Bonjour Vacation Days 1-3: Switzerland, Germany, Switzerland, oh my!

Hello there friends!
It’s been waaaaaaay too long since we’ve chatted!  I have really missed you ladies!
The Shull five took our little summer vacation for a few weeks and truly unplugged.  No phones, no emails, no social media, no nothin’ that could distract us from family time.  It was bliss.  While I was gone, I thought about you often…for one, I read two books that you suggested to me just earlier this month (The Royal We and Me Before You) AND I starting binge watching Friday Night Lights.  You ladies are brilliant.  That’s all I have to say about that :).
So…before we begin the deluge of family photos (brace yourself…my feelings will not be hurt if you check out today and come back tomorrow when I show you embarrassing high school photos…yes, they’re coming…tomorrow), I need to announce my BIG $500 Visa Gift Card winner!  That’s right…today is my 100th Bar Recipe (and it’s a good one!!) and the winner of my giveaway!  To see my 100th bar
…and the winner of the giveaway, click here.
Okay…vacation time.Hello vacation…er, um, I mean, bonjour vacation!

Day 1

I was trying to take a picture on our way out to the airport…they were all a tad bit excited.


Our family headed out on our first vacation since becoming the Shull five.  Love these people so much!


This kid is just so much fun!  Sweet Ashby London goes with the flow and is the life of the party.  Love her so much!
Day 2
And just like that…a looooong plane ride later, we arrived in Zurich, Switzerland.
We flew from Dallas to DC and then from there to Zurich.  We arrived at 8:00 AM, rented our car and drove to Bern.  We stayed four nights in Bern before driving to Lausanne, Switzerland and staying another three nights.
Andrew and I went to Bern for the first time almost six years ago when I was pregnant with Smith…
…let’s note a few things here.
1. Andrew looks fourteen.
2. I am wearing braces and as you can see…my tongue thrust is in full force.
3. We have greatly improved our selfie taking abilities.
4. Bern was so fabulous that we’ve been wanting to go back ever since.


And here we are!  Almost six years later with our three kiddos :).  We’re all tired, dirty, still wearing our travel clothes and just trying to make it through the day and fight the jet lag until it’s bedtime.  After we checked into our hotel, we spent the day enjoying Bern.  First stop, their famous clock tower in the center of town.  The weather was gorgeous (low 70s) and we loved our day outside.


Ahhh…here we are at a Swiss chocolate shop.  We told the kiddos they could pick out a few things.  I was taking this picture, enjoying the sweet moment when…Ashby peed all over the floor in the store.
There was a huge puddle.
I quickly grabbed her up and ran outside (only to get pee on my legs and shoes).  I was cleaning her up outside when a few minutes later, Andrew and the big kids made the walk of shame out of the store.  Andrew said he offered to clean it up but they wanted to do it.  He also said after they told him how much the total was for the kids’ candy, he over paid on purpose ;).
In Ashby’s defense, we were gone for 14 days and this was her only accident.  She made it a doozy though :).


All Smith has talked about since knowing he was going to Switzerland was how he wanted a real Swiss Army Knife.  So, he finally got one (holding it proudly here).  Smith is an old soul.  He likes order, things to be really neat, he’s very thoughtful, he’s a rule follower and asks a gazillion questions.  I think he’s pretty mature for his age…that being said, I consider it a win that he’s had that thing almost three weeks now and nobody’s been stabbed. #itsthelittlethings #hesstillafiveyearoldboy #watchoutsisters
Speaking of old soul Smith, he was the only child that cared that Albert Einstein used to live in Bern and that there is now a museum in his honor there.  That’s Smith talking about Einstein’s apartment up above.


Bern is famous for having a bear reserve at the city’s entrance.  There are actual bears that live right there in a nature preserve when you go into the city.  You can look down on them from several different angles from the city bridge or wall.  Wouldn’t you know it that the bears were “on holiday” for a month and so we missed them.  Boo.  We looked at their preserve but didn’t see any bears.


Six years later and our selfie skills are much improved.  (Side note, this trip really could have used a selfie stick…darn.)


Ashby couldn’t fight the jet lag any longer :).  Also, please note that old doll in the background of this picture and the one before.  That was my doll when I was one year old and somehow Kensington found it at my parents’ house and decided to take it with us.  My mother is the least sentimental person on the planet and the fact that this doll wasn’t trashed is a miracle…so it vacationed with us.


This candy store had a slide entrance, so of course, we had to check it out!  Why walk down stairs when you can slide?!


Ashby woke up in time for the slide. #smartgirl


Oh Bern, you are so pretty.


So tired.  We were all so tired.  After dinner, we crashed at the hotel for the night.
Day 3
The next day (August 1) was Switzerland’s National Holiday (kind of like their July 4th), so we were told that people did things with their families during the day and then celebrated as a community at night with fireworks and stuff (see, very similar).  So, what do you do during the day when Switzerland is closed?  Drive to Germany!


If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times…my very favorite food in the entire world is German food.  I love German food. I could live off of German food.  I should have been born German.  So, a day trip to Germany included lots of fun and lots of food too!


We enjoyed the Saturday morning market in Freiburg, Germany.


And then we stopped for wienerschnitzel.  #hallelujah   My kiddos are now also big fans of the ‘schnitzel.  I knew I loved them :).


After lunch, we toured the Cathedral of Our Lady in the center of Freiburg.  My kids were really into touring churches and cathedrals on this trip.  It actually really surprised me how much they enjoyed this.  Inside, we lit candles and said prayers after we toured.  Both of my big kids prayed for my grandmother who lost her husband (he died 16 years ago…but they were both so sweet and solemn about it as they prayed for her).  Ashby must have heard the whole “praying for Grandmother” (that’s what we call her), so she lit her candle and prayed for Lovie ;).


We soaked up more Freiburg and stopped for ice cream.  This girl loves anything spicy or tart…lemon ice cream for the win!


Out of my three kids, this is the most crazy combination right here.  These two are a mess!  They are constantly touching each other, climbing on each other, messing with each other, hugging each other, getting each other in trouble.  They are a mess.  A sweet mess…but a mess nonetheless.


Freiburg has little canals that run all around it.  The flowing water is coming right off of the mountains (very cold!) and kids everywhere were playing in it.


They had the best time on their little German outing!


We drove back to Bern in time to celebrate National Holiday with the locals.  We ate outside at this really family friendly restaurant next to a park that overlooked the city.


Love these two.


My handsome hubby :).


I pray every day that one day, in Heaven, I’ll be united with Ashby’s birth mom.  I just want to hug her and thank her for choosing life for our sweet girl.  She was brave and gave birth to our girl and left her in front of a hospital so she would be found.  I imagine her to be beautiful like our Ashby (and probably quite the little ham too), and I just want to hug her.  Her selfless act gave us our daughter.


After dinner, we let the kids play at the park while firecrackers went off all around us.


See in fun in the background?  Fun all around!


A great way to end Day 3!
To see Days 4 & 5, click here.
I’m so happy to be back friends!  Tomorrow…it’s Show and Tell Tuesday and the theme is show who you were in high school.  Watch out now!

And don’t forget, today is my 100th Bar Recipe!!  Eeks!  The winner of my $500 Visa Gift Card is also announced!

Love to you all!

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  • kimm atwood August 17, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Looks like a beautiful fun family vacation!

  • Amber August 17, 2015 at 10:24 am

    What a FUN trip!!!!

  • Lauren McGreevy August 17, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Ahh looks like so much fun! You look so tan in these pictures! Can't wait to hear more about your trip!


    • kelly August 17, 2015 at 11:12 am

      I thought the same thing about the tan. How do you get such a dark, even tan with tanning lotion?

  • Christi August 17, 2015 at 10:30 am

    What a fun trip!

  • Andrea Nicole August 17, 2015 at 10:43 am

    So glad to have you back! I loved looking at your family photos!

  • Kathleen August 17, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Looks so fun!!!!

  • Erika Slaughter August 17, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Only in Bern do bears even get a holiday, right? Ha! Loved these pictures and can't wait to see the rest of your trip!! We're SO glad you're back! XOXO

  • Narci August 17, 2015 at 11:12 am

    What a fun trip!! Also, I'm so glad you are back home!! Yay!! 🙂

  • kelly August 17, 2015 at 11:13 am

    I love this post especially cause we're going to Zurich in a month!

  • Angela Ellingson August 17, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Love reading about your vacations! 🙂 Excited to see high school Shay! 😉

  • Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} August 17, 2015 at 11:53 am

    FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!! My goodness I've waited sooooooooo long for some pics! Can hardly wait to follow along on the rest of the trip. p.s. What you said about Ashby's mom gave me a lump in my throat!!! So thankful for her courage!

  • brianna August 17, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Looks like an amazing trip 🙂 I cant wait to see/hear more!

  • Natalie Juns August 17, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    What an amazing trip!! Looks like you all had a great time! 🙂

  • Dana August 17, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    What a fun vacation!! Love the pictures… can't wait to see more! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Angie August 17, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    What a wonderful time with your sweet family. So glad you're back though! 🙂

  • Tanya August 17, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Aren't European playgrounds the best? Looks like a wonderful start to a happy family vacation. 🙂

  • Not A Mom August 17, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Excited to hear about your whole trip and more excited you are back with us!

    Linds @ not a mom

  • TorontoSAM August 17, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    I see you have a couple of strollers with you. We typically don't use a stroller for our 3 year old when we are around our city, but we are going to Barcelona in October (he'll be almost 4 then). Do you recommend a stroller? I feel like it would just be annoying to push around all the time when most of the time our son will be walking with us, but I guess they just fold up easily when you're at the restaurant or whatever, eh? Which strollers do you have?

    • Mix and Match Mama August 17, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      We love having strollers with us on city trips!! My big kids took turns in one and then Ashby (who's 3) rode in the other. This kept everyone happy, we moved faster, they weren't tired…it was perfect! When we would eat or go into a store/museum/library/church, there was typically a place to park them on the outside or we folded them up. Huge lifesaver!

  • Jenny August 17, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Love this. I can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip! So glad you guys are back though. 🙂

  • Holly August 17, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Love all the pictures! Such a fun trip as a family. You mentioned in your blog about how brave Ashby's birth mom was for choosing life. And I agree! There's a movement going on called standforlife. It was started by a Dallas woman and photographer named Jess Barfield. The movement is showing support for how precious each life is, no matter the circumstance. Thought you might be interested in checking it out.

  • Elizabeth August 17, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Your comment about wanting to meet Ashby's mama in Heaven was so touching. She was a brave woman and Ashby is such a beautiful little girl.

  • Leigh Clark August 17, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Can't wait to see the rest of the trip! I laughed out loud regarding Smith and his pocket knife – sounds just like my little guy!!

  • Jaren August 17, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Oh that sounds like a fabulous trip!! I can't wait to see more pics. I knew you guys were probably traveling, and I couldn't wait to find out where y'all went because I love love love your travel posts!! Switzerland is on my bucket list for sure! Glad you guys are home safe!

  • Katelyn Sloan August 17, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    This post was just so cute!! All those happy faces are the best!! 🙂

  • KRISTIN TATE August 17, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Welcome home! I love that you choose to celebrate the fact that Ashby's mother loved her enough to make sure she was left in a place that she would be found and cared for. It just shows us how big your heart is, love following along with you. I'm thankful that I found your blog, your inspiring in so many ways.

  • Dawn August 17, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    I would LOVE to travel abroad, but my husband is in the army so we have to REALLY want to travel abroad (and know what we're doing) in order to do so (the army makes them jump thru a lot of hoops in order to leave the country). How do you know what to do when you're going abroad? Where to stay, what to do, etc.?

  • Amanda M August 17, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    So glad you are back! Also I've always wanted to go to Switzerland so I can't wait to see the rest of the trip!

  • Violet August 17, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Hi Shay,
    Huge fan of your blog and beautiful family. I'm going to Europe for my honeymoon and am nervous about the language barrier / getting around. Do you have any tips on how to manage when we are there? We will spend the most time in France and Italy. Thank you!!!

    • Victoria August 17, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Hi Violet
      In the big cities almost everyone you interact with will speak some English (although the Italians are likely to be more friendly about it than the French!).

      Learn the polite things, hello, goodbye, excuse me, please and thank you. My mum swears by learning a few complimentary phrases as that gets people on your side, this is beautiful, isn't the baby pretty, that sort of thing.

      If you have fun and show people that you like their country, food, hotel etc you'll get along ok. Have a good trip.

  • Kelsey @ The Peacock Roost August 17, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Love the sound of that 100th bar! You had me at brownie 🙂 Yay for you being back – missed your blog! Looks like you all had a great time on your trip 🙂

  • Melanie Smith August 17, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Love hearing about your trip! The photos are beautiful!

  • Emma A August 17, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Friday Night Lights is my favourite show of all time!!! EXCELLENT CHOICE!

    Your trip looked amazing, welcome back! 🙂


  • Heather August 17, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    We're making a stop in the Black Forest of Germany during our honeymoon in March, so it was awesome to see your photos from Freiburg!

  • The Nelson Happenings August 17, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Love all the photos !!! Thanks for sharing !

  • Ashley August 17, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Ten years ago, my now husband and I spent six weeks in Freiburg on a summer project (basically…summer missions trip). Your pictures made me cry a little this morning as I saw a lot of familiar places 🙂 I can't wait to take our kids there. It's a city legend that if you fall into those canals you will marry someone from Freiburg. I did (fall in) and I didn't (marry someone from Freiburg). Just someone I was in Freiburg with 🙂

  • Victoria August 17, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    I heard that back in the 40s if you brought a tin of condensed milk or buns, the keepers would throw them to the bears in Bern so that you could watch them dribble milk everywhere and lick it off!

    There is a large series of books by Elinor M Brent-Dyer about The Chalet School. Children's fiction about a school set in Austria before the war, England during the war and back out to Switzerland after the war ended. I love them. They're out of print now mostly and I don't know whether you get them easily in the USA, but they sometimes appear on eBay or are reprinted by Girls Gone By Publishers. The girls might like the English boarding school stories and the school is constantly on trips to places like Bern, Lausanne etc

  • Lindsay at Lindsay'sSweetWorld August 17, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    What an amazing trip!! So glad that you guys all had a great time! I can't wait to see more. And welcome back, you were missed while you were gone!

  • Sarah August 17, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    What a great trip! So much fun. I loved when I went to Switzerland, but oh so expensive!

  • Beautifully Seaside // Formerly Chic Coastal Living August 17, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    So sweet! Looks like you had the best vacation! Loved the pictures Shay! XO

  • Jeanie August 17, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    What a delight! So beautiful.

  • Sarah Kuykendall August 18, 2015 at 12:41 am

    I've been dying to find out where you were! I wish I were your kid! So many fun times!

  • Jennifer Cannon August 18, 2015 at 12:53 am

    #1) so glad you are back to blogging! It's not the same when your not "here"
    #2) what a blessing it is that Ashby is getting to experience the world at 3 years old 🙂
    #3) because I've been around this blog for years… I notice th e small things. Like someone got a ring upgrade! I say this because I remember you saying it's normal for the women in your family! 🙂 looks beautiful!

    Can't wait to see more pictures!

  • Jennifer August 18, 2015 at 2:03 am

    That scenery is amazing! What I really want to know though is how you have the energy for such a big trip with 3 young kids???? Mine are 6,4 and 11 months and the mere thought of a family vacation makes me tired. I need your energy!

  • Emily August 18, 2015 at 3:53 am

    It is so wonderful how you give praise to Ashby's birth Mom. Beautifully worded.

  • Emily August 18, 2015 at 4:08 am

    Loved all your family vaca photos and can't wait for more 😉 I am sure this has been asked in the past…but what size bows to you buy for your girls from One Stop Bow Shop? We, too, adopted a little girl from China- Fujian Province. She turns 3 next month, and I would love to get her some new bows!

    Thanks so much!

  • Jamie Allen August 18, 2015 at 9:42 am

    bundt cakes. bars. excited to hear what the next {100} is!

  • Amanda & Jerrod Carpenter August 18, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Hi Shay- Do you like the Chicco strollers that are in your pictures? I ask because my husband is 6'8" so I was curious if it was comfortable for your tall husband to use also?

  • The Yarbrough's August 19, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Looks like a wonderful vacation. Thanks for sharing!!

  • RachelZoe August 19, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    What you said about Ashby's mom made me cry happy tears. I love all the pics and am thankful there are people in this world with a heart like yours. Xoxo

  • Lora G August 19, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Your kids are such great travelers!! Looks like fun!

  • Graylizb August 23, 2015 at 2:50 am

    Wow what a fantastic trip
    I have take. The same trip twice -once as a college graduate as part of a back packing adventure after college of Europe and once with my now husband
    Can't wait to do this with our twin girls and son who are also sound of music lovers!

    You are doing your family a huge service by turning it off and exposing them to
    The world at such young ages
    Interlaken and Bern are my faves -specifically Balmers herbige (hostel) and the Bern Bear
    Love your blog and your recipes
    Blessings to you and your beautiful family

  • Yach October 1, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    I’m sitting up reading your blog on a Saturday night in London! Ha! I want to know where is the brown cross body from? And the other one with the black strap you’re wearing in your more recent pictures. Love your blog:)

    • Mix and Match Mama October 2, 2016 at 6:27 am

      The brown one is so old! The black one is Michael Kors from last year.