Can you believe that Valentine’s Day has come and gone and I have yet to post the second half of the ‘Hughes-Cobb Christmas Adventure’? That is an example of procrastination at its finest ladies and gentlemen. Not sure why exactly I have waited this long to continue on with the post…it’s not that I don’t like blogging, because I actually love it, I think I may just be more of an ‘in the moment’ type of blogger (although I have begun to make notes on my iPad of the different events I would like to blog about, like for instance how I shut my extra stomach skin in the laptop a few days ago…true story…I’ll explain later). Oh, and there’s also the additional page that I’m working on which I will release on my birthday (or sometime around there since I will be in Italy during my birthday…wow, never thought I would get a chance to say that). I have this vision in my head of everyone going “oh my gah, another page!” and dancing around with glee while holding your face like that kid from ‘Home Alone’, not that I am self-absorbed or anything…
Now where did I leave off? How about we start up again with a trip to yet another Christmas market…Nuremburg (geez, I just Googled Nuremburg to make sure I was spelling it right…that was a whole lot of depressing. I don’t recommend Googling that, unless depressing is your thing, then have at it my dark friend!). Anyway, back to the bright cheery stuff!
After mom and I waited a ridiculous amount of time for the guys to return (yet another trip to IKEA, I’m sure dad was pretty sick of IKEA by this time) we finally got a terribly late start to our two and a half hour trip to Nuremburg, our last Christmas market. Sean and dad occupied the front seats while the babies and mom played “made you blink!” in the middle seat (seriously though, Abram gave mom the most serious stank eye, like “mom…who is she and how long is she staying?”), and I cuddled up with some luggage in the back seat. Thank goodness I can pretty much make myself comfortable anywhere, so being my post-having-twins-limber-self contorted to where I propped my legs up on the luggage while laying my head against the window so I could properly read from my iPad.
Nuremburg was the largest of the Christmas markets, and like I said previously, Sean’s favorite. It’s too bad we got there so late because we only made it about two thirds of the way through it before booths started closing for the night. Here’s a tip, if you want to make it through a Christmas market in a decent amount of time don’t take a photographer because seriously every.single.booth is a photo opportunity, or if you do go with a photographer, hook one of those kids leashes to them so they are forced to keep walking (I love you mom!). Bad thing about this market was that it was COLD! It was so cold in fact, my dad was on snot patrol…for me. Apparently my nose was so cold I couldn’t feel it dripping. Maybe that’s why there’s a gluhwein stand on every corner. Instead of gluhwein though, we decided to attempt some chocolate wine drink…which was still every bit as toxic as gluwein (thinking of that chocolate wine combination now though, it would probably be the best cure for PMS ever!).
After the booths started to close down and we had plenty of hair on our chests from the toxic-cocoa-wine we made our way to the hotel for the evening where we shared a conjoined room with my parents, which the minis and my parents equally enjoyed. Here’s a couple interesting tid bits about this hotel… one, you can get champagne from the vending machine which was actually not all that bad tasting, and two, the bathroom door was also the toilet door. My designer self wants so badly to draw a floor plan to describe the swing of the door but I’m almost certain that a drawing would be just as confusing. What I mean is, the main door to the bathroom could swing inward enough that it would also shut off the toilet portion of the bathroom making it so that someone could be in the bathroom but still giving you some privacy while on the throne. It was the most efficient hobbit size bathroom I’d ever seen.
OH MY GOODNESS I AM STILL ALIVE! Alas, the Mayans were incorrect about their prediction of the end of the world. Best part about them being wrong…we all get to go see castles still today! Today we got an early start to the day, like before dark kind of early (which I guess isn’t all that difficult considering its still dark until 8am during this part of the world in winter). Dad though, is an early kind of guy, like he should be nocturnal kind of early. I’m used to his attentiveness to time but I think it startled Sean to see dad’s head poke in the room to make sure we hadn’t missed our wakeup call (which we were promptly ignoring considering the babies had actually slept all night and were still sleeping). Let me tell you, waking up to him poking his head in is way more pleasant than listening to him un-velcro, Velcro, and then readjust his already Velcroed shoes which really did happen one morning while on vacation in Canada when I was 19 and had been slightly (legally) intoxicated the night before. That was the night I discovered that the bushes I hadn’t paid much attention to outside of our hotel previously were actually topiaries shaped like tea-pots. Wow…way off topic… Anyway, back to the castles. Thanks to the lovely snow that fell early that morning the busses that transported people to and from the castles from the valley below were not running, which means a lot of walking…for Sean. We started with a tour of the smaller of the two castles, Schloss Hohenschwangau (say that ten times fast!). Unfortunately we weren’t able to take pictures inside the castle so you’ll just have to take me on my word that we toured the inside. The Disney princess in me wanted to sing to all the birds of the land, but I restrained myself…
Hohenschwangau was stunning but not near the beauty as Schloss Neuschwanstein (aka Cinderella’s Castle since that is the castle Disney used as inspiration for the movie). Like I said though, the busses weren’t running that day but thankfully the horse drawn carriages still were (and again I was transported to a Disney fairytale until I could smell the sweat from the horse which transported me right back to reality because I am almost certain that horses in Disney movies don’t sweat). Although the horses were still transporting people, they weren’t capable of transporting a double stroller, so Sean, being his stubborn physically fit self, made the trek up the mountain with the boys while my parents and I waited in line for the next available carriage. The line for the carriage ride was ridiculously long and the time slot we purchased for a tour was coming up rather quickly. Even after we made up the mountain there was still a bit of a walk to the location of the castle which we literally made it to the line to enter the castle the very last minute. The tickets were time stamped and you had to insert them into a machine that would allow you to enter, if you’re late then you’re just S.O.L, or if you like me, you duck under the rail. My whole family made it through in time but not me, I put my ticket in and it wouldn’t let me through, thus forcing me to pass a baby over the threshold to my dad while I did a quick duck and run thinking for sure someone was going to stop me. Speaking of passing the baby over…strollers aren’t allowed in castles, probably because castles aren’t exactly handicap friendly meaning lots of stairs. Without baby carriers at the time, we ended up carrying the boys through both castles which by the end of the tours I swore I had been carrying around a Thanksgiving turkey all day.
The attention to detail and craftsmanship throughout the castle was stunning. It was everything I had dreamt a castle to be, with hidden secret doors, a ballroom, marvelous carvings (which the kings bed was full of, so much so that it took several years and workers to complete the intricate carving), and glorious views overlooking the land. Only downfall to the tour beyond carrying around a Thanksgiving turkey, is carrying around a hungry, loud, Thanksgiving turkey. Abram decided in the middle of the King’s bedroom that he needed puffs and he needed them that instant. At first I let him grab a handful and feed himself, but that resulted on dropped puffs (I half expected mice with little shoes and hats to pop out of secret holes and sing while carrying the puffs away) which I had to be picked up so I decided that one puff at a time was a better solution. You know those tall round points on the corners of castles…? Imagine going all the way from the top of one of those to the bottom around, and around, and around, while carrying a baby. I had a death grip on the railing and the other on Abram because I swore I was going to miss a step from being so dizzy. Sean on the other had considered it a way to amuse Liam so he was jumping down several stairs at a time while yelling “weeeee” followed by baby giggles. The not so lady like part of me (which is actually a rather large part) dropped a few internal ‘F’ bombs every time his feet left solid ground.
Happy Birthday Sean!!! Today Sean enters into “adulthood” leaving behind all his boyish manners (bahahahahaha, yeah right…) because he turns the big three zero. Thanks to the secret card shower I threw for him, he received many birthday cards from home which was awesome fun (especially when he comes home with cards and asks “are you sure you aren’t up to something, because I got more cards today…”). Thank you everyone who helped me ‘shower’ him with birthday love from back home. How else did we celebrate? With great food and friends of course! Being that my mom was in Germany, which is so close to where her dear friend Taco lives in the Netherlands, he and his girlfriend Linda made the trip down to visit with us for the first time. Prior to this meeting, my mom and Taco had met through a mutual love of photography via Flickr, and had talked over the years building a good friendship. Thank goodness for our modern penthouse, because I’m not sure Taco would have fit in a smaller home. He is one tall man! After a quick tour, chat, and opening of gifts they brought us (thank you again for the lovely gifts!) we made our way to Heilig Geist (meaning Holy Ghost in English), a beautiful church converted into a restaurant, with really awesome food. Upon returning home from the restaurant Sean went out in search of wine which gave me time to ice the cake my mom and I had made for Sean earlier in the day. I even had individual letter candles that made up “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” to top the cake with but unfortunately, in the time that it took me to come down the elevator to get Sean (since I had his keys to the house) they had melted to read more like “HaPy BrthDAy” (note to self, do not get letter candles ever again, unless they are lit and blown out within the 30 seconds).
The next few days passed by quickly in a preparation for Christmas. Between shopping for groceries, gifts, baking cookies, and Sean sewing stockings (yes, you read that correctly. The architect in my husband painstakingly stenciled, cut, and sewed all of our stockings. Some may say I should take his man card away, but to them I say that makes my husband that much more valuable.). We also had to return the rental van which was kind of a bummer because it meant no more in depth exploring, and it was a constant reminder that my parents were leaving soon.
Merry Christmas! The boys, of course, had a splendid time ripping open all their gifts and attempting to eat the paper. Abram was having so much fun he actually decided to start sitting on his own today, because we all know sitting is better for proper gift opening than on your stomach. We should have just wrapped boxes instead of actually buying gifts. One plus to being in a different country is getting to celebrate in the morning with your family, and then celebrating with family from back home in the evening. Woohoo for presents all day long!
Sean stayed home with the babies allowing for some last precious moments with my parents as I took them around Wiesbaden for a few more site seeing opportunities. First stop was to the Russian Church which can be seen from miles around, even on a cloudy day because of the 24 karat gold that the domes are covered with. From the hill that the church is on you can look down over the city, down into the main square where the Christmas market once was, and even as far as Sean’s office building. We ventured to the old Roman bridge and then to the fountains where several of the hot springs meet in one location. There was even a guy there with a cup drinking the water, which some believe has healing powers but anything that smells like a rotten egg is staying far away from my lips! I did however take a moment to warm my toes in the water, yikes was it HOT! We had a quick lunch (which was the best salad I had ever had) and then we were off, back down to the now desolate Christmas market area to take daytime photos of the old brick church and fountains while it was actually sunny.
Today my parents left, and it hurt…bad. I will admit that I cried, a lot. For several days I slumped around questioning when I was going to see them again, which resulted in more tears. And if we’re going to be really honest, there were bottles my dad had washed before leaving that I couldn’t even bring myself to use. Just looking at them made me think of him and I didn’t want to lose that memory. As silly as it sounds, that’s just the type of sappy person I am.
Wow, does it feel good to get that post done! Now if you made it through the post entirely you understand why I was procrastinating, and you also deserve a giant cookie…like one of those pizza sized cookies. Go ahead and give yourself a big ol’ pat on the back dedicated reader!