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!