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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Christmas 2012/ Weihnachten 2012

Christmas this year was very, very nice.  The kids are just at such a great age.  And Isabelle even stayed out of the tree for a fair amount of time.  :-)  Christmas was also very relaxed this year, which is always a plus.

Diese Weihnachten waren sehr, sehr schoen.  Die Kinder sind halt in einem tollen Alter.  Und Isabelle hat sogar die meiste Zeit die Kugeln am Baum gelassen.  :-)  Weihnachten was dieses Jahr auch sehr entspannt.

Daddy and Abigail relaxing.  Like I said, it was a very relaxed Christmas.  

Daddy und Abigail am ausruhen.  Wie halt gesagt, Weihnachten war sehr entspannend.

Nathan is always happy on Christmas.  He was very focused on presents this year.  I guess that is the way of the six-year old.  He loves Christmas also because all of the family comes over.  That always makes him very happy.

Nathan ist immer sehr gluecklich wenn es Weihnachten ist.  Dieses Jahr war er sehr auf Geschenke fokussiert.  Das ist anscheinend so wenn man 6 Jahre alt ist.  Er mag aber auch Weihnachten so sehr da alle Onkels, Kousinen und die Oma Lorena kommen.  Das macht ihn immer froehlich.

Uncle Chris gifted Nathan with the present on the top of his list.   After realizing it, he went off to give a hug but I guess it turned more into a hug attack...

Onkel Chris gab Nathan das Geschenk das er am meisten wollte.  Als Nathan das aufgenommen hatte, gab er seinem Onkel eine Umarmung die aber mehr als eine Attacke aussah...

Isabelly got a doll from Grandma.  She is really into "baybee", so she played quietly with the doll for a very long time.  She combed her hair and hugged her.  This made grandma very happy.

Isabelly bekam eine kleine Puppe von Lorena.  Sie mag die "baybee"s im Moment ja so sehr.  Sie spielte ruhig mit der Puppe fuer eine lange Zeit.  Sie kaemmte ihr die Haare und umarmte sie.  Das machte natuerlich Lorena happy.

Grandma opening her present from us.  She had a very nice Christmas this year.  Her present to all the boys was a really neat headlamp that all the boys liked.

Grandma macht ihr Geschenk von uns auf.  Sie hatte dieses Jahr ein sehr schoenes Weihnachten.  Sie gab' all ihren Jungs eine tolle Camping Lampe die man um den Kopf schueren kann.

Abigail giving me her present.  She picked out a pink cup for me (since I am an avid tea drinker) and she was very nervous to see if I liked it.  I have since used it every day and made a big deal about it or shown her at least that I'm using it.  She's been quite excited about that.  It is nice to see that your children put so much thought into a present and genuinely care that you like it.

Abigail gibt mir ihr Geschenk.  Sie hatte fuer mich eine rosa Tasse ausgesucht (ich drinke ja viel Tee) und sie war sehr nervoes um zu sehen ob sie mir gefallen wuerde.  Seitdem benutzte ich die Tasse jeden Tag und sage ihr auch immer wenn ich es tue.  Das macht sie sehr gluecklich.  Es ist schoen zu sehen wenn das Kind sich solche Gedanken um Geschenke fuer andere macht.

Nathan, on a recent outing with dad, without being prompted saw something that he thought Abigail would really like for Christmas.  As you can see from the picture, she was very eager to open it.

Nathan, der mit Papa unterwegs war, fand vor Weihnachten etwas das er fuer Abby kaufen wollte.  Wie ihr sehen koennt, Abigail freute sich sehr um das Geschenk zu oeffnen.

Nathan had picked for her a monkey necklace inside of a little monkey figurine.  She does like it a lot.  And she is my little monkey after all.

Nathan hatte fuer Abby eine Affen Kette ausgesucht.  Die Kette kam auch in einer Affen Figur.  Und Abby ist ja mein kleiner Affe.

Oh, the doogie.  Uncle Chris bought this puppy for Isabelle as she loves dogs.  Boy, did she ever like this dog.  Unfortunately Abigail loved it just as much.  It took a few days for her to understand that this was truly Isabelle's and not hers.

Ah, der Hund.  Onkle Chris hatte diesen Hund fuer Isabelle gekauft da sie ja Hunde mag.  Man, hat sie den Hund geliebt.  Ungluecklicherweise liebte Abigail ihn genauso.  Es dauerte ein paar Tage aber jetzt sind wir uns klar wer der Besitzer ist.

The dog walks and barks and Isabelle was sitting on the ottoman like that for quite some time.  She kept picking it up and giving it hugs and kisses, then putting it on the other side again to wait until it reached her again.

Der Hund geht ein paar Schritte und bellt.  Isabelle sass so auf dem Ottomanen fuer eine lange Zeit.  Sie hollte ihn immer in die Arme, kuesste ihn und dann setzte sie ihn wieder zurueck auf die andere Seite und wartete fuer ihn zu ihr zu kommen.

Another fabulous gift!  Nathan had been pretending to be Jango Fett from Star Wars ever since he snagged the figurine at a garage sale.  Grandma bought him the costume and he was excited as you can see.  Isabelle is still playing with the dog in the background. 

Noch ein super Geschenk! (siehe Gesichtsausdruck).  Nathan hatte schon einige Zeit immer so gemacht als ob er Jango Fett von Star Wars war.  Oma Haar hatte ihm das Kostume gekauft und er hat sich sehr gefreut.  Isabelle spielt immer noch mit ihrem Hund im Hintergrund.

Take cover!  It's Jango with his deadly finger blasters!

Duck dich!  Es ist Jango mit seinen toetlichen Finger Blastern!

Giving uncle Mike gifts is always funny.  He is very awkward opening presents.  He always makes a funny comment, not intending to be funny.  David and I get a kick out of it.

Es ist immer spassig Onkle Mike Geschenke zu geben.  Er kommt sich immer doof dabei vor und macht immer witzige Kommentare.  David und ich lachen darueber immer.

For the kids I made felt masks this year.  Nathan got 5 superhero masks (Hulk, Spiderman, Thor, Wolverine and Iron Man), Abigail got the two above (owl and red fox) and a knitted dress for her American Girl doll, and Isabelle got a little skunk mask.  Love how the masks turned out.  Hopefully the kids will use them more as they haven't used them much yet.  Abigail has used them the most and she likes the owl the best.  Working with felt was really fund and there are already some more projects in the works.

Fuer die Kinder habe ich dieses Jahr Filz Masken gemacht.  Nathan bekam 5 Superhelden Masken (Hulk, Spiderman, Thor, Wolverine und Iron Man).  Abigail bekam die zwei im Bild die David und ich anhaben (Eule und Roter Fuchs) und auch noch ein gestricktes Kleid fuer ihre neue American Girl Puppe.  Isabelle bekam ein Stinktier.  Hoffentlich werden die Kinder sie ihn den Jahren viel benutzten.  Die Eule war meine Lieblingsmaske von allen.

Isabelle in her little skunk mask.  The skunk is fitting, she has very stinky feet.  :-)

Isabelle in ihrer kleinen Stinktier Maske.  Das Stinktier passt da sie auch sehr stinkende Fuesse hat.

Unfortunately we didn't take pictures of the second half of the day when cousins Olive and Rosie and uncle Rusty and auntie Megan were here.  You will just have to imagine their adorable little family with us.

Leider haben wir keine Bilder von der zweiten Haelfte des Tages gemacht.  Dadurch haben wir leider keine Bilder von Kousins Olive and Rosie und Onkel Rusty und Tante Megan.  Da muesst ihr euch halt selbst die Bilder ausdenken.  :-)

This was a very nice Christmas this year.  I found myself looking for more German influences this year and also for more old-fashioned ones.  We added an Elf on the shelf to our Christmas repertoire which freaked Nathan out.  He didn't like things "that come alive at night."  Still not sure if he believed it or realized that it was mom all along.  Abigail wasn't fooled.  She remembered that it was bought at a local antique store and wasn't persuaded otherwise.  Although she still believed that it was alive at night.

Dieses Jahr war ein sehr schoenes Weihnachten.  Dieses Jahr hatte ich nach mehr Deutschen Einfluessen gesucht sowie auch fuer mehr altmodische Einfluesse.  Wir haben auch einen "Elfe" adoptiert.  Nathan mag sie ueberhaupt nicht.  Er sagt immer das er nichts mag was Nachts "zum Leben kommt."  Wir sind uns immer noch nicht sicher ob er an die Elfe glaubt oder ob er weiss das es Mama war.  Abigail konnte ich nicht ueberzeugen.  Obwohl sie immer daran glaubte das die Elfe Nachts zum Leben erwachte.

Sibling Developments

I love having three kids.  I love seeing how they all their relationships are blossoming.  It is really cute to watch them all together.  Although they have their fair share of sibling fights (and they drive me crazy!), there has been a lot of improvements lately.  

Abigail and Nathan have been enjoying playing board games together.  Their biggest challenge is to find something they both want to play.  Abigail is still in the Candyland, Go Fish, and Chutes and Ladders stage.  Nathan on the other hand has moved on to strategy games.  He is currently obsessed with a game called Stratego.  Poor Abigail has to play it all day, every day.  She is a very good sport about it.  Sometimes she can convince Nathan to play a game or two of Go Fish with her.  If they play two Go Fish, then they have to play two games of Stratego.  This seems fair to her since two and two are equal.  Never mind that one game takes 1 1/2 hours and one 10 minutes.

Abigail has been stalking Daisy.  Yes, stalking.  The poor cat is even getting carried all over the place.  For a change, the little kitty doesn't seem to mind terribly though.  She has actually been coming out of her hiding spot quite a bit and been searching for someone (really anyone) to pet her.  This surprisingly includes the kids as of late.

Isabelle has been honing her fine motor skills.  She is stacking, taking apart and putting together all kinds of things.  Everything is a puzzle to her that must be put together again.

Little Miss Cutie Pie at a game of Stratego with Nathan.

Duplos in, Duplos out.  Duplos stacked, Duplos taken apart.  Thank you Matze for the blocks. :-)

Sisters playing with each other.  This is the beauty set my mom got for Abigail. Here Isabelle is pretending to put nail polish on Abby's toes.

On to mama.  Painting my nails.

And on to the hair.  More beautifying.  Isabelle sat so calmly for Abby who loved doing her sisters hair.

Abigail taking great care with this do.  Isabelle even let her wet her hair with the spray bottle.

My days are filled with Duplos everywhere.  The OCD part of my just cannot stop putting them back in their place and keeping them all together.  I try to ignore them.  I just can't.

Isabelle loves to open the ottoman and snuggle on the blanket inside of it.  Here Nathan is joining her.  He loves to snuggle and cuddle with his baby sister.  After having two sisters though, he is still learning what "gentle" means.  His expression of love is to wrestle you to the ground and the girls aren't too fond of this.

Big man, little man.  Nathan is adoring his dad and loves spending time with him.  The two bond over sports the most.  David is a great teacher and Nathan his little sponge.  It does so much for a mother's heart to see this.

It will be so wonderful to watch the kids as they grow up together.  It is our hope that they will love one another and support and respect each other.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Christmas Traditions/Weihnachts Traditionen

Now that we've had kids for just a few years, we have developed some traditions.  They are a blending of David's family's traditions, my family traditions and some that we came up with after seeing them somewhere else.   And one or two that we thought of ourselves even.  But all in all, we are a family of traditions.  We just love them.

Jetzt da wir Kinder haben, haben wir natuerlich manche Traditionen eingefuehrt.  Manche sind von David's Familie, manche sind von meiner Familie und manche haben wir neu eingefuehrt nachdem wir sie gesehen haben.  Und dann haben wir auch noch ein paar die wir uns selbst ausgedacht haben.  Alles in allem, wir sind eine Familie die Traditionen liebt.  

This is not a tradition but I just loved the moment.  Isabelle climbed up and wanted to steal Abigail's yogurt.  Abigail kindly put her safely on her chair and then proceeded to share her cherished yogurt with her very much loved baby sister.  

Das ist keine Tradition aber ich mochte den Moment so sehr.  Isabelle wollte Abigail's Jogurt stehlen.  Abigail gab ihr aber sehr liebevoll die Haelfte ihres Yogurts.

Ok, traditions.  Well, if you have kids, chances are baking and decorating cookies is high on the list.  This was Isabelle's first year decorating cookies and she did great.  Although she didn't get the concept of the flour on the counter.  She thought it was intended for rubbing over her mouth...

Ok, zu den Traditionen.  Wenn Du Kinder hast, dann steht Plaetzchen backen und dekorieren wahrscheinlich ganz oben auf der Liste.  Dieses Jahr war das erste Jahr fuer Isabelle.  Obwohl sie einige Probleme mit dem Mehl hatte, ging es ganz gut.  Sie dachte das Mehl waere fuer ueber den Mund zu reiben...

She did great with cutting out cookies as well.  Her shapes weren't complete always (hence the half head and missing leg) but she got the concept.  Sugar cookies are a favorite in our family.  This year it was the only cookie we made.  We tried to keep it simpler this year but I'm hoping to make more than one kind of cookie next year.  Thankfully grandma bakes cookies every year and this year they turned out really great.  I think we devoured all of them within 3 days.

Sie hat sich auch sehr viel Muehe gegeben die Plaetchen auszustechen.  Hier ist ihr Maennchen mit halben Kopf und nur einem Bein.  Wir machen bei uns gerne Zucker Plaetzchen.  Dieses Jahr waren das die einzigen die wir machten.  Wir haben versuch es dieses Jahr etwas einfacher zu halten damit wir nicht alle so gestresst sind.  Dankbarerweise hatte Oma Haar dieses Jahr gute Plaetzchen gemacht und diese mit uns geteilt.  Ich glaube nach 3 tagen waren diese alle verschwunden.

Nathan and Abigail hard at work decorating.  They had frosting and all the fixings.  We may have gone through a few bottles of sprinkles....

Nathan und Abigail schwer am dekorieren.  Sie hatten Glasur und alles andere das noetig war.  Wir sind vielleicht durch einige Dosen Schokoladensplitter gegangen...

Both took great care with their decorating this year.  Their favorite cookie shapes are the gingerbread boy & girl, the Christmas tree, the stars, the bear and the hearts.  Tangent:  Love that apron Abigail is wearing.  We got it brand-new in a local antique store for just $5.

Beide haben sich sehr viel Muehe gegeben.  Ihre Lieblings Plaetzchenschneider sind die Gingerbread Leute, der Weihnachtsbaum, die Sterne und Herzen und der Baer.

After all the decorations where up, the last finishing touch were the lights.  Oh, we love lights.  Yes, we do.  At least I do.  Candles, colored lights, white lights.  Christmas to me has lights.  Especially at night.  When you lay in bed and there is the soft glow of lights.  I remember this from being a little girl.   When all the lights were on at Christmas time.  It is such a peaceful glow and the night is much less scary when you are little.
I wrapped Abigail up in a string of lights and she thought it was the coolest thing.  Also, when you decorate for Christmas, one must wear a Santa or Elf hat.  If at all possible, Santa slippers too.  It's the law.

Nachdem die Dekorationen alle aufgestellt waren, kamen zum Schluss die Lichter.  Wir lieben die Lichter.  Kerzen, bunte Lichter, weisse Lichter.  Weihnachten braucht Lichter.  Vor allem zur Nacht.  Das ist etwas an das ich mich gerne erinnere von meiner Kindheit.  Es war immer so ein friedlicher Schimmer und die Nacht ist viel freundlicher fuer kleine Leute.  Abigail wurde in die Lichter eingewickelt und sie dachte das war das Tollste.  Natuerlich muss man einen Santa Hut oder Elf Hut anziehen wenn man dekoriert.  Das ist Gesetzt.

Isabelle's first experience with colored lights.  She was so fascinated by them.  She kept touching them over and over.

Isabelle's erste Erfahrung mit den Lichtern.  Sie war so fasziniert.  

They fascinated her so much, she even took off her beloved Elf hat to inspect this closer.

Sie war so fasziniert, dass sie sogar ihren geliebten Elfenhut ausgezogen hat.

Our second sugar cookie decorating day.  This time we decorated with cousins Olive and Rosie, auntie Megan and grandma.  Abigail and I had baked the cookies in the daytime.  We had asked everyone to come over after Nathan's school so he could decorate too, only to find out that I had forgotten about his wrestling practice.  And although he loves sugar, he opted for wrestling, which he loves even more.  Abigail was happy to spend  special time with Olive.

Unser zweiter Dekorationsabend war mit Olive, Rosie, Megan und Oma Lorena.  Nathan hatte leider wrestling training aber er war darueber sehr happy.

I think Olive quite enjoyed herself.  This time around we put the frosting into plastic food baggies and snipped the tips off.  That way, the girls could just squeeze the frosting out onto the cookies instead of getting all messy.  Abigail made one cookie that looked like herself and one that looked like Olive.  I had to freeze those two for her to eat on Christmas Eve.  She was very proud of those cookies.  Olive was happy to make  various cookies for various members of her family.

Little bitty Rosie.  She is growing up so fast.  I just love that look in the picture.  She is a champion drooler and just coos so adorably.  She has the cutest baby sounds.  She is also a very eager girl.  It seems she so badly wants to go along with the bigger kids and just is frustrated with her little body not yet letting her.  

The finished cookies.  Works of art.  They were yummy too.  :-)

Isabelle is just in love with her auntie.  At first, she just had a thing for Rusty.  Then she adored Olive (she still jumps up and down with delight every time she sees Olive).  Obviously she adores Rosie since that is a "baybee".  And lately, she just can't get enough of her auntie.  She runs away from her squeeling and just grins at her always.  She gets all coy around Megan.  It is really funny.

Ah, the manger.  This is a tradition from my family.  One year when we celebrated Christmas in Germany, my brother Matze introduced David to this tradition.  We haven't looked back since.  In the years before we had children (and still lots of money), we invested in a very nice manger set that tries to show daily life in Bethlehem at the time Jesus was born.    The set is now discontinued so the manger has become a collectible. Abigail is showing me her two favorite pieces.  She loves the two ladies carrying water.  One was lost for a while last year because a little redhead played with them without permission.  This year we let the kids play with the manger quite a bit.  We may need to reconsider that because as I packed it up, there were quite a few broken pieces that needed to be put back together.

This is the Bethlehem side of our manger this year.  Again, pretty simple in 2012.  There is also a wilderness side to the manger with travelers, animals, oasis and a waterfall.

Isabelle was interested in playing upside down.

We watched a few Christmas movies.  Our favorites are various Veggie Tales Christmas stories (The Little Drummer Boy, The Star That Saved Christmas, The Toy That Saved Christmas, etc),  the classics (Rudolph, Frosty, etc.).  Isabelle is our first baby to actually enjoy TV unfortunately.  Then again, she sits on the couch in the exact same position when there is no TV on.  Maybe she just likes to sit on the couch?

Our Jesse Tree.  The kids and I did the ornaments last year.  This year we got Egermeier's  Bible Story book and read the corresponding stories from it.  Nathan, who a little while ago had grown tired of bible stories, all of a sudden had a newfound hunger for them.  Instead of just reading the corresponding stories to the ornaments, he'd beg to read more about each person than just that story.  Moms love that.  And he added a new ornament: A green jingle bell, a present from his teacher for the 12 days of Christmas.  He asked me if the bell could be a symbol for somebody and after some thinking, we decided it would be symbolic for the High Priest who wore bells at the bottom of  his clothing.  And he was after all, a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ.

We have chocolate Advent calendars every year. That is a tradition from my family.  In addition, last year we started the Advent activity calendar.  This year we also added advent activities for Jesus.  We focused on doing something for others in the name of Jesus. With the theme of keeping it simple, we did things like purposefully giving encouraging smiles, opening doors for people, etc.  Activities and Jesus serves didn't happen every day but we did a few of them.  The chocolate advent countdown however, somehow was thought of every single day.

The tree.   Of course we have to have a tree.  Putting up the ornaments is so much fun.  Just like the decorations, the kids tell us their favorites and get all excited about certain ornaments they love.  The German wood ones seem to win out every time.  They are figurines and things like Christmas trains made out of wood and brightly colored.

Christmas tea is a new tradition where we invited two very special ladies (Margie and Earline) over and served them tea and yummy goodies as a thank-you for their wonderful friendship.  Mama quite loves the company of older and wiser women.  I've come to appreciate it in recent years.  Hopefully this will be a yearly tradition.

The new tiered server came in very handy during the Christmas season.  It was used to serve food and/or to display decorations.

While the big girls had tea, the little ones had fun having their own tea party with water on the ottoman.  They had raspberries and kiwi as well.

The gingerbread house or this year, the train (much to Nathan's chagrin who wanted a house).  This year they ate the train right after decorating it.  No displaying and admiring it this year.  

Did you know that Christmas trees make perfectly good caves for hiding?

Nathan's favorite figurines from the manger: Baby Jesus and the Roman soldier.

Yum!  Sugar cookies.  Nathan got to decorate the night after his wrestling practice and he enjoyed it just as much as the girls did the night before.  He also had me freeze two of his cookies for Christmas Eve.

Abby loved this picture of herself all lit up.  

Abby and her pink Christmas tree.  She decorated it all herself this year with white lace ornaments from Germany.

Books.  Special books and movies are a special part of our Christmas just as Christmas music is.  And Isabelly learned how to thumb through a book which she is doing right here.