My Personal Top 11 Favorite Podcasts To Listen To Now!

If you have yet to dip your toes into the giant world of podcasts, prepare yourself for your newest obsession. They all have a similar format to talk radio, podcasts usually include a host discussing various types of material, from cooking, world news, bizarre stories which you really cannot imagine, interviewing special guests, sharing stories about important life-changing events or even a mixture of all the above in one. the length of the podcasts also vary to suit our attention spans — some of the shortest podcasts last just five minutes, while others are many part series lasting hours. And because they come in such a range of styles and subjects, you can tune in to keep your mind occupied while doing chores, making dinner, working out or commuting.

Are you like me and like to enjoy doing something else while cooking? I mean, apart from drinking a nice alcoholic beverage which I cook, I also love doing something along with it. When my kids are around, it normally involves listening to music and belting out the latest tunes which being entertained with Tik Tok dances which I cannot for the life of me do like my 10 year old. I sware, I used to be able do dance – really! But lately, I’ve been enjoying listening to more podcasts while I’m cooking and of course during my other “favorite hobby” cleaning – kidding!

The more I think about it, I can say that I go in phases – sort of like Netflix – I either binge watch a series and cannot get enough of it, or nothing at all and I search for the next greatest thing to pique my interest. So it’s not uncommon for me when I listen to podcasts, to just keep going and going. So after dinner, when it’s washing up time, I find I go back into the kitchen and put on the podcast. But I do need to watch what I’m listening to as my 10 year old daughter will often come in the kitchen or sit in the room off the kitchen and question my choices. So you can imagine when she hears me listening to one of Molly’s most recent escapades in Dying for Sex! You really cannot talk your way out of that trust me!

I’m a huge fan of narrative and true crime podcasts, and any podcasts that feature engaging or enlightening interviews.

Here’s a list of my favorite podcasts of the moment for you to check out the next time you’re cooking.

  1. SERIAL
    Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Season 1 was the first Podcast I listen to and I couldn’t get enough – it really started my love of podcasts. Taking place in Baltimore in 1999. A popular high-school senior, disappears after school one day. Six weeks later detectives arrest her classmate and ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, for her murder. He says he’s innocent – though he can’t exactly remember what he was doing on that January afternoon. But someone can. A classmate says she knows where Adnan was. The trouble is, she’s nowhere to be found.

  2. DYING FOR SEX
    Dying for Sex s a podcast about a woman named Molly who is diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. She decides to do something bold. She leaves her unhappy marriage and embarks on a series of sexual adventures to feel alive. It is narrated by Nikki Boyer and you either love her or hate her – I love her. This podcast will have you laughing one minute and crying the next.

  3. THE DATING GAME KILLER
    Dating Game Killer is a six-part series about Rodney Alcala who won a date on the popular TV show, The Dating Game in 1978. What no one knew was that he was a prolific serial killer in the middle of a cross-country murder spree. The narrator takes listeners on an unbelievable journey into Alcala’s twisting secret life.  He hid behind normal jobs like a summer camp counselor fooling employers, prison psychiatrists, and parole boards — all while committing heinous crimes from coast to coast. A real binger!

  4. THE IMMACULATE DECEPTION
    The Immaculate Deception is one that I really found fascinating – particularly perhaps because my own children were conceived with fertility treatments so the struggles of these women resonate with me. The desire and in my cases desperation to have children, the what ifs. Clearly my two children look like a combination of myself and their father, but had one of them not looked like either of us, how would it be – I cannot even being to imagine. And then many years later, hearing that the fertility doctor, Jan Karbatt which was trusted so much, used his OWN SEMEN and fathered HUNDREDS of children is just mind-blowing. He was determined to create life- by any means possible. Also this story takes place here in the Netherlands makes it even closer. Our treatments were in Boston, so I’m certain we’re in the clear! Interestingly enough some of those children are interviewed – some are rather upset to find out the news, another is not bothered much as they are grateful he gave them life. It really seems like something out of a twisted movie or something you read about in a far away country but here in Rotterdam? Shocking this has happend in other places too – so not the first time. With genetic testing more and more of his children which are now nicknamed the “Karbastards” are discovered to this day.

  5. NICE WHITE PARENTS
    In 1954, the Supreme Court declared racially segregated public schools unconstitutional. From Serial and The New York Times, this podcast looks at the 60-year relationship between WHITE PARENTS and the public school down the block in New York City. She attempts to shed light on the influence white parents hold in American education. How do these parents facilitate current inequalities in public education, and what must change?

  6. UP AND VANISHED
    Season 1 explored the 2005 disappearance of beauty queen and high school teacher Tara Grinstead from her home in Ocilla, Georgia. As the people of Ocilla began talking about the case again, new leads and stories emerged. In February 2017, the GBI arrested two suspects for Grinstead’s murder.

    Season 2 aired in August 2018 and focused on the disappearance of Kristal Reisinger in Crestone, Colorado.

  7. IN THE DARK
    Season 1 – Was about the investigation into the abduction of Jacob Wetterling which yielded no answers for 27 years. How law enforcement mishandled one of the most notorious child abductions in the country and how those failures fueled national anxiety about stranger danger and led to the nation’s sex-offender registries.

    Season 2 – Investigated the case of Curtis Flowers, a black man from Winona, Mississippi, who was tried six times for the same crime. Flowers spent more than 20 years fighting for his life while a white prosecutor spent that same time trying just as hard to execute him. Finally he was cleared of all charges. Just today, in fact, I received an email notifying me of Episode 20 – a new updated interview with Curtis himself – so I’m going to go back and listen.

  8. HERE IN HOLLAND
    Here in Holland is one that I know a lot of you might not find as interesting. While Andy Clark tells the stories and interviews in English, it is about getting the most out of life here in the Netherlands so it’s really geared towards us internationals living here. Many are funny and I do like to listen to him.

  9. ZEG HET IN HET NEDERLANDS
    Zeg het in het Nederlands or “Say it in Dutch” is a great podcast and really helps to learn and practice the Dutch language. The podcasts are all in Dutch are said quite slowly and articulated well so if you have about an A2 level they are quiet good to follow. The listeners can use a full transcript PDF to follow along but I never have – but will in the future for sure. A few times she said a few challenging things, but she stops and explains a bit further. There is always a catchy Dutch song too.

  10. EAR HUSTLE
    The daily realities of life inside Quentin State Prison shared by those living it, and stories from the outside, post-incarceration. I loved this podcast and binged listened to it. I downloaded all 36 episodes onto my phone so I could just keep listing whether I had internet or not.

  11. WHY WON’T YOU DATE ME?
    Let’s be real, we’ve all probably asked ourselves this exact question at some point. But few of us can talk about it as hilariously as Nicole Byer can. If you don’t know who Nicole Byer is – she’s flipping funny! She’s the host of Nailed It the cooking show and she is down right FUNNY! So when I saw she hosted a podcast, I knew I’d have to list and immediately knew I had to listen along as she recounts the #struggle that is modern dating. Her sometimes raunchy comedy isn’t great carpool listening, so use headphones or wait until it’s adults only time – this one is NOT for the ears of kids.

    Well, that is my top 11 podcasts! I need to add in that last one. When I started this post it was going to be my top 10, but during this post I discovered #11 – and It’s so great, I could not NOT include it.

    So I’d love to hear what are YOUR favorite podcasts, as I am always looking for the next thing to listen to while cooking and doing my household stuff. Are any of these in YOUR top favorites?

    Again, while I’m a fan of narrative and true crime podcast but I’d be up for listening to other things.

Verkeersexamen – School Cycling Training

The Netherlands has 17 million inhabitants and 23 million bicycles – 2 million are e-bikes. If you are interested in the safety cycling stats in the Netherlands you can see them here online.  In addition here are some addition outtakes found on the same PDF. 

  • Cycling leads to a longer and healthier life: – it helps counteract various illnesses, such as diabetes, some forms of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and depression; – it is an efficient way to prevent obesity. 
  •  Cycling is relaxing, convenient, and economical: – cycling takes you from door to door and offers individuality, flexibility, and freedom; – it is a cheap mode of transport and yields substantial social benefit.
  • Cycling improves accessibility and, compared to cars, involves lower greenhouse gas emissions and less air pollution: – switching from a car to a bicycle saves an average of 150 g of CO2 per kilometre and 0.2 g of NOx per kilometre.
  • Bicycle traffic safety remains an important point for attention: – the traffic mortality rate among cyclists is not declining and the number of serious injuries is increasing. I am certain that one way to reduce the traffic mortality rate among cyclists and the number of serious head injuries is to require helmets, but I’m 100% sure that will NEVER happen.

No idea how many of those are kids bikes but Dutch kids learn to ride a bike VERY YOUNG! Most kids under two are zooming around on scoot bikes and by 3 many are riding without training wheels! It’s really cute and hard not to stare when you see a tiny kid riding a bike! Our kids both were seven when they learned to ride bikes without training wheels! So “late” but we were not living in the Netherlands so it was a bit different. They both had steps and used those to get around more.

A bit like the water safety and the swim diplomas, In an effort to keep the kids safe on their bikes, they created a special bicycle safety program.  Apart from parents teaching them how to ride safely, each year, most Dutch school children between Groep 7 & 8 take a “Verkeersexamen” (traffic test) sponsored by Veilig Verkeer Nederland . Depending on which region you are in and your specific school, of course.  The exam at our school is normally done in Groep 7 during the Spring, but with COVID the kids couldn’t take their exams, so that is why they are doing it today, September 18th in Groep 8. 

EXAMS – THEORETICAL & PRACTICAL 

The exam consists of two parts: an obligatory theoretical part, to test the children’s knowledge of road safety rules, and an optional practical part, to test if the children can apply what they’ve learnt when riding their bike in regular traffic. I only just today learned the second part was optional, as all but one child in my son’s class took the practical part.   I also learned that some schools do not currently participate. The main reasons are: not enough time to organise the exam, the exam route is unsafe (in larger cities) and some pupils don’t have sufficient cycling skills to take part.  The last part is due to a growing number of children with immigrant backgrounds who do not learn to cycle from their parents and they often don’t own bikes.  Surely, it is this group that would benefit most from compulsory cycling lessons and a cycling exam.      I’m part of this group, so I can relate. I never rode a bike around major cities like I do here and some rules are different than back in the US.   So when I first rode a bike around Rotterdam I was nervous but now I’m much better at it and do it often.   I still have a hard time getting used to foot breaks but my bike here in Den Bosch is easy and my main method of transport.    I am so acclimated to riding it around the city, I’d never consider walking to the grocery store when I can ride my bike.   

Most kids in primary school walk or are taken to school by car or by bike with an adult. But by the age of 12, they are expected to be able to cycle to school independently – whether it’s a short ride through the busy traffic of cities like Amsterdam or even in a 15-km ride along rural road if they live in the countryside. The cycling infrastructure is set up here and truly amazing. We don’t know yet where our son is attending middlebare school next year, but as of today his favorite school is 7.3 km from our current house which he’d absolutely ride himself daily. Unlike in the US where you take a school bus (and drive a car at 16 to high school) or and in Ireland/UK where kids take public transport alone due to the lack of cycling infrastructure, safety and overall a non-cycling culture. Here they go by bike in all weather conditions. Even in the cold, pouring rain – they wear waterproof outer clothing – that is miserable if you asked me! 🙂 Luckily we have *many* apps on our phones which we can see when we expect downpours and we can attempt to dodge the heaviest showers – though many times they all show different amounts of rain so it can be quiet comical.

The full route of the “Verkeersexamen” (traffic test) in our area was done for two city center schools. They kids were given a map and a route with a few weeks to practice. The nearly 5 km bike route provided different traffic situations that they would also encounter once they ride their bicycles to secondary school. The children had to cycle a set route with traffic situations that are typical for the area, such as a crossing with traffic lights, bridge crossing or even a railroad crossing. The route has to include certain basic traffic situations, such as turning left and crossings with and without priority. Parents and volunteers are posted along the route to score the children’s traffic skills and behaviour. Everything is taken into account, from sticking out the correct hand to indicate a left or right turn, to giving priority when necessary and stopping at a red traffic light.

My son practiced the route four times with different friends, and I even went along one time with him so he could show me the route and how he was to do certain movements. He was very experienced and confident and looked forward to the exam today! Coincidentally, when I was coming home from an appointment, I saw some of the children in his class coming around the corner near our house, so I knew if I waited a bit longer, I’d see him. Sure enough, he came around the corner and I was there with my phone waiting for him. Thankfully, it didn’t distract but I’m thinking he was thrilled to see me and his dad waiting for him on the corner.

You are allowed to make up to three mistakes. Truthfully I think it would be pretty hard to fail the exam unless of course, you ignored a red light, failed to apply the priority rules correctly and any other serious road safety offence. When he returned home from school, he reported all kids passed!

In March of this school year, it will be my daughter’s turn! While I’m confident she’ll also pass, she’s not trilled with cycling like her brother – who lives on his bike. She’ll certainly have a new, lighter bike before that, so that will of course, help her enjoy cycling more.

Personalized LED Lithophane Night Light – A Great Gift Idea!

So I just received a gift from my sister that she made herself – a LED lithophane night light that she made for me using a photo of mine featuring my kids! As she sells them on her Etsy shop – and they are so cute, I of course, need to share!

Lithowhat? Lithophane (lith-uh-feyn) you ask? Me too at first. It is an etched or molded artwork made of a thin translucent material that can only be seen clearly when back lit with a light source. These are printed with a 3D printer using your image to create the effect and paired with a night light to bring it to life. Basically she turns YOUR own photo into a stunning night light!

The cover plate slides onto night light which has a special 1-watt LED bulb, which means it will last a very long time while using a fraction of the electricity a standard incandescent night light bulb uses.  As the plate slides off, you can replace say a Christmas edition quickly once the season is over.

She made it as a surprise for me using a photo I had taken.  But now I’m looking through all my photos to have her custom-make one for my upstairs bathroom.   I like to keep a light on in there for the kids and the current light is just so bright.   If we had a pet, that would be an easy solution, but we don’t! 

my original photo
The 3-D lithophane printed night light

Here are some other examples of other lithophane night lights she has made for her happy customers.

So if you are looking for a unique one-of-a-kind gift for a special someone for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Anniversary, Teacher Appreciation, Birthday, or Baby Shower Gift, this might just be the perfect gift. 

Check out her Etsy shop today, HandMadeByHanaki but be sure you tell her I sent you if you make an order!   She might even give you a special discount – no promises! 🙂   

Happy 10th Birthday Maebh

Copy of Maebh turnsxxxx

My Dearest Maebh,

I’ve been talking a lot lately about how grown-up you have become.  And it’s true.  Each time I look at you I’m amazed with the young person that you have become.  Now you’re ten years old and part of the double digits club too!  Remember back when Soren turned 10 – you sooo looked forward to also becoming 10.

Gone are the baby and toddler days.  At 10, you are now a full-fledged individual with your own thoughts and actions and ideas and interests.  As we enter into this new stage of life, I want to tell you some things:

YOU ARE SMART!   Like really wicked smaaat – insert a thick Boston accent!  You’re amazing at geography and trivia!   And can’t begin to say how impressed at how you’ve learned the Dutch language so quickly.  What about Math!?  Sometimes I have to do out the problems on paper and you’ve already calculated it in your head!   Can’t wait for you to learn more about science and biology – you’ll be fascinated!  It’s cool to be smart – never think otherwise!

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!  You have an infectious smile that lights up a room.  Your eyes are the most beautiful gray/green color and your silky hair, you know how much I love the color of it. But even more importantly, you are just as beautiful on the inside as you are out.

STAY MUSICAL!  Keep on playing the piano, singing and dancing!  Let music continue to fill your days!

IT IS OKAY TO CRY!  Some days you are just going to want to CRY!  Go ahead, let those tears flow.  A good cry is sometimes what is needed and I’m always be there to wipe your tears away.

EMOTIONS ARE NORMAL!  I wear my heart on my sleeve and so do you.  So your emotions will get the best of you sometimes.  Hormones are going to start to rear their ugly faces soon.  Embrace your emotions – feel all of them.  Talk about them.  You’ll learn to control them one day – well, some of them.  I’m still trying to figure this out and I’m nearly 46! J

YOU ARE A LOYAL, KIND & CARING FRIEND!  Your friends should never forget how much of an inclusive, wonderful and caring friend and sister you are.  How you welcome new children into your world without a care and make them feel secure.  Being a new kid to the group and having to start over a few times in life and school has, I’m sure, taught you this very important characteristic.

GIRLS CAN BE MEAN!  The next few years, you’ll understand this more and more.  You’ll make so many friends – many will come and go.  A few true friends will be there forever.  When girls are mean, remember to be kind and talk with me.  Don’t hold it in and try to deal with it alone.  Chances are I’ve been there before.  If not, we can be there TOGETHER!

YOU CAN TRUST ME AND TELL ME EVERYTHING!   Anytime. Anyplace. Anything. Always!  I’m here for you…. No judgement!

I LOVE YOU!    No explanation needed – I LOVE YOU!

You are MY GIRL. You turned my life upside down from the moment you were placed in my arms.  Being YOUR mom is one of the greatest joys I will have in my life. I have always said that you were created for something BIG and I cannot wait to see all that in store for you.

You entered this word very quickly – only 3 hours from the start of my first contraction to holding you in my arms.   And as with Soren, your gender was a surprise.  Deep down inside, I really wanted a girl and was prepared for a another amazing boy… BUT it was SOOO extra special when Papa said, “your wish came true, it’s a girl”.   My eyes and heart beamed – I have my girl.  Ever since then, you and I have been attached – our special “mother/daughter” bond – is one that can never be broken no matter what.

This birthday was going to be a very special one with a trip to the Efteling.  Sadly,  a party with friends will have to wait due to the CV-19 crisis, but I promise you, you’ll have another special day in the future surrounded by friends and family to celebrate YOU!

I really want you to “HAVE IT ALL” and this is my song to you.  You know the one I sing really loudly to you when it comes on my Spotify.  Read the words my darling.

May you have auspiciousness and causes of success
May you have the confidence to always do your best
May it take no effort in you being generous
Sharing what you can, nothing more, nothing less

May you know the meaning of the word “happiness”
May you always lead from the beating in your chest
May you be treated like an esteemed guest
May you get to rest, may you catch your breath

And may the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows, whoa-oh
And may the road less paved be the road that you follow, whoa-oh

Well, here’s to the hearts that you’re gonna break
Here’s to the lives that you’re gonna change
Here’s to the infinite possible ways to love you
I want you to have it

Here’s to the good times we’re gonna have
You don’t need money, you’ve got free pass
Here’s to the fact that I’ll be sad without you
I want you to have it all

All (all)
I want you to have it all (have it all)
I want you to have it (have it all)
I want you to have it all (have it all)

May you be as fascinating as a slap bracelet
May you keep the chaos and the clutter off your desk
May you have unquestionable health and less stress
Having no possessions though immeasurable wealth

May you get a gold star on your next test
May your educated guesses always be correct
And may you win prizes, shining like diamonds
May you really own it each moment to the next

And may the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows, whoa-oh
And may the road less paved be the road that you follow, whoa-oh

Well, here’s to the hearts that you’re gonna break
Here’s to the lives that you’re gonna change
Here’s to the infinite possible ways to love you
I want you to have it

Here’s to the good times we’re gonna have
You don’t need money, you’ve got free pass
Here’s to the fact that I’ll be sad without you
I want you to have it all

All (all)
I want you to have it all (have it all)
I want you to have it (have it all)
I want you to have it all (have it all)

Oh, I want you to have it all
All you can imagine, oh
No matter what your path is
If you believe it then anything can happen

Go go go, raise your glasses
Go go go, you can have it all

I toast you!

Here’s to the hearts that you’re gonna break
Here’s to the lives that you’re gonna change
Here’s to the infinite possible ways to love you
I want you to have it

Here’s to the good times we’re gonna have
You don’t need money, you’ve got free pass
Here’s to the fact that I’ll be sad without you
I want you to have it all

All (all)
I want you to have it all (have it all)
I want you to have it (have it all)
I want you to have it all (have it all)
I want you to have it

(All)
Here’s to the good times we gonna have
(I want you to have it all)
Here’s to you always making me laugh
(I want you to have it all)
Here’s to the fact that I’ll be sad without you
(I want you to have it all)
I want you to have it all

Wishing you the happiest 10th birthday my darling!

Love your biggest fan!

Your mom!

Screenshot 2020-04-05 at 11.28.20

She had a great birthday considering the CV-19 issue.  Skyped with cousins, received loads of well-wishes on Facebook and Whatsapp.  Received both acrylic and water color paints and a voucher to go buy rollerblades soon – was very happy.   Made a cake with her brother and decorated it herself.  Both kids will continue to enjoy it over the next couple days.     I’ve also included photos from the chocolate chip cookies from a couple days ago – which they loved too.  Both kids felt like they were on NailedIt using my KitchenAid – only I’m not anywhere near funny as Nicole Byers and no one wins $10,000.

MaebhsTenthBirthday1MaebhsTenthBirthday2MaebhsTenthBirthday4MaebhsTenthBirthday5

End of School Year Reflections

It was just yesterday when I was posting this year’s first day of school photo.  To me this one was extra special as this year their school year is 100% spoken in Dutch.  While their native language is English, they did an amazing job.   A few struggles at the beginning of the year and look at them now – wow.  M go the highest score on her Spreekbuert – a 9.5!!  Our son has an accent but I’ve been told our daughter has a true Brabants accent – I have no clue!

For the record:  I clearly speak like an Irish person coupled with an American accent trying to speak Dutch.  Each time I say simple things – most Dutch people will repeat what I say – ever slightly changing it.    Even if it’s just one syllable in part of a word.  Seriously, my pronunciation was not that off – or was it!?   I think I’m in denial! 

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PHOTOS

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LAST DAY OF SCHOOL PHOTOS

Copy of August 20, 2018.jpg

SCHOOL PHOTOS

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REFLECTIONS ON THE YEAR

I also think this time of year is an excellent time to get our kids to reflect on the year that has passed.  Here are some reflection questions which will help them reflect on the the year and remember the special moments and experiences that really stood out.

Soren’s answers are in blue and Maebh’s are in Red.

  • What are the one best memories you have of this year?
    S::  Unit Doorbrekend – each Thursday you go to a different class you choose based on a theme!
    M:  School Workshop Day!
  • What was your favourite event/excursion/special performance this year?
  • S: Class Trip to Toverland & Feyenoord vs Ajax 6-2
    M: Efteling! 
  • In what area do you feel you have improved in the most?
    S: Nederlands Taal
    M: Nederlands Spelling
  • What is ONE new thing you’ve learned, that you didn’t know at the start of the year?
    M: Multiplication tables!  (Though Mom challenges this!!) 
    S:  Cannot think of something now – but when it comes we’ll update this post! 
  • What’s something you did for someone else this year?
    M: Helped her friend when she had to get stitches in her chin!
    S:  Helped a friend when he had a knee problem in the school yard.
  • What’s the best piece of work/project/assignment you’ve done this year?
    M: Spreekburt about USA – she got a 9.5!!  Highest score in the class! 
    S:  Was back up Student Council so got to be involved in lots of activities and involved in the school. 
  • What subject have you enjoyed the most? Why?
    M:  Music because she loves music and play the piano.
    S: Gym as he loves to be active and play fun sporty games.
  • What are you most proud of this year?
    M:  Dutch language progression!
    S:  Dutch language progression!

Also, I just love this Dr. Seuss poem about life – and find it very fitting for now.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

by Dr. Seuss

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And then things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.

OH!
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!

You’ll be on y our way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

NO!
That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be as famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t
Because, sometimes they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike,
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

Soren turned 11

loves.... (4).pngHow on earth can our oldest baby already be 11?!  Time really goes so fast….  I told him today that while most 11 year olds are eager to grow up and join the teenager stage fast, take your time and enjoy 11. You’ll have seven years to be a teen and only one to be 11!   Hope he listens 🙂

Today we had breakfast with his grandparents and then he and his father headed off to watch Feyenoord vs. Ajax – Holland’s biggest rivals – he’ll never forget this game – it’s quite the atmosphere in the Kuip.   Fingers cross Feyenoord wins for him!

Update: They beat Ajax 6-2!!!   Here is a video posted on NU.nl  – some fan’s in the stands were crying!   When they got home, they watched the game again on tv… ha ha 

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His birthday party with friends will be held in a couple weeks at an indoor trampoline park.  I’ll post photos later.   He wanted paintball but a friend told me no parent is going to allow their 10 & 11 year  olds to do that – better to do that when they are older.   I did it years ago and I had so many bruises weeks later – I can see why!

It’s hard being born in the winter – all parties are indoors!