Daron, Melanie, Stephen, Kassie, and Kenny

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Schilthorn... 007 James Bond film spot!

Most memorable highlight of this week: Going to the Piz Gloria, the panoramic revolving restaurant atop the Schilthorn mountain in the Swiss Alps!  The James Bond movie "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" was filmed here.  We took 3 different cablecars and 1 train to get up to it -- the view takes your breath away! It's so fun touring around with Sterling and Kassie - they keep us all in stitches.

The top of the Schilthorn and the Jungfrau in background

OK, and how cute is this.  Kassie's cute friend Sariah Stewart from church writes a 'newspaper' for her family journaling.  This was her entry for this week ~ so adorable:

                                                     Chalks Moving
                                                   -Sariah Stewart

The Chalks who were (and still are) very good friends to the Stewart's are moving back to America. Everyone claims that they will miss the Chalks and that once they leave, hope to see them again. Today was suppose to be Kassie & Stephen's last day at church but Stephen was sick.  They are planning to go back next Sunday ( a week before the rest of there family ) before church with there aunt and uncle.  After church today a linger longer was set up for Shanon, the Kester's and the Chalk's. Stephen and his dad ( who was taking care of him during church ) showed up for the end of the linger longer.  Although, Stephen stayed in the car where his friends came to meet him.   When the Chalk's leave, they will return to there home state, Texas. The Chalks will be missed here in Switzerland!


Monday, February 27, 2012

Last song, Joseph, Cailler, and packing!

Kenny's class put together this precious "Goodbye" book with little notes and drawings from each schoolmate... it brought tears to my eyes.  Arthur's mom said Arthur cried about Kenny leaving.

What a treat to have Sterling here to sing "The Holy City" with me in church for the last time in the Geneva Ward!

Then he came to primary and became "Joseph" for the kids - they loved him!


Our cute missionaries had a fun farewell meal with us and brought fun mustaches
to go along with their lesson...

 That night Kassie stuck her mustache to her bedside... I had to take a picture when she was asleep.
 Today we drove to Cailler chocolate factory -- 4th time for us, that's a good number, eh? Kas and Sterl loved it.  I wore my big poofy jacket so I could abscond with lots of the goods in my pockets... 8-)

Then to Evian and Yvoire!

 I think the best of all is having them here to play 'packing party' with us!!  We shoved all our empty suitcases from the basement cave into the elevator so we could pack them.  Few moments bring such joy.  Well, that and our dinner of Cracklin' Oat Bran cereal and corn... eating thru the pantry! 8-) 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Le dernier jour d'ecole dans Suisse!

The last day of school in Switzerland... a mixture of emotions! Excited because Aunt Kassie and Uncle Sterling arrived this morning, but sad that this will be the last time for Kas and Kenny to see all their cute Swiss schoolmates.  Kassie's friend Miguel brought a cake that his professional-baker-mom did just for her, with a cute airplane and Kassie's face waving goodbye!  They gathered around her in a circle and went around one by one telling her things they like about her. So precious!

We're having so much fun with Kas and Sterl here! We loved showing them the sights around town ~ we drove into the mountains and hiked around. I totally slipped in the mud.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


That's what Kassie's classmate George called Kassie today. He explained in French to her that he likes how 'she can't NOT make friends', and that the whole class would miss her so much when we move.  Madame Hostettler, her teacher, is bringing a chocolate cake on Friday to celebrate her final day, and several other students said they wanted to bring cakes too. They're all so cute to her.

Kenny got to celebrate his departure in style... Stephen and I accompanied his class on their patinoire (ice-skating) field trip ~ it was so fun!!  Here's Kenny with Arthur and Louis ~

Kas and I were reading Shel Silverstein's "Falling Up" book and we found a perfect poem to kick off Stephen's upcoming 12th birthday in a few weeks... I can't believe he's already that old! He was just born.

The Folks Inside

Inside you, boy, there's an old man sleepin'.
Dreamin', waitin' for his chance.
Inside you, girl, there's an old lady dozin',
Wantin' to show you a slower dance.
So keep on playin', keep on runnin',
Keep on jumpin' til the day
That those old folks down inside you
Wake up... and come out to play.

Yeah, it's a good reminder to ALL of us (especially me, turning 40 this year) to keep playing and running and jumping... so hopefully the 'old lady' inside me won't ever wake up and come out to play!  8-)

Lunchdate with Arthur ~

Sunday, February 19, 2012

14-day countdown...

I'm sitting here in our den, overlooking the darling little babbling brook that runs underneath our balcony, and thinking how very quickly our time here has flown. We feel so blessed - beyond words - that we have had this priceless experience here.  From meeting wonderful new friends, to enjoying serving in an incredible ward, to having our kids become practically fluent in French, to seeing these gorgeous Swiss Alps outside our window everyday... we know we've been given a once-in-a-lifetime gift.  We will always look back on this time in our lives as one of our most treasured, and I knew it would be this way when we chose to come here. The plans leading up to moving here confirmed that this was where we were supposed to be.  Now that Daron has accepted a job transfer back to Houston that he's very excited about, we're certain that it's time to return to Texas.  All our household items are selling quickly, and it feels right.  But wow, will this place always leave a mark on our hearts. Just today we took a Sunday afternoon stroll through Crassier up to La Rippe, and noticed the big cherry tree in our park has blossoms... I think my biggest regret is that we'll be leaving right before I'll have the chance to climb up there and eat them all again!

Daron had a grand snowy adventure with his HP team ~ the most international group he will probably ever work with.  His co-workers pictured here EACH speak from 2 - 8 languages (yes, one woman speaks 8 languages) and are from: Sweden, the Netherlands, China, Kyrgyzstan, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Morocco, and Moldova, and then of course cute Daron from Texas. 8-) He's the one on the far left in his STYLIN' teal snowsuit.  This is in Grenoble, where they did the "snow-snake" on a team-building activity -- their sleds are all connected and the leader has to steer everyone all the way down the mountain. Daron was the TAIL and enjoyed getting quite the whipping...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hot Springs in Divonne, France

We've been wanting to check out some hot springs (which Divonne, the town next to us, is famous for) so we finally did this weekend! It was more like a regular swimming pool, but how fun to be swimming in a warm pool with snow all around us outside!  The mandatory swimcaps were especially super cool ... 8-)

Grandma - thank you for the cute swim robes!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Baby, it's COLD outside...

We can always look back and say that we lived through the freezing winter of 2012 in Europe! Last week Rome 'shutdown' because it snowed there for the first time in 26 years! It's actually good timing that I incurred this knee injury now... I don't think I could last running outside in this weather. I almost consider it child abuse to send my children out to walk the 30 steps to the bus stop in the morning... we've been driving them the short distance!

And here are Stephen and Mimi,  "sittin' in a tree..." 8-)  (No matter that there's only about 10 years between them, right?) This little angel child's giggle is THE cutest thing.

Cute Patty Chatterley knitted me this scarf! What a precious woman, and a priceless gift of love.

The kids enjoy some playtime with their good friends Benjamin and Sariah.

Primary Activity Days game night!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2 teeth in 1 day!

What are the chances?? Kas and Kenny BOTH lost a tooth on the same day! How fun! My favorite was listening to their chit-chat last night, as they talked about the Tooth Fairy's imminent visit:

KG: I'm so excited that the Tooth Fairy is coming tonight! (100% believer)
Kas: Yeah, we might be able to see her. (non-believer, just going along with Kenny)
KG: Really?? Stephen saw her last time he lost his tooth - he said she was really nice. Maybe mom can get a picture of her if she's still up.
Kas: Well, you know Kenny, there are different Tooth Fairies in different parts of the world. There's one Tooth Fairy where we lived in Texas, but there's a different one that visits people in Europe and Switzerland and Italy. (she said them all 3 like that. Hilarious.)
KG: (Total silent awe, wide-eyed, hanging on Kassie's every word)
Kas: Yeah, the one in Texas wore red, white and blue, for the Texas flag, and the Swiss one I think has red hair and wears a red and white shirt, for the Swiss flag, maybe with blue shoes.
KG: Mom, if you're still awake, can you try to take a picture of the Tooth Fairy tonight?
Mel: Yes I'll try.
KG: This is my first tooth, so I wonder if I'll get a little more money.
Kas: Well, Kenny, here in Switzerland we have francs and euros, so since things are more expensive here, we'll probably get a little more money for our teeth.
KG: Yay!
AT 5AM THIS MORNING, I feel tapping on my cheek, and open my eyes to see Kenny clutching his bag with tooth, money and note, then I hear him say "Mom! The Tooth Fairy came! And she left me money AND a note! I'm just so excited!"  I was so tired, I pulled him into bed with me, then realized we had 2 more hours to sleep, so I kindly sent him back to his bed.  8-)

In order for Stephen to experience the same freezing 'recess time' that the kids get to have at their schools, he went out on the balcony for as long as he could stand it. It is SO COLD here!  People say they haven't seen this kind of weather in decades.  The blasting wind, and the under-construction-pathway to our park have caused us to have lots more indoor playtime. They're doing well entertaining themselves.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


This weekend we went adventuring, driving around Switzerland and France to see the beautiful countryside.  Lots of snow and chalets and trees and gorgeous views.  Plenty of places to stop and play and just enjoy.  We know now that we've only got about 1.5 months left here, so we really want to soak up every bit of it. We stopped at an old church (actually it was pretty young by European standards, only about 125 years old) and looked around. The sermon was already over, so Kassie delivered a little message from the podium. 8-) 

This sweet old French Bible just sitting open reminded me of the family Bible in Brigadoon they left out for people to sign when they got married...

We've never seen a skull & crossbones inside a church before... definitely a first to see that hanging on the wall ~

And Ninja-Kassie had a photo shoot by her brothers when we got back ~ our poor downstairs neighbor.  Time to bake him cookies for the feet pounding he gets to hear when the kids get riled up! It's just so hard when it's been -20 degrees outside!