Monday, March 3, 2014

11 Months

I’m a few weeks late in posting, but Finley is 11 months old!

Last week at the doctor he was just an ounce shy of 21 pounds.
I think this is what Hannah weighed around 16 months!

One of his new favorite things to do is take a ride on Eeyore.



He’s still easy going, and moving all over the place and into everything.  He loves to pull himself up on everything.



He loves to wave and make his little cars drive across the floor.


Finley eats just about everything we give him.  He loves all his fruits and veggies, but he makes funny faces when I give him spinach.  Sleeping is still going well, except when he had a cold last week and woke up a few times during the night.  He takes two naps a day and I’ve noticed that since he’s gotten so much more mobile and active he tends to wear himself out and sleep better for naps.  This has been nice since he’s not always been the best napper.

Finley loves his family and he gets so excited when we pick Hannah up from school everyday.  Shawn was in the US a few weeks ago and when he came home, Finn squealed and flapped his arms around like a bird. He couldn’t get over to his daddy fast enough.


We’ve been working on baby sign language and so far he does the sign for “milk.”  I’ve been showing him the signs for “more” and “all done,” but he seems to have made up his own sign for “all done,” because when he’s in his high chair and he’s had enough, he raises his hands above his head and then slams them on the tray.   

Happy 11 months, Finley!
We love you so much!

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Sickies, We Had ‘Em. And Also, My Sister Was Here

Remember two weeks ago when I mentioned that Finley got a case of the pink eye?
Well, we used the doctor prescribed drops for 7 days and it cleared right up, but it came back, this time with a cough and runny nose.

And then I started to not feel well so I went to the doctor and she said it was just a virus and that it would clear on its own.  It seemed to be dragging on longer than a cold normally does for me and when I went back with a sore throat and swollen glands she sent me for a mono test, which came back negative, by the way.

“You’re negative for mono, but the test showed that you’ve had it in the past. Did you know that you’ve had it?”

I didn’t.

Apparently a person can have mono but not even know it?  This seems suspicious to me, kind of like that show on TLC where those women endure 37 or so weeks of “symptoms,” spontaneously go into labor, and then claim that they had no idea they were pregnant until the moment they deliver an 8 pound baby.  But whatever, she’s the doctor and I trust her.

Now, with the pink eye and mono scare going on I haven’t had a lot of time to tune in to the Winter Olympics, which really is a shame because I always enjoy them.  Anyway, a couple of Facebook friends had posted statuses questioning and commenting about what in the world was going on with Bob Costas’s eyes, so I googled it and what I found was that he and Finn appeared to have similar infections, although Bob’s looked so much worse.  If I could’ve I would’ve sent a bottle of antibiotic drops directly to him in Sochi.

The real drama, however, started on Monday night when Hannah got a fever and coughed pretty much from the time she went to bed until she woke up on Tuesday.  I took her to the doctor and after listening to her chest said that she had bronchitis and gave us a prescription for an antibiotic.  By Thursday evening, she wasn’t getting any better and her fever was up and down, so Friday morning I took her back to the doctor.  She listened to her chest and said, “She has pneumonia and I want you to go to Emergency at the children’s hospital now.”
I asked her what the treatment would be and she said to be prepared for a 3-4 day hospital stay and IV antibiotics.  I told her that my husband was in the US and maybe I should stop at home and pack a bag, but she stopped me and said, “No.  You go to Emergency now.”
So I flew over to the children’s hospital, illegally parked my car half on the sidewalk, half in a roundabout and rushed Hannah in.  The doctor there listened to her chest, agreed that she had pneumonia and called the nurse in to do a blood test and insert the little thingy that stays in your arm for an IV.  After the blood test, we were walked over to Radiology for a chest x-ray.

We waited a few minutes and the doctor returned and said, “I have the results and it’s good news.  Her chest x-ray is clear and her blood test is normal.  There is no pneumonia or bacteria.  We’re dealing with bronchitis caused by a virus that is just stubborn.  I’ll send the nurse in to remove the IV and you can go home now.”

Well.  Alrighty.  That sure was a lot of excitement and worry for nothing.

Twenty-four hours later, the fever broke, the coughing subsided a bit and Hannah was up playing and her appetite was returning to normal.

While all of this was going on, Shawn was in the US for work.  But the good news?
My sister was here with us. 
We spent the majority of her time here at my house, resting and taking care of sick kids, but we did manage to get out into the city for some shopping, lunch and pictures.


CSC_0459aDSC_0449DSC_0450DSC_0452DSC_0451DSC_0455DSC_0454Thank you, Traci, for being here with us…taking care of kids…cleaning my house…and everything else you did for us.  I wish we all had been feeling 100% so that we could’ve done more, but I think Hannah summed it up perfectly when she missed a party at school that she’d been looking forward to, "Well, I do get to stay home with Traci all week and that is so much better than some party."

Friday, February 14, 2014

But The Greatest of These is Love



“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”
                                                                                         I Corinthians 13:13

Sunday, February 2, 2014


February 2nd is Liichtmëssdag in Luxembourg.  Kids make lanterns at school and carry them door to door, singing the “Léiwer Herrgottsblieschen” song and asking for candy.
When we first moved here, I didn’t know about Liichtmëssdag, so I was caught off guard but luckily I had a bag of American candy on hand and the kids seemed thrilled with it.

Tonight our doorbell rang just as we were about to eat dinner.  For some reason, Hannah got really shy and only wanted to watch from upstairs.

Many of the kids speak English (along with Luxembourgish, French, and German) and Shawn told one little girl that her homemade lantern was really cool.
”I don’t know what that means,” she told him.
Then she went on, ”In the song, the children ask for ham and peas, but we would rather have sweets.”

I don’t blame them.
Who’d want to get ham and peas from complete strangers?
It’d be sorta like going to that one house who passes out oranges or toothbrushes on Trick-or-Treat.

So, while all our family and friends in America are waiting to see if the groundhog sees his shadow and getting ready for the big Super Bowl game, we’ll be over here with our candy and lanterns.

And our peas and ham.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Last Weekend

Last Saturday marked one year since we said goodbye to my dad.
I think about him and miss him every single day.
I especially miss him when Hannah says something funny or Finn does something cute…I wish he was here to see this.

Saturday Hannah and I ran to the grocery store and on the way home we got behind a pack of cyclists so we took a slightly different route.  In a full British accent, Hannah said, “I’ve not been here before,” with the been pronounced like bean. 
I want to call him up and tell him just what she said.  I can still hear his laugh.

When we were home at Christmas, I came across this picture and frame in my parents’ house from the day we brought Hannah home from the hospital. 
It’s exactly how I want to remember my dad.


Hannah’s teacher has a little stuffed dog named Hamish who lives in a metal suitcase on her desk at school. Each Friday, a child gets to bring Hamish home for the weekend and on Monday they get to tell the class all about what they did with him.
Last weekend was Hannah’s turn.  We snapped some pictures to email to her teacher and on Sunday night, Hannah wrote up a little recap of Hamish’s weekend.  She noted that Hamish ate some cheese (spelled cheez) and went to the cinema (spelled sinema). 


As far as the rest of the weekend it was a pretty nice one.
Saturday I had a much needed girls night out with my friends here in Luxembourg.

Hannah’s French teacher was at the girls night out (she’s a good friend of my friend who organized the GNO) and it was the first time I’ve ever heard her speak English.  Have you ever been out at a posh place, dressed up in something other than your normal mom uniform of yoga pants and a long sleeved t-shirt and everyone is speaking different languages and drinking out of very fancy glasses and you’re feeling like I CAN TOTALLY HANG WITH THIS CROWD?  Like, I’ve got this international thing down?
This was not one of those times. 
Because as Hannah’s French teacher was leaving she said au revoir to me and leaned in to faire la bise, or cheek kiss, as you do in Europe.
(I should tell you that faire la bise is really awkward for me.  Is the other person going to do one kiss, two, or three?  And should I just press my cheek to theirs and make a kiss sound, or should I actually kiss their cheek? I never know.)
I’m not sure what happened next, but somehow instead of faire la bise, my nose bumped Hannah’s French teacher’s cheek and I ended up kissing her nose.

Clearly, I am very chic.  And so very American.

Shawn and the kids stayed home and from the looks of the house when I returned, they had a smashing time.  Shawn sent me this picture while I was out.


Sunday morning Shawn and Hannah went to church and I stayed home with Finley because when he woke up, both of his eyes were pink, goopy, and slightly crusty.  I suspected pink eye and a trip to the doctor first thing Monday morning confirmed it. 
“Eets not serious,” she told me.  “Just a beet of zee conjunctivitis.”
She wrote me a prescription for some eye drops and even though it was cold, the sun was out so Finn and I walked about 1/2 mile to the pharmacy.  There’s a wonderful English speaking chemist (that’s what they call pharmacists here) near the pediatrician’s office and even though I’ve gotten sorta competent in speaking to her in French, she always gives me instructions in English as well.
She wrote on the box: 1 goutte 3 fois/jour pendant 7 jours.
I told her that I understood and then she held up one finger and said, “One drop in every eye.”
I probably don’t have to tell you how much that tickled me. 
I can only hope that native French speakers find my mistakes just as adorable.

(Especially Hannah’s French teacher.)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ten Months

Finley is ten months old!

So, what’s he up to these days?
His eighth tooth just popped through this week.  He’s got four on top and four on bottom.
He’s eating just about everything.  He had his first grilled cheese sandwich, cut into slices, and he held on to those pieces like someone was going to take them from him.


He’s still nursing 4-5 times per day and eats solids for lunch and dinner. 
Finley’s back to sleeping well again – it took us about 6 nights to get back on schedule after we returned to Luxembourg from the US for Christmas.  Jet lag is no joke, people.
He’s been going to bed around 7:30 and waking around 7 in the morning.  He takes a morning nap and an afternoon nap, and he typically sleeps well for at least one nap each day.  Sometimes the other nap is a bust.  But we can’t complain because he sleeps like a log during the night.


He’s army crawling all over and has crawled up on all fours a few times, although ever so tentatively. 
(Hannah started crawling at 10 months also.)

He loves to stand and play with his toys on the coffee table.

He also manages to get himself stuck under it.  Every single day.


Because of his recent mobility, I’ve set up the pack-n-play so that he can play there while I do my workouts in the living room.  Then I take it into the kitchen when I make dinner.  He seems to like it.


Shawn thinks that it’s kind of hillbilly to come home to a baby in a pack-n-play in the kitchen.  Especially when the baby is only wearing a diaper.
(Not that that’s ever happened or anything.)


And speaking of diapers, changing them is still a circus act because he rolls and wiggles and scoots away every time.   He’s got stuff to do, I guess.


Finley’s still easy going, smiles all the time and is in desperate need of a haircut.  But I just can’t because he has a few little curls and the way his hair looks after he’s had a hat on cracks me up.

He waves bye-bye, loves to play peek-a-boo, cracks up when anyone sneezes and loves when we make a big fuss when he does something new.
He also adores his big sister.  I think his favorite part of the day (besides eating) is when Hannah runs out of school and gives him a hug. 

A couple of times, we’ve heard him say what sounds like “uh oh.”  He also says “dada” and “mama.”

The biggest thing he did in the last month was travel from Luxembourg to the US for his first Christmas and New Year’s.  He did great, although the first two hours on the flight back were tiring because he was so wiggly and just wanted to touch everything.  Once he fell asleep, he slept until we landed.

New Year’s Eve with my good friend and one of his favorite ladies.

Happy ten months, Finn Man. 
It’s hard to believe that in a few short months we’ll be celebrating your first birthday.
We love you so much!

Monday, January 6, 2014

2013: C’est Fini. Welcome 2014.

I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t just a little bit glad that 2013 is over. 
It was a year of high highs and low lows. 
Trials and blessings.
And yes, we put another (successful!) notch on our expat belts and grew our family by one sweet boy, but we also felt sorrow and grief like never before.

Looking back, here are some of the highlights.  While some of these aren’t happy times, I refuse – REFUSE – to let the hardships and sadness overshadow all the good.  I made up my mind early on that I wasn’t going to wallow or carry on in ways that are beyond reasonable because ya know what?  Every bit of this is part of our story.  And I have full faith in the One who’s doing the writing.

In the early morning of January 25, we circled around my dad as he took his last breath.

51 days later, we welcomed our sweet baby boy into our family.  Finley was born after 4 short hours of labor, weighing 9 pounds and 4 ounces.  Even now, 9 months later sometimes I still can’t believe that I had such a big baby.   


I think this may be my absolute favorite picture of 2013. 


My first Mother’s Day as a mom of two.


In May we said goodbye to two more family members.


Finley made his first trip to the US and got to meet my grandma for the first time.


After a couple of weeks and a few scary doctor appointments, Hannah continued to fully recover from an illness. 


In August, we went on the vacation of a lifetime, renting an RV and driving around Europe.  You can read about all of the adventure here.
THIS, however, will probably be one of my favorite travel memories ever.


Shawn and I celebrated 13 years of marriage.


Hannah started Kindergarten. (It’s called Year 1 at the British school.)


We were devastated to lose my grandma in October, just three days after her birthday.  I traveled alone with both kids to the US to be there for her funeral.


Hannah turned 6!


After my grandma’s funeral, my mom came back to Luxembourg with us.


We celebrated our third Thanksgiving in Luxembourg.


And finally, for the third time this year, we traveled to the US, this time for Christmas.  It was Finley’s first and it felt so good to be home.  We remembered and laughed with so many dear friends.  I’m so thankful for friendships, and especially for the friends who love me for who I am and talk me out of my crazy.  They are calm for my soul and I miss them.


We’re back in Luxembourg now – we just arrived home this morning.   The part where we say goodbye to our family at the airport and when they stand outside of security, waving until we can no longer see them, well, that doesn’t get any easier - no matter how many times we’ve done it before.

Our travels were smooth and uneventful and then we discovered that somewhere between Atlanta and Paris the airline lost Finley’s car seat and stroller.  There’s nothing like being 10 minutes from home sweet home after a 14 hour trip and then you can’t actually get home because the airline lost your baby’s car seat. 

So, goodbye 2013.  You were great in so many ways.
But I’m looking forward to a better 2014.