Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Eye exam

Dear Grace,

You and Uncle Matt shared a first together while we were home for his wedding week. It was your first time having an eye exam and Uncle Matt's first time having a baby as his patient. Boy, do I wish I knew what made us crack up so hard at the end of this video clip. Enjoy!

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas in Germany

Dear Grace,

Since we were just home for Thanksgiving, we weren't able to spend Christmas with our extended family this year. We chose the most Christmasy place we could imagine. Berlin, Germany with it's German Christmas markets. We spent 4 days wandering the city, strolling through Christmas markets, drinking mulled wine, eating Weinerschnitzel, and staring in awe at the craftsmanship. Christmas music was played at all times (always in English, which we thought was strange). Technically, Santa didn't come this year, but thanks to Uncle Matthew putting in a good word for you, he did call us in London before we left as well as send an email. Enjoy! 

Love, Mommy and Daddy

Our hotel had this gorgeous tree waiting for us to pose for pictures.
The picture below was the view from our hotel room. We would HIGHLY recommend staying at the Sofitel. Their service was extraordinary. It was the little extras- Grace's bed already in the room and set up upon arrival. That's HUGE when traveling with a little one, and unfortunately not always the case. They even gave her a teddy bear and rubber ducky. The rooms were clean, big and updated, especially for European standards. We would rank it up there as being one of the top hotels we've ever stayed in. Good thing we found a great deal! Maybe not everyone is as crazy as we are to vacation over xmas. 
Our Christmas dinner. 
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. We tried these for our first time. Warm and soft, but not much of a taste. 
Next up: touring the city of Berlin. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Jason and Kate

Dear Grace,

One of my best friends, Jason, and his girlfriend, Kate, came to London for the holidays. Kate's Mom lives in Northern England. Since they were on this side of the pond, we were able to spend an evening with them while they were in central London seeing the sites. The evening started with a glass of wine and Grace time at our flat and continued to a local pub around the corner for dinner. Enjoy!

Love, Daddy

Jason was my roommate in Chicago for 4 years and one of the groomsmen in my wedding. We met while interviewing for BP and we were both pleasantly surprised when we saw each other the first day of work. Jason is about to become an official Munster Mustang so we're looking forward to spending more time with them once we move back home. 

It's Miller TIME

Dear Grace,
Two of our dearest friends visited us last week and we all had a blast! Mr. and Mrs. David (aka Vinny) Miller spent 5 days and 4 nights with us. They were there for your birthday party and actual 1st birthday! You now have the cutest little silverware to use while we're dining out thanks to them. Daddy was in their wedding literally the day before we flew and moved to London! Enjoy!

Love, Mummy and Daddy

Vinny lived in London and visited many times so he came wanting to do 2 additional things on top of showing Alana the city...Indian food and a play. London is known for having great Indian food and Brick Lane is known for having the best Indian food in London, so that's where we had to go. We started off the night with a proper pint at White Hare, the Jack the Ripper bar. Then, we were off to Brick Lane to negotiate the best deal for our meal. Employees stand outside their restaurant trying to get you to read their menu while offering a free round of drinks, appetizers, etc. After following us down the street, PREEM's marketer was the winner and also the sister restaurant to the place Vinny ate at last time.

Look what restaurant popped up in Google images when I typed in Brick Lane-
Rock of Ages- if you love 80s rock music, Hair Bangers Ball, or Kilroys, this musical is a MUST see. It was hilariously entertaining. You feel like you're at a rock concert with your lighter in hand. You're given a fake lighter as you enter the show. What a fun touch. 
Trafalgar Square 
You're probably wondering how we got up there. Well, some are better at jumping up on wet slippery platforms than others...
I have a great battle wound and picture to remember this moment.
You have a a bar? Yes, we do and this time it was actually the very first pub Daddy enjoyed a pint on his original visit to London back in 2004. Lamb and Flag
Mind the gap, please. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas in Indiana

Dear Grace,

While we were home for Thanksgiving, and Libbie and Matt's wedding, we also fit in an early Christmas celebration with the Nierengartens. It was so nice to have a mini Christmas celebration since we aren't going to be home for the holidays. Enjoy!

Love, Mommy and Daddy

Posing in front of the Christmas tree with your Great-Grandma Jo's homemade reindeer. With your hat, you fit right in!
A tradition started on Christmas Eve at the Nierengartens a couple years ago. A special visitor stops by to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Usually it's Santa Claus, but this year his outfit was lent to Uncle Matt. Santa's helper even lent his elf outfit to Grandpa Den. We're not sure if you were in aw of just hanging out on your Uncle Matt's lap or if it was because he was dressed up like Old St. Nick.
Uncle Matt was the perfect person to prepare you for meeting Santa Claus once we arrived back in London.

Friday, December 23, 2011

My sister got married

Dear family and friends, 

Warning! As the Matron-of-honor I wanted to enjoy the moments I shared with my sister and do whatever she needed from me over taking pictures. They hired a professional photographer for that! :) Therefore, the pictures I took were rare and a little random.

Some of my personal favorite moments of my sister and brother-in-law's wedding include: watching Libbie getting ready for her special day, the wedding party driving around on the party bus, watching the newly weds outside the Crown Point courthouse (I can't wait to see those pictures), the newlyweds double dutch dancing as they entered their ballroom, Matt's ultimate icing, and family and friends breaking it down on the dance floor. Enjoy!

Love, Kate

Mirror, mirror, in the picture...who's the hottie smiling at us?
A quick family photo (minus Matthew and our spouses) before stepping into the church. As one of the groomsmen, Matthew was hanging out with Matt.
Libbie kept telling me how much she loved this moment at my wedding, so I made sure to capture her moment too.
Daddy/daughter photo opp. Just minutes before walking down the aisle. 
This was only the beginning of the night, folks. 
Matt received the ultimate icing on the day of his wedding. If you don't know what "getting iced" means, you might want to check out this clip to see what the college kids are doing now-a-days. 
Matt and his buddies would 'ice' each other in college, but little did he know that he would get the ultimate icing on his wedding day.
Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Weinheimer!
1st dance: Can't Take my Eyes Off of You by: SNC
I love you, Libbie. Thanks for being part of my wedding and letting me be part of yours

Guy Fawkes - Bonfire Night

Dear Grace,

Bonfire Night is a holiday in England around November 5th, which celebrates Guy Fawkes's attempt at blowing up Parliament as well as all the top officials including the King.  His failed attempt was the night before "the State Opening of Parliament" in 1605. At that time, Parliament was viewed negatively by the commoners/Catholics.

"On the night that the Gunpowder Plot was foiled, bonfires were set alight to celebrate the safety of the King. Since then, November 5th has become known as Bonfire Night. The event is commemorated every year with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawks on a bonfire."

"Some of the English have been known to wonder, in a tongue in cheek kind of way, whether they are celebrating Fawkes' execution or honoring his attempt to do away with the government." 

We compare England's Bonfire Night to America's 4th of July. Both have firework displays. Both are a reason for family and friends to get together around a bonfire. Some children keep up the tradition of carrying around a dummy of Guy Fawkes, referred to as "The Guy." They beg people asking, "a penny for the Guy," which they later spend on fireworks.  Enjoy! 

Love, Mummy and Daddy 

The movie, V for Vendetta, was based off the idea of this real event. 
As we were walking away from the bonfire, the song, "It's Getting Hot in Here," by Nelly started playing over the loudspeaker in Battersea Park. 
We were curious about how your little ears were going to react to the fireworks. We ended up viewing the fireworks far enough from the park where you just sat back in your pram and enjoyed the light show

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