Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hanging in Germany

Vanessa and Mommy went walking with Grandma while Daddy had to do some work. They found a nice path near the hotel to walk through.
Mommy just chilling in the fields.
After they got back from a walk, we all went to dinner across the street from the hotel. While waiting for food, Daddy and Vanessa were caught driving without a license.
After all that excitement Vanessa was tired and needed a tiny nap.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wir sind hier!

We made it okay to Germany. Poor Vanessa was "that baby" on the red-eye flight over that refused to sleep and wanted to cry all the time. She's much happier now, though she's still on East Coast time. We just got back into Stuttgart from a trip to Münster to see Stephan and his parents. There were very kind and treated us to several tours of the city and several wonderful meals. Hopefully we'll be able to return the favor the next time they visit the US. Here's some of the better pictures we've taken so far.

We took this picture right before we left since Vanessa's 9 month birthday is on the 31st. She's gotten a lot bigger and a whole lot more mobile since the last picture with Miss Dee.
See what I mean?
Vanessa met another baby her age at the airport. Vanessa played nicely for once.
And she has definitely learned how to walk and smile.

She's so proud of herself (we are too)...

I actually get to hold her once in a while.
We had to switch planes in Atlanta. Vanessa practiced safe riding techniques by holding on to the pole while the train was in motion.
After we got settled in Germany, we walked around our hotel and found a fish tank. Vanessa loves fishies!
This was a beautiful clock inside one of the cathedrals in Münster that has been working for 500 years. The cathedral was mostly destroyed during WWII and they rebuilt it by using old pictures for reference. Münster is a VERY old city. It was established in 805.
Stephan took us to a castle which was the main building of his university. There was an international fair going on at the same time and Sarah managed to order some vegetarian Thai food in German all by herself.
This picture gives you a better idea of the size of the castle.
Behind the castle was a gorgeous botanical garden. Sarah's mom snapped a picture of us when we turned around.

Stephan was kind enough to take a picture of the four of us in front of a lake in the center of the botanical garden. Vanessa didn't think too much of the garden...

Vanessa is happy again, hiding behind the nightstand in our hotel room. Also, ever since she got to Germany she's been talking up a bluestreak. Yammering and singing whereever we go. And her new favorite phrase is dadadadadadada. I approve. :)

Friday, May 18, 2007

One hundredth post!

Wow, I can't believe this is the hundredth post to this blog already!

I am really glad that I put up clear plastic bannister guards above our stairs. Not only do they protect Vanessa from fairly certain injury, but she also really likes them! Here are Vanessa and daddy playing with the bannister guard.

How sweet!

Daddy says he wants a kiss!Vanessa wants to grab daddy's nose instead!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Last swim lesson (for a while)

Vanessa just finished the last session of her swim class last Friday. It's amazing how much Vanessa enjoyed the class, considering how very little she liked her classes at the beginning!

She had a blast this time. I can't wait for our community pool to open so that we can use it this summer. My mom will watch Vanessa while I teach in the mornings in July. Since my mom has taught swimming for years, maybe she could give Vanessa some private swim lessons! Who knows, maybe Vanessa will learn to blow bubbles underwater!

Vanessa loved this floating barbell toy. She liked to use it to push herself up out of the water a little. Sometimes she bicycled her legs! Too cute.

Mommy gives Vanessa a big kiss for doing such a great job!

This picture was from Vanessa's first swim class for comparison. Not happy at all. Poor Vanessa! It's amazing how much can change in just a month or so -- I'm so glad that Vanessa liked her swim class in the end.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A little golf

Vanessa has learned how to use one toy to make another one move. I was amazed to see Vanessa using a cardboard tube to try to hit a ball! I later found out that Vanessa's Nana had tried to teach her a little bit of golf earlier that week! OK, Vanessa's friends and family, the race to influence Vanessa's favorite sport is apparently already begun. If you guys want her to like soccer, now is the time to intervene!

Click on the picture below to see a video of Vanessa's early golfing attempts.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Grandparents and spiders and meerkats, oh my!

Vanessa's Grandma and Grampa Kaylor and her Aunt Hannah visited last weekend. We celebrated Aunt Heather's birthday (a little late) in Fredericksburg.

Vanessa was a real trooper this weekend, as her parents wanted to see Spiderman 3 on Saturday, AND see my cousin Danielle in a high school production of Les Miz on Sunday. We wanted to go to Spiderman 3 with the Kaylors and Heather and Terry. Luckily Uncle Terry had already seen Spiderman 3, but didn't mind coming again to help watch Vanessa. So James, Terry, and I took turns taking Vanessa out of the theater. She spent some time in the theater, actually, but it was too loud for her, and she kept babbling loudly to compete!

Vanessa's Nana watched her for the 5 hours that James and I were away for the matinee of Les Miz on Sunday. It was our first date as just a couple since Vanessa was born! Nana did a great job keeping Vanessa happy, as always, and it was a wonderful break for us!
Grampa Kaylor carried Vanessa across most of Potomac Mills mall. It's a long mall and Vanessa is about 20 pounds, but he didn't complain.Aunt Hannah holds Vanessa while she chews on a Spiderman toy (don't worry, no small parts!).
Vanessa went to the zoo today for the first time. We went with 4 other moms and their little daughters. Maritza and Tess and Jessica and Revie are in the foreground. You can see Vanessa on the left. In the background are Kim and Grace and Nickie and Abigail.
In this picture, we were in the small mammal house. Vanessa might not have noticed the elephant, panda, and hippopotamus that we saw outside, because they were more than just a few feet away. But Vanessa definitely did notice the meerkats and the tamarins in the small mammal house! Both species were very active and visible close up.

Mommy and Vanessa pose in front of the orangutan. Can you find him? He is just above Vanessa's head in this picture.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Wir fliegen nach Stuttgart (We're flying to Stuttgart)

I've got to go to Stuttgart, Germany for 5 weeks for work starting at the end of May and Vanessa and Mommy are going to come along with me. We'll get back at the end of June. Hopefully Vanessa's first words won't be ein Bier bitte. :) There's a good chance that Vanessa's Grandma and Nana will visit us for one week apiece over there as well. That'll give Sarah and Vanessa some company while I'm at work during the day. If any of you have been over to Germany and have some travel suggestions, drop us a line!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Cousin Phil's Wedding

I have lots of pictures to share with you from our trip to Michigan to see James's cousin Phil's wedding.

It was Vanessa's first time on an airplane. Grampa helped make waiting around at the airport much more fun.
Nana helped ease Vanessa's apprehension about flying. Vanessa didn't cry on the flight, but she was a little squirmy when the air pressure changed on the way up and on the way down. A little water and some bread seemed to help her handle those changes in pressure better.

The happy couple, Phil and Robin, at the reception.

Vanessa liked to walk around and see all the people at the reception.
Melanie gets to hold Vanessa. Vanessa was VERY interested in Melanie's necklace. I'm surprised Vanessa let Melanie keep it, honestly.
Cousins Melanie and Kalena try to prove that they don't look like identical twins. They do look like cousins, though, don't they?

Speaking of twins, these two (Vanessa and Grandma Webb) could almost be twins, aside from the age difference! Haha! They have the same birthday (we won't tell how many years apart!)

Let's look at those "twins" from a different angle. See the resemblence?
Grampa Webb was excited to see Vanessa again!

Cousin Matthew fed Vanessa a little whole wheat bread. Vanessa really does like bread.

The three of us Maxteds all dressed up!

Before the wedding, Vanessa was very energetic, and ready to play! She really liked the rocking horse in the church nursery.

After the reception, Vanessa was all worn out! Daddy carried her while she slept.

James and three of his favorite ladies.

Before the wedding, Vanessa was playing with her reflection, when she almost pulled the mirror off the wall. You'd think hotel's would use more than one nail to hold on a heavy mirror like that! Well, leave it to Vanessa to find a way to make something move or make noise.

Mommy loves you, Vanessa! Oh, you don't find kisses embarrassing already, do you?

The day after the wedding, we spent some time walking around the campus of the University of Michigan, James's dad's alma mater. Here's Vanessa wearing a new hat with an M on it, in her grampa's arms.

We had lunch at the Brown Jug, the little eatery near campus where Vanessa's grandparents had their first date oh so many years ago!

Vanessa looks pretty hip in her baby carrier with her hat on backwards!