Saturday, March 31, 2007

Haircutting Time!

Tim had been letting his hair grow for a while, this is the most recent picture I can find of him.

He had been saying that he would shave himself bald once it was summer, which sounded good to me. Yesterday, he decided to go for it. We did not have good shaving gear, so he used scissors and clippers to cut it very very very short. Cees helped him to accomplish his goal.

This is my favorite 'during' picture.

Here is the end result:

The little ones were quite shocked, they didn't even recognize him at first, when they saw him.

Will be nice and easy for him this summer.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Kate's Thoughts

Kate 'How was the universe created? It can't really have been the big bang, because how can there suddenly be something, when there never was anything before?' All my suggestions were met by the disdain a kid can have for their totally clueless parents.

This all very loudly in the car with visiting go friend present. I felt for him, he was exposed to a LOT of Kate over the two days he was here :)

Good Update on Brother

He is recovering in a local hospital, has been upgraded from medium care unit to their Stroke Unit. In about one or two weeks, he will be transferred to special type of hospital to help him revalidate. His speech still is slurred and slow, but it is improving a bit every day. His left side still is partly paralyzed, but seems to be improving too. Things are looking good, I don't know what the prognosis is on full recovery.

He just wants to go home and have a beer, which seems a good sign too.

Quote of the Day

Cees 'See! I won this game of spider solitaire, which you said I wouldn't win.'
Me, looking at the clock and taking a wild guess 'Ha! This is like five games later!'
Cees 'It is NOT! It is the same game. The games take a long time.'
Me 'That long???? You mean you are just sitting there, wasting time on solitaire, while you could be doing go problems?'
Cees 'You are right. I should do something with my life. I will start right now!'
My mouth falls open.
Cees closes spider solitaire.
Only to click on the computer screen again, while exclaiming 'I will play....'
Sounds of drums rolling...
'MINE SWEEPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'

Cees opens minesweeper window, tunes out his mom, and starts playing.

The joys of teenagers.

Love is ...

Love is making a 'bad dreams catcher' for your little sister.

Jane made this for Kate. It has been hung above Kate's bed and will catch any bad dreams or nightmares before they can reach Kate. I thought it was a very loving thing to do.

Happy Love Thursday! Don't forget to check out cute pictures of Wendy's daughters in her Love Thursday post.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Slightly Geeky Proud Parent Moment

One or two years ago, Cees and Tim wanted to learn how to program. They did it for a little, got frustrated/bored pretty fast and found other things to occupy their time. Yesterday, Cees got out his binder again to get started all over. He got distracted, but Tara found the binder.

It didn't take long for her to install the right language package (Python), with just a little help, and get started on the programming course the boys were supposed to be doing. She is doggedly working her way through it, solving any problems which come up. Some by herself, some with some parental help. Maybe she is taking after her mom? I used to be a highly paid programmer before I stayed home with the kids.

Seeing Tara programming, motivated Cees to get back into it too, nothing like a bit of competition to get things going ^^

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Refrigerator Poetry

A few days ago, we got one of those sets for making poems on the fridge. The kids were thrilled.

Now I often come across sights like this (before the 'i' was missing)

'Mom is a pig', I see...
Was this really a good thing to buy? ^^

That's Not a Shirt!

Sylvia wants clothes and requests her daddy to get them for her. He gets her a t-shirt, but she also wants another shirt. He thinks to get off easily by offering some dressup clothes which are on the floor. She looks at him in an exasperated way and explains 'That's not a shirt, that's a costume!'

I love how this picture captured her facial expression while saying it.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Good Update on Brother

Today, Oscar got transfered to his local hospital and has been upgraded to the Medium Care Unit. This will make it easier for his wife and my mom to visit him.

He still is paralyzed on the left side, I guess we'll have to wait and see on that. But at least, he is improving.

Happy Birthday, Kate!

Today was Kate's birthday. It is eight years ago that she was born in an inflatable kiddie pool in her brother's room.

It is eight years ago that we tried every trick under the sun to finally get her out of my nice and cozy womb.

It is eight years ago that we were getting ready for a trip to the Netherlands to get green cards, we just needed this baby out first. She was supposed to be born on my birthday, but, like all my babies, was very tardy.

She is a very spunky 8yo, with a mouth that never stops talking.

She had a great day, including a candle saying 'Over the hill, too old to count' , which she chose because of 'This is funny! Just like the teletubbies, Over the hill and far away, Teletubbies come to play'. Who could disagree with a reasoning like that? ^^

Her biggest hit present was a Strawberry Shortcake Dance Revolution mat for the tv. Cees's reaction to it: 'This is disturbing...'

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Update on Brother

Today, I called my brother-in-law. They went to visit Oscar last night, they were only allowed in for a few minutes. He was awake and could talk, but very slow and slurred. His left side is paralyzed, but the doctors think this will improve.

I guess we are still in 'wait and see' mode. Not much we can do but send positive thoughts. It is very frustrating to be so far away. Not that I could do much by being there, but I am still frustrated.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Larger Families

I am thrilled to announce that I now contribute to the Larger Families Blog. I wrote my first post about how to cope when mom is incapacitated. Enjoy!

Off to go birthday shopping for Kate, I just LOVE shopping! (Not!)

Update on Brother

Oscar went into surgery at 5am this morning, when they performed a catheterization via his groin, to get rid of a blood clot (blood clots?) in the stem of his brain. He is in recovery now and more will be known when he wakes up. The prognosis seems to be cautiously optimistic, but we are waiting for him to wake up and I hope we'll have a better idea of how he is and how successful the surgery was.

Please keep sending good thoughts to him.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Please Send Good Thoughts to my Brother Oscar

My mom just called. Today, my brother Oscar, in the Netherlands, suffered a stroke. I don't know much yet, he is having a scan now, hopefully will know more tomorrow.

Please send good thoughts his way.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Love is...

Taking a shower with your youngest daughter.

Sylvia used to take showers with me a lot when she was a baby. Over time, she came to prefer taking baths with Erik and/or Kate. I guess I was too boring for her.

The last week, she has gotten back to taking showers with me. (Or by herself: 'You GO mama! I will shower by myself!') Yesterday, she was in the shower with me and she molded her body to my body, totally relaxed and enjoying the warm water on us. It brought me back to the days when she was a newborn. The total and unconditional love. The just sitting and enjoying each other, no talking needed. The feeling of a warm and perfect little body in my arms.

We sat like that for a bit and then she sat upright and said 'I yuv you, mama!' My heart melted.

Happy Love Thursday! May your lives be full of love and happiness.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Secret of Parenting

Today, Tara and Kate were getting into silly fights, and I let myself be drawn into them. Bad idea. I felt myself almost losing my temper, and realized this was not good.

Since they didn't seem in any danger of killing each other, I figured I'd better step out of the situation. This was perfect timing to go take my daily walk.

I started out upset and annoyed with them and myself, but the walking helped me to put things in perspective. I focused on my breathing, the feeling of the frigid wind on my body, on finding my calmness. It was beautiful and sunny, even if the windchill was -6 C.

When I came back, everyone had found their own things to do, and life was good again. Amazing how well it works to step out of the situation. My daily walk is improving my parenting for sure, I love it!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Quote of the Day

Sylvia, running into the room, 'MAMA!! Erik called me ugly!!!'
Me 'I see. Are you ugly?'
Sylvia 'No, I am cute.'
Me 'OK, so don't listen to him.'
Sylvia, running off happily 'OK!'

That was easy ^^

Morning Walk

This morning, it was cold (-10 C), but I had a wonderful walk. There had been a dusting of new snow, so it was easy to see that I was the first one to walk around our neighborhood. The only tracks I saw was people who were getting their Sunday morning newspaper and some snowmobile tracks.

I love walking, when the sun is shining brightly, and everyone is still shut inside their houses. Too bad I didn't see any robins today, though, I guess they all are shivering somewhere in a bush, cursing the new snow.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sylvia's New Habit...

She has discovered she can lock the bath room door and then close the door from the outside. With no one in the bath room. Making it so that no one can open the door anymore without first finding a lock pick somewhere in the house. This has happened about fifteen times today, so far.

The joys of toddlers!

Evil Micros in the Snow

One fun thing about the recent snow storms, is the fun we have had hiding caches (small ones) just before the snow storm. We would list them at the height of the storm, so that no one could go out and find them, but only could stare at their computer and wish they could be FTF (First To Find) on this new cache.

Our first one was Wintermint, during the Valentine's Day snow storm. For three days, people tried to find it, under the three feet of snow we got. On the third day, my friend flyingfisher made it over ("Okay, guys. Three days and no find??!! Yes, I read your logs and decided I'd better come out to play. Soccrmaniac came with me, both of us bringing collapsible shovels, wearing snowshoes, and even had poles. Prepared as you'd indicated we should be."). She looked at all the snow taken away here and there, and said 'Why didn't they search here??' and yes, found it. Does this remind you of your house where the males never can find ANYTHING??? Most remarkable quote: Lonestar's ("So I get the truck all packed and as I was going out the drive way a little too fast I landed in the neighbors yard . Totally Stuck ! DO NOT LAUGH !")

This was so much fun, that we couldn't resist during the next snow storm and hid Nightmare off Elm Street. There was some competition for FTF, but not as much as with Wintermint. Most remarkable quote by hitecnedreck "nearly froze to death, but got it anyhow....t4t$"

Guess what we did yesterday when I saw the weather forecast? Yes, indeed, we hid Oh no.. Not Another Damn Snow Storm Micro!? It was St Patricks Day, so we added 'Extra points given if the first finder is wearing green underwear while finding this one. A photograph will be necessary to prove this, of course.' One local cacher lives only one mile away and hiked to the cache, so he didn't have to get his car out of the snowed-in driveway. No luck. Next three members of the 3 of the GCVALTSG's (Greater Central Vermont Area Less Than Smart Geocachers) drive up, and see the tracks, so are afraid they can't get the FTF. They soon realize these were not FTF tracks "We hunt in all the good spots for about an hour and then we decide that it is too cold to keep digging in the snow while wearing just our underwear.. So we call for a hint... a big hint... draw me a picture... give me exact distances from prominant objects... "

When they called me for a hint, they groveled and begged and I decided that I could show mercy for anyone who had been digging in the snow for an hour. They came through with great logs AND pictures from their side ^^

I would ALMOST hope for another snow storm, to do this again. Almost :p

Snow Snow Snow...

Yesterday afternoon, I was so happy that the snow finally was starting to melt. We actually could see our driveway again!

I hoped that the prediction of a snow storm was wrong. I mean, this is supposed to be spring, right????

But before I went to bed, in the middle of the night, I took those two pics:

Not very promising. And yes, today, my driveway looked liked this :

Happy Spring to you too!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Happy Spring!

Winter Storm Warning

Statement as of 3:26 PM EDT on March 16, 2007

... Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 2 PM EDT Saturday...

Snow will become heavy at times early this evening through tonight with snowfall rates of an inch or two an hour possible. The snow could mix with sleet or freezing rain Saturday morning... before tapering off to snow showers in the afternoon.

Total snow accumulations of 10 to 15 inches are expected through Saturday morning.

Travel will be very difficult. Avoid unnecessary travel. If you must travel... drive with extreme care and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.

First Robin!!!!!!!

Where we live, seeing the first robin of the year always is very exciting. They disappear for the winter, and usually come back at the end of March, bringing spring with them.

For the last week, I have been watching very closely, to keep my eyes out for the first robin sighting. Today, during my morning walk, I almost tripped over one! I was so happy to see it! Spring is here!

Naturally, another snow storm is on its way, blech, but I'll just ignore that and be happy with my first robin!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Love is...

Picking your own family, which I have done over the last few years and I love it. Sometimes I was chosen by someone to be 'adopted' as a family member, sometimes I was the one who offered. In all cases, my adopted family members have enriched my life.

I will introduce them to you in the Chinese order, like Becci has pointed out to me. (谢谢,Becci). I have two older biological brothers who I love very much, but they live in the Netherlands, so I don't have much day-to-day contact with them.

Which makes me very happy about my new and beloved younger brother, Ang, who I do talk to daily. He even plays go ^^ Sylvia is thrilled about him, when she sees his picture, she always tells me 'I am going to play go with him, and I will let him win!' She is so nice :D. Another funny Sylvia anecdote about him. He has an avatar on the go server, where he is playing two boards simultaneously. First time Sylvia saw it, she asked me 'Why did his goban break?' thinking it was one broken-up go board.

Locally, I have two wonderful sisters, Iliana and Min, who came into my life via geocaching. At least, Iliana did, Min joined us about a year later when Iliana wanted to learn Chinese. They are the best sisters ever. It's amazing how great people keep showing up in my life.

My last adopted family member is an 'adopted' son Pat, who just joined the Navy. I am worried about him, worried about where he will go after boot camp :( Please send good thoughts his way. He is yet another go player, wondering how I end up with so many go players in my family.

I feel blessed with so many loving family members in addition to my biological family. I also am blessed by having many good friends who have not 'officially' been adopted, but feel very close to me.

May all your lives be filled with love as mine is. Happy Love Thursday!

Oh, it's my birthday too, making it an even better Love Thursday ^^

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I Had a DREAM!

Tonight, I nursed Sylvia to sleep and carefully put her down. I backed away, happy to see that she stayed asleep. Settled at my computer, till five minutes later, she suddenly jumps up. 'I have to go watch the movie!' Me 'Um... weren't you asleep?' Sylvia 'I had a DREAM! I have to watch the movie!'

Off she went, watching the movie, while I wondered how she could be fast asleep one minute and wide awake the next :)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Girls just wanna have fun

It took a while, but finally we are able to download videos to our computer. The girls made a fun video of Sylvia which they desperately wanted to share. Click here if you want to see it. Leave a comment if you liked it, the girls are hoping for lots of comments :)


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Wii Tales of Woe

As many people may know, Nintendo came out with a new game system a few months ago. It is called the Wii and is supposed to be 'bloody awesome'. The big problem is that the demand for it is far bigger than the supply, so people have been having a hard time getting hold of this game system.

Naturally, my kids desperately wanted this new game system. I wasn't going to buy it for them, so they pooled all their money. At the end of January, they got enough money, but it still was hard to get the system.

Many trips to Gamestop later, many desperate web surfing sessions, we still didn't get the system. But this week, things were going to change. Hubby and the boys found out that there would be a Wii shipment to Gamestop on Thursday.

On Thursday, the boys took the bus to Gamestop and started waiting. The people at Gamestop told them the Wii shipment wasn't expected till 1pm, most likely some time between 1pm and 3pm. It was 11am, so that was a long time to wait. Better to go have lunch, and go to Borders and browse books, right?

That's just what they did, and came back at Gamestop at 1:42pm. Only to find out that the Wii's had been delivered AND had sold out already... They were not amused.

Later that afternoon, they checked other local Wii sources, but no luck.

So close, and yet so far away...

Chinese New Year in Pictures

Last week, we celebrated Lunar New Year at our homeschool group. Finally sharing some pictures:

There were all kinds of fun activities to be done.

There was money to be had (the chocolate kind ^^)

There were birth animals to be 'tattooed' on their hands.

Lots of fun!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I Need To Tell You Something

Sylvia, through the closed bathroom door 'Mama!!! Come out of there!!! I need to tell you something!!!'
Me, realizing the futility of even closing the door and expecting one minute by myself to go pee, finishes fast and opens the door. 'Yes, my dear, what would you like to tell me?'
Sylvia, leading me to the kitchen 'I want another piece of bread!'

OK, of course I'll be at your command ^^

Happy Women's Day!

Happy Women's Day to all my female readers.

I got Happy Women's Day wishes from a good friend, from my sister and a very nice ecard from my dear brother. It had the Thoreau quote 'Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined...' Beautiful!

Too bad the United States does not recognize this as a holiday. On the other hand, it would only be commercialized if they did.

The Joys of Siblings

This morning, in bed, soon after waking up, Sylvia, totally unprovoked, pushed Erik out of bed.
I said 'Sylvia!!! Don't push Erik out of bed.'
She replied 'He was being MEAN to me!'
Me 'Um... He wasn't!'
Sylvia 'Yes, he WAS!'
Erik climbs back into bed and Sylvia drops herself off the side of the bed. 'Erik is pushing me!!!'
Me 'No, he isn't!'
Sylvia, climbing back in 'Yes, he IS!'
Proceeding to fall out again 'See!!! He is pushing me!!!'

Um... She is really playing around with this social interaction stuff :D
Later today, she was mad at him for something and declared 'Him is NOT my brother!' I don't think that's how it works, dear :)

Love is...

Pulling your best friend in a sled

And playing with her in the snowy Vermont winter.

This is Sylvia with her best friend, who used to be our neighbor. She moved farther away now, but we still get together regularly, so the girls can play. Sylvia says about M: 'Her is my best friend!'

Happy Love Thursday!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Our savior arrived, put 216 gallons of oil in the tank, and got the furnace going again. I sooooooooooo do not want to think about how much this is going to cost ^^

The house is slowly heating up, but I am still cold, brrr.

Out of Oil...

Today, I woke up to two teenagers sitting despondantly on the couch, blankets around them. 'Mama, the furnace isn't working!' Oh... Quick inspection of the possible culprits showed a totally empty oil tank. Well, that was easy, now what?

We are set up for automatic delivery, which should prevent just this. They usually refill the tank when it's about 1/4 to 1/3 full still. Not so this time.

We switched companies 1.5 years ago, let's just say we are not going to use this new company anymore. We had some more issues with them, like never be able to prebuy oil this season. This is enough.

I called one new company 'Sure, we can get you oil, you just have to come to our office in person to set up a new contract.' Yeah right, don't think so. Called another one, who was more reasonable and promised they could deliver oil today and they will help to re-start the furnace.

I took a walk, so that the house felt warmer when I came back, it still is -21 C outside. Such a wonderful day for the oil to run out. We have 2 sleepover kids too, I should have used the 'Nine poor dear children' card to speed this up more I guess.

10am, they'd better show up soon. The house is not warm at all. So how has your day been? ^^

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


The daily walking is great. This morning, I woke up, and was very much looking forward to my walk. Well, until I glanced at the thermometer. Which showed -21 C. And I heard the wind howl around the house.

Of course, I walked anyway. It was very exhilarating, and very COLD. When I came home, I checked the wind chill, and it was -33 C. No wonder it was cold :) It did wake me up very nicely though. Yes, this daily walking thing is great, even when it's this frigid.

Sharing some sledding pictures from a few days ago.

When they came inside, Jane's jacket looked like this:

The rest of today, I'll stay home and do cozy things like baking bread and studying go.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Quote of the Day

Me, to the teens 'There is a homeschool field trip to the Crucibles play in a few weeks. Would you like to go?'
Sylvia 'I want to come!!!'
Me 'Um... You are not quite a teen yet.'
Sylvia 'Yes, I AM!'
Cees 'I am not sure whether I want to go, it is a PLAY!'
Me 'Your friends will be going'
Cees 'Hmm'
Me 'And the GIRLS will be going!'
Cees, still not convinced 'Hmm'
Sylvia perks up 'I am a girl!'
Sylvia 'Only one girl will be going.'
Cees 'Yes? Which girl will be going?'
Sylvia 'ME!!'

The joys of toddlers growing up too fast.


Sylvia hopping up and down, counting by herself, farther than she ever makes it:
'One, two, three, four, five, six, seven!'
Tara hears it and says 'Wow!'
Sylvia follows up with 'Eighteen, nineteen, fourteen, sixteen!'


We have quite some snow, but not too bad. Maybe 4 to 8 inches? Very windy though. Not going anywhere today, this will be a day to stay home and study go.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Happy March!

Winter Storm Warning

Statement as of 3:47 AM EST on March 01, 2007

... Winter Storm Warning in effect from 10 PM this evening to 7 PM EST Friday...

Total storm snowfall accumulations will range from 1 to 2 feet across the mountains and foothills of Maine and New Hampshire... 8 to 15 inches across the central and southern interior of Maine and New Hampshire... and 4 to 10 inches along the immediate coast of Maine and New Hampshire late tonight and Friday.

Travel may be nearly impossible during the height of the storm and significant delays of transportation of all types is likely. Heavy snow will quickly accumulate on roadways and significantly hamper travel. Some secondary roads may be untreated. Those that have to be out on the roads will need to use extreme caution and
allow plenty of extra time.