“24” noch ein mal

This weekend I was treated to another solid 24 hours with the kiddos, all by my lonesome. The parents were in Zermatt for a business weekend, which left me with the rugrats. When mentally preparing for events such as this I find it useful to plan for the worst. I begin to think of the weekend as the most miserable I will ever face. In this way I set myself up only to be surprised at what a success it turns out to be. This weekend was no exception. I had grand illusions that I would be plotting ways to flee the house without the children (and eventually the parents) noticing; I imagined clawing at my face in an attempt to escape reality. All this in the hopes of concluding the weekend on a pleasant note, shocked at how well-behaved my little angels were.

The kids were dog-tired when I started my shift on Saturday. After a lunch, in which Rapunzel was so exhausted she sat with tears streaming down her face because she no longer had the strength to turn off her own waterworks, we all went for a much-needed two-hour nap. Hard as it was to do, I managed to rouse the kids enough to go outside in the afternoon for fresh air. We rode bikes and drew with sidewalk chalk. Rapunzel and Taz wanted to draw the outline of my body in chalk and then color it in, effectively dressing me up in outfits far more fashionable than my leggings and zip-up. After we finished, the courtyard looked like a crime scene, dotted with bodies in various positions. I looked a little worse-for-wear as Little Bean didn’t understand the assignment and preferred to instead draw all over my person rather than the ground. The rest of the night passed rather uneventfully and the kids were grateful for a carb-heavy meal (think simple sugar coma), a Barbie movie, and an early bedtime.

Sunday morning came über early when Rapunzel woke me up at 6:20. She asked if it was time to get up. I promptly sent her back to bed and told her not to show her face until after 7:00, preferably 8:00. She showed up at 7:15 and began stroking my arm and whispering my name to wake me up. She often does this and it always creeps me out. I usually wake up with a start and am a little horrified to find her looming over me, petting my exposed arm that’s carelessly flung out to the side. The rest of the morning was a mix of catering to Little Bean who is once again sick. The sweet baby angel’s fever sky-rocketed and I called the Mom to see what I could do. She instructed me to encourage her to drink plenty of water and to administer, get this, two suppositories. Come again? I have to do what?! I have never given suppositories before and I wasn’t anticipating becoming a member of the elite groups of moms who do stuff like this. I don’t what it is over here, but they love those things. The kids are getting them all the time when they’re sick. The rest of the day passed rather uneventfully and the grandma showed up at 2:00 to take over. I was finished. That was that; certainly not a painful experience. This whole setting rock-bottom expectations may have something to it…

With my free time in the afternoon I decided to hit the running path by the lake. I’m slowly re-introducing myself to exercise (“Fitness, this is Kristina, Kristina, this is Fitness…) after weeks off my regular routine. Yesterday was gorgeous and I knew I had to be outside. I walked and ran along the lake and eventually made my way to Hurden, where the footbridge stretching across the narrowest part of Lake Zürich connects to Rapperswil. At 841 meters, it also happens to be the longest footbridge in Switzerland and used to be a part of a very important pilgrimage to Einsiedeln, where the Black Madonna lives. I’ve been wanting to walk across it for quite some time as I’ve seen it for months and have never tackled it. Yesterday was the perfect day for this and I’m glad to be able to cross another “want-to-do” off my list. Continue reading

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Age is a State of Mind

Lately Taz has been frequently asking me how old I am. “How alt are you?” “What is for your age?” “How many [years] are you?” he asks. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, sometimes when I am in the bathroom and he is standing outside the door. The constant barrage of questions never ceases. We have gone over many times how old I am currently, how old I was last year, and how old I will turn this year when we celebrate my birthday in November. For some reason he is so curious about age. This started right around the time we were talking about Rapunzel’s upcoming geburtstag. Somehow he gets a number stuck in his head about my age and can’t seem to shake it. Last week is was, “Are you 69?” Yes, I am in fact. And don’t I make it look good! This week the lucky number is 45. Still not close. Rapunzel tries to help him remember and insists that I am 24. No, not quite, almost though. Of course Taz is very sure of his age and can tell me with his fingers exactly how old he is. He also knows how old Little Bean is and talks longingly of all the things she will be able to do when she is this old (holds up two fingers). She will climb stairs on her own, she will be able to ski, she will have friends; the list goes on and on. I wonder what exciting things are in store for me when I turn 24… I will have a big-girl job that I love, I will live in a city I have always dreamed of inhabiting, I will feel content, and if one can dream, at least marginally successful. I should probably ask Taz these things as he seems to hold ideas of the future.

On another note, I was supposed to have the morning off so the Mom and kids could go visit her grandmother in Basel. Unfortunately the Little Bean came down with some sort of variation of croup and they decided to stay home an extra night. Alas, my free time/sleeping in was taken back and the kiddos and I were left with another rainy morning, forcing us to stay indoors. As the Mom decided to sleep in I had breakfast with the kids alone this morning. I made the executive decision to watch a movie and give all of us a mental break– let’s face it,those couple of weisse biers I had last night with Jill probably helped make the decision as well. We never watch movies. The Mom would prefer they only watch 30 minutes of TV a day and that should be done on her time, at night right before bed. Only when the kids are sick is it OK to watch movies or TV in the morning. Well, Little Bean qualifies as being sick to me, so on Tinkerbell went. It was a nice reprieve and helped the morning go by slightly smoother. Afterward, I brought my computer down and put on Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago to help put the kids in a calm state of mind. I was hoping the soothing sounds would somehow transfer onto them. In case you’re wondering, this doesn’t really happen. But As Taz was propelling Little Bean across the room in a stroller he stopped suddenly in front of my computer, started tapping his toe (which in his slippers looks like ‘soft shoe’), and said, “Wow, this is a really good music.” Well, at least the boy has taste. He said the same thing about Pete Yorn Music for the Morning After when I had it on the other day while we played outside. Perhaps he too is horrified by the radio and is grateful for decent music. Finally, after lunch the Mom and kids packed up and shipped out. I promptly placed myself on the couch, where I am currently sitting, and have been enjoying lounging around the house by myself. Sometimes it’s difficult to really relax and let go, so these times when they leave are nice. Now all I have to do is wait for the 75 people I invited over to show up…

Here’s a little musical snack of what I shared with the kids this morning. Probably my favorite song from the CD.

Day Tripping

I’m very sleepy as I write this but I would be remiss not to document the events of today. As per mention in a previous post, today was the day trip to Lake Como. There’s something so interesting about waking up and falling asleep in one country, but spending most of your day in another. Four of us traveled together by train, bus, and foot to experience a little of Italy. We took a train all the way to the last city in Switzerland before the Italian border and literally walked across into the city of Como. Never has entering another country been so easy. No one so much as glanced at us as we walked through the scantily guarded “security check.” Upon arriving in the new country we stumbled around a bit until we figured out how to get to city center by bus.

Upon arriving at what we presume to be the center we formulated a plan. A beautiful church lay a stone’s throw from where the bus dropped us. But, alas, the lake was equally as close and there lay a plethora of restaurants beckoning us with the delicious smell of Italian food. We decided to fuel up before taking Como by storm. We located the perfect dining establishment as we were taking some quality photos to document the day. All of us wanted pizza and a little wine to celebrate. Upon looking at the menu the waitress had to pick all our jaws up off the floor, as we couldn’t believe the prices of the food and drink. Zurich is by no means cheap and these prices were deceptively low. Why only get 1/4 litre of wine when for only 1 Euro more you could have 1/2 litre? So that’s what we all got– 1/2 litre of wine. My goodness, what were we thinking!? We sat at our sidewalk table, soaking in the sun, for close to two hours working away at our jumbo-sized pizzas and small barrels of wine. It was blissful. The temperature hovered just over 50 degrees, which is downright hot for us, and the sun shone on our pasty (but now rosy-cheeked) faces.

As we glanced out over the lake we noticed a variety of water crafts cruising the waves. No doubt fueled by the wine, we were struck with the brilliant idea to rent a paddleboat and burn some kcals from lunch. We slowly made our way over the docks to inquire about our master plan. For the outrageously low price of 16 Euros we could propel ourselves around the lake in one of these boats. So we did what any 4 sensible girls would do on their day off– we got a bottle of wine, four to-go cups and jumped in a boat. (At this point we are probably starting to sound like drunks, which we most certainly are not. We know our limits. Trust me.) I personally never powered the boat, but from what the other three said, it was good exercise. And as a passenger it was great fun! Lots of laughs and more pictures were taken out on the lake.

Going into the day I knew I would need to get my hands on some gelato, so that was are next stop. I almost, almost forgot how good gelato is. I haven’t had the good stuff since I studied abroad 2 1/2 years ago, and man was it, and the sugar coma I feel into on the train later, worth it. Just so delicious. We finally ambled our way over to the church we saw upon arriving and took even more pictures. We also found ourselves at an outdoor market around the corner, where I decided I needed to help support the local economy with the purchase of two beautiful pairs of earrings.

It was a great day, surrounded by great people and lots of fun. I loved being back in Italy, if only for a few hours. And the change of scenery was much needed and appreciated. But, the best is yet to come, because… Mom is currently on a plane, on her way here!! WAHOO!!