Thursday, February 28, 2013

We're going home!

Norah and Luca spend the last two days in Switzerland asking to "go home." So they were pretty happy when the day actually came to go home! Here's Norah getting some energy out on the shores of Lake Geneva before we hopped on our train to Milano.

Daddy and Luca

Looking out the window at the trucks and mountains on our train ride back to Milano.


Here's the sunrise over the mountains one morning. Stunning! I could get used to a view like this!

Big Girl

Norah was a good helper (when she wasn't too sick) and a really big girl on this trip. She helped out a lot.

Batman's buddy

Luca is just waiting for the funicular, and looking as cool as ever in his batman glasses.

Carousel Lion

The lions on the carousel had these strange little boxes on their backs.

Carousel pony

I loved the expressions on the animals, and the decoration. Some even had little mirrors on them for more sparkle.

Old-timey carousel

We went to old-town Vevey one day, right on the shores of Lake Geneva. It was COLD! We found an old-timey carousel from 1900. The horses and animals were all hand-painted and really pretty. Norah liked this pony.


To get up and down the mountain from our house to Vevey or vice versa, we took a funicular train. Here' s Norah checking out the view on our way down the mountain one day.

Little Kids

My kids look so little next to the castle tower!

All in all, we had a good time. Norah's favorite was seeing where the "king" (Lord Savoy) had his bathtub. It reminded her of the book, "King Bidgood's in the Bathtub." Luke liked the outside the best, and I liked the paintings on the walls in the dining rooms and the massive fireplaces in each living area.

Prison Window

We went down into the underbelly of the castle, and saw where the prison was. Norah and Luca were entranced by this window, which overlooks Lake Geneva. I later found out from one of James' colleagues that this window was most likely used for pitching prisoners into the lake after their executions...ewww....

For shootin' arrows

Norah and Luca loved hearing about how all the narrow windows in the castle wall were for protection--so the soldiers could shoot arrows out but not get hit by the attacking army.

Patch of Sunlight

We found a patch of sunlight in this courtyard and Luke liked looking at the little fountain therein. He SO wanted to get his hands wet, but I told him his fingers would fall off, so he didn't get them wet!

Old-timey castle

The kids and I took the bus to this very famous castle, Chateau Chillon, which was built somewhere in the 1200s. Yikes! Old takes on a whole new meaning in Europe!

We went into the castle and explored for a while. Here's one note for those of you who are secretly wishing you could be princes or princesses and live in a castle: in the wintertime, castles are darn-tootin' COLD!!!!! We were FREEZING in there! We kept searching for patches of sunlight in which to stand to warm up!

Prettiest Park

This is probably the park with the prettiest view I have ever seen! Lake Geneva and the Alps. Lovely!

Sleepy Susannah

Susannah spent most of the afternoon strapped to me in my Ergo baby carrier (which I LOVE). She usually falls asleep within 10 minutes...she didn't get to see the park because she slept the whole time!

I'm a big boy!

Luca loves to go down slides--even if he lands on his butt half the time!

Park on the mountain

We explored the nearby village of Chardonne one day, and found this beautiful little park on the mountainside. Norah and Luke had lots of fun playing here!

A week in Switzerland

The Family Band had a chance to go with James to Switzerland for 1 week. We rented a house up on the mountains above Vevey, Switzerland. Vevey is situated on Lake Geneva, and is home to Nestle's headquarters, which is where James is currently working.
The house we rented was beautiful. This was the view from the deck. We had 4 days of sunshine, and 2 days of snow. All in all, it was a really fun time, but I think it would be even better in the summer--the kids would have more to do. We just might have to go back!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Boys and trains

After carnivale, we went back home and James, Brian, and Kai helped Luca and Norah build an awesome train track in the living room. They really spent a lot of time on it to get it just right. Luke and Norah were pretty pleased!

Prince Luca

Somehow, Luca always figures out a way to be pushed or carried wherever he is going. Here, Brian had mercy on him (or got tired of Luke's very SLOW walk) and offered to give him a ride on his shoulders. Luke was pleased to say the least!

Mary and Asia

Asia was a witch for Carnivale--a witch with a hat and winter coat on! Mary and her had matching face paint. I thought that was so cute, so I had to get a photo!

The adults

Here's Chiara, Mary, and Arianna (and Susannah disguised as a sleepy tiger) celebrating Carnivale.

Throwin' confetti

Norah and Luca had a blast adding to the mess!


They have these streamers that you blow and they shoot out. James' coworkers, Brian and Kai, were visiting. Here is Brian trying to teach James how they work.


Emma (Chiara's cousin's daughter) decided to be a strawberry for Carnivale! So cute!

Makin' some noise

Luke kept trying to sweep the ground with his noise maker. Norah used it for its intended purpose!

Cool dude soccer player?

Luca refused to wear the bumble bee costume I had for him, so he was a soccer player in a winter coat for Carnivale. See all the confetti? It was a crazy, messy time in the Piazza near our home!

Carnivale at school

When we got to school, all the kids were dressed up. There were quite a few princesses/fairies, but lots of other fun costumes, too! Here is most of Norah's class.

Secret Princess

This is the outfit Norah wore to school on the day they celebrated Carnivale.


In Italy, Lent is kicked off with a week or so of "Carnivale," in which all the kids (and quite a few adults) dress up and throw confetti, eat sweets, and have lots of parties. Norah got to wear this beautiful, handmade princess outfit that we borrowed. She was very excited to wear it, and she insisted on wearing the mask that we bought in Venice, too.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Another cute one

I took 55 pictures to get her 8 month photo, so there was bound to be more than one cute one! Here's another, more serious, face.

8 months old!

Name: Susannah
A.K.A.: Suzy Q, Susannah Banana, Zoozy-Coo Coo Coo (Luca)

Weight: 9 kg (I am in 12 month clothes because of my "robustness")

I like: Bathtime, playing with paper (see photo), watching my big brother and big sister play, being cuddled, sweet potatoes, playing with non-toy items like remotes, phones, etc., reading books with Mommy

I don't like: having my nose cleaned, wearing hats, getting dressed, spinach, and not being held

I can: pull hats off, wave "Ciao, Ciao!", roll over and scoot around a room, and *maybe* say "Mama,"

Friday, February 8, 2013

Happy Birthday Nonna

February 8 008, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

We made signs like this for Grandma Hemsley's birthday, and cousin Ethan's birthday--it's my "save" for forgetting to mail a card 10 days in advance of their actual birthdays! Anyway, here are all the kids today, February 8, 2013!

To cool for "cool"!

February 8 004, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Luke loves to wear his sunglasses: inside, outside, sunny day, cloudy day, night time, daytime, whenever. Here he is being a cool dude at home. I told him to say, "Too cool for school!" and he said, "Too cool for cool!" Love this kid's inability to say S's and F's!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Amazing Sky

Sunset 1, originally uploaded by Chiara and James Hemsley.

Norah looked out the window and yelled, "Mommy, look at the sky!" Wow! What a nice way to end a day.