Monday, 6 April 2015

Happy Easter Everyone!

No updates since September?! What?!

Time to share a bit of (old) news then.

It's Easter weekend and Cian and I are home alone with Mac.

Pierce started at the local Gymnasium (the Kantonsschule) in Zug after summer break. He had a good first semester, made many friends and feels very much at home at his new school. Now, well into his second semester, there's an element of relaxation taking over, puberty has hit him, so focus on school is enough, but I am hoping it will get better. Puberty huh?!

Pierce has become a keen rower since the Summer. He goes to training twice a week, even managed to keep that up during the winter. Now that Spring has sprung and he potentially wants to enter the so-called 'regattas', he will increase his training to 3, maybe even 4 times a week.

As a matter of fact he is now, Easter weekend, at rowing camp with his club, in Sugiez, close to Fribourg, staying at a military barack (or similar ;)

He sent a daily text message to Cian and it appears it has been hard work and it was tough, but a lot of fun. He'll be home later tonight.

Erin is in 5th grade now. She is changed school campus, her school is on the other side of town, so she rides her bike every day. New teachers too, she has two classroom teachers who have split the job in half. I don't think that's a great concept but Erin loves it, she does well at school, so who am I to disagree, right? In any case, both teachers are leaving at the end of this school year so Erin will have a new teacher for Grade 6, the final year of primary. A few of the Swiss parents I spoke to find that a terrible thing, a new teacher in the final year, I think it's rather an opportunity. Besides, in Holland, as in many other countries, it is the norm that you get a new teacher every school year.

Erin has dropped guitar lessons, it was all getting a bit much, next to her ballet and dance, volleyball and horse back riding She is one busy cookie but needs to now move a bit more of her focus to school and schoolwork, as in a year's time the decision will be made as to where she'll be going for 7th grade and onwards.

And yes, the Irish passports have arrived!

Mac will be two years old tomorrow! And he's turned into a sweet lovely handsome young man. He is busy too you know....mantrailing on Wednesdays, Obedience on Thursdays, Gundog training on Fridays, Running with Daddy at the weekends and every 3 weeks or so, more gun dog training in a group setting. A busy boy he is indeed!

So, as I said, Easter weekend it is. Cian and I have enjoyed the time with just the two of us (well, plus dog of course). We went for a run together, had a lovely lunch at Restaurant Falken in Neuheim on Saturday. The bottle of wine was opened at 4pm every day and we just relaxed. Very nice indeed but we do look forward to having our children back this evening!

Saturday, 13 September 2014


I have one. I think we've had one for a while already but it's kind of official now. Erin is a 'paardenmeisje', or 'horses girl'.

She is on a try-out with stables not far from here and has joined an already established group of two girls that between them, have over 10 years of horse-back-riding experience. Erin may be the 'new kid' but that was not noticeable when they were preparing the horses. Erin had her horse brushed and cleaned and saddled before the other two were even close to being ready.

A quick learner, that daughter of ours. Street smart. Like her mom :)

Pierce came home at midnight yesterday, completely excited about the Hercules movie. Thought it was great. Thought it was cool too of course to be out with his teacher and three of his classmates, all the way in Lucerne, travelling by public transport. He is completely at home at his new school, KSZ and we are convinced he'll be doing very well there!

Friday, 12 September 2014

At Last, Irish Passports?

Not quite. Almost.

The first step is completed and Cian received confirmation of that today. The Foreign Birth Registration certification has been completed by the Irish Embassy! That's reason to celebrate if you ask me but we (or rather, Cian and the kids) are not quite there yet. Well, Cian is of course, he has his Irish passport, but the children only have their Dutch one.

So, Foreign Birth Registration completed. It took a while! We submitted the forms and paid our dues at the beginning of June. So three months. But now the kids can apply for an Irish passport. This will probably take another three months but hopefully they can travel to Dublin in December on their Irish passport, that would be too cool!

Cian and I are enjoying a glass of wine in a quiet house. Pierce has gone to Lucerne to the cinema with his Latin teacher and one other boy and two girls from his class. They are watching Hercules.

Erin is at the ice hockey match in Zug, between EVZ and Davos. She was invited to join a friend of her's and her mom, who own season tickets. It is Erin's first visit to an ice hockey arena, so she was very excited about going!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

A Reminder....

...that I needed today...

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Summer Has Arrived. At The End Of August.

But at least she appears to be here. Summer that is. We have had lovely weather for the past week, with the occasional rain shower. But as soon as the sun is out, it is hot, hot, hot!

Makes the getting out of bed a bit easier, even a morning person like myself must admit that.

And getting up early is what I've been doing, oh boy. Even at the weekend! Last Sunday, Mac and I went to another gun dog training session. We obviously don't train with real hunters and live game! We use so called dummies, 500grams green canvas 'sausage rolls' that are thrown or hidden and that the dog news to retrieve. Which by the way, is easy for a retriever. The retrieve part. Thats instinct and all retrievers can do it, some better than others. The difficult part of this training is to keep the dog steady. I.e. to keep the dog quiet and still next to you, and to train the dog to not go for anything unless he is clearly told to do so. On top of that, when he is allowed to go, he can only go for the dummy that you, the handler, have told him to get. So a lot of impulse control is required by the dog and steady and clean and tidy handling by me. And that's the difficult part.

Mac and I joined the regional group that meets every two weeks for an intense training session. I am pleased to say that Mac has made huge progress. I am the one that needs to learn the most and must do her homework properly, tidy and timely.

This is not gun dog training....this is just play...

Not only was I facing a busy week ahead, we also enjoyed a busy weekend. Friday night we had dinner in Zug, enjoying the annual Jazz Night in the Old Town. On Saturday night, Cian had a business dinner and I celebrated a friend's birthday with girls-only had her house. A whole lot of fun.

I felt a little bit like a bad parent, leaving the kids home alone two nights in a row, but hey.

Other than spending a lot of time with Mac, which I love!, the week has been busy with appointments: from ob/gyn checkup, to carpenter to fix windows and wardrobe doors, to mechanic to fix my dryer that has been broken for over three weeks and is now after three visits by the man finally fixed, and taxiing kids to and fro dance class and what not.

Pierce unfortunately does not have time to attend all soccer trainings anymore, plus he was home ill with a fever one day this week, but luckily he has found a new love: rowing! Wednesday afternoon there is a 2hour training session and each Saturday and Sunday morning he hops on his bike at 730 to attend another 2hour training session at 8. There's a group of guys from our village going so they all meet up and 'travel' together. Which makes the getting out of bed a whole lot easier.

Judo has started for him as well. That has been moved to Friday nights so in terms of timing a lot better.

Erin is still doing her dance twice a week: Tuesdays it's 'ballet pointe' and Thursdays it's 'Modern Jazz', both at the same dance school. She joined Tanzatelier in 2007 and she is still at it! Year 8! She obviously didn't start with 'points', she started with children's ballet. About two years ago Erin did mention she was interested in starting points but her teacher said she was too you. She should attend a second dance class and if that would go well, she could move into the points class. So Erin did. A year ago she joined the Modern Jazz group at the same dance school and since the start of the 2nd semester, she is doing points.

As a teamsport Erin still plays volleyball. She was selected for the local Under-15's, the only girl in her 10-12 years of age group. She has done well, despite that all the girls are 2 years older than her. Until earlier this week when she said she missed having a 'friend' in the team. And guess what. At her training two days later two girls from her previous group have joined the Under-15's. All's well that ends well. First tournament in October!

Yesterday afternoon we had an open door and information session at Pierce's gymnasium in Zug. After an introduction by the Rector, all 1st grade kids and their parents met their respective teachers in their classroom. There we got another introduction, we met the kids in Pierce's class and their parents, and received some information about the going-on's, the school schedule, the homework planning and the grading, etc. After that, all kids gave their parents a tour of the school. I must say, a great school! A wonderful campus, yes it is old and in some areas could do with some renovating, but at the same time, it makes it homely and cosy too, despite the size. Three huge gym halls, two large music rooms, a very extensive library and a great biology room. We fully understand why Pierce is so happy and feels so at home there! It made me want to go back to school myself!

Now it is Saturday morning and this busy week has flown by. We are looking at a quiet weekend, no appointments, no parties, no dinner dates. Instead, we'll go for a run, a bike ride and a dog walk!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

School Start!

Wow, since this week we have one child at the Gymnasium and one in 5th Grade! Oh, how I still see Pierce walking to Kindergarten and Erin in the seat on the back of my bike, taking her to pre-school when she was barely 2 years old! I was warned about this: enjoy your kids while they are small as they grow up way too quickly!

Rather appropriate-- thank you for the card Omi!

It was a bit a hectic week, with new schedules, different getting-up-and-getting-out-of-the-door routines, hobbies that have moved to different days and hence were forgotten about, last minute shopping trips to malls for bits and pieces for school, and a lot more. But we survived the first week and the kids are both very happy. At least the start was good!

Pierce has picked up a new hobby. Rowing. That came out of nowhere really, all of a sudden he said he wanted to try it out. As it happened, the local rowing club organised a starter-course in the last week of summer break. On their first training they all went out on the water already!

This is pretty much a complete Dutch boat. The cox is Swiss.

This weekend is full with dinners, parties, dog training and business meetings (Cian, not me ;)

I do find time to go for my early morning runs though, loving it at the moment. The mornings are crisp and fresh, it clears my head and sets me up for the day.

And the things I see...

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Geocaching And Lots More!

My new running shoes! And they make me fly!

Our second week of staycation has come to an end. Sadly. But what a great week it was!

Cian has a meeting in Basel on Monday so 'Mom1' and 'Mom2' spend the day at home. We organise our grocery shopping, we drop our recycle material off at 'the dump', we cook, we laundry and entertain the kids. Although, they are very, very good indeed at keeping themselves busy. The weather is mixed, which means we can't visit lake side pools but we have found a new hobby.


Click on the link and it will tell you more but it comes down to this: everywhere in the world people have hidden 'caches', for other people to find. I downloaded the app months ago, for the 'just-in-case' moments. And here they are. The 'just-in-case' moments. We geocached like never before. We did five this week and it was so much fun!

Our 'virgin' cache

Our second, third and fourth cache we discover on Tuesday. After a lazy morning and a late breakfast, and yes, it is still raining, we drive to the other side of town and go for a long walk. Number two is difficult, number three, at the local baseball pitch is easy to find.

All this caching makes hungry so at home we make a huge pan of pasta. The weather is clearing up so we decide to drive up Michaelskreuz for a picnic. Prosecco, crisps, nibbles and small food bites in the cooler and off we go. And guess what? We find our fourth cache, our third for the day. On top of Michaelskreuz, who would have thought!

On Wednesday, S. leaves the house early for a day trip to Stuttgart, to meet her cousin. Cian takes the kids to Alpamare and I have the house to myself, until the middle of the afternoon. I am enjoying the peace and quiet of course, do some laundry and admin and take the dog for a long walk!

In the rain! When is this going to stop! Well, the answer comes the next morning: Thursday is wonderful! Warm and sunny! I start the day with an early run, on my new runners that Cian and I got earlier in the week. His shoes are not in stock, so they are ordered.

We set off for another exciting trip! And how fitting to go here, after movie night last night when we watched Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. Our first stop on this sunny Thursday is Aeschbach Chocolatier in Root. The tour through the 'museum' shows the production of chocolate from cacao bean to the end product. The kids can try out all sorts of chocolate making machines and the best bit: there is chocolate aplenty to try! By the time we walk out of there where are all 'chocolates-out'. And we still have to have breakfast!

The three youngest kids get to decorate their own 200grams chocolate bar with all sorts of things, like nuts, almonds, coconut, smarties and what not. This truly has been a highlight of the vacation for them! And for us adults too, I should add.

After a coffee and a croissant we set off for a trip to the mountains. We decided earlier to keep it all relatively straight forward and simple, with a short car ride, an easy cable car to the top and a walk and a snack on top of the mountain. The weather down in the valley is stunning but the webcam shows us that at 1600 meters there is quite a bit of fog. So our mountain of choice for today is the Rigi. It's the mountain we can see when we sit on our balcony, so it is lovely to be able to go on top.

From our chocolate palace it is only a 20 minute drive to Goldau, where we take the cable car to go up to Rigi-Scheidegg. Because the weather isn't perfect it is quiet up there and it feels like we have the place to ourselves. The kids have a great time on the pirate ship while we adults enjoy the view. The sun is giving her all to break the fog and she does well!

We have dinner reservations at 7pm at one of our favourite restaurants, Prisma. Yes, same place as last week!

And then it's Friday. August 1. The national holiday in Switzerland. I have dog training at 9 but as soon as I get back we hit the lake side pool one last time. The kids are having a great time but around 3pm we are all ready to go home. We have one more Geocach to complete! The one closest to our home, across the street at the castle forest. We are experienced cachers now and find the cache very quickly!

We'll have Mexican for dinner tonight and as soon as it is dark, it is time for fireworks! What a nice ending to a lovely two weeks. The Canadians are flying out on Saturday morning early. We had a great time with them and we hope they had a great time with us!

See you soon guys!