how wound up she is though, she'll eventually calm down as she sits in your lap, drinks her bedtime milk and looks at a book or two with you. After the stories we turn out the light and cuddle for a minute. Then I'll ask if she's ready to lay down in which she will shake her head yes and I'll put her down. What an awesome routine! Tonight, daddy got lots of kisses, without asking. As we were cuddling she looked up at me and gave me a kiss, then another. Then she turned around, wrapped her arms around my neck and gave me another. I wouldn't trade these moments for the world.

Stella has no fear. I think I have mentioned this before but I think she has adopted this motto as her middle name. Instead of crawling on the bed, now she stands up and runs around, not worrying where she's going or that there is a two foot drop on the end, succeeding just about every night to give her parents a heart attack. Just stepping off the couch or what ever she is standing on, whether you are ready or not.

She loves for you to hold her in your arms and spin spin spin around. Until you can't stand straight anymore and then she asks for more. She does this by shaking her head yes. A simple nod and a mischievous smile, innocent eyes asking for just "one more time". Spinning, dropping backwards and hanging upside down and running from the tickle monster. Now maybe I don't know enough about child psychology but just like children have this fear of clowns, I would expect Stella to be afraid of the tickle monster.
Let me describe him so you have a better picture of what we are dealing with here. A large being, three times your size. He walks with heavy steps shaking the floor. Arms are open wide as if hugging an ancient red wood tree. Strides like an elephant swinging from side to side. Eyes searching high and low for the little Stella. And the voice? Booming, horse, raspy crying out "WHERE IS STELLA, HERE COMES THE TICKLE MONSTER"

Now I think I would be afraid of this creature but Stella? It's her new favorite game. She'll hide behind the door or jump into mom's arms and laughs uncontrollably when she's caught. When the tickle monster stops, she quickly shakes her head "yes" to do it again…repeatedly. And if she has had enough? She just tells you "nein" and the game is off. You're usually ready to stop though before she is.

Another game she has is peak-a-boo. Stella will hide behind something and then peak her head out. Traditionally this game happens at the dinner table. When she's had enough we'll let Stella down from her chair. She'll run behind the kitchen door. She especially likes when we pretend we don't know where she has gone and ask each other if we have seen where she went. Then Stella will slowly peak her head out around from the corner, giggle and run to one of us. Then she'll turn around and repeat.

I think I have illustrated the point that Stella doesn't need any help walking anymore. She has even made it down our steep slope in the back yard by herself. She's still not as sure-footed as say a two year old. Still walking with the hard steps that make your joints cringe but with fearless abandon she strives forward. Now if she wants your hand, it means she wants to take you somewhere to show you something.

By the way, if you don't spin Stella around enough, she'll do it herself. And if the music is on, she'll turn it into a dance. Which she'll do anyway if music is on. Bouncing up and down, shaking it all about.

She is also consciously waiving bye-bye, blowing kisses and even shaking your hand goodbye as she is in this picture. Stella is saying goodbye to her friend Hannah.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Do the monkey

Monkey face

What does a monkey say? It pulls its shoulders up, arms sticking out, eyes rolling, dancing around and makes an oooh oooh sound. Well that’s Stellas impression of a monkey\goriilla when you show her the picture.

Stella has a new way to show that she is concentrating really hard. She sticks her tongue out the side of her mouth. This she showed us the other day as she was climbing up the rungs to the slide. These are not steps; these are straight round rungs that you could slip on easily. With hard edged determination she decided that she was going to climb up to the slide herself. Using the side rail for balance she managed this a bit shakily the first time and each successive time she became more steady with her climbing skills. Mom’s hands hovering around her waste should she slip but this was rarely needed. And with each step, eyes of steel on her goal, tongue stretched out.

- stella watching a kite in the air

- Great pumpkin

The other day, Maja arrived at the day care and Stella was standing at the door ready to go. Maja had to pack a couple of things so Stella decided to head back into the kitchen. When Maja was ready a moment later, Stella was too busy flirting with Janek to want to leave. Maja said “Bye, bye Stella, I’m going home”. At that Lorenz ran out and grabbed Maja’s hand. “You can go yet, you have to wait for Stella” he said. Alas, a moment later, Stella came trotting out of the kitchen and they headed home.

Fall as arrived. Our friends Bonnie and David visited us last week. We went out into the country and took some family photos. This is one of a series that Bonnie took of us. visit my facebook page to see some more.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yum yum

Last weekend was the Harvest festival in Carlow. There was a large inflatable bouncy pen for the kids. It was a little too much for Stella but she enjoyed spinning in circles and jumping on the matt used as a step to get into the Bouncy pen. Stella enjoyed putting the colored pucks of the giant connect four game into the cage and really lit up every time the brass band started to play. She always wanted to watch and started dancing.

Yum yum is the new word. This means anything that she deems worthy to put into her belly. Walking down the street she'll see fruit hanging on the trees, point, and say yum yum. Or when she is hungry she'll go running into the kitchen, point to something and say yum yum.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

May the force be with you Part 2…

Imitation is one way to learn. Stella has entered a phase where she will mimic you.  Waving back to you, covering her eyes or nose or mouth, dancing with you etc. Yesterday, even Luke Skywalker was able to take over the role of teacher as he (the little figurine) waved at her, shook his head, and lifted his feet, Stella reacted in kind. I am glad she has taken to grabbing Luke and Princes Leah instead of the emperor lately other sometimes she does grab a Star Destroyer commander. May the force be with you!


Through out this escapade, Stella was sitting on the potty. A new breakthrough as for the past month or so she would not sit down for more than a half a second on the little potty. How did we achieve this? Let her build! We constructed a large tower from her Lego's which she in turn loves to look at, play with, drop things into, add on and demolish while sitting on the potty. Whew hew!


At first she would fuss when sat on the potty. I would try and distract her, how? By being as loud as possible to drown her out. I would cover my eyes and say, "my eyes, my eyes, my eyes, my eyes, my eyes are gone." (saying it so fast that the words blur together)  Uncover my eyes and then say "Ah, there they are."  This would grab her attention and calm her down. Now after a few days of doing this, she will play along. She'll cover her eyes and mumble "aya,yaa, aya,aya…Da". How cute.


For a while now Stella has known the word Nein. She'll say Nein to something and we'll ask can you say "Ja"? In which she will reply "Ja". However this wasn't very consistent in answer and deed. Yesterday however, she started nodding her head yes. "Stella would you like a drink?" nodding her head vigorously up and down and then she'd grab the cup. And so forth.


Lately when she's had a really full diaper (and it's smelled something terrible) I've held my nose and said "ewwwww". Now over the last couple of days Stella has started doing the same. High pitched, ewwwwwwwwww.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Time flies...

Time flies…such a cliché but how true.


But wouldn't it be perfect to have a photographic memory; to remember precisely the moment that made you smile our really touched you. How do you catalogue all those fleeting moments? A camera captures an inaudible moment. A video camera captures the moment but not the meaning, the written word really just a memory interpretation. But what about that moment when your daughter looks you in the eye piercing down to your heart and touches your sole?


You can only say "amazing" or precious so many times before it starts to lose the intended meaning. But continually that's what it is.


Amazing to notice how last week Stella although walking was still unsure, but this week running around tripping less and carrying things. Precious how after walking up after a nap, cuddling on the bed she propped herself up on my chest, to gaze out at the world, then turned to me and smiled.


Amazing, what a flirt she is and how much energy she has, goofing around with the whole family, laughing, giggling and carrying on. Precious how expressive she talks, forming so sounds which to her I am sure are sentences.


Amazing to see the wheels turning behind those piercing eyes and then seeing the click. Each day getting better at taking a cup and drinking.


And absolutely precious how as she's trying to master the spoon, she smears herself and bunny with yogurt.


I try to capture as much as I can in picture and word but time just soars on and there are so many moments that slip by. Time really does fly.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The blackberry monster

What happens when you dance in such frenzy, running around, not paying attention to your boundaries? The house lays you out flat, that's what. One evening Stella was in an over joyous mood, dancing around and running from mirror to balcony door and back. At one point, she stopped in front of the balcony door, turned around and while laughing at us started to do her humpty dance. She was a little too close to the door and when she squatted with full force, butt hits the door and in classic matrix style, slow motion speed up, she bounces off and ends up spread out on all fours on the ground.  


Shake it off, it's okay. as Maja and Stella were walking past our neighbor the other day Tom Jones' sex bomb came out of the car radio. Stella stopped, started dancing and she wouldn't go further until the song was done.


The other night Stella didn't quiet down after putting her to bed. I went upstairs to check on her and found her in the corner, rocking in her now routine ostrich position (bending over, head buried in the ground as if she is going to do a headstand or summersault). She stands up looking at me with glassy eyes as if I interrupted her from some very important yoga meditation.


Something in the picture is not right however. As I scan the scene the sesame street music "one of these things is not like the other" starts playing in my head. I survey the crib and it looks different. I scan up to Stella staring at me and then the emptiness above her head. She had pulled her Mobile apart and it was laying in pieces on the bed. I cleared out the bed and laid her down and she finally fell asleep.

I guess that is why they say you should take mobiles down when they can start to push themselves up. Until this point however, she never touched it or made any inclination towards it so we had left it.


Stella's appetite is continuing to expand. We're still amazed at some of the stuff she likes. Thankfully she doesn't have a sweat tooth yet. The other day at Oma and Opa's she was faced with a big bowl of chocolate. She reached over and picked up an apple. She also ate pineapple. Another interesting treat she likes is Japanese rice cakes with a spicy kick. Last Year the Matsumotos sent us a nice care package. Although I think the rice cakes were intended for the adults Stella liked sucking on them. Recently we bought some new rice cakes at a local Asian store. Let's just say, Stella doesn't want to share.


Last week blueberries were in season, this week blackberries. We have tons of black berry bushes in the neighborhood. We have gone picking. I think only half of the berries made it into the bucket because Stella kept eating them. Then we made some Blackberry jam. Keep it out of her site because she will steal what ever you're eating if it has jam on it.


Stella's talking has expanded from the traditional mama, dada type sounds to L's and O's and syllables. Looking you in the eye, she tells you just what she thinks.


And shows you want she wants. Last week we were at Opa and Oma's. Opa pulled out the lawnmower and Stella hat to be with him. Opa is thinking about how he can build a seat on the lawnmower for the future.


Here are some pictures of the Blackberry kid.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

the dawning of a new age…a Marathon runner

She's quick, she's fast and can turn on a dime. I think I can safely say that we have crossed the walking milestone. Over the past week she has increasingly been walking on her own. One of her favorite games has been to hold a big ball or balloon, throw it in front of her, chase after it, pick it up and do it again. Usually however for long distances she would look for mommy or daddy's hand.  Today after her nap, we headed to get ice cream. She lasted all of 20 yards in the stroller and then she was off. She walked probably 80% of the way there and back.

This afternoon as I was putting her down for a nap, we were sitting in the chair looking at a book. She saw her other blanket, pointed and made her "I need my blankie sound" I told her that she needed to get it her self and set her down on the ground. She walked over, picked it up and walked back to the chair. And this evening instead of crawling across the hall she picked herself up and walked. 

Over the past month or so, when putting Stella down for the night, we have had to stay in the room with for a few minutes. To pass the time we had a couple craft books or National Geographic Magazines on the pile of otherwise kid-centric books. Over the last week, Stella has chosen to forgo the usual "Goodnight Gorilla" or Dr. Suess ABC's for the more intellectually stimulating National Geographic Magazine. Lately she has been so tuckered out from daycare and our playing that she has simply leafed through a few pages and then laid down. But she is still very particular about what she has in her bed with her. Her blankets have been thinned down by having one at day care and Sam the giant frog sits quietly in the corner offering a leg for her to rest her head on. The other night Stella was exhausted and should have be out like a light. Her normal end of day conversation where she tells the stuffed animals what happened that day lasted longer than normal.  Usually when this happens, she has filled her pants and doesn't want to sleep in it. So I went in to check. I snuck into the room and did my best to sniff the air for any abnormal aroma. Stella simply said "Nein" (no) and held up a small stuffed frog to me. At first I didn't see the frog but she said "Nein" a second time and then I saw it. As soon as I took it from her hands, she folded them behind her head and closed her eyes. I quietly shuffled out of the room and she was out.

If I haven't mentioned this before, Stella is or has become quite a talker. She babbles on and on and on and tells you exactly what's on her mind. We think that this openness along with another talkative playmate in daycare, Lorenz, has helped Hannah open up. We found out that this past weekend the normally silent Hannah has started talking too. Yeah!
This past weekend she spent the night at Oma and Opa's. When Heidi came in to get her out of bed, Stella had her blankets wrapped all around her and she was sitting with the baby doll "Tina" in her lap telling her a very vivid story.

Day care has been going well. Over the past week we progressed to her eating and then taking her afternoon nap there. At first Stella didn't eat very well but after three days "Conny" the daycare mom found out the problem. When Conny set the kids at the table, she took Stella's blanket away from her and set it on the counter…in plain sight. Big mistake, Stella just fussed and fussed and wouldn't eat. On the third day, Conny thought maybe the blanket might have something to do with it. She gave Stella her blanky and sure enough, once it was securely in her lap, she ate everything in site and sometimes seconds.

For what ever reason, Stella stopped eating ice cream. This made us wonder if she was really ours. But the other day she just grabbed my cone out of my hand and went to town. She had ice cream everywhere. In her hair, all over her face, in the stroller and all over the new polka-dot dress that Grandma had just sent her. We're still working on getting the stains out.
Lately in the mornings during breakfast Stella has filled her pants. Although as any parent knows, you can tell when a baby is pushing, this week more drama has enveloped the event. All activity stops and you can see the concentration in her blushing face. One day Stella even produced a satisfied AHHHH at the end. The next day after this event, I pulled Stella's pants off to change the diaper and felt a plop on my sandled foot. She had pushed so hard that the poop blew out the side of the diaper, out the onsey and literally filled her drawers, down to her socks. Ewww it didn't help that Stella has become a Blueberry monster. I'll save the rest for those weak at heart.

Speaking of, Last week Blueberries were in season and on sale. Stella couldn't get enough of them. Today we picked Blackberries. Same story. Glad she loves healthy food. Hope it stays that way.
Stella has never taken a pacifier, even when we wanted her too. At most she has chewed on it as a play-thing and spit it out after a couple of minutes. So it was especially funny for me to turn around Thursday during a play date to see Stella have Spencer's pacifier in her mouth…the wrong way, bighting down on the hard plastic shell.

Stella loves to push buttons. Give her anything with a button, a remote control, the hairdryer, cell phone. We have a massager that she has become fond off. It's basically a fist size ball with three smaller balls protruding out used for the massaging. When the big center button is pushed, the three smaller balls light up and the whole thing vibrates. Stella loves this "toy", letting it dance on the table, holding it in her hands and recently holding it to her belly to message it. 

Click here to see some pictures over the past couple weeks.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

May the force be with you

Today, Stella found a box of daddy's Star Wars action figures. She had a good old time with them and played with herself for over a half hour while mommy cleaned house.
She'd grab two, one in each hand, set them down, pick them back up and set them down again. She's proud that they sit at her attention and especially pleased that she can make the emperor stand.

Speaking of the Emperor, she has a special affinity for him. I hope this isn't forshadowing of what is to come.

Dancing Gorilla

Yesterday we taught Stella how to dance, well baby gorilla style dancing anyway. I started jumping up and down. Mom started too. Stella watched with fascination. Then she stood up and did her own variation. Now that’s the thing. Take 3 steps, bounce up and down, take three steps, bounce up and down.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Maja the May Pole

Yesterday we were running back and forth from the door to the mirror. Today we turn from the door, run halfway across the room, do a 180 and swing back around to the door. Straight ahead charging has turned into half drunken swerving. And mix it up a bit, grab mom's hand and just run around in circles. So fast that we can't catch her.

A strange phenomenon has occurred in a matter of a day. Where yesterday Stella was clingy and had to have physical contact; today she's happy with her doll amusing herself between the chairs under the table while we clean up after dinner. Such a weird feeling. We really attribute it to the daycare. She's learning from the others how to play, share and amuse herself, but she's not ready to share her mommy yet. Stella and Hannah really like each other, today they were cuddling again, giving massive head hugs and Stella wouldn't drink when mommy gave her something. But when Hannah offered to share, she drank.  Needless to say, today at the swing set, Stella was not at all happy when mommy had to put her down to catch Hannah on the slide. But a moment later the mood passed and they were best friends again.

To sleep we have a new routine. We still need our blankets, all four of them but Sam has to come to bed with her. For those who haven't met Sam, he is a giant 3.5 foot frog, bigger than Stella. He talks up half the crib. But she needs him to cuddle and fall asleep now. Later when we go to bed, we sneak into the room and remove him so Stella has a bit of space to move around.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Uh oh, the slobbering bulldozer

So we're going to start this story sort of out of order. What was going to be a fun little story about a new game has turned into a milestone. The past few days Stella has practiced crawling over to the wall, standing herself up, letting go, turning and running the few paces to mommy or daddy. This was a fun game that brought tons of giggles and we would do numerous times. Last night the game changed however. Standing at the hope chest in our bedroom, Stella turned and hightailed it out of the room, across the hallway and into the guestroom where she stopped, hovered for a moment and then landed on all fours. She did this a couple of times, each time with more gusto. Head held proudly back, hand pointing the direction and belly pushed far out to lead the way; half running, half stomping. On her final run she decided to do a celebration dance. Her frenzied head shaking and arm flailing caused Stella to loose her balance. Teetering on the edge of the play mats in the guestroom, she tumbled forward landing a perfect face-plant. I'd give her a 8 out of 10. Harry has a scar, Stella has a (what they call it in Germany) a horn. A traumatic ending to a successful escapade, BUT our little Monkey is back to running back and forth and climbing onto things. Today she pulled herself down from the bed and ran over to the big mirror. Then she ran back and forth from the mirror to the door to the balcony and back, and back, and back…each time more secure on her footing.

Stella has two preferred modes of crawling, 1. Turbo hoopdie 2.  "Bulldozer nothing stands in my way lets go".

1.    Turbo hoopdie -  when Stella turns on her turbo to get somewhere, it's like the Flintstones rock car starting to move.  You can see the proverbial wheels spinning and the legs swing out, digging the knees into the ground for traction. The arms reaching wide out in front to lead the way as the head kicks back form the shock of forward force. The sound? Like an elephant is heading your way.  In a funny sort of way it reminds me of the hoopdie cars where the hydraulics have gone out of whack. Her knees and wrists take such a beating it makes me hurt to watch but I guess that's why they have baby fat.

2.    Bulldozer. A lesson we should all learn from. What's the shortest way from point A to point B. Straight of course, regardless of what is in your way. Books, stuffed animals, balls, daddy. Stella knows where she wants to go, and if something is in her way, she'll try to move it. This morning we were sitting next to the couch. I heard Stella grunting and I realized that she was trying to push my knee out of the way. As soon as I lifted it out of her way she sped past to her goal.

A few weeks ago, Stella found the light switch to the lamp on Daddy's nightstand. A lever type switch, she easily figured out how to turn it on (pushing down closest to her) but she had problems pushing the lever down further away to turn the lamp off. This week however, she's a champ switching the lamp "on" and "off" and "on" and "off". She is also becoming more deliberate in her action. For example, standing up in her crib, throwing a blanket or stuffed animal to the ground awaiting your reaction to pick it up. If you don't notice or react quick enough, she looks straight at you and makes a noise to get your attention. Then she points to the ground where said toy is lying. If she is in position where she can move around, we tell her that she can get it herself. This morning she let her Tonka truck fall to the ground from the chair. After pointing to it and grunting I told her that she can climb down and get it herself. Which she did, climbing back into the chair and proceeded to throw the truck to the ground again.  Because we always say "Uh oh" when something falls to the ground, now when she drops something, for example over the side of the tub, she says "Uh oh" even though she did it on purpose. ☺

This past week, Stella started daycare. This was orientation week so she was only there a couple of hours and with mommy. At first Stella didn't like mommy leaving at all but by the end of the week she was fine. It helps that her friend Hannah is there. The two were cuddling together. The daycare is on our street and when we walked past yesterday, Stella wanted to turn and head down the driveway to Connie. Good sign I guess. She's learning more from the kids too as she watches how they play with toys or interact and she mimics them.
Stella is a very affectionate kid. She loves to cuddle with you and even give you kisses. She hasn't figured how that kissing is with your mouth closed and puckered. Instead she opens her mouth wide, tongue wagging, saliva dripping. Hmm, maybe she has been spending too much time with the dog. With mouth wide open she attaches to your face, covering you in slobber. She also has a new thing, giving forehead hugs. Pushing her forehead as hard as she can against you, practically pushing you over. This she even did to baby Fiona when she visited last week. But it didn't seem to bother her.
Although we haven't had a chance to go out much, this past week we took the bikes and bike trailer out. So far we've gone as far as Herrnburg about a 4 mile trip. Now whenever Stella sees the bikes or the trailer she gets all excited.

We're very happy that we have a kid that eats healthy, at least at the moment. She prefers fruits, vegetables, eggs and whole grain breads as opposed to sweet stuff, even if given the choice. We've spoken before about the strawberry monster, I think we even mentioned how crazy she went over the plumbs from our back yard. A new one this weekend…Bluberries. Maja bought a pound yesterday. At first she wasn't sure of the little blue berries but onces she had the taste of them in her mouth, well lets just say, it's not even 24 hours later and mommy and daddy had maybe 2. No joke! Gotta go to the store tomorrow to satisfy the little monster. Don't want a little shop of horrors situation arising here.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tom Boy

Stella looks cute in her dresses and straw hats. She looks adorable with those starry eyes and cute smile. But down deep, I think she's a tom boy. She likes to get dirty. She isn't afraid to smear stuff all over her face, or make a mess. She feels at home in overalls and loves her baseball cap. (thanks uncle bill)

We all know that children can be stubborn and that you have to be creative in order to get them to do want you want to do. Mommy took advantage of a playful situation between daddy and Stella. It has been increasingly difficult to get Stella to brush her teeth; she'll suck the toothpaste out but won't brush. And she wont let mommy or daddy help. Well, daddy was swinging Stella around and had her upside down the other day. While upside down and smiling, Maja took advantage of the situation and made a couple swift swipes with the toothbrush. Wow, it worked that night and it worked again a couple days later. We'll see if this becomes a routine.

Stella had her first sleepover at Oma and Opa's…without Mommy and Daddy. This is a big milestone. Oma and Opa watched Stella so Mommy and Daddy could spend the day in Hamburg and get to watch Harry Potter (in English). Turns out Opa is a good stand in mother. If Stella was unsettled by anything, she called to Opa (but said mamma) and wanted to jump into his harms. Which he happily did.

We've already stated that Stella is going to be a talker. She loves blabbering on and she has such a cool sing-song voice. This week she broadened her vocabulary to sheep sounds. Eventually we hope that human words will also start spilling out of her.

She has also started quickly flitting between objects…the chair, couch, to mommy and back. She can indeed walk by herself and when she doesn't think about it she does it fine. Soon she's gonna let go.
Here's some random pictures from the last week. At the beach, in the garden, just having fun.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Marzipan for Breakfast

A friend of ours gave us a grab bag of Marzipan the other day. The bag with a mixture of different types of marzipan, some not wrapped, sat on the coffee table. Maja left Stella in the living room for a minute to do something in the kitchen. Hmm…she thought it's awfully quiet in the living room. When she returned, Maja found Stella, elbow deep in the Marzipan bag, chocolate all over her hands and face. She pulled out a small bar and offered it to Maja to share in the joy.

Monkeys eat bananas

Have you ever wondered what a monkey sounds like? Just ask Stella, she does a great chimpanzee impression. That is, if you can catch her standing still long enough. Our new game is to walk/lunge between mommy and daddy. Or simply making dust as she speeds off in the other direction. She will stop and say bye though.

Who would have thought that learning to eat was such a difficult task. She’s getting the hang of it though.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Four signs...

…that Stella hung out with Daddy yesterday morning
1. Brown Corduroy Overalls
2. Orange Shirt
3. Orange hoodie Sweatshirt
4. Baseball cap curls flying out from the sides
Ready to cruse the neighborhood, Cracker in one hand, dog on the side, daddy pushing the stroller

Daddy also got out his matchbox cars. Stella likes the big four-wheelers and the fire truck. There’s hope yet.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nein, nein, nein

Nein nein nein
We've added a new word to our vocabulary. Maybe it's because we don't say it often but when we do we mean business or that Stella has now associated that certain things such as the electrical outlet or AV video outlet are called "nein" (no). For example, we let Stella push all the buttons on the media devices. The only thing she is not allowed to touch is the video cable coming out of the front of the TV. Now-a-days as she approaches the forbidden cable she'll point to the cable and then say "nein, nein, nein" shaking her head, staring directly at Maja and then pull her hand away.

Eyes hair and nose

Stella is now able to recognize different "things". If you can ask her where her nose is and she'll point to it. Then you can ask her where mommy's or daddy's nose is and she'll either point or grab it. She especially likes it when she squeezes daddy's nose and it "honks".
She also knows where her hair is, mouth and knee. Yeah, don't ask, she has a fascination with knees. Stella will also play games with you. There is a song where you cover your eyes, she will try right along with you. Also a song where you slap your hands and she does that too.
With most of the words too she has an understanding of the German and English words.

Hugs and Kisses

Stella has become much more affectionate of late. She loves to cuddle. Not only when you wake her up and when she's tired but also while playing. While playing or rolling around, she'll lay down on her belly cuddling with her blanket, bunny or you and look. She'll also crawl up into your lap and give you a big hug…and kiss

Planes, trains and…cats
I mentioned before that Stella gets excited when she hears the planes approaching for a landing. Now if we're inside and she here's it, she still gets excited; pointing upwards, uttering "ohh" and then try and look outside to see it. The other day, we were sitting on the couch and she leaned over my knee almost falling off to crane her neck out the window to see it. Stella also recognizes the chimes that mark the coming of a train and she gets excited. Lastly Stella likes cats. When ever we see one she giggles and points.