Monday, September 28, 2009


As our time here in Freiburg comes to an end, we are trying to make the most of all our favorite treats and places. One of Myrna's favorite activities is visiting the new neighborhood Kinderplatz. Renovated just this summer, it's a mix of old and new playground equipment, but this isn't your standard American playground - the big toys they have there are reminiscent of our youth, the ones now been deemed "dangerous." Not only that, but there's a big water pump for use in making sand castles, plus a massive toy with pulleys, sieves, and dangling chains where you can transport sand and, if you want, sifting through it for, uh, rocks I guess - crazy.
Myrna isn't quite big enough to enjoy it all, but she tries. At first she liked standing in the sand. Then one day she and I were there alone, and I let her sit in the sand. The next time she and Chris went, there was no turning back from sitting and crawling and generally getting dirty in the sand. Sometimes sand gets eaten, but this is generally discouraged. She makes a new friend now and again, but she seems a little unsure what she's supposed to do with other kids, and tends to focus more on their moms. She did, however, once climb up a little boy to try to get at his toy cell phone.
Most trips to the playground are Dad and Myrna only, while I'm at work. But this weekend the sunny weather held and we all had a fun outing at the park. (More photos are also on her September Picassa Page.)

Jamaica Cake

For serious, this is something we are going to miss - the Jamaica cake from our local bakery. It's full of bananas and sealed with a marzipan cover - sugar rush here we come.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Myrna 9.0.0 - Now with Vertical Orientation

Blogging - or just checking email - has become significantly more difficult this week. Unless you plan to stand on the dining room table holding your laptop in the air, Myrna's maniacal smile will soon appear beside your screen, followed by much mashing on the keys. Barring that, she'll just fall over and conk her head on something hard, forcing you to stop what you're doing and comfort her, which more or less accomplishes her mission anyway. Books, iPods, sandwiches, and cameras are all similarly attractive. In the video below, however, she's mercifully chosen a low-hanging, kid-safe toy as her goal.

The message we're getting from her right now is that the whole apartment, and everything in it, is hers to manhandle, chew on, or hit as she pleases. This includes her mother, whose hair is pulled, nose twisted, and face generally batted all too regularly. I'm wishfully attempting to instill in her some sense of the word "gentle." I also explain to her several times each day, and entirely in vain, that just because she sees something doesn't entitle her to have it, and shouldn't always inspire her to climb up items of furniture beyond her means. There's been a lot of crying, and a lot of growling - and it hasn't been easy for Myrna either.

It is, however, definitely fun to see how self-sufficient her mobility has become, and also interesting to watch her figure out her newly expanded environment. I'm hoping, though, that we'll soon get to see her learn that open drawers make unbelievably poor supports. This video of her doing some speedy "cruising" (no relation to the Al Pacino film) is, however, injury-free.

For whatever reason, there was less monkey business today, and it made for quite a lovely day. The summer suddenly seems to be over for Freiburg, and Myrn and I wore sweaters and shoes indoors the whole day. Myrna loves her sneakers (a gift from Brian and Iman that she's finally grown into, and which you can almost see in the photo), because they make her stomps louder, which she informs me is hilarious. She spent a good thirty minutes chasing an empty juice bottle out of the kitchen and around the apartment, which I now see came to an end under the couch. Mostly, though, she just ate. In addition to plenty of milk, she ate bananas and baby cereal, corn flakes, pureed fruit, cottage cheese, nectarine, toast, corn flakes again, more banana, pasta and parsnips, and finally some more corn flakes. Her solid food intake has probably tripled this month. Admittedly, a good deal of it ends up on the floor. She compensates, though, by following the food into her mouth with her whole hand to, y'know, make sure it makes it home safe. Anyway, you'll see a bit of this in the kinda messy video below.

In spite of all her moving about, we have managed to snap a few great pictures. Her September Picasa Album is now up and running. Kelly's a big fan of this picture - just because it looks exactly like every photo taken of her in a dance costume from age 4 to 14.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Visit from the Grandparents

We've all had a fun-filled, busy week. Myrna got a visit from her grandparents and awed them with all her new tricks. They arrived last week, with a bag full of scavenger hunt items in tow, as we'd persuaded them to bring over winter clothes, a new ipod, peanut butter and the next wave of Myrna-sized clothes that she had received as gifts. Myrna took the company in stride, and after a few days she stopped with the "are you still here?" looks. She became more and more comfortable over the course of the week and, by the end, she was really thriving on the attention. But even on the first morning, she just needed to check that her parents were still around, before settling in and enjoying some morning coffee with her grandmother.
We had fun touring around the Freiburg Altstadt - taking them to the Markthalle for lunch, where Chris has his night job as "Die Swinger"
We ended the tour at the Schlo├čberg Biergarten with a panoramic view of the whole city, and Myrna showed us all just how powerful she is (she finds that this is best accomplished by standing on a table and roaring).
The next day Chancellor Angela Merkel was in town, so we left the crowds of Freiburg and headed to Colmar, France for some general sight seeing.
Later in the weekend, we made another getaway, enjoying a small hike in the Schwarzwald.
Myrna had her first bike ride along the Dreisam River on Sunday, thanks in part to her grandfather who pulled her. She seemed pretty excited to get in, but maybe it was just too exciting, as she slept the entire ride.
The last adventure was to Bern, Switzerland - Myrna, Chris and my first trip to Switzerland. The trip doubled as a chance for us to visit the Swedish Embassy to pick up our new residence permits.
We quickly learned that Bern is not included in "Europe on 10 USD (or EUR) a Day," but we enjoyed the sun and the scenery all the same.

Not only did Myrna get a week of double (or triple) attention, but she started so many new things. Her proficient stomach-flop has now been replaced with a real deal up-on-all-fours crawl. She's also pulling herself up with any piece of furniture or person she can get her hands on. She has perfected the art of being a doll at restaurants, eating at the table with the adults, and she learned how to steal her mothers bread, inhaling even the hard heel of the loaf. Too much stuff to write about, so we'll leave you instead with a new photo album of our week, where you actually might see a picture or two that don't include Myrna.