Friday, January 28, 2011

Merry Christmas

It was a little hard to get into the Christmas spirit at first since we got back from the States a week in to the month and were dealing with jet lag, but we forced ourselves to get out and a get a tree quickly and hurry to decorate the house.  I was glad we got everything ready because Reese loved all the decorations and was totally in the Christmas mood which helped get Nate and I into the spirit as well.



The week before Christmas we had a ton of snow storms that brought us close to a foot of snow.  Reese loved playing out in it and took turns having us pull her on the sled and making Jaeger go for a ride while she pulled it.




On Christmas Eve we had our usual seafood dinner of crab and deep fried shrimp, Nate and I love this tradition but since Reese knew we were opening presents after dinner she had a hard time staying focused on eating.  After dinner we opened presents from Nate’s family.  Reese was so excited and wanted to be in charge of handing them out and opening them and playing with them all at once, she was so cute.




On Christmas morning Reese let us sleep in, she still doesn’t get the whole rush downstairs thing.  When she finally got us up we saw what Santa had brought her and then had breakfast which Nate and I both agreed would probably be the last time we’d get to eat breakfast before we opened presents, she was antsy the whole time.  She was so excited to unwrap the presents and then start playing with her new things.  She loved Christmas so much that she still sings Christmas carols and asks us when Santa is coming back.









Finn Everest Crandall

Okay so the heading is a little out of order because this post is going to have pictures of Finn from my appt at the beginning of December, but we didn’t actually decide on a name for him until the first of the year.  We had a ridiculously hard time trying to name this kid, we’d be almost settled on a name and then decide that it wasn’t right and at one point his name was almost 100% something else, but finally I decided Finn was my favorite and Nate agreed so the rest was history.  Anyways, at the beginning of December we got to do a 3D ultrasound of cute little Finn:

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Personally I think he looks a lot like Reese and it’s pretty obvious that we have another kid with Nate’s itty bitty mouth. 

The States Part Three: The Final Week

When we got back from Idaho we still had another week of hanging out with my family before we had to head back to Germany.  One of the things I’d wanted to do was take new family photos since the last ones we’d taken had been when Reese was 4 months old and I hated them.  Luckily my family was willing to oblige and do exactly as I wanted.  We drove over to San Francisco and took some great photos on the beach by the golden gate bridge, I had planned on using the tripod and remote but my sister’s boyfriend David willingly acted as a human remote for us.











When our trip was all said and done we finally flew back home to Germany with 6 full suitcases in tow.  We had an amazing time in the States but being there made us realize how much we’re going to miss Germany when our time comes to an end :(

The States Part Two: A Wedding Story

We got back from San Diego early Tuesday morning and at 9pm Wednesday night we loaded back in the car and headed to Utah for Nate’s sister’s wedding.  For those of you who have never driven across Nevada, let alone in the middle of the night, I’ll enlighten you by telling you that there is nothing…..absolutely nothing.  There’s about three cities that you look for as landmarks but other than that it’s just a great big expanse of nothingness.  Being that I was in my second trimester of pregnancy and drinking water non stop to keep myself awake, the lack of places across Nevada posed a bit of a dilemma for my bladder, lucky for me I’m not a proud woman so I popped a squat at any exit I felt like from Reno to Salt Lake City.  It was upon my third or fourth stop when Nate asked why I didn’t just look for a rest stop and I explained to him that A. who knows when we would find a rest stop and B. rest stops are scary, especially at night, if we had found a rest stop I would’ve had to make Nate come in with me so that we could make sure there were no serial rapist murderers in there just waiting for a pregnant woman to appear which would’ve meant getting Reese out of the car as well, my way was just so much faster.  Since we had decided to drive through the night, Nate’s aunt had said that we could crash at her place when we got in to town.  It was so nice to be able to pull up to a house and go inside and sleep after that long drive.  When we finally decided to pry ourselves away from her comfy couches we headed up to Bountiful where the wedding was and checked into our hotel for another nap while we waited for the rest of his family to arrive. 

So I typed that up about a week ago and then got mentally stuck and even as I revisit it now I’m at a loss for words so I’ve just decided to let the photos tell the rest of the story.

The wedding was on Friday and it was a very windy day in Bountiful, this picture was taken of us outside the temple and I’m surprised that we don’t look as wind blown as I would’ve imagined.



After the wedding there was a luncheon at a nice place in Bountiful, Reese had fun playing with her cousins and I enjoyed getting to see people from Nate’s family that I hadn’t seen since our own wedding.




After the luncheon we headed up to Idaho Falls to spend the week with Nate’s family.  It ended up being a pretty cold week with a lot of snow, but Reese loved getting to play in the snow.



She was constantly wanting to play in the snow and luckily Nate’s sister loaned us a pair of snow pants for her.  And luckily for me I had the whole pregnancy excuse to keep me on the porch taking photos while Nate acted as her sled dog.  We got to have a lot of fun with Nate’s family and we enjoyed getting to know Molly’s new husband Chris.  One night we made gingerbread houses which I had never done before but we had fun with.  Ours ended up collapsing but we just labeled it our Hurricane Katrina house and it probably made the activity even more fun.


The Saturday after Thanksgiving was Molly’s and Chris’s wedding reception in Idaho Falls.



Afterwards it was time for us to make the long journey back to Sacramento.  It’s usually an 11 hour drive, but thanks to a massive snow storm that kept Nate driving 35mph the majority of the time, it took us 16 hours to get home.  There were points where we couldn’t see the road and at one point we were supposed to chain up but when Nate went to put our chains on we realized we’d bought the wrong ones and since it was 4am and we were in the middle of nowhere we just flipped it in to 4wd and continued on our way. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The States Part 1: Southern California Adventure

At the beginning of November we flew home to the States for a nice month long vacation.  Since we’ve been serving two consecutive tours overseas the military pays for roundtrip tickets to the States for us since they didn’t have to pay to move us, so needless to say it made flying to the States extremely affordable for me….not so much for you the taxpayer :)  Anyways, whenever we go to the States as a family, which isn’t very often, we try to make sure that we take a family vacation as well instead of just visiting relatives i.e. me laying on my parents’ couch watching tv while Nate plays video games and someone else entertains Reese.  This time we decided that with the baby coming we wanted to make our family vacation all about Reese and the things she likes to do.  We have some friends that live down in San Diego that we wanted to visit so we decided to take a nice long weekend trip to Southern California and take Reese to all the fun things they have to do down there.  We had planned to go to Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Wild Animal Park and between the military discounts each offers and Reese still being free everywhere, it wasn’t going to cost us much to have a very full vacation.  We invited my family to go along with us since A. we didn’t feel like we were really going to get to spend much time with them this trip and B. we were planning on stealing their car to drive down there anyways, so on Veterans Day weekend Nate, Reese, my mom, my niece and I all piled in to my Aunt’s car and drove down to Anaheim.  My parents love to take the grandkids to Disneyland, it’s kind of their Nana and Papa thing that they always do whenever Reese comes out so they said since we were going to be going right by there anyways we should throw an extra day onto our trip and do Disneyland and of course we didn’t complain because Reese is INSANELY in love with Mickey Mouse and all the Disney characters right now. 

We left Sacramento Wednesday and drove to Anaheim which really wasn’t a bad drive at all, I remember it being worse in my childhood and besides my niece rotating between asking for a snack and asking when we were going to be there every five minutes, it wasn’t so bad.  That evening we wandered over to downtown Disney to just hang out and walk around and as soon as we got there Reese started freaking out over all the images of Mickey, she was shouting and pointing out every single picture of him.  We went in the Disney store there and my mom ended up getting her a Minnie Mouse suitcase which she was in love with and proceeded to drag it all over the place and did not want to leave it behind at any point during the trip, she tried to take it to the park with us the next morning and was quite upset when we told her she wouldn’t need it.

The next day my dad flew down and met up with us and we went to Disneyland.  While my mom picked him up at the airport, Nate and I took Reese and Ava over to the park to start the day.  The second we walked in the characters were all there so we spent some time wandering from line to line so the girls could meet Mickey, Pluto, Donald and Goofy.  Finally the characters dispersed so we went off to Fantasyland to ride some rides.  Reese loves the carousel so we had to ride that a few times and she also was a big fan of the Dumbo ride.  I think we ended up going on most of the rides before my parents even showed up which was good because the park ended up getting REALLY busy that day, I guess that’s what you get on a holiday weekend.  When my parents got there we decided we’d “let” them take the girls on Peter Pan a.k.a. the ridiculously long lined kids ride, while we went off and found churros to eat…we’re such selfless people.  By the time they were done there Toontown had opened up so we went back there so they could do that area of the park.  When we went to Disneyland in March Reese was still a little to short for the rollercoaster there but she was tall enough this time so she got to go on it with Nate, I was a little sad that I couldn’t take her her first time but I’ll just hold that fact against the baby for the rest of his life :)  We spent the rest of the day wandering to various rides and just having fun at the park, I really can’t stress enough how packed it was, I think the only “adult” ride we rode was Pirates of the Caribbean and that had the longest line I’ve ever seen it have and I’ve been to Disneyland enough times to know.  We left the park for dinner, Nate and I were meeting up with our friends Lara and Alan while my parents took the girls to dinner, and we had the intention of going back later on that night but Reese and Ava pretty much crashed after dinner and Nate and I didn’t have the energy to go back after such a long day either so we just called it a night.  Overall I’d say it was one of the best trips to Disneyland, Reese was so excited by everything that it made everything seem so magical again.

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On Friday we packed up and drove down to San Diego and went to the Wild Animal Park.  Nate would tell you the best part of that day was this coke machine that he found at Jack in the Box that dispersed like 130 different combinations of soda, he really loved that.  It was such a hot day as we were wandering through the animal park and I was sweltering, it’s a very spread out place so it’s not like at the zoo where you’re stopping and seeing things all the time, you walk a pretty good distance to see things.  They had a pond with duck food which was one of our first stops and Reese loved feeding the ducks.  Then we went on this tram tour that takes you out to see the animals kind of interacting in a natural habitat.  It was amazing to see rhinos just moving about freely instead of in a small pen like you usually see and Reese enjoyed pointing out the giraffes that we were constantly seeing.  It was a pretty cool park and it was interesting to learn about the conservation things they do there. New folder1

On Saturday we went to Sea World and it was another hot hot day, it was actually nice to have such hot weather because we knew it was cold back in Germany so we were soaking up the warmth, but I only have maternity pants since maternity shorts are not necessary where we live so I was hot all the time.  Reese enjoyed seeing the animals at Sea World but she wasn’t that in to the animal shows, she got a little distracted during them and it we were sitting in the sun as well so that probably played a role as well.  One thing she did really enjoy was touching the starfish and sea urchins and feeding the bat rays, though Nate did most of the feeding of the bat rays while Reese just dropped the fish when they came near.

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Sunday morning our friend Tyler met up with us and we all went to the San Diego Zoo, that is one massive zoo.  Reese had a ton of fun that day, she loved seeing all the animals and she knows what a lot of animals are that I doubt most kids her age do so she was really excited about seeing the koalas, kangaroos, and meerkats among others.  I think the highlight for her that day was the petting zoo, she got to go in the pen with the sheep and goats and pet and feed them.  Reese loves goats so after she scared a few of them back to the roped off area she finally found one that enjoyed her adoration and fed it for the rest of the time.  At one point a huge sheep was eating the food where she’d been taking it for the goat so she shoves the sheep out of the way, literally she puts her shoulder into this sheep and just keeps pushing until it moves and she can get to the food.  Nate got video of it so I’ll see if I can get him to load it on here later because it’s pretty funny.  After the zoo we took my parents and niece over to the airport to fly home and then we spent that evening and the next day hanging out with our friends Tyler and Stephanie.  It was fun to get to see them again and Stephanie made us lots of yummy cookies too.  We finally left San Diego around 9 that night and drove back to Sacramento, luckily we had my mom to watch Reese the next day so we could sleep.

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It was such a great vacation and we all had so much fun.  For days later Reese would tell us that we were going to see animals or that we were going to see Mickey Mouse, I’m just glad we were able to do a trip like this before the baby came so that we could really focus on the things that she likes and wanted to see and do.

Monday, January 10, 2011


I got back from Italy on the 29th so to say that Halloween caught up with us fast was an understatement.  We had gone to the pumpkin patch earlier in the month but hadn’t carved our pumpkins yet so Halloween was a busy day as we tried to catch up on the holiday and be good parents by getting the pumpkins carved and Reese prepped for her annual Halloween photos before trick or treating.  We had actually discussed not going trick or treating since she’d already gone to two trunk or treats but in a pregnancy moment of emotion I began crying about how it made us bad parents so we got ready and went which ended up being the right decision because she was so cute about running house to house and saying trick or treat.  It ended up being a really good holiday despite the lack of forward planning on our part.


Italy Again

It’s been so long since I last updated my blog that it seems like a daunting task to even begin, hence why I’ve kept procrastinating, but today it’s either finish cleaning or start updating so I opted for the lesser of two evils.  I’m sure there’s things I’m skipping since the last post but we’re just going to have to hit the highlights if I have any chance of ever catching back up. 

At the end of October I flew to Italy to meet up with two of my college roommates, Sharon and Aly, for a little roommate reunion trip.  We’d been planning this trip for a long time and I was so excited to have a week away from all my responsibilities.  I’d made arrangements, and back up arrangements, for Reese and as soon as she and Nate dropped me off at the airport I tried not to worry about her and just let myself be a single individual again (and I don’t mean that as in hitting on guys, I mean that as in two legs and two arms instead of the attachment I usually travel with).  I left very early Saturday morning and flew to Milan.  It was nice to be alone on a flight and just listen to my ipod, the whole worrying about only myself aspect of the trip had to be one of the best parts.  I never had to look around for anyone else or worry about paperwork for the whole family, it was just me.  Clearly I’m overemphasizing this point but it truly was AMAZING!  After I landed at the airport that was actually a ways outside Milan, I had to take a bus to Milan and then a metro to the hotel and I ended up getting there about a half hour before Sharon and Aly so I found some breakfast and then they caught up with me.  Milan wasn’t overly impressive in my opinion, but it was a nice lazy first day for us and Sharon had done a great job of finding us nice hotels to stay in.  We went over to the Duomo which was beautiful, we even climbed up to the top and walked around the roof, after that we just wandered around the city and enjoyed spending time with each other for the rest of the day.

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Sunday morning we got up and hopped a train to Venice which was by far my favorite destination on our little adventure.  When we arrived at the train station we had to take a water taxi to our hotel and then wander through the awkward streets of Venice.  It would have been amazingly easy to get lost there but somehow we never got too turned around.  After we got checked in we went over to San Marco square and went to a museum of some sort, I don’t really remember since I was far more involved in deciding what flavor of gelato to get next then to pay attention, I do however remember that we got an amazing slice of pizza at some random little closet sized pizza place in an alley on our walk.  The next day it was raining so hard that Venice was flooding, San Marco square was flooded and had these makeshift walkways for people but trying to follow them to get to the line to go in the cathedral was insane so we just took our shoes and socks off and waded through the water until we got where we wanted to be, it was far more efficient and we didn’t have any open sores so I doubt we contracted anything :).  After the cathedral we just meandered about the city eating gelato and enjoying the sights, it was a very relaxing trip and the only thing that would’ve made it better would have been if the rain had stopped or at least not been hitting us in the eyes.shrunk Italy1

Tuesday morning we left Venice to head for Florence.  Sharon and Aly had reservations at an art gallery but I had decided that I’d rather explore the city so we wandered over to Ponte Vecchio bridge and then they went on to the gallery while I just plain wandered.  I actually had a lot of fun on my little adventure and enjoyed just being completely alone in a foreign city.  After they were done at the museum we all wandered around and then had the best meal of our entire trip at a little hole in the wall restaurant whose name I can’t remember, I do remember that it was good though since the thought of it still makes me salivate.  The next morning we went to the duomo, Aly and Sharon climbed to the top but I opted not to since I’d been having some troubles at this point in my pregnancy and wanted to climb the leaning tower later that afternoon instead, I figured one ridiculous climb would be enough for my body.  They said the view was amazing, the outside was pretty awesome but the inside left a little something to be desired.  When we were finished we took a train to Pisa for the day to see the leaning tower, Sharon and I had reservations to climb to the top but Aly opted to stay down and wave to us.  The climb up was crazy because of the lean, you’d start falling one way and then be falling the other way but it was worth it for the experience.  They only give you a set amount of time at the top but it was enough and when we were done we wandered around the rest of the area and then very tiredly headed back to Florence.

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Thursday morning we packed up our stuff and took a train out to the small Tuscan town of Chiusi, we’d wanted to go out to Tuscany and it was quite a quaint little place.  There were not many tourists at all and we just spent the day wandering around and talking.  We found a little park to sit in and we sat on top of this hill and looked down at the countryside.  It was a very low key day for us but it was nice to just relax and take in the sights.

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Friday morning we left Chiusi for Rome and my final day of the trip.  When we got in and got Sharon and Aly checked in to their hotel we started hitting the highlights, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, Trevi fountain, etc.  I was excited to go back to Trevi fountain since when Nate and I went in 2007 I’d thrown a coin in with the wish of coming back.  The day went by pretty fast and soon it was time for me to fly back to Nate and Reese.  As soon as I sat down on the bus to the airport time seemed to slow down, I was so ready to get back to my family that I couldn’t take it anymore.  I got back super late that night and even though I’d had an amazing time with my friends I was glad to be back home.

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