Family Vacation 2016: [Solitude Palace, Germany]

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

On an overcast and rainy day we had the chance to visit Schloss Solitude Palace, it was perfect as we nearly had the place to ourselves. The magnitude, details, and architecture were simply amazing!! The only thing better was watching our little people run around, explore, and be among a most royal atmosphere.
This particular palace was a hunting retreat, commissioned by a Duke, built in the 1700's.

The castle overlooked the nearest city; so, we enjoyed the beautiful views as the kids ran wild and snarfed pb&j sandwiches - it was a most regal picnic. ;)
There was an absolutely perfectly manicured, tree-lined walkway behind the palace, so we took advantage of the picturesque spot.
We didn't go inside or take a tour, but peeking through some open windows, we saw an amazing ballroom with absolutely stunning chandeliers - seriously, I can't even imagine royal life..?!?! Maybe once the kids are more refined ;), we'll venture indoors with them; until then running free (& posing) on the steps and in the yard will do just fine.

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..!!!!