LittleTeddy, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, USA


Posted Nov 21, 2007, 1:43 pm
Tomorrowmorning I will leave and start my journey. My first stop will be Germany.

Posted Dec 6, 2007, 4:44 pm
I arrived in Bruchsal. We have rather bad weather so there is no chance to go outside at the moment. I will go to bed early today and see, what time will bring.

Posted Dec 9, 2007, 7:07 am
Today I helped Petra to get the Adventcalendar ready for her two boys. She also has a girl, but her calendar was ready before.
She packed some figures of the crib in small bags and you see me with all of these.

Posted Dec 9, 2007, 7:14 am
Here you see me with a photo of another Adventcalendar. My hosts like to read stories each day during advent time. This year it is a story about the song "Silent Night". It is really interesting to listen to it each evening.

I like the Adventwreath very much.

My hosts have a wonderful crib with figures from South Tyrol. My hosts dad built the stable for the figures. Especially for me Maria and Joseph and the Christ child were in the crib before they start to walk through the house. The Christ child will be in the crib, when we have Holy Night, but I will be on my way to the next host then.
The landscape isn't ready. My hosts dad and her children started to build it this November.

Posted Dec 9, 2007, 7:37 am
Today I had been on a little walk through Bruchsal at night. It wasn't that easy to take photos with the small digital camera, but nevertheless we did it just to show you, that I've been there.

This is the tower of the old palace of Bruchsal.

This is a part of the Belvedere, a former hunting lodge.

This fountain is called Amalienbrunnen. It is placed in front of the county court.

I also have been in front of the palace, but at night you can't see much on the photo. But maybe you can imagine, how excited I was, because it was so dark around us.

On our way home we walked through the pedestrian zone and took some photos with a window of a shop and the beautiful lights.

The next two photos show the big Christmas tree on the market place. On the last photo you see the older building of the town hall of Bruchsal.

Posted Dec 17, 2007, 9:18 pm
Finally it's Saturday and I will go to fulfill one of my missions. We will visit the Christmas market of Trier, which is the oldest city of Germany. Although Bruchsal has a little Christmas market too, my host thought, it would be much more interesting for me to see the Christmas market there.

Here you see me and my friends on the autobahn, short before we drove over the bridge near to Speyer.

And some more photos with us in the car. We had to drive about 2 1/2 hours.

Posted Dec 17, 2007, 9:56 pm
When we arrived in Trier at about 3.45pm, we drove to a youth hostel were we stayed for the night. I met the best friends of our hosts there. They drove in the car behind us, so I haven't seen them earlier.

After we had prepared the beds for the night, we walked into the city. I had been so excited, because it's the first Christmas market in Germany, that I wanted to see in a few minutes. It only took about 10 minutes and then we saw the big cathedral of Trier and also the first lights of the Christmas market. The air smelled like one big gingerbread with a little smell of punch too.

But now I will be quiet and just show you the photos.
The part of the Christmas market, that is on the market place.
That's the way we went to see the Porta Nigra. I love these half-timbered houses.
It wasn't that easy to take the photos at night. I have some more very beautiful photos without tvs, because they just catch the light.

When we walked back to the hostel it was about 9.45pm and we looked forward to sitting in the warmth again. We played some piano ( sorry, no photo here) and drank some warm tea before we all went to bed.

Posted Dec 17, 2007, 10:10 pm
Here you see me with a very young toyvoyager, that is still without name. We are in front of the Porta Nigra, which is a gate to the Roman city Augusta Treverorum. Trier is about 2000 years old and Unesco World Heritage.

This is me about with my new friend, who is directly bought at this place of the Christmas market, when we were there yesterday evening.

Here you see the cathedral and church next to the cathedral, which my hosts love even more. We have no photos from inside, because there was a service in the cathedral and the other church was closed.

Here you see me with the Kaiserthermen (the Roman bath ) in my back.

Because we all wanted to have a view over Trier from a higher point, we drove to the Petrisberg (haha, my hosts name is Petra - maybe it is her little hill).

On this next photo you can see the oval of the Amphitheater and also the shape of the Kaiserthermen.

Although the Moselle is very important for Trier, you only can see this river on this photo far behind on the left side and also only a little little piece of it.

If you look carefully, you maybe can see the cathedral in the middle of this following photo.

The next photo shows the synagoge of Trier.

Posted Dec 27, 2007, 9:21 am
Today Petra showed us the palace of Bruchsal and the palace garden. It is a really nice place.

Here you see the tower of the church called St. Damian and Hugo. The building of the church you see on the second photo on the left side

When you walk down to the park you find some statues, which guide the way

In the park there are four statues showing the four seasons winter, spring, summer and autumn and four statues showing the four elements water, air, fire and earth

Then we walked to the front side of the palace. Here is a view to the local court of Bruchsal, which is the 'highest' builing on this photo.

The Damianstor (Damian's gate) is the entrance to the palace area.

Here you see the front of the palace with the entrance and also the entrance of the church on the left side. My hosts are going to the service there on Sundays.

This is the local court building again

And just turning around at this place to see the main building of the palace again

Posted Dec 27, 2007, 9:59 am
What a busy time it is here. Today Petra had to fix the colours on many many silk cloths. She made about 30 cloths for stuff at her school as Christmas presents and we were allowed to help her. She was so happy to have us here and she told us, she would have needed a longer time for everything without our help.

After all that work we enjoyed sitting next to the advent calendars, that our hosts loves to collect.

Posted Dec 27, 2007, 10:30 am
We thought it was really funny, when our hosts told us, that they wanted to drive to Luxemburg to fill up the tank of the car, but when we saw the prices there, we really understood.
It is funny, that this town is called Wasserbillig, Water cheap. It's not the water, that my hosts want to buy here, but the petrol, which is about 30 cents cheaper than in Germany. Because the petrol is so much cheaper, there is one street with many many petrol stations.

We also were in a shop to buy some chocolate and other things that are cheaper there than in Germany.

Here is another photo of Wasserbillig and of the 'border' to Germany.

Posted Dec 27, 2007, 10:33 am
Back in Trier we saw this nice church from the far. It is called St. Matthias and there is the grave of the apostel Matthias.

Posted Dec 27, 2007, 10:39 am
Finally Petra found some time to bake Christmas cookies and we were allowed to help her. She told me to tell you, that you just have to ask her for the recipes, if you would like to know them and she will translate them and send them to you. Vanille-Kipferl and Honigherzen (gingerbread)


Posted Dec 27, 2007, 10:49 am
It's really cold here since a while, but today morning it was a big surprise when we looked outsite. All the trees were covered with hoarfrost and everything looked to beautiful. We were happy, that it was Petra's school free day so we decided to walk in the palace park and take some photos there.

Posted Dec 27, 2007, 11:59 am
At home again it was time for baking some more cookies. So just take a look at some of them.
Schwarz-Weiß-Gebäck --- Black and white cookies


Posted Dec 27, 2007, 12:04 pm
It's the fourth of Advent today and so all four candles of the advent wreath are lit.


Posted Dec 27, 2007, 12:07 pm
Today we baked some Buttergebäck --- butter cookies. They are really nice for children.

Then we sat on our nice place in the kitchen to watch Petra baking some other cookies.

Here is the nice window decoration in the kitchen. Petra made some more parts of it in the afternoon. I'm sure she will take another photo with me so you will see it too.

Posted Dec 27, 2007, 12:31 pm
Today is Holy Eve and everyone is very very excited. There are so many things to be prepared for the evening. The house smells like Christmas and you hear Christmas songs in the radio and from cd.
We are sitting at our place behind the window and watch Petra doing her work. Our new friend, the Christmas bear girl from Trier, is very busy too. She doesn't want us to know, what she is doing, so we three play a game and talk and listen to the music. Here you see us dancing to the music.

Petra promissed to take some more photos with me and her window decoration and here it is. She cut out the new donkey and the Bethlehem star

Posted Dec 27, 2007, 12:45 pm
After playing so long we were very tired and slept for a while. When we woke up, we were alone. We shouted for someone to play with us, but no sign of anyone else than of the budgies in the kitchen. Oh no, our hosts forgot to take photos of us with them and they are so important for us, because they helped us while we were alone at home.
Later Petra told us, that they were in the Kinderchristfeier, a Christmas mass for children. Sabrina had to sing several songs while playing an angel. We would have so loved to see that, but anyway we had a lot of fun at home too.

They lit a candle with the Bethlehem flame and brought it home to us.

Then our Christmas bear girl prepared the table for dinner and we were allowed to sit between the members of the crib

Posted Dec 27, 2007, 1:49 pm
And then it was here, the most silent night of the year

Holy Night

In Germany families celebrate the Holy Night, mostly only parents and children together, maybe grandparents, if they want to be part of it.
The celebration starts with going to the service in the afternoon, if you have little children - or those, who play a role in the Christmas play - just like Sabrina had to do. Older people go to church at 5pm, 10pm or at midnight.
After church my hosts normally went to the graves on the graveyard, which is near to their house, next to the baroque church St.Peter. This year however they didn't find the time for it.
Then Petra had to prepare dinner, while the other members prepared the table. Oh yes, in the morning the they brought the tree in the livingroom and decorated it, but only the boys were allowed to go into the livingroom and so there is no photo of us.
After dinner a bell calls everyone to go into the livingroom. There are only the lights of candles on the tree and table. Under the tree are many presents and a nice railroad.
We sat down on the table, because Petra told us, that we would see everything much better, when we would sit there.

So Sabrina started to read a story about the song SILENT NIGHT, HOLY NIGHT and all others of the family read another part of that story. It was really interesting to hear about the history of that song.

Then we played and sang the Christmas carols together.

After about nearly one hour of reading and singing we opened the presents. Only the children were allowed to go to the tree and fetch one present, read the name on it and give it to the new owner, so it took a while until we received our present.

You see me here with my friends and our present cookie. It tasted very well.

Of course we all wanted a photo with us and the tree.

Posted Dec 27, 2007, 1:59 pm
Yesterday we celebrated with my hosts parents and her sister's family at her parents home. Unhappily the photos didn't come out well, so no updates about this.

In the morning I had a ride on the train and I visited the family members of the crib, that is in the livingroom.

I looked out of the window and saw some snow, but too less to play in it. Petra has some nice window pictures in the livingroom too.

I was happy to sit next to the oven in the livingroom, because it was rather cold outside.

Petra got a nice calendar with Australian photos and so it was time for Tenderheart Bear to show us some parts of his country.

Today we went to Ralf's family, this time celebrating at his sister Rena's home.

Posted Jan 4, 2008, 9:40 am
Today is Sabrina's birthday and we all helped to prepare the cakes and lasagne. We had a lot of fun.

You see Zebrakuchen, Lasagne, Apfelkuchen (apple cake), Adventskuchen

Posted Jan 4, 2008, 9:58 am
We were invited to visit Petra's cousin and family in Durlach-Aue. Lunch was very good and then we had a little walk around their house.

Posted Jan 4, 2008, 11:06 am
Today I'm very excited, because it is Silvester / New Year's evening. We prepared everything for dinner and then we sat together in the livingroom. We had raclette, one of the favorite dinners for Silvester in this house. Happily we all were together and had time to talk and eat a lot potatoes and cheese.

Posted Jan 4, 2008, 11:12 am
We met a cow, that is changing colours from red to blue.

Posted Jan 4, 2008, 11:15 am
Then we sat there on the table in the livingroom. Petra built us a high place on the table, because that was the only chance for us to see the text on the tv :) screen . We all sang some karaoke and had a lot of fun.

Posted Jan 4, 2008, 11:20 am
One and a half hour before midnight we went back in the livingroom again and played 'Mitternachtsparty' (midnight party). It is a nice game with Hugo the little ghost, who wants to catch all women and men of the game.

Posted Jan 4, 2008, 11:32 am
Then the big firework started and the new year began. First we went outside to watch the firework and then, when we came into the house again, we hugged each other to wish a happy new year and we had a little drink / sparkling mineral water with juice.

Posted Jan 8, 2008, 8:33 pm
My hosts's children were in Karlsruhe today to go ice scating. So my hosts decided to go there to and maybe let us try ice scating, but unhappily the battery of the camera stopped working, when we were there. I asked them to buy new batteries and they did so, but nevertheless they didn't want to go back to the scating area.
But they showed me the front of the palace of Karlsruhe and some other views out of the car. Two photos show the brewery Höpfner Bräu, which is built like a castle.

Posted Jan 8, 2008, 9:40 pm
Karlsruhe is only about 20 minutes from Bruchsal. When you drive there you have to drive through the flat Rhine valley. On the way home to Bruchsal, you see the small hills of the Kraichgau. Bruchsal is a small city, that is located partly in the Rhine valley and in the Kraichgau.

At home again Ralf bought some bread, while Petra took two photos with us.
The red house is the new part of the old people's house. It was opened for moving in in 2007.

On the left side you see the old part of the old people's house of Bruchsal. The house with the tower is the private grammar school St.Paulusheim.

Posted Jan 17, 2008, 6:26 pm
6th January is Epiphany or Three Kings Day - that's what my hosts say, of course in German. Their children walk with the starsingers on two days around this day and this year it was the 5th and 6th January, that they walked.
At first they dress as the three kings and the star carrier and some little followers, who carry the bags. The children collect money for poor children all over the world and they receive a lot of sweets too. The adults prepare lunch for them and bring something to drink and eat to them, while they are walking from house to house. They also empty the bag, because these are getting really heavy. I saw some and have been very astonished, especially when we came back to the parish hall and I saw all these full bags, that the kids received at the end of the two days.
All toyvoyagers had been allowed to be with the children, while they sorted out their sweets in the livingroom. They all had a lot of fun. I believe, that this amount of sweets will last until next Christmas - like every year as my host said.

Posted Jan 17, 2008, 8:56 pm
It rang at the door! What's going on? We heard, that a new toyvoyager will come to us soon. It this the new one???
We had to sit on the table in the livingroom until our host  fetched us and showed us a little package. We helped to unwrap it and do you know, who came out of it? It was Hoppity from the USA! Hoppity is a very cute bunny and we all fell in love with her at once.

Posted Jan 17, 2008, 9:15 pm
Today it is time for me to travel on to my next host. After a long time of thinking about my travel plans, I finally decided to go to the USA. So it was time to say goodbye to my friends Tenderheart Bear, Nicki Bear, Sylphide, Yuri Gagarin and Hoppity. Nicki Bear left her family too and also travels to the USA, but to another place.

Posted Jan 17, 2008, 9:47 pm
Today Hoppity felt much better and so our host decided to walk to the baroque church St.Peter, which is next to the cemetery of Bruchsal.
You have a nice view from there.

Posted Jan 17, 2008, 10:16 pm
After we left the cemetery, we walked to the backside of the house Sancta Maria, which was led by Sisters of the order of Franciscans. It is a catholic school for child care workers.

Posted Jan 17, 2008, 10:40 pm
Today Petra wanted to walk somewhere and Ralf drove to the Letzenberg, where is a nice chapel.
The Letzenberg is a place of pilgrimage since 1296 A.D. It is told, that already then there stood a chapel. 1722 A.D. prince-bishop Damian Hugo Philipp, Graf (Count) of Schönborn collected for a chapel, but without success.
In the year 1903 A.D. the chapel was built and consecrated.

When we were there, we had some wonderful views over Malsch and the vineyards, too.
On our way home we watched a wonderful sunset.

Posted Jan 21, 2008, 8:58 pm
At home again we showed the Christmas tree and crib to our new guests. Our hosts told us, that sometimes they have the Christmas tree up until 2nd February.
The Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple (also known as Candlemas or Feast of the Purification of the Virgin) celebrates an early episode in the life of Jesus. In the Roman Catholic Church, the Presentation is a feast celebrated on 2 February and is the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.

Posted Jan 26, 2008, 12:18 am
Hi Mom!

I made it to the USA today - my new host Melissa was very excited to greet me:

It's very cold here, Melissa says the temperatures have been in the single digits or below zero degrees Fahrenheit for over a week now.  It sure looks pretty outside, but boy is it deceiving:

Melissa lives in a small, old town, most of the buildings are older and the people of the town like to keep up that image when 'new' buildings come in.

I was greeted by a lot of furry friends at Melissa's apartment.  I got to meet Stitch!  He's Melissa's buddy, and guards the TV and DVD player in the living room:

And her apartment-mate, Bill, loves Penguins.  I got to meet them all for a while:

Now, it's time for a nap.  Melissa works midnight shift at her job, and so she needs to sleep before work tonight.  She's taking me around town to see the sights tomorrow!

Posted Jan 29, 2008, 6:54 pm
Melissa had big plans for the last couple days.  Sight-seeing, checking out the snow statues, being out in the wintery weather.

But, mom, it's been doing nothing but rain!  Today it's freezing rain!  So we've been stuck inside for a couple days now... it's just too icky out to drive around.

This is me outside of the Fine Arts building at Melissa's university - on a brief moment when it wasn't raining.  There's a big theatre inside that building and there are performances there every weekend.

I'll show you more buildings as soon as the weather improves.  They sure are big!

Today, since it's rainy out, we're helping Melissa do her laundry:

Not too exciting, but there's promise of going out later and visiting people!

Posted Feb 5, 2008, 8:01 pm
We got a new visitor today!

This little alien is Weasley.  He sure is a very interesting sort - those aliens sure do weird things.  Him and Stitch have bonded right away though, and me and Teddy warmed up to him pretty fast.

Today we're going to have a tea party with Melissa's friend Alyse!  I can't wait!

Posted Feb 5, 2008, 8:04 pm
There is this small little tea room in Houghton (Hancock's "sister town") that Melissa goes to at least once a week and writes postcards and letters.  Everyone there knows her, knows what she orders, and they're all very nice.

You can order an endless pot of tea, soup and sandwiches, cookies, and cake.  There are also lots of older/silly hats to wear while you're there.  Look at us!


We had a lot of fun and it was nice to have something warm to drink to get rid of the chills.  The weather has been -way- below zero for several days now.  Brr!

Posted Feb 5, 2008, 8:07 pm
Just a small update to show you the town Melissa lives in.

It's a small, homey little town, and there's lots of snow.  There has been snowfall of over 170 inches since the beginning of the winter.

This is the Portage Lake Lift Bridge.  It's pretty famous - there aren't too many bridges that open the way this one does.  It gets featured on a lot of videos about bridge designing.  Melissa says we'll get a better photo of it later this week.

Posted Feb 11, 2008, 6:09 pm
We got another new visitor today!  Just in time to go see the snow statues this afternoon.
That's me, Weasley, Sully Monster, and our new friend Winnie the Pooh!

We're all getting ready to go look at the big ice and snow statues.  The deadline to be done was this morning at 8am, so we're all excited!

Posted Feb 11, 2008, 7:38 pm

The snow statues we went to go see are part of the larger celebration at Michigan Technological University called "Winter Carnival".  This is the history about it, from the Winter Carnival website:

Michigan Tech often registers more than 200 inches of snow in a season. Not content to let this abundant natural resource go to waste, students band together in an annual celebration of our beautiful, tough, exhilarating, and character-building climate.

Winter Carnival began in 1922, with a one-day Ice Carnival. It was so popular that students made it an annual event, and Winter Carnival as we know it began to take shape.

It was suspended in 1930, in the aftermath of the stock market crash, but in 1934, Blue Key Honor Fraternity resurrected the event. Then, 1936 brought the biggest change, one that would become Carnival's best known tradition: snow statues.

Since then, the statues have become famous for their size, detail, and design as building methods (and secrets) have been passed from year to year.

During World War II, Winter Carnival was again suspended. It took off again in 1946, when the Stage Revue was added, with fraternities, sororities, and other campus organizations presenting skits for the enjoyment of the crowd and the performers alike.

Winter Carnival events start at the beginning of the Spring term, with the construction of the month-long statues (the bigger ones I'll show you in a minute!).  Then two or three weeks before the actual event, there are a lot of competitions, like broomball, skiing, human dogsled races, snowboarding, etc. 

Then there's a big ta-da at the end on a Wednesday night.  On that night a lot of other groups get together and while the people making month-long statues are finishing theirs, they make one-nighter statues that are a lot smaller.  There is activity on campus all night until the wee hours of the morning, and the deadline to be finished is 8am on Thursday.  Then Thursday morning everyone walks around the area taking photos of them all before they melt/fall apart.  All the minute details usually don't last more than a couple days (it warms up and melts, or it'll snow more on top of them, etc.) but the big structures will be up most of the rest of the winter until they melt.

There are so many people around that it was too hard to get a photo with me in it, but I hope you like them anyway!  They look  so awesome in person, the detail on some of them is amazing.

First the big month-long ones:
King Kong fighting a monster!

Oh yeah, the theme was Frightful Creatures with Chilling Features...
The Abominable Snowman!
The Ghostbusters fighting the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!

More coming in the next post!

Posted Feb 11, 2008, 8:00 pm
Melissa really liked this one.  It's a bunch of different monsters wreaking havoc on models of all the campus buildings.  Like there's Godzilla in something called the "Chem Sci".
One of the Sororities made a monster out of a can of Monster energy drink!  :D
The gay pride group paid homage to Sully Monster!
This is the monster from "Tremors".  The description says something about not eating Kevin Bacon - lol!
This is of Frankenstein and Frankenstein's monster.  This was the winner in the "Women's Groups/Sororities" category.

More coming soon!

Posted Feb 11, 2008, 8:29 pm
This is the Kracken destroying a ship like in Pirates of the Caribbean!
T-Rex from Jurassic Park
This is one of Melissa's favorites.  It's of demons haunting a child's bedroom.  Look in the last photo at the ice rocking horse!  Wow!
From the children's book "Where the Wild Things Are"
This one was the winner in the "Men's Groups/Fraternities" category.  It's of Van Helsing killing vampires.  It's so amazingly detailed that even all the photos Melissa took can't even begin to show it all.

That's all of the month-long ones.  We'll post later about the one-nighters.  It's dinner time now!

Posted Feb 11, 2008, 11:06 pm
Come to find out, Melissa just realized she didn't take many photos of the one-night statues.  They're not as nice as the month-long ones, as a whole, as you can imagine.  But here are a few of the ones we liked:
Trogdor from
Melissa squealed when she saw this and her mom, who was with us, looked at her like she was nuts.  She doesn't get the reference. :(
They won first place in their group (on-campus residents).
The Grim Reaper, made by a group of Lutheran students.  Ironic? ;)
A smaller version of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
This is a monster rock band, made by a music fraternity that Melissa is a member of.  They won first place in their group (campus organizations).
This is a couple teams playing broomball, so you can see what that's like.  It's a BIG deal here, almost a third of the student body participates.

That's all for now!  We're going to go see some of the town tonight and tomorrow.  More history lessons before I leave the area! :)

Posted Feb 16, 2008, 1:36 am
Happy Valentine's Day, mommy!

I hope you had a wonderful day back home!

Love and miss you,

PS.  We're going camping!  Photos coming soon! :)

Posted Feb 21, 2008, 2:13 pm
The town of Hancock, MI has a very strong Finnish Heritage. 

We found a little information about it on Hancock's website, if you would like to see it, here:

Hancock has an official "sister city" relationship with a town in Finland, called Porvoo.  Melissa doesn't know much about it, and had a hard time finding much information (beyond the fact that the relationship exists).

There's a small park on the waterfront called "Porvoo Park" in honor of this sister city relationship.  It overlooks the city of Houghton, across the Portage Canal, and gives a good place to take a photo of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge.
You can't see much due to the snow, but in the summer there's a boardwalk along the water, lots of picnic tables, and there's a set of condos to the right.

To the left is the bridge:

This is a pretty unique bridge.  It opens to let water traffic through by lifting up the middle part.  There are lots of videos about bridges that talk about this unique design.  Melissa said she watched one while she was in high school and the people pronounced the name "Houghton" wrong, for Houghton, MI.  :)

There's a little information about it, if you're interested, here:

Melissa loves giving us these "history lessons" about the area.  More coming soon.  Hope you like it!

Posted Feb 26, 2008, 11:52 am
This is a kind of funny place that we went to.

In a nearby town (Mohawk, MI) there is a giant 'snow thermometer' on the side of the highway!  It's huge!

It 'measures' the current and previous year's snowfalls against the record snowfall for this area.  I'll show you... :)
Here I am being held up against it, because the snow banks on the side of the road were too deep to get much closer.  Melissa hoped she could put me next to it so you could see how big it is.  Let's just say when it says "390.4 inches", it means it!

Here are a few close-ups of the wording on it:

Last year's snowfall for the whole season - something like October to April - was "barely above average" according to Melissa.

This year so far they've already had more snow than they did all of last year.  There has been about 11" more snowfall so far (and a big storm a-brewing, says Melissa).  It's been a very cold and snowy year.  Makes for  a long and depressing winter - but we're sure enjoying it while we're here! :)

There is currently about 3 feet of snow on the ground at any given point.  The snow banks are HUGE in comparison to us little ToyVoyagers.  Melissa keeps us safe from any avalanches, though!

Posted Feb 28, 2008, 12:59 pm
We went camping!

Well, since it's so cold outside (it's still be pretty consistently below 0 degrees F everyday) we went camping indoors.  But we still had a lot of fun.
This is me and Winnie the Pooh.  Look at our tent, perfect size for us TVs!
Here are all of us posing outside.  There was also another tent that we could put a picnic table under to have lunch.  Unfortunately, Melissa couldn't find a TV-sized picnic table.  That's okay though, we sat underneath the tent and ate lunch and enjoyed ourselves anyway.
I call this shot "Happy Campers"!

Yay!  It was so fun.  We (me, Sully Monster, Weasley and Winnie the Pooh) sat in the little tent and told ghost stories after Melissa turned out the lights, and none of us got much sleep.  We had some good bonding time, though, and I wish you'd been here!

Miss you!

Posted Feb 29, 2008, 7:53 pm
Today is Sully Monster's last day with Melissa.  He is going to another part of Michigan to visit a new host.
We visited Melissa's mom today, who has a new St. Bernard Puppy, named "Moose".

Don't worry, he snuffed us a little bit to make sure we weren't dangerous and then Melissa made sure we were safe.  He sure is big, and he's just a puppy!
We all had a little pow-wow and said our goodbyes.  I'm going to miss my friend, but I'm excited that he gets to see more of the world.
A couple final group shots.  *tear*
And off he goes.  He's going to have a blast.  Melissa was his very first host.

Posted Mar 29, 2008, 9:18 pm
Yesterday Sully Monster left us and today we got a new visitor, Archibald.

Today we made Broccoli-Cheese soup with Melissa.  Usually she makes everything from scratch but today we just made it from a "kit" because she's been so busy she doesn't have a lot of time.

But we tweaked the kit to make it taste really awesome so it's okay. :)

Melissa says not to worry, that none of us got close enough to the heat to get burned or anything.  It was yummy, and a great way to meet our new friend!

Posted Mar 29, 2008, 9:20 pm
Today we were in Marquette for the day with Melissa.  This is about a 2-hour drive from Hancock.

She says we will probably be here again sometime before we all leave her.

Today we saw the Children's Museum.

Melissa wasn't sure if she could take pictures while inside, so all we have is me outside.  It was a lot of fun, though!  All the kids loved us! :)

Posted Mar 29, 2008, 9:21 pm
Today is Melissa's 25th birthday.  She has to work tonight, so there's no big party or anything going on.

Melissa works midnight shift at the local Wal*Mart retail store, so a lot of the time we are awake at night with her and sleep during the day.

We thought we would make a few photo posts showing you some landmarks of her town the way we normally see them - at night. :)

This restaurant is called the Library and they make their own variety of beers.  The college students love the place.  The joke is that you could tell your parents you're going to the "library" and they think you're going to study... :)
This is the Dee Statium.  This was built on the site of the Amphidrome, which burned down in 1927.  The hockey team at Melissa's university used to play here before they got their new stadium closer to campus.  The lower level is an ice rink, and the upper level is a skate park (for skateboarders, trick bike riders, etc.).

Posted Mar 29, 2008, 9:22 pm
More sites continuing from last night's "night tour"... today is a tour around the campus.
This is the administration building.  There are offices in here for the Dean, Admissions, Financial Aide, the President and Board of Control and other important people.
Here we are on the west end of campus looking east.  To the left is the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics building.  It's the tallest building on campus.  Not just on campus, but the tallest building in the county!  On the right, the lights that you can see in the windows are from the Library, which is open 24 hours a day for people who need to get away to study or something.
The white and brown building in the background is the ROTC building, which houses the Army and Air Force ROTC programs.  In front of it, the monument-looking thing and the lit-up American flag, is a memorial that the University built after the events of September 11, 2001.  Every year they do speeches and things from that site.
Here we are on the east end of campus looking west.  The only other part of campus that is more east than this is the Fine Arts building, which is quite a way behind Melissa at this point and hard to get a photo of in the dark (the building is black).  On the right, with the lights on, is the Civil Engineering building.  On the left (hard to see) is the Math/Computer Sciences building.  Way behind in the background is our friend the Mechanical Engineering building (the biggest one).
This little house is the home of MTU's Counseling Services, where the mental health people are.  Like if a student wants to talk to a counselor.  The funny thing about this building is that it is surrounded by two parking lots.  The other buildings on campus have sidewalks and such all around them, except for this one.  It's like the university expanded around it.  The VIPs keep threatening to tear it down (for more parking space) and moving the counselors to s different building and everyone protests.
Finally, this is one of the dormitories, called "Wadsworth Hall".  This is actually a photo of about HALF of the building.  The whole thing is about a quarter of a mile long from one end to the other.  It houses more than half of the on-campus students.  The hallways inside are "riot-proof", which means instead of just going straight, there are lots of zig-zags and turns.  Melissa explained that the building was built around the 1960's and 70's, when hippie "protestors" were pretty popular and this discouraged protestors from "sit-ins".

Hope you liked our little night tour!

Posted Mar 29, 2008, 9:23 pm
Today we went to a small historic town called Calumet.  Melissa explained that a long time ago, when this whole area used to be largely populated because of the copper mining industry, Calumet was once the capitol city of Michigan.
Since then the copper mines have closed, the population has dropped, and most of what remains are abandoned ruins, mine tours and a lot of beautiful old buildings. 

Melissa says Calumet also maintains a beautiful cobblestone road that is older than most of the buildings in town but because of the snow you can't see it.

What we drove to Calumet to see, however, was the theatre...
This is the Calumet Theatre.  Here's a little information about it that Melissa found/taught us:

The Calumet Theatre is a theater and opera house which was constructed in 1900. In 1898, the copper mining industry was booming, and the town had an enormous surplus in its treasury. The town council decided to spend some of the surplus on a theater. The theater hosted a large number of famous actors, musicians, and opera singers. [7] With the close of the mines, the theater became a movie theater and fell into general disrepair for many years. In 1975, the town began a large project to repair and restore the theater, which is now used for many local and touring productions. The theatre is a National Historic Landmark.

Melissa says her co-ed fraternity hosts an international dinner-and-a-movie night at this theatre once a month for the local community, and a lot of older people go to it.

Posted Mar 29, 2008, 9:27 pm
We are spending the weekend in Marquette again before me, Weasley, and Winnie all leave for our next hosts. 

We did a lot of sight-seeing and got a few pictures.
This is a shot of the ore dock from a park on one end of town...
And here it is from the park/marina in the other side of town.  The ore dock is no longer used but railroads used to bring iron ore to these docks where it would get put on ships and sent to other parts of the country.  Like copper mining in Melissa's town, iiron ore mining was a big contributor to the former wealth of the Marquette area.
Here's images from another park.  Melissa forgot the name of it.  She talked to someone while we were there and they said that in the summer time high school kids swim out to that big rock on the right and spraypaint it, usually with something like "Class of..." or "Yay Seniors!"

And lastly...
This is the Superior Dome.  This is the indoor football field/etc. at Marquette's local university, Northern Michigan Univ.  Here's some information about it:

The Superior Dome opened as the world’s largest wooden dome on September 14, 1991, is a domed stadium on the campus of Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. It is home to the Northern Michigan Wildcats football team, as well as a variety of campus and community events.

The Dome stands 14 stories high and encompasses 5.1 acres (21,000 m²) under its roof. Constructed as a geodesic dome with 781 Douglas Fir Beams and 108.5 miles (175 km) of fir decking, the Dome has a permanent seating capacity of 8,000, though the building can hold as many as 16,000 people. The facility features a diameter of 163.4 m (536 feet), and has the ability to withstand 60 pounds force per square foot (2.87 kPa) of snow and 80 mile per hour (130 km/h) winds.

The Dome’s features include a retractable artificial turf carpet, the largest of its kind in the world. When extended, the turf has the ability to accommodate football, soccer, and field hockey. Underneath the carpet is a synthetic playing surface that features three basketball/volleyball courts, two tennis courts and a 200 meter track. Twelve computerized winches extend the carpet over a cushion of air. It takes 30 minutes to retract the artificial turf carpet and approximately two hours for full setup to be completed.

We also saw a Maritime Museum, a really cute coffee shop called the "Coffee Cup" where Melissa saw (and then forgot to buy) postcards she wanted to send you - oops!  We also had lunch at an Eastern/vegan-inspired restaurant called "Sweet Water Cafe", and then met up with Melissa's friend Amanda, who we spent the weekend visiting.

Posted Mar 29, 2008, 9:30 pm
Happy Easter!

Today we visited Melissa's mom and we got to play with the puppy Moose again.  Boy is he getting big!

On the way home we got to see a few more local attractions before I leave tomorrow morning.
This is the Quincy Mine (No 2 Shaft House)...

The Quincy Mine is an extensive set of copper mines located near Hancock, Michigan. The mine was owned by the Quincy Mining Company and operated between 1846 and 1945, although some activities continued through the 1970s.

The Quincy Mine was founded in 1846 with significant investment from Massachusetts (the town of Quincy, Massachusetts lent the mine its name). While many other copper mines were founded at the same time, the Quincy Mine quickly became the most successful, and was the country's leading copper producing mine from 1862-1882.

The Quincy Mine is now a popular Keweenaw tourist attraction. The Quincy Mine Hoist Association maintains the buildings and grounds, and provides guided tours of the Number 2 Shaft House and several of the mine tunnels during the summer. There are museum-style exhibits within many buildings. The mine and surrounding areas are part of the Keweenaw National Historical Park.

Due to it being winter, this is about a close to it as we could get (the parking lot isn't plowed or anything).  Melissa says she's always wanted to go on the underground tour and never has - maybe now that she has ToyVoyagers to host she'll go this summer after they reopen!
Behind and to the left of the No 2 Shaft House you can see other buildings (some used, some abandoned, some lost to disrepair) from the same time period.
This is Mont Ripley (some abandoned buildings in front of it), the ski hill owned by the university.  It's been warm enough (and when it does snow, there's not much of it anymore) that the hill is closed for Spring now.  But it's a pretty busy place when it's open!

Here are a couple photos of what Melissa's pretty sure is an abandoned refinery (where you take mined copper and "refine" all the other things out of it so that you have pure copper without rock/etc.).  You can see Mont Ripley behind it in the background.

Posted Mar 29, 2008, 9:44 pm
Today I'm leaving for my next host!

I can't wait to see you again - it's been fun but it'll be nice to get away from the snow and warm up a bit!

See you soon, world!

Posted Mar 31, 2008, 5:04 am
I have arrived in California! Hi Mom!! Its so nice and warm here. I was greeted by Izzy (magickzzl), her pony Pearly Pie(in the yellow), and the Voyagers Snuggles, Galaxy, and Carl. They told me we would be having lots of great fun!

Posted Apr 7, 2008, 1:13 am
Today Snuggles and I went with our host Izzy to her school. We hung out in the art department climing tree's and meeting some of the sculptures! We also got to meet one of Izzy's Professors/Famouse artist David Wetzl! I think we surprized him.

Posted Apr 7, 2008, 1:15 am
Oh ya! While we were there, we also saw a Turkey, and visited the Memorial garden at the school. the garden was so pretty but kind of sad.

Posted Apr 7, 2008, 1:21 am
Its late at night and Izzy and her friends went to a restaurant for soda's. Our drinks came with Voyager sized swords so Snuggles and I played all night long. We even had a jousting match with Twilight and Breezie the ponies! We also got to play with Damian, who is two, he's great fun!!

After all that excitment we were tired and took alittle nap with Reyn.

Posted Apr 7, 2008, 1:27 am
Today we got up late because Izzy has a cold. But we finally got going and headed to an art exhibit out in Roseville! Sadly they did not allow pictures, but Izzy sneaked one of the out side of the building!

Posted Apr 7, 2008, 1:32 am
Today Izzy still has a cold, so we didnt go to far, but we DID go get hay for her horses and sheep! Snuggles and I pulled out a hay hook and helped unload the big 120 lbs bales, 8 of them!

Afterwords I got to meet Dust Bunny, Izzy's mustang!

Posted Apr 19, 2008, 12:19 am
Once again we have visited the bay area to see Izzy's family! This time we stopped to see the Carquinze bridge again at the vista point, its the place where you really can stop and get pictures and they have plaques! From the Vista point you can see Mare Island, which had a military base and they built navel ships! it looks pretty quiet now. We also read a plaque about Al Zampa, who was an iron worker and helped build the bridge. Izzy told me that her Grampa helped build the bridge to and was really good friends with Mr. Zampa! Wow!

I also jumped off the plaque and got all dirty! Izzy took a picture of me covered in bark. he he!

After we saw the bridge we got to go to a nursery, but Izzy got so dirty she didnt want to get us all dirty, so theres just a picture of the flowers! I got to go with my new friends, Samantha the turtle from Australia, Snuggles the frog and Twilight the pony, oh ya, and the Traveling Pearly!

Posted Apr 19, 2008, 12:59 am
Yay! I got to help Izzy house sit for a few days for her friend! We ate junk food and hung around this new house, and even met a nice cat statue! She didnt talk much though

Posted Apr 19, 2008, 1:06 am
Today Izzy took us voyagers out to the Arden Fair mall!! We made a special trip because they have a Hello Kitty store!! They also had a big kitty benches and pyramids we played on first ;) Izzy got yelled at about having a camera so the only picture we got was of the entrance, but she let me pick out some stickers which will be in my journal, and we got mom some gum!! :D

Posted Apr 25, 2008, 11:05 pm
Teddy has arrived in Massachusetts!!

Posted Apr 26, 2008, 5:57 am
I got to go to a goat show mom! It was AMAZING! Their were African Pygmy goats, the little petting zoo kind, everywhere! About 200 of them. Izzy showed some of hers to, and I even got to meet the Grand Champion Doe! (which is a girl) who was Izzy's!

We also got to sit in a stall just like a goat and we put Samantha turtle into a milking station, which is a device to keep the goats still while milking or grooming them! they were so cute! this is my last journey with Izzy, and it was a blast!

Posted Apr 26, 2008, 8:43 pm
Today I went to Dean Park to the Arbor Day Celebration. I got to see a live animal show and watch my hosts children get their face painted. It was a fun time.

This is a picture of me at my host's home in their back yard.


Posted Apr 27, 2008, 7:30 pm
Today we went hiking in the woods in Shrewsbury. The trail is around around a pond and has magical creatures along the way. I stopped for a photo with the bunny rabbit.

Posted Apr 29, 2008, 11:10 pm
Monday, I went to preschool with my hosts daughter. I got to see all the learning centers and meet lots of children.


Posted May 4, 2008, 10:36 pm
Hi Mom! Today I went shopping with my hosts.
we went to Super Stop and Shop and got lots of food.
Then we stopped at Dunkin Donuts coffee...there's one of these coffee shops on every corner around here.

After that we stopped at Lake Quinsigamond to see the New England championship crew races.

Here's me at the lake.

Posted May 4, 2008, 10:39 pm
(I'll post the one at the lake in teddy's book)

Here's me at stop and shop!

Posted May 8, 2008, 11:53 pm
Hi! Been keeping busy. went to the Shrewsbury town hall today! Got to see where my host works.

Posted May 10, 2008, 10:22 pm
Today we went to see some cows at the local farms.
First stop was at Tufts Veterinan School in Westboro.

Posted May 10, 2008, 10:25 pm
Found another farm back in Shrewsbury.
Here's me next to the highlander cows.

Posted May 10, 2008, 10:27 pm

Posted May 11, 2008, 12:47 am
I am getting ready to go to Ohio. I am taking Honker the Green Monster with me on his first toy voyage!