Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I can't belive we live here!

Remember that Friends episode where the guys and girls swap apartments?  There's a scene where Joey exclaims, "I can't believe we live here!"  That's exactly how we feel right now.  Let me rewind a bit and catch you up with our lives:

We had Sunday lunch with the lovely Wilsons and Geoff helped me load 200 pounds of crates and suitcases into the car.  (You two need to let me know what kind of Toblerone you'd like!)

We packed smart, we packed concise, we packed pink.

Ms. Well traveled to Switzerland with us in her very own special seat on top of the suitcase.

The Randalls said goodbye to Cole at the airport.

We are so thankful to Mimi, Coach, Baba, and Pops for coming to the airport to see us off.  Here we are about to head through security and beyond without any parents. Well, I guess I technically count as a parent but you know what I mean.

Ava's first airplane is waiting in the window behind them.

She has been begging to ride on an airplane for about 2 1/2 years now.  Can you tell how excited she is?

After taking it all in for about thirty minutes she decided to color and watch a few episodes of her favorite shows on the iPod touch (thank you Randall family).

We flew from Dallas to Philadelphia, then on to London.  While we waited in London for the last leg of our flight into Zurich Ava fed Ms. Well some snacks.

When we landed in Zurich a really helpful airport employee helped us load all of our luggage on two rolling carts.  As soon as we exited the baggage claim area a smiling Josh and two of the fabulous Zellwegers greeted us with chocolate-dipped croissants.  We were so thankful to have a car ride to Luzern rather than battling the train with all of our bags.  This is how Ava, Ms. Well and Cole spent the scenic car ride from Zurich to Luzern.  Poor babies.

After a long sleep we woke up to a delicious breakfast from sweet HLS, who was very excited to show us around out new city.

Our little blended family ready to explore

The entire group of us: three Locketts, one Randall, and three Bunsons.

A scenic walk about town

Poor baby girl woke up sick on Saturday. 

We're pretty sure it was just jet lag, because by that evening she was 100% better.

I learned a good lesson about European oven temperatures:  they are not in Fahrenheit.

The princesses enjoyed grilled cheese, tomato basil soup and salad for dinner.

The next morning we headed to Gruyere, Switzerland to tour a cheese factory where they make Gruyere cheese (what else?) and a castle.  We were excited to ride our first train in Europe!

Maybe some of us sang tunes from The Sound of Music.

I'll let you use your imagination to guess who.

The kiddos played games and kept themselves amused while the adults gawked at the gorgeous scenery.

Sisters in Switzerland

Ready for our tour

No Gruyere fondue for these two.  Chicken nuggets and fries, danke very much.

The fondue was just ridiculous.  We also tried some skillets with grated potato, delicious bacon and ham, carrots and green beans.

The cheese cellar


Listening to our guide explain how the different grasses and flowers eaten by the cows change how the cheese tastes.

The cheese making process

Next we hiked through the town of Gruyere to see our first castle.

Touristy pose, forgive us.

Climbing around the town's exterior walls.

The view was amazing.

 I'm pinching myself every minute so far, can't believe this is real.

The girls watching water splash down from the fountain.

Another fountain

Truly, the hills are alive with the sound of music.

It's hard not to be in love with love in a setting like this.

We are thankful.

In the company of fantastic folk.

Rainclouds peeked from over the mountain but we never felt a drop.  So far the weather here has been picture perfect, though I wish the clouds would move a bit so we could see all the peaks from town.

Inside the castle kitchen, I had to pose as the cooking wench.

Even the 4-year-olds couldn't get enough of the view from the  castle windows.

These sweet girls were so patient with us as we rambled around.  Shh, don't tell them, but we've got a big kid-centered surprise coming in a couple of months.  (It rhymes with Bisney!)

Sure wish I had a Frost Polar Bear trailer to load up this furniture and china.  Judy, would you help me take care of it?

Post card?  Nope, just my photo-gifted husband.  Seriously, is there anything this man can't do?  If I didn't love him so much I'd want to kick him in the shins.

One of the previous owners of this castle spent a lot of his life in a wheelchair.  This crank was used to help him up to the second level of the castle.

Breathtaking beauty around every corner

A little ice cream pick-me-up before our long train trip home.

Just a girl and her cone

Resting our tootsies and stuffing our faces

Sharing with Daddy

Josh took us to the thrift store where he's purchased everything we need for our unfurnished flat.  Ava immediately made herself at home and started a tea party.  One of the many things I've noticed about Switzerland is how much freedom their children have.  Four and five year olds walk to school unattended by parents, they scooter past us on the sidewalks.  We let Ava play with this tea set while we walked around the (very nearby) kitchen section, something I never would have done back home.  Don't worry grandparents, I'm still keeping a close watch.  We just feel so safe here.  It's a gigantic sigh of relief because I pictured Europe as a seedy place where I had to keep my cash in a lockbox between my clothes and skin.  Not so.  Switzerland, Luzern in particular, does not match up to this at all.  We already feel very 'at home' here and oh so safe.

 We each picked a hat to wear.

En garde!

We eat chocolate and cheese every day.  Don't judge, we walk a lot and have to keep our strength up.  We've been working on our cheese cutting skills.  Tim found this amazing cheese shaving device at the thrift store.  After a lesson from the fantastic Zellwegers, we were ready to try it out.

 You place the special cheese on the spike and use the blade to shave off thin ribbons.  The result is a flowery, lacy floret of cheesy goodness.

 On Tuesday morning we headed across the bridge, just a few blocks from our flat, and experienced our first-ever Swiss farmers market.

Every time we purchased a yummy veggie or fruit the vendors handed fresh baby carrots to the girls.  By the end of our morning there, Ava and Gabby were responding with a spirited, "Danke!"

Poor Cole.  He never had a little sister and now he has two.

Fancy log seat

Later on Tuesday we went on a little recycling adventure.  The Swiss do not kid around about trash. We are required by law to recycle. Non-recyclable trash items must be placed in special bags, that cost about as much as a small house back in the states. These bags are sorted through after they are picked up, and if we've thrown away items that could be recycled we will be fined. Paper, cardboard, and compost are collected on our doorstep. We take glass and aluminum to bins at the park, and all plastic goes to another bin at the grocery store. Got all that? I think it's wonderful, but it does take some getting used to. It also makes for a lovely 'walk of shame' as you carry all the empty bottles of wine and beer you've consumed to the park to recycle. Cole and Ava handled most of the recycling today.

Aluminum makes a very fun plunk when it reaches the bottom, far below where we drop it.  It's not nearly as satisfying as the shattering glass though.

Since we were already at the park to recycle we stayed to play.  Ava and Gabby made friends with a couple of older girls who were kind enough to push them on the swings.

And then they ran in the beautiful sunshine.  
We are just loving life right now, in case you can't tell.

If you'd like to see all of our pictures from the trip so far, click the here for set 1, here for set 2, and here for set 3.  Enjoy!