Monday, August 30, 2010

Straight A Honor Roll...

Madison earned straight A's for the entire 2009-2010 (2nd Grade) school year.
She is a shining star!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Firemen to the Rescue

When Nana and Pa needed help moving their old couches to the garage, they knew just who to call for help.

Joe the Fireman came to the rescue with a few friends to help.
The girls loved climbing on the truck and driving to the rescue.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Steffen and Eva's Wedding

After our meetings in Berlin on Wednesday we drove to Heidelberg for the beginning of the wedding festivities (what should have been a 5 hour drive took us nearly 8 due to the highway being shut down- we sat with the car turned off for 1.5 hours before illegally taking a slip road and relying on the GPS to navigate our detour).

We arrived safely at Steffen and Eva's flat at 2:30am for a few hours of sleep.

Thursday was the hen and stag parties and Friday we drove to Crailshiem for the wedding.

The wedding ceremony took place Saturday afternoon at 2pm. It was beautiful.
The ceremony was completely in German (although I did manage to recognize a few words- Florida, Heidelberg, and the part where they say I Do).

The bride and groom sit throughout the entire ceremony, except when they exchanged rings.
The flower girl lead the happy couple out of the church to the courtyard.

Outside we enjoyed appetizers and shared in a toast for the couple before heading to the reception.

It was a 45 minute drive to Weikersheim where the reception would be held.
The drive there was beautiful and it was the perfect chance to put the convertible top down and enjoy the landscape and windy roads.

Upon arriving to the city square, we waited for the couple to arrive before proceeding to the castle.

While the couple was busy taking photographs, the guests had the opportunity to tour the castle and its vast grounds.
This is the Orangery where the reception was held.

Before going inside to dinner, the guests gathered outside with heart shaped balloons. On postcards, each guest wrote a message or the promise to do a favor (someone wrote 1 free night of babysitting for your 3rd child) and attached the postcard to 2 heart balloons. On a count of 3 the balloons (the couples were red) are released. If one of the postcards is found (they are pre-stamped) it is to be mailed back to the couple.
It was really neat.

We were then escorted into dinner and toasted by the couple.

The food was amazing!

Between each course, members of the family gave toasts to the couple.

Steffen's brother Daniel had several surprises up his sleeve that evening...

The heart used for the fireworks display was then covered in roses and each of the guests had their picture taken in the heart. The guests then placed their picture (instantly printed off) in a photo album and wrote a message for the couple. (Very cool guest book).

The bride and groom shared a traditional waltz
as the guests looked on

before inviting everyone to join in.

I could barely stop laughing as Rob attempted to whirl me around the dance floor (waltzing is not our thing). We successfully bumped into every couple as we twirled but we had a grand time.
The dancing and celebrating continued into the wee hours of morning (4am).

This is the only wedding I have ever been to where the dance floor was completely filled with only men.
They were having a great time dancing and singing to the music.
(the girls sat back and enjoyed the entertainment)

The sunrising as Rob and I drove back to Berlin (6am) for our flight to the UK.

We are so glad we were there to share in Steffen and Eva's wedding and wish them the best.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Prague: Old Town Hall and Astronimical Clock

A highlight of our time in Prague was visiting Old Town Hall and seeing the astrological Clock.

Since 1784 Old Town Hall has served as the sole town hall of the 4 united Prague historical boroughs (Old Town, Lesser Town, Hrdcany and New Town).

Our tour included the town hall chapel, mayor salon, and the cellars. (due to flooding, the entire town of Prague was raised thus changing the cellars from street level to below the ground).

On the south side of the Hall is the astronomical clock which was mounted in 1410.

The clock itself keeps several versions of time:
2 outer rings show the hour: Gold Gothic numbers on black background 0-23 which supposedly counts from sunset, and modern time shown via Roman Numerals.
Arcing lines and moving spheres combine with the big hand (a sun) and little hand (moon) to indicate the sunrise (day- blue zone) and sunset (night- black zone).

Much of what is seen today is a reconstruction due to the vast amount of damage from WWII and a fire that destroyed the South tower in 1945.

The second circle shows the signs of the zodiac, scenes from the seasons and a ring of saints names (one for each day of the year).

4 statues flank the clock:
A Turk with a mandolin symbolizes hedonism
A Jewish moneylender symbolizes greed
A figure staring into the mirror symbolizes vanity
A figure of death- whose hourglass reminds us that our time is running out

At the top of the hour,
Death tips his hourglass and pulls the cord, which rings the bell
Then the windows open and the 12 apostles parade by and the the rooster crows to mark the hour.

(We were able to view the apostles up close during our tour of the Hall)

It was very interesting to watch the hour chime and to focus on different aspects of the clock. It was everything that I hoped it would be and I am so glad we saw it up close.