Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Moving to Singapore

Kim, Claudio, we're going to miss you and your family!
You were so kind and helpful when we arrived in Belgium
and we wish our time here overlapped a little longer.

All the best in your move and we hope that someday we can meet up in
Canada, ...or who knows where!?!

In the meantime, keep in touch!
We miss you already!
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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Animal Overpass

Ok, maybe too much time stuck on a tiny Pacific Island, I don't know?
We had no idea what these were.
As we were zooming under these road overpasses on our weekend adventure to the Ardennes,
we just weren't sure why there were trees growing all over them.

After a little research and discussion,
we found out that these animal overpasses exist in the US
as well as the UK and around Europe.
They allow animals to extend their territory typically cut up by motorways,
allowing cross herd breeding, leading to better proliferation of animals,
especially endangered species.

Wild!- to drive under trees that is!
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Matt asked, if on our way to Luxembourg we
might stop and spend some time in Bastogne,
near where the Battle of the Bulge took place.
James and Alina, who were traveling with us,
were more supportive of the idea than I was. And so, we stopped.
Matt mostly checked out the Memorial sites and
historical museum while our crew waited for him.
The countryside was really beautiful.

The kids stopped to pose in front of a jeep where a
French speaking gentleman was impersonating General McAuliffe of the US Army.
Surrounded by Germans demanding their surrender during the siege of Bastogne,
the he sent back a one word reply to the Germans, ..."NUTS".
Next time I'm surrounded by small sticky people,
I must remember to grasp this famous WWII quotation as well.

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They have our kids in tow, cause theirs "got stuck in the move".

James and Alina are a fabulous couple of friends.
They've been married less than 2 years.
The newlyweds occasionally accompany us places.
They are a lot of fun, make great role models,
and are serious troupers,
(you have to be to survive an outing with this circus act).
Poor James, has clocked more hours
pushing the stroller than I have.
Today we went to Luxembourg.
Along the way, James was chatting with Emory
about why their car is much smaller than ours.
James was trying to point out that their family consists of
Alina and himself, and our family is much larger.
Emory then proceeded to ask James
"Where are your kids? They must have got stuck in the move".

yeah- so, James, Alina, until your children arrive
from 'the move', you can borrow ours anytime!

In Luxembourg we just walked around a bit,
visited a flea market, and had a snack.

I suppose now we can say we've officially visited Luxembourg

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We ended up in Dinant for dinner.
As we entered the town, we drove through this...

It's called "Le Rocher Bayard". From what I've read,
the rock was separated in an explosion,
to provide passage for French troops of Louis XIV.
A city tale that says otherwise, claims the
"Bayard horse" jumped the Meuse River and split the rock in two.

Dinant boasts a fortress, La Citadelle, and a
a cable lift spanning across the rocky landscape
from the fortress down to Notre Dame, the Dinant Cathedral.
The cathedral was rebuilt in a Gothic style
so it's quite intricately detailed.
I couldn't help but to notice how
pigeons found refuge, hiding in some of those details.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

First Swim

He swam, and liked it!
(well, he liked everything but the mandatory swim cap policy)

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In Hindsight

Summer, so close to an end. With the next school year on the horizon,
I was wondering what we'll remember most about this summer.
Will it be the theme weeks? The travel? The patio and grilling with friends?
The visit with Aunt Betsy and Uncle Alex?
Will it be multitude of the forts on rainy days?

Will we remember the lack of opportunity to swim outside
the way we've become accustomed to in Guam?
or the successes like bike riding?

or the little things, like the pigeon, who set up camp for a week on the patio?
(the kids think they nursed him back to health
after he hit the window and took a nose dive.
I think they simply and innocently tortured him)

All I know, is that I look back on the summer with the kids with as
much enthusiasm as I look forward to the next year and beyond with them.
I was thinking today how different that rear view will be in just a year, or five,...
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Frozen Yogurt

Have you ever made yogurt?
It's really easy, and tastes a lot
better than the store stuff.
It's much cheaper too.
So we made a big batch of yogurt.
Then, on a day that was entirely way too hot, we used our
ice cream maker (ball) to make frozen yogurt.
The kids did all the work really.

well, actually, Emory did most of the work
while Stella and Arleigh played.

It was delicious!
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Less structure leads to...

I thought we'd take a break from theme weeks and
let the kids decide what to do every day.
Maybe, um, we'll reconsider?

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Training Set Backs

Learning to ride bikes has been a goal we've held for the kids for quite awhile.
We haven't really committed a lot of time or effort to it though.
We knew they'd get there.
The forever long deployment,
blazing Guam sun and the beastly humidity,
a newborn, a move, a delay in household goods,
all set that goal back. Way back.
We've finally had a chance to work a little more on bike training.
Here's a helpful tip to moms and dads everywhere
who might be trying to teach a kid to ride a bike.
A hint that works like a charm. Promise. (and you'll save your back)
Addie and Stella have really been getting better with each day.
There are of course, the set backs, which I thought I'd post for fun here...
Like when a tree runs out in front of Addie,

or Stella takes a little spill,

or, tears which lead to

a four hundredth pep talk.

It's given us proud parenting moments though,
and a skill to the kids they can use forever.
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All of the Sudden....

She took off!

It's almost hard to believe.
We couldn't be happier.
Though I'd be remiss if I didn't admit,
riding her bike all by herself, makes her seem so much older.
Like when we bring a newborn home,
the baby of the family always seems suddenly bigger.
Balancing on two wheels, moving in her own direction, somehow makes her more grown up .
Now she can go so much further on her own, without us.
Someday I may be grateful for that.
For now, I have to say, it makes my heart a little sad
to see her peddling away, all the way down the street,
where there are cars, and other people, and, well,... a world full of dangers.

Monkey see, monkey do- Stella took off right after Addie.
She's getting the hang of it and won't be left behind.

Emory too- it's just amazing how much older they suddenly seem.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Doctor Aunt Betsy Makes a House Call

It's not a wonder that their Aunt Betsy has an influence on them when it comes to practicing their medical skills.
She's a veterinarian. Lucky for us, her flight was cancelled yesterday at 5pm.
So we got to have a little extra time with Uncle Alex and Aunt Betsy.
Poor Dudley dog has a lesion on his leg which has caused him considerable trouble in the last week.
He's quite fortunate that Aunt Betsy was here to make a house call.
She helped care for him each day, cleaning his wound and advising us on how to care for him best.
She went to work in the yard.
As you can see, she had quite an audience.
Thanks again Betsy. We're going to miss you and Uncle Alex so much!
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Get the Amblee-ants!

We thought we'd work outside, trimming hedges and getting the yard back into shape.
Matt had just bought a used electric hedge trimmer, and his dad sent us a new gas powered one.
Less than 5 minutes in his hands, the brand new gas trimmer fell apart. Literally, just broke right at the handle.
So I passed on the electric trimmer and began to organize the kids to fill bags with trimmings.
But, about 10 minutes into his trimming, Matt cut the power cord on the electric trimmer.
Which meant instant downtime in the yard.
The kids saw this as a perfect opportunity to play.
Emory shouted "Get the amblee-ants!!!"
With the wagon already out, they were quick to grab their 'medical basket'
and make a patient out of anyone who would lay still.

Next please?

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