Thursday, March 29, 2012

Schwetzingen Gardens

Friday after school we joined some friends at the Schwetzingen Gardens. This place is about 10 minutes from our house, and was an absolute gold mine...and it isn't even in bloom! It cost us 6 euro to get in, and we seriously could've spent an entire day there. 

The place is HUGE, there are birds everywhere,  giant geese to feed, peacocks, castle ruins to climb, caves to explore, Aladdin's castle, which we didn't even get to, hedge mazes, even fountains for the kids to play in (once it warms up and they add water)..the list goes on and on.

There is also and amazing gelato shop nearby with a wonderful selection, I had the Haselnuss. Just down from the gelato is an adorable little park right in the middle of the town center. There were tons of people eating outside, the weather was was a true "this is really happening" moment.
That is a giant german river rat, i think. i know it was a rat of some sort...never seen one that big in my life. it wasn't scared at all, which almost makes it worse...

I love living here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


ty, on european graffiti:

"mom, german teenagers are quite artistic...and not in a good way."

(stated as we drove down the highway to pick shane up from work, glancing up from a book)

ty, on defiance:

we walked through some beautiful gardens the other day and ty found a good sized rock. he started tossing it around, and i told him not to throw it UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. (there were a lot of kids around)

30 seconds later, he threw it.

me: "ty, not even one minute ago i said not to throw that rock under any circumstances!!!"

ty: "i didn't throw it. i dropped it, with style."

ty, on how he really feels:

at the same gardens we came to some castle ruins. he asked if he could climb, i told him to be careful.

ty: "mom, careful is my middle name."

me: "no way."

ty: "you're right. danger is my middle name. and your middle name is boring."

me: "ouch."

ty, on babysitting:

tonight i had a relief society activity. i asked ty to watch theo in the primary room, and told him that there might be a reward involved. (shane is out of town)

ty: "mom, theo got hurt and he's upset."

me: "what happened to his head? he has a goose egg, i asked you to watch him!"

ty: "i was watching him!"

me: "then what happened?"

ty: "i don't know."

me: "you're fired."

p.s.- shane recently had "the talk" with ty. his first, and most concerned question was, "where do people do things like this? I have never seen anyone do that!!!"

we're grateful.

the next night when Shane was tucking him in, he seemed twins.

he's quick witted, and too big for his britches. that kid.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


we decided, on a whim, to spend the night in Cologne- or Köln in German.

I found an apartment at the last minute on Priceline, packed us up, picked everyone up and hit the road.

I didn't have a firm idea on what the plans were once we got there, but that was okay.

it was a 2.5 hour drive, we ran into one stau (traffic jam), ventured off of the autobahn, and made our way to where we would stay.

the apartment was nice. it was at the top of a building, and the owner came out when we got there to let us in. not the typical "priceline" experience.

we went up a flight of stairs, then opened a door to a private spiral staircase that led to our space. it was very clean, very minimal, and quite spacious.
the kids loved it. we ate a quick dinner and tucked everyone into bed so we could start early.
our morning was a bit slower than anticipated, but we pick our battles.

we parked and walked to the Schokoladen Museum (which also happens to be a Lindt factory)~
there is something very european about this photo...

here is the museum, it sits right on the Rhine.
the building itself is such a neat design.

we enjoyed the tour, but enjoyed all of the sampling and the souvenir shop the best. they have a chocolate fountain where a worker will sit and dip wafers and then hand them out to all of the passersby. we passersby-ed more than once.

the Lindt selection was bounteous and the scent unmistakable.

after our chocolate fix we had to check this Noah's Ark thing. if you look closely at these pics you can see a goat munching on a palm tree, which seemed very ironic to me.

so the Ark was pricey and not really something that we came for, it landed on the "maybe next time" list. ryli was tearfully disappointed. ahhhh....
(i love the shingles and the lines)
we found the car and headed to the Dom Cathedral.
we parked close, realized it was lunchtime, and noticed an all too familiar was a Hard Rock Cafe. we thought a little american flavor might liven up the brood, but to no avail. not one of the brood actually wanted to eat what he or she ordered, except Shane. he's my best eater.
so the american experience was great for 1/3 of us, and we had to locate a bakery for the other 2/3's.
a side note: those are m&m's on the cupcake, but here they're called smarties.
we strolled down Hohe Straße, which led us to the cathedral. (ß = ss, and strasse means street)
words cannot describe this place. it's the tallest cathedral in Germany, and houses the ashes of the three wise men. construction started in 1248 and wasn't completed until 1880.
i love how black the stone is. it really perfects Gothic style.
more candles lit for our angels who have passed and our afflicted loved ones.

we toured, then wandered back outside because 1/6 of us kept screaming. i won't name names.
outside we found interesting archway that dates back to 50 B.C., so. cool.
even cooler was watching my 1 year old crawl through it, oblivious. 
we also saw some random disney characters and some kind of roman gladiator, all entertaining for a fee. (and a small boy peeing right there in the middle of it all, assisted by his mother.)

the one thing i really wanted was to find the authentic #4711 perfume. i found it, and i like. it's a light citrusy/floral scent.
this was our last stop on the way out of town. we walked to the parking garage. here, you have to pay before you get to your car, then you have 10 minutes to load up and get your car out of the garage.

we didn't make it.

it takes us 10 minutes just to get everyone and everything loaded in, not to mention the time it takes to get the van out a European parking garage. it's never pretty.

so after a little assistance, and a long line of cars behind us, we paid 2 more euro and the foolish american family with the huge car was on the road again.

we made one pit stop on the way home. gas stations and rest stops are a whole other post. they are always interesting experiences....