30 October 2010

Halloween where are thou?

We invited some friend over tonight for a turkey roll bonanza. Turkey breast sliced up, filled with stuffing, rolled up, and wrapped in bacon. Yummmm.

Then we decided since it was halloween tomorrow and no one trick or treats in this area we would have trick or treating inside the apartment. Karen and I talked before about giving candy to all of our neighbors and asking them to give it to the kids when they knocked on their doors. But we didn't want to be "those Americans....".

So we decided to do it inside of our apartment with some of our friends. Fortunately, we have a lot of doors in this little apartment. Om was in the bedroom. One of the missionaries was in Elora's room. Sarita was in the kitchen. Nana (grandma) was in the toilet room, John was in the closet, Chris was in the showeroom, and another missionary was in the living room. Then the kids took turns running through the hallway knocking on doors and saying, "Trick or Treat!"

The missionaries really got into the role playing, commenting on the kid's costumes. Sarita was too, as she said, "See you next year." and then "Has a year gone by so fast?" when the kids returned.

Everyone had enough candy in their bowl for the kids to make a few "visits" at each door.

Nana had the best place of course, being in the toilet closet.

John's was almost as good in the coffin-sized closet filled with all the junk we just toss in there. We were wondering what he was thinking of us..."Crazy Americans... they gave me a bowl of candy, stuck me in a closet and then had their kids knock on the door asking for candy!"

Oliver was thrilled with the lollie pops and candy corns.

Lots of fun with Om and Elder Varney in the background.

Ollie horked down his candy in just a few minutes, while Elora savored hers for a half an hour or so.

And then they played with Om's iphone. Om has made it his mission in life to download every loud and annoying ipod app that the kids could be interested in.

Then we had an elephant battle. Here's a video clip of the kids going "trick or treater" in the hallway.

Ever since Ollie got a taste of this trick or treat thing at the halloween party a couple weeks ago he's been walking around with a bucket saying, "Trick or treat". We think Halloween is his new favorite holiday. We expect to hear "trick or treat" for the next few weeks until he figures out that phrase doesn't automatically reward him with candy. But Christmas is right around the corner...

Elora Speaks German

Here is a collection of interesting conversations we have had with Elora, some of which are amusing mix-ups about German.

German Vocabulary:
Die Blumen
Die Katze
Die Doggen

We go to the bakery sometimes for a treat. Elora loves these donuts that are filled with custard cream and is sooooo excited whenever she gets one. Oliver on the other hand, is happy when he gets ANY pastry. He sees a bakery sign or shop and yells, "Bread! Want Bread!"

(While checking for ticks)
Elora: Can you check my nose? Are there any bugs in there?
Mom: No bugs there.
Elora: No bugs got on me because I was running. Since I was running they didn't think I was a person, the bugs thought I was a giraffe.

I got down Mr. Potato Head the other day and the kids spent 45 minutes putting him together, taking him apart, putting him back together. It was nice because Elora would ask Oliver for his opinion, and half the time she would then say, "No, how about this one?" and Oliver would go along with her... it was nice to see them playing together with no fights!

Elora: What are you going to be Ollie, when you grow up?
Oliver: A spider!
Elora: No you can't be a spider.
Oliver: A bus!
Elora: You want to be a bus driver?
Oliver: Ya!

Elora (after seeing a billboard with cartoon pigs on it): Pigs! I love pigs! I love pigs because they make bacon!

We got a package with some interesting packing material. Elora thinks it is armor and likes to cover herself with it before she goes to battle.

Things you never thought you would say: "Elora! We don't run through the house with a biscuit and an ax!"

Elora (after seeing all the cotton fluff coming off the trees this spring): Where did the fluffs come from?
Mommy: From the cottonwood trees.
Elora: But where did they get lambs?

A friend loaned us the classic Mickey Mouse collection with all the old black and white Mickey cartoons. The kids LOVE it and ask to watch Mickey all the time now...

Oliver: My bum!
Elora: Don't talk about your bum, that is rude!
Oliver: Talk bum!
Elora: I don't like that!
Oliver: I like bum!

Oliver is getting more rambunctious around bedtime and takes awhile to fall asleep. This is how I found him last week... That cannot be comfortable.

Elora: Do butterflies really speak French? (If this sounds like a weird question, you need to read the Fancy Nancy books)
Mommy: I don't know, I have never heard one speak.
Elora: But if they did speak, they would speak like, French or Spanzosisch or something.

And my personal favorite Elora quote:

Elora saw "Ü" in one of her coloring books and laughed, saying "Hee hee, that U has eyes!"

29 October 2010

Preschool Volcanoes

Elora and her friend Ellie are not enrolled in school this year, so Ellie's mom and I decided to have a little preschool activity day together once a week with the girls, and our younger kidlets too. The last time it was our turn Elora insisted we learn about volcanoes. She was so determined that I spent tons of time looking up ideas for how to teach preschoolers about volcanoes...

We ended up making our own volcanoes out of toilet paper rolls, tin foil, and playdough. Very good fun. Then I filled my volcano with baking soda and red vinegar. The kids found this very amusing, and each took several turns making the volcano erupt.

Later we let Elora paint her volcano. She was so excited to decorate it with "purple rocks" and "lots of red hot lava".

We also gave her some glitter to sparkle on it - fire is pretty shiny, right? She thought this was fantastic. She is fascinated with volcanoes right now, and frequently plays a game with Oliver where "lava crocodiles" are trying to eat them and they have to get off the carpet where the lava is. Not sure where the crocodiles came in, but I am so glad that we get to have our fun preschool activities together. She loves learning new things and it has been fun to watch the kids learn together.

27 October 2010

Karen's Big (late) 29th Birthdayfest

Yes, I know my birthday is in September. But we never got around to celebrating, and if we wanted to have a party before the baby comes and I become germ-o-phobic mom, we were sort of running out of time. So Chris sent out a huge invite to everyone we know, and we had a party last Saturday - with as usual, an amazing amount of people in our tiny apartment!

This does not do the crowd justice. The best part was everyone pitching in to cook. Our tiny kitchen had about 8-10 people in it (not me!) preparing our favorite Napali food Momo, a selection of bratwursts, rolls, and slow cooked ribs. It's really all about the meat! The only food/party prep I did was to slice some carrot sticks... awesome. In this pic from left to right: Me, Om, Sarita, Krystin, Jason, Richard, and Everton totally trying to get out of the picture.

Plate O Meat!

More people! The kids all had a great time too, Elora had her little friends Grace, Ethan, Theo, Luke, and Baby Audrey there.

Chris made me an Austrian flag cake, and it was incredibly tasty. I was especially grateful for the one candle - this is the first year I have been able to blow out my candles since I was about 12!

Time for the big belly to play our new favorite party game - cake and ice cream pong.

It got pretty intense! Especially because we made everyone play before they were allowed to eat any dessert! We had such a great time having so many friends over, and best of all many friends hung around to help clean up. Thanks everyone for giving me such a special (very late!) birthday bash!

26 October 2010

Sewing Projects

A friend of mine gave me a whole bag of fabric, which I could have chosen to ignore seeing that I am very pregnant and sewing is not as easy as it used to be... but I found some fabric that I loved and decided to load up on baby sewing projects for the last few weeks of the pregnancy. I am now finished with my three projects and onto helping a friend sew a bridesmaid dress...

This is by far the fabric that inspired me to sew the most, I loved all the cute little characters and wanted to make something really special with it. So here is a huge quilt that the new little one can enjoy for years to come!

I had a bunch of scraps of cute bright fabric, so I looked up an easy quilt on the internet to make with scraps. Oliver actually really likes this little blanket and may end up stealing it soon...

And the baby had no bed as of yet, and a friend of mine suggested I might be able to make a travel bed... so I got out more fabric and some foam we had randomly sitting around the house and set out to create my own pattern for a baby travel bed. The sides drop down so that it can be a play mat, or it can be folded up fairly small to be put in a suitcase while traveling. This project still needs a mattress, so today we headed out to find a fabric store only to realize it was an Austrian holiday and everything was closed. Sigh. Maybe we can finish it tomorrow!

25 October 2010


The kids decided they wanted to have a big swordfight, and since the weather last week was actually pretty nice, we went outside for the battle.

Elora prefers the battle ax as her weapon of choice, and we had to spend some time discussing the appropriate way to hold it so she wouldn't hurt herself (or daddy)... She was defending the princess (mommy) from the daddy dragon and she takes this duty rather seriously!

She is also sporting her quiver of crossbow arrows. Sadly, no pics of the crossbow action since I couldn't take pics and help the kids string the crossbow at the same time. Daddy volunteered to be the target and I didn't really want that job.

Oliver dropped his shield in favor of wielding two swords. Why have one when you can have two?

Oliver loved this game! He had a great time running all over the yard fighting with daddy.

Until he decided to climb the big tree in the yard, and then that occupied him for the rest of the morning! He loves this tree and obviously is not scared of heights, because he loves sitting up in it.

We tried to take a cute pic of the kids up in the tree, but as you can see Elora was not thrilled about being stuck up in a tree... she was convinced she would fall even if someone was holding her. Oliver is telling her to say "cheese!"

Oliver hugging his favorite tree.

And kissing his tree...

The best part is when he gets to jump into daddy's arms. Then he has daddy help him climb right back up into the tree again. He is such a little monkey.

When it was time to head inside for lunch, daddy gathered up the weaponry... We are getting quite a collection!

24 October 2010

Music Time

The kids love music. A day doesn't go by without Oliver standing in front of the computer begging us to play some music. He's so obssessive he even wants to see the media player... just to look at the icon thumbnail for each song. To prevent his compulsive behavior, we try to direct him away from just staring at the screen. Musical instruments usually do the trick. Look how adorably happy he is marching around with the drum set.

Here's Elora doing her funny dance with Dirty Teddy and a sock on her hand. She's been putting socks on her hands lately. It's either too cold in our apartment or she's just weird.

The little drummer boy. He was marching back and forth in the hall. His new favorite thing is to take turns with Elora "leading" the music. He stands in front of everyone, holds up his arm and starts waving his hand around like a conductor while singing -- and insisting that everyone else sing along too!

21 October 2010

Lainzer Tiergarten

There is a nice forest near our house that we like to go walking in. In the forest is a beautiful little place called Hermesvilla that has a museum inside that I have been wanting to see, so I looked up the times it was open and we set out on a walk into the forest last week to check out the museum before it closes for the winter.

Here is Oliver showing us how he skis... he hasn't actually figured out the correct stance yet, but he was so proud of himself!

Note Oliver in the background skiing again. The forest is so beautiful right now with some of the leaves changing colors, but the trees still covered in green leaves too.

The forest is quite large with hiking and walking paths all throughout. It is a nice place to go to forget I live in a city for a little while... and there is Oliver skiing again.

It has been getting pretty cold as you can tell by the kids being all bundled up. But the sun peaked through the clouds some of the time making it a beautiful day to be outside as long as we were covered in layers of clothing!

Here is a funny little mushroom we found. Elora loves hunting for mushrooms in the forest and is really good at spotting all the different kinds. We have also found wild blackberries in the forest - gotta love that!

Stopping by the sign to make sure we head the right way!

Here is an interesting sculpture just outside the Hermesvilla.

After walking all that way we found out that the museum didn't open until 1pm today. It was supposed to open at 10am and we showed up around 10:30... it was too cold to hang out in the forest for hours, so no museum for us. I was super disappointed as I have really wanted to check out this particular museum, and being rather pregnant I don't think I am up to hiking all the way back to the museum a different day...

Oliver had a great time checking out all the fountains though, and the grounds and forest were still beautiful. I'm glad we got to spend one more family day hiking around here before the baby comes, it really is a beautiful place.