Birthdays and Good-byes

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Flora & Madelynn

The worst part of living abroad is when the friends you have made move on to their next adventure. Whether that be moving to another part of the Netherlands, a new country, or back home. It’s always the hardest part. Now that Flora is older and has real friendships, she is going to go through it now too.

Yesterday was her friend Madelynn’s 4th birthday party. I became friends with Madelynn’s mother through playgroup three years ago. These two girls have always loved playing together and they truly are close friends. We’re so sad to see them leave. I can see that Flora understands what a friend is now and she knows that she won’t see Madelynn again for a very long time. She told me she’s sad and we talked about it. Big feelings here! I can’t believe how grown up she is and how she was able to articulate this. On the bright side, they are very young and these thoughts and conversations don’t last long before she is on to the next idea or activity. Nonetheless, it’s still sad. Probably it’s more sad for me because I’m also losing a good friend and a fun mom to hang out with who just happens to be America. We always had things to talk about! But, I’m sure our paths will meet again. The great thing about living abroad is that you have friends and love in many different places.

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Fun at Dartledome

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Lazy Saturday morning

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My Little Adventurers

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My little man. A curious little guy who is looking for adventure, things to touch that he shouldn’t, and things to put in his mouth that are dangerous. If Thibault could walk, he would run. I love his curious little spirit. I wish that he liked to play and do things that were less dangerous. His new favorite thing is turning on these lights on our nightstands. IMG_5596

It has made our Friday outings a little bit more challenging. He isn’t content sitting in the stroller watching the world go by. He needs to be out there exploring, touching, climbing, crawling, and playing with his sister. A lot of parents say they dread the stage where they learn to walk. I find this interesting. I loved when Flora learned to walk. It gave her so much more freedom. I predict by Christmas Thibault will be walking. He’s ready for it and I’m excited that his world is about to open up even further.

I love this photo. Flora has recently learned how to slide down ropes and fireman poles at the playground. She’s so happy that she has learned this skill. Everyday that I pick her up from school she says, “Mom, can I show you something?” She runs over to the climbing apparatus on the school playground and shimmies down the pole. She’s so proud of herself.

Finding a place where they can both play can be a challenge, but Thibault has finally graduated to playing at the speelhoek in Coffeelovers. This little corner is perfect for his age. But the best part is watching my kiddos play while sipping my favorite Maastricht coffee. A win for Mom!

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First Day of School

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First few moments in groep 1!

I officially have a school-aged child. The past week has been a whirlwind of emotions and not because Flora was worried about her first day, but because I was worried about her first day. I started writing this post last week, but the emotions were still too raw for me to put this down in words. I just can’t believe my daughter has started Groep 1. All of a sudden I saw the last four years flash before my eyes. I was taken immediately back to being on maternity leave, cuddling Flora, and sipping coffee at Coffeelovers. Where did the time go?! I just can’t believe she is in school now. You see this picture below? I’m happy we have a picture of us smiling because I was fighting back tears! Even though I broke down, I was happy that I was able to hold it together until after we said our good-byes. 🙂

I’m so proud of this little girl. Flora said some things to me that will stick with me forever. The night before I said, “Well, you’re not my baby anymore.” And her response was, “It’s okay, Mom. I can be your baby big girl.” How sweet is that? And on our walk to school, she grabbed my hand and said, “Mom, am I going to be okay?” Cue tears!!! I almost lost it. Thankfully Jaap was there to buffer the whole situation. This mom gig is not easy, but it’s never boring. XOXO

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Nap Time/ Giving Myself Grace

 

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Babychino at Confetti– family cafe in Maastricht

It’s official— “school’s out for summer!” Yesterday was Flora’s last day of Preschool and today was the last dance class for the semester. Unstructured activities are officially over for the summer. Cue panic! The idea of our summer being wide open right now scares the crap out of me, but I am trying to give myself some grace, create space and awareness during challenging mommy moments, and schedule fun things for myself to look forward to.

So in the spirit of giving myself grace, Thibault’s afternoon nap time was a relaxing time. Flora watched Sofia the First on the iPad and I took some time for myself. I have decided that scheduling down time for myself in the day is essential now that I am with the children more this summer. I need this time to do nothing, rest, read, surf the internet, whatever. I used to read books, play games, do puzzles with Flora, prepare dinner, as well as give her some screen time, but I’ve decided to let my mom guilt of screen time relax up a little bit this summer.

A mother’s job is never finished. There is always something to clean, something to pack, something to cook, someone to help, prepare food for, clean up after, etc. The list goes on. I could work around the clock, if possible. So the afternoon Thibault nap time, is now also time for me to relax. A little bit of laundry and a lot of relax!

*We also visited Confetti yesterday. My new favorite kids place in Maastricht. Also— Mama can have a soy latte while Flora plays. Double win!

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Play area at Confetti

Sick Days

 

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Flora’s intro to Rudolph

Back to my previous post quoting, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Damn straight! This was probably one of the toughest week’s of my life. I was sick in bed with a terrible cold and sinus infection for the entire week. It was awful. The only way we survived was the help from my amazing mother-in-law and Jaap, who ended up having to take off 4 days from work this week to take care of the children while I lay in bed. On the toughest day, I got very scared. I couldn’t do anything, but lie in bed, feed Thibault, and try to get some sleep. What were we going to do? Jaap couldn’t take care of three people! He’s also running on no sleep! In come Oma to the rescue! So again, my lovely mother-in-law stayed with us, took care of the children, us, and the household. What would do without her?

And what’s a little sick day without some TV. Flora and I watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on Youtube this week. I was thrilled that she loved it as much as I did (and still do) when I was a kid. Another tradition was born!

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Reaching new heights

Trying to “get back to normal” here, whatever that is when you have a newborn. Flora loves her marble set that she got for Sinterklaas and Jaap (the scientist) loves playing it with her. I love watching them work on it together. They both get very quiet and serious watching the marbles move through the tracks and Flora gets a little bossy, giving out building instructions to Jaap. I love this toy.

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And in the cute department, Thibault is really starting to smile now. The cooing and baby noises are starting to emerge and the smiling faces are here! We were also smiling this morning. Last night he went 5 1/2 hours without a feeding! Woo hoo! That means Jaap and I had four hours of uninterrupted sleep. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s gold to us! Let’s hope he is trending in this direction.