Saturday, June 30, 2007

10 months!

Vanessa is 10 months old today. She had her 9 month appointment earlier this week (because we were in Germany when she turned 9 months old!). She was 27.5 inches tall and 20 pounds 8 ounces.

Yesterday was an exciting day for Vanessa because she signed her first sign language word -- ceiling fan (which is the gesture you would imagine)! So now I'm more motivated to sign to her more often.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Last of the Germany pictures!

For our last weekend in Germany, we decided to take it easy and visit nearby Tubingen. It was a small town with lots of beautiful architecture and dozens of little artsy touristy shops.
Vanessa and I on the train on the way to Tubingen. Vanessa enjoyed riding in her own seat for a little while (before she got tired of sitting still, that is).
James and Vanessa pose in front of the river in Tubingen. There are these gondola-like boats that are poled up and down this river. You can kind of see one in the background immediately to the right of James, but it's pretty tiny in this picture.
Vanessa and daddy in front of the town hall. We heard some exciting live jazz music from this balcony.
We discovered that the music was played by teenagers! I would never have imagined. They were quite good.
We climbed up to the castle in Tubingen (in case you haven't figured out by now, EVERY town in Germany has at least one castle). I liked the castle, but I liked the view of the town of Tubingen even better.

For some reason, I found this garden around this grain silo (I think that's what it is) near the castle to be quite idyllic. Vanessa thought it was a little boring, though, I guess, since she's yawning in this picture!
On the other hand, the red paper ball with a yellow tassel at the Chinese restaurant where we ate was a highlight of the trip for her!
On the way back to the train station, Vanessa and I paused to admire some of the older buildings along the river in Tubingen.
Vanessa always has time to stop and watch the duckies!
Vanessa had a rather close encounter with a swan!

Monday, June 25, 2007

We're back home!

We made it back State side safe and sound. Vanessa was sure glad to be home last night. We could tell because she wouldn't let go of the fish hanger on the wall that Lisa gave her. ;) We'll be sure to post the remaining pictures once we get unpacked.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Just hanging out

This week, Vanessa and I have been hanging out with Kristen and Brendan. We're really glad to have met such a great family!
We went to a German mall yesterday. In the kids' clothing section of the department store, they have these little see-saws and a TV to keep the kids busy while the parents shop. Genius! We weren't shopping, but we liked to play on the see-saws anyway. In the background, you can see Brendan playing with the speaker. We also met up with Karin and her little one-year-old daughter Antonia. Vanessa really enjoyed chasing Brendan and Antonia around (although Brendan's pretty speedy!).
Vanessa's walking from me to her daddy in this picture. She really does love her daddy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cue the music...

We decided that we should go somewhere special for our anniversary last weekend. So we decided to go to a city known for its music, Salzburg, Austria. Home of Mozart and the Sound of Music and countless concerts. But before we get to those pictures, we had a couple of pictures left over from Nana's visit last week.

Vanessa really enjoyed her visit to the German toy store.
Nana shows Vanessa how to use her new German soccer morrocas.
Nana and Vanessa enjoy a beautiful day along the river with the duckies...
Vanessa met a new friend Brendan. James met Brendan's mom Kristen at work and mentioned that Sarah and Vanessa were sitting around the hotel with nothing to do. Kristen took them to a beautiful little place called Bebenhausen, which was once originally a cloister and later a hunting lodge.

Okay, on to the Salzburg photos. Daddy and Vanessa stand in the Mirabell Gardens. You can see the castle in the background as well as several of the huge churches in Salzburg. Mommy and Vanessa hang out in front of the Dom in downtown Salzburg.

We made our way up to the top of the castle via a funicular (mountain tram that Nana wouldn't have survived). We were rewarded with a fantastic view of Salzburg.
Daddy and Vanessa walk around in the castle. They were having a Middle Ages festival at the castle that weekend. The person in the background is demonstrating iron working.
Some Middle Age singers. (Pun intended). Actually, I swear they played Ana-godda-da-vida once....
We walked up to the top of the inner castle and looked out over the southern edge facing the Alps. What a view!
We made our way down and walked around the cementary and catacombs at St. Peters. There was a wedding going on, but they quickly closed the outside doors because too many tourists (like us) were poking their heads in. Instead, we pose in front of a fountain outside it.

As we walked in downtown Salzburg, we found a festival for the Pathfinders club in Austria. I guess it's the equivilent of Boy/Girl Scouts in the US. Maybe 4H club? Anyway, they had a human füssball rink that I had to take a picture of. I didn't participate though because there were only kids playing. Maybe when Vanessa is older next time...
On our way back, we walked through a gnome garden in the Mirabell gardens.
The next day we walked out into the gardens into an Austrian band performing. Daddy and Vanessa were grooving to the march music.
We walked across one of the bridges to visit the market across the river. Mommy and Vanessa pose in front of the beautiful scenery.
After visiting the market, we did a tour of Mozart's birthplace and where he lived. Here's daddy and Vanessa in front of his birthhouse. We thought the coolest part was seeing actual set designs and scene paintings from the operas from his period. Very cool!

On the way back it was really hot so Vanessa decided she wanted to play in the street fountains.
Look who's all wet!
After a long day, Vanessa and daddy relax in a garden outside Mozart's house.
On the way back to the train station, we found a really cool playground in the gardens. Vanessa and Mommy are walking on a grid of chimes that play when you step on that. Poor Vanessa didn't weigh enough to sound it herself.
Vanessa and Daddy check out the swings before they got back on the train.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Vanessa's seen and done so much for only being 9 months old! This past weekend, we went to Munich and Fussen, and from Fussen we visited the castles Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein (the one the Disney castle was based on).

But first, we went back to the zoo! It was kind of tricky timing our trip to the petting zoo when Vanessa wasn't napping in her stroller, but it was worth it. She absolutely loved the goats.
See how excited she is!
Vanessa pet this one on the nose.
Vanessa and this goat shared some kind of special bond. They sat next to each other just touching feet for a while.
OK, now for Munich (or Munchen). Here is the famous glockenspiel clock on the Neues Rathaus (New City Hall). The little figurines actually perform a live jousting tournament at 11 AM!
This is the rest of the Neues Rathaus building.
Here is a shot of the Theatinekirche, a church in Munich.
Here are the ladies on the trip strolling in the Hofgarten.
Nana, Mommy, and Vanessa pose in front of a fountain right at the entrance to the Altstadt or Old Town of Munich.
This is the very ornate high altar at St. Michael's Church.
Here is the altar at St. Peter's Church. Simply breathtaking.

We took Vanessa to the Hofbrauhaus, Germany's largest beer hall. Why not? There's no drinking age in Germany!
Vanessa says, "You want me to drink this whole thing?"
Nana, on the other hand, actually did have a beer. She wanted to have one German beer while in Germany. (And she drank the whole thing, all by herself!)
Neither of us were drinking. Maybe just the fumes from all that beer were making Vanessa and me so silly!

This is the Schloss (German word for castle) Hohenschwangau at night. This castle was on the hill across the street from our hotel. In order to take the stroller up to Schloss Hohenschwangau, we had to take a winding path up the mountain side. Here you can see some of the gorgeous Alpine setting.
Daddy and Vanessa pose at the top of the hill.
Mommy and Vanessa are standing inside Schloss Hohenschwangau and looking out on the Alps.
From the castle, we got a great view of the Hotel Lisl we stayed at.

The whole family posed near a fountain at the top of Schloss Hohenschwangau.
After we walked back down the mountainside from Schloss Hohenschwangau, we caught a horse drawn carriage up most of the way to Schloss Neuschwanstein. This castle was basically on the hillside opposie Schloss Hohenschwangau.
Schloss Neuschwanstein was actually designed by a theater set designer as a fairy tale castle for mad King Ludwig II. Walt Disney used it as inspiration for his Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland.
After taking a tour through the castle, we took a 15 minute hike up the mountainside behind the castle until we got to the Marienbrücke. This bridge crosses the Pöllat Gorge at a height of 305 ft. Needless to say Nana didn't join us on this adventure.

Mommy takes time to enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
Nana very bravely walked to the edge of this steep cliff in order to get a nice shot of the lake.
On the way back, Daddy and Vanessa relax in front of a little waterfall.