Friday, February 17, 2012

Wish list

When the reality of moving to Germany set in we made a list of things we were hoping would be coming home with us when we moved back to the states. Lucky for us we've already gotten (or soon enough) some of the things we were most hopeful for.

An authentic German nutcracker.

A black forest cuckoo clock. I'll have a separate post about our visit to the black forest.

Our greatest hope of Barton #2. We are so excited to have another little bundle of joy. I am 15 weeks and due August 11.
For some reason our babies don't like to give us the cute profile shot. We always get the staring right at us, slightly alien (no slightly in this one) shots, but we'll take it!

We finally (after 3 months) have internet and I'm feeling a bit better so hopefully I can get caught up on the rest of our happenings.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Better late than never

These pictures aren't in order, but too cute not to post.

We spend a lot of time at our friend's house, the Blairs. Kaben loves to move their barstools around so they make noise on the tile.

The store had free samples of styling creme. I got some and used it on Kaben to prove he has hair. He was pretty proud of his hairdo.

I love when babies sleep like this. Especially our baby.

When Kaben laughs or stretches he makes a perfect V. Wish I could do that.

This picture is terrible, but I wanted to post Kaben's favorite move. He does this ALL the time.

Parents of the year!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Benelux countries

When I told my mom we were going to Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg she informed me they were called the Benelux countries. We are learning so much over here, like the things most of you probably learned in school.

Amsterdam, Holland/Netherlands
4 to 4 1/2 hours

October 7

We decided to park at the hotel and take the train to the city.

I was excited to go to Amsterdam to see the Anne Frank house, or the secret annex. I re-read the book and we watched the movie in anticipation. It wasn't what I expected and I was a little disappointed (the front has been re-built and has a modern look and there was no furniture in the annex. I guess I just wanted it to feel like I had stepped back to the time they lived there), but overall am very grateful I had the chance to see it and even more grateful I didn't have to live there.

Outside the Anne Frank house. It is the building on the far left of the picture.
In case you couldn't tell it was really cold.

THE bookcase. Entrance into the secret annex.
We didn't find out til after we took the picture with the bookcase that pictures weren't allowed. I am very respectful of this policy so felt a little guilty that my first reaction was happy that we took one before we knew.

Kaben is easy to please. The lid to his baby food and straw entertained him through all of dinner. Sporting Dad's hat.

Leaving Amsterdam and headed to Belgium. The scenery was gorgeous. So peaceful and pretty. There were canals like the one shown about every 50 yards or so. I couldn't believe how many there were and how much water was flowing through the area. No wonder it's 'sooo green.' ....Chad, Nate and Mom...that's for you!
Evans siblings. Does this picture remind you of the cube puzzle thing in a plastic container with a clear top and red bottom that mom has. It did me.

Bruges, Belgium
4 to 4 1/2 hours

I know I call every city cute and quaint, but this one tops them all. My favorite things about this city were the unique buildings, the various architecture styles, the beautiful scenery, the sights (especially Michaelangelo's Madonna and Child, see below) and how close all the sights were to each other. And did I mention it's surrounded by a moat? What's not to love?

The center square.

We found a hotel on-line. We were a little apprehensive due to the less than desirable pictures, but they served breakfast and were very reasonable. We went to the hotel, were pleasantly surprised, unloaded our things and went to the train station. As you can imagine an old city, surrounded by a moat doesn't have much parking so to save a few bucks we parked at the train station, took a bus into the center and planned to walk for the day and a half we were there.

We had a great view from our room.

It was very cold. We bit the bullet (we have oodles of hats for this boy once our stuff gets here in 3 weeks) and bought him this (and the matching gloves). It kept him toasty and he looks adorable in it. Most people when they saw him smiled and several would comment to us about how cute he was or we'd hear them chatting with their friend about 'the baby'. We agree with them completely.

An authentic Belgium waffle with chocolate.

After dinner we decided to head back to the hotel. We didn't want to get back too late and we didn't know where it was in relation to the center. We were happy to find that when turned the corner from the square we recognized what we saw. The hotel was less than a block from the center. It was the perfect location. We went back, gave our feet a break and let Kaben crawl around and then we headed back out.

We hadn't seen any pictures and didn't really know what to expect in Bruges. It felt like every corner we turned put us into a different puzzle or post card. Hence the reason this post has so many pictures, and this was after I went through them several times to cut some out.

Another view of the center.

Day 2

Church of Our Lady
This was my favorite stop. This cathedral is home to Michaelangelo's Madonna and Child. It is said to be the only Michelangelo statue to leave Italy during his lifetime.
I don't want to go into too much detail, but this statue really touched me. I think becoming a mom makes you see things differently and frankly me more emotional. :)

Seeing the way Christ is leaning on Mary's leg and their hands intertwined made their connection more real. To us He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and to her as well, but at the same time that was her boy, her sweet baby boy. I often reflect on Christ's suffering and sacrifice, but seeing this hit a little more close to home now. He was Mary's son and she had to witness most of what He went through. She couldn't stop them, she couldn't lift His burden. I can't even imagine the agony she must have felt.
Pictures just don't do it justice.

From the top of the bell tower. It views were gorgeous.

In the center they had a temporary stage set up. The kind they bring in for concerts and what not. Eager for a dry place to sit and eat we had a picnic on the stage. We had the best view around and had it all to ourselves!

In 1992 a hotel bought land with ruins dating back to 900 A.D. They built the hotel over them. In the basement they used the ruins as walls to a conference room and a small museum.

Our canal ride.

We decided we needed one more Belgium waffle before we headed out the next morning. FYI: To Belgiums waffles aren't breakfast food, they're a dessert.

Iepers, Belgium
4 to 4 1/2 hours

A great deal of WWI was fought in and near Iepers. There is so much history here. We spent one day here and are already planning to come back. The Belgiums have done a great job commemorating and remembering those who fought on their behalf. Both from Belgium and around the world.

Hill 62
Many battles were fought here. The hill has a memorial and has been dedicated to the Canadians who lost their lives fighting for Belgium. This is hallowed ground.

The cemeteries were beautifully maintained. I love how the headstones are in flower beds so there are always fresh flowers. The most impressive part was that I didn't see a single weed, and I looked. There are a lot of flower beds (this is only a small part of one of the many cemeteries), a lot of time is dedicated to honoring the fallen.

The old cloth hall in the center of Iepers (this is the building you can see from Hill 62). This is where the museum In Flanders Fields museum is. One of the best museums I've been to.

In Flanders Fields, The Christmas Truce. On Christmas Eve soldiers from both sides met in 'no man's land'** to exchange gifts and there was no fighting on Christmas. We read conflicting articles, but some said the truce lasted until after New Years.

**No Man's Land is the term used by soldiers to describe the ground between the two opposing trenches.

The ponds, or giant flooded craters were made when the British blew up a chateau the German's were using as a headquarters.

A bunker.

In the bunker. It was humbling to think that the 'lucky ones' got to be in here.
Some people are able to stand straight up in these 5 feet bunkers. Others have to crouch.

Some of the trenches.