Friday, December 29, 2006

McNay Christmas

Before we drove up to Knoxville we had our family Christmas time together. It was tons of fun. We got up early and I made cinnamon coffee cake, and then we opened presents together. Hadleigh was hilarious about them. Dave cooked dinner for us which is tradition, roast duck with raspberry sauce, and butternut squash ravioli (which he made from scratch) with a tomato avocado cream sauce. To top it all off, we had a wonderful bottle of Italian wine.

Here is Hadleigh opening her present from Uncle Jim and Aunt KC. They sent her a little camo outfit that says "Old Ironside" which is Baumholder's nickname.
Hadleigh attacks a present.

Wow! Stacking blocks from Papa Froggy and Nana Patti! She was shaking these all day long.

She loves her new hat and mittens from cousin Matt. We found her later crawling around the house with the mittens in her mouth.

Her star cones from Papa and Nana made lots of fun noises that she enjoyed.

Great-Grandma Gladys Claire had a beautiful sweater made for Hadleigh. She played with that for a long while.

And, of course, we could not keep her away from the bubble wrap and tissue paper.

Christmas in Knoxville

For Christmas we were able to drive up to Knoxville and spend time with Dave's family. We had a good time celebrating with family and Hadleigh raked in some serious presents.Here is Hadleigh with Aunt Angie. Angie has dubbed Hadleigh "Princess", so that was the theme of our Christmas with them...everything Princess. Angie has three boys, so Hadleigh is the only girl in the fam.
Hadleigh enjoys having Grandpa give her bottle to her. Whenever she finishes eating she always looks a little drunk.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

HC and Aunt KC

Yesterday Hadleigh Claire received a package from her Aunt KC. All of our presents have been sitting under the tree because HC doesn't seem too interested in harming or playing with the presents. This afternoon while we were playing in the living room, HC crawled over to the tree and picked up the present she received from Aunt KC and started playing with it and chewing on it. I thought it was so sweet, like she knew the present was from her special aunt.

The picture below is from our going away party in Germany, this was one of the last times HC saw Aunt KC.

Thinking about Germany

It is now a few days before Christmas, and now more than ever my thoughts are in Germany. I miss life there!

Here are just a few things that I miss.

1. All of our friends.
2. Reformation Sunday
3. Our small chapel service
4. Being able to drive to France just for kicks
5. Christmas markets
6. Slower paced life
7. Snow

I know that if we were back in Baumholder I would probably wish to here, the grass is always greener. But I so enjoyed spending Christmas in Germany, it was simpler over there. There is so much hub-bub over here regarding Christmas...can you find the right gift and the best gift, and the right sale. It is kind of irritating. I enjoy being able to focus on the season of advent, and it seems here in America all that is faded to nothing. Life during advent here is all during advent in Germany is quiet and peaceful.

I am posting a couple of pictures of our friends Jon, Sara and Ellie, and Grant and Jessica. Jon and Grant were both in Iraq for Christmas last year and just returned home before Thanksgiving. Both Sara and Jess were part of the women's ministry that I led this past year. As well, they were in our community group. We are so thrilled to know that so many of our friends will be able to spend this Christmas as a complete family.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Making Cookies

These pics are a couple of weeks old. My good buds Bif and Kris were moving, so I had their 2 older children, Alex and Zack over to make cookies one afternoon. I lived with them a couple of different times. The first time I moved in I was in the room across the hall from Alex. She was so excited that I was living there that she sat in her doorway (she was supposed to be sleeping) and watched me unpack boxes.

Alex was the flowergirl at our wedding three years ago. Here is a pic.

Anyway, we had a great time cutting out and decorating the sugar cookies. Alex and Zack are so creative, we made up all sorts of stories about the cookies we decorated. After decorating we played cards.

Here is Zack playing with Hadleigh.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ode to My Washer and Dryer

Last Friday my life changed dramatically. After living for 139 weeks without my own washer and dryer, and because of the good will of our buds Bif and Kris we are now the proud owners of a WD.

Ever since we moved to Germany I have been doing our wash at the laundromat. This was a relatively good set-up because I could get 8 loads all washed, dried and folded in a 2 hour time period. However, once Hadleigh came into the picture the laundromat was far from ideal. I would have a bucket full of Borax sitting around the house so that I could soak her poop stained clothes buying me precious time to get to the L.

Monday morning Hadleigh woke up from a good night's rest and when I went to get her I found she was soaked. Her diaper had leaked all over the place. Have no fear! I was able to strip her and the bed, wash and dry everything and have her all set-up before her mid-morning nap. Yea!!!!!

I am throwing away my rolls of quarters, this is the best thing that has happened to me since we unpacked our kitchenaid mixer.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Photo Shoot

A few days ago we met up with John, Brea and Brennan at Henderson Park to take some Christmas pictures. We had great fun trying to get the babes to pay attention to the camera. We brought Hadleigh's favorite little bear with us. The best part of the time was seeing John waving bear in a million different directions trying to Hadleigh's attention.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Miss Hadleigh Claire Meets Santa

Friday, December 01, 2006

Christmas Trees in Georgia

For the last two years we have purchased our Christmas tree at a local tree farm about a mile from our house. The farmer charged 5 euro ($6) for you to come and chop down one of his trees. If he wasn't out at the farm you would just drop the money in his mailbox.

The first year we went was a beautiful day, but freezing cold. Last year it had just snowed 18 inches and it was sleeting when we picked out our tree. You can read about that story in the December 2005 archive.

Today we went up near the Mall of Georgia to a tree farm. They have some nice trees, and provide saws and free hot cider! We had a good time, but it just didn't feel like we should be cutting down a Christmas tree since we were wearing short sleeves. I guess it doesn't usually snow 18 inches over Thanksgiving in Georgia. So, maybe this year we traded snow for price because our tree cost a bit more than $6.


We were able to spend Thanksgiving with Dave's family in Knoxville. We all had a good time visiting everyone. Dave was able to get some fishing in, we were able to go out to dinner minus Hadleigh, and I worked on a sewing project.

The Worm

Before Thanksgiving Hadleigh entered into the world of crawling. She had been training really hard with Dave for a couple of weeks and finally began to get the hang of it. The funny thing is that her crawling looks like the breakdance move "The Worm". I am sure most of you are familiar with that move, the whole body is on the ground and moving around like a worm would. She is SO hilarious when she does this. I wish I could capture it on film, but alas, the camera doesn't seem to do this justice.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Recent Hadleigh Pics

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Grandpa and Grandma

One of the best things about being back in the states is getting to see family often. This past weekend Dave's parents called up Friday morning to see if they could visit on Saturday. Hadleigh had a wonderful time visiting with them. It is always exciting to be fed and bathed by someone else! She just loved being with them.

The best thing is seeing how she seems to know Grandpa and Grandma. I think it is awesome to be so little and yet to be loved by so many people. We had a wonderful visit, and look forward to many more.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Eating Out

Two weeks ago our good buddy Jess offered to watch Hadleigh for us, so that we could go out to dinner. Slowly we are working our way around to all of our favorite restaurants, so we decided on a nice dinner at Maggianos (we also had a gift certificate, so the dinner was free).

We headed out to dinner and had one of my most memorable cultural experiences...welcome to America! I thought going to Kroger was a shock, as I spent 2 hours walking up and down the aisles, comparing prices and marveling at the selections. But Maggianos topped this. We committed several mistakes in this escapade.

First, we went on a Friday evening.
Second, we went after 7pm.
Third, we didn't make reservations.

Roll these all up and we were given an hour and a half wait, and then a loud, rushed dinner. There were a couple perks that came with the esperience.

First, no smoke.
Second, my first cosmopolitan in 3 years.
Third, free water and free water refills.

Other than those perks, I left the restaurant wishing I was back in Europe. IN Germany we never waited for a table, if there wasn't a table available at that moment, there wasn't a table for the whole evening, so walk on. In Europe, once you sit down at a table for dinner, it is your table for the entire evening. I think this is one of my favorites things about Europe. I can always have a leisurely meal without being rushed out by the waiter or other crazed customers hovering over my table.

After that Friday I swore off chain restaurants, but today we had to go out to another favorite of ours, Ted's Montana Grill. This time we decided lunch was the better choice and we went early, so we didn't have to wait. We were still rushed off by the waitress, but in this case the perks out weighed the disadvantages.

Now that we are back in America we have to get used to how things are done around here, but I don't think I will ever get used to the eating culture. When you have experienced the best it is hard to return.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Welcome to life, right? Martin Luther said "All of life is repentance." I love that and quote it a lot. However, my theme recently is "All of life is transition." Isn't it true? Just when I get settled into something all of life changes. I get married, move to Germany, get a new job, quit a job, have a baby, move back to the states, etc. And the list continues. As we were preparing to move I kept thinking if I could just get to the next step I would be happy. Once the movers come, once we move into the Lagerhof, once we get to the states, once we find a house, once our stuff arrives, once Dave finds a job, once our stuff is unpacked, once we find friends...

My life is full of transitions, somce good and some poo in a can. All of this is good discipline. How often do I think I am in control and if I can just get to the next step I will be fine. But coming back here reminds me again that even when I get there I won't be happy. That makes the transition easier and harder.

We are moved and settled which is such a joy. I generally can make it through the day without wondering which box my brush is in. But while in some ways it feels like we never left this place, in other ways it feels like I never lived here. It is just like almost belonging, but not quite. I kind of know my way around, but not quite. I kind of have friends, but not quite.

I am taking baby steps, and know that these things take time. I know that sooner than later I will be feeling settled. It is kind of fun to be at this point. Every night Dave and I wonder what our next adventure will be. Where will we fit? Who will our friends be? Where will we serve and be served? And then there is always our wonderful little Miss Hadleigh Claire. Life is much more full with her around.

One of our favorite thing about being back here is having the nations at our door step. We live in a community that is almost entirely made up of Hispanics and Asians. I love that, and it will be interesting to see what part that plays into our transition back here. I am probably like many stay at home moms, I want my life to consist of more than cleaning the house and going to playgroups.

This has been a random post, but just some thoughts about what we are thinking through here in the crazy USA.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Our Southern Girl

Hadleigh is quickly adjusting to her new Southern surroundings and culture. This week she tried okra and loves it. She also got her first ride on Daddy's John Deere lawn mower.

Eight Months

Time has certainly passed by quickly these last few weeks. Well, when moving, sometimes it feels very slow, but overall it has been quick. I completely forgot that Hadleigh was 8 months old on Tuesday. We measured her yesterday and found that she is 28 inches long and weighs around 15 pounds.

I am trying to think of milestones she has reached recently. She is proficient at sitting up and can move from stomach to sitting. She scoots around our hardwood floors on her belly, but hasn't attempted crawling on her own. Dave often gets her in "position" and tries to encourage her.

She is quick. Her fine motor skills are becoming sharp and she can remove toys from rings and get her hands into things in the blink of an eye. She is fairly verbal and loves singing and shreiking from her crib in the morning. She is fascinated with other children and loves "playing" with them. She has made lots of new friends since being in Atlanta and hopefully soon she will learn to play without touching the other babies faces. We have taught her to be gentle and so for the most part she knows how to "touch nice".

She is a joy.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The America I Love

A couple of years ago my mom sent me this article by Elie Wiesel called "The America I Love." I so enjoyed reading it that I had been trying to find it so that I could post parts of it on the web. Now that we are moving into our house I found the article. It is probably fitting that I post it now since so many of our friends are returning or have just returned from serving in Iraq for the last year. You can read the full article in Parade Magazine

The day I received American citizenship was a turning point in my life. I had ceased to be stateless. Until then, unprotected by any government and unwanted by any society, the Jew in me was overcome by a feeling of pride mixed with gratitude.

From that day on, I felt privileged to belong to a country which, for two centuries, has stood as a living symbol of all that is charitable and decent to victims of injustice everywhere—a country in which every person is entitled to dream of happiness, peace and liberty; where those who have are taught to give back.

In America, compassion for the refugee and respect for the other still have biblical connotations.

Grandiloquent words used for public oratory? Even now, as America is in the midst of puzzling uncertainty and understandable introspection because of tragic events in Iraq, these words reflect my personal belief. For I cannot forget another day that remains alive in my memory: April 11, 1945.

That day I encountered the first American soldiers in the Buchenwald concentration camp. I remember them well. Bewildered, disbelieving, they walked around the place, hell on earth, where our destiny had been played out. They looked at us, just liberated, and did not know what to do or say. Survivors snatched from the dark throes of death, we were empty of all hope—too weak, too emaciated to hug them or even speak to them. Like lost children, the American soldiers wept and wept with rage and sadness. And we received their tears as if they were heartrending offerings from a wounded and generous humanity.

Ever since that encounter, I cannot repress my emotion before the flag and the uniform—anything that represents American heroism in battle...

As a great power, America has always seemed concerned with other people’s welfare, especially in Europe. Twice in the 20th century, it saved the “Old World” from dictatorship and tyranny...

America understands that a nation is great not because its economy is flourishing or its army invincible but because its ideals are loftier. Hence America’s desire to help those who have lost their freedom to conquer it again. America’s credo might read as follows: For an individual, as for a nation, to be free is an admirable duty—but to help others become free is even more admirable.

Some skeptics may object: But what about Vietnam? And Cambodia ? And the support some administrations gave to corrupt regimes in Africa or the Middle East? And the occupation of Iraq? Did we go wrong—and if so, where?

And what are we to make of the despicable, abominable “interrogation methods” used on Iraqi prisoners of war by a few soldiers (but even a few are too many) in Iraqi military prisons?

Well, one could say that no nation is composed of saints alone. None is sheltered from mistakes or misdeeds. All have their Cain and Abel. It takes vision and courage to undergo serious soul-searching and to favor moral conscience over political expediency. And America, in extreme situations, is endowed with both. America is always ready to learn from its mishaps. Self-criticism remains its second nature.

...America went to war to liberate a population too long subjected to terror and death.

...One cannot but feel grateful to the young Americans who leave their families, some to lose their lives, in order to bring to Iraq the first rays of hope—without which no people can imagine the happiness of welcoming freedom...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Organic, or not?

Last night Dave and I got in a heated discussion about organic food. I was making out my grocery list for next week and Dave suggested I buy all of our produce at the Int'l Farmer's Market around the corner from our house. I asked him if they had organic produce and the conversation went downhill from there.

You see, we are making all of Hadleigh's baby food, and both books that I have recommend that the baby food be made with organic produce. In Germany buying produce wasn't an issue because pesticides and hormones aren't allowed in their crops, but we all know that is different here in the states.

Dave's premise was all food is organic, of course I took the opposite argument thinking that paying a little extra for the good of Hadleigh was worth it. We ran to the internet to see what all those "reliable" sources had to say.

The interesting thing is that even the lable USDA organic doesn't seem to mean a whole lot. They have to rotate their crops and pull weeds, but they can still use pesticides, etc. Organic produce cannot be genetically engineered...whatever that means. So after reading up on the USDA homepage, and reading their suggestins for making baby food I have decided that buying fresh produce would be best and don't feel obligated to have the organic label on things.

So this morning I did make my first trip to the Farmer's Market and it was super cool, and all seemed super fresh. Since I can't grow my own produce this will have to do.

On that note I will also mention what Hadleigh is eating these days. She has become quite a good eater, and gobbles down most of what we give her. For breakfast this morning, she ate oatmeal mixed with sweet potatoes and an egg yolk. For lunch she had yogurt mixed with mashed up plums, and for dinner we will feed her butternut squash mixed with oatmeal and a cube of green beans. In addition to these foods she likes bananas, avocados, peaches, pears, apples, zucchini, acorn squash, and probably a few other fun things.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Halloween

Our little giraffe, Hadleigh Claire.

Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm Sailing, I'm a Sailor

Two points goes to the folks who can name the movie I just quoted in the title of my blog.

Upon arriving in Atlanta, we were taken in by two families, John, Brea and Brennan, and then Paul, Lisa and Sadie. We are indebted to both for their kind hospitality to us. In addition to housing us, both families also seem to want to hang out with us as well.

Yesterday our good buds, Paul, Lisa and Sadie took us sailing. None of the McNays had been sailing before and it was an awesome day and awesome experience all around. Here are some great pictures.

Here we are, Hadleigh slept for 1.5 hours on the boat. She is under the blanket in my arms. The winds were a bit stronger than we anticipated, which made the time all the better. The only part that was a little scary was when I had to switch sides of the boat with Hadleigh sleeping in my arms.

Here are Hadleigh and Sadie after the ride. Sadie is only 2 months, but already a veteran sailor.