Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Big change

This is where we will live next year, if we sell our house. You could say it's a polar opposite of where we live today. But that's okay!
The Plaza

living room



"master" bedroom

kids bedroom--
Unless I want my 3 kids to all sleep in the same bed together, I've got to figure out how to fit in some sort of bunkbed.

Office/2nd kids bedroom

The fact that this apartment is furnished, takes a huge load off my shoulders. Most Dutch rental houses are bare. And with that, I mean REALLY bare. They often don't have kitchens, or flooring. Another plus, is that everything is included in the rent. I don't have to figure out utilities or internet.

And one fun bit of info: the Plaza is right next to, or above a casino, in downtown Rotterdam.
Doesn't get better than that!
It might not be the best neighborhood for kids, but it is located close to the university. And Joe will need all the extra time get can get, to study.

I'm getting so excited each time I think of the possibility of this really happening.
It seems so unreal to me. And it is.... until we sell the house.


I'm ready for the stress to end.

Stress each time someone comes to look at the house
Stress that the house won't sell on time, to start school in January
Stress over our vanished $6400 registration fee
Stress about my weight
Stress that the kids make too much noise for Joe to work with
Stress about my failing friendships
Stress of getting old, and my body starting to ache in odd places
Stress that my kids won't grow up to be well-rounded, responsible adults
Stress about bills

One day at a time; that's all I can do. Some days are better than others. A lot of the time, I just try not to think about the stressors.

But sometimes they overwhelm me.
And that's when I get snippy.
I hate being snippy!

So I try to do anything to get my mind back off of them. Like eating, or watching TV, or cleaning. Too bad cleaning is usually the last option on my list. But not this morning. Because someone is coming to look at the house....

Once in a while there's a ray of sunshine that brightens my day. Like when Ginger came to me and said:
"Mom, there's boogers coming out of your nose"
me: "No, that's just dry skin"
Ginger: "Eww. that looks gross."

At least she's always honest with me! I never have to second guess whether she loves me, or when I do something that hurts her feelings. She'll tell me right away. And that's how I tick.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Yes Day

For a while I've wanted to experiment with a "yes day". A day where I say yes to everything the kids want/ask for. I do put limits on things that cost money, so I'm mainly talking about their many simple requests throughout the day. Here's what they got on their yes day:

Chocolate milk with breakfast -with many refills
postpone my exercise time to watch curious George
Ginger saved her breakfast for later
Take pictures with my camera
"Jesus with his children" by Winter -This is the painting my oma "met de poezen" Jansen painted. I'm currently working on finding a framing solution for it

"Lions on the way" By Winter

"Mommy Dancing" by Sterling

"Happy Ginger" by Sterling

Ginger picked "clean 1 toilet" out of the jar, and cleaned 2 instead
more chocolate milk for snack time
watch movies and tv all morning
Winter wears a Sunday dress
Sterling eats all day long
Make sock puppets
Sterling is the first to go swimming
Kids in the pool all afternoon

More chocolate milk with dinner

Ice cream for desert (BTW, I did say NO when Sterling asked for more...)

At 6.30pm I just couldn't do it any longer! They were asking for so many things that I didn't want to do/give them. But overall I would say it was a success. It was amazing to see their happy faces when I said yes to their 8th cup of chocolate milk. Or to making sock puppets, which is something they've wanted to do for over a week. Definitely worth repeating... next year.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Nose dive

We were flying at a steady altitude of 30,000 feet. The skies were clear ahead. Then, out of nowhere, a storms started brewing, all lights started blinking, instruments failing, and the plane went into a nose dive crash. We haven't crashed yet, but the ground is coming ever so much closer. Maybe if I curl up in a ball it will stop coming closer. Maybe when I open my eyes again in a few hours, we'll be back in the air with blue skies as if the storm/crash never happened.

Okay, we were never in a plane. That's just how my day has been so far. We started with some happy kids playing in their rooms. They made the awesomest fort. The house was clean, and I even got some exercise time in. The skies grew grey as we got into the geo to run some errands. The Air conditioning wasn't working very well, but I could live with that. A little sweat never hurt anyone. I was excited to have the geo back. Now it only costs $4 to go to town, instead of $12. At $12 I don't just jump in the car for some window shopping or extracurricular activities. However, halfway down to McKinney the check engine light came on. No! not again! The last time that happened, I blew the engine which turned into a $1000 job. Stopped at the side of the highway, I felt very blessed to have my cell phone. With the help of a nice stranger and Joe on the phone, I diagnosed no major problems. From then on my eye was closely watching the thermostat.

Sitting in a small car is not very condusive the a peaceful ride. Especially when the kids bicker over any and everything. So my nerves were wearing down. My instruments started failing. My nerves getting shorter. Then it started to rain. And the window wouldn't roll back up again. Stupid car! This car should have been condemned! The plan to watch a movie at the theater is out the window. We're starting to nose dive. The kids keep fighting, and asking me 1000 questions, and begging for candy at the framing shop, and touching things they're not supposed to. Then, when I thought things couldn't get worse, Joe calls me to inform me that our $6300 Erasmus deposit never arrived. The ground is getting closer, and closer, and closer. I want to just cry. I want to curl up in a ball, and make the world go away. I can't wait to open my eyes, and figure out it's all been a dream. But it's not. I can pinch myself and it just hurts.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

To shave or not to shave

I'm not talking about Joe, or me. I'm talking about my sweet 8 year old daughter Winter.

Recently she has started to ask me when she can start shaving her legs. She has very blond hairs, but they are long. I know exactly how she feels. Except that I didn't feel that way until I was at least 12 years old. I don't think I even noticed my leg hairs before that. But I do remember that when I was ready to shave, I got embarrassed about the hair. It was blond too, but also long. My mom kept telling me that if I shaved, it would grow in darker, and that I would regret shaving. It never grew in darker, and I never regretted shaving. I've gotten a little more lacks about my shaving habits the past few years, especially during the winter months.

I know there are some strong opinions out there about these kinds of issues. What I'm trying to figure out myself, is what the negatives are.

It'll take time, but if she wants to spend it, fine.
Money: inconsequential
maintaining "young girl" innocence: ?? is that really an issue?

So here I sit, wondering if I would be such a horrible mom for saying yes. If it'll boost her confidence, what's the big deal? I was glad to get rid of my jungle...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

scratchboard craft

This morning I frantically cleaned the house for 2 hours, for yet another showing. You would think that after 3 months, I would be used to this. Or that I would keep the house in a 30-minute cleaning state. It's just too easy to let it slide. And every time I get excited, thinking this might be the "one", the person who will buy the house. And they never are (not yet, at least). We did lower the price yesterday, so I'm hoping to see a big increase in activity.

The geo metro is finally running again. I think out of the 3 years we've owned it, we've MAYBE driven it for 3 months. This time my hopes are higher though, since it has a new transmission, and we've already fixed several other little things. We drove to Bonham to get it registered, had lunch, and quiet time. The afternoon would have to be more exciting for the kids, or they would be bored and hackle me to death.

I knew the time would come that I would want to do crafts, but not have the supplies to do any. Living 30 minutes from the closest store limits "running and grabbing" supplies, so last week I planned ahead. Several craft blogs gave me the ideas, I made shopping lists, headed to Hobby Lobby, and now I'm ready. The afternoon is young, and we're gonna make fun scratchboards

Getting the supplies ready while the kids are in quiet time
Fill up the whole page with multi-colored crayon squares
Paint over the crayon with black acrylic craft paint
While the paint dried, we watched the new Alice in Wonderland with bowls of air-popped buttered/salted popcorn. Somehow we totally ran out of time to go swimming. All together a successful day.

Use a toothpick or bamboo skewer to scratch out a picture, and voila! multi-colored art

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mom, I'm bored!

Being back home is nice, but it also brings its challenges. The kids (especially Sterling) have a hard time entertaining themselves, especially since I won't let them play video games or watch TV for more than 30 minutes. Except for in the morning, when they get "free" TV time, as long as I'm still asleep. This gives them the incentive to be extra quiet to I can sleep in. Totally selfish reason to let them watch it, but it makes everybody happy!

While I was browsing the internet the other day, looking for crafts for the kids, I saw this idea to make a little "mom, i'm bored" jar. The jar is full with little strips of paper that tell the child what to do. Some things are fun, others are not. By coming to me saying they're bored, they take that chance. Sterling really got into it today. Maybe a little too much.

We also had Sabina Morphis for the day, which was a fun treat for Ginger. Ginger and Sabina have recently become best buds. Whenever we get together with the Morphises, they just wander off with some horses or dress-up dresses.

I know this post is becoming a little random, but I don't want to devote a completely seperate post to our house selling situation, so I'll just mention it here. We're getting quite a few showings, I'd say about 2 per week, but so far no offers. The house has been on the market for over 90 days, and the summer is moving along. We decided that in order to better our chances of selling this summer, we better drop the price. This is of course never a fun or easy decision, but I feel confident it's the right thing to do. Now we know that we've done all we can to sell the house. Now we just need to find that 1 right buyer. Hopefully before too long, so we can move on and start planning the move to Holland.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sewing with grandma

Grandma Benac loves to sew. She sews quilts for a lot of her great grandchildren, which are many. She has made approximately 35 pieced quilts so far. These are special quilts. They are embroidered, and signed with love. Spending the whole week with her, I get to help her cut fabric for the quilts, wind bobbins, iron, and also pick out stitches.... a lot of them.
When I'm not cutting or picking while she sews, I sit across from her at the other desk. I check my email or facebook. That started getting old, so when we headed to the fabric store earlier this week, I got some fabric to make a little birthday present for Ginger's friend Emma. Emma is having a "Princess and the Frog" cooking party tomorrow, which I found the perfect fabric/idea for:Not having my own sewing machine was really limiting my time at the machine, since grandma does sew a lot. And after that little project I definitely had the sewing bug. I decided I really enjoy small projects that don't take up much time. While looking for a pattern for an apron and chef's hat, I stumbled across "Skip to my Lou". She has some wonderful free patterns for cute quick sewing projects (which I used for the apron and hat). When I was browsing her blog, I also found instructions to make lined pouches. I've made lined bags in the past, but never quite knew HOW to do it right. With help from the site I made this cute pouch

Monday, June 14, 2010

Special week

Wow, I really need to get back in the habit of writing on my blog. I think I forget about it, because I spend too much time on Facebook. It's fun to see what everybody is up to, but the big disadvantage of that is, that all that information just goes away. My blog will (hopefully) be turned into a journal/photo album. Almost like a family record. So I resolve to do better from now on.

This week is different than most weeks this summer. I am watching great grandma Benac all week. Normally I just watch her every Thursday, but in order to free up my schedule a bit, I decided to work a full week, once a month. In order to keep the kids occupied, and from being bored to death, I tried to schedule some extra stuff for them to do. First off, I signed them up for Vacation Bible School (VBS). My cousin Catherine always signs her kids up for those, and has shared how much her kids enjoy it. Of course the VBS is not through the Mormon church, but I'm all for teaching kids bible stories. I don't care if it's not "my" church who is teaching them. This weeks VBS is at a Lutheran church, and the theme is "High Seas". They are divided into schools of fish (by age group), and the theming is amazing. The kids made pirate hats, had snacks, learned a story from the bible that I'd never heard, and made some new friends. After being a bit apprehensive before the start, my kids' opinion made a quick 180 after just the first day.

The local library also has a lot of fun things planned for this summer. My kids are signed up for the reading program. I try to get them to read at least 30 minutes a day, and when they complete 6 hours, they are eligible for free books etc. But what's way more exciting than the reading program are the special classes. Sterling is signed up for "Partner in Rhyme" where older kids help 1st and 2nd graders to rhyme. Winter is signed up for "Poet's corner", where she'll learn to write poetry. On top of all of this, they also have amazing weekly performances. This week it's a magic show, and then there's an animal show, puppet show, and balloon master in the coming weeks.

With all these fun extras this 60 hour work week will go by much easier, I hope. I think by keeping the kids mentally engaged for the first half of the day, they should be better behaved the rest of the day. Another bonus: we are staying with grandma and grandpa all week. The kids can never get enough of them!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Grandma Ashurst slept at our house last night, so the day started with off with some fun in the sun and pool. Since the kids have been out of school, I've been avoiding any kind of errands like the plague. Going to any store with 3 kids is just pure torture. So I concocted a plan to take just Winter, take care of the errands, and spend some quality time with her. Most errands were rather painless with just Winter, but would have been horrendous with all 3. We went to the bank, pool store, mall, and several other stores just to browse. Then we headed to the theater for a movie perfect for her: "Diary of a wimpy kid"; all about a kid in middle school. Somewhat torturous, but Winter really seemed to enjoy it. And that's all that mattered for today. A quick healthy dinner at Subway's got us fueled up for some more shopping. Winter had brought her piggy bank, and was just itching to spend all her money. So we headed to Walmart. I was very disappointed with the selection of items for her to choose from. Most of them were junk. Then I remembered that her little Morphis cousins always have shrinky dinks, which are a hit. We realized that Hobby Lobby would close in 15 minutes, so I did something I've never done before. I ditched my half-loaded shopping cart, and ran out of the store. We barely made it in time, but Winter was so excited. She picked out shrinky dinks with sharpies, as well as a paint by numbers piece. To finish of the mommy/daughter date I let her stay up late watching an old western movie with grandpa. All in all I would say today was a success. Both for Winter and me.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Keep 'm busy

Summer if officially in full swing here in Texas. With the sun mercilessly beaming down, and temperatures climbing higher into the 90s, there's no more magic spring weather. The kind of heat and sunshine can be enough to imprison anyone in an air conditioned house. I feel so lucky to be in a house that HAS A/C. Plus, so blessed to have a wonderful refreshing pool right outside my back door. Besides adding the desired "cooling-off" option, it also creates a lot of time for kids entertaining. They've only been out of school 2 weeks, but if I don't keep them busy, they quickly become bored (and therefore annoying).

We also went to the water park for the first time this summer. For some people it might seem like a very long drive, but we're use to it. 45 minutes. We drive that far all the time. There are 2 parks, which are both conveniently located to family, friends, and shopping. So I plan to always do one of those other things before, or after, swimming at the park. Winter and Sterling were so stoked about all the rides. Unfortunately Ginger is too small for pretty much all of them. She's just under 41", and while there are a few 42" slides, most are for 48" and taller. She was a real trooper though, and waited patiently while the kids and I went down. But for the majority of the time I was stationed right next to a kiddie play area. Ginger would play there, while Winter and Sterling would go down the slides. We're all slowly turning browner every day. We might be unrecognizable at the end of the summer!

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