Thursday, October 3, 2019

Life Lately

Michelle Obamas's Becoming. I started this months ago and haven't been able to finish it but that's not a criticism. Firstly it's really long but secondly I rarely have time to read it! It's a big book so not one that fits into my handbag to pull out when I have a few minutes on public transport. Whenever I have a free moment, I usually end up doing something else but when I do have a nice 10-20 minutes of undisturbed time ahead of me then I have been delving back into the book and really enjoying it!

We finally got around to watching two very different films, "The Greatest Showman" and "Avengers-Endgame". The former has been one I've been dying to watch for ages and the latter my husband was keen to see!  I think I can safely say we ended up loving both. 

The Greatest Showman is a story around Barnum who comes from poverty and has big dreams. I don't want to go into the story in more detail as I often find that even watching trailers these days can have loads of spoilers and it's nice to watch something without knowing too much in advance. The screenplay, music and dance numbers were amazing and it was just entertaining and good fun. The songs are catchy too and I find myself humming along to them weeks days later!

You've probably heard of Avengers: Endgame even if you aren't a fan because it was a massive hit this Summer.  I enjoy the Marvel stories and films though at times find the format somewhat predictable (time for another huge fight scene with lots of special effects anyone?). That said, this one was particularly entertaining and well done!

Well now it's autumn we've been making pumpkin soup and curries again - yum! My main favourite German treat are pretzels though! A lovely freshly baked pretzel with butter and cheese or avocado on top with a cup of tea is just perfect.

In August we were in Ireland on holidays which was lovely. This month apart from our usual outings to all the local playgrounds, we went to the zoo for the day which was fun.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Greta Thunberg, one badass teenager

Most of us have seen Greta Thunberg's recent speech to the UN or at least heard of her. She is an amazing young woman. As she looked at everyone at said "how dare you!" it made me feel uncomfortable as I'm sure it did everyone else. She was visibly angry and when I thought about it more myself, I realized how absolutely justified she is in feeling that way.

Young people growing up today have been failed by those before them that more has not been done to protect the environment. It's frankly impressive how she is stirring up other school children around the world to be activists. I hope they will continue to care about politics and use their votes when they are old enough. Though I also wonder why the voting age is 18 and whether there could be case for reducing it to 17 or even 16.

When I hear all the negative comments about Greta, it upsets me. Why all the hate against someone for caring about climate change and doing something about it? All I can think of is that she makes people uncomfortable about their inaction and they can't handle it.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Comment of the week #MicroblogMonday

Chatting with a work colleague from a different team recently and she asked how old I am. "Thirty-seven", I answer. I'm not sure her age but I'm guessing somewhere in the late twenties.

She expressed shock at my age, having believed me to be much younger and then commented, "wow, you look great..considering you're almost forty!"

Gotta love the Germans for their "honesty, right?".

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Ireland in August

We recently got back from a two week trip to Ireland. Apart from the usual time spent with family and friends which was wonderful as always, we also managed to do a bit of site seeing! Anyway, just thought I would share a few photos from the holiday.

Tinakilly House and grounds, County Wicklow

Mount Usher gardens, County Wicklow

Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin

Marfield House Hotel and grounds, Wexford

The fairy trail walk on the way to Ballymoney beach, Wexford

Ballymoney beach, County Wexford

Friday, August 2, 2019

Running on empty

Most people can relate to that overwhelming feeling navigating through life when things just feel non stop and your to do list is never ending. Everything has seemed particularly hectic lately and I badly need some time to recharge.

  • My job has been busy. That said, it's pretty much always like that as once one project is completed, a new one starts with more deadlines! I took part in some extra training that was over a weekend and also had to join in some calls from home so it has felt more full on lately.

  • Mini has been sick again several times in a row plus teething. I've been told that once the kids start at daycare they are constantly picking up things the first 1-2 years until their immune system strengthens and it definitely seems true in her case. When she is unwell it typically means worse sleep for all of us, extra doctor's visits and worry.

  • My husband came down with stomach flu and was out of action for several days and then I caught it too. One night in the middle of trying to bring Mini to bed I had to run to the bathroom to throw up. Luckily hubby was there at the time to take over. When one of us is sick the other person ends up having to pick up the slack. I have a lot of respect for single parents!

  • Looking after a toddler is lots of fun, but it's also exhausting! Gone are the days when she would sit happily in her hair chair while we all ate. Now she just wants to be running around on the go constantly - usually dragging me behind her! She also loves playing chasing games around the kitchen. That's my workout for the day sorted, haha!

  • Keeping on top of general household stuff plus various errands feels impossible. We have so much clutter and I would love to have some time to Marie Kondo the place!

  • On the rare moments I do have a moment to myself, all I want to do is lie on the couch and watch youtube or drink tea and scoff chocolate. I often lack the motivation to be productive.

The good news is I have some annual leave coming up and we have a long trip to Ireland planned. The actual traveling can be stressful but once we are there, we'll have a lovely time I'm sure! I am purposely trying to not over plan the trip so we can just be spontaneous each day depending on how we feel.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Raising a bilingual child

Research on how many words a child should have by a certain age varies. I've read that most (but not all) toddlers can say around 20 words by 18 months and 50 or more by the time they turn two. Apparently by 18 months many toddlers can even link two words together to form mini sentences already. In my facebook group of babies the same age as Mini and there is a huge discrepancy. Some babies are apparently saying as many as 40 words already whereas others aren't saying any.

Many people believe that bilingual children take longer to talk but I've also read that is a myth so I'm not really sure about that! I've read different advice about at what point to worry when your child isn't talking. I only speak English to Mini. Her Dad speaks German to her but when we are all together, our family language is English. She gets plenty of German exposure from daycare and just being out and about.

At her last doctor's checkup I mentioned she was only really saying "mama", "dada" and babbling. The doctor said they aren't concerned here unless the children don't have 20 words by age two. However she then said that some two year olds aren't talking at all but if they show *understanding* of 20 words that's enough.

A few weeks ago Mini started saying "yea/ja" which is very cute. She's still not saying any other new words (she's 16 months) but she does understand a lot and is able to make her wants known using gestures. If I ask her to point out body parts like "nose, mouth, eyes, hair, eyes etc" she's well able to point to them. She does get mixed up though between "where's MY nose?" and "where's YOUR nose?".

If she wants to be picked up she walks over and puts her arms above her head and makes a little noise to get your attention. Or she'll take your hand and pull you over somewhere to play together. She points at doors she wants opened or things she can't reach. She'll gesture at the stair gate in our house and I'll say "oh, do you want to go upstairs?" and she answers "yea".

I'm fascinated seeing how she learns and the associations she makes. Recently, I pointed out a bus to her as we were passing during a walk and she started doing the arm movements for the "wheels on the bus" song! When we feed her, my husband often says "mmm", like "try some broccoli, mmmm, yummy". And now I've noticed she points to food and says "mmm" when she wants to eat.

I'm excited for when she started saying more words and I'm curious about whether they'll be English or German!

Monday, June 10, 2019

The right to be heard #MicroblogMonday

As an Irish woman living in Germany I was allowed vote in the recent elections. The EU one was open to all European citizens and the local ones were open to all residents of the relevant constituency. I wasn't going to miss the opportunity and I was delighted to vote for the first time here and encourage others to do the same.

One good thing about this political climate is that people have been getting more interested in politics and realising how much their vote matters. To be honest I didn't know all that much about the different parties in Germany and what they all represent so I spent some time reading up on their goals until I felt happy with my choice.

Climate change and saving the environment is particularly important to me and this is one way I felt I can make a difference.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Staying informed

Recently, I came across a story about a girl in England who publishes a 'happy newspaper'. Her reasoning is that there is constantly so much negativity that it's easy to miss the positive things happening. I love the idea. She said that after big tragic events such as the New Zealand shootings, she felt like it would be wrong to publish but she had teachers from there write to her saying their students need some good news to after all they have been through and encouraged her to keep up the paper.

I don't often write about tragic events in the news on this blog, and sometimes it feels a bit insensitive or shallow to be talking about my day to day life as if I don't care about what's happening. The thing is I do care about it all, a lot. Stories such as the recent bombings in Sri Lanka, the Irish journalist, Lyra McKee, being shot during riots in Derry plus some other sad stories involving children, will stay with me and upset me for days. There was a night recently where I found it hard to sleep thinking about a particularly horrific child abuse case I'd read about.

There are times when I'm having a good day but then I read something awful on the news and it makes me feel bad for the rest of the day. It can feel wrong to be happy when someone else is currently going through something devastating. Although, maybe that's not the right way to think about it.. These stories should also remind us how short life can be and how you should appreciate each day you have. And be kind to one another.

I have often considered switching off from the news altogether. All the sad stories just make me feel upset and increase my anxiety. I can definitely understand the phrase "ignorance is bliss" in this case. A few days to focus on my life and loved ones sounds nice. A holiday from it all, including social media to be more present.

However, I generally believe that it's good for people to stay informed about what's going on in the world and not to bury their heads in the sand. Especially because certain events can trigger positive movements when people become activists and get involved with politics or take to the streets.

How do you handle it?