Friday, March 15, 2013

Alive and Well in Europe

So all is well in Europe - S has come and gone - taking the boy to Yo Gabba Gabba today. And, I have made it to Vienna. It has been unseasonably COLD the whole tour so far, and looks like it'll stay that way until we get home. Of course, at home it's beautiful and I'm missing the tulips! My mom sent me some photos of them at least. And, she has been so good to send photos of my boy every day. We have gotten to FaceTime most days as well, which has been oh so nice. I am a bit worried that will not continue into next week for two reasons. One - my mom leaves and S goes back to work, so there will be less flexibility to FaceTime when I am free; and two - my schedule gets jam packed for the next several days, traveling and playing each day as we go. Long days and short nights...so we shall see. 

I lost all the photos I took at Concertgebouw and also at a beautiful church near our hotel. Blast! Grr. But, these were taken with the small camera, which has now left and gone to Dallas with S. A look at some of Amsterdam follows:

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That is an Amsterdam police car. I took it for LM.

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That is a shopping mall.
At the time I snapped it, I thought it was the palace.
Shopping mall, palace. Whatever.

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He we are with what I THINK was the actual palace behind us.
But maybe not. 

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And this is us inside the dutch version of Harrod's - de Bijenkorf

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The Oude Kerk - the old church

Down on the edge of the famous red light district is the Oude Kerk. We walked down to see this historic place, and it's only open April-October. Oh well...

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Just near the oude kerk - a "coffee shop" where they sell pot.

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The Nieuwe Kerk

We also went by the Nieuwe Kerk - it's no longer a church - it's an exhibition space, and the current exhibition is "The American Indian" - aha. No thanks. Not what I'm interested in seeing while in Europe. No offense to the American Indian meant...



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Along the way we saw the Dam plaza, of course.

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And beautiful canals.

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Westerkerk

So, we headed over to the Westerkerk - still a church. But, closed on a Sunday afternoon. Wah-wah. Three churches, no actual entry. A few days later, I did go to the above mentioned church near the hotel. It was absolutely beautiful, and the light was wonderful when I was there. I wish I had photos. But no use dwelling on that!

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The cheese shop in the side of the church was open for business!

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S helped us get to and fro on the tram system. 
He was a great guide. Albeit, a cold one.

While we were at a runout concert outside of Amsterdam, S had some adventures of his own. I'll share those photos another day, as well as some photos I took at a very interesting art museum. When I have good wifi and some time again...stay tuned.

See you soon.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Missing My Boy Already

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So we are off to Europe now and I'm missing this sweet boy already. I know he'll have tons of fun with his Nana and his Nonna and Papaw. But I will miss him all the same!

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Luckily, I have lots of photos of him.

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That'll help.

See you soon.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Alexandra is 5!

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We celebrated Alexandra's birthday last weekend at a Build-A-Bear party. It was really the first time we had been in that store, and LM had a great time. Here are some photos of the fun:

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LM was sort of in a mood when we arrived.
Nothing Nonna couldn't fix.

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First, there were ground rules to cover.

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Then there were bears to pick.

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LM chose a monkey.

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Then they made wishes on their bear's hearts.
Miss Katherine took this part very seriously.
It was so cute.

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The hearts went in the bears after the wishes were complete.

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Then they took turns getting their animal filled with fluff.

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LM really enjoyed this whole process.

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Next, it was time to dress the animals.
Of course, LM's monkey became Spider-Man

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Happy boy dancing with his Spider Monkey

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Next, time for cake!
Or, as LM pointed out, cookie. Ahem.

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We sang Happy Birthday!

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And chowed down.

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Next Alexandra opened presents!

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While she did that, these two pushed their bear boxes around the mall...

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Later that night, we had pizza at Nonna and Papaw's with some extended family.
And the television babysat.

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Of course, there was dancing!

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And coloring. Fun times.

Happy Birthday Alexandra! Thank you for having us at your party!

Today S and I fly off to Europe for a trip with my job. My mom will watch the LM for us while we are away, and S will return next week. Then, I will return in just over two weeks. Posting will most likely be spotty during this time. I'll post when I have time, but it's going to be a crazy schedule for a few days! And, I'll miss my LM so much! But, we will FaceTime and it'll be over, I'll be back, and we'll be doing Easter Egg hunts lickety split. And, he will have fun with his grandparents and his Daddy.

See you soon.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Making Wine

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You might not realize this about my dear husband S, but he's a tad bit hard to buy for. Last fall, when I went on the Wine and Chocolate tour with my sisters-in-law, I got a great idea for a present for S. I bought him a gift certificate to make his own wine, and my mom went in on it with me. And, so far, it's a hit! He's loving it.

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My cutie patootie husband.

So, we went to the wine store, Two Corks and a Bottle, and we tasted wine! Then we brought some more wine home to taste. After all that tasting, which was fun all by itself, S chose the kind of wine he wanted to make. And, this last week, we met around lunchtime one day to sprinkle in the yeast and start making wine!

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Elwin and S

One of the two store owners, Elwin, took us to their production room where we learned a bit about their own wine making process. And, we took some sneak peeks at other people's wine making endeavors.

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There's the grape juice that will become S's wine.

The thing floating in the juice is a bag of oak chips - this is a really great way to get that oaky flavor in the wine throughout - Elwin said, actually better than in an oak barrel, because it moves throughout the liquid. 

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They had a few oak barrels around too, though.

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Elwin showed us another bin with wine that was already fermenting - see the difference?

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But this is even more amazing - this wine has been fermenting only for a few HOURS - already a big visual change from that juice.

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Elwin readied S's yeast.

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He explained it's pretty much just like the yeast you would bake with.

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Elwin instructed S to hit the juice, not the oak bag.

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He followed the instructions!

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That's it! We're making wine!

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After it ferments for six weeks, they will pull it through that wine press.

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And put the wine in a barrel like this, ready for bottling.

We will get to have a bottling party with some of our friends. Then, with this particular wine, it should stay in the bottle for about seven months before drinking it. So, it should be ready to drink for the holidays! It should be fun to taste it along the way and see how it changes.

See you soon.