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 – Australia, 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, Füssen, 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 Füssen before heading to Schwangau to see Neuschwanstein. Füssen 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 Dürnbräu, 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 Münchner 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 – more 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

Charleston

This past weekend, my girlfriends and I continued a 5+ year tradition of getting away together for the (long) weekend. We’ve done Napa, Fredericksburg (which I missed due to Celine being born), Nashville, and New Orleans, and this year we decided on Charleston! We were hoping for a charming Southern town with great food, and we weren’t disappointed.

After flying in on Friday afternoon, we headed out for dinner at our first stop: Poogan’s Porch. Our experience was slightly marred by sub-par service that resulted in a 3+ hour dinner, but we made the best of it (where were we going to go?). It was a charming, cute restaurant.IMG_0004IMG_0002IMG_0007IMG_0006IMG_0012IMG_0009

Towards the end of dinner, we glanced over and saw that Nat was circling places of interest on a map. Where did she get a printed map? No idea.IMG_0011

The next day, Michele and I decided to take a little run to check out the town while Nat and Lindsey walked around and Susanne and Lauren relaxed at the hotel.IMG_0013

After getting ready, we headed out to lunch at SNOB. It was delicious and the atmosphere was perfect!IMG_0017

We spent the afternoon wandering around, and then decided to grab a drink at a rooftop bar before heading in to change for our evening.IMG_0019IMG_0019 2IMG_0032IMG_0025IMG_0096

Our first stop of the evening was a haunted carriage ride. We learned a little history of the town and some fun ghost stories!IMG_0036IMG_0058

We headed over to Husk for a delicious dinner…I didn’t take any pictures because we were too busy eating, drinking, and getting shushed by the tables around us!

The next morning we peeled ourselves out of bed and had brunch at High Cotton, followed by a walking tour with Oyster Point Walking Tours. Our guide was absolutely amazing and not only did we learn so much, we were entertained as well!IMG_0078IMG_0084

With the rest of the day ahead of us with no plans (SO unlike us), we decided to head over to Sullivan’s Island and check out the beach. We had a good lunch at Poe’s Tavern and then walked down the boardwalk to the glittery sand. If I had stopped to think about our day’s activities, I probably wouldn’t have worn black jeans, but…it was fun anyway!IMG_0089IMG_0083IMG_0090IMG_0092

After we made our way back to Charleston and changed, we walked down the street to dinner at Fleet Landing. We were anticipating a fried-catfish kind of place, but it ended up being one of the best dinners.IMG_0105IMG_0108IMG_0110IMG_0109

Monday morning, Lindsey, Lauren, and Susanne headed to Boone Plantation while Nat, Michele, and I slept in and enjoyed our kidless morning.IMG_0138IMG_0140

We all met for lunch at 5 Church before heading to the airport. The restaurant was absolutely beautiful…the service was not so great.IMG_0118

All in all, it was such a wonderful trip, and I’m happy I can get away once a year to a fun location with these lovely ladies!

Celine: 2.11

One more month until we have a three year old! Maybe she’ll be more into taking these photos when she’s three?dsc_0417

Two big things happened this month…Celine is potty-trained, and she now has her big girl bed! The potty training went much more smoothly than with Louise. We tried one weekend, put her in pull-ups for the week at school, tried a second weekend…and then she was in panties at school and that was that. She still has to go #2 in a pull-up, but it’s super easy: she tells us she has to go, we put one on, she goes, we change her, and done. The only…not great…thing is that she has a training potty in her room, and she likes to pull out the bowl and show me that she went potty. Even if I’m in another room. Even if that room is across our house from her bedroom. Even if she spills the contents of the bowl while walking across the house to show me. *sigh*

We’re struggling a bit more with the big girl bed. She sleeps in it and absolutely loves it, so that’s good. The issue is getting her to actually SLEEP at night! Her average bedtime has been around 10:30 and it is negatively affecting everyone. I’m really hoping getting back on a school schedule and not taking marathon afternoon naps will help with this.dsc_0412

Celine is really into clothes now, and typically goes through 4-5 outfit changes per day on the weekends. She’s very opinionated about what she wants to wear – dresses are her #1 choice, always – and has a favorite dress (her “green dress”) that must be clean and available at all times. She frequently puts on her princess dresses as well, and her Rapunzel braid I made out of yarn for her Halloween costume is on its last leg. It’s cute, but she has a lot of clothes in her closet that are neglected!

She can open doors now, which hasn’t really affected anything but thought it was interesting to share. She uses this skill mainly to open her closet door and select a dress to change into.

Fall goals

Now that things have settled down a bit with the new jobs and the girls in school, I’ve started thinking about what I want to accomplish before the end of the year.

  1. Exercise
    1. My sister and I ran a half marathon in 2007 and it really helped us both get in shape. In fact, I can’t remember a time I was more proud of my body than when I ran that half marathon. We’ve been throwing around the idea of running another one, even though we’re significantly older and have significantly more post-baby weight on us. We found one in Dallas in January that might be the perfect fit so I think we’re going to go for it. If I could get in half the shape I was the last time I will consider it a success!
    2. I’ve started running in the morning, which I love except for the fact that it’s in the morning. I am NOT a morning person, but being able to run when it’s not 100 degrees outside and getting it over with before the day starts are two major benefits. I know I’ll move to evenings the second it cools down, mainly because I love running with the girl(s) in the jogging stroller.
  2. Diet
    1. Michael and I have both not been doing a great job with our diet, particularly when it comes to alcohol. We decided to cut back on alcohol intake; specifically, not drink during the week unless there is a specific event. It’s helped us feel better every morning and reduce our daily caloric intake.
    2. I also have been monitoring what I eat which has helped. I am on semi-permanent birth control called Nexplanon which makes most women gain weight, and I’ve definitely seen the scale creep up. I’m adjusting my diet to hopefully counteract this. I also might be removing the Nexplanon soon…#spoileralert #butwhatamIspoiling #morekidsornomorekids?
  3. Travel
    1. Now that I’m with Hotels.com, my travel bug has increased dramatically. The company encourages travel (of course), and there are some serious travel perks. We’ve managed to fit in two trips to the Lost Pines resort this summer, along with Pensacola and Massachusetts vacations with family. Ideally we’d hit up New Orleans again (we’ve been for Juliette’s baptism, Mardi Gras, and a summer wedding so far) before our Christmas trip, but there’s also an event in Austin in early November I’ve been playing around with attending.
  4. Read
    1. One of the benefits of traveling more for work is that I get to read SO MUCH MORE. It’s kind of amazing, actually. I am so excited to finally get caught up on some reading…I’ve already added eight or so books to my Goodreads account.
    2. I’m stuck on Wolf Hall currently because it’s interesting but not a page-turner, and it’s over 600 pages long. I’ve made it over the halfway hump though so hopefully I’ll finish it soon because I want to get started on The Nightingale!
  5. Personal time
    1. It’s been kind of crazy lately, however, Mike and I have done a really good job of making sure we each have personal time (either alone or with adults) so we don’t go crazy with the kids. He and I both can tell, especially with me, when we feel overwhelmed or when we don’t have enough time to recharge.
  6. Documenting
    1. This blog is mainly a journal for me to remember things, versus something I post for others to see (except family members). So much is happening with my girls right now, but I need to do a better job of documenting, because it goes by so fast (cliche alert!).
    2. I put together a photo book for each calendar year, along with a separate photo book for each year of Louise and Celine’s lives. I always procrastinate and then am overwhelmed with the amount of work I have to do to complete the books at the beginning of the year. I haven’t started my 2016 book yet, and though typically I try to complete one month of their lives each month, I haven’t started either of the girls’ “Year 5” and “Year 3” books, even though they’re both almost halfway through their years. I would really like to put a big dent in the 2016 book and get a few months knocked out of each girls’ books in the next month before the holidays hit.

Mozzarella making

I was doing research a couple of weeks ago on something Michael and I could do for our anniversary (it’s in two months but, you know…I’m a planner), and I came across an article that had “8 fun dates to do in Dallas.” I realized we could branch out a bit in our husband-and-wife time and maybe do some unique things. The first one that stuck out to me was mozzarella making! I mentioned it to Michael and he immediately started making jokes about “a-makin’ the mozzarell,” so I figured he was on board. I reserved a time and off we went today to Deep Ellum to make some mozzarella.

It started off with an introduction from the woman who started Mozzarella Company, Paula, along with a tour and some fun facts about cheese.
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We started out by making ricotta, which is basically milk and lemon juice. Mike was one of the burly, strong men recruited to help carry the milk.
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We juiced some lemons and poured it into the boiling milk, and…voila, ricotta!
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We scooped the ricotta out and had a taste.
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Then it was mozzarella making time!
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We ended the experience with a cheese tasting of the other wines they make, with wine. We also got to leave with the mozzarella, ricotta, and two other cheeses we made.  All in all it was a really fun and different experience!

Llamas

About a month ago, my mom emailed my brother’s girlfriend and I asking when we were available in June for a ladies’ day. We found a Saturday we were all available and she then let us know that she signed us up for a LLAMA WALK. I did not know those existed but was very intrigued!

The place we were going was very close to my parent’s house, so we met there and headed over. I was imagining we would each get a llama but we ended up rotating among the six they had.The guide was very nice and gave us a lot of information about llamas (Mike called them “llama facts”). The main one I remembered was that llamas are pregnant for a year, and male llamas basically impregnate female llamas every chance they get, and llamas get pregnant basically every attempt because they spontaneously ovulate. Being a lady llama seems pretty stressful to me!

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
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