Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Frankfurt Christmas Market

One of the big things we wanted to do since coming to Germany was go to a Christmas market. We had heard so many good things about them to include the food and gluhwein (warm wine). James was gone for last years and I was newly pregnant and worried morning sickness was going to kick in any day so I didn't travel to any. The closest ones would have been an hour away. Since we got the airport this morning and we aren't flying out until tomorrow, we decided to take the train to the Frankfurt Christmas market. It didn't disappoint.

On our way....

We got to the Frankfurt airport this morning via an early, early morning bus. Myles' travels have not started well. First he was dropped from the top of the pile of lluggage. Thankfully he was in the hard carrier. Then his carrier popped open while James was trying to get himself and cart of luggage in a small elevator. Again thankfully James caught it before he escaped.

We fly out first thing tomorrow morning. Hard to believe the time has come.

Barcelona, Spain

We spent the Thanksgiving weekend in Spain. We were smart and selected a warm location with a Hard Rock of course! We had perfect weather and couldn't have asked for more.

                                                                          Hard Rock

Water fountains at the square near Hard Rock

                                                                     Hop On, Hop Off

There wasn't anything we absolutely wanted to see in Barcelona other than Hard Rock and the beach so we decided to do the Hop On, Hop Off bus to see the sights. Barcelona is a very modern, updated European city who appears to like architect. It's really beautiful!

                                                        Christopher Columbus monument


Or as Macen kept calling it - the fish museum. Macen was very excited to go here and enjoyed it.

An arena where bull fighting use to take place. It is now converted to businesses and retail shops.

Barcelona is known for their hot chocolate so of course we had to sample it. It was the thickest hot chocolate I have ever had. I wasn't sure if I should drink it or use my spoon so I did a little of both :) They serve it with a couple of soft, sweet biscuit to dip in it. Fantastic!

Cable Car over the harbor
Next we took a cable car ride out over the bay to get a view of the city from above. It was amazing to see the Mediterranean Sea from this view.


Barcelona serves tapas which is kinda like appetizers in small portions. So we ordered a selection of them to get a taste of Barcelona! Our table was full of food that James and I enjoyed.

The beach at the Mediterranean Sea

This was a highlight for us since we like the water so much. We had great weather for it and I was able to capture a picture for our Christmas card from here.

Macen enjoying the waves coming in and running from them.

Maddox in a little dip that had been dug out by someone. He had on a onesie with jeans over it. I was still finding sand in his diaper the next day.

Macen willingly went into the water with James. It was a little chilly but he enjoyed it. He doesn't like his clothes to be wet but a couple of waves caught the bottom of his rolled up jeans. He didn't mind at all though.

Christmas Market

Nothing like leaving the beach and going directly to a Christmas market while eating gelato. I guess that is the way they do it in Barcelona. It's certainly a different story in Germany :) We had watched them set up some of the market the night before so we return since we had not been to a Christmas market over here yet.

Macen getting into the spirit!

These last 2 were taken in the Las Ramblas area of Barcelona which has become very touristy. We ate dinner here, did some souvenir shopping and then enjoyed some gelato and covered waffles. In fact, we enjoyed quite a bit of gelato while here!

We had a great time! Barcelon is a beautiful city and we couldn't have asked for more in our last European vacation.

Friday, November 18, 2011

4 months old

Pause button please! Maddox is growing so fast and getting stronger and stronger. He prefers to be sitting up most of the time or even standing on his tiptoes. He is now 14lbs (18th percentile) and 24.6 inches (22nd percentile). He is getting good at rolling over much faster now and sometimes he is able to get back over on his back.

As you can see we are still swaddling. Although he is too long for the miracle blanket now so I just leave his feet out and use it for his arms. Maddox got a nasty cold before we left for Athens. Poor guy! We are not having a good time with his night sleeping. Between the cold, him being more aware of his surroundings and teething, every night has become a struggle. The doctor did say he saw some teeth coming, so it begins.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Santa is coming to Amsterdam...

but the boys beat him to his chair! We had a decent layover in Amsterdam on the way home. The boys got their first dose of the Christmas season and I selected some fine Belgian chocolates to take home.

Athens, Greece

We had a great time in Athens. This trip was a little different for us since it was centered around the marathon James did. We went with 2 other couples and their kids, sharing an apartment with them. They are our neighbors so the kids had a blast being on vacation with friends. There is also a Hard Rock there and I have to say, we had our first horrible Hard Rock experience. First of all they don't have the pilsner glass James likes to collect. James was in shock and wasn't sure what to think. And our waiter wasn't that great either. We have gotten above and beyond service every time we go to a Hard Rock. Even employess that aren't assisting us, stop and take time to talk to Macen and/or look at Maddox. We've even had a hostess put together a toy for Maddox to play with before. It just wasn't our typical experience. Boo to the Athens Hard Rock, we won't be recommending you.

If you are wondering if Athens is safe after all the news floating around? Absolutely. Had we not seen anything on tv or the internet about Athens, we would have never known anything was wrong there. I think the guys heard a demonstration the first day we were there but we never witnessed anything. And we covered a lot of ground by foot so we would have seen something if there were any major problems going on.

Hadrian's Arch

Temple of Zeus

Tower of the Winds

Odeum of Herodes Atticus theater. This one is still in use and it was amazing!

At the top of the hill of the Acropolis. As soon as we got up there, it got extremely windy. So windy it was hard to enjoy it. But still an amazing landmark.

                                           Macen enjoying the Acropolis with his friends

                            A view of the Panathenaic Stadium James ran into at the finish line

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is guarded 24/7 and the guards do a changing out ceremony on the hour. It is quite the production and pretty amazing to see.

A view of Athens from Lycabettus Hill. We took a tram to the top of the mountain and enjoyed a snack at the cafe at the top.

A quick view of one of the marathon runners! He finished with 4 other men dressed in similiar attire. I found it interesting! It was a cold, rainy day for a race. At the finish line, it would rain with the wind blowing and then stop with the sun coming out only to rinse and repeat the entire 5-6 hrs we were out there. Maddox caught a cold before we left for Athens. So with not being able to breath well already and then getting gusts of wind occasionally, he was miserable out there. Thankfully the carrier I use is cloth with extra material so I was able to cover him most of the time.

It's a pretty amazing city and we are thankful we got to experience with some great friends.