Apr 27, 2010

let them eat...

...steak! I apologise in advance to any readers who are vegetarians or perhaps even vegans... but when this lady is in her final months of pregnancy (now 34 weeks to be exact) she craves meat. Any who know me well know that this is really out of the ordinary for me. I've never been big on meat, especially red meat like steak. I had a bit of a vegetarian spell during High School but it didn't last long.. I enjoy chicken a bit too much. These days we do take a bit of pride in not being a big meat consuming family. Typically we'll have meat with our dinner 3-4 times a week and for the same amount of days the kids enjoy some lunch meat on their sandwiches. That's it, I promise! Chicken is still my absolute favourite and thus consumed most often, and ground beef runs a close second because it works well in a couple of my standard italian and mexican recipes. I'm not a big fan of pork at ALL... except bacon (yummm). And steak, well, a big ol' slab of bleeding meat on my plate reheheheaally just doesn't do it for me. Don't even get me started on game and organ meat. Ew. 

But today folks, today is different. Today I have hormones surging through my huge body that require animal sacrifice! We've had steak in the freezer twice this week already, and I know that tonight's is going to be the best because I've had a bit of practice by now. My mouth waters at the thought. I shall have fried up onions, mushrooms and bell peppers with it, and broccoli and of course the Dutch national vegetable: taters. I shall enjoy it... especially after having blogged about it which has seriously increased the rather intimidating appetite I already had before sitting down at the computer. 

I'm going to have to be patient a little while longer though, so I'll kill some time by adding some cute pictures of the kids at the playground yesterday and the Zuiderpark today:

It's a bit weird ending this post with a picture of cute, fuzzy baby ducks.... and a huge craving for meat.
I better go cook.

Apr 24, 2010

i present to you...

....the Koot family roof terrace! A work still in progress.

The first picnic:

The views:

The playtime:

Eating at the new, second-hand table:

Assembling all the fun stuff we got:

Potting plants:

Acting silly with dad:

And generally being roof terrace Super Models:

Holland is having an extra sunny weekend, which means that tomorrow after church we will officially christen our BBQ and get our tan on!

p.s. Congratulations to my brother-in-law Andrew, who graduated from BYU this week. I think he might be one of the smartest people in our family and I'm very proud of his accomplishments (which just this year were providing for his wife, son and newborn daughter, graduating, having a paper published and flying all over the U.S. with the BYU basketball team).

Apr 19, 2010

music monday V1.0

Is it still Monday? I BELIEVE IT IS! Ah Yeah, not even Icelandic volcanoes can stop the music. Though they might just be succesful in keeping my mom from flying over for the birth of this baby.. but that's a story for another time.

First of all I would like to thank the comment I received last music Monday that turned me in the direction of the wonderful band Mumford & Sons. I'm smitten! When a bunch of young guys wear suspenders, do a banjo stomp, write heart stopping lyrics and generally look and sound like they were born in a different time, I become one very, very happy girl. And we all know that the best way to make happiness grow is by sharing it! Well allow me:

Then to top things off I came across C.W. Stoneking through one of my Facebook pals today and was yet again instantly smitten for similar reasons as the above. Czech it out:

Enjoy what's left of your musical Monday everyone... I'm off to have a hot bath and pass out now.
Ehm, the passing out would occur in my bed, not in the bath. That would be silly. 

Apr 16, 2010

the truth about how cars run...

...according to Lara. 

We have a car. I use it daily to taxi the kids and myself to school, shops, friends' homes, church, family gatherings, etc. It was always a mystery to me as to how the thing somehow magically started moving everytime we got in, but thank goodness Lara has finally explained it to me. Listen very carefully, for she said this only once, and so will I. 

There are two Gnomes that are our devoted car slaves. Their names are Marjolijntje and Chrispus. Though Marjolijntje has a girly name and wears a red jacket and pink puffy pants, he is definitely a boy, just like Chrispus, who prefers wearing more sober colours like grey and red and black (a gnome obviously can't get away with not wearing any red at all). They are not like other 'regular' gnomes who live in a hollow tree, or under the ground. They simply wouldn't fit in one of those homes because they are quite big. Just like us humans, in fact. They also live in a regular house but with one small difference: they still enjoy using teeny tiny toilets. 

So here is what an average day looks like for Marjolijntje and Chrispus:
They get up bright and early (their pointy hat still on! A gnome never takes off his pointy hat.) and do their morning business on their miniscule toilets (I can only hope that their business is also adequately miniscule). Then they have breakfast. They eat only ice cream. Marjolijntje only likes strawberry flavoured ice cream, and Chrispus will only work for chocolate flavour. They have a favourite drink as well! For Marjolijntje it's carrot juice, and for good ol' Chrispus it's Coca Cola. 

After breakfast they put on their jackets, puffy pants and shoes, and head straight over to our home and take their places behind our car, quietly waiting for us to get in and be ready to leave. Once we are they do the one thing they were apparently truly made for doing: they run their socks off. They run and push us everywhere we need to go, no matter what the distance!

They don't ask for breaks often, but once in a while we have to stop at a gas station to get them a drink (again carrot juice and coca cola!). I pump these drinks into the car so they can suck it out whenever they need some extra energy. When we get home they sit and wait behind our car in case we have to go somewhere later. When they're certain we won't be going anywhere anymore they return to their home, have a much needed tiny toilet break, eat some more ice cream, get online to email their families, and go to bed. They never have a holiday. They don't want one. They love pushing us around.

Moral of the story: Find out what your gnomes favourite eats are and always have some on hand... those guys work hard!

Thank you Lara for this incredibly useful explanation of something that, until now, seemed so mysterious!
And thank you Marjolijntje and Chrispus. Seriously.

Apr 13, 2010


...I took the girls to school, had some blood drawn at the hospital (regular pregnancy check-up), came home to realise I had left my house keys at home, spent the morning at a friend's house, drove to Wassenaar (which is where Sander's work is located) and got Sander's key, drove to the McDonalds DriveThru in Leiden because I had a craving to chew ice and they put lots in their drinks, drove back to Den Haag to pick Lara up from school only to find Julia there as well (every Tuesday and Thursday Julia gets off 2 hours earlier than Lara and is picked up by Lily who has two sons in the same age groups, and I pick up the 'later shift'), called Lily to find out what was up and woke her up because her and the boys had apparently been up all night which is why she forgot to call me, drove back home and got us all snacks and a drink, sent the girls outside to play, settled Max in his playpen, did 4 loads of laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, did some major picking up around the house, got dinner going, let the girls back in the house, called my mom, realised Julia had snuck back outside and gave her a timeout, and was surprised by Sander coming home early with a small but beautiful bouquet of flowers for me.

Today was a bit of whirlwind.

Apr 12, 2010

music monday V0.9

Before I get to talking music I wanted to see if you guys remembered my wish list? Did I mention already that item #1 off the list has been crossed off? Well it has!! One of my mom's dearest friends, Elaine, sent some money over with my mom last time she came, with the purpose of using it for something I wanted. It was just about enough to buy this sewing machine which was on sale:

It's basic, easy to use and perfect for a beginner like myself to learn on. So far all I've done is basic mending on the stack of worn/ripped/torn clothes I had in the cupboard, which already was a huge blessing (some of that stuff hadn't been worn in a few years!). But today a new chapter in my youthful sewing career has begun, for I have started a Baby Quilt! I found this here tutorial online and figured I was man enough to give it a try. When I found all the right base fabrics and batting at the market this morning I knew nothing would stand in my way anymore, and I got to work. 
Also, while I was looking for my huge bag of fabric scraps I came by my 'lost' bag of crocheting materials, including the half-finished baby sweater I had started on in Febuary... so expect some crafting updates and pictures soon. 

Alright, on to the music business. 

Hold on to yer girdles because today I am taking you DANCING! Check out these old and new songs that never fail to get me moving.

1. Devendra Banhart - Lover. There were other vids to choose from on Youtube but this guy made me giggle.

2. Beirut - Elephant Gun. I was torn between this and 'Postcards from Italy', which is really my favourite Beirut song.... but I went for this instead because the video is so wonderful and has lots of dancing in it :)

3. Beck - Modern Guilt. I have loved Beck since I was a silly teenager. He writes some of the best tunes and lyrics out there if you ask me.

4.Roisin Murphy - Ruby Blue

5.The Pipettes - Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me. Saw these girls live in Amsterdam a few years ago, they're adorable.

I think I'll have to get back to the subject of dance another time this year... I came across soooo many more I would love to share while I was digging these up! What are your favourite dancing songs?

Apr 9, 2010

The Belly

There have been a few questions as to when I'm finally going to show that growing baby belly of mine. The waiting is over! I finally figured out how to take snaps with our new webcam (I really am technologically challenged) and snapped some. I don't think these pictures really portray how HUGE I feel... but that's another story. 

Yes those are a lot of little girls' dresses in the background. They have yet to find a more suitable home somewhere in this house. And the room you're seeing is what used to be the girl's room.

So I am now 31 weeks and 2 days pregnant with this little guy and things are still going very well. I had my last check-up earlier this week and baby was head-down (mine have always settled into final position around 32 weeks) and doing wonderfully. The things I'm suffering from are leg and pelvic pains/cramps at night, lower back pains during the day, feeling super-faint after meals and general tiredness. Thank goodness the usual heartburn and constipation is staying away thusfar, but I'll keep you posted on that because I know you're just dying to know about my regularity!

Apr 5, 2010

music monday V0.8 slash The Easter Story

Here's one of many reasons I love living in Holland: Christmas, Easter and Pentacost all have TWO days instead of just one! So today we celebrate our Second Easter Day, which is traditionally done by eating all the leftovers from First Easter Day, and going to Ikea. It may come as a shock to you that we will actually not be joining in the second half of the tradition. That's because Second Easter Day is known nation wide as the busiest shopping day ever. We lucked out when our lovely friends Loek and Emily invited us over for dinner, so that's where we'll be headed as soon as Max wakes up from his afternoon nap (which usually lasts until about 2.30pm).

Easter is being good to us this year! Sander had Friday off as well and we took the extra time to finish some more projects in the house. We upgraded our closet so it will actually hold all of our clothes (we couldn't fit any of the hanging clothes in there before and had them temporarily 'hanging out' in various places in the house) and we made new shelves for the closet that was freed up by finishing our closet. All this storage space we have now is sooo wonderful! Dutch homes are NOT designed for storage, especially in the big city so it was always a hassle figuring out how to get our huge amount of STUFF to 'disappear'. Something we experienced chronic failure with, I might add. The house always looked messy before because there was just too much stuff for the space. That's what you get though when you try to cram a family of 5 into a 90 m2 appartment. That's all changed now! We have room to breathe! Room to play! Room to actually sit at the dining table with guests! ROOM FOR OUR STUFF!!!

Whew, it gets me excited.

Saturday was another busy but fun day. We did our grocery shopping for the week and while Max had his nap the girls painted the eggs I had boiled earlier in the morning. Sander set everything up at church for members to be able to watch and listen to General Conference, and brought home chicken wings for lunch. Check out what a hit they were:

I later cooked dinner and we watched movies until bedtime. But....before we went to bed we made sure the Easter Bunny paid us a visit, hid the eggs, and left 'every girl and boy, baskets full of Easter joy'.....

Oh nearly forgot to tell you about one particularly stressful thing that Saturday! So, my finicky firstborn has been taking to eating as slowly and as little as possible for dinner. It's become an interferece and really takes away from the dinner experience for the rest of us, and the attention we are able to give the other 2 kids. Alas for Lara I have watched The Supernanny, Dr. Phil and all those wonderful shows and knew I had to 'pick my battles'.... and that was one battle I felt confident enough I would come out of being the victor.
For some reason, this particular time, the one time I decided to 'bring it on', Julia copied her sister's behaviour and would. not. eat. I figured it was just as well, teaching them both the same lesson in 1 go, saving me time and another battle!
So here's how it went down... When I saw that everyone but the girls had finished what was on their plates (mexican food... guacamole made from scratch...mmmmm) I gave those two the bad news: they were to remain in their seats until they too had finished their dinner, to the very last bite. I told them I didn't care how long it took, I had time.. but if they chose to take too long then that would mean there would be no time left for dessert and cartoons. That hit home with Julia.... she finished in about 20 minutes and had her reward.

 Lara, on the other hand, became the Queen of Dinner Table Drama.
I alternated between leaving her alone at the table with her food, and keeping her company... I was kind but I stood firm. She wanted cuddles, more drink, to just go to bed.... she tried to bargain (I'll eat 3 more big bites and then I'm done, right?), whine (I'm soooo ALOOOOOOONE!), and beg (please please please mommy can I just go to bed, I feel siiiiick...). I stood firm. She could have cuddles, another drink and go to bed.... as soon as she emptied her plate.
Are you curious to find out how long she lasted at that table? It was longer than I had anticipated but apparently 6-year-old girls can have quite a bit of stamina.
She sat in that chair for a total of THREE HOURS. Three whole hours! We had long gotten Julia to bed, it had turned very dark and Lara looked like, well, like she was defeated, but we had won the battle! She was proud of herself for finishing, received her cuddles and went to bed tired, but with a lesson learned: If you ask for it, you eat it. Oh had I not mentioned that part yet? Yes, we let her choose how much she wanted at the start of the meal and gave her fair warning that we wanted her to finish what she took.


We knew the kids would be easy to handle on Sunday morning because they had to stay focussed to ensure they ate all the chocolate the Easter Bunny left them, and perhaps even some belonging to a sister or brother. Max actually learned to say 'Chocola' this weekend, though he pronounces it 'Ookoolaaaaaaaaaaa'. Our Easter brunch was yummy for our tummies, and we kept our PJ's on. I made Egg Salad for the first time in my life (turned out gooood), we had fresh strawberries and warm buns straight out of the oven.

After brunch Sander was off to church again to make sure stuff worked, and he stayed to watch the Priesthood Session of Conference, while the kids and I had a bath. Originally oma Marianne (Sander's mother) was going to join us sometime in the afternoon but unfortunately she felt ill and decided it best to stay home. That in turn caused us to decide to forgo the huge, elaborate and labour intensive meal we had planned to make, and have left-overs instead (we still had a ton of mexican food and zuurkool stamppot in the fridge). To make up for the disappointment we kept the planned dessert: Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake with Marshmallow frosting and Strawberries in the middle. We all helped and I just know it was the love and fun that went into making that cake was what made it uber-delicious!

Oh, and Lara finished her dinner in 30 minutes this time.

All in all a Happy Easter was had, and is still being had. It was especially nice to have General Conference in the same weekend as Easter this year because we really got to focus on that which is truly important: making sure that our Saviour did not suffer for our sins in vain. Wait, that sounds as if we made sure we sinned extra.... ah you know what I mean: as President Uchtdorf spoke so eloquently during the Sunday Morning session, we must be His hands, His voice... His heart.

Alright boys and girls. The first bit of the title of this post is no lie so here is hopefully a little bit of a fix for you music addicts. First up is a song I came across last week. Max and I danced to it. I danced. T'hat's saying something these days! I love this girl's style!

Secondly I would like to share my latest cover song. No dancing in this one folks!

That's it from me for today! But I'll be back....
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