Friday, August 31, 2012

Have a cozy weekend.

As of today, it's rainy, cold and grey in Zurich, so we are planning to stay snuggly and warm inside pretty much all weekend. I want to start working on Coco's photo book of her first year (sniff!) and maybe we will even have a fire. Today I hear the radiators clanking, which is hard to believe considering yesterday still felt like summer. I hope it's just a bit of bad weather, but I'm afraid fall may already be here. Summer, why do you always go by so quickly? Oh well. :)

Here's what caught my eye this week. See you back here Monday! xo

Shake your tail feather to this song and beat the cold weather blues.

Remembering Neil Armstrong in photos.

I'm ordering this the moment I land on US soil!

This looks better than our current model for snuggling and watching a movie.

Encouraging for parents like J and me.

Candle season is upon us.

Can't wait to get these for our little eater.

Now every morning I have a frog for the day.

Shivers up and down my spine!

Scandinavian Design meets Louis XIV?

A little fancy sparkle to wear with jeans and a black tee.

The truth about marriage. (And you thought you knew! ;)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

To Stand, Perchance to Walk

Lately all Coco wants to do is stand. Let's rephrase that because that's putting it very lightly. Lately, Coco is wholly invested in the business of standing and learning to walk. She spends every waking minute pulling up on bookshelves, ottomans, chairs, the couch, my legs. Then she practices taking steps up and down, more recently maybe a few to the side, and then comes the big work of getting back down to the ground, only to go up again and repeat the process. What a lot of work it is for a baby!

Watching her progress is absolutely incredible because everyday her movement is more refined, she's more stable and she's that much closer to walking. It is absolutely magical to see happening before my eyes. The only problem is that she's literally devoting every ounce of energy she has to these tasks. When it's bedtime and she is visibly tired (and crying with fatigue!) she keeps at it, in our bed, pulling up on the headboard until she physically can no longer stand. It isn't over until she tries to pull up, but can only make it halfway because she's out of energy, and then she drops onto my pillow, buries her face in it and cries. :( It didn't even cross my mind when we picked out our bed that it is the perfect, irresistible height for a baby to pull up on. 

So I find myself soothing her and reminding her that Rome wasn't built in a day, but those hard-wired developmental surges don't listen to reason. Nothing I do can distract her from the big work of learning to walk, even when she's half asleep. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jana Manja Photography Special Offer!

Last weekend, we did a photo shoot with Jana Manja Photography and it was amazing! Jana is a local photographer in Zurich who specializes in families, children and babies. She has a beautiful website with sweet recollections of her sessions. We are thrilled with the photos she took and the time she spent with us. 
Jana has a special talent for making babies comfortable and happy while having their photo taken. Coco loved having her photo taken by Jana and was happy pretty much the entire time.
I am very excited to announce that Jana Manja Photography is offering Folio Rose readers a special discount package! To take advantage, send Jana an email with the subject line FOLIOROSE20. The promotion includes 20 Francs discount off of the session price and two extra retouched photos following your session. :) Fall is the perfect time for gorgeous outdoor shots. Space is limited, so contact Jana today. We hope you'll enjoy your photo session as much as we did. Thank you, Jana!

In another month, she'll be One!

Happy eleven months to the sweetest baby, greatest joy and happiest life we've ever known. xo

(photos by _j_n_y_)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sezanne Epicerie et Bistro in Colmar

While my mom was visiting, we took a quick overnight trip to Colmar, France. While we were there, we had the best lunch ever.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Scandinavian Design

Today I visited the home of a very stylish Swedish woman I know here in Zurich. And I was completely blown away by her modern, inviting, minimalist, cozy decor. It seems contradictory, but it really was all of those things at once! After spending a few hours in her home, it had me convinced that when we buy a house, we will have a Scandinavian interior. 

I love the bold curves and overall subtlety of Scandinavian design. A shop in our neighborhood sells that teapot (which I have had my eye on for months) and the Nordic Light candlestick is even more striking in person. Do you find Scandinavian design attractive yet pared down, or sparse and cold? 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Have a splendid weekend.

What are your plans this weekend? Tonight I'm going for my first private Pilates lesson (recommended by my massage therapist) to strengthen my stomach muscles post pregnancy. Yikes! I'll definitely let you know how it goes. On Saturday we have our family photos with local Zurich photographer Jana Manja. We can't wait to have some professional shots of the three of us all together! Then on Sunday we have friends and their baby girl coming for lunch. I'm making Mexican and I can't wait! :) I hope you enjoy your weekend wherever you are. Here are a few links that caught my eye this week.

To keep the towels off the floor.

I'm absolutely in love with these birthstone studs.

If I only I could feel this way about Coco.

I love a good biography.

I read this just after I had written this and burst into tears!

Biggest perk of living in Europe? Series Three starts in September, not January!

Baking these as soon as humanly possible.

Not sure what I think of this pop of gold.

Love this man and his fiery spirit!

See you back here Monday! xo

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Baked Potatoes with Jalapeños

We are huge fans of baked potato night in our house. It is the perfect dinner with a little pepper-crusted broiled steak on the side. Well. The perfect dinner just got better. :) Have you ever tried putting jalapeños on your baked potato? It takes the baked potato to a whole new place. Tonight we used butter, sour cream, finely grated cheddar, diced red onion, steamed broccoli and diced jalapeños. I'm never going back to plain old bacon, cheddar and chives! All of the warm creamy ingredients with the zest of the red onion and the spice of the jalapeños made for an interesting, flavor-packed potato like never before. Delicious!

What are your favorite weeknight meals? Do you like to experiment with new flavor combos or stick to the classics? 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On Change

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, "Nothing endures but change," and he was so right. There are many big changes afoot around here.

Two women in my mommy group are pregnant again!
The seasons are changing from summer to fall.
Our beloved neighbors are moving.
Coco is becoming more of a toddler and less of a baby.
J and I are no longer "new parents" anymore.
I am becoming tired of the international travel that goes along with living abroad.

I wish things didn't have to change right now, because I love the way they are. But they're changing. I'm excited to see my two friends families growing again so soon, but it also intimidates me because I can't even imagine being pregnant right now. 

Even though it's ridiculously hot, I love summer and I don't want it to end and give way to cold, dark winter days. Not yet! 

Losing our neighbors is going to be the most awful change I've experienced in ages. We see them daily and spend lots of time together. They're more than friends, they're like family and now they're going to be much further away. It was so incredible this past year. When we came home from the hospital, they gave us so much emotional support, answered questions, offered shoulders to cry on and fed us. A lot. We would go upstairs in our slippers for dinner with our swaddled newborn! Our children have grown together this past year and I am just so sad to see it come to an end. But, change endures. 

Watching our little baby grow into a little girl is so fascinating, amazing and wonderful. But it's bittersweet. Sometimes, when she's just finished nursing and fallen asleep in my arms, I look at her wispy curls and rosy face and I wish she could stay little forever. Not really, of course. I want her to walk and talk and share what she's thinking about with us. But I try to capture those moments so that I can hold onto them forever because life is so impossibly sweet with a baby. It's just so hard to let it go. 

Now that my body has mostly returned to normal and I'm not pregnant or caring for a newborn, I feel like I've crossed over the threshold from "new parent" to plain old "parent." It's the same for J. We're no longer the newbies in the game of parenthood. We are just part of the club and it's a little hard to leave the novelty and newness behind for this usual status quo.  

The reality of living abroad with a young family has finally settled in now that we are nearly eleven months on since Coco's birth. I need to book a ticket to go back to the States to see family with Coco soon, but for some reason I keep putting it off. It's hard to decide about Christmas, and if I go at another time, it's hard to be away from J for a long time. It's such a long trip that anything less than three weeks is too short, but being away from J and our home for a month is a terribly long time! 

So for the last five minutes of today, I just want to hold onto things the way they are. Tomorrow, I think I'll be ready to forge a path into the change ahead, but for now I'm not quite ready.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Alpine Baby Celebrity

While my mom was here, we took her up to Klein Scheidegg to do the most amazing walk. The Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau are some of the most incredible, famous and celebrated mountains in the Alps. The north face of the Eiger, above, is pretty much the North Face, but that didn't stop Coco from stealing the show. While we were eating our delicious Rösti lunch, we looked over and were completely taken aback to see this!
The mountains are behind all of those tourists taking pictures of and waving at Coco. Isn't it just the sweetest?! She did look pretty cute in her mountaineering outfit, I'll admit! ;)
Her usual bellowing was more like yodeling on high. 
Our delicious Rösti lunch with herbed butter. A traditional Swiss dish.
The walk was lovely with lots of wildflowers and, of course, amazing views. But I wouldn't let myself take hundreds of photos like last time because a landscape like that doesn't change much and I already have thousands and thousands of photos I need to go through. 
J brought along Emma, his colleague's dog he was dog sitting for the week. I'm happy to announce that after having a dog for a week, J no longer wants a dog.  :) But she is a very sweet dog and she liked the walk a lot. Isn't she pretty? During the walk J carried Coco in the Ergo and she slept almost the whole time. All in all, it was ideal! My mom had a great time, the walk was just the right distance and the harrowing cable car ride that took us down 3,000 feet in five minutes to Wengen in the valley below was the perfect finish.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Road Trip Days 3-8

It turns out that reliving our vacation through sharing all the nitty-gritty with you is pretty unpleasant. Let's just suffice it to say that going on a massive road trip with a baby is a seriously bad idea. It seems so obvious now, but it's funny as a parent. You have one camp telling you your life as you know it will be over once you've had a baby and you'll never do anything fun ever again. Yikes! Then there is the other camp telling you not to listen to the naysayers, that you can do whatever you want (and more!) with that baby in tow. Of course we wanted to be part of the cool, easygoing, second "beat-the-odds" camp! Alas, we are not. :(

I was discussing it last night with my friend Sam and she pointed out the revealing crux to the whole thing: It's completely personal. One couple's idea of okay isn't necessarily another's. For us, having Coco get fussy and seeing her feel completely alone in the backseat facing the rear windshield, frustrated and crying, was awful. Maybe another couple might say, "It wasn't so bad! She only cried and fussed every couple of hours. What a trooper!" In the end, the only way you'll ever know what works for you and your family, is to try.

Corsica is absolutely gorgeous. It's also way way bigger than I thought it was before driving around it.

Everything was much better once we got a hotel on the third night.

We had lovely views.

We relaxed on the sun porch while Coco played in the travel cot the hotel provided. 

After a few nights, we bid Corsica goodbye and went to Tuscany. (Yes! As if the trip up until that point hadn't been overkill already. ;)

We spent about 10 minutes in Pisa. 

We walked around a bit and had coffee in Piazza del Campo in Siena.

Coco seemed to like it. Then we had a nice woman, who also had a Canon DSLR, take some family photos for us.

At first Coco continued to smile and wave at passersby as she had done in her stroller the entire time we drank our coffees.

Then she gave the lovely lady the stink eye! (I guess she'd had enough with the photo taking. ;) We continued on to our hotel for the night, which was most certainly haunted. Shudder! We had dinner that night in Monteriggioni and then next day, after we had survived the night in the scary hotel, we did a whirlwind Tuscan tour. You know, just to finish with a bang.

We drove on the famous white gravel roads which host the vintage bike race, L'Eroica.

Then we stopped at a little place on the side of the road and had an amazing meal.

Coco sat in a hundred-year-old high chair and used it as a teether.

When we had finished, Miranda, the owner who had made our lunch, came out to meet Coco.

She was so lovely and she loved Coco so much, she cried. My God, I love Italians! 

Coco happily showed her all of her toys.

And I shamelessly took photos. That was such a wonderful experience. Coco loved Miranda and Miranda reminded me of my own Grandma, Marie my dad's mom, who died when I was in college. She was a very sweet, loving grandma like Miranda.

After that, I called to extend the rental car for a day and we drove to Milan to stay the night. It turns out that it's a really long drive from wherever we were in Tuscany to Milan. En route, Coco had a complete dehydration freak out, which we were able to recognize immediately thanks to the experience we had gained in Corsica. We forced water down her throat by pouring it into the bottle cap first and then tipping it back into her mouth. Poor baby! Once the water entered her little system, she stopped crying and slept the rest of the way. Milan is super hot and uncomfortably humid so in order to sleep, we had to have the air conditioning on all night long. In the morning, we went to go see The Last Supper, trying to eek one last bit of enjoyment out of the failed trip. But it didn't work out as the only available time slot was at 4 pm. So up and over the Alps we drove back to Zurich. Once we'd crossed over the Gotthard Pass, Coco started crying and was inconsolable. We stopped for a bit and she was happy, but then started crying again once we got back in the car. :( When we got home, it felt like our vacation had finally begun. We swore we'd never go on vacation ever again.

So, now we know. ;) For the foreseeable future, our family vacations will include one single destination with a hotel or apartment so that we can settle into a routine away from home. We will not drive all day to get there. Instead, we will travel comfortably. Perhaps an overnight train in a private sleeping compartment with a full bathroom if we're feeling adventurous, or a direct flight, maybe even a drive that is two hours or less each way. We will stay at our destination for a few nights or a week and then we'll go back the way we came. We will not, under any circumstances sleep in a tent! :) How does your family travel? Or do you just embrace the "stay-cation"? 

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