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.