Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fresh start just in time for fall

Oh, you guys. I really haven't meant to go so long without posting anything other than a letter to my baby. Seriously. I actually really miss blogging regularly and eventually will get back into it. And not just about my kid. (Although, a lot about my kid. Because he's a pretty big part of my life. Just a heads up.)

Anyway! I have a kind-of excuse for my absence, which is that things have been cee-razy around here, primarily because Torsten now has a job. Like, he is employed by someone else. Which means no more start-up for him, which is a whole complicated story that isn't really mine to tell, so I won't get into the details here, but I do want to say that what he did with that company was amazing and I'm so proud of him for doing it, and I'm also really proud of him for finding this job and making the decision to accept it. It's a really fantastic job and he's really happy about it. So, there we are.

Anyway, the drastic change in our lifestyle has meant quite a few details had to be taken care of. Torsten now has a commute, and I also sometimes have a commute, as my new job has an office down the road that I work from sometimes, and that means we needed a second car. So we did some car shopping and that was half fun because yay new car! and half not fun because many thousands of dollars!

And then Torsten took a couple weeks off between jobs and used the time to get a bunch of stuff done around the house that we've been putting off for ages. We got a dead tree removed and another tree majorly pruned. We had our sewer line scoped and then rootered when the scope showed that it was blocked by a ton of roots.

(Side note to homeowners: I seriously recommend doing this regularly. I never would have thought of it except that our neighbors had their sewer line back up due to roots in their pipe and it flooded their basement with sewage and it turned out it wasn't covered by homeowners' insurance and it cost them something like $6,000 or $7,000 out of pocket. The guys who scoped our sewer said that with all the roots in there we would have been headed for a similar situation very soon if we hadn't had the rootering done. $100 in maintenance saves you thousands of dollars in sewage damage in your basement. So worth it! And so ends my PSA of the day.)

Other stuff: we got our car's dented bumper fixed, finally, so we can stop being the embarrassment of the neighborhood. Since Torsten will be commuting in that car to work regularly, we had an iPod jack installed in it. Torsten replanted our barrel with fall flowers after the summer flowers all died. We got around to having an electrician come and wire our house for outside lights so you can actually see the driveway and front lawn at night. And so on. All those little things that have been on our to-do list for ages but that we didn't have the time, energy, or budget to deal with, you know? Now they've been dealt with and it's been exhausting.

Also, this means that we now need childcare for Callum. Torsten's hours were very flexible before and therefore he was doing the majority of the childcare with me filling in the gaps since my hours are also a tiny bit flexible (though nothing like his), and now that he has a more traditional schedule that will not be a possibility anymore.

So, we're looking for a nanny. And really, it's pretty much non-negotiable that it be a German-speaking nanny. With Torsten out of the house most days, Callum won't get a ton of German-language exposure, which means that we're going to need some assistance on that front if we want any hope whatsoever of him growing up bilingual. We found a fantastic German nanny and came to an agreement with her--and then her circumstances changed and she had to back out. Then we found another great nanny and were on the verge of an agreement with her--and then she decided she wanted to be part-time instead of full-time. And so now we're back on the hunt.

A lot of people have asked us if we'd consider an au pair, so let me go ahead and answer that question now: yes, we would, but only as a last resort. We don't specifically want another person living in our house--we really like our family just the way it is and having time with just the three of us and, when Callum's asleep, just the two of us. Neither of us is super enthused about the idea of another person in the house with us all the time. Also, from what I understand most au pairs come to the US because they want to learn English. It's not just a job, it's a cultural exchange, and that means that as a host family we would be trying to help the au pair learn English. My thought is that given Callum's age, if we got a German au pair it would probably be OK to ask her to speak to him in German during the day when we aren't there, since it's not like he'd be able to help her improve her English anyway, and then we could speak English with her at night. But we'd need the right kind of person to agree to such a set-up, and that still wouldn't address the issue of having someone new living with us.

So: yes, we'll consider it, but only if every other German-speaking nanny option falls through. We are about to start five straight weeks of grandparent visits (one week from my parents followed immediately by four straight weeks from Torsten's parents and yes I know what you're thinking and believe me I'm thinking the same thing) so that gives us some flexibility in terms of when we'd need someone to start. So we have some time to figure out our options. And in the meantime if you know of a fluent German speaker looking for a nanny position in the Denver area, please send them our way. Thank you.

So! Yes! Things are changing, things are busy, but things are also very, very good. Torsten and I are both happy with our new jobs and Callum continues to be his easygoing, mellow self and shows no problems so far with adjusting to any of these changes. And we even found some time to go driving in the mountains and admire the changing aspen leaves, but that's a post for another day, because this one is already getting awfully long. So I will end it with just a quick photo of Callum on his knees... he still only gets up on his knees on his own very occasionally but when he does it he can stay up for quite awhile and has only recently started rocking back and forth on all fours. So I foresee crawling sometime in the not-too-distant future...


  1. And here I thought getting married and moving to Denver soon thereafter was a "big" year for you. I'm pretty sure 2011 tops that one big time! =) So glad that you're able to make decisions that are good for you individually as well as your family. And ... CRAWLING! Talk about another thing to change your world! ha.

  2. Congrats to Torsten and the new job! That's great that both of you are happy in your new positions.

  3. So many exciting changes - yay! Congrats to you and Torsten on your new jobs.

    And a big thank you for mentioning the scoping and rootering. I've been dithering about doing that for months, thinking it would be super expensive, but now I'm going to go ahead and schedule it. Thanks!

  4. Great update - I'm glad to hear everything is going so well! I've said it before and I'll say it again: figuring out child care is THE. HARDEST. part of being a working parent. Good luck!

  5. That's a lot of, um, visiting. You're having so many exciting changes--I hope you find the perfect nanny soon! Are there any bilingual schools in the area? They might know of someone?

    He looks so ready to crawl! Mobile babies both terrify and excite me!

  6. Dang, that IS a lot going on! You guys always seem in a whirlwind of changes! I actually envy that, though; change invigorates me. Probably why I keep having babies! :)
    Good luck finding a nanny. And good luck with all that extra company the next month! HA HA HA HA. I mean that in the nicest way possible. Of course.

  7. (one week from my parents followed immediately by four straight weeks from Torsten's parents and yes I know what you're thinking and believe me I'm thinking the same thing) --- haha! Good luck!

    Lots of changes, but it sounds like lots of good stuff!

  8. Congrats to Torsten! And I'm glad to hear you are liking your new job. Good luck on the nanny search - I know it can be hard. We finally found a daycare we like but I am of course freaking out about going back to work. Just posted on that today actually. Callum is adorable as always. Let's do lunch soon - I know I owe you an email! :)

  9. Oh wow, so much going on! But it sounds like you're all adjusting to these big changes really well. Congrats to Torsten on the new job! I hope it continues to be a good fit for him, and all of you.

    I can't believe how big and CUTE Callum is getting. I mean, he's always been cute, but he's becoming such a darling little man!

    Thanks for the update :-)

  10. Re: the German-speaking nanny search... My husband is Danish and I'm American. We live in CA (but I'm from Denver, so hooray for that!). My husband only speaks Danish to our son and I only speak English to him. We put him in part-time daycare at about 7-8 months of age, and now he's full-time. The daycare does a Spanish immersion pre-school in the mornings and all other communications/activities are in English. Having said that, despite our worries that our son wouldn't get enough Danish exposure by just hearing it from my husband on mornings/evenings/weekends (and his family several weeks out of the year during visits), he actually understands Danish quite well even without having a daytime daycare or nanny who uses it. He often responds to my husband in English, but it's clear he understands conversations in Danish and we love that.

    The other interesting tidbit is that most of the daycare kids are exposed to English plus one other language in their homes (Dutch, Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean are the 2nd languages) and despite having daycare in Spanish + English, they all seem to be able to keep up in the 2nd language spoken (non-dominant) at home. So you'd be surprised just how much German he'll pick up even if it's just your husband who is using it with him consistently. We also supplement with some Danish-language kiddie videos occasionally, and it's all been good. Good luck!

  11. What a whirlwind summer you've had! Congratulations!

  12. Wow, you guys have had the summer I wish I had had!

    Also, I don't want to overstep here or anything, but I have a couple of ideas about finding the just right for you child care situation, and a possible resource actually in (I think!) the Denver area! Email me if you are interested at all. And if not, no worries, just consider this a fly by "Hi! I'm still reading and really miss having the time & energy to comment at all regularly!" sort of comment! :)

  13. wow, that is a lot of change! and sounds like all very good / fun / interesting change too :) good luck with the nanny search, i'll be keeping my fingers crossed for the perfect german babysitter to wander into your lives...