Thursday, March 4, 2010

Berlin Road Trip!

Road Trip! Say no more....

Well ... I'd like to say a lil sumpin - we had so much fun on our road trip from Heidelberg to Berlin (633km, about a 6hr drive). John and I decided it would be fun to drive instead of taking the train - and in this case it was also less expensive.

The primary purpose of our two day getaway ... the Owl City concert. The artist is a guy who made music in his folks' basement, uploaded it to myspace, and became an undergroud guru break-out singer.

Essentially, he's a geek who makes good music and the teenagers who still live with us asked, "Hey, can we go?" In a moment of weekness, very early on a Saturday morning - we said "Yes"?? The warm-up act was Lights - her live performance is crazy better than her recordings... perhaps it was the wicked base!

And I'm so glad we did - it was good times together: in the car, time in Berlin, a hole-in-the-wall hotel that's a real gem, and a couple great performances in a venue that hold 250 people standing shoulder to shoulder.

Truck stop on the way to Berlin

John and Flower at our lunch stop - too cute!

Joe outside the Magnet Disco - "sold out" meant the scalpers were on the sidewalk trying to get their mitts on our hot, hot tickets.

Flower and Joe gettin' their party on.

Us setting up a beach head away from Joe and Flower.

Our view of the stage - Lights performing

Flower and Joe entrenched themselves NEXT TO the stage - in front of a subwoofer and below a hanging speaker. We expect them to have hearing loss.

Joe and I took a walkabout the neighborhood before the concert. Here he is just after buying some fruit to go with dinner.

Who needs a rolling hot dog cart when the vendor becomes the cart??

Loved the architecture.

This was the view of the hotel parking lot from our room. This is the entire parking lot.

Euro potty. Yep - that's the shower behind the toilet and yep - that's a full size, climb-out window in the shower. Plenty of towels. But - this hotel room was really an apartment with lots of room and a full-size kitchen.

The MOST EXOTIC breakfast we've had at a hotel - and this was included in the price of the room. There were so many delicacies: pancetta wrapped around a cream cheese spread, stuffed mushrooms, olives stuffed with a luscious spread, shrimp salad, latkes, meatballs, tomato slices with mozzerella and basil, scrambled eggs with ham chunks, ... and the rest of a typical european breakfast spread. And, it just looks pretty.

Love these guys!

So glad we could party with these two.

I was most surprised with all the art around Berlin. We drove through many different areas of Berlin and we saw art in every kind of neighborhood. It was outstanding and so uplifting.

Concerts, Berlin, and road trips with my people is totally where it's at.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


It's that time of year again.... time to get your party on and attend Fasching! It's a celebration tied to Lent somehow - but is designed to scare away the demons of winter. Sounds like Mardi Gras with a sprinkling of Groundhog's Day.

The parade runs through town and down the Haupstrasse (a 1.1 km walking route lined with shops, restaurants, banks, plazas, etc. Joe and I decided to walk to the center of town to enjoy the full compliment of the festivities. There were a ton of costumes, crazy hats, and face painting ... and that was just the spectators.

"Joe, please stand over by the carousel for the little guys - I want to take your picture."

Joe buying a Nutella crepe.

The two of us making our way to the Bismarkplatz.

We staked out a great spot, but just before the parade we switched to the other side of the street for a better exit strategy.

I love this guy.

Certainly, there was a heavy police presence....

.... with face paint!

Part of 'scaring off the demons of winter' inspired plenty of costumes. This 'old witch' was the pre-game show while we waited for the parade to start. She rallied and teased the crowd and was rewarded with plenty of applause and laughter. The wee ones standing near us kept hollering something. I asked Joe, "what are they saying?" He had to listen carefully (kids talk funny in all languages, eh?) and heard, "Hexa." The little kids kept calling the for the witch so they would be teased, etc. It was so cute ... I can neither confirm nor deny that I joined the kindergartners and shouted for the hexa.

This guy is wearing a friar's robe, a blue Santa Claus hat with holes, and drinking a beer... and he's partying with his momz? We couldn't quite figure it out - later we saw he'd pulled down the hat over his face ski-mask-style. I suppose some things are better left a mystery.

A really good marching band. Every member of every band we saw was wearing face paint. Nothing quite like a rousing band at a parade.

Joe's friend from school stopped by the apartment after we got home to show us her costume - looks fantastic!
A good walk, lots of people, costumes and face paint, an outrageous confetti cannon, and being there with Joe... totally where it's at.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Reasons Why...

One day at a time for the last thirteen years these people have encouraged me to become a better person. I'm not sure they would say that, but that's my reality. My moment of clarity was real simple, "if you keep doing what you're doing, you're gonna lose your kids." Ok.

Today, I have a great life. John is an amazing husband. The kids make me laugh. And because I want sobriety more than I don't, I'll keep coming back.

Flower, Joe, Marie, Jack
Dec 2009 - Heidelberg Germany

Joe, Flower, Marie, Jack
Oct 2007 - St. Charles, Missouri
taken the day before Jack left for his mission to Russia

John (red shorts) at the finish line of the MS150
SO proud of him!
Aug. 2007 - Columbia, Missouri

Jack, Joe, Flower, Marie
Aug 2007 - Nauvoo, Illinois

Jack, Flower, Marie, Joe
June 2007 - St. Charles, Missouri

Jack, Flower, Marie, Joe
Summer 2007 - St. Charles, Missouri

Flower, Marie, Jack, Joe
Dec 2006 - Honolulu, Hawaii

February 2005 - Washington, DC

Marie, Jack, Joe, Flower
July 2005 - Washington, DC

Outside our house in DC - 2005

Flower, Jack, Joe, John, Marie
Summer 2004 - Nauvoo, Illinois

Jack, Marie, Joe, Flower
Aug 2003 - St. Charles, Missouri
our house on Lindenwood Ave.
December 2002 - St. Charles, Missouri

Flower, Jack, Marie, Joe
Jun 2001 - St. Charles, Missouri
taken a week before our trip to the temple

John, Flower, Jack, Joe, Marie, Julia
Easter 1999 - Rhinelander, Wisconsin
Marie's First Holy Communion

Marie, Flower, Jack, Joe
Spring 1996 - Melbourne, Florida
Family is where it's at.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Christmas Vacation 2009 - Day Seven

The final day of our Christmas Vacation was a travel day - headed for home in Heidelberg Germany. We didn't have to start at a crazy-early hour ... which was very nice.

At the centrail train station we mailed a few post cards, enjoyed a hot chocolate, and made our way to the right platform. We took the ICE from Brussels to Frankfurt.

Usually when we travel by train, we prefer to sit in an enclosed little compartment that seats 6 people and has a lovely table. In the past we've watched movies, shared songs, napped, and told stories all in the privacy of our own enclosure with a sliding glass door. This time however, we enjoyed the Panorama Suite. It's a collection of 8 seats just behind the train engineer's "flight deck." While the train is at the station, the floor to ceiling glass is opaque, but as soon as he/she pulls away, the wall of glass clears up and passengers can see out the front of the train and watch the engineer at the controls. Talk about super cool! They were great seats.

After arriving in Frankfurt, we had just enough time to grab a plate of our favorite chinese noodles (and a couple take-home containers) before hopping on the train to Heidelberg. We arrived at the hauptbahnhof (central train station) then took a local train to the stop just 3 blocks from our house.

It was great to walk in the door at home after being away for a week. The trip was wonderful and so memorable. Most of us learned from previous trip to pack lighter and the traveling was much easier. I was glad we made the effort and took the time to be together.

Central train station in Brussels.
Jack, Marie, Flower, John, & Joe

Peeking out from behind a piece of art in the Brussels station.

On the platform before boarding the train for home.

Working a crossword puzzle ... in ink.

"Look here!"

Jack doesn't look interested in the puzzle and John appears to be feeding Flower the answers.

The train engineer's control center. So cool.

A reflection of John.

Jack and Flower on the trip to Frankfurt. The seats are on raised platforms - stadium style for a better view.

Just arrived in Frankfurt!
Joe, Marie, Jack, Flower, & John

Waiting for the local train in Heidelberg to take us from the hbf to home.
Joe, Flower, John, Jack & Marie

The holidays with my people, seeing new and fantastic sights, and arriving home safely is where it's at.