Thursday, December 31, 2009

Coretta's First Pair of Glasses

Coretta had been complaining of dizziness and headaches for about a month, so we brought her into the doctor and found out that she had very low blood pressure. The doctor said she needed to eat red meat three times a week. Ironically, this is one part of our diet that has changed here. we do not eat red meat. She stated that she can also take a multivitamin three times a day and she should be fine. Since Coretta has started her vitamins she has been feeling much better.

She further stated that she was having some trouble reading the board at school and to rule out that the headaches weren't a byproduct of her needing glasses, we scheduled an eye appointment with an opthamologist. While at her appointment, they covered one eye with an eye patch and had her explain which part of the circle was open (since the letter idea does not translate too well for English speakers) and then she took a circular object with a stick and covered each eye simultaneously asking what she saw. Next was looking at objects such as cars and cows and finding out if the images were clear or blurry. they then flashed a light into her eyes as well as being asked what she saw in a few ink blots. Afterwards, the woman told us that she did see eye strain and when this happened her eyes went inward which would explain seeing double at times and the faintness and dizziness. She then gave her eye drops to dilate the pupil so that the eye doctor could further examine her eyes. He stated that her little white speck in her eye was not causing any problem with her vision and would just be there which was also good to hear. She hadn't had that checked out since she was a baby. He stated that she did have myopia which is near sighted and that she would benefit from glasses especially when reading and at school.

We then went to the Photo Optik Grau in Zug to pick out her frames. We first went to Feldmans, but they looked really cheap and ugly. When at the Photo Optik, the eye specialist sat down with us and trued on several different styles of frames. Coretta decided on a light brown pair. We were told to come back tomorrow and they would be ready.

When we returned, they fitted her glasses around her ears, gave her a nice case, as well as a special case for them. She also received no glare lenses and scratch resistant lenses which will help in the longevity of the lenses.

Once I left, the bill cost 508 francs. Nick thought it was originally 200, but with the frames and the lenses the total was more expensive. We were informed however that the canton would reimburse up to 200 francs of the total cost bringing the price to 300. What really matters is that Coretta is comfortable with them and likes them.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Coretta Sledding in Engelberg with her Dad and her friend Hope

This past Sunday, Nick took Coretta and her friend Hope out for a day of sledding at one of the mountains. They drove to Sattel Hockstuckli which is about 30 minutes away, to find out that they have closed the sledding hills due to icy and dangerous conditions. That is the same experience we had at Zugerberg the other day as well. Nick decided that if they went to a mountain at a higher level, there would be snow instead of ice. They ended up at Titlis. Once there they were told that they would take the gondola up to the first area where they could get off and ride on these butt sleds that have a pole attached to it that allows you to brake and steer. It is about 3 miles down the mountain at the highest level, and then they could take the gondola back up. This went fine, until one sledder overshot his steering and ended up over the side of the mountain. They were informed that when that happens, they must close down the sledding to build the snow up higher on that side. Nick asked the girls what they wanted to do, and they decided to go to the next level where you get the toboggan type sleds and go down a wider runway which takes about 30 minutes to complete. Overall, it was a great day and Coretta and her friend loved it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Geno's New Bike

One of the presents that Geno received from Grandma and Grandpa Earnest was a balance bike. They are very popular in Europe. They basic concept is that if children learn how to balance first before pedaling, they will learn to ride a two wheeler much faster. In fact, this replaces the training wheel stage. This bike was first invented by a German inventor named Karl Drais in the 1800s. Geno absolutely loves his new bike and he can use it indoors and outdoors.

Sledding at Zugerberg

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Bieter Christmas 2009

We started the evening with home made spinach and ricotta cannelloni and olive bread. We then listened to Coretta play O Christmas Tree on the piano. Once we were done with that, we lined the kids up, and told them that they could only open one present at a time. Geno had the hardest time with this, because this was the first Christmas where he realized what was going on. Here is a video of Coretta playing the piano:

Coretta received many nice things, but the top on her list was the clothes she received. She got a lot of nice clothes from Abecrombie and Fitch from Grandma Earnest, some sweaters and sweater dresses from Hannah Andersson, and some really cute clog boots. She also got a make up kit from Claires, the movie Bedtime stories, necklace, bangles, and an art book. From Santa, she got another cute sweater dress with matching tights, a Volkswagen bus tin filled with candy, a gift certificate, the movie Marley and Me, a doll, and lots of chocolate.

Geno really enjoyed his presents this year. He received a Little People bus and bulldozer, Melissa and Doug wooden teddy bear dress up puzzle, Lola and Charlie dolls and DVD's, Mickey Mouse DVD's, two sweaters and a shirt, a cutting puzzle game, a train set, and a bike. From Santa, he got a firetruck, cars, little people figurines, and a lot of candy in a firetruck tin.

Thanks again to Grandma Marilyn and Grandma and Grandpa Earnest for all of the nice gifts. I hope all of our family and friends wherever you were, had a Merry Christmas! Now we just need to be patient and wait for our 7 day trip to Egypt in January!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Geno's 3rd Birthday

For Geno's birthday today, we took him to McDonalds for lunch which is his favorite place in the whole world. He was able to play in the jungle gym and slide down the slide with his big sister Coretta and his friend Michael. He was having so much fun, he didn't want to leave.

Sledding for the First Time this Year

During the morning, we went sledding down the street in the neighborhood. Last year Geno couldn't handle the snow or the cold, but this year he completely embraced the idea. Once to the hill, which took some navigation on Geno's part (due to all of the layers which threw him off balance) we made it to the top. We sat Geno on the sled first and then Coretta sat behind them and off they went giggling the whole way down. Climbing up the hill each time proved difficult, but the more times he did it, the better he became. Finally, he decided that he didn't even need a sled, and that his butt served the purpose just fine. Using his legs he would push himself down the hill trying to catch up with Coretta. I then showed Geno how to take the snow in your hands and pack it in the form of a snowball. He found this quite fascinating and enjoyed making and throwing snowballs down the hill.

Here's a video of Geno trying to climb the sledding hill:

Now it is Coretta's turn:

Opening Geno's Birthday Gifts

Tonight we are making Geno's requested dinner which is mummy dogs (hot dogs with biscuit dough around them) and french fries followed up with homemade chocolate cake and ice cream. And of course who could forget the presents from Mommy, Daddy, Coretta, Grandma and Grandpa Earnest, and Grandma Marilyn. All in all, it was a fabulous day for turning three years old. We love you Geno!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Our Trip to Heidelberg Germany

The second day, we decided to tour the Heidelberg Castle which is the oldest castle in Europe. It has been in existence as early as the 1400s when Ludwig V was King. We had to take a funicular up to the top, and Geno became quite scared of the underground tunnels we had to go through to get to the Heidelberg Castle. Once there, we bought our tickets, and first toured the castle grounds. The grounds were magnificent even in winter with many areas to sit and gorgeous views of the city below. Once in, there were beautiful buildings with statues such as the one with all of the allegorical figures. Once to the Great Terrace, one had the most breathtaking view of the city of Heidelberg and all of it's major monuments and churches as well as spectacular views of the Neckar River with the old historic brownstone bridge. Although it was quite cold this day, we all handled it fairly well, and was well worth taking the time to see. We can now say we were one of the million people who come each year to take a look at the castle. Although we didn't run into any royalty, princesses or knights, the ambiance of this place definitely exuded their presence.

The first day, we drove about 3.5 hours to Heidelberg and all went well. Geno didn't puke in the car (thanks to Dramamine) and Coretta even fit in a nap and some time to read. Once there, we checked into our hotel called the Hotel Bayerisch Hof which was located right in the heart of the old aldstadt part of town. Once settled, we ventured out to do a little shopping, but the 8 degree temps proved too cold for Geno, so Nick and Geno went back to the hotel while Coretta and I shopped along the historic promenade of pedestrian boutiques. Coretta bought a nice wool jacket from her favorite store called Pimpkie, we found a teddy bear for Geno, and some wool socks for Dad. Coretta and I even managed to find some Christmas sock slippers. After looking at several of the Christmas Markets on display and admiring the quality craftmanship of the merchandise, we made it back to the hotel for some Chinese take out. While I worked on singing Christmas lullabies to Geno and putting him to sleep, Coretta and Nick ventured out into the cold once more to do a little sightseeing and experience more of the Christmas Markets. At night the castle is lit up and is an amazing sight to behold. They found a great place for hot chocolate and gluewin (warm spiced wine) and took in the sights before coming home.

The other interesting place that we toured was the Apothecary Museum which was located on the grounds of the Heidelberg Castle. The Apothecary remains were once housed in Munich, but moved to Heidelberg permanently after the bombings in Munich in the 1930's during World War II. This was one of Coretta's favorite places we went. Being interested in healing and health, as well as wanting to be a doctor, she found this place quite amazing. She loved smelling all of the different herbs and was shocked that these can be grown in the ground and actually fight off sickness or death. Some of the medicines on display were even said to be blessed by the Virgin Mary herself. We also saw a painting of Jesus as a pharmacist on display. Geno and Coretta also enjoyed the kid friendly part of the museum where they could balance different things in the scales.

We also took a stroll along the scenic walk near the Neckar River. Even though it was cold, it was still beautiful. Seeing all of the beautiful homes nestled along the riverbank was beautiful and romantic. In the summer, they have boat tours of this area on the river and would definitely be worth the time. we then were able to see the old historic bridge before making our way back to the old part of the city.

As we walked the streets, we ducked into a Starbucks for some warmth and a treat. Geno's cheeks were so rosy from the cold and he happily sat down to get a much wanted reprieve from the biting cold. As we sat there sipping our hot chocolate and coffee, we could see the Christmas Markets reopening for business. Afterwards, we walked around and saw many items for sale such as candles, German Christmas Pyramids, Nativity scenes, ceramics, pottery, knitted sweaters, hats, and gloves. Nick bought me a beautiful hand made Alpaca wool sweater made out of llamas wool and is authentic and one of a kind. Alpaca wool is as soft as cotton and as warm as regular wool. The difference is that there are only two times during the year that you can attain wool from the animal to make sweaters, hats, and scarves, and only the top of the head and the neck can be used. I will cherish this Christmas present for many years to come.

If the Christmas Markets, the Heidelberg Castle, and the old part of the city not enough for you, the historic churches and monuments are also beautiful to behold. One church, in particular called the Holy Spirit Church housed both Roman Catholics and Protestants in the walls of the church with just a wall separating the two. This church has been burned by the French, but is one of the only historic churches to remain intact after World War II. In fact, many of the Palatine tombs are in the church itself.

Overall, this was a great family destination, and we plan to come again to take in the oldest university in Germany as well as tour the student prison. Thank you Nick for planning this trip for me. It was such a wonderful time.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter Play with Geno

Geno and I decided to go for a walk to the park to play outside. I had to go to the grocery store, and he would only oblige if I promised him a sucker. Once that was done, we walked to the park where he threw rocks down the slide, dragged his feet in the snow, rode the rocking horse, and walked carefully on the snow covered bridge. Here are some pictures from today!

Geno Learns his Colors

Geno has been learning a lot lately at school, but they are on holiday until January 4th, so Mom is kicking it up a notch at home. Today we were practicing our colors and fine motor skills. Here in the collage above, Geno is working on his mosaic of a firetruck. Here he has shown his mastery of the colors blue, green, and red. He also knows the colors purple, yellow, orange, and black.
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Mommy's Little Reindeer

Geno and Coretta are definitely in the spirit of Christmas and Santa's little helpers. If I need either one to help me out, all I have to say is that maybe Santa won't be coming this year. This is the first year that Geno really understands the concept. Below is a little movie I put together of Coretta and Geno. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Nick's Snowshoeing Adventure

Christmas Crafts with the Kids

Today we decided to decorate the house with Christmas crafts. Geno, Coretta, and I made reindeer, angels, Christmas wreaths, Christmas trees, and snowflakes. The kids also took their recent school pictures and made them into ornaments to hang on the tree. Geno particularly liked hanging the snowflakes on the tree. Tree is decorated, holiday cookies made, presents wrapped under the we need to be patient and wait. That is the hard part.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Reflections on 2009

Now that the holiday season is upon us, it got me thinking about all of the memories from this past year. A little over a year, we jumped on a thirteen hour plane ride to our new home in Switzerland.

Although we did enter into this with our eyes wide open, their were some challenges along the way. For instance, shopping. If you are grocery shopping and have limited German vocabulary, this can be quite daunting. Throw in an uncooperative two year old with a two second attention span, it is down right frightening. Thank God for the pictures on some of the packaging. For example, picking out meat is very helpful when they have a picture of a chicken, turkey, or pig on it, but even more essential when they include pictures of a horse, ostrich, and boar on the packaging. They also have a wild season where you can eat deer meat, duck, boar in restaurants as well as purchase this meat in the grocery store. It is nice to know what you are eating.

When looking for mayonnaise, one must not look for a jar, but a tube. Many things we put in a jar, they put in a tube. Refrigeration. Another good point. Eggs and milk do not have to be refrigerated here. I still do it even though I do not need to. Habit I guess. The food here tends to be fresh, Switzerland grown, and organic. No preservatives. I now know what I am eating. Take some time away from foods with preservatives, additives, and fillers and you can taste the difference. By the way, all cheese is white here, cheddar included.

The chocolate in general is like no other here and have definitely perfected the art. It is one thing I will miss when we leave, among many.

Another important concept to learn is that they are avid recyclers: clothes, cardboard, glass, paper, metal, and batteries are some of the things that are recycled each week by you. You must make a stop at the village recycling plant and spend a couple hours sorting your stuff. With that said, the time this takes is really nothing and you are doing your part to save the environment. Special garbage bags or apfel sackli must be purchased from the cashier at one of the two grocery stores at 25 CHF a roll. They are gray with a red tree on them, and any waste you do not recycle must be put in here, or risk a fine or being publicly humiliated by the villagers that live in your neighborhood.

If you have any other household items you would like to get rid of, you can drop them off at your neighborhood Brocki and even get a little money for them. These items are then resold to people in the neighborhood. Similar to rummage sales in America.

Don't forget that Switzerland is quite safer than America. The police do not carry guns, there is rarely violent crime, stealing, and women can walk alone at night. All things that allowed me and my children more freedom, but it was hard to change the mind set. Coretta is able to play outside until dark with no worries. Priceless.

The trains in Switzerland are clean, reliable, and quiet. they can take you anywhere in Switzerland or any of the other European countries with ease. All of you in America that are fighting against the light rail, have no idea how important this is. If available people will use it. Car exhaust would be lessened in the environment and would help the congested highways in most of the big urban cities.

Another difference is shopping for clothes. They do not have American sizing and everything is different. My shoe size in America was a size 9, and here is a 41. Geno is a size 5 in America and he is a 110 here. You get the point. Sizing across the board is different as they have adopted the metric system, so those of you that say there is no need to learn it, are far from being right.

With all of these differences, there was also the ability to travel to several different countries such as Italy, France, Germany, Austria by car or train which has opened my eyes to so much. We have traveled to all of these places, seen countless museums and art galleries, monuments, and old historical churches. Since I am a history buff, this knowledge and experience has been priceless.

All Switzerland residents are required by law to have 15 days paid leave consecutively each year. They cannot come into work. This is not the only paid holiday. They have many. Work is second to their lifestyle. The way it should be. Many say, "I only vacationed one week in Italy." Unheard of to say something like that in America.

Health care is affordable and accessible for all and you do no not need to worry about retiring because of your health insurance benefits and the health care is one of the best in the world. They have also adopted a new pension plan for all people who are residents in Switzerland and will say that it is definitely a comfortable amount.

Both of my children also have the privilege to attend private International Schools at the yearly price of 26,000 free thanks to Nick's job where they learn German and French. I think it is shameful that we tend to only speak one language in America. Not only that, but we wait until seventh grade to start teaching a language. They should start in kindergarten and should be a requirement to be fluent in at least one other language. In Switzerland, they learn German, Italian, French, and English. Unbelievable. Because of the recent immigration by Chinese in Australia, many of their schools are now requiring students to learn Chinese as well.

I feel very blessed. I have my health and my family. I have the ability to travel and see the world. I have the chance to learn about new cultures and European history as well as being able to have quality time with my husband and children. I wouldn't trade this experience for the world. It has allowed me to grow in ways I never even imagined and as always, has made Nick and I grow closer together as in everything we do. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of our friends and family in England, India, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Egypt, and America. We love and miss you all.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bieter Christmas Movie

Since we will be in Switzerland, and so far away from family and friends back in the United States, I created this movie entitled The Bieter Family On Location, But Missing their Loved Ones So Much. I have highlighted our travels in Switzerland, Germany, France, Austria, and Italy. Enjoy!!

Two Peas in a Pod

Coretta had her friend come over after school for a play date a couple of days ago. She rode the bus home with Coretta and played in the neighborhood. They then came in for home made pizza, sang songs, created plays, and put make up on each other. I really enjoy having Gabriel over. She is such a good friend to Coretta and they are really carbon copies of one another. Here's a photo of them eating their pizza. I'll have to have her sleep over during the holiday break a couple of times.

Geno's Rendition of Twinkle Twinkle

Geno came home from school and kept singing a song and doing gestures with it for Mommy and Daddy. At first, I could not make out what he was saying, but when I really concentrated on his words, I realized her was singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star except he says Geno Star. Listen and see if you can make out the lyrics.

Coretta and her Tooth

My lovely daughter was biting into a cookie at school, when she lost her tooth. She then went into the nurses office, they gave her a cute wooden box that was shaped like a tooth, where she placed it. When she got home, she showed me it.

That night, the tooth fairy forgot to come. I think it was because of the blizzard like conditions in Minnesota. I told her that the tooth fairy was battling gusting winds and below zero temperatures, not to mention she needed to travel across the Atlantic Ocean.

Later that day, when Coretta was sleeping, the tooth fairy did come and gave her 5 francs. I told Coretta, "See I told you she didn't forget about you!"

Conversations About Santa

The other day, Geno and I were talking about Santa and what he wants from him if he is nice. Geno says choo choo train and toy cars. I asked him to repeat the word Santa Claus because he calls him Fa Caus. When he refused, I said if you don't want to see Santa, you won't get any gifts. he quickly then says, "Merry Christmas." Take a look:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Geno's School Picture

Geno just received his school pictures today. Isn't he the cutest little man you have ever seen? Gotta love my Geno Man. Almost three years old already.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Cookie Decorating with the Kids

Today Coretta, Geno, and I decided to decorate our sugar cookies for Christmas. Making cookies, as with coking, is quite different living in Switzerland because all labels are in German. It does somewhat limit your ability to make certain things. For instance, they do not have brown sugar. I could, however, order this from the London Store, for an inflated price, or just make the cookies I can make without it. I chose the latter. Food coloring is another hard commodity to find. It is called Lebensmittel Furbe and seems to only be out on the Holidays.

This year we have made Grandma Alice Earnest's famous chocolate peanut butter bars that have been passed down from generation to generation, Grandma Julia Earnest's snowball cookies that I remember so fondly at Christmas time, as well as homemade sugar and shortbread cookies with cream cheese frosting. Oh, and how can I forget: fudge which Grandma Marilyn always had an abundance of and was oh soooo good.

This is the first time Geno has frosted cookies and he absolutely loved it. He was quite proud of the creations he could make. As for Coretta, my little angel, she went into town to get the ingredients I needed, and had fun frosting them as well. Their favorite past might be sampling their final products I think. Tonight we will follow this up with watching The Grinch who Stole Christmas with Jim Carey. I love the holidays, except for being away from my family in the United States. That is the hard part.

Snowshoeing in Switzerland

This past Sunday, Nick went snowshoeing for the first time this season. His Christmas present from the family was a pair of his very own snowshoes since this is one of his favorite past times. He went on a four hour snowshoeing expedition with a couple of friends. They started their journey at the base and worked their way up the mountain. At times, they needed to make their own path, which can be very exhausting. In fact, the last 40 minutes was doing exactly that. Once to the top, they enjoyed a nice lunch, saw Samiclaus and Scmutzli with his donkey, and Nick even took his picture with a Swiss family. He plans to go again next Sunday and has already mapped out his destination.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Santa comes to Geno's School

This past Saturday, Geno had the privilege to see Santa at his school from 9:00 am until 10:30 am. All of his classmates and teachers were there to meet Santa. they were all a little apprehensive at first, but warmed up to him quickly. Santa had his naughty and nice list handy and took the time to talk to each child about what they wanted for Christmas. geno stated that he would really like a fire truck. Then Santa gave them each a bag full of peanuts, walnuts, and chocolate as well as a present which once unwrapped was a book! Thank you Santa for taking time out of your busy schedule to see us!

Geno's Walk to the Farm

This past week, Geno and his classmates had the chance to walk to the farm and check out all of the animals. this is one of the many perks of living in Switzerland. there are farms everywhere, and the farmers are so accommodating when children show interest in the animals. Here Geno is spending some time looking at the pigs.

Geno Working Hard at the Beehive School

Here are a few of the latest pictures of Geno at school. He loves to push the strollers around the school, sing songs, make arts and crafts, play with the trains and cars, and matching games. In fact, when I drop him off, he rushes in excited to grasp a new idea. Nothing better to see than your child engaged and happy. Love you my little Geno man.

Coretta in the Play Aladdin and the Magic Lamp

Here are a few more pictures of Coretta from the play. She had her last two performances on Saturday. She had eight performances in all and some very long days on Saturdays having to be there from 1:00 pm until 11:00 pm those nights. Job well done Coretta!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Alapilio Musical with Friends

Geno's teachers invited me out for their Christmas party this year. We drove to Wintherur where we had dinner and took in the musical Alapilio which was about a town that was sick of war, sick of pollution, sick of people fighting. Although it was all in German, it was a great performance. The actual dinner theatre was in an old warehouse that was turned into the theatre. Previously it was used to make steam locomotives. It was a wonderful night and I was glad to be a part of it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Naughty or Nice?

Geno has been learning about Christmas and Santa at school and at home these past few days. He has learned that his behavior is contingent on his chances of getting presents from Santa and Mommy and Daddy this year. Geno just had his professional pictures taken at school this year and hope to send those out as soon as they are ready.

In school, they had the opportunity to make the English tea towels again and those will be mailed to Grandma's and Grandpa's real soon. Geno's hand print is the chubby one in the middle. Santa will be making an appearance and Geno's school on Saturday, so we look forward to that as well.

School is going well, and he is making a lot of new friends such as Antoine, Christopher, Pascal, and Arda as well as some girlfriends named Olivia and Anna. In fact, he came home a couple months ago and was taking about this girl named Freeya being a cute girl. It happens to be that the girl he is speaking of is Olivia, the teacher's granddaughter who is also Italian. They chase each other and even sometimes kiss.

He does not let that discourage other suitors though. The other day, while I was at the school, I saw a brunette girl who just turned three, putting her arms around Geno and kissing him again, and again, and again. I think I will have my hands full with this Mr. Lover Boy! The picture above is his new Christmas outfit purchased by Grandma and Grandpa Earnest. Below is a picture of his tea towel.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Coretta's Endangered Species Persuasive Speech

Coretta has been working on her mountain gorilla speech for some time now. She has become quite the little researcher. As an end to the unit, Coretta was to write and memorize a persuasive speech about mountain gorillas and present it to the class. It went very well. here is a video of Coretta practicing the night before.

Charlie going down the Twirly Slide

The other day at the park, Charlie was so excited to chase the kids around and in particular run down the twirly slide. He just kept doing it again, and again, and again.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Holidays from the Bieter Family

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Here are the Bieter's at their best performance seen on JibJab yet: The Snowball Fight!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Coretta's First Play Opening Night

Nick and I went to opening night for the play Aladdin and the Magical Lamp on Friday to see Coretta perform. She did a great job, although being up from 7 am until 11 pm, makes for a long day. She was in almost every scene dancing and singing. She had two costume changes. The first she wore silky pajamas and the other a yellow tutu for the ballerina scene. I hope all goes well tomorrow. She has two shows and will be at the theatre from 1 pm until 11 pm. Keep up the great performances Coretta. Your Mom and Dad are very proud of you.

Below is a picture collage of pictures I took during the production.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving in the Swiss Alps

Being an ex-pat is always hard around the holidays, especially when you live in a country that doesn't celebrate that particular day. That is what it is like living in Switzerland. Nick went to work for a half day today, Coretta and Geno had school. No four day weekend as a family spending time with extended family and friends. This year we were able to find a reasonably priced turkey (8.4 pounds for 49 dollars) which was a bargain from last years 100 dollar turkeys.

We celebrated around 5:00 pm. Everything about the day was going as planned, until we tried to turn our stove top on to make the potatoes. Nick turned to me and said that the stove top wasn't working. When I went over and tried it, he was right. Just two red dashes. No power. I quickly went to read the manual, which stated that either a fuse was blown or you need to call customer service. Nick went and switched the fuse. We tried again. Nothing. At this point, I am laughing. We have a friend coming over for dinner, and our turkey is ready, but no way to cook the potatoes or heat the corn. First thing we thought of was to call one of our neighbors and ask to borrow their stove. No one was around, so we quickly moved to plan B. Plan B was to put the potatoes and water into the stove, crank the heat, and hope they will boil. As we are thinking up this master plan, our dinner guest arrives and had a good laugh at our expense. Finally realizing that it may take all night for the potatoes to boil, we made a consecutive decision to cut the turkey and go ahead with the rest of the food. We had turkey, homemade wheat bread, corn, stuffing, and apple pie. Although we couldn't make the potatoes or gravy, it still turned out well. Here are some pictures of our Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends and family that are celebrating this season around the world. We love and miss you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Coretta´s first Play: Aladdin and the Magic Lamp

The rehearsals are slowly coming to an end. Coretta has one more rehearsal before the opening night on Friday November 27th at 8 pm. The other shows are Saturday November 28th at 3 pm and 8 pm, and December 5 at 3 pm and 8 pm. Nick and I are attending and are looking forward to seeing the hard work put forth by all of the people that were part of this play. You can see some photos from their rehearsals by clicking on the official site English Theate of Zug and click on the upper left corner on pictures of rehearsals.

Coretta´s Unit on Mountain Gorillas

Coretta has been working on an Endangered Species Unit Titled Then and Now for a few months in school. The objectives of this project were to choose an endangered species that interests you, research information about your topic, create a visual (poster, booklet, paper) and create a diorama of their natural habitat.

Coretta chose to research mountain gorillas. Since 1963, there are only 200 mountain gorillas left and did you know that they share 98 percent of the same genetic make up as humans?

Coretta´s research and information was thorough and concise and she did a great job presenting it to us at school today. The pictures on his post are from our time at her school today which include a picture with Mom and Dad, her diorama, and poster. A job well done Coretta!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Homemade Carrot Cake

I decided to try my hand at making a carrot cake from scratch with cream cheese frosting, and the picture shows the results. It was, to my surprise, very delicious.

Coretta Sprains her Wrist

Coretta was out playing with her friends on Friday night, and when she came back in, she was holding her wrist. She wasn´t crying, but when I looked at her wrist it was swollen in one spot and her face was white as a ghost. I was worried that she may go in shock, like Nick did when he sprained his, and decided it would be best if she went to the Cantonal Hospital and have the ER Doctors take a look at it. Nick drove her and they didn´t get home until 10 am. Her hand was wrapped in he color of her choice, and was given pain medication, and gel that needs to be applied morning and night.

If it is still causing her pain and difficulty, we have been encouraged to take her into her pediatrician on Monday. Apparently in small children the X-ray does not necessarily show small fractures, so we will see. She is a trooper.