You won't be seeing a lot more posts here in general. But you'll be seeing more. Especially this month as I've decided to do a quick gratitude post every day (maybe here part of the time, on Instagram part of the time - still deciding...). A couple year's back, I did a quick daily post about something I was especially grateful for during the whole month of November up until Thanksgiving and that was such a positive thing for me. I enjoy life much more and find a lot more happiness when I'm actively looking for the good in my life- and knowing I'll be writing a gratitude post each day helps keep me actively looking for the good.
My first gratitude post for this month will be WAY longer than the rest. I finally got a chance tonight to read over my mom and sisters' great blog posts about our fabulous MFME (Mothers and Future Mothers of Eyrealm) trip to Europe at the end of Septemer/beginning of October. And I'm just SO full of gratitude for these fabulous women I get to be related to and the precious time we had together and for my mom who made it all happen. Plus I'm so grateful that my mom and sisters recorded the trip so well already - so I'm going to share links to their great blog posts full of photos at the end of this post and keep my post to a few full group photo and the text I wrote up at the end of the trip but haven't gotten around to posting until now.
Oh how I love these ladies!
|In Flims where Anita grew up|
|Walk through the gorgeous hills near Tal and Anita's house|
|In the Alps|
|At Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany|
|On our "Sound of Music" bike tour in Salzburg|
|at the Museum of Modern Art in Salzburg|
|getting creative with pictures - downtown Salzburg|
|Munich - during the height of Oktoberfest|
|Final dinner together - in Munich|
Here's what I wrote at the end of our trip:
I’ve had a truly wonderful and amazing week with my mom and sisters and sisters in law, traveling around Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
- We visited the town where our great grandmother grew up and and saw the school and church that she went to as a girl.
- We wandered through beautiful Zurich and climbed to the top of the towers of the cathedral there.
- We had a fabulous Sunday dinner at the lovely traditional chalet where my brother Tal and his family live (Tal’s wife Anita is from Switzerland and is SO excited to be living there again after living in the States for 20 years!).
- We visited the breathtaking ski town in the Alps (called Flims) where Anita grew up and visited her parents in her childhood home which is right up against one of the most beautiful mountains I’ve ever seen. We saw the bedroom she had growing up and marveled at the view she had from the desk in that room as she did her homework!
- We hiked along the “Grand Canyon of Switzerland” and walked around the lake in Flims plus rode a ski lift up to where we could get sweeping views. Then Anita and I walked down the mountain into the old village center of Flims, cow bells clanging all around, chalets and old barns dotting the hillside.
- We wandered along the remains of a 2000-year-old Roman road as we went through the Julier Pass.
- We saw traditional Swiss mountain cheese made the original way - in a huge kettle over an open fire - and learned facinating facts about cheese making before enjoying a fabulous (and HUGE) platter of many kinds of cheese.
- We rode a gondola up to the glacier peaks outside St Moritz and felt like we were on top of the world.
- We ate amazing chocolate and wonderful fondue and so many other tasty things (which were all VERY expensive - wow, Switzerland is one expensive country!).
- We explored adorable mountain villages in Switzerland and Bavaria with flowerboxes bursting with color at every window (Zouz, Oberarmegau, Mittenwald).
- We stayed in a wonderful apartment tucked into the attic of a house from the 1500’s and felt like we’d stepped right into a storybook. In fact, every place we stayed was just wonderful (thanks to Anita and Aja for setting up all the accommodations!).
- We went to the fairytale castle of Neuishwanstein and wondered at the care and expense that went into that exquisite palace that King Ludwig only enjoyed for a couple years before he mysteriously died. We hiked up above the castle to enjoy amazing views.
- We visited Mittenwald which was the violin-making capital of the world for centuries and learned about how violins are made in the lovely little museum there plus rode a wonderfully slow old chairlift up to the top of the mountain outside the village and enjoyed lunch looking out over gorgeous mountains with the town spread out below.
- We visited beautiful churches - some dripping with Roccoco pastels and gold accents, some simple and stark and pure.
- We rode bikes all over the gorgeous city of Salzburg, ate lunch at the Museum of Modern Art there with a spetcatular view of the city, heard all the bells pealing at the same time from the countless steeples of Salzburg, and climbed up to its ancient fortress before finishing off that grand day with a truly amazing and intimate concert in the guilded Marble Hall at the Mirabell Palace - in the very room where Mozart played with his father and sister when he was a boy.
- We spent half a day wandering the grounds and enjoying the silly fun of the trick fountains at the Hellbrun Palace on the outskirts of Salzburg, then spent our final night together in Munich, unwittingly getting there at the climax of Oktoberfest so we were surrounded by slightly drunk and very happy crowds of people, most of whom were wearing lederhosen and dirndyls. We found a slightly less crazy little alley with a great restaurant for our final meal together and enjoyed the parade of Oktoberfest revelers walk by.
And we all had so much fun passing little 5-month-old Dean around. What a good baby he is - and he’s just plain adorable with all his smiles and coos and funny expressions! What a great mama he has - Julie just totally rolled with everything and never complained a bit about how hard it can be to travel with a baby who needs to eat in the night and has his fussy times while you’re trying to enjoy travelling with 8 other women. She’s amazing.
I’m so grateful that my mom has made such a point of getting us together regularly, that she comes up with great topics for us to discuss, and that she works to hard to make sure everyone is comfortable and happy thorughout our get-togethers. Our first “Mothers and Future Mothers of Eyrealm” (MFME) trip was back in 1998 and involved just me, Shawni, Saydi, Charity and my mom on an epic trip through I tay and France with a little time in Barcelona as well. SInce then, we’ve had gatherings pretty much every year, adding great new members as my brothers have gotten married. Some years we’ve just taken a few hours to go to dinner together while we’re at Bear Lake, leaving our husbands with the kids. Now there are 9 of us and we’re all mothers other than Charity. Because we’re all at different places financially, mom has quietly and generously helped ensure that all of us can get to every gathering. Usually our trips are much less expensive. But this year, my mom decided to use the money she got from selling the farm that her parents left to her to enable us to go on this grand adventure and visit the land of her ancestors. I know my grandparents were smiling in Heaven when she decided on this great way to use the money she got from them! They scrimped and saved all their lives and their farm never really prospered. But when the farm finally sold a few years back, my mom invested the money from the sale wisely and earmarked that money for MFME. How grateful I am to my mom and my grandparents for making this trip and all our other MFME trips possible!
How in the heck did I get so blessed to have the mother I have and the sisters and sisters in law I have???! They are each so precious to me. I learn from every one of them all the time through their examples and words. We’re all so different in wonderful ways and so much the same in important ways. There’s no group I’d rather be with. And I know having my favorite people right in my own family is a blessing that not everyone has.
Here are great posts by Shawni:
Sound of Music Bike Tour
Here are excellent posts from Charity:
sisters in switzerland
flying through the alps (I'm so mad I didn't go with them paragliding!)
So much beauty in the engadin valley
And here's my mom's take on it all:
On to Switzerland and the Beginning of an Epic MFME
And here are the photos everyone Instagrammed while we were travelling.