Monday, June 29, 2009

Bernkastel-Kues with our visitors

On our way to Belgium today we stopped at Bernkastel-Kues to wander and eat lunch. It is a beautiful town! I have been there maybe 3 or 4 times now, and the landscapes never cease to amaze me. I only wish Brian could have been with us to enjoy it. He loves it there...(Sigh)

So we wandered,

we dined,

and we shopped. I got these cut mugs with the Guess How Much I Love You rabbits (or hares) on them and it said Guess How Much I Love You in German. I couldn't resist these keepsakes for the girls.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Meine Mama und meine Schwester

My mom and sister arrived this week! We have been counting down for the longest two weeks ever! We are so happy they are here to mix things up a bit and help me out a little too.

When they arrived, we came home to drop off the car and walk to pick up the girls from school. Then we walked to the German grocery store and then we were on to feed the geese and chickens on our way home. We went to my favorite restaurant, Bergschank in Hohenecken. I got my customary Knoblauch Suppe (garlic soup) and Kase Spaetzle (cheesy noodle dish.) They both ordered salmon and rice. The kids were exhausted after that, as were our jet-lagged guests, and so we headed to bed. Since then, we have done a lot of shopping. My sister and I saw The Proposal also. Monday we head to Bernkastel-Kues and then on to Bruges, Belgium for a couple of days.

Here are pictures from outside the restaurant.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Princess Puzzler

Genna has been very into puzzles lately. The above picture is great because it is the epitome of my middle daughter. She doesn't do anything without adding her own style to it. She has pretty much mastered the 24 piece puzzle. She only needs the occasional encouragement. Hannah finally has the confidence to do the 64 piece puzzles alone. She could do it before, but always wanted to do the easier ones when she was working on them alone.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cute Sisters

Here is the Dynamic Duo once again!

This was outside their German Kindergarten when I picked them up one day after school before walking home.

This is later that day when I caught my sweet girls sharing. Hannah had already finished her candy that she picked out, but Genna still had more. So Genna was giving Hannah licks while they shared the little car. What a couple of sweeties!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Two Girls and a Boy

Here they are playing together...

Genevieve: Misses her daddy rubbing her head.

Hannah: Misses her daddy taking her to Kindergarten.

Growing up too fast…AS USUAL!

Isaac is getting so big! He is still in the 97th percentile for height even though his weight has fallen from above the 97th to the 75th percentile. This is either because of his string of illnesses (he’s lost weight and had to gain it back during at least two of the more serious illnesses) or because he just isn’t too excited about the real food that we are transitioning to. He still nurses great, but he just doesn’t eat much solid food. He also refuses to do anything but chew on a sippy cup which he should be able to drink from by now. This is going to make my usual weaning process a little difficult. I have tried many different kinds of sippy cups, but to no avail!

I can not believe that he will be 11 months soon! Here are some (actually, a ton of) pictures from the last two weeks.

Smiles, teeth and tongue!
(This was before his fifth tooth broke through on the bottom.)

So big!

Here is Isaac riding his car! I have a video of this, and I'll get it up eventually.

Babyproofed upstairs...

Eating his first spaghetti...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Eyes and Ears and Mouth and Nose…

That is where Isaac is leaking from today! His fifth tooth is the cause of the insane drooling. He actually leaves a trail of drool on the tile floor where ever he goes.

His eyes are infected and oozing, so I took him to the doctor today only to be shocked with the news that he also has a double ear infection. He had no fever or symptoms, so I am actually thankful for the eye infections so that we caught the ear infections early. God works in mysterious ways! So Amoxicillin, here we come!

His nose is obviously running too. This morning after he had been crying a few minutes while I helped the girls with something, I looked at him to find record breaking snot hanging from his nose to his belly button!

At least his head and shoulders, knees and toes are healthy, right?

Here’s a picture of him from yesterday after Mass, before all the oozing began! A handsome fella, in my biased opinion at least.

***Again, I am so sorry about the slow and infrequent posting right now! But you can rest assured because my new computer is in route!***

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

to the best dad ever! You're the best, Honey! The kids miss you so much! I hear, "I miss my daddy" or "I want my daddy" everyday! Brakes my heart!

The girls made him these shirts (below) using crayons. They drew on a piece of paper and then I helped with the words (since they had to be written backwards) and then we ironed it on to some of dad's old undershirts. They didn't show up as well as I had hoped. Hannah's picture had a lot of detail that didn't show up. Next time we know to trace over and make it darker. I love how Genna draws people with a head and two legs sticking out.

I made him this card, and used the color versions of these pictures (below) to make him another card to hang on his wall. Getting these poses were not easy! No one wanted to open their eyes in the sun. :)

The girls made many many other crafts for him too at the various Father's Day events around here. Yesterday, we made a 30 minute DVD for him at the library. It was a disaster, but maybe he'll get a kick out of it. Hannah spilled some of her water bottle on her pants and lost it. She kept asking to take her pants off. Oh, boy! What a little Princess and the Pea she is!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Our “Nights”

My sweet husband has been gone for just over 6 months now, which means we only have less than 6 months to go. Well, the hardest times for us are obviously evenings and weekends because those are the times that he was usually around. So, I have tried to keep our evenings dynamic. However, I guess in my attempts to change things up, we somehow fell into yet another routine. On nights that weren’t labeled bath night (yes, it takes the whole evening with three little ones and only one adult!), we started having movie night, game night, craft night, helping mom cook night, even dessert night, and the much needed clean up night. The kids became so used to this that they now ask during dinner, “What kind of night are we having tonight, Mom? Can we have movie night?”

Speaking of movie night, I am a total stickler when it comes to what I allow our kids to watch. I have very limited choices out in this world of violence, bad language, disrespect, not to mention the complete lack of God in it all! We have watched a few movies lately though that I found to have a good message or be fairly innocent in nature.

Peep and the Big Wide World

This is a TV series. So on the DVDs it is broken up into 15 minute shows which is nice. It is simple, not too jazzy like most modern cartoons, and is educational. Only bad thing I have ever heard on there was the word “hate” casually thrown into one of the characters dialogue, and we don’t use that word since the girls are not old enough to know when it is appropriate or not.

The Velveteen Rabbit

This was a mix of cartoon and real actors. It was cute and the classic story is changed a tiny bit.


This one I liked a lot more than I thought I would! There really was not a bad guy which is unique. I love the vocational message. Tink wants to have a job that will take her on the mainland, but she is chosen to be a tinker and fix things instead. She thinks this is boring at first and is determined to learn one of the other jobs instead. She fails at all of the other jobs and eventually figures out that she is great at being a tinker. She embraces the vocation she was given in the end and she realizes her dream to go to the mainland as a tinker. I thought it was great! The only things I wish they had done differently was make the outfits of the fairies more modest, but for Disney that is probably too much to ask. :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

8 Years and Counting...

My wonderful husband said "I do" to me 8 years ago today! He has more than lived up to all he promised and gave me the most precious little children ever! Thank you, Honey! I love you, and I miss you! Come home! There is a hole here that only you can fill! We are counting the days!

Here is my favorite picture of him on our wedding day! I love that smile! Doesn't it just say I love you? (Sorry about it being sideways! Computers...ugh!)

By the way, this is our bronze, ceramic, or lace anniversary and he got me beautiful bronze wind chimes. I LOVE wind chimes and most of mine have broken over the years. Once I get them installed (no trees so he included a wall hanger too) I will post a picture. They sound wonderful! Can't tell you what I got him! It's a secret!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I will survive!

I just thought since this is our half way point and Brian should be home in 6 months (ish) that I would list some of the things I have survived or learned how to do while said husband has been away.

1. Flew to the USA with a 4 yr old, 2 1/2 yr old, and a 4 month old baby by myself!

2. Isaac had RSV.

3. Learned how to get things done despite the red tape with my health care while traveling during the RSV bout.

4. Took all three of the kids to two retreats 6 hours away, and stayed in a hotel room alone with all of them. (Anyone who's done this even with a husband knows what I am talking about.)

5. Kids had 2 cases of hives.

6. Made 2 trips to the ER.

7. Isaac got a straight catheter.

8. Pulled many all nighters with sick kids.

9. Survived and broke Isaac’s nursing strike.

10. Learned how to ASK for help, at least when I REALLY need it, which I really did not know how to do before.

11. Learned to say, “Yes” when a friend or a stranger offers to carry something for me. I am so independent that I usually insist on doing things myself if possible.

12. Figured out a routine for getting all three kids to bed by 7:30pm. (That took me a month or so, at least to get down. We have to eat dinner at 5pm and start heading upstairs by 6:30pm.)

13. Learned how to take all three kids swimming by myself.

14. Opened up the computer and learned a lot about the inside of it.

15. Climbed on my roof (3 story house, mind you) to fix the antennae for my internet. I am afraid of heights so this is a big one for me.

If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger, right?

Thanks be to God!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Computer Problems!

Sorry, but I am having computer problems and it is giving me trouble when I try to attach pictures or actually publish a post. I will keep trying, but it may be spotty posting from here for a bit while I wait on my new computer to arrive and then get it set up.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Whole New World up Here

Isaac is on the move in his walker now! He's discovered a whole bunch of new stuff he can get into while in his walker. I had been using the walker as a "safe"place to put him if I needed to load the dishes without him crawling into the dishwasher or work in the garden without him eating every rock, leaf, or blade of grass he could his hands on. But those days are over! Now while I load the dishes, he walks over and opens cabinets and pulls things off shelves. Or while I weed the garden, he walks over and reaches new leaves on the bushes that he hasn't tasted before. I have already pulled way more stuff out of his mouth than I ever did with the girls combined. Let's see...leaves, stickers, dog food, rocks, grass. I know I sound like a bad mom for letting these things make it to his mouth in the first place, but he is fast!

Here's Isaac on a tour!

Here he is trying to play ball with Hannah who just keeps running off with the ball. He is saying "ball" over and over.

He is slowly, but surely, adding to his finger foods too. He ate toast with his dinner yesterday. He's had a few of the Graduates chunky foods, like the overly cooked diced carrots. I also made baked sweet potato fries earlier in the week. They were actually crispy which isn't easy to do, so I scraped out the insides for him. Next on my list to try is chopped spaghetti.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Queen of the Bee

Hannah is spelling! Yea! I am SO proud of her! She can spell any phonetic word, like cat, dog, pop, etc. She can also spell all of our names in the immediate family. This is a huge step in her reading/writing. Here is a video!

I especially love how she naturally does this in Spelling Bee format..."Cat, C-A-T, cat" :)

Pancake Dinner

The girls and I made pancakes and read a book about Curious George making pancakes on tonight. I let them drop M&M's in one of their pancakes since we didn't have any blueberries or chocolate chips. And Isaac had his first pancakes ever! I was not sure if he would be able to chew them up since he gags and chokes so easily still, but he did great! He loved them! No M&M's for him though! He is a total mess every night now that he is trying to feed himself. He's been in the bath a lot more often lately. It is nice not to have to worry about food in the hair though! That always made me cringe with the girls.

Anyways, to cover the main food groups, we also had scrambled eggs and a salad with rhubarb (oven roasted with honey), goat cheese, walnuts, and arugula with a balsamic vinaigrette. The salad was delicious! I got it from a Martha Stewart magazine. Genna liked the arugula and the goat cheese, and Hannah liked everything except for the goat cheese. I was surprised they liked any of it since it was so new and all mixed together. My girls usually prefer things all separated out. They are not big casserole fans!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Creative Tree Art

Here is Genna's creative tree art! She was supposed to be eating, but this is what I found instead...

...a tree made of cheese and grape stems. She is so Jackson Pollock! You should see the masterpieces she brings home from school...very, umm abstract. She lives in a world all her own. The other day I asked her again , as you know I often do, "What planet are you on?" She tells me, "The green one, Mom." I then ask, "With blue swirls? That's earth Genna. Are you sure you live there?" Her reply, "Mom, I live on the same one as you guys!" You can't help but laugh at that no matter how frustrating her dinginess can be at times!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Our Little Weekend Retreat

Well, these retreats are never easy without my husband to help, but this one was easier than the last. Hopefully, the next one will be even easier. Maybe we're getting our travel/hotel routine down better or maybe as the kids get older it just goes smoother. The hardest parts about traveling with three little ones are all sleeping in one room (not wanting one kid to wake up another or all their little noises keeping mom awake,) packing (not packing so much that you can't manage it all with the three kids too, but not packing too little where you have bored or hungry kids OR have to buy a bunch of stuff that you could have just brought,) and the overly tired/cranky kids AND mom (due to staying up too late and missing naps.) Other than that we had fun! :)

Anyway, the girls had lots of fun and made several "best friends" as they call just about every friend that they make. We went swimming in our free time. Hannah practiced her underwater swimming, and Genna was still trying to perfect the art of not breathing underwater. :) She thinks if her mouth is closed that she is holding her breath. We need to work on the nose though. I need to make time to get them into the swimming lessons soon!

Isaac is officially a creeper now and is walking along furniture. He was remarkably more friendly this weekend than he has been lately, waving to everyone who talked to him and smiling. I am praying we are nearing the end of that stranger anxiety phase. He also made a little friend, an 11 month old girl, who got along with him super well! I wish I had thought to take a picture of them playing together. They were both so laid back with each other. Isaac would immediately leave me and crawl over to see her. He would sit so close to her it was almost on top of her. So cute! One time this weekend, Isaac totally tried to pull up my shirt to give me zurbits in front of everyone! He also stayed with the childcare several times during my retreat sessions and with a friend of mine on one occasion while I got one of the best massages ever! I really recommend the heated stone massage! Definitely the best hour of the retreat!
Here he is sacked out before dinner Saturday night. He was so tired from the lack of uninterrupted naps.

It was nice to have time with adults and have some time off from my precious, but exhausting, little ones! We did, however, lose Genevieve's favorite dolly that she sleeps with EVERY NIGHT! It somehow did not make it home with us even though I remember putting it on top of my suitcase with the other sleep aids. Maybe she took it off before I came over to stuff them all in the bag. The last room check has always been Brian's job and I just forgot. (Sniff sniff...I miss my hubby.) I called the hotel, and they have not found it yet! Aah! I think I am more upset than she is, but she was pretty teary about it! Hannah and I picked that doll out for her for her first birthday gift and she has slept with it ever since. She has always just called her Baby. Memories...

The first meeting...

Genna and her Baby at about 16 months

Genna and her Baby at about 20 months

Come home Baby! We all miss you! (I'm pitiful, I know!)

It looks like the Baby is gone for good, so my mom purchased a new one exactly like it today. So, hopefully, the new one gets just as much love as the last one!

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Here's another shirt that went straight from Genna to Isaac. Only this shirt, she can still wear! It was just an undershirt for her and he needs it more than she does.

I love these chubby feet!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Playing "Bah"

Isaac is saying "Ball" now in the typical baby way without the "l" sound at the end. He is also saying"Uh" for "Up." So that brings us to a total of 7 words. He looks around when you ask a "Where" question trying to find it. He can usually find the ball, the car, or a picture of daddy. He is trying to give kisses. He makes the "Ummmah" sound and leans in for the smooch, but doesn't quite get what to do with his mouth yet. And he likes to give zurbits (blowing raspberries on someone's skin) as much as receive them now. One of the sweet things he does is pat my back enthusiastically whenever I pick him up. I feel like he is saying, "I love you" in his own little way. He's absolutely precious, but such a handful! I am truly learning what it means to "chase" a baby around the house now. The girls are low activity compared to this guy.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Well, this is a surprise!

Isaac looks a little more like Hannah than I thought. My mom pointed out that this picture of him reminded her of Hannah's smile.

So I dug into the Smith archives and came up with these two pictures of Hannah. What do you think?

(This was Hannah's weird hair phase when the dark curly hair was falling out and the blonde was starting to grow in.)

I still think when his eyes are closed he looks a lot like Genna, but I too was starting to see the similarity in Hannah and his smiles.