I can hardly believe that January 2023, the first month of the year has already passed. On the other hand, there is always something to do. Overall, I’d say we started well into 2023:
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Explore New York City
Even though the weather was erratic, we explored a few new places in New York City. One ice-cold Sunday we visited the Queens Zoo and Flushing. That was Josephine’s first trip to a zoo and also mine in the U.S. The zoo is small and has native animals, which I really liked. We watched when the seals were fed and then just walked around. The prettiest animal of them all? The lynx! – at least in my humble cat lover opinion.
Afterwards, we walked over to Downtown Flushing, which is Chinatown in Queens, and had an early dinner there. Speaking of Chinatown, we also went to the Manhattan one to see the Lunar New Year’s celebrations. The neighborhood was packed. Everybody popped crackers and admired the different lion dance performances.
In January, I took Josephine by ferry to Long Island City. LIC really is only a 3-minute ferry ride from Manhattan, but we had never been there. They don’t have a big road there, but a lovely esplanade. So we took a walk in the sun and enjoyed the quiet before taking another ferry back home.
I have started to learn home DIYs. Quite successfully if I may brag a little. In January I fixed our broken bathtub plug with lever. Besides, I learned how to use a silicone and a caulking gun and filled some gaps in our kitchen and bathroom. Our windows were also – well, let’s say: drafty. That was why I ordered foam insulation tape and we sealed them. They are not perfect, but much better.
I also ordered a big set of food storage containers and cleaned half of our pantry closet. The other thing that had bothered me (or rather us) for some time was a big pile of books that didn’t fit anywhere. So I bought a shelf and brackets. Last weekend, Rich and I installed the long book shelf in Josephine’s “room”. All her (German and English) baby and kid’s books are on there now.
After years of drooling over the Dr. Marten’s Leonore Chelsea boots, I found them on sale and immediately ordered them. The only downside is that I am pretty annoyed at myself for not buying them earlier. They are so warm and comfortable. It took me a few wears to break them in because the leather is so sturdy. Now they are my favorite winter shoes by far.
Every now and then I get influenced by Instagram ads. In this case, I ordered the “Caffeine & Chaos” as well as the “I’m the Chaos” sweaters for Josephine and me. I find them just so hilarious. They haven’t arrived yet, but I can’t wait to match with my daughter.
And talking of Josephine, we were in dire need of a new stroller. We have learned our lesson from believing a cheap model would be fine and last just as well as the expensive ones. Nope, they do not. At least not here in New York City where we use a stroller several times every single day. Our old stroller started to put on the break in the middle of the street, which lead me to almost falling several times. After some research, I ordered the Summer 3Dpac CS+ for us. So far it has been great. It is very light and folds easily – which is perfect for our travel plans in February.
Aches and Pains
January wasn’t my favorite month when it comes to health. I proudly had my first PCP check-up since 2019 – unfortunately, several of my blood levels were slightly off. Because of some inexplicable elevated liver levels, I had a follow-up appointment and will also have an imaging.
I also had a sinus infection, which I hadn’t had since 2016. I thought I had been well in control of my winter allergy (totally unclear what I am allergy to). Apparently not so. I was knackered for several days.
Once I felt better, Josephine had her first cold ever. Our poor little girl with a terribly runny nose. There were about three really bad days for all of us – because when Josephine doesn’t sleep, nobody sleeps. By now she seems recovered.
Last, but not least, I went to my dentist for a check-up. And for the first time in over 25 years, they discovered a cavity under an ancient seal. So I need to visit them once more to have it fixed.
It struck me how little of the U.S. I have seen so far. As a matter of fact, I have only been to 14 states. Honestly, I think all those U.S. lovers from Europe that I follow on Instagram have visited so many more states than me – and I even live here. I had even made it one of my goals to travel more within the U.S. But then Covid hit, and last year we had Josephine.
But this year, this year shall be different! I have the time to travel and Josephine is still coming with us for free. So we booked two trips already:
In February we are going to Philadelphia and Myrtle Beach. A city and a beach trip. And I am thrilled.
Baby Birthday Planning
I can hardly believe that Josephine is already turning 1 next week. Even though she won’t have any memory of her first birthday party, we decided to celebrate in a big way. While Rich was responsible of figuring out time and guests, I am responsible for the decorations. We agreed on the theme “cats”. I then spent a lot of time in January researching great decorations – for the food and our apartment. So far a bazillion balloons have arrived and I am very excited.
Moreover, I wanted to give something special to Josephine for her first birthday. So I spent many hours creating a baby picture book for her. While I think I can come up with solid stories, I am not a skilled painter/drawer. So I used Canva to illustrate my book and am happy with the result. “Josephines erster Geburtstag: Wo ist Dina?” – in German because I always speak in German with her – is now available as an e-book and will soon be also available as a paperback.
In preparation for our Philadelphia trip, we watched “Rocky”. I had never seen the famous movie. While it felt a little slow at times (esp. in comparison to movie plots these days), I enjoyed it. We also started the second season of “The Barbarians”. So far, so good.
I read a total of 17 books in January (you can always follow me on my Goodreads account). Almost all of them were German crime novels set at the North Sea. They really make me want to spend some vacation in North and East Frisia and esp. on the islands.