Today I have a wonderful Guest Blogger for you! HRH Mommy writes the blog, M for Mommy which is one of those blogs you can’t help but going back to again and again just to see what those sweet little boys are doing! Not to mention she writes from her heart when she blogs, and that makes for great reading material. (I have to admit, it did take me a bit to realize HRH Mommy was Her Royal Highness (but that is mostly from my lack of sleep, something this mommy and I have in common!) In addition to tons of pictures of the two cutest little men in her life, HRH Mommy has some fabulous recipes that she shares! The only downside to reading this blog, is you may leave a little hungry!
Tell me about yourself and your family.
Okay, so let’s just come clean: I have been going back and forth on whether or not to share my (real) name, but given the fact that in some comments on my blog my lovely friends addressed me by my name, I may as well expose myself here: Marieke – pronounced “Ma-REE-kuh” is Dutch. And guess what? So am I! Yep, I was born and raised in The Netherlands, that little tiny country that is smaller than the metropolitan area of Los Angeles, but with 16 million people cramped in it, between Germany and England. Well, between Germany and the North Sea is actually more accurate.
My educational and professional background you ask? Let’s see: I got my BA in Communications Management at a European College back home, I studied in Spain, I worked in Brussels, I graduated, and moved to Boston, MA where I continued at Emerson College for my Masters in Integrated Marketing Communication. I flew through it in 1-1/2 years and spent my last semester interning in Los Angeles (hey, if you fly half way around the world to study, you might as well get both the East Coast and West Coast experience, right?) Then, this little (well, not so little, I’m 6ft tall) inquisitive explorer spent 3 months in Italy, studying Italian: living with an Italian family, taking 30 hours of Italian classes a week and falling in love with all of Italy’s beauty, culture, food and gelato.
As you can see, I love to travel. I speak 6 (actually 7) languages: Dutch, English, German, Spanish, Italian, French and ‘Kai’ , which brings me to my family. 7 years ago, I got married in Malibu on the beach – on the very same spot where David proposed to me (yes, my sneaky husband got it on video!) We now have 2 beautiful sons: Kai is 2-1/2 and certainly has his own language that only I seem to marginally understand. Ryder joined us this past February (4 days before Kai’s 2nd birthday).
As I mentioned, we live in Los Angeles, where I work part-time as a professor at a local college. I used to model, but quit as I decided it really wasn’t ‘my thing’ and I hated the attitudes and atmosphere that I so often encountered. All I found myself wondering was “Can we cut the crap and just be civil to each other?”, but unfortunately that, at times, was too much to ask. Oh well. My husband is an actor / photographer / producer, so if it hadn’t been for his work, we certainly would have left the big city behind us to live somewhere a bit more quiet and peaceful, yet still within reach of what a city has to offer. Just not Los Angeles.
Last but not least, I used to be a professional tennis player. Yep, I was. No, I didn’t play internationally and unfortunately never made it to Wimbledon. I played during my teenage and early college years, but an injury unfortunately put an end to that passion. Oh well, had I continued to play, I most likely would have never met my hubby, which would have left me without my 2 precious boys, so do I regret it? Nope.
What is your blog about, and why did you start blogging?
My blog’s title is “M For Mommy, The Journey of Discovery in Raising Two Boys: A compilation of Daily Adventures and Opinions of A Mom to Two Irresistibly Cute Boys”
I think that sums up what my blog is about, doesn’t it? (Glad I was able to answer that question a bit more concise :-0)
In my very first post on my blog “Welcome, Welcome” I write about the reason why I started blogging, but I’ll summarize: With the closest family living 1,310 miles away in Texas, I started a family website several years ago: journal, photos, videos, the whole shebang. Good grief that’s a lot of work. Especially when you don’t have the slightest clue what HTML is. What does that stand for anyways? I spent numerous evenings sweating away, putting the site together. In the beginning I got some great feedback from family & friends, but now, several years later, I have the feeling that no one really checks it out anymore. I can post photos, videos for several months without hearing a word back from anyone. Satisfying? Not really. ‘Disappointing’ is the better word.
My blog is a means to get my stories out there, to connect with others, to share experiences and it serves as a creative outlet. I have really come to love writing and though I sometimes still find myself trying to figure out my ‘style’ I am sure that if I just keep at it, it will develop naturally. But overall, my blog is my journal, my memories, thoughts and opinions. That way I not only create the possibility for myself to reminisce about these days later, when I’m old and grey (oops, make that ‘old’ as the grey already started….), but it also gives me some awesome material to bribe my children with when they’re older.
If you had a motto, what would it be?
I grew up being the ‘nerd’ who always studied hard, got good grades and played tennis (and thus never had time to hang out with friends, as I practiced 7 days/week). All this resulted in expectations. Expectations from my family, friends, coaches, in other words: from others. Looking closely at my younger years, I have to admit that a lot of my actions were affected by the expectations my surroundings had of me. I wanted to meet or exceed those expectations (and I often did), but the number 1 reason was frequently different from ‘doing it for me’.
Over the years things have changed and my decision to get married to an actor at the age of 26 was frowned upon by many. What happened to the girl who was going to conquer corporate America? Now, in my early 30’s and as a mother to 2 precious boys, I’ve come to realize that being a mom is what I’m supposed to be. Believe me, I would have loved to have conquered corporate America. That would have made a lot of matters so much easier and simpler in our lives, but I don’t know if I would have been happy. There is still the desire inside of me to do something for myself (job wise that is). And I know I will. I don’t know what, but I know I will. When the kids are in school, I want to start my own business, be my own boss. Maybe do something together with a friend. “Doing what?” you ask? Honestly: Don’t know. I have several things in mind, varying from having an online business to hosting a show on the Food Network. I have 2 brilliant (if I may say so myself) ideas worked out on paper, ready to be presented. Anyone has a way in to their offices?
So, all this brings me to my motto (no I hadn’t forgotten):
“Failure and Success are merely based on my own expectations. Manage them!”
My own expectations are what count. Those that others have of me, not so much. My own expectations should be the driving force behind what I do. By managing my own expectations, I am my own judge and can make sure that I push myself enough to reach for the stars.
What is one of your favorite memories as a child?
My favorite childhood memories would have to be the traveling that I used to do with my parents. From the time that I was 2 months old, my parents took me traveling. Living in Europe means being (relatively) close to so many countries, cultures and traditions that are different from our own, though our destinations would sometimes still be a good 2-3 days of driving. I am an only child, so whenever we would go on vacations, I was (not on purpose) forced to get out and interact with kids who, without a doubt, spoke a different language. It’s fascinating how language is not at all a barrier for children. Children just play – no matter what their language or heritage. The traveling opened up a whole new world for me and I think my passion for travel, cooking, food and languages is has been greatly influenced by those childhood experiences.
Do you have any family traditions?
I grew up with a fair amount of family traditions and in that respect the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I love creating them for my family now as well. One of the traditions I value a lot is dinner time: 6pm, sitting down, having dinner with the 4 of us (baby included), no TV, no distractions, just the family and our dinner. At the moment daddy makes sure that Kai consumes enough of his dinner (rather than dropping every bite into his bib), while I keep Ryder happy by ensuring a constant flow of food traveling from the bowl to his mouth. Oh yeah, and both daddy and I eat as well.
Thursday nights is Date Night. Nothing fancy, just dinner after the kids are in bed, a good conversation, a glass of wine, or simply vedging on the sofa cuddled up together watching our favorite shows.
For a while Sunday mornings would be a highlight with freshly squeezed orange juice and freshly baked croissants. (There is nothing better than the smell of baked goods in the morning.) This tradition has temporarily been suspended, until the mornings aren’t as crazy anymore as they are now with a toddler and a baby on different schedules. As soon as they synchronize a bit more, the croissants will make their return!
On Christmas Eve we all open 1 gift. Just to get a taste of what is coming. Then, on Christmas morning, we first have a beautiful Christmas breakfast, after which we open the gifts. During the day we watch our favorite Christmas movies: A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life. In the evening, I make a European Christmas dinner: usually 4-5 courses, including a beautiful steak and an excellent bottle of wine.
Last but not least: Halloween. In our neighborhood we have become known as the scariest Halloween attraction. Our front yard is still waiting to be landscaped and every year we go all out with Halloween. We have a group of friends over who help and we usually have a ‘course’ that people have to walk through in order to get to the candy. It’s scary, I admit: sound effects, fog, spider webs, spiders dropping down off the roof in front of you, ghosts grabbing your arm from behind a bush as you walk by and the topper: the dead dummy (actually my hubby) who grabs your ankles from his grave as you walk away down the drive way after having collected your candy. Every year we try to do something new, people come great distances to check it out and every year it’s a success. By the way, the Moms are the ones that get scared the most!! (We’ve had people pass us by as our house was “way too scary”).
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would be on your plate?
Oh, that’s a tough one. I love food so much, I don’t know if I could live off 1 thing in particular. But…if I had to choose, I would choose the Indonesian Rice Table. Maybe it’s cheating, I don’t know, but the Indonesian rice table consists of anywhere between 10-20 dishes that you pick from to go with your rice. Veggies, different kinds of meats, hard boiled eggs in a spicy sauce, salads, etc. Though I am not Indonesian, my mom used to make it for my birthday when I was a kid. She would slave away in the kitchen for 2 full days (poor woman), but oh boy, was it delicious!!!! So, not only would it provide me with the widest variety of food within 1 meal, it would also bring back (another) childhood memory that I treasure.
Please head over to M is for Mommy and leave Marieke some lovely comment love. Trust me,
you will want to head over just to see her great pics of her beautiful boys!!
Don’t forget for every guest blogger you follow and comment on, you will get two extra entries into any giveaway.
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