Fridays sure come around quickly.


  1. Stephan comes home early for the month of May!
  2. Still healthy kids
  3. How the kids are learning to react with calm when frustrated
  4. How 3 shows that I am learning to react with calm when frustrated
  5. Stephan and I don’t fight much anymore, and when we do, we argee to have a “3-minute fight” so we focus on solutions and not whining
  6. When babies sleep
  7. That I have more to do than time to do it, otherwise I’d be losing the zest for life, right?
Posted by harp on Friday, May 9, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Edit
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  1. My Dad! Happy Birthday!
  2. The step in requesting permission to homeschool is off in the mail
  3. Doing the music for the Easter service went well
  4. 2.5 hours at the park yesterday!
  5. I started my birthday present journal!
  6. Healthy kids
  7. Anticipation – it’s a fun feeling. This summer will be a blast!
Posted by harp on Friday, April 25, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Edit
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It looks like the last “7 Quick Thanks Friday” (a take-off of Jen’s 7 Quick Takes Friday) was from when Vivienne was born!  It’s time I exercise my gratitude muscles.  These have been on my mind for a while anyway.


  1. A roof over my head and a warm bed to crawl into at night.
  2. Healthy kids (though Joseph has diarrhea at the moment, we mostly enjoy the blessings of health)
  3. My sister. What would life be without her?  Unimaginable. For the poorer.
  4. All the other loved-ones in my life who shouldn’t take offense at #3 just because it’s been on my mind.
  5. Sunshine! Warmth!
  6. Nursing.  It’s not my favorite, it comes with plenty of unpleasant side-effects, but as I am nursing, I might as well look at the bright side.  There is something special about cuddling a contented baby at the breast.
  7. Christ’s sacrifice



Posted by harp on Friday, April 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Edit
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This week the list of things to be thankful for could and should go on and on, so I just went with the first things that came to mind.


  1. Our beautiful, healthy, happy, sweet, precious little baby girl.  She brings such joy to our hearts!
  2. The after-birth pains are gone.  There are plenty of things they don’t tell you about childbirth, and one of them is that the after-birth contractions get fiercer and stronger and more painful after each birth.  I didn’t remember them with Joseph, but after going through labor and birth and you think it’s all over it is rather annoying to be woken up with contractions and cramps.  Anyway, I’m thankful they are finished!
  3. My children have a wonderful daddy who loves them and holds them and plays with them.  He’s also doing the cooking while I have “time off” for recovery.  I’m plenty busy, but it is nice to have a break from the normal household tasks.
  4. With no stitches to heal I am feeling great!
  5. Grandma’s help with everything from dishes and laundry to taking care of Joseph in the morning so we can sleep in to being there for talking and sharing ideas to cleaning to taking Joseph and/or Vivienne for walks so we can have a break.
  6. My breasts are whole!  Sorry if that is TMI, but with Joseph I was injured for a month and every feeding was excruciating.  The fact that I can simply put Vivienne to the breast and look adoringly at her and let the mother-love flow is a blessing I treasure beyond expression.
  7. Did I mention I’m thankful that I AM NOT IN PAIN?  Praise the Lord!
Posted by harp on Friday, January 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Edit
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Things I am thankful for in no particular order:

  1. Our baby is still healthy and moving plentifully (it’s uncomfortable but reassuring as I’m now a few days past due).
  2. A new mattress!  The one we had sagged in places and made nursing difficult because we’d roll into each other.  Our little one waiting a bit gave us time to go IKEA shopping and get one!
  3. I’m caught up with the finances!  Mom’s time with Joseph and help with the household means more computer and project time for me.  I went through some receipts from 2010(!) and tied up other loose ends that have been sitting around for a good while.  That feels good!
  4. A chance to win the baby pool.  Today was my guess for baby’s arrival.  I hope I’m right!
  5. My kitchen fairy, who also happens to be my son’s favorite companion at the moment.
  6. Extra nesting time.  I’m ready for this baby to join us, but I’m enjoying getting the house in even more order before then.
  7. Our beautiful and capable little boy.  He can take off his hat, jacket, mittens and shoes and puts his shoes away when we comes in from outside.  I gave him a haircut (another luxury this late baby allowed us) and he looks older and I find myself wondering how and when such a sweet boy entered our lives!  Sometimes I really feel like I’m saying goodbye and not goodnight when I put him to bed because he’s a like a new boy each morning he’s growing so quickly!
Posted by harp on Friday, January 20, 2012 at 7:45 am | Edit
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Things I am thankful for in no particular order (and the list could go on):


  1. Computer time!  This quick thanks is on time because Mom allows me to get some computer time!  Yesterday I spend most of the day catching up on financial stuff and she and Joseph had a ball.  I’m soaking it in while I can.
  2. Nap time!  The other day I was tired and Joseph wasn’t.  I asked Mom to take over so I could nap.  It feels so good to follow your body signals, especially after 1 ½ years of having to ignore them.  I’m soaking it in while I can!
  3. Grandma and Joseph bonding time.  Being so far from family isn’t easy, but it is always such a blessing to see how well family comes together and loves each other using the time available for the best.  Joseph loves Grandma and of course Grandma loves playing with Joseph.  It’s lovely to see.
  4. Time and help for cooking freezer meals for when help is gone and I’ve got a toddler and an infant and have to keep house and cook alone . . .
  5. Christmas with Grandma!
  6. A supportive church community.
  7. A husband who gets along well with his mother-in-law (and vice-versa) even if it means they sometimes enjoy their conversation so much they don’t notice Joseph’s needs. ;) 
Posted by harp on Friday, January 13, 2012 at 9:19 am | Edit
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If I can’t blog regularly on Fridays before the baby’s here I doubt I’ll keep it up after.  It was fun while it lasted.  It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing it for 11 weeks!

Things I am thankful for in no particular order:

  1. A new year.  I love fresh starts!
  2. Friends who stick by you and make the trek to see you.
  3. Three years of marriage and it’s not long enough by far!
  4. The best husband I could ask for.
  5. The baby waited until . . .
  6. . . . Mom arrived safely!
  7. Some family time before life gets crazy!
Posted by harp on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Edit
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Things we are thankful for in some particular order:


  1. Christ’s coming to earth!  Hallejula!  We had a wonderful Christmas day with family.  Little did I know that that first gift I got that morning was a virus from the train bathroom . . .
  2. On the second day of Christmas I was extremely grateful for the loving care I got from my husband and in-laws as they looked after me while in intestinal distress and entertained my son.  They even let us spend an extra night because I could not fathom a train or car ride.  In the evening I was feeling better Stephan was coming down with it and I a relapse and so we went to the hospital worrying about the baby having enough fluids.  At the hospital we got lots of questions and
  3. IV fluids and learned the baby was doing just fine.  They wanted to keep me over night, but I didn’t think that was necessary, and I’m glad I didn’t because the next morning poor Joseph had diarrhea and I’m thankful I was there and that there’s such a thing as
  4. disposable diapers for awful messes like that.  I was well enough to start looking after my now sick husband and my sick son who hardly showed any signs of being sick except that he had to “poo pee poo” frequently.  He usually told us after, not before a bout, but for the first time he went on a normal toilet.  I’m glad my stomach was settled enough for that – but I think I’m getting into too much detail.
  5. By evening we were all well enough to thankfully accept a ride home from Stephan’s dad, which cut the trip in half and made it much, much easier on our systems.
  6. We are terribly sorry for the family members we passed this Christmas gift on to, but we are extremely thankful that we didn’t infect everyone!
  7. Last but not least we are all very grateful for returned health.


Merry Christmas, everyone!

Posted by harp on Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 10:49 am | Edit
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Things Joseph is thankful for in no particular order:

  1. Snow
  2. Mommy
  3. Daddy
  4. Chances to be outside
  5. The ball playground at the shopping center
  6. Our advent calendar (what fun to open and shut the doors!)
  7. ninganinganinga (or “mittens” in English)
Posted by harp on Saturday, December 24, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Edit
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Things I’m thankful for in no particular order:


  1. I won’t always and forever have my sleep constantly interrupted. (Sorry, that’s a complaining thanks.)
  2. Marriage vows
  3. Helping hands
  4. Pregnancy doesn’t last forever
  5. Massages
  6. Clean yummy water right from the tap
  7. Better iron levels (read: more energy and less breathlessness)
Posted by harp on Friday, December 16, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Edit
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  1. Catholic holidays when living in a Catholic canton and father-son outings (this time to the transport museum)!  Plus a “Getting Things Done” system that works well enough for me to tear though a bunch of tasks when I have a few hours alone in the house.
  2. A freezer!  We have a new 100L freezer in our cellar.  That’s bigger than our kitchen fridge and freezer combined.
  3. Meals I don’t cook.  I’ve discovered that I really do enjoy cooking, but it takes quite a bit of time and I love feasting without preparing.  Our church had their Christmas lunch this week and it was beautiful and tasty.  Thanks to all who served (not that you read this blog . . .).
  4. A husband who helps keep the house neat and clean the way I like it.  Have I mentioned this one before?  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
  5. No severe winter sicknesses.  We keep coming down with things but getting over them quickly.
  6. Malls.  No, really.  The shopping center next to us feels a lot like an American mall and it makes me feel at home (though I still don’t frequent it all that often).
  7. Everything I don’t see.  Someone made a comment the other day that bugged me because it clearly showed that that person didn’t realize at all the thought and care I had taken with him/her in mind.  Not only does it make it clear that my efforts don’t amount to much (though they might notice if I didn’t put that effort in), but it’s taken for granted and isn’t nearly enough.  Talk about demotivating.  Upon later reflection I think I might have misheard or he/she might have misunderstood what I said that lead to the comment, and this person is trustworthy, so it doesn’t bother me any more, but it made me think: How often do we say something in ignorance and have no clue just how much effort and care another person has put into whatever it is and thus tromp on their spirit?  I’m guessing it happens rather frequently, because life doesn’t just work.  So much work and effort goes on behind the scenes of everything, and whenever we complain it’s like we assume things are right all by themselves.  Instead of investing a thanks that things normally go smoothly, we tear a person down for not being perfect.  To all those whose effort and work sometimes goes unnoticed (that’s everyone!) here’s a big THANK YOU!
Posted by harp on Friday, December 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Edit
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Things I’m thankful for in no particular order:


  1. A head down baby that’s starting to lower – there’s just a small chance of a breech birth now!
  2. Swimming with Joseph.  What fun!  He goes under like a pro and rarely ingests any water now.  He comes up smiling and saying “wow, wow, wow!”
  3. A new kitchen scale that measures in grams and ounces – no more running to the computer to do a conversion (sorry, I don’t do so well with mental math).
  4. My little helper: I bought too much at the store so Joseph had to carry the yogurt home all by himself.  What a trouper!
  5. People who take Joseph on walks!
  6. I went to the dentist today!  I made the appointment Tuesday thinking I’d never get my foot in the door.  I’m so thankful that that’s out of the way so I don’t have to find and go to the dentist with an infant.  Plus, a got a clean bill of health!!
  7. Snuggles
Posted by harp on Friday, December 2, 2011 at 11:26 am | Edit
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Things I’m thankful for in no particular order:


  1. Thanksgiving celebrations at Diana’s place!
  2. The tradition in Switzerland that you always greet people by name.  I’m terrible with names, but this way there’s no way out for me.  If I cannot add the name to my hello or goodbye then I am forced to ask again for their name.  This is embarrassing for sure, but much less so than the hole I normally dig for myself, which is to continue talking week after week until it is truly too embarrassing to ask the person himself for his name again.  Getting to know folks is slow here in the heart of Switzerland, but I know many of the names of folks at church just because I’m forced to greet them by name when I say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye.’
  3. Skype with the family celebrating Thanksgiving in PA!
  4. The family is healthy again!
  5. My “day off.”  With children, it’s hard to ever really have a full day off, but once a week Stephan takes over a number of duties and I give myself a mental break from all but the necessary work.  This time Joseph let me sleep until 8!!!  Then he let me work until 8:30 when he finally woke up.  Amazing.  Stephan swept, swished and swiped the bathroom and took care of Joseph in the evening so I could work on making space for the baby.  I now have the diaper table set up, the infant clothes drawer ready, and the baby bay set up.  I’m trying to focus on the essential first and then do those dream projects if there’s time.  Last time it worked out fine to put the last screws in the changing table while I was in labor, but I’d rather avoid the last-minute rush if I can!
  6. The baby can hear!  Joseph slammed the toilet lid down and the baby jumped.  Praise God!
  7. I found out that the folks in the cute neighborhood next door don’t have to move out until the end of March – not January liked I’d heard.  That’s good news to me because it means mad crazy construction noise won’t start when I have an infant of a few weeks.
Posted by harp on Friday, November 25, 2011 at 11:00 am | Edit
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Things I’m thankful for in some particular order:


  1. Our nephew who is 8 years-old today!
  2. People who speak hard things into my life (and invest in me so much it’s easier to listen to them when they decide to speak hard things in my life)
  3. Pepperoni – I’ve finally found a Swiss substitute!  Lidl sells Feurika Salami and it’s quite a treat!
  4. Red roses
  5. Having no car: The other day we took a trip and it reminded me how uncomfortable it is to sit in a car while eight months pregnant.  I mostly walk everywhere now.  I’m so thankful that we’re within an easy walk (defined by 20 minutes or less) of: two farms, the train station, church, five grocery stores, a mall, an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, furniture and appliance stores, a walking path along a river, several playgrounds, a small animal park (free), the library, the toy library, the pediatrician, Stephan’s work, a drug store, and more I’m forgetting or haven’t discovered yet.  What a blessing!
  6. Hagels!  Growing up we were occasionally spoiled with Hagels (such much more than just any chocolate sprinkle) and I loved them.  The other day I saw them in the grocery store with a sticker claiming they were requested by customers.  I couldn’t resist spending a little of my treat budget on them.  Yum yum!  The packaging says it all: “Because, every day, De Ruijter makes you enjoy tasty and qualitative products!”
  7. Nine hours of sleep.  The other day I went to bed with Joseph at 10pm and he didn’t need me again until 7am.  What a luxury.  I hesitate to be thankful out loud for this since I know at least two ladies whose baby’s are not letting them sleep, but they are gracious and besides, I’ll soon have a newborn taking all that stored sleep away from me!
Posted by harp on Friday, November 18, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Edit
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