Sunday, December 30, 2007

Auerbach Schloss

I know I personally have not posted in awhile. My mom and sister had been here visiting and we did a lot of traveling. I have been working on a post but I have so many pictures to share with that. So I will add that later. For now, I want to share about our weekend we just had.

We took the kids down to the temple in Frankfurt for a few days after Christmas. We were going to drive to Heidelberg on Friday for a short day trip. I was there with my mom and Sister and knew exactly how long it would take and a few things to go look at. On our way down there, about half way there, Gardner pointed out a castle on top of this high mountain. We decided to go there instead.

It was Auerbach Schloss. And it was WAY high up. It was amazing driving up this steep mountain. And the higher we got, we were starting to drive into the white witches forest.... (From the Movie The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe: The Chronicles of Narnia). The trees were white and it was so pretty.

We got to the top and went and looked around at the castle. It was nice but part of it was closed due to ice. That was ok. The kids were more intersted in playing in the snow anyway. After walking around a bit, we went to the parking lot and the kids played in the snow for approximately 45 minutes. They had not seen real snow in about two years, since we left Wisconsin. They were loving it. They had snowball fights and just played. They did not want to leave. But a las, we had to because we had forgotten to grab a coat for Ian when we left our house the day before.

Here are some pictures of the day!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Emma's Christmas Present

It looks like Emma has received her Christmas present a bit early this year. She's got one of the hottest toys on the market. It squeaks when you poke it's belly. It laughs when you squeeze it's hand. It is adorable. It is Ian!

What am I referring to? Emma has found Ian buttons lately. Emma has found everybody's buttons lately. I think she is in the terrible twos. Still adorable, but wants to dictate everything that happens to her and give orders to all around her, expecting only the strictest obedience. How hi ma'dam? is the only answer she'll accept. Shantal should change my daiper; mom should bring me to bed; Spencer should hold my hand while we cross the street; Hannah should get my shoes; Ian can't have that; no! I wanted to open that drawer.

It's like a bad nightmare of sorts. And she's taking out on Ian as well. I hear him squealing in pain and look over to see what's up. I see Emma tiptoeing away with a cruel smile on her face, and Ian dazed and confused regarding where the attack came from. They still love each other and play together often, but something has definitely changed for Emma. She has found that Ian has lots of buttons. And if she pushes them, Ian makes very cool sounds. Just in time for Christmas! And, no off switch for these two little whippersnappers.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Quick Ian Update

As I played with Ian tonight, all alone, I realized how much he has grown up that I thought I would share. First off, he has been sick the last two days. This has made him a little tired and not so wild. He woke up at around 10 p.m. and we played a bit before I brought him back to bed. He has been in his tornado phase lately. So, Ian without the tornado effect, i.e., slowed down a hair by the illness, was very nice.

First item is that Ian has learned his first word. O.K., not really a word, more of a grunt: Uhuh! He changes the inflection in his voice, the duration of the sound, the emphasis (first syllable vs. second syllable), and the urgency to mean various and sundry things: more, give me that, no, yes, I'm happy, I want to be picked up, I want a bottle, etc. It's such a versatile grunt. He's really come very far with it. He may put off speaking for sometime, now that he has this grunt.

He also has started doing more things with his hands. He started using the spoon to move food from his tray or bowl into his mouth and started playing with more dexterity with toys. He is funny to watch with the spoon. He will pick up a food item with his left hand and place the food item on the spoon, which is being held by his right hand. He will then lift the food item with the spoon to his mouth. Then, if all things are working in his favor the food item will be placed in his mouth and he can start eating. The great thing about Ian's learning process is that if the spoon feeding breaks down at any point, Ian does not become frustrated. He just reverts back to the old fashioned method (grab food as fast as possible with fingers and stuff in mouth) and giggles. What a great approach to life.

I've been home the past two days (albeit a bit under the weather), and realized that I really enjoy being with the kids. Spencer got legos as gifts after the breakfast of his sleep-over B-day party today. By the end of the day Spencer had built all of the lego cars, mars landers, ambulances, etc. by the end of the day. At which point he announced that he "needed" more legos. Mom said, you mean "want" more legos. Spencer, said no I "need" more legos. Smart people at lego land.

Work, school and activities for the kids, church, etc. have all been very busy lately. It will be nice to relax over the holidays these next two weeks. And, we get to go to the temple in Frankfurt next week after Christmas, so we are very excited about that. The kids will be able to stay with us on the temple grounds in the youth hostile, so it will be very nice.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Animal Emissions?

It's times like these when I am truly in awe at how far we've come:

Cow Emissions study.

Nothing to do with life in Germany, but just too crazy to pass up.

March 2007