Sunday, August 24, 2014


Something quite strange and wonderful happened this week. A lot has changed quite suddenly around the house. At the beginning of the week I had a very large, complaining wife and lots of spare time. We took a trip around the corner to the hospital and all of the sudden I have almost no spare time, a shattered sleep cycle, and two of the cutest tiny humans I have ever seen. All of it feels rather like a surprise - I didn't have an intuitive grasp on what was happening inside of Naomi.

Kalia came all the way from Alaska to help us out, and we were so grateful she did! It has been a gift to have her around and part of this whole process. She got here on Monday and already left yesterday - we all wish she could have stayed longer.

Tuesday morning we checked into the hospital. They ran some tests and gave Naomi a pill to induce labor. They planned to give her another every 4 hours until she began to dilate and said it could easily take 8 pills for that to happen. Fortunately the first one did the job. By two or three in the afternoon she was around 3 cm and they put her on a oxytosin (sp?) drip to speed up the contractions. It made her a bit high. Kalia and I and even Naomi to an extent had a lot of fun for the next few hours. Naomi came up with the funniest descriptions of her contractions and Kalia and I laughed and recorded them for a later day.

Around six things started to get bad, so Kalia went off to find some dinner. We were expecting some progress after all the pain Naomi was in, but she hadn't dilated much further. We were quite disappointed as the doctor (who we really like - she skipped her kite surfing to deliver our babies) said it would be normal to add one centimeter for every hour of contractions. At this point they got far too painful and they added a morphine drip to the oxytosin. This helped but Naomi lost her upbeat attitude entirely.

After two hours of intense pain, the doctor came back to check and was surprised to find that Naomi had opened up to 8 cm. She had done a great job of relaxing. At this point our room filled up quickly. About 8 doctors/assistants came. They brought many large machines with them. Naomi had to try so hard not to push.

Around 8:30 the pushing began. No need to dwell too long on what happened in the next 45 minutes, but I will say that I can't adequately describe the moment that they came out so I won't try. Abigail was born at 9:08 and Amélie at 9:18. It felt like a lot more time in between though. Abigail came out head first and Amélie butt first. I cut the cords.

Naomi was in really rough shape the next day, but was quite fortunate to not need a c-section. She asked a nurse to stay another night in the hospital but the nurse said there was no medical reason so we had to go. Shortly after one of the doctors we like came in to congratulate us and to tell us that she had arranged for another night which was a big comfort.

On Thursday we came home. It is standard here to have help in the home for about a week after birth so our helper came. We really like her. She teaches us all about how to handle and take care of the babies. She does the laundry. She cleans and changes the bed. She washes dishes, will cook for us, and even run errands. Why don't they do this in America!? We would have such a rough time without her.

The babies are really good. They are both gaining weight now although they lost a lot early on. They seem to want attention in the evening before midnight, but after that they have been sleeping soundly until their feedings. When they sleep they sleep. You can talk at a normal voice around them, vacuum clean right next to their crib, even give them a little prick in the foot to take blood and they don't wake up.

Because of all the help we have I am starting to adjust to this strange sleep cycle. When all goes well in is an hour and a half of work followed by an hour and a half of rest. They need to eat every three hours. Afternoons have been the time where we have been getting the most consecutive sleep and it is paying off - I start to get a bit of energy again.

Week 36

The Birthing Suite - with a private bathroom.

And a nice view.

We're Ready!

Great Success. 


Climbing feet.

Separate for the first time.

Happy Auntie.

Finally home. 

Warm, clean, and dry.

Bath time.



Pinky pacifier.

Sweet babies.

Week 37

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Vacation at Last

Even though school ended a month ago, I have had so much to do that this was the first week that actually felt like a vacation. The house is pretty much ready to go. So I relaxed. Haven't done that in awhile! I even had a chance to work a bit more on my story...

He was about four years old, his hair was cut so short it was almost shaved, and he had crusty streams of snot coming from his nose and eyes. He held up two grubby fists in Jack’s direction as if offering him a present and one of the women grabbed onto his shirt so he wouldn’t fall. 

The boy stuck up his thumb and said, “kelen.” He then stuck up a stubby index finger and said, “fila,” the third finger was “saba,” then, “naani, duruu, woro,” continuing until all ten digits were up in the air. 

Marcel, along with the ladies in the truck, were taken aback when Jack repeated precisely what the boy showed him. Had he studied this language before? He must have. So why was he here? The children just cheered and wanted more. Jack happily obliged. 

Week 35

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Finishing Furniture

Finally! After almost a year of working on and (mostly) off the Maple project for the hall/bathroom is finished. I had trouble finding a replacement for the 'Wipe on Poly' that I like so much, but after some research, tried mixing varnish with boiled linseed oil (about half and half) and after three coats things were looking quite good. It took a long time to dry, but the finish has the silkiness of the oil mixed with some durability from the varnish. I am quite happy with it so far.

On Thursday some of Naomi's family came all the way from the east side of the country to clean up our house. They did a great job of picking up our slack in that department over the last 6 months or so, although finding things has been a bit tricky lately. I have been working on getting things fixed up the way we want them over the last three days and still have quite a bit of work to do. Figured it would be done by now!

Naomi had another trip to the hospital yesterday. This time for some nasty headaches - she was even seeing spots. They know her quite well by now. We have a maximum of 9 days left, and Naomi is starting to switch from counting down the days to counting down the hours...

Week 34

A friend helped me out with the first coat of finish.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Woodworking Week

Nice to have a week where I could finish up those projects that I started almost a year ago. I will put the finishing touches on the chest today. The shelf for above it is finished as are the corner shelves for the bathroom. Tomorrow I plan to start the varnishing process. Tricky though because I am not sure what product to use here...wish they had Wipe-on Poly!

The neighbors had a little fit about all the noise though. Strange because we live on such a noisy corner. Even though we both talked to them and tried to be reasonable in explaining the situation and such, but their intellect limited them from saying much more than gross exaggerations of the work time and that they didn't like the noise. I got into a bit of a fight with the lady in Dutch, and Naomi complemented me on my language skills. Today should be the last use of power tools for awhile.

Last night we had another false alarm. Naomi thought she was going into labor, so she got me up at three in the morning to go to the hospital. Thankfully we were only there for three or four hours because we are not ready for the babies yet and the hospital didn't have any space for them. It would be a real bummer to have to give birth in a different hospital - we are so happy with ours!

Week 33

Tests in the delivery room.

Hanging out in a messy house.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Completed Cottage

On Wednesday a friend and I went out East to work on making the Cottage comfortable and prepared. We worked really hard on it for three days and the result is great. The only real trouble we had came from a few pictures. Pictures of Naomi's mom. For some reason they didn't want to go up on the wall and they certainly didn't want to stay there. Odd...

It is a big comfort to know that all we have to do now is get in the car and enjoy our time there. Speaking of getting in the car, Naomi drove herself to the hospital yesterday morning and spent 24 hours there. The doctors are a bit worried that she might have a condition that could be bad for the babies but doesn't hurt her - something about itchy hands and feet.

Other than that, everything is looking good, so they sent her home. It was nice to spend some time in the delivery room to see what that is all about. They are quite nice - a bit like a hotel. Up on the 10th floor so the view is nice (you can easily see our house if you are on the correct side) and there is a personal bathroom and a fold out chair and even a mini-fridge. It eases the mind a bit to know what to expect.

Week 32

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hot Week

School did not end on the best note for me this year. We had been exploring a couple online curriculum options for next year and by the time we finally chose one, the administration had already ordered books for us. As it stands now, we have less laptop material set up for next year that we did this year. Definitely heading in the wrong direction - I understand it to be a money issue, but as communication is often nonexistent, it is hard to tell.

Thursday was a tennis tournament and I did really well in the first round. It was hot and humid though, and I was sweating a lot. I started to feel a bit feverish and needed to quit early. The rest of the day I felt quite feverish and the pizza we ordered for dinner was one of the best I have ever tasted. Maybe I lost too much salt...

The next days the temperature kept climbing. Naomi wasn't able to sleep much at night, so on Saturday I broke down and bought a brand new air conditioner. It is quite heavy, but I am able to move it around so it can run wherever it is needed. Naomi is uncomfortable enough as it is, but I was happy I could do something to make things a bit more manageable for her.

The expensive air conditioner.

Week 31

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Almost There

This was my last week with students, and it went really well. I was in charge of the ones who failed Math and had to make things up. I was better prepared than last year, but still blown away by how well they worked. Four hours a day for four days straight of working in almost complete silence. I never thought it possible. Friday they took the test, and although almost everyone failed it, I let most of them pass because I averaged in their 'work attitude' grade. Strange that even after four days of working on it, they still can't pass the test. Something doesn't add up...

We left early for the cottage on Friday and got more done this weekend than I ever thought possible. We got rid of five or six huge piles of stuff and the lawn chair chest I am making for the patio is almost finished. This coming week should be nice and relaxed in Rotterdam, so hopefully I can make some progress on the maple chest there...

Week 30