Dec 9, 2009

What you've always wanted to know...

about my neighbors.

Directly below us we have the Turks. Papa Turk leaves his sneakers right outside his door and the smell makes everybody who wants to go into our house nearly puke. Mama Turk (I mean no offense by calling them by these names, this is just what we call them as we don't actually know their names) is pretty and she likes to clean... a lot. She is also pregnant at the moment. They have two boys that like to greet us from their living room window whenever we come home or leave. They do so by sticking up a certain finger... Some kids in the neighborhood won't knock on our door because the Turk boys scare them. They also have regular loud fights late at night which we try not to listen to but sort of do anyway because it feels like our own private little soap opera.

Below the Turks there lives an old lady. By old I mean probably about 68-ish. She can't seem to decide whether she loves or hates us. One time there was a bad storm and Sander's bicycle was blown over against her car. This happened while we were away. We came back to finding his bicycle in the middle of the street, all crooked and broken from having been run over by a car what must have been numerous times. She has proudly admitted to doing this. She complains about Sander showering at 6.30am. She loves that our kids go to a Waldorf school because hers went there as well. She is also very happy for us being able to have this work done on our home to make it bigger. She sent us a little note once saying that despite our differences, she wishes us well. Then one of the construction guys dropped a brick on her flower pot and cracked it (the flower pot, not the brick) and she wishes she had never written the note.

Next to us we have a single least I think he's single since I've never seen him with a girl, ever... but then I hardly ever see him either. We sometimes accept packages for him when he's not at home and he sometimes picks them up, and that's about all we ever see of him. He seems like a nice guy?

Below Single Guy live the newly-weds who are in their late 30s and have two children. He seems to be really into sports and I think she is really pretty with her long wavy blonde hair and bohemian outfits. Lara plays with her daughter Jill sometimes, who is a year older than her. I locked myself out of the house one time (of the many) with Max still inside when he was a little baby and they let me use the phone and hang out at their place until Sander showed up. I was shocked at how their home seemed so completely alien to her... nothing bohemian about it, a bit white-trashy even? Strange.

Below the Older Newly Weds live the Younger Newly Weds who don't have children. She works at a children's daycare centre and has offered to babysit our kids sometime which made me instantly love her. I don't know very much else about them. That's city life...

Dec 3, 2009

Eating in...

... is something that we'll be doing with a LOT more pleasure in, oh, about 90 days time! Take a look at my inpiration for our 'new' dining room (which is currently used as the master bedroom).

Allow me to list the things I like about each picture:
- the yellow cabinet in picture #1
- pretty plates mounted on the wall in #2
- LOVE the color scheme in picture #3
- #4: the lamp and the rustic feel
- Really like that green on the wall, but maybe for a different room than the dining room... #5
- pictures #6 & #8: We've already decided we want a tree mural on the long wall, and I definitely want it to be black, or maybe a deep dark brown. I thought I could put little nails in the wall on different branches and put birds/easter eggs/fall leaves/christmas ornaments on there depending on the season!
- I really love the color accents and that piece of oriental looking art in #7

Plenty of inspiration as you can tell! Of course I already have those brightly coloured chairs that will have to work with whatever I come up with... but I'm sure it will be fine!

I can't believe it's already December 3rd! Can't believe it, but am very relieved it is because it means I am officially out of that yucky first trimester and starting to feel like myself again. A welcome change...
So guess what's happening in in 2 days? I'll give you a hint:

Nov 13, 2009

african hair and the holiday season

Pregnancy is certainly taking a toll on the blogging! I'm now 10 weeks along and I've been quite nauseous and very very tired. I wonder if still having to take care of 3 kids has anything to do with that? Ha. Oh to be a first-time mommy again and be able to sleep when the baby sleeps, or just lounge around when desired/needed.

But.. that is ALL of the complaining I'm planning on doing because honestly, I have the best kids. They're so well-behaved, ready to help and above all, entertaining! For instance, I was picking them up from school when while we were stopped at a traffic light, a girl on a bike passed in front of us. Her hair was neon pink and the girls could. not. look. away. They thought it was just the most amazing thing they had ever seen, and soon enough Lara said: 'MOM! HER HAIR IS SO COOL! SHE MUST BE FROM AFRICA!'. I asked her why Africa and she replied that everybody in Africa has pink hair. I asked her if maybe I should do my hair bright pink sometime. She had to give that one some thought... understandably so. Finally she made up her mind and said: 'No you shouldn't change your hair to pink because then I would have to call you a different name. Then I would have to call you Anirishiku.'. Well. We can't have that! So I'm sorry people, my hair is staying the way it is because I quite enjoy being called Mama.

It's an exciting time here. The days are getting shorter and it's so cosy in the mornings and early evenings. I put up a string of Christmas lights in the living room and I secretely explode with glee everytime I see all the little twinkly lights. I am SO in the mood for the holidays! I've been feeling very nostalgic because this time of year was always my mother's time to really shine. She is the queen of cosy, and has (in my book) yet to be beaten at creating the most festive, warm, special feeling during the gloomiest weather. Not a day goes by that I don't quietly wish for a split second that I can travel back in time to where I would come home from school to find the house transformed into a Winter Wonderland with my mother in the kitchen humming along to Bing Crosby and Mahalia Jackson and making fudge. But I try not to get ahead of myself because there is an order to things and boy do I need order during these months because we have stuff going ON.

Firstly: Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Pieten are arriving tomorrow on his steamboat and we'll be there on the dock to welcome him and hopefully get a few handfuls of the yummies the Zwarte Pieten are handing out.
Then starting next Monday we will have builders coming over eaaaaaarly every morning to add that floor onto our house. It also means I have to completely clear out my pantry and the girls built in closet (which holds all of their clothes) because they will be demolished to make room for the stairs needed to actually be able to get to the added floor. Not a clue where to put it all, so we're bracing ourselves for a slightly messy holiday season.

Next up on the agenda: Sander's yearly Thanksgiving turkey dinner for the missionaries (and us of course). He's planning a rehearsal cooking session this weekend, I'm excited.
Then after that we have Pakjesavond, the night of Sinterklaas' birthday, the night on which he goes around leaving huge bags of presents on people's doorsteps. That evening will be followed by my mother-in-law's birthday, and a few days after that we'll be taking off for a few days. We're being treated to 4 days and 3 nights of Disneyland in Paris! Big THANK YOU to that same mother-in-law :)
Then it will be time to celebrate Lara's 6th birthday on the 17th... and then we can exhale and really get into the Christmas mood and enjoy two weeks of no school, and lots of baking no doubt and of course ringing in the New Year. The quiet will be over soon though, because our contractor expects to finish shortly after New Years, and that means we will be painting, moving furniture around, decorating, laying floors, etc etc. Hopefully we'll be done-ish by the time my mother arrives from Utah on January 13th!

Whew. All this while being pregnant.... it's going to be a challenge! But they are all fun things, things that will improve and enrich our lives so again, no complaints from me. Quite the contrary: My cup truly runneth over.

Oct 9, 2009

where the girls will be

Now you've seen what the girls' room is like now... I thought I would share with you some inspiration as to what I envision their new room to be like.


Plenty to think about as you can see. Apart from the rainbow across one wall I think we'll keep the room white this time, or maybe even a really light powdery blue that could be continued on the ceiling for the clouds. Should be somewhat easier on the cheaters! The room will of course still have plenty of colour. I would like their beds to really pop with a vibrant, multi-patterened spread or quilt. Also whatever we decide on for a closet in there will have to be a fun shade. Maybe yellow. I really love the lanterns in the last picture, so I'll have to figure out a way to get some of those in there. Oh and that bird mobile in the first picture, LOVE that. Think I might attempt making one myself, perhaps with felt birds. Plenty to think about, and that's just one room!

Next up... the dining room!

Oct 7, 2009

as promised

Remember I mentioned crocheting a present for Marissa's new baby girl? She finally received the package and that means that the pictures can come out of hiding and be revealed! So without further ado... here they are:



I added tassles to the shawl before sending it over, and there was also a little hat that I made with leftover yarn from the jacket, that I seem to have no picture of. Next step: getting pics of Ella wearing it!

Then I have some more Julia news. She is still not feeling very well, but yesterday she was apparently feeling good enough to steal a pair of scissors and go at her HAIR with them! A huge pile of blonde locks were left on the floor as a sad reminder of what her hair used to be like. She had a little obsession with cutting her own hair, because this is not the first time she's done this! Her hair used to be like this

Then the first scissor incident occurred and that was the last I ever saw of her curls.. this is what she was left with after I did some damage control on it:

Then it grew back out to this

Which I could just get into that braid I made a few days ago... I was so happy she was getting the length back. Sigh. But now! Now my little Julia looks just as lovely as ever with her new and quite fashionable bob:

Oct 5, 2009

where the girls are

A quick look into the girls' bedroom before it becomes the guest bedroom, which will hopefully happen before Christmas.


I vividly remember painting this room... took my eyes a good 30 minutes hour to fully adjust to regular colours again after having stared at that bright, bright pink for ages!

 We have so many ideas for their new room. They really want a rainbow mural and clouds painted on the ceiling. I've done the clouds once before, in our old house on the Vlierboomstraat so those should be OK.. and I can't imagine a rainbow being too difficult.

Poor little Julia isn't feeling very well at the moment. She's had a fever for a few days now and keeps waking up at night with a headache and a cough. Good thing we don't mind watching The Little Mermaid at 1am. I got to Julia's hair last Saturday. She made the big mistake of sitting down to quietly watch a cartoon after having had a bath and I couldn't resist her fresh, combed hair and started braiding and, well, just couldn't stop! She told people she was a princess all day long because that's how princesses wear their hair.

Oct 3, 2009



The Halloween box came out of hiding today! We have ghouls, pumpkins, bats and witches hiding in every corner waiting to jump out and say BOO!

Oct 2, 2009

modern day magical transportation

Remember back in the day when we walked places, or rode a horse to get somewhere? Don't worry, neither do I... but I like to pretend I do because it gives me that strangely magical feeling of having been born in a different era. Of course we all get around in our 'steel motorized carriages' or, if you are Dutch or a health nut or slightly deranged, on your bicycle. So when I found a tutorial online for making amazing little cardboard horses by the amazing Ann Wood, I was able to be transported to a place and time where I have a noble steed parked outside my house, waiting for me to jump gracefully out the window and onto its back, happy to carry me anywhere I choose to go. I'll admit that for a moment in my little dream world the horse somehow ran us up in the air and over houses without having grown wings... a magic mare, beautiful and strong. This is what she looked like in my imagination, with a little help from Ann.


 Excuse the poor, poor picture quality... since the untimely death of our digital camera I have been doomed to using only my mobile phone camera. I really recommend you try making a little horse of your own, perhaps even an entire stampede as seen on Ann's website! They're very fulfilling and easy to make. Mine is currently to be admired amongst our Fall 'display' (three crocheted mushrooms and some acorns the girls brought home from school sitting on the living room mantle).
Touching back on the topic of transportation a bit: I felt like a taxi today. I was in the car from 12.30 to 3.30pm. 1: Home - school. 2: school - the home of a boy in the same class as the girls. His parents are divorced and his mother was supposed to pick him up but she had fallen ill, so his dad asked me if I would be willing to drop their son off at her house, clear across the city from school and my house. I did it, happy to be of service and yes, at the prospect to be able to maybe ask a favor in return someday. Not so much as a thank you from the mother when I dropped him off though! She just opened the door, looked at me, let her son in, looked at me again and I said I hoped she would feel better soon, she replied 'yes.', and closed the door. I feel another happy little note coming on!! Stay tuned for that one....
So where were we. Oh yes, 3: boy's home - sister missionaries. One of our sister missionaries hurt her ankle  last week and they had called a few days ago if I would be able to drive them to an appointment today in Rijswijk. So 4: sister's appartment - Rijswijk. 5: Rijswijk - the Bidjai residence, to pick up my daughters. 6: Bidjai residence - home. I'm sure you found that just riveting to read, I know how to keep my readers happy!

Sep 28, 2009

what's bakin?

We had a plan last Saturday! We were going to sleep in while the kids watched morning cartoons, then we would do some grocery shopping... then we would come home and while Max took his nap I would bake cookies with the girls, and after that we would maybe go for a nice walk in the park and find some pretty leaves and pinecones and whatever looked like Fall. Here's how our Saturday actually went: We woke up, got the kids settled in front of the tv, went back to bed (ok honestly, Sander did that bit, the sweetheart) and I said 'hey I'm a few days late'. From then on everything is a bit hazy but we ended up in the bathroom staring at each other in blank disbelief trying to understand the reality of what we had just found out. Two lines on the test... another baby.... uh oh. UH OH. In our life plan we had left room for maybe a fourth child, but we were thinking in 5 years or so. I mean, I'm only 28! How could this have happened? We vaguely remembered one little accidental incident, a failing on the contraceptive front (I'm planning on writing a letter of complaint!!) and realised that must have been it. Just once. Once was enough. I am the earth mother, as fertile as can be. Well, we forgot about the grocery shopping, went back to bed for a bit in silence, sporadically uttering things like 'At least we haven't gotten rid of the crib yet' or 'We are going to need a bigger car'. Our plan for the day had been thrown out the window by a force greater than ourselves and we were being forced to tumble along in the wind like one of those pretty Fall leaves, no say in the matter. We decided we had to do at least something fun with the girls so we did bake cookies.


Red, green and yellow hearts, stars, moons and birds. Beautiful little hands kneading beautiful Fall colours and suddenly our fears of what was ahead of us melted away. We looked at our children and couldn't think of a more wonderful thing than being blessed with another.

Sep 22, 2009

new life

Welcome to the world little Ella Jane. I'm so happy to be your aunt! May you always find joy in the seemingly little things in life, but which we all know to be true wonders. Ella was born to my sister and her husband only about an hour ago and she's their second child with the wonderful Benson being the first. If they give me permission I'll post pics of all four of them ASAP!

I love vintage pictures like this one. My mother used to have a birthday calendar full of exactly these prints hanging in the bathroom (the dutch just love to remember about upcoming birthdays when getting down to 'business') and I would flip through it over and over again, never being able to decide which one was my favourite. Here is another on I really really love from that era.

I try to draw sometimes.... but somehow it never turns out even remotely as lovely and delicate as these. I was drawing earlier tonight in fact. I'll show you what I managed to create.

Oh yes. Feathered and watching you.

Sep 21, 2009


I went and got into the the Fall spirit and crocheted me a fungus! This is my first attempt at crocheting without a pattern, just went with it and I think it worked out rather well! I stuffed it with untreated wool (i swear there are still bits of grass in there) and sewed on some white dots and tah-daaaah!

That was the happy news, alas I must also bring you sad news....   The Beast broke down today and I had to leave it sitting all alone by the side of the road chained to a pole where it remains to this minute, and will for 1-3 more weeks depending on how fast the Beast-repair dude comes over. For those of you who are scratching their heads and wondering what in the name of Uncle Sam's underpants I'm talking about... I give you.... The Beast (in its glory days)

I rely on this baby to get me and 3 kids from A to B, or sometimes from G to R, every once in a while even from X to Y. This is the second time it's broken down on me though, so I'm not real happy with the quality of The Beast and might have to return it to its original owner if this silliness persists! Oh but check out the cute seat cover I bought to set my Beast apart from all the other Beasts roaming the Den Haag streets:

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