31 December 2008


My parents are visiting at the moment so I've taken advantage of extra Baby Holders to complete a craft project. One for Global Baby, of course.

I've been looking for a mobile to hang over GB's crib, but have been disappointed. Why exactly do designers make baby mobiles that are best seen from the side? Shouldn't they be best seen from underneath.

So I used plastic file folders, pipe cleaners, fishing line and a wire hanger to make a Butterfly Mobile. It only took a couple of hours and the materials were less than 20 chf. GLH attached it to the crib with a suspension curtain rod and some wire ties. Here it is:

And here's the view from below:
Global Baby is mesmerized by it.

30 December 2008

Day Trip to Fribourg

We decided to go on an excursion to Fribourg in the French-speaking area of Switzerland.

It's a charming, medieval city and we enjoyed exploring the city center. Of course, we visited the cathedral...

But I think I most enjoyed the hidden walkways and stair wells...

And the fun rooftops.

Global Baby wasn't as impressed. He spent most of his time in Fribourg sleeping.
When we left Fribourg, we went away with the Fribourg Fondue mix and some fresh bread for our evening meal.

Gotta admit, I like the French-side fondue better. It doesn't taste as strong or smell as much. It's a good thing. Wonder where I might be able to find the mix in the Zurich area. Any thoughts?

25 December 2008

Season's Greetings!

From Global Baby,
Global Librarian and
Global Librarian's Husband!

Good Slide into the New Year!

23 December 2008

Harder Than It Looks

Emboldened by Global Baby's newfound ability to sleep through the night, which apparently made me giddy with adequate sleep, I decided this year I would attempt making the traditional Germanic Christmas Cookie - Lebkuchen. It's sort of like Gingerbread, but more cake-like and spicier.

So I looked up a bunch of recipes, saw how many steps were involved, and promptly abandoned the idea.

Instead I went online and ordered Lebkuchen from Migros's online grocery store.

I expected to receive a finished cookie, ready to be eaten. Instead I received refrigerated cookie dough. Not what I thought. But what the heck, I'll give it a go.

On Monday morning I handed GB to GLH and started to work. It was much harder than I anticipated, primarily because the cookie dough had the consistency of nearly dried cement. It was impossible to roll out and stuck to everything.

This is what Lebkuchen is supposed to look like:
And here is what came out of the oven:
I suspect part of the issue is that I wasn't able to roll it out as thin as the directions recommended, so they ended up undercooked. Regardless of the cause, the end result was inedible.

In the future I shall be purchasing ready to eat Lebkuchen. This experiment is done.

22 December 2008

Gratuitous Cute Baby Photos

Global Baby is 3 months old today!

17 December 2008


John William Dombrock
March 9, 1916 - December 14, 2008

Good-bye, Gramps. We love you.

View from My Window

This is the scene we woke to this morning...

Snow Day!

Hopefully it will stay through Christmas.

14 December 2008

Knock on Wood

Two nights in a row of uninterrupted sleep!

Here's hoping Global Baby continues to sleep through the night and it's not a fluke.

13 December 2008


Last night Global Baby slept THROUGH THE NIGHT! He slept from about 11 pm until about 7 am. For the first time in months, we both feel well-rested.

I think only another parent of a small baby can truly understand the joy we feel.

10 December 2008

Beware of the Doghouse

A friend e-mailed this public service announcement earlier today.

Let this be a warning to men everywhere.

09 December 2008

Frustration: The Saga of the Gliding Rocker

After a great deal of searching, visits to multiple stores and paying 5 times the cost we should have paid for a relatively low-quality product, we finally have a gliding rocking chair. We ordered it through a local baby store from Hauck, a furniture company based in Germany. It is sitting in pieces in the living room. 

The unassembled chair is mocking me while I walk back and forth in front of it, holding a baby who routinely resists sleep. (Perhaps because he is concerned about what he might miss while he is asleep?)

And reminding me, once again, that customer service here does not exist.

We ordered the rocker on Saturday, November 8th and were told it would arrive in about 2 weeks. It eventually arrived on Wednesday, November 26th. However, when GLH opened the box to put it together we discovered that none of the hardware we needed, specifically 6 30-mm screws and 2 50-mm, four washers, some wooden plugs and an allen wrench, was included.

GLH contacted the manufacturer via their customer service link on their website to explain the situation and tell them exactly what hardware we needed. They replied that they would do nothing with a customer and we would need to go through the store from which we had ordered the chair. (Question - so why do they bother having a customer service link on their website?)

So we contacted the store on Thursday, November 27th and spoke with the owner, who was extremely apologetic. She contacted the company then called back to say the hardware would be sent immediately and would come through priority mail so it would arrive faster.

And I mustn't forget to mention that the company actually questioned our honesty regarding the situation. Because obviously customers routinely go to great lengths to get extra screws for furniture all the time. Because obviously the customer is always wrong.

And it was to arrive faster? Hmm. It finally arrived today. Nearly two weeks later. Alright, I guess it arrived marginally faster than the regular delivery shipment. But c'mon? Is that really how long it takes to send something through priority mail? The place it is coming from is a 4 hour drive away! Interesting, even though they told the store owner they would ship it immediately, the postmark is from December 4th. A full week after they said they would ship it "right away."

But finally, we had the hardware, right?

Nope. See, they sent the wrong screws. Instead of what we were supposed to receive, 6 45-mm screws, 2 50-mm screws of the wrong type, 4 washers and no wooden plugs or allen wrench.

Unfortunately, the correct screws are custom-made for this rocker and cannot just be purchased at a hardware store. Otherwise we would have done that a few weeks ago.

So the parts of the rocker continue sitting in the corner of the room.

At this rate, I might have a working rocker about the time Global Baby starts kindergarten. Meanwhile, I continue to walk the floor every day instead of being able to sit in comfort and rock.

And I cannot help but compare it to the likely experience I would have had in the United States where I could have gone to any number of stores, had a large selection of options for gliding rockers and likely had it delivered to my home (at no extra charge) the same day.


08 December 2008

Expat Solution to Babysitting

Today I discovered an ingenious solution for how to entertain Global Baby, who isn't quite old enough to entertain himself, while I get a few things done.

I got my sister to babysit him!

Yes, people have been using family members for this purpose since the beginning of time. The ingenuity came in because my sister is in Minnesota and, of course, we are in Switzerland.

So I turned to technology for the solution. I started up a video call using Skype, set Global Baby in his bouncy chair and turned the screen/camera to face him. See...

Auntie Kara kept him busy while I cleared the dishwasher, folded a load of laundry and ate a sandwich for lunch. During the entire time I could hear my sister talking, so if Global Baby had needed anything she could have alerted me.

Ingenious, huh?

07 December 2008

Accidental Experiments in Physics

So, you know how when you drop a slice of toast it usually lands buttered side down?

Apparently the same is true for dirty diapers.

Thank goodness for Clorox Disinfecting Wet Wipes!

06 December 2008

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Normally we would be celebrating St. Nicholas Day, a holiday we inherited from the Austrian side of our family.

However, Global Baby is too young to really appreciate it.

And more importantly, I am frantically cleaning because tomorrow we have a visit from the US social worker, who is based near the various US military bases in Southern Germany. (Yep, an official visit on a Sunday. The Swiss would be shocked and possibly offended.)

It is the first of two post-placement home visits to judge our ability as parents and our "Home Environment" before the adoption can be finalized when Global Baby is 6 months old.

Back to vacuuming...

NOTE: I did not take the above photo and we did not personally witness the event. It is a photo of Samichlaus (Swiss for St. Nicholas) and the Schmutzlis (demon type creatures, no direct translation) arriving in Kussnacht am Rigi.

03 December 2008

Play Group Field Trip

Today instead of our regular play group, we decided to go on a field trip to...

...the Christmas Market in Basel.

I had heard it is about the best Christmas Market in Switzerland and I was very pleased with its size and the quality of items for sale. We didn't even get to see it all, so I may need to head back another day.

Here are the Mamas with their children. Unfortunately, due to illness half the group had to stay home. But those of us who were able to go enjoyed the beautiful weather, exploring the various booths and, of course, the Gluhwein!

Later in the day, Basel-based blogger The Big Finn even made an appearance and kindly guided us back to the train station for our return trip home.

We must do some more field trips in the future!

02 December 2008


I give up.

I no longer even attempt to pronounce our last name correctly when meeting new people. Instead I pronounce it the way German-speakers say it. Otherwise it's just too much work, takes a lot of spelling and they insist upon pronouncing it their way anyway.

Hey, if they want to call us by the same title sometimes used by the Queen of England, who am I to argue?

01 December 2008

Bottom of the Barrel

While channel surfin' and feeding Global Baby this evening I ran across a program on Sky Satellite entitled, and I am not making this up, "Traffic Cops."

And yes, it is indeed a documentary series about traffic cops in the U.K. In this evening's program they pulled over a motorist who was not wearing a seatbelt. Riveting stuff.

They have truly run out of ideas.

What's next? "Meter Maids" or "Crossing Guard?"

I turned the channel and watched a rerun of CSI...