Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - An Epic Year

Hey everyone. It's been a while since we've posted on here, but we wanted to swing back by to say it's been a great year! 2014 was pretty amazing. We had a ridiculous time, and we're so thankful. We rang in the start of 2014 with Brian's parents at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, 

we jetted off to Switzerland with our friends Ryan and Laryssa for a snowboarding trip at the Matterhorn,

we had so many adventures throughout the UK,
Friends visiting London


Tower of London

THE Boat Race


Highclere Castle

The Jurassic Coast

Polo Match
and in Europe.
Lisbon (more to come)
Barcelona (more to come)

Italy (more to come)
Then we moved home to Philly, bought a house, got a dog, had the whole family over for Thanksgiving, and we had our first Christmas back in The States.

Here comes Frankie!

Parents say Hiiiiii!

So many things we'll never forget. Well played 2014. We're so thankful for all the incredible experiences and (more importantly) our wonderful friends and family with whom we shared them. We can't wait to see what 2015 has in store. We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and we wish you all a Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Welcome Franklin Elizabeth Helminski!

What's the next logical step after getting a house? Why getting a dog of course! Welcome our darling girl, Franklin Elizabeth Helminski!

Bringing home puppy!

The Story of Franklin -

For as long as I've known Gloria she's wanted a tan, Pit mix, with blue-green eyes. Her love affair with Pitties started when she met Gally, Kara's precious Pit/Lab who just recently went to doggie heaven. We both used to help watch Gally when the Franklins were out of town so that's when I fell in love with Pitties and vowed to adopt a Pit rescue.

Getting a dog was always a part of our family plan but our unpredictable living situation kept us from taking the leap. When we found out we were finally coming home and staying put, we started keeping our ears peeled with local rescues. We found a couple great groups called "Rescue Dogs Rock" and "Dog Town Rescue" and came across a story that just broke our hearts:

A lovely dog named Roxy who was about to be euthanized was rescued off a Craigslist post. When her new dad took her to the vet, Surprise! She was pregnant! Roxy gave birth to 11 puppies and wouldn't you know, they were all tan and brown Pittie mixes with blue-green eyes. Unfortunately, the landlord at Roxy's apartment was a big jerk and wanted the puppies out - so much so, that he turned off the AC in the middle of the summer! A call was put out for foster parents and forever homes.

Roxy's Royalty

As we followed the puppies' progress we learned they were born on July 18th - our last day in London and they were all going to be given names of British royalty because their foster mom was from England! How could we not adopt one of these pups?

When we went to see the 11 babies doggies to pick our own and the first one that came running up was "Elizabeth" who proceeded to lick the *@&%@# out of my feet. Well, nothing says "take me home" like a thorough puppy saliva foot bath so we knew she was going to be ours.

And yesterday, at 9 weeks old, Franklin Elizabeth "Frankie" Helminski said good-bye to her wonderful 2nd foster mommy, Holly and came home to The Flying Helminski Circus.

Thank you, mama Holly!
"Frankie, what a peculiar name!", you may say - well as all things Flying Helminski we of COURSE have a story to the name. We were introduced by Kara FRANKLIN and always said we'd name our first dog-child, Franklin so that's where the name comes from. It's also a bit serendipitous because Elizabeth is my sister's name and she is also responsible for Gloria and I being together. It was meant to be!

Here are some highlights from Frankie's first day home:

1) She peed on our floor rug within her first 30 minutes in the house, but that was the only accident for the whole day and she's been doing great going potty outside.
I did pee.
2) She loves her fluffy toys Big Beaver, Bear, and Hedgehog.

I am the Queen.
3) Holly did a great job crate training her and she already goes right in to her crate for naps and sleeping.

4) Frankie likes to sit by the back door and watch the neighborhood kids play
Up and down and up and down...
5) Prior to today, we hadn't met anyone in our neighborhood - but because Frankie is the most adorable little puppy in the world, she made a fantastic ice breaker and we met about 7 families and new friends.

Frankie has already brought us so much joy - we are ready for some sleepless nights but figure it's a great way to train for future Helminsklings to come.

Our little family!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Home Base

Today was a big day in TheFlyingHelminskis house. That's because the metaphorical house is now an actual house!

As of today, we are officially homeowners. 


As with every good home, this one comes with a small child.
Always do business with family! :)

Special thanks to Gloria's cousin Ada, Gloria's parents, and Gloria's brother Ernie & sister-in-law Jenny for making this possible. 

We're so happy and excited. Now to furnish this bad boy...

State of the art home entertainment center

Thursday, August 21, 2014

TBT! The Netherlands...a make-believe place where Peter Pan and Tinkerbell come from. (Jaffe-tastic Holidays part 2)

Happy Throwback Thursday, friends! The last few months have been so crazy with travel and getting settled back in the US. As a result, we've fallen way behind on our blog...but that's what pop culture acronyms as an excuse for procrastination are for! Wahoo!

So now we bring you the continuation of Jaffe-tastic Amsterdam!

After bumming around London with Brett & Jen for a few days, they galavanted off to Paris for some time away from us crazy Helminskis, and we met up with them a few days later in Amsterdam. Upon arrival, we came across this:

Because of course this bird sits on the car. Apparently it does this every day. We were off to a perfect start! Of course, we were warned "don't touch it" by some local lady several times. Apparently, American tourists really like to touch giant birds. Go fig.

Amsterdam is unique place. Outside of tulips and the color orange, it's probably most well known for its canals,

The entire city is covered with bike parking like this
 and "leisure" activities.

We partook in one of those things.

Canals! We went on the canals. Sheesh. As all good tourists do, we took a lovely canal cruise.

Gloria is very excited to go on a boat!

There's something enchanting about the canals in Amsterdam. Yes it's a bit cheesy, but we really enjoyed cruising along and just enjoying the ride and the scenery. And scenery there is. Amsterdam is a very beautiful city, and it has some pretty unique features. Obviously the canals are the big one, but the buildings also have their own "feature".
Notice how the buildings in the middle look distinctly uneven? That's because they are. We were told that many of these buildings were built on wooden stilts to protect them from the water. One problem: the stilts rot and the buildings start to lean over. All over the city you see buildings that are leaning this way and that. It's really pretty neat looking.

We also noticed a lot of this style of building (dark brick and off-white accents):
They're all over the place.
 Another one! They look really cool!

One really distinct feature of the houses along the canal is that they not only appear to lean out towards you, they actually do! And notice what those arms that stick out from the top? Those are hooks to bring furniture and other large items up to the top floors. Because homes were so tall and skinny, so were the staircases, making it impossible to move anything bigger than your body up to the higher floors of your house. So as people needed to hoist furniture up, they built their houses to lean out to avoid furniture/home collision. Safety first!

In addition to the funky building lean and the cool colors, Amsterdam is simply a beautiful place.
But not only that; it also very much has a funky side. For example, it really seems to embrace a wide variety of cultures, and prominently features a Chinese style building in the harbor.

Or this one (which is my personal favorite). An old, classic looking church, with a head shop built right next to it. Only in Amsterdam.
Confess your sins, and commit a few more right outside!

Also, we can't leave out the most infamous part of Amsterdam: the sex industry.
Nothing goes better with the pasta bar than some good ol' fashioned sex history
While we did walk through the red light district, cameras are "frowned upon" there, so I don't have any pictures. The above picture is just a random place with a sex museum. Good times!

The red light district is pretty crazy. First, there are tons of coffee shops nearby, which for the uninitiated does not mean coffee. For that you go to a cafe. Coffee shops sell marijuana. Don't ask me to explain that one.
I'll have a non-fat, soy, cannabis latte please.
Anyway, all around the red light district are tons of coffee shops, and then you turn a corner and bam: women in windows. It's really kind of odd. These ladies stand/dance/sit in their windows waiting for customers. It was one of those situations where you feel like you should look or stare, but the women are in windows so you can see them. Definitely a strange experience. Moving on...

We also took a trip to the Anne Frank house. It's the actual house where her family hid during the World War II. No photos were allowed inside the house, so I don't have any. All I will say is this: do not miss this if you're in Amsterdam. It was one of those historic places where you can feel the intensity of the experience. It's a solemn place for reflection and respect and while not "fun" it's definitely worth seeing to understand the history and put some real meaning behind it.

Now, back to the fun stuff!
Obligatory I amsterdam photo.
For those who haven't seen it, there are huge sculpture of the words "I amsterdam" all over the city. So we made a point to pose in front of one. Just for funsies.

One funny thing we noticed: there are a shocking number of grown men climbing around on the letters. Seriously. More grown men than children. Awesome.
Jen and Brett waiting for the grown-ups to finish playing

Posing with "S" in remembrance of Jen's Mom Sue

So, with all it's quirkiness Amsterdam really was a lot of fun. No, fun isn't the right word. Pleasant. Amsterdam is really pleasant. Throughout our time there, we kept commenting that it really was an enjoyable place. Nothing demonstrates that quite as well as our day we spent strolling through the city, eventually ending up at Vondelpark.

It's this beautiful park in the middle of the city, with nice walking paths,
 and lots of waterways,

Jen even found a little friend in the park.
Jen & Brett have two french bulldogs at home so this was food for Jen's soul.

Lovely ladies on the bridge
 We even got to take a break for a mini picnic on one of the bridges.
 And we capped it all off with a bonus Kovick sighting!
Jeff (classmate from Fuqua) and his wife Tricia live in Amsterdam and met us out for a quick drink.

Amsterdam was great. We really enjoyed our weekend here and we highly recommend it. Perhaps nothing can capture the spirit of the city better than this last picture.
We were just walking down the street, and this kid suddenly comes up to us and says: "Wait! I will breakdance for a small fee!" Of course we immediately agreed and he busted out some moves right there in front of us. Best money we spent the whole trip.

So with that, I'll close by saying that we loved our time in Amsterdam. We had some long overdue bonding time with Jen and Brett (which was awesome), and Amsterdam exceeded our expectations. If you've never been, do yourself a favor and go visit. You'll enjoy it.