Thursday, April 30, 2009

Man charged with trying to attack Dutch royal family

(CNN - Edited by Niels) -- Dutch police charged a man with trying to attack the royal family Thursday after he crashed a car near a bus carrying Queen Beatrix and her family, police said.

Four people were killed and 13 injured in the incident. The driver is in hospital, badly injured, she said. It was not clear if he was one of the 13 injured.

The police are not releasing the name of the driver whose car careered toward a crowd of people who were watching the Dutch royal family riding past in an open-top bus.

Queen Beatrix was in the bus with her family when the black hatchback zoomed past. The car crashed into the low metal railing around a column on the side of the road.

The car also appeared heavily damaged even before the crash presumably from the impact with the people the car collided with when running through the lines of people attending the parade.

Sad Day in NL

English language

Four dead as Queen's Day celebrations turn into tragedy

(RNW) - A car ploughed into a crowd of people in Apeldoorn today during an official visit there by the Dutch royal family. Four people were killed and 13 wounded. The authorities say it was a deliberate action.

An unidentified man in a black Suzuki Swift plowed into a crowd of onlookers in Apeldoorn, 90 kilometres southeast of Amsterdam, during a visit to the city by the Dutch royal family on the occasion of Queen's Day. Eyewitnesses, which included NRC Handelsblad photographer Merlin Daleman, said the driver "clearly intended" to ram the bus carrying the royal family on its way to the royal palace 't Loo.

The Royal Family reacting to the crash

At a press conference at 3.45 p.m., authorities said four people have been killed. Thirteen people were wounded, five of whom are in serious condition.

The driver, a 38-year-old native Dutchman, has been arrested but he could not be interrogated by police as he was being operated on. Authorities did confirm that it was a deliberate action.

Eyewitnesses say the black Suzuki crashed through the crowd barriers at the Jachtlaan at 11.50 a.m. with a speed of about 80 kilometres per hour. He was headed in the direction of the open bus carrying the royal family, which had just turned onto the Loolaan. The car came to a stop when it hit a monument on the corner of the Loolaan. Crown prince Willem Alexander and princess Máxima immediately jumped up and covered their mouths in consternation.

According to eyewitnesses, the black Suzuki had been seen earlier in the day on the Amerfoortsesteenweg. "The car was stopped by police," an eyewitness told Radio 1 news. "He turned onto a side street and took off at high speed... The driver was a 25 or 26-year old man." Other eyewitnesses added that the man was white.

After it crashed, firefighters had to use electric saws to get the drive out of the car. Around 12.17 p.m. he was carried into an ambulance. His body was not covered with a white sheet, which implies that he was still alive at the time.

The bus carrying the royal family continued to the royal palace 't Loo in Apeldoorn. The government information service RVD and the mayor of Apeldoorn later announced that all festivities for Queen's Day in Apeldoorn were cancelled. Many festivities elsewhere were also being cancelled.

Queen's Day is the commemoration of the birthday of queen Juliana (1909-2004). Over the years it has grown into a nationwide celebration of Dutchness and togetherness, attracting crowds of up to 800,000 people in Amsterdam alone.

Gelukkig Koninginnedag!

Happy Official Queensday to all our Dutch loved ones!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Day in the Life of Daniel

Next Thursday my mommy's group is going to do a scrapbooking day. I've wanted to scrapbook for quite a while and have collected some supplies, but I'm having a hard time getting started. As I was thinking about it, it occured to me that this blog is a big of a digital scrapbook. With my memory the way it is (or isn't, as the case may be), making little mundane entries is the way I'm remembering my boy's early days.

Now that Daniel is starting to get into a routine, I thought I'd post a bit about an every day for Daniel the 4-almost-5-month-old*:

5-6a: wake up, bottle with Daddy, then back to sleep
7:30 - 8a: wake up, get dressed, new diaper, bottle with Mommy
8:15a: playtime (exersaucer, play mat, exercise with Mommy, story)
9a: naptime (or snuggle time)
11a: bottle with Mommy, diaper change
11:15a: play time or errands
Noon: naptime
2p: bottle with Mommy, diaper change
2:15: play time
3p: naptime
5p: bottle with Mommy or Daddy, diaper change
5:30p: swing or bumbo while Mommy and Daddy make dinner and eat
6:30p – play with daddy
8p – bedtime: (bath), PJs, story, bottle, prayer, and special song
11p – bed bottle

* all times are approximate to keep Mommy and Daddy on their toes!

Finally doing something with the pictures...

It's sort of a running joke that we are great at taking pictures, but we have very few pictures displayed in our house. Thank God for this blog or our friends and family around the world would never see us...or more importantly, Daniel!

Dutch dad really liked this picture I took of Daniel a few weeks ago (That's, right, I, Jen, took the picture, not Mr. I-Worked-In-My-Dad's-Photo-Shop-Since-I-Was-11, aka, my husband, Niels. Dutch dad did a little photoshop magic to take away the pesky power lines and sent the picture back to us. We decided not to procrastinate so we got it enlarged and bought a frame, in record time.

Now...where to hang it?

Update: hangs on the wall on the 2nd floor landing.

A whole lot of good and a bit of not-so-good

If months were years and our marriage was a person, we'd be totally legal. Today Niels and I celebrate our 21st month of marriage! Life is good in the de Jong household. Everyone is finally healthy. Daniel slept through the night for the first time in weeks last night. I wrote Daniel's little book. And recently, we've crossed off a few big items on our to-do list. Daniel now has his American passport (with the cutest little photo ever!). We have the apostille (international notary) for his Dutch passport and just have to have more photos taken. And thanks to our tax return (and little Tax Deduction), we were able to knock off quite a few expenses, like all the medical expenses for Daniel's birth, plane tickets for our big trip to The Netherlands in December, another trip to AZ to see Gramma Chi and introduce Daniel to his Great-Gramma Ann, and the big ticket item: paying off the HELOC (loan against my condo)!!

When I lost my job after my second TBI, I had a few months savings to live off of while my house sold. Except it didn't sell. I lowered the price, fixed it up with new carpet and paint, and it still didn't sell. I used up my savings and moved on to my 401k. When that was gone and it still hadn't sold, I started using the equity (ha!) I thought I had acquired in eight years of paying extra on my mortgage. I used that money to pay bills, including my huge COBRA payment each month for health insurance. The loan represented 18 months of desperate living, frustration and a not-so-pretty season of my life as I wondered what God could possibly have in store for me now that I was "medically" retired with a full life of expenses ahead. Enter my sweet husband, Niels, who somehow managed to fall in love with me at my worst.

Since I am the one who handles our finances, I'm the one who has felt the double burden of this debt. I had been debt free other than my home before my head injury, and I felt a little guilty for bringing that debt into our marriage. But last week, we made the last payment and we're thrilled with the huge emotional and financial burden that has been lifted. It feels great to close that chapter.

The little bit of not-so-good is the unfortunate end to the book. Today, there is a sheriff sale for my condo. It's unlikely that a buyer will make a purchase given Everhome's terms, but it's the last big step in the process before the foreclosure takes place. The condo has been one frustration after another for the last 2 years, and finally it will revert back to the lender and I can wipe my hands of it. Some have tried to comfort me by saying that in a few years, most everyone will have some sort of blemish like this on their record. Niels told me it doesn't matter than my credit is toast because everything is based on his income now anyway. But I've always prided myself in my ability to handle finances and so it's frustrating to lose my ability to work in this economy. I tried to sell the house for three years. We paid double mortgages for 18 months. I used up my savings and 401K trying to stay current. I found renters for a short while. I fixed it up, lowered the price, tried for a short sale. And I got royally screwed in the process. It's hard not to be bitter about it, but it's over and we're moving on.

Besides, it's only a little bit of not-so-good and there is way too much good to celebrate in my life instead.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

He is his Father's Son: exhibit b

Photo of the Week: Week 19

This is my favorite picture from the "purple blanket session" this week. You can see more here.

Video: Daniel Rolls Over!!

After many attempts, I have captured Daniel rolling over. He can go both ways, but he definitely prefers to go from back to tummy...especially at night when he's supposed to be sleeping!

Daniel's Zoo Commentary

Daniel has found his voice. And from what we've been told, his baby talk must be combination of Dutch and English. His coos are not the normal "oohs" and "ahhs." He seems to favor consonants, especially the Dutch "g" sound. When he's not making those sounds, he does a little singy-screamy demonstrated here...

Daniel and Daddy Discuss the Zoo

Monday, April 27, 2009

Daniel's first trip to the zoo

This picture pretty much sums up Daniel's impression of the zoo. I think we blew his mind! He loved the aquarium. (That's always mom's favorite part, too). He was mesmerized by the fish. I think Niels and I had more fun watching him than the animals.

You can see more pictures from our adventure here.

Koninginnedag 2009

Koninginnedag, or Queens Day, is a national holiday in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles, and Aruba...and Cleveland, Ohio! Celebrated on April 30, Queen's Day commemorates the birthday of the Queen of the Netherlands and is supposed to be a day of national unity and "togetherness" (Dutch: saamhorigheid). The tradition started on August 31, 1885 on the birthday of Princess Wilhelmina, later Queen Wilhelmina. Since 1949, after the ascension of Queen Juliana, Queen's Day is Queen Juliana's birthday on April 30. Although Queen Beatrix's birthday is on January 31, she officially celebrates her birthday on April 30, which people generally appreciate because the weather is much nicer! Because the royal color is orange, people will wear orange anything and everything, which is sometimes called "orange craze" (Dutch: oranjegekte).

Niels and I attended our third Koninginnedag celebration together at a country club not too far from us. We are definitely among the younger in the crowd, but it's fun to see the "Old Dutch." This time we sat next to a man who fought in World War 2, and survived the "hunger winter." He came to the States after the war to live with a relative and later became an American citizen.

Later we were joined by a couple and their two boys. The man was born in Holland, his wife is from Jamaica. They met while he was on vacation, married, and moved to the US. He gave up his Dutch citizenship and became an American.

The actual event includes a little ceremony and the singing of the Queen's song, but mostly it's a chance to hang out with other Dutchies and eat Dutch food. There are always several young women dressed in traditional Dutch outfits serving finger foods. They served Gouda cheese, chicken skewers with peanut sauce, raw herring (which Niels ate!), stuffed mushrooms and little meatballs called bitterballen. Since we're still trying new recipes, I think we'll need to add that last one to our list...Yum! We had fun teaching a few of the servers Dutch words, and it was cool to watch them try them out with success. After a dinner of beef, potatoes, asperagus and pasta, the desserts were served: almond cookies, almond pastries, stroopwafels (caramel waffels), ginger cookies and more. Before we left we made a goodie bag for our good friend, Ashley, who was watching our little Dutch boy.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Inspiration Struck!

A few days ago I wrote about wanting to write a children's book for Daniel. Actually, there are several books I'd like to write for Daniel. The problem, of course, is that when I sustained my head injury, the parts of the brain from which creativity and organization flow were messed up. I sometimes get a flash of an idea, but then I can't do anything with it because I can't get started. It's not a matter of focus or determination, it's just that my mind has a hard time breaking down a project into smaller parts to figure out the right sequence. As an example, it took me over six months to make a statement with the company where I fell because I couldn't think to put my medical statements in chronological order. It actually took help from someone else to do that. I'm better now, but nowhere near where I'd need to be to actually resume my writing career. For the most part, I've made peace with that, but I still long to write something lasting for my son.

We've been talking a lot about sleep lately in the de Jong household. Mostly because we aren't getting much of it. Daniel used to sleep through the night, but a few weeks ago, he decided he needed to wake up every three hours. Niels gets up with him at night so that shouldn't be a problem for me...except that I am a light sleeper and Niels is anything but. So Daniel wakes me up, I wake Niels up, Niels feeds the baby, falls back asleep and I'm still up.

So tonight I was thinking about all this and an idea started simmering in my head for a bedtime book about a little boy who doesn't want to go to bed, but once he does, has exciting dreams and then doesn't want to get up in the morning. It was like old times and the words started coming. (Most of my published book was written between 1am and 4am, for whatever reason, creativity never seemed to strike when the sun was out). I knew I'd lose it if I slept on it, so I got up and wrote the whole thing. Then I found little graphics and make it into a PowerPoint presentation. Then I printed it out and made a mock up. Yes, I'm quite pleased with myself.

Daniel is too young to appreciate my efforts, so I woke up Niels at 3am to read him my story. He didn't share my enthusiasm at first, but when he realized I wrote something, he was a trooper and listened. He even laughed at the funny parts. I love my husband. And I love my little story for my son.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Little Dutch Boy

Daniel is going to stay home with Aunt Ashley tonight when Mommy and Daddy go out (alone!) to celebrate Koninginnedag (Queens Day). Here he is celebrating on his own.

The Tide Has Turned

It's hard to tell because Daniel is all about his toes these day and isn't stretched out, but...drum roll...Daniel now weighs more than Bailey. As you can see, Bailey still isn't ready to let Daniel give her any tummy rubs quite yet, but her days of physical dominance are over! Score - Bailey: 13 pounds, 1 ounce, Daniel: 13 pounds, 8 ounces.

Daniel in Purple

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Daniel and the slurf

Our friend, Dr. Jen, bought Daniel this big soft elephant. It's been a fun prop to use when taking pictures of our growing boy. Fortunately, he cooperated for this picture.

Fun fact: the Dutch word for elephant trunk is slurf.

Knuffels met Papa

With Niels and I both battling the flu these past few days, things were pretty low key around the house. Daniel was especially accomodating, for which we were very appreciative! He mostly just cuddled with us as we watched TV. Here he is, looking cute, cuddling with Daddy.

Wonder Weeks

Not that we have much free time for reading, but I came across a book that is really helping me understand what Daniel is going through. It's called The Wonder Weeks: The Most Important Developmental Weeks In Your Baby's First Year by Dutch married couple, Hetty Vanderijt, Ph.D and Frans Plooij, Ph. D

In a nutshell, two neuroscientists have done some research showing that just as a baby as physical growth spurts and milestones, he (or she) has neuro spurts and milestones. And just like baby gets fussy and has sleep patterns interrupted during physical spurts, he has the same thing with these neuro spurts.

What is helpful for me to understand is why the baby is so fussy during this times. Basically, what happens is that each milestone represents a new paradigm in his thinking, so his brain has to rewire everything he's learned so far to fit this new paradigm. For example, at 19 weeks (approx), baby learns the concept of events. Events in this context means that things happening in a series make up a whole. For example, we see someone waving their hand, baby (before this milestone) thinks, "Oooh! the hand moves!...Oooh! the hand moves!" After the event, the baby thinks, "Someone is waving at me." So the brain (usually at night, when there is less stimulation) has to go back and look at everything else he has been exposed to and decide what other things are events. Think of how you feel after a busy brain day, and you'll feel a little more compassion for that cranky baby at 3am. (At least, that's what I tell myself!)

Anyway, the book is organized into each event, at weeks 5, 8, 12, 19, 26, 37, 46, and 55. Each chapter is pretty thorough but very readable, with the following sections:
* the week's fussy signs
* quotes from parents in this stage
* My Diary (a checklist of things to look for)
* how this leap may affect you (as the parent)
* how your baby's new skills emerge
* the magical leap forward (what it looks like when the baby has accomplished the big task of the stage)
*what you can do to help
* games to play this wonder week
* top toys for this wonder week
* after the leap...

I've just gotten into it, but really like it so far...

You can find a good summary of all the stages here.

Daniel's New Toy

Daniel is just starting to be interested in toys and, in particular, reaching out for them. We decided to get him a play mat to help him work on this new skill. Here he is, in action.

Sleeping Handsome

On Sunday, after church and Daniel's first foray into the nursery, Niels and I took a drive to look at houses, particularly landscaping. For those who have seen the front of our house, we're sure you're applauding our effort (Step 1: Admit you have a problem, Step 2: Get ideas for fixing the problem...). As you can see, Daniel doesn't yet share our interest in home improvement.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sick House

Apparently there's some sort of 24 hour flu going around. You know I picked it up right away. Friday night I spent a lot of quality time in the bathroom. Saturday I was pretty exhausted and rested most of the day. Then Sunday night, my uber healthy husband caught the bug and has been as sick as I've ever seen him. Now he's resting and we're hoping that we kept Daniel healthy!

Generation Ex is Five Years Old

I don't usually use this blog for anything related to my writing career, but today is a milestone. My book, Generation Ex: Adult Children of Divorce and the Healing of Our Pain, released five years ago today. It's hard to believe that so much time has passed already, but when I think of all that has happened in that time, I'm amazed it's been that long!

I wrote Generation Ex as a single career woman, living in Grand Rapids, Michigan in a townhouse with my dog. At the time, I wondered if I'd ever marry and if I did, if I would ever achieve the marriage of my dreams.

I'm writing this blog post as a married, stay-at-home mom, living in Canton, Ohio in a house with my husband, my son, and my dog. The man I married amazes me every day and I have no doubt that I have the marriage of my dreams.

Five years ago, when my book released, I was just a few short months removed from sustaining the head injury that killed my ability to write (among many other things). Most of that year is lost in the fog of forgetfulness. I spent more time in rehab than I did promoting my book, and so it wasn't a huge surprise that GE went out of print a year later, and that I was unable to fulfill my contract for a follow-up with another publisher. Fortunately, one of the interviews I did do was with Family Life. And conversations there led to another contract, a reprint of the book without the updates and revisions I had hoped for, but was physically unable to do.

It's been a good arrangement, and I think Family Life will keep my book in print for a long time. My book was never intended to be an instant best-seller, and other than occasional spikes on the Amazon rankings, I doubt it ever will be. What it has been, however, is a quiet word-of-mouth, pass-it-around life changer. And really, how can I complain about that? I've been humbled to receive emails almost every week from readers who tell me that the book has helped them find healing and restoration in their relationships. I know of about ten books that have quoted Generation Ex. I know of pastors who refer to it when they teach on divorce and remarriage. I know of a couple of marriages that have been saved in part because of it. I know of sorority groups that have gone through the book together. I know of counselors who recommend the book to both parent and adult child. I'm humbled and proud to have written a book that is making a lasting difference in people's lives.

I still struggle with the loss of my ability to write. I still have the excel spreadsheet I had posted in my office in my townhome. I had one hundred book ideas, including eight series that I still believe would be marketable and successful today, and more so than GE because of their broader audience. Just reviewing the titles now stirrs my heart again with that old writing muse, and I'm encouraged by the occasional flashes of my "old head," but alas, my broken brain doesn't remember how to get started. There is a children's series on my list, and I hopethat maybe I can start there someday. I have a book I want to write for Daniel, about being a Dutch-American. Maybe I can start there. What I would give to be able to start again...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Another Big Day For Daniel

Today was another big day for Daniel...his first day in the church nursery. We've been taking him with us into the service up until now, partly because he would usually sleep through the whole thing, and partly (mostly) because I wasn't ready to let him go for 90 minutes. But we decided that we would start putting him in the nursery at 4 months so he could get used to the nursery staff before stranger anxiety sets in. Since last week was Easter, we didn't figure that would be a good first week, so today it was!

We ended up going to the 11:30 service because I was still getting over the 24 hour flu and needed a little more rest. This is a slower service so the 0-9 month olds are grouped with the 1 & 2 year olds. When we arrived with Daniel, the nice nursery ladies all oohed and awwed over him because he was the only baby. We timed it right because it was his naptime. We told the staff that he usually napped in his swing, but he was held in the arms of a nice lady named Jen the whole time! (Four months old and he's already got the ladies swooning over him). He did really well and slept until the last few minutes of the service. The standard is that they don't page the parents unless the baby has been crying ten minutes. Poor boy woke up and didn't recognize anyone so he started screaming. We heard him as we were coming down the hall!

It took a little while to comfort him and assure him that we weren't ditching him. We took him for a nice car ride on the way home and he fell asleep again. Hopefully next week he'll sleep the whole service and eventually come to make some friends in the nursery.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

First Outdoor Photoshoot

He is his Father's Son

NEWSFLASH: Daniel rolls over!

Yesterday was a big day. One minute Daniel was on his back and when I looked at him again, he was mid roll. That puts his first roll from back to tummy at 4 months and five days. It has since become his favorite thing to do when he's on the floor, though he gets a little shy when I pull out the camera. After 5 rolls in a row, I went to change the camera battery. When I came back, I found this:

Menches on Wednesday

As part of our ongoing socialization of Daniel/meat consumption goals, we have been going to a local restaurant, Menches, to take advantage of their two-for-one burger special. It's not quite as good as Culvers, but close!

Here are a few pictures for yesterday's adventure:

I Corinthians 13 for Moms

Read this on another site that I frequent and thought I'd share it with all those other Mom's out there that might take a glance at my blog. Enjoy.

If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place,
but have not love,
I am a housekeeper, not a homemaker.

If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements,
but have not love,
my children learn cleanliness, not godliness.

If I scream at my children for every infraction,
and fault them for every mess they make,
but have not love,
my children become people-pleasers, not obedient children.

Love leaves the dust in search of a child's laugh.
Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.
Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.
Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.

Love accepts the fact that I am the ever-present "mommy,"
the taxi-driver to every childhood event,
the counselor when my children fail or are hurt.

Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, and runs with the child,
then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.

Before I became a mother I took glory in my house of perfection.
Now I glory in God's perfection of my child.

All the projections I had for my house and my children
have faded away into insignificance,
And what remain are the memories of my kids.

Now there abides in my home scratches on most of the furniture,
dishes with missing place settings,
and bedroom walls full of stickers, posters and markings,
But the greatest of all is the Love
that permeates my relationships with my children.

-Adapted by Jim Fowler

Welcome, Noah Jacob!!

Early yesterday morning, our good friends, Joel (Niels' best man) and Carolyn, welcomed their first child into the world, Noah Jacob! I adore the name Noah, it reminds me of one of my favorite boys in China. We couldn't be happier for Joel and Carolyn, and we can't wait to meet their little man.

Congrats, Vriends!,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy 8th Birthday, Bailey!

For some, April 15 is Tax Day. Here in the de Jong household, it's Bailey Day. On April 15, 2001, Bailey Grace Abbas de Jong was born, along with the others in her litter, to a proud momma Shih Tzu in South Dakota. After a few stops, she came to live with me in September 2001. In September of 2006, she met the man who would become her daddy, what I'm pretty sure she considers the best gift of her life. In April 2007, she moved in with her new daddy (and I rejoined her in July). In December 2007, she became a big sister to Daniel Joel, though she's not quite as appreciative of that gift.

Happy Birthday, Bailey!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Photo of the Week: Week 17

We say he has "galaxy" eyes. It looks like they are staying blue, but there's a bit of green and brown thrown in there, too! Double click on the picture for a closer look.

Now I'm just having fun with the picture...

Black & White...
Color Sketch:
Black & White Sketch:

The Internet Dutch Alphabet

Dutch Alphabet

Only in Dutch is B for Beer (Bier)

Dutch Alphabet Song

Animals (in Dutch)

Counting to 100 in Dutch

Colors in Dutch

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dutch Sesame Street

We're on our learning Dutch...

Dutch Sesame Street

Daniel's first Easter

Yesterday was a crazy day for the de Jong household. First of all, it was Easter, the most important day in the Christian calendar. For us, Easter season is also a happy time because it was on Easter weekend last year that we learned Daniel was in the oven. Our original plans were to go to Canada this weekend, but by Thursday night, our plans changed and we looked forward to a quiet weekend at home.

Even though it's Daniel's first Easter, we didn't make a big deal out of it. We'll wait til next year when he's a little older. Instead, we put him in one of his cute outfits and headed off of to church. Our church had a very thought-provoking set up for Good Friday, kind of a modern stations of the cross. We had Daniel in the Baby Bjorn and he was so good. For Easter, he was a little more fussy, but after a bottle from Daddy, he was ready to take in the sights. He's becoming much more aware of his surroundings, and is especially interested in video, which our church likes to use.

After church we hung at home for a little while before heading to some friends' house for dinner. We were thinking all our friends and family around the world and gave Daniel a little geography lesson:

Gelukkige Pasen, Oma & Opa!
Fu Hua Jie Kuai Le, Kennedys!
Happy Easter, Gramma Chi...
...And Grampa Elmer...
...and Canadians!

Around 1, we left for the Lipfords and had a fun, enjoying meal with really delicious ham! Daniel wasn't feeling the camera so unfortunately, we didn't get any great pictures of him.

When we got home, I started to feel a little sick, so I went for a nap in the China room. I was freezing so I kept adding covers until I had a sheet, 2 blankets, comforter and 2 duvets. And still my teeth were chattering. I was taking my temperature every 20 minutes until it hit 100.7. Niels gave me some Tylenol and I was able to sleep a little. I was afraid I was coming down with mastitis again. By about 9pm, the fever broke and I started feeling much better. This morning, my temp is normal and milk production is improving so I'm hoping I had my own Easter miracle.

Such is another crazy day in the de Jong house.

Crazy Belgians!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

And so it begins...

First this...
Then this...

Daniel and E. were making eyes at each other the whole time we were at booby class.

And yes, our boy is sporting a skullet. Not quite as cool as a fauxhawk, but he wears it well!

Daniel's New Friend

At this point developmentally, many four-year-olds have found a lovey, a favorite toy or blanket that comforts them. Daniel hasn't shown a lot of interest in anything other than Mommy, Daddy and his soothie (pacifier), so we were kind of wondering if he would have a lovey. Yesterday, Niels stayed with Daniel for some boy time, while I ran some errands around town. While at Marshalls, I saw this Baby Einstein fish and decided to get it for Daniel. He loves it! Right away, he started kissing it and holding on to it by it's gills. Since he hasn't really grabbed anything, it was a lot of fun to watch him get so excited about something. It plays a 10 second tune and vibrates, which just entrances him. Unfortunately, when the sound stops, he gets upset and wants it to play again, so we'll have to tell him Vissy needs sleep when it's nap time!

Gravity Makes Chubby Cheeks

Passport #1...

Our little boy is not only our son, but since he has a Dutch daddy and an American mommy he is officially a dual citizen of both the United States and the Netherlands. Yesterday we took the first of many steps to get the necessary paperwork done to get all the official papers for his passports.

First stop was actually needed for his Dutch passport and registration , but since we were in downtown Akron, we decided to get 2 certified copies of our Marriage Certificate. Those, together with 2 certified Birth Certificates we got after he was born are needed for an Apostille (a simplified international notary) which is done by the State government that is in turn a requirement to get the Dutch stuff going.

The second stop was at the Akron post-office to get his US passport since that is the easy one. We got his birth certificate, my green card and mommy's passport and a filled-in DS-11 (application for a US passport). We got some new pictures for him in his latest cutesy outfit, since the previous ones were not entirely correct and $100 later we walked out with a confirmation number and in 4 to 6 weeks we should have his US passport.

For the Dutch passport, we sent off the 2 copies of the Birth Certificate and our Marriage License to Columbus for the Apostille. Once those are back, we need to get 2 more pictures and can make an appointment at the Dutch consulate in Elyria to get his Dutch passport.

To make everything completely official, we'll also send 1 of the Birth Certificates and Marriage Licenses to The Hague to get both our marriage and Daniel registered in the Netherlands.

Fun stuff... ;-)

Here's Daniel is his passport outfit. Doesn't he look ready to travel?!

Speaking of seeing the world, we were doing a little looking at Lowe's yesterday and made a great find! We've been wanting to find a play mat so we can create a play area for Daniel in the back living room once he gets a little more mobile. Something with a little gate that we can put him in to play and see him while making dinner, etc. We didn't even know Lowe's had playmats, and then we found this world map one. Now Daniel can learn where in the world all our loved ones are! (Still working on finding the gate/play yard thing, but we're one step closer!)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Rosemary-Grilled London Broil

from the Biggest Loser Cookbook.

1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/5 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds beef London broil, trimmed of visible fat

  1. Preheat the grill to high heat.
  2. In a small dish, combine the garlic, rosemary, oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Rub the garlic mixture evenly over the roast. Let the beef stand 5 minutes.
  4. Grill the beef for 5-6 minutes per side, or until desired doneness.
  5. Tent it with foil and let stand for 10 minutes.
  6. Cut into thin slices against the grain of the meat. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 (4 oz.) servings, 175 calories.

Danny Bunny

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4 Months Old!

+/- 25 Things About Being 4 Months Old
by Daniel, with help from Mommy
  1. I am small...13 pounds, 1 ounce. That's up to the 25th percentile, up from the 10th percentile! Mommy's been working hard to make good milk for me!
  2. I am now 24.75" long...right at the 50%th percentile.
  3. I am growing into my 3-6 month clothes, but still fit quite a few of my 0-3 outfits.
  4. I still wear size 1 diapers, but will be making the big move to 2's when I work through this last box. Mommy says maybe in a week or so.
  5. It’s still pretty unanimous that I still look just like Daddy, but my nice new friends in Michigan say they can see a little bit of Mommy, too.
  6. My newest trick is holding my own bottle. You can see my talent in the picture above. I can't hold it right away, but toward the end of the bottle I can do it and I'm very proud of myself!
  7. I may not be able to handle a full bottle, but I'm still strong. I love to stand and can almost hold myself up. I just need a little help from Mommy or Daddy to balance me.
  8. I also like to sit up. I can almost do it myself, but need a little pillow or parent support to stay up. (I am still a little head heavy).
  9. I love to smile now. Daddy especially cracks me up.
  10. I've started to laugh. Usually a couple times a day. Mommy says it's contagious. She tries to get it on camera, but I'm elusive!
  11. I think Dutch is more interesting than English. When Daddy speaks Dutch, I love to try to say the words back. I'm getting good at the Dutch "g" sound. Mommy wonders if my first word will be graag gedaan (thank you), but she's hoping for Mommy.
  12. Mommy's still ahead of me in the "learn Dutch" race. This month we're learning body parts.
  13. I still don't like tummy time, but Mommy makes me to do it anyway so my head doesn't get flat.
  14. I celebrated my first St. Patrick's day. One of the first things mommy bought me when she found out she was expecting me was a St. Paddy's day bib because although I'm mostly Dutch, I'm also a wee bit o' Irish.
  15. I went to my first wedding on March 28. Miss Marcie is now Mrs. Johnson. I looked quite dashing in my suit (the same one I wore to my dedication when I was 10 days old!)
  16. I visited a Dutch store in Grand Rapids. I can't wait to visit the real thing in December. I miss you Oma and Opa! I can't wait to meet you, Tante Ingrid!
  17. The Dutch store is in Michigan, where Mommy used to live. There are lots of Dutch people there. (Why are we in Ohio?). Auntie Jen VV hosted a party for me and I got to meet all sorts of nice people and came away with many nice new outfits and toys. Thank you, nice Michigan people!
  18. Mommy gave me a gift too, my first upper respiratory infection. I didn't like that gift quite so much! I had to go to the doctor and have a breathing treatment. Even though the mask looked like a dinosaur, I was not a fan! I got some other meds at home and am on the mend.
  19. Even when I'm sick, I'm adorable (say my parents). I always cough three times, then sigh, like this cough, cough, cough, sighhhhhh.
  20. Because of my cold, I decided to stop sleeping through the night (after 8 weeks). I love my parents so much I want to see them at all hours of the night. They are hoping I will start missing them only during the day again.
  21. Daddy took the boppy out of my crib so I have more room to kick my feet and chew on my hands at night.
  22. Grampa Elmer, his wife, Carole, and Auntie Liz came to visit on March 20. Grampa had a lot of hats!
  23. Mommy and I postponed the swim class til next session when we're both feeling better. Besides, my swim thingie is way too big!
  24. I heard a rumor that sometimes it's warm outside. I got some new sunglasses in preparation. I feel really cool in them.
  25. I had my first meal outside. We finally had a nice day. We all sat on the porch for dinner.
  26. I went for my first hike. We went to Cuyahoga Falls Metro Park. We walked 3 miles along the trees and river and I saw a waterfall. Actually, I just hung out while Daddy walked with me in my new Baby Bjorn.
  27. The Baby Bjorn was one of Mommy's big finds at the Big Bad Baby Sale. She also got me some new clothes and an exersaucer.
  28. I love the exersaucer! Such freedom! Such independence! I can spin! I can stand! I can push buttons and make sounds!
  29. Speaking of independence, I also spent 6 hours away from my parents when I was in Michigan. It's the longest we've ever been apart, but it was okay because I was with Grandma Sandy, Grandpa Caleb, and Auntie Beth. I LOVE them. Too bad they live so far away. I hear there's an empty condo next door...
  30. Some of mommy and daddy's friends gave me some things too. Now I have a swing and exersaucer on both the main level and the basement. I live in luxury and live is good.
  31. I love when people comment on these posts!