December 4th, 2013 → 10:50 am @ Lianne
Children dressed in costumes, singing songs at the top of their lungs, line the dock of the harbor in our small village in the Netherlands on the afternoon of November 16. A steamboat purportedly from Spain putters in carrying the group that the kids have waited nearly a year to see again: the Sint and his helpers.
As the ship arrives at the dock and the occupants disembark, the singing transforms into a high-pitched frenzy. With his red coat and long white beard, Sinterklaas looks an awful lot like Santa, but the similarities end there. He’s tall and skinny; he wears a white cassock with a red cape, holds a staff, and his tall red hat has a yellow cross on it. His boat arrives from his home in “Spain” at this time every year.1
He brings his Zwarte Piets (“Black Petes”), the local equivalent of Santa’s elvish helpers, although we never use that word; they’re always called by name. There’s no North Pole and no snow for this bearded guy and his friends.
—– This article was written for The Magazine. To continue reading follow this link!
June 25th, 2012 → 7:46 am @ Lianne
I really struggled with the idea that I was going to have a baby far away from Canada and everything I knew.
I debated flying home to have my baby, then realized that would not work as my husband couldn’t just come and hang out for 6-8 weeks while we waited. So I accepted that I would be having my baby here in Amsterdam, without my family and booked a ticket for 6 weeks after his “official” due date.
Lots of time right? Little did I know that he would be 3 weeks late.
Adam (my son) and I flew to Canada when he was less than 3 weeks old, 20 days to be exact. I packed light, wrapped him up into a tight little ball against my chest and left for the airport.
That was my first flight with a child. I have had many since then with my 2, 3 and then 4 kids. I always travel to Canada alone, and my husband meets us later. I have traveled with newborns, while pregnant, with toddlers, crawlers, restless kids and sick ones. I’ve been spit on, thrown up on, dropped food on, slept on – and yet to this day I never bring a spare shirt for myself…
You can read the rest of this blog post at Amsterdam mamas
May 16th, 2012 → 9:37 am @ Lianne
My kids speak “D’English”, a twist on the word “Franglais” that we used to describe speaking French and English at the same time, when I grew up. D’English is our word for Dutch and English bilingualism.
I was raised in French and English. My mother is the English Canadian, my father the French one. We went to school in French, spoke to my dad in French, TV was English, Mom was English, friends were both. It happened without effort. We lived in a bilingual city. Every one we knew was bilingual.
Now I live in Holland. I’ve mastered the Dutch language (yes, congratulations are in order…) but I am and will always be Canadian, which means we are raising our kids in English and in Dutch. But it’s a bit trickier than it was where I grew up – here, everyone only speaks Dutch; schools are Dutch, friends are Dutch, daily life is Dutch.
Read the rest of the article @amotherworld
May 10th, 2012 → 11:36 am @ Lianne
We just came back from a week in the dandelions. We ran threw them, rolled in them and even ate them. We made necklaces, clipped them in our hair and even made dandelion syrop. Our shoes got stained, our eyes are still seeing visions of yellow.
Imagine this: great friends, amazing food appearing every night, rolling hills of yellow and green, trees in full blossom, kids taking care of kids… That’s exactly what our week was like. I was going to say the best part was: xxx but actually it was all “the best part”. How great is it to be somewhere where the kids entertain themselves all day outside. The bigger kids took care of the little ones, not because anyone asked but because they wanted to. My youngest hardly put any feet on the ground as she was carried from place to place by the “teens” and had a new hair-style every hour. In fact, one day when I actually thought about making lunch for my kids, she looked at my and said: “Mo-om, I already HAD a picnic…”. Oh…
Every night someone took charge of cooking & cocktails. Do you know that there are some people that actually love to cook? I was happy to chop and help and was usually provided with a glass of something to sweeten the deal. For 6 nights, we ate amazing food that I didn’t make myself. How great is that?
Now we are back and I’m cooking my regular weekly repertoire longing already for next year’s feast…
Daughter Francesca and I walking a 3 hour gig…
Olivia and Julia walking…
March 29th, 2012 → 10:47 am @ Lianne
I remember the first days thinking “I’m not that tired, in fact I’m not really tired at all”. Everyone had told me I would be tired and I wasn’t. I was pretty excited that I would be an exception… Then it hit me. Ka-bang! One can only sustain so many night time wake ups and restless sleeping. I was also breast-feeding, what felt like, all the time. And boy, was I tired. I did try and sleep in the afternoons, tried to get to bed ‘early’ but the nights – well it’s just not a good thing to be woken up 3-4 times a night. It’s one of the few things that just doesn’t make sense in the development of a baby.
Fast forward to #4 and I can tell you that the tired I thought I felt was nothing compared to the tiredness after my 4th was born. I was used to living in a constant flow of exhaustion so figured I’d already hit the bottom. Wrong. I made it through the days in large part, due to my body’s adrenaline and second, because we all slept every single afternoon. All 5 of us (me and the 4 kids), from 1-3pm (4pm) if I was lucky.
Today, while all of the kids sleep through the night, I still haven’t caught up on my sleep. I still feel tired all the time but it’s all relative now. I’m much less tired than I was a couple of years ago…
Here is the “short” answer from my book Babies 0-6 months
Tip# 20 Mom, the first weeks:
Funny that despite the fact that everyone and their dogs tell us that we will be exhausted, we can’t actually imagine how we will feel until we are in it. If this is your first child, then sleep (or rest) when the baby sleeps.. If you are breastfeeding, increase your food intake because you are now really eating for two, so good nutrition is very important. The production of breast milk and feeding can be exhausting on its own. Getting your baby into a night rhythm will also help.
March 18th, 2012 → 9:21 am @ Lianne
Imagine this: steam rooms, dry saunas, baths, a huge indoor/outdoor pool, jacuzzis, warm temperatures, water beds for relaxing, color rooms, silent rooms, salt rooms, massages, scrubs, perfect showers and no kids… bliss.
Now imagine this 100% naked with men and women. A lot of them. Still feel relaxing?
Read the rest of this blog post at amotherworld.com http://bit.ly/yVtFWF
March 5th, 2012 → 5:00 am @ eric
Yesterday my kids all wanted to walk to school – it’s only a five minute walk from our house but we usually bike because as you know, every extra morning minute is like gold – at least in our house. Those actual three minutes saved by biking ensure that all of the kids teeth get brushed or that I get everyone’s hair done, not just the first person I happen to start with.
So off they went, out the back door and towards the path that leads to school. As I finished packing my bag for the day and getting my bike key (which I needed to get to the bus stop after the school drop off), I noticed that they had all left their backpacks on the floor. So I changed my plan of taking the “normal” bike and threw everything into my Bicycle Built for six and sped off after them.
Read the rest of this blog post @ohbabymagazine
February 22nd, 2012 → 6:43 am @ eric
I have just arrived home from two hours of ice-skating. The whole country is frozen which means every waterway is skate-able – and I would dare say that there are more waterways than roads here. Sounds pretty decadent doesn’t it? Drop off the kids, put on my skates, then come home and get some work done. But let me tell you, I wasn’t alone on the ice.
The Dutch don’t think twice about not going to work because there is ice to skate on or it’s a hot sunny day.
Is it decadent? Or is it part of the reason that the Dutch, in general, are more balanced – and therefore happier -than North Americans?
Read the rest of this blog @amotherworld.com
February 20th, 2012 → 5:02 am @ eric
One of the first great advantages of having all of my kids at school occurred during this last week: Skating.
The tiny country of Holland froze completely, every water way, canal, pond, creek, lake – totally and completely frozen, which meant – skating, skating and more skating. And when I say skating – I mean on those long skates that you can speed with. There is more water than road here so hundreds of kilometers of skate-able ice. Bliss. I love to skate.
To see the rest of the blog have a look at OhBabyMagazine.com
January 31st, 2012 → 11:32 am @ Lianne
We have had 2 days of below zero here in NL. That is cause enough for people to get their skates sharpened and to develop a crazy level of skate frenzy stress that you’d have to see to believe.
There is no ice yet – ok – actually there is a very thin layer of ice developing over the canals and ponds in the countryside. A very thin layer right now. But it’s ice.
There is such a hope for skating that they have turned off some of the wind turbines that pump water through the canals to give it more chance of freezing and I read in the paper this morning that they have banned boats from cruising out on certain ponds. The “ice men” are frequently checking for new mm’s (millimeters, not m&m chocolate…), getting rid of any debris they see floating in the water.
The official amount of mm’s (see above…) for skating is 7cm ( i think). From a Canadian’s standpoint – that sure doesn’t sound like a lot – but I must admit I have been out there – and on occasion, as one of the first. We go out with a rope and pick in case we go through the ice. The idea being that you can throw the rope out to someone and/or use the pick (looks like a screwdriver – in fact, my husband sometimes brings a screwdriver…) to give you grip to get out of the ice. I’ve never fallen through though I have gotten a wet foot – but we have seem people fall through – even offered one guy a hot shower once. The water is cold after all…
The ice can be so thin that it moves when you are skating. You can hear it cracking and re-adjusting. It rarely freeze under the many bridges so the ice-men make smaller wooden bridges to get over the water.
I must also say that almost everywhere that we are likely to skate, the water depth is no more than 2m – in many case even less… so that helps put the 7cm in perspective – right?
People will not go to work in order to skate – and it will be ok as the boss will also be skating. They will cancel vacations, meetings, find babysitters, let go of all other responsibility. There will be impromptu hot chocolate stalls set up on the ice (we did that one year and made a killing!), and everyone everywhere will be happy. I mean, really really Happy.
Our friends will flock in droves. The emails and tweets about the ice are already starting. My husband (as well as many of our neighbors) has his own skate sharpener which he’ll be using this week to get everyones skates ready.
I love to skate. Speed skating that is. With the long blades and leather boots. Skating over the ponds, through the grassy swamplands, rosy cheeks and cold feet, huge smiles on everyone I see – it’s up there in my favorite things to do.
So. Let There Be Ice!!!