Daron, Melanie, Stephen, Kassie, and Kenny

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Texas... Home sweet home

What fun to be back home in Texas!! Grandparents and cousins, buying 2 new cars (both for the price of our 1 Swiss Mitzubishi ~ amazing) and looking for a house... so exciting!

a big washer again!

Playing with cousins in Aunt Kassie's new pool!

We love Aunt Breanna's kids, Michael, James and Andrew!

While we're waiting to find a house and school district, we're starting some group homeschooling... here are the kids doing their first online typing class!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The last day

What an amazing last day in Switzerland. Lots of tears... overwhelmed by everyone's kindness... lending us a car, hosting and feeding us, coming to clean our place. Then on top of it, the pretty snow-topped Alps just sitting there. Just looking at us, as if to say, nanny-nanny-boo-boo, we're staying here and you're not. We're already missing the 4 Swiss C's: Castles, Cows, Chocolate, and Cheese. Just missing it all. We didn't really have time to think about it during the final prep days --  awake til 3am scrubbing floors and packing suitcases: 25 total came home, in 2 separate groups (half with Sterling and Kas, and half with us). Pretty unreal.  Here's Kenny saying goodbye to our mailbox.

Our cute street: Chemin du Boiron 2, 1263 Crassier

As we were driving away from our beloved little neighborhood, Kenny's class was out for recess, so we stopped and he went over to the fence, as all his cute little friends starting call out "Kenny! Kenny!" to him... it was pretty touching to see him standing there amidst all of them saying goodbye, chitter-chattering in French.  I'll miss all their cute French-speaking Swiss friends so much.

Last pizza meal at the Croix Verte in Nyon

Adorable Susan and Laura Johnson hosted us on our last night ~ they tried to get Kenny
to sleep in the basket, but he just wouldn't. 8-)

Bidding au revoir to Crystal and Kris at the airport -- we miss you all!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cleaning up the "Schmutz"

My maiden name, Schmutz, in German means "dirt, mud, filth, grime, squalor." Isn't that just awesome?? So when I went to buy 20 of these "Mr. Magic Cleaner" scrubbies, (for the low low price of $100), I felt like I was supporting my family legacy ~ they're called "Schmutzradierer", or "Eraser." Ahhh, the pride. 8-)
Here's the stack, halfway used up, by 5am -- I woke up at 3:30 this morning and couldn't sleep, so I got going! These scrubbies are the only thing that get the dirt marks off the white walls without removing the paint, but because the cement walls are so textured, they get used up fast.

Thanks to my cute friend Abir and her generous 2 hours of work, all our windows are sparkly shiney! (Hello to my hair - WINGS, step aside!)

Kenny's enjoying being an only child this week...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The sun'll come out... tomorrow ~

Actually, the sun's totally out today, but that seemed like a fitting way to describe how we're all feeling around here... happy to be going home to Texas, but sad that we're having to say goodbye to all our cute friends and lovely Crassier. The apartment is empty now -- just white walls, suitcases, and mattresses... it's more of a house, not a home anymore.  We sold our car today, and tonight Crystal and Kris came over with yummy treats and hauled away our bunkbeds.

Kenny enjoyed his playtime in the empty house...he loved helping Daron take apart the bunkbeds.  Thank heavens for the $2 Salvation Army jumprope ~ all the rest of his toys are packed!

And one of our last few meals here turned out great for having an empty kitchen ~ yummy grilled chicken salad!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dachau WW2 Concentration Camp

One of the most sobering, memorable, life-changing experiences of our lives ~ visiting the Dachau memorial site.  In this camp, which served as a model for all other concentration camps, over 43,000 prisoners died.  The pictures, videos, and just sheer presence -- being there where they were just 65 years ago -- left us all speechless.  We walked through the gas chambers - the mass burial sites - the roll call area; no words can describe how it feels to read about the atrocities that humans did to other humans. We talked with our children about the importance of experiencing this, because it helps us commit to always standing up for others, defending right. To never stand by and allow something like to this to happen again.

"Arbeit macht frei" is a German phrase, literally "work makes (one) free," meaning "work sets you free" or "work liberates". The slogan is known for having been placed over the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust, including most infamously Auschwitz I, where it was made by prisoners with metalwork skills and erected by order of the Nazis in June 1940.

This amazing statue of broken bodies...

The open gravel area where prisoners had morning roll call ~

"Grave of thousands unknown" - where they put the cremated ashes.


And on a happier note, our visit to "Tristan" - one of the most famous chocolate boutiques in Swizterland... up in the rolling hills of Rolle ~ great yummy sampling too!

Grocery run for breakfast... it's important to sample all the ice-cream flavors ~

Our 3rd trip to Daron's favorite castle: Neuschwanstein in Bavaria! So fun with Kas and Sterl.

Morning of departure... the cute Stewarts came to bring breakfast and play with the kids and help drive us to the airport with our 13 suitcases!