Thursday, August 15, 2013


So earlier this summer we spent one month in Europe. At this point we've been home for a little over a month. I've spent a lot of time reflecting on the trip and here are a few thoughts:

Trip favorites:
  • Food: Without a doubt, the home cooking we were treated to in Austria at Ben and Missy's house.
  • Place we stayed: Innsbruck, Austria
  • Famous thing we visited/ saw: Michelangelo's statue of David.
Things that surprised me the most about Europe:
  • With the exception of France, everywhere we went people LOVED our kids. They wanted to hold Etta, dance with Aven, have little conversations. I was pleasantly surprised.
  • Air conditioning is rare and so are window screens. Europeans seem to happily coexist with insects of all kinds.
  • Traffic laws aren't enforced in person, typically only by camera and drivers seem to see traffic laws more as basic guidelines. But, we only saw one accident the entire month, and we drove about 2000 miles. I was impressed with the craziest sanest driving I've ever experienced.
Things I miss about Europe:
  • The dirt-cheap gelato and pastires.
  • The more open attitudes toward breastfeeding and nudity. Not that I want to run through the streets naked, but people definitely didn't have the hang-ups about it that we have here. While at Seefeld Lake, some motorcyclists sat down near us, took off all their motorcycle gear and ate their lunch in their underwear. That would be an arrestable offense here.
  • The old-world architecture. Seeing 800-1000 year old buildings everywhere you look is a good reminder that America is just a baby in terms of how long it's been a country.
Things I don't miss about Europe:
  • The smoking. I'm pretty sure that almost everyone smokes all the time in Europe. The waitress who served us at a restaurant we ate at in France even smoked while setting our table. It was pretty gross. By the time we came home I was SO ready to not have to smell cigarette smoke ALL THE TIME. All the anti-smoking laws we have here are a blessing.
  • Pay bathrooms. I didn't mind paying so much as I was annoyed at the number of bathrooms that required exact change. I didn't always have time to find exact change in the middle of Aven having a four-year-old potty emergency.
  • Our beloved Dacia Lodgy, the car we leased for the month which was manufactured in Romania. It was awful, just awful.
Things I would do different if given the chance:
  • Pay more money to stay closer to the city centers in both Florence and Nice.
  • Spend more time at the beach in France.
  • Spend more time in Venice. Ian is disappointed with our very unsatisfying five-hour whirlwind tour of the city on the water.
Overall, despite the very large price we paid to go on this trip, we are still incredibly glad that we did. It was definitely life changing.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Adventures in Babysitting

Once again I had the opportunity to watch Mica, son of Danny and Heidi, the wonderful friends who took care of our Grace Dog and our house while we were gallivanting across Europe earlier this summer. He is a super sweet and delightful 2-year-old. When he's here, he tries to emulate everything Aven, the cool 4-year-old, does and Etta tries to copy everything that he does. It's hilariously entertaining. It's also exhausting. While I love having Mica here, it is a very good reminder why Ian and I are sticking with two kids.

Today I got brave and took them to the aviary near our house. Mica and Etta rode in the wagon and Aven walked with me.

A nice lady offered to take a picture of the four of us together.

I got all three of them to hold still for a picture!

We got to see this sweet sight- a mommy flamingo feeding her baby.

As we were leaving the aviary Aven insisted on taking a turn pulling the wagon. In traditional 4-year-old style she got distracted by something and kept walking- right into a fence. I tried to stop her, but the wagon had a little too much momentum. After a lot of crying and blood I got the three of them packed in the wagon so that we could go home.
Aven faking a smile despite the fact that two seconds earlier she was acting as if she was about to bleed to death.