Sunday, December 28, 2008

Post-Christmas Post

We had a great christmas, at oma and opa's house. Not my oma and opa, but Kaemon and Nelson's...that says it all, christmas is all for the kids! It's more fun, the dark days indoors are better because there are knee-high people running/rolling around.

This year is also a first- first time I spent christmas without crying!! BOo-Hoo. I didn't want to jinx it by saying it earlier, but yes it's true, I usually cry missing family at christmas. Contrarily, it's a bit sad that it didn't happen, because I still miss them, ...yes, women are complicated.

Anyway what we have been eating these few days: I feel like a homemaker, more than ever, because I made shaped pancakes: road-tested, and passed the grade!and a pictorial summary of our Adventures in butter and crackling (3.6 kg of lardy loveliness) this week...and (for the dieters)a foray into rice paper rolls.

Aftermath of christmas: kaemon gets a (wrapped) present and says, 'truck!'

Hedwig and Ako visit. Babysitter material!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


A beautiful Japanese Christmas Lunch...
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Yearly Round-Up

It seems like yesterday that Kaemon just arrived, and in the meantime, Nelson has made his appearance into our daily adventures - sometimes it does feel like we have TWO babies and that's just a warm fuzzy glowy type feeling!

Generally, the move to the (wild) west of the country (as it's want to be known) has been more than pleasant. We're in a village with all the biggest Dutch cities within 1 hour drive. Thankfully, many old friends made the journey to visit us often and we have the best of both worlds- everyday adventures can be done by bike or on foot and a visit to Chinatown in the Hague is only 20 mins away by car. It goes without saying, I am happy with those stats!

Douwe completed the first year of his Dermatology residency, only four to go! It's been a tiring year, between fathering, man-of-the-house duties studying and working- doesn't leave much time over. These factors are not likely to change in the next four years unless someone has a tardis. Nevertheless, it's life and it's great. Being able to bike to work is something which significantly adds to quality of life!

Me, woman-of-the-house, in a sea of Y chromosomes- it's pretty good so far! I remember turning down a job in the beginning of the year because it was a full-time position or nothing. Now I'm working nearly every day of the week- but discovered the secret: I like what I do! A bit for a university and a bit as the label lady for Stuck on You. Master of my own domain :) By the way, December 19th will be the 6th year anniversary of my arrival in the land of Clogs. Mum and Dad came for much-appreciated babysitting duty when Nelson was born, and softened the bumpy road from 1 to 2 kids. We traipsed with the kids in tow to Malaysia and Australia in November for our essential periodic (over)dose of family, food, shopping and sun.

The boys: what is there to tell about two under-twos? Firstly, as many parents of young 'uns don't like to admit, we often lack that vital element, starting with the letter S.......yes, sleep. But if that is only price to pay, it's pretty cheap! Kaemon and Nelson are always in good health, developing well and thankfully nothing out of the ordinary. We are so lucky and blessed. Of course, for us, they are extraordinary. They both are remarkably mellow and easy-going, full of brightness and delight. Kaemon is getting to be useful- can follow instructions ('give the remote to papa please'), starting to sing along to songs he doesn't know, welcomed Nelson from the first day, never jealous, is obsessed with all things vehicular, couldn't care less about dogs, cats, ducks etc. On the other hand it seems that Nelson loves dogs! He laughs a lot, loves Kaemon, they hold hands and laugh, doesn't really like sleeping. They both love to eat (how could it be otherwise?). Silly to state the obvious, that we love them, but we do!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmassy feeling in the house. The sticker company gave these gorgeous window/wall decor (plug, plug) and I received my first christmas present from my first (and only) violin student. I'm suprisingly chuffed with my present. The picture of Nelson bottom left is entitled, "THanks for keeping me awake all night Naughty Nelson, Entertain yourself today. Me zombie"
Garlicky smell in the air. Fry slivers of garlic till the colour of caramelised slivered almonds on a beinenstich (drool...focus!), drain and set aside. Eat with anything to make it lovely: boiled cabbage, steamed egg, plain rice. Tried them all and it works. It's like beer goggles for food! It's so hot at the time, but the hangover smell makes you wonder if it was really worth it.
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Nelson's betrothed came for a (supervised) visit, they were suitable charmed with each other, but Kaemon appeared also to take a fancy to Sanne van Gerven.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


HOly Guacomoly. It was a week ago, and on the actual day I was in PJs all day as Douwe was away all week and the kids were sick. So it was day not to remember. Even though I was trying to postpone the day, I was still reminded by the lovely calls, messages, mails, cards etc. Sorry to the person who came at the door at 4pm whom I tried to convince that I was in my PJs early for bed. Lame. Anyway, one of the things I'm most proud of at this age is that I have no cavities! (ahem, belated edit: 'dental cavities')
hEre I am at a sushi birthday lunch; after looking for the right oufit, I settled on a skirt and top that lay dusty in the wardrobe....bought at least 10 years ago in Melbourne. A little worrying as a sign of aging is not following fashion. Maybe I was just back to the future.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Been Bakin'

I'll admit it, baking makes me feel all wifely and feminine. Not that there's anything wrong with that- go on, embrace it and bake a cake today!

Renee and I thought baked goods seem like the perfect christmas gift: homemade, handmade, thoughtful, relatively healthy (and in this economically-challenged season, cheap.) Homemade cards and biscuits. You have been warned.
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If you have any doubt what kaemon's interests 22 months, his word repertoire includes: baby, booby (the difference is a tricky one!), is mama, is papa, is ne-ne, is ke-ke, nay nay, big car, small car, big truck (evolved from 'truck-truck': very pidgin english-inspired, our little linguist!), small truck, (you get the picture), more juice please, noodle, sushi, auto, mack, (lightning Mc)Queen, shhh shh ne-ne (nelson), sorry, kongkong home. List not exhaustive. Parents very proud.

Nelson singing along. And little N has cut his first two teeth (at the same time)! He files down the teething rusks to a sharp point suitable for hunting, good thig because at 6 months and 8 days old...his food repertoire includes fish, tuna, salmon, as well as zucchini, rice, carrots, avocado, apple, pear and bread. He still likes to torture me by guzzling gallons of milk in the middle of the night, stealing my beauty sleep. He's like a rolling pilgrim, rolling from one end of the living room to the other, then waits for repositioning to roll back from whence he came. He and Kaemon look at each other and burst out laughing- bliss!
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Once you've seen this...

Who's hotter? Sinterklaas or the Old Macarena Guys? At least it takes the old guy off his pedestal and helps us to realise he's just an old white guy who can't dance, that's why they put him in the back row. That chubby zwarte piet is just asking for a hug don't you think??!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Dive into the Festive Season

No more (culture-)shocked musings about the zwarte piets (black petes) that help the Sinterklaas. Up close I found them even actually nice and sweet. Perhaps it's like xenophobia; now that I know one, I think they're all not so bad after all. Perhaps I'm integrated. Or jet-lagged. Who knows?!
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Tuesday, December 02, 2008


We're home after a 38 hour journey- seems long but like most things we do it without wondering why oh why do we torture ourselves. Because I have the best family in the world (according to polled readers of this blog). So a public display of affection (PDA) for my family: for their shared obsession for food (epitomising living to eat not eating to live mantra), warmth, fun and care.
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nelson bites!

It seems that the only one suffering from Jetlag is Nelson *and me since he squeals me awake between 4-6) so here we are blogging at 5 in the morning... THis one's for you Nelson. This month, Nelson truly joined the family- he ate his first bites. Amazing talent shown already in the chewing and swallowing steaks (pun INtended).
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tomorrow is the last day before we hop on a plane for the >24 hr journey home. I have a new addition to my body, a gut. Kangaroo pouch really. But since tomorrow is the last day, and they don't weigh personal body weight when you get on a plane, we'll try to fit in vietnamese, sushi and bubble tea before between breakfast and dinner. All my favs.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Photo models

Recently decided to try the studio portrait shots as a present for mum's birthday. Good light, good makeup, can't do much for those sleepless bags under the eyes. I guess the gazing-into-space-while-smiling-for-no-apparent-reason-photo is a rite of passage one needs to go through. Mum always said, capture your youth while you have it. Too late?

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Weekend at Gold Coast Surfers Paradiso

Had a long weekend at the Gold Coast....Was good, I guess we were "lucky": we had one of the 65 rainy days per year and our day at Sea World was the day after the worst storms in 60 years.

They went in a real helicopter: where the highlight for kaemon was...seeing CARS~! from the the sky...

Grover, Dolphins, Polar Bears

Doing the usual coast stuff, hanging out. Poolside. We're so blase we didn't even go in the sea (the Tallebudgera Estuary doesn't really count). Shame on us, I know.
Posted by PicasaI should also add, Sea World Resort is Ground Zero, where Douwe met Kelly and the rest is history!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Southbank Suprise

One of Brisbane's best things: the beach along the river, opposite the university. There's been a few times in the past where instead of attending lectures, the beach on the other side of the river was much more appealing, to stretch legs out and to dip toes in the water. I'm not worse off for skipping those lectures...

We bumped into RACHAEL & her Shane! Serendipity is the best!
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Our new addition has kaemon's hair and nelson's eyes.
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Mum's birthday! Love ya

Love it when food inspires poetry

Saturday, the steps to a zalig/divine paella. Shawn is the chef, loli the certificate of authenticity. The lemony garlic alioli is over the top flavour but is necessary to complement the full-on, smoky, full-bodied and scintillating paella.  
Sunday, first encounter with Wagyu. I've got good family connections. Abby deals in wagyu. Ian grills to perfection. Wagyu is the nightclub sexy version to the classy Kobe. Kobe gets massaged and is groomed, where wagyu is delectable by pedigree. You CAN cut it with a spoon.
Monday. My turn - lazy seafood platter, grilled scallops, asparagus and salmon in a lime & chilli bath.
Been eating at home because dining out with 8 adults trying to wrangle 5 kids is not relaxed. But the food has not suffered.
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Saturday, November 08, 2008

We've Hit Home

Back in Brizvegas, family reunited with a dinner: our view of each other across the table.
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