Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Baby's first Halloween


A sheep in wolf's clothing
I was hoping to find a cool and unique Halloween costume in Holland after discovering both France and England have started playing dress up like we do here. There was a mouse outfit at the Hema, which would have been perfect, but it was way too big, so thank goodness we got a little devil costume at the Spirit store in Santa Barbara.
I was too sick to take Brandt to any of his numerous Halloween events earlier in the week so I sucked it up and walked down to The District this evening. The place was covered in decorations and fake fog and the stores were all giving out candy so costumed kids and dogs came out in droves. I didn't see too many other devils (and no identical devils) so that was cool. There were a ton of Spidermans--that was by far the most popular costume. My favorite costume was a little pagent king--tuxedo, sash, and crown.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Terugkeer naar Amerika


Baby in the bassinet
I had hoped to get up and organized early enough to sneak in one last pannekoek before heading to the airport, but it wasn't to be. But instead we had a nice relaxing morning with D & A, Brandt got more face time with Theo the cat, and Dan even had time enough to cycle to the center of town and take one of his shaky videos (he's still perfecting his technique).
At the airport, check in was a bit of a pain in the ass and our seats had been changed to the bulk head due to the baby. We made the most of the situation and had them attach the bassinet, but we used it more for junk storage than baby storage. The worst part was that the dude next to me was sniffling and coughing the whole way to Minneapolis so I'm sure I'll be sick tomorrow.
The final leg of the flight was pretty painful. We were all tired and grumpy. I think Brandt was mostly mad that the dude in the seat next to us wouldn't smile back at him despite all his grinning and cooing. But even with Brandt's more-than-normal fussing, while we were waiting for the car seat in the jetway, one of the other passengers told me he was a terrific little passenger. That was nice to hear because I thought he was quite angry. He cried off and on (more off than on) for an hour before conking out for the rest of the flight, so yeah, I guess that's not too bad.
It was a wonderful visit, but it's nice to be home.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Maassluis en Brielle


Kinderen zijn van harte welkom in Vlaanderen
Yesterday Brandt and I hung out in Amstelveen with Jacquie while Dan went to Hoofdorp to check out his company's international office. And in the afternoon, we headed back to Delft to visit more with Deirdre and Arjen.
Today we drove around, stopping in Maassluis and Brielle, two really cute little cities. Then tonight we had the tastiest dinner back in Delft at Vlaanderen. Brandt wore his other new H&M hat, which fits much better than the cosmonaut one. Dan and Arjen hit the bar to finish off the night while D and I (and Brandt) were smart and went home to chill.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Meer Amsterdam/Amstelveen


Lekker voet, lekker sweater
We spent the morning in Culemborg where Brandt alternated chewing on his foot with chewing on Uncle Flip's sweater. Then we headed back to Amsterdam to see Cousin Tessa. Brandt met the famous Charlie de Zwarte Kat, but the excitement over their meeting was purely one-sided. Charles wisely kept his distance. Through babysitting, Tessa has more experience with little ones than I (well yeah, just about everyone has more experience with babies than I) and she said Brandt has great motor skills, and more importantly, has the laugh of a one year old. I'll take that to mean his sense of humor is on an accelerated development path.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Culemborg


Klaar voor de vogels
We hung around the house today with Flip, Susan, and Jolanda (yeah, bonus relative! Jo's back early from London via Sint Maarten and possibly NYC next). Marijn came over with Juul and Fay and we all bundled up to throw bread to the ducks and other birds. And Sara came from Rotterdam for a quick visit this evening.
Brandt is sporting one of his new H&M hats. This one is apparently made for babies with very very long heads. I had to tie the bottom in a knot rather than use the velcro. But it's still cute. I think he looks like a little cosmonaut.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Zwolle


Brandt met Rover
This evening we drove to Zwolle to see Patricia and Eric's new house, check in with Splinter, and meet 14 month old Roverius. Brandt also got to meet his first kitty cat and rabbit and was spellbound. I think Lyle and Bettie are in for a surprise when we get home--they won't be able to ignore the baby and fly under his radar any longer.

Brandt met Splinter...right before the hair pulling
Another first was sticking Brandt in a high chair. It hadn't occurred to me he'd like one yet, but sure enough, he does! He test drove Rover's Stokke Tripp Trapp first and then spent most of dinner in a different high chair. Fay and Juul both have Tripp Trapps, too, and they're so pretty! I think Brandt wants one.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Buren


Canon in Buren
Flip and Susan took us on a motor tour today, including two ferry rides. Brandt and I were too cold/lazy to get out of the car so we couldn't see much on the boats, but Dan hopped out for the full experience.
We parked on the outskirts of Buren and walked around. The original wall and canons were intact so we pondered the city's history. My opinion was that the canons were for defense against zombies.

Hallo paarden
Brandt saw his first horses as he sat on one of the canons. I don't know if the horse riders were so experienced they felt safe to take the beasts so close to a baby, or if they were so inexperienced that they didn't know any better. I thought horses spook easily and shouldn't get too close to small dogs and similar creatures (like babies). Later, after walking around town, we had pannekoeken...yum!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Amstelveen-Haarlem-Culemborg


Met Om Hans
Last night we came back to Amstelveen to have dinner with Uncle Hans and Aunt Jacquie since Hans is off to China tomorrow. My cousin Olaf is working in China at the moment, too. China seems to be the new Surinam (everything seemed to be about Surinam when we were here last year).
Today we went to my cousin Marijn's in Haarlem to see her daughers Juul and Fay on Fay's birthday. There we met up with my Uncle Flip and Aunt Susan and followed them home to Culemborg where we'll spend the next few days.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Eerste pannekoek


Ogling my pannekook
Before leaving Delft to head back to Amstelveen, he went to the center market to have a pannekook. Actually, Dan ordered an omelette, but he got a pannekook. I told him he should have ordered an uitsmeiter.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Delft


baby on board
We came to Delft to visit Deirdre and Arjen today. I've only been to Delft once when it wasn't raining and Dan never, so we couldn't believe our good fortune that the sun shone today. We got into town while D & A were still at work and walked *all* over town. Yeah, it was sunny, but it was FREEZING so I buttoned my coat up over Brandt in the Ergo.
Apparently people were staring at me (according to Dan) and I thought they were just looking at the baby (because people always want to look at babies, right?), but Dan claims they thought I was weird to wear a baby. Every baby we've seen has been in a Bugaboo or Maxi-cosi car seat/stroller frame. I'll admit I did look weird with the coat over the baby, but I still think they were just looking at the baby. And I think they look weird with their babies in those coffin-like contraptions.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bezoek met Oma in Groningen


lekker duim
We drove north to Groningen to visit my Oma today. We took the scenic route along the Afsluitdijk, but since it was raining we didn't do much more than stop for a snack along the way. Brandt was a major hit with Oma. He was a little angel the whole visit and sat in her lap contentedly while we ate dinner.
And he's finally discovered his thumb today. He's still mixing things up a bit and cramming the other four fingers in his mouth (if not even more...I think I've counted eight fingers in there once), but he's pretty happy with just his thumb much of the time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Amsterdam zonder regen


eerste boot
It didn't rain today! We headed into Amsterdam and Brandt had the best day. We took a tour on a Rondvaart boat and Brandt loved every second of it. He watched the water (and tried to grab it through the window), he stared at the buildings floating by, and he spent a lot of quality time chewing on his foot. He finds his little Bobux shoes *very* tasty.
The Rijksmuseum is open, but still undergoing a lot of construction, so Brandt still hasn't been in a museum (the Vegas Guggenheim was closed the first and last time we tried to take him to a museum). Some stuff from the Rijksmuseum is in De Nieuwe Kerk right now, but I was too cheap to shell out the 10 euros, so we just peeked at what we could from the lobby and gift shop.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Zes maanden


Ik slaap
Holy herring, Brandt is six months old today! It does not feel like he's been around for half a year already. Nothing to do with his age, but Brandt wore shoes for the first time today. We bundled him up from head to toe and took a nice long walk. Amazingly, yesterday was sunny, but today was overcast. Of course we never come here for the weather, so I'm not complaining. Yesterday we took an hour-long walk (we learned from the "air"eobics on the plane that getting outside is important for adjusting to the new time zone) towards Amsterdam, but today we headed the other direction, to the Amstelveen shopping center to get my cell phone reactivated and have the world's best hot dog from the Hema. The forcast calls for rain tomorrow, so we might be less adventurous...and I might complain.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Goede reis


Lekker sleutels
Another milestone reached today: Brandt got his first passport stamp! We left Las Vegas yesterday at 2pm, stopped over in Minneapolis for two hours and reached Amsterdam at 12:15pm local time. It was a lot of flying, but Brandt was an angel. In fact, the passengers in the row behind us for the eight-hour leg didn't realize they were seated behind baby until they saw him during deplaning.
So Brandt's usually a fairly quiet young man, but while hanging out at the gate in MSP, he got *very* talkative (no crying, just cooing and squeaking louder than he ever has before), and I could tell Dan was a little apprehensive about him carrying on with the jibber jabber on the plane. I was hoping he'd keep it up just to watch Dan squirm, but he conked out right before boarding and woke up a few times and stayed quiet as a mouse.
Brandt snoozed a lot during the flights, but he still snoozed a good 13 hours when we finally gave up staying awake and crashed at 8pm. I don't want to jump to any conclusions, but it sure seems like he's adjusted to the time change...probably even better than we have!
And in the development arena, Brandt started blowing raspberries (pursing his lips and humming/blowing) last week. He's not doing it a lot, but he does it here and there. I guess he might just be trying to get the taste of toe out of his mouth.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Santa Barbara


Hendry's Beach
Brandt finally had his first visit to my birthplace. Alex and Emilie were up from LA and both Shira and Dasha were home visiting Elaine so we got to see everyone! Before brunch at the Brown Pelican, Brandt got his first look at the ocean. He's been to the ocean in San Diego and Santa Monica, but he was too little to pay it any mind back then.
Later on, Uncle Alex and I took a look around campus to ooh and aah at all the new buildings. Then we got burritos at Freebirds (I always liked TA's better, but it's long gone) and ate them in the park during the requisite hippy reggae festival. I felt a little guilty doing all this stuff with Brandt rather than Lyle. Lyle used to tear it up at Hendry's Beach and the little man ruled IV back in the day. I'll just have to bring the doggies along next time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Thirsty bear


Slurp
Brandt's been grabbing for Dan's water glass. Dan thinks he wants to drink water; I think he wants to chew on the cup. So far I'm winning the argument and Brandt hasn't done any water drinking. Our skinny mouse needs all the calories he can get and I don't want him filling up on water!
New skill: yesterday Brandt started clasping his hands together and lifting them above his head. I haven't gone researching to see if this is something worth documenting and being excited about. But of course, I'm documenting it and am excited.