Saturday, July 30, 2011

Whistle While We Work

Because there will probably be few times in life when we can just stop our lives and move to texas for a couple of weeks to work, when the opportunity arose with Simon's uncle for the weeks after our honeymoon, we decided to take him up on it.  
Simon enjoys and is good at building and fixing etc; I'm not particularly gifted in that department but we're married so he couldn't very well leave me at home.  
We stayed and worked for about two weeks and our main project was building new doors for the shed.  The old ones were in really bad shape

 We had some nosey visitors while we built
 This is how they looked before we painted them.
We also spent a lot of time watering the trees, sweating, painting some other things here and there, sweating,  and little odd jobs.  
We headed back home for a couple of weeks to set up our apartment, which I was really looking forward to after all our traveling, while I took some classes.

Monday, July 25, 2011

European Travels and the Honeymoon Continues

Our fancy hotel and resort experience ended when we left Greece, but our vacationing and fun most definitely did not!  Our next stop was Germany to spend some quality time with Simon's family.  
I was completely excited because i had really only gotten to spend time with them on two occasions: the first when they came and visited Simon at school in the states, and the second was our wedding. 
The first days of being there we explored Wunstorf, spent lots of time talking with his parents, and looking forward to the weekend ahead when even more family would be arriving for our little wedding dessert reception his parents were having for us. One of my favorite things I've experienced in my European travels is the different markets you can go to and pick out fresh fruits, vegetables and in our case, flowers for the party. 
 Here is a peek at all of the amazingly delicious cakes we had at the reception.
It was a lot of fun to meet so many "new family members" and I feel so blessed to have had that opportunity!

The weather was, except for a few rainy days, pretty nice and much much cooler than our recent days in Greece and to take advantage of that we were able to do a lot of fun day trips.  We rode the train to Hannover and went shopping, went to an awesome amusement park, had a wonderful lunch with Kyle and Susan Bratcher and their family, and biked to Steinhuder Meer only to name a few.  

 While at Steinhuder Meer, we boated over to the island with the castle (somehow i managed to not get a picture of the castle) and the views from the island were so pretty!
This is us and the view from the top of the castle... mostly just us.

Simon showed me all the different stores that were typical for Germany and that gave me a more personable conception of the culture and daily life.  I tried to soak in as much of the language and culture as i could while we were there.  
We were able to spend some time with Simon's old friends as well as Hannes and Lea, his brother and sister who were all in town for the reception.  It was nice to just relax and get to know everyone, trying to take advantage of our time with them.  

During our last week we, along with family from all over Germany, went to Filzmoos, Austria to celebrate his Oma and Opa's 80th birthdays. 
 The location was beautiful, right in the center of snowcapped mountains and green Austrian hillsides. 
We played an astronomical amount of Yahtzee, rode on a sommer rodel bahn, and looked and laughed at hundreds of old pictures.
 We sat in a little go cart type thing as we inched up to the top of the sommer rodel bahn
and then screamed the whole way down
Yahtzee moment- one of many. It was much more cut throat than it looks.

It was a long weekend and lots of semi-chaotic family moments but definitely a fun opportunity to celebrate in a beautiful place.
Our visit, in one sense, seemed to fly by but as our return home neared we felt the weariness of traveling set in.  We were both really sad to leave because we know that chances to visit will be few and far between, at least for the foreseeable future, but the time there was filled with memory making and quality time so knowing we had made the most of it made leaving a little easier.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Never-Ending Honeymoon...

Between our summer schedule and some plans of Simon's family in Germany, we ended up being able to go visit them over the summer, therefore having the opportunity to have our honeymoon in Europe somewhere- Since we'd be in the area.  After lots of searching, we found what we thought was exactly what we were looking for in a honeymoon, his dad booked it for us, and our excitement for our trip began to grow.  
Before we headed off on our international adventure, we spent a couple of nights in The Capital Hotel in Little Rock.  It was an awesome stay, and we both felt completely spoiled with all of the frills of the service.  My personal favorite perk, was the room service breakfast!!

After our hotel stay, our first stop was Germany- just for the evening to get over jet lag and then get back on the plane the next morning and head to our real destination GREECE; more specifically, Lindos Princess Beach on the island of Rhodes.
Upon arriving in Rhodes, we had several funny and unexpected experiences.  For one, we ended up with a hot pink rental car. 
 We also discovered that the speed limits in Rhodes are more of a suggestion than fact and upon meeting several miles of construction and being passed with honks and glares at our observance of the 30 km/h speed limit, we vowed to NOT be the stupid americans who cause the traffic jams any more during our stay.   Our hotel was amazing, just like the pictures and we were so excited to finally be there after are several days of travel

We spent the first days enjoying the sun and free ice cream and cappuccinos from the beach restaurant as well as doing some island exploring. 
This is the view from our balcony.  It was really nice to be able to hear the live music or just people-watch from our balcony and not always have to be down in the middle of everything.

The weather was perfect and laying around in the sun doing nothing was super relaxing but we eventually did do some other equally fun things:  We rented a boat and explored the bay, got massages and experienced our first hammam (kinda like a sauna but different), played an excessive amount of mini golf and ate way too many desserts at the dessert buffet. 
This is us out on the boat and you can get a pretty good idea of how amazing and vast the water was.

We also did some touristy things on the island.  We hiked up to the acropolis of Lindos (the town we were in) and rode donkeys back down!! That was most definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me!!  We drove down to the port and visited "The Old Town"and on our last day, on our way to the airport, we drove all around the island of Rhodes seeing some awesome views of the Mediterranean and some cool castles.  
 This is the view from the top of the acropolis
 Here is one of the views Lindos is known for.  It's the little village at the base of the acropolis.  Who needs a tour bus, we found it all by ourselves!
 We had know idea where to go on our trip to the old town.  Our goal was to see the colossus remains but all we had was a map in Greek and no concept of social traffic laws.  We weaved our way through the labyrinth-like streets and managed to see a lot of cool things despite our ignorance. 
The port and the Colossus (We finally found it) 
On the way back we went by this handmade ceramics place-one a little out of town in hopes of less touristy, more artisan items- and got some really cool hand painted ceramic bowls and platter.  I thought that was a really neat souvenir.

Every morning we woke up to gorgeous views and delicious breakfasts (that was my favorite meal of the day while we were there).  During the evenings the atmosphere would change because for dinner you had to dress up a little more.  The kids splashing and running around by the pool during the day were in bed and the whole place was much quieter.  The hotel had some entertainment shows at night but they were a little cheesy so we mostly ended up just walking around the resort down by the sea and enjoying the evening atmosphere.  
Our experience on Rhodes was definitely a good one.  The time together was much needed after the stressful months of wedding planning and school.  It was wonderful not having to think about money or food at the hotel, just lazing through the day and doing whatever we wanted.  By the time the week was up I think we were both ready to leave and get on to our next step of vacationing and continuation of our never-ending honeymoon.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The beginning of a lot of beginnings

Well I've known for awhile i wanted to start blogging and with all of the exciting things that have happened lately i should have been more on top of things. But i wasn't, so here i am making up for lost time - More specifically, the last 2 months of my/our life. 

First, and most importantly, I have to mention all of the exciting events that led up to our Wedding!
I was able to have my dream wedding and it was so much fun! So many people for whom i care were there to celebrate with us and that was so wonderful! 

First was the rehearsal dinner the night before. It was pretty small, just the people in the wedding and their families.  It was a fun night and a nice way to start the celebrating.
It was nothing too elaborate, but i love sunflowers and daisys so they were the main decor

Simon's Graduation was the same day as our rehearsal dinner so it was a crazy day but can't leave out that proud moment!  

The next day, as may be expected, was the BIG DAY! We had so much fun trying to stay relaxed the whole time and just enjoy the day with so many friends and so much family.  Here are some shots to give a taste of the big picture

 The flower girls, Simon's cousins Mia and Ally, were precious and perfect! 
 My favorite color is yellow, so it showed up a lot in everything
 People with bird seed can be brutal.  A word of warning, keep in mind what you want to be trailing behind you for the next couple of days when planning things out for your final wedding moment.
 Here are some close friends who were awesome and joined in on the much desired bare-foot fun
New family! 

Old family. Old, but still great :)

Well, that's our big weekend.  We left a couple of days later for our honey moon and those pictures will come later.