Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another First

It seems we may be dealing with D's first cold. I've felt very lucky that we went almost 8 months without one, I guess the lucky streak had to end sometime. He woke up pretty stuffy this morning and had a runny nose off and on today. He also had a low fever (100.5F) but that may also have been from the vaccine he got yesterday at the doctor's. I've been giving him baby Motrin for the fever, and put some drops of breast milk in his nose to help with the stuffiness. He's sleeping now, we'll see how the night goes.

Despite being possibly a bit under the weather, I did still take D out to meet up with my friend Monika and her adorable 1 yr old Audrey, for a baby story time at a local library. I've met Audrey once before-- when she was all of 2 weeks old. It's pretty amazing to see her so grown up, and it was great to see Monika again. D seemed to enjoy the songs and stories, but I also could tell he wasn't quite feeling like himself (it was during the story time that I noticed he felt a bit warm) and by the end of it he was getting tired, too. But I'm glad we went, and will try to work these types of activities into our "schedule"... you know, when we start settling into one.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Those cheeks aren't 20th percentile

Donovan went in to see his new pediatrician this morning. He weighed in at 17lb 9oz... um, last week he was 17lb 2oz. I then remembered another time that he did this, I think it was when he was in the hospital for his UTI at 2 months, and every morning the nurses would weigh him. He went about 4 days without gaining anything at all, and then overnight his weight suddenly jumped a bunch. So I guess he's just not a gradual guy. He's still low on the weight percentiles (20th, down from 50th a few months ago) and the dr was still a bit concerned about it, but when you compare his weight today versus one month ago his gains average out to about 3oz/week which is back up to the normal range (the month before he'd barely gained a little over 1oz per week). Then again I wonder how much of that is from the past week+ (since arriving here) of him waking and eating every 2-3 hours all night long...

So we'll see what the next month of growth brings. He continues to be pretty happy and have plenty of energy. And while he may be on the skinny side, his cheeks and double chin are chubby as ever. =P

Sunday, September 28, 2008


So so tired. After D's 2am wake-up last night I couldn't get back to sleep. At 3 I got up to drink and eat something, discovered I had a nasty headache but couldn't find any medication in our apartment that's suitable for a nursing mother to take. Thankfully D went back to sleep for another couple hours after his 4:30am wake-up, and Zach let me sleep in an extra bit, but I still woke up feeling crappy as ever. After eating a bit more and drinking a bunch of water and some tea (and finding some ibuprofen stashed away somewhere), I felt a bit better. My theory is that the California dry heat kicked my butt in its silent way it has, and I haven't been drinking enough water to make up for it. Eventually we made it out the door for a quick farmers market round-up, and then in the afternoon we headed over to Cy and Jewels' to see Sophia again, take a walk around the neighborhood, and show them where our future home is.

I felt pretty good all day long, though after a long-ish walk and the less-than-stellar sleep last night (when, when was the last time I got stellar sleep again?), as we drove back home this evening the exhaustion hit me once again. Zach cooked dinner while I managed to get the kid fed, bathed, and down to sleep, and methinks after dinner I'll be hitting the sack.

Tomorrow is D's pediatrician appointment. I'm going in with about a book's worth of questions. I've been feeling at a bit of a loss lately, not sure what to think about his weight gain or feeding habits or how I should be handling all the night wakings, etc. I realized the other night that our room here is pretty bright at night, and thus I wondered whether this might be interfering with D's sleep. So tonight we're trying an experiment-- with no way to string up any sort of sheet or curtain, we bought aluminum foil and scotch tape instead and foiled the entire bedroom window. Far-fetched? Maybe. Solution sworn by moms all over the internet to help improve their baby's sleep? Certainly. Will it work for our kid, who seems to be firmly against conventional solutions? That's the $1,000,000 question.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

lil' g

I've started using gDiapers with Donovan again (at least during the day, at night we use disposables for extra absorbency... I'm too lazy to change diapers in the middle of the night). Realistically, cloth diapers aren't something we're quite willing to deal with, but I still have some guilt about using disposables. These seem like a really nice compromise. I'm considering trying to talk a friend of mine to let me add some of the used inserts into her compost pile, but for now I've been flushing them and that seems to be working really well. Most of the time it doesn't even require extra water use as I've been saving each insert to flush the next time I use the bathroom anyway. They involve a little more work than disposables, but it's not bad and I must say I do very much like the idea of being able to just flush away poopy diapers rather than keep them in a trash can till it's time to put them out.

As for other things Donovan, he has apparently decided that he is NOT a fan of the car or his car seat anymore. Maybe he's just spent too much time in it lately-- I've been using the car much more here than I ever did in Switzerland. Don't really know what to do about that, other than trying to limit car time as much as possible. Our new place is within walking distance of a few fun things, so that will help some.

thinking about crawling?

One thing he is a huge fan of is bath time, and water in general. He LOVES taking baths. I think he'd hang out in there all night long if I let him. He's gotten really good at sitting up on his own, so he just sits in the big tub and splashes water everywhere, every so often pausing to grin at me or play with one of his bath toys. Tonight he spent the entire time telling long stories to the wall. Other than having to shield myself with his towel to keep from getting soaked, it's a pretty fun time. The other day he and I played in the pool at the apartment pool, and he had a blast. We may have to do some more of that while we're still at this place.

so many ways to be impossibly adorable

Friday, September 26, 2008

Settled (sort of)

Busy day today. We signed our lease and got the keys to our new home, though we won't get to move in for another several weeks while we're waiting for our stuff to arrive on the boat (and then clear customs, which may take an additional week or 2). Even though we've known for the past week that we all but had the place, it sure feels good to have the lease signed and know that it really is ours ( for the next 2 years, anyway) and we can go ahead and change our addresses on everything. I already ordered super adorable address labels from this super adorable etsy shop called Handmade by Amy. Though I may also have to end up buying one of the super adorable address stamps from this other incredibly wonderful shop called Sweet Paperie (which led me to this other shop, Elephannie, which is now giving me all sorts of cute ideas for decorating D's new bedroom). I really need to get into writing letters more, as I am such a freak about all things stationery. It's slightly ridiculous. The other day I stopped into this paper shop and was just drooling over all the gorgeous note cards, reminding myself that I already have several boxes that I need to use up before I can buy any more (although most of those boxes are on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, so maybe I should get something to tide me over till then....)

Anyway. Back to today... We then stopped by a T-Mobile shop and got ourselves a phone plan, and so now I have my very own cell phone number and a new phone. Since our arrival I've been using a borrowed phone from my parents (they have an extra cell phone that they've just tacked onto their shared family plan that they keep around for when people need an extra one) and it's certainly been great to have, but the keys on it stick and it's nice to have a phone number that's actually mine. Zach had a hard time picking out what phone he wanted, I didn't see much that appealed to me so I went with the only phone there that looked and felt nice to me which was a gunmetal grey Motorola Razr. The guy helping us out was apparently baffled by me picking out a phone that's so "old" and "outdated" and doesn't have a million new features and kept trying to show me other phones (they weren't even more expensive so I don't think he was even doing it for commission). I had to tell him a few times that, really, it's ok, the only thing I use my phone for is actually calling people. And I may send a photo or 2 of Donovan back to his grandparents. Now at home after fiddling with it I still like it, again it just has a nice feel to it. And really, aesthetics are one of the biggest things I care about in a cell phone.

So here we are, just one week after arriving back in California and we already have a place to live, our new cell phones, and a car. Yay for getting settled back in quickly. =)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Saas Fee Recap (better late than never)

I think it was late spring that we started talking with Mom and Philip about coming out here September-ish for some time in the mountains. One of the women I’d met through the baby talk group owned a flat (isn’t is such a cuter word that “apartment?”) in Saas Fee that seemed reasonably priced and “kid-friendly” so we figured we’d rent it for a week together. JC then planned a European tour around the same time, so after spending a few days in Madrid he met up with us in Geneva and planned to spend the week with us in Saas Fee before moving on to Paris. It was partially due to this trip planned so long ago that we set our move-back date to late September, as we didn’t want to cancel the trip, and in the end this worked out really nicely as we could ship our things earlier and still spend this week in a nice, furnished home, together with family.

Saas Fee

We had the flat Monday-Monday. Zach, JC, D, and I arrived Monday afternoon, and Mom and Philip finally followed the next day. We had just finished a nice lunch of rosti at an outdoor patio and were headed back to the flat when we saw a couple waving at us, and there were Mom and Philip just sitting down to lunch themselves, fresh off the planes/train/bus to Saas Fee. These first couple days were absolutely gorgeous, sunny and warm, and the view of the mountains and glaciers from the flat was just stunning. We explored Saas Fee a bit (very cute town), walked past some cows and tourist-friendly marmots, and of course Grandma and Papaw spent much time playing with the baby. =)

I think it was on Wednesday or Thursday that Zach and Philip went to Zermatt, they enjoyed nice enough weather though unfortunately Zermatt’s peak was hidden by clouds the entire time so they didn’t get a clear view of it. Oh well. Another day they tried going on a hike closer to where we were staying, and came home early as it started snowing on them.

Saas Fee

Friday we rented a backpack-style child carrier and went on a hike all together with Donovan. We were a bit worried about it starting to rain, but as we hiked the sun came out and it even got nice and warm. We reached the top of the trail to a great little restaurant where we sat for a lunch of rosti (SO YUM). It was a very kid-friendly place, with a small swing set and kid-sized trucks and cars, and Donovan had a fun time sitting on a red tractor as grandma and grampa pushed him around the small track. =)

Saas Fee

Saturday was my birthday, so mom made a small cake and we of course sang all the traditional birthday songs (we sing 3 of them). That night after D went to bed Zach and I went out for a nice dinner together, had a fabulous meal which unfortunately proceeded to keep me up all night with an upset stomach and then left me sick most of the next day. Oh well. At least it was good timing to get sick when there’s so many other people to help play with the little one.

I forget what we did Sunday, if we did much of anything or just hung out at the flat and maybe took a walk around the village. That whole weekend the village was engulfed in this pretty impressive fog that would come down and lift some at times, and then thicken again to the point of not being able to see more than about 10 feet in front of you. Then Monday morning we woke up to beautiful, completely clear skies. Zach, Donovan and I walked around the village a bit more while Mom, Philip, and JC took a cable car up to the peak of one of the mountains and got to frolic around in the snow. Then Zach, JC, D, and I got in the car to drive back to Geneva and Mom and Philip met up with us a bit later after taking the train back themselves.

Saas Fee

I’m really glad we planned this trip, and stuck to those plans as our moving date got changed. Saas Fee was truly lovely, the flat where we stayed was adorable, and it was just so nice being there with family (and being in a furnished place after all our stuffed had been packed away and was off on a boat).

Click here for more pictures from our week in Saas Fee.

What Lies Ahead

I've often heard parents say that, looking back, dealing with an infant is so much easier than dealing with an older child. This statement used to strike fear into my heart-- it is no secret how difficult and draining I have found parenthood to be, especially those first 3-6 months. However I also am starting to see how it is probably very, very true.

One of the more shocking aspects of becoming a parent is the incredible weight and permanency of this responsibility you have taken on. I will be responsible for Donovan every day of my life for the next 18 years. He will be in my life, every day, front and center. Sometimes that's a difficult thing to wrap my head around. I feel that we have gotten to a bit of a honeymoon period. Yes, I'm exhausted still from waking multiple times a night, but he's overall so happy and playful and so incredibly, impossibly cute, that daily life with him has gotten to be pretty fun. Heck, sometimes he even lets me take care of other things while he happily plays with his toys. He's an utter joy, and life is relatively simple right now.

But I look ahead at the future, and while I look forward to the toddler years and beyond-- it will be so much fun to see him exploring the world in new ways and learning so much-- part of me also almost dreads it. Soon we will need to start worrying about disciplining him. Teaching him right from wrong, manners, empathy, etc. Figuring out the house and life rules we want to instill and enforce, and not only trying to get him to follow them but making sure we do as well so that we set the proper example. So much of the person he is to become depends on my actions with and around him, and that is a responsibility that at times can feel crippling in its vastness. I Am Responsible For The Outcome Of This Human Being. That's HUGE.

I know Zach and I are up for the task-- we have to be. Between personal experiences, books, and friends and family, I know we have the means to figure out how to deal with situations as they come up and try to do the best thing for Donovan. I also know that motherhood will likely continue to be the biggest challenge of my life, as well as the biggest joy. The two seem to go hand in hand.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A day in the life...

I met up with Cyrus, Julia, and baby Sophia for lunch today. It was really nice to catch up with them and to get to meet the little one (so teensy and cute! Funny how quickly you really do forget how small they used to be...). It's gonna be so, so nice to live so close to them when we move into our new place. =)

D seemed to be in a good enough mood afterwards so I took a risk and went to the mall. The kiddo stayed happy enough for me to try on some jeans and get a few other things I've been needing. He even flirted with several women while out and about. I don't know if he really has a preference for women or if they're just the ones who stop and notice and make comments, but boy do they find him adorable I think we'll be in a world of trouble in about 13 years...

When looking toward moving to the US I had a feeling I'd find it much easier to leave the house with Donovan to do things. In Geneva there were only a few places that I'd go to by car, and for most things we'd take the bus which wasn't bad but required a bit of planning and 30 minutes of travel time, each way. Here, it is so much easier to get out the door and go. At the same time I'm also realizing how I dislike making short stops at several places and feel bad when I'm pulling D in and out of his car seat more than a couple times on one outing. That was the advantage of taking the bus into town-- once you were there, it was essentially one big "one-stop-shop" and D could just hang out in his stroller the entire time, nodding off and waking back up as he pleased, without being interrupted to get in or out of a car. So I'm finding myself already graviating towards planning out outings so I can stop the least number of times and take care of as much as possible at each stop. I may also take advantage of online shopping a lot more now-- any errands that can be done quickly from home rather than have to take time (and energy and gas) to complete seem like a good thing. Yesterday I put in an order through Diapers.com, and not only did I get free shipping but my stuff also arrived this evening. =)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Maybe I'll get some sleep when he goes off to college...

Funny how it sometimes takes a day or 2 for the jet lag to actually hit-- the past few days I've started feeling drowsy at about 4 or 5pm (1-2am Swiss time), and can hardly keep my eyes open past 8pm. Then again, these days it's hard to tell what's jet lag and what's regular ole mommyhood. On our trip to Texas D seemed to adjust to the time change and sleep better at night after the first 3 nights or so. I'm hoping that change comes again soon. I don't know how much of it is the jet lag and how much might be his 2nd tooth getting ready to make an entrance (how close together do they usually show up?) but he's been waking every 2-3 hours all night long. And since I'm still worried about his weight and trying to get as much milk into him as possible, I'm feeding him every time he wakes (and he eats well each time). I worry that I'm "training" him to wake and eat that often at night, but I also don't feel right withholding food from him when he's not gaining as he should (I checked his weight today, he's gained 4oz in the past 3 weeks-- about 1.3oz/40grams per week-- which is still a bit under what he should be gaining for his age, though at least it hasn't seemed to drop further than before). At the same time it's exhausting to be once again nursing every 2-3 hours, 24/7. Hopefully I can get an appointment for him sometime next week to check his weight again, and talk with a pediatrician about his weight, eating habits, night feedings, etc. It would certainly be nice for him to start sleeping a bit longer again, but I've learned to try not to expect such things. Though if he decided to sleep in past 4am that would also be greatly appreciated.

I don't know if it's part of the benefits of breastfeeding or just the product of being more careful with handwashing, etc, but the past 7 months both D and I have been cold-free, which has been great. Unfortunately that lucky streak may be coming to a close. D seems fine, at least as far as I can tell, but my throat's a bit sore. I don't know if I'm actually coming down with something or if e just hit the right timing for seasonal allergies, I guess time will tell. I'm sure that whole lack of sleep bit isn't helping me out any.

This afternoon D and I spent a little over an hour hanging out on a blanket on the grass outside. It was quite nice. =) I'm trying to decide if it's been warm enough to try out the pool here, I don't want D to get too cold if I take him "swimming" but from the way he's been splashing around like a maniac in the tub lately I have a feeling he'd get such a kick out of it. Maybe we'll see how tomorrow afternoon shapes up...

Monday, September 22, 2008

House? Check! Car? Check! Impossibly Adorable Pictures? Check!

Zach and I are somewhat flabbergasted at how much easier it is to take care of certain things here, compared to Switzerland. We should be signing the lease for our duplex on Friday (woot!!), and yesterday afternoon we bought a car. Yes, yesterday-- A SUNDAY. I'd almost forgotten you could get things done on Sundays. ; ) We are now the owners of a '98 Honda CR-V. It's nearly identical to the one we owned before moving overseas, except a year older, and this one's green. And it was nearly the same price as an equivalent Civic thanks to gas prices and no one (else) wanting to buy bigger cars. So now we can take our time a bit more figuring out what to get as our second car. Zach's pushing for a Honda Fit (turns out they're the same thing as the Jazz we saw in Europe and liked) but they're still really new here (have only been sold in the US since last year) so we'll see.

I'm wanting to get D weighed so I can see how he's gaining (if it's still the same, faster, slower, etc). In Switzerland I could just drop in to our pediatrician's office and get him weighed real quick, no appointment necessary. Here we have care through Kaiser Permanente, but no set pediatrician yet (I need to figure out what D's member number is and then make an appointment for him, hopefully in the next couple weeks). Does anyone know if I can just drop in and get him weighed at one of their facilities? I'd like to try to do that one day this week.

Last but not least, I figured I'd share some pictures. I realized today I still haven't put up a post about our time in Saas Fee... ah how time gets away from us. Here's a super cute picture of D and his daddy though on the day we rented a backpack carrier and took him on a hike. Donovan loved it, I foresee a trip to REI soon to get our own. =)
Saas Fee
Saas Fee

Here's also some pictures of D discovering the awesomeness that are bread, and potatoes. He is most definitely his mama's kid. =P

Saas Fee
Saas Fee
"Please don't take away my potato!!!"
Saas Fee

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Grocery Stores! And Farmers Markets! And Friends! Oh my!

Yesterday we set out, Zach, Donovan, Jenny, and I, with appointments to look at 4 apartments/houses. I was afraid of what we would see. So many of the pictures we'd see on craigslist showed places that were so ugly, generic, etc, and I feared that we'd be unable to find a place we liked without going over our target rent range.

I was quite pleasantly surprised. The first place we looked at was a duplex, larger than I expected-- 2 bedrooms and an office, only one bathroom but the house is a good 1,100-1,200sq ft, with a front yard (which the owner pays for landscaping so no mowing!) and a small courtyard, bright living room, decent kitchen, and within a 10 minute walk of good friends, and a couple miles away from a nearby cute downtown area and farmers market. It's an area we've been around before, but haven't spent that much time in or explored much, and is close to the Montessori school we'd like D to go to in a few years. I had not expected to find a place this nice for the price. We saw 2 other places after that (the 4th we didn't see, as the lady never showed up) that each were also definitely acceptable, but we liked the first place best. So we're submitting an application, and are hopeful as the landlord told us that while she had several other applicants already she liked us the best. We'll see if that stays true. But it feels good to have found a place we liked, and even if it falls through to know that we do have a decent chance of finding something else that will probably work well for us.

Later on in the afternoon we went grocery shopping. Oh.My.Lord. On the flight over I started getting so excited about silly little things like being able to buy tortillas. At the grocery store, I was like a kid in a candy store. It was ridiculous. I don't even like Safeway in general (imagine if this had been an HEB that we went to) but I was giddy looking at the aisles and aisles of products, at all the variety, all the STUFF, all the foods and brands I was used to and familiar with, being able to read labels! and understand them! And look, magazines! For decent prices!! I laughed at myself, how silly I was being, even as I continued to just feel the joy of American grocery shopping.

Of course the best came this morning. This morning, we hit up the farmer's market. We met up with the Fostinos, and my friend Debbie (moved back from Geneva a few months before us), and her darling girl Maddie, came down also, and as I tasted samples of peaches and smelled the fabulous strawberries, well, it made me happy. We even passed a stand selling pates where I heard the vendor speaking French, it turns out he's from Paris and we had fun talking to him in French for a few minutes. We loaded up our backpack and the underbasket of D's stroller with fruits, veggies, and Acme bread, and then all headed over to a nearby coffee shop to sit and chat. Our old ritual, which I have missed dearly over the past year and a half. Yes, there were markets in Switzerland, too, but none that we liked as much and we just never got into the same habit. It felt good to be back, and to go with our friends, ones that I had not seen in a year. When we briefly shopped for food at Target on Friday, I'd looked through all the American junk/snacky food that I missed (like s'mores pop tarts) and worried that life here might mean being tempted by and eating more crap food. After today, I realize that while we'll have to be vigilant of that, it will also be ridiculously easy to eat lots of great, fresh produce. We may have Pringles stashed away in the cupboard, but we've also got a plout, 2 types of peaches, 2 types of grapes, 3 types of apples, cherry and zebra tomatoes, raspberries, and strawberries ready for snacking on at any time. Love it.

Zach is currently watching the Cowboys on tv, something that's making him very happy. He had me take a picture of him and D watching the game earlier (Baby's First Cowboys Game). Next weekend we may have to break out some of D's Texas gear to watch a bit of that game. ; )

There are definitely things we're already missing about life in Switzerland. However, today was a great day, one that made us very happy to be back.

six word sunday: Tried to warn dad, too late.

Tried to warn dad, too late.

six word sunday challenge

Saturday, September 20, 2008

le decallage, c'est terrible

I wish I could fast-forward though the next few days/nights. If things go like on our trip to Texas this summer, hopefully D will be mostly adjusted to the new time zone in about 3-4 days. But till then... oh lordy. Last night there was much waking up. And crying. And some sleeping. And then he was up at 3:30 or 4am, and thus so have we, though he has been napping now for almost 2 hours which is good. The complex provided a crib for us to use, but it's way too high and I can hardly get him in and out without having to fold my body in half over the wooden rail, so added to today's to-do list is now buying a pack-and-play to use instead.

Zach's been scourging the 1,000,003 rental listings on craigslist (seriously, there's TONS just from yesterday, I guess this is good for us) and we've predictably found several things in the cheap-and-kinda-crappy-looking range and a couple in the looks-awesome-but-slightly-over-our-estimated-price-range. Hopefully we can go look at a few today and get a better feel ofr them in person. I do already get a very strong sense that Switzerland has spoiled us, BADLY. So many of the houses and apartment complexes we're seeing pictures of make us immediately wrinkle our noses at their sheer, um, ugliness. What is wrong with US engineering?? Oh well.

D just woke up, seems unhappy, is probably hungry. Mama to the rescue.

OH! And I'm pretty sure we have OUR FIRST TOOTH! After about FOUR MONTHS of on/off teething pain, yesterday I noticed a little white spot on one side of his lower gum, and it feels sharp. Zach's not convinced it's actually a tooth. He thinks it's a little beak coming out (you know, for crushing with). But that's him.. he wanted our kid to come out with mutant wings, so, um, yeah.

Friday, September 19, 2008

...and back again

So we're here. The flight went great, there was some initial almost-drama but then everything worked out well and Donovan was adorable and happy about 90% of the time. Very fittingly, it was raining this morning as we left Geneva... and then arrived to San Francisco to blue skies and 70F temps. (well, ok, it was cloudy in SF but after driving a few miles south the clouds stopped. As expected.)

Our temp apartment is ok, unfortunately a little tight since it's a one-bedroom, and when we arrived the carpets were still kinda damp from being shampooed this morning. I don't even want to think about all the chemicals that D is inhaling, or what he'll be crawling around in the next month, as we don't really have another place to stay, so for now we'll just deal.

We hit Target already ( had to get a litter box for Sierra), and Zach just left to go get us burritos for dinner. Jenny's on the caltrain right now heading down to spend the weekend with us. Scrubs is on the TV. There's a bag of tortilla chips on the table in front of me. And they're awesome. =)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Le dernier jour

I woke up for this day feeling sentimental. It is our last day in Geneva, in Switzerland, in Europe, as ex-pats. The end of an era, of a grand adventure that's been our lives for the past 18-ish months.

Zach and I spent the previous days frantic and crazed trying to get things ready, worried that we'd be up till 3am on this last night with so many to-do's to deal with. All that frenzy seems to have paid off-- that, and having Mom and Philip here and staying one more night in this house after we leave and thus will be the ones to deal with many of the loose ends we'd otherwise need to do. They have been an absolute GODSEND this week. We still had plenty of things to do today, but the day was much more calm, thus enjoyable, than we had feared it might be.

Zach and Philip ran a few errands this morning while Mom and I stayed back and played with Donovan. At noon we went into town, with a few missions-- I needed to pay my Orange phone bill, Zach and the parents had some things to get from Coop City (and use up our superpoints), and I'd hoped to drop in on the cafe meet-up at Starbucks. Unfortunately the Orange deal took longer than expected-- after an hour's wait my number was finally called, at which time I was able to pay our remaining balance. Then I asked the guy about getting our deposit back.

See, when we signed up for our phones we got me a plan as opposed to a pre-paid option, as it made more sense. That meant paying a 1000chf deposit for my account, thanks to our type of residency permit. When signing up the guy assured us it would be very simple to get the money back. Two weeks ago I stopped by the Orange store to ask about cancelling our account, and the guy working was very helpful and would have set up for the deposit to be wired back to our account directly right then and there except there was 1 number I didn't have that was needed. He assured me we could just set that up when we came back to pay the bill, no problem.

Then today when I asked about the deposit, the guy this time told us we'd have to give them a US address to which they'd send some forms that we would then have to fill out and sign before sending back and then we'd get the money sent to us. Um, what? How long is THAT gonna take? And why all the hassle when we had been told before specifically that they just needed our account info and would send it right over? Zach was kinda furious. Me? I figured, "what's a last day in Europe without a classic experience of euro-style customer service?" We may try to call the company tonight to find out more about this, but I'm not sure honestly if we'll have the time, energy, or really care anymore. We'll get the money eventually, I trust the Swiss that much, and may just deal with the pain in the ass method of getting it.

By the time that was over we had to head back out and thus I didn't get to stop in at the meetup. Zach had a going-away thing planned at work so we went to that, then rushed home to meet with a woman who was buying a last few of our things. So, yes, still a busy day, glad we got most everything else taken care of earlier. ; )

Celine and Arthus were able to stop by for one last playdate, which was great. I'm gonna miss them. She wound up taking a lot of leftover stuff of ours, both baby-related and non, and seems like she'll be able to use it (or find someone else who will)-- a HUGE help to us. I feel better knowing at least some of those things will get used rather than just thrown in the trash.

Now we have a few odds and ends left, but I think we'll be ok, and then.... we'll be leaving on a plane early in the mornin'. I hope D has a good night of sleep tonight, as I feel exhausted and that's not the best way to start a long day of travel with a cat and a baby. But at its worst it will be one long, bad day, and at the end of it we'll be in California and Jenny will come down to see us that night, and even if we're all tired and grumpy I know it will be pretty great.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mom and Philip Travel Saga

The plan: JC, Zach, Donovan, and I would drive to Saas Fee Monday morning. Mom and Philip were to fly from Austin to Dallas to Paris, and take a train from Paris to Saas Fee, expected to arrive Monday evening hopefully by dinner time.

What actually happened: JC, Zach, D and I arrived as planned, well a bit later that planned but still early enough in the day. The flat we’d rented turned out to be absolutely adorable with a fantastic view of the mountains just above us. We figured Mom and Philip were on the train headed our way, and were excited to see them soon.

Then we got a phone call from Philip. They were in Dallas. The flight to Paris had been cancelled, not sure why, but they had been put on a different flight going to Zurich that would take off later on that day. So they got to hang out in Dallas for 8 hours (at least Cristina’s around so they went out to lunch with her) and then were scheduled to get to Saas Fee Tuesday morning.

Then, 5 minutes before boarding on their flight to Zurich, that flight got cancelled, due to some mechanical problem with the plane. After waiting in line for a while, things seemed to get sorted out and they were put on a different flight set to leave the next morning. At least they got a hotel and meal voucher for the night.

I don’t know what else happened the next day, but instead of getting on that next Dallas- Zurich flight they wound up on one flying to JFK and then to Zurich, with a nonexistent layover. They raced through the airport to make their flight and arrived in Zurich, finally, a day delayed (we met up with them here on Tuesday afternoon)… and sans baggage. They were told their bags would arrive on the JFK-Zurich flight the next morning (Wednesday), and then be shipped over to Saas Fee arriving Thursday.

We were thus surprised to see a delivery attempt by the post office on Wednesday morning. Zach and Philip went to the post to pick up the bags, and found there was only one there (which had arrived via London, somehow). Mom’s bag is still MIA, over a week later. She's been told they "found" it in London and were gonna send it to Zurich, but then it never got there, and well, yeah. I'm sure they'll get it back eventually, but probably not while they're out here.

Luckily they’ve been in good spirits about it all, but, um, holy cow… What a travel nightmare. At least they have a super-cute grandbaby to play with here to make it all worth it. ; )

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Comme un poulet sans tete

I had plans to come back and update on here nicely about our week away, with pictures and all, I even have 1.5 posts already written up on word that I wrote during the week. However time has gotten away, we are frantically trying to get ready, and time seems... meager.

I am so so so glad it worked out that Mom and Philip are here with us these last few days. I don't know how we'd be doing this otherwise. They keep taking D and playing with him, going out on walks, doing whatever else is needed so we're able to take care of our stuff most of the time. D does seem to be entering the separation anxiety phase, or maybe it's just that our calm, go-with-the-flow baby has had to deal with one too many changes to his entire little world right now and is having a hard time coping, and so is needed time with his mama every so often which feels wonderful for me-- there's magic in being able to soothe your frantically crying baby by simply holding him in your arms-- but means that it's also a bit harder to hand him off to someone else to play with instead. Our poor little guy's routine has been completely thrown upside down, and I feel for him as we still have quite a bit of change still to come (unfortunately we also have the confounding factor that I was hit by a 24 hour stomach bug on Sunday, and today Zach's stomach hurts and I wonder if D's does, as well). I'm trying to do what I can to comfort him and help him out, and also just trying to get us all through this transition period till things are more settled again.

On the other hand, it's been pretty heartwarming watching D play with his grandparents and have so much fun with them, the times that he's happy. Not to mention the joy in Mom and Philip's eyes as they play with him.

We're going to dinner at our neighbor's house tonight. Tomorrow will be spent packing our suitcases, making sure we have enough room for what we're planning to take, figure out an alternate plan for whatever doesn't fit, and trying to get everything as ready as possible. Thursday will be spent running a few errands and hopefully getting to spend some somewhat-stress-free time in town on what will be our last day in Switzerland, and then Friday we're off. Wow.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Still Up For Grabs (SALE SALE SALE!)

Just got back from our week away, had a great time, lots to tell (and yes, Cristina, I have a whole crapload of pictures to share, including of course lots of super duper cute ones of Donovan), but for now I'm kind of boggled at the fact that we only have 3 full days left here before getting on that plane and there still seems to be so much left to do. Zach is right now cleaning out the car that he's selling tomorrow, and I'm setting up meeting times for the sale of items we've set up for sale. Below are things that haven't had any takers yet, so again if you're interested in any of this stuff or know someone who might (and who's able to pick them up sometime between now and Thursday evening) send me an email (mightymarce at gmail.com). Everything's 5chf except where specified.

Ikea NOT lamps x 2
Ikea STORM floor lamp (3'11")
Ikea STORM table lamp
Ikea table lamps x 2 (
photo 1 and 2)
Plug-in room heaters x 2 (photo)
Clothing iron (
Baby Moov Steam Bottle Warmer (20chf)
Vaccuum cleaner (20chf)
Geneva Explorer
Red Bumbo chair with tray
Infant bath seat (best photo I have...)


Sunday, September 07, 2008


I sorta got caught up on flickr uploads yesterday and today, including finally getting around to editing (mainly meager attempts at fixing horrible exposures) and posting the pictures from the small going-away party we had last week. The pics are far from great-- I have a really hard time taking pictures of people at a party, as I don't want to interrupt the moment or make people uncomfortable and just feel too shy about getting in anyone's face with a big camera, thus I hardly take any or take the care and time to take good ones-- but at least I captured most of the people for remembrance's sake.

I was helping D practice sitting up earlier today and was pleased and shocked to see that he was able to sit unsupported for a good 30 seconds to a minute or so. You could even see him start to tip to one side or the other and make the effort to balance himself out and stay upright. Yay Donovan! =P It's gonna be so fun having him be able to sit up and free his hands completely for playing and exploring.

Zach, JC and I met up with our friend Sara in Carouge this morning for a semi-brunch. Her husband had a cold so wasn't able to join us, unfortunately. We had a fun time, though, and luckily the weather was sunny, if a bit chilly. It's probably the last time we'll see her before the move. She has family in California so perhaps we'll see her there someday.

Tomorrow morning we head off to the mountains for the week. My mom and step-dad will be meeting us there, in the evening. I am beyond excited to get to see them, and for them to see D and how much he's grown and developed in the past few months since they last saw him. It's gonna be a fun week. =) I'm not sure what internet access will be like for us there, so there may or may not be postings while we're gone.

Holy cow. Less than 2 weeks left. I am in disbelief.

six word sunday: The beginning of a beautiful relationship.

The beginning of a beautiful friendship.

six word sunday challenge

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Maybe he's just skinny like his dad...

I'm trying not to obsess about this, really I am. But I looked up average weight gain charts for infants and compared them to how Donovan has done these past 7 months. I looked up average weight gain rates on kellymom.com and compared them to Donovan's, and the results are below:

Donovan's growth rates:
1st and 2nd month: 220 grams/week (average is 150-240 g/wk)
3rd month: 155 g/wk (avg is 150-240 g/wk)
4th month: 143 g/wk (avg is 150-240 g/wk)
5th month: 80 g/wk (avg is 90-125 g/wk)
6th month: 62 g/wk (avg is 90-125 g/wk)
7th month: 42 g/wk (avg is 50-80 g/wk)

Looking at these numbers was sobering. I'm realizing at the moment that it's still hard to tell, as the Kellymom chart is ambiguous (for example 4 months is listed in 2 different brackets it's unclear whether the average weight gain for a 4 month old is 150-240g or 90-125, which changes things-- though even then he'd still be under on his gains for his 5th and 7th months).

This is unfortunately the exact sort of problem I gave the hardest time with. What needs to be done here is to decide on a course of action, watch D's input and output, and re-evaluate things in one month when we've weighed him again. But instead I question and second-guess constantly, frustrated by the utter lack of any feedback to let me know if what we are doing might be working or not (and this is the state I'm in just 2 days into it).

The worst part is just not knowing how big a deal to make of all this. Looking at his weight gain, I'm guessing this isn't just a one-time random dip but part of a pattern, and that while achieving mobility or starting solids may be part of the problem, neither is the entire story as his weight gains started slowing as early as 4 months. Now, is this just his own individual growth pattern, perfectly normal for him? That wouldn't surprise me, seeing how much regard D seems to have for "average" and "normal" ways of doing things, and Zach has reminded me more than once that he himself was fretted over at about 8 or 9 months of age for being too skinny of a baby and it was no big deal. Or is this slowdown going to continue and will it become more serious over time? There is no real way to tell other than to see what happens.

I'm trying to do what I can to get him to eat more, while also looking at his overall happy demeanor and wet diapers and deciding that clearly he's not a kid who's suffering. Most likely this is not a big problem. Hell, even if it is I'm not sure how much more we can do about it at the moment. So I'm trying not to freak out, take things one day at a time, and just see how things play out. We'll see how successful I am at this.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Bye, bye, stuff

You always hear how stress takes its toll on your body, and I am definitely feeling that right now. I'm not worrying or stressing about things very much, but there's been a hell of a lot going on in just the past couple days and I'm guessing that's to blame for why I feel so utterly exhausted. As an update, Donovan seems completely uninterested in formula, where it be in a bottle, sippy cup, or a regular cup. He also seems uninterested in cereal, whether mixed with formula or breastmilk (which has been a hit in the past). I don't know if it's just a temporary appetite slowdown as before he's been pretty good with solids... (distractibility does seem to be an issue, too, though, both with breastfeedings and solids. I may have to give up trying to feed him in public which unfortunately means all but shackling us to the house). I figured if formula wasn't gonna work then I guess I should pull out the pump and try that route-- so I did just that after one of his afternoon feedings, and got all of about 2 drop of milk (in the past I've been able to at leats get a couple ounces. I'll try again in a minute before going to bed, see if I'm more successful). It's slightly disheartening to have all the usual "easy solutions" not work at all. He seems happy, though, and seems to be outputting well enough with his diapers, so I guess I'll just keep trying to feed him often, pumping some, trying to up my supply, and see how it goes.

Everything got shipped off today. Gosh this house looks empty now.


D watching the truck outside.

Playing in his almost-empty room.

My God, that face...

JC arrived this afternoon, after spending a few days in Madrid. Don't have much planned for the weekend, and I heard tomorrow's weather might be utter crap like it was the other day, but I guess we'll see. It would be nice to be able to go down into town and walk around a bit.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The only constant is change

We took D in for one last check-up with our Swiss pediatrician before the move. I don't know if they normally continue with monthly well-checks past 6 months, I had simply assumed this would be the case and so made the appointment which also made sense as it's nice to get one last check in before jumping on a plane, and not being sure when we'll find/get to see a new pediatrician once we're in California (will try to start the search as soon as we arrive, don't worry).

Everything went well today, except that D hadn't gained much weight since last month. Looking at his weight compared to the WHO growth charts, his weight has been at about 50th percentile through 5 months of age, but the past 2 months his growth has slowed so that now he's hovering closer to 20-30th percentile. Enough so that our very pro-breastfeeding pediatrician has suggested we supplement with formula.

At first when he mentioned this I thought, "Wow, ok, we're here then." Just the other day I was thinking about how I was glad D hasn't ever had to have any formula. I've had an inkling in the past month or so that perhaps my supply isn't what it used to be, or may simply not be growing to fit his needs (especially now that he's scooting around everywhere and thus I'm sure needing lots more calories to make up for it). I have some tea to help with that, and I swear in the past when I've eaten almonds my supply has increased (strange but true) so I'll try that as well. He already eats every 2 hours most of the time during the day, so I can't exactly feed him more often (ok, I guess I could, I'm not willing to). But I know there is one thing that would probably help the most, and that is to pump after every feeding, and to be completely honest I'm just not up for doing that. Not now. Not in the middle of all this.

If D were younger I might be more willing to go through the hassle of pumping and cleaning and storing, so many times a day. But we've had 7 full months of exclusive breastfeeding (other than a few bites of food here in the past few weeks). That's pretty great. I'd love to be able to continue with just breastfeeding till he's a year old, or perhaps longer, but if that doesn't work out I think I'm ok with that. I do still plan to breastfeed as much as I can so he still gets hopefully a majority of his nutrition from me, but I'm not going to stress or kill myself over it. I realize that this course may lead to weaning, that for many women the supplementing of formula leads to further decreases in supply and thus the downward spiral begins (while other women use both for long periods of time with no ill effects). Part of me feels sad about all this, and part of me doesn't. Part of me feels guilty that I'm not willing to do what it takes to avoid having to use formula, and part of me realizes that everything will be fine, that I've already given D a great start, and that I deserve to maintain some level of sanity.

The other thing I thought as we were sitting across from the pediatrician in his office was, "Crap, the guys just packed all our bottles this morning." When we stopped at the store to buy the formula I also picked up a couple new bottles. I have no idea how this will go, honestly. He hasn't taken a bottle since 2 months of age, and I stopped trying after 3 or 4. Maybe it will have been long enough that he'll take one now. We also have his sippy cups, and just plain old glass cups, to try out (he's done well drinking out of a cup when I hold it for him, though it would take a looong time for him to take much more than an ounce or 2 that way...).

So off on another adventure we go. I have no idea how it will go. I guess he'll either take the formula, one way or another, or he won't. He'll either gain more weight, or he won't (we'll try to check him again in another month ot monitor progress). I'll either still be breastfeeding him in another month or 2 or 3 or more, or I won't. It's all up in the air, as are so many things in life. I think that's the biggest lesson in parenting, learning how to fly by the seat of your pants and roll with the punches.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Today is D's 7 month birthday. It is nothing short of mindboggling to think of what took place 7 months ago today-- a day that feels so far away, yet as if time has flown by at the same time.

Today is also the last day and night that we will spend in this house, still feeling like a Home. Tomorrow morning the movers come and will start packing everything up. As I sit to write this at almost 8pm, I think we're just about ready. We'll still be here for another couple weeks afterwards, but the house will have a completely different feel when our things are gone and instead we are using borrowed plates and a table and set of chairs from the restaurant next door.

Monique from across the street just came by to give us going-away presents, a very cute outfit for D and a book about Geneva (written in English) for us.

I worry about what the next month will be like for D, with everything being thrown up in the air and so much change. But I think that worry is mostly unfounded as every other time he's faced change he's dealt with it beautifully. He barely seems to bat an eye when he's set down to sleep in a place other than his usual bed, and seems to almost thrive on new environments rather than needing the security of home. I guess we'll how that holds up when the changes keep coming for an entire month or 2 as opposed to just a day or week or 2 at a time.

Time to eat dinner, watch a bit of The Daily Show's coverage of the republican convention, and then get back to the last to-do's for the night. Down the rabbit hole we go...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Well, this makes things a bit simpler

It was just over a month ago that I bought our 2nd stroller, a Maclaren Volo, and since then I've kind of fallen head over heels in love with it. It's soooo much lighter and smaller than our big stroller, really nice and easy to maneuver, and the handlebars are high enough so that they're comfortable for Zach to push (also soon to be a consideration for when his tall Aunt Jenny's taking him on walks! =P). I normally don't like the handles that are 2 separates bars like the Maclarens have, but the stroller is light and easy enough to push that I can still use just one hand when needed and not feel strained trying to push and steer it. It's so easy to fold, and so tiny while folded, that it takes up hardly any space at all. It's already got me thinking about how, if our current strollers don't last till baby #2, I'd want to seriously consider this brand again. The only downside is that as of late I've started wondering if it might have been worth it to go with the Triumph after all, for the ability to recline the seat.

As part of our move Zach's company is paying for the boat shipment that takes about 2 months to complete (which will be sent this week) and also an air shipment, which takes 1-2 weeks. We've been planning to use the air shipment to send a few things that we want to have more available, including the Maclaren. Then the other day Zach started looking and what these shipments are costing work-- the air shipment is about $4,000. Looking at everything we've been planning to put in it, the total cost of buying everything new would maybe come to $1,000, probably less. Spending 4x the amount to ship the items seems kind of silly. So Zach talked to a few people at work today, and they agreed to allow us to claim up to $1,000 worth of goods instead of using the air shipment.

This means that things we'd planned to ship by air, such as D's bumbo seat (which I've been using as his "high chair" for giving solid foods) and the stroller, we can now keep till the very end, sell or give away, and then as soon as we get to California can buy new ones (and not have to wait the 1-2 weeks it would take for the air shipment to arrive). AND we can even upgrade to the Triumph! =P Which I feel super excited about (I know that's silly, but hey-- new shiny baby stuff! lol). This also makes our sorting out of stuff a bit simpler.

On a different note, WE JUST SOLD OUR CAR!! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! We even get to keep it till the last week. The best part? They'll just pay us cash, and b/c it's Switzerland they'll be able to walk up to an ATM and pull out 9 one-thousand swiss franc bills to pay us with.

Ok, need to go do some more packing so we're not too overwhelmed with stuff for tomorrow. Oh, and tomorrow is D's 7 month birthday, so I need to write out his monthly letter. So much to do, so little time.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Last night I got about 4 hours of sleep before D needed a feeding at 2am. And then, I couldn't seem to get back to sleep. I may have dozed off and on somewhat, but nothing considered meaningful rest. So finally at 4:30 I got up and caught up on stuff online waiting for the kiddo to wake at 6:30ish. I'm kind of amazed that I'm not a zombie right now, but then again it seems to go this way-- I can have one night of godawful sleep and be fine the next day, but if it continues at all it hits me like a ton of bricks. We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Zach came home from work a bit early today and we did some organizing in preparations for the movers coming in just a couple days. The nice thing is we have lovely, lovely neighbors who have offered us everything from kitchen utensils to sheets to guest bedrooms and so we have a lot less stuff that we'll need to hold on to and figure out what to do with in the end. We had a mini-gong away party last night, mostly with people from the village, and it went off really nicely. It's always kinda cool to see that people seem to like you and will miss you. It seems that, at least for our village, the classic Swiss stereotype (of being cold and unwelcoming) isn't very accurate. Meme, the manager of the restaurant nextdoor, came by after most people had left. She's um, a bit of a character. I must admit I'm kinda scared by her. She's, well, kinda gruff. You wouldn't want to mess with her. But she also can be very nice, and it seems we have gotten on her good side, and in the recent months she's offered to take us to the airport for trips and last night offered to let us borrow about any kitchen item that we'd need for these last few weeks, along with a table and chairs from the restaurant, and even a blow-up mattress and sheets if we so desire. Certainly helps make life a bit easier at this point.

Tomorrow D and I will have a busy day in town, running some needed errands. Wednesday will be spent making sure we've got everything set for the movers to come on Thursday, and that everything's in its appropriate pile/space so all goes or stays as planned. Friday all our packed boxes will be loaded and taken away, and my brother arrives in the afternoon. We'll spend the weekend here before heading off to the Valais to meet my mom and step-dad for a week in the mountains. So excited about that-- D has grown and changed so much, they're going to have so much fun playing with him.


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