You Only Live Once, This Is How I'm Doing It!

Category: Family Page 3 of 6

Um, who gave them permission to grow up so fast?

I know that someday soon I need to write about my time in The Netherlands as an au pair. I mean, I did but that was my very first blog and honestly not that great. You probably don’t want to sort through the ramblings and broken pictures. I will write about it soon, really. Not today though.

For now, all you need to know is I was an au pair for my Dutch family and I love them. What caused me to think about going to The Netherlands was the World Cup game, but what convinced me was the idea of seeing my family again. I arrived Saturday morning (thankfully very well rested because of my first class seat) and had all day to visit with them. It was fantastic.

This is my sweet Caroline. She has a bit of a flair for the dramatic…

and an obsession with my iPhone. As you can see, Timo thinks it’s pretty nifty as well.

Lekker ijs.

If you’ve never had a stroopwafel, I’m sorry. So delicious. In ice cream? Even better.

Timo, Morten and Caroline. I can’t believe how big they’ve all gotten. They were only 1, 3, and 5 when I first met them. Now they’re 7, 9 and 11. Ah!

While strolling around Rotterdam we came across these flower arrangements.

I told you the Dutch grew fond of vuvuzelas.

That evening we headed over to my second favorite Dutch family’s home. There I got to make homemade sushi for the first time. Despite being very labor intensive it was fun and allowed for some nice conversation.

It was also quite yummy.

Sisters, Ineke and Thea.

What a little ham. I actually traveled to Romania when Thea and her family were living there to help her out with her other kids when Abel was born. He’s five now. Eesh!

I can’t even express how much this family means to me or how amazing they are. As stressful as the trips back and forth to the airport were, I really was lucky to get some extra time with them. It ended up being almost a week which was really a big treat.

With all the visiting I did, plus the stories, video clips and pictures from the game, my time in Holland will have to be broken into parts. Look for part two tomorrow!

Fun with cards

This week Joel’s grandparents have been in town at his mom’s house for a visit. This means we’ve been out there every night possible. One of our favorite things to do is sit around and play cards. We always play a game called Blast. It’s a bit too complicated to explain the rules on here but it combines betting, strategy and luck. There is always much groaning and laughter whenever we play. I very rarely win but I always have a ridiculous amount of fun playing. That should say a lot considering how much I hate to lose.

I know not many people are lucky enough to be able to say this, but I seriously love my in-laws. 🙂

Two Year Old Cuteness

We celebrated my little nephew Jordan’s second birthday yesterday. He is such a sweet little kid and he has literally the best smile in the entire world. I can’t believe the youngest in our family is two already. Somebody needs to have a baby soon… Not that I’m volunteering or anything.

P.S. The fruit pizza you see in the video? It was as delicious as it was pretty. ::pats self on back::

Happy Father’s Day

I love my dad so much. He isn’t perfect but that’s ok because I’m not either. He has the biggest, kindest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. There is no one as giving and charismatic as he is. I love him so much and am so lucky to have him in my life. I love you, Dad.

What we do for fun

My little sister is out of school for the summer so we had her over for a few days. I think we had a blast. She may or may not agree.

Yup, totally put her to work. What? Isn’t that what you do for a good time?


Oh, huh… Well we also took a little trip up to Six Flags.

Maybe that was a little more fun than the light dusting I made asked her to do.

While it may look like I am way shorter than Anna in this picture since I can barely show my face that is not the case. She had a box to stand on. I was forced to be on my tippy toes. I’m still taller than one of my siblings (even though I’m the oldest) hmph.

Joel, before the ride.

Joel after the ride. His hair = classic

As we were leaving I spotted this dude:

Please someone tell me why you would ever need a robot bigger than a man? Also? How can I get one because it’s kind of awesome.

Worth it

I kidnapped my little sister today. It ended up being incredibly complicated figuring out how to get her to me. She only lives an hour and a half away but figuring out rides even halfway to me was just, well complicated. Everything to do with my family is complicated actually. Sometimes I think if I didn’t practically kill myself to make things happen nothing ever would. That’s probably not totally true. I do however feel like the effort to see them is very one sided. I try and not let it get to me. I love my family an extreme amount so I refuse to give up. I’m not going to just let things go and not see them for months. I’m not ok with that.

I tweeted earlier today that I really have two choices when it comes to my family. I can either get aggravated and pull my hair out because it takes 14 phone calls just to figure out that yes she’s coming and yes my dad will bring her halfway so I don’t have to drive for three hours. And no you can’t make an hour detour because I’m already in the car like we talked about. And yes she can go home with Mom tomorrow. Oh wait, no she can’t…. and on and on. Or I can shake my head, repeat myself for the 20th time and laugh that something so simple can be made this hard.

I won’t ever stop trying though. Most of the time I’m pretty ok with being the family coordinator. Most of the time. Sometimes I’d love to let someone else take over… but when no one steps up and it’s between stuff not happening or me taking over I just suck it up and take over. Because there is nothing more important than family. Friends are great, church is fine, work is important but family is the only thing that lasts forever. Ever since I realized that I decided that no matter how frustrating things get it’s totally worth it.

Wordless Wednesdays: Belly Laughs

Little bits of happiness

Life can be so stressful. Right now we’re in the process of me (hopefully) starting a new job soon. We’re trying to find a new place to live. Trying to pay off some credit cards. We had to replace a headlight on our car… you know, just life. However, amid the stressful things life inevitably throws at us there are always the simple little things that make days bright and happy.

This weekend was full of those little things:

-Watching my family gather together in support of my mom

-Getting to see my sister and nephew in from California

-Seeing my Oma from Kansas City and Aunt from Florida

-Spending the entire day today with my mom and Oma. Seriously, my mom and I could talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and never run out of things to talk about.

-Finding a gift card from Starbucks in my wallet that had $18 on it. That’s like free money!

-One of the girls from my book club invited me to a Cubs game tomorrow. Third freakin’ row seats. Mind = blown. I’m so excited.

My poor sister sat standby at the airport (on literally no sleep) all day long and didn’t get out. She’s spending the night here and is going to try again tomorrow. The flights don’t look a whole lot better and since her car is parked in San Fransisco she can’t fly in anywhere else. Say a prayer, cross your fingers and hop on one foot that she gets out because spending two long days at airport sucks. Spending two long days at an airport with a five year old (even one that is really well behaved) while your husband just got in from a deployment sucks way worse. She will accept any extra plane tickets to SFO just in case anyone has one laying around. Just saying.

Aside from feeling bad for my sister I’m just so happy. I’m so blessed in so many ways. I have a wonderful life and it’s fun to look back and list things that make my life as great as it is. Optimism for the win!

So proud of my mom

After four long years of very hard work my mom has officially graduated from the school of nursing.

I am so incredibly proud of her. She worked so hard. While juggling six kids and several grandkids she managed to graduate with honors. Sometimes it felt like she’d never finish, both to herself and to the kids who constantly struggled to get a hold of her while she studied for some test or wrote some paper. She did it though and we’re all super proud of all her hard work. Joel and I are working on a little video with more pictures and some video clips from the day and the ceremony. Hopefully I can get that up tomorrow.

Mother’s Day at the park

Big thanks to Joel for putting this together for me.

Here is the video we made yesterday. It was such a wonderful day. My sister Liz was very much missed. Why does California have to be so far away? Other than that the day was perfect. I love my family, especially my mother. ::smile::

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