Monday, December 28, 2009

My Father

As most of you probably already know, my father passed away on December 7th. It was very sudden and the result of a horrible accident. Needless to say the last couple of weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotion and travel.

The Accident
Before I explain what happened, you should know that my father was the most cautious person around guns that I know. He loved them and safety always came first. This was a lesson instilled in us from a very young age.

Sunday, Dec 6th (at about 5pm), my father was attempting to remove a shell that had been jammed in his Ruger 6mm rifle. This rifle was notorious for jamming, however it was very very accurate. Rather then remove the round in the same way that they had always done it (a brass welding rod, wrapped in a bit of cotton), my dad wanted to try a new way that he had read about. The new way involved pushing the bullet (which had separated from the shell & gun powder) back into the shell, disloding the primer and soaking everything in an oil that would neutralize the gun powder. At the time of the accident, the primer was no longer in the shell and the bullet had been pushed back into the shell, however it wasn't seated properly. Dad had poured plenty of oil down the barrel, over several days. He then took a air drill and proceeded to drill the shell out of the barrel (he had removed it from the stock and had removed the firing pin). He was drilling from the action end of the barrel. The heat of the drill must have ignited the gunpowder which caused the shell to explode (rather then fire the bullet as the bullet was seated completely). Dad took shell shrapnel in the chest and face. A piece of the drill bit entered his head through his eye socket and lodged itself in his brain (about mid line & left hemisphere). At this point he couldn't see but somehow managed to walk to the side door of the shop. My brother, having been in the shop and heard the explosion, caught up with him there. He called out to Dad, dad turned to look at him (never speaking) and Greg insisted he was going to the hospital. They made it about 4 more steps, to outside, when Dad collapsed and lost consciousness. Greg called 911 and then ran up to the house to get Janet to help him get Dad in to a car. The shop (and houses) are about 40 miles from the nearest hospital. When an accident happens at the farm you never wait for the ambulance, it just takes too long, you get in the car and drive as fast as you can towards the hospital, either meeting the ambulance on the way or beating it.

Greg & Janet stopped at my grandparents to tell them what happened and then raced on towards Endicott (about 15 mi away). Once in Endicott Dad was transferred to an ambulance and a helicopter was called in to meet him in Colfax. They then drove to Colfax where I think a couple of xrays were taken (at first it was thought that dad had a wound in his torso and that was the greatest concern). The helicopter then flew Dad on to Sacred Heart in Spokane. Kacie, my cousin who is a pharmacist, met Dad as he was brought into the trauma center at Sacred Heart. Due to her credentials and history at the hospital she was able to remain in the trauma room until the rest of the family arrived. Spokane is 80 miles from the farm, so it took them a little while to get there.

The surgeons rushed dad into surgery, as his brain was swelling due to the trauma from the drill bit. They removed a portion of his skull to try to relieve the pressure but did not expect him to make it through the night (now 11pm). Through the night and next morning his brain continued to swell. The intercranial pressure in your brain is supposed to be about 4psi. Dad's had increased to 120psi, before he was declared brain dead and time of death was called (around 11am on Monday, Dec 7th).

At this point the decision was also made to donate his organs.

Everyone had been able to get to the hospital to be there through the night, except for my sister and I. I did not find out about the accident until 11pm PST/ 8am CET. Denise had immediately booked a flight up to Spokane (arriving on Monday at 12pm) and I booked a flight home, arriving Tuesday at 3pm.

The Aftermath
Kevin, Isaak and I arrived in Spokane at 3pm on Tuesday Dec 8th. Greg & Denise picked us up. I remember not being able to take my eyes off of Greg's boots. They still had blood on them. Dad was still on a ventilator at Sacred Heart as the Organ Donation team was in the process of finishing the work to identify as many recipients as possible. This also gave Denise and I the opportunity to see him and say good bye. I am very grateful for this.

The next several days were filled with tasks that I hope to not have to do again for a very long time. The funeral was held on Dec 14th in Endicott. Dad was buried at the Endicott cemetary. My father really didn't like crowds and liked being the center of attention even less. His funeral brought in ~300 people and filled the church. During the burial, 3 fellow ag pilots flew over the cemetary in the "missing man" formation. It was an amazing tribute to dad.

My father died too young and as the result of a tragic accident. He died doing what he loved and would want people to respect firearms but not fear them. He has left a huge hole in our lives and I miss him every day.

Dad's Obituary

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I am a slacker.

It has been over a month since I have posted. Sorry.

A lot has happened in the last month. Isaak now has 4 teeth.

Isaak was a "greaser" for Halloween.

He still loves his excersaucer.

And has the best laugh.

He is also crawling all over the place.

He has also started to pull him self up on things. He is easily getting to his knees...I suspect the feet are only days away.

He still sleeps for about 13 hours a night. I hope that continues!

We celebrated Thanksgiving with our friends, Courtenay & Brian, Esther & Huib, Andrea & Adam and a few others. Isaak was introduced to a true American tradition, "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving".

We already have our christmas tree up and the christmas music is playing non-stop. I rationalize this by the fact that we will be gone over Christmas...Italy! My aunt & uncle and 2 cousins will be here between Dec 18 & Jan 2. We are going to go to Rome, Florence & Venice between the 20th & 28th. My sister arrives on the 28th and will leave Jan 11th. Right now we are contemplating a quick trip to Germany while she is here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

England: London and Sherifhales

Last week was Kevin's mid Fall break. Yes, the schools get a mid fall break, 2 weeks at Christmas, a Crocus break, May break and then a couple of days off for the Queen's birthday...ok back to the Fall break...

We hadn't yet been to England, well at least for more then 24 hours. A couple of months ago Kevin contacted his cousin (Gaye) who lives outside Birmingham in a little village called Sherifhales. Her farm was beautiful, quiet and relaxing. We spent the weekend there and it was almost a shame to leave for London. I could have stayed all week.


We visited the Ironbridge gorge, where we saw the first iron bridge. Kevin's uncle Hayden has a memorial bench in the museum here.



We also visited the Ludlow castle and Bascobel house.


I am still amazed by the fact that everywhere you turn on this continent you are standing on history. Centuries of history.

Monday we headed to London, by train. Isaak slept for the entire 2.5 hour ride.

Monday afternoon we met Paul & Alex for lunch and then spent the rest of the day with them. We first met Paul & Alex in Argentiere, when we were hiking from Chamonix to Zermatt. We have stayed in touch. It was a wondeful day. We wouldn't have been able to see all that we did if they hadn't been leading us along. We walked through the Westminister Abbey, Big Ben, 10 Downing Street, the Horse Guards, National Gallery, tea (with clotted cream! Delicious!), Harrods, Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, drinks and dinner. All in one afternoon. We weren't that productive for the rest of the trip.

Buckingham Palace

Westminister Abbey.

Ok, I could post a lot more pics but won't. Click the "England" link on the left to see them all.

Tuesday we picked up the an English breakfast, Tower of London, Niketown & Oxford Circus (there is a reason it is called a circus), London Eye and drinks with Gaye's daughter.

Wednesday we played lazy and then caught our train back to Birimingham to then fly home. We almost missed our flight due to a train rerouting. Once at the gate I had to shove my green wheelie carry on in to one of the "your bag must fit in this to carry on". I was a little worried that it wouldn't fit. I had measured it before the Italy trip but this was going to be the first time I tried to shove it in a "cage". Luckily it fit and we were able to get on the bus and wait for everyone else.

We thought we were home free once at the Amsterdam airport. I had purchased our train tickets before we left on Friday so we headed straight for what we thought was our train. The board said it was our was not our train. We discovered this when 5 minutes into the trip we were not at our train station but rather 10 minutes away from the Central station.

$$$$$$$ Holy Crap.

I just read a friends blog and discovered just how great we had it with our insurance and healthcare in The Netherlands.

My entire pregnancy and Isaak's birth cost us a whopping 120 euros, The only healthcare item we had to pay out of pocket was our birth class. It was a private class that was not covered by our insurance. Everything else, the midwives, the 3 ultrasounds, the lab tests, the hospital delivery, stitches (don't get me started on this one), 4 post birth (in home) midwife checkups, 8 days of in home maternity assistant care, Isaak's heel prick and hearing test. Nada. Nothing.

Oh, and the cab ride to & fro.

My sister-in-law is either in the process of, or about to give birth to my nephew. Her pregnancy has not been easy or free of complications. I don't even want to know what the total bill will be.

For a non-medical issue, childbirth is damned expensive.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Switzerland oh sweet Switzerland.

Last weekend we had plans to meet our friends Melissa & Andy in Switzerland. We flew in to Geneva and then drove to Interlaken. Melissa & Andy flew in to Zurich and then arrived in Interlaken by train. We ended up only seeing them for about 24 hours, but it was worth it!

I really love the Alps. I miss being able to see moutains almost every day. Lately we have been watching the National Parks' series on PBS. It has really made us miss the US.

Isaak was a good little traveler. He really only had one meltdown and that was on the plane home. We were asking for it. His naps had only been 45min long all weekend and his nights were shorter then normal (8 - 6:30). The flight home left at 8 and Isaak had been awake since 4:30. He screamed for 15 min once we were on the plane and the fell sound asleep and slept the whole way home. He took a couple of days to get caught up on his sleep. The first nap on Monday was 3 hours long.




I love the sound of these bells. I haven't been able to convince Dad to put them on his cows yet.



My boys.

This is the Switzlerand I remember.

Monday, September 28, 2009


It has been almost a month since I posted last. I have plenty of excuses but won't bore you with them.

Isaak is getting bigger and bigger. He had his 6/7 mo check up last week. 7.95 kg. That is almost 17 lbs! 69cm (I have no idea how many inches).

He eats like a horse and I am glad that my body is no longer generating all of it!

Below are a couple of pics from the last week. Kevin has taken him to the park (with Bo) and sent me these while I was at work.



We are headed to Interlaken next weekend. I can't wait. I really love the Alps in Switzerland. Oh...and the melted cheese of course! We are meeting Andy & Melissa there for the weekend before they start their European vacation.

Monday, September 07, 2009

My Little Fish

We made it back to the pool on Sunday. I think Isaak enjoys it more every time. Last week we had bought him a floaty thing. He definately liked that more this time. The water was just deep enough that he could propel himself around the pool by either "walking" or frog kicking. He explored the entire pool!


He is resting his chin while kicking with his legs!

Happy Happy Boy

I love this outfit, thanks Jay!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Isaak is working on his first teeth. He was handling the pain pretty well until yesterday. He started pulling at his left ear more often. Last night he would cry about once an hour, all night. Poor little guy.

This morning Isaak woke up with a runny nose. I called the House Doctor today and he said use paracetmol for the teeth and call him back if he develops a fever.

I gave him a dose of paracetamol (tylenol)this afternoon and it seemed to help. He went right to sleep after his bath and hasn't roused since.

Isaak and I went for a run this morning, sans dogs. Halfway through the loop he started chatting, squawking and laughing. Too cute.

Yesterday Kevin and I took the road bikes to Ikea (with Isaak in the trailer). Something went screwy with my bike. I had changed the back tire before we left (in the last trip it had gone flat) and something must have gone out of wack with my rear derailer as I only had 3 gears...on the big one. Regardless, it was still faster then my dutch bike.

Last week we had taken Isaak to the Zuiderbad. It was too cold for him, both in and out of the water. Isaak was not happy with being put under water.

Saturday, we took Isaak to the Mirandabad. It is pool we had never been too. I had always thought it was 7 euros per visit. It isn't. It is more like 3.50 per visit. They have an entire complex of baby/kid pools. It incudes a wave pool, wading pool and two slides. The water was much warmer then last week and the air temperature was really warm. You didn't need to dry off to stay warm after getting out of the pool. He floated on his back, splashed in the water and went under 3 times.

Isaak now wears a bib all day...the drool is just too much. It is either change the bib twice a day or change his onesie 3 times.





Monday, August 17, 2009

Isaak Rolls Over

Isaak has learned how to roll over. He can go from back to front, on his right side.




Sunday, August 09, 2009

A Very Un-Productive Week

I have had a serious motivation problem all week. A quick bout of Kevin's cold and a spasming/seizing back & neck didn't help. Hopefully the next week will be better.

Monday I started to come down with Kevin's cold. I decided to nurse Isaak for one last week, to at least get him through this nasty cold. Monday night I crawled into bed after taking a couple of advil and benedryl and told Kevin he had better rally out of his sickness on Tuesday because it was now my turn to be pathetic and sleep all day.

Kara left on Tuesday. I was sad to see her go. She was an absolute joy to have around. I was feeling so shitty & exhausted I couldn't even get out of bed to see her off.

I slept all day Tuesday. I would rouse for a few minutes every couple of hours, take more advil and then go back to bed.

Wednesday I woke up feel MUCH better...only to develop a kink in my neck a few minutes later. The kink turned into a full back/neck spasm. It sucked! More advil was taken. The only relief was to lay flat on the bed with my head on Kevin's tempurpedic neck pillow. If I did this for an hour then I could get up and function for 10 min.

Needless to say I didn't get any work done Tuesday or Wednesday.

Thursday my neck and back were still a wreck. I was over the cold by now and Kevin was too so I decided it would be my last day of nursing (I was already down to 1 feed in the mornings anyway) and then dose my self with a muscle relaxant and crawled back in bed. I tried to work a little but it was very productive.

Friday I finally started to feel like I could function, my back & neck and subsided into a kink again. I was finally able to go and get my IUD - my favorite form of birth control. Of the 3 I have had this time wasn't nearly as bad as the first. I had a female OB/GYN and I like her a lot more then the bastard who stitched me back together in March...really I am over it.

Isaak was out of pureed fruits & veggies so Courtenay & I took a trip to Albert Cuyp. I may have went a little overboard...potatos, sweet potatos, bananas, squash, peaches, apples, avocado, carrots. oh my.

Once home I started cycling the produce through the food processor and ice cube trays.
My shoebox sized freezer.

Yes, Isaak is in danger of having orange hands & feet from all of the orange veggies.

Saturday morning Kevin and I went for a run. We really must be quite a site. One pushing the jogger the other with dogs in tow. I really need to get so I run more then once a month.

The rest of the day was spent hanging out with Isaak & Kevin.

Sunday was another lazy day. I am trying to soak up every minute of time with Isaak. I know it is flying by faster then I want.

In my weekend websurfing I found a couple of blogs with really cute stuff to sew. I wish I had a sewing machine here. I am torn on whether I should buy one. I may end up doing just that, something simple and inexpensive.

Tomorrow is Monday. I hope to be more productive.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Week 23 - 5 Months

I can't believe that Isaak is 5 months old. Really, already? Where have the weeks gone?

He is happily eating solid food (well, kinda solid). He has apple sauce, avocado & rice cereal. Separately and combined. Tomorrow I will introduce him to mashed potatoes. I didn't think I would be the kind of mom who makes her own baby food, but so far I am. It isn't that hard: cook fruit/veggie in water, puree, freeze. Voila.

It helps ease the guilt that I am not around to feed him during the day, if I can't feed him then at least I can make the grub.

This weekend we made a quick trip to Brugges. It was Kara's first time but our second. We stayed at a lovely bed & breakfast. It was a relaxing weekend with chocolate, waffles & beer.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cologne & A New Bike

Earlier this week I saw an email come through from a Mom & Tot's group that had a cargo bike for sale. Kevin & I jumped on it and bought ourselves another bike! This brings the bike count up to 7. Yes, 7. I love our little cargo bike. It was a steal. It needs a little work but I trust that Kevin can get it in tip top shape.

Friday Kevin, Kara, Isaak & I took the bikes to Prenatal (big baby store) and Ikea. Kevin and I road our road bikes, Kara was on my geared Dutch bike and Isaak was in the trailer. My tires were pretty low but figured it would be fine. The ride was 30 minutes away. My back tire went completely flat. We did our little shopping: a parasol for Isaak's stroller (for a sun shade), socks that fit (9mo size as everything else is too small) and faster flow bottle nipples. While i fed Isaak, Kevin worked on changing my back tire - of course neither of us had a hand pump but Kevin had a compressed air pump. He filled it with air, discovered I had a leak, changed it and then filled it with air again, only to have it go flat a 2nd time. SHIT. We still needed to get to Ikea (about 5 min away by bike) and then get home. We lashed my bike to the top of the trailer (with Isaak safely underneath) and then Kara road sidesaddle on the luggage rack of my dutch bike while I pedaled. She and I couldn't stop laughing, which didn't help the iffy balance.

After Ikea I took my bike (still on top of the trailer, but now converted to the stroller) and caught the train home. Kevin & Kara raced home on their bikes. They had the keys and had to get there before me.

I wish we I had was a classic SNAFU.

Saturday we rented a car and drove to Cologne. Kevin and i had been in December with Kristen, for the Christmas market. I actually like the town better with out the market. It was packed then and had a lot less people today. We toured the Dom cathedral again. Kara and I made the climb up the bell tower. Kevin had done it in December (there wa
s no way I was going to do it at 7 mo pregnant and an aching back). The climb was the longest I have done in either a church or other historic site. It was taller then the Arc d' Triomphe and Brugge, however its steps were wider (still spiral). It was a great view and worth the burning, aching, shaky legs we had for the rest of the day after.

On the Isaak front...
We have graduated to rice cereal. It took a couple of days for him to figure out how to eat it but now eats it like a champ. He gets really excited and opens his mouth wide for each bite, however with the first couple of bites he gives you a funny look... I am sure he is thinking "You tricked me. This isn't what I expected, where is the strawberry gelato". He is now getting cereal twice a day (and sleeps for 3 hours after each time!) For the last month he has been on formula during the day and breastmilk in the morning and evening. I am now in the process of changing the evening feed to formula and then will follow with the morning feed. I really want to start taking my Advair again. I have an asthma attack several times a day and the Advair will prevent them, like magic. Isaak is also on his way out of his 3-6 mo clothes. I have packed almost all of them away and have him in 6 - 9mo clothes. He is begining his 21st week on Monday. How are you supposed to keep these little buggers in clothes!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Holiday in the south of France

Cool dutch weather has made me a wimp. Maignaut and Arles were HOT.

Maignaut is actually Maignaut Tauzia. It is 90 min north-west of Toulouse. It is actually a collection of homes dating back to the 12th century, now owned by non-french people. Maignaut was on the french side of the 100 years war, Tauzia the English. The Chateau Tauzia is on the other side of a little hill from Maignaut (and Chateau Maignaut).



The first day there we hung out and tried to find a grocery store that was open. There was a little one in Valence but the selection was pretty poor. After the 'units returned from church, Kara and I went in search of a real store. We found a farmer's market in Condom, that was in the process of packing up. We picked up some fruit & veggies but passed on the roti chickens...thinking we could find something in the Carre Four. Turns out the Carre Four was closed and the next town was 30K away. We raced back to the market and bought 2 chickens. Kevin had invited Patricia Tastet and her Fiancee out for dinner, so we needed something as the bread and cheese we had wasn't going to go very far.

Monday we headed to Carcasonne (60 min South of Toulouse). This is one of the best, intact, medieval castles in Europe. I think it would have been even better if the former homes, inside the walls, hadn't been turned into tourist shops...The place was packed.

Tuesday we hung out around Maignaut. We visited an abbey that was near by and tried to go and explore the Chateau Tauzia. Turns out Tauzia has been turned into a barn....or at least that was our guess from the horse standing in the door way.
Wednesday found us headed back to Toulouse to drop the 'units off at the airport and then Kara, Kevin, Isaak & I at the train station, to catch the train to Arles. Kara & I chatted with a 19 year old French boy who really liked to speak English. He was very helpful in translating why our train was delayed...someone had committed suicide by train.

Once in Arles we walked to our hotel, or what we thought was our hotel. Turns out it wasn't. Our second guess was right though. Once checked in we let Isaak fall asleep in the stroller and then headed out for dinner. We ate at the cafe next to the "Van Gogh" cafe.

Thursday we toured Arles. We went to a pretty cool museum where there were Roman artifacts, mosaics, statues and models of what the area used to look like. We followed this up with ice cream (it was 90F), the Roman Amphitheatre, Colosseum, church and walk. Friday we were torn between Avignon and the Pont du Gard (original Roman Aqueduct). We went with Avignon. The museum and the Palace of the Popes were interesting but I think the Roman Aqueduct would have been better.

Saturday we planned to catch an early train to Marsaille. Our train was 1.5 hours late, eliminating any chance of seeing the city. We headed straight to the airport as soon as we got in to town. Our flight put us in we had to take another train home. I think by this time Kara was tired of traveling by train.

We made it home and celebrated with Taco Shop burritos!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

More Family in Town

Kevin's mom has been here since the begining of June. His dad (Bob) and niece (Kara) arrived on Monday. We went to pick them up at the airport on Monday....and get a starbucks.

We forced them to stay awake all day (their flight got in at 8:30am). Kevin took Bob and Kara out for a bike ride, through Vondelpark and to a cafe for lunch.

Once they were back, Kara and I started dinner. Not long after dinner Kara & Bob crashed.

Today Kevin took Isaak, Kara, Bob & Kathleen to the Van Gogh museum during the day and then to the Anne Frank House in the evening. I hung out with Isaak for about 30 minutes and then put him to bed at 6pm. It really is like clock work. He wakes up at 6ish and goes to bed at 6ish, with 3 feeds at 9am, 12pm and 3pm.

Wednesday I put Kara & Kathleen on the Thalys to Paris and Bob will hang out with Kevin and I until Friday. Friday Bob, Isaak, Kevin & I will follow them to Paris. Saturday we catch another train to Toulouse. We are spending 5 days at a cousin's house outside Toulouse. We will then send the 'units home on the 15th, Kara, Isaak, Kevin & I will head to Arles/Marsaille/Avignon & Provence for a few more days.

A laid back 4th of July weekend...

On my way home from work on Friday I had the satisfaction of being a helpful Amsterdam resident. I was on my bike when I came upon 3 tourists standing in the bike lane. They asked me where a specific hotel was. I couldn't really understand them so I asked for the address. One of the guys dug out his camera and showed me a picture of the address. I then pulled out my iPhone and googled the address. It was down the street 1.5 blocks. You gotta love technology.

Saturday morning Kevin and I went for a run with Isaak and the dogs. It was a little longer then my "normal" route. I am still amazed at how much it doesn't hurt for starting again. After the run I headed to Albert Cuyp for a few fruits & veggies, while Kevin went to Centrum to get me another bike. Yes, we now own 6 bikes between the 2 of us. This 6th bike is for me to leave on the Hilversum side of my commute, hopefully cutting 10 minutes off of one side of my commute. I found a bike dealer (through one of our many Amsterdam guide books) that sells bikes he has built from recycled parts. They are cheap and not stolen, which works for me.

To celebrate for the 4th of July we BBQ-ed burgers at Courtenay & Brian's. Yum!


After lunch we proceeded with Kevin's 4th of July traditions. Reading the Declaration of Indpendence, sentance by sentance. This was then followed by the annual viewing of 1776. I think it is neat that Kevin loves this holiday so much, but that isn't going to stop me from teasing him.

Sunday afternoon Kevin and I went for a bike ride. It was the first time in a year that I had been on my road bike. It had been more then a year since I used clipless pedals. Once I finaly got clipped in, I couldn't clip out. Kevin had to ride ahead and then stop so he could catch me. I had to take my shoes off to get off my bike. We loosened the pedals and hit the road again. Isaak was along for the ride in his trailer. We rode out to the Amstel and on to OuderKerk, past a windmill. Half to OuderKerk it felt like I lost my chain or was on the way to losing my chain. We stopped again. I flipped my bike up side down and found a sunglasses cord wrapped around my sprocket. It had been in my "bento box" and must have fallen out when we had my bike upside down to fix the pedals. I was becoming a real pain in the ass.

It had been so long since I had been in clipless pedals that I was pretty shaky when it came time to clip out/in. It was nice to be on a fast light bike though.

On our way home from the ride we stopped at "The Taco Shop". Good American-ized mexican food!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Video Context

A few things to note in the video below...

Look for Isaak to raise his left eyebrow (yes, just the left one) at the 1:00 min mark.

He never actually makes it all of the way over, but definately gets on to his side. Kathleen said he made it to his front yesterday and then immediately went back to his back.

As for the song we are trying to sing, we figured it out (with Kevin's help).

"There were 10 in the bed and the littlest one said, roll over roll over. So they all rolled over and 1 fell out. There were 9....etc". No mention of monkeys.

I am terrible at songs and am really limited to only a couple with Isaak. Kevin on the other hand has hundreds in his head.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Isaak's New Trick

Isaak slept from 7 - 6 last night. He is working on another trick too. In addition to having become very chatty he is trying to roll from his back to his front.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Big News

I don't think I have shared this yet, probably because I haven't wanted to jinx it. Isaak is sleeping through the night. He typically does 6 - 5ish. I can't believe it!

This week was Bill's last week in The Netherlands, so we took him out for fondue at Cafe Bern. 4 sterno flames at a table of 10 isn't the best idea on a hot & humid day, but it was good anyway.

Kathleen baby sat Isaak (not to difficult when he just sleeps).

Andrea was in town this week for work too. I wasn't a very good city host. Saturday I sent her and Kathleen to the Van Gogh museum so Isaak could get a good nap in the morning. I met them at the museum for lunch and then a stroll down the Albert Cuyp market - my first time. The market is definately the place to by fruits & veggies. A better selection then Albert Hein (the only grocery store around) and a heck of a lot cheaper then the veggie store.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bella Italy

Last weekend, Isaak, Kathleen (Kevin's Mom), Andrea & I went to Cinque Terre. These are 5 towns on the northern Mediterrean coast of Italy. There are hiking trails between the towns. If you don't want to walk from town to town you can take the train.

It was beautiful and relaxing!

We left Amsterdam on Thursday morning, after Andrea arrived from the US. We took the train to Eindhoven so that we could catch a cheap flight to Pisa. The plane was late and Isaak was hungry, but once we boarded and I fed him then it was a good flight.

I think each airline has a different infant policy, Ryanair's policy is to use a infant seat belt, I don't think Isaak was impressed.

We picked up our rental car in Pisa. I had asked for a car that would fit 3 adults, 1 infant and our bags & stroller. The initial car they gave fit everything, but the stroller, so I had to ask for a larger car. Once we were finally on the road it didn't take long to get to Manarola (2nd of the 5 towns and our home base).

Wouldn't you know that I chose the steepest of the 5 towns to stay in, and our apartment was at the top of the town. It was a beautiful town.

Friday morning, after an Italian breakfast of coffee & a pastry, we walked to the harbor in Manarola and then decided to walk north to Cornigila. It was very warm but beautiful We would rest in the shade and just enjoy the view of the Mediterrean. Once in Corgnilia we hopped the train to Monterossa so that I could pick up a swim suit (yes I forgot mine). We had lunch in Monterossa and walked around a little.

When we were ready to head home we headed back to the train station to take the train to Manarola. We jumped on the wrong train that took us all of the way to La Spezia (south of Cinque Terre) and then had to figure out how to get back.

We finally made it back to our apartment and crashed. I gave Isaak a quick bath to cool him off, in the bidet. It was the right size... Too bad there aren't any pictures of it though.

Saturday we decided to head north to Riomaggiore. I had Isaak in the Ergo but didn't need to. The stroller would have made the entire trip...very flat and PAVED!

We had lunch in a cute little restaurant that was overlooking the harbor and then headed into town to find the bar with "better mojitos then in Cuba", according to our guide book. We then wandered on down to the train station and jumped on the train back to Manarola. We screwed up again and actually took the train all of the way to Monterossa. Eventually we did get the hang of the train system...really.

Sunday was more relaxing. Kathleen went to Mass at the church in Manarola and Andrea & I hung out by the water. It looked like it was going to be dark & stormy all day, but it burned off pretty quickly. We hadn't yet seen Vernazza so we grabbed the train there, once we picked up Kathleen. By the time the 5 minute train ride was over the weather was glorious. We headed into town, making our way to the harbor. We stopped to have gelato....and Isaak's first solid food. Strawberry Gelato. Everyone should be so lucky. I think he liked it.

Once at the harbor we dipped Isaak's feet in the water & sand and then Andrea and I went for a swim. It was quite warm! We hung out on the sea wall in the sun & shade until about 4pm and then decided to head back to Manarola.

Monday morning we got up early to drive back to Pisa and then fly home.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Its been too long...

It has been a long time since I posted last.

Isaak and I traveled to the US at the end of May. It broke Kevin's heart to be away from Isaak for so long. Isaak and I were able to spend a few days in Portland and then spent a week at my Dad's. The Portland portion of the trip was too short and I didn't get to see everyone I wanted to.

While in Portland we stayed at Andrea's house. Michelle came down from Seattle to see us, we had dinner with the Pool's & Dittman's. Rebecca threw a "Meet Isaak" shower -- moving the 3-6mo onesie up to 18. 18! I got to see most of the girls while at Rebecca's. I miss them so much! Before I left town I also had coffee with Sarah.

I spent more time at Dad's. We spent in an evening in Spokane at my brother's house, spending time with my Sister-in-Law and nephew. My aunt's came up to visit, they took turns holding Isaak for the 45 minutes that he was awake between naps. At the time he was sleeping for 4 hours between feeds. They kept wanting to wake him up to hold him...Louise ended up taking a nap with him, getting her a little more time with him.

My sister was also in town. It was great to see her. She and I stayed in my grandparent's 5th wheel that we parked in front of Dad & Janet's house. Janet's daughter, Jacki, got married that weekend and this allowed us to get more time with Dad & Janet yet be out of their hair.

During our time at Dad's, Isaak decided to start sleeping through the night. He went from around 9pm - 5am. It was heaven! He did it about 4 times.

The flight home was tough. He didn't sleep much, which meant I didn't sleep much. I am suprised I was still standing when Courtenay met me at the airport. I am not sure that I was coherent. She helped us get home (I came home with 1 more suitcase then I left with).

Once home (at 9am), I fed Isaak and then we both slept for 3 hours. I woke up and fed him again, handed him to Kevin and then slept for another 3 hours. It wasn't the right way to get over jet lag, but there was no way I could stay awake. I started to get a cold while I was at my dad's...the lack of sleep on the plane only made it worse.

Kevin's mom arrived on Saturday, June 6th. I had to go back to work on the 8th and Kevin is working 5 days a week during June so she is going to watch Isaak for us during the day. We are still trying to get in to daycare, I have my fingers crossed that we will have a spot when we need it in August.

I started work on Monday, and Sunday Isaak's jet lag was in full force. He was awake and hungry every 2 hours...and I had to get up at 5. It took until about Wednesday night for him to go for more then 3 hours at a time. YUCK! I was a walking zombie for those days.

This Thursday he started sleeping longer at night. He started to go from 10:30 - 7 or 8am, and I actually went to bed immediately after him! It has been a long time since I have gotten that much sleep!

Yesterday we went out to Pancakes with Courtenay, Brian & Bill. They were as good as I remembered! Kevin, Kathleen & Isaak and I then walked around for a while, slowly introducing Kathleen to the sights.

I promise to upload new Isaak pictures to Flickr and add a few photos to this post. After I get some sleep!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Isaak's 10th Week

I went for another run today. I don't know how far my little route is, right now it is far enough. I only had to stop once for myself and a couple of times for the dogs. It is a handful to run with 2 dogs and a jogger.

This afternoon Isaak and I went to another baby massage class. He made it through the entire class before crying.

Yesterday evening and this evening have been a little rough. He eats a little and then is tired but it doesn't seem like he should be tired, so we try to fix it and what he really wants is to go to bed.

Monday night Isaak slept from 11 - 5. WooHoo! Due to last night's cranky period that lasted until 10pm, I didn't wake him at 11pm. He woke on his own at 1am and then slept until 6am.

I leave for Portland on Saturday. I am a little nervous to fly for so long on my own with him, but I guess I will manage. I am really excited for everyone to meet him!

Below is one of Isaak's onesies that Krista made. These are too cute!
"Arrgh....Wipe Me Booty"

Friday, May 15, 2009

9 Weeks - Already!?!

I am enjoying the last few days of my maternity leave. I am headed back to work on June 8th. Before succombing to the grind, Isaak and I are going to head to Portland and my Dad's. I am really looking forward to having everyone meet him!
My friend & co worker, Joosje, came to visit Isaak and I last Friday. She brought her beautiful daughter Juultje. Juultje is 6 weeks older then Isaak (and his betrothed :)). We did a little simultaneous feeding and then went to lunch with our beautiful sleeping babes.
Last weekend Kevin, Bill, Isaak & I made a nice quiet day of visiting Utrecht. Who knew it was the oldest city in the Netherlands. It was a beautiful sunny day.

Tuesday was Isaak's second baby clinic appointment. He received his first round of vaccines, one in each thigh. His little face went red with the first one and the wails started with the second one. He calmed down pretty quickly afterwards though. For the next 24 hours he was pretty tired. He would fall asleep almost immediately after nursing (if not during).

The last few days (outside of his shots) have seen him be much more alert after his feeds. Cooing and smiling. Priceless. He sounds (and looks like) a little owl.

Thursday (yesterday) Isaak and I went to our 3rd baby massage. He started out much more relaxed then the other two times but only made it about halfway through the class before he let me know just how unhappy he was. He hadn't really slept in the 90 minutes prior and it got the best of him. In fact all day Thursday he had a hard time falling asleep. Probably had something to do with the sudden discovery of his little fists.

Yesterday Isaak discovered his hands, or at least that he really likes to suck on them. He would rather suck on them then a pacifier, so he spits out the pacifier and then gets pissed when he either can't get his little fist to his mouth or can't keep it there. He has also learned how to scoot on his back, towards his head. I often find him in his crib 12 inches above where I left him. His blanket still tucked in (whereas before it was kicked off) and he has scooted clear of it.

Today I took the train to Utrecht to visit An, Mattias, Vincent & Steven. Mattias is 2 weeks old and dang cute. He looks just like Vincent does. It is amazzing to see the difference between a 2 week old, a 10 week old and a 21 month old. It all changes so quickly and they grow up too fast. I still remember when Isaak would only open 1 eye and fall asleep instantly after nursing. I would test his fullness and depth of sleep by seeing if I could redress and swaddle him with out waking him. Now I test his sleepiness by waiting for him to get fussy after he has nursed and his fullness by checking to see if he will wail at the breast rather then nurse.

I will try to get more pics posted - he has changed so much and is SO cute (ok I may be a little biased, but still). To tide you over, check this one out. I love it when he looks like this!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Going Dutch

An interesting article on "Going Dutch" - How an American in Holland learned to love the European welfare state.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Catching Up - Grandparents in Amsterdam, Paris, Delft & Keukenhof

Where to start.

My grandparents left yesterday. They arrived on April 24th. It was fun having them. We didn't do much on the day they arrived. Lunch out and a tram ride to Central Station and back. We made it out to Delft for lunch and relaxing site seeing on the 25th. I liked Delft, it seems like a sleepy little town with beautiful canals. This trip also saw Isaak's first public diaper changes - on the train to and from Delft.

My grandparents travel with his & her cameras. Below is a pick of them taking the same picture of the Old Church in Delft.




Sunday we had Dutch Pancakes for lunch and then made a quick trip to the Red Light district. I tried a new pancake restaurant, it was not nearly as good as the one near Anne Frank's house. In the Red Light district Grandma started to pull out her camera, she says she wanted to take a picture of the canal. I made her quickly put it away as she was in danger of losing it. I did let her take this picture of Grandpa, Isaak & I.

Monday we picked up the Van Gogh museum. There is a special exhibit going on right now called "Starry Night". It has both Van Gogh's night paintings in addition to others that influenced him.

Tuesday we went to Rembrandt's House. I really liked it and it made me even more interested in his paintings.

April 29th - May 1st we planned to be in Paris. We rented a car to drive down as we thought it would be cheaper and easier then the Thlys. The drive down on Wednesday took much longer then expected. We ran into traffic, stopped for lunch and stopped to feed & change Isaak.

Driving in Paris is an experience. Below are pictures of our approach to the Arc d' Triomphe. We finally checked into our hotel around 7. I fed Isaak and then we headed out for dinner. We had planned to go to Notre Dame and do a river cruise on Wednesday. It was too late and we were exhausted. We decided to extend our trip by a day so we could spend more time in Paris. Isaak slept from 12:30 to 4:45!
Thursday morning we headed out to the Orsay first. We spent the entire time on the Impressionist floor. Kevin went through with Isaak. I followed a little more slowly and Grandma & Grandpa brought up the rear. After I made it through Kevin passed off Isaak so I could feed him and he went to round up the grandparents.

After the Orsay we headed to lunch and then the Eiffel tower. We walked along the Seine for a little while, until we figured out it was about a mile to the Eiffel Tower, so we jumped on the metro. Once at the tower I fed Isaak again and changed him. Last time Kevin and I were here we didn't try to go up as the line was too long and neither of us are very patient when it comes to long waits. This time we were going up.


After the tower I fed & changed Isaak again and then we headed to Montmarte. After a quick ride up the funicular we had dinner and headed back to the hotel. By this time Isaak was exhausted and letting us know it. His nap had been interupted at the Eiffel Tower and we paid for it.

Friday we changed hotels. We used Priceline to book the first and had to priceline a second for Friday night. After we checked in and I got Isaak fed we headed out for lunch in the Latin Quarter and then Notre Dame.

When we scheduled this trip we inadvertantly left the Netherlands for Queens Day (huge holiday) and ended up in Paris on May Day (huge protest day). Oops. The Latin Quarter and Notre Dame were packed! The metro was really crowed as well. So crowded that Grandpa was able to get on but not the rest of us. We picked him up at the next stop, once we were able to get on. People weren't very happy to move out of the way for the stroller.

After Notre Dame we walked to Pont Neuf to catch a river cruise. We had been told the cruise is best in the dark when everythign is lit up. I imagine it is! We saw it during the day but it would be very beautiful at night.

We fed & changed Isaak at Ille de Cite before heading towards the Arc d' Triomphe.


Oh the places he has nursed and had his diaper changed.

Saturday we headed to Versailles. Kevin and I both know that the fastest & least painful way to see major sites/museums is to buy your tickets on line. We failed to do this on this trip. We had gotten lucky at the Orsay and were able to go in the Disabled access because we had the stroller. We were not so lucky at Versailles.

We stood in line for 3 hours, just to get tickets! We stood in line for another our to get in to the palace. It was packed in side! It felt a lot like cattle in a corral. Kevin had to carry Isaak as the stroller wasn't allowed in. I am sure I would have liked it more if it hadn't had so many damn people. The crowds made it seem a little hokey.


The gardens were amazing! We rented a golf cart to drive around them as there was no way any of us were goin to survive after standing on cobblestones for 4 hours. We were short on time as well. If we were to go back I would go straight for the gardens. Yes, Isaak was fed & changed here as well.

We finally headed home around 7. We stopped for gas around 8:30 and had one more adventure. Kevin accidently put gasoline in our diesel rental car. Needless to say it took us about 4 hours to deal with the tow truck and getting another car to drive home in. We made it back to Amsterdam around 4:30 am. Everyone went to sleep as soon as possible, except for Isaak & I. I fed him and then changed him. Finally making it to bed around 5:15am.

Sunday we recovered by sleeping as much as possible, all 5 of us.

There were still a few more sites in Amsterdam that my Grandparents wanted to see.

On Monday Grandma, Grandpa, Isaak & I took a Canal cruise. Afterwards we headed to the RijksMuseum. I got them in and headed in the right direction and then went to wait for them in a cafe - so Isaak could get a good nap in. The next item on the agenda was to get them to Dam square to meet Kevin, so the 3 of them could go to the Anne Frank House - followed by dinner at Moeders.

Turns out we sent them to Dam Square, on their own, with out a cell phone, during the Rememberance Day event with the Queen. Oops. To make a long story short they never found Kevin, but did find the Anne Frank House. Kevin and I both went looking for them, and saw the memorial in the mean time, while Courtenay watched Isaak. My grandparents made it back to our apartment while we were still stuck in the crowds at the Dam Square. Thank goodness I had quizzed them as to which stop to get off at for our apartment!

Tuesday we went out to the Keukenhof. Very pretty!

Wednesday I sent my grandparents to the Anne Frank house on their own. With a cell phone this time!

They flew home Thursday morning.