Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Interesting Stolen Art story

Having just been in Paris we heard about this story from our friend Deborah. You may find it interesting as well.


A thief in Paris planned to steal some paintings from the Louvre.

After careful planning, he got past security, stole the paintings and made it safely to his van.
However, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas.
When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and the make such an obvious error, he replied,
"Monsieur, that is the reason I stole the paintings.

I had no Monet

to buy Degas

to make the Van Gogh"

And yes we did have the De Gaulle to post this to our blog for we had nothing Toulouse.
Thanks (or blame) goes to Deborah for the bad joke.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

JetLag - A picture says a 1000 words

Jet lag is a pretty weird thing that is hard to explain. It is best experienced. The leading picture is a good example of being so worn out that you think it is a good idea to kneel on a chair for a little nap when common sense suggests that you should just go crawl in your bed or simply lay on the floor. I remember my first experience (1992 trip to Switzerland) riding to Berne from Zurich and being unable to stay awake and trying to support my head with my hand as we drove along with my head falling out of my hand every 10 secs or so and being too tired to do anything about it.
It seems to us to be worse coming back then going but there could be lots of reasons for that. I think the flight is longer due to the jet stream and I also think we are a little sad about our trip being over and this also makes it worse. So the way it worked we had a 25 hr day starting out in the early morning in Switzerland with the sun coming up and then fly with the sun all day eventually with darkness coming somewhere over Kansas. So after about 20 hours of sun it gets dark. I never can sleep on the plane, well, no what I call real sleep. At least not like picture number two with two little varmints.

This time around we awoke as a family at about 3:30AM bright eyed and bushy tailed ready for the day. We tried to get the kids to stay in bed in hopes they would sleep longer but they were up running around the house by 4AM. having a breakfast of mac and cheese. Then there was usually a mid AM nap and as hard as we tried we we couldn't stay up past 7pm. It took about 3 days before we were sleeping in until six. Now that it is a good 9 days later we are back on our old routines. The extremes are always surprising to me. How you can be so tired at 7pm and how you can be so awake at 3AM. I am happy to see it all behind us for now.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Thursday the 10th--travelllll

Our day began at 4:45; we left K and A's at 5:30, with Aschi and the kids waving us off. It's about 1.5 hours to Zurich. We made it there and said a teary goodbye to Kim--wahhh. Everything went smoothly; it was a bonus to check in with Swiss as they weren't too picky about the bag weight. Our flight to Frankfurt was quick, and we then found our Frankfurt-Philadelphia flight. This was a better cross-oceanic flight as we had individual entertainment systems, so at least the kids could watch cartoons. They did, and we did, and the time passed. Then it was the joy of customs and reclaiming our bags and rounds of security in Philadelphia. One of the goofiest things US aiports do is make you pay ($3 per cart) for luggage carts -- once again, folks, any thought for those who've just landed from another country? Why are these carts free in Europe? Anyway, all went fine and we staggered through our rounds 0f lines.

The kids slept on the Philly-Phoenix flight--Siena from takeoff to landing, Remy almost so. I, however, did not (see previous post) and we weren't that sad to land and find that we'd missed our Boise flight. In fact, they mis-booked us as the flight had left an hour earlier. We got a hotel room and vouchers and crashed for the night, and took a mid-morning flight up here the next day. It was lovely to see Adrian again on Friday! And to see our luggage all arrive...and, yes, to eat chips and salsa at Baja Fresh. Yum. I guess we're really back home :)

Wednesday the 9th--catch-up, errands, packing

This day was a blur of last-minute things; we took Siena to the dr. in the morning. She was very nice and kept apologizing for her poor English as she explained medical concepts to me in it. Hmm. Siena's meds seemed to begin working right away, and I certainly felt better (and I think she did too). We packed a few bags in the am, and then in the afternoon Kim had an appt so I (all on my own, feeling brave!) took the older kids to the play land at the Wankdorf shopping center. I then hit Coop for miscellaneous things--a new Globi book, raclette sauces, snacks for the plane.

We went home and packed some more, and then ate before a nice last meeting--it's so great to see everyone, each time we visit.

Tuesday the 8th--quick D-land, then home

We headed to Disneyland again this am but only had 1.5 hours--which felt like barely long enough to get into the park. We did the Autotopia cars with the kids and then they got to choose one last ride--the girls chose Star Tours and so Aschi and I went there with them while Kim and Con went to Dumbo with the boys.

We then headed to the car to drive back. On the way, Kim called and got an appt with Zoe's dr. for Siena on Wednesday since her ear (that is, Siena's) was still dripping. Last night she'd moaned and cried with ear pain, so I was feeling like a delinquent mother again.

We had an uneventful ride home, although it was kinda boring--Kim was in the back with the girls and I was one row ahead, so we couldn't really talk that easily. The country is pretty, though--we drove through Champagne and that valley area is nice.

We ended at Ralph and Heidi's for dinner, and what a hoot to have Colin there visiting for a day! Dinner was fun and tasted sooo good after eating out for a few days. Yummy, yummy food (I think I gained 10 pounds!) The kids really had fun all playing together so that was sweet to watch. We left early enough so that the boys could go to a pharmacy in town and get antibiotics for Siena; the dr. had asked us to start those tonight.

Monday the 7th--Disneyland Paris!

We got up for the complimentary breakfast at our hotel (including yummy bread, ham, cheese, espresso, croissants, and chocolate croissants, of course) and then headed to Dland.
This is on our shuttle ride to the park. The funny story about the baguette Remy's holding (and eating) is that it was from the garbage bin--about six baguettes from breakfast were sticking out of the garbage and so Auntie Kim broke off a chunk for "remy the rat."

Aschi decided that Kaioa wouldn't have so much fun until after a nap and so he took him to a nearby mall while the rest of us headed to the park. It was cooolllld--maybe around 35, with gusty wind and clouds. We were all bundled head to toe and the kids didn't actually complain about the cold--we started with the Haunted House (Remy and I waited that one out) and were going to go on Thunder Mountain but it was closed for two days :( Conrad and I did Indiana Jones (which is a roller coaster here) while Kim took the kids through the Swiss Family Robinson.

Then we made another pass through the fun kids' ones (Dumbo, Peter Pan, Small World)
and did some others (Pirates) before heading to the Blue Lagoon (this is the restaurant by Pirates of the Carribean) for a fun lunch. It had great atmosphere (that's for you, Kim) and we had a fun lunch all together. Prices are pretty out of site--but it all feels like play money anyway, so we pretended that it really was.

At the end of it, Aschi and Kaioa walked in and happened to find us there! Cell phones were having problems so we lucked out.
Then we did some more rides--Small World again, Star Tours (which Siena and Zoe declared "their best ride!"), and others.

The girls enjoying "fuzz," as Zoe called it.

Waiting to see "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience". This is a show-type thing with special effects--like a million white mice that run out, feet-level, in 3-D--just as air whooshes on your ankles. The poor woman in front of me--I'm afraid I trampled her hair as I stampeded for the seat back!

The park closed at 6 this night so we left about then--and headed down into Paris to see a few sights. Our able tour bus driver braved the interesting Paris traffic to take us to the Eiffel Tower and down beautiful ancient streets--was nice to see some sights that we'd like to come back and spend some more time with.

By 8 or so we were tired and hungry, and so we found a cafe for dinner and it was yummy yummy. Kim and I shared a steak with Roquefort sauce, fresh french fries, and a goat cheese salad.

The kids held up amazingly well through a busy, on-your-feet, cold day. I loved that I was in Paris, eating good food with good friends and family in a corner cafe--amazing.

Sat the 5th-Sun the 6th

We dragged the kids back around to do some returns and reshuffling of things we'd bought on Friday--oh yeah, on

Friday, Kim took us to the Bear Pits and then shopping in Bern. It was freezing cold and Siena was not feeling so great, I don't think, but they liked the cartoons at H&M (of course).

We found some great sales for the kids at H&M -- snow pants for Siena for next year--$12; fleece-lined tennis shoes for Remy--$4, etc. Conrad even bought some clothes! Now that's news. Kim also took us to this fun shop that has t-shirts in Swiss German, so I got one (chosen because of the colors and the use of umlauts in the word--the saying is not so nice, something like "person who is picky about everything") and the kids got one each--Luusbueb and Luusmuetli (silly boy and silly girl). That night, we went to Heidi and Markus' for dinner--it was great to see their new apartment. It's beautiful--wood floors throughout, a gorgeous view of Bern. The kids immediately plowed through Globis and Tin Tins! Heidi had the table set beautifully, of course, and we started with a wonderful pumpkin soup. I'll have to get her recipe for Thanksgiving next year--it was much better than mine :) After another yummy meal, Dani played piano for us and we chatted...

So back to Saturday. We got out of the house so Aschi/Kaioa could sleep. We needed to exchange some of the things we'd gotten yesterday and then ran a few other errands. Oh, and we hit IKEA, where they were having a *fabuloso* sale (like 4' high candle holders for a franc--about 75 cents!! And wrapping paper, and candelabras, and so on...) We had a blast and bought a whole cartful of things for 50 francs--now that's fun!

When we came home in the late afternoon, Siena was crying with hurting ears and had a 101 fever--and Heidi/Markus were on their way to babysit for the night so we could all go out. And what to do. Siena was miserable and begging for me....we called H and M and asked them to stop and get some medicine for her and they came on over. H convinced me that they were just fine with us going and that Siena would be fine; by the time they arrived she'd fallen asleep. So, feeling a bit negligent, we went off for pizza and a hockey game. The kids had a ball with H and M--they are amazing babysitters. All the kids were asleep and even on time. I guess Markus fell asleep too :) Heidi has the magic touch--she's like a Deborah. It's amazing to have these extra grandmas in our kids' lives.

The hockey game (match?) was super fun--tons of shouting fans and feisty Swiss smoking in spite of the "nicht raucher" announcements. Gotta love that spirit. "Our" team won and it was more interesting than I'd expected!

Sunday the 6th: We had a nice meeting and then were off for...Disneyland Paris!! We were pretty excited to do this--it was a splurge but fun. It's about a 5-6 hour trip, and we had borrowed Heidi and Ralph's 8-person van which was really nice. We made it several hours before a stop at an AutoGrill for a late lunch/early dinner, and then it was on to our hotel. We dashed in and discovered that a shuttle bus left in 8 minutes--so we were out the door again. That night we enjoyed a light show on the castle ("Look, mom! Tinkerbell!") and a princess parade--it was beautiful at night and really fun to experience with the kids (oh, and Siena's ear was dripping this whole time. Hmm.)

Above: Siena believes, furiously, in the princesses. Now this was adorable.

Peter Pan for the Peter Pan boy.

We collapsed back at our hotel at 9 or so, kids and us, ready to get charged up for our full D-land day on Monday.

Friday, January 04, 2008

1.2.8 - 1.3.8 Sickness Again

The 2nd of Jan is a holiday in Switzerland and so nothing is open again expect the bahnhof. Uncle Aschi was sick with sinus problems and so we went to the bahnhof Apoteke for medicine and that was the extent of our day besides a game.
The 3rd of Jan began early with Auntie Kim whistling her meat all morning. Uncle Aschi was up all night with Kaioa and Auntie Kim so it was decided that "the Americans"would venture out on there own to let everyone else sleep and recover. We made it to IKEA by ourselves and put the kids in the play place for 1.5 hrs then had lunch and met Heidi M at the mall by the stadium and did some shopping. We once again put all the kids in the play spot and then an hour later they called to say Hannes was whistling his meat and to come get the 6 kids. Off we went to home were the convalescing Uncle Aschi had transported 2 cords of word and was working on stacking it. We then worked on trying to fix the car as someone put 4 ltrs of gas in the diesel. Sorry no pictures. Maybe tomorrow. Tomorrow we have plans for going to downtown Berne and also to the Rotenbuehlers for dinner.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

1.1.08 New Year's Day

Alles Gute in die Neue Jahre!

Not surprisingly, we slept in as long as we could this morning. Then we gorged on a wonderful late breakfast--rosti (yummm), homemade bread, scrambled eggs, and auntie pancakes a la Conrad. It was yuu--uumy, as Remy would say!

12.31.07--New Years Eve in Donneloye

On Monday we stayed here and cleaned, washed clothes, ran to Migros, etc...the kids are playing great together so that's been fun to watch. Aschi had to work but we all were home. At about 5 we headed to Heidi and Ralph's for New Year's Eve dinner and festivities...their place is *amazing* to see in person after having seen so many pictures and hearing so much about it from K and A, and Shirley and Bill. It's huge--beyond huge--and really nice. It'll be great to be able to visualize convention there this summer!

When we arrived, Heidi had a kids' table set up next to our table, and all of the kids decided to sit in a row on one side. They played amazingly well both days--they have a wonderful set-up because the kids can go upstairs and play without bugging the adults :) and play they did. Hannes was super sweet with Remy and Dylan played great with Siena (and Zoe--really they all played together).

The kids went to bed about 9:00 or so, but first we did a Tischebombe with them--so this is all of them running around for the little prizes and toys.
Amazingly, the six of us made it to midnight and beyond :) Settlers got us through...at midnight the clock tolled for about fifteen minutes, and it's only about a block from their house so it really echoes through the house. It's beautiful. The kids all slept in Hannes and Dylan's room--I wish I'd have taken a picture of them all piled in there like kittens!

12.30.07 Sunday part 2

On Sunday evening, Heidi, Markus, and Daniel came to visit. |It's been so fun to have them as a regular part of every visit we've had to CH--amazing to think that we'd get to know Adrian so well. Who would have ever known 15 years ago?

We're realizing on this trip that we really are getting old--people who were kids on our early visits are now grown, married, and raising kids of their own.

It was great to have an evening with them, and then Dani stayed late and played Settlers with us--very fun. His English is great and so it was super to be able to communicate more freely with him.

Oh, and Adrian? At dinner, Remy said to Dani: ''you are my new best friend." Uh-oh....