Sunday, August 30, 2009

Snoop Dog in da house

On Saturday the temperatures dropped and it was raining in the morning and therefore it was the right day for a lot of food. For lunch we went to Renate & Werner for a huge bowl of Werner’s famous Wurstsalat. Even though Werner was distracted from preparing lunch by a huge badger which haunted their backyard we not only had enough to eat but also the quality was as good as always!

In the evening we were invited to Sandra & Flo’s place in Bregenz for some Mexican dinner following by watching the large fireworks of the
Bregenzer Stadtfest from the terrace overlooking Lake Constance. With temperature significantly lower than the days before we decided for the first time to put Jakob into one of his pairs of jeans. For the first visit to his godmother’s flat we really pimped our son’s outfit including a pair of blue Chuck Tailors.

Yo man! Gimme a mic' and I rap you a rhyme!

The traffic into Bregenz was as always very bad – German and Swiss cars who want to avoid the highway toll take the route through the city and cause daily traffic jams! – and as we were not moving fast enough Jakob was complaining (=screaming) all the way and could hardly be calmed. Upon arrival though he stopped being noisy and by the time Markus has carried the Maxi Cosi up the stairs into the flat our little treasure was sleeping. What followed was almost spooky, as he briefly woke up when we took him out of the seat but fell asleep immediately again. During dinner and also during the fireworks he was sleeping peacefully in the arms of Renate. A brief waking period was used for feeding before we got on our way back home and he went straight back to sleep. Not even the transfer at home from the Maxi Cosi into his cot and a change of clothes disturbed the sleep and he only woke up at 0300 again, making it the first time with 8 hours of sleep with only 25 minutes break for food.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Further expansion step of the Bella Familia

Finally, more than 1 week after the expected date of arrival, the Bella Familia grew further as a new member to our group was born. At 1015 Lini and Peter's family luck received a real face when their daughter Anna was born with a size of 51cm, a weight of 4052g and loads of black hair. Both baby and mother are obviously exhausted but fine and enjoy the first hours together!

Anna - another new arrival

We still know very well how wonderful and at the same time strage it feels when the first baby is born, are extremely happy for the new family and can't wait to see her face to face for the first time.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Friday, August 28, 2009

The first long-haul trip

After the ca. 1 hour drive to Aschau for Markus’ Dad’s birthday party last Friday Jakob took off for his first long-haul trip on Wednesday evening. While Kerstin was feeding our son for a long time Markus stuffed the car with pretty much all of Jakob’s clothes, most of his toys and only a few pieces of luggage for ourselves and left home shortly after 1900 heading west towards Vorarlberg for 1,5 weeks with Kerstin’s family. Following a brief stop at Lini & Peter’s place (still waiting for Anna) in order to wish them luck for the big day Jakob was pretty soon fast asleep in his MaxiCosi car seat.

A fully loaded car + a filled up Jakob = quiet drive to the West

The next 4 hours were very quiet and peaceful in our car and only shortly ahead of Munich Jakob started to wake up. A short 30 minute pit-stop in Munich with eating and pooping did the trick and as soon as we got back on the highway Jakob was again in the land of the dreams and only woke up when we arrived at grandma Heidi, who was still awake waiting for us. In our view Jakob passed the drive test and obviously we are very happy that he likes driving longer distances.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Thursday, August 27, 2009

60 years of ULK - the family session

After having surprised Markus’ Dad with our appearance on Friday we have planned for the family part of the celebrations a bike tour around Vienna and barbecue on our terrace in the evening for Tuesday. Eva and Kurt arrived at our place in the morning and around 1100 Markus and his dad set of for a tour on the Donauradweg along the Danube with perfect weather while Kerstin, Jakob and Eva spent the day in and around our flat.

The boys headed on the south bank of the Danube towards
Klosterneuburg, where they had lunch at the Dukes’ castle, and continued via Kritzendorf and Hoeflein to the hydroelectric power plant Greifenstein. The tour was pretty easy thus far, but once they crossed the river to the north bank on which they headed back towards Vienna, they were facing quite strong headwind given the cycle track was right by the water and not wind protected by trees or buildings. Hence the way back was much tougher, the heat was stronger and over time also their bums started to hurt more. The situation did not really improve when they reached the Donauinsel as also there wind was fairly strong. After three hours net cycling and 60km of tour they reached home again, where Markus’ brother Stefan and Viki also have arrived in the meantime. The two are double-uncle & double-aunt” since Monday as Viki’s sister Marina has born her son Fabio that day.

"How come you got hold of these pictures!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?"

In the evening Markus after we enjoyed delicious pork, turkey and a large salmon trout the birthday boy was surprised yet again with a movie that we produced consisting of old pictures and film material documenting the past 60 years of his life. As Kurt was not expecting something like that he was pretty much overwhelmed and could not believe how we got hold of some of these pictures and movies. The present – a two-day ski trip with him and a tour guide in Lech – was the icing on the cake and so we managed to surprise him 3 times. If that is not a guarantee for further luck! Speaking of luck: For Viki, whose birthday was on Monday, we put together a cornet filled with stuff for her days at school as she starts an education for primary school teacher in October.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Saturday, August 22, 2009

60 years of ULK - the public session

Yesterday marked the 60th birthday of Markus' Dad and as it was a Friday, usually one of the busiest days of the week in his pub "Treffpunkt Göd", there was no way out but to celebrate with all his friends and customers at work. For us family there was a good opportunity to for a big surprise, as due to other commitments none of his children was able to help him out running the pub that night. That at least was the part he knew.

For a change no bad surprise coming in through the back door

Behind the scenes we have been planning though that all Ines, Stefan and Markus show up early afternoon and provide Kurt with time and space to enjoy his day with the numerous friends that ware expected. Hence we jumped into the car around midday, picked up Ines from work and fought our way through the normal craziness of the early Friday afternoon traffic outbound Vienna, heading south towards the tiny village of Aschau. The trip was Jakob's first longer journey away from Vienna and driving - as long as its not stop-and-go traffic - seems to have a relaxing effect on him. Upon arrival we met Stefan& Viki, put on our uniform for the night - T-shirt featuring as large "60" in the front and a picture of Dad aged 20 on the back - and entered the complex via the large garden through the backdoor. The surprise was a full success as Dad was sheer speechless and could not believe to see us but was very happy to do so.

While the afternoon of that super-hot summer day was rather quiet with respect to guests and congratulators the pub was pretty packed by 1800 and we all of us had lots to do. While Markus - who has not been working as a waiter since 13 years - and Stefan were at the helm behind the bar, Ines - basically co-running the pub throughout the year alongside Dad - was the "running" force in the outfield and Dad did have time to sit down with his friends and have a longer chat. At this point of time we got the strong confirmation that our surprise worked out just as it should: provide Kurt with time for fun and leisure with friends.

While for us children, who had to return to Vienna in the morning the night finished latest at 0400 Kurt stayed on with the last guests a while longer and when Jakob made us get up at 0700 Dad just got into the car to go home. Obviously he is used to those working hours, but still it’s quite something to work through a night like that. The family celebration - which we will host in our place on Tuesday - will for sure be not lasting until the morning hours and will be much more relaxing for all of us.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Monday, August 17, 2009

Conquering the hills around Vienna

For the past Sunday Mimi has been planning a mistery-mountainbike tour for Bruno and the rest of the Bella Familia boys but unfortunately Bruno and his two sons Max & Leo got ill and so the weeks of planning got obsolete and the large tour had to be cancelled. As we were though pretty much excited and looking forward to the tour a group of 6 – Peter, Geri, Mirko, Roland, Tim and Markus – decided to meet up at Lini & Peter’s place on Sunday morning anyway and take on the “light” challenge of the Pappelteichstrecke through the woods an hills nearby, while Jakob and Kerstin spent time with Lini at home waiting for both the boys to return as well as Anna to arrive.

On your bike! Ready! GO!!!

Moni’s 30th birthday party the night before caused the departure to be pushed a bit backwards, but at 1030 we rolled off, equipped with helmets, water and hi-tech mountain bikes. Especially Tim, Moni’s boy friend, stood out with a real downhill race machine that resembled more a moto-cross bike than a bicycle, and we have all be wondering which mountains he is racing down with this fantastic tool in his hometown Hamburg, rather famous for being flat. Soon after the departure the first and longest hill bringing us through the woods to the Wiener Huette requested lots of stamina and strength and Roland, who has an advantage being Tyrolean, left all the rest behind climbing up the track like a chamois. On the paths down Tim took over the lead and one had the impression he was trying to escape someone or something as he was accelerating like crazy and rolled over the rocks as if there were none thanks to his full suspension!

While all of us managed to get up all the ascents without having to get off the bike the last and final slope was impossible to make without stepping off the bike. Not only was it pretty steep, but also very muddy and wet so that the wheels were slipping and rocks or roots forced us to abrupt stops. We all managed to get out of the clips in time so that no one fell over with into the mud, but outfit and bikes were completely smutched – just as it should be on a bike tour. The following race downhill jerked the mud from the wheel into our faces and gave us the final touch. After 1 hour and 46 minutes and 29km we arrived knackered but happy at Lini & peters place where we not only could clean ourselves and our bikes but also were pampered with spare-ribs, sausages and a junky T-bone steak freshly grilled on the new
Weber Q 200. We all agreed to have another tour like that, but next time there is no room to escape for Bruno.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Thursday, August 13, 2009

One month that passed by fast

Today Jakob has reached yet another milestone in his young life: he turned 1. One month into his time on this planet there are still sleeping and eating his two main businesses he is pursuing and Kerstin's milk seems to be very good as he can not get enough. Hence we are close to the 5kg threshold and we are very sure that by the end of August we will have a leading 5 in our weight declaration.

"Bring it on and show me the world!"

It might sound like Jakob is doing absolutely nothing else but sleeping and eating, but there is still time for him to be wide awake, "play" and experience his environment or scream. Even though he tends to be a very good and peaceful boy when we have friends visiting us, some of our guests also have made the experience of his sound intensity and we have had the impression that they were very glad that they could leave again while we had to go through the pain of high volume. Most of the times a few sips of milk do the trick to calm our son followed by a few hours of sleep and the opportunity also for us to rest.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Friday, August 7, 2009

An exciting week

It has been an exciting week with for us with more moderate and therefore more bearable temperatures, further doctor appointments and examinations and a big visit by Markus’ family. The hard facts after our visit at the paediatrician are as follows: After 23 days Jakob is 57 cm long and 4550 g heavy and thus he is still clearly part of the larger group of babies, which does not really surprise us a lot as he is eating a lot throughout the days. Once Kerstin & Jakob returned from the doctor Markus' family came by for a visit and Jakob converted into a challenge cup when grandma, grandpa, aunts Ines and Viki as well as godfather-in-spe Steve offered Jakob a good rest in their arms. Our junior was peaceful as an angel and slept most of the time and once awake he was eating. Thanks to Markus' brother also us adults were fed with some delicious curry based on bananas, apples and carrots that he prepared in our kitchen.

After 9 months in amniotic fluid the element water seems not a preferred place

Thursday was another big day as in the afternoon Jakob had some follow up hip-ultrasound examination. The diagnostic findings were a great relief for Jakob as it meant that there is no need anymore to wear special swaddling clothes that kept the legs for the past 3 weeks apart. Not only that it seemed very uncomfortable it has also been very cumbersome due to the heatwave we experienced. The new freedom has been celebrated with the first bath since Jakob’s navel dropped off: With lots of noise and screaming he dipped into the large bathtub together with dad and in the end it almost seemed like he liked it. We have the suspicion though, that Markus had more fun than Jakob in the water, but we will find out the excitement of the little one for the wet element soon again.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Monday, August 3, 2009

Learning by doing

The summer heat has taken a tight grip on Vienna and made us sweat a lot during the past week. While Markus went back to work in order to spend the day in an air-conditioned environment Jakob, Heidi and Kerstin did their best to stay cool with the sunshields down all day, walks in the shadows of the Prater and occasional air-conditioned car-rides for some treatments and examinations throughout the week.

The new family is still working hard to get used to each other and Jakob in addition has to get accustomed to the weather which is probably also a difficult task with temperatures constantly above 30 degrees all day long, but it is probably fair to say that we are all doing well. The past three weeks have been super-intense and tiring but at the same time extremely joyful and laden with happiness. Jakob continued to eat well and he has taken on some more weight and grown in size and we can not wait to find out details later in the week when we have another appointment at the paediatrician.

So many news things to play with!

Apart from eatingJakob is also improving and learning every day and it is absolutely fantastic to watch him develop. Be it playing with some new toys (best after a good long sleep), be it following sounds and smiling back, be it holding up his head or be it properly screaming. The latter is though a nerve wrecking thing as our little boy has a very strong voice and he can sound as if we would have harmed him sometimes when he is in “screaming mode” during which we can hardly calm him down and which can not even be prevented by a long walk with our cool bugaboo cameleon stroller.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus