Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Day 12 (Sunday)

Sunday morning we needed to leave, with everybody clean and fed and dressed nicely, in time to catch the 8:20 tram nearby.  Amazingly enough, we made it with time to spare.  We only forgot the diapers and wipes for Miss S.

Day 11 (Saturday)

Saturday we cleaned up the apartment.  In the morning, we took all the kids and walked to the grocery store.  We needed to pick up treats for Miss S's birthday the next day.

After lunch, we got ready for another exploration.  The day kept raining.  Every time we were ready to leave, it started to rain.  Finally, we just went.  We walked through the Volksgarten to show the Professor since he hadn't been yet.  The rain stopped, and we finally saw some blue sky for the first time in Cologne.

Day 10 (Friday)

Friday morning the children worked on school work again.  The Professor went to work again, and I worked on laundry and cleaning some more.  

Day 9 (Thursday)

Thursday was spent settling in to our new place.  The Professor headed off to the university to get his keys and start his collaborating.  The kids worked on school in the morning.

I spent the morning trying to figure out how to throw things away.  Am I supposed to recycle?  How do they sort garbage here?  Do I have to wash things?  Is it compulsory or optional?  I think I've figured it out.  Glass is recycled at bins a few blocks away, but only if it isn't broken.  Paper and cardboard go in the two bins with blue lids by our front door.  All other recycling that is rinsed goes in the bin with a yellow lid.  Everything else is garbage.  It goes in the bins with the gray lids near the front door.  Whew.  Now I could put our garbage in the correct places under the sink.

Family Home Evening (March 23)

(By Miss E)

    Family Home Evening, also known as FHE, was interesting. We started with Miss S's song, Seventy-six Trombones. Then mom said the opening prayer. Next we had scriptures. Then Miss M's lesson on faith. Then we had a very interesting performance by Young A. He smelled everybody's feet, muttering things like eww, gross, not too bad, etc. He than said that his feet were the worst, but Young T's were a close second. Then Young T's activity, during which Miss S asked why she couldn't write in my mathbook.  Then dad said the closing prayer and we ate my treat, pastries we had gotten at the bakery that day.

Day 8 (Wednesday)

Wednesday morning was spent cleaning the apartment. Feeding eight people and trying to run out of food but not be hungry is not simple.  We managed pretty well.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Why playgrounds in Europe are better than at home

By Young A & Miss E 

  Today we went to the park and there was an awesome playground. It had climbing structures, a seesaw, a sandbox, and a cool swing you could lie down on. Parks at home (especially newer ones) usually don't have those. The newer ones don't even have normal swings. What's the point of a playground if nobody is going to use it because it is so boring?

  Maybe they are trying to make it safer. However, if people can't have fun following the rules they aren't going to follow the rules. That is going to result in more people getting hurt than if they had just made a fun playground in the first place. I don't see why they are doing it.

  In Paris, they tried to make it both fun and safe. They put stickers with recommended ages on them on each piece of equipment to keep it both safe and fun.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


It's Miss S's birthday today!

We are in Germany. It is an hour each way to church. On a train. It can get boring.

We finally got to see the sky- the clouds cleared up enough.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Miss S

(by Miss S, translated by Miss E)

    The Eiffel Tower was like this big (holding up her hands).


 I went on the Eiffel Tower and it was so tall. I did not like being on the Eiffel tower because I wanted to go down.


I didn't like going on the train because it was too tippy.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Day 7 (Tuesday)

Tuesday was our last full day in Paris.

We spent the morning in the Musée d'Orsay.  We mostly saw Monet, Seurat, and Van Gogh (with a bunch of others thrown in, but they were less memorable.)  It was lots of fun watching Miss M and Miss E enjoy themselves.  Apparently, Miss E likes Monet and Seurat's styles.  She would find a painting she liked, and, sure enough, it would be either Monet or Seurat.  Miss M would have loved to spend forever looking and experiencing.  The children each chose a postcard, and we left to find lunch.

Day 6 (Monday)

Fun with new friends
Just her size
By Monday, (before then, actually), the troops were getting restless.  The children were getting tired of museums and paintings and walking.  The two playgrounds we had found were small and mostly for little ones.  That morning, we set out to remedy the situation.

Day 5 (Sunday)

I was wary before Sunday even began.  We had yet to get everyone up before 10, and that usually involved lots of effort to wake the sleepy kids up.  Church started at 9:30 and involved two different metro trains (not hard, just takes time.)


(by Miss E) and m

Tiny apartment. Lots of stairs. Less cigarette smoke, but still quite a bit. GOOD Haribo. Less people. And much, much more...

Bob the cat & Fred the Dog

(by Young A and Miss E)

Bob the cat was born on March 22nd. He caught on fire on March 23rd. He then fell into a pool of nitroglycerin. He then died. the end (of Bob the cat)

Fred the Dog has a (slightly) happier story. He  was born on December 19. He was a healthy dog until March 23, when he tripped over the remains of Bob the cat into the nitroglycerin time bomb and died.
                                               The End


(By Young M)

"I ate Bob the cat," claimed Fred the Fox. "MWA HA HA HA!"

"So what," said Shark. "I'm going to eat you." 

And that is how Fred died.

Germany (Group post)

(By Miss M and the rest of the kids)

     Young A: This should be called "Bob the Cat".

     Miss E: We should take turns typing.

     Miss M: Weren't we writing about something else?

     Young A: We need to tell the story of Bob the Cat! Because that's the title.

     Miss E: NO! This is called a group post, so we all need to take turns typing.

     Miss M: No. This works.

     Young A: No, it doesn't.

     Miss M: Yes, it does.

     (Repeat above two lines as many times as you want. You can also substitute Miss E for Yoing A.)

     Miss M: It does.

We are now in Germany. Young A says this is BORING. Miss E is apparently hungry. Everyone else is playing. The end. Young M says this should be called "Cuckoo".

 Young A:The story of Bob the Cat. (There.)

About Bob the Cat. The END!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Day 4 (Saturday)

Friday night (Saturday morning) Miss E and Young A woke up around 2 and could not get back to sleep.  Miss S had not yet fallen asleep.  This is not good.  They played quietly for an hour and eventually went back to bed.  We did not get up early on Saturday.
The picture that caused all the trouble.
Saturday we took the train to Versailles.  We did a super quick walk through the rooms (at this point, many of the children were not so interested in fancy buildings filled with paintings.)  (I am so glad I do not have to live a public life like the kings and their families did.)
Afterwards, I went to collect the stroller and two backpacks carrying our lunch and our jackets. Unfortunately, the bag-check ticket was nowhere to be found.  I had put it in my pocket with my phone.  Presumably, it fell out when I took my phone out for a couple of pictures.  A few of the kids and I went to plead for mercy at the bag-check counter.  Fortunately, the attendant that spoke English remembered us.  Unfortunately, the guy in charge, who didn't seem to speak English, was not impressed.  But somebody found the ticket while we were there, our bags were returned, and a crisis was averted.  (The French are really good at "not impressed.")
We continued on to the gardens.  We spent the next few hours wandering the gardens, eating our lunch, getting blocked in by gates and walls and moats, and visiting Marie Antoinette's hamlet and the nearby farm.

The entire area is beautiful.  The snowdrops and daffodils were blooming here and there.  In a couple of weeks, it will be breathtaking.

The small moat between us and the gate out
We exited through the nearby gate and walked a couple of cold miles back to the train station.  Along the way, we passed the partially completed Paris LDS temple.  It will be beautiful.
Bored on the train
We walked home past the Eiffel Tower.  Our feet were worn out, but the kids were patient, and we made it.  We picked up a lemon tart at the grocery store across the street for an evening pi-day celebration.

Day 3 (Friday)

Friday morning at 3 am, Miss E threw up.  Shortly after that Miss S woke up.  They eventually settled.  But that was not the night that I caught up on my sleep.  Later that morning, Miss E seemed to be feeling much, much better, and so we continued our adventures.

The Parks

(by Young M)

The parks here are really fun.  They have lots of stuff that I don't get to play on very often.  There was a big, tilted disc that spins.  There was a merry go round that you could spin like a sit and spin.  There were platforms on springs for jumping.  There was a tall climbing structure made out of ropes with a fast slide at the end.  There was also a four person see saw.  There was also a three person spring toy.

Yesterday we went to the park and ate lunch there.  They sometimes have carousels by the parks.

I don't think that you should let the bread get very old.  It gets hard fast.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Day 2 (Thursday)

Thursday morning we headed out to the Musée de Arts et Métiers.  I have been excited about this museum from the beginning.  It is full of inventions.  

We saw Pascal's Arithmetic Machine and flying machines.  We saw looms and weights and measures.  We saw a camera in a bowler hat and robots.  We saw an apparatus for measuring the speed of light.  We saw an original Foucault pendulum. We saw a sundial with a lens that lit a tiny cannon at noon.  We saw train engines.  We saw a miniature Statue of Liberty.

Foucault's pendulum, the Statue of Liberty, old cars, and the flying machines were in an old church.  Miss E was fascinated by the stained glass windows.  I must admit the sun coming through them was breathtaking.

The Louvre

A few days ago we went to the Louvre. It was fun. Some of the artwork was interesting. It's fun to find other interpretations of the artwork-like selfie dude. (Really a Roman guy holding a sword that broke off-sorry, no pictures.) (Athena was doing it too.)

The Mona Lisa was, amazingly, not very crowded. (Must be March.) We had fun.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Young T's perspective.

(by Young T)

I like the trains that go fast and underground.

I like the Eiffel Tower when it has the flashing lights and the spotlight.

I like the playground.

I don't like walking a lot.

I wish I could sleep last night.

(by Young A)

Last night I couldn't sleep. So I stayed up until 3:15 A.M.

Yesterday we went to Notre Dame, a big cathedral. I think it was boring. The park we went to wasn't.


(by Young M)

Paris is a crowded smelly (like smoke), place but has interesting stuff and yummy bread and weird cheese in some people's opinion.

Yesterday we went to La Louvre, Notre Dame, and we ate crepes.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Day 1 (Wednesday)

After a morning nap, we settled in.  During the afternoon we tried to start exploring, but a small bathroom crisis brought us home briefly.  (Thankfully, not before getting two delicious baguettes.)

After dinner we tried again.  And we ended up in the Champ de Mars as the sun set.

As we walked away from the Eiffel tower towards the river, we looked back to see it sparkling, completely magical.  We wandered down along the Seine and back home again, finding some croissants for our bedtime snack.

(And proceeded to try to get not super sleepy kids to sleep... Let's forget that part.  And its sequel between 4 and 7...)

(pictures below the break)

The beginning (Tuesday)

After much packing and cleaning and last minute everything, the Professor and I went to bed late only to get up early.  Four and a half hours of sleep are enough.  Right? 
The children got up happily (except for Miss S, who refused to wake up until I was in the middle of dressing her) and got ready quickly.  A good friend was kind enough to drive us to the airport.

(We made it on time!)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

First Day

(by Miss E)

    Yesterday we flew to Paris. We went on 3 trains to get to our apartment. We were all tired this morning, so we took long naps (slept into the afternoon). Then we went to the bakery. We came home and we ate the bread. Then some of us went to the store, while the others stayed home and played 3DS. We bought a bunch of stuff. We played more video games. Later today we will probably go to the Eiffel Tower.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Young T

(by Young T and Rachel)

I am Young T.  I'm 5 years old.  I really like screen time, especially Minecraft and Terraria.  I also like playing with my brothers and sisters.  I made up a great game called "The Everything Game."  I really like to play it.  In "The Everything Game", whoever is playing chooses a character (like Link, or Mario, or the guy from VVVVV), then we go around fighting bad guys and bosses and finding treasure chests.

I really want to see what it is like on the airplane.  I also really want to see what it is like in Germany.  I, also, really want to see the Eiffel Tower.

Young M

(by Young M)

Hello, I'm Young M. I am 8. I like board games, card games, and video games.  I also like French. (I do French immersion at school.) I like hikes too. I like math, reading, and friends.

Here are some reasons I'm excited: la Tour Eiffel (the Eiffel Tower), being on an airplane, and having fun!

Miss E

(by Miss E)

I am nine. I like to eat, play outside, play inside, play video games, read, sleep, do origami, etc.

I NEED FOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm excited :) to go to Europe. It will be both more fun (sightseeing), and more boring (same clothes) than here. Will it be better? (Their chocolate/candy certainly is.) Who knows....

Young A

(by Young A)

I am eleven. I like to eat and play video games, build with legos, and set things on fire. (I don't get to do much of the last one.)

I am glad we get to go step on a big tripwire that is part of a trap that sets things on fire. It will be fun. I will get to go on all sorts of adventures with my family in the next six weeks.

Miss M

I'm Miss M. You should probably know a bit more about me, since I'll hopefully be posting relatively often. I'm in seventh grade, and I'm at a gifted/talented magnet program at a nearby high school. (Translation-I like math and learning.) I enjoy reading, cooking, helping people with math, doodling, writing, playing video games (especially Zelda games), and a lot of other things. I play the cello and I like to sing. I'm taking German, but I have a tendency  to confuse German with French.

One more thing. I'm semi-obsessed with Shakespeare. His plays, that is. Mainly A Midsummer Night's Dream, but I enjoy everything of his that I've read. I also enjoy classic books and authors, such as Jules Verne and Agatha Christie. I read just about anything I can get my hands on.

Unfortunately, I'm not usually very crazy, especially when I'm typing something out, (Oh, horror! Anyone could see this!) but hopefully you'll get to see some of that side of me.

I'm excited to go to Europe, and I think it'll be interesting to be immersed in German culture for five weeks. I'm definitely excited for the chocolate and the food.

Across the ocean we go

Across the ocean we go,
Laughing all the way.
We love to cross the ocean,

We are going to rent a house
across the ocean,

(An original song/poem by Miss E, adapted for our current adventure.)

In a couple of days, the Professor and I will take our crowd on an adventure. We will spend a week in Paris and five weeks in Cologne. This is our travel journal, school assignment, and correspondence with loved ones. Come follow along.

Let me introduce you to my traveling companions...

I am Rachel.  I love books, games, math, food, creating, and people.

This is the Professor.  He is amazing.  He enjoys math, books, games, and friends.

These are our six children.  I will let the older ones introduce themselves.

And this is our youngest, Miss S.  She will be 3 in a couple of weeks.  She loves princesses and trains, doing it herself and playing with her siblings, being big and being little.