Saturday, December 31, 2011

living in Germany

We have now lived in Germany for three and a half years.  I have to admit that is longer than I thought we would live here, and longer than I have lived in any one place since I was seventeen.  I realized that I have posted a lot on my blog about our travels, but not a lot about how my day to day life has changed since moving overseas.  So, I thought that with the new year I would make a few posts about these changes.

A major change for us is transportation.  We don't have a car.  We had plans of buying a car when we moved here, but after choosing an apartment in the city we found that we don't really need one here.  I have a pass that covers the subway, buses and trams in the center of town and Simon has a bike.  Simon rides his bike all year long, even in the snow.  It takes him less time to get to work with his bike than with public transportation.  I love my pass.  I didn't have one for a the first year, but it has really given me freedom and I have been able to take the kids all over the city.  I can tell you all about which train or bus to take, but I couldn't tell you directions by street to save my life.  

Some of the good things of using public transportation are: 
Exercise.  It takes me about fifteen minutes to get to the subway station.  I can walk over an hour (pushing 70lbs) in a regular day without even thinking about it.  It has really helped me stay healthy and fit.  
I don't have to drive in the city or in snow.
Germans are punctual.  Their public transportation system is rarely late.
The Munich transportation system is very good about accommodating strollers, even double strollers.
I can walk to a grocery store, pharmacy, dry cleaner and two different parks in five minutes.
I get to spend time outside everyday.

Some things I don't like about public transportation:
If there isn't a good connection to where you want to go it can take forever to get there.  If I had a car it would only be a few minutes instead of an hour.
I really hate it when I barely miss the train have to wait 10 minutes for the next one.
I would like to be able to leave on my schedule instead of a train or bus schedule sometimes. (I usually feel this way when we miss the train)
I don't like having to walk in the rain and snow, but I have an awesome rain cover for my stroller.
I miss driving sometimes.  I miss turning up music and singing along with my little ones.


 

I never thought that I could live without a car, (in Jacksonville we had to have two) but I have and have had a great new experience.  I always like to add a picture and this is an oldie.  You can't tell, but they are actually in the subway station about a year and a half ago.  

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

I think the closest thing that we have to tradition for Christmas in our family is going to Schliersee.  Our first year of being married we decided to head to England and travel for two weeks, then we were in Florida with my family, the next year was California was Simon's family and then the past three years we have been here in Munich.  We have really enjoyed our past two years at Schliersee for Christmas that we decided to go again, and it was the right choice.

                                   

Here are the kids on the train.  It only takes an hour to get there and the kids loved looking out the window.



While we were there went sledding, some of us liked it more than others.  Auburn loved talking about it, but wasn't quite sure after the first ride down.  Conley kept saying "more" and "mas".  We built a little snowman and made snow angels.



Mommy and Daddy played billards and fussball while the kids read books and did puzzles.  The kids played and played in the toy room.  We took naps, all four of us, that was bliss.  We also told the story of Mary and Joseph to our kids.




We took a bus from Schliersee to Spitzensee just over the mountain.  The first year we tried to hike it, but the markings were not very clear and the rain made us turn back.  We walked around the frozen lake, played in a snow fort and just enjoyed the beautiful Alps.
















Monday we returned home to find what Santa Claus had left for us.  Auburn and Conley love their "bikes".  Auburn's is called Laufrad in German and it is a bike without pedals.  They are very popular here and she is likes that it is pink.  Conley calls to his little bike a cycle (motorcycle) half of the time.  We have been outside everyday to ride them.  The kids also received some nice gifts from grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends.  Thanks!  It was so fun to see the exciting and joy from our kids this year.  We enjoyed the day playing and relaxing!








We hope that all of you had a very Merry Christmas and were able to spend this time of year reflecting on the love of the Savior and the very best gift that we had all been given.  All the best to each and everyone of you in the upcoming year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

december

I just realized I haven't blogged for a month.  Last week I was sick, like didn't get out of bed for three days sick.  It was awful, but Simon and the kids were very helpful.  Because of that of Christmas fun I am behind in my blogging, so here is a recap of December.


Simon was gone for most of November.  He had three different business trips, it was kind of a whirlwind.  Auburn started asking everyday if Daddy was coming home.  So, last week I took the kids to Simon's new office to show them for Daddy works.  I think it helped.  They loved it!  Although I think their idea of what he actually does all day is a little off.  We have loved having Daddy home for the entire month of December.  Here they are snuggling while watching Bundesliga highlights on a Saturday afternoon.
                                   


Auburn has decided that she doesn't need naps anymore.  I still make her have "quiet time" every afternoon.  Every once in a while I find this.


This is just a cute picture of my little man sleeping in his Christmas jams.

I have been trying to do winter activities with the kids this month.  We made snowmen, went to a winter festival here in Munich called Tollwood and did crafts with friends.  We went downtown to look at the Steiff (famous German teddy bear) window displays and walk through a couple of Christmas markets.  This week I took them to the mall to see Santa Claus and do some more crafts.  Well, they saw the german Santa Claus, St. Nikolaus, and wanted nothing to do with him.  Conley screamed and Auburn didn't even want to shake his hand, maybe because he looked like this....


We stayed at the mall and made some gingerbread men crafts. The theme at the mall this year was Lebkuchen (gingerbread).





This is the best picture I got of the two of them.  


We wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!!!!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Thanksgiving

So we did end up celebrating Thanksgiving this year.  On Thanksgiving evening we went to dinner at Hirschgarten with a colleague of Simon.  We had a lovely time stuffing ourselves at dinner with good company.  It was kind of funny to explain to someone else what we normally do on Thanksgiving: cook, play football, cook, watch football, cook, eat, eat, eat, take a nap, watch more football and eat some more.  I didn't take any pictures because I'm lame, but here is a picture of my kids in the laundry basket.  This is their "boat" in which they travel to their "island".  Auburn likes to recreate our trip.  It is one of their new favorite games.  
I hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving!
   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

18 months


Conley is now 18 months old.  Where did that time go?  He loves cars.  He usually carries one in each hand all over the house.  He also loves anything that moves, trains, boats, tractors, etc.  He loves books.  He will pull all of the books off the shelf and read them one by one (just like his sister).  He like animals, but particularly horses and dogs.  Simon started playing the horse game with the kids and now Conley sits on anything and calls it a horse.  He calls Simon on the phone.  He likes pretty much all kinds of foods, but particularly fruits and cheese.  When he gets excited he does a little dance.  He loves his blanket.  We are bink free!  We took it away a couple weeks ago, He only had it in his crib, so going to sleep was a little difficult for a few nights.  He is talking like crazy!  Everyday he learns a new word.  He is mainly speaking English, but has started speaking some Spanish with Simon.  There is something adorable about him saying "leche" (milk in Spanish).  I counted a month ago and his vocabulary was around 50 words, but he knows a lot more than that now.  He is full of energy and a very happy little boy!




Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Auburn!


Our little girl is 3!!!  So, her birthday was in September while we were in Indonesia.  We, as in Simon and me, decided that her birthday would be in October when we returned.  Crazy, I know, but how do you explain to a three year old that they don't get to open presents or eat cake on their birthday?  So, we planned it for the weekend that we returned.  Honestly, she didn't know the difference.  I figure later on in life she will figure it out, but hopefully she won't care.  We still did all the birthday stuff, just on a different day.  Plus she was in Indonesia, how cool is that?  We didn't do a big fancy party, maybe one day we will.  We had French toast for breakfast and her favorite tortellini with broccoli for dinner, went to the park and just had a day all for her.  She wanted a pink chocolate cake.  


She was really excited about the candles and when we started singing to her.


Conley enjoyed the cake as well!




                                     

showing off her new Hello Kitty shirt and her kitchen.  


I really can't believe my little girl is already three.  She loves Hello Kitty, reading books, her baby, bubbles, animals, Sesame Street, puzzles, stickers and all things princesses.  She has know the letters for awhile now and loves reading her preschool books.  She recognizes numbers up to 100 and can count to over ten, but how far depends on the day and language.  She can write some of her letters and loves playing the "what letter does this word start with" game. She is definitely in the "why" stage.  She is avoiding speaking Spanish right now, but Simon still speaks to her.  I hope that this will change.  She has always been my big helper, she sets the table, helps fold and put away laundry, swiffers the floor, and cleans up her toys.  She always has to be the one to pick out a diaper for Conley.  She also loves picking out her and Conley's clothes everyday.  Her favorite color is currently purple, but pink is a close second.  She is so loving and mothering.  She reads books to Conley and tries to teach him the alphabet and new words, which is pretty adorable.  She remembers everything, I mean everything you say and can usually repeat verbatim weeks later.  She will still let us snuggle with her sometimes, which we love.  We just love you our little Auby Aubs!!!  You make us so happy and I can't believe that you are already three!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bali - part II

This is the very last post from our trip.  Our kids did really well traveling.  They slept on the long flights and adjusted to the time changes coming and going very quickly.  We choose a place like Indonesia because we thought it would appeal to us and our kids, we were right.  Auburn is a piece of cake to travel with now and loved pretty much everything we did.  Conley was a little more difficult, but slept like a champ every night even though he had three new teeth come in on our trip.  It was nice to have so much Daddy time, especially since he is traveling so much right now.  Auburn really bonded with Simon and when he is home he has to help her with everything.  We feel so blessed to have good little travelers and to have these opportunities to travel and see the world.


Tegallalang Rice Terrace
We were really excited to walk through some rice paddies while we were in Bali.  It was so much more beautiful than in pictures, especially the terraces.




A couple was taking some pictures with balloons and gave our kids some when they were done.  What an awesome place to have your engagement pictures taken at!

Sayan Terrace

Sacred Monkey Forest
This is in Ubud, just a short walk from where we were staying.  There are monkeys everywhere.  Our kids were pretty excited about this.  We saw the monkeys fighting over food, grooming each other.  Auburn was especially excited about the baby monkeys.   On monkey jumped on Simon's back trying to get food out of our backpack.  Luckily, the monkey realized that he couldn't get to the food and jumped off quickly, but it was sure exciting for a few minutes.


Besakih
This is the mother temple for the Balinese Hindu.  It is right at the base of Mt. Agung and is really quite spectacular.  It is actually a complex of temples that you can walk through and explore.




Taman Tirta Gangga
This is a water palace.  The pools were filled with fish, much to the delight of our children.  It was also fun to walk on the stones in the pool.  






Around Tirta Gangga we walked through a few more rice paddies.




At the end of our trip we had to head back to Java to fly back home.  We had a day in Surabaya to kill so we went to the zoo.  There were tons of Komodo dragons.


In the morning they were taking these Orangutans for a walk.  They didn't actually touch our kids, but it was fun to see them walking around.  Auburn thought it was so funny that now she walks like an orangutan around our house.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gili Islands

Gili Islands

The Gili Islands are a group of three islands off of the bigger island Lombok.  Lombok is about a few hours by ferry from Bali.  The islands are all quite small.  In fact we walked around one of the islands in just under a few hours one day.  That was first for me, walk around an entire island in a day.  We stayed on Gili Trawangan, and then spent a day on Gili Meno.  We swam, played in the sand, took long walks and naps, ate delicious food and relaxed!  It was bliss, pure bliss!  It was a little difficult to come back to reality after the Gilis, especially as I look outside at the forty degree weather here in Munich.  I think the beach was a highlight for our kids.





 


The kids were hanging outside of our bungalow eating snacks.  Simon is taking this picture from the hammock.

We took one of these boats from Lombok to the Gilis.

We met this little guy on one of our walks.



Hot Sauce
Conley always found this bottles and little packages of hot sauce at every restaurant.  He thought it was so funny to say "hot sauce".  We have since called him our little "hot sauce" and he loves it.  That was his first two word combination.


Simon and I think that Auburn looks like she is conducting the sunset.






 We found this urchin for our Christmas tree.  We have a tradition that we collect Christmas ornaments on all of our trips.  We have had to be very creative with some.  It was so fragile that it unfortuantely didn't even make it to the airplane.
 
You can't really tell from this picture, but at sunset you could see the volcanos from Bali.