Thursday, January 31, 2019

Hailey at 4-1/2 Months

There's an ancient-of-days word that most of us know and often wonder about what it means:  besotted, as in I am besotted with Hailey.  I'm smitten with, devoted to, doting on, charmed by, captivated by, enchanted by, enthralled by, hypnotized by her.

It's something about babies, I think.  The mother instinct.

Anyway, here are two more babysitting stints to catch you up on, 10 days apart.

First, on Saturday, 19 January, mama and papa had a night out with business friends, so we had a 4-10 p.m. heyday:

The fun thing about photo files is that you can see their chronological sequence.
This day the giraffe teether was her first-up toy of choice.
Apparently some days she has no interest in it whatsoever.

Changing diapers is a good time to give Eskimo kisses, of course.
That was just before dinner was served.

By now Hailey is on solid foods:  carrots, pumpkin, pears...
and this day, her first time to taste banana.
As I said on FB, when you close your eyes while eating, you give yourself away!

At one point Oma Astrid says "Lekker, hé!" which means "Delicious, eh?!
Who doesn't like banana?!"

With a full tummy after banana (and milk, of course), we're all smiles.

Did we have crinkle toys when we were babies?
The sounds are fabulous, no matter how/where you touch them.
It's nice when she can entertain herself...

...after which she carried on with Oma Astrid.

You might remember that Hailey had a challenging first week after birth,
which caused some loss of muscle strength in her neck.
So, working in other tummy time is also important... is some sitting time, followed by a good book.

After all of that, you, too, would need a nap!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

That was then.  And now, this past Tuesday afternoon, 29 January, we had another babysitting time:

With temps hovering around freezing, YES, we took Hailey for a 1.5-hour walk.
She was wide awake for the first 50 minutes and then slept till we arrived back home.
This is what the Dutch do and I love it.  It's a win-win exercise for everyone.

By now Hailey has definitely found her voice!
[Thanks to Oma Astrid for the video.]

How can you possibly add anything to that story?!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Our England Trip, 2018

I know, I know.  That was a long tome ago, but in my defense, I did do the post of the BIG birthday meet-up with fellow Shutterchancers (SCers) on our last full day, 3 September, at Croome Court.  As you may recall, the timing of that trip related to granddaughter Hailey's due date, 4 September, the day we flew back.  Lucky for us, she didn't make her arrival till the 12th.

Anyway, it's time to finally show what ELSE we did that trip, starting with Astrid's 64th birthday the day we arrived, 24 August.  What follows is the Facebook account of those days, often by both of us:

Once again, Lisl and Michael were our gracious hosts in Bath for the week.
Lisl had commissioned a magical unicorn cake for a surprise birthday party, 
joined by Chris and Jackie.  Talk about a sugar blast!

That sugar blast was Friday.
On Saturday we joined Lisl and Gaye for a pre-walk in Kilmersdon for their walking group
the following month.  Planning ahead, in other words.  And we were the lucky ones to tag along.

Guess what Kilmersdon is known for?
It's supposedly the "home" of the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme!

The next day was a stay-at-home day, rest-up Sunday,
 when Lisl treated us to tagliatelle, garlic bread and a hard cider.
[Astrid's collage]

Monday we visited 3 churches, 2 of which were open,
including this All Saints Church in Alton Priors from ca.1000.
We had actually visited it a couple years earlier but loved seeing it again.

The second church we visited was the St. Bartholomew Church in Corsham, mid-12th century.
Local folklore says Flemish weavers from Belgium had fled here from Catholic persecution.
I have seldom experienced the sense of misericordia as I did while there,
something I'll never forget.

On Tuesday the 28th, we met up for a walk in Bristol with other SCers, 8 of us altogether.
First line of business was an "elevensie" with scones, clotted cream and jam.
It's one of the things I most love about England, believe it or not!

This was our 3rd Bristol walk led by Lisl, this time through St. Anne's Wood and Nightingale Valley.
We called it our mini-meet-up (before the big-birthday one for Chris on September 3rd).

Here we all are, up close and personal!
The usual suspects are (l to r): Lisl, Astrid, 
Chad, Norma (Chad's wife) and Ginnie, Chris,
Bill and Alan.

On the way home from Bristol to bath, Astrid sat on top of the double-decker bus.
[Astrid's collage]

Have I ever told you how much Astrid and I love English pubs!
While Lisl stayed home on Wednesday to prepare a Hen's Lunch (!) for the next day, 
Astrid's Big-Bro-Chris took us to Sherborne to see the Abbey.
But first, we ate lunch in a pub, where I struck up a delightful conversation with this couple.
I fell in love with the gent...and his Oxford shoes!  More English you cannot get!

This was the Abbey we had come to see, with history back to AD 658.

While walking back-n-forth to the car, Astrid snapped these images in the market town.
[Astrid's collage]

Thursday was Lisl's Hen Lunch...a chance for us to meet some of her friends.
OMG!  Talk about a FEAST.  Definitely not a lunch.
Jane was the one who won the prize from the garden but for what, I don't remember!

On Friday Lisl picked up her elderly friend, Hugh Soar, 
to join us for a lunch in an Avon Valley Railway car. 
Hugh is a world-renown author of books and articles on archery, particularly related to the long bow.
At age 92, he is still sharp as a tack and continues to publish, even in American archery journals.

After taking Hugh back home, Lisl took us for a nice walk around Winsley.
Just what the doctor ordered after too many days of eating up a storm.

This is what Astrid saw.
[Astrid's collage]

On Saturday, Lisl and Chris took us for a parish walk around Wellow, 5 miles south of Bath.
Over hill, over dale!  We ate our picnic lunch at a long-barrow burial site over 5,500 years old!
Can I ever get my head around a place that old???

What I didn't mention is that while in Wellow, before starting our walk,
we first stopped to see the St. Julian's parish church from 1372.
The center image is at 1200 mm from where we sat at the long-barrow for lunch.

See why we have grown to love England...and our friends!
[Astrid's collage]

We rested on Sunday before our BIG meet-up on Monday.
And rest we did!

During those rest times, I saw Astrid knit for the first time!
She had already made the pink sweater card for when Hailey was born later.
Now she was knitting booties for her.
[You already know that she also knits fishermen sweaters!]

And lest you forget, that Monday, 3 September, was the BIG MEET-UP with 27 of us.
These are friends most of us have known for over 10 years.
Do you know of any other photoblog that has that kind of community?

Last but not least, here are 7 of the 80+ super-sized Minerva Owl Sculptures in Bath,
seen while driving from here to there throughout the week.
A charity auction of the owls on 17 October raised £140,000.

How fun and wonderful is that...all of it, from beginning to end!
See why I had to get it recorded here before too much more time flew off the calendar.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Gorinchem's Tolerantiepad (Tolerance Path)

To start off with, this post has been in the wings since...NOVEMBER.  So, priorities, or as we used to say, the "tyranny of the urgent!"

Over the years I've shown you many reasons why I LOVE LOVE LOVE this city where Astrid and I live here in the Netherlands:  Gorinchem.  Often we both still pinch ourselves, not wanting to live anywhere else on earth.

One reason is because of what this post is about:  TOLERANCE.

The Tolerance Path is a five-kilometer walking route across the rampart, with a hundred large 
portrait photos of Gorcumers that represent and express their feelings with respect and tolerance. 

The exhibition started on 24 November 2018 and is still hanging around our citadel wall,
which Astrid and I often love to walk.

The idea for the Tolerance Path comes from photographer Johannes van Camp's
Tree of Tolerance installation, which gives a cross-section of Gorcum inhabitants.

From all walks of life, young, old, depicted in black and white
 with a self-chosen flower in color that depicts their personal message about respect and tolerance.
Flowers sometimes say more than you can tell.

Several of the 100 photos were difficult to capture straight on.

But you still get the gist of the image.

Of the images I could get straight on, I put them together in collages,
just to give a feeling for the representation.

Plus the two stragglers that didn't fit into the collages!

If I counted right, I was able to capture 95 of the 100 photos.
Five of them were either bent over from the wind or at an angle I could not reach.
[After writing this post, I discovered that all photos are able to be viewed online here.]

Those of you who know the photographic technique of selective coloring
know that this is a manipulation of photography that I absolutely love.
So, OF COURSE, I love this exhibition, if for that alone.

But how can you not love any exhibition that calls us to

YAY for Gorinchem! 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Hailey at 3 Months Plus (16-17 weeks)

Yes, I know, we're still counting weeks.  This post is about her last week at 3 months, because she turns 4 months on Saturday, 12 January, in two days.  At this age, every week is still counted.

A week ago, she was 16 weeks old and we were with her for a "fix" with Mama and Papa present.  In other words, we weren't babysitting.

Oma Astrid has the magic touch.

Oma Ginnie just wants to eat her up!

I used to call daughter Amy Snicklefritz ("happy face").
I used to call son Mark Palooka and then called g'son Nicholas the same.
So it makes a good segue to now call Hailey Snicklefritz, don't you think!

I love watching Papa being so involved with his daughter.
(Happy Face and Happy Socks.)

Look at him reading to her (from Oma Astrid's book, I might add).

Thankfully, Oma Astrid was able to lie on the floor to get this vantage point.
(Nope, I can't do that anymore, sadly.)

And then Papa did the big turn-over.

"Look, Oma, at what I can do!!!!"

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

That was a week ago.  This past Tuesday, a couple days ago, at 17 weeks, we babysat Hailey while Mama was at work:

It was an indoors day because of rain and treacherous wind outside.
So we tried out the swing for something different (for us).

At first she slept but when she woke up, she was observing everything.

Did I mention that she's teething?
Interestingly, Opa Jaap's Christmas gift is one of her favorite toys.

See what I mean about eating her up?!

Speaking of eating, look at those hands!

And when she was done....

...she was Ms. Snicklefritz all over again.

OMG.  We can hardly stand it.  Totally smitten.