Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Birthday Eve

Tomorrow is a big day for the Buckleys.
Townes will be celebrating his first birthday on a ten-hour flight to America! We thought it would be best if I have a few extra days in Memphis for all the running about and seeing loved ones so T and I are flying alone. Well, alone and surrounded by patient people who understand how difficult it is to sit still without throwing things and growling. Fingers crossed.

We opted to forgo the traditional big birthday party. But here's some pictures from last week's baby group. My friends Edwina and Maureen have babies (Johnny and Abby) who turned one this month as well.

Here are Townes and Johnny on the way to play group. Johnny is Swiss-Australian and his mom and I are encouraging the boys to be best friends!



The trio of one-year olds are sporting birthday crowns that I made. (I had really big plans for a homemade Christmas this year...these crowns are about as far as I got!)



The b-day boys were worn out by all the excitement and slept most of the way home on the bus!

Friday, December 11, 2009



There's no place here to take a picture of Townes on Santa's knee and the blog www.sketchysantas.com makes me feel like it's not such a loss:





Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Spin, Baby, Spin

Townes has a pretty mean jump but it's the spin that has us most impressed.

video

Sunday, December 06, 2009

David Lynch, Interview Project

InterviewProject.com

Oddly normal for David Lynch, but I enjoyed spending some time with the site.

I particularly enjoyed the interview from Andalusia, Alabama.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Getting into the Season







We've jumped into the Advent season this week with a few outings. Townes and I have strolled through the Christmas market at the main train station twice already. I've resisted the fried apple rings with vanilla sauce so far but that ends tonight when we meet Coy there after work so we can buy our dinner at this stand:



We also went to the singing Christmas Tree on Wednesday to see kids and students from my school perform. They're singing was sweet but if you're looking for new Christmas music this year, I highly recommend Emmylou Harris' Light of the Stable album. Excellent.




We hope that your December is off to a festive start as well.

(I also apologize for the ironic juxtaposition below of a blog entry about thankfulness followed by one of grumbling. That pretty much reflects my general success at maintaining a spirit of gratefulness. But I'm working on it!)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Disappointing

A referendum was passed yesterday that forbids the construction of minarets in Switzerland. The referendum was put forward by the SVP, a political party we've referred to in the past most notably for their black sheep campaign.


The Swiss government was opposed to the proposition and advised voters to not put the country in such negative light or risk straining relations with the small Muslim community here. However Switzerland passes law by direct democracy which means that the ban will be upheld because it received 57% of the votes. Unsurprisingly, religious leaders around the world are voicing their outrage.


I'm also bummed that it's already snowing like crazy here. Don't picture white Christmas, it's more like thick, grey rain.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thess 5:18

So much to be thankful for. Rather than making a full list, I thought I'd just consider the reasons to be thankful for the things that I've complained about recently.


*The proximity to the construction and its noise. This problem is, by far, outweighed by the proximity that our apartment has to so many wonderful things. We're a 3-minute walk to the lake, a 10-minute walk to our church, a 5-minute walk to our choice of grocery stores. Depending on the direction I take off in, within 15 minutes, I can be hiking in the woods or standing inside the Gross Munster cathedral. Here's a picture though, in case you were wondering how the progress is going! And, yes, I'm sure those lovely gentlemen enjoy the view they have of our kitchen.




*Townes's disinterest in crawling. We have so very much to be thankful for when it comes to Townes's health. Just typing that makes me feel overwhelmed with gratitude.

*The new complications in feeding the boy. As it turns out, if the food is mushy, squashy, or damp than Townes will not put it in his mouth, he will only throw it. This rules out everything but bread, crackers and cereal. (Of course, he's still getting the majority of his food on a spoon.) I've tried giving him my teacher look but that hasn't helped. But you know what? Being concerned about having to pick up food off the floor is nothing in comparison to the people who have to worry about having food to put on the table. We are blessed.




*Townes is now obsessed with his father. He cries and clings to Coy in the morning when it is time for him to leave for work. He attempts to scramble up Coy's chest when I try to pull him away. And then he begins waiting for 'Dada' around 6pm. Anytime he hears the elevator, he looks around anxiously. As hard as it is to see Townes so upset, it's easy to be thankful for this phase. How wonderful that he loves Coy so dearly (and that he takes my steadfast presence as constant and unshakeable, right?).

We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Yee-haw

Typically, I only post during naptime but I had to put Townes in his jumpy chair so I could put these photos on before Coy returns from work and forbids me! A package arrived today with goodies from my folks including a little hat they picked up for Townes while visiting Susannah in Texas.




I suppose Townes has discerning taste like his papa b/c he wouldn't keep his cowboy hat on for more than a few minutes. I, however, love my new hat and just returned from wearing it to the grocery. I could tell from the look in her eye that the check-out lady thought I looked classy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Belly Week at the Buckley's

Despite constant reminders that every baby develops at their own pace, I've been concerned about the fact that Townes was still not crawling at 11 months. Parents shouldn't compare but his two friends who were born within a week or so of him are both already walking- walking, for Pete's sake! Come on, T- a little jealous? Nope. He has not seem too concerned.
I do think the amount of time spent exploring London in the B'jorn instead of exploring our living room on his tummy contributed to the delay but I don't actually regret being out and about with Townes. Instead, I decided to get down to business and the boy and I have been lying on our stomachs for the majority of his waking hours this week.
I'm proud to report that there has been forward movement!! There's not a lot of ground being covered yet but the bruises on my shins and knees from all of the crawling as an example are worth it!

I tried bribing him by putting cool things just out of reach.



He mastered pushing himself backwards pretty quickly and had to be rescued from being wedged under the couch many times!

Friday, November 20, 2009

So happy to be wrong

I misreported the end of Swiss fall in the last post. (And no, this was not me just botching my German again, I had seen the weather report that used pictures!) Our mornings have looked like this all week:


But then, most afternoons, the sun has burned off the fog and we've been able to enjoy playing outside. This past weekend, we took a nice two-hour hike (is it called a hike if it's almost entirely downhill?). We're quite happy to hold onto autumn for as long as we can.



Monday, November 16, 2009

Baby Ruth anyone?

I know that poop in the bathtub is not a terribly unique parental experience but it doesn't make it any less funny.

Here's a sweet shot of the offender:




And the little gift he left behind when we picked him up:





Does anyone know where I can get a suit like Bill Murray's for the next time I have to scrub the tub?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I heart Autumn

Fall seems to be shorter here than back home. The chilly fingers of winter are already trying to push this season out of the way. Snow is predicted for this week and the stores are already filled with Christmas decorations. That's what happens in a country with no Halloween and Thanksgiving to help properly pace the holiday build-up.

Things I have loved about our autumn:
Making pumpkin soup
Long hikes in the woods nearby
Wearing my cozy fleece vest (thank you, Nancy, for not burning it or throwing it away yet!)
Feeding Townes his lunch by the lake so we can watch the swans and then play on the swings at the park
Crunching through fallen leaves while looking up to see the beautiful colors in the trees, I've even caught a few leaves in mid-air...someone once told me that it brings good luck. I don't believe in luck but I always reach my hand out when leaves are falling around me.
Pulling out the corduroys, the gloves, and the hats. The boy has even donned his Iceland tights for our hikes.
Smelling the chestnuts roasting at the Marroni stands that have begun opening around the city
Lots of time for playing indoors















Ahh, autumn. Now if I could find a place to roast some marshmallows over a campfire or watch a high school football game from the stands, I would feel much better about the transition into winter that seems to be upon us.

Monday, November 02, 2009

All dressed up with no place to go

Living in a country that does not celebrate Halloween has never bothered me before but, this year, I felt a bit of a loss. So I made a little costume for Townes and pureed some pumpkin for his dinner on Saturday. His costume was not nearly as elaborate and detailed as the fantastic outfits that my mom labored over every October but every kid needs to dress up on their first Halloween. So Townes was an octopus with eight arms and only one problem- no place to party!




I owe thanks to Maureen and Matt who allowed me to briefly turn their Housewarming party into a costume party last night! Their daughter donned her Disney princess gown for the occasion and their son was in a modified version of his Cardinals outfit. Good enough for us! However, if anyone wants to send us sympathy-mini-snickers bars from their kids' haul, it would help us to not lose sight of the true meaning of Halloween.




Halloween may not be a holiday here but autumn harvest is celebrated everywhere. Here's some requisite pictures from a pumpkin farm that had a Noah's Ark theme for its fantastic pumpkin displays:







Also- a refection on the movies (I don't have the cinematography background for an actual review). Excellent choices by Coy. The film set in London had ridiculous green slime oozing from the creatures. I loved it. And I caught myself clenching my fists while watching The Haunting. Apparently this movie raised the bar on the use of lighting, music, and camera angles to induce fear. Yeah, it worked. I greatly preferred these movies over previous attempts to convince me that horror movies are fun. I'm still in recovery from The Hills Have Eyes.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ahh, Zurich

The return to Zurich has been wonderful. Our first night home, we took our favorite walk that involves wooded trails and a view out over the city. We have caught up with many friends and settled back into our apartment. With the exception of the ongoing, noisy construction surrounding our place, we do prefer the more relaxed pace of life here.

I loved our time in London. Walks with Townes were so varied and fun. We had fantastic museums, huge parks, cool neighborhoods, and funky stores to explore. I loved being able to chat with the people around us who often were lured into conversation by Townes's big smile and wide eyes. (In fact, this has inspired my mission to 'chat' more while out in Zurich. I've decided that giving a familiar nod to the lady at the grocery is not enough and I'm now tripping my way through a bit more than the pleasantries in German.) When wrapping up our time in London, I had to admit that I also just liked that our apartment was bigger and had a washer/dryer! Here's a few pictures from our Saying Goodbye Tour:



Rose and Poppy treated us like family whenever we came to the grocery. When we walked in the door, the security guard would call out to them, "Your baby is here!" And at checkout time, one of them would shut down her line so she could play while the other scanned our stuff. This may not seem like a big deal but, for the first few weeks in an enormous city, it really meant a lot to feel known.










Patrick was from Ghana and he gave Townes an envelope when we left with some money. He told us that the Ghanaian tradition is to give water to people before they travel or provide money for the water on the way.

And Andrew from Scotland actually wiped away a tear when saying his farewell. These two men had spent quite a few mornings talking with Townes when we would walk Coy to work. Leaving London showed us how much we had to grateful for there.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Happy

Birfday love to the twins. I love these pictures!




Thursday, October 15, 2009

More from Iceland!



Leaving Iceland was hard to do and not just because we were so enraptured by the striking beauty of the landscapes or because we didn't want to say good-bye to Barbara and her freshly baked bread in the mornings. Though those factors were true, our problems had more to do with Russian planes and frozen fish. Our flight to London was delayed by a solid FIVE hours (Our plane was apparently late arriving from Russia and then we spent an hour+ on board with a wonderful view of the cases of fish being loaded) which meant that we missed our next flight back to Zurich. The reserve of relaxation points that we had stored up in Iceland were spent by the time we made it back home!

So deep breath, here's some more pictures.



You're looking at bits of a huge glacier that are making their way to the sea. It seemed as though they were not going anywhere but we stopped by the glacial lagoon two days in a row and could see that there had been plenty of movement.

It was Townes's first trip to the beach! He loved the sound of the water and watching the waves lap up close to his feet. I hope he won't be disappointed when he makes it to Gulf Shores one day and can't find the black sand or the big chunks of ice.




Coy is standing on basalt columns that are basically cooled lava. Svartifoss is a waterfall we hiked to that is flowing over more of the columns. During that hike, Townes proved that he can sleep in his new backpack!



Friday, October 09, 2009

A reason to enjoy the cold

We are now wrapping up six days in Iceland visiting our friend, Barbara. Barbara was one of our Swiss roommates when we lived outside of Zurich in a Wohngemeinschaft (or shared-housing arrangement) when Kacey and I were first in Switzerland. Barbara is now studying environmental science in the UK, and had a year long assignment to Reykjavik, Iceland that will wrap up this winter.

Iceland has been refreshing. We've learned that the boy loves - or at least tolerates to an extraordinary degree - Arctic wind gusts. When they are mild, he laughs them off. The stronger ones he handles admirably.

Our time here has been marked by contrasting natural beauty - blasts of snowy wind, warm fall days, desolate landscapes, as well as the bright oranges and yellows that mark the change of seasons. And I shouldn't forget the fresh fish, which brings back great memories of my life on the coast of Alabama (and it is well worth noting that our host is an excellent cook!).












To explain why Townes was so bundled into his jacket today, Reykjavik was pounded by wind gusts between 30 and 40 miles per hour. Adding below freezing temperatures to the mix, Townes needed a bit of extra help to stay cozy.

Boy, it was windy.