We’ve been pretty busy here just surviving daily life.  Stephan was back at work this week (he’ll work four day weeks for a while until I’m better adjusted to taking care of three on my own) and it went pretty well, but of course I still have Mom here help me and hold the baby when I need to pee or attend to some such need – and she’s still doing all the dishes!  It felt good to get back to work, but as the nights are still pretty rough, I’m still quite tired!  I’m so impressed with how well the kids are doing.  They have accepted unquestioned and with open arms the fact that Daniel is part of our family now, and on the occasion when I’ve left the house with him alone for a while they are happier to see him back than me.  Grandma has still been doing the bulk of childcare, so I’m a little nervous about next week when she leaves.  I think we’ll all be crying!!


On to our notes for the week.



We have the Little Pim French Bop CD and on it is a song with “it’s lunchtime, it’s lunchtime” in French and English and Joseph likes to sing it as well as any other song he’s heard.  During his quiet time we heard him imporovising his own verse “it’s playtime, it’s playtime.”


In the evening we each pray individually for the kids and on the 20th Joseph asked to pray for Daniel, which he did, in part gibberish and in part using some of the phrases I always use when praying for him.  It ended with “and may he know, deep in his heart, how much we love him. Amen.”  It warms a mommy’s heart!


August 25th Joseph was playing on the bed and stepped on a wasp and it stung him.  It swelled a bit, but was fine the next day.  Lots of tears, lots of limping, but we all survived.



Poor girl is so attached to Grandma that I must be ignoring her as we have no notes on her for the week.  She’s as loving and energetic as ever and we’re starting to train her to stay in bed for her naptime whether she sleeps or not.  This is important for me if I’ve ever to get a break during the day once I’m on my own.  Up until this point someone has always stayed in with her until she fell asleep.


Vivienne loves washing the dishes with Grandma and never misses an opportunity to participate.  Thanks to Grandma, who is willing to train her, wash dishes with a crooked back, and clean up the puddles afterwards!



On the 20th our pediatrician visited for Daniel’s birth check-up.  All is well, praise the Lord!


On the 22nd Daniel turned a week old and to celebrate he weighed in at his birth weight and rolled over from tummy to back.



Today I got the official news that I have the right to Swiss Citizenship.  All that’s left is to get my passport and ID card!  I am officially Swiss. It hasn’t sunk in yet.  Stephan gave me a Swiss T-shirt in congratulations.  The ironic thing was we got the letter after having just returned from the passport office for Daniel’s documents.  I had been hoping the letter would come before we went in for Daniel and could do both errands at once, but alas, it was not to be by an hour or so!!!



That’s the end of the post for those not interested in EC news.  For the brave, read on!


EC has been going very well.  We’ve made a few outings diaperless and I’ve caught more pees than I’ve missed and caught all the poos. With the right preparation, it’s not all that more difficult than going out with an infant in diapers.  Shopping is a challenge not because of EC, but for keeping track of three kids in the store and getting through the checkout lane.


Nights are a mixed bag.  Last night Daniel gave me two 3-hour stretches, which was a welcomed respite to the previous two nights (the fact that he was fussy from 3-6 afterwards should be a warning to those who think life is easy).  I catch more pees than I miss and have only missed a poor or two in all his life (all two weeks).  I’m not sure I’d be getting any more sleep if I didn’t EC at night.  It’s very nice to know why he’s awakened, and with him diaperless at night, it’s easy to see if he’s wet, or if he’s dry I know he needs to go if it’s been a while, or if he just needs to burp, etc.  Having the diaper off gives me more info, makes it easier to put him on the pot and back to sleep, and makes me feel like I’m waking up for a purpose.  It’s far more frustrating to be awoken by a baby and pat his back until he goes back again than it is to awaken to a baby that needs to pee, put him on the pot, dump the pee and go back to sleep again.  For sure, sometimes I misread his cues, but so far it’s been more blessing than curse, so we’ll keep going for now.

Posted by harp on Friday, August 30, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Edit
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Daniel is sleeping and the rest of the gang is enjoying some time at the Transportation Museum, so I’ll take a quick moment to catch up with the other happenings around here.


On Sunday (Aug. 18th) Joseph started the new school year by graduating from the nursery at church to the first level of Sunday school (his group is called Schäfli).  With a 3 day old baby I’m ECing and a body making the related adjustments, there was no way to go to church, but there was a little blessing ceremony for all the kids and apparently Joseph enjoyed his time.  He’s always sneaking into that classroom after church anyway, but the funny thing was this time after church he snuck into the nursery – apparently he missed the opportunity to play with the cars and the tall parking garage.


It’s quite strange for me as a mother to have a newborn with his chord stump still on (well, it fell off today) and having to start letting go of my constant involvement with my three-year-old.  I can’t be a fly on the wall in his classroom.  I have to let it go.  Of course I want to prepare my kids for independence and I look forward to it, but there is still something to be mourned as the intense (if exhausting) connection of mother-child slowly changes.  Over-protecting my children is not a reason why I want to homeschool, but I do think homeschooling will help make the “severing” a smoother, and therefore easier, transition.  But I have no time to cogitate right now, so on to the cute things the kids have done.


What’s new with Joseph:

Joseph’s reading is steadily improving, especially since Grandma is here to pay him attention.  Stephan got some German books from the library, and he’s made the transition from reading English to reading German pretty easily as well.  We stand in amazement.  What fun!


Posted by harp on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 11:45 am | Edit
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On Thursday, August 15th at 2:48am we welcomed our third child into this world.  Like his siblings he was born at home (in our living room – like his sister) and we are all adjusting well.  He was our biggest baby yet (by a pound!) at 4,300g (9lbs 8oz) and 53cm (20.9 in.) long.  His head was a bit smaller than Joseph’s, though.  Here’s a picture of our sweet Daniel.  More will be up in the usual place eventually (see sidebar to the right – email for the password.)



Daniel is a contented little big guy.  He’s as slow and steady as his birth was and I’m recovering well and enjoying bonding time in a special way because of it.  We are so thankful to God!


For the full birth story, click “more.”


Posted by harp on Monday, August 19, 2013 at 8:09 am | Edit
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Grandma and Dad-o are visiting us and we’re having a grand time and not getting too exhausted with all the activity.  Re-bonding happened quite quickly and Joseph and Vivienne are eating up the extra attention.  Joseph still often has to have his quiet time, and I’m quite impressed that he has the discipline to stay in his room while the adults are talking next door.  We’ve tried not to upset their schedule too much and they’ve done quite well with the changes they have had to experience.  We’re very grateful that the visit is going so well so far!  Here are some notes on the kids and if I have time I’ll write about our adventures as well.

July 12th: I finally made the decision to try to wean Vivienne completely.  (Skip to July 13th if you’re not interested in details or are afraid of TMI.) We’d been down to twice a day sometime before nap and bedtime (but not so close to be a sleep association) but as it was increasingly painful and I’ve been-there-done-that with nursing two at a time, I decided to see if I couldn’t make life a little easier this time around.  We had a long snuggle-nurse after lunch and Vivienne fell asleep.  Since then I’ve simply stated that Mommy’s breasts are off limits because they need a rest and gently pulled her hand away.  She accepted the end of nursing amazingly well, but still hung on to the desire to hold and pinch them (another big reason why I wanted to wean her) for a few weeks.  She’s gotten better now (I write this August 6th) and asks for snuggles and hugs and likes to have someone there as she falls asleep, but seems to be just fine with the idea that nursing is no more.  I am very grateful and I hope that she doesn’t relapse when the baby comes!


July 13th: Vivienne asks for help clearly with “aow” and down is “daow.”


July 19th: Vivienne says “wee-wee” for Vivienne, “doi” for Joy, and “nee-nah” or “nee-gneh” for singe (German for sing).


20th:  We have a couple from church over for coffee and I realize I don’t know how to host a proper Swiss coffee date.  I had to ask if one prays before digging into the cake and the answer was not normally but of course who can refuse a suggestion for prayer so we did.  I still have much to learn!


Stephan heard Vivienne count to four in German, and since she’s gotten close in English, but it’s still quite unclear.  Her vocabulary is blossoming with Grandma and Dad-o here, so I soon won’t be writing down all her cuteness, but the communication is increasing daily, which is wonderful!


21st Vivienne turns 1 ½!


I ask a lady at church for an unusual baby gift – to pick up some bags for donating to charity for me.  She says she can pick them up right then and I get rid of 6 garbage bags full of decent stuff that we just don’t need!!!!  There’s enough room on the cellar then to put a bunch of stuff that was in the bedroom to make room for Grandma and Dad-o’s visit.  I am THRILLED!!!!  Bit by bit decluttering works!


22nd: “doh” is door, “do-ee” is story, “dway” is trash, but it comes from throw it away (it away=dway” and “na-na” is granola.  I think I write down her word for train wrong before, it’s “dwain” and it’s so cute!  Grandma and Dad-o gave us some more Brio trains and they’ve been the main toy for playing with when we’re home.


Time is out – more on the visit later!

Posted by harp on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Edit
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Yesterday Vivienne turned 1 ½ and with great timing I was feeling insecure about my decisions as a mother (it’s amazing how a few negative comments can override any number of positive ones!!!) and as I sat with one crying child on each knee wondering how to handle the situation I could take it no longer and broke down myself.  (How I’m looking forward to having four of us break down at the same time and not just three!  I’ll have to grow another knee!!)


Anyway, this is about Vivienne not me.  Vivienne gave me kisses and then as things calmed down she went and got the cloth we use for wiping their hands and faces after meals and came and wiped away my tears.  What a blessed gesture!  The Bible talks about how God will wipe away every tear, and that means more than there won’t be pain anymore – God will minister to our needs.  In our society we don’t get that close to each other.  We might give a hug, but physically wiping each other’s tears is too intimate – but it’s a pity.  It’s a really healing gesture!


So my sweet emotional little girl who nearly always has a tear on her cheek from the latest moment of frustration is also intuitively caring of others, and quite affectionate.  She loves given and getting hugs and kisses and likes to “ah-gl, ah-gl” snuggle, snuggle.  She is always so excited when Bappe comes home and runs to give him a hug.  She’s sad to see him go in the morning and always follows him to the door to say goodbye.


She is trying to be more and more independent as she learns to take care of herself.  She likes to help set the table, do laundry, prepare food, and just today she managed to put on underwear all by herself.  I was busy with Joseph so I don’t know how she did it (she sure acts helpless when I’m there to help!).  She’s not potty trained, but we do sometimes have underwear days at home with some success (I’m just too pregnant to bother cleaning up the misses for long!).


With her fine blond hair and strong emotions I sometimes feel like she’s a mini-me, but I have to be careful!  Maybe that is one reason why I find it more surprising when she speaks in German than that Joseph does.  Several words she only speaks in German, which I think is the part that makes me uncomfortable: “that there” (daa doh), “sing” (singe – nee nah), “car” (auto – aw-do), and "jump" (gumpe - gm-pah) are among the words that she only says in German.  Of course there are plenty she only says in English, too.  Joseph was much later to speak much German, but she has church in German and an older brother who speaks with Bappe in German, so she gets more exposure.


Vivienne loves being outside and is quite a fast walker – almost running much of the time to keep up with her brother.  She hates hair clips and always pulls them out despite that her curls bunch up at her neck and she gets warm quickly.  She loves imitating her big brother and wants to do everything he does – include operate the CD player, which she’s actually learned to do.  It can be frustrating having them both “helping” in the kitchen, but I keep telling myself the investment will pay off someday!  As I type they are playing in the kids’ room alone without fighting, and for those moments of rest I am quite grateful.  Vivienne checks in quite frequently, though, and she just did, asking for a sip of my water and giving me a coy smile and she left.  It’s so sweet to have a girl – I don’t know why it surprises me that her gender shows through this early.  It’ll be interesting to see how dynamics change once the gender balance turns to 2-to-1.


Vivienne still has plenty of tempers, but she doesn’t get away with as much as her brother did (first time mom has less confidence . . .) and much of the time she is quite happy to obey and cooperate, and she quite enjoys following the rules and routines of the household.


She wants to eat an nearly every opportunity, getting a bowl out of the cupboard and sitting down at the table when she wants to eat.  She can feed herself with a spoon (but still likes using her hands a lot) and can put away a few letters of the alphabet puzzle.


She still asks for kisses sometimes, but more often comes making the “sorry” sign when she’s upset.  It’s cute that she sees it more as a comfort sign than an apology.


She wakes up once or so in the night and sometimes not at all, for which we are grateful.  She takes a 1-2 hour nap after lunch so she gives us a total of 12-13 hours off, which is less than average but better than her brother at that age so we’re not complaining.


She asks to be read to all the time.


I know these snap shots will be fun to look back on, but it’s hard to record a slice of “normal” life as it is because we take everything for granted, but then it changes so fast and so subtly that you hardly notice that things that were normal are now a distant memory.  Things will change for sure when her little sibling arrives!

Posted by harp on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Edit
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You are now three years old!  As I tell you every evening, I’m so glad God gave you to us and that I get to be your mommy.  You have changed me and challenged me from the start and it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon!


You are a very smart boy and with that comes a very strong will.  Most of the time you help mommy and are responsible, but sometimes you need to assert your independence and don’t mind missing a meal to show that you don’t have to clean up if you don’t want to.  It makes it a challenge to be your mommy, but I think God for your strong sense of inner direction – it will stand you in good stead as you go out into the world!


Just today you asked to write Grandma an email, which is one of your favorite things to do.  She is always writing you emails and letters and you love getting them.  Today you wrote “EMIL GRANDMA  2x2x3x3=36  3x3x4x4=144  4x4x5x5=400

5+5=10  2-2=0” followed by a lot of gibberish typing.  You wrote all of that on your own, though two days ago I did tell you the answers to the second two equations.  You refused to sign it “love, Joseph” though, so as impressive as your abilities are, don’t get the impression that we forced them on you!  There’s no forcing Joseph to do anything!


You can’t be forced to share with your sister either, but if we all take a deep breath and she signs “please” you very often choose to share with her.  You both enjoy playing with each other and are usually very kind to each other.  Often in the mornings you give each other hugs – you are so happy to see each other even though you’ve slept in the same room!


Speaking of sleeping, you sleep fine at night for the most part, only occasionally waking from a bad dream.  You still wear a diaper at night, but mommy has the feeling if we would just try it you could be dry at night, too.  Your little baby brother or sister is about to come into the world, though, so we’re holding off for now!


You mostly get yourself ready for bed without complaint.  We’ve started having family time after we’re ready for bed and before the Bible reading and hymn singing.  We all enjoy that time and you love telling us which hymn to sing next by saying it’s number.  You have no trouble remembering all the hmyns we’ve sung and their numbers, and you can sing a number of them yourself, though when we’re singing you like to just listen.  Your current favorites are 506 “I Will Sing of My Redeemer” and 576 “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  You ask for them almost every night!  You fall asleep easily after we stop singing at 7:30 and you’re up and ready to go at 6 the next morning.  You rarely take a nap now, but you do a wonderful job of playing by yourself during Vivienne’s nap.  You are allowed to use the CD player and enjoy listening to all kinds of kids CD’s in English and German.  Your current favorite is “Mir gönd in Zoo” and you can quote a lot of it!


Your favorite game to play with Grossvater when he comes is to write “fast” and “nice” letters.  Sometimes your fast ones are very nice indeed!


You got a pedal bike for your birthday, but you still prefer zipping around with your foot-bike.  You like to zip downhill and lift your feet – balance isn’t a problem!  You also love going outside on walks or to the playground and love seeing the animals, using the slide and swing and playing with other kids in the sandbox.  Mommy can trust you a great deal when we are out and about.  You obey well and are patient waiting for your sister to catch up.   You’re always very happy to go out with our neighbor Miss Tina or with Frau M-L, the pastor’s wife.  They love you, too!


You’re still practicing languages a great deal, trying out sentences and repeating what others have said to be sure you know all the words they used.  You’re comfortable enough in English and German that you can express your needs without having to whine (but of course you still have melt-downs sometimes!).


You can dress yourself, go the bathroom yourself (though sometimes Mommy or Bappe checks to see if you’re bottom is clean enough) and put your socks and shoes on yourself.  You help at dinner by setting out the placemats for you and Vivienne and afterwards you bring your dishes to the kitchen.


You love running, jumping, doing somersaults, climbing and falling backwards into your playpen (where you still like to sleep at night while Mom or Dad sleep with Vivienne in the bed in the kids room with you.)


You can still write all your letters, though you prefer to type at this point.  Of course you can write all the numerals.  Your latest thank-you note to the Daleys was writing one through 34, quite neatly up until the end.


You are affectionate when you want to be, offering snuggles and hugs and kisses on a ration.  Again, you make it clear when affection is allowed and when it is not.


The most exciting development at the moment is your interest in reading.  You like to read the hymns we sing, your favorite books (mostly Dr. Suess), emails from Grandma (she writes in large letters and simply enough that you often have no trouble), and other words when you see them.  You use a combination of memory and sounding-out skills you taught yourself to make your way through a new passage.  You do an amazing job!  I’m sorry I’m surprised – I shouldn’t limit you to what I think you ought to be able to do.


You recently got a haircut with Mommy, and you’re super cute in your short summer do.  You like putting Vivienne’s hair clips in your hair for play.  You have a sweet smile that you bestow on us often, and you’re slender but strong.  You still have sensitive skin that requires lotion to keep from drying out, but otherwise you’re fit and healthy!  Sadly we haven’t been to the pool hardly at all since Vivienne joined the family because Mommy doesn’t know how to take you both at the same time!  I’m sure you’ve forgotten all you learned, but I’m sure you’ll pick it up quickly again when you get the chance!


You are generally a happy eater, though you don’t eat all that much.  Your favorite food is possibly berries – strawberries are best!


I’m sure you can do so much more than this.  And you are most certainly much more than this little summary can describe.  I am lucky to get to have your company every day, and I’m looking forward to seeing how you care for your new little sibling.  I wish I could spend even more time doing the things you want to do with me.  I’m working hard to get “life stuff” done efficiently so that I can be there for you more.


Thanks for sticking with me on this wild ride!  I love you SO much!  May you always know it, deep down in your heart.




Posted by harp on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Edit
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I left off in the middle of our Family Weekend last time.  Joseph was in a good enough mood the next day to enjoy his birthday cake and candles, so that was fun and who cares if it was the 29th instead of the 28th?  Stephan made us a restaurant meal at home (read: meat and potatoes) and we relaxed and played and stayed extra-long after church on Sunday, letting the kids take the lead.


The next weekend was for Stephan and me, though.  His folks gave me a night-with-the-kids voucher, which gave us two days and a night all to ourselves.  We decided to spend it at home so we could get some work done and enjoy local pleasures and still spend less than had we’d found a hotel.  We had to schedule in the fun stuff or we would have worked the whole time, and we kept the computer off so we would focus.  It was a lovely time and the rest came at the perfect point as on Friday night I had a bout of frequent and stronger contractions due to too much activity.  Stephan completed a wiring project and sorted old photos, freeing up a good deal of space in our bedroom.  I relaxed, did some thinking, and flitted from one house project to the other, freely following inspiration and energy level without worrying about little hands destroying my works-in-progress.  It was lovely!  In the end the house is pretty much nested (though of course there’s always more to be done) and my GTD system is overhauled and set up for life with a baby (i.e. I’ve shelved a lot of projects, identified the basics that need to continue, and have a decent amount of “next in line” projects ready to be pulled out and worked on if I have time and put away easily again.)  Of course we’d planned to do 10-times as much stuff, but we enjoyed the weekend and include such pleasures as sleep in until 9am having not been disturbed in the night (first time since Joseph’s birth), going out to eat in Lucerne (Thai place), getting a “couples massage” lesson, which was cashing in on Stephan’s Christmas present to me.  That was great because Stephan learned techniques that were at the same time easier for him to execute and more effective for helping me relax – perfect to have before birth!  Many, many thanks to Stephan’s folks for the gift of time!  The kids had a blast enjoying summer activities (summer has finally arrived!) and were disappointed they couldn’t drive back with Grossvater and Grossmutti after they’d dropped them back off at our place.


Some new Vivienne words: “ba-bah” (brother/Joseph but sounds a lot like Bappe), “key,” “ah-cull” (snuggle), “gm-pah” (gumpa – jump); “tee-ah” (tortilla); “(d)rain” (train); “ee-ow” (meow); “alk” (chalk); “mommy” is very clear now and means me for sure.


July 5th Joseph demonstrates that he can count objects as well as just count.  He counted the pegs on a lego base-piece and came up with the correct number: 32.  I tried to turn it into a multiplication lesson, but as far as I could tell it was a flop . . .


10th: I overheard Joseph during his quiet time using a phrase I often use on him – only this time he was on his own and made it up for himself!  He said “You may play with your dominos after your pick up the train track.”  I peeked in a bit later and he had indeed cleaned up his trains and had the dominos out.  All that training is doing some good. Hurray!!!!


11th: Joseph successfully constructs a figure eight with the trains using the bridge piece.


We have not been jotting down so much, but Joseph continues to make progress with reading, and definitely reading things he’s never seen before (like a CD entitled “Thank You Lord” – so of course, he’s seen those words before, but is able to recognize them in a different context.


Last night Joseph sang all the verses to one of the hymns he loves for us to sing.  It’s SO cute, and too precious to spoil with the video camera – maybe one day he’ll let me record him!  (The hymn is 506 (which is 22x23, btw, and the reason we discovered it) I Will Sing of My Redeemer)


I am big and heavy and get wiped out just going to the playground.  Baby and I are healthy, though, and looking forward to meeting each other!

Posted by harp on Friday, July 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Edit
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Friday, June 14th we said goodbye to Stephan’s brother and family as they head off to Canada.  We surely will miss them!  The kids had a blast running around outside with the other kids at the goodbye party.  Joseph is starting to realize that English is not the dominant language around here.  At one point he asked for a push on the swing, but he asked in Swiss German and wasn’t interested in being pushed by someone who doesn’t speak Swiss German (i.e. he refused to be pushed by me.)  It’s the first sign of things to come.  Kids don’t always appreciate being in bilingual homes, so it will be interesting to watch how our kids handle the realization over time that they’re different.  I’m praying for small and easy adjustments and not an all-out rejection!


June 19th Joseph and Vivienne are playing with dominos and Joseph is doing addition with them.  Vivienne looks at domino with four and five and shows it to me saying “nine.”  And you thought Joseph was gifted in math!  Actually, Vivienne is aware of numbers because of her brother’s interest, but every number is “nine” in her vocabulary.


June 20th Joseph and I finally took the time to go get haircuts.  It was a special Mommy-Joseph date and he did a great job!  I was sad to see his curls go, but he looks cute this way, too.


June 21st: Joseph leaves the room we’re playing in saying “I need to go pee-pee. I be right back. Don’t worry.”


June 23rd we had a lovely visit from the Wilkinsons and Gotte Diana.  The kids had fun with little L. Wilkinson, who we saw for the first time even though she’s nearly a year!  You wouldn’t think that Basel was so far away, but when people are busy . . .


June 25th I enter the kids’ room after doing dishes and see both kids with their bodies on the window sill and their heady peering down to the rocks below looking at all the number stickers they’d thrown down.  I’m not sure how to handle this one.  Making Joseph push through the bushes and collect all the stickers didn’t deter him.  He wanted to throw more out and collect them again!  For now they are banned from opening windows, but there are no guarantees . . .


June 27th Joseph finds a pair of scissors and decides to play barber.  Fortunately he only gets one lock of Vivienne’s hair and the rest is his own.  Good thing the professional haircut he got last week was pretty cheap . . .


June 27-30 is our third “Family Weekend” where Stephan takes off of work so we can have a mini vacation in lieu of a real vacation because of the baby joining us this summer.


The first day we started by going to the dentist and then to the Tierpark (petting zoo, but a big one.)  We went last year but this year both kids could walk and they love feeding animals so they had a blast walking around with the chickens and deer.  We grilled for lunch and Joseph had fun climbing the rocks.  It’s good I only saw the sign that says no climbing as we left the park . . .

They were both tuckered out after that.


June 28th was Joseph’s third birthday!  We’d planned to go to the pool but with cold and rainy weather I let Joseph help make his birthday cake instead.  He got to lick the bowl and spoon, which he very much enjoyed.  He opened a few presents spread throughout the day and we had pizza for lunch.  While Vivienne slept he had good quality time with Bappe but we underestimated how much his quiet time does for him.  Missing it two days in a row meant he was so exhausted at night that he couldn’t eat his dinner or blow out the candles on his cake.  He went right to bed at 7 and fell asleep right away!  We didn’t feel right eating his cake without him so we’ll try again today.  Note to self, even if he doesn’t sleep, the period of rest in the afternoon is necessary for him and not just me!  He was already tired when we did the little treasure hunt to find his new bike after Vivienne’s nap, but he did well reading my notes and following clues.  Still, the afternoon of bike riding that I’d anticipated lasted less than five minutes.  Both kids will need a little time to get used to the next step: Vivienne on the walking bike and Joseph on his new pedal bike.  No chance to practice today, however, as it is supposed to rain all day . . .


In General for Vivienne:

Vivienne has taken an interest in potty training.  She prefers to wear disposable diapers because she can undo them herself and sit on a potty.  She’s taken off her diaper and gone poo on the pot and caught a few pees too, but recently it’s been more frustrating in that she’s not been telling us about her poos at all so we’re back to dirty diapers.  Still, with the interest there I’m hoping she’ll make progress if the weather will EVER warm up!!!  It’s the end of June and COLD and rainy, and by cold I mean 50’s, maybe lower 60’s all day.  We were hoping to go to a playground of the foot of a mountain, but the weather predicted freezing temps . . .  But I’m supposed to be writing about Vivienne.


Words: Vivienne says more and more (“mo” actually!).  She’ll bring me a book and say “weee” for read; she recognizes stars and says “dah”; cereal is “wee-woh”; “ka” means cat and she still loves making all the animal sounds. 


In General for Joseph:

I need to write up a more thorough 3-years-old update and summary, but Joseph is itching to write an email to Grandma and Dad-o, a favorite pastime of his now.  I failed to check my Tickler yesterday and already there was a comment bugging me for a bullet update, so here it is!

Posted by harp on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 9:03 am | Edit
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I now have a note in my Tickler to wrote a bullet update on the 2nd and 4th Fridays in the month.  Let’s see how well it works – nagging allowed.


June 2nd we gathered with Stephan’s brother’s family and the grandparents for an early 3rd birthday celebration for Joseph so the cousins could be together before they move away.  We went to an indoor play-place (Starbie in Zurich) and the kids had a wonderful time getting to run around and explore wherever they wanted.  Six adults to three kids was perfect as each kid got to roam where he pleased and each adult got to spend time with each kid and get a rest.  We have lots of photos and videos that will be published in the usual places.  Joseph got a wooden sailboat from his cousin Gil and when he opened it he said “right triangle!” which I interpreted as “white triangle” until I realized my mistake.  The sail is a white right triangle, and with Joseph’s pronunciation those first two words sound the same, but as his mother I know the kind of triangle is more important than the color for my little math boy.


June 3rd Joseph loves the number stickers that Grandma had sent in the mail (old VHS labels).  One day he begged me over and over again for white letters, but as I said, the difference between “white” and “write” is not discernible to our ears, so I was going crazy trying to figure out what he was asking for (because clearly writing numbers together was not what he wanted!).  When I finally remembered those white letters I was able to offer him some other number stickers and told the story to Grandma.  She suggested Joseph write a letter to Grandma asking for more number stickers, which we did (Joseph write a few of the words in the letter) then we mailed it together and today was the day Joseph got a letter in the mail from Grandma containing the requested white numbers.  Joseph read the accompanying note and we have it on video.  He had trouble with the word “stickers” but later that day when he read the ladybug book he read “sticks” as “stickers” so something stuck!


June 6th Joseph says “Liecht blan Libli” (Stephan will have to explain his note)


Joseph “reads” a hymn and starts by saying “That’s a bit low” and hums a bit in imitation of us as we try to find the right key at the start of family singing time!


June 7th we do some writing on the board and among other things Joseph correctly reads “Joseph can count.”


The weekend of June 8-9 we were blessed with a visit of my cousin K, who is currently doing an internship in Germany.  It was such a blessing to see him playing with and enjoying my kids just like we played with and enjoyed our cousins when they were little.  It did make me miss family and the way we interact, appreciate and enjoy each other, but it was happy reminder and we were very thankful for the visit!  We managed to get a total of two double-sol games in – and that almost didn’t happen (I won both times despite being out of practice.)  We played at the playground, walked around Lucerne and took the steamboat, and enjoyed the church picnic.


Vivienne has added a few more words, but I haven’t been keeping good track.  She says “Mommy” as well as “Mama” and something that sounds like banana and apple.  I’m pretty sure she said “L M N O P Q R S” and she says “nee-nuh” for singe (sing in Swiss German), and “no-nah” for Lyoner (balogny in Swiss German).


Both kids are generally a step ahead of me.  Joseph showed me that he can operate the CD player so he has permission now, but on the 12th I saw her pick up a CD (the case was left open) and put in correctly – she even held the CD with her index finger through the center hole like you’re supposed to!


June 13th Joseph rediscovers the “clothes lion” and sews the cardboard clothes to the lion’s body (this fine motor skill has been long in coming in that he’s had the toy since Vivienne’s birth and hasn’t “gotten it” until now.

 We finally had some sunny and warm days and we spent every one of them outside on various playgrounds for 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours each day!  It’s been great for everyone!

That’s the story here, or at least the part of the story we thought to write down!

Posted by harp on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Edit
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It’s been a month since my last bullet update?!  Sorry folks!  It’s been so long it’s hard to read our notes, but hopefully Stephan can correct me.


April 27th we had old friends from BCF over who have a young son now as well.  The most amazing part for me was that after the meal their son had dropped not one crumb on the floor, there was no spot on his high chair nor on his bib.  They spoon feed him everything while he holds onto two small animal toys to keep his fists busy.  In contrast, Vivienne threw her plate of couscous on the floor that day . . .


April 28th Joseph sees mommy eating Dutch chocolate sprinkles, a treat she bought for herself with her hobby budget and therefor feels entitled to keep to herself.  I must have said “oops” when Joseph saw me because I knew he’d want some.  He then asked for “oops Joseph.”  I told him he could have one (I know, I’m so generous).  The proceeded to say “One oop. Two oops!”


April 29th I overhear Joseph singing “Take My Life and Let It Be” and when he gets to the part about lips he says “take my lips and let them be . . .  Take my ellipse!”  Clearly a pun.


At the beginning of May I got some sort of stomach bug that kept me flat for a few days.  It was not a fun time for any of us, but thankfully only Vivienne caught some of it and not until well after I was better.  The children amazed me with their adaptability skills.  They didn’t seem to question the fact that life as normal suddenly stopped and Mom now spends her days lying in bed or on the couch.  The would play around me, and Vivienne especially would come check in every once in a while if they were in a different room, but if anything, they seemed to enjoy my company more because I was THERE and not up trying to do something.  They did a great job taking care of themselves more, and it was a good lesson to me to trust them to try to do more things on their own.


May 5th we were all supposed to visit the Swiss Grandparents and cousin Gil etc., but since I was still sick Stephan took the kids on his own.  On the way out the door poor Vivienne didn’t stop herself in time and went diving down the front steps.  She fell well, but concrete and asphalt are not kind and she looked rather horrible.  It healed quickly, though. Pictures in the usual place.


May 6th I finally send in our taxes and FBAR.  Joseph finger spells and says “B-A-P-P-E spells Bappe”


May 7th Joseph notices Vivienne’s runny nose and says “You need a tissue Viv” then proceeds to get one and wipe her nose for her.  She dutifully holds still while he takes care of her.  Who needs a mother?


We went to the doctors because Stephan got me all worried about the fact that Vivienne walks with her right foot turned out.  The doctor didn’t even look at it saying it was normal and would correct itself in a year or so and low and behold shortly after it started disappearing . . .


May 9th we went on a hike with our church and Gotte Diana joined us.  What fut!


May 12th At church Joseph has discovered that one of the classrooms has a white board.  I should remember this because nearly every Sunday I panic once I realize that Joseph is nowhere to be see.  I imagine him having left the building and walking into the road and just as I get ready to fly outside I remember the white board.  Sure enough, he’s always there writing numbers.  This Sunday Stephan wrote “20 * 105 =” and Joseph wrote “20001100” (2,100 or two-thousand one-onehundred in Swiss German, of course).  He obviously has a mix of rote memorization and understanding when it comes to numbers – and he’s constantly surprising us with which is what!


May 15th we went to the display put on by the fire department for kids.  They had their trucks and gear out and Joseph got to spray the water hose, but I think they were still a bit young to appreciate it.  I enjoyed it, though.


May 16th we visited Stephan’s folks while they had cousin Gil over.  The kids walked to the bus, from the bus to the train, switched trains in time, and then we were met with the car by Grossvater.  I was impressed with how well Vivienne does with all that walking.  It’s so nice to be without a stroller on those trains!


May 17th Joseph asks for a banana for a snack.  As I hand him one Vivienne says perfectly clearly “ba-na-na.”


May 18th we have hot dogs and beans for dinner and Joseph asks Bappe for a “heiss Hund” (a literal, but incorrect translation of “hot dog.”)


May 19th Joseph figures out how to start a different YouTube video from the one he’s watching.  We use YouTube for our family videos, which is why he is sometimes on it.  I dread the day when they discover the potential of the vast internet . . .


Stephan tries 20*105 again and this time Joseph writes 2100.


May 20th we were blessed with a visit from Stephan’s sister and husband.  So nice to have some time with them!


May 21st Vivienne builds a block tower of 5 pieces while nobody is looking (poor neglected second child!) and it was her 16th month birthday!


May 23rd Vivienne somehow uses the mouse or pushes a button in order to view all of the powerpoint shows Grandma made one after the other without having to click anything extra.  Anybody know how she did it and how we could repeat it?


Joseph would embarrass Mommy in the grocery store, but fortunately English is a foreign language here so him chanting “let’s go check out the lady” all the way to the checkout lady is not nearly as embarrassing as it could be.


Vivienne can take off her own Velcro shoes.


Vivienne has mastered the art of extracting healing from “the mommy kiss.”  No matter what the injury – physical, emotional, or even punishment from mommy – the solution is found in pointing her right index finger in Mommy’s direction and making kissing sounds, which usually elicits three air kisses from Mommy and life can continue as usual.


May 25th Bappe and the kids give Mommy a special day off and go visit the grandparents on their own.  The take public transport with grand success and enjoy riding a small kid-sized railroad, the “ysebähnli am Rhy.”  As with the firetrucks, maybe the parent enjoyed the activity more than the kids??  In any case, fun for all.  Mommy chronicled her nearly 10 hours home alone and can’t wait to share it . . . what a treasure!  And of course the best part is when they all come home . . .


Vivienne can climb off the toilet on her own (she still uses a toilet insert).  I can’t WAIT for warmer weather so she can go around bottomless.  It has been so cold and rainy and there was even some snow nearby on MAY 25th!!!  Sometimes I feel like a Florida girl.


May 27th Stephan and I had a meeting with the two top dogs in education in the canton of Lucerne.  It went as well as could be expected, and we’re glad we have a few years before we have to officially ask permission to homeschool.  We were hoping to convince them, or at least plan the seed, that having a teaching degree isn’t necessary to homeschool well, but they like the teaching degree requirement for “security’s” sake.  Well, who knows if we planted a seed or not, but I’m happy we made our voices heard and that they gave us an appointment to talk about it.


May 28th Joseph discovers me clipping my nails with clippers and wants to do his the same way (up until now I’ve always used the nail scissors on them.)  I showed him how they worked and then I left the bathroom because I couldn’t stand watching him, but I figured he couldn’t hurt himself too badly before I’d hear of it and could take them away.  He successfully cut his nails and toenails.  It’s hard letting them try things that stretch their abilities, but it’s worth it!


Vivienne was playing the living room when Joseph asked for peanut butter (in Swiss German) while in the kitchen with Bappe.  Vivienne jumped up, trotted to the kitchen, opened the cupboard, pulled out the peanut butter and handed it to Joseph.  Looks like the second kid isn’t having trouble with the two languages either.


Joseph reads our old roman numeral clock correctly 5:15 in Swiss German (viertel ab Fümfi).


May 29th Vivienne was playing at the kitchen sink and Joseph wanted a turn, so he sang the alphabet song to her (that’s always how I inform her that her sink time is over.)  Clever, but I told him he didn’t have the authority to dethrone her like that . . .


And lastly . . . Joseph is reading!  We’ve long been suspicious since he likes to read through familiar stories slowly and we’ve caught him reading a line or two that he doesn’t know well almost correctly, but the line between sort of reading and reading seems like a thin one.  Today we had pretty clear proof during our Bible reading time.  Joseph asked to sing hymn 536 (he often picks some random number we haven’t sung before.)  After I flipped to it I starting humming to find the right pitch and Stephan pointed out that Joseph had started reading it on his own.  I asked him to read the whole first verse, and he did, getting many words right, sounded out some approximation of more complicated words, and doing the whole thing in a sort of rhythm and sing-song voice.  No buh – ah – el ball from him, it’s like he takes in the whole word whether he knows it or not.  I’ll try to transcribe a little, as best as I can remember.



536 Happy the Home When God is There

Hap-py the home when God is there And love fills ev –ery – one,

“Happy the home when God is there and love flls (mumble) one”


When with u –ni –ted work and prayer The Mas-ter’s will is done.

“When with (mumble) wk and pr the ma(mumble) is done!”


And I really need to write this more often so they shorter to write and to read!  Thanks so much, my faithful readers!


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Posted by harp on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Edit
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Catching up: I wrote this post a few weeks ago but got interrupted and somehow forgot to publish it.  Things have gone a little downhill since then, so I guess it’s a timely reminder for me that life is always full of ups and downs.


We’ve had some rough moments, but today, some of the fruit of our labors presented itself.  Vivienne took a long morning nap, so I knew it was unlikely she’d take an afternoon nap.  Joseph rarely naps now.   After lunch I felt the familiar pregnancy exhaustion kick in so I went to bed with Vivienne.  After nursing a bit she popped off and went to join Joseph.  I dozed in and out, comforted by the sounds of Duplos flying around the room and other play noises.  I got a bit worried when I hear water running (as Vivienne can climb up to the bathroom sink now) but then I heard Joseph say “two poos!” so I knew all was well – he can take care of himself in the bathroom, even if he usually doesn’t bother to put his pants on afterwards.  Sometimes Vivienne would get upset and come check on me or ask me to kiss a boo-boo, but I mostly was able to rest and I certainly didn’t get out of bed for 1 ½ hours.  When I did get up they were playing with crayons.  I got a snack and read some email and when I checked in Joseph and Vivienne were just putting the lid on the crayon tin and Joseph exclaimed “yeah Joseph and Vivienne!” and then “It’s 2:30. Time for cleain-up!”


I remember one of the hardest parts of being a lone person with a baby is that no matter how exhausted you are you have to drag yourself out of bed care for the baby who is crying or exploring something he shouldn’t or needs the toilet or any number of things.  It’s taken a lot of work training the kids to follow rules, take care of themselves, clean up their toys, not to mention all the decluttering, and there are still many days where those basics are a struggle (okay, most days?) but to have an hour and a half where nothing went wrong is something to write home about and it wouldn’t have happened without all that hard work!


Of course, as I wrote this they got into the markers and Vivienne sucked on one and Joseph drew all over himself!

Posted by harp on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Edit
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Spring has been elusive, we had one sunny Sunday and then snow again, but we’ve enjoyed a few days of sun before the rainy weather comes.  All my seedlings died and nothing in the garden grew except for the store-bought lettuce seedlings – so at least that’s something.  I’ll just try again and forget that for once I was ready to garden on time . . . but on to more uplifting stories . . .


April 19th Joseph has turned into quite the domestic helper.  He can fill and start the dryer himself (it’s helped that we’ve simplified the laundry plan so that we dry everything the same way, though I do have to pull out an item or two that isn’t dried at all – but not much.)  He also did a great job filling cups of flour for bread and didn’t make a huge mess, just a moderate one.


We went for a walk in the rain, Joseph holding his own umbrella and Vivienne under mine.  At the end I let them run around outside without their umbrellas and though Vivienne got soaked she did not want to come in.  She couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t push her on the swing in the rain.  She is as much of if not more of an ourdoor lover as Joseph was at that age.  It’s a good thing, but it requires planning and patience to get enough outside time!


April 21st Vivienne has decided that walking is the way to go, which means dresses are no longer a hindrance and at the same time she seems to have dropped any signs of stranger anxiety.  At church she walked everywhere, stopping by any pair of legs to say hi.  She was a hit.  What a fun way to celebrate 15 months of life!  She is also quite a helper, though her help has a ways to go yet.  If she spills something she knows where to get the cloth to wipe it up, and she is very particular about things being put away and put away correctly.  She often will trot off to the bathroom when she needs to go, or has just gone in her diaper.  We still have enough dirty diapers to inspire me to do more EC with the new baby, but the majority of her poos go in the toilet.  She loves walking all over the house and walking back and forth on the balcony, which is currently a wonderful place for the kids to be because the sheeting is temporarily off while they work on the balconies.  That means she can actually see the garden area through the railings – I find this a much nicer way to have a balcony, but I haven’t been able to convince the landlord to keep it that way.  All the balconies have to look the same, you know . . .

Vivienne is snuggly, and happy, and still dramatic, but is learning that drama won’t get her her way, so it’s starting to fade, or not last as long.  She loves playing with her brother, and they can mostly work out their differences on their own.  She occasionally still takes a morning nap, but mostly does 1-2 hours in the afternoon.  She only wakes up once or twice at night now, and both kids are happy sleeping in the kids’ room away from us until they wake up and need reassurance.  We often stay with them until they are asleep, but they have to lie still and quiet or they lose the privilege of adult presence.  This works quite well now, though it took some time for them to understand.  I don’t mind staying with them if they are still enough to fall asleep, and I enjoy cuddling with the sweeties!

Vivienne also draws circle-swirls on the blackboard, and loves playing with cars, stuffed animals, and watching planes.


Joseph has started using “wrong” answers as a way of joking.  Today he was looking at his addition table placemat and said “1+2=2” with a slight smile.  I laughed a bit and he laughed with me and then said it again.  We laughed harder and repeated the cycle a number of times.  Since then he’s enjoyed calling things the wrong color, and presenting other wrong math facts.  If anyone were to come test him I’m sure they’d conclude he knows nothing, because it is rather subtle the way he makes his “jokes!”


April 23rd it was time for Vivienne to leave the kids’ room for her nap.  I told her so and then Joseph put his arm around her and sang the “ABC song” to her (which is what we use to indicate that whatever is happening at the moment will soon be over.)  It was so sweet and she left without a fuss after he was done.


April 24th we took an historic trip to the Migros grocery store.  It took 1 ½ hours, but it was a success because we went without stroller or wrap!  Vivienne and Joseph walked the whole way there and back, each had a little cart to push around in the store, and even got a chance to play in the balls afterwards.  Vivienne can climb up the slide now, so they both have a grand time in the balls as long as there aren’t older kids.  Vivienne is a more direct walker than Joseph was at that age, but I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that she’s trying to keep up with her brother!  I was happy with how well it went, because I’d planned a lot for the next day . . .


April 25th we visited the Grandparents without stroller or wrap (though I had it packed in case).  The kids walked to the bus stop, then from the bus to the train, and in Liestal we took two trips with the car because there is only one car seat (I hate car seat laws.)  We played at the playground with cousin Gil for a while before lunch and naps (Joseph played through naps.)  Vivienne’s nap was less than one hour and she never stopped moving otherwise.  She walked up and down the slight ramp and walked all around the grass and climbed on and off the new play tractor and otherwise just kept going and going!  Even after the train rides at the end of the day she refused to sit still on the bus, and climbed up and down a step over and over again.  Joseph started falling asleep on the bus, which is what I expected from her!  The did go to sleep fairly easily that night and we were glad for such a nice visit.  It really is much easier to travel without a stroller, and I had everything we needed in my backpack so I had one hand for each child when walking through crowded stations.  There was just no way with my pregnant belly that I could lift a stroller onto a train and still keep track of two kids!  I am SO excited and happy about Vivienne’s mobility taking of just at the start of Summer.  It’s going to be fun, but hard to get her enough movement, because a whole day of movement wasn’t enough for her!!!

Posted by harp on Friday, April 26, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Edit
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Reading and singing after lunch and dinner have become habits around here, and I love it more and more.  The other night we were singing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” at our bedtime singing time and Joseph was following along.  Watching his finger I noticed that he followed perfectly for the first two lines.  Is it the words? The music? The easy-to-follow “alleluias” as the end of each line?  Whatever it is, I can think of no better music education at this age than to hear singing while getting to following along in the music – and we just stumbled upon it!  For us, the whole experience feels so natural that I think it’s better than any formal plan I could have come up with to teach our kids about God and about music.  Even on bad days the kids seem to sigh with relief when we come to the reading – at least it is something familiar and comforting in the midst of the turmoil of the day.  I’ve been thinking a lot about parenting techniques these days, so I better stop before this is more of a musing than a bullet update.


Vivienne’s second lower right incisor has appeared.  She is growing in verbal ability, having special words for eat, baby (sound pretty close to baby, actually), pee-pee, bam, uh-oh, and even “watch” (as in watch a Pimsleur DVD – and no, we don’t watch a ton, but enough that she knows where the DVDs are kept and knows what’s coming when I say “Pimsleur”).  “Atch” (as in watch without the “w” sound) is her most common verbalization and it can mean eat, water, watch, I want, nurse and maybe more, but with context or signs her meaning is usually clear.  She signs “airplane” (with open hand) and “book” and of course she says “no” but also in German, like Joseph did.  Maddeningly, also like Joseph she has a variation on “nein” that means “yes.”  Hopefully she’ll grow out of it faster than he did!  She has also signed at least two sentences “more please” and “more cheese.”


Joseph continues to love our mechanical clock and the other day when it was 2:55 he looked at it and said “It’s three o’clock.”  I think it’s safe to say he read the roman numeral III correctly to figure the time as the bells hadn’t rung yet.  He is also no able to remember the last time the bells rang so he can accurately say what time it is when the clock strikes on the half-hour.  Telling time is confusing and we thought it impossible to explain the rules, we just kept telling him the correct time whenever he tried to guess the time.  I believe what Doman says: Give kids the facts and they will intuit the rules.  This is a beautiful demonstration of this!


Vivienne spilled some Cheerios on the floor.  After she was done eating I put her down from her high chair and asked her to clean up.  I left the room and when I came back all the cheerios were gone (and eaten)!


Joseph’s favorite job now is to help with the opening and closing of the shutters.  He can do some all by himself, though one of us has to watch because it involves half climbing out of the window.  He does a great job and is very proud of himself.  We’re hoping that having a reason to climb out the window will prevent him from experimenting on his own when nobody is watching.  He will wait until an adult is present if we ask him to, but I still have to keep my ears open because you never know!!!


And for those who worry that we’re not bringing our kids up “American” enough, for some reason Joseph has been requesting hymn 576 every night – it’s the Star Spangled Banner.


Posted by harp on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Edit
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March 27: Joseph was playing in this room by himself when we heard the horribly distressed cry “Zahle!!!” (numbers).  He had unplugged the digital clock and the numbers had disappeared!  Oh, what woe!  Bappe was a hero.  Joseph hasn’t touched the plug since.


I had one of those “getting old” moments.  Somehow I slipped on the stairs with my arms full of laundry and was rather shaken by the fall.  My soreness is over now, and the only lingering pain is the bruise on my left hand.  Baby is fine, and I’m grateful I am too!


Joseph reads “Joy” on our “Hymns of Grace and Joy” binder – he’d never see that binder before (but of course knows his cousin’s name is Joy).


March 28th we went to the babytreff again and had a great time.  I hate having homeschooling discussions in German – I just don’t have the vocabulary to express what I want to!  I need to work on my German more purposefully somehow . . .


March 29th we had a visit from the Nixons.  At one point I couldn’t express myself correctly (even in English!) and Richard gave me the right word “dictatorial.”  Joseph picked up on this and Richard spent a good deal of time training Joseph to say “Mummy is dictatorial.”  Joseph’s German and English will soon be better than mine . . .


March 30th: While out with Stephan Joseph took an interest in license plates again.  With some starting and stopping Joseph said “398792” correctly as “three-hundred ninety-eight thousand, seven-hundred and ninety-two” (in Swiss German of course.)  We didn’t know he could do that.  This is where I part ways with Montessori and Glen Doman.  There is just NO WAY I can keep a step ahead of my kids!  The best I can do is keep observing and trot alongside of them.  Mothers who can stay ahead are truly supermoms.


March 31st:  Vivienne climbs up on an adult chair at church.  Watch out world!


April 1st Stephan hid a few more eggs, having learned from our Easter egg hunt that kids this young don’t get the idea of hunting and would prefer to be left alone to eat their discovered treasure than be hounded by an adult who wants them to find everything before dinner.  This time the hunt took all day long, delighting both parents and kids when something was found by surprised and thoroughly enjoyed without interruption.  As The Idle Parent advocates, doing things the lazy way is better for everyone!


Vivienne’s vocabulary is growing both in sign and spoken words.  I’m trying to not feel too guilty that I’m not signing more with her.  She has a beautiful “more” sign and her “please” is quite clear and liberally used.  She speaks “socks, cracker, don’t touch, water” and a few more than are clear in context.  She also likes to sing the “ABC song” which took me a while to realize, but Joseph will start singing it after her, so he thinks that’s what she’s doing, too.  So sweet!  Both kids have heard the ABC song several times a day over the course of their whole lives because I use it to tell them that they will soon have to stop what they’re doing (namely, nursing.)


April 2nd I had the ultra sound and baby #3 is looking good!  He just needs to end up head-down and we’ll be all set for a homebirth again!

Posted by harp on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Edit
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I didn’t realize I was that behind in writing updates.  Feb. 21-23 we went out a little family getaway, which I think I’ll save for later as naptime is running out.


Feb. 20: We went to the BabyTreff for the first time in a number of months.  The kids loved it, and Joseph so much that he forgot he was in underwear . . .


26: Joseph can unlock and open the apartment door all by himself.  Vivienne invents “drum soup.”  I wasn’t feeling well so was lying on the couch.  Vivienne turned a little hand drum upside-down and put the xylophone mallet in it and stirred it around like making a soup.  She offered me some and a pretended to drink it.  She loves this game and continues to do it even now.


28: Vivienne has a signature greeting: the welcome flop.  She’ll collapse on the floor (almost like having a temper tantrum) and stretch out her arms and legs, but she does this whenever a person she loves walks in the door.  It’s like she’s so excited she can’t move forward!  Also, after naps she doesn’t wake up crying, but gets out of bed and comes crawling to find me with a sort of wimper.  It’s so cute and gives me a nice warning that I need to wrap up my work.  (And some days, like today, she crawls right to Joseph in the play room so I have a little more time to finish up!)


Today we have a lovey visit from Gotte Da and friend EB and daughter K.  Lots of fun!


Cuteness in March:



Joseph likes naming the people he knows and loves, especially the Daley family.  He’s had to learn that the list is a bit longer now and his first attempt at the new list included “Jeremaryland” Daley.


Joseph still loves Grandma’s bits. He likes to repeat the names of paintings he’s learned from them (and LOVES discovering those same paintings in books we have).  His favorite title to repeat as he goes about work and play is Frederic Edwin Church’s “Hooker and Company Journeying through the Wilderness from Plymouth to Hartford, in 1636” and yes, he says the whole title.  Once he was repeating “Madonna and Child with St. Anne and the Young St. John” by da Vinci.  After repeating it a few times he said “Madonna and Child with St. Anne and the Young St. Heather.”  (For those who don’t know, my sister Heather and her husband Jon are the parental part of the Daley family mentioned above.)


We had some sour cream at the dinner table, which is “Sauerrahm” in German more like “Suurrahm” in Swiss German, which sounds a bit like “Schuurahm” (Schuh is shoe). Man, these bi-lingual jokes are a pain to type up.  Anyway, Joseph was practicing saying “sour cream” in Swiss German, and after a few tries that sounded a lot like “shoe cream” in Swiss German he switched to “Stifelrahm” which means “boot cream.”  Believe me, it’s way funnier if you don’t have to explain it . . .


Joseph continues to love math and imitate everything.  He often joins us for the Lord’s Prayer and other parts of the reading, and we often hear him singing parts of the hymns we sing at readings and at bedtime.  We’ve started singing English language hymns – a short part of one at the noon reading and then a few complete hymns by candlelight at bedtime.  We all LOVE this addition to our family culture.  It helps the kids settled down, it helps bring our focus back to God, and it’s a wonderful way to teach our kids the great hymns of history given that we only sing modern songs at church.  Luckily, the neighbors don’t mind, because they sure do hear!


Joseph is pretty much day potty trained, with only the rare accident.



Vivienne is growing fast!  She’s choosing to walk a few steps on her own more and more and she wants to walk up and down steps with help now rather than crawl.  She flushes the toilet after going (and she’s pretty good about crawling to the bathroom when she needs to go.)  Unlike her brother, she is VERY consistent about putting on her socks and shoes every time she leaves the apartment.  He pulls her socks out of her cubby and hands them to me.  Then as soon as the door is open she pulls her shoes off the outside rack and sits down on the steps to wait until someone can help her put them on.  She does this even if we’re just going down to do laundry!  She can’t wait for spring – she LOVES being outside!


Speaking of laundry, the kids are a real help now.  So much so that sometimes I don’t watch every move, which means sometimes we have accidents . . . but for the most part, they are helping and not just slowing me down.  Once they even worked out a system on their own where Vivienne handed the wet clothes to Joseph who put them in the dryer.  It does a mommy’s heart good!


Now for some date-specific events:


March 3: Joseph likes to sing the songs from our “Sing the Word from A to Z” (produced by a former teacher during my time at Eastman, btw).  He doesn’t understand it all and “quench not the spirit” has turned into “pinch no the spirit” or something of the like because he’ll pinch my belly and I’ll say “don’t pinch the baby” and he’ll say “quench not the baby.”


Vivienne stands to take a few steps.


March 9: Joseph biked down the ramp to our basement door and it’s steep so he crashed into the bike rack, which for some reason is being temporarily stored on the steps up the other side.  It probably spared him a worse crash, though!


10: Joseph discovers a whiteboard in a classroom at church.  He writes numbers, of course.  Some of the tricks he knows: I wrote “6X6=” and he wrote “36” then I wrote “22X23=” and he wrote “506” (that’s a special equation between Bappe and Joseph.)


11: Vivienne takes her first larger series of steps at Mrs. T’s, our upstairs neighbor.  She has carpet and they were dancing to music – what better motivation is there?


14: Vivienne’s second lower left tooth appears (there’s still a gap were the doggy tooth will come).


16: We set up a new material possession despite our efforts to declutter.  Stephan’s great uncle gave us a mechanical clock powered by weights and complete with bell that rings on the half-hour.  It took a while to find a spot for it where the kids can’t pull on the chains, but we found a solution, cleared out the spot and set it up.  What a hit!  The kids love it – especially Joseph.  He tries to count the bells and guess the time and he loves watching it.  We have to pull the weights up about every 12 hours and once we forgot to do it in the morning so when we came home later that day it had stopped.  He nearly broke into tears when he saw it because he noticed right away that it was “kabutt” (broken!).  Bappe the hero came to the rescue and all is well with the world again.  It’s amazingly satisfying to have the sound of something mechanical in the house.  Who would have thought?


20: “Don’t touch” to Vivienne means “blow.”  I assume she got this from being told not to touch the candle flame.  So now both kids blow on my lettuce sprouts and Vivienne blows on the stuff on our desk . . .


21: During 1-1 time with Joseph we were writing equations on the board.  I wrote “2 divided by 2 =” (I used the division sign, but I don’t know where it is on the keyboard) and he wrote “1” then I wrote “4/2=” and on through “12/2=” and he got the right answer every time.  To be honest, I don’t know which facts he knows and which he doesn’t nor how he learns them.  It sometimes feels like he just needs to hear it once and then he knows!


Stephan feels the baby kick!


22: We have Joseph’s morning and bedtime routine written out and posted for him.  He loves to read the numbers and the instructions (he mostly has it memorized rather than reading it.)  Sadly, it’s a bit confusing when Bappe helps him get ready for bed because he speaks Swiss German and the routines are written in English.  Joseph thought at first that the same written word meant the same thing in both languages and was just pronounced differenty, but unfortunately, we all know German is written differently from English.  Once he discovered this he solved the problem easily – now he just “reads” the sentence backwards (following along with his finger) when he speaks in Swiss German.

23: We go to the Basel zoo with grandparents, Uncle P and Tante A and cousin G.  Vivienne especially was wide-eyed with wonder.  The poor girl has been stuck inside much of her life because of this long winter!!  We have a lovely time despite the cold and drizzly weather.

I planted potatoes Saturday and now it’s snowing.  Snowing!  I’m ready for spring!

Posted by harp on Monday, March 25, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Edit
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