30 Dec 2009

new year plans and miscellaneous

Having survived the rare visit to my FIL, we are now getting ready to visit Z's closest friend for New Years. I love visiting them, not least because with 2 young boys in their house, everything is already kiddy proof and I don't have to worry too much about the destructive duo wreaking their normal havoc.

The wife has also just informed us she is unexpectedly pregnant again and I think now all my german friends are pregnant or have just had a baby in the last month! Even the non german friends are falling like skittles! I wish them all the best but wish that I could skip the next year or two!

JS had her baby girl last month and is having a hard time this time round as the baby is colicky. Last night we met up for an evening out in the sauna and she started whinging about how "it was hell at home" and she "didn't want to go home". After hearing that for the third or fourth time I'm afraid my leash on my tongue slipped and I had to remind her that a year ago she was crying on my shoulder because she wasn't pregnant, she wanted this child so now she must pick herself up and get on with it! It really irritates me because she knows how much I want another child (we discussed it often and at length last year when she was trying for this baby) and now she comes to ME to whine about how hard she has it with 2 children! People can be insensitive sometimes...

26 Dec 2009

a belated Merry Christmas to all

A wonderful quiet Christmas at home was just what the doctor ordered! This Christmas was the first time where the girls opened their presents alone and were actually more interested in the presents than the wrapping paper.



Our christmas tree. Please note no glass ornaments, only felt, wood and silver decorations on the tree and just as well! The girls are constantly fiddling with the deco- the string of shiny beads only lasted 24 hours on the tree, now they are in a pile on a window sill as Ciara was convinced they were a (her) bracelet.

First presents
What can I say the girls LOVE smar.ties

Planes; train and automobiles was the theme this year

Enya and the police car

Daddy and his girls

23 Dec 2009

The things kids say

Ciara and Enya are still very firmly in the 2 word sentence phase but they have a couple of quirky things that they say.

Ciara calls a belly button " a peter button", and as far as both girls are concerned other small children are called Anna. As in when we are looking at a book and there is a child illustrated there, it is pointed to with an emphatic "anna". I have got them to give a little on this point and when I say it is a boy, they will then grudgingly call it "neenus" (a friend's son is called Linus). However when we are out and about and see another child in a buggy, calls of Anna still resound. I think a continuation of this is that they refer to each other as Enya, it sounds kind of similiar and as often as I call the wrong name they feel it refers to both.

Any other moms out there who have the same problem, i.e. continually refer to their children by the wrong name? I know who I'm talking to and the name I want to say, unfortunately it is often not the name that comes out! At least I don't have any pets so can't call them by the pet's name like my mom used to do to us.

22 Dec 2009

So how was your Monday?



I was playing on the computer while the girls were having their midday nap when I realised I could hear water running (it sounded like a tap running). As I walked past the bathroom door I realised it was coming from there and when I opened the door I discovered it was raining from the ceiling.

We'd had -20 C (with a balmy -12 C during the day) over the weekend and some pipes in the flat upstairs had frozen, the expected thaw set in yesterday and the pipes burst. No one was home upstairs so it only got noticed when I heard the rainfall in the bathroom.

Fun was had by all, especially when we discovered water running down Z and my freshly painted bedroom walls! We are now waiting for the insurance representative to come and check out all the damage and to find out if the bedroom walls are going to need stripping too. The ceiling has already been dismanteled and we now have a warehouse look going in our bathroom- open joists and dangling open bulb.

Can I skip christmas this year please!!

18 Dec 2009

Winter Wonderland

Playing with the frozen ball


Snow splashing Ciara



Eskimo Enya







So much for the snow starting on Sunday! It's been lightly snowing all day today. Hopefully they are aqually wrong about the thaw coming just before Christmas as I'd love to have a white Christmas.


The girls loved the snow although Enya doesn't like the cold wetness on her hands. She kept slipping her mittens off and then crying when she touched the snow. I had to fight to get them to come back inside after about three quarters of an hour outside. If the snow keeps up we have a snowman building day coming up this weekend.....

16 Dec 2009

Day 4...

...and still no shouting !

I've had a really relaxed day with the girls at home. After an unusually warm November we finally had a few snow flurries today, unfortunately the snow didn't really settle despite below freezing temperatures. The girls were quite intrigued by it though and kept saying "snowing" while peering out the window. I'm looking forward to this weekend as they are predicting proper snow that stays on the ground, I can't wait to let the girls loose on the snow, their reactions will be priceless (either horror or delight!), hopefully I remember to film it. Some of the weather services are even predicting a white Christmas which would be a first for me.

14 Dec 2009

Christmas spirit rising

Slowly I'm getting more into the christmas spirit. I've only a few more gifts to go (we'll just ignore the fact that I STILL have to send them to England where most of my family and friends live). I gave into my du.plo urge again and now after christmas the girls will be running all public services in the City of Z (we're only missing the police!).

Shopping was fun with the girls today as Ciara has taken to serenading us, she sings: "lalalala light lalala bus lalala star" as she sees things she can identify. When we are at home she will often come into the kitchen and ask for the "music" (radio) on. She definitely doesn't take after me in this regard! Enya has become a real cuddle bug and will often come and press herself against our backs nad rest her head on our shoulders if we are down on the floor playing with them both. Enya has also taken to greeting us in the morning with a kiss when we lift her out her cot, these displays of affection are priceless, especially as they are completely spontaneous.

In the meantime Z is limping along on crutches after spraining his ankle on Friday night (I told him not to go to volleyball, would he listen though!! Instead I get a phone call at 22:30 to be told he's being taken to hospital and will be home late). I get to be chauffeur for the next few days but am getting my revenge by administering the anti-thrombus injections- my infertility experience pays off, sub cutaneous injections are easy.

12 Dec 2009

2 days and counting....

... and it's actually been easier than I thought. If they get up to mischief I'm just telling them no firmly and then redirecting (or trying to) their attention. Z laughed when he first heard my challenge but today I noticed he was also not yelling in circumstances where normally he would. So double goody!!

I'm particularly interested to see if they listen better at the end of the 30 days. Right now we tell them no, they look directly at us and then do precisely what we told them not to. Let's see if reducing the volume increases the auditory uptake. I live in hope!

11 Dec 2009

Fishwife

I feel like a fishwife. I seem to spend the whole day yelling at one or other child not to do something or for doing something (or for not listening!).

Last night as I was doing the blog jumping thing I came across a blog talking about yelling at children (as usual I can't find it again so I can't link it). Now obviously I knew that yelling is not exactly beneficial to the child, but I've always thought it less harmful than hitting on those days where the frustration levels just keep rocketing. However this blog really put into perspective that yelling alone is also very destructive. The sentence that remains with me and kept me up late last night was along the lines of ....the intent of yelling is to frighten and terrorize the child. Do I really want to be terrorising my precious girls? I think we all agree the answer is a resounding NO!

So I'm setting myself a challenge: 30 days without yelling at Ciara and Enya. Wish us all luck!

9 Dec 2009

Eyes: good

The title says it all. We had the 2 hour appointment at the Eye Guy today and again nothing needs doing. I had to sit on Ciara so that they could get the eyedrops in and the Eye Guy could only make a guestimate with her eyes as she screamed and flailed around during her eye exam so he couldn't get a really good look (that was with no torture instruments, just shining a light to look in her eye). Enya also protested strongly to the eye drops but cooperated brilliantly with all the other tests and exams.

As we were already in the city we had a lovely wander around the centre and so long as we kept moving the girls were happy. I love walking around the shops at Christmas time, it kick starts the festive feeling seeing all the decorations. Somehow I really need that this year, as I haven't really got the Xmas feeling at all yet. It was especially nice to get out the house again as the last week the weather has been so wet we've only been outside for doctors and therapy visits.

Talking about therapy, we finally had our Speech therapy assessment yesterday. The therapist (Hr H) was really battling to engage with Enya, hopefully that will get better as she gets used to him. Yesterday though she watched him with a very serious suspicious look on her face and kept moving out of his way when he wanted to touch her for exercises. We have another appointment in 6 weeks and in the meantime a load of exercises to do. The theory is that she has reduced sensation/awareness in/of her mouth and this is the reason she stuffs her mouth so full and pockets her food in her cheeks and under her toungue. So the exercises are aimed at increasing her oral awareness. Z's reaction was to laugh so I guess once again the exercises will all just be done by me.

Rainy day entertainment: unpacking the plastic drawer for the 20th time in a day

6 Dec 2009

Happy St Nikalaus

For the last few weeks Ciara has been waking between 2-4am and unfortunately Z is quite hard of hearing so I'm the one that goes through to settle her down. The fact is, she often just wants to check that it is still dark outside and then after a sip of water goes back to bed without any fuss. I, on the other hand, then toss and turn for the rest of the night and am getting a little bit snappy again due to lack of sleep.

To celebrate St Nikalaus Day today though, I was able to sleep in until 5:30am before the screamfest started and Z even got up to deal with Ciara so I actually got to lie in a bit longer. The girls and Z all got a little chocolate St Nikalaus figure in their bags, traditionally one is supposed to use stockings or shoes for the small gifts - maybe next year. I hadn't even had time to give the girls their bags before Ciara wandered through with half a chocolate man. She'd found the bag herself and unwrapped and devoured half the chocolate before I'd even noticed. Oh well, she followed that up by eating all her breakfast so no harm done.

We had originally planned on going to the local christmas market today but unfortunately it poured all day so instead we hibernated indoors. The monotony was obviously too much for the girls, they retaliated by scribbling on our cream leather footstool with red khoki. I knew the scribbling was going to happen at some stage but wish that they could have left our furniture out of it!

4 Dec 2009

Preemie follow up

Today we had the big preemie follow up (read the Bayley's test) to check what developmental age the girls are at at age 2.

As I've mentioned before the myth that micropreemies catch up by age 2 is very rarely the case and as expected our girls are not magically caught up to their actual age of 2 and a quarter years. Ciara has amost caught up to her adjusted age of 2 years though. She only needed one point more and she would have been graded as a 24 month old-if she hadn't been so tired she would have managed that point easily as she didn't manage a couple of tasks during the assessment that I've seen her do many times at home. Enya is still a bit behind (22 months) and I think her performance was an accurate reflection of her ability (she was assessed first and was so fresh and eager). I'm not disappointed as even the doctor said her progress since she last saw her in June is amazing. There is no way she could have sat and completed the test with Enya in June. Enya wouldn't have been able to concentrate even to complete one of the tasks, never mind for the whole test in one sitting which is what she did today!

Surprisingly we have to go back again for a redo of this test in about a year, I was told they only followed up to 2 years but they apparently follow up longer in the micropreemies. Next time though I will have the girls appointments on different days so the second child isn't disadvantaged due to the long waiting time.

We also have an appointment at an orthopod now for next year to get Enya's hips looked at. She still has a funny gait ( leg movement comes from swinging her hips) and her hips are extremely hypermobile so just for safety sake we're going for a check up.

Right now I think the GI doctors are the only "common" specialist that we haven't seen in the last 2 years, and God willing we won't need to either!

2 Dec 2009

Alone again

Z is off at a conference today and tomorrow which means I have the girls all to myself again. As they get older it is definitely easier handling them alone, although I can't wait for them to eat all by themselves as well!! We're going to have a couple of quiet days before a very busy Friday.

I also need to get going with preparations for Christmas, apart from an Advents wreath and a couple of pressies I have done nothing in that direction yet. At least we will be spending the big day at home alone so I don't have to worry about a fancy Christmas dinner!

1 Dec 2009

Neuro update

Normal!!

I was concerned as the neuro wanted to continue seeing Enya although she's discharged Ciara. Yesterday though I found out Enya's EEG is normal and has been for a while (I've asked before but I find the german doctors are really closed mouthed and it's difficult to get answers from them). She is only bringing us back as Enya is still receiving therapies.

For the first time since the girls were released from NICU, I got to hold one while blood was taken. I've mentioned in the past that Enya always has moist feet and the neurologist noticed this yesterday and wanted to check her thyroid levels (I love how the neurologist is the one noticing this and ordering this test!).

Apropro therapies: the speech therapy appointment was a wash out, our appointment was at 11am. We were there early (for once) and at 10 minutes to 11 I saw the therapist (Hr H) take another patient in to his room. I thought oops I obviously had the wrong time in my mind and the appointment must have been half past 11...but then our play therapist came to collect Ciara. We'd arranged for her to see Ciara while Enya and I were with the speech therapist so we wouldn't be distracted. Apparently Hr H was running late and so we all started off at play therapy. Unfortunately by the time Hr H came to pick us up at quarter to 12, the girls were so overtired they had hit the nonsense hyperactive stage (effects of spending 2 hours in variuos waiting rooms) so we had to cancel the speech appointment and have rescheduled it for next week instead.

Today I went to visit my old boss to start the ball rolling about going back to work next year August. Z and I now just need to sit down and calculate how many hours are worth working (the joys of tiered tax systems, I'd really resent working for more hours only to take home less money) as I'm going back part time. I also need to decide if I'd rather work fewer longer days or more shorter days. The good news though is that it looks like I'm going back to the hospital down the road from me so the Kindergarten will be 5 minutes walk from work.

It was great to see my old colleagues, although there is such a high personnal turn over there that not many faces were familiar, and to show Ciara and Enya off to them. I was especially brave today and for both the work visit and play group left the pram in the car- both involved quite a bit of walking but the girls are getting better about holding my hands when we are afield and if not, winter coats are great to grap and hold onto!

27 Nov 2009

Happy 2nd birthday (adjusted)

We made it.

Depending on who you listen to, me or the doctors, the girls due date was 2 years ago tomorrow or yesterday. I'm going to stop correcting their age now, not because I believe the "they catch up by the age of 2" crap but because I think at this age it's not as important. The difference between the abilities of a 2 year old and a 2 and a quarter year old is not much!

Happy "should have been" birthday Monkeys!

26 Nov 2009

stamping and talking

The encouraging thing about talking to our therapist today was she mentioned Enya's temper tantrums are mostly an age thing. All that I described she seemed to find pretty normal for a 2 year old.

Her advice was to try talk it out with Enya, you know, ".... I know you are angry because the blocks won't go together, take a deep breath and lets try again together..." kind of thing. Another thing she suggested was to get her to stamp her foot rather than hit out or throw things- less destructive!

We've got a big week coming up next week again, all the dreaded 6 monthly appointments. We'll see the Neurologist for Enya's EEG check up (hopefully the last, please please) and the Eye guy (YUCK..please no glasses) for a check up of their retinas which they forgot to do at or last appointment. This time I'm taking the girls sunglasses with as knowing my luck we'll have brilliant sunshine after that appointment (medically dilated pupils and sunshine= very loud unhappy baby/toddler). We've also finally got the speech therapy appointment and our last regularly scheduled visit to the Preemie follow up clinic- any further appointments will require a referral from our paeditrician. This last appointment is a little bit scary as they are doing a LOOOONG test to determine exactly how delayed (if at all) Ciara and Enya are developmentally. I fear Enya might land up getting sent back to physio again as she still has a real beginners running gait but we will see what Dr L has to say.

Did I mention they can now jump with both feet in the air, Enya in paricular delights in jumping around until she falls onto her bottom- in essence jumping with joy. They have to earn points for that skill !?

25 Nov 2009

Temper temper

We have seen a lot of progress in the last few months since starting play therapy (really huge progress in fact!!) but we still have a slight temper management problem.

Enya when she gets frustrated becomes destructive. THe amount of anger and frustration her tiny body contains on these occasions astounds me, you can see her almost bursting with it. She starts to scream and then gets an evil twinkle in her eye and looks around for something to throw, push over or, in the worst cast if Ciara is the cause of her temper tantum, to bite. It is amazing you can see her looking around and then focusing in on the object that she is going to take her aggression out on. We tell her off (and yes when she bites she does get a tap as well) but what we really need is a more constructive/less damaging way for her to let out her frustrations.

I think I'm going to have a chat with the play therapist tomorrow if she has any useful ideas. I'd like to avoid things involving hitting or throwing objects!

Sweet little darling, butter wouldn't melt in her mouth

24 Nov 2009

Cheeks and bobby cars

(2nd post today)
And just because I can't resist posting more photos...

The response to where are your cheeks:
Enya


Ciara


They each definitely have their own bobby car-they sorted this out between themselves with no parental input at all and are very posessive of them. Whoa betide she who climbs on the wrong car, she will be dealt with severely!!
Enya

Ciara

Bobbycar conflab

St Martins Procession

(Better late than never)

St Martins Day (Nov 10th) is a big day in the lead up to Christmas here in Germany. It remembers St Martin who cut his cloak in half in the middle of winter to share it with a beggar. The children celebrate by making a lantern and then doing a singing procession through the streets, ending with a treat in the form of the sweetdough man I showed in the last post.

This year we decided to do two of these processions:
One with the playgroup which was unfortunately washed out hence we are sitting around a table to enjoy the dough men (in this case it was sugar pretzels). Yuo can however see some examples of the wonderfully crafted lanterns some other moms brought with.


The second was with JS and her daughter around their neighbourhood. This was fantastic as they even had a mounted "St Martin" and brass band to lead the procession. At the end of the walk they also had a bonfire to warm ourselves up on while we enjoyed the refreshments. It was just a pity it had been raining so hard that we had to cross a bog to reach the bonfire. The poor girls landed up getting stripped off before they were allowed anywhere near the car afterwards!
Sorry that the shot is a bit out of focus it was the only shot that halfway came out from that evening. You can see the girls handprint lanterns that we crafted in the playgroup though.

23 Nov 2009

long promised photos

So photos of the girls new room as promised with the new carpet and curtains, finally all completed. Z chose the carpet while I was still in Houston after Ciara climbed/fell out of bed and I think it is perfect. The girls love it and keep lying down on the carpet to snuggle into it, although the pile is not very long it is very soft.
play corner it looks like they have way too many toys!!

Enya's bed- this was originally Ciara's side but Ciara kept playing with the roller blinds (the strap is behind the curtains) when they were supposed to be sleeping so got bumped to the other side.

Ciara's bed nothing to play with here except for the curtains and those get tied into a knot to keep sticky paws off them!


As an extra surprise I thought I'd include another example of my daughters art work. A local bakery chain had an open day in their main factory to raise money for charity so we went along. One of the activities was to decorate these sweetdough St Martins Day figures- this was the result (with a little bit of parental assistance-mostly to keep them from eating all the smarties)

I know truly hideous, but I'm still proud of them!

20 Nov 2009

ISQ

No real news everything remains the same.

I would love to post some of the lovely photos we've got recently but unfortunately a little monkey ran off with our external card drive and we can't find it, so I can't download any photos at all at this time.

19 Nov 2009

coughing

Everything remains in status quo.

Enya has developed a lovely phlegmy cough but remains her usual quirky happy self so we're not too worried. Ciara just has the permanant dribble from the nose and Z remains down for the count, hopefully he'll start feeling better soon!

The only positives are at least I'm still healthy (yet again the last man standing) and secondly the girls are sleeping later in the mornings (averaging 14 hours overnight).

We also finally got our speech therapy assessment, 5 months after we were referred. At the time we requested it, Enya was only eating lightly textured purees and maybe two or three bites of bread, everything else she would refuse. She has improved dramatically since then (tonight she ate a tuna salad tortilla-totally surprised me as we've never tried tuna before, nevermind a tortilla), but still tends to pocket food under her tongue and has a delayed swallow. This appointment would have been really helpful 6 months ago, now I'll be happy if we just get some advice how to encourage her to clear her mouth quicker.

18 Nov 2009

Too late too late..

Well having finally arranged for the girls to get the swine flu vaccination, I've had to cancel the appointment again today! The earliest appoinment we could get was for next week. In the meantime Z started getting sick on the weekend, the girls started about a day later with coughing and sniffles. The girls have been weathering this sickness really well, Z.... not so much. He finally went to the doc yesterday and was told he likely has H1N1 flu! What do you think are the chances that the girls started with something different within a day of him starting the flu! Oh well, we were nervous about the vaccinations anyway and now it is superfluous.

Now we just have to get Z back on his feet!

12 Nov 2009

Ambulance

This is the word of the day today!

At the end of our road is the main thoroughway and the hospital (where I used to work) is also only 2 km away, this all means we hear the ambulance sirens multiple times a day. Today when it was going almost continually around lunch time I pointed the siren out to the terrible two and that was that! "Ambulance" and "Bebah bebah" were being shouted everytime they heard the siren. Ciara and Enya know what an ambulance is as we watched a next door neighbour being loaded into one a few days ago (we don't know these neighbours but I don't think it was too serious as they didn't blue light it away and I've seen the ambulance there a few times in the past too so I'd say it's a chronic condition).

I think the next vehicle they need to learn about is the police car though, they can then be my lookouts. Is it just me or does anyone else always feel guilty when they see a police car behind them? I mean apart from bending the speed laws slightly I've never broken a law, but when I see a police car behind me I get twitchy.

10 Nov 2009

I'm back

So it's been a while!! I thought I better put something onto screen before I forget everything that has been going on.

I not only survived the time without my girls and Z of course but I had a really relaxing enjoyable time too. This was the holiday that I never got in June, now we just need to get Z to have one too! That is not to say that I wasn't VERY happy to come again as I did miss my family a lot. But I'm much less stressed now and am enjoying the girls so much more and am not as quick to reach critical mass as before the holiday.

The girls had a fantastic time with their dad and granny and I was amazed at all the new stuff they learnt while I was away. Ciara has really blossomed speech wise, is now coming out with things like "I wuv you" when we say it to her first and "A-B-C" (to get them to let us brush their teeth we now have to sing the alaphabet song). They are both counting to 3 as well and some of the later numbers they know what follows i.e. they won't say "seven" instead they say "eight". Enya has also discovered a new game called cave. As the name implys it means huddling under a blanket with her in the dark and that is all there is to the game, but she will run to you and ask to play it multiple times a day. Ciara hates cave but Enya keeps asking her to play too (come here ...sista... come here), needless to say Ciara ignores her when she is under the blanket. They are also both finally saying the name Ciara, although it is still hit and miss if they apply it to Ciara herself! Both will still sometimes point to Ciara if we ask where Enya is.

As expected C and E were a bit stand offish when they met me at the airport but I had been expecting that, as they are the same with Z when he has been away a few days for work. Luckily they thawed over the rest of the day and by evening it was back to normal. I also was amazed by the girls faces having not seen them for over a week, suddenly I could see my sisters in the shape of Enya's eyes and Z's family in Ciara's face- it was almost as though for the first half hour I was seeing them for the first time again.

I must also admit I have a really wonderful husband who also took the rest of the week off (last week) so I could get over my jet lag. Am I imaging it or does jet lag get worse with age? It took me pretty much the entire week to stop needing an afternoon nap and I'm still struggling to get to bed at a normal time.

I have some lovely photos from while I was away but I'm still waiting for a photoshop to be loaded onto my new computer (thank you very much sister iamza) so it will have to wait until later in the week.

27 Oct 2009

living it up

I'm having a great time here in Houston, it's been lovely seeing my sister and exploring a new city. What I love best about a new country is that it makes even going to the grocery store an adventure. Surprisingly I'm not as "childsick" as I expected to be, perhaps because I'm phoning home everyday for updates and because I know Z is a devoted and gifted dad.

In the time I've been away though, Ciara has learnt how to climb out of her cot! We were really hoping that would take a little while longer to happen as there is no way the girls will stay in a toddler bed yet.

I'm now off to the gym to conquer the treadmill again (have to work off all those restaurant lunches somehow) and tomorrow we will be visiting a renaissance fair.

I can't believe my holiday is already half over! At the same time I also have going home to look forward to :0)

21 Oct 2009

One more sleep

Today it has really hit home that I only have another 10 hours of my daughters awake and then I don't see them for a LONG time *gulp*. We are leaving really early for the airport tomorrow and my mom offered to stay with the girls so we didn't need to wake them at some ungodly hour too. That's good, except it means I won't see my darling munchkins tomorrow and will have to say my goodbyes tonight *sniff*. I pick my mom up this evening from the airport as she is coming for 10 days to assit Z which we both really appreciate, thanks mom!

I also finally finished the next duvet cover for Ciara, it's taken me a couple of months and if I don't get a move on Enya will have outgrown her cot before I finish hers too.

Voila the new duvet cover


Hand embroidered butterfly


PS don't look at all the toys in the bed, I swear they are breeding as everytime I change the bed there are more of them to move around!

18 Oct 2009

4 sleeps to go!

Only THREE more days and then I'm flying on a jet plane (okay no jets, I'm flying good old BA).

Right now I'm alternating between really looking forward to the trip and dreading it. Looking forward to having a real holiday with no resposibility for the first time in 2 and a bit years and dreading being away from my family. There have only been a couple of days since the girls were born where I haven't seen them and those were all when they were still residents in the NICU. Hopefully I won't get too homesick (childsick?) while I'm away;0).

We landed up buying a second bobby car as the fighting has gotten out of hand with both girls wanting to ride it simultaneously. Now we just have to watch out for flying bobby cars when navigating our corridor, as Ciara and Enya love to chase each other around the flat on them.

At least giggles abound during the bobby car races which is more than I can say for other times of the day. Both girls are cutting canines and where the other teeth seem to have come through almost without us noticing them at all, the canines are the pits. At least Ciara now has all four and Enya only has 2 to go.

16 Oct 2009

Part two of the swop is finished

Our new bedroom is officially finished. We've reassembled our cupboard and hung our pictures even. I can't understand now looking at the finished products why we didn't do this ages ago. The girls, after a few problems at the beginning, are enjoying their room just for them. I'm enjoying not having to yell at them for attacking the files or the computer, finally we have a room that is safe for them to play alone in. The fact that it is just across from the kitchen just makes it even better. Now they just need to learn to play without me being present!

The girls room just needs the new curtains (on order), a carpet (still looking) and a wall needs to be repainted (this weekend) and then it will be all finished too. We have their old foam block mat from when they were babies as floor cover in the interim and I now remember why I packed it away. They delight in dismanteling it and scattering it around the house. Hopefully the new carpet will be found soonest!
The only photo on my computer of the foam block mat- Ciara a year ago, the first time she held her own bottle!

15 Oct 2009

play therapy swing

Ciara in the swing


The whole swing in profile

This is mostly for my mom, who quite rightly didn't understand my explaination of what the swing looked like. Enya usually hates all play ground swings but loves this one at play therapy. Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of Enya lying back all relaxed in it as I had to distract Ciara with the mini carousel. Ciara would have otherwise hogged the swing-she is a huge swing fan and doesn't like to share it with her sister!

Word of the day is sista (sister).

14 Oct 2009

Sleeping babies

One advantage of the new room for Ciara and Enya is that they seem to sleep longer (when they finally go to sleep). This means this morning for the first time in ages I managed to get a shot of sleeping children. These are their typical sleeping positions.

Ciara with her bum in the air and her baby in reach


Enya spreadeagled, thumb in mouth and clutching her Cuski


The girls having discovered the word booger (or goober in Enya's case) have decided when we clean their ears, we're removing ear goobers (boogers). They find this fascinating, so facinating in fact they keep going after the earbuds to try fish out some goobers themselves. None of these photos were staged and yes I have now put the earbuds out of reach, although not as safe as I would like as the girls have discovered pushing a chair up to the furniture allows them to reach just about everywhere. My safe spots have pretty much all vanished now!

Here let me clean that for you

Enya: "Look, this is how to do it properly mommy!"


Last but not least our first attempt at watching a movie (Ice.age) with the girls- they lasted until the squirrelly thing got squashed and then proceeded to take their chairs for a walk.

13 Oct 2009

Still painting

Today I'm doing touch ups and this evening we're going to paint the accents in our new bedroom. Only one more night on the lounge floor and then hopefully we can start reassembling furniture and emptying all the clothes out our bath (what, it is somewhere out of reach of Ciara and Enya and out of our way so we don't have to keep moving it). Hopefully tomorrow we will be in our new bedroom come study.

The girls change over to their new room was quick but not exactly painless, they don't tend to sleep well in a strange enviroment and the new room took some getting used to (first night it took an hour of rocking and singing before finally the dummy tipped Ciara over the edge into sleeping). Thankfully last night was more like normal: kiss them goodnight, close the door, 5 minutes babbling to each other, the musical toys being activated a couple of times and then blessed silence until this morning at 7 o'clock.

New words from Ciara and Enya: wowie (lorry), Egil (german for hedgehog) and how du u du (How do you do- with a hand shake) the play therapist started it and both girls love to do it. I've even found them shaking each others hand saying "hello, how do you do" to each other.

12 Oct 2009

changing rooms

We've had a very productive weekend. Last week we began discussing swopping bedrooms with the girls. They had the larger room but had to share it with the study, which because they are such light sleepers and sleep so much meant we never got to use the study. Witness Z bought a desktop computer at the beginning of this year and it is still not set up, it's easier for him to use his laptop than disturb the girls sleeping. Our room was smaller and colder but could be made just for them which means there wouldn't be all those lovely files to pull apart or buttons to press. So the decision was made to swop.

Part one of the swop was completed this weekend, we dismanteled our furniture (it's now scatterd in piles all over the house) and painted their room and moved all their furniture in. They've still got their butterflies on the walls, we just chose a softer yellow as the background. Now we just need to buy new curtains and stars to stick on the ceiling and their room will be finished.

Part two has also been started: we've covered the bright yellow paint in the girls' old room with an undercoat and after I buy the (correct)new paint today we will hopefully be able to finish up our new room in the next few days. We would have been futher along but we bought the wrong colour on Saturday, which we realised immediately but the shop assistant was so rude about it that we left without buying the correct colour. My mom would say we cut off our noses to spite our face but the shop assistant was a nasty piece of work. At least the wrong colour covered so well we only needed to paint one layer of the undercoat.

I will post pictures when it is completed. An end to my computer problems is in sight, with the new room I will have access to the new desktop computer.

9 Oct 2009

PS bookshops

What I'm most looking forward to (apart from seeing my sister of course) is bookshops filled with english books. I order regularly from Amazon but it's not the same as going into a bookshop and having shelves and shelves full of lovely new books to browse through! The bookshops here have a very limited selection of english books (although thank goodness I'm not french or spanish as their choice is even more limited) and while I can read german it requires more effort and I read for relaxation.

Less than 2 weeks

It is now less than 2 weeks until I go visit my sister in Houston, Texas. I'm so excited! My mom is coming for a week and a half to give Z a hand (thanks mom) and then Z has 2 days alone with Ciara and Enya all to himself. I know I'll miss the girls horribly while I'm away as the longest I've been away from them since they were born is 24 hours. When I've worked, after 5 hours I start to get antsy and just want to go home to my babies. However it will be good for me to get away and just be me, not the mommy. I also think it will be good for Z to have some time without me there, he then gets to be the PARENT making all the decisions. I try not to but I have my own way of doing things and as always when someone (Z) messes with a working system, I interfere. This understandably bugs Z as he is a very involved father, but somehow I just can't help myself.

So far we have plans to visit the Kennedy Space Centre (EDITED: sorry I meant to write Johnson Space Centre) and I plan on finally seeing what is so great about Target, I keep reading about it in all the other blogs and now want to see for myself if the reputation is warrented. Other than that relaxation and good eating is on the plan. Any recommendations for sight seeing or restuarants will be gladly accepted.

Jax, can't wait to see you. Thirteen sleeps and counting!!

6 Oct 2009

Another nice not so nice day

If you aren't confused you ought to be. The "not so nice" refers to the horrible waether we're having, I hate drizzle!

We had another nice play group meeting today, I am so glad I signed us up for this. It is wonderful to see the way the girls are developing just by watching how they behave during these sessions. Initially they were not at all interested when we had the song circle. The other kids all sat by their moms and at least watched what was going on, my girls ... not so much, they were running around and playing. Now after 5sessions they sit beside me and the instructor (or beside JS, a friend who is also attending with her 3 year old daughter) nad paying attention. Enya even trys to imitate the hand actions when we are singing the songs. I don't think this is just due to the play group I think it is the combination of the play group and the play therapy together. Our main emphasis in play therapy remains getting the girls to focus on an activity and not just flit from one thing to another, from one toy to another, and it seems to be having an effect. They also play with their toys for longer and more productively now i.e. playing rather than just banging toys together and then throwing them on the floor. Even their drawing has shown an improvement in the past few weeks with Ciara now actually making pictures rather than a few hesiant lines on a page (I'll post an artwork tomorrow). Enya unfortunately still prefers chewing on the crayons but will ususally make a few lines on the page as well which is also an improvement.

5 Oct 2009

Loads and loads of washing

Our new washing machine arrived on Friday. I offered a fond farewell to our old non functioning washer before it was lugged out to the lorry and then the delivery men installed the shiny new washing machine and the gleaming new tumble dryer (that's what I call service!). After a quick skim of the instruction manual the first load was swishing.

I can't believe the difference the new machine has made, our old machine had obviously been operating sub optimally for months (years?). I'm also really enjoying having a tumble dryer. Up to now I could only do one load of washing a day or 2 washes if it was a hot summer day and I started the first wash before the girls breakfast (I had to turn the washing machine off when the girls were sleeping as otherwise it woke them when it spun-no longer a problem!!). I did 5 loads of washing in the first 2 days and had no space problems drying it all as most of our stuff can go in the dryer, only the girls clothes tend to need line drying.

Of course Enya had to overflow her nappy last night, soaking her PJ's and bed. I was all caught up with my washing, now I have another load to go!

Did I mention I love my tumble dryer, after 6 loads of washing I only have one basket of ironing to do and most of that is because I line dried one load of washing, rather than staying up late on Friday night to wait for the dryer to finish.

28 Sep 2009

What I did while Germany was voting

Have to keep this short as my blasted computer isn't charging and I don't have much juice left!

Z spent the evening watching the results of the vote rolling in, I spent the evening in the kitchen playing with scraps of material left over from the girls duvets and this was the result.


And so you don't miss your C and E fix, some photos of the girls . Their hair is finally long enough to put a pony tail, of sorts, in.


I'm not sure when I'm going to be able to post again, I'll have to borrow Z's computer!

24 Sep 2009

Bad follows the good

So after my wonderful Tuesday, Wedensday turned out to be not so good! Our washing machine which has been suspect for a while, upped and died on me (in the middle of a wash of course)!

Now it would be difficult in the best of circumstances (basket of wet washing and pushing a twins pram is not something I'd particularly like to try) but I can't find a laundromat here. I have no idea what people without washing machines do- the only thing I've found is professional cleaning firms and I'm not paying those kind of prices! My landlady very nicely let us use her machine to finish yesterday's wash and said we can use it today as well, which is great as I had the girls in cloth nappies before the machine broke. I'm really hoping that we will have a new machine though by Monday at the latest, otherwise I'm going to be buried under a mountain of washing.

In the meantime disposables rule again!!

23 Sep 2009

Ahhhh, much better!

Yesterday was the third playgroup meeting and went much better than last week. Aside here: I debated taking some Febreze with me to the meeting as I was convinced the whole room would stink from Enya's efforts last time, but the air was surprisingly fresh. I also think someone else had a more successful turn at cleaning the chairs as they all looked remarkably clean.

Window hedgehogs

We made hedgehogs to hang in the window, the girls coloured/scribbled on the paper and then we cut it out and hung a paper ball in the middle of it and voila a hedgehog window decoration. There were fewer people there this week so the instructor was able to supervise Ciara and all in all made for a super morning. I'm so glad I signed us up for this group as the other moms are really nice and as they don't really know each other, it is not very cliquey (have I just made up that word?). Also there is a plan to the morning, it's not just a mommy's gossip session as the other groups we tried were.
The paw prints from last week before the chair cleaning session became necessary

For your added enjoyment here are so more photos from the past week
Schloss Bad Berleberg

Helping daddy with the firewood transport



PS gotta love it, Enya's newest word "goober" instead of "booger"

21 Sep 2009

Some new words have come in the last few days: shoes has metamorphisized into shu-shews, bud is bird and light (pronounced correctly). We often call the girls mucky puppies when they make a mess eating, to which they always respond "puppy". On Friday while we were driving home from the shops, Ciara suddenly started pointing at her ear saying "Ohr" (german for ear). Now we've taught them the body parts in english and they still only point to the parts and don't name them, so I don't know where it came from but hey it's a new word.

I had this weekend off from child care to do a refresher course in preparation for going back to work next year. I can't believe how the time is flying now! The course was really good and we even got to treat some patients yesterday. It was in a very picturesque old town with a beautiful schloss, not that we had a lot time off to look around! The family that lives in it is linked somehow to the Danish royal family and are titled themselves. Unfortunately they don't open their schloss to the public as I used to love visiting the stately homes in England.

Okay got to go, a little monster is calling me.

18 Sep 2009

Beautiful autumn days

We're having a golden autumn again (at least for the next few days) and loving every minute of it.

Yesterday after the girls midday nap we went for a walk in the woods near us (idiot me forgot the camera). I pushed the girls in the buggy until we reached the woods and then they walked until we got back to the road again, it was not much more than a kilometer but they managed most of the distance on foot. It was delightful to see them taking such interest in their surroundings, we even sat on the bench and listened to the wind blowing through the trees. Aside: only possible because I bribed them with raisins but it was still a beautiful PEACEFUL moment enjoying nature. I got stones,twigs and leaves brought to me for inspection and I even saw both girls purposefully standing on sticks (they were petrified of sticks earlier in the summer).

The girls even got to watch 2 horses in their paddock beside the path. I had to keep a tight grip on the terrible two as they were fascinated and Enya especially wanted to get even nearer than the one meter seperating us from the huge horses. Now I just have to find some accessible cows in our area as they now know the word "cow" and what the cow says but I'd love to show them a cow in real life. There is a huge difference between the tiny drawings or figures of animals and the sheer size and presence of them in real life. Unfortunately I have yet to find a proper petting farm/zoo in the area.

17 Sep 2009

Doo-doo finger

Here in Germany it is common to wag your index finger at a child when it is being told off, it's called the doo-doo finger. Both Z and I do this sometimes when we are joking around, but obviously we've been doing it way too often...as both girls now wave their index finger at me when I scold them. It has even got to the stage where if I tell Enya off for putting her feet on the table, Ciara starts waving her finger at Enya.

Unfortunately I haven't managed to capture it on film, as who has a camera at hand when they are telling their kids off.

In other news baked beans and maccaroni cheese are now the favourite dishes followed closley by salmon footballs and tofu with apple. We are pretty much puree free although meat still needs to be either processed (sausages yum!) or cooked very tender in stew etc. The only worry is that Ciara is starting to turn her nose up at anything that is green and vaguely healthy!

15 Sep 2009

nappy bag

Considering the size of my nappy bag you would think I had everything but the kitchen sink in it. Unfortunately I rarely seem to have what I need and am always very envious of other moms with their slim small nappy bags that seem to magically produce everything they (I) require- "clothes?... Here I have a pair of trackies and an extra pair of stockings!" or "a cup?... Here I always carry an extra just in case".

Today was a perfect example- we had the pay group again and today fingerpainting was on the agenda. I knew this was going to be a bit fraught but was looking forward to the experience as well. It started off okay as we got good handprints from Ciara and Enya but then Enya decided to taste test the paint. She didn't like the taste and pulled a horrible grimacing face and then suddenly upchucked part of her breakfast all over herself, the chair and her "painting". Needless to say in my huge bag were NO change of clothes, NO cloth to wipe the mess up with and unfortunately NO deodoriser for the room! The chair was covered in a coarse weave fabric that the more I rubbed to clean, the deeper the vomit seemed to penetrate. After cleaning Enya, the table and the chair up I thought I could relax, disaster conquered. But to round things off nicely, I then had a second chair to clean off. Despite me warning the instructor that she needed to keep a close eye on Ciara while I was repairing Enya's damage, Ciara managed to cover her chair in paint too. (We had an agreement when I signed up for this playgroup that the instructor would supervise one of the twins when an activity came up that required one on one interaction)

Thank goodness next week some activity with sewing is planned, apart from eating the needle not too much can go wrong there! (I assume the moms will sew fingerpuppets for the kids, something quick and easy)

14 Sep 2009

Sniffles

We're all down with the sniffles right now and with the weather here being so miserable and none of us sleeping well, we are all of us feeling a bit sorry for ourselves.



On the bright side I've finally finished the blanket for our landlady's eagerly awaited new grandchild, after umming and aahing about it for the last few months. I am now just awaiting the arrival announcement before handing it over, hopefully she likes it as the colours are based on the decoration scheme of the baby's bedroom.


Today I went back to the store where we'd bought the girls birthday present from in the mood for a fight (think tired, sick and extremely cranky). I'd been back there 4 weeks ago as the "birthday" kitchen we'd bought hadn't been complete and they were going to order the parts for me (it had been the last of it's kind in stock and they didn't know if they were going to get it again). Fast forward 4 weeks and having still heard nothing I was very sour, I rocked up there spoiling for a fight and the assistants suddenly couldn't have been more helpful (they must have an irate customer sensor). Everything was waiting including a complete set of accessories we didn't need and although they'd forgotten the tap, they'd had another delivery of the same kitchens so we got a tap out of one of the other boxes. They couldn't explain why I hadn't been contacted and told what was going on, so in apology I scored all the extra accessories (great as now I don't have to worry too much about things breaking or going missing).
The best thing about the whole experience was I never raised my voice or even really got a chance to complain, I stated my problem and the shop assistants ran about solving it for me. Perhaps german customer service isn't as bad as I've always thought!

10 Sep 2009

Kaputt spider

"KA-putt" and "peye-der" (spider) are the 2 newest words being uttered by the terrible two. Ciara delights in throwing everything on the floor and then stating "Ka-putt", not quite sure how we are going to manage this spell. I can't take all their toys away.

We have been practicing naming ourselves, you know Ciara, Enya, Mommy, daddy. They both will point to Enya if we ask where Enya is but they don't react when we ask where Ciara is. Ciara will in fact point at herself in the mirror and say "Enya". They refuse point blank to even say the name Ciara. I spoke to the play therapist about this today and she initially said maybe because it's harder to pronounce than Enya but kaputt is even harder and they manage that fine. I find this a bit ironic as I have tried so hard to treat them as individuals but they are still having a bit of an identity crisis. Neither girl will look at us immediately when we call their name and if we ask one to do something by name they both react. That being said if we ask name to give the other by name a cuddle they do react appropriately. I guess we just have to keep working on names.

They also are fascinated by building cranes right now and delight in pointing them out loudly to me everytime we drive past one, I now know where all the cranes in this area are! I believe they are going to be little tomboys as dolls are right now completely boring, cars and cranes and telephones are in.

9 Sep 2009

All about me

I'm feeling very virtuous. Having been guilted into it by my mother last night, I defrosted and cleaned my freezer this morning. Who cares that my dustballs are once again developing dustballs and that really the kids bedroom window is now opaque (they are always napping when I do windows- it's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!), I have a clean freezer!

8 Sep 2009

Home alone

Z vanished off to Budapest for 4 days so I've been home alone with the terrible two for the last few days, or not. I decided to risk driving up to friends in Muenster by myself with the girls and it worked a charm. I say risk driving up to Muenster as both girls have figured out how to get their shoulders out of the carseat straps and delight in doing this repeatedly. I have jerry rigged a breast strap so they can't thread their arms through anymore and am now waiting for their next trick. We had a lovely visit, we even all took a drive in one car (7 people in a Ford Galaxy) to go to the airport- four carseats in one car was a sight to behold, especially the 3 all in one row. It is getting easier to be alone for meals in the meantime but I do appreciate having some alternative "entertainment" for the girls apart from just me!

3 Romer kings all in a row


My nextdoor neighbour had a chat with me today about how I need to start leaving the girls to play by themselves (hello I'm trying to do that already) and how I must stop being Enya's "security blanket". Everytime something doesn't go Enya's way or Ciara steals her toy or hits her, Enya comes crying to me and I tend to pick her up and cuddle her (natural reaction I thought). However this mother of four is of the opinion that I am mollycoddling Enya and she needs to toughen up a bit and stand on her own two feet. I can see where she is coming from and I have already been trying to pull back a bit but I think she was a bit hard in her judgement of Enya. I hate how people come out with these unasked for criticisms, even though I know they are well meant. It makes me feel again like a kid in school being graded on how I'm doing as a parent.

On to a happier topic, we had our first morning at a new playgroup. This one is run by the council and is for 1-3 year olds. It was great fun with singing and NEW TOYS for the girls. As it was the first session of this term, the mom all got to drink coffee and eat breakfast together but we have been advised that in future we will spend the whole time interacting with the kids. Thank goodness, as the last groups we attended were more gossip sessions with the kids there almost only as accessories. I was really surprised at how well the girls participated as usually they have no patience with singing or activities that take longer than about 3 minutes. We've been told next week painting is on the cards so hopefully their interest continues and I have some lovely pictures to put in their art folders ;0).

The best part about today though was Ciara and Enya had a 3 hour nap at midday and I even got a one and a half hour nap in too. This meant we were all in a good mood come dinner time (no 4pm meltdown!!) and it made for a wonderfully relaxed meal, where I didn't get stressed at all regardless of how many times Ciara turned her cup over or spat her food out her mouth (my pet hate is when she plays with her chewed food and then throws it on the floor). I even got Ciara to put some apple in her mouth and suck on it. I gotta love this kid, she asks for apple the whole time but refuses to eat it in the non pureed form, even grated apple is suspect! Enya was so worried by the fact that Ciara seemed interested in the next apple slice that she landed up choking herself by stuffing a huge apple slice all at once in her mouth. Hopefully in the near future we will have 2 fruit eaters again.

4 Sep 2009

300th post....

...never thought I'd have so much to say!

We've had some doctors visits this week again, on Monday was the 2 year routine visit. I sometimes feel these are a waste of time, the doc is not really interested in investigating anything and seems to feel his job is just to reassure me everything is fine, "she fell on her head, don't worry babies bounce" (he did check her over) or "she's only drunk 100ml all day, if she's eating she'll get enough fluid from the purees" are 2 examples that immediately spring to mind. Although this time I mentioned in passing that Ciara only poos every 2-3 days AS SHE HAS BEEN DOING SINCE COMING HOME FROM HOSPITAL (and believe me I've mentioned this in semi hysterical tones to him several times before) and suddenly we need to give her lactalose to get her going once a day (I'll do it for 2-3 weeks and then no more!).

Both girls are smaller than I thought they were with Ciara only 88cm tall and Enya at 82cm- needless to say some of their dresses and trousers from last winter fit again this year! And both girls have tiny heads, Ciara's is 46 cm and Enya's is 42.5cm- their hats from last year will definitely fit again this year!

On Tuesday we had the appointment I've been dreading- the Eye Guy- remember him. I find him incredibly incommunicative and rude besides but he is the best guy in our region for premmie eye follow up. The other reason I so dread this visit is I'm just waiting for him to say our girls need glasses. The other premmies I follow are all getting them one by one, and with Z's family's eye history I know we will too, BUT I would like to delay it as long as possible as our girls don't like things on their faces, especially not glasses!

Anyways Eye Guy was looking quite well kept this time and we were out of there in one and a half hours, he even was reasonably friendly although as usual he didn't give me much info. Thankfully he has a new orthoptician and she explained to me what her findings were so I know a bit more. Both girls clearly saw the 3D images on the cards this time and had good range of eye movement, hopefully by next time they will be able to look more closely at how they are focusing, when the girls are able to point at named articles. Unfortunately we have to go back in 3 months time as they forgot to dilate the pupils for inspection of the retina this time and it needs to be checked every year (the last time they were dilated was Sept 08). SJOT!! Fun and games I tell you.

I have also signed the girls up for a mini club for 1-3 year olds once a week, again to get them out the house and in the company of other kids. I went to the orientation evening on Tuesday and the other moms seem nice, the teacher is very sweet and hopefully it will be fun for us all. The teacher emphasized that this is not a coffee morning where the moms sit and drink coffee while the kids play, we will be interacting and playing with the kids the whole time- she will take on one of my twins when one on one time is required. Ciara will probably be the willing victim again as Enya is still very anti strangers.

2 Sep 2009

Not so wordy Wedensday

I can't believe it is Wedensday already, this week is flying by!

For some reason I just can't motivate myself to blog although I've had lots to write about. On the weekend we had local elections and surprisingly even as a non german citizen I was allowed to vote for the local council, I'm obviously not allowed to in the national elections next month! Z and I decided to walk to the poll station with the kids and then continue on the 2 km to the nearest ice cream parlor for "lunch". It was a beautiful day and we all enjoyed the walk especially the park we found on the way back home.
pushing the pram


finally independent on the park equipment


the monkey looks like she'll be mountain mad like her dad



She now goes down the slide by herself but she'll only go on her tummy


Our little carjacker


Ciara dressing up again- the positioning may need a bit more work but she knows where it goes!


Last but not least the results of that deadly silence when you just know they are up to no good!