Spring 2010 in Amsterdam

Trip Start Dec 01, 2009
Trip End Dec 31, 2012

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Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ole is doing well

We've been back in Amsterdam for almost 6 months now and overall we're doing very well. Ole has gotten through the winter OK and that was our main priority. Since November, he's gained almost 4 kilo's and is completely back on the normal growth curve (which is pretty unusual for people with cystic fibrosis). He's a little happy camper and seems to be developing very normally (he's 10 months now and he's rolling over, standing in his crib, making the normal baby sounds etc.). Obviously there are challenges that come with his affliction. We've gotten used to the daily medical regimen of inhalation, constant antibiotics and nutritional supplements, but it's his sleeping pattern that is really the biggest challenge. Probably because of the antibiotics and pain in his stomach, he's woken up between 4-10 times a night since December. We figure (and hope.....) that this will be a phase (like with other babies) and that he'll be sleeping OK at some point (there are already nights where he only wakes up a few times briefly and the past week has been very good, thank God). When the nights are challenging, we 'divide and conquer' and each takes a part of the night (Arne is sleeping in the basement and Kat stays with Ole and calls between 5-6 in the morning to pick Ole up). Luckily, Uli is also providing relief by spending the nights with Ole, so we can get some solid sleep.

For the rest, we are still going through the process of 'mentally adjusting' to the new situation and try to stay positive at all times. We try to treat Ole as any other child and that's working OK. Things are not the same as they were and the care for Ole is a 24 hour assignment. There are still many moments when our hearts skip a beat though and I guess you can't avoid that. Every little cough catches our attention and when he's got a fever we are extra alert. We make regular trips to the hospital (average 1-2x per month) for check ups and sometimes we're there more often, when the coughing gets worse or when there's other things that look a bit tricky. But overall, we really enjoy life with the two boys and are grateful for everything that they're giving us. Mats just celebrated his 2nd birthday and is still going strong and raging through the house like a tornado. It's a blast to play with him and watch him develop (the latest:speaking 2 word 'sentences').

The parents have been a great help. Uli has been in Amsterdam from December through April supporting us with the day to day routine. Agna, Rob + Ada are there on Fridays (Kat made a rotation schedule) to baby sit. This has been fantastic and without it it definitely would have been much tougher for us to deal with the situation. Mats is now going to the creche on Wednesdays and Fridays, so he gets to mingle with other kids as well and learn some social skills in the interaction. We can already see that he's learning rapidly, as he snatches stuff from Ole's hands and says 'Mine!'. 

Kat has started her new job in February and that's exciting so far. She is the managing director at a small consulting firm in Amsterdam now and can go to work on the bike. The firm facilitates 'corporate dialogue' for large multinational firms through a high tech platform that they've developed themselves. Through online surveys deployed to 1000's of people they can identify gaps in the organisation's strategy and capabilities and the system converts the survey results into great graphs and slides for discussion and workshops with the clients.

As for the house, we are renovating the apartment upstairs in the house at this moment as well. We bought the enitre house last year (we live on the ground + 1st floor, on the 2nd floor there was Mrs. de Waart - 79 - who had been living there for 50+ years and the 3rd floor was empty). The idea was to rent out the 3rd floor and renovate the entire apartment and join the 2nd and 3rd floor as Mrs. de Waart would leave. She called us around August last to let us know she had been assigned to a senior citizen apartment with elevator etc. As much as we'd gotten fond of her and used to her on the 2nd floor, we couldn't help but jump for joy and we could now start the renovation project much earlier than we anticipated....... So now Maarten (our friend that also did the renovation downstairs) is at it again and we're hoping to have the place on the market by July. 

So, never a dull moment. Life's hectic and sometimes challenging, but we've had a crash course in 'being here now' and 'enjoying the moment as it is right now'. This whole process has already taught us a great deal and we're grateful for that. We'll see what tomorrow will bring and deal with whatever crosses our path as well as we can. We're enojoying life and try to savour every moment with the boys, the family, friends and at work. And we plan to continue to do so!

All the best and stay tuned.......
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