Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Picture of the Week: Week 23

Peas:1 Daniel: 0

Monday, May 25, 2009

Big Day!

Yesterday was Tony and Carey's wedding. It was a beautiful day--they got the weather Niels and I ordered--and their ceremony was creative and unique. However, the parents in us found a personal highlight: during Tony's vows, Daniel sat up for the first time!!! He has been holding himself up for a few seconds, but then would topple over. He sat up for most of Tony's vows and then decided he was done and leaned back against me. Niels was running around taking pictures of the bride and groom--imagine that, so he only got the tail end, but trust us, there are more pictures to take!

Here are a few pictures of a very fun day:

the end of Daniel's first sitting up (and a very proud Mommy!)
the happy bride and groom
cutting the cake--notice Tony's light saber groom's cake. Oh yes, there was a theme...
Daniel's first dance...with Marie
Tony and Carey's homemade Huppah

Galaxy Eyes

We love the beautiful way Daniel's eyes are turning out. It seems they will be staying blue. We call them galaxy eyes because of their stunning texture. Okay, we may be biased, but can't you just get lost here...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Forever Young (de Jong)

Watching Rod Stewart on the American Idol finale tonight got me nostalgic for the song that inspired the name of our blog, "Forever Young." The lyrics are especially poignant now that we are parents. The video is pretty dated (yay 80s) but still tug at this mommy's heartstrings.

Forever Young
w/m Rod Stewart

May the good Lord be with you
Down every road you roam
And may sunshine and happiness
Surround you when youre far from home
And may you grow to be proud
Dignified and true
And do unto others
As you'd have done to you
Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart youll always stay
Forever young, forever young
Forever young, forever young

May good fortune be with you
May your guiding light be strong
Build a stairway to heaven
With a prince or a vagabond

And may you never love in vain
And in my heart you will remain
Forever young, forever young
Forever young, forever young
Forever young
Forever young

And when you finally fly away
Ill be hoping that I served you well
For all the wisdom of a lifetime
No one can ever tell

But whatever road you choose
Im right behind you, win or lose
Forever young, forever young
Forever young ,forever young
Forever young, forever young
For, forever young, forever young

Picture of the Week: Week 22

Monday, May 18, 2009

Jackson Park

Daniel and I went for a stroll in the park. I wanted to get some photos. Daniel wasn't quite feeling it...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

out and about

Mommy Cut

Hi. My name is Jen and, until yesterday, it had been 10 months since my last haircut. It was time!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Daniel's two passports

We've had a number of questions asking why/how Daniel will have two passports. I'll explain:

Since Niels is still a Dutch citizen and Daniel was born in the United States, two types of nationality laws apply:
  • Jus Soli or Territorial jurisdiction: the principle in which a child born in a country's territorial jurisdiction acquires that country's nationality (applies for the USA)
  • Jus sanguinis or Parental jurisdiction: either the father or mother must normally be a citizen of the country in question in order for the child to be a citizen (applies for the Netherlands)
Since he was born in the States the American nationality laws grant Daniel US nationality and through that law Daniel got his US passport. At the same time he was born to a Dutch father, so the Dutch nationality laws also apply and they awarded Daniel his Dutch nationality and right to apply for a Dutch passport.

One interesting fact: Did you notice I didn't talk about Jen's status? Eventhough Jen is a US citizen, the US applies Jus Soli in determining nationality, therefore it technically doesn't come into play in granting Daniel his US nationality. On the other hand, it does make it easier since there is a lot less paperwork to file with Jen having the US nationality.

Hope that clears up some of the questions...

Morning Sickness sign of high IQ

We just found a VERY interesting study from the Hospital of Sick Children in Toronto linking morning sickness to the IQ of your baby. The research claims that morning sickness may be a sign that your child is developing a high IQ.

Since I had the mother of all morning sickness while being pregnant (my OB put me in the top 3 and she's been practicing for 20+ years) so we just might have a cute AND intelligent baby.

Gotta love the Canucks... ;-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Exploring the Yard

It's a fairly nice, if overcast, day, so Daniel and I decided to check out the yard.
Click here for more pictures.

Happy Birthday, Opa!

Gelukkig Verjaardag, Opa!
Ik hou van jou...heel veel!
Kussen en knuffels van Daniel.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dutch words for May

This month's vocabulary list is inspired by our weekly shopping list...

Dutch Lessons for Jen and Daniel

May 2009

English (Engels)

Nederlands (Dutch)





















grocery cart


grocery store


ice cream






orange juice


peanut butter








Daniel's first art project

Niels and I went to church on Saturday night this weekend. It was Daniel's third time in the nursery, and I'm quite proud of him! Look what he did! (We suspect he had a little help). Click on the picture to enlarge and read it.

and yeah, it made me cry...

Applied for Daniels Dutch Passport

Yesterday during lunch we had an appointment with the Honorary Consul of the Netherlands here in North-East Ohio (in Elyria) to get Daniel his first Dutch Passport.

He already has his US Passport, but for his Dutch Passport we had to get an Apostille of both his birth certificate and our marriage license first. And then there is the little question of getting passport pictures taken that comply with the Dutch standard...

Long story short, all is done and in a couple of weeks we should get his Dutch Passport and he'll become the first documented dual citizen of the The De Jong household. His daddy will follow in about 2 years when he becomes eligible to apply for his US citizenship.

found a spot!

Monday, May 11, 2009

My First Mother's Day

Niels and Daniel made my first (official) mother's day very special. I woke up to a card from Daniel with a gift certificate to our local spa! (Yay, massage! Or facial...Or pedi...???) Then Niels made me chocolate chip pancakes. Daniel took an extra long morning nap, so we got to hang out a little bit before heading out to the Stan Hywet Manor and Gardens.

I've wanted to check it out because I hoped to get some pictures of Daniel in the tulips. He wasn't quite feeling the tulips (Apparently wasn't feeling his Dutch side at that moment). We ran into one of my friends from booby class, along with Daniel's girlfriend, E. My friend was there with her mom, so the six of us toured the manor together. Our children were especially, um, expressive. Glad we were together!

After our tour we headed home for a little bit. Daniel had a little more rice cereal, though he was a little too impatient for the good stuff to enjoy it. After his dinner, Niels took me to Cracker Barrel for dinner before our Sunday grocery shopping trip. All in all, a very fun day.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures below, with more here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Picture of the Week: Week 21

This weeks picture is the one we used for the happy Mother's Day post below...

Daniel eats!

Yesterday Daniel turned 5 months old. Time sure flies... We have been giving him milk on a spoon this week and he's done well with that so today we introduced him to his first solids--rice cereal! Take a look:

Hey Mom, what's that?

Eating is a full body experience!

Hmmm...tastes like...well, not like milk!

And here's the moment in video:

Happy Mother's Day

Today it's a very special day for Jen. It's her first Mother's Day with Daniel. So, we went shopping yesterday and found ... a few things ... for Mommy. One of them is shown on the picture. This is also the first Mother's Day for my mother as a Grandmother. So, the bib ('slabber' in Dutch) is also a little bit for Oma Kitty. Oh, and we can't forget both Great-Grandmothers 'Gramma Ann' and 'Oma Toos' and our 'bonus' grandparents 'Granny Pat' and 'Grandma Kennedy'

Happy Mothers's Day to you all!

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I was looking at my phone today and found this picture that Niels took of me in December. I'm not much for hats, but I saw this one when we were at an outlet mall with Jan and Kitty. I kind of wish I would have gotten in. I was looking pretty good for two weeks post partum!

+/- 25 Things About Being 5 Months Old

+/- 25 Things About Being 5 Months Old
  1. I am growing...I am now 14 pounds, 8 ounces.
  2. I'm finally bigger than Bailey dog!
  3. I am now 25" long
  4. I fit my 3-6 month clothes comfortably, and most of my 0-3 outfits have been packed away. This made Mommy sad.
  5. I now wear a size 2 diaper.
  6. Mommy has given up all hope that I will bear any resemblance to her. This also made her sad.
  7. My newest trick is making screeching sounds. It's so fun!
  8. I also learned to roll over this month. I can do both the back to tummy and tummy to back, but I have conveniently forgotten how to go from tummy to back. Instead, I like to roll over onto my tummy and then cry til Mommy or Daddy come to "comfort" me. (I'm tricky!)
  9. Mommy introduced me to a new thing called a spoon. First she just let me play with. Now she puts a little milk on it every night and lets me drink it. I'm getting better and get more of it than my bib now. We're going to start something called cereal in a few days.
  10. Mommy is still exclusively pumping. I get a little frustrated when she can't play with me when she is pumping, but I sure love that yummy milk.
  11. I'm smiling more often now. I usually save my biggest smile for after I make a big mess in my diaper. (After all, I am a boy!)
  12. I got three new toys this month! I play in my jumperoo during the day. It's sort of like my exersaucer, but I can jump and bounce in least I will be able to do it by myself once my legs get a little longer! For now, Mommy or Daddy bounce me. I LOVE it!
  13. I also got a play mat with some toys hanging down in an arch to tantalize me. It's given me lots of practice reaching and stretching. I like when I grab a ring and pull the whole thing down so I can stick the ring in my mouth.
  14. Yesterday I got a new toy for my crib. It's the Ocean Wonders Aquarium. It has a big fish that swims in the water, and there's bubbles and everything. I like to talk to "Vissy" at bedtime. Oh and it plays sleepy night time music too.
  15. Speaking of fishes, I saw lots of fishes at the zoo. I also saw zebras, giraffes, rhinosauruses, apes, and lots of other things. But I liked the fishes the best. I could watch them for hours!
  16. I love hands and feet. I love to hold Mommy and Daddy's hands. I love to play with my own feet.
  17. My bald spot is almost gone! Still not sure what color hair I'm going to end up with yet, but at least it's not bald!
  18. I got my American passport and am ready to travel. Mommy and Daddy are taking me to Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota at the end of June, to Arizona in November, and The Netherlands in December. They are also planning a trip to Virginia sometime this fall...
  19. I now have all my paperwork and photos for my Dutch passport. We have an appointment with the Dutch consulate on Monday for the next step.
  20. I'm turning into a Daddy's boy now. I sometimes drive Mommy nuts with that... Daddy leaves, I cry. Mommy - and yes, I still love you - tries to calm me down, but not much works. Daddy comes home and... I smile!
  21. I celebrated my first Easter. We went to church and then had spend the afternoon with our friends, the Lipford. When we got home Mommy got violently ill. Mastitis again. Poor mommy, what she goes through to make my milk.
  22. I joined the church nursery this month. So far, so good. Everyone thinks I'm so cute so they let me nap in their arms. The first time I woke up a little scared and cried for my Mommy, but the second time I was just find. (There's an aquarium in there. I LOVE fishes!)
  23. Mommy and Daddy both got the flu this month. But I didn't!
  24. Mommy was a little camera happy this month. She did an outdoor photo shoot, a safari photo shoot with my elephant, and a purple photo shoot with a fluffy, fuzzy purple blanket.
  25. I celebrated my first Koninginnedag (Queensday). But something sad happened that day in Holland.
  26. I don't like to pose for pictures anymore. I'm too busy finding out all sorts of new things.
  27. ... more could be added when Mommy's brain kicks in... ;-)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Slice of Daniel's Life

Daddy's shirt

Yesterday at dinner, Daniel saw the most amazing thing...Daddy's shirt. He couldn't take his eyes off it...Seriously. For about ten minutes, he looked just like this:


This is the last of the Daniel poems. Apparently once the morning sickness set it, my creative juices stopped!

The Miracle

We witnessed a miracle today.
You grew:
From a dream
To a hope
To a dash of DNA.
From a speck of something spectacular
To a grain of rice
To a sweet pea.
We saw your first picture today.
And you are beautiful.
It’s been five weeks and four days
Since God first began knitting you together in my womb
And it will be many more weeks
And many more days
Til you leave my womb for our waiting arms.
But you are coming
And we will wait.
Because today we saw you
Just a tiny dot,
A miracle in black and white.

Jen de Jong

Guarded Joy

The third of the Daniel poems. This one was written the day we found out we were pregnant.

Guarded Joy

The nurse said casually
as if the miracle she acknowledged
was not a miracle we doubted.
I was prepared
For another disappointment
Geared up to clear things up
And try
Try again.
But we’re pregnant.
It’s true.
It’s guarded joy.
I call my husband
And he is just as stunned.
I hear him click on his calendar
As we schedule an early ultrasound.
The staff knows how hard it’s been
They promise me extra care
They call as I exit the door.
Tears of disbelief
Mingled with tears of guarded joy
Flow down my unbelieving cheeks.
I’m pregnant.

Jen de Jong


This is the second of the Daniel poems. This one was written in what those trying to conceive (TTC) call "the two week wait."


I wait
And hope
In the two week window
of the unknown and unknowing.
We pray
That this Easter
We rejoice in a new life
Newly formed in my womb
Just as we celebrate Christ’s life
Newly free from his tomb
Previous loss prevents me
From innocent confidence in what’s to come
We knew before
And our knowing
turned to losing
then mourning
I don’t want to lose this one.
So I wait
And hope
I poke the thickness in my tummy
Wondering if a little one is growing there
Or if I just have a lot to lose there
Thoughts of scales are banished
For now
As I wait
And hope.

Jen Abbas de Jong


Thursdays are always a good day. It's the one day I'm guaranteed to venture out. I've made some mommy friends at "booby class," my mother-in-law's name for my breastfeeding support group. Even though I'm exclusively pumping now, I'm still welcome to hang with my mommy friends. Today we're having a potluck and scrapbooking afternoon. I really want to scrapbook, but have a hard time getting started so I think I will mostly observe and mooch ideas from the others who know what they are doing today.

I was thinking about what I might what to scrapbook--our courtship, engagement, wedding, first year, Alaskan cruise, pregnancy and Daniel's life...and the last two got me a bit nostalgic. If found four poems I wrote in the early weeks of pregnancy. This first is Hope.


In the stillness of night
I hope.
Underneath the covers
of our king size bed
my legs stretch toward my husband
and our feet touch.
We like to connect.
We need to connect.
Our family of four is still a family of two.
My hands reach down to my tummy
I say a prayer for my womb
And hope.
We have been here before...
The first time
We talked endlessly
Of nursery and names
But our child was born only to our hearts
leaving us alone with empty hands
and a loss of innocence.
The second time was a surprise
Good news and bad
All in the same heartbreaking day
This time we did not name our pain.
Three long months have passed
Three months of healing
Three months of hoping
Three months of grieving
the sadness of lingering longing.
I reach toward my husband
We'll try again
With hope.

Jen de Jong

Happy Birthday, Oma!

Dear Oma,

Happy Birthday! I miss you very much and look forward to seeing you and Opa again in December (and meeting Tante Ingrid and the rest of my nederlanse familie). Ik hou van jou!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Daniel v. The Spoon

Our plan is to hold off on solids until six months, which is the current recommendation by the people who make these things up. I'm pretty happy with the fact that, despite supply issues and a few bouts of mastitis, Daniel has had only breast milk except for a few ounces when I was out of commission in the hospital when he was a few days old.

Last week I bought a few spoons for him to play with, to get used to the feel of it. There's a list of things to watch for to see if a baby is ready for solids: doubling his birth weight, interest in food, able to sit up with support, good head control, etc. Daniel has hit about half the items in the list. He's been doing well with the spoon so today we decided to give him a little breast milk in the spoon to see how he'd do.

See for yourself...

Of course, the best part is that as soon as the video ended, he erped it all up!

Photo of the Week: Week 20

This week I took some pictures of Daniel with his friend, Bear, who stars prominently in the little story I wrote. I made a mock up with pictures from the internet. If I was really creative, I'd find a way to take pictures of Daniel and Bear for all the illustrations...

Dutch word of the day: "Bevrijdingsdag"

Liberation Day Iconspeaker_3

[de be-vrij-dings-dag, de be-vrij-dings-da-gen]Vlag

Wondering why the Dutch national flag has been put out everywhere today? It's Liberation Day: the day that the Netherlands were freed from German occupation: May 5th, 1945. It was the end of World War II in the Netherlands.On May 5th, there are festivities everywhere, and there are a number of so called "bevrijdingsfestivals", which are usually free open air concerts where Dutch pop/rock artists perform before large audiences.

Liberation Day is preceded by "Dodenherdenking" (Remembrance of the Dead), every year on May 4th. Not only the fallen soldiers and victims of the Second World War are remembered, but the Dutch lives lost in every war and peace mission the Netherlands were involved in. During "Dodenherdenking", the flags are flown at half-mast.

(This, and more Dutch words of the day, can be found at this great site. You can sign up for daily emails, too!)

Learn more about Bevrijdingsdag here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Daniel's Song

I made up this song when Daniel was just a few weeks old. Sometimes it was the only thing to calm him down.

Deep Thought...

We judge others by their actions. We judge ourselves by our intentions.
-Ian Percy

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Daniel's Message

Daniel has a special message for his grandparents:

Daniel Makes a Stand

Daddy has been helping Daniel with his latest trick...standing up next to his exersaucer!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Thinking about Mom and Mother's Day

I came across this article in Real Simple magazine about 10 questions to ask your mom. I sent it to my mom because I'd be really interested to know the answers. Mom and I haven't always had the greatest relationship, but I'm very proud of where we are today. She was a godsend when Daniel was born. She decorated our house for Christmas, made tons of food to keep my husband fed (no small task!), cleaned and did laundry, and when Daniel and I came home, she showered us all with love. As soon as we knew we were expecting Daniel, I knew I needed my mommy to be there with me, and I'm so grateful she was.

The 10 questions are:
  1. What's the one thing you would have done differently as a mom?
  2. Why did you choose to be with my father?
  3. In what ways do you think I'm like you? Not like you?
  4. Which one of us kids did you like the best? (The author has an interesting comment about this question!)
  5. Is there anything you've always wanted to tell me but never have?
  6. Do you think it's easier or harder to be a mother now than when you were raising our family?
  7. Is there anything you regret not having asked your parents?
  8. What's the best thing I can do for you right now?
  9. Is there anything you wish had been different between us--or that you would still like to change?
  10. When did you realize you were no longer a child?

Driver dies after attempted attack on Dutch royal family

  • Incident happened during the Netherlands annual Queen's Day celebration
  • Car hit crowd near open-top bus carrying Queen Beatrix of Netherlands
  • Police: No other clues that could lead to the involvement of other people
  • Police: There was no one other than the driver in the car at the time

  • ( - Update Fri 5/1/2009 @ 10:14 EDT: Death toll has risen to 7 after a 55-year old Dutch Military Police officer died of his injuries Friday afternoon. In total 9 people are still hospitalized. One female is listed as critical, one male and one other female are also listed critical, but stable.

    (CNN) -- The man suspected of trying to attack the Dutch royal family by crashing his car near their bus has died, Dutch police said Friday.

    The man, whose name was not released, had been seriously injured in the crash Thursday in the town of Apeldoorn, about 45 miles east of Amsterdam, police said. He died early Friday, police said. He had been charged with trying to attack the royal family, authorities said.

    Police searched the man's house but found no weapons, explosives, "or any other clues that could lead to the involvement of other people," police said.

    Five people, as well as the driver, were killed and 12 were wounded in the incident, which happened during the country's annual Queen's Day celebration, police said.