Sunday, November 21, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I soon realized that one of the best ways to keep the house clean was to avoid the house as much as possible. So to begin with we spent a couple of days at the kids expo in town, it had perfect timing, arriving for 4 days the day after Dan left, with every bouncy castle imaginable there, plus a petting zoo and a wall mural for painting. This week we spent a day at the Portugal national horse fair, while Amelia loved this and got to sit on her first horse (OK, really small pony, but don’t tell her that), it was really for me. Some amazing horses there, mostly lusitanos that are gorgeous, and we went for the freestyle dressage, which is beautiful. We also got to spend a couple of afternoons and evenings at Amelia’s friend Bernardo’s house (thanks Priscila!), and when all else fails, we went grocery shopping. I’ve heard nightmare stories about other kids and their grocery store meltdowns, so I am thankful that Amelia *loves* grocery shopping. She sits happily in the cart and helps put everything in the basket, smiles and blows kisses to the adoring Portuguese grandmothers, and gives the credit card to the check-out clerk followed by waves, more kisses. After shopping she gets to ride the mini carousel and sometimes we get lunch together. All quite civilized, really. Tristan for his part usually sleeps in the front carrier the whole time, and only complains if I push it a little close to feeding time. So far I think I’ve got pretty portable kids, though I may change my tune after 3 weeks of travelling with them around the US in December, thank goodness Dan will be with me for that trip!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
- Went furniture shopping for a toddler bed for Amelia, couldn't find anything I liked, so gave up and...
- Planned and built a toddler bed for Amelia (just need Dan to paint it, no fumes allowed for me)
- Went to the market and bought lovely organic blueberries, strawberries, rasberries and lots of veggies
- Spent some quality time with our original kids, who have been feeling a bit neglected lately
- Sat on the couch and read a magazine
- Finished a project for work
- Took a ridiculously long shower
- Watched some soccer and a really bad movie on TV
- Bought and installed a bell on Amelia's tricyle
- Started organizing the office
- Baked muffins
- Wrote a Blog :)
- Slept all night long and didn't wake up until I was ready!
There must be more I've left out, but it was a great blend of productivity and relaxation, and I'm feeling very refreshed. I was really looking forward to seeing Dan and Amelia when they got home yesterday afternoon, and got to have a picnic in the park while watching Portugal on the big screen. Of course the 7-0 win was a nice bonus, too! Here is Amelia's victory dance:
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for all that has been your delight. ~Kahlil Gibran
You brought so much delight into my life and into this world with your smile, as big as whatever room you were in. Your ability to not merely accept peoples faults, but instead to find the strengths within everyone. To see and love them as they were, and to not expect them to be different based on any outside expectations. Your wisdom was indeed beyond the short years that you were among us, and I count myself lucky to not only have been your sister, but to have been your friend. Rest well little brother.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
She was sickeningly skinny, but a real sweetheart, very easy going, friendly, gentle with Amelia, and now very grateful to have a constant source of nourishment and attention. I took her to the vet to check for a microchip and to pick up flea and de-worming medication. Then we found out she was pregnant. Due to her malnourishment, the vet did not think it was wise to allow her to have the puppies, so we decided to have her spayed and let her stay with us while she recovered and we tried to find her a new home. At first she stayed outside, and was very nervous when we tried to coax her to come into the house. Then she started to come in and lie down in a corner where she would collect soft things (Amelia's stuffed animals mostly) and take them to sleep with her. The vet thought they were her surrogate puppies. Now she is one of the family. Going on walks with us, relaxing on the couch, getting Tazzy and Biju (and even Blaze sometimes) running around to play for their daily excercise.
For some more photos, click here!
Saturday, April 17, 2010
While playing in our backyard she took a tumble off of the 4-inch step from our patio area onto the grass. When I picked her up her mouth was bloody and I couldn't see one of her top front teeth. I thought it was knocked out, but couldn't find it in the grass. As she settled down I saw a little white in her mouth, so then assumed the tooth was broken. Dan left work and met us at the hospital and a nurse saw her right away and gave her some pain medication. After that the waiting game started (a common thing in hospitals, but especially where the care is free). About two hours later a dentist at the hospital looked in her mouth and said that the tooth was actually pushed partway back up into the gum (I didn't know that could happen), and he assumed it was still whole, but he wanted to do an x-ray to make sure. Since the x-ray machine in Aveiro was broken they wanted to send us to the pediatric hospital in Coimbra, an hour away. No problem, but we weren't allowed to drive her there (liability concerns). Instead it was more waiting. An hour later the ambulance was ready to take us. Only one of us was allowed in the ambulance, so Dan had to follow in the car. At the hospital in Coimbra we experienced the Portuguese specialty of "Oh, you have a baby...to the front of the line you go." So we saw a dentist very quickly there and the x-ray showed that the tooth is still whole. They told us they see this in toddlers daily, and it should come back down on its own over the next few months. So lots of trauma but it was okay in the end. Poor Dan had to hold her down for the x-ray while I had to stay outside of the room, due to my pregnancy, listening to her yell "mommy, mommy" as loud as she could. No fun for any of us.
So 7 hours later we made it home and were able to put our exhausted baby to sleep. The next day her upper lip and gums were pretty sore and swollen, but she looks normal now. Well, normal for a professional hockey player since when she smiles there's a tooth missing. She also shakes her head and says "no, no, no" whenever anyone approaches her that she thinks might have any interest in poking around in her mouth. Poor little thing. Anyway it was a happy ending to our first trip to the ER. And I must admit it was nice to simply walk out of the hospital at the end with no need to stop at the cashier's office and have to decide how on earth we'll manage to pay the bill. We spent $0 and zero minutes filling out paperwork which helped ease the trauma of an otherwise difficult day.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
After showing all of this to Blaze's vet here in Portugal, she asked if she could send all of his records to another neurologist in Bern, Switzerland as well. So no matter what, Blaze seems to have a team of vets in 3 countries spaning 2 continents worried about his well-being, not many dogs can say that.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
We got Blaze, a 7-year-old Australian Shepherd, from a rescue program. His early life in West Virginia included beatings, and those of you who know him know that he still never quite got over that and has forever been skittish around strangers. When Katrin and I first met him he was being fostered in Washington Heights in New York. We took advantage of a trip to the city for Ben and Sohui’s wedding in 2004 to introduce ourselves, and of all the people who had considered adopting him we were told that we were the only ones he even thought about approaching to greet. So after a short walk around the city and some contemplation about taking on a dog with such “issues” we decided that he should move to Burlington.
We’ve had some great years with Blaze. From that first nervous walk around NYC, he became a great pet and even learned to do agility with Katrin. He never became comfortable around strangers, but is extremely loyal and sweet with those he knows. We still hope to have many more years of his trying to do anything he can to please Katrin (and by association, me), but the disease unfortunately has no cure and so we don’t know much about his future. We will keep helping him live the full life he deserves and stay forever hopeful that he will be with us long enough for Amelia to remember him when she grows up.
I've never been told beforehand that I have a limited amount of time left with a loved one. What a hard place to be, caught somewhere between starting to grieve before they are already gone and savoring every moment you have together. As Dan mentions it has been a rollar coaster of a couple of weeks trying to figure out a diagnosis. Yes he is a dog, but he is a member of our family, and a very special member at that. He will do anything in his power to please and protect those he loves, and even though his energy level is at an all time low right now from the disease and the medications, he still finds it necessary to lift his head and howl every time Amelia cries, and to alert me if I am not quick enough getting up when she wakes up, he still goes crazy when the doorbell rings, and gets excited when Tazzy and Biju start playing, though instead of joining them as usual, he just goes and supervises the play session from near by. As I write this he is curled up on the couch comforting me because I am sad for him.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Dan joined us after a week, a day late thanks to the snow storm in Newark stranding him there for an extra night. We celebrated Christmas eve with my family and got up early on Christmas morning for the cross-country flight to Vermont. We made it in time to join in Christmas dinner, and it was great to have all of the little cousins together (Isabel 10, Calvin 8, Jasper 2.5, Nathan 2, Coco 19 months, Amelia 15 months, and Oliver 3 months) and to distribute and recieve the news of the two newest cousins scheduled to arrive at the end of July (that's us!) and in August (Julie and Jim).
Monday, January 18, 2010
When Katrin and I moved to Portugal we had grandiose plans of visiting all corners of Europe. Ski trips to Switzerland, summer holidays in the fjords of Norway, and beach vacations to Ibiza. Well, a baby came along and sort of altered our agenda. But we’re still trying to get out and about.
Walking around Rome was all sorts of fun. It is truly an easy city to see on foot, even while pushing a stroller. Amelia will surely have wonderful memories of the coliseum, forum, Spanish steps, Trevi fountain, Vatican City, Sistine Chapel, etc., etc. The whole city felt like an outdoor museum of archeology, history, art and culture. But the two highlights of every day were lunch and dinner. We all know how fabulous the pizza and pasta are, although until you’ve tasted the real thing in Italy (or at Peter and Jane’s house) you don’t know what you’re missing. But the ambience and comfort inside a restaurant are harder to describe. Sort of like the feeling of home, while casually eating a delicious pasta dish with porcini mushrooms and sipping a tasty Chianti.
What made the trip all the more enjoyable, though, was the ease of traveling with Amelia. She’s a good traveler (after all, she averages more than one plane flight per month of life so far), but the Italians are truly a baby-friendly populace. We get sort of spoiled here in Portugal, which is a very baby-friendly culture (getting ushered to the front of every line, parking spots designated for parents with young children), but in Italy it was the individuals themselves that were head over heels for babies. No matter where we were, whether restaurants or subways or museums, Amelia was given tons of attention. Everyone wanted their turn to smile at her and help make her comfortable. Italy certainly has its political and economic troubles, but when it comes to children and quality of life, they are a very advanced civilization.
For more pictures of our trip to Rome, click here.