Ready for a photo dump?
I know no better way to catch up on what we've been doing since our trip in September. This all feels like forever ago, the holidays really went by so quickly this year, and now it's almost March?!
Where has time gone?

We had "Friendsgiving" with all of our close friends:
Getting everyone to sit was interesting:
(yes Bennett was dancing for the picture…that kid doesn't know what 'sit still' means)
The first Chrismassy thing we did was our annual trip to Zoo Lights with our friends The Hartmanns:

The zoo train wasn't running this year, so they created a new 'light tunnel' to make up for it.
It was pretty awesome:
Buck just wanted to touch all the lights:
Getting our Christmas tree:
Found the perfect one:
Decorating it:
The boys in a box admiring the tree:
Outside lights:
I love the coziness of having Christmas decorations up and the tree lights on instead of lamps, but isn't it funny how quickly we grow tired of it?
While at my mom's group before Christmas, the kids came and sang us Silent Night,
hand motions and all.
See Bennett in the front/left?
Our first snow of the year.
Buck was pretty excited:
Until Bennett pelted him with a snowball:
(classic brother move)
Chris had two weeks off so we took a few trips to the library:
And Chris fashioned an obstacle course one day during nap time:
We went on the Polar Express in Hood River with my whole family, how cute are the boys' elf pjs:
(I hope they never grow out of them)
Santa with the cousins:
Their first ever visit to see Santa:
(and his reindeer too!)
This Santa looked so much like Will Ferrel, it was kind of crazy:
Our Christmas Card:
(Paperless Post is really the best)
Christmas Eve service at The Schnitz:
Buck and the sea of presents at my sister's house:
Photobooth fun:
Craziness always ensues at Chris' family Christmas with all the kids being so close in age.
This year Buck had to stand on all of the presents:
Wrapping gifts with Ember's help:
Gifts all set out for Christmas morning:
The best picture I got of these guys on Christmas morning:
(I don't think these two have ever sat still at the same time)
Checking out his new puzzle:
Testing out our new things before breakfast:
My mom found a Fisher Price parking garage in great condition,
I'm not sure which one of us likes it more:
We had a New Years party with our friends and I put together a photobooth to document the occasion:
The kids weren't too interested in the Photo photobooth:
And we proved that we are photobooth-challenged:
Case in point:
(at least he's got the cuteness factor going for him)
Happy New Year:

…a very, very belated one!
We set out for our hike up to the Schilthorn Peak after breakfast on our first full day in Murren.
The weather was cloudy and it looked like it was going to rain, so we decided to just go for as long as we could. We knew it would take 3 hours to get to the peak and 3 hours to get back down.
I really had no idea what to expect but I knew that it would be the hardest hike we've ever done and our friends told us they didn't even want to get out of bed the day after they hiked it!
The Allmendhubel-bahn takes you about 1,000 feet above Murren to the start of the hiking area.DSC_0304

Just before heading up:
(This is one of my favorite pictures of Chris, and yes he hiked in a button down.)

The best view of Murren:
(including cows in the field…could it get any more picturesque?!)

Murren from above:
Here we go!:
Chris at the edge:
The Schilthornbahn over a random lake:
This is probably my favorite picture from the hike:
A view of the finish line:
Having fun with angles:
It was really cloudy for a majority of our trip and it even started sprinkling on us, luckily the cloudy were going by so fast that nothing stayed for long:
It was also amazing how much the scenery changed depending on where we were at:
The only place I fell:
(It was so steep that they had to pave part of it for traction. It actually scared me a bit and I dropped my phone when I fell and I was worried it was going to fall off the side of the mountain but it didn't thankfully. My phone case has battle wounds from the Alps, but it still held together! I consider it a trophy of sorts.)
Still smiling:
Once we got up to the higher area, it wasn't so obvious where we were supposed to go. All we had were the spray painted arrows and flags on the ground and every so often we'd pass a sign post telling us how much farther we had to go:
(The Schilthorn peak is in the distance…so far away!)
Climbing straight up:
(This is when I realized that maybe we could have worn something a little more substantial than running shoes.)
This was comforting to come across:
It was such a weird feeling to be in the middle of the Alps by ourselves, with no way of getting ahold of somebody if one of us got hurt. We passed a few people both ways and I'm sure the people in the trams could see us:
Towards the top, hikers had placed rock piles to commemorate their hike:
Ours, with a C + B scratched into the front rock:
Directly under the peak:
Once we got to the saddle, the only way to go up was on the icy snow while holding onto a rope that was secured into the mountain by a few pieces of rebar…oh and there was a sheer cliff on the other side of us. We decided to just turn around and head back down at this point. 
Pretty disappointing to turn around about 1,000 feet before the end, but less disappointing than dying:
On the way back down under the Schilthorn peak. 
(I hope the people that took the trams up there to eat their $100 soup were enjoying it. 
We enjoyed the heck out of our Cliff Bars.)
We had 3 more hours ahead of us but it seemed to go more quickly on the way down. 
 We were bummed but we were also looking forward to eating an actual meal.
Catching some fresh mountain spring water:
The entire hike I picked up interesting rocks and put them in my pockets as free souvenirs.
Apparently I wanted to torture myself by putting more weight on for the hike:
(it's actually ridiculous how many rocks we ended up with)
Chris got meatloaf (not many options), fries and peas and I ordered a humble, tiny but spendy garden salad. Not exactly what I was wanting after hiking for 6 hours but we didn't want to break the bank. We did break the Swiss code of conduct by secretly splitting our meals though. 
Shhh don't tell anyone.
After eating we went back to the hotel and passed out.

Our bag of rocks:
(We actually got stopped at security when we got back into the US. 
They had no idea what was in our bag…oh ya know, just rocks.)

To sum it up, Switzerland was awesome and I couldn't think of a better end to our trip. Who knows, maybe we will be back one day so we can finish that last 1,000 feet up to the Schilthorn peak.


Thinking back on our trip:
We were gone for a total of 9 days, which I think was a perfect amount of time. As awesome as it was to spend time with great friends in amazing places, we were looking forward to getting back home to the boys. When we were planning the trip, I think the best piece of advice we received was "go to Europe expecting that you will be back someday." We didn't feel the need to see every little thing, but instead we got to sort of "sample" a bunch of different places that were all so different from each other. We will be back for sure, even if it's once the boys are off to college!

Just in case you missed any…
Leaving home + Amsterdam part 1
Amsterdam part 2
Switzerland part 1