1 YEAR & 6 MONTHS - 29 Dec 2011

Liva and Laia are 1½ years old today, happy birthday my lovely girls!!
We are amazed at what they can do, and people on the street (at the playgrounds, etc) are amazed at how tall they are for their age.
They understand everything we tell them in Danish and Catalan. One of our favorite games is for me to ask them in Danish where their nose is, their mouth, ears, eyes, hair, etc, and then for Albert to ask the same in Catalan. Or ask them to find differnt animals in their animal books. They seem to enjoy it as much as we do!
They say more and more words, and are starting to know a lot of them in both Danish and Catalan. Just today, Liva grabbed her ball and said "pilota" (Catalan). Then she showed it to me and said "bold" (Danish).
Now that they're bigger, everything is getting easier. They eat on their own, which means I can eat with them at the table, or organize the livingroom a bit while they eat - our diningroom table is in the livingroom, that way I'm in the same room as them. They drink from zippy-cups and are getting quite good at drinking from regular cups.
When we get ready to go out, I tell them to find their shoes and jackets, when we come home I tell them to put shoes and jackets away, find their slippers, come into the bathroom to wash their hands, etc.
Laia desperately wants to do everything on her own, and has the patience to practice and practice! She can now put on her jacket halfway (get one arm through), her newest obsession is putting on socks. The way she practices and practices everything she wants to learn, I think she'll be able to do it quite soon. Liva doesn't have patience at all, she'll try to do something once or twice, if she doesn't succeed she'll just leave it. I think she learns how to do things by watching Laia, she is very observant.
They're quite good at playing on their own or with each other, though these last few days there's been more fighting and crying than usual - they've been tired and confused because they were so off schedule over christmas. Today is the first day that we're more or less back to regular hours. They also both have a cold and cough a lot, meaning they don't sleep well at night. This of course doesn't help their already messed up schedule....
Basically, as I say every month, they are the most wonderful girls in the world, I am super proud of them, I am amazed by what they can do and how beautiful they are, and I am so proud and happy to be their mother!

1 YEAR & almost 6 MONTHS - 27 Dec. 2011

Christmas is over, which is both sad and a relief! My parents were here for four days, that was lovely! I was soooo sad to see them go!! Liva and Laia very quickly remembered who they were, and we had a great time going to cafés, playgrounds and strolling in the area.
We celebrated christmas eve on Dec 23rd to avoid stress, it was wonderful. We were just the four of us + my parents, started with a lovely dinner all together, then did the traditional walking around the tree while singing carols, before giving Liva and Laia their presents. It was wonderful to see how Liva and Laia enjoyed walkign around the tree, they kept asking for more everytime we stopped. They loved opening the presents, and went to bed happy!
Dec 24th we had a relaxing day, then went to my brother-in-law's with Albert's whole family and my parents for the traditional Catalan Caga Tio. That was nice as well, though Liva and Laia didn't quite understadn what was going on. It was also very late for them, and by the time we left they were just overly tired. But managed incredibly well! They are such lovely girls!
December 25th the six of us went for lunch at Albert's mom's house with Albert's dad as well. I have never seen Liva and Laia eat so much! The food was lovely as always, Liva and Laia ate everything they were given. We are so happy that they are such good eaters, it makes lunches and dinners so easy!
December 26th my parents left in the morning, that wasn't easy! In the afternoon Albert, Liva, Laia and I went back to Albert's mom's house, this time with Albert's brother and his family, the mom's boyfriend and a neighbour. Again the food was lovely and the girls ate loads, but this was the fourth day in a row where their schedule was completely screwed up, and they were clearly tired. We left shortly after the lunch was over.
So all in all a lovely, family-minded christmas with two absolutely wonderfully behaved little girls, who we are both extremely proud of!!

1 YEAR & almost 6 MONTHS - 22 Dec. 2011

As I've mentioned before, Liva and Laia love to help. Today after changing them, before putting them down for their nap, I organized their room a bit. There were two bodies which had to go in the hamper, I threw them on the floor in the hallway and figured I'd put them away after putting Liva and Laia down for their nap. As I was putting away some toys in their room, I see Laia pick up the two bodies and carry them into our bedroom. The hamper is behind our door, she closed the door and put the bodies where they were supposed to go. Then she came back out and went into the livingroom to play with Liva. I followed her and called her name. When she looked at me, I praised her for what she had done, and gave her a big hug. She looked completely surprised, I don't think she saw it as a big deal, I think it was completely normal for her to do it. Wow, I still get so amazed at the things my daughters do!

1 YEAR & almost 6 MONTHS - 20 Dec. 2011

Comments I get frequently when out with Liva and Laia:

  • The classic - "How 'guapos' they are!". 'Guapos' in Spanish refers to two boys or a boy and a girl. For two girls it would be 'guapas'. When I reply "GuapAs, gracias", it is ignored; Laia still has only very little hair and is a boy - dressed in pink and purple!
  • Another classic - "Are they 'gemelos'?" - identical boy or boy-and-girl twins. I reply "No, they are 'mellizas'." - non-identical girl twins. Most people then tend to reply, "Ah, mellizos, que guapos!". I ignore them!
  • "Besides the boy's hair being shorter, they are absolutely identical!" What??? They are in no way identical! People who actually know them normally comment that they are the most different twins they have ever seen.
  • "Do you purposely cut his hair shorter so you can tell them apart?" YES, because as their mother I can't tell them apart, especially not with them being girl and boy.
  • When I reply to people's astonished comments of "What, they're two girls? But he looks so much like a boy!" (Yes, HE they say!) with "She's dressed in pink!", they often reply something along the lines of "Yes, but with these modern parents nowadays you never know, the kids wear all colors.". Okay, true, but I don't think there are many moms who'd dress their boys in pink jeans, or pants with flowers on them, and a purple jacket?!?!
Do either of these girls look like a boy??

video

1 YEAR & 5½ MONTHS - 14 Dec 2011

Thank god for babysitters! Liva and Laia were driving me nuts this morning, doing everything they knew they weren't allowed to do. At one point Laia threw loads of her toys on the floor. I told her to pick them up, she looked at me, said "No!" and walked away. I grabbed her and made her pick up her toys, with a lot of fighting and crying from Laia's side. About 30 minutes later she brought toys into the bathroom while I was getting ready. She knows there are no toys allowed in the kitchen and the bathroom. I told her to take them back into the livingroom, she looked at me and said "No!" Again, I made her do it.
Liva decided to drop her cheerios all over the floor - twice! While I was preparing fruit for them in the kitchen they were opening cupboards, taking things out of shelves and drawers, playing with the garbage - all things they know they're not allowed to do. I had had enough, dragged them out of the kitchen and closed the safety gate. After 5 minutes of hysterical screaming, they went into their room. A few minutes later they were hysterically screaming in there. I go in to see what the problem is, and find them on top of each other, Laia pulling Liva's hair and Liva trying to bite Laia - or was it the other way around? I was about to explode and eventually put them in their beds, lights on and everything, I wasn't trying to get them to sleep. They calmed down after some minutes, so I took them out again. Five minutes later they were back in their beds! I managed to finish preparing their fruit, then heard the life-saving sound of the doorbell. Thank you Emily for coming at the right time in a wonderfully good mood and taking over!
We all four went down together after the girls had eaten and Emily had dressed them, she took the girls to the playground while I did some shopping and got a coffee before going home to finish my translation. On the way home a goodlooking young guy smiled and whistled at me. That made my day! After so many months of trying to diet and the scale telling me I have lost no weight (though I still wear pre-pregnancy clothes more than post-pregnancy clothes), and feeling pretty down about myself, my looks, my body and my weight, it was great to get a whistle and a smile from not only a guy, but a goodlooking guy!
So after a morning off for the first time in weeks, and with this marathon-nap Liva and Laia are taking - so far it's been 2 hours - I am ready to face the afternoon!

1 YEAR & 5½ MONTHS - 13 Dec 2011

It's been a lovely but rough 2 weeks.... Dec 6 and 8 are holidays here, this year they were on a Tuesday and a Thursday. Albert wasn't working but the shops were open. Tuesday morning I met up with a friend while Albert cleaned the apartment. In the afternoon my mother-in-law came at 16:00 and Albert and I went into town. We did some shopping, went out for dinner, and had a feeling of Saturday all day. Wednesday morning our babysitter sent me an sms that she was sick and wouldn't be coming. We can all get sick, but seriously?? She'd been working here two weeks and it was her second day of sickness. AND last week she was only supposed to be working Monday and Wednesday - she can't even make it to work two days in one week? So I fired her via e-mail. We contacted an American girl we've been in contact with before, she came to meet us all on Friday and seemed sweet. The problem was that I had a translation due Thursday which I had thought I could finish Wednesday morning while Charlotte was with the girls. Instead I was up late Wednesday evening finishing it off.
Thursday we all four went out to a christmas market and a playground, Saturday afternoon my mother-in-law came in the afternoon and Albert and I had our second Saturday of the week. Sunday we went to a christmas lunch with Barcelona Børn, a group for Danish or half-Danish families in Barcelona. It was fun seeing the older kids speak Danish with one parent and Catalan or Spanish with the other. It was great to see that it's not a problem for the kids!
Monday afternoon our new American babysitter Emily came. We all four went to a playground, then Emily was with Liva and Laia while I prepared their dinner. It worked great, they liked her straight away. She came back this morning and Liva and Laia were thrilled. They used to cry when Charlotte came, there was no reaction when Anne Louise came. It was lovely to see them actually happy when Emily came. We all went to a playground together, and met up with Susan and Luca. This way Liva and Laia have gotten used to Emily with me around. Tomorrow she'll take them to the playground on her own, I'm sure there won't be any problems. The main problem has been, however, that when I handed in the translation on Thursday, I was sent a new one the same day - the biggest translation I've had since Liva and Laia were born. Having to introduce a new babysitter and so losing working hours during the day has been quite rough! I've been up until at least midnight every night for the past 3 days, working on the translation. Deadline is on Thursday, I'm looking forward to getting a few hours tomorrow morning and hopefully being able to go to bed at a normal time. Tonight I'll be up late again, the few hours I'll get tomorrow are unfortunately not enough.
But Emily is great, she's married to a Catalan and they will be here until the summer. At least we seem to have the babysitter-problem solved for the next 6-7 months! I'm convinced 2012 will be a lot easier than 2011 has been; Liva and Laia are bigger, and though they're more work they're also easier and more fun to take care of and be with. And though they'll keep being more work, they'll keep getting bigger and bigger, and easier and easier in many ways!
Liva & Laia 17½ months

1 YEAR & 5 MONTHS - 1 Dec 2011

Today is December 1st, the day I should've lost another 2 kilos. According to our scale I've actually gained weight and am back where I started months ago. But I know that isn't true, I can feel it on my clothes! My 2 pairs of post-pregnancy pants are way too big on me now, and actually look quite horrible. They're not even really comfortable anymore. I can fit more and more of my pre-pregancy clothes, and it doesn't feel as tight anymore as it did a few months back. I have no idea why the scale says one thing and my clothes another. It's also not because I have been exercising loads and have converted fat into muscle which weighs more, I have hardly been exercising at all. So right now, I don't care what the scale says! I can fit a lot of my pre-pregancy clothes, I'm starting to feel good about myself again, and my husband clearly loves me the way I am. I'm not asking for anything more! :)
And anyways, I am so sleep-deprived I hardly know what I'm doing these days. 3 nights ago Laia woke up at 3:00. She went back to sleep, but in 10-15 minute intervals which meant that Albert and I didn't sleep anymore after 3:00. At 6 Liva woke up, that was the end of that night. It's impossible for Albert and I to go to bed early, no matter how tired we are. After tidying up the apartment a bit, cooking, eating, cleaning the kitchen and doing some work on the computer (Albert for the Master he's currently doing), it's always 22:30/23:00 by the time we get to bed. The same happened after the night Laia woke up at 3:00. We got to bed around 23:00, Laia was awake at 5:00 the next morning... 4 hours of sleep one night followed by 5-6 hours of sleep the following night really isn't enough! We assume it's because Laia hasn't been feeling good, hopefully it'll all be back to normal again soon. Tonight I'll try to get to bed early and hope the girls will sleep at least until 6:00/6:30 tomorrow.

1 YEAR & 5 MONTHS - 29 Nov 2011

Wow, 17 months already! Liva and Laia are getting big so incredible quickly, they seem able to do new things every day, and they are so tall already. As they get more and more wonderful every day, they also become more work every day. They sleep less, both at night and during the day. Food now has to be tasty and interesting, no more jars of babyfood from the supermarket. Toys have to be interesting and challenging - where a few months ago they could spend hours ratteling an empty plastic bottle with pasta inside, they now want things they can open and close, put inside each other and pout on top of each other. Where a few months ago an old telephone directory could keep them entertained, they now want books with activities. Of course we're only happy about this development, they are smart, curious girls, eager to learn and discover new things!
Laia talks more and more, has the cutest "no" and wags her finger. She tries to communicate with us, and often gets really annoyed when we don't understand what she's saying. Liva isn't quite as verbal, but makes herself understood more with gestures - shaking her head for no or closing her mouth when she doesn't want more food.
They interact loads and have loads of fun playing with each other, peek-a-boo and catch are their two favorite games. At the same time, their different personalities are starting to shine through. At the playground Liva loves to play soccer and is surprisingly good at kicking the ball. Laia prefers to climb on things and surprises me every day when she manages to climb onto something I had never thought she'd be able to get onto. Liva looks for the biggest group of kids she can find, and heads straight for the middle of it, no matter what age the kids in the group are. Laia prefers to be on her own, or with adults. At home Laia loves to dress up or sit and play with toys, trying to do things she can't do - now that she can open zippers she spends hours trying to learn to close them again, she loves trying to make towers with building blocks or putting shapes into their correct holes. Liva perfers to look at books, or - even better - have someone read her a story. She doesn't have the patience for things she can't do, and gives up very quickly. She prefers throwing a ball around, or bullying Laia and Tatanka.
They are lovely girls, and though I'm often exhausted and quite relieved when we put them to bed at night, I always look forward to being with them again the next day. It would be nice with a little more sleep, though, and a longer break for me while they nap during the day....

1 YEAR & almost 5 MONTHS - 23 Nov. 2011

A few weeks ago, Liva was driving me up the walls! She didn't listen to anything we said, a no was completely ignored, she did the opposite of what we told her to do (or not do), and she threw major tantrums when she didn't her will, no matter where we were - at home, at the playground, walking on the street, anywhere. Laia, on the other hand, was just perfect. She'd listen to us, she'd do what we told her to do, or not do what we told her not to do, she loved to help out with everything, she'd quietly hold my hand and wait for Liva to get over it whenever Liva threw a tantrum.
Now, it's completely different. Liva has become really good, she (mostly) listens to us, she has (more or less) stopped her tantrums, she behaves (almost) perfectly when we're out, and she (most of the time) respects a no. Laia, though, has now started driving me up the wall. She's not as bad as Liva was a few weeks ago, but she's close! What gets to me most is how she flips when she doesn't get her way. She doesn't throw big tantrums like Liva did, she just fake-cries and throws herself on the floor. Where Liva did it a couple of times a week, Laia does it a couple of times a day.
I know it's just a stage they have to get through, they have to see where the limit is, and the only way of doing this is by trying to cross it over and over and over again. I'm happy that they're testing at different times, I couldn't handle having both of them testing me at the same time for very long!

Our new babysitter came Monday and Tuesday, and everything was fine. Liva and Laia are such easy girls, they accepted her almost right away. Today - her third day of work - she couldn't come because she was sick. Luckily I didn't have any important plans, just some things I would've liked to get done but that can wait.
One of the things was going to the gym, I haven't been since Sunday and was actually looking forward to it. I won't be able to go this week at all now, tonight Albert's out so I can't leave the girls, tomorrow afternoon/evening I work, Friday Albert normally goes and the weekend we're out of town for my brother-in-law's 40th birthday. 

1 YEAR & 4½ MONTHS - 21 Nov 2011

I never made it to the gym on Tuesday, my skype interview lasted over an hour. But I made it to the gym yesterday, it felt good! And I was given the job I interviewed for, so all in all a good week.
Liva and Laia have been sleeping until 6:45 in the mornings, a huge change from 5:30! They're in a much better mood because they are more rested, the days don't seem as long, and we all have a much better time. The weather has been pretty bad lately, with loads of rain. It's made it more difficult to get out, but we're lucky to have a playground right behind our house. We can walk down there, or take Liva and Laia's little cars. If it rains or they fall into a puddle or whatever, we're just behind our building and can be home within a couple of minutes. And it's great being able to get out even in crap weather!
video
Today we have a new babysitter starting, it was Anne Louise's last day on Thursday. We will miss her, it's difficult for Liva and Laia to understand when people suddenly disappear - they still miss Heather and say goodnight to her picture every day...

1 YEAR & 4 MONTHS - 15 Nov. 2011

I haven't been to the gym since Tuesday, I was really looking forward to going today, but now I've just received an e-mail for a skype-interview this morning. I hope I can still make it to the gym afterwards, even if just for 30 minutes or so.

The Australian girl turned down our job offer, she's probably leaving Barcelona at the end of the year, and wouldn't want for the girls to have to change babysitters again. So we've offered the job to the Danish girl instead, she's coming today for a couple of hours to be with Anne Louise and see how the stroller and everything works.
Yesterday a friend of mine came over with her son, we left all three kids with Anne Louise and went for a stroll and a coffee. It was her first morning off since her son was born, we both really enjoyed it. Poor Anne Louise was exhausted when we got back, but the kids had had a great time, Liva and Laia were extremely happy! If it's not pouring this afternoon, another friend of mine with twin girls a few months younger than Liva and Laia will come over. It's nice that Liva and Laia have friends who come over to play - and it's lovely for me to have mom-friends to talk to!

My laptop is still broken, and I still haven't heard from Dell, they're supposed to let me know how much it'll cost to get it fixed. Quite annoying since I can't do any work without the laptop - lucky thing I wasn't in the middle of a translation or something!

I have started posting videos of Liva & Laia on youtube, you can see them if you search for videos by stinekuskner - or I guess if you search for livalaia. There are only videos up until 13 months old, I will be adding more soon.

1 YEAR & 4 MONTHS - 10 Nov. 2011

Liva and Laia are still not back in their regular sleeping rhythm after we changed the time. They normally wake up between 5:30 and 6:00 now, sometimes as early as 4:30! If they sleep longer than 6:00 we consider it "sleeping in". When they wake up that early, they can hardly make it to nap-time. Sometimes (like today) we put them down for a nap in the mornings again, that then screws up their afternoon nap. If they don't nap in the morning they normally nap for at least 2 hours in the afternoon - though not always, and when they don't they are so cranky and difficult all afternoon. I hope we'll be back to normal at some point, and that we get to sleep at least until 7:00 or so in the mornings.

I don't remember if I've mentioned it before, but we gave Tomahawk away a couple of weeks ago. To a lovely British family with a 4-year old daughter who loves cats. They have a big terrace, Tomahawk gets to sleep in the daughter's bed, and it sounds like she's doing great. Tatanka has changed back to the cat he was before his fall again, loves being with his family and comes to be petted by all of us all the time.

I haven't been to the gym since Tuesday morning, I wanted to go last night but 1) Liva broke my lap-top screen shortly before going to bed so I spent loads of time saving whatever I could save on the laptop, and 2) I find it really difficult to get out of the house to go to the gym in the evenings. I have to go in the mornings. It's especially difficult after a day like yesterday where Laia had a fever and neither of the girls slept very much during the day, giving us a very rough afternoon! By the time they're finally in bed I just want to relax, not go to the gym.

We're looking for a new babysitter, and this time have a choice between two really great girls, a Dane and an Australian. We've offered the Australian the job, if she accepts Liva and Laia will be getting quite a bit of English in their life again. I hope they won't be too confused with all these languages...

1 YEAR & 4 MONTHS - 8 Nov 2011

Yesterday was Albert's birthday, and the day I was supposed to have lost 4 kgs. I have lost 2... A 50% successrate is not really acceptable, but too late to do anything about now. I will have to set a new goal, and be more serious about it this time!
Goal 2:
2 more kilos down before Dec 1st
4 more kilos (from today's weight!) before my parents arrive on 22 December would be lovely

I went to the gym today, finally. But I only did 20 minutes, then had to stop... I started with the running-machine, after 5 minutes of running I had to stop and start walking, my bladder still can't handle running. Is that something I should be worried about? It's been 16 months since I gave birth, my body should be back to normal by now, shouldn't it?
Well, I've learned that next time I have to start with the exercise machines (weightlifting or whatever) and do the running at the end (and wear thick pads or something).
I hope to be able to a class of Yogilates tomorrow evening, a mixture of yoga and pilates. Should be good! And then I can hopefully go again sometime this weekend. But I actually enjoyed it today (besides being worried about peeing myself), and I'm looking forward to going again.

1 YEAR & 4 MONTHS - 5 Nov 2011

Sentences I had never in my life imagined I'd ever say, but that I find myself repeating over and over again:
  • Don't bite your sister's bum!
  • Don't throw your pacifier in the garbage-can.
  • Don't throw your pacifier in the toilet.
  • Don't pet Tatanka's bum!
  • Don't eat the plants!
  • Don't touch the poop!
  • Don't eat left-overs from the floor!
  • Don't eat the candles.
But the sentences I find myself repeating the most are:
  • You are the most incredible girls in the whole world!
  • I love you with all my heart!
  • You are such an intelligent girl!
  • You are so beautiful!
  • You are my favorite people in the whole world!!

4 MONTHS - 1 Nov. 2010

This whole idea of changing the clocks really hasn't been a lot of fun! Sunday morning Liva and Laia woke up at 5:30, which I guess is understandable since accordig to their inner clock it was actually 6:30. Sunday evening we had such a hard time trying to keep them awake, we ended up giving them dinner around 17:30 and putting them to bed at 18:30 - half an hour earlier than normal, but not according to their inner clock. Monday was the same all over again - up at 5:30, early dinner, in bed by 18:45. But then I have NO idea what happened this morning - Liva woke up at 4:30 and would not go back to sleep! Even if her inner clock is still confused, it would only have been 5:30 her time, which is definitely not normal. With all the commosion, Laia woke up at 5:00 - which would be 6:00 for her, and which is more or less normal. I really hope they will get used to this new wintertime soon, and will start sleeping until at least 6:30 - our time! - again.

These days I get an insight into what it's like being a working mom. I interpret at a conference for 11 Danish politicians, and have been away form the girls for quite a few hours both yesterday and today, and will be gone all day tomorrow. It's strange, but it's only 3 days. I hate saying goodbye, but the work is extremly demanding, and I don't really have time to think about anything else. Today was a public holiday so Albert was home with the girls. The three of them came to meet me when I finished working, Liva and Laia smiled and ran to me to give me a huge hug when they saw me - what an incredible feeling!

I have been "dieting" for 3 weeks today, and have barely lost any weight since last week - so just over 1½ kilos in total. Not exactly the result I was aiming for, but then I haven't really been as serious as I had hoped I'd be. Yesterday I joined a gym, now I just need to get myself down there! I hope to be able to go at least either Monday or Wednesday evening and Sunday morning, though this week it'll only be Sunday morning since it's a quite hectic week with this interpretation I'm doing, and a new class I start teaching on Thursdays.
Now I'm off to bed, it's been a long day, and it'll be an even longer day tomorrow. For the first time ever, Liva and Laia will be with their babysitter all day, both Albert and I have to leave at 7:45 and won't be back until after 18:00. This is - typical me! - something which quite worries me, even though I deep down know they will be fine. Anne Louise is great with them, very calm and patient. I have prepared all the food for Liva and Laia for the whole day tomorrow, there's really nothing to worry about. I just wish I could get my heart to believe what my brain knows!

1 YEAR & 4 MONTHS - 29 Oct 2011

Happy 16-month birthday Liva and Laia, the best girls in the world!! Not a lot has changed since last month - they get better at walking and running, they are loads more fun, they are more confident when doing things, they interact more, they are more amazing! They have started playing for real now, Liva absolutely loves when we chase her and tickle her when we catch her. She will start walking while already giggeling, looking at us with a look of hope on her face, and slowly walk out of the room. If we start calling her name she knows it means we're coming after her, she starts running while already laughing in anticipation of what's to come. When we catch her she completely craks up. This game could go on all day if it were up to her.
They both love when Albert and I take one girl each, one hides somewhere in the house while the other comes looking for them - of course both Albert and I know where the other person is all times, our house is not that big and the girls can't help laughing, but we still pretend we're searching. When we do find each other, we scream and run in opposit directions, the girls scream and laugh and yell for more.
They are also very good at playing with each other - their favorite games are one girl crawling, chasing the other who's running. They don't really know what to do when they catch each other, but they laugh and find it very funny. Or one girl sitting on top of the other and the one at the bottom has to try to wiggle lose. Or playing with their little cars together.
When playing on their own, they both love putting things into things - we have toys where they have to put different size boxes into each other, different shapes into a pot etc. Especially Laia can spend a long time playing on her own with these games. They still love books, and enjoy being told stories.
They love helping with everything - anything I do in the kitchen, the whole procedure of carrying the dirty laundry to the machine, putting it in the machine, etc. Basically anything they can help me with I encourage them to do so, and they love it. The other day Liva had a great time helping Albert empty the dishwasher. I hope this means they'll love doing chores as they get bigger..............
Of course they also fight more - if one has a toy the other wants it, another toy exactly the same doesn't do the trick, it has to be the one sister has. If one comes to sit on my lap, the other wants to sit there as well, but isn't accepted by the first one up. If one is with Albert and one is with me, they want to change - only to change back a few seconds later and only because they want the same as what sister has.
On the other hand, they are brilliant at sharing! If we offer one for example a cookie, she will automatically take two, so she can give one to her sister. If we're at the playground playing with sand toys, they will always make sure sister also has something to play with (being at home on their own "territory" is apparently very different to being at the playground with other kids!). If one is in the kitchen with me while the other is in the living room with Albert, and I give something to the one in the kitchen without having something ready for the sister, the one with me will say the sister's name and look at me all confused - I can't just give her and not her sister!
All in all, there are so many more positive things to say about Liva and Laia than negative ones, and I really enjoy being with them. We laugh a lot during the day, and though it does get tough at times being with them so many hours while trying to work and do whatever housework needs done, the good times majorly outweigh the hard times!! I just love them with all my heart!

1 YEAR & almost 4 MONTHS - 27 Oct 2011

For the second day in row, Liva and Laia napped for 2½ hours this afternoon! I love it!! They wake up at 6:00 in the morning again (I did prefer 7!), refuse to go down for a nap a few hours later, are dead tired by 12-ish, so have lunch around 12:30. By 13:00 they are in bed, 5 minutes later they are sound asleep. They still fall asleep around 19:00 at night, I guess that's why they wake up at 6:00. I think tonight I'll try putting them down later - I gave them a bigger snack than normal when they woke up from their nap, in the hope that we could do dinner a bit later. But regardless, I do love these long afternoon naps! :)

1 YEAR & almost 4 MONTHS - 25 Oct 2011

I haven't been writing lately, coz there really isn't much to tell. Liva and Laia are wonderful, every day more so. They get easier and easier to communicate with, they're starting to answer questions correctly, and love showing us what they want - they'll take our hand, pull us into the kitchen and point at the cookies, or they'll grab themselves between the legs and say "caca".

I have been dieting for 2 weeks, and considering how little I'm actually doing for this "diet", I'm positively surprised that I've lost 1½ kilos. It'll be hard to reach my goal at this rate, but oh well... I am finally starting to shake my cold, which means I can start exercising soon. On Friday we were told that this big change we have been hoping for won't happen this time around. It's a shame, but it means we can get on with our lives here, and that - among other things - I can sign up at a gym. That should help.

We're looking for a new babysitter - again. Anne Louise informed us today that she'll be moving back to Denmark early December. My mother-in-law will probably retire at the end of January, but we can't count on her to come here 5 days a week for 3-4 hours, she's going to want time for herself as well. But she'd be happy to come some days for 3-4 hours, which will be a great help - we can combine her and a babysitter and I can have even more free time!
There are quite a few small changes in the air, I hope that by the end of the year we'll have everything sorted out. As long as we are all healthy and Liva and Laia are happy, that's all that matters to me!

1 YEAR & 3½ MONTHS - 19 Oct 2011

We made it to France and it was great! It was a lot colder than I had expected, I had brought enough clothes for the girls but Albert and I were freezing. We left Friday afternoon, Liva and Laia were awake the first hour or so, then we stopped for food and shortly after we started driving again Liva fell asleep. Laia was awake the whole time, looking out the window or playing with the toys we had brought. We arrived at the apartment around 19:00, got the beds and everything ready, Lit up the fireplace, gave Liva and Laia some food, let them play for a while and put them to bed around 20:30. Albert and I had dinner, relaxed, talked, had a nice evening. The night was rough, Liva and Laia didn't sleep well and we were up many times.
Saturday we went to an animal park with wild animals - bears, wild boar, deer, etc. In the afternoon we relaxed at the apartment. Sunday we went to a market in a little village close to the apartment, then to a bigger town on the way bac to Barcelona. We drove back to Barcelona just after lunch, Liva and Laia slept the whole way.


Outside the apartment

Animal park

In a little French village

In a small town on the way back

This week has been a bit rough, Liva, Laia and I are all still sick, can't shake this cold we have. Anne Louise is in Denmark, so I've been juggeling Liva and Laia, work, the cats and the house again. Luckily Anne Louise is back in Barcelona today, will be here tomorrow afternoon.
The cats are driving me nuts, they can't live in the same house after Tatanka fell off the roof, and we desperately need to get rid of Tomahawk! We've put up ads and asked everyone we know, but unfortunately nobody is interested in a 4-year old cat...

My diet is actually going OK - of course I didn't do much dieting in France, and I haven't exercised at all because I've been sick, but I've still managed to lose almost 1 kg. I hope we'll all soon get over these colds, and that I can start exercising a bit to speed up the weightloss.

1 YEAR & 3½ MONTHS - 12 Oct 2011

Liva and Laia are sick, poor little things! Liva has had fever on and off since Sunday morning. Today, especially this afternoon, it really hit her. We've been out most of the day, came home around 17:00, Liva was completely out of it, either crying or half sleeping on one of us. Laia woke up last night around 22:00 with a horrible cough which clearly hurts, and it seems she has a sore throat as well. We gave them an early dinner, a quick bath, and by 18:00 they were both in bed - we changed Liva twice since she cried so much and was so exhausted after the bath that she threw up all over herself. Now they're sound asleep, hopefully they'll be better again tomorrow. I hate when they're sick - but which parent doesn't?!

My diet is going okay....
Day 1: Everything went fine all day, until 21:30 when we had a lovely chocolate-raspberry cake-dessert which Albert had bought to celebrate our 3-year anniversary.
Day 2: Has gone well, except for 3 cookies at my brother-in-law's house when we all went there for coffee in the afternoon.

This weekend we're going away for the first time to a place which is not Denmark, and we're soooo looking forward to it. I hope Liva and Laia will be OK, otherwise we probably won't be able to go. We've rented a car with car-seats for Liva and Laia, and are borrowing my brother-in-law's apartment in the south of France for the weekend. The plan is to leave Friday afternoon when Albert finishes work, and come home Sunday afternoon. It would be the first time the four of us would go away for a weekend like this, I really hope it'll work out!

1 YEAR & 3½ MONTHS - 11 Oct 2011

Today is our 3-year wedding anniversary! This means that today it's exactly 2 years since I got pregnant. It's about 15½ months since Liva and Laia were born. I don't have any excuse for still carrying around 4 kgs more than before I got pregnant! Or 6 kgs more than our wedding day 3 years ago. I know it's not a lot, but it's the difference between being able to fit the clothes in the closet or having to buy new close. The difference between looking at pictures from the wedding and honeymoon and thinking "that's what I want to look like" and looking at recent pictures thinking "I don't want anyone else to see these pictures". The difference between feeling good about myself and trying to avoid looking in the mirror.
So here's the plan: Lose the weight! :)
GOAL: lose 4 kilos by 7 November (Albert's birthday)
DREAM: lose 6-7 kilos by 1 December

1 YEAR & 3 MONTHS - 4 Oct 2011

On our way home from the mall this afternoon I let Liva and Laia walk on their own for a while. There's a pedestrian area, and I don't need to worry about them running out on the street. When they get to walk on their own, Laia is always really good. She comes when I call, if she goes to pick up stuff from the ground and I say "no" she leaves it, and she tends to stay more or less close to me. Liva, on the other hand, doesn't listen at all! She goes her own way, doesn't come when I call, if I go to get her she'll run off, laughing. She listens to "stop", which is great, otherwise I don't think I would've dared to let her walk on her own.
Well, this afternoon she was doing her own stuff, and I eventually had enough. I went to get her, she ran off, and when I caught her I yelled at her and carried her over to the stroller. She started crying. I continued walking, Laia came with me, Liva stayed in the middle of the pedestrian area crying. I continued walking. Laia hesistated; mom or sister? Liva continued crying. I continued walking. Laia ran back to Liva, grabbed her by the hand and pulled her in my direction. Liva started laughing, both girls started running/walking quickly, all troubles were forgotten, they were both laughing happily and wandering off together.

1 YEAR & 3 MONTHS - 3 Oct 2011

What have I done - Liva & Laia are addicted to Barney! They can even almost say his name! To those of you who don't know Barney, he's a huge purple dinosaur with a lot of different kinds of friends, and they do loads of singing and dancing. We have the DVD called "Barney's animal ABCs", Liva and Laia love it. We have 3 other Barney DVDs, they aren't good enough. We have loads of other DVDs for kids, none of them are accepted; it has to be Barney and the ABCs. I don't put it on much, not even every day, but they'll ask for it many times in a day - by "ask for it" I mean point to the TV, go to where the DVD player is, or grab the actual DVD while pointing wildly and making sounds that sound almost like "Barney".
I often put him on when we get home from our afternoon walk, when the girls are tired and I have to prepare dinner. They sit down in their little chairs and relax or clap and dance along, depending on how they're feeling. Barney is good entertainment, it keeps Liva and Laia hearing English, and it's educational enough that I don't feel guilty letting them watch it for a while. Actually, I recommend it to any parents with kids from about 12 months and up!

1 YEAR & 3 MONTHS - 29 Sept 2011

Liva and Laia are 15 months old today! And life is so much easier than it was 1 month ago - or even just a week ago! I don't know what's going on with their sleeping habbits, but we all seem to have gotten more or less used to them.
The girls are extremely happy lately, they interact loads, love being around other kids, and laugh loads. They are starting to show a sense of humor, are starting to do things like pretend to pass a toy to us and then pull it away last minute, hide things and make an expression of "I don't know where it is" - which never lasts long because they start laughing and show it to us.
Liva enjoys our tidying up sessions before bed, gets really proud when she puts her toys away. She also applauds herself every time she does something correctly. She loves helping with things around the house, like putting clothes in the washing machine or preparing their bottles at night.
Laia hates tidying up, but loves to help in other ways. She finds all our shoes etc when we go out, wants to help carry things, and loves to help set the table, carry things into the kitchen, prepare the bath etc. We don't push them to do the things they don't like doing, instead we reinforce the things they seem to enjoy.
I don't think there's any new vocabulary, but they clearly understand more and more, and use the words they know more and more as well.
They still love animals and the playgrounds. They can both swing on regular swings, especially Laia is really good. Though Laia is the more agile one - she can run, jump, climb, hardly falls anymore, etc. - she struggles with things that require coordination - for example, she can only go straight forward or backward on their little cars, whereas Liva can go anywhere she wants. Liva can keep her balance while walking on a thin pole (an activity at one of the playgrounds, super annoying since they can't actually really do it, but love trying), whereas Laia falls down all the time - because Liva has the patience to go slowly and look where she's going and Laia basically tries to run it.
Liva is the creative one and comes up with ideas for things to play, which Laia then copy. She's always the first one to go be with the other kids at mommy-meets and the playgrounds, Laia stays with the adults for a long time, and often wanders off on her own instead of playing with the other kids.
Laia is already starting to show an interest in clothes - she can put some things on herself and loves doing it. She loves putting on my tank-tops and pretending she's wearing a dress. She looks at herself - and at Liva - after we dress them, loves brushing and combing her hair, loves it when we put perfume on her, and can spend hours trying to put clothes on or playing with the clean laundry. Liva, on the other hand, shows no interest in clothes, she prefers not to have her hair brushed or combed (it's not really fair that Liva has loads of hair and Laia is still practically bald!), and pushes our hands away when we try putting perfume on her (which is of course not really perfume, just regular baby-oil).
Liva loves to sit and read books or turn the pages of a magazine, Laia prefers to jump in our bed, chase a ball or rip the pages of a book or magazine.
Laia still bullies Liva, but Liva is starting to "fight back" - she bites, she bullies back, she takes Laia's toys away. But most of the time they clearly enjoy each other's company, they play with each other, they chase each other around the house, they chase a ball to see who gets to it first, then start laughing when one of them picks it up, they hide and giggle, they hug each other, and though they often take each other's toys away, they are really good at sharing things with each other as well. Not only toys, also food, pacifiers, etc. When one cries the other brings a pacifier or water or something, and strokes the crying sister's head. All in all, they are wonderful, happy, healthy girls and I love them with all my heart!!
Liva & Laia 15 months. They're purposely NOT looking at the camera,
I'll try to get a photo asap where they actually look

1 YEAR & almost 3 MONTHS - 28 Sept 2011

I will never understand Liva and Laia's attitude to sleeping! This morning they woke up later than they have the last couple of mornings, this week they haven't napped in the morning but they seemed more tired today than any other day. Liva was walking around like a drunk, falling over and almost falling asleep on the couch. I put them down for their nap later than normal, by then Laia seemed tired as well. The moment I put them in their beds, they're 110% awake. They start playing, fooling around, throwing their blanket, pillow, teddies and pacifiers on the floor, laughing. After a while they start crying, because now it's not fun anymore, there's nothing left to throw on the floor. I go back in there, put all the stuff back in their beds, lay the girls down, give them their pacifiers and switch on their musical teddy. They're rubbing their eyes and look they they'll fall asleep any minute. I go out and close the door, before the door is even closed they're standing up again, throwing things, laughing. After a while they start crying again, I repeat the process. This morning there was silence after the third time. I waited a couple of minutes; silence. I went to our bedroom and started getting ready for a shower;silence. I got the bathroom ready; silence. I got undressed; silence. I switched on the water and got under the shower;silence. I shampooed my hair; silence. I started washing my body; crying!! Hair full of shampoo and body half lathered in soap, Liva's crying! What to do? I could tell it was her tired crying, and knew I didn't need to worry, so I finished my shower (quickly) before going back in their room. Laia was sound asleep, Liva was sitting up, all her things on the floor. She must have tried to continue playing and have gotten no reaction from Laia, poor thing. She was so tired she could hardly even sit up anymore. I lay her down, gave her the pacifiers and switched on the musical teddy. Before I had left the room she was asleep. But WHY does it have to take half an hour?

1 YEAR + almost 3 MONTHS - 27 Sept 2011

On our way home from the playground this morning, in their stroller, Liva discovered that Laia's ear is actually a hole that she can put her finger into. At first Laia thought it was funny, but when Liva continued, and kept putting her finger deeper and deeper, Laia eventually got fed up. It was quite difficult to get Liva to stop playing with this new-discovered "toy". Eventually I had to bribe her with a cookie - food will distract Liva from anything she's doing! :)

1 YEAR & almost 3 MONTHS - 26 Sept 2011

Though loads happens with Liva and Laia at the moment, and though it's lovely having Anne Louise here, and though it's wonderful having so much extra time, I don't feel motivated to write... The extra time I have has so far been spent doing house-work, cooking food for Liva and Laia for the next couple of days, or going to Oxford House for meetings or preparing classes.
But teh worst part at the moment is the situation between Albert and I. Once again, we're at a stage where everything is just shit! We hardly talk, Albert doesn't seem to listen to anything I say - I tell him things I have to do but he never remembers, I ask him to do stuff around the house or buy stuff on his way home, he doesn't do it, says he forgot. Everything I do is bad or wrong meaning we have to do everything he wants to do, the way he wants to do it. This is not necessarily new, it has just gotten worse over the last couple of weeks.
Yesterday I was sick, spent half the night in the bathroom puking and felt horrible all day. Albert did nothing to help, was in a bad mood all day, and when I got up this morning the kitchen was an absolute mess - he couldn't even be bothered cleaning the kitchen before going to bed, knowing that I wasn't feeling well. He took the girls out for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon with our small double stroller, when I asked him this morning where the pacifiers and water-cups that go on the stroller are, he looked at me like a was totally stupid and replied "the things that go on the stroller are on the stroller!". Well, thank you - the little stroller that I never use! And the stroller was already folded up and put away in it's place behind Laia's bed.
It's been like this for about 2 weeks, and I am SO fed up!! This combined with not having an elevator most of October is making me think very seriously of flying up to Denmark asap with a one-way ticket, and come back down when I have more energy to handle a constantly pissed-off husband.... But then there's the issue of work, will Oxford House let me work from Denmark for a whole month or longer? Or could I find enough translation work to manage? Or should I maybe even look for work in Denmark while I'm up there? But then what would I do if I actually got work up there??

1 YEAR + 2 MONTHS + 3 WEEKS - 20 Sept. 2011

Life with a babysitter is still wonderful, I have time to do work, organize the house, and spend quality time with Liva and Laia. They just get sweeter and sweeter every day! Today they both spontaniously gave me a huge kiss, Laia while I was dressing her, Liva while we were playing. They love Anne Louise and come back super happy everytime they have been out with her.
We're still struggeling with the cats, today I sent out a message to all my friends that we're giving Tomahawk up for adoption..... It's a shame and it will be difficult, but it's been over a week now and they still can't be in the same room. Tomahawk attacks Tatanka any chance she gets, Tatanka hisses and hides whenever he sees her. We can't figure out whether Tomahawk attacks because she feels threatened by Tatanka's hissing, or whether Tatanka hisses because Tomahawk attacks - what came first, the hen or the egg?
Besides that, Tatanka seems to be doing fine. He eats, poops, sleeps as normal, and it only seems to hurt him when we touch his tail. Amazing that he can fall down 8 floors and survive, I wonder how many of his nine lives that fall took from him? Well, we're just happy he's still with us, even if they are giving us a lot of extra work these days. I just wish him and Tomahawk would learn to get along again, so we wouldn't have to give her up!

1 YEAR + 2½ MONTHS - 14 Sept. 2011

I'm starting to have a life again!! Anne Louise has been coming every day and I have been able to straighten the house, go grocery shopping on my own, do laundry, and most importantly, work. This means I can relax in the evenings, or do fun stuff - tonight I met up with a friend from work for a quick drink. Though it's only been 3 days I am already noticing the difference. I am much more relaxed, I enjoy my time with Liva and Laia 100%, and it's clear that they enjoy being away from mom for a few hours.
When they came home today Laia came running into the apartment, yelled "hola", and threw herself in my arms. I have never had such a greeting from either of them before, it was wonderful! Though they didn't nap this morning and only napped for 45 minutes this afternoon, we had a lovely time together, mainly because I have much more patience with them now that I get 3-4 hours "off" every day.
Yesterday afternoon we went to a mommy meeting, it was lovely seeing the moms and kids again. Before the summer there were a bunch of babies lying around, now there is a group of toddlers waddeling around. Time passes so quickly.
Tatanka seems to be doing OK, but he still spends his days hiding under the couch or in the kitchen. Yesterday we took him out onto the livingroom floor and forced him and Tomahawk to be together. Tomahawk is fine but Tatanka keeps hissing at her. We started playing with them with a string, they were fine for about an hour - playing and having a good time. Tomahawk left the room, when she came back Tatanka hissed and went running under the couch. He was there all night and most of the day, until I took him into the kitchen in the hope that he would eat and drink. He spent the rest of the day hiding under the kitchen counter. Silly cat, I'm getting a bit fed up with him.... We'll see how the next couple of weeks go, something has to change!

1 YEAR + 2 MONTHS + 2 WEEKS - 12 Sept 2011

We're back in Barcelona, and it's ... HOT!! In Denmark we were wearing socks, shoes and jackets - we even put little hats on Liva and Laia because of the cold wind.

Wearing hats at the beach in Denmark
Now we're back in almost 30 degrees C and extreme humidity. I know I love the heat, but after 3 months of these abnormally high temperatures, it would be nice if it would cool down a bit. According to the weather forecast it's just going to get warmer.
The trip home went fine, Liva and Laia slept for 1½ hours on the plane, had something to eat, played a bit and next thing we know, we're getting ready to land. We arrived home at 10:30, Albert went straight to his mom's house to get Tatanka. He's okay but definitely not good! He barely walks, though he doesn't limp or anything when he does. He hasn't eaten much, he threw up this morning, and he spends his time hiding under the couch or the kitchen counter. Him and Tomahawk attach each other when they see each other, and this morning he tried to jump up first on the bench we have on the balcony, then on our computer table to get to his favorite place on top of a bookshelf - both tries failed and he couldn't even get half way up before crashing back on the floor... I do believe that he will be fine, he has to get over the fall and he and Tomahawk have to get used to each other again. Poor thing!!
Liva and Laia have learned to stand on one leg while holding on to something, yesterday we went to a playground with a fountain, they held on to us and put one foot in the water. This morning while I was getting their breakfast ready they were at the kitchen gate. They held on to the gate while they "kicked" each other, they were laughing so hard they could hardly keep their balance!
Later this morning we're meeting their friend Luca, that'll be nice! When we get home our babysitter is coming and I have to go to a meeting at the language school. Back to normal life again.

1 YEAR + 2 MONTHS + 1 WEEK - 9 Sept. 2011

We're still in Denmark, and are still enjoying it - though it's cold and Albert has a horrible cold and Liva and Laia have runny noses. It's great spending so much time with my family, Liva and Laia are clearly enjoying having so many people around them all the time. We've been to the beach a few times, Liva screamed the first time but enjoyed it today. This afternoon we went to a big forrest with a viking grave where we played for a while, Liva and Laia were fascinated by the forrest.

Tomorrow we're going to my brother's house in the afternoon and all having dinner together at night.
We've spoken with my mother-in-law every day, Tatanka is doing great! He can walk just fine, he's with her cats and there are no problems. He even jumps up on her bed to sleep at night, and goes into the kitchen to eat. We're very much looking forward to seeing him again!
I'm a bit worried about Sunday, we fly at 07:00 Sunday morning, which means we have to leave my parent's place at 04:00. Last time we were in Denmark we did the same, Liva and Laia were impossible for 2 days.... Luckily Anne Louise (our new Danish babysitter) is coming Monday around noon because I have a meeting at the language school where I work. In the morning we're meeting Luca, we haven't seen him for over a month. It'll be interesting to see whether the kids will remember each other. Anne Louise will come for 15 hours per week starting next week, and she will come and clean every Friday morning. That will be so wonderful! Just the thought makes me so much more relaxed, and makes coming back to Barcelona seem much easier.

1 YEAR + 2 MONTHS - 4 Sept 2011

We're in Denmark and it's lovely! The trip here went fine, Liva and Laia slept for a little over an hour in the plane and my dad picked us up at the airport. Besides the airline taking almost 1 hour to deliver strollers there were no problems. It was great to see my family again, my brother and his whole family came over for dinner Saturday evening, Liva and Laia clearly rememebered everyone and very quickly got over their shyness.
We didn't get to see Tatanka before leaving home, they kept him at the hospital 1 extra night. Saturday afternoon my mother-in-law picked him up and took him to her place. The vets said he needs peace and quiet, though she has 2 cats herself she has a big apartment and can close doors so Tatanka can be on his own. Supposedly he's fine, his lung and heart are back to normal and there is nothing broken. But he can't walk properly and is in a lot of pain. According to the doctors there are 2 possiblities: a) he is still in pain from the fall and will get better slowly as the pain subsides, b) he damaged his spine and would need loads of x-rays and a huge operation. We're of course hoping it's the first possibility and that Tatanka will recuperate slowly over the next week with loads of TLC from my mother-in-law. If it's the second possibility, we only see 1 possiblity for him, and it doesn't involve x-rays and an operation.... Poor, poor Tatanka, he is such a good cat and really doesn't deserve this!! We're keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best!

1 YEAR + 2 MONTHS - 2 Sept 2011

August definitely ended with a bang and was by far one of the worst months ever! I'm glad it's over and never coming back...
When my mother-in-law came home from her walk with Liva and Laia, the elevator wasn't working - again! So I ran down the stairs, folded the stroller, took Liva while my mother-in-law took Laia and we carried them up to our apartment. Since I don't trust some of the people in this building, I didn't want to leave the stroller in the entrance hall until Albert came home, so I had to go down and get it. It's extremely heavy and quite big even when it's folded. Luckily I met a young guy on the stairs when I was about half way up, he helped me carry it the rest of the way.
In the evening before going to bed, we fed the cats, as always. If they're outside, they normally come in when they hear food. Sometimes Tatanka doesn't, so we weren't too worried when he didn't come. I went on the roof to look for him a while later, normally that does the trick. But there was no Tatanka. I was a bit worried, but at the same time sure he was okay and that he'd be coming when he felt like it, and went to bed. We've been living here for 2 years, they are outside all the time and nothing has ever happened.

Tatanka on the roof
Albert went on the roof a while later, still no Tatanka. So Albert came to bed. But shortly after he got up again, he was sure there was something wrong and couldn't sleep. He went back on the roof, and when there was no sign of Tatanka, Albert looked over the side of the building. And down there, seven storeys down, was Tatanka. Albert ran down to get him, he was hurt and couldn't walk. Albert rushed off to the animal ER with him where they took X-rays and bloodtests. At first they said he had probably broken his hip and possibly had internal bleedings. Then they said it looked like he hadn't broken his hip and didn't have internal bleedings, but that one of his lungs had been bumped since it looks like he landed on his side. They kept him in ER overnight, but when Albert went there yesterday, they said they can't figure out whether his hip is broken or not - it looks like it might be cracked, he can walk but limps. They're also saying that his heart is supposed to be touching some bone, but has moved and now doesn't touch that bone, and then there's the issue with the lung. They wanted to keep him in ER at least another day, preferably two. The big problem is that we're flying to Denmark tomorrow, though we all love Tatanka dearly we're not cancelling our trip! We hope to pick him up today, if worse comes to worse my mother-in-law will pick him up tomorrow. She always takes care of the cats when we're on vacation, since she has vacation next week as well she'll have more time to be with him. But we would really like to get him home tonight so we can give him some TLC before leaving! 

1 YEAR + 2 MONTHS - 31 Aug 2011

Yesterday I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. Liva and Laia have been soooo cranky, whiny and clingy, it's been driving me nuts!! Yesterday I spent all day listening to their whining again, they refused to sleep in the morning though they were so tired they could hardly stand on their feet. I had to shower with two whining kids pulling at the showercurtain, and get dressed with 2 whining kids pulling at me to pick them up and throwing tantrums on the floor when I wouldn't. We went to a playground, for 1½ hours there was peace and tranquility. It's a new place I've found where they can get up and down the slide themselves, and there's a big open space for running around playing with their little footballs. We had a great time!
But then we got home, and they turned right back into the little cry-monsters they've been for the past weeks. I assume it's the heat, I know Laia has at least one molar coming out, maybe that's bothering her too. While I was in the kitchen heating up their food, they were at the safety-gate we've put at the kitchen entrance screaming hysterically, Laia pulling Liva's hair, pushing each other over, just generally being unbearable. They had an early lunch and were put down for their nap at 13:00 already. I assumed they'd sleep for at least 1½ hours, though I was hoping for 2 or maybe even 2½ considering how tired they were, and that they hadn't napped in the morning. After 1 hour & 15 minutes they were awake again, Liva already crying. I went into the bedroom, Liva flipped - I have no idea what happened, she just went hysterical. I picked up Laia, cuddled her for a while, then put her down to get Liva who was screaming in bed. Laia did not want to be put down, which resulted in her throwing herself on the floor, screaming. When I picked up Liva, she wiggled and wanted to get back down. I put her on the floor, she threw herself on her back and had a tantrum. I put her back in her bed, she started rolling around, having a tantrum. So I picked her up, put her on the floor next to her crying sister, went into the livingroom, sat on the couch and cried! A few minutes later Liva and Laia came. They looked at me, and weren't sure what to do. Eventually Liva came over and gave me a big cuddle. The afternoon went okay, but only okay. There was a lot of crying, from all 3 of us. Albert called at one point to see how we were doing, I almost bit his head off through the phone, then broke down crying again - after which I switched off my phone...
The day finally ended at some point, and a new day started this morning - which didn't seem much better than yesterday at first... The girls woke up at 6:30, though it was my time to get up today, Albert knew I needed a break and got up instead. While he was preparing breakfast in the kitchen, I woke up because of Liva crying and crying at the kitchen gate. I couldn't take anymore of her crying, got up and went out to see what the h*ll the problem was! Albert told me to go back to bed, which I did - the safest thing for all of us.... I had to get up when it was time for Albert to shower, by then the girls were OK. We actually had a nice morning, and at 10:00 Anne Louise came. She took Liva and Laia out for about 1½ hours, then entertained them while I got lunch ready. Liva and Laia napped for a little more than an hour, and 1 hour after they woke up my mother-in-law came. Liva and Laia were in a great mood after their nap, and I enjoyed my hour with them. They'll be out for another 1½ - 2 hours now, then my mother-in-law will be here at least until Albert gets home.
I have a meeting at the language school where I work tonight, I am so not in the mood! I need to relax, I need to get over these past few weeks with Liva and Laia being such cry-monsters, and I need to be with my husband without being in a bad mood!
Tomorrow will probably be another good day, Anne Louise is coming in the afternoon for a couple of hours. On Friday my mother-in-law is coming shortly in the morning and Albert will be home early, as every Friday. And Saturday we go to Denmark! I spoke to my mom today and complained about my rough past weeks, she's so looking forward to seeing us all, and I know I'll be getting a break that week with both Albert and my mom helping out. That'll be wonderful!

1 YEAR + 2 MONTHS - 29 Aug 2011

Liva and Laia are 14 months old today - and they have been driving me nuts!! We're still trying to get into the routine of not sleeping in the morning, which is made quite difficult by them actually sleeping some mornings. Today they were really tired, were pulling their pillows out of their beds and lying down on the floor. But when I put them to bed for a morning nap, they screamed and screamed. I tried twice, eventually I was worried about what I would do if I had to continue listening to their screaming.
Besides the whining and clinging in the last couple of weeks, they are still lovely girls, though! They interact more and more, are getting really good at playing together and interacting with other kids, their vocabulary is expanding, besides the words from last month they now also say "pilota", "ja", "caca" and often we hear words come out of their mouth at the right time in the right context, but then they haven't been repeated again. Liva shakes her head for "no", which makes life so much easier! Laia is extremely helpful always, wants to help carry things, gets everyone's shoes when we're getting ready to go out, gives cookies, pacifiers, water etc to Liva when we ask her to. The newest thing we've started doing is teach them to pick up their toys before going to bed, they don't quite get it yet, but seem to find it quite fun.
They love playing ball, they are starting to understand things they watch on TV - the newest hit is Barney....
All in all they are just lovely girls, even though they can be hard work at times.
This week I have a Danish girl coming for 8 hours in total, if we stay in Barcelona she will most likely be our new babysitter. It's great to have help again, and it makes the next couple of months seem more manageable.

1 YEAR + almost 2 MONTHS - 28 Aug 2011

This morning we put the girls down for a nap, Liva fell asleep pretty quickly, Laia stayed awake for about 20 minutes. By the time Laia fell asleep, Liva woke up. We took her out of bed and played with her while Laia slept, but it was so clear that Liva missed her sister. She went to their bedroom door 3 times in the approximately 25 minutes that Laia was asleep, and when Laia woke up, Liva went running to her bed and was all happy and giggeling. I took Laia out of bed and put her down next to her sister, Liva hugged her and they started babbeling and walking into the livingroom, giggeling and happy to be together.
In the afternoon we all went for a walk, we have 2 single strollers now, so Albert and I had a stroller each. Liva and Laia thought it was loads of fun being in seperate strollers, and loved holding hands across the strollers. It's becoming more and more obvious how close they really are.

1 YEAR + almost 2 MONTHS - 25 August 2011

Today has been a really good day, for the first time in a long time! It was Albert's turn to get up with the girls this morning, they woke up first time around 4:30. Luckily they fell back asleep, I have no idea when they woke up the second time, I was completely passed out! I woke up at 7:00 because Liva was just crying and crying. I could tell it was her hysterical, tired crying, and was already dreading the day - we have had some tough days, I don't know how I would survive another one. But very surprisingly, we had a lovely morning. Liva and Laia were in a really good mood, we all played together a bit, then they looked at their books while I checked mail, facebook, etc. Around 8:30 I put them down for a nap - they still sometimes sleep in the morning, but not every day - they slept for 45 minutes. Our elevator hasn't been working for a few days, so I take the girls down to the park behind our house, they can walk there on their own so I don't need to take the stroller down. We had a fun time at the park, then went for a coffee with a friend. I had prepared pasta and fish for lunch, Laia loved it and ate loads, Liva like it and ate about half. When I put them down for their afternoon nap they fell asleep straight away and slept for 2½ hours - the second day in a row they do that. They woke up in a brilliant mood, all giggeling and playful in their beds. My mother-in-law came at 16:15 and took them out for a walk. At 17:30 a Danish girl came over, she is our possible new babysitter. I liked her instantly, when Liva and Laia came home they took just a few minutes to trust her, which is always a good sign. They let her pick them up and were very quickly comfortable with her. She was here for about 30 minutes, we agreed she'll come back 3 days next week for a couple of hours to help me out and get to know the girls. The following week Albert, the girls and I all fly to Denmark for the week, hopefully by then we'll know whether this possible change in our life will happen or not. If not, the Danish girl will come 15 hours per week and be with Liva and Laia, that will give me a break - maybe I'll even join a gym..... The few kilos I lost for the summer have all come back during this dreadful month of August....
Tomorrow is Friday, meaning Albert will be home early. I hope tomorrow will be as wonderful as today was!

1 YEAR + almost 2 MONTHS - 22 August 2011

It's almost 1:00 in the morning and almost 30 degrees out, making it impossible to sleep. We live on the top floor of an eight storey building, it's wonderful never having noise above us, but it's dreadful when Barcelona experiences a heat-wave. Last year it happened in July, when the girls were just a month old. At the time it didn't affect us much, they slept in our bedroom and we moved their bed right under our window. They slept every few hours, for a few hours. Albert and I were so sleep-deprived we could sleep anywhere, anytime at any temperature. But now it's affecting us all. Liva and Laia's room is the warmest room in the house, which is great in the winter but sucks at the moment! They didn't sleep until almost 21:00 tonight, 2 hours later than normal. I was in bed around 23:00 but got up 1½ hours later, after tossing and turning and desperately trying to cope with the heat. I've just done some translation work, and will go back to bed now. I hope sleep finds me soon, I'll be up in less than 6 hours again. Liva and Laia sleeping later does unfortunately not mean them sleeping longer in the morning. It just means they're more cranky the following day... And they really struggle with this heat, Liva keeps vomitting when we're in the apartment, and they're both all sweaty. We've used their little paddle-pool loads these days, and have enjoyed playing with the foutains at the different playgrounds around the city. According to the weatherforecast, temperatures will be dropping one degree every day next week, I hope that's true!

1 YEAR + 1½ MONTHS - 19 August 2011

Laia can run!! And she loves doing it.... Wherever we go where she can run, she's off. She usually falls down after a few seconds because she is laughing so hard. Liva walks as quickly as she can, trying to keep up.
Yesterday afternoon we went to the park behind our house with their little cars, they had loads of fun there. It's so wonderful that they are walking and playing now, and that I'm not as limited to baby-playgrounds anymore. The park behind our house has 2 regular swings, Liva and Laia are both really good at sitting on them, and the swings are close enough together that I can stand in the middle and hold on to an arm each. There's a little water fountain in the park, so we fill up buckets and sandtoys with water and create castels which Liva and Laia destroy, or they just pour the water over themselves. I love being able to leave the house without the stroller. Today we went to a mall, I let Liva and Laia walk the first few minutes until we got to the first street we had to cross, then I put them in the stroller. They loved being allowed to walk on their own.
Not sleeping in the mornings has worked out great all week, and they've napped 2 hours in the afternoon. Today they woke up shortly after 6:00, Liva was already cranky when she woke up. So they napped for 1 hour this morning, but were tired at the usual time. I've just put them down for their afternoon nap, I doubt they'll slepp 2 hours, but I hope they'll sleep at least 1½!
Today is Friday which means Albert is home early. My mother-in-law is coming so Albert and I can go out without the girls, I am sooooo looking forward to that. It's been a tough week, I'm starting to really realize how much Heather meant to us!! Depending on what happens the next couple of weeks, I'll start looking for a new babysitter, it's great having my mother-in-law when I need her for the rest of the month.

1 YEAR + 1½ MONTHS - 17 August 2011

A whole new era seems to have started: Liva and Laia no longer take a morning nap!! It started on Sunday, 4 days ago. Albert had put them down for their nap at their normal nap time, after 45 minutes of listening to them crying, we gave up. Since we were going to Albert's dad's house for lunch, it was convenient that Liva and Laia slept later, so around 11:00 we put them down again. They slept for a little over an hour, and that way managed the rest of the day without another nap until we put them to bed, an hour earlier than normal. However, Monday morning was the same spectacle, they adamently refused to nap. Instead they slept for 2 hours in the afternoon, which was lovely. Tuesday Liva napped for about 15 minutes but Laia didn't sleep at all. The thing is, when we put them to bed and they don't want to sleep, they scream. When they scream, I get all stressed out. So today I decided to not even put them down. I showered with the bathroom doors open so I could hear them at all times, and see them most of the time since they thought it was quite funny watching me behind the see-through part of the shower curtain. After getting myself ready I got them ready, gave them their fruit, and we left the house before 10:00 - I can't remember the last time we've done that. We had a great morning at the playground, they both fell asleep on the way home. Once home, after washing their hands, I prepared lunch. Laia loves eating on her own and is getting really good with a spoon or fork. Liva has started wanting to eat on her own as well, it really makes feeding them so much easier. We played for a bit, and 2 hours ago I put them down for their nap. I could hear them laughing and playing for a while before falling asleep. About 30 minutes ago they woke up, but since neither of them cried, I decided to leave them and see what would happen. They're both asleep again. Lovely! As I've said before, I can live without them napping in the morning as long as it means that they'll nap for longer in the afternoon.
In 30 minutes my mother-in-law is coming, this means that when Liva and Laia wake up they have to have their snack and then I get the afternoon off - wonderful! We've had a couple of difficult days because of this whole not-sleeping issue that's been going on. Today we've all 3 finally learned how to deal with it, and the day has been great. But getting time off is a relief anytime, no matter how wonderful the day has been.

1 YEAR + 1½ MONTHS - 11 August 2011

It's been forever since I have written, and quite a bit has happened. Most importantly, Liva and Laia turned 13 months on 29 July! Not a lot has happened since they turned 12 months, except that their hand-coordination gets better and better every day, and they can walk quicker and quicker. They love walking, they chase each other around all the time while cracking up. They're both starting to say a couple of words which actually make sense, and are used in the correct context: "papa", "aigua", "tak", "hej", "hola", "vaca", "mam-mam" (not actually a real word but it means food), "Laia", and of course still their favorite: Tatanka. They also know what sound a horse makes, and Laia says "mhmhmh" for woof woof and for muh muh. They both love waving, Laia waves at anything that moves when we're out on our walks, Liva waves whenever she hears a word meaning hello or goodbye in Danish, Catalan or English. They seem to understand everything we say to them in both Danish and Catalan.
Liva loves looking at books and magazines, and can spend a really long time telling stories - she babbles and points to different pictures, turns the page, babbles and points, turns the page, etc etc.
Laia loves moving, she's not still for a second at a time. She climbs like a little monkey, and can get down most things without getting hurt - though she has a black eye at the moment after a wipe-out on the couch...

We also spent a week in Denmark, all 4 of us. It was absolutely wonderful! The trip started out quite stressful, since I open the stroller with Liva finger stuck in it. We couldn't get the finger out until we closed the stroller again, by then the finger was all blue, swollen and deformed. Liva was crying and crying. So we took our bags, the girls, the stroller etc and went to a private hospital for kids just a few blocks away from where we live. They told us the finger was fine, gave Liva some painkillers, and off we went to the airport. Though it's been 2 weeks, her poor finger is still all blue and the top part is swollen. But it looks much better, and she can move it and uses it normally.
The weather in Denmark was great, we saw my family loads, saw my friend and her family one day, spent a day at a farm with my brother and his family, and all in all just had a lovely time being together. I worked for about 2 hours in total the whole week, Albert didn't work at all. A long-needed and well-deserved vacation for both of us! We both got up in the mornings and helped each other with the girls, breakfast, etc. It was great being together like that for a whole week!

Now we're back in Barcelona, which is also wonderful! My mother-in-law works what they call "intensive days", meaning she works from 9:00-14:00 without a lunchbreak. She has come 3 afternoons and has taken the girls out, which has been great for me, especially since Heather isn't in the country anymore. Liva and Laia are always extra difficult after a vacation with so many people around them all the time, and so much attention, mom just isn't enough when we get back. So it's been great having my mother-in-law here. Starting on Monday she will have 3 weeks vacation, she has already offered to take Liva and Laia out in the mornings some days. I happily said yes!!

ALMOST 13 MONTHS - 26 July 2011

Yesterday while I was doing some work on the computer, Liva and Laia were playing with a ball. They were running (as much as they can "run") around the apartment, chasing each other and stealing the ball from each other. At one point they were in the computer room with me. Liva was walking around holding the ball, making funny noises. Laia was watching her and laughing. Liva realized she was being funny, so she started making funny faces, strange noises, and swinging her arms up and down with the ball. Laia was laughing really hard, making Liva laugh as well. I think Liva is going to be a little clown when she's older - just like her daddy! :)
Today they had their 1-year check-up - finally! It wasn't our own pediatrician, thought they had promised us on Friday it would be. Oh well, this guy was nice... It would have been nice to have our own pediatrician, though, who knows the girls and have known them since they were a few weeks old.
But the doctor told us they are fine, which is the most important thing! Laia is way taller than avarage, 80.5 cm. She weighs a little over 9.5 kgs. Liva is a perfect average, she is 78 cm tall and weighs a little over 10 kgs. Everything is as it should be with both of them.
While waiting at the doctor's office, Liva and Laia were playing - there's a baby slide there, and they both love slides. Laia has recently started huffing and puffing when she's doing "hard work", she loved crawling up the steps, sliding down, going back to the other side, crawling up, sliding down, etc., while huffing and puffing as if she were running a marathon. Incredible that she has learned that, I honestly don't know who she has it from, neither Albert nor I do it. They have also both started making noises when they drink, making it sound like they were on the verge of dehydration. Where do they learn these things? We don't do it, and I can't imagine my mother-in-law or Heather doing it either.
This morning we went to see Luca, it's been a while and it was great to see how happy they were to see each other. Especially Luca and Laia, they spent the first five minutes looking at each other, laughing and touching each other. Very sweet. Very soon they started fighting over toys instead....
It's lovely to have friends here, it's lovely that Liva and Laia have friends here! Most of all, it's lovely to know they are healthy and completely "avarage" - though in my eyes they are way above avarage and the most beautiful, incredible, wonderful little people ever put in this world!

1 YEAR + 3 weeks - 24 July 2011

It's been a while since I've written, my mom has been here and it's been lovely! She arrived Tuesday at noon while Liva and Laia were asleep, after their nap we all went out for a coffee - juice for the girls, of course - then went to play at their favorite playground by the Sagrada Familia. At night, after putting the girls to bed, Albert and I cooked dinner, and the three of us had a nice evening.
Wednesday my mom and I went into town with Liva and Laia. We went for lunch at a nice little restaurant by the old hospital, then strolled around the city. The girls hardly slept, so they had an early bath, early dinner, and were put to bed shortly after Albert got home. We had a nice dinner at home Wednesday evening.
Thursday I had to teach at 14:00, so my mom and I took the girls down to Vila Olimpica near the beach where we had coffee and ice-cream. When I got home from teaching we took Liva and Laia out on their little cars to a playground across the street from where we live. They loved it! In the evening my mom cooked risotto - she loves it but my dad doesn't like it, so she was happy to finally have somebody to eat it with.
Friday the girls had a doctor's appointment at 15:25, we left as soon as Albert got home. We had tried for weeks to set up an appointment for their 1-year check-up, until we were finally told our pedeatrician wasn't available until the end of September. We could either wait or see another pedeatrician. Since Liva and Laia turned 1 in June, we decided to see another doctor. After having waited 30 minutes at the doctor's office, our pedeatrician came out of her office. We asked her how come we had an appointment with another doctor if she was there. She of course didn't know, but on top of it all, the doctor we were supposed to see wasn't there that day, neither were any of the nurses who are also supposed to be there for the check-ups. So after 40 minutes of waiting, we were told to go down and get another appointment. Our pedeatrician had called down to the reception and had told them to make sure we were given an appointment next week. On Tuesday afternoon I have to go back - without Albert, he'll be working. Not that it matters to me, but he would've liked to be there.
So we went home, my mom had gone into town to do some shopping, came home around the time we started getting the girls ready for bed. Albert had cooked dinner, and we all had another nice evening.
Saturday morning we all 5 went out for a coffee and by chance bumped into Albert's brother and his whole family. My mom was happy to see all of them again. In the afternoon, my mom flew home.
It was Saturday, and my mother-in-law was supposed to come at 16:00. When the girls woke up from their nap we didn't go out - we figured we'd get to go out on our own soon after. At 17:00 Albert called his mom because she still hadn't shown up. She was asleep because she wasn't feeling well. It's OK not to feel well, but she could have told us.... By then it was too late to go out with the girls, so we spent the entire Saturday afternoon and evening in the apartment - fun....
Today we went to the botanical garden, Liva and Laia loved it! They got to walk around, touch the plants, flowers and trees, and after a while Heather and Jenn came as well. We spent about an hour there together, then walked towards the center. Heather and Jenn stayed on the mountain, Albert and I started walking home, Liva and Laia napped in their stroller. After they woke up, Albert and I had lunch while Liva and Laia had a snack. Then we went to my brother-in-law's where my parents-in-law were as well. We all had a great time, Liva and Laia were exhausted by the time we got home. They had dinner, a bath and by 18:30 they were sound asleep.
Tomorrow morning Heather is coming since I have to work. It's our last week together, we're all going to Denmark on Saturday, Heather and Jenn leave Barcelona while we're gone. They're going back to California - for good. They will be deeply missed!!

1 YEAR + 2 weeks - 13 July 2011

Things are getting easier again. Having Heather here for 3 hours in the morning is wonderful! The past 2 days, Liva and Laia have slept until 7:20, a whole hour longer than normal! I hope this is their new routine. It means they don't sleep for very long in the morning, giving me less time to shower and get ready. But if they sleep longer in the mornings, I can live with them not taking a morning nap. On Monday they napped for 2 hours in the afternoon, that was so lovely. Unfortunately, it was only that day. I would love for them to sleep longer in the morning (like now, 7:20 is fine!) and take a long nap in the afternoon. We can skip their morning nap for all I care, I'm sure I can fit in a shower somewhere. If worse comes to worse, I'll shower at night, or with Liva and Laia playing in the bathroom.
Liva was in such a good mood today, laughing and chatting all day. This morning they played catch while I prepared breakfast, later they played with a ball, chasing it all over the apartment, and this afternoon they played on the couch - both laughing loads all the time. It makes such a difference that they play with each other now. Liva is suddenly walking, which makes a huge difference as well; it puts her and Laia on a more similar level. The advantages of having twins are starting to show up on a more and more daily basis!!

1 YEAR + 2 weeks - 11 July 2011

Liva woke up around 22:30 last night, we assume because of a nightmare. I took her out of the room to avoid waking up Laia (pointless since one twin wakes up when the other is missing) and sat holding her tight for a while. That's when I realized how big she has gotten! Not as in how much she has developed, which I comment on often, which is also incredible, but size-wise. She's a really big girl! She doesn't fit on my belly anymore, her long legs hang down to my knees. Without being chubby, she is also not thin - holding her is holding a small child now, not a baby anymore. Laia is a little bit taller and quite a bit thinner. She doesn't weigh as much, so it's not the same with her - yet.
They're both walking by now, Liva still a bit unsure of herself, but she does great. They interact more and more, I often hear them laughing in the livingroom or their bedroom when I'm in the kitchen or in front of the computer. It's great, because it gives me more free time. Especially these days where they don't sleep a lot.
I'm feeling a bit better about the whole situation again, it was nice getting a break sometimes over the weekend, especially Saturday afternoon where we left as soon as my mother-in-law arrived and didn't get back until around 22:00. We went clothes-shopping for Albert, and had a drink and tapas in the center. Lovely! This week Heather is coming 3 mornings, and I'm trying to organize meeting people in the afternoons. Next week my mom will be here for 5 days, I am SO looking forward to that!