Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I just love this pic

William sharing his biscuit with Daddy

Friday, May 27, 2011

Smiling heart and children's laughter in a village

Yesterday morning I finally went to pick up a cake plate that I had left at an acquaintances' house 2 year's ago after an Easter tea party and egg hunt for the kids. (2 years!!! It's great to have the time to do these non-priority things again).

She has also had a second child (4 months old) and is feeling rather frazzled although her second is a calmer one than her first. Anyway, this lady is going back to her full time job next week and will be traveling and has brought-in live-in help from her home town. She told me that she finds it crazy that in Europe us mothers spend so much time alone with our children; caring for them, entertaining them, cooking and preparing, transporting... Leaving us exhausted and drained with little energy to see friends or do things for ourselves - which is in fact exactly what we need to do so badly in such times might I add!
She went on to say that this is why we feel burdened by them and that we would love our children better and more if we were not so alone in caring for them. Indeed, in French we say that you need a village to bring up a child. And in the olden days. when families lived in the villages or cities - sometimes in the same house - everybody would pitch in and care for the little ones who benefited from all this various interaction.

(I definitely know that I am a more fun and relaxed Mum when I have had time for myself for Pilates or coffee with a friend or had enough time and energy to be creative. Not just squeezing stuff in but real time to do more that what just absolutely needs to be done).

For us expats with grand-parents, aunts and uncles seeing kids once or twice a year, there is no village at an arms reach and that can be really hard.
But sometimes you are lucky enough to create a little village - if you stay in one place long enough and find the right people and have the right attitude and energy...- of friends and their family who can help with the kids.

Just the other day Emma spent the afternoon with Nonna - the grandma of her very best friend- who often has her over to play with her grand-daughter. Emma knows of course this is not her own grandma, but it's so great that this woman's heart was big enough to include Emma in it and that Emma found her way in.

Yesterday there was a Genusspfad down at our local market. A kind of food fair where all the shop owners got their tables and chairs out and offered special tasting menu for 1.- 3.- or 5.- Euros. There were cheeses and breads, curries and wines, salads, gratins, various Italian antipasti, organic fruits and juices, desserts... all mouth watering, scrumptious and colourful. (I totally could kick myself for not having taken any pics!!!)

Anyway, to come back to the subject (sorry! I hope you are still with me!) when I had seen this advertized a couple of weeks back I had emailed a pic to some Mummy friends from my phone - don't you just love modern technology! - and suggested an early dinner with the kids.

So yesterday 6 of us Mummies and our kids (who all go to kindergarden together) went down to the Genusspfad and enjoyed each others' company as the kids continued to play in the little park, occasionally popping by to taste an "Erdbeer knödel" or fill up on some "semmel brot" or apple juice or show us a scratched knee. We even had a reserved table (they don't normally do reservations for these types of events) but I had mentioned we would be coming with our kids and I am a regular down there so they made an exception. It might sound silly, but I felt so happy and somehow proud to have thought of this and that it worked out so well - me the expat with all these (mainly) local Mums at a local event and a table with a "Sandra 16h00" scribbled on to bright sunny yellow paper. (Can you just imagine me smiling right noow? 'cause I am, lips, eyes and heart - a BIG smile!)

It was lovely. William was passed from lap to lap, each of us took turns running after the kids or getting the drinks or food, cutting the food for the kids etc. Each of us a Mum, each of us enjoying the banter and food and drink and company and the happy laughter of the kids in the background. The happiness of this moment is going to remain with me a long time.
It is these kind of treasures that take time when you are moving from country to country and that I miss the most when I arrive somewhere new.

Someone once told me that with each destination you get quicker at going through the initial hard stuff and moving on to the happy bits. I hope that's true.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I think William will be making his first steps solo any time now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bits and bobs and various news

What's new:

William started going to kindergarden 30 minutes a day on May 2nd and last week actually had lunch and slept there! Wooo Hooo! My mornings are now kid-free!

We have an invasion of ants! Best kid friendly solution: lemon and lemon juice. Ants hate it!

We are moving to Greece! Athens to be more exact. So we are currently planning a house-hunting trip to visit homes and schools. More on that soon.

Emma's teenage phase is over and she is once again sweet and kind and cooperative (most of the time) - Thank Heavens for that!!!

William loves ice-cream too!!

I have bought a second-hand sewing machine from a family moving to New- York and plan to make Emma a sundress and some blankets and pillows for her babies. I have enrolled in a sewing atelier to take place next month. I am totally clueless at sewing but I look forward to learning.

I am in love with ETSY!!! It's so great that people with talent can sell their creations around the world and that you can shop at 5am if you want to.

Health update: I have totally reduced my thyroid meds following my latest blood test after seeing an energy healer. Since March 28th I have been on only 50mcg (I have never taken so little) so I feel totally relaxed which is great - but I look 3 months pregnant which isn't . ;-( I've also been to see a Traditional Chinese Doctor who is helping me work on reducing and stabilizing my blood pressure (due to my fiery liver) so that I can eventually stop taking blood pressure meds. I am currently weaning myself off my antidepressants. Yay! and/but Is this a good time as we are going to be moving to Athens?! What the hell!

I am enjoying the lovely heat of the sun - finally it looks as if summer is here to stay!

Have a beautiful day!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Keeping Vienna clean

Today Emma and kindergarden friends cleaned up the park nearest to their kindergarden by collecting all the cigarette butts, ice-cream and candy wrappers, newspapers etc. that were lying around.

They looked so cute in their little uniforms (which we get to keep!) and were so enthusiastic about picking up the garbage. I think it's a great way to make them aware about keeping their city clean.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Bored, restless and happy

I am getting a bit bored with blogging and my blog at the moment. Actually, I lack the time to do it properly/ the way I would like to and the little energy and time I have left turn up a half-hearted unsatisfactory result.

But I actually have lots of ideas and thoughts that are interesting only they occur when I am under the shower and then get swept away with breakfast making, teeth brushing, bag packing, driving to kindergarden etc. and by the time all the other errands are done I don't have a 10th of the energy or thoughts left in me. Quite frustrating for me and quite boring for you I am sure.

Anyway, here is today's.

A while ago I read about Joy pockets and while today is not Friday and I don't think I'm going to post this every second Friday, here are my joy pockets of the week.

  • A lovely frothy milk on my home made latte thanks to our new Milkschäumer

  • Pretty Emma Pirate - I love the fact that she can be a princess fairy one day and want to be a Pirate the next

  • A moment on my own walking down to the market singing Gloria Gaynor's "Can't take my eyes off of you"
  • Tickling Emma and Will until they shriek with laughter
  • Receiving a wonderful new perfume and a bouquet of flowers from my honey
  • Smelling my husbands after shave in the bathroom after he has gone to work
  • A lovely warm shower to warm you up
  • Bright blue sky

There is something about listing joyful moments (and visualizing them) that makes you feel instantly happy.

So happy Sunday everyone!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Antalya all-inclusive holiday

On Saturday we got back from Antalya where we spent 10 days at the Club Med. The Turkish hospitality and love of kids, the food and the resort grounds were all super. William unfortunately decided he would not sleep through the night on most nights and due to dinner being served at 19h30 earliest we were all in bed at pretty much the same time so as to be rested enough during the day. Rest, after all, was our main objective. ;-)
Unfortunately, the sun was not always around but the sea breeze, the food, the massages and general happy atmosphere was just what the dr ordered!

Friday we traveled from Vienna to Antalya by plane and then by mini bus to the club resort in Kemer. It was our first holiday since September and we really needed it.
Our first night is agitated as William keeps waking and crying and we jump to calm him so he does not wake Emma.

Saturday is windy and a bit rainy and we are all pretty tired.
We get a bit scared when Emma disappears having followed running kids and then found she had no idea where she was. She tells the kind person who asks her where her parents are that her Mummy is lost and ends up waiting for us at reception.
We discover the grounds; beautiful green grass, palm trees, shimmering water and lots of activities for big and little alike. Food is yummy.

Sunday: I get a black eye (well, purple actually) as I try to catch Will wooshing down the water slide with Emma on my back and his head hits my brow, well, my sunglasses actually. The bruising is quite amazing and on the spot it really hurt.
Will becomes the resort photographer's star.

beautifully sunny and warmer, the Easter egg hunt, Emma has fun at the mini Club, there is a clown show in the afternoon and we are totally getting the hang of things (kids sleeping well, Emma knows her way around more...) We celebrate Will's first birthday around a chocolate cake in the sun. Emma and the wind blow the candles and Emma actually wants to eat the whole cake!
Will loves strawberries and chicken nuggets and black olives and is enjoying all the finger food.

Tuesday: We are shocked to discover people were considering whether my black eye was not due to my husband!!!!

On Wednesday it is cloudy again but Emma really enjoyed time at the mini club and we the massages, some time to talk and yummy food. About the black- eye, people started asking if it was better which I took to indicate they no longer feared it was due to my husband.
Emma was also mistaken for a boy a couple of times (by long-haired boy twins and a 20 year old looking girl and a middle-aged man). This offended her a bit so on Thursday she only wanted to wear a pink dress and kept saying she wanted long hair. Steph, William and I head for Kemer and load up on cotton t-shirts.

On Friday it's beautifully sunny again and we enjoy our last day and meals and select some pics from those taken by the photographers during our stay. We meet some Canadians living in Poland and enjoy Emma's performance in the Mini Club Show.

we landed back in Vienna after a trying trip with the kids. Phew.

It's cloudy today but we are happy to be home after a nice family holiday. The kids are re-discovering their toys and playing happily.

Here is a full overview of our holiday pics.