Dec 16, 2013

Bath, England.

Our first trip out of London was in September to Bath, when Papa Mickey was still in town. Oh, Bath. Looking through our photos a few months later, I wish we could transport ourselves back to that lovely town. I can't describe Bath without using the word lovely - it's pretty impossible. We squeezed a lot into 2 days in Bath - a visit to the Roman Baths, walked to the Royal Crescent, took a hint from Jane Austen and walked up Lyncombe Hill, and also visited the Jane Austen center where we learned all about her life and even got to dress up like locals. When in Rome. I have big plans to go back in the Summer, which coincidentally is when we hope to have some more visitors. (wink wink, visitor, that means you!)

Dec 13, 2013


It is completely dark here by 4:00 every day.
Somehow this makes those wiggly 5-7pm hours so much harder to do.
Mark gets home sometime between 7:30 - 8:30, and sometimes, I'll be honest - I just turn on a movie when Henry wakes up because WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO.

We are going back to DC for Christmas and even though it's only been 3 months since we left, somehow this seems like the most welcome treat of my life. Family, good friends, and great food - what else is there?

I love London, and really this winter has been pretty mild so far - no snow, not a lot of rain, and we even see the sun most days. But. The meteorologists are calling for the worst winter in modern times starting at Christmas time (what do they know, right? RIGHT?) and I'm afraid that coming back to London after the holiday will be extremely hard on our sense of well being. Cold, snowy, darkness until Spring? I doth protest.

The silver lining is that when we come back, the sun will have started to set a little later every day. Maybe it will even be light until 4:15! Just think of the possibilities.

Dec 11, 2013

Germany, 3 seasons later.

Last Spring I went with my mom to Germany, for a family history/sightseeing vacation. I already wrote about the family history part of our trip to Marienbrunn, but life got busy and I never did share the rest of our trip. We spent some time in Frankfurt, Wurzburg, the Black Forest, and Munich. Looking back, there were many favorite parts to the trip, but maybe my favorite memory is the 4 hour baths we went to at the thermal springs in Baden Baden (no pictures of that one for obvious reasons). Or the bratwurst in Munich. Or driving through the black forest in search of a cuckoo clock. I hope I can return soon with Mark and Henry, I know they would love it, too (I'm looking at you bratwurst).

Our first day we drove, with severe jetlag, through the Black Forest to find my dear mother a cuckoo clock. We drove to Triberg, the capital of said clocks. And we found it. It's hanging on her wall and brings us all a smile every time we see, especially the little toddler boys in the family. The Black Forest is beautiful, haunting, and full of houses with solar panels, which makes me giggle. Germany has an outrageous policy that allows homeowners to put solar panels on their roofs and sell the energy at a premium price. Good thing Germany is not sunny Arizona, or the government would be totally bankrupt. :)

We spent the last bit of our trip in Munich. Munich totally stole our hearts, with its grand buildings, amazing food, and the friendly and spirited people! And all the bikes were just icing on the cake. It began to snow our first day there, which just added to the magic. We stayed near the town square, and were lucky enough to stumble on the Viktualienmarkt - an amazing market with German handmade goods, amazing food, and the best jar of mustard I've ever tasted. Oh, Mark and I fought over that mustard the whole month it lasted.

We spent a few days in Wurzburg and Frankfurt, as well, and that post is up next...soon. :)

Nov 26, 2013

Henry is two.

Well, it happened. Somehow that little baby of ours grew up into a funny, opinionated, sweet little toddler. 90% of me is thrilled, the other 10% can't help but think back on his little squishy knee rolls days. If I squint, I still can see some elbow and wrist chub, but that's pushing it, folks.

We took Henry to Rome for his second birthday, because we couldn't think of a better reason to finally get ourselves on a vacation, and also we are awesome parents. Though, the bar has been set a little high. I mean, where does a person go for the 3rd birthday when they spent the last in Rome, for goodness sakes!

But when we got back home and presents were all accounted for, we held a proper birthday party for the squirmy car-obsessed two year old. While he napped, I whipped up some carrot cake, hung paper garlands, and wrapped all his presents. I'd never been so excited for him to wake up from a nap, ever! It was so fun, and just a reminder of why we love Henry. He's the best.

So a quick round up of Henry. The best of.

He recently started insisting on helping me cook everything and anything. Whenever I go into the kitchen, or go to the cupboards, he runs over and asks, "Watch?" or his recent favorite request, "Dump it?!" We have been baking our bread the last few weeks and he helps everytime. He always asks for a taste of the dough, never likes it, and ends up eating flour instead. But his favorite part is "dump it" aka, putting the cups, teaspoons and tablespoons of ingredients into the bowl.

He loves anything train, race car, bus, cool car (what he calls MINIs, VW bugs, and other old cars he sees on the street), and of course any construction vehicles.

He really gravitates toward older kids, between 5-9. He made a new friend recently at church and followed her around when we visited, asking her, "Hold hands?" and charming them into getting him anything he asks for. He's smart.

He recently acquired a secondhand scooter, and asks every time we leave, "bring scooter?", and I'm like Henry, do you have a death wish? He's not very surefooted on it, so we practice inside. Of course, he's getting better and I just need to come to terms with the fact that he's a daredevil. He only wants to ride it when we come to the top of a big hill.

His eating habits are finicky, but he does ok for a toddler. Mostly he eats scrambled eggies for breakfast or toast or yogurt or sometimes all three. Dinner is a mixed bag, but the other night we sat down to dinner with salmon and broccoli and he just picked up the broccoli to eat it like it was no biggie. I was like, Mark, don't breathe.

He's still a pro sleeper. Sleeps 12 hours most nights (8:30 - 8:30) and takes a 3 hour nap most days (1:30 - 4:30). It's awesome. I think it might be time soon to get him into a toddler bed, but I'm waiting to pull the trigger until I'm ok being woken up by a wriggly little boy climbing in my bed. :)

We turn on some music most mornings and have a dance party, and I swear it's one of our favorite parts of the day. He bobs up and down, usually with a snack in his hand, and more often than not, pants-less. I die over it all.

We realized the other day he knows and can sing along with most of our favorite bedtime songs. He can sing along to about half of the words to Edelweiss, Moon River, If I Only Had a Brain, Twinkle Twinkle, and probably more that I don't know about.

He loves music and will help me play the piano, help Mark play clarinet/saxaphone, and has just in the past few days started singing to himself while he plays. It's soul crushingly adorable.

His favorite words/phrases:
Iht ummy! (It's yummy)
Iht hot (It's hot)
Peeea? Dee doo. Bo Belpum (Please? Thank you. You're Welcome.) *He combines them all, it's effective.
Mama, sit down, sit down, mama.
Iht fends! (It's friends!) *He says this at the playground or church when seeing other kids.
Hide mama woom? (Hide in mama's room?)
Wah Pop Pop choo choo! (Watch Pop Pop's choo choo video)
Call Mary
Call Jejy (Call Jenny)
How bow...tutee/toach/shoes/pezle (How about cookie/toast/juice/pretzel)

We feel blessed every day to be parents to Mr. Henry. Even on the hard days, he is still a peach and we still laugh and quote him while we go to sleep every night.

Nov 21, 2013

Rome part 2

The rest of our trip was entirely sunny and beautiful. 70 degrees, sunshine pouring down on our shoulders, and we loved it. All the Italians were wearing their heavy coats because this was cold weather for them, but we were running around in tshirts.

Saturday we spent all day at the Vatican - St Peters, Vatican museum, and seeing the Sistine Chapel. Incredible, amazing, beautiful. Henry fell asleep on our way to the Sistine chapel, but woke up right as we were leaving, so we explained to him why we were all craning our necks to stare at the ceiling. He didn't care too much. ;) The most interesting part of visiting Rome was learning that the Papacy took lots of materials from other buildings (the Colosseum, the Pantheon, etc.) to make their cathedrals, their altars, etc. The Colosseum used to be covered in marble, but the Pope stripped the marble off to use it for St Peters square. Isn't that crazy?

We found a tasty little restaurant across the river at O' Pazzariello, amazing pizza with the fluffiest and chewiest crust, yum, and my first cacio e pepe - really tasty.

Sunday, our last day, we headed to the Colosseum, checked out the Roman Forum, and ate lunch by the Spanish Steps at Il Gusto's, which had the most amazing pizza, the best al fresco dining, and most delicious pasta I've ever had. Il Gusto's was it for me. I was so happy to have found it, just in the nick of time before we left! We found the Spanish steps after finding more gelato after lunch, and sat there for awhile people watching. Little known fact: Mark proposed to me on the Spanish steps in DC (an homage to the original Spanish steps), and I had always wanted to go to the real Spanish steps with him, but never imagined we'd actually make it there. But there we were. I was so happy to be there with him and with our little baby Hen.

Finally, we headed to the Villa Borghese gardens (Rome's biggest park - sort of like Central Park, but also with some incredible museums within the park), and rented a rickety - rickety - rickshaw to ride around the park. It was so fun, and Henry couldn't believe his luck to be on that bike. Perfect last memory of Rome for us.

We had a great trip and hope to return some day, but next time, we'll tack on a trip to Venice and Florence! Italy had never been on my list of must-see places, but now it's right there at the top to return. It's such a beautiful country, the people are so warm and friendly (Henry got more head pats and kisses than I can remember), and the food. THE FOOD. That's enough right there to get me to come back.