I'm Not Bitter

So, a couple weeks back I asked my wonderful husband if he wanted to go with me to a friendly soccer match between the Holland national team and Denmark...it is tonight and the preparation for the upcoming European Championships. When I asked, he quickly and without doubt resounded "NO WAY!" His reason? Simply put, he went to a game at the Philips stadium years ago, and was unable to sit in his reserved seats due to being overfilled, and he has refused to return to the stadium since then. It is simply an issue of priciple, and he has/d no desire to ever return. So, no, he didn't wish to attend the game and have a date night with his wife...who really wanted to attend.

Fast-forward a week. He calls me from work and asks if we have any plans this week Thursday (tonight). I told him no, there was nothing on the calendar, even then considering asking again, unless he had reconsidered attending the game with me. So, I asked what was up. He told me we'd talk about it when he got home.

Come to dinner time...we're sitting around the table eating and he non-chalantly says that he's going to teh Nederland game next Thursday. Food splutters from my mouth, I quickly stand from my chair and walk away with a huge "NOW I AM PISSED" singing from my mouth. I see his smile disintegrate from his face as he responds, "I knew you we're going to react that way." I step outside, away from the reality of the situation, and he joins me after he'd finished his dinner. He tells me that it is a work meeting he needs to attend, a team-building exercise with his new team, and that no, normally he wouldn't want to go, but under the circumstances, he is expected to attend for work. He tells me that as soon as he was confronted with the situation, he was worried about what my reaction would be. And it seems he had every right to be.

So, fast-forward again to this morning. We haven't really discussed the situation again. I still feel a bit let down, but it is more that I don't get to go. I love watching soccer, especially our national team in action, and haven't yet attended a game in all the years I have lived here. It is something I really want to experience. And eventually, I will.

Anyway, I noticed his orange Holland t-shirt on the bathroom counter, and he picked up a Holland flag cap from off the coat stand as he left this morning. He's heading off to do something I wanted to do with him. He's going out for a terrific dinner at an Argentinean restaurant, then heading to cheer on his country, seeing live what WE never miss on TV. He told me to watch for him on tv tonight as I watch the game. And I feel again. let down. I want it to be me. I want to share something we both love, a good dinner out, away from the kids, and a fun, exciting game with my husband. But tonight, we won't be doing either. Tonight, it'll be him, off to 'some work function' while I prepare dinner, help with homework, and get the kiddos ready for bed. Just like every other night.

However, something I learned through my disappointment is that Erwin deserves to enjoy life too. He works hard, he is here for his family supporting us and loving us through all the ups and downs, he should be able to attend an evening out without the fury of his wife striking down upon him. But, I'll be watching the game on TV, and hoping to catch him on tv in the stands, orange t-shirt, Holland cap, and his judgement day upon him...going against his moral values purely for work purposes...ha...yeah right. I better not see any smile on his darling little face as he cheers for his countrymen...not his wife, but 4 colleagues by his side....dammit it all anyway! I am not bitter...


What A GREAT Weekend!

We went on a mini-vacation this weekend. We had so much fun making our first camping trip of the summer. We visited the Afrika Museum, the War Museum, and then spent Sunday at an Amusement Park, Wunderland Kalkar in Germany. I can't tell you how terrific it was to have such a wonderful family break from everyday life...we all immensely enjoyed ourselves. And here are a few pics to prove it!



I got a call from my parents this morning. And it wasn't with good news. A tornado hit my hometown of Laramie yesterday afternoon and took out my parents home. My mom was sheltered in the basement as the storm went over her, and she is physically ok home is a loss. And their business? The gas station/gift shop they have worked so hard all these past 25 years to create...not gone, but extremely damaged...the roof completely non-existent. I am in a state of shock. I keep shaking and just feel so strange. I have no idea what my parents will do, but hopefully insurance will help them be able to start teh process of rebuilding their lives. I just can't believe it. Here is a news article about the storm with a picture containing their store. It seems pretty devastating to me at the moment, but I am also relieved that noone was hurt.

Please keep your thoughts with my family and all of the others who have suffered damages during this storm. They are going to need all the help they can get to begin rebulding their lives.



Erwin is upstairs with Jari at the moment. I can't help but laugh. Jari had a question about what Pi is (yeah, the Greek number 3.14....). Erwin loves all that technical stuff. So, he is excited to share something new with his son. He gets a paper and pen and draws a circle. He asks jari what 3.14X6 is...yeah, Jari is learning subtracting above 10, but let's throw multiplication in the mix, shall we, just for good measure (hahaha, I tickle myself funny!). Anyway, the conversation is taking a very advanced turn as Jari measures the circle and Erwin simplifies the mathmatics by asking what 1 times 1 is, then 2 times 1...which Jari answers correctly. Erwin shows him Pi, the sign and the number, explaining this Greek number (after he checked his facts on Wikipedia)...

As Erwin and Jari discussed this new mathematic concept, I proudly entered the room with my contribution....Erwin's t-shirt, with a Big Ole Pi symbol and the numbers...can you guess which of us is more mathematically challenged? And even with the advanced nature of the concept of Pi, I can only imagine it will be somthing he will never forget...like father, like son...and with the little help of technology in the form of a quick glance at Wikipedia, there's no way you can go wrong!


I'm Moving

This morning I got Jari ready for school. As I sat him down at the table for breakfast, I asked if he wanted a sandwich, hot cereal, or 'the special cereal gramma sent him'. That would be part of what he discovered in the box my mom sent them filled with special surprises...and included his favorite cereal, Fruity Pebbles (which are not available here in EU). As I poured his bowl of cereal, his inevitable choice, I asked why he liked Fruity Pebbles so much? Was it the taste of them, all the cool colors, or Fred Flinstone? He told me they just taste yummy, then went on to add that they are also colorful and that Fred Flinstone is also cool. The ultimate cereal...it has everything! I then proceeded to tell him that Fruity Pebbles are also Uncle Trevor's favorite cereal. He gets this big grin on his face and asks if he likes them cuz they taste good, or cuz they are colorful, or cuz he likes Fred Flinstone? I told him he'd have to ask Uncle Trevor about that. Then he gets this huge grin on his face, those little twinkles of uncovering this huge discovery, and he says "Well, I am gonna ask Uncle Trevor why he likes Fruity Pebbles, and then I am gonna go live with him and we can eat Fruity Pebbles all day!!!" His mouth filled with colored rocks releaseda little giggle as he pondered his new thought. Yes, Fruity Pebbles...the ultimate morning uplifter!


Mom or Gramma?

This weekend Jari spent in Helmond, sharing his funny little big tooth grin with his aunt and his grandparents. When we called on Saturday night to make pick-up arrangements, I wanted to speak with him, tell him I loved him, hear my baby's voice. So, I got the phone and said "Hello, Jari". When suddenly from the other end of the phone line, MY baby says in his sweetest, most sugary soft voice "Hi Gramma." I got a huge grin on my face as I asked "Who is this" and he says "Oh, hi mama...blah, blah, blah...." without the sugary sweet softness of his gramma voice. It was really funny...do I really sound that much like my mom, or was it the English that had him tricked?



You've just gotta say:

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will

And the road you travel seems all uphill...
DON'T QUIT!!!! Don't quit. Don't quit. Don't quit!

But maybe, laying in your bed and pulling the covers over your head is a good way to hide away from it all for awhile.


A Few Things

We had a good, but busy weekend. My Saturday was completely filled with soccer. Jari had his last tournament of the season and played awesome! He is really fun to watch. But we spent the entire day in the blistering heat and all got a bit much sun. Sunday, on Mother's Day, our plans quickly changed from going to the middle age festival to staying home. Kaeden had a bad morning and we knew it would be useless to try and accomodate his needs. So, we stayed home. And it was really wonderful! The boys hid my mommy gifts in the yard and I searched and found them...perfectly handmade little treasures that touch my heart. My husband gave me a Senseo (Yippeee!) and some cappuccino to go with it, as well as having helped the kids create some containers for coffee pads, decorated with their own artwork.
I talked to my mom on the phone, we played games in the yard, and then I made a trasure hunt for the kids through our town. They had so much fun! For dinner we each made our own specially tailored pizzas and they were so yummy! And the boys loved that they could make it to their own liking. In the evening, Erwin and I watched I Am Legend and it was just a relaxing and peaceful day all around. A perfect mommy day!

Monday was also a holiday here so we headed to the open day at the local milking farm. It was so interesting learning all about milk production and the cows. Hearing the farmer you could tell how proud he was of his stock and his farm. I learned a lot and the kids even got to make their own butter. That was fun! We then went to Helmond and visited Erwin's sister and her boyfriend, spending the afternoon relaxing in the heat yet again. As we said goodbye to them, we headed to oma and opa's where we BBQed for dinner and wished oma a Happy Mother's Day as well. It was a really easy and nice day. The kdis fell asleep in the car on the way home and jari snuggled tight against me...perfection!

This morning I called the doctor with a few questions. I have been really feeling down the past few days as well as so tired I can do nothing other than feel as if I need to sleep. I thought maybe it has something to do with getting the implant out of my arm. It seems that I could be correct. My body is adjusting to the hormones being withdrawn. I am so snappy and impatient and just feel as if the entire world is sitting on my shoulders. I hope the withdrawl symptoms end soon as I have been doing so, so well the past months and now that I know what it means to be truly happy, I don't like this living down in the dumps feeling one little bit. Plus my husband and kids are probably ready to strangle me as I cry at the drop of a hat, get mad over nothing, and feel just really witchy.

This mornign I helped Jari make a card for his little friend for the birthday party he will be attending this afternoon. Since I was so tired yesterday I never made it to the store to buy a gift and got this brilliant idea to just create something with money instead. I think it turned out really good! I may have to use that idea more often!!!

This weekend Jari will spend in Helmond with his aunt and grandparents. That means Erwin, Kaeden, and I will have some quality time as well. I am looking forward to spoiling our son and enjoying time with just him. I don't know what we'll do yet, but I hope that Kaeden will shine from all the attention he will receive. And I already know that JAri will in the hands of his greatest fans, and be granted his every wish on a golden platter!!!

So, that's the news from around here. Nothing exciting, but the reality of my life!!


The Difference

Between Boys and Girls...see what I mean??? :-)



I have been banned from the backyard. My husband took some art supplies outside with him, and my two little guys, and informed me that he is in my NO ENTER zone! I am assuming this is because the top secret for tomorrow is being created by loving hands and hearts. And oh, how I want to enter the NO ENTER zone, see what is being created, be a part of this little creative activity. But I cannot indulge for today...but when my eyes open tomorrow, on Mother's Day...I am in for a big treat. There is no gift more touching than something made by loving hands and loving hearts. And I can't wait to see just what this year's NO ENTER zone has turned out. Whatever it may end up being, I know that I will love it to the ends of the earth and back...and in that moment of it's opening, as I glance at my husband with a little smile, I will love him just that little touch more as well. It's the little things...little boys, little hands, little pieces of love, and a little idea which takes off and becomes something almost too big and bold for my heart to hold. I can't wait until tomorrow!! Even if every day is truly Mother's Day!


I Am Woman

and just what does that mean? Waking up in the morning, getting my family breakfasts and lunches ready, sending them out the door with hugs and kisses a they make their way to work and school. And tehn? Then, I get myself ready...and I bike up to the doctor. My bike chain guard falls off on the way and I fix it. Head into the waiting room for my 10am appointment. It is 9:57. I wait til 10:40. And then I am called in.

I discuss my birth control options. I show her the implant in my arm which needs to come out. It's worked for the past three years, but is now expired. What else can I try? I do not want to go on the pill...it is not reliable enough with such a chaotic person as myself. And this implant stuff is for someone much less queasy than I. You should have seen the bruising on my arm for a month after I had the last come out...painfully, I might add. Am I a good candidate for a tubal? My two boys are definitely enough to fulfill my role as mama. What about an IUD? Or Mirena? I don't know much about these, but have done some research in the past days.

I tell her that my last Pap smear was over 5 years ago. I feel foolish and my face turns pink as I admit that I have neglected my health for so long. Yet, I also feel proud that I have taken this step to finally get it done. Those things are so not fun. Exposing my nether regions to another is not something I thoroughly enjoy. I am prepared today, have put on a better pair of undies, shaved my legs...with the expectation of having it done...finally. As if it matters as I strip down to nothing, laying bare on the exam table. But for today, I don't have to...

She checks the implant in my arm and goes about gathering her supplies. And after she numbs my skin, she cuts me, but I feel no pain...until she finally has the little bugger encased in her scissors and begins to pull...all those tissues attached for the past 3 years do not want to release this foreign object now embedded as a part of me. She cuts further and further until all the tissue finally releases the implant and it slips out with a pull. I am amazed as I watch her blot at my blood without gloves protecting her hands. Something like that would never happen in America. She gives me a butterfly stitch and bandages me up. It was not so painful afterall. I have a week to keep the stitch in place and then all should be well and healed.

We sit back down to discuss birth control options further. My 20 minute appointment is now already more than an hour overdue. I think of the poor people waiting in the waiting room, getting impatient, wondering what could be taking so long. She finally tells me that she herself uses the spiral, Mirena, and that it is good for 5 years. She says it has very low hormones, something I am looking for, and is a simple procedure. No more cutting, she assures me. As she writes out my prescription to pick up at the pharmacy, she tells me not to be intimidated by the huge box. Her eyes get huge as she explains that all teh insertion tools come with the tiny spiral. I need to make an appointment with the gynecologist, and to inform him that since he's already down there, he should complete a pap smear at the same time. I need to wait til 5-7 days after my next period. Too bad mine just ended...yet another month before I can be free of pregnancy worries. Erwin especially wants no more children...and I admit, the past 2 years I have known that I too, am done with diapers and stroller and late night breastfeeds. I definitely don't want an accident, no matter how much he or she would still undoubtedly be loved. I can feel my patience with my children slipping as I age. No, I don't even have the right to another child. I couldn't give her all that she deserves. I have passed my parenting limit.

We discuss a few more issues, she writes out another prescription for pills to protect us in the meantime, and then discusses with me the security of using condoms in this between period. I assure her we know all about condoms, noting that Erwin REALLY doesn't want any more kids. Condoms have a rate of failure. We probably won't be using them.

As I leave with my arm bandaged, I look into the completely full waiting room. I cringe at what they are all thinking...but as I hop back on my bike and ride home, I am thrilled. Goodbye implant. Hello Mirena. Let's see how this one works out for us...just one more month to go...and then, I can again feel fully as if I Am Woman!


Baby Birds

I sit and hear the peeping of five little birds in our birdhouse. Their peeping is continual, never breaking for a moment of rest. They are hungry, they need to be cared for, nurtured, in order to grow up and fly on their own wings off into the big, blue skies. Their peeping brings me such a sense of life. It makes me feel at peace, knowing these new lives have formed, right there under the tree in our garden. It's like a little peace of magic in te not so secret garden.

And then, as I hear the peeping gear up a notch, I look into a fluttering in the branches of the tree. There is mama bird, her beak filled with delicious bugs and worms to nurture her babies. She scuffles from branch to branch, on edge, worried about dangers that may expose her babes. She glances my direction, hops back to a higher branch, then decides it is safe and with a quick flip of her wings, she glides head first into her nest, bringing her growing babies a supply of food to help them grow. And just as quickly as she enters, I see her head at the opening of the birdhouse, her beak filled with feathers or droppings as she cleans her nest, makes the space for her babies safe, secure, and clean...and off she flies again, just as Papa bounds in to bring more food for his little ones. Usually Papa sits on the edge and reaches in, not going into the house, as his five babies reach up, beaks open wide, feathers just beginning to show on their meaty little bodies, all mouth, beady little eys. And then, after emptying his beak, he too is gone, just as mama reappears, reaping more goodness for her little ones.

I watch this go on throughout the day, and then into the evening. The parents have not a moment of rest. They are constantly on vigil, bringing home the bacon, raising their little ones to make it out in the grown up world of cats, electreic wires, cars. They never stop going, never stop working, never stop caring and nurturing and giving to their little nest of the future of the bird world.

And as I watch, I think about myself as a mother, all that I give, all that I do, all that I achieve, doing the same for my sons as this bird does for her own babies. I feed them, I clothe them, I clean for them, do their laundry, play, give cuddles, and kisses, and put bandaids on scratched knees. I hold their hands as we cross the street, I buckle their helmet under their chin, I bring a backpack of snacks wherever we go. I make picnic lunches and nourishing dinners. I wake them in the morning with a smile and tuck them in with a story, songs, and a kiss at night. I prepare their backpacks for school, write notes to teachers, pay the bills for their sporting activities, scouts, and camps. And I ride them to these activities, dropping them off and picking them up, running to get groceries in between. I shop for birthday gifts and wrap them up with a bow.

And I don't ever stop, not for a minute. I am first and foremost a mommy. All I do is with regards to my children. I am nurturing them, feeding them, socializing them, helping them on their path to make it in this big, full world. I am a bird. I will not give up until my last has left the nest. And then, and only then, can I fly, just for the pure enjoyment of the flight. Actually feel the sun on my wings, feel the breeze rustle my feathers...but now I am a mama bird. And though I have no freedom, I have a little nest of my own, and with each cleaning, each feeding, each moment of nurturing, my little brood is geting closer to fluttering on their own two wings. And that in itself gives me reason to take just one more flight, eyes taught and ready, as I pick up just one small worm to bring back to my nest.


Hooray! I AM A Sunshine!

I am happy! It is my party! Hooray, it is fine, that Jesus wants to be my friend. I'm starting all over again today, because Jesus is now in my heart. I feel happy, I feel fine! I am a sunshine! I shine!!!

And shine he did. My littlest love all dressed in his Sunday best, blue eyes sparkling, yawning throughout the service...was it boredom, was he tired, or was he completely at ease and relaxed? Whatever it was, he had mama and papa in stitches as we sat and watched him receive this most sacred blessing, the body of Christ. The service was upbeat and child-friendly, which made it fun for everyone. Jari and all his little friends...what a special day! Our little church filled, standing room only as family and friends crowded in wishing us all the best for our child and our family. Lots of kisses, lots of hands shaken, lots of smiles and laughter on the most beautiful day we have experienced this year. Jesus was in all our hearts.

The priest prayed to God, asking Him to help us raise our children to be good adults. To be a shining model for them in their lives. Thanked Him for being there in times of peace, sadness, good and bad times. He recognized the pain in being a parent, trying to do our best, not always sure what is best, not ever simple. But we need to be the sun for our little sunshines. Teach them, love them, help them along in life. And the message is clear. No matter how difficult, it is the most important job in the world. We must do our best, keep doing our best, and it will all be okay in the end.

Here are some pictures of our special day, and the party that followed for both our little children of God. It was super...friends, family, good food, warm sunshine, and fun! What more could we ask for?


Nurture Your Child

as the pearl he is. Each of these children sitting before me are so cute and wonderful, each is valued and unique, and each has grown with your parenting, to be the people they are today. But you are not yet finished. Praise these children, help them to grow further, and don't be discouraged...with little kids come little problems and with big kids come big problems, but they will still need your love and guidance to get them through. These are the words the priest spoke to us parents sitting in the audience, watching as our sons and daughters took part in their confirmation ceremony. It was a beautiful ceremony, very touching, watching these 32 children accept their role as a child of God, to live as good people and be their very best. There were many tears shed throughout the service, mine mingling with the mother sitting to my right, and flowing more heavily as I watched another mother wipe at the tears flowing down her own cheeks. But there were also many smiles and moments of laughter. I was so proud of my 'sun'...he rasied the sun above his head to help the sunflowers grow, and then he said his part in the play as eloquently as was possible. When he was blessed with a cross upon his forehead, I watched as he said "Yes, I want to be a child of God." His godparents standing with him, their hands placed upon his shoulder, his guiding light in his spiritual life. It was a perfect ceremony, my only regret that my mom wasn't there to share in its magic. The magic of Kaeden...the boy he used to be, the man he is becoming, the confused, turmoiled teen he now is.

Here are a few pictures of my son. We weren't allowed to photograph during the service, but you can still see what a handsome young man my guy is turning out to be. And don't forget to cherish and treasure your little pearls in life, nurture them, and watch them grow.