Sunday, December 18, 2011

'Tis the season... to be busy!

After a nice, quiet Thanksgiving, we've had a busy couple of weeks. In the span of just a few days, Kiefer had 2 birthday parties and we celebrated Sinterklaas twice. The birthday parties were for two of his classmates at Little Red. One was an alphabet themed party and the other a train party. He had great fun at both. On the way back from Hazel's alphabet party, I stopped by the local toy store, which was having a big sale--20% off everything. It was quite busy and as I was checking out (trying to hide a present that I was buying for Kiefer and not

have him notice) we realized that one of his teachers was in line right front of us. She managed to distract him while I checked out and when we all walked outside together, we saw her husband. Kiefer couldn't believe she was married. She also couldn't believe that she didn't live at the school. So funny!

After that party, we headed home to celebrate Sinterklaas with Marie-Jose & the girls. Kiefer, Suzanne and Annabelle had a fantastic time running around and playing. They were having so much, they didn't even notice that Zwarte Piet had knocked on the door and rang the doorbell. When we told them we thought we heard something, they came flying down the stairs and opened the door to find strooigoed and de zak van Sinterklaas. Sint and Piet had left some nice little bags of candies and cookies for each kid.

The following day, another birthday party. This time it was for Malcolm--also from his class. It was a small party with only Malcolm's two cousins, Kiefer and another classmate, Devin. Malcolm, Kiefer and Devin are a quite the combination. The 3 musketeers...they just laugh and giggle when they're together.

After that party, we celebrated Sinterklaas. It was actually December 4, but it was much easier to celebrate on a Sunday. Monday evenings Kiefer has swimming lessons, so that would have left little time for celebrating. Saskia loved ripping into the wrapping paper. Kiefer did, too. He would have ripped into Saskia's packages if we didn't stop him in time! Kiefer learned a lot of Sinterklaas songs this year... so did I! We listened to a Sinterklaas CD every day in the car on the way to work/school. One evening, Roel played "Sinterklaas" by Het Goede Doel. Kiefer loves the part that goes, "Pepernoten, pepernoten, pepernoten, pepernoten!" He can actually sing parts of that song, too!

The following weekend, I hosted my annual cookie exchange. Almost everyone I invited attended. I spent a lot of time on Saturday preparing for the party and making cookies, of course! On Sunday, we had yet another birthday party to attend in the morning! This one was for Emmett, our friends Karen and Bill's son, who turned 3. Kiefer ran around and had a grand old time with Emmett and his big brother. I think all the partying had caught up to him because he actually asked to take a nap when we got home! He didn't nap, but he did rest before he, Saskia and Roel headed to Erik and Marie-Jose's so the cookie exchange party could be kid-free. Lots of yummy cookies were exchanged!

It's has been more quiet this weekend. We only had a playdate with August and Sam while I dropped of a meal for them because they are both big brothers to a baby sister--Helen. It was funny to see Saskia running around with August and Kiefer, both 4.5 and Sam 2.5. There she was at almost 18 months keeping up with the big boys. She was fascinated by baby Helen although not when I was holding her. Saskia pulled at my pants as if to say, "Hey! That's my Mama!" But when Helen was awake and moving her little arms, Saskia couldn't take her eyes of her. She would point and say, "Baby!"

Saskia has quite the personality. She's very busy... always climbing onto furniture and going up and down the stairs. She likes to run around checking everything out. If she gets into something she shouldn't and we say, "No" to her, she quickly pouts her lips and cries. Well, she's not really crying... just acting. She can turn it on and off in no time! She has taken to calling Kiefer "Bro." Kiefer taught her how to say, "Bum bum" meaning butt. She loves to read books and has just started "reading" to herself. It is so cute! Her favorite book is a book called "Baby's Colors." She can even say some of the colors like blue, pink and brown.

Saskia's favorite thing to play with is Duplo. Whereas Kiefer just liked dumping them on the floor (probably because they made a great sound) when he was her age, Saskia will sit and carefully build towers. A close second to the Duplo is coloring. Whenever Kiefer is working on a craft project or practicing writing his letters, Saskia will climb up onto a chair and demand a crayon and paper, too. It makes her look like such a big girl to see her coloring.

She really dislikes socks and shoes. What's funny is that she likes the challenge of trying to put them on herself, but when she has them on, she has to take them right off. Saskia has been waking up a little too early in the morning for our liking these days. Almost daily, she wakes up at 6:00 a.m. and calls out, "Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!" On the days she sleeps later, the cat is usually sitting in the hallway meowing for food. Oh, well.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Subway Art

I recently discovered subway art while messing around on Pinterest and I love it! My favorite subway art prints are those created by Jamie at Eighteen25. I have printed out all of her free prints! They are almost all centered around holidays. Of course, there were none for Sinterklaas. I really wanted one so I figured out how to make one myself! Here it is:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Help save Kiefer's school: The Little Red Schoolhouse

Although I am extremely busy at work, with the kids and my dissertation, I have made time to help save Kiefer's pre-school. It is an amazing program -- Kiefer loves it and so do I. Amherst College, where "Little Red" is located, is kicking the program out of the beautiful brick building that was built in 1937 specifically for the pre-school and has housed it continuously since. A group of parents has formed the "Little Red Schoolhouse Preservation Committee" and we're in the process of helping the staff find a location for the program to continue in coming years. We're also working to make sure the program can keep its endowment, which is critical to keeping Little Red affordable. Amherst College plans to take the endowment and absorb it into their general endowment. I could go on and on, but I won't. Instead, I have copied and pasted the letter the Little Red Schoolhouse Preservation Committee has sent to various media sources.

In the midst of numerous articles and op-ed pieces hailing the importance of early childhood education, we would like to ask why a long-established and successful early childhood program is losing the endowment given in 1940 that was directed towards supporting the Amherst Day School. Effective June 30, 2012, Amherst College will sever all ties with a 75 year old early childhood education program, more commonly known as the Little Red Schoolhouse. An on-campus institution since the late 1930’s, Amherst College is abandoning its stewardship of a longstanding community program; its assets – including an endowment and a vintage schoolhouse building, both of which were specifically designated to sustain this childhood education program – will simply be absorbed by Amherst College in the name of progress.

In a letter written in 1947, Amherst College President Stanley King, clarifies the College’s commitment to the preschool program:

The fact that the school is open to the children of the town as well as to children of the Amherst faculty is a recognition of the fundamental fact that the College is tax-exempt in the town and may wisely therefore make some return to the town. These facts I think should always be borne in mind in considering the Day School in its relation to the College.

For 75 years, the Little Red Schoolhouse program has been an example of Amherst College’s commitment to the local community: accessible and affordable high quality early childhood education in lieu of taxes. Amherst College’s refusal to support the preschool program or assist in the transition off campus contradicts the recognized importance of early childhood education and undermines the College’s commitment to the Amherst community. If the College eliminates endowment funding for this significant program, the community, children, and Amherst College will suffer a tremendous loss.

Little Red Schoolhouse Preservation Committee

You can help by signing the petition! Thanks!

Friday, November 4, 2011

October Snow

The meterologists were predicting snow for Saturday, October 29, but I didn't pay too close attention. I figured we would get a couple of inches. Sure. It is early for snow, but it's New England and snow isn't anything to be afraid of. Right? Wrong.

On Saturday morning, we went out to breakfast with my parents, and then to the Berkshire Brewing Company tour in Deerfield, where we sampled some delicious beer. Then, after a quick trip to Yankee Candle, we emerged from the store to find it had started snowing. Kiefer was as excited as only a kid can be about snow. When we got home, he wanted to go outside. It was amazing how quickly it accumulated. We suited Saskia up, too, so she could check it out.

Just after 8 pm, minutes after Kiefer went to bed, we lost power. The following morning, there was still no power. Kiefer didn't care. He kept bugging me to go out in the 9 inches of snow. So out he and I went. We shoveled our deck and went sledding. Even though Kiefer wasn't a fan of the snow when he was her age, I asked Roel to get Saskia in her snowpants and jacket and took her sledding. She was grinning ear to ear each time we went down the hill!

We did manage to make a roast chicken for dinner that night by cooking it on our gas grill. We prepared stuffing, mashed potatoes and butternut squash on our gas stove. We also boiled water for baths and washing dishes in a huge canning pot. The local schools, including UMass were closed on Monday. While we got 9 inches of snow, Amherst and Hadley got about 15 and it was wetter and heavier than the snow we got. All of this wet, heavy snow on trees that still had their leaves, caused many branches and trees to snap and fall on powerlines.

On Tuesday, when UMass re-opened and I headed to work, I could believe what all the downed trees and branches on campus and around town. We got our power back late Monday afternoon, but many of my colleagues were without power for days. Some people, almost a week later, are still without power!

The situation was so dire, Greenfield and other towns postponed trick-or-treating until this weekend! Kiefer was so excited for trick-or-treating we went out on Halloween anyway, but only a few houses were handing out candy. We'll go out again on Saturday. How strange to go trick-or-treating in November!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall fun

What a busy October we had! We took the kids apple picking once more for my favorite apples--macouns. Saskia didn't help pick, but she did help eat. She has a very peculiar way of eating an apple. She nipples the skin and spits it out. Then she sucks the juice out of the apple. She loves to say, "Apple! Apple! Apple!"

We had a fun Saturday with our playgroup friends. We first had fun at our friend Jackson's house and then headed down the road to the North Hadley Sugar Shack's Harvest Moon Pumpkin Festival. There was plenty for the kids to do... bouncy houses, pony rides, tractor rides and face painting. Kiefer got his face painted like a pirate, and when he saw himself in the mirror, he immediately got into character saying "Arrrr!" and squinting his eyes. When Saskia got a look at him, she had to do a double-take. It was so funny!

The following weekend we went to a Halloween Party with our playgroup friends. It was a potluck and there were so many amazing foods. The kids dressed up and we wrapped the evening up with a nice fire in the firepit. The older kids roasted marshmallows over the fire, which they thought was great. It was such a perfect autumn evening... cool, crisp air!

The next day, Kiefer accompanied Roel to a soccer game he was playing in, while Saskia accompanied me to the airport to pick up Grandma and Grandpa who were visiting for a week. Saskia was a little shy and uncertain at first, but she totally warmed up to her grandparents. Grandma and Grandpa got to see Kiefer at the Little Red Schoolhouse... they picked him up a few times. One day after picking him up from school, they took him to the movies to see the Lion King in 3D. They escorted both the kids to the Greenfield Halloween parade and trick-or-treating at the business in the center of town. Lucky kids.

In between all the help with the kids, Grandma and Grandpa managed to help me tile the kitchen back splash. Roel and I found a great deal on 1" glass mosaic tile a few months ago. We have no experience tiling, so we waited for a little help. I think it turned out great. It really changes the look of the kitchen!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

School and swimming

Kiefer started pre-school at the Little Red Schoolhouse on September 6. He had been looking forward to it all summer (and even before then). Litte Red is located on the Amherst College campus in a building built specifically as a pre-school in the late 1930s. It is a charming little building and Kiefer was thrilled that he has his very own cubby. When we headed into the bathroom to wash his hands, he was amazed that the sinks and toilets were just his size. Kiefer has 18 classmates with 4 teachers and even a few Amherst college students who come and help out each day. He loves it and is learning so much. It seems that every day when I pick him up, one of his teachers tells me how wonderful, sweet or helpful Kiefer is. One asked if he's always so sweet to which I responded, "He has his moments!"

Each Wednesday, a woman named Wendy comes to do music with the kids. This past week, Kiefer came home singing, "She'll be coming 'round the mountain." He knew a lot of it, but he had me almost crying from laughter when, instead of singing, "And we'll all go out to greet her when she comes," he sang, "And she'll go out and beat her greeters..." Ha ha ha!

Kiefer schedule is getting more full the older he gets. On Monday nights he now goes to swimming lessons. We were a little nervous that he wouldn't go anywhere near the pool, because he hasn't had a lot of experience swimming and when he has been in a pool, he's been really nervous. To our delight, he did everything the teacher asked him to do! There are only 5 other students in the class, so he gets plenty of attention and we think it helps for him to see kids his age doing it.

Even though fall started officially a couple of weeks ago, it has not felt very fall-like. It has been unseasonably warm. It has also been quite rainy. Just when we think it can't rain any more, it does! Luckily, there are some beautiful sunny days here and there that allow us to dry out a little. A couple of weeks ago, we went apple picking with our Dutch friends who live in Hatfield. The weather was gorgeous and as expected, the big kids had great fun picking apples and snacking on them. Who knew Saskia would love snacking on apples, too! She kept taking apples out of the basket, taking a few bites out of one, and then tossing aside to get another. She ate practically the whole time we were there! We pick at Dole in Shelburne, and it is so beautiful with sweeping views of the mountains. It is also really inexpensive. We can pick an entire brown paper shopping bag totally filled to the top for only $8.

That same weekend, we were invited to walk in the 250th Town of Colrain parade. Our former neighbors (Haynes & Nancy) live there in an eco-village in Colrain now and they thought Kiefer would get a kick out being in a parade. He did! He was smiling and waving at everyone (although I'm pretty sure there were more people in the parade than were watching). His favorite part? The candy thrown from floats ahead of us. Of course. After the parade, we went back to Haynes & Nancy's house for lunch. They have turkeys, which both the kids got a kick out of. Kiefer fed them some cut up apples. Then, Haynes had Kiefer help him drive the tractor around. Needless to say, it was a great day for Kiefer!

Saskia is busy busy busy all day long. I think this is the reason she's a great napper. She'll take a good nap at daycare on weekdays and during the week she'll take two 2 hour naps. She talks a lot but there are only a few new words I can make out: apple and water. Right now duplos are her favorite toys. She will spend hours just sitting on the floor putting them together.

Roel and I are so busy with work, hauling the kids around and trying to keep the house in order. September and October are the absolutely the busiest time of year for me at work. I meet with student after student all day long so I am exhausted by the end of the day... too tired to work on my dissertation. Right now, I can only manage putting some time into it on the weekends. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Baby & Beer

Saskia most definitely inherited her love of beer from my grandfather, Robert Woods, who drove a Genesee Beer truck and Roel's dad, who enjoys at least 1 beer a day. *Note: The bottles were empty.*

This last one is my favorite. She was MAD that I wouldn't let her have my Blue Moon.

Monday, August 29, 2011


We knew days in advance that hurricane Irene was headed straight for Western Massachusetts. We have lost power during lesser storms (once for 3+days), so we made sure we had flashlights, candles, ice, gas in the cars and charged appliances (e.g. cell phone, DVD player). By the time Irene hit us, she had been downgraded to a tropical storm. Western Massachusetts got A LOT of rain, but little wind. Thankfully, we never lost power. There was some pretty severe flooding in the area. Our street dead-ends into a park, which flooded entirely. If you wanted to go for a swing, you would have had to swim there... and then you'd be underwater! The park is right next to the Green River, which was raging. A tree took out the footbridge near the park. The larger bridge we take each day was closed as the waters were dangerously high. A nearby nursing home evacuated all of its residents. The highway between Deerfield and Greenfield closed (due fear that footings on bridges were compromised) and Routes 5&10, which we both drive every day, were closed because they were flooded in Greenfield and Deerfield.

By Monday morning, Routes 5&10 were open, though quite muddy in spots. The bridge we take every day was closed, so we had to take a bit of a detour. 91 Northbound is open, but Southbound is closed while they're waiting for dive teams to inspect the footings. All of that interstate traffic has been detoured to Routes 5&10, making it a huge mess. Needless to say, getting to work is not fun.

We were relatively unscathed by Irene and we're very grateful. Only 20 minutes north of us in Vermont, it is a different story. Massive flooding has caused so much damage... it is unbelievable.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blackberries, Beaches, Books & Ducks

Because our daycare provider was closed for the first two weeks of August, Roel and I each worked 1/2 days... one would be with the kids while the other was working. It is difficult to cram all the fun things one would want to do with the kids into the weekends, so I enjoyed being able to do some fun things. I took the kids blackberry picking a couple times at the park down the street from our house. The edges of the field are almost all blackberries. It was great fun. The kids ate them as fast as we could pick them. We enjoyed fresh blackberries on their own and as a topping on cheese cake.

We spent some time in our backyard in the little pool we have for them, but the kids had the the most fun at Laurel Lake. We went on a beautiful mid-August day and enjoyed the water and sand. Saskia, who is quite the adventurer, kept walking straight into the water. I spent a lot of time chasing after her. She also enjoys destroying any sandcastles I attempt to build.

We visited another lake in central Massachusetts with friends who live in the eastern part of the state. It was a half-way point for us and their two little girls enjoyed themselves as much as Kiefer and Saskia. We watched the ducks beg for food, played on the monkey bars and play structures, made (and destroyed) sandcastles, and picnicked on the beach.

Saskia loves to read. She is constantly getting her board books and giving them to us to read to her. Actually, "giving" isn't the correct word. Throwing or winging would be more accurate. Those board books do not feel nice when tossed at your face. Her favorite books are flap books. Currently, her favorites are: Where is Baby's Mommy?, Dear Zoo and Spot Goes to School. She also likes Baby Faces: Smile and Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes...

Saskia, who is now 14 months old, understands a lot. When we ask her to get something (such as a baby doll or ball), she does! She also goes straight to the bathroom when I say, "It's time for your bath!" or "Let's brush your teeth!" She also says some words:

Here you go (I say this a lot, apparently)
Thank you
Kiki (kitty, but also any other animal)

This past weekend we visited our Dutch friends who live in Hatfield... about 15 minutes from us. They have two girls (6 & 4) and they and Kiefer get along very well. We were surprised to find the older girl holding a baby duckling. It turns out they had quite a few baby ducklings that they were taking care of before they went to the Baby Barnyard at the Tri-County Fair in Northampton this weekend. They were so cute. Saskia kept saying, "Hi Kiki!" to them and Kiefer picked on up. 

Quite possibly my favorite Kieferism:

"Mama, you are the best! You know everything!" – August 27, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Birthday Girl & Farm Camp

Saskia is 1! I can't believe it has been a year since our little girl was born. She is such a curious, busy girl. She loves her big brother and tries to keep up with him. That's probably the reason she started walking two days after her first birthday... and never crawled again! It didn't take her long. She has been practicing for a week or two by standing up in the middle of the room. Whenever she did, she'd clap for herself.

Just a few days after Opa & Opa left, Grandma & Grandpa arrived. The kids were used to sharing a room by then and there weren't any incidents of Kiefer waking the baby, which he had done at the beginning of Oma & Opa's stay. Grandma & Grandpa took the kids strawberry picking. Kiefer did a little picking and Saskia supervised from her stroller. My mom and I made a strawberry cake for her first birthday. The girl loves to eat and after a nice dinner in the backyard, we put the cake on the table in front of her and began singing happy birthday. She was trying to reach the cake while we were singing, and managed to swipe a strawberry!
My wonderful friend, Karen of k.reb photography, came to our house and took some beautiful photos of Saskia (and Kiefer, who definitely wanted some of the attention on him). She got to model her very first tutu t-shirt form Tutu Pour Mon Deux!

As he usually does, my dad helped us out with a project around the house. He installed a "new to us" kitchen sink. They got new counter tops and sink for their kitchen and offered us their deep stainless steel sink. Washing large pots is so easy now! I am amazed at all the handy things my father can do. I'd be stressed out just thinking about trying to do some plumbing. We plan on tiling our backsplash when they come to visit again in late October!

A couple days after my parents left, Kiefer went to farm camp for a week. Holly, his daycare provider, usually takes the week of the 4th of July off so when I learned that Red Gate Farm had a camp that week for kids aged 4-6 or "Sprouts," I signed him up. That was back in February! The camp is about 20 minutes from Greenfield. Kiefer was really excited to go and then a little nervous when it was time for us to leave him. I couldn't wait to pick up up to see how he had done. He looked so cute toting his backpack and exclaimed: "I love farm camp! I want to go every day!" He helped collect chicken eggs, learned about bees, bulls and bugs. He told me that chickens have to stay inside a fence "so predators can't get them." On the last day, they hosted a picnic of goodies from the garden and performed some songs. Needless to say, he had a great week and he'll definitely be returning next year.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Kiefer is 4 & Vacation in CT

Oma and Opa arrived for a visit on May 24... just in time for Kiefer's 4th birthday on the 26th. Roel and I were at work so Kiefer and Saskia went to daycare. We had a little celebration that evening, but had two parties on Saturday. The first party was for his friends from play group. We held it at the park. That afternoon, his friends Yuuki, Liam and Emmett and Suzanne and Annabelle came for another party. They played in the sprinkler and enjoyed a peanut butter chocolate cake, which I made especially for the occasion.

On Saturday, June 4, Oma and Opa, Roel and Kiefer packed up the cars and headed to the house we rented for two weeks in New London, CT. Saskia and I stayed behind so I could repaint the livingroom. Plus, Roel and I had to work the June 6-8, so rather than drive back and forth, I opted to stay home until the 8th. We painted our livingroom a deep green (grapevine, I think) when we moved in 5 years ago. As much I like the color, it was time for a change. We opted for a light blue (serene sky) and we love the result. It is bright and really makes the room look bigger. I painted when Saskia was napping and after she went to bed. It took a while, but it is done! If it were up to Roel, I don't think we'd ever paint. Once every 20 years or so probably would be just fine with him!

The vacation house in New London was right near Ocean Beach Park where there were rides for the kids, a waterpark and of course, the beach. We also had access to a private beach, which is where we went most days. Kiefer and Cousin Nolan loved it. It was Saskia's first time to the beach. She, of course, explored the sand by tasting it more than a few times (got to love those grainy diaper changes after baby has ingested sand). She also loved to be in the water and wasn't at all scared of the waves.

Saskia's quite the adventurer. She has been climbing stairs since mid-April and seems to have a special sense of when a staircase is not blocked off by a babygate... she makes a bee line straight to it! When Kiefer was a baby, we told him not to climb the stairs and he didn't. We never had to put a baby gate up for him. I remember my friends would remark that it was incredible he didn't try to climb the stairs. Now I understand!

Nolan kept busy following his big (in age only... Nolan is actually the same height if not taller than Kiefer) cousin around. Whatever Kiefer did, Nolan did and he would exclaim, "Nolan ook!" It was too cute! The boys shared a love of Cars and Thomas the Tank Engine. The cousins (including baby Saskia) took baths together. We went to Mystic Aquarium, where we watched the sea lion show, the boys got to feed and pet sting rays, and we marveled at all the amazing fish! We also visited Mystic Seaport. Kiefer was convinced every ship was a pirate ship and great fun was had in the Children's Museum building at the Seaport. 

It was great to have Roel's family all together and we're very grateful to Geert & Marja for getting us all together. It was in celebration of their 65th birthdays! It probably wasn't the most relaxing couple of weeks because it's a lot of work for 6 adults, 2 kids and a baby to be under one roof!

Saskia has been growing up so fast! She weaned while we were in New London and stopped exactly 2.5 weeks before her first birthday... just like Kiefer. She also cut her third tooth while there. One of the funniest things I think she learned how to do on vacation is to give kisses. As you can imagine, with such a crowd there were lots of kisses to give each night before bed. She would give very sloppy wet kisses and make a great pucker sound.


Kiefer pointed to a cat in a Richard Scarry book and said, "That's my Facebook friend." -  April 8, 2011
When Kiefer saw the decorations for his birthday, he said, "Thank you, Mama!" You're the best!" and gave me a big hug. - May 26, 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

A visit to Grandma & Grandmpa's

We returned today from a week in South Carolina visiting Grandma and Grandpa. It was great. How wonderful to have some extra help with the kids! Both Kiefer and Saskia enjoyed spending time with Grandma & Grandpa. Grandma had a basket full of books, activity books, stickers and crayons for Kiefer. She also cooked lots of delicious food that everyone… including Saskia… enjoyed.  Grandpa showed us how to play Wii, which was so much fun. Kiefer is a great Wii bowler and an even greater Wii boxer. Grandpa also took Kiefer out for a ride on his John Deere lawnmower (though Kiefer called it a tractor).

Kiefer’s favorite day was the day we went to the Children’s Museum. Greenville has an amazing Children’s Museum. There was an awesome two-floor climbing structure that Kiefer spent a lot of time on! There were race cars, a construction area, a farm, a grocery store and a water area. One of the funniest things that happened while we were there was in the huge “stomach.” We walked into the stomach that had diagrams of how food is digested. There was a slide to get out and I told Kiefer to slide down the slide. When he went to get on the slide, there was a big farting sound… it was a very life-like digestive system! Kiefer was so scared and ran out of the stomach. Later in the day, he laughed about it, but at the time, he was pretty scared and wouldn’t go back in.

Saskia even got to explore at the museum. There were some great mirrors set up that she could climb around. They also had a baby water table, she could sit in. After the museum, we went to Krispy Kreme for some donuts. Kiefer was in heaven. He and Saskia stood in the window where they were making them and distracted everyone with their cuteness! Kiefer got a little Krispy Kreme hat and wore it on the ride home (but he fell asleep).

The weather was fantastic while we were there. Apparently, it was the warmest it had been in months. It reached the low 70s each day and we enjoyed it very much. We spent a good amount of time outside on the deck or walking. The sun felt great. Kiefer was so confused. He asked Grandma & Grandpa why there was no snow on the ground. He wanted to go outside as soon as he woke up. In the afternoon when he would take his shirt off and only be in his shorts. Saskia spent some time in the exersaucer under the shade of the umbrella.

We also went to the Greenville Zoo. Just next to the zoo is an amazing park and Kiefer was quite content to stay there. We eventually coaxed him to the zoo and he enjoyed seeing the elephants, monkeys (including a baby monkey), lions, giraffes, and alligators.

Roel and I went out to dinner one evening while Grandma & Grandpa took care of Kiefer and Saskia. It was so nice to have some time out together, which we almost never get to do! When we came home, the kids had been bathed and fed and were ready for bed. Saskia was teething so she was a little unhappy and saying, “Mama! Mama! Mama!”

It was a wonderful week. We were so happy to spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa and I know they were happy to see us, but I think they were a little tired by the end of the week... they're not used life with a toddler and baby.

Saskia has changed so much in just a couple of weeks. In early February, she got her two bottom teeth and shortly before we left for SC, she started crawling on her hands and knees. For weeks, she had been “commando” crawling and launching herself forward. She also moved beyond pureed babyfood. She feeds herself now. We just give her little pieces of vegetable, fruit and meat. She LOVES chicken and green beans the best and has even had had ham, grapes, cheese, and yogurt. She looks so cute gumming her food. And we love it because we don't have to puree baby food or feed her.


"I have a really powerful butt!" - Kiefer after he farted. How lovely. - December 28, 2010

Kiefer's play cell phone rings. "Hello? No. It's snowing outside. Why did you call me again? Bye." He hangs up and sighs with exasperation, "Mama. You talk to them. I've had it." - January 21, 2011

Kiefer during the car ride home: "I think we should keep Saskia. And when she grows up we should call her Peggy." - January 26, 2011

I asked Kiefer to stop running around and terrorizing the cat. He said, "I'm not terrorizing, I'm running with style." - February 4, 2011