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Archive for June, 2010

An Apple a Day…

We weren’t looking for this. It just…happened.

But isn’t that how the best things in life usually go?

And so tonight we celebrated Tim’s new job.


The over-sized lettering would be Liam's handiwork!

As of September 7, 2010,  my very talented husband will be working for Apple in California and our family will relocate to the Silicon Valley. We will end our adventures here in Europe a few years earlier than expected but in a lot of ways, it feels as if we accomplished just what we were suppose to.

This is the smile of one very happy boy...to him, California is nothing but Lightening McQueen, the home of Mickey Mouse, and "one plane ride from Gramma & Peapa"!

Proudly wearing our Apple swag that Daddy brought back for us from his interviews at Apple HQ!

Tim will post more details soon!

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It’s about time I started a blog series that highlights all the European trends that I either A) don’t understand or B) completely don’t understand.

We’ll start with a chapter on Fashion.  Oh the stories I could tell…

But for now, just a few pics to ease you into it.

Yes, that would be a fanny pack. And the worst part is that they did nothing for it in the twenty years it sat on the Fashion Faux Pas Shelf (where it still belongs). They look the exact same as when my father wore one in the 80’s!

This polka-dot blue skort, complete with pleating, screams “your early childhood is here to haunt you” and that jean dress? I look at it and think of my mother — it’s the exact type of thing she used to wear while we lived in Hawaii as kids.  Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t one of those moms! I think the trend was totally acceptable for a 20-something mom back then.  I hope…?? I’m sure she’ll weigh in on this one.

In any case, these are just two examples of trends I don’t understand but seem to be fully embraced here in Switzerland. I swear I will get a photo of the all-too-common homie-G thug, jay-walking with his pants hanging around his butt and a fanny pack slung across his chest. For real.  I’d already have photo evidence by now if I wasn’t so worried about him thumping me and stealing my camera.

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The Fathers

Today we celebrate the fathers who have graced our lives and I can’t help but think of how blessed I am.

Playing Hockey with Coach Dad

For starters, my husband Tim. You continually inspire me to be a better mother. I think that pretty much tops the list of awesome father traits. We’re more of a team now than ever before.  The boys look forward with great anticipation to every weekend (when “daddy doesn’t have to go to work”!) so they can fill their days with rough-housing, boardgames, outdoor adventures (typically involving bugs or other non-mommy creepy crawlies) and all the other “fun” you bring into their lives. You know how to be soft and express emotion that speaks to their very heart. You take the time to rub their heads when they’re scared at night and you always whisper how great they are as they drift off to sleep. Secure in your love, they rest knowing that you believe they can do anything. I can’t wait to see how this crazy family unfolds. To one day take a deep breath, sit back and enjoy our children’s children. And yet, I’m having fun with you in the here and now.  I love being a family with you.

...even when you put pretzels up your nose and eat them...

And my own father. How incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life.  I knew it would be hard to leave mom but I was surprised at the spring of tears that nearly burst open when I hugged you in the airport that day.  I didn’t want to let go. (more…)

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We have twins. And yes, I will admit that over the years I have purchased more than a few matching items for them. But once they became preschoolers, I refrained from matching them. And yet, somehow I repeatedly find myself with identically-dressed boys.

Now that J&L dress themselves (and because people still buy them matching clothes), they often choose identical outfits.  No, scratch that, they often choose identical everything.

Of the 15 different bikes and helmets available, they both picked the exact same ones…

And the other day, they brought it to a whole new level.

Mismatched matching…

We’ve always said that we would let the boys dress how they want to dress. If they want to match, so be it.  But dear God, I hope and pray that they’re not 17 years old and going to school in matching faux-hawks and skinny ties.

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I’ve been here for nearly a year and today I saw, for the first time ever, a female motorcycle rider.  So she does exist in Europe! And because I would never dream of trying to ride a bike on these foreign roads (yes, it’s the same side of the street but seriously, everything else is completely arse-backward here), I’ll have to just post this photo as a tribute to my beloved, whom I sold nearly one year ago. Sadly, it still stings the same as it did the day I handed over the keys.

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So the World Cup is on.

To be honest, I’ve never watched a World Cup tournament before. How typically North American of me (excluding Mexico… they are actually very good at football!). So here I am in Switzerland (yes, they qualified too), surrounded by friends who are from many different countries, and football fever is in full effect.

This reminds me of something I wanted to mention. Basel is a very international city. Its unique location at the crossroads of Switzerland, France and Germany, combined with the presence of two of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies means that 30% of the population are foreigners. My daily interactions include not only Swiss, but Germans, French, Italians, Slovaks, English, Irish, Scottish, Spanish and Americans. Even though we live in Switzerland, our experience is truly an international one.

Now back to the world cup. One of the regular characters in our life is Martin, an English friend of mine who has spent the past nine months indoctrinating me into the cult of football in general, and Manchester United in particular. I was not surprised when he dropped off a pair of kid-sized England jerseys for the twins to wear.

I went to Martin’s place to watch the first match – England vs. USA. Uh oh… this could hurt. Once everyone was assured that I was cheering for England instead of the USA (hey… she’s my Queen too!), the match was underway.

This was heartbreaking…

I gotta admit that, while it was disappointing to see England draw vs US, the match was one of the most entertaining sporting events I’ve seen. Could have been the company – mostly British, with a few Germans and Mexicans thrown in there – but maybe I’m actually learning to love this sport.

———–

And purse-snatchers?

Yeah. Yesterday we made a trip to France to buy a bicycle for Tasha so that we could make some proper family trips. On the way home we stopped by the main train station in Basel. As we are standing there, we hear a woman cry out and see a young guy running off with a purse, cutting sharply into the crowded main station hall. I gave Tasha my bike and took off after him.

In the crowded area I almost lost him, but I began to shout “Thief! Achtung!” and people made way for me. I was closing the gap quickly and he knew it. I was maybe three metres from him when he ditched the purse and took off out of the station hallways, so I figured that was enough.

I returned the purse to this old lady who was babbling at me in Swiss German, and then headed home. Hero cookie for me!

Criminals and scum, beware!

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Ghost Child

While searching for a flat in Basel, we scoured the internet for weeks.  Thankfully, there are a few very well-populated websites for online apartment searches and many, if not all, the listings included photos.  Armed with a list in hand, Tim was able to bike around the city looking at the neighborhoods of all the top places we found online.  Sadly, he was also scratching them off one by one as we realized that the photos online were great, but the place in person was not.

At one point, I came across a listing for a 4-room apartment in a great neighborhood.  It appears that it also comes with a Ghost Child in the second bedroom…

Thankfully, Tim came across a fantastic four-room flat with beautiful hardwood, remodeled bathroom and kitchen, and a lovely garden terrace…our home we now live in.  And another great feature? No ghost children included in the rent!

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