Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holland: Day 3 (Dec. 19)

Daniel is attempting to take a nap before we leave for Oma and Opa's big 40th anniversary bash, so I thought it would be a good time to jot a few thoughts.

Last night we had a really good pasta dinner. The sauce came from a packet, so Niels and I are going to add it to our shopping list! Daniel took a nap strike in the afternoon, so by the time we were eating dinner, he was SO tired. He actually fell asleep between bites! He went down around 6:30pm.

After dinner, we broke out the ice cream. There were many yummy choices. I started with a little of the stroopwafel ice cream I picked out, but then I noticed kaneel, CINNAMON! It's my favorite flavor and apparently unheard of in Ohio. I haven't been able to find it since I left Michigan. The Dutch kind is even better because it has little cinnamon chunks, too. SO GOOD! Niels had triple chocolate (even better than double?).

At 7, Niels left with Ingrid to help her move some things into her new place. While they were gone, I watched the Dutch news and a little TV with Jan and Kitty. It's unseasonably cold here in Europe, in fact, many of the European airports were shut down yesterday--including Brussels, where we flew in. It's a good thing we came on Thursday morning! Niels said later that Europe was trying to give me a Minnesota Christmas. Thanks...

After the news, we watched Popstars--like American Idol for Dutchies. The interesting thing is that most of the contestants sang English songs. It's quite noticable to a native speaker that they are not native speakers! I can tell that my Dutch is much improved from the last time I was here--2.5 years ago because I could usually get the gist of what everyone was saying.

Niels and Ingrid returned about 8:30 and we had some yummy dessert and hot chocolate. I had a piece of forest berry cake. Niels had apple tart. I see some apple pie and cinnamon ice cream in my future!

Daniel woke up again around 11, as his body thought he just had a morning nap. Niels and I felt bed that he was loud and keeping anyone else from falling asleep so we brought him into our room. Even still it took almost 3 hours for him to fall completely asleep. I watched a bit of TV in our room and learned to stay away from the national stations in the wee hours. Yikes!

To be continued...

And I'm back...

At about 2, Daniel was asleep, so I got up to put him in his crib. I was then wide awake, so I very quietly pulled the laptop to the cold floor and spent an hour checking email and my regular sites. I was super careful so I wouldn't disturb Niels. Around 3, I decided to try to fall back asleep. I very quietly got back into bed and reached for Niels...and reached, and reached, until I reached the end of the bed. He wasn't in there! I walked downstairs, and there was Niels, very quietly on his sister's computer, trying not to wake me up! We got a good laugh out of that as we went back to bed.

We were able to sleep until 10 again this morning. Daniel got up a little bit earlier, and had a nice bath with Opa. Once Daniel went down for his morning nap, Niels and I headed out to downtown Helmond so I could get some exercise. (I have been spending between 60 and 90 minutes on the treadmill for the last month). The cool air didn't bother me a bit and I was able to see how much my strength and endurance has improved in the last year. (I was pretty much mush after being on bedrest before Daniel was born).

We found a cute baby store and we got two onesies for a steal. (One says "I love my daddy" and the other says "My mommy is the sweetest." Both are in Dutch). We also found a Dutch Christmas CD from an artist we like (Andre Rieu) and a few Dutch DVDs we can play in our European DVD player. We stopped at the library and got a card for Daniel. In Holland, you have to pay for a library card (28 Euros a year). Youth can get one for free. The interesting thing is that with a youth card, you can only check out youth items. We got 5 board books and a Dutch Sesame Street DVD (the DVD was two euros).

We stopped at McDonalds for lunch. I never eat at McDonalds in the States, but I like going to McDonalds in other countries to see what's different. Today, we shared some bitterballen (a deepfried meat nugget) and I had a McKroket sandwich. It's a deep fried mincemeat sandwich with honey mustard sauce. Not too bad.

We got back to the house and relatives were already filtering in for Jan and Kitty's 40th anniversary party. They had lots of different cakes (tarts) and my favorite international soda, Spa apple. Before we knew it, there were about 40 relatives there. Daniel was a big hit, charming everyone with his smile and toddling steps. After a little bit, I took him upstairs for quiet time (another nap strike...sigh) before we left for the bocce ball club for dinner and the big party where friends would join us.

When we arrived at the club, we realized that they didn't have any high chairs for Daniel. We improvised with two scarves tied around the chair, one around his waist and the other under his arms. It worked surprisingly well, until Daniel nearly feel asleep eating his olives and chees from my salad. Daniel and I said goodbye and Niels drove us home. Daniel was asleep even before we got out of the parking lot of the club!

So now I'm home alone with a sleeping baby and Niels is with everyone at the party. There's a bocce ball tournament, which sounds like a lot of fun, but a little down time is pretty good too.

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