Sunday, August 22, 2010

Family Temple day at the Swiss Temple






Going to the temple can be hard, but the St. Gallen Stake makes it just a little bit easier for families with small children. Every other month, the stake sets up a stake temple day, where the stake blocks off the entire day for the temple, and they watch the kids while the parents go to the temple. So we rented a car and drove the 2.5 hours to Zollikofen Switzerland to enjoy a Saturday at the temple. The stake has a whole morning and afternoon's worth of activities set up for the kids, with a theme and different stations and everything. This month the kids had games, sports, and activities that had to do with how they use their bodies to do things. So they played sports and talked about what their little bodies could do. They rented out a nearby gym at a school and they played basketball, climbed ladders, jumped on trampolines, etc. Everett was super excited, and at the end he told us "Let's go to the temple again." We also were informed that we should pack up a lunch for everybody, and we all ate together after the session. We all had a great time, with one exception. For the nursery-aged children, they had a "Kindergarten," which is identical to nursery. As we expected, Liam struggled. Well, struggled is probably not the right word. Liam cried. The women up there mentioned that he stopped a few times when they played with animals and sang a few times, but for the most part, he cried. We returned from the session to alligator tears and a runny nose, but within a few minutes he was back to his cheery self. As a disclaimer, this temple is EXTREMELY international. It serves Switzerland, parts of Austria, Germany, France, Italy, and other countries, I am sure. The session was in French, and there were people from all over the world in the temple. It is such a special place. It feels like the Church's UN, or something, and it is so great to feel the strength of these super strong saints.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wildpark in Feldkirch





Okay, so apparently in Austria they like to put wilderness parks on the top of mountains. There are signs for the park in the city below, so we set off around the switchbacks, and after an amazing gluteus maximus (that's your bum for all of you aspiring physiologists) workout, we made it to the top. Steve insisted on pushing the stroller all the way, and we were all glad to have finally made it to the top. What we found was a large wild animal park nestled in a forest. Many of the animals were native to the area, so it was cool to see. There were goats, wild boar, all kinds of deer, wild cats, wolves, and many other animals. Liam freaked out with every new animal. He would say, "I see, I see." In fact, on the way up the hill, he spotted several little lizards that Delaine and Steve didn't even notice. The boy has an eye for nature. As a note, he was just as excited about the dogs on leashes and the house cat he found near the entrance, as he was about the wild animals. There was a really cool playground in the park, and the boys played to their hearts' content. It was an excellent Saturday activity.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Everett and Liam cruising in the water...

video

This is Everett and Liam running around in the middle of a really cool plaza right next to the Bodensee in Bregenz, Austria. It is also right next to a really cool theater, where they have a huge stage that goes out over the water for certain productions. Notice the bicycle riders, which are everywhere in Europe. The boys loved this place!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Men's Dressing Room--A new word I learned the Hard Way!

In a new environment, the first time is always the hardest--but then we learn right.
Yesterday was our swimming day and the boys were ecstatic. We took the bus to our stop and I asked directions--trying to at least in German, not great yet--and we found the pool, after walking through some streets that looked as if they came right out of a story book or Beauty and the Beast. Passed some cute farms and found our indoor swimming pool. After a great deal of confusion of how to get down to the pool, we found the electronic admission screen. I bought our ticket and we entered the dressing room. Then I realized, I had only seen men come in this way. I quickly rushed the boys into a 4x4 dressing room, and hushed them as much as I could, planning our escape. After wrestling them in such a small area, they were ready and we ran out of there.
A lifeguard came out to help me because I had come back in and it had taken my admission ticket--darn it, I didn't want to pay again--but he was awesome and gave me another ticket. It didn't help that the room was at least 100 degrees in the building to keep the temp. of the pool comfortable, then with all of the confusion I was baking. The lifeguard then led me to the dressing room, and we yes had in fact dressed with the men. I wasn't sure though, you know its Europe, and those kinds of things gel fine with them.
The pools were great with a tiny tots pool with a slide, a bigger one for Everett equipped with boogie boards and inner tubes, and a larger one with high dives that I am dying to try out when I don't have the kids.
I learned a great lesson to look for the signs that say DAMEN to dress in or use a restroom.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We Made It!

Friends and Family,

We just wanted to chime in and let you all know how we are doing and what we are up to. Well, we made it to Europe and have now joined Steve in Liechtenstein. it has been a great reunion for having been separated for a while. The flights over were...well...interesting--
being 2 on 1 with me, Everett, and Liam (who is a handful anywhere we go). Thanks to our friend Bonnie-Jeane we had stand by tickets and we were able to make it on on every flight we needed with very little problems (but a whole bunch of running through airports)--thanks Bonnie-Jeane.

Steve was there to meet us, and the boys were so happy to see their daddy again. Everett talked a mile a minute for the next hour updating Steve on everything. Our first stop was Ikea in Switzerland to grab a few organizational items--then Everett spotted a Toys R Us--and we had to stop, I mean come on the kids had been on hours and hours of flights and Everett was a super champ, they deserved to just play at a toy store.

Jet lag has been hard with 2 little ones. I hadn't imagined the burden because of was so tired and 20month old Liam and 4 year old Everett were too and we were all on weird time schedules. I think that we are all over it now, and the boys are on a schedule.

We have ridden trains and buses and the boys LOVE it!!! I do miss Liam's car seat though, he wants to run everywhere and anyone who knows Liam, knows you can't control him. It brings me back to my mission and I love it. Oh how I've missed riding buses., these are much cleaner and newer buses though. We had a great time playing around a huge lake called the Bodensee. We rented bikes and went to a great water park place where there were great water slides.

Church was fun, and I even said my first prayer in German in front of Sunday School! I mean, I have heard Steve do it since our kids were born. I think everyone was shocked that I volunteered. It took us about an hour and half by train to get to our ward. Our ward is small and encompasses the entire state of Voralburg in Austria and parts of Switzerland and the entire country of Liechtenstein (which we are the only members). It is small but great, If i could only get this language thing down faster. Steve loves it though and he has already been called as the ward mission leader--which is funny because this ward was part of Steve's mission (when there was a Zurich Switzerland Mission). I think the boys will do well.

It is beautiful out here, and I am trying to keep the boys busy (what am I saying, they keep me busy). We go to a lot of parks and we love to look at flowers. Tomorrow we will be going swimming, and the wild animal park is on our list for this week. Getting Everett into school here is still in the works, and we are positive about it, there are just hoops to jump through.

Steve will be here for about a year and we hope to stay the entire time, but we are not sure at this point.

We really hope you all are doing well, we still think of you all, and I wish I could call you all and catch up--but staying in contact isn't one of my strong qualities. I hope to get a blog started but for know simple emails will have to do.

We love you all. And thank you for EVERYTHING.

Love,

Stephen. Delaine, Everett, and Liam