Category Archives: Family

As though there was ever any doubt (Take 2)

Seriously, was I just a carrier? (see Take 1)

(I got the photo below from Louise, showed it to Una, and she asked: “Hey, who are those people with Nestor?”)

Mark5yo    N5yo

Mark (5 year old)         Nestor (5 year old)


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Filed under Family, Growing up too fast, Uncategorized

Meivakantie in pictures

After falling in love with Texel during the May holidays last year, we decided to make it a bit of a tradition and went back this year. And we fell in love with this beautiful island again, with its dunes and beaches and sheep and lighthouse.

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Short break on the way up to the lighthouse



SO windy up here

We visited Ecomare, a museum and sanctuary for preservation of Texel’s nature and animals. They rescue seals and porpoises (bruinvis) and then either release them back to the sea or keep those who can not go back.


Bruinvis, neither brown nor fish

One of my favourite things about Texel are its dunes. We took long walks through several of them, the quietness, the beauty, the scents are out of this world.

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Una and I ran our first race! We ran 1km together and then a few hours later I ran my first 10km. After my first infamous attempt at running with other people I was so nervous I would get lost again. But as this was the most popular annual race in Delft, there were so many people so I was safe. The atmosphere was great, the public was cheering us on all the way, from the Old Town, all the way Delftse Hout and back.


Who says you can’t have ice cream before a race?


And then, the last weekend of the holiday, Auntie Louise came to town. She was here for only a few days but we tried making most of it. We ate our weight in the South African delicacies Louise brought with: biltong (Mark), rusks (I) and Louise reciprocated by indulging in the best Holland offers – stroopwaffels. The kids LOVED having her around and they sure spent enough quality time with her, given that they would start around 5am by storming into her room and only leave her alone having passed from exhaustion late in the evening. I am sure if she ever sees Lego Star Wars again, she will run screaming. Louse has been to NL quite a few times already, so she’s done most of the touristy stuff but this is the first time she came when Keukenhoff is open, so we couldn’t miss the chance. We were lucky with the weather that day (Louise was still wearing her winter clothes though :)), the tulips although past their prime were still in full bloom, the kids were happy and full of energy, all in all a lovely day.


Tulips, tulips everywhere


Who is this boy and where has my baby gone?


Say what? You call this WARM weather??


Genetics is fascinating


Una was so fascinated by the flowers, the photos below are all taken by her.


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Filed under Family, Holidays, Life in Delft

For Patches

I knew something was off, when after the usual Wednesday morning rush to get everyone dressed, fed and out of the door, I turned around and realised that the house was far too quiet. I thought back and couldn’t remember you coming for a cuddle the whole night, or tumbling down the stairs when I came down in the morning. I phoned Mark and asked him whether he’d seen you that morning, he said he hadn’t but that he’d played with you when he went to bed, and that you’d probably just wandered away and would come home later.

A couple of hours later, I was walking to fetch Una and Nestor from school. The phone rang. You won’t be coming home. Ever again.

You were our baby, the feline baby of the family. Silly, loud, messy, happy. You joined our family when you were four months old. It all happened quite quickly, you needed a new home and we wanted a playmate for Sheba. From the very beginning we were surprised how different you were from her. While she is a high-maintenance cat who comes at her own terms you would start purring as soon as we came near you, even the vet said that she rarely saw a cat who purrs like that. It turned out Sheba wasn’t quite thrilled with the playmate idea and the two of you weren’t immediately best friends forever, far from it. At some point, we were quite disheartened that you’d ever really get along and a friend said she’d love to have you if you needed a new home. You had already gotten under our skin and we weren’t ready to let you go. I can’t but think that if we did you would still be alive.

We knew you were not an indoor cat, and as soon as the vet approved, we let you join Sheba and go outside. To chase birds, climb trees, lay in the sun. And you did, and oh so well. You were so full of life. You made us laugh with your silliness, you jumped on us, you licked us, you woke us up in the middle of the night because you felt like cuddling right there and then. When I got up before dawn and went for a run you’d often come along and race with me for a while, until you got distracted by a bird or another cat, or I went too far from home. We loved coming home from school and work to find you waiting for us.

You were not even a year old. You are taken away from us far too early, and it is terribly unfair. It is breaking my heart that you died alone, on the street, I don’t know how long you were in pain after you got hit. I know you would have been unhappy if we kept you inside, but I feel that we failed you, that we couldn’t keep you safe. You are the first pet I have ever lost and I had no idea it can hurt so much.

We are all grieving, everyone in their own way – Una is writing a letter to you, Nestor doesn’t really believe that you are gone, Daddy had to make all the difficult arrangements and comfort all of us. Even Sheba was visibly upset, pacing up and down, going in and out of the house, looking for you.

We have loved you so much, sweet boy. You got under our skin, into our beds, into our hearts. You will be missed (4) 20150224_122822

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Filed under Family, Grief

Well, at least we are all smiling…

In the past few weeks, Nestor’s class has been working on the theme “Family”. The kids drew their families, made them from clay, talked about their favourite memories with the grandparents (Nestor’s key words: turning radio on and off (?), 8100 (??), fake grandfather, building towers – his fantasy world is truly fascinating).

This is how Nestor sees his family. It looks like one of his parents is in a serious need of a diet, doesn’t it? At this age Una could already make a very clear distinction between her mum and dad, if nothing the hair would give us away. With Nestor, it remains a mystery.



Filed under Family, Out of the mouths of babes

Long weekend in Texel with Auntie Wees and Uncle Deon

Last weekend Louise and Deon made the first stop on their European journey and came to visit. The kids were SO excited as they’d been counting down days to their visit, Una even had a little calendar on our family board where she would erase one day every morning for a month. Nestor’s enthusiasm *may* have been additionally fueled by the promise of a blue robot Auntie Wees made. Very quickly the kids picked their “favourite”, as you can see in the first two pictures and Louise and Deon spent the weekend playing, entertaining, cuddling, wrestling and whatever it is that aunts and uncles do that makes them so special in children’s eyes. We went to Texel together, an island in the north, which we ignorantly dismissed before as a place where stingy Dutchies, not willing to spend their euros to go somewhere where the sea is actually warm, go. What an injustice. The island is beautiful, an oasis of calmness, greenery, lovely architecture. And of course, mud walks. We could not do the full “wadlopen” experience as the kids are too young for that (you walk up to your knees and higher in mud), but we did the “droogvaltocht” where you get on a boat, get dropped off in middle of the Waddenzee (part of the North Sea) during low tide, spend an hour walking around, looking for all kinds of sea creatures and hoping with all you’ve got that your boat really does come back, otherwise within a couple of hours you’ll be 1.6m under the freezing North Sea water. The boat did come back and we made it to the harbour safely. The whole weekend was lovely, we walked, ate sea food, had a picnic on the beach, ran along the beach. Una got sick on Sunday so I stayed in with her while the rest went to explore the dunes in the west part of the island. After that we headed home, spent more than 2 hours waiting in the queue to board the ferry which we effectively used to deplete the food reserves we had in the boot. Monday came sooner that we liked and goodbyes had to be said. Louise and Deon are off to their next adventures, motorbike races, volcano photographing and Vatican exploring, which are all undoubtedly more exciting than Texel but all the hugs and kisses and memories made even it out. Stroopwafels help too :).


Building Lego together


Reading together


Drooling over the yachts together


Their father and I barely saw them that weekend really


The island is so peaceful, you can’t help it but relax


Freezing their fingers in Waddenzee


Every child needs an uncle to teach them stone skipping


Picnic on the beach by the lighthouse



Mudflat hiking light (“droogvallen”)


Una was absolutely fascinated by the sea life we found


Nestor was providing live entertainment to the whole group. At one point he yelled on top of his voice: “Daddy, I found something special!! I found a craP!” (he meant a craB)


Duinen van Texel

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Filed under Family, Holidays

I open my eyes and there he is. My darling boy.

Three and a half

Three and a half

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Filed under Cherished moments, Family, Growing up too fast

Day 100

Today I am grateful that my family and closest friends are safe and only marginally affected by the recent floods in the Balkans. My heart aches for all those who lost their lives, who have had to leave their homes, those whose houses have been destroyed, those who are still living in uncertainty of the hours to come.

I am grateful to hear that under such tragic circumstances people are showing their most human side, giving away to help their neighbours who need it, volunteering to build sandbag barricades, walking from one town to another to rescue those who can not be reached in any other way.

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Filed under Daily gratitude, Expat life, Family