Sunday, February 23, 2014

This Past Week...

 Well I am finally caught up!  Until tomorrow, that is ;).  This past week has been pretty normal.  We had Monday off, for President's Day.  Whenever we have 'American Holidays' that fall on a weekday, we like to try and go somewhere because Germans won't be off and places are less crowded, etc.  We had heard a lot about a store called, Cora, in France.  We like only about an hour from the French border, so we decided to check it out.  It was pretty much like a Walmart.  Honestly, we weren't super impressed with it.  They had a few fun things that we don't see in Germany.  When we got home, we laughed about our selections.  I bought a bunch of baguettes and this fancy lemonade (it's just like sprite, but i like the bottles!)...Nathan got about 10 bags of chips, all different flavors.  So funny.  After our trip to Cora, we went to Saarbrucken, a larger city in Germany, right on the border.  I had heard about a clothing store there that I wanted to check out.  It was one of those days with the kids, where you kinda just wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out.  By the time we got the kids in bed that night, we both felt like we had aged 10 years.  You win some, you lose some.  At least we didn't sit at home and watch TV or play Wii all day, right?!  (which is what we did today, because Nathan, Isla, and I are all sick) 

Of course Sawyer had to use his baguette as a weapon...always
 So we got the Wii U for Christmas.  It was a big debate, for Nathan & I.  We really didn't want to add one more thing to the vast array of 'screens' that we seem to get sucked into these days.  But we have been pretty good about limiting the time on Wii.  And honestly, it has been the best form of punishment/bribery for Sawyer that I've had yet!  It works SO well for that!  lol. But Nathan and Sawyer love to play Legos Avengers together.  And Violet always shows up at some point, begging to play along.  So Nathan gives her a wii-mote, and 'tells' her she's 'playing'.  Problem is, she's not that dumb...she eventually catches on. 
 This made me so happy!  Violet giving Isla some real attention (for about 15 seconds)!  So cute!
 We try to do some good activities every now and then as well.  On this day, we made homemade play doh.  The kids did so well with it...kept them entertained for quite a while.  They were doing so well, that I thought I would go outside and vacuum the car real quick before Isla woke up.  When I came back inside, I was in the middle of a full-on play doh massacre.  Play doh EVERYWHERE.  Not funny.  I guess that's the last time I leave them unsupervised with play doh again.  In the picture, Sawyer was very proud of his play doh airplane creation, as was I.

On Friday, Nathan took the boy scouts camping in the village right next to ours.  He is the scout master, so this is a common occurrence for Nathan these days.  But since he was so close to home, he decided to take Sawyer along for a few hours in the evening.  Sawyer had so much fun, he ended up asking if he could go to bed in the tent at 7:30.  He wanted to stay so that he could wake up with the boy scouts in the morning.  Nathan said that in his prayer, Sawyer asked Heavenly Father for the boy scouts to be quiet so that he could sleep.  Ha! 

Violet and I had a 'Girl's Night' while the boys were away.  We didn't want her to feel like she was missing out.  So I rented a Barbie Movie, and we had popcorn and did our nails.  And then she got to sleep in mommy's bed that night.  It was really fun, actually.  I enjoyed spending the one on one time with my little Viley.

The sun actually came out the other day!  So we grabbed our bikes and scooters, and went for a little walk.  I loved this picture of Violet, dirt on the face and all!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Morning Pictures

Isla Bea--9 Months
Sawyer Rafe--4 yrs 10 months
Violet Abigail--2 yrs 10 months

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Isla Bea--9 Months

Hard to believe this sweet babe is already 9 months old.  Partly because we have been so busy moving to Germany that time has flown by, and partly because she is still so tiny!  Our smallest baby so far, that's for sure.  Here were her stats at her 9 month visit:

                       HT: 27.17 in (38%)   WT: 15.87 lbs (7%)      HC: 16.93 in (23%)

Oh how we all love little Isla!  She is the sweetest baby ever.  Extremely even-tempered, a truly happy girl.  The only thing I can honestly say that was ever a struggle with Isla, was her crying in the car.  That lasted for quite a while...probably until about 8 months.  Then suddenly it got MUCH better.  Who knows.  But other than that, she has been SO easy.  She sleeps like a champ!  To the point that I have actually considered googling, "is my baby sleeping too much?".  Most days she will sleep until 8, sometimes 9 (or later!).  I often have to go in and wake her up, for fear of our entire days' schedule being thrown off.  And she is hovering between waking up to eat once during the night (between 3-5), to not at all.  Most days she goes from 7 pm until she wakes up in the morning.  And to top it off, she will sleep through a considerable amount of noise (I guess 3rd children have to learn that).  Crazy.  I've never experienced anything like it.  Sawyer was a pretty good sleeper, too.  And I've always been a strict 'sleep scheduler', although that's gotten less and less with each child.  Violet struggled the most with sleep, and she is still my earliest riser, ready to eat the second she wakes up.  But Isla is a miracle sleeper.  And I am so grateful.  On top of sleeping through the night, she still will take 2, 2-3 hour naps during the day.  I don't even know what to say, except, we'll take it!

Isla is also a wonderful eater.  She is still nursing, but gets the job done quick, which we all appreciate.  And she hasn't really come across a food that she doesn't like, yet.  She will eat most things that I give her.  And she is excited about all of the table foods she's been getting lately.  Some of her favorites are, sweet potatoes, avocados, bananas, cereal puffs, and crackers or bread.  She finally got her bottom two teeth around 8 1/2 months...and I'm sure the others are not far behind.

Isla has been a tad slower than her siblings on learning to move around.  But not by much.  Sawyer and Violet both crawled at 6 months, walked by 10 months.  Isla started crawling around 7 months.  One challenge that I have not had to deal with until now, is that of keeping my baby from ingesting small toys (LEGOS)!  It is a nightmare, and I am hardly ever relaxed when she is crawling around, for fear that she will find some hidden piece that got lost on the floor.  But luckily, Sawyer and Violet both know how dangerous it is for her, so they help me in the effort to 'save Isla Bea'.  Shortly after crawling she mastered sitting on her own, and around 8 months she started pulling up to stand.  Now she is walking around the furniture a bit and I'm sure it won't be long before we have another toddler.  I hope she doesn't rush it too much, though.

Isla LOVES her siblings.  Whenever they pay her any attention, she just grins from ear to ear, and squeals with delight.  And they love her.  Sawyer is definitely more interested in her than Violet.  He is totally gonna be that 'protective' brother--which makes me so happy.  And every now and then, Violet shows her some love too, and I just know they will be great little sister friends.  I'm excited to watch their relationships develop.

Isla is a mama's girl, but not to the point that she won't go to anyone else.  She will still be happy in someone else's arms.  But when given a choice--it's mom.  One of my favorite things is when I put her to bed, I give her a binky and she lays her head on my chest.  It is so snuggly and wonderful.  I want those moments to go on forever.  But after a short time, she will start trying to reach for her bed.  So I lay her down on her back, and she smiles and starts energetically pumping her legs (she does that all the time, and has done it since she was born).  I wish I could just keep Isla this way forever.  I know there is so much joy in watching your children grow and develop into great people, and that it only gets better, but I am perfectly content to soak up every minute of them 'right now', the way they are today.  When I think about my baby Isla, I will always remember a perfectly sweet and happy baby who brought us all so much joy in our day to day lives. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Favorite Things Party & Valentine's Day

 My friend, Mandy, had the great idea to throw a 'Favorite Things Party'.  I was all about it, because, 1.  I love to throw a good party, and 2.  The theme sounded like so much fun!  We asked everyone to bring their 'favorite thing'.  The item needed to be around a $6 value, and you had to bring five of that same item.  When they arrived they put their own name in a jar, 5 times.  We later had everyone introduce their 'favorite thing' and then pull 5 names out of the jar...those 5 people would get that item.  So in the end everyone would walk away with 5 new things.  It was really fun and people got very creative.  I think the best part was just seeing what people came up with.  Not to mention, it's always fun to get together with out kids every now and then.  ;)  We had a sugar cookie dessert bar, with fruit for toppings.  It was a blast.

Valentine's Day was two days later.  We always focus mainly on the kids for Valentines Day.  It's just more fun that way.  Besides, we have birthdays and Anniversary in the two weeks before that, so we've had plenty of 'us' time by then.  They got crepes with strawberries and whip cream hearts for breakfast, then heart shaped sandwiches for lunch.  That night we surprised them with going to see the new Legos movie, which we ALL LOVED!  It was so funny.  Even Isla went.  She did ok, but I don't see myself taking her to any more movies in the near future.  After the movie we ate at Johnny Rockets and went home.  A fun day for all of us. 

Valentine's Day...

Isla's Breakfast...strawberry, raspberry baby cereal.  I seriously LOVE this stuff.  Almost better than crepes.
Sawyer thought he was so clever, putting his PB&J heart over his heart ;)
 This was my first attempt at 'Pinterest hair'...not too shabby.  Completely lopsided, but cute nonetheless.

 I love Violet, covering her ears, in the background

Monday, February 10, 2014


 We hadn't been to the temple since moving to Germany.  It is a couple of hours away, and with a nursing baby it makes a trip that long kind of difficult.  So we decided that we would go with our friends, the Barons, and take turns going in the temple while the other couple watched all the kids.  And then we decided, if we were going to drive 2 hours to the Frankfurt temple, why not drive 4 and go to the Swiss Temple and stay overnight and make it a fun trip for Nathan's 32nd Birthday?!  And that is exactly what we did.  They have 'housing' right next to the temple for people that are coming from far away.  The rooms are very comparable to dorm rooms, with 2 sets of bunkbeds and very minimal conveniences.  But it is cheap!  We arrived around 4 pm on a Friday, quickly got settled, and sent Andrew & Mandy off to the 5 o clock session.  We hadn't planned out our dinner very well, so Nate and I decided to run over to the McDonalds real quick and get everyone something to eat.  We were floored when we saw the prices there!  I mean, we had heard that Switzerland was expensive...but that didn't prepare us for what we found!  A regular, old, Big Mac value meal was somewhere around 12 Francs (15 DOLLARs)! So we bit the bullet and got all the kids their Happy Meals, and then Nathan and I split one sandwich.  Ha!  We will always bring our own food to Switzerland from now on!  We rushed back to the housing area so we would be ready before the Barons came back.  We needed to make it into the 7 pm session, or else we would have to go in the morning.  At 6:45 we were still waiting in the playroom with all 6 kids, and no sign of Mandy or Andrew.  Ahh!  For those who don't know what's involved when you get to the temple, you need at least 10 min inside to get ready for a session.  We were kind of freaking out. At 6:50, a nice American woman we had met earlier, who was there with her family (she and her husband were taking turns going in) came back from the session.  She said she saw Mandy inside and she would hopefully be back in 5 min.  But we needed to go.  So we left our 6 kids with this couple (and their 3 kids), hoping that Mandy & Andrew would get back quickly to relieve them!  Kinda crazy, and never would have done such a thing in normal circumstances, but they were trustworthy people and we knew it.  On our way into the temple, all the temple workers were looking at their watches and giving us questioning looks.  But they were eager to help us through and we made it in just in time!  We saw Mandy in passing and told her what we had done.  They were on their way out.  Everything turned out ok.  I was really glad we were able to do it.  The Swiss Temple is a special place for my mom.  She took out her endowments there with her parents before marrying my dad.  It was just really neat for me to be there.  And what a cool place.  It is like a melting pot of languages in there.  So many languages spoken in and around Switzerland!  I listened to most of our session in German, even though I had the English headphones on.  I just wanted to experience it in German too, which was really cool.  

That night, we had the WORST time getting our kids to sleep.  Isla wouldn't go to sleep until everyone stopped being noisy and the lights were off.  And Sawyer and Violet were SUPER hyper and loud  (I guess I can't blame them--sleeping in bunk beds in the same room with mom & dad is pretty fun!).  And for some reason, Nathan decided it was a good time to fill up his new Zippo Hand Warmers with lighter fluid--at 9:30 pm in a dorm room with 3 crazy kids!!!  Let's just say, this mama went to bed kinda grumpy that night.  We slept ok, then had to wake up and be out by 8 am (brutal checkout time).  But it was good because it forced us to get going.  Next we headed to the city of Bern.  We got out and walked around for a while.  Our goals were to see the oldest clock in Switzerland, and the Bear habitat.  Bears are like the mascot of Bern, and they have a whole habitat of real bears in the city.  We thought the kids would love that.  Unfortunately, none of us were bright enough to think that bears typically hibernate in the winter months!  After all of that, the kids played on some bear statues and we called it good.  We got back in the car and headed up to Niederhorn for some intense Alpine sledding.  (I should also mention, that we ate almost nothing that day aside from random snacks in the car.  We went to a bakery in the morning and spent like 18 bucks on 4 pretzels!  After that we were hesitant to buy any more food!)  So we got to the parking lot, spent a good while getting everyone bundled up for the snow, and got on a gondola that took us up to Niederhorn!  That was truly awesome.  The views were breathtaking.  It seemed surreal that we were really there, sledding in the Alps, on a weekend trip.  The kids LOVED the gondola ride.  Probably the best part of the day.  The sledding itself was pretty fun too.  Once we got the hang of it.  I was on my own sled, with little Isla strapped to me.  And for some reason we thought Sawyer and Austin (4 & 5 yrs old) could handle riding their own sled together.  About 1 minute into the ride, after the boys went careening over the edge (slight heart attack for myself before I realized the hill wasn't too steep on the other side!), we decided to switch things up.  So Nathan pulled a second sled with Sawyer on it, behind his.  Violet started off in front of Nathan, but after a face FULL of snow, she opted for a back seat.  Whew.  So once that was all squared away, we finally had fun on those dang sleds!  Nathan went back for a second run with Sawyer, and Mandy & I stayed with the little ones in the lodge at the bottom of the hill.  We bought some french fries and hot chocolate...and they were actually worth the price!  It was a super fun adventure.  We headed back home around 5:30 pm and the kids konked out almost immediately.  And get this---they slept the ENTIRE time!  5 HOURS!!  And then slept in their beds the rest of the night. They were wiped out!  So it was a really pleasant drive for Nathan and I.  We talked and listened to a book on tape.  The trip was a huge success, overall.  

No idea why he's got a choke hold on Isla, but she doesn't seem to mind, lol

Wow.  That is one happy little girl right there.  And don't you love her pink and red combo?! haha

She does smile! And she does have more fun than she typically lets on in most pictures...
I smiled when I saw the following, 'tour' of Bern, by Nathan & Sawyer on his camera roll...those two crack me up :)...

It doesn't get much better than a couple of bear statues...(well, maybe real bears would have been slightly more entertaining)

I love this so much.  In like 98% of my pictures lately, you see me carrying Isla in my Ergo Carrier.  But this is what I see when I look down.  And I love it.  
Happy girl with her hot chocolate