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

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!

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.


Nathan’s World Tour 2008 continues with his first visit to Finland!



Being 25% Finnish, he thought it was only fitting to mark the occasion by introducing two world-premiers … crawling and teeth! But what may be even more shocking was that a hand drawn picture of Nathan, done by Nathan’s great grand-mother, was hanging on the wall!!! Or was it a picture of another family member?


Daddy needed to double check … well whoever it may be, they look like a boy!


Back to the Finland visit, Nathan did not waste any time testing his new teeth, especially on all the delicious Finnish food his father recommended!


Of course there is alway the formal part of any state visit.

Dear Iso-Isi, may we introduce you to your great grand-son …

Dear Nathan, this man is someone you can look up to and be proud that you share the same name ‘Leonid’!


Of course, Else-Maj had plenty of cuddles for Nathan, from both her and Iso-Isi!


We are very luck to have Finland as part of our family roots. It was a vast playground and adventure for me as a child and it brings a warm feeling to my heart to watch my son start enjoying the same environment, which I started to enjoy over 35 years ago!


Again, thanks goes to Mother Nature for giving us 5 days of great weather, especially when they predicted rain the whole time!


With the long summer days … as when I was a child … time again appeared to slow down, giving that wonderful sensation of peace and relaxation. Time that we could really use to enjoy Nathan’s company.


Of course no family visit would be complete without being formally recorded. Started by Mummu in 1976, every member of the family has their height recorded on the Keidas wall! I am very proud to see ‘JNL’ initials taking their place on the wall! Of course we have to wait till 2011 to see if Nathan is going to be taller than me or not!


Now that we have introduced Nathan to Finland, we are very much looking forward to visiting more often, giving Nathan the best playground to grow up! But more importantly … to allow his Finnish roots to grow!!!


What can I say? We had a great time and I love my little family!!!


Thanks again to the Finnish bunch for all being part of Nathan’s first taste of Finland!

Love JJ xxx

Of course, I cannot go to Florida and not mention anything about food! The third ingredient to a great holiday combined with family & friends and shopping! Food … food … food! The part of the holiday that I enjoy so much! My taste-buds are still singing with joy with such a varied menu starting with:

  • Raindancer
  • Cheesecake Factory
  • City Place restaurants
  • Park Avenue Ribs
  • Food courts in the Malls [Boynton, Boca Raton, Wellington, and Gardens]
  • Charlie’s Crab

This list does not even cover all the places we ate … nor the amount of times we ate in these places wink

Boy … food is a wonderful thing!

If my words are not making a few family members cringe with jealously … may be these pictures will help!















One cannot go to Florida and not mention the shopping. With so many female members in our family, it is import to emphasise the shopping … the endless shopping … the discounts … the discounts on discounts … the foreign’s discount card on top of discounts on discounts … the incredibly cheap dollar … and that’s just for starters!

So how does shopping work for women? It is a very complex formula that I do not understand, but it factors in:

  • The need to rent an enormous car to cope with the luggage & shopping.
  • Turning the villa into a Macy’s department store with purchased items, items to be returned, items to get price adjustments, & items that may or may not fit in the suitcases at the end of the holiday and may have to be returned (I think that is all the catagories Barbara mentioned).
  • That each person can take 46kg of luggage excluding carryon luggage.
  • Actual total luggage weight (including carryon luggage) on the way home was 162kg!!!

So how does shopping work for the guys? Just walked into Abercrombie & Fitch (better known to JJ as Applecrumble & Fudge), bought everything I liked and was done for the whole holiday.


Anyway, just for the girls … a few pictures of shopping …





JJ nearly buggers up the holiday before it starts! Can you believe it!?! No passport for JJ! Searched high and low for over 4 hours … tipping the house upside-down searching hopelessly … tipping Leija’s house upside-down … then burrowing into mess again! No passport! Called Schiphol lost ‘n’ found (as I may have lost it after my Portugal trip) to find that lost passports are handed to the police. Called the police … closed! Called the British Consulate … closed! Just after 11pm, we decided to stop packing, as we concluded that we would not be able to go on holiday without my passport. Back at the computer to search how to get a replacement passport quickly … JJ looks inside the copier and what is squashed inside … his passport! Why was it there? Who cares … the holiday was back on … with a bit of a rush to start packing again!

What a holiday! Four weeks away from the office, escaping sufficiently far enough to ensure that we are more or less unreachable in our little sanctuary that we like to call Palm Beach. The traditional retreat for anyone called ‘Jan de Haas’. Naturally a good excuse to introduce the next generation ‘Jan de Haas’ to the good life!






What a good boy! I have to admit that the prospect on being twice on a 10 hour flight with an 8 month baby was daunting! On top of that, what would he make of the time difference, the heat and humidity, being is a strange home and bed, being forced to go on endless shopping trips, and most importantly for his Dad … what was he going to be like in a restaurant? Well, all I can say was that he was magnificent … a natural world traveller … a natural restaurant connoisseur … a natural ‘Jan de Haas’  wink  Best yet … he found shopping boring like his Dad!


What could possibly go wrong? Well, after the initial holiday hiccup regarding JJ and the mystery of the missing passport, the holiday also introduced us to the world of American Medical World with 4 visits to the Emergency Room … three visits relating to a virus that Nathan, Barbara, and JJ shared … one visit for after Barbara stood on a Macy’s security pin that was not removed from her purchased clothing. Fortunately, we all recovered within days minimising the impact on holiday, especially with the TLC that Macy’s provided!

All in all … the little guy gave it his best!


What more could there possibly be? Well … Parts 2 & 3 of Florida 2008!