Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dungeons and Dragons, or something like that

Soon, this crew plans to march in a children's parade, which means we had to quickly come up with a costume for each of them which would be tolerable in hot weather. Addie had the idea for the girls to be princesses, and the boys dressed as a dragon and a knight. After all was sorted out, Arleigh became the knight in shining armour (or aluminum foil, shall we say) and Emory the dragon, which couldn't be more suitable, as he breathes a lot of hot air for a 4 year old.
Here's the finished product....
2 princesses made from coffee filters. (crowns to be redone...they want "flowing crowns")
Life with this brood is not quite a fairytale, but always an adventure.

The knight Arleigh, a slayer of dragons, and thief of hearts,...
truly is a little prince charming.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Teach a kid to fish...

and he'll play for a day. Teach the kid to use unmated socks in creative new ways, and he'll be occupied for the rest of his life with a variety of projects :)
Remember those lonely, mate less socks that we accumulated?
(for that post click here.)
We had, and still have, enough socks to make puppets to fill a theatre.
This was the fate of the first handful. A fishing game. The kids love it.

A moment too late, or just in time?

Two at school, one home sick in bed, and this one constantly on the run.
Apparently I should have stopped at 1 child, cause 2 seem to be more than I can handle today.
While I was tending to Emory, sick in bed, Arleigh decided to occupy himself, in the bathroom.
Not sure if I arrived a minute too late, as he'd put 2 hangars, 2 rolls of toilet paper, a toothbrush and a container of Lysol wipes down the toilet. ( I had no idea so much could fit in the toilet bowl.)
I found him just as you see here- sucking down toothpaste. Yes, he was fed today.
Perhaps though, I arrived just in time. He could have wreaked havoc in there- of all the possibilities I can imagine, this seemed almost light hearted. Or is that because I do have 4 children?
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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Miss Venera

Man I'm gonna miss 'Miss Venera' and Katrine.
Miss Venera is from Russia and is married to a gentleman from Germany. They live close by in the neighborhood here in Belgium. We walk to school with them daily. I can't count the number of times Miss Venera has corralled my children from the curb, or picked up their backpack and lugged it to school for the sake of keeping peace. She's been a great friend and neighbor.

She speaks Russian, German, and a little English.
Despite the language barrier, we seem to be able to communicate fairly well.
When the kids play with Katrine, they all speak in French.

Venera is also our hair stylist.
She comes to the house when it's time for haircuts. Demonstrating her talents, she wriggles the scissors and comb around,
fashionably cutting our heads of hair.
What a great great friend- to save us the time and effort of dragging a family of 6 into a hair salon for a trim.
Having done it, I can say that it's grueling. She's a lifesaver.

Miss Venera has never been to the USA and will make her first trip in October when she flies to see her sister there.
We hope she and her family have a fantastic trip.

Thank you so much Miss Venera! See you and Katrine at the playground sometime soon!
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Walkin on by

Family walk last night- wandering through the neighborhood farm fields and into a restaurant for a snack.
It was a lovely summer evening.
Stella truly loves nature. Specifically plants. She's fascinated with gardening and I swear she has it in her to be a farmer. ( I know, I know, we just posted that "she wants to be a doctor". That was sooo yesterday.)There's nothing more fun to her than picking veggies and fruit, wandering through fields, and inspecting all the plants in her path.

So a walk around the local farms was as sweet as apple pie to this kid.

I have a feeling we may end up on an overnight farm trip sometime in the future. There are lots of them around Europe. The visiting family stays at a guesthouse on the farm and wakes to help do everything from milk the cows to plow the fields.

The corn and Arleigh, will both be 'knee high by the 4th of July' this year.
Arleigh remains amused at everything in his path.

Usually seen holding his pants up in one hand, and Bunny Bunny, his forever companion and confidant, in the other. He's a chatty fellow nowadays, constantly adding more and more vocabulary to the list.

Invincible, as long as he's not hungry, tried, and has his favorite bunny by his side.

The evening walks and bike rides with the kids are lots of fun and we enjoy each new adventure. long as we have bunny bunny with us :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Got Coke?

Random info-
 You don’t get exactly the same Coke® in other countries that you do in the US, because bottling of the drink is franchised? Who knew?
To read more ~ click here.
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Today it's "Doctor"

Today she says she wants to be a doctor. She has taken to "healing" the family's mosquito bites by a special application of soap to the bite site. My pharmacy background has me believing that the "relief" our family seems to feel upon this soap application is because it's, chemically speaking, basic. Similar to those 'bite sticks' you can purchase at the pharmacy for relief of bug bites. Their active ingredient is simply ammonia. (So save yourself the trouble next time you consider shelling out 4 bucks for a silly stick that helps to relieve 'itch' for mosquito bites, and purchase a bottle of household ammonia in the cleaning aisle, and a cotton ball.) Same result.

Anyway, Stella says she wants to be a doctor. More power to her.

I think it really started a time ago when grandma was visiting and she was permitted to give insulin injections to grandma.
Stella was truly inspired. Not to mention intrigued and a little proud at a new found responsibility.
Thank you to grandma for trusting in her, before she would have trusted in herself!
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Chocolate, Waffles, Lace and...

Tapestries. Tapestries have been in production in Belgium for several hundreds of years. Up until the introduction of the Jacquard loom, which was founded  in 1808, every single Belgian tapestry was hand woven by skilled weavers, most of whom had fled from France during the Hundred Year War. With so many weavers settling in Belgium, tapestry crafting became an integral part of Belgian culture to the point where Belgians are now the most reputable tapestry manufacturers in the world.

The tapestries are as popular in culture as chocolate, waffles, and lace.
I had not taken much time to really study the tapestries in the local stores, because I didn't want to constantly have to remind little fingers not to paw open works of art. But,
stumbling into a tapestry shop today, I found myself ooh-ing over the colors and sharpness of the images cast into each scene portrayed. 

These tapestries are truly pieces of art.
 In fact, in a simple distanced glance, you might mistake them for paintings.

It's not a wonder that they are purchased for display, often with the intent to be handed down through family generations. 
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She made this

She fired up the sewing machine, pulled out the thread, and sewed herself a little outfit.
It's pretty darn cute. We owe a big thanks to grandma for passing the material along.
Being the thoughtful kid that she is, she sewed an extra seam in the back to allow "for any boys at school who might tackle" her at recess- as of course, she didn't want her dress to pull apart :) (gulp)
Addie added ribbons and buttons to embellish her new outfit,
which she has proudly worn to several special occasions, such as a school year-end party.

Her new dress looks great and kudos to this 7 year old kid for keeping her cool.
We had a little trouble with the sewing machine, but she was determined.
Not to mention she can thread the machine better than her parents.
Lookin' good kid!
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Last week of school

In the last full week of school for the year, it's important to remember that others are happy to attend school.
I've been counting down the days to having the kids back at home. I'm missing time with them. (Well, sometimes I miss it). Everyone, myself included, is exhausted and sick of homework, spelling exams, and the tiresome work of translating notes. It just takes something like this video to recall that there are plenty of little souls out there who would cherish the opportunity at education, which we all too often take for granted.
The girls really liked this video, so we thought we'd share...

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Beekeeper

I do love the education here. The hands on approach. The mix of sensory and classic teaching methods.
Case in point. The kids in this Belgian classroom aren't just talking about nature, or chatting about beehives, they are experiencing it all.
First hand. In the class orchard.
Addie, kid you not, in beekeeper garb.

At the beginning of the year, the children visit the orchard and pick fruit. Then they return to school where they make jam.
Later in the year, they come to tend the orchard, cleaning up brush, protecting trees from insects, and pruning tree limbs.
They study birds here and check on bird houses as well.

On this particular day, they were learning about the leaves, pollen, and insects.
Specifically spending time with bees and studying their environment.

Thank you to Madame Brigitte for sharing her photos and more importantly, for sharing the orchard with Addie and her classmates.
It seems incredibly lucky to be able to learn in such a hands on way.
So much in this wide world cannot be taught in a book, but simply must be experienced.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Did You Know?

that using only soap and water,

you can
huff and puff
and huff and puff

and make bubbles
all day long?
You don't even need one of those plastic thingies!

Pretty Cool huh?

Holy Stromboli- thumbsucking future?

I was shopping at a local store the other day and looked up from the check out line to see this...

See that ad in the window?
It felt like I was being hit by a ton of bricks.
Addie sucks her thumb.
She's been seeing an orthodontist about it for over 2 years now. The habit began right there in the labor and delivery room.
At age 7, she has yet to knock the habit.
We've tried everything. "Thumbz it", thumb guards (2 sets), tape, band aids, bribes in various forms, timers, nail polish,
the list goes on.
In the end, it's her habit and she's the one who has to quit. Thumb sucking- one of the most difficult things to deal with as a parent so far for us. An obstacle that we absolutely cannot overcome for this child. She simply has to do it on her own.
As of autumn, the orthodontist says she'll have to have braces on her teeth due to the misalignment she's causing.

And it hit me,...this could be Addie in 20 years.
This chick even has the "nose hook" down pat- just the way Addie hooks her finger over her nose.

Holy. Stromboli.

If anyone out there has a recommendation, suggestion, or positive success story that might help, please let us know.
I don't think I could handle seeing Addie's photo up like this from the check out line when I'm 60.
Perhaps if she's modeling for a career, and rolling in money, I'll forgive myself.
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