Category Archives: Personal

Lark / Motherhood / Personal

Happy Birthday, Lark!

February 16, 2018

Dear Lark,

As of 8:56am this morning (Amsterdam time) you are officially a one year old.The morning you were born was so… uncomplicated. Labor was short (5 hours from first contraction to delivery) and three pushes later you came into the world and curled up on my chest and fell asleep.

I can’t believe it has been a whole year since that amazing day. An entire year of snuggles and trips and milk parties. 365 days of babywearing and first words and first foods. 52 weeks of kissing your cheeks and squeezing your chubby thighs. 12 months of nursing you all over Europe (including, most recently, inside both the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica during our trip to Rome).  Your first year hasn’t been the most traditional, for sure. You took your first bike ride at 5 weeks and your first international flight at 3 months. You’ve been on 18 flights and traveled to cities in 9 different countries already, and you’ll have another 10 flights and 5 countries to add to that list well before you’re one and a half.The things that you love you reeeaaally LOVE. Luckily Mama and Daddy are definitely two of your top favorites, but I think Prim might be at the very tippy-top of your list. You two have been the sweetest little BFFs since day one.        You love to snuggle and wouldn’t dream of sleeping without your special lamby (which you sleep with your face right on top of more often than not).I can’t imagine our family without you, and this past year has been the very best because you were a part of it. I love you so much, Larky-Lou. Happy birthday, baby girl. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for year two.

Love, Mama

Motherhood / Personal

When it Rains…

February 12, 2018

I had every intention of getting back to posting on the blog regularly. I have multiple half-written posts just sitting in my draft folder at this very moment — posts that I started and never finished because children woke up from a nap, needed a snack, or I simply ran out of steam.

And then last week happened.

Last week was my hardest week of parenting, to date. KC has been traveling to Dublin every week since mid-January, and last week he was gone from Sunday night until late-Friday, meaning I was really on my own allllll week. On Monday schlepped the kids to the doctor to try and get a last-minute flu shot before our trip back to the states next week. I was informed we couldn’t get them (welcome to the Netherlands!); unlike in the states, the flu shot is not widely given here, and you pretty much always have to have some special circumstance in order to get it (either based on where you work or a special health condition). I don’t work in a hospital and am not immuno-compromised, so the girls and I were shooed away, unvaccinated. This was a mild annoyance, but Monday night is really when things got interesting (and by interesting I mean stressful and super frustrating).

I noticed at 10:30pm that our heat had gone out. This had happened three times before in the two weeks prior — the first two times KC or I were able to get it restarted; the third time it went out, it also happened at night (of course) while KC was in Dublin (of course), but by the time the tech showed up at mid-day the next day, it was back on. So in very Dutch fashion, the guy said, “Well, it’s working now,” and left with hardly a second glance at the system. Our heat continued to work for the next week, until it decided it had had enough at 10:30pm on yet another night when KC was out of town. I tried everything to get the system back on for an hour and a half, including pulling the faceplate off of our water heater, to no avail. I finally admitted defeat and woke the girls up to put them in more layers because the overnight low was 27 degrees Fahrenheit and our house is nothing if not exceedingly drafty. The next morning we awoke to the house being a balmy 51 degrees inside, which it remained at until the tech showed up at noon that afternoon — 14 hours after the heat had ceased working. This time the system had not mysteriously kicked back on, and he determined that there was a problem with the wiring connecting the downstairs thermostat to the upstairs water heater. Luckily the complicated-sounding problem had a simple solution, and the heat was back up and running within minutes of a wireless thermostat being installed.

I naively thought the worst of the week was over after this very cold annoyance, only to have Prim start puking just after nap time. She continued to throw up until bedtime, and I went to bed certain that I would be awakened by a midnight puke-in-bed situation. I was woken up at 2am by Lark, who had apparently caught whatever Prim had and vomited Exorcist-style in her crib. I was forced to strip off her sleep sack and pajamas, clean her off, and re-dress her in new pajamas and a sleep sack, then tackle stripping her crib sheet and mattress protector and rinse them in the tub before throwing them into the wash. Then it was only a matter of laying down a new mattress protector, a layer of towels (because hello, obviously) and a clean crib sheet — all of which was pain enough by itself at 2am, but Lark was so upset that she refused to let me put her down, so I was tackling all of this one-handed. And she was still throwing up intermittently, so I was looking for any sign that I needed to hustle her over to the bucket I had left beside Prim’s bed in a naive attempt at avoiding cleaning up puked-on sheets in the middle of the night.

I finally managed to get everything cleaned up and held Lark until she fell back asleep, but not two minutes after I had laid her back down and shut the door, she was throwing up again, which meant the whole process started over. By the time I was done, it was 4am and I was really not feeling well. I went back to bed and attempted to ignore the nausea (something I have a lot of practice in), but I felt so awful that I couldn’t fall asleep until 6am, and then was woken up by the girls at 7:30am (right on time!)

I ended up being sick all of Wednesday, and while you can throw a 2.5 year old in front of Tumble Leaf and Wall-E, an 11 month old does not have the same attention span or interest in animated movies, so I was still fully on mom-duty. Not to mention that because Lark wasn’t feeling well had been up puking half the night, she was terribly irritable and ready to lose it at any real or perceived injustice.

Our evening came to a close with broken glass upstairs (courtesy of Prim not listening to me when I asked her to “please stop playing with that”) and Lark having an epic screaming meltdown due to my not being able to hold her while I cleaned up said glass. Hoo… It was rough, guys.

And honestly, that’s the super-shortened version.

This week has thankfully been without puke and with heat, so that’s an improvement already. My parents are coming into town and Larky turns one on Friday (we’re having a party this weekend.) Lots going on in the Deatsch house! I’ll try to keep the blog updated with at least some of the goings-on, but right now, I’m off to bed.

*I should note that last week made our decision to move back to California feel very much like the right choice. Parenting little ones without a family support system nearby is really tough, and some weeks it feels downright impossible.

Personal / Resolutions

Goals for 2018

January 19, 2018

I realize that we’re rapidly approaching the end of January, so it’s way past the point of New Year’s Resolutions and all that, but oh well. I think you can make commitments to yourself any time of year, so I don’t get too hung up on starting in on a healthy new lifestyle on January 1. In fact, I generally like to give myself until the end of the holidays (whatever date I deem that to be, haha) to start in on whatever goals I’m setting for myself, which this year wasn’t until January 8 since we were traveling in Rome for a week over New Year’s. Who wants to start eating nothing but kale on January 1 anyway? Certainly not me.

Here are five things I’m working on continuing or bettering in the new year:

  1. Getting my body back. I’ve talked a little bit about this before, but basically after having two kids less than two years apart and never getting back into a regular workout routine after having Prim, my body was pretty wrecked and my strength was so far below what it had been pre-pregnancy. While I will admit that I am definitely motivated partly by vanity, keeping my back from hurting and keeping my body strong so I can lift the girls is my top priority. I hope that if we decide to have another baby that the strength I’m building now will help me through the pregnancy and postpartum process, and I hope that it might make it easier to stick to a regular workout routine through pregnancy as well. My Hyperemesis Gravidarum made working out feel impossible during the first half of my pregnancy with Lark, and after it finally subsided I mistakenly thought that because my weight gain with her was so low that I didn’t really need to exercise. The state of my core post-pregnancy definitely proved otherwise.
  2. Make time for and take care of myself. I know that I’m not in the minority here, being a woman and a mother, but I really struggle to carve out quality time for myself. I spend the girls’ nap time working out, which definitely falls into the “taking care of myself” category, but I have really been craving some alone time where I’m doing something indulgent for myself. I am trying to figure out exactly what that is and how to integrate it into the week right now, but it’s definitely on my mind and something I want to work on this year.
  3. Continue to live on a budget and focus on paring down our belongings. We live pretty tightly here in Amsterdam. We took a hit financially to move here (KC’s salary was adjusted to reflect the lower cost of living and we lost my salary entirely when I quit my job), and while it was definitely an adjustment at first, I’ve found that it’s actually become fairly easy to live more simply and find creative solutions to do the things we want to do, while still living within our means  (you guys already know the secret to how we afford to travel over here). One of my big concerns of moving back to America, and the Bay Area in particular, is the hyper-focus on money and belongings. It’s so easy to get sucked into that consumer culture that is so focused on “more is more.” This mentality is not only draining and stressful for me, but it’s not a value I want to instill in my kids; so I want to try to build focus on needs — not wants. This also means taking care of the things we already have. (For example, I’m in the process of re-oiling all of my cutting boards right now, something I am generally terrible at remembering to do; but after replacing a much-used one because it cracked, I am realizing that I need to be more mindful about doing this.)
  4. Focus on fewer, better things when making purchases. Piggy-backing on the above, I want to try and be mindful when we do spend money on “things.” It’s necessary to make purchases from time to time when the girls grow out of stuff, and I have pared down my wardrobe so much that it’s becoming evident that I really do need to do some shopping for myself; but this doesn’t mean that the girls need everything under the sun in their closets. And as for me, I want to work on filling my wardrobe with nicer staples rather than cheap basics. I tend to purchase five copies of the same cheap tee, which just end up looking cheap after only a few washes. Since I generally reach for the same items over and over, it makes sense to spend a little more on basic items that will hold up better, since I know I will wear them a lot.
  5. Get in the picture. Though you might not know this from reading the blog, I am not the best about remembering to take photographs. KC is actually much better at whipping his phone out on vacation and snapping away. But, honestly, I’m even worse about stepping into the picture and being photographed. I often remove myself from photo ops because I dislike having my picture taken and don’t feel that I’m particularly photogenic. But we are making memories every day here in Europe and these girls will never be these ages again, so I want to try and have photos of all of us to look back at — not just the kids. Not the easiest goal for this year (for me), but a good one, nonetheless.

What are you working on this year?

Personal

A New Year

January 17, 2018

^^ These girls started the new year off right by devouring all the treats in Rome ^^

Hi hi! Sorry it’s been silent over here for a bit. The entirety of December and beginning of January was a complete whirlwind of trips to Germany, Croatia and Italy, plus my family visiting Amsterdam, so we have been trying to settle back into our routine here; and as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we have somewhere between 6 and 8 teeth coming in between the two girls, so we’ve been dealing with that for the past week and a half as well. (If there was one part of motherhood I could opt to skip, I think teething might be it.)

I have been attempting to get my life back in order to start the new year on a good note. I jumped right back into my workout routine (thanks in part to my back making it very clear that the 2.5 week hiatus I took during the holidays was not the best move) and went through mine and the kids’ closets to weed out clothes that no longer fit or weren’t being worn. We have also been getting through some of the time-consuming logistics of our move back to the US, which is both exciting and very stressful.

And even though I felt quite productive after all of this, I now have clothing sitting in bags and laundry baskets still that needs to be donated, not to mention random travel items from our trips that still need to be put away.

A lot of the time I feel like even with as much as I’m doing each day to keep things together and running smoothly, I’m never as on top of things as I would like to be. I often wonder if there will be a time when my house will be clean for longer than 5 minutes, or whether I will ever have enough storage to actually be able to put everything away. Not to mention that the small worries about our repatriation have started to creep in here and there, as we inch closer to our move date. Our move back to California is understandably fraught with conflicting emotions. Amsterdam is an amazing city, and provides much more of the lifestyle (and, *cough* government style) we would prefer for our family, so our decision to move back to the Bay Area to raise our kids near our extended family was not an easy one to make. And, as you do when you have children, I have started to worry about how the girls will adjust to the move. I know that they will be thrilled to be near their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, but I also know that this move is going to be an adjustment for everyone, and it may be especially hard for two little ones who can’t quite articulate exactly how they’re feeling and why they feel that way.

And, yes, I know that children are resilient and they will be fine; but this will be a big adjustment for all of us, and especially the two tiny people who have lived all or most of their lives here in Amsterdam.

Hooo… so anyway. That’s just a glimpse into what’s been going on in my life and head these days. I hope to be back to posting semi-regularly here shortly. Honestly, right now I could just use a few (hundred) more hours in the day.

Personal / Relationships

Thirteen (for KC)

December 22, 2017

I can’t believe that it has been thirteen years since our first date. It’s crazy that these 20 and 21 year old babies “hung out” together over winter break back in 2004, and thirteen years later here we still are — six years married, two kids in, living in Amsterdam. I don’t think either of us could have ever fathomed what would have resulted from that date on December 22, 2004.I remember what we both wore — you: jeans and a Sunrise Mountain Sports t-shirt, me: jeans, a Hollister Christmas t-shirt (it was 2004, guys) and a kids UCLA sweatshirt. I remember wanting to hold your hand but being too nervous to make the first move.

It doesn’t feel like we’ve been together long enough to be in our “teen” years together, but looking back I realize just how much I do remember from these thirteen years.I remember you carrying me down the rape trail at UCLA after it had rained so my shoes wouldn’t get muddy. I remember the way you told a kid on BART who was bullying another kid to knock it off. I remember watching you in that moment and knowing with complete and utter certainty that I loved you. I remember your pep talks during my first semester of law school. I remember swimming at the USF pool between classes and daydreaming about marrying you. I remember you taking me out for a nice dinner when I was studying for the BAR after I had told you I was so overwhelmed with studying and remembering information. And I remember all the times after our first date that you did hold my hand:

…and so many other moments, because there are far too many to recount from these thirteen years.

 I love that we have so much behind us already and still so much to look forward to. You are the very best husband, father, teammate, partner in crime and everything else, and I can’t wait to continue our adventure together.Here’s to thirteen years (and approximately three hundred more).PS: Kace — Prim saw this ^^ wedding picture of us and asked, “What’s that picture?” I asked her if she knew who was in it and she said “Mama,” but when I asked her “Who is with Mama?” she paused for a long time and said, “I don’t know.” I finally told her it was Daddy and she goes, “Oh… Where’s Prim??”