Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Swiss Style

Due to the fact that last year's Halloween was a bit of a bust, we were pretty pumped to get an invite from our friends to come to Zurich and celebrate with them. So early Saturday morning we loaded the kids into the car and drove 3 1/2 hours to Wes, Amy and little Layton's house. In all honesty, it should have taken 2 1/2 to 3 hours but it ended up taking 3 1/2 because, being the clever navigator, I got us lost...a few times. With Zurich being in the german speaking side of Switzerland, I struggled with street names a bit. After about 30 minutes of "turn left on Hoffersteingersnittzle and right on Rompersmeigle-Platz" Madi was like "Where are we??" Good question. When we finally got there we had a blast. We went to this incredible pumpkin patch near the lake which had a gizzilion different kinds of pumpkins, some trampolines, a horse and carriage ride, a real teepee, and a restaurant that served everything pumpkin. The coolest part about it was the fairy tale pumpkin displays of which one might never see in the states. There is no doubt that the Swiss have the rest of the world beat on being meticulous.... and where do they find the time???

These are just a few of the MANY displays. The last one is Cinderella's Carriage which Madi loved until she caught a glimpse of Cinderella's face. It became clear that a rotting pumpkin head with a moldy zucchini stump nose is not how Madi envisions her beloved Cinderelly. Another dashed fantasy?? Nothing a trip to Disney World can't fix.

An 1100 lb pumpkin....WOWZERS!

After the pumpkin patch, we threw caution to the wind and skipped the kid's naps to go to a Halloween/trick-or-treating party. The kids had tons-o-fun! English speaking people doting on our kids and giving away loads of candy = a big hit! The two most amusing moments of the afternoon were watching Drew master the splits while the rest of the kids were playing games and seeing Madi's face when she pulled out a candy from her pumpkin which was in the form of a detached finger....good times!!

The Crew

Our little angel


Thanks again Wes and Amy! We had a great time and we hope to see you FOUR again soon!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tag for Kids

I got this off my friend Marci's blog and I thought I would try it with Madi...I've written her answers exactly as she gave them to me....

1. What is something that mom always says to you?

I love you and I miss you

2. What makes mom happy?

I'm sorry because some little kids say I'm sorry - that makes me happy

3. What makes mom sad?

I don't know

4. How does mom make you laugh?

You say laugh

5. What was your mom like as a child?

My age....um will you write daddy?

6. How old is your mom?

I want to take a guess...three-six

7. How tall is your mom?

medium...are you gonna write the word medium?

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

color and play puzzles

9. What does your mom do when you are not around?

clean up....Hey Mommy when I'm at school you say Madi but I'm still having a lot of fun.

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

staying in the lines

11. What is your mom really good at?

coloring and drawing

12. What is your mom not so good at?

Do you know what?....I want to take a guess....I don't know.

13. What does your mom do for her job?

stay with the kids

14. What is your mom's favorite food?

Rice Krispies

15. What makes you proud of your mom?

because I'm proud of you because you'll never go away and you will always stay with me

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

Cinderella because you're Mama Cinderella

17. What do you and your mom do together?

play, read books on the couch, we kick a ball

18. How are you and your mom the same?

a girl

19. How are you and your mom different?

because we are girls and because we don't have the same shirts

20. How do you know your mom loves you?

because you are happy

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Happy "Baba" Free Day to You!

Brad and I have been wracking our brains to try to come up with some sneaky scam to rid the kids of their "babas" (pacifiers.) I think I heard on Dr. Phil, or some equally goofy program, that you should have a family member pose as your kid's favorite superhero and then call them in efforts to convince them that babas are so not cool. After your child agrees, you put the baba in a box and mail it to a child in need and then throw your kid a party (I may be a little off on the details of this method.)

Anyway, we tweaked it a bit and just skipped to the party part. We told them that if they could be "BIG KIDS" and not sleep with their babas, then we would throw them a party. Madi was on board and she became this immediate party-planner. Brad and I were thinking like cupcakes and a big hug but she had another idea. It turned into decorations, party hats, a cake with candles, and a gift for each of them. She really wanted to help make the cake so I went all out and let her pick out her favorite flavor of box cake mix. No problem except that the directions were only in german, french, italian, dutch and every other language but english. The directions looked abnormally long and convoluted so I got on freetranslation.com and hoped for the best. Well it completely bombed! While she was taking a nap, I went and bought a couple of refrigerated pieces at the store and tried to pass it off as the cake that we made. Although it was way fancier and looked nothing like ours, she ate it with pride. (Lucky for me, this is the same child who was convinced that my dad, with a Santa hat and cotton balls glued to his face, was the real thing!).

In the end, we are proud to say that they are both BABA FREE with little to no drama! Thanks Dr. Phil :D

Notice the bag of babas on the table: They were thrown in the garbage BEFORE the festivities. (only to be pulled out by me later - just in case.)
Still not quite sure what the candles represented but they made my girl happy.
The downer of the party was when Drew put on his party hat and it snapped off and left a huge welt on his face! What a cool kid though, he barely even cried....

and look at his face!!!

Madi got a My Little Pony...

and Drew got a motorcycle. Neither of which have ever been played with since this glorious day, but you will hear no complaining from me - mission accomplished!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Summer Travels and a Shout Out

Brad and I have been so lucky to be able to visit so many cool places while we have been on this crazy ride that we like to call "our little detour." I've been intending to post some pictures of our trips but I'm only posting a few from each place, considering they have gotten their fair share of exposure on kodakgallery and facebook!
So many of our friends over here are brave enough to let their kids tag along on their trips through Europe and although our kids are pretty easy, Brad and I are still too chicken to bring them along. Actually SPOILED may be a better term to define us. On multiple occasions our parents have made the 12 hr trip (at least) to babysit while we checked out Europe - They are AMAZING -there are no words!
Last year Brad's mom flew over 4 times (two of which were with Brad's dad). During those visits Brad and I explored Geneve, Lausanne and surrounding Swiss towns, we went to Paris and then to Zurich. We even got to go to NYC this summer while are kids were having a blast at Mimi and Pawpaw's house.

This year my dad came over twice (once with my mom), which allowed us to go to Barcelona, Florence and Athens. I have to include that Brad stayed home with the kids while my parents and I visited Paris again. So it is abundantly clear that we have THE BEST parents ever! Thank you guys so much!
Barcelona, Spain

New York City

Florence, Italy

Athens, Greece

Friday, July 25, 2008

Zurich, Switzerland

Thanks to Brad's mom, I was able to accompany Brad on a business trip to Zurich sans kids. We were only there for a couple of days but long enough to fall in love with the city. My only prior frame of reference of Zurich was from Doctor Zhivago and the last decent season of Alias. I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful it was and it far exceeded my expectations.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy 3rd Birthday Madiolioats!

Although Madi's birthday was in April it was definitely significant enough to recap. Her Mimi flew in for the celebration which was a low key family party...perfect. We lucked out because the traveling carnival was in town so Madi was convinced that it was all for her. Brad and I had never seen her so excited, she was literally hopping from ride-to-ride. I guess that's what happens to kids when they are not overstimulated with entertainment - they appreciate the little things.

The fun started at the lake. The joy that Madi gets from feeding the swans, ducks, seagulls, pigeons and every other foul fowl trumps my intense fear of birds. Oh the sacrifices we make!

Back home for cake and presents

saved the best for last....

A few random things we love about our girl...

-She waves or says hi (bonjour) to everyone she passes and comments on whether they saw her or not

-She calls lifesavers "highlighter donuts"

-She loves all flavorful foods like Thai and she dips it in soy sauce, pepper, ketchup, basil, or whatever is close by

-She loves to walk in my heels but she calls them all boots

-She can start my computer and get on one of her websites to play a game all by herself

-She is ridiculously patient and loving to Drew or "Drew Bear" as she calls him

-She loves soccer and can dribble and kick really well

-She draws in the air when she doesn't have paper

-She says "May I" and "Thank you" (most of the time)

-She screams with delight when Brad comes home

-She uses her hair ties as "friendship bracelets" and wears several at all times. She passes them out to those she loves.

-She helps me cook

-She is a clean freak

- She makes me read every word of every book we read including cover, dedication, author, illustrator, publisher, copyright, manufactured in and price. She memorizes the authors and asks me to call her one of their names while tucking her in at night. Night, night Margaret Wise Brown....sweet dreams!!

Happy Birthday Mats, we love you!