Family Vacation 2016: [Legoland, Germany]

Friday, May 27, 2016

While visiting Germany, we planned a 'big experience' for our families, a trip to Legoland, including a night's stay in the castle. Both the Mr. and I were so excited to see Tyson's reaction to it all, as well as experience it for ourselves. We were able to go during the week which made for little (to no) wait times, which was wonderful!! The weather was just as cooperative - sun and occasional sprinkles made for a just-right climate.
Legoland was definitely the highlight for quite a few of us - fun rides & experiences, food, and fun!!
It totally brought the Mr. back to his love of Lego as a child, and had me more on board with 'theme' parks for kids - I mean their excitement was contagious!! This particular Legoland was ideal for ages 3+; there were quite a few rides for small kids, a few even toddler-friendly. Also, throughout the park were large play spaces, perfect to stop at and let the kids just run free and explore. 
Sibling love // Cousin & Lego (& Star Wars) love
Staying at the castle was an awesome experience!! It was over-the-top themed, cushy lodging, and so nice to be able to stay on location and take advantage of the convenience and amenities--including extra day passes and a delicious breakfast. There were parks and play spaces around every corner, Lego creations on the walls, under the stair cases, and outside the castles. The facilities were clean and spacious and the staff were kind and accommodating. The splurge on staying was well worth it and made for a memorable experience.
How do you say - all the heart eyes..?!
My blue-eyed babes.
I could go on and on about our time at Legoland..!!
..Tyson's favorite airplane ride
..The boys driving around the track in their Lego cars and getting their 'license'
..The adult fun - the mirror maze, spinning pterodactyl ride, steak house dinner (with a separate kids' place space..!!)
..Taking the kids on their FIRST roller coaster ride
..Nutella crepes and cappuccino ice cream treats
..Checking out our rooms for the first time
..The rides, the food, the details..!!
..Tyson passed out in the car on the way home, still with a death-grip on to the little Lego fire truck his daddy made for him
We knew we wanted to get some Lego sets there for both Tys and Harp. It was adorable watching him look around and pick things he liked, as well as hold out two sets for Homegirl to pick from (she picked this horse set). He ended up with this Jurassic World helicopter + pteranodon set - which he's aptly nicknamed, Heli (helicopter), Terry (pteranodon), and Netty (the net) - SO FUNNY!!! :) It's been impressive watching Tyson follow along the book and put together these 'complex' parts. He's definitely got the engineer-mind of his father.
It was all, most definitely, the makings of a wonderful and memorable experience..!!

Family Vacation 2016: [Tubingen, Germany]

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tubingen is a university town we had enjoyed visiting the last time we were in Germany; it was fun to go back and wander around again!! A river runs through the town, so the views on the bridge, along with the shop-lined square, and of course, cobblestone roads are picturesque. 
One of my favorite meals is from the brewery overlooking the river. How often can you make it back to a cute little European town and order one of your favorite dishes...? Well, once every 4 years, I guess - so order that favorite dish again, I did!! And it was JUST as good as I remembered (if not better!!).
We happened to visit on a holiday so most places weren't open, BUT the eis shop (ice cream/gelato) was and with five antsy kids on our hands, that was about all that mattered.
Tyson picked his own flavor, mango; each time we'd ask what kind he had, he'd pause, think, and exclaim, 'Flamingo..!!' Needless to say, I asked him what flavor he had quite a few times.. :) 
While making our way back to the car, we passed a window with some bags that caught my eye (but they were closed..); my SIL said she'd hold down the fort so the Mr. and I could go back another day for some real shopping. 
Great food, beautiful views, and successful shopping - Tubingen for the win!!

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Family Vacation 2016: [Parks & Outdoors, Germany]

Monday, May 23, 2016

Our first couple and a few other low-key days consisted of bakery visits, going on walks, playing at parks, and simply soaking in the fresh outdoors. My SIL and her family live in a conveniently located, quaint, little town so it was ideal for being able to enjoy the countryside, yet close enough to all sorts of other entertainment and activities.
5 under 5.
The outdoors are of great importance in Germany so their 'amenities' are top-notch - the parks, trails, and pathways are impressive and beautiful amongst the lush, green scenery. 

Most parks consist of unique, wood, play equipment (not much, if any, bright colors or plastic). Homegirl found a love of sand; and I noticed Tyson really stepping out of his comfort zone and trying new things as he explored the new places and played with his cousins, on their 'turf'. 
During the trip, I made a conscious effort, and had the chance to really watch the kids. On many occasions, I was overwhelmed with the realization they're NOT babies anymore (I know, duh!) - I think I have a condition that makes it hard for me to let go of their baby-selves. :p 
Maybe it was seeing them in such unique and special-opportunity places and situations, or the impending 4th birthday and start of an official pre-K that's got me all emotional.. Either way, gratitude, amazement, and even teary-eyes brought me down from the common chaos of the day-to-day activities, and really helped me to continue working on 'letting go' and giving these little 'kids' more and more independence.
We loved having great weather, checking out new parks, and being able to take in the beauty of Germany, not to mention getting a new favorite family picture..!!!!

Family Vacation 2016: [Germany]

Friday, May 20, 2016

We made it, we survived, we had the MOST amazing time..!! 
I'm so excited to share (LOTS of) pictures - including some new, absolute FAVORITES. For a big vacation this year, we had the opportunity to spend two weeks in Germany. It was a family affair, with both Tys & Homegirl in tow, we stayed with my SIL and her family who live there.

A few crew/trip stats:
4 adults
5 kids - 4 1/2 years old and under, 4 boys/1 girl
9 people under one German roof
At most, 8 of us piled into one mini van
1 road trip to France
2 days at Legoland
8 hours skipped ahead, and then back (there is a whole new side to jet lag when traveling with kids)
6 kilometers walked through vineyards for wine tasting (for a total of 24,175 steps that day!!)
Zero lost bags (in fact, we came home with one extra)
Over 2,000 pictures
Needless to say we went through countless cappuccinos and pretzels (and wipes, ha!!). It was crazy-fun, emphasis on crazy!!
We started the trip de-icing at our initial departure, which made for very close and stressful calls at each of the next connecting planes and trains. In the end we made it, very jet-lagged and relieved to be at our final destination.
The kids were absolute all-star travelers. Of course, there was some crying, fits, even screaming, but Tyson and Harper's flexibility, good behavior, and calm-nature made for a rather pleasant experience. We came prepared with snacks, activities, and low expectations, only to be blown away and extremely proud of our two littles. In fact, I'm already thinking we should plan our next trip.. ;)
I plan to recap various activities in separate posts, be prepared for picture overload..!! It was such a memorable and special trip for our family, I want to document it all. We thoroughly enjoyed revisiting some of our favorite places, experiencing a different culture, spending time with family, and being on the go-go-go.. Did I mention the pretzels and cappuccinos?

So, hold on to your lederhosen and prepare for an overload of family vacation 2016 posts!!

Five on Friday

Friday, April 15, 2016

Another week has flown by (I use the term 'flown' loosely..). I thought I'd give this 'five on Friday' thing a try, kind of a compilation of whatever's going on or on my mind. I'm good at random and I'm really good at Fridays, so here we go..!!

Tax Day, is usually today and how you can remember my birthday, however this year it's actually on April 18.. Thankfully you've got a few extra days to file, but it is still MY BIRTHDAY..!! The one month weekend day I love to soak in some special attention and be obnoxious about celebrating ME. Big thanks to my parents who made me possible and all family and friends who put up with me. Really though, I'm not that bad..

Gifts and special deliveries - one of my favorite parts of birthdays!! :) There isn't much better than receiving a special card and surprise in the mail from special people, including from the sweetest friend (who I haven't even 'met'. Weird?! Nah, just the awesome world/community of blogging!!).

Speaking of three, the Mr. shared this article with me about this guy's '3 glasses' project.. He took pictures of his friends before, and then after 1, 2, and 3 glasses of wine. Cracked me up. I'm thinking a link-up where we all share pictures of ourselves, one, two, three drinks in..?! Who's with me?!

Packing, planning, and prepping. As I mentioned, we are preparing for a BIG trip, I have lists coming out my ears as I make sure I don't forget anything and we are good to go. I pretty consistently over-pack, so trying to keep it to two suitcases (for the four of us) is taking some intentional attention, read: outfit planning in full effect. I have this and this coming my way, I hope they are keepers!! I also got these for Tys and these for Homegirl - they're perfect staples that we can mix up with a few different tops.
So, help me out, tell me.. 
How do you outfit plan for trips? Best packing tips? What are your favorite versatile, spring-y, and/or travel pieces?

On the traveling note, I need all your tips and advice on traveling with kids; this is actually our first time flying with both Tys and Harp. From what I've heard so far, it seems to be all about snacks and activities, so that's our plan (except one of the long legs is supposed to be our night-time so we all need to sleep...).
So, help me out, tell me..
Please share advice/tips!! Favorite airplane activities, tips and tricks for (international) travel with little ones, as well as any secrets to jet-laggin' with toddlers.
Tyson in an airport in 2013

Happy weekend, friends!!