Party time!

We celebrated Alex’s birthday with a medieval-themed party on Sunday, November 1st.

Here was the sign that hung on our door….

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I loved this fun foam castle find from Oriental Trading. I cheated slightly by using a box recipe for the cupcakes. 😉

Claudio made two pots of chili (one vegetarian & one with meat). I planned a few activities for the kids, and we all enjoyed cupcakes after singing “happy birthday”.

Are these two not the cutest!?!

Here the kids were playing Pass the Parcel, one of our favorite UK party traditions.

They were very concentrated on making crowns and embellishing them with stickers and jewels.

It was the first time we had a little get together at our apartment, so after this inauguration where everything went smoothly, we look forward to hosting more.

And last, but definitely not least, a sweet envelope from his bestie!


Thoughts on being five

In less than two weeks Alex will turn 6, and I’m not sure I could sum up this age in a few simple words, so instead here are some random blips to savour this year:

Alex is high energy from the second he wakes up to right before bedtime. He’s simply always in motion, and as much as it drives me bonkers at times, I wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s always up for an adventure, a game of any kind, and most importantly, to get out the door!

He has mastered riding a two-wheel bike, and enjoys riding his scooter along the waterfront boardwalk.

Pictures together usually end up with a crazy face.

He can speak in such eloquent sentences, although he often reverts to a squeaky mickey mouse voice. His English is taking over the Swiss German, despite Claudio speaking to him solely in the language. We try to sneak in learning with games, and audio books. His comprehension of both languages remains sound. I’m certain that the upcoming visit from Omi, Opi and Aunt Martina will do wonders for his language!

He recently learned in school what nouns and verbs are, and prides himself in being able to tell which words fall under each category. He also knows the Pledge of Allegiance, as well a song in Spanish.

He loves to be read stories at night, which I hope is something we’ll do for many many more years. It’s my favorite time of day.

He is a morning person only on the weekends when we could sleep in. On the weekdays he begs for “just a few more minutes of sleep.”

His favorite book is The Lorax. I’ve read it a thousand times, and will read it a million times more because we both love the moral of the story to take care of the environment!

He loves all sports; hockey, soccer, and basketball are his top favorites.

He plays soccer for a shortshots league in Jersey City. He scored his first goal of the season at his second game and everyone on the field chanted his name. He beamed with pride, but afterwards said to me, “Mommy, it was because of a great pass that I was able to shoot a goal.”

He plays basketball every Friday during an after school program. I try to leave work early every chance I get, but I’ve been told several times that Fridays are “no goes” for early pick-ups!

The latest craze is Pokemon. We’re up to about 60 cards and a sparkly coin, which we’re still not quite sure how to use. Some days Alex makes a pattern on the floor with them.

He is STILL always up for a round of negotiation (proof that he’s 100% my son! 😉 ), and asks more questions than I have answers for. Somehow I don’t think that will change anytime soon.

He loves to craft; building things out of our recyclables is his profession.

He can tie his own shoes, which is truly one of the biggest Godsends! Keeping them tied is another story!

He still has Halloween candy from last year. Whoops! He so graciously told me we can hand out that candy to trick-or-treaters this year!!

He has gone to 4 Pump it Up birthday parties this year, and beelines straight to the air hockey table every time.

He makes us laugh on a daily basis from what he says and does. The other morning Alex asked why I wear a “container” (retainer) at night.. His first guess, “Is it to keep your teeth from falling out when you sleep?”

His newest best friend is from Russia, and the two have been inseparable ever since they met last year in Pre-kindergarten. Even if they’re only apart for a couple of days, they act like it has been decades, and smother each other in hugs. They introduce each other to peers as, “this is my best friend.”

He re-named the fast-food restaurant Wendy’s to Chili’s after trying their delicious chili! He begs to go to “Chili’s” on a daily basis. Good thing we don’t live near one! 😉 We sometimes stop by after soccer practice as a special treat for lunch. Two weeks ago Alex saw a “non-soliciting” picture, with a man holding a suitcase and a big X was marked through it. He asked me why people aren’t allowed to bring their luggage into the fast food chain. Completely confused, and looking for a clue, I had to ask him what he meant and he pointed to the sign. After a good laugh, I explained what it means to solicit, and we both agreed the suitcase was a good way to represent that meaning. 🙂

I’m so proud of my boy, not only because of all that he’s achieved and all that he continues to strive to be, but also because he has adapted so well to the various changes.. From moving to Jersey City from Switzerland, then again within the city in less than a year. It hasn’t been easy, but he takes it in stride, and often reminds me to look on the bright side. Six years seems like such a big milestone, and I’m excited to see what this new year brings.

Back in business!

After nearly 2 full years of taking a break from blogging, I’m back, and ready to pick up where we’ve left off!

Lets rewind back to the Spring of 2014, when we were in Singapore for a month-long business trip (for Claudio) and leisure trip (for Alex & I 😉 ). A few days into our trip Claudio received a call regarding an opportunity he pursued in New York City. We were only given a couple of days to make a decision, but felt like this was a now or never type scenario, so we decided to take the plunge and transition to life back in the States. Excited, worried, anxious, surprised – that was the mixed bag of emotions we felt at the time.

We spent the next few months sorting our almost 5 years of life in Zurich. And to top that off, we had been planning a church wedding for almost a year that would take place that early Autumn, so that created more craziness to the endeavor. After what seemed like an endless amount of time spent on clearing out, we packed up our life into 8 over-sized suitcases, boarded a United flight to JFK airport, and arrived shortly after in a place that felt like another planet on September 5, 2014.

We spent the following two weeks scoping out a place to make our new home, emptied our bank accounts for a security deposit for the apartment lease, and drove down to Virginia Beach to get married on September 19, 2014 (for the second time!). It was amazing, and incredibly special after such a hectic time to be surrounded by the people we love from both the U.S. and Switzerland, in one of the most beautiful places! Afterwards we enjoyed a few weeks travelling with Claudio’s family and mutual friends from Switzerland before heading back up North to Jersey City, to start adjusting to our new home.

It took about 6 months to finally unpack all of our suitcases, assemble furniture, and come to terms with Jersey City. I wish I could say that we were kidding, but we actually slept on a mattress without the frame for the first 4 months while we weren’t certain if we were staying or going. We spent 8 sunny weekends at the DMV sorting our driver’s licenses, and it took a few months to register Alex for pre-kindergarten. However, this past May I landed a job in Manhattan, a short 6 blocks from lucky Claudio, and enrolled Alex in a summer program at one of our local private schools. From that point things started to look up, and I felt like I was starting to see light at the end the tunnel.

Fast forward now to today (are you still with me?) and we have already moved again to a new apartment within Jersey City. Yes, we are insane!.. But we have also enjoyed several visits from family and friends, beach and city trips, and holidays here in the States. Despite the ruts along the way, those have been the biggest perks of being back. We miss our Swiss family so dearly, our expat friends from all over the world, and as much as we yearn for Swiss efficiency, the glistening lake of Zurich, modern trains and trams that are on time (just to list a few things!)…. we’re now experiencing NYC and have decided to be content with that. We’ve made new friends, kept the “old”, and although we left a huge chunk of our hearts across the Atlantic, we are taking with us the experience and sense of adventure that comes with living in a new area, no matter how long the stay may be.

Thank YOU for reading and sticking around after all of this time. There will be much more to come!