Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Swiss Christmas

This was our first Christmas that we celebrated in Switzerland. Last year we were in Barcelona and this year we had wanted to go to Germany but Lily does not have a passport yet so we decided to stay home. 

On Christmas Eve Lily and I hung out while the boys went and played in the snow

Lily watching me clean
Luke and Jack drove up the hill 15 minutes and found a winter wonderland with kids ski slopes, snow shoeing trails and sledding areas

Back at home, I was setting up for Christmas Eve dinner. Luke and I got ourselves a raclette machine for Chritsmas. Raclette is a traditional Swiss dish where you broil pieces of cheese and then pour them over potatoes. Our Raclette machine also has a grill on top for veggies and meats.
Christmas present to ourselves.
Special raclette cheese
Special raclette cheese
We ordered a charbonnade platter from our local butcher to eat with our raclette. The varieties of meat we got included pork, lamb, chicken, beef, veal and horse. Then I made traditional sauces to go with the meat including a curry sauce, garlic and chives and a tomato sauce.
Christmas Eve dinner
We also went to a Christmas Eve church service at an English speaking church. It was a very family friendly church, at one point during the service Lily started fussing so I got up to take her out and some lady came running after me and told me not to leave that a little noise was fine and they love having children in the service. I think we will be going back there for sure.

After Jack went to bed Luke and I wrapped the presents
Lily sleeping during present wrapping
The whole family Christmas morning
Jack learning to use his new remote control car
Lily and her new toy
Attempting to get some nice photos
Love this one!
Me and mine
For Christmas dinner we headed over to our friends house in Neuchatel

The whole group
Family picture

Jack and Mabel
Jack and Mabel were playing together in her room and I walked in there to check on them and Lily started cracking up at the kids playing. It was so cute that I had to pull out my camera and get it on film:

The kids enjoying their own special kids wine
Raclette dinner with our Swiss friends. In addition to potatoes, they also pour the cheese over pineapples and peaches.
Luke played some Christmas music
The kids danced

Lily's chubby cheeks just crack me up
For dessert we had a typical french cake called: La bûche de Noël
I also made a pumpkin pie (it was the first pumpkin pie ever for our Swiss friends)
The kids ready for dessert
It was a great Christmas and we are so thankful to be able to have friends here to celebrate with!

Luke has this entire week off and I'm thankful for that too!
Daddy and his kiddos
Here's a video of Jack and his car as well as him talking about Christmas

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Only in Europe

Where else can you visit a medieval market in an 800 year old castle?

This past weekend we braved the snow and headed down to my favorite castle, Chateau de Chillon. They were hosting a medieval market during the month  of December and had characters all throughout the castle dressed in traditional clothing and selling medieval hand crafts
They even had traditional grub in the banquet hall along with musicians and dancers
In each of the castle rooms there was someone making crafts or showing off their wares
Luke checking out the weapons

I love the doorways off this castle

A man making some sort of spun necklaces

View of the castle walls

Visiting the castle during winter gave it a much more magical feeling

But after a few hours we were all thoroughly chilled to the bone

And for some more pictures, here is Jack enjoying the first snow of the season

And Lily outgrowing her clothes faster than she can wear them

Lily and her friend Charlotte
I recently met a mom who lives just across the street from us who was originally from Southern California. She now has three daughters who are Jack's only english speaking friends. The other weekend they took us on a hike to our towns own waterfall.
Jack with his new friends and the waterfall
 A view of our town and the lake in the distance
 Jack and Lily during tummy time
 Early morning snuggles
 Lily has developed the habit of sleeping in my arms. At this point, she wakes up right when I put her down so now I have to carry her or risk having a cranky baby. So this is how she naps... at least I have one hand free to get things done...
 Jack likes to take his naps with every stuffed animal he owns in his bed with him
 Happy sleep smiles
 Happy awake smiles
Lily always lights up when she sees Jack. It is really cute to watch them together...and sometimes also really frustrating since Jack can be too rough with his baby sister

Watching Lily and Luke together always melts my heart

Friday, December 16, 2011

Getting ready for Christmas

Excitement is running through our house as we prepare for Christmas. Jack is old enough where he is really getting excited about everything. December 6th is Santa Claus day in Switzerland and Jack put out a boot before he went to bed and then when he woke up in the morning "Santa Claus" had filled it with treats. He talks about it every day. He's really excited about presents and when I ask him what he wants he will always include something for Lily which is so sweet. 

Luke on guitar and Jack on drums for Christmas carols
I am part of an english speaking group here in Switzerland. It is where I go to ask all sorts of questions that I can't find anywhere else. This group hosted a Christmas party a few weeks ago and we decided to attend. It was the first party I have ever attended where I didn't know anyone. It was also the first party I have ever attended where people introduced themselves by their screen names "hi, I'm fairywomen" was the first person I met.
English speakers Christmas dinner

Our new friends
 For dinner they served raclette which is a traditional Swiss dish. Traditionally a big half circle of cheese is melted in the fire and then the melted parts are scraped off and put over potatoes. But the Swiss have invented a handy dandy raclette machine where you can just put slices of cheese under a broiler and then you can use the top as a grill. This is one of Luke's favorite meals here and so I we are going to treat ourselves to our own raclette machine this Christmas
A raclette machine where you can cook your
cheese on the bottom and grill meats on the top
 Since everyone was dressed up for the party, I attempted to get a picture with both kids.
Jack looks guilty in this photo
The other day Jack woke up from his nap in a cranky mood so I went in his room and sang to him until he fell back asleep and in the meantime Lily fell asleep too. It was a Christmas miracle.
 Can you tell that Jack adores his little sister?
 Tummy time...
 You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get a picture with both of them smiling.
 This picture is from my cellphone but I love it because it shows how chubby Lily is.
 But she is so cute!
Poor little girl has cracks and folds all over her body. She has at least 3 folds in her neck that we have to clean every day or they get red and stinky. You can kind of see one of the red folds here:
 Love her smiles
 She's even cute when she's mad
One of the greatest places I have discovered here in Switzerland is the Ludotech. It is a library for toys where you pay a small yearly fee and then you can go and check out toys. It is great since Jack gets bored of his toys so quickly. We can just go every week and get a new toy. Here he is playing with the Mr. Potato Head game:
And my greatest discovery has been a cheap box of small beads and bottles of water. Jack spent every morning this past week dropping beads, one by one into the bottle and then pouring them out through the sieve and then doing it all over again. This has bought me 2-3 hours every morning where I can do other things while he is fully entertained by this game.