Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

We've spent the last week in Peoria, IL with my Mum and Dad, enjoying a very relaxing Christmas break. The whole family has been here, although Vanessa and Sean came the week before Christmas and had to leave the day after. Steve and Rachel and Andre and I are leaving tomorrow evening to fly back to Atlanta.

We've had a lovely time all together, mostly spent tucked away inside as there's been lots of snow and we are all enjoying the rest. On Christmas Eve we went to church together; the early service so Michaela could go to bed at a decent hour. It was a really special service, celebrating Jesus' birth and all the children were in for it. Miss M behaved very well (I think the snacks helped!), although at one point she was playing on the floor and suddenly disappeared under the pew in front of us, with only her little black shoes sticking out. The man sitting in front of us suddenly gave a quiet yelp and lifted his legs right up in the air in surprise, as Michaela crawled out from under his pew! In an attempt to maintain a semblance of quiet, poor Sean crept on his hands and knees around the end of the pew, apologized to the surprised man, and grabbed Miss M, who thought it all great fun. Then of course Mum, Ness and I almost disgraced us all completely by getting the giggles. You know the kind you can't stop no matter how hard you try. I think the only thing that saved us was a particularly poignant rendering of "O Holy Night"!

It started to snow on Christmas Day which was just perfect. Here are some photos:

Dad clearing the driveway in front of their house

All ready to open presents on Christmas morning

Miss M with her Christmas present from her Mummy and Daddy: her first baby doll!

The big prep for Christmas dinner

Enjoying our party hats after pulling our Christmas crackers

Christmas Pudding all alight (we pour brandy on top and light it...yes I know, bizarre English traditions)

The baby bumps! (Nessa at 32 weeks and me at 30 weeks)

My sweet Husbie

Christmas Baby Bump

It was a really special day with lots of family traditions and great fun having a little girl around, who LOVED all her presents. She ran around the whole day showing her "Nana" and "Bapa" (she hasn't quite got "Grampa" down) her baby doll and running her baby jogging stroller into the furniture. Too cute!

The rest of the week has been quiet and relaxing and we're spending New Year's Eve the same way.

We are thanking the Lord for all our blessings this past year, particularly finding out about our coming bundle of joy. I think that's certainly the highlight of 2009! I suspect that the best of 2010 will be his arrival!

We hope you all had a blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Friday, December 18, 2009


Well, although the photos in the previous post show a lively and entertaining Christmas party, the following one lets you know what I was really doing by the end of the evening! My friend Laura caught me. Hee hee!

Andre is already up in Illinois with my parents, helping them with a few projects around the house, as he has some extra time on his hands. He has the computer with him so I haven't been on much except during my lunch break at work. But I'm having a busy week and am getting ready for Christmas and packing to join them next week.

It has been and continues to be a pretty busy week. Wednesday night was my last Bible Study/Discipleship night of the year. Yesterday I spent time with my friend Ruth, as the pregnant model for her skills assessment mid-wifery exam...CONGRATS for being done, Ruth!! It was really fun having an extra exam in my pregnancy routine and everything seems fine still :). Tonight we have a little cookie decorating party at my house with some girls from church, so I HAVE to have the house clean...a good excuse to get myself going with dusting etc!

Then tomorrow I am overseeing a wedding that is taking place at our church. On Sunday I get to see my dear friend Liesl for a quick visit...hooray! We're meeting up in Dahlonega as she is staying in North GA so it's a good meeting spot for us. Monday is the big leadership party for our church which I'm helping with in the evening and then Tuesday I am leaving to fly up to Illinois! Can't wait!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Church Christmas Party

On Friday was our Young Adult Christmas Party at church, which was such fun! I am on the Young Adult Committee again this year with all these good folks:

A couple in our church offered to host the party in their home, which is beautiful and spacious and ideal for big social events. We had fun putting it all together, good food, lots of fun people and many tacky sweaters (there were prizes for the tackiest Christmas outfit). My friend Bobbi Jo set up a spot by the tree for people to have their photos taken, props and all! So Andre and I had our Christmas photo was Baby Y's first "framed" photo!!! Ha ha!

For my far away friends, here's the Bump...getting bigger as you can see!

Oops, the photos came out kind of small, sorry about that!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Apology and the hiccups...

Thanks for all the comments and sympathy, friends! I apologize for yesterday's rant. You really don't have to feel sorry for me, it was just a particularly bad hose day :) I really have nothing to complain about, as this part of my pregnancy has been so great and, apart from the hose, pretty comfortable.

On other fronts, our little man did something new last night...he got the hiccups! How cute is that? We were both so surprised and it was so sweet cause it happened when we were lying in bed, so Andre got to experience it too.

Amazing what they do in there, isn't it?

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Saga of the Traveling Pants

Or, should I say traveling "hose".

Black. Tight. Full length. And no, there's nothing sexy about them, despite what this picture may imply:

Yes, these are my new accessory, Maternity Compression Hose.

And I LOOAATHE them.

Ok, so I know I should be grateful that there are such things and that my veins will be tightly compressed for the next three months and that we have access to such fabulous medical technology.

Unfortunately, these are not the lines along which my thoughts travel as I battle my hose each morning.

First, they are almost IMPOSSIBLE to get on! If you've ever tried, you know what I mean. It's like trying to pull on a second skin that won't quite go over your ankles or heels, requires endless tugging and pulling and is about 12 inches too short. And all the while you are painfully aware that if you tug too hard you will put a hole or a run in your very pricey stockings. If you'd like more of a mental picture, imagine that one has to wear big rubber gloves to do this (so as to avoid fingernail pulls). Yea, did I mention it was sexy?

Secondly, by the time I'm finished fighting with my hose to get them on, I'm usually late for work, sweating profusely, and in a foul mood. All I can say is, poor Andre.

(He is VERY sympathetic, by the way)

Then, by the time I've arrived at work, climbed the stairs to my office and situated my by now rather heavy self (yes I have been steadily putting on the pounds!), I begin to notice that things aren't quite where they used to be. In the stocking department that is. I hastily make my way to the ladies room, clutching my rubber gloves, only to discover that yes, gravity has taken it's toll and the hose have already traveled downwards until the crotch is now halfway to my knees, taking my jeans with them. Embarrassing, yes. And impossible to walk in... I'm reduced to waddling.

So I spend the next 10 minutes, rubber gloves in place, "gently easing the hose upwards" (as the instructions put it) until I'm once more reduced to a swearing, oops, I mean sweating, mass of frustration!!

Oh, and did I mention that the building I work in is not centrally heated, is big and old and drafty and just venturing out into the hallway requires one to put on a coat. So you can imagine me in the frigid bathroom, disrobing to attend to my stockings while freezing off any exposed parts!!

At least the struggle with my hose causes me to end up warmer than when I started. There's always a silver lining if you're willing to look hard enough, I guess. I must say, this one's MICROSCOPIC!!

Thanks for reading my rant. Clearly I need to be practicing patience and a grateful be praying :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Happy Thanksgiving Weekend

So, usually we travel either to my parents (Illinois) or Andre's family (Pennsylvania) for Thanksgiving, but this year, because we're going to my family for Christmas, and Andre was just with his last week, we decided to stay home and just be us. And despite missing everyone very much, we've had fun.

On Wednesday, we started off the holiday weekend with a date to Fritti (thanks for the gift card Young Adults Committee!). It's a really fun restaurant downtown with great atmosphere and even better pizza (try the Chocolate Soup for dessert if you go). We finished the evening with a stroll around IKEA, looking at dressers which we need as extra storage/changing table for the baby room/guest room. We're keeping our guest room in tact and Baby Y will have one corner of it, so we're trying to come up with creative storage solutions.

Yesterday, we started the THE GREAT DE-CLUTTER of the guest room, cleaning out the closet, bookshelves and storage bins under the bed. Needless to say this is an emotionally draining task for someone as sentimental as myself! Even Andre admits, however, that I have improved dramatically over the last few years and have consolidated things quite nicely into plastic storage bins. BUT...there are several storage bins. To give you an idea, I have one whole bin (and it's a big one) full of birthday cards, letters and notes, some from high school! I am avoiding going through it. But the time has come, because there is now no more room to stash that bin!

On to more inspiring news...we have chosen fabric for Baby Y's cradle:

And today we picked out paint. After several hours sorting bookshelves this morning, we braved the traffic of Black Friday, which really wasn't too awful, and picked up two paint samples at Home Depot. We're repainting the guest room a very pale blue, which should go nicely with our existing bedroom set of white, black and red. I'll post before and afters when it's all finished.

This evening Andre's been watching a James Bond marathon, and I made chocolate chip cookies for our guard at the front gate, Kevin. I did make him some last week, but when I went to drop them off on my way to work, he wasn't on duty. And I was never able to deliver them actually, as I munched through the entire bag during the course of the day! Oops. I worked off my guilt (if not the extra calories) by making him another batch tonight :) Before I could munch my way through those, Andre made sure to run them down to him as soon as they were out of the oven!

So lots of little details and small tasks have made up our Thanksgiving weekend so far. Oh, and last night we went over to have dinner with our friends, Robin and Jay and had a delightful time meeting some of their family too, and eating an INCREDIBLE turkey feast. Yummy!

We are so thankful for this special time in our lives, anticipating and preparing for our little boy's arrival, enjoying the holidays and rejoicing in all God has given us.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


My sweet cousin in South Africa just posted a whole lot of old photos on Facebook of us all as kids. I loved this one of Camilla, me, Fleur and Nessa.

I remember this day as being such a fun one, full of special memories. Nana and Grampa were visiting Cape Town from Zimbabwe and took all of us out for a day on the train and a picnic. Most of my childhood memories include these cousins, who were very close in age to us and were our best buddies. We've all remained very close friends even now (and we miss them as they're spread all over the world!). Cousins are such a special relationship and these photos made me think about Nessa's and my new babies coming this Spring, only two weeks apart! We're so glad the cousins will be close in age and hope they'll be specially close friends too. So sweet!

P.S. And I'm sure little Miss Michaela, as the oldest, will have just as much fun bossing them all around as I did growing up!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quick update

We've been busy getting back into our routine here, after being away in October. Last week Andre's Uncle Slava and Aunt Rya arrived from Russia for their three week visit. They stayed with us last week and then on Friday, Andre drove them up north via Chattanooga, Washington D. C., Philadelphia and New York, for a sight seeing trip. They will end up in Belleville, Pennsylvania with Andre's sister Olga and her family, whom his Mom and Grandpa live with. Slava is anxious to spend some time with his father (Andre's Grandpa) as he hasn't seen him for about 6 years.

Andre is flying back this Saturday and we'll be so glad to see each other and celebrate his birthday, which was on Sunday. I think that's the first birthday we've have to spend apart in several years. Happy birthday Baby!

I have lots of company this week, as Jana and her family spent the night on Friday and Heather is staying with me this week. It's lovely to have friends around!

Will post some more photos of our goings on as soon as Andre and the camera are back in Atlanta :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Back home (Monday 11/02)

We were up early Monday morning to head home, after a wonderful two weeks away! We thought the following photo made a fitting end to the trip...we got such a laugh when we saw these German exit signs on the highway!

And we did return to the States with the newest addition to our family, Teddy Ramsau:

This is Baby Y's present from Europe and we named him after the little Austrian village where we bought him-too cute!

Rapperswill (Sunday 11/01)

After visiting the old part of Zurich in the morning, we headed along the Lake to see another little town that was recommended as being picturesque, Rapperswill. It turned out to be a nice drive and an interesting place to look around.

Harbor on the Lake

Rooftops of Rapperswill


After huffing and puffing (on my part!) our way up many flights of stairs and a little road, we came to the top ridge of the town on which was built this beautiful church. We sat there a while (to recover from the climb, as well as for contemplative reasons!), and almost became part of the service that suddenly started up! We hurriedly made our escape and hoped we didn't seem too rude!

Next to the church was the Rapperswill Castle, which has been used as a Polish Museum since 1870, when Poland was an occupied country and many fled to Switzerland for refuge. The castle grounds were surrounded by low walls and every time we looked over a wall, we found something surprising, like this little herd of deer!

Looking over another part of the wall, we saw this beautiful vineyard...who would have thought, in the middle of a town?!

Zurich (Sunday 11/01)

On Sunday, we ventured out to the old town district of Zurich and wondered around the waterfront there. It was pretty quiet early on, but got busy as people started coming out to the outdoor cafes for morning coffee and attending the big church down there. Andre took some lovely photos that morning:

Luzern (Saturday 10/31)

On Friday we drove from Lake Como, through the Italian and then Swiss Alps up to Lake Lucerne. We planned to spend the night there, but upon finding the hotel to be less than desirable, we continued on up to Zurich, about 40 minutes away, and added on two extra nights in the hotel we'd booked there for Sunday night. We were really disappointed not to be able to stay on the lake but this turned out to be a perfectly good arrangement and we were very comfortable in our Zurich hotel and it had a bath!! (Albeit about half the size of American ones! Too funny!)

So on the Saturday morning we walked over to a bakery near our Zurich hotel and got coffee and croissants for breakfast before heading out to Lake Lucerne to do some sight seeing. The city of Lucerne was packed with people all enjoying the good weather. We had fun browsing the Saturday fruit, vegetable and flower market, the beautiful (and VERY expensive!) shops, as well as a flea market that was going on near the waterfront.

As we were browsing the shops, we heard this strange sounding music coming from the central square. And there was this group of alpenhorn players! It was fascinating listening to the music...I felt like someone was about to yell "Ricola!"


Swans were everywhere!

Exquisitely painted building

The covered bridge, which was built in 1333, has a series of beautiful paintings inside depicting Lucerne's history. The tower was originally used as a prison and torture chamber!

Covered bridge across the mouth of the lake

Religious paintings up under the roof of the covered bridge

View of the city of Lucerne

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day on the Lake (Thursday 10/29)

On Thursday, after a lazy breakfast at the hotel, we took a bus (which was a hair-raising 15 minute ride!) to another little village along the lake, Menaggio, to meet the ferry. Two other guests from the hotel, Paul and Catherine were also doing the ferry rides that day, so it was fun to keep meeting up along the way. They are from Australia and travel all over the world each year...really interesting people.

Having a coffee with Paul and Catherine while we waited for the ferry in Menaggio

Harbor in Menaggio

The big car and passenger ferry we took around the Lake

From Menaggio we took the ferry across the lake to Verenna where we spent about 2 hours exploring.

Coming into Verenna

Someone's private garden

Streets and buildings in Verenna

From Verenna, we took another ferry across to Bellagio, which is also gorgeous and has lots of wonderful shops. They are famous for their silk (apparently the silkworms feed off the mulberry trees that grow well on the Lombardy Plain, near Milan and so the Lake district has plenty of silk). Andre bought me a beautiful raspberry colored silk scarf which I love!


Enjoying a panini in Bellagio!

From Bellagio we took the ferry back to our side of the lake and then drove back up to the hotel.
We had a really lovely day there and enjoyed our explorations very much. Everything is so beautiful, you can see why George Clooney bought a house there!

Sunset from Bellagio

The ride home

That night, our hosts were cooking dinner for whomever wanted it, so most of us staying there decided to eat in, after a long day of explorations. Julio cooked an amazing three course meal with lasagna as the main was incredible!

Julio cooking


Everyone enjoying dinner in the great room

We had a really fantastic time there and would definitely recommend that place to anyone who wants to visit the lake. It's in a quieter part of the lake and the actual bed and breakfast is so comfortable and picturesque with gorgeous views, a gym, sauna, Turkish bath (whatever that is!) and massages available. We loved it!