A Snapshot in Time – Just Like That


And just like that…my newest one is older than my oldest (only) one was in the header picture of this blog. So thats how good I am at keeping things current – HA! Consider this the obligatory “apology” for being absent in regular blogging.


Enough of that. I want to remember these days. They will soon be gone, I realize this more and more everyday. I want to remember what it was like having a big 3 year old and a little munchkin who just turned one. How are they so stinking’ cute? Its almost impossible to get cuter, in my opinion.

LEVI – Oh my goodness, the THREEnager is here. For a while, the question was “What?” and now it is the infamous “Why?” The tantrums are real, the attitude is unreal, and the mischief and deception has probably only just begun!

He is SO smart, too smart for his own good sometimes. He is very observant, and has a wild imagination. He is obsessed with “NO” signs (the red circle with the line through it), and always wants to figure out what they are prohibiting. He is also a car brand expert. He can rattle off at least a dozen brands by recognizing the logo or the hubcaps…so hilarious. He can say and recognize all the letters, colors, days, basic objects and commands, and numbers to 10 all in French, as well as a bunch of simple songs.


He is OBSESSED with reading. He can be found with “a pile of books” several times throughout the day. He looks at each one and then stacks it to the side of him or back on the shelf. But woe to you (mostly to Zach) if you accidentally knock over the pile. His memory is incredible. He can tell you the title and most of the story of basically all of the books that he has. After reading a book once or twice, he can start to finish the sentences for you while you read. We have not yet reached a point where he will ask you to stop reading outloud to him. Even upwards of an hour and he will still want more. Every night, we read one regular story, and then one story from “The Greatest Story Ever!” aka the Jesus Storybook Bible. Prayer time has been really sweet with him lately. We are using the five parts of prayer to help him learn to pray for different things. It is sweet to see how HS is teaching him at such a young age. You can tell at the weirdest times that he really does understand concepts. How about the other day when I was literally about to spank his bottom and he said, “Can I have mercy this time, Mommy?” Oh my word! Well what am I supposed to say to that? Of course, I will give you mercy.

Cars are still his favorite toy. Really, they are the only necessary toy. In fact….any toy that isn’t a vehicle will quickly become one if no vehicles are to be found. He loves to vroom, zoom, sort, crash, name, line up, park, etc all manner of matchbox cars. He loves Blaze, and his current favorite is Paw Patrol. He loves to ask what emergencies there are so he and his pups can go and save the day. Don’t worry, you can certainly count on him to provide all necessary sound effects and theme music. He is also a vehicle most of the time. He has all sorts of tools that he can pull out when necessary. These range from water jets (obviously), to hand-holders, to door knockers, to spy goggles. He can help in pretty much any situation you find yourself in.


He loves his brother. Sometimes he does not express this love in the best of ways, or at least in the ways that Zach feels the love, haha. Yelling, “no touch!” taking away things he deems are dangerous, grabbing his face with both hands and planting a giant hard kiss on the head, kicking, pushing, and the ever-popular nonchalant bumping into him while walking are all ways he shows his affection these days. He has been sweet to talk, sing, and make funny noises to keep Zach entertained in the car or at the table. Zach thinks he is so funny, it is cute to see how he looks up to him.

Speaking of ZACHARY. His big blue eyes and snaggletooth smile get EVERYONE. EVERYTIME. He is so precious. He is very well traveled, he has been to 9 different countries on 3 continents in just one little year of life. He still doesn’t have much hair, but we are thinking it looks reddish, or at least strawberry blonde. He took his first steps two weeks ago, and now he is walking like crazy. He is starting to favor walking over crawling because he has gotten pretty fast pretty quickly. He also likes to climb. He will be halfway up the stairs or on top of a chair in a few seconds flat. He’s also just started doing pull-ups on the table and the edge of the room divider wall. Like feet-off-the-ground pull-ups. He loves to play with ball. He says “mama” and “ah-ball” as his only words that correspond to objects. He does make a “Pa” sound whenever he sees animals, so not sure what he si trying to say but its definitely a word to him. He also loves stuffed animals, especially a random stuffed monkey that used to be Levi’s. He can tell you what the monkey says and he can say, “uh-oh!” when he throws something out of his highchair. He starts clapping when he hears music or you say, “good job!”



He loves to take a bath. Which is convenient since one of his favorite activities is digging in the trash as well as playing in the toilet…but that’s not as cute. He seems confident in the water. He stands up and sits down 100 times during each bath. He also likes to lay down and put his face in to blow bubbles. Lately, I’ve just been throwing him in the bath instead of changing poopy diapers. Probably because it actually seems easier than wrestling him to the ground and trying to hold all appendages while also changing the nasty diaper.

He is a pretty flexible baby, especially with naps. I am really enjoying putting him down for naps and bedtime these days. It’s just so sweet. We have a simple routine where I give him his bottle while I check his diaper and change his clothes if necessary, then I turn on the noise maker and close the blinds while he is laying there going to town on the bottle. I pick him up and hold him while he finishes drinking, and then when he is done (usually not the whole bottle), he pushes the bottle away, puts in the paci, closes his eyes, and buries his head in my shoulder. I mean doesn’t that sound ridiculously precious? Because it is. So I hold him close for an undetermined amount of time (cause he’s just so darn cute its hard to put him down), and he snuggles in with his Didi and just goes right to sleep. I don’t want to forget this season. I love the little sqeaking sound his paci makes, and the way he grabs my hair.


He’s bigger than Levi was, but he is still a peanut compared to other kiddos his age (or younger). He is a really good eater, too. It’s so adorable when he says, “more” in sign language. He likes peas, beans, carrots, and broccoli. He loves spaghetti, and also gnawing on hunks of chicken or cheese, and he will only eat fruit if you give it to him whole – like a peach or plum. His favorite food, though, is his pacifier. Levi never really got into a paci so this is a new one for me. He is a super snuggly cuddle-lover, and has recently become obsessed with hair. As soon as you pick him up, his arm shoots to the back of your head, where he either strokes your hair or the back of your neck (in Daddy’s case since he doesn’t have long hair). It’s pretty funny.

This is probably the most challenging and most exhausting season of my life so far, but I wanted to take a few minutes (or few days, really) to write this out so I could remember what it was like. I know it will be gone before I can blink (or honestly…at this rate it will be gone before I post this blog), and I want to remember the details so they don’t fade away.


I love you, little boys. You’re doing great so far. Don’t grow up too fast…but it wont hurt my feelings if you sleep in just a tad later tomorrow, and the next day, and maybe the next. Much love to you both, and please hang in there… I’m trying my best, but this Mommy-ing stuff is hard!



Fall Veggies

Its a busy season of life, and it seems like it takes a miracle to get anything done with these two crazy boys. That includes blog posts. Usually, unless there is something big or important to share, a blog post never gets done. However, I’ve been reminded recently, that indeed many of the things that have become “everyday” to me are actually quite different. Trying to help some new expat friends to get settled in has given me fresh eyes and a new perspective about the things we’ve come to accept as normal!

I’m hoping this gives me more of an opportunity to record the seemingly mundane of our everyday experiences. We will look back on them with fondness and hopefully friends and family back in the US may find them interesting.

There is a small grocery store just steps from the door of our apartment building. We usually do most of our shopping there. We bring our own bags and anything we buy we carry back home. We tend to stock up more than our neighbors, and only go every few days. Here, it’s not uncommon to shop by the day or even meal by meal. The store is great because there is fresh produce, shelf items, and a butcher there. Also…you can’t beat the convienience factor. I do get excited, however, when we have time to load up in the car and drive to a local market. On Thursday and Sunday mornings, the farmers from the surrounding mountain villages come into the city to sell their bounty. Most items you buy from them will be “organic” and in peak season. We try to do this as often as we can, and we tend to buy more at once.


I made this haul a few weeks ago, all for under $15! You’re looking at carrots, zucchini, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, bananas, apples, peanuts, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, and broccoli (imported, not local).

And after soaking in a bright purple mixture of potassium permaganate and giving it a good rinsing, it’s all ready for your eating pleasure. I was proud of my purchases and we ate on them for a couple of weeks.

The Big 3

Levi had an awesome 3rd birthday party, complete with his “Digger” cake, friends, and games. As you can see, Zach enjoyed the party as well.

His actual birthday was a few days later, and was celebrated with a trip to the sporting goods store to pick up his new bike, homemade pizza, and family movie night.


Nana Goes to Venice

After getting back home and settling in for a whopping month or so…it was time to hit the road again. We were attending a leadership conference in Europe, and then tacked on a few days to spend in Venice with Nana (Jonathan’s Mom). While at the conference, the boys went to bed super late and had to be woken up each morning, despite the broad daylight and loud parents getting ready. We were all VERY tired this week.

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Zach and I spent time hanging out at the pool while Daddy and Levi had fun swimming! As you can tell, I think Zach would have preferred to swim too!

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Bus ride back to the airport with a beautiful field of sunflowers.

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We met Nana at the airport and took a water taxi into the city.

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Loved meeting good friends in Venice!Venice Vacation - 7 of 27

Unfortunately, our first night is where it took a nasty turn. It was hot during the day but nice and cool in the evenings so naturally we had left the windows in the main room cracked. After noticing a couple of mosquitos coming in, we shut the windows. We found out later that night when we were under complete and utter ATTACK that more than just a few had gotten in and they were there for blood. No pun intended. They literally sucked the life out of all of us. Levi fared the absolute worst, and I felt like the most horrible parent in the world. Look at the poor thing!! He had over 50 bites and was so swollen. Poor poor baby, I hurt just looking at this picture.Venice Vacation - 8 of 27

It didn’t however, stop him from wanting to be out and about exploring.Venice Vacation - 9 of 27Venice Vacation - 10 of 27Venice Vacation - 11 of 27Venice Vacation - 12 of 27

Dream come true as we all took a Gondola ride at sunset down the grand canal.Venice Vacation - 13 of 27

Fortunately, Zach was wearing long sleeves, pants, and socks, and since he sleeps on his tummy, one side of his face was safely squished into the mattress. But on this one side of his face/head he had 45 bites. He must have a different skin type because his didn’t swell or appear to really bother him much at all but they do look awful, don’t they??Venice Vacation - 14 of 27

We took a water bus out to the island of Murano and got to see glass blowing demonstrations, as well as marvel at all the beautiful glass creations. We also had a quick picnic lunch, and then headed back to the apartment to rest.Venice Vacation - 15 of 27

Nana let us have a date night!!! We walked around child-free, and ended up eating outside a nice restaurant in their beautiful garden area.Venice Vacation - 16 of 27

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Nana loved seeing Levi dipping his bread in olive oil!Venice Vacation - 18 of 27

All of us looking quite chipper on the 3am ferry. Needless to say, this was NOT a restful trip at all. We saw some beautiful things and had a great time together, but it was a very hard trip! Luckily, the hard things fade away in memories and we have these great pictures to remember the wonderful things by!Venice Vacation - 19 of 27

Zach being happy and adorable on the plane ride home.Venice Vacation - 20 of 27

Levi was so happy to be reunited with “The Cookie Car!” which is usually parked at the bakery around the corner.Venice Vacation - 21 of 27

Enjoying OJ at breakfast at a cafe one morning. The boy loves him some fresh squeezed OJ, and will down your whole glass in 6.2 seconds if you’re not careful. And then you’ll have to order another one. Not that that happened or anything.Venice Vacation - 24 of 27

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This day at lunch, Levi wanted more ketchup for his fries. We told him to go ask the waiter in Arabic, and to our complete shock, he actually did it! We were so proud and impressed by his courage! But seriously, the cuteness, who wouldn’t oblige him with some extra ketchup???Venice Vacation - 27 of 27

We are so thankful that Nana flew across the pond by herself to visit us! We had a great and memorable time together. Come back soon!

Zach Comes Home

We were quite thrilled to have Grammie come back Home with us. She stayed for a couple more weeks, and this is how she spent the majority of her time.

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Some friends here gave me and Zach a mixed-culture baby shower when we got back.  Since I already had the majority of the baby things I needed that I kept from Levi, my American friends decided to bring diapers in lieu of gifts. The local friends that came thought it was very interesting. Practical, yet very different from what they would do. Here I am opening one of the gifts from a local friend – a glass candy dish. Maybe she figured I needed the chocolate!

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Both boys had a blast 🙂

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Levi LOVES his little brother.

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It is not unusual for silence to fall over the house for 15-20 minutes at a time while this happens in Levi’s room.

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Zach is only slightly happier in the carseat than Levi ever was.

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How Grammie spent every afternoon!

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Grammy with her grandbabies.

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Family of 4.

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I love this face that Zach makes all the time!

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We still have a lot of adjusting to do…come back soon, Grammie!

Zachary’s Birth Story

We arrived in Amsterdam when I was just over 35 weeks along. My blood pressure had been high, but well under control during this pregnancy, so I was anticipating getting to experience a “natural” labor – meaning that I would experience the breaking of water, the contractions, etc and whenever he came, he came. When we went in for my checkup with the OBGYN there, however, he informed me that he would still plan to induce 2-3 weeks early because the risks outweighed the benefits of Zach cooking a bit longer. He said my pressure would only go up, and there was really no reason to wait.

This meant we really only had a week or so before his arrival, since when they induce, or at least once they break your water, it is best to deliver within 24 hours, or get a C-section if you’re not progressing naturally. So this changed our mindset a bit, and we spent the next few days making sure we had everything ready to welcome the little guy home – to a home that actually wasn’t ours. We borrowed a few baby things from friends to supplement what we had been able to bring.

This also meant that Grammie, my mom, would not be able to be there for the birth as we had originally planned. We looked into changing her ticket, but it was cost prohibitive, and would have meant even more missed work for her. We decided to leave her ticket as it was, and would welcome her help at 2 weeks old! In the meantime, my Dad(Papaw) decided on the spur-of-the-moment that he would like to come out and be there for the birth. It was comforting to know that Levi could stay home and sleep in peace if we were overnight at the hospital. He planned to arrive the day before I was to go in for the induction.

The Netherlands has a very high percentage of midwife assisted, in-home births. The majority of other births are midwife assisted at a birthing center, and the small minority of “high-risk” births are the only ones permitted to be at a hospital. We do hear that you can choose to rent a room at the hospital – if there is one available – if you prefer that to giving birth at home, but it is not guaranteed you will have a spot so you can’t really count on it. That being said, I was considered high-risk, so we would be planning to induce and deliver at the University hospital. It is a large teaching hospital that happened to be about 10 minutes drive from where we were staying! The induction was scheduled for Tuesday, April 19, just before I was 38 weeks along. I was instructed to call the L&D ward at 6pm to see if there was a place open for me. I was anxiously awaiting for the moment to arrive ALL DAY LONG. I stared at the screen on my phone as it changed from 5:59, and I immediately called the number they gave me. I was surprised and disappointed when the nurse casually replied that they were full, and I should call back at 7:30. We all found this pretty funny, and so we decided to go ahead and have dinner. I called back when they said, and they told me that they did have a bed saved for me, but they were cleaning and getting it set up, so if I could come in around 9pm that would be great.

This actually turned out better than we could have planned. We finished dinner, playtime, and bedtime with Levi just like normal, and then were able to leave while he was asleep.

Like I said, the hospital was a less than 10 minute drive, and we were there in no time. Jonathan dropped me off at the front, and I went straight in and sat down in the lobby to wait for him to park the car. What seemed like at least a half hour later, Jonathan came in a different door and looked very confused. Jonathan is the most directionally adept person I know, so this was pretty surprising. He asked me what door I had come in, and I pointed to the one about 20 feet from where I was sitting, the one he dropped me off in front of. He did not believe me! It was so funny how turned around he got at that hospital. I’ll admit it was very convoluted the way the parking garage and entrance were situated (I didn’t see this until we were leaving of course).

Anyway, we make our way to the L&D area, where is is dark and quiet. We did manage to find a nurse who showed us to the room and hooked me up to all the monitors. At around 11pm, the doctor and his student (this was a teaching hospital, so there was always 2 of everything…oh joy) came in to explain what they were going to do. This was a pleasant change from my previous birth experience with Levi, where I kept getting ushered into places and hooked up to things without much information. For my induction in the US, they started me by hooking me up to the pitocin right away and cranking it up to what felt like full-blast, and the contractions became unbearable after only a few hours. I was pretty traumatized by that experience and so I had some trepidation coming in to this one.

****At this point, if you are not interested in hearing about details of dilation and contractions and pushing….etc….then please feel free to skip this part of the story and scroll down to the pictures and coming home event! ****

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11pm – So anyway, the doc and his student came in and explained that I was only dilated about 2cm, and they would prefer I was around 4cm before we started any pitocin or breaking the water, etc. They said they would like to see the labor progress as naturally as possible, and without pitocin, if possible. I like this idea. The plan now was to insert a balloon that they would inflate with a small amount of water. This would put pressure on the cervix and hopefully cause it to flatten. It was minimally invasive, but they wanted me to stay overnight so they could continue to monitor my blood pressure. Jonathan was sent home, I was moved to “the ward,” as they kept calling it, and we both tried to get some sleep. Jonathan sent me this picture to show me Levi was just fine!

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The doctor and student said they’d be back in the morning to check the success of the balloon. About 1:15, I was settled in and tried to go to sleep. At 3:15, I wake up to use the bathroom and was so loud about it that I woke up a roommate I didn’t realize existed. Oops, sorry about that! We both tossed and turned the rest of the night, and were pretty much awake by 6:30.

7am, someone came in and delivered juice to me. It turns out it was meant for my roommate. This is when the next shift of nurses seemed to discover I was there and just who exactly I was. I guess sneaking in “The Ward” so late at night was a bit unusual. I begin chit chatting with my roommate and discover she has had the balloon in for almost 24 hours and it still hasn’t helped her progress. Slightly discouraging news, since apparently they told her it could take up to 36 hours!

8am, I contemplate taking a shower but I am starving and I don’t want to risk missing breakfast.

9am…breakfast arrives, praise the Lord. I send Jonathan a picture since we’ve been texting back and forth that morning and he is afraid he is going to have to break in and deliver me food (visiting hours in The Ward don’t start until 10am).

9:45am, the doctor and his student come in to check me and the balloon is out! This means I’m at least 3cm, so we are ready to get this baby moving. Literally. The doc says he will notify the L&D area and as soon as a bed opens up they will move me down there.

11:45am, the bread cart arrives and I get lunch. The bread cart lady was the only person I saw at the hospital who couldn’t speak English. She was very frustrated with me for not being Dutch, and she decided just to pick out my lunch for me instead of letting me point to words I recognized on the menu.

12:15pm, I’m done with lunch and still just waiting, so I decide to take a shower. Nothing else to do but wait, and my roommate’s husband is in our room visiting so I also stay out to dry my hair and put on some mascara. Jonathan arrives a bit later with more lunch and to hang out.

1:45pm, the nurse comes in to apologize for how long its taking to get me a bed. I say no problem, and just out of curiosity, I ask how many beds there are. 6! I couldn’t believe it. And this was a large teaching hospital! This really shows how rare the hospital births are here.

2pm, a bed opens up, and they come to move us to the room where Zachary will make his appearance!!! They want to take the bed I’m in, but I decide to walk. We are not sure why the bed had to come too since there is already one in the room. This is still a mystery.

2:45pm, doctor and student come in to break my water and see if we can get labor started. Everyone’s English is phenomenal, but there were a few phrases that I heard people say that contained the same mistakes. It was entertaining for us. One of these was “rupture the membrames.” It kept cracking me up and I never corrected anyone. So when I go to deliver my next baby here they will probably still be saying it.

3:45pm, not much progression, so they start the pitocin iv.

4:55pm, contractions are starting to get a bit stronger and more frequent. Jonathan runs out for food, and literally 2 minutes after he leaves, the motor starts beeping like crazy because Zach’s heart rate has dropped out. Not going to lie, I started to freak out just a little bit that he was gone.

5:05pm, nurse comes in to fix monitor and easily finds him again. She leaves to go ask doc if she should increase pitocin or not. I’m thinking we’re good at this point but they are the experts.

5:15pm, I start freaking out a bit more because they are definitely stronger and looking regular. Jonathan come back!!!

5:45pm, Jonathan gets back right after my dinner arrives. After just google searching whether it was ok to eat during labor, it was funny to see the slab of meat, potato salad and Lima beans I was served. Forget ice chips…Bon Apetit

6:15pm, doc was happy to see I was still here after meeting us last night. He said he really wanted to help me deliver so he was glad I waited on him. He checked and I had progressed to 4cm. They went ahead and increased pitocin.

7:00pm, I had progressed to about 5 cm, soon after this the pain started getting more intense. At this point in labor with Levi, I still had most of the night to go, and would not deliver him until 11 the next morning. I got an epidural and ended up being completely numb through the rest of delivery. So this time around I was concerned with the intensity of contractions the pitocin was bringing, and I didn’t think I could make it hours and hours more. I requested to speak with the doc about pain medication. You may remember I had back surgery last year. Because I still had remnants of nerve damage in part of my left leg, the doctor had told me he didn’t know if the anesthesiologist would approve me to get an epidural. I was hoping at this point he would approve me because I felt like I was going to die. And I told Jonathan so…several times.

8:00pm, the pain was extremely intense, and I told Jonathan I was stupid not to have asked earlier for pain meds and that I just couldn’t do it (as if there was a choice at that point) and that I was for sure going to die.

8:15pm,  I start frantically telling Jonathan that, “MY BODY IS PUSHING HIM OUT!!! CALL THE NURSE!!!” I was so surprised by this sensation since last time I didn’t feel anything at this point of labor. With Levi, I used the heart rate monitor beeping to let me know when a contraction was coming and I needed to push. This time around…I COULD FEEL EVERYTHING. Jonathan is pressing the call button like crazy to get someone to come in. I think they thought I was just in pain and still wanted to talk about an epidural. Nope, I just didn’t want my husband to have to deliver the child that was PUSHING HIMSELF OUT.

8:30pm, the doctor arrives and realizes it’s go time! I push through 3 contractions, and…

8:45pm, Zachary David arrives. The doctor says, “give me your hands.” I am shaking uncontrollably, but at least I’m lucid this time! They place my little boy in my trembling hands, and then he rests on my chest. Wow, what a feeling. I couldn’t believe I did it! I really thought I was going to die before actually delivering this child but there we were, alive…and it was over! I had a couple of minor tears that the doctor stitched up, and then everyone left the room.

For the next hour and half, we didn’t see or hear from anyone. Sometime after 10, they come in and weigh and measure him and check on my bleeding. This was neat to have the time, but I was really uncomfortable since I was still sitting on the same bed where I delivered, and it was really messy. I really wanted to get up and use the bathroom and clean up but I was hooked up to fluids on the iv.

Zachary’s stats:

48 cm / 18.9in
2750 g / 6lbs 1oz

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The midwife came and checked us both out, and then told us we could either stay and they would try to find a bed for Jonathan, or we could head home if we would prefer. So at 2:30am, we headed back home with our new, tiny little person. Papaw and Levi were sleeping, so we went on to bed without them being any the wiser.

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The next morning, we had planned for Levi to get to “discover” Zach, and also see the present Zach had brought him. We hoped this might stave off some of the jealousy from the get-go if it worked. He seemed smitten with him right away.

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We felt so thankful for how the timing of his birth happened so beautifully. I felt so great, like 1000% better than I had after having Levi and staying in the hospital for 3 days!!! Call me crazy, but the day after having Zach I decided I was totally up for another one already! Haha that feeling didn’t last too long before we realized just how full our hands were going to be with both of these crazy sweet boys. Thank you, Lord, for your good good gifts to us.

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Amsterdam Days

We’ve definitely come to love this city. It is both an interesting and beautiful place. Despite some of its famed unsavory-ness, it is clean (or at least well kept), and very easy to get around to see all it has to offer, both in the city and in the surrounding area. Although this stay was geared toward both work and the safe delivery of our child, we did in fact succeed in getting out and about to some of our favorite places as well as many new ones too.

Shortly after arriving, we celebrated our 9 year anniversary. Jonathan arranged childcare and a fantastic surprise date for us! I had absolutely no idea where we were headed, so color me surprised when we ended up at an old building, and were let inside by a strange man taking us to see the “architect” we had an appointment with. I really thought it was some kind of dinner theatre, but I changed my mind and got slightly concerned when the host did not take us to our seats but rather locked us in a strange room. It turned out to be a live game where you had to actually find different clues that eventually (if you were clever enough) would allow you to unlock the door of the room and escape before the time ran out. Our host had told Jonathan beforehand that the room was really meant for at least 4 people, and it would be very difficult with only 2. That didn’t stop us from figuring it out and escaping, though (9-months pregnant and all). Anyway it was super fun and I would definitely recommend it!Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 1 of 31

Some friends were traveling and graciously allowed us to use their home. This was one of the biggest blessings of the trip. Levi called it “new home,” but it might as well have been heaven with all those toys there were to play with! One of his favs was the hot pink stroller.Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 2 of 31Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 3 of 31

This is a train stop. The public transportation system is incredible here! Levi loved every minute of it too.Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 5 of 31

The fire truck was almost as fun as the trains. This was outside the grocery store that was less than a 10 minute walk from “new home.”Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 6 of 31

My dad decided at the last minute that he would like to fly over for the  birth. We were happy to show him one of our favorite restaurants in the City, where we indulged in Dutch pancakes! This was the morning of the day I was going in to get induced. I needed the energy!Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 7 of 31

Zachary’s birth story will be in the next post, but we will go ahead and skip on to after-birth happenings, since we still had about a month to stay while waiting for his passport! Here is Papaw with his 2 grandsons right before he headed back to the US.Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 8 of 31

Zach was not a fan of the swaddle the way Levi was. He had to have his hands up by his face at all times, and completely rejected the swaddling notion within the first 2 weeks (in contrast, we finally took the swaddle AWAY from Levi around 10 months old when it just got ridiculous).Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 9 of 31

Survival with a newborn. Naps and more naps!Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 10 of 31

Tuesday nights became “family movie night” because of the $5 pizzas we could pick up from a local place close to the house we were staying in.Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 11 of 31

Bright eyes!Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 12 of 31

Zach’s first bath. We improvised with a plastic mixing bowl.Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 13 of 31

One week old and beautiful blue-eyed big brother!Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 14 of 31Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 15 of 31

First walk as a family of 4. Also known as the day that Levi learned about dandelions and became obsessed.Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 16 of 31Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 17 of 31

Out on the town to apply for Zach’s passport at the consulate.Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 18 of 31

Outing to the park and first family of 4 picnic. Also known as the day Levi learned about cotton candy and became obsessed.Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 19 of 31Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 20 of 31Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 21 of 31Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 22 of 31Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 23 of 31Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 24 of 31

After picking up Grammie at the airport, we drove through the tulip fields again on the way home. It was neat to see how much they’d changed since we saw them the first time.Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 25 of 31

Saturday morning market in a nearby town called Harlem.Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 26 of 31Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 27 of 31

Zach’s first bottleAmsterdam happenings apr 16 - 28 of 31

Zach is way more of a snuggler than Levi. He especially loves his “happy spot.”Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 29 of 31

And finally, one last trip to the “gum-bo” as Levi calls it. He went at least every other day with either Daddy or Papaw. He loved to much the small cart around and was actually a really good helper. He even had the coin-return system figured out better than any of us!Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 30 of 31Amsterdam happenings apr 16 - 31 of 31

We finally got to head back home about a month after the birth when we received Zach’s passport. It was an unforgettable couple of months!