Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or Treat!

Time for candy overload. At least the weather was perfect, the kids had tons of fun trick or treating. Cees considered himself too old to go out, this was the first year he stayed home.

Geisha Tara.



Snow Queen Kate.



Erik was something, no idea what.



One of our carved pumpkins, they turned out pretty well.



Vampire Jane.



Kittycat Sylvia aka 'I want candy!'



Time to trade all the loot.



And the best thing??? Tomorrow, we have dentist appointment for two of the girls...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Stupid Laundry

Feh! How can we produce so many baskets of laundry every single week. It is such a never ending chore, blech.

Yes, today is cleanup day, and I still hate the process, but love the result. I guess that's something to work on.

So many household chores, so little time. I would love to be organized some day, but not holding my breath :p

Friday, October 27, 2006

Skunk Sighting

Yes, of all animals to meet, today it was a skunk. I walked through town and who was crossing the road just in front of me? Our dear friend skunk. He was very black and white, very skunky and crossing the street like he did it all the time.

Two other people saw him too and they were talking about him. The woman was all about 'Stay away from that animal!!!' While the man said 'Oh, they are fine, they only spray when they get provoked.' Going on to show us how to provoke a skunk, to the utter horror of his female partner.

I Need To Go Pee!!

Sylvia 'I need to go pee!'
Me 'OK', getting up to help her.
Sylvia 'I don't need help!'
Me, walking back to my chair, wondering whether she is right 'OK, let me know if you change your mind'
Sylvia 'I do it myself!'
One minute later 'HELP!'
Two seconds later 'I don't need help!' (I sit down again)

And so they grow up. Time flies like bananas.

Haircuts

All of those were done by Tara. After her own haircut she asked everyone 'Now who else wants a haircut????'

Kate decided she wanted short hair again:



Sylvia got a trim:



Erik:



Bonus picture of the day:



We were at homeschool club and Tara and her friend had dressed up in their kimonos for the Halloween party. Someone said that this would look even better if she had black hair, so she dyed her hair black ^^ (Don't worry, it was temporary spray paint).

Erik's reaction was funny. He saw her after she had changed hair color and asked 'Who is this person???'
We told him that this was his sister.
Erik 'Where did she get the hair????'

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Family Love

Love is doing things together as a family. This weekend, it was getting our Halloween pumpkins. We went to our local farmer's market.



Experience has taught us, that it is prudent to bring wagons.



It is not easy to find The Perfect Pumpkin.



Yes, the wagons definitely were needed.



And in the van they go.



I love doing those kinds of things as a family. Even if the house later turns into a pumpkin carving mess ^^



Spending time together as a family is a wonderful thing. Happy Love Thursday!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fall in New England

Today, sharing some fall pictures. The Connecticut River:



A tree in our neighborhood:



Violet, still blooming:



The promise of spring flowers:



Maple leaf from the tree under which Sylvia was born:



Beautiful berries:



More fall colors in our yard:



I love the colors and beauty of fall. I love the crisp morning, sunny days, cold nights. But I hate the fact that this all means that winter is near. The thought of snow is not a welcome one. Of course, I should live in the moment and just enjoy without worrying about what comes afterwards. But I haven't been able to do that 100 % yet. Something to work on ^^

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Observations Of The Day

Just some random thoughts and observations for today.

  1. Kate: 'When it rains, the clouds look very beautiful.'


  2. Cees: 'Mom? Kate thinks we only need to be nice to each other on Thursdays, since that's when you post Love Thurday. She says we can be mean on other days.'


  3. I discovered I can read go books while walking, making it a more efficient use of my time. Getting exercise AND studying go at the same time, woohoo.


  4. Saving a post till I get all the pictures just right is not a good idea, somehow I end up not posting at all.


  5. Quote from aikido training When we depend on external people and situations for our strength and happiness, how can we ever expect stable happiness? The only reliable friend is spiritual knowledge, the only truly helpful possession is one's inner character.


So many things to post, so little time. Tara has given a bunch of her siblings haircuts, I may or may not be posting pictures.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

New Hair Cut

Tara 'Mama? Can I cut my hair?'
Me 'Sure, it's your hair.'
Tara 'ok'

Shutting herself in the bathroom and emerging as a totally different person.



I really like it, it turned out well. I am still amazed she did it all by herself. She took this picture all by herself too, using a mirror. This reminds me of the time they did hair cutting as toddlers, usually resulting in one or more of the kids being almost bald. She sure has gotten much better at hair cutting ^^

Friday, October 20, 2006

Deer Sighting

A few days ago, driving back from a friend's house, we saw three deer. Those two were watching us from the fields. The moment I grabbed the camera, they decided to walk away and show us their butts.



I love deer.

Quote of the Day

Kate: 'Mama?
Next time I am whiny, can you make a picture of me, and post it on your blog????'
Me, puzzled: 'Um... sure...'
So stay tuned for a Kate picture soon ^^

More Homesickness

And yet again, I spent the night driving to my friend's house ^^. This time her son was supposed to sleep over at our house, but got homesick at 10:30pm. Oh well, I didn't mind, I mostly was amused about doing this two nights in a row.

It has been raining a lot and we have leakage in the basement. Blech. It's such a pain to deal with. Maybe some day we should get it fixed, but somehow it feels like an expensive job. We did get a new roof though, I am happy about that. The roof was 28 years old and was supposed to last only 20 years. It was starting to show signs of detoriation and I was really afraid it would have problems during the winter. I am glad we got it done.

Today we'll go out to buy winter boots, always an expensive trip. I am sooooooooooooooooo not looking forward to winter! But after that, it's time for aikido, which I still love and I still suck at.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Love is...

Getting a phone call at 10:30pm and driving an hour to pick up those two homesick kids.



Chookooloonks Love Thursday is about daddy love, mine is on the same theme with mommy love.

Today, we had homeschool club, after which we always come home with other kids than we started out with. We lost Kate and Erik, but gained M, both had sleepovers planned. Everything went fine till it was late at night. Erik started crying. Kate told me 'I heard sniffling and I asked "Erik? Is that you?"' He really wanted to go home and his finger hurt and nothing was right and everything was wrong.

My friend called to tell me about the situation and I talked to Erik on the phone. It was very clear that he just wanted to come home. OK, in that case I will have to interrupt my go game and go pick him up. Shows real love from my side to stop playing go to do this ^^

Love includes, that I didn't even mind. I enjoyed the drive up there and it was very meditative to drive in the middle of the night. Almost no other traffic, classical music playing. Smiling to myself about how Erik can be seem very independant during the day, but at night, away from his own house, turns into the little boy he still is.

When I arrived at my friend's house, Kate told me she was coming home too. 'I just don't feel as safe without M and Erik here.' She claimed she isn't used to sleepovers anymore, so rather would sleep at home. OK :)

We had a nice drive home, and the kids told me all about the fun things they had done during the day. I enjoyed spending late night time with them and it wasn't long before we arrived home and they both were off to bed.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Our Japanese Girl

Tara is all ready for Halloween.



She really is into all things Japanese ^^

Quotes of the Day

***

Erik 'Is it bad to wear socks when you are sleeping?'

***

Kate 'MAMA!!!!!!!! Sylvia is calling me a stupid dumb-ass!!!!'
Me 'Hmmm, I wonder where she learned those words'
Kate 'ERIK taught them to her!'

***

Sunday, October 15, 2006

As Requested...

Jody asked for some pictures of our 'pet' mice. Tara was happy to comply and she made those:



They are sooooo incredibly bold. They come out when the kids are watching movies 'Anything good tonight?' They invite all their friends to come to this great new buffet 'All kinds of food on the floor! We NEVER go hungry!'



Yesterday, the kids happily came to tell me 'We saw a PREGNANT mouse!!! She was sooo big!!!' Accompanied by finger and hand movements showing how incredibly big this one was.



It ran into our Duplo room, and I was told 'We almost caught it!!!' Too bad they didn't...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Mouse Sighting

They are getting bolder and bolder. Our pet mice population has increased to two. The second one came out to watch television when the kids were in the basement. They managed to catch it. I guess the television was pretty interesting.

And today, I was sitting in the living room, when this mouse calmly walked into the kitchen, took a few nibbles of a raisin, and calmly walked out again... I wonder whether we should get a cat. I hate mouse traps.

About the two pet mice: the kids have assured me that both of them are female. I have given up on wondering about what will happen if they are wrong. Que sera, sera.

And why do I keep having flashbacks to the ROUSes in The Princess Bride?

Hmmmm...

Maybe I should see what signs my kids will come up with ...

Very tempted to join this contest
Encyclopedia Brown for District Attorney

  • Arthur Dent for President!
  • The Pink Panther! Protector of America!"
I am sure my kids could come up with a bunch of creative ones.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Moose Sighting

Driving home from aikido tonight, I saw a moose on the side of the road. So big, I love watching them. And I love that we live somewhere that we occasionally see one, just next to the road. I wish I had pictures, but it was dark and I didn't have a camera with me anyway.

Monarch Madness



Last week, we had so many monarchs in our front yard. I knew it was the perfect opportunity to make some good pictures.



I grabbed my camera, and got ready to get amazing pictures. Well, apart from the fact that the moment I would point the camera, the monarchs would all magically disappear. Instantly. I did eventually get a bunch of pictures, but it was way harder than I had expected.



I was happy with the pictures which turned out well, but I do have to admit that most of my pictures just showed the flower, without any monarchs. They were really good at flying away before I clicked.



Today we went to the thrift store to get most of our Halloween costumes. Not totally done yet, but just a few things to get still. We also got quite some good stuff for our dressup box.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Love is..

... sending love and good thoughts to people you have never even met or known.



Last week, we were at a cemetery, and Kate was looking at all the graves. She found quite a lot of baby graves and shared with me how sorry she was for the babies, and how sad it made her to see their graves. She also said that she wished she could do something for them.

I told her, she could, she could send love and good thoughts their way. Be quiet and focus on sending love and positive energy their way, wherever they were. 'Oh! Like praying!' she said. She chose a few graves and spent time sitting with them and praying for them (in her words).

I was very happy that she understood the concept, and acted on my suggestion, showing the great spirit which is hiding under the irritable 7-year old.

I have sent love to strangers quite often but still was amazed that she understood the concept and the implications. At aikido, we have been doing healing meditations, which have felt very very powerful to me. The power of the mind, and of positive energy is quite amazing.

Happy Love Thursday!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I want to use THAT door!

Sylvia 'I want to use THAT door!' pointing to the one she means.
Me 'Sure, open it.'
Sylvia 'NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!' while throwing herself on the floor in a temper tantrum.

The joys of 2-year olds...

Tim looked at her and opened the door for her. She yelled at him 'NOOOOOOOOOOO! CLOSE IT!!!! CLOSE IT!!!!!!!!' Turns out only mama was allowed to open the darned door...

MAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kate: 'Mama!!! Tara is being mean for no apparent reason!!! She can only be mean if she has an apparent reason!'

Back!

Arrived home last night, after a wonderful weekend away. This was a go workshop with a Chinese professional and it was just awesome. I started playing go when I arrived there, and never stopped till the weekend was over. Heck, on the way back, we stopped at a tavern and studied go for two hours while eating supper.

Weather was great, we got in some nice walks through the woods and around a lake. And it was just nice to be away all by myself with no kids interruptions at all, doesn't happen very often.



Everyone was happy to get me back home and Sylvia spent most of the night nursing, just to reconnect. Now I'll have to spend a few days organizing all the things I learned and all the study material I got.

Had to get up at 4:45am today to get my friend to the airport, yawn. Now enjoying a nice and quiet house, will get some go studying in before it gets crazy.

Friday, October 06, 2006

I do it myself!

This is Sylvia's new mantra 'I do it myself!' Unless she wants some mommy attention 'I need my mommy!' Or even cuter, when she wants to get out of the car, and only mama will do 'I need my mommy very badly!' How could I resist that? ^^

My friend arrived safely, his luggage didn't. He is sleeping in his room now, I should be off to bed soon too, Cees has biology class tomorrow morning. I will be off to play go in the afternoon, leaving for 4 days in the Catskil Mountains!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sisterly Love

Time for Love Thursday



I really like this picture, Kate and Sylvia snuggling up together in a blanket. The way you imagine sisters will behave, loving each other, playing together, not fighting at all. This picture shows that it is like that, part of the time. The other part of the time, doesn't seem to belong on Love Thursday, so I'll refrain from mentioning it today ^^

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tie Dyeing

Last week, Tara got out a box with tie dye supples from the basement (yes, the black hole one, with all the unexpected treasures). She got everything out, lined up lots of white clothes and started going





It was quite a project and quite a mess, but the results were perfect. It is nice to have kids who are old enough to tie dye by themselves.



Today is homeschool club, everyone is getting ready. I did get my aikido in, but not my walk yet, maybe I can walk at homeschool club.

Only two days till my go workshop.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Television Room

Blogger finally is cooperating again, so posting some pictures of the television room. This is what it looked like before we started. Notice that I can't even totally open the door, because of the crap behind it.





After spending a frantic day cleaning and decluttering, this is what it looks like now. I didn't go through the shelves yet, this was mostly the floor and behind the piano. My kids think it's cleaning up if you throw all the stuff behind the piano, because then it won't be visible...

The kids also think that if you just drop an apple core, it will go away by itself. I know for sure nobody is willing to touch it anymore after it has been on the floor for a few hours. During cleanup, I learned what those apple cores turn into after months of neglect...



On Thursday, my friend will come over to stay at my house before we go off to go workshop on Friday. Now he will actually be able to walk into this room. Today, I got a new air mattress for him to use, since the old one had been destroyed by overuse of the kids.



I love getting little bits and pieces of my house clean and organized. I just wish it wasn't so much work ^^ Today, Tara worked herself through the hallway closet, and we filled yet another trash bag to take to the dump.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Cleaning, Walking, Go

Cleaning accomplishments over the last week:
  • Cleaned out the television room, which was totally covered in toys and books and whatevers, so that my friend can sleep there in a few days
  • Cleaned off the top of some drawers in the computer room, which still had a box leftover from our last move, eight years ago
  • Cleaned up the master bedroom, including the floors of the closets, which had been non-existent for the last few years. Heck, there still were pieces of wood and particle board from the Netherlands. Mind you, we moved away from the Netherlands in 1994. I was soooooooo ready to see those go. Hubby complained about getting rid of them. I told him if we hadn't done anything with them in the last twelve years, I refused to hold on to them for some future, vague project.
  • Cleaned out the freezer on top of the fridge.
  • Got really scared of the green, fuzzy creatures in my fridge. Today, I scared them away by actually cleaning the fridge.
Scary! One day we might get organized. That day still is far off though, I am not too worried about it happening anytime soon.

Today, I did my aikido AND a daily walk, it was great. I am going to try to keep this up, I know it will help me to do so.

Now off to aikido training, showing off how much I suck at falling and rolling.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I am going to take a bath .

Sylvia came over this morning to me 'Mama, I am going to take a bath.' Walking away, proceeding to take off her clothes and get herself in the bath tub. No asking for permission, no trying to find siblings to go with her, she just did it.

She couldn't reach the water thingy though 'I can't reach it!' so she needed some help. Still, it was just funny how she decided, and followed through and took it as a given that this would be ok.

I spent time doing go problems in the bath room while she had fun in the tub.

She is just so able and independent, growing up way too fast. I love watching her develop into her own personality.

And about my daily walk... It is raining today, which seemed like a good excuse to study go instead, right?