Thursday, December 24, 2009

The unfairness of my birthday (for my siblings)

To my parents credit I have always loved when I was born, I never felt slighted at all. I thought it was very exciting that my birthday coincided with the day Santa happened to pop down our chimney and leave loads of presents under the Christmas tree. It was one of the reasons it took me so long NOT to believe in Santa Claus, I really feared it would ruin the birthday magic.

However, for my siblings the date of my birth was very inconvenient, at best. Just when the anticipation of Christmas was nearly too much there was one major hurdle for all my siblings to overcome: watching me open MY presents when they had so many under the tree. To irritate me they only referred to Christmas Eve as Christmas Eve, never mentioning my birthday. They also managed to convince our parents that they should get to open, at least, one present. This charge was led by my older sister, who by Christmas Eve knew all of her presents because she had unwrapped and re-wrapped them all, so she headed to the best present. She still can't stand to be surprised on Christmas and her husband has to go to great lengths so that she is surprised. One of my younger brothers', Tim was just grumpy, so anything he could do to irritate me on my birthday was fun for him. (Ya know, how a younger brother is supposed to act) and Andrew my youngest brother would go along with the majority, which never happened to play out in my favor, I might add. When everyone else was celebrating exciting things having to do with Christmas Eve, my siblings were forced to sing Happy Birthday and spend many Christmas Eve dinners at the only restaurants open: Chinese restaurants, Thai Restaurants and Indian restaurants. Is it a coincidence that these happen to be some of my favorite international cuisines? In our house, tradition states that the birthday kid gets to pick the restaurant, and needless to say my options were limited.

I apologize for unfairly getting more presents due to the timing of my birth and therefore having new toys to play with a whole twelve hours before you guys! I apologize for having an extra stocking that the hospital bundled me up in due to the timing of my birth. Sorry that I made my entrance into the world nine days late, and not listening when Mom told me that I was to "stay put" until after Christmas. And...I apologize for enjoying all the teasing that I put you guys through because I gleefully got to open presents, and eat my cake, and not let you guys open any presents (except for pajamas), and I made you guys wait to truly enjoy Christmas until my birthday was over...on Christmas day. And sorry for tattling on you guys to mom and dad when you referred to Christmas Eve as "Christmas Eve" instead of my birthday. I also apologize for threatening to write "Happy Birthday" on your Christmas present if you even thought of doubling up my present as a Birthday/Christmas present. I wanted TWO presents, thank you very much! So, thanks for putting up with me, your Christmas eve sibling or as they refer to me in German a "Christkind" ("Christ child" that definitely would have inflated my ego!)

So, to Tracy, Tim and Andrew- I love you guys with my heart and soul. You are free to celebrate Christmas Eve as you so choose this year! Tracy, you can open the biggest, bestest present (which won't surprise you in the least), Tim, please refer to the day as "Christmas Eve" ALL DAY LONG and Andrew...follow in Tracy and Tim's lead and do a little of both. I wish I was there to remind you all that it was MY birthday and not Christmas yet. Miss you and love you!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


He loves his books. He loves being surrounded by his books. He loves stacking them. He loves organizing them in the bookshelf. Do we have a future reader on our hands? I hope so!!

Jameson cannot wait for Kevin to wake up in the mornings, so most days he runs into our room with a book in hand requesting Kevin to read it. I just love this pic of my boys. Doesn't Kevin look a wee bit sleepy?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Our future graffiti artist

You might have to click on the picture to appreciate this masterpiece that greeted me when I woke up yesterday morning, but I was happy the medium of art he chose to create this beautiful picture was in pencil. Contrary to my belief, pencil was not much easier to remove then, say, pen, especially on the slick paint. Crayons would have been an even better medium for him to use when graffiti-ing my door. After much scrubbing with a washcloth, so as not to remove the paint Jameson (and I) got it pretty well clean. Too bad the cleaning part was a lot of fun to him. Hopefully we won't have a repeat of this in the near future as he knows he is ONLY supposed to color on paper. However, the temptation is great, as it is to all children, for him to see how it looks on walls, tables, doors, you name it. How can I manage to foster his creative streak without allowing him to color all over my house?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

O Tannenbaum

Kevin suggested last week that we get a Christmas tree and I was really surprised, but excited, considering both of us can be a bit scrooge-y we must be missing our families. I even purchased a classic Christmas album from iTunes. I was about two seconds from getting the Amy Grant complete Christmas Collection. Oh, how I love Amy Grant's Christmas songs! Jameson has been dancing to those old classic voices, and I love having the songs playing in the background. Jameson is quite the gentleman when it comes to dancing. If I am sitting on the sofa watching him he comes over extends his hand for me to dance with him. I kneel down and he "slow dances" with me, swaying as only a man can. Love it. His favorite song to slow dance to is Silver Bells.

We got our Christmas tree on Tuesday and it sat on our coffee table since then. We did manage to take the netting off it, but we were quite lazy about decorating it. We finally put the lights up yesterday and after purchasing a couple strand of beads we added the ornaments today. Although I think we actually need garland, because the tree is so fat the beads get lost. I like our little Christmas tree. It is VERY round! It definitely looks rounder here then it did on the street corner! I have to admit it feels a lot more like Christmas around our place now, especially with the snow falling all day long! We have had our fair-share of hot chocolate (Jameo's favorite)and eggnog coffee (Kevin's and my favorite, especially sprinkled with nutmeg) today.

Only a half-smile for me today

Jameson definitely thinks it is very cool having this tree sitting on our table. This afternoon I walked into the family room and saw him "singing" to the lights on the tree. He was holding one in his hand, just singing away. It was too cute. Although I did remark to Kevin, this is the kind of stuff I did as a kid. I was such a space-y kid, always in my own world making up songs, and having conversations with non-existent characters just to hear the sound of my voice in many different accents.
Not very happy, probably because we told him a million times NOT to touch the Christmas tree!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cinnamon Spice Ornaments

Since having Jameson I have been excited to start traditions in our family that will carry him throughout his life. He is finally old enough where he is noticing the lights, the goodies, all the toys in the stores, and he enjoys helping me "cook." I found a project that look easy enough that even we could do it: Cinnamon Spice Ornaments. Simple! 1 cup ground cinnamon, 3/4 cup applesauce, mix until a dough consistency forms, roll out, use your cookie-cutters to make shapes, bake at 150 F for a couple hours until dry.

Simple enough. My first sign that this was not going to go as planned should have been when I was unable to find cookie cutters. What!?! They have tiny linzer cookie presses, but no cookie cutters. Fine, we will free-form them. It will be art.

We had a great time! Jameson loved mixing the dough, adding the cinnamon, rolling it out and patting it down. I formed hearts, Christmas trees, kind of sad looking stars, a candy cane, a wreath, an ornament and then I got the genius idea to trace his hand and cut that out. A keepsake from Christmas 2009 that smells yummy. I had visions of Jameson measuring his hand against it for years to come, just like I used to do each year when our handmade ornaments came out of the box.

I baked them, and the house smelled like a cinnamon stick! While we baked them we headed down to the Christkindlmarkt at Schoenbrunn Palace for an hour. Whew! It was FREEZING cold, but we got hot chocolate to warm us up. Jameson got to run around with the big Christmas tree lighting his way, and I got to look at all the Christmas decorations.

When we got home I took out the ornaments only to realize that the majority of our ornaments were much too thin and broke while I tried to pick them up. Bummer! I managed to save a few and strung them with yarn. I was most happy about the hand, it came out perfectly. With his initials JDA and 2009 engraved in the palm. Happy sigh.

Cut to this morning. It had all the makings of a beautiful winter day. Big snowflakes were falling outside while we ate breakfast. I had plans to make some eggnog and sugar cookies so we could PROPERLY decorate our Christmas tree tonight. While getting out my eggnog making supplies: Eggs, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg...don't all good eats begin with these things? Jameson kept opening our freezer door. It is just his height and has a weak seal, so he loves opening it and just standing there. (I see him as a teenager standing in front of the fridge in my mind's eye.) As I was moving the cookie sheet of our cinnamon spice ornaments out to the family room to finish their drying I tried to close the door with my other hand while telling Jameson not to open it again. Yes, even at the moment I knew I was attempting one too many things with my "steel-willed child." He braced himself against the door pushing back on me, and I tripped and the cookie sheet went flying. My precious baby's hand hit the floor first. Is it bad to admit that I yanked Jameson out of the freezer and closed the door and told him too loudly not to open it again? While mourning over his cinnamon spice hand, I forgot his chubby little REAL hands are much more precious, especially since he was patting my back as I was picking up the pieces. His hand is either giving me "the bird" or telling me to "hang loose." I think I prefer the "hang loose" version, especially since we have a few changes on the horizon that are stressing our family out a little.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Omi!!!

I know its not a recent one, but its one of my favorites, and YOU look the same!! (Definitely not a year and a half older!) We love you!!

Happy birthday Momma! We love you! Wish we were there to help you celebrate!! Just think, this time next year we will be in the Alps celebrating those big "0" numbers. I hope you have a great day!!! We miss you!!

A video of Jameson "making" a cake for you! I thought I might be able to get "itsy-bitsy-spider out of him too, but no such luck!

Love you lots,

Jameson, Aimee (and Kevin too!)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Successfully sleeping (at the moment)

It feels really weird not to be blogging today, hence the reason I am sitting here writing this blog. All evening, I have been itching to blog, not for any particular reason, and I kept reminding myself that I didn't need to blog.

Today we had a very successful "sleep" day. I set my alarm for 7:15 am, snoozed it until 7:30 when I woke Jameson up or rather Kevin's presence did, have I mentioned how much Jameson loves his dad? He went down for a nap at 11:45 am and slept until 1:15. This evening he went down about 8:00pm. Its almost midnight and he has yet to walk out and greet me. Crossing my fingers. One day down, hopefully one night will soon be over.

Wishing everyone a happy and stress-free December!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Final November Blog

So, the month is up and I actually made it. I wrote something for everyday this month. Sometimes it was incredibly short, like when I blogged from my iphone at Dulles Airport during our layover to Europe and others were, ahem, a little long-winded, but I found it wasn't nearly as difficult as I anticipated. Life had a way of creating blogging opportunities, or was it the other way around? Possibly a bit of both. Overall, it was a really fun experience, and I think the grandparents appreciated it the most! Living far away from our families is by far the hardest thing we do! This past month gave me back my "zeal" for blogging, and now that we are here in Vienna I am going to try to continue a fairly consistent blogging regime.

One of the things daily blogging made me appreciate were: comments. Thank you to those who did take the time to comment, emails or offering your own stories, I love stories! For the blogs that I read (and they are many) I do try to come up with a comment to leave for the writer. There are those times that I am a lazy reader though and fail to leave a comment. I think from now on I will be better at commenting. The "Google reader" which gives me a run-down of the blogs I read all in one spot has made it to easy to peruse the new entries and not ever visit the person's actual website therefore not leaving a comment.

Also, I appreciate those writers who have the courage to write about some controversial topics. As my friends and family know I am pretty "hippy dippy" in regards to a lot of areas of life, but would have a hard time writing about those issues for fear of offending someone or "being told off." Because I am so passionate and I have done lots and lots of research and am comfortable with my choices its hard for me to keep my mouth shut, therefore I avoid those topics all-together. So, to you out there, who do talk about the tough stuff, my admiration is great! Granted this blog is about our family and for those who cannot be near to feel a little closer, but occasional heated discussion is always fun!

Jameson is STILL jet-lagged and the sleep deprivation is getting to him (and me). My mellow mellow son is melting down at the slightest thing. Bathes: Check, Dinner: Check, Pajamas: Check, Shoes: Check, Dad leaving: Check, Diaper change: Check, Not being allowed to eat ice cream for dinner: Check, Not following him to the family room when I am eating dinner: Check, Turning off a light: Check. Really, that was my night tonight and it went on and on. So, as I write Jameson is sleeping in his diaper (it wasn't worth the fight) and didn't get to sleep until 9:45pm because he was having a meltdown from when Kevin left at 8:00pm. He finally zonked out, and hopefully he will sleep through the night. My boy needs his sleep. His naps have gone by the wayside in our adjustment period which is a very bad thing, and I know as soon as I can get him waking up in the morning at a decent time, down for a nap at the perfect time bedtime will surely follow.

A frequent sight in our household recently

A little dramatics never hurt, right?

I am reading "The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers" By Elizabeth Pantley. This is the ONLY sleep book that I feel understands our needs, which is funny because I wasn't a fan of her first book targeted at babies. She has a WHOLE chapter devoted to night nursings/wakings, and since its up to preschool the assumption is that the child is in a "Big Kid" bed, which Jameson has been for months now. Jameson has always been on a strict sleep schedule, and the boy was an incredible sleeper his first 5 months of life...then we came to Vienna and he has been waking up twice a night ever since. Believe it or not most of the time it doesn't bother me. For the most part he is easy to get back down (nursing for a few minutes) but as we begin the end of our nursing relationship he will need to find other ways to get back to sleep. She has a lot of great suggestions and as a long-term nurser herself she understands that relationship and I have begun incorporating the suggestions into our routine.

On a completely unrelated-to-sleep-note, my great eater turned picky eater when we arrived back in the states has returned to his former great eater self (tonight being the major exception). All I keep thinking: is food really THAT bad in the states? Scary.

Bring on December!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Day at the Zoo

Today was a nice enough day to head down to the zoo. We live one short strassenbahn ride away from it. Jameson and I went often last year, and I think we will be going a lot this year too. The zoo is on the Summer Palace grounds called Schoenbrunn Palace. We actually have a great view of it walking down our street. The zoo is over 250 years old! I cannot even imagine what it must have been like 250 years ago! The Hapburgs (the ruling dynasty of the Austrian Empire) were animal fanatics, and hunters (are they one and the same?) They have a ton of stuffed animals from safaris in the Natural history museum and apparently they kept a lot of live animals as well.

While it is a small zoo, there are all the important animals to see: Lions, Tigers, Elephants, Pandas, Monkeys, Bears, with some added bonuses along the way. Jameson was in a bit of a funk throughout our trip. He only wanted to chase the pigeons and ravens on the grounds. Polar Bear? What Polar Bear, give me a pigeon. The craziest and coolest thing is how close you can get to the animals because the enclosures are so small and RIGHT there. We had a tiger inches from us as he strolled by the glass window. Wow, that tail was HUGE and those paws... That made Jameson a little nervous when I tried to put him down to take a picture of the incredible sight. Perhaps he will get braver as we go more often. It being the end of November there weren't a lot of people at the zoo, but more than I was expecting.

Schoenbrunn grounds are very awesome. There are hiking trails, a Christkindlmarkt (christmas market), restaurants, theaters, fountains, a hedge maze, The Palmenhaus which is this massive greenhouse that is built in the art noveau style. We had such a fun time hanging out, and I hadn't realized that Kevin had never been to that side of Schoenbrunn. We will definitely be making a return trip soon!
In front of the Cheetah enclosure

Being pulled by Dad in the (free) wagon.

He hopped out of the wagon SO fast, he could not wait to take his picture with the Elephant!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Shaking the sillies out in the garden

As predicted we had a very easy going day today. We had planned on going to the zoo, but due to rain I decided not to go. However, by this afternoon Jameson was a crazy dude. Running around, jumping up and down, turning circles and falling all over. These are all symptoms of cabin fever in our house. So, I put a coat on him and we headed out back where he got to run and chase his wiggles away.

Since I have mentioned the back garden numerous times I decided to post a picture of Jameson frolicking through the it. It is such a great area and I am sure we will be out there a lot this year.

At the moment I have a little boy who is over cuddling with his Daddy because he has woken up three times since 8:30. I think its time I tried to put him down again. I was really hoping we were through the jet lag!! No such luck!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Time to breathe

Since landing on Monday, we haven't had much time to recover. We hit the ground running. With Thanksgiving Day to prepare, there was a lot to do. Today Kevin took a few of the students on a brewery tour and then this evening we had a "Ganslessen" (Goose dinner) with the wonderful teachers from our German language school. Through it all Jameson has been a trooper, more than a trooper, he has been awesome. Last night, we didn't get home until 11 pm and he was still in a great, happy mood if not a little hyper (perhaps the full piece of pumpkin pie?)

Today we went to a park, then bought some groceries. After that we came home and played in the back garden. He took a good nap, we loaded him up and went to a beautiful heuriger (wine restaurant) in the vineyards above Vienna for our Ganslessen. Jameson made a couple of friends, one was a little girl named Lea who was about one, and then he was following a boy of about five and a girl of around seven all around the room. You know your baby is getting old when they are playing "peek-a-boo" with the younger one, and looking at you as if to say, "isn't this a cute little baby?" I love watching Jameson with kids younger than he because he is so gentle and so kind. He walked with Lea and played with her and kissed her on the cheek. He even let her grab his nose and his hair. (I think she was jealous as he has a head full of hair and she had very little). He would put his hands on his knees to bend down and talk to her, and it made me laugh. He is even great at sharing his toys, or in this case his crayons and pad of paper. I am hoping his attitude regarding babies means he will be a good future older brother.
Jameson coloring at our Ganslessen

I am pretty happy that we are done with our "duties" for awhile. We need to get Jameson back on his schedule. His normal bedtime is 7:00pm. Between jet-lag and holiday parties we haven't come close to that. I am hoping that his 7:00 o'clock bedtime won't come as such a shock tomorrow night. The problem is that 7:00pm here is 11:00 am in Denver, which is his nap-time. I realized this when he woke up two nights in a row at about 10:00pm ready to play until 2:30 or 3:00 in the morning (so that translates to 6:30 or 7:00pm Denver time). I am really hoping that the two "off" days will help him adjust to the time here, because I am worked! This round of jet-leg has been the worse yet, because he can get out of bed, walk around, go play, whereas before Kevin and I would sit him between us on the bed and sleep around him while he entertained himself until he got sleepy. I won't say we are out of the woods yet, but it does look promising!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We were thinking of all of our family and friends!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We cooked and baked

We ate our meal (and dessert)

Now, with full bellies and thankful hearts we sleep and wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Baking

Baking pumpkin pies with my very jet-laggin' boy at 10:30pm. Need I say more? Sorry for the recurring theme in my posts lately, I am sure this theme will continue for a few more days. Hopefully not beyond that though. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone tomorrow! We always have a great feast with our students here in Vienna. Now, while I wait for the first pumpkin pie to bake I am onto the cranberries.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jet-lag is a cruel and unusual punishment for a 20-month-old.

Yes, truly a cruel and unusual punishment. Kevin and I went to bed at midnight fully expecting a wide awake boy at around 3:00 am. Sure enough, 2:30 we hear him walking around the foyer trying to find us. I brought him out to the family room, and he was absolutely thrilled to be awake. He immediately began playing with his "new" toys. It took me a good fifteen minutes to even wake-up, but 2:30 am is a little early for me to begin drinking coffee. Then he wanted me to read some books, in German no less. Ummm, he scratched that idea when I yawned through the first page.

Luckily, he entertained himself quite well. Then I turned on the slingbox (connected to our Denver tv through the internet) so he could watch a tv show "On Demand." After that he still wasn't tired, so I asked him if he was hungry (a common reason I wake up when I am jet-lagged. He said yes, so I got him some cheese crackers. At 4:15 when he was tired, but awake I moved us to his bedroom where I turned on his portable DVD with the "Little Einsteins." He watched a couple episodes while I fell asleep. After his episodes were over he woke me up and passed me his DVD. It must have been 5:00am, but I didn't check the time.

At around 7:00am he tried to wake up. TRIED is the word. He absolutely could not open his eyes. I was watching him, he literally could not peel his eyes open and it was frustrating to him. Apparently, the two of us ended up sleeping until nearly 11:00am when Kevin came in to wake us up.

We got some grocery shopping done, and then I brought Jameson back to the house to see if he would take a late nap. No way. He was so hyper he was running around the apartment jumping up and down (sorry people below us) and squealing. I had one more shopping run to make so I brought him along to get him outside. He ran up our hill, so happy to be outside. In the store he was running circles around me while I held his hand. People were look at me with pity because of my crazy kid. Ha ha.

When we got home I put the groceries away and brought him down to the garden behind our apartment house. He explored the garden, picking up leaves and throwing them, checking out every bush, and every tree. Then he decided he wanted to run races from wall to wall. Fine by me. When he came in, he was much more sane. He ate dinner, took a bath and proceeded to crash quicker than I could believe. Here's to hoping that he sleeps through the night.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Amazing Traveler

We left the house at 6am Denver time. We arrived at the Denver airport and got on our flight to DC. Jameson had some books, toys and a blank notebook with crayons. We also carried a portable DVD player with a few "Little Einsteins" DVDs. We had three hours in the DC airport. When we arrived in our concourse, it was empty, I mean REALLY empty. We got to our gate which happened to be right across from my favorite sandwich place, Potbelly Stove Sandwiches (or something to that extent). Jameson then proceeded to run up and down the "C" concourse for the next two hours, got tired and sat with his dad. I was hoping we would catch the lull and that he would fall asleep sleep pretty quickly. I was right. He fell asleep almost as soon as we were in the air, and I got to watch a whole movie (The Time Travelers Wife) and eat dinner without a child pestering me. About 5 minutes before the lights went off he woke up. He was awake the whole time the lights were off. Right around the time I was hitting my wall and we were a couple hours from Munich he fell asleep again, through breakfast so I got a mini nap as well.

Getting ready for the first take-off of the day. He was SO excited! To him being in a plane is like being in an episode of the Little Einsteins.

Feeling like a "Big Boy" in his own seat.

On our flight to Munich, waiting for Take-Off, intently coloring.

Getting very sleepy!

And he's gone.

Upon arrival in Munich we walked to the baggage claim, where our bags greeted us right as we walked out (I love when that happens) and we headed to the train ticket booth. I love that I greeted the young woman in German and she responded all in German! She put us on a train to Vienna via the East Munich train station and Salzburg. We assumed it would be something like that. We were on a very slow, late train to Salzburg. Luckily the conductor asked us where we were going, then told us to get off in Freilassing to catch the train we needed into Vienna. She said it was a much easier transfer. It was right across the track, and we would not have made it in Salzburg. We found out the train originated at the Munich Main station. Those computers, grrr. We could have just gone to the Munich train station where we would have had 30 minutes to grab a bite before sitting on a train and not worrying about a transfer. Oh well, it ended up working out. Jameson fell asleep hard on the train to Wien, and was zonked the whole time. I also hit my wall and Kevin passed me his Mamut fleece to lay my head on because my head kept doing that funny up/down nod/flop. Vienna was absolutely beautiful today!! It was so nice to be home.

When I was opening our front door I looked at Jameson and asked if he remembered this place and he said "JA!" (pronounced YAH!) I wish I got it on tape, because it was a mixture of elation and joy I assume about being some place other than a plane or a train, but there was so much memory in his voice and it was also like a "Duh! Of course I remember this place." He ran all around our apartment and headed straight for his toys. He pulled them all out and started playing with them. We all took an afternoon nap and had trouble waking up this evening for dinner. Jameson was done! A car horn woke him up and he was not happy. After 24 hours of traveling and not one bit of complaint from him I didn't mind. He had a mini-meltdown that lasted ten minutes, then my bribe of chocolate worked. It evened out his blood sugar, then he was interested in eating the sausage and french fries. After dinner he took a warm bath, cuddled a bit and was ready to go back to bed. Which is where he is now and where I am on my way.

Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts. Our traveling day went off without a hitch and I was so impressed with my 20-month-old. He never fails to blow us away with how easy he is to travel with, and how unflappable he manages to be, even under little sleep and barely any food. Sometimes I don't know how we got so lucky to get such an amazing boy in our lives.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Leaving on a jet plane...

We are sitting at Dulles airport waiting to board our flight to Munich. So far Jameson has been awesome! Thanks to Scott and Erika for taking us to the airport at 6am. If you see an airplane flying in the sky think of us arriving safe and sound in Munich!! Sorry this is so short! Does it still count for my daily blog?? Hopefully, I will be back to blogging by you Monday afternoon once we are settled.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Last minute details

Today was a lot of running around and getting stuff done. More than I imagined, as usual. However, we did get to spend a great evening with Scott, Erika, Elia, Eden and Soren.

My sleepless son struck again, and lets just say that as of 11:15 he was still awake walking around. Luckily, he is in bed now, sleeping for another few hours.

Wish us luck.

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Pics

Doesn't everyone love when they plug in the camera to their computer and up pop all these pictures you a) didn't know you had or b) totally forgot about in the hustle and bustle of life? Well, that just happened to me. Yippee!! Before I hit the hay I am going to post them, but since it was an incredibly long day, I am going to bed before 11pm. I did manage to get all of our packing done last night, but I was up until nearly 2am trying to get everything arranged and re-arranged.

Way back at the end of September we took a trip down to Oklahoma City to visit with Mom and Dad Archer as well as a couple of study abroad fairs. It was such a great trip, and we did a lot of fun things, but the camera never made it back into my hands until today.

My awesome little traveler. He loves packing his bag and being on the go.

Feeding the ducks (and geese) with Nana

Playing with Poppa

While in Oklahoma we also went to Sayre to visit Kevin's Grandparents Archer. Kevin is SO lucky. He still has three living grandparents. It is such a special experience each time Jameson gets to meet his great-grandparents, we try to document these visits so that even if he doesn't have the memories he has the photographs and the stories.

The four "boys."

Grandpa and Grandma Archer

Our family pic. Jameson's new pose is to cuddle in and say "Cheese!" Unfortunately, it doesn't make for a great photograph of him lately.

Today we went to visit Kevin's Grandpa Bailey. He lives about an hour and a half away. I wish we could have stayed a bit longer, but we had errands to run and some of Grandpa's friends were in a play. Its always so nice to see him and he seems to enjoy us too.

Jameson was squirming, if you can't tell.

Like I said, Kevin is so lucky to have grandparents, and by default I get them now too!

OK my bed is calling. Tomorrow is going to start early.

Vienna countdown: 2 days. We leave at O-dark-hundred on Sunday morning, so I shouldn't even count it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


This is what I have been doing all week. I have been washing, drying, folding, collecting and putting items in our guest room. Tonight I wanted to get it all packed, and my son decided tonight was the night it was going to take him two hours to go to bed. How do they always know when you are anxious for them to fall asleep? So long Grey's. So long Private Practice, luckily I have you DVR'd. With a few article exceptions that are a) still drying b) still in the wash pile or c) still in the undecided pile, this is what the three of us will be wearing for the next two and half months. What you cannot see in this picture are the two turkey roasting pans we are bringing over, the four bags of stuffing and two large cans of pumpkin, but those items are in the room too. Also you cannot see our carry-on pile, but know that it is large and growing. With anticipation of what may or may not entertain a 20-month-old I am packing all sorts of goodies. Now I have to keep the dogs out of the room or they will begin to freak out (more than usual). Don't you wish you could be here to help out? Lucky me. Back to packing. Vienna Countdown: 3 Days....with two incredibly busy days tomorrow and Saturday. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I love my husband!!!

Today my awesome husband surprised me with this beautiful machine pictured below. I have been pining (and possibly whining) for one since they re-introduced the 13". Beautiful. Some of you may remember my computer completely failed last spring. Luckily it was the power connector and not the hard-drive so we were able to save all the information. My so very tech-saavy brother-in-law popped my hard-drive in a new compute and voila a new old computer. I still pined and pined. Apparently my message was heard loud and clear and that is one of the mizillion reasons I love my husband. Thanks babe!!! I love you!!

Vienna countdown: 4 days!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Our Crazy Dogs

As we are getting ready to leave for Vienna (yikes, 5 days...) I am writing a guide for our dog/house-sitter and I get to realize, our dogs are nuts! Kevin and I have three dogs. I brought one into the relationship: Lulu and he brought one: Lexi. Technically we own one together, Leopold, but he claims he was forced into it. My argument says his name is on the ownership certificate, therefore Leopold is his dog too. Really it doesn't matter, because no matter which dog which is misbehaving or annoying either of us we make the bold statement: "S/he is YOUR dog!" or "Those are YOUR dogs!" Still we love them, and we hate leaving them every year. This certainly does not help their neurotic tendencies any.

For example, Leopold obviously knows something is up, he will not leave my side. If I sit he wants to be not just sitting with me, but on me, kissing me and having me reassure him what a good dog he is now. When Jameson and I are playing on the floor Leopold wants to be right next to me, in the way of the trains or puzzle, whatever we are doing. It is driving me batty.

Here is an excerpt of quirks for our wonderful dog-sitter:

Leopold- (Never Leo) The male, black and tan Cavalier King Charles spaniel. 5 years old. He is the “Leader of the Pack.” He can be a jerk to the girls occasionally. He is shy around new people and still gets scared by fast movement. He is very protective of the girls especially Lexi (see below). He sleeps under the bed, but will occasionally get up on the bed to cuddle in the middle of the night. Be careful he is an underwear stealer; he will chew on a pair of underwear rendering them trash. His hobby is watching out the window (any window) and barking at passing people, cars, bikes, birds, cats or bunnies. This hobby of his makes us nutty. Don’t hesitate to spray him with the spray bottle if he goes crazy. He is also the dog most easily trained. He is eager to please and once he trusts you, he will be your liege following you everywhere. He is a toy hoard and a food bastard. Leopold is a wonderful dog for the most part, however he won’t hesitate to run out an open door, so you need to be careful, as Cavaliers are very stupid about cars. Leopold is also a “fence fighter.” We have a pit-bull next door on the left side looking into the backyard and a chow-mix behind us. Needless to say, either of these dogs would kick Leopold’s butt in a fight. We absolutely DO NOT let him fence fight. As soon as we hear the ruckus we have to run out and carry him inside. If you notice Leopold shedding a lot (like an obscene amount) it is because he gets stressed when we leave town or if he feels a change is on the horizon. We add 1 or 2 Tablespoons fish oil (or olive oil) to his feed. It is nothing to worry about, except you will need to vacuum more frequently.

Lexi-The little, white/red (Blenheim) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. 6.5 years old. The only way to describe Lexi is neurotic. She freaks out about everything. She will pick up on a subtle clue that you will be leaving for the day (shoes, keys, putting a sweatshirt on, or hey, even getting out of bed may set her off). She is also afflicted with OCD. She will lick like crazy! Herself, you, the other dogs anything she can wrap her little tongue around. She is the worst underwear stealer and WILL demolish a pair of underwear or sometimes socks in a matter of seconds. We call her the scavenger. Her hobby is eating/chewing up anything edible or not. Think q-tips, tissues, underwear, socks, paper, plastic or wooden toys…and the list goes on. Just be careful what ends up on the floor at any given time. Lexi is also the most needy. If you sit down she will want to be in your lap, she is the best cuddle-er. She snores ridiculously loudly for a 12-pound dog. She also has “episodes.” She hyperventilates and can’t catch her breath when she gets too excited or stressed out. Usually she will calm down after a few minutes, but it sometimes helps if you pick her up and pet her. She will sleep on the bed with you and she is the best 107° heater on a cold night. She is a bed hog and very difficult to move in the middle of the night. We jokingly refer to her as “sticky paws” as she has some serious kung-fu-like moves to stay rooted to her spot. She will insist that you pick her up and place her on the bed like the princess that she is, and then in the morning she will request oh-so-kindly that you place her on the floor (Not really it sounds more like a monkey screech).

Lulubelle- (Lulu, unless she is in trouble) Big red/white dog, 6.5 years old. The Matriarch, the old maid, the grumpy lady. She was the cutest, sweetest little puppy, but somewhere along the path of unrequited motherhood and having to share her home with two dumb dogs (her words, not mine) she has gotten grumpy. She lives to eat and sleep. She will let you know when its dinner time every night at 4:30 or 5:00 pm by nosing her bowl all around the kitchen. She won't go upstairs until the last person decides its bed time and even then you will often have to wake her out of a deep sleep. Most likely she will glare at you. She is very independent and not nearly as neurotic as the other dogs, but she has her moments. She is persistent and when she wants something she will bark and bark and bark. If you leave the pantry door open she will rummage through the food bag eating her fill. You will most likely have to force her out the door in the morning to go potty as she is not a morning-dog. She is happy to sleep the morning away. You will also have to force her out the door at night, as she is not a night-dog. If she just stands on the patio looking at you, that is fine, just let her back in, it is not a battle you will win. She must have a water bowl in the bedroom at night. That is the one reason she will wake you up. If the bowl is full she will take a drink and go back to sleep. Her hobby is watching TV. She can pick out an animal on TV from across the room and she will bark until it leaves the screen. If you feel like entertainment, watch a movie with dogs in it, Lulu will bark at the TV and Leopold thinks its at the front door. It will last about 5 minutes before you decide enough is enough. She may choose to sleep on a pillow next to your head, but lately she has only been sleeping under the bed. If she gets cold, she will hop up on the bed nosing her way under the covers, she expects you to lift up the covers so she can burrow to the end. Out of all the dogs she is by far the most demanding, but also in a way, easier because she doesn't require as much cuddling and attention.

Even with all their quirks I love our dogs and our lives wouldn't be the same without them. The fact is that they sleep about 18 to 20 hours/day so they aren't actually a lot of work. Jameson thinks they are the best friends ever. At times, I believe, he even thinks he is a dog. His newest thing is to "kiss" like the dogs and he proceeds to lick and slurp our cheeks and says "woof." He often crawls around on all fours, "head butting" the dogs like they do to each other and has even tried their dog kibble on occasion when he is throwing them a handful. Good thing we use the good stuff. He loves that Lulu naps with him, and Lexi is always up for a cuddle. Leopold, well, he is just fun to chase around and make nervous. I will miss my doggies for the few months we are gone, I just got used to having them around again.

Monday, November 16, 2009

German Pancakes

I love cooking, so does my husband. He is the gourmet chef and I am the homecookin' chef. He has a knack for knowing how much of this or how much of that to add, I follow a recipe. Over the years I have learned a lot from him, I have learned to cook stuff I might never have attempted and I do it without a recipe. Whoa! And it tastes good too. Occasionally I like to surprise him though and cook something for him.

The other morning I woke up and felt like eating a German Pancake. A what? you say. A german pancake. It is super easy and super yummy. The only issue that I can tell is its difficult to cook more than one at a time in a small oven and the cook time is 18 minutes or so.

The recipe of course, uses gluten-free flour, but feel free to use regular flour.

The recipe courtesy of Bob's Red Mill Flour, but its pretty standard one.
1/4 GF flour
1/2 C. Milk
1 Tbsp. Butter
3 Eggs

Pre-heat the oven to 425 Farenheit. Add the Milk and Eggs to the Blender and mix. Then add the flour, mix again. Melt the butter in a 9-inch pie pan in warm oven. (We have exactly one, hence the reason it takes so long to make breakfast). Add the mixture to the pan and cook for 18 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Traditionally its serve with applesauce and powdered sugar. It tastes crepe like but without the difficulty of flipping the crepe. This recipe claims to make four pancakes but I only got three, we definitely could have used the 4th. In the future I would double the recipe. It was a really fast and easy breakfast and Kevin loved them.