Right here, right now

7 11 2013

Some of the things occupying my mind and time at the moment:

  • V is sick AGAIN! He had a stomach bug end of October and was sent home from the creche on the Tuesday and spent the rest of the week at home with me and little E. I was chasing him to change his diaper every time there had been “an explosion”… I can think of more fun things to do! He now has a terrible cold and an eye infection, which means that he won’t go to the creche this week at all.
  • I have just realised that with V’s sick absences plus the fact that we will be in Sweden the second half of November plus two public holidays, the three (hopefully) days he will actually be at the creche next week will cost us 200 EUR per day (as we pay 600 EUR / month)!! I can think of more fun things to spend that money on but oh well… If he had been at a public creche, we would only have had to pay for the days we used.
  • O came home before 19.30 yesterday – that’s early! He is extremely busy at the moment, finishing a project that will “go live” this weekend. I am really hoping that he will work a little less / shorter days in the future.
  • V seems to be teething again, he is constantly with his fingers in his mouth and drooling like crazy!
  • I am coming down with a cold as well now and little E has had a bit of a stuffy nose for the last few days.
  • Little E turned two months on Tuesday and had a check-up at the local children’s health care centre: she weighs 4,650 kg and measures 56 cm. The doctor was impressed with how much she smiles and observes, her strong neck and that she is so calm (“Madame, it shows that you are calm and that is why the baby is calm” – they haven’t seen me get annoyed with her big brother…). She also got her first vaccinations and only cried for a short while. She had a bit of a temperature during the night following the injections but wouldn’t take the [liquid] paracetamol (and we didn’t have suppositories for her weight).
  • O and V went to Spain for the All Saints’ long weekend last week and V came home saying “huevo” for eggs (he used to call them [gi]!?) and “pintar” (draw / paint) which is his new favourite activity. He also looks me deep in the eyes and pinches my cheek – I wonder if he learnt that from his Spanish grandparents?
  • One of O’s brothers and his German wife are coming to visit us from Munich tomorrow. It’s another long weekend as Monday is a public holiday in Belgium (11th November is Armistice day (World War I)).
  • The weather has finally turned and after a wonderful beautiful autumn it is now grey and rainy. I don’t really mind, at least not when we have to stay indoors anyway because of V being ill.
  • I finally bought a double stroller, after lots of research online and looking at several options IRL, I settled for the double Maclaren Techno. It is not ideal as both children are facing forward and I would have preferred to see little E but there is a small “window” in the hood so that I can check on her and she can lie completely flat which is great. I will only use the stroller to go to pick up V from the creche and for that it serves its purpose.
  • We only have three weekends left in Brussels this year. As I said, we are going to Sweden for the second half of November and on the 19th December we will head to Spain for Christmas. We are driving to Spain over two days and I have booked the same Ibis hotel by Futuroscope outside Poitiers where we stayed on our way home from Spain at Easter. It is half-way between Brussels and Zaragoza, just by the motorway, and has a nice breakfast buffet!
  • O and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary last Thursday (yes, Halloween) but the boys were going to Spain in the afternoon so we didn’t have the time to really celebrate. However, O went to buy “couques” (Belgian French word for “breakfast pastries” such as croissants, pains au chocolat etc) and we had a nice breakfast together. Last year we were in Spain and O’s sister babysat V and we went to a nice restaurant in Zaragoza called “Bula”.

Little E is 6 weeks

17 10 2013

Little E is 6 weeks old already and I really should blog more often!

Maybe you are interested in why we named her E? Well, my maternal grandmother had the same name and as she sadly passed away just before Christmas 2010, I wanted to honour her by naming our daughter after her. What is interesting is that my grandmother (1922 – 2010) and little E are not the only ones in my family with this name:

  • my grandmother was named after her paternal grandmother, i.e my great-great grandmother, who lived 1844 – 1919.
  • the wife of my great-great-great-grandfather (1821 – 1869).
  • and my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother (1814 – 1841).

Also, on my grandmother’s mother’s side there were at least two E’s and that is just in my mother’s family! I know that on my father’s side there have been plenty of E’s as well. When searching the family tree a few years ago I came across one ancestor who was married to two E’s, not at the same time mind you.   😉

According to the family records, the E’s on my grandmother’s paternal side spelt their names with double l, while on the maternal side the name was spelt with one l. We chose to spell the name with double l, just like my grandmother’s name.

Name trivia & statistics (from svenskanamn.se):

  • Origin of the name – a Swedish short version of “Helena” (Helen / Hélène / Elena) which is Greek for “torch”.
  • E with one l: 5297 women in Sweden, and out of those, 1631 live in Skåne, my region, and 683 in Stockholm…
  • E with double l: 33 women in Sweden, 23 of them in Skåne, and out of those 23 women there are 4 in both Trelleborg & Kristianstad and 3 in my hometown Eslöv.
  • In other words, it is a typical name from Skåne that is not that popular in the rest of the country!
  • However, it is also the name of a Swiss sewing machine brand!

A shop in Brussels has the same name as our daughter!

Baby E is 3 weeks today!

26 09 2013

Our beautiful daughter E was born three weeks ago! A fast delivery – 2 hours of contractions at home and then 2 hours of labour in the hospital! V loves his little sister and wants to hug and kiss her and be close to her all the time.
At the moment, the kids and I are in Sweden as O had to go on a business trip to the US. The four of us flew together to Sweden last Saturday and then O left on Sunday for his trip to New Jersey and Texas. My parents, my sister and sister-in-law have helped out this week and next week O will re-join us in Sweden.
The shock of having two kids is quite stressful, mostly because I feel that I can’t give V the attention he needs while breastfeeding the baby.. She’s a very calm baby though and a great sleeper!


Baby’s officially overdue!

4 09 2013

Who would have thought it, but yep, the baby’s officially overdue since yesterday! Not much under normal circumstances but considering that V was born at 36 weeks and that I was put on medical leave on the 21st May due to a short cervix, it is pretty amazing! But it’s like my doctor and I have concluded – pregnancy is NOT an exact science and the doctors can’t really explain why this baby has decided to not come out yet! Don’t get me wrong, I am really pleased that we will have a full term baby! Here are some thoughts on “due date +1” (BF +1):

– I have had my membranes swept twice – first last Monday and then again yesterday. Ouch! and so far, no result…

– I had “a show” (slempropp) last Tuesday & Wednesday. Euck! and no result…

– I am 3 – 3,5 cm open since last Monday… and nothing!

– I could have opted for the choice of being induced from my due date (i.e yesterday) but unlike many Belgian women (according to my English doctor*), I prefer waiting. If the baby hasn’t decided to come out, it’s for a reason – not being ready!

– In Belgium they let you wait one week after the due date before inducing – which would mean on V’s birthday next Tuesday! Nooooo, that just can’t happen! I want the two siblings to at least have separate birthdays even thought they will have them in the same week as their paternal grandfather (7th) and their father (12th). 😦

– I weighed myself in the hospital yesterday – weight gain a little less than 8 kgs. With V I only gained 3 kgs but that was because I got gestational diabetes and wasn’t allowed any carbs the last month (plus delivered at 36 weeks of course) – I wouldn’t recommend it (I was super hungry!)…

– Check-ups every two days now until next Tuesday. It is amazing how thorough they are in Belgium! In Sweden I think you get a check-up once per week also when you are overdue and they induce around 2 weeks after the due date (in some regions 17 days!!).

– One good thing about this baby not being born yet – the newly renovated maternity ward was opened last week with more private rooms (which I have the right to with my medical insurance!).

The flowers on the balcony are still beautiful

– One sligthly bad thing: we are planning to fly to Sweden on the 19th September – a bit too close to the birth now, especially if the baby decides to not arrive before next week.

– Yesterday morning I woke up (or rather lay awake the whole night) with a cold and a sore throat – not ideal not feeling 100% when due to give birth within the next few days!

– Brussels is experiencing a late summer heat wave – temperatures of 29-31 degrees predicted for the next few days! It was really hot when I gave birth to V and boy, was I thirsty – and I didn’t get anything to drink 😦 (security measure in case you need an emergency caesarian, which I don’t understand because Swedish women get both food and beverages while in labour!?)

Every morning I stand on the balcony and wave goodbye to V and O when they leave for the creche / office. V still insists on wearing his wellies despite the heat so I have actually started to hide them 😉

*) However, yesterday at the hospital I overheard a discussion between a woman and her doctor where the doctor said that she had to have an induction this Thursday and she was trying to negotiate not having one yet. Apparently the doctor was worried about the placenta (and she had had some kind of accident?) so he told her to come to the hospital tomorrow evening for the preparations.

Another Virgo

27 08 2013

I don’t really believe in star signs, but I am surrounded by Virgos. Both O and V were born in September as well as my father-in-law, and even if the new baby decides to arrive in August, it will be another Virgo in the family. I read on a blog that Virgos are “försynta” = considerate* / discreet and are interested in storage. Hm, O and V are definitely considerate but not at all discreet, and it is true that O is obsessed by storage – in our already out-grown apartment that lacks exactly that!

We had my brother, fiancee and 5-month old son M visiting this past weekend and V really showed his considerate side towards the baby (“bébé” as he called him). He wanted to be close-by all the time, help M when the dummy fell out of his mouth, cuddle and the sweetest – he tried to get kisses from the baby: he would put his face close to M’s face, the way he does when we kiss him! Sometimes he would get a lick in the face from baby M 🙂 I hope that he will be as considerate when our baby has arrived!

Our new neighbours, my fellow blogger Anna and her family, have arrived! They are renting our friends’ apartment while they are back in Sweden having their second child. It is the same apartment that we lived in for 9 months last year before deciding to buy a place in the same building! Anna and her husband have two kids, their daugther I is 9 months older than V and H was born in February this year. We are hoping that V and I will become friends, their first meeting was on Sunday at the playground and well, that first contact was a bit tentative – mostly fighting over using the buggy board on H’s pram!

*) I wouldn’t have translated “försynt” as “considerate” but that’s from a Swedish-English dictionary!

23 books in 13 weeks

21 08 2013

It’s not the 30 books I read in 12 weeks over the summer of 2011 when I was on sick leave while pregnant with V, but this time around I have had other distractions thanks (?) to my smart phone (Instagram, FB etc). I could have read more books but I was also lacking motivation, maybe due to being more tired / stressed with not sleeping so well and trying to entertain V (even though our babysitter / nanny is great!).

Here are the 23 books I read during the course of the last 13 weeks (grades from 1 to 5):

1. Jonathan Tropper – How to talk to a widower (4)
2. Elisabeth Nemert – Ljusets dotter (3)
3. Ann Rosman – Fyrmästarens dotter (3)
4. Alan Hollinghurst – The Stranger’s child (4)
5. Lisa Jewell – Thirtynothing (3)
6. Abraham Vergese – Cutting for stone (4)
7. Måns Wadensjö – Förlossningen (3)
8. Laurie Viera Rigler – Confessions of a Jane Austen addict (2)
9. Edmund de Waal – The hare with amber eyes (4,5)
10. Mons Kallentoft – Pesetas (3)
11. Jonas Gardell – Torka aldrig tårar utan handskar (5)
12. Anne Enright – The gathering (2,5)
13. Cecilia Ekhem – Väntrum (5)
14. Ann Rosman – Själakistan (3)
15. Elizabeth George – Believing the lie (4,5)
16. Elisabeth Schönbeck – Äldst, yngst eller mittemellan (4)
17. Margaret Foster – Keeping the world away (4)
18. Fredrik Backman – En man som heter Ove (4,5)
19. Jonathan Tropper – Everything changes (4)
20. Marie Hermanson – Himmelsdalen (4)
21. Ben Elton – Inconceivable (3)
22. Annika Lantz – 9,5 månad (4,5)
23. Mary Kay Andrews – Savannah blues (4)

24. Niklas Orrenius – Sverige forever in my heart (5)
25. Bodil Malmsten – Kom och hälsa på mig om tusen år (4) (finished reading on 27th August)

Not to forget all the times I have read V’s favourite books about “Pepe” (= Pelle by Jan Lööf)…

And now I hope that the baby arrives soon so I am chosing a light book 😉


19 08 2013

No baby yet! Since V was born at 36 weeks and I am now at 38 weeks (tomorrow), and I have been on medical leave since end of May, it feels like this baby is overdue… which of course is not the case! It could be another two, or even three weeks more. In Belgium they induce labour earlier than in Sweden, one week overdue vs at least two weeks, I think in most Swedish regions.

Last time around, when I was pregnant with V, I wrote a post about the lack of nesting and the day after he was born! So, I was thinking that maybe this baby would also be curious about the outside world if I wrote about nesting? But what have I / we done in terms of nesting?

– Already when my parents were here in July, my mother and I sorted out the baby clothes and re-arranged them size-wise.

– I also packed my and the baby’s bags in July and O has been driving around with them in the car ever since.

– My sister was here last week and we did some more sorting of the wardrobes, including V’s (outgrown clothes packed away)

– O defrosted and cleaned the fridge and freezer yesterday – his way of nesting?

– I have been trying to catch up on my diary writing before the birth. For V’s first 1,5 years I kept a regular diary but around the time of the nausea of this pregnancy kicking in, end of January, I started being sloppy. I try to at least write down what has happened in his development and life each month and I try to remember to take a photo of him every 10th of the month. I also have kept a parallel pregnancy diary for the new baby.

– And today I continued on the quilt project for the baby. I cut all the patchwork squares when my parents were here, and then my mother took them home to do the zig-zag stitching as my sewing machine broke down. My sister brought them back and today I arranged them in the pattern I wanted. I have borrowed a sewing machine from a friend but it’s a different brand from the one I am used to, so I will see if I will have the courage to use it! There is usually a lot of swearing and desperation around when I sew so if on top of that I have to use a different machine, hm… 😕

Of course I realised that I was one yellow square short…

There are a few people who are worried about when the baby will arrive:

My blog friend Anna and her family who are moving to Brussels this week and who will be our neighbours! Her husband is arriving by car on Thursday and is supposed to get the keys to the apartment from us. They are crossing their fingers that I won’t be in labour at that exact time!

– My brother, his girlfriend and their baby son M who is 5 months old are arriving on Friday afternoon, so they are also hoping that we won’t be at the hospital right at that moment! I have written a long and detailed email with directions how to take the bus and metro from the airport to our home (and then they can pick up the keys from our new neighbours!).

– Not so worried, but more excited, is our American friend who has promised to babysit V if the baby decides to arrive in the evening / night! Her daughter is one of V’s friends and they would have their first “sleep-over party” if this happens!