Crazy Year – Part 2

1 11 2010

After returning from Canada, we were going to have a slew of visitors in the next few months.  Starting with my brother and his now fiancée Mary.  They came over to stay with us for a weekend before heading out to explore Europe.  We went to Maastricht, on I swear the most humid day possible.  I was drenched after walking for 5 minutes, it was Windsor in Holland.   We also spent time in Amersfoort taking a boat ride on the canal, unfortunately Isabella wasn’t into it and started to fuss.  Luckily she did hold out until near the end of the ride.  It was a nice ride and a different view of the city.  I wish they could have stayed longer, but they were on a schedule and my brother had a plan.  He proposed to Mary in Paris (let’s all say it together now… awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww).   They did however return back to NL for a quick visit before leaving to go home to Canada.  So we headed down to Amsterdam and did the “must-see-tourist-traps”.   Oh and of course the Red Light District.  Granted it was during the day but they got the idea of what goes on at night.   It was a good day and it was nice to spend it with the two of them.  Plus they also got to spend time with Isabella before leaving. 

The day my brother and Mary left,  Frank’s parents and Aunt arrived from the U.S.  It has been a few years since they were over to visit.  Frank hadn’t seen his father in nearly 10 years before they came this summer.  Of course this was the first time they met Isabella and at first she was a bit… “Um and you would be??”  but quickly warmed up when she realized, “HEY!!!  I’m getting MORE attention!!”   It was nice for them to see all the grandkids and one great-grandchild on this side of the ocean at one time.  With day trips around the Netherlands, it was a busy few weeks.    His aunt was with us for about a week and a bit, she then left for Italy for a tour and returned the day before they left to go back to the States. 

Now, just before Frank’s parents and aunt leave to go back to the US, my dad and his girlfriend  Leigh Ann, show up for a visit!  They ended up staying here in NL for about a week before heading out on the road to drive to Croatia to visit my grandmother and grandfather.  

We headed out to some places in NL, like Giethoorn, Blokzijl, Zandvoort, and Haarlem.  We didn’t have much time to do a lot of touring, so we just picked a few “touristy” places to visit.  But before they left to go back to Canada, Isabella and I headed over to Croatia and Italy for 2 weeks.  I was able to see my grandparents again, it has been over 10 years since I saw them last. 

Isabella and I flew to Zagreb and then it was an hour and a bit drive to Gospic (for an English site click here).  We stayed with my grandmother and grandfather in their house and had a great time.  It was so nice to have Isabella meet both her great grandparents.  Especially since we never knew if she would get the chance to meet the ones in Croatia.   My grandmother’s house is small and only two bedrooms so we tried to spend as much time as we could touring the area and my dad showing me some of his old stomping grounds.  Unfortunately because of the war, there are a ton of blown out houses and areas that are unsafe because of landmines.  So there was no way we could just “go for a walk” out in the land by the mountains.  Two of the villiages my dad once lived in are completely abandoned and all around the area are the landmine signs.  The street my grandmother lives on still has houses that have been blown up and the former owners have not claimed them so they can’t be “touched” according to the government.  So everyday you wake up the a sick reminder of what happened.   Some of these houses were huge and they looked to be quite grand, now they are just a pile of rubble.   The city shows scars also of the war, bullet riddled buildings, destroyed churches, empty pieces of land where something once stood.   Regardless of what the reason was for this war and I’m not going to argue who was right or wrong (and don’t make a comment on here either about it – this isn’t a debate), people suffered, they died and they lost years of their life.   I just wish they’d clean up the houses that have been destroyed so people can get on with it and not have to look at it all the time. 

Since I was on that side of Europe my dad drove Isabella and I to Italy.  We took the seaside drive up to Italy, it was a beautiful day and the Adriatic had a gorgeous blue hue to it.  The drive along the coast of Croatia is just amazing, the seaside towns, the landscape, the water, the sun, really it was just amazing to see it all.  Isabella only got a few glimpses since she slept most of the way.  You just want to jump out of the car and run into the water.  That is of course until you feel the temperature of the water!   Talk about chilly!!  Isabella and I braved it for a short period when we took her to the beach for her first dip in the Adriatic.   Once we arrived in Slovania, the landscape changed drastically.  I felt like we were driving up north, rolling hills, lush forests and grasslands.  It was still beautiful.  

Soon we were arriving at the Italian/Slovanian border and only an hour or so until I reached my mom’s hometown Morsano al Tagliamento.  The last time I was in Morsano, I was 17!   We were only going to be here for a week, but it was going to be a busy one!

More to come in Part 3 of this crazy busy year!



1 11 2010

As many of my family and friends know, I’m a huge Winnie the Pooh fan.  I love Pooh and all his friends with Tigger ranking right up at number 2, behind Pooh of course.   So when it came to the limited choice of Hallowe’en costumes for Isabella, Frank decided that Tigger would be the best one.  I wanted her as a lady bug or a cute little animal, but I didn’t have the great selection here like I would in Canada. 

Now back to Tigger,  these are actually pajama’s but they are still adorable, and the hat just makes the outfit.  The only thing I didn’t do was sing the Tigger song to her like I use to do with my cousins Jamie and Adam.  Isabella had just eaten and she wasn’t feeling too good yesterday so I thought it was better to cut out the bouncing.  

Hallowe’en isn’t a big deal here in the Netherlands like it is in N. America.  So we have to make the best of it and we carved some pumpkins, Isabella’s is the one in the middle.  Brianna’s is on the left and Ashley’s on the right.  I dressed Isabella up in her costume and then when she was in bed I watched the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Very anti-climatic. 

The kids that normally went trick or treating are too old now, so not one kid came to our door.  I miss seeing the little munchkins in costume and handing out candy.  I also want the same for Isabella when she is old enough to go door to door.  I want to see her get excited because someone gave her free candy!!  So I’m feeling a tad homesick right now.

Ok, enough whining…

Isabella looked adorable, the pumpkins were great and I now have 3 bags of candy in the closet that needs to be eaten.

Isabella Sleep Instructions

24 09 2010

 1) Go to bed with out a problem, we have to fool mommy into thinking that I’m tired. 

2) Give warning cries from 9 until 12 so mommy can run up the 13 steep steps to make sure I’m ok.  I’m making sure she gets her daily exercise in.

3) Once mommy comes to bed, wake up just long enough so that she has to cuddle and put me back to sleep.  This ensures maximum hugs and snuggles, sometimes I can squeeze a lullaby out of her or another book.

4) After mommy thinks we are sleeping quietly, turn a few times so feet are in her face. Place both feet on either side of mommy’s face and then kick while laughing.   Then mommy has to move me and I can give her my “I love you mommy” smile and get more snuggles.

5) Wet diaper so that mommy has to change it and pajamas because it went through.  Drinking as much as possible before bed helps this feat. 

6) Again pretend to sleep until mommy is just about to pass out and then cry, but not too hard or loud.  Just enough to get her attention so she has to find my soother and cuddle again.

7) At this point let mommy get a few minutes of sleep, then start crying again or try to grab her nose or lip for attention.  Mommy will wake up to move me back to my side so I can’t reach and then at that point throw a fit so she has to cuddle again.  This will also sometimes get a feeding, depends on how long I cry.

8) Repeat steps 4-7 every hour to hour and a half until 7 in the morning arrives, then remain awake until nap time.

How can mommy get mad at a face like this?

Let’s start from the very beginning…(yes that’s from the Sound of Music)

8 09 2010

Well after taking a few weeks (ok months) off from blogging, which was unplanned by the way, I’m back.   I’ll start from the beginning, which means from the beginning of when Isabella arrived and just give a quick update on things.  So even though it will be a “quickie” blog it will probably be fairly long and have a lot to do with Isabella … you have been warned!

My darling bug was born December 29, 2009 and my mom made it over the same day from Canada to be here for the birth.  Mom had bought her ticket back in August and since my due date was Jan 6th we thought that it was plenty of time for her to get here.  But since I ended up with gestational diabetes, I was induced on the 29th and sitting in the hospital in labour while Frank when to the airport to get her.  So in the end there was a slight panic that they wouldn’t be here, more importantly Frank wouldn’t be there when I gave birth.  After a few hours of labour and no progress, I had a c-section done and Isabella Lina was born at 11:06pm.  My mom stayed and helped out until the middle of February with a small side trip to Italy to visit family there.  I know winter isn’t the best time to visit the Netherlands, but we still managed to take her out a bit.  Isabella’s first trip out of country was to Germany to the big mall in Oberhausen.   It was interesting walking around with a month old baby trying to keep her happy and fed while keeping up with the shoppers.  Our next trip with mom and Isabella was to Volendam.  A quaint little fishing village in North Holland.  It was cute but considering the snow and cold weather it was a bit on the chilly side for us to spend too much time out there.  We did go for lunch at a very nice restaurant and then wandered the streets for a bit.  But with Isabella and the biting cold weather we couldn’t spend the amount of time we would have liked to.  I’d like to go back there one day in the summer to see the harbour and wander through the streets.   So after my mom’s 2 month stay, she headed back to Canada and then it was mine and Isabella’s turn to visit.

In March Isabella and I left to go to Canada for a while, it was a great flight over as she pretty much slept the whole way there.  Not a bad little traveller for only being 3 months old.  When we arrived in at the Detroit Airport (jackasses) the customs line was just ridiculous!!  Thinking she was helping, this one agent pulled me out of  line so I could stand in the “special” line with other people who had kids.  After 20 minutes of NOT moving and watching 15 other people cut in front of me, I finally went back to the original line and was through in no time.   Once we passed the second security control we were greeted with the sight of my baby brother!  This of course being his first time seeing his niece in person.  He was a proud Zio!!!  If you notice, Isabella seems less impressed since I actually woke her up from yet another nap so that I could take this picture.  Once we got the car packed and her buckled in, we headed back to Canada!!   Our first stop…. Isabella’s Great Grandmother!

My nonna is 84 and this is her first great-grandchild, it is also where Isabella got her middle name.  I know my grandmother must have been twitching just waiting for us.  She wasn’t expecting us to show up the same day we landed, but I figured it was on the way home so why not.  Besides I wanted to show off Isabella to her.  How could I not?? Have you seen those cheeks??  The best part about bringing Isabella to her Bisnonna is that I got her to smile, Nonna that is!!  My family will get this one!  Isabella was good with her and gave her a few shy smiles, but she didn’t cry once while she was being held.  During my visit I tried to get to nonna’s at least every other day.  The funny part is that every time we went no matter what time, Isabella would either be asleep or need to take a nap!  So I would take her into my mom and aunt’s old room and put her down for a nap.  But at least Nonna got to hold her for a little while each time we went over.  We also had another special visitor, my brother’s (now fiancée) girlfriend Mary, who funny enough only lives a few blocks from my grandmother!!  She was so excited to meet Isabella, and it was nice to meet the girl my brother is gaga over!  Yes he’s going to kill me for that comment.   Isabella was good for Auntie Mary, and sat quietly for a few minutes.   But I think with all the travelling she finally had enough and it was time to head to Nonna’s house so we  could get ourselves on schedule, considering we had a lot more visiting to do over the next few weeks.   

It was so nice pulling on to my old street, made me realize how much I actually miss Canada, and heck even Windsor.  Coming from the Netherlands and cramped quarters, it was great to see LAWNS and TREES and SPACE!!!  Oh and no damn bicycles trying to run you over!   It was even great seeing my mom’s yappy little dog Kelsey again!  

My first official meal back in Canada was the A&W Mary bought for me! LOL!  Gotta love me some good ole cheeseburgers and onion rings!!  I should have saved the wrapper to frame and hang up here.  My friend Jen lent me all her old baby stuff so Isabella had a bed to sleep in and stroller and all the other cool gadgets to keep her busy on our visit.  Plus Auntie Jen spoiled her rotten with gifts!  I’m not sure who was more excited about Isabella… my family or my friends!  

Next on our “Tour-de-Windsor” was my dad, first time Grandpa!!  Ya ya .. I know.. everyone is a first time thing since Isabella is the first for many things but let me live my moment ok??   Dad met us at the car and carried her inside, then sat there talking to her while she was in her car seat for a good 10 minutes before finally taking her out.  I’ve never seen my dad smile like that before.  He was just as proud and happy as anything.  Isabella went to him without any problems and he just sat and talked and enjoyed the moment.  He also figured out how to put her to sleep by rubbing her temple and side of her face while in the easy chair.   Both he and Leigh Ann were so excited to see her.  Isabella managed to wrap both of them around her finger, she’d whine and there was dad walking around with her.  If she whined even harder Leigh Ann would put her feet under the running taps.  I think my kid is part fish. 

My aunt and uncle also stopped by to see their great-niece!  Uncle Adam did the airplane game with her, apparently he did the same to me when I was a little tyke.  Zia just cuddle and cooed her and Isabella just soaking up all the attention!  I have to say she did pretty good considering the traveling and time difference.

Then with neighbours and friends and family stopping by we had a busy first week in Canada.  It had only just begun!

There were car trips to the States, family get-togethers, play dates with her potential boyfriends!!  There were 5 births from end of August to Mid January between myself and friends,  Isabella being the only girl out of the mix!  My friends Milan and Nikki had the first boy on August 29th, Max.  Then on December 3rd my highschool friend Melissa had Colin, on December 28th the day before Isabella another highschool friend Kim had Charlie, and last but not least my old grade school friend Rosanne has her boy on January 19th!  So as you can see Isabella has her choice of suitors.   It would have been nice to be in Canada while I was pregnant, I felt sort of alone here with no one else to share the experience with.   Since we were all so close I could do the “girly” things with them and even after the fact have the mommy and baby time with my friends and their kids.  

I was able to get some “me” time since my mom would watch Isabella for me and my dad was there also to so it.  I had a great time meeting up with friends and going out for coffee and double troubles!!  My best friend Jen and I spend some good quality time together, shopping in the states and going out for dinner.  My other best friend Michelle came down from North Bay and it was like old times (except for the early curfew) of driving around the city and enjoying a Timmies together.   Sherry and I met up for coffee and dinner and Melissa and I had “playdates”.   I tried to spread myself out as best as possible and I’m sure I missed a few people here and there.  As much as it was fun to see some old friends and old work buddies, the time was just too short.  I was happy I managed to squeeze in a visit with my dad’s side of the family.  It had been a long time since I had seen them all last!  

I was able to celebrate Isabella’s first Easter with my family and we had a great time at the Fogolar.  She also got to meet her Great Great aunt Ada.  She looked adorable in her white dress with purple flowers.  My mom’s neighbour Ana bought her the dress and pretty much spoiled her rotten with gifts.   I was also able to celebrate my first Mother’s day in Canada with Isabella and my family.  Who knows when I’ll be able to do that again. 

Even though I was able to extend my trip (thank you volcano!!) it wasn’t nearly enough time  for me there.   I realize now how much I miss Canada.  The hardest part for me is my grandmother who is getting up in age and not doing well.   I know my entire family misses Isabella and she misses them too.   One bonus we were able to get a 4 generation shot of me, Isabella, mom and nonna.  And we also got one of my aunt in there too.   So after 6 glorious weeks in a beautiful country I had to leave.   Trying to figure out how to stuff all of Isabella’s toys and clothes into one suitcase was a bit challenging and I ended up leaving some behind for my brother to bring for me. 

It was a wonderful trip home. 

**I’ll update the rest of the months in a bit!**

Our own “There I fixed it”

27 05 2010

This is what happens when you have a computer geek in the house and he can’t find the tie for the curtains.


One stroller… one baby…. and one lazy dog!

21 03 2010

The weather here in the Netherlands has been fairly decent the last few days (of course as I write this it is cloudy and rainy out), so I’ve been trying to get out and go for walks with Isabella.  A couple days ago I brought Stoney along for a nice long walk through the grass field and into Hoogland which is a section of Amersfoort that use to be its own town.  Hoogland is located on the other side of the grass field where I can let Stoney off his leash and let him wander and sniff until his little heart is content. 

The problem with Stoney when we go for our walks, is that he pulls so hard on his lead he tires himself out faster than he should.  And if he is off his leash he goes nuts walking at light speed with his nose on the ground, trying to sniff every blade of grass possible. It is also difficult to control him and push the stroller at the same time, especially when we are walking down the narrow sidewalks in Hoogland.  

Well, I found the solution…

He fits perfectly underneath!!  This way he can still get out for his walks and I’m not dragging his little butt along when he’s tired,  and I can still go down the narrow streets and sidewalks!   It will also be helpful when I go into the city and I can’t carry him in to the stores, this way he can go under the stroller and be out of everyone’s way and I don’t have to worry about him lifting his leg on a mannequin!

As my mother put it… “He’s a poor excuse of a dog and should be ashamed!”  LOL!!

I can’t believe I did that!

9 03 2010

I missed a whole month without posting a blog!  Well I’m going to blame the wee one, mainly because she’s too young to defend herself right now and also because it’s partly true.  My girl has perfect timing, mommy wants coffee, she cries.  Mommy wants to go take a shower, she cries.  Mommy wants to write a blog, she cries.  But luckily she’s learning to entertain herself a little more now so I can get 15 minutes to make something to eat, doesn’t mean I actually get to eat it, but at least I was one step closer to having some lunch!

Right now she’s sleeping, so I have a few minutes to update.

Well, my mom left to head back to Canada.  It was great having her here, and I loved that she was able to spend the first two months of Isabella’s life with her.  Even now Isabella recognizes her nonna’s voice on the phone, she’ll lean hard into the phone or she’ll give me a look like “ok I hear here but where are my cuddles???”  It took some time management after mom left to get use to being home alone with her and trying to get things done around the house.  People who say “You need to nap when your baby naps”  obviously don’t have kids.  Really?  When the kid is asleep it finally gives me a chance to, shower, eat, clean, breathe…I’d love to take a nap but the girl has extra sensory powers and knows when I’m about to lay my head on the pillow.  Also her naps aren’t as long as they use to be and in this house with 4 other people it’s difficult to keep the noise level down so that she can get a decent nap.  Monday’s and Tuesday’s are her best sleeping days as everyone is out of the house by 9.   Even when mom was here I don’t remember taking naps all the time. 

Isabella is growing by leaps and bounds, she’s chunking out and now she’s really starting to smile.  She doesn’t normally wake up happy (like her mother) but give her a few minutes and you can get smiles and coos for a good hour before she’s had enough.  She’s holding her head up really well, but I think I need to give her more tummy time.  She likes to lay on me and hold her head up but not when she’s on her play mat.  She’ll coo and try to mimic your lips when you repeat a word, right now we have a battle of  Mama and Papa going here.   She also has figured out how to launch her soother, I think when she’s older I’ll put her in one of those watermelon seed spitting contests.  Yesterday she was suppose to get her shots, but the doctor was sick – again.  For the three times I’ve been there with her, I’ve seen him once, and not overly impressed with him to be honest.  But I wanted her to be checked out before the 24th (more on that later).  So I called the huisarts (family doctor) and got a quick check by him and I’ll reschedule her shots for next week, even though she still won’t be seen by the doctor since he’s now backed up until March 30th, she’ll get her shot done by the nurse.

Stoney still has no use for her and just sees her as “the-thing-that-took-my-lap”.  He will go over and sniff her chair or swing and look at me then walk away.  He won’t come to me at times when I call him because he’s too pissy about the whole thing.  He loves going for his walks but now that there’s the stroller he can’t wander back and forth like he use to, so he gets a bit bent about that also.  Needless to say my dog is still sulking.  He does still get the pets and loves,  just not as much as he wants.  Stoney would be content being on your lap 24/7 as long as you pet him and give him some food. 

Well I was going to start looking for work around June/July, but the cost of daycare in this country is just bloody stupid!!!  Yes we will get some of it back, but we have no idea how much and with just one of us working and who knows for how long it will remain just one income, 1500-1700 EUROS a month is a little out there!  I don’t know how they determine how much of a rebate we get back, but I’m sure it will be less if both of us are working.  I really don’t feel like going to work just to pay for daycare,  what’s the point?  I might as well stay home, us be on the same level and at least this way I can watch Isabella grow and not some stranger.  So I will try to hold out for a year before putting her in daycare.  I would like to go back to work, since I enjoy having money to myself!  But unless we find cheaper daycare of a babysitter of some sort it may not happen anytime soon.

The weather has been freakin’ cold this year!  We’ve had snow,  just the standard 1 or 2 weeks, I’m talking SNOW!  Even yesterday morning there was snow on the ground.  For the majority of us we are in denial that winter still has its grips on us.  As for my friend Tammy, she took it one step further and wrote a little letter to Mother Nature!  I can officially say I’m done with winter.  I promise never to bitch that there isn’t any snow in this country again! 

So what’s the news on the 24th??? 


That’s right!!  Isabella and I are coming home for a month!!!  I can’t wait for everyone to see her, especially her great-grandmother whose name she has as her middle name.  Plus she gets to meet her grandpa and aunties (my best friends) and her Zio Rob, and her great aunts and uncles and cousins and her GREAT GREAT aunt Ada!!  We are going to have family gatherings so everyone can see her!  Also I am going to go to Toronto to visit some friends and go back to Saxco so they can see her too.  

I’m not overly concerned about the flight with her, as long as she’s fed and dry she should be ok.  She likes her sleep so I’m praying the hum of the airplane will lull her.  I dread trying to change her in those itty bitty things they call a toilet on the plane, and I’m PRAYING with all my might that she doesn’t have an up-the-backer while we are flying.   The one thing that I’m wondering about is that I’m flying into Detroit and now they have that rule where you can’t get out of your seat for the last hour or so….what happens if I need to change her?  Will the flight attendant change her for me?? Will I be allowed to get up?? Or do I have to change her on my lap in the one foot space between me and the chair in front??  Either way those 8 hours in a plane will be my new challenge.

Oh the Princess is stirring, there must be a pea under her blanket and it has awaken her.  She just gave me a look and stuffed her fist in her mouth, I guess she’s hungry!  So I’m off to feed her and there’s one last pic of her saying Hello!