Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Their way

Home that is. They are on their way.
Almost a full month here,
they crossed 6 countries in 4 days,
climbed to the top of the Alps (via train of course),
baked cookies, helped match socks, wrapped gifts,
played games, completed puzzles,
were victims of pickpocket theft,
cleaned dishes,
spun the kids up and settled them down with story time,
babysat for a night,
made snowman pancakes,
vacuumed with a most miserable vac,
walked kids to school,
shopped, videoed, photographed,
taught the kids how to squirt water with
the rubber duckies in the bathtub (Gee thanks dad.)

Safe travels mom and dad.
Have a good trip back and we do hope you come again soon.
There's a lot more that we didn't do!
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The Day was a Blur

Christmas Day was a blur.
I look back on the photos, (as I am just now getting to them),
I can't even remember taking most of them.
Was it the eggnog? (nah- didn't have than on hand)

Was it the dizzying effect of fancy wrapping paper everywhere?
(no, but I really do need to resolve to get to the eye doc this year)

Was it the excitement and thrill of watching the kids open Santa's gifts?
(nah, not really
....is that terrible to admit?)

Dud, I think you have it right doggity dog.

Sleep. Just a lack of it.
We'll hope to catch more Zzzs next year.
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The Hats

Arleigh had a toboggan hat, and dad wanted one like it.
The markets were full of hats, most at ridiculous prices.
Eventually dad found what he was looking for at a fair price
and seemed to appreciate it as he said,
both for "it's dorky style" and "really warm" benefit.
Just a couple of shots I snapped on the metro platform...

Who doesn't love one of those big wet sloppy baby kisses anyway?

Nice hat dad.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Christmas Trip

We haven't traveled all that much since we arrived in Belgium. Of course, weekends trips here and there, and yes, Germany a bit, but we decided that while mom and dad were visiting us this year, we'd travel.
So we planned a short but eventful journey to include a stop in Koln Germany, Monteux Switzerland, and Strasbourg France.
First stop- Koln and the massive cathedral.

A brief peek inside, and we headed back out into the chilly air to the Christmas market.

Had to taste the sugar crepes!
Perfect to warm the belly!

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Up! Up! Up! and Up!

In Monteux Switzerland, we climbed up the mountain by cogwheel train to the peak, Rochers de Naye. The ride was spectacular and the winter landscape, breathtaking. At the top, we visited Santa. We observed one of his reindeer there too, who must have been prepping for the big Christmas night ride, because each time we watched him, he was busy eating. Here are a few of the scenes we saw along the way…

We opted out, but if you'd like, you can let the last train descend without you.   So you can stay at the peak of the mountain, overnight, for a mere 500CHF, in one of these yurts.

The Train

The train ride up the mountain to Rochers de Naye, was truly amazing. Emory sat across from me, and I didn’t need to look out the window, but rather could imagine what was just beyond his window from his dramatic facial expressions. To be a 4 year old boy, on a train to the top of a mountain where you'll find Santa, in a setting that seems like the North Pole, must be fantastic.

Heck, I thought it was!

Arleigh thought it was pretty neat too.

Seeing Santa

The train ride ended at the top of Rochers de Naye, a mountain peek in the Swiss Alps.

There we found Santa and a few elves, greeting anxious children holding mail, letters, and wish lists.
The kids didn't seem to want to make lists or letters, and they were happy to just see Santa.

Well, Arleigh was less than happy, but everyone else enjoyed the moment.

Addie spent some time with one of Santa's elves.
She was given a bag of goodies, and an official certificate, stamped with a seal
indicating she'd visited Santa.

Discussing Christmas lists with Santa is, no doubt, a very serious matter.
Emory realized, after his inital visit, that he'd forgotten to ask for the train he's hoping for.
So he requested a few extra seconds with Father Christmas after all the children had given up their lists.

On the way back down the mountain, they couldn't resist peeking
 into the bags they'd been given by the elves.
They found a clementine, a cookie, and some chocolates...

which they made quick work of!

All bundled up, we ventured out to the Christmas market
at the bottom of the mountain.

Cannon Balls at the Castle, Château de Chillon

During our castle visit, in Monteux Switzerland, at Château de Chillon, the kids were more interested in the snow than the castle. Who can blame them? That white fluffy stuff has some serious play factor. I suppose they were at least in the right mindset when Addie and Stella demonstrated how to make a ‘cannon ball’. More on the castle in the next post, but here are a few of the initial photos.

Château de Chillon

From ruins to those still inhabited, castles are everywhere around Europe. (There’s even one situated just off our backyard.) Château de Chillon happens to be the most visited castle in Switzerland though, so we paid the visit it deserved.

From every nook, there was a spectacular view of the Swiss Alps.

And 3 guesses as to what this is?
A castle in Switzerland wouldn't be complete without a way to tell time eh?
This is a clock.