Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Survival: A Quick Trip to AZ

The ninos and I have been on a whirlwind tour of the West. We began our journey in San Diego (dreamy beaches & perfecto weather), then on to Disneyland, and now we are taking a respite in the desert for a few days before we head to Seattle

During our excursion I came down with a terrible virus, which lead to vertigo, and I landed in the ER to get my head figured out, all very exciting.  Now that I am in AZ, I am taking time to stop and smell the roses, oops, I mean cactus. The Rev. insisted I take it easy, which does not come naturally, and I have taken his advice and took the day to walk along my favorite desert spot, the 
Wind Caves, just a few miles away from my parents' home.

Check out my favorite AZ spot.....

Monday, July 14, 2014

Traveling con Niños: San Diego

The Rev. and I are on the West Coast for a week or so, taking in the rays and having some family time. When traveling with Ninos, I always prefer to travel JetBlue. The seats, accommodations, and service is just lovely. I don't know about you, but when I am traveling with little ones, the experience can be a bit overwhelming. 

via Life Magazine (Shirley McClain)

My solution to keep the stress level to a minimum is to always pack light, have the Ninos in charge of their own luggage, and have plenty of snacks loaded with protein. The kids are always excited to travel, so at times their energy level can be off the charts, at least for me anyway. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Roof Top Garden: Gramercy Park

A few months back I told you all we have begun planting on our roof top. My expectations were low. I thought it would be a great project for the Ninos, and who knows-- maybe we will grow something successfully. 

To my surprise, we have actually grown food we enjoy eating. We have a variety of green beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and the list goes on…. Check it out, we are quite proud of our roof-top garden. Not bad for beginners…

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer Pack Away

The niños and I are packing up and getting ready to head west. Before we hit the road, I want to be prepared, especially when traveling with little ones. 

Step Uno: Pack Light & Well……

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Flea Market Finds & Happy Homecoming

After nearly a month of being out of town, we are finally HOME!!!  The trip was wonderful, with so many happy reunions with old friends, reminiscing while strolling through our old neighborhoods and revisiting our favorite restaurants.  But the four weeks we spent in Europe were full of emotional roller coaster riding, too, since we were so nervous about Jady's oral exams and thesis defense at the theological faculty at Humboldt.  After all of this work-- years of reading and studying and then writing and editing his thesis-- the whole PhD comes down to passing these comps at the end... so hey, no pressure:)  We had the best time celebrating together after he passed, and now we're just getting used to the weight and wondering having been lifted.  It's over, and now he's Dr. Koch!

I know I've been posting a lot about this whole doctoral degree adventure, which has juuuuuust about nothing to do with what Mel & I normally share on the blog:)  Since Jady's degree is what brought us to Germany and enabled us to live in Europe for as long as we did, and because I'm so proud of him and this major accomplishment he has just finished, it's such a huge part of our lives that I felt like I had to share it with you all.  And also, it makes sense of how little I've been able to post lately!

We did a pretty good job of not loading up our suitcases *too* much by buying things on our trip, but I was thrilled to get to take a trip back to a flea market we used to visit in Berlin on Sunday afternoons.  The Mauerpark, situated in a narrow field where the Berlin wall used to stand, is a crazy combination of antiques, crafts, cold war memorabilia and straight up junk.  The whole thing feels a little seedy, but it's worth pushing your way through the eclectic crowds for the chance of discovering some great finds.  This time I went back with a purpose-- to find the Moroccan guy with a stand full of pretty, colorful bowls trimmed in silver.  I bought one of these bowls years ago when we lived in Berlin and always meant to go back for more.  

The one I have is kind of a medium sized serving bowl in one of my favorite pale turquoise shades of blue.  

Thankfully, our guy was still there, right where he used to be!  I knew I couldn't manage to schlepp home a suitcase full of enormous pottery, so I focused on the tiniest bowls and tried not to look at the fun serving pieces.

In the end I was proud that I restrained myself and thrilled to bring home a few little dishes in a variety of blues.  The two sizes would be perfect for putting out nuts, sauces or dips-- but I'm also tempted to steal one or two of them to hold earrings on my dresser...



Friday, May 16, 2014

European Adventure

I have missed having steady access to the internet and being able to post on Mel & Liza since we left home!!  A huge thanks to Mel for holding down the fort alone while I’m gone:)


I don’t have much in the way of home renovation projects to offer at the moment, but I’d love to give you all a little update all the same.  These past few weeks being out of town have been a roller coaster of emotions for both of us.  Even leading up to this European adventure I didn’t know how to feel…The oral exams and defense for Jady’s thesis have been looming on the horizon, hanging over him for a long time now, so it felt strange that the time actually arrived for us to return “home” to Berlin.  Two days after we landed, he went back to the theology building at Humboldt University, faced the panel of scary German professors, discussed Greek and German passages and all kinds of theological concepts— and PASSED.  He passed!!  I always felt confident that he would, but it’s easier on my end being a cheerleader than it is being the one who has to do it.  And he did it!!! All of those years of hard work and anxiety were affirmed, and we’ve been relieved, thrilled and so proud ever since:)  

Celebrating at the Hofbräuhaus... with pretzels and beers the size of our heads:)

After the first installment of the PhD trip, we were joined by a group of 20ish members from church for a group tour through Germany and Austria.  How fun is that?  We climbed onto the tour bus every morning to see new sights and cities, baroque palaces, countless churches, and gorgeous countryside, working our way from Berlin down to Vienna— our other European home.  Our final night— last night— was spent joining our new friends and parishioners from KY with our old church friends from Christ Church Anglican in Vienna for a special service and dinner… A joyful, happy time, but a bittersweet one, too, as we said goodbye to some dear friends.  


All in all, we’re so thankful for this crazy trip with all of its fun and beauty and closure.  For now, it’s back to Berlin for the final, absolutely last piece of the PhD puzzle— and then we’re home.



Wednesday, April 30, 2014

To Do Lists

Whew!  Well, we made it to the airport and eventually to Berlin after a crazy week toting around a to do list that you wouldn’t believe.  I’m sure I looked like I’d lost my mind, clutching my paper full of scribbles and crossed off items, but without my list I definitely would’ve forgotten something major.  I think we did it— the dog sitter is all set, the bags got packed, the grass is cut— you get the idea:)  

 One thing I’ve been meaning to get around to is planting these little boxwood bushes that we’ve had sitting around for months in pots leftover from a planting project in the front yard last fall.  I can’t believe they survived this winter of constant polar vortex temperatures, but they’re putting out new growth and looking as healthy as can be, so I felt like I had to give these little fighters a chance somewhere in the yard.  Since we won’t be there to water for a while, and spring is a great time to plant anything, I wanted to get them in the ground before we left town.

Along the side of our house in the back yard, there’s a whole bare patch that I have plans to fill in eventually, so I figured these boxwoods would make a good start.  Once the winter set in, my progress on the deck railings and lattice skirting ground to a halt, and there is still a whole side section waiting for me to finish it.  Before planting the boxwoods I decided to break out the saw again and inaugurate a new project season by building my next-to-last section of lattice.  

Here’s how it’s supposed to look... 

And here’s what’s been staring at me all winter… It’s definitely time to do something about this gaping hole, don’t you think?

To support the lattice frame I measured and built, I used scrap pressure treated 2x4s screwed into the deck posts about an inch and a half back from the front edge, so that the lattice would be flush with the posts.  (For the full how-to, check out this post.)  Once these supports are in place, I just screw the lattice frame straight into the scrap 2x4s for a clean look.  And then I could finally plant my patient boxwoods.

I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to finish the one small lattice frame or the final two sections of deck railing before we left.  But I had to cut myself some slack, since our last three days before leaving for Germany were spent at a conference in DC and at the wedding of some good friends.  So I guess I’ll keep things in perspective this time:)



Monday, April 21, 2014

Back to Berlin: Call the Doctor

Happy Easter Monday!  We had a wonderful weekend here, with lots of moving church services, seeing tons of friends and absolutely perfect spring weather.  Happiness and hope all around!  Perfect for Easter.  

These past few weeks have been a little crazy for us, since we are about to leave town for nearly a MONTH (gulp), and I'm tackling long to do lists of appointments, house maintenance, yard work and other loose ends that need to be dealt with before we go.  I find leaving town always a little stressful, but leaving the country for a month takes things to another level:)  

This trip evokes a whole mix of emotions for us, too, since partly it's a fun tour of Germany and Austria with a group from our church (that's the awesome, relaxing part).  But we're also going over early so that Jady can take oral exams and defend his PhD in Berlin.  This doctorate degree is what took us to Europe years ago, and after so much hard work and stress and wondering if he could ever finish, he submitted his thesis last year (fireworks! standing ovation!), and now this is the final step in the whole process.  This is it!  We're almost there, and I couldn't be prouder.  Even if he doesn't pass and never gets the degree, I admire him so much for all that he has studied and learned, and the fruit of that hard work is already so evident in the depth and quality of his teaching and preaching.

Sorry to go on and on-- but I feel like I'll be awarded a degree, myself, since we lived through this together, and I'm just so proud:) 

What this means for me is that I have had barely any time to work on fun renovation endeavors lately in my flurry of other, less hands on tasks, and I'm missing my power tools, paint brushes and the satisfaction of a start to finish project.  Now that spring has finally arrived, I did get to enjoy a glorious day of yard work, weeding, planting and cutting the grass on Saturday.  Allergies be damned!  ;-)  I loved every minute of it.



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Indulge Me

I have been flipping through my Paris photos (don't you just love the sound of that phrase?), and I found that I wanted to share just a few more fabulous images with you all. When I said play tourist I really did mean it, so I was sure to visit the Louvre and take in the city. I wondered the streets snapping photos of locals, buildings, windows, anything that caught my eye. I was not in any way embarrassed to be seen with a large camera around my neck. 

While at the Louvre you can not help but feel inspired by the interiors of the space. I found the tapestries, chairs, and flooring to be awe inspiring. Here are a few shots that got me going.


 Here is what I call YES PLEASE, I will take one of each!
The flooring, chairs, and DOORS could not be more perfecto.

Happy Touring!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Parisian Dream

I have just returned from Paris and could not be more in love with a city. I was only there for just a brief weekend, but am sure it was love at first sight. 

"Paris is a seminar, a post-graduate, a course in everything."
-James Thurber 1918

When I am traveling to a new city I have two goals in mind, GO LOCAL & BE A TOURIST. When my dear friend Jane offered me a chance of a lifetime (a weekend getaway in Paris), I knew right away there were two things I wanted to hit: the Paris Fleas (local) & The Louvre (tourist). 


At the top of our agenda was to hit the Fleas, Paris' most famous flea market, on Saturday morning. Thankfully Jane is a fabulous travel companion and had already mapped out our destination, MARCHE BIRON. 

I say, if you want to know the locals of any city head to the local flea market. There you will discover their past and culture treasures. Paris' version offered us vintage fabrics, clothing, furniture, and jewelry. I was so impressed and was wishing I had the entire weekend to shop this place. 

 Jane discovered some new vintage fabrics for here little ones.

 For the love of chairs, there were so many to choose from. I was wishing I could just throw a few in my suitcase.

I love finding quirky, cultural buys, too. I bought a few things in this stall and thought to myself, this is so Brooklyn. 

The French know how to guild ANYTHING, especially mirrors. I loved window shopping and taking photos for inspiration. 

I don't know much about the history of lighting, but what I do know is I have been mistaken to think that Americans have the market on vintage industrial lighting. Restoration Hardware, eat your heart out. Could you just die? And that wall paper?!!!!

My goal in terms of food was to partake in as many parisian sandwiches, pastries, and cafe creme.  I also didn't want Jane to pass out, since she is pregnant. So, we were sure to stop for crepes and any other tasty delights along the way. 

Mil Besos, 


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