Monday, May 26, 2008

Amsterdam... a great place to visit....

Living where we do rocks! There are so many places to go with in a few hour commute. My sister in law is visiting us still, and I thought that it would be a great experience for her to see a large European city, and where better then to Amsterdam?! W. and I didn't mind touring the city again either.

From our place in Germany, it is a short commute to Holland. From there we took a high speed train through the farm fields to the city of sin and canals. The train ride was only two hours, and with gas being $9/ gal we thought it the less expensive way to go. Plus the Dutch are bilingual, and almost everyone in the Netherlands speaks English.

Arriving at the Central station in Amsterdam we were surrounded by crowds of tourists, and paths of canals. Central station in Amsterdam is by far one of the nicer train stations that I've been to. From there it is a short walk to anywhere you want to go in the city. There is an inter city train station and water taxi depot with in feet of the main train station. Being the adventurous girls that we are, we decided to walk.

Canals are everywhere! And being a large city, there is limited housing space. So... living on the water is the place to be for some people. House boats adorn the larger canals, while there are row boats gliding down the smaller ones.

No trip to Amsterdam can be complete with out a trip through the Red Light District. Of course at 10 in the morning, there's really not much to see, but there's always window shopping! Check out the latest spring fashions:

And with any big city, you are going to get wildlife. W. had a wonderful time feeding the pigeons gold fish crackers while SIL and I did some souvenir shopping. She had such a nice time feeding the birds that she wore her self out, and needed to try out the swinging chairs that were on display. I think that she made such a good model that people from the street who had stopped to admire her actually went into the store to try out the chairs for them selves!

In all, Amsterdam is a great place to visit. Though I am sure that I would not like to live there permanently. It is big and crowded and nothing like the simple life we've become accustom to. But it's good to have perspective, and Amsterdam is a great place to go to gain some.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

RE: Accident

To all those who are interested in the progress of W.'s finger, here it is. She and her finger are doing beautifully. It doesn't seem to bother her, and it's healing very fast. Two days ago she lost the nail, but we were expecting that. It looks like it will probably grow back though. Ten days after the surgery, her stitches came out, and an x-ray was taken. You could not see any breaks in the bone! She has feeling in the tip, and is on her way to a full recovery!

Thorn, NL

Today we took a trip. A girls only trip. Not saying that we wouldn't allow any boys to go with us, but there were none to be had, so we were off on our own. I had been hearing about a little town in Holland for a while now, and we decided that today was the day to check it out. What a wonderful treat we were exposed to. Thorn NL, is a beautiful little village just outside of Eindhoven and Maastricht situated on the Maas River. This little village boasts a pretty little church that dates back to the 10th century. The church has been built up and added on, but once was part of an abby. We were able to tour the church, and view it's museum quality artifacts, and explore the crypts... they even had mummies! W. enjoyed the many stairs there were to climb- they are all about her level, and her aunt Allison who's visting fell in love with the surrounding houses.

After such an exhusting trek through the church, we had to stop at The Pannekoekenbakker and stuff ourselves with the most amazing pancakes. Now these are not your American style butter and syrup pancakes (though they have those too). These are the pancakes dreams are made of. With over 300 topping choices, these crepe style pancakes fill you up and do not leave you wanting.

With so much good food, we needed a few moments to collect ourselves and tour the village to burn those delicious callories. Fortunately Thorn is picturesque, and we had no problem enjoying ourselves as we toured the streets. Many houses have the dates they were built published on their door frames, but even when they didn't, you could tell that you were looking at old rather then new. Unlike most villages we've seen in the Neatherlands, Thorn has a unique architecture, white washed buildings, and interesting shops. This is one place that we'll definately be going back to.

Old Abby wall (800's)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Accident

So, we're home! Ok, not that many people knew that we were gone, but it sure is nice to be in our own spot again. This week is a holiday week for Europe- Labor Day was on Thursday, and most people had a four day weekend. Whahoo... we're going to Paris! Not!
After a long day of running errands W. and I arrive home Tuesday afternoon to have a nap and start packing for our trip. We were both tired, and I was not being too careful. You know, you forget how little your little ones are until something happens.
Living where we do, we do not have closets, we have wardrobes. So I set W. down on the chair by the wardrobe, and I remove our shoes, and jackets, and I start putting things away so we can have a peaceful nap. I close the wardrobe door, and I hear a horrible scream. I cringe as I turn around and I see that W. is holding her hand and I realise since the door on the wardrobe didn't shut all the way, that I've pinched her hand in the jam of the door.
Not so. She had put her tiny little fingers in the jam, and her middle finger on the left side was almost completely severed. OMG. I can not even begin to describe the horror of this situation. What do I do? How do I help my baby? I quickly grab her and run over to the neighbors. They're not home. I run back to our house, and I call 112 (emergency 911). The man who answers is speaking German! I can't even begin to get the words out to ask for help... Finally I calm down enough to have him send an ambulance to our house. Meanwhile, W. is crying, but she is not hysterical. She is asking me questions between pain bursts, and is holding up better then I am.
We wait on the street for the ambulance, and after 10 minutes they arrive. There is no rush with these medics... I am worried. We go to the nearest hospital, and wait. Daddy shows up, scared out of his mind, and demanding answers. Finally the doctors arrive. Ah, they say, there is nothing they can do for her here, this is not a place for children. We better take her to the children's hospital 30 minutes away, maybe they can help. I am panicked about now. Why isn't anybody doing anything?!
A bone jarring ride later (we made it going 100 mph in 20 min) we arrive at the children's hospital. Still we wait. When the doctor comes in, he says, yes, she will need surgery to reattach the finger. Duh! Can we do it now please!
W. is taken up to the surgery ward where she is taken from my arms and placed into the surgeons assistants' to be prepped for her surgery. After 2 hours, she is finally having something done.
Now mind you, it is now 6pm, this little girl hasn't had a nap, and she's just gone through major trauma. She is still going strong. I can't believe how brave and strong she is, it really is amazing.
Around 645 they bring her to her daddy and I, and we are able to hold her while she recovers from the anesthesia. She is very upset, and mad, mostly because she doesn't have her baby. So, daddy takes a trip home to gather a few essentials, and most importantly, baby. By 930pm, all is right in W.'s world again, and she is cheerfully watching Cinderella in German, and snuggling baby and momma.
So, now it is day 5. We are home from the hospital, and all is right in W.'s world again. We had to stay so long in the hospital because she was on IV antibiotics, and because they wanted her to be there in case anything should happen. She loved it. From sunrise to sunset, there were lots of playmates, new toys and videos to explore. She had her favorite foods, and best of all mommy and daddy were there- along with baby of course.
But let me tell you, I understand the importance of lessons. I know that sometimes you have to go the hard way to get it to stick in your mind. What I don't understand is why my baby had to be used in the example that was made for me. I know that from now on I am going to be extremely careful with all kinds of doors. I know that I am going to slow down and follow W.'s schedule more closely. I know now that my family is the most important aspect of my day. But still why was it that my baby was the one to suffer? I would have done anything to prevent this, and now I must be extra diligent in my care taking. This has been a hard week. A hard lesson learned.
I am grateful though that W. is fine and doesn't seem affected by the events of the past week. She is mostly sore from the catheter that was in her arm, but doesn't seem bothered at all by her finger. The doctors say that there will most likely be a small scar, and her finger should be returned to the way it was. Small miracles that I am thankful for.