Archive | May, 2014

31

13 May

Hey, hey, hey, it was just my birthday! I assume all of my readers celebrated my birthday in their own special ways this year, and I’d like to say thank you for that. I hope you all enjoyed my day and remembered to keep the focus where it belonged — on me and how grateful you are for my birth just a few short years…er, decades ago.

I’ll be honest, turning 31 felt like a little bit more of a bummer than turning 30. Last year I felt awesome thinking “30 is the new 20!” and about how all of the greatest TV shows show people right around their 30th birthdays. But this year I realized that 20 year olds are way younger than me and that 20 will always be the only “20.” And I remembered that I used to think the greatest TV shows were about talking animals, and then I moved on to shows that highlighted spunky young teens before moving on to high school and/or college dramas… oh, right. I’m not entering the age of the greatest TV shows, I’m just drawn to shows that depict people in my phase of life. How drab I must seem to those younger than me. You know, I really feel quite young. In so many ways, and on so many days, I still feel like a teenager. Or I feel like I JUST left college… until I (attempt to) converse with a late teen or young 20-something and feel like I need to down an entire bottle of wine to keep myself from either dying of boredom or laughing uncontrollably at their insanely misplaced priorities and asinine ambitions. I guess the good thing about hanging out with “kids” is that it reminds me that I’m thankful I’m no longer one of them. Bunch of tools.

I’ve never really thought about aging before. I mean, “when I am old…” thoughts have always run through my mind, but “old” was always something very far away from me, off in the distance somewhere… when the world gets old… when all the animals I love are extinct and the wind whips off of the melting ice caps and softly flaps my saggin’ boobs in its gentle breeze. Of course I know that 31 is not actually “old,” but only as of late have I ever considered the idea of aging. I have read various “what I wish I knew…” type Blogs that that tell me to exercise, eat well, and start saving for retirement. It’s a weird thing, to feel (and look!) so young, but to bear the burden of preparing a future for an old person.

So that is a brief description of my short bout of depression. After that came and went (and it’s mostly gone, I think), I started to feel excited about turning 31. I feel excited because I love what I have done the last 31 years. I love my childhood memories. I love my parents and my siblings. I love my memories of college life and reminiscing on my and Phillip’s story of falling in love and choosing to be together. I honestly love my life. My husband is everything good. I have the most beautiful little boy who, though he is painfully grouchy, shows me the beauty in everyday life by letting me love him and want a better world for him. I live on a hill that overlooks Lake Zürich in one of them most beautiful countries in the world. I have a lovely home, wonderful friends (though most of them are far away), and doggonit, my boobs are still right where they should be. Life ain’t a bad gig, amiright?

I am 31 now. I am that. That is the age I am. 31 is how old I am. I.am.31.years.old. I just turned 31. No, I am no longer a child. I’m just that: 31. And I’m cool with it.

So how did we celebrate? Phil took the day off of work and got up early with Asher to let me sleep in a bit. He made breakfast for me to eat when I woke up and then we all got ready for our day and headed out. It was a beautiful sunny-but-cool-breezy sort of day that was just perfect for turning 31. I had told Phil that I wanted to enjoy a good American-style hamburger for my birthday, because hamburgers are one thing that I do not believe the Swiss do well. So Phil did some research and found “the best” American burger in Zürich and made a reservation for us. Here we are just before heading to lunch:

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We enjoyed an afternoon meal that counted as lunch and dinner, since it was Americanlynormous. It was GOOD. I was too embarrassed to be so obviously American eating at an American diner to take pictures of the food, but now I really wish I had just taken a pic or two so I could relive the deliciousness of that burger and the fries. Man it was good. It was pretty standard. I got cheddar on mine (which is not a super common cheese around here) and chef-prepared garlic mayonnaise that was delicious. Phil got the same burger that I did but with an insanely good bleu cheese and the same garlic mayo. It was gooooooood. We also got onion rings, because they offered them and who in their right mind says “no” to onion rings? Asher absolutely wouldn’t have anything to do with the burgers. We weren’t surprised, so he had freshly cooked pasta with olive oil and garlic (from home) and some freshly chopped melons from the store. I think he ate a few fries, but he was thrilled beyond belief to have his tupperware lunch, so that is what the boy got. He also had me take him to the bathroom twice…. TWICE… before I was able to finish my burger. Phil offered to take him, but Asher really only poops for me, so I took him. I really didn’t mind, but it was kind of funny that it took two tries to get him to let loose in there. Now I would never wish these precious baby/toddler years to speed by any more quickly than they already do, but I definitely look forward to eating a meal all the way through without having to be elbow-deep in someone else’s dump before finishing, but that’s a post for another day. After lunch we walked through the city and just enjoyed the beautiful day before hopping on to a cruise ship and taking a ride on the lake. We thought we were taking the boat all the way to Rapperswil, but ended up on the short cruise somehow. It was still great fun and, given that Asher hadn’t napped, it ended up being the perfect amount of time on the boat.

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After the boat we walked by Sechseläutenplatz to see what all the hullaballoo was about that weekend. There were big tents up everywhere and lots of people partying hard in preparation to blow up the annual snowman that would predict how the summer weather would be (it should be nice, apparently). The platz was newly redone and we were all excited to see that they had installed a little fountain area where kids could play in water that shoots up from the ground. Since the sun was starting to set it was actually fairly cool, but there were still plenty of kids wanting to play. Asher was so excited when he first saw the water, but for the first little while he wouldn’t go anywhere near it. He paced back and forth for a good 10 minutes or so as he watched the kids and watched the water. We later realized that he seemed to have been learning the pattern of the water, because as soon as he dared to go near it, he knew EXACTLY when to run away in order not to get caught in the huge sprays. Smart boy! Phil and I both took a lot of pictures of him playing. He was one of the smallest ones out there (if not the smallest who actually was playing) and he was having a BLAST. Several people came up to us to comment on how cute and hilarious he was, but we’re certainly used to that. 😉

Note the various stages of his clothes’ wetness. The gutsier he got, the more wet he allowed himself to become. By the time he was done, he was SOAKING and COLD. hehehehehe Also please notice his hilarious faces as he runs back to us and away from the water.

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Then we went home where we quickly made birthday hats (Asher thought we needed them), then enjoyed some birthday cake and I opened some presents.

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And that was my great birthday! 🙂

Eggs — colored and scattered (Easter 2014)

9 May

Easter! Woohoo!

This was Asher’s third Easter alive, and our first Easter to put much thought into making it a special particularly as parents. Asher’s first Easter was spent snowed in in our little rental house in Immensee. As ridiculous as this sounds, I was so confused with life (culture shock!) that I just bought a few random things for Asher and put them into a punch bowl lined with towels and presented our uninterested infant with it on the wrong Sunday, but that’s another story entirely. The second Easter here/with Asher, we had several people from church over for a nice potluck lunch/afternoon hangout that was a lot of fun, but we didn’t do anything particularly “Eastery” for Asher. This year, though, we did what we could to make it more of a family event.  I bought Asher some nice new “Easter” clothes, Phil & I put together an Easter basket for him, we talked a lot about Jesus and His resurrection, we colored eggs, and we gave our boy his first dose of actual candy. Our good friends the Galiks came over a few days before Easter, which is when we colored eggs. They also have a 2-year-old (and an 8-month-old, but she didn’t participate in egg-coloring), and I was anxious to see how the toddlers did with egg coloring. I kind of wondered if they would be bored with it, since you have to let the eggs sit, but they both did great! They were patient and interested and really seemed to enjoy it. I had ordered 40 eggs with our recent grocery order and was really bummed when they all arrived as BROWN eggs! We already had 20 brown eggs in our fridge, by the way, so that meant we had 60 eggs in there. I was nervous about trying to color brown eggs, thinking they’d be a dud, so I did what anyone would do and I went and bought 20 white eggs from the store (80 eggs in the house — as far as I’m concerned, that officially made me a farmer). I boiled 20 white and 20 brown and figured we’d all enjoy coloring the white ones more. As it turns out, the brown eggs dyed quite nicely! Orange and green didn’t really work on them, but the red and blue dyes created some really pretty jewel-toned Easter eggs. I’m really working up to just showing you pictures, so without further ado, I give you our egg-coloring eggstravaganza:

 

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Phil and I planned to get up early before Asher on Easter morning, which I sort of did. I got up later than I had expected, and hopped in to the shower thinking I would wake Phil when I got out and then we’d wake Asher. Except that when I got out Asher was hollering for someone to come get him and Phil was still completely asleep in bed. I quickly woke up Phil and we both did a mad dash to scatter eggs and gather the things we had collected for Asher’s Easter basket (why we had not done this the night before is beyond me… next year!). By the time we were ready, Asher was really upset and crying “MOOOOMMMYYYY!!! DAAAAADDDDDDDYYYY!!! WHERE ARE YOU?!” But what is a good ol’ fashioned family holiday without some well-warranted tears first thing in the morning, amiright? We hadn’t really prepped Asher for the whole idea of an egg hunt, so we just kind of put all the eggs out in fairly plain sight. He seemed to notice all of them, as any sane person would do if they awoke to eggs in the living room, but either because he was grouchy from being left in his room for too long or just apathetic, it took a lot of persuasion to get him to actually walk around and collect the stupid things. Nice. Since he has no concept of the value of money, we felt safe letting his new bike be an Easter present without setting him up for a lifetime of expecting expensive Easter gifts, so we brought out his bike and his little basket of fun stuff. Let me say really quickly that Asher was standing there as we talked to the store staff about which bike we wanted, and then basically right there when it was actually purchased… and he never noticed it. The clerks put the bike in a giant bag that had the logo for the toy store (which Asher definitely recognizes) ALL over it in bright colors, and the bike was poking out of the top of the bag… and Asher never noticed it. Phil carried the bag (picking it up, putting it down… good grief, it was in the seat of the stroller for a while) for nearly an hour before we got home and it was put into our room… in the middle of the floor… still with the bike poking out the top of the bag… and Asher NEVER noticed it. On Easter morning we put it kind of behind the table that he, at his short little stature, can easily see under… and he NEVER noticed it. We literally had to lead him to it when we finally got too excited to keep waiting. I’m glad we finally just showed him, but I do kind of wonder how long it would have taken for him to notice the bright green bike in his house. hehehe Okay, so back to our morning — he got a little basket with some other fun things that had been sitting around the house for several days. He was really excited about all of it and indulged in the candy far more than we expected. Other than a little bit of chocolate here and there, he had never really eaten candy before. Some one gave him a lollipop a few months ago and he was so weirded out by it that it took him nearly 20 minutes just to taste it, and then wanted nothing to do with it after only a few pathetic licks. But on Easter morning, he was popping Pez and Kindereggs like he needed them to live — and for the next few hours HE.WAS.INSANE. He was laughing like a maniac nonstop and talking like a drunken frat boy (loud & nonsensical) and it was (difficult) HILARIOUS! After church we were walking with some friends, one of whom is named John (Asher loves that guy, by the way), and Asher was very loudly singing over and over and over again “The wheels on the bus go JOHN! JOHN! JOHN!…” Then laughing hysterically. Of course it got obnoxious, but it was hilarious for a solid couple of minutes. haha Okay, enough about all of that. Here are some pics from our Easter morning:

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And that was our lovely Easter! Thank you God for Jesus! Thank you God for our little family!

(I realize that there is something wrong with the captions on my photo slide shows. I’m still figuring those things out and I don’t yet know how to edit them once I’ve published them. Editing captions! What a drag!)