Friday, August 24, 2012

Poing Wildpark

We've gone to Poing Wildpark twice now. It's really cool. Kind of like a zoo, but with only local types of animals, so far fewer different types of animals, and they're all more in their natural habitat. There are different kinds of sheep, goats, deer, ducks, birds, rabbits, wolves, pigs, and buffalo. Or at least animals that look very similar to those familiar sorts. You can buy animal food there and feed the different animals (most of them) which James gets a huge kick out of. This is kind of off topic, but thinking about the animal food reminded me; there are two words for food in German, one for animal food and one for people food. That's not that interesting, but what's funny to me is that baby food, uses the animal food name. Explains a lot about the way Germans think about kids. (totally kidding) Back to the Wildpark, there's also a nice little beer garden, and the most amazing playground I've ever seen. It kind of makes me wish I was a little kid. We took a bunch of photos this time, so I'll let them give you a better idea of what it's like.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Laundry and other updates

I've finally figured out the laundry situation. Thanks so much for all of your suggestions and help. It took me a while to figure out that making my loads to big was causing the totally drenched clothes issues. With the help of the suggestion of doing a "soak bucket" for heavily stained clothes (thanks Robin!) I've been able to wash all my clothes on the "Extra Kurz" 15 minute setting, and so a whole load costs only 1€ and I even get 5 minutes in the drier. On sunny days I can dry them outside, and on rainy/potentially rainy days in the winter garden. Today I did two loads, and they're currently hanging out to dry. It feels really good to have figured that out, and be able to just really enjoy our new apartment!

The fact that I could hang my clothes and then hang them on the drying rack was a total epiphany for me.

I have no idea what James was doing here, maybe pretending the clothes were mortal enemies or something, he kept trying to whack at them.

I'm still loving my bike and trailer! I've been getting much better at it, and have been having far fewer spills, etc. The boys seem to really like it, and in the hot weather, it seems much cooler to ride the bike to the grocery store than walk there at a (very, very slow) 3 year olds pace, so that's been great!

The boys are really starting to play more creatively. Most recently they've been doing a lot of hide and seek, and going for "adventures" (which requires backpacks and laundry basket boats).

Can you find them?

David doesn't have his own backpack, so he uses Dylan's. He doesn't know how to put it on himself, so I'm constantly having to put it back on him when it falls off! You can't see his feet because the bag is as tall as he is :-)

All in all we're doing pretty well. Only one more week till we have family come to visit, and less than a month till all of our activities and the kids' schools start back up!!

Friday, August 10, 2012


Ever since we moved here, I've debated back and forth about getting a bike for myself. Everyone here rides bikes, it's very biker friendly, and they're pretty useful, especially with a bike trailer for the kids. Buuuut... I haven't ridden a bike in 15 or so years, and honestly the idea was a little intimidating to me. Add that to the fact that we've been on a pretty strict budget, and I know nothing about bikes, and I just haven't gotten around to it. Since we've moved to the new apartment though, we're about twice as far from the large grocery store, and the big, nice playground that was so close to our other apartment. There also are a lot of places I'd like to go in the vicinity of our town, but they're too far to walk, and to close to take public transportation to (i.e.. public transportation does not go there without going into the city first).

Finally, last week I broke down and bought a used bike off of a local website. I had no idea what I was getting into! The first time I tried to ride it I promptly fell off, and David burst into tears he was so worried for me. The first couple times I rode it, it hurt my butt so bad I wasn't sure bike riding was going to be for me. And if those things were deterring enough, I seem to be constantly breaking things/using them incorrectly. It took some real getting used to, but now, a week  later, I'm feeling pretty comfortable with it. It's kind of like, well, like riding a bike!

After a few days of trying to get out a re-accustom myself to bike riding while Dylan watched the boys, I realized that I wasn't going to get in much riding if I couldn't take them with me. So, I ordered a bike trailer off the internet. I expected it to take 3-4 days to get here, and I didn't get an email stating it had been shipped, so I didn't stay home waiting for the package. The next day I had a notice in my mailbox that the package was waiting for me at the post office. Great...How do you a get a bike trailer home from the post office (about a mile away) when you have no car to put it in? To me the answer is obvious, you push it home, it has wheels after all. The problem with this? Well, obviously they don't come assembled. So what did I do? That's right, I assembled my new bike trailer at the post office (well outside, thank goodness it's summer!) with David on my back in a carrier and James "helping" me along. Good thing it was an easy assembly! The clerk at the post office looked at me like I was completely nuts when I told her that's what I was going to do, but whatever, it all worked out, and I'm now a proud owner of a bike and a bike trailer! I took the boys up to the big grocery store this morning, and a great time was had by all (I only fell off the bike once! pulling the trailer takes a little getting used to...)!

I'm pretty sure (if I accurately understood what our landlady told me in German) that Dylan will be getting a bike soon as well, and then we can all go for some family bike trips!