January 31, 2012

Fit For the Princess

To get excited, before our "move" to Switzerland we told Kaylie that Switzerland was fun becuase we would get to play in the snow a lot, and that we would see lots of castles. While we have seen a few, we had yet to go inside. Finally we set out to do so. It had been snowing all night so everything was covered in white. It really made it all the more magicial.
The drive there around the black forest was agian incredibly scenic. Yes I said drive...we rented a car, and Kaylie was perhaps the most excited of all of us. She kept asking if we were going to keep it, and whose car was it? Looking back we are pretty sure we had the setting on the tom tom wrong, because we never once got on a freeway in almost 100 miles. Becasue of that it was a little longer of a drive then we expected. I entertained the children by telling them stories of the real history of the black forest...and by that I mean the versions of Robin Hood and Snow White that I could best remember as told by Walt Disney. We read up as much as we can before we go on these little trips, but there is just so much history we are not familiar with.
This was a two for one trip. We saw this little guy too on the way there.
When we got to Neushwanstien's castle, we had to park our car at the bottom of a hill, and then take a horse carriage up to the top. It was at the moment that Kaylie decided that this was Phillipe-the horse from Beauty and the Beast- for all those not fluent in the langauge of little girls, and from then on she was convinced that this was Belles' castle.
Her excitment could not be contained! While seeing Europe without children would be a less difficult/different experiece, it would certainly be less joyful.
On the way up, Tiny was holding Jeffs hat in her hands ( mostly because all the horse trotting was making her look green, and I wanted something ready just in case, as vessel for catching vomit). We were lucky in that she held her stomach, but Jeff was unlucky. Tiny took that hat and casually tossed it out the carriage. Jeff jumped out after it and then had to walk up the steep icy hill. The other riders laughed at her as she cried over the dissaperance of her father. Good thing she is cute.
This one too. While last time we went to a touristy spot it was the little one that attratced the crowds, Kaylie posed like this for about two seconds and the paparazzi ...aka hoards of Japanesse tourist..came from out of nowwhere.
The exterior of the castle is spectacular. Another reference to Walt Disney, he apparently modeled his castle at Disneyland after this one. This one is not a real castle, in that it is only 200 years old, and not from the Renissance. It was built by the crazy king Ludwig. There is a lot of speculation and mystery concerning his insanity certification and his death, in that they were probably false, and political moves. I am a nerd and am totally fascinated by all of this stuff.
The inside was over the top and grand. We could not take pictures inside; this is from google. We had a hard time understanding what our guide was saying through his thick accent, but no problem at all. It just so happens that Kaylie is a world renound expert on all things Belle and she was able to tell us which room was belle's, where the candlestick sings his song, the west wing, and off course where the Beast locks up Belle's dad. This one was easy. It was the eight story tower that spiraled straight up that Kaylie refused to walk up, and Tiny slept through. Lucky me, I got to carry the lighter of the two.
Although for the walk down the hill, both girls wanted dad. Good thing, even with 50 punds of children in his arms, he is guaranteed to have more coordination coming down an icy sttep hil then mom...for sure.
And of course what good is a day trip without soveniours and snacks. We almost decided to see something else, because parts of this castle are under construction, and we are so glad it did not change our minds. It has been Kaylie's favorite thing to date, and it is at the top of my list too. Anything with happy little girls I am in favor of.

January 30, 2012

And then a boat why not?

The Swiss have a reputation for transportation. And rightly so. Since we have been here we have been on just about every type of public transportation that could exsist, and get around without a car completely. While a car would come in handy some times.....picture me carrying our groceries, and two children home from the market to our apartment every other day. And I used to complain about what a hassle the Walmart is...ha! It is usually unessicary to have a car, because there are always train, trams, buses and today; a boat.
It is really not to cold to be sitting out, Audrey just refused to take her coat of. She is in love with it that silly girl. That and all the birds. I just happened to have part of a roll in my coat pocket, and jeff showed the girls how the seagulls would catch pieces of it mid air... to Tiny's delight.
It took us to Lucern, a quiet little mid evil town about an hour away from us. We were impressed the minute we stepped off the boat.
We had set out to see the Lion Monument. We were able to easily find it using our ever expanding German. The German vocab we have learned the fastest has been animal names soley from an app game the girls have on the ipad. Who says kids ipad time is un-valuable. So far it has assisted us in finding "the Lowe" and kept me from buying "Pferd" meat (horse meat) to cook for dinner. I say .99 cents at the app store well spent.
We were all really impressed by the monument. It is dedicated to the 800 Swiss martyrs that were killed, trying to protect Marie Anntoinette during the French Revolution. They were defending a palace they believed her to be in, and sadly she was not even present. But it is all about the loyalty of the men. It was a hallowed and reverent place.
Maybe I felt that way anyways becuase my children were actually quiet. Here is Audrey telling me to be quiet. The minute we walked through the gates she started roaring, and then after she had looked at him for a minute she started to shush us all. She thought the lion was sleeping. Kaylie asked why the lion was sad. Niether of them noticed he was actually dying from being stabbed in the back
The other thing we came to see was the chapel bridge. It is almost a thousand years old. It used to be a dungeon and a tourture chamber. Now it can be rented out for parties and weddings....irony?
I am not sure what Kaylie is so happy about in this picture. It could even be nothing. She is becoming quite the little poser lately.
The city itself was beautiful and worth the visit. There was an estate up on the hill, that Kaylie decided was Cinderellas castle. She said later it was her favorite part of the day. She was such a tropper walking around all day. We hopped on a bus to ride home and she made herself a bed out of my and her coat and was asleep before the bus even pulled out. A long day for everyone all around.

January 27, 2012

Preconcived notions

Is this getting old....three blog post three consecutive days? Take me off your reader if you want; I won't be offended. While I am keeping this up and running recently as a way to stay connected to family and friends back home, my ultimate purpose is so I can morph it into a photo scrapbook and journal ( those blurb book really are quite wonderful) for the girls when we get back home.
So keep reading if you want, but you have been warned.
Before we actually looked at Switzerland recently as we researched it back home, I pictured our new adventure to look something like this....
I am wondering if you are getting the whole picture here...
So while were we are in Zurich and it is much MUCH more milder....it is warmer then salt lake for sure. We had yet to see any snow. And Kaylie, being the unforgetting type, reminded us everyday that we had told her we would build a snowman when we got to Switzerland. So of course, we do whatever we can to please the little girlies, and took them to the tallest peak within an hour or so from us to locate said snowman materials. It involved walking, a tram, a bus, an air gondola, and lastely a train. Quite the ride, which was obviously part of the fun. Of course once we got where we were going it was a blizzard. One a nice day there would have been excellent views and an great day of sledding. Instead there was brief rides on a dad powered sled, hiding out in the cafe, and playing in the snow that had been shoveled off the cafes porch.
We did get that snowman ( in miniature), and some of those views in the end; but the highlight of the mountain was tourist after tourist that stopped us to take a picture of the girls. Probably to document the terrible parents that take thier children up the summit in a blizzard.
Like tons of toursits, like stalking us down. I am going to say it was because they are the cutest girls in the universe. I know I am biased, but come on..
Audrey lasted about ten minutes at a time outside and then would cry "cold, cold"; a new word for her ;and she and I would go warm up in the cafe. Kaylie was a tropper the whole time, freezing, and trying her very best to have that good time she was after.
Misson accomplished I'd say.

January 26, 2012

Daily duo

These are my girls. Boy they are getting so big and grown up. We spend a lot of time together every day... I mean every minute of every day, untill, at the end, they and I both fall exhausted in to our beds.
It is not all fun and games here in Zurich though, you know. For us it is, but not all for Jeff.
See, business as usual. Three a.m. aviators and some red bull... that's how he rolls. ( If he ever looks at this blog her might not like all this blog time attention). He is a very hard worker, and still somehow is a wonderful father to those beautiful girls I already mentioned. And while he works all day, we play. We are loving his new commute.

He is the green arrow. We are about three streets up....muhlebachstrasse; if your eyes are that good. The google map directions say 1 minute....or if you prefer to walk (which we do), 7 minutes. A 7 minute commute, a huge change from the one hour plus trek from SR-92 to Kimball Junction everyday, right? We get to see him in the morning before he leaves. And he always comes home to have dinner too, even if he still has to go back to work, it is 7 minutes walk to come home and say goodnight to the girls. And that my friends is a huge improvement.
And so...why we do miss our friends and family back home, it sure is nice not to miss our husband/dad for once.
Here is Tiny looking for her dad. On nice days, we take some bread down to the lake, you can see it is right across from the office, and feed the swans while we wait for Jeff to come over and say hello.
Yes; I know; Kaylie IS remarkable close to the edge of falling into the lake.
The girls love feeding the birds, seeing thier dad, and if they are lucky he will take them to the train station and buy them lunch.
And besides getting to see dad midday, we are rewarded with this eye candy on our walk home.
The opernhaus zurich. Some daddy daughter time for the girls and some archetectural ooogling for mom.
The view of the lake aint bad either.

January 25, 2012

For both of you reading this blog.

Yes, I mean you ...our mothers.

For any of you else who stumbled upon this or, or saw it update on your blog reel, don't get excited...not that you would. I can gurantee that this new blogging thing will only last the few months we are
1. doing something exciting for once, and
2. my household takes approximately 30 minutes to clean, it being 600 sq ft aka I have some spare nap time available.

Here we are on our first excursion to the Zurich zoo. It involved me getting on a tram, transfering trams and a bit of walking, but we found our way there with little difficulty and were quite proud of ourselves, it being our first attempt to use public transportation just us three girls.
Here they girls are on a tram...at this point the ride there is still fun for them. I fear

that when we do go home to the states our children will ABSOLUTELY NOT sit in a car seat anymore. That is with out a full on tantrum.

We got ourselves a little pushcart to stroll the zoo with. The girls were delighted. It felt like to them they were in a Disneyland ride....powered by mom. It also put them up taller then they would be so they loved that. We were really worried that things were going to be so expensive here in Zurich...it being the fifth most expensive city in the world and all. And it is, for sure ( $8 for a pack of tortillas) but they sure do give you a break for kids. The zoo admittance for the kids was free ; as were there tickets on our transportation getting here. This cart was even free to use. Most places we have seen do not charge for children untill they are six. Why aren't there more mormons here...all those kids free of charge?

It was a great little zoo with a tons of big ticket animals, whom all seemed really close . There were even two areas that were completely inside and heated to rainforest like temperatures. A plus on a cold Swiss day. See what I mean by real close. If it is below a certain temperature at 1 in the afternoon, they let the penguins loose to wander free through the zoo. They march together like they are in a parade.

While kaylie was delighted by the fact that she was within handshaking distance of a penguin ( if penguins were formal like that ) Audrey was less so. She refused to enjoy the penguins anywhere but the saftey of her vehicle.

Kaylie told me after only a short time in the park that if I bought her a treat she would let me stay. Quite the degotiater I'd say. I readily agreed thinking a hot griddled crepe filled with nutella would hit the spot....that nutella is going to ruin me here. She insisted on only popcorn. Why is it that my girls favorite part of outings is the treats?They must be my daughters.

My favorite part of our outing...little sister falling asleep on big sister without so much as a whimper from either party.
That and not getting lost on the way home. I know that Kaylie can sense my anxiety about getting around here. I wasn't sure exactly how much untill today when I stuck my head inside of one of the trams for a minute to take a look at the schedule, Kaylie full out screaming hysterical and pulling on my shirttails telling me it was not the number 5, afraid I was getting on.

I am feeling like I am sort of getting the hang of things here. Not really though. I tried to purchase us a bottle of water in between trams transfer and wound up with a bottle of carbonated. That and I still cannot for the life of me figure out how the washer works. Seriously.

We will tackle one thing at a time. Trams today, european appliances some other day perhaps.