Over the last few months, I have started to feel like this is actually happening. No more weird, long vacation in Europe with the dog; my own furniture is in place; the holidays have passed. And Max is nine months – how did that happen?!
A lot has happened in this time; too much to try to blog about. So I’ll just stick to a few highlights that sum up everything nicely. Sunday was a big day because Max and I got to go on a car ride with Grayson to a garden center. It is so strange not driving, ever (even though I have an official Dutch driver’s license)! We played Tetris trying to fit everything in the car, but my (rather large) Kentia palm made it back home and looks lovely by the couch. Max helped pick it out after pulling leaves off several other options. We also got the goods to barbecue for the first time here, and nothing hits the spot like some BBQ hamburgers on a sunny day.
Monday was a traumatic day to end all traumatic days. I set the garbage bag in the hallway by the front door to put out for Tuesday garbage day, and then went about my day playing with Max upstairs. When we came back down, I noticed the garbage bag was moving. A draft, I thought, from the door? We stood trapped on the stairs for a few more minutes…that’s a hefty draft. Good Lord, there’s a creature in there. Max and I jetted into the main living space and slammed the door behind us. I set Max down and progressed freaking out. I called Grayson, who rather smartly suggested I get the bag outside the house. Repeat to yourself: I’m from a farm. I’m from a farm. I mustered up some Montana courage, opened the front door, grabbed the bag and chucked it outside with significant fanfare to the alarm of passer-bys. Except I noticed it wasn’t really moving anymore, and there was a hole in the side. I cautiously came back in the house, and warily eyed Max’s baby carrier on the ground. I gingerly picked it up, and my life flashed before my eyes as a mouse huddled in the corner. I dropped the carrier like a hot potato and slammed the door to the hallway, locking Max, Penny and myself in the living area. Again, repeat after me: I’m from a farm. I’m from a farm. Oh, who am I kidding?! This isn’t any farm mouse. This is a city mouse. I made Grayson call our handyman Onno to see if he could come save us. I tried to Facetime my Dad, but he was outside and Mom wasn’t much help (as I remembered her on the couch with us when there was a mouse in the basement on the farm). I contemplated Facetiming my cousin Blake on the farm for assistance, but refrained (I mean, that’s just too far. And what would I say, congrats on your new baby; I have a mouse in my house?). The kids were no help here. Max thought it was hilarious, and laughed harder every time I screamed. And Penny…well Penny let the mouse in the house to begin with, so there’s that. What a guard dog.
“This isn’t any farm mouse. This is a city mouse.”
Onno sent his son over to help, and all 7’5 of the lanky kid shook with laughter as he helped search for the mouse. Grayson set some traps around the house that night with Penny’s peanut butter. Peter the mouse hunter came over the next day and said it was good news because it looked like just the one mouse from the unfinished basement. Lovely, thanks, I feel much better. He set some mouse-hunter traps and promised to come check them often. He also found the situation quite humorous. We’ve been told we are true Amsterdamians now, as our friends here laugh as they recollect catching mice for fun as children. I’ve calmed down considerably and hope this doesn’t deter friends from visiting. I haven’t told my friend Suedy, and she already bought her ticket to visit in June. I’m very excited to see her, so hopefully she won’t read this.
“Max will definitely be the kid trading licks of his ice cream cone with his dog.”
Max is growing like a weed. He started teething, so that’s fun for everyone. At nine months he officially has decided that it’s time to mix-up his sleeping pattern a bit (also fun). We have a weekly session with a Dutch tutor at the house, and Max decided to stay awake for the latest session. He isn’t speaking yet, but I’m fairly certain he’s catching on much quicker than Grayson and me. I joined a gym nearby, and Max goes to the crèche there while I work-out. Except he has also decided that I am his favorite person on Earth (ahhh), which means he wants to be around me. All. The. Time. There’s nothing quite like getting overhead paged mid-workout class. “Will the Mama of Max please come to reception immediately?” Geesh. Anyway, they speak Dutch to him there as well. Actually, Max is possibly already speaking, it’s just in Dutch and we don’t understand. Max is really a sweet boy who loves to smile and laugh. Penny is his absolute favorite! Max is quickly becoming Penny’s favorite as well, especially at lunch when Max shares his bread crusts with her. Max will definitely be the kid trading licks of his ice cream cone with his dog. They are quite the duo, and keep me on my toes all the time. Max has also made some friends here (as have I!), and we have a weekly playdate (wine date). Although nothing gets him (or Penny) more excited than when Grayson walks in the door after work!
While we haven’t done any “big” trips for a bit, we have been on a mission to learn more about our new country. We’ve checked out the town of Haarlem, where the “truest” form of Dutch is spoken. Zaanse Schans is a new favorite with it’s working windmills and authentic old-Holland village. Volendam is a neat little fishing village on the coast. And the tulips! Holland is known worldwide for their tulip fields, and the country is literally covered in them. We visited Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, an incredible flower “garden” of 80 acres and seven million flowers, open for just eight weeks of the year – possibly my new favorite place.
And that is a quick update on our recent adventures! Since Grandma and Grandpa Tenney just visited from Oregon and we have a family bucket-list vacation coming up, there will be some more updates very soon!