Sunday, November 23, 2014


This week was one devoted to school. Next week will be too. And the week after. It is the end of the term and that means a busy time for all. I created graded, and handed back tests for all 8 of my classes. The results were quite strange - huge differences between classes. The results should have been similar as the level, age, and everything else was the same, but some of the averages were incredibly far apart.

My HAVO2 students (lower level 8th graders) are, on average, failing. This is a bit worrisome as I just learned from the kids that there is a new standard for passing onto the next year at the school - they must pass Math, Dutch, and English. Hmmm...

We spent a nice weekend at the cottage - the weather was beautiful so we went for some nice walks as saw some family. Got another full car load dropped off at the second hand shop, so Naomi is really making progress cleaning out the storage room upstairs. I also got a Brazilian baby hammock set up and the girls seem to love it (although probably not as much as I do).

Now it is time to pack things up to head back to the big city, and another busy week at work...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Birthday Week

Lots of people at work had their birthdays this week. Something to do with Singles Awareness Day nine months before? For my birthday Naomi made a nice lamb dinner with a Tarte Normande for dessert. Yesterday we had some friends over for Swiss Fondue.

At school I initiated a couple meetings about the low grades. Basically, students understand how it works after the explanation but can't translate that understanding into doing on the test. For the most part, if they did their homework well, things would be fine. There is also a big problem with retention - Math builds and they don't seem to be able to remember how to do much of anything after the test. Perhaps it has a lot to do with the fact that they have 14 different subjects every week. Bottom line is that I don't know how to solve this problem and nobody else seems to either.

Abigail and Amélie are sleeping away as I write this. Naomi went to the gym. They are all doing well although Naomi had a rough week. She decided to quit her job at WolfertPRO. A difficult choice for her, but everyone (except for a few of her colleagues there) seems to be quite happy with it. She will still work at the other school and might even get offered more responsibility. Much better to have it there than at PRO!

Happy in the box.

Birthday Pie.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Whose that Baby?

The babies have started 'talking' more this week - making little cooing noises. Yesterday we think Amélie noticed Abigail for the first time. She has always been the observant one, the one who tries hard, so of course smiley Abigail was oblivious. They were lying next to each other and Amélie was looking right at her sister making her cute little cooing sounds. As I write this Abigail is trying to have a conversation with me - lots of cooing and smiles.

About twenty minutes ago the opposite was true - Abigail wouldn't stop crying. So I picked her up, walked with her, played with her and nothing helped. The only solution was to flip her upside down. The crying stopped when her feet were dangling straight up in the air, but as soon as her head crossed the horizontal plane, tears flowed once again.

School went well this week. On Friday I administered and recorded the grades for seven quizzes in a row and was finished with all this work shortly after my last period. This never would have been possible without Google!

I even got a chance to write a bit...

They quickly dispersed in search of rock. After fifteen minutes of frantic lifting and dragging, a decent pile began to emerge just upstream from the truck that was, of course, still idling as if nothing was amiss.

When Jack determined enough had been gathered, he directed the largest specimens to be dragged first into the flowing water at a 45 degree angle to the direction of the current. This only seemed to make the water angry, turning it from brown to white. The group hurried to drop in the melon sized rocks next, and the water began to flow behind the truck, merging with a shallower rivulet. 

The hood was still submerged, but the remainder of the pile stopped the gaps and most of the flow was redirected. Before long sediment from the water itself finished the job, and the left wheel became fully exposed. Water poured out of the cab for minute or two as the team observed the full extent of their predicament...

Sunday, November 2, 2014


This week our house has seen plenty of people. Friends have come, Ron and Edith, even Claire came all the way from Switzerland for just the weekend. It has been nice to have people around. Luckily the babies behave well enough that we can all have a nice time.

I went back to school this week after having a two week break. Some exams were taking place, so I didn't get to be in my own classroom. This is always a bummer, and makes it a bit more difficult to adjust to being back. Things still went pretty well though, but I am not back in my own room until Thursday. What I think the school should do is group the classrooms by year, not by subject. Then this game of 'musical classrooms' wouldn't be necessary and there wouldn't be so many problems with technology.

Right now Claire is in town with Naomi. They are going shopping. Uh oh. Abigail and Amélie are quite peaceful though, so my job is easy. Sure wish we were enjoying the amazing weather though - it has been sunny and in the 60s lately...perfect for a trip to the zoo...

Sister Time.

Hands full.

Lots of smiles! 

Found this in the window upstairs...feels like dried whipped creme...any idea what it might be? Time to leave Rotterdam?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Time to Relax

Our couch sure has paid off this week. We finally had time to spend on it. Been watching an addictive Netflix series - Lilyhammer. We will finish up the last of the first two seasons today, but the third doesn't come out for another month, so I guess it will be a forced break.

Naomi has been doing a great job of tackling the box closet upstairs. The space is pretty large, a little under 200 square feet maybe, and the ceiling is slanted and low, but there was only a 8 foot passageway that one could squeeze into - the rest was floor to ceiling tightly packed with stuff. Quite the project. Yesterday she brought away two carloads, and hopefully we can do the same tomorrow.

Tuesday I need to start working again, and these two weeks have really flown by. More like a working vacation as we had so much to do, but there was still some time for relaxation...

Practicing for Halloween!

Great Grandma sucked into baby-land. Nothing else exists.

Play time.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Cottage

Where has time gone? We had so many plans for this week, and some of them got done I suppose. I have a two week vacation from school - one week for Fall Break and the second for some parent leave that I get. Amazing. We are spending most of it at the Cottage, but the first half is already pretty much gone! We have been really busy, but haven't gotten to enjoy being outside much and also haven't started on the box room which was meant to be the big project for the week.

Twins take up a lot of time! We did manage to clean things up, do some shopping and a few legal things, arrange and enjoy a Netflix subscription, and eat some really good food. The last couple nights the twins have actually made it through the night with one feeding instead of two! Our fingers are crossed that this continues because our lives would become even better. They were fed slightly after 9:30 last night, then we had to wake both of them up at 4 in the morning! Amélie woke up at 7 but Abigail lasted until 8. Great night.

I worked in a bit of the novel as well...

Amadou’s fame was known in the region; his greatness allowed him a large family. He had four wives and twenty-three children. He strongly believed monogamy was something reserved for the weak. There was no way for him to know that a monogamous relationship existed inside his body.

Some time ago, two small worms about one centimeter in length pledged their lives to each other when the female nestled herself into a long groove shaped just for her - the male clutching her tight for the rest of his long life. The two had joined together to become one.

The couple settled down within Amadou’s bladder and got busy with the family business of reproduction. Over the course of their lifetime the number of offspring they would produce would be uncountable, although the vast majority would die before reaching maturity. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Test Week

It was a good week to give a bunch of tests because two of my classes were in Bath, England so I had time to grade them. I also made the tests from scratch this year which actually saves me a bit of time because I formatted them for grading efficiency. Unfortunately, the results were rather low. This problem will only get worse I imagine as the Google culture of having answers at your fingertips deepens. Students don't retain much information, and as Math builds, this is a big problem. Much of the test was review, but they don't remember how to do stuff from last year let alone primary school.

Things are going well at home. Two feedings per night and in between the babies are sleeping well. Naomi remembers being told they are meant to gain between 100 and 200 grams per week. We calculated it yesterday, and over the course of the past few weeks Abigail has averaged over 500 and Amélie around 300. They are outgrowing clothes quickly already!

We also tried out some Pacco wraps last night - they are a velcro-laden swaddling cloth and for the first stretch both of them slept for 6 hours! Hopefully they will continue to help, but they will keep the babies warm and prevent their arms from moving around. Naomi picked up a couple of bouncy chairs that the girls love; I am bouncing them in them as I write this...



What goes down...must come up?