Thursday, February 23, 2012

Taking Time on Thursday for Blogging

self-portrait blog for Berlin Marathon journey  @HappyFeetintheNetherlands

Apologies are in order for not following up on the many blog plans I've hinted at, planned, and promised.

Life, it's daily routine, demands and my passions (writing, blogging, photography, running etc.), which fuels me to be able to be present and attend to my responsibilities and duties to my love ones, are constant balls I have to juggle, and focus on keeping all safely in the air, and not let them all fall, and roll away from me never to be retrieved again.

It's almost the weekend, and I can blissfully share that I've managed to keep all these brightly coloured balls happily up n the air. :) What a joy it is to sit now, blog and proudly share pictures of what we've been doing (and will be doing) this week.

First: I finally ran again!!! I have been keeping myself physically active through biking, waiting until my chest cold has completely left me before I resume my training again in full force. Even though I love biking and have improved a lot in regards with my speed, I still worried constantly that I was "not" running, and would lose the condition I've built completely.  Biking, I find is a great way for me not only to keep myself fit but keep my heart pumping in a healthy safe way.

Happy! And very relieved. :D
Positive thinking held my spirits since December in self-empowering way, and now I could say without any doubt - after being riddled with different viruses throughout this Winter, and caring for the girls at the same time - , that I am strong, and I am confident my determination will hold me towards the path of fulfilling my marathon goal.

Taken today, as P ran again with me after his Winter hiatus

P and I ran together today.  Running solo has never been a problem for me, it's when I have my "me time", but it was oh so wonderful to have him again by my side; my P is a fun company, and today's run was a great reminder of that.

I'll be writing more about our runs together at Happy Feet in the Netherlands, and/or at Happy Feet of a Couch Potato.

Tomorrow is the last day of school!  The girls will be leaving the day after to visit and spend Spring school break at their Oma H.  It's going to be a heartwarming reunion, since they have not seen each other in a while.

image was taken last year, and share here:

Meanwhile P and I would be doing what we almost do every year during Spring break: Spring cleaning!

What are your plans for Spring break?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Morning

Taken Monday, 20.02.12 at 7:55 am
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Steve Jobs

I keep coming to the quote of the late Steve Jobs, when I start feeling over-whelmed by life.  It's my humble opinion that when you wake up on a Monday morning already rushed and feeling the weight of the world upon your shoulder, your life is no longer simple, but one way or another riddled with complications. Complications you need to filter out of your system and out of your daily life.

Thanks to blogging and taking up running last year in August (edit: August 2011), it no longer takes a long time for me to recognize that I am wading towards dangerous waters of other people's thinking & expectations.

Even before I get caught up by the turbulent sea of life's every day demands, I am able to swim back to the calm, and the serenity of who I am.  I am proud to say, I can maneuver myself back to the stream I would like to follow for the benefit of my family's and of my own health and peace of mind.

I love following the seasons, sunrises & sunsets from the perspective of our living room window.
The mere act of capturing the ever-changing view right in front of our home with the camera, reminds me I can have and hold on to a beautiful moment and experience it deeply by stopping, breathing, and taking time to appreciate the small wonders just in front of my eyes.

Afterwards, everything that seems so urgent no longer are.  The pressure from within to acquire validation in any form dissipate to nothingness from which it originated.

Then one feels once again the lightness of one's being...

How was your Monday morning?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tweeting Away!

I joined Twitter 3 years ago, tried it for a while (erratically in the span of a year) & shortly thereafter abandoned it. Now, I am back! :D

The post above is exactly 140 characters, as a tribute to Twitter :D

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing you all had a wonderful day today, and that you got to spend it with people you care about deeply. 

This time of the year, I like revisiting a poem, I wrote for P, three years ago.

He gave me today a Dutch version of Harry Potter, and the Chamber of Secrets.

My unplugging for the weekend was not totally successful, I was not completely unplugged, more semi-unplugged.  But it's just the beginning, and I look forward to doing it regularly at specific times, days, weeks, and even month.  Check out this week as I write more about these plans.

BTW, I welcome all visitors from Filipina Bloggers United.  I stumbled upon it yesterday, and joined right away.  It's great to get to know fellow Filipina bloggers, and I look forward to have them as part of this blog page's growth to a different direction.

Mabuhay!  Happy Heart's Day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday's FYI!

Monday's relaxing Walk On Ice with P and our girls

Hi, y'all!

Just wanted to leave a blog before the weekend activities commences.  My laptop's power cable, I thought has finally said adieu this morning, but it's still stubbornly holding up (during editing of this blog it gave up again, and  I had to transfer to P's laptop)! 

Since this trusted friend of mine is SO unpredictable, I thought of ways to simplify my life, and avoid stress specially regarding blogging - my way of destressing in the first place.

First, I decided I better save all the images from yesterday, and those for this weekend, all meant for the February Photo A Day Challenge, and share them all on Monday or Tuesday.

Also the other pictures I wanted to share documenting our Walk On Ice 2012 will have to wait next week.  Ugh.  I  never learn! lol  P has been gently and consistently reminding me to transfer all my stuff to the external HD and since December, I have been negligent, and you know how easily you can ignore what you have to do and do what is more convenient - in my case save all my stuff on my laptop.

Second, I'm unplugging and reconnecting this weekend, earlier than the Screen-Free Week event :D.

I'm still trying to fully shake off this flu/cold virus that I have been dealing with since December - can you believe it?!  I tried everything and I feel because of new transitions in our lives, once again, it's just a natural process of my body to adjust and cope. In this way, I am reminded more and more to focus, prioritize, and simplify!

This is exactly what I am going to do this weekend! I've put the breaks yesterday, to put my mind at reset, and just rest for a complete 5 days!  Biking the girls to school when it's freezing cold has not been a good idea either and does not contribute to complete recuperation but at the moment there is no better alternative.

I've learned again this week, that it's okay to seek help, to tell and show others your vulnerability, and you gain more respect (as well as self-respect!) and strength for it.

This is after all the purpose of this blog, to share mine and my family's steps on the path towards a simple and enriching life.

Have a great weekend! And for those in the Netherlands : enjoy the walk/skate/fun on ice while we all can!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Photo A Day - Sun

I am participating in February Photo A Day Challenge, brought to life by Fat Mum Slim.

Image taken at 5:17 pm at our frozen lake.  Today were busloads of skaters trying to take advantage of frozen natural ice still in it's magnificent glory...

I love both sunrise and sunset.  Today the skies of our part of the Netherlands was totally overcast in the morning.  It was not until the afternoon that the sun came out a bit out of the clouds...just before it had to set again.

Do you prefer sunrise to sunset or enjoy both with equal fervour? :)

The month of February in images, so far. . .

February 1 ~ Your View Today

February 2 ~ Words

February 3 ~ Hand(s)

February 4 ~ A Stranger

February 5 ~ 10 am 

February 6 ~ Dinner

February 7 ~ Button(s)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Photo A Day: Button(s)

I am participating in February Photo A Day Challenge, brought to life by Fat Mum Slim.

This above all: to thine own self be true - Shakespeare
Since yesterday, the quote above has been sounding off in my head, and it seems that the only way I could make it stop, is to acknowledge it through writing.  So, I take this photo a day challenge, as an opportunity to do so.

I like buttons, the unendless variety of it's kind.  Like people, or the lives led by people, you can find all sorts.

One of the main reason I created this blog is to remind myself to be true to who I am.  It's easy to lose yourself in life if you don't keep focus on what is most important.

The day has been long, and I have to admit that I could have made a lot more effort with the picture of the day but instead, I settled for this image.

It's the set of buttons on K, middle daughter's knitted dress, which she likes wearing with jeans. When I see her wearing it (it used to be J, the eldest daughter's dress) it makes me smile, just like what happened when J used to wear it.  I think Littlest will still be inheriting it as well; it's made of sturdy material.

When I read the list of photos we have to do, and I arrive on Day 7, I instantly thought of this dress with the three dark pink buttons.

Then, late this afternoon, as I was checking out what the others did, I started doubting my choice.  But there was no time to think or my mind was too distracted about something else. Plus, I wanted to yet again prepare a nice dinner for the family, which always takes a lot of time.  P is coming home early for dinner, J has CITO at school (will explain some other time...) and I wanted to nurture them. 

I also alloted the chunk of my free time today to write friends, whom I have not been in touch with for a while.

So, here  I am presenting a picture and the buttons, which represents, who I am:
  • someone who strives for simplicity
  • loves all the colour that life is composed of
  • has a set of steady (almost there!) priorities :)
  • sturdy and survivor of a lot of changes and transitions!
What does your button say about you?

The month of February in images, so far. . .

February 1 ~ Your View Today

February 2 ~ Words

February 3 ~ Hand(s)

February 4 ~ A Stranger

February 5 ~ 10 am 

February 6 ~ Dinner

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Photo A Day: 10 am

I am participating in February Photo A Day Challenge, brought to life by Fat Mum Slim.

I set the alarm clock the night before so I won't forget to take a picture at 10 am! :)

My favourite view to look at when I wake up; I am happy to have a four seasons collage of this view.

The month of February in images, so far. . .

February 1 ~ Your View Today

February 2 ~ Words

February 3 ~ Hand(s)

February 4 ~ A Stranger

Simplifying Sunday: Photo A Day Challenge

As I mentioned yesterday, I will belatedly share images for the days I missed so far for the February Photo A Day Challenge, brought to life by Fat Mum Slim.

Last year with MUCH effort I was finally able to succesfully complete a 365 challenge: photographing daily from July 2010 - July 2011.  I think my first attempt at this challenge, which I stumbled upon in Flickr, was in 2008.

Next year, I will attempt to face the challenge once again  of 365 days of blogging, and since it seems a natural thing to do (at least for me! lol) I might as well do a 365 days of photographing. :)

In the meantime, I am grateful for "mini-challenges" like February Photo A Day Challenge to keep me sharp and limber!

Many things which seems daunting eventually become simpler the more you practice doing it. 

I had the same train of thought, when I  commented on a friend's blog yesterday:

What I am doing with blogging (and with life :D) is keeping it simple, and focusing on what I truly love and what gives me and my family joy. Somehow, expressing oneself creatively (and living life!) comes easier when you do both: simplify and focus.

Another reason to blog regularly!  Positive behaviour definitely gets reinforced in this way.  Promise.

Now, back to those images I would like to belatedly share.

It seems serendipitious that I stumbled upon the challenge, just as I was going back to photographing daily.  Since the 365 project of 2010/2011, when the camera was almost an extension of my arm, I took it less and less with me after Summer 2011, and I could say I did not take much if any pictures at all the entire month of January.

I think I needed the break, and now feel rejuvenated and inspired to share how I view life through the lens.

Here are the links to the images (backdated posts!) :

February 1 ~ Your View Today

February 2 ~ Words

February 3 ~ Hand(s)

February 4 ~ A Stranger

And if you would like to see all the photos for this month, please click here: February Photo A Day Challenge

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Nostalgic Saturday: 3 Winters Ago

Life is like an ice-cream cone, you have to lick it one day at a time. - Charles M. Schulz

All the snow is making me feel nostalgic of the time we spent our holidays here in the Netherlands, walked on natural ice with the girls for the first time, and I decided to finally move here with them.

In Spring, it will be three years.

P, the girls and I have not only grown together as a family but grown individually supported by each other's love and understanding.

Eldest is looking forward to changing school after the Summer, middle daughter has gained so much confidence, and the littlest enjoys her first year at school, embracing it wholeheartedly like we have all embraced our new life here in the Netherlands.

It's great to look at each image, which captured not only memories but the blessings we are grateful to have been generously given. 

Blog P.S. :

If you noticed, I added to the top right corner of this page, an image link to Fat Mum Slim; I learned about her through Mo Travel's blog.

It seems fitting to stumble upon this challenge after I posted about my 12 for 12 project, please watch out for the belated photos I'll be posting for this challenge starting tomorrow. :)

Photo A Day: A Stranger

I am participating in February Photo A Day Challenge, brought to life by Fat Mum Slim.

This collage is composed of images that my P took on his day out with his friend.  Although they know each other from work, and have developed a good friendship through the years (before P and I met), T and I have yet to meet, and so I could say that T is still "a stranger" to me. :)

I am taking liberty in sharing his image because he is hardly recognizable here (I hope!).

He was very generous in sharing this day with P, who is very lucky to have more than a handful of good friends, who shares his interest, and their fun with him.  T rented this flight simulator with an instructor for two hours, and P acted as his co-pilot.  P got to fly as captain too, and simply had a blast.

This is one stranger I look forward to meeting, soon! :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Photo A Day: Hand(s)

I am participating in February Photo A Day Challenge, brought to life by Fat Mum Slim.

I got lucky with this photo!  It's the day I learned about the challenge after battling our way home through the snowfall.

As you can see, the littlest was not pleased to "lose" her hand glove. :)  I thought about this shot when I read about the photo-challenge, and had to smile that I had the presence of mind to take this image.  Actually on this day, I took another picture of the same theme: my handgloved covered hand.

I don't know what made me  take a picture of my hand.  It was an impulse.  At the background was the frozen canal and an empty field.  I guess the logical explanation was that I wanted to give a distinctive perspective for whoever will stumble upon the random image.  Or perhaps I had this premonition, I will need an image of a hand!

Still this cute image won over because who can resist sharing this cute precious expression!

Friday Outdoors: Sneeuw!

as always, please click on the image for better view :)
 Sneeuw: Dutch word for snow (if you click on the link, it will bring you to Wiktionary, and you can hear how it is pronounced :) )

P cautioned me this morning before he went off to work about snowfall.  He worries about us at work, and his way with coping with worries is to check the weather in the evening, help with preparing for appropriate clothing by laying them out specially for our girls and calling a couple of times during the day to check if everything is okay.

We finally had a "decent" snowfall today!  It kept falling and falling, and covering the streets, transforming everything to liken Winter Wonderland.  This athmosphere has been absent for most of the Winter, and as you can see from the image I took of myself this morning after bringing the littlest to school, that I am over-joyed by the return of "real" Winter before we welcome Spring.

I'm one of those strange creatures :), who loves cold weather, and a lot of snow.  Last year, I not only biked for the first time through the entire year, through different seasons (first Winter biking in my entire life!), but I was happy to have been caught in a snow storm while riding with our bikes home.  I know insane! But not insane irresponsible! I called the girl's adoptive Omi B, and she brought home the girls, as I waited for P in a neighbourhood pub, so that he could bring home the girls bikes;  he drove, I biked and side by side we got safely home.

Today, we did not experience anything dramatic.  The cars all drove carefully, observing consideration in traffic to fellow drivers.  Our village were full of  traffic because of the frozen polder, well loved by passionate skaters.  Hopefully the temperatures still continues (at least during the weekend!) to be below 0, that the family will get the chance to skate on natural ice, too!

This day inspired me to a new blog theme for Friday - I'll take you outdoors with me as the weekend begins!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Photo A Day: Words

I am participating in February Photo A Day Challenge, brought to life by Fat Mum Slim.

Since I learned about this challenge the 3rd of February, and backdating the blogs where I am posting the images belatedly, I am interpreting the image for today in my own way!

So, instead of a photograph of words, I edited on the image the words I was thinking as I took this image of the littlest.  It's noon time, after I picked her up from school, and before I put her in the child seat of the bike.  She likes to watch the swans and ducks frequenting under this bridge.

You will notice in the days to come, we have lots of small bridges in our neighbourhood!

On the Menu - Cooking One's Way To Regular Blogging

as always, please click on the image for a better view :)

From my experience, I can say, that regular blogging can be achieved:
  • by letting yourself be inspired by what's in front of your eyes!
  • by taking a picture of what you experience/observe/see everyday, which brings you joy
  • by creating themes for the favourite subject you like to talk and write about
  • by creating a schedule for those themes, you like to talk and write about
  • by simply blogging!
I'll follow my own tip, and share today (perhaps every Thursday!) what's "On the Menu" here at home.

What I cooked today for our late lunch is one of those meal combo  - sautéed liver, sautéed onion, apple sauce (what I served today though was apple compote) and mashed potatoes - which I learned to cook and put together in Germany; preparing this meal brings back good memories.  This time, I added to the combo, blanched spinach, which I sautéed, and sprinkled with fried bacon upon serving.

What was/is on your menu today?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Photo A Day: Your View Today

I am participating in February Photo A Day Challenge, brought to life by Fat Mum Slim.

February 1 ~ Your View Today

I love this bridge; it's a view I see a couple of times a day as I bring the youngest to school, and pick her up again.  It's fun to stand on it and just take in the view of the field occasionally populated with herds of sheep.  There is a resident pair of swan, and a couple of ducks that expectantly look up to you for some morsel of old bread.