...a blog for the friends and family of dan, jen, worthy, william, calvin & christian

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Funny Faces

I'm just crazy about the faces Calvin makes. It brings joy to my soul especially when he makes them while he's being scolded.

My Little Chefs

As stated before - William and Calvin love to lick the bowl bake. We've done quite a bit of baking and cooking lately.  Here they are helping me make Pumpkin Semifreddo. This is a dessert I make almost every year.  Not usually for Thanksgiving, but it helps me get into the Thanksgiving mood.  It has quite a few ingredients that aren't readily accessible here in Vienna: brown sugar, vanilla, gingersnap cookie crumbs, corn syrup and pecans, but thanks to a recent Grampy visit I actually had all these things on hand or close substitutes.

And a couple weeks ago, Worthy had a special pajama day at school.  His teacher likes owls and I had recently come across a cute cupcake recipe and I offered to bake them for their special day.  
These were fun to throw together and I baked them early in the morning, so it was too early for the boys to help... ah shucks :)  However, the did enjoy eating them.

Christian - Meal time

Christian is now almost 7 months old and it seems like he's finally ready to start eating.  I chose to put it off as long as I could.  This isn't my first rodeo, so I realized that beginning solids is a no-turning-back decision.  This also means that from now on I need to make sure I have at least 3 more things packed in a diaper bag when I depart - food, bib and spoon.  It also means that it's less calories I burn through nursing and therefore less liberty I should take with yummy treats :).  

He now has been eating for a week and has definitely taken to it.
 He's already a big fan of bananas, avocado, carrots and vegetable risotto.
And so it begins

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

This Halloween we had a party at church to celebrate.  We ended up "recycling" some outfits.  We had a Plan B, but about a month ago the boys decided they wanted to be the Chipmunks again. 
We'd done this back in 2010 when we were in Florida.  It was so funny to see how much they've grown.  We had to do a new shirt for Theodore.  

We also used the same Baby Pumpkin costume for Christian.  

I loved it when we first got it for Worthy and still adore it.
Worthy, William & Christian 
(Calvin had to stand in as Theodore for his first Halloween)

Our little pumpkin bundled up for the stroll to church

Three of our NCW babies

The Great Pumpkin... still fantastic!

William wanted Dan to carve an "angry" pumpkin
Calvin hung with Grampy and ate candy the whole night... seriously

Grampy's Here

Grampy's come to visit for a few days and that is always a reason to celebrate and enjoy.  

On his first night here we dragged him to Worthy's Fall Festival at school.  There were fun carnival games and the choirs sang a couple numbers.  The room was PACKED!  Calvin decided to take advantage of this and  weave his way through the tight throng (the compact crowd made it impossible for me to keep close behind) and managed to dance in front of the conductor to the amusement of many of the kids performing.
To the huge delight to William the evening ended with a couple of teachers getting "Pie in the Face". A chant eagerly screamed by the kids... which my kids kept chanting the whole ride home on public.

 Of course Grampy came with gifts galore.  
 The boys have loved the Angry Birds shirts.

I love this picture of Worthy doing his best Angry Birds impression
 We even went out on a carriage ride in downtown.  It was the first time we've done one and it really was a lot of fun.  I guess I have to officially stop making fun of the tourists that partake in it.  Yum... Humble Pie. We ran into a friend from church, Andrea, and she joined us on the trip.

Christian has gotten all sorts of cuddle time... I hope he doesn't get too use to it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Apfel-Hof 2012

Last weekend our church took a trip out of the city to go apple picking.  OK, the apple picking wasn't the main point, but it sure was a delightful side note.  
We had a fantastic afternoon of great fellowship in amazing weather and also a chance to meet some new people too.  This has been an annual event for our church family over the last few years and it was great to see familiar faces and new ones there.  

We began by gathering potatoes.  
The tractor dug them up from the ground and the kids successfully gathered them for our lunch.  

The O's had just won a playoff game the night before!
 Shortly afterwards, we enjoyed a tractor ride to the apple orchard and did some apple picking.  One of our friends is from Hong Kong and she had never ridden on a tractor before!  

After picking apples we had some of the fresh pressed cider.  
It was SO strong... the boys loved it!

One of the great perks of doing events with our church is that our teammate, Stacey, is an AMAZING photographer and she takes the best pictures. Most of this blog entry are pics from her. Here were some great/fun ones of the boys that she got.

 And finally after a long, wonderful day, we took the train home.  
Schnellbahn train rides are always a hit with us.

Watch out Emeril

William LOVES to interfere with help me in the kitchen.  Sometimes, I just need to cook or bake something quick and not have a 4 year old in the mix (pun intended...).  However, I most often try to remember how important teaching moments are and really incorporate him into the process.  And on more relaxed cooking ventures even explain things such as what baking powder or eggs do - a mini science lesson if you will. 

So, last week when I went grocery shopping at Aldi (Hofer auf Deutsch) I saw this adorable chef hat & apron.  After my third trip (in two days) I decided to pick one up for William.  
He loves it and insists on wearing it every time he helps me cook. 
Then Calvin began to wear the apron around the house and ask to help cook as well.  I couldn't resist suiting him up for the task too.  
I need to remember that right now cooking for our 4 boys is manageable, but someday (too soon) it will be a  gargantuan feat and I will need able-bodied sous chefs.  

I'm hoping this is our Uncle Jon in training!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hooded Ones

Fall is here and that means we can't walk out of the house without hoods or hats on our near-bald children.  I include Calvin because even though he's 2 1/2, he might as well have no hair because it's so thin.  The strands atop his head offer no weather protection.  So in classic Viennese style, we make sure our boys are dressed against the Chill/Draft.  

On the Stassenbahn
I love this season!

Thing 2 & Thing 3

Over the course of this year William & Calvin have become best friends.  Yes, they drive each other nuts and annoy the stink out of each other, but ultimately they have so much fun together.  William is busy teaching Calvin how to be his Padawn in Ornery-ness.  Calvin has proven to be an apt pupil.  It's hard to get angry when there's such a beautiful collaborative effort involved.

This past week Calvin came with me to drop William off at preschool.  As we left, Calvin cried out, "My William is gone!" That's the kind of crying I love to hear :)
Playing trains under the bed.
Only an older brother could make that sound fun!

Behind the Scenes

It's a miracle to me that there are any pictures of anyone as a baby in the pre-digital camera days.  Generally you only see the 1 or 2 pictures that turned out during a given picture taking raid.  So I thought I'd show you the Behind the Scenes of getting that "perfect" picture.  

I love the non-smile ones too... love these crazy faces of our sweet Christian Aaron!

These aren't the droids you're looking for...

One of the "Up Sides" of city living is just wondering upon random events.  There's stuff going on here ALL the time.  There's no way to keep up with it all.  So periodically, we'll be out and about and discover something.  This was one such event.  We had taken a family outing to the Zoo earlier that day and were headed back home.  We'd gotten off the U-Bahn at Karlsplatz (our U-Bahn stop) and we began to see all these oddly dressed people in elaborate costumes  - a lot of goth Princesses and guys dressed as Elves.
 By the way, for you non-city dwellers... this is honestly not normal :P.  
We decided to go investigate.  
It turned out to be an Anime festival. 

As we were wandering over to begin our investigation, William yells "Storm Troopers!"  Sure enough, the Imperials had invaded and not only were the Troopers there, but Darth Vader himself!  The boys were totally psyched.  (Me too...)  The costumes were super cool.  And these weren't profiteers that wanted money to get your picture with them.  They were just die hard fans thrilled to dress up.  They seemed really thrilled at the boys excitement.  They were the ones that came over to the kids.  (Funny enough, there really weren't any other kids around the place!) And they were pushing other adults away (I was so grateful he didn't do a choke hold on anyone!) so the boys could get their picture with them.  So, Darth Vader turned out to be not so evil after all.  

 As pleasant as the zoo was... I think this won!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Vacation (Part 3)

During vacation Dan took the oldest three out to see some dinosaur tracks.  Very near the place we stayed were some amazing Dinosaur Tracks.  This article gives much better info than I can.  From all accounts, it was a really cool.  It had just rained the night before, so the rain had collected in the footprints leaving them quite visible and easy to recognize.  I was told this was a really steep hill despite the photo making it look level.  Another solid hike by the boys!

 You can see here how the mud rippled out after impact

Our own little dinosaurs...

Another highlight of our trip was getting to meet and spend time with our neighbors, Jean-Charles & Valerie. They had three young daughters and became an invaluable resource to us as local guides.  They were helpful, kind, generous and a pleasure to be with.  

We ended up spending a couple evenings hanging out with them and their kids.  Thankfully they spoke English well.  (It's been a long time since I studied under Madame Wright...) However, it was so fun to hear our kids freely trying their hand at French.  By the end of the trip "bonjour", "merci" and "au revoir" came quite easily to their lips
And just one word on French people.  Typically in the States, French people have a reputation as being snobby and mean.  We didn't experience this at all.  To the contrary, we found almost all the people we encountered to be kind and helpful.  I was happy to debunk that stereotype in my mind.

And on one of our last days, we took a little longer drive and went to see Les Grottes de Baume les Messiers. This was about a bit of a long drive, made even longer by the fact that I got us repeatedly lost... so much for my Amazing Race hopes.  Anyway, this was an expansive cave system that was really cool.  And by cool, I mean cold inside. William has been really into bats lately, so he was particularly excited.  After finally arriving there, we entered in with the group and saw the amazing stalagmites and stalactites, unfortunately the tour was in French, so we probably missed a lot of what was really cool.  

 Me and my boys!

After that, we went out to eat. We usually don't go out to eat with the kids.  If we do, it's usually a stressful, anxiety-ridden meal.  I usually worry about the kids disturbing other people's dinner and they typically don't like restaurant food so that turns into an issue.  Needless to say, it usually dissolves into exactly what it's not suppose to be.  This was an exception...  One of our hopes on vacation was to have an good French meal.  Since I mainly cooked dinner at the house we stayed at our food was most definitely not French (unless frozen FRENCH fries count!).  Our helpful neighbors, recommended this place, Le Regardoir.  They did not steer us wrong! 

They had a playground where the kids played while we waited for our food (which was amazing!).  The kids were thrilled.  They were even MORE thrilled when they realized that other kids playing there spoke English too.  These kids and ours played so great together and just had a blast!

The meal was fantastic and with the playground right there it practically felt like we were on a date. I wish I had a picture of everyone asleep in the car on the way home :)