Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Welcome to Prague

Darling Hubby and I took a little whirlwind trip to Europe. Ten days of just being adults...well okay, more like 10 days without kids yet acting like "young"and carefree kids. We shared this adventure with our friends, Marc and Jenny. This is key people...It is very important to have traveling companions you get along with and have the same interests!! Marc and Jenny are awesome to travel alongside. Holland and Sweden was everyone's first tryout. I am already looking forward to European excursion #3! Hold on tight and get ready for pictures galore. 

First stop, Prague.

I don't have any flight pics to share. Why? Because I hate to fly and I was out for the count. By the Grace of GOD, I woke up in Frankfurt, Germany and managed to stumble walk off the plane and get my mimosa fix. Thank you United/Lufthansa lounge.

Welcome to The Hotel Augustine

By nature, I am not a breakfast eater. I never have been, I never will be. I don't practice what I preach to my kids. But when in Europe, I always eat breakfast. The spread is always beautiful and fresh, I can't resist. Fresh fruit, juices, grains, meats and cheeses (a total norm and staple for morning time), lox, eggs to order...I could go on and on. 

And check out this fresh honeycomb! Such a gorgeous display and totally edible. The best honey I have ever had in my life. Swear! And see the metal funnel-like apparatus? As the honey melts it drips into this funnel and into the bowl below. Presentation is everything!

The best part of this trip? Our 25 mile bike ride through the countryside of Prague. We hired a tour guide from Biko Adventures and biked our way to Karlstejn castle. Considering our last bike ride in Europe (Holland) was 40 miles, unguided, this seemed like a piece of cake! The ride usually takes 4-5 hours of riding. But seeing how we were all so super fit (okay, active) it only took us about 3 hours. We took the train back to town. Jenny suggested maybe we ride back. And I wish I had a picture of our guide's facial expression. I don't think he has ever been posed that idea. 

The morning started out SUPER COLD. I was not prepared. My hands were FREEZING! Our gentleman of a tour guide (darn it I can't remember his name) gave his gloves to Jenny & me. So we each had one. Kind of Michael Jackson-ish. Thank goodness the sun broke through. Just in time for our first "water" break. Yes, that is wine amongst the beers. :)

Welcome to Karlstejn Castle. And we got really lucky because there happened to be a beer and wine festival that day. Lots of activities going on and traditional display. 
I was super happy to get off that bike seat and take in the sights on foot.

A festival with beer, wine, and eats? Count us in! I don't consider myself a huge meat eater. But when in Prague...go with the flow. DELISH! And the potato pancakes are to die for too. It was cute seeing the artisans crafts for purchase as well. There is something heartwarming about handcrafted items. They make great gifts too!

Now, what can I say Prague is known for? BEER. And for those who know me well, know I am not a big beer drinker. I like a cold one every now and then, mainly when it is super hot outside. But when in Prague...Beer and hard apple cider were my friends. I still toasted with my wines and sparkling delights, but an occasional beer truly was tasty!

Prague at nights is gorgeous. If you get the chance to visit, you must take a boat ride at night. The city lights amongst the castles and ancient buildings are truly beautiful. There is definitely an old world charm in all the architecture. You just don't see this talented style in the United States. 

And Prague by day isn't too shabby either:
Great panoramic views:
The famous Astrological Clock:
Some of the best sightseeing on Earth:

Now for the food. I will let some pics do the talking:
Yes, this is a huge pile of bacon.
Street food is just plain 'ol awesome.

This was by far the most impressive way the wait staff presents the items on the menu. You choose your cut of meat or select the exact fish you'd like to devour.

And of course, no vacation goes by without a few glorious runs!

One of the most amazing/intersting places I have ever seen was Sedlec Ossuary in the suburbs of Kutna Hora, Czech Republic. One cannot begin to imagine what 40, 000 human bones, diplayed in art form, look like until you see this small church. It is totally creepy and amazing. The entrance is majestic, grand, and Holy. Weird combination of words for describing a bone church.
Check out this chandelier:
 Everything was thought out and executed in an artistic manner:
This one makes me think we should be in some music place:
 Isn't this the craziness?! I mean, pelvic, bones, skulls. femurs, metatarsals?
Now this is what I call an anatomy lesson.

No one is going to appreciate these pictures other than Darling Hubby, Jenny, and Marc.
You see, there is this insanely yummy baked good in Prague. Actually in Budapest too, but that is the next post. We had no idea how to pronounce it correctly. You try...Trdelnik. See what I mean? So we decided to call them, "Trinkle-dinks." Retrospectively, I guess we could have asked! Dumb Americans. Anyway, just think of a yeast dough, rolled out thin and then spiral baked over an open fire and then covered in cinnamon and sugar.

Now I can't possibly blog our entire stay in Prague. So I think I will end it here.
 All I can say about these next pics is, "GROSS!"
I will stick to the normal pedicure process, thank you very much.
Marc and I were the smart ones. We watched our spouses squirm from outside 
(the window faces the street so all can see) and then opted for foot massages instead.
Out for the count! Always a good sign of a great massage.
Peace out! See you all at the next stop!
P

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September 17th

Happy birthday to the greatest man I was lucky enough to have in my life.

Dear Daddy,

Happy birthday. Oh how my heart aches on occasions like this one. It's hard to genuinely smile throughout the day. But memories of you help bring a twinkle to my eyes and heart. 

You are 77 today and you should still be here on this Earth. But you're not. I should be calling you to wish you the best. But I'm not. I should have sent you the latest and greatest gadget. But I didn't. For some unknown reason life had a different plan for you and therefore, me as well.

I can never fill the void that was left behind when you passed. But that is okay because it means I am still alive. And sometimes that's enough to help me get through the day.

Cheers to you, Daddy. 

I Love You,

Jennifer

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Letter to Kalista

Dear Kalista,

I remember years ago I thought once school-age came around I would be less busy. Oh was I wrong! I have come to realize the older you and Sophia get, the busier my life becomes. The responsibilities start to pile up. Different responsibilities than the nurturing kind of taking care of young children. School work, volunteering, soccer, ballet, gymnastics, and swimming have made our family life a tad bit hectic. But the joy I see on your faces makes all the scheduling and chauffeuring worth it. I wouldn't change a thing.
A huge chapter of your life is beginning. You have been my buddy, my pal, my sidekick for so long and it is hard to imagine not having you by my side. In some ways, I am losing my best friend.

When your sister started her journey, I was okay because I still had you to keep me company. But now that it is your turn, well, I find myself at a loss. I truly wish I could turn back time. I have been telling Daddy that I didn't think you were ready, that we were making a mistake, that you are just too young. I guess the truth is, I am not ready to start turning the pages in your book.

Although I am sad as I write this, I am also excited to watch you discover your talents, your dreams, your life. A whole new world is waiting for you. 

Sweet, sweet Kalista . . .
Always remember how much I love you and how proud I am to be your mommy.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Jennifer Went Camping?

Lots of my friends, as well as David's, were shocked when we told them our family had a camping trip planned. Some friends said, "You mean glamping?" I clarified, "No, camping. Like as in a tent. Like no electricity. Like walk to the bathroom. Camping."

I should have taken more pics. But I kind of forgot about all the electronics (phone, camera, iPad, etc.). How nice it was to be away from all of those things that take up our precious time.

Welcome to my first camping trip:
Big Sur
Just nestled 4 hours north of SB was our home away from home for a few days. 

A little pitstop in Cayucos for some refueling.
Where there is a cookie store, there will be a Hall.

Thanks to Dani and Jen (my other seasoned camper friend) our meals were all planned out.
These gals were awesome with organizing! They split up a very well thought out list and 
we all showed up with the goods. Could this be any easier?
First night: Kebobs (chicken, mini potatoes, and grilled veggies)
My bad on lagging on the photos for night two. But trust me, it was fabulous!
Salmon on cedar planks, rice, and asparagus.
Third night was a restaurant night :)


Big Kid Josh showing the girls he could sand roll too.
I think he stopped 1/4 way down though...oh to be young again.

The river run was fun and COLD.
I can't imagine what it is like when the rains fill it up.

Kids being kids.
The best memory of all.

Dear Dani,
I am not sure if you stop by this blog, but thank you for THE BEST TIME. My TYPE A+++ personality that longs to be an A- at times thanks you too. This was a trip my kids will never forget and I can't wait to add to their memories. And a hundred thank you's to Josh for being our camping chef and fire chief. Next time I will be the fire starter! xoxo