Learning curve

While I first half-heartedly realized working in the evening hours wouldn’t be very doable anymore, I now try to embrace the calm of not working for school at night. It puts my mind at rest, I feel less hunted and the moment it turned into an active decision, rather than a desperate impossibility, it became doable. I now try to use every spare moment available while I am at school, alternating classes in which I teach actively with classes that are more oriented on self-discovery and reflection and don’t need my constant supervision. You might call it cheating, but it is showing to be rather efficient and I felt rather on top of my stuff last week.

It does a lot of good for me. I can give my full attention to cooking, to cuddling with my little boy, to have a chat with my husband before I go to bed really early, just to doze off with a good book and waking at dawn the next morning. If necessary, I can pinch in half an hour of correction work then. I am a morning person, even if I sometimes would prefer to sleep in. My best hours are in the quiet around sunrise, with birds singing their lungs out, and the freshness of dawn on the garden that seems to envelop the house.



Our house, where there is still so much to be done. With all its inconveniences and errors. The house we fell in love with, naive as we were as first-time-buyers. Yet I still love it here. I just wish we both would be a bit more handy, feeling the drive and the confidence to attack certain matters ourselves, shifting between what we could do and what we had to outsource. But then again. There is so much to learn in this life and it’s one of my favorite things: to read, to dive into a subject, to let it soak in, to dream about what that knowledge can do for me.

A whole new world in every page, in every article, in every news item, in every story. One would want to live a thousand lives to discover them all…

What I hope to achieve in 2016

Oh yes. Resolutions. Chantelle wrote about affirmations and while I like that idea a lot, I’m sticking with resolutions. Because I have a long list. A very long list. You know, once you start to write them down, they just keep coming. And you can’t let out any of them anymore – they all seem just right for 2016.

resolutions 2016


I think most of them are really manageable. Many of them ask for a little mind shift, but no shaking of foundations. The areas I want to improve are diverse enough to keep me motivated – I don’t want my resolutions to take over, I want them to fit in as smoothly as possible. And then be persistent of course.

Fasten your seatbelts, here they are:



* keep working on menu planning – including organic veggie boxes and do a once-a-month non perishable online groceries purchase
* eat more greens and raw veggies, and more fruit. I’m always preparing for others, but my own intake isn’t that great actually
* drink more water, try to drink more tapwater

House and Garden:

* don’t go overboard, but try to have a variety of fresh greens available (spinach, lettuce, rocket,…) to help me push through with my salad-quest
* stay on top of the cleaned out office and maintaining my Kon-Mari’d dressing (to my big surprise, it hasn’t been messy anymore since I reorganized it that wat, same goes for my son’s wardrobe)
* try to declutter the attic
* have a focus room each month, try to install good habits and practices there


* reduce television time for my Little Boy, paying extra attention to incorporate one on one play time after school.
* try to teach him some independence when it comes to putting clothes on
* less yelling (I’ve been disappointed in myself on that point last year, and I really want that to change. I’m in charge!)


* find a good babysitter or an arrangement with LB’s godfather, so we can sneak in a few date nights.
* try to stay on the same page when it comes to finances and priorities.


* try to go with the flow, working with what comes up in the classroom rather than trying to stick to what I had planned. Take the time to use input from students and transform it into lessons.
* Deepen my faith, by doing some personal bible reading at least once a month. I know it’s strange to put it under ‘work’, but my job is what inspires me in that one.


* read at least ten good books (literature – not only fantasy)
* write two decent songs
* keep the birthday card mojo going (I had that started since September – as I was home from work, I wrote birthday cards to the colleagues I didn’t see. All of them loved it so much to find something in the mail!)
* write at least once a month to my penpal in South-Korea and post at least 5 post crossing postcards each month
* take pictures every day, as many as possible with my DSLR camera, and once a month, order prints!!


* find a way to finally exercise. Try to go to yoga class regularly and find a more intensive sports.
* lose enough weight to have a good BMI again (no I’m ever so slightly overweight – which was shocking to me…) I would be happy with 5 kilos if I can maintain that.


Rhyme all that with my word for 2016: SIMPLE. Yes. Non of the goals I mentioned are very high level. They all need some work, but it is not a challenge from hell. They’re about being consistent, defining my self, living my life to what I believe will be the fullest.

Do you have plans for 2016?

Because the night

I have memories of my mother working in her home office at the strangest times when I was little. Sometimes I wondered if she maybe just slept at under her desk table. But now, I mostly wonder how she managed to get school work done with four children. And I know the answer: she survived on way too less sleep.

night owl early bird
When I went to bed at 21.30, she was there. When, an hour later, I just had to use the bathroom one last time (don’t get me started on trying to fall asleep with even the slightest possible hint of an idea that you have to pee), she still was there. If, for the same reasons, I got up really early – like 5 am: yes, lights in her office were on. And when I had to get up at 7am to get ready for school: oh yes – my mother was typing and grading and all that stuff.

My father is a teacher also, and he is a real night owl, but I don’t recall him doing that. He did a lot in our household (cooking, washing, cleaning, repairing, caring for the little ones,…), but probably my mother would have done still just that tad more. And, I think my mother is more of a perfectionist than my father is.

So here I am – teaching myself. I was prepared to do the same, but apparently I need my sleep more than she did (no that’s a lie: I make it more of a priority than she did). After a horrible year, working at 3 schools at the same time, having recurrent migraines and feeling as if every piece of me was failing me, it was my boss who told me to stop wanting to do it all. He’d encourage me to trust in the lessons I had on hand and sometimes come a bit less prepared.

I took his advice to heart. And since my son was born, I try to do as much as possible in the hours I am at school. Because I don’t want to give up my nights. I don’t care to get up at 5am each morning, to do some grading, to prepare all the stuff for everyone that day, then go to school at an early hour to drink my coffee with colleagues and start my day chatting and doing some prep work. But I try not to grade myself asleep. Even with my procrastination issues, it works fairly well.

That makes me an early bird then. My poor night-owl of a husband.



This post was written in response to the wordpress daily prompt Because the Night


Today I took a walk to find a spot to photograph. The prompt for today was landscape and it got me thinking. A few weeks ago I read an article in a national newspaper on how our country slowly is getting built full to the brim. It’s rather ironic actually. We all want to live in a quiet place, surrounded by lots of green. The thing is, all the places that qualify will soon be noisy and fully built, because, well, everybody thinks he needs a house with a bedroom for each child and a substantial garden.

I plead guilty by the way. We live along a rather busy road in a rather quiet village, our house is not big, but it does have a garden with a swimming pool (yeah, we didn’t put it in, but it’s there anyway). Two cars because we need them to go to work. It’s a circle and it’s hard to think out of it. When we bought this house (it’s actually the shed of the neighbor’s house that’s totally renovated as a separate house), we knew that the fields across the street were for sale. They’re still not sold, but one day there will be houses on it. When I took the dog for a walk, I noticed there was a beautiful swampy area totally filled with trucks and drained to make it ‘usable’.


It scared me. Do we really think we can just adapt our environment to our convenience and not pay for it somehow? Were will all that water go? A few heavy rainstorms and many parts of the country are flooded one way or another. That’s not the first time. And it is partly our own fault – filling our world with concrete, the same concrete that we hate if it’s not used for our own purposes.


How are things where you live?




Reflections on Sunday

  • Participating in SITS Summer of Social Love has learned me a lot about Facebook and pages, but I feel like I’m losing connection to this blog along the way. That can’t really be the point of this, so I’ll have to figure out how to turn it around.


  • It would help if Little Boy left me some time doing my things, but alas. He’s a whirlwind and asks for attention all the time. I know some children who can play happily alone for about an hour straight. Mine is not one of them. Oh well, we make a lot of fun little trips together and he’s a happy kid, but my house is a mess. Two more weeks, then a trip to France with my family and then daycare is open again. I may sound like a bad mother, but he’ll love to go back and I’ll be happy to bring him three times a week. He loves having his playmates around and the whole place that’s adapted to his needs and wants.


  • I love how he talks and calls a koala a ‘lalala’. It makes me laugh every time, so today we went to the zoo and we visited the koalas. Joy all over!!


  • I’m reading again! This week I’ve finished The haunted house by John Boyne. I already read The Boy in the striped Pyjamas and loved it, but it was only after having finished this book that I discovered it was actually the same author. I liked this book, it’s a good, old-fashioned ghost story that reminded me of one of my favorite authors when I was a kid.  It’s very predictable, but still a page turner and the last lines… I didn’t see that coming!


  • I was hoping to find a good fantasy series to read this summer and decided to do a reread of something I read about thirteen years ago: the Shannara series by Terry Brooks. It was a disappointment and I didn’t even want to finish the first book. Bizarre, ’cause I didn’t recognize a thing and in my memory, I think I liked it the first time. I brought it back to the library and now I’m rather enjoying The Thief’s Gamble by Juliet E. McKenna.


  • In the Worldcup, Belgium has left the building. It was the first time in ages that we had a good team again that showed promising things. One would thing to gain back some control over television then, but no. There are other teams to be supported and games to be seen. Oh, and the Tour de France has started.


  • One of the beautiful blogs I discovered, is Embracing the Spectrum. It’s a mommy-blog, mainly about parenting children with autism. It’s beautifully written and I learn a lot from it, because setting boundaries and the struggles that come with it are recognizable for everyone who is somehow involved with kids, as a parent, teacher or any other way…


  • I already told you plenty of times my house is a mess. But yesterday I did some ironing. And this very moment I’m baking bread. Maybe there’s some hope for me.




Reflections on Sunday

  • Finally! It’s there! Summer vacation started. Phew.


  • Thursday evening there was the goodbye ceremony for our seniors. I was responsible for the ‘spiritual’ part of the evening and everything went well. It was beautiful, with music our students chose and played, others that volunteered to read a text and a general feeling of togetherness, topped of with a personalized little gift for each one of them. I was focusing on the parallels between the classic story of the stone soup and the bible story of how Jesus feeds a crowd with five loaves of bread and two fish. And when they entered, I played the intro of Game of Thrones on the piano, just as a little joke. Some of them recognized it and came telling me afterwards. I loved to contribute to their big moment.


  • Speaking of which, I really want to give a shout out to Jules and her wonderful site The Stone Soup (LOL, it’s only preparing this post that I finally realized where she got the name from. Guess I’m not a really quick thinker). I’ve loved her blog since the day I started blogging, I love the healthy, simple recipes and her focus on a minimum of ingredients, her clean and humorous style of writing. A few weeks ago, I took the leap and I subscribed to her meal planning service. Not because I need a meal planning service, but because I would like to instill a new habit in our eating schedule this summer: replacing one bread meal by a more veg-oriented one. I think a lot of her recipes would work great as a lunch in my family, so I’ll try to implement some of them this summer. She’s a very accessible and kind person and I her way of communication makes you feel loved and welcome.


  • I’ve signed up for SITS Summer of Social Love and I’m focusing on Facebook as a social medium to complement my blog. I love playing around with it and I learn heaps of new things, but I find it very time consuming. So I’ll do what I can, keeping in mind that I want to spend a lovely summer with Little Boy in the first place. But if you would like my Facebook page, and/or share any post on this blog that spoke to you, it would be appreciated enormously.


  • And this video made me smile. Even after watching it seven times. It made me wonder how they managed to make it too. That baby has to be an awesome sleeper if they had the time to shoot so many great pictures. But the result is beautiful…




What was his name?

There are movies you can watch twenty times or more and you keep discovering new elements in them. Or things to think about. The Shawshank Redemption is one of those movies. As I show them in many of my classes, I’ve seen it often. Like in ‘often enough to quote whole sequences of it’. But last time it surprised me again.

The Shawshank Redemption is about how an innocent man gets in prison and becomes a respected person in there. And about a lot more than that of course, but you should really watch it for yourself. I can’t possibly do it justice in trying to tell you what it’s about. Anyway…

When the newbies come in, the senior inmates are testing who will crack first. That first night in prison is daunting and there’s always someone who eventually starts to cry and to scream. Heywood manages to ‘break’ the one he put his bet on. When the guards arrive and the newbie keeps crying, they beat him up severely. He’s moved to the ward but because the doctor has already gone home for the night, the man dies. When Heywood discovers that fact the next morning and Andy, the main character and a newbie himself, asks for the dead man’s name, Heywood’s irritated.

I didn’t really understand why, but suddenly, during that twenty-third watch, it hit me. A name makes it personal. Heywood can easily ‘forget’ about his role in the death of the ‘new fish’ if he stays anonymous. People with names become very real. They have families, someone loves them and they love others. They have feelings. They become persons.

If you walk by war monuments and read all the names written on them, the same thing happens. Suddenly it becomes real. Numbers become lives. Given for a cause – or in a war they never asked for. People who were in love, maybe young fathers. But always someone’s son. Names make mind-numbing statistics and easy generalizations nearly impossible.

And that’s something we desperately need in this world.


what's in a name






Linking up with

Kathy @ Titus 2 Tuesdays