May 22, 2005

Movie Madness

Yesterday was a really nice day. The sun was out, temperatures were up and we had no important business to attend to, so we could actually go out and enjoy the weather. Mom, Liz, Sander, Lara and I went to the Wassenaar town centre because when mom used to go there back when a lot of american church member lived in Wassenaar, she was always able to buy american groceries that weren't available anywhere else in Den Haag. Sure enough we found a supermarket that sold some good stuff: Baby Ruths, Kraft Mac&Cheese, Froot Loops, root beer & etc.
Wassenaar is where all the rich (and some of the famous) people live. Even our Prince Willem Alexander and his wife Maxima and their daughter Amalia all live in Wassenaar. It's a funny vibe walking through that town centre. We overheard some interesting conversations on topics such as plastic surgery, hockey practice and 'where DID you buy those darling designer boots??'. We had fun :) We even took pictures by a Wassenaar Windmill:

Wassenaar Windmill, May 22nd '05 Posted by Hello

Lara by windmill, May 22nd '05 Posted by Hello

That evening Liz decided she wanted to take me and Sander out to the movies. Sander had been dying to see 'Kingdom of Heaven' because he thought it looked a lot like Lord of the Rings (he could trace any random thing back to LotR if he tried....), so that's the movie we saw. Us girls are happy when Sander is happy, lol! It was really good actually. Perhaps a few too many fighting scenes for us chicks, but I personally really liked the moral of the story: different religions can live together in peace as long as they respect eachother. Too bad there's those rotten apples in each religion that try their best to make that peace impossible. Another thing that's too bad: having 3 'grown' men sit in the row behind you, laughing and talking loudly through every single kissing scene. It reminded me of a particular Biology class I had in high school. Those guys were teenagers though.... I guess some never grow out of that stage.
After the movie we got some McDonalds, and it's about then that the Madness began. We suddenly couldn't stop acting like a bunch of retards! We even have photographical proof. I must warn you though: it's quite shocking and weeeeiiiiird. Here goes:

Retards #1 Posted by Hello

Retards #2 Posted by Hello

The horse on the right is me. I don't remember who came up with the idea of making weird faces while keeping our eyes closed, but the idea was born and so was the picture. Perhaps it was the combinations of going to the movies and eating fast food afterwards... anyway, sorry you guys had to go through that, muahaha!

Good news: Dad put up gates on the stairs so Lara can walk around safely without one of us having to keep a constant eye on her!

Lara Locked in! Posted by Hello

And for everyone's entertainment, here is a picture of Lara and Robert Bolke in the Blom-Mobile, with mom in the back ground:

Cool chick Posted by Hello

More Madness next time!

May 19, 2005

Opa & Oma

Let me start off by telling you that Sander and I saw this movie called 'the Notebook' last night, and we think everyone should go see it! It's really sweet (warning to all guy guys: it is quite the chick-flick, so only see it if you think you're man enough to handle that ;).
Allright, now I have that out of the way let me get down to business: our adventures of the past couple of days. Let's see. Oh yeah...
Sander and Dad went to the Lidl (a supercheap, superhuge and supermessy supermarket) and brought home enough basic stuff to keep all 5 of us alive for at least a month. They're not too fond of grocery shopping so they like to minimise the amount of trips to the bare minimum by really stocking up when they do go.
The blinds in Lara's room are up and I'm noticing a major difference: it is now 8:20am and she still has not made a sound! (She used to wake up around 6:30am!) THANK YOU DAD!!
Mom and I went to pick up opa and oma's dirty laundry and visit with them last night. These visits are always quite the experience. Perhaps this would be a good place to insert the introductionary news about my grandparents....
January 2004, 60th wedding anniversary Posted by Hello
Opa: Ever since opa and oma moved over to the 'Dreeshuis' (the home they're living and being nursed in) we've noticed major changes in him. His mind and memory are not what they used to be. This makes for funny stories every time we talk to him. Some examples:
He believes that oma and he are taken to Dordrecht (a Dutch city south of Rotterdam) each morning to be washed and clothed, after which they're magically returned to Den Haag to have their breakfast and enjoy the rest of the day. He often remembers having visitors at night who crawl into bed with him and take up all of his space. These visitors range from the nursing staff to his deceased parents. He also talks about sometimes sleeping 'above his room'. He goes there via a special hallway that leads upwards, and he really likes it because there's a lot of people there who don't mind if he just stays in bed.
What makes it extra strange to talk to him is that everything else that comes out of his mouth sounds very rational, like the 'old' opa we've always known. We think he just has dreams that he remembers as actual events.
It's a good thing he isn't oma's sole caretaker anymore, because the staff catch him doing things like trying to stuff his own false teeth into her mouth, or cancelling her much needed appointments at the hair-dresser.
All in all he's still good ol' opa. He's so sweet and funny. He loves Lara to death and plays with her to his best ability whenever I bring her over. He's always really excited to hear from or about Mike and Marissa, whom he really misses.

Oma: In contrast to opa, who's personality is still very much there the way we remember it, oma has changed a lot. This is mainly due to the fact that it's near impossible for her to form sentences, or even think of single words. Pretty much the only reaction we get from her is a lengthy 'Jaaaaa' (yeeeeees) or 'Neeeeeee' (nooooo) when we ask her a question. Often times she'll even say yes when she means no, and vice versa. Quite confusing for everyone around her, and very frustrating to opa. He really misses being able to talk to her. She's also gone a little deaf, and his voice often just isn't on her 'frequency'.
All the nurses in the home think oma is the cutest thing and they all take really good care of her, which is hard when she absolutely refuses to eat or drink some days. The only thing she loves to drink is coffee... which they just keep putting in front of her even though we've told them many times that she doesn't drink coffee or tea. She doesn't know what's going on though, so she won't be held accountable.
Anyway, we visit them as often as we can, and do their laundry for them. They also regularly get visits from church-members, which they really enjoy. All in all they continue to hang in there!

May 17, 2005

DIY in progress

This house (like so many) seems like a never-ending work in progress. Especially since us Kootjes moved in. 2005 has so far been marked by numerous different projects we have set out to finish in and around the house. For instance:

  • we've bought and installed a dishwasher (happy happy happy!)
  • the downstairs staircase has been painted apricot and dusty pink
  • the DVD-player and VCR in our room had to be moved to a much higher spot because Lara was liking those buttons waaaaaaay too much. But that took a LOT of re-wiring and technical engineering on Sander's part
  • new blinds had to be put up in Lara's closet. I mean room. The sun was making it difficult for her to fall asleep at night, and it woke her up too early in the mornings. We aim to keep her in bed and quiet for as long as possible .

These are just a handful of examples, I could keep going for awhile but that would just bore you guys. One BIG project we want to do this summer before the new baby comes is to clean out the garden shed. Marissa and Michael will be able to truly understand the significance of this job. That thing is filled with every possible piece of crap you could imagine to stuff into a shed, and we this year we must put an end to the MADNESS!! I'm confident we will prevail.

Because they're so good to us, and a big part of daily life for us, I thought I'd also share the news and a photo of mom and dad:

Dad: Dad is a big help in many ways. The biggest way is probably the way he has welcomed us into his house and has helped us sort out our finances. You can tell how much he genuinly enjoys having us around (most of the time at least, hehe). He, like Sander, works 3 days a week. So us girls usually have a man around the house, which is nice (most of the time at least! :) He also keeps busy helping a bunch of other people keep their finances in order. Once a social worker, always a social worker!

Dad, April '05 Posted by Hello

Mom: Mom is the best. She does such a good job at keeping the house clean and looking homey. She's an excellent cook and we often get spoiled (especially when she fixes her famous spare-ribs!). Her health seems to be pretty stable at the moment. It's just her sugar that needs to really be kept under control and she might be switching to insulin shots this year for that. She doesn't complain at all though. She's just happy modern medicine has ways to continue helping her feel better.
Mom and I are best friends and have lots of laughs together. It's fun sharing the housework and helping eachother whenever nescessary. She's a big help with Lara and I'll know she'll be an even bigger help when the next baby arrives in August.

Mom, April 27th '05 Posted by Hello

Next time I'll write about Opa and Oma so you can know more about how they're doing (prepare for some funny stories!).

May 16, 2005

It works!

The 'Koots' in Schotland, April '05 Posted by Hello

Welcome to the Koot Blog!

I FINALLY got one up and running that'll let me add pictures to my stories, to make them slightly less boring. Yay!

Hopefully you guys will enjoy the blog, and feel free to tell me to change stuff if you think it could be improved (I can't promise I'll listen, but it's worth a shot).

Latest News & Updates:

Sander: Now 25-and-a-half years old, he's keeping very busy with school and work. He works 24 hours a week for a company called 'VTL' in the city of Alphen aan de Rijn. He's also studying to become a teacher in Social Studies and really enjoys school. At the moment his schoolnights are Tuesdays and Wednesdays (the nights change each semester). On April 28th, Sander surprised Karina with an extremely romantic dinner on the top floor of a parking-garage here in The Hague, to celebrate the day we met 5 years earlier. He got the people from Qpark to give him the entire 14th floor for the whole evening so we could dine in private, overlooking all of Den Haag all the way from Scheveningen to Rijswijk. He even cooked a yummy 3-course meal!

Sander, July 2004 Posted by Hello
Karina: As you probably all know, I'm almost 24 and very pregnant with my second daughter. She's due on August 5th, but I have a sneaking suspicion she might stay 'in the oven' a little longer than that. I feel pretty good (except for this horrible cold I'm having at the moment... but that'll pass) and am very much looking forward to meeting this new little girl. In the meantime I enjoy taking care of Lara, the sweetest girl in the world! Other news: I finally passed my driving-exam a few weeks ago! I am now an officially licensed threat to the road and I'm thoroughly enjoying all the freedoms having a drivers license brings.

Karina with headphones, Feb. '05 Posted by Hello
Lara: Lara will be 18 months this June which means she'll (finally) get to attend the nursery at church! Apart from a cold now and again, she's a very healthy and content little girl. Her favorite words include 'die!', 'Gigglegigglegiggle', 'Boooo', 'Doei', 'Bad', 'Uh-oh' and 'Nee!' (these are mostly dutch, so they might not mean what you think they mean, haha). She loves to dance to the 'Schnappie'-song and pull out the pig tails I just spent 30 minutes putting in her hair.

Lara 16 months Posted by Hello

That's all for now, folks!

-- Karina --
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