Friday, December 31, 2010

Brussels Christmas Market

Aunt Julie and Uncle Pete arrived safely, albeit, a day late due to the winter storm on the United States' East coast. To say that Aunt Julie is a fan of Christmas is a slight understatement. The Christmas markets here are about to close down for the season. So we hurried her off to the Christmas market in Brussels where she and Uncle Pete could enjoy a taste of Christmas in Europe. With aroma of hot foods wafting over the crowd, tasting was only a sliver of what can be done at the markets.

There were hundreds of brightly lit, mini chalets selling everything from dolls, hats and sweaters, to jams, honey, and sausages.

We wandered through the crowd to put the kids onto a beautiful reproduction carousel where Stella rode in a hot air balloon, Addie rode the Titanic, Emory rode in a submarine waving out his window, and Arleigh rode in a violin. The carousel was fun, but what they really wanted to do was ice skate. So we hastened over to the rink, and waited for Stella to knock her other front tooth out.
Uncle Pete and I stayed with Arleigh, looking on.

The Ferris wheel and hot sugar crepes were calling our names too.

In the end, we wound up at the Grande Place to enjoy the light show over the Town Hall. My favorite part by far, was Santa's back flip...

If you care to watch, here's the show. (short on time? Santa's flip is at 4:30 ish)

I can't wait til next year!

Christmas sledding

Our German neighbors and their visiting family asked us to go sledding on Christmas Day. We didn't hesitate a second before we had the clementines in a bin, the hot chocolate on the stove, and the kids bundled up in their snow gear.
The snow melts off as quickly as it arrives, so a white Christmas was appreciated. A truly delightful time on the slopes!

Like so many people in Brussels, our neighbors are moving soon. We've always been blessed with great neighbors and they are no exception. 

What a wonderful white Christmas! Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas comments

Some of the more original moments of Christmas Day. We cannot let them melt away with the snow, but believe they should be shared....

~ Upon entering the dining room, and realizing there stood a manager, Stella cried out "Look! Santa brought us an activity scene!"

~Emory battling a cold, notified daddy, "Dad, my nose isn't running good. I'm stopped up." This child meanwhile seemed most enthralled with bubble wrap. Take note dear family and friends, bubble wrap for this child next year. Keep it simple- bubble wrap.

~ Arleigh opened his stocking and cracked into the first food item he could find- a Belgian waffle. With his mouth stuffed and crumbs tumbling from his lips we asked him "What are you eating?"
His response? "Don't know."
~ Later upon opening his "Penny the Piggy Bank", (a pig bank dear friends), he exclaimed as the wrapping paper tore away in fits of fury..."Look! I got a cow!"

~Later, at Christmas dinner, we sat, hands held, singing our blessing over the food. Well, at least some of us were singing a blessing. Arleigh was singing "Happy Birthday".

We can only hope this post doesn't deter Aunt Julie and Uncle Pete, as they prepare to travel across the Atlantic pond to visit us this week. Aunt Jul, Uncle Pete, we're stocking up on Belgian beer, egg nog, and mulled wine cause you're gonna need it. "Humdinger of a holiday":? You betcha :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

We hope Santa was good to you this year!
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Friday, December 24, 2010

We Wish...

We wish you a Merry Christmas,..

We wish you a Merry Christmas,..

We wish you a Merry Christmas,..

and a Happy New Year.
(no wait, there's more)

Good tidings we bring, to you and your kin

Good tidings for Christmas,

and a Happy New Year!


(Merry Christmas!)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Snowball Fight

S now had fallen 'round, when there was a knock upon her door
N aughty children came to shout "let's have a snowball war!"
O h! How they carried on and played as mom stayed warm inside.
W atching younger siblings, while she concocted a surprise!

B alls of snow and ice were slung- sent whizzing through the air.
A nd she didn't crack the door one bit. No, mother didn't dare!
L ots of laughter from the snow. For mom inside, it seemed unfair.

L et's 'call a truce! Come back' she called. There's hot chocolate to share.

F unny how hot chocolate works, as if a magic spell,
I nstantly from war came peace and no more snowballs fell.
G athered family 'round the table, mother knew she'd won.
H appily she filled their cups. Thankful for the fun.
T hen she sighed and pondered future battles that would come...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In the Meantime

"Mom, when is it time to be mean?"

Mean? What are you talking about? You shouldn’t be mean to anyone at anytime. For crying out loud Emory, It’s Christmastime! A raging tyrant, I continued. Haven’t you been listening? Paying attention to what we’ve told you? Have you not heard a word we've uttered in the last 5 years of your life? Besides, we have rules in this family…first and foremost, people are not for hurting. Where on earth did you get the idea you should be mean? Geez, I’m not raising a mean green fighting machine team here! With my voice escalating, my irritation increasing, my hands waving about, Emory began to slink into his chair with a confused look and wrinkled brow.

Working up a little courage, he lifted himself and softly asked “But you said a little while ago we could have a snack and be mean time didn‘t you?”

Uh. No, I said “in the meantime, you can have a snack”.

I think I'm going to start smoking. Maybe drinking too.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Two steps forward, one step back

Progression in the kitchen this Christmas is,
 to say the least,

Mostly because the hired , 25 pound helper operates something like this…
One for you....

One for me...

One for you...

and one for me...

And just when I thought we were getting ahead of the game with another batch of cookies in the oven,..

The dog got ‘em.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Warmest Wishes to You

The long trek to the commissary was just a little longer today because of snow falling, worsening road conditions, and well, ah-hem, numerous quick stops made so that I could take snapshots of some of the scenes along the way. Here are a few, along with warmest wishes this season to you!

There were two beautiful Clydesdales in the field just beyond this fence. On our way in, we watched the farmer leading them to the pasture as he pushed what seemed to be a wheelbarrow full of food. I should have snapped a shot then. It wasn’t snowing and they were much easier to see. We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for them on future trips.

A Pâtisserie sign…
The chateaus and castles scattered all over are much easier to see now that the leaves are down and branches are bare. Hopefully there will be time made soon for some photos of these local mansions
that make up our every day scenery.

Friday, December 17, 2010

2-4-6-8 !

The last day we can post a photo of the gang at ages 2,4,6,8!
Happy Birthday Emory! to quote a good friend of ours….

"If we didn’t have birthdays,
you wouldn’t be you.
If you’d never been born,
well then what would you do?
If you’d never been born,
well then what would you be?
You might be a fish!
Or a toad in a tree!
You might be a doorknob!
Or three baked potatoes!
You might be a bag full of hard green tomatoes."

"Today you are you!
That is truer than true!
There is no one alive
who is you-er than you!
Shout loud, “I am lucky
to be what I am!
Thank goodness I’m not
just a clam or a ham
Or a dusty old jar of
sour gooseberry jam!
I am what I am! That’s a
great thing to be!
If I say so myself,

Happy Birthday To You!: Copyright © 1959 by Theodor S. Geisel and Audrey S. Geisel. Copyright renewed 1987 by Theodor S. Geisel and Audrey S. Geisel

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Give Credit Where Credit is Due

Ok Ok, I admit, I should have given credit to the helpers on the birthday cake.

Thank you Addie and Stella. You really made a dino-riffic cake.
No, you may not have another piece before bedtime.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Dino-riffic idea kid

Option numero 1- go to the Christmas market and ride the Ferris wheel, perhaps do a little breaking of teeth or arms via ice skating, eat a waffle, and come home. Eat cake.

Option 2- go to the Natural History museum and obsess over big bones while your mother sticks a fork in her eye. Come home. Eat cake.
Birthday boy, Emory chose option 2. I already had my fifth birthday unfortunately, so apparently, it’s not my choice.

Do you want a cake like this? Or that? (This= a nice basic birthday cake. That= cake with dinosaurs, a volcano, palm trees, the Jurassic works)

Of course, he chose That.
Seriously though, check it out….am I awesome or what? A dinosaur cake complete with an active- freakin active, bubbling, steaming volcano. Man alive this mamma knows how to convince pappa to run to the ice shop for dry ice on a cold Sunday morning, make a cool cake when she has to.

However, to chin up and enjoy the wonders of natural history museum with a herd of children in tow was, to say the very least, slightly more difficult. The infatuation with dinosaurs is not one I share. Why oh why would we be interested in a pile of reconstructed bones of creatures that, if alive today, would be lounging on top of the food chain and utilizing people for garnish?

Furthermore, those long, deranged, ridiculous dino names which Emory makes me pronounce at least twice a day…what is with that? Can’t the paleontologists just follow my lead here? I have my own, four, dirt covered treasures “Addie”, Stella”, Emory”, and “Arleigh”- what’s so tough about using real stinking names people? Mine are just as dirty, carnivorous, and at times, loud, and ugly. I never felt the need to describe them with an 18 letter, hoity toity name like Pachycephalosaurus. C’mon now! Even the herbivores deserve better.

So, he chose his best friend, August, to come along. Poor August. I don’t know if even August likes dinosaurs, but he, like the rest of us, schlepped to the museum in the name of dino-mite birthday fun.
Actually, I think his mother made him go. (Sigh.)

God love ya August.
For a Sunday, there were a whole lot of people at the museum. By people, I mean losers. I can’t understand why anyone finds this stuff interesting when there is a perfectly great waffle stand just down the hill and a fantastic European market with a fabulous cafĂ© just a block away. I just don’t get into dinosaurs the same way I don’t get into racquetball or methamphetamine. Not on that bus. But, it’s not my birthday is it?

Still, there should be a scientific expiration for how long you are allowed to peruse through a museum and admire old bones, dung, lizards, and stomach vomit, among other things. Based on my scientific experience and a feeling as if Jurassic Park was coming back to haunt us all, I recommended this expiration time limit of approximately 30 to 45 seconds. Sadly, the dino herd felt 4 hours was more appropriate.

**Side note- Please, please know,
she chooses what she wears, she dresses herself, we look the other way....

While examining all the natural history, I couldn't help but to come up with my own ideas to name the next dinosaurs to be discovered. The good names haven't all been taken, yet. Here are a few suggestions...
Do-we-hafta-seeda-dinasurus, Lets-get-this-overwith-optus, Hurry-up-taraptor, Can-we-gohome-now-acepahle, Are-we-done-yet-ardsi, Seriously-morebones-atactal, Id-rather-be cleaning-the toiletal.

Perhaps I'm just bitter. Perhaps it's that I some days feel like a dinosaur, cranky and bad breath included?
Prehistoric room after prehistoric room, I think I figured it out. I learned why I wasn't faking the smile and pretending that Barney and his buddies weren't so bad after all.

My lil velociraptor, did you forget that we share a birthday? (By the way, velociraptor couldn’t be more appropriate here, as “veloci” refers, roughly to something that means ‘mess you up and wreck your world in the time it takes you to blink’. This seems to intricately describe night time potty training and the endured whining over peas at mealtime. “Raptor” translates to thief. Hang in there- I‘m getting to the thief part.)

Did you forget Emory, dear birthday boy, that I endured 3 days of unending labor without drugs only to find out that you were going to forever crash my party? You stole my birthday you lil thief!
Don’t get those protective scales in a bunch, swat your tail, stomp your feet, or even feel bad though.
(I won't).

I have options too. Even if I didn’t come out of the Cretaceous period, I came first honey.
As I see it, here are the options.

Option 1 - celebrate (our) real birthday on the real date, at home. Do errands, laundry, clean, shuttle sticky children, vacuum, etc. Make the family dinner, then bake my cake and eat it too.
Option 2- Hire a babysitter, enjoy dinner out with a couple of fabulous friends, and party as if I was T-rex sucking down a Triceratops.

Yes. Of course, I choose option 2.
I wish you a dinoriffic day, little guy cause I hope to, for once in five years, enjoy my birthday as well.
Really, big guy. We all, wish you a dino-mite birthday!