Sunday, March 31, 2013

Kyra's 12 months update.

Nicknames: Kyra Bug, Bunny

Clothing Size:  12 months

Personality:  Boy you are such a chatter bug, you talk about everything all the time. I think you even tell jokes because you seem to laugh at what your saying. You loved having Papa G and Uncle Shane here and even were addressing them by name!!

Things I Could Do Without:  Teething as usual. You are currently working on 4 k9's

Item/Toy We Love The Most: Back to the carrier this month. As we traveled through Europe it kept you warmer to wear you and was easier for everyone.

Item/Toy You Love The Most: Beside Monkey? Well you love the Jack in the Box you got for your birthday, and the chick from Easter.

Things I’m Loving Most Right Now: Watching you learn. You are so smart and funny. You have a personality that goes on and on. And you are picking up so many new things!

Things You’re Loving Most Right Now: Walking all over the place, still not on your own. And all your new toys you got for your birthday!! You seem always entertained.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Brussels, and Amsterdam

     After a long busy day in Paris we were off to Belgium. Shane wanted to stay and go back to the Louvre to see the art. And this would have been alright but we really wanted to be able to see some of Brussels not just the hotel room. And going to the Louvre would have ended up taking at least 4 hours on top of what took over 4 hours to get to Brussels as is.  So instead we got out of town early, and went to a near by town to get some late breakfast/early lunch.

    This town was really cool, it was completely surrounded by a wall, and had some really old architecture. It was called Senlis, and for anyone who happens to be looking for old towns like this, it is very much a cool place to stop. We saw some really cool stuff, from small roads completely paved with cobble stone, to a house that had the biggest courtyard (it reminded me of something off of Game of Thrones), and old churches. We got some really tasty Panini's and fruit for the Kyra bug. The weather was actually nice here and we enjoyed walking around a bit before moving on!

This was their Hospital, it kinda creeped me out idk why just weird vibe

Dad was fascinated by the car on the chair!

Town square

Side alley

The cool courtyard

   After this we headed straight toward Brussels with the occasional rest stop break for diaper changes, and snacks. Once we got to Brussels we were once again GPS less and trying to find our way to our hotel with simply a map. This was not as bad as Paris but once we were close to the hotel we ended up going through a tunnel that went all the way through town with no exits, so we had to back track quite a ways! But sure enough we navigated ourselves to a parking spot not far from our next hotel.

Crossing into Belgium

Neighborhood our hotel was in, It was adorable.

    When we checked in to this hotel we were highly concerned as the entire lobby was torn apart and being rebuilt. But were pleased to find that our rooms were the nicest ones on the whole trip. HUGE carpeted room with nice lighting, a perfect cubby for Kyra's pack and play and a nice shower with a bathtub!! Which is good as we were in a wierd area and couldn't find much to look at, and it was cold so we spent most of our time in the hotel just relaxing. It was vacation after all.

    We did make it out for dinner, at a nice restaurant down the street. We all had some authentic Belgium food, sausage, and potatoes!! And they were very family friendly also. They didn't have kid seats but Kyra was happy and talking to all the servers.

She was loving it!!

Statues in Brussels

    After Dinner we went down to the park and let Kyra play a while. She loved the bouncy toys, and slide with Dad! But it was cold, so it was only a short stop and back to the room. But she had fun in the room too, as she was able to crawl around and play as she pleased.

   After a quick stop at a bakery where we got really good truffles, and nutella filled crescents. And daily fresh squeezed juice!! We were up and on our way to Amsterdam, which we were all very excited to get to.

    We were on our way when a town that sounded familiar popped up on the map Antwerp. We pulled in to grab some lunch. It was a pretty city. We ate at a local English pub type restaurant!! And it was very good!! Than we grabbed a new memory chip, looked at some diamonds( Antwerpen is the diamond trading place in europe) and than booked it to Amsterdam!

Hot Cocoa is delish when its cold!!!

Crazy hair, this happens when we forget soap on a week trip in Europe, mom's hair was equally messed up.

Headed to get some Belgium Ibuprofen that worked so fast!!

Diamond store in Antwerpen

    So I said how Driving in Paris was crazy, take that thought and double it and thats how driving in Amsterdam. It seems to have no road rules what so ever, people just drive where they please and do watch out for others. And if you have ever been to Boulder, there are about 3 times as many people on the road with bikes and they are all over. But the great thing is they have built in bike lanes that have a curb between them and the road, and them and the sidewalk so there is no confusion of if they should be there or not.

Crazy traffic

The waiter got the birthday girl a balloon!

   Once we navigated our way to the hotel which took forever with the traffic and people just going everywhere, we headed to get some dinner at Hard Rock Cafe! I know not so authentic but one of those things where you can say you've been there. But it was super cold and started to snow so we booked it back to the hotel to get Kyra out of the cold.

    Later that night my Dad was awesome and stayed at the hotel with Kyra so my brother, and us could go downtown to get some beer, and see what the red light distract was like. I don't know if it was all that big of a deal. Not something all that new, I mean it was women in windows, but to me seemed just like a lingerie store with people rather than mannequins. But we did find a cool bar that sold cheap beers and it was decorated like an American Biker bar. And after we had braved the cold long enough we headed back to the hotel by Taxi because the walk ended up being far longer than expected.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Paris in a day


I tried to look happy, I just don't like being cold!

 This is an adventure we will never forget on a long day packed full of action. We woke up around 8 from out hole in the wall hotel ready to go and see the town. With much a do over how we were to get in to town we all agreed the best route was to drive to the big metro stop about 5k away and ride from there in to town,

This in itself was a bit of a challenge. As none of us had ever ridden the metro in any town before we didn't even know how to buy tickets. Luckily after being confused and starting to get very cold, a kind stranger offered to help and we were on a train only moments later.

After what was a much longer than anticipated ride, we got off at a station in the middle of town. After the already long morning we were ready for some good breakfast and luckily around the corner was a bagel shop! We each got very tasty bagels named after cities in America. Dustin and I got the Hawaii which had tuna, cream cheese, and avocado on it. And Kyra had a really good yogurt made with real bananas. Than we were off to Norte Dam. Which ended up being quite the walk from where we were. But it was totally worth it as we arrived just at the top of the hour and got to hear the bells ringing. We all wanted to go in but as we got to the front we realized that the line was like two blocks long and there wasn't a chance that Kyra was going to want to stand in that sort of line. So we took the opportunity to take some pictures and grab some souvenirs near by. Than hightailed it to a cafe to warm up under the heat lamps. Also got some Irish coffee and hot chocolate and let Kyra down to stretch out a bit.

Than it was on to the next leg of our journey. We were headed to the Louvre. This too became a much longer walk than we had originally expected as on the map it appears to be only a couple blocks away. First we came upon it from the back and enjoyed the look of the beautiful building and courtyard. But couldn't seem to find the right entrance so we walked further which just led us back around to the front of the courtyard. And the main entrance. But much to our dismay we found it to be closed on Tuesdays :( so we were not able to go in and enjoy any of the art. Worn out and upset, we hailed a taxi, to get us to our next stop.

We were off to see the Eiffel Tower!!!! This was my most anticipated part of the whole time in Paris. And it sure lived up to its glory. My goodness is it big, and beautiful. We walked all the way under it, and than to a really pretty park near by. We chose not to ride the elevators to the top as only one was running and the line for it was just as long if not longer than Norte Dam. But we got lots of pictures and let Kyra down to play which she really enjoyed. We tried to figure out where the catacombs were but couldn't seem to get any real clear directions and had lost our map at some point. So instead we went and bought Kyra her first cotton candy, and took her on a merry go round in front of the Eiffel Tower!!

Kyra's first Merry Go round

It was now time for a late lunch, so we were ready to locate a cafe to grab some food. This proved to be more difficult than we thought it would be as the closest place we found was up hill blocks away. Than after sitting down and getting comfortable they told us they were only serving drinks. As was the place next door, apparently late lunch early dinner isn't a normal occurrence in Paris. But the third diner was the winner and we were very happy with it. The service was exceptional and they were very family friendly!

By the time we got done eating it was nearing 430 and we had been going non stop for almost 8 hours, luckily the metro stop was only a few blocks away. This time we had figured out how to get where we needed to go, and were more relaxed. So much so that Kyra slept in daddies arms all the way back to the parking lot. Located in the parking lot was a huge mall. And since Shane had walked right through his shoes, we stopped in and bought him a new pair. In the center of the mall was a large fake grass area, for kids to run around in, and so we let Kyra go play. She sure must be charismatic as many kids were coming up to her and talking to her in French and trying to play with her. Once she seemed to be fairly worn out we headed back to the hotel.
Cuddling with daddy!

A quick shower, run to McDonald's and some Shrek in French we were all passed out early. It was a long day and I wouldn't recommend trying to pack it all into one day like that specially with a toddler, but I am glad we went. Over all it really is as crazy to drive in, and as dirty as everyone told us to expect. It was really not as impressive as I had hoped. I think I prefer the nice little small towns in Europe.