h.e.h. & baby brother
watch us grow

At Haley’s school there is a garden where they can play if the weather is nice enough. Since she started school in Sept. they have been back there probably 4 times and each time I arrive to find her back there, I have no camera. I was so glad last Thursday to have it with me! It’s funny sometimes to see what each child is wearing because the two teachers have to kinda guess who’s coat, shoes, hat etc. is who’s and then head out. On Thursday I found Haley with the correct items but an added bonus, a sweater under her coat that belongs to someone else. The teacher said Haley was too cold, which probably wasn’t the case since she is always hot but the general feeling in Austria is that it’s not good for your health to lower your body temperature (hence the no ice-anywhere, and the rule of not sitting on cold cement AT ALL!). I am really glad that they have this garden and a chance to go out and play with the others before it gets too cold!

“Liebe Eltern: Wir sind in GARTEN. Eingang un die Ecke beim grunen Tor!

Lovely parents: We are in the garden, entrance is around the corner in the green door.

Lovely parents: We are in the garden, entrance is around the corner in the green door.

The green doors

The green doors

through this passage to the garden

through this passage to the garden

All playing, had to get this one quick before H noticed me

All playing, had to get this one quick before H noticed me

H and her friend Hannah, she is a few weeks older than H and has a 2 mo. old baby brother too so they have a lot in common

H and her friend Hannah, she is a few weeks older than H and has a 2 mo. old baby brother too so they have a lot in common

A few weeks ago I started to think of some of the things (not people, like my loving husband) that are really helping me get through this specific pregnancy and I started a list. I gathered some things together and thought I’d document some of the highlights.

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From left to right here are the reasons for the item or what they are:
●A book to my baby. I started writing to the baby fairly quickly when we found out we were pregnant. I have to admit that now I know it’s a boy I sometimes wonder if he’ll be interested in reading much of it, but it’s a good place to keep track of things I want to remember and who knows, maybe his future wife will be interested!
●Tums, for the reasons you think, heartburn baby!
●Lotion, from my dear friend. I use this each night on my hands so it forces me to take off my ring and check to make sure it CAN come off. (since this picture the ring has come off permanently.) I had such a hard time getting it off with H, having to hurt myself, that I vowed to take it off early this time!
●Diet Coke, There seem to be a lot of “rules” about eating when pregnant, but having my one Diet Coke a day is just a nice treat for me. (it’s not like it’s coffee!)
●Scissors, these are to represent my scrapbooking which gives me a bit of time to myself, at least in my head, to be creative and keep plugging along on all the pages that have never been done.
●Apple, this is the one thing I have been craving this pregnancy. I bet I have eating at least 1 apple a day for 75% of the time so far.
●My tennis shoes, I know they aren’t the most stylish things, especially here in Austria where they really stand out and scream: AMERICAN. But, they make it so much more comfortable to be on my feet all day with H.
●Wedge pillow, it has really come in handy for sleeping and I’m so glad I found it in our stuff in MN this summer.

Lastly, I took the picture on our bed because I just thought it was fitting since this is the place I dread the most. I love sleep right now, well, I would love some good sleep right now. When I walk into our room at night I just feel sad, knowing that another uncomfortable 8 hours lay ahead!

A glimpse into my pregnancy with baby boy Higgins!

I just went in to wake up H, it is a bit after 4pm but she is sick with a cold today so a few extra minutes can’t hurt. Of course it’s really dark in the room with the time change etc so I go sit on the bed and rub her back. She wakes up really quickly (always) and here is the conversation:
“Did you sleep good?”
“Yea, Daddy? Where’s Daddy”
“He’s at the office, but he’ll be home soon.”
“I want salami”
“Ok, we can have a snack, do you need to go potty?”
“No thank you, Mmm for Mama.”
“What is for mama, Salami?”
“Mmm for Mama.”
(then I realize it’s the letter M)
She slides off the bed and heads right to the kitchen. “Salami and juice?” “Ok, we’ll have Salami and juice.”
Most of the time she’s a girl who knows what she wants.
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I was just thinking how much energy H has in the morning, I am so thankful that she is happy 90% of the time she gets up!

A cheesy early a.m. smile

A cheesy early a.m. smile


We had a morning around the Haus today. Got ready and then headed out (with our underwear on) to capture the short term workers doing their major clean up from the session now that the students are gone. Haley likes to see everyone and stop to talk a lot, see what they’re doing, avoid the vacuums and “help out” when she can.
Dora came with us, H going down alone again

Dora came with us, H going down alone again


dusting with Patty & dora

dusting with Patty & dora


dusting the floor, seems like a lot of dusting but we don't trust her with the big guns!

dusting the floor, seems like a lot of dusting but we don't trust her with the big guns!


We also stopped by dad’s office to say hi. If we are ever in the building, H always wants to say hi to dad.
H has some candy stuck in her teeth...

H has some candy stuck in her teeth...


We also took our first outing with underwear on, it’s only 3km round trip into Heiligenkreuz to the post office, but she did great with no accident. Later on, right before lunch she did have her first accident in 2 full days, but over all, she is doing SO well!
After our last meal with everyone downstairs for this school year, H and dad did some puzzles and then it was time for a nap! Unfortunately we had to wake her up at 3:30 so we could head into Baden for a school event she was having.
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It was called the “Laternenefest” in German and it was at St. Stephans’ Parrish church. The story is of a man on a horse riding into a town and coming upon a poor man. He was cold and hungry. So the man on the horse took out his sword and cut his coat in half, also giving the man half of his bread. I think it’s a bit of a thanksgiving/sharing story and not quite sure how the lanterns fit in but it was still a nice event. We met all the other children/families from her school outside the church and the kids all brought the lanterns that they had made at school. A larger lantern was set up in the middle and while the parents sang, the kids walked around the middle with their lanterns. Haley didn’t want to do it at first but after some clapping, some more songs etc, she warmed up to the whole thing.
taking it all in

taking it all in


clapping after each song

clapping after each song


H's teachers, Sylvia and Petra

H's teachers, Sylvia and Petra


We sang another song about the man on the horse and the teachers brought 3 stick horses for the children to ride on. We sang the song probably 15 times so that all the children and most of their siblings could get a change. H turned it down right away the first time around the circle but the second time Petra came by she said yes and made it about 1/2 way around the circle before the song was over. We were still glad she joined in on the fun.
Downtown Baden in front of a school and the church

Downtown Baden in front of a school and the church


Looks like she is ready to cut her coat in half with her sword and share huh?

Looks like she is ready to cut her coat in half with her sword and share huh?


When it got darker and everyone had their turn we headed inside the church and all the children put their lanterns in the middle of the circle and we sang more songs. We sang a few that we knew, “God is Love” and “Rock my soul” which was interesting. Haley got into the actions and clapping along with the songs. We then headed out and said bye to the teachers at the door who gave H a slice of bread. A great Austrian experience!
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so many extended family and friends came making it a pretty big group

so many extended family and friends came making it a pretty big group


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We decided that good Italian food sounded good and there is only one chain we know of that has that around here, Vapianos in Vienna. So we called the Haus and picked up 3 of our co-workers to join us and drove downtown. One of the spouses has already headed home to a conference in the US and is staying for the holidays so we had to take a picture to tell her we missed her! Hi Cathy!
It says 'Wish you were here!'

It says 'Wish you were here!'


It was a fun day…again!
We hope that you have enjoyed the week…she could be closer to 10 when I decide to do this again but I have a feeling I’ll be so happy to look back and read it, remembering the “good times” back when H was “just 2.”

Well, to make things a bit easier today I think I’m just going to cover the two major events of the day!
1. School. As I mentioned on Tues I try to avoid talking about school ahead of time. Today not only did 4 people mention it in the 6 steps it takes us to get from the stairs to the front door but we actually talked about it at home before we left. She wanted to know where we were going and so we told her. She did a great job! We talked about how Nemo and sister bear (from the Berenstain Bears book) go to school and love it. I didn’t talk to the teacher like I normally do when I drop her off so when I got a call an hour and a half into the morning I was a bit sad to see it was them. BUT, Sylvia (her teacher) was calling to say how happy they were this morning for Haley. She was playing with another girl, Ina, they felt she had come so far and they were so happy. That was a great call to get! Again she didn’t cry when I picked her up and I think she’s getting the swing of it all!

all our stuff, ready to head to school

all our stuff, ready to head to school


in the entry where we put on her 'house shoes' and hang her coat

in the entry where we put on her 'house shoes' and hang her coat


H's symbol for the year is the clock, instead of her name on drawings etc. there is a little clock

H's symbol for the year is the clock, instead of her name on drawings etc. there is a little clock


coming to the door at the end of the morning to meet me

coming to the door at the end of the morning to meet me


one happy girl on her way home with her fruit snacks

one happy girl on her way home with her fruit snacks

2. Potty training. This has been an interesting day for potty training. We have not had a “start date” or really had much of a plan. We had the toilette cover and the treats (now it’s gum) but other than that, we have just put underwear on when we’ve been home for a couple hours over the last couple weeks. Yesterday evening she decided she wanted to go on the big toilette without the training seat and she hasn’t gone back since. Today, she wore underwear from 12:30 until 8:30pm without an accident. She wore pull-ups at her nap (YES, she took a nap today!) and stayed dry! It was her first time going out of our apartment, just around the campus, with her underwear on and she did great! I was nervous that she wouldn’t want to go on another toilette but it didn’t seem to matter at all. We are still asking her ALL the time but I think today was a good indicator of things to come. I’m sure we’ll have accidents, I was expecting one today, but I think she’s also getting the hang of this too!!

Picking out underwear from her drawer, never going for the generic butterflies or hearts. Always the elmo, dora or minnie

Picking out underwear from her drawer, never going for the generic butterflies or hearts. Always the elmo, dora or minnie


making sure these are the right ones for the day. 'hola?' she always look for the dora underwear that say hola on them

making sure these are the right ones for the day. 'hola?' she always look for the dora underwear that say hola on them

A great day to be H!

Doesn’t it look like we are ready for the day? H did a good job of sleeping in her big bed and came to wake us up at a reasonable time! But still, while daddy showered, we relaxed a bit and watched Dora.
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You never know when H will be hungry but it was fairly early this morning so she had cheerios. We are really trying to work on leaning over the bowl to not spill, she takes it to an extreme but it works!
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Then she and I talked and I reminded her that it was her Cabbage Patch Doll’s birthday today! (according the the birth certificate that she came with) So she took Erika down the slide a bit and sang to her off and on all morning.

I sit with Erika?

I sit with Erika?


(nice matching pj’s huh?)
Then she insisted that she wanted some “opium,” luckily I know this means oatmeal. There are a lot of times that she says she wants a certain food after eating something else and when it’s ready, she doesn’t want it anymore. So I waited a few min. and asked again, she was SURE. So, she also had oatmeal for breakfast #2.
after it cooled off in the fridge

after it cooled off in the fridge


We finally got H ready, which this AM means a bath! We had plans for tonight so I knew that if we didn’t do it now, it wouldn’t happen. I like her to get a bath the nights before school at least! She LOVES to make “tea” in the tub and serve J & I over and over. The “tea” ranges from grape to tomato and anything she can think of in between. Right now this is causing a LOT of water to exit the tub over the side but we’re working on that too. I think Opa needs to make something to hang across the tub that she can use as a counter!
looking for bubbles to pop

looking for bubbles to pop


H's penguin towels

H's penguin towels


While she was in the tub, I used one of our “imported” cake mixes to make cupcakes to decorate later. She gets really excited about almost all baking, liking the beaters, just watching it and listening for the timer. We have figured out that we can avoid our oven all together and bake everything in the reliable oven in the apartment next to ours.
loves to wear the gloves

loves to wear the gloves


It was time to head outside and do some recycling. We didn’t know when we got downstairs that it was raining pretty hard. So, I ran out and took the bags of plastic and metal then ran back upstairs for the rain boots and “umbrel-lel-a.” We spent quite a bit of time outside looking for bigger and bigger puddles!
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everyone loves the doggie boots

everyone loves the doggie boots


We stopped by the office to say hi to dad and see if there were any huge puddles around that building. Of all the offices, Mike’s is her favorite because he has….M&M’s! I usually ask her how many she wants to which she says “lots” and I say “3 is lots!” and we settle there. She is really funny with Mike, she’ll peek her head around the door and then look at me and smile, do this a few times but never go in!
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This is where the story gets a bit sad…we had a second day without a nap! She did some playing and talking in her room but it didn’t last nearly long enough for me to get work done! So, we had dad come over and I was able to get some papers ready to distribute. H and I headed out again to put them under doors. We were also able to find one of the short term workers who had come this session who is a hair dresser! It’s been 26+ months…H had her first haircut!
wetting it down a bit

wetting it down a bit


just a tiny trim

just a tiny trim


what is she doing back there?

what is she doing back there?


(I wish I had more/better pictures but I had to keep her distracted and looking in the right direction to get it cut!)
After the big hair cut, we headed home and Taylor came over to help us decorate cup cakes! Haley was more into eating than sprinkles but Taylor did a great job to letting her pick the colors and he’d do the work.
icing, deciding and sprinkles

icing, deciding and sprinkles


22 cupcakes later...

22 cupcakes later...


We did all this work for our little Erika and had to let her blow her birthday candle out!

We had dinner downstairs with everyone again and during dinner until bed things really went down hill. The 2 nap-less days really caught up to her. We did have a rousing game of family hide-n-seek after dinner but that was the highlight. H had a long day and some fun times….good night H!

I think Monday was so overwhelming when I sat down to write it that I sub consciously left both cameras at home this morning when H and I headed out. Tuesdays and Thursdays are early days for us, when we head to Baden and school. She did a great job this morning! Until today each morning I have said a prayer on the way down the steps that no one (staff or volunteers) will notice us and say something about school to H. It seemed that when she did know we were headed there it would eat her up the whole 15 min. drive and she’d get worked up. Today someone did mention it, we kept walking but she still did well. One of her teachers, Sylvia (I think she is H’s favorite) gave me the thumbs up when I came to pick her up at 11. She didn’t cry when I picked her up either, so Thursday we are going to extend it to 11:30 which is exciting!

We headed back to the Haus in the snow that’s coming down today and headed in. She didn’t want to look for puddles in the snow to jump in. As I was taking off my coat I found her drinking “dad’s milk” from breakfast. Well, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger right? (Personally I hate cereal milk!)
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Then we just hang out and watched some videos. She says “I watch videos mama? videos mama?” over and over until we work something out. She played with the alphabet on the fridge and sang her letters song from LeapFrog while I got lunch ready.

The A says ahh, the A says ahh...

The A says ahh, the A says ahh...


We had turkey/Gouda grilled cheese and oranges. Of course there can not be lunch without playing with her people and dogs. She definitely takes after me in her pace of eating. Play a little, bite a little…I really can’t blame her, I personally love to eat this way!
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Playmobil mixed with Mr. Potato Head

Playmobil mixed with Mr. Potato Head


After an episode of Elmo’s world it was off to nap! As we were getting ready the phone rang and another staff member reminded me it was the day to open the gift shop for the students during the benevolence time! Ahhh…so, we got pants on and headed over as quickly as we could. On the way down the stairs, she was asking where we were going and I said “mama forgot we need to open the gift shop.” She said to me “Oh, don’t worry mama, I’ll help you open it.”
Haley playing in a tub with the students behind

Haley playing in a tub with the students behind


I’m not sure she was all together ready before the gift shop incident but a nap never happened. We just played and played. Then our friend Jake came down to help us out with some recycling. It helps us out a lot and then we give him some Christmas money after a couple months! Haley was so excited to see Jake when she opened the door that she turn to run into my legs and instead made to wide a circle and ran into the wall. It was fairly funny but she was crying!
Jake smashing the metal

Jake smashing the metal


Then it was off to dinner, downstairs with the rest of the staff and students. Enchiladas. Good thing we had corn and carrots with it, she wasn’t too keen on the main dish.
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After dinner tonight she and dad went upstairs to relax and I ended up bringing a present up with me from a couple of our Long Term Workers. They were some great thick colored pencils that Haley proceeded to use right away and loved! Thanks Jim and Dot!
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You would think with no nap she would go down early and easy but that never seems to be the case huh? At 8:30 we were pretty sure she could have gone another hour or two for sure!

If H doesn’t wake up by 4pm we wake her, otherwise bed time gets later and later. So, we woke her.

waking up

waking up


Then I noticed how long her nails were but she didn’t want me to cut them. Dad got her some waking-up milk and she gave in or at least was distracted.
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Our plans were to take off. I got out a snack for her since we didn’t have one after nap yet and told her I would put it in my purse until we got in the car. Well, she wanted to put it in “my purse” so we found it and she carried it down the stairs alone (how she likes to go down stairs lately – no holding hands!).
from the 2nd floor to the front door

from the 2nd floor to the front door


Our first stop was an electronics store, you can guess who needed to go there. Haley saw the alcove with the techno lights demo in it and we headed right there. Then we checked out the model train section and the planes. Of course when we left and Justin asked her if she liked that store she said yes. He was pretty pleased with that answer!
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We headed to the mall across the parking lot and got our pictures taken to apply for Austrian Drivers Licenses. Then the rest of H’s night really can be summed up in one word: food.
She got a happy meal for dinner, her normal cheeseburger without the bun (oh she loves the dill pickle!), apple juice box and just a few fries. She picked the hot wheels car over the Barbie doll…(I would too, those little dolls are scary looking!)
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She shared a cone with daddy, she wanted “white.” After that we headed home and as soon as we got there, she ate 2 of the Clementines that we picked up at the store.
Eating
We played a bit, read books and then she actually ate a 100 cal pack of craisins right before bed (actually right before her milk before bed). I am waiting for the sleeping portion of the growth spurt! She wore her white pj’s again and after a try in the big bed, wanted to sleep in her crib. Good Night H.

Well, this morning in the shower I got the idea to do a set of blogs this week of Haley’s life. We are finishing our last session here at the Haus of the school year and come the new year she will be a sister and nothing will ever be the same again. I guess what I’m saying is that this could be the last “normal” week of her life as she knows it right now at 2.15 years old. Why not document it?

Before I start I should say that we are in the midst of potty-training and for most of the AM our daughter was without pants!

We were so happy that she slept in this AM until 8:30! We signed up to be able to watch live NLF football yesterday but the “early game” was at 7pm and then the 2nd game (Vikings vs. Green Bay) started at 10pm so we had a late night! Today is also our one day off during the session so it was nice to have some extra sleep and not have to worry.
H always gets up happy! I will try to get this included in the next couple days. She has a routine (unless we are headed to school) where she watches a show when she gets up in “her chair” and has a cup of milk that is usually followed by a cup of juice. Same today. She did also eat 2 slices of peanut butter toast, more than normal but we are pretty sure she’s planning on growing a couple inches in the next few weeks the way she’s been eating.
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After waking up daddy and playing a bit she did one of her favorite things right now, watching home videos on the laptop. She also has on her favorite PJ’s, “the white ones” which are actually from valentines day. I think she likes them so much because they are her only pair with feet and it’s getting cold here!
Then there was lots more play time while we showered etc. She had dad move her slide into the living room which is very convenient, it is closer to all the animals and puppets who want to go down too.

Found her prince charming

Found her prince charming


resting on the slide amid the morning stuff

resting on the slide amid the morning stuff


pb face and slide hair!

pb face and slide hair!


Another cup of juice at 11am

Another cup of juice at 11am


While I was getting ready in our room, she did another favorite thing :jumping on our bed. Here are some of the things she said while we were in there:
“Mama, question for you?”
“What is the question?”
“Birthday cakes for you?”
(she is VERY interested in birthdays and cake. She has it down now that the next 3 birthdays are Papa, Jesus then Opa)
“I’m so sad”
“What happen to me?” – after she landed on her bottom
“You kiss the pillow?”
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she's very interested in being upside down

she's very interested in being upside down


Lunch time! Left over pizza from last night with dad.
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Well, after spending an hour and 20 min asking her “do you need to go potty?” (and that cup of juice) we “forced” her to try and of course we had success!
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We have up-ed the reward for going potty by using gum! This is her favorite thing in the whole world right now and so we are putting it to good use!
picking from our imported gum stash

picking from our imported gum stash


She watched another Mickey Mouse Club House while enjoying her gum:
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Playing with daddy on the bed

Playing with daddy on the bed


Her baby is Erika and it was time for her nap so Haley laid her down in bed and sat on the chair we use at bed time to read books. She started one book when we had our first accident of the day. Got everything cleaned up, picked out new “abbey” underwear and got back to reading to Erika for nap time.
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Then it was time for H to take her nap and dad was more than willing to join her this afternoon.
trying to talk daddy into books before nap

trying to talk daddy into books before nap

(I am going to publish now while she is still napping because I can’t believe how long this post is – am I sure I want to do this??)

My 3rd Trimester has begun! Last week on Wednesday was the end of 6 months! I would say in the last 2 weeks or so things have gotten a bit more uncomfortable and a bit “harder” to do. Baby seemed to just all of a sudden “fill in” and his cute pushing isn’t quite as cute. I went to another baby shower this last weekend and I have to say it is pretty interesting to be around quite a few pregnant women here in Austria at church. A large percentage of them are so small throughout their pregnancy and have fairly small children.
When I went to my dr. a few weeks ago he had totally changed his tune since our first visit on the whole C-section thing. At first he kinda blew off my comments on Haley’s size and the recommendation of our US OBGYN to plan on having a C-section with any future children. I was asking his opinion at the time and he was sure a natural birth was best. Well, at my 24 week check up (a month ago) his responses both to my size at 24 weeks and the baby’s head/weight during the ultrasound were pretty comical. He then sat with J & I at his desk and told us that the risks of a planned C-section weren’t any different than natural birth and that might be the best route. We are still praying about it but it was an interesting experience. I have another check up this week, I do love to see the baby each check up!

6 months

6 months