Sunday, May 31, 2009

Only a couple more Germany Posts

We did a few more things while in Germany (can you believe it?). Brian really spoiled us with places to go. He had a whole idea in his mind for the weekends. There aren't that many posts left, and then I have so many other things that have been happening while we've been home, for future posts. Fun stuff, huh?



TRIBERG WATERFALL



This is what we came to see. The famous Triberg Waterfall (this is only the bottom 1/4 of it...it's very large). When Brian was here before, he drove up by himself (it's a 2 1/2 hour drive) just to see it. This waterfall, located in the town of "Triberg" is nestled within the midst of the Black Forest (and if you'll remember, it was on the way here that we stopped at the alpine mountain slides mentioned in my previous post).


Triberg is a tiny little town. So cute and quaint. we saw so many people walking around in Liederhosen (which were mostly uniforms for their jobs at a restaurant or hotel). Xoe & Xanthe SERIOUSLY wanted some. They are very expensive though. I hope they don't remember to keep my word on our bargain for me to make them some. Maybe that's what they could be for Halloween.


It's also the home to LOTS of cuckoo clocks..



Look how ornate the details are. I'm not kidding. There were thousands...just in one store... and there were hundreds of stores along the way. And these clocks ranged from $500 to $2,000. And you KNOW I was like a little kid in there. The girls and I went around moving them to the 12:00 position to get them all to start playing. hahaha.


Before we went up to the waterfall, we ate at pizzas at a little stand nearby.



I couldn't help myself with this next picture... Cow Udder Condiments. Wooooow. Smart, though.
The hike to the waterfall was a pretty good one. There are four different levels. We got to the first one, no problem, but Brian and Xanthe wanted to keep climbing, Xoe didn't. I remember not being a very active child because of my health problems as a kid, so I could relate with Xoe. But I also remember what got me through it. I taught her to look at her feet and just say "Pow, pow, pow, pow!!!" with every step. Seems silly, but it worked. She was havin fun with it, not focusing on how far we had to go and got up to the next level no problem. They even both found some pretty cool walking sticks along the way.


More People Pictures...

The next picture is our view down from the second level. If you look to the left AND the right, those are the pathways we climbed to get here. They don't look steep when you look from this view, but they really were. Brian carried Spencer the whole way! Dang! And after these pathways, it got even steeper, narrower (is that a word) and muddier.
Isn't this view beautiful?


Finally, a picture with me in it. :)

This is pretty much what Spencer did the same time. He's obsessed with Brian's necklaces and buttons.


I just liked the next picture. :) Aren't they so cute. Especially cuz at that point, they were dazed and mesmerized (not confused) watching the waterfall.



Everything was so green and lush. It was so nice, especially compared the desert where we live.


At the end of our hike, they had these fun jungle gyms made out of rope and wood.






Brian took this picture. He's becoming a real good photographer.
After we were finished here, we headed back to Heidelberg/Leimen (where we were staying), but on the way home, we also hit the alpine slides again. Do you remember in my last post that it started raining while we were on the slides, and Brian and Xanthe got drenched. Well, it was still raining when we finally arrived at home. The girls took advantage and did a few rain dances.

Next Stop: The Neuschwanstein Castle (the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Look what Spencer did today!

Ya, I know. He's already 11 months old. But like I said before, he's really fast at his fine motor skills. His gross motor skills (crawling) have come later. We're so excited! I hope Brian sees this soon. He's on his way to Korea. And ignore my annoying voice at the end. :)


video

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Black Forest

So, naive-ol-me thought of something totally different when Brian told us we were going to the Black Forest for the weekend. I expected all these black trees, with black leaves and black roads and grass. hahaha. Only in the movies. I'm still laughing at myself.

The Black Forest, as it was explained to me, was called that because of how dense it is within the forest (because of how many trees, and how big the whole "Forest" is), which made it completely dark, unseeable, and very scary...especially in the olden days when the only way to get through was by horse or foot. It was definitely a deterrent to any army that wanted to pass through it into Germany. I only got one good picture of the actual forest.


And within the "Black Forest" there are tons of little towns, even though I thought it was just a big forest. haha. Am I really that dumb?

Our end destination was a famous waterfall in a town called "Triberg". However, Brian had a couple other Points of Interest along the way.

Largest Cuckoo Clock
The Black Forest is FAMOUS for cuckoo clocks. They have many, many stores with hundreds of cuckoo clocks. There are even stores that boast "1000 Cuckoo Clock Store" (or something like that). But this one took the cake. I bet people pass by it without even knowing. And of course the girls and I stood there waiting for it to hit the 1/2 hour mark so we could see it chime. Brian, since he's all knowing (and has been here before), just dropped a coin in the little slot to get it moving.

It was really something else. Every part moved. Right out of a movie. There was a woodcutter, sawing logs, guys drinking beer in a tavern, dancing couples moving around the top (where the cuckoo usually pops out), and a windmeel. I loved it. I wanted him to do it again and again, but held back for fear of looking like a total imbecile.

Rodelbahn



Check this out. Do you see the track coming down from the mountain? But the girls were in heaven when Brian pulled up to the parking lot. He had totally surprised us. The girls kept saying, "Brian is the awesomest!"
This is called the Rodelbahn. You ride in the cars that are hooked to the track, and it's only gravity pulling you down. And you ride up the to the top with only a rope pulling you. Ya, my fear of heights was a little weary. But I did so great! We caught some great pictures.










There was a camera at the bottom that measured our speed coming down and around one of the corners. I was consistently the fastest than the 25 people before and after me. I went down at 45 km/h. We were all laughing that I was speeding so fast when it was I who was the one scared...laughing and screaming the whole way down. (I was so scared I was gonna get launched going around a corner, even though the cars were attached to the track.)

Brian, Xanthe & Spencer waiting for Xoe & I to come down. There was a little eatery that we bought a few snacks, and they also had a little playground for everyone.





Xoe waiting to get on.
The next pictures are what Xoe took when she brought the camera up with her on one of the rides. I just had to post them cuz they are so funny.
Going up...(My thoughts, "That doesn't look so bad...")
Until...we started going STRAIGHT UP. I started getting really nervous. I still get woozy looking at this next picture.
Xoe thought it would be funny to say, "Mom look at the view. It's so cool!" They like making fun of my fear of heights. I turned around and saw this...It may not look so high in the picture but it was. But little did Xoe know that even though I was a little scared, we had ridden something like this at Girls Camp, and I LOVED it. I rocked! And when Xoe and I went flyin down, I think my "cool factor" was raised just a little.
The next batch of pictures are so funny. We forgot to put it on "sport" mode. Can you tell we were going fast?



They just kept getting blurrier and blurrier...


hahahahahahahaha!
We each got to go on it 4 times....One time before we drove up to the waterfall, and then we stopped back again for some more rides on the way back home. The last time we went up (I think Xoe was with me that time), we could feel the rain droplets just starting to sprinkle. Xoe was so scared we were going to get hit by lightning. But we were fine, even though the droplets stung a little hitting our faces at 40 km/hour.
Brian and Xanthe still had one more ride. Guess who got drenched!?


I loved this sign!



Oh don't worry! We'll be back!

Monday, May 25, 2009

FUN, FUN, FUN!!!

Some people have asked what we did during the week when Brian was at work. I thought I would post a few pictures of different "normal" things we did.



Playgrounds

There are so many army bases all around the Germany area. And because there are a lot of young kids there, they have built a bunch of playgrounds on the base (as mentioned in my previous post). On one of the bases, however, there was the most amazing playground. I didn't even get good pictures of it. It's double the size of what's in the pictures below. What do you think the kids thought when they saw this?






Making Up Dances

The girls loved the songs at the end of the "Thomas the Train" videos. They would make up the silliest dances and perform them for Spencer, since Spencer was the perfect audience. He giggled at anything they did..




...weirdos...



Computers

Blogging, "Toontown", Email, "Switchin", "gamesgames.com", Homeschooling Work, etc.


These are all the things we did with the computers. Brian just "happened" to have brought two extra laptops for his project, but we were able to use them when he didn't need them. So, we were totally taken care of when it came to computers. As long as our internet was working. :)



Playing with Toys

They have a thrift store that we spotted one time as we were eating on the base. I got a few toys for Spencer to play with. Remember the piano in the New York toy store? Well, he loved this one too!



He loved this yarn ball of the girls'. I think cuz he was teething his back teeth, he would put this in his mouth and then pull it out through the space behind his front teeth. It felt good along his back gums.


Things I don't have pictures for:
1. Oh, well we did venture out on our own a few times. You'll be seeing some of those events. Also, we went to the base Brian was working on a lot and played on the playground. The girls met a few kids there that they looked forward to seeing often.

2. Homeschooling

3. Going on walks in our cute little town

4. Visiting Brian at his work

5. Making 4 batches of chocolate chip cookies for Brian's work (Ya, try that not knowing how to work the German oven very well, and using the most random utensils you could find in the apartment, in a kitchen the size of my bathroom. :))

Some extra cute pictures of Spencer hanging out at the apartment