Tuesday, August 6, 2013

6 Weeks

For the first 6 weeks we stayed in a hotel on base and we knew we were almost home when we saw these:

We also saw a lot of that- rainy weather and cloudy skies.  Some areas were flooded and had to be evacuated.  I was not impressed, but after a couple weeks in a fourth floor apartment without air conditioning, I kind of like the cooler temperatures!
We finally made it to a palace-

Looking toward the palace Duke Eberhart lived in while this one was being built.
Some of the gardens that you had to pay separately to see.  We went the wrong place first and almost paid to get in the gardens instead, but it pigeon German, I figured this out and we got to the right place just in time for the palace tour.  After an hour and a half of learning about Baroque style and what was left and what wasn't, the kids were beyond done!  The gardens would have been lovely!

We also made it to Schloss Solitude

which is the closest one to us. 

This is the long straight road that only the Duke could use.  It went from one palace to the next.  Now we take it to get to church.

This one was part of our German Cultural College.  They took us downtown Stuttgart on the trains and buses and showed us the large hub in Stuttgart. 

Part of the Alte Schloss in the middle of Stuttgart
Then we went to see Schloss Solitude and the Ritter Sport factory store.

Sam turned 14. 

Wrapping paper is over-rated!  We just use the behind the back trick!
One of the things he got was climbing gear.  Sam scrambled up the climbing wall on base multiple times.

Rob belayed for everyone except himself. 

I did that.
The boys were doing pull-ups on the top of the wall.  I was glad just to jump and touch the top of the wall!
When he started back down we almost did a cartoon type, he comes screaming down while I go screaming up thing!  I was able to stop myself, though!
I made it up with a lot of encouragement and a few pulls on the rope by Rob.

Max only made it up this far!  Notice the one shoe look?

Emma also went up most of the way.
4th of July was celebrated on the 3rd because of sequestration.  They would have had to pay workers holiday pay if they celebrated on the 4th, so instead some military bases canceled their celebrations altogether, others like our, changed the day.  It's all craziness!  Our commissaries are closed 4 out of 7 days, so are the mail rooms.  The passport/visa/sofa office is only open 2 days.  The kids get the first 6 or 7 Friday's off, so that the teachers can be furloughed.  Lots of cuts!
For Independence day (3rd of July) we went to Patch and Sam worked at the scout booth selling belgium waffles and fry bread.  They had face painting (not free I learned too late),

pony rides, bouncy houses and lots of food booths.  Rob was too tired, so we didn't stay for the fireworks.  It was nice to sit with all the other LDS people near the scout booth.
Right at 6 weeks in country we got an apartment and scheduled our housing shipments to come on the same day.  They also picked up the loaner furniture and had our inspection on the same day.  It was going to be a crazy day to begin with, but then on Sunday (the day before this crazy day) we got an email saying that Rob's father had died that day.

We had installed our phone and internet already in the new apartment, so we drove there to call and start arranging things.  I was on line while Rob was talking on the phone.  I had some amazing ladies who jumped on line and started helping us out immediately.  One of them got us the numbers to start the Red Cross messages and the leave started.  She also came the next day as Rob was running around getting everything ready for us to fly and helped me with the movers.  The movers yelled at me twice, even though she was helping.  We live on the 4th floor and they didn't get the permit done in time to get an elevator, so they were really tired climbing all those stairs with all that stuff.  A few times they brought stuff up, that had to go downstairs in the basement storage.  Also, they didn't like the way I labeled the rooms.
One lady took my children and let them play in her house the whole day and one lady brought dinner over.  I had multiple offers to help ferry kids around.  I was really impressed with all the help!
Usually, I can get my whole kitchen unpacked and done by the time the packers are ready to leave.  I got almost nothing done even with all the extra help.  
We left country 2 days later.