Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas and Cousin Nolan

After Sinterklaas, we have tried to get Kiefer to switch over to Christmas and Santa. We started pointing to Santa on his stocking and saying, "Ho ho ho!" He tries to say it... sometimes with success.

Last Friday, we hosted baby (now more like toddler) playgroup at our place. There were 7 kids in total and we had fun. Kiefer was not particularly in a sharing mood that day, though. One of the kids' favorite snacks is Veggie Booty... puffed corn & rice with spinach and kale and I put some in a bowl for the kids. Kiefer picked it up and went and sat in a corner of the kitchen. Whenever another kid came to take a piece he would get very upset! He's pretty serious about his Veggie Booty, I guess. He does like to share his pacifier with Mr. Oliver. If I am holding Mr. Oliver, Kiefer will walk up to us, take his pacifier out of his mouth and offer it to Mr. Oliver, who is not too thrilled. It's very cute!

On Christmas Eve, Kiefer's daycare was open until 2:00. Roel had off from work so we took the opportunity to do a little shopping and catch a movie. We hadn't been to see a movie in ages, and unfortunately most of the movies we wanted to see didn't open until the following day. We settled on "Yes Man" with Jim Carrey. It was funny and definitely not serious... perfect for a fun afternoon at the movies. We picked Kiefer up from daycare and headed home. As usual, the second Kiefer was in the car, he fell asleep. Although Kiefer naps well at home, he refuses to nap at daycare, so he almost always falls asleep in the car on the way home.

When we got home, I rolled out some gingerbread dough I had made earlier in the day. Kiefer helped me a little, but he was more interested in eating the baked cookies than rolling and cutting the dough! I also made Roel's favorite: peanut butter balls. That evening, Kiefer opened a present he received from Holly, his daycare provider. It was a Thomas DVD: Percy Saves the Day. When Janice and I were little, we were always allowed to open one present on Christmas eve, so I thought it would be nice to continue the tradition.

Kiefer slept until 7:20 am on Christmas morning, and when we went downstairs we saw that Santa had left a lot of presents under the tree! Kiefer was thrilled and immediately went to work unwrapping his presents. He received a table and chairs just his size, a fire engine, a couple of Curious George DVDs, Harold the Helicoptor, and a Thomas & Friends book. He also got some duplos from Aunt Janice and Uncle Geoff, 5 engines (Toby, Henrietta, Bertie Bus, Oliver and a coal car) from Oma and Opa and some clothes and a snuggle pillow from Grandma and Grandpa. The most special gift was from Grandma and Grandpa... a little rocking chair that belonged to Kiefer's great grandmother (Mae Bartholomay Woods). It is nearly 100 years old! Aunt Janice and I used it when we were kids, and so did Grandma!

Kiefer is an expert at unwrapping presents. He'd unwrap a present, play with it for a little while and then go under the tree to retrieve another present to unwrap. I think he probably would have been happy unwrapping plain boxes.

On Christmas afternoon, we heard that Roel's sister, Paula was in labor and that she and her fiance were at the hospital ready to have their first baby. This morning, we learned that their little boy, Nolan Johannes Hendrikus Brinkman, was born at 9:11 am - Dutch time. He weighed 7 lbs, 15.3 oz (3610 gr) and was 20 3/4" (53 cm) long. He was a little early (due January 4th), but I think he was anxious to meet his mom and dad. We're very happy for them and can't wait to meet him when we are in the Netherlands in September for Frank & Paula's wedding.

Kiefer won't be back in daycare until January 5th, which means I've got some time off. I do have to work on a paper to finish up an independent study I did over the summer. I need to get it in before I start my comps at the end of January and I would like to submit it for publication so I've got some work to do!

Our plans for New Year's were originally to stay home, but friends of ours in Greenfield are hosting a "Midnight in Paris" New Year's party. They have a son just a little younger than Kiefer, so they know that we'll never make it until midnight in Greenfield, and thought it would be fun to celebrate with the Parisians and ring in the new year at 6 pm. A 4-7 pm party sounds like something we can definitely do!

April, Roel & cousin Kiefer

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thanksgiving, Sinterklaas and Snow

We had a quiet Thanksgiving... just the three of us (and Mr. Oliver, of course). I made a turkey breast, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole and pumpkin chiffon pie. I started cooking at noon, when Kiefer went down for a nap, planning to have dinner when Kiefer woke up. I figured he would wake up at 1:30 or 2:00 as he normally does, but it was 2:30 and Kiefer was still sleeping. Roel and I were so hungry because we hadn't eaten anything for lunch, so we actually woke him up so we could have dinner! Kiefer had some turkey, but once he tasted the cranberry sauce, that's all he wanted! After dinner, we walked to the park and Kiefer went down the slide many, many times.

Sinterklaas arrived in the Netherlands in the middle of November. Thanks to the internet, Kiefer was able to watch Sint's steamboat from Spain dock in Almere. Oma had sent over some Zwarte Piet hats, which Roel and Kiefer had fun wearing. Roel had to show Kiefer how to set out his shoe so Sint would leave him a little gift. It is very important not to forget Sint's horse, Schimmel, so Kiefer left a carrot in his shoe. Sure enough... the next morning, Kiefer found a little gift. He received some trains to add to his Thomas collection.

The big day of celebration is the eve of Sinterklaas' birthday, December 5. This year, Kiefer received a very special gift... a week long visit by Grandma and Grandpa! They arrived in the afternoon, so when we got home after work/daycare, there they were! An hour or so later, we heard loud knocks on the front door and when we looked outside, we found a big bag of gifts from Sinterklaas. Kiefer wasn't too sure about the big burlap sack at first, but as soon as he got a peek at the presents inside, he was very excited. Kiefer has become quite good at tearing off wrapping paper and he quickly opened gift after gift.

He received quite a few Thomas the Tank Engine related gifts, including a tent, push toy and socks. After Kiefer unwrapped each present, he demanded that Roel take it out of the box so he could play with it. Needless to say, Kiefer had lots of fun.

Over the weekend, Grandpa was very busy installing new light fixtures and programmable thermostats. He also put together a toy box for Kiefer. Grandma and I concentrated on decorating the Christmas tree. Roel and I went to work on Monday and Kiefer went to daycare, but we stayed home on Tuesday to spend some quality time with Grandma and Grandpa. We went to Yankee Candle in the morning to see Santa. Kiefer thought Santa was OK, but he loved the train table and trains in Santa's Workshop! Grandma and Grandpa offered to watch Kiefer on Wednesday and they had so much fun that Kiefer stayed home on Thursday, too.

Kiefer got to try chocolate for the first time this month! I bought a chocolate advent calendar and since the pieces of chocolate are so small, I thought they might be a good size for Kiefer. Well, he absolutely loves it. Now he will point to the calendar and try to say chocolate.

Now that I have finished coursework (forever), I have time to bake some cookies this weekend. Right now it is snowing and by the time it is finished we're expected to get 6-12 inches (15-30 cm). Kiefer and I put on our snow suits and boots and went outside this afternoon. I was armed with my video camera and camera to capture Kiefer's reaction. (Hopefully Roel will be able to post the video soon). He just stood there for a while and eventually felt the snow--he refused to wear his mittens. He tasted the snow and then he tried to walk in it. It was definitely a challenge, but he thought it was fun. Tomorrow we're going to take the sled out and give Kiefer a ride on it around the back yard. We'll probably sled down a little hill with him, too!

We're going to have a quiet Christmas at home... we're staying at home. Wishing you and your family happy holidays!

April, Roel & Kiefer the little snow man

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Halloween and voting fun

Kiefer had a wonderful Halloween! Holly, his daycare provider, had a Halloween party for the kids a couple of days before Halloween. Kiefer dressed in orange sweatpants and a pumpkin hoodie. Holly made a ghost and pumpkin cake, cookies and all sorts other treats. They bobbed for apples, too, which meant Kiefer was not dressed in his orange sweatpants and pumpkin hoodie when we picked him up at the end of the day because they had gotten all wet!

I was happy that Halloween was on a Friday this year! I do not work on Fridays and unlike past years, I didn't have any classes in the evening. Our day started with a visit to the Greenfield playgroup on Federal Street. Normally, Kiefer and I attend our own little playgroup with friends every Friday. It alternates between 4 houses, including ours, but since Halloween was the 5th Friday in the month, there was no one set to host. Kiefer painted a pumpkin and also tasted some white paint when he put the paintbrush in his mouth! Yum! There were all sorts of blocks to climb on and lots of toys. He had so much fun! He fell asleep the second he was in his care seat and when we got home, I put him in his crib and he continued to sleep for 2.5 hours.

That night, we went trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. The weather was warm and Kiefer enjoyed walking around in his little baby duckling costume. Needless to say, he was thoroughly exhausted and slept very well that night.

Last week, when we were at the playground, Kiefer decided he wanted to go down the big slide. He couldn't climb the ladder, so I placed him at the top and he knew exactly what to do... he sat down and slid right down. Of course, he wanted to do it again and again and again!

Tuesday, November 4 was election day and Kiefer went to vote with me. We didn't have to wait in line because everything was organized and the polling station was well staffed. I cast my ballot and then Kiefer and I headed outside to stand in front of the polling station to carry at "Vote NO on Question 1" sign. There were 3 state questions that were on the Massachusetts ballot. The first was an initiative to eliminate the state income tax. It would have been disastrous for education, public services, health care, etc. Somehow, crazy libertarians (anti-government) got enough signatures to get it on the ballot but it was defeated! Roel came to pick up Kiefer after work and I stayed at the polling station for a couple of hours.

There were tons of people at the polling station with Obama signs and there were a few for the other two ballot questions which passed. Question 2 decriminalizes small amounts of marijuana in Massachusetts. And Question 3 eliminates greyhound dog racing in MA by Jan 2010. Someone came with a guitar and sang all sorts of 60s songs. It was so busy and there were lots of people voting bringing their children, too. The turnout was incredible and everyone seemed so happy. It was awesome! What a big difference from 4 and 8 years ago when it felt like a funeral the day after the election.

This past Sunday, we went to Vermont. One of my college friends, Sara, lives there with her family and another college friend, Cindy, was moving with her family to the very same town! Roel helped Cindy and her husband Steve move, while I visited with Sara and met her 11 month daughter, Malia, for the first time. Kiefer had lots of fun following Sara's 5 year old son, Dylan. He thinks he's a big boy and it's so funny!

Kiefer doesn't say much, but he understands a lot. Just some of the words he knows are ball, pumpkin, truck, cat, dog, ears, nose, and belly button. He can do animal sounds: lion, dog, cat, sheep, and cow. Today, when his water bottle was empty, he looked at me and said, "More." I asked him if he wanted more and he said it again, "More." So perhaps he'll be saying a lot soon!

Grandma and Grandpa arrive for a visit on December 5. Kiefer is looking forward to seeing them again. It's been almost a half year since we last saw them!

Until next time,
April, Roel and Kiefer

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Well, Kiefer has been having a wonderful time with his Tante Paula and Oom Frank who arrived for a visit on September 28. He was a little shy at first, but he quickly got used to all the extra attention. It also helped when they gave him all sorts of gifts from friends and family in the Netherlands. He has some great new books, Sinterklaas bath toys and Nijntje clothes. What a lucky little boy.

Tante Paula and Oom Frank are expecting a baby boy at the beginning of January. They won't tell us what the name will be, so we've been trying go guess. They have been doing their part in trying to stimulate the American economy by shopping, shopping shopping. They've been to two outlets and bought loads of things for "Baby X." They also bought some things for themselves and we're all wondering if everything is going to fit in the suitcases for the trip back on Monday (Oct 13).

Last weekend, Roel and I went to Melissa Beesley and Ian Woglom's wedding in Northampton. We didn't have to worry about finding a baby sitter because we had two staying in our house! They had a great time and so did we. The wedding was beautiful and we had a fun dancing at the reception. The following day, everyone but me went to Look Park--I had to stay home and work on a paper that was due on Wednesday. Kiefer thoroughly enjoyed the playground and riding the little train.

Yesterday, Tante Paula, Oom Frank, Kiefer and I went to McCray's Farm in South Hadley. We went on a hayride to one of their many pumpkin patches and Kiefer got to select his very own pumpkin. Unfortunately, he wasn't as thrilled about the hayride as I thought he would be. He liked watching the tractor, but he didn't like sitting still in the wagon. He preferred running around the wagon when it stopped and everyone else was in the pumpkin patch. Kiefer also didn't care for the pumpkin patch. I think he kind of thought the plants were scary. Maybe he'll appreciate it more next year.

Today, Roel and Frank went to the Amherst College football game. They wanted to sit in the sun and ended up sitting on the visitor's (Colby College) side. So whenever Amherst scored, they couldn't really celebrate. I'm sure the Colby College fans weren't hooligans, but I thought it was funny. Meanwhile, Kiefer, Paula and I went to the Monkey Tree in Greenfield so she could check out an Ergo baby carrier. She ended up purchasing one for Baby X. I am sure they'll get a lot of use out if. Even though it has been 70 and sunny the past few days, I bought some winter boots for Kiefer. Now we just need to get some snow pants and a heavy winter jacket so he's all ready to play in the snow, which will be here before we know it.

Tonight we all went out to dinner at Hope and Olive, a great restaurant in Greenfield. It was the first time that Kiefer ordered from the kid's menu. He had grilled cheese with apples and carrots. He didn't eat too much of it, but he enjoyed playing with his food.

Tomorrow we're all going to Mike's Maze... a corn maze in Sunderland. From the top of Mount Sugarloaf in Sunderland, you can get a good look at the maze, which is made to look like something different every year. This year's maze is called, "Odysseus and Polyphemus, An Odyssey in Corn." I think we may actually be able to go the top of Mount Sugarloaf after we go through the maze... it has been closed for the past few days because a movie (Edge of Darkness) starring Mel Gibson is filming there.

We're all going to miss Frank and Paula when they leave on Monday. We probably won't see them (and their baby) again until their wedding in September!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

The semester has started and I am BUSY! The fall semester is always the worst at work because there is so little turn-around time between when I receive the students' study abroad applications and when these need to be sent to the overseas university or program. Also, the students who work in the study abroad advising center don't start until this week, so that leaves it up to the full-time advisers and grad students to cover the advising center in addition to taking our regular individual appointments. Needless to say, I have not been able to get much done. Because we are still in the process of fine-tuning our new website for the office, I have had to put in hours on the weekends and nights. Oh, and then there are my classes, which mean lots of reading and writing. Poor Kiefer and Roel don't get to see me much, I'm afraid!

Kiefer isn't helping my exhaustion much because he likes to wake up very early in the morning (5:30 or 6:00). I hope he starts sleeping a little longer soon! He goes to bed at 8:00 and when he's at daycare he refuses to nap. I'm really sure that it is not healthy for him to sleep so little! During the weekend, he takes a nap in the morning and the afternoon. Roel and I are sure that he naps at home because we are boring. At daycare, he's afraid he's going to miss something, but what could he possibly miss at home?

Before summer ended, we had some fun! We went to two 1st year birthday parties for Kiefer's friends. At one party, he had a great time with the other babies, splashing around in the pool and playing in a little tent. At the other party, he decided the birthday girl's car was really cool and spent most of the party wanting to "drive" the car.

We went to the trolley museum in Shelburne Falls, MA. Kiefer had a great time riding the old trolley and seeing the old train. After the visit to the museum, we walked across the Bridge of Flowers. Kiefer thoroughly enjoyed touching (and sometimes pulling) all the beautiful flowers. His favorite part of the day was probably eating some blackberry frozen yogurt!

Last weekend, we took Kiefer to his first fair. We went to the Franklin County Fair, which is only a 5 minute walk up the road from our house. It was very nice not to have to worry about parking. Roel took Kiefer on his first carousel ride, which he didn't really like. Kiefer didn't cry, but he didn't look very happy. Next, I took him down the long slide, which he enjoyed a lot. Kiefer has finally figured out how to hold our hands and walk along aside us, so he spent a good amount of time holding my hand, walking around the fairgrounds and taking it all in. He enjoyed the baby animals. He got to pet a calf and he got to see ducklings and bunnies, too. After dinner and a few more rides, we decided it was time to head home so we put Kiefer back in his stroller. He fell asleep almost before we could buckle him in. The fair was fun, but tiring for him!

At his 15 month appointment this past week, we learned that Kiefer weighs 23 pounds 9.6 oz (10.7 kg). I was shocked because I was certain he weighed more. He seems so heavy when I'm carrying him around! He is 31" tall (78.7 cm) and his head circumference is 49.5 cm. He's in the 25th percentile for his weight. 50th percentile for his height and 95th percentile for his head circumference. We already knew he had a large noggin... so that wasn't a surprise! At his appointment he got two shots and he was MAD at the nurse. He cried and cried and after she left the room he pointed at the door she just exited and continued crying. Poor little guy!

Kiefer is looking forward to seeing his Tante Paula and Oom Frank on the 28th when they come to visit for a couple of weeks. Chasing after Kiefer will be a good preview to what awaits them in a year in a half with their little boy is Kiefer's age!

April, Roel & Kiefer (the little soccer star)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The summer is coming to an end... I am certain I can smell autumn in the air. The nights are cool and the days are pleasant. I am not certain I am ready to start classes again in just two weeks. I have to keep reminding myself that these will be my last two classes EVER!

Kiefer has been having a great time walking all over the place. We bought him his first real pair of shoes two weeks ago. We went to Target, and found a cute brown pair. We put them on his feet and put him down to see how he did walking in them and he just took off. He didn't care that the shoes were attached together with an elastic string. He was thrilled!

I do have to complain a little, though. There were two huge racks filled with adorable toddler girls shoes and one 1/2 stocked rack of so-so boys shoes with only a couple pairs that I considered cute. Why don't they make more cute stuff for boys?

The same day he got his shoes, we went to Laura & Deana's to hang out with them Bonnie, Cindy, their significant others and babies. We had a lot of fun catching up and Kiefer and Vivi kept us all busy as they were into everything. Vivi was happy to see her friend Kiefer again and she was so cute giving baby Catherine and baby Bennie kisses.

While Kiefer is very good at walking/running now, there has been a mishap or two. On Friday, Aug 8, he got his first goose egg. He was
RUNNING around the housewith his truck, took a corner too quickly and hit his head on the bottom stair. I didn't know where exactly he hit his head until about a minute later when I saw the giant goose egg! I put a couple of ice cubes it while he watched Thomas the Tank Engine (I needed some distraction or he wouldn't let me near his head with ice). I thought it was going to turn everyshade of the rainbow, but I could barely even see it the next day! Whew! Kids are so resilient.

We have been visiting our favorite orchard, Clarkdale Fruit Farm every weekend now. They started selling peaches a couple of weeks ago and we have all been enjoying them. Kiefer will eat a whole peach in one sitting. I usually cut them up for him and he likes to use a fork to eat them. I am convinced that he inherited Roel's aversion to dirty hands. Since we now let him have a fork some meals, we're now fairly certain that he is right-handed! Hurray! So while he still looks so much like Roel, he does have my brown eyes and is probably right-handed like me.

Oh! We now have neighbors living in the other side of our duplex/condo. We had gotten so used to it being empty that it was a little strange at first to hear some movement through the walls, but our new neighbors are quiet. She's a nurse at a local assisted care facility and she had a grown son and a daughter who is a senior in high school. We have more new neighbors down the road and they have 3 kittens. One is rather brave and runs right over to Kiefer if he sees us outdoors. Kiefer is very gentle with the kitty. I think he learned to be gentle with Holly's (our day care provider) dogs. Mr. Oliver never really lets Kiefer get close enough to pet him.

We received some exciting news last Friday (August 8th). Roel's sister, Paula is engaged. Frank arranged for a limo to pick her up from work. It took her to a house he rented for the weekend. After a wonderful dinner, he got down on his knee, took out a ring and proposed. They plan to marry in September 2009! Congratulations! We're very happy for them!

April (& Roel & Super Kiefer)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Kiefer is walking! He took his first steps last Friday (July 18). He's slowly getting the hang of it. The first few days, he would build up momentum as he went, which caused him to fall face first! He's learning to take it slow and although he's getting good at it, he still prefers to cruise or crawl most of the time.

Last Saturday (July 19), Kiefer hung out with his pal, Vivi while we went to The Wiz's wedding. Laura and Deana were kind enough to take care of Kiefer so Roel and I could enjoy the wedding without having to run after a curious Kiefer. Luckily, Kiefer and Vivi had a great time. They laughed and laughed at the dinner table and had loads of fun playing together. We're looking forward to seeing them again next weekend. The wedding was great. Julie Wismar (aka the Wiz) met when we interned at Late Night with Conan O'Brien 11 years ago! My how time flies.

Kiefer has been having loads of fun playing with the slide/play structure we bought for him a couple weeks ago. Roel noticed that our neighbors across the street were having a tag sale and that there was a slide just Kiefer's size. We quickly went over to investigate and were pleased to find that it was only $10. We bought it and took it home to clean up. It had been outside for years and was in desperate need of a scrubbing. A couple hours later, Kiefer was happily playing on it. He likes to climb through it, and go down the slide. He prefers going down face first. Why? We have no idea, but he laughs as he does it.

Last week, I tried installing some software and ended up ruining our computer... at least we though so, anyway! I spent 6 hours on the phone with the Microsoft help desk in India before they were able to help me fix the problem. I think neither Roel nor I realized how dependent we are on the computer. We've been talking about getting a laptop for quite a while now and I think we're going to get one today. It will be nice for me as I will be able to take it to the library (or anywhere outside the house) so I can get some work done on my comps and dissertation which are coming up quickly. It will be nice for Roel because he doesn't get much computer time because I'm either working from home via remote desktop or writing a paper for school. That leaves him little opportunity to get behind the computer.

Summer seems to be going by very quickly. The last few weeks have been extremely humid, so it hasn't been so great to be outside. Yesterday was beautiful, though and so is today. We're going to our friends' house to barbecue!


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Aunt Janice & Uncle Geoff are married ~ Kiefer's Cousin

What an exciting summer it has been. In mid-June, we flew to Arizona for my sister, Janice’s wedding. Kiefer did fantastically on the plane. On the way there, he flirted with other passengers, played with Thomas the Tank Engine and pulled the shade over the window open and close. When we got to Phoenix, it was 8:00 p.m. (11 p.m. east coast time) and Kiefer was exhausted. The 107 degree (!) heat didn’t seem to bother him and he fell asleep in the car on the way to the hotel, which was only about a 10 minute drive from the airport. As soon as we in the hotel room though, he woke up and wanted to check everything out. I think he was excited he could actually crawl around since he couldn’t on the plane. We gave him a bath, read him some stories and he finally fell asleep (and so did we)!

The next day we met up with Grandma and Grandpa,
Aunt Janice and friends John & Bev Campbell, who were staying at a hotel not too far away. After some catching up, we all got into our rental cars and headed north to Flagstaff, where we had a fantastic lunch at a local restaurant (Roel even got to watch a Euro Cup soccer match on TV), bought groceries and drove about 45 minutes west to Williams. Grandma, Grandpa, John & Bev were renting a house in Williams. We stopped by there first because we had to pick up a pack n’ play for Kiefer to sleep in. We also discovered some fun toys there, which we took with us to the other house. We were staying about 20 minutes outside of Williams with Aunt Janice, Uncle Geoff, their dog Pico, and some of their friends. The place was called the Llamacasa and as the name indicates, there were llamas corralled there. Kiefer even fed them some baby carrots!

Some of the hi
ghlights of the trip were: eating a huge piece of pie at the Pine Country Restaurant in Williams (John and Bev gave Kiefer some whipped cream so he was hopped up on sugar and didn’t want to sleep); seeing the Grand Canyon Railway trains; and going on a hike to Maricopa Point in the Grand Canyon. Of course, we were there for the wedding and it was absolutely fantastic! Janice & Geoff held their ceremony at Shoshone Point in the Grand Canyon. The views were incredible and although the pictures give you some idea of what it was like, they don’t do it justice. We had to hike Kiefer’s stroller out to the point… there were rocks and steps and we couldn’t push him out there, but hiking the stroller out was worth it because neither of us would have wanted to hold a 21+ pound Kiefer for the length of the ceremony! I was scared when we first got out there because it is just rock and it drops off… no fence, no guardrails… nothing! We placed Kiefer in his stroller well away from the edge and on a flat surface. We engaged the brake and put stones under the wheels as extra precaution. He was great throughout the ceremony and clapped when everyone else clapped at the end of the ceremony.

After another day in the park and a little time in the extremely hot Phoenix and Tucson, we headed home on the red-eye flight. Kiefer slept across our laps on the flights home. He was so good! Roel and I got little if any sleep. We all went to bed early the night we got home.

Now we’re back at home and I don’t think we’ll be going on vacation again any time soon. We used up all of our days visiting the Netherlands in January and going to Arizona last month. That’s fine with us as there are plenty of fun things to do in New England during the summer. Kiefer has gone swimming a few times. He was terrified to be in a big pool the first time, but he loves it now.

We received some very exciting news two weeks ago… Roel’s sister is pregnant. Paula and Frank are expecting their first child on January 4, 2009! We’re very happy for them. We also heard from our friends in Belgium, Delphine and Werner, that they had their baby girl, Valentine, on July 3. Congratulations to them!


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Kiefer is 1!

Kiefer turned one yesterday! It’s amazing that a year has passed since he was born. Roel and I enjoy watching him grow and learn.Oma & Opa, Roel’s parents, arrived on May 19th to spend a few weeks with their favorite (and only) grandchild. Unfortunately, a day after they arrived, Kiefer came down with a virus which gave him a fever, sore throat and spots all over. He was not a happy guy, but the doctor assured us that after a couple of days, he would start feeling better. He was starting to pep up a bit on Friday, but then threw up all over Oma. Poor Oma.

Oma & Opa rented a house in Narragansett, Rhode Island for a week and left on Friday afternoon. We were supposed to leave on Friday as well, but I took Kiefer to the doctor one more time to make sure he was OK before leaving on Saturday morning. The house was very nice and it was exciting trip for Kiefer. He celebrated his first birthday there. It was full of many firsts: eating cake and soft serve ice cream, going to the beach and experiencing the sand and ocean… Although he wasn’t too sure about the sand at first, he quickly warmed up to it and had lots of fun playing in it.

I haven’t written an update in over two months… yikes! It has been extremely busy for me. I had a lot of school work to do. I also was quite busy with my graduate assistantship at the international programs office and did some project work for the honors college on top of that. Needless to say, I had very little time. Luckily, I survived the semester, but I have a busy summer ahead. I am going to be doing an independent study over the summer. This will enable me to only take two classes in the fall, which is what I ha
ve taken the past two semesters. I just need three more before I can start my comprehensive exams next spring.

In April, we went to my high school friend, Carisa’s wedding in the Berkshires (Western Massachusetts). She married a guy she has known for over 10 years. Ed’s great and we’re happy for them. I was thrilled to see her, her family and my good friend Rebekah. I was also pleased to have an excuse to get dressed up. Kiefer had lots of fun at the wedding, too. There was a bluegrass band that played at the reception and he squealed with delight dancing.

In just a couple of weeks, we’ll be heading out to Arizona for my sister’s wedding. Kiefer and I have never seen the Grand Canyon, so we’re excited. Roel has seen much more of the country that I have. I don’t think I’ll ever catch up!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Easter Bunny

Kiefer is an expert crawler now. He is very fast and he keeps us busy. Last week he started pulling himself up on pieces of furniture and toys, so cruising can’t be too far off. We’re wondering what happened to our little baby!

Another new thing Kiefer does is point. He loves to point at Oliver. I’m sure he wishes Oliver would come and give him a hug, but Oliver makes a point to keep his distance.
Here’s a video of Oliver running away from Kiefer.

March has been pretty quiet. We had snow at the beginning of the month but most of it is melted now. Watch Kiefer out in the snow! We're so looking forward to warmer weather so we can spend more time outside. Easter was so early this year… it’s hard to believe it’s already happened. The Easter bunny came with a basket for goodies for Kiefer. Since it was mostly candy, Roel and I are enjoying it and Kiefer is quite happy playing with the plastic eggs. Our friends Naoko and Ryan with their sons Kouji (5) and Yuuki (2) came over for dinner on Easter Sunday. We took the kids to the park for a while and both the kids and the parents enjoyed the slides!

Roel and I traded in the Ford Focus for a new Nissan Versa. It’s much roomier and safer than the focus and we’re all enjoying it. I’m thrilled to have more room to get Kiefer in and out of his car seat!


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Kiefer is now crawling! He started a couple of weeks ago, but has only just perfected it. For the first week or so, he looked as though he was doing some sort of break-dancing move… the worm! We grabbed the video camera that first day and we’re glad we did. Take a look at his first “crawl.” Now that he’s got his legs and arms coordinated for crawling, he’s pretty fast. Mr. Oliver isn’t thrilled. Kiefer loves to chase him.

At his 9 month appointment on February 26, Kiefer weighed 19 pounds and was 27 ¾” long. He’s still in the 25th percentile. Luckily, he didn’t need any shots this time.
Kiefer has started eating yogurt and cheese. He also has started feeding himself Gerber vegetable/fruit puffs and Cheerios. He’d probably feed himself more if we let him. We’re slowly transitioning from feeding him to letting him feed himself. It’s just much less of a mess if we feed him and therefore easier.

We have been having a lot of fun with one of his Christmas presents from Grandma and Grandpa. It’s a truck he can ride one. He beeps the horn and squeals with delight when we push him around.
We captured one of his first rides on video.

One of Kiefer’s other favorite activities is his evening bath. He has a rubber ducky and Roel will say, “Quack, quack.” Kiefer also says, “Quack, quack.” It’s very cute. His most talkative time of day is just after dinner and through bath time.

It’s been a very snowy winter here in New England. There is so much snow on the ground and we’re eagerly awaiting the spring when we can go outside more often. We did bundle up Kiefer and take him outside to play in the snow today. He made a few snow angels and was very curious about all the white stuff.

Kiefer now consistently sleeps through the night. It’s very nice. We’re pretty sure the reason he sleeps through the night now is that he is able to roll over and sleep on his stomach, which he finds much more comfortable than his back. It’s amazing how quickly we’re used to sleeping all night again. If there is an occasional night that he doesn’t, it’s devastating!


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

First Tooth!

Wow! It has been almost a month since my last update! I figured I had better write another one or I might end up like Roel and never update the site.

We had a wonderful time visiting family and friends in the Netherlands, but it was nice to come home. I think it was all a little too much for Kiefer who learned how to scream (and did) the last few days we were there! He did really well on the way home and the flight crew was so wonderful. They gave him a certificate for flying and made sure we sat in bulkhead seats. It was very nice. When we arrived home after a long day of traveling, Kiefer was all smiles. He adjusted to the old schedule quickly and has been sleeping the night through often. Also, he has stopped screaming.

On Jan 26, Kiefer got his first tooth! Just a few days later, we noticed he had a second tooth. So he has his front bottom teeth and they are so cute! He also waves bye-bye and babbles quite a bit… mostly “da da da.” Holly, our daycare provider, was having a difficult time getting him to drink his milk out of a bottle. Today she discovered that if she held him facing out so that he could watch all the other kids, he would drink it right away. He’s very curious and doesn’t like to miss anything. This could be the reason that he hardly ever naps at daycare. He’s very nosy! At home with me and Roel, he will take naps. I suppose that’s because we’re boring and he figures he won’t be missing anything!

He is getting so big so quickly! Today, when I walked into daycare to pick him up, I had to scan the room a few times to locate Kiefer, who was sitting in the middle of the floor. I had in my mind that I was picking up a baby, but he looks like such a little boy now! His hair is getting long and his face is loosing some chubbiness. He’s still very cute, though!

This past Friday, we had a playgroup at our place. Lots of moms and babies I met through the breastfeeding support group came. I think there were 9 moms and babies. It was a lot of fun, especially since the babies really interact now.

School started last week. I like both of my classes (Multivariate Statistics II and Survey Research Methods). After this semester I will only have 3 more classes until Comps!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Visiting the Netherlands

Happy New Year! We celebrated quietly at home. Kiefer went to bed at 8:45 and we managed to stay awake until about 12:02. We were proud of ourselves!

We're in the Netherlands now! Although we had two domestic flights under our belt, we weren't sure how the long flight to the Netherlands was going to be for Kiefer. He did really well! Our flight ended up being delayed until 9:15 p.m., so we had plenty of time to finish packing and didn't head to the airport until about 6:00. Kiefer ate some dinner (squash and bananas) before we boarded the plane. Luckily, the flight wasn't very full, so Kiefer actually had a seat, even though we didn't pay for it. He enjoyed checking out everything and everyone. Then, about an our after takeoff, he decided it was time to go to sleep. He slept on the seat between me and Roel for about 5 1/2 hours. He woke up when they started serving breakfast and we were in Amsterdam before we knew it!

We were met at the airport by Oma, Opa and Tante Paula. Kiefer took a little nap in the car to Zoetermeer and was ready to smile and check everything out at Oma and Opa's. We thought it would be good to follow his normal bedtime routine, but weren't sure if jetlag would interfere. Well, we gave him a bath at 8:00 p.m., and put him down at 8:30. He fell asleep and woke up a couple of times needing to be fed, but all in all, did very well. We were pleasantly surprised. He woke up at 7:15 a.m., when he normally would at home.

On our first full day here, we walked over to visit Kiefer's great-grandmother Ebling, who is 97 years old! She thoroughly enjoyed meeting Kiefer, who is her first great-grandchild. We'll be visiting her a few more times while we're here. After that, we took a stroll to the stores nearby and found a good deal on a fleece hat, scarf and mitten set (2 Euros). Kiefer looks quite cute in them, as evidenced by the photo above. In the afternoon, Tante Paula and Oom Frank came to visit and we all went to the little petting zoo nearby. Kiefer had fun watching all the animals... pigs, chickens, cows, goats, birds and horses!

After another good night of sleeping, he's ready to meet some of our friends this afternoon. They're all gathering in once place, and we're so looking forward to introducing Kiefer to them and catching up.Before I sign off, I'd like to mention that we received some very exciting news shortly before we left... our friends, Cindy & Steve, had a baby girl on January 10th at 3:03 p.m. Her name is Catherine Ashley and she weighed 8 lbs, 15 oz. Congratulations to them! We can't wait to meet her!