...a blog for the friends and family of dan, jen, worthy, william, calvin & christian

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Worthy is 9!

 Worthy turned 9 back at the end of July, but since he was in the States, we had to wait until mid-August to celebrate.  And celebrate we did - at his favorite place, Bogi Park.
He invited a handful of friends (and his brothers by default) and we had a exhausting great day at Bogi Park.
It was perfect - it was the day after a national holiday here, so the place was empty.  It was almost eerie.This place is usually crawling with kids, so we were thrilled to have it all to ourselves. I don't have many pics inside.  They were all action shots and just came out with kids looking wacko.  
Eating lunch
The package allowed you to have the Birthday room.  I was kind of just expecting an empty room where you could sing and do presents.  I was way wrong.  He got a throne - yep, a throne from which to blow out his candles. He was rather pleased.

Cake, Presents & Happy Bday singing
It was a really great way to celebrate his birthday. We were unsure what to do with 8-10 boys in our apartment to celebrate a party so this was a great alternative.  

And as a bonus, I got one of my favorite pictures to date of our boys together...
Happy Birthday to Worthy!

Worthy's Return (with Grampy)

Worthy got to spend about 3 weeks in the USA with his grandparents and maternal cousins this summer.  It was easily the highlight of his summer - plentiful ice, baseball games, Pokeman games and Grampy Galore. We're still detoxing him :).

Well he didn't fly by himself, so my dad flew back with him and stayed for a few days.  It was a short stay, so we didn't do too much, but we did go to Schonbrun Palace and take the little train around the grounds.


We had a great time with Grampy!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Schneeberg Trip

This summer on one of the hotter days of the year, we decided to take a well timed trip to Schneeberg.  It's in the Lower Alps and a welcome relief to the oppressively hot weather we had been having.  It was also a chance to spend some hiking time together which is usually always a hit.

There is a train that goes up the mountain which Christian fussed almost the whole way up. Up at the top there were fabulous views, great hiking and cool, refreshing mountain air!

William enjoying the view
Even more than the view - he enjoyed chucking rocks
Our hiker in training
There was a small restaurant up top that we rewarded ourselves with a snack after our hike.  Christian slept in the stroller most of the time which prolonged our lovely break.  Luckily I had packed a heap of blueberries which the boys chowed down.
We also got to see some of our friends up top which made the trip even sweeter along with a pretty cool playground... always a selling point with our clan.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Zoom Kindermuseum

A few weeks ago, the younger three kids and I went on our second visit to our favorite kid's place in Vienna, Zoom Kindermuseum.  However, this time we visited a different exhibit that was equally fantastic as our first trip! We did the Ocean portion of the exhibit.

Side note: One of the loveliest parts of this place is how affordable it is.  It is such a great value for the inexpensive price.  And so when I arrived to check in for our reservation there I was even MORE delighted to find out that it was FREE that day!  Yeah for Sponsored Events!!

Basically, the room was built into a giant ship with all kinds of ocean and nautical themed action stations. It began with a small introduction and lesson.  For some reason, almost all of us there were English speakers, so the guide just switched to English for the whole session.

The boat was amazing.  Up top there was a working cargo area and hoist. This is William working the hoist and lowering some supplies below to Calvin.

 There was also an area that was crafted into a submarine with a working periscope.

 My boys were completely uninterested in the costumes so I dressed Christian up on my own and then he was annoyed with it too. Life with boys.

No ship would be complete without the Captain's Wheel.  
I'm sure there's a proper name for it that I'm unaware of.

 In these portholes (you would never know I lived in Annapolis for 5 years!), the kids could send down fishing line and have cloth fish attached to them to pull back up.  

And it happened to be one of the boys birthdays that was there.  He was American and so we sang Happy Birthday to him.  
And to finish it all off, the guide gave all the kids a big blanket ride down the ramp.
A super day - Zoom Zoom!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Zotter Tour

Yesterday we had one of our favorite experiences here in Austria.  We did a tour of the Zotter Chocolate factory.  Now Zotter Chocolate bars are sold here in Vienna and I've had a love affair with them for about 2 1/2 years.  It's an Austrian company (located outside of Graz) and they do tours that we heard are magnificent.  We were NOT disappointed.  To make it even more special... we were joined by some friends of ours in Graz and another friend here volunteered to watch Baby Christian so we didn't have to drag him around there!!  Could it get any better - chocolate, friends and baby break?!

Our friend Christian (who had been there before) gave us great advice.  In regards to sampling the chocolate, "go slow" because there is a ton to try.  He was SO right! 

There were a few Stages.  The first was an area where we tried the actual coffee beans from around the world.  We broke open the casing and ate the bean inside.  It was really interesting to see the various taste differences.

William & Christian trying some beans
The next stage was trying the liquid raw chocolate. 
This was very bitter, dark chocolate with no sugar added. 
Calvin was not a fan of the raw stuff
on the other hand, William was
Also - notice William's spoon above.  We were given these handy little spoons to use to taste the chocolate. 

The next Stage was sampling the chocolate powder.  It went from 100% chocolate down to 40% with white chocolate at the end.  Stages 3 & 4 were the same thing, except instead of powder it was solid squares and then warm liquid chocolate respectively.
The powdered chocolate hallway
the warm chocolate area... yep... molten fondue pots galore!
see how you just pull the pin out to try the sample?
This might be a good place to mention that there was no one around policing how much chocolate you could have.  This was completely indulgent and decadent. We were allowed to taste to our hearts content.

The next stage was sampling the actual candy bar flavors. Again - as much as you wish. There must have been 40-50 of these sampling stations available.
The next stage was one of my favorites!  It was the hot chocolate zone.  Around the perimeter of the room was a tiny "ski lift" that carried chocolate flavors to be added to hot milk.  Before you selected the one (or eighteen) that you wanted you could try samples of them.
Christian helping William "sample"
the "ski lift" with bars for making your chocolate...again limitless
William selected the Honey & Cinnamon flavor - my favorite too!
 Then you went to the bar and got a tray of hot milk and a stirrer and added your chocolate bar.

Super Yummy! (notice the ski lift behind us!)
And just when we thought we couldn't possibly eat one more bite.  We come to the next phase.  Chocolate covered walnuts, hazelnuts, apricots, etc, etc.  All in these little bowls along the wall.

And FINALLY the last inside stage... (no pics included) was sampling the finished product that came out continuously on a conveyor belt. I never thought I'd be sick of chocolate. I was wrong.

Lastly they have an area that is an edible garden.  We could sample different ingredients growing in season.
eating some blackberries
 A. Great. Day!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Trek, day 2

When you stay at a hut, you sleep in close quarters in a room with lots of other people, regardless of age or sex. Our room had four bunk beds jammed up next to one another. Fortunately, there was only one other person sharing our room, and he was not a snorer. So William and I slept great!

Early in the morning some hunters brought
a fresh kill to the hut, most likely one of the chamois
we saw the day before. William was fascinated by the head.

Before we left the hut, William and I scrambled up a neighboring peak to gain some views.

Our hut, the Admonter Haus, originally built in 1894.

Notice the erosion;
the path sank deeper than William's height.

An incredibly clear day...

...where you could see the Dachstein glacier in the distance...
...and even GroƟglockner!

 I decided on this next day that we would not attempt the same route down. It probably would have taken 9 hours and would have been decidedly more dangerous than the ascent. The pictures do not capture how tricky the trail was. Our hut guardian found a taxi service just for people who stay in huts. At the end of our 3-hour descent, it would take us 30 minutes around the mountain to our car.

When people in the States learn that I live in Austria, many of them start singing, "the hills are alive with the sound of music;" they think of the idyllic images from that movie, not realizing that Salzburg is very different than Vienna.

Well, this wasn't Salzburg, but Styria is just as arresting, and once or twice on the descent I had that song haunting my head!

The hut guardians, Daniel and Daniela

Did I mention how proud I was of my William? What a great trip for father and son!