Monday, November 29, 2010

Why Laundry Can Be Fun.

The other night as I was buzzing around at warp speed doing various household chores (go ahead, let that mental image of me in 4" heels, a pink apron and feather duster in hand burn into your brain), Alex expressed extreme interest in moving the clothes from the washer to the dryer.

"Heh-wulp," he said as he reached his little hands over his head.

And so, I handed him each piece of wet laundry (one by one) and he delicately placed each one in the dryer. When it was all said and done, he helped me close the door and I lifted him up to hit the start button. He squealed with delight when it beeped back at him and started tumbling.

Life lesson: I go too fast, and when attempting to maximize every waking minute I also run the risk of missing out on making sweet little memories like this one. And who cares if it takes me 10 minutes to switch the clothes? I had fun doing it...and so did Alex.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Respect The Turkey.

There are a few things that Joey has a very strong opinion on. No white socks with dark dress pants. The kitchen sink must always be clean. Phones clipped to belts look stupid. Saturn drivers are, in general, horrible. And Respect the Turkey.

And so, from today until Saturday, we will be respecting. I will respect until my pants are too tight and my eyes are heavy from tryptophan and Sam Adams. I will respect until I can respect no more. And then on Sunday, we're putting up the Christmas tree!

...and then do you know what happens like two days after that? Birthday Bootcamp!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This is the last of it, I promise. And I'm mostly documenting all this for selfish purposes, because someday when a neighbor goes Palin-crazy on me and spies on my family to write my life story, I would like to make it easier on said neighbor. I'll hang a banner in my front yard that says, "Read le blog." And that's all they need to know.

Anyway, my flight pattern on the way home was Munich --> Amsterdam --> Detroit. Upon arrival in Amsterdam, we were dropped in the middle of a parking lot and unloaded from the plane onto a bus. The bus took us to the terminal where I had to use my life survival skills (thank you, Discovery Channel) to get myself to the gate on time and alive.

Little did I know this would require approximately four hundred and eighty seven miles of walking and three (yes, three) security checkpoints. The first was simply passport control to get into the international terminal, at which the kind (read: big, scary and wielding a gun) officer looked at my passport and said something to me in Dutch. I mentioned that I only spoke English and he very loudly said to me, "But your name is Van Voooormah." I told him that was my married name, at which point he looked at me like I was a seven eyed monster and said, "You have a Dutch husband and you don't speak DUTCH?!?" I mean, really.

At security checkpoint two, I received the invasive pat-down and nakie x-ray treatments that are all the rage all over the news. I sort of felt like a schmoke and a pancake when it was all said and done. They do not mess around in Amsterdam, let me tell you...

Before I made my way to the gate (which was security checkpoint 3, stay tuned), I toured the airport. It was decorated for Christmas, which I love, love, loved. I also bought Alex the cutest pair of wooden shoe slippers and ate the most delicious McFlurry of my LIFE. It had a candy called "Lion" in it...kind of a toffee flavor. Mmmmm....

Oh yes. A casino.

Security checkpoint 3 came as a bit of a surprise - it was actually at the gate. I had to meet with a customs officer and scan all my carry on luggage before being escorted to a big, glass room with no way out except to get on the plane. Once you're in, you're in. There was a bathroom and about 200 chairs for all 300+ people on the plane. Annoying.

Anyway, I obviously made it home safe and sound. I loved Germany--its people, its beer and its pretzels, mostly. I can't wait to go back...perhaps in 2012!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Sunday in Munich was technically my "day off," but since Sundays are religious days in most of Europe, everything was closed. And by "everything," I mean all of the lovely shops that I wanted to buy things at!

Regardless, it was a lovely day. Two of my new fave colleagues took me around the city for some adventures and sightseeing. Munich did not disappoint.

This used to be the town hall. It was incredible.
I've never, ever seen anything like it.

Up in the main tower there was a clock with figures that
danced around when the clock struck certain hours.

This was the crowd gathered for the 11 a.m. "show."
It was SO neat!

A cool building we saw walking around.

A REAL maypole!
For those that get the reference,
Miss Linda would be SO proud!

I thought this was funny.
The building was under construction,
so they put a graphic of a church in front
of the scaffolding.

Inside the Hofbräuhaus. AWESOME.

Next, we took the Subway to Olympia Park.
Munich hosted the Summer Games in 1972.
We went to the top of that tower and got to
see a 360° view of Munich!
A view of Olympic Village
(where the athletes stayed) from the tower.

See the Swiss Alps? :)

We finished a long and awesome day of sightseeing
with dinner and drinks at Schneider Weisse Brauhaus,
where I had the most delicious bowl of pretzel soup.
Yeah, you read that right.
I also had a lot of beer, but that goes without saying.

Also? Sorry this recap is taking eleventy years. I have a katrillion pictures to go through and it's been seriously overwhelming to select just a few for le blog. I don't have much more to share, since Monday and Tuesday were "work" days, but I do have some fun pics and adventures from my layover in Amsterdam. Preview: I was violated by a customs officer and laughed at for not speaking Dutch. Because, you know, I have a Dutch husband or something like that.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Fun Comparison.

As you may recall from a recent announcement, my sister is expecting my first niephew (niece+nephew because they are not finding out the sex) on or around Feb. 14, 2011. She's 27 weeks as of now, so I thought it might be fun to see me at 27 weeks with WIP and her at 27 weeks with niephew.

Kelli is a shortie pants, so I think she's carrying niephew much higher than I carried WIP. What do you think?

 Me 'n WIP.

Kelli 'n niephew.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Better Late Than Never.

We interrupt this horribly delayed Germany briefing to bring you copious amounts of cuteness from Halloween 2010. I realize my efforts to be timely blogger in the recent past have been interrupted by a jet lag-induced coma, but try to stick with me, mmmkay?

Our little Mickey was ah-dooooor-able come the eve of October thirty one. See for yourself:

His pre-costume. It glows in the dark!
Talk about freaky when you wake him up from a nap
in his dark room...

 A quick stop at a cider mill.

 "Pun-kin, Momma! Pun-kin!" 

Suit up, Mickey!

Minnie ♥s her Mickey.

Minnie, Mickey and Pluto.
Yes, we're that family.

His first official trick-or-treat at Aunt Jane's house.

"Well, well, well...what do we have here?"
And yes, his pumpkin even had ears.
My mom found it in Connecticut!

"Thanks for the loot, Aunt Jane, but I've got more candy to get!"

He was truly a man on a mission the entire night. He didn't start to get the "concept" of trick or treating until we had about 3 houses to go, then he would charge straight up to the door and scream "tweeeeeeeeet" until the homeowners had no choice but to hand over their sweet "tweets" to my little Mickey.

Sadly, there wasn't a single Butterfinger in his bucket for me to steal. Tragic.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Journey To Munich.

On Saturday, I travelled with 2 of my colleagues from Wuppertal to Munich, which is about six hours by car. Going 125 mph. On the Autobahn. Please note that I'm still alive to tell the tale.

It was exhilarating and terrifying to travel at that speed on a highway. And there were cars passing us!

Along the way, we stopped at some outlets to do some shopping. My favorite was a store called S. Oliver, a family-owned German fashion company HQed in Rottendorf, Bavaria. Needless to say, I spent some serious Euros there!

We stopped at a few rest areas along the way...where much to my surprise you had to PAY to PEE! It was .70€ (about 95¢).

I also ate my first real "Bavarian" pretzel. OMG. I don't even know how to describe it, but it's nothing like the soft pretzels in the States. Pure. Heaven. And paired with a nice, cold Bavarian beer? Please.

Once we arrived in Munich, we went to Messe Munchen International to ensure everything was going smoothly for show setup and then had a lovely dinner at a small Greek restaurant on a charming cobblestone street downtown. They didn't have an English menu, so I again had no clue what I ordered....which ended up being something edible consisting of meat, tzatziki, bread and a foreign variety of what I believe were vegetables. Which is fiiiiiiiiiiiiine.

On Sunday we did some exploring around Munich's beautiful downtown...more pics to come!

Also? I'm home now. Exhausted, home, and loving it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What Day Is It?

Honestly, I have no idea. However, I do think I left off with the deets of Friday evening in Wuppertal.

After a looooooooooong day in the office, my German colleagues took me out for what they described as a "typical" dinner for the region. The restaurant was a little place called Cafe Restaurant Swartz and it was beyond charming. I have to keep reminding myself that this place is real, and not some dollhouse I've imagined in my mind.

Charming, no?

An English menu! I FINALLY knew what I ordered!
FWIW, I got schnitzel. Delish.

Local-ish brew.
Not the best I've had, but not the wurst.
Get it? Bwahaha.

I've got so much more to catch you up on--like going 125 mph on the Autobahn during the SIX HOUR drive to Munich--but for now, I must rest my sleepy head. I don't know that I've ever been this exhausted in all my life. But it's SO worth it!

Friday, November 5, 2010


Thursday night was quite a lovely little evening in Dusseldorf. We had a business meeting in town, and then strolled to the downtown area of Königsallee, which is kind of like the Rodeo Drive of Germany. Suffice it to say I was a window shopper, only.

We found a cute little outfdoor cafe area where we had dinner at a Spanish restaurant. Again, no idea what I ate but it was delish and came with beer, so I was a happy little American.

Tomorrow morning we depart for Munich. Six hours on the Autobahn....ahhhhhhhh!!!!! The girl who is driving nonchalantly mentioned to me today that she "generally likes to go about 200 km/hr," which is roughly 125 mph of NEAR DEATH SPEED. Gack!

Since I need a reason to stay alive, here's my lovely Alex pic of the day from Aunt Jane. My little painter:

Guten Morgen.

This is my view each morning from my hotel in Wuppertal, the Arcadia.

GIANT indoor public pool haus to the right.

A view of the city straight on.
(The university is at the top of the hill.
Also a terrifying trip in the wind-up toy cars
they drive around here. And sticks, at that!

FABULOUS town hall to the left. It's gorg.

Also, I have absolutely no friggin' idea what I ate for each of the three meals I consumed yesterday. I know that I had coffee (kaffee) with some sort of bread/cheese/meat combination at breakfast, mystery meat and what I think were beets for lunch, and dinner was pretty much a wash. I think I had sherry to drink and another mystery meat with a gravyish sauce and what might have been a baked potato, but I cannot be certain. Also? The European "tradition" of having espresso after meals is absofriggenlutely FABULOUS.

And I know whenever my cell phone is about to ring or receive a text message, because the TV in my hotel room goes BERSERK. The first time it happened I about crapped my drawers...but now it's kind of like I have magical, future-predicting powers.

In related Germany near-death experience news, I rode on the Autobahn today. Ohmygodsoscary.

Also? Aunt Jane sent me these pictures of Dee-buh. 1) She is so awesome. & 2) HOW CAN YOU NOT MISS THAT FACE UNTIL IT HURTS?!? Oy.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Adventures From Across The Pond.

Wednesday was my first day in Germany, and after an exhausting flight and even more exhausting day in the office, my colleague and her (adorable!) daughter took  me out for a night on the town in Wuppertal.

We went for a ride on the Schwebebahn, a suspended monorail transportation system and also the oldest monorail system in the world. I describe it as an upside down subway. And most of it travels right over the River Wupper, which is VERY cool and also a peeny bit scary. See?

We made a few stops along the way in some cute shopping districts.

That last picture is with a statue of Minna Knallenfalls in Wuppertal. I tried to google the history of her, but most pages are poorly translated. Here's the best I found, if you're interested.

And then we had dinner at Wuppertaler Brauhaus, possibly one of the coolest (and most delicious) restaurants I've ever been to. It used to be a swimming pool! My colleague was telling me that her grandmother used to swim there as a child, and now she goes there to drink beer. LOVE. I ordered some sort of goulash with beef and dumplings stewed with their beer. It was scrumptious.

Tonight I'm told there's an evening planned for me in Dusseldorf, which is the "big city" to the folks that live in Wuppertal.

Werbegeschenk Gewinner!

Which, according to Google Translate (my bff for the next 10 days) is "Giveaway Winner!" in German.

I asked one of my German colleagues to pick a random number between 1-25 and she selected "zwei," which also according to Google Translate is TWO...Stephanie!

Glückwünsche, my dear! Email me at kveedub{at}gmail{dot}com to claim your prize.

And don't for a minute think that I'm just letting the rest of you down without something to cheer you up...Grandma's Little Lilly has generously offered ABM3 readers a $2 discount on any order when you use coupon code "lilly30". Be sure to mark it in "comments to seller" and she will send you the refund via PayPal. This code is good thru Nov. 10.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Auf Wiedersehen!

Hi, kids!

I'm hopping on a plane tomorrow for the land of le Germans. For work, not pleasure...but I'm hoping to at least drink a brew (or two) and eat some wiener schnitzel along the way.

I think I'll be able to find a few moments in the quiet of my hotel room in the evenings to post some Halloween pics of Alex. He was basically the cutest Mickey Mouse, ever.

And as a result of this holiday we call Halloween, he now loves Smarties. He will dig through every candy in his pumpkin to find one and and bring it to me and say, "Pweee, Momma" so I will open it for him. As such, he's pretty much running on a constant sugar buzz. What?! I can't resist a good 'pweee'!

See you from the other side of the pond!