Monday, December 31, 2007

The Ever-Growing Book Arsenal

Goodness, I not only missed out on blogging yesterday but I also completely did not register that it was Sunday, and so no six word sunday. =( Sorry about that.

Zach went snowshoeing yesterday, to get some sun and exercise. He found a place that's fairly close and had pretty inexpensive rentals of snowshoes, and now he's trying to figure out a day when he and Jen can go back so he can do it again. I spent the day here at home, cleaning up a bit and doing more baby reading. Daddy and Jen got me 2 books that I'm really looking forward to getting through-- the one I'm reading now is Baby 411 (by the same authors as Baby Bargains). It has lots of good advice and info for dealing with all sorts of practical aspects of caring for an infant for the first year, and I agree with a lot of their advice and philosophies (though I guess the final verdict will come when I'm trying to put them into practice). Once I finish it I'll move on to What's Going On In There? which sounds incredibly interesting, all about baby's brain development in the first 5 years of life.

Zach and I then went into town for the evening to pick up Jen and Daddy from the train station on their way back from Zurich. We had dinner at a thai restaurant in the Paquis which was... ok. Then we came home and had an early night of it pretty much. Today I think we might drive up to Gruyeres, and we'll see what we do tonight for New Year's Eve. Is it bad that I'm not sure I want to stay up till midnight doing anything big or extravagant?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

fog lifting

We woke up today to glorious sunshine outside. Zach seems to be suffering from a touch of seasonal depression (this Geneva fog is getting to be a bit too much for him) and the sun this morning immediately lifted his mood. Unfortunately, we had to spend the entire day inside, as we were scheduled to attend our birthing class today (10am-6pm). We realized that we're gonna have to start budgeting a bit of extra time for defrosting the car on these cold mornings, as it (and everything else outside today) was covered in a layer of frost/ice. It was really beautiful, actually, I wish I'd had time to take some pictures. There were frozen spiderwebs in the bushes out front, and crystal patterns on our mailbox. Everything out in the fields was covered by a light layer of white, which then shone in the sunlight. It was -5C as we drove into town.

The class was small, us and 4 other couples, all due between mid-January and mid-February. And mine seemed to be the biggest bump in the room (Zach agreed with me on this one). ; ) I didn't really learn much that I haven't read in books before, but it was good to meet the other couples (we all exchanged contact info), and I also think it was really good for Zach since he hasn't had the time to read the mountains of pregnancy books I've bought. We practiced some positions and slow breathing for helping through contractions. I still definitely feel a bit of fear about the whole labor process, but I also feel fairly confident in my ability to do this, especially with the help and guidance of our midwife (and my mom). I imagine having their support and guidance, along with wisdom about how to deal with labor, will make a world of difference in helping me achieve this goal of giving birth without medication. And while part of me may be afraid, part of me also expects to make it through the whole process and feel incredibly empowered for having done so.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sticker Shock, All Over Again

Jen and Daddy left this morning, to go to Zurich for a few days. I just heard from Jen a little bit ago, and they got there fine and have walked around the old town and she's pretty much fallen in love with it already. =) Glad to know they're having a good time.

Zach and I took the opportunity of this free afternoon to shop for a car seat for Loki. This should have been a fairly simple task, but wound up irritating me to no end. I was under the (apparently mistaken) impression that car seats came with the base included, which made the 250chf standard price for a car seat around here seem... reasonable. Sort of. (I was already miffed at having to pay that much when I could buy a perfectly good and well-rated seat in the US for $100 or less)

Then we get to the store and find out that the 250chf car seat I'd been looking at actually did not come with the car base... Nope, that base costs an extra 250chf. In the end we settled for a different brand, which was on sale for "only" 200chf b/c they'd just come out with a new model (basically, new colors), and the separate base was a "reasonable" 100chf on top of that. Egads.

Before leaving the store we checked to see how it would fit in the car, and well, I guess it's stable enough? You basically wrap the lapband of the car's seatbelt through the base, and then the shoulder strap around the back of the seat itself and it feels fairly stable. Not as stable as I might like, but I guess that's how it's meant to be. Not that the seat is returnable or exchangeable anyway.

So, I'm feeling a bit frustrated at the baby industry right now, and at the ridiculously inflated prices of Geneva. But I'm trying to let it go, since there's no use me getting all worked up about it. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, and just deal with it.

In better news, we met with the midwife this morning and everything went great. She looked over my records and modified my due date according to the ultrasound from the NT scan back in August-- the one where they said Loki was measuring a week ahead and so my due date should be Feb 4 instead of the 10th, but when I asked my OB about it she said we'd keep the Feb 10 due date... even though when we looked today at the records she adjusted the due date to Feb 4 on there after all. Date confusion aside, that means I'm technically 34 weeks, not 33, and am that much closer to entering that 5-week window during which he could come at any time (this was part of the motivation for buying the car seat today, realizing we don't have much time left!).

And now I think I'll go accompany my husband while he cooks me a lovely salmon dinner, and try to relax tonight and enjoy a peaceful evening alone with him. =)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Skiing, and Yummy Swiss Food

Yesterday Jen and Zach went to Chamonix to ski for the day, while Daddy and I hung out at home... and I spent most of the day sleeping. Jen was a bit worried, I think, since she hasn't been the most successful at skiing in the past, but she seemed to have a good time. Here's a cute short video of her on skis:

Then at night we were invited over to Michelle and Gerard's for a fondue dinner. I was worried how Jen and Daddy would do, since Jen knows no French and Daddy only some (or so we thought) but he did great and really impressed me with his French, and through some translation Jen seemed to still be pretty involved in the conversation. They both loved the fondue. =) Michelle also gave us a very cute elephant stuffed animal, for Loki! They're such sweet neighbors. This was the first time we went through a whole meal with them, it's nice to know our French has improved this much.

Today it took us a while to get started with our day, but eventually we got out the door and went into Geneva to run a few errands and then had dinner at Les Brasseurs by the train station. I had expected it to be pretty standard pub food, but I was pretty impressed-- Jen's rosti dish was fabulous, and I had this pizza-like swiss dish (forget the name) that was also pretty good. And the belgian waffle we had for dessert was quite yummy. =)

In other news, I've been thinking lately of the best way to share videos online-- I used to use xanga, but have been having trouble uploading videos there lately. So now I'm trying out YouTube. I have a few recent videos uploaded there now (including the Jen skiing vid above), and may now be motivated to use the video feature on the camera a bit more, too.

PS- I remember when we first got here, and how often I heard how sub-par Swiss food was in general. Seems hard to believe now that we're fans now of classic Swiss dishes as rosti (ok, basically hash browns)and cheese fondue. ; )

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Pregnancy Update

I'm at 33 and1/2 weeks right now... meaning less than 4 weeks till baby's considered "full term!" So at this point he count make his grand entrance anytime in the next month or 2. Which is making me realize all of a sudden all the last-minute shopping we still need to do, things like buying (and installing) his car seat, stocking up on baby soap and diaper rash cream, etc etc etc.

My weight gain seems to have leveled off now, the numbers on the scale holding steady for the past 3 weeks for a total gain so far of 30lbs.

My fingers have swollen slightly in the past week or 2, making it uncomfortable for me to wear both my wedding and engagement rings together. So for now I'm just wearing my wedding band, which is thinner and seems to work better alone.

The other day I was trying to squeeze in next to Zach to sit down at the dinner table and I accidentally bumped him kinda hard with my belly. As soon as he realized that I had actually not done it on purpose, he burst out laughing. It's definitely getting harder to maneuver around these days, I just take up a lot more space! And to think, I still have another good month at least of growing to do...

Loki's getting the hiccups a lot lately. I'll just feel this funny, light rhythmic thumping down in my pelvis, where I guess his head's nestled in. I think I've also started feeling Braxton-Hicks contractions, though the only way I can tell that I'm having them is by feeling my belly and noticing that it's hard, and then a few minutes later feels soft and squishy again. He hardly ever kicks hard anymore, mostly when I feel him moving he's just shifting around and poking me here and there. I've been lucky and avoided getting kicked in the ribs much. I really hope this kid's as easy on me outside the womb as he's been while inside it!

My friend Carolyn recently sent me this interesting article about why pregnant women don't tip over. =P I certainly have noticed myself doing the "pregnant waddle" more often. Luckily (and somewhat amazingly) my back has hardly bothered me at all lately.

And my boobs have started leaking. Just this week, pretty consistently, just enough that I'm having to wear breast pads in my bra now. At first it weirded me out a bit, but it's also pretty incredible thinking how my body's creating this food for this baby that will perfectly nourish him. I can't say I'm not worried about breastfeeding and how the first few weeks of it will go, as I know it can be quite a challenge to figure out at first. But I'm also really looking forward to it. =)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas!

We had a very nice Christmas morning, I felt a little bad since Jen and Daddy brought more presents for us than we had for them, but it worked out well and Loki also got lots of fun things! He now has PLENTY of Longhorn-themed clothes and other things, which I'm sure he's very much looking forward to wearing on game days come fall. =P


And then there's one of my favorites that Jen picked out, you Austinites should appreciate this one:


Teehee! =P We've kinda lazed around the rest of the day, eating leftovers from last night's dinner and enjoying Mom's christmas cookies that she sent over with Jen. It's been fabulous. It's hard to believe that 2007 is almost over (which reminds me that we need to buy another highway sticker before the 31st!)... it's also strange to think that this is our last Christmas as non-parents. I was thinking this morning of what it's usually like at Mom's on Christmas morning, with the pile of wrapping paper rapidly growing to amazing proportions and everyone watching the cats play with it... and thinking how next year quite possibly it will be our little Loki that will be the center of attention as he crinkles and tears the decorated paper. =)

Monday, December 24, 2007

'twas the night before christmas

Unfortunately I've had some trouble sleeping the past 3 nights... I keep waking up in the middle of the night and having trouble getting back to sleep. Or like the other day when Zach and I each were awake at 6am or so and couldn't get back to sleep, which ended up being a bit nice actually since we just sat in bed talking for a while before getting out of bed, but it's also not a good pattern to get started with already.

This morning we were up by about 8am, Jen and Daddy came downstairs soon after. Zach made pancakes for breakfast, and then they went to the store for some goodies before we all then took off to check in on Jessica and Jonathan's cats and then go into Geneva. Luckily the sun came out today, for the first time in a good week or so. We walked around old town a bit, then stopped by the Christmas market downtown and then did a bit of shopping. We had plans to have a few friends for dinner at night, so we headed back home around 5 and started getting ready for the evening.

We quickly tidied up the house, I made corn casserole and Zach got the chickens and some potatoes and carrots cooking, and then Cathy, Cary, and Sara all got here soon after 7pm. Dinner turned out great, and then we had the "bouche de noel" (a traditional yule log cake) that Cathy brought for dessert. It was a fun time, I'm glad we decided to do this for christmas eve.

Now I think we'll have to call Mom and then it will be bed time. Merry Christmas, everyone. =)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

"Even when it rains, the sun is shining/ You just have to rise above the clouds..."*

One of the warnings we heard about Swiss/Geneva winters was about the fog that descends upon the land in these winter months, leaving everything looking dark and gloomy. The thing about this fog is it's very low-lying, and you only need to drive up a little ways into the mountains to get above it and into glorious sunlight.

The past week or so we've been covered in pretty dense fog. Today, we decided to rise above it.

This is basically what it looked like as we began driving up into the Jura mountains:

snowday (109)
(yes, that is frost from the fog that's iced over on the trees and plants)

Then, when we got above it, the views looked a little more like this:

snowday (59)
snowday (87)

A bit of an improvement, no? ; )

We had a good time, got to play in some snow, and had some desserts and coffee at a little restaurant with a gorgeous view of Mont Blanc (see pic above). Zach was very cute and sweet, worrying about me walking on the sometimes ice-covered parking lots and streets, making me hold his hand for extra support. Here's our other pictures from today.

We then came home and made a yummy dinner of risotto, squash, and baked brie in a fluffy pastry with raspberry jam and maple syrup. My tummy is full, and even though it's just barely 8pm I am feeling quite tired (partially from waking up very early, for no good reason, the past 2 mornings). So I think I'll go to bed pretty soon here, snuggled up with one of the gossip mags Jen brought over, and then get an early start on sleep.

*a line from one of my favorite Hudsons songs.

six word sunday: Translation- pick up your damn poop.

Translation: pick up your damn poop.

six word sunday challenge

Saturday, December 22, 2007

lovely day (despite the holiday crowds)

I took Jen and Daddy for a walk around the village today, then we went to the grocery store (which was PACKED) to pick up snacks for them, and then in the evening we picked up Zach at the airport (which was also PACKED) and just got back from dinner at the restaurant nextdoor.

And now I think it's bedtime.

I'm really enjoying having family here, and looking forward to having 2 weeks with them and Zach off from work the whole time. =)

Friday, December 21, 2007


Jen and Daddy are here. =)

I was a bit worried that their flight would get delayed in Chicago, what with it being Chicago and all and especially with all the storms that have been ravaging the east coast. But nope, everything went fabulously there, instead they got delayed by an hour and a half in Brussels! But, they got here, and that's fabulous. =) Jen brought me a CRAPLOAD of gossip fodder that will last me a good couple of weeks to delve through, along with several others things I sent to her, and other presents that they brought of their own accord that are now making our Christmas tree look much more festive as they sit underneath it.

Now we'll just have to pick up Zach from the airport tomorrow night, and our house will be all full and happy. =)

And Jenny just walked in and gave me a tin and instructed me to open it, and inside are MOM'S CHRISTMAS COOKIES!!!

christmas cookies!!

I am happy. =)

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Christmas has kinda snuck up on me this year. I've felt in a rush to suddenly buy presents (and hoping there's enough time for shipping for them to arrive at their destinations before Dec 25), I never got around to sending home the package of gifts I bought here (sorry family, those of you who did not get internet-bought gifts will have to wait till Jan 10 when Jen returns to the states bearing my gifts), and now I'm making plans for Christmas eve and day realizing that, since I'm not sure if stores here will be open on either day, I may need to buy anything I need by Saturday to tide us over till Wednesday.

One thought that struck me today, was that we need eggnog. I'm a big fan of eggnog for christmas. You can't drink too much of it, really, b/c it is quite rich, but it's fun to have around and I enjoy it. I was wondering if I'd see it in the store today, but no luck. Stock seems to vary a good bit from store to store though, so in theory I might be able to find it elsewhere, but I'm kinda doubting it.

Then I thought maybe I can make it... and then of course as I'm looking at recipes online I realize that home-made eggnog is going to contain several raw eggs. And that kinda creeps me out a bit. I'm ok licking the pumpkin bread batter off the spoon, with the miniscule amounts of raw egg that it might contain, but drinking raw egg straight up? I'm not sure I'm up for that. Plus, I don't even have an electric mixer (just a small wisk) so it'd be tough to make anyway.

So there may not be any nog this year. =( That makes me a little sad. I'm trying to remember if the Starbucks here have eggnog lattes this year, maybe I could satisfy my craving with one of those....

In other news though, JEN AND DADDY GET HERE TOMORROW!!!!! I'm beyond excited to see them. =) Then Zach comes home from China on Saturday, and will be off work for 2 weeks b/c of the holidays. Woot! By the way, can I also tell you how happy Sierra's gonna be to have all these people around that will be loving and petting her? She's been super lovey the past week, cuddling up with me at any chance and even climbing up on my belly (seriously, this morning I was sitting up in bed and she climbed up and was fully standing on my belly and chest) in order to get some love and attention. Part of it may also be the colder temps, I don't know, but it's pretty darn sweet. =P

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My Parenting and Pregnancy Library, Part 2 (and an U/S update)

See part 1 here.

  1. Taking Charge of Your Fertility-- I didn't get my hands on this book till after I was already pregnant, but had heard so much about it from women on the message boards on The Nest that when I saw it at the library's book sale a while back I had to buy it. I've only just started reading it, and it really does seem to be required reading for all women, whether you're trying to get pregnant or not, whether you're wanting to try natural birth control methods or not. We all deserve to know what's going on in our bodies and when, and it's astounding how many myths and how much misinformation floats around out there even from credible sources like, say, your gyno.
  2. The Nursing Mother's Companion-- I guess I can't quite say how useful this book will be until I'm actually trying to breastfeed, but it sure seems like a good thing to have this information ahead of time and have some realistic expectations establishing and succeeding at breastfeeding.
  3. The Modern Girl's Guide to Motherhood-- Flaky at times, but does have some good info and I really like her advice on how to communicate with your child and discipline in Chapter 7.
  4. In The Womb-- Found this book by chance, after having heard lots about the documentary its based on. It's so incredible to learn more about what baby's going through during all 9 months of pregnancy!
  5. The Birth Book-- Amazing. I loved this book. It's written by a doctor and a nurse, so obviously people who know and respect the medical establishment, yet still feel that many of the interventions that are so common today in childbirth (early induction, Pitocin, c-sections...) are unnecessary and possibly even detrimental to having a safe and satisfying birth. Not too crunchy-granola, either. Really inspired me to seek out the kind of birth I'd prefer to have for my child (while also being realistic about the need for Plan Bs, and they acknowledge that each of these interventions can be good and necessary in certain situations, just that they tend to be over-used today). I just lent this to another pregnant friend here, and when I get it back I'm making Zach read it so he can follow along with the tips for supporting me in labor.
Yes, I've built up quite a library... ; ) But I'm sure they'll get plenty of use as they get passed around after I'm done with them...

By the way, I had an u/s today to check baby's position (see if he's head-down yet, which he is... now stay that way!). Since the whole purpose of the scan was just to see how he was positioned I wasn't sure if the tech would give me much more info, but she was really nice and showed me all his little parts again. I got to see feet (even have a picture of his toes, which I plan to scan in and show off soon) and his hand and fingers waving, and got a glimpse at his face... and the HAIR that's on his head! She also mentioned more than once how he's kind of a big baby. My weekly emails say that the average weight for a 32-week-old fetus is about 3.5-4lbs, but she estimated today that Loki's at about 5.5lbs! She said that projected outwards this could mean he could be as big as 9lbs by the time he's born. She mentioned (jokingly, I think) that it'd be good if he decided to come a couple weeks early so he could be smaller, I laughed and told her I'd talk to him about it. Now I guess these u/s weight estimates can be off by as much as a pound or 2, but still... doesn't seem like he's gonna be taking after me or my siblings in the weight department (we were all petite babies). Oh well. The tech said he looks to be a very well-nourished baby, and that I must have an excellent placenta. =P

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

yum dim sum! and some baby stuff

I met up with the girls for dim sum today, one last lunch before most of them go back to the US over the next few days for Christmas. I'll miss our lunches, but I also know that as soon as Daddy and Jen get here I'll be busy and distracted and before I know it everyone will be back in town anyway.

I had an appointment to meet with a potential pediatrician this afternoon, which meant I had to catch the 3:30pm bus at the latests in order to have time to come home and not have to rush right back out the door immediately to make the appointment. Funny how a 12:30pm lunch can make me nervous about catching a 3:30pm tram. I must be becoming more European. ; ) In the end I actually caught the 3pm bus, so had an hour to chill out at home before heading back out into the cold and traffic. I had a bit of a hard time finding the office at first, but then I made it and the guy seems very nice and was enthusiastic about our little baby-to-be, so I think we'll stick with him. I wish Zach could've come along today to give his input as well, but what can you do. Again, our friend has been using this pediatrician for her 4 yr old for the past year and has loved him, which really helps make this decision easy. One more thing checked off the list!

I think I'll try to avoid staying on the computer all night again tonight, and instead do some reading. I have so many half-read books that I need to finish, especially pregnancy and baby books.

By the way, I will be technically considered "full-term" in about 5 weeks. Which means little Loki could potentially be here as early as 5 weeks from now... or as much as 10 weeks (if I got "past due"). I'm trying to expect for it to be later rather than sooner, since otherwise I might drive myself crazy in those last weeks if I end up having to wait. Which may happen anyway.... so who knows.

Monday, December 17, 2007

(sorry, no title today)

Today I was intermittently productive, and a lazy bum. In a couple fits of productiveness, I managed to change the sheets in the guestroom (in anticipation of Jen and Daddy's arrival on Friday- yay!), wash a couple loads of laundry, and later on vacuum the whole house. The rest of the time was spent at the black hole known as the computer, losing time at warp speeds.

Zach's phone call from China came in the afternoon today, as he was getting ready to go to bed. Unfortunately I could only understand about half of what he said. =( And since this is the 2nd time that there's been this weird static on the phone, I'm guessing all the calls will be like this. Maybe I can get him to log into aim or something instead.... If nothing else, he's at least not gone for that long.

Goodness, I just remember that I'm meeting with our potential pediatrician tomorrow... which means I should put together my list of questions for him tonight. He comes highly recommended by Aruna, whose opinion in these matters I really respect so I'm guessing I'll like this guy, but still. So, um, I should go do that I guess...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

browser-window-shopping the day away...

The pot-luck dinner last night went pretty great-- the food was all fabulous, there were 2 curry dishes that inspired me to learn how to make curry at home. The fortune cookies seemed to go over well with everyone, too. =) We were having such a good time, in fact, that I didn't keep track of the time and had a mini panic attack when I realized I'd missed what I thought was the last tram back out to the park & ride where my car was. Luckily there were some night trams still running, and I was able to catch one of those and got home safe and sound.

I was then woken up this morning by Zach calling. The call was unfortunately a bit staticky and it was hard to understand him sometimes, but when you realize that he was calling from China to Switzerland you kinda become amazed again at the ease of cross-continental communication these days and can't really complain. All this travel he's been doing continues to pay off, it seems, as he got automatically upgraded to business class on his flight from Paris to Shanghai. He said the city is a bit of a trip, since on the one hand it feels pretty run-down and dirty, but also you walk through the mall and see all these western store brands all over the place-- I think he found a Best Buy to go buy plug adapters. And then there's the whole not being able to talk to the cab drivers thing, instead pointing to a piece of paper that's been given to you with characters written on it. Randomly enough, I know a woman that lives in Shanghai, I met her while going through the Montessori teacher training and then we worked at the same school for a short time before her husband got transferred to China, so he might get to get together with her sometime during this week. Kind of amazing having connections with people in all these random parts of the world.

Today as I was fiddling around on the internet I decided to go check, a website I'd seen mentioned quite a few times lately on various blogs. And, um, yeah, I'm in love. It's an online market where people can sell their handmade goods, and there's just oodles and oodles of absolutely adorable and beautiful things for sale. I bought gifts for both my mom and mother-in-law, and also found a seller or 2 that are based in Europe so I'm debating putting in orders for a couple gorgeous pieces of jewelry that for once would not cost an arm and a leg to ship here. I think I'll be stopping by there more often when in need of gifts to give... or fun things to buy for myself. ; )

Speaking of, I looked up today to find Sierra curled up under the tree, pretending to be a Christmas present:
christmas kitty
Adorable, no? =P Well, other than the annoyed look on her face at my picture-taking having disturbed her peaceful slumber.

six word sunday: Rudolf called in sick that year.

Rudolph called in sick that year.

six word sunday challenge

Saturday, December 15, 2007

As the Eagles said....

After I must have over-exerted myself this morning by folding away laundry and then changing the sheets on our bed, I came downstairs to make Zach some eggs for breakfast before his flight out and I started feeling a bit faint and like my heart was racing. I checked my pulse and realized it was up at around 120bpm... yikes. After a little while it slowed down a bit, and then I went and laid down in bed and felt better. I've had that feeling of heart-racing and feeling a bit lightheaded more over the past week or so, I guess I'm really gonna have to take it easy in these last couple months of pregnancy. Rapid heart rate and dizziness are fairly standard pregnancy symptoms, but still... don't wanna push it.

So Zach left for China today at noon, to return in 1 week. =( But I can also look forward to Jen and Daddy's arrival on Friday. Though I'm wondering if the ambitious plans for taking them all over Geneva and on day trips to nearby cute towns may need to be slowed down and adjusted a bit. I guess we'll take things as they go and see.

I spent most of the afternoon making the fortune cookies for tonight's dinner. They turned out... alright. They seem to taste good enough, which is good b/c most of them look pretty funky. I am still pretty proud of having attempted them to begin with.

And now I think I'll go upstairs and rest a bit before having to get ready for the party.

Friday, December 14, 2007


So the finger seems to be doing much better-- it's stopped hurting or throbbing, and I think after a few days of consistently wearing a band-aid and applying generic neosporin to it it'll be mostly healed-- I'm always amazed at what a difference using ointment seems to make in how quickly a wound heals.

I lazed/read/slept most of the day away today. I think I needed it. I did make it out to the store to stock up on food for the weekend, and get some eggs so I can attempt to make fortune cookies for Sophia's Asian-themed pot-luck dinner tomorrow night. I'm really curious to see how it goes... the recipe seems simple enough, so we'll see. Funnily enough it comes from a Chilean cookbook that was given to us by a very good friend of my mom's that we visited while in Chile earlier this year, and it just happens to have a handful of recipes from around the world included as well as traditional Chilean stuff. I'm ashamed to say this is the first time using a recipe from that book... I think I'll try to dip into it some more in the coming months.

Zach came home early from work today so we could go to this tire place nearby and buy some winter tires for the car. Apparently if you get in an accident here during the winter months and you don't have winter tires on they can fault you for the accident b/c of that. It was a fairly smooth and quick transaction, and also amusing since this place really felt about the same as going to any tire shop back in the states. I guess some experiences are cross-cultural. So now we have 4 new tires on the car that should last us through the winter and keep us safe(r) for when there might be snow or ice on the road.

After the tire shopping we came back home and made a very yummy dinner with chicken, carrots, baked sweet potatoes, and steamed courgettes (zuchini, but for some reason I've gotten into the habit of always calling them by their French name now). Zach and I have both recently re-discovered a love of sweet potatoes, and tonight we were reminded of how ridiculously easy they are to make when you bake them in the oven. As a random side note, while Swiss beef often turns out tough and dry no matter how you cook it, the chicken is almost always excellent.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I am brilliant

I was washing dishes hurriedly earlier today, and managed to cut a gash into the side of my right-handed index finger with the big bread knife. Brilliant. I had managed to get it to stop bleeding by tightly wrapping a band-aid on it and was doing ok most of the evening, until I used that hand to dig my keys out of my bag and hit it against something and now it's throbbing again. =(

This has been a very social week. We had dinner with Bob and Aruna on Tuesday, and last night we met up with Cathy, Sophia and Tyler for dinner in the old town, then tonight one of the moms from the women's club threw a cocktail party that we just got back from. They've been great evenings and it's nice to get to hang out with people more. But it can be a bit exhausting (esp when you get home at 1am). Tomorrow night I think we'll stay in and just hang out together, especially since Zach will be leaving for a week on Saturday.

When we came home tonight after the party I noticed 2 little snowmen ornaments on the floor. I'll give you one guess as to who the furry, four-legged culprit might be. One of my little red Christmas ball ornaments already broke the other day. So all the other red ball ornaments are now hung up higher on the tree, and the rest of the ornaments are not breakable. I can't really get mad at Sierra, honestly, I've caught her reaching up to play with the ornaments and find it pretty adorable. I wonder if I'll let Loki get away with stuff like this... ; )

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lyon Anniversary Weekend, pt3

(Part 1 and part 2)

After the madness of Saturday night, we knew we'd have to take it easy on Sunday. And by "we" I mean me, the nearly-7-months-pregnant lady. Zach was very cute all weekend, though, looking out for me and getting all worried about if I was tired. =)

Anyway, so yeah Sunday we figured we'd go back into town to see some sights during the day, then have a chill night back at the hotel. We didn't have much of a plan for our daytime excursion, so we wound up kinda wandering around aimlessly for a while. We walked down by one of the rivers, and then made our way out to the Christmas market that Cathy had told us about the day before. The market was pretty big and looked like it had some neat things for sale, but there were still so many people milling around that after about 15 minutes of navigating the crowds we'd had enough and headed out. We stopped at a tea room for some hot chocolate and a sweet snack before making it back to the hotel.

We'd decided to have an elegant dinner at the hotel's restaurant that night. When Zach had called Friday evening they had been completely full, so instead of taking any chances we stopped by in the morning and made reservations. Turns out none were really needed. We got all gussied up and stopped by the exec lounge for an aperitif first (well, for Zach anyway) and then went down to the restaurant at 8:30pm... and there was maybe 1 other couple there. The food was good, though pretty darn expensive, but still it was nice to get dressed up and have a nice meal together.


We had planned to drive back in the early afternoon on Monday, so we had a bit of time in the morning before needing to leave. We packed up and checked out of the hotel, then went over to the park across the street again, since we'd seen earlier on a map that they had a "zoological garden." It was drizzling out, but nothing too bad and luckily the rain stopped by the time we got to the animals so we were able to pull out the camera for some pictures. The zoo was pretty impressive, and it was completely free and open to the public. They had lions and a tiger and cheetahs, monkeys, zebras, and even these things that looked a lot like longhorns. It was fun to walk around and see the animals, especially since the cats were all awake and moving around (which almost never happens on zoo trips!) and well, I love zoos. =) But it was also a long walk and by the time we got in the car for the drive back home I was pretty exhausted, and slept a good bit of the way.


And then we were home, and Zach had a few hours to kill before needing to head into town for his French class so we got to hang out at home a bit together, and I uploaded the pictures and baked some pumpkin bread for Tuesday and, well, that was pretty much our day.

Pictures from Sunday and Monday.

I think we're gonna need to go back to Lyon another time, on a not-insanely-busy weekend, to get to experience it a bit better and take advantage of the famous restaurants and food. But we had a great time overall, and enjoyed walking around the city. Maybe we'll be able to take Jen and Daddy there for a day or 2 when they visit in a few weeks....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Busy day... but we have a tree!

Goodness, another full day. This morning was the "baby talk" group Christmas party. I made some pumpkin bread last night to take with me, and there were plenty of other goodies there to indulge in including some great chai latte someone brought. As always, though (and as is probably to be expected when you bring together a group of mothers with children aged 3 months-2 yrs) it was fairly chaotic. I went from there to a Korean lunch with the girls, and then did some shopping-- I stopped by H&M and bought 3 new maternity tops, as many of the ones I bought back in August, which I then thought were plenty long, I now seem to be starting to outgrow. I also picked up a prep book for Zach so he can take a test to prove that he can speak (some) French.

I got home around 5:30pm, had just under an hour to rest a bit before Zach got home, and then we were off to Bob and Aruna's for dinner, though not before stopping to buy a Christmas tree first! Zach leaves for China on Saturday (yes, the trip is on now) and with the rest of the week already booked up, we wanted to get this taken care of before it got to be too late. So we bought a very cute little 3-4ft tree (in record time, too-- we basically picked the first one they showed us that was about the right size and shape, it took maybe 5 minutes), and now we have it at home and decorated and looking very pretty. =) Sierra has seemed somewhat curious about it, but hasn't dared to do much with it yet-- it probably helps that we have it up on a small table, so it's not as easily accessible to her (I know, we're mean aren't we? =P).

I have pictures of the tree, along with a last post about Lyon that I need to write, but I think those things will have to wait till tomorrow as it is now very much bedtime. Good night. =)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Lyon Anniversary Weekend, pt2

(Read part 1 here)

we headed out into Lyon to explore a bit. We took the bus to Place Bellecoeur, and from there wandered the streets and found a food market where we met a Chilean man selling empanadas. =) We stopped and chatted with him for a few minutes (in Spanish, of course!) and bought an empanada from him that Zach and I shared. I kinda wish I'd taken a picture of him-- what a random encounter.

Zach and our empanada.

At the ampitheatre.

From then on we walked past cathedrals, took a teleferique up the hill to some stone ampitheatres and strolled through the Greco-Roman museum, then onto the basilica (forget the specific name) at the very top of the hill. We made our way back down the hill and decided to find ourselves a place for lunch, since it was already about 2pm. We found a restaurant Zach had read about (La Gargouille, I think?) and we were standing outside the front door, debating whether we should go in and ask if they're still serving food, when the most amazing thing happened-- the hostess opened the door and asked (in French), "Are you two wanting to come in and eat? Smoking or non-smoking? Oh, Non-smoking of course, for the baby. Ok, give me 5 minutes!"

My jaw dropped. I mean, can you ever imagine someone doing that at a restaurant in Geneva? I couldn't believe it. Again, more proof that people in Lyon might be the nicest in Europe. Lunch was great, by the way, delicious. Zach had a quenelle which was the best thing he ate all weekend, and I had this great ravioli au gratin, and for dessert a chocolate mousse that was much denser and richer than I normally expect mousse to be, but again-- absolutely delicious.

We had originally planned to go back to the hotel in the mid-afternoon for a break before coming back out for the Festival's biggest night, but by the time we finished lunch it was just past 4pm and the light shows started at 6pm, so we figured we'd go ahead and hang around instead. Soon after we got the call from Cathy, who had told me she and her husband might be going to Lyon that night for the festival. They were already sitting at a pub just across the river from us, and after a humorous phone conversation where 2 people who don't know the city at all tried to figure out how to find each other, we realized they were just a few blocks away and went to join them.

Me and Zach at the pub.

Cathy and Cary.

Our great lunch, and then sitting and chatting with Cathy, her husband Cary, Daren, and their other friend (Marty? forget his name) at the pub seemed to give me a bit of a second wind and so after a few drinks (and fruit juice for me) we set off to brave the crowds... and holy crap were there crowds. We kinda wound up wandering in a big circle, unfortunately not stumbling across many light displays, and instead getting stuck in some human traffic jams in a few places. The worst of which was at this one small plaza where Zach and I had seen a great show projected onto the back of this one cathedral, but with all the people watching, and the others trying to go from one side of the crowds to another, we wound up getting literally stuck, unable to move for a good 5 minutes, and a situation that at first made me laugh with its ridiculousness soon made me kinda scared as I felt like I was in the middle of 2 big crowds each trying to push in towards each other and not getting anywhere. We finally made it out (though I lost my umbrella, which I'd tucked into the sash of my coat), and soon after decided to part ways with our friends-- I was done dealing with the crowds.

A statue turned into a sno-globe-- one of my favorite light exhibits.

Figuring that the buses would also be a nightmare (with all the people, and the buses were actually free that night so even more people would be trying to use them) we decided to walk back to the hotel-- about 2km or so. My feet were kinda killing me by this time, but we made it back most of the way, and then miraculously caught a bus that happened to be going by and had just enough room for us to squeeze in for the last bit of the way back. Since we hadn't really gotten dinner anywhere (other than a kebab sandwich that Zach had on the street) we ordered some room service for me and then settled into watching the Miss France pageant on TV-- which was a whole interesting cultural experience on its own, for example noting for example that the contestants were not nearly as made-up or shellacked as women on US beauty pageants tend to be. Then, exhausted from a longer day than we'd anticipated, we went to sleep, planning on a much more low-key Sunday.

Pictures from Saturday.

Lyon Anniversary Weekend, pt 1

So we are back, and I have plenty to share from our weekend away. We went to Lyon, France, a city we'd heard much about, particularly that it's a bit of a "mini-Paris" and it's also known as the "gastronomic capitol of the world."

We arrived into town on Friday at about noon, and found ourselves in a bit of a traffic frenzy trying to get to the hotel and kept seeing police EVERYWHERE. Turns out all the extra security was b/c President Sarkozy was is town, just down the road. So after a few u-turns and confusion we made it to the hotel, checked in, and found ourselves in an "executive" room with a little balcony and access to the executive lounge on the top floor! I guess our upgrade was thanks to Zach's extensive business travel, and him telling them that it's our "anniversary weekend." (our wedding anniversary is actually Jan 3rd) We set our stuff down and went for a walk to explore the area around the hotel and the Parc de la Tete d'Or, which was right across the street, and is a really neat park. Probably gorgeous in the spring and summer time! Unfortunately our first meal in Lyon, at a restaurant near the hotel, was a bit of a disappointment-- Zach ordered andouillette, which he only remembered once it came that it's pig intestines and not something he particularly cares for, and I ordered a salmon which was... ok, but not that great.

We decided to head into Lyon center for the evening, but first a quick stop up at the lounge to check it out. I didn't even know set-ups like this existed. There was wine and all sorts of booze, all for free, along with tea and a nespresso machine where you could make your own coffee, and some snacks (fruit, chips, peanuts, etc and at certain times of the day also some sweets and pastries).


The one downside to our hotel was that it's located about 2 km from the city center, where all the fun stuff was going on this weekend. We hadn't known it when we chose this particular weekend, but it was Lyon's annual Fete des Lumieres, when they put up huge light displays all through the main parts of the city. There was a bus that passed by the hotel and took us down there in only a few stops, which worked well enough except it was really crowded. I was amazed though, every single time I rode the bus I was offered a seat. People really seem to respect the whole pregnant-woman-needs-to-sit-down thing there. Because of everything going on and all the people that were out already, we were worried about finding a place to eat dinner. Luckily a lot of the more casual restaurants still had plenty of space-- we ended up at a pizza place that did not disappoint. Afterwards we walked around a bit looking at some of the light shows in the different squares, and learning how to shoot them with the camera. It was pretty impressive, and even though the forecast had called for lots of rain it only just barely sprinkled from time to time.


After being out for a few hours we figured we'd better go ahead and head back, so we went back to the bus stop which was kinda packed already and we had no idea when the next bus would come. We only had to wait for about 15 minutes, but during part of that time the sky really let down and started pouring, including tiny bits of hail. But we made it onto the (very crowded) bus, and I was even given a seat-- heck, even after I was sitting 2 other guys offered to give us their seats so Zach and I could sit together! I have to say, I was really amazed by people in Lyon.

Pictures from Friday

(to be continued....)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Beginning to look like Christmas

I've set out most of our Christmas decorations this week. Now we just need a tree! =)

Two of our stockings. Mine and Zach's are not pictured. One of these is Sierra's stocking, the other used to be Charlie's but this year's getting passed on to Loki. Hmm, that's not gonna be bad luck, is it? The santa is a tree ornament that I received as a gift last year, sitting alongside my wooden cow from Zurich. =)

I'm very excited about the star with the lights, I found it at Manor and think it's gorgeous. I wanted to buy more, but since any electric decorations I buy will most likely only be used this season and perhaps next, I didn't want to spend a lot of money on stuff that wouldn't last. The red snowman placemats were a purchase from years ago, from Target I believe, and I wish I could have them out all year long b/c I just adore them. =)

The same day that I got the star, I also went ahead and bought us our own little chocolate "marmite de l'escalade," complete with marzipan veggies inside:

Traditionally the oldest and youngest of the family will break it on Tuesday (the anniversary of the Escalade), smashing the cauldron while saying "Ainsi périssent les ennemis de la République!" (thus perish the enemies of the republic). Unfortunately we'll miss the Escalade festivities going on in Geneva on Sunday since we're going out of town this weekend, a trip we'd planned when we assumed all this stuff was going on last weekend along with the race. But, we should still be here for next year's festivities so we can check it out then.

Today I met up with the girls at Le Pain Quotidien, which has become one of my favorite coffee shops around here (so what if it's a chain?). They make a caramel cappuccino that is absolutely delicious! Today was the first time to try their food, I had a croque monsieur which was pretty good. The salads that everyone else had looked yummy as well. The waitress was kinda weird though, she took our plates after we ate and asked if any of us wanted coffee or dessert, and I grabbed the menu about to order, and she just walked off... and didn't come back for a good 15 minutes, walking past our table several times but completely ignoring my attempts to catch her eye. I finally flagged her down to order my cappuccino. Then again, I guess I should be getting used to service like this by now?

Allright, I've gotta go pack-- we leave tomorrow morning for our anniversary weekend trip, will be back sometime Monday! =)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I Want My MTV

So today we FINALLY had an antenna and even a satellite dish installed on the house!!! This was something that was sorta mentioned back when we moved into this house as something the contractor would take care of. This was a good, um, 9 months ago (see what I mean about things just taking longer to get done here?). One guy first came out about 2 months ago to take a look at the house and the connections, and then today we finally had the follow-up where the guy came WITH THE STUFF TO INSTALL! The appointment was for 9:30am so I figured I'd wake up for that, it'd maybe take a couple hours, and then I'd be able to nap in the afternoon, knowing I was still a bit tired out from a busy day yesterday.

Um, yeah, see my above statement about things taking a long time here.

The morning was taken up with the electrician needing to come out to show the antenna guy where the connections were, and then he was up there working for a while, but the roof was iced up still at 11:30am so he couldn't do any of that work yet. He broke for lunch, then came back in the afternoon where from about 1pm to nearly 5pm he was drilling and working and setting things up.

That's right, this took till nearly 5pm.

BUT! Now we can watch tv!! Before we got no reception at all, so all we could watch were DVDs. Now we have CHANNELS! And quite a few of them, too. I think there's a basic 10 or so channels that are the public Swiss ones, and then there's a whole crapload of random stuff that seems to just be free satellite channels. I watched parts of Amelie and one of the Harry Potter movies, in French, found Home Improvement dubbed into German (I think), and watched an episode of The Nanny dubbed into French. We also get CNN, BBC news, and a couple other news channels in English. Then I discovered that we get the German, Austrian, and French versions of MTV-- I watched one episode of the Brittish Pimp My Ride dubber (badly) in French. lol!

The only teensy problem-- everything's in black and white.

Before this, when I'd noticed that European DVDs played in color but US (region 1) DVDs played in black and white, I'd blamed it on our cheapola "all region" DVD player. Now I'm thinking it might actually be the TV (which Zach got for free from one of his coworkers) that's quirky.

Also, the satellite box kinda froze on me twice as I was watching tv, completely randomly, and I had to unplug and re-plug it in to get it working again. I'm choosing not to worry about that quite yet. I don't want to think about what I'd need to do and how long it would take to get fixed if it is a real problem, so for now we'll just pretend that it didn't happen.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A night out, a day of errands, and some fun news

The pregnancy fatigue is upon me once again.

In spite of this, last night I took the tram into town to meet up with Zach after his French class. Jonathan (Jessica's swiss fiance) and one of Zach's coworkers and his wife also joined us, at a wine bar overlooking the lake. As it was a Monday night, the place was deserted-- as in we were the sole customers. But it was fun, sitting and chatting for a few hours. We may try to do something similar again next Wednesday, with a bit more advance notice so perhaps some other people can join us, too.

Unfortunately this morning was to be an early one for me, so going to bed at midnight might not have been the best idea... but whatevs. I went into town for an OB appointment (my last with this particular doctor), a Baby Talk meet-up, and to run some errands that needed running. I got back home at about 4pm, exhausted, and plunked myself down in front of the computer to watch last night's episode of The Hills and read blogs. Then, in about a half-hour we'll go meet Claudia, a woman in our village, for dinner and a bit of French practice.

A couple of celebratory notes for today: 1) It is my mother's birthday so I will be calling her later tonight to wish her a fabulous one, and 2) This morning some friends announced their baby news on their blog! =) Which is way exciting. It's fun knowing that we'll have babies close in age, especially if Zach and I end up moving back to California and so live close by them again. I can just see the 2 of them growing up together, and conspiring to blow up soda bottles and who knows what else. ; )

Monday, December 03, 2007

Birthing Center update

Today was the tour of the birthing center I've been wanting to check out. Since we were gonna need to leave around noon anyway, Zach decided to work from home to be more efficient, then we picked up Celine, a new local friend who's also pregnant and wanting to get a look at this place, and were on our way. It's about 20km away on the highway, but it's fairly easy to get to. I wasn't sure how many people to expect to be there, but there were about 3-4 other couples. The midwife went through everything in French, and while I got the gyst of most everything, it definitely was nice to have Celine there to help with a few translations here and there.

The center is small, but cozy and very inviting. The environment just feels really nice. To be honest, I've been just about sold on this place ever since I met with Nathalie, one of the mid-wives who works there (and who would be taking over my prenatal care if I go this route). I just called our insurance company to double-check if they will cover a birthing center birth, and after 35 minutes of being put on hold (and just a few weeks after the calling card number they gave us so as not to get charged long-distance rates stopped working, lovely) I finally got a yes. So now Zach and I just have to have the final talk on this decision. As the analytical scientist I think he's still a bit worried about the "what if's" of not being in a hospital.

Last night what sounded like a pretty good storm blew in, with winds howling and the rain coming down hard. By the time we were leaving the birthing center this afternoon it was still raining, but the sun had also come out and as we began our drive back home we saw a full rainbow, both ends touching the ground, just barely disappearing at the top of the arch. The colors were incredibly vibrant, something that unfortunately the camera had a hard time capturing.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

30 weeks!!!

Holy crap. I hit 30 weeks today. I think 37 weeks is when the baby's considered full-term (no longer seen as premature) and so in theory Loki could be here as early as 7 weeks from now! (well, or as long as another 12)

Part of me is still freaking out a bit about this HUGE change in our lives-- I mean, it's pretty mind-blowing to think that just 7 months ago we were still just a married couple, just the 2 of us, and now we're 2 months away from becoming PARENTS!

But at the same time I'm starting to get really excited about having our little boy around. We had the neighbors over for tea this evening and I found myself thinking of what their visits will be like when I have an infant sitting on my lap. I can see him playing on the rug, and sleeping in his moses basket, or taking a nap laying on my chest with me (or with dad), and dressing him up in his Longhorn football jersey and taking pictures to send to the family. ; )

It's funny, there are times when I look at my belly and think it's not really all that big, and then other times where it just seems incredibly large. Like looking at my six word sunday picture below-- is it me or does it look like I stuffed a basketball in my shirt?? lol It's strange to me now to look at pictures of me pre-baby belly, it sorta feels like I've been pregnant forever and this is just the normal state of affairs. It's almost weird to think that soon I won't be pregnant anymore. Part of me is saddened by that, knowing I'll miss feeling him move about just under my skin, and having an excuse to rest whenever I want. ; ) Part of me is also looking forward to wearing normal clothes again and being able to have a glass of wine or an appletini here and there. And it will be grand to get to hang out with my little boy, and show him off to people. =P

six word sunday: Just how it's supposed to be...

six word sunday challenge
(Zach's been looking forward to doing this six word sunday for a while now... =P )

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Today was to be a bit of a lazy day. We woke up mid-morning, Zach went for a run, afterwards I made pancakes (from scratch!) which, if I may say so myself, were kinda kick-ass, and then in the early afternoon we took a nap.

Zach was about to put some fish in the oven for dinner when we realized that the Course de l'Escalade, which we'd though was happening tomorrow, was actually happening today.... and in fact that the marmite, the last race which was the one we wanted to see, was starting in about an hour. So we put the fish back in the oven, put in a quick pizza instead, and then headed into town so as not to miss this famous Geneva event.

The Escalade is an annual Geneva holiday, in celebration of the defeat of troops that were trying to pull a surprise attack on the city. Legend has it that in the middle of the night the soldiers were trying to climb up the walls into the city, when a woman making a big cauldron of soup saw them and poured it over the soldiers. The soldier's screams woke up the town, which was then able to fight them off. Next weekend there will be a whole celebration in the old town for the Escalade (which officially happened on the night of Dec 11, I think) but this weekend was the annual race. Participants are divided into categories by age and gender, etc, and then hold races throughout the day starting at about 10am.

The last race is called the marmite, and it's the one where people get dressed up in costumes and families will run or walk and it's much more relaxed and festive, I guess, as opposed to being a running race. It's kind of like San Francisco's Bay to Breakers (except with less alcohol and more clothing).

We made it to Parc de Bastions pretty much right in time to catch the beginning of the marmite. It was fun seeing the costumes, since you definitely noticed themes and and many were different from what you'd see in the US for costumes. There were lots of christmas-related costumes, like santas and snowmen, also lots of nature-related ones like mushrooms, trees, and ladybugs, and several groups of colored or black sheep (as a reference to the infamous and controversial UDC ad). We also saw at least one large group dressed as playing cards, and many nurses/doctors with the red cross symbol.

Once the race was over things kinda petered out, since many of the racers had young kids and I'm sure were ready to head home, and it had started sprinkling by then. Zach and I decided to walk down by the water and try to find a place to get a coffee or hot chocolate. We had to laugh a couple times when we passed a bus or tram stop and would see a bunch of people huddled up waiting for the bus to come, and waiting beside them was, say, a group of guys dressed as bumblebees. We ended up passing by the skating rink that's set up near Place de la Fusterie and saw some kids skating with the help of these penguin toys to help them keep their balance (brilliant!), then walked past the closing booths of the Marché de Noël on the plaza and grabbed a seat and a quick chocolat chaud and soup de courge at this little stand where the waiters all wore santa costumes. A quick walk back through old town and then back to the car, and then on home we went.

A lot of downtown is now all lit up with colored lights reflecting off trees and Christmas decorations, which I'd love to go back and take good pictures of, but tonight it was rainy off and on so I didn't want to risk bringing the big camera. Hopefully we'll get a chance to do that some other time. We may also need to go back and explore the Cirque de Noël going on at Plainpalais, we walked by and it looked kinda fun to walk through.


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