Friday, September 23, 2016

Our Town

I love the village that we live in.  It's main street isn't perhaps as picturesque as others but it's a great little town.  There are a few smaller grocery stores in walking distance, 2 bakeries (one with ice cream that we actually haven't tried yet!), and the farm vibe as well.  Our street is just behind the main road and we get a lot of tractors and trucks during the day.  The kids love it and they're learning very quickly to be mindful of cars.  Megan and Abby have started riding the bus to school and it's going well.  They don't have yellow school busses of course, these are tour type busses.  Even the German kids ride city busses that run a school route.  So we grab the bus as the city bus stop with several German kids (not on the girls bus) but it's fun to listen and watch.  

Walking to the bus stop, we cross the Vils River.  It's pretty shallow and has long river weeds but you can canoe and they have these flat bottomed boats for touring.  We need to do this sometime.  But it has been beautiful in the mornings, especially when there's fog.

The town church from a distance.

I bought a German sewing machine!!!  So nice to be able to create again!

And Abby FINALLY lost her first teeth.  She was a late tooth bloomer too so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised but this is definitely taking a while!  The top two are wiggly as well so I imagine that she'll be all gums before long.

I have gone for a run once (I haven't been able to get the motivation up lately).  The main roads usually have a walking/biking paved path running alongside and one right outside Hahnbach goes by a beautiful field of sunflowers.  Our neighbors invited us to the farm just yesterday and while the kids were picking potatoes (it's a potato farm), I asked her about the random small fields of sunflowers (they have one too).  She said for the personally anyway, they don't harvest the seeds, the sunflower fields are for the bees, that it helps with pollination.  Makes sense and a beautiful way to help nature along!

This is inside St. Jakobus -- the church in Hahnbach.  Perhaps not as ornate as some but still very nice and beautifully painted.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Settling in . . . in Regensburg

I'm a little bit of a control freak.  And despite what my bedroom looked like as a kid/teenager -- and Chopper's too I might add -- I really don't like chaos and mess.  So when we move somewhere, I will let the kids watch movies or play on electronics for hours on end while I unpack and get everything in place.  And if we need anything to make it all work, I like to get it right away so I don't have piles of stuff laying around.  I think it bugs Chopper but he goes to work all day so maybe not too badly.

So our stuff arrived on Thursday and Friday and on Saturday I said -- let's go to IKEA!!  There are several in Germany of course and fortunately, it's pretty much the same (except for the teeny tiny parking lots -- yikes!).  Chopper was a very good husband and said ok.  So we went.  It's in a beautiful city called Regensburg about an hour away from us and we decided to go see some of the sights after we did our shopping.  The kids were NOT suitably dressed and there was some rain and chilly wind that made them not so happy about the walking around but we had a good time anyway and I'm glad we made a day of it.  Then the next week while Chopper was gone, I put everything together and finished the house!!  The bookcase leans and I had to take a chair apart to fix it but I didn't do too badly!!

Probably the crowning jewel of Regensburg is St. Peter's Cathedral.  It is a really beautiful building that I could give more information about if I could find my pamphlet!  Turns out that Regensburg is one of the stops for riverboat tours so they had pamphlets in English and there were tour groups walking around as well.  It also turns out that this is a fun city to get lost in!  There was a plethora of small, cobbled alleyways with cute little shops.

Ok it's been a little while so I can't remember the name of the river either!  This is ridiculous of course but it's not the Danube or the Rhine or anything.  But still.  I am just really not doing this justice!

It was windy and chilly so we didn't go all the way across, especially with the kids in t-shirts and shorts.

 Actually, a woman in our ward lived in Regensburg for several years and does a guide tour about once a year.  This year it was raining and Megan was sick so we didn't go (it was about 3 weeks after we arrived) but she is a plethora of information on this place and I need to get some from her!

 Its hard to see, but this was an interesting statue

That was weird on the back -- I think the animals are coming out of him.

Ok I really should have edited these first but now that they're uploaded I don't want to go back and do it.  This is King Ludwig I

Love cobblestone streets!  Especially when they're in patterns!!

Chopper likes taking pictures of the relics and deceased people in Catholic churches.  We have lots of wonderful friends who are Catholic but I honestly don't think I quite understand this tradition.

Now this cathedral was finished in the late 1800s I think -- it was started much longer ago than that -- but to even think of the work that goes into erecting a building of this scale and carving all the stone is just exhausting.

There are keys everywhere.  This is actually above a shop, but the whole city has a lot of keys because the cathedral is named for St. Peter who received the keys of the Priesthood after Christ ascended to heaven.

This is not in the church -- it was in a government building.  More keys of course.

I think this is one that we'll go back to for more history -- only an hour away!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

And Then There Was School

Our last week before school actually ended up being pretty eventful!!  And it was all thanks to ladies in the ward extending invitations online to go do things with them.  It's so nice to do stuff with other people!  Then at least I have someone to talk to!

The first was a walk in the woods!!  There is a mystery club of sorts in our ward.  When people find something fun or interesting they want to share with others, they post a few details and it's a mystery!  This one was an exercise trail loop through the woods and we had a great time.

We're a few hours from the Black Forest which is the forest of fables and fairytales but this one felt magical too.  I think it's partly the moss -- there were areas where the ground is a literal carpet of moss.  I have never seen that before and it was really beautiful and yes, soft and squishy.  In one pretty clear area, the kids decided to take naps!

Megan's friend Eliza -- they are the same age and grade and seem to get along really well.  But Eliza goes to German school -- I do wish she and Megan were at the elementary together.  

One woman and daughter pair on our adventure are very knowledgeable about the forests and plant life.  They showed the girls wild clovers that you can eat, picked some mushrooms for their dinner, and showed us how the seed pods on these flowers pop when you touch them.  I've seen a lot here that I'm not familiar with -- I need to find a book about Germany flora and fauna, but in English.

Slugs - so delightful.  Blech!

Just a picture or two from the lake.  The water was COLD!

This actually isn't the lake -- it's a beach volleyball place at a park but William was enjoying himself a lot!

We also participated in a color run.  At first it was just the girls and I.

The run took place on a paved, one-mile loop.  I gave the girls the option to quit after each mile (we mostly walked and the sun was out and it was pretty hot), but they wanted to continue each mile.  Then at the beginning of our third mile, Chopper and William showed up and decided to finish it with us!!  Of course that means that Chopper walked with the girls and I had to chase William - he ran almost the entire mile!!  But he did stop at each color station to get thoroughly covered.  He loved that part!

Then it was time for the first day of school.  Our first week we were still living in the Cozy Corners apartments so I had to drive them to and from.  That first day William got his backpack and lunch ready as well and was ready to go to school.  We took the obligatory first day pictures and he doesn't take nice, smiling pictures so we got lots of great silly ones.

When we arrived at the school I was very surprised to see tanks!  The school itself is on the base so it was a fun way for the kids to be entertained while waiting for the day to start.  And I certainly don't have to worry about safety and security!!

They were even able to get inside!

We found the places where the kids wait with their classes for their teacher and walked with Abby to her first grade classroom.  Then it was time to go and William had a meltdown.  He was very sad that he didn't get to stay at school.  Of course he was fine on day 2.  Being at home with mom by yourself isn't as fun but you do get to pick the movies and play with the girls toys without them getting upset!!  Life treats him just fine!  And we're in the process of hopefully getting him into preschool so that should be fun!

We opted out of putting any of the kids in German school.  The girls would be held back a year to make up for the language deficiency and I think that generally my kids get easily frustrated and I don't want to compound the move, the lack of friends, and the strange environment with not understanding the language as well.  Not understanding makes ME cranky and I don't think they need that on them as well.  But so far being in a new school seems to be going fine.  Abby particularly has had some nights of crying about it being different but by the time she started school she already knew Chavez because of Megan going there so it wasn't a new experience entirely.  It's funny actually because she talks all the time about how much she loves Germany but when she's tired and upset about something, suddenly she wants to go back to Texas right now!!!  Poor girl!