Monday, 31 December 2012

Merry Happy New Year!

Why should Christmas only be merry?

If you've been hanging around here for awhile (loitering is allowed at A Cait's Life, just FYI) you will recall that last New Year began with Dan and I attending a small gathering at our neighbour's, only to have a perfect stranger corner us and start weeping about how she was dumped by her married boyfriend, but she wouldn't be letting him get away that easily.

Awkward doesn't even begin to describe those fresh minutes of 2012.

But despite its squirmy and uncomfortable start, 2012 was our best year ever (because of LB! Just in case you forgot! Our best year ever because of our LB!) and tonight I am looking forward to appreciatively tipping my hat to 2012 as it quietly folds closed while I open my door to welcome 2013, and all the fresh adventures and delights it has in store.

I also hope that poor woman from last year is having a better night tonight.

Our evening will be low-key:
 


Filled with good food and good fun...
(table bomb! champagne!)
 
Just us...


with our LB, too.
 
Merry happy New Year, Internet.
 
I wish you a great night and an even better 2013.

Friday, 28 December 2012

A Little of This, a Little of That

LB is napping, I'm listening to the guy upstairs sing some sort of off-key show tune, and I'm wracking my brain for something interesting to blog about. What memory do I want recorded?

How about how yesterday I put my hand in my jeans pocket and there was baby vomit in there.

Ack! That was alarming and unexpected.

But otherwise, it's been quiet around here. We had an excellent Christmas and I cooked my first ever turkey! When I took it out of the oven, I thought I had some sort of Clark W. Griswold turkey situation on my hands when I pinched the turkey thigh and came away with dry meat, but it wasn't that bad. In other words, it didn't steam open to nothingness when I cut it open, but yeah it was a bit overdone.

Better that than salmonella, I always say! Ah, haha...err, right?

But for her first Christmas, we definitely spoiled LB. And by 'we', I mean I did.  But what sort of parent would I be if didn't get my four month old baby a boat load of gifts she has no interest in?! Am I right! But now I think I'm causing the poor child to experience mental overload, because as she's chewing away on one toy, I'm rummaging through her toy bin searching for another one she hasn't seen yet.

"Hey, LB! Look at this toy! Look at this one!"

She grabs it, eats it, throws up on it, whatever, but I've already moved on to the next.

"Okay, now look at this one!"

"Now this one!"

"Now this one!"

There's a very real chance I'm going to give our kid ADD.  But seriously, do you guys even know how many awesome toys are out there for babies? Fact: on Christmas morning Dan looked under the Christmas tree, spied Santa's gift to LB (some wooden toy that makes noise, is easy for her to grab, and is shaped like an atom) picked it up and brought it to me in the kitchen and exclaimed, "THIS IS AWESOME! I want to play with this."

Oh, yeah, another note about Christmas morning is LB decided to sleep in until 10:00. Geez! Well, she was wide awake until 10:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve basking in the adoration of the extended family making kissy faces at her, so she was tired, but 10:00 a.m. on Christmas morning is a bit much. So her 31 year old parents decided to wake up their baby (who only recently figured out what hands do) because we couldn't wait any longer for her to open her presents.

Yup.

Here are some pictures that are now seasonally irrelevant! Enjoy!
 
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Oh! One last thing. Does anyone besides me LOVE pomegranate season? I'm talking good old fashioned elementary school 'like liking'. I'm talking be-still my beating heart adoration.

 
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This crimson kernels make me unbelievably happy, and every night I eat a half pomegranate just because I love how fun this fruit is to eat! I bash all the seeds into a bowl, then scoop them up with a spoon to revel in the feeling of a dozen tiny seeds bursting in my mouth.
 
It's better than bubble wrap.
 
Truth.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Look what we found under our tree!

Merry Christmas indeed.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas Comes to Bern

We don't have snow anymore, but we have lights...
 
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Lots and lots of beautiful lights.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Ew Gross!

Before I even knew what was happening, a soggy wet baby hand--that said baby had just finished sucking on like a paci--reached through the air, found my cheek, then in wet spitty slow motion slid down my cheek into my mouth muffling my cry of , "SICK."

Even weirder, I then pretended to nibble on those soggy fingers in an effort to get said baby to smile.

Because my entire existence now revolves around, "How can I make the baby smile! I want to see a smile! What can I do for a smile!"

But nibbling on slimy spit fingers was a new low, and I've been known to do the most outlandish and exaggerated dance to Lady Gaga's 'Just Dance' all in the quest for a smile.

Ew. Gross.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Snow White

It was a great ten days here at Casa Dan and Caitie. Dan's mom was visiting from Canada, and so we had lots of Swiss company coming and going as she flew from town-to-town, from house-to-house, visiting her old pals and family, of course.

For our LB the past week was the best one ever because she loves people, and this meant there were lots of new faces for her to stare at and then to flash her (as Dan's mom calls it) million dollar smile before bashfully burying her face in my neck. Then peeking out again and smiling. Then burying her face. Then peeking and smiling. Then burying her face. Repeat times a million. Let me tell you, if you're ever stuck for party entertainment just throw me an invite and Dan and I will bring our LB to charm the crowds, because she does charm most people she meets. Except for cousins who just turned twenty and are apparently hung over. They don't care that much about her, but she's really interested in them. I guess no matter the age it's really funny watching someone try to hold it together.

Dan's mom also arrived just in time for Bern to be hit with a huge dump of snow. It snowed nearly every day of those past ten days and the outside world is now a downy white that invites you to fall and make snow angels. Dan and I were able to go out for dinner last Wednesday (Sushi! I am obsessed! Raw fish, I love and missed thee so!) and afterwards we were going to go to a beautiful lounge bar/restaurant for drinks but I was freezing and declared it too cold to walk there, so instead we went to a coffee shop to sip a hot bevy and people watch. So to clarify, I was absolutely chilled to the bone and I was wearing proper winter attire; um...it was -2. I might be a major wimp now.

I don't think I'll ever be able to endure -15 again.

When we first moved to Kamloops, the average temperature that winter was about -9 to -11 but I was used to -20 and colder so I wore my spring jacket all winter long because 'gosh, it's SO WARM HERE.'

I was a freak.

So with all this beautiful snow we've received we were excited to go out to Dan's grandma's place on Sunday because she lives in a 'rural' area (rural...haha! Basically, she lives somewhere serviced by a post bus so people think she lives in a remote location) and we thought she'd have more snow than us. The photo opportunities would be endless! Well, she didn't have more snow than us, but the photo opportunities were still endless and we had a nice walk down to her place where a hot lunch was waiting for us.

Dan's mom was visiting with her, and for our lunch we had a traditional Bern meal of hot sauerkraut, boiled potatoes, ham, sausage, bacon, and applesauce. Yes, it's a lot of meat, but it's all small portions and extremely tasty.

Here's some photos from the day:


Pretty farm house next to grandma's

LB noticing the snow for the first time

Road to grandma's

Dan and his mom (and a little LB snug with dad)


Really grainy shot of the Alps, which you can see from grandma's


Awkward family photo!


Road to grandma's continued...

Lots of snow!

Evening sunset.
 
Finally, I'll leave you all with this little tale of how I changed my tune:
 
In my former life as a Canadian resident who was a strict TLC watcher, I've seen plenty of episodes of A Million Kids and Counting. Whenever a new baby girl would join the clan, it would take the Duggars about 0.3 seconds to slap a huge flower headband onto the newborn.
 
This caused me an enormous amount of pain because it looked ugly.
 
"I will never stick head decorations onto my bald baby! How atrocious! How ugly!" I once cried.
 
Um, oops. I changed my mind...


But it's not a flower! Right...um, yeah.
No going back now, I'm a hypocrite.
 
It's cute, okay! But I've realised something: it's only cute on your baby.
 
Juuiiceee.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

iThink iMight Have An iPhone Problem

It's slightly possible I'm addicted to my iPhone.

So, LB and I were enjoying our morning cuddle and I was wondering if it would be a walking sort of day, or a couch and movie sort of day.

"What do you think baby girl? What do you think the weather's like right now?"

So I reached for my iPhone and consulted my app to see what the weather was doing. You know, as one does, instead of looking outside the window.

Good grief.



 In case you're wondering, both the app and view from my window had the same results: it was snowing.

Monday, 3 December 2012

To Share or Not to Share? That is the Question.

It's been quieter around these here parts since LB came into our world, but it's not for lack of time to blog. I can carve time out, if I want to.

I started this blog as a means to keep family and friends up-to-date with our Swiss adventure, and have purposefully just kept this blog a place where I can log on and type a fast and loose post about what's up, then hit publish with nary a proof-read. Fast and loose, you see. Sometimes too fast and loose, hence my continual need to double punch the 'o' when loose lose (DID IT AGAIN) is my intended word. I think if any of my professors would tune into this blog they would shake their head in sadness over the poor sentence structure, bad proof-reading, comma usage, and general wordiness. Then they'd wonder how I ever did so well in my writing intensive classes. I wonder this, too.

In my illustrious blogging career (SARCASM) I have been asked to blog for different expat sites in exchange for them highlighting my blog to generate traffic, I have been asked to blog for a local expat newspaper in exchange for blog traffic, with the real high point in this blog's life being an email I received from House Hunters International asking if we'd be interested in being on the show because they read my blog and we seemed 'fun'. After I got over the hilarious idea of being able to afford a house in Switzerland, I wrote them back and pleasantly declined.  I have never been interested in my blog being a job (or being on t.v., talk about an exercise in breaking out in full body hives...shudder). I already have a job and I don't need this place to be a chore.

So let's be real for a minute: if you have a blog, you can't claim 'it's just my journal'. Bullshit. If you wanted a journal, keep a journal; people blog because they want other people to read their words. They want to share their experiences with someone. It's, ultimately, fairly narcissistic to think other people are interested in your life so "blah, let me regurgitate a whole bunch of shit about my life and hope others tune in. I'm so interesting people will care when I tell them about that chicken salad I ate at Coop that had a suspicious looking cranberry in it." Blogging is about sharing your life with strangers, and who the hell knows who's reading.

The reason I bring this up is because with this space always being just for personal story telling, I'm struggling these days with what to share now that LB is in our lives. I heard a quote once that went along the lines of "no one over shares like a mother." I didn't really get this until I started reading 'mommy blogs'. Good grief, but yeah. People have put their kids' private childhoods on display, and I don't know if they've thought through the ramifications. I've read parents who blog about their kids' struggles with anxiety and bullying and they identify the child by name; I've read parents who blog about their kids' bowel problems; I've read parents who blog about how their three year old is an a$$hole. Yes, an alarming number of people have called their toddlers a$$holes and it seems to be a funny/accepted description. But are these kids going to be cool with the fact their parents posted open letters to them online for strangers to read? Are they going to be cool with their parents having left a toddler sized digital footprint, for them?

Dan subscribes to Wired magazine, and it introduced the term 'oversharenting' to describe people's need to blog about their kids' personal lives. One rule that some parent-bloggers subscribe to is: 'I'm only blogging about little Johnny until he's five, then his stories are his own.'

How poetic.

But why is five the magic number when little Johnny gets to claim ownership of his own stories? So those previous five years, they aren't his private stories because he can't talk, walk, or read? Children aren't possessions, and I don't believe that their babyhood belongs to their parents to pimp online for traffic and subsequent ad revenue. Some of these quasi-successful 'mommy bloggers' get pissed when they are labelled as such, but go back through their archives and they're called mommy bloggers because whether or not they're still talking about their kids now that's sure as hell all they talked about before.

I don't mean to alienate anyone with the above, but kids/blogs is something I felt strongly about before and it's something I've had to reflect on now that I've got LB.

Maybe you believe I'm over thinking this. Maybe you think the majority of 'mommy bloggers' (or whatever else you want to call them) are telling harmless tales and they provide a great online community for parents. Okay. I will concede that some women have been very open with their struggles to adjust to the different phases, challenges, and questions of parenthood, and I think a lot of people read their words and take comfort they're not alone. I'm not opposing that. Online communities can be sources of great support. What I'm specifically uncomfortable with are the people who over share the personal details of their kids' lives.

And I'm sharing this with you because I don't know what this means for my blog. I don't have plans to say 'Juuuiiicceee' or 'Auf Wiedersehen' I'm just trying to figure out what's my line in the sand for talking about LB. She's who my days revolve around now, so she's the majority of my stories, but I record these stories in a personal, handwritten, journal I'm keeping for her first year.

This post is not intended to make me sound like the saviour of my kid's privacy, but I do think she's entitled to privacy. So this blog is not going to be a place where I talk about her that much and if I do it's because our family has been up to something and duh, she's part of the family. But exclusively talking about just her? It's not going to happen a lot. This blog has always been about my life, and even though she is a hugely important part of my life, I'm not comfortable sharing too much about her.

One day when she has her own messy and poorly edited digital footprint, I want it to be one that she made herself. Not one that I left for her.