Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I treasure the weeds

There are few things
that warm my heart as a mother more
than hearing the sweet voice of a child
"Here Mom! I picked these just for you!"

I love it. And I do. I treasure the weeds.
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Funny Girl

Imagine if I got to stick my tongue out at people when I didn't like
what they said, or did. Man, that could really be fun.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

What do you do when,...

you miss your mouth at breakfast?

Go for the foot, it's always a tasty second choice.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Sooner than Later

We'll get some 1 year photos up on this little guy.
For now though, he's not feeling well.
He was diagnosed today, after three tough weeks, with a sinus infection.
Here's hoping for a speedy recovery, and to have antibiotics complete by
the time we celebrate a birthday!
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

National Geographic Video

I found this video while searching for something for the kids. Stella is currently incredibly interested in a World Atlas National Geographic Book which she received from Santa last year.
As I was perusing the National Geographic website, I came across this.
The girl in this video cannot be much older than my own girls, but no doubt, she has been forced to age more quickly. If anything, this should make you think twice about Christmas this year.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bo-Zar "Expo"

Ok, seriously, some of the ads border on pornographic I swear!
This one is for the Bozar, an art gallery which rotates exhibits fairly frequently.
The "Sexties" exhibit is apparently coming soon. (better not miss this one!)
The kids don't miss a thing either.
"Hey mom, what's she doing like that? Won't she get cold?"

Uh...are blindfolds a form of child abuse?
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Bokrijk Park

With an annual zoo pass comes an entrance to this large but quaint little park
which educates on life in Flanders hundreds of years ago.
Wooden clogs, windmills, gardens,
all added to the charm of this beautiful countryside park.

Miss Alina joined us for the trip and we were so glad to have her along.
Though as Matt mentioned, one of these days, she's going to
realize what she's getting herself into- and start making excuses not to come along!
Thanks again Miss Alina!

We didn't cover even half of this vast park on our visit,
and so, as always, we left saying "we must go back".
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Steppin out

Bokrijk Park had a little area with games and toys of old.
This included yo yos, diablos, versions of pool, bocce ball and bowling,
to name a few.
But what did they like the most?
Uh huh! The stilts!

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A Peek Inside

The park had various homes and village buildings set up for visitors to walk through and explore.
This particular scene really captured my eye,
as it appeared to me as a room right out of the Van Gogh painting called "The Potato Eaters".

In this home, Emory kindly demonstrated how to churn butter.
One of the main objectives for our trip was to expose the kids to older ways.
We wanted them to understand that
we take a lot of modern conviences for granted.

All the homes had a rack full of dulled and worn pottery and ceramics
whose colors had faded but retained an earthy character.
I loved those clogs set just inside the door!
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A few of the beautiful and numerous

landscape settings in Bokrijk Park

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The Bokrijk Folk

Actors in traditional dress could be seen throughout the villages
and would chat about their daily life back in the times.

The ladies were particularly interesting, and we came
upon this women working on a large cross stitch project.

This woman was making a table full of apple and rhubarb pies which looked delicious.
Her counterpart was in the bake house, prepping a clay oven to bake the pies.
Too bad we didn't have time to stay for dinner!
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There's some squeaking goin' on!

They started violin lessons this week.
Aunt Karen, Brad- thank you!
I do believe holding out to find
a Suzuki method teacher (who can speak English)
was an incredible and profound piece of advice.
You are both invited to their first stage performance :)

Madame Francine was wonderful, kind, and more patient than a saint.
She taught the class in French, and used English when necessary
(those moments when the kids or I were staring at her blankly).
One mother thought it was wonderful to have the children taught in two languages, as
this way she got lessons "two for one....violin and language".
All I know is that the kids want to do nothing else right now,
other than repeat their lesson in practice.
So, there's a lot of squeaking goin' on!
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Friday, September 18, 2009


Regretfully, 5 area rugs did not arrive in our final shipment.
This is quite depressing, as we really liked the rugs we had
and we looked forward to placing those
area rugs down on the cold tile floors here.
Apparently someone else is glad to have them now.
The seal on the container was still in tact,
but our movers could not find the area rugs as listed on the inventory sheet.
They suspect the container was broken into and
the rugs removed sometime during its storage period.

Certainly, we're grateful for the things we do have.
In the meantime, I guess we'll start the claims process.
There's little more, so fun in this life,
than filing claims for lost or stolen goods.
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That was then...

9 months, 278 days, 2 lost shipments, and a lot of miles ago.

This is now.
The last of the boxes in a move we finally received today.

Arleigh has grown enough to help us unpack.
Perhaps by the next move, he'll be able
to lift and carry the boxes too.

Hooray! We're finally done moving...for now.
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Monday, September 14, 2009

His Tricks

One of his newest tricks is to sneak to the stairs and climb up as quickly as he can.
We have a pressure baby gate at the bottom, but occasionally,
it's not put up properly and Arleigh always seems to let us know.
(no worries, someone always climbs up right behind him to be sure he doesn't slip)

Then, once he reaches the top of the stairs, he grabs whatever toys he can find
and then tosses them under the baby gate, to roll,
and bounce, and bang all over the stairs until they hit the floor below.

We'll see how long it takes him
to figure out how to maneuver back down.

In the meantime, even his siblings seem to have trouble keeping him in one place.
They often try to keep him contained so they can play with him,
like Stella did in this "pillow fort".

What new tricks will he have up his sleeve next month?
Not sure I want to know?!?
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Friday, September 11, 2009

Sweet as Confiture de la Prune (plum jam)

I love the new school, and the kids do too. As one of the Belgian parents emphasized to me, "Belgians have a way of life. It is not too busy. It is more with the family and getting outdoors. It is a way of life to enjoy life." He couldn't have said it better really. Belgians do have a 'way of life' and it truly is built around enjoying life, family, and nature.
This week, school classes took the kids to an orchard, had them pick fruit and press apples to make juice. When I told the girls they would be visiting an orchard, they had no idea what an orchard was. They had never picked apples from a tree, let alone plums. As excited to see the them learn to snorkel in the crystal clear waters of Guam, I was thrilled to hear they would visit a farm, pick fruit and make something of their trip. Addie reported she was allowed to pet some sheep as well. For those of you who have been able to visit a petting zoo with your kids, or take a trip on any given day to the zoo, this is like opening the barn doors- we have a lot to catch up on.
We were told to send a jar with a lid into school yesterday. Addie returned home after school talking non stop about making 'Confiture de la Plumes'. Bon Appetite! We celebrated their hard work with toast this morning, topped with Addie's special jam for breakfast. It really was a delicious treat!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Perhaps you've seen this newspaper article already. I've been prompted to post the following article because recently, I found myself explaining away that I am simply quite a busy person with small folks in tow. Nothing more or less. They come first, and everything else falls behind that. For goodness sakes, don't get your panties in a bunch. There's no reason to judge, or second guess why I haven't called. Honestly nothing else really matters beyond family at the end of the day. Please, take no offense. I'm just plain busy.
If you can't read the article due to the size, I have copied and pasted it here so that you can get the complete content.

Dear Carolyn:
"My best friend has a child. Her: Exhausted, busy, no time for self, no time for me, etc. Me (no kids): Wow. Sorry. What'd you do today? Her: Park, play group . . .

OK. I've done Internet searches; I've talked to parents. I don't get it. What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please, no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners. . . . I do all those things, too, and I don't do them every day. I guess what I'm asking is: What is a typical day, and why don't moms have time for a call or e-mail?

I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events), and I manage to get it all done. I'm feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy — not a bad thing at all — but if so, why won't my friend tell me the truth?

Is this a contest ("My life is so much harder than yours")? What's the deal? I've got friends with and without kids, and all us child-free folks get the same story and have the same questions."

— Tacoma, Wash.

"Relax and enjoy. You're funny.
Or you're lying about having friends with kids.
Or you're taking them at their word that they actually have kids, because you haven't personally been in the same room with them.
Internet searches?
I keep wavering between giving you a straight answer and giving my forehead some keyboard. To claim you want to understand — while in the same breath implying that the only logical conclusions are that your mom friends are either lying or competing with you — is disingenuous indeed.
So, since it's validation you seem to want, the real answer is what you get. In list form. When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, clean, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries and questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces the kind of checkout-line screaming that gets the checkout line shaking its head.

It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.
It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.
It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family members and friends, well-meaning and otherwise. It's resisting the constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense.
It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything — language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity, empathy. Everything.
It's also a choice, yes. And a joy. But if you spent all day, every day, with this brand of joy — and then when you got your first 10 minutes to yourself, you wanted to be alone with your thoughts instead of calling a good friend — a good friend wouldn't judge you, complain about you to mutual friends or marvel at how much more productively she uses her time.
Either make a sincere effort to understand, or keep your snit to yourself."
-Carolyn Hax