Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Soon Will Be Here

Nate, Reese, Jaeger and I have really gotten into the Christmas spirit this week. We've got presents under the tree and Christmas music can almost always be heard in the background at our house. I've gotten really into making baked goods this year, I decided that it's what moms do and since I'm a mom now I need to get started. I've made 6 lbs of fudge and a bunch of magic cookie bars thus far and I have 6 more lbs of fudge and a few more cookie bar batches to make before Christmas.This past Saturday our friends wanted to go to the Trier Christmas Market and despite our experience last Saturday we decided to go back and soak in the Christmas spirit. Luckily, it was actually less crowded this time than it was the last time. We wandered through the stands looking at the crafts and of course had to get a Nutella and banana crepe to cap off the evening.

On Sunday we took Round 1 of Reese's Christmas pictures, she looked way cute in her dress. My friend Lindsay made a cute bow for her hair which totally completed the outfit, I'm definetly indebted to her since my attempts at finding anything for her hair were fruitless.

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Christmas Nightmare

I had been looking for a Christmas dress for Reese for a little while now and kept coming up empty handed. I checked the selections at both Ramstein and Vogelweh when I was there and all the ones in her size were ugly and if I saw one that I did like it was way too big. A few weekends ago I almost broke down and bought one at the BX just because I knew that if I didn't send the fam a picture of her in a traditional little Christmas dress my mom would ask why I hadn't gotten one, you know you would have mom, but after I had carried the dress around the store I just couldn't go through with it so I hung it in all its hideous glory back on the rack. (I'd like to insert an apology here to anyone who might have seen these dresses and thought they were gorgeous).
Since we were still dressless this weekend we headed over to Trier to give the German stores a try, which is where my Christmas nightmare truly comes in. I don't know why I wasn't thinking that the walkplatz and the mall would be a nightmare of German crowds, but I was just imagining a regular amount of people. There was only one parking garage that still had spots available when we got to Trier at 10am and from the time we first saw the sign advertising 122 available slots til we finally pulled up to the lot, the sign read 60 slots. There were soooooo many people there for the Christmas market, and apparently to do their Christmas shopping, that we could barely manage to get from one area of the walkplatz to another, not to mention my Christmas cheer was going out the window as store after store there was not a single dress, let alone holiday dress in the baby section. I seriously wonder where Germans buy baby clothes because all I saw in up to roughly an 18 month size were pajama like outfits, but whatever.
We decided to take a break from the madness to get some lunch and all we were looking for was a place slightly off the walkplatz where we could all sit down and not be bombarded by people for a few minutes. Instead we found all that we were looking for and more in a place called Lousiana just behind the main area of the walkplatz. It's the German version of a stereotypical American restaurant and we LOVED it. The word big is everywhere, "Big American Buffet Breakfast" and "Classic BIG Burger" we were cracking up. Our favorite phrase was "Traditional Big American Apple Strudel" we didn't realize there was any such thing but it looked delicious. We both got amazing, and true to the advertisement, big burgers with super yummy cajun fries, not to mention BIG colas with ice which doesn't often happen in Europe.
Our escape into the American stereotype energized us to get back out and get to task, so we hit up the mall where we found an H&M kids and a dress that while not the traditional christmas dress you would imagine picking up at JcPenneys, will still serve our needs and is quite cute. I'm still looking for some accessories for it as attempts to find a little black headband or bow for her hair were fruitless as was my attempt to locate a black shrug or sweater to go over the dress, but I will not be deterred. We're headed to bitburg to look for anything that will work. Needless to say when we got home after that amazingly long day, we decided to lock ourselves in our house where no one could enter the "BIG American zone of personal space" that I like to maintain.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Postage

How is it that postage rates go up so fast? I bought stamps in October only to realize that when I put them on my Christmas cards today they were a penny short, so now I get to go buy some penny stamps. My angry postage realization led me to go on a hunt for all our old stamps so consider yourself lucky if you're one of the people that gets two .37 stamps or an .80 stamp on your Christmas card because I was too lazy to go buy a ridiculous number of penny stamps and stamp up the whole outside of the envelope just to use up my old stamps. I hate it when the post office gets the best of me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The News

Well, we just found out that Nate will be deploying again in March. His leaving doesn't come as much of surprise, I mean we were hoping he wouldn't have to but we knew that his groups time was coming up again. The only surprise is that he'll be leaving in March instead of May, which is what we were expecting, and he'll be going for 5 months instead of the standard 4, which by the way in Air Force terms that means he'll be gone 6 months. He'll be spending his summer back in the sandbox of Balad, Iraq so I'm thinking he'll need a whole lot of sunscreen to keep his pastey skin from turning lobster red in the desert sun. As for Reese and I, we haven't quite decided what we'll be doing during his absence but I'm sure it'll include a trip to the states and a big 1st birthday party. For now we're focusing on the brightside which is that we get to spend this holiday season together and that when he gets back in the fall we'll get to spend those hard earned deployment benefits on a trip to Egypt.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Polska

I've been wanting to take this Krakow/Auschwitz tour for the past few Thanksgivings and finally this year we were able to go and it was such a cool trip. We left from Spangdahlem Wednesday night and arrived in Krakow around noon on Thursday after a long drive through the night and a breakfast stop around the border. Reese was amazing on the bus, she didn't make a peep and when we got to Krakow the other people on the bus couldn't get over how good she was. We wandered around, checked into our hotel room and rested up a little bit before our Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant just off the main shopping area. We had some really good food, the polish sour soup was my favorite, and watched polish folklore dancers put on a show for us. During one of the segments Nate was selected to dance with the older Polish woman, he did a great job and Reese was quite excited to see daddy dancing. After dinner we walked around the area, but most things closed at 8pm so we just headed back to our hotel for an early night.


On Friday we got up early and went on a tour of Krakow. Reese started off as a happy camper, but naturally we had to have a meltdown moment on the trip so when we were about to go into a church we had been lagging behind the group with her since she was crying and we decided to stop outside and change her diaper. When we started this old polish woman grabbed us and nicely demanded we go inside to do it, so we're standing in this dark church trying to change her diaper in her stroller while she's screaming and echoing off the walls and naturally she ends up peeing as we change her diaper and gets pee all over her shirt and pants. When we got out of the church we had to laugh because what else could we do. After that she put her hapy face back on and we enjoyed the rest of our tour. Poland has such a neat history that I didn't really know much about before we went, but our tour guide really knew a lot and shared so much with us, especially world war II information. After the tour we went on our own with a few other people over to Oskar Schindler's factory (which they're turning into a museum so we only saw the outside), the Jewish ghetto and had some traditional Polish pierogis for lunch.

Later that evening we went out and did some shopping, you get three polish zloties for each u.s. dollar so our huge dinner cost us $17 and we were able to get some nice souvenirs for cheap as well. It's always nice traveling somewhere where you get more for your money. We got Reese this super cute polish pottery piggy bank and since the Krakow Christmas Market opened that day we wandered through and I got a few Christmas ornaments and some cute decorations. I love Christmas markets, and Nate loves trying the different foods at the Christmas markets.

Saturday morning we had to pack up our bags and get back on the bus for our drive to Auschwitz. Saturday was the coldest day of our trip and when we got to Auschwitz it was drizzling and pretty much miserable, I guess perfect weather for the event. There is so much to see there, our guide told us it would probably take 4 or 5 days to go through all the exhibits so we only went through a few during our nearly two hour tour but they were quite powerful. We went through a building about extermination and we learned a lot about the history of Auschwitz and all the satellite camps, but I won't detail that all here. Then we went through a building where they showed the things found at the camp upon liberation. There were rooms full of shoes that amounted to about 4 or 5 days worth of incoming people, it was madness. When we left the building everyone wanted to hold Reese just to lighten their moods, and it was so cute the way she went to everyone and gave them hugs and smiled at them. After our tour at Auschwitz we drove the short distance to Auschwitz-Birkenau which was the complete extermination camp, only about 10% of the people that arrived were processed instead of being led straight to the "showers" to be gassed. The camp is huge, there are a few barracks that with as cold as I was I couldn't imagine living in wearing only pajamas. Both the camps were really powerful and I don't quite know how to describe the feeling of being there in a mere paragraph, it would take pages, it really is something to experience.

When we left Auschwitz we started our long bus journey home and got back around 4am on Sunday. I'm so glad we went, I think Nate was skeptical about going at first but he had a great time as well.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

6 Months Old

Since it's been almost a month since I blogged I better cover the highlights of November up to this point.
For Veteran's Day Reese and I took our vet to the zoo in Cologne. They have an aquarium which was the real point of the trip because Reese likes fish and I thought it would be fun for her. The zoo was huge and Reese enjoyed the animals, especially the baboons because they were feeding them when we got there and all the screeching caught her attention, but the highlight of the trip was the aquarium. She just stared at the fish and when one would swim past her face she'd follow it with her eyes until a different one swam by, it was really quite cute. Anyways, now we're calling her our future marine biologist.Beyond fish, her newest thing is wanting whatever you have in your hands. She tries to get telephones, remotes, anything. One day we were sitting at the table having pizza and she reached for the soda can and almost got it. We got the video camera out and it looks like a Pepsi commercial with her shoving everything out of the way to get to it, maybe I'll send my footage to Pepsi and they can make Reese a star......hmmm movie star and marine biologist.I'm sure there's more that I'm leaving out but who cares because my sweet baby girl is 6 months old, as of saturday. She's such a little crack up that I can't quite remember what I did for entertainment before she was born. She thinks it's hilarious to pull the pieces out of her exersaucer and throw them on the ground, then when I catch her in the act she opens up those eyes real wide and looks at me as if she has no idea how they keep getting pulled out. But that's Reese, she's a problem solver, she knows how to get out of her Bumbo chair, though it results in a crash, and she can get from one side of the room to the other yet she somehow does it without crawling or walking. She's an ingenious little girl and we're glad she's in our lives. I mean who wouldn't want this smile greeting them every morning?

We're leaving tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving in Poland so I'll be sure to post pictures from our trip to Krakow and Auschwitz when we get back.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

We had a very happy and low key Halloween this year, after all there isn't much for a non-candy eating infant to do on an American holiday in Germany, but we made the best of it. Last Friday we went to the church for our ward trunk or treat. We decorated the trunk like a garden with felt grass and a pot of flowers with candy as the dirt. I was dressed up as a gardener and my little flower Reese handed out candy to the other kids, she had fun watching the other kids running around on a sugar high. Today Nate ended up with a day off so this morning we cleaned out her pumpkin and let her play with the gooey innards while we did the carving; Nate and Jaeger collaborated on the pumpkin that is vomiting its guts while Reese and I collaborated on the traditional pumpkin face. She was quite intriqued by the gooey innards and surprisingly I only had to halt her once from trying to put them in her mouth. After all our pumpkin carving fun we dressed Reese up and took her to the grocery store on base to have her picture taken for the costume contest. Everyone commented on what a cute little flower she was and she was more than happy to offer up a cute smile to anyone who looked her way. This evening she and Jaeger went trick or treating at our friends' house and we stayed for a Halloween get together. We were about to start watching a movie when Reese's gums started hurting her so we gave her some teething tablets and headed home. I feel so bad when her gums start hurting because it'll come out of nowhere and tonight was the worst as the teething tablets did little to help and all I could do was comfort her till she fell asleep. We're hoping this vicious tooth will break the surface soon because the pain seems to be stronger and more often, but we'll just have to wait and see. Anyways, Happy Halloween to everyone from an adorable flower and her cute bumblebee.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Excitement in the Air

(Cutie playing in our backyard)
Reese is in such a fun stage right now because she's noticing everything around her and the look on her face when she sees something new makes me feel as if I'm seeing it for the first time as well. A perfect example of this was when we took Jaeger for a walk today. She's big enough to sit in the main portion of her stroller now so she's facing forward which probably makes a big difference. We wandered into the woods near our house where all the trees are in beautiful fall colors and the breeze was blowing through them causing the leaves to flutter to the ground. As the leaves fell in front of her eyes her face lit up and she watched them flutter til they dropped below her line of sight. Then when she couldn't see a certain leaf anymore she would start laughing until another leaf caught her eye. It's funny that it's somewhat cliche to talk about wandering around taking in the fall colors, but to her it was this completely new experience and it made me see, if just for a moment, how it must look through her eyes. (Notice how she's holding Jaeger's tags)
In talking about things that excite Reese I can't forget to mention Jaeger. Reese is 100% intrigued by Jaeger and she loves to sit on my lap and watch Jaeger play fetch. Her eyes get super big when I throw the toy and then when Jaeger brings it back she giggles and squeals. If Jaeger gets within her reach she stretches out to try and pet her. The first few times she got a handful of fur and after that Jaeger learned to stay a little further away. Despite the few yanks Jaeger will still let Reese pet her when Nate and I are sitting with her and Reese is getting quite good at it. The past few times she kept her hand flat and just ran her fingers through Jaeger's hair, if only she could be that kind to my hair.
(Can't stop staring at Jaeger)

Comic Relief

Reese has the cutest laugh and I was able to get her to do it on video, which is often a difficult task because as soon as the camera comes out she gets a dumbfounded look on her face and stops what she's doing to stare. I took this a few weeks ago, and tonight I had her laughing super hard and non stop, but when I got the camera out she stopped so this slight laughter will have to suffice for now.
video

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I've Been Husband Tagged


-Where did you meet your husband? Freshman year in the ghetto Deseret Towers dorms at BYU.
-How long have you been married? 2 years, 4 1/2 months.
-What does he do that surprises you? When he deployed he preordered some presents that I would get while he was gone, it surprised me each time a new one showed up.
-What is your favorite feature of his? His eye lashes
-Does he have any annoying habit? He always wants to sleep.
-What is your favorite quality of his? How thoroughly he throws himself into a project.
-Does he have a nickname for you? Jesses
-What is his favorite color? Blue
-What is his favorite food? My chicken burritos
-What is his favorite sport? Are video games a sport?
-When and where was your first kiss? In my apt. a few months before we started dating (we'd been best friends for 4 years at this point).
-What is your favorite thing to do as a couple? Travel
-Do you have any kids? Our FANTABULOUS 5 month old baby girl REESE!!!
-Does he have a hidden talent? He's really good at taking things apart and fixing them without any instructions.
-How old is he? 25
-Who said I love you first? Him
-What is his favorite type of music? Alternative Rock
-What do you admire most about him? How thoughtful and caring he is
-Will he read this? Ya, he checks in on me from time to time

TAG! Tiff, you're it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Go Ahead and Laugh

My Columbus Day started off with a bang, or rather a squish. At some point last night, that I'll arbitrarily call 3am, Jaeger woke me up and was trying to get me to take her outside to go to the bathroom. I was so out of it that I just pulled her into bed with me and went back to sleep. Well when Reese woke up at 7 I went in her room and she still seemed pretty sleepy so I just gave her her binky and headed back to bed. Here's where the story takes a turn south so if you have a weak stomach you might want to go on about your day. As I was walking through the doorway I stepped in something squishy that oozed in between my toes. Now the awake part of me realized that I had just stepped in dog poop, but the asleep part of me had no clue what I had just stepped in and freaked out. I kicked my foot in order to get the "mystery" substance off and just screamed as I jumped on my other foot over to the bed to sit down and see what was going on. By the time I arrived at the bed I had fully awoken and realized that I had poop all over my foot and squished inbetween my toes. When I had started screaming Nate had woken up and so when I got to the bed I told him to turn on the lights because I had poop on my foot. We looked over to the doorway and saw where I had stepped in it. I hobbled off to the bathroom to wash my foot while Nate grabbed the cleaning supplies to clean up the mess. It was at this point that we realized what really had happened. When I followed my natural reaction to kick my foot after stepping in it I had sprayed poop randomly about the room and this was no ordinary poop. It was a soft poo so instead of sending a hard chunk of poo across the room that could easily have been picked up without leaving a mark, I had sent little squirts of poo everywhere that were not so easily picked up. There were some flecks on Nate's jeans, and my shirt that had been on the floor, there were some flecks on the comforter and the sheets and even the bedskirt, and that's not even mentioning the little flecks all over the carpet. So Nate worked on cleaning the carpet while I took the sheets, comforter, and bedskirt into the bathroom and washed off the poop before I carted them down to the washing machine to finish off the job. I checked the comforter before I put it in the dryer and luckily enough the poop had left no mark, hopefully the same is true for the rest of the stuff now in the washer and the load of poop covered clothes that will be going in next. As for the floor, Nate did a pretty good job getting it up but we have a carpetcleaner that we'll be using in just a bit to get anything else up. Needless to say our relaxing holiday has turned into a day of deep cleaning, but I guess that's life.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Reese Does America

Reese's first trip to the States was great, I'm sure everyone got that impression from the rest of the posts about the trip. We had a long flight to Frankfurt to San Francisco and I was worried that Reese wouldn't be her cheerful self on the flight but she was amazing. The plane wasn't near full so we were able to bring Reese's carseat on the plane and have her sit in her own seat instead of on our lap. The flight was going well until a few hours in when I got up to change Reese's diaper; the woman in front of Reese had had her seat back about halfway but as soon as we got up she rammed it back all the way forcing Reese's carseat into a vertical position so when I got back I couldn't put Reese in. I couldn't believe someone would be so mean to a little baby, but she and her husband had already gotten upset when they got on because they couldn't get a free upgrade and were being pretty rude to the stewardess about it so I shouldn't have been surprised. Luckily the gentleman behind us had an empty row and offered to change seats with us.

It took Reese a few days to adjust to the time change and to the new people that were around her, but eventually she got used to everythind and everyone and just in time for Nate and I to leave her with my parents so we could take a trip to Tahoe. My aunt has a cabin up there and so she let Nate, Jaeger and I borrow it for the night. We went up and went over to the lake for a little bit and the next day we took a nice long hike before we headed back home to Reese. I'd like to think that Reese missed us, but I'm pretty sure she was too busy having Ava entertain her to worry about where we were. Ava was the ultimate Reese helper getting anything she may need and giving her tons of kisses. The best part of Ava with Reese was that Ava would always ask to hold her and then after a few seconds she would be done with it and push Reese away from her will trying to stand up and get away at the same time.
Well I've already posted about the rest of our trip and now that we're back we're just trying to get back to our routine, well I guess first we're trying to get back on Europe time then we'll worry about our routine.


Idaho Roadtrip

While we were in the States we made a trip out to Idaho to see Nate's family. We were planning on leaving early the morning after we got back from SoCal, but when we picked Jaeger up from the kennel she was a little under the weather so we decided to give her some time to get over it and left that evening instead. That decision ended up being a good one because Reese fell asleep 30mins in to the 11 hour drive and woke up about 15mins before we got there.

It was great to spend time with Nate's family. Reese got to meet all of her aunts, her uncle, her cousins and her grandpa while Nate got to meet his now two year-old niece for the first time. Nate also got to go home theater shopping with his dad which I'm pretty sure was the highlight of the trip for him, Nate loves to go shopping with other people's money. While we were there Nate's younger sister Molly took some family photos of us, she's such a great photographer (she would be the one who took our new header photo).
While we were there we also took a daytrip down to Utah to have lunch with Nate's sister Kendra who's at BYU and to visit some friends. We spent the afternoon with my friend Jenny and her sweet little boy Bjorn and then went to dinner with my old roommate Lara and her husband Alan. Being back there makes me miss all my college friends and the great times we had.On our drive back to California we had a great creepy gas station attendant moment that I definetly feel is blogworthy. We stopped in Reno at about 3am to gas up for the last leg of the drive and go to the bathroom. I went inside to return the bathroom key and buy Nate a slimjim (I know, random thing to ask for at 3am). When I walked over to Dwayne, the 5'5" blond mullet wearing gas station attendant who lacked a full set of teeth, a shivered, not because it was cold but for some unknown reason. Dwayne asked if I was cold and I told him no, I just had one of those random shivers. Dwayne then proceeded to tell me that if I was cold "he," pointing to Nate outside, "could probably keep me warm." I gave a polite chuckle despite the fact that my face was frozen in a scaredly quizative manner, grabbed the slimjim and left. I guess no roadtrip would be complete without a creepy gas station attendant moment.

Monday, October 6, 2008

How Dumb Are We?

The night has gotten away from me and I just now decided that it was time to eat dinner. Due to the late hour I opted to select a frozen food as opposed to creating a meal. As I snatched my chicken and cheese chimichanga from the freezer and read the heating instructions on the back I noticed the words that bug me to no end...."Caution: Product Will Be Hot." I'm sorry but how stupid am I that someone has to tell me that the chimichanga that I'm putting in the 350 degree oven in order to make it hot will in fact be hot when I remove it. It bugs me that our culture has become so petty sue happy that manufacturers are forced to place these crazy labels on everything in order to avoid a lawsuit. I've vowed as a parent to teach Reese that things that come out of the oven are hot, as are things that come off of the stove or out of the microwave or off on open flame for that matter so that she won't have to look at that warning and say "good thing they let me know that, I might have burned myself." Now I realize that some people just don't get it no matter how many times they are told, but let the morons burn themselves either they'll learn a lesson or natural selection will serve its purpose.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Disneyland

I absolutely love Disneyland and was beyond excited to take Reese there, despite the fact that she's only 4 months old and it won't really be a "memory" for her. I wanted to make sure that she got to do everything that she possibly could and while the majority of the time I just got her standard indifferent face there were quite a few times that a ride or a character coaxed a smile out of her.

Friday morning Melissa, Ava, Nate, Reese and I went to the Goofy breakfast which was at the hotel and had a bunch of characters wandering through the restaurant at different points. They had all the foods a kid would want to eat for breakfast from regular breakfast foods to peanut butter and jelly pizza and dirt and worms. Nate chowed down on the pb&j pizza and even added sprinkles to it, I stuck with more traditional breakfast foods. After breakfast we met up with my parents and went over to Disneyland. Our first stop was Space Mountain since I hadn't been on it since the remodeled it and I was not disappointed. We were pretty lucky because most of the rides had a 20 minute wait at most and those were the rides that we just got Fastpasses for and came back to later, so we actually ended up doing almost every single ride that first day. Reese got to ride the merry go round and the majority of the rides in fantasyland plus she went on Pirates of the Caribbean, seeing as she is a pirate in training. I was so excited that when we came off of pirates there was a pirate in the ride gift shop so Reese got her picture taken with him.
That afternoon we went back to the hotel and went swimming in the pool, mind you this is after they cleaned the floater out of it :) Both Friday and Saturday the pool was closed for a period of time thanks to turd nuggets, but I guess that's what you get when you've got a pile of 2 year olds in the pool. Reese really liked the pool as did Ava who is in that "do it again" phase so I got to have her jump into the pool to me over and over and over again.


The next day Nate and I took Reese and Ava over to the park early for the Magic Morning early entrance. It was nice because it was so empty that we were able to let Ava run around a little bit without worry. We rode some rides and then got a Churro breakfast....BAD MOM ALERT: I let Reese have a lick of churro dust and she was licking her lips she liked it so much. After that we went over to Disney California and rode the Tower of Terror among other rides. That afternoon Ava and Melissa headed back to the hotel while the rest of us took Reese over to the bugs life kiddie ride area. She really liked this ride that was like the teacups but a lot slower. After that we went back to the hotel and did some swimming before we went back over to Disneyland for the rest of the night.
As you can tell, we had a really great trip. It was fun to see Ava so excited about everything and hopefully we'll get to go back again soon.