Yes! I'm going to Germany!!!! I'm so excited! About the trip that is......NOT the plane ride..... I keep thinking that after torturing ourselves with 2 babies on a 10 hour plane ride, then the reward will be even better and grander than imagined. Then, like in the movies, after such a horrifying experience we will emerge even closer as a family......hey, a girl can dream. ;)
So my manically organized side has taken over. I've made a tour book for all the places we'll be exploring. It's complete with pictures, maps, and even common German phrases. I kid you not, it's 117pgs long. Manic..... I know. It's great though- I found this awesome website (and OK, I know I'm really far behind all you new age techies) called www.wikitravel.org. LOOOOOVE IT! It has the history of each place, places to see, things to do, traditional foods you have to try, drinks, etc, etc, etc..... It is like wikipedia, where you have to be aware that people fill everything in so it might not all be accurate; however I found it to be totally interesting (yes, I stayed up until midnight last night reading about everywhere we're going.) Then, I found myself filling in more and more places to go and see into our itinerary.......we don't really have to eat, do we? I know we'll probably be scratching off alot of places as our 2 preggo women and 3 toddlers in the group start whining to go slower; but so far we plan to rent a van to travel and explore Southern Germany, Northern Switzerland, and Northern Austria. So EXCITING!!!!! (yes, alot of capitol letters and exclamation points in this post...) ;)
I also am bringing my trip journal with me. Made me start to reminisce about my Grandma Dollar. She got me started on my first trip journal. I still have it and can remember her telling me about ideas of things I can write about along the trip. I still bring one with me on big trips to make sure I don't forget any detail. I can't wait to get my kids starting on their journals too. I think it really helped to fuel my love of writing.
We leave Monday; May 3rd and will return Thursday; May 13th. I can't wait to write all about it!
Wow, what a trip! We were only on the island for 1 day, but we did so much it seems like we were there for a week! We picked up some good tips for our Germany trip (gotta remember to bring trashbags and laxatives....no relation to each other...) and increased our confidence in the girls' ability to do long trips well.
The drive down was surprisingly very pleasant! We started off really early in the morning, and the trip ended up taking about 12hrs, but we made sure at each stop (3 total) that the kids really ran around and got their wiggles out. It got really rainy and cooler than expected; however the kids did great watching movies and sleeping the whole time! Mickey Mouse is the new favorite movie (Winnie the Pooh and Veggie Tales are a close 2nd and 3rd.)
I made a picnic lunch, but got worried if we would be able to enjoy it with all the rain. We finally found a rest stop during a short break in the rain and grabbed the opportunity. Madelynn loved running around ("mommy, I'm exercising!") and picking the wildflowers.
Once we got there, we went to the rehearsal dinner (for Aunt Rachel's wedding) at the Shrimp Haus in Schlitterbahn Park. It was really good food, and the views of the ocean were great! I loved the centerpieces: they were little buckets of crayons and beach toys. Maddie is still holding onto her "crab balloon" and water gun. Madelynn also loved playing with her cousin Ian! He is such an adorable and sweet boy!
The next day (Saturday,) we got to eat breakfast with Grandma and Grandpa before heading out to see the sights.
Of course, before we could actually hit the road Madelynn had to stop and try out the "sand box, sand box!" (we worked on saying beach, but she loves "sand box!" instead- lol!)
Her comment was "kinda like mud, momma!" haha!
So first we headed to the Bird Reserve with Grandpa and Cody (Jake's cousin.) Funny how you see no birds in the photos.....I think they were all still in hibernation. Needless to say, Maddie and Annie were not amused.....it was a quick trip.
Next was Sea Turtles, Inc. where they find and rehabilitate injured sea turtles. They have a one legged turtle that they have attached a prosthetic 'rudder' to to help it to swim. Very interesting. Madelynn loved looking at all the turtles, and even Annie seemed interested in watching them swim around.
Next, we went to Pirates Landing for lunch. It's a restaurant where everything is pirate related. At first, Maddie was unsure of the pirates. But she warmed up quickly, and soon got into the pirate spirit.
Where do pirates go to school? At the arrrrrrrt institute! Sorry, I couldn't help myself- lol!
Then we were off to the touch pools. Madelynn got to feed the hermit crabs (shrimp bits) and touch some starfish. She didn't want to leave.
Right outside, there was a man with some birds. We got the unexpected opportunity to play with them. Madelynn was in heaven! Cindy (the bird) was great with Maddie!
Whew! We were pooped by then! Well, I guess I should say Mommy and Daddy were pooped! Annie was asleep by now, and Madelynn was.....well rearing to go swimming! So, off to the beach we went. I have never heard so much excited screaming from Madelynn. She had a blast!
The water was freezing, but we were running around so much that we didn't even notice after a while. Grandma and I took turns with Maddie's high energy- lol!
Then it was off to the wedding! What a beautiful wedding, and an absolutely gorgeous bride! We got a great surprise, and got to see Ian get baptized as well!
The reception was held at The Pelican Station. It had fantastic views of the ocean and the food and music was wonderful! We had a great time! As you can see, Madelynn and Annie promptly fell asleep, and Jake and I got to fit in one dance together before crashing back at the hotel.
The ride back was alittle more difficult than the drive down. Madelynn and Annabelle had tasted freedom, and were not so willing to be strapped down for another 12 hrs. We made it unscathed though (except for Maddie who decided to draw on her arms with a pen- lol!) It was cool and rainy on the way back as well, but again we found a quick stop in between showers for a picnic lunch and to run around some.
So today is lazy Monday for sure! It's always more fun to pack, than to unpack from a vacation......so I'll just procrastinate on that- hehe! I have more pictures uploaded on Facebook, but these were my favorites (then cut in half so the blog wouldn't take 2 pages.) I'm sure I'll have to tell our Germany story in several parts ;) Well, here's to many more great vacations! Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Brand and great job on the fantastic celebration!
I've been doing some small and inexpensive things around the house to celebrate Spring! I'm a decorator at heart, so it is so much fun for me to change things around the house with each season. Of course, I'm a broke decorator; so the things I change have to be cheap (or free) and in small doses. ;)
Since buying a house, I've become a huge fan of wreaths! I think they make a wonderful first impression, and can express so many seasons and holidays.
Hydrangeas are such a beautiful Spring flower.
Remember that wreaths don't have to go just on the door. They look great hanging on mirrors and windows too!
I bought some apothecary jars awhile back, and love filling them with beautiful items. Of course, they are set WAY back on my counter, out of reach of coasting baby hands ;) Here are some ideas for Spring fillers:
You can buy the bags of fake fruit (apples, lemons, etc...) and fake flowers for an inexpensive price at Walmart (where nobody cares how loud my children scream) ;)
A beautiful Spring tablecloth or place mats are next on my list. Here are some pretty ones at Pottery Barn (I'm waiting for a good sale to get some) ;)
And last, but certainly not least; I take out my vase to start filling with all the beautiful wildflowers that Madelynn loves to pick for me (and a few garden flowers too.) ;)
Jake and I thought it'd be fun to announce the pregnancy on April Fools Day..... I guess the joke is on us because only a few people remembered it was April Fools Day- lol! Oh well- yes, it's no joke. I'm pregnant- and everything about this pregnancy has been one surprise after another.
First it started with me just feeling kinda crummy. I was irritable and tired all the time. Of course that little voice pops into my head, Could you be pregnant? No, no, I would think, it's only been 3 weeks since my last cycle; must be PMS
But after a couple more weeks of this nonsense, and starting to have that I have to eat NOW, or get sick sensation; I found myself lingering just alittle longer in front of the pregnancy tests at the store. Well, I might want to pick one up.....you know, just in case I ever just feel like peeing on a stick...
One morning in March, I woke up at about 5am and started feeling really sick. OK, I have the test. I'll just take it to set my mind at ease so I can go back to sleep.
Yes, ladies and gents; it was positive. There was no going back to sleep now.
I told Jake that morning, and he did as all men do: he laughed. Yes, he LAUGHED....I think he was hysterical and in shock at this point. Boy, I'm glad I married a man with a sense of humor- you can either laugh or cry....I prefer to laugh.....then I cried.
So I made the appointment at the doctors to get the sonogram and confirm everything. The sonogram went something like this:
"Wow! That's a big baby!"
"What? What do you mean?"
"I mean, you are NOT 8 weeks along, you are definitely already in your 2nd trimester."
"No, no, that's just not possible! You see, I had this VERY heavy cycle in February..."
"I'm sorry sweetheart, but this baby is 12 weeks not 8."
Yes, 3 MONTHS along! As I quickly do the math in my head (baby due October 16, Annie will be....) Yikes! Annie will be 16 months old!!!! And the gray hair begins..... Sorry folks, but for the next several years I will officially be that crazy woman who never leaves the house. I may start writing crazy blurbs intermittantly to attempt to communicate to the outside world, but they will all begin with 'there was an old woman who lived in a shoe....'
Then, the next surprise.....
"Want to know what the sex is?"
"You can do that?"
"It won't be 100% until later, but we can get a pretty good idea"
"OK! What do you think?"
"Well......yep, that looks like a little penis- it's a boy!"
And then the excitement starts to set in....a little boy....a sweet little boy! How fun! Of course, he'll probably spend the first year wearing all pink; but a little boy!!!!!
Wow, I've been through every emotion in the book these last few weeks....about five times, and I'm still making the rounds..... But I just have to trust in God, and I know that He has a plan: a Divine Plan. It may not always be MY plan, but it always turns out much better than I ever could imagine.
Whew, I'm tired just writing about this roller coaster. Please keep us in your prayers, and I'll keep you updated.
There was an old woman, who lived in a shoe..... :)
It's funny how when I was little I loved playing jokes on my siblings (harmless ones of course.) As I get older, I like this day less and less. I think I've become the person who hates surprises (type A nurse coming out perhaps?) Jake and I decided we would not play jokes on each other....I wonder as the kids get older if I'll again look forward to this day....