Category Archives: christmas

Ok mom, and a few others I have promised. I am doing my best to keep the photos and stories coming!

The first few photos are from when we first got to the flat upstairs. Within minutes Otto was digging around for dress-up clothes and building with Legos. Mette was sporting her new heels that light up from Aunt Shannon and checking out the place.

Next are some photos of yesterday’s walking trip to Covent Garden. It is about a 10 minute walk from the flat which really is amazing. The kids walked the whole way home in fact. Granted, it took forever that way, but it was fun. Besides, where do we have to be? I aslo snagged a photo of the macaroon store window display. I ducked in there to pick up a Christmas Day treat for everyone. The kids should consider themselves lucky we shared a few with them!!

The last three are from our Christmas Eve dinner at a lovely French restaurant in the neighborhood. The dinner and setting was perfect. They were kind enough to offer some great selections for the kids. They made Otto and amazing cheeseburger and Mette had a fabulous ham, mushroom and cheese omelette. On our way out the son of the owner asked me if the kids liked dogs. I said sure, he took us outside to meet Bo. Bo was an enormous brown New Foundland. He was only a little over a year and so sweet!! I could have snuggled him up all night. The man said they were thinking it would be a slower night and would bring the dog in to eat with them. As it was, Bo was waiting patiently outside. I hope we see him around the neighborhood some more, he was fantastic. He is not the kind of dog you would mistake.

While not traditional, we had a wonderful Christmas Eve. The kids put out cookies for Santa and were tucked into bed. Christmas morning was a BIG HIT, but more on that soon.

Merry Christmas to everyone. Thanks to all the family we were able to talk and skype with over the past few days. It is nice to have you all in our living room here for a bit even though you are so far away.


(again, click on the first photo to see them larger and scroll through with the arrows.)



Filed under christmas, London

The big day

Eric has commented, and i agree with him, that most of these do not need words. There will be much thoughtful stories later when children are sleeping, for now, enjoy the show….

digging in….

Some of the best $5 I ever spent is in her hand right there

Hello Kitty house!

Happiness is Hello Kitty chapstick, a Hello Kitty purse and a light saber.

Battling through the carnage.

Rudolf, note the red nose, styling in his new jammies.

Have I mentioned how awesome the blocks are?

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Christmas Eve

Yesterday was quite an exciting day around here. From the moment the kids woke up and had the last piece of advent chocolate with breakfast the started asking when grandmom and grandpa would be here for the feast and presents. It was a LONG wait until 2, but somehow they managed.

I will admit to letting them watch some tv to help pass the time. We might have all gone crazy otherwise!

When finally the backdoor opened announcing their arrival, both kids took off like a flash.

Since Mette was up from her nap there was no need to hide presents and it was decided grandpa would bring the car around front to make unloading easier. The kids had their noses pressed to the window waiting for him to park.

Since they had been waiting as patiently as a three year and one year old can all day, we decided to open presents right away. Otto scored some awesome 6″ STAR WARS guys which have been a huge hit.

Grandpa also made them a ton more blocks to go with the ones they already have which were actually uncle Racer and I’s when we were little. He also made a big wagon to hold all of them that looks nice parked downstairs which I am very grateful for and the kids think makes an awesome ride. The blocks were put to use right away making cities and buildings for Luke and pals.

Mette’s big gift was from grandmom, grandpa, eric and I. She got a big wooden dollhouse. It took has a custom stand with castors but I have the wheels locked and would prefer they didn’t figure out that it can move. 🙂

It also makes a great seat for eating cookies, bonus.

After presents we feasted on the traditional English dinner of standing rib roast, yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes and roasted veggies. There was an amazing chocolate pie that my mom made for dessert along with a cranberry and pomegranate sorbet that I made. The whole meal was wonderful and honestly, quite simple. The kids were happy to run around and play with their new toys which allowed us to sit and veg for a while after dinner which was quite lovely. We eventually cleaned up and packed them into bed.

Once they were off to slumber land we got to play Santa. I remember being so excited for Christmas morning as a kid and i will say, i think i was equally excited last night. This was really the first year they got what was going on and it was really a lot of fun to be a part of all their excitement.

Christmas morning was a big hit and I have lots more photos to share but right now my bed with it’s clean new sheets and a good book are calling me.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday, or just a peaceful winter day. Everyone here is tuckered out and ready for bed.

See you tomorrow….

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Filed under christmas, memories, otto and mette

Santa’s elves

I am really getting excited for the kids and Christmas. Tonight Eric and I wrapped all the presents and even gathered everything for the stockings. We were both commenting on how much fun it is going to be seeing them on Christmas morning.

This is the first year I ever got around to wrapping presents earlier than the night before they were to be given and i have say, it feels really good to have that done. That being said there is still a ton to do around here tomorrow. In order to finish all of the holiday crafting I was doing I gave up cleaning the house well over a week ago and it shows. There are dust kutzels blowing like tumbles weeds down all the hallways and everything could use a good scrubbing. Guess what we will be doing tomorrow.

There are also the last minute errands to run and a roast to be picked up. We also can’t forget to make cookies!! We managed to eat all of the cut out cookies we made earlier and we need to make more if there are going to be any to leave for Santa. Eric is actually staying home from work tomorrow and the plan is to divide and conquer.

Even with all the cleaning and cooking to do, I am still enjoying the very festive atmosphere this year. Tonight after dinner we got in the car, stopped at dunkin donuts for a treat and drove around and looked at Christmas lights. It was a blast.

I hope you are a enjoying the holiday lead up, I be back with loads of pictures and tales of joy.

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Filed under christmas, handmade, memories, otto and mette

Treks and Trains and Trees, oh my

A few weeks ago I mentioned that if it worked out I would really like to take the kids to NYC to see the big tree, lights and hustle and bustle of Christmas time excitement. As I am sure you all know, NY can be really cold in the winter and the idea of freezing little children and an insane amount of gloves, mittens and hats to loose did not really appeal to me. So, we decided to watch the weather and if a good weekend came up, great, if not, it will all be there next year. Well this past Saturday the high was predicted at 40 degrees which sounded balmy considering the snow we had all week leading up to it. A quick check with Ben and Shannon confirmed they would be home that weekend so we could visit with them for a little pre-Christmas festivities and we were packing bags. I love a last minute get away, almost more than one you plan for months for. Eric had meetings until mid-afternoon on Friday but once he walked in the door we loaded up and hit the road.

Despite driving to Hoboken at dinner time we made it there in good time, perfectly timed in fact for the kids to run around like crazy banchies for an hour, open presents and then go to bed exhausted only an hour late. Works for me.
We weren’t quite sure where everyone would sleep at Ben and Shannon’s but neither of us felt like carrying a pack-n-play up three flights of stairs so we decided to wing it once we got there. It was decided that Mette and I would sleep in the spare room upstairs and Otto and eric would sleep on the couch downstairs that converts to a bed. That was great except Otto needed to go to bed before the adults were ready. No worries, we put Mette to bed first, then once she was settled we took up Otto who was by then pretty sleepy. When we were ready to go to bed we carried Otto down to the bed downstairs where he slept with eric. Both our kids now can be transferred with fairly high success rates once they are sleeping which is possibly the greatest thing in the world and something I was sure would never happen!!!
When we went up to get Otto I snuck a quick picture of them because it possibly the cutest thing you have ever seen. This is how they were sleeping after being in the bed for a few hours by themselves.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you about the extreme level of cuteness you just witnessed!!
On Saturday the plan was to bum around the apartment, eat and hang out for the morning then take the train into the city for the afternoon. Aunt Shannon watched Christmas videos with the kids which were a big hit. Gotta love YouTube.
There was much tickling involved for Otto and Uncle Ben over the course of the whole weekend.
Being as it was a warm and lovely December day in NYC we were not the only ones who had the idea to go downtown. It was PACKED!!! But since we don’t usually have to deal with crowds (or ever) here is the ‘burg, it was a nice change of pace. For a little bit at least. Thanks to our kind hosts we even managed to get some pictures with all four of us. I think this one is even cute!
The tree was a big hit. We managed to get right up to the base.
Which was no small feat let me tell you.
Uncle Ben and Aunt Shannon braved the crowds and took Otto to see the skaters.
See the LEGO display in the background, yeah, so did Otto. We worked hard on convincing him that store was not open right now.

Our kind hosts!

I love this picture that Shannon took!

Both Mette and Otto took turns falling asleep in the stroller. Otto slept through stairs, crowds and lunch. Don’t you wish you could do that?

Again, adorable.

The Faden Boys.

Back at the ranch that evening, Mette decided to make herself at home. We have been telling Ben and Shannon funny stories of Mette and her undressing skills but nothing beats the real deal. Mid sentence she stopped and started this….
What comes next?? Why running around in circles of course.

On Sunday we said goodbye to Uncle Ben and Shannon and drove into the city in pouring rain. Our goal, the Natural History Museum and it’s underground parking facility. The museum was a HUGE hit with both kids. How could it not be? That has to be one of the greatest museums ever. The gift shop was also a winner. Otto who is really into space right now found this and I had to get a picture.
I saw many a potential birthday present there.

We did a tour of the dinosaurs and then headed down to the African Animals. Mette went crazy here. She was running from one diorama to the next. It was very exciting.

Taking kids to museums like this is so much fun. Everywhere you go there are amazing things to see and for weeks there are new topics to explore at home. We bought a membership and plan on many more trips.
They had a live butterfly exhibit which was really cool. There was a nice hot and humid room full of plants and amazingly beautiful butterflies everywhere you looked. Some even were landing on people’s clothes.
Otto holding out his finger in the hopes that a butterfly thinks it is a good resting spot.

“there’s one”

It was a great weekend. It was wonderful to have a mini-Christmas with Ben and Shannon and it was refreshing to just pick up and go somewhere without having to bring our entire house with us. If we didn’t need a million jackets and sweaters we really would have been packing light. There is hope, we will be able to go and do more and more stuff. They go to sleep at other people’s houses and they can hack long days of exciting adventures.

The holiday excitement continues to grow here. There are fewer and fewer doors to open on the advent calendar and I think Otto really understands how exciting is. I can be a bit of a scrooge over Christmas I realize, but this year is going to be awesome. Let’s just hope we don’t get a stomach bug like last year!!!


Filed under aunt shannon, christmas, mette, natural history museum, new york, otto, uncle ben

Attitude is everything

Today Otto, Mette, Megan and her two boys, Rachel and her two little people and myself made sugar cookies at our house. It started off innocently enough. This morning while eating breakfast Otto asked if we could have a playdate with some friends and went on to list all of the above mentioned friends along with some other friends who are now in Australia for six months. (Sorry, Belinda I would have emailed you too but i didn’t think you would make it in time.) It seemed like a great idea so I sent out the invite email. Wednesday is usually playgroup but since our car is at the Harrisburg airport awaiting eric’s arrival tomorrow we were staying home today. In the email I mentioned that it would be fun to make cookies with the kids. Turns out when you offer to make cookies, kids are pretty excited to come. Funny, I know. In your head when you think about making cookies with kids it is all rosy and fun. And then you see 5 little facea around a table all eyeing the sprinkles and dough you start to think “was this the best idea I ever had?”. It was however a lot of fun. Even with one child falling down some stairs, another falling off a chair and Mette pretty much falling asleep at the table during lunch after yelling at everyone not to say her name, but to instead call her Tarzan, I would call it a success.

Before everyone arrived Mette, Otto and I made the dough so it could rest in the fridge. If you have ever wondered why so many of our pictures are taken in our kitchen, here is the reason why. Our kitchen gets the most beautiful southern exposure and the light is heavenly. Literally, if there is heaven, I am sure it is lit like this.

Before starting the whole cookie making process otto and I talked about how he couldn’t just eat all the sprinkles.

It really sunk in.

Keeping ten little fingers out of trouble is tough, even with three moms on the job. One look to see what otto was doing and Mette decorated her cookie by herself.


A masterpiece.

After everyone had left and while Mette was still sleeping Otto and I made the second ball of dough into cookies. He did an amazing job of not eating all of the sprinkles and cut out the shapes all by himself. My intention was to take some to his preschool tomorrow to share with the other kids since it is their last day before the holiday break, but Otto really wants to show them to eric and I think that is fair so we are keeping them all. Selfish in a season of giving I suppose but given how much Eric likes cookies, it makes perfect sense.

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Filed under christmas, food, handmade, otto and mette, preschool, projects


Happy New Year! I can’t believe it has taken me this long to get around to actually writing this update. I uploaded the pictures a few days ago, but didn’t get any further before certain small girls awoke early from nap time. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was great, that is until it was terrible, no good, very bad, don’t ever want to do that again. The original plan this year was to visit my grandmother Hope on Christmas day as she has recently moved into a nursing home and a visit from two smiling great grandchildren is sure to brighten her day. Because we would be getting up early and piling into the car for a 3+ hour car ride I thought it would be a good idea to have Christmas a day early. It seemed cruel to give the kids (well Otto really) new toys and then strap him into a car seat all day. Since he doesn’t know what day it is unless we tell him, we just told him that Thursday was Christmas and went on our merry way. Wednesday we had a Christmas Eve dinner with friends. That night we hung our stockings and put out cookies for Santa. After the kids were asleep eric and I played Santa and Nisseman for the first time and had fun putting out all the gifts and filling stockings. The next morning bringing Otto was downstairs was so much fun. He was quite excited to see all the presents and learn that in fact Santa DID come. We have video of the kids from the morning but the camera is experiencing some data transfer problems. We will get it posted, just not right now. We had a wonderful laid back Christmas. The kids opened presents, we played with toys, ate yummy food, baked cookies. It was just about perfect. Then that night after dinner I started to not feel all that great. Clammy, off stomach, just kind of yucky. At about 1:00 a.m. I was the first to fall. I was hit with the most violent stomach flu I have ever experienced. While I was sequestered in the bathroom Mette woke up. When eric went in to check on her he found her in a sea of vomit. 20 minutes later Otto was awake and throwing up. It was rough. Thank God eric wasn’t sick. I don’t think we could have survived the night without one of the adults being able to take care of stuff. He called the doctor because Mette throwing up was kind of scary, started laundry, changed jammies and kept the house afloat. The next day Otto, Mette and I were still down for the count. Eric was kind enough to hold Mette and help her sleep while Otto and I snuggled, watched TV and napped on the couch. By the afternoon Mette was feeling better and by that evening Otto and I were getting back to normal. It was not a day I ever want to do again, or really think too much about for that matter. I had always planned on remembering Mette’s first Christmas, but there is no way I am going to forget this one!! I am SO glad we did Christmas a day early because this would have totally ruined presents for sure. The one good thing about the stomach flu this year is I wasn’t 9 months pregnant, it didn’t put me into early labor and I didn’t have to recover from it AND a c-section. Always look on the bright side.
So enough of our sick saga, there were some good things and I do have some great photos to share from the last week. I don’t have a lot of Christmas morning since there will be a good video of that to come..
I made stocking for each of the kids this year. I am very pleased with how they came out if I do say so myself.

One of Otto’s big hits was a CARS racetrack. It is incredibly loud and wonderful all at the same time. Eric is sporting his gift from the kids, his own pair of footie jammies!! Dinos none the less.

Photographic evidence that the box is really what they will play with.

Otto and Mette sporting Hannah’s. Otto’s from Grandma last year and Mette’s from GrandmaBah this year.

Mette is ever helpful when it comes to building with blocks.

Luckily Mette has grandmothers who buy her girl clothes. Yia-Yia to thank for this adorable number.

By Sunday we all had a serious case of cabin fever so we headed to Reptiland for an outing.

We stopped for lunch on the way home where Mette sampled the french fries. For a girl who doesn’t really seem to like food, she was pretty OK with the fries.

Pigtails, need I say more?


Filed under christmas, mette, otto, otto and mette