The Biltmore Estate

During our trip to North Carolina Mr. Bean and I managed a day trip to the Biltmore Estate with no children.  Back in May, before we knew we were Germany bound, we bought season passes for the Biltmore and as I had never seen it decorated for Christmas, we thought we better seize our last opportunity.

It was the best!  We just happened to go on the same morning the Santa Claus rode in on his sleigh to deliver the 30 foot tall Christmas Tree for the dining hall.  What a great sight!  We had coffee while we stood outside watching the festivities and then toured the house purely to see it in all its Christmas frills.  We were there back in May so the history was still pretty fresh in our minds.  We really just enjoyed seeing all the holly and mistletoe and tiny trees with lights and Christmas platters spread around.  What a great way to get in the spirit before leaving the country. 

We then had lunch in the Stable Cafe and enjoyed some seasonal drinks along with Apple Pecan Chicken Salad and Bar B Que fried bread.  So delicious! 

 We had a great time and the waiter was happy to take our picture.  The close-up, my handy work!

My new friend.  :)
Enjoy the pictures and will talk to you all again in a few days after we get internet set up at the new house.  We move in...TOMORROW!


Travel Journal Part 2

 Ok, so we were talking about our travels before hitting Europe when I got sidetracked by all the house hunting fun.  Where were we?  Hmmm, that's right, we were leaving Alabama and heading to North Carolina for leg 2 of the trip.

We left Alabama the morning of the 26th in October and drove to the beautiful town of Asheville, North Carolina.  I know there are many fans out there of Asheville so yes, I enjoyed it enough for all of you.  :)  We got to visit with Nana and Great Grandma Beans out there and just had an all around relaxing time.  We stayed in Nana Bean's new house up on the family farm in the mountains where our retirement home will be in about 7 years.  It was so nice to get a taste the days to come sitting on the porch in the cool autumn morning with coffee watching the sun rise over the mountains and lighting up the trees.  Mmmmmm, I miss it already.

Wednesday we got to visit with Papaw Bean and have lunch at one of our favorites, Cracker Barrel.  I mean really, who doesn't love Cracker Barrel?  The babies Bean had fun drawing/coloring and climbing on Papaw.
  Yes, both kids are lefties.   

Thursday, we went fishing.  This was the kids first fishing trip and they had a BLAST!  We went to this real cute town that had a nice little Trout fish farm and the kids each caught 2 fish and I caught 1.  I love to fish too so I had to catch one to get my fix too.  By the end of the day we were all smelling of fish.  We took the fish back to Great Grandma's house and she fried it up real nice for us.  Mmmmm, tasty!

    They had so much fun!  

Friday we went to Pigeon Forge and Dollywood.  A mainstay for Nana and the kids are in love with Dollywood now.  We always visit this exotic petting zoo first and then enjoy Dollywood later.  Nana also always gets us a room at this resort there that has a great indoor water park that Baby Bean enjoyed immensely.

That weekend we came back on Saturday and then visited the church Fall Festival on Sunday before trick-or-treating around town with my 2 favorite super heroes.  :)

The rest of the trip was spent relaxing, enjoying Nana's new digs and shopping with Great Grandma.  We also were able to spend a couple evenings with big extended family dinners and a couple evenings with the two Uncle's and their Mrs.

Next week, as I will be gone the rest of the week for Thanksgiving celebrations around Germany and Belgium with family and friends, we will continue with Chicago and the flight here.  We also hit up the Biltmore House while we were in town, those pictures will be later.  :)



Our New House!

So we have signed the lease on a town house here in Germany and have also signed lease paperwork for our house in St. Louis.  WE HAVE A RENTER!!!!!!!!!!

Our house here is a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath 2 story with full basement.  Laundry room is in the basement along with the extensive, heated guest quarters and a separate exercise room.  At least that's my plan for it.  The bedrooms are on the 2nd floor and the kitchen, dining and living room are on the 1st floor along with the guest WC and foyer.  It has a white marble staircase and the landlord is installing baby gates on the stairs before we move in along with an electric garage door opener and screens on all our windows.  Yay!  Here are the photos:

 This is the kitchen, obviously.

 The other half.

 This is a combo dining room/living room area.

 This is going to be Baby Boy Bean's room which is green already.

 This is a crappy picture of Baby Bean's room and is already painted orange.  Her last room in STL was orange too so we took it as a sign.  :)

 This is our room which is just white but has that really nice window.

 This is the full bath with the shower to the left of the pic in the corner behind the door.  A glass stand up shower.

 This is the guest room downstairs that is super long and wired for a projector already.

 This is the guest WC

The foyer.  I like the front door :)


House Update

Just a small update for house hunting.  We decided to cancel our showing for yesterday.  The park and white fence house was much nicer in pictures.  The grounds had not been kept up and the upkeep costs/time would have been astronomical!  Not to mention that it was already over our allotted budget.  So we decided no to make the man drive an hour and a half up to show us something we were already a 90% no on.  We have found 3 others that we want to check out in it's place and will decide on one from those 3, the first one I showed you guys a couple others.  Here are 2 of the 3 new ones found:

Big 2 Car Garage

Big White House


Slight Detour...

So I know I owe everybody the next 2 weeks of our vacation/gypsy voyage to Germany but first I am going to take today to update everyone on the goings on here.

Our official house hunting started yesterday.  This is the first HOUSE we looked at.  It is a duplex/townhouse which more than 50% of the lodging in Europe seems to be.  We lived in a townhouse in Belgium and never once had a problem with or heard our neighbor.  So we are not opposed to one for our 3/4 year stay here.  I really liked the design of this one and the shower in the main bath has a bench in it.  Always a good thing.  :)  I also loved that the Master Bedroom opens to it's own private balcony.  Mr. Bean and I could get used to that.  It has an incredibly low maintenance yard which is rare here and EVERYTHING in this house is new.  In fact, the bedroom floors haven't even been laid yet.  The garage is only a 1 car but it is a good 6 feet deeper than normal and has an extra 2 feet added to each side.  The house has infloor heating as well as an extra 8 inches of insulation around the entire thing.  The kitchen is all brand new and for all you IKEA fans out there it is a built in kitchen from there.  In fact, the dishwasher is still to be installed so really, everything is new.  Baby Girl Bean's favorite part of the house...the chandelier.  Go figure. 

What do you guys think????  Only 3 bedrooms but has a huge basement for guest quarters with access to back yard.

Today we are viewing another house and tomorrow a third.  We really like the one for tomorrow but it is a bit over our allowance and it has a park for a back yard.  Literally.  Check this out!

Tonight Mr. Bean's sister and her family, who also live in Germany, are coming up for the weekend to celebrate Baby Bean's birthday.  We got him a Pirate cake since I have none of my stuff to make him a cake.  By the way, don't forget to keep up on my cake site.  I have 2 orders for here already and we have only been in country 4 days!  Looks promising!  We are looking forward to some familiar faces and being able to just relax and play some games with good coffee. 

Oh yeah, did I mention we have a contract on our house back in St. Louis for rent?  We have accepted the application and given the company our requirements for the contract so now we are just waiting for confirmation from the couple and it's a done deal.  Should know something by Tuesday at the latest.  FINGERS CROSSED!!!!!


Heaven Sent

Sloan:  of Irish or Gaelic origin;  meaning "man of arms," "warrior"
Christopher:  of Greek origin;  meaning "bearing Christ inside"
Born November 11, 2008, Veteran's Day, at 5:09am to a veteran.
Weight: 9lb 10oz  Length:  22 1/2 inches




Travel Journal Part 1

So today starts the first day of a hopefully renewed blogging career, so to speak.  We have been on vacation for nearly 3 weeks starting in St. Louis and ending in Germany.  I will post segments of our trip over the next few days to get you all up to speed and then it's Europe All The Way!!!

October 13th through 15th we got packed out of the house.  Then spent every waking moment of the next 3 days cleaning our house from top to bottom.  You would never believe how much there is to clean in a totally empty house.  It's INSANE!  Anyways, all was packed and cleaned and on Monday the 18th, after shipping our car on the latest possible day because we didn't receive the duplicate copy of the title until Saturday the 16th, we left out for Alabama in my Aunt's trusty Honda to see all the Bean's (parents, brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces/nephew, friends).

In Alabama we had a great time.  We played cards with mom and dad, I picked out some new jewelery at my dad's jewelery store (he is the watch maker) for my wish list and made parts of a halloween costume for Baby Bean.

We had game night with Little Brother Bean and his family and discovered that his sister-in-law and I actually have a lot in common.  Who knew!  We had a great night visiting, eating and getting my butt kicked in Escalation.  A card game EVERYONE must get and play.

A couple days later mom, the kids and I went to Big Brother Bean's house to spend the day with 2 ADORABLE little girls who I think love their Auntie Em very much.  :)  We played outside on the swingset and enjoyed gorgeous weather.  We had a big family dinner at Big Brother Bean's house where he cooked pot roast, green bean casserole, homemade macaroni and cheese and cooked carrots and we all were STUFFED!  That night we all went out to Zoo Boo at the Montgomery Zoo and I have to say it was really disappointing.  The kids had a blast riding on the tractor hay ride but other than that.....a let down.  I did get a couple cute pictures though.

Dog Pile on Daddy!

Zoo Boo
Saturday Mr. Bean spent the day with one of is best friends from Florida and the kids and I spent the afternoon roaming Prattville before meeting up together at the best little Philipino kitchen in the state!  Seriously, we had all kinds of stuff that I can't pronounce at our friends house that they cooked and it was HEAVEN!  Jojo and Nichole...YOU ROCK!  Later that night we went back to Big Brother Bean's to play games with him and the Love Bean and had a riotous good time as usual.  :)

Sunday we went to an auction with the Bean Parents and had fun ending in a new 1958 Singer Sewing Machine purchase for only $5.  That's right, $5 and all parts WORK.  :)  I love a bargain!  Later that evening I got to have dinner (cooked perfectly) with my two best friends in the world and play with the cutest little 2 year old you have ever seen.  :)  So sweet EK!

Two of my favorite Beans watching Monster Jam together...anyone notice how they dressed alike???

Monday we were able to get together with the brother's Bean again and their families for pictures at the Prattville park and then dinner at Cracker Barrel.  A family favorite.  It was a semi-late evening but we all had a blast and I was so grateful to get to see everyone again before leaving out the next morning for part 2 of our vacation. 
Cracker Barrel Fun!

 The LOVE their Uncle Andrew

 One cute group of grandkids if I do say so myself!
 Tune in tomorrow..........