Recap of a Week

Today: Wake up feeling horrible...my nose is stuffed, my sinuses are clogged, and my cough dredges up phlegm...yuck! I don't wanna get out of bed. BUT, I have to...there's a soccer game to watch! Yippee...I get breakfasts and sport bags ready and then jump in the shower, take some extra vitamins, and head out...and am THERE to see my son score his first ever goal during a game!!! Talk about making it worth it! And it wasn't 1, but 2 goals he made to accompany the team to an 8-3 win! After, I drove Kaeden home...a caring boy with an agenda to take care of Nicky. We got him ready for Scouts and off he went...I am here alone with lots of chores to accomplish while Erwin and Jari venture off with oma and opa for an afternoon in Stevensweert. And once again this cold is suffocating me...but I can't let it get the best of me...we've got the races to go to tomorrow! Zandvoort, here we come...rev up those engines, make my adrenaline rush...

Friday: I spent today shopping...for free, no less! A day out to lunch with friends, a full sack of new clothes, and all of this "on the house"...Amanda's house that is. After cleaning out her closet, my friend Amanda had lots of new and barely used clothes that don't fit her anymore...she's on a weight loss mission and doing awesome...and told me to take what I wanted. Take I did. We had a fashion show and paraded around her house and I made a haul...I couldn't believe my luck. I really don't enjoy shopping for clothes, but this "shopping trip" was the most fun a girl could have. Thanks so much, AJ! I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.
Got home just as Kaed got home from school and made dinner...laid down for an hour to rest (the cold was just becoming apparent) and then got the kids to bed. Spent the evening playing Scrabble with my husband, who beat me by only 14 points...darn it all in Dutch! Went to bed with cold medicine.

Thursday: The trip to the doc with Kaeden took up the first half of my day...the second half? Well, an evening out with my friend Lisa! We met up in Weert, talked and talked some more, did a bit of shopping, and had a nice dinner on the terrace. Jammer that our fave restaurant is now closed, but we found another with good bread and yummy rosemary potatoes. But the food wasn't what did it for me...it was the company. Lisa and I always have lots of laughs mixed in between the serious wisdom of friendship and it was great to see her again. Thanks for making the trip, and making mine worthwhile. I got home to a quiet house...Erwin was asleep with the boys...and went to bed early.

Wednesday: See Women entry...but during the day, Jari had a friend come to play. It was an afternoon filled with constant supervision and entertainment. Kaeden had sport club, Jari had soccer practice, Kaeden had Judo...and me, well, I had a busy day!

Tuesday: Day not too difficult, but I did prepare a Mexican dinner of enchiladas and spanish rice with homemade tortillas...a bit of work, but worth the effort. Erwin picked up my friend Sharon to come and share dinner with us and then watch the kids for us so we could attend Jari's introductory evening at school. We had no worries with what Jari is supposed to accomplish this school year...for the most he already knows. However, many parents were worried and thought that the expectations of the kids were far too high. I'm glad our son is a high-achiever. We need it after the notes about Kaeden this week being sent to the director...darn...pure sorrow and confusion about what to do with this child. We got home and I took Sharon back to her place where I agve her a coloring and highlights. It was one of those girly evenings which are just fun. We watched a movie, In Her Shoes, which was cute, and I left my girlfriend at 3am with red hair and orangish highlights. It looks good on her, though I'd never be brave enough to do it myself.

Monday: Early morning bike ride to the city, where I found Erwin's 8X4 and bought 6 of them! Also picked up a few other little goodies for the upcoming holidays, then made my way to the insurance company. All this insurance business has me a bit stressed. I am insured in Belgium, but under new laws also have to be insured in Holland, and because Erwin is insured under a different company than me, we've had a few problems. It took 1 1/2 hours, but at least all the paperwork is turned in adn I should be good to go in 2 weeks time...we'll see. Got home just in time to pick Jari up for lunch, then as we were walking back to school, he threw a rock at the glass-covered bus shelter and reacted very snotty when I reprimanded him. I brought him screaming back home where he spent the afternoon taking a nap...I joined him for an hour and when he woke, he was the sunniest child around. We spent the afternoon building with blocks. Kaeden got home JUST in time to catch the bus to Judo, I picked him up and hurried myself to Choir.

So, talk about a busy week. I won't complain, but sing praises...it was a good one, and I thank my wonderful husband for putting his very best foot forward and taking on all the evening responsibilities. I couldn't do it without you!



How can children with a handicap get services? Well, we had to take Kaeden to this government appointed doctor who makes the decision whether or not your child qualifies. Whether he has already received a diagnosis, we've lived with his bouts of irrationality, he continues making poor choices, or the government already acknowledges his handicap giving him a handicapped bus card doesn't make any difference. The decision lies in the hands of this doctor. This doctor is well-known for his failure to address the needs of autistic children. How can one doctor that sees him for 20 minutes conclude whether or not my child is autistic? In a breath of air, Kaeden can be at his very best or absolute worst...and most likely when it comes to making contact with a new person, my son will be at his very best. So, how does this doctor base a lifelong decision for my son at this short appointment?

I'll tell you, I have taken days and more days readying us for this appointment. I have requested notes and compilations of forms from every institution we've worked with. I have filled in forms myself, made copies, consulted my Dutch/English dictionary more times than I care to count. And today was the big day. Erwin took off work and we had Jari stay for lunch at school as the appt was right in the midst of his lunch break. And then we were ready...to be out-of-control parents. To try to assure services for Kaeden, our case worker told us stories about the best way to persuade this doctor. She told us to keep Kaeden off his meds for the day, and then do our darndest to make my kiddo angry/upset/freaked out/tantruming. When we picked Kaed up at school he was in the best of spirits. He was excited to be getting out early and have some 1:1 time with mama and papa...little did he know of our secret agenda...to terrorize him :-( I admit that this sounds evil, harsh and unfair, but so does the fact that our son may not qualify for services that he rightfully deserves. So, we did our best to be "mean". It worked...he got angry, he started hitting, he got frustrated and sad. And me, well, I couldn't help but laugh as I had to do somethingt o hide the pain I was feeling. The pain of intentionally hurting your child emotionally...his already threatened self-esteem being lowered purposefully by his own mama...well, it tore at my heart. Finally I let up...it just wasn't worth it to me. I would appeal if I had to, but I couldn't hurt my son any deeper. How much lower could a mother go? Not much, I promise you.

We went into the appt. Kaeden was over the "torture" by then and was his normal self, yet still a bit confused by his mama's behavior. He answered questions with eyes darting around adjusting to unusual surroundings. He signed his name spelling it improperly, and read a sentence filled with words that were beyond his level of even sounding out. He was his noraml autistic self, and I was so proud of him. Just sitting there next to the child that I brought into this harsh world, Kaeden restored my faith that everything would be okay...with or without this doctor's approval, we are going to make it.

After we left the doctor's office, I explained to my son why I was being so mean to him. With tears in my eyes I gave him a kiss and promised him my love...something I will need time to prove to him once again. I gave him a box of candy and he immediately said "Mom, which color is your favorite?" When I told him pink, he had a huge grin on his face and a laugh escaped his mouth as he popped the candy into his own mouth and said "Well, there then!". With a sense of humor like his, he's going to be okay. We took Kaeden out with us for coffee at a cafe where he had a trampoline all to himself and came back to drink a huge cup of hot chocolate with a separate bowl of whipped cream just like he likes best. We played game after made up game with him and tried to restore his faith in us as loving parents. We spent time enjoying our autistic son.

This message I'm writing is for me. For me to remember that being a parent is a tough job, that life is unfair, and that love conquers all...because I love my son more than he will ever know, and I will do whatever it takes to make his life a good one...but I will never again laugh as I cause him pain, because the pain I felt in my own heart was too deep for words, and I refuse to do it again. So, Dr, refuse us services if that's what you need to do, but I will fight you to the end...but never again will I fight my own values and morals and cause pain to a person I admire so much...never again will I intentionally hurt my son. He's worth more than that to me. He deserves more...and more is what he WILL get!



Today was such a busy day for me...actually it has been an extremely busy week...busy in a good sense as I feel I am finally taking control of my life to better my mental self. I have had very little down time and it feels good to go to bed exhausted at night with a good reason to be exhausted, and not out of sheer boredom with life.

Tonight I had the chance to be among women...mothers and wives, homemakers and work out of homers, outgoing and shy, loud and quiet, skinny and heavy, curly-haired and colored...and I fit right in. I examined myself among this group of women. I am no different than any of the others, just looking for my place in life and a means of making life a place of contentment. I went to this women's club, the start party of the year, and was seated between a group of women whom all knew each other well. I felt like an outsider. But within 15 minutes, I decided to take some initaitive and introduced myself, asked a few questions, and got answers about teh lives of these women. It took only a smile and a question and they were willing to share their lives, their experiences, and let me into their circle of "friendship". I was sitting next to a very outgoing and outspoken woman which helped give me confidence and a feeling of security...excpet that she spoke a lot of dialect which is difficult for me to understand. If there is any barrier between me and these other woman, it is the language...and probably always will be. However, I got many compliments on my ability to speak Dutch and with each compliment my confidence grew and I spoke to them about me, who I am, what my life is about. I told them about my home land, about my children, my husband, and my need to be among people. They promised me this was a good place to be. I felt that by the time I left the party...women, whoever they are, are just women. We all have the same needs and wants, probelsm and concerns...only our life and experiences change the degree and content. I just want to be accepted, to be cared about and be a part. Tonight I was given that opportunity. I'm glad that I threw caution to the wind, dredged up my courage, and made this first step. I am woman, hear me roar (in Dutch, no less....!)




Who ever said you need to be able to sing to sing?! Take it from me, a mama that sings her boys to sleep at night with no real music sense, a woman that whistles as she works, a wife that dances and belts out tunes next to her husband speeding down the highway with the radio blasting...you don't have to know how to sing, you just gotta do it!

I am proud of me. I joined our local choir after much insistence from Jari's last years teacher. She told me it would give me a chance to meet some people in the community, have more exposure, get involved. I know she is right, getting myself out there will be a big plus for me...finally, one day when she asked, I told her I'd go along and check it out. Tonight was my second choir night, and I really enjoyed myself. I couldn't help but resing the tunes as I headed for home, some of the more catchy ones that grabbed hold of my spirit. Listening to all the men and woman come together in one beautiful harmony, my voice a part of that beautiful music...how did I do that? It amazes me that someone with no musical background, no real sense of rhythm or best, can assist in creating something so lovely. I may have oops-ed a few times, but we just started again and I quickly caught on to what piano and forte mean, what different notes mean just by listening. I think Soprano may be too high for me...my voice is a bit scratchy tonight...but I don't care, I can sing!!!!

There may be too many concerts to attend, too many eevnings that Erwin is alone with the boys, too many evenings that I "have something else to attend"...but I am a part of a group, a part of my community, a part of the world outside the four walls of my home...I feel like I could...well, SING!



I was reading the blog of a friend of mine this morning and heard yet again a story of a mother damaging her child. I hear this story time and time again, and I am pained that mothers can actually do this to their children. I just can't understand.

I am a lucky person. My mom is my best friend. She is someone I can talk to about anything, share everything with, and know I will never be judged. She gives me so much in life, and has from the day of my birth, that I can't even begin to set her on a high enough pedestal. She is the only person in the world I don't get bored talking to (I mean, if I talk to other people every day for an hour, I get to feeling a bit suffocated)...we can talk for hours on end and never run out of things to laugh about. The only thing negative I can say about my mom is that I don't get to see her enough.

I am a lucky person. My mother-in-law is someone I know cares about me. We have become good friends and I care very deeply about her. In the beginning of our relationship, there was a language barrier that kept us from truly clicking, but the more Dutch that I learned, the closer we grew. This year Oma told me that she loves me as if I were her own child...as I know how much she loves her children, I feel pretty special. I know that if I need to talk, she is always open and will be very honest with her opinion. I used to think she "hated" me as she told me exactly how she felt...it wasn't something I was used to...but now I know this is her manner of clearing the air and leaving no bad feelings behind. She is my friend, and someone in my book of life very high on my list of treasured people.

I could go on about my dad and father-in-law and tell you about all my parents, but I won't. They are as much admired by me as my mothers. These bonds I have with these special people in my life are ones that I truly could not live without. They give me guidance and love, support and honesty. Still. I just feel so grateful. My life is complete.


A little survey

Take this survey & pass it along to your friends. Don't forget to send it back to the person who sent it.
23 July 1971
Rhinelander, Wisconsin, USA
Current Location:
Beek, Belgium
Eye Color:
Hair Color:
5 foot 81/2 inches
Your Heritage:
Swedish, German, English
The Shoes You Wore Today:
None yet, I'm barefoot!
Your Weakness:
Chocolate, Vacation
Your Fears:
Heights, Losing my kids
Your Perfect Pizza:
Hmmm, chicken and garlic sounds good
Thoughts First Waking Up:
Today: Ouch, my back! Mostly: I gotta pee
Your Bedtime:
Anytime between 8:30 (with the kids) or 1 (with my husband)
Your Most Missed Memory:
Our family vacation when I was 14 to the west coast...it was a perfect family time and we didn't do that sort of thing often
Single or Group Dates:
Single with my husband, group with my friends
Chocolate or Vanilla:
Do you Swear:
Once in awhile
Do you Sing:
Quite often to keep myself company when I'm alone
Do you Shower Daily:
I better!
Have you Been in Love:
I am right now
Do you belive in yourself:
I believe in myself, but I lack motivation to do necessary things FOR myself
Do you think you are Attractive:
I can be, if I wear my smile and take time to feel good about me
Are you a Health Freak:
Totally not, unfortunately
Do you get along with your Parents:
My mom is my best friend and my dad is someone I deeply admire
Do you like Thunderstorms:
Love them
Do you play an Instrument:
Oh gosh, NO! My musical sense is very limited
In the past month have you been on Drugs:
Nope, except for cough medicine
In the past month have you eaten Sushi:
I've never eaten sushi (and don't ever care to, either)
In the past month have you been Dumped:
Nope, and I hope it never happens...I wanna be with my husband forever
In the past month have you gone Skinny Dipping:
In the past month have you Stolen Anything:
Not in the past month ;-)
Ever been called a Tease:
Not really that I know of
Ever been Beaten up:
I got a black eye from my brother once.
How do you want to Die:
Quickly,without pain
Number of Drugs I have taken:
When I was younger I used pot on occasion
Number of CDs I own:
Together we own plenty...but nowadays we just burn stuff
Number of Piercings:
Just my ears, one time
Number of Tattoos:
Just one on my ankle
Number of things in my Past I Regret:
I guess I have no regrets, cause it got me to today, but there are NUMEROUS things I wish I hadn't had to experience...the biggest being abused by a man


Great DAY OUT!

Today I got Kaeden off to school and then took Jari to school as well for his first ever all-day. I made him a lunch and talked him into staying over so that I could have a day out with girlfriends. It was just what I needed to get out of my funk!

My girlfriend Sharon came to pick me up and we headed to Valkenswaard to meet another friend and her baby. It was one of those last minute kinda deals and I was really nervous about leaving Jari all day, but Erwin assured me he'd be fine...he was. We had coffee and lunch in a little cafe and I had a chacne to admire Harry, my friend Amanda's darling one-year-old...what a perfect little guy, sitting so still and quiet while we visited. I do not remember EVER a time my kids have been that quiet in a cafe!!! Then again, we don't go to cafe's much to give them the opportunity to learn...usually if we do go, there's some kind of playground involved. Anyway, I was impressed with that little guys sweet smile and remembered quickly how speedy their little legs are as he took off running from Amanda when we were leaving...he's just so happy and adorable. Just having the chance to see him again after all these months was a true treat...and add that to spending time out with the girls, well, it was just a really super day.

We spent a couple hours wandering through teh weekly market, seeing stall after stall of stuff...I didn't bring home anything but food, but what more do I need? It was the company and satisfaction of friendship that did the trick for me today. Oh, and those couple little whipped cream eclairs they serve with the coffee, and the couple shots of yummy licquor with a spritz of cream on top...I forget all the lovely things about coffee out in the Netherlands. Coffee is quite a deal here, and not the refill after refill you receive in the US. There are tiny cups of strong brew with those little extras that make it a complete and satisfying experience...add to that a few friends and a couple hours time and it's just a lovely day out. It was a worthwhile trip.

Thanks for the day mates, for reminding me I am alive and not a bear hibernating my life away in the cubbyhole of my house. You really made my day! And when I got home to pick Jari up and he gave me his great big hug and told me eating lunch at school was fun, I knew we'd survived one more milestone on the way to growing up...it's a bit bittersweet...



I talked to my mom yesterday. When she answered the phone she sounded happy to hear from me. She was busy with customers, but in the first minute of our conversation she said to me "Tera, you are a wonderful person. Your dad and I were talking last night about what a nice woman you are. You are just nice to everyone and we're so proud of you." My initial response was "Uh oh, what happened? Is there something coming that I don't want to hear?" But when she assured me that she just wanted to tell me that, my heart was uplifted and I felt so free. I felt proud of myself, proud of her and my dad for helping make me into the woman that I am, this person that she considers nice and giving and loving. I felt the presence of God in my heart and I couldn't help but wipe away a tear that fell from my eyes. I, too, am proud of me. I mean, I have plenty of areas which could use improvement, but I am a person I would want to be friends with, someone that can be counted on and looked to for love, someone with a giving heart and a fast smile, someone that can keep secret yet shout out praises. In that one sentence, my mom gave me more pride than I've allowed myself for many years. She helped me see thrumy anger and fears, my disappointments and sadness, reminding me that I am a good person.

What is so important in life is treating people with respect. If you give respect, it is returned over and over again in so many ways. I truly believe that everyone deserves to be cared about, loved, and given their due respect. People's lives are all wound round like a ball of string, with so many loops and knots, and who am I to judge. I don't know where that string has been, where those knots came from or where that last meter will end up. All I can do is use my smile or hello to help unwind some of those looser knots, or in those tight situations lend a listening ear or do a good deed. Respecting people is what gives you yourself a more rounded ball.

As my mom and I continued our conversation, her excitedly telling me about her recent visit to my brother, his wife,a nd their new baby, I don't think she had a clue what she had given me. Words can cut like a knife, or they can beam like the sun. In this case, I was beaming. I hope that I can bring someone else that same sunshine today, because afterall, I am nice, I am good, and I can pass that onto anyone that I meet paths with today.


Well, it's finally just another day...Jari's 5th birthday is finally officially over...you know how most people celebrate their birthday once and get on with life? Well, Mr. King got to celebrate 5 (yes, FIVE) times. A bit much, but he celebrated with everyone, which was what was important to me. For the first time ever, he spent his real birthday with my parents and that meant a lot to them. He had a party with relatives and friends from America the weekend before, he had a serenade from the Mexican band at a family dinner, he had a BBQ celebration with oma, opa, and Ilse, and finally came his friend party yesterday...teh pirate feast...and it was a great day (with many comments from parents on the super-cool American party style). But, thanks for small miracles, it's now over...2 weeks into age 5, and we're completely done!!! With a house full of new toys and a definite need to get rid of some old ones.

In other news, we could use your thoughts and prayers. Oma is going to the doctor today and will get the date for her hip replacement. As much as I hope the surgery will help make her life less painful and more active, it's still a major deal with months of revalidation therapy. She's got a long road ahead of her, and I feel for her (luckily I don't have to literally feel it all!). It's times like this that I wished I still lived in Helmond, where I could be of more help, be there at her beckoning call, bring over a wholesome dinner , put the dishes away, throw in a load of laundry (yes, I'd even be willing to do the laundry! :-)) Being in Belgium, this is nearly impossible, but I'll still be there if needed, whatever that takes. Probably the best thing will be staying away with my bouncing, active, energetic boys!!! Though for her spirit having them around will be the best medicine, once she's through the worst. We're pulling for you oma...let's get it done and move forward with life!!! Sucess!

I've got LOTS of cleaning up to do today. So, better go and get started. My husband has a party after work tonight, so I'll be swinging it single with my two little loves tonight. Have fun Papa! And come back to us after safe and sound...


Aquarium Treats

First Off, let me start by saying, things aren't always what they seem. This weekend we got our fish back from the "babysitter"(aka oma and opa). They had been totally cleaned, which was a treat, but the filter had been forgotten...not a big deal, but it was quite plugged up with fish slime. Well, the kids were excited to have our fish back and Kaeden immediately asked if he could give them a fish treat...something he found for them in America...a little jar with shell and fish shaped treats, called aquari-yums! He couldn't wait to let them try it out. Well, the past two days the water has been getting cloudier and cloudier, little algae rapidly growing on the sides...I decided to clean it this morning when I got up, start fresh and see if it'd help. To my horror, Jari's fish was dead. I felt a sinking feeling and couldn't get the tank cleaned out fast enough...and Jari and I buried his fish in the yard, alittle hole under the Christmas tree, a little thank you for being our friend, and then a prayer to Jesus to take care of Dory aka Shark in heaven. As we filled the whole, Jari saw a leaf,a dead one, that was made of sharp pointed "bones". He associated the leaf with his fishes bones for which I had no words...unbelievable how similar the leaf looked to a fossilized fish. When I got back in the house, I checked everything thoroughly again, the aquarium fresh with water and clear. I then went on to look at the aquarium treats...in tiny print below the heading AQUARI-YUMS it states "Brand Cat Treats". I belted out in a horrified laughter...did I let my fish be fed cat treats? As I looked closer at the jar I noticed a cat in scuba gear chasing after the fish, with a huge grin on his face...OH MY GOD, what did I do? In any case, Dory is gone to heaven, and I swear our fish will no longer be treated to any little surprises...as many times as I looked at the fish treat jar, I never concluded that it wasn't for the fish...so, just a word of caution, things aren't always what they seem....


Jet Lag

Without feeling really jet-lagged, I realize that we all are anyway. This morning it was 9am when we all woke up...too late for school and too late for work. WHat a stress that created in our home. Jari is the crankiest little boy I have ever met and managed to miss school pictures this morning...Erwin had a funeral to attend and was not going to manage that in time after dropping Kaed off at school...and Kaeden, well, he was doing okay until the stress of everyone else took over his life and created additional problems. Me, I can't take it all. My head is aching and my neck muscles are clenched in tight knots. I think I'm going back to bed and hide away from the stress of life for just awhile longer...


Helper Mama

Today I got to be a helper with Jari's class. It made me feel so good, as if I have a purpose in this world. I got on the bus with the kids and headed to swimming lessons, helping them undress and dry off, dress again and head back to school. Something simple, yet more important than anyone can imagine. I joked with the kids, they took to me like I was meant to be a part, and I relished in being with children, in a class environment, my dream job and one that I miss tremendously. I wanted that class to be mine...but they are not. I am just the helper...as were another 8 moms (who all waited at the swimming pool and didn't take the bus as I did)...but I am still important. If nothing else, it gave me a task today that helped fulfill that need in myself to have something important to do. And what's more important than taking part in a child's life, helping them be successful, letting them know that I care...especially when one of those children is my own. I hope that being a class helper fulfills not only that need in me, but gives my child and his friends the feeling that they are loved...just as doing it brought my heart an extra beat of satisfaction.


"Home" Again

Well, I'm home again. All the dirty laundry covering the floor and the boxes full of "treasures"are proof that we made it back. I wasn't happy coming back this time...I wanted to stay, to make my life in America, to be that American girl I enjoyed having back for the past few months....to create my American boys and watch them flourish under the lights of Wendys, Burger King and Taco Bell...ha...seriously, it was a wonderful vacation, but now I know that's just what it was, a vacation...and being back here in my own home in my new land speaking my new language...well, my heartstrings are tugging and tears threaten to fall, but I must let go and know that this is my home, whether or not it's where I belong, loving two worlds is extremely difficult. And difficult it will always be, no matter how long I make my home in Belgium.

The moose we saw running down the middle of a deserted mountain road, the hundreds of deer and thousands of antelope, the tiny, quick chipmunks and gophers standing tall and still...well, that's just part of what I must keep alive in my memories. There are plenty of pictures, but none of them can capture the excitement of living in the Wyoming world where I grew up...none of them give me the feeling of euphoria I get when I am there, the sun shining in the bright blue sky or the millions of stars putting on a nightly show...

I'll end it here for now. Maybe after the jet-lag wears off and the cold that's overtaken my body levaes me less vulnerable I'll be back...to tell of all the wonderful experiences that I can keep alive, all the hugs and laughter, all the smiles and I love you's, all the good times that were mine...in the making for just two short months of my life, yet in my heart forever alive and shining as bright and beautiful as that Wyoming sunset that passed before my eyes much too quickly.