Thursday, May 27, 2010


My life has been a lot more stressful than normal, in the past week or two. First of all, the whole selling the house and school thing. Plus, the kids are out of school. Plus I've been working twice as much as normal. Plus, my days have just been busier. In order to keep my kids in check, and from dying from boredom, I've kept them busy pretty much all the time.

We've spent a lot of time swimming. Double benefit: sun tires them out, and they have fun. We also made a trip to the library, where the kids each picked out a stack of books. They've only had them one day, and are almost done with all of them. The books are fairly thin, but those are the books they wanted to read. And I'm not one to complain if they get up early in the morning, and read until 9am.

On top of the busier schedule, this afternoon has been particularly stressful. Joe lost his wallet. Or so he thought. So we had to change our bank accounts and switch over all the automatic payments. Luckily I found the wallet before too much damage was done. But at that moment I just wanted to curl up in a ball. 3 kids needed me. grandma needed me. And our financial well being was up in the air. Oh, and while all of this was going on, I was trying to cook dinner. I'm glad to sit for a moment and breath. I'm ready to have a few low key days!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Lemonade from Lemons

For the past 5 weeks, Ginger has had her arm in a cast. Not the most ideal situation when you go on vacation. Especially when water is involved. I can't keep her away from the water; that would be cruel. So we do our best to protect her cast. Anytime we're around water, we wrap it up with plastic bags. We try to keep her from mud, and other dirty activities. I'm sure glad it comes off this monday though, because the kids are out of school, and swimming will be a daily activity around here. Today, this seemed like the best solution

It's the season?

For a while I thought it was snake season. Here's what Joe found last week in the chicken coop.
And today, I saw some suspicious activity in the pool. I was sure it was another snake. Luckily Joe was around to save me. Turns out, it was just a monstrous frog

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Faith and Patience

.... those are the 2 words that have been heavily on my mind the past few days. I need faith that our house will sell, and patience until it does.

This afternoon we were at cousin Katie's graduation picnic, and I was telling our friends and family about our plan to move to Holland. Telling them that it all hinges on whether or not we sell the house. My cell phone rings. Someone wants to see the house. At 6.30pm. A very inconvenient time, since we had plans to visit with mom and dad after the picnic (Angela and Haley are also in town). But of course, any time is a good time, to show the house. So I headed home, to get the house ready. Luckily we had done some cleaning this morning, so there were just a few stray things in the kids' bedrooms that needed to be picked up.

As I drove up at 6pm, there was a truck in the driveway. I was freaking out a bit, because they were early, and I really wanted to tidy up a bit more before they saw the house. The people were just kind of standing around on the driveway, so I went up to talk to them. I explained that I had just driven up from Dallas, and didn't know they would get here early. Then some confusion took place, and after a few minutes we figured out they were not the people that I had talked to on the phone. These people were with a real estate agent (the 6.30pm people were coming alone). When we were in Holland I changed our MLS listing showing instructions to: "no appointment necessary". I all but forgot to change this after we got back home, this agent just came without an appointment. Wow, I would have never known they had come if I hadn't come back for the other appointment!

So now I'm waiting for the next appointment. After that, I'll drive back down to Plano to join my family in their family gathering.

Faith and patience!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Good start

Believing we'll sell the house within the next 6 months, I suddenly realized we'll be moving to a new country soon. Joe got accepted to the Erasmus MBA, which starts in January. I'm super excited about this, but I have to say that my anxiety level has shot through the roof. Not about moving to the new country, but about selling the house in time to make it happen. Everything hinges on that single fact. To make it worse, a large registration fee is due within 4 weeks. A non-refundable registration fee....

The Rosetta Stone came in the mail yesterday. It's my last ditch effort for the kids to learn Dutch before moving to Holland. When Winter was little, I was very good about speaking Dutch to her. However, when she came back from friends' houses not being understood, I gave up. I should have stuck to my guns, and dealt with it. But I didn't. I was weak.

So we start from the beginning. With full immersion, and lots of repetition. I sit with the kids while they "play the Dutch game", to encourage them, and also so I can know which words they are learning. I can then use that vocabulary in regular conversation. It's fun to see them go from frustration to recognition and happy accomplishment. Too bad I'm not learning anything in the process...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cowboy Stadium

Sterling did so well in Accelerated Reading (AR) this year, that he and 29 other students from Leonard Elementary got to tour the new Cowboy Stadium. And parents were allowed to come too. Not being a big football fan, I almost felt guilty taking up a spot on the tour. It was still a very interesting tour. The figures blew my mind. Like the video screen above the field cost $40 million. The statue of Liberty would fit in the stadium in its entirety, and not touch the roof. The stadium has over 800 concession stands (where they sell $5.50 hot dogs). There are 80,000 seats, and up to 120,000 seats when the superbowl comes there next year. Sterling's favorite part of the day was playing on the field. Mine was spending time with Sterling and the other moms.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Holland feels like home, just as I remembered. There are a few things however, that I've become unaccustomed to:
  • Toilets are hard to find, and when you do find them, you have to pay to use them
  • Parking is rarely free
  • Most people don't have clothes dryers or decent sized freezers
  • Even when it's only 50 degrees, people flock outside to enjoy the good weather.
  • Bikers think they are the most important person on the road.
  • Traffic lights only turn green for short periods of time, so most drivers have lead feet.
  • Grocery stores don't give free bags. You either bring your own, or pay.
  • Grocery carts are locked together, and you have to use money to unlock it (at least you do get your money back when you return the carts)
  • The Dutch government loves speed bumps

Those are just a few things I've noticed over the past few days. Of course there are things Americans do, or America has, which are strange in their own way as well. We all just learn to adjust.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Visiting family

This trip has been a little different than previous ones, in that we have spent a lot more one-on-one time with family members. It's really nice to get to know everybody again, on a personal level. Previously we would have 1 big party, with the whole family, so you end up only talking to everyone for 5 minutes. We have been staying with one of my cousins (Sander) and his family for the past few days. I really didn't know his wife Juliette, or his kids. So I feel much more connected to my Dutch family now.

Today we were able to visit my Tante Siegried. She is a wonderful inspirational woman. She was really my grandma, but she was my grandpa's 2nd wife, and much younger, so she didn't want to be called oma.

My sisters and I also got some very important shopping time in. We hit the H&M (0f course). Somehow I've gotten into a boring clothing rut the past few years. I always want to buy something different and colorful, but end up leaving the store with plain t-shirts, in plain colors. My main objective today, was to try on shirts that I would normally never try on. I picked those that I thought were an ugly color, or a strange design. Sometimes those with strange designs actually look good. Through my strategy, I found a dress that I absolutely love. It's a strange bright yellow/green color. It's also a little too short for a dress, so I'll hem it up, and turn it into a shirt.

The Dutch weather caught up with us again. The first week we were here, it was unusually warm and sunny. 70 degrees almost every day. Today, it was only 45, windy, and rainy. That's what I expected. (but I'm very grateful for the nice warm week!) The rain made me think back to all those time I would get soaked riding my bike in high school. That will take some getting used to again....

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