Monday, June 25, 2007

Trip Update

No Pic's - Haven't downloaded anything as we don't have our own computer. But I must say we have had a great time so far. Iowa was wonderful (complete with heat, winds and the obligatory severe thunderstorm) and it was soooooo good to see some very familiar smiles if only for a short time. And all the kids have grown or changed. So much happens in that 6 - 9 year range with teeth and face shape - they are soooo cute. Ready to move back. But, we are liking the whole Swiss experience too - so maybe someday. We know things change in time but were overjoyed that it seemed like just last week when we drove in and out of Rocklyn Cir. from our own driveway. More later on that.
We are in West Sac. which is hot but the Delta Breezes are blowing so it's not too bad. We head to my girlfriends today in Orangevale and pick up Bart Wed. night - Yeah. The girls are having a good time - lots of visiting and late nights. Rachel finally caught up on some sleep - slept til 9am this morning which is late for that early bird. Kendra actually got out of bed first which happens about once every 6 months or so. Have seen almost all the family out here at least once - guys are missing in action but we will get to all sooner or later. Dad is coming over to have lunch so I will sign off.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

When Bored under the Eiffel Tower

OK - You have been waiting in line under the Eiffel Tower for an hour and realize you are seeing some pretty amusing sights. And still picking out the differences between American and European counterparts. AND - You have a digital camera - Whoo Hoo!
Elvis is alive and well in Paris!
Dad sporting the Euro cropped sport pants - very Metrosexual.
OK Guys - These are fashionable footwear for the Euro man. But the American male species is lurking in the back - note the tennis shoes w/ socks and shorts. Sorry guys - have to report it as I see it.
Hmmm? - This is the couple who made sure they were prepared for every event on their European vacation - including a great flood.
So this is what happens when I get bored in lines. If I am being too critical and offensive in my posting/pictures - you can comment and let me know as I don't want to get out of hand. I just find the differences in life funny. Especially when traveling and I love taking pictures - many blogs I see have no pic's. But if I make you smile and laugh for a moment, that's OK too. My magazine addictions still run to the latest fashion pages so it is a hard personality flaw to break - I don't mean to be judgemental, just observant? So should I not post the pic of the blue haired lady in Germany?
Note - for those who we are getting ready to see: I will not post pic's of you/children unless I ask first. And I promise not to blog about your high-water jeans or whether you are wearing white after Labor Day.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I was sitting in the Dentist's Chair

Warning: Today's blog has NOTHING to do with Switzerland and everything to do with being a mom. I should have traded jobs with Bart for the day. At least the meetings part with the chocolates on the table, probably got another free pen, cookies or something at the break - and how's your Brick-something score now (my lack of game name knowledge on the Blackberry is now evident to all)?
I was sitting in the Dentist's chair and I was lying to my child this afternoon. Kendra is lying on top of me in the Dentist's chair. This was at the Dentist's suggestion as she was crying upon entering the room for a repair of a filling (which partially came out while chomping on a Mento - they are an evil candy developed by greedy Dentists). I am holding her, reassuring her that she won't feel a thing, the numbing juice just pinches, and so forth.

This from the mother who started crying when first seated in the electric, I mean dental, chair at the endodontist's almost 2 yrs ago. If you don't know who your friendly endodontist is, you haven't had the joy of getting a root canal performed. And the crying on my part is conditional - like a reflex. Novocaine, drill, pain - novocaine, drill, pain - novocaine..... it takes on average 2 - 3 shots of Novocaine to numb my teeth enough for a filling and 3 - 4 for a crown. I have "special" nerves according to my dentists - I don't like being that special. I didn't want a root canal but I really wanted the pain in my head to stop. So I cried. And cried again and then finally they did the equivalent of an epidural for the tooth and believe it or not, I still had a little feeling but he upped the gas as well and I got through it. It took all day for my face to thaw out and a headache for about 4 days.

So I am a big, fat liar as I insist to K that she stop crying and that she won't feel anything after the Novocaine shot, she'll just hear the noises in her head. But she didn't really care to listen to me at all and proceeded to SCREAM while they drilled for the sum total of 45 seconds in the next 3 minutes. And lay there shaking and tense - so tense I could hardly get her hand unclenched. She certainly felt like she was in pain. But said later that she couldn't feel anything, the noise was just too loud (she has very sensitive ears) and she didn't like the weird taste in her mouth. I could just about choke her. And when Rachel had her fillings done a couple of years ago - I literally laid on her legs and held her arms down so she wouldn't pull the Dts's hands out of her mouth. Is this dislike of the Dental chair hereditary? Why Me?

But Rachel has come a long way. She is currently sporting a palate expander which she got about 2 weeks ago. Now that it is at it's full width, she is having a little more difficulty with certain pronunciations but has mastered eating (about choked when she first tried to eat a piece of bread) and is working at keeping the spit inside the mouth and/or not spitting on others. The good news was that the other permanent front tooth (you may have noticed her snaggletooth appearance in photos) had finally broken through the skin - after 9 months of no-show - the day before she got the expander. With the extra room - it has come down 1/3 of the way already - even the Ortho was impressed. It was getting harder for her to eat right with only 4 front teeth where there should be 8. So, if she looks/sounds a little different when we show up at your doorstep - I know you will be understanding and as she says "It's going to give me a beautiful smile." What she doesn't know is there will be no college money left by time her smile is finished! HA HA

Bart is in Dallas this week so this is a Mommy unload blog as I have no one else to talk to. The girls above were taking their first swim in the pool for the summer. The water is cold - straight out of the pipes, no heating (it was originally oil heated but that was outlawed in Schweiz) and no solar cover as the one that existed is kaput and we need to discuss a child safe cover with the owner. SOOOOO - I have not gone swimming yet. That's all for now. The blog will be silent soon for a while but that's OK - it means we are at or have visited you. Many of you anyway and those we can't - we love you and miss you (unless we don't really know you and you got this blog from a friend of a friend of a friend.....)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Year Later

It is amazing to me that it was exactly a year ago tonight (Sun. 10/6) I was sorting last minute items for packing/shipping people who were arriving in the morning, we went to church for the last service at Valley, we were done with the bon voyage parties, Bart was headed back to Zurich or NY(I lost track after a while) and Max was in a new home. God is so good and faithful and we are so fortunate to have good health, a good school for kids, a beautiful/interesting place to live, a church to worship freely in and while making new friends, still keeping in touch with the ones we have left in other locations (I am NOT going to call you "old" friends as 1. none of you classify as old in my book and 2. you are still friends, thus not "old").

A year later I miss things like:

WDM or Urbandale Targets (one-stop shopping haven complete with Starbucks)
Costco bulk TP (soft!) and Paper Towels
Enchilada Sauce
Monterey Jack Cheese
Friends, Neighbors, Church
The big brown & green eyes of certain boys across the street - watching them play with the girls
Taking Max for walks - no matter how much I seemed to complain
Fishtailing around corners while it was snowing - I did it on purpose, only with no one else around!
The ease of getting new contact lenses or teeth cleanings
Being able to speak to the Dr. in American accented English
Having veggies/fruit weighed at checkout instead of self-weighing and then forgetting and being totally embarassed at the counter!
Free parking - at the grocery, the mall, on the street, at the Dr., etc....
Our fabulous family hairdresser/photographer
Being able to paint my walls in any shade available from Benj. Moore, etc...
Having a giant garbage can right in my attached garage
Having curb-side recycling
A garage closer than 119 stairs downhill (little theme running)

But - a year later:
I don't miss saving the amounts of money we actually spent at Costco on things we didn't really need
I can understand the pool man's maintenance/pump/chemical instructions - and he didn't speak English
I rarely ever forget to weigh my veggies anymore
I have new friends, new neighbors and a warm, grace-filled Church to attend
I buy lot's of Charmin when it is down to 9.80 chf a 24pack from 18.40chf ($7.85 vs $14.70)
I haven't found replacements for the brown & green eyed boys so the girls will have a great visit next week in IA
I got my hair coloured and it looks kinda "natural" - not red or orange
I have fewer expectations of how things are supposed to be vs how they are
I love the way the water of Lake Zurich changes with the weather
I enjoy seeing the acceptance my children have of children from all over the world
I am finally used to white walls again
I take down my garbage and do my recycling in bulk - usu. when there are too many bags lined up next to the car in the garage
The travel time between garage and flat is worth the view so we don't really complain at all
We have found Dr.'s, Othodontists, etc... and they are all very kind and we are all healthy!
I love sitting, drinking coffee and watching all the people in the different places we travel
I love the traveling
I love coming home to my own bed

So - here we are and actually getting packed to head for the States this next Sat. We will arrive in Des Moines on the 16th - we drove out last year on the 15th - What a year. We look forward to seeing everyone we can while we are there. The IA trip was not expected - we left last year not knowing when we might ever get back through. So this is a real bonus for the girls and I. Bart won't be able to join us until we are out in CA. Apparently he has a job where he cannot take 3 1/2 weeks off. So we look forward to seeing all of you - family and friends.

A few pic's for contemplation:
Our scrabbly looking yard upstairs - that's our roof (see little skylight domes?). Notice the meticulous care given to the "just like I got out of bed" do that our lawn is sporting.
See manicured beauty - nary a weed would show it's head in our Des Moines garten
Isn't this woodland absolutely beautiful!

This is our lawn prior to it's first "cutting" this year - GASP!!!!!!! We have become those neighbors. Of course, the reality is that our lawn has been natural since - forever, long before we ever lived here - and as Bart says, "If we weed it, there will be no lawn left." Now the fact that Lake Zurich is still able to provide drinking water and is crystal clear may be due in part to the fact - you can't find lawn fertilizer with herbicide control in it. And the only weed spray is the kind that kills the plant - doesn't go into the root and harm the soil and get into the Lake and on and on. And I used to scan our lawn in DM for the stray course grass that would find it's way into our manicured, green carpet of a lawn - what a sicko. Now I just remove the largest eyesores in the weed family of our lawn and then look upon it with affection - nothing I can do will ever make it perfect. Kind of like me. I will never be perfect either. I figure there must be a perfect garten waiting for me in Heaven.