Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"I'll be home for Christmas . . . "

I know I've been MIA lately, but I promise it's for a good reason . . . we surprised our family and friends by coming back to Georgia a week early! I've been super busy spending time with every one, doing Christmas shopping, and getting Liam adjusted to the time change. I promise to write all about how everything has gone, but I really want to enjoy this time while we're here. So here are a few of my favorite pictures from the past couple weeks . . .

Saturday, November 26, 2011

. . . bratwursts and glühwein and latkes, oh my!

For the second weekend in a row we headed out of town to explore the cities around us. Last weekend, it was my birthday in Bruges, and this weekend we headed to the Christmas markets in Dusseldorf, Germany. Germany is well known for their Christmas markets, which are located in every major city and begin mid-November. Apparently they're of all sizes, indoor and outdoor, so you can go to one that suits your liking. We had heard the one in Dusseldorf was pretty big, and all outdoor, which can be good or bad depending on the weather. We really lucked out because the weather both days we were there was exactly what I wanted -- the perfect wintry day with clear blue skies, cold enough to wear a coat and scarf, but not the kind of cold where you have to wipe your runny nose with your gloves a tissue. You know what I'm saying'.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

. . . thankful

Well today is the traditional American holiday of Thanksgiving. As I type this my family is having their pick of a half dozen desserts, after a meal that was lovingly prepared over several days by a dozen different family members, and probably took about a dozen minutes to consume. ; ) I was able to get in a quick Skype session before putting Liam to bed, and am SO looking forward to seeing them all soon.

There are many things I am thankful for, but none more than being saved by a God who loves me. His grace and mercy are unending, and I am undeserving. Yet he loves every bit of me, the good, the bad, and the worse. He has blessed me with an incredible life, and all the other things I am thankful for come from Him . . .

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Liam lately . . .

These are just a few pictures and videos from the last couple days that I couldn't resist posting!

Monday, November 21, 2011

. . . my birthday in Bruges

How often do people get to say that? Besides the Belgians of course. Keith and I decided a while back that we wanted to go out of town sometime soon and my birthday seemed like a great opportunity. We had heard wonderful things about Bruges, Belgium, and one not so wonderful thing -- the traffic leaving town can be horrendous if you leave too late. But we didn't have to worry about that until Sunday afternoon, so off we went.

Just getting there was a feat in itself, mostly because it was Saturday morning and Liam was doing what most everyone wants to do on a Saturday morning -- sleep in. So we had the car packed, all ready to go, and we were just waiting on him to wake up and eat. Which he finally did, and we were off to drop Murphy at the boarder for the weekend. Bruges is only a 2 hour drive from where we live, but when you add in a dog-stop, gas station, and another feeding for Liam along the way, we didn't make it until the afternoon. It wasn't too big of a deal though because we were staying in the Crown Plaza right downtown and easily walked right into the square as soon as we arrived and got ALL of our luggage into the room. I think I forgot to mention how much STUFF a baby needs! I was amazed -- the pack and play, 5 outfits, 5 burp cloths, 10 diapers, wipes, socks, Itzbeen, infacol, and a ton of other essentials and non-essentials. All for approximately 24 hours. We've already figured out what we truly need and what can stay at home next time. But I digress.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Things I've learned . . . (3 months)

So my "baby" is now 3 months old and I know everyone says time flies, but DANG! Liam is growing by leaps and bounds -- he's sleeping like a champ (10-12 hours a night), rolling over both ways, and eating steak and potatoes for dinner. I kid, I kid, but seriously, he may as well be for how much he's grown! I'm even wondering if he's about to have some teeth cut through with how much he's drooling!

Liam had his monthly check-up today and his 3 month stats are:
weight: 14 lbs. 13 oz. (6.72 kg, for my Dutch friends)
length: 24.8 in (63 cm)
head circumference: 16.6 in. (42.2 cm)

best job in the world . . .

I've been doing some reflecting lately, and realized that had I been back in Georgia and going back to work (which would have been likely), my maternity leave would be over and I would be missing out on the majority of Liam's day. It brought tears to my eyes to think about not being with him and how lucky I am to have this opportunity. Most of my friends back home went back to work after having babies, and I have witnessed first-hand how hard that was for them. Before becoming a teacher I always said I wanted to stay at home with my kids until they were school-age, but when I started teaching my ideas about that changed a little. I LOVED my job -- I love my students, my teacher friends, my principal, and all the wonderful families I got to be a part of each year. So after working for a few years, I thought I would go back to work after having a baby. I couldn't imagine not doing what I love every day.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

. . . a different kind of Claus

Today marked the arrival of Sinterklaas in the Netherlands! He came from where he resides in Spain and spends the next few weeks traveling around, greeting children, and preparing for Sinterklaas Day on December 5th. Interestingly enough, Sinterklaas rides a white horse and has his helper, Zwarte Piet (Black Peter), everywhere he goes. We even witnessed a few Zwarte Piets today while at the Centrum. Have a look . . .

Thursday, November 10, 2011

itty bitty baby parts . . .

I will always cherish this little boy and hope I remember these little parts when he's all grown up . . .

one boy is not enough for me . . .

It's finally Thursday, which means my hubby comes home TOMORROW! I am SO excited I might pee my pants (that, plus the fact that I have about a fifteen pound weight on my lap as I type this). The week has actually gone by quickly, and I must admit I'm pretty proud of myself. I not only took care of Liam and the dog all week, but I even managed to take care of myself -- I got in my workouts, meals, and dinners with friends, too. At the beginning of the week I didn't necessarily doubt that I could do it all, I just knew that it would be a little tougher. I'm used to taking care of Liam all day, so the night was just an extension of the day, which wasn't too big a deal. I tried out a new bedtime routine with Liam this week and it seems to be working well -- yesterday he slept in until almost noon! YAY for getting stuff done!

Monday, November 7, 2011

hello again, and goodbye . . .

We've had a busy weekend here in Eindhoven that included a special visitor from home -- our friend Spencer had an extra long layover in Amsterdam this weekend (on his way to India), so he took the train out to visit us for a few hours. Spencer was the first of our friends to hold Liam just one week after he was born, and he couldn't believe how big he'd gotten! I'm so mad for not getting another shot of him holding Liam because it would have been fun to compare! Oh well, maybe next time. It was (again) great to see a friend and catch up on life and how things were going. If I couldn't see one of my besties, Jane, then her hubby was a good substitute. ; )

Thursday, November 3, 2011

sweet hands . . .

Something trending in the blogging world lately is being thankful for something each day in November. So today I am thankful for hands . . .

Sweet baby hands
Liam has discovered his hands. And not just seeing them, but using them. He rubs his eyes when he wakes up, rubs his face when he's tired, grabs things, sucks his hand or thumb when trying to put himself to sleep, and clasps both hands together. It is the sweetest thing to watch him use his hands.

And then I begin to wonder what kind of things he'll do with his hands in the future? Will he play an instrument? Build things? Play sports? Write stories? I wonder what his future holds for him and his sweet hands . . .

I am also thankful for Keith's hard-working hands, hands that hold mine, hands take us places, hands that cook us dinner, and hands that hold our son.

I am thankful that I have hands to stroke Liam's chubby cheeks, type at a computer, change a dirty diaper, dial the phone to call my mom, or wipe drool from a little chin. I am thankful my hands bring Liam comfort when he's upset. I love that my hands hold the fingers that Liam's wraps his around.

Feeling SO thankful,


. . . a laundry problem

One thing we've been dealing with lately has been Liam's spit- up. About a month ago we took him to the ER because he was spitting up bile, to which they concluded it must've been a bug or something. Well, twice last week he spit up bile in the morning again -- but not near as much as the first time, and with no other symptoms. He acted completely normal the rest of the day and seemed ok. But we took him to the doctor on Monday anyway, just to have him checked out. The doctor said it must be reflux, and said for me to "feed Liam less" -- I almost asked him if he had ever tried to remove a baby from his nipple before. But I didn't. I obviously have lots of restraint.

Keith and I were less than thrilled when we left, so I took Liam to our consultatiebureau the next day because they had open office hours after 4:00 pm that day. They weighed him and he's a whopping 14 pounds, 8 ounces! I talked with the doctor there about what had been going on, and she gave me much better advice about a few things to try. She also made me feel better about how normal it is for breast-fed babies to spit up this way, and really said that this is more of a laundry problem than a health problem. Especially because he is gaining weight great and hitting all his milestones. It may just be something we deal with for the time being. He hasn't had any more problems with spit-up this week, which is wonderful, and I hope the trend continues! But if anyone has any other advice, I'm all ears -- especially how to cope with the bile when it happens, which isn't often, but I hate to know he's in pain : (

. . . cutest pea in the pod

So a few weeks ago I mentioned that I was disappointed because Liam didn't have a Halloween costume or even a cute "First Halloween" onesie to wear this year. Low and behold, a wonderful friend (and parent of a former student) sent Liam a pumpkin costume to wear that both her children had worn for their first Halloween! It was so neat to have Liam continue the tradition and share in something so special. : )

Friday, October 28, 2011

rollin' with my homies . . .

Did anyone else just sing the lyrics in your head and almost do the little hand wave Brittany Murphy does in the 1995 classic Clueless? No? Just me?

Ok, well for those of you who aren't 80's Babies and totally zoned out there for a minute, I'll skip straight to the vid:

10 weeks old and I think we're already in trouble!


Monday, October 24, 2011

10 weeks - outtakes

These were some outtakes from Liam's 10 week pictures, and I just had to share because his faces are so funny!

ewww . . . something stinks!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

family time . . .

We have had a really great weekend here in the Coffey household . . . it started with dinner and a movie Friday night (all from the comfort of our home, of course), walking around Woensel on Saturday (including a daring cuisine choice), and ended with a fun afternoon in the park on Sunday.

So instead of writing about it, I'll just tell the story in pictures (and a video!) . . .

Thursday, October 20, 2011

. . . getting shredded with Jillian

This may very well be my most successful day as a SAHM. It started with Liam sleeping from 10:45 pm - 7:00 am! It was nice to wake up a little later, and he was SO happy to see his day and I when he woke up. It just makes my dad to see that grin. : )

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2 month check-up

Today we took Liam to the consultatiebuereau, which is where he goes for all his "well visits." We go to our "huisarts," or house doctor, if/when he gets sick, but all the well visits are done down the street at our local consultatiebuereau. This was our second visit and we were much more prepared -- we had no idea what to expect the first time we went, and were a little caught off guard with their procedures. Although maybe it's the same at the pediatrician's offices in the States? Being our first child, we obviously didn't know what we were doing!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Things I've Learned . . . (9 weeks)

Now that Liam is 2 months old, there are more things I've learned -- I feel like I'm constantly finding out more about him, better ways to handle things, and adjusting to my new life. I know there's more with each new stage, and I'm sure I'm constantly repeating myself when I say that I'm adjusting and learning more, but I really am! And I'm sure I'm not as adjusted today as I will be in another month or two. And sometimes it's overwhelming knowing I don't even love him a fraction of the amount that I will come to love him as the months and years go by. I've only felt this way one other time in my life, and that was on my wedding day.

. . . when life gets in the way

I know, I know, it's been a while since I've posted. And I wish I could say it was for some awesome reason, like, we went to the south of France on holiday! But . . . alas, theres no one really good reason but more like lots of small ones: I got busy, taking Liam places, appointments, going shopping, dinner with friends, etc. Actually, now that I list the reasons, it's been kinda nice. We're much more settled into life here and I've been comfortable enough to take Liam out more, and we've really just been doing life the last couple weeks. It feels like we're settled more into routines and getting used to what each day brings. It doesn't hurt that Liam is sleeping through the night of course! STILL so happy about that. : )

Thursday, October 6, 2011

. . . all's well that ends well

Before I begin this post, I will tell you that everything is fine and Liam is a-ok.

In my last post I mentioned that we got some great sleep Monday night, which unknowing to us came at a price. Liam was sleeping unusually well, which was great! Except that we later figured out it was because he wasn't feeling well. : ( After his 10 pm feeding, Liam spit up a few times throughout the night, but it didn't seem like anything to worry about. When he spit up, I would just clean him up and he would fall right back asleep. I was in his room from about 4:00 - 6:15 am and he was still sleeping (wow! we were pleasantly surprised!). I went back to bed and told Keith that Liam had been coughing and spitting up, but was sleeping through everything, even when I would move him. Liam finally started to stir around 6:30 and woke up. I came up to feed him and he was in a great mood, smiling at us and not giving his hungry cry or anything. And all of the sudden he threw up. And I will go ahead and apologize for the graphic details, but it was not just throw up, but yellow bile. We were a little freaked out to say the least. After some googling and trying to call the doctor, we decided to head to the emergency room.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Excuse me, Miss, is that wine in your diaper bag?

First of all, Liam continues to sleep through the night! He's going anywhere from 6-8 hours,which is fantastic! If only I was sleeping that much too . . . Anyway, many of you have asked what advice I got to help him, and I'm almost embarrassed to say because it seems so common sense! But you know how you get into routines and don't really change them? Well that has been us. Liam eats every 3-4 hours, sometimes a little longer at night, and we had been getting up to feed him around 2-3 am every night. Well a friend suggested I try to pacify him and get him back to sleep. So ever since, I just have to go in his room a couple times a night and pat his bottom when he starts to stir. He goes back to sleep and wakes up happy and energized in the morning! I felt like that is such "duh" advice, but another friend said that babies are programmed to wake every few hours and we need to teach them that they can sleep longer. I had just assumed he was hungry and ready to eat when he would stir and wake up, not realizing I could get him to go back to sleep for a few hours! Another lesson for this new mom . . .

Saturday, October 1, 2011

. . . should I even write about this?

I am probably jinxing myself by even writing about it, but Liam is sleeping through the night. I know. I can't believe it either. The last three nights he has gone down between 9 and 10, and hasn't woken up before morning! I got some great advice from a friend and I tried it on Wednesday night, and Liam slept until 5:00 am the next morning. I was all, NO WAY. So I tried it again the next night and it worked again. SHUT. THE. FRONT. DOOR. Then last night was his best yet: he ate at 7:30 pm, was sleeping by 9:00, and slept until 6:00 am. I'm still in shock! I'm not sleeping the whole time because I'm constantly watching the monitor because surely he'll wake up any second, but he hardly stirs! I'll go up a couple times to pat his butt or give him the paci, but that's all it takes and then he's out for another few hours! I can hardly believe my luck. I can't wait to get to the point where I actually sleep too, but for right now this is awesome! And we didn't even need Samuel L. Jackson's book. ; )

Monday, September 26, 2011

Liam's first (play)date . . .

So today Liam had his very first play date! But before I get to that, I must explain that I have been getting out and about by myself much more in the last couple weeks. On Friday Liam and I went to the IWCE (International Women's Club of Eindhoven) monthly potluck. There were about 30 women there and all kinds of delicious international foods to share. Liam did great, sleeping in his tricot slen sling for most of the afternoon, but then was awake for a while while some friends got to hold him. : )

What made this outing memorable is that I didn't have cell service when leaving, so I couldn't use the GPS on my phone to find my way. I was able to follow my friend Megan out of the neighborhood, but then I was a little lost from there. AMAZINGLY, I found the highway and figured out ON MY OWN how to get home. I never used the maps app, never called Keith, kept calm, and carried on. : )  I told Liam how proud I was of us for figuring it out! The reason I start with this story is because it gave me the confidence to hustle out the door today . . .

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Things I've learned . . . (3 & 6 weeks)

I've learned a lot as the weeks have passed by, about babies and how to be a mom and how to not go insane . . . I think I will continue to jot these things down as Liam and I go through all the stages to come. I started this list a while back, and already things have changed; but for right now, here's what I learned when I was a Mommy to a 3 week old:

You've Got Mail!

Well, actually WE got mail . . . two packages arrived from the States yesterday and it was so fun to open them! We got a care package from my stepdad that had a beautiful fleece blanket his wife had made for Liam, complete with his name embroidered on the corner, and lots of American goodies that we can't find here in the Netherlands. We have enough Oreos, taco seasoning, and Texas Pete Buffalo Wing Sauce to last us the winter! I can't wait to make my first batch of buffalo chicken dip for one of our football Saturdays! Thanks guys!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Week One as a SAHM

One week down, a lifetime to go (hopefully . . . haha, just kidding honey, if you're reading this). Life as a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM) is as hard as any job I've had. Actually, just being a parent is, whether you work or not, I believe. Keith and I were saying that having Liam is harder and more wonderful than we were warned. It is hard in the sense that we get much less sleep than before (and the hours we do sleep are broken into small increments -- even when I get to sleep for 5 hours in a row because Keith is giving him a bottle, I still wake up every couple hours and think about how they're doing and if Keith needs anything and if Liam is sleeping . . .  the curses of mommyhood . . . I digress). But the benefits package that comes with this job is amazing (more on that below).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Meeting Gramps . . .

Liam meets his Gramps for the first time

Well I can't believe the week is over already. My dad arrived last Saturday and it was a wonderful seven days. The first thing he did was hug and kiss me, and then sat holding Liam until his next feeding. He was in awe. And Liam found the perfect place to rest this week -- my dad's chest.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I remember . . .

Even though we are living in the Netherlands, my thoughts and heart are in the States today. I remember that day so vividly in my mind, and can't believe ten years has gone by. If I were teaching today, I would be reading the books September 12th, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, and Fireboat. So instead, I sent an email to Liam to tell him about my memories of that day because I think it's important that we remember not only what happened, but how we recovered.


Friday, September 2, 2011

. . . good sleep and a great friend

I need to get this post out before my very busy weekend commences -- my dad arrives tomorrow morning and we have college football to watch this weekend! And this week has been pretty awesome as well . . .

First off, one of my very best friends from the States arrived last weekend to meet her hubby in Amsterdam (Spencer, from my last post). So they did the 'Dam touristy stuff over the weekend, then Jane took the train to Eindhoven Monday morning to spend two days with us! As soon as she got here she ran up the stairs to see our sweet boy, and pretty much held him for the next two days. : ) I fed Liam shortly after and then the four of us headed to lunch at La Place in the winkelcentrum. Keith got his haircut afterwards as Jane, Liam, and I walked around and poked our head into some of the shops. I have really been missing my friends so it's hard to describe how it felt to be with Jane again. We have worked together and talked/seen each other on a daily basis for over 6 years now -- this will be the first year I haven't taught with her, which may not seem like a big deal to most, but I think being able to work with your best friend is a rare thing and one we didn't take for granted. I have missed her so much these last few months!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Time flies . . . when you're feeding every three hours

I can't believe it's been thirteen days since I started labor and Liam is now 10 days old! Many people told me that the days will fly by, but I really had no idea it would be like this! It seems like all of the sudden, Keith and I are figuring out what to eat for dinner and talking about how we're going to work the night shift. I have no concept of time throughout the day except to reference Liam's schedule . . .

"It's been three hours since he last fed."

"It's been thirty seconds since we changed his diaper and he's going again??"

"It's been two and a half hours since he fell asleep."

"We have ten minutes to eat!" : )

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pura Vida - Part Two (Life with Liam)

One week down . . . many more to go! And what a week it has been. We have been blessed beyond measure with our sweet son, who constantly is making us laugh and surprising us in wonderful ways. Has it all been easy? Absolutely not. But just because it isn't perfect doesn't mean it's not wonderful. We have had our nights of absolutely no sleep, been christened by the golden fountain of youth, and I have had my moments of crying mother's guilt over making the right decisions for him (for something so life-changing as "Should I feed him again when he just finished 30 minutes ago??").

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pura Vida - Part One ( L & D )

As you can imagine, it's been hard to get around to blogging lately. : ) But I'll try to start at the beginning. . . this post will be about our weekend-long labor and delivery, and then I will do another post all about our little man. : )

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Missing the market . . .

I am currently struggling with how much and how often to post, as life settles down and there really isn't as many exciting things to write about -- though give me a week and I will bragging like crazy about my little boy and probably sharing all kinds of minute details! But for right now, I have my boring, uneventful, common-place days, and it can be difficult to make that something exciting to share! This week has kind of been one of those weeks so far, and it mainly is because I've been a little tired and trying to get some extra rest. Monday was the first day I've taken a nap in weeks, and it was because I was just so exhausted for no reason at all -- well, yes, growing a child and all, but just an abnormal tiredness for me and my pregnancy. Something exciting that did happen on Monday evening was getting a package from my mom filled with all kinds of pregnancy and baby stuff! Thanks Mom! : )

Monday, August 8, 2011

. . . end of a summer

I can hardly believe we've been here eight weeks already! Sometimes Keith and I look at each other and say, "Can you believe we live here?" It's definitely not vacation anymore, and we've settled into our routines, grocery shopping, cooking at home, learning where to shop for what, and meeting new friends. I assume that we've had similar experiences as anyone who has moved to a new city, just adding in the small language barrier, local currency, and 32 million bicycles (literally 32 million bicycles in a country of 16 million people). There of course have been some small adjustments to be made, some more pleasant than others.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Have a nice trip, see you next fall!

This week Keith has been busy conducting a workshop at Philips with several colleagues in town for it. He even brought some traditional Dutch stroopwafels to the workshop, which he said were devoured by the end of the day. I have no idea why these haven't been introduced in the states, but I promise to bring some back when we come home for Christmas! So last night we went out to dinner at Usine with four of them. Usine is a restaurant located in the bottom floor of the old Philips Lighting Factory and it has that sort of eclectic-yet simple-warehouse-feel . . . huge exposed ceilings, bare bulbs, old wooden tables with contemporary plastic chairs, you get the picture (which is a good thing, because I didn't). So at dinner everyone ordered steak frites (which was just a small piece of not-great steak served with fries) except for Reid and I. Can you guess which one of us had which meal?

steak tar tar
vegetarian quiche
I guess it's probably a no-brainer -- the steak tar tar was surprisingly delicious!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

countdown . . .

I guess there's lots to catch up on since I haven't written in a week . . . my apologies! First, no, Liam has not arrived yet (because someone pointed out that when they don't hear from me for a couple days, they've worried I've gone into labor!). And since it is now August, it's officially Liam's birth month! (well, hopefully he won't wait until September . . . )

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

our fun / frustrating night . . .

So I know I just posted yesterday, but I had to tell you about our adventure last night . . .

First, after we finished cooking, Keith turned off the burner on the stove, but it starting clicking every 2 seconds like it was trying to ignite. Click. Click. Click. Keith couldn't get it to stop, which was boiling point number one. You could hear it everywhere in the house because he figured out that all five burners were trying to ignite at the same time. He called the property management company to tell them, and hopefully get someone out to our house last night (which didn't happen). Click. Click. Click. Click.That was the beginning of our crazy evening.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Excuse me, where's the nearest Big & Normal?

Before getting into our weekend, I got two pieces of great news . . .

1 . . . We now have home phones, so our friends and family can call either of our Atlanta numbers and it will ring on our house phone -- free of charge! (well, free for you, anyway, and really cheap for us) Keith ported our numbers using VoIP, which sounds complicated and fancy to me, but he assures me it's not that hard to do. Regardless, I am totally impressed and happy that I can pick up my phone, call a friend (without using country codes or anything!), and not be charged with international fees. So feel free to call us anytime! (but check the time zone first : )

Saturday, July 23, 2011

. . . baby stuff (with a car picture for the guys)

Fair warning to the guys who read this blog -- the beginning is all about baby stuff, so if you want to skip ahead to our grocery shopping excursion and car stuff, head towards the bottom. For anyone else interested in the baby stuff, read on . . .

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

You'll cut my pony for free??

What a wonderful day! The first good thing that happened today was that the moving company came back today to remove the dozens of empty boxes and trash that has been on our mail floor for the last two weeks. Things are already looking a thousand times better! Then I headed out to my midwife appointment, and instead of taking the bus I walked the whole way there. At 8:30 in the morning it was breezy, cool, and perfect for a 25 minute walk. I was happy to meet with Susan today, who speaks great English, and I was able to get in a lot of questions and talk about lots of fun baby stuff with her. She also examined Liam and me, and found that his head is "engaged" in my pelvis, meaning he is in position and ready for what's to come! That made me really happy. : ) She also estimated that he will be about 3.5 kilos at 40 weeks, which is about 7 1/2 pounds. Obviously that number changes if he comes earlier or later. She's basing it on what she sees and feels, so we'll see if she's right!

Monday, July 18, 2011

mishaps, midwives, and kraamzorgs, oh my . . .

There are a lot of great things about living in the NL, and some not-so-great. As I mentioned before, stores keep odd hours, which makes it difficult to accomplish errands at convenient times. You probably remember that we have a dead car battery -- thank goodness we bought Keith's bike this weekend! -- so Keith spent the better part of the morning trying to figure out where to buy one. In the states there would be a half dozen places within a stone's throw where we could buy a battery at any time, day or night. Not so much here . . .

Saturday, July 16, 2011

. . . bad day, good day, and great day!

Thursday - "Mama said there'll be days like this . . . "

After not having posted much this week, I guess I should explain why . . . Wednesday was boring and I did absolutely nothing. And then Thursday started out as one of my worst days here so far, and it was unfortunately because of my sick dog. Without going into too much detail, Murphy must've gotten into something because his stomach was tore up. By 11:00 am I had done enough clean up to last any person a year, maybe 18 months. I literally texted Keith "I'm a mess" as I'm bawling on my hands and knees with my second roll of paper towels (yes, second roll). Thirty minutes later he was home and found me in a zen-like trance in Liam's room, trying to calm myself. But as soon as I saw him I burst into tears and went all hormonal and pregnant on him . . .

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

One month . . . but who's counting?

So it's official : we've been here for one month, and have been in our house one week. Things are starting to shape up around here, which is nice, considering how most people like to actually live in their house comfortably. All the boxes are finally unpacked (though the moving company still has to come pick up the empty boxes, which are currently taking up about a third of the main floor), things are semi-organized, and we are settling into the new crib (pun intended). I've actually been working on the nursery for the past two days and got all of Liam's clothes (his many, many clothes) organized, washed some of his laundry (like blankets, towels, etc.), and am slowly working on the decorating aspect. But so far I am loving everything and can't wait till it's finished so I can share some pictures!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

" Are they fresh? " " . . . Sure . . . ? "

Now that we've dropped off Jenna and Brandon at the airport to head back to the states (with a twinge of jealousy - *sigh*), I guess I failed to mention why they were here. Jenna is in law school and has been doing study abroad in Rome for the past five weeks, so knowing we would be living here, she extended her stay by a few days so that she could come visit before heading home. Her boyfriend flew out last weekend to take advantage of the trip and spend time with Jenna in Europe. Having them here was awesome and made me feel like I was on vacation with friends! : )

Friday, July 8, 2011

You should start nesting . . .

I realize I haven't blogged in a couple days, and it's because we've been super busy . . . my first task was to get our kitchen organized so that we could actually eat at home instead of going out three meals a day. So on Tuesday that's exactly what I did -- and six hours later the kitchen was done! Keith came home from work and said, "You must be nesting . . ." to which I replied, "No, this isn't nesting, just making the kitchen organized and manageable! Nesting is when I start deep cleaning the entire house." Keith's response? "Oh, then you should start nesting." He cracks me up. : )

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 21 - Independence Day

Let freedom ring! The movers came today and we are officially free from our prison life (if prison life meant someone who cleaned your room and brought delicious food at your every whim, then yes, prison). Wait, why did we leave there again?? Oh yeah, because I am blogging right now from my very own couch with my feet propped up on my very own pillow. While there is still a LONG way to go, it feels incredible to look around and see our belongings that we haven't laid eyes on in eight weeks. As movers were unpacking, we were saying, "Oh yeah, I forgot about that!" and "Where are we going to put all this stuff??" Luckily, it's all in the house now, and while there are still some boxes to unpack and lots to organize, it's definitely starting to feel more like home. I've included some "before" the move pictures and will hopefully soon post some "after" pictures as we finish rooms and get things in their proper place (as opposed to the magazine rack I found in the kitchen or the wine rack in Liam's room -- hmmm, maybe we're on to something? . . . )

Sunday, July 3, 2011

bravery . . .

Welcome North Americans!
We weren't quite sure what we'd encounter at the 4th of July BBQ yesterday, considering we were walking into someone's home whom we had never met and didn't know a single person there! Luckily there were a couple women I had met at the potluck lunch on Friday who said they might be there on Saturday, so my hopes were high. We drove about 25 minutes out of the city into the beautiful countryside -- for one of the most dense populations in Europe, you wouldn't know it where we were.

Friday, July 1, 2011

apparently I like food . . .

Errands . . . with a little spoiling thrown in

Yummy lunch 
Thursday was a busy and productive day for me here! I was out and about for most of the day, and my feet paid for it later. My first exciting find of the day was a maternity store! I hadn't found one yet and couldn't believe my luck when I saw pregnant mannequins in the centrum today. I made a beeline for the store and was able to walk away with a few necessary pieces to help me get through the next six weeks in cooler weather (Victory #1). At another shop I bought a scarf and interacted with the cashier, who never even knew I didn't speak Dutch (Victory #2). My next good find was a couple pairs of flats for €10 a piece -- but I unfortunately returned them today because they were out of the size I wanted to exchange them for (Victory #3). Oh well. By that time I was starving and had a nice lunch at a bistro I hadn't seen before. The server suggested a baguette with chicken, bacon, and chili mayonnaise -- it was uh-mazing (see left).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

. . . pregnant and thirsty!

Today was a typical day in the NL -- drizzly and overcast for half a day, clear and cool for the other half. I am really getting accustomed to most thing Dutch nowadays, but there is one little thing that I am beginning to get pretty annoyed with living in the Netherlands . . . more on that later.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 15 - Patience is a virtue . . .

Today is yet another day here in Eindhoven that we are still not in our new house. Basically, our 40-foot container has been here since the first week of June, and they are just now getting around to looking at our paperwork -- goes to show that governments around the world are more similar than we think. So apparently they had issues with Keith's car that we were bringing with us, and have been going back and forth about that and who knows what else. As of today, that is looking to be resolved, but still no word on when actual movers are bringing our stuff to our house.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Dom, the Rhine . . . and bachelor parties??

Keith and I were able to spend the weekend in Germany to celebrate our 5 year anniversary (we have no belongings in our house, so we thought we might as well get out of town!) . . . we drove a little over an hour to Cologne (or Koln) and spent a drizzly afternoon enjoying the city, stopping in cafes, and walking next to the Rhine River. What follows are some highlights from our day . . .

Driving into the city
Not the same Maggiano's we're used to!

Friday, June 24, 2011

5 years, 8 months, 11 days . . .

Today is our 5 year anniversary . . .

and time sure does fly. There's a long story behind how we met, but to make it short, Keith and my stepmom worked together and she was dying to hook us up (though Keith was hesitant at first). Once we finally met, he called to ask me out, and we've been together ever since. I'm sure I will get a call from her today (like I do every year), wishing us a happy anniversary and asking where her flowers are that we should send her. ; ) In all seriousness, I really am grateful that she saw something special in him and pushed to get us together. That was almost nine years ago, and I thank God every night for blessing me with a husband like Keith. Every relationship has ups and downs and ours is no exception. But at the end of the day, there's no one else I'd rather be with. We have fun, we laugh, we argue, we have real conversations, and no one knows me better. While this is only our 5th anniversary, and things will undoubtedly get even better and worse than we ever imagined, there is no one else I'd rather go through this life with. "He's her lobster . . ." (as Phoebe would say)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Learning to read . . .

After being in the Netherlands for a week now, I've made a wonderful connection with my students in regards to reading. Those of you who know me know that I love learning. And it is not often that as adults we find ourselves in an environment where we feel truly lost, or where we know absolutely nothing about something. Times like that are the perfect time to learn. I've said many times that my absolute favorite class in school was an astronomy class I took my junior year of college -- astronomy was something I knew practically nothing about and I LOVED learning something new. So I am kind of feeling like that lately . . .

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 8 - the Market . . .

So first, my delicious lunch today consisted of smoked chicken, avocado, basil dressing and pine nuts on an everything bagel. I took one bite and had to take a picture because it was THAT GOOD.

Yummmm . . .

Ok, moving on . . .

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 7 - Mexican in the Netherlands . . .

As of right now, it would be really great if we were moved into the house by the end of this week. We're hoping for Wednesday, but still waiting on customs to release our container (a 40-foot container that has all our furniture, boxes, car, etc.). This container also happens to have all my clothes and boots that would make life here just that much easier. : )

Sunday, June 19, 2011

highlights and lowlights . . .

Here are some highlights since I last posted . . .

  • giving my brothers a virtual tour of our new place using Skype and my iPhone4
  • seeing my niece Bailey stare at the computer screen while I was talking to her : )
  • getting a phone call from my mom just to say hi
  • going to dinner at the Wilsons and meeting new friends Saturday night
  • finding some decent American movies to watch on the television
  • randomly running into the Wilsons in the street on the way to church this morning! Small world!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 4 - Murphy is mad . . .

After 25 grueling hours, Murphy made it from Atlanta to The Netherlands! We were a little freaked out there for a minute because he wasn't here as early as we had anticipated, and the people we were dealing with hadn't communicated as well as we would've liked--but regardless, he finally made it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

dining al fresco . . .

After a nice outdoor breakfast this morning (thank you to Jason and Deena for introducing us to the world of Bagels & Beans!), I had the wonderful realization that we have eaten outdoors for five out of our last seven meals. How awesome is that? The weather has been great, it's breezy, no humidity, and every restaurant has a patio. And even at the places where we've eaten indoors, we've sat next to an open door or window and been able to enjoy the scenery, the people, and the city.

Day 3 - friends, music, and robotics . . .

What an awesome day it was . . . it started by our friends, Jason and Deena, calling us this morning to have breakfast with them. We were initially introduced by a mutual friend--Jason happens to work for Philips as well and they moved their family here from Cumming just four months ago. Needless to say, they've been so welcoming and helpful, and it's just been nice to talk with someone who understands what we're going through. I love our new friends!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 2 - lots of walking . . .

Our early morning turned into a long day filled with lots of walking. I was able to get registered at the expat center, followed by some window shopping at the Media Markt for electronics. Keith ended up ordering our washer and dryer online (at for anyone looking in the NL!), and it will be delivered to our house on Monday. We also walked a few blocks down past the Philips Stadium to go to the Philips MyStore (see pics below) where Philips employees can purchase items at a discounted rate. I picked out my flat iron and blow dryer there. : )

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We're here!

It's 3 am here and Keith was right: if we go to bed too early it's going to mess us up. After a LONG day, I stayed up as long as I could, but crashed a little after 9:00 pm and now I'm wide awake. So I might as well blog about what we're doing . . .

Monday, June 6, 2011

Leaving on a jet plane...

Well, we leave next Monday for the adventure of a lifetime (not counting the adventure that will begin come August!). This week will be hard to say "see ya later" to our dear friends and family, but we  are so glad to have everyone's support and promises to come visit. Keith and I are truly excited to see what God has in store for us, and know that two years will go by in the blink of an eye.