Monday, September 19, 2016

Europe Trip Part II: Germany

Considering we'll be celebrating our 10 year anniversary this week, I think it's time I try and finish up our Europe trip from last year!

After Switzerland, our next destination was Germany. It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive to our first stop, Neuschwanstein Castle. It serves as the inspiration for Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle and I was so excited to see it and tell Emily all about it. We called our car's navigation, "Siri," and for the most part, "she" did a great job. When we entered the castle as our destination, the navigation took us to a random backwoods parking lot. We knew we were close because we could see the castle, but it was clear that we weren't where all the other tourists were parking. Turns out, we were at the foot of the mountain and we stumbled upon a tiny biergarten and restaurant. It was a little gem in the middle of nowhere and was ridiculously awesome and cheap. We had 2 beers and a pretzel for $5. We hiked up to the castle and it definitely lived up to our expectations.

After the castle, we headed to Munich to check in to our hotel. Since we were going to be in Munich during Oktoberfest, hotel rates were outrageous (most were 4x their normal rates). I was able to find an apartment-like place as a reasonable cost and it had a little kitchen, which was nice. A quirky thing about the room was we had to use a key once inside to turn on the lights! The beds were funny too - there were two twin beds pushed together to make a king and it was sitting on the ground. We were met up with Tran in Munich, so the three of us went to dinner in the pouring rain. Our hotel was a little off the beaten path, and since it was raining we wanted to stay close and get something easy. Easier said than done... ;)

The apartment had a little map of a few restaurants, and the one that was receommended by the guy working was a Chinese restaurant. When we arrived, we quickly realized the entire menu was in German and no one at the restaurant spoke any English. This was honestly the first time we couldn't communicate with someone during our trip, and it was hysterical. We ordered spring rolls for an appetizer, but quickly gave up and abandoned ship. We decided to walk in the rain to an Italian restaurant that looked legit. It turned out to be an amazing decision and dinner was delicious. The only drawback was we were soaking wet, but the wine cured our problems! ;)

The next morning we had a private walking tour scheduled for Munich. Our guide showed up wearing a suit and driving a fancy black Mercedes. We quickly realized that it wasn't a walking tour, and he even poked fun at my clothes. He asked me if I was going out for a run, ha! The day with Christian was awesome. He was able to find us a parking spot (miracle) near Oktoberfest so we could walk around and say we did it. Hearing all that goes into making it happen made it that much more incredible. It's basically like Mardi Gras + the State Fair. There are lots of fair-like games, parades, food, and even more drunk people. He showed us the "tents," which are more like giant buildings that hold thousands of people. Some have music entertainment, but the real show is the beer. It was only 10:30 in the morning when we went in and you would have thought it was 2am. It was definitely a sight to see and the "waitresses" that carry the giant beers are impressive!!!

After Oktoberfest we went to old town and walked around and learned about the history of Munich. Christian took us to one of his favorite lunch spots and he and Mark had a traditional German meal, and I had the best chicken caesar salad I've ever had. Seriously, I still remember a year later how much I loved it! Mark teased me that I was really branching out, lol. I had another "tea gate." I tried ordering black tea and a cup of ice so I could have iced tea, but it was lost in translation - Mark told me I should get over it and just start ordering beer. We learned a lot about Christian and German people in general during lunch.

1) His son's name is Noah, but pronounced "New-uh."
2) When he got married he took his wife's last name.
3) All stores, including grocery stores, are closed on Sundays. Only restaurants are open. This happened to be the day we were there, so we couldn't go shopping. :(
4) BMW cars are everywhere, but they pronounce it "BMV."

After lunch we spent the rest of the afternoon driving around Munich and seeing the sights with Christian. That night we went with Tran to the Andechs Monastery. They have a brewery on site and it was probably our favorite night of the whole trip. The scenery was breathtaking and I was even able to find prosecco so I didn't have to drink beer! #priorities

Dinner was delicious - which I hadn't been able to say very many times if I wasn't eating Italian - and we even found a breathalizer outside the bathroom that provided lots of entertainment! We drove home on the autobahn and blasted our music. It was definitely a night we'll always remember.

The next morning, Mark drove Tran to the airport and then our plans were to go shopping and get the girls a traditional outfit since the stores were closed the day before. Rush hour traffic was no joke and when we finally found the store, we quickly realized all of the "outfits" were ridiculously expensive, and rather ugly if you ask me! So it was kind of a fail and we didn't get anything, but at least we tried. We had a full day planned, so we hit the road.

We drove about an hour outside of Munich to Dachau Concentration Camp. It was one of those things we knew may be difficuly to see, but we knew it was something we needed to do since we were there. It was very educational and the memorial is very well done and we were glad we did it. *Side note, we saw some of the Pfeiffer's family friends from when Mark lived in Nebraska as a kid. Small world!

Next up we drove to the city of Nuremberg for lunch and and visited their Great Old Town. It's a small, beautiful town on the river with lots of shops and tents. Mark had a phenomenal brat for lunch. He joked that it took him 3 days of being in Germany to find one - it's not really a traditional German food, it's definitely an American thing! We climbed up the castle and were in awe of the moat surrounding it and all the beautiful buildings.

Our final stop of the day was the town of Rothenberg, which is one of my favorite places we visited the entire trip. It's an amazing medieval town and Mark bought his beer stein here (we may or may not have argued about which one he was going to buy because some were so expensive!). The town is known for their Christmas festival, and everywhere you looked, you can buy a stein or a Christmas ornament. We walked around the castle (every town has one!) and window shopped. All the houses and buildings were so unique and colorful. We found an Italian restaurant (shocker) on the square and sat on the patio and watched the sunset. It truly was the perfect ending to a jam-packed day. It was our last night at our Munich apartment, and the next day we started our drive to Salzburg, Austria!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Beach Pictures

Thankfully we were blessed with a beautiful sunset on the evening Lizzy took our family beach pictures. Unfortunately, it was windy, but I guess I should expect that at the beach! I guess need to embrace the beach hair. ;) We never know if the girls are going to cooperate, but our goal is to get at least one good picture of all of us and I think we succeeded!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

4th of July Beach Trip

Oh how I wish I could snap my fingers and go back! While I'm excited for all things pumpkin and football season, my favorite place will always be the beach. We had another wonderful trip to Florida with my family over the 4th of July. Each year we take the girls as they get older, it seems to get better and better. My parents went down a few days early to enjoy some quiet time before the crazy train arrived, Mark and Derek drove, and Lizzy and I flew with all the girls (including our wonderful high school babysitters). Thankfully, it was an easy trip for everyone and we were ready for some fun in the sun! We had wonderful weather the entire week (not a drop of rain!), delicious cocktails and dinners, and made tons of memories. It is and always will be one of my favorite trips we take as a family!

Our travel pros!

We loved the house and the kitchen was amazing!

Bubbles for the kids and mommies!

Carrilon Beach has a fun 4th of July parade and the girls loved it! We got a golf cart this year and enjoyed taking the girls on rides around the neighborhood and to the pool.
Boogie Boarding and Kite Flying for Emily 

We love the beach!

Monday, August 29, 2016

End of Summer catch up

We're getting back into the school routine, and so far, so good! Emily has been excited to wake up in the mornings and put her uniform and I'm soaking it all in because I know it won't be too long until I have to drag her out of bed. ;) Ali starts this Thursday, so be next week everyone will be back in school and mommy can finally go to the grocery store by myself!

The last month of summer absolutely flew by and I can't believe it's already almost Labor Day.  July and August included our annual family reunion, a girl's weekend with our friends from Houston, and another trip to the beach!

The week after our 4th of July beach trip (yes, I still need to post that!), Emily went to "Camp Birdie & Dodo" and spent a couple days by herself at her grandparent's in Hot Springs Village. She was so excited and I knew she would have a fun trip, but Ali was so sad to see her go. We wanted to do something special for her, so we took her to see Finding Dory (her first movie theater experience) and to eat cheeseburgers at our favorite place, Hopdoddy. She did great at the movie and loved having Mark and I all to herself. The next couple days without Emily went smoothly, and I think she secretly loved having all the toys to herself!

After Emily got home from Hot Springs, it was time for the DeLany Family Reunion. Slumber parties with your cousins are the best, so we had a fun weekend! During nap time on Friday afternoon, the big girls had a little art camp at our house and had the best time! It was the perfect quiet activity and they loved it. Friday night we had dinner at my parent's and I learned all about Pokemom Go from the younger generation. I've never felt so old and out of touch, lol.

Saturday morning we had a Parish pool party at a local pool, so Audrey and the kids tagged along while Mark and Travis did their own thing. They are very predictable. This usually includes breakfast tacos, a visit to the coin store, buying toy helicopters, and filling up their growlers. You know, #manstuff. ;)

Saturday afternoon and evening the party moved to our house for pool time and bbq. And of course, there was lots of  Dibble Dabble played in the pool, and I think Emily was the overall champion!! It's always such a fun weekend and the girls all have so much fun playing together. They are so lucky to have each other and will have years and years of great memories.

Mark went on a fishing trip with his brother and mom at the end of the month, so we had our friend Ashley and her girls come visit from Houston to keep us company! We've made it an annual tradition to get together with Ashley and Amanda since Ashley moved when our big girls were only 1 year old. Between the 3 of us we have 6 girls and now Ashley has another baby on the way! We joked that it's going to make next year a little more difficult, but we'll make it work. We had fun catching up on life, swimming, more art camp, and a girl's night thanks to a couple wonderful babysitters to take on all 6 girls!

The week before school, I took Emily for a big girl's day and we went to the Parish PAWS store for some goodies and got our nails done. I can't believe how big my girl is getting!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Back to School

I have so many summer adventures that I need to blog about, but this whole "back to school" thing is kicking my butt! Emily officially starts at Parish tomorrow and we've had tons of activities leading up to the big day.

My favorite thing about joining the Parish family has been everything they do to make every new family welcome. For starters, you are set up with a buddy family, which is a current family in your same grade. We have had play dates and they have helped answer so many questions I've had leading up to the school year. There is also a fellowship team for every grade that sets up activities throughout the year for the kids and parents.

Our final back to school get together with the other Kinder and Primer families was at a new place called Soar United. It's set up like a Ninja Warriors obstacle course and the kids had so much fun playing while I got to know the other moms that will be in Emily's class.

Video is on the blog at

Our last celebration before school was Harper's 3rd birthday party. I cannot believe she is 3, that sounds so old! She requested a mermaid cake and that is exactly what she got! We were missing a few family members due to travel, but I think between the cake and her gifts she still had the best birthday! ;)

We've checked off dentist appointments (including Ali's first), hair cuts, back to school shopping, orientation, meet the teacher, new parent dinner, and we're finally ready to go! I know Ali and I are going to miss having Emily at home with us. :)

Emily paid for her goodies with her own money and was so proud!

She sat in my lap and did so great!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

St. Louis

We checked another U.S. city off our list when we visited St. Louis with Alex and Emily a couple weeks ago. She is getting ready to move back to Dallas, so we wanted to visit before she comes home. It was so fun to have friends that are familiar with the city take us to all their favorite places! We stayed in a really cute boutique hotel called the Cheshire, and proceeded to eat, drink, and tour our way through the city. :)

Friday night we had drinks at the rooftop bar, 360, that overlooks the entire city. The view was spectacular and it was the perfect way to kick off the weekend. It was downtown and across the street from Busch Stadium, and it made me really jealous that the Rangers don't play in downtown Dallas. It's such a cool atmosphere to have the stadium right in the heart of downtown. Afterwards, we ate dinner in the Italian neighborhood, The Hill, and had one of the best meals I can remember in a long time!

Saturday morning, Mark and I toured the Gateway Arch. You ride up in a little pod and then can walk around and take pictures in the observatory deck at the top. We rode in the pod with an adorable 8 year old named Ocean from Virginia. To make a long story short.... She was there with her grandmother and dog, but the dog wasn't allowed on the tour, so her grandmother had to sit outside and wait and Ocean rode with us to the top. She was so cute and really well spoken and mature for her age and reminded us of Elsa. ;)  Afterwards, we met up with Alex and Emily for brunch at their favorite spot, Gamlin Whiskey House. Of course, Mark came home with lots of fancy whiskey...

Amazing views from the top of the arch
After brunch, we toured Forest Park and Emily pointed out all of the attractions and she walked us through the art museum. Then we headed to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery for a tour. This was definitely at the top of Mark's to-do list in St. Louis, so I'm so glad we went. Next up was live music and a snack at Blues City Deli, which is a hole in the wall known for its blues music and sandwiches. The sandwiches we tried were out of this world, and the guy singing was 17 years old and from Fort Worth! It was such a cool experience and I wish we could have stayed all afternoon. Afterwards, we went back to our hotel to chill and sit by the pool - we all needed some down time!

Saturday evening started with drinks and appetizers at Taste, which is known for their cocktails. It definitely didn't disappoint, and we all loved every sip and bite we took. We had dinner at Remy's Kitchen and dessert at Strange Donuts. They definitely had some bizarre donuts on the menu, but no one was brave enough to try one of them. It's not very often that we indulge in donuts, so I wanted to have one I knew I would like! ;)

It was an amazing trip and was so fun to have a host show us around a new city! We can't wait for Emily to move back so we call all hang out in the Big-D.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cheerful Hearts Camp

Emily had another wonderful week at Cheerful Hearts camp, an adorable cheerleading camp. They have a performance on the last day of camp, and of course it was adorable. :) And, Emily loved having her own cheering section!

Videos are on the blog!