happy birthday, grammie! ♥

By Family, Holidays, Kids, Moldova

this is a fun time to have grammie and pops visiting. they got here on mother’s day. before they leave, we are celebrating mercy’s first birthday. and today, we celebrated grammie’s birthday.

we started the morning with eggs, potatoes and fresh fruit.


the girls are really into all the fruit options right now!


addy has a thing for cherries.


and mercy has a thing for strawberries.


pops has a thing for grammie. ♥


then pops and daddy stayed home with the girls so grammie and mama could have a date on the town. it was a blast and included a coffee date, introducing grammie to the market, almost losing grammie to a jam packed bus and a few other exciting events.


we ended the day with soup and bread. and then a candle in a little goodie called chocolate zefir.



grammie may have been attempting to introduce mercy to chocolate before her first birthday. oh grammie.


she wasn’t into it at all. whatsoever. can’t you tell?


this one loves zefir.


happy birthday grammie. thanks for being an amazing mother and grandmother. we love you and are so thankful that you are here in moldova with us on your birthday.

a moldovan easter weekend

By Holidays, Kids, Moldova

we had a pretty good easter, all things considered. i had planned on getting more things accomplished but in the end, we did what we did! i started matching dresses for the girls six days before easter. bad idea. i got the flu thursday night and it took every ounce of my energy on friday and saturday. needless to say i still need to finish their dresses (which are really cute by the way!). addy and i did some strings/glue eggs (similar to something i saw on pinterest) except that the balloons here are actually somewhat possessed and our garland is going to be really cute year round stuff instead. {pictures in a later post, promise!} addy and i also made some cool crystal eggs from a website my mom sent me although i just realized i haven’t taken any pictures of them yet. oh well, maybe those will be in a later post also. we also dyed eggs. psycho eggs. with crazy dye. seriously it was an experiment.


we had these eggs. but i read around on the internet and some people actually prefer to dye brown eggs. the website i found said to give them a diluted vinegar bath before coloring them. i followed the instructions and my eggs became splotchy. everything i read said pat the eggs dry, don’t rub them…but i am not sure they were talking about my eggs.


this was the dye. it was liquid. it squirted all over my hands and my hands became deep, maroon red. i was a little worried and it took washing the dishes all day and the next before the dye came off (lucky christian!)


addy thought coloring eggs was a blast. she kept talking about making the eggs pretty and keeping them forever. the eggs came out…interesting. they were obviously extremely splotchy. some turned deep dark colors and some not so much. the good part is that i also found those shrinky-dink thingies and we added those. those make all eggs look better.


sunday morning…mercy does not seem to have inherited puffy morning eyes quite like addy did. this is also a quick glimpse of dada without coffee. okay that’s a little mean…he was also getting sick. he’s not normally that sad/serious/scary looking with or without coffee!


i don’t know who thought giving a three year old candy upon waking was a brilliant or fun idea. i really plan on rethinking our easter traditions for next year. i don’t go overboard…i found these hollow chocolate eggs and addy also got a mini package of skittles. but really, what was i thinking. here’s come chocolate, addy…but no, you can’t eat it yet.


{side note, they box said “egg of gold” and it was obviously hollow with something in it. i was thinking maybe there would be little “gold” coins in it…but no, there was this piece of white chocolate in the shape of…an olympic symbol? what is that thing?


this is mercy opening her box. she really likes boxes.


this is mercy after receiving a centimeter-sized taste of the white chocolate inside before giving it to dada. she also really likes sugar, obviously. shocking.


this is a three year old that has been told they don’t get to eat a bag of skittles (miniature or not) and a chocolate egg (hollow or not) for breakfast. it went over quite well, if you can’t tell. then christian took the girls into their bedroom while i tried to figure out something better.


and it came to me. i can’t credit another source but i probably saw this or something similar somewhere. maybe i saw it on a blog or pinterest, who knows. it was brilliance either way. the eggs are in cups due to the psycho-ness of the egg dye. this egg dye might stain skin for days but it practically wiped off our eggs. just plain weird if you ask me!


i cut a peice of paper into eight squares and drew (is that the right word? i’m losing my english!) the fastest drawings known to man. so don’t judge the quality. i actually know how to draw when i don’t have two children staging a revolt in the other room.


i hid the eggs in said locations. i went in and told addy, “you won’t believe it. our breakfast is lost! someone stole it and hid it throughout our house. here are the clues and you have to find our food so we can eat.” she just wasn’t digging it at first. she was still thinking about miniature bags of skittles and hollow chocolate eggs.


and then she found the first egg and she was hooked. she came bolting back, “mama! i found the treasure! give me another clue!”


that wonky little picture? it’s our vacuum, obviously.


she go so into it, she would “read” the clue…”go to the vacuum and somewhere is the treasure egg.”


she searched high and low and would laugh each time she would discover the hiding spot. she would also “oooo” and “ahhh” over each egg even though she had seen them all many times before.


i’m telling you, it was my moment of God-given brilliance and redemption for giving my kids candy before breakfast and then not letting them eat it.


the closest one is our heater. there’s a video at the very end of her looking for the final egg (under the heater).


a very proud and accomplished treasure-hunter! after a fun breakfast, showers, pretty outfits and such, we headed out of town where we spent the rest of the day with three other families from church. this is the view from the house we were at.


it’s amazing what just a few weeks of rain can do…do you see the little white buds on those trees. they are so close to being in full bloom.


four families can actually put together quite a spread!


that’s our ever talented teresa…do you see the double plates in one hand serving job going on there? yup, talent!


the kids’ table: cristi and ludmila’s oldest – cristinel, steven and teresa’s oldest – aiden and our oldest too.


eating a mushroom like a big girl.


then these two played outside. i swear with their love-hate relationship, they just might end up married. they were “rowing” a boat obviously. they are a year apart in age but elias is almost as tall and has a few pounds on her!


a (kind of) long video of addy finding her last egg. should you choose to watch it…please ignore all the towels on the kitchen floor (our fridge leaks) and the messy condition of our home…i was still getting over the flu!


flashback mercy

By Family, Holidays, Kids

sarah reminded me that we never really did anything with these pictures. we haven’t even touched them up, but i think they look really good just the way they are. this was the funnest (??) photo shoot i have done with sarah and now i realize we are a great team. i have tried taking mercy’s eight month and nine month photos on my own and oh. my. goodness. impossible? maybe. mercy’s next few months (years?) of her life might be documented in blurs of motion. i’m not joking. i don’t understand how something so little can move so fast.

on that note, here she is in all her six month adorableness. when climbing out of a metal bucket took time. when crawling was a little slow and methodical. when she sat still. those were the days of easy picture taking. 🙂

p.s. she is nine months tomorrow. how is that possible?

international women’s day

By Family, Holidays, Moldova

we interrupt the typical thursday is about mercy post to being you a special holiday post…

today was international women’s day which is a pretty big holiday. the markets were unusually quiet. there were less maxi-taxis on the road. and i actually think we didn’t get mail today. it used to be a holiday for all working women but i believe it is also somewhat of a mother’s day meets valentines’ day.

i had a great day. i woke up to flowers, a card and special coffee. later on i got a completely awesome set of christmas matryoshka dolls that i had seen at the souvenir piața. in case you are wondering, christmas related gifts are as romantic as it comes in my book. ♥

i went to the piața with teresa and found something at the second hard that i will blog about later. (it’s a gift, so i can’t show pictures yet!) we decided to go into the grocery store for no reason in particular and to our complete amazement we found 100% pure coconut oil. we were very excited because we had finally found it at one farmacie and the price was about 80 lei (almost $7) for a time bottle (100ml, maybe 200?). these containers of coconut oil were 500ml and only 60 lei ($5!). who knows if they will ever get it again, so we bought all they had, ha!

later in the afternoon, christian asked if he could make something particular for dinner. it was sweet that he was willing but cooking is still a lot of work for me and i didn’t really want to throw that one on him. we decided to switch things up a little and go out. where did we go? of course, we went on a family outing to mcdonalds for the first time. strange as it may sound, mcdonalds is pretty stinking classy ’round here. we are talking u.s.a. prices and bmw and land rovers parked in the parking lot.

we had a blast. for the record, addy is distracted not sad in these pictures.

christian enjoyed a cheese burger, fries and coke. addy enjoyed a kid’s meal (possibly her first?) of chicken nuggets (minus a little nugget), fries and an ice cream cone. i enjoy a salad called the mediterranean and a coffee.

mercy was supposed to enjoy this…

but in all honesty, she enjoyed this…

and this…

and this!

yep, my almost-nine month old snatched one of her sister’s french fries and devoured it. i cringe a little because i find the french fry gross but i have to laugh remembering that addy also snatched a french fry and ate it three years ago, when we were visiting moldova for the first time. the ice cream…well okay fine i willingly gave her a bite. seriously, how can you not feed that pitiful face. she just knew our food tasted better than hers. which is completely true.

then we came home and got ready for bed and even managed to lose power for absolutely no reason (everyone else had power) and christian got to go ask oleg, our fifth floor neighbor for the keys to flip our breaker. ah, joys. we also realized we have one tiny flashlight and zero candles. guess what we are buying tomorrow?

happy women’s day, to all the amazing women in my life.

love, marie ♥

christmas 2010

By Family, Holidays, Kids

Christmas was perfect this year – – full of fun, food and family. Baby B did make me a little sick right around Christmas Eve but I managed to enjoy a few delicious goodies. I can’t believe that tomorrow we are heading back down south. It’s been a pretty wonderful December!

The Oaks_20101201_000142
Success! Addy really wanted to sit on Santa’s lap but was too nervous the first four times so I (being the good mama that I am) kept trying until she finally felt brave enough to sit on his lap. She was very proud of herself afterward!

Our amazing Christmas tree and maybe my last Leland Cyprus (since next year we will be living up north).

Craft: Cranberry and Popcorn Garland
Picking out the cranberries.

Putting them on the thread and needle.

Eating the extra popcorn.

Putting it on her little Christmas tree!

Craft: Making Marshmallow Creme Fudge
She was a BIG help with this one, can’t you tell?!

Craft: Making Candy Cane Sugar Cookies
Crushing the candy canes into crumbs.

Filling the center of the cookies with candy cane crumbs.

Craft: Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls, Oreo White Chocolate Balls and everything else dipped in chocolate!

Craft: Advent Wreath
Showing off her work.

Showing off Mama’s work.

Most mornings, we eat oatmeal for breakfast. This morning, all Addy wanted was hot chocolate!

A little girl with big attitude!

Christmas Program: Addy’s angel debut!
Olivia was wondering why she didn’t have a lolly pop.

She was actually pretty offended that she wasn’t allowed to stand on the stage with the “big girl” angels.


Christmas Eve:
“I’m two!”

Grandma and Grandpa Burtt

Great-Grandma Dine, Daddy, Addy, Grandpa

Christmas Morning:
Ready and waiting – – where are all the sleepy heads?!

Oh, there they are!

Grammie and Pops fixed up a doll house for Addy, making it look brand new. I was especially excited about this idea, because a doll house isn’t something we will be able to take to Moldova but she will have one until we go. Grammie bought a new doll house family that will be able to go to Moldova with us!

This was her reaction to pretty much everything she opened.

Thank you to our friends, the Rohrers for these beautiful matching stockings!

That’s chocolate in her mouth that you can see.

I am actually quite good on the trike and Addy enjoys a good bike ride with mama!

Cousin Spencer got a fire engine that makes NOISE from Grammie and Pops.

Emma doing a little dance with her tambourine and Uncle “T.”

There were even more crafts but I don’t have pictures of all of them. The one thing I learned is that a “one day” craft might take two or even three days when you are working with a toddler’s attention span. The key is to have FUN and be creative. Oh and making a mess is good too.

I hope all of you had a great Christmas.
Happy New Year!

twenty-five days of christmas crafts

By Holidays, Kids

it’s a goal – – simply a goal. my hope is to do a different craft every day with addy. we will see how it goes but i can tell you now i probably will forget to take pictures of every one. however, today was a great first day of december!

we started this morning by doing box #1 of the “what God wants for christmas” nativity. we did a few crafts during the day and then we ended the day doing day #1 of our really cool, new nativity advent calendar from cousins spencer and emma.

here are a few pictures from one of our crafts. i have been wanting to do this for a while based on the following facts:
1. we have a million skinny crayons
2. addy prefers to break skinny crayons than color with them
3. this is way cuter!

i took the paper of the crayons. i started off my tearing it, which was time consuming. then i got the brilliant idea and used my craft x-acto blade and the paper came off in one piece.

addy’s job was to break the crayons. she loved it probably because i was letting her do something i’m usually telling her not to!

this was addy’s way of telling me it was time to take a break. tip #1 – – if you want to have a successful toddler craft time, let them take breaks when they want to. tip #2 – – don’t be task oriented! at one point we were just playing in the crayons. i am constantly reminded how kinesthetic and tactile my little girl is. <3

here she is with her entire bowl of crayons and in desperate need of a hair clip!

i read a few blogs that said to oil muffin tins and fill them with the crayons. it sounded difficult and i had these silicon christmas muffin pans. i didn’t oil them or anything. just fill them with any color combination you want.

i put them in our oven (250 degrees?) for i don’t know how long. i just checked them perdiodically and took them out when the crayons were melted and water-y looking. stir them a little or a lot. if you want swirls, just stir them until they aren’t water-y. or completely blend the colors together.

the silicon muffin pans are awesome! the crayons peel right out without any trouble. oh, let them cool for a while and you can even stick them in the fridge once they are cool to touch.

this is just the first batch. we have more cooling as i type this. even sarah helped make some!

one year ago…

By Family, Holidays, Kids

one year ago i was…





and 27.

this year i am 28,

but i have this:






i’d have to agree.


i love this kid

and i don’t mind getting older…

it’s kind of cool, actually!

what have we been doing?

By Family, Holidays, Kids

we’ve  been busy for the past month or two, that’s for sure!




hanging out at the beach (santa cruz)


visiting grandma and grandpa burtt


giving daddy kissies


learning how to climb stairs




apple hill with grammie, pops, aunties and spencer




meeting emily elizabeth




getting to know our new backyard


talking on the phone


underwood farms with our auntie sarah and our friends dina and grace

we also went to disneyland with spencer, but we don’t have pictures of that yet.

so, we will leave you with this…


happy harvest/halloween from two *very* scary little guys!