Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two years to go

The Swiss economy is starting to show signs of following the rest of the world.

Rowan's new bike




Rowan is already doing much better with pedaling on his new bike than he ever did on his tricycle. I think that not having the option to put his feet on the ground motivates him to actually pedal.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

rainy saturday

Saturday began with a tantalizing bit of sunshine, but about fifteen minutes after this picture was taken the sun disappeared for the remainder of the day. It rained all day, but after months of cold temperatures exacerbated by biting winds from the lake, a warm(ish), windless day accompanied by some rain didn't seem so bad.

Here is Niamh at the market, angry and howling because a) I stepped two feet away from her to take the picture, and b) I brushed off her complaints of an "owie" on her leg, wouldn't carry her, and told her to hush (I may have felt a little bad about this once we got home and she did indeed have a sore on her leg from the rain boots).

I was very excited to see the first gariguette strawberries of the season yesterday. Last year they were unfailingly sweet and delicious. The only strawberries I remember being better (or at least as good) were those U-picked from the farms around Roseburg. Anyway, I also bought some of our favorite reblochon cheese, and 200 grams of morel mushrooms. I've been wanting to try morels for ages, and it seemed like a good day for a little gastronomic adventure.

Rowan and Niamh weren't at all distracted by the red, plump, sweet smelling berries-they went straight for the bread and reblochon. In fact, Niamh didn't even eat her strawberries. I guess they're living in the right country.

















Though the strawberries smelled and looked divine, they unfortunately turned out to pretty tart. It must be a tad early for them.

I sauteed the morels in some butter, and sprinkled them salt and pepper. My first reaction to the famed mushrooms that cost a small fortune, gourmands wax poetic about, and hunters have turf wars over, was 'hmmm...a bit gritty.' I thought I had read a couple of years ago that you shouldn't wash morels. Wrong! Oh well. The taste at least, was very good, much better than your run of the mill button mushrooms. Niamh ate quite a few of them. Pat even tried one and declared it "Not bad." Rowan wouldn't touch them (no surprise). Though I did enjoy the morels, my palate is definitely not refined enough to appreciate them fully, and don't see them being a regular splurge.



Spring Forward!

We've just sprung forward. We are back to being 9 hours a head of the West Coast. I hope that the time change doesn't mess up the nap schedule too much, but I'm not holding my breath.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

European Trains

Here is a good overview of the major international trains in Europe.

Train delay

I think this is the first major delay since we've been here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Making soda at home.

We purchased a Club Soda machine today, so that we can make soda at home. We've only tried the orange flavor so far and it was very good. Or it would have been if we hadn't put too much flavoring in. I am hoping there is a root beer flavor, as this looks like it will solve my carbonation problem.
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Passport Free Zone Update:

I hope this makes things more efficient.

Thanks for the post card!

Muriel really appreciated the post card from Kodiak.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

2700!

The company announced an additional 2700 layoffs today. People will be notified in mid April. I haven't started to stress yet.

Paper Trains!

Emily and I made paper trains for the kids on Saturday. I can't believe how much the kids enjoy playing with them and that they haven't been destroyed yet.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Egg Update!

It seems the egg at the end of a fondue is done different ways. Our egg was scrambled, but some people fry their egg.

New borders!

A global warming related change I hadn't expected.

Artwork from Jardin d'enfant

The kids made Easter trees at school. Emily has been working on one at home. I'll post pictures as soon as it is complete.

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Emily finds this funny....

...but I'm not sure why.

video

Egg Please

We went to a friend's house for fondue last night. They told us that it is common to stir an egg into the fondue when the cheese is almost gone, which we did. It was yummy.

Our host, Sandra, had a bowl full of bread that was cut into very small pieces for the kids. Niamh ate 95% of that and started in on the adult size pieces. I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Five days a week?

I see the USPS might cut service to 5 days a week. Would anyone mix the sixth day? In Switzerland only A (First) class mail is delivered on Saturday. I guess I am not surprised the USPS is having financial difficulties. It seems postage in the US is much less expensive than in Europe. First class postage in Swizerland is about .84 USD for a letter and that is for mailing it in a place smaller than Washington state.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mischievous leprechauns!

On St. Patrick's day we awoke to find that some mischievous leprechauns had turned our milk green. They also left a few presents, so I guess they weren't all that mischievous.
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St. Patrick's Day Dinner

My mobile phone started ringing at 3:30, but I was on conference call and could not answer. It rang a few more times before I was finished with the conference call at 3:40. I call Emily back and hear "The beef is disgusting. Go to Migro and get some sort of beef." This is not what I wanted to hear 2 hours before our dinner guests arrive.
When I get to Migro I start thinking to myself "how do I know that what I get will be different then what Emily got?" I review the options, pick one, and head home. I get home to Emily reviewing options with her mother via Skype and there is a rather unattractive pile of beef on the counter. In order to get dinner done on time, Emily is using the pressure cooker to get the stew done quickly. The stress level was a bit high until everything was in the pot, but reduced quickly once everything was cooking. The guinness beef stew turned out great - we'll have to try it again with the correct meat from the beginning.
The photo below was taken right before dinner. We invited the Elkos over, so there were six kids - it was a lively dinner.
L-->R: Rowan, Ben, Jennifer, Ben, Niamh, Zoe, Muriel, Patrick
Missing: Emily (photographer), Dan (Business trip)
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Niamh Jr.

So far Muriel has worn clothes that were either gifts or newly purchased items. Today is her first day wearing Niamh's old clothes.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sunglasses!

Muriel is not a big fan of having the sun in her eyes. Screaming has gone down by 80% now that she wears sunglasses while out and about.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Zurich Trams!

This site has a lot of interesting information and pictures of trams. I think the focus is on Zurich, but I noticed a few other cities mentioned.

Sunrise over the Alps!

Taken by Emily on her morning walk.
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Irish Artwork!


Niamh is hard at work on her shamrock paper chain.

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New Residence Permits!

We need to renew our residence permits every year for the first 5 years. Last we we did not have to provide new photos, but this year we did. To make things a bit more complicated the residence permits are changing from a passport sized book to the size of a drivers license. As part of the change everything is being digitally stored so they are much more particular about the photos. We ended up having to take Muriel to a professional to get her photo done.

Here are three that didn't meet the requirements. We have two more of Muriel that I can't find.

Taxes!

I've started working on both the US and Swiss taxes. I've decided to do them myself this year. I am using TurboTax for the US taxes and a free program from the Canton of Vaud for the Swiss taxes. The down side to the Swiss program is that everything is in French. I don't think it will be too difficult, but we'll see.

I hope to have everything done and submitted by the end of the week.

Swiss chocholate = Child labor?

This isn't good news for the Swiss chocolate industry.

Going the wrong direction!

This is not what I wanted to see before multiple trips the Euro zone.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Swiss offer concessions on tax evasion

From the Herald Tribune

Sad Niamh! (and her new hair style)

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I'm not sure what surprised me more...

that my barber opens at 8AM or that I was able to find the hours on the web.

A Historic Ride

Another post from the drafts folder:
This year is the 150th anniversary of rail service between Lausanne and Geneva. This weekend they had a steam train pull older coaches. We took the the stream train to Geneva and then took the ICN back to Morges.

Steam train at Geneva

Rowan and I check out the scenery

A first class compartment

Rowan in the 1st class compartment



Rowan and I in 2nd class.

Niamh and I on the train

Emily, Muriel(hidden in sling), and Niamh on the train

The controller

Door in 2nd class

I think the thermostat was set to hot

Rowan and Niamh at our seats.

Walking to our coach in Lausanne

New Favorite Video

This is currently at the top of the play list.

5 Months!

Muriel turned 5 months old yesterday. She has just started sleeping without her pacifier. She is able to fall asleep without it, but sometimes it takes a bit of crying first. Looking forward, only one month until she can start eating semi solid foods. I think we'll start with a nice fondue.
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Friday, March 13, 2009

Two down, X to go

This week we completed our 2nd year in Morges. Here are a few photos from our first few days in Morges.
















Thursday, March 12, 2009

A trip to the park

I'm cleaning up some of my drafts and found this one that was started in April 2007.

We went to Parc Pre Vert (www.signaldebougy.ch) today. We viewed
the goats, cows, horses, goats, ducks, rabbits, geese and chickens. I thought it
was a petting zoo, but there were electrical fences between us and the animals.
The park also has lots of playground equipment -Rowan was only interested in the
slides.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

August 24th - ready or not!

Rowan's first day of kindergarten is August 24th. He will go to school from 8:30-11:50 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. On Thursday he will also go from 14:05 to 15:35. His school vacations will be more or less what he has had at preschool:

  • Two weeks in October
  • Two weeks at Christmas
  • One week in February
  • Two weeks in March/April
  • 7 weeks in the summer
I think there might be a few additional days off for things like labor day, but I'm not sure.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Muriel: 5 month checkup

We're running a bit behind, so Muriel had her 5 month appointment today instead of a 4 month appointment. Here are her stats:

Height: 62.5cm (24.6 inches)
Weight: 6.48K (14.3 pounds)

She received her 2nd set of shots and didn't seem to mind the injection. The doctor says everything is going ok, so we'll take her back in two months for her next appointment.

Playground!

Alyssa, Niamh, and Rowan at the playground.
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