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Christmas Recap

8 Feb

Yeah, Christmas was awhile ago.  I know.  But, since this blog serves as my own little “journal” and record of events I’m getting too old to remember on my own, I need to at least put something down about Christmas.  And the weeks (okay, month/s) since Christmas have just been plain crazy.  So this is really the first opportunity I’ve had to reflect and record.

Once we recovered from our iron man competition style flight home we had the BEST time with family.  I think anyone who has ever experienced being separated by an ocean from their loved ones can relate with a special understanding to just how wonderful it is to be with family.  First up was Columbus:

Pretty much we soaked up as much family time as possible, ate lots of delicious food, shopped and did last minute preparations for the holiday, and tried to teach Quinn how to be a good house guest despite being jet lagged and torn between time zones.

We had to take Quinn to see Santa.  At this point she was very happy, still not knowing she was about to be placed in the lap of a complete stranger and stared at by everyone else around.  She handled it pretty well, but let’s just say she and Santa aren’t bff’s….yet.  Of course you can’t take your own pics of Santa so it’s too much effort right now to find the one I purchased and scan it and post.  You can just take my word on how it all went down.

Right before stepping up to see the man in the big red suit.


A visit from the Skerls!  Well, 50% of them at least.

My friend Sara, Quinn, and Sara's son Brady (who is HALF of Quinn's age, but practically her size).

Quinnie and Grandpa on Christmas Eve

Quinn later informed me she is making red and leopard her Christmas outfit tradition


Jacobs crew on Christmas



Pot Pie head playing with some new gifts

Merry Christmas!

Doggie Love- Okay so most of you probably know this, but Quinn LOVES dogs.  I mean, loves them….really, really loves them.  If she hears a dog barking she usually stops what she’s doing and listens carefully to make sure she has identified the sound correctly.  Then she “barks” back…something like in 100 Dalmations when the dogs signal the other dogs through a series of coded barks.  It’s like they’re her people.  Anyway, here is a video of her laughing at the dogs at my parents house on Christmas morning.  My parents’ dog and my sister’s dog were playing and Quinn was enjoying the show.

Just hanging out with my buddy Ruthie

Want a kiss?

After celebrating in Columbus we headed to St. Louis to be with Joe’s family.  We had a wonderful time there too and once again the time flew by.  Quinn loved being around  her cousins and having a steady stream of playmates. We truly enjoyed our time there with everyone and can’t wait til we can get back again!

Cousin Emery and Ellie helping Quinn with her present

MOST of the cousins...there are a few missing; Quinn is number 13!

Timmy, Quinn, Ellie, Ian, and Emery...Quinn misses her cousins!

Somehow she ALWAYS ends up with a phone in her hands.

Grammy, Grandpa, Quinnie, and Daddy on New Year's Day

Nicholas, T.J., and Quinnie

Thanks to both our families for being such gracious hosts and for all the wonderful fun we had while we were home.  We miss you!!!



There’s no place like home for the holidays….

16 Dec

I think I have always thought being home with family was important. But this year, “there’s no place like home for the holidays” couldn’t ring any truer for me.  We leave TOMORROW  to head back to the States to spend time with our families for Christmas and New Year’s and well…let’s just say I am filled with child-like excitement about being home.  I’m ready for the company of family and friends, the comfort of my parent’s kitchen…and yes, I’ll be honest-perhaps a Chipotle burrito.  Mostly the first two though.

The weather is getting a bit dicey here though, so let’s pray for smooth sailing on the trip home!  I can’t wait!!

Giving Thanks…clearing out the clutter.

28 Nov

I’m a tad late with this….I mean Thanksgiving was three days ago.  But, let’s view this as the season for Thanksgiving and then I’m good to go right?

This year I had a lot to think about when it came to giving thanks.  That’s not to say I don’t think about this regularly- I do. I try to stay in the moment and remain grateful for the many (MANY) blessings in my life.  But, like most people, I sometimes lose sight of all that I have.  Despite my best efforts I sometimes forget that I am SO fortunate.  It is easy to get caught up in life and see it as a perpetual “to do” list with a tendency to always think about what’s happening next.  While doing that sometimes we (okay, I) miss the beauty of all that we have right now.

This year I have, as always, a lot to be thankful for.  What I don’t have is a lot of the clutter that sometimes gets in the way of seeing the things that matter most; you know the stuff that takes up space in our daily life that we almost don’t know is even there.  It’s sort of like when you finally get around to straightening that one room that collects all the junk etc.  Eventually you can actually “see” what you’ve got instead of just the pile of things to go through…the “to do” list.  And the things that are still remaining once you’ve cleaned up are things you really want.  What’s even better is suddenly you can see how much you like those things you can now see.  Like finding a favorite shirt, or a picture you always loved but had forgotten you had.

Right now I don’t have a lot of the fluff.  The stuff that takes up space and gets in the way of what matters most.  And I’m thankful for that.  It’s allowing me to really see what I do have…and with deeper appreciation.  My room (figuratively speaking) is pretty clean right now.  And I am really grateful for everything and everyone in it.


Happy Halloween!!

31 Oct

Halloween isn’t really big over here.  Go figure.  I guess other countries don’t encourage their kids to go knocking on other people’s doors asking for handouts.  Party poopers.   So we didn’t dress Quinn up in a costume persay but she did have a cute outfit to wear today thanks to Grammy.

"Daddy's under my spell" true!

So disciplined with her oral hygiene she brushes while eating.

It was a beautiful day so we took advantage of the lovely weather and took a walk through the neighborhood visiting a nearby park.

lovely fall trees

Somebody give me a push!

This is how we celebrated Halloween…low key, just hanging out together as a family.  Hope you all had a great day too!

Mail from Grammy!

29 Oct

Quinn got another package from St. Louis this week…some Halloween goodies from Grammy!  This girl is starting to really get the hang of opening mail.  Here are some pics:

Something for me?!

"Just be patient mom, I'll tell you what it is in a second."

"Funny mummy on the front!"

"Mom, help me sound out this word."

Yay! More cool clothes for me!

"Look Dad, do you like my new shirt?"

"I can't wait to sport my new duds!"

Thanks Grammy for the cute Halloween gift!

Special Delivery!

23 Oct

Today Quinn received a package from St. Louis!  Her birthday presents from Grammy, and all her Aunts/Uncles and cousins arrived.  She had a blast opening her gifts and I had fun looking at all the adorable outfits we, er…I mean she got.

Yay, another box to play with!

I'll take that...

Seriously, these are all for me Dad??

Hmmm...Happy Birthday to me!

Huh, what's in here?

I love getting new clothes!!

Yessss, a new vtech book! Just what I wanted!!

Okay so here’s a preview of some of Quinn’s new threads.  We just might have to do a fashion show soon!



Ohhh, pretty.

These are just my style!

Can never have enough pink!

In general this is how I feel about all my gifts….

This can't be real. I am going to be stylin'!

Thank you so much St. Louis family!!!  We miss you tons and can’t wait to see you at Christmas.  We really appreciate you shipping all of these things so far- Quinn loves everything!!

Birthdays are also for celebrating…

7 Oct


Being one is fun!


So yesterday was Quinn’s birthday.  All day Joe and I marveled at the fact that an entire year had gone by.  We looked at our daughter and said “she’s not a baby anymore”.  And then we had cake.  Kidding.  We opened presents.  And then we had cake. Our celebration was small and intimate…just the three of us.  Well, and our landlord.  But that’s a whole other story, maybe even blogpost.  In all seriousness though we had a great day just looking back over the past year and looking forward to all the continued joy we know Quinn will bring.  Here are a few pics from the day:


We could have just stopped there....ribbon would have been enough.



Her new wooden duck pull behind toy



Umm..she's advanced. Clearly she is reading this card.



Birthdays are awesome!



Family photo...courtesy of the landlord (he really was here)



the cake...I'll explain in a bit


And here is where the real fun began.  Every parent wants to know “what kind of cake eater will my kid be?”.  Here is Quinn’s personal cake eating style:


I'd have picked the chocolate one too.



Go for it girl!


So as for this cake…well it’s interesting about cakes over here.  We figured with the slew of bakeries in this city we’d have no problem finding a birthday cake.  I mean you can barely take five steps without running into a backerei and the countless goodies that summon to you from inside.  One would think a birthday cake would be fairly easy to score here.  But alas, apparently they are without the mass produced efforts of Giant Eagle (or whatever your local grocery chain might be) and so these cakes are hand-made.  With a lot of love.  (Someone literally told Joe that).  Anyway, we did come across what appeared to be a standard cake.  You know pretty basic, but with space to have “Happy Birthday Quinn” filled in.  When Joe asked about it he was quoted a price of 47 euro.  WHAT??????  That’s like 65 bucks people.  For a small cake.  I mean it would just be the three of us….well, and the landlord.  But still.  So we kept looking.  Most bakeries didn’t even offer these type of cakes and the one other that did that we found quoted us 60 euro.  Wow.  We love our daughter and all, but seriously??  And yes I could have just baked one.  But we’re in temporary housing which means a.) the kitchen has what could pass for an easybake oven and b.) the supplies are limited= no cake pans etc.  SO, we decided to just pick up any style cake/dessert and put a candle in to make it officially a “birthday” cake.  Then I came across a cake in the frozen food section.  It was a ready made cake with a layer of smooth frosting already on the top.  Included in the box were sprinkles and two tubes of the very thin “writing” icing.  It was made for us!  So I snatched that puppy up and wrote “Happy Birthday Quinn” myself.  There.  Done.  Perfect.

Birthdays are for reflecting…

6 Oct

Birthdays bring about reflection.  They are a natural time to look back over the past year.  To count blessings, to applaud accomplishments, to plan and set goals for the future.  Sometimes though we count more of what we didn’t do, or what we missed; we succumb to the thoughts of how much less time we have left to fit it all in.  Life that is.  We wonder if we did enough, if what we did counted, blah, blah, blah.  This birthday though is about all the right things.  It’s all about celebration, milestones, and achievements.  It’s about looking back and realizing how much joy has been packed into one quickly passing year.  This birthday is my daughter Quinn’s.  She is one year old today; and all of the reflection…well, it’s sweet.

Here are a couple pictures from one year ago…


Joe in love with his new all time favorite of mine.


And here is Quinn now…


She's so soft spoken.



um...not sure how this was captured, haha!



That's a LOT of tulle for one little girl!


(Okay, these pics were taken by my friend Kim while she was visiting….duh.)

In the last year life has changed vastly.  Like most moms, I do more laundry than before, sleep less than before (despite going to bed earlier), and obsess about things like diaper absorbency, missed naptimes, and when my child will develop a fondness for the word “no”.  I worry about things I never could have imagined…color of diaper stool anyone (ewwww)??  And I rejoice in things I never could have imagined…yes, my daughter has mastered the pincer grasp.  But, like all moms, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As I reflect on the past year there is so much that comes to mind.  I adored the moment my parents first held Quinn.  I adored when she started sleeping in 5 hour stretches at night almost as much.  I delighted in saying “my daughter” the first hundred or so times.  I delighted in her saying “mama” even more.  I was thrilled when her first tooth came in (why, I don’t know).  And I was even more thrilled when she started crawling.  Each day has brought new abilities, new exploration, and new joy.  And that is just how it should be.  I need to remember that when my birthday rolls around!

I love you Quinn!!

Happy Anniversary….in Germany!!

4 Oct


Joe and I on our wedding day...happy, happy, happy!


So today is our wedding anniversary!  Two years have flown by….man, you people were right.  We’ve covered a lot of ground in those two years.  Let’s see: I relocated to the other side of Cleveland to be with Joe, we had a baby, and now here we are on another continent.  That’s the very abbreviated version of things.  Yup, life has changed.  And fast.  Some things have stayed the same though- Joe is still the most wonderful man I know.  The reasons I married Joe; his impeccable moral code, love for his family, spirit of generosity and service to others, wonderful sense of humor and ability to not take himself too seriously…those have all remained.  The same.  Unchanging.  What a blessing to be able to rely on that!

Here are a couple other photos from our wedding day:


Yes, Joe continues to make me laugh like that. Which is awesome.


And here we are now…as a family in Germany.  Wow.


Our family of three in Frankfurt, Germany


I could never have predicted when I met Joe (or married him) how the next few years would play out.  I’m glad though…it’s been full of surprises.  Wonderful surprises.  I’m looking forward to many more years married to a wonderful husband.  Something tells me I better keep my seatbelt on though….obviously we’re on quite a ride.

Let them eat cake!

16 Sep

So we HAD to celebrate Quinn’s first birthday while we were still with family!  While in Columbus the weekend before moving we decided to let Quinnie have a little ice cream cake in honor of her big 1st birthday coming up in October.  Here are a few more pics of her enjoying (after a few hesitant moments) her cake.

Quinnie clapping along as we sing "Happy Birthday"

hmmmm....what is this?

Going full force! She is getting every last drop of that ice cream cake.

All done!