Thursday, December 24, 2009


Most of you have received my Christmas card. I wanted to wait to post these til after I had sent all our cards out. (For those of my friends overseas, you get to see what our Christmas card is before you receive it. How fun for you!)

I wish I could have had all these pictures I'm posting on my card. The kids were so dang cute. Spencer was the hardest to get on camera, but not cuz he was being naughty. It was because all he wanted to do was watch the cars race by. We had to catch him right as the car was passing.

Enjoy these pictures and we hope you all have a great Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009


Last Monday I had the biggest epiphany. Spencer is 18 months! Do you know what that means? He can go to nursery at church! Woohoo! That is a huge milestone for me, even though he's really not that bad of a baby at church.

How is it that my little (big) baby 18 months? But what a cutie he is...He's my little boyfriend and I totally dig him!

Here are a few things about him...

1. He weighs 32 pounds, is more than 1/2 the height of his sisters, wears a size 6 diaper (most toddlers stop wearing diapers at size 5) and is the same size as his 3 and 4-year-old cousins. He's just so cute though! :)

2. He has had a full set of teeth for about 5 months now.

3. He walks, almost runs, all over the place. He definitely fits the meaning of why they are called "toddlers." He looks like he is toddling back and forth when he walks.

4. He hates sitting in his stroller, but loves his car seat.

5. He loves escalators. Could go up and down them all day, which much to his benefit, his sisters love them too.

6. He has the most serene, yet inquisitive nature about him. He's very quiet, mostly cuz he's exploring the house or his surroundings. He loves to watch people and animals...and he isn't destructive. He'll walk over to something and gently touch his finger to it. My mom doesn't even have to worry about him being in the same room with all her ceramic nativities and Christmas decorations.

7. He is such a daddy's boy. He is a completely different person when Brian is around. It was especially notable during this trip when Brian wasn't around for the last 10 days. Then when we went to pick him up at the airport, Spencer has been all giggles and very clingy to Brian. It's very cute (and secretly I LOVE IT!)

8. He loves, loves, loves to read books and his favorite toy is the wooden beads on the wires that I thought no kid ever liked. We even found a miniature one and I made sure I found a place for it on the plane even though it didn't fit anywhere.

He has the funniest quirks about him. I was trying to capture all of them on camera but I figured I might as well post before I had them all. Here are a few:

1. He will drink his bottle without hands! (Yes, he still drinks a bottle. It's my saving grace on the planes and wherever we travel. My dentist brother-in-law is probably shaking his head. Awww, come on...everyone else still has their kids on a pacifier. No judgments, ya?)

2. He "skis" everything. He'll find two of something and if they slide on the floor, he'll put two hands on it, get on all fours and ski around the room. From DVD cases, to books, to toys, to CD's...anything that will slide. Watch this next video.

3. He loves the colors orange and blue. Random, I know. But anytime there is a toy that has different colored blocks, rings, etc., he will pull them all out of the bucket and find the orange and blue ones. 

(I just remembered why I stopped writing this. I think I wanted to post a video but my videos weren't uploading. I don't think I want to go back and find it.  Plus, I think I wanted to post more of his quirks but this is good for now.  This gem was definitely fun to find. :) )

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Cards, Christmas Cards

Yay! It's that time of year again. Remember how much I love Christmas cards? I love them. And I love sending them. Heather just braved our family and the German cold/rain to take a photo shoot of our family for Christmas cards. Can't wait? I would give you a sneak peek...but you'll just have to wait. Email me your address if you want me to send you one.

Here's our picture from last year...

Happy exchanging!

Monday, December 7, 2009


Heather just got on a plane to fly back. I'm so sad right now cuz she was here for over two weeks.

Wow. What a fun time we had. She is a ball of fun wherever she goes. Not the obnoxious kind. Just a natural part of her that rubs off on people. I was constantly feeling guilty that I am so un-fun and didn't have enough for us to do. haha. She totally deserved a vacation though, just to sit back and do nothin! That girls works harder than I can even imagine.

We had such a great time. My brother Harrison was here at the beginning but had to fly back. I was sad to see him go too. He hasn't ever been to Europe before and will be going on a mission soon. I'm so glad he was able to have a last hurrah for awhile!

I surprised him by taking him to Italy for his birthday. He kept saying he wanted to go but I told him it was too expensive and not feasible to fit into the 10 days he was here. I found $10 tickets on Ryanair to Venice. We had a great time. Harrison...please get your pictures developed. I need to see what kind of pictures turned out on your throwaway cameras.

We also took a trip to Paris. It was quite cold, but we had a good time nonetheless. The last day we were there we were so bummed cuz everything was closed, including the catacombs and the Palace of Versailles. But leave it to H&H to find fun in it. We left them to go exploring off on their own and they went running around Notre Dame plaza singing french songs, eating at a cafe and people watching. Heather...PLEASE post the videos. They are hilarious.

Some German things we did was take them to the Black Forest, riding down the Rodelbahn, going to a Christmas Market ( favorite part about christmas over here), and shopping in downtown Wiesbaden.

While Heather was here on her own, we went out to dinner in a small town at a fun restaurant, she helped me clean out my closet and put outfits together to get some more style, drank probably 4 cases of Diet Cokes WITH ICE (she made me buy a whole bag of ice cuz she was going through withdrawals), saw "New Moon" with Xoe and Xanthe, got addicted to Gossip Girl and Arrested Development (yes both of us hadn't seen them yet), slept in for hours, contracted strep throat (just heather, not me) and experienced German's amazing healthcare system, talked me into starting Alli pills, and made amazing food and dinners. Fun times, fun times! Oh, and did I mention making 3 batches of our amazing chocolate chip cookies (including one batch that turned out chocolate CHOCOLATE chip cookies, since we only had chocolate pudding) and 2 batches of German Pancakes with Butter Syrup. F'amazing!

I had such a great time with her. She was so helpful around the house...helping with Spencer, doing dishes and cleaning, as well as helping the girls with their homework, letting them have sleepovers with her and making Christmas crafts. I told her that she and her soon-to-be husband should come over and live with us! She could be my au pair. :) Wouldn't that be fun? But then we both realized that I would want her to go places with me, rather than watching the kids so I could go. haha. Oh well. I'll just have to talk them into coming over as part of their honeymoon!

Pictures...I don't think I'll post any right now. I started to go through pictures to post but they're all Heather's pictures which I'm sure she'll post soon. If not, I'll post some. She posted many of them on her Facebook account. So, when she posts on her blog, I'll just point you over there.

Miss you Heather and Harrison. (Oh and Harrison, if you get this...don't be jealous, but Heather just texted me to say she had a whole row to herself on the long flight over.)

It's a good thing I get to see them this weekend (the kids and I are flying back to the states for a month). I'm off to pack!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS present to everyone who reads this!

To: My Family (and friends too!)
From: Someone who is SO not-"2009"

Ya, I am not on Facebook! Not because of some high horse or strong opinion against it. I just really didn't have time AND I don't know how to manage the time I do have. But now, I'm trying, cuz I know I miss out on seeing pictures, and my family misses out on mine. So, Merry Christmas to all y'all who have, on countless occasions, given me a hard time for being "behind the times". I'm sure now that I've signed up, everyone will move to some other site! haha. Oh well. Can't wait to start connecting with everyone!

Merry Christmas! This is my present to you. I am now a Facebook member. And let me know if you can't find me on there. Email me so we can be "friends" (even though we already are!)


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gone For Awhile...

These cool kids flew into town on Saturday...
My brother and sister, Harrison and Heather

We're off to Venice for a couple of a surprise for the birthday boy, Harrison, who is turning 19 on Thanksgiving Day. He's going on a mission for our church soon, and Heather is getting married in a few months, so they up and took a European vacation as a last "hurrah!"

On Thanksgiving Thursday, we'll be heading to Paris for a few days. How would cupcakes with 19 burning candles, and sparkling juice on the lawns beneath the Eiffel Tower at night in Paris, France sound for spending your birthday day and Thanksgiving holiday? I think Harrison, and Heather, will be pleased.

I won't be blogging while I'm gone. I'll try, but I can't promise anything.

Wanna see why I haven't blogged since Wednesday? Brian and I were working madly to get pictures on the walls and decorations in place. Here are a few pictures of our house now that it is decorated a bit. As I finish more rooms I can post more for you. I'm glad Heather brought up the point of letting you all know that just cuz I'm posting these pictures doesn't mean any of you can get out of not that you've seen the house. haha.

Okay, we'll talk soon! Auf Wiedersehen!

Front Entryway


Family Room

How do you like my early Christmas present? The beautiful red rug adorning the floor of this beautiful room? I dreamed about it for a month before we moved in and Brian surprised me by having it waiting for me when I showed up for the first time to see the house. It has brought me much joy during the tedious job of unpacking.

Guest Room
(Where Heather and Harrison are staying)

Upstairs Bathroom
(Anyone know what the second toilet is? Not a very good picture, but you can tell there are two.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You Are Cordially Invited... our Victorian Tea Party...

Date: Friday, November 13, 2009
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Place: Mommy's Dining Room

Please wear your best tea party attire.

...The girls had three days off of school. It was quite a surprise to me because I was led to believe that their only vacation day was Wednesday for Veterans' Day. However, they came home on Tuesday boasting about how their school had both Thursday or Friday off for Parent Teacher Conferences.

Now, before you start wondering how I could be such an irresponsible parent, remember that we only started the week before, and I've been busy working out bus passes, doctor's and pharmacy appointments for Xoe's medicine during school, meal passes, etc. And on the school calendar, it only stated "Parent Teacher Conferences", which to me meant AFTER school, especially since no other American school around were taking these dates off. I should have guessed they would have taken the days off for these conferences seeing as they have about 600 students. That's a lot of conferences to hold AFTER school. What do I know?

The first thing I said to the girls when I was enlightened with such startling information was, "Oh man! I have to entertain you guys for 5 days!?" The girls started laughing and said, "Yup! You're stuck with us!"

And even though I was joking, I was kind of serious. I totally am not done unpacking the house, and there is still so much to do. Wednesday and Thursday the girls just did their own thing...which meant playing the computer, playing the Wii, helping me every so often, running errands and dilly dallying with a few other odds and ends activities. By Thursday night, I was feeling super guilty, so I thought I needed to pull together something fun. It was a little bit rainy, so I decided we needed to do something indoors.

So, on Friday morning when the girls realized we had another boring day ahead of us adamantly declared, "Mom, PLEASE can we do something fun. I'm getting cabin fever!" haha. I replied jokingly, but acting as if I was mad, "GO TO YOUR ROOM!" When they got there, they found a beautiful black, white and hot pink scrolled invitation with the same wording above handwritten inside.

I couldn't tell at first if they were excited. When I saw Xanthe open her invitation she had a smile on her face, but then said, "Mom, aren't tea parties where old ladies sit around and don't talk?" Haha. I said, "No way! Tea parties are super fun! And what better way to learn manners and etiquette? You can help me prepare for it if you want."

I had every intention of closing the doors to the dining room and then surprising them at 11:30. But then I KNEW how much they loved doing these kinds of things. And I was right. They right away tied on their aprons Auntie Katie made for them and went straight to work. Xanthe was making tiny tea sandwiches and Xoe was frosting the chocolate cake.

We had such a great time. Again, at first they were a little nervous of totally enjoying it. As you'll see from the pictures, they soon got totally into how to properly set a table, the correct order of preparing the fixings for your tea, and how yummy Raspberry Vinaigrette, tea sandwiches and scones can be.

On the Menu:
Lemon Creme Scones
Served with Clotted Cream & Raspberry Jam

Tea Sandwiches
English Cucumber Slices laid upon a layer of creamy dill butter spread on white bread
Tomato, Basil & Garlic drizzled with olive oil served on wheat bread
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Smoked Turkey on wheat bread

Mixed Green Salad
Fresh Blueberries and Mozzarella Cheese on a bed of spring green lettuce, drizzled with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Fresh Fruit Salad
Sliced Strawberries, Kiwi & Blueberry swirled with vanilla yogurt

Choice of Chamomile, Mint, Lemon or Honeysuckle Herbal Tea
(Served with sugar, cream and lemon)
Strawberry-Infused Ice Water

Moist Chocolate Cake with Rich Chocolate Frosting

What was Spencer doing?

Oh, he was enjoying juice and tea biscuits (aka apple juice, banana baby cookies and Nilla wafers...)

Chocolate Cake

So, I have to tell you the story of why I chose "chocolate cake" for dessert. You have no idea how much Xoe has been craving "chocolate cake" (I put it in quotes cuz every time I hear the words "chocolate cake" I think of her drooling over saying it. So try and imagine her saying it when you read it too). This little girl has been obsessed with "chocolate cake".

Every morning we would go into the bakery in Heidelberg for breakfast or for a cold weather break for some hot chocolate and a pastry. Right away, she would scan the whole display for "chocolate cake". All she would ask is, "Is that chocolate cake?" Or, "That's not JUST chocolate cake. That has stuff in it. I want JUST chocolate cake with chocolate frosting." Haha.

Then we would go to the grocery store and search high and low in the bakery section and up and down the treat aisles...on the lookout for already-made "chocolate cake with chocolate frosting". She was so disappointed when she wouldn't find it.

She would also scour the menus at restaurants to see if THEY had "chocolate cake", but no luck.

This has been a topic of conversation since we've gotten here, and so far she hasn't had her craving for "chocolate cake" filled.

So, imagine her elation when I pulled out from the oven, none other than "CHOCOLATE CAKE!" (yup, that was how she said it, so you have to go back and read it like how she would say it.) But then she said...."oh, well I don't want it cuz usually everybody puts white frosting on it and I don't want white frosting. Right then I pulled out from behind my back a container of chocolate frosting. I thought she was seriously going to cry. She grabbed it from my hands and of course had to be the one to put the frosting on.

I'm not even kidding you when I say that I found her going into her own world during the tea party. And when I glanced at where she was looking, I saw her falling in love with the image that soon she would get a piece of that chocolate cake.

Oh, and don't even think that she didn't have TWO pieces of chocolate cake for the party, one after dinner that night, one the next morning after breakfast, a piece for lunch on both Saturday and Sunday, took some to school on Monday, AND had another piece right after school. By that time, Brian and Xanthe had helped her finish it off (I was actually pretty good, believe it or not!) so it was gone pretty soon. So, when I stopped by her school on Tuesday, I could tell she was feeling pretty sad about something. So, I asked her if she wanted me to bake her more "chocolate cake" to make her feel better. She gave me this look like she was going to throw up and all she said while shaking her head was, "No more chocolate cake..." Hahaha. Guess we slothed that craving right out of her.

Friday, November 13, 2009

When I'm Queen of My Own World....

...Moms Will Have Video Cameras Behind Their Eyes....

Do you ever feel like so many things happen when the camera is off? A giggle. A laugh. Learning to walk. Or a funny idiosyncrasy no other kid does, only your darling little baby. But you never can catch that right moment.

Things that you want to remember after they grow older, but probably your memory won't be so good by then.

Wouldn't it be so cool if these memories could be caught as they happened and then stored to a computer? Then you could share them with the people you love. Or share them with the child after they've grown old. Or even keep certain treasures to yourself, but be able to gaze at every so often.

So, yes. I have often made plans for when I have my own world.

On my world, moms will have video cameras behind their eyes.

(And yes, I have had this thought this since Xanthe and Xoe were babies. If the pictures of them were scanned in, I would have probably posted some. But I don't think my heart can take going back and looking at pictures of them yet. It's been so long since they were babies that my heart will want to look at every picture and soak it all in. So, maybe one day I'll post more baby pictures of the girls. But for now, here are some pictures of Spencer that I never got to post. Spencer did something so funny this morning that reminded me of my wish to be able to remember these things...and sometimes be able to share them with my friends. So, I saw it fitting to post these pictures together with that thought...)