Thursday, September 29, 2011

wOw! It's been busy around here. . .

SO, I noticed it's been FOR-EV-ER since I blogged, but it's been a bit busy around here. I am making stuff again for our neighborhood boutique (Next Friday, October 7th 10-5PM). I am excited, but stressed a little about finishing what I started, and also about selling things. It went well last time, so hopefully it is successful again, and I won't be left with too many things. . .unless they are different items.

Brady is in the 1st grade and is loving school. I thought he would come home tired. . .at least a little;) It is his first ALL-day school! He hasn't really enjoyed homework as much, thankfully he is getting the hang of it (the fact he can actually play once he finishes, rather then dragging it out for 2+ hrs!). He loves to buy lunch, but who knows what if anything much he actually eats on those days. He is my busy boy, and mealtimes are no different. Whenever he takes his lunch he comes home with practically the entire thing and has his 'snack' after school. I know he has to sit on the bench, but I am sure he is chatting away instead of eating. He is getting better at reading, and reads to me every day for 10-15 min (from the books he borrows from his teacher). I am definetely excited he is picking it up:)

Lauren starts preschool on my birthday, a week before Halloween. I think it will be nice to have her go socialize and learn for a couple hours M/W/F, then it will be just me and Courtney! She has finally tackled bedwetting. She has been daytime potty trained since she turned 2, but has been in pull ups for 2 yrs! She has no gone for almost 2 weeks in underwear! The first night was a disaster, unire soaked bed and girl in the middle of the night, so bathtime and changing of the sheets is always fun in the wee hours of the morning. Needless to say she slept in underwear AND pullups for a couple nights after that and remained dry. Hopefully she keeps it up. She has also managed to quit sucking her thumb, which feels like an absolute miracle! We used this thumb sucking nailpolish my friend gave me, and it worked well. She actually asked for it over a week ago (of course it was midnight, but I painted them). That is THE best habit gone!!

Courtney is talking up a storm. She is really good at names (unlike Brady who still asks his COUSINS what there names are!!). She is a lefty like Brady too, but a big eater (not like Brady)! We are trying to tackle the bink right now. She has only used it for nap/bed times for months and months. But I finally decided this week she needs to try to be bink free. She has done 2 nap times in a row without it and tonight is the first night. So far, so good:) Hopefully she will keep it up!

Well, once this boutique is over and things settle down I will finally get around to bloogging the rest of my trip. One day. . .SOON!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Venice and Burano

Tuesday, June 14 (day 8)

We spent the day in Venice. We rode into the city in the morning and caught our boat to St.Mark's Square. I was surprised to find out that their are about 150,000 visitors a day and 50% of the inhabitants work with tourism. It is a very expensive place to live. We went directly to see a glass demonstration at the Merano Glass Company where we saw some very expensive, beautiful pieces (200-thousands of Euro's). He made a glass decorative pitcher and a horse within a few minutes, making it look super easy (especially for the price!). My mom and I both bought a bracelet at a nearby shop made with glass beads. Then we toured around the city until our gondola ride off the Grand Canal. On the gondola ride we had the main seats and the accordion player and singer were on our boat. We had a wonderful ride down the Grand Canal as we were serenaded. We turned down side canals and saw unique Venetian buildings, bridges, and canals. Lots of people stopped to watch our group since we had music. After the ride we bought a piece of pizza to share that was delicious with green olives too! I bought a mask at a shop by the Rialto bridge, then met our tour for Burano. It was a really hot day with beautiful blue skies and CROWDS of people (it was nice to get a way for a few hours). We took a 45 minute ride by boat to Burano. It was spectacular with it's brightly painted buildings and leaning tower. We saw how they make lace and I bought a pricey, but beautiful white with lace tablecloth and napkins. We bought some more water and pastries while we walked around the island. Then we went back to the St. Mark's Square for lots of free time. We went down the closest street to get out of the sun since it was VERY hot! It felt good for a few minutes until more and more people had the same idea, then it wasn't quite as breezy. We walked around Venice more, and came to a square where locals kids were playing soccer and riding their bikes, and went inside a church there. Then we went to a little cafe to use the bathroom, we bought calamari and an apple drink so we could use the WC. We wandered into shops--masks, glassware, linens, etc. Then shared a pizza again for dinner at a cafe. We admired the ceiling/arcade around the church made of gold mosaics and watched the clock figures strike the hour and the digital time change from VII 55 to VIII00. Then we met our group again for the ride back to the hotel.

View of St. Marks's Square from our boat ride in to Venice.Standing on the Rialto Bridge.Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs) that is being cleaned. Not quite as spectacular covered in huge billboards. Burano.Lace making shop. It takes about 7 women many months to make most of the lace items for sale. They each have a specific stitch they do.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Belgium, Germany, Austria, and a hint of Italy

Saturday, June 11 (day 5)
We had a full English breakfast and then met the Cosmo tours and got on a bus to Dover. We saw the white cliffs of Dover, then boarded the ferry and crossed the English Channel to the mainland. I took some Dramamine since I got sick once on a short cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes opened, and dozed off and on. We had our last scone, jam and clotted cream with some hot chocolate and a sausage roll. Once we arrived in Belgium we checked into our hotel, washed some clothes, then off on the bus to tour Brussels. We went to an arch celebrating an anniversary of the monarchy and by the royal palace and the American embassy before going to the city square. We saw the guild halls and the famous statue of the little boy peeing on the street corner. We saw the museum that houses all his clothes too. We had some Fantastic lemon drink at the ale house. Then bought some Belgian Liege Waffles with strawberries and Belgian chocolate. We went to two different chocolate shops and bought two chocolates at each place. We got some Belgian fries with Andolaise sauce--mayonnaise, ketchup and peppers. We then walked around the square and each got a Belgian waffle, mine had cream, hazelnut and Belgian chocolate. I couldn't finish it though because it was SO rich and sweet. Then headed back on our touring bus passing by a couple cathedrals on our way to the hotel.

White cliffs of DoverThe English ChannelBelgian royal palaceFamous statue in Belgium, Manneken PisBelgian waffles - not like the typical waffles we have for breakfast, they are a dessert, much more sweet and dense.Belgian fritesSunday, June 12 (day 6)

We had breakfast at our hotel. Great pain au chocolate. Then it was off for another day of touring. We drove through Brussels past some of the same things we saw the night before. Then on to the autobahn known for it's lack of speed limit, although there are some areas which do (about 47%). The fastest speed I saw was 130 kilometers per hour (81 mph). Here and there you could see beautiful vistas. We crossed into Germany, had our first paying bathroom break, then stopped for lunch and shared a bratwurst with mustard and a roll. When we got back on the bus we ate our Nehaus hazelnut chocolate we brought the night before in Brussels. Now on to Boppard for the Rhine cruise. We wandered around Boppard for a few minutes before boarding the boat, and I bought a Christmas ornament and a small toy for Courtney. We boarded the boat for a wonderful cruise. The weather was perfect too. We saw quaint villages, beautiful castles and vineyards lining the hills. After the cruise we got back on the bus for our trip to the Ulm area. Next a bathroom stop in Germany, the second where we had to pay. This time there was a machine and it was €.70 per person. The toilet seat had an automatic cleaner where the seat turned and molded around under a cleaner. Some of us couldn't figure out how to flush it and accidentally pushed the self-cleaning button first. We got to our hotel and had dinner across the street, then walked into the town center of Gunzburg. We left our hotel window open to air out since it smelled of smoke, but came back to a bug filled room.

Bratwurst lunchCruise shipBeautiful scenery along the Rhine RiverMonday, June 13 (day 7)
After breakfast it was a drive through Bavaria, the largest area of Germany. There was a lot of riding on the coach since we are seeing a large area in a short amount of time. The Tyrol area was beautiful with aqua colored water, trees, mountains and lots of wood sheds all over and neat stacks of wood everywhere-most with tarps over. We saw the beautiful alps on our way to Innsbruck, Austria. After arriving in Innsbruck we saw the building with The Golden Roof-the most important symbol of the city. The tour took us to the Swarovski store where my mom and I both bought a pair of crystal earrings. We walked back toward the place with the Golden Roof and each got a linen, lace edged table runner made in Austria. Musicians were playing from the balcony when we walked back. We asked a couple shop clerks for good quick places to eat and they kept telling us McDonald's (rudely)--like all Americans want and like to eat there. We stumbled upon a small supermarket where we got a delicious sandwich with cucumbers to share. We also got a salad which was labeled a Waldorf Salad but was more like a mayonnaise rich Cole slaw with some pineapple which I thought was ghastly. We also got a package of Kinder cookies which were layers of chocolate, hazelnut and ice cream wafers. We sat on a window ledge and shared it, then we bought a warm apple strudel. We walked back to the bus seeing the river that ran through the city. We then drove through beautiful mountain scenery, crossing into Italy. The Dolomite mountains was the location of a two year fighting period during World War I. The mountains were very rugged and high. We stopped in Cortina, an elite ski village where we walked to the church in the city center. Then it was down to the Po River Delta towards Venice. We crossed one of the highest bridges in the world, higher than the Eiffel Tower. The buildings changed drastically from Swiss style to Italian. We checked into our hotel, had a dinner of risotto and swordfish then took a bus to the boat to travel to St. Mark's Square. We enjoyed a lemon soda and ice cream and a wafer at the Florian Cafe in the Square which had a date of 1720 in it's salon inside. We were entertained with music while we sat there. We then made a quick trip to the Rialto Bridge, then back to the Square for a boat and bus ride back to the hotel.Innsbruck, AustriaYummy, warm apple strudelInnsbruck Golden Roof Dolomite mountainsCortinaSunset and vineyards on the way to VeniceVenice at nightRialto Bridge

Saturday, July 16, 2011


More Europe updates to come next week! But I thought I better catch up on other happenings.

Brady celebrated his 6th birthday while I was in Europe. Brock took the kids to costco and Brady choose pizza and some danish pastries (complete with a birthday candle on top later that day). Brock did a wonderful job making sure he did something special for Brady, since I wasn't able too. He even took pictures!
Then they had a birthday dinner at Red Robin's with Brock's family where he got a light saber, star wars lego set, and some clothes. We had a really small birthday celebration the 5th of July with Allison & Curt, Elaina, Lance & Issac, and my mom. Allison and Curt were here visiting and decided to spend 1 evening with each family and it was our turn. We had a delicious dinner, then he got a box of Lego's - something he really loves and some $ from grandma Venita! The cake I made him was a Lego's cake too! He thought it was pretty cool. It always takes forever to make the kids cakes. . .even if they don't look like it! Next was Lauren's birthday on July 12th. She turned 4 and had a fabulous party with her cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. My kids still haven't had a friends party yet. Maybe next year??? She choose a princess crown cake. It took a while to do too, but it turned out pretty well. I also made a delicious homemade carrot cake from a recipe Allison gave me, it was delicious! It always takes a lot of work, but the kids enjoy having everyone over. She got a barbie, and barbie stuff, and a barbie scooter and barbie helmet. . .notice the trend? She is WAY into barbies right now! She got some gum which she shared with all her cousins. Art supplies (which the kids have had a blast with the last few days), strawberry shortcake doll, clothes, books, and an adorable tutu AKA 'marry dress' as Lauren calls it that Becah made for her.