Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Update

We moved Jessica's father Max a week or so ago. When I first came to Holland, I saw these trailers on the road and fell in love. Max rented one (which he pulled with his Volvo - a very normal thing around here) and it was cool to finally be able to use one.

The girls received a package from Grandma with new Easter dresses and swimsuits. Obviously, it was a big hit:

Ginger has also been insisting that she be allowed to sleep in her new swimsuit...

That night, the kids had a church play that they had been practicing for (Note Ginger in her new pink dress)
Ginger sang in the angels choir:

Winter had a speaking role as one of the main angels

That night Winter went over to her Aunt Marjolien's house for a sleepover. The next morning the remaining kids wanted to go swimming - I said "sure"...this is the canal that is right outside our front windows - within spitting distance of the house almost. Nice that kids have such low standards huh?

While they were swimming, I pulled the foam roof thing out of the car (the fabric had started falling off it). It was an incredible pain in the rear end. Reattaching the existing plastic fabric turned out to be completely not doable (due to shrinkage) but now that I am looking at this photo, I am wondering if there is some sort of rubberized texture I could just spray onto it as is (without trying to re-fabric-ize it) since the surface is so smooth. Might be something to think about...
Later we decided to run over to the local windmill in the neighboring town - it is called "the hare." If you use Google Chrome as your webrowser, you will be given the option to translate the page when you get to the website - this might be helpful to you if you care to learn a bit about the history of this particular mill...
I thought the pictures of Ginger riding down Benthuizen main street on a Holiday Saturday afternoon with virtually no traffic was fun for several reasons:
  1. No cars/traffic
  2. Ginger is an awesome bike rider
  3. Fun views of an "antique" city
Unfortunately, as we got closer to the mill, the pavestones give way to pavement...

We made it! It was a windy day, so this thing was literally humming along at a very fast pace. The sound was really cool/old school.

This is the field where the wind is grown - note the shadows of the "sails" of the mill...

Ginger ascends the "stairs" that are actually more like a ladder up to the top of the mill...they were covered in grain dust :)

Halfway up we stepped out side. The kids are just a few feet away from certain death from those sails. Like I said, they were REALLY moving fast. Ginger checks behind her to make sure she is safe...
We did eventually make it all the way up to the very top where the big wooden gears are that transfer the horizontal rotation of the sails into the vertical rotation that is used for turning the grinding wheels. I was a bit dissapointed to see that they had the gears disengaged and were just running the mill for show (rather than to actually grind anything). I guess it makes sense though since they just have a small gift shop in the bottom and they probably don't really sell that much milled grain - so it probably isn't necessary to run the mill once a week (like they do). Anyway, it was a bummer to see the gears disengaged, so I didn't take any pictures or anything. In retrospect I wish I had - however, it is close enough I can drop by again anytime.

On the way home from the mill, the kids saw this spot and wanted to go fishing/swimming here - so for the second time in a day....apparently the water is not quite "warm" (judging by the look on Sterling's face)

Tomorrow Winter comes home mid-day, Jessica comes home in the evening and then Tuesday, I go back to school (Monday is some sort of national holiday) and Jessica gets to hang with the kids (they have two weeks off from school).
In the meantime, I need to get all the bike parts and car parts out of the living room so that Jessica doesn't have a heart attack when she arrives...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dutch Hinges

Not sure why, but sometimes the Dutch like to have their hinges on the wrong side of the door (ie, the hinges to an entry door are mounted on the outside of the house - creating a situation where a thief could simply pop the pin out of the hinge and remove the door to gain entry). So, with elegant ingenuity, the dutch have created a simple mechanism to prevent such thievery:

Exhibit A

They've simply installed a pin/socket setup on the inside of the hinges. Now, when you pull the pins, you still can't get into the house.

Now here's the part I'm still not sold on...what happens when some prankster pulls the pins and you don't notice? Well, I'm guessing you wake up, open the door to get some fresh air, and are promptly quite surprised to find that the door falls off and smashes your Chihuahua. Not a great way to start the morning.

Rottemeren Fort

Since I had the week off, and since the kids have a 1/2 day each Wednesday, I took them out to build a fort in the forest between here and Rotterdam.

There were dead branches ALL over the place so it was no problem and with some teamwork, we had this nifty little fort built.

There was some old tarp laying around that we cut a few squares off to get us off the wet ground.
We built a little tiny comfort fire and had some snacks.
Not sure what this pose is all about...
Sterling had packed his marbles along, so we set up a circle and the kids had fun playing for the first time.
This is the lake that is basically the start of the river that Rotterdam was named after. Sterling and Winter were pretty proud of themselves for getting the courage up to cross this gaping chasm of death over a raging whitewater river...
And of course, when they saw this little dam, they had to show off on it too - this time Ginger got involved.