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! 


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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

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.


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.

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.)


First Day of School – 100% Dutch

So the time has come and the kids are now attending a 100% Dutch speaking school.  When we moved over from Ireland, they spent the second part of the last year in the newcomers class getting ready for this day.    Spending last month in America speaking English the entire time, I was not sure if they had forgotten some of their newly learned Dutch, but they seem to be doing okay :).  Sure there will be hiccups and additional resources will be required to help them, as it’s not going to be easy but they are smart kids and are excited for this new challenge.

New house, new school, new friends, now routines, new everything!

We are so very proud of them both!

Oh on and Sept 11 – I start my inburgering course too – yikes!  The purpose is to learn the Dutch language as well as other aspects of Dutch culture and society.  And there are SIX exams to be done and passed for me to stay in the Netherlands!

August 20, 2018

First Day Of School – 1st & 3rd Grades

And just like that our 60 day summer school vacation is over and the kids are back in school.   Maehb is thrilled to be with Louise for 1st class and Soren is excited about starting 3rd class with Kathleen. He loves Geography and the Atlas is amazing so he’ll be challenged.  Maebh loves Math.  We looked at the first night homework in the book and she did it, only realizing it was Soren’s 3rd grade book – not 1st.  She is a smarty! 🙂


Maebh – First Day of Nursery School

Today was Maebh’s first day at Nursery School at the same school Soren attends.  As she was with me for Soren’s drop off & pick up every day last year, she is naturally very familiar with the room, all the kids who are currently in Reception (last year’s Nursery group) and the teachers, she was very comfortable in saying goodbye and getting on with her day.

The kids in Nursery have the choice of leaving at 11:40 am or staying for lunch with a pick up of 12:15 pm.  It gives me more time to do my own thing & I know she’d love to eat lunch at school like a big girl.  She told me that she ate lunch with Soren today!  Love knowing that they’ll see each other.

I had the car today & took advantage of popping around at various shops for bits that I liked. I wanted to hit the grocery store, but the time got the best of me, so we’ll pop by the grocery store later after picking up Soren.

When I came to pick her up, she was all smiling.  Said she had a brilliant day but she didn’t want to take a “rest”.  I suspect she’ll fall asleep on the way to get Nils.

UPDATE:  Day two she had a fall on the ground  When Sheila went to help her, she said no no no and took off to be alone.  The other girls came to care for her and she rejected them too.  Poor little girl was looking for me or Soren.

Soren’s First Day of Preschool

Soren’s first day of preschool was on Thursday, September 15th at Harborlight Nursery School in Beverly, MA.

Despite a few minutes of saying, “I don’t want to miss you”, he did just fine.  I picked him up (after spying on him for a few minutes) in the playground too.  Let’s hope all the drop offs and pick ups are just as smooth.

During that year, he turned four so he got to have a special hat.