Switzerland in Czech

This is a long overdue  post.  Been busy with other things lately that I haven’t found the time to pen down my thoughts.

Anyhow, I mentioned in a previous post about Decin, one of the beautiful places that we visited this past summer.  It was actually a side trip for our actual destination – Czech Switzerland.

Before we got here, I initially thought that Czech is a boring place since it’s too far away from the sea, and it is relatively small.  But after living here for 3 years now, its diverse topography really impressed me a lot.  What do you know, they actually have miniatures of famous countries all within this small state.

Czech Switzerland is the youngest among CZ’s national parks.  The Elbe river, which separates Czech and Germany splits the park as well.  Hence, it is both called Czech Switzerland and Saxon Switzerland.  It’s romantic name can be credited to Adrian Zingg and Anton Graff, two Swiss painters and teacher that the Dresden Academy in the mid-18th century.  As they were travelling to places close to the Elbe, their painting gained popularity and became the basis for the promotion of the beauties of nature.

Since my daughter is still too young to do any serious hikes, we were only able to visit the parts with easy trails.

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This was the landscape that greeted us on our way to our hotel in Tisa.

We did a short hike on paved road, and everyone enjoyed it immensely.

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Although there was a time when our little man had a temper tantrum.

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But there’s nothing that can’t be fixed by a small joke, a hug and a kiss.  And he’s a happy trooper again.

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The walk was all worthwhile after we saw the view that awaited us.

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Out here you can see the key cities in the region.  Even Mr. Grumpy enjoyed the sight.

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The area that we visited is just a tip of the iceberg.  There are still far more beautiful sights in this national park.  But I’m glad we were able to visit the place, so then we can come back for more.

If you would like to know more about Czech Switzerland, you can visit their site here.

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A Walk in the Woods

The weather has been slowly getting better in our side of the world, so I took my kids out yesterday for a walk in the woods.  Why the woods?  Well, you might as well say that I am slowly becoming Czech.  The malls are not as appealing as the woods anymore.

Anyway, here are a few pictures I was able to snap.

My little boy is growing so fast, and he really enjoys his new role of being a “big” brother.  While I was busy looking for things to photograph, he took over and pushed the stroller of his baby sister.

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Tired of doing it the regular way, he is experimenting with other ways on how to move it.

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At this point, I took over for fear that he may accidentally flip the stroller with his sister inside.  Instead, I asked him to lead the way.

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He obliged and even told me:  “Don’t worry, mom.  I will protect you and Michaela.”

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The end of the trail is the entrance to the city center through this bridge.

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There was nobody during that time.  It is still winter, afterall.

But we did see a fisherman on the river.   He was fishing while Jakub was feeding the ducks and swans.

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A new set of exercise bars were also built in a little space by the river.  I think they finished it last year, but I didn’t see it because I was too lazy to walk towards this side of town when I was still pregnant with my daughter.

When the temperatures finally go up, I think I would like to use one of these bars for fitness.

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But for now, I’ll just enjoy short walks with my kids.

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Despite the cold, it was a very nice walk.  Definitely another day well spent.

How are you coping up with winter in your side of the world?

My Pretty Girl is Pretty Fat

Perhaps the biggest advantage of being a stay-at-home mom is that you get the see your children grow up.  I am experiencing it now.

My little girl is growing up fast.  At 3 months, she is now 6+ kg.   They say that breastfed babies are less heavier than their formula-fed counterparts, but this one is quite the contrary.  She is heavier than her brother when they were both at the same age.  Just for comparison, here are photos of them in the same outfit.

This was Jakub at 3 months.

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And now this is Michaela.

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Being a second child, she gets to inherit her brother’s hand-me-downs.  I hate throwing away such good stuff, so I am making her wear Jakub’s old outfits.  Although, I bought a couple of headbands to give it a little feminine touch.

Even though she is heavier, she is still within the ideal range, so I’m not so worried about setting her up for obesity.  I’m pretty sure that when she is able to run, she will be as active as her brother and will easily lose all those baby fats.

Jakub was pretty chubby when he was a baby too.  But now he is very lean because he’s getting taller.  I actually wanted him to gain a little bit more weight, but can’t really complain because he is very healthy.

Here’s both of them now.

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Anyhow, I am happy to have this chance to stay home with them.  I will never trade it for anything else in the world.

Our Star is Born

After all the waiting and anticipation, our little star is finally born. This explains my absence during the past two weeks, as I am still adjusting to my new role as a mother of two.
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Unlike my first birthing experience, this one was a little bit stress-free.  I knew what was going to happen and was prepared for the worst.

My little Michaela was born via scheduled c-section.  I checked in at the hospital a day before the actual surgery.  All the monitoring and preparations were done a day before.     I am also very lucky to have good friends who worked at the hospital and were very helpful with the preparations.  The moral support and reassurances made a lot of difference in the whole experience.

I couldn’t help but shed off tears when I heard her first cry.  This was an experience that I never had with Jakub.  Back when I had him, I had general anesthesia and was completely knocked out.  This time, the surgery took a little more than 45mins.  The anesthesiologist and my husband talked to me through the whole process and that alone helped a lot.

Afterwhich, I was transferred to the ICU for a day to aid in recovery.

The actual surgery was completely painless except for some sensations of pressure here and there.  However, the recovery was painful.  I had to ask the nurse for pain reliever shots and just slept it off.

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I am not sure if it is common practice here in Czech, but it seemed like breastfeeding is almost a given.    While in the ICU, my daughter was brought to me twice and I was encouraged to breastfeed.  I was too weak to do anything fruitful, so all those attempts were unsuccessful.   The nurses were understanding and they continued to encourage me to always give it a try.

The next day, I was asked to stand and take a shower.  I was then transferred to a regular room where I had my daughter room in with me.  As with the previous attempts, there was again the push to breastfeed.  The nurses never even broached the topic of feeding formula to my newborn.  It was as if every mother is expected to breastfeed.  And so I did.  And guess what?  It all paid off.  I am proud to say that my daughter was completely breastfed from the day she was born.   Again, another experience that I never had with Jakub.

There were only 2 things that I didn’t like about this experience:  1) the hospital parking arrangements and; 2) the cleanliness of the bathrooms.    The Kolin hospital probably has one of the worst parking arrangements that I’ve seen here in CZ.  There is no designated parking for patients (people park on the streets) and only 3 parking spaces for newborn pick-ups.

Another con is the cleanliness of the bathrooms in the hospital.  The building is quite old and has seen better days.  Although some parts have already undergone some extensive renovation, others have remained old and untouched.  Perhaps one aspect that I really didn’t like was the way the bathrooms were kept.  There were a few traces of mold on the tiles and shower curtains.  I may be overacting, but I thought it should have been better.  Bathroom cleanliness is one of my pet peeves.

However, despite these 2 technical negatives, I was quite satisfied with the service that I was accorded.  I’ve heard horror stories about impolite nurses at this hospital, but I didn’t meet a single nurse who was rude to me.  The doctors themselves were also very competent and professional.    These made a whole lot of difference in the whole experience and somehow made those technical negatives better.

Right now, we are already back home and I am slowly trying to get to know my daughter.  Jakub is very excited in his new role as a big brother and I am lucky to have my husband and mother-in-law stay with me for 3 weeks until I regain my strength back.  I’ve had a series of sleepless nights but otherwise happy to be home and spend time with my new daughter and loved ones.

Baby M’s Nursery

This past weekend, I finally finished decorating my daughter’s nursery.

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I didn’t really do anything monumental, just made use of the little bedroom that is hers.

Most of the stuff here are old ones from Jakub.  I just played with the colors a little bit to add a feminine touch.

We initially had a blue sofa bed in this room and back then I thought of keeping it.  But realistically, it doesn’t really serve the purpose because I have decided to room with her in her first few months of life.  With the feeding and diaper changes, being in the same room is just very convenient.

So off went the sofa bed, and we replaced it with Jakub’s old bed.

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I accessorized the wall with decorative stickers, after deciding not to re-paint it.

On the other side of the room, I placed a small, simple changing table and decorated the bare walls with some of her dresses.

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I’m glad I was able to find a border sticker that was pink with neon green accents.  It somehow connected with the color of the closet which was my initial worry.

Anyway, I’m quite happy with the room now and I hope she will be too.

The Art of Waiting

I only have one week left before I get to meet my daughter. Somehow, it seems like such a long wait. I am quite excited and nervous at the same time. To keep me occupied, I have busied myself arranging and re-arranging both of my children’s rooms. My nursery is still unfinished at this point since I am still missing one more detail.

Anyway, here are pictures of my son’s bedroom now.

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I didn’t want to do any painting so I decorated the bare walls with decorative stickers instead.

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The windows currently have automatic electronic blinds, but somehow I feel like it may need some curtains.  But the thing is, this house is passive and we need to absorb the light from the sun as much as possible, so I am still re-thinking it.

Anyhow, I’ve also been trying to eat healthily these days since I am really HUGE now.  I’ve already gained 15kg (33lbs), and for someone who’s short, that is not good.

Anyway, I found this all-natural juice from my neighborhood store and I’m loving it now.

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With one more week to go, I hope I don’t gain any more weight. Otherwise,  I may be running like crazy after my daughter is born just to shed off all the weight I’ve gained.