Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Could be Worse

OH got home okay from his weekend away. We then proceeded to have another disrupted night of sleep. We seem to be in a pattern here with both girls that needs to be nipped in the bud.

I came into work Monday morning feeling tired and quite a bit of self-pity. I try to keep it all in perspective but sometimes I am just really stinking tired. I was relating it to a coworker who looked away thoughtfully before sharing some of his experience. Turns out his sweet daughter who is about a year younger than our oldest (tee hee, still get a kick out of saying that) didn't sleep through the night until she turned two. For a long period of time, she was waking not 3-4 times a night but 8-10 times a night. His eyes sort of glazed over when I exclaimed my horror, as if reliving the sleeplessness.

Guess it is all relative!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Weekend Roundup = Survived!

It's Sunday evening as I write this. Just finished skyping with my family, kids are in bed and I think they may even be asleep! I was very lucky this weekend as the weather was great, making my first time solo parenting with the two kids much easier.

Also making it easier was OH's decision to change his flights to leave very late on Friday which meant we had the whole day together. We met with some other friends, quite a large group, at the zoo. It was sunny and wonderful. Munchkin refused to nap, which meant in the evening she was a big pain the butt. In the afternoon, we went to Brouwerij het Ij however, to fortify ourselves for the evening. Kisses goodbye and Munchkin only got out of bed three or four times between when OH left the house and when he actually got to the airport.

Saturday we had plans, we met up with our friend S and her son E, who we normally see on Fridays. We went out west, but unfortunately she was not feeling well so we wrapped the day up early. Munchkin was clearly exhausted so I walked home and lo and behold, both she AND Sausage fell asleep and had a good little nap. We stopped at Saphartipark and ran into a couple of the kids at Munchkin's creche/old creche and they had a very good play. Saturday night I took a note from my trailing spouse friends  (who are often parenting solo) and did easy dinner: fresh, filled pasta that cooks up in minutes and includes veggies and protein already in the filling. Done and done. Munchkin and Sausage both went down (relatively) easily and I watched a film I'd been wanting to see for a while, Alleen Maaar Nette Mensen, which is a Dutch film - yes you guessed from the title you clever reader you! Actually I preferred the white-washed, happy ending film version to the book, I have to admit.

Sunday was a little rougher - two nights of waking up for both baby and toddler takes its toll. We didn't get started until much later as Sausage took a big nap in the morning. Then we went to a playground near Utrechtsestraat we often go to. We had a long play then when the cafe was full we went to the supermarket and bought buns and cheese and had a very Dutch picnic in the sun on a bench at the playground. Munchkin loved it. We did hit the cafe for a pee afterwards. I tried to repeat my success with napping a second time but while Sausage acceded, Munchkin was having none of it. We were just getting to Saphartipark: the rematch, when I realized I'd lost my phone. Bleep! Rush back and as I'm retracing our very circuitous route I realize it must have slipped out of my pocket at the cafe when we had out pee break. Sure enough the nice folks at the cafe have it for me - thank goodness! Munchkin has play #2 at the same playground and then we go home, skype with folks, toddler and baby melt down from exhaustion, and here we are.

OH gets home very late tonight, and I'm pleased to say his whole family has survived the weekend and will be awaiting him... in our dreams. Since we hopefully will all be asleep at that point.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Purty Pictures

OH done got himself a THIRD CAMERA! So we are enjoying a little renaissance in photos not just of our family unit but also of Amsterdam and our neighborhood which I always enjoy. You forget all the details of the places you live so quickly.

Of course I've chosen to post only pictures of the kids here anyways!!

Pho on, have some noodles. Munchkin enjoying her Pho.

I insisted OH take this picture of me displaying Mad Mommy Skills. In this photo: me nursing our daughter, eating noodle soup with chopsticks AND entertaining my toddler all at once. That is how good I am!

Well hey! Just us sisters hanging out.

Baby toys are also toddler toys given the right circumstances

I love this photo because I can totally imagine Munchkin looking just like this 15 years down the road.

A sunny daddy day. OH had to rig up a little sun guard for Sausage's box.

A wonderful birthday present: a friend of ours sewed a baby carrier for Munchkin. Now she and mommy go our regularly with our "babies on".

A Munchkin walks into a park....

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Variations on a Theme: Work and....Work

Life has become very binary. I work. I take care of the kids. That's pretty much it. A couple months now back on the job and the lack of sleep over a long stretch of time is really showing its wear and tear on me. I accept this is what my life is for the next months/year but it still annoys me to come home brain dead from exhaustion every night.

I like my job a lot but it does take a lot out of me. Posts have been few and far between as I work a little in the evenings before my brain really can't do anything meaningful. I was talking with a coworker today whose wife has a business related to some sort of thyroid something or other. Somehow we got on the subject of spacing out at work and he mentioned that is a big symptom of thyroid problems. I had to laugh and reassure him I was pretty damn positive most of the time I zone out these days it is because my brain is trying to sneak in a quick little nap.

Things are getting busier too which is great news since I am sooooo far behind. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Done and now... wait

Big work thing is done! I feel confident that I did the best I could given the skills and knowledge I possess at this moment and that feels good. Tonight I celebrate with a bowl of popcorn and a glass of wine. Tomorrow maybe I will write a bit more or maybe I will sleep! Things are going well here.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Work and Kids

This weekend was a workin'  weekend, so not much to update! The weather was really lovely. Friday we had another great day with our friends S and her son E. We are trying different playgrounds and neighborhoods so that has been a lot of fun.

Saturday we had an epic trip out to Amstelveen. We were going to see our friends' new baby (not even two weeks old!). What we didn't know was all the buses out there had been rerouted. Very poor information was available, which is something of an anomaly as usually this stuff is online and in all the routeplanners ages beforehand. Instead we and everyone fuddled our way between about three buses and 45 minutes additional travel time to finally get out there. Usually the whole journey takes 30-45 minutes if that. But we had a great time and I enjoyed holding a wee little newborn. As we are going through a particularly long and painful sleepless patch I have to say I was less tempted than I might have been with such a sweet little dumpling in my arms. Our friends T and D we actually met in a birth class for our first children, who also play together regularly, so naturally now that our second kids are just a few months' apart in age we have been joking about arranged marriages. Having two girls however I'm less keen since that implies dowries. We are a modern household in that respect!

Saturday I went out for a very short time to see some girlfriends but I was so tired I was home and in bed in no time.

Sunday we had glorious weather. We did food shopping, we went to playgrounds, and in the evening we went out at the Family Hour to have dinner at a restaurant. Parents in Amsterdam still like to go out to eat with their kids, and we have been taking baby steps in this direction too. We just all go out ridiculously early. In the US it is stereotypically old people who go out at 5:30/6pm for dinner, but here that is us. We went to a wee little hipster pho joint that just opened on the Albert Cuyp (delicious!) that is the size of our bedroom and doesn't take reservations. But like many hipster joints, the cool factor doesn't seem to kick in when you go with your toddler and baby around 5:30pm. We were done and walking home by 6:30. Munchkin fell asleep in the stroller - such is the effect of dropping the nap! As we walked by we saw most of the restaurants we passed filled with little people and tables covered in color-in place mats. These are our people now.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Why I Sigh Sometimes Knowing I Have Two Girls

To be fair, 40 years is a short period of time but we should remain conscious that there is much work still to do:

“men succeed in the workplace at higher rates than women because of gender stereotypes that privilege masculinity, not because they have greater skill or ability."

Article here.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Where am I pumping today?

Being in sales and lactating means I can't be choosy about where I stop to pump some days. Thank goodness European toilets on a whole are little rooms with proper doors that close and lock. Bathroom stalls in Rotterdam train station, one of my accounts there, and on a train itself.

Fortunately I don't have any pictures of that to share with you!

Monday daddy day. Damn it he is always doing cool things. A trip to Noord this time.

First beautiful day in a while too! Munchkin with her friend I

The ladies. I'm living a lovely time now when I get to see both girls in the morning before I got to work. When Munchkin was a baby, she was more often than not asleep when I left.

Munchkin is in a SERIOUS bunny phase right now.

Get along little Cowbaby - yee haw!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Waaa, waaa, waaa!

That is the sound of where your post for this week went. We have a very fussy Sausage on our hands, always in the evenings. During the day she seems very happy and cheerful. In the evening she has enormous difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep. The last couple weeks we've been waking up on average 3 times in the night but not uncommonly much more than this.

So the weekend round up from last weekend I'll have to keep very short: it was lovely! We did virtually nothing except laundry. On my Friday mommy day I had an awesome day with our friend S and her son E. We have such a nice, relaxing time. On Sunday we got a last minute call to reconnect with a friend of ours living in Utrecht.

The work week is and will continue to be a doozy. Expect more radio silence.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Zzzzzz

That is the sound of me falling asleep, face in my breakfast. Rough evening for us all last night! Sausage was up on average every 2 hours. Teeth? Wind? Stressing about a big baby meeting the next day? Who knows.

In any case, sleep deprivation ate your post this morning. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Pictures 'o' Kids

I can barely form sentences, let alone compose blog posts this week, so let's rely on that comfortable crutch, the photograph.

Sausage Cuteness:






Tummy-Time. Sausage, like her sister, loves it. 



A Tale of a Coat
My parents brought this coat for Munchkin, which we purchased online for her in the US. She refuses to wear it. You can't even wrestle it on her, she hates it that much. Finally, after months of campaigning, I somehow got her to wear it for a few seconds. Only if we promised she could put it on and then immediately take it off and throw it on the floor.

Quick, quick, get the evidence!

And onto the floor we go

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ridders!

A few weeks ago we went out to the Dutch equivalent of a Rennaisance Fair. More medieval stuff, less giant turkey legs for sales. Some pictures to tide you over since my brain isn't working optimally with all this sleep deprivation.

Munchkin loved the raptor exhibit. You can't see it so well in this shot but the ground is absolutely soaked - huge, muddy puddles everywhere.

Knightly Munchkin

Me trying on the sword, with my strapped on baby shield. Protects through disarming enemies with her overwhelming cuteness.
Go on! Everyone has a go at holding the sword. I have never seen anything so dull. You could brain someone with the thing but unless you build up some serious velocity you're not going to cut through anything with it.
watching the jousting - really surprising how engaged the toddlers were!

No medieval reenactment is complete without a steady stream of low-flying, incoming commercial airplanes. It so happens that one of Schiphol Airport's many flight paths in goes directly over the Bos where the fair was. We had literally planes flying overhead every 5-10 minutes or so, and super low at that.

No one gets killed in pretend jousting, but a lot of sticks get sacrificed.

Jousting with pretzel half and scarf.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Potty Non Grata

Soooo.... fun times here in Amsterdam. We are experiencing our first "regression" in the potty training department. Evidently this is nothing to freak out about, at least not unless it continues on for several weeks. Every once in a while your toddler has a big development leap, which can cause them to regress in other areas while they focus on the new skills/development.

In our case it seems Munchkin is developing into being a big pain in the ass. Loveable PITA, but still. It's like she turned three and literally overnight acquired all these skills for driving us nuts in new ways. As almost an afterthought she's stopped all meaningful interactions with the potty. I am hoping and praying that this is a short term thing that will last days rather than those threatened weeks that I see online. We have to stay calm and not make a big deal out of the accidents while continuing to positively reinforce the successes.

All I can say is it'd be a lot easier if I were less tired. I've been spoiled now with sleep (for a parent) so I'm finding it harder to cope, at least without whining a whole lot about it! This week I was so tired, one morning I hit the snooze button on my alarm and managed to fall into deep, REM sleep in the brief 15 minutes it afforded. I still remember the dream, a yellow school bus making roads through green treed American-looking neighborhoods.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Things I Was Planning On Doing Last Night But Ended Up Holding A Fussy Baby For An Hour Instead

 - start US taxes (I know, I am so late!)
 - look up reasons why my baby is not sleeping
 - look up reasons why my toddler is not sleeping
 - write blog post
 - look at will sent to us
 - prep food for week
 - cure cancer.

Alas instead Ms. Sausage was very fussy and I ended up rocking her for ages before she went down. I could let her cry but the mommy hormones are too strong. I tend to have more patience as well in the early evening hours. When she wakes up in the middle of the night it's a less caring, thoughtful mommy and more a sleep-deprived borderline raging mommy who responds.

Last night between the two of them I was up five times. Four of these were feeds for Ms. Sausage. Needless to say I was a little out of it!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekend Roundup - BIRTHDAY

In the end the whole weekend revolved around Miss Munchkin Moo's third birthday. Damn she is really a little person now! It was total chaos, in a good way. We had in the end something like 15 kids and 22 adults I think, and still I made too much food. Everyone had a great time, I made the chocolate cake that I've made a couple times and it never disappoints. I see OH editing photos so expect some of those later this week. We are both completely knackered however so it's going to be a short weekend summary.

Friday we went to the GGD for Muchkin's three year check in. They checked her eye sight, which was a bit of a drama since she was afraid of the weird one-eye blocking glasses you have to wear. She also didn't like the measure for taking height so they only got an estimate. It was a lot shorter a check than I expected, but she seems to be fine and normal for her age. We talked about her creche switch ordeal and they seemed to agree if she was doing well at the new creche there wasn't any reason to move her or worry unduly. We can make an appointment for later if we are still worried, but it's so hard to say at this age if it's just a phase. She is definitely shyer and more held back in loud, busy situations. Afterwards we didn't do much, Munchkin surprised me by taking a very long nap and we were all so tired we had a quiet evening after that with lots of preparation for the birthday taking place in the evening.

Saturday was also all about the b-day. Shopping for food and last minute stuff, getting a play in for Munchkin, and baking the cake. The weather was crazy all Friday and Saturday with intermittent, massive storms making their way through every so often. We had burritos and did more birthday prep stuff.

Sunday was the big day! Prep all morning and then chaos from 11-2. It was difficult to set a time that would work for all the different ages since the younger ones would nap in the afternoon but I wasn't sure how late. Everything was a hit and aside from being exhausted we had a great time. Munchkin got loads of gifts of which she is steadily making her way through and playing with each one.