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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dear Judah 9 months (and some change)

Dear Judah,

You are 9 months old already!
Your nicknames: chunk chunk, buggy, love bug, Judah bug, yuv-yuv (love love)

You've been waving bye-bye since 7 months
You started crawling really well around 7.5 months
You also pulled up to stand at 8 months
You started saying "hiiiiiiiiiiiiii" to us at 8 months
You wear size 9 month clothes and mostly size 2 shoes.

You love food, especially food you can feed yourself. Some of your favorites are bread, cheese, venison, noodles, Gerber meat sticks.
You love Hipp German baby food. I think your favorite flavor is Gulash.
You don't really like the peas, apple flavored food, avocado, bananas.
You go crazy over lil crunchies (ranch flavor) and yogurt melts!
You love paper things: books, cards, napkins. Wave them, tear them, carry them around.
You love music and love when I sing to you.

Your hair has some little curls on top that add some fluff to your head.
You play peekaboo and laugh when Ariana blows razz berries on your tummy.
You love playing with Ariana's baby dolls, your stacking rings and football.
You have incredible eyesight and try to catch little specks of dust you see in the sunlight.
You are fascinated by watching the rain on the car window.
You understand lots of words and respond to phrases like "lay down" "get your book" "What do you want"(usually it's milk)
You know some baby sign language your favorite "words" are "more" (put your hands together) and "milk" (squeeze your hand open and closed)

You love reading books together and love that I let you turn the pages.
You love when Ariana reads to you!
You've learned the climb UP the stairs and make a bee line for the stairs anytime you get.
You love baths but not leaning back to get your hair washed.
You always light up when Daddy comes home from work "Dada!"

You just learned to crawl while holding something in your hand at 9 months.
You got your first tooth on June 24th. (front top left)
You also started pointing at things and talking these past couple weeks.
You are fascinated by the ceiling fans in our hotel and are always pointing up at them.
You have been on vacation to Iceland, Switzerland, France, Croatia and the Black Forest in Germany.
You've traveled by car, plane, train, and boat!
You're such a great little traveler and love exploring new places with us.

We are about to move out of the only home you've ever known. Our home in Germany. Your first room, the place where you learned to crawl and pull up and cruise along the couch. The stairs you climb and the grassy backyard you love. It's a bittersweet moment for me as your mom but I know we'll have many more awesome memories in our new home. We're so happy you're part of our family little man! We love watching you grow and change and adore watching your personality blossom!


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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland

February 16-20 we took a trip with our friends Michelle, Glenn and their daughter Emme (who is in Ariana's class). We traveled to Iceland. My main mission was to see the Northern Lights, and it happened!! It was glorious and magical! It's hard to explain and even photos don't do it justice, but it was beautiful and I tucked those special memories away in my heart. Here is a rundown of our trip.

Judah on his first flight! Iceland Air!

We stayed at the Northern Lights Inn in Grindavik. It was pretty far away from the main city of Reykjavik. And by pretty far I mean we had to take a shuttle 5 mins to the Blue Lagoon, and then a 45 minute bus ride into the city. It was great being away from the city lights though. Perfect for viewing the Northern Lights! We were very lucky and saw the Aurora Borealis every night that we were there!

 The Northern Lights over our hotel.

Above: A rainbow of colors!
Below: My favorite shot of the Aurora Borealis!

Below: The Imagine Peace (tribute to John Lennon shining up through the clouds and into the Aurora Borealis. 

 One of the days we took a trip to Rejavik and took a boat ride out to go whale watching (didn't happen). It was SOOO cold that they gave us special waterproof coveralls to wear to protect us from the wind and any spray. 

Judah was not a fan of the cold winds on the boat. He stayed in the cabin the whole time.

The best known food in Iceland is Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, a hotdog stand. Of course we had to try them. I thought they were okay.

Judah all bundled up in the Ergo and me with my faux fur hat on.

Ariana and Emme learning the basics of chess in our hotel thanks to the help of the Dads.

It was a long day of sight seeing, Judah passed out on the couch by the fire in the lounge in our hotel.

Ponies and mountains.

We went to see the Geyser in Iceland.

We also went to the divide between the 2 tectonic plates, American and European (above), and the Gullfoss waterfall (below).

We spent an hour or so at the Blue Lagoon on our last day. This geothermal spa was only a short drive from our hotel. It is a manmade lagoon with naturally heated water 98–102 °F that flow from a lava flow nearby. It's warm water is rich in minerals such as silica and sulphur and it's supposed to be very good for your skin. Unfortunaly the day we went the winds were too strong and even though the water was warm your face was freezing in the whipping winds. Michelle came away with icicles in her hair!

Michelle found a great craft for the girls to make Northern Lights pictures using black construction paper and chalk!

Our hotel was surrounded by lava fields. It took hundreds of years for anything to grow there because of the volcanic rock that was everywhere. I found a heart shaped bit of moss growing at my feet. Ariana's beloved "hole bunny" came too!

It was a very fun trip with our friends. Here is all of us at the last dinner of our trip.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mustache March for Littles!


It's here...Mustache March.

I had so much fun rounding up these handmade mustache accessories for little ones. Check out my Mustache March Round-Up post on The Shopping Mama to get all the details! 

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ariana's Handmade Valentine's

I love handmade valentine's. I knew that we would be making valentines for all of Ariana's friends instead of getting the store bought kind with characters on them. I also knew I didn't want to go too fancy. Pinterest can get a little crazy this time of year with mamas overdoing what should be a simple fun project for the kids. Don't get me wrong there are a lot of cute ideas out there, but some of them took too much parent involvement and I wanted something she could do as a weekend craft that would be cute and have a handmade touch.

We decided on something pretty simple. I had lots of different valentine patterned paper in my paper stash so I pulled out all the ones I could find and gave her a heart hole puncher and she went to town.

We cut some pink and white card stock (pink for the girls, white for the boys) into about 4x5 size and I rounded the corners. I helped her draw a heart in the center of her paper and she stamped "Happy Valentine's Day" in the center. Then we randomly glued on all those confetti hearts that she had cut out and finished off the whole thing with some red or gold glitter glue trim.

There are only 8 kids in her class, including her, so it wasn't too many to make. But she ended up making some for her teachers and us too, it was sweet. Making these valentines kept her entertained for a long time and we actually did it over the course of 2 days because gluing the hearts ended up being pretty time consuming.

On the back she stamped "love" (she loves stamps) and then wrote her name. Each valentine was personalized with the child's name on the front too.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Tübingen Chocolate Festival

I'm a little behind on posting the adventures we've been having. With a new baby and a kindergartener, being a room mom for school, and working part time for The Shopping Mama on top of regular mom/military wife duties I was starting to feel stretched too thin. By the start of Christmas break I was struggling to keep up. I wasn't finding a good balance and it was wearing me out.

 Once Ariana was out of school for Christmas, I basically shut down and spent more time focusing on me and us. I spent a lot of time just grounding myself at home with my kids and husband. Finding the right balance is still a struggle but I'm hoping to "catch up" on a few things on the blog. I like this place to keep a record of our life. Not only for our family back in USA but also for me to look back on.

In December we took an overnight trip to Tübingen to the Chocolate Festival. It was a much needed little getaway. It was a 3 hour drive away, and we stayed at a local military base hotel but sleeping somewhere new, tasting lots of chocolates and just getting some space from our day to day routine was exactly what we needed. Because Richard still had to work we only went for one night. We had such a good time and tried some new foods too!

Here is a collection of photos from our trip.

 Lights on the houses make them look a little bit like gingerbread houses. 

Decorating with chocolate.

Seriously THE BEST cup of hot chocolate I have EVER tasted in my life.

More lit up houses.

Chocolate covered fruit.

Chocolate on homemade potato chips. Salty and sweet, oh my!! Perfection!

Judah on his first overnight away from home. Milk drunk in the morning on our bed while we were packing. 3 Months old!

Lola our Elf came to visit us in the hotel and brought Ariana a little chocolate bear.

We woke up the next morning and went back to the chocolate festival to see more.

This was an interesting concoction of noodles, sauerkraut and ham? First bite was interesting but the taste grew on you.

Sauerkraut noodles, hot chocolate and chocolate beer!

All kinds of chocolate treats for sale! We had a few different items from different booths. There were vendors from all over the world!

This chocolate with the orange slices was delicious and one of our favorites!

More of the best hot chocolate. Pretty much melted chocolate in a cup!

Eating a brat, and proof that Judah was there all bundled up!

If you're stationed in Germany I would recommend taking a day trip or overnight trip to the "World Famous Chocolate Festival" although I admit I'd never heard about it until this year.

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