Category Archives: day to day

So I Was Having a Good Day, Right?


And then I went to a gym in the city center to ask about membership prices because I realize in order to keep losing weight I need to add more exercise to my routine. I hate running and my allergies make it hard for me to do a lot of outdoor activities although admittedly, the rain here is so frequent that it washes away a lot of the pollen, but then, it’s raining frequently so that also tends to make me avoid outside activities.

Anyway, the well intentioned 20-something at the desk told me the membership was for a year and then afterwards it could be ended at any time, but they ask you to pay for at least a year.
This is a problem, given that we’re moving abroad in 6 months (how weird is it that America is now “abroad” for me?).

I told her I was moving in December with my husband and baby and she said that that was an exception and I could end my contract by showing the manager some sort of proof I’m moving.
Then she asked when I was due to have the baby.
And I was all

So she backpedaled and asked if I had it a few days ago.

To which I was all

And then I did what I think most people would do.

I lied and said I had him a month ago and then got my fat ass right out of there before the embarrassment caused me to internally combust.

Now I’m torn between joining so I can shed 30 more pounds more expediently or just turning off all the lights and balling myself up in the most convenient corner.


11 Months


Tay is 11 months old today.

One month away from his first year.

One month away from the exit of babyhood.
Sort of. The beginning of the end of babyhood.

This month Tay’s personality exploded all over the place.
He started waving at people (and animals), pointing at things (and people and animals), laughing at silly word games, hiding his face from strangers and coyly peeking at them only to hide his face again and so on, clearly requesting/refusing things, developing a concept of “mine” as well as a (sometimes tearful) understanding of “no” and many other things that indicate a little footbridge brooking the gap between baby and toddler.

He’s still only got two bottom teeth, but Piet thinks he felt the top two starting to break through this morning. He continues to eat EVERYTHING (with the acception of avocado) and by everything I do mean everything. Here in Spain he’s eaten ajo blanco, gazpacho, marinated artichoke hearts, nisperos and pretty much anything else we allow him to eat.   This includes a slice of lemon we gave him yesterday to try to deter the rampant eating.

He ate the whole thing, rind included.

We’re starting to wonder if the kid truly likes the taste of food or simply has no taste buds at all.

He’s sooooo close to his first step, we can practically taste it (maybe if steps could actually be tasted Tay would take the first one sooner). He walks with the help of anything he gets his hands on, cruises effortlessly and constantly lets go of his aids to stand alone, but that first step just barely eludes him.

He’s become cuddlier while also becoming slightly more independent with his play.
He clearly loves his Mama and Papa.
He’s starting to have favorite toys and games and songs.

And sooner than I can imagine he’ll be celebrating his very first birthday.

My boy.


Planning Vacations


Piet, Tay and I have been vacationing in southern Spain for the last 5 days and I’ve noticed something about how I schedule a day on vacation, versus how Piet does it.

See, most of my childhood vacations were spent at the beach. Usually it was Virginia Beach, but I’ve also been to Wildwood and Myrtle Beach as well.
While the majority of the time I was just with my parents and brother, there were a few times it was a larger family affair and my aunt, uncle, Gram and cousins went along as well.
And when we went to the beach, that’s pretty much what we did.

We got up, had breakfast, went to the beach, watched some tv, had lunch, went back to the beach and then had dinner.
Sometimes my mom took me and my brother to miniature golf or an amusement park, but mostly we just went to the water line and stayed there most of the day.

When I was little I loved the ocean and I’ve always loved to read so I rarely got bored doing nothing but going to the beach.

Piet, on the other hand, burns very easily and prefers things like hiking and canoeing and scenic views and walking. He spent most of his childhood vacations camping in France with his parents and sister.

So, over the past few days, I’ve noticed a definite pattern in how we each choose the activities to do each day.
Piet goes online or looks at our Andalusia guide book and picks some different things to do.
We’ve done a day trip to Cordoba, markets in Nerja and Torrox Costa, an out of the way, but lovely restaurant in Torrox, a trip to a donkey sanctuary and a trip to the lovely, tastefully touristic village of Frigiliana.
Those were all Piet’s plans.

My plans are mostly:
Um…there’s a beach, why aren’t we at the beach? It’s sunny and hot and beach, let’s go to the beach. Too sandy? Um, we can go to the pool? Too hot? Um, there’s a shopping mall in Malaga, no?
After that we could always go to the beach…

Am a very beach-centric vacationer.
Which has been exacerbated by the fact that Tay did not inherit his father’s tendency to get crispy after 5 minutes in the sun.
Baby and Mommy get lovely tans in the sun, if sunscreen is appropriately applied.
Papa becomes a lobster if not continuously slathered in spf 60.

Because I don’t want my husband to internally combust and leave me alone with an 11 month old child and a stick shift Qashqai in a foreign country, I’ve been dutifully taking my allergy pills and motion sickness pills and petting donkeys (thank you anti-bacterial hand gel)  and learning to get over my aversion to non-beach nature and animals taller than my shoulders.

And believe it or not, I’ve been having a really good time.

Just as long as I occasionally get to go to the beach.

A Letter to my Son


Dear Tay,

Your Great Gram didn’t have a lot.
Not when it came to materialistic things.

She had her books.
Like your Mama, she always had a shelf full of books and she loved to read.
She had her recipes.
Like your Uncle Scooter, she loved cooking and when we were growing up she was always trying new baking recipes.

But nothing could beat her brisket and oven brown potatoes and her brownies and mandel bread.

She was always baking for friends and neighbors.

There were few people in this world as loyal to those she cared about. She did almost anything for those she loved, regardless of the cost or the effort and in her own way she was the glue that held our family together although, I really can’t explain how.
Maybe it was because her children grew closer together after your great grandfather died in his early 50’s. The way they rallied around your Great Gram made them and their families closer than a lot of others.
Maybe it was because your Great Gram buried her brother and sisters, her husband and two of her daughters and still kept smiling and working and reading and baking and loving her family, despite all the hard times.

And when we brought you to her, so she could see her great grandson, she was so very, very happy.  I was so proud to tell her how we gave you your middle name, Lukas to remember her baby Lynn who died before you Grandpa was born.

I wish you could’ve spent more time with your Great Gram, baby, I wish that with all of my heart.

But your Great Gram died this past Friday evening, in her sleep, and she’ll be buried next to the Great Grandpa I never got to meet tomorrow morning.

I wanted to write you something beautiful: something that could bring my Gram off the page and bring her to life for you, but I can’t seem to do any better than this right now.
My heart is so very, very heavy and when I think about her I can hardly breathe.
Every fiber in me is screaming to be with your Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle. I keep thinking of the last years of her life and how I’ve missed most of it and how tomorrow I’ll be missing my last chance to say goodbye.
Seeing your face, your big round eyes and your smile, and everything about you that is just so alive is what’s making being so far away from home possible right now.

So I’m writing this, not only to tell you about the Great Gram you’ll never get to know, but also to thank you. Thank you for making her so happy in the brief time she knew you. Thank you for reminding me of why I’ve been so far away from her the past few years.

She loved you.
I love you.

Both of us always will.

So Yeah, February


Clearly February has not been a very inspiring month in a blogging sense.

Tay continues to be a gimpy crawler, preferring to sort of, weeble his way around the room by going on his hands and knees for a second, then sitting himself back up, an inch or two to the left/right of where he started and repeating this process until he finds something to distract himself with. He can crawl commando-style if he sees something he really wants badly and doesn’t want to screw around with the weebling. Then he puts his little butt in gear and just crawls across the room, but he has to be highly motivated for this to happen.

Still no teeth yet, although he’s happily devouring anything we give him and can handle very small pieces, although he looks sort of angsty when the pieces are too big (this only happens if he gets free reign on half a baby cookie because, teeth or no teeth, he doesn’t gnaw on the cookies until it melts, he bites big chunks off as soon as it hits his gums).

In general our boy is a complete pleasure to be out and about with. We can easily take him out to a restaurant if we feel like eating out, just so long as the restaurant has a high-chair. As long as he’s not hungry or too tired, Tay will very happily sit and play with a toy or people-watch while Piet and I eat our meals. He’s also gone swimming a few times and loves that too. He remains sweet and social, although he now clearly distinguishes between the “I know you and am happy to see you” group of people and the “who the hell are you and don’t expect me to smile until I’m ready” group of people. But even if he’s in an unfamiliar place, he never cries or acts up; he simply stays quiet and wide eyed until he gets used to his new surroundings and then he goes back to chewing on everything and babbling and shrieking in his usual way.

Oh, and this:

There’s a lot of this going on.
Child pulls himself up on practically any available surface already so I tend to think that he won’t be crawling too long before he gets the inclination to walk.

Work is still the same here. I show up, do what I have to and go home.
Piet’s work is pretty much the same too, although I think he likes what he’s doing much more than I do, plus he gets to go to some conferences this year.

The house is coming along pretty quickly right now and we may even have a finished ceiling/lights and one working heater on the first floor before Piet’s parents go on vacation.

I’m also looking forward to the beginning of March because my mom will be visiting for a week since she hasn’t seen Tay in person since he was 2 months old.

Guess you can say I’ve had it with February. Come oooooon March.

Sixteen Tons, What Do You Get


Things at work have not been stellar lately.

I mean, it could still be worse (although by Belgian standards, I don’t think much worse). We finally got a heater, right when the weather decided to go back above freezing, so it’s sort of useless, but hey, who needs a heater in actual below freezing temperatures?

The scheduling hasn’t been super fun either, seeing as how today I worked the 7th of my 9 day in a row schedule. All of which have been morning shifts, mind you, so I haven’t slept past 5 am in a week. You think your sleep deprivation will end once your baby starts sleeping through the night, but not when you have my job.

Aside from that there are numerous other tensions and seeds of discontent flowering all over the place at work and while they aren’t worth discussing, it makes for an overall negative atmosphere. It’s hard to stay motivated when you continue to hear rumors of your company closing their Belgium kiosks or of a huge Seattle based coffee company planning on moving in next door by the end of the summer.

It’s hard to juggle a job that has you working either super early or fairly late with a husband, a baby, two cats and a house (not to mention dishes, cooking, laundry).
If I were in these shoes two years ago, a job like I have now would’ve never even been a consideration. But now? Well, now it beats unemployment in a country where the crisis is finally starting to hit a bit harder.

But I hate waking up before dawn, creeping around my cold house to get dressed, shove breakfast in my mouth and be out the door in time to bike/catch the tram to work. I hate that my son rarely wakes up to me and that I only see him for maybe 2 hours in the evening before he falls asleep.
I hate that for those two hours I’m usually exhausted from being up so early and that my back is often too sore from work to hold him for very long, especially now that he’s asking to be held with his little hands up and his eyes pleading.
I hate wanting to spend some time with my husband, to try to keep some spark in our marriage, and falling asleep before 10 pm because I just can’t keep my eyes open any more.

Having Tay totally changed my life in a way that is less and less compatible with my job. Right now I’m trying to just go day by day and make the best of my situation, although what I’m really looking forward to is our first “family” vacation at the end of May when we’ll be going to Southern Spain for 2 weeks.

I can think of nothing I’d rather do than relax and enjoy some sunshine with my two favorite men in the world.

p.s. – Daddy, if you’re reading this, you’re my other favorite man in the world. 🙂

I Need a Dermatologist, Stat!


So nothing new with Tay, first off. Still no crawling, but the rocking on hands and knees thing is still going on.
He had massive, leaking down the leg, puddling around his feet in his bouncer diarrhea last night that I failed to notice at first because I have a head cold and my sinuses are so clogged that I didn’t even smell the neon yellow poovalanche until it was decorating much of the bouncer, the boy and the floor.

Anyway, on to me.

A few weeks ago, following my recovery from the horrible, itching awful rash on my upper body (which seems to be due to an allergy to perfume in deoderant), the back of my knees turned bright red and also started itching. I put the same cream that worked on my armpits on my knees and the itching stopped, but the bright redness stayed. Then it became inflamed and now, over the past 3 weeks or so, the skin has become dry, brittle, purplish and painful and in the last few days, small pussy sores are erupting on the area (which now ranges from mid inner thigh to almost mid calf).
It used to just hurt when I bent my knees, but now the sores all hurt horrible, even when not bending my legs. I went to a doctor on Friday who has no clue what it could be (I have matching sore on my breasts, but without the pain and dry, discolored skin). At first she thought maybe impetigo, but apparently that’s only sores and not the bad skin. She’s supposedly trying to get me an emergency appointment with a dermatologist today, but I have yet to hear back from her. I’ll be stopping in on my way to pick up Tay to see if she was successful. If not, this may actually warrant a trip to the ER. I can’t hold my child on my lap very long from the pain. I can’t bend my knees without severe pain and I’m starting to have trouble walking, sleeping and even wearing pants from the painful sores. Clearly this can’t go on much longer without some sort of emergency treatment.

I’m intentionally NOT Googling the symptoms because I have enough scary ideas dancing through my head (lupus, cellulitis, other auto-immune disorders that are chronic and can only be somewhat controlled with pain management and no real cure). I’m just really hoping this can be taken care of soon, and hopefully with answers that aren’t too upsetting.