Adorable babies and Pavlik harnesses

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Sometimes, as a parent, you feel like you are just nailing it. Last week was one of those weeks for me. E got another ultrasound of her hips, and they have developed just fine, so she no longer has hip dysplasia. She still has to wear her evil harness, which irritates the hell out of me, but I’d much rather be irritated than worried about her (more on that below). Xander started preschool, and is killing it there. He already has the teachers wrapped around his manipulative, charming little finger and I’ve witnessed him rallying the kids to break the rules already (of course, he wasn’t the one to get caught). I have a little leader there, I must help him learn to use his powers for good rather than evil. E started eating solids and loves it all. She doesn’t even make a mess she’s so desperate to ensure every last morsel ends up in her mouth. And X had his first live-action experience on the potty. We were both equally shocked, actually. To be honest, I think it sort of disgusted X, as he has no inclination to ever do it again. But at least he did it once. Continue reading

Refugee crisis and racism

Like many, many people around the world, I was horrified and heartbroken by the photo of Alan Kurdi that surfaced a couple of weeks ago. It was a hard photo to look at. It wasn’t that it was gruesome or grotesque, it was that it was so … sad. The lifeless body of a little boy. He could have been my little boy. I think that’s why there was such a resounding global response to that photo, that made the Syrian refugee crisis more real to everyone. The tragedy has a face now, and a tiny little broken body. Harder to ignore and set aside. I wouldn’t be surprised if that photo becomes one of those influential images that spurs a generation. Continue reading

On grief

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Eight years ago today I lost my father. Eight years, and I have thought about him every single day. It’s not always sad, often it’s to smile at a happy memory, but sometimes it’s as sharp and real as a twisting knife. Usually it’s bittersweet, because he is no longer able to share in my life. I always wonder what he would think of me now. Would he enjoy coming to Switzerland to visit? Would he like my husband? (he would) Would he be proud of me? Continue reading

Travel Canadiana: Calgary

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Whew. My time back in Calgary happened in a breathtaking whirlwind. There was so much to do, so many people to see! It was amazing to have such a warm reception coming back home. I also found it amazing the ways that home didn’t quite feel like home any more. Kinda like … a formerly favoured pair of shoes that all of a sudden seem a little bit too tight, but you’re not quite sure why.

I still love Calgary, but my major issue with the city is the traffic! I guess I was used to it before, but three consecutive evenings being stuck on Crowchild for an hour was enough to take the shine off for me. And it’s not like there are really good viable options to driving, either. Your lot in life is to stay stuck as hours of your life tick by, staring at the bumper in front of you. Guys, it’s not like that in Europe.

Not that I want to get negative here. I will gladly return to Calgary in a flash should life ever take me back there, but let me be clear. I would not be going back for the traffic. It’s for all the amazing wonderful people, who really did show us the best time possible for our week there. Continue reading

Travel Canadiana: Central Alberta

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I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but farm country in the Central Alberta prairies is a little bit like paradise. I have friends who are aware of this, and have settled into a small farmhouse there. They do all kinds of awesome things like grow their own vegetables and do their own canning, while hanging their clothes along the line to dry outside. They sometimes drive around in a Chevy from the 50s, which is an antique but still road-worthy (sort of). This thing is old. It predates signal lights, guys. I love that they made their home away from the city, even while they still have to work there for now. And I love spending time there even more. Continue reading

Travel Canadiana: Pigeon Lake

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If there’s anything that I miss about Alberta in particular, I’d have to say it’s the big skies. Look at that. The sky is huge. It goes for hundreds of miles above you, and you feel like you can really breathe. That was one of the joys of “coming home” I experienced while taking my month in Alberta.

It’s a weird feeling, when home isn’t your home anymore.  My time in Canada really exacerbated this feeling for me. Like I said, it was weird. Everything that used to be everyday and common-place felt a little … off. And I found myself missing things in Switzerland too, although that came later.

To begin with, I spent nearly three weeks at my mom and stepdad’s beautiful cottage on Pigeon Lake. It was perfect. The time I spent there was really precious to me. I got to spend time with all my family. It reminded me of times growing up when we would spend a week or two at my family’s cottage, and how important those times were for me as well. Also, we had our own guest house, which made it all the more awesome. At least when the two little monsters cried all night, I didn’t have to feel guilty as well as frustrated! A downside was I was missing Z while he continued to work in Switzerland. But for the most part, the whole experience was so wonderful for all of us. Here are all the reasons why Pigeon Lake is awesome, in photos: Continue reading

Book Reviews

Hey guys, it’s been a long while. No, I didn’t decide to give up on this blog, I’ve just been in Canada! I spent a month there, mainly at my mom’s cottage in Alberta. And maybe you’re thinking that if I was just lying around a cottage for a month, I certainly should have had time to do some blogs. Well, so did I. However, that was not true at all. I was there without Z for the most part and as it turns out, caring for two children on my own was not the easiest thing. Basically, I’m exhausted after all that visiting. I’m still decompressing and will have lots more to say about our many Canadian adventures, but for the moment, let me share with you what I’ve been reading. I did manage to get a lot of reading done since my clingy little baby wants to be held all the time, allowing me to do precious little else. Before you get all jealous, keep in mind much of this reading happened at 4 in the morning. You too could read tons if you never slept, but I don’t wish it on you. Continue reading