Friday, June 3, 2011

5 Years


I can’t believe it’s been five years since Nate and I got married….that’s 60 months or 1825 days or 43,800 hours.  Time goes by quickly until you stop and think about how much has happened in the past five years and then you wonder if it’s actually ONLY been five years.  We were married on June 3rd, 2006 in Sacramento, California and less than a week later we were in San Francisco getting on a plane to Frankfurt to start our life together in Germany.  Nate had used up all the leave he had in order to come out for the wedding so we weren’t able to take a proper honeymoon, but when Fourth of July weekend rolled around we used that time off to head up to Berlin on our very first trip.  That was back when Spangdahlem did explore the Eifel week and gave you extra time off, the fact that we remember when explore the Eifel was awesome tells you just how long we’ve been here.  We took the train to Berlin ended up staying in an awesome hotel that was super cheap and had a great weekend.  I remember that on the way home our train was delayed and we missed our next one so they rerouted us and gave us a voucher for a taxi to get the rest of the way home, that was just one of many bumps in the road that we’ve been through together and like all the other bumps that would come in the future we shook our heads and got over the change in plans.


That first summer in Germany we added to our family and got our sweet little puppy Jaeger.  It was a little lonely at first in a foreign country where I didn’t know anyone, but Jaeger was a great companion.


Our first year of marriage took us to Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Hawaii, Austria, and the Netherlands where we celebrated our first anniversary.

pig fest in wittlich:


In Brussels, Belgium:

Nate and I at Mannequin Pis in Brussels

New Year’s in Paris:


Family vacation in Kauai:


Salzburg, Austria:


In the Netherlands on our anniversary:


Our second year of marriage took us to Switzerland and Italy and then we found out we were pregnant the night before Nate left on an almost 5 month deployment to Iraq.  The deployment was hard and when Nate returned I was about 6 months pregnant and soon enough we had our very first child Reese Aspen Crandall.  For our second anniversary we left a 2 week old Reese home with my mom while we went to dinner in Bitburg.

Adelboden, Switzerland:


Rome, Italy:


Nate leaving for his deployment:


Nate returning from his deployment:


Our first child:


Our third year of marriage was consumed with our new daughter, seriously as I’m looking through all our photos the number of pictures we took must have multiplied by ten after we had Reese.  Even with all the confusion and work of becoming new parents, we still found time to make a trip back to the States and introduce her to everyone, and travel to Poland before Nate deployed for the second time a few days before Reese’s first birthday.  We celebrated our anniversary on different sides of the globe that year but decided we would do something to make up for it the next year.

Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland:


Nate’s birthday:


Our fourth year of marriage started apart but Nate finally returned from Iraq in September and to celebrate we took a trip to Egypt for Thanksgiving.  After lots of time of on and off separation due to TDYs and trips for Reese and I to go home, we finally ended our fourth year on a good note and took a trip to Ireland just the two of us.

Nate returning home from second deployment:


Thanksgiving in Egypt:


Fourth Anniversary in Ireland:


Our fifth year of marriage has been a good one, a little less complicated than some of the others since amazingly enough Nate didn’t deploy at all this year.  Shortly after returned home from Ireland we found out that I was pregnant with our second child.  In August we took a trip with our friends to Barcelona, Spain and then we were able to go home to the States as a whole family in November for Nate’s sisters wedding.  On March 2nd, 2011 we had our second child Finn Everest and now that he is 3 months old we’re celebrating our 5th anniversary probably by putting our children to bed and watching a movie.



Our second child:


Today we begin our sixth year of marriage which will bring with it many changes including us finally leaving our home in Germany and continuing our lives elsewhere.  Whatever challenges this year brings us I’m glad to be facing them with Nate.  Here’s to another five years of adventure!


Finn is 3 months old


They don’t get much cuter than my little Finny, he’s pretty much the world’s best baby.  I didn’t write much about Finn in all my catch up posts because he’s just so chill that he just went we the flow everywhere we went.  He loved being pushed around Disneyland in his stroller, he’s all about getting to sleep whenever he wants so he was good to go.  My dad was in charge of the stroller and Finn kept him walking, if Papa would stop and sit down Finn would let out a little squeak to let him now that he wanted to keep moving and my dad would start walking around again.  He loves to sleep with things on his head and face, it worries me but he sleeps so much better if you lay a blanket over him so we usually cover his head and eyes and leave a little hole where his nose and mouth are and only when we’re watching him.  He didn’t have to do much tummy time while my parents were here because we were gone a lot and my dad told him that if he didn’t want to he didn’t have to so if Finn got upset when he was put down for tummy time my dad would just pick him right back up.  He was a very spoiled little guy getting be held all the time and walked around and he loved it.  Once Nana and Papa left he decided that his break from tummy time was sufficient and now he’s an expert at lifting his head all the way up and he’s even rolled over.  I honestly don’t think they get much happier than Finn, if you talk to him he gets a huge smile on his face and will start “talking” back to you.  He’s still a big guy and we’re excited for his 4 month check up when we’ll find out if he’s still topping the charts.  He can still fit in to a few of his 3 month clothes but for the most part he’s wearing 6 month stuff now and even outgrowing some if it.  His hair is beginning to look more and more auburn in the sunlight so we’re waiting to see if he’ll end up going all the way or staying brown.  When Reese was little her hair would look strawberry blonde in the sun but once her hair fell out and grew back in that was all gone.  This little guy makes me so happy and I’m glad that when Reese is making me want to pull my hair out I have this little guy to help pull me back from the ledge.

Finn’s preferred sleeping style:


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The Rest of Nana and Papa’s Trip

The rest of my parents’ trip was a little more low key than the first part had been.  They spent a lot of time just hanging out with the kids and wandering around our town.  My dad was finally able to visit the bread truck when it came by and I think for at least a little bit they enjoyed our small town life.

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We visited Trier, mainly just to wander around eating pastries, and we went over to the Rhine River so they could do the Rhine River cruise.  The kids and I dropped them off in Sankt Goar and then we drove the 15 mins down the road to Bacharach and played in the park while they cruised down the very scenic portion of the river with all the castles.  When they met up with us we wandered around the town just a little bit before we called it a day.

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Now while we were doing all that Nate was busy with his own things.  He’s been going through the process to get laser eye surgery since around the time Finn was born and his first day back after Disneyland they asked if he could come in for surgery on Tuesday which was the very next day.  So Tuesday morning I drove him out to Landstuhl and he had the surgery.  We had to keep the curtains drawn for him for a few days and for the most part he just tried to sleep away the worst part of the pain and then a week later he was ready to go back to life.  He didn’t have Lasik he had a different kind so it’ll still be another month before his vision reaches it’s final stage but already he has improved to just shy of 20/20 vision so he’s quite pleased.  As an explanation for the photo, he wore sunglasses most of the time those first few days because the sun hurt his eyes and he needed to avoid it to achieve the best vision possible and I don’t know why he’s making the face.


The day before my parents left we decided to do a little Memorial Day stuff and went to the Luxembourg American Military Cemetery.  I’d been there once before, but on Memorial day weekend with all the flags and flowers out it was even more special.  Every grave had an American flag a flag of Luxembourg and a rose.

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When we were done there we drove on to Bastogne Belgium where the Battle of the Bulge was.  There’s a monument there that my parents and Reese toured, Finn got angry at that point so he and I went back to the car to feed him instead.

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When we were through there we headed back home with a pit stop somewhere in Belgium for some lunch.  We kept seeing all these signs for fries so that was kind of funny but the place we stopped advertised fries but also had sandwiches and things like that.  It was a nice day trip for us and the next day I took my parents to the airport bright and early and sent them on their way.  As you can see, May was a very busy month for us with visitors the beginning of the month, visitors the end of the month, multiple trips, a third birthday, and an eye surgery tossed in there for good measure

Reese’s Third Birthday

I just realized I got a little out of order while I was catching up, Reese’s actual birthday was the day after we got home from Disneyland (before her gymnastics program).  Reese woke up on her birthday and Nate made her some special birthday eggs, usually we would’ve had strawberry waffles for breakfast but since we’d just gotten back from Disneyland and hadn’t been able to run to the store yet she was going to have them for lunch instead.  Sometime in the future when she’s old enough to stay up late, I’m going to make her wait until her actual birth time of 11:20pm to open presents since I figure it’s only fair that since she tortured me those extra hours by refusing to come out I’ll torture her by making her wait for presents, but for now we’ve decided to be nice so we let her open her presents before lunch and she was very excited.  She opened them all like a champ and was excited by everything.  She’s at that in between stage now where she wants to play with things as soon as she opens it but she also wants to see what else she got so it was very cute to watch her open her presents. 

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When she was done with her presents we went in and had our strawberry waffles.  Strawberry waffles are a tradition that we started on her second birthday and has now become a standard for all birthdays.  We puree the strawberries and add it to our batter and then we use the extra puree as a topping along with hot fudge and whip cream.  It would actually be a healthy meal if we left off the fudge and whip cream, but where would be the fun in that.  Reese loves loves loves strawberry waffles and so she was very excited to dig in and Nate had even decorated the kitchen with what she claimed that morning were here two favorite colors, yellow and blue.


After that she voluntarily took a nap and when she woke up she chose to have pasta for her birthday dinner so we went to our favorite Italian restaurant Isola Bella and got Reese her pasta.  The owner of the restaurant is so nice and he knows us since we’ve been eating there for the past 5 years so it was a special place to go for her birthday dinner.  When we got home we had some birthday cake that Nate made, can you tell that I was kind of a slacker this birthday and Nate did everything?  He even made the frosting yellow for her and put on the requested sprinkles, he’s such an awesome daddy.

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Eventually we called it a night and Reese’s 5 day birthday celebration was over.  There bar has now been set pretty high for third birthdays considering my niece was out here for her third birthday and we went to Paris and now Reese’s has gone to Paris for her third birthday, we’ll have to come up with something equal to Paris for Finn’s third birthday.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Reese’s Gymnastics Routine

Reese has been taking gymnastics this year and their end of the year show was when my parents were in town so we all got to go watch her perform.  She was so excited and as she watched all the kids go before her, she excitedly clapped and was eager for her turn.  We were so proud of how well she did.

Once everyone had done the floor routine and taken a turn on the balance beam they received little medals.  Reese was so excited that she didn’t wait to be called up she just decided when her turn was going to be.

Paris and Disneyland

The main event of my parents trip out was our trip to Disneyland Paris for Reese’s third birthday.  We’d been planning this trip for close to a year and we were very excited about finally getting to go.  It’s about a four hour trip to Marne Le Vallee which is a half hour outside of Paris and the location of Disneyland Paris, but we made a short detour on the way there and stopped in Harville,France which is where my paternal grandmother’s family was from.  It was a small little town but it was in the perfect location for us to get out and stretch our legs halfway through our trip.  We took a photo of those with Harvill blood and those without :)

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After our side trip it was straight through to Disneyland!  We were staying at the Seqoia Lodge which was part of the Disney resort and it was a very nice hotel, especially by Paris standards.  We couldn’t check in yet when we got there so we got on the train and headed into Paris for a day of sightseeing.  We were hoping to have lunch at the new Chipotle in Paris but when we got to the location it wasn’t open yet (I was quite sad) so we had to settle for the McDonald’s next door.


After we refueled we headed off to the Louvre which wasn’t far from where we were.  It was an extremely warm day outside so when we got there we took a break in the shade and let Reese run around and chase the birds, which she loves to do.

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After she fed the birds some leftover french fries we headed towards the Champs-Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe.  He doesn’t look like it’s all that far away from the Louvre mainly because you can see it from the Louvre, but once you start walking you realize it really is a long walk…especially when it’s super hot outside like it was. 

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We were going to continue on to the Eiffel Tower and then Notre Dame but by this point everyone was so hot and tired that we decided just to hit up the Eiffel Tower and then call it a day.  I was really looking forward to taking some nice pictures of the kids at the Eiffel Tower but then Reese fell asleep on the walk there and I began to fear that my hopes would be dashed by a very grumpy child.  Luckily we were able to lure her with the promise of a treat and I got my pictures plus some other cute ones of her running around in front of the tower.

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After all those photos we stopped for crepes, because what would a trip to Paris be without crepes at the Eiffel Tower? When we were through with our treat we got back on the train, which could have ended up being a fiasco because Nate and I paid for round trip tickets but the woman had only given us one way tickets so when we went to get on it didn’t let us through but luckily the attendant believed us and let us on anyways.  We got back to Disneyland a little late so we grabbed some quick sandwiches and got to bed because we were planning an early day at the park the following morning.

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It was still off season for Disneyland so the park had shortened hours, but since we were resort hotel guests we received Magic Mornings everyday and could enter the park at 8 instead of 10.  I think Nate would’ve preferred to enter at 10 but when you have an excited three year old ready to celebrate her birthday, you enter early.  That first day was probably our best day at Disneyland, it was a Thursday and the park was really slow so we were able to walk on most of the rides without waiting.  Nate and I’s favorite was Space Mountain Mission 2 which we both agreed was better than the regular Space Mountain at Disneyland.  Reese had many favorites and if you ask her what they were she’ll tell you the carousel, dumbo, tea cups, buzz lightyear, and pirates.  She’s so funny, she was so excited about all the rides and she was literally in heaven as we ran about the park following her instructions on what to ride next.  Finn’s first Disney ride ever was Peter Pan, I’d like to say he enjoyed it but he was pretty indifferent as always.  He also rode It’s a Small World that first day which was the only other ride he went on, he was content to sit in his stroller and people watch from the bench with his Papa.  As a side note about it’s a Small World, we were all laughing because in the America section of it there was the cowboy, Hollywood, and a football and baseball fan with a flag and a thing of popcorn.  One of my favorite photos is at the end of Reese with her ears on.  We were getting ready to leave for the day and I asked her to put her ears on and take a picture and the first photo is typical Reese and then she finally decided to throw me a bone and give me a smile.

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We left Disneyland a little early that day and went back to the hotel to go swimming since we’d been telling Reese that there was a pool.  Unfortunately the pool was a little disappointing, not for any reason in particular but maybe because it was an indoor/outdoor pool so there was just this garage door like thing that was part way open and you could either be in or out and the water was not very warm.  We were expecting a warm indoor pool, but Reese had fun playing in the little kid pool so that’s all that mattered.  While we were getting ready after swimming, Nate and my dad headed down to Disney Village to get in line at Mickey’s Cafe for Reese’s birthday dinner.  We ended up timing it perfectly because by the time the kids and I got ready and got down there we only had to wait about 20mins before we got a table.  Reese loved dinner that night, the characters kept coming by the table and she was so in love.  I think the photo of her with Mickey correctly sums up her feelings for the day.  When it was someone’s birthday the characters would come over and dance so we were going to have them do that for Reese but it was quite expensive, luckily there were two other people in our area who had birthdays and Reese thought it was for her and got to dance with Mickey so she got the experience anyways.


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The next day after we had our hotel breakfast which was super awesome, I’m addicted to european breakfast because there’s nothing better than hard rolls and salami to start the day, we started the day a little later and went to the second park there which is the Studio Park.  We went on a flying carpet ride that Reese really liked and then a cars ride and slinky dog ride before Nate and I took a little break and did a roller coaster and the tower of terror.  There were a lot of show there but we weren’t really in the mood so we just settled on taking Reese to the Playhouse Disney show which she was mesmerized by and by then everyone was ready for lunch.  We had figured that there wouldn’t be a ton for Reese to do there and we were right, but it worked out perfectly because she was pretty cranky from all the late nights she’d been having so after lunch she and Nate went back to the hotel while Finn and I wandered around the resort area. They enjoyed their nap and I enjoyed wandering very slowly through all the shops and hotels with Finn, we even ran in to Launchpad McQuack from Ducktales so that was pretty random.


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That evening we went back to Disneyland for a few hours and my parents took Reese and went on some of her rides again while Nate and I rode Space Mountain again and had some time to ourselves.  After another run through her favorites i.e. Buzz Lightyear and Pirates of the Caribbean we headed out of the park and off to dinner at the Rainforest Cafe.  We figured Reese would enjoy the dinner there and we were right, she kept pointing all the animals out to us and commented every time a storm came through the restaurant.  After dinner we went into the store and let her pick out something to buy with the money she’d been storing up in her piggy banks at home.  She was so excited about spending her money and ended up settling on a Rex doll and a minnie purse while Nate and I got the kids their usual t-shirts and since they didn’t have any “disney paris piggy banks” we got them each an eiffel tower that was decorated like Mickey and Minnie.

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Saturday was our final day at the park so we packed up our stuff, checked out of the hotel, and headed over for another early morning.  Reese hit the carousel first like always and then I took the kids over to the sword in the stone to have them try and pull it out.  Reese was hilarious because she was hardcore trying to pull that sword out, it was so cute.  Then she wanted to do Dumbo and she picked my mom to ride with her and I’m so grateful she didn’t choose me because they ended up waiting in line for over an hour to get on that ride.  It was a much busier day on Saturday but luckily she got to do all her favorites so she was happy.  When we were walking to one ride we saw that Big Thunder was open for the first time and it was supposed to be closed for our entire vacation so we grabbed fast passes to use later and our time happened to be during the parade.  Luckily it worked out because my parents went and rode it while we waited for the parade with Reese and then shortly after the parade had started they got there and took over with her while Nate and I went and rode it.  The parade was the farewell of our trip, when it was over we made our way out of the park for good, Reese didn’t even make it out of the park before she crashed out in Nate’s arms.  She was one tired little girl after that much Disneyland.  IMG_0774 DSC_0010 (2)

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We had figured we wouldn’t get home from Disneyland until extremely late, but we ended up getting home around 10 and it wasn’t as bad of a drive as we’d been expecting so that was nice.  We had an awesome time at Disneyland Paris and I’m glad we got to do it before we left because it was one of the things that I’d been wanting to do for a really long time.  I’m also glad we did it when we did because it worked out perfectly getting to celebrate Reese’s birthday there and getting to have my parents come along with us.