Sunday, January 4

Errands & Mercedes Museum

You realize you’re a responsible adult when . . . you choose to run errands on days off instead of having last minute tourist getaways. We still did the tourist thing this weekend in Stuttgart, but mostly ran errands, Easton’s least favorite word lately.

I feel like Panzer base is my second home lately since we were there twice this week. Too bad there’s not a salad to be had among the four American eateries there! I’ve never eaten at Popeye’s before, but the boys love their biscuits, mac’n’cheese, and chicken strips. I love that Panzer has the aforementioned playground for them to run around in! Easton, however, always has a story to tell of someone not being nice or making bad choices like saying bad words. Lovely, but this is the real world and our little protective bubble life has to be burst now and again - usually for my sanity.

This trip to Panzer was to find out about their cell phone options and grab a few things at the PX. Ryan’s been feeling so disconnected without his iphone up and running to check stuff online and read emails. My disconnected feeling is also related to not being online as much as usual but also because I miss my chats and playdates with girlfriends! I sure had it good in Leesburg that way! Hey girlfriends – we’re on Skype so we can still do our chats for free!

I got to go to the commissary (grocery store on base) for the first time Friday evening. There was a young mom we kept running into on each aisle. I was holding Morgan and this other mom started up a conversation with me because she too had a baby about the same age. Her kids were at home and she joked about how pathetic it was that a night out on her own was there at the commissary and she'd actually put makeup on to come. She was super friendly and we laughed at what us young moms do for fun when we get the chance to be out on our own. I so wish I'd taken her name and number/email because she was a kindred spirit! Being around military bases is such a different mom crowd than the Leesburg suburbanite moms, but this gal was a breath of fresh air! I half expected to see her at church today!

Saturday we went to the amazing Mercedes-Benz museum here in Stuttgart. I haven’t been a big museum goer since my time in Jerusalem study abroad. This museum was fabulous because you really felt like you saw and learned everything you wanted to. It’s only been open since 2006 and was the most user-friendly, high tech museum I’ve ever been in! Everyone had headsets on and you roamed from the top of the museum to the bottom traveling down through the history of cars and the world. If something looked interesting to you, you pushed a button and listened to the speil. If not, you walked on by at your own pace – I LOVED IT! It was fascinating how this German company views its history so tied to trends and events in the US. My Grandpa Bob has always had a Mercedes as long as I can remember so I felt a bit of a personal connection. Ryan took pictures on his new phone, but it’s charging and not cooperating for me so I’ll post those later.

The kids did pretty well after I threatened them with their lives on the first level. (Just kiding! Thank heavens for computer game time bribery to keep him in line!) Easton had been trying to climb one of the walls and a guard came and scolded me and him. Shortly thereafter Easton sat in the stroller most of the time wishing it was all over. He stated that he didn't like cars anymore, only video games. McKay wandered around but sat and stared down the center of the museum each time Ryan and I stopped to view the 10 min movies on each level. Both boys loved going inside a tour bus one level so there was at least one highlight for them.

Morgan made things interesting for me because she wanted to eat upon arrival. Right after I’d finished feeding her, I discovered there were many much better spots I could have chosen within mere yards. I keep forgetting how conspicuous I am with such a young baby! Add nursing into that equation and it's even more interesting. Oh well, I do my best!

After a few hours at the museum, we headed over to the Red Cross furniture store and IKEA. Luckily, the military housing office loans out furniture so we should be able to get beds until our stuff arrives sometime in February. We also hear they’ll loan us a fridge and washer/dryer which is good. There’s so many things I’d wish I’d known to plan for in this quick move! We’re so sad the dollar is not doing so well to the Euro – it makes living on the economy here expensive! This week it’s like $1 to 1.40 Euro.

So we headed to the Red Cross store and IKEA to check out the couches. I think two good general rules of thumb are to never hit an IKEA on Saturdays OR with children who are now very accustomed to jumping on furniture to amuse themselves due to cramped hotel living! A store associate scolded us for McKay’s shoes being on one of the couches. Try explaining that to a 2 yr old who hasn’t had a nap but needs one desparately! The IKEA was so incredibly packed that we left with headaches and a resolution to never do that again!

We recovered at home that evening and enjoyed a quiet day at home today after church. We seem to have a pretty friendly ward and there are lots of children the boys’ ages which is great!

Here’s some pictures Ryan took of our soon-to-be apartment before the painters did their job this week. Our ground level apartment is the most eastern of our village and surrounded by open fields, farmland and walking paths.