Archive for November, 2011

Shopping struggles

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Before we moved here, we asked people who lived here already what we should make sure to bring — not the obvious stuff, but the things we wouldn’t think of on our own but would kick ourselves that we hadn’t brought along.  One of the top answers was clothes, especially for kids.  This made no sense to us — we weren’t moving to the north slope of Everest — surely there would be plentiful clothing in Vienna?  Even not totally understanding, we stocked up anyway — we tried to anticipate which things we would need the most and bought some extras.  I went crazy at the end-of-winter sales last spring.  But, of course, there were things we couldn’t get.


Handy Mom!

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

When I was younger, my dad made sure I knew how to do certain things around the house — hammer a nail properly, use general household tools, measure twice, cut once, that kind of thing.  I’ve always been glad I knew how to do that kind of stuff (and other useful things, like change the oil in my car, or change a tire on my own) but I’m not really that good at being “handy” around my own house.  It’s easy to be intimidated by household fix-it projects – I’m usually worried I’m going to make the problem worse or electrocute myself, so I generally avoid doing anything more complex than changing light bulbs, flipping fuse switches and cleaning the lint filter in the dryer.


Travel plans

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Now that we’ve sold the house, our finances have finally started to flow in a positive direction, and I’m trying to get started with one of my major plans for our time here:  travelling around within Europe.  We’re here for two years (most likely) and I want to go home with a lot of memories and experiences not just from Vienna, but from varied locations within Austria and elsewhere around Europe.


Contemplating Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Thanksgiving is one week from today — in the US.  Austria doesn’t have Thanksgiving, so far as I know, and it certainly doesn’t have it next week.  Next Thursday is just a normal day here.


Keeping warm

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

It’s Vienna, it’s nearly winter.  It’s cold — that isn’t exactly shocking.  The temperature does different things here than I’m used to, though — for example, the high temperature for the day here is usually very late in the day (often just after sunset) and then the temperature plummets, often dropping several degrees an hour.  It’s not unusual to go out, in the late afternoon or early evening to nearly 50 degrees, only to come back, just a few hours later, absolutely frozen.  It’s also very common for the temperature to very widely in different parts of the city — I can leave the house very comfortable and step out into frigid conditions when I get off the train to pick Benjamin up at school.  And none of this is made easier by the fact that the weather forecast often lists a temperature as much as 15 degrees off from what we really experience.


Turning on the lights

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

I think it’s the dark of winter that gets to people, more so than the cold.  At a latitude as far north as Vienna, the days are short and the sunlight we get is very indirect — walking to pick up B from school today, at noon, the sun was at an angle that makes me think of late afternoon.  The evening comes early.  Even now, with over a month of shortening days to come, my boys typically wake from their naps in the dark of the evening, groggy and a little disoriented.  Benjamin gets up for school in the dark, and he wakes from his nap in the dark, so he seems to be having trouble separating nap time from bed time — he often wakes from his nap asking me if it’s time to go to school.  (His body isn’t fooled, though, as evidenced by the fact that he sleeps for 10 hours at night and 2 during the day.)


Christmas carols

Monday, November 14th, 2011

I love to sing.  In high school and in college, I sang a lot, but there’s less of a market for it as an adult.  I still would sing along with songs in the car, and at a very occassional karaoke opportunity, but that was it.  I miss it, especially around the holidays — Christmas music is my favorite.

I have found two new fans, though:  my boys love for me to sing to them.  As little babies, of course, there’s plenty of opportunity to sing them pretty much whatever comes to mind, but even as they’re getting bigger, I’m grateful that they’re remaining enthusiastic.  A few weeks ago, I started singing Christmas songs to the boys while they were in the bath, and they LOVED it.  Liam smiles, transfixed, or giggles.  Benjamin starts to learn the words (and even the melodies) almost immediately — he now has a favorites list (and if I vary the words at all, he notices — I can never remember whether Santa Claus knows who’s “naughty or nice” or “naughty and nice” and he calls me on it every time I switch it, and when I finally looked up the last line of the first verse of “Good King Wenceslas” he corrected me because it was supposed to be “la la la la la la la la la la la la la la”).

I love catching Benjamin singing little pieces of the songs I’ve been singing to him — this evening, he kept singing the 8th day of Christmas, over and over.  I am really enjoying singing for them.  It’s nice to have an outlet for that part of me, and it really adds to the feeling of Christmas.

Things you never thought you’d say

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

When you become a parent, you know you’re going to end up saying things like, “Finish eating dinner or you aren’t getting dessert”, or “If you guys can’t settle down, we’re going straight home”, or “If you throw that one more time, I’m not going to pick it up again”.

But there are a whole host of other things you hear coming out of your mouth that, upon further reflection (if not at the moment) are pretty funny.  This is a selection that I’ve caught myself saying over the past 6 months or so:

Stop bludgeoning your brother with that bread.  You’re getting chocolate on the radiator!  That snake is not a weapon.  Power cords are not good toys for babies.  If you run over the dog one more time with your bike, I’m not going to let you ride it in the house anymore.  Please don’t put your foot in your brother’s ice cream.  Do not run over your brother with that piano!  No pull-ups on the oven door!  Stop hitting your brother with that cow.  Don’t use the hammer on the dog.  No throwing computers at anyone’s head!  Don’t sit on your brother’s head.  No, space shuttles don’t crash in to dogs.  Stop trying to get your brother to eat his Halloween costume.  Don’t crash that plane into his head.

Seriously, I’ve said all of those things.  Recently.  Parenthood is a wild ride.

My first Christmas Market

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Today was the opening day of a few of the Christmas Markets in Vienna (everything will be open by next weekend) including one of the closest to our house — the one at the town hall (Rathaus).  We decided to stop by the one at the Rathaus on our way home from dinner out with friends.


Learning to talk, and learning German

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Liam is learning to talk.  Other than getting “mama” out a few times a couple of months ago, he hasn’t really said anything consistently.  In the past month, he’s learned “No!”, but that’s his answer to absolutely every question you ask him, so although he was “talking” it didn’t really count as communicating.