We at dipesquad HQ have been a bit manic this week. We have been paddling like mad to keep our heads above water. It's a non-elegant doggie paddle, but it works! We are doing it! The weekend has helped us recoup a lot! Thank you Dutch weather for cooperating this once and giving us two lovely days. Today was almost summery warm, but a stiff wind kicked up in the afternoon and now it feels like autumn again (lest we get too comfortable with having summer in June). One other thing that has helped us recoup a lot is the discovery that Markus's over-the-counter allergy medicine has been making him crazy. He has felt so exhausted and irritable and dizzy and out-of-it and other nasty things lately, but he's been stressed and tired and we'd attributed it all to that. We have been staying up way too late every night watching Eurocup, and we figured we were overdoing our sleep debt (not that this thought made us stop watching). Even so, the nasties got the better of him by the end of the week and we knew something wasn't right. Turns out the allergy medicine he's been taking to kick this awful hayfever has a side effect of "attacking the central nervous system"! Hello! Always read the fine print, people! Yikes! Every awful psychotic symptom he was headed towards are on the list of "potential side effects." Yowsers. Needless to say, he won't be taking those pills anymore.
On to more pleasant things...the weekend round-up!
We really have enjoyed these past two lovely days. The weather was heavenly.
Saturday morning, Markus took the girls to the Blijdorp Zoo while Jennifer got a (seriously overdue) haircut. Ellie had a great time as usual, and baby Stephanie stayed awake and alert to "ooooo" and blow raspberries at the trees and any animals she could make out at a distance.
Pandas eat bamboo, you know
After lunch and a nap, we piled the girls and gear into the bakfiets, Jennifer hopped on the Porsche (our aluminum-frame Cannondale roadbike) and off we went to spend the afternoon on the beach near Meijendel, a lovely dune area about 9 km from our house. There, Ellie and Papa played in the sand while Stephanie supervised and Jennifer got a little carried away with the camera.
my current desktop photo
"Will you quit with the camera already?"
We also had fun watching these smart guys, who decided the best way to get unstuck would be to dig a huge hole and sink further into it. And these are lifeguards. Happy thought.
"I said quit it! Don't make me take it off you."
On the way home, Ellie beheld the biggest dandelion we have ever seen. She loves dandelions for obvious reasons, but the sheer size of this one made her reverent.
The night finished up with the quarter finals between Netherlands and Russia. We watched to the bitter end. Russia played so well that they did deserve to win, but we were sad to see Netherlands knocked out after playing so brilliantly in the first three games. Alas.
Today, Markus took the girls on the bakfiets to Clingendael while Jennifer did some (also seriously overdue) housecleaning. We met up at our friends' house for lunch. They are Italian, so they fed us fantastic food until we burst (and then they offered the next course). The wind kicked up so strongly over lunchtime that Markus had a tough time cycling home (we girls had cycled home earlier for a nap), so this afternoon we were pedestrians instead. We walked into town for kaffee kuchen (German words not Dutch, but a good idea in any language) and over to the Parliament pond to watch the mama and baby swans.
Tonight, the city of The Hague is putting on a classical concert on a small canal.
They set up a small barge, and the ladies are playing beautifully. How do I know? The canal runs in front of our house (see Markus demonstrate location of our house door with stage in the distance).
Thank you, city, for the free concert! It's lovely! We can almost hear it over the Eurocup...