29 March 2010

Like Riding A Bicycle

It was lovely weather this evening and we decided to go for a bicycle ride around the lake after dinner. It has been maybe five years since I have ridden a bike. They say once you learn, you never forget. It's true. I still know how to get around on a bike. I have not forgotten.

Nor have I forgotten what it is like to walk home with a flat tire. I made it all the way to the boat landing, about 0.75 miles up the road, when my tire went flat. I walked the same 0.75 miles back home with my bike at my side.

But my father taught me well. Tomorrow afternoon, when I come home from work, I will prove I have not forgotten how to fix a flat tire.

As soon as I find my bicycle repair kit, that is. Because I may have forgotten where I put that.

28 March 2010

Toddler Talk

She will be three in two weeks. Her language skills are improving every day. Sometimes there are so many words exploding in her head, it makes her stutter. We patiently wait for the words to come out. And what comes out can be pretty funny...

To Ryan as he is leaving for school:
"Bye papa! Don’t pee in your pants, don’t poop in your pants. I love you!"

Whilst reading the adventures of Dora the Explorer and being corrected on the use of he versus she:
“He is not she, he is Dora!”

“Lola, I have had enough. Can you please be a normal, good girl?”
“No. I want to be Lola.”

On ignoring the ‘No Running in the House’ rule:
“But mom, I am not running. I am pretending to run.”

Asking to look at the pictures and movies on my digital camera:
“I want to look at Lola, The Movie!”

The girl likes to dance:
“I need some music.” (And by music she means The Black Eyed Peas.)

When I try to dislodge myself from her grip after kissing her good night:
"You can't go anywhere. I am keeping you." Followed by her 'evil' laugh "Ha, ha, ha, ha..."

27 March 2010

Waiting For Daffodils

For a while now I have wanted to play around with etching glass. I think it's a wonderful way to personalize cookie jars, storage containers, and vases. Last week I finally did it. I actually managed to start and finish a project. I adorned little 7 oz. beer bottles with L E N T E, the Dutch word for spring. The "How To" can be found on my other blog, Dutch Girl Originals, my show case for all things crafty.

I am very happy with the result, if I do say so myself. Now all I need is daffodils, my ultimate spring flower. Until I find some, fake Dollar Tree daisies will have to do.

Of course now I want a set of vases for every season. There's only eight bottles to a case, though. We're just going to have to drink for the cause...

16 March 2010

Spring Fever

I knew it! For the past couple of weeks I have been telling myself not to give into the feelings of Spring Fever that have started to surface. "Don't get swept away by this lovely spring weather we're having," I told myself, "this is Northern Wisconsin where it snows in April, sometimes even in May. Yes, it is 60F degrees (15C) outside and sunny but that does not mean a thing."

But it was stronger than I was. When the cold sunny days turned to warm sunny days and the snow started to melt, I decided to help it along by cleaning off the back deck so we could sit outside and bask in the sun. Much nicer than sitting in the driveway. A completely pointless effort it turned out to be, because there was so much snow melting from the roof, it was like sitting under a waterfall.

With daylight savings time taking effect last Sunday, there is even more sunshine to be had. Almost all of the snow is gone. The grass is showing, the bears are up, and I have heard the odd robin has been sighted. My husband is already sporting a suntan and we have been enjoying cocktails in the backyard together after work. I am so over winter. As far as I am concerned it can go, take the snow with it, and not come back until December.

But what does our forecast predict? You guessed it. Snow! And naturally on my day off. Life is so unfair sometimes. Perhaps I can reschedule?

15 March 2010

Danger Talk

Like every parent, I dread the day I have to tell my daughter the world is not as nice a place as she thinks it is. That there are people out there that hurt other people. On purpose. I don't think the time has come yet, though, she is not yet three. Let her be blissfully unaware for a little while longer. And in the meantime we'll keep a close eye on her.

However, today I did have a little talk with her. Early this morning, I spotted a black bear, leisurely strolling along the shoreline of Lake Lucerne. Or Mud Bay, as we have come to call it. I was absolutely thrilled by the sighting. I ran over to the bedroom to wake Ryan up in true City Girl Sees Wildlife fashion. Ryan being a veteran bear-spotter, wasn't nearly as excited as I was.

Lola and I had been feeding the eagles leftover meat yesterday, thinking the bears were still hibernating, though not for much longer. The unseasonably warm weather woke them up early it seems. This morning the meat was gone. I doubt the bears ate it, judging by the prints in the snow where the meat used to be. I am certain the eagles didn't, though. Oh well. As long as some critter enjoyed it.

While we were on our way to daycare, I told Lola I had to talk to her about the bears. That even though they look really cute and cuddly, they are in fact very dangerous. Bears are not like baby deer. And highly unlikely as it may be, if she should see a bear, there was no walking over and saying "Hi". Lola repeated everything I said and then told me she didn't like bears anymore. Since she loves all animals, with the exception of elephants and crocodiles, that was not what I was going for. But for now, I'll take it.

03 March 2010

Find Your Way

May you always find your way, wherever it leads you. And then find your way back home again. That is not where we live, it is where I am.

Happy Birthday, Ryan!

p.s. I got him a GPS...

28 February 2010

Blogging Beauty

There are several perks to blogging, I have learned over the past fourteen months. It's good for my soul, for one. Writing about my experiences, both good and bad, is liberating. It enables me to let go of things. Once I have written them up, they no longer weigh me down.

It's also a wonderful way to keep far away family and friends in the loop. Relating little tidbits of my life makes me seem less far away, I hope. Posting pictures of Lola as she grows up and telling funny stories is a way for me to involve my family and friends in Holland when they cannot be a part of our daily lives.

And then, of course, there are the comments visitors to Northwoods Adventures leave. I get so excited when people leave me a comment. I try to be a good little blogger and do the same for other bloggers. We all like to know that people read, and appreciate, what we have to say.

Last, but most certainly not least, there are the give-a-ways. Every now and then I enter a give-a-way hosted by a blogger. Last week for instance, I entered Cheri's at Its So Very Cheri. She hosts awesome give-a-ways. And what do you know? I won! This weekend I received my package in the mail. It was a handmade facial mask, a Dead Sea mud pack, from Sweet Creek Herbs. Absolutely delicious. My skin hasn't been this smooth in a while. Just what it needed.

Thank you Cheri and Kathleen, you made my day!

20 February 2010

Take That, Tiger!

Tiger Woods's public apology really has people talking around these parts. Some think he's sincere, some don't. They're very passionate about the subject. Personally, I don't care. It is none of my business. It is nobody's business in fact, but Tiger's and his wife. They should be left alone to work out their issues. Or not. It's their choice, and I don't need to hear or read about it.

But this morning, when I checked my email and found the CNN AM Fix in my inbox, I noticed the Dutch have beaten out Tiger Woods for the Top Story. Ha! Just barely, though, and only because the US has an interest in the matter. Unlike Tiger, the Dutch cabinet has decided not to work out its issues. I wonder if the citizens of Holland get a public apology, too?

17 February 2010

Making Do

I had a little break down this weekend. It came over me quite unexpectedly while I was reorganizing our bedroom. The piles of clothes and miscellaneous clutter had been getting to me and I decided they needed to go. Right now. As I was putting stuff away, folding clothes, and doing laundry, I looked around and realized I wasn't happy with the result. It was nicely organized but it still looked like crap. I do not like the plastic stackable bins that hold my clothes, I do not like the shelf Ryan brought in from the garage for me, and I hate the fact that I do not have a place to store my bead and craft supplies. One where I can easily access them and Lola cannot get into them without supervision.

I laid down on our bed and took in the room. I am usually good at making the most of small spaces but this time it wasn't working for me. Because this is not my house. I can't take a hammer and nails and hang up a shelf, high enough to thwart a toddler. I cannot bring in my own furniture because there is no room for it. As I was lying there, not having a place of my own weighed heavily on me. It's not just this house, it's every house I have lived in since I moved to the US.

When we moved into Snug Harbor, our 700 square feet quaint cottage was filled to the brim. Ryan's things mostly, and what little I had brought with me from Holland. It was far too small to accommodate all our stuff. The furniture was too big. Nothing matched. It felt cramped. We fixed the house up on the outside, but the inside never received the love it needed. Before we were able to tackle that project, we were forced to move again, and found ourselves living in even smaller quarters. And surrounded by bins, dozens of bins, stacked to the ceiling.

I am so sick of not having a nice, comfortable house of my own. One that Ryan and I shape together. Where the furniture matches, where everything has its own place. Where Lola can play. Where I can craft. Where Ryan can make music. Where we can live. I want it more than anything. It breaks my heart that it seems further away than ever.

Please don't get me wrong. I truly appreciate my parents-in-law taking us in. They have a beautiful house, on the lake, surrounded by nature. I love having a fully functioning kitchen at my disposal, not one but three bathrooms, a hot tub, a fireplace operated by remote control, a dishwasher, and a washing machine. For homeless people, we are pretty well off. But it's not ours. Once again we are making do. We have been making do for so long.

It will be a while longer before we can make our dreams of having a home of our own a reality. And we'll make that work. We are fine, really. It just gets to me every now and then. So I throw myself a little pity party, my husband consoles me, and we get back on track. We make do. We're getting pretty good at it.

13 February 2010

Dutch Word Of The Day

Not many people at the casino realize I am Dutch. My colleagues all want to know how to pronounce my name, and where it comes from, but they mostly think I am an American with Dutch ancestors. Recently one my staff returned from maternity leave. During one of our meetings, my nationality came up and she was genuinely surprised to learn I am the resident alien, Dutch born and raised. I was asked to prove it on the spot by speaking to her in Dutch. She was very impressed by my skills and expressed the desire to learn Dutch. And just like that, the idea of the Dutch Word of the Day was born.

Every day when I come in, I write a Dutch word on the dry erase board with the translation and instructions on pronunciation beneath it. We have a lot of fun with it, especially when I throw in some g’s, forcing them to "hock a loogie" as someone so eloquently put it. Today’s word is gok automaat (slot machine) in honor of the big slot tournament promotion we are currently running on Saturdays. Next week, I am teaching them the days of the week.

Our little inside joke has started to take on a life of its own, however. Throughout the casino people are talking about the Dutch Word of the Day. They come to our office to see what the day's word is, they discuss it in the break rooms, and for the first time I am asked questions about windmills, tulips, and wooden shoes.

Now, if I could only get them to stop confusing Dutch with Danish. A Danish is something you eat. Easy, no?

03 February 2010

Girls Night In

Lola seems to have caught a case of the Terrible Twos lately. Trying times. Everything is a struggle; going potty, getting dressed, going to bed. Especially going to bed. The sweet little girl that climbed cheerfully up the ladder every night at bedtime, was content with reading a book and snuggling with mommy is gone. She climbs out of bed at least half a dozen times, she cries (sometimes screams) for a good thirty minutes most nights, and has become a master at stalling.

She goes exploring every day and empties out every cabinet or drawer she can get into. She refuses to sit in a shopping cart but insists on walking (read: running - toddlers don't walk), and yesterday she managed to sit down and poop on the floor. Trying times indeed. The only thing still going well is brushing her teeth. The girl loves to brush.

But tonight was different. Ryan was at school and it was just the two of us. We watched a little Scooby Doo together and chatted about her day. When it was time to start dinner, she brought a little stool into the kitchen, offering her assistance. She stirred the bacon and rolled out the dough with a rolling pin. While I finished preparing the savory leak pie that was on the menu tonight, she played with the dough scraps, baking a pie of her own and whipping up a batch of cookies as well. Good times.

At bedtime she protested only a little. Once upstairs she insisted on reading me the story of Spot. Afterwards she invited me to spend the night with her and her 30,000 stuffed animals but didn't seem to mind when I respectfully declined. She then proceeded to lovingly arrange her babies around her, laid down and went to sleep. Good times, indeed.

I love watching Lola care for her babies. She is normally your fairly clumsy toddler that likes to roughhouse. But when it comes to her babies, she is incredibly gentle. One baby in particular is treated in the most delicate way, a tiny leopard-like creature with a long tail and a human face. It is a little Anne Geddes doll and Lola adores it. She cradles it in her arms, softly petting it. I melt every time she does that. (On a side note: am I the only one who wonders what Anne Geddes was thinking that one Halloween when she was carving pumpkins? "Hmmm..., instead of the usual candle, why don't I stuff a baby in there?")

Lola will turn three in April and that will be the end of the Terrible Twos, it says in the manual. But I have already been warned by folks in the know. Apparently there is also the Terrible Threes. The good times are going to get even better...
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