Wednesday, April 28, 2010

60 Miles of Support to Walk the 3Day Komen Race

Hello Family and Friends!

I did it! I have taken the plunge and signed up for something I've been wanting to do for the past five years. This year I have committed to walking 60 miles in 3 days to support of Komen 3-Day for the Cure to help find a cure for Breast Cancer!!! I will be walking next to survivors, families and other women in hope of finding a cure.

Really, 60 miles? Yep! Ever since I heard about this event, I was drawn to the ability the race has to foster a unity between the women, the supporters, the survivors, and the families all working to increase the quality of life for breast cancer patients. I love that Komen can gather thousands of women in cities across the US to come together and walk as one family to fight cancer. I love that my desire to walk has inspired a few friends to walk with me, support me, and might inspire others to join me in future years. I love that training to walk this race can put women on the right path to leading a healthier life style.

For five years I've said, "this is the year I'm walking," and then some unexpected craziness has gotten in the way. But I've decided that I'm not letting anything get in my path this time. (Not even living in another country!) I am walking this year to support all the women - and families - that have been affected by this awful disease. I am walking because I think finding a cure for our future generations is extremely important. And I am walking so that my daughter Ella can grow up to be a healthy woman in world that is closer to better treatments, medicines and a cure than we are today.   


Walking begins o
September 24-26, 2010, SEATTLE, WA

(courtesy of

I can't do it alone, I need your help!  My goal is to raise $2,300 per team member to help Komen fight for a cure! I ask you to please help me walk out a cure by making donations for our team at: 
Every single donation helps to reach my goal! Even $10 goes a long way to support the cure!
 !!! THANK YOU !!!

Donations are tax deductible. If you donate on line you will receive your tax information almost immediately. And, if you donate online, you can donate in honor of your own loved one.
If for any reason you just aren’t comfortable donating online, please feel free to send a check made payable to Breast Cancer 3-Day. Contact me for the mailing address.

You can also help me expand my circle of friends by forwarding this page to your family, friends and co-workers!
You can come walk with me! Let me know if you're interested in joining Team Fillmore on this 60 mile journey!!!

MATCHING GIFTS:  Many companies (both large and small) offer employee matching gift programs so that when an employee makes a donation to a cause, the company will “match” that contribution with an equal (or greater) amount.  Do you work for a company that has a matching gift program?  If so, you could double your donation!  Ask your employer today!

Over the next 5 months I'll be posting updates of my donation progress, my training and the end result of walking the race. Keep up with me here as we all fight to walk out breast cancer!

Thank you to all of you for your continued support and generosity and for helping make this world a healthier place for our kids and grandkids!

Love, Kim

Sunday, April 25, 2010

How fast did the Snowman Burn?

I have to thank Zurich this year, it thoughtfully threw a party for me in honor of enduring the very long winter season! So, the party wasn't exactly for me, per say, but I did happily celebrate the beginning of the spring season with 20,000 other people in Zurich city.

Zurich has it's own 'groundhog' type day on the third Monday of April, celebrating it's Spring Festival called Sechseläuten. Throughout the weekend there are parades, music events, flags and parties to celebrate the eager arrival of Spring. However the main, and much anticipated event is the burning of the Böögg. This is a 10 foot snowman that sits atop a tower of flammable material, that is burned to signify the burning of winter. The rate at which the Böögg burns determines the quality of summer weather that is to come. The burning happens promptly at 6pm, the time dating back centuries when the 6:00 bell would ring to end the work day.

Ella and I went down to enjoy the festivities on Monday night and to watch the Böögg burn. As we were headed down the hill, before we made it to the crowds, we crossed paths with 4 camels. Yes, camels. They were being led through the streets, away from the festivities, and I have NO CLUE why they were there. Over the course of the evening, we saw no indication of why there would be camels, they were just out for a daily stroll, I suppose. After pushing our way through the crowds and watching the parade for awhile, admiring the horses and all the costumes, we went looking for a good vantage point to watch the snowman burn. I thought we had found a great spot to watch the burning without being trampled by the crowds. Sadly, I was wrong. About 5 minutes before 6pm, the size of the crowd felt like it doubled around us and we were locked into our spot with not even a tiny inch to spare around us. We held on tight, and held our breath, until the burning finished and we were free to push our way through the crowds to the our little house (which all of the sudden felt very roomy!) We were also very lucky that the ladies that were standing directly behind me, fell in love with Ella and wanted to help protect her from the pushing of the crowds. They helped me get Ella on my shoulders and back down again, then led us through the crowd when it was time to leave. Would I go again.... nope. I'll sit this one out next year. I'll happily stay at home and roast marshmellows in my own little celebration.

Oh, and it took 12:54 min for the Böögg to burn. 

I included a couple of our pics, but the two blogs below posted great pictures and explanations of the festival and it's history! Enjoy!

On our walk into the craziness

One of the Floats

The snowman before the blaze

The crowd that surrounded us (and this was while I could still get a pick)

Mr. Snowman lost in the smoke

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Swiss love their Chocolate

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Whirlwind Week of Friends

This is one of those times in life where you just have to laugh about how things work out. We had a couple sets of friends planning to visit us in March, and after many planning emails and throwing dates around, both sets of friends ended up planning to come to Zurich at the same time! After a momentary thought of panic at the thought of having six adults and one toddler sleeping in a TINY 'studio' apartment, we figured that we should just laugh and this would be one of those times where things just worked out - and of course, they did. (after borrowing lots of sheets and towels from a friend, and buying some paper plates- b/c we only have 5 plates here, and making the guys sleep on tiny mattresses in our hallway!)

We spent Wednesday wandering around Zurich, enjoying the sights of the city.

Looking over Zurichsee

I was even introduced to the Beyer Clock Museum, which contains pieces dating back to 1400 BC. Even Ella loved watching some of the fancy clock designs.

By Friday, everyone was in town and ready to see other parts of the country. We took the train to Schaffhausen, walked along the Rhine river for about 45 min to see the Rhine falls. This is the largest falls in Europe, it has nothing on Niagra fall, or most of the stunning waterfalls in the NW. But, the sun was shining and it was nice to see a new part of Switzerland.

Having friends visit you in a foreign city, means you get to expose them to all the great things you know about (like liters of beer!) Or you can expose them to things like this:

The Rivella is a Swiss soda. The Swiss LOVE this soda - it is made from cheese. In case you're wondering, it does not taste good, it doesn't even taste, OK. Unlike the beer, which was reported to be, not too bad, but not great either.

From Schaffhausen, we all took the train to St. Gallen to visit the Abbey Library and enjoyed the life of the town. The library was gorgeous, and it's one of Europe's oldest library and a UNESCO world heritage site. Before heading home, we stopped at a local stand to pick up some bread and cheese for the train ride. All the cheese was great. This was the most unusual - ever seen green cheese before?

Pesto Asiago

That night I made a second attempt at cooking fondue. I made sure to get specific directions from the French lady at the market, and followed them exactly. To feed six adults enough food to make up a meal, you need 1200 GRAMS of cheese, and TWO fondue pots! The cheese turned out great, and everybody had plenty to eat. Then Virginia made a Tunnel of Fudge cake to celebrate Chris's 30th birthday- delicious!

On Saturday morning, we headed down south to Geneva.

John and I had been there before, and I posted our story about their infamous 'flower clock.' You can bet that I dragged everyone back to the clock to see if it was looking any more spectacular.
Jury's still out....

         Most recent visit                                                                                          Previous visit

While wandering the gardens near the United Nations, we came across a little animal park. Deer, goats, birds, etc. It wasn't all that exciting, but definitely unexpected to see the animals in the park (fenced in, of course) But the one little bird that intrigued us all (including me!!!) was this little guy

By the end of the day on Saturday, we were all exhausted and starving, so we ended up eating dinner at a Tex-Mex restaurant, in the French part of Switzerland, served by Asians..... random. But, John and I never get Mexican food anymore, so we were thrilled. 

Sunday we had dinner at the Zeughauskeller. It's a tourist trap housed in an old armoury building built in 1867. We had not been there before, and rumor has it that the food is pretty good. Rumor stands true- we all had great meals. The guys loved the Swiss cuisine of meat and potatoes, so they were easy to please! And the liters of beer made for a great end to a busy trip in Switzerland.

Of course, Ella couldn't have been more excited that everyone came all the way from the US to visit her  :o)  Thank you to all of you for being so sweet to her! She adores you, and hasn't stopped talking about your visit!

A HUGE thanks to all our friends for coming all the way out here for a visit! We loved spending time with you guys, and can't wait to see you in the states soon!

Thanks to all of you for sharing your photos!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Perfect trip to Paris

One of the first trips we talked about taking when we arrived to Zurich, was a trip to Paris. Neither of us had ever been, and it's just one of those magnificent cities you can't miss. And living so close, we could not pass up this opportunity. We opted to go for a four day weekend, over Easter weekend, which also happened to be my birthday weekend too.

I really don't know how to recap all of our adventures, and I did a horrible job at narrowing down the 400 photos we took. So, here's more pictures than you'll ever care to see, but I just couldn't help myself. 

It took us 8 very long hours to arrive in Paris by train, but once we unpacked at the hotel, we were revived and ready to embrace the city. Our first sight- Moulin Rouge. It was right down the street from our hotel, and the line to get in for the next show stretched down the street. And we were greeted with a glimmer of blue sky, take a good look, it didn't last long!

Our first sighting of the Eiffel Tower

When we got to the base of the tower, we found out that they were running two hours behind schedule b/c one of the lifts was broken. Rather than wainting in the cold, wind and rain for that time, we opted to climb up the 700+ stairs to the second floor, where the lift to the top was working properly. John is Super Dad, and carried Ella all the way up with a smile on his face!

My favorite tower pic. The lights came on as we were headed back down, 
and the rain was starting to let up just a little.

One of multiple carousels that we found for Ella. We loved this one b/c it was at the base of the tower, and was a great end to a wonderful evening.

How she ended her very long, eventful day...

Started Saturday morning at the Louvre. We got there early to avoid the lines and the crowds, and we were able to rent a stroller from the museum. Because of this, we hopped on the elevator (while the rest of the crowd was on the stairs) and we ended up in a wing of the museum by ourselves. Who gets to tour part of the Louvre without anyone else around? Amazing.

On a stroll in the gardens in front of the museum

Arc de Triomphe

Spring is just starting to peek out in Paris

Ella is trying to smell the flowers

Double decker Carousel

One of the 'local' things I had read about was going to the oldest covered market in Paris. We didn't get there until just about closing time, but it was a neat market to see. The food stands looked great - wines, breads, cheeses. We grabbed some hummus and bread and had a little picnic for dinner. Then we headed out for our night stroll among through the sights of Paris.

Notre Dame

The back of the Notre Dame

Ella spent that night 'flying' down the sidewalks, keeping herself and many passer-bys very entertained.

Along our walk, we stumbled upon this church. We thought is was gorgeous, and it was just tucked in a little neighborhood, not marked on any map. What amazed us was that in the day time we probably would have just walked right by it, but at night, the lighting was so dramatic, the church was a gorgeous sight.

Hotel DeVille

Looking over the Seine

The Opera House. This was our last stop for the night. I thought it was so gorgeous, I asked John if we could come back here during the day to see the inside. It may have been my favorite building on the whole trip.

The next morning, Ella danced on the marble staircase of the Opera House

The Grand Hall in the Opera House

Enjoying the sights from the balcony. What surprised me about the Opera House, is that the actual auditorium, was much smaller than I would have thought. It's now on my 'bucket list' to see a performance in this theater, it is just breathtaking.

Entering the Luxembourg Gardens

One of my favorite shots on our trip

Luxembourg Palace

The Paris Pantheon

After looking at the Pantheon and the blue skies above it, we turned around and saw those daunting stormy clouds heading our way.

Which made it the perfect time to stop in Cafes Richard for a cafe au lait. We missed the hail storm and had a great afternoon coffee. 

That night we took a boat ride along the Seine. Ella was thrilled she could see the 'Byfell' Tower again with the lights on. Sorry Mr. Eiffel, we have renamed your tower.

Walking along the Champs Elysees

I loved this windy statue because it's how I felt the entire time we were visiting Paris.

Pont Richard Bridge

Our last coffee stop in Paris. 'Small or Large?' asked the waiter. Umm, large, I suppose....

After spending almost 3 full days in Paris, I quickly came to the conclusion that I want to live there. I fell in love with this magical city. There is so much to see, and experience, you can only just skim the surface in a few days. I think to really experience the city, you need to plan on spending an extended period of time living there, talking with the locals, shopping at the markets, picnicing in the parks. I wouldn't be surprised if you find us living in the Montmarte district at some point in our crazy lives. Of course, you'll be more than welcome to visit!