Thursday, December 13, 2018

Hailey at 3 Months


Yesterday, 12 December, Hailey reached the 3-month mark...at 13 weeks.  Did I ever count weeks or months like this before???  It still feels like so much longer than 3 months....

Actually, I want to start with 2 weeks ago when she was 11 weeks and we needed a fix.

We walked in the door at the end of Mama and Papa's dinner.
There was Hailey, sitting at the table with them, all prettied up.

Mama then changed her diaper...

after which Papa cuddled with her.
He had recently come home from work.

Hailey still takes lots of cat naps while being loved so dearly.

She must have awakened for my turn...

and then took her second cat nap.  
Having visitors is so tiring!

Then it was Mama's turn.

Hailey knows her mama..and stayed awake!

But Oma Astrid promptly put her back to sleep again.

Actually, it took a few whimpers...but she finally relaxed again.
One cat nap after the other.

It was while Oma Astrid held her that I noticed all her hand gestures.
If these hands could talk!

Before we left that evening, Papa showed us how he's teaching his daughter to dance:


How can you not fall in love with them both!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

That was a fix.  Two weeks later, just 2 days ago, we babysat Hailey for the first afternoon of Mama's back-to-work venture, after being off for about 4 months.  

First order of business was the bottle...

followed by fun and games in the crib, with Oma Astrid eliciting the smiles.
(She makes me smile, too.  HA!)

The crib is where Llama, her BFF since Day 1, keeps her company...

as does the mobile overhead.


Do you get the feeling that she wants to hold Llama in her arms?  I wonder.
(Llama is wedged between the crib slats to keep her steady.)

It was on-and-off-again rain that afternoon but during an "off," we went for it.
Nothing like getting our exercise while babysitting, right!

We even stopped by to see Opa Jaap...just long enough to smile and say HI.
(And, yes, we decided to take Llama with us.)

As we came back to the house, Papa arrived home from work at the same time.

Talk about good timing!
HE changed her diaper and did the broeken dans (pants dance) with her,
before we left for our own home.

How's that for one fix after another!
Going forward, starting the new year, we'll be babysitting
every other Tuesday afternoon, while Mama works.
It'll be perfect for maintaining the fix, and we're delighted.

All this is for the record, of course.  We don't ever want to forget:
HAILEY:  You Make My Day!


Thursday, December 06, 2018

Sinterklaas in the Windmill


By now you may remember that yesterday, December 5, was Sinterklaas here in the Netherlands.  It's the traditional day of giving and receiving gifts...not on Christmas.

It also happens to be the day I celebrated my arrival here in this country, 9 years ago (2009), to start my new life with Astrid, who became my wife 2 months after arriving, on February 5!

But I digress.

What I rarely show, however, is the importance of Sinterklaas himself in this culture.  Yes, you can say he's similar to America's Santa Claus, but he's different in that he arrives in the Netherlands 3 weeks before December 5 to make sure all the kids know he's here.  That's NOVEMBER!

It's a fun story...about how he arrives on a boat from Spain with his horse, Amerigo, and his Zwarte Piet helpers (Black Peters, who are Moors).  You can read all about it here.  He actually does arrive here in Gorinchem on a special boat, with kids watching him arrive in our inner harbor from the Merwede river outside the locks.

And yes, he's a legendary figure based on Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children.

This is the Nooit Volmaakt windmill just a block down the street from our back door.
It's a grain mill, originally built in 1718, from which we buy the flours for our homemade bread.
Nooit Volmaakt means "Never Forget."

When Astrid told me Sinterklaas was visiting this mill last Saturday at 2 p.m.,
I knew I would try to make it, if it wasn't too crowded.

Lucky for me, it was NOT too crowded, which actually surprised me!
The action was on the first floor up, where kids were invited to make speculaas cookies
while waiting for Sinterklaas to arrive.


I zeroed in on a couple of the kids who were fully involved.

Future chefs in the making, for sure!

Coloring was also an option....
which, of course, made me think of wee granddaughter Hailey.

Then we got the news that Sinterklaas had finally arrived down below!

He brought with him a Zwarte Piet (yes, they can also be women), as black as night.
A child standing nearby, as a Zwarte Piet wannabe, was allowed to hold the staff.

This is serious stuff.
Not anything like Santa Claus Ho-Ho-Ho-ing.

Some kids were afraid (sound familiar?), 
but parents played their part to calm the nerves.

This girl in particular was a total believer.

And then Sinterklaas climbed up to the cookie makers above.

No, I didn't follow him...
but I pictured in my mind's eye what it must have looked like.

It was raining when I left the mill but I didn't care.
I came.  I saw.  I dreamed about the years to come with Hailey!

And I repeated what I say every year at this time:
"Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus!" 


Thursday, November 29, 2018

Watercolor Sunday and Saturday's Color: November 2018


OK, OK.  I know November isn't yet off the calendar, but close enough for me to make this Thursday post...especially since all the weekends ARE off the calendar.

So, here goes.

These are my Watercolor Sunday posts on Facebook for November 2018:

November 4 (photo manipulation):
"Let no one weep for me, or celebrate my funeral with mourning;
for I still live, as I pass to and fro through the mouths of men."
--Quintus Ennius (239BC - 169BC, considered to be the father of Latin literature)

[Yesterday was the day of SIL Peggy's Memorial Service in Michigan.]


November 11 (photo manipulation):
"When chill November's surly blast Made fields and forests bare...."
--Robert Burns(1759-1796)


November 18 (photo manipulation):
"Now in November nearer comes the sun down the abandoned heaven."
--D.H. Lawrence

"Ethics and equity and the principles of justice do not change with the calendar."
--D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)


November 25 (photo manipulation):
"Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words."
--Titus Maccius Plautus, Roman playwright, 254BC - 184BC

HAPPY THANKSGIVING WEEKEND

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

My Saturday's Color posts on Facebook for November 2018:

(finished on 23 October, posted on FB 3 November 2018)
There's still lots of color left in early November, right?
You can find it if you look for it, even on a gray day.
Happy November, everyone!
(from my 12 x 12 Mandala Kleurboek)


(finished on 28 October, posted on FB 10 November 2018)
Sometimes you go into the mysterious depths and just let the currents take you.
That's what I was feeling when I finished this just prior to our trip to Michigan
for SIL Peggy's Memorial Service on 3 November.
(from my Color Me Happy book)


(finished on 11 November, posted on FB 17 November 2018)
Believe it or not, I actually thought of a snowflake while I colored this 6 x 6 Mini-Mandala,
not knowing many of my American family and friends would receive SNOW this past week!
You can blame it on me????


(finished on 21 November, posted on FB 24 November 2018)
Growing up in my preacher-dad's Baptist church, we often sang
"Bringing in the sheaves, 
Bringing in the sheaves; 
We shall come rejoicing, 
bringing in the sheaves," 
which I thought about while coloring this design.
It seemed appropriate for Thanksgiving weekend.

This ends 3 years of posting my watercolor and coloring designs every weekend on Facebook!
As I have mentioned before, I will now post them sporadically, when the whim hits me,
assuming granddaughter Hailey will take up more of my time going forward.
Thank you to all who have followed me faithfully here.


Thursday, November 22, 2018

A Hailey Fix at 2 Months


It was 2 weeks ago this coming Saturday when we last saw wee little Hailey, which means she's now 10 weeks old.  I keep saying it but it feels like she's so much older.  Soon we'll be talking only in months and years!

But this post is about when she had just turned 2 months old on 10 November.  We both needed a Hailey Fix.  And because Mama and Papa knew she'd have her first baby shots the next week, they had us come over almost immediately.

This was not a babysitting time.  This was a Hailey Fix!

When we arrived, Eva was holding Hailey, who seemed lathargic...ready to fall asleep.

So when Astrid took her over, it wasn't a surprise Hailey immediately konked out.
It was important to me that I got photos of Astrid with Hailey this time,
which were sadly missing our last time.

Opa Jaap was there, too!

Astrid and Jaap raised Jeroen, father of this child.

Then it was my turn.

THIS is a Hailey Fix!
What is it about wee babies!

Even when they cry, of course.
[BTW, Jaap and I have a great relationship. We love and respect each other.]

This visit we noticed how strong Hailey's neck muscles are.
My hand was always there to "catch" her but she surprised me.

We couldn't ask for better parents for our granddaughter.  Seriously.

Jeroen, especially, as the father, couldn't possibly be more involved/connected/attentive.

In fact, he's the one who always changes her diaper while we're there together.
It's also play time for him and Hailey, when he twirls her around on the table
(you'd have to see it!).

Proud parents.  Proud grandparents.

Three generations.

This is exactly as it should be.
Can you ever possibly love a baby too much, especially one who had such a rough start?!

At one point Mama and Papa were hugging each other and I said:
"The best gift you can give Hailey is to love each other."
To which Papa immediately responded,
"That's not ever gonna be a problem!"

Nighty-night, sweet baby.
You gave us exactly the fix we needed.
THANK YOU.

Speaking of which,
HAPPY THANKSGIVING
to all my American family and friends.