Wednesday, October 28, 2009

And the Festivities Have Begun!

And so the Halloween festivities of the season have officially begun. Last night, we attended our Heidelberg Ward Trunk or Treat. We're in an English speaking military ward, but we joined with the German speaking ward to join in the fun!

We had a lot of fun. They had games, a spook alley and food, which included the normal Hot Dogs, chips, and Capri-Sonne (Capri Sun), which our ward probably provided (typical American fare)...and the German ward provided the waffles and crepes bar...THAT was my favorite part. And of course they had all sorts of fillers, chocolate, banana, applesauce or apples, powdered sugar, etc. Yum, yum.

So, wanna know what everyone dressed up as? Well, Brian and I don't dress up. Ya, that's right. As much as I LOVE Halloween, I never dress up. I always feel silly. I TOTALLY love when other adults dress up, I just never do. I guess I have in the past (see this post), but haven't in a few years. ANYWAY! I digress.

Here we go: First it's Xanthe. Duhduhduhduh!!!!! Drum roll please...

Recognize this character?

Elphaba from Wicked!!!

Xanthe found this awesome dress and wanted it so bad. When she tried it on, she started singing, "One short day in the emerald city..." and doing a lyrical dance all around the store. So, it was meant to be. (Now, finding green paint was another story!) I can't believe how much her eyes were popping out and so blue too! I couldn't stop laughing at how awesome she looked. However, at first without her costume on, I told her she looked like The Incredible Hulk. :)

Next is Xoe....duhduhduhduh...Drum roll please...

Sandy from Grease!!!

They both were so awesome in their characters. I wish this picture showed Xoe's hair more. It was so huge and we did it all with sponge rollers! (Remember? I have none of my stuff, no curling irons or anything.) We found this black outfit when we knew we had to come up with some sort of costume out of regular clothes. They were selling this baby in the kids' section. How awesome is it? It's like a halter top with another layer over it. I started laughing so hard when she was all ready cuz she looked SO good. You go girl!

Next, we have Spencer. I totally had two REALLY good ideas, but was very frustrated trying to find stuff to make his costume with. I can't tell you what they are cuz I'm saving them for next year and the year after that. He's going to be so funny.

For this year, Brian and I found this pirate costume for 5 bucks! Of COURSE I had to get it. But, I had a feeling it was going to be small. It said 2T and up to 36 pounds. Well, they lied. Brian and I were laughing the whole time. And the only way to get it on was through the neck hole so we prayed he didn't poop during the party. There was no way it was coming off unless it was off for good. We had the hardest time squeezing his arms into it. It was quite funny though. Watch his diaper through the night. It slowly gets larger and larger and we ended up having to take the costume completely off towards the end. Too funny.

The girls brought their friend Rachel with them. Look at the height difference. haha. Good thing she's a year older than them or I would have been REALLY worried. She is such a cute girl. I'm glad she could come along.

And a picture of the fam...sans mom. You definitely don't want to see what I looked like that night. I did don my Wicked shirt, so I was kind of Halloweenish.

These are the only pictures with the eye patch and bandana. And the bandana wouldn't even go on right cuz I had to do it quickly so I could take the picture before he ripped them off. Arrrrrgh. I totally wanted to paint some beard scruff but it was a lost cause when he barely let me put his costume on. hehe. He was still a dang cute pirate.

Brian said that the eye patch was so big it looked like a surgical mask. haha. I couldn't stop thinking all night that that's what it looked like.

Eating crepes. These girls LOVE chocolate banana crepes.

Xoe performing her hit song, "You're the One That I Want" for the fans.

Cute, cute Elphaba doin the Cake Walk. Look how blue her eyes are. I did nothing to the coloring of these pictures.

Throwin' it! "Wuz Uuuup" is what she was sayin. Who are these girls?
Spencer walking with Daddy...he loves holding onto only one of Brian's fingers.

Walking with Xoe. He was in heaven just walking around the church without even stopping. Greaaaat. I foresee some good exercise for me chasing him around.

I love this next picture. When he was holding on to both mine and Brian's hands, he would look up every so often and just stare at us. It melted me.

Playin games....notice the diaper is gettin pretty obscene at this point.

And the last picture...Brian took the picture and said, "Now that's what I call a Pirate Booty". Wooooow....hahahah.

Like always, we have lots more parties to go to. We can't wait! Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Warning!!! This post has a couple of semi-long videos (a couple minutes is the longest one)... I've warned you...

So, a couple of my sisters mentioned to me at different times that they wished they could just see where we live so they could imagine where I'm at when I'm talking to them. So, I thought we'd do a fun little post about where we live.

We didn't move to Wiesbaden yet so we decided to get a bigger apartment, thanks to a great new friend we made here. She hooked us up at the last minute. It's been great cuz it has much more room for Spencer to crawl/walk around and, as you'll see from the videos, it's 2 apartments in one, so double everything. I figured I should hurry and show you now, since we've been here for 3 weeks, and we'll be leaving this weekend to move into our house. Yay!

So, if I haven't mentioned it before, we're in a city called Heidelberg. You can see all the fun places there are here from my previous posts when we were here before. It's a city I told you about that has the really cool castle on the hill.

Anyway, the picture above is of the "Gastehaus-Appartements" (pronounced "GAST-hows"...Kerstin you have to tell me if I'm butchering these pronunciations), which is basically a type of "hotel" that people can stay in long term. We have a cleaning person that comes once a week to change the sheets, bring us clean towels, vacuum and basically try to make it look pretty again. I asked her if I could take her home with us when we move to the new house. I think she thought it was funny, that is, if she understood me. I think she did. She speaks a little English, and she's this middle-aged, cute, stout, blond German woman.

This picture is one of the bedrooms somewhere in the hotel. It's off of their website, but it's not ours. It gives you the basic idea though. I thought it was a pretty cool picture. You can see our room, which is a little different, when we get to the videos.

Here's the front of the building. The sign over the door entitled "Dorfschanke" (DORF-Shawnkuh) is the restaurant that, might I add, is pretty amazing. Really delicious, artistically-displayed food. To the right, (without a sign) is the "Backerei" (BACK-er-eye), or bakery. You find these about every four stores along a street. There are SO many over here. The Germans love their healthy fresh bread, pastries and coffees. Gotta love that they're so fit and thin...well, most of them. I could learn a lesson from them...and I'll do it gladly. I could eat all the time at the Backerei!

The Backerei is where we're allowed to come down for breakfast if we feel like it and pick something from their glass case, order something hot from the back (like eggs or pancakes) and/or eat from their little breakfast table that has juices, cereals (like granola) and meats/cheeses. Of course, my favorite thing to get is a chocolate filled croissant, Xoe's is the pretzel bread, and Xanthe's is a plain croissant smothered in Nutella, which she does so for each and every bite.


We LOVE their hot chocolate. They serve it in a fun mug and make it fun and frothy at the top too. Xoe gets excited when they occasionally drizzle it with chocolate.

Xanthe and her Nutella smothered roll.

While we're sitting there, on any given day, we could see probably 50 people walk through to get a croissant or baguette on their way to work. Some even stay for coffee. And why not? It's so cheap. It's like .50 cent Euro (about 75 cents American dollar) for a croissant or roll, and only 1 Euro (about $1.50) for a cake or pie. Cheap breakfast!

And this isn't just in the morning. In the afternoon, we see people sitting outside reading the newspaper or visiting with a friend, enjoying a rounded mug of frothed coffee and a pastry (served on real china of course).

Xoe with her pretzel bread

In this next video, Xanthe leads you to the bakery so you can see what it looks like inside. We stop right when we get into the bakery cuz there were a lot of people in there and Xanthe was embarrassed to be filming once we got there.

Also, it was in the afternoon so most of the pastries have been sold. But usually if you go in as early as 5:30 a.m., they have these beautifully glazed fruit and cream pies, raspberry creme rolls, chocolate/pear tarts, etc., etc. I could go on. I guess it's a good thing that I have to go up a few floors to get to the apartment to work off the calories I just ate. Actually, we don't go in very much and in the morning I don't have the cakes. I really should though, huh! You only live once. haha. I wish.

This picture of Brian and Spencer is right outside our driveway. (I don't know why Brian is so red. hehe) I should have gotten a picture of the front of this building. It's very cute. I found out it's called "Rathaus" ("RAT-house"), which is not what you think. It's actually where people go to get their wedding licenses and can get married there. Be still my heart.

The next few pictures depict the scenery around our apartment/hotel that we see when we are taking a walk. These houses are specifically on the route to the girls' bus stop. I'm enchanted. Take notice of the cobblestone road.

On our way down the cobblestone street to the bus stop...
Waiting at the bus stop...
Getting on the bus (see the orange "Schul Bus" sign down on the front right bumper of the bus. You can barely see it but it's orange with a shadow of kids walking)...At this point of the picture, the girls are showing the bus driver their bus pass and saying "Guten Morgen" (GOOT-en MORE-gun) to the bus driver and his assistant (the darker lady you see in the window). Most of the bus drivers only speak a little English.

So, now we're to the part where I'm going to walk you through our apartment. I thought that to give you a really good idea of what the apartment actually looks like, I've made a couple videos walking you through the apartment.So, if you get bored, know that I won't be offended if you just shut it off. hehe. Know though that I have a few thoughts about the videos after watching them again, which are:

1. I sound like I have a major Utah accent (sorry Utah people, but you know which one I mean). Do I really sound like that in real life?
2. I tried so hard not to catch myself in the mirror, but did once. Can you find it? It was quite silly because sometimes I was trying to be so conscious about it that I lost my train of thought. Then I couldn't remember where I was in my explanations.
3. In the first video I said i wasn't going to record the whole stairs, and then I ended up doing it. haha.
4. As many times as I've climbed the 6 flights of stairs, I still sound winded going up them. How sad is that?
5. Keep in mind that I was lucky that I didn't have to carry anything up the stairs with me. Usually I have a 30 pound baby, all the crap that goes along with having a baby, and then anything else I've bought while I was out.
6. Let's just admit, I'm really out of shape. haha.

This next video is a bit longer...about 2:30. Just warnin ya! And I had to use youtube for this video since my internet kept timing out waiting for Blogger to upload it. But I felt a little weird about broadcasting it to the whole world. So I made it a private video, which says only 25 people can view it. I don't know if that applies to it being on my blog. So, if it does and you guys can't view it, let me know and I'll just make it unprivate. I'm not quite convinced more than that actually visit my blog. :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hispanic Heritage Month

This month at school, the girls celebrated Hispanic Heritage. They had to do a full on research report about a hispanic country of their choosing, with rough drafts, a reference page, research proof and a typewritten two page report, AS WELL AS a poster depicting the country and their research...welcome to 5th Grade!

Have I mentioned how amazing their teacher, Ms. Burrus is? She just knows how to make it fun and get the kids excited about it. She didn't just assign them a report... she gave them a whole packet that helped lead them through it, as well as daily assignments that helped them prioritize and slowly make progress.

Then, to get them excited about presenting it, she didn't just say, "Oh you're gonna have to stand up in front of the class to show what you know." She invited the parents (with a printed invitation and country guidebook) to a potluck luncheon where everyone brought something from their country. Before we ate, she had each child stand in a different spot in the room and as the parents came into the room, they had to tell each parent about their country. And to help the parents with the presentations, she provided us with a list of questions to ask the students.

She then told the kids that if they didn't have a parent they needed to find one that was standing around cuz they were having a contest to see who could present their country report to the most parents.

What a great idea! We all know that teaching is the best way to learn something. Sure enough, all these kids knew their countries backward and forward by the time they had presented it and answered questions at least ten times.

I'll be honest. When I walked in and saw Xoe standing prominently and proud in front of her report she worked so hard on, and then looked over and saw Xanthe animatedly telling one of the moms about her country that she also worked so hard on, I got a bit choked up. I don't know why. I just did. I was bursting with pride! I just got teary eyed all over again writing that. haha.

I realized I never said what countries the girls did. Xanthe chose Chile (since her dad went on a mission there, and my sister's boyfriend is there on a mission), and Xoe chose Colombia (since that is part of their heritage, their dad is Colombian.) They had such a good time emailing James and their dad to have their questions answered. They even loved the story that their dad asked his parents for some answers to the questions, and James took the list of questions around to the Chilean people to get schooled. They were in heaven knowing that the answers came from real native people. They also loved researching too. And who loves research!?

Oh, and did I mention they BOTH GOT 100%'s! A+! WAY TO GO GIRLS!!! WOOHOO!

We are truly going to miss this amazing school, with such an amazing 5th grade teacher. It was about time the girls deserved a good school experience. It's been awhile. Hopefully the new school they start next week will give them the same experience. We're keeping our fingers crossed.