31 October 2008

Happy Halloween!

We couldn't find a costume that looked like the typical Swiss Brown Cow, but he's super cute anyway!

28 October 2008



We were able to resolve this and are once again registered voters. Still upset it happened, but at least we can vote now.


Last month I called the Election Board in the county where we last resided in Kansas. Our voter registrations were indeed active and we were set to vote in the November election. Since our absentee ballots were to be sent to Switzerland, we would not receive them as we are currently in Minnesota. But we could print them off online and send them that way.

Last week I decided to check online to verify both GLH's and mine registrations. The computer stated we were not to be found on the list.

"That's weird," I thought. But didn't think anything further of it. After all, I had spoken with a real live person at the end of September and verified it. I figured the computer program was just wrong.

Then I read J's posting about how he was "purged" from the voter list.

"Huh," I thought.

So I made another telephone call. Turns out, we were also accidentally purged from the voter registration lists in Kansas.

How do we fix this? Well, we can go on election day and fill out a provisional ballot.

Except, of course, that we will be back in Switzerland and nowhere near our voting site in Kansas.

Not happy. Really, really not happy.

Going to make another telephone call tomorrow and hopefully speak with "somebody in charge" who can possibly fix this situation.

If it cannot be fixed this will be the first election in which I have not voted since I turned 18.

27 October 2008

Travel Update

All passports are accounted for. Tickets are purchased and the flight bassinet is reserved. The process of packing has begun. Good-byes to family and friends are being said. And one final trip to the bookstore to further develop Global Baby's Library has been scheduled.

Barring weather or unforeseeable circumstances, we are all coming home to Switzerland, together as a family, on Sunday.


Say It Ain't So

I have used Aveda Sap Moss Shampoo and Conditioner for years. Since moving to Switzerland, it has become vital. Due to the extremely hard water and dry environment, my hair turns to straw if I cannot get enough moisture into it.

I always buy the enormous liter-sized jugs of the stuff. It's excessively expensive, but then I only have to buy shampoo about every 1.5 years.

Since I was running low, I decided to buy some more before returning to Switzerland. Only to discover Aveda no longer carries it!!!

Now I am experimenting with the replacement for extremely dry hair, a rather unimaginatively called "Dry Remedy Shampoo and Conditioner." It has something called Buriti Oil in it. Never heard of it. Is it as good as Icelandic Moss??? Only time will tell.

And, they don't carry it in the liter jugs, which means I will have to figure out where to buy it more frequently.


I like change. I really do.

Just not when it comes to hair care products...

20 October 2008

Equality for All?

My brother recently alerted me to a couple of new laws in Switzerland.

At first glance, this one is a tad odd. Apparently it is the most extensive animal rights law ever passed in any country. Which is good, I guess. Although I do have to wonder if goldfish really do require that much privacy.

This next law is just plain bizarre. Who knew that plants needed to have their sense of dignity protected?

I have to admit what I find the most astounding about this is that apparently the Swiss are far more concerned about the rights of animals and plants than of humans. At least, that is what the United Nations seems to be saying...

18 October 2008

Baby Blogging Elsewhere

I decided I did not want this blog to become exclusively a Baby Blog, which it is in danger of becoming. So I am going to limit the Global Baby posting a bit and keep this one an Expat Living/Travel Blog.

I've started a second blog that will be a Baby Photo Blog. If you would like to read that blog, please e-mail me at Global underscore Librarian at Yahoo.

By the way, that means this blog likely will not be updated until we are back in Switzerland, living our expat life, or traveling about Europe and beyond. We'll be back in November!

16 October 2008

Baby Rules

Why is it that people feel entitled to pick up and/or touch other people's babies without even a "by your leave?"

Because Global Baby is so young and has such an immature immune system, I am very picky about who touches him. I would prefer to limit the touches to family and close friends only. And even with that, no one is given permission to touch him (not even grandparents and aunties!) unless they have just washed their hands. After all, it is the start of cold and flu season. Infants can easily become very seriously ill from these illnesses.

Also, keep your kisses to yourself. I know it is tempting to cuddle and kiss a baby, but do you have any idea of how many germs you may be passing onto a baby less than a month old? Unless you are willing to thoroughly wash your mouth and lips with soap and water before direct contact, please refrain from kissing!

While we are on the topic, I am a new mother and am nervous about people walking around with him. What if you trip and fall? Plus stairs terrify me. Do not walk up and down them with my baby! If I let you hold him, please just sit still. OK?

I have decided to become much more vocal about people crossing my boundaries and place my child's health and welfare above the potential of others being offended.

This has been a public service announcement.

Couple More Photos

I have been chastised for not posting enough photos.

In my defense, I have been a little busy lately. Plus, GLH is away this week on business and I don't really know how to do photos on the Mac laptop. Still getting used to the process.

But here are a couple I took this past week. And since GB's aunt is now on Baby-Holding Duty, I have a bit of time to post them.

I call this one "I Surrender."

And here is "Napping with Grampy."

Sleeping Like a Baby

This is how we managed to get Global Baby to sleep for 4-5 hours at a time each night. GB is now waking only once during the night for a quick feeding before he usually goes back to sleep. We are praying that trend continues!

He is swaddled, placed in the Baby Papasan Chair on vibration mode and then a second receiving blanket is used to swaddle him into the chair itself. Final step is to turn on the soothing sounds teddy bear (not seen in photo). Fortunately the bouncy chair folds flat and will fit in the largest suitcase we brought with us.

I've been tucking the flat teddy bear in next to him in the potentially futile hope he will select it as his "Transition Object." (Also known as a comfort object.) Mostly because it's very small and would fit in my purse easily. With my luck he will probably pick something enormous that he will trip over as he carries it about...

15 October 2008

It's Who You Know

Alright, so I don't actually know him.

But I did speak with a very nice aide in Senator Norm Coleman's office this morning. We spoke briefly at 10 this morning.

By 10:30 the passport was being processed. As soon as it is finished, it will be sent via overnight express to my parents' home. It should arrive here by tomorrow. Friday at the latest.

Being a registered voter has its privileges.


Murphy's Law

It was all going just a little too smoothly I guess. So we hit a patch of bad luck.

Because Texas does more adoptions than any other US State, and many of the adoptions are international (very popular choice for European couples), government offices in that state are accustomed to dealing with adoptions and the various court documents it involves. Generally, it works quickly and smoothly.

Adoptive parents who live outside the US usually apply for a passport through the Houston Passport Center, which processes the applications quickly and efficiently. But we arrived in Texas a few days after Hurricane Ike hit Houston, and closed down the passport center for two weeks.

We ended up having to send our application through the mail and by luck it got sent to the West Coast, where the least number of adoptions happen, international or otherwise. And where staff have no idea what exactly is happening and how things work. Not surprisingly, low-paid civil servants have no interest in dealing with unusual cases and potentially sticking their necks out.

As a result, Global Baby's passport is not being processed because they have never seen court documents such as the ones we have and are insisting upon a certified birth certificate listing us as the parents, which won't happen until after the finalization of the adoption.

Our best chance of success is to have a US Senator (or rather, one of his aides) contact the Seattle Passport Agency on our behalf. If we can manage that, the passport will likely arrive by express mail within a day or two.

If that doesn't work, we could be delayed while we work through the red tape. Worst case scenario, we have to wait until after the adoption is finalized (six months) and we have received the certified birth certificate (couple more months) before we can leave the US with Global Baby.

Which means GLH would have to return to Zurich alone in order to work while I remain with Global Baby at my parents' home waiting for the bureaucracy to slowly grind through the process.

That would totally suck.


14 October 2008

Getting to Know You

My aunt has a theory that it takes three weeks for first-time parents to sorta get the hang of caring for a newborn.

Global Baby is three weeks old today and I was just thinking about all we have learned about him since his birth.

1. Global Baby hates sleeping on his back. HATES IT! Since that is the recommended position to avoid SIDS, sleeping on his back is a must. Through trial and error we have figured out how to make this happen. It involves a vibrating bouncy chair, a very tight swaddling blanket, a soothing sounds teddy bear and lullabies as needed. But we have now managed to consistently reach four consecutive hours of sleep without him jerking himself awake and crying because he has once again discovered himself to be lying on his back.

2. The only thing Global Baby hates more than lying on his back is having his diaper changed. Fortunately he's getting a little bit better about it and doesn't scream quite so much. Plus we have gotten better, and faster, at diaper changes. Especially once the umbilical cord was no longer in our way. (Although his circumcision earlier today has reactivated his extreme aversion to diaper changes!)

3. I may be delusional, but I think that he smiles quite a lot for a newborn and already has favorite songs and activities. Yes, I know I am likely projecting. But humor me.

4. It took a bit of fussing and surprisingly nasty farts, but we have experimented with formulas and determined that Global Baby is most likely lactose intolerant. Fortunately that is easily handled and reduces the fussing/farting after eating to virtually nothing.

5. And along that same topic, it is almost time for us to be able to say that we do indeed have a very laid-back, easy-going baby. He virtually never cries and fusses only when he needs something. The source of his fussing is usually easily determined and quickly resolved, leaving him an easy-going baby once again. Thank God!

6. The Old Wives Tale about a vacuum cleaner calming a crying baby does seems to be accurate, at least with him. On the two occasions that Global Baby did start the uncontrollable & inconsolable crying, a couple of minutes of running the vacuum calmed him back into his sunny disposition. (Wonder if our neighbors will mind the occasional middle of the night brief period of vacuuming? Probably better than a long jag of crying...)

7. It looks as if Global Baby may blend neatly into Swiss Society in one way. Even though I am a believer in "Feed on Demand," Global Baby seems to prefer living life on a schedule. He wants to eat 3 ounces of formula every 4 hours and has even started to poop at about the same time each day. Makes it very easy to plan the day and decide when is the best time to schedule an outing.

Yes, I realize that the only consistency with a baby is that change will happen. But it does make me feel as if perhaps I will be a competent mother. I like that feeling, even if it is mostly due to the fact that we lucked out and got a Type-B personality baby.

But I also like to think we may have had some influence on it due to our calm and effective parenting skills.

Again, humor me.

Different Experience

Earlier today I was at the grocery store. As I stood scanning the shelves, slightly bewildered by the sheer volume of choices (guess I've been shopping in Europe for too long!), an employee approached me.

"Are you finding everything you need?"

I glanced over and saw his name tag said "Store Manager." I told him what I was trying to locate and he said, "That should be over here."

He took me to the area where the item is usually located and saw that they were out of that item at the moment. He apologized profusely and then asked if I would like them to special order it. They could have it by the next day and would call me so I could come pick it up.

I thanked him and declined, saying I could just purchase something else instead.

As I walked away, I tried to think of a time in which I have been in a grocery store in Switzerland and been asked if I needed help. I could not think of a single example.

God, I miss good customer service!

10 October 2008

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Earlier this afternoon we had an appointment with the priest who will be baptizing Global Baby later this month.

Before the appointment, GLH was strictly warned to just "keep his mouth shut" and allow me to do the talking. Mostly because we didn't want too many questions about our (lack of) church-going habits in Switzerland.

However, GLH decided to disregard my suggestion. And it was all going fine until we came to the end of the meeting when GLH decided he had a question regarding logistics. (Small bit of background information: the baptism will take place after the 4 pm Mass on a Saturday evening.)

GLH: So, what time should we show up? 5? 5:15?

Priest (with a carefully blank expression): The baptism will take place after the Mass.

After we left the office I asked GLH what he was thinking. Obviously we would all be attending the Mass that takes place before the baptism!

GLH's reply?

"At least I didn't ask my follow-up question. I was going to ask him how long this would take. Would it be 10 minutes? 15 minutes?"

Thank God he didn't ask the follow-up question! Otherwise we might be looking for another priest/church for the baptism...

08 October 2008

Big Boy!

Earlier today we stopped by to visit one of my sisters at her clinic (she's an ob/gyn). Since we were there anyway, we decided to weigh him.

He's gained 1.5 pounds in a week! All the baby books say babies generally gain about 0.5 lb per week so I was incredibly surprised. Last time we saw the pediatrician he was in the 50th percentile for weight and length and the 40th percentile for head circumference. When we got home again I looked up specific instructions for how to measure length and head circumference on an infant. He is definitely growing. Based upon his current measurements he is now about the 75th percentile in length, weight and head circumference.

Might explain why he has been so ravenously hungry and a bit fussy the last few days and why suddenly the clothes that were too big for him are now too small. He was having his first growth spurt! Since it happened so quickly, I actually thought his clothes had shrunk in the wash.

Yeah! Global Baby is officially thriving!!!

07 October 2008

Finding Normal

Global Baby is 16 days old and it is probably a while before we find "normal" because he changes every day.

Indeed sometimes he seems different by the end of the day.

But everything is going very well. He is a good eater, a good pooper and does a minimum of fussing. (Fingers crossed that all continues!)

Of course, that doesn't mean he doesn't keep me up at night. But at least walking and rocking consoles him and eventually we are both able to go back to sleep.

And I am very, very happy we are here in Minnesota, surrounded by my family. Half of whom are in the medical profession and do not mind panicked calls from a new mother!

But it is also so nice be to going through these first confusing weeks in familiar surroundings and in English! And to know that if I realize in the middle of the night that I MUST HAVE something I didn't previously even know about, I have multiple options of extremely well-stocked 24-hour stores to go and get said item.

And I have a question for my readers in Switzerland (or a nearby country)...

Does anybody know where I can get a gliding rocker? I've never seen one over there, but surely someone sells them. Doesn't have to be fancy and I would prefer it not cost an arm and a leg. Although I realize it will likely be 2-3 times the cost as here because, well, it's Switzerland and that's just the way it is.

My parents have a few different rockers in the house, but Global Baby has a strong preference for the movement of the glider. Which is a huge bonus when I am tired of walking back and forth and he won't accept me sitting in any other chair.

03 October 2008


I am thankful for so many things.

At the moment, I am also thankful for the suggestions from my readers regarding which camera to bring.

For if I had been practical and left my bulky camera at home, this photo would not have been possible...

Rauchen Verboten

My prayers have been answered.

I just learned that on September 28th the voters in Canton Zurich approved a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars. (I could not find any information on when the ban goes into effect.)

This ban strengthens the ban on smoking in public places which went into effect on July 1st.

It is a huge relief as I was very concerned about bringing Global Baby back to Zurich, where 29% of the population smoke like fiends! Now we need not fear taking him out to restaurants and other public spaces.

Yeah, Zurich!

01 October 2008

Confessions of a Sleep-Deprived Mother

The Baby Authorities vary in their opinion on this matter...

However, he sleeps better and I sleep better when we sleep together. And right now that is all that matters.

Travel Logistics

This evening we had a brief photo shoot.


If you are going to be a Global Baby, a passport is a necessity. We put him in a bouncy chair covered with a white sheet and took a load of photos. The hardest part was getting him to open his eyes and keep his hands from his face.

Here is the result (before cutting for format and size)...

And here's how we did it...

Bella, my parents' cat, is still trying to figure out what in the heck has invaded her world.