This time of the year is what the Dutch call the “Krokusvakantie” or the Crocus Vacation. Crocuses are usually the first flowers of late winter and are found everywhere right now. Our backyard has quite a few of them growing amongst the grass; along with that dratted moss(!). Schools are out for the week or so of it – the dates are a little fuzzy as to when it actually begins. It is also Carnival (Crocus colors are Marti Gras/Carnival colors- gold, purple and green) time in the south of Holland, Belgium, Southern Germany, etc. Yesterday, LittleN and I were watching the German ARD TV channel “Das Erste”. On it was a Carnival parade in one of the big southern German cities. They had big floats, including one from a local Lutheran church, and the people were all in historical costume. There were kings and queens, all kinds of 18th Century soldiers, kids as princes and princesses and so on. There were no beads being tossed but plenty of flowers and candy. LittleN wanted to know what this one little girl on a float was throwing. I said candy. LittleN then wanted to know if Zwarte Piet was in the parade. Well, I said, it’s the wrong time of the year. The Pieten (plural of Piet) are all in Spain waiting for the beginning of December to come around.


I’m a bike rider!

LittleN rode her bike today. In passing, I mentioned to LittleE about getting the bike out but LittleN was the one who got excited. She ran upstairs to get some socks, she put them on all herself, got her shoes boots and jacket on and was waiting buy the front door before I could even find my shoes. So we went out back and got the bike out of our little cobwebby shed. As soon as the door was open she went inside looking for her helmet. First she wanted to wear her helmet over her coat’s hood. It took a little persuading but the hood came down and the helmet went on. LittleE was just looking out of the window at us. All he wanted to do was just to play inside with Legos all day long. (Tomorrow though, will be different for him – it’s his turn on the bike.) Anyway, I lifted LittleN onto the bike and she got very excited about being on it. She couldn’t see where she was going or steer the bike because all she wanted to do was look at her feet pedaling the bike. As we were going down the block she was saying things like, “Look at me, I’m pedaling!” , or, “Is this LittleE’s Bike?”, or, “I’m a bike rider!”, or, “I want to show LittleI (who lives down the street) my bike.” She was so proud herself when we got home she wanted me to call Mommy so she could tell her what she did. I was proud of her too!

Marmite Trials

On my recient trip to London I had a couple of grilled Marmite and cheese toasties for breakfast. My brother, having never tried the stuff, wanted to know what is is and how it is made, and how it tastes. I had no idea – just what’s on the label: “yeast extract”, no idea, salty and can be quite strong if not spread thinly- the first time I tried it I spread it quite liberally on toast, like jam – the folly of ignorance! I had to look a little online to find out that it is spent brewer’s yeast from Britain’s Bass brewers plus a few other added ingredients. So just a couple of days ago I decided to pull my little pot out of the fridge and have a go at it again. (I did not realize that you can keep it a room temperature and an open jar will stay fresh and potent for more than three years on the shelf!) My first thought when I opened the jar and took a sniff was, “Wow, a bouillon cube.” A hopeful and propitious beginning?

2 little readers

LittleE brought a book home from class today to read to us called “Dinosaur Party.” When we got home from after-school playground time I took the book out of his bag and asked “What’s this?” He then took it and started to read, “We like to dance. We like to sing….” A little while later the book made it upstairs to his room where he was teaching LittleN how to read it. She then took the book and read it Mrs.S. When I came up there to see what is going on LittleN said,”Go away Daddy, I’m reading this book to Mommy it’s not for you.”

Snow Day!

Finally some real snow for the kids to enjoy. It’s wet and slushy but the kids liked being in it during the after school playground time. When I took LittleN home from her pueterspeelzaal it just started to barely snow – almost at the stage between snow and rain. LittleN told me, as we were walking home, that it, the snow, looks like Christmas and sugar and bird poop. This as we were trying to dodge all of dog poop in the grass trying to get to the sidewalk. The snow stopped after we got home. When we went to pick up LittleE, it was a different story. Tons of wet slush all over the place. At the playground, all of the little kids whose parents let them stay to play, started to make snowballs and toss them. LittleN got one in the face, which she wasn’t to happy about (see above picture). One little boy in LittleE’s class went around knocking the snowballs out of kid’s hands and stomping on them quite vigorously. LittleN just went around wiping her nose on my pant leg.