Monday, May 27, 2013

Kids on the run

The past weekend hosted the 26th Frauenlauf in the Prater and as part of this traditional event there was also a kids run in Saturdayt whihc marked Jakob's first ever competirion. During the course of last week we did practice a few times with our big boy so he can overcome the challenge of the 200m race. While the weather forecast was somehow mixed we did get support as also Max and Leo did opt for the race and thus we met before lunchtime on Saturday near the Stadionbad to register for the race, collect the starting numbers and goodie bags. Due to the massive run to late registration the start of the races for the more than 1600 kids - each age group had its own race actually - was delayed by some 20 minutes. At 1230 finally the time has come and Jakob & Leo were in the front row of the starting grid.


The two boys were so "hot" to race, that as soon as the barrier was lifted prior to the start of the race they wanted to take off and had to be called back by Markus. Once the race got underway the two friends ran hand-in-hand cheered by hundreds of spectators up and down the Prater Hauptallee and across the finishing line. Outside the finishing area they were welcomed not only by Julia, Kerstin & Markus but also Mimi, Bruno & Max (who at that time still waited for his race) as well as Stefan & Viki. Full of pride they wore their finisher's medals as well and enjoyed their big moment visibly. Jakob was enjoyed it so much, that he would have wanted to race once again, but instead we cheered big time for Max when his race was on and Max was stoically enjoying his race, running his p[ace and finishing bravely. the Sausages and drinks afterwards were not only well deserved but also tasted deliciously.

We did it!

Sunday morning then we took off to the races again as the stage was set for the Frauenlauf whichMoni and Mimi participated over the 5km and Viki, her mom and cousin (they came in 4th in the family team ranking!) over the 10km. With sunshine and good music it was a great day and great event - the more than 31000 women in the race had perfect conditions, lots of supporters and lots of fun. We had another day out and about and if jakob's large baloon would not have flown away a few minutes after we got it it would have been the perfect day. As a little consolation we did get a bundle of smaller baloons instead, but nothing aganst the big one. We got to take better care next time!

Julia, Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Trip to the Middle Ages

On the long Pentecost weekend the city of Hainburg, close to Vienna and on Markus' daily route to work, turned back time a few centuries and hosted a medieval festival. The old town of the historic city was turned into a medieval market place with traders, jugglers, musicians, hangmen, witches, knights and knaves. We have been looking out for a festival like that for a while and thus made our way Sunday morning towards the middle ages. The weather was perfect  -it was sunny and dry - and to our surprise it did not take very long once we entered the "time machine" for Jakob to warm up to the exciting event. The old market place was already at 1000 pretty busy with people dressed in historic outfit as well as "tourists" like ourselves.

No presents from the knights

Kids hat many different opportunities to experience the middle ages - be it by minting their own coins, constructing a bow, dancing to the sounds of lutes and flutes or by watching knights fight. The lattter part was not only for Jakob the most exciting thing, but the tournament area was the most packed area of the festival at times. Hundreds of people watched 7 knights fight each other with the longsword over several rounds and they did not make any presents to each other but fought really hard. No wonder - the price was a decent handmade longsword. Following the first rounds we of the knight tournament when we we made our way back to the marketplace we bought wooden swords and shields for our little own Don Quijote Jakob and his Sancho Panza Julia. Lunch we had  - very typical - without cutlery but we ate the chicken with our fingers and it was just delicious that way. Later on Jakob got his face painted as tiger before watching the final rounds of the tournament in the afternoon. Once the knights have crowned the winner in their tournament the kids took over the tournament court and "fought" with the newly bought swords.

Jakob watching very concentrated

It was not easy to convince our kids to leave the middle ages again and come back to the future, but once we were all sat in the car both Jakob and Julia were quite soon fast asleep. A sleep, that was badly needed as the day was exhausting. only one evidence was, that Julia did not wake up when we reached home but slept through until Monday morning.

Julia, Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Running and cycling Vienna

Past Sunday Vienna yet again belonged to the runners as the 30th edition of the Vienna City Marathon took place and took control of major roads in the city centre. While all of us were very keen to watch the race and cheer the runners, Jakob was always of the conviction, that he is running the marathon himself. Hence he was wearing his running outfit - shoes, pants and shirt - being not only nervous, but also full of energy for the race. When the elite runners - led by superstar Haile Gebrselassie - passed us at the Rotundenbruecke Jakob was watching with huge astonishment how fast man can run and quite a while later he was amazed by the sheer amount of people that were tackling the race - more than 40.000 runners in all disciplines in total! We lateron made our way (running ofcourse)  towards the ringroad where Jakob would have loved to use the nutrition areas for himself and was very happy when he did get an (empty) Powerade cup in the end. Together with dad he them was running alongside the racers on the course all the ringroad towards Schwarzenbergplatz watching runners, waving at spectators and happy whenever he had a chance to crush a plastic cup on the road.

What a great training-track!

Our base for the remainder of the race was the Schwarzenbergplatz where we not only could watch and cheer runners around km 12 of their race but also at km 41, so just before reaching the finishing line. While Jakob did avoid the competition with the leaders of the men's race he did run alongside some of the following runners for 100/150 metres and he did (almost) keep pace with them - see the video as evidence. Spectators along the course were as amazed as mom and dad and applauded the little boy a lot. He obviously loved that, as he repeated the little sprint 4 times. Together with Stefan and Viki we then refuelled the batteries with meat at McDonald's. Maybe not the healthiest food, but closest to the track so we did not miss much. When Viki's brother-in-law had passed us on his last metres of his race we said farewell to the great spot and made our way home by bus. Both Jakob and Julia have been really tired and used the busride for a short rest.

I can run. I can bike.
Once we reached home Jakob must have found a second energy as he was demanding to go out again on his bike and use the opportunity of traffic-free roads to ride his bike. Kerstin decided to go out with him while Markus stayed at home and put Julia to bed for an afternoon nap. Half an hour later he received a picture showing Jakob on his bike in front of the State Opera, approximately 5km from home. He did really ride the bike on the race track all the way there, made his way together with Kerstin to the finishing area before meeting Stefan again at the Rathausplatz . From there our big-boy cycled to Schwedenplatz where he got a well deserved large ice. The ride home was then very casual and we are actually pretty amazed of the energy Jakob had all day long. Not only was he running a lot throughout the day, but it was also his first big bicycle tour! Chapeaux!

Julia, Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Friday, April 5, 2013

Ta-Tu, Ta-Ta!

Its almost a tradition that children get presents for Easter which they can use outdoors and help them move around, be it a bike, inline skates or a scooter. As we are rather "mainstream" and our children are in that age the Easter bunny has brought some mobility tools for both Julia and Jakob. The big boy got a micro scooter so he can be faster on his way to kindergarten while Julia got a new Puky trycicle (including a slide rod) as well as a red Big Bobby Car. The latter means, that she does not need to borrow Jakob's black Mercedes anymore.

"Come on! We have to save the cat from the tree over there now!"

Yesterday afternoon there was then a lot of action in our living room as we had two fire-men present who had all sorts of jobs to do. Both of them have been very busy driving around on their fire engines and had a lot of fund doing so. While they in the past were fighting for the vehicles thi was the first time they cooperated and played together. These are the moments when we know for sure that the presents we got were the right ones. Whether we think the same way, when they start racing each other and crashing into all our furniture, walls etc we cant say at the moment. Future will tell.

Julia, Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bugs cleared! Pictures and videos (back) online

Very often when not paying attention to things they go sour. Whether the fact that ther was hardly any/no maintenance of our blog for several months has led to bugs entering the system or whether it was pure coincidence can not be answered at this point. Fact is, that the bugs are cleared now, we could update the content a little bit, add a few new features and bring back to life some well known and appreciated features.

Ergo - you can finally take a look at the latest photo updates - now appearing on Google+ - as well as all other picture links that used to work in the past. We also added new Videos to the YouYube channel, whereas two of them can ONLY be watched by following the links in the "Video Links" section on the right hand side of the page. Enjoy!

Julia, Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ice age 2013?

The winter 2012/13 will probably go into the history books as one of the longest all over Europe in a very long time. Jakob was running through  the first snow late October in grandma Heidi's backyard and today both in Hoerbranz as well as Vienna roofs and streets are covered in snow again. It's about time to end the winter though and let spring really begin. Easter markets appear more like christmas markets and Easter Eggs might be found on a white bed rather than on green grass. Jakob definitely is on spring mode already and has the last few days, before snowfall set in in Vorarlberg, trained big time his biking skills and has made significant leaps forward from autumn. He now easily cycles a couple of kilometers on his second hand holiday bike we bought for him together with uncle Werner and aunt Renate. As a consequence he drops dead to bed in the evening. Lately even with grandma Heidi and yesterday even at uncle Werner and aunt Renate's place! Its fair to say, that he has matured.

Enough of that white stuff!

Our little treasure Julia has quite exciting weeks behind her as well. On March 17th she had her big day at church when she was christened in the Verklaerungskirche am Tabor in Vienna and enjoyed a great day with the big family from the Burgenland as well as Vorarlberg. Unlike Jakob, who was christened 6 months younger we gave Julia the chance to decide herself a little bit as she actually could have walked out in case she did not like it. But apart from watching the priest a bit skeptical before and even more so after water was poured on her head she had fun with the big crowd in the church. 

After the ceremony with godmother and godfather

For now we are separated as Markus is back in Vienna working still this week while Julia, Jakob and Kerstin are already enjoying Easter holidays in Vorarlberg. Excitement and fun is guaranteed and the hope for sunshine, warmer temperatures and green grass in the backyard is still intact. 

Julia, Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Monday, January 21, 2013

A busy time of the year

The past few weeks have as with most probably everyone around the globe quite eventful. For us it was for the fist time a completely new experience as we not only had christmas to look forward to, but also the first birthday of our daughter Julia. But first things first.

When winter arrived in Western Austria 8 days before Christmas we were very excited about white christmas and could not wait until we finally could hit the road to driver to Vorarlberg. By the time we finally got to set off, on Friday December 21st, warm weather has set in and all the snow that was there - and apparently there was a LOT - was gone. It even got worse as temperatures rose continuously and it rather felt like eastern than Christmas with temperatures peaking at 31 degrees in the sun on the 25th of December! We however did not throw in the towel but had a tons of food as always (including an 8 1/4 kg Turkey on December 26th and just  great time. The Christkind was also extremely supportive and had lots of presents for the three juniors, Julia, Ylvie and Jakob. It even followed us from the Burgenland to late-deliver a few presents overnight from 24th to 25th.

Only one of the many presents

On December 28th it was them Julia's big day and she seemed to enjoy it big-big-time. Not only did she behave as if fully aware that it was her day, but she also ate cake and all the other good things she never was allowed to have before, as if she has eaten nothing else beforehand. Our extended festive season continued a few days later following a little bit of sportive activity as Markus did participate in 
the Silvesterlauf in Altach on Sunday 30th - his first run in quite a while. Great weather and perfect support by Heidi, Sandra, Ylvie & Flo as well as  Kerstin, Julia and Jakob - the big boy even accompanied dad over the finishing line - made the event a big fun and success. New Years Even might not have been the most exciting thing one can imagine, as we had raclette at home, but the night passed by so fast, that midnight almost passed by unnoticed. We did not miss it i the end and Markus did celebrate it with some fireworks on the meadow in front of our Heidi's house. Next day in the morning another party was on the agenda: Ylvie-Marie turned 2 years old and we all have been there. The brunch ended for us around 1700 and we wnt home one person short as our son decided to spend the night with his cousin and godmother. His first night away from mom & dad. We did expect a call from Sandra anytime asking us to pick Jakob up again, but this call came only next day morning. It was a strange feeling.

Frosty came for a visit

When back in Vienna also we finally saw some winter with snowfall and low temperatures. Jakob was glad for several reasons as we finally could hit the slopes again after a 10 months break on the Semmering together with grandpa Kurt. Jakob was still a bit rusty, but the winter only has started. By the end of last week Vienna was all covered in snow as ca 40cm of snow fell inner city. Due to Jakob having some fever an not being completely fit we had to skip skiing this weekend, but managed to do some bobsliding and snowman building on Sunday. And later this week we will head west again as Markus goes skiing to Lech with friends and clients while Kerstin and the kids spend time again with family.

Julia, Jakob, Kerstin & Markus 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sign of life!

It has been a looong time and probably you all considered us to have given up on updating you. Well. Not entirely. Somehow too many things have happened and that fact paired with lack of time to put it on the webpage led to an even bigger backlog of information. About time to break that vicious circle. Here in a few sentences, what has happened since our summer holiday in August: Jakob developed his biking skills further has been accompanying Markus and Kerstin on their runs in the Prater while Julia also started to fancy mobility, started crawling in October and made her first steps in the second half of November. She now is running around the whole flat. We also returned to Vorarlberg twice: Once by plane in September for the wedding of Barbara and Alex and late October for what was supposed to be our honeymoon. We planned to leave the kids with grandma Heidi and the big family while spending 4 days in New York. Unfortunately Sandy came in between and so our flights were cancelled and we stayed in Europe instead. Next attempt in summer 2013.

We already play together!

With that rough picture of the past 4 months, here is to the present: The whole family is very excited about Christmas which we will after last year’s “break” spend again in Vorarlberg. Jakob is seeing St Nikolaus almost everywhere (in the kindergarden, at the bus stop and at night in various books), yet he is still due to write his letter to the Christkind. He better hurries up, otherwise he might get something he does not like. At the same time anything to do with Knights, airplanes, cars or skiing should be highly welcome. The big boy is also taking utmost care of his little sister, sometimes cuddles her wildly and most of the times really enjoys playing with her. Julia not only loves to empty stuff (be it the laundry, any kind of boxes or “her” cupboard in our kitchen with the plastic containers), but she also loves to play with Jakob and his toys .Last night they cooked in their kitchen and served us a delicious soup, Julia also likes to “clean” the workbench or play with Jakob’s  cars and car parkpark. The latter is a sensitive issue however as “hurricane” Julia, as we call her, likes to dismantle the garage and destroy the traffic jam Jakob likes to produce. That sometimes ends in tears for the big boy, but at the end of the day, they do cooperate and fights are very rare.

Julia, Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A backyard full of excitement

Friday evening we set off for our three week summer vacation by Lake Constance which we all were looking forward big time given we did not have the pleasure of the beautiful lake last year due to our wedding. Good traffic conditions and peaceful children allowed for our arrival just before 0100 and our big boy was all awake and nervous when we arrived and Grandma Heidi. He helped Markus unpack the car, showed lots of stuff he brought with him and checked out the whole house before falling asleep again.

Flying high in the garden 

Saturday was a busy day for Markus and Jakob as they had to fillup Heidi’s backyard with a sand pit which Markus assembled as well as a large inflatable swimming pool so Jakob has an opportunity to jump around. By the afternoon everything was done and while the water was still too cold the first sandcastle was built instead. The coming days were dominated by swimming, jumping and digging in warm summer weather. Tuesday and Wednesday night Markus and Jakob spent the night in the tent Markus got as present for his 30th birthday. As if his friends had known, the tent was a real family tent which used almost every remaining space in Heidi’s backyard. Jakob liked it so much that he was really disappointed when due to the forecast of rain Markus dismantled the tent Thursday afternoon.

 Hi there - this is my new bike!
Thursday morning however Jakob’s dream however came true, when we went to Bregenz to buy his first bike. Following several clear statements that our big boy wanted a bike with pedals rather than his trainer bike. We were successful and found an ideal bike not only by “technology” but also by colour as it is green, Jakob’s favourite colour. The rest of the day he was either found in the pool or on his bike practicing and being very proud of his new vehicle. Not surprisingly he made big progress on day 1 and dropped dead into bed in the evening. More biking will be on the agenda, no matter what the weather is going to be.

Julia, Jakob, Kerstin & Markus

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hot summer in the city and on the roof

Last week Wednesday Markus's sister Ines has had her 30th birthday and we celebrated the day all together in our flat. Given the warm weather we decided to spend the day on teh terrace where a small pool offered kids and adults the possibility to refress and cool down. in the later afternoon we then had delicious barbecue before the birthday child made her way home again where an evening out with her friends was on the agenda.

On Friday afternoon Jakob had his first kindergarden summer party in the nearby Prater and the small kids had prepared songs and dance performances over the past weeks. Jakob was all shy in front of the many parents and friends attending and it took a while for him to "warm up" which surprised us given the summer temperatures were felt even underneath the protecting treet of the Prater. Our little butterfly did have fun however and when we returned home and jumped again into the pool the fun was even greater.

What sort of butterfly am I?

Over the weekend the summer has taken an even tighter grip of Vienna and the Eastern part of Austria with temperatures peaking at almost 38 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday. The four of us spent most of the Saturday at home and only hit the Stadionbad in the later afternoon. Given the fact that both Jakob and Julia had a long sleep after midday a good decision, yet the heat was still close to unbearable when we got to the super-packed Stadionbad. Thanks to our season pass we did not have to queue at the entrance, but still the pools were massively overcrowded and the spots in the shade were also very scarce. Jakob did not mind as he was cooling himself off in the water, but our little one was just hot and uneasy.

Water - here I come!

We therefore decided that on Sunday Kerstin would stay home with Julia and Markus would hit the Stadionbad early morning already together with Jakob. This plan was a good one as Julia had much mroe fun in an airconditioned home and "jumping" into our pool a few times, and the boys had fun on the waterslide and the cool wet in a crowded but not overcrowded outdoorpool.The afternoon they spent almost exclusively inside our little pool on the roof in the shadow, the probably best place to hang out in such weather. Given the heat will stay for the whole week Markus has overnight cleaned the pool and refilled it with fresh water so the the fun can continue. He himslef knows what he will do right after work Monday evening.

Julia, Jakob, Kerstin & Markus