Thursday, September 27, 2007


Brandon has been smiling so much lately and we are loving it. He has been very calm and content for the past couple of days. This morning Nathan was making him smile over and over. It is funny because when Steven was a baby Steve was watching something about concentration camps on TV and heard the word "auschwitz". Later he was holding Steven and said that to him, and Steven laughed every time Steve said the word for days. Now with Brandon Steve makes him smile every time he says the word "pillbox". This morning Nathan said to Brandon,"Do ya mean it baby?"and it made him smile again and again. So when Nathan got home from school he kept saying that to Brandon over and over. Unfortunately Brandon wanted a nap and didn't want to smile. But it is funny how some words just seem to do the trick. :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Steam Train Ride

This past weekend was probably the last nice weekend we will have this year. It has been so cool all summer, and today we are down to 60 as a high. But this past weekend the highs were in the mid to upper 70's and it was beautiful. So in order to appreciate the last days of summer we had two (small) families over for BBQ and a game of Settler's on Friday. It was lots of fun although things got going a lot later than I planned. I guess that is what happens when I am at T-ball until 5 and have dinner guests coming at 6, and have a 6 week old to tend to. :)

Then on Saturday we went to the city center in Darmstadt and got to go on an hour long Steam Engine train ride. It was pretty cool, and I think we all enjoyed being outside and doing something fun.

{We rode for half hour and then got out and walked around for a short time while they put more coal in the train. For some reason the boys had just watched "Polar Express"the day before even though it is a Christmas movie, so they thought the Steam Engine was just like the polar express.}{The only downside was the coal dust that landed all over us. I had Brandon in a front pack and covered completely with a blanket and he still got some in his ears, and down his onesie I saw when I changed him later. We all had nice baths that night to get rid of the coal dust. Does anyone remember the firework residue that landed all over Steven when he was a month old? :)}

Friday, September 21, 2007

Brandon's 5 week check up

On Thursday I took Brandon in for his 5 week check-up. He has gained a kilo which is about 2lbs, so he is currently just under 12lbs. And he grew 5 cm. also which is a lot. So he is a huge kid! It is very interesting to watch the Dr. here do the check up. They do a lot more than the doctors in the states do. The last test he did on Brandon he almost rolled him up in a ball where Brandon was facing the Dr. and told me not to be scared. Then while holding Brandon's ankles, he let his head drop, so that Brandon was falling backwards until he was completely upside down. I guess it was to check his reflexes, but I cannot imagine a Dr. in the states doing that. I was fine with it because I know I am in another country and I trust my Dr., but it was weird.
Brandon has also just started to respond to us with smiles. It is so exciting to see your baby smile at you. Of course he smiled at Steve first, because he is more excited to eat than to smile when he is with me. He also has this interesting eye color. They look navy blue, which I thought would probably change as he gets older, but my neighbor and I were looking at the other boys eyes, and we saw that Jacob has navy blue eyes too. Jacob's were navy when he was born, and they never changed. It is a really cool color.

In other news, the boys are all doing great. They are enjoying school, and the neighbors. I feel so blessed to be living in this neighborhood. It feels so safe, and there are about a million kids that all play together out front. The first picture is of all the neighbors kids who were playing outside on their bikes. Some of them being as old as 11. So, I feel comfortable letting the boys go outside and play and feel like they are safe. The neighbor kids will tell them if they are doing something that they shouldn't. Every once in a while I have to get them in trouble for going too far, but for the most part they stay close to home. It is so nice to live where there are great neighbors especially in a foreign country.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Brandon's blessing

As you all know, I am horrible at blogging when I have company. :) Mom and Dad just left yesterday (Wednesday) and I am ready to blog now. The only problem is, I also like the company to take the pictures when they are here and then I just use their pictures for my blog. Dad took a lot, but he didn't have his USB with him, so I will have to use the few pictures that I took.

Brandon was blessed on Sunday so that we could have Dad here with us. It happened to be Stake Conference, so we just went in to the High Council room afterwards to give Brandon his blessing and it was very nice. Steve asked a few people from the old Branch to help him, and he gave Brandon a wonderful blessing. I am so happy that Dad could be here to be a part of the blessing.
{Sorry...... I was in a picture taking mood. :)}

We had a GREAT time with Mom and Dad and are so happy they decided to come and visit us for a couple of days. I really wish the weather would have been a little more cooperative, but they seemed to have had a good time, so I guess it all worked out. Now I just pray that Italy is all they hoped it would be.
{This is a little train ride we took up to a castle when we got off the boat to have lunch on our Rhein river cruise.}

It is crazy to me that my busy summer has come to an end. I remember telling the boys starting in March all of the things we had to do this summer.

First Alicia, Scott and Brielle will come
then Tawna and Krista will come
then Kirsta will go home and Tawna will stay until
Brandon is born
then Tawna will go home
and Grandma and Grandpa Allred will come.

It was a lot to be excited for and now it is all over. But I am happy. I am ready to settle in to a routine again, and get everything in order. And after I get everything put back in order than we can start on our next list of plans.

We get to go see Nana and Papa and all of Steve's family for Thanksgiving, and I am totally excited!
then Nana and Papa will come here for the first couple weeks of Dec.
then Jessica plans on coming for Christmas. (we are crossing our fingers)

I will look back on this year full of fond memories. :)

And now, so that I don't disappoint, here are a couple pictures of baby Brandon.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Missing Tawna

Yesterday my sister Tawna flew back home to California after staying with us for 3 months. She came in June and we did a little touring while my youngest sister Krista was here, and then when Krista went home, we put Tawna to work. :)
She stayed so she could "nanny" for us while we got ready for the baby, and we had to get our moneys worth out of her. It was so much fun! I went to lunch with Steve a million times, I went shopping all by myself if I felt like it, I went to the Dr. about 100 times, Steve and I went away together for 3 glorious days, and I got THE BEST NAPS of my life. It was fabulous to be able to go upstairs and close the door, and sleep until I felt like I was ready to get up rather than when someone got in a fight or when the movie was over. Then of course she was here to help me get to the hospital when the baby was born and to take care of the kids so Steve could be with me for all four hours of my labor. Then after Brandon came, I would leave him home with her whenever I had to go out to get the boys or run some errands. So, he stayed nice and safe here at home. Today was the first day that I had all the boys to myself. We didn't do too bad, but an extra pair of adult hands is always helpful. And Brandon has cried more since Tawna left than he had the two weeks before. He has to wait until I am done with what I am doing now before someone comes and picks him up. Poor Kid!

{Where's Tawna?^ }

The boys enjoyed Tawna, but maybe not as much as me. They had been getting irritated that I was always going places and they were staying with Tawna. It surprises me how much children dislike a change in authority. They did OK though, and they love Tawna. I have been noticing today that their behavior to me is a little different. They are completely ignoring everything I say to them like I didn't even talk. I can't figure out if this is just a new thing, or if they were doing this to Tawna the whole 3 months and I wasn't noticing. If that is the case I feel sorry for Tawna because it is very frustrating. I will whip them back in to shape though. :)

I just have to say how much I love Tawna. She is such a neat person, and I am grateful to have her as a sister. She was also there for me when I had Jacob and had to fly across the country with the 3 boys. She came with me on the plane and stayed at Steve's parents house with me for a week and made things so much more manageable. In fact the only two times she has flown in her life have been to help me with new babies. She also has such a fun, relaxed personality that we really enjoyed having in our home. It surprised me comfortable she was with being here in Germany. She learned to drive stick shift correctly and then drove all around town, and somehow always managed to get back home. She also went to the store for me all the time, and even took a train ride 5 hours away to a friends house. The foreign country thing did not phase her a bit. Thank you Tawna for being so great!
{I think this is the only picture I took with Tawna, and I am looking really prego and not in a real picture taking kind of mood. I am so not used to having my picture taken that I don't even think about doing it, but I am regretting it now. We should have taken more pics Tawna.}

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Jacob's first day of Kindergarten

Yesterday was Jacob's first day of Kindergarten! That is the last of the 3 things I was concerned about in August. The first was having Brandon, then Steven starting at a new school, then Jacob starting at a new school. So I am very happy to report that Jacob LOVES Kindergarten. I'm sure it helped that he has been there so many times picking up the other boys, but he didn't seem to care at all that I was leaving him there. He was Ready. And he thinks he can speak German so he didn't see that as a problem. It is so interesting to me though, because knowing the boys you would think that Nathan would be the confident "no fear" type of personality, but he cried for a couple of weeks every time I left him at Kindergarten. Jacob who seemed to be pretty attached to me for a while, wasn't phased at all. Needless to say it is a relief.
{It was raining for his first day, hence the umbrella}
{The backpack}
{My two Kindergartners. Do they look only 15 months apart to you?}
{I told Jacob to show me his house shoes and he laid down on the floor for me to get a good look}

And now.... what to do with my TIME. I cannot believe that the 3 oldest are all in school from 8 to 12 every day, and I get to just relax with my newborn. I am thrilled at the possibilities this has opened up for me. I have 4 hours to do with as I please. I can sleep all morning or clean or shop or watch TV, the ideas are endless. It is really a new freedom for me.

And another update on baby Brandon. He is doing wonderfully, and I just love to have him in my arms. He hasn't gotten out much because I leave him with either Tawna or Steve whenever I go anywhere. That is all going to change now though. And right when the weather is getting cool. It was a high of 60 here today, and the forecast is showing that we may not get back in to the 70's before winter comes. I don't know if I am ready for winter, but I guess it will come no matter what.

{The bath}

{He does some crazy things with his eyes}

Sunday, September 02, 2007

7 year anniversary

Yesterday was Steve and I's 7th anniversary! You know, some people say it has gone by so fast, but I feel like we have been married for longer than 7 years. I don't know if that is a good thing or not. Ha Ha. But it has been a wonderful 7 years, and we have done, and seen and been through a lot.

Mom sent this CUTE card that she made for us and I just love it. Tawna says that she learned some card making skills from Sarah. I was not surprised to hear that Dad did the rhyming in the card. :) Does anyone really think we can handle 4 girls on top of the 4 boys we already have. I mean HONESTLY.

So, to celebrate the day, we passed the kids off to Tawna at about 2:00pm so that we could take a nap, then get ready and go out to our traditional castle for dinner. It was a lovely evening, and Steve gave me such a nice card.

{I just got the cutest hair cut, but I was in total slow motion when we were suppose to be getting ready for our date. So, I ended up leaving with it wet, which is not at all uncommon for me, but it did make for a sloppy picture. :) Steve got a sexy haircut too!}

And just for fun...I found this on someone else's blog and thought I would tell you a little of our history for those of you who don't know:

Where did you meet your husband?

Steve's younger sister Kristin was in a class with me at UVSC. It was the first semester I was going to school after being in Provo for 5 years. She said that she wanted to set me up with her brother who had just moved to Utah, and I said "Sure, why not."

What was the first thing you said to your husband?

I love you! (I mean after all we had just gotten married)

Where was the first kiss? First date?

Our first date was going ice skating with Kristin and her husband John. Steve was at least an hour late for the date because he was working on his car. (I guess Kristin didn't talk me up very good huh?) The date was funny because when we started skating, I stayed with Kristin and Steve went skating with John. Finally Kristin said she didn't feel very good and wanted to sit down and John said he would sit with here. So, Steve and I HAD to skate together, and I ended up finding him very interesting (and still do).
Our first kiss was at his house during General Conference. He had invited me over for the morning session and made us breakfast. At some point during Conference we decided kissing sounded more interesting and so that is what we did. I hope you don't think any less of us now. :)

Did you have a long or short courtship/engagement?

We meet in Feb. 99 and got married in Sept. 2000 so I would call that long. It took us a while to grow on each other. And Steve having just come out of the Army had to soften up a little bit before we were ready to get married. (That is my side of the story anyways)

Where did you get married?

We got married in the Mount Timpanogos temple in American Fork, Utah. It was such an amazing day that I will always remember. The weather was even just like I like it. It would rain for 15 minutes then be clear for half hour. You can even see some of the little black rain clouds in our wedding pictures.

How did the reception go?

Our reception was AMAZING! We had it behind a church building in a little grass park area that was meant for BBQ's. A friend of my family's from Bakersfield came to Utah and BBQ'd for us. So everyone got to come and enjoy great food, and some dancing. I thought everything turned out perfectly.

How was the honeymoon?

The night we got married we stayed in a very nice hotel in Salt Lake that Steve's parents paid for and it was perfect. Mom even packed us a little bag of goodies to eat in case we were hungry. It was really nice. Then we waited a week to go on our honeymoon and we did two things. We drove to Bakersfield from Utah, but we went up through Reno and Monterey which was a way I had never been before. We stopped in Monterey for Steve to show me some of the places that he loved when he was going to school there. Then after another awesome reception in Bakersfield we flew to Virginia and stayed for a week in a hotel there. We got to visit with Steve's family and see some beautiful places in Williamsburg. We also had a reception there that turned out beautifully. It was a memorable couple of weeks.

We plan on having many more wonderful years together, and learning the valuable lessons of life together. Thanks Kristin, for thinking of me when you were looking for someone to make your brother happy. :)

P.S. Steve and I got married on my Grandma and Grandpa Allred's 50th wedding anniversary, so we will always share that special day with them. Happy 57th Anniversary Grandma, I hope you had a great day!