5 years ago the most amazing thing happened to me … I held my first born … my son … Nathan … for the first time! All I can say after 5 years and a phenomenal amount of love & kisses & hugs, is that I still cannot stop the need to hold him close to me!

5 years!!! Actually, I cannot say enough to capture the happiness he has brought into my life. Everyday, I look into his beautiful eyes and see the most amazing little boy, so full of life … so nicely naughty! The excessive amount of proudness that I feel may very well be enough to make anyone reading this blog reach out for the sick-bag … but then I am excessively proud of my boy!


Conclusion: I am one lucky sod!

Happy 5th Birthday my Pal! Love Daddy xxx

This morning, Christmas Eve, I logged into my blog for the first time in 305 days according to the welcoming system message. I even had to re-read my last entry to remember where I left off … ah yes … my little boy’s first steps! Little did I know at that time that Nathan’s mobility would result so quickly into walking, running, climbing … absolute chaos … and dropping me off on the doorstep of Christmas! So where has the time gone?

The lack of entries this year in no way reflects Nathan’s jet-setting lifestyle! Indeed, his footprints have not only displaced the dust around our home, he has also left his footprints in Florida, Finland, Hungary, and England!


So quick run down on the year …

Florida: Food, shopping, & friends! Very simple, but very good!

Finland: Food, shopping, & family! Also very simple, but good for the sole!


Hungary: Barbara’s grandma’s 85th birthday! Oh yes … food, shopping, & family!

England… As James Last put it … save the best till last! Last bit of food, shopping, & family! Nice …

And that takes us up to Christmas! So the question is, has Nathan been Naughty or Nice?


Santa had no option but to declare Nathan … nicely naughty! I am proud that he has achieved so quickly the same status as his father and grandfather!

So to wrap up this blog entry … we wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Love JJ & Nathan & Barbara xxx

1 year, 4 months, 12 days, 5 hours, and 42 minutes after Nathan’s birth (22nd February 2009 at 14:38pm) … both boys (Nathan and I) were sitting on the living room floor rolling a mini football to each other. The ball rolls again to Nathan, but now he tries to use his foot to push the ball back to Daddy. However, he discovers that one leg in-front and one leg behind is just too uncomfortable for a man.

Then both his little hands spread down on the floor, his pampers-protected bottom pointed to the sky, and from the crouching-cub position … he unfolded into a standing little boy … about 50 centimeters from the ball.

What happen next is all a blur for me … all I remember seeing is one foot moving forward and successfully landing on the ground. Admittedly, everything attached to the foot was still wobbling, but that did not stop the other foot copying the first! TWO STEPS!

I can only recall two thoughts … where is the camcorder when you need it and will the pamper’s nappy cushion the fall? I guess that both Nathan and I were equally surprised and my to-be third thought of whether or not he was going to kick the ball was quickly answered by Nathan landing back in a sitting position in a controlled manner and gabbing the ball with a happy sense of accomplishment!

In the words of Meatloaf “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”. I am of course referring to back my New Year Resolutions for 2008.

Resolution 1: Faith
Not only did I achieve my personal best times for both the ‘Great Yorkshire Run’ and ‘Great North Run’, thanks to the family and friends, I succeeded raising a whopping GBP 1,573.00 for the Brain & Spine Foundation!
Status: Sorted! smile

Resolution 2: Hope
Well I thought that winning the lottery in 2008 was a dead cert. Maybe I should have been a little more specific, as the few Euros that I won did not quite give me the satisfaction of winning that I was looking for. Needless to say, as 50% of the proceeds goes to charities, I expect that we donated a fair amount. One question … can I declare my ‘donations’ via the lottery as tax deductable?
Status: Deferred to 2009 and rephrased as winning lottery jackpot sad

Resolution 3: Love
As I stated, this for me was the easiest resolution, to love Barbara (despite being a Scorpio woman) and Nathan even more than I did before. Especially for both Barbara and myself, Nathan has been a wonder to watch grow and develop. Still my mind cannot always absorb the fact that he exists and he is my little boy … and he is already one years old!
Status: Sorted, but ongoing! smile

So what does 2009 have for me in terms of New Year Resolutions? Well … I will make it a bit more challenging this year:

Resolution 1: Get the fireplace built, so we can finish off the living room.
Resolution 2: Get a new car for Barbara.
Resolution 3: Win the lottery jackpot to pay for Resolution 1 & 2!

To family & friends … have a very prosperous and loving 2009!

Christmas went so fast this year that I was still preparing for it after it had past! Nathan on the other hand had a week of Christmas! Poor little guy could not cope with the mass of presents from Santa Claus! It was very hard work having to open presents that would not stop coming in. The excitement burned ferociously in his eyes and his screams echoed all the way to Lapland! If we had not forced him to bed, I am very sure that he would have soldiered on 3 days non-stop!


As for the oldies, it was definitely quieter without the Bottomley’s … but on the bright side, the ‘Bubble Budget for Christmas’ (BBC) went from refilled Moet bottles with cheap sparkling wine to the real stuff … Veuve Clicquot and Moet Chandon! Of course, for Angie, it could not flow fast enough!


It may have been a smaller Christmas in terms of numbers, but the food (including the Christmas ham from Finland) left us having to adjust our belts. Despite the mountain of food, I was disappointed that we only managed one snack bar visit during Angie’s visit. wink



Oh yes … one other thing … we have another ‘de Haas’ member who really really enjoys party poppers … very much to Leija-ma’s delight!

Exactly one year ago, something very special happened to me. Actually, it began 9 months before that, but that is another story.

If I put all the wonderful things together that has happened to me in my life (and that is a lot!), it would not come close to the little package that I held tightly in my arms on Wednesday 10th October 2007. That package was something that I had been waiting for for 5 years, 8 months, and 3 weeks exactly … a new pal!


The look on my face says it all. The most incredible sensation … holding my son … now I can truly understand how my father felt, especially since he had two daughters first!

That look/smile has been plastered on my face since Day 1. When looking back through the photos, I recognise the look in my own eyes … even though in some pictures, Nathan’s look is more like ‘Of all the fathers, in all the towns, in all the world, I end up with him.’


But as the minutes turned in hours, which turned into days, which turned into weeks, which in turn turned into months, we reestablished the ‘boys’ club! We travelled together, ate together, slept more or less at the same time, chilled out together, watched tv together, and had great times playing! Basically, we just did what we were best at!


And we continue to do what we are best at!


But today, Friday 10th October 2008, we pay tribute to a special little boy who turns ‘1’! And there was no shortage of recognition of this momentous occasion! His very first birthday table was brim full!


Of course, no birthday would be complete without Leija-ma’s special chocolate cake. Even though Nathan was unfortunately too young to appreciate the cake, Daddy had sufficient appreciation for the both of them and without hesitation continued to put the cake in a safe place … namely his stomach!


Present time could not be put off any longer … Daddy had waited too long to play with his son’s new toys … in a supporting role of course! Present after present after present, made Nathan’s eyes just grow bigger and bigger!


One thing we do know is that he is a real ‘de Haas’ … wheels, steering wheel, and other car accessories are the basis of a good present! Even at such a young age, it is remarkable how absorbed he gets when a car is placed in front of him!


Ultimately, two presents were a real success (even though one was well used before Nathan got his hands on it – Auntie Angie knows what I am talking about). I will not say from whom they were from, but that trip to Marks ‘n’ Spencers did the trick!


Oh yes, I nearly forgot, exactly one year ago, something very special happened to Mummy too.

Happy 1st Birthday my boy! Love Daddy & Mummy xxx

What I failed to include in my entry ‘Great North Run 2008 – Great Fundraiser!’ is my sincerest thanks to Richard. Why? I will tell you a story so shocking that even Santa Claus will be revising his ‘naughty & nice’ list after reading this entry.

Once upon a time … there were three female members in our family. To keep their identities secret from Santa Claus, we will only refer to them as Anita, Angie, & Leija.

Well these three anonymous ladies were to be part of the JJ’s Supporters Club … moral support for the start, and nursing support at the end of the Great North Run! Not very unreasonable … until they found out that we would be leaving at 7:30am on Sunday morning to get to Newcastle. 7:30am on Sunday morning! Their faces went pale. That translated into having to get up at 6:00am – 6:30am to get ready on time.

Now women’s logic kicks in with the first in a series of statements. “Well is it necessary for all of us to be at the start? I mean that it will be too busy to park and watch the start, so basically we will be just dropping you off. Therefore, Richard can take you up to Newcastle at 7:30am and we will follow a bit later and see you at the finish.”

Now to calculate when JJ will cross the finish line, so they can be there to see the hero cross the line. Right … logic statement No.2 … “Run starts at 10:40am … JJ is in Zone G … so another 20 minutes for him to start … expected running time … 2 and bit hours … so around 1:15pm … ish … in South Shields. Right, lets go to the MetroCentre shopping centre in Newcastle and play it by ear.”

So the ladies finally leave at 9:30am (well that is what they told me) and go to the MetroCentre. Must have arrived around 11:30am with Anita’s driving, so a healthy amount of time before going to South Shields. In the meantime, faithful Richard is trekking over to South Shields, navigating through all the road closures for the run, amongst the other supporters of the 52,000 participants.

At around 1:00pm, the Great Run message service sends out 3 text messages that I have finished the run. One finds Richard’s phone, conveniently located in South Shields … the other two text messages manage to penetrate deep into the bowels of the MetroCentre, not quite located in South Shields.

So there are Richard and JJ in South Shields, perfectly in time to see the spectacular display of the Red Arrows. The pictures in my previous entry barely do them justice. I pity anyone who did not get to see them (hint hint … say no more).

Now we have a slight logistical issue. Getting to South Shields is now basically impossible and parking is one step further than impossible if you did not have a 4×4 vehicle. The fact that Richard parked a 30% incline demonstrated that. Logic statement No.3 is now triggered … “Since we are too late to get to South Shields and it would be mad to try, why don’t you guys wiggle out of there and meet up with us at the MetroCentre? We can wait for you here.” So it was agreed to let the ladies suffer a little longer in the shopping centre.

Getting out of South Shields was impossible. All the cars/roads were gridlocked. Only if you were armed with the following three things, there was hope:

  • A navigation system highlighting roads not suitable for cars.
  • A 4×4 vehicle.
  • Richard behind the steering wheel.

All I can say is that we saw parts of England that the locals never knew existed. At one point, a Vauxhall Corsa followed us, but we never saw it again. I can only assume the enormous muddy potholes swallowed it up.

I may have survived the run, but Richard was really the ‘Man of the Day’. Thanks Richard!!!

As the sun was setting, Anita, Angie, Leija, and JJ headed back home (Richard stayed in Newcastle in case anyone was wondering) and promptly joined the traffic jam stretching the length of England with 51,999 other runners trying to get home! By this point, I was too knackered and fell asleep, so I did not suffer the long journey home. wink

Love JJ xxx

When I stepped off the plane on Saturday at Leeds Bradford airport, I was welcomed by a bitterly cold wet Yorkshire autumn wind. It was so cold, I noticed Eskimos heading south for the winter on the next Jet2 flight! It was a horrifying moment of realisation that I would only be wearing my running gear for the Great North Run in this weather. Ok … I know that it is a horrifying moment of realisation for anyone trying to picture me in my running gear, but nevertheless have some sympathy!

Fortunately on Sunday, whilst it remained cold and wet in Holland and the South of England, the hills of North England basked under the sun and the beautiful clear blue sky! The runners were escorted by the magnificent ‘Red Arrows’, who flew overhead and provided amazing breathtaking displays at the end.

GNR_2008_001 GNR_2008_002

All in all … the Great North Run remains an amazing event with 52,000 runners appearing as an endless human carpet from Newcastle to South Shields.


And with a time of 02:05:21 hours, awarding me the place of 16,064th, I am really enjoyed my last Great North Run … wait a minute … I still did not beat Richard’s time. Bugger!


Next year is all about beating Richard … bring on 2009!

Nowt like fish ‘n’ chips and fry-ups to build a Yorkshire lad good ‘n’ proper!

And nowt better place to do it as Yorkshire, said his father as he wiped a proud tear from his eye, whilst watching his son eat his first bit of fried bread! Faintly in the background one could hear Hills of the North rejoicing.

It all started by having to take the booit to the Land of Hope and Glory, which his father explained was surrounded by water. The little lad couldn’t wait … and banging on the window didn’t make the booit go any faster.


His father explained further about how great Yorkshire puddings were, but thought it might be better for Nathan to learn their real names.

Firstly, the biggest pudding of them all, known as the ‘bogeyman’ to many, fondly known to us as ‘Richard’! But Nathan could not understand why. Despite the immediate teasing from Richard, all Nathan saw was a big soft teddybear! And right before our very eyes, the boys bonded. The picture below says it all … you could not get a more chuffed look … except from his father when Nathan was tucking into his Fish ‘n’ Chips!


Then you have the youngest pudding, Gabby, who insisted on making Nathan perform the River Dance on the kitchen table.

Pros: Is a Cancer like Nathan’s dad.
Cons: She invented them all. Doesn’t listen to her wise dad! Convinced she is always right, especially when she is wrong.


Then you have the pudding that drives around in a pudding … Angie!

Pros: Nathan’s #1 Godmother. Enjoys the occasional 99. Nips out to fetch you Fish ‘n’ Chips!
Cons: Beware of fakes. The pudding that she drives around in.


And finally you have the mother of all puddings. The pudding mixture that holds us all together … Anita!

Pros: Sensible. Tidy. Organised. Always knows what to do.
The list just goes on and on and on
Cons: Can be a**l according to Gabby.


Well that was a lot of Yorkshire puddings for the little boy’s first Yorkshire visit! And what a fantastic visit it was … family all together, tons of laugher, buckets to drink, troughs of food, and having the luck of the weather! Even Rotterdam made the effort to provide us a welcoming picturesque harbour setting.


It was a grand day indeed! A good day to break my 54:47 minute record from last year, with the wonderful support of my family again, with two new supporters! Barbara & my little boy! Well … Barbara was there because she knew that Meadowhall would immediately follow the run. Anyway …

There beside me, to help me look like to can run fast, Gabby! Actually, the photo makes it look like she is holding me up, but that is due to Richard’s poor photography skills … get a Canon like everyone else!


With Anita, Angie, Richard, Barbara & Nathan joining the masses to get us started on the run, I was well motivated to get a good time … if not for the simple pleasure of limiting their time in Starbucks!

Well, I crossed the finish line in a new record of 52:02 minutes, with sufficent time to walk to Starbucks just in time to see my supporting party (missing at the finishing line) emerge from their sinning!

Aye they are a right bunch, but I love them. Next year I will sign-up the whole lot of them! Plus I will have my eye on breaking the 50:00 minute mark!

Anita, Angie, Richard, & Gabs … thanks again for the memorable day!

Hannah & Tala … you really missed out!

Love JJ xxx