We've more or less settled into a comfortable routine ever since moving here. Of course, there are good days where things go like clockwork, and bad days where nothing goes right. Just yesterday, I found myself with newly purchased blackberries scattered all over the staircase, and most of the time seemed to be spent disciplining a 3 year old. Bad days aside, I am thankful for being able to spend my days with the boys and witness them growing up! So here's us on a rather good day:
I wake up. Its warm under the covers, and I find it hard to get out of bed, especially since I have a very nice hot water bottle next to me (babies are such great bolsters!). The hubby has left for work (these Germans start work at abnormally early hours!), and so I struggle out of bed and head for the kitchen.
|On the fridge, as a reminder. Many times, I do forget!|
I put together a simple breakfast and spend some time being quiet.
I wake Junior J up, and he runs over to our room and plops into bed. Some pottering in the kitchen later...
|We usually have simple breakfasts of cereal or bread, but Baby J gets cooked oatmeal.|
... I peek into the room to see this:
|"Dog, baby, Dog!" Junior J uses this grown up voice when reading to his brother.|
The boys then get changed out of their jammies. Or rather, I wrestle with baby J, who keeps crawling away, while reminding Junior J to take off his jammies and get his clothes on. After lots of wrestling and reminding, the boys have breakfast. Junior J runs between the kitchen and dining room, and helps me to bring most of the things to the table. We read a short passage from the Bible and they start eating. As the big boy eats his cheese and cereal (and tells me stories, usually about the adventures of Riggy rhino and Gerald giraffe), I feed baby J his blueberry oatmeal:
|This baby seems to love all the fruit that stain badly, like blueberries, blackberries and banana.|
Which is why all our washcloths end up looking like blue cheese!
Breakfast is a pretty messy affair. So when we're done, Junior J helps to sweep up the crumbs:
The washing machine beeps. The boys get to play for abit while I unload the laundry and hang it out.
Then we face the hardest task of the day: getting all those layers on and getting out of the house. I chase the baby around, trying to put on his jacket and socks and shoes. He thinks its a funny game and crawls faster. Junior J says he wants to go to the playground, tells me more Riggy rhino stories, and ignores my repeated reminders to wear his socks and shoes. Finally he does, and we make it out the door.
Along the way, we stop to pick horse chestnuts, while Junior J chatters non-stop ("and then there was a knock on the door, it was Zippy zebra! Riggy plays with Zippy and they have their breakfast, and Riggy spills his juice.").
The boys spend some time playing at the playground with the other kids, while I watch baby J, who has a penchant for tasting sand and eating leaves. (On other days, we head for the farmer's market or supermarket, or we just go for walks.)
|All the playgrounds here are filled with sand. |
Its a kids paradise, and a homemaker's nightmare!
Then its time to head home. Baby J feeds while I read to Junior J. A few books later, he's had his fill and is finally asleep. We sneak out of the room.
Junior J and I spend some time learning. He's been quite a reluctant reader and writer, and isn't much of a sit down learner. So we work a little on reading...
... and then I pretend to be a customer at his shop and he figures out if I've paid him correctly.
|The boy made his own paper money (I helped him to draw the lines and write the currency, which he traced over and cut out). He's a generous shopkeeper and sells things pretty cheap, plus he throws in a carton of milk for free!|
I then leave him to his own devices and clear the sink and load the dishwasher.
|A staple in every European household! We really love the convenience of having this.|
I start preparing soup for dinner. The boys aren't great eaters, and soup really helps to make things go down into the tummy!
The soup's merrily cooking, and I call Junior J to help me with lunch. He's busy giving some friends a bath:
|He helped himself to one of the boxes we have stashed in a corner, and set up a bath for his dinos, complete with water from his kitchen tap and soap!|
We prepare lunch, and I get lots of help from the little boy, who chops the mushrooms and fry the eggs. He still needs to work on his egg-cracking though!
Lunch is usually simple and rather mish-mash. Soup (leftover from last night), a sandwich, scrambled eggs and salad. Baby J woke up while we were cooking, and continues playing while we eat.
|He's recently stopped eating books and has started "reading" them. |
At least for 10 minutes before he starts to devour them again, literally.
I head to the kitchen to get the baby's lunch, and return to find that Junior J has dropped a piece of bread. I clean up, go off to wash the dishcloth and I spot a another piece of bread on the floor. I remind him not to play with his food. He continues to pick at his food (he was constipated the day before, so that might explain the bad appetite), and then manages to spill his juice. I shout a little, and get him to wipe up the mess. After awhile, I apologise for losing my temper, and I give him a hug. He gives me a hug, and eats a little more.
Baby J then has his lunch, while big brother sits with us and dabbles away with his paints. Art while baby eats is a win-win for us: I get to help Junior J top up his supplies, but am too busy to hover over him, so he gets some space to be creative.
|Some days its crayons, some days its markers. Today he's doing veggie printing!|
Both boys end up rather dirty: Junior J with paint, and baby J with food. So they get plopped into the tub, where there is a lot of shrieking and splashing. (I always thought it was only the girls who shriek. Turned out I was wrong. And the biggest shrieker happens to be the smallest member of the family.)
They have a splashing good time, and are usually in a good mood after their bath.
|Some days, I get a post-bath concert. Usually it includes a song about a donkey, along with alot of bouncing up and down.|
Then its time for a cup of warm milk and some Chinese stories...
... while baby J does what he does best: exploring and making a mess.
The big boy goes to his room for a nap, and now I get some alone time with the baby. We read books, throw balls...
|"Stharrrr!" He loves pointing out the stars in the book.|
... and sometimes do messy things. Like play with rice. I spy on big brother using the baby monitor, and he's still awake, so I shout through the door and remind him to sleep.
I vacuum up the mess and bring baby to the room for his nap. Most days, I end up falling asleep too...
... and I wake up to find the hubby home, and that he's cleared up the lunch-time mess from the sink. Yay!
I start dinner prep, and the soup that has been on the stove is now nice and sweet. I scoop out a portion for baby J, and add salt and more herbs to the soup. The boys wake, one after another, and its time with Papa for them. As I chop stuff, I hear squeals and thumps and giggles, and occasionally a thump and some crying.
Dinner's ready! Usually its a one-pot meal, and today we have chicken soup with mee sua, with veggies on the side. Baby J's chicken gets pureed, and I freeze extra portions of puree and soup for other days. I hide a chicken bone in Junior J's soup, and tell him that he needs to excavate the brachiosaurus leg bone by slurping up all that mee sua. We chit chat over dinner. Hubby talks about his day, and we get more Riggy rhino stories.
Every one has a full tummy and its a clear night, so we pile on the layers again and head out for a walk. Junior J is armed with a torch and we spot stars and berries and giggle at our large bobbing shadows. (No one else is out for walks. The Germans probably think that this Chinese family is crazy, tramping around with a baby, in single digit temperatures!)
Finally, we head home, and the hubby dresses the baby for bed while I usually craft or read with Junior J. Then its divide and conquer: I put baby to bed, while hubby reads to Junior J and puts him to bed.
Once the kids are in bed, the hubby washes up while I tackle stuff like folding clothes. Laptops get opened, we chit chat. Sometimes we watch a little "Criminal Minds", and then its "Gute Nacht" for us too!
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