How long after you came to the USA did it take until you came to terms with being a resident? When did you really feel at home in your new country?
I became a naturalized citizen in 2004, but felt at home from the moment I moved here. Growing up, I was always reading about the USA and I always knew I would live here. My mom would often say that she would "lose me to that country one day". In a way, she was right. When we went to Holland several weeks ago, it was nice to visit, but it completely confirmed that here is where my home is, not Holland.
I've been a long time reader of your blog and remember you posting a while back about some eco friendly household cleaners you use. I've tried backtracking to find them but couldn't. I think some of our stores in Canada are now carrying them (I seem to remember a yellow flower on the bottles) but didn't really want to "test" them unless I knew of someone who had already given them a go. Please refresh my memory! Thanks!
You must be talking about Green works made my Clorox. I really think they are amazing.
I would love to know what brought you to the United States
I originally came to the US as an Au pair, which seems like a lifetime ago :-)
What did you "do" before becoming a SAHM?
Before becoming a SAHM, I worked at a local coffee shop which I so enjoyed. The people I worked with were amazing, the customers were great and I honestly loved it. To this day, we still go there as a family every Saturday morning for breakfast. It is a place that will always be special to me because of the people and because of certain memories: we started the paperchase for Jazzie while I worked there and the FedEx guy brought me her referral while I was working there.
I was wondering if you speak any languages other than Dutch and English. And do you speak to the girls in Dutch at home? Just wondering!
I learned to speak German, French and Spanish at school. However, at this point it is easier for me to read it/hear it than to speak it; I just haven't kept up with it enough, although I am sure it would all come back to me if I submerged myself into one language again. After adopting Jazzie, I also took classes in American Sign Language. I do not speak Dutch with the girls at home. After Jazzie got her cochlear implant, I only focused on getting her to speak and understand one language. At times I wish I would have spoken Dutch to the girls so that my mom can talk to them. My mom speaks no English and even though she gets along just fine with the girls, it would have been nice for her to be able to communicate with them a bit more. On the other hand, I have lived here for almost half my life now and it is MUCH easier for me to speak English than Dutch now ;-)
How tall are you?
I have that Northern European height of 6'1" and I HATE it!
How did you choose the girls names? And what are their middle names?
I was working at the coffee shop when we were waiting for Jazzie. Matt and I had been discussing names for a while, but hadn't agreed on anything yet. One day, my co-worker and I were talking about names. As we were having our conversation, a customer came in and ordered some hot tea. When I asked her what flavor tea she wanted, she responded "Jasmine". I loved it, Matt loved, so Jasmine/Jazzie it became.
Years ago, I used to watch "A Baby Story" on TLC all the time, and during one episode a couple had a baby girl and named her Tahlia. I just fell in love with the name because it was kind of unusual but pretty. I put that name in the back of my mind and then we were waiting for our second daughter, I mentioned the name Tahlia to Matt and he loved it as well. It was a toss-up between Audrey and Tahlia and Audrey almost was the name we ended up picking, but I am so glad that Tahlia is Tahlia.
We kept the girls' Chinese names as their middle names: Jasmine Mei Chun (beautiful spring) and Tahlia Chun Hua (spring flower).
In every picture I see your house looks so neat and tidy... How do you keep it so tidy with two little girls running around????
I am a bit of a neat freak. I feel out of control when my house isn't organized or things aren't put away, so in order for me to feel good, it has to look good. <
I'm still dying to know where you got the adorable backpacks the girls took on your trip to Holland
The backpacks came from here.
What is your favorite childhood memory??
My favorite memories as a child are the ones that I spent with my oma (grandma). I spent almost every weekend with her and together we would work in the garden, cook and play cards. Her home was one of unconditional love and I miss it; I miss her..
I'd love to know your favorite tasting recipe and your go-to recipe on hectic evenings.
A couple of things I always have on hand so that I can make one of my favorite meals when there is no time to cook are Gardenburgers, sour kraut and mustard: Cook the Gardenburgers, put on bread with mustard and top with sour kraut. It may sound weird, but they are so YUM!!!
Did your stepchildren ever express any concern when you and Matt decided to adopt? I apologize if the question is to personal but coming from a mother of three step-children (but mine are younger, 17, 15, & 12) who is starting the adoption process I have been wondering what it was like for you guys.
The answer to this question is simple: No, they never expressed any concern at all and welcomed both girls into our family with open arms, accepted them as their sisters and never looked back.
Besides photography, what is your most favorite guilty pleasure that, when you're indulging in it, you completely lose yourself to that moment?
One of my guilty pleasures is to sit alone, with a big cup of coffee, a big piece of chocolate and several gossip magazines :-)