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Friday, August 19, 2011

Weddings - German Style

My little brother got married!! Congrats to him and his wife Kathrin.
Here are the pictures of their beautiful wedding:

My middle brother and his Mandy in the cellar of the local castle where Alexander and Kathrin got married by a judge. In Germany you get married twice: Once by a judge and then usually the next day in church.

Married! Germans get a "Stammbuch" which is a book where they record their ancestry and also children, baptisms, deaths, etc. Alexander is holding it in his hand. It is similar to what we find in the beginning pages of some bibles.

Lunch after getting married by the judge. Alexander, Kathrin, my mom and Mandy. I now have another sister!!

Next day is the church wedding. My mom is the pretty lady in the pink. My aunt Helga to her left and then my little brother Alexander to my mom's right. The flower girl is Alexander's god-child.

Can't wait to see the video of this. Apparently they had a gospel choir which is not typical in Germany. One lady sang "Amazing Grace" and had everyone touched to tears.

Look at this beautiful bride! She looks gorgeous. Love her sunflower bouquet. Her hair looks awesome and the smile, well, it speaks volumes. That dress is gorgeous, Kathrin!

My brother is a volunteer fire-fighter and also a member of the local soccer club. So they all stood "spalier" as the Germans call it. Alexander and Kathrin have to walk through them while they stand guard in their uniforms.

The Mrs. and the Mr. existing the church.

Germans like to do little games along the way. Here Alexander and Kathrin had to cut out the hearts of this bed sheet with little kids' craft scissors. Then they had to shoot a soccer ball though the hearts. Kathrin got three bottom goals and Alexander got two bottom and one top one. Naturally Alexander declared himself the winner. :-) Whatever happened to handycaps for girls???

The oldtimer that drove them to the reception hall. In Germany, the wedding guests follow that car and honk their horns the whole way to the reception hall. That announces to all people that a freshly married couple is going through. The people will stop and wave at them.

One happily married bride.

The reception hall. To go with the sunflowers, Kathrin had picked orange for table linens.

The cake. Usually Germans don't have tiered cakes like we do. The two of them did. I was told it was amazingly good. Of course no one sent me any... :-(

Flower girls and the lovely couple. Germans don't have bridesmaids or groomsmen. They do have two witnesses though. Kathrin's was her sister Julia and Alexander's was our brother Martin.
From the left, that is my mom in pink, Mandy in the white/blue/green and my oldest half-brother Frank next to her. Kathrin's mom is next to my brother.

Taking pictures at one of the beautiful castles. Just how awesome is it to have a castle in your wedding pictures?

Partygames! This one is called "Journey to Jerusalem". It's musical chairs basically. Except in this version, each one of the players needs to do something for the couple. First person out does window washing at their house in January for example. Next person out does car wash for example in February. The winner gets treated to dinner with Alexander and Kathrin. Isn't that neat?

Alexander is left-handed and Kathrin right-handed. So they got a bed sheet draped over them and they had to do certain tasks like changing a baby-doll's diaper, hammering in a nail, etc.

Their friends also made a wedding newspaper and all the proceeds went to Alexander and Kathrin. They also had one person take pictures of all guests, print them out on the spot and tape them in an album. Then the guests could sign a wish/greeting/prayer for them on the opposite page. Great idea.

All in all, they had a fantastic wedding and we are very happy for them. We wish them many happy years, a godly marriage and LOTS of kids. :-)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Change

I'm usually one to embrace change. Except for one area: My children growing up too fast. When Nathan was first born and I'd go anywhere with him, perfect strangers would stop us all the time. The one thing each one of them, without fail, would advice me to do was to enjoy every minute of it. They'd warn me that it will go by too fast. Sleep deprived as I was then, that didn't seem true. But it is.
Nathan will start school this year. Although I'm excited for him, I'm not quite sure I'm ready for it. Guess I don't have a choice. :-) I can't believe how much that little guy has changed and how big he is. Looking at his toddler pictures, it makes me so very sad that he's not that little boy anymore. Would I trade the little toddler boy for the boy he is now? No. I love to have conversations with him, listen to him teach Abigail, watching him loving on Isabelle and just melt when he is adoring his dad. Wouldn't trade those moments. But I also don't want him to grow up so fast.
Abigail is losing her baby-ness and sometimes when I look at her, the little woman she will be one day seems to show through. That puts fear in my heart. Even though the threes can be challenging, I love that little girl so much and want her to stay little just a while longer. Just love the way she talks at this stage, especially the way she lisps her letter "s". And she does talk a lot. :-) She has completely switched to imaginary playing with Nathan rather than the toddler self-involved play-time. She's becoming a great little helper and I can't wait to do girl projects with her when she gets older. I picture us quilting and scrapbooking together, crafting, gardening and cooking. Hopefully that is her vision too. :-)
Isabelle is still so little and yet she has grown so much already. Yesterday she discovered her toes for the first time. She's starting to lift herself up if she's laying on a Boppy pillow. And she's learned to sleep contently in her swing. There is the new bedtime at 7:30pm. While that gives me much needed quality time with my husband and also quality bedtime stories for the other two, I have to admit that I miss walking around with my little one sleeping on me. Very much. But I know it's selfish of me to want to hold her and if her sleep is better without me holding her. Again, on one hand I get some rest and quality time, on the other hand, my baby no longer needs me to soothe her.
Parenting is such a whirl-wind of emotions. It seems both happy and sad can be tied up into the same milestones. Regret and excitement can walk hand-in-hand.
I always have this incredible fear that it will all go by too fast and that I won't enjoy them enough. It is my goal, every day, to forget about overdoing the housework and to enjoy them more than ever. Lately, that is starting to work a lot better. Funny that it got better with the third child where I have less time. :-) I'm a work in progress for sure. But my goal is to be a mommy in the moment, to always put them first and to enjoy every second with them.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Paper Coterie

Head on over to Paper Coterie and take advantage of their $40 credit for new accounts. Use code "BEGINANYWHERE" when you check-out. I got two really cute baby albums for free (you still need to pay shipping)! I love their style, it is something fresh and new from all the other sites that I'm used to. Really cute.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Essential Abigail at 3 1/2


Things Abigail Says Frequently:
  • "I want you to be with me."
  • "I love you"
  • "I hurt myself" - The girl is very prone to owees.
  • "Why do we never..."
  • In a whiny voice: "But I wanna tell you something!" (Always in response to her being asked to do something she doesn't care to do.)
  • "Oh, I forgot." (When you ask her five minutes later if she did the previously requested task.)
  • Rolls her eyes with a smile and says: "Oh, man." (After you ask her again to do the previously requested task.)
  • "I am your service." (When she is committed to doing the previously requested task.)
  • When anyone asks her "How are you?", she will always respond with "Three!" (Her age.) We explained to her that people are asking her how she is and not how old she is and that she should tell them how she is doing, to which she replied: "Yeah, I know, but I like mine better."
  • "NATHAN!"
  • With her red hair, she often gets "You are so pretty" from total strangers. To that she replies in a monotone voice: "Yeah, I know."
  • nail things = finger nails
  • sea enemy = sea anemone
  • footsies = feet
  • toesies = toes

Things Abigail Does Frequently:
  • Always has 100+ (about) teeny, tiny toys in her hands.
  • Thinks that all guns shoot sleeping gas and just put you to sleep. (Thanks Batman!)
  • Makes up the silliest names for her toys, most of which we cannot pronounce. (Some we are able to pronounce are Glock-glock, Langolan Isabelle W.)
  • Literally takes two full days to clean her room if left unsupervised.
  • Does whatever Nathan does, especially if Nathan was just told not to do it. :-)
  • Consistently puts the wrong shoe on the wrong foot.
  • Does NOT like ice cream or mashed potatoes.
  • Loves vegetables raw. (Think carrots, broccoli, avocado.)
  • Still loves her pink bear most of all stuffed animals. Bear is still named "bear."
  • Lamby is still a favorite but has changed its name to "sheep" to copy a show called WordWorld.
  • Strawberry Shortcake is her favorite TV show.
  • After taking a bath, she sits on my lap and watches the water go down the drain.
  • Still listens to her birdie baby music mobile when she goes to sleep.
  • Always has a smile on her face when she wakes up in the morning.
  • LOVES music and baby toys (maybe because most of them make music?).
  • Her favorite colors are pink and purple. She sometimes likes the other colors and sometimes she doesn't. She'll let you know.
  • She's can easily but her toes in her mouth and hang upside down from the gymnastics bar portion of our swing set.
  • Loves shoes.
  • Dresses up quite fancily (see picture).
  • Master of emotions. (She can be happy, cry or be sad at any given second. She commands her expressions masterfully. What else would you expect from a baby who at 18 months of age practiced facial expressions in the oven door?)


Monday, August 1, 2011

Sleep?

Continually interrupted sleep. Ah, the dark side of motherhood. Give me a sick child, a vomiting child, hungry kids, stressful days, a dirty house, loads of laundry, too many errands - I can manage with those. But nights of very little sleep bring me to the edge. It makes me cry.
Last night was one of those nights. All three of my children felt to urge to wake up. 2/3 of them multiple times. I originally expected to get up for Abigail since she was sick (vomiting and fever). But she had stopped vomiting and got up four times anyway. Three times just to go to the bathroom and ready to get up for the day (in the middle of the night). Isabelle, who goes to sleep early in the evening and then wakes up once in the wee hours of the morning and then once between 6 and 7am, decided to add an extra feeding. Nathan also woke up once due to growing pains. I have to admit, the last time Abby woke up, I didn't even go. My wonderful husband went for me. When Abigail was ready for the day and daylight no longer afforded me the option to send her back to bed, I was sure the day would be a disaster. Trying to find the positive in all this, the only thing that made it less bad was the thought that most likely, this was one of the last nights this would happen. The stars really have to align for this to happen at this point. That is comforting to know. But I have to admit, it turned out to be a good day. I managed to do homework with Nathan, spent time with all three kids, do laundry, make 63 cinnamon rolls (yep, that's right!), did my usual daily chores, did a little yard work, went to three stores. Now it's evening, I can finally go to bed and guess what? That's right. I'm not tired....