The boys are finally feeling better, and after a weekend with lots of Daddy Time, their attitudes are back on the right track as well (I find it necessary to spoil them during times of illness, which then leads to a time of intense readjustment in the aftermath). I got a little bit of what they had, but my head is clearing out the stuffiness, and it's been easier to sleep the past few nights. So. I'm going to start blogging again.
Hannah's friend from school, Hayley, got here on Friday, and we've been having a great time all together. She's from Australia and was an exchange student also at the university Hannah was attending in England. (You might remember her name from the post about Thanksgiving, when she was here last time.)
First of all, a huge congratulations to my friend Alicia, who just gave birth to a beautiful little girl. Also to Aunt Susie, who just welcomed her precious second grandbaby (also a girl), this week.
I've got 5 weeks left until my due date (April 8th)! My mom, Joel and Rachael are flying in sometime after the 20th of this month (can't remember which day exactly, and as it doesn't really matter to any of you, I won't worry about getting the details correct at the moment). I'm glad that they'll be here a little early; having my mom here for the birth is very important to me, and it's a relief that she'll most likely make it on time. Andrew was 8 days early and Elijah was 1, so I think we're pretty safe.
Three weekends ago, Greg and I were planning on actually traveling several hours away to this resort for a little get-away, but they were booked out. Instead, we decided to go to Kaiserslautern, which is only about 20 minutes away. Hannah thought that this was a little strange, but really, anywhere in Germany that we haven't been is interesting and new, and car travel isn't all that comfortable for me at this stage, so it was totally fine with me.
Kaiserslautern ended up being wonderful. We stayed for two nights, and Hannah watched the boys for us, so it was just Greg and I, and we really needed the time together. It's kind of funny when holding hands becomes a novelty again. ("Wait -- I don't have to hold onto a little person! I think I'll hold onto you instead.")
The hotel was cute and comfortable, with a breakfast like none we've ever had at any place we've stayed at. Besides eggs and bacon (made to order when you step into the dining room), there was also endless coffee, tea, and a spread that included (but was not limited to) this:
Grainy bread with plum butter, muesli, creamy qwark ("w" is a "v"), stewed prunes, chocolate slices
The muesli, qwark and stewed prunes didn't sound as though they'd be good together, but it was incredibly tasty, and so filling that neither of us really wanted anything other than a little snack between our late breakfast and dinner. Amazing, since we are both usually starving almost as soon as a meal is done.
Someone's going to ask, so I'll just tell you now: qwark is some sort of a thick dairy product that tastes like a combination of yogurt, sour cream, and creme frech, although not really any of those things at all. Isn't that all kinds of helpful?
At the round-about ("traffic-circle" for those in the US), there was this group of soccer player statues:
Back view. Notice the spectators sitting on the overpass.
A closer view.
I know, strange. Then after you go beneath the overpass, there's a field next to the police department with an entire game blocked out with statues.
I realize that what follows is the ultimate touristy thing to do, and we got some looks from passing cars, but we couldn't help ourselves.
There is a large shopping district (which in Germany means that there are "walking only" streets paved in cobblestones with little shops all along), and we spent several hours on Saturday walking all around until my back and legs couldn't take it anymore. (It's hard to carry this much weight on the front end!)
During our travels, we saw this guy:
He stood as still as a statue until people would drop money into his tin cup, at which point he'd bow or something to thank them. My question was, why are we paying this guy? I understand the random coins thrown to street musicians and the like, but how do I know if this guy is entertaining me? How can I make that decision while he just stands there, barely breathing? I suppose that all this wondering was entertaining in itself, but we still didn't tip him. There was another dude, who was doing the same thing a block or so up, so it must be the popular thing to do there. No idea why.
I also noticed this statue in the middle of one of the walking streets:
It was some sort of a guy, I guess, and if you look closely you will notice that someone had graciously given him some pretzels.
Dinner on Friday was at an Italian place with "ok" food, but on Saturday we went to the highly recommended restaurant "21", which is on the top floor (happens to be floor 21. Didn't see that one coming, did you?) of the tallest building in the city. Our appetizers were stellar (Greg got a thin creamy lobster soup -- not bisque. I had tomato and grilled eggplant bruscetta.), and Greg's main course of fillet was incredible. My meal was rather tough baby lamb chops, but because of the language barrier, I didn't feel comfortable sending it back to the kitchen, and just choked down one or two of them in spite of the fact that I had to essentially swallow them whole.
For dessert we had a very interesting sampler platter of both stewed and fresh fruit, various chocolate things, and a large square of tirimisu.
View from the restaurant:
This photo and the one below were taken at the same window. This one with the regular "auto" setting on my digital, and the other with the "night" setting.
(Can you see me?)
I'll post soon about the funniest things Andrew's ever said.