House needs: 2017 Update

We’ve been a little slower in making our house updates, but the last couple of pieces have had a big impact in our living room! We had an odyssey trying to set up our fireplace, but after a contractor and plumber visit to turn on the gas line, and incorrect gas logs shipped and returned, we finally have our fireplace set up with gas logs (donated from our next door neighbor) and our screen!

We also finally ordered shutters for the two windows and french door windows in our living room. I love the way they look – it “finishes” the room for me.6.5.17 Shutters 16.5.17 Shutters 26.5.17 Shutters 3

These two updates make last year’s house needs list look like this:

Dresser for Louise
Some kind of bookcase for the den
A mantle
Gas logs and a screen for the fireplace
Shutters
A console for the den that doesn’t cover the vents but has storage
An updated piece of furniture for under the TV in the living room
A bench for our bedroom
A headboard for the guest bed (really a guest room makeover)
Update the garage

Not bad, I’d say! I have added to the list since then, of course:

Big-girl room update for Celine
Desk for Michael
Desk chair for Michael
Roman shades for the French doors in the master and guest bedrooms
Roman shade for window over the sink
Fence
Windows for the four big square ones
Shutters for the four big square ones
Solid-core doors

Louise’s first sleepover

One of the “presents” Mike and I decided to give Louise for her birthday was a sleepover with a friend. She’s been pestering us about it nonstop, and although we were apprehensive because she’s still pretty young for something like that, we relented. This past Saturday, our friends the Ederas came over and we visited and ate dinner, and then Lily’s parents and baby brother went back to their house for the night and she stayed over!

We told my parents about the sleepover and they asked if we wanted to ship Celine off to their house for the evening to make it easier on us. This worked out perfectly – Celine loved the one-on-one time with Grandma and Papa (and the animals), and allowed us to focus our time and energy on Louise and Lily.

Because Lily’s family was over until about 7pm, there wasn’t a ton of time we needed to fill with activities. Besides, Lily and Louise raced off to Louise’s room and played by themselves for over an hour. It was nice to have two kids playing with minimal fighting – unlike when Louise and Celine play!

Once Lily’s family left, we put the girls in their pajamas. I was a little excited about the sleepover and brought Louise to Old Navy to pick out matching pj’s for them both (and Celine too). Look at these two cuties!6.12.17 Sleepover 16.12.17 Sleepover 2

We set up some blankets for movie watching and let Lily pick what she wanted to watch. She selected Frozen. I thought Louise might get bored since we’ve moved on from Frozen (all Moana, all the time), but they watched Frozen like it was the first time, giggling their way through it. I popped some popcorn for them to enjoy while watching even though we just had dinner.6.12.17 Sleepover 36.12.17 Sleepover 4

There was a slight scuffle over who got to have the Elsa part of the blanket directly over their body. Understandable…Mike and I have that disagreement all the time. ūüôā6.12.17 Sleepover 5

It was about 9:15 after the movie was over, so we had them brush their teeth and Mike read them a story.6.12.17 Sleepover 6

They giggled in bed for a bit, but they were asleep by around 10:15pm. I’d call that a success!6.12.17 Sleepover 76.12.17 Sleepover 86.12.17 Sleepover 9

The next morning we had donuts and played for a couple of hours before we dropped Lily off at her house on our way to pick up Celine. All in all it was a wonderful experience…looking forward to when Louise has a sleepover at someone else’s house! ūüôā

DIS 2016-2017: TPS (Celine) and MS (Louise)

Louise had a great year in Pre-K, and Celine did a great job adapting to a new school this past year. We’re loving DIS!

Of course I took the obligatory first day/last day photos. There is a torrential downpour happening today so the photos are a bit different, but what are you going to do.6.9.17 Lasy day of school6.9.17 Last day 16.9.17 Last day 2

Their teachers post pictures occasionally throughout the year…here are some highlights.

Celine first:5.1.17 Celine in class 15.1.17 Celine in class 25.1.17 Celine in class 35.1.17 Celine in class 45.1.17 Celine in class 65.1.17 Celine in class 85.1.17 Celine in class 95.1.17 Celine in class 115.1.17 Celine in class 125.1.17 Celine in class 135.1.17 Celine in class 155.1.17 Celine in class 165.1.17 Celine in class 175.1.17 Celine in class 185.1.17 Celine in class 195.1.17 Celine in class 205.1.17 Celine in class 215.1.17 Celine in class 225.1.17 Celine in class 236.5.17 School 26.9.17 Celine 16.9.17 Celine 26.9.17 Celine 3

And Louise!5.1.17 Louise in class 15.1.17 Louise in class 25.1.17 Louise in class 35.1.17 Louise in class 45.1.17 Louise in class 56.5.17 School 16.5.17 School 36.5.17 School 4

Not the greatest picture since she’s hidden, but this is her class!5.1.17 Louise in class 65.1.17 Louise in class 7

May/June goals

May goals: I’m about half and half. I really need to get going on the photo books!!

  1. Not fall completely off the exercise bandwagon.
    1. I guess you could say I haven’t…I’ve worked out about 2x per week, not including our Germany trip. Still not as strong as I was earlier this year.
  2. Celine’s photo book – only five left to do (months 8-12)! I can do it!
    1. I did not do it.
  3. Louise’s photo book. This might bleed into June, considering I’m farther behind it than Celine’s.
    1. Yup…definitely bleeding into June.
  4. Declutter toys Рspecifically, donate all too-young toys and trash the broken/parts-missing ones.
    1. Hey! I actually did this! I pulled a bunch of infant and younger toddler toys out of their various nooks and crannies and have them boxed up for donation. We also had various bins filled with parts of toys that I just trashed.
  5. Organize the kids’¬†hall closet. This includes moving all linens, drapes, pillows, etc to bins in the garage, and adding designated spaces for themed toys (Play-Doh, musical instruments, etc).
    1. I didn’t really move the linens, but I DID organize the closet! It’s so much easier for the girls to grab what they want now, and it gives a home to the toys that have a lot of components. I threw away a couple of old pillows and made room for the girls’ 4,291 blankets.IMG_7962

June goals:

  1. Get back on the workout bandwagon
  2. Celine and Louise’s photo books. I only have three more months for Celine so I’m pretty confident I can at least get hers done by the end of the month.
  3. Organize the girls’ art from the past school year. I want to do two things: pare down what I’ve kept to the ones that mean the most and put them in a portfolio box, and scan them in so I can eventually create a photo book with all of their art. (What’s my deal with photo books?)
  4. Put the shower curtain up in the girls’ bathroom. Since we bathe them, we haven’t had a need for a shower curtain. However, I think it’s time that Louise start taking showers at least some of the time, so I want the curtain there for when we’re ready to make that leap!
  5. I have two Mike goals (things I want done but would rather Mike do them): change our air filters and clean our gutters.

Haydel European Vacation

Way back in December, my work planned a big meeting in London in May. I (along with many of my co-workers) quickly started scheming for a way to extend the trip for some fun. Through quite a bit of planning, I worked it out for Mike to meet me in London on the last day of my work trip and head to Munich together for four days. We did some serious coordination with both sets of parents: we had Mike’s parents flying in to watch the girls for a few days, followed by my parents taking the reins for the next three days. We are so grateful that our girls have such amazing grandparents that could fill in for us while we were gone!

My trip to London was a whirlwind, full of big meetings and lots of post-work team bonding.

Tuesday: London
Steps walked: 15,288 / 8.73 miles

I had Indian food for the first time at a delightful place called Dishoom:5.24.17 DishoomIMG_7643

Wednesday: London
Steps walked: 7,750 / 4.49 miles

We had a pub crawl the night before I left for Germany, which started out as great fun and devolved into a little too much imbibing and not enough eating food. However, it was fantastic bonding time and I got to put a bunch of faces to names of my coworkers across the globe. Literally РAustralia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo, London, and of course Dallas were all represented!5.24.17 Pub crawlIMG_7651

Thursday: London –> Munich
Steps walked: 6,617 / 3.58 miles

The next day I dragged myself out of bed and finished up work meetings, then headed to the airport. I met Mike there and we headed to our hotel in Munich, The Platzl hotel.IMG_7670IMG_7674

We got in around 8pm, dropped off our stuff, and headed to dinner. We jumped right in to Bavarian food with schweinshaxe, or roasted pork knuckle, and beer!5.25.17 Germany 15.25.17 Germany 2IMG_7678

We were pretty beat after that, so we went back to our hotel room and went to bed.

Friday: Munich
Steps walked: 14,489 / 8.31 miles

Friday was one of our free days, so we spent it sleeping in and walking around the main areas of Munich, taking selfies. Places like: Marienplatz!IMG_0790

Englischer Garten!IMG_7719

…other places!IMG_7696IMG_7706IMG_0791IMG_0767

We stumbled across the Chinesischer Turm beer garden while we were in the park…so naturally, we stopped for beer and brats. IMG_0769IMG_0770

After lunch, we decided to head back towards our hotel and grab a beer at the legendary Hofbräuhaus before taking a break and getting ready for dinner.IMG_7722

We ended up planning things perfectly, as it started raining/hailing not two minutes after we returned to our hotel room, and it stopped about 20 minutes before we headed out for dinner. Our dinner was at Schwarzreiter – I wanted a nice dinner to celebrate Mike’s birthday and this place definitely fit the bill!IMG_7733IMG_7732

The food was delicious, but to be honest we were a little tipsy from the afternoon beers and so everything was wonderful! You could choose a meal with anywhere from four to seven courses. We ended up choosing five courses each, from different menus, so we could sample each other’s food. They were very relaxed with the delivery of the courses and our dinner ended up being nearly four hours long! Luckily we had no other plans that evening and left full and happy.

Saturday: Linderhof castle, Plansee lake, F√ľssen, Neuschwanstein castle
Steps walked: 19,190 / 10.81 miles

We awoke Saturday morning ready for a full day of driving around. We set up a semi-private tour with Pure Bavaria Tours to drive us to Linderhof and Neuschwanstein castles. Our tour guide, Andy, was great, and customized the trip to what we wanted.

Our first stop out of the gate was Linderhof castle. It took us a little over an hour to drive there, and once we arrived we hiked up to the castle and took a tour of the inside (no pictures were allowed). King Ludwig II of Bavaria had it built in the style of mid-18th century Rococo – aka Versailles. (Yes I had to look that up on Wikipedia because I already have forgotten the details). As you could imagine, it was very ornate, with gold leaf walls and lots of small porcelain vases. Ludwig was also a fan of peacocks and swans, so there was a lot of that going on as well – including an ENORMOUS swan fanning around outside. The outside of the castle was equally as beautiful, even more so as it was framed by the Alps.IMG_0799IMG_7747IMG_7758

There may have been some frolicking.IMG_0785

Ok…maybe just me.IMG_0798

After a quick snack, we got back in the van for our next stop. Originally we were going to look at some churches, but Andy suggested driving across the border to Austria to see Plansee lake. We opted for that – although it was super cold, the lake was beautiful! We were also a little delighted at how easy it was to hop on over to another country for an hour or so.IMG_08005.25.17 Germany 5

Following our Austrian excursion, we headed back to Germany. We took a quick stop in the town of F√ľssen before heading to Schwangau to see Neuschwanstein.¬†F√ľssen was cute but pretty much there for tourists, so we grabbed a couple of snacks, took a couple of pics, and were on our way.IMG_0788IMG_0801

And we were off to Neuschwanstein! Fun fact: “schwan” in German means swan. This Ludwig II character was seriously into birds.

We started by hiking up to Hohenschwangau castle, which is basically across the street from Neuschwanstein and much, much older. I think it was built in the 14th century, versus Neuschwanstein was built in the 19th century (thanks again, Wikipedia). We didn’t go inside Hohenschwangau but the views from it were amazing.IMG_77875.25.17 Germany 4

Once again, our tour guide pulled through. Andy asked us if we wanted to hike off-trail to get a view of both castles, and we of course said yes. We hiked for probably 30 minutes or so to the ruins of an old castle, and through the trees you could see both Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein. It was pretty cool.IMG_0804

This is the plaque commemorating the castle’s ruins.5.25.17 Germany 3

We hiked back down and caught the bus up to Neuschwanstein. First we walked across the (rickety!!) bridge to get THE picture with the castle.IMG_7798IMG_7800IMG_7807

Then we took a tour of the inside which was quick but very interesting. Ludwig II was inspired by different styles and incorporated many of them into various rooms at the castle.

On our way down we could see¬†Hohenschwangau, so we took some pics. It was really picturesque…you could see why all of the kings wanted to live here!5.25.17 Germany 65.25.17 Germany 7

We were pretty beat after twelve hours of sightseeing, so when we got back to Munich we had a quick dinner of schnitzel (and beer, of course) at the Hofbräuhaus before crashing in bed.5.25.17 Germany 85.25.17 Germany 9

Sunday: Dachau, Munich
Steps walked: 12,256 / 6.87 miles
We woke up on Sunday morning ready for another day of walking around. We set up a guided tour of Dachau concentration camp with Radius Tours. We met them at the train station (hauptbahnhof) and took the ~15 minute train ride to Dachau. Our tour guide, Jeff, gave us a quick history of the origination of Dachau as we rode the train. When we got off, we took a bus to the camp and started the tour.

I’ve been to Dachau before but haven’t had a guided tour, so it was nice to have someone guide us around and provide context beyond what we could read on the placards. The part that affected me the most the first time around was the crematorium, and Mike felt the same way as we walked through. After about three hours, we were ready to leave.5.25.17 Dachau 15.25.17 Dachau 25.25.17 Dachau 35.25.17 Dachau 4

After getting back from Dachau, we had lunch at an old beer hall called Zum D√ľrnbr√§u, which was recommended by our tour guide from the day before.5.25.17 Germany 105.25.17 Germany 11

We had signed up for a walking tour of the Third Reich in Munich following Dachau, but we were so exhausted that we decided instead to take a nap before heading out for dinner. We decided on Haxnbauer since it seemed to always be busy and it was less than one block away. Good choice – it was Mike’s favorite meal and I enjoyed it as well! I thought we took pics but I cannot find them.

As usual, we ended our night at Hofbräuhaus.5.25.17 Germany 125.25.17 Germany 13

Monday: Munich
Steps walked: 8,978 / 4.94 miles
Our last full day in Germany was another free day, so we started by going to the Viktualienmarkt for breakfast and caffeine.5.25.17 Munich 15.25.17 Munich 2 5.25.17 Munich 3

We mulled over what to do next and decided on M√ľnchner Residenz, the former home of Bavarian monarchs of the House of Wittelsbach. Much of the palace was destroyed during WWII, but two rooms remained that were pretty awe-inspiring: the¬†The Hall of Antiquities (Antiquarium), built between 1568-1571, and the Ancestral Gallery.

The Antiquarium was a surprise to us. We turned the corner and both visibly gasped. The room itself is enormous and completely adorned with frescoes, sculptures, and paintings. It was impressive what has remained intact over centuries!5.25.17 Munich 45.25.17 Munich 125.25.17 Munich 55.25.17 Munich 6

The Ancestral Gallery was also interesting because of the sheer effort the Wittelsbach family put into legitimizing their line. So many paintings of the family members, and a family tree that starts with the gods.And of course, gold leaf.5.25.17 Munich 75.25.17 Munich 8

After the Residence, we did a little bit more sightseeing before heading back to the Viktualienmarkt for lunch Рmore sausages and french fries. And beers!5.25.17 Munich 105.25.17 Munich 95.25.17 Munich 115.25.17 Munich 135.25.17 Munich 14

After that, we ended up going to bed a bit early to prepare for our long day of travel back to Dallas the next day.

Munich was awesome and we were so lucky to be able to spend a few days there together. It was hard to pick our favorite part of the trip because each piece was unique and interesting in its own way. I also greatly enjoyed putting my memories of Bavaria in context and revisiting a place after 15+ years.

Goodbye Germany!! We hope to see you again soon!5.25.17 Munich 15

Mother’s Day

I had to leave to London for work on Mother’s Day, so early on I wanted to plan something with the girls and my mom to get some QT before I headed out. I decided on brunch at the Arboretum, and it was a hit! I dressed the girls up in smocked dresses and we headed out.IMG_7599IMG_7600

All the ladies!IMG_7611IMG_7620

It was a lovely brunch and it was nice to get the grandmas together for some quality time!