For 6 months now Owen and I pack up on Wednesday morning and head to a mommy and me swim class with some friends. I wanted to do something with Owen on our morning together while Jackson was at school and I wanted it to be out of the house and away from my other distractions. I wanted him to feel like I was really focusing on him for a bit.

Our swim mornings started out with 2 little boys enjoying milk and bread together, along with their bedhead. While the mommies chat away.













We reluctantly broke up the fun 2nd breakfast time and headed out to Heimburg about 20 minutes from us. They have a nice indoor pool and a wonderful baby class. The teacher is so creative. Miss Lisa (pronounced more like Liesel from the Sound of Music only without the “l” at the end. follow me?)  was super sweet and patient with the kids and tolerated lots of mom chatting.  Owen’s favorite activity what when she would give each child a plastic watering pail and one child would hold a clear umbrella over their head while the others showered him. Each week she had something new to show them. I don’t know if Owen learned a bit but he sure had fun!







forgive the foggy lens…the pool was so warm my lens wouldn’t clear…some people add these special effects! these are our steamy shots in the pool!









































after swim class the boys would hop in and out of the lockers while we gathered our things.



















And we would round them up, walk coral them out to the car, and hope the whole way home that we could successfully keep them awake so that they wouldn’t spoil their naps. Owen was very successful in thwarting my no sleep plans. he typically crashed within minutes of his snack.

Now I realize this all sounds so fun and innocent, so what could be the drama around going to swim class….










this just about sums to up! Swim class in Switzerland has been quite the cultural experience with nudity. Luckily Owen and I have found a little dressing room so I can be confident about my lack of confidence. Sheesh. My friend Nina and I giggle our way through the locker room as people very slowly shower and dress and lather lotion and dry their hair without a teeny tiny glimmer of feeling immodest. Now I am not talking about the typical American locker room experience where you turn your back, change your clothes quickly but make every effort to almost stay clothes while you maneuver the switch. You know where everyone is completely aware of everyone changing but no one looking and chatting. I am talking about people chatting and talking and taking their time….no one’s back turned!  I oscillate between feeling like it’s totally crazy and really kind of refreshing that people appear to have healthy self images and don’t feel like they have to be perfect to be seen. The refreshing part has yet to infuse confidence into me but I can see how it might be a good thing. for them! As I slipped my shoes off most weeks Owen stood wide eyed and mouth open as these women young and old got dressed. He had never seen such a sight. I decided that no matter how much Jackson would love a swim class as well it just was not worth it here. Not worth the risk of being sent out of Switzerland because my 4 year old could just not filter such an experience!!

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About a year ago we were at one of Jackson’s friends birthday parties and I met a new friend. We were leaving as she was arriving so we only said about 5 words to each other including our names.  I knew right away that she would be a friend and I just wish I had met her when we had first arrived in Bern!  Nina has been such a wonderful friend and shares in this life with 2 little boys too!  It’s been fun though because although we have the boys in common our friendship is more for us! We have enjoyed crafting and chatting and brocante shopping, lots of fondue! and more chatting.  She and her family are moving to Warsaw in a few weeks so we planned a little dinner party for her with our group of friends before she heads out. And before I get teary I will move on to the party :)

It was such a nice evening.  I picked a menu that was mostly do ahead so I could just enjoy the party myself once the guests arrived. We had an antipasto platter for a starter with prosecco and then for dinner we had lasagna and salad. My friend Letizia help to host and made homemade tiramisu for dessert!  It was delicious!  For the table I tried to decorate with a Bern theme. I had found some cheery Bern pictures at a brocante soon after we arrived in Bern. I used those as place mats and topped them with toblerone bars and for the guest of honor, a Bern bear chocolate bar.  Nina has a gorgeous lemon tree so I thought the lemons and tulips were pretty and reminded me of Nina’s taste! For the appetizers I found some little Bern canton flag toothpicks.

I wasn’t great at getting pictures but here are a few. Some are a little blurry but still worth including I think!























































You will be missed Nina! So thankful that we met and shared this year in Bern together! Looking forward to crossing paths many more times in the years to come!


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Keepin’ it real

As I skimmed facebook this morning I saw lots of little “mommyhood is so amazing” posts…and I couldn’t agree more. But, I feel as though we are in a very refining phase right now. I have mentioned before how I feel like about every 6 months we have a sort of boot camp time where the boys seem to push every limit over again and it feels like we have to crack down. And here we are. Let me give you a glimpse into my day yesterday…

Jackson and Seth rushed out the door to school and Owen and I headed out for our weekly coffee time with friends before going to swimming lessons…besides the major nudity exposure that swim class in Europe brings (this is for sure a completely separate upcoming post! stay tuned!)  we had a good morning and enjoyed our friends as always. Owen fell asleep on the way to drop off our friends after class and was less than excited when I woke him up to pop into the grocery store. To my credit this isn’t nap time so I wasn’t torturing him!! I came armed with a snack and distractions but yesterday they did not work. I put Owen on the floor to walk when he refused the cart and he proceeded to throw his body on the floor of the store and SCREAMMMMMM. I scooped him up, gather the groceries I could remember amidst the screaming and hurried out. Did I ever mention that the stores here feel awfly quiet to this was a bigger than normal scene.

We got Jackson from school and headed home. Owen decided that 15 min nap in the car was sufficient and refused his nap. Jackson fell asleep shortly and we moved along with the afternoon. Because I had been unsuccessful at the store in the morning I decided we would get out and walk to the grocery store for a few more things we needed. Everyone was happily crunching an apple on the walk up. enjoying the fresh air and being outside!

Since I had the stroller I decided to let Jackson push a kiddie cart, knowing our food would fit in it.  He accepted the task with great enthusiasm and on we went. Half way through the store he took a corner too quickly and over went out overly full cart…eggs and all. I quietly up the contents, tossed them back in and moved on.   And I thanked God that no one was in our aisle at the moment. Sometimes the stares feel more annoying than the toppled cart.

We hiked down the hill and made it home in time for the boys to play in the atrium while I cooked dinner. I heard them come in at one point and head back to their rooms. Then I heard them in the bathroom. I went back to see that we were not having a flood and saw that they had open the giant bathroom windows and Owen was tossing bath toys out the window one by one.

At dinner we have been working on Jackson staying in his chair. Last night at one point he hopped out of this chair and as we both spoke up to tell him to sit down his foot landed on Owen’s fork that had somehow made it’s way to the floor. Jackson earned himself a nice little gouge.

Baths were uneventful and everyone went to bed peacefully.

So, although I agree that motherhood is amazing and rewarding, it is also so much work and so refining. It’s tough doing the hard work of discipline and teaching!  It wasn’t that the kids even needed tons of discipline today it was more that they had constant needs and I find that some days it’s just tough getting anything other than little boy stuff accomplished.

I am building in some “me time” this weekend to catch my breath and be able to enjoy the sweet moments a little bit better. They tend to get a bit blurry in the midst of the chaos.  It certainly is no piece of cake!

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Hey folks! I thought I was running behind on posting this since it is more of a cozy food and didn’t seem so springy…but, today we are having a rainy, cold day so I am popping it up in case any of you need something cozy.

My neighbor Erika is Hungarian and since she arrived here in Bern I have begged her to teach me some of her recipes. When we meet in the yard in the afternoons to watch the kids play I always ask what she’s cooking for dinner. So, one afternoon she popped over and we made stuffed peppers together. They weren’t super hard to do and were so delicious!







Hungarian Stuffed Peppers

(via Erika Woodard)


4-6 peppers, any color will work! 

1 onion, finely diced

1 clove of garlic, minced


Saute onion in oil, add garlic as onions get close to being translucent. 

1 1/2 lbs ground pork/beef blend   

1/2 cup raw rice 

1 egg

small spoon of paprika…Hungarian of course! Kidding, any kind will work!

Salt and Pepper to taste

1-2 stalks of celery to place in the pot while you simmer and then can remove before simmering

Mix raw meat, raw rice, egg and paprika and stuff into peppers. Do not stuff too tightly because the rice will expand. 

Mix one small can of tomato paste and 1 tsp sugar with enough water to cover the peppers in a pot on the stove.  Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer on low for 30-45 minutes checking to see when the peppers are tender and the meat inside is done.

If you need to thicken the sauce at the end make a thickener with by cooking 3 T. flour mixed with 3 T. oil. Boil until thick.








Next she has to teach me cabbage rolls!  A few weeks after we made the peppers I had a cabbage and some peppers in the fridge. I ended up basically making a stuffed pepper soup instead and added cabbage for some extra vitamins.  So, if you are intimidated by the stuffing of peppers make a soup! Instead of rice in the soup we served ours over rice. The soup means you don’t have to stress about if the meat in the peppers is cooked!

Stuffed Pepper Soup

via kristen kolb…made up from a combination of recipes

1 lb ground beef (you can use what you have if you have a blend that is fine too)

3 peppers, diced

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced 

2 can diced tomatoes

1/2 small cabbage sliced into thin slices

4 cups low sodium beef broth, add or subtract if you like it soupier.  

1/4 cup tomato paste 

1 T paprika

1 tsp sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Brown meat with onions and garlic. remove to a bowl. Add small amount of oil and saute the chopped peppers and cabbage. When the peppers are tender and the cabbage is beginning to wilt add back the meat, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika, broth and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to boil and reduce heat to low. Allow it to simmer on low for 25-30 mins. Serve over rice or by itself.  



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