Sunday, September 30, 2007

six word sunday: The fish knew not its fate.

six word sunday challenge

Yesterday we enjoyed a very nice day of sunshine (after a week or rain and cold cloudiness), only to then get to listen to torrential downpours all night long. The sun peeked out a few times throughout the day today, though. Nice of it to say hello every once in a while.

Still recovering from jet-lag, Zach slept in till about noon, then we lazed about downstairs for a while catching up on internetting and magazines (and football highlights online). Then we broke Swiss rule by VACUUMING THE HOUSE (you know, on a Sunday). But it was desperately needed. We did a good job, too, I vacuumed while Zach went ahead of me and got all the crap off the floor. It took us a good 30-45 minutes of so to get the whole house, but afterwards it looked so nice and purty. =)

Later on we took a walk around the village, and then as Zach was making dinner (such a good hubby) Michelle came over from next door with some extra banana bread that she'd made. =) I'm gonna try to make it over sometime this week to look through the baby stuff she's saved up from when her grandkids were a few years younger, that she's offered to lend me (such a godsend, this woman!).

And now, bedtime approaches... and it sucks that I'm starting to dread going to bed now. Lately I've been waking up in the middle of the night with hunger pangs (no matter how much I ate before going to bed), and I also keep tossing and turning to try to get comfy and avoid back pain. It doesn't help that Sierra keeps curling up down at my legs, which I don't get-- surely Zach's just as comfortable, and wouldn't disturb her nearly as much by moving around all the time? *Sigh* silly cat.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Zach arrived back home this morning. I was still in bed when he got here from the airport, so he came and joined me and the 2 of us and Sierra snuggled in bed for a while. Eventually we got up and did some grocery shopping nearby, which originally was going to be fairly minimal (fruit, eggs) and of course wound up buying a good bit more than that... but it's ok b/c now Zach's making some yummy fish and veggies for dinner thanks to that. =)


After shopping we went on a walk and had a pretty interesting discussion about health care in the US. It's something everyone is talking about, and I definitely agree that something seems to be broken in the way the US does health care and how insurance companies work in general. However something that no one ever brings up is the idea that perhaps heath care costs are so high in the US because people are unhealthy. And treating unhealthy people costs more money. As Zach said, you make cities so you have to drive everywhere, create and market games that allow you to sit on your butt all day, and put fast food drive-thrus everywhere (and make everyone work so much they don't have time for proper cooking), and then you're surprised when people get fat and have health problems?


So earlier today I was eating a salad and managed to spill half of it on the ground when I was trying to grab a carrot with my fork, and then just a minute ago I hit Zach's mug as I was moving some stuff on he table and spilled some if his tea. Now he's laughing at me and what I'm terming my pregnancy-induced clumsiness. I'm sure it'll get better as I get bigger, right? You know, when I'm actually bumping stuff with my belly as opposed to just my hands? Yeah.

And now, in honor of Sierra who's just ecstatic to have daddy be back home:

Friday, September 28, 2007


There are many times when this whole baby thing just doesn't seem at all real. Like, what? What do you mean we're having a baby? That's crazy talk. Then again, a month ago I was talking to a mom of 2 gorgeous little toddler girls and she said she and her husband still look at each other in amazement thinking "What? These are our kids? Are we seriously parents??" So perhaps the disbelief takes a while to wear off... if ever.

And then there are moments like yesterday, during the hospital tour, when as we walked to the labor room they were going to show me, I caught a peek of the nursery and a dad playing with his newborn child, and I immediately had to fight back tears. It was an instantaneous reaction. It wasn't any sort of fully formed thought, like "aw that will be Zach and our son soon" but just this immediate wave of emotion, at the sweetness of that moment.

It happened again when she showed me the post partum rooms and I caught sight of a new mother sitting up in bed, her newborn baby nestled on her lap.

And then at night, as I read one of my pregnancy books, I closed my eyes for a bit and tried to visualize what Loki's birth might be like. I have ideas of what I would prefer to happen, of course, and fears of what might happen instead. But I fully believe that, no matter what, in the end I'll be holding my darling son, and that image in my mind brought tears to my eyes all over again. I can't imagine what an emotional wreck I will be when that moment actually comes, b/c every time I even think about it I just get overwhelmed by the enormity and amazingness and magic of it all.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lights Out

Had the tour of the public hospital this morning. The midwife who showed me around was super nice and helpful. It seems that they allow a lot more freedom of mobility during labor and birth (they have this cool chair you can use to sit on to help let gravity do some of the work to get baby out, sounds so much better than lying flat on your back) which is awesome (I heard the private clinics around town tend to be a lot more restrictive). The bad news, is that only one person at a time will be allowed in the room with me, meaning Zach and Mom will have to take turns... and so would a doula, if I chose to have one. And although all the doctors speak English fluently, not all the midwives do. So that's kinda scary-- I'd like Zach to be in the room as much as possible, which would defeat the purpose of a doula if they had to take turns, but then I'm kinda scared by the idea of not being able to understand the midwife on duty about something. So I'll have to try to see if one of the clinics has more flexibility in that aspect, and then figure out what to do.

I got home after that feeling pretty hopeful, then soon discovered a huge puddle of milk on the floor near the refrigerator... apparently the bottle I'd put back on the shelf sideways after breakfast was not closed properly. Poop. Sierra must've been upstairs all morning, as she didn't seem to discover the milk on the floor till she came down to greet me... and soon started furiously licking up milk as fast as she could. I had to laugh. I got it all cleaned up, including washing some of the fridge shelves that had milk all over them (not an easy feat, since the shelves were slightly wider than the sink, which had dirty dishes from me cooking last night... ugh). Of course the last thing I wanted to do after dealing with that mess was wash the rest of the dishes in the kitchen, so those will wait till tomorrow.

And then... at about 7:30 this evening, I was sitting at the computer and the power all of a sudden went out. It wasn't storming outside or anything, and it was throughout the entire house so no tripped fuse. One house across the street had a light on, which made me mad, but then I noticed that none of the other houses seemed to have lights. I was glad to have eaten dinner early, so as not to need to open the fridge (in case this lasted a while), though I also knew that in that case I'd be starving by midnight and need to eat something anyway. Oh, and phone and internet were out, too. Baffled for what to do, I eventually gathered up supplies (crackers, bread, pecans; candles and lighter; magnetic-powered flashlight that my mom-in-law gave us last year, thank god otherwise we probably wouldn't have had one at all in the house) and went upstairs to the bedroom, which got the most of the remaining bits of natural light, and settled down to read for a bit by candlelight.... and wait to see what happened. Thankfully, 30 minutes later the lights came back on (then off again for 30 seconds, then back on) and have been back for about half an hour now.

It always sucks more when this stuff happens when Zach's gone. I guess I just prefer the company, and having someone else to help me figure out what to do. The thought crossed my mind of what I would do if this happens when the baby's here. That's kinda scary... thinking of another being so dependent on me. I know having the lights go out isn't that big a deal, expect it kinda can be... I dunno. I'm also curious to see what I'll feel like when Zach travels after the baby's born. I have a feeling that, if he's already sleeping on his own in the nursery, I'll want to go in there with him. When I'm home alone there's always a part of me, in the back of my mind, that gets paranoid about someone breaking in, and I can't imagine that fear getting better when there's this tiny little creature that's in the house with me that I have to protect. So we'll see. Zach has always assured me that family comes before work, and if changes need to be made to make me and the baby happy, then he'll do his best to make that happen. Certainly is nice to know.

Edit: lights went out again at 10pm, for another 30-40 minutes. At this point I was glad to have left my flashlight right next to me, and have the candles and lighter all set by my bed still. Still no clue what happened.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New friends, and cooking experiments

Today started out as a bit of a lazy day. I had planned to work on some scrap-booking that I'm behind on, but suddenly it was noon (or slightly after) and all I'd managed to accomplish was to have breakfast and do stuff on the computer. Then I got a message from Melanie (a woman who lives in Geneva that I've talked to some online, but have yet to meet) about a meet-up in town this afternoon, and I had just about enough time to take a shower, have some lunch, and head in to meet her. The sun that had been peeking through the clouds so far all day of course decided to go into hiding and out came the cold and rain, and the coffee shop where we'd planned to meet had decided to close for the afternoon, but everything worked out ok after all-- we all met up and found a new place to hide and stay warm, and had a great time chatting. I got to meet Melanie, Jessica was also there, and then about 5 other women (and a very very cute St Bernard puppy!). It was great to meet some new people, and it was yet another reminder to try harder to get out and hang out with people rather than letting laziness and inertia keep me at home.

When I got back home, I was greeted by a package from Cristina... with some gifts for Loki:

She also wrote a cute letter to her future nephew, which will definitely be going into a baby book. =)

Back in California, I'd started to form a repertoire of recipes that I felt confident enough making (most courtesy of Real Simple magazine, one of my faves ever). Since our move, I kinda got away from trying to make anything even remotely fancy (mostly b/c I was intimidated, b/c I'm silly like that), sticking to uber-easy pasta+frozen veggies+sauce or olive oil when it was my turn to make dinners. Well, this week I got inspired, and actually bought some chicken on my last big grocery store trip (which I never do, b/c I'm always too lazy to actually cook it) and right now it's on the stove, and I'm gonna try to make my chicken and corn empanadas (one of my good ole Real Simple recipes). I'm kinda excited, though perhaps I should wait to see how they turn out first. ; )

Who knows, perhaps I'll even go out and get some eggs tomorrow so I can make Zach some pumpkin bread for when he gets back Saturday morning. =P

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Weighing decisions

While in Cannes I suspected that I might be going through another little growth spurt, as I seemed to have done in the US, since my appetite had definitely gone up for a few days and my belly seemed to have grown, too. I weighed myself this morning, and yup, I gained another 3lbs since 2 weeks ago, for a grand total of 10lbs so far this pregnancy. On the one hand, a 10lb weight gain is about spot-on for being 20 weeks along. On the other, I gained those 10lbs just in the past 5 weeks... which is quite quickly. I'm not too worried yet, as my main concern is trying to make sure I eat well, balancing food groups, etc. Though my sweet tooth does have a way of rearing up at times, and perhaps we'll have to tame that a bit. Otherwise I might end up with a baby demanding chocolate as soon as he comes out.

In November Zach will be going to San Diego for a conference for work, and then probably spending a week in the bay area as well catching up with his other coworkers. Feeling bad about possibly leaving me alone for about 2 weeks, he suggested that maybe I could go back with him for at least part of the time. We'd have to see first if we could use air miles for it, since we probably couldn't afford to pay for the ticket outright, but even then I'm still kinda going back and forth on it. It'd be great to go back to the states again, get to see all our friends in California, and get to do some more shopping for baby stuff in person (as opposed to online, and having others bring it with them). But part of me would feel bad about flying to CA, partially to be with Zach, and not going to Texas to see family, as well... which I guess I could do, it just would complicate plans very quickly. Mostly, though, I'm kinda dreading that flight. Especially since by then I'll be about 6-7 months pregnant. Assuming that no health complications arise between then and now it'd be totally safe for me to fly, but if I weren't able to get a bulkhead seat it would just be a nightmare when I'm getting that big (and I kinda have a feeling I'm gonna have a pretty big belly). So, yeah, don't really know what to do yet.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Cannes Recap

So we flew back this morning-- me back home to Geneva, Zach off to NJ for work (will be back sat. morning). Sierra could not have been happier to see me when I walked in the door and has been all over me all day, purring and shedding everywhere to show how much she's missed having any sort of human interaction the past few days. Well, that is when she doesn't decide to go sleep on the chair across the room.

We had a pretty fabulous weekend. I'm not really gonna go through and break it down by day, just say that we spent lots of time resting, hanging out at the beach, and eating ice-cream. The food was pretty good. The weather, gorgeous. Other than being just a bit on the chilly side for swimming, I think this was the perfect time of year to go, as nothing was too crowded. We tried to go to Monaco on Saturday, to check out the aquarium and also a yatch show that Zach wanted to go see, but when we got to the train station they were apparently having to do repairs on the rail between Nice and Monaco, so we went as far as Nice and hung out there for a good part of the day, checking out the downtown, and I bought some unbelievably expensive cookies from this really adorable store tucked away in a corner. They were yummy. =)

Zach really fell for Cannes, I think. He said it reminded him a lot of Santa Barbara, which is one of our favorite places in California. I'm just now realizing how much he really does love going to the beach, and we're thinking of trying to make sure we go on one good beach trip a year.

I didn't take too many pictures, but they're up in flickr for the viewing for anyone who's interested.

Now, I must run to the grocery store and stock up on essentials, since I don't really have much at home at the moment.

Friday, September 21, 2007


So we're here, in Cannes, and it's pretty fabulous. We're using up some of our free nights at the Hilton, and apparently made good time of it, too, since this Hilton will only be a Hilton for another month or so. We're right across the street from the beach, and our room got upgraded so that we have a gorgeous view of it from our room. This means no free breakfast, unfortunately, meaning this morning we paid 14euro each for tea, juice, and some croissants, but we won't ponder on that... nor the fact that the dollar keeps dropping in value compared to the euro... um, yeah.

We were lazy today, spent the afternoon down at the beach. It's sunny and warm, but the breeze makes it so you can lay out in the sun and never get too warm. The water's gorgeous, and so incredibly calm. The Mediterranean really is more like a big lake than an ocean.

However the funnest part of the past few days is that Loki's definitely getting more active, and I can feel him kicking lightly several times a day. On the plane flight over Zach got to feel one of these kicks, a nice strong one. I was glad for that, since often I'll feel him start but by the time I put Zach's hand mon my belly he'll stop. Feeling him move around and kick like this is so cool (and at times feels just a bit creepy). It forces me to really think about him more often, to be aware of his presence, of whether he's awake or sleeping, etc, which is exactly what I was hoping for and looking forward to about this part of pregnancy. He's not just a little baby that I see on the ultrasound screens anymore. Now he's my son, inside my body, moving around and making his presence known, and every time I feel him stirring I'll smile and think to myself (to him), "Hey, there, little guy, what's up?"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


The google thing has resolved itself somehow. Websites tend to see our location and automatically make everything in German (I guess it's the biggest country in Western Europe, so that's the default?). Oh well, it's all better now.

I took the car this morning to run some errands, and it was low on gas. Zach normally drives the car more than I do, so it's always worked out that he's been the one to fill up the gas tank... meaning I have yet to ever fill up our car since we moved here. I was kinda nervous about it, to be honest. I took several minutes to make sure I knew which was the diesel and which was the regular gas, confirmed that I could just pay afterwards (no credit card slot on the pump), and then pumped away... and was astonished as I watched the price go from semi-reasonable to astronomic. To all you Americans whining about gas prices, chew on this-- it cost me about $60 (yes, dollars, it was about 75chf) to fill up my little 10-gallon honda civic. I am normally not one to complain about gas prices, I don't mind encouraging people not to drive, and public transit here means we don't drive that much anyway, etc. But for a few moments there, I was just like "Um... holy crap!" Makes you think twice about those trips out to Ikea.

I gotta pack... we leave for the beach tomorrow! Woot! I am excited. =) This will also be my first time to fly EasyJet. Zach flew them a couple weeks ago, said it was basically like Southwest airlines... only the planes were kinda older and crappier. I guess we'll see?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Google Reader Language help?

Ok, fellow expats (and anyone who's tech/internet-savvy), I need some help. All of a sudden this morning Google Reader decided to go German on me (Gmail and blogger are still both in English). How do I change the language setting back to English on Google Reader? Thank you!

I had my first yoga class today. It went well enough, was pretty low-key and a bit on the short side (50 minutes total). Not bad. I'll probably order this yoga DVD for using at home, since this class is only once a week (I've tried looking for prenatal yoga DVDs to buy here, but have yet to find a place that sells any type of exercise DVDs, and will ship this one out directly for $6).

After class I ventured out to the public hospital. I'd tried calling the contact person that was given to me yesterday over the phone, but her extension kept ringing with no answer. The hospital was just a short tram ride away, so I took my chances, and found out that she's actually on holiday till Monday. Since I was already kind of near the Carouge shopping center I headed over there to do some baby price comparisons at a big baby store located there (partially to kill time till my bus's next run), then came home. I probably should have taken a nap when I got here, as now I'm utterly exhausted-- my lower back and legs are also feeling tired and achy, possibly from all the walking I did today (I thought the yoga was supposed to help this?).

Tomorrow I need to get a haircut, pack for our trip, and do some stuff around the house to get ready for being gone for 4 days. If I'm feeling up for it I might also try to call one of the other hospitals on my list and go check it out, but I might play that by ear. I can always take care of it next week, if needed.

In a baby update, yesterday at the ultrasound appointment the lady told us that Loki's measuring about 20cm in length (from the top of his head to his bum), and weighs I think around 300-something grams. I looked up the average numbers for a 19-week-old fetus, and they're closer to 15 or 16cm. I think we might have a big baby. I might be in trouble. I was hoping he'd take after myself and my siblings (we were all between 6 and 7lbs at birth), but instead he might be emulating his daddy (8+lbs). I will say, I wouldn't mind having a Zach-like baby as long as I get to have a labor like his mom did, as well-- she popped him out in about 11 hrs (Andrew, apparently was out after 3-4hrs!). I've always been told I have "good birthing hips." I'm gonna be pissed if they don't do their part now... ; )

PS- Feliz Dia de Independencia, Chile! =)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Confusion: a delightful constant in any expat's life.

Today was a bit of a long day, but a good one.

First, we had the sonogram appointment this morning. Unfortunately I didn't take care to look up driving directions so Zach was relying on his limited familiarity of driving over to Carouge, and we kind of took the long way around... but still got there in time. The appt went great, everything looks fabulous and totally healthy for baby-- woot! He seemed to be napping, so we didn't get to see him dancing around like he usually does, but it was still pretty awesome. Just a few more months and we'll get to meet the little guy in person. =)

I then dropped Zach off at work, and headed out to the Jumbo and Chevannes shopping center that's off the highway on the way to Lausanne and Ikea. We've been meaning to get a weedwacker-type instrument to try to cut our grass with, and Zach'd heard that Jumbo was the place to go for that sort of stuff. I also wanted to check out the rest of the shopping center.

Welp, I pulled up... and all the parking lots were blocked off. The entire center appeared to be closed. And I did not seem to be the only perplexed driver having to turn around and figure out a plan b. Oh well, I thought, I'll just go to Ikea, I'd been thinking of doing that anyway and there's a Coop garden center right across from it.

Closed, too. All of them. WTF? And, again, I saw other people pulling up and then having to turn around when they saw that everything was closed, so this wasn't just me being clueless about some obvious rule. Zach and I later figured there must've been some holiday today for Vaud canton (where each of those shopping centers is located, I think). Who knows. Finally, I ended up at MParc, a massive Migros shopping mall type place that we'd just discovered and located on our earlier drives around town, and finally found what I was looking for... along with a fly swatter!!! Which I have also been searching for and haven't been able to find till today.

By the time I got home it was about 2pm and I was exhausted from all the driving and shopping. I collapsed into bed and passed out for a good 2 hours. Then I got up, had a snack, and called 2 of the hospitals near us and got numbers and names of English speaking staff to talk to to ask about taking a tour of their facilities, which I hopefully can maybe do in the next 2 days. One of them is the city public hospital, and I had a bit of a harder time finding someone there to speak English with me, but I don't know if that really translates to much at this point. I'll have to work out a good list of questions to ask before going...

I signed up for a prenatal yoga class through one of the Migros schools, and have my first class tomorrow. It's a once-a-week class that lasts till December, and they've already had 2 sessions so I'm kinda nervous about walking in late... and that the class will most likely be conducted in French. But with things like yoga I've always found there's so much jargon that I have trouble understanding (or simply hearing) the teachers sometimes anyway, and end up following what everyone around me is doing.

There's still a bit of a weight on my shoulders, but it's lifting. I'm making progress, I have plans of action, I'm feeling more confident about figuring all this stuff out. I'm also getting excited about the trip to the coast that Zach and I are taking this weekend. =) Heck, maybe I'll even spring for a prenatal massage...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday market, and to-do's

It's late and I should be going to bed, but I had trouble sleeping again last night and I'm hoping if I tired myself out more before going to sleep, I'll have an easier time of it tonight. Let's see how that plays out, shall we?

This morning we went back to the Divonne market, and even brought some friends with us (ok, they got there first... we slept in a bit). I'd kind of been relying on Zach to wake up early, as he tends to do on weekends (only) but he was pretty pooped from his trip earlier this week, so that didn't exactly work out. Oh well, I got up and out of bed, walked down to the village baker where a morning crowd was gathered to buy a few items needed on a Sunday (when no other stores would be open). I paid an exorbitant amount for milk, eggs, a loaf of bread, and a croissant and pain au chocolat for our breakfast and came back to eat and get ready before heading out the door shortly before 11am.

The market was nice, as it was last week, although I find myself a bit disappointed by the fact that it seems to lack much choice as far as organic foods go... a surprise to me, as I've sort of associated farmer's markets with organic. In California organic produce was always proudly marked, and I found no signs saying one way or the other here, and the one stand I asked at said their food was "treated" (and said it in a manner as if that was the better way to go, as in why wouldn't we spray chemicals on all our produce?). I came home and did a bit of research and found that, although Switzerland as a country is a bit of a world leader in organic farming, western Switzerland (where we are) appears to lag behind-- less that 5% of the agricultural land around Geneva is devoted to organic farming. Which would explain why, counterintuitively, I have an easier time finding "bio" options in the supermarket than at these farmers markets. I go back and forth over time on how much this really matters to me, though growing a person inside my body, and thinking about how and what I'll want to feed him as he grows, certainly makes me more aware of it, and wanting to at least have the option to go organic if I so choose.

But anyway, we did have a lovely time at the market, and afterwards as the 4 of us ate paella by the lake and talked. I think Zach may have found a hiking buddy, which I'm happy about, b/c I know getting out into the outdoors helps keep him less stressed and more sane. I took a short nap this afternoon while Zach took his bicycle on a spin, and then we headed over to Bob and Aruna's for a night of hanging out with Jules while mom and dad went to the Police concert in town. As always, Jules was adorable and pretty easy to manage, and after she went to bed Zach was ecstatic to discover Sunday Night Football on their Sky TV and got to watch Vince Young playing for his new team. Very exciting stuff. ; )

Well, tomorrow is a long day... in the morning we have an appointment for the "big" ultrasound, which should be awesome. =) Then I have to figure out where to buy a weedwacker so we can attempt our next idea at tackling the awkward pattern on grass growing on our patio. I also have a bunch of phone calls to make, to see about a possible second-hand stroller I read about on and also some used baby clothes that might come in handy, and to some local hospitals to try to find info on taking a tour and if they offer birthing classes. I'm nervous about the hospital calls as I don't know if I'll get anywhere or if the people I reach will speak English with me, but I'll cross my fingers. I hate making these sorts of calls, but the less-than-helpful, French-only websites left me with no useful info so... Yeah. Wish me luck.

six word sunday: Just watching the world go by.

Just watching the world go by...

six word sunday challenge

Friday, September 14, 2007


I had every intention of going to Ikea this morning, to make up for not going yesterday. I had my alarm set and everything, and I went to bed early... only to wake up EXHAUSTED. I laid in bed for a while, then figured, ok, I have to get up. So I came downstairs and got some breakfast (I was quite hungry) and ate as I played on the computer, and it became clear soon that I just had no energy to do anything.

So at about 11:30am I went back to bed. And slept for another 3 hours.

Baby must be going through a growth spurt or something, I haven't felt like this since the first trimester. I did wash dishes this afternoon, I felt that was an accomplishment. But yeah there's no leaving the house today. I was considering meeting up with some friends in town by the lake for drinks... and that's not happening, either. Instead I'm trying to rest, and make sure to eat plenty. Hopefully I'll feel less lethargic soon. Unfortunately I think part of the problem is that it's getting hard to sleep comfortably. I'm not even that big yet! But my legs are starting to get that uncomfortable, restless feeling by morning, and sometimes my hip joints will feel really uncomfortable almost to the point of pain. I guess it's from the pressure of sleeping on my sides all the time (since I'm trying not to sleep on my back). I'm trying to use extra pillows to get more comfortable, but have not found the magic solution yet. I have heard that exercising, like yoga, can help. I just signed up for a once-a-week prenatal yoga course in town on Tuesdays, we'll see if that helps.

Zach comes home tomorrow! =)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Babies and Car Seats and Strollers, oh my!

I have to say, I am feeling quite grateful to Baby Bargains at the moment. There's so much stuff to buy when preparing for a baby, it's pretty overwhelming, and this book is helping make sense of it all. Today I read the whole section on car seats. Now, I've been in a bit of a conundrum about what to do as far as a car seat and stroller for a while. Any time I've browsed through the baby sections of stores here to check out prices, I've had a hard time finding strollers or car seats for less than $500chf, and many ranging up to $900chf (on the flip side, a perusal of reveals lots of great options for about $100-$400, including some travel systems-- stroller and car seat combined). So, there seems to be a pretty major price difference. I have also yet to find stores with a great selection of either product. Perhaps I haven't found the right place yet, since Geneva is inundated by mothers and young children... you'd think there'd be a huge market for this. Then again, I just found out that despite having several yoga studios Geneva appears to not have a single store that sells yoga clothes, so who the heck knows.

So, is it worth it to buy a car seat and stroller in the US and have it brought over by a visiting relative? What about safety standards? I just found out that in the US it's illegal to use a car seat from another country, I have no idea if Switzerland has similar restrictions or how they'd compare to the US's standards.

Well, for now at least, we have settled on waiting on a stroller. I figure that, certainly for the first few months, I'll feel much more comfortable having baby up on my body in a sling anyway (which some studies show may be beneficial for babies anyway) and the thought of trying to use a stroller on the buses and in town just scares me, honestly. So we'll wait till baby's born to see how we feel about a stroller. Heck, if we make it till he's 6 months we can just buy a cheapy umbrella stroller and have that be that.

But, a car seat you can't skimp on. That's something we have to have before he's born. So as I read up on the various brands and safety concerns, etc, a long to-do list began to form in my head as to what I need to do here:
  1. Check if our car has a LATCH or ISOFIX system, for attaching a car seat.
  2. Research online to see what car seat models work best (or don't work at all) for our car.
  3. Figure out what brands of car seats are available in stores here, and then check which ones are in Baby Bargains to read their reviews (or try to find other reviews online).
  4. Find out if instructions for installing the car seat will come in English, if purchased here. This is actually a huge point for me. Car seat installation can be baffling as it is, and is not something I'm willing to try to do while translating from French. Especially not when apparently up to 80% of car seats in the US are installed improperly (without any sort of language barrier getting in the way).
  5. If I cannot find a car seat that will have English instructions (or can't find them online, if it's an international/american brand) then I'll have to see about getting a car seat from the US. This decision needs to be made probably by early December, so I could send the seat to my parents' house and have Jen and Daddy bring it out with them when they come here for Christmas. If we resort to this option, I'll have to hope that there's no restrictions about this, or that the Swiss version of CPS won't come after me.
See, this is why Mother Nature gives you a good 9 months before baby's born, so you can figure all this crap out first!

In other news, speaking of babies and birthing, today is my birthday. =) I got a call from Daddy this morning, and got to talk to Mom, Philip, and Jen on a simultaneous conference call this afternoon. And, of course, Zach called early this morning to wish me a happy birthday, and sent me a very cute e-card, "from Charlie." =P No big plans today, I'd thought about heading up to IKEA and looking at potential baby furniture and stuff, but then it got to be afternoon and I started feeling tired (been having major afternoon slumps this week) and decided to be lazy at home instead, going for a short walk outside in the sun to say hello to the horses, and then sat with Sierra and read for a while. Simple, but I'm happy. Besides, we'll go on a fun birthday celebration trip next weekend. =)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I think the cat's mad at me

This morning Jean-Pierre, the contractor that was in charge of the renovations on our house before we moved in, stopped by to check up on the window latches that were recently put in. He's this super animated fun (Swiss, I'm assuming?) man. I've met him a few times before. He told me that his wife just had a daughter a few weeks ago, so he was very excited about that, and then I told him that I'm pregnant myself, and he gave me a high-five. =)

In the afternoon I met up with some of the girls for a coffee (well, a coffee, tea, and some waters). It was nice to see them again after being away for 2 weeks. One of them unfortunately is about to go back to the US for a couple of months due to a family health issue, so we won't see her for a while, but hopefully I'll be meeting up with the other 2 again soon.

Afterwards I decided to stop in to this big toy store in town. See, when we were up in the mountains on Sunday I spotted this store that had these really cute cow stuffed animals, and I was very temped to buy one for Loki. But, I figured, they're probably more expensive there, at a tourist location, and so I'm better off waiting and looking for something similar here in Geneva. Well, I went to the toy store here and looked at the stuffed animals... and, um, it was ridiculous. I love the animals here b/c the material they're made out of is insanely soft, but $25chf??? For a small little cow??? Right. I'm not sure I can go there. Yet, anyway. Maybe other places will have better deals.

Last night Zach left to go to London for work, and will be there for a few days. It sucks, b/c, well, it always sucks when he's away, but I'm glad for him b/c he'll get to spend a day in London and see our friend Jennie who's living there currently. However, I think Sierra may be blaming me for "daddy"s sudden disappearance. She's been all over me this week, curling up and sleeping with me when I'm reading or in bed at night, every chance she could. Then, last night (once he was gone)? She spent the entire night sleeping on a chair across the room, and has been avoiding me all day. Don't know what her deal is.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Peaceful Revolution

I found this great blog post today at The Huffington Post talking about the US and how it treats families in our country today. I remember being appalled by this when I read The Mommy Myth last year (click here to read some of the blog posts that the book inspired). Everywhere I look the past week or 2 I'm seeing the same statistic that out of all the countries in the world, the US is one of only 4 or 5 that provides no paid maternity leave. The post also looks at issues such as discrimination against mothers and particularly single mothers when hiring new workers, and the pay gap which still very much exists. This is not about attaining some impossible, Utopian goal-- it is about reaching the same level of respect and support for families that many 3rd world countries manage to provide. How can the US, this great nation that spews out so much big talk about "family values!" and "Helping our children!" and "no child left behind!!!" be so far behind on the world scale when it comes to how we actually treat these children, who will grow up to be tomorrow's leaders?

The linked post is the first among a series of other posts coming this week that will explore different issues dealing with balancing family and work, and how to support both in a more sane and healthy manner. It's a little unclear to me, but I think they'll all show up under Joan Blades' blog... Certainly check out the original post, and try to check back for the follow-ups.

Monday, September 10, 2007

To Market!

For those of you interested in seeing more pictures from our excursion out to see the glaciers, click here.

Sunday the 4 of us headed out to Divonne for their imfamous farmer's market. I'd heard that this was a good one, and Zach and I had been meaning to check it out for a while. The few markets we've found so far have been pretty small and not too inspiring... This one, however, was HUGE-- tables upon tables lined up with everything from fruits and vegetables, to chickens and dried meats, to wine for the tasting, and finally some clothes and even matching women's underwear sets. It took us a good 20+ minutes just to walk from one end of the market to the other, to check out the goods, and that's not counting the couple of branches of the market that go off side streets. Here's a few pics:

french market
french market
french market

To see some more pictures, click here.

I stopped at one booth to buy some raspberries, on my way to catch up with Zach, Barbara and Dion who had walked ahead to buy honey, and when the very animated older man working the stand came up I asked for one small basket of raspberries, for $4euros. Immediately he says to me (in French) "They're 2 for $7! Two for $7! And 3 for $10!! So how many are you gonna buy, 2 or 3?" I had to laugh, he was so excited. I went ahead and bought 2 little baskets. And some avocados. I later found out the same guy had (jokingly) given Zach a hard time for not trying some mushrooms he was selling.

The later on, as the market was dwindling down, we passes another fruit stand from which I'd earlier bought some peaches. They were starting to pack up fruit, and one guy was cutting up pieces from some sort of green melon that looked and tastes sort of like a honeydew, but looked almost more like a small watermelon (dark green and football-shaped). Barbara decided to buy one. As the guy was getting her her melon, he handed me a handful of small fruit saying "pour le bebe." For the baby. I smiled, didn't really get a chance to say thanks before he walked away again. It was a sweet gesture (even if he was giving away ripe fruit he knew he wasn't gonna get to sell that day) and it was also cool to have a stranger notice my belly, and to know that it now definitely looks like a baby belly, not just extra fat. ; ) So, yeah, overall the market was great, perhaps this one will take the place of the markets I've been missing in California. Unfortunately I don't know how much of the fruit was organic-- no one had signs about it, and the one place we asked said their stuff was "treated," which surprises me honestly. I would have thought Europe would be way ahead on all this stuff, especially with all the organic options you see in the grocery stores.

In other news, Zach was looking at our finances and discovered that last month, in spite of our trip home and all the insane amounts of shopping we both did (and eating out, etc), our overall spending was actually less than previous months. Now this summer we have done lots of traveling, and especially with visitors, but still. It's kind of amazing realizing just how expensive life here is. But, we're here, and might not be here for too long, and might as well spend the money and do the traveling and everything while we can. We've done a decent job of saving in years past, so I guess it all works out ok in the end.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Thanks, Fondue, and some Ice

Hey guys, thanks so much for all your comments to my last post. I still have lots of homework to do to figure all this out, but I feel like I understand what's going on a bit better and have some leads for resources to help me out. I really appreciate the advice and help. =)

On Thursday we got our most recent batch of visitors-- Barbara, a college friend of Zach's, and her boyfriend Dion. They've been trekking all over Egypt and then Paris, and finally stopping by here before heading back to Texas to their regular lives. Thursday we just hung around Geneva a bit, Zach had the day off since it was a local holiday, and we took a mini walking tour of the city and had lunch at Mamounia (I think?) a couscous place I've eaten at once before that gives you insane amounts of food. Yesterday was a pretty relaxed day, Barbara and Dion got to check email and wash clothes and walk around our village, while I dealt with insurance stuff and tried to research various baby-related things. Our visitors had a hankering for fondue, so we headed into town for dinner at a place that promised to be cheesy, but with good, authentic fondues. Dinner was good, Zach and Dion got a cheese fondue that wasn't quite as smelly as they tend to be, I had a filet de perche which, while the accompanying veggies were great, the fish itself was bland and greasy. Oh well. The ice cream for dessert was divine. And it was fun to watch Zach and Barbara get into an animated discussion about Texas football (she's an even bigger fan than he is), something he hasn't been able to really do in a while. It's also been fun for me to hear Zach slip into a bit more of a southern drawl, since Dion has one and it seems to be catching on a bit. ; )

This morning we headed out to Mont Blanc and the Mer de Glace, the largest glacier in France. The glacier was ok, though kinda deceiving to the eye b/c it's covered in dirt so it's hard to see the ice from above. But then we got to go inside, into a cave of ice, and that was really cool. Pictures to come soon. This thing moves at a rate of 1cm per hour... isn't that crazy? I got a postcard to send to the school... I bet the kids will love it, especially being so familiar themselves with Yosemite (itself, a glacier-carved valley).

Friday, September 07, 2007


I am feeling... discouraged. Overwhelmed. Confused.

I'm trying to ask questions and be informed, and it's only leading to more questions, and more confusion. I asked my OB at my last appointment where I should plan to give birth, assuming she might be tied to a particular hospital. She said it depends on us, and our insurance. There is a public hospital in Geneva that we could use, or if insurance covers it, we could choose one of the private hospitals in town.

Ok, I thought. So I'll just call our insurance and ask them what they cover. They've been pretty straight-forward with me before when I've called with questions. So I called, and the lady on the phone tells me that they will cover the "semi-private rate" with a 90% reimbursement, with for anything above that it's up to us. What does that even mean, "semi-private?" I thought that referred to a type of room within a hospital, not the hospital coverage itself. So I guess I now need to figure out what this semi-private rate is for Geneva.

I then went through my Know-It-All Passport book and found lots of good leads for parenting classes, a website for the public maternity clinic, and info on some places that offer prenatal yoga and swim lessons in indoor, heated pools. Awesome, I thought. Except almost every website I've looked at is all in French, which I can only decipher parts of. The book claims that many of these places offer services in English, so I guess I need to just call or stop by to check them out.

I'm thinking of hiring a doula for the birth. It would be nice to have the support and knowledge they offer, and also to have someone there that is fluent in both English and French in case not all the hospital staff is. I want my child's birth to be, as much as possible, a calm experience... not with the added stress of not being able to understand what the nurse is trying to tell me. Of course, I first need to figure out how much one would cost...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

My Pregnancy and Parenting Library

  1. The Complete Organic Pregnancy-- I'm not following the vast majority of the advice in this book, but it was interesting to read nonetheless, and it does inspire me to make changes like choosing organic foods when possible, and making an effort to find BPA-free baby bottles. However, I'm just not ready to toss my chemical-laced cosmetic products... sorry.
  2. The Mother of All Pregnancy Books-- Loved this book, and the fluid style of writing. It also has a chapter at the beginning on preparing for pregnancy, and was what introduced me to the idea of charting to figure out what's actually going on during your cycle. It's amazing to me how little most of us know about when you're fertile and when you're not.
  3. What To Expect When You're Expecting-- This book catches a lot of flack for being too overdramatic and causing panic attacks in many moms-to-be, but I didn't find it that bad. I like how it's divided up by months (a nice contrast to use along with the Mother book).
  4. Montessori From The Start-- A guide to constructing a Montessori environment in your home for your child (ages 0-3). Love a lot of the ideas.
  5. How To Talk So Your Kids Will Listen...-- My sister just gave me her copy of this book. I'm familiar with the concepts, the teachers at the Montessori school based their parenting seminars on it, but reading it with all the extra detail is really cool. And, well, it just makes sense.
  6. Baby Bargains-- I feel kind of overwhelmed when I think of all the baby stuff we have to buy. I'm hoping this will be a good guide for that.
(there's a few more-- I told you I did lots of shopping on our trip!-- but I don't remember the titles and they're upstrairs and I don't want to go get them right now)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Our bag was found!!! We got a call at 9pm last night from the airport saying they had our bag, and they could drop it off that same night if we wanted. Not wanting to risk anything more happening to it, we said "Sure!" It was here by 10:40pm, with all our stuff inside, and I am SO GLAD b/c the more I tried to remember everything we'd packed in it, the more mad I was going to be if it had all been gone for good.

I had my check-up this morning, to make up for the one that was missed 2 weeks ago, and everything's still going good. She said my blood pressure's a little high, so to keep an eye on it, but so far nothing to really worry about. I got my blood drawn, as usual, except this time when she was only able to squeeze a few drops from one arm, and had to move on to the other arm, and now I have small bruises starting to show at each puncture wound. Don't know what that was about... usually I have no problem with giving blood. We did another routine ultrasound, and my little boy once again proudly showed off his manhood (the dr got one shot of it that I think could be classified as fetus porn). It's always fun to get to see the little guy moving around in there, he's been really active at the past 2 ultrasounds... can't wait to get to feel it myself! I have my big Level 2 ultrasound coming up on the 17th, Zach's coming with me to that one, I'm really looking forward to it. Zach's only been to one other ultrasound, back when baby was still a blob (with a beating heart, but still) and so I just know it's gonna be awesome for him to get to see little Loki dancing around on the screen.

After the appt I headed down to Rue de Marche where there's a farmer's market on wednesdays, and snagged some raspberries and strawberries. I also discovered a food stand right there that sold empanadas! Of course, I got one, and it tasted pretty authentic. I didn't ask the couple manning the booth where they were from, but they looked Latin of some sort... Usually here anyone speaking Spanish ends up being from Spain, but these guys seemed latinamerican to me.

Despite all these positives... I am left feeling tired and blah this afternoon. I am sleepy-- I started falling asleep earlier while reading a book (with Sierra happily curled up in my lap) but I don't want to take a nap-- last night I woke up and couldn't sleep for 2+ hrs, and don't want that to happen again tonight. We have visitors coming tomorrow, and college friend of Zach's and her boyfriend, will stay here through the weekend. The house is totally not ready -- we need to finish unpacking and clean up a bit-- but I don't really have the energy to do so right now. Maybe it will come to me later.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sleeping, Shopping, Ranting, Growing

Last night I went to bed at about 9pm. I finally got out of bed at 2pm this afternoon. Yup, that's something like 16 hrs of sleep... It was sort of like hibernation, too, I only got up once to pee, and didn't even feel very hungry when I did get up. Which was good, b/c we have almost no food in the house. So finally, at 2, I drug myself out of bed knowing that I HAD to make it to the store today and buy some food, and also feeling very guilty that I had let my body go without nourishment for that long... especially since my prenatal vitamins got packed in a bag that went missing, so I'm not getting those right now, either (but more on that later). So I took a shower, got dressed, and headed to the nearby small grocery store, knowing I wasn't quite in shape for a big shopping trip. Well, for a few reasons this one turned out to be a bigger pain in the butt than I was prepared for, but oh well. I walked out with basics-- milk, yogurt, bread, some fruit, etc, so I was able to feed myself and us for tonight at least. Zach and I would go to one of the bigger stores later for more stuff, since we're supposed to get visitors this week (maybe tomorrow? We don't really know? Waiting for the email?).

So, about the missing bag... when we got to the Geneva airport yesterday we were able to collect 3 of our 4 checked bags, but one was missing. No big deal-- this happened on our way back from Chile, too, and they were able to get our bag back to us the next day. So Zach went and talked to the people and found out our bag had been held back in Paris (what happened last time) and they'd contact us about it the next day (today).

We have not heard anything yet. So Zach called when he got home from work, and they have yet to receive our bag from Paris. Now, I'm sitting here thinking of what moving guys have told us the 2 times we used a moving truck to move-- tell us asap if something's missing, b/c if it goes longer than a day it's nearly impossible to locate the missing boxes. Well with all the flight traffic going in and out of Charles de Gaulle airport every day, I'm starting to really worry about our lost luggage. Especially since it was the bag we packed Zach's brand new motorcycle helmet in. And his brand new black dress shoes-- both pairs of them. And my black pumps, which cost all of $15 from Payless years ago, but are invaluable in that they're really comfortable (and very cute). And all of my makeup that's in liquid or cream form (my powder stuff I packed in my carry-on), which includes my brand-new MAC and Bobbi Brown gel eyeliners, and multiple other very precious items. So, yeah, I really hope this bag gets found, b/c otherwise there will be hell to pay. It wouldn't be such a big deal if we could just get reimbursed and go out and buy the stuff again, but that's just not very easy for us. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

In other news... I've been weighing myself every morning when I get up to keep track of my weight since getting pregnant. All through my first trimester (ndeed, up through week 15) I didn't gain any weight. I didn't weigh myself at all during the trip, and then this morning I weighed in and... found out I've gained nearly 6 lbs in the past 3 weeks. I'm only supposed to gain about a pound a week at this point. I blame all the eating out and root beers (and rb floats!) and the Krispy Kreme, etc. Hopefully now that we're back home, and back to our normal eating routine (which seemed to be working ok before) I'll gain at a more decent pace. To finish this post off, how about a belly comparison!

Here's me at about 11wks, and again at 17wks (1 week ago)
Hello, baby!

Monday, September 03, 2007

And now we're back...

We are back in Switzerland, safe and sound, enjoying the attention and purrs of a long-neglected little Sierra, and desperately trying to make it just a few more hours before we allow ourselves to crash into bed and sleep for as long as possible. The flight was ok, our plane from SFO to Paris (the long leg-- 11 hrs) was a double-decker, and Zach got us upgraded to the top level which was considerably more comfortable. It's no business class, mind you, but seeing as how cramped those Air France seats usually are (when little 5'5" me has her knees touching the seat in front, that's cramped, people) we were both VERY glad for the extra several inches of legroom. Unfortunately it was still fairly uncomfortable, and I hardly was able to get any sleep despite being utterly exhausted, but oh well. We're here. It's over. I won't have to make another trip like that for... 9 months. Of course, by then we'll have an infant child to deal with as well, I'm sure that makes flying much more convenient and easy, right? ; )

The movies were ok, I got to watch part of Ocean's 12 and most of one of the Shrek sequels (the one where Fiona has a baby). I have to say, I like the Shrek movies and they're cute and all, but they are so not geared towards kids. Every joke seemed to be plays on stereotypes and things that only adults would get, and did they really have to slap and punch each other all the time? (or introduce children to the stereotype that men are afraid of babies and fatherhood? Or have even the good characters be so friggin rude and mean half the time? And let's not even get into the scene where Arthur throws a huge tantrum to get his way with Merlin... yeah that's a great lesson to teach kids...) I dunno. I guess I've started seeing Disney movies in a new light the past few years, and especially now on the cusp of mommy-hood, and this one in particularly struck me as not very young child friendly. Yes, they have the nice message at the end, but do I really need to sit through 1.5 hrs of glorifying violence, rudeness, and unabashed name-calling to get to it? Then again, it's one of my big goals to stay away from TV and movies as much as possible for the first several years of my kids' lives, so I guess you can just call me a Montessori nut.

Ok, random rant over. I have been so exhausted the past few days... I think I overdid it a bit the first 3/4 of our trip, with all the shopping and weddings and going out with people, and it started catching up to me a few days ago when suddenly I was wanting naps all the time again. I'm hoping a few days of rest and lots of sleep this week will get me back on track.... and I'll have to watch it from then on.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Last Days...

Yesterday I met up with my old coworkers at the Montessori school for lunch. It was a wonderful time, I got there at noon and didn't leave untill 4pm. It's just fun to talk with them, hear their stories of funny things the kiddoes do, and get to hear Polli and Ilana's usually quite sage advice on children and motherhood (they each have a child about 20/21 yrs old now). They gave me a Michael Olaf catalogue, with cool wooden toys and things that are Montessori-based for kids 0-3 yrs old (which I was really hoping to get my hands on, so that's awesome that they gave me a copy) and some cash to buy stuff with. =)

I then stopped by DSW to do some shoe shopping. I wanted to buy tennis shoes, since my current pair are pretty worn down (I did walk who knows how many hundreds of miles in them while training for the Avon Walk last year). I stuck with my trusted brand of Adidas, and found a pair that's sort of a dark brown color with baby blue accents. Kinda cute, and I was also trying to avoid the white pairs (perhaps these will still mark me as American, as probably most of my other clothes and mannerisms do, but still...). As I was looking through the tennis shoes I turned around to find ADULT GALOSHES!!! I've seen to many kids with these adorable waterproof boots and I've always wished I could find some for adults, but never have. Well, there they were, a whole row in solid colors AND prints! So I got a pair with purple and green stripes on them. I figure these will be lifesavers for all those rainy days in Switzerland. My Danskos are nice b/c they themselves are waterproof, but then when I wear them my jeans tend to get wet anyway. This way I can tuck them in and, well, I may not look stylish, but if I stay dry I'll be happy!

At night we got together with some friends for dinner at one of the local thai restaurants, and I got to satisfy my craving for chicken in yellow curry. We even have some of that (and Zach's pad thai) left over for lunch today... yum. =)

Tonight is Karen and Benjamin's wedding. Should be a great night. =) And then tomorrow... we fly back to Geneva.


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