A day in my life – with my 5 month old

6 am – Our cute little alarm clock woke us up to let us know that he was hungry. After his feed, Mike prepared hot cups of coffee for us and while he played with our little sunshine, I enjoyed watching them.

7:30 am – As Neel took a quick nap, I expressed some milk for his night feed. As I will be starting work soon, I have started to slowly feed Neel with a bottle (It is much harder than I thought it would be as he prefers milk from the direct source rather than the bottle).

8:30 am – After having my muesli, we fed Neel his food. It was Apple puree. Its not his favorite but he had no other choice!! 😛

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9:30 am – As it was a Tuesday, Neel and I visited the Family center in Winterthur. On Tuesdays they have Baby group sessions called “Baby Krabbelgruppe”. While Neel played, I enjoyed chatting with my friend who comes there with her kids.

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Neel trying to chew his feet while playing in the Family center

11:30 am – After I left the center, I walked around the city, while Neel slept in his stroller. I still had some holiday shopping left to do which I could finally complete.

14:30 pm – I took the train back home after a nice Subway meal.

16:00 pm – As Neel played on his mat after his nap, I started preparing our dinner.

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16:45 pm – The little one got bored and started to fuss around. I had to sit close to him while I kneaded the dough for the naan I was preparing.

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17:00 pm – The little one started to cry his lungs out so I had to take him with me into the kitchen while I cooked. (The things we mothers do!!)

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18:30 pm – After our dinner, I gave Neel his massage and his father gave him a bath.

19:30 pm – Neel and I read a bit from his Winnie – the – Pooh book,. When he started hitting the book with his hands, I knew it was time to sleep. While I fed him his milk, we prayed and thanked God for everything we have and finally put him to sleep.

Love,

Madhurya.

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Tenerife, a Canary Island

Canary Islands in Spain are the best places to visit between October and March if you don’t want too much crowd and if you are looking for pleasant temperatures between 20 and 25 deg C. We have already been to Mallorca and Gran Canaria, so this time we decided to visit Tenerife for a week. Tenerife, also known as the Volcanic island is the largest and the most populous of Canary Islands.

The 4 hour flight to Tenerife was uneventful. Neel slept off during the flight. Everyone suggested I feed him or give him a pacifier during take off and landing but he seemed to be fine without them. We found out that we were allowed to carry a stroller and car seat for Neel, so we did not have to book another one while renting a car. It is highly recommended to rent a strong motorized vehicle as the island is very hilly. Our Rental car was a BMW 116d rented from Hertz.

Day 1

Ride through El Teide to Puerto de la Cruz

El Teide (Pico del Teide) is not just the highest mountain in Canary Islands but, at a height of 3718 m, the highest in all of Spain. It is an active volcano. The drive from our AirBnB in Las Galettas to the mountains was breathtaking and picturesque. We drove up to the car park in El Teide which is almost at 2200 m height. We made sure to drive slowly and carefully, as it is not recommended to take the baby to such heights. We made stops in between to check on Neel. From the car park, tourists can take a 10 minute cable lift to the top (27€ per person/return). From the top there is an amazing view of the island. (We did not make this trip because of Neel). A lot of hiking paths are also indicated.

From there we drove on towards Puerto de la Cruz. After lunch we walked around the city and the sea promenade while enjoying ice cream.

Day 2

Drive through West coast of Tenerife

The next day we drove around Santiago del Teide, Parque del Drago, Los Silos, Masca, Garachico, the lighthouse at the Punta de Teno and back to las Gallettas to our apartment. It was one of the best drives we took on this island. We passed many tiny beautiful towns and villages. One of them was Masca. We had to drive through many winding roads and hairpin bends to get there. Unfortunately, the village was crowded with tourists and no parking was available and so we could not stop and walk around the village.

Day 3

Adeje

We met our friends from Switzerland who were staying in one of the hotels in Adeje. Located in the South-western part of the island, Adeje is a famous tourist spot with beaches, hotels and malls. We ate amazing lunch at a restaurant called Limoncello by the beach.

Day 4

Loro Parque (Spanish for “Parrot Park”)

Loro Parque is a zoo in Puerto de la Cruz. Since its inception in 1972, Loro Parque has created the most diverse genetic reserve of parrots that exists in the world, attaining more than 4,000 specimens of 350 different species and subspecies. Along with these parrots, Loro Parque is home to many other birds and animals including Penguins, flamingos, swans, cranes, chimpanzees, gorillas, lions, tigers, killer whales, dolphins, to name a few. There are some interesting shows like dolphin shows, parrot shows, orca show. We spent one whole day at the zoo. Neel enjoyed watching the animals and the birds. Entry fee costs 35 Euro for adults and 24 Euro for children between 6 and 11. Free entry for children under 6 years old.

For an additional 11 Euros per person, we enjoyed Discovery tour where a tour guide took us around the zoo explaining about the animals and their habitats and also took us inside some of the animal enclosures to show how they are fed and taken care of. If you are in Tenerife, do visit this zoo. It is totally worth it!

Day 5

Playa de las Americas

It is a popular holiday spot in the Southwestern part of Tenerife and features bars, nightclubs, restaurants and beaches. We took a walk along the coast enjoying lovely warm weather. We ended up eating burgers at Hard rock café.

Day 6

Los Gigantes

Los Gigantes is a resort town in the Santiago del Teide municipality on the west coast of the island. It is one of the most attractive natural wonders on Tenerife. The town is protected by impressive rock cliffs up to 800 m high. Taking a walk around is the best way to explore this beautiful town.

Day 7

El Medano / Flight Home

On our last day in Tenerife, we drove to El Médano, on the south east coast of Tenerife very close to the south airport. The town is very popular with windsurfers.

Accommodation

As we had heard a lot of good reviews about Airbnb, we decided to give it a try. This was our apartment in Tenerife.

Located in a small village called Las Galletas, our apartment had 2 bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom. All the amenities like TV, fridge, washing machine and air conditioning were available. They even had a crib for the baby. In the vicinity of the apartment there were cafes, supermarkets, pharmacy and various other shops. The owners Luca and Alina made sure that we were comfortable and happy with the place.

Right next to our apartment we found a small bakery called Café Del Pan that offered nice varieties of croissant, coffee and freshly pressed orange juice for very reasonable prices. This was our daily breakfast joint. Also, just few minutes’ walk from our apartment, we found one of the best Indian restaurants called Bobby’s 2 Indian Tandoori Restaurant.

Las Galletas has a small beach of black volcanic sand and rocks. The sea front promenade is lined with restaurants and cafe bars where you can relax in the sun overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Things we carried for our baby

As it was our first trip with the little one, we made sure to carry everything that Neel liked and felt comfortable with. From the soft toys, the mobile he loves, we even took the swing he likes to sleep on (though we did not use it as he slept in the crib). Extra diapers, clothes, thermometer, oils and all his medicines. It is better to be safe than sorry. Make sure to take sun screen and some shawls or swaddling cloths to cover the stroller from the sun.

-Madhurya

 

Neel at 4 months

Neel Mueller at 4 months-

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  • Can recognize his mama and papa, even from a certain distance.
  • Observes what goes on around him.
  • Talks a lot in his own language.
  • Is able to hold many things with his hands like his toys, clothes, our  fingers and very recently his feet as well. And of course whatever he holds, he puts them into his tiny mouth.
  • Is able to keep his head straight. We are encouraging Tummy time almost every hour for at least 5 minutes (which he is not such a big fan of!!).
  • Can turn left and right.
  • Is able to sit for sometime in the baby chair without falling.
  • Loves watching TV even though I try hard to stop him!
  • There was a time when he hated going to people other than his mama and papa, but now it seems like he actually enjoys company!  Whenever we meet someone, he automatically catches their attention with his big, beautiful smile! But 5 pm is his deadline. Beyond that, he cannot stand being with anyone other than his mama! Poor Mike had to struggle a bit to get him to sleep when I was gone for my body training in the evening.
  • Hates sitting in his car seat.
  • Tries to lift his head while holding our hand as support.
  • Has already started to teethe and because of that we are having sleepless nights and fussiness. He fell sick too for a couple of days.
  • Has already taken his first trip on a flight. And has also been on many road trips.

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So far everyday has been a learning experience as a mother. Sometimes it is challenging. My frustration level goes up when my baby wakes up every hour or so at night. It took me a while to understand that this is just a phase and it will pass (Like Manasa tells me “If everyday is not a Sunday, then everyday is not Monday either”). Also, I have learnt some tricks and ways to make my life easier (which I will soon share with you all) and most importantly I have a powerful support system in my husband, my parents and my sister.

-Madhurya.

A day in Papiliorama

On a cold, depressing morning, Mike decided to take us to PapilioramaLocated in Kerzers, in the Canton of Fribourg, the French part of Switzerland, Papiliorama is a Botanical Garden with exotic butterflies, birds,  insects and nocturnal animals. More than 60 species of butterflies from all over the tropics can be found in this garden.

Here, visitors can observe the complete life cycle of Butterlies from egg to a vibrant adult, and the stages of caterpillar and pupae in between.

 

One of the highlights of Papiliorama is the Jungle Trek. Papiliorama has reconstructed an exact copy of a jungle in Belize. Once you enter this area, you feel like you are walking through a Central American Forest (I haven’t been there yet, but watch the movie “Rio”, and you will know what I am saying). You can spot birds like Toucans and  roseate spoonbills spreading their wings alongside fascinating reptiles like the Iguana.

The plants, the humidity and the temperature is set to help the wildlife survive in this frigid country.

Another interesting feature of this place is The Nocturama, in which an artificial moonlight is created for the nocturnal animals like night monkeys, bats, tree porcupines. Visitors are allowed to wander freely here, while bats fly right at them… Don’t worry, they are harmless!!

 My 2.5 month old was quite mesmerized with this place and so was I. I carried him around in the baby carrier I use, so that even he could enjoy the sights and sounds. Papiliorama is a family-friendly place with a restaurant serving simple yet delicious meals. Entrance fee costs CHF 18 for adults and CHF 9 for children between 4-15 years of age. I highly recommend visiting this zoo (with or without kids).

-Madhurya

 

A letter to my baby when I was pregnant

 

Baby,

35 weeks and 1 day now.

Few more days to go before I can see you and hold you for real and say you`re mine. I never believed that I could have such a rush of feelings for a human before. I still can’t believe its almost time for this new chapter in our lives. We both have gone through this journey for almost 35weeks together. You have been my constant companion for the last few months. A lot of women I know told me that they had had enough by this time and couldn’t wait to get the baby out, but trust me when I say that I have enjoyed every minute of this pregnancy. Though I am crazily awaiting your arrival, I will surely miss you in my belly and showing off my bump to everyone.

The other day I got very emotional and told your papa how much I will miss carrying you around. As long as you are inside me, I can and will do everything possible to protect you, but don’t know if I can once you are out….

But your papa and I will promise you one thing – we will do our best (Go to the moon, if we have to) to protect you, stand by you whenever, wherever and whichever way we can!

Everyone is looking forward to your arrival including your grandparents, uncles and aunts and all your cousins in India and Switzerland. Believe me when I say, you have a huge family who will dote on you, love you and pamper you crazily!!

Everytime I am stressed at work, your constant kicks keep me happy while reminding me that in a few more days the best day of my life will be here….

With much love and anticipation

Mama.

30 Things to do in my 30th year

Hello everybody! Sorry, we haven’t posted anything in a long time. Manasa and I have been procrastinating. I was busy carrying a baby and giving birth to him. And my sister was busy with her kids’ school, tests and travels. We are slowly getting back though…

It’s a new year and a new beginning. As I’m going to turn 30 this year, instead of moping about getting old, I decided to embrace it and make it a fun year, just like my sister did, a while ago.

So these are my new year/ 30th year resolutions.

  1. Go on a trip to one of my favorite destinations. (location will be updated once we plan)
  2. Write at least 2 posts per month
  3. Write about my experience during pregnancy and now motherhood
  4. Start a moms’ group here
  5. Get back to my pre-pregnancy weight
  6. Control my negative thoughts everyday
  7. Organize a family reunion celebration
  8. Learn to swim (Seriously!!)
  9. Meditate/ do yoga everyday
  10. Learn the art of forgiving and forgetting
  11. Invite friends and family often for a meal
  12. Limit the amount of time spent on mobile to a maximum of 1 hour
  13. Teach more Kannada to Mike
  14. Talk more often in German
  15. Write letters  to Medha & Madhav once every 2 weeks
  16. Read a story to Neel everyday
  17. Set up a routine before joining work and stick to it
  18. Organize girls’ outing every month
  19. Take another diving class
  20. Take a walk everyday with Mike and Neel
  21. Volunteer for a good cause
  22. Take a challenging hike
  23. Help Mike achieve his dream
  24. Finish Neel’s 1 year photo album
  25. Encourage Manasa to finally start writing her book
  26. Wake up looking forward to my first day back at work
  27. Purge all the items not necessary and not going to be used anymore
  28. Take a road trip with no planning/booking
  29. Show Kundapur (my birthplace) to Mike and Neel
  30. Spend next Christmas and New year in a warm country

Schaffhauser Fasnacht

This is a short post about a Carnival we went to, this year. It is called the Swiss Carnival or the Fasnacht. Over 200 carnivals take place throughout Switzerland in the week after Ash Wednesday, and most of the action is concentrated around the City Centers.

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The carnival is a fascinating mix of party atmosphere, vivid costumes, stirring tunes of drummers and piccolo players, and the weird but wonderful music played by brass bands.

Many visitors and locals simply enjoy the experience of wandering around the city’s lively streets, alleys, checking out bars and restaurants while soaking up the festivities around. We did the same. 🙂

It’s so much fun to participate in and absorb the local traditions and customs, isn’t it?

So what’s happening in your neck of the woods this weekend?

Take care and Have Fun!

Love,

Madhurya.