about a dream: August 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

and to continue to fill in on the last few days...

because i don't feel like cleaning up the kitchen just yet...

friday, oma and i took the girls to a water park. great fun! they had a kiddie area with a pool that was up to about maggie's waist and had some sprinklers in it and a water slide. so fun! the slide was great, it was flat enough at the bottom that the kids didn't shoot into the water and risk going under. nina loved it, and maggie insisted on going down too. of course she loved it, i had to ride down with her on my lap about a dozen times. well, i didn't mind. it was fun!

we also played in the deeper adult pool. there were 2 tall water slides that the girls were too little for, but i see many more water parks in our future. good times.

saturday we went walking up in that park behind the casino in baden. there is a small petting zoo at the top, so we fed some goats. also good fun. maggie wasn't much for walking up hill (the petting zoo was at the top of a decent-sized hill). a few times she wanted to be put down, took 2 steps, stopped and reached up to be picked up again. she knows when she's got it good!

then on sunday, nick's friend peter wohrer came for a visit. such a nice guy, we had fun catching up.

that's it! it's been a wonderful visit!


we went to the zoo on monday. great fun! the kids especially liked the giraffes, penguins, rhino, and tigers. the giraffes were right up close to us and they were SO BIG! i didn't realize giraffes were that big. enormous. maggie kept saying "wow!"

the zoo also had a fantastic playground and surprisingly good, while unsurprisingly overpriced, french fries (one of maggie's new words by the way). i'm downloading pics right now, but since we took a lot, it's taking a while. nick and i keep disagreeing about how many photos is too many. i say there is no such thing as too many photos of our beautiful chillins, he says they take up too much space (that would be e-space for you older readers. these days, "the pictures are taking up too much space" has nothing to do with the bookcase. ah how times change!).

now we're just getting ready to head home! nina really misses maine. i told her we were going back to NY tomorrow and she said 'no we're not! we're going back to maine!' the panic! i corrected myself.

so, we are in the princess phase full-throttle. i think being around all these castle ruins and palaces is feeding the frenzy. i had to call nina cinderella today. maggie was princess aurora (that's sleeping beauty's name for all you non-princess immersed folk), while i got the pleasure of responding to "evil stepmother" or sometimes, just "evil mother." like, "evil mother, princess aurora wants some water." maggie's happy to be princess aurora today though--yesterday, nina was snow white and maggie was dopey. dopey! i told nina that maggie should be happy instead, but nina pointed out that dopey and maggie both don't talk... ouch. poor maggie! i have no idea how she learned about the whole snow white story line, we haven't seen the movie. of course, the best ("best") was when i warned nina that if she didn't listen to me, i was going to put her in time out, and she responded, "you can't put me in time out, i'm a princess." oh! oma and i looked at each other and tried very hard not to laugh (and succeeded!). i swear, nina must have had some ideas about how 4 year olds act, because she started acting differently when she turned 4. and true to her promise, she gave up nuk! we're very proud of her for that, of course. she still falls asleep with it, but no nuk all day long. awww!

wow, the photos are just over half way downloaded. well, i will try to put some zoo pics up when they're done, but first i have to clean up the kitchen.

i will call tomorrow after we land mom!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


wow! we went to the austrian national treasury the other day, where they have on display such priceless treasures as the imperial crown, scepter, and sphere of the holy roman empire. these things were built in 962! i had no idea such ancient treasures were going to be on display.

it was awesome. we have a few pics, which i will upload as soon as i can.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

musical maggie

maggie can sing 5 songs, as far as i can tell:

the itsy-bitsy spider
head, shoulders, knees and toes
the ahh-ahh-ahh tune from the little mermaid
twinkle twinkle little star
it's a wonderful world

when she sings it's a wonderful world, she sings the line "the bright blessed day" as
"da ba baba daaa," the rest is less audible word-wise, but she has the tune down.

anyway, yesterday we were at a park with suzy and her daughter hannah, and maggie was digging in the wood chips singing it's a wonderful world, and it was too cute. then, on the train home, nina was singing it, delighting our fellow passengers. awww.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

check out our hike!

today we went for a hike in the Naturpark Hohe Wand (translation: High Wall Nature Park). it's about a 45 minute drive from here. wow! check out our pics:

view from the "skywalk." we drove to a parking lot about 2 km from this point and hiked the rest of the way. nina did great, maggie just wanted to play in the dirt and was furious when we tried to carry her. so, it was slow going.

oh, you can just barely see a parasailor in the middle of this photo. it's tiny. but, there were about a dozen of them. maggie kept pointing to them and saying "wow!"

a bit hazy because it was almost 90 today. but the woods were cool and shady, it was only sunny when we got to the skywalk.

the skywalk! aunt marilyn's worst nightmare. :-) it was so cool.

here you can see how it's cantilevered out about 30 feet.

looking down. scary! looking down from the end of the skywalk was even scarier. i couldn't bring myself to take a picture!

we all walked back together for about 1 km to a restaurant/inn, and then nick and anne went on to the car while i waited there with the girls. they were tuckered out and fell asleep on the way home.

cool though, huh?! nick and anne had never been either. nina had been asking to go over the hills since we got here, so nick found this for us. i'm so glad we went! nick says this "hill," which is a bit more plateau-ish because it's flat on top, is part of the voralpen (fore-alps), which is what all the hills in the baden area are considered part of. so, not technically in the alps. i'm not sure where the alps technically start. anyway, i'll put more pictures on facebook right now.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

fourth birthday!

here are pictures from the little princess's birthday:

her cake. it had princesses on it

ariel doll

blowing out her candles

maggie at the play place

the girls in the ball pit

Thursday, August 13, 2009

gooey wooey

for some fun this afternoon the girls were playing on oma and opa's balcony with some water in a little tub. i made some little boats from newspaper for them to play with in the water, which they crumpled and sank immediately. the soggy newspaper was dubbed gooey-wooey, and nina sang a long song about gooey-wooey, adding ever more newspaper. it was a mess, but they were having fun. nina was elbow deep in her gooey-wooey and said:

nina: it just doesn't get any better than this. (pause) can i have some more newspaper?
me: sure (hands nina more newspaper)
nina: this is even better.

what a funny kid. i can't believe she turns 4 tomorrow!!!!!!!!

in other news, i am wearing one of nick's shirts right now. maggie was talking to me, then started playing with the collar and said, "papa shirt." her language is really exploding.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

is it wednesday already??

it's almost 10 and maggie is awake! she fell asleep easily at 7 tonight, but has been restless and wont stay asleep. she knows she is not in her own bed i think. at least nina is sleeping well. that's great, it means she'll be up nice and early. so one up early, one up late. yup, lucky us.

not much else going on. we went to the playground at doblhoff park, that's the park with the duck pond too. and lots of flowers, maggie loves flowers.

i am out of mohnstrudel (that's poppy strudel). what's time in austria without all the mohn i can eat!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

a sample menu from the boat

dinner, friday, july 31

appetizers & soups
carpaccio of venison loin, lingonberry jelly & toasted pecan nuts
symphony of seafood: scallops, salmon mousse with caviar & tartare of salmon
frogs legs provencal
cheddar cheese soup, rye bread croutons
clear oxtail essence, sherry wine, chester stick

lollo rosso & apple salad, caramelized walnuts, cider vinaigrette
frisee & boston lettuce, grilled pears & duck confit

pesto ravioli, cherry tomato confit, basil oil & toasted pine nuts
pan-seared salmon, moroccan chick peas, coriander emulsion
herb-roasted lamb rack, grilled eggplant, anna potatoes
surf & turf of beef fillet & garlic shrimp, roasted parsnip mash, tarragon jus
eggplant parmigiana, sauteed garlic spinach (vegetarian)

vanilla napoleon, cherry compote
summer berry parfait with vanilla and honey
date, walnut & white chocolate bread & butter pudding, caramel sause
sugar-free - chocolate fudge brownie
cherry vanilla and rocky road ice creams, strawberry frozen yoghurt with kiwi sauce
cheese selection with stilton, herb boursin, munster, english cheddar

symphony of seafood

carpaccio of venison loin


Saturday, August 8, 2009

kiddie cuteness

nina insisted on sleeping in the suitcase the night we were in london. she was playing chester, and that was chester's bed... so nick and i went along, because the room only had a king-sized bed, which is big, but not that big. still, we moved her into the bed when we were done watching TV.

anyway, the next day at the airport, our chatty nina had to LOUDLY tell everyone "i slept in the luggage last night!" i'd add "she wanted to! it was her idea! she was pretending to be a dog!" but that didn't make it sound any better. i needed my negligent mother t-shirt, then i wouldn't have to worry about trying to explain.

maggie, in the meanwhile, has become quite proficient at stringing words together. in the swing at the north queensview playground the day we left for our cruise, nick was pushing her for a while and then asked her if she wanted to get out. she responded "no out! no out!"

and then to top that, i was telling her two nights ago that the nanas were going to sleep (i'm trying to start the process of getting her to sleep without nursing. we'll see how that goes). so i said, "good-night nanas!" and she said "bye-bye nanas" (she always says bye-bye and not good night). she was proud of herself and said it a few times. then she stopped smiling, grabbed my shirt, tried to pull it up and said "no bye-bye nanas!!" her first three word phrase! (well, the first very clearly discernible three word phrase.) also probably indicative of how well the night weaning will go. hehe.

family fun fest!

today we went to a children's festival in baden. it was great! there was an inflatable slide (kind of like a moon bounce but a big slide) that nina LOVED. maggie had to try it too, so i carried her up and slid down with her on my lap. she loved it as much as nina. we did it twice, but it was pretty high up and i was afraid she could get hurt, so two times was it. she protested that decision of course.

there were also a bunch of street performers who were really fun to watch. there was even a mechanical bull, but we thought the girls were too young for that. there were balloon folders on stilts, people in butterfly costumes on stilts, and all kinds of fun like that. we got home just before 8 and the girls conked out.

we took photos, of course (we really love our new camera), but we haven't downloaded them yet. next!

as much as i can write about london before maggie wakes up!

ok, london. we arrived at our hotel by 11 am, so we thought, hey, let's take the train into london! it turned out that camilla had the entire day off of work, so we met up with her for lunch at a pub outside of victoria station at 1 pm. great auntie cam is wonderful! she sends her love to everyone.

from the pub we walked to a small park (grass and pigeons to chase, but no playground. london is not especially child-friendly, there are no playgrounds in the whole city as far as we could find out!). then we walked over to trafalgar square and dipped our feet in the fountain (it was odd to be in london on a hot day with the sun shining!). then we took a double-decker bus (nina insisted) past big ben, parliment, and westminster abbey and ended up back at victoria station. quite a whirl-wind day, but very fun.

we stayed at the gatwick hilton, which is connected right to our airplane terminal. very easy! a scary thing happened while we were on line to go through security though: the man directly in front of us had a seizure. it was scary for the girls (and us too!). maggie is as empathetic as nina was at her age, and started wailing. nina was upset and confused by the seizure and by maggie getting so upset, so we cut to the front of the line to clear out. it's not like having two crying kids was going to help the poor man out any, the airport security was right on the scene clearing people away and calling a doctor. i had to explain seizures to nina over and over again, and she ended up processing it as the man having "reflux of falling down," whereas she has "reflux of coughing," which is not nearly as bad. she also wanted to be reassured that no one in our family has seizures. so, we've talked about it many times now (she keeps bringing it up again), but i think she's mostly over it now. i haven't heard about it today anyway.

aside from that, the flight was great. quick! we got to vienna at 2 or 3 and took the bus with oma back to baden.

and maggie's still asleep! hm, it's been over an hour, so she should be up soon. after this nap we're headed to some kind of fair in baden, should be fun!

oma and opa are great, of course they love seeing the girls. nina is there with nick right now and i'm in the apartment we're staying in (which is fantastic too).

ok then, more updates soon!

Friday, August 7, 2009

the crossing, part II

so, i wrote the first post on saturday night. i intentionally left off the part about maggie throwing up on saturday becuse i didn't want to worry anyone. her fever on friday night had been about 102, which is nothing for nina but high for maggie, but her spirits were great so we weren't too worried. we figured we'd just wait and see how she did over the next day. she seemed much better on sunday, but then on sunday night she woke up crying loudly (her pain cry) every hour or so, so i took her to the doctor first thing monday morning. we had the travel insurance, so it was free.

the dr. said it looked like just a little bug and that her ears were a bit pink, so probably painful, but didn't look infected. he said he didn't think she needed antibiotics (probably only mentioned them because i'm american and we are so gung-ho on the antibiotics here), but that if the fever got high again or she seemed worse to come back. she got better from there. we gave her tylenol for her ears and that seemed to help a lot. the fever came back just a bit that night, but much lower than saturday, probably something like 99.5.

other than that, we continued on with our little routine. i didn't take maggie swimming any more just in case, but she only likes splashing her little feet anyway, so she didn't care. nina and nick went swimming and hot tubbing every day. oh, and maggie was a little celebrity on the boat. there were only a handful of babies and of course she was by far the cutest, so people recognized her. we'd be walking along the deck and someone would say, "oh look, there's maggie!" nina of course was charming and talkative, and people (who were about 75% seniors) commented on how well-behaved and lovely they are. but we know that!

the waiter gave us copies of our menus from the voyage, so we will be sharing those. i put some pictures we took of dinner one night on facebook. the lamb was amazing.

one really neat thing that happened was when we got close to the UK on tuesday (our last day at sea) two F2 fighter jets flew around us to welcome us home. they announced that the pilot was a relative of one of the passangers. it was very neat.

the weather was surprisingly warm on the first 3 days, in the 80s. the next day it was in the low 70s, then the last two highs in the 60s. the seas were very calm, and the sky was partly sunny, no rain. so, perfect weather! it was very relaxing to sit on one of the deck chairs and just watch the ocean go by (for 5 minutes. then maggie would want to take a walk, which was not relaxing). oh well, we'll relax more when the kids are older i'm sure.

i'm going to bed now. tomorrow i'll tell you about our day in london with camilla (preview: it was very fun!).

i wrote this while one the boat...

but at 75 cents a minute for wireless, didn't post it. i think i wrote it on saturday night. nick's about to get back to work, so i'll pick up from there tonight and fill you all in on the vacation. the short version is that all is peachy!

as i write this (7:40 eastern time, 9:30 current time, but 10:30 when we set the clocks forward again)...well, i was about to write that the girls are sleeping peacefully, but...

as i write this (7:49 eastern time), the girls are sleeping again. maggie had woken up, which made nina stir, but things seem settled again. the girls are taking up the entire king size bed, looks like nick and i will have to fight over the bunk (we have the room arranged as one king-sized bed with one bunk above that. we could have two bunks--they fold down from the ceiling--but maggie sleeps with us. it's not like i can put her in a bunk.

well, we are having a wonderful time! i am comfortably cocooned in the bathrobe and slippers the boat provided and nick is lying on the bed (kind of squeezed into a corner, the girls really are monopolizing the whole thing) watching a movie on TV (cadillac records is the name he says, but adds that he can't really hear it, it's practically on mute.)

poor little maggie is a bit sick. :-( she started running a temperature last night and it has come and gone since then. it's gotten as high as about 102, which is high for her, but i gave her some tylenol and she seems to be feeling better now. we'll see in the morning... i talked to the nurse on board this evening (i needed a medicine doser, she wouldn't drink the tylenol from the little cup that comes with the bottle), and she's at the medical center all night and said to call or come by if i'm worried. i might take her in in the morning if she's still not herself. we had gotten the travel insurance and that covers the cost of medical care on board, so it will be free. assume all is well if i don't update the blog tomorrow (it's 75 cents a mintue to get online. i'm typing this in word and will upload later).

nina is having a blast though. she loves the kid's play room. last night she went for their movie night (kids go in their PJs and they set pillows and blankets on the floor and watch movies). she loved it, but was too tired to go tonight. we tried leaving maggie there once too... she had a great time for like, 10 minutes, then started crying. they give the parents pagers though, so they paged us and we were less than a minute away. oh well.

the food is delicious. we've mostly eaten in the dining room because it's so good we don't want to miss a meal! we did have lunch at the british pub and the fish and chips were excellent. tonight i had manderin duck and nick had the sea bass. last night it was lamb and salmon, respectively. yummy! there were appetizers too but i'm not really sure what everything was called. many french names... and of course numerous dessserts.

entertainment is also great. there's a deck and pool off of the kids' room (it's called the play zone) with a little playset and lots of riding toys. there's also a pool that's only 3 feet deep and a second pool that's about 8 inches deep (that's where all the babies hang out. there are a couple of kids close to maggie's age, but she seems to be the youngest. we've met a few 17-18 month olds, but no one younger). maggie is also developing a bit of a following on the ship--people are recognizing her and saying "hey, there's maggie!". it's very cute.

today we went to the planetarium (nina keeps calling it the planaquarium. she asked if there were going to be scary animals.) it was a 25 minute show but we only made it through about 15... maggie fell asleep and then got startled awake by noise, so i took her out, and then nina wanted to leave too, i think because it was too loud. she was probably also getting bored. she's open to trying again though now that she knows what to expect and that it's not very long. we'll see).

we've also ridden on the glass elevators a lot--there is one on the outside of the boat, from decks 7 to 12, so you can look out over the ocean as you go up. it's very cool.

ok, that's enough i guess... the plan for tomorrow is to wake up early (since the girls went to bed at 7:30 pre-clocks going forward time), run around on the big open upper deck, get some breakfast, swim a lot, eat some more, and check out the on board art gallery. oh, no sea sickness to speak of. i did get a headache on the first day out but i took some tylenol and felt better. nick was satisfied with some relatively small portions of food, so in retrospect something was off with his stomach, but he didn't get nauseous, so all good there. the boat is really very stable, on a slight bit of rocking. definitely beats flying. of course now that i'm focused on it i can feel the movement, which is making me a bit queasy (can't have anything to do with all of the desserts i ate tonight of course!).

i might update again, or i might wait until we're in austria. it depends on whether nick wants to check his email again this week.

oh, we got the new camera and are taking great pictures! will definitely share them ASAP!

sorry about the typos, notepad doesn't underline my spelling mistakes so i'm flying solo here. scary!!