Wednesday, October 31, 2012

simplify, simplify, simplify

Last Thursday I had a Stake Relief Society meeting in Zolikofen.  It took us less than twenty minutes to get there but for many of the ladies that were there it was an hour to an hour and a half away.  And nearly every ward had their full presidency there.  That was the first shocker of the night.  Would I travel three hours in all just to go to a meeting?  I am so spoiled having lived in the West all my life.
Second shocker.  There was nothing on the table.  No table cloth, no flowers, nothing but a table with papers and scriptures.  Even the refreshment table was just a few little snacks and some individual bottles of drinks.  Now I'm not saying decorations are bad, but are they necessary?  It was a wonderful meeting with a wonderful spirit.  I sat and listened without being distracted by all the beautiful things laid out on the table.  Maybe that's just me and my short attention span.  But one thing I know for sure is no one spent countless hours filled with stress and neglect of important things in order to have decorations and handouts, and gifts.  Now I am as guilty as the next guy and the beautiful displays can add a lot.  My question is only, do we go overboard at the risk of stressing out the person in charge.  Same meeting, same spirit, just with a lot less stress.

Friday afternoon Kelly had five of her friends come over for her birthday.  They were all so cute during the day.  Having surprised her at our house in the morning with cakes and candles, giving her gifts at school, and then bringing more gifts to her party.  My third shocker was how excited these cute kids got about a bumper ball, a little bag of candy, and a fairly simple dinner.  They were just so excited and so very appreciative.  I felt like it took very little to thrill these sweet kids.  It was also such fun to hear their conversations in Swiss German and hear Kelly talking fluently right in the middle of it all.

Kelly riding her scooter to the grocery store to get things for her party.
No car needed!

Kelly and Jamileh
Safia and Kelly
Vaithi and Kelly
Aya, Tashi, Jamileh, Safia, Kelly, Vaithi

Keith had been out of town most of the week and finally got home late Friday night.  Saturday he still had meetings all day and all night.  We missed him but Kelly had a fun party and most of the kids slept over and they had a fun morning as well.  My sweet friend Lori, took Josh for the night and he was thrilled to be away from all the girls.

Sunday was the best Sunday of the year.  It was our Primary Program and it was wonderful.  Josh gave his part in German and did really well.

Due to an earlier posts about even the cows here making fun of me, I have been trying to walk everyday.  Monday and Tuesday were great.  Wednesday I got up to go and dropped my computer transformer box on my foot.  Oops, can't even get my shoe on.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Birthday My Sweet Girl!

Kelly, thank you for fourteen years of  laughter and fun. 
I am so proud of you.  I love you.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Staying close to home ain't so bad.

Sometimes we get so busy taking friends to the popular places in Switzerland or leaving Switzerland to see other countries, we miss out on some of the cool places just around the corner.  Kelly had young women's Friday night and then stayed at her friend Lara's house so she could go to her first dance on Saturday night.  Josh, Keith and I took a train to a cute little town called Le Landeron.  Afterwards we grabbed some lunch and went to Neuchatel to have a picnic by the lake.

I must say how much I appreciate hand me downs.  My daughter Jenny has hardly had to buy a thing for her two boys thanks to Britney Nelson and Josh has benefitted greatly from Christian Nielsen's hand me downs.  Thank you both.  So Josh had a friend over the other day and I noticed that he was wearing one of Christian's hand me downs, in fact he said it's one of his favorite shirts.

Nathan (in Christian's shirt), Ryan, and Josh

I took a walk the other day and passed some cows in a field.  They were completely quiet, just chewing on grass, but as I passed by, one started mooing and then like five others mooed.  I know they were talking to me and after being "on vacation" in many ways for fourteen months, I must say I agree with them.  I have two months with no travels and no guests and I am vowing to get back on track.  That's the last time a cow will poke fun at me.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Our last day

Thursday was our last day in Scotland before we flew back to Switzerland on Friday.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  We took a tour bus with a live tour guide all over Edinburgh.  We had done tours like this before but always with a headset and recording.  The live person was much better.  We saw a lot and learned a lot.  Edinburgh is a big, crowded city, but it was beautiful.  We went to the Edinburgh Castle which was quite fascinating but I think I've seen enough castles fo awhile.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Wednesday, after the castle tour, we drove along the coast a little more and stopped for a walk along the beach.

We made it to Edinburgh early in the afternoon.  We were driving around in circles looking for parking, so after a while I insisted on pulling into the next hotel we saw, paying whatever we had to, and getting out of the car.  I was thinking that if I had to spend even one more minute in the car with my kids fighting I was going to hurt someone.  Luckily I didn't and luckily Keith took the kids out to see some of Scotland while I calmed my nerves.

Northumberland seashore



Sir Walter Scott monument

The Hub

Musicians all over the place

View from the Mound

St. Giles

Royal Bank of Scotland
Waverley Bridge

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Monday night we stayed in Derby and on Tuesday drove to York.  We walked around town saw some Castles, some Cathedrals and had an authentic Cornish Tasty (meat pie) for lunch.  Yuck!  Further north, we got a little lost and found ourselves at the Sun Hotel in Warkworth.   We walked around town, had a great dinner, and then woke up and took a tour of the castle across the street. We learned that this castle is the opening scene for Act 3 of Shakespeare's Henry IV (or something like that).

Clifford's Tower, York Castle
Magistrate's Court

River Ouse, York

All Saints Church

16th Century timbered framehouse at Lady Peckitt's Yard, #12 Pavement, York

York Minster

York Minster

Uniformed students at recess in the Minster grammar school.

York Minster

Our cute little hotel in Warkworth.

The Earl of Northumberland, Lord Percy's castle

Barbarian at the gate
2nd day of the Siege
Bridge on the River Coquet, built 1380

The Old School at 2 The Butts, Warkworth, Morpeth, Northumberland, UK
between Amble & Shilbottle, Low Buston & High Buston, not too far from Alnwick (Hogwarts) where Harry Potter first learned to fly the broomstick.