Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cologne, Germany

Our first stop today was to see the "Dom" or Cathedral.  My poor pitiful camera did not do this place justice.  It reminded me of Notre Dame in Paris.  It was gorgeous! 
This is the oldest crucifix in the western world.  
 Nate bought an English guide brochure.  He was looking everything up and reporting it to us.  These little guys just didn't grasp how cool and old this place is!  
 We had an ENORMOUS breakfast at the hotel, but we are always looking for our next meal!  We stopped at a hole in the wall pizza place and had some awesome pizza.  I don't think we have had pizza that good since NYC! 
 Next stop was Lindt chocolate factory!  
 They have a greenhouse that has a real cocoa tree.   I thought the factory was hot (no AC), but the greenhouse made the factory feel cool!  
 They had real machines making little samples of chocolate.  It was so cool!  Ethan especially loved this part! 
 At the end, the lady dipped wafers into a chocolate fountain and you got to eat it!  YUMMMO!
 Guess who was first in line!
 We've been reading Grimm's Fairy Tales.  The boys loved seeing Hansel and Gretel and the witch's house. 
 Some new friends recommended the a Gestapo prison.  The actual prison cells were cool.  Most of the prisoners left notes written on the walls.  They had them translated into English which was fantastic for us to see.  I didn't think about the discussions that would come up from going here.  
After walking for about seven hours, we all needed a break.  Nate and I needed a Starbucks break and the boys needed a video game break!  
We finished the night off with another FANTASTIC meal at a German pub!  Schnitzel and sausage!  YES PLEASE!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Road Trip

We planned our first trip to Cologne, Germany this weekend.  The trip is a 2 1/2 hour drive.  So, we planned on stopping at a castle on the way.  PLANNED being the operative word. 
STAU:  German word for traffic jam.  
REGEN:  German word for rain.  
We experience both.  We ditched the castle plan.  It was pouring down rain and the GPS kept instructing us to take a ferry ride across the Rhine.  We had no intentions of doing that.  
Four hours later, we arrived in Cologne.   
 This is so reminiscent of our honeymoon.  These beds were already pushed together though.  We didn't have to do it this time!
 Bunk beds for the little guys!  We have only had one stupid American moment so far.  Nate went down to the front desk because we had no power in the room at all.  Apparently, you have to insert your card in the slot next to the door to get power!  hmmmm...NEVER would have figured that one out!

We found an AWESOME Italian restaurant super close to the hotel!  All four of us devoured our food!

I took this picture at 9:15.  It is still SUPER bright.  We have to leave the windows open because we have not AC.  As you can guess, my children are wide awake!!!!
We can't wait to continue our adventure tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Welcome to Erzenhausen

 This is this sign right outside our village.  WELCOME TO ERZENHAUSEN!  This sign happens to be at the playground for the neighborhood.  
 This playground is amazing!  The most awesome part is the zip line!  The kids love it!
 Look at that smile!  AND....look at the view!  AMAZING!
 Nate enjoyed spinning the boys on the Merry-go-Round.  Apparently....a little too much!  Ethan screamed he was going to be sick and then fell off.  Link got off and was so dizzy!  Daddy is not allowed to push again!  
 They were pretending to be pirates!  Imagine that!  :)
 It seems most parks here have seesaws.  They love these things!
I know I keep saying it, but this place is GORGEOUS!
 (Memaw and Pappy, the boys love their Pittsburgh shirts!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Gentlemen

Lincoln has this scratchy blue blanket that he loves.  He calls it "favorite blankie."  I bought him a cute blanket with owls on it a few years ago because he refused to wear any other jammies than his owl jammies.  He is convinced that owls protect him.  
While we were at Memaw and Pappy's house, Lincoln comes down the stairs carrying both blankets.  As he gets to the bottom step, he announces, " are the gentlemen!"    
I have NO clue where he got that phrase.   For some odd reason, the phrase "the gentlemen" have stuck.  
At night he tells Nate that he needs to find the gentlemen.  
That boy has such an imagination!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Castle Lichtenberg

I found this great website that lets you know the happenings for the week here!  Today, Lichtenberg Castle had a medieval festival! 
As we arrived, two YOUNG German officers were parking cars.  Nate and I both saw this mess and said NO WAY are we parking there.    I have no clue how they are going to get out of there.

 Nate quickly backed up the car and parked against the woods.  As we were walking down we saw tons of Americans parking next to us!  They must have had the same idea we did.

 We arrived about an hour before the festival started, so we were able to explore the castle. 
 We climbed up about seven flights of stairs to the top of the castle.  Once we got to the top the boys found the armor!  
 The view from the top was amazing! 
There is that crazy parking job.   I feel so bad for those people who are trying to get out!!!
 Mr. Man was in heaven trying on the armor.  He loved it!
 Outside the castle were tons of tents with people in medieval dress.  A super nice man let the boys try on the helmet and hold a real sword!  
 It was so heavy!  Nate had to hold Link's head up!
At the very end, we passed a juggler. I think Link would have sat and watched him the rest of the day!  We can say that we have all seen a castle now!  I am so glad we chose this one to start the trip off!

Tonight, we also tried our first German restaurant.  We ordered schnitzel and bratwurst.  The boys loved the schnitzel.  I think they would have enjoyed the brats more, but they were sitting in sauerkraut.  They didn't like the smell!

Friday, June 22, 2012


There are so many bike and walking trails here in Germany.  A street over from our apartment is a gorgeous trail.  This afternoon we took off exploring!
We came to fork in the road and Ethan chose the steepest one.

 After scaring his brother with talk about wolves, bears, or lions, Nate and I had to assure Lincoln that nothing would "get him."  
 Little bit kept up with us like a champ!  At the end of the trail, we met a sweet German lady named Helga.  She is married to a retired Air Force service member.  Lincoln sat down and took a break while we chatted with her about the weather here and in Florida where she spends her winters!

I still can't believe we are actually here!  It is absolutely gorgeous!

German House

 We found a house and it only took three days!!

 Honestly, the yard and back patio sold us!  
This is the patio.  I am standing in the living room looking out!
 This is the living room.  We bought a great rug before we came.  It will be perfect here!
 This is our kitchen.  The door that is open is the German fridge!  It is so tiny!  Lucky for us, the base will give us an American fridge!  They will also give us an American washer and dryer.

The family bathroom (we will share on the middle level) is being completely remodeled.  This is the bathroom that will be upstairs for the guests.  It also has a bathtub.  I think the other bathroom will look almost identical.  The guest bedroom upstairs is enormous.  It will hold our guest bed, treadmill, elliptical, and all of our other storage items.  
 Another HUGE plus for us was that the master bedroom has a lot of wardrobes!  German houses usually do not have closets!  The base will also give each of us a wardrobe for our rooms.
The master bedroom has a balcony.  This is view from our window!  
The boys rooms are getting new carpet, so I don't have good pictures of their rooms!  
We found out that we can move in mid July.  The base is going to loan us some temporary furniture until our household goods arrive!  We can't wait!  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

First Day in Germany

We arrived in Germany, made a stop to the commissary, and made it to our temporary apartment by 5:00 pm.  We were all exhausted!  We put the little boys in bed by 7:00 pm and Nate and I stayed up until 9:00.  Surprisingly, we all had trouble sleeping.  It seems all of us were up between 11-2.  
The worst part was that Nate had to get up at 5:00am to go to in processing.   Our car is here, but Nate has to get it registered and get his driver's license before we can drive it.  That means one of his sponsors has to come and get him.  It made for an EARLY morning!  The little guys and I slept in until 10:00!

After eating a quick breakfast, the boys and I went exploring!  We walked up the street and found a German grocery store.  We stopped in for some German chocolate.  YUMMY!
I bought Lincoln these really cute pirate shoes in Alabama.   They may not be the best shoes for walking on these sidewalks   He fell after walking a few feet and scraped his knee.

 We kept walking and found  park with a playground.  Everything was shaded and green!  If you look past Ethan you can see the rolling hills.  There are huge mechanical windmills, as well.  They look exactly like the ones near Memaw and Pappy's house!
 The kids loved the playground.  We stayed a long time.  There was another American family there with two twin boys.  The boys were adventurous and decided to jump over a creek that ran in the middle of the park.  Of course, my boys decided that they needed to do this too!
Lincoln was not so successful at jumping the creek.  After he fell in and got soaked, we left!  We did go back that evening to show Nate!  We also stopped at the grocery store to get big soft pretzel!