Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Homeward Bound


In two weeks Coco will have her first step (lie?) on American soil. We are flying home for a visit and I cannot wait! Our itinerary includes Spokane, Portland and Eugene. J and I met in Eugene while attending the University of Oregon and we are already waxing poetic about pushing our little baby through campus in her pram. We're also drooling thinking of all the fantastic food we are going to eat: Cafe Siena breakfast, Burrito Boy tacos for lunch, McMenamin's Captain Neon Burger for dinner. That is a lot of yum to pack into one day. Hurrah!


In Portland we're staying at the Ace Hotel. We reserved a "standard back" room because they're the quietest rooms and have a bathtub - two musts when traveling with a baby! I am looking forward to the hip decor, superb location and Stumptown Coffee in the lobby. Heaven! We have a long list of people to see in Portland and I will be so thrilled to introduce Coco to each and every one of them. 

{photo of University of Oregon Memorial Quad circa 1940 from Flickr}



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fish Out of Water

Lately I've been feeling a little blue on Tuesdays. Coco and I go to Baby Swimming on Tuesday mornings. Don't get me wrong, it's really fun and so amazing to be in the water with her. She looks very sweet in her swim diaper and she coos and giggles at me in the warm water. In our class are five other mommies and babies the same age as Coco. That's what has me feeling blue. 

All the other mommies know the songs and can sing to their smiling babies. I don't know the songs because I didn't grow up with them. So I hum along as best I can, but on occasion, Coco would rather look at an actually singing mommy, or the jolly singing instructor, rather than me. :( During the class all the other mommies joke and laugh with each other. I just focus on Coco, which is lovely, of course, but I do feel left out. In the locker room after class when we're all dressing and nursing our babies, it's the same. I understand snippets here and there of the conversation going on and I'd love to join in talking about whether or not my baby will take a bottle (she won't!) or about how torn I feel about returning to work in the Spring (I'm losing sleep!) but my German is nonexistent outside of ordering food in a restaurant. 

It leaves me feeling a little blue because it reminds me that although this is the most settled and grounded I've felt in my adult life, I'm an outsider. I don't belong here. It's a rather strange paradox. It also makes me look at life at home differently. In the future, when I'm living in American again, I don't think I'll ever be shy again. Suddenly it seems that when others speak your language, you're automatically on the inside. I wonder if that will change for me after being back in the States for a while. I also wonder how long we'll end up living here.

Have you ever lived in a place where you didn't speak the local language? Did you learn it?

{photo from here}

Monday, January 23, 2012

Separation Anxiety

Whenever I have to be away from Coco for any stretch of time, I get serious separation anxiety. This happens even when she's with a very trusted friend, or (dare I admit it) her dad! It's not that I fear for her safety, or worry that something will happen. I mean, I am a mother as in mama bear so naturally I feel protective of her. Mostly I think I just miss her so much!

I'm so thankful that I won't be going back to work full time anytime soon. I don't think my heart could stand it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Goodnight Moon: An American Phenomenon

In our house growing up, we always read before bed. I remember being a little girl and reading Goodnight Moon with my mom. I loved how peaceful and relaxing the book was with the rabbit and the green room. When I got pregnant, Goodnight Moon was one of the first books on our registry. Naturally, it's a classic! 

Well, apparently it's only a classic in America. My British friend, Charlotte, asked me if I had Goodnight Moon when Coco was about six weeks old. "No!" I exclaimed, "I put it on our registry and no one got it. We really have to get a copy soon!" Charlotte exclaimed right back, "Every American mum I know has Goodnight Moon. I just do not understand that book at all!" What?! It had never (ever!) occurred to me that any child in the English-speaking world had grown up without Goodnight Moon. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it.

Thankfully, Coco got her very own Goodnight Moon for Christmas from my sister Amy, who is an amazing photographer, and her husband Tod, who is an English professor and poet. Phew! Order restored.

What are your favorite bedtime stories? Do you still read before bed?

{black and white photos from here and here}

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Little Darling

I can't get over how Coco smiles. It's never a grin or smirk. She goes full tilt every time. How sweet is that?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Spring Fever

Every year, once Christmas and the New Year have passed, I am ready for spring. This is inconvenient for the obvious reason that winter has actually just begun! Dear me.

A recent pop over to jcrew.com didn't help my spring fever at all. Doesn't this bold, jaunty ensemble have you craving daffodils and Cadbury Creme Eggs? 
Aside from the leopard print bag, which is not my cup of tea, I love every piece of this outfit, head to toe. Swoon! Maybe when I find a new job and I'm preparing to go back to work, I'll make this my consolation prize for being away from my sweetie a few days a week. 

Do you get itchy and impatient for spring? How do you cope with spring fever?

{photo from here}

Monday, January 9, 2012

Outdoor Nap

It seems that when we're out and about, Coco always falls asleep in her pram. She sleeps so soundly in there. So when we arrive home, it's always with a little reluctance that I wheel her inside where it's too warm for her down suit, knowing that she will soon wake up. Conversely, if I try to undress her, she always wakes up, so it's a no win situation. 

I read this post a while ago and it's been in the back of my mind that I could let her nap outside for some time now. But I haven't had the courage to leave my little baby alone outside, naturally! Then today, I figured out how I could make it happen.

I put the fully-loaded-with-batteries baby monitor in with her.

Then I covered her pram with a blanket and parked it where I could see it from the kitchen window. 
I was more comfortable with it given that the door to our building is facing a courtyard and down a pathway from the street. No one passes by here or walks through here unless they're my neighbor and I know them. And because we're on the ground floor, I could leap out the window (which I sat next to the entire time!) if I needed to for any reason. 

Finally, thanks to our fabulous baby monitor, I was able to hear if she stirred and even see the temperature where she was sleeping as I sat by the window and took care of some work on the computer. 16 degrees Celsius is actually quite warm. The thermometer must have been getting some heat off of her head because it was not 60 degrees Fahrenheit in Zurich today!

She only slept for about ten minutes! ;) But now that I've got it all figured out, I'd do it again. I think those Danes are onto something with the idea of napping in fresh air. 

Would you let your baby nap outside? What would make you comfortable or uncomfortable with the idea? 



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Resolve

I've never been very good at resolutions. I tend to take on too grand of ideas and then it's disappointing when they of course don't work out. One year my grandiose idea involved joining a gym (how original!) and one evening post-swim a man remarked in the steam room that he couldn't wait for February because by then all the New Year's resolution people would have quit coming regularly and the gym wouldn't be so crowded. How sad that he was totally talking about me. I was hardly going at all by March. That is embarrassing! But really, what was I thinking? I don't work out! :)

So, this year I've taken on a whole new approach. Something small, manageable, realistic and attainable. Becoming a mother has changed my perspective on all things. I have come to know (and accept!) that the house cannot be perfectly tidy and clean at all times. I know that if I don't give myself at least twice the time I think I need I will be hideously late. I've realized that I can only do so much and that prioritizing is the only way unless I want to be miserable. 

My 2012 resolution reflects all of this. I feel proud in a miniature way! I have resolved to floss everysingleday of 2012. 

Did you know that you can get Cupcake Floss? It tastes like frosting! I might just have to try it out one of these 366 days. (And this really made me laugh!)


Naturally, I have other resolutions I'd like to see happen in my life. For example, figuring out an effective laundry schedule, finding a way to blog on a regular basis, maximizing my time with Coco, reducing clutter, making more meals from bulk foods, organizing everything in my life. Eeeek! Talk about overwhelming. That's why I'm going to give the flossing a whirl for now. Maybe I can get to a few of those Herculean ideas later. 

Do you typically make a new year's resolution? Do you tend to stick to them? What's your secret - will power or reasonable resolution? I'd love to hear about it and how it works for you!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A New Trick for Coco

Today Coco and I are relaxing and enjoying a sunny day in Zurich. We took a walk and now she's engrossed in some tummy time. Something rather exciting has been happening on and off during tummy time lately. Suddenly she finds herself on her back! It's exciting for me, but more frightening her her at this point. Soon she'll love it. It's hard to believe how quickly she's changing everyday.

When did your baby roll over? We're you completely surprised?

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