Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Breast Milk Anyone?

A Swiss restaurant has been banned from using human breast milk as an ingredient because it does not come from an approved source. Details can be found here.

My understanding from a different article is that milk from humans is neither approved nor banned, so it was in the legal grey area.

Pictures have been posted!

I realize I am a bit behind in the picture posting department, but I did manage to post the pictures from this weekend. They can be found at http://www.famillemccann.net/ by pressing the Cows 2008 link.

Here is an older picture of Rowan and one of his new favorite books.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Preparing for #3

We've started getting ready for #3's arrival. Here's what we've accomplished in the last week:

  • figured out how the infant adapter for the stroller works
  • found the numbers for the local taxi companies and input them into them into my cell phone
  • Figured out what paperwork needs to go the hospital (I think our permits will be good enough to start)
  • Ordered replacement parts for the breast pump
  • Ordered some sort of German crib that can attach to the bed
  • Ordered two suitcases worth of stuff for Emily's mom to bring over this week.
  • Almost agreed on a name
  • Purchased the Swiss version of a bouncy seat

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Scary faces

The kids practiced their scary faces today. I think they need to work on them a little.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rowan: Where is the pig in the fire?

We went to St Cergue to see the cows come down from the mountains for the winter. We went last year and Rowan remembered a few things. As soon as we got off the train Rowan asked "where is the pig in the fire?" This is the closest thing we could find:

The cow bells made a lot of noise and Niamh was scared. Here is a picture of a cow bell:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My homework assignment

Part of my homework assignment for Monday is to be prepared to discuss the article below. I'm a little worried because my memory doesn't work to well in french. The rest of the homework is doing exercises dealing with the subjunctive. I hear it used a lot, but my tutor indicated that almost half of native french speakers don't correctly follow the grammar rules related to the subjunctive.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The downside of having two full walls of windows.

This morning I discovered that one of the windows was cracked. I'm not positive when it happened, but I think I would have noticed it fairly quickly. I don't remember any loud bangs recently so I'm not sure what caused the crack. I'm hoping it is a problem that other tenants have experienced, as I'd rather not have to replace an 8x10 window.

How to make Emily twitch

It was easier to make her twitch than I had thought. Emily came out from her morning nap to find Rowan and I sitting on the couch playing Mario Cart Wii . That is all it took.

We were playing over the internet with Uncle Mike, so there was some family bonding. Rowan was much more talkative than he normally is on the phone, so it was a good experience.

Rowan's skills are improving. I think he completed a quarter lap before Mike an I finished.

Just in case anyone want to play, my friend code is 4081-8234-0723.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A waste of paper, ink, and space

I hate dust jackets. Laws should be enacted to outlaw them. I don't understand why they exist. Are they really necessary? The kids rip them and they end up in pile on a shelf.

I can maybe understand having them on an adult book, but why would anyone think putting them on a book for a toddler is a good idea?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A sad day for Switzerland

The Swiss national soccer team to Luxembourg on Thursday. I know the Swiss soccer team isn't all that great, but I descriptions of the Luxembourg team came just short of saying that Niamh and Rowan could make the team.

More details on the game can be found here.

I just checked the FIFA site and 35% of the people who voted indicated that his game was the biggest surprise of the four options.

On a related note, as of right now there are only 635 days 6hours 33 minutes and 8 seconds until the World Cup starts.

Board Game Recommendation

I was recently told I need to play St Petersburg. I've been told it is similar to Settlers, so I'm interested. Has anyone played this game or have any other board game recommendations?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Out of Space!

The international schools in Switzerland are running out of space. Will this be the end of short (2-3 year) assignments or will more schools be built?


Swiss School Info

Here is an excerpt from the Exapt Moms listserv regarding school. It looks like Niamh and Rowan will be a year apart in school.

In Morges (Vaud) the cut-off date is June 30th (i.e. they have to have turned 4 before that date in order to enter ecole enfantine that same year). School here normally starts the last week of August. The first two years ("ecole enfantine") are non-obligatory (although this will likely change in the future) and obligatory school - "ecole primaire" - starts when children are 6/7 (i.e. two years later).

In Morges there is flexibility with regards to admission if the child is born between May 1st and August 31st (you can present a request to have your child put 1 year ahead or behind) although rules are likely to become stricter in the future - in fact, this option may already no longer exist (I am not sure). On very rare occasions, children who do extremely well may go on to "proper" primary school after just one year, whilst those who don't do so well may be kept in ecole enfantine for a third

In Morges, the fist two years of ecole enfantine have no real syllabus, and no formal assessments are made. The education of the children seems to be at the discretion of their teacher. They are quite reticent to teach reading & writing skills because, in the light of the small minority of children that do not attend school until it is compulsory, they want to avoid their pupils becoming "ahead" of the peers that will join them later on. However, in the view that in Morges, at least, virtually all children attend the first two non-compulsory years, they do seem to teach these skills.

Children have the same teacher for the two initial years. In Morges (and probably elsewhere) children from the first year share the class with those of the second.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Rowan has progressed to being able to sleep in underwear at night. I was happy for the temporary reduction in diaper usage, but Niamh compensated by having a leaky diaper last night.

Rowan's thoughts on the election

Rowan and I were walking back from the bakery when he announced that Hillary Clinton wasn't going to be the president. He says that Barack Obama and John McCain will be.

He can't identify Palin yet, which seems odd because she is on CNN every time I turn the TV on.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Will I be qualified to help with homework?

Here is an excerpt from an email from the expat Yahoo group. I read it multiple times and still was still confused by the assignment. I guess I have a lot to learn before Rowan goes to school.

My son is in the 1st Klasse of Swiss school. He is learning letter sounds
by cutting out pictures of mouth shapes which represent the sounds. His homework
today consists of two words which are shown as 4 different faces, with different
mouth shapes. He has to draw a picture of the word.He can't figure out one mouth
shape, and I've gone through the letters of the alphabet with him, but we are
still nowhere nearer to working it out. It has a slightly open mouth, showing
the teeth and lines coming out of the nose. I thought it might be n, but he
insists that it isn't.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bumpa Mike?

Niamh has been very interested in The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR for the past few days. She screams "BUMPA!" as soon as she sees this page.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First day back

Today was Rowan's first day back at preschool. He was very excited. One of his friends from last year is back, so that made him happy.

Swiss Radio

Here is a link to Swiss radio stations that broadcast over the internet. I tried to listen to one at work today and discovered that trying to translate from french and writing SQL is a bit too difficult for my brain.