Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving, Not Just for Americans Anymore

My brother, Nathan, and his girlfriend, Hannah, flew to Switzerland to see us over Thanksgiving.  We also celebrated the holiday with: 
our fellow law school travelers, the Bunsons;
our sweet neighbor, Esther; 
Jennifer, one of the wonderful Zellwegers; 
Hannah E., our favorite little Tasmanian law student
and Cole of course.
In case you lost count, that's 12!

 Two pumpkin pies, not beautiful but tasty anyway.


 The hot kitchen was not our friend as we tried to whip cream to top the pies.

The feast:
stuffed turkey breasts, ciabatta hazelnut dressing, green been casserole, turkey gravy, broccoli, garlic mashed potatoes, cranberries, citrus pound cake, and delicious bread

Still whipping

Suzan and I split the cooking and cleaning duties between our two tiny kitchens, four floors apart.  I don't know how we pulled it off, but somehow dinner was served and people were happy.

We had lots of Thanksgiving food items sent from the US.  My mom even thought to send Thanksgiving napkins.

Our whole crew

All in all it was very happy Swiss Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Disneyland Paris! Chapter 2

Back to our favorite ride

We heard a rumor that someone special had a workshop close by.

Waiting in line in Disney's version of the North Pole.

In front of the cutest train

Waiting in the workshop

Cole chose to redeem a nearby Fastpass instead of sitting in Santa's lap.  I sure hope Tanner is willing to share his Christmas gifts this year.


about what to ask for from Santa this year.

Her Christmas list for Santa this year:
a TV for her dollhouse and a rocking horse
(Coach, do you think you can dig out the rocking horse that we've stored at your house?  Evidently she's forgotten all about it and it would sure help out Santa.  Thanks!)

Santa was waiflike, evidently not as big a fan of the French crepes as we are.

She kindly thanked him for the bike he brought her last year.

Putting in her request and wishing Santa a merry Christmas.

Dashing through the snow

Rafiki and Timon from The Lion King

We were thrilled to see Winnie the Pooh.  Even with all the princesses, Ava was the most excited to see Pooh.  I love that she's still a baby girl at heart.

 Blowing kisses to Pooh Bear as we stood in line to meet him.
(When I say 'stood in line' I really mean fought to stay in line.  Evidently schools here do not teach line etiquette.  We were cut so many times over the course of our time at Disneyland that I was afraid we'd need stitches.  Our saving grace was Tim.  Curiously enough, no one had the gall to cut in front of him.)

 Ava's open armed run up the steps to meet Pooh caused a resounding 'awww' from the Cutter-Cutter-Peanut-Butters in line.

This series of pictures was too precious not to include.

Pooh's sweet gesture, rubbing Ava's forehead, meant so much to her.  She has talked about it endlessly.

Kinda' makes your teeth hurt from the sweet, huh?

Christmas Goofy and Ava James

Ava in front of the famous Walt Disney and Mickey statue.

Sleepy Mommy and Daddy in front of the statue.  Y'all, Paris + Disneyland Paris all rolled into five jam-packed days caused a level of tired we haven't felt since a few days after Ava was born.  We've been home a week and I am just now starting to feel normal again.

 Waiting in line to ride SlinkyDog from Toy Story.

 Yay for being tall enough to ride a real roller coaster!  She was also tall enough to ride the Tower of Terror.  She loved it and wanted to ride again as soon as it was over.


We all loved Crush's Coaster from Finding Nemo.

Such a fun ride.  We loved this one.

Later that night we went back to the hotel to got ready for the Princess Dinner.

A very fancy maître d' ushered Ava to our table.

Our first table visitors were Ariel and Eric from The Little Mermaid.

Fancy juice

Smiling with Belle

Waiting on our food

Loving the fancy kid appetizer

The adult fancy appetizer

 Ava told passing princesses, "That's Cole, he's such a prince."

Ava and Suzy, did you know the mice from Cinderella had names?

Delicious salmon entre


Ava/Rapunzel dancing with Gabby/Tiana

With Aurora, Sleeping Beauty

With my favorite princess, discussing books - what else?

Loving Cinderella, she made sure to tell her that Baba loved her best

Another of Cinderella's mice, Pearla

Curtsying next to Daddy 

Elegant whispers

Precious setting for our dinner

 Delicious dessert

 An encore picture with Aurora and Belle

With Cinderella's carriage

Early the next morning we met a smiling Minnie Mouse on our way to breakfast.   
When I tried to take this picture with my camera I discovered that my battery needed to be charged.  Cole saved the day by letting us use his fancy new iPhone camera for the next few pictures.

Ava had seen many kids with the cutest face paint.  On Sunday morning we finally took a few minutes to let her have her face painted.

Waiting patiently

Sitting so still

The beautiful Blue Fairy

With Sully and Mike from Monsters Inc.

While we waited in line to meet Rapunzel a very handsome Flynn Rider (Eugene) came to greet us.  Ava wanted NOTHING to do with him, shyly cowering behind me.  "He's not a prince, he's a thief," she kept insisting before he reached us.  He tried so hard to coax her out for a picture, even discussing her face paint and light-up shoes.  She smiled and politely conversed with him but did not move from behind my legs.  After he signed her autograph book as Flynn Rider and walked away Ava put her hands on her hips and said, "See?  He's tricky.  We know his real name is Eugene, not Flynn Rider."  Then she made a very exasperated sigh.  How I survived this without dying laughing at her I will never know.  Major Mom points were s

Finally meeting Rapunzel


Back to the Buzz Lightyear ride

We ran into another friend from The Hundred Acre Wood.

Another Goofy visit

Twirling our way across the castle bridge


 Waving goodbye to the Light Parade


With Friar Tuck from Robin Hood

So excited to drive Daddy around Autopia

Loving the Snow White ride

Three chilly Locketts

Cole and Mickey at breakfast the next morning

Another Pluto hug

With Gepetto from Pinocchio

Loving Mickey

 Please zoom in and look at my raised eyebrows in this picture.  The reason?  I'm in the middle of giving Captain Hook the business.  Oh my goodness was he smarmy.  He just finished throwing Gabby's autograph book on the floor while a terrified Ava trembled in my lap.  He was rude and big and brandished his hook at the kids.  I understand villain, but really?  I think he was hungover from too much rum with Mr. Smee the night before, and I was not putting up with it.  I informed him that, after signing Ava's book, he would politely hand it to her or else risk being hogtied by a Texan.  Yes, really.  I also told him that he was going to nicely hand Gabby her book from the floor.  Guess what?

I taught that pirate a lesson because he did exactly what I told him to do.  Look at Ava's face in this shot.  She keeps telling people that, "Captain Hook is afraid of my mommy."  Well, duh, who isn't?

Our last entrance to Main Street Disney

In line to ride our very last roller coaster - Big Thunder Mountain

As we started to leave the park Mickey arranged for one last surprise for us

Disney Snow!

Cole in the winter wonderland

Catching the soap bubbly snow flakes

Waiting outside our hotel to catch a bus to our train

Much like Buddy the Elf, Ava James loves revolving doors.

On our ride home we lucked into a private compartment with the Bunsons.  The girls played princesses the whole way home.

Suzan and I worked on our computers on the other side while the boys vegged out somewhere in the middle.

It was a relaxing ride home after a very busy, fun-filled trip!