Friday, April 30, 2010

We bought a house yesterday.

Without ever stepping foot in it. Just a little crazy, right?

Thankfully my parents and our real estate agent were a huge help giving us their opinion on the place, along with almost 200 pictures. And we had the inspection so we have a good idea of the condition of the house.

Still, kind of weird to buy a home this way.

Brian has a holiday in a couple of weeks so I will be flying to Baltimore to see our new house in person. Hope I like it!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dinged again.

I've been meaning to write about our trip to Italy last summer for some time. This is as good a place as any to start.

Yesterday I received a souvenir from our trip to Italy. 180.80 euro speeding ticket in the mail. Brian or I were apparently going 77 km/h in a 60 zone by a speed camera evidently.

Yes we were in Italy at the end of August in 2009. Apparently that means nothing. They found us! And if we don't pay up in the next 60 days, the fine will double.

Damn it, damn it, damn it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ballenberg Ost

After our brief stop at Ballenberg last year, we decided to return this past weekend to explore the Ost side of the museum.

Someone (sadly, me) forgot to bring the camera during this outing so you'll just have to picture this in your head.

It was a beautiful day to walk around and explore the old buildings of Switzerland. We saw a man making chocolate, a man making pottery, an old smithy, a woman making cheese, a man making soup, cows, chickens, pigs, a woman making textile crafts, and a working sawmill.

Surrounding us were spectacular views of a lake and the Alps.

borrowed from

Gor. geous.

We had lunch on the terrace of a restaurant overlooking a playground. And then Marion enjoyed a carousel ride before we continued our stroll through the park in the fantastic spring weather.

It was awesome. If you live near there, go. soon. But not this weekend, because it is supposed to rain.

We will be back. And, hopefully, this time I will have my camera!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


We had to get new pictures for the girls to renew our Swiss residence permits yesterday. After many stops and some finagling in the picture booth at our train station, this is what I got.

They look so pissed... so Swiss.

This is a country where most of the people think that smiling is a sign of a weak mind.

But then again, there's this. Brian lost his keys while out for a run a couple of weeks ago. He searched and searched and came up with nothing. This morning, he checked in at the police office. Someone had turned them in.

So the Swiss will not smile at you but they will respect your things. And we are so thankful for that!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The joys of a time difference

Thanks to our Slingbox, we enjoy a little bit of American TV on occasion. The best time to watch is in the morning here, roughly 4 am EST. That's when gems like this appear.

And to think I might have missed this had I never moved to Switzerland.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Quintessentially Swiss: Freitag Shop

Back in October, our friend Zach visited us. Since he's an architect and likes funky buildings, I decided to take him to something that is quintessentially Swiss: the Freitag shop.

Freitag was founded by two brothers in the early nineties. They make bags and other products out of recycled truck tarps, bike tires, and airbag material. Their shop in Zurich is a tower made out of containers with a lookout on the top.

These bags are durable and very Swiss. Chances are you'll see a bunch if you look out for them while in Zurich.

So we stopped by, checked out the bags, and climbed the tower.

The payoff is the view at the top.

Not too shabby.

Freitag also has some open containers and chairs next to the shop for lounging so you can rest after dropping some major dough on the bags.

So go, enjoy, and happy shopping!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day, Google style

I love how Google makes pictures out of their names for holidays. This is what I see today on

I'm curious.... do you see the same image on Google wherever you are?

Happy Earth Day!

PS- Been a big week in our house, very very busy. And I noticed that I have a huge backload of drafts in my post queue so stay tuned, spring cleaning ahead!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Yep, that's them.

I was going through my pictures from France when I found a picture that thoroughly captured how my girls view food.

Betti: "Why is my bottle empty? There isn't any left!?"
Marion: "What exactly is this stuff you are trying to get me to eat?"


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

And then you wonder, when did I learn that?

Marion had an unfortunate incident in the bathroom the other day.

She told me about it after: "Mommy, the crumby water splashed in my face and made me sick!" *cough*

Translation: As Marion was going number two, she happened to look down and was splashed in the face as her poop fell into the water.

Now, before she goes to the bathroom, she announces to us that she will never, ever look down again so that the poop water doesn't splash her in the face.

Life lessons people, we all learn them at some point. And sometimes, you learn them after getting poop water splashed in your face.

Poop water or no, it's fun to watch Marion learn her life lessons.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Our wine winner is...

#3, eNVy! Congratulations!

I can't figure out how to post the random number generator results for some reason so you'll just have to take my word for it.

eNVy, please email me your address so I can send you your bottle of wine!

Friday, April 9, 2010

April Giveaway: Wine!

In honor of our wine trip last weekend I am giving away one of our favorite bottles of wine from Switzerland, 4 red (pinot noir) from Weinstamm.

Brian and I found this vineyard when out for lunch with friends at the Rhine Falls last year. We ended up meeting the owner at the Zurich wine boats last November and we've been a fan ever since.

I'll use the random number generator like I did last time to pick the winner out of the comments. Deadline for comment entries will be Monday at noon EST.

And, if I don't know you in real life, please don't be offended if I ask for some sort of proof that you are of drinking age (whatever that age may be wherever you are). :)

Good luck!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wine country, Part Deux.

On Saturday we drove to Beaune for their market. It was a fabulous market, even in the pouring rain.

Look at those artichokes!

Marion reminded us that we needed to get a carrot for the Easter Bunny. We taught her to ask, "Une carotte, s'il vous plait." S'il vous plait was a bit of a mouthful for her.

Sadly, it was just too rainy. So after picking up some things we went back to our apartment for lunch and a nap. And wow, was lunch good. Some fresh bread, comte cheese, rotisserie ham, and the best jam I've ever had- Williams pears with vanilla bourbon. Wow.

After we stuffed our stomachs and took a rest, we ventured out for another stab at Beaune in the rain in the afternoon.

And guess what we found?

A carousel, of course.

We also found a fantastic fromagerie and a bakery with yummy macarons.

You don't come to France to diet, you come to indulge.

Easter Sunday brought better weather so we spent the day driving through the countryside.

Our drive was followed with a nice Easter lunch (5 courses was pushing it with the girls, but we did it), a nap stop at the apartment, and then a walk around Pommard.

It was a very nice trip. Of course, we probably would have been able to sample more wine had we been there without the girls. But then we probably would have spent more on wine too. So, good thing we took the kids I think.

Brian, however, is already planning our return trip, ohne kinder, in the distant future.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wine country... mit kinder.

Brian and I went to Burgundy, France for the long Easter weekend with the girls.

Now, before you ask me if I've completely lost my mind, let me explain a few things.

First, we knew we wanted to travel since Brian had both Friday and Monday off. Second, we knew we wanted to get out of Switzerland because Switzerland is a ghost country over the holiday. Everything is closed.

So, our solution was to go to wine country. Yes, with the kids, but such is life!

The drive over was brutal; we hit traffic at two toll booths, Betti screamed the majority of the way, and during all of this Brian attempted to get on a conference call for work- when he had a signal.

It made for an interesting trip.

But we made it there, safely, and early. So we went to Chateau de Pommard for a tour and wine tasting.

The excursion was mildy successful. It started off well, out in the open where our kids were cute and entertaining.

Then we ventured into the cellar aka an enclosed space. I can't say that I soaked up all of the information that the tour guide gave us since Marion was constantly picking up rocks from the cellar floor, asking that I take a picture of them, and then putting them in her pocket.

I did manage to snap a few other pictures while we were down there.

After the tour, it was time for wine tasting. We managed to taste all of the wines they offered, albeit with interruptions. The girls played outside for most the time...

...but stopped in to check on us too. First Marion brought us some more rocks, then Marion came running in to announce that she had to go poopy (so glad she yelled that so that everyone else could hear it). The rest of the time we tried to prevent Betti from eating rocks, flowers, and anything else she found on the ground.

Despite all of that, we did buy some wine. So mission accomplished!

After our wine tasting we drove around Pommard briefly to get a lay of the land. We saw this truck during that drive.

What can I say? I love the play on words between all of the languages we come across.

We then found our apartment and settled in for the night. Stay tuned for the rest of the trip!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chocolate overload

This week our playgroup gathered at a local park for an Easter egg hunt.

It was a little chilly but we had a great time!

We started out the morning with snacks, including my friend Rachel's delicious hot cross buns.

After a quick bite the kids ran around a little bit. Marion refused to hold still, however, I managed to get this picture of her. :)

Next, we gathered the kids up for a walk. They waited (patiently?) to hunt for the eggs.

Then they were off!

Alot of the trees had stashes of eggs at the base of them.

Somehow, the kids seemed to find these stashes in groups.

Marion was quite pleased with what she found.
She was even happier to break into the chocolate.

After a brief chocolate break, the kids tried egg races.

They got it, at first.

But they quickly realized there was a faster way to run and keep the egg on the spoon.

My little stinker dug into the food while we were doing the egg races.

She's going to be a tough one. You can just see it on her face.

"Yea, I ate the food you left here. This chocolate chip muffin is good. What are you going to do about it?"

Happy Easter everyone!