Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Paris Trip and More

We wanted to post a bit about our trip to Paris and share with you some of the highlights. The weather wasn't what we would have picked, especially as it rained lightly the entire second day. But overall the Parisians were extremely friendly people and really enjoyed Stephen - tho we didn't know everything they were saying about him!

We got in on Tuesday to navigate through a maze of escalators, then a bus, then a train, then the subway, then a descent to the street level of a very large station. Though our hotel was only a block away, we walked much farther since we didn't know which side of the station we needed to exit.

That first night we went on a cold walk and ended up eating at a small Italian restaurant - salmon pizza. On the way back we walked along the Seine River.

I got up Wednesday morning to go to the grocery store and managed to get most of what we needed to eat. The wine was so unbelieveably cheap! Ryan got a bottle of merlot for 1.29Euros, which is less than 2 dollars. At a coffee shop, I tried to order a cup of regular coffee from someone who spoke no English. I soon realized that he only served espresso, and because I didn't want to be rude I let him serve me a cafe americano (espresso with hot water).

We took a bus to the Eiffel tower. It was the longer way to get there but I wanted to see the city and you can't really do that from the subway. Much of the drive was along the river but we also went through some neighborhoods and shopping districts.

We got off the bus across the river from the Eiffel Tower and enjoyed the view as we walked across. The line looked long but only took about half an hour - and Stephen slept the whole time in the baby carrier. To get up to the top, you have to take an elevator to the 2nd level and then another one to the very top. We were bumped to the front of the 2nd line when the workers saw that we had a little baby. The view from the top enabled us to see many of the city's sites, though a cloudy sky kept us from seeing any further than that.

We set out to take a bus to the Champs-Elysees, but ended up walking the whole way there (Stephen was still asleep). Once there we tried to go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe but there was an entrance fee and it was raining, didn't seem worth it. I was sooooo tired from carrying Stephen all day (he is 20 lb now!) so my wonderful husband put on the baby carrier (brown side out :)) and carried him from this point on. We took the subway back to the hotel and Ryan practiced the saxophone at the hotel.

On Thursday morning, we got up and took a subway ride to Sacre Coeur. It was a long walk up a steep hill in the rain with a broken umbrella. But the cathedral was pretty spectacular. Then we spent the rest of our day in the Montmartre neighborhood. Ryan found a store that sold a wide variety of saxophone sheet music. We enjoyed some crepes in a local cafe. I hid out in a hotel's ground floor so Stephen could nap in peace and quiet while Ryan did some digging through sheet music.

We decided to go to the area around Notre Dame, and after a quick walk through the cathedral found a restaurant where we ate our Thanksgiving dinner (coincidentally next to another American family). Neither of us ate turkey.

After dinner we hopped on the subway to see the Eiffel Tower light up (which it does every hour for 10 minutes). Stephen did seem to really like it! I'll see if we can put up a YouTube video sometime.

Then it was an early morning getting back to the airport and finding our gate. After getting back to Frankfurt we enjoyed a lovely drive to Bonn where we got to spend some more time with family and see Heather's new apartment. It's a nice place for the two of them, just a few blocks away from the Rhine River.

We had to come back on Saturday. Finding our terminal at the Frankfurt airport proved to be a chore, and even more challenging was navigating the many escalators with 9 people and 3 luggage carts! I'm surprised the airport allows the carts on the escalators - we had several close calls ourselves.

It's been 3 days now and I think Stephen is finally back to this time zone's sleeping schedule. I'm afraid I'm coming down with a slight cold but I've been taking ZiCam and drinking lots of water. So far it doesn't have me down.

Today is Stephen's 5-month birthday and I put him in a dog costume for this picture. I intended for him to wear it when he was old enough to know what a dog is, but since he has grown so quickly I put him in it already. He measures 29 inches and weighs exactly 20 pounds. I put a bunch of 6- and 9-month clothes away today.

I just found out yesterday that a girl from Des Moines that I knew died on Sunday following a car crash. She was only 16 years old. It is a sobering reminder about the fleeting nature of our life here on earth. And I feel for her family and close friends and the loss they are experiencing.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Time Change

Stephen and I have been up since 3:45. But it's good to be back home!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

3 Rue Parrot

We are finishing up our stay in Paris. We'll fly back to Germany tomorrow to see Heather and Marc-Andre once more before we go back to Illinois.

We've had a good trip and Stephen has been remarkably cooperative. We have had to adapt our visit for him - for example, today we figured he wanted to wiggle around on the floor. But we were in Montmartre and it was RAINY so we couldn't do it outside. So we found a bookstore that wasn't crowded and laid him down on one of our jackets. He loved it - being able to babble and kick for a few minutes.

We'll fill you in on more of our trip, complete with pictures, once we get back.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American friends. Tonight for dinner I had chicken and Ryan had beef. The turkeys thank us ...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Hi from Deutschland

Hello, we're in Germany for Heather's (Lisa's sister) wedding. That was yesterday, and we all had a great time.......and yes, they got married. She and Marc-Andre are in Luxembourg for their honeymoon. As for us, we're heading to Hildesheim tomorrow, and then to Paris on Tuesday. Should be a good time! Stephen is well, he is good at making friends with Germans, too. Here he is with the bride, though we're not trying to encourage him to get married anytime soon.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

And the Winner Is ...

... Foster Drost! The contest being the person who traveled the farthest to have mac and cheese with Ryan and Lisa.

We enjoyed having André, Foster, and Rede with us for the night. Now Stephen and I are getting ready to go up to my parents' with Heidi to leave for Germany later today. I really hope Stephen's sleeping schedule isn't too hard to adapt to Europe!

I asked Foster at one point to sit next to Stephen. He refused, saying that he thought Stephen would vomit on his bears. I guess spitup and vomit are one and the same to a 3-year-old. It's understandable. He still has a fascination with trains, and played with them on our living room floor.

We'll post once or twice from Europe.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Good Visit

We had a great time with Carolyn and Susan for a few days. We shopped, read books, ate, went to Stephen's 4-month checkup (he is just fine!), and Ryan and I even got to go out one night by ourselves!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Great-Aunt Carolyn Is Coming!

We are abuzz with visitors, and it's been a lot of fun! This weekend we had Ryan's family here (see Uncle John with Stephen watching football). My parents also came down for the evening with Emily and grandma, and we all prayed for Stephen together. We enjoyed a nice Italian meal at Dom's in Champaign. My dad and grandma both got to feed him a bottle while we were there.

Yesterday morning the boys went over to campus and threw a baseball around. Susan stayed back to keep me company.

Today Ryan has been at school all day. Susan and I got some errands done this afternoon. Be watching your mailbox - we are sending out a letter with our new information which doubles as a birth announcement.

Friday, November 03, 2006


It seemed a little chilly for one of his hooded sweatshirts, and a friend gave us this as a hand-me-down. He seemed to like wearing it!

We're looking forward to Ryan's parents rolling in tomorrow around noon and then my parents later in the afternoon.

I had a nice long coffee date with a friend who also just moved here and has a baby. She had her baby after she moved here, but we have a lot in common with being new in town. Nathan (her son) is only 9 lb so Stephen seemed huge!

Ryan said the concert at Northwestern was phenomenal. I'm glad, especially since he spent most of the day driving there and back.