Monday, September 19, 2011


The opportunity to live in Europe has afforded our family experiences that, until these last two years, we only dreamed we would be able to do together.  We have traveled to beautiful countries, learned new languages, fallen in love with new foods, made new friends, and stretched ourselves to new levels.  We've grown as a family, as well as individuals.  We've all gotten to check some things off the bucket list.  One of Chris' more ambitious bucket list items got realized on a weekend in September, when we loaded up the SUV and headed to the French Alps with our good friends Brandon, Saskia, Hugo and Rose.  Chris and Brandon geared up, and attacked Alpe d'Huez--the most famous climb in the Tour de France...

 Ready to hit it.

Have you seen a cuter support vehicle crew???

The start of the climb--the most grueling section is the first section... 

There's our guy!!! 

Go Chris

 21 hairpin turns in all...just over a third of the way there!!

 Ready to cheer at the finish...

 Ready to die at the finish :)

 It started pouring on the descent
 Enjoying some chocolate croissants....
A beautiful french bakery

Another great weekend on our great adventure!!!
Way to go, Chris and Brandon, your little support people (and your wives) are so so proud of you!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


After 18 months of schlepping the boys to european cities, mountain tops, museums, churches, and beer gardens all over Europe, Chris and I thought it was high time to do something truly "kid focused".  And we wanted it to be a surprise.  Our three little men have been the best travelers.  Real troopers.  Walking miles and miles, staying up late to eat in Italian and French restaurants, listening to art tours and trying their hardest to feign interest and excitement about gothic architecture, renaissance paintings, or the production of Italian wine...(just to name a few)  Our hope is that someday they will understand why we've pushed them to hang with us through these experiences.

In early September we loaded up the car for another weekend of exploration and had them expecting a trip to Germany filled with city touring, church gawking, and beer drinking.  Instead, we had tickets for Legoland...and on the drive up I could barely contain my excitement in anticipation of seeing their little faces light up with the realization that the only thing we had planned was Legoland fun.  

Pulling into the park was awesome.  I thought Luke and Isaac were going to pop with happiness.  They were totally stoked.  And legoland didn't disappoint...

We stayed in a race car themed cottage. 

 Levi bonded with the legoland people who were just his size!
 New to the park this summer: Star Wars miniland.  Could there be a better theme for the Courts boys?  Nope!  Pure bliss...

 Our beloved little Swiss miniland
 We discovered that Isaac is my little roller coaster buddy
 Anticipating the Pirate rides
 The boys loved the water rides

Turns out, seeing our three little boys' faces with perma-smiles was just as gratifying as seeing any european architectural masterpiece.  It was really a weekend to remember. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Ok, so I realize that I promised you a post on the extraordinary trip to Italy and Spain that Chris and I took--and that is coming--but first I just had to throw in this random little post.  I have referenced several times in this blog how precise the Swiss culture is.  They are punctual, proper, addicted to rules, and tidy to a tee.  One example of this is their flag.  The Swiss flag is square, not rectangular.  It's as if they are making the point that the only shape that could possibly be MORE tidy than a rectangle is the square--their square.  I'm clearly just speculating here, and could be (and likely am) totally wrong...I'm just saying....  
Another example of Swiss orderliness is found in their wood stacks.  Seriously.  There are stacks of wood in every size and length imaginable in this country, and every one is stacked as perfectly as wood could be.  They sort it by length and diameter.  On my way home tonight I couldn't help stopping to take some shots of these stacks.  I wonder if wood stacking is a part of the swiss academic curriculum?  

 But seriously, no matter how many cultural examples of swiss perfection I can poke fun at, they also have authentically perfect swiss beauty everywhere you the view of the lake this morning.  (and their chocolate is pretty perfect too!!)


With the boys' first full week of school over, another fantastic whirlwind summer is now officially over.  I guess it's time for me to get back to the grindstone as well.  :)  Here is a recap of summer 2011...
 Aunt Elise and James came for a visit from Boston.  Seeing my sister for the first time in over 18 months was wonderful.  Beyond words, really and much overdue!  We had an awesome time catching up, and the boys loved, loved, loved the extra attention and fun.
 Next stop: Barcelona!  We ventured into Spain for the first time as a family and soaked up the sun!!!

                       We were awed by the Sagrada Familia...a work of art still in the making....

               It was one of the most spiritually moving cathedrals we've visited in Europe

We enjoyed some delicious paella for Chris' birthday! 

                               We checked out the Picasso museum and enjoyed a guided tour
But best of all, we got to see Grandpa Mike and Grandma far the highlight for all of us!
  June brought Isaac's golden birthday...five on the fifth!!  He enjoyed his pirate themed party....
                         complete with a kiss and flipper shake for the birthday boy from a sea lion,
                                                                          and a pony ride!

In June, we had some very special visitors...the much anticipated visit from the COUSINS!!  Chris' sister Jena, husband Danny and their girls Ema and Izee came all the way to Switzerland from the Hawkeye state....and boy did we have FUN!

I spy with my little eye, two cousins in blue with the whole world in front of them.

We pet some giraffes...

We hiked in the mountains...

We toured some cities...
 But most of all, we just enjoyed hanging around each other....

We miss you and love you, Ema and Izee!! (and Jena and Dan) :)
 July brought Grandpa Bruce and Grandma Linda for a visit, and back to back birthdays! First Grandpa,
 And the next day, Levi.  Could it be possible that my baby is 2????
 We explored new cities, and a beautiful garden in Germany. (Mainau Island)

And, on a cogwheel train to the top of the Schynige Platte in Interlaken, we got caught in a hail storm at the top.  It hailed 3 inches in mere minutes.  On the way back down, a tree had fallen and blocked the rail, so we hiked down along the railway.  Brrrrr....there's always adventure in store with Grandma and Grandpa!

And that's a wrap...oh, wait...there was one more trip...while Grandma and Grandpa were here, they watched the boys for ELEVEN days while Chris and I took a trip on our own.  But THAT's a story for another post.....stay tuned! :)