Aidan Turns 12 in the Netherlands

I’m still working on finishing up our Portugal entries, but in the meantime, we’ve had another birthday in our house.  This time for Aidan!  It’s hard to believe this kid is now 12!! That’s now 7 birthdays celebrated abroad. Like with Liam, I’m blown away by that number.  Not to mention the fact that my baby is now 12!! Continue reading

Aidan’s 11th Birthday Party

Like Liam’s trip to Legoland, I’m far behind in posting about the kids birthdays.  Aidan’s was a bit impromptu where up until days before he had his celebration, he didn’t even know if he wanted one!  Aidan has struggled off and on all year socially. With a grade of only about 15 kids, it’s often hard to figure out where you fit in when there aren’t really “groups”, just one big group.   Continue reading

Aidan’s Graduation

If we had stayed in Attleboro, Aidan would already be in secondary school.  With schools in every state and even every town doing things differently as far as the definition of elementary, middle, junior high, high school – its often hard to keep track.  It’s not a lot different I think in Europe.  It all depends on where you are.  In Spain, Aidan would still have had this year, 5th grade, to finish up elementary.  But instead, he’s finished it up here in the Netherlands with a new group of kids.

Here in the Netherlands, 5th grade is called Group 7.  And next year he will go on to MYP1 (middle years program 1) at a secondary school down the road.  At least that is the plan – subject to change as always and a big subject of controversy in our house these days (unbeknownst to the kids).

Monday was Aidan’s graduation ceremony at school, despite the fact that he still has almost 2 weeks left before summer vacation.  Yes, school here goes until July.  My American mind (and even my Spanish one) has trouble wrapping itself around this idea.  Supposedly next year they are on the “late” schedule which means school until MIDDLE of July.  Even worse if you ask me!  But anyways, off the subject there.

The graduation ceremony isn’t an official graduation but a high tea where the students receive certificates for passing their Anglia exam.  This is an exam that states you are proficient in English and therefore can continue to secondary school in English.  As Aidan is a native English speaker, this was really never much of a cause of concern for us with him not passing or anything. But many in his class are not native English speakers and the presentation of the diplomas is also for the Dutch side of our school.  To back up, our school consists of two sides – the Dutch side and the International side.  However, this diploma is important for international school kids in that when they go to transfer schools, it proves their proficiency in English.

The ceremony itself was nice with a stage set up in the gymnasium.  The international kids (there are only about 14 of them) went first and Aidan, like his mother and father, is not one to like being the center of attention.  He walked up, grabbed his certificate and didn’t even look up – just walked to the side of the stage to wait for everyone else.  His class took about 5 minutes.  The Dutch side, with about 60 kids, took slightly longer.  But impressive that these 11 year olds are already proficient enough to take this exam in English.  Many start learning the language by 5 years old.

Waiting to go on stage

Waiting to go on stage

Doesn't even look up - just grab the certificate and walk away....

Doesn’t even look up – just grab the certificate and walk away….

A few of the boys in Aidan's class

A few of the boys in Aidan’s class

Yup, this is basically the ENTIRE 5th grade.  We're not talking one section of 5th grade.  This is the ENTIRE 5th grade class.

Yup, this is basically the ENTIRE 5th grade. We’re not talking one section of 5th grade. This is the ENTIRE 5th grade class.

Proud recipient of his Anglia certificate and happy to be moving on to secondary school.

Proud recipient of his Anglia certificate and happy to be moving on to secondary school.

After the ceremony was a high tea.  We didn’t hang out long at the tea as both kids were anxious to hit the road and mingling and small talk has never really been their thing.  But diploma in hand, we are excited for this new chapter to begin in Aidan’s life.

I’m excited for lies ahead for Aidan.  Secondary school, as it was for most of us I imagine, is a whole other ball of wax.  From changing classes throughout the day to significantly more homework to becoming a more independent student from that of his elementary years.  So much changes in secondary school.  I know he’s ready for this change but am I?  My little boy is growing up too fast!

Knuffels en kussen,


Happy Birthday Aidan!  Aidan Turns 11!!

Ahhhh it must be May.  The trees are full of newly budded leaves, the flowers are in bloom …. And I’m surrounded by cake batter. Last week Liam turned 8 and on Sunday my first baby turned 11. Coincidentally his birthday fell on Mother’s Day. What better way to celebrate “my” day than with the child who made me a mother in the first place? Continue reading

Feliz Cumpleaños Aidan! Aidan Turns 10!

A decade.  That is some serious time that has gone by.  How has 10 years passed so quickly?   I mean it was practically yesterday when daddy and I were awaiting your arrival, wondering when you would make your presence known and change our lives forever.

Everyone always says that parenthood changes you.  But until you are at that moment when your firstborn makes his/her appearance, nothing can truly prepare you for what is in store.  I remember thinking “Am I ready?” “Do I know how to raise a child?” “How in the world does this work with changing the diaper and holding the penis (so he doesn’t pee on me) and making sure his belly button is ok too??” “What if I do something wrong?” and so many other questions that I’ve asked myself over the last 10 years. Continue reading

Aidan’s 9th Birthday Party

My darling Aidan is truly my twin.  He’s a creature of habit and doesn’t like to try new things.  I’m getting better about it but he is still young and will eventually find his way.  So it didn’t surprise me when I asked him about what he wanted to do for his birthday party this year… the same thing he did last year.  A scooter party in a nearby park. Continue reading

Feliz Cumpleaños Aidan! Aidan Turns 9!!

He’s not quite a decade yet, but we’re getting closer!  However, we have truly entered the tween years and it shows.  As the years go by, his interest is less in toys and more into video games, apps and anything electronic.  He becomes more and more independent which is wonderful… to a degree.  Because he’s growing up so quickly and becoming more of a young man and less my little boy.  Though as I always tell him (much to his chagrin), he will ALWAYS be my little boy. Continue reading

Aidan’s Birthday Party 2012

Hot on the heels of Liam’s birthday party last weekend, it was time for yet another party (and dare I say it, more cupcakes).  Aidan recently went to a classmate’s birthday party in a park in Sarria and had such a great time.  He told me that this is what he wanted to do (at a park near us) and that he wanted his friends to bring their scooters so they could fly around the park at ridiculously high speeds.

Continue reading

Feliz Cumpleaños Aidan!! Aidan Turns 8!

I want to say that Aidan had an amazing birthday but to be honest I don’t think he did.  I thought about sugar coating it for the blog, but then I think that would be deceptive because the whole point of this blog is talk about life, real life, and as you know, real life isn’t always pretty.

Though that doesn’t mean Aidan didn’t have a nice birthday because I hope he did.  You know… after the fight he had at school.  His first fist fight that apparently no teacher witnessed somehow.  Continue reading

Growing Up…

This weekend is La Merce – a festival we attended last year with stroller in tow for Liam.  It was a festival full of huge crowds and the stroller was most definitely something that slowed us down.  But at 3, Liam couldn’t walk far distances and tired easily.  This year, the stroller is being left behind.  Liam is almost 4 1/2 now and is constantly impressing me with his capabilities. Continue reading