Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas in Switzerland

I thought you all might enjoy a description of the Christmas holiday traditions here in Switzerland. I found a good write-up here.

I'd like to bring your attention to the following in the link above:
The name Santa Claus comes from Sankt Nikolaus or Saint Nicolas (an early Christian bishop from Myra in present-day Turkey, the protector of children). This friendly figure does not play a role at Christmas, but appears on December 6, the Patron Saint's Day. In the Swiss German part, he is known as "Samichlaus" and he visits homes and schools, distributing sweets, fruits and nuts to well-behaved children and giving good advice to the less well-behaved. In Switzerland, he is not accompanied by a reindeer, but very often by a donkey and a dark-clad assistant. The children assume that they come from the snowy mountains.

Since arriving here we've heard a lot about Samichlaus and his assistant, Schmutzli. Schmutzli is an interesting character- we've heard some not so good things about him. Apparently, he carries a switch and sack. Children used to be told that Schmutzli would beat naughty children with the switch and carry them off in the sack to gobble them up in the woods. Now there is no more talk of beatings and kidnappings. I think the Swiss were on to something.

Anyway, Marion met Samichlaus, Schmutzli, and their donkey tonight in our town parade. And it was cooooooooooooooooold. I'll be back tomorrow with pictures!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my American readers. No Thanksgiving celebrated here, obviously. And since Halloween was not really celebrated as well, Christmas decorations have been up in stores and around town for almost a month now.

Despite the lack of Thanksgiving cheer (and a day off of work), we did celebrate the holiday with friends last Saturday since we were supposed to be on our way to Vienna today. We had everyone over and stuffed our gills with traditional Thanksgiving food, including my favorites: green bean casserole and canned (must be CANNED!) cranberry sauce. I have simple tastes. If the cranberry sauce doesn't have lines from the can, I won't eat it.

We also managed to find a turkey for our Thanksgiving feast. It only cost us 95 USD for a 16 pound bird. Hahaha, can you imagine if you had to spend that much? Friends of mine back home were telling me about their free turkeys they managed to get at local grocery stores. Turkeys obviously are not in high demand here in Switzerland.

Anyway, we had a great time celebrating. And the leftovers were super yummy. I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving as well!!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


So I did it again. Went and stopped blogging for awhile. Sorry!

I guess I should start at the pregnancy appointment. Had my 20 weeks check up last Friday and everything looks good. I am technically off of bedrest but still am having some pain everytime I attempt normalcy and I continue to feel faint often so I'm taking it easy. Mom's sticking around until January to help me until I feel better and become less worthless. Despite things progressing well we had to cancel our Vienna trip and our trip home for Christmas because I can't seem to get this pregnancy thing right. It sucks to be missing out on more of our planned trips but that is what is best for right now.

Side note: a word of advice- buy trip insurance. Because those airlines don't refund everything, even with a doctor's note.

Some good news is that we are halfway to my due date. I'm so ready to have this baby and not be pregnant anymore.

In other news, I continue to have problems with my laptop. I've only had this thing since February 1 of this year. Not really a ringing endorsement for Dell laptops, eh? I've contacted Dell and they are going to pick up my laptop and take it to their repair facility where, hopefully, all the problems will be solved. I'm not going to hold my breath though. So if I'm absent for a little bit, that is why. Go ahead and send Dell some nasty-grams for me, k? ;-)

Finally, we still have not rented our old apartment. We have shown the place to five people, with the sixth coming tonight. We've handed out four applications. Nothing. It's really frustrating to have to pay two rents but our third bedroom is coming in really handy right now with Mom here. In the grand scheme of things, we are trying not to get upset about it. There really isn't much we can do. And our focus is on the baby. But, still, it is frustrating.

Oh, one more thing. It snowed here again this weekend. Several inches on Saturday with another healthy dose on Sunday. It was gorgeous and Marion loved getting out there and playing in it with her Aunt Colleen, who visited for the weekend. They built a snowman and then Colleen showed her how to throw snowballs. Grammie was the main target. There are a few positive aspects to feeling like crap and laying on the sofa!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Another day, on the couch

Things have been going well here. Well, as far as I can tell from my seat on the couch.

Mom arrived yesterday morning without incident. She arrived and Brian got immediate help. Dinner last night was awesome :-)

Brian went to work today for the first time in a week. He had to attend some training that was taught by a woman who flew in from the US. She also happened to be six months pregnant. Ohhhh, the irony.

In Marion news, she is loving life. Grammie is in town! She now asks for Grammie when she wakes up and as she falls asleep. That took less than 24 hours.

Brian and Mom put her to sleep about an hour ago and then left to go check out the wine boats in Zurich. In case you were wondering, I'm here. On the couch.

In other news, we had someone else come to look at the old apartment today. Maybe the 4th time will be the charm???

Let's hope so!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Good news!

Brian and I went to see my doctor today and check up on my placenta.

Good news! The placenta has started to reattach itself. According to my Google searches, this was not possible. That'll teach me to Google this kind of stuff!

Anyway, it isn't completely attached yet so I'll be on bedrest until Monday morning. Then the doctor gave me the okay to resume a regular routine. My next regular pregnancy check-up is the following Friday so we'll be able to see then how things are going. In the meantime, my mom is headed over here from the US to give us a helping hand.

Phew, what a roller coaster ride this pregnancy has been so far! I'm knocking on all the wood and particle board we bought from Ikea that this is the last of our pregnancy complications!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Daddy and daughter brave Ikea

Yesterday we were supposed to go to Ikea. The trip really was needed. Our apartment has been a mess all week and we were in desperate need of some things to help us organize.

However, with me being on bedrest the trip was in jeopardy. But Brian is a thinker and remembered that Ikea has a kids room for kids ages three and up who are potty-trained. Seeing how Marion looks significantly older than her 2.5 years, we decided to go for it.

So off they went. Daddy and daughter to Ikea on a Saturday with a list I put together complete with Ikea product names, minus diapers. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right?

Well I am happy to report that all went well. Actually, better than well. They both did an excellent job!

First, as they were getting off the exit to Ikea, Marion informed Brian that she had to go numero uno. Brian asked her to hold it. And she did, while Brian drove it Ikea, parked, and got her in the building. I continue to be amazed with her potty-training progress!

Then, Brian got her into the Ikea kid's area and showed her where the potty was, just in case. She had entered into kid's heaven and didn't make a peep when Brian left.

Brian then got everything on the list, plus some thing he saw and realized we needed. He got through the store, paid for everything and got it into the car before the kid's area time limit of an hour and a half expired.

After his sprint through the biggest Ikea store I've ever seen, he picked up Marion. The people in charge of the kid's land informed him that she did great and even went potty there.

They arrived back home in time for lunch with Ikea loot and smiles on their faces.

What do they need me for? Oh yea, to make the list.

Friday, November 7, 2008

To bedrest I go

I've been having some aches and pains all week. I've also felt faint if I stand for too long. Nothing really out of the ordinary but, since they weren't going away, I figured I should contact my doctor.

I called him up this morning and he was able to fit me in after Marion's pediatrician appointment. She's still trying to get rid of a cough she's been working on for almost six weeks now.

After a short trip to Marion's doctor, we headed over to my doctor. Marion was in a rare foul mood. Very anxious and everything set her off. She was hysterical most of the morning. A great time for us to be out and about.

The doctor came out and witnessed some of her tantrums. He looked at me, shook his head, and said, "This is the cause of your cramps, no?"

I tried to explain that she is normally a very happy child. But the screaming, bumbling, crying mess behind me didn't really project that image.

One of the nurses watched Marion while I went into the examining room. Marion was much happier with her anyway.

First, the good news. No more placenta previa. Yay!

Now, the really bad news. My pain was caused by a portion of the placenta tearing away. Normally I'd include a link here explaining what this is in more detail but googling information on it is pretty scary. No need to spread that cheer.

My doctor asked me if I could go straight to the hospital. But with the little terror in the next room and Brian at work, that was a no go. So we devised a plan that includes me going on immediate bedrest, taking it easy, and trying to relax. I go back on Monday to check the status.

Obviously baby 2.0 is already conscious of being the second child and does not want to live in Marion's shadow in any way, shape, or form. Hey, I can understand that. But couldn't we have gone the normal pregnancy route? That would have been nice.

The New Apartment

Our new apartment is great. We moved in last Thursday and are loving the extra space. I'd take pictures and show you but it is an absolute mess right now. We are going to Ikea on Saturday to pick up some essentials to help us organize. Then it might be good enough to post on the internet.

Anyhow, we've already had some problems with the new place. The previous tenants lived here for four years before we took over so some things were broken. Like our dishwasher. Then our sink clogged up. It took a couple of days to get our management company out here but the sink is finally working. Dishwasher guy is coming next week.

Most of these guys who come to fix things unfortunately do not speak English. It makes for some frustrating phone calls. They call, I ask if they speak English, they sigh, say no, and continue to speak German to me. I ask them to wait a second, run out of my apartment to the floor upstairs, knock on a neighbor's door, and ask her to translate.

This really can only go on for so long. She's due with her second child in a few weeks and I can't keep bothering her. I'm hoping everything is resolved with our apartment before her baby is born. :-)

We also have yet to find a tenant for our old apartment. We had two promising potentials but haven't heard from either of them. Keep your fingers crossed please, we are responsible for the rent until January 31 if we don't find someone.

Oh, and one more thing. I think the previous tenants cooked a lot of curries while they were here. Our kitchen has a spicy smell that I haven't gotten used to yet. Kitchens in general are difficult for me while I'm pregnant and sensitive to all sorts of smells. Any ideas on getting rid of it?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Halloween in Switzerland

Better late than never, right?

Halloween is non-existent in Switzerland. No trick or treating, no halloween aisles at the grocery store, no halloween candy. My mom sent me some candy corn so that I could get through this trying time.

However, we are friends with a good amount of ex-pats here who would not let October 31st go by without being properly celebrated. God bless them.

On Friday night, we went to Jo and Christian's house for a party. Marion was dressed up in her princess finest AND not wearing any diapers. Excitement all around!

First things first, Marion didn't have a single accident during the party. She made it to the potty everytime. She is getting better, Mommy is getting braver, and soon, you will not have to read anymore potty training updates! *hopefully*

Okay, here's Marion loving her Princess costume.
And a rare picture of Marion and I. I'm usually the one behind the camera.
Jo arranged trick or treating with her neighbors ahead of time so the kids got to go to a couple of houses. Here are all the munchkins, lined up and ready to go.

And here they are attacking the unsuspecting foreigners at home. They were good sports.
After two houses, Marion had had enough. She wanted to go inside and eat her candy.
I think Brian was a little annoyed that I chose this moment to snap a picture.

Anyway, we had a great halloween! The candy is almost gone (great bribing tool) and the princess dress is still out. I have a feeling that will be out for awhile.

Hope you all had a great time!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Election Day


Thank god this will all be over with in less than 24 hours! I can only imagine what it is like back home with ads, phone calls, political mail, etc. I only get the occasional European questioning me about election here, including my doctor. I'm hoping that I won't be grilled about it at my next baby 2.0 appointment.

So get out, vote, and end this campaign madness. The world is watching and waiting!

PS: Let me know how long the lines are where you are voting, I hear they are expecting record turn outs!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Daylight Savings Time

I hope everyone in the US is adjusting well to daylight savings time. We turned our clocks backward last weekend.

Why the difference?

Well, that would be thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Act changed both the start and end dates for daylight savings time, making spring forward earlier and fall backwards later.

Unfortunately, we didn't realize the difference in dates between Europe and the US until after the time change. Specifically, while we were out last Sunday and speaking to a friend's mom who was visiting from New York.

Sadly, Brian's fantasy football team took a hit because of the change. We were not back in time for him to change his lineup before kick off. I believe he ended up playing someone who was injured. Oops!

So all week we adjusted to being five hours ahead of the US and now we are back to being six hours ahead. Wouldn't it just be easier if everyone that participated in DST to do it at the same time? Now, that is something I'd like to see on a candidate's ticket for election day tomorrow!