Saturday, August 30

On My Shoulders

Sunshine.


my own game
click here for the rules.



Can't talk now. I am out in it.
Tell me, please, what are you doing today?




1. Goofball

2. Flower Child

3. Kate Forsey

Powered by... Mister Linky's Magical Widgets.

Friday, August 29

And So It Goes


Vacation complete
I am out of my pj's
It is time for work.

I have combed my hair
And even put on make up
(But no shoes just yet)

Next week will be kids
And all that random chaos
A new year of school!

***********

Tuesday, August 26

Steppin' in It

Typically Dutch Tuesday
for

Monday, August 25

Falling on my Head

Notorious for its low grey skies, heavy cloud cover and relentless rain, The Netherlands seems set to best its own record for rainfall this summer. I tend to anthropomorphize everything in life and in my mind, THE NETHERLANDS is a big busty blond woman who wears too much lipstick and who has a propensity for chatting with her best friend MOTHER NATURE. The two of them get to gossiping and forget to turn off the damn flood gates of heaven and let the sunshine through to the lowlands every once in awhile.

I am a little bitter that they are spending so much time together, yes.

With the holiday week in Croatia under our belts I was all set to return home to afternoon tanning reading in the garden and lots of evening chats with neighbors under clear night skies.

Clearly, I forgot where I live.

Instead of the sun, we've had rain. And lots of it. I admit I am no scientist and have no metering device for this summer's rainfall but I am pretty sure the measure would be a SUPER LARGE number, like maybe GAJILLIONS of raindrops, which no matter how you look at it is certainly MORE than I wished for.

But THE NETHERLANDS and MOTHER NATURE aren't taking my calls.

My google search tells me that on average this country receives over 800 mm of yearly rainfall. I converted that to inches (for those of us who think archaically) and it read 30 1/2. I will help put that in perspective for all of us: it means A LOT.
Winter time is the most obvious receiver of rainfall. And the spring. Also, fall tends to see an awful lot of the wet stuff from the skies. But summer? Summer is supposed to be sacred. Dry and sacred. And sunny.

When I sat down to write this post I was certain there would be a point to it by the time I reached the end. However, whatever it might have been is eluding me now. I think we can chalk this one up to a massive wingeing on my part. You see, the sheets and towels on the outside line have stayed damp for days, friends; my youngest has his winter cough already welling up in his chest; the short sleeve shirts and capri length jeans haven't seen the light of day this season (I do insist though on wearing my flip-flops--it seems a crime to have summer without them). Though the rain barrel is full my glass appears to be half-empty, folks.

Fill it up for me, won't you?

*****************************
ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE!
SQUEAK AND YOU SHALL GET GREASE!
UPDATE: Here's a little something to cheer me
(and give you something better to read)
To my surprise and great honor
Can you stop by there too and say something?
Seriously, it would mean so much.
A big thank you to Bloggers Annex
and a big thank you to you, my readers and friends.

Friday, August 22

Nothin' But Net


For years I have tried
To land bottle in basket
Today: VICTORY!

Recall with me the attempts and the failures in this lifelong quest.


And then, let's hear the applause.



More haiku can be found today =>
here.

Thursday, August 21

Headlines

Haiku Junkie Gains Honor
Jenn in Holland quips "Oops! I did it again"

Jenn can't seem to get enough of the haiku madness when it rolls around over at My Mommy's Place and for days, weeks, months (is it only minutes?) she finds herself drumming her fingers against her thigh as she counts out the 5-7-5 syllable rhythm. All that nervous twitching paid off this week as Jenn was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Haiku Buckaroo contest. And folks, you know what that means. Jenn gets more bling for her blog.



Revisiting Emergency Room
Andrew quips: "Oops! I did it again"

Because 5-year old Andrew felt that one trip to the Spoedig Erste Hulp Centre whilst his family was away was simply not enough, he and mother Jennifer were found walking through the doors of the urgent care center again late yesterday afternoon. With concussion investigation thoroughly completed, Andrew was released to go home with the strict instructions for his mother to wake him every two hours through the night. We are happy to report that for all purposes Andrew seems to be back to his rambunctious, active self with no obvious repercussions from the fall. His mother on the other hand, is still a bit shaky.


Games People Play
You take it or you leave it.


Considering that Jenn in Holland is a little slow on the uptake with most things in life, including the action in the blogosphere, she is only just now realizing there is a HAIKU HAPPENING every Friday in the neighborhood. It's called Haiku Friday and it is hosted by Christina from A Mommy Story. Jenn considers this fair warning to all her readers that "there will be haiku here". Taking into account that she already hosts and plays Singular Saturday and participates in Wordless Wednesday (usually on a Tuesday) the words on her blog are becoming precious and few. Readers may rejoice in the new found succinct thought rather than the regularly scheduled babbling.


Last Sleep
The countdown is on.

The traveling clan across the ocean will soon board an airplane bound for Holland. Andrew and mother are feverishly working to make things ready for the return of Don, Ian and Emma to their home. Preparations include kicking Andrew out of Daddy's side of the bed and, *ahem*, vacuuming up the cookie crumbs left over from breakfast in front of the TV. In discussion late this afternoon that only one sleep remained before brother, sister, and Dad returned, Andrew was seen to clasp his hands to his heart and exclaim "Oh,I think that really makes me so happy!". This writer concurs.


Signing off as your ever faithful reporter of all things silly,
Jenn

Monday, August 18

Letters from Home

Sketchy background details before the meat emotion of this post:

1. "M" and I met nearly 15 years ago when I was hugely pregnant with Ian.
2. Immediately after meeting her, I went into pre-term labor and was put on bed rest for 6 weeks.
3. Melissa did all my laundry, loaned me her cordless phone, brought me books to read, visited me daily and made my lunches for that period. She also cleaned behind my refrigerator when we moved from one side of our duplex rental to the other. We've been bonded ever since.
4. We had our second babies, our daughters, within 4 months of each other. I got to be there for the birth of hers. It was an outstanding opportunity and an amazing experience to share.
5. She and her children live in our house in Arizona. I miss her everyday.

These are her emails to me this week, as she has been the host to my traveling family:


I can't stop staring. I can't stop staring. I can't stop staring.

These young adults in my house are so fun to watch, and I really can't stop staring. It's especially surreal to see John and Ian together. Every time I look at them together, I get this very vivid picture in my mind of them playing in your apartment in North Phoenix when Ian was still in diapers. They are all getting along so well. Emma and Megs are upstairs trying on all Megs' give-away clothes and Emma appears to be finding quite a stash. Ian and John are at the video store renting a game so Ian doesn't get totally bored tomorrow while John's at school. Megs is opting to stay home, but John feels like he needs to go.

Emma and Megs were in heaven earlier because my niece brought her 6-month old baby over for them to babysit while they went to a Diamondbacks game. They did a fabulous job -- the girls, that is. He's now sleeping thanks to Emma's bottle feeding expertise. I thought she had gone upstairs with him to put him in the bed, but when I walked into the front room she was lying down on the couch and he was cuddled up asleep next to her. I told Megs to take a picture of it, but I'm not sure she did. If she did, I'll email it to you.

Now the girls are out in the rain (Monsoon) getting soaked and John and Ian just came in, so I'd better run. After all, I need to stare some more!!

xoxox
M.

*****************


I can’t help comparing; I can’t help comparing; I can’t help comparing.

Our kids have all grown up so nicely. I can’t help comparing the people that they are now with the little people over the past 14 plus years. From my observation, they have not skipped a beat with each other. My John, who is sooooo completely enthralled with spending time with his high school friends right now, was not one bit distracted by them over the weekend. He opted to stay home from school on Friday after all, and enjoyed being with Ian so much. I can’t help notice how much he and Ian have matured. But all in all, when they get together they laugh and do stupid stuff and have a lot of fun. Now the girls – how much they’ve matured. Alas, even girls who live thousands of miles apart get tired of each other after a couple of days, but the way they handled it speaks to how much they’ve grown up. There was no pouting involved (okay, maybe there was pouting for a couple of seconds) and they just took some deep breaths and went on with the day.

Anyway, what’s not great about comparing the here and now to the there and then when it’s all good?

Finally, thank you so very much for being brave enough to let them come. I’ve done that with my children several times; I know it’s not an easy thing. I know the longing that comes with also wanting to be there and feeling like you’re missing out on so much. Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me bask in their presence, delight in their laughter, be brushed by their kisses, and be enveloped by their hugs. You are remarkable – something I hope you truly know deep down inside. I’m so blessed to call you friend.

xoxoxM.

My personal postscript:
I am blessed.
I miss my kids.

Sunday, August 17

Shooting Alkmaar









Friday, August 15

Doing It My Way


Ikea and I
are intimately involved
How "She completes me"!
**
I love her fresh smell
and the sawdust that trickles
over ev'rything.
**
But what can I say?
Little things totally please~
and I love it cheap.
**
Empowered am I
Me, the triumphant builder!
(With a little help)


Hey! Last day to enter the contest!

Get over to My Mommy's Place now and get 'em submitted!

Yahoo! Haiku Buckaroo!

Thursday, August 14

Peas in a Pod

There has been a long standing battle situation in our house regarding the sleeping arrangements of a certain soon-to-be-kindergartner. He was never a good sleeper as a baby. As in NE.VER. until we found the magic ingredient of wrapping him cocoon like into an oversized blanket and soothing him to sleep with lots of rocking and shushing and patting and bouncing and singing and swaying and...

In the years since, he has mastered sleeping well and it is now quite easy to put him to bed for naps or nighttime, but the discussion invariably ensues over the WHERE he will sleep and HOW LONG he will stay in the WHERE he should be.

You see, he has a bedroom of his own. With a way cool bed and an even cooler bed cover which he adores (we take it along on all trips and vacations--it is THAT important). But, uh, yeah... he doesn't sleep there. Generally he opts instead for my bed (as in my half of the bed which causes me to contort into all kinds of pretzel shapes in an attempt to get some further shut-eye after his post midnight arrival. Because I should also mention that while he wants to be in my bed he is NOT a snuggler and in his sleep will cast aside any brush of arm or leg against his body. So while we are crammed together like sardines in a can, we are NOT ALLOWED TO TOUCH!)

Sometimes, he crawls in next to his brother and occasionally with his sister. Same scenario in each place--as in "I'm crowded, ROLL OVER" and his mandatory bedmate ends up significantly cramped while Drew happily settles into the space available.

The better option we've found for better sleep all around was to put his mattress on the floor at the foot of our bed. Once set up, he quickly dubbed it his "hotel bed" and he happily crawled in at the end of each day to snore the night away.

BUT.

We got the notion that it may not be the BEST idea for him to continually sleep on the floor in the draft so at the end of the school year Don announced to him that he would now be moving back into his own bedroom to sleep (being a BIG BOY now and all) and as Daddy made it sound like such a BIG DEAL and SO MUCH FUN to do so, he went for it. For several weeks (with lots of reminder conversation upon the tuck-in time) he has slept in his own bed, in his own room, all night long! Hoorah!

AND THEN.

Daddy left on vacation with Ian and Emma in tow (they are in the USA on the family/friends/home places tour). So, yeah, there is a wide open space in my bed now where a sleeper used to be. And I ask you, who could resist that?

Our conversation at bedtime last night went something like this:

"Hey Droopers, are you ready for bed?"

"Yah."

"Hmmkay, let's go climb into your bed then, okay?"

"No."

"Yeah, it's time for bed, so let's go get in it."

"Uh, no. Actually I think I'm gonna sleep in your bed."

"Oh, you do, do you?"

"Uh, yeah."

~He held up his five fingers on his left hand and pointed at each in turn as he spoke.

"I think Ian and Emma are on a trip, right?"

"Yep. They are. So they are not here right now. And who else in our family is gone?"

"Ummm... I think it's our dad!"

~He folded down three fingers so only the pointer and thumb remained out-which is the gesture he uses to signify "two". He nodded his head repeatedly and said:

"So, it's just you and me, right mom? Just you and me."

**********

I ask you again, who could resist that?


I tucked him in. To my bed.

this photo taken by 1 Picture A Day

Wednesday, August 13

Putting It Forward

If you've been paying attention, you've seen a few changes in the images in my sidebar. (What? You didn't notice? You didn't even look? You have better things to do with your time than stare at my blog page and spot every nuance of change? Shaa. Whatever.)

One of the new buttons over there===>
is for a site called THE BLOGGERS ANNEX. It's new to the net, or newish anyway, and the concept behind it is rather cool. In response to the question "What is the point of this site?" the developers of the Annex say this:

"Basically, the idea is that only the best posts will be published. Our hope is that it will feel like an honor to have something published here. If you have something in your archives that you’re in love with—something you want to give more exposure to, we’d love to take a look at it.

And maybe you don’t really care about submitting something. Maybe you’re just here to read. Because we’ve raised the bar so high, you’ll know that every time you click on the site you’ll find a fantastic post, and maybe meet a writer that you otherwise might not have met."

So. Neato, huh? I heard about the place, checked it out and joined. Because, yeah, I wanted to see if what I write would cut the mustard. I am a little bit self serving and egocentric like that. But you know what? It worked. They like me, they really like me! I submitted some pieces and today I am published there! If'n ya wanna, you can re-read (if you haven't memorized it already with all of the resurfacing this post tends to do!) the succinct announcement of Andrew's diagnosis as a card-carrying member of ASD. The post is here. More about Bloggers Annex is here.

Lots and lots of water has passed under the bridge since that first moment sitting at a table in the clinic hearing that word in association with my kid for the first time. And lots and lots of strength, support and understanding has poured into our lives. And empowerment. But I don't suppose I will ever forget the moment itself, the way life froze and my heart ached as we listened to the expert examiners reveal their findings.



I suppose I still have a lot to say about that.


But for now, it's still just those 11 words. Please tell me you stopped by.

Tuesday, August 12

Sublime and Ridiculous

(And really, none of it good.)


Still bucking for the mug.
Haiku Buckaroo contest hosted by My Mommy's Place.

First, the Croatia inspired:

Long shadows follow;
Tired feet carry us home.
Sun-day is over

**************
Wish there was a word
for that slap-thuk-whoo-whoosh sound~
Boats on water

**************
Sun sinking lower
Sky lights orange, yellow, pink
over clear blue ocean

**************

And then the daily vignettes:

Crack, open, pour, whip~
Dip, flip, fry, check, butter, turn!
Open gob. Insert.

**************
Serious? Again?
I burned my hand on the stove!!
Save me from myself!

**************
LAUNDRY! Stand ye warned!
I will conquer, foul monster!
Victory is mine!

***************
Not nearly as fresh
Yet still my lips are smackin'
Leftover spareribs!

****************
While you are sleeping
I watch your breath rise and fall
And I am content.

*****************
And now, the epic haiku:

A bead in your nose?
Please, tell me why you did that?
Unbelievable!

En route to doctor
for removal assistance
I wish you would sneeze!

Open that nostril~
Nothing in there to be seen?
Did you swallow it?

I guess we'll go home
and watch for further symptoms
of nasal blockage.

Please just tell me why
-When I'm parenting alone-
accidents happen?

Finally to sleep
three hours beyond your bedtime
Mama needs a drink!

Monday, August 11

All Mixed Up

Of the many souvenirs and memory treasures I brought home from Boston, there is one which has risen to the top of my favorite things. This is a big deal, because, hoo-boy I brought a lot of things home from Boston! The physical treasures include a Folbot Kayak for Don, a new Camera (and ultimately a new lens) from Zeff Photo, massive amounts of food treats from the USA, and several (okay, more than several) shiny, pretty things I picked up during the weekend away.

Women in Black

Emotional keepsakes include the night out (and a first meet) with Alex Elliot and Allison for dinner, drinks and lots of great conversation. And of course, the premiere souvenirs of being able to spend time with THE Soccer Mom herself (though to be fair the current sport was baseball) as well as engage in phone conversations with THE Ambassador and THE Cybergoddess.

I tucked all of these finds away in luggage and memory. You might be thinking that this was a weekend packed with experiences which I will linger in for a long, long time.

You would, of course, be correct.

Ah, me.

Last week I got a treadmill for the house. There has been a running (haha!) discussion regarding this purchase for our home and whether the machine would soon become the most expensive clothes hanger in history, or the most massive dust collecting knick-knack we own. I am happy to report that as of ownership day #6 it is neither as my feet and its belt have been in intimate daily contact. It's kind of my new best friend.

This now, is where the revered tiny treasure comes to play. On my last day in Boston, Allison tucked inside my carry on bag a last few special items to bring home. There was the CD crammed with the photos she took of my appearance in her son's classroom to chat with the kids about life in Holland, and there was this:

The birthday CD from her daughter's recent birthday.

Upon this little treasure of "songs that make her dance" are a variety of ab fab tunes which the little darling loves to dance to. Me, I am using this CD as my accompaniment for exercise! And it couldn't be more perfect. Things start out nice and slow with Carole King's Really Rosie and then morph into the action of ABC's Look of Love, moving into Sing by Annie Lennox which really gets my heart moving. Then for a little rest I walk and croon along with Cindy Lauper's True Colors and then pick up the pace again when the music moves me with Erasure's Blue Savannah straight into Abba's Mama Mia. You get the idea here? This darling goldilocks has provided the perfect mix tape to get my body moving too! 57 minutes worth of rhythm and music to be exact.

And I love it.

Every last heart pounding minute.

~~~~~~~~~~~
More music at SMID's place today.

It's Music Monday folks!

**************************************************
Running like the wind
My stationary treadmill
is my new best friend
************************************************
Wait. What's that up there? A Haiku?
Oh, yes, friends it is once again time for the Haiku Buckaroo contest!

Check out the details
over at My Mommy's Place
Start writing Haiku.

You know I will be~
I want to drink my coffee
from that Haiku mug!

Sunday, August 10

Saturday, August 9

I am not. Are you?

Arachnophobic.



my own game
click here for the rules.


Leave your link if you're not afraid playing!

Friday, August 8

Be Still

It is quiet in Croatia.


I don't mean quiet in that reverent hush that fills the great hall of a Gothic cathedral, nor the silence of a sleeping house. The sensation is more akin to a cleansing breath at the end of a long day, the peaceful stillness that enters your brain after a lingering hug, the kind of quiet that subdues the chaos and noise of the everyday stress.


Quiet that fills you with sound.


The home we rented for our stay sits about 100 meters from the ocean. The walk to the water takes only 3 minutes (5 if you are walking with Andrew who tends to move at the speed of his own drum) and even before you arrive you can hear the noises of the beachfront. Waves slapping the boardwalk. Laughter of children playing in the blue, blue water. Low engine noises of jet ski or small boats. Conversation happening en masse in multiple tongues--it is impossible to distinguish the sounds of our own familiar language, let alone differentiate the various dialects and languages being spoken on this beach. And still, it's my own world I am in as we stake out a place on the pebbled shore, lay out blankets, open air rafts, slather sunscreen and join the throng worshipping the sun and enjoying the gifts of the ocean.


And it is quiet.


The evening air is filled with the cacophony of cicadas singing out their woes. It's a sound which fascinates Andrew and he is continually craning his neck to cast his gaze upward to spot what he believes must be an airplane flying low. We talk about the sound they make and the way their skins crack open and get left behind. He thinks that's hilarious and he laughs maniacally at the end of the day over that and almost every random event. He's tired, and his laughter loudly reverberates off the walls of our apartment. Laughter so deep and so contagious it leads to a group effort guffaw, a snort or two, and hilarity induced tears.

Yet, still, this place is quiet.



The village we inhabit is unsullied. There is no commercialism here. No mall, no supermarket sprawl, no Starbucks, and *gasp* not even a McDonald's anywhere nearby. Instead the fields are full of produce planted, cultivated and harvested by local hands. Fresh everything--tomatoes, garlic, onion, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, potatoes, corn, watermelon, plums, peaches, apples--is sold in small roadside stands along the one paved road in the town. Cars travel this path as do pedestrians. Those on their way to the ocean and those on their way home stop to shop or chat or linger in conversation with others.


The small market, a single street away, holds sundry treasures and grocery staples which make the cooking convenient. I am seized by the desire to instantaneously have the know-how to make local cuisine and follow custom in Croatian tastes and smells. It doesn't come, but still I do what I can to make pasta sauces from the fresh vegetables at hand and open a bottle of wine made from local grapes. That will have to do.



I watch the people of this country, talking to a few as opportunity presents itself, and I am over and again struck by the quiet of this people. The stillness of this life here. It's possible that it's my illusion, my projection of vacation mentality to all those I see, but I am not certain that would explain it all. In truth this country and this people have certainly known tumultuous times. Things I cannot imagine and experiences which have never touched my life have invaded the lives of these people and it has marked them forever. By rights this could be a place of chaos and stress and overwhelming reality. It isn't. In fact it is just the opposite.


It is quiet in Croatia.

Today there is peace and in spite of everything past, this land is unspoiled and these inhabitants are alive and living. Really living.

In the quiet.

Wednesday, August 6

What I Did During My Summer Vacation (by Andrew)

video

More sights, sounds and stories from the week in
Croatia coming your way soon!

we're back.