Saturday, August 30, 2008

So I wrote too soon

The past few days have been really hard, morning sickness wise. Wednesday night I got worse and it has just been downhill from there.

When we first found out we were pregnant, Brian and I were both hopeful that this pregnancy would be better than our first go 'round. My morning sickness started at the 6 week 1 day mark with Marion and it didn't stop until the day I gave birth. I was so sick it was awful. I distinctly remember this conversation with a coworker (at that time) and friend that pretty much sums up my experience with my first pregnancy.

Mike: "So, you haven't complained about being sick lately. Are you feeling better?"
Me: "No, I've just gotten used to puking everyday."

Yea. Puking everyday, something I definitely would have liked to avoid this time around.

I was dreading the 6 week 1 day mark with this pregnancy for this reason. And when it came, I was only hit with slight food aversions and nausea. Not too bad.

But it was gotten worse. Significantly worse. I haven't been able to keep food or liquid down for the past 24 hours.

So this week has been difficult. Add to that a curious toddler and, well, it gets interesting.

On Wednesday night I was sick. Marion came over to me, put her hand on my back, and asked "Are you alright Mommy?" Awww, so sweet. I picked up my head to thank her and was greeted with shots of water from Marion and her SpongeBob water gun. Not so sweet.

Yesterday was spent near the toilet after our return from Ikea. After her nap, Marion seemed to find my predicament hysterical. She had a lot of fun bending her head over the sink, mimicking my sounds and laughing. Later, she made dry-heaving noises in the living room and than ran to the bathroom to pray to the porcelain goddess. She's a riot.

I think part of the problem is that I don't like a lot of the food here. I have cravings for things that I can't get here. For example, last night I really wanted The Noodle Company's mac and cheese. Uh, can't get that here and can't ship it over. So when I try to eat something I'm not craving, it doesn't sit well. I'm basically screwed. Better start craving weisswursts or something.

So, needless to say, my goal today is to keep food down. Brian is being a champ, basically taking care of everything else. I am useless these days. So he is Super Dad, working during the day and taking care of Marion in the evenings and weekends. And then threatening to ship me back to the States to my family if I don't get better. I'm pretty sure he is joking about that.

Friday, August 29, 2008

She's a natural!

This morning we went to Ikea. We found our way to the lobby where there was a photoshoot going on. The sign looked like it said it was a complimentary shoot for Ikea Family members, but it was also in German. And we know how my German is.

So I flagged an Ikea person down and asked. And yep, it was a free shoot for Ikea Family members. And, if you did get your picture taken, you got a copy of an Ikea catalog with your picture on the front.

Cool, right?

Well I thought so. So I signed us up and, when it was our turn, got Marion out of the shopping cart.

Marion ran over to the set and started jumping on the couches. I moved to behind the camera so at least her head would be turned in the correct direction.

After the photographer was done, the Ikea employee told me to come back in 50 minutes to get our picture. Interesting, in the US they probably would have said to come back in an hour.

Either way, we did some shopping and came back after we were done to find this:

The girl's a natural. Maybe I should get her into modeling?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Me too!

This morning (Tuesday, August 5th) was Marion's usual playgroup. We headed out the door after a slow start and were finally on our way to run an errand and get to our playgroup.

First stop was the Drogerie. After searching online last night I was reminded that I should be taking prenatal vitamins, specifically folic acid.

I arrived at the Drogerie after a short walk and asked for the English speaking person in the store. She came over and I asked for prenatal vitamins. I was met with a blank stare. I then mentioned folic acid. Another blank stare. Next I tried pregnancy vitamins. That triggered something in her mind and she walked to the back wall and grabbed Acide folique Streuli.

I bought a box of one hundred 200-micrograms tablets for 8 CHF. The recommended daily dosage of folic acid for pregnant women varies from 400 to 800-micrograms; however, typical prenatal vitamins include 1000-micrograms of folic acid. I figured five tablets a day until I reach my first doctors appointment should do the trick.

After we left the Drogerie, we walked to our playgroup. We were enjoying our time with our friends when one of them announced, "I'm horrible with secrets. I wanted to let you all know that I'm pregnant!"

My jaw felt like it hit the floor and I started giggling. I had not told family and friends back home but felt compelled to blurt out, "Me too!"

Then, from across the room, another friend said "No way!?!? Me too!"

We are all due within two weeks of each other. How amazing is that?

Now, normally we wouldn't share this information this early with anyone. But I've found you form a bond with other moms here. We are all in the same boat and therefore have become quick friends. So, in this case, it didn't seem odd at all that we were sharing this with each other.

Now we can enjoy our pregnancies together. We are so excited!

On the hunt for a doctor

With baby number two on the way, it was obvious I needed a doctor.

I talked with friends and polled my local Yahoo group. Two doctors in my town were recommended over and over again. One a female, the other a male. Both came with good recommendations so I took a stab at the female since that was what I had back in the States.

So, I called the doctor's office the first business day after my positive pregnancy test (a Monday morning, same day I wrote this). I gave them all my information and was told that their office does first pregnancy appointments at 6 weeks, which would have been mid August for me. Then she mentioned that the doctor was on vacation and asked to put me on hold. When she came back on the line she told me that they wouldn't be able to get me in until September and then said "You should find another doctor here."

I was stunned. Who turns down a new patient? I'm sure they had their reasons but it wasn't what I was expecting. So I just responded, "Uh, Okay!" and got off the phone.

I then dialed the second doctor's office. I was told by a friend that he was older and has delivered 7,000 babies here. Sounds qualified to me!

Anyway, I got a busy message (both in Swiss German and English - good sign!) that said to try back again in 15 minutes. Not 15 seconds went by when my phone rang- it was his office calling back. Thankfully he was NOT on vacation! But, unfortunately, his office doesn't see pregnant patients until the 8th week. So, I made an appointment for August 27, gave them my information, and got off of the telephone.

My positive interaction with his office (especially compared to the blow off I received from the first office) made me feel that this was the doctor I was supposed to see. Sometimes things happen for a reason, and this definitely felt like one of those times.

*Written August 4, 2008.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sorry for the lack of posts lately.

There's a good reason though. I haven't been feeling well.

Well, that's not the real reason I guess. Because the reason I haven't been feeling well is that we are pregnant with Baby 2.0 and he or she is due April 2009!

That's right ladies and gentlemen, we decided to have another child. Several people here in Switzerland mentioned that having a child in this country is something we definitely should experience. So here we are, ready to experience pregnancy and childbirth abroad!

We've known for several weeks know but wanted to wait until confirmation from my doctor before a big announcement. So don't be surprised when several posts show up after this one- they were all written and saved during the last few weeks.

And since we are so far away we decided to follow in Jason's footsteps and host a little guessing game. So, come one, come all, to guess our baby's birthdate, weight, and gender! Should be interesting considering Marion was 5 weeks early and weighed in at a hefty 6 lbs 8 oz. Anything goes with this one! The winner will get bragging rights and, possibly, some yummy Swiss chocolate.


*helpful hint: if you register on the website, you can edit your guess later on!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Spielgruppe = Success!

Marion started her Spielgruppe (playgroup) last week. She goes two mornings a week to a Swiss group, so no English at all. It gives me a break while allowing Marion to play with other kids her age and (hopefully) learn the language.

I was told before we went to be prepared to stick around to make sure Marion was okay and acclimated. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before- Marion is a people person. She loves to play and meet new people. She sees random kids at the playground and yells "Hi friends!" at them, scaring most of them away.

Needless to say, I had my doubts that I would have to stay. Nonetheless, I didn't plan anything for the two mornings of her playgroup just in case.

We followed my neighbor and her daughter to the playgroup because I didn't know where it was. It was definitely a drive away, no way I could walk this. A short drive though.

We arrived at a cute little house full of toys and kids. I took Marion's shoes and jacket off and she immediately ran into the room saying hi to everyone. Not a shy bone in her body! The woman who runs the playgroup was setting up a craft on a table for everyone so Marion and her friend from our apartment complex ran right over and sat down next to each other. I stayed out of the way to see what Marion would do.

As I expected, she jumped right in. My neighbor asked me if I was going to leave and I told her I wasn't sure, that I thought I had to stay. She said Marion sppeared to be okay and asked the woman in charge (I'll just call her teacher from now on) if I could go (she doesn't speak a lot of English). She said of course, Marion seems fine! And she had my phone number, just in case.

I went over to say goodbye to Marion and was met with a "Noooo!" Hmmm, unexpected. So I stuck around for a couple of minutes. At that point Marion had found a baby carriage and, when I said goodbye, she didn't object.

So I left and returned a couple of hours later. When I arrived, Marion was holding hands with another girl, spinning around in the center of the room. I asked the teacher if everything was alright. She laughed, shook her head yes, and said "Ja, super!"

Marion then saw me and came running over to give me a big hug. I picked her up and she wrapped her hands around my neck. The cuddling was nice, it is a rarity these days! She was in a good mood and it was obvious she had had fun.

But it was time to go so she said goodbye to her friends and teacher and ran all the way to the car with our neighbor's child.

The second day was similar to the first, except there was zero arguments from Marion when I said goodbye. I think we found a good fit! Now I can only hope she learns the language. She seems to be dealing with the different language just fine for now. However, she talks so much these days I think she will feel ten times better when she can verbally communicate to the teacher and the other kids in her group. Sooner or later she'll be teaching Brian and I Swiss German!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Movie Night: The Dark Knight

I went out to see The Dark Knight with some of Brian's coworkers on Wednesday night. Brian went out for sushi with a client.

First up was dinner at Papa Joe's. Or, as I soon noticed, the only restaurant I've been to in Zurich with 'American' food. It was a welcome change of pace after having been here for two and a half months. Sometimes familiar food just hits the spot, know what I mean?

Anyway, I had the fajitas. They were yummy. And the rest of the food at our table looked great. I'm definitely going back and soon. The ribs looked so freaking good. I'm surprised Brian hasn't been there yet. I think he would like a good rib and french fry platter.

After dinner we headed over to Corso 1-4. At least that is what I think the movie theater was called. The website says otherwise but I didn't plan the evening so I'm not the person to ask!

The theater was awesome. As always, a different experience than the States. First, when you purchase tickets, you purchase a specific seat. So no need to get their early to save a seat. You already purchased your seat. And you can print out the ticket at home ahead of time. So no waiting in ticket lines.

The seats were leather and pretty comfortable. There is a bar in the lobby so you can purchase a beer, wine, or mixed drink to enjoy during your movie.

Also of note, there was an intermission in the middle of the movie. So, right in the middle of the movie the screen turned red and we had a 15 minute break.

And just when I thought the experience of going to a movie couldn't get more interesting, I went to the bathroom and found the line to the men's room longer than the women's room. I kid you not.

Okay, so to the reason we went. The movie. Great movie, very dark. The voices from the Joker and Batman kind of annoyed me but I got past it quickly. Pay attention at the beginning of the movie- it starts with the story really fast. I recommend it. And I'll be suprised if Heath Ledger doesn't win an Oscar post-humously.

So, a great night out. And thanks to Shannon for planning it!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I got stopped by the Police this morning

Or should I say Polizei? That is what it says on their cars.

Anyway, I was out to run an errand and got stopped. The policeman who came to my car didn't speak any English but, luckily, one of the policemen with him did. The problem?

My fog lights were on.

I didn't even know they were on! I'm still learning my car. So I turned them off and went on my way.

Can you imagine the Baltimore City Police having time to stop someone for having their fog lights on when it isn't foggy?

Governor O'Malley and Mayor Dixon can only dream of that day.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mold Update

Well, the facilities manager stopped by to look at the mold. He doesn't speak any English but is a very nice guy. I pantomimed again and used one of my German words. I said "wasser" (water) as I pointed to the water stains on the wall.

Impressive, I know. My German is growing by leaps and bounds.

Anyway, from what I could tell, he believes the water is coming from poor caulking around our shower. That's about all I got. I gave him my cell number and, I assume from his pantomiming, that someone will call to caulk, clean the mold, and paint. I think. I asked when and he just repeated his motions. Only time will tell.

The trim is now loose and siting against the wall. Amazingly enough Marion hasn't played with it. However, I'm sure I've now jinxed it and she will shortly find it fascinating.

I'll keep you all updated! I know you are all just sitting at the edge of your seats wondering what will happen next. Maybe I should install a webcam on the mold to monitor growth? Nevermind, that's the engineer in me coming out. Please ignore that outburst.

Orange Cinema 2008: Son of Rambow

Brian and I went back to the Orange Cinema at the Zürichhorn to see Son of Rambow.

It was pretty chilly last night. The wind coming off of the water just made it worse. My nose was cold for most of the movie, however, Brian, Jo, and Christian seemed to fare much better then me! I suggest you bring a blanket with you if you go to a movie next summer, just in case. Last night's movie was the last for the season.

The movie was great! It was a touching story with an unexpected story line. Very touching and funny at the same time. I highly recommend it!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Heard from Marion last night

Her sippy cup leaked milk on her pants during dinner:

"Oh my Gawd! My pants!"

She cracks me up!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Oerlikon Market

The rain gave way to sun today. However, it was still chilly. It felt like a football day. Unfortunately, no American football to see here though.

So we decided to check out the Oerlikon Market. We decided this after a late start this morning so we rushed to get ready and out of the house to catch the train. Unfortunately I forgot my camera in the process. Oh well, an excuse to go back and get pictures for all of you!

Anyway, we arrived around 10:15 and walked out of the train station. The website had said the market was close to the train station so I expected to see it immediately. Instead we saw a Starbucks.

I ran in to get a Grande Chai Tea latte and pondered a blueberry muffin. I decided against the muffin- they wanted 3.90CHF for it! After I paid I asked the guy behind the counter (who spoke English, he did work in a Starbucks!) if he could tell me where the market was. A look of pure confusion came over his face. I immediately thought, "Shoot, how could I get the directions wrong?" Luckily the woman behind me told me the market was just around the corner. I thanked her and left wondering how the Starbucks guy did not know this.

I left Starbucks with my warm latte, found Brian and Marion, and we headed to the market. Wow. It was larger than the market in Baltimore. Lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, flowers, meats, chicken, pasta, bread, etc. You get the picture. Lots of stuff. Big difference between this market and Baltimore's was the lack of prepared food. Ah, but we didn't care. Lots of yummy stuff to take home. I'm partically looking forward to the summer pasta we will have for dinner tonight! Oh, and the red peppers stuffed with goat cheese, yum!

We left the market and still had some time to explore. So we decided to stop in Zurich at Hauptbahnhof and walk around a bit. There we found an indoor sand soccer field. Yes, set up inside the train station. Crazy right? Apparently there are games all weekend. We sat for a few minutes watching the game. Marion loved it, saying "They play soccer!" We haven't told her it is called football here yet.

After the excitement at the train station, I decided to show Brian the Mexican food store near the train station, El Maiz. I've been told a lot about this store and, on Monday, Sandy showed me where it was. Sadly, it was closed. So we tried again today and it was open! We walked out with tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole, jalapenos, and a Dos Equis for Brian.

We returned to Hauptbahnhof and caught the fast train home. As we were leaving the train station, we walked past a take away food stand. Brian looked over and said, "Döner kebabs, yummmmmmmmmm." Having never had a Döner kebab, I was intrigued. So we stopped for lunch. And it was gooooooooooood. Kind of like a Gyro.

So we had our yummy lunch at the Villa Seerose playground on the water, and then fed the ducks on our way home. Then, as you all probably know by now, it was naptime. Brian and Marion napped while I tried to find Michael Phelps 100m fly race online. I found it. Great race! And now Marion is up, she has great timing. Brian's still sleeping though- that means I'll get to throw Marion on him to wake him up. It's the best way to wake him, I promise.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I almost forgot!

The best part of our drive home from Kindercity (post below). Yes, it was still raining.

The song Dancing in the Moonlight came on the radio while we sat in traffic, in the rain, with my car leaking. I'll get to that in a little bit.

Anyway, feeling punchy from the traffic and the rain dripping on my passenger seat, I started dancing and singing. Well, car dancing. It isn't like you can stand up and rock out, know what I mean?

So I'm bopping back and forth and singing when Marion chimes in. I look back and she is bouncing back and forth in her carseat and singing the refrain, "Dancing in the moonlight!", over and over again in her cute little voice.

We had a little party while in traffic on the E41. Fun times!

Now my leaky car. Before I broke out into song, I noticed water dripping from the passenger sun visor onto the passenger front seat. It took several drips before I figured out where it was coming from. Not from the windshield or the sun roof, but from the screw holding the sun visor onto the roof of the car! Ugh, I'll have to go to the Peugot dealership when Marion gets up from her nap. Not fun times.

Rain, rain, go away

This week has been filled with rain showers. On the rare moment it wasn't rainy or cloudy, it has been chilly. Definitely not badi weather.

Marion and I had plans to go into Zurich this morning to go to the Bürkliplatz Market and just wander around to learn our new city. The rain flushed that plan down the toilet.

So I decided to venture up to Volketswil to check out Kindercity.

Having no idea where Volketswil was, Garmin came to the rescue, again. As luck would have it, I passed Ikea on the way. My stomping grounds.

Kindercity wasn't too hard to find and we got there close enough to opening time (10 am) to find a parking spot. There also wasn't a huge line when we arrived.

The website said a lot of the exhibits had English instructions as well as German. Well, I didn't find that. However, having been to the Maryland Science Center, Port Discovery, and the New Jersey Children's Museum, this place wasn't hard to figure out.

I'd say Kindercity is a cross between all three of the places I mentioned. Nicer than the New Jersey Children's Museum (that place needs a facelift, stat), more technical than Port Discovery, but more play-oriented than the Science Center.

The first floor was the science area. It had the body area (skeletons, exhibits about the senses), the electricity area (tubes to use as phones, make a light turn on using your body to complete the circuit), and a movie area (camera, set, play with photoshop-like computers). Marion liked making the lights turn on. This floor was way over her head though.

So we went to the second floor. More Marion's speed. It was called something in German that I don't remember but basically this was the area for 2-7 year olds. They had silly mirrors, a scale, a balance area (beams and pods to stand on), a climbing wall, and a huge piano (thing Big).

We had fun with all of that but spent a huge chunk of our time at the water area. There was a huge contraption with water continually flowing through it. Basically, you turned a wheel to lift plastic balls on a pulley to the top where there was an octopus. The ball dropped through the octopus and slide down a slide. Then the ball traveled down two more slides that had moveable walls to change the course of the water and balls. After the slides, the balls stopped in a large pool, low enough for the toddlers to put their hands in.

Plastic balls in water? We could have spent hours there.

But we didn't. It was soon time for lunch and to get on the road again. And sadly, when we left we saw it was still raining. I don't think it has stopped since this morning. And I'm not completely sure it is ever going to stop!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Because I love New Balance shoes

and I know a lot of people with wide feet, I'm veering off course today. Way way off course.

I follow Matt Logelin's blog religiously. Today he posted about a coupon code set up for NBwebexpress.com. The code, logelin24-25 , will take 10% off and give you free shipping. It expires at the end of the year.

Matt's post about this is here.

Happy Shopping!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Orange Cinema 2008: Wanted

Last night Brian and I went into Zurich with friends Jim and Sandy to see the movie Wanted. This wasn't your typical move theater however. We went to the Orange Cinema setup at the Zürichhorn (near the Chinagarten) for an outdoor movie.

The movie didn't start until 9:15 but the theater doors opened at 6:30. We were warned to get there early to save seats. Boy was that sound advice. By 6:45 the majority of the seats were reserved already.

The reason the doors open so early is so that everyone gets there, reserves their seats, and then spends money at the vendors inside. There were three restaurants to choose from. We hit up Rosaly's.
There we purchased some chicken curry and shrimp stir-fry. Both were excellent. And the portions were pretty big, we were all full.

After dinner, we sat at our picnic table, enjoying the weather and talking. One of Brian's and Jim's coworkers and his wife joined us as well and we had a great time hanging out before the movie started.

Eventually it got dark out and it was time for the movie to start. Unfortunately the seats we had found were in the middle of our row and it was kind of difficult to get to them. And the guy next to Brian didn't seem too pleased when Brian sat down next to him. He was pretty rude about it and didn't seem to care that Brian wasn't comfortable either. He's a big guy, what is he supposed to do? We couldn't straighten our legs or move much- the chairs were loungers and were pretty narrow.

Anyway, the screen lifted from the water

and the commercials began. One was pretty interesting- obviously a poke at President Bush and his aides.

You didn't need to speak German to understand they were making fun of him. In case you didn't know, most Europeans are, well, not fans of George W. Kind of like the majority of the US. I wish I had understood it, I would love to know the punchline!

Finally the movie started. The setting was fantastic. Moon off to the right of the screen, clear night sky, and lights twinkling along the lake shoreline. At one point we even saw fireworks farther down the lake.

The movie itself was fantastic. Kind of bloody and gory (I shielded my eyes more than once, I'm a wuss when it comes to that kind of stuff) but with great special effects and a fun, different storyline. The subtitles didn't even phase me. I didn't see them (German and French) after awhile.
Next Sunday we are going to see another movie here, Son of Rambow. We'll be sure to get there even earlier so try to get one of the better seats. I still can't believe how fast they went!

Naptime cuteness

This is what I saw when I went to wake Marion up from her Sunday naptime.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Zurich Street Parade

We went into Zurich for the Street Parade this morning with our friends Jo, Christian, and their twin daughters. Basically it is a huge rave. Even though we were walking around Zurich before the real party got started, there were still crowds, costumes, dancing, and drinking going on. I should just let the pictures do the talking on this one.

We arrived at Hauptbahnhof, Zurich's main train station, around 10:45 am. We headed to the Street Parade via Bahnhofstrasse.

Shortly into our walk we saw a table filled with costume items for Street Parade. Included were wings, wands, glitter, and crowns. Oddly enough, the store selling the items was Claire's, the same store in malls across the States.

We couldn't resist and decked out the girls.
We started off again and realized the girls couldn't be the only festive ones in our group. So the boys got into the act.
While we were buying the wigs for the men, the girls met a biker dude. They were wary of him.
Not to be outdone, Jo and I bought ourselves boas that matched our husband's wigs. Our group looked awesome.
Wholesome awesome compared to other outfits out there. Keep in mind these were all taken around noon today.

These women were older than they look in this picture.

Music and awesome people watching. What a fabulous Saturday.

Now, it isn't uncommon for people to stop people in costume to ask for a picture. Mostly the girls in the skimpy outfits were stopped.
The girls in orange and white got stopped a lot.

But then we got a request because our girls looked that cute.
However, Marion was a bit impatient and hit the poor girl in the face with her wand.
That isn't how you should treat fans Marion!

We continued our walk through the city and managed to run into Ed Reed towards the end of our walk.

And an Olympic athlete.
We then decided to take the ferry home. We asked the woman at the front of the boarding area which boat we should take. She said, "Wädenswil." We replied, "No" then repeated our destination. Wädenswil is a couple of towns south of where we were going along the lake. And then she pointed. The boat's name was Wädenswil.
Confusing.

The boat ride was fantastic. A bit chilly at times but gorgeous.

And then we went home and took naps. A great way to spend a Saturday morning. Probably the only time the Street Parade is toddler friendly.

*More pictures of the sights we saw today on Flickr.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Stroller Search 2008 has come to an end

Today my friend Katie and I had plans to go into Zurich. She has been here for a year and was going to show me the town. But we woke up to clouds and, unsure about the weather, we changed our plans.

We decided to go shopping instead. And, since she knows I yearn for a stroller that can handle the gravel pathways of Switzerland, she decided to show me Babyhaus. They have a large selection of strollers available to see, try, etc. Extra bonus: it is located in Dietlikon, right down the street from Ikea.

We arrived and headed straight for the second floor. And my goodness was Katie right. Half of the showroom floor was dedicated to strollers. They were everywhere: Bugaboos, Maclarens, Baby Joggers, among others. It was packed with merchandise. Perfect to try something out before you buy.

There was a particular stroller brand I've been eyeing so we headed straight for them, the Phil and Ted's buggies. Babyhaus had two out of the three Phil and Ted's buggies I've been considering: the Sport and Vibe. Another model, the Dash, is a recent addition to the line.

I tried out the Sport and it pretty much fulfilled my expectations: large tires, smaller footprint, felt smooth pushing it. Then we tried the foot brake. Man was that a pain. Not so bad to get the brake down with one foot, but I had to use two hands to get that sucker off.

But, like I mentioned, I've been eyeing these strollers for awhile. So, I know that the Dash version is basically a luxury version of the Sport model. Meaning, it has a hand brake instead of the annoying foot brake among other upgrades.

So that was that. I left the store determined I needed the Dash. And, when I got home, I ordered one. Isn't it pretty?

After Babyhaus, we headed over to Ikea. There, as usual, I bought things that were not on my list when I went into the store but, when inside, I decided I needed. Typical.

After Ikea and lunch in their packed restaurant (obviously you don't beat the crowds at 11:30 am, note to self), we headed home for naps.

And now I wait for my stroller. I can't wait!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Marion and her motorcycle: Part Two

And here she is getting in her bike seat.
video

I think this will become a nightly activity.

Marion and her motorcycle: Part One

Marion likes motorcycles. That includes bicycles. No clue why she calls bikes motorcycles. I always thought bike was easier to say. But I digress.

Brian came home at 7 pm tonight. He was greeted by Marion and a big hug. Then Marion went to grab her bike helmet, ran back to Brian, and announced "I go ride the motorcycle with Daddy!"

I guess she liked her first bike ride with Brian last night. Having missed her excitement last night (Brian said the first five minutes of the bike ride was filled with several "Wheeee!"s), I decided to capture tonight's ride on video.

Here she is getting her helmet on.
video

Part two to follow shortly.

We got our new refrigerator today

and possibly some mold too. But more on that later.

When we first arrived in our apartment, we noticed that the refrigerator didn't keep food that cold. First, we thought that maybe the refrigerator had been turned off in between tenants and it had to cool back down. Then, after a week, we thought maybe the Swiss don't keep their food as cool as Americans do. Finally, after a little more than a month, we realized how ridiculous that sounded and notified our landlord.

Our landlord made an appointment with us for someone to come look at the refrigerator. The refrigerator guy arrived on time and spoke no English. I was able to pantomime through a few things, pointing out that we had had the refrigerator set to the highest setting and showing him how warm it was. After 5 minutes he told me "New one." I asked him if he would call our landlord and he shook his head yes. After that he left. Fairly quick visit. It must have been obvious the frig was broken!

Anyway, Brian checked his US office voicemail on a fluke on Monday. Lo and behold, there was a message asking to schedule delivery of our new refrigerator. Brian called our landlord and confirmed delivery for Thursday morning between 9 and 11 am.

So imagine my surprise when, at 8:30 am this morning, our doorbell rang. Half naked and about to step in the shower I almost ignored it. But I decided to throw some clothes on and answer the door.

And there, on the stairwell, was the delivery man. I asked if he was here for the refrigerator and he responded yes. He spoke English. I said, "I thought you weren't coming until tomorrow?" He just shook his head no.

What are you going to do? Tell him to come back later? No. So now we have our new refrigerator. And it works, although we don't have the cabinet doors to cover it yet.

Now, onto the possible mold. I don't really know what this is. But I noticed it this afternoon and it is kind of freaking me out.
What do you think?

Monday, August 4, 2008

On vacation

When the Swiss go on vacation, they go. My favorite bakery and the second hand shop are closed due to vacation.

And they aren't closed for days. They are closed for weeks. A month to be exact.

This just doesn't happen in the US. At least not in Baltimore. First of all, people do not go on vacation for a month. And second of all, if they do go on vacation, they leave someone else in charge of their shop and keep it open.

I'm really just stunned by this phenomen. People seem to have vacated the town. It feels empty.

I can't wait for everyone to come back.

Still alive, just enjoyed our weekend!

We enjoyed our weekend so much so that Brian, Marion, and I were all pooped at the end of each day!

We had planned on going to the badi again on Friday, but the weather was against us. It rained all day long. So we spent the day playing inside with Marion and organizing our apartment. The apartment is still a mess now, but an organized mess.

Friday night we went to a barbeque at Jo and Christian's house. We met Jo and Christian at the going away party for the family who lived in our flat before us. They have twin daughters around Marion's age and they all enjoy playing together.

So we had dinner at their house with another couple that is friends of theirs. We had a fantastic time eating and talking while the kids played. So much so that we didn't get home until 8:45! Marion was up late but it was worth it.

Saturday morning the weather had improved enough for us to go to the badi. The weather was partly cloudy so it varied between chilly and warm depending on the cloud and sun situation. Marion didn't mind. We spent our time at the lake portion of the badi since the kid's pool was not turned on. The lake water was 24 deg C and felt fantastic.
While swimming in the lake, some swans showed up.

They didn't seem to mind we were there. They just kept swimming!

My friend Katie, her husband, and son joined us halfway through the morning. No one really swam but Marion, she was oblivious to any dips in the temperature. Well, except for when Brian got in to swing Marion around.

We left the badi to go home for lunch. Then it was naptime for Marion and errand time for Brian. Brian had talked to the owner of a local bike company the previous weekend. Fortunately, the owner had just repaired a used bike that was suitable for Brian's body frame. He didn't have it last weekend so they agreed to meet in the shop this weekend so Brian could take a look at the bike.

So off Brian went. He wasn't gone long before he came back home, announcing he was now the proud owner of a bike. The bike stayed behind for some last minute retuning. He picked up the bike later that afternoon.

Now that we had the bike, we needed a bike seat and helmet for Marion. So after Marion's nap we headed towards Toys R Us, where we had seen a carseat the previous weekend.

Halfway up the A3, I realized that Sihlcity (the large shopping center I had located during the car inspection trip) was a lot closer and probably had what we needed. So we stopped there first, hoping for the best.

Sihlcity is a massive shopping center, for Switzerland. It isn't as big as the Towson or Short Hills malls, but it is overwhelming when you are used to the shops in the center of town. What struck Brian and I first was how clean everything was. The place was spotless. And, on the top floor, was an Ochsner Sports!

We walked into Ochsner, hoping for the best. And sure enough, they had a seat and a variety of helmets. A nice employee helped us find a helmet that fit Marion correctly. We went through four helmets before we found one we were happy with. Surprisingly, it wasn't the most expensive. A first!

After Ochsner, we wandered around Sihlcity. We stopped in CoopCity (massive, will have to go back) and took note of the stores in the mall (toy store, pet store, etc). Then we noticed the shopping outside of the mall and headed in that direction. There we found a Burger King, H&M, a movie theater, a spa, and an Asian restaurant that also sold sushi. Yay!

After wandering around, it was time to head home for dinner and bed.

The weather on Sunday morning was even better than Saturday. So we decided to head back to the badi. And what a gorgeous morning it was to be at the badi. Sunny, not too chilly when the clouds showed up, and the lake had warmed to 25 deg C. The lake water was warmer than the pool water! We had a great time (again). This time, Brian swam Marion out to a platform floating out in the lake. Marion loved every minute of it.

It was so clear that we could see the other side of the lake clearly. Brian said he could also see the mountains in the distance from the platform on the lake. Truly breathtaking.

So, later that day after Marion woke up from her nap, we decided to go back. We probably killed the novelty of the badi by going as much as we did this weekend. On second thought, nah, no way of that happening. Marion truly loves the water and sand. She built sand castles all afternoon and even went down the slide. I think we found a favorite place.

We ended up having dinner at the badi and then came back home for bath and bed.

A great weekend spent with friends and enjoying the weather. Not much more we can ask for!