about a dream: October 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!!

Süsses oder Saures! That's what they say here instead of "trick or treat." Literally, sweets or sours, and sours are another word for tricks. So a pretty literal translation. Maggie rang someone's doorbell and then, while waiting for them to answer the door, farted. Trick or treat, pal!

Oh, Maggie is dressed as a pumpkin, Nina is Minnie Mouse. Maggie was going to be a pumpkin basket and I took a black computer cord to make her handle, but she didn't love the handle and ended up dropping that and just being a pumpkin.

On a more serious note (momentarily), we've been following Hurricane Sandy and its impacts on our family in New York. Nina was worried that someone we know could be hurt or killed, but we reassured her that everyone we know is OK, even though things got damaged. Well, anyway, she's reassured, and today she said, "The people in New York are all saying, 'Oh this is oy-ful.'" That's her rendition of a New York accent. It was too cute!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fall leaves and our first snow!

Fall color has finally come to Baden, mostly in yellows and oranges. We were playing outside yesterday and found these rather funny leaves:
Polka dots! How cute! It's not as cold overnight here as it is in Boothbay this time of year. Last night was our coldest yet, but I'm not sure if it actually hit 0 (centigrade).

Regardless, it was at least almost freezing out there, because we woke up to this:

Maggie immediately observed that it's not enough to build a snowman, but still, the girls are excited. And of course, they're excited anyway, because mom and dad arrive today!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Long time, no blog

Sorry about that! I've been going to bed early.

Here's a pic of me in my birthday scarf though!
Nina picked it out while we were in Salzburg. Maggie and Nick got me some books, and I treated myself to a new pair of shoes when we went to the mall on Thursday, when we got Nina a winter jacket and snow pants and Maggie some cute new cruise shoes.

Today we're going to go see Electrick Children at the movie theater!! I will post a full review this evening!!

Other than that, we're just counting the days until Mom and Dad visit! Plus, yesterday was a national holiday, so no school. We went to the playground, but for the first time we got really cold there! Brr! Fall has arrived in Baden!

Also, I guess you know it's fall here when the sun disappears. We've had one sunny day (Thursday) in about a week and a half, maybe 2 weeks. Depressing!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

On Sunday we went to Farbie

We love Farbie! I just asked Maggie if she like Farbie better or Bogi park better and she said, "I don't know." Scratched her nose. "Don't know." Nina also says, "I don' know," so I guess that means it's a tie.

It's similar to Bogi park, but Farbie has more more inflatable bounce house-type things. Very fun. Of course, all 3 of us girls ended up with some slide burn, but its worth it.

We met our friends Suzy and Manfred and their kids Hannah and Toby there, and as usual the girls and Hannah played so well together.

Afterwards we all went to McDonalds. What a Sunday!

Turns out Nina has no school this week on Thursday or Friday. I'm not sure what we'll do to fill all those days... Friday is a national holiday so everything will be closed like it's a Sunday, but things will still be open on Thursday.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Family fun at Schönbrunn!

You've seen the photos on Facebook already, but they have to go in the blog too. Not only do I provide more details on the blog, but I have done something very exciting. I have ordered a book version of the blog! Merry Christmas to me!

The posts from the very beginning until December 31, 2011, will be printed in a full-color, hard-cover, three hundred and some odd page, 8 by 11 tome. It's supposed to arrive at your house mom and dad by November 13, but I presume the post office will hold it for a day or two until you pick up the mail. Feel free to open it and have a look!

I'm so excited!!! I've always had this vague fear that some kind of natural disaster will strike and blogger will lose my blog history. I would be inconsolable. But now I can sleep easy! Plus, it's just so fun to have a hard copy. I have this dream that my grand children and even great-grandchildren will one day enjoy reading about what our lives were like way back in the early 2000s. A real family heirloom in the making!

But, pressure! Now all of my spelling mistakes are recorded for posterity. Well, kids, you should know the truth. Great-grandma couldn't spell to save her life. Not even with spellcheck underlining the misspelled words. Also, sometimes she had a drink before she blogged. No one is perfect you know.

Enough of that! On to our pictures from the weekend!

Here are the girls and me out in front of Schönbrunn, the summmer palace of the Hapsburgs. The palace, built in the Rococo style, contains 1,441 rooms. Wow! Huge. Mind-boggling even. We saw about 1% of those rooms, which was enough for one day.
We decided to start with the Schönbrunn Chldren's Museum. That didn't include admission to the grounds, the hedge maze, or the lovely Gloriette on the hill, but we thought we'd get to that afterwards if we had time. It turns out we had so much fun that there wasn't time for anything else. No matter, we'll come back another day!
The first thing we did at the Children's museum was dress up. We spent easily an hour trying on all kinds of costumes. So much fun! I was surprised that Maggie was more into it than any of us. She kept calling "Costume change!!" and we'd all try on something new. They had costumes for the adults, too, as Nick is modelling here.
This might be my favorite family photo of all time.
Eventually we moved on. There were about 20 rooms in the children's museum, and each covered a different aspect of life in the palace. This photo was taken in the hair and hygiene room, where Maggie got to play "Stick the leech on the prince." That was really the game! Hysterical. Let me tell you something, it was no fun to live back then. No fun at all.
Here's Nina, styling a wig. One of the glass cases in the room contained a replica of a wig once worn by Marie Antoinette (she was a daughter of Maria Theresa, one of the Hapsburgs). It had a giant French warship on top. Really! Ridiculous. But, you know, they didn't have TV back then or blogs to read, so what else was there to do?
After this we got really hungry and stopped taking pictures, but here's Maggie and Nina playing in the children's apartments. Because they didn't have just rooms, they had apartments. Three rooms for kids under 6, six rooms for kids older. Antechambers, waiting rooms, receiving rooms, living rooms, bedrooms... you know, the basics.

There were more toy rooms with actual toys, several science and education rooms where we learned about what the kids studied back then and what their typical days were like, and a dining room.
Then we did a bit more dress up:
Nick is a little horrified by what a good man I make, but he'll get over it!

Then we got a few snacks and took the train into the first district where we had a birthday dinner at the Augustinerkeller (the place where we had our rehearsal dinner). Nick stayed in Vienna after that to see his friend Philip's band play, and I took the girls home. We were pooped!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Preschool crafts...

Maggie mostly brings home drawings from preschool, but yesterday she brought home a playdough sculpture. Behold:
Yes, those are matches stuck in it. They let the kids play with matches I guess. Supervised of course! Could there be a more perfect preschool for Maggie?

In case you can't tell, that's a sculpture of our cruise ship. The match sticks make up the railings and Nina and Maggie looking out over the water. They're really excited about the cruise. Two more weeks!

Tonight we had a family movie night featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakquel. Very cute. Maggie pronounces it "Al-uh-vin." Aww.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Since Anne's hip replacement was postponed, we decided to head off to Salzburg for the weekend. It was so beautiful! We decided to again take the train. The girls really prefer the train, and the cost is the same as driving (thanks to our awesome family rail pass!), so train it was.

We took an 8:30 train and were in Salzburg by noon. After checking in to our hotel and playing with my little ponies for a bit we headed out to explore the city. Ok, we had to drag the girls out. They would be totally happy to just ride on the train and stay in hotels all day. They don't mind a little sightseeing, but they would be happy to dispense with it. Well, we have a trick worked out: we starve them out of the room! Ha ha ha! Evil genius.

Actually, all 4 of us were starving, so the first thing we did was find a restaurant and order the family platter.
We have a new policy about always ordering the family platter (with a side of fries!). They're enormous and so, so good. This one had schnitzel, pork with gravy, venison stew, potatoes and dumplings. So delicious.

Then we continued our exploration. It was overcast and cool, but not cold, and we ended up finding this narrow little flight of stairs. We went up. It turned a corner, then up, then another corner. Before we realized it, we were half way up the mountain to the castle, and we decided what he heck, we'll walk all the way up. There was a funicular we could have taken ("I want to take the funiclear!" Maggie whined. Pronounced fun-ick-lee-er. Cute!)

Eventually we got to the castle. What a view from up there!!

Unfortunately, the camera ran out of batteries, so we only got a few photos. It was getting dark anyway though.

Oh, a funny I almost forgot: If you looked to the right of where Nick and the girls are standing, you'd see some beautiful mountains. We spent some time just enjoying the view, and at one point I started to sing:
"The hills are alive..."
and Nina continued, in the same melody,
"No! They are not.."
Ha! What a funny kid!

After some more dinner, we went back to the hotel and passed out. That castle was really high, it must have been the equivalent of at least 30 flights of stairs! WHY must they always build these castles on hilltops? If I lived back then, I'd say no way. Well, the good news is that the beds were super comfy and we all passed out and slept wonderfully.

After breakfast in the morning (free breakfast is a must for us, even if it's just a cold European breakfast) we went to mass at one of the 50 churches in Salzburg. Ok not 50, but you can't throw a stone in that city without hitting another church. You wouldn't think you'd need so many, but there it is.

I don't have any pictures of the inside of the church we chose (which I believe was called the Franziskanerkirche or Franciscan church), but it was strange. It appeared to be an absolutely lovely Gothic style church that got an incomplete Baroque facelift.

Here's a photo I found online. It's got a funny fish-eye effect going on, but you can see what I'm talking about:

See how at the very bottom it's got a Baroque addition, plus a very obviously added-on Baroque altar, but then it's Gothic the rest of the way up? Very strange. Maybe they'd have had more money for a complete facelift if they didn't have 49 other churches to divide the money between.

How petty of me to complain. We only got about a third of the way through mass before Maggie had to go to the bathroom, so that was that. Oh well, we tried.

It was a much sunnier day, so we took some more pictures:

walked around some more, and then hopped on the train back home.

All in all a busy but fun weekend!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Photos as promised!

Looking back through the blog as I'm wont to do, I've noticed that I often promise photos that never appear. Sorry about that! I totally forget most of the time. But not this time! Here are some of the funny photos from the girls' camera:

This child is hysterical

I'm so pretty!

Love this pose

I'm not sure what was going on here. I'll have to ask the girls.

This is a picture of a ghost. So say the girls anyway. One of their favorite things to do on a train is to try to capture pictures of "ghosts." This one was caught on the way home from Prague. Proof of the paranormal or lens flare? Definitely the former!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Well I was going to post some pictures from the girls camera

But Blogger isn't working right, so that will have to wait until tomorrow. Poop! They're hysterical.

I'm not even sure if this is going to post, I just got an error message when it tried to auto-save. Well, I'll hedge my bets, not spend too much time typing, and just say look out tomorrow for some funny pics!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The girls and I have a new bonding ritual

We go to Yahoo!'s omg! (pronounced ohmmguh, not oh-em-gee. Not in this house!) and look at the "what were they thinking" photo galleries. It's like a celebrity worst-dressed photo gallery. Well, not like a celebrity worst-dressed photo gallery. That's exactly what it is.

Looking through the pictures with the girls is hysterical. Maggie squeals things like "Oh no she haven't. Oh no she have not!" and Nina yells, "scroll down so we can see her shoes!" Both chorus "Oh em gee!" "What was she thinking," and (my personal favorite) "Cover your eyes! Cover your eyes!"

I'm also happy to report that I'm teaching them both to be horrified by ugly celebrity legs and knees. Because if you pay attention to celebrity legs, you'll notice that pretty much every one of them has a horrific pair of gams. I'm thinking it's from being way too thin. But, ugh, they need to cover those bad boys up.

It's hysterical though. It's becoming my favorite way to veg out on the couch with them.

Hm, what else is new? I'm making some friends! There's a group of parents who go to that playground next to Maggie's school pretty much every night, and since we've been going there pretty much every night, I'm getting to know them. One of them is Maggie's hater's mom and dad, another is the mother of a different classmate of Maggie's (not one of her haters), and the third set has 4 kids, none of whom go to Maggie or Nina's schools. Interestingly, I noticed for the first time today that they have identical triplet girls. Crazy! You'd think I'd have noticed that sooner, and I did find it confusing playing tag with them, but I just kind of assumed that they were close-in-age sisters who looked a lot alike. When I saw them come into the playground though, I realized what was going on. Yeah, I'm not the swiftest. :-)

None of them are native Austrians, they're all from the former Yugoslavia. I don't know which part, and I don't want to guess. That's generally a bad idea, because you know, you don't want to mistake a Serb for a Croat, you know what I mean? Lovely people though. A few of them speak English as well as I speak German, but since German isn't a first language for any of them either, I feel much less nervous about trying to speak it. So, that's been fun.

Oh, so we were playing tag yesterday at the playground, and Maggie said that all of the play structures were base. Except she pronounced it "play structions." So cute!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I love the things I overhear when these kids play

I was hanging out in my bedroom reading early this afternoon while the girls were in the living room playing with the chestnuts they've gathered. I heard Nina say to Maggie,
"Do you believe in the American flag?"
"Yes!" squealed Maggie. "I've seen that before! Why in my whole life would I not believe in the American flag?"
"Do you believe in yourself?"
"Yes, of course! I've looked in the mirror many times!"
"Do you believe in the Austrian flag?"
"No, I haven't seen one."
"Well, it's real."
"Well, don't care."

I was cracking up by this point and writing the conversation down, because it was just too funny to forget. Apparently the conversation started because they were drawing on the chestnuts, pretending they were decorating Easter eggs, and Nina asked Maggie if she believed in the Easter bunny (no) or Bigfoot (also no).

I couldn't resist asking Maggie whether she believed in the Great Pumpkin, even though she's never seen that Charlie Brown show.

"Well I never in my whole life heard of the great pumpkin," was the response.

We had a mostly lounge around the house kind of day. Nina was tired and just wanted to relax. We took them to a new playground in the next town over (well, not new new, just new to us) in the late afternoon and it was fantastic. The highlights were a little, hilly bike trail/loop that kids could ride on (we didn't bring Nina's bike this time, we'll have to next time) and a huge sandbox fed with plenty of water by a spigot on top of a small hill next to it. Messy, but tons of fun.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Playground yesterday

There's a playground right next to Maggie's school that the girls love to play at. We've started going there about twice a week in the afternoons. It's nice and usually filled with kids. Maggie's hater is nearly always there. It's really a shame that Maggie hates her hater, because I really like his mom. She's a total sweetheart, she's patient when I try to speak German, and her English is really good. But I think getting together would be a disaster.

Maggie's hater is only 3 1/2, and I think he enjoys provoking Maggie. Yesterday he came up to her at the playground and touched her. She gave him the evil eye and pushed him away. He pushed her back, she pushed harder and started screaming. Luckily I quickly intervened. Before this, I was trying to convince Maggie that she didn't hate the kid and that she just felt neutral about him. I think any progress I made was wiped out in that exchange.

However, it was really exciting to hear Nina converse with another little girl. They were just talking about simple things--how old they were and stuff. When the little girl asked Nina "In welcher klasse bist du?" (What grade are you in?) Nina responded "Zweiter" (which means second. Or as Maggie would say, twoth).

I was so proud of her! It's just a simple exchange and she's can say much more, but this is pretty much the limit of what I can understand, remember for a day, and then reproduce here, so you'll have to take what you can get. :-)

Two other kids from Maggie's preschool were there yesterday too, which was good. Maggie has been slow to form friendships with the other kids, and the more time she has to play with them, the better. As soon as we walked in to the playground, a bunch of them shouted, "Hello Maggie!" This happens often when I'm walking along with Nina too. A little kid on a bike or scooter will zip by and shout, "Hello Anina!" I love it!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Not much to report...

School is, on the whole, continuing to go well. Maggie is excited to go every morning, but still needs me to hang around for about 15 minutes and color with her first thing, so that she can adjust to being there. No big deal, though, I've colored some fantastic pictures. Last week I did a rendition of dogs playing poker, only with ponies. It's hanging up on my bedroom wall now, but I can indulge you with a picture if you'd like. Today Maggie requested I draw ponies playing cars, so I did. Not quite as artistically inspired as my cards scene, but interesting nonetheless. Anyway, she's still staying for between an hour and an hour and a half. Generally she runs over to me when I pick her up and almost starts to cry. I give her a hug, she tells me she missed me (near tears) then quickly hops down from my arms and runs off to show me what she's done that day. By the time we're actually heading out the door she's all smiles and see-you-tomorrows. The articles on the web say it's common for kids to cry at pickup even if they've had great days just because they're a little emotionally overwhelmed. But it's important to remember that it doesn't mean they didn't have a great time.

Nina is likewise a little hot and cold on school. She'll often say before bed and in the morning that she doesn't want to go, or that she remembers how nervous she felt in the first few days and that makes her nervous again. Last week I told her about this woman I read about in yahoo who went to the doctor complaining of ear pain, and it turned out she had a spider in her ear. It had been there for like a week. The yahoo article even included a picture of the spider within the ear, how unnecessary is that? So I asked Nina, I bet you'd rather be going to school today than have a spider in your ear, right? And she agreed. Perspective. There's always someone out there worse off than you.

It kind of worked, except now we have to pretend the ponies have spiders in their ears all the time. In a funny way though, not in a scary way. So it's all good.

And to think no one has awarded me mother of the year yet... I've been robbed.