Feb 24, 2010

music monday V0.3

I know I know, but let's just pretend it's still Monday hmmkay? You wouldn't believe how crazy the past 5 days have been. We've finally moved into the new part of the house and are all sleeping in our new bedrooms, but it took a huge amount of work. We've been laying floors, painting, cleaning, hemming curtains and taking furniture apart to be able to get it up the stairs which are pretty narrow. Has anybody ever tried to take apart this bed? :
We probably did everything wrong, but taking only this bed apart into small enough pieces to get up the stairs took us most of Saturday morning. Luckily that turned out to be the biggest bump in the road to furniture arranging perfection! One thing I've learned is that moving house makes you tired. And grumpy. And flatulent.

But once again we all made it through, as did the furniture and this morning I took some pictures so you can see what things are turning into up here! Keep in mind it's nowhere near completed... we still need things like lamp shades, rugs, some nice things on the wall and other random bits and bobs, but I think it's starting to come together nicely:


Before the moving madness began I had another couple of interesting dental experiences, and I promise to write a post about that later this week. My dental history certainly deserves a post of its own! It's worked hard enough to earn it, that's for sure. All you need to know right now is that I need lots of hugs and sympathy next time you see me.

Alright, I should probably finish with some music then huh?
Enjoy these videos that neve fail to make me pee myself laughing!

Wait for it, he yodels and it is something else!

That's all for now folks! Max wishes you a wonderful day!

Feb 16, 2010

kicking the habit?

For those of you who are becoming worried about my seemingly neglected crocheting habit, I have here a picture of comfort. I'm still at it! Just have to take some time to take some semi-decent shots of the projects I have been working on. They're coming though, you may now exhale.

You see, my priorities have shifted somewhat over the past weeks, to this:

... and this:

... and many more fun things in the category of home improvement. Lara loved keeping me company while ironing her new curtains, which probably has something to do with the fact that I let her climb the ladder to get an even better view of the snowy surroundings outside.

This has got to be the whitest winter we've had in a few decades here in Holland. We've been loving it but yesterday, for the first time, I heard Julia say that she was done with the snow now and would like it to get warmer. Lara then continued musing on how come even though it was so cold, she never saw any icicles anywhere. She quickly decided to her contentment that icicles only grow in Friesland. (Fries (vries) = freeze)

Feb 15, 2010

music monday v0.2

Welcome back for the second feature of Music Monday! Today's theme is Youtube Discoveries, and I think I have a few gooduns for you. As the theme suggests these are musicians or bands that I have come across through Youtube and who use Youtube as a main way to present their new, and mostly independently funded, music to the masses. So without further ado and in no particular order, here they are!

1. Sophie Madeleine is a pretty British girl with a ukelele and an incredibly sweet voice and quite some songwriting talent.

2. Pomplamoose consists of the adorable couple Jack and Nataly who have the most scrumptious collection of covers and original songs on youtube you ever saw. They present their songs as videosongs, basically meaning that what you see is what you hear. They make me smile every time.

3. Josh Schurr started out on Youtube posting songs he recorded in his stairwell (something I'm no stranger to!) and I originally came across him after looking for a good cover of Joni Mitchell's 'A Case of You'. His is ah-may-zing and I think I might have a little crush on him. He also writes originals and has a lovely soothing voice.

4. Isto is Chris White and mr. White is quite a character. His songs and videos are worth watching and remembering for 2 reasons. First: his musical talent is incredible. He plays the guitar like he invented it and has a gorgeous deep, classic voice. Second: he is hilarious! He often uses little gimmicks like running away like a lunatic on speed the second the final note of the song has ended and his lyrics, well... have a listen for yourself.

That's the list! There are lots more but I have to keep my readers coming back for it now don't I?

To finish it off, a little plug: I put a new video up about a week ago. Hope you enjoy!

If you have any Youtube tips then by all means, please let me know in a comment! 
See you next week, music lovers.

Feb 9, 2010

baby announcements ideas

Here are some images I kind of sort of might like to use on the birth announcements for our upcoming family addition. 


What do you think? I really like vintage style images, and we used this Anton Pieck image for Max' card:


Any thoughts/ideas are more than welcome!

Feb 8, 2010

music monday

As promised here are 3 bands I have recently been loving, with a sibling theme:

1. First Aid Kit: sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg from Sweden with great song-writing talent.


2. Kitty, Daisy & Lewis: They're british, are obsessed with analog recording, and are in their teens.


3. The Unthanks: Again two sisters, Rachel and Becky, who sing beautifully arranged folk songs.


These have been in my playlist just about daily for a while now and if you've never heard of them I really recommend checking them out further!
Next week: 3 Youtube discoveries.

And to finish this post off, here are some pics of a day at the park when it had been snowing. Snow is all gone now unfortunately, which I'm sure many of you would be happy about, but I think it didn't last quite long enough.

Feb 3, 2010

we're OK!

This morning turned out VERY different than expected! I was going to take the girls to school, come back home and take care of Max while my mom went to the doctor to get some blood work done. Upon her return I would do some more painting upstairs and then go and collect the girls from school, and do more painting in the afternoon. 

Here's what happened instead:

I took the girls to school and drove back home. As I pulled into our street I noticed a man carrying a sheet of glass and I recalled our contractor telling us that one of our windows upstairs that had accidentally gotten cracked during the construction, would be refitted today. I got ready to go up the steps to our front door when I heard the 'glass man' behind me asking 'Do you live here??'. I said yes, and he continued to hurry me up the steps saying that the lady upstairs had fallen and was in need of immediate help!  I immediately had visions of mom lying naked on the bathroom floor and blood everywhere (I have a dark mind...) and having to call an ambulance. Turns out she was lying fully clothed on her right side in the hallway, right outside the bathroom....no blood. When she heard the glass-man calling for her she had wanted to hurry to get the door and rushed out the bathroom, completely forgetting the step from our bathroom into the hall goes down about 8 inches. Imagine her running along like Wile E. Coyote does in the roadrunner cartoons when he doesn't realise he's running straight off the edge and into a cliff....

'I asked if anybody was home and then heard a thud so I hurried upstairs and found her here!' the frantic glass-man panted. I knelt down beside mom to see how bad her injuries were and she quickly reassured us all that she didn't think she was about to die on us, but her right knee and especially her left foot hurt quite badly. At that point Rob, our contractor, started coming up the stairs. The glass-man sighed a sigh of relief and informed Rob that it was a good thing he arrived because his mother-in-law had fallen and was in need of his assistance, leaving Rob quite puzzled for a minute. The glass-man's help had also come up the stairs and instantly went over to mom asking her lots of questions like 'Are you dizzy?', 'Are you hurt?' and 'Are you pregnant?'. Mom wasn't sure to be flattered to think that he thought she was young enough to be able to be pregnant, or to be insulted that he thought she was big enough to look pregnant. So there all 5 of us were, in our tiny hallway, huddled around mom who, by that time, thought it was all quite amusing. We decided to get her up and onto our bed since it was closest. When she was somewhat comfortable the glass-men decided that all would be well, handed Rob the sheet of glass and left. 

I quickly looked at mom's foot and saw it was quite blue and swollen on the outside. She was still in a lot of pain because of it and unable to find a comfortable position to put it in. She was also a bit concerned about her knee because we had just been to a clinic for her knees, where she was found to have Arthritis and was told to go as easy on her knees as possible. For these reasons we decided we had better get her checked out at the hospital. There was no way she could get down 2 flights of stairs on her own, and I didn't think it was a good idea for me to get her down... so I called Rob, who was busy installing the new window upstairs. He quickly came and was a great help getting her down the stairs while I got Max in the car. 

They had gotten down most of the steps with Rob walking beside mom, holding her weight as she kept her arm around his shoulders and mom hopping down step by step, holding on to the handrail with her free hand. The handrail stops before you get all the way down though, so she still had about 6 steps to go and didn't feel steady... so Rob just swept her right up and carried her down and into the car like a new bride is carried over the the threshold. One big difference between a bride and mom was that mom squealed rather loudly the whole way down because of the surprise of Rob picking her up, the fear of him maybe not being able to hold her, and the pain when he had to make a turn to get her into car and he bumped her painful foot against a bicycle really hard! I nearly died laughing, it was the funniest thing I had ever seen! Mind you, mom was laughing just as loudly so I wasn't being mean. 

So. We were in the car and off to the hospital. We felt special parking right in front of the entrance and getting a wheel chair to get her out of the car and inside. I left her in the wheel chair with Max on her lap just inside and went to properly park the car. I think mom should come with an invalid parking sticker because she tends to need one every time she comes over! The assistance we got in the hospital was surprisingly good. We were called in quickly and the doctor was kind and gentle with her painful spots. She couldn't quite determine whether anything was broken so mom got x-rays of her ankle, foot and knee. Nothing was broken, thank goodness. She REALLY didn't want to have to be in a cast for the remainder of her stay here... especially with our house being up 2 flights of stairs. She would have been completely stuck up here! They were a teeny bit uncertain about one little bone in her foot though, but the radiologist wouldn't be in until tomorrow so they would have him look at the photo tomorrow and have us called in case he saw anything that they had missed... but she was optimistic. She had sprained her ankle ligaments however, and so they bandaged her foot and dressed her knee. Then she received some pain killers and a sandwich (because my mom is a diabetic and hadn't eaten yet because of the bloodwork she had intended on getting done), and sent us home!

The most interesting part was yet to occur, when we got back home and had to get her up those stairs! She decided to do it all sitting down, and I sort of had to put her foot up on the next step each time she got a bit higher. We must have looked very funny. We got to the top of the first flight and tried to get her on her feet... failed horribly and she kept sliding on her behind over to the next flight. Same thing when she got up those and had to get to the bed. At the bed she found getting onto her knees to get up to the bed completely impossible, so she turned around. With her back against the side of the bed and  her derriere still on the floor I got on the bed behind her and put my arms under her shoulders. We braced ourselves, counted to three, and I pulled her up as she pushed off against the floor sending us flying onto the bed, mom right on top of me. I felt like I had just given birth to my mother and again could. not. stop. laughing! We had done it though! Whew.

So. I will do no painting today or tomorrow. Instead I will look after the kids and mom. and that's OK. When life gives you lemons....

Feb 2, 2010


I don't think I've mentioned my music obsession on the blog too many times and I'm starting to feel like I'm betraying my true colors. So here is the low-down. 

:: I am REALLY into music ::
:: I listen to a LOT of music ::
:: I LOVE to make music::

Let's discuss these in the above order. As I was growing up I was always known as the kid who stayed in her room and listened to music. Loudly. Oh, and sang along... loudly. Before cd's were in the picture for me I used to do that thing where I would 'borrow' a cassette tape from my parents, listen to the radio, and hit 'record' if I heard a song I liked. Unfortunately I didn't know about radiostations besides SkyRadio, who play a lot of corny and vastly over-played mush. So I ended up with mix tapes that included Joe Cocker, UB40, Mariah Carey and a number of boy bands. Then there was the music my parents listened to, some of which I really enjoyed as well. To this day I still have a serious soft spot for The Everly Brothers, Connie Francis, Patsy Cline, The Beatles and John Denver. Oh let's not forget Jim Reeves. My mother had/has a bit of a crush on him I think. 

That's the background. Then at 12 I got my first boombox and was able to play cd's in my room! The joy! Unfortunately I have to admit that the first cd I ever bought was Celine Dion's 'The Colour of My Love'. I quickly saved face by purchasing 'Yield' by Pearl Jam... and then lost it again by going nuts over Boyzone and buying every album they put out. 

(I was desperately in love with all of them)

Things are a little different now! I like to think my taste in music has become a bit more refined and that I am quite a good critic of quality. For a bunch of my friends I am the gal they go to if they need a good new music tip, and that makes me secretly proud. I check out new bands very regularly and like to keep up with lots of music, popular or obscure. That said, I have a couple of favourites that I seem to come back to time and time again:

The Pixies 

 Muddy Waters


Ane Brun 

Gillian Welch

Nina Simone

I could keep listing favourites all day, but this is a good representation for now. I'm thinking about starting a 'Music Monday' to keep you updated on new/old bands I enjoy, or maybe post a song I've played. 

That also brings us to the last point on the agenda: Music that I play.
It all began with recorder lessons in elementary school, which quickly turned into private piano lessons. My mother made me a deal: I had to stick with the piano lessons for at least a full year, and if I learned to play the Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven without mistakes she would pay me 5 guilders. I did both, earned my cash, and found that I really loved the piano and got the hang of playing it quite quickly. I only took lessons for a total of about 2 years, spread over 2 different stretches as a kid/teenager. I'm still so happy I stuck with it because these days I'm able to use this skill to teach others the basics and earn some money, and it comes in ever so handy at church and at home during the holidays.
I also took 3 months of guitar lessons when I was 16 but quit because my teacher was SUPER creepy. He was 38ish and lived with his mom and had these really thick glasses that made his eyes look teeny... and he smelled funny.  I picked that up again about 4 years ago and with the help of a lot of online tutorials taught myself some basics and am now able to accompany myself when I sing. I even bought a nice Washburn semi-acoustic and learned how to restring it myself! 
Finally, I got a ukulele for my 28th birthday last year and I play around with it here and there but am not quite confident on it yet.
Mostly I just sit and play at home for fun or relaxation, but every once in a while I'll play live at a local talent night, get-together or church social. I also do a low-quality recording for YouTube now and again and I have my very own stalkery fan there who keeps sending me messages of praise!

Thanks for reading/listening, and let me know what you think of the 'Music Monday' idea!
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