Thursday, February 28, 2013

A walk through town

The other day I was getting a bit restless at home so I dressed Micha and myself nice and warm and headed out for a walk into town.


^ ^ ^ ^

While we were strolling through the quiet streets I looked around me and started noticing how beautiful my little town actually is. 







I know that it is pretty special because whenever we have visitors over, especially from abroad, they ooh and aah over the cobblestone streets, the boats in the canal and the old city wall. 


But somehow, over time,  I've stopped noticing it.

my trusty companion



'de Librije'  my towns very own 3 Michelin star awarded restaurant





I guess that just happens when you've lived somewhere for a while. 
You just live your day-to-day life and bike around town and take the pretty sights for granted.




But once in a while, if you're lucky, you'll stop in your busy tracks and really look and see all the beauty that surrounds you.




I think my town is pretty awesome!


Love, Maria


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Thrifty business

I've been following a new (for me) blog recently, called My Edit, and the blogger is a thrifting queen! Really, she finds the coolest items! 

So last week I channeled my inner Jentine and headed out to some second hand stores and came back with:

These boots for 4 euros ( that's about 5,20 US dollars)



This comfy cable knit sweater also for 4 euros:



And this little number with the cutest detailing in the back for 3,50 euros (about 4,50 US dollars)



And now for my finds thrown together in some outfits:

Outfit # 1:




Cute detailing on the back:




Outfit # 2:



Or does it look better without the belt? I'm on the fence:



I now have two new outfits for the total of 11 euros. 

I LOVE it! 

Like a true dutch girl, cheap is my middle name and I'm not afraid to say it! :)

^ ^ ^ ^

I told B. when I came back with my loot that 
I might try to buy all my clothes at thrift stores this year. 
He looked at me as if I were crazy. 

Am I?

This might actually be a super awesome belated new years resolution!

Should I? Could I?

Tell me I can!

So, have you done any thrifting lately? Tell me!



Love, Maria



Linking up with the Pleated Poppy today













Tuesday, February 26, 2013

30 weeks

I'm ba-ack! I hope you all had a great week, bet you missed me like crazy, haha! 

My week was so good. It felt right to take a break, and really focus on my two guys. 
We visited my in-laws, I went thrifting (and got some pretty cool stuff, more on that tomorrow!) , we went for walks, we vegged at home, we watched 'Homeland', and we just relaxed. 

And now I'm all refreshed and excited to get back to blogging!


^ ^ ^ ^

Like every Tuesday it's all about Micha and his week-by-week photos.
I really enjoy doing this, it's so fun to see how much he changes every week. I'm thinking of using these photos as a theme for Micha's first birthday party, yes already thinking about that, ack!!

Maybe these posts are a little boring for some of you, but I know for a fact that my mama LOVES them, so here you go Mom!

^ ^ ^ ^

Micha,

You are 30 weeks old today, and I think you are the cutest, funniest, heaviest and lovable little boy ever!

You've started 'talking' back to us when we read you a book or talk to you, it's so cute!
Your favorite word is 'pa-pa-pa-pa', yep, you're kind of saying 'papa' already, your daddy LOVES it!
We usually hear you chatting away in your crib in the mornings before we get you, and when we finally do you greet us with the biggest smile. It melts my heart!


You finally got the hang of rolling over from your back to your tummy, but somehow you really don't like laying on your stomach. You'll need to though if you ever want to get the hang of crawling. But, then again,  you could end up being a bum scoocher instead of a crawler just like your papa and all of your aunts on his side!


I'm so glad we're doing Baby-Led Weaning, I love how easy it is, you can just eat whatever we're eating, and you love it! You are getting pretty handy at handling smaller or slippery pieces of food. Your favorite foods are: Bananas, Carrots and Rice Waffles.


You are still such a flirt, you're so generous with your smiles and that makes me so happy. It's amazing to see how such a little person can give so much joy!


I hope you'll always be someone who loves making other people happy.







I love you to bits, my Mickey-boy!



Love, Mama


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

29 weeks and a little break



I'm taking a little break from blogging this week, because my lucky teacher husband has February vacation. We're planning on some family visits and other fun things so there will be no time to blog. 
I'm going to enjoy every minute of being with the three of us all day!


I'll leave you with this 29 week old cutie!




Have a great week, and I'll see you soon!



Love, Maria


Friday, February 15, 2013

Love story - Chapter 3: Happily ever after



In celebration of Valentines Day this week, I though it would be fun to share our love story. I've split it up in three chapters. Chapter I, Chapter II and today Chapter III.


Chapter III : happily ever after


After years of chasing each other around the bush we finally were dating again in the summer I turned sixteen. We were young and in love and what we had together was very good.
And then during yet another summer, I had just turned 18 years old, I jeopardized this good thing we had going. 

^ ^ ^ ^

Ever since my family had moved from Canada to Holland when I was ten, I would once in a while spend a summer in Canada with my sisters family and my best friend, Lydia. 
I had finally saved up enough money to make another trip across the pond, and I could not wait to get on board that plane.

B. didn't have the money to come along, so I was going by myself and didn't really mind. We had been going out for quite a while now, and I was looking forward to doing something by myself for a change. I would spend the summer in Canada and he would spend his with his family camping in France. 
We promised to write each other letters, and phone each other at least once a week.

But as soon as the plane hit the tarmac in Toronto I was in another world, where there was no place for anyone or anything back at home. 

> I was going through an identity crisis at the time, and had no idea where I belonged. I didn't really like my life in Holland, apart from my boyfriend, and Canada was like 'the promised land' to me. Oh,  the complicated life of a 'Third Culture Kid' ! <

I had arranged to work as a counselor at a Christian Summer Camp for underprivileged kids and I couldn't wait. 

Being 'the girl from Europe' I got quite a bit of attention from the male counselors and because I had been dating since I was sixteen and awkward I hadn't realized that I had turned into a young woman that wasn't particularly ugly. 

I was pleasantly surprised and flattered by the attention I got, and 'forgot' the fact that I had a boyfriend at home.

In the next few weeks I got caught up in the attention and flirting from the Canadian boys and stopped calling and writing B. Whenever he called me, I would be distant and uninterested. 

I was confused, was I still in love with him, or did my flirting with others mean I should break up with him? 
And  he was equally confused and also hurt. He didn't understand why I was being so distant but kept calling  and sending me cards and emails, even though I didn't answer him back.

reading Seventeen magazine

^ ^ ^ ^

The summer came to an end, and I had to go back to Holland. I remember sitting on the plane wondering how I would tell B. about my confusion about us. And if there should even be an 'us' anymore. I was so nervous.

B. had come along with my parents to pick me up at the airport, and he was just as nervous. 

I walked through the gates and there he was, my boyfriend. And I knew straight away that I wasn't done with him. Things had changed over the summer, I had changed and made mistakes, but I had also matured.

^ ^ ^ ^

It took some time for us to get used to each other again, but we did and when we did our relationship was better, our bond tighter and our love stronger than what it had been before.


It was as if this summer of confusion was necessary for us to move from an adolescent relationship to a more mature one.  

But that doesn't take away the fact that I cringe every time I think about what I put B. through that summer. I hate that I hurt him and confused him, and I still feel so sorry about that.

^ ^ ^ ^

Two years later on a February night B. proposed to me and the following August we tied the knot.

We were both poor students and had no money, but what we wanted was a marriage, the wedding didn't matter! 

And still, our wedding was the most beautiful one I have ever experienced. It was small and simple, filled with love and with friends and family around us. My beautiful dress was sewn by my mom and the flowers were arranged by B.'s grandma. We had a barbecue in my parents back yard and danced under the stars until our feet were sore and the lawn was ruined.


wedding bbq


wedding fun



And since that day, through all the good times, but also through the hardships, our love has grown stronger and more beautiful than we could have ever it imagined it to be. 

I thank God everyday for my man!


^ ^ ^ ^

This is our love story so far, to be continued!


Love,  Maria




Missed the first two chapters? 
Here they are:



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love story - Chapter 2: Together again



In celebration of Valentines Day this week (today!) I thought it would be fun to share our love story.
It's pretty long so I've split it up in three chapters. Chapter I yesterday, II today and III tomorrow.






                                            ^ ^ ^ ^


                                       Chapter II: Together again



Two summers had passed since we first met, dated and broken up, and now I had finally accepted that I was still in love with him.
But I had led him on and then rejected him time after time and it would be more than logical that he was done with me. 

He wasn't.

                                            ^ ^ ^ ^

It was the end of the summer holidays and a mutual friend of ours was celebrating her birthday. We were friends again, but both secretly hoping it would someday become more than that, and decided to go together.


                                            ^ ^ ^ ^


A few weeks prior we had been talking after bible study and had asked me, for the third time, if there was any chance we could hook up again. 
I was just starting to realize my feelings for him and was pretty confused about the whole situation and I replied: 'maybe, but maybe not'. 
Isn't that horrible? Make up your mind, Maria!

                                            ^ ^ ^ ^


On our way to the party we got lost and had so much fun that by time we arrived at the party we were full on flirting.
After a few drinks, beer for him and wine for me, ( we live in Holland remember, drinking alcohol is legal for sixteen-year-olds, not sure how smart that is... ) we headed inside and found a couch to sit on.
There B. reminded me of the conversation we had had that evening after bible study and asked me how I thought about 'us' now. 
I probably said something he liked because the next thing I knew he asked if he could kiss me. 

Yes! Yes, that was what I wanted, and feeling brave as ever (and maybe because of the wine) I leaned over and kissed him, and told him that I loved him.




                                             ^ ^ ^ ^

Over the next few months we spent every single waking hour together. When we weren't at home, at work or at school we were with each other.
The months turned into years and we were going strong. Not only were we in love, but we were each others best friends. 

What we had was good, really, really good.


source


                                                    


And then during another summer, almost two years later, I did a very stupid thing that would almost be the end of 'us'....


                                                 
                                              ^ ^ ^ ^

Stay tuned! Tomorrow Chapter 3: our 'happily ever after'




Happy Valentines Day, 

hope you get to spend it with those you love!



                                                Love, Maria



                        





Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love story - Chapter I: The beginning

In celebration of Valentines day tomorrow I thought it would be fun to share our love story.

It's pretty long so I'm splitting it up in three chapters. Chapter I today, II tomorrow and III on Friday


^ ^ ^ ^

Chapter I : The beginning

It was the summer of 1999, I had just turned fourteen and my family had moved from a small town to the big city.

Knowing nobody in the city, my sister and I happily accepted an invitation from the church youth group to hang out in a nearby park and get to know some kids our age.

me at fourteen

And that's when I saw him, a boy with beautiful blue eyes, dark hair, a really good tan and big but slender hands( yep, that's what I wrote in my diary that evening...). 

The boy I would eventually end up marrying.

He had a somewhat awkward and nerdy vibe but that didn't stop my fourteen year old, boy crazy, self to fall head-over-heels for him right then and there. 

By the end of the summer we had gone on a few dates and were calling each other 'boyfriend' and 'girlfriend'. 


happy and awkward




cute little kids


^ ^ ^ ^
And then school started again. 

We biked there together whenever we could. We held hands and stole kisses on benches in the park on our way to school, so adorably innocent. 

At school things were different, I had just made new friends and they did not approve of my geeky boyfriend. They would laugh at him and his 'fashion sense' (in their defense  he was still wearing clothes his mother picked out, so yeah, he wasn't voted best dressed ), and pressured me not to hang out with him.
And he was to shy to even speak to me at school. 

With all the peer pressure I finally caved and broke up with him, I told him that I found our relationship to much of a 'hello-goodbye' relationship, meaning that I thought we didn't spend enough time together. 

And just like that I broke his poor heart.

My mother-in-law still, to this day, talks about it and tells me how deeply hurt he was. And it makes me feel guilty all over again... typical...

^ ^ ^ ^

Years passed, in which I dated and kissed and obsessed over one boy after the other. But I always kept a soft spot for that dark haired, blue eyed boy.  

And he could not forget me either, he had some crushes and little flings in between, but he didn't date or kiss another girl in all of those years. 

Twice he even asked me to be his girlfriend again, after I had probably led him on, 
and twice I declined. 

I was evil.

^ ^ ^ ^

And then two years after that summer we had first met, I finally accepted that I was still in love with him. 

But was he still waiting?

^ ^ ^ ^


Stay tuned!Tomorrow Chapter II.


Love, Maria


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

28 weeks


Micha, 

At 28 weeks you:

- can finally roll from your back to your belly

- have two teeth (front bottom)

- had a little breast feeding strike for a day

- also had a pooping strike for 3 days, and slept horribly because of it (and thus so did we)

- learned a new game called 'throw everything off my play mat', 
at first I thought you did by accident 
but papa realized that you we're really methodically throwing everything off

- are still such a happy little guy

- have a papa and mama who are so obsessed by you :)






Love you so much!

Mama


Friday, February 8, 2013

Lately loving...

Lately I'm loving...




- This book:

Again, just like my last book love an amazing and extraordinary story!


^ ^ ^ ^

- This music



This was actually a tip from Mackenzie, and we love it!! It's folk-ish and really sweet and fun, it makes listening to songs for kids more than okay!


^ ^ ^ ^


-This shirt for Micha from Zara (on my wish list :) )


Actually any of their little boy's clothing will do, or womens clothing for that matter. 
Rumor has it that Zara is coming to my town, I'm so excited!



^ ^ ^ ^


- These blogs:







^ ^ ^ ^



- This show:


We just started watching season 1 and it's so good! I love Claire Danes in it, she's such a good actor!
It is a must-see!




^ ^ ^ ^



- And of course this baby:


Who now has two little teeth. And no, it's not been fun! But his cute looks totally make up for the drama :)




Have a great weekend!




Love,  Maria

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Papa and Mama

Today I want to highlight my parents.

 I've mentioned it before on the blog, they live in Benin, Africa, and are there to help out the local churches with advice, training and education.

the wild things in Benin

They've been there for over a year now, luckily with a few visits to Holland in between, and they've done some really good work, but it hasn't been all fun and adventure. 
They've been through some difficult and scary moments
Moments that when I heard about them all I wanted was for them to come home. 

And of course they miss their children and grandchildren so much. 
Especially when hard things happen Africa is so far away! 
And sometimes it makes them feel like they shouldn't be there, but here with us, their children.

But I believe that they're there for a purpose. That God has placed them in Benin because he has great plans for them! 
And that doesn't mean that they should stay there no matter what, even if their hearts tell them to go back. No, it means that their time in Benin how ever long or short it will be will have meaning and will matter.

And that belief only gets stronger when I read my parents blogs about their life in Benin. 
My moms blog is in Dutch (which most of you probably don't understand),
but my dad blogs in English and I promise you it is well worth the read.

I'm just so proud of what they're doing and I love them so very much! 
And I know that God is there, right beside them, 
to help them and to give them what they need to do this special work. 

Will you pray along with me for my parents?

Love, Maria


me and my dad doing what we love, cooking and baking



my mom meeting Micha for the first time


Micha's first visit to my parents house here in Holland





Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday

I really enjoyed participating in the Mama Fashion link-up last week
It was so much fun to connect with all those other mama's out there, 
I even made some blog friends ( hi! ). 

But the part I loved best was the inspiration these other mama's gave me. 

Since becoming a mama I've been struggling a bit with what to wear 
because of some changes to my body due to growing a human in my belly for nine months and a breastfeeding baby.

I'm a bit self-conscious of my 'jelly belly' as I like to call it. 
There's a bit too much left-over skin for my liking. 
So tight fitting shirts are out of the picture. 

And because a certain little monster is eating me alive (a.k.a. nursing) 
I've lost so much weight that I don't fit into my pre-pregnancy pants anymore, 
so I've needed to purchase new ones on a hardly existing budget.

I used to love wearing dresses, and I have quite a few, 
but they don't really go well with nursing. 
Pulling up your dress in public is only acceptable in kindergarten, yes?

As you see I've been kind of stumped in the fashion dept. lately 
and it was so helpful to see how other mama's dress and what their must-have pieces are. 



So I thought it would be fun to participate with an other fashion link up, 
What I Wore Wednesday, to be inspired and maybe even inspire others too! 
I know I'm supposed to have photo's of all the outfits I wore in the last week, 
but I didn't have time to do so. So one outfit it is!

^ ^ ^ ^

(Sorry for the awkward photos and the gross mirror...I need to clean it, I know!)



Lately my favorite pieces are flowy shirts. They hide the lovely muffin top perfectly! 

I have a few different ones, but this one is my favorite. 

 It has polka dots, hello!! 




And it's a fun twist on a button down shirt, with buttons on the back instead of on the front.








I think the little guy approves :)



So, how are you dealing with getting dressed since becoming a mama?
Any advice?


Love, Maria




Linking up with the Pleated Poppy today



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

27 weeks

Micha,

This morning we went for a walk into town, 
I carried you in the Beco because you love being high up and part of everything.

my lovely little town

All of a sudden we found ourselves in the middle of a hail storm.

Little pellets of ice fell on our heads. 

We quickly found shelter in a sweet little coffee place.

I ordered a cappuccino and you, my dear, found yourself in the middle of a group of cooing fans.

You're little face lit up and you started to work the crowd like only you can.

Smiling and giggling and batting your long eyelashes, quite the charmer!


^ ^ ^ ^

I love that so much about you, Micha. Everywhere we go you manage to get a smile out of everyone that lays eyes on you. 

You love interacting with others and are so generous with your smiles. 

People are always commenting on how happy you are and how beautiful and bright your eyes are, and it makes me so thankful to be your mama!

You are my little sunshine baby! 

Happy 27 weeks!

but sometimes you can look very serious as well!




Love, Mama

Friday, February 1, 2013

His name

- this week it's all about Micha, who's 6 months old, hurray! -

I've always seen myself as a girls mama. 
Whenever I imagined life with a baby it would be with a little girl. 
She'd have my blue eyes and fair skin and her papa's dark brown, almost black, hair. 
I would dress her up in the cutest little dresses. 
Her name would be beautiful and feminine and sophisticated. 
I couldn't wait for her to happen.

We waited and prayed and went to hospitals and clinics for almost four years, and then, on a November day in 2011, it finally happened. We were expecting a baby.

But from the very first moment I had a feeling, you can call it a mothers instinct or just a guess, but I knew with my whole being that I wasn't carrying a baby girl.

This baby would not be a daughter but our son, and I was so excited.
All the dreams of pink and ruffles were swept aside and in their place came thoughts and visions of our son.

And his name would be Micha.

We agreed on that almost instantly. 
It was like we didn't even have a choice, 
that was his name, and that's what we would call him.

His name means 'Who is like God?' And it is so right and fitting for our situation. 

The doctors and specialists could only do so much to help us conceive a child, and we are so grateful for their knowledge and help, but they couldn't give us life. 

Only God could give us what we longed for, and he did. There is none like Him!


We experienced first hand how great and powerful our God is.


My prayer for Micha is that he may experience it in his life as well. I pray that his name will not only be just that, a name, but will be a constant reminder to him and to us that he has a great God who loves him so much!




And that little girl? She's so very welcome, if and whenever she decides to come. And her name will have a great meaning as well. I'm sure of that!



Love, Maria


p.s. If you have kids, what are their names? Do they have a special meaning?



Linking up with Casey