Thursday, 29 April 2010

Camera troubles

Help! I'm camera-less at the moment and have to take photos for my Project 365. What am I to do?

The battery on my small Panasonic Lumix is dead ......may it rest in peace....and normally I'd just recharge it.
But for some reason the battery recharger doesn't want to work and I don't know what is wrong with it. It's not the mains or the cable which means it has to be the recharger itself. I'm going to have to buy a new battery recharger and find someone that has a Lumix so I can at least recharge my battery until  it comes.

The hubster has a camera (Digital Nikon D50) and I would normally use that but Melissa took it to New Zealand with her and brought it back "kaput". The autofocus won't work and my eyes aren't that brilliant to focus it manually. I took some photos yesterday and although I thought they were in focus, once I downloaded them onto my computer, I noticed that they weren't clear at all. What a bummer! 

Look at the trees and bushes behind Mr D. - out of focus......

This one was okay but still not very sharp

This one (below) of Melissa was the only one that was clear and I was so close that it was probably impossible not to see and focus well :)

To do list:
  • Buy new recharger
  • Fix Mr D's camera
  • While we are fixing things we can also get my Pfaff sewing machine repaired
 My problems are really big aren't they? lol!!

Enjoy the day (it's summer weather here at the moment)

Hugs all,


Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Is it possible to save money by spending money? I say yes but the hubster says no. He says it doesn't make sense because you are indeed handing money over for a certain product thus not saving anything at all, but my logic is if I'm going to buy it anyway and I can get it cheaper then I have saved money? Right? What do you think?
If I order some Levi's from the States and have them sent to my brother in Utah (my mum will bring them home with her and I will get them in July) and spend $50 and save at least $50 compared to the price here in Switzerland, then I think I've done a good deal. Yes, I 've spent $50 but I've also saved. Plus it's hard finding Mr D's size, so I win! :)
I'm also ordering a Cuttlebug machine - I've wanted one for ages but I wasn't paying $50 shipping to Switzerland. Amy (my niece who lives in OH) is also coming to England this summer so I've asked her for some of her luggage space, which she has kindly agreed to. I'm saving loads of money at the moment ......cough cough.... ;)

Sunday, 25 April 2010


Last week I read a blog entry from Shawni Pothier about hard work and independence, and about teaching children responsibility. From her entry and the many comments left by other mothers, I could tell that this topic is a worry to many parents who feel that our children are being spoilt and pampered.
It took me back to the time when we decided it was time that our children had chores. It started with tidying the toys away and progressed to setting the table, emptying the compost (which everybody hated doing), feeding the rabbits and then emptying the dishwasher. If I remember correctly Melissa took over the dishwasher job when she was in the 1st grade and has made her way up to the grand position of a  "bathroom cleaner". It hasn't been an easy ride but we feel it is important that all families members contribute to cleaning up the "family mess". 

While I was thinking about this topic it reminded me of two books that I read while the children were young, which were actually written by Shawni's mother, Linda Eyre. One was called "A joyful mother of children: The magic and mayhem of motherhood" and the other "I didn't plan to be a witch" These two books along with a couple of others were livesavers for me and I remember implementing some of her ideas on my little family. I decided to re-read these books and have enjoyed the funny, witty and wise "voice" of Linda Eyre re-confirming things that I had forgotten. I marked a few pages but there was one statement that particulary spoke to me:

"Contrary to what we may have heard, children are not like clay - which we can mold into whatever we want if we try hard enough. They are seedlings. The seed of what they are has already been planted from the moment they began their existence. Some may be orange trees and other might be lemons. It is our job, as the gardeners, to observe, water, expose to sun, weed, provide fertilizer, and nurture, in order to make the most beautiful plant possible from the seedlings we are given".

We have three teenagers in our home at the moment  and we realise how much hard work it is to nurture them in the way that they need it. Each child is different and needs a different fertilizer than his or her sibling. All of them need rules and guidelines but we have noticed, for example that there is no one way to execute consequences. Even though all four children have grown up with the same parents in the same household not one of them acts the same way, which leads me to believe that the pre-existent spirit has much more influence on who we are than we realise. So, we have a lot fruit trees in our family making one very colourful fruit salad! 

Another thing I noticed while I was re-reading these books is how quickly I forgot the trial and stressfulness of life with babies and toddlers. It was hard for me to remember what it felt like having 4 children under 8. I remember reading these books and feeling that they were like water to a parched plant. I "drank" them up and felt strength and hope. Remembering that there would be light at the end of my tunnel some day! I realise that our brains help us forget so that we can survive the next step or phase in motherhood. It's like childbirth - just when the birth pains get really strong you remember what it felt like last time but then it's far too late!! lol!
Time makes things seem not so hard. Things that were tragic at the time seem not to be so bad later on. You have to ask yourself, "which child was it that kept on throwing full toilet rolls into the toilet and blocking it up?" How can you forget something that was a reason to pull your hair out?

I wouldn't say that I'm out of the tunnel yet but that my eyes have adjusted to the lack of light and that I find that with a few tools I can "see" quite well. Books, friends, the gospel are some of the tools that I have found on my way.
There are days when I see the light getting lighter and I realise that it scares me -  How will I react when my children have all left home? Will they want to come home and visit? Will they be balanced, happy people? Have I done a good job as their mother? Will there be regrets? I guess time will tell....

I am enjoying the ride of motherhood and although there are still days that my witches hat comes out of the closet I must also admit that I am learning to deal with my "witchiness" a lot better. I hope my family will agreee......

Hugs all,


Sunday, 18 April 2010

Movies, babies and volcanoes

As I mentioned on my previous blog entry, we went to see "How to train your dragon" on Tuesday. Jordan decided not to join us as a friend called him about an hour before we were to go out and invited him to spend the day with him and have a sleep-over. 
So it was just Daniel and myself, and we had a great time together and really enjoyed the movie. I especially enjoyed the music.We watched it in German as they didn't have an English showing. In a way I'm glad for Daniel that it wasn't available in English as a lot of it was in Scottish English and he would have had a hard time understanding it. I think I might buy the dragon book series by Cressida Cowell for Daniel to read.

Don't we look silly in our 3D glasses?!

On Friday Stephanie came around with the twins and we all had fun playing with Eleanor and Liora. We all reverted to speaking baby language and didn't care that we sounded stupid! The babies smelled gorgeous - you know the lovely baby smell that they have! I could smell them on my clothes even after they left. 

On Wednesday a volcano errupted in Iceland and has been causing problems for northern Europe's air space. All flights out of Switzerland were grounded as of Friday at midnight and will probably continue to be so until Tuesday. Thousands of people are stranded. We been told that the situation could get worse as the eruptions from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano could continue for months, causing unprecedented travel chaos.

Almost two-thirds of all transatlantic flights into European airports were cancelled and authorities shut down airspace over France, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Slovakia, Croatia and Hungary. As the cloud moved east, flights were halted at Frankfurt, Europe's third-busiest airport, and at 10 other German airports.
In Iceland, the volcano continued to erupt, but volcanologists said it was less explosive than at the beginning of the eruption on Wednesday, which blasted glassy abrasive ash, destructive to jet engines, eight miles into the sky. The plume is now rising to a height of just three miles, and volcanologists said this would deposit ash only in Iceland and surrounding waters. It is not high enough to travel thousands of miles across Britain and the rest of Europe.
My thoughts go out to the many people that are stranded and can't get home. I hope this cloud clears up soon because this is going to have massive effect on the economy and trade is going to suffer. This is rather worrying......

Hope you all have a good start to the new week and let's pray that the wind blows strongly and that it rains.

Hugs all,


Tuesday, 13 April 2010

My shoulder

I went back to the orthopedic doctor this morning to find out what the results of my MRI were. I have torn a tendon but luckily for me it wasn't the tendon the doctor had originally thought it could be. He thought it was the Supraspinatus tendon, which would require surgery but as I said, luckily for me, it is the Long biceps tendon which connects the biceps to the shoulder blade which has a small tear. This won't require surgery but will need physiotherapy twice weekly for at least the next six weeks. The orthopedist wants to see me again in six weeks to see if the physio is doing its job; if not then he wants to give me cortisone injections - which I don't want!!

I have noticed an improvement in mobility the past few weeks, so I am hoping for a full, speedy recovery without the assistance of any steriods.

Just a note: my computer crashed the other day (after Aaron took it to a LAN-party) and I don't know if all my data has been lost. I haven't done a back-up for a few months (I know, silly me!) and am afraid that all of my photos have gone!! Boo-hoo!!
A friend, an IT specialist, is taking a look at it for me but it doesn't look good.....

It's still spring break here so the boys and I are going to watch "How to train your dragon" at the cinema this afternoon. Hope you too have a lovely day......

Hugs all,


Thursday, 8 April 2010

Zürich with friends

I only usually blog once a week but this week I've gone a bit mad but then again, we are doing more things to document :)
Yesterday (Wednesday) we met up with our good friends. They live in the Basel area and we are in the St. Gallen area so we decided to meet up in the middle - Zürich.
The hubster had read about a "walk around the Zürich airport" and decided that that sounded like fun. We could walk and talk and see planes land and take off. Yes, he definitely has the Y chromosone! To be fair, it was rather cool being so close to the runways and seeing the planes take off. Sometimes the earth would tremble!

Even though we'd talked to each other on the phone, we hadn't seen our friends since last summer, where we spent two weeks holiday together. We'd rented appartments next door to each other and we shared a large balcony/terrace together. We had wanted to repeat the experience but the appartment was already booked out for the next few summers. We had booked two years in advance as it was......perhaps next year.

So two of our four and three of their five kids accompanied us to Zürich airport. There were quite a few plane spotters there with their cameras and massive lenses, and we found out that the new Airbus A380 was due to take off in a short while - how lucky for us!

The Airbus A380 from Singapore Airlines



The hubster and Paul

We thought this was hilarious - "Beware of tanks"!! 
A jogger passed us by and Delfina called out "Watch out for the tanks!" We couldn't stop laughing. It was only later on that we realised that the area around the airport is used for training by the Swiss military. In fact, we saw two groups of soldiers in their gear wearing gas masks. It was so hot yesterday and I can only imagine how they must have felt.

I snapped this shot of a street sign and thought it was representative of the way those soldiers must be feeling......"am I in hell?" Our nephew, Jonathan is doing his basic training at the moment; we hope he is having an okay time.

The kids (and adults) were hot and bothered so we decided to take a break and have a cool down in the stream. It was nice to sit for a while and the kids had fun paddling  in the water. We couldn't believe the weather; it was so warm and we even got sunburnt. Who would have thought we would have needed suncream in April? I think it was about 22 °c..........

It was nice to see each other again and I guess that one of the negative things about moving away is you leave good friends behind. You would think we would see more of each other as we only live two hours away, but those two hours may just as well be 12 hours! 
Delfina has been my good friend from the beginning (when I came to Switzerland). She and Paul got married the same year we did and we had our first three kids within a half year of each other. Jordan and Romina have a relationship close to that of a sibling. Even though they are both 14 resp. 15 years old they never went through that boy/girl separation thing that most kids go through. I think it's cool. Each time they see each other, they just pick up where they left off. It's like that with Delfina and myself. We know each other so well.

I always tell my children that one of the most important things they'll ever do here on earth is make relationships that will hopefully last an eternity. You can't take "things" with you but you can take those meaningful relationships. I want my kids to be their best friends. I want them to be able to rely on each other and be there for one another. I want them to feel that family is the best thing ever.......

Hugs all,


Out and about in Thurgau

The hubster has a little booklet called "On foot through Eastern Switzerland" with 45 family hikes/walks in its pages. Today (Tuesday) we decided to make a day trip using one of the routes found in the book. We had wanted to take a trip to Obersee in Glarus but after taking a look at the local webcam and seeing that it was still covered in snow, we had to find a different outing. We decided on the first tour in the book which would take us into Thurgau, the apple region of the country.
Our starting point was the tiny village of "Berg", which was in the middle of nowhere. It was even too small to find on our GPS and so I had to use my skills at map reading to get us there. Mr D and I had a small tiff when he insulted my map reading capabilities but we got there in the end! :)

We left the car and started our journey. The first thing of interest was a castle with foundations dating back from 1183. The building that was there now had been built in the 17th century and was currently being used as a retirement home! Not bad, eh? I wouldn't mind spending the rest of my days in a place like that. There is a lovely park to walk around and they have views to die for .......oops, perhaps that was a bit of a bad joke but you get my drift!

This photo doesn't do the view any real justice. Sadly, you can't get the same effect without seeing the alps with your own eyes. I could have sat and looked at them the whole day and not get bored.

Our outings always need some sticks. The hubster always has his knife with him and is always called upon to find and then make the right stick for each of the children.

Jordan had also taken his Swiss army knife with him and all of them argued who should have the knife next!!!

After about an hour and a half of walking we found the pick-nick place mentioned in the booklet. It was great. It had a barbecue pit, two wooden tables and benches, stacked wood and even a rubbish bin! Don't you just love Switzerland.....

Jordan and Daniel found a cool tree to climb and it wasn't long before Melissa had to show her prowess at tree climbing and wasn't to be outdone by her brothers!!

After we'd barbecued and eaten our sausages, I decided to enjoy the sunshine 
and have a lie down on the table we weren't using.

Mr D and the kids then took turns on a tree trunk and posed for the camera:

Joan .....I mean Melissa of Arc

Ninja Melissa

My name is Bond......Daniel Bond.....!!

Don't we look cool sucking our lolly-pops?!?!

This tiny hamlet of Ottoberg, (it was too small to be called a village) was about three quarters into our journey. It looked like time had stood still and we didn't want to make a lot of noise in case we woke it up. Funnily enough, when I got home and looked at the booklet again, this was an identical picture that was featured in the book. Am I good or what?

The kids were dead on their feet by the time we got to the train station in Märstetten and Daniel was not very pleased. We took the train to Weinfelden and then had to change trains to get us back to Berg. Due to some mistake, we ended up taking the inter-city to Kreuzlingen instead of the regio-train to Kreuzlingen. The inter-city didn't stop at Berg, so once we arrived in Kreuzlingen, the hubster took the regio-train back to Weinfelden (which stopped at Berg) while we stayed where we were. Thirty minutes later he picked us up and then we drove home. It was a long day and we were really tired (we'd been on the go for over 8 hours) but we'd enjoyed ourselves, even if we stank like smoked sausages!! :)

Holidays are great........

Hugs all,


Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Easter weekend - Saturday

The hubster took off on his own today. He got up at 7am, leaving me in my nice warm bed and went into the Alpstein, which is the last mountain range of the Swiss alps.
He started his hike in Brülisau (900m above sea level) and made his way up to Sämtisersee (1200m). After about another 100m height difference it became too difficult to walk in the snow, so he changed into his snow-shoes (a birthday present from me from 2008). By that time the wind became really strong and it forced him to turn around and have his back face the wind. He said it was like getting your face "lifted"!!! LOL!!
His destination for the day was Fälensee (1400m) / Bollenwees and it was still like deep winter up there.
On his trip up he never saw a soul, except (luckily for him) a friendly dog sitting outside an alpine hut. Then on his way down, sometime after midday, he finally saw some other hikers making there way up.
Mr D loves taking off and going on hikes. Most holidays he has one day to himself where he gets to do the kind of hikes that are too much for me. It does him good and it seems to balance him out. It works well for us.....

 Getting a little taste of the fierce wind....

all alone.....

The two mountain peaks above the cross are called "Kreuzberge" which translated means "Cross Mountains".  Quite appropriate, don't you think?                                       
 Sämtisersee with the Säntis in the background

The small village of Weissbad

He came home at around 2.30pm which was a lot earlier than I expected, and we were just finishing off lunch (we eat lunch later in the holidays as we get up so late and only have breakfast at around 11). I was planning to do some grocery shopping after I'd cleaned up the kitchen but Roland asked if I would wait for him to grab something to eat so he could join me. 
It was an interesting trip!
I usually take less than an hour to do my shopping but today it took me double as long! :) The hubster is so slow and we bought more that I would have done if I were alone. I think we also spent double!! Don't get me wrong, it was fun to do the shopping together, and we had no other appointments for the day so we had time but it was just amusing to me to see how long it took us. It gave us a taste of life to come when he is retired......