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!