Thursday, November 19, 2015

Gratitude: General Conference and Favorite Talks

I'm so grateful for General Conference. For the past couple of weeks, after the busy rush of getting kids to school each morning, I've been carving out time to sit down with some breakfast (I never get a chance to eat breakfast while trying to feed everyone else!) and a cup of my favorite herbal tea (Sweet and Spicy by Good Earth) and watch a talk from last month's General Conference. This daily dose of inspiration has made such a difference for me. Some talks are simply nice reminders for me. Others bring tears to my eyes as they help me realize something really important and timely and offer messages that resonate on a deep level with me.

Today's breakfast was homemade sort-of-healthy oatmeal cookies and persimmons.

Here are a few of my favorite talks so far:

What Lack I Yet by Larry Lawrence (I often pray for help with specific character traits I know I need to work on, but praying to know WHAT to work on is something I haven't really thought about before - and something I'm trying to do now. I know that if I work on changing one small thing at a time - and find out from the Lord what to work on first - I can become more of the person I really want and need to be.)

It's Never Too Early and It's Never Too Late by Bradley Foster (great parenting advice)

If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments by Carole Stephens (great ideas to help me in my mothering and in my personal path towards greater obedience)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Gratitude Days 9-16: laundry, speech therapy, faith, hair, little kids, food, light and music

It's been so very good for me to seek out the good each day and take a moment to quickly celebrate it with an Instagram post. I've felt so generally happy and my life feels so good - even though nothing has really changed as far as my situation. I'm so grateful for gratitude!

Here are the posts I've done since last posting on this blog:

On Saturday the 14th, I didn't do an Instagram post because I wanted to share a favorite recipe as part of my gratitude for that day - and recipe-posting works better on a blog.We had friends over for dinner and I made my favorite fall soup. I'd forgotten how delicious it is! I'm so grateful for great recipes and for flavor and for good food.

Here's what we ate:

Curried Chicken and Apple Soup

This is a huge fall favorite around here - my husband and I and all my kids LOVE this. Maybe it sounds like a weird combination of things - apples, chicken, curry - but I've never had someone NOT love it.

Curried Chicken and Apple Soup

1 tsp. vegetable oil or olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 3 big breasts)
1 large onion, chopped
5 crushed/chopped garlic cloves (or 1-2 tsp bottled crushed garlic)
1 medium green pepper and one yellow bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger (or bottled crushed ginger)
½ tsp red or black pepper
1 tsp salt
5 cups chicken broth/stock (can use bouillon cubes to make this)
2 15 oz. cans or one 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (the whole can with the juice) or one large can crushed tomatoes (if you don’t like tomato chunks)
2 apples, chopped in small chunks (Granny Smith or Fuji work well – the crisper the better!)
1 cup rice

Saute everything down to the broth/stock together in large soup pot until chicken isn’t pink anymore and onion is tender. Then add the chicken stock, rice and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes (until rice is tender), then add the apples and cook about 8 minutes or until apples are somewhat soft and rice is done.

If desired, serve with a garnish of chopped cilantro and a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream. Great with warm crusty bread
Makes 10 one-cup servings.

I had to do two posts after a gorgeous walk along the Shoreline Trail on Sunday afternoon:

Monday, November 09, 2015

Gratitude Day 8: My husband and kids (and the final chapter on our MFME trip)

I wrote this back at the beginning of October, when my flight home was cancelled. I felt such overwhelming gratitude for my family during that delay - absence does make the heart grow fonder! I'm sharing this journal entry as a wrap-up on the MFME trip plus a gratitude entry - I bolded the part that is specifically about gratitude for my family - so if you don't want the whole family, skip on down to the bolded part!

I’m sitting here in a rather odd but fairly nice little hotel room - one twin bed, dormer window, large nook where another twin bed could easily fit but it’s just empty. Rain is falling gently outside - we’ve been blessed with a solid week of beautiful fall weather - so amazing that the first rain came as we were leaving. Perfect timing.  I’m eating a really delicious apple (all the apples have been so crisp and delicious here - I saw some applies in a bowl at the reception desk and even though it looked like the yellowish variety that is often mushy when you get it in the States, I grabbed one. Good call.) And I’m also eating a totally delicious Lindt dark chocolate hazelnut bar and a piece of bread I didn’t quite finish at breakfast. Bread, chocolate and an apple. It’s not exactly a great lunch - but by 3:30pm, you’ll take what you can get for lunch! My back hurts from standing in line for hours this morning and now sitting in this uncomfortable chair trying to catch up on Power of Moms work (so much to do for this Mom Conference next week!). My eyes are heavy from so many short nights and so much adventure. My heart aches because I want to be with my husband and kids right now - so much. But here I am. And I’m choosing to be grateful for the chance to reflect a bit and catch up on emails and watch conference before spending tons of hours on a wifi-less plane tomorrow and being slapped with the beautiful but probably overwhelming reality of jumping back into motherhood when I get off that plane.

I’m supposed to be on a plane headed home right now. But after waking up at the crack of dawn to sneak out of the hotel room while my sisters slept and get to the airport for my flight, I found out my flight was seriously delayed and was excited when they said they could get me on a different flight that was supposed to leave earlier but was delayed a bit. Then I sat on that plane at the gate for almost an hour (in the very last row in the corner, feeling pretty claustrophobic…) before they said it would be 2 more hours at least and might get cancelled (no visibility in Amsterdam because of crazy-thick fog, I guess). They invited those of us w/o checked luggage to get off and get rerouted. I jumped at that chance. 

I hurried right over to the ticket/check in area and talked to an agent who told me I could get on a flight leaving in just a couple hours - there were seats available - hallelujah! But then she double checked and said that she didn't have the right authorization to put me on that flight and that I'd need to wait in the super long line across the way to see if they could put me on that flight. Since by then, all the flights to Amsterdam were cancelled and there were like 200 people waiting in line to get re-routed, that was bad news. While waiting in line, I tried to get on the phone with the airline (Delta) but my phone wouldn't work as I didn't have an international plan. I tried to set up a plan but no luck. Then I was so excited to see my sister Charity happen along, headed for her flight, and she let me use her phone. I called Delta and they said that they COULD book me on that LA flight but then, after checking on some things, the agent came back on the phone and told me that as the flight was now only a hour away, the system wouldn't let her book me on that flight - there was no way I'd get to the next terminal and get to the gate on time. So she booked me on an Air France flight the following morning but told me to stay in line to get a hotel voucher. Oh, I was so sad and worried - I'd been away from home for so long, missed my family so much, Jared had been holding down the fort so kindly for over a week, and I had SO much to do on the Mom Conference! I needed to get HOME. And I was so sad that I'd been forced to miss that LA flight because of mess-ups on the airlines part.

When I finally got to the front of the line (over 3 hours in line), the agent said the flight I thought I had booked over the phone wasn’t actually booked for me and I’d have to take a later flight tomorrow and not get home until 6:30pm. I really really tried not to cry. But I was so tired and was longing to get home to my family SO much and was SO frustrated by feeling so helpless and stuck that I admit some tears did come out and I couldn’t quite talk to answer the agent when she asked if a 10am flight tomorrow getting in at 6:30pm would be OK.

The lady just sort of looked embarrassed for me but went on typing away for like 10 minutes to book this later flight for tomorrow. Then she handed me a printout with letters and numbers all over it and highlighted my flight time for tomorrow on the paper. She told me to go to another long line and wait for a voucher to go to a hotel for the night. I told her I’d already been in line for over 3 hours and she said just go up to the front. So I did. And when I finally got someone’s attention, a lady took my precious paper with all the letters and numbers on it that I understood was supposed to be my ticket for tomorrow and went off into the back room for ages then finally came back with a paper in German and said it was a hotel voucher. I asked where my paper was that had all the letters and numbers on it and she said she had to keep it but that she would get me a copy because I would need it in the morning. She left for another 10 minutes and I could see her fighting with a malfunctioning printer in the back. Then she came back out and started helping someone else and seemed to have completely forgotten about me until I flagged her down and asked her for my paper. She just sort of humphed and kept going with what she was doing. Then a while later she printed out a new paper full of letters and numbers for me and told me to take that to the ticket counter in the morning - but not this ticket counter - a different one which she thought was maybe in the B area of Terminal 1 but it could be somewhere else - apparently I was just supposed to come early tomorrow to figure out where to get my actual ticket. 

I totally get that weather happens and that everyone was probably doing their best to do their job in tricky situations like this. But wow, you’d think they’d have some better procedures in place and have more personnel who could stay on or be called in! Surely stuff like this has happened before and will happen again. None of the staff I talked with (6 or 7 in all) seemed concerned about the length and duration of the line. No one explained what was happening or what the procedure should be. And I totally could have made that 12pm LA flight that was open according to the Delta agent on the phone if the first agent I talked to at the airport hadn’t told me I had to wait in that long line becuase she didn't have the right authorization to put me on it!

The rest of the story (Journal from the following day):

So I settled in at the hotel last night (finding the hotel shuttle was quite an ordeal but it was OK in the end) and tried to make the best of things. I got on Skype with my family that night and was so glad ot see their faces and hear their voices. And I asked Jared to call Delta to double check that I was all set for the flight in the morning. After a couple of hours, he called back to say that he'd talked to agent after agent on the phone and there was no record of me having a confirmed ticket on that flight in the morning and that Delta was now saying that that flight had been oversold so they were putting me on a flight the FOLLOWING morning. I couldn't believe it. Seriously? I looked on and it showed that you could still buy tickets for the flight I was supposed to be on the next morning. But after talking to people for over 2 hours on the phone, Jared was told that my only option was to wait and go on the flight the following morning - over 48 hours after my original flight.

I cried to Jared for a while (a long day at the airport can sure do that to you - especially when combined with disappointment after disappointment as I was bumped from flight to flight by people who didn't explain things and weren't very nice and when you miss your family a ton!). Then I started looking for something - anything - good about this situation.

I was safe. My family was safe. I had internet (spotty but OK so I could work on Mom Conference stuff). And all this will make me extra grateful for home and family.

I’ve missed my family SO much this week. I always miss them when I’m away. But I guess I haven’t been away from them for more than a night or two in ages plus the time difference has made it really hard to communicate much with them while they’re gone. So I’ve just felt a dull ache - which sometimes jumps up into a serious pain - these last few days when I think about my dear husband and children. I am so incredibly blessed to have them. I know I take them for granted too much. So this is good for me.

I miss Oliver’s big hugs that happen whenever I’m stressed (he’s so sensitive to my worries and so good at helping me feel better). I miss Silas’s cute little song he sings to me (“Mom, I love you so, so much, I will never stop loving you”) and I miss making meals with him. I miss hearing all the details of Eliza’s day each day after school and really missed seeing her beautiful stride and determined face in last week’s cross country meet (she came in second!). I miss Ashton’s great and somewhat rare smile that makes the skin around his eyes crinkle up. And I keep wishing he was right here to help me figure out how to get on the internet of get my phone to do what I want it to do (my storage is full thanks to all the photos I’ve taken and I can’t for the life of me figure out how to delete very much…). I miss seeing Isaac making things fun for Oliver and Silas and all the neighborhood boys - he’s always up for fun and the little boys adore him. I missready for school earlier than anyone as he heads out to early morning seminary and seeing him so responsibly get his homework done. I miss Jared’s great hugs - I feel so safe in his arms. He always makes everything OK. I miss his deep voice leading family scripture study in the bleary-eyed mornings. I miss family dinner time each night when we sometimes laugh a lot and sometimes get into a deep conversation and sometimes I wind up sharing stories about things I wish I’d known sooner or experiences I’ve had and the kids get sucked in - I love spinning a good tale and seeing them wrapped up in it.  I miss tuck in time when the kids want to talk and I get some great one-on-one if I can remember to pad the time and take a deep breath and just sit there on each of their beds for a few minutes.

I’m so very very very blessed to be a wife and mother and to have the children and husband I have. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.  And I guess my main resolution from this trip is to slow down. To savor and enjoy the beauty of my family life. Just like I’ve been savoring the beauty of the scenery and the food and the conversations I’ve been having with my mom and sisters. I need to build and keep high and strong fortress walls around the time it takes to really enjoy my kids and husband. I can’t be on my computer after school and in the evenings. I just can’t. I’ve got this huge conference coming up but I’m sure it can be awesome without me stealing from my precious family time. I can prioritize better and be way more efficient and wise so that I can get the most important things done and leave the rest.

I'm SO frustrated with Delta and all the agents at the airport and over the phone who couldn't seem to give me straight or consistent answers. But I’m SO excited to go home to see my family. I am grateful for the added dose of love and gratitude for my family that this delay has brought on. But I just can't wait to get home!

I got a lot of work done in that funny little hotel room and went on some nice walks through the fields full of corn and carrots in the area. I was able to get on that flight home 2 days after the original flight. The flights were completely packed but I was just so grateful to get home! Jared and the kids were there waiting for me when I got out of the secure part of the airport. It was so wonderful to see them and hold them in my arms again! 

I did let the Mom Conference steal some precious family time. There were so many timely things that needed to happen combined with crazy stuff no one could have anticipated (like the website crashing on the first day because somehow we'd been set up with a faulty server despite our careful efforts to set things up so they'd be crash-proof when we got a lot of traffic!). I pulled a lot too-late nights and worked when the kids were home from school way more than I would have liked. But I still got everyone where they needed to go and made sure we had family dinner most every night and didn't even open my computer on Sundays so I could enjoy total focus on my family. Things are much better now that the conference is over (and it was really great in the end - almost 40,000 moms from around the world attended and we got so much kind feedback!). I've got boundaries in place and I'm being much more realistic and careful about what I take on.

I contacted Delta to ask for the compensation due to me for a delay over 12 hours and/or being involuntarily bumped from a flight according to EU law. They deny that they owe me anything despite what it says in the EU law regarding long delays and involuntary bumping from flights. It clearly says that they need to put people on the next available flight and they did not. I've sent them full information on every step of the ordeal I went through but they completely deny any sort of responsibility or compensation for me. This is extremely disappointing that Delta would choose to deny a legitimate claim like this. I totally get that they can't control that flights need to be cancelled from time to time and delays are often inevitable. But as their negligence caused much of the problems I encountered, they should clearly take responsibility. Delta is now a company I will avoid and will encourage others to avoid. So I guess Delta makes my "stuff I'm really not grateful for" list right now!

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Gratitude Days 4, 5, 6 and 7: Running, Braces, Hiking and Healthy Active Kids

Here are my gratitude posts for the last few days (from Instagram). It's been so great looking for the positive in my life and celebrating it daily. There are plenty of not-so-good things I could dwell on. But celebrating all my blessings makes me a much happier - and nicer person!

Day 4: Beautiful runs exercising body and mind (and my current favorite podcasts - This American Life, Invisibilia, and Radio Lab)

Day 5: Orthadontics (Isaac's done and Eliza and Silas have an appointment this coming week to decide when they'll get started - ortho appointments are going to be part of our lives for quite some time. But how grateful we are that orthadontics exist! Isaac could barely close his mouth back when he started. So far 100% of the my siblings, my kids, and all their cousins have had the big "Eyre teeth" come in when they get their permanent teeth - and often those big big teeth cause some crazy crowding and serious overbites. So braces are something all Eyres are grateful for!)

Day 6: Hiking (and the first snow! we hiked through gorgeous swirling snowflakes this week.)

Day 7: Healthy Active Kids

I have to admit that I've complained about the huge amount of driving kids around and going to kids' sporting events that has been such a large part of our lives this fall. But I'm so grateful that they want to be involved in great things that keep them active, help them form good friendships, and teach them so many important things. At Isaac's first swim meet on Friday afternoon, Jared, Ashton, Eliza and I got a crash course in how swim meets work (this was the very first swim meet any of us had ever attended) as we got roped into being timers. For almost FIVE HOURS, we carefully timed event after event in the lanes we were each assigned and we learned a ton while supporting Isaac and the team. Not only are the kids who are participating in each sport learning and growing and making new friends - so is the rest of the family as we support them!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Gratitude Day 2 & 3: Beauty and Safety

I posted this to Instagram yesterday as my gratitude post for the day:

The deep, rich colors of late fall have filled my heart with joy. I love how leaves, in the very act of dying, become amazingly beautiful. And I just love fall - especially days like Monday when it's crisp but not cold and the overcast skies make the colors really pop. I went for a run on Monday and it was just so beautiful and perfect.

For the past few days, I've been thinking so much about the huge blessing of safety that I enjoy so that's what I want to focus on for my gratitude post today. On Sunday, we decided as a family to fast for the refugees who've left their homeland of Syria to find safety. On Sunday, we watched these YouTube clips (and a lot more - but these were some of the ones we liked the best) to learn more about the whole thing:

We've talked a lot the past few days about how blessed we are to feel safe in our country, to be able to sleep at night in our own comfy beds rather than sleeping on the streets while traveling to find asylum or in a tent in a refugee camp, hoping to have a roof over our heads again some day.

How blessed I am that I've never known war and have always felt safe.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Gratitude Day 1: MFME Trip to Switzerland, Austria and Germany

It's weird that it's been SO long since I've written. I wrote 2-3 times a week on this blog for years and years but something just had to give over the past year - so my blog got put on the back burner. I've been Instagraming regularly and podcasting a lot so I'm sort of journaling my life and thoughts that way. But now that the big Mom Conference I co-hosted is over (it was SO much work and stress but I learned a ton and we had nearly 40,000 moms attend - many of whom took the time to write the nicest notes of thanks), I've decided to slow down on Power of Moms projects and make more time for writing, for reading, for thinking, and for actually taking the time to enjoy my beautiful life (my word for this year is "enjoy" and I'm determined to get better at actually doing it!).

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 the schoolhouse- turned-museum where our great great grandfather and mother went to school
In Schmeidrued, Switzerland (with the sweet museum curator and his wife)

At the church where my great great grandparents, Verena and Samuel Weber, went to church

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.
Perhaps most importantly, we talked. We had great conversations as we drove from place to place, alternating who went it which of the two cars. We had 5 in one car, 4 in the other. And 4-5 is such a perfect sized group for great conversation. We talked over meals and gathered in one of the hotel rooms each night to talk late into the night - even when we were so tired we knew we should really go to bed - we just had to enjoy every possible bit of good conversation! We each shared the best and hardest things going on in our lives right now. We talked about what books we’ve read and what podcasts we’ve listened to and all that we’ve been learning. We talked about our children and helped each other come up with ideas for handling various things going on with our kids. We laughed a lot. Oh, how good it feels to laugh with these women I love so much!

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:
Switzerland intro
Anita's wonderland
Engadin Valley
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.


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