My Oma

Today was Sydney’s 3rd birthday but it turned out to be a day of mixed emotions for me. I found out when I woke up that my Oma had passed away.

My Oma took a bad fall about a month ago and just couldn’t recover.  She was in palltative care for the past 9 days so even though I knew the end was near, it really didnt make the news any easier.

While I was out and about with the kids today I thought alot about my Oma and all that she meant to me. Here are a few memories that stand out for me.

~ Walking through Leif Erickson park when I was about 4, she had THE LARGEST GRASSHOPPER on her pants.  I freaked – she laughed!

~ She grew the most amazing garden at her house on Ave O in Saskatoon.  It was HUGE and AWESOME!

~ She  grew the most amazing Peonies all around her house.

~ She was the greatest baker.  She had a sweet tooth. Her peanut butter cookies were THE BEST!

~ she loved to freak me out as a kid by wiggling her false teeth.

~ She was an amazing knitter, though it took me FOREVER to realize this. She was my inspiration to learn and she helped fix many of my mistakes.

~ She loved Hawaii….. everything about it!

These are just a few quick memories of a woman that I loved very much. A strong woman that came to Canada as a war bride from Rotterdam, and made a life for her family in Canada.

Today I bought a bunch of Pink Peonies….. they remind me of my Oma. In the store Sydney brought me a bunch of pink Gerber Daisies and said “for my Oma”.  Looks like we have a new tradition of mixing pink peonies and pink gerber daisies together to celebrate, and remember two strong and independant women. Two women that I love so very much!

Happy Birthday Sydney…. I will miss you Oma.

Xox

B.

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It was my Intent. Never fully trust a Tomtom, and its all about La Defense!

It was my intent to do a post a day.

When I originally thought of the name for the blog I really did picture myself giving a “daily dose” to family, friends, and anyone else that was interested, on all that the Bain Clan was up to in Europe.  I had visions of myself tucking the kiddies in bed, pouring a nice glass of wine, and chilling out on the computer recapping our daily adventure……. that obviously is not happening! So….. so much for the daily dose!

With that said, and after 5 days in Paris, the recap of our drive from Heidelberg to our hotel at La Defense in Paris will begin!

As we got in the car at Heidelberg to drive to Paris, Mike plugged our destination into the tomtom app on his iPhone, and with Darth Vaders voice directing us we were off to start our adventure in the City of Light. I did think it was strange that the drive back to Paris was going to take us almost 2 hours longer than it did to get to Heidelberg, so Mike reprogrammed the tomtom, told it we wanted to take toll roads and we were once again on our way.  After about an hour and not having taken a ticket to pay a toll I wasnt convinced that we were on the quickest road.  My suspision was confirmed while listening to the tomtoms’ directions we turned away from the only sign for Paris that I saw and we were headed to Luxembourg. After a quick stop in Luxembourg, and a couple more hours on the road, we eventually found a toll road, and, disobeying Darths warning we FINALLY took a toll ticket.

In Vancouver I registered online to run a 10km running race on June 24th, so as we were driving through Paris we decided to pick up my race pack….. located on the round about at the Bastille.  Darth directed us there perfectly so my faith was restored in the awesome navigation app on Mikes iPhone. We managed to find “parking” on the round about, I found my ID and had Mike forge my doctors certificate saying I was fit to run the race, and with fingers crossed that all would run smoothly, I was off to get my race package.  It all went well, (although I think they suspected the Doctors certificate was bogus), and I was back in the car with race package in hand in about 15 minutes. We were now off to the hotel at La Defense, in rush hour, in the middle of Paris. Over 6 hours in the car, with a couple of key stops and the kiddies were holding up quite well.  The traffic was crazy…… it was Saturday night, and everyone was out and about on the Avenue des Champs Elysees.

Driving under l’Arc de Triomphe, we actually made it to La Defense in good time and with out any navigation problems – that is until we were “actually in” La Defense!  To say that we drove in a circle for 90 minutes would not be an understatement, it may have even been longer. With Darth telling us to ‘turn left’ when either the road was blocked, or where there was no road, we just kept ending up on this crazy circle, that would either take us back to Paris, or one of the out lying areas.  There are no signs to any hotels….. ANYWHERE!  We finally saw a Pullman hotel, pulled in, and asked directions.  They told Mike that the hotel was ‘right up those stairs’, and gave us directions once again…. ‘its simple, just go back out to the circle, exit right and it cant be missed!’.

……. we still couldn’t find it, and after all those hours in the car, little Syd had, finally had it as well!  Tempers were short, and I could no longer see the humour in the craziness we were in. I was ready to throw Darth and the Tomtom out the window.  I had had enough of “you have reached your destiantion…. the Emperor awaits”.  We FINALLY found the Pullman hotel agian and decided to park the car and walk up the stairs to find our hotel.  It was a bit of a hike to get to the Hilton (it wasn’t just up those stairs), but once there, Mike had the bellman walk back to the car with him and had the bellman drive our car to the hotel. And just so you know how hard it is to find your way in La Defense….. the bellman got lost driving ‘our car’, to ‘his hotel’ as well!

I had my race on Sunday morning, 10am. I’m pretty sure Le Equipe 10km is the Paris version of the Vancouver Sun Run.  I got directions to the start line from the hotel. I was to take the RER A train to the Gare de Lyon stop which I was told was a shot walk to the Bastille.  On the train I saw another person with a race number and I am so glad I did!  Once I got off the train it was a maze of exits, that would take you to all different points on street level. I followed my “guide” in “stealth mode”. It was a good thing he was wearing a red race shirt or I would have lost him a number of times!

It was great race weather, overcast with a breeze.  The rain started about 5km in, but I didn’t care as I was running on the streets of PARIS!  I think I finished in 1:03, which is no PB, but since I was stopping to take photos with my iPhone I’m pretty happy with the result!  Nothing beats running on the streets of Paris!

La Defense….. a beautiful, and Uber modern area of Paris.  The kids and I are heading there today….. by the METRO!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Paris here we come!

Race package pickup

The Bastille – race start

Entrance to the train/metro station at La Defense

On the RER A Line

The guy in red….. my unknowing “guide” to the race start. Thanks guy in red!

Not a bad place to start a race!

Start line street

Along the race route….. some random building……love it!

The result of so many racers!

Beauty at a street market

Our neighborhood for the 2 weeks in Paris

Hallway out of the building

4 rue l’Arc de Triomphe 75017 Paris

Love living in Paris!

Germany – What’s Not to LOVE!

So I LOVE Germany!

I had never been there before this trip, and to say I fell in love with that country would not be an understatement.

Such beautiful countryside…. well what you could see anyway as you whizzed by at 150KM (or more) on the Auotbahns.  I was a bit nervous to drive in Germany, but our little Peugeot which had great “get up and go” was more than capable of holding her own with ALL the fancy beautiful cars in Germany.  NO ONE drives a beat up car in Germany….. I honestly mean NO ONE!  Everywhere you look its Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Bentley, Ferrari….. the list goes on!

I quickly got over my driving nerves, as everyone seems to know “their” speed limit and drives in the aproppriate lanes.  “My” speed limit was max 140km/hr…. Mikes was higher, so yes he got us there “faster”. It is crazy that you can be in you car driving at 160km/hr and be passed like you are standing still.  Some of those cars must have been doing close to 200km/hr.

The people in Germany were so nice. Everywhere we went we were greeted with smiles.  If they were holding doors for the kiddies and I (and the huge double stroller), helping to show us how to use an automated machine to pay for something, or helping to read a menu, the people we encountered on our day to day activities were always amazing.

The food was delish although we didnt eat German food everynight!  Brodie was pretty happy with his “hotdogs”, and both kiddies are pretty happy that they can get french fries. We had our last dinner in Heidelberg at a FANTASTIC Italian restaurant.

The Euro 2012 is on while we are vacationing here in Europe, and Germany is playing FANTASTIC!  Brodie and I have them pegged to win it all……

GO GERMANY GO!

Heidelberg….. a beautiful little town, that made a huge impression on me.

Germany – what’s not to love!

Enjoy you Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Looking across the Neckar River on our walk to “old town”

The family in one of Europe’s longest, outdoor, pedestrian shopping areas is in Heidelberg

My addiction…..  Mmmmmm….. so good!

Germany’s newest football fan #1

Germany’s newest football fan #2

Mikes speed…. crazy!

Brodies FAVOURITE German word!

Week one went FAST!

So the week in Heidelberg went super FAST!

It is such a beautiful town, and alot that it has to offer was all in walking distance from our hotel.  There were 2 visits to the Heidelberg Zoo, and 3 visits to the wonderful outdoor pool a block from the hotel.

Brodie and Syd are in LOVE with the ZOO….. so much so that we had to go twice just to see their favorite animal….. the Orangatans!  It really is a fabulous Zoo,(although I’m not the biggest fan of Zoos’) and over the 2 visits we managed to spend 9 hours there.  There are many animals, and exhibits to see, but the best part was the fantastic kids play area.  Both times we had lunch beside the lion exhibit, again, with an amazing kids “water park” play area.  The kids probably could have spent the entire day there.  I am sure the entire city of Heidelberg knows we were at the zoo, as the kiddies have been wearing their tiger masks non-stop since we bought them!

The outdoor swimming pool was also amazing.  It was the cleanest and well kept pool I have ever been in, with the cutest food stand.  The kids pool was super fun with little slides, water hoses, and a water pump and bucket.  It also had the best  assortment of kids teeter totters, “spin bowls” and springy horses in the grassy area.

The “Old Town” was within walking distance and on our last day I took the kiddies shopping…… a little bit for them…. a little bit for me!

Heidelberg is one of the oldest university town in Europe. It is an quaint little city, and EVERYONE rides a bike!

So glad that SAP has their head office so close to this awesome city, and that we could include a week there on our 7 week trip!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Lunch by the Lion Viewing and “waterpark”

All the following images are from my “run” through Heidelberg

We’ve Arrived

So getting to Europe with 2 kiddies was harder than I initially thought it was going to be.

Brodie and Sydney were great on the first flight from Vancouver to Montreal.  Sydney had a bit of trouble on the descent into Montreal but was fine once we landed.  We had a 3 hour layover which we thought would be great for the kiddies to run off some steam, eat, and get ready for the last flight from Montreal to Paris.

The little Miss had other ideas….. there was an incident as we were heading to the gate. It had to do with her not getting to put a stick of gum in Brodies backpack that sent her into a 45 minute meltdown.  I actually thought we were going to have to grab a room at the airport and catch the next flight out.  Brodie turned out to be the hero of the moment accomplishing what Mike and I could not do and help his little sister calm down and stop crying and bring her out of “it”. He is our new “secret weapon” against meltdowns!

The kiddies both fell asleep shortly after take off, and with fingers crossed I was hoping it was for the duration of the flight until we landed in Paris.  That dream came to an abrupt end when Syd woke up after an hour, and then procceded to wake her brother.  The rest of the flight was without incident until the descent into Paris…… Oh my……

Little Syd had the craziest of meltdowns EVER.  I doubt there has ever been a worse incident in the history of flight!  Lets just say that we are glad it is over, and that we have now decided to adopted a new parenting strategy with the little lady. If in 7 weeks we tell you that we wont be getting on the airplane, and that we are taking up residence this side of the pond, its because we just dont EVER want to go through that again…. EVER!  I also plan into buying some children’s Gravol while we are here…..just incase we need to get on another flight It might just put her to sleep for the part of the flight!

Once we landed, passed through customs, picked up all our luggage, “found” the car seats, we were off to get the car rental.  The car is awesome….I havent driven a standard in along time, and I forgot how much I LOVE driving standard.  Once we got the car packed and installed the car seats we were off on our 5 hour journey to Heidelberg.  Mike installed the Tomtom app on his phone and installed Darth Vader`s voice to direct us to our destination – Brodie LOVES it and laughs every time he gives us directions. The kiddies slept the whole way and Mike and I switched every so often so we could each catch a bit of sleep.

Driving in Europe brings back so many amazing memories from our last adventure here 12 years ago on our honeymoon….. I LOVE Europe….. it is such a special place!

We are settling to our 3rd night in Heidelberg and both kiddies are asleep.  Mike and I are drinking wine with Mike reading his e-book, all while I write this. The kiddies are adjusting to the jet lag and should be back to normal in a day or two.

Heidelberg is such a beautiful little town. The weather is great, and summer has arrived for us….. and we actually had to put on sunscreen.  Funny that we had to take 2 flights in order to find summer. Hopefully the weather will hold out as there is much for the kiddies and I to do outside.  Glad we are here till Satruday, so much to see, do, and shop…. not to mention Germany plays in the Quarter finals on Friday… the crowds will be out… as will we!  Go Germany Go!

Enjoy you Daily Dose

Xox

B.

The Start of meltdown #1

Go Germany Go!

Hello Heidelberg

 Afternoon break

Starwars follows Brodie EVERYWHERE!

Awesome 5 hours at the Zoo

My 2 tigers!

So happy to be in Heidelberg!

So…… I can’t sleep!

OK…. so I can’t sleep!

So upto now I have been pretty methodical in my approach to getting ready for our trip.  You know……getting things in order, not really thinking too much about the days or number of hours till we leave, and how long we will be gone for (…..yikes 50 days) ect, ect, ect. I was doing pretty well until tonight.  Tonight that is, until while getting ready for bed, and brushing our teeth, Mike turns to me and says with a great big grin “38 hours…. no…. it’s less than 32 hours till we leave!”  “Make sure you get some good sleep…. its gonna be a crazy long day with the kids….. 5 hours to Montreal.  3 hour layover. 5 hours to Paris. 5 hour drive to Heidelberg”.

Ok I knew all of this but…….

Wait …. WHAT…. OMG…. REALLY!

Yes its gonna be one crazy travel day for the Bain family!

With that said, I think I was doing pretty well, since I had today planned for my packing day for Brodie and I.  The suitcases were brought out of storage almost a week ago, and they were ready to be filled.

I placed all that I thought Brodie would need for about a weeks worth of clothing (all types of weather conditions were thought of) on his bed, and did the exact same thing for my clothing.  Now on a friends advice, I left it there so I could come back to and see if it could be pared down…… Hahahaha …. not a chance could it be pared down (but thanks for the advice Ray)!  I actually added things! Uuuuggghhhh!

As of tonight, I would say that Brodie and I are at about 90% packed and ready to go.  Mike says not to worry…. and that “this is the most prepared we have EVER been for a trip!”.  So that brings me to not being able to sleep…. my mind is racing on things I may be forgetting, and things I wanted to get done before we left and now have a slim (now read NO) chance of getting done!

I’m not sure how, this trip, that we have been talking seriously about since September, is now less that 32 hours away!  I actually wish we were already on the plane because I then could stop thinking about everything I “need” for this trip!

Come on Friday 9:00am……. I just need to get on that plane….. If not just so I can finally relax, sleep, and forget about everything I “need” for this trip!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Ha…. not all this is coming with us… we just needed options!

All set and ready to go… on this end anyway!

Great Friends, Great Food, and One Über Amazing Night

So I have the most amazing girlfriends on the planet!

Last Sunday, with less than 3 weeks till we depart on our European adventure, the girls organized a German/French/Spanish themed “pot-luck” bon voyage Bain Family party.

Mrs. T hosted us all at her beautiful West Vancouver home – complete with outdoor pool and über amazing view of the pacific ocean, and UBC.

The day stared out cloudy, windy, and cold, and hopes of a pool party were fading. As the party approached, the weather shifted with the sun bursting through. This had most people jumping in the pool for some splish, splashing fun…. Well everyone except for little Syd, who just wanted to go “back in Trina’s house”. She is definitely a character…. trust me!

It was super fun having my best girlfriends get in on the “themed food” for our dinner. There was so much food…..so yummy, so delicious! There were all types of German sausages and mustards. A platter of German, French, and Spanish cheeses, along side some amazing deli cuts. Pork and Veal Schnitzel. Croissant sandwiches were made…. German potato salad, an orange, red onion and shaved fennel salad, a chicken gumbo, and a side of marinated roasted peppers. This was all served all along side (….. ha….. I now know how to pronounce it) Seafood Paella. French, German, and Spanish wines were served along with some very authentic, ice cold German beer. “Sweet” breads – not the other kind of “Sweetbreads”, rounded out the evening.

To say it was the most amazing night spent with my friends and their families would be an understatement! It was so touching and amazing to see everyone as excited by our trip as we are! A special thanks to Corrine for organizing such a great night!

Can’t wait to share the ins and outs of our adventure when we return.

August beach party anyone?

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

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