30 November 2010

Vienna skiing at the Park!

Day 2 of the late November snowfall in Vienna! Most of the city didn't get as much snow as we did. Since we're on the outskirts, a little higher up we tend to get more snow (and less wind, thankfully). We hiked over to the Roterberg, the nearby hill, which is just about .5km away. Here we are trying to pack down the snow to start out the run. It didn't work...but the kids liked it.

Carrying the kids back up hill after attempting to pack some of the snow down.

Oliver was really excited to put his skis on. It always takes lots of positive reinforcement (and gummy bears) with kids because skis feel so funny when you first put them on. It takes awhile to get your balance. One thing we forgot to do was show the kids some ski films before going to the park. Really, it actually gets them pumped up and makes them feel like they can do anything.

As it was, Oliver was vacillating from extreme excitment and giggling to absolute fear. That's the frustrating part, so you have to just try to be positive and provide simple instruction, with a lot of hands on. The hill is actually quite big, and the first few times I just held his skis and crawled down backwards with him. He liked that, as you can tell in the picture.

Then where the bottom flattened out a bit, we tried pushing him along. He was usually ok, and if the snow was groomed he'd really be a lot better. The powder made it really hard for him.

Elora too. She had forgotten almost everything from last year it seems. And she has new skis now, which might feel a bit different.

Oliver and Elora took turns waiting while Daddy got to help them go down the hill and then carry them back up.

Here's Oliver trying to sit down. It seems the hardest thing is to keep the kids from sitting down. Your natural tendency is to lean backwards, but that either hurts your legs or makes you fall over.

Here's Ollie being silly.

Elora started cruising along for little stretches at a time, and then would turn off into the powder and get stuck.

The long walk back up after each "run".

Here's Ollie just hanging out and drinking some cold water while he waits for his turn. He got really excited to go every time he saw Elora going fast.

After a few tries Elora got a little better, but she still doesn't remember how to turn. So we'll have to keep practicing before ski school in January (assuming we go on a big trip again this year)

Marching back up to the top with Ollie...

Elora hanging out down below.

Elora's favorite part was when she'd run out of downhill to ski on and she'd ask me to push her along another 100 yards or so. It was fun on the way "down".

But not on the way back! Skiing is a lot of work with kids.... lots of stuff to carry around, plus you have to carry the kids, unless you don't mind them whining and crying that they're too tired to walk!

29 November 2010

Snow!!!!

The beautiful fall weather has left us, but we don't mind because it started snowing over the weekend! Here is Elora and Oliver hanging their hands out the window to catch the first snowflakes of the season. As you can see, they are SO excited about the snow. The first thing they asked about was if they could go skiing. The first day it snowed there wasn't enough for skiing or sledding, but we did go out in the yard to play.

Oliver with the beginnings of a whole bunch of baby snowmen. We couldn't pack the snow very well, so no big snowman yet this year...

It was a beautiful sunny day and we really enjoyed being outside. No wind, and not too cold. Perfect for running around outside with the kids. Chris ended up bringing out the sled too, just to pull the kids around the yard. Elora and Oliver love being pulled on the sled (all fun, no work or hills to climb!)

Even Marion braved the outdoors, and... she fell asleep almost the minute we got outside. So in a way I guess she enjoyed the snow too!

Our happy little snow angel.

And of course there was a lot of snow to eat.

Oliver was not too crazy about the mittens, but he realized the need for them after picking up some snow with his bare hands. Then he was a happy camper running around after his big sister.

Here is our small attempt at a family photo. We bribed Oliver with cookies to get him to sit with us. He was over the gloves and hood by this point and starting to get a little cold.

Chris made a whole bunch of snowballs and put them in a pile for the kids to use. I convinced them that Daddy was a really good target since Mommy was holding Marion. They had a great time throwing snow at him! We hope for a lot more snow to keep coming (along with some sunny not so cold days to go out and enjoy it...)

27 November 2010

Marionette Theater

I have been wanting to take the kids to see a show at the Marionette Theater at the Schonbrunn ever since we moved here. Our friend Jessica said she had really wanted to go as well, so we headed out to see The Magic Flute. The kids were so excited to go see a "Puppet Show".

We stopped by the Christmas Market at the Schonbrunn before the show started. Jessica bought lollypops for everyone - which equals very excited children.

Elora and Oliver chatting about how good their lollypops taste, and sharing all the lollypops to check out the different flavors.

Elora outside the Marionette Theater. I wasn't sure if this would be fun for the kids or not since the Magic Flute is in German, but the kids version was only an hour and I figured since the kids love music that they might enjoy the show.

You aren't supposed to take pictures inside the theater, so here is Jessica with the kids posing by one of the puppets in the lobby. We all loved the show! Oliver sat on my lap captivated through the entire thing, and Elora asked Jessica lots of questions which means that she was paying close attention. Oliver was especially a fan of the "princess", and by the end of the play the kids both knew the names of the main characters. Wow, apparently we are breeding some opera fans.

Here is the Schonbrunn at night. I love this market, there is always music playing, and it looks so beautiful all lit up at night.

The kids and Jessica. Jessica will be moving soon, so we are very happy that we got to enjoy the market and puppet show with her. Ever since we saw The Magic Flute, the kids talk excitedly about Jessica and the puppet show every time we pass by the Schonbrunn. They have repeatedly asked to see the show again!

26 November 2010

Marion Meets Grandma!

A friend of ours is letting us borrow a swing for Marion. Here she is trying it out for the first time. I am not sure she knows what to think of this one yet! Maybe when she is bigger. Elora and Oliver love it though and always tell me to put Marion in the swing. It is very interesting trying to help Oliver understand that Marion does not need anyone to push the swing for her.

Grandma arrived this week to spend some time with Marion. The kids are so excited to have her here with them.

And Marion likes having another person to hold her since she prefers to be held ALL THE TIME!

Little Oliver loves having his picture taken so that he can look at them on the camera. I had to keep reminding him that I have to take his picture before there are any pictures on the camera to look at. So he obligingly posed and was so incredibly cute!

22 November 2010

Schonbrunn in the Fall + McCafe

The day before Marion was born, we went for a walk at the Schonbrunn to enjoy all the beautiful fall leaves. Oliver and Karen rode the bus, while I walked from my apartment with Nana and Elora.

Oliver at his favorite duck pond, looking for fishies.

This was the last day the labyrinth was open for the season, so we decided to take the kids one last time. It is sad to think of all our "lasts" - last day at the zoo, last time through the maze, last trip to the museum, etc... Maybe the kids realized it was their last time at the maze because they made every wrong turn at least three times.

And then it was off to the playground for a ride on the coolest teeter totters ever. They don't make them like this in the USA.

Oliver loves the teeter totter. Notice Karen in the background fielding a phone call, "No, no baby yet..."

Elora on a big rope climbing contraption. When we first moved here she was intrigued by it, but scared to climb it. Now she can climb all the way up to the top.

More fun with the silly mirrors. This was the day of the bullet/bazoomba belly photos.

Oliver was having a great time. Not only did he find a door, but a door with mirrors. The man who owns Elora's ballet studio noted that he will be a concierge when he grows up because he always runs to open the door for people who are coming and going from the studio... Door man, bus driver, whatever makes him happy!

One last time jumping on the bouncing boards.

Oliver is such a musical little guy. Here he is jumping on the tanzglockenspiel - or dance chimes. He loves to sing, bang on walls in time to music, hit his pacifiers on his crib in time to his singing, and dance all over the place.

The Schonbrunn is so beautiful to walk around. I'm glad we got to spend a day here together before the winter weather sets in.

Look at all those leaves. The kids loved it, but I can't imagine having to rake it all up.

Then it was off to McDonalds. How cute are the kids sitting together?

Nana kept asking us to go to McDonalds, she really loves this place. Here she is in the playplace showing us her basketball skills.

This McCafe near our house has the coolest playplace. There is a bike riding video game, a basketball hoop, and an American Gladiator style obstacle course, complete with timer so you can try to beat your best time. Apparently they are trying to help the children burn off some of the calories from their chicken nuggets... Our kids think it is great and love playing here.

Ollie shooting hoops with me. They have a regular hoop, and this hoop that Oliver prefers because he likes to see the basketballs rolling down the conveyor belt.