Sunday, December 30, 2007

Interlaken, Switzerland

We took a trip the day after Christmas for a few days in Switzerland with Gigi and Poppy. They were here the whole week, and it was wonderful having family around for the holidays. The girls especially enjoyed all the attention! Hannah was pretty sad this morning when she woke up to find they had already left for the airport.

Back to Switzerland, it was beautiful, however, it was so very expensive I can't even believe it. I mean almost $70 for a small lunch. Just ridiculous! I had heard it was expensive, but I thought it was expensive like here in Germany. I didn't know it could get more expensive than this. I guess I am a cheapskate after all.

The room rate at the hotel was reasonable though and it was even a nice hotel. We were right next to the church in town , and we were reminded of that on the quarter hour all day and all night long when the bell rang. There was a beautiful river in front of the hotel and the Alps all around it. Genna loved the river, and kept asking to take a bath in it. Obviously, that didn't happen for lots of reasons. Here is a picture of the hotel...

...and the river in front is better seen in the next picture.

Here is a couple examples of the beauty of Switzerland:

The girls did great most of the time considering how we were dragging them all over. Genna, however, only wanted me to carry her when it was Hannah's turn for a rest in the stroller. She's a whopping 25 lbs now and, with the hills and me being pregnant and tired, it was not an easy feat. Here is a picture of the sad puppy dog face I got from her when Gigi (or anyone) tried to carry her. If it had stayed at that, I might have been able to resist, but then she started crying and reaching for me too and it wasn't pleasant for anybody. She is such a Mommy's girl. She would play with Gigi and Poppy, but she just didn't want them to carry her around much.

Hannah had a great time in the snow on the mountain! She also loved watching the para gliders, and clapped fiercely every time one landed. Genna was pooped by this time, so Daddy took Hannah to play in the snow, slide down the hills...

...and make snow angels...

...but then she had enough!

She had barely said a word to Brian about being cold, but upon seeing me she burst into tears saying she wanted to go home and she was too cold. (I guess she was being a tough little soldier for her Daddy.) She had a million layers on, but it turns out her socks got wet. We took her back to the hotel and she slept an hour like a log until I woke her up for dinner.

We didn't ski even though I am sure my husband would have loved to (no one else in the group was up for it). We just saw the sights, looked at Swiss Army knives and watches, and ate some good food like Alpkase (cheese).

Friday, December 28, 2007

Merry Christmas!

These first pictures were taken after a local Catholic Church put on a kid's play about the birth of Jesus on Christmas Eve around 5pm. We poorly translated the information, obviously because we were very disappointed to find out a Mass was not to follow the service until 10:00pm that night. So, the grandparents stayed with the sleeping children while Brian and I returned for Mass that night.

Genna is hard to keep still for a picture these days, as you can tell from this next picture! (She's pretending to go to sleep. Don't worry, I didn't let her fall again! I've got to keep one arm good on her, right? In fact, that is my new arm must be usable at all times by all children in the Smith family.)

Then these next pictures were taken Christmas morning as the girls reenacted the nativity as they placed Jesus in his bed that they had been working so hard to make soft for him this Advent season. Genna was Joseph, but she wouldn't keep the blanket on her head for the picture. She's been a mover and a shaker lately. Hannah may be rubbing off on her.

How sweet! Happy birthday to you, Jesus!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Little Elves

I elfed my family. Go check it out before it expires.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Tree Blessing

We blessed our Christmas Tree last night over hot apple cider and Hershey's kisses. (The apple cider, by the way was the culprit behind Hannah's first accident in her bed last night.) Hannah tried to say all of the responses and really enjoyed it, but Genna was just moving around and being loud (to be expected). As usual, I snapped a few photos of the event.

Daddy reading the blessing

The girls praying
(We only got Genna to sit still for a minute or two, but I got the picture!)

The girls hugging after we finished

Friday, December 21, 2007


I had my first ultrasound today. The baby and I are doing great! The baby did measure about a week younger than they told me before, but I had suspected that anyways. They did not change my due date because the difference was insignificant enough. My blood work was all good too! The only thing the doctor was a bit concerned about was the size of my past babies increasing from 8 lbs 4oz (1 week overdue) to 8 lbs 11 oz (a few days early) which obviously concerns me too. I do not want to give birth to a 9 or 10 lb baby if it can be avoided. I did not gain too much weight with either of them, but I am still going to try to be even more careful this time. She suspects diabetes may be a problem, but I've never tested positive before. My mom was diagnosed after her third baby though.

I am putting a picture of the baby in his/her spot to the right under Genna's picture. Hannah said her baby brother looks like "a little tiny nut." Genna was saying, "baby", but I don't think she gets it just yet. I am sure she will by the end though, which will be new to me since Hannah still had no clue. She thought Genna was one of her baby dolls. Genna sure did act like one of them, laying around and sleeping all day where ever you put her.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A gift for Brian's boss for Weihnachten

I made this today for Brian's boss. His Christmas party is tomorrow. I wrapped it in plastic before thinking to take a picture of it. I saw Martha Stewart do one of these years and years ago and I have made several since then. It isn't too hard or time-consuming, and I love to do it (at least, I usually do...when I am feeling better). I need to get creative and make a different Christmas-themed object with the bread though.


Hannah calls nicknames, "Nicknacknames." These are just the most common nicknames for each other in our house. Most of them are only used by certain people, but some are more universal.

-Hannie (Genna calls her this too.)
-Hannah Banana
-Wiggle Worm (I started calling her this when I was pregnant because she moved constantly and stretched too. She made herself at home and would stick a foot out and leave it until I used both hands to push it back in. She has held true to this name ever since she was born too.)
-Kleine Maus (This means "Little Mouse" in German, which is what the German ladies call her. So, Brian has taken to calling her this as well.)


-Vive or Vivi
-Cheeks McGirk (Daddy calls her this because of those squeezable cheeks.)
-Munch (Daddy calls her this because she eats all the time.)
-Cuddle Bunny (I started calling her this when I was pregnant because she was in a tight little ball and didn't stretch or move all over like Hannah did. She has held true to this name ever since she was born too although she cuddles less the older and more active she gets.)
-Cutie Pants
-Monster (I call her this for absolutely no good reason. I say it when she's acting silly.)
-Sleeping Beauty (This is because she sleeps so late in the morning.)

-Sweetie (Hannah started saying "Good bye, Sweetie" in the morning to him because that's what I always say.)
-Daddy or Dad

Your Majesty (Hannah picked this up somewhere and started calling me this when she really wants something and is asking very nicely. I have to say, it works like a charm.)
-Mommy, Mama, or Mom

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Monsters in the closet!

I awoke to screaming and ran into the hallway to find a hysterical Hannah standing halfway between her room and ours. I ran to her and asked her what was wrong. She pointed to the open closet door at the end of the hallway. "That is scaring me!" Brian had been in a hurry this morning, I guess, because he left everything open and I had left a basket of folded clothes on top of the hamper. I explained it was just clothes and open doors. She told me, "I'm OK, Mom. I thought there was a monster in the closet, but it was just clothes. I'm OK." Whew, the way she was screaming I thought she was dying! Thank goodness it was only monsters in the closet!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Milestone for Genna!

Well, congratulations to Genna! She finally went in the potty instead of next to the potty on the floor! I haven't been working on it much at all because I think I tried way too hard way too early with Hannah (mostly because I was sick of diapers with two to change all day long and it was expensive). So, I think I am just more used to it now. I barely realize that I change diapers anymore. It's like brushing my teeth or something. I just do it without thinking.

Anyways, back to Genna, she asked to sit on the potty and I asked her if she wanted her diaper off. She said, "Diaper off, sit on potty." So I did. Then Daddy thought it was cute and started taking pictures of her on the potty. (This is one of them to the right, edited/cropped for obvious reasons.) So she was saying she was done, and I said, "I'll give you chocolate if you pee pee in the potty." She got up a few minutes later. Success! She has so many vices, food and Mommy are the most useful when bribing her. I don't know why I hadn't thought of it before. I am so proud of my little "Cutie Pants." That is one of her many nicknames from Mommy, which gives me a new idea for a blog sometime.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Wearing them out is the game!

I figured Genna's nap problems were based on her not being tired enough. I noticed she sleeps longer the more active she's been. So, after lunch we danced to Christmas music to try to wear both of them out. The problem is it also wears me out, but it's still worth it. She has been asleep now for almost 2 hours! That is compared to her normal 30-45 minute nap! Unfortunately, I didn't get to take a nap because I had to make the lasagna for dinner tonight since we are going to the Reconciliation Service when Brian gets off work. I got a lot accomplished though!

During the dancing the girls put blankets on their heads and pretended to be Mary. Hannah was carrying around a pretend swaddled Jesus, and started calling Genna Joseph. Genna didn't seem to care or, perhaps, notice. I only got a picture of Genna dressed up since Hannah was moving too fast for me to get a decent picture. She looks pretty saintly to me.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's funny how you forget...

what it feels like to be pregnant. I have been so tired and unmotivated. Plus, I have been living on crackers and chicken soup for the most part because it seems to be all I can stomach most of the time. Then there's the whole joint loosening thing. In the first trimester, I always wake up with my back out of place or a crick in my neck. However, despite all the minor aches and pains of pregnancy, I love it!

So, there hasn't been much going on because of my lack of motivation. I am very disappointed that I couldn't pull off more Advent activities this year, but you do what you can do I guess. At least we are pretty ready for Christmas! I've got some fun foods planned that I am going to try to make even if I don't end up eating them. And I have hopes of doing a Christmas morning reenactment of the nativity with the girls before we open baby Jesus(we wrap him up to be the first gift opened) and put him in the manger. Hannah's got the story down pretty well now after many many nights of reading it to her. She even knows that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Genna is not quite as aware, but she did start saying parts of the Hail Mary with me recently and points to our nativity scene and says "Jesus" all the time. I keep reminding her that he's not in there yet, but he will be Christmas morning.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gingerbread House

The girls had a blast making/eating their gingerbread house. It's no contest winner, but I was surprised that most of the candy ended up on the house. It was a good team work project for them.

Here are the proud architects with their finished product!

Here is a picture taken a couple of days ago when Genna got her cast. I was doing some dishes and the girls were talking to me. I turned around to find them standing just like this. I told them not to move while I got the camera, and they didn't! I love when they are cuddly and sweet! (Genna has been wearing Hannah's tops and Hannah's been wearing Genna's so that the clothes go over the cast. That's why Hannah's jacket is a bit short.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Guardian Angels

Today at lunch we were talking about our guardian angels and Hannah named hers Lucas (which is also the name of her imaginary dog, by the way). I asked Genna what her guardian angel's name was since Hannah named hers. She always gives funny answers to these kinds of questions that are technically above her head. She said, "Rose Marie" without missing a beat which is the first AND middle name of a friend of hers. Genna knows both names because Rose's mom says them both (fairly often) whenever Rose is getting into trouble. How funny!

Monday, December 10, 2007

My First Doctor's Appointment

I went to the doctor today and filled out about 20 pages of paperwork (including what I ate yesterday). I am almost 7 weeks. The due date they gave me is July 30th, which is my Nanny's birthday. I have an appointment for an ultrasound in a week and a half. They took a crazy amount of blood. I don't remember having that much blood taken with the past pregnancies. I got very light-headed as she was taking it even before I stood up. I have been pretty dizzy and light-headed in general anyways like when I stand up or something. Anyways, all is well so far! Hopefully, we'll have a picture of our little peanut before Christmas!

Genna got her cast today!

She picked a pink one, her favorite color! She was a very brave girl! Unfortunately, it will be on for Christmas. First week of January we'll get rid of it! She looks beautiful though. We told her her new arm was so pretty so she would not want to take it off. If you ask her what happened to her arm, she says, "Broke arm."

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Who would have known that a simple trip to get our hair trimmed would turn out so badly!

Well, Friday started off with an early trip to get my hair cut and to get Genna's bangs cut. Before we left Genna fell off a bench on our stroller (we have one of the Sit and Stand strollers, flat forward on her face and apparently her arm as well. I was standing right there and it happened too fast to stop it. She was just face down on the hard floor before I could react. Well, I swept her up and tried to see if her face was OK because I thought she might have hit right on her face and been bleeding in her mouth or have one of those instant bruises on her face. I was holding her asking her what hurts. She was wailing and a minute or so later, she started saying "Arm hurt." We sat there with her crying so hard for a while until I started to wonder if we needed to go to the doctor because Genna doesn't usually cry that long and hard about falls. We eventually got up and headed to the car despite the fact that she was still crying. I loaded her in the car seat and gave her a piece of candy and turned on their stories to see if it would distract her, but the candy just stayed in her hand. That was my second clue that something was really wrong. I tried to call Brian who was still out of town, but I couldn't get him. So I decided to head to the ER still unsure if I was overreacting or not. When we pulled into the hospital parking lot, Genna had stopped crying (because I put her favorite CD on) and Brian called back. He said to go ahead and get some X-rays just to make sure. So, in order not to bore you with the details of the almost 4 hour ER trip, all the tears (mine included), the X-ray fiasco, all the doctors and nurses we saw, and to try make a long story short...Genna had a buckle fracture on her radius close to her wrist. She is now in a splint and will be getting a cast on Monday. I can not believe it still! It makes me sick to my stomach( or maybe that is the pregnancy.) I feel like a horrible mom! I should not have let her sit up there even though I was just an arms-length away. To top it all off, the X-ray tech made me feel bad about being pregnant and not being able to stay with her during the X-ray too. (Hannah and I stood outside listening to her scream. Hannah kept saying to me, "Mom, let's just go see what is wrong with her.")

Well, at least Brian got home yesterday afternoon from his 2 week training trip, and I am so thankful. Now that he's home we can finally decorate for Advent. Here is a picture of Genna after we finally got home at 2pm. I was about to pass out so we went to the food court in the hospital and got food to go.

Notice her bangs too. They curled right up as soon as we walked outside.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

St. Nicholas Day

Last night the girls put their shoes outside for St. Nicholas to put goodies in. Well, I only got a picture of Hannah with her shoes because Genna woke up so late and I just forgot to take a picture. Oops! When Hannah went outside to check her shoes, I am not kidding you, her mouth dropped open! She was awe struck!

Here are just some random cute cuddly sister pictures! Although I think the candy made them a little rotten today, they certainly were sweet to each other. I was putting clothes away and turned around to see Hannah looking at a book and Genna sitting next to her with her arm around her. I ran to get my camera and the positions had changed, but it was still so cute! Genna kept asking Hannah to "Hold you" or hold her today. I am sure you can guess which picture is my favorite!

"The Crunch Game"

"The Crunch Game" is one of the many games I made up to get our picky eater, Hannah, to eat healthy fruits and vegetables. Now the game is being passed on to her sister, even though she needs little encouragement to eat anything at all (with the exception of chewy meat or noodles without tomato sauce on them). Anyway, the game goes like this: Someone gets a raw carrot in her hand and tells everyone else to close their eyes. Everyone closes their eyes and listens. The carrot is bitten and everyone opens their eyes when they hear the loud crunch. Now we try to see who can do the very loudest crunch too. It's not very ladylike, but that's OK they only get to be kids once. This game has made raw carrots a favorite for lunch. Sometimes we do it with other crunchy food items, but carrots are the most popular. Today at lunch Genna picked up a carrot and said, "Mommy, close eyes listen me." What a strange tradition to pass on to my kids!

Another game that hasn't been passed down yet that Hannah really loved was putting the peas or corn on her periodic table place mat, specifically on the Noble Gases. She learned all 6 of the Noble Gases by name by the time she was 2 years old by naming them as she ate them off of each element.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Advent Project #1

Here is Jesus' crib. I made it out of construction paper and a shoe box. We are going to use yarn (in the mug) instead of hay to fill up baby Jesus' bed and make it soft for Him on Christmas morning. The girls get to put a piece of yarn into the crib when they do something kind, loving, obedient, or anything else that would make Jesus happy during the Advent season. I put a black little pillow in the bottom to help them out because I fear it will not be very full by Christmas. I hope I am underestimating them, but they are 1 1/2 and 3yrs old and it is a big shoe box...

Hopefully, I can get more Advent projects in this year. I am going to save the Jesse tree for next year. I was just a bit late for it this year. Hannah's birthday and Thanksgiving keep me occupied every year until the last minute before Advent. I get going so early on shopping (and then there's Christmas cards) so I can devote time to Advent activities, but I need to do the prep work and shopping for the activities as early next year.

Below is a picture of Hannah hiding under the table from Genna and I. I just thought it was cute. She loves to play hide and seek, but her hiding places leave something to be desired.

Genna is cuddling in my lap right now after a mere 30 minute nap. That has been the pattern these days. She sleeps in in the morning until I wake her at 9am though so I probably shouldn't complain. However, I am starting to get tired already, and I know the further into this pregnancy I get the more I am going to want a nap in the afternoon. And 30 minutes will not do it for me.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Little Mother

This is what I heard when I ran up stairs to grab a toy Genna wanted and told them NOT to follow me.

Hannah: No, Genna! Don't you...1...2...3

That's when I yelled down for Genna to get off the stairs or she would be in time out, and took over my position as mother once again. It cracks me up when I hear myself in Hannah! I hear her talk just like I do to her. Sometimes she says things in the exact same inflection and tone like, "Oh, Genna is that right? Do you want me to help you open it?" So cute!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Genna can count to ten in two languages!

Genna can count to ten in English and German now. I got it on video which is hard to do with her. I had to help her along a bit because she got camera shy and she says some of the numbers too quietly, but it will have to do. I also had to do it when Hannah was still napping because if she's awake she would be in front of Genna counting for her. She steals Genna's thunder all the time. Poor Genna!

Nurenburg Christmas Market Pictures

The markets

The church where the Christmas Angel was revealed

The kid's section

On the Merry-go-round

On the Merry-go-round

A bit of a disastrous weekend!

We went to visit Brian about 3 1/2 hours away. We met him at this famous Christmas Market in Nurenburg. He got Hannah out of the car and shut the door only to hear the all too familiar dramatic cry that she does for various unimportant reasons, like not getting to put her doll in her carseat before getting out of the car. However, this time there really was something wrong. Her finger had been shut in the door. Brian quickly opened it. Nothing was broken (although I was sure it would be), and this was the foreshadowing event for the whole weekend.

The Market was nice, but with the kids it was hard to really look at things and enjoy it to the fullest. Hannah got to talk to the German Santa and tell him what she wants for Christmas. We ate Lebkuchen (Gingerbread) and Sausage (there's plenty of that around here). We tried to see the Christmas Angel, but couldn't fight our way through the crowds to see her. We heard her though.

Saturday we went to a Bazaar and to a giant new store. At the Bazaar, we bought some interesting Belgium cheeses. One was cheddar with cloves in it. I am going to save that one for Christmas. And another Italian named cheese with olives, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes in it. At the store, it was very crowded and we were in line to check out. Hannah was in the middle of the shopping cart playing with Brian when she slammed her face into the cart so hard that her mouth filled with blood immediately. She, of course, started wailing and Brian took her to the bathroom to clean her up and try to stop the bleeding. He said there was another man in there that just about passed out because of the amount of blood. So, Brian took us all to get ice cream to make Hannah's lip feel better and possibly to make him feel better as well. It wasn't his fault. Hannah is just very ditsy and clumsy unfortunately. She fell off the bed once we were back in the hotel too bumping her head pretty good.

Sunday was not any better, although no one got hurt. The girls were horrible during Mass which is not generally the case. Usually Hannah causes a problem or two, but nothing too bad, and Genna is fine unless Hannah pesters her. However, yesterday when we went to the German Mass, they just took turns the entire hour being loud and disruptive. Brian and I were very embarrassed by the time we left. In these old churches there is NO WHERE to go with loud kids, except for outside in the freezing cold. Well, when we got back to the room, Genna threw fit after fit until it was time to go get lunch. At this point I was tired of all the crying and dreading the drive home. Lunch was better, and the drive was OK until the end. They slept the first half almost, so I listened to Christmas music to cheer me up. The weather got really bad at the end and Genna became discontent asking for things that I could not give her. When we got home the winds were 4omph and had knocked over our patio furniture and almost blown away the kid's slide/swing. So I went out in the rain to drag everything in the garage because I didn't want anything broken or banging against the house at night. Then Hannah threw a huge fit about the crayon box. I am hoping their behavior was due to just being overly tired, but at the time was questioning my entire ability to raise them well.

Altogether, not the most fun weekend, but there were moments in between the chaos and the crying that were nice. My favorite moments were when Brian played with the girls and had them cracking up. I suppose that made the trip worth it in the end. The girls miss their daddy when he's gone, and it probably would not have been much better if we'd stayed home. Hannah was playing this morning with her dolls and I heard make one doll ask another doll, "Do you miss your daddy?" The other doll answered, "Yes, I do." How sad!