Thursday, December 31, 2009

Frosty The Snowman

Frosty is bigger than Jane!


They rolled snowball through the whole yard to get excellent results. The biggest problem is that they are hard to roll once they get bigger. And they even made them a tiny bit smaller again to make them rollable.


Great snow activity. Which they will repeat a lot this week.


Today, it is snowing.
Tomorrow, we will have snow.
Saturday, snow has been predicted.
Sunday, it will be snowing.
Monday, there is a chance of snow.


Gottalove winter in New Hampshire.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

RIP Socks

Our deer cat Socks passed away. Friday night he started to get sick, but it didn't seem that bad, throwing up and a somewhat complaining meow.


Saturday night he seemed to be feeling better, after throwing up a few times throughout the day, and not really wanting to do anything beyond laying around. We supposed we were over the worst when he perked up on Saturday night.


Sunday morning he passed away. We had a burial ceremony for him on Tuesday, after everyone could say goodbye to him.


We miss him. And Tiger has been missing since Halloween, so we went from three cats to just one.


Socks was only two years old, I have no idea what could have ailed him. He was uptodate on his shots.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Eve Shopping for Ramen Noodles

Most organized people have done all their Christmas grocery shopping by the time Christmas Eve rolls around, but we joined the 87.3% of our town's citizens who were not so organized. As usual on days like that, the supermarkets were full, but I did get almost all of my shopping done. Apart from the ramen noodles that is.


What kind of weirdos need ramen noodles for Christmas anyway you would ask. I mean, normal people eat turkey or goose or duck or tofurkey or lasagna. And cranberry sauce. Ramen noodles are not a traditional part of the Christmas menus.


But! My girls love to eat ramen noodles. A few years ago our local supermarket stopped carrying vegetarian ramen noodles though, leaving only ramen noodles with dead animals in it. Which of course they can't eat, being vegetarians and all that, even if they don't eat vegetables necessarily. For a few years, we did not buy any ramen noodles, which regularly got lamented over by Jane.


Just imagine how happy she was when a few days before Christmas, she found vegetarian ramen noodles in a bit farther away supermarket and got three packages to try them out. Happiness was found while eating them and they definitely did get the girls' seal of approval. Only we ran out pretty fast (only three packages after all) Jane declared that her Christmas would not be complete without more ramen noodles. Um... yeah, whatever.


We shopped in the closeby supermarket which did not have these vegetarian noodles. But thanks to it being Christmas Eve and me feeling that ramen noodles seem pretty darned cheap for everlasting happiness, we next drove to the somewhat farther away supermarket. Where we really didn't need anything but ramen noodles. I threw in some chocolate chips since they were on sale, resulting in a checkout of 14 packages of ramen noodles and 5 packages of chocolate chips. The cashier eyed us warily when we checked out our groceries. What kind of family would buy ramen noodles on Christmas Eve? 'Oh, she has all these kids and she isn't wearing a wedding ring, I bet they are all different fathers too! The poor dears should have a turkey instead of chocolate chips. Or ramen noodles for that matter.' Yes, I am good at reading people's inner thoughts, I am.
Posted by Picasa


Fifteen years after leaving The Netherlands, we still hold on to some Dutch traditions. One of them is celebrating Sinterklaas in early December.


Sinterklaas was the bishop of Myra and was very good to the local children. Dutch children celebrate the eve of his birthday by getting presents, delivered by Sinterklaas who rides his white horse over the roofs of Dutch houses. And he even manages to deliver a few presents to Dutch children in the US. Quite impressive.


Everyone got a huge chocolate initial letter. Last year the place I ordered messed it all up and they got delivered after Sinterklaas but this year I used another mailorder company ( ) and they actually not only delivered in time but also got the right letters! It's nice when things work out like that.


I am happy that I have been able to hold on to this particular Dutch custom, since so many others have not survived the move to the US. One thing I am trying to get better at is speaking Dutch to the kids, since it is so amazingly easy to slip into English when they speak English to me. My older kids are much better at understanding Dutch than my younger ones are, so that is one area where I still can improve and will have to improve. As opposed to all the other areas in my life which are perfect already, yes... Cough.

Posted by Picasa

Guardian of the Fireplace


Posted by Picasa

Ready for Snow

One reality of living in a snowy climate is that one always has to wear so many layers and snow clothes and it takes ages to get ready to go outside and it's even worse when you finally have everything on, you take one step outside, and you realize you have to pee.


It was even more fun with many little ones, when most of them were too little to put on all their own snow clothes and it would literally take me 20 minutes to get them all ready, only to have them come inside after 10 minutes, dropping 20 lbs of wet clothes all over the floor. We still have the 20 lbs of wet clothes, but at least all of them are old enough to dress themselves now.


Progress it is.


Anyway, sharing some 'getting ready to go outside, or just back from the frosty outdoors' pictures.


Did I mention we are having another snow storm today? I am ignoring it and drinking tea and getting stuff done around the house.
Posted by Picasa

What Happens when Siblings Help to Wrap Presents

One of Cees's presents, creatively wrapped by Jane.


Who needs elves when one has a large family?


Hope everyone had wonderful holidays, I know we did.
Posted by Picasa




Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 26, 2009

View from Our Study


Two red squirrels chasing each other. Almost as good as when I saw a grey squirrel climb a tree with a bagel in his mouth. A bagel which was about as big as the squirrel itself.


Nice to have free entertainment ^^
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 25, 2009

Before the Snow

Catching up on 'old' pictures, as in late November / early December before it started snowing.


And snowing.


And freezing.


Is it spring yet? ^^


One of my favorite hiking spots. Not like I can't go there in the winter, but I prefer the times of year when the pond isn't frozen yet.
Posted by Picasa

Pizza Pictures

Making individual pizzas is always popular in our house.


Most of the kids prefer just tomato sauce and cheese, but Dawn (and sometimes Sylvia) actually eat VEGETABLES!


Talking about pizza, I have to admit that I never ate pizza as a kid. In the Netherlands weird things like pizza were not particularly popular at first. Once they gained in popularity, it was not something my parents wanted ANYTHING to do with. Weird food! Unthinkable food! You SHUDDER when you even hear about it! Even spaghetti was frowned upon and never entered our house.


I didn't start eating pizza until I was a college student and discovered that not every meal in every household did consist of meat, boiled potatoes and boiled vegetables.


And now my kids don't think twice about making their own pizzas. Quite a jump from their grandmother who till this day STILL refuses to touch pizza. ('I don't like pizza!' 'Hmmm, did you ever try it?' 'NO!!! I just KNOW I don't like it.' 'Ok.....')
Posted by Picasa

Christmas Concert

It was a dark and stormy night. Or actually, it was a very cold night. It also was the night for Dawn's Christmas concert. I spent some time driving around kids, including dropping off Dawn at her concert location. All was well.


I arrived home and had to get her friends and siblings. My van had been giving me problems lately, stalling when it shouldn't, being a big pain in the you-know-what. The garage never can find any issues 'It works just fine, I have no idea what you are talking about, we can't find anything. We replaced one thingamajingy just to make you feel better. That's another $250 thankyouverymuch.' I eyed my van warily and briefly considered leaving it idling since we were leaving in ten minutes for the concert anyway. But the environment, and the polar bears and my natural optimism held me back from doing something so horrible. I turned off the car.


To come back ten minutes later, with many kids ready to go to the concert. Turned the key in the ignition. Nothing. Mumbled some not so good language under my breath, and tried again. Nothing. Prayed to the van gods. Nothing. Sent Kate out to kick the car. Nothing. Sacrificed a chicken. Nothing. Turned the key in the ignition again. Nothing.


Time to call friends and get rescued. Even if I felt 'guilty' about imposing, I accepted help and we made it to the concert. Almost in time. Apart from missing some of the band concert. Which was ok, since Dawn was in the chorus and we did get to watch all of her concert. All was well again ^^.

The next day, I called the garage and begged them to make the van work again and Christmas magic came to our rescue and it got fixed! I didn't see the bill yet, and not sure whether I want to know.
Posted by Picasa