Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday, October 31 - Happy 1st Birthday Brayden!!!!

Wow - I can't believe it is the last day of October already.... Where did the time go so fast?? Brenna and I had pretty much an indoor "American" day today. We watched movies in English, we baked cornbread, and we played dress-up with my shoes (it was the only thing she wanted to dress up in :-)
It was still rainy today - I think I saw the sun shine for like 5 minutes today, and then it was back to the rain. Hopefully, at some point this weekend the rain will stop (although, I am getting good use out of my new rain boots :-)
I wanted to send out a birthday wish for my nephew Brayden today - sorry we can't be there, but hopefully you have a great day :-) Since I didn't have too much to say today, I thought I would share quite a few of our silly pictures today. The only "smiles" I got from Brenna were on the video camera - I will have to see if I can share those - she loved the orange shirt with Dora as it had a flashing light on it :-)
Take care and Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday, October 30

Hello All!!
Hope you all are having a great day. Things have been pretty slow around here today - we made it out to the store but not anywhere else. I thought about buying Brenna some candy for Halloween tomorrow (it will probably be the Christmas candy over here :-), but I wasn't sure that I wouldn't eat it :-) Our friends told us that the Snickers bars taste even better over here - I'm going to have to try those now - maybe a good excuse is Halloween ;-)
We did get a frige passed down to us from some friends over here :-) (the same ones that told us that the Snickers are better). It is twice the size of the current fridge - maybe the milk containers will actually be able to stand up in the fridge now :-) Brenna thinks it is her new toy kitchen - should be interesting to see how we all adapt :-)
The weather today was still pretty wet - not as much rain, just moisture in the air. I think I have pretty much given up on having straightened hair over here for now... I think I will just need to learn to like curl or frizz - lol ;-)
I'm looking forward to "playing dress-up" with Brenna tomorrow - we will see how well she enjoys it and if she will let me take her picture at all :-) We have music class tomorrow, so hopefully that will be fun for both of us...
Here is one picture from today with Brenna on our shoe rack - and one from Paris - I love the look on Brenna's face in the one from Paris.
Take care and have a happy Halloween tomorrow :-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday, October 29

Hello All -

Another rainy day here in Germany :-( But at least our new rain boots showed up today :-) as well as a package from Dustin's parents :-)
Brenna and I couldn't wait to put them on when we took the dog out for his walk :-) We are certaintly getting all geared up with our new rain hats and boots. I haven't decided yet if it is worth getting Brenna a rain coat. If it is really coming down outside - I try to get her to go in her stroller.
We had Kinder Group this morning - I took Brenna in her Chariot stroller - it was raining pretty good when we left, but at least it was dry on the walk home. The stroller is so big - I had a difficult time "parking" it at the church (where our kinder group is)!! At least Brenna stayed dry! We worked on creating lanterns today at the group - in November or December they will have a parade in the evening where the kids can walk the streets with the lanterns - that should be pretty cute. The group is all making the lanterns that are tigers :-)
Brenna and I are continuing to watch our new Disney movies in German - I'm sure this may get old after awhile, but it feels like this may be helping with my German understanding. Some of the conversation that I hear now seems to be making more sense. I'm still not doing very well at putting sentences together - I know that I need to practice this way more.
Unfortunetly, Dustin did not feel well all evening - but Brenna was her usual silly self :-) Here are our crazy pictures from today - She modeled (a little bit) her new boots :-) She tried to get daddy to wear her new hat, but he was too quick for my digital camera - lol ;-) Gotta love his expression in that one :-)
(I really tried hard to get a picture with her new slippers - Elmo - today, but she only let me take a picture of those when she was sitting on the potty - lol!!)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday, October 28

Hello All!!
Hope everyone is having a great day. Things were pretty quite here today - it is still raining, but we did all make it outside once today. Brenna looked pretty cute in her rain boots and new hat. I didn't get a picture of the whole outfit, but I did get one of the rain hats. Sorry the one of us together wasn't better - but it did put a smile on my face :-)
I'm sure there will be better pictures of the "hats" to come. I couldn't believe how much Brenna really liked her hat today - she wore it all the way to the park and back (which is really good for her!!)
We have been working on watching Disney movies in German - these movies seem to be the best for us so far as the vocabulary is fairly simple and they talk a little bit slower. It is nice when you buy the movies (Disney) over here because you can chose to watch in either German or English (or Italian and sometimes Turkish :-) We'll just have to be sure to hook up a region free DVD player at home to be able to play these movies.
I've been having a major chocolate attack lately - I have found that all of the chocolate that I have bought so far is really good - I don't know that I could bring any back as Brenna and I may eat it all on the plane :-) The candy aisles over here are amazing - they seem so much bigger than what was in the U.S. - not so good for my eating habits though :-)
Anyway - I had thought about posting some more pictures from Paris (and I still may later), but thought these silly pictures from today might put some smiles on your faces.
Take Care!!
(Yes - those are Brenna's new mouse ears on Justice - I couldn't resist the opportunity to put them on him :-) we all are getting ready for Halloween :-)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday, October 27

Wow - I can't believe how close to the end of October it is getting...The leaves here are such great colors, but quickly falling off the trees. It rained all day today, but I was too tired to want to go out today anyways :-) I spent Brenna's nap time today getting the pictures from Paris organized - I can't believe how great digital makes it to take a ton of pictures. Hopefully, we will all get caught up on our sleep soon - we all seem a little grumpy today. Dustin has a nasty head cold (although I wonder if he may be affected by allergies more since generally Brenna and I don't seem to get the same thing). We'll cross our fingers that we don't end up getting the same thing.

So, here are the "few" pictures that I selected from Paris. It was really hard to narrow this down to just a "few". I finally had to go into Adobe and resize the pictures smaller to start saving room on the blog. My big pictures were really starting to eat up a lot of space. There is so much to say about our Paris trip that it is hard to figure out where to start. On Friday, Brenna and I went to Paris Disney by ourselves since Dustin had to work. This was a great option since there wasn't a lot to entertain a two year old with at the hotel or really the surrounding area. We had a great time and Brenna loved riding the rides (that we went on) - I couldn't believe how excited she was to get to go on the carousel and teacups. The picture of us is from the carousel (thank goodness I have such long arms to take this picture :-) Disney was all decorated for Halloween - this was a great thing for Brenna and me as it isn't really celebrated in Germany. Also, it was nice (and sort of odd) to get to hear announcements in English as well as French (it was odd from the standpoint of how much we have been hearing and listening to German). I was able to find Brenna and me rain hats in Disney (which is great since I hear it may rain at times for days straight here in Germany). Hopefully, I can get a picture of us in our rain gear for you all soon (maybe for Halloween - I'm thinking about letting Brenna raid my closet on Friday for dress-up).
I was able to get a general understanding of the train system on Friday (thank goodness for the kind people who helped us on Friday - as I said in the last post, the French were very nice to Brenna and me - one couple even made sure after our first train to point out the second train that we needed to ride on :-) That really helped make it easier for Dustin and me on Saturday and Sunday to get around Paris and take advantage of all of our time. It was very interesting on Friday that Brenna and I went back to the hotel at Paris rush-hour. The train was so packed, that you could not lift your arms if you had the down at your sides. Two French ladies helped entertain Brenna on the ride home with their necklaces and scarves. Thank goodness for the kindness of others :-)
On Saturday and Sunday, we all went into Paris and walked around the sites. It is amazing that you can start at one end of the Seine River (like we did at the Notre-Dame and walk along it to the Eiffel tower). There is just one cool site to see after another. Brenna loved chasing the pigeons both at the Louvre and at the Eiffel tower. I would highly recommend to anyone to just walk about Paris if you can find the time (and money) and enjoy all the great historic and beautiful buildings. We found a great Cafe that we all loved - Bert's. It was right off of the Avenue de New York. The croissants there were excellent and they had fresh fruits and sandwiches and very affordable prices :-)

The train ride to and from Strasbourg was nice - unbelieveable smooth (and very fast) compared with the trains in and out of Paris. Brenna said she was done with trains after the last one - hopefully, that statement won't last long :-) I had fun taking pictures of the cars in Paris (and trying to use a technique called "panning" - several cars came out cool - but I liked this car the best).
Hope you all enjoy our pictures :-) Take Care!!

Lab Techs in Paris

On my last day of my job back in the U.S., my wonderful lab techs gave me some wonderful gifts. The best one I made sure to bring with me - a tote bag with their pictures :-) I made the comment that this bag should be like the traveling knome - and get pictures at all the great places we visit along the way. Kind of like the lab techs get to come with me to all these great places. So, here was our first big trip - the trip to Paris. Here is Brenna, "the lab techs", and me in front of the Eiffel Tower :-) (Brenna was really enjoying helping with the bag :-) and I just love the expression on her face!) Hope everyone enjoys our traveling techs :-)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday, October 26

Hello All!!!

We made it back from Paris today in one piece (although very tired pieces :-)

We had a great time and saw a ton of the sites (including Paris Disney for Brenna and me :-) I will get some pictures posted tomorrow. The French were extremely nice to me on Friday when I traveled by myself with Brenna to Disney (kudos to me for traveling by myself on the train system in Paris with a two year old!!! - and I got on all the right trains). Several gentlemen even carried Brenna's stroller for me up the stairs several times :-)

I'm going to have to get busy getting my pictures labeled with all the sites so that we can look back and know where the pictures were all taken. Brenna wasn't nearly as impressed with Paris landmarks as she was with the teacups at Disney - or the pigeons anywhere in Paris (also the dogs or water). You have to love what entertains a two year old :-) Overall we had a great time and look forward to seeing Paris again in the future (who would have thought we would have a chance to see it several times in a lifetime???)
Take care!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday, October 22

Hello All!!
Another rainy day here in Germany. It rained for the entire day - walking Brenna and the dog - not so much fun :-) I really wished that Dustin would get home on time - but reality is that may never happen (I guess the real question there is what defines on-time)...
We made it out to the stores this morning and then spent the rest of the morning inside. I was able to get Brenna running and dancing around inside to get out some of her energy before nap time which was good. The dog joined the fun and he did pretty well with it :-)
During Brenna's nap today, I finally got my embroidery machine going (yeah!!!) I did a new design from - one of my favorite embroidery sites. Here are a few pictures from our fun :-) I thought I would get the camera out in process - Dustin wasn't too impressed, but I thought they were at least interesting :-) I tried something new with the posting of the pictures - I did a panoramic in Photo shop (of the showing machine and Brenna playing) - hopefully, it won't be too bad on the blog.
We are off to Paris tomorrow - so there may not be a post until Sunday evening. The time changes as well this weekend - we fall back. We all will get to ride the train for the first time :-)

Take Care!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday, October 21

Hello All!!!
Sorry my posting is getting up later today - just had a crazy day today :-)

I lost my best picture of Brenna and me this morning (darn digital) :-( but I am working to recover) - I know it isn't like I don't have a ton of other ones. We went to France this morning to go to the grocery store - Cora. Wow - talk about way more than a grocery store (they all seem to be here - kinda of like a Super Wal-Mart). I was able to get my brown sugar, vanilla, and fiber cereal :-) (yeah for me!!) I know you all will think it extremely odd that the cereal is a big deal for me, but it was one thing that you can not find in Germany and something I was going to be seriously bummed about. I also found a very cute sweater set for Brenna at a fairly reasonable price. We also found a pretty decent fabric store today (and it is right next to the Cora which is nice).

Brenna continues to take over Justice's space - I almost titled this - "Wait, is there a dog in there" :-) Here is her best picture from this morning with her new socks (can you tell she is trying to ignore me)- they are really cute on her :-) They are calling for snow up in the mountains tonight - brrrr.
Take care!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday, October 20

Hello All!!!

Getting kind of a late start to my posting today. We had a pretty slow day around home today - German class this morning, laundry, and miscellaneous cleaning. We went to the park for Brenna to play this afternoon and Brenna really enjoyed that - sorry the only picture of that one is in my mind :-) It is amazing how quickly that stuff can fill up your day (or I'm just really inefficient :-)

I'm not sure if I had posted on here how great Brenna transitioned to a "big girl" bed. We decided to try her in a full size bed when we got here (since it was already in her room). The worst part of the transition wasn't the bed, more all the "stuff" she was missing in the move :-) She has adjusted well now and is more worried at bedtime that Justice comes along more than anything else.

I debating right now whether to trim Brenna's bangs or let them grow out (just in case anyone noticed that they need a trim). Being able to pull them all back may make sense with what a warm body she is. Feel free to email me or add a comment with your vote (my vote is that she looks cute either way - but I need to make a decision soon :-) I'll try to put a comparison picture of her up soon (if she lets me take her picture that is :-)

Take care!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday, October 19

Hello All!!

We drove up into the Black Forest today :-) The fall colors make everything so beautiful. I decided to "torture" Dustin and Brenna and get a family picture to post today. They both did very well. Dustin took the picture of the trees in Baden-Baden - aren't they pretty!!

We drove around Baden-Baden and then let Brenna run around some. She loves the park that is in front of the Casino. We ate at Subway for lunch - just to check out a place that has an "American" menu. It was good, but expensive (for what we ate), so we probably won't eat there very often.

Hope you enjoy the family picture :-) - Sorry no dog today as we were not sure where we would end up :-)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday, October 18

Well - I tried to make it out today and take some pictures of the beautiful fall colors here. I didn't make it very far from home as I decided to take the dog with me as well (he was actually really good - and of course with Brenna saying "no more", I have to "torture" a new subject :-)
I had to try several of the techniques that I learned from my photo class at - for anyone looking to learn about different techniques, their classes are really good. I also really like the books by the site founder, Bryan Peterson. I did the one on the bottom like that on purpose. Hopefully, others will like the effect - I think it is pretty cool.

We did some shopping close to home this morning and have had a pretty quite day. It is amazing how quickly a day can fly by... We are starting our DVD collection over here - that way we can watch Disney (or other American movies) in German or English (they come with the option to watch in either). We bought Mary Poppins today which was one that I wanted before we left the States, but hadn't got yet. I also bought a German cookbook with all variety of recipes. I'm hoping to make at least one cookie one when I am back in the States at Christmas - they are really good (I bought a sample bag :-)
The peanut butter cake is completely gone today - even the piece I had "hidden" from Dustin (which he still ended up eating today ;-). Brenna has went potty on the toilet three times today - I am extremely impressed with her :-) She isn't going consistently on it yet, but we'll get there... Just as I was finishing this posting - Brenna was being so silly - I had to get it on camera. She was using the chair as her microphone and I'm not sure what else - I thought it was very silly.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday, October 17th

Well - Dustin definetly gave the peanut butter cake a two thumbs up when he told me this morning not to make it very often (his way of saying that it is too good for him to stop eating it :-) Thanks to our peanut butter and brown sugar "supplier" in the US. I'm going to try that recipe at least one more time with the stuff from over here to see if it is as good. We go to France on Tuesday, so I am looking forward to getting the brown sugar and vanilla from there to see how it is.

For whatever reason, I couldn't sleep last night so today has been pretty productive... Got some much needed cleaning accomplished, walked the dog, and already exercised (although with the "junk" that I have eaten in the last two days, I may want to think about exercising again :-) Brenna and I also made it out for a nice walk which was nice after being the house all day yesterday.

We had Brenna's music class today - she really likes it. She is a little jumping bean in the class. There were more kids there today, and Brenna did really well with that :-)
Thought everyone might get a kick out of her outfit today. In both pictures, she was telling me "NO PICTURES, MAMA..." Guess I have had the camera out too much on her, but I just try to capture a little something each day :-)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday, October 16

To finish off our afternoon today, Brenna and I decided to try another new recipe (hey - we really don't bake everyday and with the weather today - we were going a little stir crazy being stuck inside :-) It is really nice that we can get out most days and go walking - not sure how the winter will be with the rain, but we will adjust :-) She wasn't feeling too much like singing today, but hopefully, we will get a birthday song to my mom shortly :-) (or at least a birthday wish from Brenna)

Anyway, we turned on Billy Joel and made a peanut butter cake with a peanut butter streusel topping - it got a big two thumbs up from Dustin and Brenna. The taste reminded me of peanut butter cookies (which growing up were always my favorite). I remember mom making cookies for my birthday in kindergarten - how crazy is that :-) The cookies are a fond memory - kindergarten (and my birthday, which the teacher forgot) not so much ;-) Brenna really enjoyed "helping" with the mixing (or was it tasting... you be the judge!!) She had to have her apron on - she really loves it!! She was disappointed that I didn't want to wear mine too today :-)
I definetly feel in carb and sugar overload today. I'm sure I will get back on track tomorrow - I had a pretty good week for food up until today.

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Happy Birthday to my mom today :-) Brenna and I made you a birthday bread today, but I'm not sure that it will make it there.... Of course we had to make sure it tasted good (which it does), so we may just have to send you the recipe (fresh bread is better than shipped bread that is 5 - 7 days old anyways :-) Thought you might enjoy a picture of our bread - it is not great, but I was trying to get you a picture before Brenna and the dog really dived in :-) (O.k., so I included a picture of Brenna enjoying the bread too - don't ask me why she was eating it laying on the floor).
All joking aside - I hope you have a great day and Brenna and I will try to get you a birthday wish on video today. It has been raining all day, so we have been couped up in the house (not great for a two year old with lots of energy). We love you lots!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday, October 15

Hello All!

We had a busy morning so far (and a late start to go with it...) Dustin is out of town until this evening, so poor Justice had to cross his legs until Brenna woke up (which wasn't until 9 this morning as she woke up during the night). We had our Kinder group this morning, so once Brenna was awake, we had to really move to feed and walk the dog, get dressed, and get out the door. We were only a few minutes late, which was pretty good. The kids got to play (Brenna loves that kitchen...) and then they ate waffles. I'm pretty sure that Brenna ate the most of any of the kids - she just kept going back for more, but at least that was pretty much lunch and breakfast. We got back and went to the stores - boy am I tired today - not really feeling too much in the walking mood.

We hope to make it to the store that is kind of like a library today, but their hours aren't very good - only 2 to 6 pm. You have to pay a one time a year fee of 15 Euro, but then you can borrow all kinds of stuff. Brenna went down for her nap at 2, so we will see....

Anyway - since the do was so patient with us this morning - thought I would put a picture of him up today (this was taken at my parents house before we left). He is adjusting well - loves it when we go on long walks, but is o.k. with the short ones too. He loves the landlord here - although he tends to jump all over him (and I usually see the landlord when I have Justice and Brenna - which one do you try to control?) The landlord doesn't seem to mind too much...

Well, take care!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday, October 14th

Well, I had a very pleasant surprise today when Brenna decided to poop on the potty :-) She was very good about it, but wanted to be in the bathroom all by herself :-)

Our new stools from IKEA came in very handy under her feet - I think she really liked that for going potty.

Here is her mile wide grin video after pooping on the potty - we "fed" her piggy some change after she went on the potty.

Also, here is a video of Brenna and I singing along to a youtube video of the Chipettes (sorry, my singing is bad, but we were having fun ;-)

The weather is pretty gray today - so not much outside time this morning. Hopefully, we will all make it for a walk once Brenna wakes up from her nap.

The pictures above are Brenna modeling her new hair ties. She was pretty excited about putting them in this morning, but had to have them out before nap time today :-)