31 Dec 2010

Good bye 2010

I won't be sad to see you go!!

As a fitting end to 2010 Enya woke up this morning with a gummy eye. Now I don't know what it's like in other parts of the world but in my corner of Germany life comes to a stand still between Christmas and New Years. Neither the Paediatricians nor the opthalmologists were open today, I landed up having to go to the emergency service at the local childrens hospital to get a prescription for eye drops (and even their service only started at 9am) which involved an hour and a half wait. Z is at his father's restuarant today so I had 2 bored girls to entertain and the waiting room is just chairs in a corridor- NOT FUN. THe only positive about this was that Enya got a thorough check up- yes, she has started another cold/cough having been sniffle free for about 3 days! At least I go into this weekend knowing her lungs and ears are clear.

Now hoping for a healthy 2011,

Happy new year to you all

26 Dec 2010

A summary in pictures

A brief summary in pictures what we've been up to in the last couple of months:


Our family autumn picture (Z and I cut, the girls glued), idea from Adventures in Mommyland blog
The girls love The smartest giant in town and when we won't read it to them, then they read it to themselves

We've been a couple of times to the indoor play centre

and Ciara has finally learnt that trampolines are not the devil,s invention she once held them for


We made slats for the Kindergarten fence

One of us tried on daddy's tie

C and E learnt to share their yogurt (which has now even extended occasionally to sharing their chocolate GASP!!)

Enya has been practicing her smiling

I made another duvet cover for a friend's daughter's first birthday (out of sleeping sacks and in to normal bedding)

Z and his girls have been baking



And last but not least some shots from Christmas





So after this picture overload I wish you all a merry christmas and a happy new year!

Belated Merry Christmas

Sorry life has got a bit on top of me lately. When I've had the energy to blog, I've used the time instead to play with the kids. They seem to be coming on in leaps and bounds which I partly credit to the fantastic Kindergarten but also partly that they are getting bigger and older and are wonderful kids (what else is a mother to say?)

We've had a great christmas going to bed late and getting up late too (7 am in this household right now is a luxurious lie in!!). Z cooked Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve for us four (no family that lives close means christmas is an intimate family affair), and I recipricated by cooking christmas lunch on Christmas Day (I seem to be finally getting the knack of roasts as it was ready at the same time and even the roast potatoes were lovely and crispy). The girls loved it all especially the presents- for the first time they seem to really get the idea of presents being for them and opening them. Ciara has been helping me wrap presents (for other people) and everytime asked where her present was! Their favourite presents this year are their strider bikes and their Peppa pig DVD's. We want them hearing more english now that they are in a german kindergarten all day so asked for english CDs and DVDs from my english family and they've been a great hit- simple but riveting for 3 year olds. The striders (with obligatory helmets) are only being used inside right now as we have a solid 20cms of snow lying around outside with a serving of ice underneath the snow. Nonetheless the girls are getting the knack of steering them and it helps to relieve the cabin fever.

We've also invested in a couple of sleds and Z built a sledding track in our back garden which is also great for getting a bit of fresh air and good fun.

Anyway that has caught you all up a little with what we've done this week so with no futher ado
a belated Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year!!

9 Nov 2010

Baking marathon


One of the local bakeries opens it's doors the first weekend in November for a baking marathon in aid of a local charity. Basically it is a fun weekend, the bakery provides the ingredients for the cookies and mixes it all together, roll it out and provide the cookie cutters. The visitors (read the kids) then cut the cookies which are then baked on the premises and sold in all the bakeries' stores in the lead up to christmas. The profits are donated to charity in aid of local families in need. I doubt I need to mention a lot of dough gets nashed by the kids during the process. (I got reprimanded for stopping Enya eating the deco when she "working", BY ONE OF THE BAKERS!!)



We went on Sunday to have a look see and it was great fun. When we first arrived there was a brass band playing and both girls (but especially Ciara) were fascinated, I think we are going to have to revisit the music group again (can't find it in my archive but as brief recap about a year and a half we looked into doing music with the girls but it landed up being quite expensive and at that time the girls weren't interested at all). Then we did a bit of cookie cutting (an adult per kid is the minimum requirement) before going to decorate a ginger bread heart and getting their face painted.
Enya the flower field
Ciara Cat

All in all a fun morning that we'll have to repeat again next year!

31 Oct 2010

First parent day

Kindergarten was closed on Wednesday for Parents Day. Z had finally succombed to the tonsillitis that all the rest of us had had, so he got to stay home with the girls while I went to work and then, after leaving work early, to our appointment with their preschool/kindergarten teachers.

All in all it was a very positive meeting, they are very pleased with how the girls were intergrating in the group. Apparently our girls are very popular with the older girls (the curosity factor because they are twins? or because they are smaller?) who sometimes have to be reminded that Ciara and Enya are not babies and must learn to do things for themselves.

They are mostly speaking german at Kindergarten although they play "repeat in english, repeat in german" with their teachers too now (the teachers are enjoying the challenge of brushing up on their english!). They have definitely realisied that there are two different languages and not everybody understands both. Ciara in particular delights in confounding one of the teachers (Susannah) with new english words that Susannah doesn't know. If Enya notices the teacher doesn't understand an english word/phrase, she will try to find the german translation. Both girls are apparently quick to absorb new words and try to use them as soon as they are learnt.

Surprisingly the teachers feel Enya is further than Ciara developmentally. They feel she has generally better coordination and her fine motor control in particular is better (she uses a tripod grip when drawing and is going to be a lefty like her mom). She is also able to concentrate during activities longer than Ciara can and will seek out her own activities (in paritcular enjoys investigating how things work-this is a long standing interest). Z and I find this very interesting as at home we feel the opposite is true regarding concentration and coordination. We feel Ciara is more coordinated but is also a bit more cautious and therefore slower, where Enya moves so quickly so that the fine control of the movements is not necessary and is also almost reckless- she trusts herself to do EVERYTHING! Ciara is going to be a righty like her dad and she has a peculiar way of holding a pencil, uses all her fingers with the pencil threading up between her ring and middle finger.

Ciara is more social, going and joining the other kindergarten groups and joining in to play with the older kids without waiting for an invitation (they were a bit surprisied at how self confident she is socially). Enya tends to stay in her kindergarten group and is happy finding her own activities, she tends to wait for an invitation before she joins in playing with the other kids. C and E don't tend to play with each other although they do check to see where the other is periodically during the day. We have not as yet had to send one without the other yet and it will be interesting to see how they react when it does finally become necessary.

The best part of the meeting though was when I mentioned that it had been suggested that Enya would be better off with an intergration helper in kindergarten, I was told that Ciara and Enya were doing better than some of the older boys and were more than appropriate for their age. The teachers do not feel it is at all necessary for either girl to have any special assistance!

19 Oct 2010

Groan

Guess who got infected by her darling oldest daughter? While Ciara is galivanting at Kindergarten today, I'm creeping around at home, trying desperately to avoid swallowing. My beloved child has given me tonsillitis! I mean come on, tonsillitis is a kiddies sickness, I should be able to handle this. But instead it has knocked me for six and I've turned into a whingy monster.

Bad news is that Z is complaining of a sore throat this morning and if it has knocked me for six, Z will be down and out for a week!

The positives are Ciara was over it within 4 days and is back to normal (except for reduced sleep needs AGAIN, hello 5am wake up calls ;0) and Enya hasn't got sick (yet).

14 Oct 2010

I don't know.....

....perfectly articulated, is now Enya's standard answer to everything.

"Enya, where is your lunch box" " I don't know"
"What do you want to drink" "I don't know"
"Enya, can you fetch me two pull ups" "I don't know"

Ciara has only used it once this week, at Kindergarten:
"Ciara, where are your glasses" "I don't know".
Three days later the glasses still haven't turned up, we think she tripped while running outside and they disappeared under the masses of fallen leaves. Everybody is keeping an eye out for them but I fear that we will land up replacing them (and then Murphy's law states they will reappear!). The only question is do we replace them now or wait until next month when we have an opthomology appointment anyway, so the eyes can be remeasured for new glasses.

As fate would have it Enya stood on her glasses the same evening and flattened the nose pieces so both my girls are spectacle free this week!

PS S@%T! Ciara's just come through asking for a "cough cough" bucket and a temp of over 38 C, wanna bet she's caught the first tummy bug of her kindergarten career?

1 Oct 2010

Autumn is here

I love it when the leaves start to change colour and we wake up to crisp cool mornings. It's even better when we get a golden autumn when the sun shines and the blue of the cloudless sky is a striking contrast to the reds; yellows and oranges of the leaves. We've had a couple of days like that this week and now I'm getting the urge to snuggle in and prepare for winter. Winter coats are bought and the scarves are knitted, now I just need the winter boots to come in to the shops and we are all set.

Some shots from last weekend walking by the lake.
Family portrait

Running the autumn "beans" out




I love the running shots- the girls love to run and it shows!

28 Sep 2010

the danger of baking with children.....

....is that they get hold of the ingredients....

.....and spread them all over the floor.....

....OOOPS!!....

...not us mommy, we are little angels

27 Sep 2010

Fairy Tale Evening

Last week we had a fairytale evening at Kindergarten (fund raising for the Kindergarten). The kids have been hearing and learning about fairytales for the last month so it was the logical progression to have the autumn fund raising evening with the same theme.

The kids all came dressed up as their favorite characters (or in our case what we had in the closet!)as did many of the adults. As well as food and drinks we also got to do some crafting i.e. made hobby horses out of sticks and old socks. They even got some parents making elaborate wooden fence slats to replace the old rotten fence (engraved with the kids names on them), unfortunately Z and I ran out of time so we didn't get a slat with the girls' name on it.

So with out futher ado: photos from the evening
The only shot of a hobby horse

fairy princess Enya (plaster on Enya's face is from an accident at school)

Fairy witch Ciara

19 Sep 2010

lots to say today

Most important news first- the girls had another preemie follow up assessment at the Social Paediatric Centre (SPZ) last Friday and ..........






WE'VE BEEN DISCHARGED!! We're going back to see our beloved play therapist once or twice more, just to tie up the last loose ends but the doc says she is happy with how the girls are looking, they are not showing any major delays so get out and enjoy ourselves! We had the 3 year well child assessment on Monday and our paediatrician said exactly the same thing (he ran the SPZ for many years before moving back into general paeds so he's more like a developmental paed really) so we're going with the flow and will be therapy and appointment free for the first time ever. Well, except for the opthalmologist but that is a life long follow up so it doesn't count. Talking about eyes, we were at the orthoptician on Friday as well and I happened to mention to her that Ciara had had a corneal injury a couple of weeks ago, next thing I knew the prof was being hauled out of surgery to come check Ciara's eyes out- everything has healed well but how is that for service? It would never have happened at the Eye Guy's practice!!

Yesterday after a horrendous morning (Ciara decorated our lounge wall with pen, shredded our banking file and scratched Enya's face to ribbons), the sun finally came out so we took the girls out for a walk with their "babies" (the dolls don't have a name, they are both just called baby).


We were hoping to walk some of the beans out of Ciara and it seemed to work, we detoured past the park which for once was quiet so the girls had a ball playing on all the playground equipment the bigger kids are usually occupying.



I know this is a baby swing but it is just so nice to see Enya smiling on a swing especially when it is going high! She goes just as high on the normal swings as well now!!


Today (Sunday) we decided to go into the city as Siegen is hosting the NRW Day (celebrating 65 years of Nord Rhein Westfalen- the state we live in). We'd been warned that there were over 300 000 people expected to visit over the weekend (For comparison about 60 000 people live in Siegen!) and to use public transport, so we did. Busing in this morning was tedious with lots of waiting (thank goodness we had fortified ourselves with delicious choc chip waffles for breakfast ;0) or the meltdowns would have started even earlier) but when we eventually arrived in Siegen we lots to do and see.
On the blue light mile (emergency and military exhibitors)
Army helicopter up close and personal

Safety first



THW (Technische Hilfswerk) Bobby Car race course




After this I stopped taking pictures but there were 16 sound stages scattered around the city centre with free musical or kiddies acts on throughout the day, various free activities (eg. climbing offered by the German alpine club), loads of food and info stalls as well as all the shops being open.

There was so much to look at that the girls couldn't nap so we landed up having to leave around 4pm (we caught the train home- I can't remember the last time I was in such an overfilled train- thankfully the other passengers were all still in really good spirits and no one was drunk or it could have been quite unpleasant). Quick dinner, shower and the girls were fast asleep by just after 6pm and I'm heading for bed too now, sorry can't keep my eyes open anymore :0).

13 Sep 2010

Beds and eyes

2nd post today
Did I mention we had an emergency visit to the opthalmologist last week- Enya hit Ciara in the face with a piece of rolled up paper and injured her eye. Thank goodness although the cornea was injured, Ciara is young enough that it literally healed overnight, she was NOT a happy camper!!


The new big girl beds:
Enya




Ciara


The last photo is a good visual description of how the new beds are working out!!