Khloë: 7 months old (32 weeks)

We have recently returned from a week spent in Bar Harbor, Maine and a week in New Brunswick at my husband’s parents’ house. I have quite a few entries to post; I hate being this behind but I had no way of updating.

My darling girl’s latest:


32 weeks (July 15)

32 weeks (July 15)


Nothing significant happened this week. We prepared for our 2.5 week trip out east to visit family by looking up travel routes, hotels, and packing. Khloë and I visited Amanda and her boys. Stacey and the girls came over and gave Khloë a box full of costume jewellery for photo shoots. And we bought a new stroller! The old Peg Perego we were given bit the dust. The new Harmony Odyssey we got is perfect for Khloë’s needs.


Cutie pie

All blinged out

Roses & pearls

On Saturday, we loaded up the car with an insane amount of stuff and drove the five and a half hours to Sherbrooke, Quebec. Baby Girl did great in the car the first day, but by day two she was not impressed with long travel days. We reached Bar Harbor Campground on Sunday evening!

Baltimore / Washington, D.C.: National Aquarium (Part I)

With the cancellation of our Walt Disney World trip due to my pregnancy, we decided instead to put Jordan’s vacation time to good use and visit Washington, D.C. He’s always wanted to go there as an adult since he doesn’t remember his family trip there as a child. And I figured I would be able to handle this trip at 26 weeks along. I think I underestimated how hot it would be in September! The dates we chose for our trip were September 7 – 14, 2013. We planned to stop in Watertown and Syracuse, New York for shopping, then spend a night and full day in Baltimore, Maryland before ending up in Washington, D.C. for the rest of the week.

{September 7 – Syracuse, New York}
Our first stop was Syracuse, New York. Once we reached the US border, we stopped to register my DSLR camera, lenses, and ASUS tablet. By the time we reached the Quality Inn, it was close to 11 pm. The first room we were given smelled heavily of cigarette smoke even though it was apparently a non-smoking room. We switched rooms and that one had a toilet with flushing issues. But we were so tired that we just dealt with it and went to bed. We spent the next day shopping at Target (maternity clothes!) and the Carousel Centre. The long day of walking was hard on my feet and back but I managed alright. Dinner that day was at “Ruby Tuesday’s” and it was delicious! The following day we checked out of the budget hotel and drove 5 hours to Baltimore, Maryland.

{September 8 – 10:00 pm – Baltimore, Maryland}
We made it to Baltimore by the evening and struggled with finding a hotel that included parking. Finally we ended up in a crappy Days Inn on Whitehead Court with what looked suspiciously like mold in the bathroom and a wobbly toilet. My allergies acted up quite badly when we were in the room. For dinner we found a tiny Chinese restaurant called “China Garden” that had the most amazing chicken lo mein!

{September 9 – 9:50 pm – Baltimore}
After breakfast, we headed down to the Inner Harbour to visit the huge National Aquarium. First we parked the car at the Lockwood Parking Garage; you get a discount on parking when you show the Aquarium ticket upon leaving. We spent from 11 am to 1:30 pm at the Aquarium. Entry was $34.95 USD per person. After the discount, parking for the day cost $19.00 USD.


Baltimore Inner Harbour

National Aquarium Sharks National Aquarium

Seahorse

Beautiful coral Turtle Two frogs sitting on a branch Jellyfish Cloudy skies 26 weeks pregnant

For late lunch, we ate at “Potbelly”. Then we braved the harrowing drive to Arlington, Virginia, where we checked into the very affordable American Hotel at $63 per night (including parking). I’m SO glad I found that hotel! After settling in, we walked the five blocks to 23rd Street and had dinner at “Cesar’s Diner”. If I wasn’t so pregnant, the walk from the hotel would be easy, but I kept getting a cramp in my belly.

***Continued in next post.

Second trimester: Weeks 26 – 27

Week 26 (September 9)
We spent the week exploring Washington, D.C. So much walking, even with the convenient metro system. Normally when we travel I can handle all the walking, but this time it really took its toll on me! We stopped as often as possible so I could rest on a bench and for the most part I had a water bottle with me to keep hydrated. The heat was very bad, at least 34°C plus humidity every day. I felt the worst on the day we went to the National Zoo; it’s all outdoors and I was very tired and light-headed from the constant sun. A few times we ducked into an air-conditioned exhibition (birds, etc) to cool off. Usually by the end of each day, my lower belly was starting to hurt, my hips would grind, and I would get quite a bit of sciatica pain. But I’m still glad we took this “babymoon” and we both enjoyed our time at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, and the zoo and National Mall in Washington. By the time we returned home, I gained only 1 lb! I figured after all the fast food and restaurants that it would have been more, so I was pleasantly surprized!


Weeks 26-27

Weeks 26-27


Week 27 (September 16)
This particular week I spent recovering from vacation! My belly definitely feels larger and rounder. Baby K is very active and I love to sit and watch all the crazy movements going on. Not much else to report, other than my next midwife appointment is coming up.

A whole lot of playing “catch up”

After two weeks of living in our new house, Jordan was sent away on an exercise in the U.S. until the first week of March and I was left on my own. I don’t know anybody here, which made it kind of lonely. I ended up going back to Kingston for four days, staying at my mom’s house and visiting my family and old co-workers. I was really missing my nephew Ashe, so it was great to get to spend so much time with him. He’s such a happy child!


Playing iPhone games with my buddy!

Playing iPhone games with my buddy!


I’ve noticed that it seems to snow every day here, even if it only lasts a few minutes. The snow is also heavier and sticks to the ground much longer than I’ve seen in Kingston. I hate shoveling. Now that it’s April, the snow is finally melting.

When my darling husband returned, he used up the rest of his leave and ended up with the majority of March off work. We spent a weekend in Kingston staying with friends and I got to visit with Ashe again (in the above photo). Little monkey was 20 months old in that picture, and as of yesterday he’s now 21 months. He’ll be two this July, which is insane!


Ashe @ 20 months old

Ashe @ 20 months old


My mom came up for the second last weekend of March. We painted the master bedroom:


Before

Before

After

After


I am SO excited about moving our furniture into that room. I’ve always wanted a purple room and Jordan said he didn’t care what colour our bedroom was. 🙂 While my mom was here we did lots of cooking and baking. She showed me how to make mushroom risotto. OMG, delicious! I am not a fan of rice, and her risotto was like eating dessert. We also used my Kitchen Aid mixer for the first time (she wants to buy one) and made caramel sticky rolls from scratch and applesauce muffins.

We also spent Easter weekend in Ottawa at his sister and brother-in-law’s. Our niece, Zoë, is just over a year old now. She’s still shy and takes awhile to warm up to us. She’s pretty cute. We didn’t do anything fancy, just hung around the house or went shopping, and had Easter breakfast at their church on Sunday morning, which I think we did last year as well. On the drive home, we detoured through Fort-Coulonge because Jordan wanted to see the red covered bridge:


Standing with the covered bridge in Fort-Coulonge, Quebec.

Standing with the covered bridge in Fort-Coulonge, Quebec.

Snapshot while driving through the covered bridge (iPhone).

Snapshot while driving through the covered bridge (iPhone).


Received a chocolate package from the Attewell’s in Germany:


Chocolate stash from Germany (iPhone).

Chocolate stash from Germany (iPhone).


I’ve begun learning how to use my Canon 60D camera on Manual mode. With the help of this book:


Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson

Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson


It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m now taking the time to teach myself. Doesn’t seem as difficult as I expected, but I’ve still got lots to learn. My camera came with a Canon 18-200mm IS lens and I have been saving up to purchase the Sigma 17-70mm OS lens. One more week and I should be able to buy it. I’m really excited! Not only for a new lens, but for Walt Disney World!

That’s right, we are going to the World where dreams do come true! We are booked into POP Century, a value resort, for 8 nights/9 days in October. We are planning to drive and will also spend a night and full day in Washington, D.C. I’m a little obsessed with Disney World right now. I’ve done so much research and planning already. I even have an itinerary done up in Excel. Okay, I’m crazy. But anyway, I’m going to master Manual mode on my camera and take amazing photos on our vacation, I just know it! 😉

Germany – Part III

***Continued from previous post.

{November 9 – 12:00 pm – Berlin}
On the ICE direct train to Nuremberg. (Cost: €194) The trains are so expensive! It should take about five hours to reach our destination. This morning we were up at 8:30 am (why, on our last day in Berlin, were we able to get up?!) to start packing our things. By 10:30 am we had checked out and walked down to catch the M5 tram to the stop just after Alexanderplatz. Hopped on the S-bahn to Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Bought our tickets for the 11:52 am train to Nuremberg (Nürnberg). Grabbed some sandwiches to bring with us for lunch (discount with Welcome Cards).

{November 9 – 7:15 pm – Nuremberg}
Here we are in Nuremberg! The streets are cobbled and the architecture is beautiful. At the Nuremberg Hauptbahnhof, we waited in line at the DB kiosk so that we could ask directions to our hotel, the Sorat Agneshof, and purchased bus tickets. Before leaving the station we found a grocery store and bought a few snacks. We absolutely love these refrigerated Kinder snacks:


Kinder treats (iPhone)

From the train station we hopped onto a local U-bahn train. After going a couple stops, we realized that we were heading in the wrong direction! I find the underground railway so confusing to use. We quickly got off and went to the other side of the platform and caught the proper train to Rathenauplatz. Then we transferred to bus #36 and got off at the Rathaus stop. From there we proceeded to get lost in the dark! We didn’t have a map with us and kind of wandered around, going up and down the cobbled, hilly streets dragging our suitcases until we ended up sitting on a bench in what turned out to be Albrecht Dürer Square. I stayed put, munching on a chocolate pastry and guarding our suitcases, while Jordan went in search of our hotel. Less than 10 minutes later he reappeared and told me that we had walked by the street earlier. Figures! Checked into our hotel. The room is small but it was cheap so no complaints! There is a bed, a television, and a good-sized bathroom, which is all we need.


Jordan & I heading to Nuremberg

{November 9 – 10:20 pm – Nuremberg}
After checking into our room on the second floor, we freshened up and went in search of dinner. The gentleman at reception gave us a few restaurant suggestions. More wandering around in the dark took us back to the square and past the castle, until finally we ended up at “Albrecht-Dürer-Stube”. This restaurant is just around the corner from the hotel and came highly recommended. Everyone sits around communal tables and the atmosphere is very warm and friendly. I ordered the pork shoulder with dumpling and red cabbage, while Jordan had the venison stew. (Cost: €25) We are getting low on cash, better find an ATM soon.


Room (Sorat Agneshof) Bathroom (Sorat Agneshof) Pork shoulder with dumpling and red cabbage

{November 10 – 6:25 pm – Nuremberg}
After being out all day (what else is new?!), we are having dinner at “Karl’s Brückla”, a restaurant we found randomly.

This morning we ate breakfast at the hotel to save ourselves some time. (Cost: €14) We got a map from reception and pinpointed where the nearest Deutsche Bank ATM is. Walked over to the Hauptmarkt (main square) and found the tourist info kiosk. Purchased a special group day pass for €8 which we will more than make up for just by taking the bus to and from the Documentation Centre. Looked around the square for a little while; all sorts of tables were set up with fresh produce, cheeses, lebkuchen, etc.


Agnes Sorathof Nuremberg Hauptmarkt Nuremberg

Walked to the Deutsche Bank and withdrew €250. And then returned to the Hauptmarkt to catch bus #36 to the Doku-Zentrum stop. Our plan for the day is to spend some time at the Documentation Centre & Former Nazi Party Rally Grounds. Admission with audioguide to the Documentation Centre is €10 per person. We spent over an hour in there, touring through the exhibits. Although it was very interesting, we got so hot and bored with listening to the audioguide that we ended up hurrying through the last few sections. Most of the information we had already read about in other museums. At the end of the tour we stepped outside to view the inside of the Congress Hall. We handed in the audioguides then went outside for some fresh, but chilly, air and ended up walking around the Congress Hall to take some pictures. Jordan really wanted to see Zeppelin Field so we asked directions inside the Centre, then set out walking again in the drizzle. It is about a 10 minute walk from the Centre. I’m glad we went because it was neat to see. The steps are crumbling and it’s “climb at your own risk” and the immense field is now a stadium.


Strange sculpture On the bus Documentation Centre Congress Hall View of Congress Hall across the water Pausing in the rain for a photo

Caught bus #36 back to the Hauptmarkt. Looked around at a few shops. I bought a keychain for Lori. Walked around for what felt like eternity before finding a place to eat dinner. I ordered the pork cutlets stuffed with ham and cheese (also came with salad and fries) and a delicious hot chocolate; Jordan ordered pork topped with a fried egg (with potato wedges, salad, and 2 beers). (Cost: €27) I couldn’t finish my amazing meal because the cutlets were huge!


Press this button for Breakfast

{November 10 – 10:30 pm – Nuremberg}
After that filling meal we hopped on the U-bahn at Lorenzkirche and journeyed to the train station. Purchased our expensive tickets for tomorrow’s ride to Geilenkirchen. (Cost: €230) Also got a couple snacks then returned to the hotel for the night. Too bad we couldn’t stay here longer because we didn’t get to see very much!


Zeppelin Field Hitler's platform Pork cutlets stuffed with ham and cheese Amazing hot chocolate from "Karl's Bruekla" Warming my hands

{November 11 – 1:25 pm – Somewhere between Wurzberg and Frankfurt}
On the noon ICE train to Frankfurt. Once there we change to another ICE heading to Aachen. From Aachen we will end up in Geilenkirchen where Tammy & Tyler will pick us up. We ate breakfast at the hotel again, then took the bus and U-bahn to get to Nuremberg Hauptbahnhof. We should be in Geilenkirchen by 5:00 pm.

{November 11 – 3:00 pm – Montabaur}
We barely made our connection in Frankfurt. Once we boarded and found our seats there was announcement stating that the train would be delayed 6 minutes. I hope that doesn’t mess up our connection in Aachen. Ate our chocolate cookies for snack.

{November 11 – 6:00 pm – Tüddern}
Made our train in Aachen. Tammy & Tyler were waiting for us in Geilenkirchen, with their dog Doug. Now we are just settling in.

{November 12 – 6:45 pm – Tüddern}
Yesterday we had veggies & dip, various cheeses, herbed crackers, and sliced sausages for a snack at Tammy & Tyler’s home. Later, Tammy made chicken kebabs, rice, and white asparagus for dinner. We sat around eating and watching “Top Gear” on Netflix for the rest of the night.


Trier, Germany

Funky statue (Trier) Porta Nigra Trier's Church of Our Lady

Thermal bath ruins

Today we drove for 2 hours to Trier and walked around the town centre. We bought “cone fries” (aka fries in a cone of paper that we fell in love with in Austria two years ago) and “pizza in a pocket”. Bought a couple postcards to add to my collection. Took some photos of the Church of Our Lady, Porta Nigra (near the tourist information building), and the thermal bath ruins. Beautiful day to be out! I should note that I finally had to pay for use of a toilet today. When you gotta pee, you gotta pee!

{November 13 – 2:40 pm – Tüddern}
Tammy had to work today so Tyler, Jordan, and I drove out to Aachen. We wandered around the area near the cathedral. There are tons of bakeries selling printen (Aachen’s version of lebkuchen). I bought a bag of miniature printen pieces covered in chocolate. The christmas displays in the bakeries are beautiful to look at. Jordan bought a cherry danish for a snack. We found a Starbucks and I had to go in to try the lebkuchen latte; it tastes like a light gingerbread with a lot of cinnamon. Jordan ordered a caramel macchiato and we enjoyed our beverages sitting on a bench by the cathedral.


Enjoying a danish in Aachen Aachener printen Aachen Cathedral

Our main reason for coming to Aachen was to visit the Lindt chocolate factory. Jordan asked for directions in the Starbucks and the girl gave him a free map with the route drawn on. We walked over to the factory, when we probably should have drove. Luckily it wasn’t raining and we all seemed to have plenty of energy thanks to our coffees. When we got near the factory we noticed a huge sign saying “Lindt Chocolate Factory” but neither of us noticed the huge arrow pointing to the left. Instead we kept walking straight and ended up having to walk around the entire perimeter of the factory to find the entrance. Oops! No photos allowed inside the factory and it’s cash or debit only. I went a little crazy seeing all the beautiful chocolate for sale but knowing we could only pay cash, I tried to limit myself. I ended up spending €34 on chocolate! It could have been worse….


Drinking a lebkuchen latte Jordan's caramel macchiato Lindt chocolate factory

Posing in Aachen

We got back to the truck by 1:30 pm just as our parking was about to expire. On the way back to Tüddern we stopped at a gas station in The Netherlands and bought some sparkling Lipton iced tea! Reunited at last with my favourite iced tea. And then the realization kicks in: Oh no, tomorrow we leave!


Sparkling iced tea (iPhone)

{November 14 – 5:30 pm – In the Air}
We’ve been in the air since 2:00 pm. Time to play catch-up.

Didn’t do much yesterday after returning from Aachen. Watched the boys play Forza Horizons on Tyler’s XBox 360. Once Tammy came home from work she heated up some cheesy tortellini for dinner. And of course we snacked on more bread, crackers, and cheese. We talked the boys into turning off their game and instead watched more “Top Gear” episodes that cracked us up. By 10:30 pm we had our things packed and were in bed. I can’t believe how much cramming I had to do to get all that chocolate to fit in my suitcase.


Leaving Germany Plane food A fighter jet outside my window

Tyler came home from work early and drove us to the Köln-Bonn Flughafen. Took about 1.5 hours. He dropped us off at Crew Gate Alpha. After getting the attention of some military personnel on the other side of a glass door, we were let inside and passed through security quickly. We waited outside for what seemed like ages before a bus showed up to bring us to the plane. Sat on the bus with four other people, also for ages, before being allowed to board the plane.

***End of journal.


Welcome home!

The food served on these military flights is so much better than other flights I’ve been on. Each time the stewardess came by, she would give me cookies! The flight home was fine. Jordan and I sat at the front for the first leg of the journey, which gave us lots of leg room. Once we entered Canadian airspace, two fighter jets came up along side the plane and welcomed the soldiers returning from Afghanistan. That was pretty cool!

My chocolate stash and souvenirs:


Kinder and Milka Lindt chocolate bags Yummy Lindt treats

More Lindt chocolate bars

Postcards Magnets