Saturday, May 30, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

Costs in Switzerland

Many of the questions I receive about Switzerland have to do with the cost of living. I thought some of you may find this interesting.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

sticker mania!

Migros is the grocery store which is closest to our apartment, and thus the most frequented. Right now they are running a promotion called sticker mania where for every 20 CHF you spend you get a pack of five stickers to put in a book about tropical rainforests (you have to buy the book for 5 CHF).

Often the free things you get when you buy something else (cereal boxes, happy meals, etc) are junk, but it's a surprisingly interesting book and the kids are having fun with it.

Likewise, the free items with the promotion they ran last year were not of the variety that go straight into the trash. Last summer it was Billes Mania, and we collected all these marbles. I'm not sure what exactly you're supposed to do with them as last year the kids were too little to play marbles and this year I don't want them rolling around for Muriel to choke on (she's getting into everything!).

I don't remember there being a promotion during our first summer here, but I was kind of overwhelmed, so it's likely I just missed it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Muriel is Channeling Michael Jordan

...kind of.

Muriel's tongue is very often out and to the left lately. I mentioned this to Pat and he said "Just like Michael Jordan." (though I don't think Michael Jordan always sticks his out on the left side of his mouth like Muriel does) When I looked at Pat blankly he made some sort of disparaging remark about the rock I live under. I thought this was a little unnecessary given that I could care less about basketball and didn't know any basketball fans growing up. But a quick google search confirmed that this is indeed a fairly famous quirk of Michael Jordan's...I even saw a picture of John McCain sticking his tongue out with the caption "John 'Jordan' McCain". Hopefully no one will tell me John McCain is famous for this too...


The BAM has been mentioned in a number of posts, but I don't think we've included a photo. Here is a picture for those that are interested.
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Monday, May 25, 2009

Castle Haut Barr!

We visited Castle Haut Barr while we were in Alsace with the Daigles. It was a bit overcast, so we didn't have a fantastic view, but it was still impressive. We had to climb quite a few stairs to get to the top. Rowan climbed all by himself, but Niamh had to be carried up and down.
Rowan seems much more interested in visiting ruins after visiting this castle.

Going Out in Style

Niamh was a big hit at the boulangerie on Sunday morning.

Cathedral City

This is the only prepackaged cheddar that I have been able to find in Morges. We can buy cheddar from the deli at some stores, but that can be a fairly slow process if there is a line.

Buying in increments of 200 grams is a bit frustrating. In the US I would buy it in increments of 907 grams (2 pounds).

It has a good taste, but I think I prefer other types of cheese to cheddar.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Reflections

The mama (?) duck on the nest stared at the duck in the water like that until he left. The water here is kind of murky today because of all the pollen that's fallen into the lake.

This is what I saw when I came home. Shortly after I took this photo, I told Niamh that I saw some ducklings today. She said "I want to go see them so I can shoot them with my magic wand!" I guess fairies aren't always nice.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rowan: "The boys are having a meeting."

Rowan described the small protest outside our apartment building as "the boys are having a meeting." They were protesting Monsanto (occupies the ground floor of our building) and I think, but am not sure, GMOs. I couldn't understand what was being said over the bullhorn, but I was able to read a few of their signs.
It was a very well organized protest (as I would expect in Switzerland). I first noticed something because the police were standing in front of the building and in the street. Abou 15 minutes later the crowd walked over from the parking lot across the street.

Birthday Girl

Photos of Niamh's day can be found here: Niamh's Third Birthday

3 Years Old!

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Niamh turned 3 today. It is hard to believe that she has spent more of her life in Morges than in the US.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rowan Gives Me a Taste of His Teenage Years

The other day Rowan told me quite cheerfully
(in fact he sounded downright excited):
"Mama, when I'm a granddaddy you'll be DEAD!"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

On a Weekend Morning Walk

Mont Blanc was very clear on this particular morning:

For Georgia:

Increased Creativity?

This doesn't seem very scientific.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rowan sings to Muriel

Rowan dragged Muriel into the tent for a timeout right before he started singing.

Grilled Cheese

And no, not as in the sandwich.

Our Swiss friends, the Girardin's, invited us over for dinner recently and among other things, grilled cheese was on the menu. I believe the cheese in the above photo is camembert.

Sunday Walk Through the Country

It still surprises me that though we live in the center of a small but very bustling city, within ten or fifteen minutes of walking we can be out in the countryside. Not a lot of urban sprawl here.

Rowan was looking particularly stylin'. The picture doesn't do his outfit justice. The dinosaur socks pulled up to the knees with the plaid shorts was a winning combo.

We stopped for a snack at this cute little BAM station. Though he appears unconcerned in this photo, Rowan was frantically worried that a train would come and I'd be stuck on the other side of the tracks. He has for some reason become very afraid of BAM trains.

Muriel enjoyed snacking on dried leaves and dirt.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tulips are Done

We went to the park one day last week and were greeted with this sad sight:

Earlier that day all the flowers had been pulled up. It's actually an occasion that many look forward to, as you can go and collect any bulbs you would like for yourself.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

School Information Session

On Monday night I went to an information session for parents of children starting school in Morges next year. It was all in French, so I probably missed a bit, but I don't think much was discussed that I hadn't already heard. There was a PowerPoint presentation that made it easy to follow along.

I think the main thing I learned was that in Vaud there are only 9 years of mandatory schooling. The 1st two years aren't mandatory, which means that kids are usually finished around age 16.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We had a good run.

We lasted 97 child months before our first official ear infection. Niamh had a fever that she couldn't get rid of, so Emily took her to the doctor. She was given a prescription for 7 days of Amoxicillin. Niamh was back to normal after about 24 hours.

It was amazing how much quieter the house was when Niamh was sick and rested most of the time. The volume is back up to normal now that she is feeling better.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The truth hurts

"Mama, your french is a little weird."

That is what Rowan told me last week after trying his hardest to teach me how to say escargot correctly. I wonder how long it will be before his parent's terrible accent totally embarrasses him.

Oh, and if you're wondering what's going on in the above picture he's smelling the grated coconut we used to make coconut macaroons. I think they turned out fairly well, even without shredded coconut, which I have not seen in Switzerland. Though honestly, I haven't tried too hard, so perhaps it does exist.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Night in Morges

The moon was fabulous tonight. Very clear and slightly orange, with a beautiful glow around it. And of course the clouds were a nice effect as well.

I don't know why, what with the combination of my extraordinary skills and rockin tripod (pictured above), I couldn't capture it with the camera. Ideas, anyone (ryon? people who have recently been taking photography classes?)? I messed around with the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, but couldn't hit the right combo. The moon always came out as a big white glowing orb.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


This goose and this swan are always together. At least I assume it is the same goose and same swan. I'm pretty sure there's only one goose in the whole Morges area of Lake Geneva. And whenever I see these two together and there's other swans around the goose sticks close to the same swan.

It actually seems like the goose follows the swan more than the other way around. So perhaps it is a one sided friendship. But swans can be pretty aggressive, so I'd imagine if he didn't want the goose around he'd let it be known.

Monday, May 4, 2009

sick weekend

It was a pretty miserable weekend, we were all sick. Niamh got it first last week (which was when this picture was taken. she went into the big blue tent to play and ended up sleeping), and I think she was hit the hardest. She's been sick since Wednesday and is still running a low fever today. Pat stayed home from work today. Hopefully tomorrow will be better!

Muriel: 6 month checkup

Muriel had her six month checkup today, only about 3 weeks late.

Weight: 6830 grams ( 15 pounds)
Height: 66 centimeters (26 inches)

She hasn't grown much since her last appointment, but the doctor didn't seem concerned.

We did get confirmation that she has a clogged tear duct, which should clear up on its own in the next 17 months.

The next appointment is in mid August.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Muriel's First Finger Food-Baby Mum Mums

Still employed!

I was not laid off as part of the recent announcements, which is excellent news. I've decided to become a bit more prepared and update my resume and put together a European cv.


The bear pit in Bern has closed. I hope the new one isn't as small and pathetic as the old one.