Monday, April 19, 2010

Re-united in a sunny place

Saturday morning at 0700, almost 18 hours after having stepped on a Mercedes Vito minivan outside his office in London Markus parked his car in front out our home in Vienna. The trip via the EuroTunnel, Dunkerque, Brussels, Aachen, Frankfurt, Wuerzburg and Munich airport where Stefan was already waiting for him is definitely one to remember. The flattened bum and the sleep deprivation during the drive will be forgotten soon, but not so the cumbersome and long drive. The big smile and joy on Jakob’s face let Markus forget immediately that he was dead tired when he entered the flat and we were all extremely happy that we were re-united.

Afternoon in the park with the Bella Familia

As the weather was absolutely gorgeous on Saturday there was no way Markus wanted to go to bed and get some sleep, but we went out doing some weekend shopping, spending time in the sun and in the afternoon we met up with the Bella Familia on the Jesuitenwiese for Max & Bruno’s combined 40th birthday pick-nick, Jakob was in top form and enjoyed the large crown and on his first contact with the lawn on Jesuitenwiese our junior did make friend with the grass and in the end he even preferred to sit on the lawn rather than on the blanket.

4 fans cheering for Peter and some others

On Sunday morning not only the Austrian airspace remained closed but also a large part of the Viennese city roads was closed due to the Vienna City Marathon. We followed the race together with Anna and Lini as Peter decided to take the challenge of the half-marathon distance. While the temperatures were perfect for runners (yet a bit chilly for spectators) the wind was a bit too strong so that the top athletes could not improve the race record and also the Austrian athletes Andrea Mayr and Guenter Weidlinger failed to improve their personal best. Peter was definitely a winner and very happy when he reached the finishing line after 2:25:47 and was already talking about the next race. Our large group of fans and spectators (more than 10 parents and almost 10 kids!) gathered and warmed up in the kid-friendly restaurant Dschungel Wien in the MuseumsQuartier.

On Sunday evening Markus was “able” to stay at home as airports in Vienna and London were still closed and so he was stuck with the family. While Austria opened up the airspace and airports on Monday morning, many other European countries still have the restrictions in place and its very unclear as to when the situation will change. So long we will enjoy the time together

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Friday, April 16, 2010

Going underneath instead of over the top

The icelandic volcano continued to blow ashes and smoke into the skies and as a consequence flights in many parts of Europe remained disrupted through out Friday. As the cloud continued travelling southwards and reached more parts of the continent, airspaces in Germany, Poland, France and even Austria were closed during the course of the day. For Markus this meant: stay in London and not see your family for at least another day. But as the outlook for improvement is not really looking good markus was looking for alternative routes to get back home.

The obvious first choice was the EuroStar train connecting the UK with Belgium and France, but a few others had the same idea and the trains were booked out. So the only other way was to re-book to a flight on Saturday and pray. By coincidence Markus overheard one of his German colleagues about driving to Munich in a minivan and that sounded like a good idea. Markus was lucky, grabbed the last spot on the car and set off towards the channel just after lunchtime. As there was no queuing in front of the EuroTunnel they reached mainland Europe by and the arrival at Munich airport, where Stefan is supposed to pick him up, looks realistic after midnight.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Iceland, send CASH, not ASH!!!

Markus' parents spent the afternoon and evening of Jakob's 9-month anniversary with us and the following morning Markus was picked up early to fly to London again for work. While it was neverending raining in Vienna the weather in London was really nice with sunshine and blue-sky. During Wednesday noone yet was aware of the eruption of the volcano beneath the Eyjafjallajoekull glacier in Iceland and even less so anyone was foreseeing the impacts of that natural event. When the newswires were reporting about the cloud of volcanic ashes moving towards the UK and Nordic region on Thursday morning first fears of an impact on airport and air travel came up.

Ashes to ashes, but Markus not to Jakob & Kerstin

Markus at that time was still calm and relaxed that his flight back home to Vienna on Thursday evening would not be affected, but by lunchtime he realised that it might be a good idea to consider re-booking to a flight on Friday in order to have a seat guaranteed, as UK airports were closed down. The sky above London did not look like a huge cloud was hanging on the sky, as the sun was shining and all seemed normal, yet airplanes were grounded and thousands of passengers stranded. The more time advanced into the afternoon the clearer it became that Markus will not come home Thursday night and so he was not surprised seeing flights suspended until at least Friday morning. As a consequence he went shopping for clothes (obviously he only brought stuff for 2 days!), supported the UK economy and is hoping to be able to hug Jakob again on Friday evening. Somehow the odds look less and less good for that, but maybe the night brings some wind which could lighten up the cloud of ashes.

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

9 months in - 9 months out

It is now ¾ of the first year that we are living as small family and the past month was a truly exciting one for Jakob - 9,6 kg in height and 71 cm in weight today - and us. Jakob’s christening was the first highlight on a day when his third tooth appeared on the horizon. The whole day was very nice with the enlarged family and if there would not have been this priest who poured water over Jakob’s head, our little sunshine would have really enjoyed it a lot. The following weeks were tough for Markus as he had to stay in Vienna (and travel abroad) while Jakob spent time with Kerstin in Vorarlberg and hence we were separated for the longest period of time in the past 9 months.

You won't believe what I experienced this month!

The first Easter celebrations were sweetened with many presents for our sunshine who improved and perfected hit crawling and standing skills every day and every now and then there was already a hint of a step. What is normal for us adults turns into real hazards for Jakob – be it drawers, doors or stairs – and obviously Jakob is very keen to explore. A flight of stairs is by now not really a barrier anymore and he is crawling up swiftly, whereas we are always behind to catch him in case he turns back and falls. The motion downwards has to be still worked on and is something for the coming months.

After having lived with 2 teeth since the age of 3 months and us having almost given up on expecting more teeth to come, the past months has brought pain, sleepless nights and several new teeth. During the course of the months the 4 upper front teeth have moved forward and started to break through. Clearly the time for the first sausage is approaching now at a fast pace. And the birthday cake is soon waiting as well!

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Easter bunny does not mind the roaring lion

The preparations for the big Easter weekend with the enlarged family were well advanced when Markus arrived in Hoerbranz late Thursday night having left Vienna after work. Friday morning Jakob was full of joy seeing Markus again after more than 1,5 weeks and the two spent quite some time together playing, laughing and having fun. They also enjoyed the beautiful weather walking alongside Lake Constance towards Bregenz while Kerstin was in Heaven, her hairdresser in the city centre. Having slept all the way into town Jakob was wide awake when they strolled through the centre visiting some shops and buying flowers on the market. In the afternoon Kerstin went for a run together with Sandra while Markus went for another "sleep-walk" with our sunshine before we had meatless dinner - grilled trout with vegetables

The house was decorated nicely

On Saturday morning the three of us walked together to Bregenz meeting Sandra & Flo there for some more shopping. As the last day of nice weather had to be exploited we took along our running gear and after having fed Jakob's lunch at Sandra & Flo's place Sandra & Kerstin as well as Markus & Jakob set of to run back home to Hoerbranz to earn the traditional Easter dinner - eggs, boiled ham and fresh horseradish.

A toyboy in the new toybox

Sunday morning the big family brunch was on the cards and the Easter bunnies had lots to do indoors as it was cold & raining. Jakob crawled through the house, featured his impressive roaring sounds and was not yet too impressed with the easter eggs, chocolate rabbits and presents that were hidden all over the living room. After all he did discover though his presents: new hats, a cuddly bathing-poncho and a large wooden box for his toys - built by grandpa. We do hope that the weather will be better next year on Easter Sunday so we can search the Easter eggs and presents in the backyard where. Already now we are looking forward to that!

Jakob, Kerstin & Markus