Tag: kids

Sunday Column (160)

I started writing this post on Saturday night. I was exhausted because we spend all day running around. In the morning we “ran around” into central London (in the car) to get Colin a new bed. The afternoon we went to our first BBQ party this year, running after the boys. What a fantastic weather we had, a fantastic time and boy, are we exhausted!

There is nothing really like having a pint of lager in the sun, spending some time with friends, and chilling out. England is different when the sun comes out. It is fantastic. We seem to make the most out of it as it is a rare occurrence ๐Ÿ˜‰

At the moment things are busy. I am quite stressed about the house and the upcoming move. However, we should get our completion date next week. Fingers crossed. We sorted some last issues out this week. Besides that Rohan decides to wake us up at 3.30 every night. Work is busy but everything is changing with us now being a “new” company. So challenges are there. I have the feeling that the next 3 months will be an up and down, new things at work, the move and then we will finally settle into a new routine as of the summer. We cannot wait. Whilst being busy things are good – nothing to complain about.

What strikes me most in life at the moment however is Colin. He is not only cute and gorgeous but cheeky and loveable. On top of that he learns new words every day. Mostly British expressions although I am trying to speak a lot of German to him. Unfortunately I only see him at the weekend, so my influence is limited. When I watched him on his scooter on Saturday, I realised how grown up he is already. He becomes a little boy, his own character and personality. It is the “normal wonder” of life of babies becoming boys becoming man. Being able to witness this with your own child is amazing. I am very grateful for that.

I suppose that is all for this week. Next week is going to be a very busy one before we are slowly easing into Easter.

Have a great one,
Volker

Happy Birthday Rohan

12 months or 365 days. Happy Birthday Rohan W. Ballueder.

It seems as if it was yesterday that your mother and I went to hospital for mum to be induced. Granny was looking after your older brother and I was blogging about your birth. You were a true social media baby. No one understood me really. And today I am not allowed to put pictures of you up on my blog no more ๐Ÿ™ Maybe rightly so.

In the last 12 months I remember two nights, besides the few I was abroad, that I slept through. You seem to like the routine of a 2 am feed, a 3 am cuddle, a 4 am feed and a 6 am wake up call. All or a combination of those hours. Whether it is that you don’t like to eat as much as your brother or you are a light sleeper like your dad, I don’t know.

I wish for you to start sleeping through the night. I wish that for all of us ๐Ÿ™‚ You also like to get up early, but walking is not yet important. However, you are curious about anything that is going on. Rightly so.

You only cry when there is something wrong. You are most content, friendly with strangers and cuddly. Easy to please. May this continue.

I often imagine how your character turns out. What you will be like. But given the experience with your brother, I am enjoying every moment with you. Those precious 4 am cuddles no one else gets. No one in this world is allowed to cuddle you at this time. I get your full attention, your full unconditional love.

Rohan, happy birthday. Maybe many years from now your read this with one part of you laughing at your sentimental dad, the other part of you crying, wishing for your own child. Just don’t get grandpa up at 4 am ๐Ÿ˜‰

I love you. I hope I can provide you the future you deserve. Give you the love and happiness you need.

Many happy returns.

Your daddy.
Volker

Sunday Column (145)

Another week, this time full of Christmas parties, lies behind me. A good week. Good chats, good progress, good meetings. Overall this week wasn’t stressful but busy. Good busy.

You saw my article about RTB and branding. I love RTB. Really do. I think video RTB will be the next big thing. I had lots of chats about that. But enough about work, it is weekend after all.

Rohan has been sick this week. The vomiting bug finally caught us. I guess it was a matter of time as this bug has been going around for a while. Hence we had to cancel the trip we planned to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park with some friends of ours. Then of course Colin got it at the weekend too. I am feeling queasy but hopefully will be spared.

You remember the times when you didn’t have kids? It sounds terrible, as I wouldn’t want to miss them in the world. However, you remember when you could sleep in until 10 am each weekend day? When you went out for meals, drinks and parties? When you had a nap in the afternoon, went to the gym and just spend time with your partner?

Now you have to fit things in when the kiddies are asleep. I am struggling with the gym, parties and late nights are only occasional events, carefully planned. Kids make you focus solely on them, particularly of course when they are ill and more vulnerable.

But never ever would I want it any different. It just wouldn’t be the same, feeling needed, grown up and being able to pass on knowledge, expertise and fun to a little human being that challenges you new every minute! It couldn’t get better!

—-

Let me make another note on customer service and Ocado. After we quit Ocado due to unreliability and no improvement to their services over a period of almost 6 months, we thought we try another delivery. However, that delivery of course was late. They didn’t contact us as our phone number they had was wrong. Did they not have our email address? I cannot understand how a company like Ocado that clearly tries to be a market leader and has a high standart and expectations on customer service can f* things up that often. On the same account. Over again. Ridiculous, and now definitely off our radar. We have been quite happy with Tescos lately. Maybe because you expect less and you are more forgiven. But as you save about ยฃ20-ยฃ30 per weekly shopping this works out well.

Anyway, no point of raging. On a very positive note my wife and I got ourselves a new stereo for Christmas. Nothing special but an all in one mini HIFI system that plays off a USB stick, iPod/iPhone, CD and digital radio. It replaces a 20 year old Kenwood stereo system. I like the new system, hooked up my record player and TV, but also our old speakers. Pioneer does a nice little stereo here. Really like it ๐Ÿ™‚

Then, another positive is that we sold our bed frame on eBay and as you have seen yesterday we now have massive space. Means we soon should be able to order our Futon. We are just waiting for their Christmas sales which should be starting this week.

I guess that is all for now. Two weeks to Christmas. Looking at my diary I should be able to wind down from late this week. I cannot wait for the Christmas break.

Bless you all,
Volker

Sunday Column (138)

The saga continued with our Volvo. In a good way I suppose, as the Volvo garage found the problem. The bad news are twofold. One is that Kwik Fit put one part in wrongly which could have had awful consequences, but luckily Volvo noticed. The other bad news was that we need to bring the car back for a bigger repair which unfortunately will be quite pricey.

Now it brings the question back whether a car is necessary or whether it is a luxury. Whether we should get a different car or keep ours. Whether or not we might want to get rid of the car. For now, I suppose, we stick with ours until we don’t need rear facing car seats any longer. After that, we might change to a smaller model or to hired cars when going somewhere. We shall see.

Enough about cars. Work was good this week, as always. Quite a hectic start to the week with some great meetings but with success too ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy days.

Colin didn’t feel well this week. He has Foot-Mouth-Hand disease, a mild virus infection. This is totally harmless but might explain why I feel a bit under the weather for the past few weeks. Or as my wife said on Monday “You look worst I have ever seen you”, referring to the dark shadows under my eyes. Maybe I don’t sleep enough, or work too hard, or I am just exhausted.

Rohan started crawling forwards this week. That is fantastic and I anticipate him starting to walk around Christmas time. It is crazy to see how quickly the boys grow up. Anyone I speak to says that. Before you know it they leave the house. Does that mean, I am old before I know it?

There is so much more to write about this week, and a lot more personal thoughts. I will do that for next week’s blog in greater detail, as I have been quite busy this weekend. That is good I suppose. I managed some quality time with the family.

I guess that’s all for this week folks. Sorry for the rather short summary; promise to have a full catch up next week.

Have a good one.
Volker

Buddhism – being busy

I get a daily newsletter with Buddhist quotes. Hence I like to collect the most inspiring ones and put them in my blog. Similar to what I did with Balamadana back in the days.

Most quotes have been in my draft folder for a few months, if not years. So here we go with one:

How very happily we live, free from busyness among those who are busy. Among busy people, free from busyness we dwell.

– Dhammapada, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Now I recently couldn’t travel due to the sickness of my children. However, as I had holidays booked, I just ended up with two and a half days without any plans whatsoever but helping my wife and spending time (!) with my kids.

Time. Free time is almost unheard of. We all work a lot, normally 9 to 5.30, often to 6.30 and most often much longer. We are people that enjoy working (and I speak about people like myself), and we should probably or most certainly take a day off. Or compensate for over time. Not because we don’t value time at work or because it might be our right to do so. No, we should take time off because we need to.

We need to relax, unwind and take time for ourselves. Children really help you to de-stress and relax when they are in good form. Of course they can be awful, ill or very annoying at times, but the majority of the time you spend with them, it takes you back to “point zero“. You relax. You see the world with their eyes, more relaxed, more simplistic. It is great to unwind.

You become more productive if you are sitting down and unwind. Taking a break at work helps you to increase your productivity. Employers start realising that.

So as a self conscious Buddhist, someone who is at ease with him/herself, you should be able to have a calm and relaxed mind. A mind like water, being focused and concentrated whilst you ignore the busyness going on around you. You are the rock. You are the one that stays relaxed, not being bothered by what the environment tries to put upon you.

It takes a lot of practise but it is possible. You decide! You are in charge of your destiny and the way you live your life. Take charge.

Sunday Column (124)

This week has been weird. It really has.

I had holidays booked from lunchtime Thursday, so I tried to finish what I could work wise just before. I ended up – without deleting – to miraculous make a document disappear and was typing information back into an excel sheet last minute before I had to leave. However, I finished things off and off I went on holidays….

Leaving work wasn’t difficult as I worked from home on Thursday, giving me some time to wind down. Then, after lunch, I wanted to go to the airport for my booked BA flight to Berlin. However, that didn’t happen.

Wednesday night both kids kept us up all night. Last week the wife was by herself and had a hard time coping, so when one boy was teething this week and the other having a bad cough, we decided that I better stay home.

I was gutted. Still am. I was supposed to stay with an old school friend in Berlin and attend a wedding on Friday of my Vietnamese friend from Aberdeen to his German Vietnamese (now) wife. All to happen in a Scottish / German / Vietnamese environment in Cecilienhof, a more than historic place. I can’t wait to hear how it was, and good luck to both of you.

Did I mind? Of course I did. But would have I mind more if my wife had called me on Friday saying she couldn’t cope? Or if both boys had felt worse? Oh yes!
And, if that had been a business trip, I had to either postpone it or we had to get help. This time I had a choice.

What sounds like me looking to justify our decisions, is probably exactly that. Can you justify any decision? A day before the wedding you tell the couple that they have to change the sitting order, that there is one less friend to attend? But that is life.

Life is greater than a single event. Greater than our jobs, our houses, our possessions. Life is just that: L-I-F-E. You never know what happens, and you have to make decisions, as hard or difficult they might seem. As much as they might influence others, you call the shots, as your priorities are health of your children, your children, your family, then you, then your friends. And, of course, everyone understand.

I saw it from a positive point of view, I gained an additional two days with the boys. We spend quality time in the garden building sand castles, playing with the trains and having a play about.

You know what I learned over the last 2 years, 1 month and 8 days? Life is not only about you, and you alone. Life is for the greater good, for your kids. Life is for the next generation. Not for you or for your parents.

We live in the now, we are here. We can only change this one moment, and we can only make decisions based on the facts we have and the time we have to make those decisions. And that is it. Nothing else.

But in any doubt, your offspring takes priority over anything.

I am still learning.
Have a great week,
Volker

Sunday Column (123)

This week started in Cologne where I stayed in a peculiar hotel which also had smoking rooms. I had to transfer out of that into a non smoking room, and who did I find?

It was the first time away since I started bonding with Colin so much more. I realised my last trip in March wasn’t as bad but since Colin just started saying “Daddy” last weekend, I started being much closer to him. Not only because he is saying it but he has been engaging much more over the last few months. Also, just this weekend, because I spend so much more time with him than normal, you can see our relationship deepening. It is fantastic to be a father.

I used the chance to meet my cousin in Cologne and little Lia, her daughter. Writing this post I realise I didn’t take any pictures. However, she is 6 months and a proper big girl, just like her 2nd cousins being proper boys. Family I guess ๐Ÿ˜‰ I cannot wait for the family reunion later this year. It was good to see my cousin and her husband, and Lia of course. We are all grown ups now.

She and my work colleagues noticed that after 10 years in the UK I have a way of forming “English sentences” in German, so speaking with a slight accent. Wow. Last week I was writing about me talking too much with a German accent and forming German sentences, now it is the other way around. Do I live or speak in between two worlds?

I returned from Germany with a slight hangover and went to a conference from which I reported on Friday. It is amazing how our industry is changing, and how familiar faces are moving from one part of the industry to our new and growing part, e.g. RTB (real time bidding), and it is sooooo exciting. I don’t only say that because my boss reads my blog but because what we do is cutting edge and so new within online. It is fun and a great way of spending most of your week (kind of).

Also I realised that when my wife went out on Friday night that I worked until 10 pm. I knew I loved working in general but also think that if I didn’t have family, I would work long hours every day and weekends. So I guess it is the family that keeps me sane and makes sure I don’t wander off to the lunatic site, lol.

Enough said about work. I was so glad to see Colin and Rohan again. Both are a bit ill at the moment but it almost breaks my heart if I don’t see them for a day. But I guess as the bread winner you have to make a decision what you want in life and how; and you work for the greater good of the family. One tries to compromise whilst they are young and don’t realise you are away. We shall see. I am not the only father in the industry and often end up speaking to clients and prospects about family. We are all one big community and are all in the same situation somehow.

We had a fantastic weekend with some friends who came over, so enjoyed a great Saturday night. These occasions seems to be rarer than they used to so more enjoyable when they happen.

I leave the family again this week, this time going to a friend’s wedding to Berlin.

Have a great week.
Volker