Sunday, February 28, 2010

Y3W39 & 40 - "It's Spring, Spring, Spring again..."

After it was so cold in Vienna, it is nice to have the weather turning to Spring. The girls had the rest of the week off of school which we spent organizing things for the move. And, playing of course.

And, with Spring, Spring, Spring...comes rain, rain, rain. I have felt a bit like Noah this week wondering if we should be building an ark. Saturday, the sun came out for a while and we walked downtown and found a little park we had not walked through before. Still discovering new things after nearly three years. There were flowers popping up which is sooo nice to see.

Let's see. Highlights over the last two weeks include:

Lleyton giving himself a full body(and I mean full body)vaseline make-over. Yes, this was so much fun trying to wash him with dish soap.

Greg and I giving our final talks auf Deutsch in Sacrament meeting.

The girls getting to play outside in the backyard.

Trying to take in everything we can so that we never forget our time here.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Y3W38 - Wien

With our Deutschland experience nearing it’s end, we geared up for potentially our last long distance trip. After exploring the possibilities of warmer destinations, we decided to embrace the cold weather and head for Vienna, Austria. Many of our friends had commented that Vienna was charming in the winter so we went for it. We booked a night train cabin that allowed us to leave Bad Godesberg on Friday evening and land in Vienna ready to go on Saturday morning.

We began our adventure at St. Stephan's Cathedral. Bailey, Avery and I braved the elements and went to the top of the North Bell Tower where we got a grand view of the city while attempting not to freeze.

When we came back down to rendezvous with El and the little ones, we saw her chatting with our friends the Kellers. Amazing how one can run into friends within the first hour of a visit to a huge city. They convinced us that we needed to attend the Spanische Hofreitschule (Spanish Riding School) performance on Sunday morning. We had entertained the idea of taking the train to Budapest Sunday, but when we were able to get tickets to both the horse riding performance and to the Sunday Mass at the Burgkapelle with the Vienna Boys’ Choir, we decided to commit to three days in Vienna. Classically, the Kellers decided that they didn’t want to buy standing room only tickets and didn’t attend. It worked out fine for us. After the Mass, we attended the riding performance with the brilliant Lipizzanner stallions. Ellyn went for the first half and I the second as kids 3 and under (like Lleyton) were not welcomed.

Much of Vienna centers around the great Hapsburg courts of Austria of the 19th century - primarily that of King Franz Joseph I and Princess Elisabeth. Their residence at the Hofburg Palace and grounds is home to most of Vienna’s museums and cultural sites. We visited many of the great sites throughout our three days in the city. On Saturday, we went to the Albertina Museum and amazing State Hall in the Austrian National Library. The great hall reminded us of the interior of the Trinity College Library in Dublin, and this time we got to take pictures. The girls also enjoyed visiting the Kaiserappartements which served as the primary residence for Franz Joseph I and Princess Elisabeth and today also contains the Sisi Museum which chronicles the life of Princess Elisabeth. Just on the outskirts of town is Schloss Schonnbrunn which served as the Royal Family’s summer residence. It is an enormous place which not only resembles Paris’ Versailles in layout but also houses Vienna’s Zoo and botanical gardens.

One of the must do’s in Vienna is to hop from café to café. Despite our lack of coffee and tea consumption coupled with the fact that we were the only café dwellers with 4 kids under 10 years old, we were undeterred. The phrase, “You have to sit up and act like princesses” was uttered more than once and was marginally effective. We visited one café named Meierei im Stadtpark. We strolled into the café in full winter gear only to find all the other patrons in suits and dresses. We had to laugh as we watched Bryn pick the nuts out of her bread with her fingers. It’s always good to stretch the little ones once in awhile and challenge them to be on their best behavior. I guess we do that once a week at church.

Our favorite café was the Central Café in the heart of Vienna. A traditional meeting place for politicians, captains of business, and society leaders for the past century, this classy place reminded us of a big city café with live piano music and a maître d’ in a tuxedo. We had dinner at the Central Café before catching our return train and it was a great way to finish the trip.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Y2W37 - Theory of Sickness

You have heard of the Theory of Relativity - ground breaking stuff. My theory of sickness isn't necessarily as earthshaking, but a theory none-the-less. I think the body intentionally gets sick when the body simply needs some rest, relaxation, and an excuse to watch some movies. As four out of the six of us have been sick the last couple weeks, I find myself asking whether it was just our bodies needing some good old fashioned rest. When I took two of the four of us to the Doctor, she simply said it was not the Strep Throat that had been going around so it is just a really nasty cold. With nasty cold germs in the house, I don't understand why some of us get it and some of us don't. We are breathing the same air, in close quarters, so while not scientific, I think my theory works. This week we have spent some time buying a house in Michigan and fighting off the yucky germs in the house.

The highlights included, Bailey swimming for her silver patch, seeing the Princess and the Frog in English, watching the snow melt, and having Caroline sleep over before she moves back to the States next week.

Also this week, they had a jump-a-thon at school to raise funds to help in the recovery effort in Haiti. The girls were pumped about this. I am proud that they are socially aware of what is going on in the World and want to help those that need the help.

Short and sweet this week.