The Universe is Made for Evens

The Vander Veen family is good about sitting down for dinner together. It may be late, it may be slightly cold, it may on many nights be pizza or soup and sandwiches. But we make it a point and, quite frankly, the nights it doesn’t happen make the entire evening seem off.

Prior to adopting Diego, cups had the correct tendency of staying anchored to the table. Did we have the occasional spill? Sure, but rarely. A more likely scenario would be Kelly trying to feed the dogs vegetables (which, while annoying, is at least clean).

As a family of 5, something happened. Milk is spilled on a semi-daily basis. Water flies off the table onto the floor. Wine spills have been avoided, but only because Renee and I guard our glasses with napkin holders and salt and pepper shakers.

And it’s not just Diego. It’s like suddenly the girls forgot how to hold cups or place them on a flat surface!

It’s not the table. I’ve checked. The legs are still even. Our setup is different, with having to place a child at the end of the table (no parent at the head of the table, we opted for “divide and separate” vs “authority at the head”).

Some days after learning that we were to adopt Diego I had lunch with my former superintendent. When he heard our good news he gave me a hearty congratulations and then a warning (he spoke from experience, having 3 daughters).

“Just be ready. The universe was built for evens, not odds.”

He then listed countless examples of situations that favored evens over odds. He did not mention spilled milk, but it seems a fairly plausible explanation as any.

In the meantime, we’re pragmatic and practical. Ren bought coffee cups with lids.

Adult sippy cups.


Suddenly, Colombian Food Gets Tastier

Eventually you hit the point of home cooking craving.

Some countries this happens fast (ie – Egypt, which has terrible cuisine – see mulukhiyah). Some countries it rarely happens (ie Brazil, with its fruits, beans and rice, and incredible churrasco).

Colombian food seems be either bland or fried (and oh my goodness do Colombians like to fry things). That’s not to say it’s bad, just a bit boring. We Vander Veens tend to cook very flavorful foods at home, so this is an adjustment.

All of which is to say I was very excited to find this at the supermarket nestled between cheese and yogurt. I’m now putting it on nearly everything, including my cereal. Diego thinks it’s way too hot. I tried to tell him we eat tacos once a week in the states. He just looked at me in confusion.

Vinegar, onions, tomatoes, pepper, and cilantro. What's not to love.
Vinegar, onions, tomatoes, pepper, and cilantro. What’s not to love.


Kelly hates broccoli (Monica’s not fond of it either).

Kelly also has food issues. She asks, regularly, what’s next for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (I know, sometimes this makes me want to cry.)

After asking, like, the 400th time, she and I started this game.

Kelly: “Papi, what’s for dinner?”

Papi: “Your favorite. We’re having pan fried Broccoli!”

Kelly – with lots of laughter: “Noooooo. I hate broccoli. What are we really¬†having for dinner.”

Papi: “Broiled broccoli!”

And continue in a fun manner.

Now please don’t think bad of me, but I recently viewed Jimmy Kimmel’s I gave my kids a terrible present part 2 and completely busted out laughing a few times. Broccoli is a very bad Christmas gift.