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.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Consulate

We had a busy week. Lots of visitors and no shortage of things to do. This was the last week of Naomi's pregnancy leave; the last chance to jump through some bureaucratic hoops in Amsterdam. Going into the Consulate is like entering a maximum security prism located next to the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

The Consulate building fits in perfectly with its beautiful surroundings (as opposed to the bunker in The Hague that we call our embassy) save the twelve foot tall fence and the glassed in security station. This is the place where assume that any electronics you bring in are some type of terrorist device and everything else is scanned and probed.

Once we got past the bullet-proof door, the people behind the windows who talked through a microphone were quite friendly and helpful. I made some mistakes with the passport applications for the girls, but they arranged to have me fix the problems through the mail so we don't need to return.

Play time in the box. Abigail is fits into one of my old outfits...

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Back to Delft

This week was a busy one at school. We had report meetings which involves the teachers getting together to discuss each student. The differences between classes this year is large, some are doing quite well and others failing miserably. So many students are failing Math that the Math department is really not sure what to do about it. I have changed a few things in the lessons this year, like adding practice for insight questions and some bits online curriculum...while it is an improvement I doubt the results will change.

Yesterday was a great day. We woke up to sunny skies and loaded up the car. Naomi ordered a few things from our favorite Delft Blue company - it is the smallest one but they do nice work. Lots of customization.

Just walking around the city was great, and we made it home just in time to feed the girls. Not long after that, Susan came to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. The turkey turned out really well this year and so did everything else.

Right now Naomi is shopping in Amsterdam with a friend and Amélie is crying, so it is time to wrap this up...

The new baby hammock from Brazil.

Abigail overpowered her diaper.

Enjoying Delft.

They can feed themselves! (for a few seconds)
Nap time.
Naomi's order. Even the time on the clock shows when they were born...

Thanksgiving Dinner.

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?