Monday, April 30, 2012

When did you settle down?

This morning, I had a meeting at the unemployment office (sigh!) which meant that I was out without Coco for a little while. I took advantage and did things I can't do when I'm with my little bundle of love: I took my coffee with me in a travel mug, sat down on the tram and listened to music on headphones. I absolutely adore listening to music on headphones, and I had forgotten how nice it is to just sit idly and watch everything go by out the window of the tram. It's the little things!

I got to thinking about how much Zurich is really our home. I mean, I am so "in the system" here. I'm visiting the unemployment and speaking hacking away at German while I'm there. We've reached the point where we know the local customs. Hurry up in the checkout line, don't arrive somewhere even two minutes late, have cash at all times. I feel comfortable in Zurich; I gave birth to my child here! And yet we are not settled here. It's too far from family; I'll probably never speak German well and we want Coco to have an American identity so we can relate to each other as a family all from the same culture. If she grows up here, she will be Swiss and J and I are not. We will always be American; no matter how long we stay. So staying here beyond five years just isn't an option. Yet for now, it feels like home. Isn't that funny? It seems odd to me, and yet there you go. That's just how it is. I'm okay with the idea that we are settled just for now. I don't find it unsettling in the least. ;)

I'm curious, when did you settle down? Or have you? What factors mattered the most to you in choosing a place to spend your life? Have you always stayed close to home, or have you lived in other places? I'd love to hear about your experiences in settling down. Please chime in! xo

Friday, April 27, 2012

Photography Fridays

Those are a few pictures from our week. I can see that next week I need to expand my subject matter a bit. ;)

 And here a few links for your weekend. 

I love this song so much when I ignore the lyrics and don't watch the video.

After watching the above video, this news made me laugh out loud!

President Obama is a rapper, too.

I love the Hot Pink Fish.

Getting my feet ready for summer.

Coco and I are enjoying this super fun class for mommies and babies.

Have a wonderful weekend! See you back here on Monday. xo

Thursday, April 26, 2012

On Motherly Love

Mother's Day is just two weeks away and this year it's different. I experienced the same thing at Christmas: It felt like I was hearing the story of Mary giving birth to Jesus for the first time (in a stable for goodness sake!) because being a mother myself now, I could relate in a way I never had before. 

This Mother's Day, I'm relating to my own mother in a way I never have before. I'm seeing motherhood from the other side. Every moment I spend with Coco reading to her, hugging her, talking to her, changing her diaper, comforting her, snuggling her, dressing her, bathing her, playing with her, tickling her and being her mom my own mom did for me. It's incredible, humbling and amazing to feel the universal mother's love and know that I was her baby and this is what my mother felt for me. Motherly love is a boundless, limitless swell of pure love. It's so unbelievably beautiful.

J and I have been planning out our Mother's Day gifts to our moms and I think they're going to be good!

What do you do to celebrate your mother on Mother's Day? And if you're a mother yourself, what do you do to celebrate you?

{photo by Edward J. Steichen}

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Crazy for Neon

As Mugatu would say, neon is so hot right now! I'm hitting the neon craze pretty hard. Most recently, I got the most outrageous pair of neon jeans from J.Crew and today I wore them for the first time. Jeans are a big step to take as a lover of neon. For me it started small - neon argyle socks, a neon flower hair accessory. That turned into a neon stripe sweater and then I decided to go for it and get the jeans. I'm so glad I did. They're definitely going to be awesome with a tan this summer!
What spring and summer trends are you loving this year? Would you wear neon jeans?! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Coco's First Bite

It didn't occur to me at the time, but for a couple of weeks at the beginning of the month I was really bitchy and irritable and I think I finally know why: I didn't want Coco to start solids and to give up breastfeeding. At her six month check-up, the pediatrician gave me some information about starting solids and said she was ready, much to my dismay. I started getting everything ready from her little dishes and spoons to her highchair and finding space in the cupboard for the Babycook and rice cereal, but I was not excited about it at all.

I love breastfeeding so much it's crazy. I've thought and thought and thought and tried to figure out why I love it SO much, but I can't. I really can't. Maybe it's the closeness and the connection, maybe it's knowing that I'm giving her nourishment. But I don't think so. It's something else. Something magical and mysterious that I can't put into words. It's a beautiful, wondrous thing. Breastfeeding is probably the most glorious thing I've ever done. And I can't even tell you why. Oh well.
But I see now that during the grumpy funk, it was making me so sad and crabby to think that my little baby was going to stop breastfeeding. It's silly, really, because I fully intend to nurse Coco until she's two, but even knowing that, it still felt like her eating solid food was the beginning of her weaning and it was just a really sad time for me. 

Then last week, it was like a switch went off and I was ready! We were sitting at lunch one day and she reached out and grabbed a handful of salad off of my plate and tried to shove it in her mouth. She didn't succeed, but she was definitely showing interest in food. Definitely! And suddenly, I was ready to feed her and give her food and it didn't make me sad anymore. Don't ask me how that happened. It just did.

So I ran out to buy a sweet potato to make for her. Actually, first I got out my Dr. Sears book and re-read the section on starting solids. Then I ran out to get a sweet potato. I also picked up some colorful organic carrots. Then I got out my Annabel Karmel baby purées book and started peeling and chopping. Then I started way over-documenting the process. 
I even made J take a video 
Just like the books said she might, she just spit it out. So I guess we'll try again next week. And then we might not go quite so crazy documenting. Okay, to say "we" is not really fair. I will not go so crazy documenting. It just seemed like such a huge milestone, but in the end, the over-documenting took away from the experience. J remarked later that he wished he'd seen it. Oof! Lesson learned. Sometimes it's better to just experience something than to go overboard taking pictures and videos.
I think Coco would agree. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Zurich Marathon

J had a wonderful marathon on Sunday, his first of many in Zurich. We walked down to the Porsche dealership on Bellerivestrasse to cheer him on at the 22 mile mark and he looked great!
He finished in 3:56 and wasn't even that sore today. Way to go, J! We are so proud of you. xo

Our favorite newborn and baby products.

When I was pregnant, we got a lot of advice on what we absolutely had to have for our baby, but not everything was a perfect fit for us, of course. Now that we've been parents for nearly seven months, we have a few must-haves of our own that I'd like to share with you for what it's worth. I can't promise you'll love these, but I feel compelled to share because these are things that really worked for Coco, made our lives easier and fully justified their price tags! 
Mustela products smell so insanely good, I had a hard time believing they could actually be good for Coco's skin. We use quite a few of their products, but my favorite of all is the Cold Cream with Nutri-Protecteur. It keeps Coco's skin so perfectly soft, healthy and kissable and clears up even the reddest of drool rashes! 

We put Fisher Price Rainforest Lullabies on repeat on very low volume at nap time and bedtime and I swear it helps Coco stay asleep longer. The music is blended with nature sounds and it's so soothing and calming. 
The Bugaboo Cameleon is the best city pram ever! If ours broke tomorrow, I'd order a new one before I drew my next breath. We really could not live without it. It's amazing, so smooth, easy to maneuver, ultra-comfortable for Coco, attractive and just awesome! We love it. LOVE. IT.

We started out with a changing pad on top of a dresser because we didn't know if we'd actually use a dedicated changing table, or if it would just take up a lot of precious space in our tiny apartment. Plus, there weren't many attractive front-facing options to choose from and none of them was affordable. Let me just say that the Stokke Care is completely rad! I love having a dedicated changing table with all of Coco's lotions and potions at hand and I'm happy to say that this changing table is as functional as it is beautiful. I've never regretted purchasing it for one second!

The Boppy Pillow totally lives up to its reputation. The only thing I have to say about the Boppy is to buy an extra cover so you never have to be without it. Seriously. It's that good!

Finally, what's not to love about a bouncer seat that doesn't take batteries?! The Baby Bjorn Babysitter Balance is 100% baby-operated. ;) We love the way Coco looks when she really gets herself bouncing in hers. She kind of curls up and then hurls herself backward. It's adorable! She sits in this while I cook, while I shower, while I eat. It's called a "babysitter" for a reason.

Do you have some of the same baby stuff on our list? What are your must-haves, and the ones you should have skipped? 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Photography Fridays

I have a little idea. Since I got my new camera, I've been taking a lot of photos. So every Friday, I'll post some recent photos from the week, or this week the past few weeks, and share them with you. Won't it be fun to watch them improve as time goes on? (At least they should! ;)

This weekend marks the beginning of J's spring holidays, so we are excited to have him home for the next two weeks. Sunday he's running the Zurich Marathon, which means we'll definitely head out to see him, rain or shine. And, sadly, it's looking like rain. Boo.

A rainy weekend means I'll be taking more oil baths, reading more of my book and working on Coco's legwarmers. Throw in some Earl Grey with cream and honey, and I guess it's not so bad. 
I hope your weekend is lovely wherever it takes you and whatever weather you find there. See you back here Monday! xo

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Scotch Non-Toxic Nail Polish

Having painted nails is something I have come to absolutely adore. It makes me feel pretty, feminine and a little bit fancy, regardless of what I'm doing, when my nails are painted. But it does bother me that nail polish and nail polish remover are so stinky and toxic. Did you know that there is actual formaldehyde in nail polish? Eeew! Because of that, I try to go polish-free for at least one week each month so that my nails have a chance to breathe. But I miss the polish during those weeks.

Now I might not have to!

Scotch Naturals makes non-toxic nail polish in a wide array of stylish and current hues. They even have non-toxic base coat and top coat AND soy polish remover. I'm really dying to try it! The colors are so vibrant and the bottles are classic and preppy.

Aren't they lovely? Scotch even has a kids line called Hopscotch. Cute! Oh my. When I was a little girl, I would have been over the moon! 

Would you try it, or do you use non-toxic nail polish? Are natural or non-toxic beauty products a priority for you? Ever since having a baby, I've been more concerned with making sure the things we put on on and inside our bodies are safe. I'd love to hear your tips and favorites! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Perfect Tuna Salad

Last week I had a craving for tuna salad, so I set out to make one that matched my craving. I was after a tuna salad with no mayo, lots of fresh and zesty flavors, big tender hunks of tuna rather than all mashed together. And, for satisfaction's sake, a bit of crunch. I found a recipe online with most of what I was looking for and then adapted it for the perfect tuna salad.

The Perfect Tuna Salad (adapted from Tuna Salad Sandwich Recipe by Elise on Simply Recipes)
  • 2 cans (81 g each) of white tuna packed in olive oil
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon capers
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pinch of dill
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain dijon mustard
For serving:
  • Sliced baguette
  • Butter
  • Crema di Balsamico
  • Salt & vinegar potato chips
  • Coca-Cola
Drain one can of tuna and flake into mixing bowl, then add the tuna and oil from the other can to the mix. Add the other ingredients and mix gently until just incorporated. Be careful not to over mix.

We served ours open-faced on buttered baguette and then drizzled with crema di balsamico. A side of salt & vinegar chips and a Coke kept the menu down to earth. ;) It was so delicious we made it again two days later! Try it. You will absolutely love it. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Zurich: Tram Buggy Zone

Getting around Zurich with a baby is easy as pie! Really. The trams are all set up for prams and buggies, and on the newer trams they're floor level so you can roll on and off with your buggy with ease. It's completely awesome. 

What is not completely awesome is that there is a certain type of tram rider who likes to stand directly in the buggy area and not move when buggies try to come aboard. It is infuriating! One day I asked J, "How do I say, 'You can be anywhere, I can't!' in German? I am so sick of people clogging up the buggy area!!" He told me, but it was too complicated, so my strategy became to either a). shove my way on and crash into people who didn't move while avoiding all eye contact (excellent results), or b). saying rather loudly in English, "You have to move, people!" with a dramatic sweep of the arm while avoiding any and all eye contact (also excellent) or c). completely block an aisle, throw the break on and (duh!) avoid all eye contact. Not exactly pleasant!

Well, last week I got on the tram and they are now outfitted with a big (and I mean BIG) message to standers that the buggy area is not for them. Check. It. Out. 
Way to go ZVV! It just makes me so darn happy. :) As does the actual message, which translates as "For future shareholders" or "For prospective investors." So bizarre. Something has clearly been lost in translation! But whatever it says, this is a huge day for mommies in Zurich. Yippee!

PS - Now that Coco is no longer in her lie-flat pram, I've decided to call her Bugaboo her buggy. So many words to choose from in this multilingual life of ours: Kinderwagen, push chair, baby car (that's a knee-slapper!), stroller, buggy. I'm curious, what do you call your buggy? 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pregnancy Travel: Nice and Cannes

Looking back I'm so happy that J and I did so much traveling while I was pregnant. This weekend is a three-day weekend in Zurich for the local holiday Sechseläuten, which involves a snowman filled with explosives and lots of horses. It's not exactly the sort of thing you take a baby to, so we are just relaxing at home. We didn't even know what Sechseläuten was last year! All we knew was that we had a random Monday off, so we booked a weekend getaway through EasyJet and jetted off to the Cote d'Azur for the most perfect time. A little tip for those living in Switzerland: check departures from Basel. It's just an hour or so on the train from Zurich and you can get much better fares!

Here we are ready for take off. Can I just say how easy travel used to be? ;)

We stayed at the NH Hotel Nice and it was perfect: clean, comfortable, quiet and stylish. Best of all, they had a full breakfast each morning with scrambled eggs, meats, fresh squeezed fruit juice, fruits, coffee, and of course, beaucoup de baguettes et confitures. Every pregnant woman's dream come true! 

We went shopping and strolling through the town and markets and drooled over all the gorgeous flowers, especially the peonies.

We strolled along the Promenade des Anglais and had the best ice creams ever: Rose and Violet, handmade by a woman just on the side of the road. Oh, how I love France!

The next day we hopped on a train to Cannes, admired the blue water and took some photos - my baby bump was just beginning to really show! Then we rented beach chairs and lounged until the sun went down. So heavenly!

It was so wonderful! I encourage all of my pregnant friends to take advantage of traveling during those last few months as a couple. Now that we're a family, I'd love to take Coco to the Côte d'Azur someday, but it would be more about playing and naps and strollers. Our romantic getaway was all about dining out, enjoying each other and relaxing. Just what an expecting couple needs! 

Did you travel while pregnant? Where did you go and what did you do? If you're expecting, what sort of travel sounds good to you?
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