Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Full Week

This past week was the only full week of work in the entire month of May. We are at the cottage now with Monday off. Nice to have an extra day here - still plenty to do although the task of cleaning things out is almost done.

Amélie made some jumps forward yesterday with getting into more things and moving forward. She also seems to be a bit happier - perhaps it has something do to with the fact that we stopped with her medicine.

Naomi made a nice find yesterday when going through the desk upstairs - an old English bible from 1834 - along with an elementary school's worth of paper. We never know what might turn up next in this house...

They can feed themselves!

Abigail takes off her second sock.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Two Days of Work

Strange to have a two week holiday and go back to work for just two days, but we have enjoyed our second little holiday. On Wednesday we visited one of Naomi's friends who lives in Austrailia. She has a son that is a few months older than our girls, and it was good to see Abigail in a non-dominant role. Abigail was a bit in awe of the older babies abilities, but she can do almost everything he can just a bit more slowly and awkwardly.

The girls behaved really well but the city was too crowded to comfortable maneuver such a big stroller. After we made our way home Claire arrived for a visit from Switzerland. She is able to get around much better than last time, and our stroller replaces her crutches pretty well for longer walks. We were able to relax much better than we did at the cottage especially with Claire to help out a bit with things. She even cooked us a delicious anniversary dinner!

Yesterday Naomi entered the modern world with an iPhone. Found a used one for only 70 Euros and it is in great shape. We shall see how she likes it - but so far so good. This week will be a full one at work but followed by another long weekend - we have Monday off as well. They don't like to work much here during the month of May...

Abigail conquered the crib.

Amélie is loves being taller than daddy.

She also loves hair.

Abigail exploring Amsterdam (Amélie was out as soon as we left the train station).

Naomi finally finished knitting her sweater for the girls!

Claire taking care of her nieces. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Back to Rotterdam

Mentally, we have already moved. When we got back to our house in Rotterdam it didn't feel like our home anymore, just a rented place where we have to stay for a bit longer. It was also the first time that I didn't feel the need to 'escape' the cottage after a long stay there. We worked so hard that it finally becomes a decent house that we look forward to living in.

The work that we did is quite thankless as it is merely converting hidden space into usable space. The problem is, half of that house was hidden space. That made it useless space because it was completely packed with stuff. Over the past year and change, we have essentially doubled the size of the house by hauling away one carload at a time, although not too much has changed on the surface. The two weeks we spent there pretty much finished the job, but it was the opposite of a vacation.

Abigail and Amélie did not get as much attention as they would have liked, but they are still doing quite well. Abigail made a couple more jumps. She can now completely pull herself to her feet with only the bars of her crib (although she panics when she realizes she is getting tired and has no idea how to get back down), and she learned to sit up without any support whatsoever along with clapping her hands.

Today is Naomi's first Mother's Day and also our wedding anniversary. We started it out with some extra time in bed (although the girls didn't let us sleep much) as we are both exhausted, and some of the worst strawberry pancakes ever. Hopefully the rest of the day will go better...

Blankets are better than clothes for Abigail. 
Looking fancy for Naomi's birthday in the dresses Kalia found in Hawaii.

Storms roll though on the 70th anniversary of Liberation Day.

Abigail is happy 'walking' in her new favorite chair.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Work Week

Even though we have been on vacation we have been working harder than when we actually have to go to our jobs. Two weeks at the Cottage is flying by and our list is slowly getting shorter. We have already taken 5 or 6 carloads of stuff away, and this is just the final closet or two that is getting cleaned out.

We are also rearranging some things, moving the sleeping areas upstairs. It makes the house feel a lot bigger and we all sleep a bit better now that the girls have their own room. The bookshelf still needs to come downstairs and quite a few other things to be finished up, but our goal is to be ready to move in after this chunk time here.

Yesterday Naomi had her birthday party which turned out quite nicely. We had a barbecue with our new grill and it convinced Naomi that the grill was worth buying. Hopefully we can do that more often as the weather continues to warm up!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Abigail Jumps...

...forward in her development that is. This week she learned how to pull herself up onto things and assume the standing position. She also experienced the fact that this means her head is a greater distance away from the floor, and the forces of gravity acting on such a large head can cause pain. Even if the landing is padded. As I write this she is climbing over the back of her sister just like a Sherman Tank and Amélie is less than thrilled.

Abigail's creeping has been shifting to full-on crawling. Her wounded soldier movements have become much smoother, faster, and she can even get her belly off the floor now for short bursts. Uh-oh. Yesterday her speech changed too. She went from one syllable sounds to combining two syllables (something Amélie mastered quite some time ago). Maybe just a coincidence, but at dinner, she was looking at me and saying "ba ba ba ba..." for awhile and Naomi stuck her head in front of her and Abigail instantly switched to "ma ma ma ma..."

On the job front, it looks like I won't be able to get one next year because of my immigration status. We basically fall through all of the bureaucratic cracks. This means that Naomi will likely accept her position and we will move anyway - I get to be a stay-at-home Dad for awhile! Taking a year to fix this immigration mess and perhaps take some classes to keep my teaching certification alive will also keep me busy.

Maybe I can find time to work on finishing the novel too...I am done writing the first part which is about 250 pages (250 words per page) and have switched to editing it. Strange to read what I wrote so long ago. It is like someone else wrote it and I like their writing...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Job Offer!

Naomi had an interview this past week at a school in Apeldoorn. It was the only opening for Social Studies in the whole country, and in spite of all the competition, they offered it to her! Hard to know until things are in black and white and my immigration status is worked out, but it looks like we will be moving out of Rotterdam in a few months.

I also had an interview, but as I am the only one who has applied for the position, it is just a matter of trying to get the paperwork in order so that I am legally allowed to work. They make it quite difficult here.

Abigail is getting a bit too mobile for the stroller, so we may need to convert it from the bed to the seats. We went for a nice two hour walk on Wednesday morning, and she was nearly climbing out the front. She even climbs right over Amélie sometimes reminding me of a Sherman Tank. Got lots of comments about how cute they were though...

Abigail hiding in her cave.

Out for a walk... the park near our house.

Feeding time at the zoo.

Babies watching the baby elephant.

Abigail's adventures in Amazonica.

Amélie staring in wonder at sharks and sea turtles.

The coolest playground ever.

Abigail's food coma.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Taste of Summer

Yesterday was the first warm day of the year. Even when I first stepped outside and it was still cold, I caught a whiff of summer in the air. The timing worked out perfectly as it was the day we had scheduled to launch some soda bottle rockets at school. No jackets needed - the kids had a lot of fun outside. The launcher I put together out of some spare parts from the garage didn't work so well though. It got the job done, eventually, most of them time, but was rather leaky.

Next week we both have a second interview at the school in Apeldoorn, so we are rather anxious about that. Not sure what the chances are as a lot of details need to be worked out and we don't even know what the job options or the competition is like. The immigration rules could really be a problem. If the school isn't able to work things out for me, than in able to move to the East Naomi needs to find a job and I might need to take a year off to apply for Dutch citizenship. Or we might just end up in Rotterdam for another year.

Both babies have a bit of a cold right now. Abigail has started to lift herself upright onto things though, so we need to get the cribs lowered. Amélie really starts to combine different syllables to make sounds. She will be quite the talker before too long. Abigail won't have much to say - actions speak louder than words as far as she is concerned.

Amélie in her chair.

Abigail asleep in the sun stretching her pinky.

Abigail climbing over her sister like a tank.

Easter pictures.

Happy Amélie.

A broken leg doesn't mean babies are too difficult.