Chocolate Mountain and the Dirty, No Good Thief

Hoooooly COW, has time flown since my last posting! We have been some busy, busy bees lately. Now that the waters have calmed, it has me reflecting on the wonderful times we’ve had with our friends and family; we really are so lucky, loved, and blessed.

Let me level with you, being the mom of a 20-something month old toddler, I can’t take the time to blog about each individual adventure we’ve had with each group of people, you get it. Thus, I am simply going to share photos of said adventures complete with mildly amusing (hopefully) captions. Also, my indecisive nature got the best of me on this one, guys. I just couldn’t narrow it down; so here’s about 25 photos, not sorry.

BRING ON THE HIGHLIGHT REEL

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Awestruck with Oma, moments before we bawl our eyes out at the mere sight of Santa

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Snuggling with Gramma and showing off our vast cheekage.

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We are the snuggliest boy, Grampa loves it.

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So proud to be walking like a big boy on the streets of Geneva

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Baby snuggles are tops

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Cannot tell you how much I missed these chicks.

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Train wine with the Eebster

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“Godmom can’t resist these cheeks”

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With Ryan at Chateau d’Chillon. Not pictured: Marie on the shore, too scared to scale the rock peninsula

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My sister-in-law and I 500 meters down in a mine car at the Bex Salt Mines

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Look at these cuties.

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Proud grandparents on a mountain

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“Oma sure kisses me a lot”

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Cannot believe they both sat still long enough for this one.

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Seemingly gazing at the Jet d’Eau but actually just pointing endlessly at birds. E-n-d-lessly

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Gramma wrangling the tiny maniacs at Kenny’s game

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No maniacs at this game, but there was beer.

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More proud grandparents touring around Geneva

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At the Chateau d’Aigle playing with Gramma

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We loved Becca instantly

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Showing Quinn our rare lounge pose

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My beautiful Kathryn came to see us!

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Cousin Annie did too!

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Close it out with my mom and I drinking our favorite tea in our favorite little cups:)

After most of our visitors came and went we snuck in a little vacation to Zermatt, Switzerland. Because really, if you’re going to live less than two hours from the famous Matterhorn Peak and not go see it, wtf are you doing with yourself? Am I right? Anyway, very excited to share those photos.

…BUT for no other reason than posterity and so 10-years-from-now-Emily can go back and read these and say, “Oh yeah, wow, that was super effed up” I must depict in, still absolutely perfect, detail the utter ridiculousness of our separate journey to Germany. So, if you’re just here for the travel photos and not the “Misadventures of Emily and Kenny” and you haven’t left already due to the bombardment of family photos… feel free to scroll through the next few paragraphs too because this one is a dooozy.

Due to the aforementioned reasons, we need a 2 month rewind for this rollercoaster tale. Journey back with me to December the 31st of last year: New Year’s Eve. An innocent and naive Kenny and Emily are bright, bubbly and full of hope for the future. These two relatively young travelers set out with their dog and child on a trip to Gießen, Germany to see their good buddies: Brandon and Becca Thomas, whom they miss dearly. Alright, you get the idea, onto the narrative. The options for said trip were as follows: just under 6 hours drive, or a 7.5 hour train trip. Let the record state that I, Emily, wanted to drive. Anyway, we left on a train to Montreux, Switzerland at about 9AM with about an hour’s worth of extra time because we wanted to be awesome and get their girls some Swiss chocolates. Now, I’ve made these connections 20+ times before, easy peasy, but still, right off the bat, disaster struck. Broken stroller. Broken Bugaboo stroller. These things ain’t cheap, folks. Plus, the fateful incident occurred mid train boarding. Our toddler was in the demon device and began plummeting backwards down the train steps onto my husband. Unfazed, said tot was laughing his diapered butt off, meanwhile Kenny and I are in worst case scenario mode. Although, to our credit, with a short stop at cancel everything, we did go from cursing the world to DUCT TAPE IT ALL pretty quickly. Thus, chocolate time became duct tape time.

One of my many, many, many regrets I had from this whole fiasco includes not getting a photograph of my husband working duct tape magic in the middle of the crowded train station. His blood (he really did cut himself), sweat (so much sweat), and tears (those were mine) went into what he now refers to as: (still, because bugaboo doesn’t deliver to Switzerland) The Masterpiece.

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The Masterpiece, 2 rolls of duct tape on that bad boy #SafetyFirst

Anyway, moving forward we were bummed about the stroller (some of us slightly proud) but feeling upbeat since we still were able to make the favored itinerary thanks to the built-in chocolate time. Our first connection was in Berne. This train was completely booked, thus Kenny sat on one side of the car with all of our stuff and I sat on the other side with “The Masterpiece” and our child. No big deal it was only an hour, right? WRONG. OH MY GOSH, COULD NOT BE MORE WRONG. First off, I want to be perfectly clear: nobody is placing blame here. A lesson was learned, and that lesson was twofold: 1) don’t fall asleep on a train and 2) people are a**holes. Kenny’s book bag with about $$$$ worth of stuff in it and OUR PASSPORTS were stolen. Horror, anger and disbelief all came in like a wrecking ball (couldn’t resist). Kenny and I allowed ourselves a short time of wallowing before reality took the wheel and we headed in solemn defeat to the police station to file a report. We eventually came to deduce that Kenny’s demon bag was stolen at the last train stop in Fribourg which was about 20 minutes before Berne. Anyway, trip cancelled due to lack of cross-country identification and the crippling butt-whooping life just gave us.

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Reading his Kinder Duestche Bahn pamphlet and acting like his Mom didn’t just change his poopy butt on a moving train while he squirmed on his Dad’s lap.

Fear not loyal readers, this ends happier than all that. We left Berne for home with the plan to file a report in Montreux because apparently the wait was four+ hours in Berne, which is really kind of sad… I mean, yeesh, calm down on the crime, Berne. Anyway, trudging on, we’re on a train back to Monthey passing Fribourg (with our fingers in the air) when we get a call from a Swiss number. Yep guys, it’s miracle time. Our bag is in Fribourg! Passports are accounted for! We are elated! Just momentarily though, because we remember we just passed Fribourg about five minutes ago and the next stop is an hour away. So we get our bag in two hours! Wahoo! At this point all you can do is laugh.

Reunited with our passports, tickets, and a few other things the thief didn’t realize had value, we decide to carry onto Germany. Despite the setbacks, when its between seeing old friends or wallowing at home its an easy call to make. I navigate, masterfully I might add, a new (and much longer) route to Germany putting us there at 10PM. One point for the happiness column: we got our own cabin for the four hour train ride. This ended up being more necessary than we ever could’ve imagined. We are halfway through the four hour trip when a loud speaker came on saying there was an accident on the track and we are going to be delayed 2 HOURS. WHAT. For those of you keeping track at home that totals out our journey to an even 15 hours. We roll into Gießen at 12:05 AM having just counted down the New Year on a train with a few beers we bought during the delay. Needless to say we toasted to a new year, knowing  for certain it could only get better.

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Cheers! It can only go up from here!

In conclusion to this long tale, don’t feel too sorry for us… we had a great time with our friends and my mother-in-law worked insurance magic, making sure Kenny ended up getting everything back AND a nicer iPad than the one that was stolen. There’s a slight possibility no lesson was learned after all. As for my beloved Bugaboo… There’s a new piece waiting in the States thanks to my parents. All’s well that ends well (especially when you have ridiculously helpful parents that feel sorry for you).

Now! On to our Alps adventure! I would like to unofficially title it, Zermatt, Switzerland: a town for fairytales, because it’s like we walked into a Han Christian Andersen story, just without the disfigurement and torture. If you are a long-time reader you would likely know how often I use the word “quaint” in describing the European towns we visit. Now though, after seeing Zermatt, I feel like I need to go back and choose a different adjective. Zermatt is the true epitome of quaint. First of all, no cars are allowed in the city. The only way to get in is by train or cute little alpine taxis. You get around by walking or taking a horse drawn carriage. Yeah, that’s some fairytale business. Also it didn’t hurt that it was still decked out like a Christmas Wonderland.

As always my photos don’t do it justice but here are a few shots of the lovely little town anyway.

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Heading to the lovely little town on the short train over. Also, possible subliminal messaging involving the color red.

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The clouds broke for 30 seconds so I could snap this photo.

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HORSES!

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I FOLLOWED THEM.

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Awww, Ken ‘n Em

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I waited a bit for that lady to move but I guess she wanted her photo taken.

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Large man, larger horn

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“That’s enough”

It was a cloudy and we planned to go up the mountain on the following day so Kenny and I explored the town a bit and then grabbed some amazing fondue: cheese, broth, the whole sha-bang.

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We all kind of look like hell but it was a nice meal.

Then we went to a pub. Pubs are a bit different with a toddler, to be honest, they’re not great. Kenny made his displeasure crystal clear.

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Nothing drives a point home like a public dump.

All jokes aside he did alright-ish… Partly thanks to his Oma’s fantastic 1st birthday gift…

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Screen time, shmreen time

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Not overwhelmed at all.

The next day was pretty incredible. I’m not sure how familiar my readers are with the Swiss Alps, but the Matterhorn peak is a pretty big deal. If you’ve seen a Toblerone candy bar, you’ve seen the Matterhorn.

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Boom. Go ahead, google it.

Anyway, before we headed up the mountain K3 had to get a workout in. Since this was the first actual snow we’ve seen in Switzerland, obviously I had to take K4 outside to play. I get the kid all bundled up and we went to the park outside our hotel. To say he loved it, would be an gross understatement. We played and played and played.

Before the snow baby montage, how cute are these tiny snow pants?

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“Please don’t poop, please don’t poop” – me, all morning

Snow baby montage… Enjoy.

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Kind of striking a “Yeti moving in the woods”pose. Am I right?

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Cheeks

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Endless falls

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Honestly, this struggle was so hilarious it took me way too long to help him up.

Mountain time! We trained into Zermatt,  purchased tickets and boarded the train for our ascent. Right about then is when the kid fell asleep. Our fun snow day really backfired on me. He slept in his stroller for over three hours; missed the entire summit. He only opened his eyes again when we boarded the train to head back down. It was ridiculous.

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Sleeping Baby feat. The Masterpiece

These are the photos we got up there. He’s a stinker.

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Zonked

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Super zonked

Luckily, my sweet husband, in a rare feat of patience, suggested we get off at the lower level ski stop on the way down for some photos. We got some gems. Also, here, in the ski pavilion’s bathroom, is where I learned how inconceivably terrible it is to change a poopy diaper underneath 4 layers of clothing and snow gear: inadvisable, yet unavoidable.

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Oblivious Matterhorn baby

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Doughboy has no idea where he is

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Still oblivious and now pointing at a bird. In his defense, said bird was a giant hawk and it was pretty freaking awesome.

I was satisfied.

The summit was incredible, though. We didn’t go up the Matterhorn (obviously, as you can see it in the distance) because children under two can’t handle the altitude. Instead, we went up an adjacent peak, Gornergrat.

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There’s really nothing like the views you get in the Alps: snowy peaks as far as the eye can see.

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Can’t you just feel his loathing for photos in this one?

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Super excited and trying hard to look cool.

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Honestly, this is a sunglasses post. Bought them at the summit. Love them.

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A mountaintop sunset is just tops.

As the sun lowered beneath the mountains Kenny and I took advantage of the sleeping child and toasted our blessings. The little slumbering monster being our greatest one:)

We caught the train for the descent and literally right as the train doors closed…

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“Hey ma, what’d I miss?”

As you can imagine, the train ride down was full of beauty and splendor. I took about 200 photos during, but this is the only one posted. Who wants to see reflected lights and a dirty window? So, please ignore the train window reflection and enjoy how the sunset created an actual purple mountain majesty. Like I said, mountain sunsets are just tops.

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Tops

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So pleased.

We walked around the city for just a short while as our child was out and about long enough to be a meltdown risk. The Christmas lights were just too beautiful to miss. Also nearly too beautiful to post because, frankly, my photos are terrible.

Finally we grabbed a quick dinner and got on the train back to our hotel.

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Happy family train selfie

We got back to the apartment and, despite his long nap, I’ve never seen the kid fall asleep so fast. It was nothing short of sublime.

Alright, this was an exceedingly long post. If you bore with me to the end you are a star. In conclusion, visitors are awesome and you should all travel to Zermatt, Switzerland.

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Ugh, yes, I took a lame perspective drink photo. The cappuccino was pretty and delicious. Also, I don’t have anymore “cheers” photos for this spot. I regret nothing.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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