Thursday, March 29, 2012


Dylan parents are here visiting for the next 10 days. We are so happy to have them here! We have really missed all of our family since we moved. It feels kind of like a "stay-cation" having them here in our little apartment. Hopefully we'll get to do some sightseeing and touristy stuff that we haven't really done yet. If we do anything fun, I'll try to blog about it!

Friday, March 16, 2012

New shoes!

Somehow, basically as soon as we got over here I realized that David and James were about to grow out of their shoes. Maybe my kids' feet always grow really fast in the winter, because this is the second winter that they have gotten new shoes for Christmas and grown out of them by spring. Anyway, I have been warned that shoes are quite expensive here, so my plan was to ask someone in the US to buy new shoes for the boys and send them over with Dylan's parents who are coming to visit this month. (In less than 2 weeks!) However, I was able to find great deals on shoes at the bazaar last week, so I picked up a pair for James and David (€2 each!). I have to say I really like the German styles as a general rule. The first pair are David's, and the second are James'. I don't know what I was thinking trying to take pictures of them "in action". I had the hardest time getting David to hold still.

James wears size 24, and David size 20. The European sizes are really hard for me to get used to, but I'm figuring it out I think.

I also got James a new jacket at the bazaar, because his lightweight jacket was getting a little snug. He was not so happy to model it for me, but he really loves his new jacket!

The boys aren't the only ones that needed new things when we got here. I carefully chose my wardrobe to bring over as few clothing items as possible and in the process, totally forgot about spring and fall. I brought boots for winter, and flats and flip flips for summer, but I didn't bring any spring-appropriate shoes (mostly because I didn't really have any that weren't totally worn out!) or a lightweight jacket. So, a couple weeks ago I hit up the mall in Munich, and got myself a lightweight jacket from C&A and a pair of casual comfy walking shoes. I'm pretty happy with them so far!

(sorry for the bad, flash-in-the-mirror picture)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Good little eater

For some reason, coming here has changed the way that David eats. Back in Colorado, I would dutifully give him a plate of whatever we were eating at every meal, and he would smear it around, and throw it on the floor. I very rarely actually saw him eat anything. However, since we've been here, he's been so adventurous with his eating. He eats much better than James these days! So far since we've been in Germany some of the meals he's eaten really well include:

Beef Stroganoff (with mushrooms and onions!)
Pasta with meat sauce
mashed potatoes
Peas, corn and carrots
spätzle (with cheese and onions)
schnitzel (specifically schweineschnitzel, which is like a breaded pork chop)
Sesame chicken (he cried like his life was over when I took away the bone of a chicken wing he was eating)
More Sausage
Roasted veggies

It's really fun to watch him change and see his little personality develop!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I am just finding more and more things to like about living here!

About 2 blocks away from our house there is a kindergarten. (Like a preschool for kids aged 3-6) I have applied for James to go there in the fall. A few weeks ago I found out in that same building they having something called "Kinderpark." It's like a drop-in daycare three days a week for children from 18mos-3 years. You can drop your kids off for the morning from 8:30-12:30 and the cost is... wait for it... 7 euro a kid. I have never heard of child care that cheap in the US. I think there is a drop in daycare in Boulder for 8 dollars a kid, but that's per hour, not per day. I thought this was a great deal, so last Friday I went to check it out. I figured they would only let me leave James, but as long as I was there, I tried for David as well. (after all, he's nearly 15 months, and that's basically the same as 18 months, right??)

So on Friday we went. They told me (I think, it was all in German) that David could join for that day, but not necessarily every time. I think she told me that sometimes they go outside when the weather is nice, and David was too young for that (I think that's what she said, most of my assumption is based off the expressions on her face). So anyway, on Friday I signed them in, and since some of the other mom's seemed to be taking their time leaving, I kind of settled in to see when they would go. One of the German mom's there spoke good English, so that was great, I sat and chatted with her a lot. She told me she wasn't leaving, her daughter didn't do well with that, so she would stay for a few weeks until her daughter got used to it. The other mom tried to leave. Three times. Every time she left, her little boy would cry and they would go get her, she was always standing right outside the door I guess. After about an hour, I figured none of the other mothers were going to leave, but I had stuff to do, so I went up to the woman in charge, who seemed to speak the best genglish (that's german-english) and told her maybe I would pay now, and go. She told me "no, you should stay for today." What?! Um... ok. So I stayed. It wasn't that bad actually, they kept the kids busy, I got to visit with the other mom's, and I got to see what goes on in the center. When I finally did pay at the end of the morning, she told me it was €10.50. Apparently the second kid is half price. So, 4 hours of childcare for 2 kids for €10.50. Even with the currency exchange that's pretty awesome. It comes to $1.7 per hour per kid! The kids had a great time. They have tons of cool toys, and did lots of different activities.

So today there was this Bazaar in town. (like a one day consignment sale of kids stuff) I really wanted to go, sans kiddos. I took them to the kinderpark, and luckily, they knew about the sale, and were really encouraging people to go, so when I asked if I could leave the kids there and go, they were super supportive of that and did not make me hang around all morning. I asked if David could stay, and while I understood basically none of what they said back to me, I'm fairly certain from the woman's demeanor, and the expression on her face, combined with the 3 words I understood, that she said, "David did so well last time, it doesn't matter if he's 15 months, and it's fine for him to stay here anytime" (we'll hope that is what they said anyway, it really shouldn't matter, he acts exactly the same as the 18 month old children there, and even if he were more verbal, they probably wouldn't understand him since they don't speak much English! Gross motor skills-wise he's been walking for 6 months by now, so I think he's good) I waited until the kids were engrossed in the cool toys, and then with a nod from the woman in charge, I left. It was wonderful, I have been solely(or on the weekends co-) responsible for these kiddos since we got here 6 weeks ago, and I think I just needed to know that is was possible for me to get a break, where I know they're in really good hands and having a great time. I went to the bazaar (got some great deals!) and then came home and relaxed, read my bible, did some chores, and caught up on some internet research I've been meaning to do. Then I went to the grocery store, and back to pick up the boys, I showed up early in case things weren't going well. They were having so much fun it took them a few minutes to notice me when I came in the door (and it's a pretty small room). Awesome.

It feels so empowering to have successfully accomplished a goal (leaving the kids at daycare) even with my limited German. And it feels so good to know I have that option, and if I need to go shopping, or do laundry, or just have a little time to myself, I can leave them at the Kinderpark, where they're loved and cared for and have a fun time. Furthermore, the kids actually like it, and I think they'll pick up tons of German being there, which is awesome. Yep, Today was a pretty good day!

I'm pretty sure I've gained at least 5 pounds...

...if not 10 since we got here. I actually have no idea, but I've been loading up on carbs like crazy since we moved. The bread here is so good. And there's a discount bakery about 5 minutes from our house, and on the way to the subway station. Also, there is a bakery in basically every subway station. Add to all of that that bakery treats are pretty cheap, and you can find us easting freshly baked treats nearly every day. Some of our favorite bakery treats include: pretzels, specksemmel (a crusty roll with ham and melted cheese on top), Krapfen (donuts filled with vanilla cream or chocolate or fruit filling) Nußschnecke (like a cinnamon roll), pretzels rolls, all kinds of interesting, different cakes, Schokocroissant (chocolate filled croissant), and tons of other things honestly. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. I am definitely a big fan of the German bakeries!

Sehr lecker!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Public Transportation

When we lived in Boulder, public transportation was fairly minimal. We did a lot of walking, but I never took the kids on the bus, and even before kids, it was rarely faster/easier to take the bus than it was to walk or drive. Now that we're in Germany, we don't have a car, and don't have any plans to get one, so we walk or take public transport everywhere we go. Luckily it's really set up here to do things that way. There are a lot of options for public transport in Munich. There's an extensive train and subway network as well as buses and trams. Our closest subway station is the second to last subway station on the line, with the last one being near Dylan's work. 

It's really nice to be on the subway line, and not have to use a car to get places. Since we've gotten here the boys and I have spent a lot of time getting aquatinted with our different transportation options. Because of where we live, almost everywhere we go in Munich is at least one 30 minute subway ride away. Sometimes we have to switch trains after about 30 minutes. We've also gone places where we had to switch to a bus or a tram. It's easiest if we can avoid trying to make connections, but even the busses and trams are surprisingly stroller friendly. For the most part, everything here is pretty stroller friendly. People are used to having to get out of the way for strollers on the busses and trains, and everyone takes their strollers up and down the escalators. It definitely took me a while before I was ready to do the stroller on the escalator, but now that I'm used to it, it's no trouble at all, and so much easier than always searching for an elevator. 

The boys do surprisingly well on the train. It's very novel for James, and he really like to ride the train, so he typically is very well behaved. For David it's been a bit more difficult. He loves to get out of the stroller and sit in his own seat next to me. Which looks absolutely adorable. And lasts about 15 seconds. Then he wants to get down and run around the train, and open and close the little trash can next to the seats, and climb up onto the seat and back down and... well, you get the picture. It's totally not safe for him to run around, or be down on the ground at all with the way the trains jerk, so I've found he does best if you can keep him content in the stroller. Entertaining a 1 year old for 30+ minutes in a non-moving stroller has been a little difficult, but we've figured out ways to make it work. So far I've kept him happy with food, toys, books, the iPod, and, when he thinks he can take it no longer, candy. Luckily at this age one piece of candy lasts him like 20 minutes, so the total amount of sugar consumed is minimal :-) 

Friday, March 2, 2012


The weather has finally warmed up here, and we've been able to get outside and play! I cannot tell you how happy this makes the boys.  I mention the words playground, or sandbox and they run to do whatever I ask of them (well, mostly James, but David does whatever James does). There are a number of fun places to play right by our apartment. Behind our apartment is a locked, gated, grassy courtyard area with a sandbox, a bbq grill, a picnic table, and some benches. It's a great place for the kids to run around and let off steam. We played there a bunch yesterday.

In front of our apartment, and across the road is a playground. It is different from a typical American playground. All the structures are wood, and it seems somehow less "safe" than an American playground would be. Actually this one is a bad example, but some of the playgrounds here have really, really tall slides or structures without any railings around at the top.  This playground has a wooden bridge type thing for balancing on, it looks sturdy, but I stood on it and fell off right away it's so wobbly! (you can see behind David in the picture with the slide) Overall though, I like the playgrounds here better, they're more interesting, and I like that they're not "plasticy" and hideous bright colors, they don't detract from the look of the neighborhood. We had a lot of fun playing at the playground today. The boys especially love the little house. It's just they're size and has tiny benches inside they can sit on.