Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sweetest Mommy-Baby Pic

I love this pic of me and Coco down at the badi. Our spot was no longer in the shade and we were just about to leave when I though to snap a quick pic of our sweet day together. Isn't she just the cutest?! What a little bundle of joy. It fills my heart with joy to be her mommy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Where to Buy a Silver Baby Rattle

I was so surprised to learn, after writing this post, that Michael Olaf is no longer carrying the silver baby rattle I linked to because of the price of silver! Apparently, silver has skyrocketed to the point of impracticality. It turns out that finding a silver baby rattle is not so easy anymore! It is such a disappointment. It also makes me treasure Coco's baby rattle all the more.
After a little research, I've found several good silver baby rattle options (including one I'm particularly partial to ;) if you're interested in purchasing one. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

How do you organize your baby's routine?


I'm really wondering how all of you moms out there stay organized. It's weird. You see, I seem organized, but I'm actually terribly disorganized. For example, when I was in grade school, I would always run out of hot water in the shower. Like every time! So finally my mom suggested that I go about showering in an organized fashion. You know, wash your hair first thing, then wash your body, then get out. It was a complete revelation to me. Do you realize that before she clued me in, I was just hanging out in there looking around, singing, dancing and enjoying the warm water? By the time I thought to wash, the water was already running cold. Unbelievable!

Now, I feel the same way as a mother. I'm just enjoying my little baby, hanging out with her on the grass by the lake, loving her to pieces, and instead of running out of hot water, I run out of time. Like everyday! So I want to hear all about it moms: How do you organize mealtimes, bedtimes, shopping, cleaning, cooking, and so on? 

Chez nous, things just seem to get worse. One problem is that I like to cook. Over the past few days we've eaten dinner at later and later times. Tonight was the last straw. J got home late from skiing, completely exhausted. Coco wouldn't go down. Finally, I ended up eating the most beautiful, puffy, gorgeous soufflé I've ever seen in all my life, all alone. At 10 pm. Oh dear! :( So clearly something has to change here.

But first let's talk about the soufflé.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Zurich: Strandbad Tiefenbrunnen

Tiefenbrunnen, the best badi in town, is just a few minutes walk from our house in Zurich. "Strandbad" in High German means "beach". The cute Swiss German abbreviation is "badi". Now that the badis are open again for the summer, I took Coco today to the actual badi, with the frog pond filled, the drinking fountains and showers working and ice cream for sale in the Badeboutique. The badi is a true paradise in the summer. There are a cafe and grill, showers, changing rooms, bathrooms, lockers, huge expanses of grass to put your towel or chair out on, a little shop that sells ice cream and rents out umbrellas and impeccably maintained steps that go into the water (no algae!) and floating docks (no bird poo!) all looking out on the most gorgeous Swiss alpine view over the lake. Wow! I honestly can't imagine anywhere more wonderful that Badi Tiefenbrunnen in the summer. Seriously. It was one of the first places we visited when J and I first moved to Zurich two years ago, and it's extra special to me because I swam there nearly everyday while pregnant last summer. So it's no surprise that it positively filled my heart with joy to take my little Coco there today. She seemed to enjoy it immensely.
In the winter, Badi Tiefenbrunnen's gates are open and you can walk through whenever you please. On several occasions last fall and winter, I took Coco for a walk in the wrap or Baby Bjorn and we went through the badi. Every time I took her there, I talked to her. I explained how wonderful it would be when summer came. I looked around at the fallen leaves, dark sky and cold misty water and snuggled her close thinking of all the times we swam together and how good it felt to swim with my big belly being caressed by the satiny water, before I knew if she were a boy or a girl, before I knew her sweet face. On those winter walks, I'd point out to her the buoys, as they swayed up and down in the water in the dark silence of a winter's eve, and explain that that's where I used to swim to with her on those summer days. 

Now I know that darling baby who was in my belly all that time. Now she and I can go to the lake together and swim with one another, as mother and daughter. Now we can lie in the shade of an umbrella on the cool, green grass and look together at the mountain view I spent so many hours gazing at while she kicked inside of me. Now the summer we have been waiting for finally begins. 

I hope you have a fantastic weekend, wherever it takes you. Coco, J and I will be at the badi. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Frugal {fancy}: Glamping

Glamping (as in glamorous camping) is something I initially thought was absolutely ridiculous. However, since reading the Sunset magazine spread in this month's issue, I've decided it's the greatest couple's getaway idea ever! 
Imagine going glamping with your husband (no kids!) and sleeping on a comfy bed, waking up with no alarm clock and drinking hot coffee in the peace and quiet of nature. Then in the evening, instead of watching TV or wasting time online, you could enjoy a glass of wine under the stars and make s'mores over the fire. Sounds delightful doesn't it? Apparently there are all sorts of options for glamping from 100% DIY to full luxury including meals and turn-down service. Sunset has a great camping guide online here

It will be quite a few years before J and I want to go glamping just the two of us. We are definitely looking forward to camping as a family for now. But when the time comes, I think it's an awesome way to have a fancy, romantic and truly relaxing getaway. What do you think? Would you go glamping? Why or why not?

{photo from Sunset}

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mexican Food in Switzerland

The lack of good Mexican food is one of the hardest things about living in Switzerland. Once we went to Tres Kilos, which is supposedly the best Mexican in the whole country, and spent 100 francs on a terribly disappointing meal. :( It's bad enough now, but when I was pregnant it was absolute torture! I craved nothing more than Mexican food. It's kind of insane, but I used to dream (like several times a week!) that J and I were walking along in Zurich, and then suddenly there was a Chipotle that we had just never noticed before! Can you imagine?! It's like those dreams New Yorkers have of discovering extra rooms in their tiny apartments. So, we would run inside and get in line, and I'd be giddy thinking about my order and then every time. Every. Single. Time. Something would happen and we would never get to the front of the line! One time the dream was so overly elaborate that a gang fight broke out, complete with gunfire and ambulances, but usually, I just woke up. So sad.

Instead of continuing to dream of Mexican food, I've learned to make it all myself. It's very time consuming, but so worth it.  What could be better than fresh guacamole and salsa made with heirloom tomatoes and lots of fresh squeezed lime juice? Mmmmm. Not much. What is your favorite food? Do you ever dream about it? 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Trial & Error: My Favorite Foundations

It doesn't work for me to have just one foundation. I find that depending on how dry or oily my skin is during a particular season, I have different needs. No one foundation can fit the bill every time. Through lots of trial and error, here are my favorite picks to feel glamorous everyday!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pamela Druckerman's "Bringing Up Bébé"

This delightful book came into my life at the perfect time. No doubt you've heard about Pamela Druckerman's new book all about how French children are raised and how American parents might learn a trick or two from our Gallic counterparts? Critics accuse Druckerman of being a Francophile and romanticizing France, but that is being overly simplistic. Druckerman compares and contrasts common parenting practices in France and among Anglophone parents and asks herself why certain French practices seem to work so much better than the Anglophone ones do. She investigates, then explains, and happily, the results are often incredibly simple principles and structures. As a Montessori teacher of children aged 3-6, I can safely say that most parents need some fresh ideas and perspective. Of course there were many lovely, wonderfully brought up children in my classes. Sadly, there were also many unpleasant, spoiled children.  

Reading Druckerman's book has been affirming, entertaining and particularly comforting as I prepare to go back to work part-time this fall. One topic she comes back to often is the idea of guilt and motherhood that seems ingrained in the Anglophone mother's psyche. I realize that I too have been falling prey to "mommy guilt" when I worry that after one year is too soon to go back to work (even just part-time!) and that I'll be a "bad mother" for handing my precious daughter over to some stranger. These ideas are just cuckoo. By reading about the French attitudes toward crèches and childcare, I've been able to detach from the seemingly obligatory "mommy guilt" and ask myself what I would have said before I became a mother, when I was a teacher observing parents and the outcomes of their practices. I would have said that one year old is a good time for a child to learn to be part of a group, develop social skills and engage in a wider variety of movement and activity than can be provided in their own home. Part-time care also allows for all of the experiences of the home, so it's the best of both worlds. There. Balanced. Rational. Sensible. Thank you, Pamela Druckerman for helping me remember that I want to offer my children a variety of experiences to help them become delightful world citizens. Thank you very much.

When I saw the Time cover with the breast-feeding toddler standing on a chair, I knew I didn't want to be that kind of attachment parenting mother. For me, there has to be balance. We co-sleep, yes, but I push Coco around in her buggy 99% of the time and I've barely used our Ergo carrier or Moby wrap. I plan to breastfeed her until she's two, but only before bed and I actually want to go back to work and have my own professional activity. This balanced approach to life with a child, both in how the parents raise the child and how the parents' own lives change to accomodate having a child is what I like best about "Bringing Up Bébé". It has honestly made me so much more relaxed about parenting. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Beautiful Textiles: Rikshaw Designs

I fell in love with the diaper pouches Rikshaw Design did for J.Crew Baby and then totally missed the boat on getting one. They're all sold out! But, luckily Rikshaw Designs has a multitude of gorgeous picks on their website. Don't you just love the colors and the whimsy of the patterns? They are so current and yet have an almost antique feel to them. I love it all.
Can you believe that all of that is hand-block printed? The hot pink fish motif is by far my favorite. I'd love to get the bloomers for Coco and see her sweet chubby legs in them this summer. 

{photos from Rikshaw Design}

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Old TV Series: thirtysomething

Have you ever seen the show thirtysomething? I remember my older sister and her friends watching it  as twenty-somethings when I was a pre-teen and thinking that thirty-something sounded so old! Now, of course, I'm an early-thirty-something and I would love to watch the show as a new mom thinking about when to go back to work. Never mind that those thirty-somethings are now sixty-somethings; the show's themes are sort of timeless. One character grapples with the choice between working and staying at home with her children. The couples have difficulties in their marriages. They ask themselves how their youth got so far away - not necessarily in terms of time, but in ideology. It sounds like the same stuff thirty-somethings think about and worry about today! 

I was just reading about the show on Wikipedia and I'm so bummed that I can't find it for streaming on Netflix or Hulu. (Streaming! Just think, in the show there aren't even any cell phones, let alone smartphones and laptops and streaming! ;) I would really love to watch it and see what's the same as a new parent, what's different and how society has changed for parents over the last few decades. Without a streaming option, I might have to get the first season on iTunes, but it's not cheap. Have you seen it? Is it worth the $35 to see the first season? What did you like or dislike about it? I would love to hear what you think before I throw down the cash! 

By the way, isn't it funny that the show originally aired on Coco's birthday in 1987?  

{photo from MGM}

Monday, May 14, 2012

Coco's Favorite Toy: Silver Baby Rattle

Silver baby rattles always struck me as symbolic and decorative rather than useful. But that is just so not the case! Coco's favorite baby toy by far is her silver baby rattle. It is also my favorite toy of hers. It's the right size for her baby hands, it's not annoying and it's absolutely beautiful. Once, I accidentally left it in a cafe and didn't realize what I'd done for a few days. Thankfully, I called and it was there! I jumped on the tram that instant and went and got it. Since then, we don't take the rattle out of the house because it would be a tragedy to lose. A complete tragedy. Allow me to tout the wonders of the silver baby rattle and explain why after the jump!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Date Night!

Tonight J and I had our first true date night since Coco was born. We went out for three whole hours and saw Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband" at the Zurich Comedy Club. It was so much fun. Here we are waiting for the show to begin.
Luckily the theater is only a five minute walk from our apartment (literally!) so it made everything easier. Coco stayed with my dear friend Amyjo, whom she knows quite well. I explained to her as I put her to bed that J and I were going out and that when she woke up it might be Amyjo who was there and not me. She seemed fine with it and went right to sleep!
During the intermission, J and I went outside and drank prosecco under the beautiful twilight sky. It was so warm and summery and the air smelled like lilacs. It was such a treat! The play was really good and had such a sweet ending. We couldn't help but wax poetic about "The Importance of Being Earnest," which we saw (and absolutely adored!) at Portland Center Stage a few years ago.

When the show was over, we walked home with our arms around each other and realized that that is something we haven't done in such a long time! We are always pushing the buggy, which doesn't really allow for romantic strolling. So it was so nice to be together for a little while, just the two of us. And it was even better because it was such a beautiful, warm evening. 

I understand now why date nights are so important for parents. We will definitely make it a priority now that Coco is older and can easily stay with someone for an evening. She did really well. In fact, when we got home, she was happily seated on Amyjo's lap squawking back and forth at Amyjo and her husband! 

Do you do date nights with your spouse? How often do you have date nights? Is it a high priority for you? How do you feel it affects your relationship? I'd love to hear! xo

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Sweet Sleeping Beauty

A photo of my darling girl, just because. I could watch her sleep for hours and hours. What a sweetie! I love you, Coco.

How do you unwind?

Since becoming new parents, J and I have been in constant flux mode trying to figure out how everything works now that we have a third, very tiny person with a unique and labor-intensive routine in our domestic mix. Like all new parents, we are simply learning as we go and some nights everything goes perfectly! She's in bed at 7 sleeping happily, J and I have a nice dinner, enjoy a glass of wine, then watch an episode of Downton Abbey and go to sleep happy and relaxed with a clean kitchen. Other nights she's not asleep until 8, we're eating at 9 pm and then we fall into bed exhausted with a sink full of dirty dishes around 11. I honestly have no idea what separates the good nights from the bad nights sometimes. I'm also a little surprised that it doesn't bother me more. Somehow I am comfortable with the trial and (mostly) error that seems to accompany early parenthood. It must be the hormones! 

Even still, we have tried to figure out ways that we could switch things around to make our evenings more fluid, predictable and consistent for Coco. One idea was that J make dinner every night. It makes perfect sense. He could stop at the store on the way home from work, make our dinner while I put Coco to bed and then we could eat together and enjoy our evening. It was a wonderful idea that lasted for one night. 

Here's why.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Knitting Update: Coco's Legwarmers

Okay. I'll admit that when I wrote this post a few weeks ago, I had the terrible feeling that I had bitten off way more knitting than I could chew. I was getting ready to start Coco's winter legwarmers and now I'm extremely happy to say that I was wrong! With the help of an amazing YouTube channel, Very Pink Knits, I was able to figure out everything in the pattern. Isn't that fantastic?! YouTube is so helpful, but it has its drawbacks. J read an article recently that said that when boys want to know how to tie a tie, they don't ask their dads anymore, they just get on YouTube! That makes me sad. Learning how to run two colors of yarn for a striped knitting pattern is okay, but boys of the world, let your dad show you how to tie your tie!

See more after the jump!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Being Pregnant

When my due date finally came and went, and I knew I'd go into labor any day, I was actually really sad that I wouldn't be pregnant anymore. Of course I was looking forward to meeting the baby, but I just adored being pregnant and I knew I would miss it. 

Right from the very beginning of the pregnancy, when I was nauseated and felt sick a lot of the time, I enjoyed it. It didn't matter that I felt sick because it was so rad to experience the changes taking place inside of my body and to know that I was nurturing the development and growth of a human life. (It continues to blow my mind now that she grew inside of me! :) Then the pregnancy just kept getting better and better. I had my big bump to hug and pat and there was the unbelievable feeling of the baby squirming and kicking. It. was. awesome. 

J and I took lots and lots of belly pics throughout my pregnancy and I already love looking back at them. See more after the jump!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Photography Fridays: Instagram Edition

Are you on Instagram? It is by far my favorite App and this week, I took so many fun Instagram photos. Here is a sampling. I invite you to follow me @foliorose. Have a splendid weekend! And see you back here Monday! xo

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Zurich: Haus zum Rüden

One of our favorite ways to spend an afternoon in Zurich is to walk along the lake into town and then have a cappuccino at the bar at Haus zum Rüden, my favorite little bar in town. It's tiny, stylish and great for people watching out the large front window that overlooks the Limmat.
Last week we went, and Coco fell asleep as we were walking along by the lake. By the time we sat down and had ordered our coffees, she woke up to join us. She was happy to play with her toys for a while, but then we had to get out of their in a rush when she started to fuss. I don't think the older couple at the other end of the banquette were too impressed with her squawking and crying. Oh well. They were babies once, too!

It's a quieter spot, and normally we have the place to ourselves. If you're in Zurich and would like a cute little spot to have a coffee right in the middle of town, you should check it out. I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Five Sweet Notebooks


As much as I love my iPhone and all of its handy Reminder, To-Do and Shopping List Apps, nothing replaces the feel of real pen or pencil on paper. I like to keep a little notebook in my purse (or these days, diaper bag :) to jot down ideas and inspiration whenever they come to me. As a new mom, this is essential because I find that I rarely remember my ideas later if I don't write them down! Lately I've been toting around a rather boring little notebook from Migros. It's terribly utilitarian. I'd much rather have one of these gorgeous notebook finds. Blending form and function is always better than boring!

See more after the jump. Just click on "read more" below.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Where does your baby sleep?

Before Coco was born, we knew we wanted to try co-sleeping, but I was absolutely enamored with the gorgeous Stokke Sleepi. The Sleepi is the most attractive crib in the world and it grows from a bassinet to junior bed with your baby until they're 3 or 4 years old. It also costs an arm and a leg, so I'm glad we decided on co-sleeping! Still, even though we didn't want a crib, I did think that we might want somewhere for Coco to be so she would be safer than in bed where we might roll over on her. 

I looked into something called the Baby Bay. It's a little bed that slides up against your bed and, just like it sounds, makes a little 'bay' on the side of the bed for the baby. It wasn't as beautiful as the Sleepi, but it sounded so perfect. Well, it wasn't! At Klinik Im Park where Coco was born, they had Baby Bays for all of the newborns. After two nights of not sleeping a wink, I finally pulled Coco into bed with me at 5 am one morning, snuggled her close and we both slept soundly until 9 am. That sealed the deal! She has slept in bed with us ever since. (FYI: For safety's sake, I sleep in the middle as research shows that mothers are tuned into their infants and won't roll on them, but that dads might. Yikes! ;)
That's our family bed. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I love co-sleeping even more than I expected to. Surprisingly, at night, Coco and I have a completely different relationship than we do during the day. Sleepy Coco is sweet and gentle and cuddly whereas awake Coco is bright and giggling and squealing. I feel like I would miss out on the sleepy side of her personality if she were to sleep somewhere else and I would really hate that. People caution us that we'll never get her out of our bed, but I'm not worried about that. My favorite part of my day is the quiet time right before I go to sleep. J is already asleep and I nurse Coco in the quiet, dark room where my little family and I are all cozy and safe in bed together. It's  heavenly. I know that most parent's goal is to get their infant sleeping through the night, but I figure she needs to eat as a breastfed baby and so in that way co-sleeping is practical, too. When Coco needs to nurse, I'm right there and it doesn't disrupt J's sleep because I feel her rooting around to find the milk before she ever has to cry. That means less stress for everyone. 

Most of all, it's the sweetness that I love and could never give up. Coco likes to be close, so in her sleep she reaches out with her darling little hand to touch me and make sure I'm still there. Then, with her hand resting lovingly on my shoulder or arm, she lets out a happy little sigh and sleeps like that until she wakes. 

I simply wouldn't have it any other way.

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