Archive for September, 2011


Friday, September 30th, 2011

As the last part of Liam’s (nearly week-long) birthday celebration, we went to the Zoom Kindermuseum in Vienna today. Dan took the afternoon off and we even picked B up early from school.

Wow. So much fun.

The museum has several different areas, set up for different age groups — we went to the Ocean section, the one for the youngest kids (0-6) and specifically, we went to a “baby session”, meaning no kids older than 3. It was fantastic. There truly are very few places in the world you can set your children down (especially a just-learning-to-walk 1 year old) and really let them go.  It was a great experience, for all of us, to be able to do just that.


It is (still) birthday!

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

I’m not sure exactly where it came from, but for years, in my family, we’ve said, “It is birthday!”  Well, here in our house, it is still birthday for Liam.

We still have cake, we still have ice cream, we still have balloons.  Tomorrow, we’re going to the Children’s Museum to celebrate Liam’s birthday even further.  And my lucky, loved little guy is still receiving birthday packages in the mail.  I don’t care who you are, it’s great fun to get presents in the mail . . . when you’re a little kid, it’s totally awesome.  Yesterday, he got a gift from Grandma, and today he got gifts from his Aunt Mina and from his Topes.

Benjamin hasn’t been left out of this birthday whirlwind, either — he’s been getting “happy big brother” gifts in the mail, too.  Benjamin is so thrilled every time we get a package — he wants to help Liam open it up and then “oohs” and “ahhs” about the gift (and then tries to run off with it or stash it away somewhere that Liam won’t easily discover it.)  They are both having the best time enjoying this whole birthday week.

I’d really been struggling with the fact that Liam spent his first birthday away from the rest of our family, away from our friends.  We’re having a great time here, but I know it would have been different and included a lot more people if we’d been at home.  I’m so happy to watch my boys experience the love of a birthday at home, even though we’re so far away.  I’m glad it’s still “birthday” here.

Being the little brother

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Liam received a birthday present in the mail today — from his Grandma – two presents, actually:  one for him and one for Benjamin.  We got the package early today, but waited to open it until Benjamin got home, because I knew how excited he’d be.  When I told him, on the way home from school, that we had a package from Grandma waiting for him & Liam, he became a bouncing, whirling ball of 3 year old excitement.  When we got home, he didn’t even want to wait until he had taken off his shoes and sweatshirt (for B, this is saying something) — he wanted Liam to open his present!



Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Tonight was “parents night” (Elternabend) at Benjamin’s school.  When we found out about it last week, Dan suggested I be the one to go (since we were supposed to go without kids).  I jumped at the chance.  I was so excited to go — a chance to learn more about the program of instruction at B’s school (we know it’s a Montessori program, but only have the vaguest knowledge of what that means), to meet some other parents, and have a few hours out on my own.  Excellent!

Somehwere, in this fantasy, I apparently forgot that I DON’T SPEAK GERMAN.  Right.  Oops.


Ensuring Proper Use of Information Technology

Monday, September 26th, 2011

I recently Tweeted about the two possible paths in IT – building toolboxes or cages. Most of us who enter a career in IT do so because we have a fascination with the power of information technology, as well as a facility with working with that technology. Then we find a way to get paid to play with these fascinating toys. 

We start out full of ideas and excitement and ready to make “our” systems get up and dance to the delight of all. We are like magicians, and, now that we have gesture-based input, the differences between us and Gandalf seem to be fading away. 

Happy first birthday, Liam!

Monday, September 26th, 2011

My sweet baby Liam — here we are, at your first birthday.  It’s a little unbelievable to me that we welcomed you to the world only a year ago . . . and at the same time, I can’t believe this day is here already.

You are a joy to have in my life.  I love your spirit and your heart.  You smile often and broadly — your smile lights up your entire face.  You have spent much of your first year with a paci in your mouth, but your eyes smile, too, so there’s no mistaking it, even when we can’t see your darling mouth.  You are a happy baby, except when you are not.  When you are displeased, there is no mistaking how you feel — you scream, you cry, you arch your back, you bang your head on the floor (the latter mostly from frustration) — you already throw full tantrums when you’re unhappy.  But most of the time, you are a smiling, joyful baby rushing headlong from one activity to the next.  You are fast — just a few days ago, you took your first steps, and you are already amazingly steady on your feet.  When you need to move quickly, though, you still crawl — at warp speed!  You are a fast little fellow!  I love watching you crawl at full speed around the house, after Benjamin, or toward the bathroom for your bath — it is just so much who you are.  I love watching the enthusiasm with which you explore the world.  You throw yourself into every new endeavor:  rolling over, crawling, walking, riding your new bike — and you learn so quickly.


Big brother Benjamin

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

A year ago tomorrow, Liam joined our family.  That was the day that Benjamin became a big brother.  It is so much a part of who he is, I can’t believe he’s only been a brother for a year.

We celebrated Liam’s birthday today (well, part of the celebration — the rest comes on Friday) and Benjamin helped with nearly every part.  He helped me choose the gifts that we ordered a week ago.  He helped me choose the gifts we purchased yesterday — he even helped me carry those around the store, and then carry them home.  This morning, he helped me bake and decorate Liam’s cake.  (He also helped blow out the candles.)  He helped me wrap the gifts, decorate the cards and set the gifts out for Liam to open.  (Then, of course, he helped Liam to open and play with his toys.)  For days, he’s been asking every few hours:  “Is it Liam’s birthday yet?  Is Liam 1 yet?”  I thought he was focused on the cake and the presents — be he kept asking, even after the celebration was done.


Birthday shopping and a lost balloon

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

This morning, Benjamin and I set out to do some gift shoping for Liam’s birthday (which is Monday, but we’re celebrating tomorrow).  We’ve already gotten him a book and a replacement for another toy that he has that’s worn out (which was a hand-me-down from Benjamin, who got it as a hand-me-down from his Aunt Margaret — so Liam’s simply getting a new incarnation of it).  I wanted to get him a couple of fun, new things for his birthday, too.


Loneliness and big hugs

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Benjamin has had two relatively tear-free days at school.  He seems to be adjusting to the concept, enjoying himself more and making friends.  This morning, however, when I mentioned it was nearly time to get dressed for school, he got sad again.  He started crying.  (My poor guy.)  I asked him how he was feeling, and he said, “I don’t want to go to school.”  Upon further questioning, I got answers that progressed to, “I don’t like the kids”, “I don’t want to go”, “I don’t like it there” and finally, “I’m all alone there — I feel lonely.”


Ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

I really do!  (Speak a little bit of German, that is.)

Just this week, I’ve been contemplating whether to take another German class this semester.  On the one hand, my German is minimal, and it would be nice to have more . . . and, given that we’re living here for a limited time, the sooner I learn it, the more useful it is, the more practice I’ll get, the better I’ll retain it.  On the other hand, B just started school 4 hours a day, which changes schedules and priorities, and I’m not certain that I want to dedicate two afternoons a week, from now until January, to German class.  Honestly, it would give me little time for anything else — I’ll have to cram my chores, errands, Skypes plus fun stuff (like going to the park, doing a little sightseeing) into three afternoons a week between nap time and dinner time.  That’s really not a lot of time (and this, after all, is supposed to be a vacation).