Ninainvorm
a blog about art, craft, design and beautiful everyday life
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With a second child, the developmental milestones sometimes go by a bit more unnoticed. Of course we didn't miss out on Julie's first steps, or on the first time she said 'stupid mom!' (which she already said at eighteen months by the way, she's quite the prodigy actually ;-)), but some things just already seem more 'normal' with a second one. However yesterday something happened that was so cool, even though it might not be in the average 'milestone book', and I remembered again how much I loved this when it first happened to Rosa as well: Julie had her very first, unstoppable, bursting-with-laughter belly laugh ('de slappe lach', as we say in Dutch).

We were eating toast, and all of a sudden this girl grabbed my toast, said 'Tjonge jonge jonge' (which is something like 'Oh my oh my oh my') and then seemed to realize how funny she was saying that, because she started to laugh and couldn't stop, while repeating 'Tjonge jonge jonge' in every little break that the giant, uncontrollable laugh granted her. 

Oh, how these are the moments to remember!

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No matter how much I'd like to pretend that we're really the hiking, nature-exploring, through rain and wind kind of people, truth is that usually we're lazy city dwellers who hardly ever put on our rubber boots to walk in the mud. Which is of course something we pass on to our kids: Rosa already starts to scream and comes running inside the house as if she's being chased by a madman as soon as the first drops of rain start falling. And Julie is, well... I can't really say that she's afraid of the spiders and their webs in our garden, it's more that she sort of gets angry at them: 'Spider, go away!', is what we hear her shout with a rather strict voice pretty often.

So when our friends asked us to accompany them on a walk through a little forest at only a fifteen-minute bike-ride from our home (a place where we'd never been before, even though we've been living so close for almost ten years...;-)) we thought this was our chance to become real good nature-loving parents. Especially now that Rosa is starting on a Waldorf school real soon, you know with all the love for nature and the changing of the seasons and such, we thought it was time for her to get to know about the beauty and the mighty powers of nature a bit more.

Well, let's say that at first she wasn't too pleased...

'You said we were going to do something nice, but I can't see any playground here!', was her rather indignant conclusion.

Meanwhile we were carrying around her little sister, who fell fast asleep during the bike ride. Of course we hadn't thought about bringing the carrier...

...which by the way did offer the opportunity to take some sweet sleepy photos that you don't get around to take that often anymore with en energetic toddler!

But after a bit of napping the fun began...

Rosa quickly realized that there was so much to explore in the forest, like mushrooms...

...frogs (or is this what you should call a toad?)...

...giant trees...

...and exciting shacks fully made of branches!

So I think we did fairly well bringing them a bit closer to nature. Well, at least a little... ;-)

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Last week we took the girls to the famous dutch amusement/fairytale park the Efteling for the first time. It was a beautiful sunny autumn day, and besides the fact that Rosa was terrified of the big dragon (her dad was smart enough to show her a little movie featuring the famous fire breathing dragon a few days before we'd go) everything went quite smooth. (Oh, and besides the fact that both girls threw up in the car on our way there... But further, really, it all went quite okay ;))

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Just a small visual diary of what I'm working on and what I see around me these days, to keep track of some very busy weeks! Oh, and I guess the word of the week is swan ;).

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It's probably the corner you've seen most often on this blog, because I've used it for photos of my posters quite often and well, also because I have kind of a soft spot for my vintage school cupboard (aka the little library, or at least the dream of it).

So throughout time this little corner of our living room has already gone through quite a few incarnations...

But as you can imagine an open cupboard like this (that's also home to some toys, children's clothes and books) can quickly turn from the cutest part of the room to the messiest part of the room. And after I wrote this I realized that I indeed really like that you can see that kids live here, but that on the other hand not every corner of our living room should have to be occupied by toys and children's stuff. 

So I decided to try and reclaim this one little corner...

Which of course wasn't all that easy: after I'd taken some stuff off the shelves to declutter them a bit, Julie immediately took her chance and thought that the now empty shelf was the perfect place where she could put her dolls to bed... So quickly I had to reclaim my little corner not just from the toys, but from a whole doll's entourage... Now try that if you have a heart! ;)

Of course not all the childish stuff had to go: I happen to be sort of a big child myself, who can really like things that are officially designed for children. So it's a bit of a balancing act not to let the toys take over from the grown-up stuff anyway ;).

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Sometimes I get the feeling that the play area of our living room is some sort of living creature, that is slowly but surely taking over the living room. Each morning when we wake up, that nasty animal has occupied some more space, and in fact I'm fairly certain that one day it'll eat us all alive.

Oh, I know I've probably also been one of those people who, in some harsh kind of pre-kids-era, has bravely said things like 'I'm never ever going to live in a kindergarten' or 'Those kids just have to learn to value a grown-up design interior from an early age'. Well, guess what? They don't ;).

Sometimes it really drives me crazy, all those toys and all the playing everywhere. Tidying up the same silly stuff six times a day. At a certain point Helmut and I found ourselves solving those same enormous wooden puzzles every night, not because the girls loved making puzzles so much, but because they just liked to casually turn them upside down once a day. So the puzzles went up to the attic and no one has ever asked for them again ;).

Oh and then of course we still have this...

But truth is that besides the annoyance that those toys and the all-over-play sometimes bring, I actually love this play area a lot. It's so good to see how the girls really have room to play, how they come up with the funniest games, how they interact and connect with each other more and more. I love to see how they really have their own little world here.

And of course I must admit that I'm the main person who keeps adding new things, like the little school table and chairs recently. However I must say I wasn't the one who  secretly brought in a whole bucket of acorns and wettish autumn leaves the other day... (I did have to pick them up from all over the room though ;))

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Maastricht, summer 2014.

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I never really missed a garden when we didn't have one, though at the end of our apartment-period I sometimes envisioned how awesome it would be when you'd just have to open your kitchen door to be outside. Now I actually enjoy having a garden even more than I could have imagined. Even though it is just a small garden, there's such a sense of freedom in being able to step outside every once in a while (especially when there's a lot of noise and yelling inside ;)).

Recently we finally hung the vintage camper birdhouse that I bought on etsy a little while ago. Rosa, who has been obsessed with caravans since we slept in one on last year's holiday, just couldn't imagine why the birdhouse was still vacant the next morning: how was it possible that those stupid birds hadn't moved in straight away? Ah well, their loss ;).

 

 

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In general I tend to avoid showing my crappy phone pictures here (there's a good reason why I'm not on Instagram, besides the fact that I have an internet-free phone ;)), but in this case I had to abandon that rule because I just had to show you a glimpse of how amazing the Fiep Westendorp exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum in Helmond is.

Months ago I read about the exhibition on Octavie's blog, and though we made plans to go visit straight away, in the end it took us a few more months before we finally paid the museum a visit. And so glad we did! First of all because this is an absolutely amazing exhibition for young kids, something you don't see very often. There was so much room for fantasy, play and discovery that our girls got slightly manic (though in a good way) the first few minutes they saw everything. Then they just started to play and enjoyed everything they saw around them. So many of Fiep Westendorp's famous illustrations really came to life in larger than life decors, and everywhere there were little corners where kids could join their favorite book scenes and play along.

I was also quite impressed myself. Here in the Netherlands we are so very used to seeing Fiep Westendorp's illustrations everywhere (not in the least on so many shelves filled with HEMA Jip & Janneke merchandise) and her style has become so familiar that we hardly notice the beauty, art and craftmanship of her work anymore. It was mainly the art aspect that struck me when I saw so many of Fiep Westendorp's original drawings. When you looked close, almost every piece was a masterpiece, and so much more than 'just a children's book illustration'.

So if you're anywhere near Helmond in the next two weeks (yes, unfortunately there are only two more weeks to go) you should definitely allow yourself and your kids the joy and inspiration to spend a few hours in Fiep Westendorp's illustrative world. I promise you won't be disappointed! (And probably you'll end up taking millions of crappy phone pictures just like me, so if you want to avoid that, do bring a proper camera! ;))

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This month a photo shoot of our home is published in Fabulous Mama magazine. Photographer Anke Leunissen and stylist Kim de Groot took the lovely pictures.

I once wrote here about how the artificial, overly styled images of perfect homes in magazines or on blogs can sometimes make you start considering your imperfect daily home as some kind of anomaly. I loved seeing how Anke and Kim styled the pictures during this photo shoot (which they of course did) without overdoing it and without losing the spirit of the house that we actually live in. In fact I think the nicest photos turned out to be the ones where Julie grabbed the grapes that were part of the styling of a picture and started eating them...

If you're curious you can find some more pictures of the shoot here.

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About Ninainvorm

My name is Nina, I'm a ceramics and paperwares designer and mom of Rosa and Julie. This blog is about making, living, liking, loving and so much more!

Want to get in touch? You can always send me an email through ik_ben_nina@hotmail.com.

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