For the first six months of my nephew’s life, we lived thirty minutes apart, and spent a lot of time together. Babysitting, diaper changing, the tears, the giggles and the firsts – I got to be up close and personal for all of it, then I moved to Colorado, Julia, Micah and L moved to Europe, and this auntie’s heart began counting down the days ’til she could give her little buddy a squeeze.
When we first started dreaming up this trip, which pretty much started the moment we learned my sister was moving to Europe, I figured we’d get to go for a week, and that’d have to be enough L cuddles to last me for awhile. So, when I found out I got to stay for three. whole. weeks. I could barely contain myself. THREE WEEKS?! (In case you missed it, read about our first week in Europe here.) Three weeks of the sweetest giggles and tears, three weeks of just doing life with my sister, brother-in-law and the little dude. It was magical. Really.
Since we lived thirty minutes apart for the first six month’s of L’s life, and I am a photographer, my sister often joked about how well documented L’s life was. I don’t live with my camera in my hand, but I relish the opportunity to catch those little smirks, excited eyes, and general cuteness that is a toddler. And, since we lived over seven time zones apart for the last nine months, I had some catching up to do on the documenting L’s life front. It was a task I was proud to accept, and a mission I think I artfully accomplished. ha.
Once Uncle Ry-Ry hopped the pond back to the States, our days were largely spent at my sister’s home. There is something so peaceful about simply doing daily life together. I got to watch L learn a few new words, teach him to say Uncle Ry-Ry’s name, and take him running in his stroller, giggle at his sign-language, and marvel at his German skills. There were lots of cuddles (albeit for about two seconds) after his naps, and push him endlessly around the basement on his trike. I got to feed him bah-nah-naaaaaah after bah-nah-naaaaaaaaaah and kiss those sweet cheeks. It was simple. It was wonderful.
Jules and I ventured back up to Amsterdam to catch the ever-wonderful, American duo, Johnnyswim. I’ve been a fan since my college years, and have been trying to seem them in concert for three years. When their show sold out in Denver last Fall, I thought I would have to wait to see them ’til they next came through our mountains. I was pretty stoked last Christmas when my fantastic brother-in-law surprised my sister and me with tickets to see Abner + Amanda in Amsterdam. WHAT.
Remember those topsy-tipsy-turvy Amsterdam row houses I talked about in the first European blog? Our second AirBnB was just as quirky and fun, and definitely leaning toward the street. Luckily, this little row house was only one floor, so this time I didn’t get queasy looking out the front window and seeing the street underneath me. The floor tilted so far toward the street that we could roll marbles from the back of the house to the front. So weird.
One of the last of our mini-adventures was to the west to visit Maastricht. I’m pretty sure the kid woulda been perfectly happy to watch the pigeons and walk the stairs along the Maas River for the duration of our visit, but there were goodies to be found, and squares to be visited.
Whenever the camera comes out, L wants to see it and hold it, but not just to see himself in the picture. He’s always wanting to take his own picture (Be still my heart!), so when I found this wooden, toy camera, of course I had to get it for him! We’re still working on how to hold said camera properly; it’s a process.
As ready as I was to come home and see Ryan, hugging my German trio goodbye was not something I wanted to do. We ended up getting an extra night together courtesy of mechanical failure on the aircraft that was supposed to carry me home. That extra night was excellent, and thanks to the airline, I can now hop the pond back to my sister’s on them. Boom. I like the sound of that!