Archive for the 'Family' Category

Just got back from the airport…

Michelle and the boys have just flown out, and I’m here for another six weeks to finish work, hand over the apartment and tie up any loose ends.

I’m sure Michelle will blog about her trip, and I’ve got a couple of posts lined up (Geneva Auto Salon, and more) so there will still be plenty more to read about here.

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying our sunny balcony – something we’ve not really been able to do until recently.

Green Eggs & Ham

Since we are managing to stay sick (running into week three now!), reading stories to the kids has been quite popular. The most favourite book at the moment is Dr Seuss `Green Eggs & Ham`. I saw that Google paid tribute to Dr Seuss yesterday with this cool Dr Seuss logo:


A bit of interesting trivia – Did you know Green Eggs & Ham was written using only 50 words? Here is what Wikipedia says:

Green Eggs and Ham is one of Seuss’s “Beginner Books”, written in a very simple vocabulary for beginning readers. The vocabulary of the text consists of just fifty different words, of which 49 are monosyllabic (the one exception being “anywhere”)…

Bennett Cerf, Dr. Seuss’s publisher, wagered $50 that Seuss could not write a book using only fifty different words. The bet came after Seuss completed The Cat in the Hat, which used 225 words. Wikipedia Article.

Sport Ferien

The Swiss schools have two weeks ‘Sport Ferien’ in February where most kids seem to go skiing or do something sporty in the mountains with their families.  Pretty cool huh?! Since we have done our skiing /snow / sporty thing in the mountains already, we had two weeks hanging close to home with no Spielgruppe or Muki Treff or much else on.  It has been pretty fun but I am glad everything is back to ‘normal’ this week.

Here are a few photos of what the boys and I have been up to.  Including a lot of train riding, sliding down slides, a trip to Zurich zoo, a trip to children’s playland called ‘Trampolino‘ (thanks for the tip, Cornelia!).  You wouldn’t believe that there were probably a hundred or more kids there by the photos, it was CRAZY fun.  We also made homemade pizza – Italian styles with the thin base and, man, it was the best pizza ever! At the zoo we saw a brand new baby hippo and a rhinosaur (Toby was sure it was a rhinosaur and not a rhinoceros!).  Toby was really keen to meet a chameleon and we found one at the rainforest enclosure at the zoo.  We didn’t manage a photo though, cos my camera fogged up in the damp air.  The rainforest reminded me much of what the Neuseeland summer is like – sticky and humid!  And with all the beautiful fern trees and palms – I felt right at home!

Mark Driscoll, Food and T-shirts

Had another cute conversation with Toby today.

Daniel and I have been listening to heaps of Mark Driscoll’s sermons (Mars Hill Church, Seattle).  We love his stuff.  We have listened to his series on the book of Proverbs over the past few weeks – heaps about being a man, father, husband, women, wife, mother and about bringing up kids etc.  Totally worth downloading and listening to on your way into work in the car / train… Or you could listen to them while sitting on the couch eating bärentatzen and drinking glühwein like us!  But that is another story…

Well, one of the sermons was about men, and their duty to work and provide for the family, to not be lazy and go and work and earn money etc.  Daniel thought it was important to teach Toby why his Dada goes to work each day and instill some good work ethics early on into our young boy!  So they had a man-to-man chat a couple of weeks ago.

Today Toby asked “Why is Dada at work”  To which I answered “What do you think?” (this is my latest answer to all of Toby’s ‘why‘ questions as I find he often knows the answer!).  Toby said “To get some money”.  To which I said “And what does Dada do with that money”,  Toby answered – “He shares it with us”.  I said “And what do we do with it?”.  Toby’s answer: “We buy food and t-shirts”.  Gotta love all those t-shirts!  Haha.

King for a day!

Who is the King? If I asked Toby that, his answer would be ‘God’, and he would be right!  But I am talking about something a bit different.

Today is the 6th January and the Swiss celebrate the ‘Heilige Drei Könige’ (or ‘Epiphany’ in English speaking countries) and it is commemorating the Magi or Wise Men visiting Jesus.

In Switzerland, it is tradition to buy / make a Dreikönigskuchen (Three King’s cake).  One of the buns is baked with a plastic king, each family member takes a bun and the one who finds the wee king in their bread is named King of the family for the day.  Guess who is our King!?

The youngest member of the family – Noah!

A Swiss Christmas

With or without snow, a Swiss Christmas is beautiful and magical.  Nope, it wasn’t a white Christmas (unless you were above 1000m).  But thats ok, it was an enjoyable one, nonetheless!  The one thing that stood out to me, was the cozyness of it.  Cold outside, warm inside and lots of candles.  Real candles on the Christmas tree.  I love candles and didn’t really think about but in NZ it doesn’t get dark till 9 or 10 at Christmas so candles are a bit useless!  It was great to be able to celebrate on Heiligabend (Christmas Eve) with my Grosi and then on Christmas Day with my Grossmueti & Grossvati.

And the smells – so good – like a pine needle that gets caught on a candle and lets off a beautiful pine scented smoke.  Drinking wine, eating beautiful food and Christmas guetzli.  Mmmmh.  The boys were spoilt with lots of exciting presents.

Today is a amazingly beautiful day, blue sky and I can see that sun again.  Its been awhile!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, warm or cold and wishing you all a great 2009.  God bless.

To smack or not to smack…

This is a bit of a touchy topic, but I am going to go for it anyway.  Before we left New Zealand a law was made that parents are not allowed to smack their children (or use any force to discipline their children) – in spite of 80% of NZer’s being opposed to it (correct me if I am wrong!?).  The aim of making that law was to lessen child abuse, which is a good aim.  But it hasn’t done a damn thing, only made everyday ‘good’ parents feel guilty for loving their child enough to discipline.  And it made it pretty tricky for us, especially since we would give the boys a smack once in a while or ‘force’ them on the ‘naughty chair’ to sort them out (and it worked too!).  On arriving to Switzerland I wasn’t sure if this was the case here.  Was I allowed to give a quick smack on the hand in public, or pick my kid up and buckle him (using pure force) into his pushchair? – you know, to stop him from running out onto a busy road.

I didn’t actually end up checking out the law or asking anyone.  Dan and I have a way of dealing with wrong behaviour with our children, that we believe works and is right.  Every parent is different and that is for every parent to decide, not the government.  I hate it when the government imposes on what should be the parents responsibility.  I mean, if a parent is against smacking, then they can choose not to smack.  Simple!

I read this article today, and am glad to hear that the Swiss don’t just make laws for the sake of making laws.

Lawmakers in the lower house of parliament Tuesday voted 102 to 71 against the proposal that aimed to ban corporal punishment, after it had already been rejected by the upper house.
Opponents of the law say that the Swiss constitution already gives adequate protection to children from corporal punishment.

The less laws the better. I know that child abuse is a massive issue in NZ.  It is a much bigger problem than here in Switzerland.  Nonetheless, a very sad and horrible issue which, I agree, needs to be dealt with.   But a law is not going to change people’s attitude and hearts, and anyway, there are laws in place in NZ which make abuse illegal, that doesn’t stop the abuse happening though.

Switzerland’s government is the closest in the world to a direct democracy.  There are so many things which work well in this country and I can’t help wonder if it isn’t because of a great government system.  And people in parliament who care for their country, who are ‘real’ and realistic.  They think things through.  Other governments could learn a lot from the Swiss.  I wonder, though, if it helps that Switzerland is over 700 years old and so has had lots of practise.  NZ has a little catching up / growing up to do!

Talking Swiss

We get asked a lot if our boys are speaking Swiss yet.  I thought I would answer that here.   Basically – No.  But they are learning.  They definitely are understanding a lot.  I notice if I ask them something in Swiss, that they understand.  I guess it is a bit like a newborn, they don’t talk for the first year or two of their life while they take everything in.  Then they start speaking later on.

We mostly speak English at home.  But we sing songs in Swiss and read stories in German (just to really confuse them!).

They do know a few words which they use in everyday language:

Grüezi (hello); Tchuss (goodbye); Danke (thank you); Bitte (please); Migros (local supermarket!); Coop (another supermarket – yes we spend lots of time at the supermarket!).  All the town names like Aarau, Oberentfelden, Luzern etc.  They can count to 10, say a few colours, and words like Baum (tree), Hund (dog), rägeboge (rainbow), and quite a few more…

Toby sings a few tunes in Swiss German that he has learnt at Muki Treff, Church, Playgroup or from a CD.  It is so cute listening to him sing nonsense – only a couple of words make sense in Swiss!  Today he came home rubbing his tummy and said ‘mein Bauch‘ (my tummy), he picked it up from a song he sung at Spielgruppe.  And then hopped on his bike and said ‘hey my bike is blau und grun’ (blue and green).  So two languages in one sentence!

Here are a couple of lines of a Swiss songs he sings over and over and over – but I love it:  (thanks Cornelia for the Kings Kids CD!)

Wenn i dra dänke, was Du fur mi hesch gmacht,
wott i niemeh vo Dir w
äg, wäg, wäg
Nei, nei, nie, nie, ä, ä, ä, wott i niemeh vo Dir wäg, wäg, wäg

Heisse Marroni

Not much has been happening in our world.  Just every day life, church stuff, work and the family.   But it is all good.  It is cold (high of 5 degrees today) and we are all a bit sick so staying indoors more.

I have to do a wee post about one of the best things about winter… Heisse Marroni.  At this time of year you can get hot, roasted chestnuts at stands on the side of the road.  Perfect to warm you up.  Mmmh.

Toby has been going to a ‘Waldspielgruppe’ every week.  Pre pre-school aged kids venture out into the forest with a couple of teachers and explore and light fires and make rope swings and cook cervelas (sausages).  He absolutely loves it. He comes home filthy but that is all good.   They go in any weather- snow & rain etc.  So cool.  What a great idea.  He is going on Wednesday morning again they are expecting 1 degrees overnight.  Will have to dress him very warmly.

Chocolate & Marriage

Yes, our chocolate index is a bit behind for being here 6 months.  If we were eating the same amount as the average Swiss we should be well over 12 kgs now (for our family total).  I think our current 7.8 kgs sounds greedy enough though! I have bought about the same amount again in chocolate and sent it home to NZ.  Perhaps that should be included!  Man. Perhaps our consumption will pick up a bit over the winter months.

And that word marriage is in the title – nothing to do with chocolate – just thought  I would share a cute story about Toby and his thoughts on marriage:

He asked me what the purpose of each of his fingers was – yes, he is at THAT ‘why?’ stage – you know index finger, middle finger, pinky etc.  I won’t tell you all my answers cos I just made them up (anyone have the right answer for me?).

Anyway, when he got to his ring finger he asked ‘what is this for?’  I said ‘on that finger you will wear your wedding ring when you get married’.  He thought a moment and said ‘I don’t want to wear a ring when I get married, I think I will wear a t-shirt instead’!

Funny guy.