Oct. 17th, 2017 02:34 pm
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The dancer that I am coaching remarked yesterday that I often ask questions like:'why do you do the things you do?'and 'what do you aim to achieve with this?'. She pointed out to me that most of the time, she does stuff because it sounds fun.

Which is an okay answer but I still want to know:'what makes it fun?'. I come home after class yesterday and told E. He looked me in the eye and said:'you are a strategic thinkier and are used to think like this. Every step you take is a step closer towards your ultimate goal. Most people don't look that far ahead'. One of my ultimate goals is dancing around wearing rhinestones and sequins and getting paid for it, so I wouldn't say I'm up to par with strategic thinkers like Napoleon or chess world champions. But yeah, I am a long term thinker. It's why I didn't choose belly dance as a career option.

Speaking of thinking ahead, I'm enjoying the items from my belly dance bundle and one of them is the 'sustainable practice habit' by Nadira Jamal. So far I love it, as it breaks down various aspects of why we have will power (or not) and how to get going and practice instead of procrastinate. I noticed in class how I am teacheing new material this semester and my students are flabergasted. Interesting to notice, as taking those online classes with Queenie seem to pay off in me coming up with new combinations.Weehee!!

Online classes and courses.

The more I dive into the vast ocean of online courses and 'passive income streams', the more it feels like a pyramid game. The succesful people show up in my Facebook feed, selling a course that promise you to make you better at something. Considering how hard it is to learn a new skill, the person who earns the most is the person on the top with the biggest empire. From the participants, 1 out of ten will succeed in keeping it up out of the class room and the rest will coast a bit on what they've learned until the memory dries up. Is this a bad thing? No. But it also makes me rethink my own business plans. I wanted to make an online belly dance course, but lately I have serious doubts about teaching through video. I don't want people to get hurt or to learn faulty technique. I do want to create some passive income streams from belly dance, like a free three day course on 'what is belly dance', some e-books and a course on the cultural background of belly dance.Plus one or two live workshops per month that people can subscribe to, and that I will cancel if I have four people or less signed up.

I need time to create those courses, but I don't have time as my Wednesday nights are taken up by teaching a beginners class with three people in it. :-(  And having Sara on board turns out to be nice but also more work. And it seems like I have pretty high standards for teaching belly dance that I want my staff to adhere to, and I should make that explicit.

I am enjoying belly dance and the products in the belly dance bundle, but part of me also thought:if the creators decided to add their product to the bundle, does that mean that the passive income hype is a bit overrated? I mean, a book or course gets outdated in a couple of years, so it's not like you can run a course or sell an E-book for ten years without the extra work or alterations. What do you think about online learning and passve income streams?


Oct. 11th, 2017 11:58 am
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 E and I are in the lucky situation that we can bingewatch Netflix. Like, Eliza has sort of a regular sleeping pattern (goes to sleep between 20.30-21.00) and we can watch three episodes before going to bed. Yes, family life with a young child certainly brings a new perspective to what we consider the ultimate fun activitiy for weeknights.

We tried Outlander (I think Tracy recommended it) and loved the first season. Beautiful Scottish  highlands, a strapping handsome Scotshman and a woman trying to find her way in a different era. Gorgeous. They could have toned it down on the sex and violence, as the episodes later in the first season are filled with explicit scenes that are not Always neccesary for the story. In the episode of the wedding, the couple spends about 30 minutes of the episode on having sex. Also, the torture scenes were quit explicit and I wonder why they chose to go beyond flaying him alive and make matters even more gruesome. It just felt a bit over the top.

The second season.... well.. it got better after they got back to Scotland. I didn't care much for the whole 'plotting things at the French course and in brothels' part. The season ended with a cliff hanger and I look forward to watching season three.  One thing's for sure, there won't be many familiar faces!

If you like costume drama with a bit of romance added and you don't mind explicit sex and violence stuff ( I was going to recommend the series to my mum, up untill we reached the explicit episodes about halfway in). It's also fair to mention that there is a fair amount of talking about rape, almost being raped and actual rape scenes in the series. Otherwise, I recommend watching it!

We've now started with the new Star trek: discovery series. It's an interesting addition to the other Star Trek  series, lots of things they changed from the familiar format.
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 The list of the content is in and I am really excited!

My main problem? I have to stop teaching for two years in order to actually follow the courses, read the material and watch the videos. My problem as a dancer isn't in finding resources, or the price of the resources. I bought a bundle of seven classes on powhow in August and so far I've done three of them.

I am going to buy the bundle (it contains a full set fof lash cards for class and practice! I love flash cards!). I am going to sign up and download as much nmaterial as I possibly can.  But I have no clue when I have the time t do a 9 week course on building a practice habit, or doing the 4-5 hours cof online classes with Sadie (Sadie doesn't do it for me in digital classes. It's a personal thing. I prefer Jillina and Aziza),

I have a huge dvd colection that's gathering dust. Why would I want to add a digital collection as well? I can deduct the cost because I'm a business owner and this means that I rather see my money go to this project instead of the tax department.  But still, how am I ever going to find the time?

I signed up! Every contributor has a PDF file with instructions on how to download or subscribe. After enrollment, it takes about one and a half hour to go through the zipfile and sign up for everything. The downside is that some courses force you to start right away. The uypside is that said courses are all digital, and material is still available indefinetly in many cases. I really like the Powhow class about the Illiopsoas. I received got about 16 hours of video and online classes to schedule in the next couple of months. This includes choreography classes with Sadie, 3/4 shimmies, shimmies on the down, Persian dance (This looks yummy, I can't wait). The Fez documentary is in the package (it's also available in other places) and I have a couple of e-books/printable PDFs to work my way through. In all, it's a good deal for what I've paid.

My mailbox will be overrun by belly dance mail for a while, as I had to whitelist email to get to the goodies. The confusing thing is that everyone chose their own favorite platform, so the material is all over the place. I've downloaded content from Vimeo, through google drive, on gumroad and via Powhow. I got most of it downloaded on my computer so it's concentrated in one spot, but going through all the different websites and check-outs is a bit of a hassle.

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 We survived the weekend! I spent two days on the market promoting bellydance and had fun with my friends, dancing and performing. Ho is!

didn't dare to look at the video yet, on account of looking fat and hating my hunched shoulders right now. Let's see if we can find four more paying students to get my home studio class going. Oh, and the mall is built like a modern version of a French castle so we have pointy towers in the background of some of the pictures. Dutch architecture at it's best. Did notice how the other three dance school targeed at tern girls put their thirteen year olds in sexy schoolgirl outfits and had them dance to a Britney Spears mix that included a song abkut having threesomes and included gyrating and suggestive facial expressions. Glad that I am a bellydancer
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 Watched it last night, and E and I both approve. It's a bit romanticized and dramatized here and there, but well cast, they made an effort to get everyone in the right clothes for that era and it's a story of women kicking butt.

Loved it.
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 In the national news today: a 3 year old kid slipped out of the house at night, found drowned in a nearby ditch. This happened in the village next to us and it scared the shit out of me.

Eliza looks so big and like she can handle her self, but she really can't what ifshe slips out of the house? Or learns how to open the windows on the second floor and crawls through them? The world is a scary place.


Jun. 28th, 2017 02:24 pm
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 It turned out that Saturday was a rather dreary day with constant rain. One of our neighbors kindly offered to have us over in their garden. Half of the street is lined with regular houses, the other half has free standing bungalows on a fair bit of land. We were happy with this solution and got together in their front garden. It included the impromptu hustle and bustle of getting barbecus going, setting up party tents and trying to not get wet by the rain. Eliza was a bit taken aback by this and decided to stay as close to me or E as possible (read: cling to us for dear life). A good time was had by all, and we eneded up being within budget and with some food left over, but not much.

We had 22 adults and 15 kids so a varied party. I talked with Amy, an Ameican expat who is a travel writer. They have a family with three daughters. She is hilarious, very fun to hang out with. I was knackered at the end of the evening and I had to leve around 20.00 to get Eliza to bed. When I returned around 21.00 part of the guests had left already. We stayed untill eleven, having drinks and talking. It was great.

I am gathering exprience points with regards to organizing stuff and I think this was a job well done. Go us!

Sidenote: my fellow neighbor and organizer's name is Davina. For real.
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Eduard and our neighbor joined forces and replaced our old joint fence with a brand new one. It is glorious. It also meant we had to cut down the thirty year old ivy standing next to it. Our garden is less pitoresque now, but we also don't have to climb up there and remove ivy any more. Win!

We ordered lots of meterials because we received our holiday money this month. E put all the sand in the backyard and started with tile laying. It's going slowly but every form of progress is aappreciated. The terrace will be huge, and it will also mean that we won't have to do a lot of upkeep on it. I used to hate gardens with a lot of tiles, but seeing how much time it costs to keep all the green stuff nice and trimmed we're going with huge planters all over the terrace.

Plus a pergola with climbing plants on top, and herbs in planters hanging on the fence. There will be a patch of grass alongside the house, roses and hydrangea's next to the bay window and the square foot gardens in the back. Things will be easier once everything is in place.

For now we have so much sand in the house, it's ridiculous. We're using a broom and dustpan three times a day to keep things in check.
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A coworker asked me to have lunch and I feel like I sort of have friends at work

I have two people sign up for the summer workshops. I only need 5 to make it worth it. Excited!
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I am bad at organizing soial events. BD events I can manage, herding dancers is no problem. But social events? Nah.

Last year I planned a school reunion that turned out with 8 people showed up. We had a good time and it was fun, but I wouldn't call it a huge success from an organziing perspective.

This year I am taking another Lucky shot by organizign a traineeship-reunion (so far about half of the people can attend) and my neighbor who's real name is Davina and I decided to attempt a neighborhood barbecue. Because we can.

My biggest problems are indifference (I don't care if a small amount of people show up. I am an introvert, I like small groups), minimalism in communication (You got one letter at the start and one as a reminder. Don't make me overdo it).

I do like having a small group of people show up and getting to talk to everyone. It's worth the (minimal) effort I'm making!

On the downside, my teak at work still doesn't eat lunch. I participated in the table tennis competition. I congratulate people for their birthdays and birth of children. I drink tea, share cookies and talk with people but somehow I am still searching for osmeone to eat lunch with every day. It makes me feel sad and lonely, not a good combination. I miss having coworkers who walk in and tell me to come lunch with them, or hand me chocolate, or ask me how I''m doing. Blegh.
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Had a lunch date with the man who hired me for my current jog. He moved to a different company before I started here so I thought it would be nice to wrap things up. He was a noshow and I had lunch with his coworker (account manager). I introduced myself and he offered me a job.

'Hi, my name is X. I am an Information Security Officer'

'Would you like to work for us?'

Six years ago it took me 8 months to find a job. Now they throw job offers at me during unexpected lunch meetings. WTF. I suspect that being female in the field of information security really helps, plus I can carry a conversation. As sad as that sounds, I met enough IT people who could not carry a conversation to believe that this might be true.

Current work is okay. Still feeling a bit lonely but getting things done, so go me!
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Im cross posting from Dreamwidth'as well, just in case. I have a life long account at LJ and I am a bit sorry that I am resorting to LJ now, but everything has to end. The Russians will probably keep LJ alive for another decade but my Cyrrilic reading skills are not up to par.

Thank you, flisties who added me and granted me access!

This weekend I taught a bachelorette's workshop, we had some friends over for dinner and we enjoyed the luxury of having a seperate dining area. We originally planned o keep the dining table in the livingroom but now that it's in the gardenroom, the livingroom really opens op. Plus Eliza can play in the empty area before the French doors and we can keep an eye on her from the kitchen or the couch. The donwside of having so many windows is that we're missing the curtains/ blinds, and window washing is slightly more work.

Speaking of Eliza, she's a Cheeky little monkey and getting more talkative every day. She can walk short distances outside and doesn't want to be in the stroller any more. When she's tired she wants me to carry her. She weighs 20 pounds and in attepemt to save my back I wrestled her into the stroller under heavy protest. Otherwise she's pretty happy :-)

The goats in the petting zoo have baby goats and they are uber adorable. It is very amusing to see a chicken run towards us, and the Guinea Fowl has a funny kind of skip-hop gallop when she's in a hurry. Turkey eggs are delicious (they keep on laying). We used one for pancakes and they were extra creamy.

Next weekend is Easter and I look forward to having family time and spending time outside. I'm ignoring the disaster zone that our garden is right now. We're making plans to improve things, but we really need a thrid party to remove a 60 feet tree and dig out a whole bunch of trees and bushes.

I wish we had enough money to let someone else do our garden instead of doing it ourself. I know how happy we'll be once everything is done. I just want to go outside and sit in the sun , watch Eliza play in the sandbox.


Mar. 28th, 2017 02:39 pm
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Remember when I said the house is almost done? Well... whatever the builders were doing is done. It is now up to us to finish the rest and the list is getting longer and more expensive every time I think about it.

1. Get curtain rods up
2. decide what curtains we want, order them/buy them
3. put hearth back into the living room
4. put furniture back.
5. build temporary tv cabinet out of boxes and a shelf
6. E wants to build the bookcases by himself. Meaning four weeks of MDF, screws, painting, etc.
7. get Eliza's toys out of storage
8. buy more outlet protectors. Those things are way too interesting for Eliza
9. Get the paint splashes off the windows/tiles
10. Wash windows. Ugh.
11. clean everything AGAIN. Lots of dust coming from unexpected places
12. order new garden fence.
13. order new fence for side of the house for privacy reasons (Bay window gives excellent view from the street)
14. buy or make flowerbed for the garden
15. Buy sand for the garden, redo all the tiling
16. Wait for plants to grow through thick layer of construction debris, or get shuffle and start digging
17. buy new plants anyway, put them in flowerbeds on top of debris. Fixed it.
18. teach dog to not open doors to garden by herself. Fail. Drink wine
19. Be sad about the state of chaos in our house. drink more wine.
20. peek inside other people's houses while walking the dog to get ideas for interior design
21. decide that having furntiure and curtains in the first place is more important
22. Pet the dog. She's such a sweet girl. Reprimand dog for begging while Eliza's eating in her high chair
23. Hope that Elia will sleep through the night tonight
24. Mourn the loss of havign a clean and put togehter house, outfit, make-up and meals. Celebrate hugs, licks, pets, first steps, new words and lots of love from my family

Wait, what was I saying? Oh right, we'll have to get down to business and start cracking on the to-to list. And drink wine.
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We've been biding our time in the last couple of weeks while the painter finished the walls and the woodwork. Noushka ruined part of it by scratching at the doors, trying to open them. Argh!!!

The painter is done, today the electrician is back to finish all the outlets and light switches, and then it's up to us!

E wants to start lying the pvc floor tonight, I have plans for getting the curtains up and after receiving an estimate of the Carpenter of 8500 euro (WTF) we decided to get our bookshelves from IKEA and customize them a bit. If all is well, we will be back in our livingroom within the next week. Huzzah!!

Work is getting better for me, finding my place here. It is time consuming and exhausting though, in a good way. It is still awkward that I rarely have coworkers to eat lunch with, so I crash whoever is sitting down and eating lunch. I tell myself this is a good opportunity to meet more people.

Dance wise Im doing good with my classes and I am preparing a solo performance for april 1th. That's in a week. Cue terror. It's a magency, Tales of the Sahara, with a bit of saaudi, a nice violin taxim and a lot of repetition inbetween. The veil intro is also a lot of fun, I get to do some cool veil moves.

Eliza is taking short walks all by herself and is very sassy. She is entering her 'no' phase, and she really means it when she says no. DOesn't want to wear sweaters or her coat, doesn't want to take off her new shoes, doesn't want to go back inside '('outside!'outside!). Doesn't want to get a diaper change and can throw tantrums like a pro. Fascinating and terrifying at the same time. She still give the best cuddles and kisses, and we can carry short conversations with her which is fun.


Mar. 17th, 2017 01:21 pm
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We had our elections last Wednesday, a lot of people voted (78%) and it took ages to count all the votes by hand. I am happy that we don't have our own mini-Trump as a vice president. The politician Geert Wilders is like a clone of Trump, both in looks and in ideas. His party is the second largest group, so that sort of sucks.

Dutch politics is a matter of all parties trying to win votes, that turn into seats. As nobody has a majority of the seats, coalitions must be formed after the seats are divided, causing parties to compromise or drop items on their agenda. Thus resulting in agovernment that isn't left or right, but something of everything. It sort of works. Here's a video that explains the concept in tulips:


I voted right after work and this time I found it hard to decide what party I would vote for. I ended up voting for a woman of one of the parties that didn't get much seats. It somehow feels like I casted a vote and lost the elections. We'll see what changes the new government will bring, it will probably cost them a couple of months to form a coalition.

I just love to hear how Geert Wilders plans to ban the muslim faith from the Netherlands (we have freedom of religion). He wants to leave the EU, stop spending money on art, culture, green energy and development aid, and lower taxes. He has tried to avoid the 'how' question for months, didn't participate in debates and has so far chosen to NOT calculate the impact of his political program by saying that they have it wrong any way. He hasn't mentioned alternative facts yet but we're not far off.
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Nothing exceptionally bad happened this week but it has been rough nonetheless. I used to think that I was pretty good at managing my life, scheduling appointments, going on work on time, that kind of thing. Since Eliza was born, my whole life feels like an complicated math problem that I have to solve with too little time.

We have four family members (Me, E, Eliza and the Dog) living at our house (H). During the day, we each have our various activities and places to go to: MeWork, EWork, ElizaDaycare and DogDaycare. To get to our destination, we have modes of transport: Walk, Car, Bicycle, Public Transportation.


DogDaycare can only be reached by Car after 8.30. Elizadaycare can be reached with all modes of transportation before 8.30. EWork can be reached by Bicycle or Car between 8.30-9.00. MeWork can be reached by Bicycle or Car between 8.30-9.00. This usually works out fine because I am home on Monday with Eliza, E on Thursday and my mum on Friday. I am not even mentioning the times at which we have to pick up Eliza and Dog from daycare or how Eliza needs her dinner before 18.00, plus our various evening activities. It's just too much.

if ElizaSick, no daycare.

Eliza got a fever on Monday and she stayed at home on Tuesday and Wednesday as well. It threw me off guard as I am in my second week at NewJob and I really didn't want to be late or take a day off. Both of these things happened and it made me feel bad. Like silently crying in the car-bad. The upside is, that since I am not sitting in a train I can now bawl my eyes out in private. To add insult to injury, I made a mistake on Wednesday and drove to the wrong place for our 9 am meeting. In my defence, naming our meeting rooms Streetname + Number in Utrecht while the whole building is in Utrecht, is probably not the cleverest idea. I showed up at the real address instead of the meeting room. *facepalm*

On Thursday I had a meeting in The Hague (Public transportation) and afterwards I visited the Lundia store because the guy that took measurements for the mirror wall/closet in the studio told me I needed to go there for the interior. The sales person in the store got really angry at me because I followed the online procedure and selected the local pick-up place instead of his store (Uh, didn't say that anywhere on the website?), basically called me freeloading scum looking for a cheap deal taking advantages of his store and ordering somewhere else and asked me to leave. Which I did. I get where he is coming from but I didn't know all that and it made me feel awful again.

And now it is Friday. Eliza is well and no longer running a fever. I am in a half empty office, getting some work done. The dreary weather is finally giving in to clear blue skies and Spring Sunshine. I hope that this week at least has a nice ending to it.
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I've been downsizing my consumption of o so delicious but probably not very nutritious stuff* for the past seven weeks and I'm starting to see results. Unfortunately I am not shrinking back to my pre pregnancy proportions as my belly is still more dominant than it was, but at least size wise I can now wear the size 40 treggings I bought. Seven weeks ago, they were too tight and uncomfortable. I lost 7 pounds, approximately half a clothing size. Haven't used the measuring tape yet but my other jeans also have a bit of room in the upper thigh area that wasn't there before.

This makes clothe shopping much more fun! As a way to handle stress I have been internet shopping on the Dutch Craigslist. Got me some real nice deals on real leather boots from my favrotire brand, that looked brand new when they arrived. They retail for 130-150 euro each and I got one pair for 30 and one pair for 15 euro. They have a 6 cm/2" heel, making me feel super tall.

I also got me a couple of cute tunics and dresses as a back to work wardrobe. Wearing pretty clothes make me feel confident and in control, good things when starting a new job. Yay!

*alcohol, chocolate, cheese snacks, crisps, nuts, liquorice (big thing in the Netherlands), fried stuff, cookies

Back home

Feb. 18th, 2017 09:23 pm
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It has been a crazy couple of days but we're back home! The move included dropping Eliza off at my mother's house, Noushka running around and scrubbing an inch of filth from every surface downstairs. I never imagined that I would one day vacuum a toilet bowl on the inside, but I did.

E put the floor in the studio today to make it our livingroom for the next couple of weeks. In the house they have one more week to go to finish the work. The main impression is that the new livingroom is gorgeous. Lighter, bigger and with nice new places to hang. The bay wndow is one of our favorites. The new doors are higher and have glass panels, creating even more light.

In another five weeks we can put the floor in the livingroom and move back in. For now I am relieved that we are home again.
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This is the second week out of our house, only three more weeks to go. E has been back home this week for evening rehearsals (my huge amount of dance rehearsals is triumphed by E's amount of rehearsals for the big band/Dixieland/classic concerts/hunting). The inside wall of the extension is up! the door frame and windows are in place and they already placed the steel construction to create the opening between our old living room and the extension. It feels good to see fast progress, according to their planning they should be done in another four weeks. I doubt that we'll make that deadline but we'll be pretty close.

At work, my unit manager has decided on who will follow in my footsteps. Huzzah! He has four weeks notice so we won't see much of each other. Booo. I am going to plan a couple of sessions with him in the next couple of weeks and prepare a file and document structure to guide him.

I so desperately want to start at my new job that it is hard to stay focused at work. Despite everything I manage to fill my day to the brim with work stuff. Students finished a pentest on our external website and it was good quality work. I love how I can read their report and understand what they are saying, something I couldn't have done a couple of years ago.
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Packing up our stuff plus getting all the furniture and laminate out of the living room took us a couple of hours and it was kind of erratic at moments. We drove off around 14.30 and arrived in Katwijk around 16.30. The first couple of days, the dogs were a bit off and they are sometimes still disagreeing, but that's the way dogs are.

My mother in law is doing her best to make us feel welcome, she got groceries for dinner so we didn't have to worry. We've made a couple of visits to the beach with the dog and Eliza and they both love it, even when it is freezing cold. I also feel at home though I miss having a space to practice. As a result my dance practice routine is suffering. All for a good cause, of course.

The good news is that I started adjusting my eating habits a couple of weeks ago and it is really easy to keep it up. My mother in law lost 39 kg/ 80 pounds in about a year by changing her eating habits. It is kind of hard to sit next to a person who has the willpower to not eat sugar for over a year, and eat a chocolate bar. I don't know if I lost weight by now but I hope so. I took my measurements and I am a size bigger than I anticipated. Ugh. I'll compare measurements when I get back home in three weeks. It feels good so far, I adopted the eating habits of Eliza. I am eating something every two hours, mostly vegetables or fruit as a snack. I choose lighter options for lunch and eat breakfast and dinner like I am used to.

My MIL loves seeing Eliza every day, and I enjoy spending more time with Eliza. For these couple of weeks I work two days a week and E works one day per week. this way we can stretch our free days far enough to care for Eliza and Noushka every day. At home, the floor of the living room has been replaced by a cement floor and next week they will lay out the floor heating. The foundation of the extension is also cast. It is a complete mess and I am glad that we're not home. This seriously the last big remodeling in a very long time.

We ordered our floor last Friday and we are putting it in by ourself in the studio in the weekend of 18-19 February. That will give us a week to transition back into a routine at home, for me to say goodbye to my coworkers at the university and have one day off. In which I will attempt to prepare my classes for next semester, get some dancing in and get things settled at home. The studio will be our living room for four weeks and then we will move back in. so far, so good

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