Thursday, July 31, 2008
Babies? Yeah - a lot of them!
It's wonderful really - why complain? Damn my bad luck - I can't keep up with all the good news!
But I'm starting to lose track of when everyone is expecting. And now just within the last 2 weeks I've had 3 new additions to the baby calendar (that for now is in my head).
Our friend Jim became a new dad on the 19th (welcome to the world, Harrison Wayne!), my best friend Sarah is expecting her 2nd baby sometime in March, and now I find out that Curt and his wife are expecting. Wow!
So congratulations everyone! And before I get one of these giant calendars, forgive me if I forget a birthday along the way!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Happy birthday to you,
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Vienna: Karlskirche (St Charles Church). In the historic city center, directly on the Ringstrasse. It was an interesting experience all around. I didn't see the front outside of the church that evening - it wasn't until the next day that I saw the splendid architechture of the building itself. We were late for our arrival at the concert because of the awful traffic in the city that evening. We were taken to the back of the church, directly to the back entrance and rushed in to begin our quick rehearsal. We found ourselves ushered onto the main altar area of the church and suddenly surrounded by a lavish, ornate and beautiful church. Very much Baroque in style - white marble, gold accents, rounded archways and domes. The pictures of the inside is actually a picture of us singing.Stift Melk: A Benedictine abbey in Austria. The monastery was founded in the 11th century, and the Abbey church that we had the priviledge of singing in was built in the 18th century. I thought Karlskirche was impressive? The Melk Abbey church was more incredible. Not in size, but in design and decoration. And out of all the places we sang, it had the best sound.
Traunkirchen: The beautiful little village in the Salzkammergut region of Austria of the Lake Traunsee. I still need to tell the full story of this visit, but the church in the town dates back to 1022 and it is a quaint little church. We sang a quick song there for the experience, as our visit was unfortunately under a time constraint.
Salzburg: Kollegienkirche (University Church) and Salzburger Dom (Salzburg Cathedral). Quite honestly, the University Chuch wasn't entirely impressive. It was difficult to judge it because of what we had to compare it to. We had already sung in much more amazing sites. But it was the central point of the festival that we were taking part in. The Dom Cathedral, however, was incredible. Historically interesting because of it's many rebuilds and renovations. It originated back to the 8th century, and was even bombed during WWII. Also, Mozart was baptized there, which was relevant especially to our performance because we sang Mozart's Credo Mass with the resident choir and orchestra. Very cool.
There I was, washing dishes and making mac and cheese with hot dogs and veggies (a staple of motherhood), and my young daughter was tugging at my leg to beg for attention. I swear, if I had an apron on she would have been tugging at my apron strings. I realized that mothers for generations back have likely had the same exact moment. Details may have changed, but I can imagine that for centuries moms have had a moment when tending to the home and meals, and their small child has tugged on their dress or apron (or loincloth?) to get attention.
And it warms my heart. A moment when I feel 100% mommy.
Monday, July 21, 2008
- When a kind waiter realizes that you are struggling with your German and asks another kind waiter who actually speaks English to come over and that kind, English-speaking waiter asks you *in English* if he can help with anything, don't reply with "no thank you" in German. It's just rude. (In my defense, I was so caught up in trying desperately to keep up with the German that it didn't occur to me that he was actually speaking English. I felt like such a dumb American!)
- Teenagers are the same in Europe as they are in America.
- Smoking really doesn't make you look cool, regardless of which country you are in.
- Americans are not the only dumb tourists out there.
- People put gum under the pews in Europe, too.
- Don't assume that you are putting money into a change machine if you can't understand what the sign says, you could lose your money very easily.
- If you open your mind, your eyes, and your ears, you can write your own history book by discovering history that they don't teach in school.
Our tour on our first morning in Salzburg included Mirabell Palace gardens (where many of the Salzburg sites in Sound of Music were filmed), St Peter's monastery, the fortress/castle, Dom Cathedral, and Mozart's birthplace. And everything in between! This shows our group walking through the garden and cemetery at St Peter's with the view of the fortress up above. Phil at St Peter's garden and cemetery, with a view of the spires of the Dom Cathedral peeking up in the background.
Sunset of the river in Salzburg.
The few days after coming back home from Europe were a whirlwind. We were recovering from jetlag and culture shock, and as we were unpacking we were re-packing for our camping trip for the weekend. The Sackinger Family Reunion (Stephen's mom's family), affectionately called "Sack Camp". Camping for the weekend with 30 of your closest family. Normally lots of fun. But camping with a toddler? Not so fun. She refused to sleep much of the night, and it took us an extra 2 1/2 hours to get home yesterday because she was so miserable and screaming much of the time. It only took us 5 hours to figure it out, but it turns out she had a low grade fever and some bad gas. Finally - FINALLY - she slept the last hour of the trip.
But now we're back home again and not planning any other major trip soon. Whew!!!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
This was in a little town in between Prague and Vienna called Durnstien. We only stopped for lunch, but I could have stayed for days. Very quaint and beautiful, and set in the primary wine area of Austria.
Another shot from Durnstein, just a little out of town - quite possibly the best shot I got the whole trip.
Taken at the Melk Monastery/Abbey. It is a working monastery and school that houses 33 monks and around a hundred students. The library has over 100,000 books, some dating back 5-6 centuries. Wow!
I need to post some more, I can't narrow it down to just 5. These don't even include pictures of Vienna or Salzburg, or the great little town Traunkirchen that we stopped in. Arrghh!! I will soon.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
From 11 days of not making any of our own food or having to drive anywhere while traveling and exploring, we are back to the life of diapers, bedtime lullabyes, paying for gas and "crap what's for dinner tonight?". Quite a change to say the least.
Wrapping everything in one statement: it was an amazing experience that we will never forget for as long as we live. I have an insanely huge amount of stories and pictures to share. I've been debating as to how I want to go about it. I don't have the time or the energy to put everything into one big long post - and quite frankly I'd like to spare everyone from having to read that. I think what I will do is break it into chunks, with a bunch of pictures mixed into everything.
Unfortunately I'm not quite ready to do that. Give me a day or so to get over my jet lag and weed through the 2000+ pictures I brought home (no joke - I really have that many right now). I'll share as soon as I'm ready.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
But anywho... for the most part we are ready to go. And we are so excited. I'm still having emotional problems with leaving Catherine, but what mom wouldn't, you know?
For most of the next 12 days, I won't be posting. I may be able to, and if I can I will. But we won't know until we get there really how easy that would will be possible. We'll see.
Either way, I will have tons of pictures and stories when we get back, so look out!
Bon voyage to us! =)
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Days until Europe departure: TWO!
Hours until plane leaves SeaTac: 54
Total hours we'll be away from Catherine: 270 (that hasn't changed unfortunately)
Weight loss to date (in lbs): 29
Hair cut off in inches: actually it's closer to 8 or 9 - my mom doesn't like how short it is!
Items on my to do list this week: down to 15
Mariners record this season: 31-51
Times Catherine has said a new word in the last week: about 6 or 7 (WOW!)