Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Type A and other ramblings

Confession...I am slightly Type A....OK, OK completely Type A.  I thrive on routine and controlling that routine.  So having baby...that makes me really nervous because my comfortable routine is about to get tossed in favor of my child's "routine", wants, and desires. I am okay with that...really, I am.  So far, pregnancy has done a good job of shaking up my comfort level.

I like to prepare for things in advance, (despite loving to procrasinate with school work), I do like to have things ready on time.  Problem, babies come on there own time.  Based on family history amoung my husband, myself, our siblings, and our neice....I am planning on our child making his/her appearance sometime between October 30 and December 14.  Here is my reasoning:

Me: 2 weeks late
Brother 1: 3 weeks late
Brother 2: punctual....he arrived via planned c-section
David: 2 weeks early...and about 8.5 pounds (pray for me if this baby ends up being late)
Sister-in-law: Super early...something like 5 weeks... (David said 8 weeks, but that doesn't seems right)
Niece(daughter of sister-in-law): 10 days past her due date
Brothers-in-law: both 3 weeks early

So yeah, I have to be prepared for anything.  I am also trying to keep my mind open to the fact that this baby is currently breech and might not turn.  I know I still have three months left, but this child is seems continent. I am trying to make peace with this.  I know that 95% of babies turn into the correct posiition, that still does not keep me from worring.  I also was not happy to learn last night that if the baby is breech, many hospitals (or at least the one I am planning to give birth at) encourage normal birthing for a breech baby. The US...standard practice is to have a c-section.  From what I gather,  there are many complications that can arise from a breech birth.  I am trying to make peace with this.  I have zero expectations for the birth. Drug free, epidural, is all okay with me. A healthy baby is the ultimate goal.

I made pumpkin soup for the first time on Sunday. I took one bite and the baby went crazy.  I made a large pot and have continued to eat it with dinner for the past couple of nights. Little one goes crazy everytime...always within one minute of me taking my first bite.Other people I know, describe their baby's constant movements to be like kicks, jabs, rolling, flipping.  Yeah, I feel confident in saying that my child does not seem to do that. Don't misunderstand that the baby does not move. She/he does plently of that. However, it is all very gentle.  The "kicks" fell like something is swimming inside me. The baby also likes to bounce in the evenings (or maybe the baby gets hiccups?).  I can usually see some serious head movement going on from the outside around 8/9 pm at night. Quite enterting. Everytime we see the baby on the ultrasound he/she is quite still...sneaky baby. :) Cute baby, but sneaky.

Baby at 16 weeks. This is the best photo I have since the baby has been a bit camera shy during our last two doctors appointments.

I finally decided on a color scheme/theme for the nursery...brown/gray/green/beige. I also like the idea of adding in foresty elements like tree limbs and other random animals. Last weekend we went window shopping for baby furniture so that we would have a back up plan for the crib and changing table we would want in case the little arrives before we can find a good deal on furniture on Ebay (another post for another day). I am thinking about putting up some kind of artwork on the wall using branches....sort of like the picture below.

Lastly, check out the progression of the bump...these were taken at 10 weeks, 16 weeks, and 24 weeks. Sorry not to post a more updated photo, my photos for 25 and 26 weeks were not ones that i care to share on the world wide web. The quality is not the best, but considering all photos were taken, cropped, spliced, and filtered with my Android....

Monday, August 13, 2012


113 - days until my due date

91 - the temperature forcasted for Wednesday.  I pray it does not get this hot.  I am over warm weather.

50 - the approximate number of minutes that I am on my bike everyday

32 - days until I fly home

35 - grams of protein in my lunch today

22 - (maybe even just 19) more days of work until vacation!

16 - weeks left until this baby comes

10- hours of pretnatal classes left

7 - the approximate number of projects I plan to work on with my mom while I am in the states

6 - cloth diapers purchased for the little one

4.5 - hours left of my workday

 4 - the number of articles of clothing I have purchased for the little one
 4 - pounds. My father has lost this many more pounds than I have gained during my pregnancy. (We are having a competition.)  Go dad!

3 - appointments (OBGYN, vet, dentist)  to go to before we return to the states

1 - the number of items we currently have that we can use for that baby in the first month. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The main atrium at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. (Jan 2012)
One of the hardest parts of being an adult is making decisions.  Sometimes even simple decisions are monumental. Some decisions that should be difficult to make, turn out to be very easy.  To prove my point, one of the hardest decisions I have ever made involved things like where to take a full time position and where to attend college.  However, things like moving to Germany, pursuing my current job, getting married, adopting a dog, all of those decisions were relatively easy for me to make.  Many of these decisions were probably made with too little thought. These were all things that  I knew without a doubt that I wanted. I don't consider myself to be a super fearful person.  I think the decisions that I struggle with the most are the ones where I am afraid that I will disappoint someone.  Usually that someone is myself.  Sometime I get so caught up in pleasing other people I forget that ultimately I am the one who has to live with the consequences. Actually, to a lesser extent, my husband,  has to deal witht the consquences, too. He is super supportive and I know he will support whatever decision I make.

I know this is probably the most vague blog post ever, but sometimes a girl needs to unload somewhere.

I wrote the above words before I found out I was pregnant.  I am still debating the same issue I wrote about here. Having a child thrown into the mix makes decisions in life even harder. This particular decision is one that I hope that time and pray will provide a clear answer to. 

I don't discuss my faith out loud very much. I find my relationship with God to be something I keep very private and only share in small, intimate settings. The only way, I know to find a clear answer to my problems sometimes is prayer.  God is funny in the way he answers my prayers. Sometimes the answer is immediate, other times delayed.  I feel like he is slowly laying his plan for my life out in front of me.  Every detail becomes clear as he decides to unveil it to me. His plan is always better than the one can imagine for myself. From this, I become more patient.  I learn to be grateful for my life as it is today. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What I miss: Pregnancy Edition

First off, I would like to apologize for the radio silence on this blog for the last five months. David and I found out we were expecting our first child in late March. It is rather hard (at least for me) to write about what is going on in your life without mentioning something as huge as a pregnancy.  We were by no means trying to keep this pregnancy a huge secret. In fact, for safety reasons at work, I had to "out" my pregnancy as soon as a doctor confirmed it. Despite the early reveal, it was still hard to inform all of our friends and family in a timely manner. It took quite a while to contact everyone we wanted to personally inform. In fact, it took 22 weeks. :) We just "announced" on facebook a few days ago.  I debated long and hard as to whether I was going to make a facebook announcement, especially since I tend not to share my day to day life on facebook. In the end, I felt like it was the best way to inform people that I do not keep in close email contact with, but would still like to know.  Plus, I wanted to control the announce and not have someone else make that announcement for me.

I am coming back to blogging now, because I would like to be able to record my thoughts and experiences during the pregnancy.  I have no idea where I will be when and if I am pregnant again and I thought it would be nice to have some documentation. I know a lot of people who blog do weekly pregnancy updates with pictures, weight gain, etc....yeah, that is not happening here.

Some pregnancy stats:
 - Currently 22 weeks pregnant (or as is said in Germany,  I am in my 23 week)
- We do not know the sex of the baby and plan to keep it a surprise for the birth
Living in a foreign country during a pregnancy definitely poses an interesting set of challenges:
- cravings
- customs regarding raising your child (feeding, development, working )
- rules regarding name your child/finding a suitable name 
- baby gear you need
- attitude towards pregnancy
- finding maternity clothes
- dealing with +85°F days with no air conditioning

I would like address all of these topics individually. Hopefully, some of my American family will be interested in some of the cultural differences. I find these things fascinating, hence why I record this stuff in a blog.

First topic, pregnancy cravings.   When one thinks of pregnancy cravings, they often refer to the classic example of pickles and ice cream. Yes, that is also a classic example in Germany. According to my husband, any combination of sweet and savory is "pregnancy food."

During this pregnancy, I have found myself with very few "cravings". (I define a "craving" as a MUST HAVE IT NOW sort of feeling) I think most of that is that I simply do not care much for the food in Germany. (Sorry :)) Even after nearly three years of living here, I am still not really interested in eating the food at served at restaurants or in the work cafeteria.  Often just the sight or smell of many foods here is enough to turn my stomach. Just about the only "German food" that I like is lentils, and even that has a limit. Oh, I like the cheese, too. The good stuff that my mother-in-law gets at the farmers market. I love that she finds out what cheese I can eat.  Unpasteurized cheese is very common in Europe, so you always have to ask.

I think most of the problem is that I prefer to eat a mostly vegetarian diet. Prior to getting pregnant I ate fish, some chicken, and very little cheese (I prefer the good European cheese over the stuff people in the states consider cheese).  During pregnancy, my focus has been on getting plenty of protein in my diet...which at the moment has translated to eating lots of yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, goat cheese, and fish. (Don't worry...the goat cheese that I buy is pasteurized and I limit the amount of fish I eat) 

*interesting fact:  I find sweet cottage cheese disgusting, while my husband does not eat it savory.  Talk about a switch.

Since I am not living in the USA at the moment, I have found myself with more food aversion that cravings. Most of this is probably due to the fact, that I still prefer to eat more like an American.  Some of the more significant adversions include:
- Meat: this is pretty offensive to me at the moment.  I cannot be near grilled food and the sight/smell of most cooked meats makes me ill.
- Sweet foods: especially the smell, can be pretty unappealing, too. Sometimes, even fruit is too sweet for me.
- Tea: this is crazy to me, because I drank so much tea before becoming pregnant.
- smoothies: or any sort of sweetened drink.  Back in early June, I could still tolerate this, but chance. We were at a "Mexican" restaurant and David order a non-alcoholic strawberry Margarita for me...Oy! That was so sweet.)
- the smell of white wine:  I caught a whiff of white wine back in June...enough to squash any desire to drink wine until the baby comes.

Things I crave:
- Scramble eggs with veggies, fried egg sandwiches
- Spicy foods
- Thai food (especially a good curry or pad Thai)
- Toast with bananas and almond butter (the only way I can eat a banana, otherwise they are too sweet)
- Warm, brothy soups with shrimp and veggies (I use this recipe as my basis.  I currently do not add in the wine, and use whatever fish and veggies I have hanging around the house)
-French fries: I loved these during the first trimester, but now am sort of indifferent.

Unfulfilled Cravings:
-Life Cereal (probably too sweet)
-A good veggie burger
- Pumpkin Soup:  I am really looking forward to fall and some yummy pumpkin soup.

Things I cannot wait when I go to the states next month:
- Mexican food
- Non-alcoholic margarita (which sadly will probably be way to sweet for me)
- Sweet potatoes
- Yellow squash ( I bought some at a farmers market a few weeks ago...there were no words)
- Edamame ( I actually found some when we were in Stockholm...AMAZING)
- A good, southern breakfast biscuit (with egg...not bacon or sausage)

Thing I cannot wait to have once the baby is here:
- a glass of red wine
- smoked salmon
- a good chunk of age Gruyere cheese
- blue cheese
- more than one cup of coffee a day

Overall, I don't find my appetite significantly transformed by pregnancy. I still am eating my usual, veggie filled diet.

Any thoughts on the gender based on my cravings? 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Unexpected Deliciousness

I would like to introduce  you to one of the best things I was introduced to in 2011: Hummus Pizza

Yes, you read that correctly.  Hummus Pizza.

Hummus pizza with spinach hummus, red bell pepper, red onions, and broccoli.

I know you are probably thinking that I'm am crazy. Or perhaps just have weird tastebuds.  David certainly did.

Trust me on this one.  You will thank me. Or perhaps you should thank my cousin. I was introduced to this wonderful combination by my dear cousin. She and I trade recipes weekly.  Always in search of the latest and greatest dishes to prepare.  My cousin cooks on an almost daily basis and is always inspiring me in the kitchen.  She does things like make her own Vanilla Extract, can her own jam concoctions, and back her own bread from scratch.   She is all kinds of amazingness.  She also knits, sews, and builds furniture (bed frames, bookshelfs, etc.). Did I mention that she also has a degree in mechanical engineering and speaks French.... yeah, she is amazing. She also gives great gifts such as custom decorative pillow cases and meeples.

Let's talk for a minute about hummus.  In the states, one can find good, prepackaged hummus.

I have yet to see packaged hummus in Germany...ever.

Thus, I have learned to make it myself. The ingredients are readily availible in most supermarkets here.  The one tough ingredient is Tahini, which is can be found in any Asian Grocery store.

Here is my go-to recipe:

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 can chickpeas, drained
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 heaping TBSP Tahini
1 red repper, roasted
2-4 tbsp olive oil (depending on consistency you want)
juice from 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley to garnish

Directions: Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.

I like to vary the recipe a little bit.  Sometime I add in a hand full of fresh spinach.  Sometimes I leave out the red pepper and just make it plain.  Do whatever YOU like. There are no rules with hummus. Okay, strick that.  I would keep it to savory ingredients, aside from that, sky's the limit!

Moving on to this pizza recipe I have been tempting you all with for the last 2000 words. There are two versions, my cousin's version and my version.  My cousin's version is delicious and highlights the flavors of the hummus while my version was made to satisfy my hubby (meaning it contains everything but the kitchen sink :) ).  You've heard of backseat drivers? Well hubby is a backseat cook.  He LOVES to "improve" what I am making for dinner. By "improve" I mean add meat.  It's in his blood. He can't help it and I love him in spite of it.

Hummus Pizza, Original Version

1 prepared recipe of your favorite home made pizza dough,
1 recipe hummus, preferrable homemade
1 head broccoli


1) Seperate brocolli stems from the florets.  Chopp florets into small pieces, similiar in size to a diced pepper.
2) Roll out pizza dough onto baking sheet or pizza stone
3) Spread hummus onto dough as you would pizza sauce
4) Sprinkle pizza generously with broccoli
5) Bake at 425 °F until crust is crispy and hummus has started to brown.  About 15-20  minutes depending on you oven
6) Cut, Eat, Share (or not), Enjoy!

Hummus Pizza, Amy and David's Version

1 store bought pizza dough
1 recipe hummus, preferrable homemade
1 head broccoli, chopped
corn kernels
mushrooms, sliced
very lean ham, such as prosciutto, chopped

Directions:  Same as above.  Eat up!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

From the vast corners of my sleep deprived mind

A hard boiled egg from my lunch.  Why? Because I need a picture and this was what I had. :)
  • On Thursday I am taking my first ever day of "just because" vacation.  I really need it. I am like walking zombie as of late.
  • Speaking of work, working in a foreign country is hard. Not going to sugar coat it.  Some weeks days just stink. This is why I am tired and unable to write coherent thoughts longer than a few sentences
  • Copiers are evil machines. Evil.
  • Today is Fasching or Mardi Gras or the day of hedonistic behavior across the world. Whatever you call it, it is going to be an annoyance today.  I am talking parade music. Drunken idiots in costumes.  Traffic....not my favorite day of the year.
  • Despite my dislike of the Fasching festivities, I am looking forward to the start of Lent tomorrow. 
  • Lent is my favorite time of year. 
  • There is one thing I like about today. That is pancakes. Where I was raised it is traditional to have pancakes for supper today.  I suggested this to David this morning and he vetoed in disgust.  
  • I don't care what David says, I am making pancakes for dinner. Apple walnut pancakes (my favorite) to be exact.
  • Some days I eat the most random things for lunch.  Today, for example, I had 2 hard boiled eggs, 2 clementines, a glass of milk, and a handful of mixed nuts. Really random, I know.  It was basically all of the snack food I have in my office because I forgot my lunch and David took all of my cash.
  • Hopefully I will have some real content soon.  I have a recipe post in the works and some fun adventures planned for the weekend.
  • Til then!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Words in the Workplace

A few things. Some of which actually pertain to work.

First,  about two weeks ago I spotted another word on the sidewalk.  Unfortunately,  I did not have my camera at the time, meaning no photo.  With all the rain and snow we have had, the word was quickly wiped from my view.  That means that it is going to be a while for more tales of what the sidewalk says.  Any guess as to what the new word is?  I will give you a hint... _ _ _ _ ?

Speaking of words, you know how some sites, such as Blogger, make you enter a confirmation word just to check that you are human?  Well, I recently encountered a new take on the word verification...simple addition.

I should preface that this was from a company website that I was submitting an enquiry to.  Apparently, they only want customers who can add. What nerds! :) Has anyone else ever seen this kind of verification?

Moving on.

I don't know about you, but I love to receive mail.  There is nothing better than opening a letter address to you. Unless it is a bill.  Then it's no fun.  However, in Germany all of our bills are addressed to David and all bills that I received at work are passed along to someone else to deal with. This means that most of my mail is "good" mail. 

Recently, I have noticed a trend of sorts with the letters I receive at word.  All of them have a nice little surprise inside...

You do not find this on the inside of every envelope here, but now I always look.  I have also seen a smiley face, but I don't think I took a picture. Just something that occasionally brightens up my workday.

Finally, moving on to McDonald's.  I had never been to a McDonald in Germany until recently.  David had a craving that only a cheap hamburger could fix.  It was only a 1€ per burger and he limited himself to 3, unlike a trip to Wendy's in the states where he ate something like 8 hamburgers in a  60 minute period...i am cringing as I type that....  Enough about that.  While we were there, I happened to see a picture of a special burger that they were offering.  I am assuming this is only available in Germany. I don't think it would be a big seller in the states.  I give you the sausage and sauerkraut burger.

Sorry for the bad photo, but I was not going take the tray outside just to take a picture.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Dream House

A little history.  When I moved into my condo nearly 3 and a half years ago, I had the whole think painted (with the help of my family) in less than 4 days time. I spent well over a month choosing colors for the walls. I lived there just shy of a year, but I will always remember that first home that I bought with fondness because it was the first place that I made my own.

We have lived in our current apartment for 2 years and 4 months.  Our decor consists of the following:

-a gray sectional couch, that I LOVE ( it was the only thing we bought new, aside from a book case from IKEA)
-a few colorful pillows
-a few vases (one a wedding gift and the other flea market finds)
-two framed photos (one of just David and I and another of us with the dogs)
-lots of plants, in varying states of health
-4 dog beds
-white walls
-really hideous sheets on our bed
-a lot of mismatched furniture bought of eBay for cheap ( Our best deal so far has been a solid wood table, 6 chairs, china cabinet, and sideboard for 5€...yup, 5€)

We do not have the following:
-curtains (not really necessary because no one can see into our house. Also not practical because we have slanted ceilings)
- pictures or any kind of decoration hung on the walls
- a rug

While our apartment does feel like home, I feel that it lacks personality. Specifically, mine. (I should note here that my husband has no real interest in home decor.  He doesn't even care if our house is clean. :))  I spend a lot of time on the Internet looking at home decor blogs and website.  I cannot wait to decorate my home,  just not this home. I feel a little conflicted, especially since my parents have been slowly redoing their house for the last 2 years.  Let's just say I am a bit green with envy.

I think my hang up comes from the fact that David and I view our living conditions as temporary.  It is 100% certain that within the next three years we will move. Most likely back to the states.  Therefore, I makes no sense for us to invest our money in finding exactly the right table, bed, wardrobe, etc.  If we move to the states, we will most likely purge most of our belongings, such as furniture, electronics, worn out clothes, and so on.  Most likely the only things that will move with us are clothes, shoes, computers, textbooks (yes we moved textbooks to Germany) and a few select kitchen items (such as good knives). 

Another deterrent for me is that I just do not care for most of the decor choices available in Germany.  Don't get me wrong, I love color...just not red and orange which seem to be in abundance here.  I also do not care much for prints.  Particularly, when it comes to bed linens. I love solid fabrics with texture, which seems to be impossible to find.  I was given the gift of bed sheets (that I got to pick out) from my in-laws for my birthday in 2009.  In two years, I have yet to find THE sheets for our bed.  My idea of what looks good is just different that what I can find here.

David and I love to talk about our future home.  Big yard, on a lake, hardwood floors, open floor plan.  I have even found David searching through MLS listings looking for "deals."  What can I say, we like to dream.  David dreams about private lakes and I dream about a kitchen that is bigger than my parent's walk in closet. Some days I just sit and dream about closets...oh how I miss closets. I am not even talking about the "dream" closets that are all over pinterest.  I just want a closet and not a wardrobe. Period.  Sorry, continuing...Mostly we just dream about having a place to call our own.

Every cent that I do not spend "decorating" our apartment is just another cent I can spend decorating our house.  Call me crazy, but I think the sacrifice is worth it.  Besides, in the end it doesn't really matter what the place I live looks like. It only matters that it is safe, protects us from the elements, and full of memories.  Our apartment certainly fullfills those requirements.

Am I making sense here? Sometimes when I am home and starting at our blank walls I feel like I don't...


Friday, February 10, 2012

Life Lately

Let's not even discuss how long it has been since I last blogged...

Since we arrived back from our short trip back to the states (2 weeks is not long enough) David and I have both found ourselves pushed to the max.  It has been long days and short nights in this house.   I cannot remember the last time I slept a full eight hours on a weeknight. Yes, I NEED 8 hours of sleep...moving on...

It is now almost 6 pm on Friday and I am looking another two hours at the office because the hubby has stuff to do. By stuff, I mean go to the store to buy water and beer for a soccer tournament that he is organizing tomorrow. Welcome to the life of a grad student and his wife...

Oh, I should mention that he has been so sweet to take me to work all but one day this week.  He offered the other day, but since I had to be there early I biked to work in the -5°F weather...oh life in Germany.

Did I mention that winter FINALLY arrived in Germany?  I did. With snow!  And really cold weather, but at least we get to enjoy lots of random snows. It makes the cold weather tolarable.  I am hoping for some fresh snow this weekend.  I really want to take some video of Millie playing in the snow, but it needs to be light outside. And we need fresh snow. Here's hoping...

Speaking of cold weather and the car  check out the ice crystals that we found on our car windshield on Sunday morning:

Pretty neat, huh?

Last weekend we were also lucky enough to spend sometime with my sister-in-law and our niece.  I wish we got to see them more often.  At least I finally got a picture of her and David.  She was totally enamored with his red jacket.  She kept touching it...too cute!

 Lastly, I am look forward to spending some quality time with my own two babies...

Oh, and eating this:
That would be red velvet cheesecake. A delicious gift from a sweet friend.

Happy weekend!  Back soon...I hope :)