Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dressed like twins

We dressed the boys like twins for the first time today. We thought they looked nice and of course wanted to take a picture. Payton really wasn't having any of this though. We took a bunch of pictures and his look just got worse with each picture taken. Parker on the other hand loves the camera. Babies like having their pictures taken. Four year olds don't.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The POOL is open

Payton opened the pool today. It was warm today - in the upper 70s. I asked Payton on the way home from school if he would like to go swimming.
"Okay, but the water will be cold."
I didn't temp the water and though it feels good just standing on the steps, I am sure a full body plunge is pretty chilly. Payton swam around for about 20 minutes. Kids are tough. The water is too cold for me.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Parker got wheels today

We got Parker a set of wheels today. It is time to get him ready for his walking bike. He has some inches to grow before then. This 4-wheeler will teach him how to propel himself. In his stocking feet he just reaches the ground. He should be fine in his tennis shoes. We have tile floors here and we have heard plenty of thuds so we decided to put a helmet on him. He is very likely to fall off this thing. The helmet should cushion the blow.

No sooner than I got done with this post I heard "PARKER!" Kathleen caught him with a mouth full of crayon. Have you ever seen a crayon do this? Turns out it wasn't the crayon that did this, it was its wrapper. We couldn't tell what the wrapper said so we assumed it wasn't a Crayola brand crayon. Kathleen pitched all the non-Crayola crayons after this.
P.S.: Little Parker's tongue was blue purple for days - like a Chow dog.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hike to Saut du Doubs

Last year we attempted to go see Saut du Doubs, but it was a little cold, wet and slippery. Parker wasn't very old and we were just carrying him in our arms. We thought better of this attempt and headed back to the car.

Today was different. It was a nice day for hiking - warm, but overcast. We had a few lite sprinkles which felt nice while hiking. We have a nice backpack carrier for Parker which he likes riding in. Kathleen and Payton put on water packs and we set off. Today we were going to see the waterfall on the Doubs river.

The river Doubs runs roughly northeast and is partly the border between Switzerland and France. We started our hike from the town of Les Brenets (CH). It is here that the river is backed up because of the narrow gorge downstream and thus you have Lac des Brenets. From here the hiking signs said we had a 55 minute walk. We started walking along the south side (the Swiss side), but soon were forced up into the mountains. We found out a little later that the river is faced with cliffs and there just isn't anyway to walk its shore. We found our way up to a paved road a walked on it. Being paved it was easy walking, but it was a case of not being able to see the forest (lake) because of the trees. We did come to a nice look out spot where we could see up lake and where we started from.
We explained to Payton how one side was Switzerland (left) and the other France (right). I couldn't see the dotted line down the middle of the river though... um.

The road led us to the end of the lake and to where it returns to being a river. This is the debarkation point for all the river taxis. From here it is only a 10 minute walk to the falls. The path is wide and smooth. A real easy walk. We made it to the falls and it was pretty cool. It is 27 m high (almost 90 ft.). Our view was from the Swiss side. We are saving the view from the French side for another time. You can get a much better view of the falls from the other side.

We did the smart thing and caught a river taxi back to our car. We'll come back for more hikes along this river. Farther downstream is another lake formed by a dam. We'll need to check out the dam.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Payton and I went to see a small circus troop in Neuchâtel today and it was really very good and a whole lot of fun.

The venue was small and cozy. I'd guess the tent able to seat about 350. We splurged and got the front row center seats. (Bob Uecker was supposed to sit next to us but he had a last minute change of plans.) Doing this made the show a little more special. While everybody else sat in plastic chairs, Payton and I (and seven other people) enjoyed the show sitting on comfy couches with pillow backs.

There was a little bit of everything is the 2 hour show. Payton laughed and laughed at the clowns. They were pretty funny. Their look wasn't what you might expect. It's them in the pictures - a man and a woman. They seemed to have the biggest part in the show. I am very glad to have been able to take Payton to see this. He'll remember this show for some time to come.

Swiss bum and other things

There are bums even in Switzerland. Look in the background. This is the only time that we have seen a real mess here. I guess this is the after effects of Switzerland's punk youth and their Park Parties. The little punks left quite a mess with the worst being all the broken glass. We came to this open spot to let Payton ride his bicycle. It should be needless to say that we moved on to another place.

All was not ugly this day. While I went to get tickets for this afternoon's circus show, Kathleen and the boys took a few pictures around some flowers.
Photo by Payton Taylor

Just before the show we stopped for ice cream.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The boys and I went to Bern today

Payton didn't have school today as it was Labour Day in the Canton of Neuchâtel. So the three of us boys took the train to Bern for lunch and to get out and walk around.
Here we are waiting for the train at the Corcelles-Peseux station.
On the train to Bern.

We had lunch at an 'American food' restaurant called Papa Joe's. I don't think it has anything to do with the Papa Joe's we are familiar with.
I tried the the BBQ ribs and they weren't to bad. They weren't Texas Roadhouse great, but were okay. Their french fries weren't very good. On the table was not one, but two bottles of ketchup. My gosh, all the ketchup I want for my fries. This is just McUnbelievable in Switzerland. McDonald's (Burger King too) charges 20¢ for each packet of ketchup. That price makes each of these bottles cost about 8 or 9 bucks.
Payton had chicken and chips.

After lunch we walked around and came to a plaza that was being setup for evening entertainment. There was a cool thing-a-ma-jig there for the kids to play with. I don't know what you call this thing but it was neat. I guess you could call it a giant marble run. The balls are about the size of croquet balls. Around this thing were stations that the kids operated to move the balls up so they could roll back down the rails. Payton really had fun playing with this thing.

We were in Bern about 3 hours and that was enough. We headed back to the bahnhof to catch the train home.