30 June 2010

Technisches Museum

We have been spending some time at the Technisches Museum or as Elora likes to call it, the train museum. We recently went with our friends who hadn't been to the museum before. Elora was so excited to show them around. Here is Ellie and Oliver checking out a wind making machine that had a little moving sailboat. Oliver thought it was hilarious whenever the boat would move.

The fun part about seeing the museum with friends is that they had never seen most of the exhibits (and honestly, neither have we!) So we spent a lot of time playing at a lot of the stations in the musuem. This one was Oliver's favorite. There were knobs that changed the amount of red or green or blue showing on a tv screen, as well as buttons that turned lights on and off. Buttons and knobs! What a wonderful spot!

Here are the kids all weighing different blocks to find out which one was the heaviest. I'm not sure we ever figured it out with so many kids taking the blocks on and off the scales...

Elora loved sporting the red and green glasses.

Here is Oliver with his little friend Charlotte. They had a really fun time running around together in the museum.

We eventually made our way up to the little play area for kids. Here is Elora pushing shapes into the big pin board.

There is a little unfinished house that kids can stack blocks onto. Oliver loves the house and thinks it is his. He is usually not a huge fan of sharing the house with anyone, but he let Charlotte come inside with him. He then proceeded to open and close the door for about 20 minutes.

There is a little car that the kids can pretend to fill with gas or change the tire. Oliver and Charlotte sat and drove together, pushing all the buttons and playing with the steering wheel. It was so cute to see them happy playing together!

These little marbles are all magnets and Oliver loves getting them out with the big magnet.

These pics are from a different day. There is a spot where you can sit and have your heart rate recorded on a moniter. Elora loves sitting in the chair and seeing the screen with her heartbeat on it.

Here is Oliver listening to the sound of a heart beat. Both the kids love this part of the museum.

Oliver got so excited every time his heart rate came up on the screen that he would let go of the chair to point and make everything disappear off the screen...

I think this little tree is so cute. There are little apples you can put your hand inside of to feel what is inside. Then you can lift up the little bees to see a picture of what was inside.

I love the way Oliver contorts his little arm while trying to get the beads where he wants them.

Up near the little house is this crane with a bucket that can be moved around and loaded with the little blocks that the kids use to build the walls of the house.

Elora building - she loves doing this and gets really mad because Oliver always knocks all of the blocks down.

Oliver didn't want to stack the blocks, but he did like wearing the hard hat.

Elora loading up the blocks to take to the building site. My friend Brooke and I agree that this little play area needs to be duplicated in the ultimate basement play area when we have bigger houses...

In the book area is this giant stuffed animal of the very hungry caterpillar. Oliver loves it! I wish I could find one to get for him...

I love these.... Oliver does too.

These little chairs can be lifted up and down with a rope and pulley. Most kids can lift themselves when they are sitting in it. I helped Oliver a bit, and he thought it was very funny. This museum is so fun. One of these days I'll make it around to the exhibits we haven't seen yet!

28 June 2010

Around the House

Oliver and Elora are not allowed to jump on the bed (because Elora would be fine, but Oliver always ends up falling off...) so they have found a substitute. They sit on the bed and bounce as high as they can, giggling away. It is so fun to hear them giggle while they play together.

Oliver was being very quiet the other day, so I went to see what he was up to. He has apparently learned how to open the cupboard where we keep the "paper-page" books, and was having a great time pulling them all out to look at. So much for keeping those out of his reach, he learned to open that cupboard before Elora and those are her books!

Oliver loves to help Daddy do sit ups. It makes the exercise a little harder, but those are some great hugs! Ollie also likes to help do push ups by sitting on Daddy's back...

And more exercise for Daddy, he gets to lift Oliver up and down like he's bench pressing... Only a little harder because Oliver wiggles!

25 June 2010

Kunsthistorische Museum

Last Saturday we headed to the Kunsthistorische Museum for some culture. Our friend John had never been there before, so we invited him to come along. John is from Afghanistan, you might have heard of it as the worst place in the world, with no museums (they blew them all up). So this was John's first museum. We were happy to get him a season pass :)

Oliver and Daddy next to the head of Aristotle. Chris was excited to see what Aristotle looks like, but I am not so sure it was carved by anyone who knew him...

I love this mosaic. I think I put up a pic of it every time I make a post about this museum, so sorry for the redundancy. But it is fun to explain to Elora what all the little pictures are in this mosaic which tells the story of Theseus who went through the labyrinth and killed the Minotaur in Greek mythology.

I absolutely love this sculpture, even if part of it is missing. I just don't understand how a sculptor can make stone look like draping fabric, it is amazing to me.

Oliver got bored of the art work, but found some really neat lights in the floor of one room which was full of gold plates, bowls, and jewelry. Elora loved the treasures, and Oliver loved the lights - so this room was a hit with the kids.

Oliver and John climbing up the magnificent staircase. I never get sick of walking around this beautiful building! John's family is still back home, and he's trying to get legal/residency things taken care of to bring them here (it's tough). He loves playing with the kids though because he hasn't seen his own children since leaving them 2 years ago. It's really hard on him...obviously.

Chris loves to tell Elora stories about the paintings. Oliver loves to climb up on the couches, then get down, then climb up another one. Occasionally I even get to enjoy a painting before he moves. Please note that Dirty Teddy also enjoys looking at the paintings. Elora insisted that he wanted to come along and see the art museum.

This is one of Chris' favorite paintings, it is of Michael the Archangel casting the devils out of heaven. You can see that Chris really takes artwork seriously... About the museum, John said, "It's really amazing. I have never seen anything like it." He was quite impressed. I think he enjoyed the art museum better than the semi-nude ballet concert we took him to last year. That one was a bit awkward...

We found a section of this floor that we walked through the very first time we came to the museum, and that I have never been able to find since! The floor with the paintings is like a maze, and since we can never see it all with the little kids we have to enjoy it one section at a time. The sad part is there are some paintings I really love that I can't find anymore... so I was excited to find this area once again. This painting is of Moses removing his shoes when near the burning bush, and there is a whole series of Biblical paintings in this section that I really enjoy.

These are Elora's favorite paintings, I think we have posted about them before... strange heads that are created out of different themed objects. One has a theme of fire, the one above is harvest time with fruits and vegetables, one has fish, and one has trees. I will have to reread the descriptions of the paintings, there is tons of speculation about the interpretation of these works.

We walked up to the top floor and enjoyed the view up into the dome, and also down through the different floors. The kids sat on the floor and played, while the rest of us enjoyed the architecture.

I love all the intricate carvings that are done inside the dome. I think this is the most beautiful building in Vienna.

In the gift shop there is a little table set up for kids to be able to color. It is awesome! It keeps them occupied (Elora more than Oliver) and they even have little coloring books that are pictures of the paintings in the museum for the kids to color. So fun.

Elora was being a little ham, and asked me to take her picture with Teddy. Dirty Teddy really enjoyed the museum as well.

As per usual in Vienna, it was raining when we got to the museum, but beautiful by the time we left, so the kids got to run around in the grass in front of the museum.

And they stood still for me to take a photo of them in front of the statue. I wonder how old they will get before they get annoyed when I want to take pics of them. Right now they still think it is fun...

On the way to the Naschmarkt for a kebab, Elora found a little black ladybug with red spots. How she saw it in the grass over a fence, I have no idea, but she stopped and insisted on putting it on her flower so it could walk with her. I have never seen a black ladybug before, it was kind of exciting! She was so sweet talking with her bug, and we finally convinced Elora to find some nice flowers for the ladybug, because I don't think the Naschmarkt would be the ladybug's home of choice...

Funny side note on Elora and kebabs - when Elora wakes Chris up in the morning, she will come in and whisper in his ear "Do you want a kebab?" It is hilarious and super annoying, because it tickles really bad when she whispers in your ear! She loves kebabs, and chowed down on the meat in mine and Chris'. I told Chris we need to start asking if they will sell us a kid-size kebab!

23 June 2010

Zoo Days

Every time the sun has come out in the last week and a half, we have headed over to the zoo with different friends. Here are some pics from our last couple zoo days.

Here is Elora and Oliver with our new friend Luke. I met Luke's mom, Heather, on the bus, and it turns out she has lived in our neighborhood as long as we have, and we have never spotted one another until a couple months ago. We met on the bus, and have become fast friends. She also has a little baby girl who didn't make it into any pics. Here are the kids inside the little aquarium at the zoo, playing on the big slide.

They absolutely loved this spot with the big fish tank and a tunnel to crawl through. Every time Luke and Oliver ran off in the aquarium, we found them back here at the slide.

Climbing the big animal statues is always just as fun as seeing real animals!

Oliver's new favorite spot at the zoo is here by the big birds. Storks, pelicans, cranes, and more! He just stands and stares at the birds.

Inside the penguin house, there is this skeleton of a sea lion that Elora is fascinated with. This little shirt she is wearing was a gift from her Nana, and now she wears it every time we go to the zoo because it has zebras on it.

After checking out the new llama exhibit, here is Elora's best llama face. Llama Face!!!!

Here we are at the zoo with our friend Theo. He is just younger than Oliver, and it is one of the few kids we know who Oliver gets to play with. He is still figuring out how to share with someone who is not big enough to clobber him if he refuses... but the kids all love running around and climbing on the animal statues together.

And the favorite attraction at the zoo is the little coin funnel for donations. The kids sat here as long as my friend Andrea supplied them with pennies, and were still disappointed when it was time to go.

We have just recently discovered the large tortoises, and the kids both love them! This huge tortoise was sitting right by the glass eating, and it was nice to finally get to sit down for awhile while the kids sat entranced while watching him eat.

And on the way out the kids discovered the water fountain... I tried to tell them not to get too wet since I did not bring spare clothes...

Here is Elora in her not-too-wet state basking in the sun so she can dry... it didn't work! It took the kids' shoes three days to dry out. Unfortunately Elora was accidentally wearing Oliver's shoes (she has the same pair only bigger) so both of Oliver's pairs of tennis shoes were out of commission for three days... luckily he has some nice rain boots that he got to wear!

Theo and Oliver running around the fountain.

The Schonbrunn gardens have been planted and are in full bloom. So beautiful! I had almost forgotten why I love this place so much. I will need to plan a non-zoo day to just come and enjoy the gardens!