Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hahnfest in Our Old Stomping Grounds

The following weekend, I had a homeschool conference that morning, and apparently I missed a piano concert while I was away.

The blondies playing the piano
We used to live in Queidersbach the last time we lived here.  This fest introduced us to some friends that we still keep in contact with today.  Brian really looks forward to this one.  I say Brian and not me, not because I don't look forward to it, because I do, but because it is on such a different level than how much he looks forward to it that it's not even fair to group us in that context.  He just LOVES it and would never let me here the end of it if say one of our babies was being born during the Hahnfest and he had to miss it.  I still get comments about how Hannah was born during an Aggie game, granted it was the biggest one of the year.  It is all in good fun.  I think.

Hahn means chicken, so this fest is all about this super delicious rotisserie chicken.  It is really flavorful and moist.  It starts late though and the lines can be long.  Brian has the bright idea that we should get there an hour before the fest begins and get in line for chicken.  We are literally the first ones there besides the friends he told to come at the same time.  Well, no lines for us.  We did get our chicken first, but we still stayed as late as last year.  I had to drag Brian home and really only succeeded because the last of our friends were leaving too.

Picture of the chicken on spits roasting at the fest
We were sitting next to one of the drink stations with slushes.  One of the workers accidentally stepped on the water hose they use to help clean the glasses.  It shot right all over Bobby's back and scared him to death.  He started screaming and she runs over and apologizes profusely.  Moments later she returns with a free slushie just for Bobby.  He immediately stopped crying and got the straw in his mouth.  It was apple juice flavored, and that was his first juice ever.  He loved it!  Juice is the two year old privilege, so he got a special early birthday privilege just a couple weeks before his birthday.

Stuffing our faces with some amazing chicken and fries
There was a bouncy house for the kids, but who wants their kids on a bouncy house when one of those kids just broke his arm on one.  But oh well!  They had fun the whole time and never really even asked to go except for a moment when one group of friends left, but they quickly found a new group to play with and ran off.  Isaac couldn't jump, obviously, and he was a really good sport about it.  I brought a deck of cards for him and he enlisted a couple of friends to play games with him for a good while.  He still managed to have fun even without being able to jump.

Speaking of, his cast comes off this week!  Yay!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Independance Day Celebration

Since it was the fourth of July when we were driving back from Giverny and we did take longer on the stop than we originally planned to, we had to drive straight into the American Fest to have dinner and set up for fireworks.  We rarely get to do the fireworks as a family it seems, and here it is even harder because it isn't dark enough for fireworks until 10:45pm!  We didn't get home until after midnight.  I knew it was crazy after such a big trip, but some of my favorite childhood memories are from watching the fireworks with my family.  I knew I'd pay for it with overly tired kids the next day, and I did.  I kept the boys home from Kindergarten to let them sleep and recover.  We canceled the rest of our regular stuff for that day and just stayed home.

You see those balloons in the picture.  We started with six, and made it home with only three.  I may never allow balloons in my house again.  This is the second time I've had to pop them all to stop the arguing.  Aaand done.

Anyway, back to our late night fireworks excursion with an almost two year old.  Bobby sat ramrod straight watching the fireworks and when someone asked if he liked them he said in a tiny voice, "Make it stop."  Then he started to shiver all over when there was an unexpected louder boom of a collection of fireworks going off at the same time.  I wrapped him up tight in a blanket and held him close.  He didn't cry really, just shivered really violently until I held him all wrapped up for a minute and then the exhaustion settled in and he started to fall asleep.  I put the Ergo on and positioned him so he could just go to sleep, and I could wear him until we got back to the van.  They were really pretty good fireworks compared to what we got in Maryland.  We had a great time laughing and giggling before and oohing and aahing during and waiting in traffic to get home afterwards.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Making Mama's Dream Come True on the Way Home

Well, one of them anyway!  I've wanted to go to Monet's gardens and home in Giverny for a good while.  I naively thought that my kids would think it was cool too, but they cleared that misunderstanding up before we got there.  We've been reading about the history of art all year.  My two art history related, non-museum places in Europe that I wanted to visit were Givery, France and Delft, Holland because there's an alley that is supposed to look the same today as when it was painted by Pieter De Hooch.  They are both quick stops, or should be.

However, we didn't quite get the apartment tidied up and out the door in time to make it at the opening time so the line was rather long.  In fact, we did so poorly on time that it was too close to lunch once we got there to do the gardens first.  This meant we were even later getting in line since we had to eat first.  We had a quick lunch at a hot dog stand and went looking for the entrance.  It was such a small town that we thought we'd find it easily, but we went the wrong way first for a little bit until we saw signs for Monet's grave.  The children were not happy waiting in line in the "hot" sun.  It was about 85 degrees.  That's not that bad, people!

Luckily, I came with my big girl pants on, expecting tired and unhappy kids.  I decided that I was going to enjoy it no matter what the children did.  I'd say that Operation Big Girl Pants was a success.

Hannah has an honest face.  One thing about her is she is real and not ever fake.

Judah had some really big meltdowns because Brian was done carrying him in the backpack and Judah can't seem to take five steps without his legs turning into spaghetti from exhaustion.  That's a long story that nobody wants to hear.  Let's just say that I knew we'd pushed them beyond what they could gracefully handle and it was a chance I couldn't pass up.  I'm making it sound worse than it really was, I'm sure.

I took a picture of this lily because it was one of many that reminded me of my Lillian.  This was the 7th anniversary of my miscarriage.  The fourth of July is always bittersweet for that reason. 

Japanese Bridge with my family on it!
This was a worthwhile stop, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I bought a Monet tea cup for my collection.  The gardens are so well tended and has some very unique flowers in them as well.

You can walk through his house as well.  My favorite was his kitchen that had blue decorative design on white tiles covering the walls.  I took quite a few pictures of it because I like the idea at least for my final and more permanent home

Monet's bedroom window view!

Brian said that Judah's response to this window was, "Wow!"

The tiles may be hard to make out individually, but as a group you can still see the effect in this photo.

Brian had to take him through the house separately from me since he was crying for me to carry him in the Ergo.  He doesn't give Daddy nearly the trouble he gives me.  By the end he was fine, and who isn't cheered up by a few noisy chickens?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Our Last Full Day in Paris

The Louvre

Watch out, Wonder Woman!  Here we come!  Unfortunately, we were the most unprepared for the Louvre.  We tried.  We listed out what we wanted to see and the room numbers, but that place is a stinkin' maze.  Add to that the trouble of the unexpected strollers and we had ourselves a big problem.

Amazing ceilings!

We don't travel with stroller anymore because it became too time limiting for us.  You always had to find another way to get here or there.  Europe is not super handicap friendly, even if mostly it has been made handicap accessible.  Just because you can do it, doesn't mean it's easy.  I had Bobby on my front in the Ergo, and Brian had Judah in the hiking backpack as we started to go up the escalator.  This lady stopped us and told us we had to check the hiking backpack and that they had strollers to lend us for free.  Our backs and legs were sore, so instead of telling Judah he'd have to suck it up which we do from time to time, we decided to go with the borrowed strollers.  When Bob saw Judah's ride, he wanted one too.  What's one more?

The Mona Lisa, can you see her in that tiny frame?  This was Hannah's moment of beauty and happiness.  Can you tell?  Can you see the Mona Lisa smile?  That is her being happy.
This turned out to be a big problem because so many of their elevators were out of order, some of which were not even marked and we would just stand there pushing buttons and waiting before we gave up and went a different route.  Also, there are a half a dozen steps here and there all over.  You can hardly leave a room without needing yet another elevator.  Then the elevators were tiny and a lot of able-bodied people were taking them up and we'd have to wait for it to come back down.  Brian kept lecturing (many times) the children on how if they can take the stairs, they always should because some people genuinely need it and have to wait.

We were so frustrated we didn't see much on our list in the end, but we spent a significant amount of time there.  I realized a week later that we didn't even see Hammurabi's Code!  I got a sinking feeling in my stomach when I realized we missed something the kids had really wanted to see.  Maybe we'll see Paris again together.  Brian and I hope to travel there someday when we retire and spend much more time in the Louvre...with no complaining children either!

They loved their strollers, Mom and Dad's back loved the strollers, but Mom and Dad did not.
We saw the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo which were on our list.  Hannah loved the Mona Lisa and I was glad for that.  The hall right before the Mona Lisa was full of beautiful Renaissance art.

Venus De Milo

Venus de Milo with Broke de Arm Boy

This was supposed to be our lightest day since we cancelled the Pantheon, but we still had one last place on our list, but we had to get food in our bellies first.  We metro'd to the next area we needed to be in and had lunch at a delicious steak and frites and hamburger place.  Best hamburger I've had in Europe!  So very good.  Sadly, I split it with Drew not thinking it would be very good.  That kid can eat lately!

Then we walked down the street to the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal.  We spent our time there praying and admiring the enchanting chapel for Our Lady.  Blues and golds filled the small chapel.  There were two incorrupt saints (St. Catherine and St. Louise de Marillac) there and St. Vincent de Paul's heart, all on display at the front.  We went in two groups up to the front because we draw a lot of attention moving as a group and there was an air or reverence and prayer more so in this chapel than in the others we'd been to, which were so touristy.  Plus, it was small and very quiet.  Genna, Drew, and Bobby went with me.  Drew always has a million questions, and in a smaller group I typically love them.  I get weary of them most often when too many people are needing me at the exact same moment, but when we have a little quiet time together, I love how he is so eager to learn.

World's Cutest Baby in the Miraculous Medal Chapel Ever!  He even matched the blue Marian color scheme they had going, blue shirt and golden hair!  I seriously don't know how I get a thing done with this precious boy to squeeze and kiss.

In front of St. Louise de Marillac's incorrupt body in a glass case.

A really beautiful Chapel for Mary!
I was trying to get Bobby to whisper when a lady came up to me and told me that she had six kids too and that she thought he needed to go to the toilet.  Her kids always talked louder when they needed the toilet.  I was thinking he has a diaper and she was a little nuts, but I smiled and thanked her.  Sure enough, not two minutes and i looked at him and asked what he was doing.  With a grimace, he said, "Poopin'."  Well, shows me, huh?  That lady must've know what she was talking about.

Brian, Isaac, Hannah, and Judah were down kneeling at the front looking at St. Vincent de Paul's heart.

After a quick stop in the gift shop, we got crepes and ice cream for dinner before heading back to the hotel for the last time.  Only two things that we saw that whole day, and still we got there after 8pm, but at least it wasn't 10pm when we got back.

Can't get enough ice cream for these nuts!