Monday, September 30, 2013

fourteen months old




Dear Micha,

I just realized that having a birthday on the 31st, like you do, makes it hard to count your months exactly.
But give or take a day or two you are now fourteen months old.

I like fourteen months old.

You are learning so many new words lately, your favorite words are 'p' or 'b' words, like 'papa' or 'bat' for water. 
When we go the playground ('speeltuin' in dutch) you say 'pee- ta' and you know quite a few animal sounds. 
You wave and say 'da-da' (bye-bye in dutch is 'dag-dag'), our elderly neighbors can't get enough!
It's so much fun to see you learn and understand different words.

You're walking like a pro, and you love to climb. You've climbed the stairs a few times before we smartened up and installed a baby gate. 
Luckily for us you are a great climber and no accidents happened. 

Your favorite thing to do is playing at the playground. 
Especially when there are other kids, you just love interacting and playing with them. 
It doesn't upset or faze you at all if you're pushed down or bumped into by older kids. 
You love going down the slide, backwards, on your belly or the right way, you're a fearless little dude.

You've been sick for the first time in ages a little while ago and while I hated that you weren't feeling well, I loved all extra cuddles, since you're usually not very cuddly.
But ever since you've been sick, you're also not sleeping like we would like.
You have the habit of waking up crying and upset just an hour after we go to bed and it's not as easy to calm you down as it used to be. Hopefully it's just a phase.

You still love to eat and you're even learning how to eat with a spoon and a fork. 
I'm so proud of you. 
Your papa and I are so glad we chose to go with the baby led weaning method, eating has never been an issue.
You still love your broccoli and any pasta dish. 
You're kind of on the fence with tomatoes and you don't like avocados anymore.

You're still crazy about cars and buses and trucks, such a typical boy, I love it!

You love 'reading' books and being read to. Quite the little bookworm. 

Your personality is my favorite part about you. 
You're such a happy little boy and you have a smile ready for anyone that gives you attention. 
You love chatting with people and bring so much cheer with your loud little voice. 
You're a little bit cheeky and you never sit still.
You're adventurous and curious and always trying to grab things you're not allowed to. 
You know what you want and if you don't get it, you'll let me know. 
I love that you feel and show your emotions well. It reminds me of myself. 
You and me are like that little girl with the little curl.
'There was a little girl, 
who had a little curl, 
right in the middle of her forehead, 
and when she was good, 
she was very, very good, 
and when she was bad, she was horrid.'

Except for the fact that I never find you 'horrid', just maybe a handful sometimes. :) 

Micha, I think you are the smartest, most handsome and most adorable little boy this world has ever known.(No, not biased at all ;) )
You are an answer to so many prayers.

Love you so much, little buddy!

Love, Mama



Friday, September 27, 2013

happy weekend!


B. is home early from work, my brother and his family are coming over, 
so I'm just popping in to wish you all a great weekend!

But not before I leave you with a photo of this little stinker, I am in love with his eyes!
Don't mind the boogers... haha!


Love, Maria

Thursday, September 26, 2013

coffee shops and such

Today's blogtember assignment was to go to a coffee shop, order a favorite drink and write about what makes me happy and what makes me sad.

source


Well, that didn't happen... 
First of all, I have a child sleeping upstairs, and I don't think it would be a great idea to leave him alone. 
Secondly, I work at an espresso bar and will be heading there this evening for a shift, 
that's enough coffee for one day me thinks.

But I can tell you this:
Did you know that in Holland a coffee shop is something totally different than a coffee shop in the USA or Canada? I bet you could get coffee at these places if you really wanted to, but the main product at the dutch coffee shops is cannabis and other 'soft' drugs. Yeah.
I have no idea why they're called coffee shops, but if you're ever travelling to Holland now you know that a 'coffee shop' is not a place to get coffee.
Instead look for an espresso bar or a café, that's where you want to be if you're looking for a cup of joe.

You're welcome.

Love, Maria




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

like a three-year-old with scissors

Only three more days left of Blogtember, wow I can't believe I've made it so far!
Today's topic is to write about a mistake I've made.


Okay, this is going to be embarrassing...

Like a three-year-old with scissors I recently attempted to cut my own bangs. 
I. did.
And the result was probably worse than a three-year-old's attempt. 
Seriously.
Call it a moment of post-baby (why, yes, a year later) craziness or just plain stupidity, I don't know.
I was just sick and tired of the the post-baby hair regrowth and thought to myself :
'It can't possibly look worse than it looks now'.
So I stood in front of the mirror, grabbed a pair of scissors, 
told B. to stop me, which of course he did (oh, why didn't I listen), and just snipped away.

The moment I made that point of no return cut I knew I had made theee biggest mistake.
It was way to short, words I should not repeat on this blog were uttered and maybe a tear or two were shed.

So the last few weeks I've been wearing those hideous bangs pulled back with bobby pins or a headband and praying that my hair will grow back with miraculous speed. 
And thank goodness they're almost long enough for me to finally dare to show my face at my hairdressers so that she can work some wonders and make me look good again.

I'm thinking something like this:

source

That could work, no?

Please tell me I'm not the only one to make such an epic mistake?

Love, Maria


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

apples and eggs - our weekend

This weekend we were lucky enough to spend some time with my parents before they leave for Africa one last time. 
They'll be back in November for good. Yay!

high five!

gorgeous, delicious apples


they say we look alike, I agree!

chickie, chickie!



my little family
We picked apples from their apple trees, 
said hello to the chickens, 
swung on the swings, 
ate good food, 
drank wine in front of the fire place, 
had a glorious bath (just me, not all of us together, ha!) 
and just enjoyed each others company.

I'm so glad they'll be living in Holland again soon, 
I'm so grateful Micha will grow up with his Opa and Oma close by.

This is my favorite kind of weekend.

How was yours?

Love, Maria

Friday, September 20, 2013

comfort

Today's Blogtember prompt: React to this term: comfort

If you were to see the things I've been pinning lately, you'd know I am on a search for all things comforting.
Whether it's homemade bread, comfort food or a comfy sweater for me and my boy, you name it, I'll pin it.

1,2,3,4,5,6

Fall is really coming around the corner in this part of the world. 
The days are getting shorter, the temperatures are getting colder and I find myself craving hot tea and all things cinnamon.

But fall is a funny one though, one moment it feels like it's practically winter and then all of a sudden you're in the middle of an Indian summer like we'll be having this weekend. 
Oh well, I guess the warm sweaters will have to wait.

Happy weekend!

Love, Maria

Thursday, September 19, 2013

a sick baby and the best donuts (ever)

Warning, whining up ahead.

This week has been such a doozy and it's not even over yet. 

Micha is sick and miserable, and nobody is getting enough z's.
It started over the weekend with a cold and a very sad and quiet baby, 
then he had a fever and on Tuesday we were up almost all night with wheezing, 
coughing and scared little boy. 
Turns out he has a mild case of croup.
That is some scary stuff if you don't know what your dealing with.

I'm usually the calm one when it comes to Micha's health, but that night I was really worried.
The wheezing and coughing was pretty scary and I really had to do my best at keeping calm.
We called the hospital and they were able to reassure us and gave us some tips how to handle croup. Apparently croup (the non-severe kind) is very common and looks scarier than it is.
The most important thing is to stay calm for the sake of your child, panic only worsens the problem. 
Another helpful tip was to sit in the bathroom with the hot shower running to create a steamy environment which opens up the air ways.
Last night was a lot better, but still with quite a lot of waking up and midnight cuddles. 

Hopefully the little guy will feel better soon, it's no fun at all to see him so miserable and not himself. 
And I wouldn't mind to get some more sleep thank you very much.

//

In the meantime I'll be eating these:

recipe found here



Mmm... pumpkin-y, spicy, sugary goodness...

They are so good, they make this doozy of a week a little less doozy-ish.



How has your week been so far? Hopefully a bit better then ours!

Love, Maria



Wednesday, September 18, 2013

life lately according to my instagram

Today's Blogtember prompt: only photos



Okay, and just a feeeew words...

// my favorite snack lately // outdoor church service // tiny old man slippers // 
// peace // anniversary flowers // breakfast one morning // 
// playground fun // my new favorite tea // breakfast in the morning sun //

check out my instagram


Love, Maria




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day 17 of the Blogtember blog challenge : a memory you would love to relive

photography

From the moment I could feel the little flutters in my stomach at twenty weeks I felt I could breathe again.
During my pregnancy I had been feeling so insecure and afraid something would go wrong and those wonderful, tiny movements would set my mind at ease the second I felt them.
They were constant little reminders that everything was okay. 
And they were most beautiful. 

But those movements (or the lack of them) could paralyze me too.
If I hadn't felt movement for a while I would be in panic mode until I felt them again. 
I was so full of fear.
Looking back I wish I could have enjoyed those flips and flutters and nudges more,
and not let fear rule me.
I wish I could have trusted God more.
I hope that if I ever get to relive those moments, 
with a new baby fluttering away, I'll trust more and fear less.

Love, Maria



Friday, September 13, 2013

this is me

Blogtember, Friday, September 13: A self portrait




Okay, so technically this isn't a self portrait. 
It's a (very) close up of my face that my sweet husband made a little while ago.

If you knew me well, you would know that this photo is completely outside of my comfort zone.
You would know that I absolutely hate having my picture taken, especially if I'm not 'ready' for it. 
(ready as in: with make-up on, my hair done, a practiced smile). 
And you would know that I never like looking at myself on photos. 
I always find something wrong with the picture.

But somehow I actually really love this photo. 
This is me, with no make-up, just out of bed, not 'ready' for a photo, 
surprised by my husband who quickly snapped this photo.
I could pick out all the things I don't like, like my blotchy skin,
the scar on the right side of my mouth or my crooked-ish nose, 
but somehow I don't mind them in this image.

It feels like my husband really captured me, like I am, 
no more, no less.

So, yes, this is me. A 'self portait'.

Happy Friday!

Love, Maria

Thursday, September 12, 2013

On blogging and it's influence on me


Day 8 Blogtember topic: Discuss ways that blogging or social media has changed you.



Oh, blogging...

I feel that the blogging world has changed so much since I started reading blogs a few years ago, it's become so much more commercial and more about branding and follower statistics. 
Some blogs that I loved to read because of the authenticity seem like they've turned into one big advertisement, and it's easy to feel pressured into that way of blogging. 
And sometimes it makes me feel like quitting, because I don't want to have such a blog.

But then I get the sweetest comment on a post I've written or I read a beautiful article a fellow blogger has posted and I realize there are so many positives to blogging as well. 
It can be so inspirational and connecting and encouraging and sometimes it gets me out of my comfort zone.

This is what I wrote in my very first post about why I blog:
"I want to remember the little things, his first smiles and giggles and temper tantrums.

I want to be able to look back in a few years and know what was going on in our lives right now and how our God has blessed us.

I want Micha to be able to stumble upon my blog one day and read about our first years together and know that we loved him from the start and always will!"

My reason to start blogging was to document our lives as a new family, and I'm so happy I've kept up so far.
But in the last year this blog has become more than just an online journal.
It's been a way for me to stay creative with my writing and with life in general. 
It's been a way to stay connected with family and friends and it's given me new friends. 
It's opened me to new possibilities and has been an outlet for my thoughts.
It's helped me to see the little things in life.

It's influenced me in more ways than I thought possible.

How has blogging influenced you?

Love, Maria


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

window shopping

For day 7 of Blogtember we were asked to share some of our favorite online shops.
I must admit I don't do much online shopping, for one reason, because I like to feel, smell, flip around items I buy and that just doesn't work online, and secondly I don't have the largest budget to go buying 'all the stuff'.

But I absolutely love window shopping online, especially on Etsy

These are some of my favorites:

Some of the pieces at Sincerely Delightful are definitely on my wish list. I just love the tiny initial bracelet and that dragonfly necklace is so adorable.


^ ^ ^ ^

I really hope that when/if baby # 2 ever arrives we'll have a bit more money to spend, because I want to purchase everything at Iviebaby. I just love the bright colors and fun patterns she uses.



^ ^ ^ ^

I am in love with everything Katie Daisy, the artist behind The Wheatfield, creates. I'm drawn to her whimsical illustrations and beautiful vivid colors and wish I could decorate every single empty wall in my home with one of her prints.


^ ^ ^ ^

These kitchen utensils at LivingEmbellished are so fun and are such a cute way of adding a pop of color to your kitchen. I love the idea of dipping the ends of wooden spoons in paint and can definitely see myself diy-ing something like this.



I can't wait to see your picks!

Love, Maria

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

i am his mama

Today's prompt on Blogtember is:

Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn.

 

There have been many moments when my life as I knew it took a turn:
moving across countries and to different continents, 
marrying my best friend, 
quitting teachers college to study Journalism and deciding that wasn't what I wanted either, 
the day we found out we would need fertility treatments to fulfill our dream of becoming parents,
a positive pregnancy test,
a miscarriage,
and that second positive pregnancy test.

All moments that changed my life and made me the person I am today.

But the most life changing moment has got to be the birth of our son.

Nothing could prepare me for the all consuming love I would feel for this little man, 
or for the fear of losing him, 
for the joy when he wakes up in the morning, because that means I can hug him again, 
for the the heart bursting pride I feel when I see my husband play with our son,
for the gratefulness I feel that I am his mama.

From the moment he was born my life as I knew it had changed, it took a turn for the better and changed it for good.

Love, Maria

Friday, September 6, 2013

five things for friday

one.

Micha is sĂșch a boy. He is obsessed with cars and buses and loud machines. So imagine his excitement when we woke up to this the other day:




He was in heaven, he kept pointing and exclaiming. It was so cute. 
Less cute was all the noise that comes with machines like this.
The roof of our apartment building was being fixed and, boy, am I glad they're done!

two.

Remember when I posted a photo of Micha every week? All fifty-two weeks of his first year.
For this year I was planning to do monthly photo's, no biggie right, after doing weekly ones for a year?
Uhm, well, I guess doing things on a weekly basis helps you to keep up. 
So here is Micha's 13 month photo about a week over due:



three.


I found four of these chairs at the thrift store last week for thirty euros. 
Thirty euros for the whole set to be exact. 
I was so excited to find them as I've been looking for these exact chairs for a while now. 
I can't believe my luck! I'm planning on painting them white and adding a fun accent like this:

source


but in these colors:

source
I can't wait to show you the results!


four.

this post on marriage is so good. 

five.

A new blog I discovered and one of their recipes I'm making this weekend:

source



Happy Weekend!

Love, Maria




Thursday, September 5, 2013

letting go



Day 3 of Blogtember.

Today's prompt is:  Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered.

source

 
I've always been pretty sensitive person with a high sense of empathy for others. 
I'm usually well aware of others and their feelings. 
I see that as a positive trait. It is something that adds to my personality and makes me who I am.
But sometimes that trait can be a burden and turn into something negative.

A few years ago I had a few counseling sessions with psychologist, 
I was going through a difficult time in my life, including our infertility struggles and I just needed someone professional to talk too. 
It was quite a step to seek help but I'm so glad I did, and would recommend it to anyone going through issues, small or big. *first piece of advice right there :) 

One of the most important things I learned about myself during our talks was that I tend to think for others. 
'He'll be disappointed in me' 
'They'll think I'm a failure because I didn't finish university' 
'She has so many friends, she doesn't need me'.  

Those were thoughts I had on a daily basis, and they were lies I was telling myself.
Lies to protect myself, excuses for not letting myself to be vulnerable, thoughts that were crippling me and holding me back.

The advice my counselor gave me was so simple. 
Whenever I found myself thinking for others I needed to turn the situation around and ask myself: 
'Would I be disappointed in someone if they were in my shoes?' 
'Would I think someone is a failure because they didn't finish university' 
'Would I say no to a friend?' 
And the answer would always be 'no'. 
And even if someone would react like I feared, that would be something out of my control. 
That would be their issue, not mine.

I realized that I needed to let go of  those crippling thoughts and just live my life unafraid of vulnerability and not letting the fear of rejection (because that was what is was) hold me back. 

Because life is to short to live in fear.


What piece of advice have you always remembered?


Love, Maria









Wednesday, September 4, 2013

a dream

This month I'm participating with Jenni's Blogtember. It's the perfect way to challenge myself to write about topics I normally wouldn't write about and a fun way to meet  other bloggers.
 
Today's prompt was : 

If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do?

source


I didn't have to think hard about this question. Not at all. 
Yes, I'd love to travel and visit my family and friends across the various ponds, 
but if I really was allowed to do anything in the world, just for me, 
I would would pack my bags, take a train to Paris and learn to be a pastry chef.

Yep, that would be it.

There's just something magical about baking and creating something out of a few ingredients. 
I find serenity in measuring out flour and sugar, chopping chocolate and folding in whipped egg whites.

I would love to become better at something I love to do.

I'm curious, what would you do, I you had the choice?

Love, Maria

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

a part of me

Today marks the start of Blogtember, a challenge to blog every weekday in September with the help of topics to write about. 
Everyone can join along, it will be fun!  Here are the topics and rules.

^ ^ ^ ^

Today's topic is: describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are.

Oma, around 1940-ish?

note: this is my version of her story, some facts may have occurred a bit differently than described.

My Oma, dads mother, was a strong woman with a remarkable story. 
She is an example of strong faith, making the best of what life hands to you and not giving up.

As an unmarried young woman in the late 1940's my Oma became pregnant. It was a scandal in the Dutch town of those days and her outraged family sent her to live with an aunt in England, where she learned to type and speak English, not knowing that it would come in handy in the years to come.

When the dust had settled she came back to Holland with her baby son where she met a man with five children who had lost his wife to an illness. 
They married and with that she became a respectable woman again and he had a mother for his motherless children, it was the perfect solution. A new life for her began.

Her new husband, my Opa, came from a family of fishermen, but in the early 1950's work was scarce and stories of new countries with many possibilities were surfacing. 
Like many Dutch families in those days, my Oma and her new family sold their belongings and made the voyage to Australia to seek a new life and better opportunities.

The start in their new country was rough. But after a few challenging years, in which they found their footing, life was good. 
Their big family grew bigger with more children, including my dad, they opened their very own grocery store, and my Oma was a useful asset between the Dutch community and the Australians with her typing skills and knowledge of the English language.

But then disaster struck. When my dad was nine years old, his dad, my Opa died. 
My Oma was left behind with his five children, six of hers (her first son and the five children Opa and Oma had together) and a grocery store.

But she didn't give up. She took care of her children and managed the grocery store and like she had learned from her life she made the best out of a bad situation.

Then one day while reading a church bulletin for the Dutch community she came across a story of a widower with children living in Canada. She wrote him a letter and they continued a correspondence. 
Through the letters they grew fond of each other and decided to get married.

And once again my Oma left an old life behind to start new one in a new country with a new husband and all of their children. 

She and my step-Opa added two children to their already large family, money was tight, 
but my Oma made do with what she had. 
She sewed clothing, baked her own bread, made her own jam (Oh, I remember that jam) and made sure her children were healthy and happy. And there was always room for an extra mouth at the table. 
My mom told me that when she first visited their house as my dads girlfriend that she thought she'd landed in a real life Laura Ingalls Wilder story. 

^ ^ ^ ^

My Oma died a few years ago, and in her last years she was suffering from Parkinson's' disease, the strong woman that she was, had faded a bit. 
She left ( I think) 19 children, step- and her own, and countless grand- and great-grandchildren behind. 
But more importantly she left behind her feisty spirit, her no nonsense attitude and her great example of trusting God and making the best of life. 

She wasn't perfect, my Oma, she could be tough, just ask my dad, but she was a woman with story, a woman who set a great example for her children and her childrens' children. 
A great example for me.
I'm grateful that she is a part of what makes me who I am.


Love, Maria