Friday, August 29, 2014

Pictures 'o' Kids

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

Sausage Cuteness:






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



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

Quick, quick, get the evidence!

And onto the floor we go

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ridders!

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

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

Knightly Munchkin

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

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

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

Jousting with pretzel half and scarf.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Potty Non Grata

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekend Roundup - BIRTHDAY

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 22, 2014

Best Attended 3 Year Old Party Ever

40 people is how many we are expecting on Sunday for Munchkin's birthday. At last my f***ing up the grocery delivery order is playing to my favor, since I accidentally ordered two of a bunch of things.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Growth Spurt

Another spartan week, another week of less sleep than we'd like. Hoping to catch up this weekend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Jarig!

To my marvelous Munchkin! Don't these always start with "can't believe", but it's true! It's hard to imagine that we've already had you in our lives for three whole years. You are so incredible. You are smart and cheeky and so full of life. Always be yourself. Be the best self you can be. We love you.







Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekend Round Up

We had a seriously full on weekend! And it continues - I've taken Monday off to try to start putting a dent in all this holiday I have left over. Friday I had an epic day with our friend S and her son E. We met at a new cafe, then made our way to the Vondelpark only to barely miss a seriously full on torrential downpour. We were saved by Munchkin who insisted on stopping at a particular playground which had a cover we could stand under.

The rain passed over quickly, fortunately. We started walking for an indoor cafe I knew that had a big play area. E fell asleep, and we all realized we were hungry, which turned out to be a good thing since I mis-remembered where the cafe was and took us way too far. By then we were all thinking lunch so we stopped at a cafe I had been to before, Espresso Bar, which is really frickin' far from where we meant to be. But does have a kiddo play area! We had a really nice, long break for lunch. As the sun was shining we headed out to the nearby petting zoo/play ground. Everything was going great until  Munchkin announced she needed to pee. I grabbed her hand and ran to the bathroom, leaving our bag in our haste. When we got to the loo I quickly learned:
 - she did not mean pee
 - we were no longer talking about a future event.

Of course right at this moment I realize the bag with all our stuff is way bag outside with our friend. And Sausage starts crying at that exact moment. Ah, good times in parenting. Shockingly we managed to get everyone cleaned up and settled down in order to get some additional play. Quiet evening as you can imagine!

Saturday we had a very full-on day. We did a bit of shopping then headed out to the Amsterdamse Bos for a Ridderfest - a medieval festival! Loads of fun, we met our friend E and his daughter N. Munchkin was enraptured by the raptors: hawks, owls, and even a bald eagle. There was a jousting event - I was impressed that Munchkin watched for nearly the entire show. We hustled back for a night out for a friend's birthday party at a resto.

Sunday we had a very chill day. It was rainy and horrible out so we did very little. We managed to run into our friends K and B and their son I. We spent much of the morning outside since the rain came out in the afternoon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Importance of Feeling Like a Bad Ass



As you may have gathered from the paucity of posts, last week was a little rough. This week is more of the same! It is especially frustrating to feel your exhaustion impacting the quality of your life and work. Last week a lot of days I struggled to do anything productive. I knew it was tough but only really this week notice the difference, since I suddenly feel so much more capable! Amazing what a little sleep can do.

As a result of the sleeplessness I was starting to get down about work. I really like what I do, but when you sit stupidly staring at the screen just trying to string a sentence together you can start to get pessamistic about your chances. Sales is all about odds. The more possibilities out there, the higher the odds one of those possibilities will result in a close. I've known that from the beginning, and that makes it just that more demoralizing when I have weeks like last week.

Especially since I feel a great time pressure to make things happen due to my maternity leave. In some ways it is freeing because I don't have time to hem and haw about if I should do something. I don't have the luxury to doubt, I need to make a decision and just do it. I think nine times out of ten it's better just to act based on what you know rather than spend a lot of time getting a few bits more information that probably don't impact your decision anyways. A lot of times they are just excuses to put something off that is unpleasant that you don't really want to do.

The other thing that really hit home for me since coming back is how important it is to be a Bad Ass at what you do. This is more an attitude than anything, although skills and knowledge make it really effective. The saying fake it 'til you make it comes to mind. So much of sales is a performance. You have to know your stuff but you need to know what to say, how to say it, and when to get the most impact. And I'm all about efficiency, so I want to get the most out of every opportunity I have. I have come to realize that a great portion of a good performance is about confidence. To have confidence you need to believe in yourself. To believe in yourself you have to know you are the Bad Ass you are. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Picture Time!

This whole weeks is going to suck and be rainy and terrible. No better time to reflect on sunnier days!

I could just choke, these two are So.Damn.Cute. Together.

Sausage on a sunny day

K and her son I.

Why is my baby sporting short sleaves while I am bundled up??

For my mother: this is the outdoor version of the game "Go to sleep - Wake up!" . If you're wondering what it is, don't. It's exactly what you think it is.

So I don't underdress my kid - I overdress myself.

The Playground. The one we go to the most.

Our happy girls.
Sadly Sausage wouldn't turn round to make this photo work exactly as envisaged, but she is also crying her brains out.

Workin' the sun glasses

Sausage and some new American friends on their gorgeous terrace

Picking up boys in cars already!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekend Roundup

I gotta say I was so tired from the week that I was half asleep most of the weekend. Friday we had a repeat of what we did the week before but with cooler, cloudier weather. Also, Munchkin discovered the cafe we meet at sells macaroons, so we'll have to move to another location I think! After meeting S and E we went to the Vondelpark. The theme of the whole weekend was "Threatening Imminent Downpour Rain". We kept thinking the heavens were going to open and downpour but it never really happened.  Friday I put Munchkin down for a nap. I heard sounds and went to her room to investigate. As I opened the door,  I saw her neatly step down from her crib. It's been a long time coming but she's realized she is waaaaay too big for that crib and can get out all by herself. Time to order the big girl bed! Well overdue really. That evening we had pizza and chilled, all we could muster.

Saturday night sucked, Sausage was super restless and we both awoke feeling like zombies. We had to do a wee bit of shopping then went to the playground to meet with our friend K and her son I. We had a culinary experience for lunch to make up for all the boring until then: the falafel place just down the street from the park is, seriously, the best I have ever had. Even with:
- children tired and going berzerk
- baby starting to cry
- wind picking up and it starting to rain as we sat outside
- realizing midway through that wasn't mud Munchkin had stepped in and was getting all over her legs
- wobbly table

... we still all agreed it was so delicious it didn't matter. Afterwards we had "quiet time" since it looks like Munchin will really be dropping the nap now that we can't confine her to her bed. The afternoon ended up being glorious and we went to a new playground and had to drag the toddler home she was having so much fun.

Sunday we spent the whole day thinking it was going to rain and it never really did. It was windy and raining a little. We even had very nice plans for a picnic that weekend that got cancelled - boo. 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

What the bleep, seriously, again?

Where did the week go? Again? I had lots to say, but miss Sausage hasn't been sleeping this week so I've been feeling like a zombie most of it. Tomorrow is mamadag and I'm looking forward to a lie in.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Weekend Roundup

Another really nice weekend with fantastic weather. Friday we ladies met up with S and her boy E for what is our usual: meet at a cafe, have a coffee, then walk to the Vondelpark. We went to the splashpool and were prepared enough to have swimsuits. We then had lunch out before taking our exhausted children home to nap. The heat really takes it out of everyone! In the afternoon we had a lovely surprise - a package from our friends O and W in South Africa! So delighted to receive a little taste of some of the foods we love from there, especially our favorite: All Gold ketchup. And we were nearly out! In the evening we had burritos (adults that is) and watched a brainless superhero film: it was mildly entertaining.

Saturday was a nice day with nothing on, which was a good change of pace from the week of work and our previous weekend. It's good to keep things varied! Took breakfast out at Le Pain Quotidien, a chain but still very good. It would have been great except for the very loud construction taking place just outside the whole time. Afterwards we took advantage of having no food shopping to do (week two of ordering online went much better!) to run some errands including picking up our very first purchase of art together from the frame shop. I'll have to write about it more once we have it up on the wall. We then made a stop at the playground of course for a certain small person before retreating from the heat. I made awesome fish, Munchkin ate none of it because she was exhausted and I fell asleep very early after that as well!

Sunday we trekked out to Ijburg to have a bbq lunch with new American friends J and P and their adorable son O. They are at the very furthest bit of Ijburg so it took just under an hour to get out there. Out this far you get a lot of house for your money and their flat is spacious and has a great view of the water. We chilled all afternoon, eating and wrangling children. I had made a new kind of ice cream, Turon, which is flavored with orange and pistachio and is divine. Skyping and a quite nasty rice salad (curry and feta: not nice combo) rounded out the evening!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Where the F did the week go?

Obviously this week totally kicked my ass! Jesus yesterday I hired a car and drove down to Eindhoven to see a prospect. First time taking the share car I am part of for work. First off, wtf it was an automatic! And I could *not* remember how to drive an automatic! I got stuck the wrong way down a narrow Amsterdam street and a nice gentleman helped me back out. Finally got the hang of the thing and we got there no problems. On the way back got a little lost trying to get to our own damn office!

Phew-wee! Looking forward to a quiet day with my girls.