Sunday, June 28, 2015

Claire's Back!

We had a very productive week. I only had to work 7 hours or so, and that meant a lot was able to be accomplished. The wine caddies I have been working on are ready to be finished and Naomi and Claire took a car load of stuff over to the cottage yesterday. On Thursday we had a nice time in Delft picking up a few gifts and saying goodbye to our favorite city in the West.

Plenty of other little things have been crossed off the list, and we are getting mentally prepared to say goodbye to our life in Rotterdam and make the loooong journey to Michigan. Good thing Claire is coming along to help us!

Today we will get a chance to relax a little bit, but Ron and Edith will be coming for dinner. Should be a nice evening. Still trying to track down a few more items for the woodworking business we want to start up in the fall before we leave the population density behind. Hopefully I can find them!

Marinus, Alies's partner, came for a visit.

Amélie's milk mustache. 

Trying to escape into the kitchen.

Biker baby.

Amélie caught up with her sister - now she can stand up!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

To the East

We headed back to the Cottage for our last 'weekend trip' and are enjoying it. The next time we come will be with a moving van...

Erna was having such fun babysitting the girls yesterday that she offered to keep them for the night. It has been strangely quiet around here! Naomi and I have been able to get a lot done to prepare for the move.

This coming week in Rotterdam will be quite relaxed. I only have to work for 8 hours or so. We should be able to take some nice trips to the zoo, Delft, and maybe the Hague. If the weather cooperates I can also work on my little woodworking project. Finally a bit of fun!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Project Week

We have an official project week at school which constitutes the student's last week of the year. Mine was this past week though. I finished up early with the stuff I had to teach, so I got to come up with a nice project about designing a eco-friendly house. The kids are getting pretty into it - nice to see some interest and motivation for a change.

I also have been working on my first little woodworking project that I would like to go commercial with. The only problem I can see with starting up a business at this point is the noise that the machines will make. Not only could it bother the neighbors, but the 'chamber of commerce' might not allow such a business in a residentially zoned area. Something to figure out next year.

Abigail started actually crawling on her hands and knees yesterday. We thought she might just skip that step and jump straight into walking. Amélie has been making progress too. She is pulling herself up on things and can climb over large pillows now. They are starting to play together much more nicely now, and they miss each other when separated. On our way back from the cottage they cried for a lot of the trip (which hasn't happened before), but as soon as we got them out of their separated car seats and put them together in the crib it was a party of laughs and happiness. I am sure that being together will help when they have to go to daycare in the fall...

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Warm Weather

It has started to feel like summer here. On Friday it was so warm in my classroom that after lunch I couldn't teach without sweating. After we got the car packed up some big thunderstorms rolled through, so that cleared the way for a beautiful weekend. The weather now couldn't be more perfect!

In a couple hours we will go visit some family and enjoy the sunshine in their garden. No need to pack up the car and drive back today though! I have another job interview tomorrow in Deventer. Not really sure if it is legally possible for me to work there - my immigration situation is really a mess - but at least I will get my name into the system.

If the weather stays so nice, I will have to start up a few small woodworking projects in Rotterdam. The beginning of the business - a few gifts for people. Not sure how well I will be able to make things here at the Cottage, so best to annoy the neighbors in the big city before we depart.

Another food coma.

I put a big mirror by their play zone, and they love it!

First walk with the newly configured buggy - Naomi replaced the bed with seats.

Exploring together.

So it begins...

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Move Begins

Over the next 6 weeks we will be moving from Rotterdam, part of one of the most densely populated areas in the world in the west side of the Netherlands to Twente, a much more rural area where farmers don't need endless acres of greenhouses to make use of the land.

A lot of things are still up in the air - I have a job interview in just over a week - but whether or not it will be possible for me to work given my transitioning immigration status remains a large question mark. Most likely scenario remains to continue work in Rotterdam while my status changes and Naomi will start her job in the East.

We are also thinking about and laying some groundwork for starting up a furniture making business. I want to take used wood, particularly old floors, and custom build cabinetry and other things. The workspace I have now is far too small, but at least I can get started with a few things before we hope to find a new home next year.

Abigail and Amélie grow more fun by the day. They are both quite mobile and Abigail is working on her walking skills. The balance is still a long way off though.

Needless to say, we are pretty stressed out and busy. The summer in America is definitely something to be looking forward to!

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.