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15 October 2012

Another Castle in Bavaria


Don't you just love where this castle is situated!?  High on the ridge, right above a river = Beautiful!


The Kiddo's ... and our tour guide Emi.  The tour was all in German and my little Emi translated the entire tour.  I was one seriously proud mom!  I can't believe how much she has learned, it's incredible!



I love this crazy girl of mine - even if she does drive me crazy at times - she is such a character


Picture of the castle from below


Picture of the castle above - this one might be my favorite 

An American Pumpkin Patch in Germany


I took the kids to get a pumpkin at a true American pumpkin patch!  The kids had a blast picking out their very own pumpkin.  They even got one for Kenneth; a perfect little one just his size.


Anika loved the stem on this one, perfect to hold!



Emi struggled to find the perfect one and in the end it was perfect - it looks just like a muffin or a cupcake, it is seriously cute!  Evan got the biggest one ever and was the proudest little boy ever!



I can never pass up a photo opt like this!  I love how Evan is holding so very tightly to Kenneth's hand!


Look, I actually made it in the picture!!

Pumpkin Festival Take Two


I decided to be brave and take the kids to the Pumpkin Festival in Ludwigsburg on my own.  The whole 2.5 hour drive out there it was pouring rain ... I mean, a serious downpour.  I kept repeating in my head, "what was I thinking?  what are we going to do?".  When we reached Ludwigsburg and drove into the parking lot the sun was shining and there were blue sky's!  I couldn't believe it!


My little man enjoying his sweet ride in the stroller


This years theme was Swiss (Switzerland).  Everything was centered around things that happen or these that are famous in Switzerland.  It was a nice little lesson for the kids.

Above are Evan and Paige in front of some oxen with the farmer in the background - can you just picture it happening in the Swiss Alps?


Anika's turn


I loved the flowers.  Where we are there are no more flowers, but the colors on the trees are gorgeous!  It was nice to see some flowers again.


The kids in Heidi's cottage.  I'm so glad that a couple of weeks ago we were able to watch Heidi so they actually knew who this was when they saw it.  They were so excited!



Practicing one of life's important skills


If you ever go to Ludwigsburg Palace don't forget to take a stroll thru the fairytale land.  Last year we had no idea this was here.  We saw Rapunzels tower from the gardens by accident and walked up to it to show Anika but we had no idea there was so much more.  It is HUGE!  And so much fun for the kids!  I mean, how fun is it that they get to experience being a Frog Princess on a chair that raises up and down with a water fountain and Lilly pads?




The kids got to ride this little boat thru more fairytales, such as Pinocchio being swallowed by a whale 



An old witch sticking her head out the window taunting us to come inside like she did with Hansel & Gretel


Here the kids were 'trying' their luck.  I was laughing so hard at them.  They had to time it just right in order to jump the stones and get across to the other side of the pond without getting sprayed by water from between the stone steps.  Evan was the one who got the luck!  The kids were being so silly!  The best part was that there was no rhythm to when the water would or would not spray and we tried forever to figure it out.  When they thought they had it the water would spray them!


This little donkey would spit out golden coins (filled with chocolate) if you put in 20 euro cents.  As we were walking by some lady was trying to catch her coin as the donkey spit it out at her.  She got two so gave one of my kids one.  I told her no thank you because I knew it would create a fight.  We then spent the next 15 minutes trying to get everyone a chocolate coin.  It was actually funny to watch Paige trying to catch them.

14 October 2012

First Tooth Lost


Evan has lost his first tooth!!

We were driving in the car eating beef jerky when I heard this gasp.  "Mom, my tooth is gone!"
I had one excited little man about the tooth-fairy coming to our house that evening.  The only problem was hoping that the tooth-fairy would understand that he swallowed his tooth along with his beef jerky!!  Paige actually did the same thing when she lost her tooth, so we figured that our tooth-fairy was VERY understanding when it came to swallowed teeth.

06 October 2012

School Beginnings

It's another year, with more pictures of the kids on their first day of school.  I love first day of school pictures ... they are classic!  


Little Miss A. and her big smile to be going to school with her big brother! ... and to learn German!



Mr. E on his first day of German Kindergarten ... I probably should have done his hair, huh?!


Little Miss A. after her first day of school ... exhausted.  I tried to wake her up but there was no hope.



The little guy who I got to spend the day with -- who was also VERY excited for his siblings to come home in the afternoon because mom is totally boring!



The 5th Grader who started Gymnasium.  I think I was physically sick to send Emi off to school, I was so scared.  In the German school system when you reach 5th grade you are split into 3 different schools: Gymnasium, Realschule, and Grundschule.  Gymnasium is the one that preps you for university (or American college), Realschule preps you more for Tech school and Grundschule is below that, which preps you for what you will eventually do when you grow up.  We basically forced our way into Gymnasium for Emi and hoped like crazy we were doing the right thing instead of putting her in the American school across the street from our home.  Turned out she had a GREAT first day!!


Little Miss Personality on her first day of school. This was her 2nd year in German School and my goodness can she speak German (it's amazing!).  She was super nervous because she wasn't going to be with her older sister but was excited they got to ride the bus to school together still.  She had a great first day too

Instead of the Rhine River


From Köln we decided to visit this sweet couple.  When Miles was a missionary back in 1998-2000 this couple loved him!  We have kept in contact with them through the years and thought it was time to meet them in person (for me and the kids at least).  It was such a pleasant visit!  I loved watching their interaction with Miles and the kids.  I say watching because I don't speak German (still) and they don't speak English.  I could understand a little bit if they spoke slowly (and did TONS of actions j/k but not really), but it was a nice visit.  Just looking at this pictures makes me smile thinking about how friendly they were to us.  That background is her garden, which was beautiful!

Köln Cathedral


From Amsterdam we headed back into Germany and stopped here in Köln to see the largest cathedral in Germany.  This place is huge!


During WWI this cathedral was bombed 15 times but remained standing.  In anticipation of the war the stain glass windows and art treasures were taken to shelters and saved.


The floor of the Cathedral ... Miles and I didn't dare walk on it but everyone else was walking all over it.  Seriously?  I felt like I was doing something wrong.


The shrine of the Magi - the bones of the Three King (or the 3 Wise Men who brought gifts to the Christ child).  


There is enough stain glass in here to fill 3 football fields - it's beautiful!


Yes, we climbed the tower.
6 Euro for the entire family with 509 steps to climb

The Netherlands



We extended our trip since an army thing got rescheduled at the last minute.  We were able to head up to Amsterdam and experience a little bit more of Europe.  I know, I know, Amsterdam is known for a lot of things ... the red light district ... legalized pot ...  but we didn't go for those.  We tried our best to shield our children from these particular areas but at the end of the day making our way back to the train station we weren't very successful. 



The Flower Market -- Bloemenmarkt
Tulip bulbs were seriously CHEAP!  We could gave bought a huge bag for 5 Euro.  If I didn't kill everything I probably would have done it too.  Even my kids thought of getting their school teacher some tulips before buying them for me.  I seriously kill everything!


The 'I Am' Sign


All our kids


'P' (an upside-down 'd') for Paige ... what is that other girl doing?  Crazy upside-down girl!


an 'E' for Emi & Evan


An an 'A' for Anika ... she found this balloon there and wouldn't let it go.  We even had to 'coat' check it at the Van Gogh Museum.  She is too funny!


My favorite picture of the canals, all the bikes, and the homes!  I love it!


house #166 - the skinniest house in Amsterdam


The Anne Frank Home!  Such a neat experience, and very educational for my children!   

More Pictures HERE