N.

Nana’s Birthday

Today is Nana’s birthday! We celebrated with her in Krakow again today and it was a blast. The day started around 10:00, not because people weren’t awake, but because Bethany and I just had a bit of a rough night with Karis. Karis is doing awesome, but she just decided she wanted to be awake from about 3am on. Not too unexpected for a six day old, so no complaints on our end. But when we did make it out of our rented apartment the first thing on the agenda was a carriage ride through Krakow with the whole family! Below is a photo that Nana took of our new family of five while we were riding the carriage through the Old Town. It’s one the second photo ever taken of the five of us!

Nana's Birthday (6/7/15)

As you may have guessed, bringing a six day old on a mini vacation has it’s challenges–the main one being that she has to eat often. This brings challenges to trying to plan the day, so we mostly let Nana and Papa explore on their own today and enjoy the parts of the city that they wanted to see. But that wasn’t before our good man, Rick Steves, led us to a great pizza place via his tour book on Krakow. We had his book out while we grabbed fruit smoothies before lunch and found a place called “Cyklop” which serves incredible, gourmet pizza. The pizzas were being made literally in an oven next to our table and it was a great experience.

Nana's Birthday (6/7/15)

After the kids took naps, I told them we could go to the castle in town. Avery said, “Daddy, can we go to the castle where the princesses live?” to which Titus added quickly, “And the kings!” These kids have seen more castles in a few short years than I’ve seen in my life! As were leaving for the castle (just me, Titus, and Avery–Bethany stayed back to rest with Karis), Papa and Nana were arriving from their excursion and decided to join us. Instead of making the big walk with the kids to the castle, Papa saw a little golf cart service that would drive us up there so we did that. It saved buckets of time and definitely helped our tired legs. We made it to the castle in time to walk around, but were just a little late for tour tickets. Either way it was fun and here’s a few photos.

Nana's Birthday (6/7/15)

Nana's Birthday (6/7/15)

Nana's Birthday (6/7/15)

Nana's Birthday (6/7/15)

We wanted to do something special for Nana, so on our way back from the castle Bethany gave me instructions to pick up some cupcakes from a little shop we had visited before to celebrate Nana’s birthday. I was hoping to keep it a secret, but because Nana and Papa joined us I let them in on it and allowed Nana to pick a few for herself. We got a dozen cupcakes and took them back to the apartment where we all sang “Happy Birthday” to her. It was a great way to end our time in Krakow before packing up and heading home. Here’s just a sampling of some of the flavors we got (in the photo below).

Nana's Birthday (6/7/15)

Since I struggled to get us to Krakow in a timely manner yesterday (e.g. we took the “scenic route”…aka: we took a LONG route), I made sure I thoroughly checked the map before leaving today. Thankfully, the route I chose was the right one and we got home in no time tonight, just around 10pm. We had a bit of a pause at the border because the Czech police were doing mandatory checks, but they checked my passport and documents and let us go. The kids had fallen asleep by the time we got home, so Bethany, Nana, Papa, and I enjoyed another cupcake together! It was a lot of fun celebrating this weekend and letting Papa and Nana see a little more of Europe since they had flown so far. We have another week with them before they head back to the States and we’ve got lots more to see even still!

But as the clock strikes midnight, I think I’ll sign off. We’re heading tomorrow to a government office to start paperwork for Karis’ birth certificate, so please be praying for that. Until then, good night!

K.

Krakow With Family

We took a five day old on a road trip to Krakow, Poland. I know…we’re crazy.

Krakow With Family (6/6/15)

Tomorrow (Sunday) is Nana’s birthday and I guess we were having one of those “when in Europe” moments and decided kind of last minute to get everyone in the car, rent a small apartment in the Old Town and head to Krakow. It was kind of a dream last week but we just didn’t know how Bethany would be feeling and if we could make it work with a newborn. But that’s in the past now because I’m sitting here in Krakow and we’ve made quite the trip today.

Krakow is only about two hours from where we live so it’s completely in driving distance. To my knowledge there aren’t any good trains, so driving makes sense. At least it makes sense until you take the “scenic route” like we did today and added about 45 minutes to our driving time. I would rather not discuss how that happened because 1) I don’t know how it happened and 2) it’s probably still a sore subject in my heart. We did finally make it here and after getting everyone settled in to our little apartment we hit the Old Town!

It was really fun showing Nana and Papa around Krakow and to get to experience it again ourselves. This is my second time here and Bethany’s third, so we’re definitely not pros but it’s a lot easier after you’ve done it once. Europe is just overwhelming in some sense. Everywhere you look it’s old, incredible, and full of history. Today it was really warm here, especially in the town square where you the heat just kind of sat in the middle and baked us, but we made it work by finding shade and eventually grabbing dinner and dessert.

A photo posted by Shay Thomason (@shaycam) on

We left Nana and Papa after dessert and they went for a carriage ride through Krakow. Our new family of five made our way back to the apartment which was surprisingly cool thanks to the rare air conditioning units this one has. Avery and Karis did alright considering that Karis was just born on Monday! Karis slept a lot and we tried to find places to rest as we walked around and enjoy the town. Tonight I ran to the grocery store to stock up on water and juice as we just felt a little dehydrated with all the heat. We should be set for day two tomorrow and we’re excited to see what else this beautiful city has to offer.

Here’s a couple more photos from this afternoon.

Krakow With Family (6/6/15)

Krakow With Family (6/6/15)

Krakow With Family (6/6/15)

Krakow With Family (6/6/15)

D.

Day Two in Krakow

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

Our second and final day in Krakow has been a lot of fun. We had our first uninterrupted night of sleep in…well, since Titus was born? I can’t really remember, but it was amazing. The apartment where we’re staying has an incredible shower where it has the shower head on the ceiling and the water falls on top of you. It’s amazing what a nice shower (or shower head) will do to kick off your day!

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

We skipped breakfast (aka: slept in) and grabbed lunch in the town square. Afterwards we went around for another stroll through the Christmas market. We saw a lot of it last night, but felt a little rushed, so it was nice to take more time today and find some things for our kids and just take it all in at a slower pace. I had my camera this time and the the daylight, so here’s a few photos of our time today (as always, captions are below each).

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

Don’t tell Titus but we ended up buying him a knight’s shield and a sword for Christmas. They are all made of wood by the neato blacksmith guys that we saw last night. I may just have to buy one for me so we can battle!

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

We bought these amazing cinnamon and sugar things to snack on while we were walking around. The little shop had Italian flags out front and the people that worked there were really friendly. The little roll things were yummy!

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

Here’s Bethany going for a bite of some cinnamon and sugar goodness!

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

The square wasn’t as busy during the day, but even on Monday there was a good amount of foot traffic.

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

As we were browsing, we could watch the horse and carriages make their way around. So…

A photo posted by Shay Thomason (@shaycam) on

We went for a 30 minute carriage ride! Above is a shot we took on the carriage. It had nice, comfy seats and they gave us a lap blanket to keep us warm. But you and I both know it was really our love that kept us warm….awwwwwwwww.

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

Here’s a photo of our carriage that I took while we were walking away. It was really fun and we almost wish we could’ve brought our kids with us…almost.

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

Old Town Kraków (12/15/14)

We took a little break this afternoon and went back out this evening for a walk and some coffee. The town square comes alive at night with lights and shows. Actually, they had a bunch of Polish dancing and doing something on stage that we didn’t understand, but it was still fun to see.

Christmas Market Foods (12/15/14)

Christmas Market Foods (12/15/14)

Above is the dinner we created from the street vendors. The chunks of meat you see were basically the most tender pieces of ham I have ever eaten. Bethany and I split those and added mushroom, veggies, and potatoes as sides. We brought it all back to our apartment and enjoyed a little meal inside. For dessert we got waffles at a little shop topped with powdered sugar and raspberries. We didn’t finish it all, but it was fun!

Tomorrow we’ll head back to pick our kids from the Millers house, but we have had a great time the past 24 hours. Right now we’re watching a favorite TV show and just hanging out together. Even though we’re in a great city in Poland, it’s just nice to rest and enjoy time together.

D.

Day One in Krakow

Day 1 in Kraków (12/14/14)

Thanks to kind friends, Bethany and I are spending today and tomorrow in Krakow, Poland. Our 9th wedding anniversary is this coming Wednesday and we were hoping to do something fun and get away for a little rest. Yes, I guess “rest” is the theme of the 9th wedding anniversary when you have two young kids and another baby on the way. Our friends, the Millers, are watching Titus and Avery for the next two days so we’re staying in a little apartment here in the old town square of Krakow.

Day 1 in Kraków (12/14/14)

Day 1 in Kraków (12/14/14)

We arrived here around 5:30pm and after figuring out the apartment rental situation (which, by the way, is the only way to travel!), we started walking around the town square. The whole square is lively with Christmas things and a big market. Oh, and as you can see in the photo above, apparently a huge semi-truck with a Coca-Cola logo and a picture of Santa (ironically, not pictured here) with a huge Christmas tree behind it really says, “Merry Christmas from Poland!”

We enjoyed a great meal at a place in the square that a friend recommended to us. Both of us tried traditional European dishes that we really liked. Afterwards, we roamed around the Christmas market just enjoying all the different things the little shops. Below are some photos of what we saw (captions below each).

Day 1 in Kraków (12/14/14)

I liked these blacksmith guys. That is all.

Day 1 in Kraków (12/14/14)

Handmade Polish ornaments were readily available.

Day 1 in Kraków (12/14/14)

This wood shop was amazing. But hey, nobody light a match!

Day 1 in Kraków (12/14/14)

We spent way too much time in the Polish pottery shop. They had some incredible stuff, especially these little Christmas trees which we really liked.

Day 1 in Kraków (12/14/14)

Notice just how they pack in the Polish pottery at the shop. You have to really dig through stuff, carefully of course, to find what you want but it can actually be fun. Bethany stressed me out just a little with her gloves and picking up pottery. She was kind enough to take them off after about the third or fourth time of me saying, “…be careful.” Oh, marriage…

On our way back to our apartment we considered taking a horse and carriage for a spin, but our cold hands had other plans. We’re staying up a little late tonight enjoying one of our favorite TV shows and we’ll see how tomorrow goes!