First Girls Trip to Amsterdam

 

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People watching in Vondelpark

Flora and I had our first (of many!) girls trips to Amsterdam over the Easter weekend. We had a blast! This trip came at the perfect time for me. I just finished a music show at school and have been very busy leading up to its production. It was the perfect way to unwind and relax with my little lady.

The original idea came when Flora showed an interest in Vincent van Gogh. Earlier in the winter, their theme at school was “Art” and learning about van Gogh really had an impact on her. She would talk a lot about it at dinner and such. I told her that van Gogh had his own museum and she just couldn’t believe it. So I thought, girls trip! Jaap and Thibault could care less, so what a great opportunity!

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Enjoying the playgrounds at Vondelpark

We had such a great time. Lunch at my favorite lunchroom, De Bakkerswinkel complete with carrot cake, of course, followed by the entire afternoon at Vondelpark. Just enjoying the speeltuin, taking in the balmy breeze, and watching the people of Amsterdam walk on by.

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Flora also wanted a sushi dinner at some point during this trip. We ended up at a cozy little place near Museumplein for dinner. We’ll definitely go back there the next time we need lunch near the Museum Quarter. They brought us warm hand towels after the main course and we ordered some Japanese green tea and Flora loved it. It’s these small details that are special. Sometimes you don’t think about something or realize how interesting something is, until a little person points it out to you. Our sushi experience was the perfect ending to our long and busy day.

Flora loved the hotel. I knew she would find it fun. Breakfast was a highlight! Citizen M is still one of my favorites too. The mood lighting, toilet and shower in a glass dome, and the feel of modernity. She loved it. The next morning we were off to the van Gogh Museum, but Flora was feeling a little bit under the weather. Our time at the new Japanese exhibit was cut short because she was not feeling good. However, she still had a nice time. For me, it was a dream come true. Walking around an art museum in Amsterdam with my daughter who is correcting my Dutch pronunciation of “van Gogh”, talking to me about van Gogh’s favorite color, and what paintings she likes the most and why. It was definitely a parenting highlight! These are the moments that we live for and what makes life so amazing.

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7 months with T

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Seven months old and getting big! Look at this cuteness. I hope this love they share for each other remains forever. Flora is completely in love with her brother and Thibault is fascinated by her. She walks in and it lights up his world. These moments are precious.

 

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A lot has happened since my last post. Thibault is now 7.5 months old. He’s rolling around so much that we have to keep an eye on him. No more chilling on the bed because he must might roll off one day! Solids seem to be getting better. Here you see him enjoying some Wheetabix and kiwis.

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We have had a lot of firsts—swimming, lots of new foods, new babbling sounds, and a new clothing size! But with the good, there are always rough patches. This weekend was his first sick day, more like TWO sicks days. So, we’re basically exhausted right now.IMG_3983

Thank God Grandma is still in town! We’re starting to slow down and get ready for her departure in 10 days. I will be sad to see my Mom leave. I love having family this close. It feels like it should be this way always. But, I am extremely grateful for the all the quality time we got to spend with her this spring. It has been a wonderful visit. XOXO

Visiting Thorn

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On Sunday we did a family day trip to Thorn, also known as “the white village”. What a cute little place. Not much to do there, except stroll through town and eat some pancakes. It was a perfect Sunday family activity.

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Flora is developing an adventurous spirit on her bike. There were some nice slopes coming down from the church and at one point she forgot to break and hit a wall with a five foot drop on the other side. For a split second my mind saw her catapulting herself off her bike and over the wall. I gasped for air. She just laughed and said, “Can I do it again?”.

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Thibault at 11 weeks

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Thibault, you’re 11 weeks old and incredibly cute! The big 3 month birthday is right around the corner. These last few weeks have flown by! We’re so happy to see you emerging as a smiling, happy baby. You love looking at your Muppet mobile in your box, playing on your activity mat in the morning, but most of all, you love interacting with your sister. Whenever she is around you start to smile. It melts my heart. You’re starting to talk more and more and we love hearing these new sounds. We love you!

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Merry Christmas 2016

Well, my previous post about sick days was premature. Our house experienced a relapse and we weren’t quite in the clear with all the illnesses. As soon as I wrote about us being sick and thinking we made it through the worst of it, the following day was another day where I felt like it was getting worse. Ugh. Regardless of our illnesses, I can now safely say that everyone is feeling better and conditions continue to improve! Thankfully…just in time for Christmas!

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Onze Lieve Vrouweplein lit up!

On Thursday we went into Maastricht to experience the “Winter Wonderland” on the Vrijthof. Flora got to ride the carousel (always a highlight), Rudolph’s train, and the Ferris Wheel with me. We ate olliebollen and had an early dinner at a cafe. It was wonderful. We deserved a little bit of fun after 10+ sick days. It was time to get out and experience Christmas.

This holiday season was a learning experience for me. It was time I learned to keep my “mommy” expectations real. It’s okay that I didn’t get to bake Christmas cookies with Flora, and we didn’t get to visit the Christmas market that I wanted to go to, and there was no time for me to get my Christmas manicure that I was hoping for. Life is just busy right now with a toddler and baby. These fun things and traditions will come again, when we have more time. For now, our time is spent where it matters most. Merry Christmas and cheers to a happy and healthy 2017!

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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.

Six Weeks Old!

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Happy six week old birthday to the littlest man in my life! Six weeks seems to have gone by fast. I’m trying to cherish all these cute, tiny moments with you while they last. You are growing so fast! There are these fleeting moments of smiling interactions happening and I have yet to catch one on camera. I’m too busy admiring your cuteness. Remember not to grow too fast. We will miss all the tiny snuggles. If you’re looking for a Christmas gift idea for Mom and Pop, a nice stretch of sleep would be fab! 🙂