Cute!

Just a bit of nostalgia here before the pizza arrives that we ordered for dinner: I came across these pictures the other day that I didn’t even remember existed anymore. The kids were almost 2 and 4 at the time…

They hardly ever cuddle like that out of their own free will (even then they were too fidgety to do this often) so it was extra sweet seeing these! It’s incredible how big those two cuties have grown (this was last summer)…

Ah, the passage of time is so visible as I watch them become young adults…

A witch for an evening…

Do something with witches, Herba encouraged in the latest Mach’ Was challenge. Two things spring to mind when I think of witches.

The first thing that springs to mind is one of my favourite children’s books that I used to read to my own children when they were small. It’s called Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Here’s a lovely reading of that book on YouTube…

For my kids I always read the Dutch version…

It’s the story about a witch who picks up and helps some animals and lets them travel with her on her broom. When she in turn is in danger her new friends all help her. The kids loved that book, as did I. The text had a great rhythm to it and was clever which made it so much fun to read and we loved the illustrations too.

The second thing I think of when I hear the word ‘witch’ is that time 13 years ago when I was a witch for an evening. I had decided with a friend of ours that we should celebrate Halloween at our house for once. It is not a holiday that is normally celebrated here so we thought it would be fun to try it out. The kids dressed up as a vampire and a cat respectively and my friend and I dressed up as witches…

As witches and a vampire and a cat we tried our hand at carving a pumpkin…

That was harder work than we had ever thought. The end result was quite nice but it was the first and the last time I have ever carved one…

We played games, like the typical Dutch party game ”koekhappen” (take a bite out of a dangling piece of cake, in this case a donut, with your hands tucked behind your back) or the kids tackling Mr E as they liked to do every evening after dinner until they became too big and strong. Mr Esther is never one for dressing up but he did sport a fancy embroidered kippah we have and briefly also borrowed mini me’s cat ears…

As a witch, I did my best to stir my witch’s dinner brew in a cauldron…

And yes, at one point in the evening witch Esther also read the Room on the Broom book to the kids…

… which makes this post come full circle!

We never did such a Halloween celebration again, the kids had a few Halloween parties at daycare for a few years and that was enough. I do remember this one occasion and that book very fondly, though. Should I ever dress up for Halloween again, it will always be as a witch.

Easter, day two

We have a “Second Easter Day” here in The Netherlands, it’s always good to have an extra day off. After having a few sunny days and 20 degrees Celsius (68 F) last week, today it’s 3 degrees Celsius (37 F) and we even had a little snow earlier!

Ten minutes after that the sun was shining again, this weather is mad…

A code yellow weather warning for this evening has been issued, saying there will be strong winds and slippery conditions on the roads, thanks to hail and snow particularly in the north and west (and we live west-ish).

So, no Easter walks out today (like Mr Esther and I did yesterday), we’re just huddling up at home. Time for helping mini me with a small percussion assignment for school (using wooden boards that we use for breakfast, a milk carton and spoon and sprinkles, end result here, we’re not that talented but it’ll do) and taking an interest in Mr Esther jr’s computer game…

Mr Esther is in his study now, doing something with his Heraldry organization that he is a board member of and I am trying to figure out what to pick up on doing next. I wanted to do something with what feels like my brotha from anotha motha, Gabriel Macht (just pic spamming here, love his grin and seeing him with wife and kids and his colleague and close friend Sarah Rafferty from Suits and her husband)…

… but the starring roles he did have before Suits I’ve already seen and the other roles are smaller roles and I don’t want to stomach a whole movie that doesn’t particularly interest me, just for the few Gabriel Macht scenes in there. Maybe I’ll do another Suits video I had in my mind or I could do some necessary chores around the house… Nah… I won’t do the latter. Or I can finally start the Obama A Promised Land book, but no, that is too much of a time commitment, I need something shorter and sweeter… Ah, the endless possibilities of indoor activities… Ooh, or there’s always re-watching Gregory Peck! Today would have been his 105th birthday.

Yes, I think I can do worse than spend some time with Gregory, even checking out videos for this post has already been fun (and has conisderably delayed my posting this)…

Off to some more Gregory Peck, Gabriel Macht or maybe even Richard Armitage fun, i.e. will I finally try Spacesweepers? Time will tell…

Winding down online school & work for 2020

Since yesterday (Wednesday) schools in The Netherlands are closed again due to stricter Corona restrictions and my kids now solely have online classes. My son already had partial online classes next to his partial in school classes but now all his classes have gone online and he does those up in his room in the attic. My daughter up until Tuesday was at school but all classes have now gone online for her as well. She decided to do her online classes at the dining table opposite me today with beside her our black cat.

It’s lovely but quite distracting too, as the way mini me is reacting to other students in her online breakout room has me cracking up opposite her. Luckily it’s only for today as mini me has no more classes tomorrow. In effect this means her Christmas holiday starts after her last class ends at 2.45 pm. Mr Esther too has his last working day of 2020 today.

Mr Esther jr just came downstairs triumphantly to celebrate his last online class of today (only got a quick shot as he shimmied in our kitchen). He only has tomorrow morning to go before his holiday starts.

For me, it’s quiet at work now, not much left to do, which is why I can make extra time to be distracted and blog today. We have online Christmas drinks this afternoon with our department head (they sent us champagne glasses and snacks and sparkling apple cider in a package). Tomorrow morning, like Mr Esther jr, I will be working online one last time in 2020 and then we’ll all have two weeks off! It’ll be a weird, lockdown Christmas and we’ll be pretty much stuck around the house for most of it, but I’m looking forward to a two week break with no schedules, no online work and no online classes for the kids. The lockdown will still be in effect after the Christmas holidays (till January 19th), but we’ll deal with any distractions that will bring when the time comes.

A little paranoid?!

I’m working at home, trying to take a screenshot of the Microsoft Teams feature that makes automatic closed captions during a video meeting. Closed captions only works for English. I tested what the captioning does when I speak Dutch and it translates my Dutch sentences to the most outlandish English sentences, which does give me some amusement as I test it a little longer than I need to. Gotta do something to make this all more fun, after all.

So, I’m testing this functionality while my daughter is baking cupcakes at the table and my son just got home and they’re chatting with me. With some hilarity, of course, because what they say in Dutch gets translated to some weird stuff in English and they come and check it out. I then get serious as I need to take a screenshot of the menu option where you can switch captions on or off. Also, as I’m having a bad hair day, I need to hide myself a bit behind that menu bar. The kids are doing their own thing again while I am speaking some English sentences that make sense, like: “Good morning. Welcome to the meeting” which will end up in my screen. Then, just as I take the shot, the captioning apparently catches something in the background that my kids are saying in Dutch and this is the caption I get…

I only notice it right after the shot is made and can’t stop laughing. This is the perfect, serendipitous picture, isn’t it? The kids love it too, I don’t think my work has ever caused this much hilarity for them before. I did get the correct screenshot later…

… but I’m still wondering whether I should include the first shot in the little manual / news item I will be using this for… 🙂