Archive for August, 2008

Daycare, wherfore art thou?

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Ugh! Annie was driving me crazy yesterday morning. Gleaming at me with mischeif in her eyes as she poured her juice on the table, splashing outside the bath, not wanting to get dressed. Typical toddler stuff, but my resistence is down with the travel and change. I had to give myself a time-out to calm down.

Markus, sensing my short, short rope, took Annie and Rebecca to a pool and let me nap and read for the afternoon. He is really the best husband anyone could ask for, as well as an amazing father. A couple of days ago we were sitting in the park watching Annie play on the swing and he said that Annie had had a perfect first 2 years of her life. If someone let him do it all over again, he wouldn’t change a thing for her. Now that is the kind of statement that melts my heart and just makes me love him even more. I’m so lucky.

I’ll have to go check out this outdoor pool. Apparently it is amazing with 6 pools of different sizes and depths, several slides, playground, sandbox, table tennis, grassy area to lounge, etc. Annie loved it. Hopefully the beautiful weather we are having will hold for a few more weeks so that we can enjoy it. I have to say that for a city the size of Greater Victoria, there are way more things for kids and families to do together. It really is geared around that. I often had to think hard of activities to keep us busy in Victoria, especially on rainy days, but don’t anticipate having the same problem here.

We’ll be moving into my in-laws old apartment (at the hotel) today. It will be good to have a bit more space to roam around in as well as to get Annie into her own room! And as for daycare, we check out one option at 3:00 today. Hopefully all will go well.

Blissed Out in My New Home

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

It was so strange to arrive at the Innsbruck airport and think “I live here.” Weird. And wonderful.

The trip was both worse and better than expected. The flights themselves were awesome, with Annie sleeping 6 hours on the long haul over the ocean. I think having her car seat really helped her to be comfortable. And Mom was pretty comfortable too, as we had Executive Class seats (three cheers for aeroplan). The leg-room was amazing and I could almost lie flat in the seat. The transfers in each of the airports (Chicago and Frankfurt) was hideous with too many bags, said car seat (blessing and a curse) giving me bruises on my arms as I hauled it through umpteen security checks, being sent to wrong terminals, lost stroller, too many poorly marked elevators, and on and on. But we made it with all of our luggage and some of our sanity, so I count the trip an overall success.

Our first day here was fantastic. After a midnight wake up time for Annie and I (Annie ate 2 eggs and 3 pieces of bread as her midnight snack…she is an eating machine right now), Markus let us sleep in until 10:30. After breakfast we packed a knapsack and spent the day at a local lake. We took the bus (no car, which I don’t think is going to be a problem here) and after a short walk were at a lovely man-made lake with playground, food stand, and a toddler waterslide that Annie went down about 150 times. She had a rockin’ time with cousin Lilli, who is 8. I think that Annie would be perfectly happy if she had a dozen siblings…the more people the better for her. Not a likely wish to be fulfilled by Markus and I, but there is always daycare to meet friends.

Day 2 (after a bit better sleep) was also spent at a lake. This one was mainly docks but there was a shallow area for Annie and another slide to keep her happy. She played for a long time in the sandbox with the other children, so Dad and I were able to relax, read and nap. Lovely.

There certainly is a lot more exposed skin here than in NA. I think I was the only woman under 70 in a one-piece bathing suit rather than a bikini. (Maybe next summer after a LOT of Alpine hikes I’ll make the transition.) The babes and toddlers also pretty much ran around naked, while I had Annie covered up in a long-sleeved, long-legged SPF bathing outfit. Poor kid. But I’m not ready to expose her Nicole Kidman skin to the elements just yet.

Dad has Annie all day today so that I can catch up on my online communications as well as go shopping for necessities. I’m going to wait until some of those afore mentioned Alpine hikes kick in before clothes shopping, but that sure is going to be fun! Mmmmm, European clothes. Lovin’ it!

Hopefully I’ll have some pictures downloaded from the camera in the next couple of days to start sharing. Now, if I could only get the hang of this German keyboard so I can stop spelling my name “Hillarz”. Sigh.

Last Night in Canada

Monday, August 25th, 2008

It is amazing to believe that we are leaving the country tomorrow and, unless there is some unforeseen glitch, will not be coming back to Canada for months.

Annie was in high spirits today. All week she has been leaving a room, closing the door on me, saying: “I’m just going to Austria. I’ll be right back.” So I’m guessing she doesn’t quite understand the concept of distance and time just yet. But on the other hand, she does realize that she’ll see Dad in Austria, which of course she is super excited about.

Ever since she has been a wee baby, I’ve said that Annie has a good sense of humour. I’m not sure how else to describe it except that she gets the joke. Tonight as we were going to bed, I told her that this was the last snuggle (she is trying to follow in Rebecca’s footsteps in the bedtime procrastination department), and that she would have to lie down. O.K. she says, flops her head on the pillow, and in the loudest imitation of a 70-year old man, starts to fake snore by rasping in through her nose and “shhewwing” out through her mouth. We both started belly-laughing so loud we had tears in our eyes. It is great to end our Manitoba vacation on such a high note. It has been a beautiful friend and family filled 3 weeks, but I’m looking forward to the European adventure getting started.

Here is a great close-up shot of Annie’s joy as she is swinging on the green swing at Star Lake that my brother Andy  (step-brother, but whatever) made a few summers ago. (Andy decided that Annie would call him Master Andy instead of Uncle. So Annie was yelling around the cottage “Where is Master Andy? Where is Master Andy?” He is in so much trouble.) I’ll post some other fav shots from the cottage once I get organized over the next few weeks.

Auf Wiedersehen!

My girl loves to swing and green is certainly her colour!

My girl loves to swing and green is certainly her colour!

Cottage Country

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

This first leg of the journey is almost over. Annie and I have spent 2 weeks in Manitoba, since I thought we should visit friends and family before abandoning them for at least a year.

The flight to Manitoba went better than expected (I try to have very low expectations so that I am mentally prepared). I tried taking Annie`s car seat on the plane, and have to recommend that to the parent`s out there as it avoids the wee one climbing all over you for hours. It would be too much to carry with more than one child, but it really worked for Annie. The Air Canada staff were actually incredibly helpful and went out of their way to make the trip bearable. (Since I complain about this national organization so often, I feel it is important to praise them when applicable.) Brother Bruce even picked us up at midnight in Winnipeg, sweet guy.

My favourite thing so far is watching Annie become more comfortable with swimming in the cold, dark, deep lake. From screaming terrified that “the dock is rocking” (Yes, that is what docks do my love) to actually going in the water with mom in her swimming ring was a ton of fun. (Pictures to follow when I’m not struggling with dial-up.)

Only 5 more days before the big trip to Austria!!

Status Update:

  • House: Not sold
  • Boxes: Almost shipped
  • Flights: Booked with hopefully some changes (to avoid a 9 hour wait in Toronto airport with a toddler)
  • Residency: Process not started, but feeling optimistic as Markus is taking over a family business, which is actually an option on the forms (always good to be able to tick off a real option instead of `other`)
  • Annie: Currently changing Dolly`s diaper, as usual
  • Hillary: Not loving the dial-up Internet connection at the cottage. I am, however, sporting a potentially unhealthy golden tan, as I remember to sunscreen Annie but usually get distracted before I get to me. Currently wondering if I have enough diapers and baby wipes to last both Annie`s and Dolly`s diaper needs
  • Rebecca: Finished her German prep course and vacationing in Budapest with Aunt Suzi and cousin Lily. Life is good!

Every Jouney Begins with…

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Saying goodbye this last week has been sad and sweet and a bit surreal. Mostly I think I am in denial; I’m going to be so fabulously busy I’m not going to miss anyone. Right.

The house saga continues. One offer too low, another just right but then they bailed the next day. Packing your life up and running after a toddler while trying to keep the house clean for showings is a real treat. Thank goodness for Terry (amazing woman who runs Annie’s daycare).

I think in some ways I’ll miss the house, even though I’ve wanted to sell it the last 2 years. I guess the home where your child is born, took her first steps, spoke her first word, will always be special. I really like this picture of our back yard. Since we’ll be living in downtown Innsbruck, we’ll be lucky to have a balcony. Thankfully there are lots of parks, lakes and, of course, the mountains nearby. Markus is already sourcing new skis.

Annie and I are off to cottage country in Manitoba for a few weeks. We leave today and then head over to Austria on the 26th.

The adventure begins!

Backyard at Richmond house in Victoria

Backyard at Richmond house in Victoria