Friday, April 29, 2011

Just call him Ansel Adams

We have a budding photographer in our house. His appointments are booking fast, so if you'd like to hire him to capture some of your family photos this summer, you better call asap! There is a good chance, however, that all of your photos will end up looking a lot like this:

Because no matter how much we try to teach him to use the camera correctly, he simply insists on using it backwards and super-up-close.

I don't know how he stands the bright flash in his eyes over and over, but it doesn't stop him one bit. I ended up deleting over 35 images of his eye/nose/forehead! And I have to keep a q-tip handy for when I actually want to use the camera because he gets the lens oily and my pictures turn out foggy!

Even though you can't see his smile in the shots, he is definitely smiling because he say's "Cheese!!" with every photo he takes!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The week Christian came to visit

This past week flew by in a blur! With Julie's brother, Christian, in town we were busy from sun-up and way past sun-down cramming in as much as possible. We tried our best to let him experience our every day American life and to see the things our city has to offer. I had so much fun playing host mom/tour guide. Here's a recap of some of the things we did!

Thursday, April 21st
Christian spent the day with Julie at school-- just what every 21-year-old guy wants to do when he visits America, on his Easter holiday no less! But it was good for him to see what Julie's been up to while she's been here and he even ended up with homework. More on that later. That evening we had planned on going to the Royals game so he could experience some baseball, but the weather was terrible so we lucked out that our hockey team had a play off-game instead! Christian's a hockey player (he even played on Denmark's national team!) so he explained a lot of what we didn't understand!

Friday, April 22nd
With the little kids and the Danish siblings, we all crowded into the car to go visit Derek at work and then headed over to Oklahoma Joe's BBQ, which was the one place Julie really wanted him to eat. Kansas City is known for the having the best BBQ and Oklahoma Joe's is definitely my favorite. Christian was pleased as well, as his comment was "This is the best sandwich I've ever had." That night we grilled burgers and then Julie and Christian went to a birthday party, where they serenaded the birthday girl with the Danish birthday song!

Saturday, April 23
The day started off with the Easter Egg hunt at church. After lunch, we headed up to the city. Christian was eager to tour the World War I museum (the only one in the country) and then he and Julie went to the top of the Liberty Memorial tower for the great view of the city. We headed over to the Hallmark Visitor's Center next and even go to see a Danish greeting card in the international display case! Before heading home, we stopped at Yogurtini. YUM!

Sunday, April 24th
We got all dressed up and headed to church for Easter Sunday. Christian was a good sport as he was succumbed to posing for pictures!

We headed to Wal-Mart on Sunday afternoon. As a Dane, he was excited to go as he's just heard so much about this empire called Wal-Mart and as an American, I generally have a bad attitude about going into the ginormous store! Christian was even more excited as he realized exactly how much cheaper items are here in the states than at home. Later on Sunday evening, we had friends over to hang out and Christian got to experience making and eating a S'more!!!

Monday, April 25th
This was a busy day! First, Christian had to go back to school... to teach a class!! He is studying mathematics at the Univeristy of Copenhagen (actuarial mathematics, to be exact) and so Mrs. Dahmer invited him to teach Monday's lesson to the Pre-Calculus class. I would shoot myself if any vacation I took involved pre-calc, but he seemed to enjoy it and did a great job!

Per Christian's request, we had more BBQ for lunch. This time, Arthur Bryant's. He agrees with me; it's good, but not as good as Oklahoma Joe's. Then we headed over to do some shopping at the outlet malls, where he and Julie were super excited about the strength of the Danish krone to our dollar- specifically at Tommy Hilfiger, Forever 21 (for his girlfriend), Converse, and Banana Republic.

Before leaving the shopping center, I took them into Cabela's. In the parking lot, I told them both that this store was unlike any store they'd ever visited. I'm getting a good chuckle just remembering their faces as we walked in... to see the mountain (literally) of stuffed animals that used to be alive, enough camouflage to clothe an army of hillbillies, and a wall full of hundreds of guns. The guns, specifically, were amazing to him as Denmark (and most of Europe) doesn't have the same appreciation for our second amendment.

Tuesday, April 26th
This is the day Christian had to fly home. But on our way to the airport, we did stop at Dilliard's for one last item to take back home for his honey. Julie was super bummed to say good-bye, but reality is that she will be on that same journey in just a few weeks. We heard that the flight out of Kansas City was delayed so he missed his connecting flight to Frankfurt. But it all worked out when he ended up traveling to a different route; he was only three hours later than expected and he got a first class seat on his trans-atlantic flight. You've seen how tall the guy is- I am so sure he totally loved all that leg room, especially on that long flight!

We had such a good time! I has taken a couple days of recovering to get all rested up from our super busy week. Julie, Christian, and any one of their family will forever be welcome in our home! And anybody who ever wants to visit, actually!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Fun

We had lots of Easter fun this year! This post is going to be all practically all pictures because it's simply all I have time for and I don't want to put it off because I just know I will never get to it otherwise! 

Dying eggs

My new favorite picture of this guy! Check out that ornery smile!

His fingers were blue for several days!

Easter Egg Hunt at Church
Sitting (not patiently) while the Easter Story was presented

The kids checking out their loot

Easter Morning
My American and Danish "kids"

Our family

My babies-- love this!

Family Dinner 
My very first family dinner! I had hopes of a nice table cloth, centerpiece, cute name cards- something all super cute... but yeah, that totally didn't happen. Maybe next time, right!?
*thanks to Laura for taking the picture!!*

Family Easter Egg Hunt
"There's one!"

He couldn't move onto the next egg before eating the chocolate candy (he didn't mind putting the jelly bean filled eggs in the basket).

Belle's first Easter, her first holiday actually!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Big and little (Danish Version)

We have a new Big and Little in the house tonight--of the Danish variety! Julie's older brother, Christian, has flown in from Denmark to spend his Easter break here in the states.

Maybe Tall and Not-Quite-as-Tall would be a more accurate description!! This picture looks as if Julie is short, but she is actually quite tall. Christian is just *that* tall. And they totally look so much alike. I was looking through the crowd of people trying to see which one was Christian when I saw a face I recognized even though I'd never seen him before (besides a few pictures and a birthday video for Julie)!! Wow, do they look alike!!

It was so cute watching Julie anticipate her brother's arrival. His plane was late coming in and she was going nuts just waiting! (I can relate.) She really needed to go to the bathroom, but she didn't want to miss when he actually came in. I finally convinced her to just go and then in a matter of minutes, people start walking off the plane. CRAP! I was so worried she was going to miss it!! I'm frantically walked down to the bathroom in the opposite direction of his arrival gate trying to get her to hurry. As soon as I saw her walk out, I am started yelling her name down the terminal. She ran over just as he is walking out of the tunnel thing. Whew. Too close! She met him as close to the doorway as she could and hugged him so tight. And then hugged him again for a solid three minutes. It was so, so sweet. I may have teared up a little... but Julie cried more!

I can only hope that one day, Belle looks up to Jackson with as much admiration as Julie does Christian. Though, I can guarantee that Belle won't have to look quite as far up!


Monday, April 18, 2011

Two Months

Belle is two months old today. Holy cow! She is just the sweetest little thing and very, very cute! 

You are growing so fast! You've gotten more liberal with your smiles lately and are starting to coo and talk to us. It is the sweetest sound ever. You must be going through some sort of growth spurt because last week you just wanted to eat and eat. And now this week, you're just sleeping and sleeping! We have your doctor appointment later this week so we will be able to see just how much you've grown! It also means that you've gotta get some shots. I'm not looking forward to it... and if you knew what was coming, you probably wouldn't either! You have a good sleeping schedule and you're weaning yourself from nighttime feedings too, which is wonderful because Daddy and I would love getting back to a full nights sleep soon! I just love, love being your Mommy and Daddy loves to come home to see your pretty smile. You may be small, but I know you've got him wrapped around your finger (and your Grandma's and Papa's too!). Daddy said just the other day that he noticed more of your personality shining through and we both can't wait to know you better as you grow older-- just don't grow too fast!
Love, Mommy


Sunday, April 17, 2011


After sporting the long, layered look for nearly 11 years I finally switched things up and got a new 'do! It was definitely time for a change. It's a simple bob cut- longer in the front, shorter in the back- with some bangs!

I actually had it cut twice. I was too chicken the first time to get it cut short enough, so I ended up going back two days later!

My inspiration for the change? My sister. She got her hair cut the weekend Belle was born and every time I've seen her since, I just thought it was so super cute. So, I texted her for permission to copy and I got the go-ahead. Mine is a little different with layers at the bottom and it's a little shorter. (I still like hers better, so I will be re-copying when it grows out a little bit.)

Once upon a time, I was the one with the cute wardrobe and she'd be wearing stuff out of my closet all of the time and then there was a brief period of mutual sharing of clothes. These days, it's only me rummaging through her stuff. She may borrow something of mine every once in awhile, but it's generally an item that she purchased!

Laura's become way stylish and as a mother of two children with an upcoming birthday--I'm lagging behind and getting dangerously close to being a prime candidate to be featured on What Not to Wear. So in attempt to avoid the mom-jean-rut, I have developed a new system:

What Would Laura Do?

What should I wear? What shoes would be cute with this outfit? What necklace? Should I keep this shirt or send it to goodwill? You get the point. Ever since I've adopted the WWLD philosophy, I get compliments every time I go out!

And what makes everything so much easier is that I have accumulated a ton of her hand-me-downs. She's gotten so skinny recently that's she's had to get new clothes and I totally called dibs on her leftovers. I'm not even insulted that I'm getting her too-big clothes or that I've actually got to get the rest of the pregnancy weight just to fit into them because I'm just too excited about my new wardrobe.

I wish her feet would get smaller (or bigger) so I could get my hands on some of her shoes.

(My other little sister Ashley always looks super cute too, but she's always been way too tiny for any of us to share clothes. Next time I see her I will be sure to ask her to put on a few pounds so she can join the fun!)


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Laptop woes

Kids down for naps, I was preparing to blog about my super fun, impromptu trip to Springfield to visit some college friends this week. And then I heard some noise that sounded as if a certain two year old might not actually be napping. I really, really wanted him to take a good nap today because he's had a crazy schedule all week so I let him lay down in our bed, as he's normally very compliant because it's a nap-time treat! Well, today--not so much.

I walk in the bedroom to find him disassembling my keyboard.

I was soooooooooooooooooooooooooo not happy. 

I was too frustrated to have a productive naptime, so I opted to just lie down myself to cool off. Jackson cuddled close and proceeded to rub and pat my back exactly like I do each night when I tuck him in. He was being so darn sweet, I just couldn't stay mad. 

He never did nap. His excuse!? "He's got an email." As in, I'd say, "Jackson, lay down." and he'd reply, "I've got an email." as if it was the most crucial email ever! Where does he get this stuff!?!

My poor laptop has seen better days. It all started with losing the single B key about a year ago. I tried for hours to get that thing to stick back on with NO success whatsoever. And then the battery crapped out and so she only works plugged in. And last week, the mouse on the laptop stopped working and so a usb mouse must be used. And now the keys... It's probably begging to get taken apart for parts that Derek can use to it for some new computer project. And for the meantime, I will just be laptop-less. Sad day.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Big and little

Look at these two!! How can you not just fall in love?!

Jackson is sporting his "Greatest Big Brother" shirt that aided in our telling Derek's parents about being pregnant with Belle. And Belle's "Little Sister" (written in glitter!) was our first pink purchase- thanks Grandpa! I've been waiting for months to get this picture!

Jackson is a great big brother. He generally doesn't pay all that much attention to her, he is simply much to busy to be still for any length of time. But when someone else starts to give special attention to her, he has to join in and proudly boast "my little sister!" He all join us in our ridiculous attempts in trying to get Belle to smile and will get excited like we do when she does and at bedtime when he's handing out kisses to everyone in the house, Belle gets a sweet little kiss on the forehead. It is so sweet!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The family bed

After Derek left for training in July, I remember commenting that our king sized bed just felt so big and lonely sleeping in it by myself. When I was anticipating Derek coming home knowing I wouldn't have to sleep alone anymore, this isn't what I had in mind. Refer to Exhibit A. Our bed has become the family bed. And it's not something that Derek and I are all that thrilled about. In fact, if I could comfortably sleep in Jackson's little bed, I would sleep in his room. Truthfully, I'd probably have more room in his toddler bed than I currently have sharing our king sized bed!

Exhibit A
This is one of the different variations of how the bed sharing takes place. I cuddle Belle because the spoiled sweet little thing goes through phases of only sleeping when held. But on the rare occassion that she does allow me to put her down and give my arm a rest, I can put her in the corner of the pillows and go back to the middle to make sure she doesn't get rolled on or smothered with blankets or pillows. Then every night at varying times Jackson makes his way to our bed. And when we take him back to his bed, it's only a matter of time before he's back again. And of course,there are pillows on the other parts of both sides to prevent child-falling-off disasters. Since I generally have Belle, he goes to Daddy's side. Jackson sleeping style is as follows: on top of you or on top of pillow (as pictured above).

There are of course several variations of the sleep arrangement with special consideration to avoid having Jackson and Belle not sleeping next to each other because I'm fairly certain Belle wouldn't make it out alive.  There are times though when Jackson's on my side, in the middle, or just all over the bed actually. Derek woke up two mornings ago in what he called a kid sandwich. He was squished in between both of them and he couldn't get out until I moved one!

That leave Derek and I with about as much room as a twin bed would offer. There's room to lay straight and that's about it. Sooooo not comfy.

I came upon this comic in the interwebs this week. I totally laughed outloud. 

I went to my 6 week post-partum check up yesterday and she didn't happen to mention this form of birth control. I guess she didn't have to! And hey, this method doesn't even require a co-pay! Derek and I don't plans for another child anytime soon... and these kids must feel the same way!

(I do realize that we could insist on having no kids in our bed, but that involves battles that occur in the overnight hours. Once we can get Belle on fewer, or none, nighttime feedings we may have the energy to make her sleep in her bassinet. And also take Jackson back to his bed several times and deal with the screaming that ensues. But for now we will take the greater amounts of uncomfortable sleep than the lesser amount of comfortable sleep. Though, I will still complain.)


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Penguin Park

Derek had drill duty this weekend, so the kids and I have spent the weekend with Grammy and Papa. The weather has been B-E-A-UTIFUL so we went to Penguin Park. I remember the park from my childhood and I've really been wanting to take Jackson. Why is it called Penguin Park, you ask? See for yourself!

If you look at the bottom of the penguin, you can see Jackson going down the slide.

There is also a giant elephant to climb
(Jackson is almost to the top!)

an enormous kangaroo with a slide inside,
(Jackson wanted to give her a hug!)

and a big Giraffe that provided shade as Grammy sat on the bench with Belle.

Also, this weekend Jackson got to help Dad dig up some dirt with the "alligator" (excavator). Dad won't allow for him/us to simply call it a tractor.

And because my brother requested that I not blog/email without a photo of Belle (because he likes her more than he likes me... his words, not mine!) here she is sporting one of her new bows!



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