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?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Full Week

This was the last one for awhile. It went well though...I didn't feel maxed out which is a surprise. Next week will be lighter as two of my eight classes are in Bath, England. After that I will be working Monday and then my parent leave starts. I wouldn't have know to ask for it if it had not been our friend Peter who gave us the tip. Thanks!

This means I will have a full week off from work, and we combined it with fall break, so in total I will have two whole weeks off! We will spend most of it at the cottage.

It was great to be there this weekend. We were undecided as to whether or not we would make the journey because Abigail has a cold. Lots of trouble breathing due to a stuffy nose. I guess I passed that one along to her...whoops. The weather was so nice on Friday that we couldn't stay here. Luckily it continued through Saturday. We went for a nice long walk and enjoyed the patio thoroughly. Even got a bit sunburnt!

On Wednesday I finally had a chance for a bit of writing again...

Eventually Jerry skidded to a halt under a shady grove of trees. Tim dizzily exited the car while Jack and Johanna decoupled themselves from the roll bar and gingerly hopped over the tailgate. The grove of trees was large, but they could already hear the rushing sound of flowing water. 

They grabbed everything they needed out of the cab that didn't lock and took the short walk under the strangely tall canopy. What opened up before them was nothing short of a tropical paradise...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

On Our Own

Wednesday was a sad day. Grandma and Grandpa had to leave. We all had a great time and adjusting to the lack of help will continue to be a challenge, although we are doing pretty well. Today I will finish getting the Ikea cabinets we bought set up in the bathroom, and that will make a big difference.

Tuesday morning I had a prep hour, and I spent it across the street at the zoo. If this nice weather holds, I will try to make that a more regular thing. On Thursday during one of my prep hours I picked up my 5-year residence permit, which makes me a more permanent fixture in Dutch society.

Naomi did really well on her own this week, she even got a bit too much done. This weekend brought a bit of rest, but we have still been busy. She does a great job of taking care of the twins, although she often thinks she doesn't or can't. Hopefully that changes soon now that she is on her own four days a week!

Ready for the Great Outdoors.

Walking in the Park.

Naptime after the Walk.

The crib downstairs gets lots of isn't so neat anymore though!

Birds near the Zoo's entrance - I can see the flamingos from my classroom and bike past the pelicans every day.

Welcome to Asia.

Monkey Island.



Family Picture Time.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Last Week

Only a few days left of the easy life. Once my parents head back on Wednesday we will have to do everything on our own. I am happy to say that we have had a great visit and many things have been checked off the lists. Our houses are really getting into shape for these babies.

My energy has been pretty decent this week except for a little cold, so we will see how that changes. Early on Tuesday morning I even snuck over to the Zoo during one of my prep hours. Too bad I didn't have my camera because the low light coming in through the mist was incredible. I was one of only a handful of visitors, so it was fun to feel like I had the place to myself.

Mom and I took a trip to the Ikea and as always, ended up with more than we came for. Still need to install some cabinets in the bathroom and when that is done things will run more smoothly. We tried the cloth diapers this week and they worked out well. Good to have that system installed, then we can use as we like.

This weekend was spent at the Cottage. We all had a nice time. Yesterday Naomi and I did something completely new for both of us - bought clothes at full price. Strange experience. We shall see if we continue to do this or not, but it sure is nice to have the luxury of giving that a try. We also had a nice lunch outside with a live band. Good to have babysitters!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Did Grandpa Steal a Baby?

I have been trying to remember what happened this week, but it comes back as a bit of a blur. A good blur. Mom and Dad have been a great help - Dad got here Wednesday. We are getting used to taking care of the twins, but it will be quite the shock when Mom and Dad leave.

School went fine, and on Friday we even went to the Zoo. It was sunny and nice. I seem to be having a decent amount of energy given the splintered nights, but that all might change when we are on our own.

For now, September continues to be one of my favorite months. Plenty of sunshine, lots of nice walks, no shortage of things to keep us busy. So much has changed since last September!

Grandpa loves to go for walks and he takes one of the girls, usually Abigail, with him. He immediately looks rather suspicious with his UP beard and clothing - they don't see that style much here in the big city. On top of that, he carries the babies in his arms, without a backpack or a stroller.

On his way home from a walk to the windmill, the police stopped him. They were very friendly, but explained that he had been reported as a possibly baby thief. They walked him home in order to confirm his identity and that of the baby's with the mother, who happened to be in the shower at the time.

All in all a rather awkward situation, but one that we home Grandma will make into a children's book one day...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Back to Work

Happily, I was able to start slowly this week. Monday was a day of meetings with a nice lunch. Tuesday was just a few lessons. Wednesday I had off as the school was able to arrange the schedule so I don't have to teach then. Thursday and Friday were full of teaching, but the lessons went really well. I was even able to organize my space and hang up some posters. A much better start than last year.

The babies are doing quite well. Gaining weight and changing fast. They already look much different from when they were born. Mom was able to take over my nighttime duties on the days before I needed to teach, and this along with all the other help she is able to provide makes the start of the school year seem manageable. Things would be pretty rough if she wasn't around!

We were even able to go to the Cottage for the weekend. It was some work setting things up there for the babies, but we did have time to relax and enjoy it too. Even had the time last night to watch an entire movie on our new couch! This coming work week will be a lot heavier, so we will see if the positive spirit continues...