Arriving in Michigan

We have arrived safely in Michigan on June 6th, 2016.

After a long day of getting up very early and the 2 flights that took us from Berlin to Frankfurt/Main and then to Detroit, Michigan, we were totally exhausted, very tired, but extremely happy to finally be here!
img_5358This is me on the evening of June 6th, only a few hours after we landed, sitting at the local Applebee’s in Novi (just around the corner of our Hotel, in which we’ll be residing for the next weeks until we find a place to move into)

We were positively surprised by the child friendy atmosphere in the restaurant (acutally almost any restaurant here), where they bring a high-chair, crayons and a kid’s menue to draw on without us as the customers even saying a word.

Same goes for kid’s drinks that comes with a lid & straw because every parent knows the fear of what a mess can be created when you give toddlers real glasses full of liquids.

It’s not just the staff of places like restaurants or the hotel, but the immediate & open friendliness with which people in general approach you. It’s so easy to start a conversation with random people in different places – especially if you have a toddler on your hand.

We got a rental car near the airport and checked into our hotel: Staybridge Suites Novi. Our Suite is perfect for us as a temporary home with living room area, kitchen space, a desk to sort out papers and a bedroom with 2 queensize beds – one of which our daughter likes to take every possible sleeping position in:
img_5359She enjoys the space she has in such a bed that seems huge to her. Falling asleep seems easy since we got her and she even sleeps through the night, which we weren’t used to until now. I think it’s safe to say that she has adjusted well to her new surrounding already – no jetlag, no uneasiness when encountering people.

If she runs into kids anywhere, she immediately engages with them, even without speaking the same language (yet): waving, and holding hands or a smile are universal!

Of course it is a bit straining for her to run around with us these first few days trying to get everything started & applying for all the documents and things like a bank account or meeting with the realtor to talk about what we are looking in for a home. It’s boring stuff for toddlers – I get that, but thanks to the aforementioned positivity & friendliness everywhere it’s a little less exhausting for her AND for us as well.

We have arrived – body & mind. And we intend to stay for a while 🙂

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The Process of Moving Out (of Germany)

It is done! We are officially moved out of our apartment in Berlin and as of now: “homeless” (We are staying in a hotel until our flight though). The whole entire process of “moving out” took 5 days: The first 2 days were just packing & moving out our household stuff, and the last 3 days consisted of cleaning up the apartment to get it ready for handing over the keys to the landlord today.

For part one: packing & moving our entire household, we had a moving company called Santa Fe Relocations that was hired by the company that coordinates my husbands expat work matters. The 4 guys who’ve been on the job, in our apartment did a fantastic job wrapping all of our stuff carefully and safely. They also never gave us the feeling that we are in the way, especially our little toddler daughter who had a ball running around between all the boxes and decorating them with “stickers”. They were so thoughfully to pack the couch last, so I’d still have a place to sit/lounge because I’m 6 months pregnant at this time. Furthermore, they engaged in little play moments with our daughter, playing “catch ball” or showing her the tools, such as an electric drill and offering her to push the button herself once. They let her climb into the truck and inspect every corner. What I’m saying is, that they made this moving experience as comfortable as possible for us, realizing we as a family are connected to our stuff, instead of just focusing on the “packing boxes” process only. Awesome guys!!


They wrapped & packed everything on the first day, and moved it downstairs on the second. ^^^On the first picture you see the entrance of our apartment complex filled with boxes of our stuff. We were waiting for the truck with the container to arrive. Once it did, the guys from the moving company managed to put all of those boxes into the container within 45 minutes – again, awesome! That container will leave northern Germany on tuesday (one day after we leave the country) and if everything goes well, it will arrive in Michigan by the end of June.
Moving can be a stressful time, and even though we didn’t have to lift one finger to pack or move our household, we were there mentally every minute, and it was nice to have such a competent team on our side.

As I said in the beginning of this update, the following 3 days were spent cleaning up the apartment, throwing stuff away that we don’t need anymore and getting ready to hand over the keys. That actual “Goodbye” to our apartment – the place we brought home our first child right after birth – was said today, when we finished the process of moving out and gave back all our keys to the landlord.

We are ready for the next step now – preparing for the flight to Michigan.

 

 

Smash*Book「Pretty Pink」Update #3

 This double page is very special to me: it’s about my baby daughter!

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I picked this double page to be all about my daughter, because it has the calendar on the bottom of the right page saying “A DAY TO REMEMBER”, so I circled her birthday with a heart.
In addition to that I used adhesive letters to add the birth-month (spelled in the german version with an “i” in the end) and her name, as well as “My Girl” and the meaning of her Japanese name (kanji 七海), “7 seas”

I took polaroids of her, as well as me with her & my husband with her to fill out the page on the left with that. I really like the little frames for the polaroids that I got from a friend. On the page to the right I only added a palm print of hers and will use the empty space to fill it with all the funny, witty, interesting things she’ll say once she can talk (more).

In the middle I attached a little wooden ’ema’ keychain I bought at a Japanese shrine that sort of specialises on wishes & prayers for a good upbringing and education of children.
Something I added in the middle to the “rings” of my smash book are little ‘song cards’ as I like to call them. Basically I got a little crafty and made cards that on the front are decorated according to the theme of the lullaby/children’s song, and have the song lyrics written on the back. They are all  in Japanese lullabies (except for the one on the bottom left which is just the Japanese version of “twinkle twinkle little star”).
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I can’t wait to fill the page on the right with quotes of all the things she says that I want to remember!

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See all my Smash*Book updates HERE

hand-painted wooden baby walker

My mother-in-law had a wooden baby walker handmade for our little girl as a present. It is supposed to be a little doll carriage but a walker at the same time. She still is some months away from learning how to walk (just learning how to crawl at the moment) but my mother-in-law couldn’t wait and already brought us the walker over. I really liked that it is all wooden, but wanted to add my personal touch and pretty-it up a little by painting it here and there.

LEFT = BEFORE – basic wooden handmade walker & RIGHT = AFTER – with my paint-job donebefore and after

And here are all the painted parts in detail:

1. The Wheels
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I decided to just sprinkle medium sized polka dots in 4 different basic colours all over the 4 wheels, and my husband wrapped some vinyl-rubber kind of material around them so they will roll more smoothly.

2. The backside (or front if you look from the opposite direction)
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Since owls play a big part in the design of our little girl’s room I just had to paint an owl somewhere on that little walker-carriage. The backside made the perfect canvas so I went all out and even added a butterfly.

3. A little bow
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On the side opposite of the owl, there was a bit of “canvas space” left and I thought a bow work well, but to make a connection to the wheels I painted a polka dot bow!

I also painted the wooden bits on the side that were added as decor (I assume) in white to make them stand out a bit more. After I was done with my paint we sprayed clear varnish all over the walker to protect the paintings and the wood of course.

Here is the finished painted wooden walker doll carriage from front & back
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I’m immensly satisfied with what I did to the walker – it just looks so bright, colourful, cute and unique now, and fits right into the world of our little girl 🙂

 

 

 

「handmade」Owl Quilt – Christmas present

Our little girl will get only a few presents for Christmas which I will show all together in another blog post sometime. This one is about the handmade present I sewed together for her over the span of 2 days (could probably be done within a day if there are only few interruptions 😉 )

I wanted to make a little quilt and ordered really cute & colourful owl fabric as well as volume fleece and green/white dotted fabric for the back and border 🙂 DSCN2626

The owls are so colourful and cheery, they go well with the over all owl-themed room for our baby girl. I didn’t want to quilt right through the owls though, so I sews around each one and created this sort of honeycomb pattern.

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I really like the grass green fabric with white dots on the back as it goes well with the light and bright colours of the owls. In the following picture you can see a close up of the border. I sewed 2 lines close together to make sure it’s attached really well.

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And here is a closer look on the different owls pictured on the front of the quilt – aren’t they just so so cute?!!

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Aside from this handmade present she will get two little toy-presents to play with right away and one ‘wearable’ present. I do love our tree with the first special snowflake bauble and how we can make our first cozy Christmas memories as a family this year.

「handmade」Advent Calendar – Christmas Winter Owls

This year I ordered some material to get crafty and make a special Advent Calendar with Christmas Winter owls & their houses in festive, seasonal decoration (^_^)DSCN2507
We hung it up in the baby room, but of course, our four and a half months young daughter is still too young to understand the concept of an advent calendar. Thus, I will “test” it this year and my husband filled it with sweets for me. From next year on, we will fill it for our sweet little girl. DSCN2508 DSCN2509
Basically it was a set with all the motives printed on cardboard, but how you put the pieces together was totally up to me, so it’s a one-of-a-kind calendar which you can fill with whatever you like 🙂 DSCN2510
Are those owls just super cute or are they super cute???DSCN2514
If you look closely you can see that the decorative pieces such as the present boxes are layered – it’s a sort of 3D effect. The set also included some little plastic rhinestone bling-bling which one can add in whatever way you like. DSCN2516
On the front and back you have peep-holes which feeds the curious soul! DSCN2518
On the side there is a little door to open and fill or take out sweets (or whatever you like) of each owl house DSCN2520

I think it’s just such an adorable winter-advent calendar idea – and of course very fitting with the owl theme of our baby room.

Today is the 1st Sunday in Advent!! Hope you all spend the day comfortably 🙂

Cloth Diapers – our decision and experience

Die Deutsche Version dieses Blogeintrags ist HIER zu finden.

For every pregnant couple (or woman) there comes the day when you decide on what baby products to buy. Diapers will play a big part in the life of a newborn & new parents. For us it was pretty much decided right from the start that we want to use cloth diapers once the baby is born.

Our (personal) motivation to cloth diaper was based on the following reasons:

  • Both, my husband & I were cloth diapers by our parents as babies
  • cloth simply feels much more comfortable (if you can feel the difference with your hands, babies can feel the difference on their bums! )
  • Saving money: Although a single cloth diaper may cost more than a single disposable diaper, in the long run it can save a lot of money (and even more if used again with 2nd or 3rd baby 😉
  • It’s better for the environment, because cloth diapers get washed and re-used instead of thrown away, creating tons and tons of waste that often takes several decades to decompose
  • We’re lazy! *laughs* not really, but the thought of having to go out every other day to bus huge packages of dispoable diapers, then having to empty the trash every night because they fill up the bin quickly, ugh…we rather spare ourselves the stress and time and spend it with our little one instead.
  • There are just sooo many cute designs to choose from, that make me smiley happy just looking at them (no disposable diaper ever did that to me!)

Now, after deciding we want to cloth diaper, there was another decision to make: Which “system” to use?? After reading up here on how different types of cloth diapers are used, we decided to go for the low-cost system of using prefolds & covers mostly. My mother kept loads of muslin inserts from when I was a baby, so by using those with covers, we only needed to buy a very little amount of extra prefolds/inserts and used the saved money to try the one or the other more pricey AIO (All in one) cloth diaper.

We ordered all of our diapers from Stoffywelt.de – which became our favourite cloth dealer by now, since the quick handling & shipping as well as the customer service is just fantastic. If you’re not sure yet which type of cloth diaper to use, or want to stack up and save a bit of money, they have great saving packs. At first, we ordered the Diaper Cover & Prefolds Test Pack for Size 1, plus two to three additional covers & one Blueberry Capri (Swaddlebees) AIO. That (together with the muslins my mother kept for us) was basically all we needed with putting one a wash-load once a day. Of course, as with everything else in the world, the more money you are willing to spend the more you can buy 🙂

Now, with a three and a half month old baby we needed to change from Size 1 to Size 2 (that will last until she’s out of diapers and potty trained), so we ordered the Diapver Cover & Prefolds test Pack for Size 2, as well as two additional covers: 1 of the Blueberry Capri brand and 1 of the Rumparooz brand. Since I just love the design and wanted to try them out, we also ordered two bumgenius freetime AIOs with snaps (we could survive with out them diaper-wise, but I just couldn’t hold back)

Here are ALL of our cloth diaper covers & AIOs
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I  really like how quick they dry after a wash and just how simple & easy it is (really not much slower than disposables, even with putting the prefold into the cover!). Both brands, Blueberry Capri as well as Rumparooz have double leg gussets which prevent leaking extremely well! We liked the snaps more than the hook & loop ones, as we had some pilling on them after 1 months (not much and still works just fine though) – I guess that’s personal liking everyone develops while trying out different types 🙂

Of course you need the prefolds to put into the covers (different types are included in the test pack) and optional liners  – here’s what we use:DSCN2444
Out of those different types of prefolds we like the hemp one the least, simple because they take so much time to dry (we don’t have a dryer, we hang-dry our clothes & cloths), they do absorb nicely though! Our favourites are the 100% cotton prefolds: easiest to tri-fold, great absorption and not heavy to carry with you in a diaper bag etc. The Little Lamb fleecy liners are a bit more expensive than other options but for us they were the most comfortable ones and best to handle so we stuck with those.

Our daughter has been in cloth diapers since the day she was born – we didn’t (need to) use disposable diapers at all. She didn’t have a rash on her bum once and we love to put on all the different, lovely designs!!!DSCN2447
(don’t be fooled by her stern facial expressions, she loves the changing table and getting changed, she just wasn’t fully awake yet from her nap )