Monday, November 25, 2013

Life as we know it


I don't blog a lot and writing just one post takes hours, because of all the pictures I want in it. But I want to keep doing it, because it's almost like my gratitude journal. There's enough going on in our lives to make me sad or anxious or unhappy. But at the same time, there are so many things to be grateful and thankful for!

We seem to have settled down a bit more, which goes hand in hand with being affected by several bugs this time. We like living here, although it's a different life from the first time we lived here. Boaz is the only one who'd like to go back to his old school in Holland. He seems to need the most time to feel really comfortable. 

They all like their church groups though. Adam has already been away with his group for a weekend. And Boaz has been away with year 5 and 6 from school for 4 nights! He's never been away from us for so long. He was home sick a bit, and very happy to be home again, but also had a great time rafting, zip wiring (? I'm sure that's not a proper verb haha) and doing lots of other activities.

Job has been doing a photography course (more about that later), taking lots (!) of photo's. I've been translating for Job's boss, going to the gym, going out for dinner with friends (we've got a group of Dutch women here), old and new, looking after the kids and the house, attending PTFA meetings, getting to know more people (in church/neighbourhood/school). And Job and I have been to a taster session of the marriage course in our 'new' church. 

Anyway, here's to the last 2.5 months, not at all in chronological order (that would probably take me an other couple of hours!)!

The picture at the top: Boaz is considering joining Fitkidz. They do 58 sports. Every Thursday evening they try something new and on Saturday morning they do inline hockey of ice hockey. It almost sounded too good to be true, but I think it's really as good as it seems. Now we have to wait and see if Boaz wants to continue. This photo was taken when he was caving.



Fingle Bridge



Walking to the Avon Dam on Dartmoor


View from our bathroom window (spot the deer in the last picture)

Santa Train with some of our 'old' Home Ed friends


With Fleur and Nicolette (and Levi who had been sick in school) on Exmouth beach



Haytor with Fleur and Nicolette (and Levi, because they can't go to school the day after they've been sick)

Lunch @ Two Bridges on Dartmoor, again with F&N&L
  
The gym where I do my classes a couple of times a week :-)

Our apple tree


A LOT of speculaaskruiden!! (mix for spiced cookies)

Apple sauce (with the speculaaskruiden from Fleur :-)) and the above mentioned apples.
  
Meal out with Job <3 p="">
Every now and then I bring something like this. We talk quite a lot about serious things. It's nice to talk about more random things as well. This night, one of the things we talked about was what we would do with 10 million pounds. Interesting outcomes! haha  


Boaz & Levi = Buddies <3 p="">

In the beginning of October we took the boys out of school for a few days and went back to Holland because we actually sold our house (!!!). With a big loss, unfortunately, but it's such a relief that we don't own anything anymore in Holland. We made the most of the trip; Job worked there for two days, whilst I could visit friends with the boys and on the last day we saw Job's family. We were lucky enough to be able to stay in a nice hotel with an empty swimming pool!

Boaz and his friends from his 'old' school. He was so hapy to see them again!

Boaz and his little friend

It almost felt like being back home in Holland again....

Levi with his best friend from his Dutch school.


The lovely friends we visited.


Our treat in Utrecht!

On our way to swimming lessons. The boys swim together. Amazing to see how Levi hadn't made any progress last year, swimming with his school class in Holland. After a few lessons here, he can swim!

Just a nice picture of me and Job (must have been in summer!)

Adam wanted to carve a pumpkin, I asked for a friendly one, pleeease!

The result! All happy!

Levi & Julia

Job's sister and her two children came over in October. 


Job's parents too, for over a week. They are good company :-)

Out in Haldon Forest, waiting for the storm....

Castle Drogo
Job now almost every time brings his tripod and camera, especially after his course with Adrian Oakes
The photo's in this blog (except for the last time, the Wales ones) are from my phone, absolutely different quality ;-)

Levi and Job. This photo was actually taken this Saturday; it was really warm!


The shawl was made by a friend last year. It's a prayer shawl. It gave me a lot of comfort when I was going through a difficult time. Now that it's getting colder, I'm wearing it again. When I was talking to an other lovely lady online, a couple of weeks ago and I said that I wasn't having a good day (or something like that), she offered me to knit me a hat. 

There are some great people out there! 

Oh, and we have found the best local fish & chips at Darts Farm! Very important.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Summer

This photo makes me laugh so hard! Explanation will follow in the blog post.

We've had a busy summer.

On the last Friday of July, the last day of school, the boys and I met up on the beach with a couple of other Dutch ladies and their children. I think we're going to try and meet up more often. We are all very different families; some of us have lived in the UK for years and most of the kids were even born here.

On Sunday, we went to the Family Service in our local Anglican church. Luckily, there were quite a few other families there this time; it does feel good to be part of a community.

We had a relaxed first week. The boys loved being able to play all day. Boaz and Levi have become pals; they love playing imaginary roleplay games together. I love to see them bonding.

Adam went to a Christian camp with some of his friends in the second week. That was the first time ever he was away from us for 7 nights. He had a really really good time and some very special moments. In that week, Boaz and Levi went to Bible Club five mornings at a church in Exeter. That gave me the opportunity to relax, drink tea and read a book in a cafe. There are also quite some children from school going to that church, so with our local church and the Cathedral, we think we've found a good mix.

Me, my coolio and my sunshine.

Job and I managed to go out together that week too. I have found (or rather, she found me, really) a neighbour who is happy to babysit my kids and lets me babysit hers. Yay!
I loved having just Boaz and Levi for a week and I loved the me-time every morning. But it was good to have Adam back, after a week.

The week before Job was off, in week three, we met up with several friends and I managed to go to the gym like I had done before and keep running with the running group on Saturday.

Ben Nevis

Then Job was off for two weeks. We had sort of decided months ago, that we would go to Scotland, but we hadn't planned anything. We did that on Saturday and on Monday (week four) we went to Ayr, a seven hour drive. We stayed at a holiday park with a nice swimming pool, went to see a film (that's what you drive all the way up to Scotland for, right?) and saw a bit more of the area around Ayr on the first day .

View from Ayr



Edinburgh. Boaz is wating for his sword from the balloon artist.

We also went to Edinburgh for a day and enjoyed the festival that was going on there. And we went to Fort William, a couple of hours drive up north, where we saw the famous Ben Nevis. Boaz and Job were really excited about the idea of climbing that mountain together in a few years.
So when were in North Wales (our favourite place!), the last 3 days of our holiday, we decided to go for a short walk in the mountains. Just to the lake and back.
The arrow is where the car park is and where the official walk starts. We had already walked a bit, prior to the 'official' walk, because the car park was full.


We were all wearing trainers (Boaz without socks), except for Job, who had walking shoes, we had a little bit of food with us and (luckily) enough water and rain coats. Not prepared at all, we decided halfway that we would go as far as we could. Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales, over 1000 metres high, so it's not like it was a leisurely stroll. We had passed several lakes, when we decided that it would be a shame not to go all the way. We saw several other families going up, so we thought it would be manageable. Levi almost ran up the mountain! I then remembered my (at that time) little brother would always be the fastest when we went on our cycling holidays when I was (much) younger. Levi was also the only one without muscle pain the next day. I was just glad I'd been to the gym for several weeks. I could feel I was stronger.

Anyway, we had a good walk, until Adam and Boaz started dreading the whole idea (see photo at the top of this post. This is the moment we had reached the top and they hadn't had food yet ;-)). They were adamant they were not going to go back on foot (initially, we were going to take the mountain train (£155!!!!), but that train was fully booked, so we had no other choice but walking up). Luckily, there was a cafe up the mountain! So after lots and lots of food and drinks, the boys looked a lot happier and were totally fine, during the descent.


Levi loves climbing!


View from the top of Snowdon



It was a very special (full day!) experience and we definitely want to be walking and climbing more often!
Our conclusion after the holidays: we love North Wales, we like Scotland, but the next time, we should really aim for the Highlands when we do Scotland again.


Look, we've been all the way up there!!

The last week of Job's holiday (week five), we went body boarding (also something we'd like to do more often!) a couple of times and just tried to relax.

Adam then had an other two days at home, Boaz and Levi an other week.

Now everyone is back to 'normal', I love the routine and the time alone. The boys are in school and Job is working. Boaz and Adam were really nervous on their first day, but both are fine now. Adam worries easily, but is also (secretly) enjoying the challenges. It seems like he wants to do several after school sports clubs.

Boaz and Adam also go to Youth groups at the church in Exeter, Boaz and Levi do swimming lessons together. Slowly, we are settling in again.

I have been offered some translation work that I can do this month. Not sure what I'm going to do after September, but I'm sure something will come up. We've got four sets of friends and family coming over in the next 3.5 months, so that will keep me busy too.

 Job ♥




All nature pictures are from Job's hands and eyes! :-)