Thursday, November 24, 2011


for so many things, but especially for this ...


And for my family that made growing up great, for Ryan's family who welcomed me into their fold, and for friends who are all over the globe who inspire me to be a better person.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Berlin, Germany

Having been to Berlin back in the Fall of 2006, we only stayed a couple days this time around. The apartment we stayed in was great! The upstairs was HUGE and had amazingly high ceilings. It also had a basement with a fuzzball table, which the kids thought was awesome. I loved that it had a washing machine & dryer. We were just starting to run out of clean clothes so it was great timing. The one downfall was that the front entry door was all glass and more like a business door. Being ground level, anyone walking by could look in. Luckily we just parked the stroller there and it blocked the view. But odd none-the-less.

 We went to the KaDeWe on Saturday. We didn't realize that the Berlin Marathon was going on that day so there were lots of tourists and people out and about. The KaDeWe is the largest department store in Germany - it's size is the same as 9 football fields - a shoppers paradise right? We let the kids explore the playmobil and Lego sections. They each got to choose one small playmobil figure. As I was paying for the items there was a huge commotion and lots of people in a panic. I look behind me and see that the fire sprinklers have all turned on. Water was pouring down on all the expensive Lego sets, electric train sets, and more. People were scrambling to cover them up with plastic bags, but to no avail. The floor was flooding and after 15 minutes the maintenance people finally showed up, though they had no clue how to fix it so they just stared at it too. How's that for being efficient? It was hilarious. I'll bet that stuff ended up on deep discount the next day. After the toy section we went to the 2 food floors and bought stuff for the next two nights of dinner. Then we went outside and walked the plaza, hit up the H&M, perused some other shops, ate some currywurst, and then headed home. It was such a chill day.

The next day (Sunday), we took the kids to the Berlin Zoo. This zoo is amazing. It has such great animal exhibits and amazing play areas or the kids when they need a snack & break. Here are some pics from our day at the zoo. It was 75 degrees that day - sunny & hot. Perfect weather!


The kids next to the HUGE stone elephants at the front of the zoo.

Finley, thinking he's so funny putting that stick in the orangutan's nose.



Ryan and I chillin' out while the kids played. 

The white wolves were THE BEST ANIMAL all day long. Ryan and I couldn't take our eyes off them. There is a little wolf cub (not in the picture) but they were teaching him to hunt in the pack. It became a game and the family of wolves were running all over the place, stalking each other, then pouncing on each other and wrestling on the ground. We were so close to them too. This picture does not have the zoom on - we were that close.   It was fabulous.

Looks scary but this seal was just yawning. Then he started barking. The kids loved that.

How cute are these otters nuzzling their noses? They were affectionate the whole time. Otters are always a favorite of ours. They were so playful and fun to watch.

Berlin's animal is the bear. Our Berlin refused to stand by this statue in the zoo, so Ryan willingly obliged.

Who knew crocs and turtles loved to chill-out together. Pretty funny.

By the end of the day the kids were exhausted and ready to go home, eat, and go to bed. It was a great day!

The next morning we left Berlin and headed to Leipzig. However, on our way we decided to stop in the town of Potsdam and visit Sanssoucci. We've been here before, but it was so big we didn't have time to see it all, so we came back. It's a beautiful palace with amazing grounds. Even though a lot of the gardens were being ripped up for the winter, it was still beautiful.

 The view of the palace from the lower gardens.

I am a sucker for green arches, gazebos, arbors, mazes and the like. Luckily, there were plenty of them here.The kids really just being able to run around and go crazy.

 Someday, I will have a pool in my backyard that looks like this. I love the shape.


Finley had had it with all my picture taking. So he took over the camera for a while and posed us. It was actually really sweet. He told us exactly what to do - even the kiss. I think we have a budding photographer on our hands.

 Snack time in one of many garden gazebos.

We got to go inside the working windmill that is on the property. It was a really cool, hands-on experience for the kids.

The kids seeing just how heavy the bags of flour are, and why they use pulleys to ease the lifting process. They had rope burns on their hands after this.

Standing at the top of the windmill. 

The gear room (check out the gears up in the ceiling). 

 The bag filling room.

The millstone room.

Berlin did not love the top 3 floors of the windmill. Because it's a working windmill, the wheels and gears were going and it was noisy. I think it frightened her bit. Hence, the lack of smile in these last 3 photos.

After the windmill tour we got in the car and headed onto Leipzig. Those pictures coming next...