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Showing posts from August, 2012

Isaac Debris

Interrupting the Berlin with Baby series to give a real-time post about baby's first hurricane (and mommy and daddy's first hurricane too!).

We survived Hurricane Isaac pretty much unscathed. We had a bit of debris/leaves/branches around and were without power for ~27 hours (10 am Wednesday until 1 pm Thursday). I'm not sure how we got so lucky to get power back so quickly, but I'm definitely grateful. It allowed me to keep all my breast milk stash (it all stayed rock hard frozen).



If I hadn't been so freaked by the possibility of days/weeks of no power I would have taken some video of the swaying trees and wind. I didn't do it though. Shawn said "next time." Perish the thought.

The storm itself was not scary. Last night's "trailer" thunderstorm was louder and kept me awake more than the hurricane did (it was the no AC heat and stickiness that kept me awake on Wednesday night). There was definitely a lot of rain and wind, but we were sup…

Berlin with Baby: Eating Alone

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.

August 17 -- Today I put on my big girl pants and sat in a restaurant alone – with Jane of course – and ordered mostly in German. It was an outdoor café and I had milchkaffee (YUM) and broccoli & ham strudel (meh). It wasn’t as bad as I thought, and I really should have done it every day.

In my defense I was trying to game Jane’s moods and not make her have to sit in her stroller too much – or have to try to balance her while eating myself. Today she did just fine though. But most days for lunch I ate a sandwich on the go – either purchased for a couple Euros or made at the apartment.

We also found a spielplatz (playground). It was for older kids, but she had a good time watching other kids play. I put her in the sand and she wasn’t a fan. We went to a toy store and she picked out a toy – really the first time I know of that she expressed an opinion. Alth…

Berlin with Baby: Olympia 2012

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.

August 16 -- We're not watching too much TV while we here, mostly because we wouldn't understand any of it (although I'm fairly certain if I watched a dubbed version of The Closer I could probably figure it out ... wonder how they convey her Southern accent since it's a running theme ... I digress).

But one thing I did watch after Jane went to sleep every night last week was the Olympics (or as its known here Olympia). With the TV (which is much bigger than our TV at home) muted I could watch the diving and track & field in real time. I got to see more of the German athletes than I normally would have and got to see the American women win their 4x100 in record time plus most of the Usain Bolt wins. I tried to stream the USA-Spain gold medal basketball game but my computer doesn't have the power in it anymore, plus we have limited daily intern…

Berlin with Baby: Legoland and Aching Legs

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.

August 15 -- We didn’t actually go to the Legoland Discovery Center because it’s for older kids and is kind of expensive. But we did go to Potsdamer Platz and saw this cool giraffe Lego creation.



(I couldn’t get the whole giraffe in the photo without walking too far away from Jane, hence the head in a separate image … also, how cool would it be if that guy were wearing a “tag me on Facebook” shirt? Then I’d probably post this on there. HA)

My legs are killing me. I’ve been carrying Jane around on my back and front – the only real way to get around the subway system here. There really aren’t consistent elevators or escalators at all stations I want to go to (including Eisenacher Strasse, where I went to a kids second-hand store, Trollby). I know if I lived in a city that I’d adjust AND that I wouldn’t be trekking so far every day.

To add to the fun Jane is …

Berlin with Baby: German History Museum

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.

August 14 -- Jane and I went to another museum today, the German History Museum. I carried her on my back on the way there and then she rode in my front for most of the museum. I had to check the diaper bag at the coatroom, but that was OK/we didn't have a blowout until we got back to the apartment.

This museum was a "don't miss" site in my guidebook, and he suggested the audioguide, which I also did. Jane did REALLY well again, and we had a good time, although my feet are killing me. She's got to weigh 25 pounds if she weighs an ounce!

Two ideas I've had with all this tourist-ing:

1) iTunes walking tours and guides to museums, especially in various languages. It turns out there is a City Guide app to Berlin for $5, but at the end of my trip I don't think it's worth it. Something similar for the bus tour and/or river boat cruise wou…

Berlin with Baby: Feet on Vacation

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.

August 14 -- Traditionally I take pictures of my feet on vacation, usually on a beach and last year in Vancouver on a sky-ride up a mountain. This year's shots are a little less dramatic, although my feet have walked MILES AND MILES (rather kilometers and kilometers) around this city.



Berlin with Baby: Translations

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.

August 13 – Our second week begins, and despite 3 years of high school German and one of college I feel as lacking for communication as Jane.

Of course I’m saved by the fact that Berlin is a big city full of people more educated than me, many of whom speak English. But that doesn’t keep me from feeling like a nincompoop in all situations requiring the least bit of Deutsch.

I sputter through payment transactions and use single words: Visa? Danke. No chatting. Shawn tells me I’m impolite and cold to cashiers at home sometimes, and I try to work on it. But here I have no choice!



Today was a peak of embarrassment (nadir?) in that I walked a mile to a kindercafe and was too awkward to go in and leave my stroller outside as seemed to be the protocol.

(In fact one woman left her sleeping baby outside in its stroller – after speaking to her friend inside – an…

Berlin with Baby: Hairstyles

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.


Can you believe this hair? It’s so long and in this sunshine has a real red tint. Shawn and I each have a red-haired parent, so it isn’t unexpected. But I marvel at it every time it makes itself obvious. (This is on a boat tour we did on the Spree River.)




When in Germany, wear braids? I decided to give it a try to see if a) I could get her to sit still long enough and b) if her hair was really long enough for it. Both were tough, but we got a mini braid going. The front part of her hair is still too short to be pulled back except with clips (which are stressful choking hazards … much like the elastic at the end of this braid).

Berlin with Baby: Smoke, Locks and Flea Market

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.


I can’t believe how many people smoke here – and with an abandon we don’t see in the States much anymore. Have these people not heard of lung cancer, or second hand smoke dangers?

Shawn's colleague told us what all the locks we've seen on the bridges mean: LOVE. Kinda hokey, but apparently couples will have a lock engraved (or in some cases scribble on it with marker) and put it on a bridge. Makes me wish I had one with Mari & Shawn engraved on it!


August 12 -- Today we went to a flea market and it was JAM PACKED with people. We took the stroller, which was ill-advised, and after shouldering through a few of the aisles we finally gave in and parked outside of the market. We ate currywurst from a stand (tasty!) and Jane got to play with a German baby who was also seeking refuge from the crowds.

Shawn and I each took a turn going back into the market (him …

Berlin with Baby: Jane’s First Museum

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.

August 11 -- Jane had her first museum experience today – the Pergamon Museum. It has a lot of ancient stone work. I would take her to a WWII museum, and I still might check out the German History museum next week. We’ll see how it goes.

Berlin with Baby: We All Fall Down

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.

August 10 – Jane took a tumble yesterday – climbing on the table and TV shelf. I thought she’d hit her teeth, but instead it was the bridge of her nose. There was no gushing blood, just a little scrape. Still scary. 

Enough for some tears but not enough to bother her today (or keep her from trying to climb some more).



Jeans from Gingie (size 2T … what the?!) and shoes from Megan.

Cruising Jane: A GIF

There's a whole lot more walking going on now too -- but still while holding onto things.

Berlin with Baby: Shopping

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.

August 9 – Today Jane and I took our first solo trip on Berlin’s subway system. S2 from Oranienburgerstrasse to Potsdamer Platz, transfer to U2 to Wittenburgplatz. Destination: KaDeWe, the largest department store on the continent and second only to Harrah’s in London for largest in Europe.

We took the stroller, but navigated the subway with the Ergo and Jane strapped on my back. I had a little trouble figuring out the transfer – mostly because the U and S systems weren’t in the same building.

When we made it to the store I first made a stop at a big post office and bought some postcard stamps. I consulted my phrase book, got in the correct line and completed the transaction almost entirely in German. Then we went into the store and I plopped Jane back into her stroller.

The department store is huge, but it didn’t feel as big as Macy’s in Herald Square. I’…

Berlin with Baby: Bus Tour

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.

August 8 – SOMEONE mostly slept while we were on a sight-seeing bus tour, but that was OK since she didn’t have to pay and it gave me more time to listen and look around.

I was able to take my stroller on board, and the driver stowed it for me (it folds down to almost nothing, but they wouldn’t let it sit in the seat with me). I trusted that it would still be there when we were ready to get off – and it was!

We rode up top, and no one sat with us even when the top was mostly full. There were glass windows protecting us, so there was no danger of falling out – but Jane stayed in the front-carry Ergo anyway, which made for a good place to sleep. It was also cool enough that she got to wear her sparkly hooded sweater!

I had a hard time deciphering the various websites of the bus tour companies, and in the end I picked the one-day option (since I already have …

Berlin with Baby: Jetlag

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.

August 8--Think your baby has trouble sleeping? Try giving her jetlag and then see how it goes.

Jane is typically a pretty good sleeper. And even though she stopped sleeping through the night we still had a general routine and could count on some sleep and some time to ourselves in the evenings. Coming to Germany has put an end to everything – so far – and made us question our decision to cart our bambino overseas!

Our first night wasn’t so bad because we were all exhausted. Shawn was able to get Jane to sleep and then we all slept for a few hours. We woke up for dinner and then had a pretty easy time going back to sleep around 8 p.m. Berlin time (1 p.m. Baton Rouge time).

Night #2 was quite a change. We kept Jane out later than we should – about 8 p.m. – having coffee with one of Shawn’s colleagues. It took HOURS to get her to go to sleep, even while Sha…

Berlin with Baby: Guesthouse

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.

August 7 -- We’re staying in a guesthouse rather than a hotel, and it’s AMAZING. We have a small kitchen, a sitting room for playing and PRIVACY. No one cares if I stay in the apartment all day long if I want. I don’t have to arrange my schedule around housekeeping (first world travel problems, right?). I definitely think this is the way to go for family travel.

We also have access to laundry, which seems cheaper than at hostels or a laundromat – plus it’s right across the hall from our apartment!

The only bummer is that there's no bathtub for Jane, so she's had to survive showers with Mama. If we'd known we could have brought a small blow up tub to put in the floor of the shower. I haven't seen anything like that for sale around here though. None of the sinks are big enough either. She'd rather be dirty anyway ... 



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Berlin with Baby: Getting There

Note: This series, Berlin with Baby, is being written in real time to be published upon our return to the United States.

August 4 & 5 -- Preparing to travel overseas with a baby gave me plenty of reasons to indulge in my love of list making. Things to pack and things to buy on top of lists of souvenirs to buy and post cards to send.

In the end nothing could have prepared me for the weariness of travel – overnight travel switching time zones by 7 hours on three planes (to Atlanta, to Paris, to Berlin).

Our friend Katie gave us a ride to the airport in Baton Rouge – we picked her up so we didn’t have to hassle with transferring a car seat (or adding to our already staggering luggage count). We are grateful for the big favor – vielen dank!

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare, which we needed because there was an issue at the counter with issuing Jane’s ticket. In the end we got it, but it cut into our lunch time a bit. After the easy security where everyone ooohed o…

Berlin with Baby

Hello from Deutschland!

Shawn had a research opportunity in Berlin this month, so Jane and I came along for the fun. We should be back in the United States by the time this publishes.

During our two week stay I've written at least one blog post per day to document our trip and hopefully provide tips for others thinking of traveling to Berlin with or without a baby. (My vote would be without, but that may be my aching back and legs talking ... more on that later.)

I decided not to publish them/live blog to give me a chance to edit and re-consider the posts ... and so as not to advertise the fact that we're abroad. I know that's patently ridiculous, as everyone who reads my blog actually knows we're away, but I'm still paranoid like that.

In any case there will be loads of new content on the blog for the next two weeks, and I hope it proves useful to someone and entertaining to my friends and family.


Snaggle-teeth

(There's a top one coming in too, but I haven't managed to get a picture of it ... YET.)

Some Books Jane Loves at 9 Months

Numbers, Colors, Shapes board book
Jane's very attached to this book, and while I am not always 100% with them on the quality of layout (example: 5 strawberries are illustrated with 3 of the strawberries that are exactly the same just cut and pasted!), it's a good simple book with colorful pictures and more than just numbers, colors and shapes -- also a few emotions, some opposites (Jane's favorite is UP/DOWN) and schedules. I think we'll be getting a few more of these books or at least adding some to our Amazon wish list.


I Love You Through and Through
A gift from Coretta. I'm pretty sure it's MY favorite book of Jane's (hence making this list). It's just a sweet story, and if I weren't a stickler for copyright I'd probably make a Jane version with pictures of all the things I love about her to match the book (happy side, sad side, fingers/toes, ears/nose, hair/eyes, etc.).

My Go To Bed Book
We picked this up at a garage sale for 50 cents. It…

9 Months In, 9 Months Out

Hey, hey, Jane is nine months old today!

Time sure flies when you're having fun, and even when it's hard we're still having amazing fun.

She can do so many things: crawling, standing, cruising, picking up things. Clapping and rolling her hands (to throw the patty cake in the pan), and turning pages of books.

I don't have her recent stats yet, although I will in a couple weeks when we go to her nine-month well baby check up. She's still big though (as my shoulders and arms can attest) and wears 12-18 month clothes and PJs. She's just started wearing shoes, in preparation for walking,

Jane has two teeth that have come in on the bottom -- little bunny teeth. She's chewing on everything so I'm sure there are more to come.

We're still nursing, and she's eating a variety of pureed fruits and veggies a couple times a day. She's tried mummums and been OK about them. I gave her an organic baby cookie that she didn't have strong feelings about ei…