Dano, Melissa, Kennedy, Ethan, Erin, Abigail, and Emily

Dano, Melissa, Kennedy, Ethan, Erin, Abigail, and Emily

12 November 2011


How did this month pass so quickly? To me it seems a little like a blur. Thanks to my calendar and iPhoto, though, I know we were at least on the radar.

Our month began with a weekend of conferences from our church. We listened to eight hours, delayed of course, of talks from our church leaders in Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as music from The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We loved being able to watch again. After moving overseas, it really resonates with me when “those participating around the world” are welcomed. I loved that our children enjoyed listening to every session. I loved that we had my grandmother’s famous cottage cheese pancakes. I hate cottage cheese, but these are sublime!!!

I love that Emily had her first taste of them and wanted more, more, MORE!
I love that Abby loved raspberries with hers (even if she had to play with them first).
I love that Erin loved hers with my first-ever batch of homemade apple butter. It’s fun to live here and get produce from places I’d never expect. Our grapes often come from Greece, our oranges from Egypt, and these raspberries were from Portugal, though the sources change all the time. It’s the fruit imported from USA that is expensive. In Saudi, we could buy a 5 oz box of blueberries for $8 or a pound of cherries for around $30! But that’s another story…

The next day on our way to school we saw some men working on a dirt strip near a field. The previous week we had seen a tractor tilling the ground. They now had several stacks of pallets. As I drove a little slower, I realized each pallet was full of bulbs. They were planting tulips! As seen in the picture, there were so many bulbs!! I think they planted three rows here. Abigail, Emily, and I stopped on the way home from preschool to catch a shot. They gave us a hearty wave and kept on planting. They had to. Look at all those bulbs! (You might have to click on the picture to enlarge it.)They were covered up with dirt the next morning appearing undisturbed as though nothing had happened. We can't wait to see the tulips come up in the spring.
This church is behind the tulip-planters. It is an old church in Wassenaar. We love hearing the bells. I can’t, though, tell what the abundant, red flowers are…maybe poppies. They supply such a vibrant border for the field.

This month Emily attempted to learn to dress herself. She still needs help selecting matching outfits and proper fitting ones, (these are really for the dolls), and finding just the right shoes, but she's showing great fashion initiative!

Kennedy and Ethan participated in the Terry Fox Run at school, a fundraiser for cancer research. The middle school students ran for ninety minutes for a total of 2,988 km and raised 9,654 Euros. Kennedy enjoyed running and walking (and talking) with her friends. Ethan was very pleased (and surprised...as were we!) by his 13 km run.
We found an apple orchard here and went with a few people from the school to find some apples. It was a great little orchard, not quite like our favorite back in Ohio, but it was fun to be out picking apples. Ethan was at soccer practice so missed our fun outing. We picked Elstar apples, a sweet offspring of the Golden Delicious. After one bite, it is decisive…she likes it! We decided this year we’d make caramel apples for the kids’ teachers. Between the four of them they have twenty-eight teachers! I had fun learning how to make them and I think the kids enjoyed giving them to their teachers.
Finally it was Halloween. Halloween. Whew! What a circus it is here! Because we live in an expat community with a traditionally strong American influence, Halloween has become a much-anticipated and celebrated holiday. Here is how it works in Wassenaar. The school basically runs Halloween for the community. You register your child through the Halloween committee’s website. You also register your home if you want it to be placed on the trick-or-treat route. For every child you register to trick-or-treat, you much donate 1200 grams of candy to the Halloween committee. The committee has a theorem for redistributing the candy based on where you live (and how many potential trick-or-treaters you may have).

This year, we only registered three of our children (sorry, Kennedy and Emily!) For those three we had to donate 3600 grams of candy…that’s eight pounds!! (I think Kennedy enjoyed her girls’ movie night with her friend anyway.) One hundred houses were signed up for trick-or-treating, ours being one of them. Thursday night I looked at the map and realized we were the lone house in our neighborhood signed up. I had no idea why!! Not only that, no way would any kids venture over to our neighborhood to trick-or-treat one house. I went to the collection table Friday to pick up my candy and talked to the committee member there. Everyone here is so cheerful and helpful! They told us to take our names off the list and go out and trick-or-treat with our kids! Although, we did have to give back the garbage bag half-full of candy they were going to supplement us with. Frankly, I was shocked their system deemed us worthy of any supplement.

Saturday night came and we took our ladybug, our pioneer, and our Nutty Professor out trick-or-treating.
There were over 1100 kids registered to trick-or-treat in Wassenaar this year! That didn’t include kids from neighboring communities who decided to come join the fun, not knowing you should register (who would think?!). If you didn’t have a map that outlined the addresses of registered homes, you just followed the clumps of costumes to houses with jack-o-lanterns and porch lights. I guess the Dutch who don’t want to participate make sure to keep their porch lights out on Halloween night. Some of our friends on one street had over three hundred kids. Another friend on the reputably busiest street had over seven hundred! Can you imagine? They were supplemented with two garbage bags full of candy to pass out (in addition to what they already bought).

It was a crowded, wonderful community event with perfect weather as well. Our kids have been introduced to some new types of candies and a new style of trick-or-treating.

We have now been here for three months and it has gone quickly! If it doesn’t slow down a little, our next blog may very well be “Novemblur!”

07 November 2011


Lately Abby has been, out of the blue, making remarks such as, “I love Jesus” or “I want to see Jesus” and “I wonder when Jesus is coming again. I think He’s coming soon.” They’ve been very sweet and have ensued some brief but sweet conversations.

On Sunday as we were having our weekly family council she decided to bring this up again, I guess in case He was coming this week. Here is how the conversation went:

Me: Does anyone else have anything they need to discuss?
Abby: I miss Jesus.
Me: Ohhh. Me, too. (polite snickering from other participants who had never heard these interactions)
Abby: I love Jesus. I hope He comes again soon. Do you think He’s coming soon?
Me: I hope not.
Abby: (shock) Why?
Me: (shamefully) Because I’m not ready
Abby: Well, maybe I can just call him. (more snickering)
Me: How would you do that?
Abby: On the phone.
Other participant: You can’t call Jesus on the phone!
Abby: Oh…(pause)…well, I guess I’ll just Skype with Him.