Sunday, May 30, 2010

The rain came...

Well, I asked to pray for rain and, um, we got it. I wish I hadn't.
We went through with the session as planned, but drizzles made the photo taking all the more troublesome.
Despite the weather changing about every 30 seconds, quite literally, we managed to make the best of that shoot I was dreading.
I suppose this is the tell tale photo.
Surely, there was fun to be had, in spite of dreary weather.

So, the rain came, and instead of heading inside, parents were convinced
to allow some puddle jumping in the name of fun.

It was fun. I left all wet and muddy too.
Admittedly though, it was comforting to wave goodbye
and know that I'm not doing the laundry there tonight!

Thanks Knaack family. Great fun, even without the sun!
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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Meet Miss Julia

"Miss Julia" is a NATO intern this summer who is staying with us.
She hails from Virginia, a student at William & Mary, near our favorite stomping grounds.
She's majoring in government and math, and minoring in French.
We welcome her with open arms. If she makes it through this summer,
she'll be a graduate worth gold, survival skills in tune, as living with this group is nothing shy of a challenge!
Good luck Julia! We hope you enjoy Belgium.
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It is for this reason,

that I will never own a fancy schmancy, pricey, great lookin' pair of sunglasses.
Trampled, sat upon, crushed, twisted, fingered by little hands til lenses pop out, lost,
misplaced, fallen to peril into water below;
I wish I knew why my sunglasses are always doomed.
So the count many shall we burn through this summer?

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Thursday, May 27, 2010


I was asked to take photos this weekend for a family with 4 little ones.
(Wish me luck- I'm a little nervous).
Free practice for me, free photos for them. Although, the weather here is rather unpredictable to say the least. We never know if it will rain or shine from one minute to the next. The changes in light come quickly and are completely random- cloudy as can be, then suddenly bright sunshine, and then back to overcast for another few minutes. This is nerve wracking to me, considering 4 little kiddos in constant motion, extended family from out of town in the photos, and a location I've yet to see...

So I thought I'd take Arleigh in the yard to practice a bit today. I have no idea why, but when I reviewed these photos, I tinkered with black and white. Just for fun I suppose....
Thank you again to the St. Louis family for providing him with his "doudou" as they say in French...better known to our family as "Bunny Bunny". His best friend and shadow. If we ever lost Bunny Bunny, I think  know the world would stop turning. Another mom referred to the snuggle blanket as "that thing" today. I admit, it looks like it could hop away on its own, but it's so much more than a 'thing' to us.
 Bunny brings us all peace.

An insatiable curiosity and endless supply of energy, this boy doesn't stop.
All day.
Not once.

His curly top is so touchable. Always wispy and silly looking. I hope those blondie curls stay around awhile.
The kid has quite a personality too- constantly inventing new faces to grab attention. A complete ham for anyone who will pay attention to him.

I don't know why I went black and white on these, especially when the motive was to practice as the light settings changed. A little splash of color next time I think...
In the meantime, do me a favor and keep your fingers and toes crossed, or, pray for rain in Brussels!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Bees Knees

The flowers are blooming. Buds are opening. The scene is lovely.
But, around here, that means allergies.
 Ugh. The sniffles, itchy eyes, runny noses, green streaks of snot wiped across my shoulders because my kids think I‘m a Kleenex; tis the season.

As a pharmacist, I’m not keen about dolling out medicine if I don’t have to. The benefits and the risks (side effects) always must be weighed to determine if a drug is really necessary.
That said, I’m happy to announce our newest cure for what ails ‘em. ~ local, unprocessed, honey.

HONEY- indicated for seasonal allergies.

MECHANISM OF ACTION- some pollen from the bees is carried on their body into the hive, and in turn drops into the honey. The small doses of pollen work in a similar way that allergy shots do, exposing the body’s immune system to small doses of allergen at a time. Hence building up a tolerance to the allergens.

RECOMMENDED DOSING- teaspoonful daily of local, unprocessed honey

SIDE EFFECTS- sticky hands, sweet taste in mouth, kids begging for 1 more spoonful

EFFICACY- seems to be working wonders for all of us.

CAUTIONS- (quite seriously) anaphylactic shock has been reported in some people trying honey therapy, so start with low doses, and slowly work up to larger spoonfuls as tolerated.

The kids think this is the most fun ever. Mom giving honey out as “medicine”?!?! It really has done the trick though. Honey- drug of choice, first line therapy for seasonal allergies. It’s the bees knees!

***Herbal meds? Well, it’s really important to prove a substance is safe and effective before it’s touted as medicine. If a substance has been proven safe and effective by a reputable source, then it may be just fine. All drugs, herbs, and even food, can be helpful or harmful in particular quantities even when proven safe and effective. Minimal study has been done on my most current drug of choice, however. Placebo effect? Fascinating idea…but, I honestly don’t think this is a placebo effect- as allergy signs and symptoms have diminished, if not vanished, for all of us.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Circus Act

Addie’s trip to the circus went well. She enjoyed every minute of that 2 nights and 3 days time learning about performers and their training. So sweet, she even sent home a note to the family to let us know that all was well and that she missed us. She came home with a new talent.
She proudly says she’s learned to juggle- 2 scarves that is. Here’s a demo…

I took her disposable camera into a photo shop to print her photos. The man who developed the film approached the counter with her photos in hand and a grin across his face. Then said to me “We will only charge you for the ones that turned out.” Of 27 exposures, 11 ‘turned out’. Most of her photos were very blurry. To blurry to make anything out really. So, here's a little bit from her teacher's camera.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Sunday from Outer Space

Watch live streaming video from spaceflightnow at

Wandering online today, somehow we bumped into a streaming video of the space mission to the international space station. We're talkin' live video of the flight to the space station, docking, and video from inside the station. Astronauts floating all over the place, calls made back and forth from mission control to the shuttle, and pictures from inside the command center in Houston; the kids loved it. I'm not a 'trekky', but  must say, it is pretty cool to watch.

Quite seriously, we spent much of the day listening and watching this live video from the shuttle. Impressive and dare I admit, fun?  Is it completely nerdy to say that it was fascinating?
We tried to impress upon the young minds that to be able to sit at the computer and watch in real time, what is happening in space, far above the Earth's surface, is truly a leap from our own childhood views of space. I can remember all too well, an announcement over the loud speaker in (art) class one day in 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger had lifted off with a teacher on board. Soon after, a solemn follow up announcement - the Challenger had broken apart, tragically in flight.
Over time, of course, we've heard and read about the NASA program, lift offs and returns back to Earth. The furthering of science, water on the moon, experiments, video from space, and so on. Though I never thought back then that I'd be showing my own kids, NASA's work on an international space station, live from the computer in our home.
I can't begin to imagine what they will show their own kids someday.

Stella has informed us that now she'd like to "keep on reading books, doing homework and studying" so that she can become an astronaut. (Last week she wanted to be a ballet teacher, last night she wanted to be a French chef.)
Go for it kiddo. Just do it well, whatever you do.
And don't forget, mom told you "you can do it" :)

As long as it's broadcasting, you can view the mission via this live link, spaceflightnow
 or go to the NASA website NASA TV and view space video there as well.
It's out of this world!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Off to the Circus

Belgian schools send the classes on outings and trips all over the place.
Most schools send the children on journeys that are several days long.
This was the case for Addie's class.
She's heading out with the class to spend time with the circus for 3 days and 2 nights.
Next year, it's a trip to the farm, and a week of work there.
Most parents have very mixed feelings about these overnight journeys.
Some think it's great for the children to gain independence.
Others find it difficult as their kids leave on overnight stays longer than they have ever been away from home.
There were several weeping mother's at the bus this morning.
Most of them all gathered in tight groups on the parking lot,
feverishly waving good-bye to the smiling faces behind tinted charter bus windows.

Around here, we're all a little sad and will miss her over the next few days.
(except Stella, who is deeply jealous that her sister "gets to go away").
Addie seemed ready and looking forward to the excursion.
Heck, she's been prepped for this for a long time, as we truly are a circus act on our own.
We sent her with a disposable camera and will be looking forward to the photos she returns to share with us.
Stay tuned for scenes from the big top!
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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

6:45am Wake up call via unmistakable movement on my bed.. Eyes hesitantly peered open to find children jumping, crawling, and clamoring into premier Mother's Day gift giving position.
6:46am - Alerted that Mother's Day gifts cannot wait a moment longer. They must be unwrapped immediately. (as if I didn't notice what those were as I carried those same gifts home from school yesterday)
The pillow beckons me, but somehow, I manage a smile and enthusiastic "Oh! Wooooow! How nice!"

6:50am- Stinky diaper joins the crowd of onlookers over my pillow.
This is not a welcome scent in the morning.

7:00am - Breakfast in bed arrives, along with an audience.
"Mom are you gonna eat that?"
"Mommy, can I have some?"

I offered to share with them before their drool dropped onto my plate.
"Would you like some?"  as I picked up a bite of egg and a little green pepper.
A wrinkled little face peered back at me. "Ewww, I wanna bite, but not with green stuff."

7:10am -realization set in,...breakfast in bed is apparently meant to be a family affair on Mother's Day

7:15am -Acceptance that this wouldn't be Mother's Day without the audience anyway.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em right?

Beautiful little creations,..just darling aren't they?
Say yes, because this is what I had to urgently wake up for this morning.

Oh- wait.
later, I thought it would be lovely to have a photo with the kids....
Well, it would be lovely. But just wasn't our day I suppose.
This is as close as we could get. For now, I'll take it.
Happy Mother's Day Everyone!