Thursday, September 27, 2012

little funnies

Lately the girls have been having bad dreams and remembering them.

One night we had both girls at different times come to our bed a little frightened and needing some comfort. I remember doing the same thing to my parents as a little girl. Have we entered this stage already? In the morning they recounted their nightmares.

Marisa's dream in summary:
"I had a dream that we went to the museum and you and Dad wanted to see a picture but I wanted to see a different picture and when I got close to the picture the dinosaur said, 'ROAR!'"

And Natalie what was your dream?
"The bird came and got me."

Ever since that night we have had repeated visits throughout many sleepless nights and the nightmares are starting to get a little more elaborate in story and detailing.... :)

Along with the funny nightmare situation, the girls are at a new cognitive level which has Tim and I in bed every night laughing at just how funny our girls are.

-Marisa has this new song that she likes to sing really, really loud when busily walking or waiting on the bus. It is the funniest thing because the tune sounds like a rock song that she is just jamming to while in her own little world. And did I mention it is really loud?
"Duhnahdownow, now, now, duhnahnadownow, dow, now, duhnahdow, dow, dow..."
I don't ever want to forget that tune. Tim and I just laugh to ourselves every time she busts out singing.

-Natalie's prayer as of late: "I love Mom, Dad, Marisa, and the baby. Whatever mom eats the baby eats. I wish there were two babies but there is only one. Amen."

-Natalie pretending to be a beaver: "I'm a baby fever!"

-After nursery one day Natalie told me she had milk at school and then said, "The cows made milk with them's nibbles."

-After kissing Natalie on the forehead she said, "I love you the best Momma. I do."

Being a mom rocks.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Autumn time

It is the best time of the year! My favourite time of the year! And Tim can testify just how often I let him know of it.  Cool crisp air, scarves, boots, light jackets and sweaters, leaves changing colour, pumpkins, hot chocolate, warm I really need to explain?? Love.
The one and only downfall of living in Southern California is that there is no proper fall season. But London sure does have a glorious autumn season! I loved experiencing a true Autumn last year here. We really soaked it all in.

This year autumn is announcing its arrival with a little drizzle and rain. Time to bust out the wellies!

I will continue our tradition this fall with conker hunting at Greenwich Park again, add a fall leaf garland in the dining room, and I plan on stewing up lots of warm soups with cornbread I brought over from Trader Joes. Oh, my mouth is watering. I'm just so happy this time of year!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

{Vienna and Prague} Flashback

Summer is officially over for us. Our last set of visitors left last Saturday morning. But before we wrap up one season and head straight to my favourite season, (Autumn!), I still need to document two trips we took this summer that I haven't mentioned on the blog yet!

This was our Vienna, Austria and Prague, Czech Republic week long trip we started on May 5th...


I was sorta dreading this trip because for some reason Prague made me nervous. Like Barcelona nervous. And also because from Vienna to Prague we were taking a 4-5 hour train ride with the two little girls. On top of these two factors I am in my really early stages of my pregnancy! Gah!
But despite all that, we planned our entire week as usual but made sure to take it a lot slower. I was very grateful for that. And we still had a fab holiday!

The next day after our arrival we started our adventures of Vienna. The only way I survived every day was waking up and having Tim bring me breakfast in bed and then go back to sleep for a little morning cat nap before actually getting up and feeling well enough to get ready for the day. This made such a difference. So blessed to have an understanding husband and for cartoons in German. My girls will watch anything.

Once out of the apartment, we first saw Stephansplatz and the Stephansdom.

Next we went over to Michaelerplatz and saw the Michaelertrakt. It was cute little area which wasn't as crowded and where many horse drawn carriages one after the other circle around the plaza. I thoroughly enjoy listening to the sound of horses trotting on cobblestone roads. So European, you think?

We then continued our walk to Hofburg Palace where the girls had their moment of play time inside. What could two little girls possibly ask for when inside a big palace, with dress up gowns, crowns, shawls, and fancy gloves and fans? They were totally in their element.

We ended our day exploring more of Hofburg Complex. The palace grounds were nothing like previous palaces we visited but it is really neat to get to know the architecture of each country.

Oh yeah, we mustn't forget to fit in our gelato break somewhere in our day.

The next day we went off to the Palaces and Gardens of the Belvedere. It was a little disappointing as it was supposed to be a really beautiful palace. The gardens especially. It seemed like major renovation was going on on the grounds so hopefully it is up to par with its reputation.
We ended up spending a while there actually. It was basically free range for our girls to run, explore, throw rocks, etc. Freedom for little city girls. We sure did not mind either lounging on benches listening to the sounds of the water fountain. Tim and I just cherish those sweet rare European moments when we stop to take a breather, soak in our surroundings, and feel like a million bucks with such a simple sweet part of life.

After creating our ambiance for the day we started journeying home whilst making stops along the way. Like Karlskirche,

the Neues Rathaus, (this building was truly magnificent),

and making sure to go through the famous Kohlmarkt for a must try ice cream stop at the also famous Demel Cafe. European ice cream never disappoints. Never.

On the 4 day of our holiday we saw, yes, you guessed right, more palaces! haha

(Natalie wanting to race the departing train. The train won.)

But this did not disappoint. Schonbrunn Palace was not only beautiful in the inside but equally amazing on the grounds. It had a playground, a zoo, loads of green space, and forest space.

The Great Gallery reminded me of the Hall of Mirros at Versailles. But nothing compares to the truly magnificent Versailles.

As with all good things there are the bad things. After taking a tour of the palace rooms we went outside to the playground so the girls could have their time to do what they wanted. We happened to arrive while a few families were leaving and ended up being the only ones there. It was great, until an old couple sits on the same bench as us and starts smoking. Tim immediately stood up for me and asked that they didn't smoke because I'm pregnant and we had kids around. The old man graciously offered to wait while the woman didn't understand what the big deal was to smoke around us. Now we are fully aware that we are in territory where people can freely smoke anywhere and to ask someone to stop or move is considered ridiculous but we were glad that this couple respected our wishes.
Well, a few minutes later a man at a cafe behind me starts smoking, so we move, then a lady comes and sits on a bench near us, and then another older couple comes in and starts smoking too! AND NONE OF THESE PEOPLE HAD KIDS!!!
What the he*$ are they doing at a kids park to smoke??? Go somewhere else!! Are you not educated enough to know the dangers of second-hand smoke?? GAH!!!!

It was inevitable at this point. We had to leave. Don't feel sorry for me, feel sorry more for my girls who can't be kids and play at a park for more than 5 minutes. Sorry Marisa and Natalie. We tried. What understanding girls we have.

On to better news, we had fun on the beautiful grounds and still enjoyed our last day in Vienna. Off to Prague tomorrow!

As I mentioned before, we were to take a 4-5 hour train ride from Vienna to Prague. Prayers were answered yet again and the ride could not have gone more smoothly. I packed for the girls in their little back packs ahead of time with little surprises and treats to keep them entertained the whole time. It totally worked. Genius mom points there. (And iphones and daddy contributed to the successful ride too.)

The train ride into Czech Republic was eye opening. You can absolutely still somewhat feel and definetly see the remnants of communism. Grafetti was at a whole new level in Czech Republic. It was absolutely everywhere. I mean, every little nook and cranny on every step at the train station, at the train stops, walls, floors, you name it.

Once we arrived to Prague I immediately got nervous not only because of the looks but because this was the first time we were in a country where we had no clue how to speak, read, or write the language. Not even a single word to get by.

At this point I started to feel really, really sick. We arrived to our hotel in time to quickly order room service and go to bed. It was our first time ordering a fancy dinner in that was set up in our room. We all thought it was so fun! Dinner was so fantastic too that I went to bed very happy.
Tim on the other hand, antsy to already get out, went out for a walk by himself and captured this beautiful picture of Prague.

Wake up and time to explore this city! Prague Castle was first on the list and we just had a grand ol' time there.

We saw St. Vitus's Cathedral which reminded me a lot of Notre Dame on the outside.

We also saw St. George's Basilica...

There is a very small section of Prague Castle for toy shops and other darling shops called Golden Lane. As reward for our amazing children who allow us to drag them from place to place all over Europe they got to pick out traditional Czech toys. The girls each picked a wooden puppets. So darling. I don't want to ever lose those toys! And of course, we stopped for ice cream afterwards.

On our way back home we decided to go through the main plaza and eat at Hard Rock Cafe.

I know... why would I eat an American restaurant in Europe. Answer: I .am. pregnant.

And confession. We ate there twice.
And it was goooood.

When the food was placed before me, (I ordered BBQ pulled pork and fries) I smiled to Tim and said, "You can take the girl out of America but you can't take the American out of the girl!"

And I should also add that all the while I was eating I kept saying, "This is gold. This is like gold." haha

The next day we had a slow morning as usual and it wasn't until close to lunch time when we made it into town. (But not without first stopping to eat lunch at subway. A major craving I am having this early in my pregnancy.) We saw Church of St Nicholas...

and then off to the famous Charles Bridge. This was my favourite part of Prague. We got a could feel for the city and culture this day. It was a really warm day on the bridge with the sounds of hustling and bustling from tourists and locals alike. Art stalls offering beautiful paintings and hand made jewellery scattered throughout the whole length of the bridge. Unique statues of several saints lined both walls of the bridge. It is moments like this where you want to bottle up that feel of another country and take home with you. We did just that and bought a small painting from a local artist of that very bridge. Now I can always remember that "feeling" every time I look at it.

We promised the girls that every day we would have ice cream. (Duh.) And here is yet another documentation of our love for ice cream in Europe. Mmmm...

We walked to the Old Town square again to get our last Prague feel. Every city in Europe has a main plaza and Prague's was quite lovely surprisingly. Some neat sites around the plaza was the Town Hall Clock,

and the Church of Our Lady before Tyn.

BUT, before we said our good-byes to Prague and to our lovely holiday I had a major craving for subway right before bed. And do you know what my dear husband did? He traveled an hour and a half from our hotel into the centre and back to the hotel to bring me back my subway sandwich. Love him.


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