Monday, September 30, 2013

Our Apartment in IKEA Family Live Magazine

I'm so excited to see our apartment featured in the IKEA Family Live Magazine. In August, I was contacted by a representative from IKEA and asked if we'd like to be featured in their IKEA Family magazine. The idea is to share ideas and show how IKEA is actually being used in real people's homes. I agreed and Olga Bushkova did the photos. It was a fun process and I can't believe how great our home looks! I've shared a few of the outtakes above and you can see the whole spread, including an interview with me, right here

Note: The article comes up automatically in German. French and Italian are available at the bottom of the page. To see it in (wonky auto-translated) English, use Chrome and the translate option will automatically pop up at the top of your screen. :) 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Older and Wiser

Did you know that Google remembers your birthday? If you're signed in it creates this cute little montage of cakes for your birthday and if you hover over it, it says "Happy Birthday, Lindsey!" or rather, your name if it's your computer and your birthday. Cute!

So, I'm in a bit of a Catch-22. This month, after all the hemming and hawing we've done, we took the plunge and started trying for baby number two. Then smack in the middle of the "two week wait" between ovulation and either pregnancy or period, I got some bummer news from the doctor. Back in high school, I had surgery on my right ear and this past Sunday it started acting up again. I went to have it checked by an ENT yesterday and thought it would be a quick appointment and a total waste of their time. Then I ended up being there two hours, getting a hearing test and having multiple doctors check my ear. They think I might need surgery again and want me to go in next week for a CAT Scan. I just got a letter in the mail today that the CAT Scan's already scheduled and they've asked me to have my records from Portland sent over for them to review. However, if I'm pregnant, then they won't send me in for a CAT Scan and I'll have to wait the better part of a year to resolve the ear problem. 

It's awful; I've been so excited about getting pregnant. Now, part of me is I'm hoping that I am not pregnant so that I can get this all out of the way first. Oh God! Could the timing be more terrible?!

So today, I'm not going to think about it. Except that it's all I can think about. On the way home from swimming with my friend Lucy and her little boys this morning, a homeless man got on the tram and I nearly lost my lunch he smelled so bad. I would take a pregnancy test to set my mind at ease, but it's probably too early to get a reliable negative or positive and then I'd have the extra worry of wondering whether or not it was right. Besides, let's face it, homeless men smell terrible to anyone! I can't seem to stop analyzing and wondering, though. Good thing I've only got a few days until I'll know where I stand. It's starting to eat me up and it's only been 24 hours since I left the hospital for the ENT appointment. :(

My strategy for the moment is to practice deep breathing and  focus on the positives. For example, I live in Switzerland where I have excellent health care and coverage. :) The doctors at the University Hospital clearly know what they're doing and I trust them and feel good in their care. :) Umm...Okay, that's all I can come up with for the moment, but that's still good. Deep breath in, long exhale out. 

The champagne is in the fridge and we have a babysitter tonight. J's mom sent a lovely birthday package to Coco and included a gift for me, which was the sweetest, most thoughtful surprise!! I've saved it for tonight to open it and J has a Kate Spade gift box for me, too. This won't ruin my birthday at all! In fact, it's nice in a way that it makes me feel extra grateful for all the loving, caring people in my life. Cheers to that! xo

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Near iPhoto disaster averted!

Last week we somehow dodged a near complete and total iPhoto disaster. How many times do I have to nearly lose heaps of photos before I get organized and never let it happen again? I didn't keep count, but I am proud to say that I just set up our AirPort Time Capsule and I never have to think about backing up again. YAY! 

It's the most magical backup machine for lazy people like myself. I hate backing up and I never think about backing up. That is, until I lose or almost lose photos. It's stupid, because backing up makes life so much easier. What can I say? Thankfully, the nifty AirPort Time Capsule contraption automatically backs up over your wifi network all day everyday, and you can basically forget about backing up forever. :)

These photos above, taken of Coco in March 2012, were magically recovered during the 3 hours I spent on the phone (or on hold) with Apple during the ordeal. They had been lost during a failed import and then they just magically reappeared. How's that for a bonus?!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Our Nursery/Guest Room/Office

Here is our insanely multi-tasking nursery. It is the nursery, of course, where we change diapers, dress Coco and keep all of her clothes. It is also the office back there on the right, and the guest room. (You can just see the guest bed peeking into the frame and it goes off to the left.) It's a tiny room to begin with, but now that we're thinking of having another baby, it needs to go through another transformation and become a nursery/toddler room/guest room/office. Can it be done?! 
I found a lot of shared room inspiration online and one possible solution is this loft bed from IKEA. If we were to lift the guest bed into the air, a comparatively massive space would magically be created underneath! It would be big enough for a toddler bed, nightstand and toy area with a rug. 

But it's so hard to imagine if that would make the room feel overly crowded (like the sky is falling type of crowded;) And, I wonder how easy it would be for a guest to go to sleep with a little toddler sleeping under their bed. Plus, using the office after she went to sleep wouldn't work. :( Before giving up entirely, I thought I would ask if you have any thoughts or ideas? My mom is coming for Christmas and we love having a space for her when she's here, but after her visit, I think it's time to start envisioning a space for Coco. That said, I want to exhaust every possible option before giving up our guest space! Thanks in advance for your input. :) xo

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Drawbacks to living abroad.

My gorgeous friend Kate and her fiancĂ© Ryan are getting married this Saturday and I can't be there. That is definitely the worst part about living abroad. We also missed my cousin Ashley's wedding because we were here and it was there. Living abroad is fun, and an adventure, but it comes at a cost. It's hard to miss out on things because of the incredible distance and cost of going back and forth. 

I also hate that, being nine hours ahead, it's almost never a good time to talk on the phone to anyone back home. :(

You can see all of Kate and Ryan's gorgeous engagement photos by Lech Naumovich here.

Monday, September 16, 2013

On this very rainy Monday

This is the view out of our little office window right now. And the progress I've made on Coco's birthday sweater. I've hit a point of exhaustion and sleep fatigue I never knew possible. I'm so tired! The past two nights, I was desperate to get some sleep, and somehow, both nights, J ended up waking me at the critical moment just as I was falling asleep. That is the worst time to get woken up. It always means at least another hour and a half or more before I can fall back asleep. Drrh! So today I changed the bed linens and got the guest room all set up for myself. I'm sleeping in there for the rest of the week and J can night wean Coco again. Tonight I sleep. Happy Monday!

This weather is so dreary, but I am thankful that at least Coco and I managed to get outside during a 40 minute break in the rain and she rode her scooter around the block. Such is life with a toddler. 40 minutes around the block! ;) But it's important to give her that time to explore and investigate all the rocks and pebbles and curbs and doorways we pass. She is cuter and talking more everyday. In the past few days, she's been saying 'thank you' quite regularly. And today she started saying 'bless you.' It's so amazing to watch her spoken language explode. Truly.

We had some friends over for lunch yesterday and it was so fun to have them, but after they left, we finally had to admit that our apartment is too small for entertaining. It's fine for a couple. Or a couple with a newborn, but start getting into larger groups and it's so crammed and chaotic. I felt sorry for our guests! We loved the chance to spend an afternoon with them and have a nice long chat, of course. But I do wish we hadn't been stuffed into our miniature kitchen. ;) I was thinking about it last night when I couldn't sleep, and we set up our entire apartment when I was 8 1/2 months pregnant. Our only focus then was nesting, a place to bring a baby home to. A place to relax, read, knit, sit by the fire, nurse, snuggle, sleep - or not sleep with a baby in our arms. That was it. And that's really what this little nest is good for. With winter on the way, I'm looking forward to fires and snuggles and lots of candles more and more. 

I hope your week is off to a good start! xo

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hooray! for the weekend.

Coco's new favorite word is HOORAY! and she shouts it out with joy. We had the busiest week and it was quite nice. Lots of bike (scooter) riding and playing. Lots of time with friends. Lots of progress on Coco's birthday sweater. And a very exciting photo shoot of our apartment, which will be featured in the IKEA Family newsletter in November. Hooray! All in all, an awesome week and now it's Friday night. I have a sleeping baby and a quiet apartment because J is at a Montessori conference tonight and tomorrow and there is a mountain of laundry to be done. Business as usual!

To be honest, not much caught my eye this week, but here are a few random tidbits and a some links to go with them.

How incredible is the final season of Breaking Bad? Are you watching? OMG. I can hardly breathe it's so intense. Have you seen the incredibly ridiculous (and sort of rad) Lego set?

Hello Kitty BEER has been introduced in Asia. I am hoping I can get my brother to bring me some at Christmas. ;)

I found out today that a very close friend of mine is pregnant! And it's ridiculous, but this sweet toddler show actually has me really excited about having a brother or sister for Coco. (Coco and I watched it together last week and it all works out so well for Miffy when Baby Bun comes along.)

Today I wrapped up Coco's birthday shopping! We got her this Duplo set, which I know she'll love because she has become mildly obsessed with them since figuring out how they work a few days ago. I really love watching those little discoveries take place.

She will also be the lucky recipient of this realistic child-size mop and broom set. (I'm thrilled to say we paid less than half that price in Switzerland! What a nice surprise.) She's really into "ceaning" (cleaning) so I'm sure she'll be a busy bee with this.

And she's getting this classic cash register! (It was less than a third of that price! Really, Switzerland?! How rad.) I loved this thing as a kid and she's obsessed with our friends' older child's grocery store cash register, but the pieces in that one are way too small for her, so I'm hoping she will like this one.

I can't wait to see her open them! But I'm sure she'll love her sweater most of all as it really is turning out cute. ;)

Please let the weather forecast be wrong about the rainy weekend ahead. Today wound up being a gorgeous day and Coco and I had to sweat it out in layers and rain boots. Ick! I hope you have a lovely weekend and see you back here Monday! xo

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My New Name

When J and I got married, I didn't change my name. But when Coco came along, I started having second thoughts. Here was my daughter whom I loved more than anything under the sun and she and my husband, whom I also love more than anything, had the same name, so shouldn't I have it, too? Duh. So this summer, while I was in the States, I went ahead and did it. It felt pretty crazy to do, but I had been deliberating long enough, I figured, why not? My God, changing your name is a pain! I'm still not done and I still find it confusing that now I have a different name. When I was in the DMV getting my new license, the woman asked me to sign my name in the box and I was sort of stunned, "Which name?" I asked. And she looked at me like I was a complete moron. Oh, jeez.

So now that I've switched it over on mostly everything, I still feel in-between. Like when I write an article for a magazine or submit a story to an essay contest, do I really use this new name? Or is it okay  to use my own name for things like that? Or should I use both? How have people done this for centuries? It is really weird.

Did you change your name when you got married? Or, finally when you had a baby? How long did it take you to feel like it was actually your name? ;)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hot Dog Roast in the Forest

Yesterday, J took Coco in the hiking backpack and they went into the forest for a Hot Dog roast adventure for lunch. They took the train to Erlenbach and then hiked up.
They stopped at a beautiful grilling spot underneath a big tree with a view of the mountains.
Coco helped build the fire. Isn't it rad how the firewood is all set up and under cover? We love that about living here.
Then she read some comics while she waited for the coals to be ready.
Then she was ready for the roast to begin! You won't find American Hot Dogs in the grocery store here, but Wienerli, or Viennese sausage are very similar. My cousin, who just became a nutritionist, is horrified that we give Coco Hot Dogs. Not all the time, of course, but they're a fun treat!
She then hiked part of the way home and did a bit of exploring in a field of corn. 

There were no photos from the eating portion of the adventure. I'm guessing it was a bit messy to bring a camera into. ;) Ha! Doesn't that look like the sweetest daddy-daughter day ever? I got to write my article in a perfectly quiet house while they went and had fun. I told him repeatedly what a great husband and dad he is. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Knabenschiessen Weekend!

This weekend is Knabenschiessen in Zurich, so there is no school or work for anyone on Monday. It's a shooting competition and the oldest festival in Zurich. Aside from the shooting, there will be lots of rides and carnival-y things around, so I'm hoping that we can find a carousel for Coco to ride. ;) Because I'm working on several deadlines for other writing and projects at the moment, I am going to go ahead and observe this holiday by not posting Monday. Thanks for understanding. It's time to put my head down and work!

Here's a bit of what's caught my eye this week:

Make a circle in Photoshop.

Don't overwork the dough!

Cute house (under all that ugly).

Would you call 911 over a spider? ;) I love this!

Slippers for the hipster baby.

Tiffany blue kitchen.

Excellent article on postpartum needs. Two enthusiastic thumbs up for this one!

And because she's so easy to shop for, a few more birthday ideas for Coco:

A mini Kanken!

Baby Gap pyjamas. The best babies'/children's jammies of all time!

Cute and comfy dress for fall.

Hello Kitty vegetable cutter.

The classic French yellow raincoat.

The pumpkin coach to go with her princess castle.

I have decided that shopping for babies and children is way easier and more fun than for myself. Ha! I hope you have a great weekend and see you Tuesday. xo

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Blogger Crush: Sharon Beesley of NYC Taught Me

I discovered the blog NYC Taught Me about a year ago and it's honestly had me laughing ever since. Sharon has a really unique writing voice and doesn't sugarcoat anything. Last week, she dedicated half a post to her "epic fails" as a parent. Think letting your child unwittingly eat wasabi and then taking a photo of their reaction/pain instead of helping! Oh my goodness. I nearly fell out of my chair. There are so many blogs out there that are syrupy sweet and perfect and here's Sharon, keeping it REAL. I love it! 

Last summer Sharon's Twitter account got hacked. It was obvious she had been hacked because I got a message from her saying, "Check out this pic I found of you. LOL." and that's pretty unlikely. So I sent her a message to let her know and in apparent gratitude, she started following me on Twitter, which made me super happy. I should probably be embarrassed to admit this, but I periodically check my Twitter to see if she's still following me. (She is:) 

So head on over to Sharon's blog and give her some love. Not only do we want her to keep writing, but she deserves it! ;) xo

Call the Midwife

Have you seen the brilliant show Call the Midwife from the BBC? It is stunning. The show is set in the (very rough) East End of London in the late 1950s. It's based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth and   follows a group of midwives in their never boring day-to-day lives. Every episode I've seen has made me either tear up, or flat out cry. Like all BBC shows, it's expertly done with gorgeous costumes, period details and cinematography.

A few things that really got my attention: In the show, you see sitting babies left alone in prams all over the place! They're just looking around, or crying a bit, but no one is in sight. And the show's producers don't hold back on portraying the poverty of the time and place. Filth and squalor in HD. It will make your jaw drop.

Below is one of the opening lines from the very first episode.

Midwifery is the very stuff of life. Every child is conceived in love - or lust. And born in pain, followed by joy. Or by tragedy and anguish. Every birth is attended by a midwife. She is in the thick of it. She sees it all.

It gives me shivers. And now you can watch the first six episodes on Netflix! :)

(Photos via BBC)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Birthday Wish List

My due date when I was pregnant with Coco was three days before my own birthday so I'm heading into the third year of having my birthday overshadowed by hers! ;) In the end, she made her much-anticipated appearance two days after my birthday, but even still, that year, my birthday was just another day of waiting for the baby. Of course we celebrated; we had a really nice dinner on our friends' rooftop terrace while they were out of town and J gave me a pair of earrings from Tiffany's that I love. But I was just thinking about the baby coming mostly. Then last year, my birthday was a complete afterthought even though it came before Coco's big day of turning one. I don't even think we did anything! :( So this year, I am getting back in the game. Anne-Sophie is babysitting so J and I can go out together and I've got my wish list all ready. Here's what I'm dreaming of...

Clockwise from top

J surprised me with the "Tickle the Ivories" bangle when Coco and I arrived home from the States and I've worn it all summer. It's so fun and fancy and I want at least 3 or more to stack up my arm.

I like really heady floral scents and the tuberose in this one makes me close my eyes and swoon.

Not sticky and neutral with some sparkle. It's the perfect way to feel put-together and pretty while chasing a toddler around the playground. Just add mascara and blush. ;)

In Switzerland, no one ever leaves their shoes on inside, and over time, we've adopted this cultural habit. I want a pair of really comfortable, warm and adorable house shoes for the winter! 

Austin Air Filters are the best. This is something I've wanted for years and years as a dust mite allergy sufferer. I clean our bedroom obsessively, but this would help immensely!

A minimalist blend of glam and down-to-earth, and US-made in Detroit to boot. I love it.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Coco's Birthday Wish List

It's hard to believe our little girl is turning two in a few weeks! Two is a kind of strange birthday. She's not quite old enough to enjoy a party (too overwhelming) but she's aware of what's going on and we want to make sure we honor the day. Here's what's on our wish list for the little lady.

Clockwise from upper left

This was my favorite book as a child. It's a very sweet story about a little girl who saves her pennies to buy a bear from the department store.

Coco is very proud of her skills in using a spoon and fork. The plastic baby stuff doesn't work well on real food, and our salad forks are still too big for her. Ideally, I'd like two sets of these. :)

Mick Inkpen writes the most darling stories about Kipper and his friends. We want any and every title, except for Skates, Arnold, Splosh and Kipper's A to Z, which we already have and love.

Coco discovered Elmo on a t-shirt that was in a box of hand-me-down clothes we were given. Not that I want to encourage the Elmo love affair, but I do think this simple Elmo doll would be fun for her to push around in her buggies with her other babies. ;)

To keep her little tootsies warm on cold winter mornings! These will be useful til March and beyond. Brrr!

These are great for playing games like "Bring me" and building vocabulary. I like cards that have actual photos with no background as they show a realistic, clear image without distraction. Coco would love any and all of the sets, particularly My First Words, Things that Go and Farm

Pouring in the bath is her absolute favorite thing. These are perfect!

Lucky little Coco! I'm knitting her a lovely sweater, we already gave her her scooter while the weather was still nice (she loves it:) and we plan to get a little child-sized table and chairs. Any other suggestions for a two-year-old girl? :) xo

Monday, September 2, 2013

An Assortment of Random Tidbits

I completely agree with this obnoxious ecard.

Lately riding the tram or bus (or, heaven forbid a trip that involves two or more transfers between trams and buses) has become so impossible and difficult with Coco that I don't want to leave our neighborhood unless we have to. She insists on sitting and then can't help but climb around or give into the temptation to run up and down the aisle. I hope this phase passes quickly. 

I had a dream that I was pregnant last night. In the dream, I was baking chocolate cupcakes and I cracked open an egg and it had two yolks. OMG.

Coco refuses to go in her buggy anymore. Fair enough.

My orchids are going gangbusters in their new place on the windowsill in our office. Once has four new stems sprouting and the other has three!

Yesterday I spent three hours making the best damn chicken enchiladas, refried beans and Mexican rice J and I have ever tasted. The secret: boil the chicken legs in a pot with a peeled and trimmed garlic clove and a peeled and trimmed and halved small onion. Amazing. Oh, and make your own enchilada sauce, obviously.

I am homesick lately. It doesn't seem to be subsiding.

Coco's and my birthday weekend is coming up at the end of the month. Let the planning begin!

I think Coco might be afraid of the dark and that's the reason she's having a hard time going to sleep at night.

We went to our friend Tess's birthday party Saturday night and it was so ridiculously fun. We rode our bikes there and back. Also ridiculously fun. It's good for parents to have a night out together.

I've set up a babysitting swap with the loveliest French woman I met named Anne-Sophie. We are going to give each other a night out once a month! :)

Thank you for reading my random thoughts. It's just that kind of day. xo
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