Monday, January 30, 2012

All covered in DEEP SNOW!

While the majority of the family was celebrating Renate’s birthday and spending time with the relatives Markus enjoyed a few days up in the mountains of the Arlberg region with clients, colleagues and friends on the by now traditional skiing trip to Lech. Throughout January the region has received a lot of snow and when Markus drove up the Flexenpass road he was pretty impressed by the walls of snow left and right. The sheer amount of snow were however most obvious near the avalanche protection which to a certain extent have been covered in snow completely – and these steel constructions are between 5 and 6m high! As the main activity for the long weekend was anyway off-piste skiing the conditions were almost perfect. Snow-wise they definitely have been, the only covenant was overcast sky and not ideal visibility at times. The fearless group of people however was not backing off from exploring off-piste.

Not always has the sun been out like that

Led by veteran ski guide Harry, who has been taking care of the group for years now, the group spent hours out in the powder and they did not shy away from walking through the snow for 20 minutes, climbing up with skis on their shoulder or entering the helicopter in order to find untouched snow. The rewards, fantastic rides through deep powder, were much more convincing than the exertion and fatigue from the long nights that were also part of the programme. Markus,. Not having done any sports since mid-November felt pretty dead after the first day of skiing (it might have also had to do with the fact that he was skiing on his own on Wednesday and did not take any breaks) got stronger every day and did “survive the weekend just like all the others without injuries. Sore muscles could not be prevented, but the memories of fantastic skiing outweighed the pain big time

Julia, Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Going the long distance

Tuesday evening it was time for Julia's first long trip: Markus had his annual skiing trip with colleagues and clients to Lech on the agenda from Wednesday until Sunday and took the opportunity to take the whole family to Vorarlberg to spend some time with grandma Heidi and cousin Ylvie, aunt Sandra and uncle Flo. Not that we were at all surprised, but our car was filled up to the roof and even the new roof-box Markus collected on the weekend was completely packed. Julia was feeling comfortable on the front seat while Jakob and Kerstin were in the back next to some bags and our jackets. With traffic reasonable we made quite good progress and only stopped once shortly as Julia was feeling hungry. Jakob was super patient while his sister was fed and soon after we continued our journey both kids fell fast asleep and allowed us to continue our journey without any further stops resulting in us reaching our destination just after midnight.

Happy Birthday Renate!

While Markus headed towards the mountain the next morning the others had quite some work to do: the final preparations for Kerstin's godmother Renate's 60th birthday on Thursday were due: Bakery Blaser was working all Wednesday preparing several cakes for the upcoming party, Flo had to finish and place the large billboard with Renate’s picture on her balcony and Jakob was working hard learning the text for his song. Thursday afternoon the party kicked off with family as well as neighbors, colleagues and friends invited and thus Meier’s home was packed. Anja and Katrin have prepared a crossword which Renate had to fill in and which granted her small presents with every correct line and with the main price having been a guided tour on a glacier in Tyrol. In order to qualify for that present she had to undergo a 6 x 60 seconds fitness test for a 60 year old. Having passed this test as well she got the bonus of two nights in a hotel in Tyrol before and/or after the glacier tour. Afterwards Jakob had his big appearance by singing “Happy Birthday Mamagota” together with all the guests. As our junior is singing the song permanently anyway it was an easy thing for him and he only had to take care of addressing it to the right person. Jakob enjoyed staying up much longer than usually and was yet again very fond of the older children that were at the party. Given he was behaving so well and not showing any sign of tiredness he stayed up as long as 2300 when however he fell asleep very fast joining Julia in the land of the dreams until late next day in the morning.

Julia, Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Strictly according to textbook

Jakob has reached an age at which children start reducing the use of diapers and use the toilet or a potty. Ever since he went to the kindergarten we started asking our junior whether he needed or wanted to go tho the loo or not without applying to much pressure. During the day, also enhanced by low riding, childfriendly toilet seats he (apparently) sometimes uses the toilet but at home Jakob was rather hesitant. Before christmas and also under the Christmas tree he got several books on the topic, but while he loved to look at them and likes it to have the stories read to him it seemed as if they had absolutely zero effect on our sunshine.

Hey! Close the door! I want some privacy!

The past few days however there was some development visible: Jakob regularly asks for underpants rather than diapers and he is trying to pee on both the toilet and the potty several times during the day. Yesterday morning he was half there when he spent a while on the toilet and in the end pooped right on his diaper which was sat on the floor - good boy!! ;-). Today in the morning he asked us to put the potty into the ground floor toilet, demanded a book to be brought to him and the door to be shut. We followed his demand and there he was: sat on the potty reading a book and waiting for things to happen just like in one of the books he received for Christmas. After a while we heard a loud yell, were ordered into the toilet and had to applaud our son for filling the potty quite significantly. While we are quite happy about that major step we at the same time were shaking our heads as ideally we don't want Jakob to get used to the potty as we don't really want to stir sh*t every day. But one step after the other. 

Julia, Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Sunday, January 22, 2012

First contact

When Jakob unwrapped his skis and ski-boots underneath the Christmas tree he immediately wanted to try the boots on, get onto the skis and “walk” around in our living room. Back thenwe bought time and told him, that we would go out onto the meadows of the Prater as soon as there was snow . Given the spring-like winter in Vienna with temperatures far too high for December and also January and as a consequence no snow at all in the capital we still haven’t had a chance to do so. On Saturday morning Markus had to travel to his parents anyway and he decided to take Jakob along and on the way home stop by in Moenichkirchen, a small village with a few lifts on the Wechsel not far from where his parents live to establish the first contact between Jakob on skis and the snow.

 Ready to take off...

After a good snack and some playing with grandma, grandpa, Stefan and Viki the two boys headed towards the hill and Jakob used the 20 minute drive for his lunchtime nap. Once they arrived he was immediately switched on and ready to get into gear. In order to be able to show Jakob what to do Markus decided to also put in his full gear (including his helmet) and like that they set of for the children’s fun park. The few metres from the car to the slope were probably the biggest obstacle as walking in skiboots on heaps of snow is even more exhausting than walking in a shop or at home. Eventually they reached their final destination and Jakob was all excited. He however also realised that it's slightly different to walk on skis on a carpet at home or on snow and probably that was the reason why he very soon wanted to walk on the rubbermats slightly uphill in order to ski down. Markus had a deja-vu as also when it came to walking Jakob always wanted to jump one or even two steps ahead.

Hmm... We still need to work on how to stop...

It has yet again been confirmed that the big boy is a real fighter and thus he made it all work: putting his hand on his knees to get into the right body position and with a little help from his dad his skied down a few metres in order to walk right back up to the top. After several repetitions he started to talk about the next level as he wanted to get on the moving belt which carried the children a bit further up the hill and at one point Markus gave in. Jakob neither struggled to get on or off the moving belt nor did he have issues on the way down. He could not care less about making any turns or attempting to stop, but enjoyed the “speed” and was all laughing when Markus was to slow to stop him in front of the nets at the bottom. He simply asked for help to get up again and walked straight back to the lift. After approximate 50 minutes on skis he decided just after getting off the lift on the top that is was enough. Markus could convince Jakob to ski down to the bottom one last time but had no plan to argue for more skiing for several reasons: Firstly, there would be no point anyway. Secondly Jakob was skiing already much longer than Markus could imagine. And lastly Markus was completely drenched and exhausted himself.

 Well deserved and yummy!

The two boys enjoyed a decent snack and warm tea they brought all along from home just by the slow and Jakob was closely watching the other children going up and down. He was definitely done for the day with his first day of skiing and did an extremely good job. After a good rest on the comfy couch beside the children’s fun park the two set off for their journey home thinking and talking already about the next time they want to hit the slopes together.

Julia, Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Like father, like son

When bringing up children one sometimes feels like standing in front of a mirror and seeing oneself acting. Be it during lunch or dinner when the junior suddenly picks up the full soup-bowl just because mom does it to finish her rest, or be it when the young one is repeating what an adult is saying in the very same tone as the adult. Even more shocking, when such words or phrases are used regularly in the correct context. Maybe shocking is a too harsh word, but for sure it’s quite astonishing.

 No comment...

Early January, when Anna, Lini and Peter were visiting us, we all were really amazed by the way Jakob had a phone conversation with his godfather Stefan. While the content that has been discussed (eating) was not so far out, though maybe difficult to understand for anyone not familiar with our oldest one’s language, the real shocker was the mimic, gestic and whatever else Jakob did during the conversation. Markus did find himself copied in this behavior.

 You spot a certain similarity?

As amusing as it was to watch it also taught us some kind of lesson: We better watch out what we are doing and what we are saying as our juniors will apply as soon as they can.

Julia, Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year

The end of the year has this year for obvious reasons been very very different. With both Julia and Kerstin returning home from hospital only a few hours after giving birth everything at home was focused on the newcomer. Jakob has grown up big time during the past weeks and welcomed his sister just like a big brother does - full of love and care - grandma Heidi helped us handling both Julia and Jakob as well as our lives and Markus tried to as well to relieve Kerstin from any work apart from feeding and took care of lots of admin stuff as well. All that sounds absolutely normal when a family is growing and it was very similar when Jakob was born 2,5 years ago.

Julia's main activity: sleeping!

After our first visit to the paediatrician on the 30th and a visit from Markus' parents & sister on the 31st however it got really obvious that this year is different. While seemingly the whole world was preparing for a big party for the year end our evening was just like any other evening - playing, having dinner, getting ready for bed. There was not much feeling and excitement about the changeover from 2011 to 2012 and it was the first time since being a child that both Kerstin and Markus were in bed when the fireworks outdoors welcomed the New Year. The good thing however was that both Julia and Jakob had a very peaceful sleep and not only were not disturbed by the noise of the fireworks but also slept long and thus we all had a lie-in on January 1st.

Julia, Jakob, Kerstin & Markus