After Mainz, we drove the autobahn across Germany into the Czech Republic. Conveniently, the Pilsner Urquell brewery was right on the way to Prague so we had to stop for dinner and a few pints. In Prague, we rented a cute little apartment near the center of the old town and had a great few days wandering the streets of the city, finding ice cream and balloons wherever we could, visiting lots of parks including one with a cool miniature train, and spending a day at the Prague Castle where the girls pretended they were princesses.
Each summer we try to take a trip with the girls to show them some new part of the world, usually somewhere Stu has to go to for work or Wikipedia. This year we headed to Europe, starting off with a visit to Katherine’s friend Mary in Mainz, Germany. We had a fun few days there including enjoying the girls’ favorite German cuisine (Haribo gummy bears), visiting the Gutenberg Museum, lighting candles in the Mainz Cathedral, touring a local market with Mary where Katherine in particular enjoyed some of the local “Heidelbeeren” or Heidel Berries, and taking a cool train up to the nearby Heidelberg Palace.
Katherine’s family has been going to the YMCA of the Rockies family camp in Estes Park Colorado since before she was born. We’ve carried on the tradition, getting up there once every year or two and even extending the tradition to some of Stu’s family. Here are highlights including another birthday party for Claire, visiting our old standby the Bald Pate Inn, cooking around the cabin including Persian food, fun with bubbles on the deck, lots of hiking, and a group selfie.
For our spring break, we headed down to Southern California for a fun visit. First stop was to see the girls’ second cousins in Los Angeles. Second stop was to stay with our friends who live right next to Disneyland where we visited for two days. The girls’ visit there was great, with fun adventures including riding the teacups over and over, flume rides on Splash Mountain, meeting a couple princesses, and horsing around on Frontier Island. Something tells me this won’t be our last visit there. 🙂
We had a fun Spring Break trip to Mexico where Claire and Juliet got to spend a full week with their three girl cousins. Highlights included five girls running around having fun with each other (swimming, playing on the beach, eating), Abbas’s 50th birthday, a half-day excursion to the Mayan ruins of Tulum, and going down the water slide at the hotel. Susan showed us how to create fun videos with iMovie. Here’s one that she and Stu (aka Stu-Su Films) put together about a nature walk we took near the hotel:
Here’s a batch of photos from us and Abbas/Eileen along with a super slo-mo video of the waterslide and some more iMovie trailers from Susan:
In Febuary each year the girls get a week off from school that is affectionately nicknamed “ski week” in our town. We try to live up to that billing and headed up to Katherine’s cousin’s house in Sun Valley, Idaho, for a week in the snow. Highlights of the trip included Juliet’s first ski lessons, snowshoeing, meeting the girls’ friend Anna (who was also in town) for snowman building, and reading by the fire.
We’ve fallen behind posting pictures here. Thanks to Katherine’s photo organizing skills, we’ll be posting a half dozen catch ups over the next week or so.
Christmas 2013 took us to both Houston and Oklahoma City to see family. In Houston, we visited the Johnson Space Center with the girls’ cousin Will and had a fun Christmas morning (new pajamas!). We also got to visit Katherine’s old friends the Taylors and see their girls. Then it was off to Oklahoma City for much fun with the family there involving another Christmas morning, bowling, baths, and of course cheerio covered waffles.
In August we went on a really fun adventure to Asia. We began with a visit to the Philippines to see the best man at our wedding, Alex Siegel, and his lovely girlfriend Cathy. They treated us to the finest Filipino hospitality, hosting us both in Manila and in Anilao for a weekend of Scuba diving. We then jetted off to Hong Kong for a week where Stu had some Wikipedia meetings. The ever adventurous Grandma Judy joined us both in Manila and Hong Kong. Finally, we returned to Cebu in the central Philippines for five days of luxury at the Shangri-La, once again with Alex and Cathy, where Claire enjoyed her new favorite drink, a juice made with a Filipino lime-like fruit called Calamansi .
We spent Fourth of July week at Stu’s sister’s place in Oklahoma CIty earlier this month. We arrived into town on Claire’s birthday, so began our visit with a party. Other highlights included a visit to the local amusement park, plenty of time in the pool, hair braiding and manis/pedis from the cousins, backyard fireworks on the Fourth of July, and even a live performance of “Twinkle Twinkle” put on by Juliet and her cousin Susan. Click on the photo mosaic to pull up the slideshow.
In mid-May I took a week’s long trip to St. Petersburg with my sister-in-law Mona. Our first day in the city was May 9th, Victory Day, a national holiday that commemorates the Nazi surrender of 1945. We paid a moving visit to Piskarevskoe Cemetery, where veterans were honored by huge crowds. We had a fabulous guide, Helen (pictured in the pink argyle sweater), who showed us sites such as St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Hermitage Museum, Church of the Spilled Blood, Peterhof Palace, and Catherine Palace. We took in Swan Lake at the Mikhaylovsky Theatre and ate plenty of beef stroganoff and chicken kiev. The girls didn’t really miss me, since I sent home photos of their kitty (see red bus photo) and brought them airplane-shaped gummies from the Frankfurt airport.