Saturday, January 21, 2012


I love Will's camera.  So much so that he has to pretty much ask me for it when he actually wants to use it (sorry, Will).  But when I dig out my camera on occasion, I remember how much I like it, too.  If only it wasn't so bulky.  Yet, as soon as I start snapping pictures, I'm thinking I really should upgrade it to one of the newer models ... one day.

In the meantime, here's a close-up of Annelee that I took today.  She is getting very, very excited about photos, seeing them on the little display.  Just like Vivian at that age though, she doesn't like the idea that she has to stand still for a second for me to actually take a photo before she can see it on the display.  I got a bunch of "Annelee being totally distraught" photos, too.  But this one was my favorite!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Christmas Part 3 (Christmas Day)

Once the kids were in bed, Santa went to work.  Luckily, he had already assembled and wrapped at least part of gifts; so he just snuck into the house, finished the work, put his gifts under the tree, filled the stockings, had some cookies and milk and then went on his merry way to the next house.

Around 4am a sleepy Vivian appeared in our bed, asking if we thought Santa had already been here.  Luckily, Will was thinking quick and said he wasn't sure and we should sleep some more just in case.  It worked!  I wonder if we can use this ploy again next year if necessary!

At a much more civilized 8am, we finally got up and went downstairs.  Santa had indeed come!  Both girls were happy to discover a doll house (Vivian), a play kitchen (Annelee), a ginormous stuffed dog, and several other little gifts and the filled stockings.

Then we had eggs in the hole for breakfast, but with Christmas shapes (even though it's not that easy to see in the photo).  There were so yummy that we've made them a few more times for breakfast since - with extra cut-out circles so that we had mini grilled-cheese sandwiches, too.  Yum!

After that, we spent the rest of the day hanging out, making sauces for the fondue and playing with the new toys.

It was a very nice relaxing day.  Mommy, Daddy (and Santa) did good!

Over the next few days, as people asked Vivian if Santa had brought her something, her story about him coming to our house evolved from "I think I heard the sleigh bells" to her hearing and seeing a whole lot of Santa.  He clearly needs to be more quiet next time!

The end  :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Christmas 2011 Part 2 (Christmas Eve)

This was the first Christmas since we've had children where we didn't travel either to Virginia or Germany for the holidays.  That's probably why we actually got in the spirit this year and did some decorating and discussed our childhood Christmas traditions and which ones we wanted to carry on and how we wanted to merge them.

We ended up having gifts from each other and relatives Christmas Eve, and we hung up stockings, put out cookies and milk and Santa came and left gifts to be opened Christmas Day.  Initially, we had planned to have meat fondue for dinner on Christmas Eve, but because we didn't want to rush it and also wanted to go to church, we postponed it to Christmas Day.  A good decision, I think.

Will put up both indoor and outdoor lighting and we bought an artificial Christmas tree and some more ornaments.

The day before Christmas, we assembled the tree (still a funny thought for me, not having a life tree, but we bought a nice one and I don't think we will regret that decision) and decorated it.  Will and I did the lights, then we split up the tasks ... I hung the gold stars, Will hung the breakable ornaments and Vivian hung the non-breakable ones where she could reach.  It turned out beautifully. I believe the Santa hat on top (which matches the Santa tree skirt that you can't really see beneath the presents) may just be our new standard tree topper  :)

I quickly abandoned any effort of taking even just a passable photo of both girls in front of the tree and settled for individual photos.

Our princess
I don't know why Annelee seems to be wearing a binky in every December picture ... we don't even use it that much anymore during the day.  Or so I thought ...
And then we went to church and came home and opened presents ...

Before going to bed, Vivian and Annelee put out some milk (Vivian insisted that Santa would want chocolate milk) and cookies for Santa.

To be continued ...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Christmas 2011 Part 1 (Virginia)

As I'm slowly working my way through my December photos, we are inching toward Christmas.  The weekend before Christmas, we went to Virginia to hang out with the family and have a first Christmas celebration.  I have to say, I loved it.  I loved being home with the children for the actual Christmas, but I also loved spreading Christmas out over a couple of weeks ... the toys don't get so overwhelming and actually have a chance to become favorites before the next set of new toys arrives.  Plus, (and this goes without saying) it is always great to see everyone and hang out!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


These days, bath time is pretty crowded at our house.  At a minimum, there are two little girls, two or three Barbies (often more) and a bunch of random toys in the bath tub.  Most toys are in the tub, but not actually played with, but still have to go in ... little girl logic  :)

Once the girls are in, I go and get their pajamas and diapers/pull-ups, put on a short-sleeved T-shirt and get the towels ready while they play.  Then the work begins.  Soap down Annelee, then Vivian, then wash hair for both of them and then convince them it's time to get out of the tub.  I'm just glad that neither one minds this too much; otherwise there's a good chance they would only get bathed once a month or so.

Now that Annelee can stand up, drying her off has gotten so much easier. I simply stand her on a towel, sit down in front of her and towel her off. She usually also practices her kisses on me since I'm sitting right in front of her (bonus!).

I also dry off Vivian's hair so it doesn't constantly drip down her back, but she does the rest herself.  Once everyone is dry, we put on our jammies, brush teeth and hair and are all ready for bed.

Night, night!  :)

Of course the chef's children play with kitchen gadgets in the bath tub!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gingerbread House 2011

What a difference a year makes!

Remember my post last year about Vivian's and Rowan's (and really Jenny's and mine) effort of decorating a gingerbread house for Christmas?

Well, we decided it was fun anyways and the girls were a year older and wiser ... and we were not ... and we tried it again. :)

This time, Vivian and I assembled the houses ahead of time and mixed up the candy so that each girl had a big bowl with all types of candy (my German tendency last year to make a bowl for each type of candy was not a smart move).

Rowan came over, I put the houses in front of Vivian and Rowan, gave them the candy, and cut open the bags of icing and handed them to them. And that was pretty much it. Other than the occasional warning not to eat too much icing and candy, I just sat back, played with Annelee, and watched (and photographed) their progress.


I especially enjoyed some of the chatter that went on between them ... real conversations about topics that are important when you are four (I guess) AND they managed to decorate at the same time. It was fabulous!
Maybe next year, we might even be brave enough to invite a second friend over for this?
Just getting started

Very focused

Annelee's contribution was to eat one of the gingerbread snowmen

I love the bit of her tutu that we can see, too.  Gotta be dressed right to be decorating!

Annelee observes, hoping she'll get to decorate her own house next year

All done!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Playing Together

Playing together and sharing is not always easy around these parts at the moment, but sometimes, it works beautifully.  For example, when they are drawing together on the chalk board. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012


We interrupt our regularly scheduled pre-Christmas photos for this important breaking news video  :)

If you can't see the video above, click here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas Cookies

I have a lot of posting to catch up on, so excuse me while I work my way through pre-Christmas & Christmas photos.

At least I'm posting again, right?

So, first up are the Christmas cookies that I made with Vivian. Annelee tried to help but I really just ended up with her on my lap, restraining her from eating icing and "jimmies" (as sprinkles are known in Pittsburgh), while decorating cookies with the other hand in the middle of the table. Not an easy feat ...

Vivian helped mix the dough for the cookies, rolled out the dough, cut them out, and then decorate them. We had lots of fun and will most definitely do this again. But quite possibly not until next December :)

Mixing the dough.  Please ignore the Halloween-themed apron :)
Rolling out the dough
Cookie cutter work
Let the decorating begin
Annelee was determined to taste rather than decorate
And, boy, did it taste yummy!

More decorating

I give up ... notice that we tried to use the binky to stop her from eating all that sugar and failed :)
Despite Annelee's attempts to prevent it, we ended up with a decent number of cookies!