Oct 26, 2012


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I miss my friends! I had such a good group of friends back in Holland that would indulge my movie madness, my crafting obsessions and my love for juicy bits of news and fun anecdotes. I wouldn't dream of trying to name them all, but you know who you are. Basically, if you have ever spent an evening with me at a movie theatre, or in my house over some yarn and a pot of tea/plate of baked goods, or just stopped for a few minutes to listen to whatever crazy thing happened to me that day, then you are who I am talking about. I love you! I miss you! You are (and I use this word sparingly for fear of being called too Americanized, and out of respect for its actual meaning) AWESOME! I am one lucky girl to have gotten to know the wonderful people I have, and I am sorry if I have made anyone of you feel like I've forgotten about you since the big move across the ocean. Because I haven't. Not even a little bit, and this blog post is here to let you know that. I am very, very, very bad at staying in touch with people, or remembering birthdays and other special events. I have a rather nasty case of ADD and my brain simply doesn't do well with these things that require structure and memory. I hope I haven't ever offended anyone by not calling, emailing, writing, or posting on your wall. I believe true friendship crosses over obstacles like time and distance, and I was so happy to see that in reality just last week when some dear friends dropped by for a visit. 
That stunning blonde standing next to me is Whitney, who I met and got to know a little while she served an LDS mission in Holland. In case you can't tell by looking at her, she is an incredibly warm, fun, and bubbly girl and even though we've never had much of 1 on 1 time, I totally consider her my friend. It was so fun to see her again! Then next to Sander we have the notorious Jordan. We got to know him the same way we got to know Whitney, and have since been able to see him a few times and reminisce and get to know him even better. He's so funny, and is somehow more in-the-know on my hometown ward these days than I am - I don't know how he does it! Thanks to  being the political polar opposite of Sander, they share the funniest banter on Facebook, trying to get eachother riled up. Only real friendship can overcome something like passionately opposite political views!

Then last but not least, the girl in purple holding Elliot is none other than my Helen. I call her that because I would truly love to have her for my own. Rarely have I known someone who is so optimistic, hard working, realistic, fun and selfless. Being British she has the best accent to boot! I got to know Helen through our mutual friend, Hellen. Note the difference there. Helen. Hellen. Try not to get confused. Hellen is another amaaaazing friend who I miss sorely. Hellen served a mission in the UK, where she got to know Helen, and they quickly became great friends. Helen then decided to change things up in her life and move to The Hague, where I got to know her. We have a love for music in common and along with Hellen and her equally amaaaazing sister Alice, we would sing a capella close harmony preludes in church, and every other chance we got. We sounded pretty darn good, if I do say so myself! By the way, mister Jordan has some impressive musical talents as well! Helen is also the children's favorite, as she is the only person I know who will spend over an hour on the ground with them, playing spiderman/hide-and-go-seek until everyone was sweating profusely, and listening to Lara tell her jokes. Ah yes, it was a good visit, filled with reminiscing of adventures past (like when Helen wore my wedding dress for an impromptu Halloween outing, and then freaked people out by holding Elliot, who was then just a few months old, who would suddenly move or produce sound while others thought he was just her prop), and excitement over adventures future.Thanks for making the trip! And come again ANYtime. Really. That goes for YOU too!

Oct 24, 2012

creative bald spots

The first Utah snow has come and gone without me being able to snap a picture of it. The boys have been staring out the window all morning and, at one point, Max tried to sneak outside in his footie pajamas to make a snowman. I can only imagine how exciting new snow must be to a little boy. Unfortunately for them I woke up this morning feeling not all too well so we were confined to the house, and watched the snow melt away slowly all around us. I think it must have been out of frustration and boredom that Max then decided to take a pair of scissors to Elliot's hair, and getting creative. 
Good thing I bought clippers not too long ago... Poor Elliot is scared out of his wits of the sound those things make, so it'll be a challenge to get his 'do' fixed up. I don't want to deal with it just yet, so instead here are some things I have been keeping busy with since last week.
There you have it. Knitting baby hats for charity, reading, and trying not to be too freaked out by the Halloween decorations pretty much sums it up. Oddly the kids aren't scared of them at all... except maybe Elliot when we get ready to leave the house. He knows our door mat holds a certain creepy surprise, and refuses to step on it nowadays. I'm not sure we can even get him to trust a door mat again. We can't wait for Halloween, starting this Wednesday with our church's Trunk or Treat. Other things we're excited for include Mike arriving at the airport tomorrow, carving pumpkins, and celebrating Sander's Birthday on Sunday. Good times ahead!

Oct 18, 2012

surprise drive

As promised here are the pictures from the animal farm we discovered on a little impromptu drive a few weeks ago. It's so sweet to see how kids go bananas for animals! Sander asked me the other day if I wanted to get a puppy. I just laughed and walked away.
When we had our fill of feeding the animals (more like the other way around..) we drove up to the lookout point on the mountain, where mom had a mini heart attack because of the height, so we didn't stay too long. Instead we headed to Denny's for an easy dinner afterwards. All in all, a successful little drive! Going wherever the wind takes you has proven a good way to go several times this year.

Oct 15, 2012


Some stuff that has been going on around the Koot residence lately:
1. We can watch tv. We got Xfinity tv with our internet connection, meaning that for the first time in a good few months we are keeping up with football, the Walking Dead, Yo Gabba Gabba, and the movie channels again. I don't care much for tv... if it's there.. sure, I'll watch it a bit, but I much, MUCH prefer Netflix, or renting a movie that I've been wanting to see. I'm not interested in sports and I've never been an avid follower of the news.. but I guess I'm not alone in this house. Also, my mother has trouble babysitting in a house that has no tv connection, so it seemed like an investment that would produce decent return, which takes me to:
2. Mom offered to come babysit on Saturday night so Sander and I could have a date. We ate dinner at the Bombay Grill on Washington Blvd, and then saw The Perks of Being a Wallflower at the Megaplex. The food was sooooo good (what is it about Indian cuisine that sends me straight to 7th heaven?) and the movie was brilliant - probably the best movie we've seen in a good long while. Thanks mom!
3. We discovered a little pasture nearby that features llamas, horses, goats, deer, and a dog. I'll do a separate post with all the pictures I took of the kids going crazy feeding the animals.
4. I've read an unholy amount of books. My least favorite: The Sun also Rises, by Ernest Hemmingway. His writing style is definitely not for me. My favorite: Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami. I love his prose and mixing of genres, and deep philosophical musings all while making you feel like you're reading an Indiana Jones adventure. Honorable mentions: The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood - very thought provoking... and Rosemary's Baby, by Ira Levin. I had no idea the book was so much better than the movie, definitely the most compelling read of the year so far!
5. The Halloween decorations are out and scaring us on a daily basis. This is our first real American Halloween, and we're loving it so far! We've all picked costumes, but I'm going to keep those a surprise....
6. Sander and I have been asked to give a talk in church next Sunday. Then Sander went behind my back and arranged for me to sing as well, so wish me luck preparing for that. 
7. Julia is learning to read sooo fast! Much faster than Lara, which I suspect has something to do with the fact that she hadn't begun reading in Dutch yet, giving her a cleaner slate to work with. It's really fun to see her grow.
8. We had returned missionary Brittny Welch over for a visit last Wednesday which was so much fun. We did the usual 'What do you miss most about Holland?' (which somehow always turns to food...) and all ate Pannekoeken. Poor Sander wanted to make them, not realizing we never bought more than the 1 pan we were given when we moved into this place. Making pannekoeken for 7 in 1 pan is tedious! The situation has since been corrected.
9. A short while before our visit with Brittny, we had another lovely get together in honor of newlyweds Concetta & Killian Kroese who are in Utah on holiday. Lauren Sharp and her amazing parents (who have fast become some of our favorite Utahns) hosted a delicious dinner to which lots of returned missionaries showed up with whom we could catch up and speak some Dutch. Thank you guys for that! Click here if you wish to see pictures the pictures of that get together on Lauren's blog.
10. We are looking forward to having Oma Marianne and Maarten come visit us in just a month and a half! It's going to be so much fun showing them around and spending time with them again. It's going to be a special Christmas.

Oct 12, 2012

Laziness is the first step towards efficiency - Patrick Bennett

I should go out and do..
But I want to stay in and read...
My lower back hurts like crazy so it's looking like door #2 will come out the victor today. Anybody else having a less that productive feeling to their day?

Oct 9, 2012

turn, turn, turn

This is my first ever experience with Autumn in Utah and I think I may have found my favorite season. Watching the mountains catch fire from all the turning leaves on the trees is absolutely magical. The temperature is cooler but still incredibly pleasant during the day, and cold enough for woolly socks, slippers and to have a cup of tea and the heat on in the mornings. Halloween is around the corner and scary decorations are popping up all around, causing the children to 'ooh' and 'aah' everything we travel somewhere. Yes I think October might be my favorite month yet!
:: If you like an image, click it! They look so much better enlarged::
I took all of these pictures during a hike up to Waterfall Canyon, at the top of 29th street in Ogden. The first time I hiked up there was with the girls over a month ago. Everything was green, and we were sweating like animals because of the heat. This time I took Max, and we were greated by every autumn hue imaginable, and some very chilly air, especially at the top! We had such a good time. I really recommend this hike if you have a little boy: it's not too long, and they'll love all the climbing involved.
We have definitely fallen a little bit in love with our Utah surroundings!
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