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Mummy, I am 5 today!

Patrick, you launched yourself through the front door after Kinderkrippe today and proudly told me you were 5 and a big boy! You leave Kinderkrippe in a few days time and they will miss you! You love to learn, you ask them questions, you get motivated and involved and you love running, jumping and climbing. You get into some fights, but you say "sorry sorry sorry" very quickly. You love dinosaurs, football and gazing at the moon with Daddy. When you are excited, you jump up and down with glee. You and Markus are inseparable, are best mates and best enemies. You bring joy and energy and a little bit of noise and chaos to our lives :-)


Today at our family celebration, Markus made confetti and strewed it over you as you came in, he had also made you a treasure hunt! Your prize at the end were some chocolate ladybirds and a picture of a dinosaur to colour in, courtesy of your big brother!


We opened presents, had bought cake with dinosaur candles and sang Happy Birthday to you! Mummy even bought a cake instead of making it...
You were so quick blowing the candles out that we had to do a re run for the camera :-)




Patrick in pictures, 0 - 4
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Our big boy is more than ready for school, but it is hard to believe that the 2 years of Kindergarten have gone so fast.
The last 3-4 months have been a bit challenging as Markus learns to control his emotions and reactions to others - we have had some difficult instances. He has taken a break from swimming as it wasn't fun any more.

On the other hand, he is writing names nicely, can do lots of addition, subtraction and multiplication in his head. With Alan he's learnt loads about dinosaurs adn they are now tacking the solar system. He is fasincated by the football and has learnt all the rules and is swapping panninis with all his Kindergarten friends. He visited his new school last week and although shy at the beginning, did really well with it. Some big girls helped him and he was really proud to complete 2 work sheets!

He is still as creative and draws beautiful pictures, often as an apology.
He has 7 baby teeth gone and the front four adult teeth are through.

I have brilliant conversations with him when we walk to and from kindergarten:
Markus: Mum, Switzerland has lots of banks, lots of robbers want to break in don't they? I bet they have lots of alarms in the banks!

On 5 min walk to chindsgi M & I discussed WW2, nuclear bombs, Swiss neutrality, Swiss army & role of Swiss banks.
mummy i'm not happy or sad I am just in the middle. emotional awareness from eldest boy!
mummy, you are an odd mummy, mummy!

He still has some interesting language constructions:
He did it extra!
over yesterday
over next day
For who are you?
Can I please say something?

Months 82, 81, 80,



Months 79, 78, 77


Months 76, 75

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Our Patrick is a complex bundle of contradictions. He is so full of energy, is almost as tall as Markus and as heavy and in fact they get mistaken for twins the whole time. But you listen to him talk and you realize he is 2 years younger. His stutter has mostly gone. He swings from gasping sobs of crying to hugging me and kissing my hand and saying things like :
"mummy, when I hug you harder and harder, it means I lub you more and more"
"mummy I lub you really much"

there are quite a few german word order sentences that creep in still, like
"for who are you?" and *there is it* (for there it is)
"But you know..."
"had you saw that?"
"had I won?"

Like Markus he is obsessed with "mummy phone" and "mummy laptop" and favourite game is the Minion one. He is also very good at taking selfies!
When playing on his own at home, he likes creating mashups of dinosaurs, emergency vehicles, cars
When he plays with Markus, anything goes. They cooperate and play together really well, until they don't!
Patrick likes board games, partic Uno, the ghost game, Lottie Karroti

He still loves swimming, adores watching the football on TV and goes crazy for every goal score, jumping up and down and screeching.
He has less than a month left of kinderkrippe and then it's time for Kindergarten. Not sure how he is going to get on - he is starting to go a bit crazy at Kinderkrippe (Bored I think) and has started to copy Markus' emotional behaviour - storming off when he doesn't want to do something. Let's see,,,

Some more Patrick-isms
"When I "hippuc" then I know my tummy's grumbling."
"It was only an accdident"
on finding small boy out of bed fully dressed "but you know i just wanted to be ready to play again in the morning quicker"

Months 59, 58, 57,


Months 56, 55, 54


Months 53, 52

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Tricky Transitions

Transitions are tough. For me at least. We are suddenly into the last month of Kinderkrippe (nursery) for Patrick and of Kindergarten for Markus.
Babyhood and childhood is full of firsts and these are generally easy to spot and record. Oh look, first steps! First words! First tooth out!
But the lasts slip by unnoticed, until suddenly you look round and realize you can't remember the last time.

This last week has been particularly tricky to navigate. Patrick had his first visit to Kindergarten, Markus had his first visit to school, we had two meetings at the school he is assigned to. We still have an appeal pending for our local school (just round the corner) but still haven't heard. I have needed emotional energy this week, to help the boys prepare, but also to prepare for my inevitable discomfort of transitions and change.

Since being a Mum I have been constantly pushed and challenged. The children change before I am ready :-) It takes me a long while to document and reflect and be ready to leave that stage behind. So this time I am giving myself a few weeks' head start!

Below are some (nearly) lasts and some firsts. Two years ago I was staying goodbye to my solo bike ride to work, this time I am sad that I only have a few more weeks of cycling with Markus to Kindergarten. He has been riding solo the last 18 months, he is so confident now on the 1.5 km cycle. I will miss this. He won't be allowed to cycle to school :-( Another last was the Kindergarten performance a few weeks back - they did a dance performance on the topic of jungle. Markus has made so many friends there and they are all now going to different primary schools. I think we will keep a couple of those friendships, but I think it's tough for him to imagine yet. I have to savour each time I still have to bring him in and pick him up. Talking to the other parents, then rushing off to work. Then I have another 2 years with Patrick there. Even though he is a regular visitor to the kindergarten, his visit was a bit bumpy. Too many other kids and chaos. But he found some tractors so was happy :-)

It will be so strange soon not to be doing the journey across town to get to the nursery and Hardplatz. It will have been 6.5 years in total.  The nursery has really helped us bring both boys up. It will be a tough day on June 26th. Not just for us, but also for the Kinderkrippe Manager, who I have since become friends with. And even Hardplatz is changing - they are digging it up to extend the no 8 line over the Hardbrücke. This won't be finished until Dec 2017!

But some things stay the same - on Friday I picked up Markus then Patrick and we went to our favourite "Roundabout Park" aka Bäckeranlage - which is halfway between Kinderkrippe and home. The kids paddled, got wet, played football, watched the air display and then sat on the horses!



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My parents just left after visiting for 2 very rainy weeks - I don't think we saw the sun!

But the boys loved having them and tried in vain to teach them Uno and some more complicated games :-)

We visited the Glass factory at Hergiswil, went on a boat on lake Lucerne, stayed on a farm in Entlisberg, visited Luzern - we saw the Chapel Bridge, the KKL, the Transport museum.

Not sure who was more tired at times - my parents or the boys!





All photos here

Midsummer Walk on the Uetliberg

We all need a sanity escape route and the Uetliberg is mine. I walked along the ridge, breathed deeply, thought my thoughts and took some beautiful snaps. How lucky am I to live in such a lovely place?

 Today might count as the first day of summer!



10 Years Today ...

....I came back after my first day at work for a big bank in Zurich.... I was terrified but survived. I badly wanted the job and fought for the job. It took me about 6 months to go from online application, to first day at work, but it was worth it :-) I could not have imagined then, that I would still be with that company, or even still in the country ten years later! Mr.ncot now thinks I am officially institutionalized.

Since then I have ....

  • run hundreds of projects, worked with hundreds of colleagues, internal clients, external partners

  • had good days and bad days

  • been promoted twice

  • Had 4 different line managers

  • had at least 9 different workplaces at one address

  • travelled to our offices in Raleigh (US), Singapore, Wroclaw (Poland), London

  • Given hundreds of courses, attended a couple

  • been out on maternity leave twice and come back twice!

  • sent and received thousands of emails


It has been a blast so far, thank you to everyone who has shared the journey with me so far.

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Voter Virgin....

well, my first time voting by post anyway!

After long and protacted battles with Barnet Council, I finally got myself on their electoral roll as a postal voter and today, an envelope turned up!

1. Making a choice as to whether to stay or go, was easy....
(I am a european, born in 1973 when the UK voted in the first referendum to become part of Europe, I did German A level, swept up by the Mastricht Treaty of 1992, did a "Germanistik" degree, have travelled and studied abroad, am now bringing up my family in the heart of Europe... yes, I know Switzerland isn't EU, but we are surrounded!)

2. Figuring out how to but 2 bits of paper in 2 envelopes the correct way was ridicously hard - check out the complicated instructions below!


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Blogging about bubble wrap...

My team and I are having a shocking time at work at the moment, for a variety of reasons.

We are all working hard to keep up our good humour and energy. Today I provided some extra stress busting resources for the team - however, there is now no bubble wrap left on my whiteboard!!

I may need to bring in reinforcements tomorrow :-)

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Resolution Update - May 2016

This year so far has been rather more down that up. The weight has not consistently shifted, but then to be fair, I have only just started to tackle the food. And I haven't managed much running or gym either. Work stress has been bad and my work/life integration is sadly lacking.

BUT, I have joined a facebook group called "club soda" and am working on dramatically moderating my drinking. At the moment, this means stopping altogether. I have done 44 days AF out of 49. My weight hasn't shifted much, but I am sleeping better, feeling calmer and my skin redness is decreasing. Baby steps. I am back on a detox cleanse thing as well.

I have been to the gym about twice this year, but have now set up another appt and a physio appointment. I have also found a wonderful massage therapist, so this is my treat for keeping off the booze. Finally, I am going to the do the Greifensee 10K in September.

Summary
2016 Resolution = Lose 20kg in 2016
*Lose 20kg in 2016 - so far, no change, but I feel better
*100 Books in 2016 - 32 so far :-)
*100 Blogs in 2016 - 24 so far :-)
*100 Runs in 2016 - 13 so far
*100 Gym visits in 2016 - 2 so far :-(

Who is nice-cup-of-tea?


nice_cup_of_tea

I am tea-drinking, book-loving, gadget-girl, british expat, who writes about living, working, running and bringing up my family in Zurich.

You can find me online @
helenpalmer.co.uk
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