Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cleaning up the Cottage

It has been three weeks since we have been here at the cottage. Normally we come every other weekend, but it has been busy. We spent much of our energy yesterday cleaning up Christmas stuff and hauling another car load to the second hand shop. We lost count long ago of how many trips we have taken there. Things continue to improve inside the house though. We make a bit of progress every time we are here, but there is still plenty to do.

The past week was not a terribly good one. I got off to a bad start on Monday with a bit of a traffic incident on the way to school - a car bumped into my bike. There was a bit of damage to my bike and the truck, but nothing beyond that.

Everything seemed to be working against me after that until I got home. The week slowly improved but the winter blues are really getting to me. At least we got a bit of snow yesterday - for the first time in two years. Now we need to prepare for some visitors and give the babies a bath. I could go back to bed...

Naptime in the box.

Abigail's first vegetable - cauliflower. 

Amelie's little fingers.

Abigail hugging the bunny - now she can roll back and forth.

A bit of winter at the Cottage. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Rolling Over

It was a big week for Abigail. She learned how to roll from her back to her tummy. Now when we set her in the crib it is usually a matter of a few seconds and she is flipped around - unless there is a blanket or something in the way. She is still the physical one. Doesn't need much sleep, always moving and pushing her limits. She is confident with herself but rather shy at times with new people.

Amélie stays more in her head. Loves to observe, happy to meet new people, still goes from happy to screaming in the blink of an eye - the sensitive one. She seemed to be figuring out how to flip the pages in a book that Kalia got her for Christmas. In a couple years she will stay warm reading books while Abigail is getting muddy and eating worms outside.

Abigail is still widening the weight gap - she is nearly two kilos heavier than her sister. They start to interact more now, but are still able to sleep through the screams and vacuum cleaners. Hopefully tomorrow we can go to the zoo again as I am done at school a bit early. We shall see if Naomi has time...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Squash Season

This week has been a return to many of our normal routines. My friend, who had been sick for awhile, is finally better so we started up our weekly squash game again. I went to buy a pass for 12 half hour sessions which costs 100 Euros (ridiculous) but the lady only charged me 40. We figured it was maybe a New Year's special or something, so one of the other guys bought one two. Same deal.

When the third went up to get his all of the sudden the price was 100 Euros and the lady said she needed to talk to us about our passes. We asked for a refund as she charged us for swimming passes, not squash. She said this wasn't possible, so we ended up spending 300 Euros on squash. What a scam - a little reminder that we do live in Holland.

School went alright this week although my classroom is taken up for testing again, so I have to wander around the school for a couple weeks. I finished my application to get bumped up to a higher salary scale, and we had a school-group get together at the Zoo. There were a couple different tours that ended in an amazing but exclusive room where one wall was the giant shark aquarium. Nice to discover a new place.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Back to the City

When we arrived last night the amount of cars caught us off guard. After two weeks we had gotten rather used to the country life. We saw quite a bit of Naomi's family, made more progress upstairs, and spent more than enough time on the couch. I was hoping to be a bit more productive, but am still feeling sick.

Tomorrow we go back to the normal routine although my students don't show up until Tuesday. Now I will try to get a bit of a workout at the gym for the first time in almost three weeks...we shall see how that goes...

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Cough

I brought home a nasty bug. Everyone is sick but I got the worst of it - turned into a mild bit of pneumonia. We have spent most of the vacation on the couch. At least we have a comfortable couch with a fireplace in front of it. I have been managing to write something in the Novel every day so at least there is a slight feeling of accomplishment.

Naomi has been making more progress upstairs. It would be great if it is pretty much cleaned out by the end of the holiday, but I suppose that depends mostly on how we are feeling.

We had a nice Christmas dinner with our friend Susan and her family. Amélie tried applesauce at the big table - this was her first food other than milk. She didn't like it. Yesterday I shared my popsicle with Abigail which was her first 'food'. She loved it and started crying when we cut her off. Probably would have eaten the whole thing if is was up to her.

In the last couple days Abigail has also started talking a lot. For Amélie this is normal, and she has a crystal-clear voice like a champaign glass. Abigail's is more like a frosted tumbler. They are both peacefully asleep in front of the fire after their first journey into temperatures below freezing. We took them on a bit of a walk this morning.

Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Shortest Day

That would be today. The time is almost noon and even though I am upstairs the faint light coming through the clouds that must be the sun just barely clears the rooftop of the house across the street.

It has already dipped below freezing a few times this year (this would equal the grand total of frosts during last year's winter) but the weather is mostly cloudy and depressing. Plenty of rain. When the sun comes I imagine that it must be a Christmas Angel or something because everyone has forgotten what the sun is; or at least I have. On the upside, today is the shortest day of the year...nothing but more daylight (even if it is filtered through low hanging clouds) from here on out.

School wrapped up nicely. Students didn't need to come on Friday, we had meetings instead followed by a nice lunch. Unfortunately I was starting to get a cold, which has turned into a nasty bug sentencing me to a weekend on the couch. Finished a book yesterday...maybe I can get a bit of writing in today. Here is a snippet from a few days ago:

The monkey had swum toward him surprisingly quickly and climbed out of the water, first onto his shoulders, then wrapping its arms, legs, and body securely around his head. Tiny fists clutched Caleb’s scruffy sideburns while toes curled their way into the dripping hair that began to hide the deeply tanned backside of Caleb’s neck. The straddled creature looked like a terrified horse jockey frozen in position, every muscle tensed, just waiting for the gates to crash open.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Back to Work

Naomi finished off her pregnancy leave and has started teaching on Wednesday mornings. After Christmas she will also teach on Fridays as well. She is happy to go back to work, and we have arranged for someone to come watch the girls on Fridays. I am home on Wednesdays, so the schedule should work out well.

We are at the Cottage this weekend and had a nice steak dinner last night. This morning did not involve much sleeping in for me though. Naomi was feeding Abigail (Amélie can sleep through the night now!) and she had an explosive poop which I had to help clean up and now Abigail is not happy. No point in going back to bed I suppose.

Today is the celebration of Naomi's Grandma's 94th birthday, so we will dress the girls in something nice (hopefully Abigail doesn't still smell like poop) and head over just before lunch. For the Christmas break we will be here as well, so yesterday I set up the tree. I don't understand fake trees. They are a lot of work to put together, they make almost as much of a mess as a real tree, they need to be stored somewhere for the rest of the year, and they don't look or smell good. I gave it a try, but I think we will be getting rid of ours...


Happy in the chair.