Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Technopolis


Technopolis- a science and tech museum for children of all ages. I do love this place, but hate the headache I leave with each time we visit. Talk about overstimulation....sound, color, sights, constantly streaming at us until mom calls it quits. The kids however, don't seem to mind at all.
We kicked off this visit with Addie riding high above other museum goers on a bike, on a wire.
Arleigh- isn't sure what to do with chewing gum, but he sure knows how to blow a bubble!
Emory was fascinated with this robot which he commanded well enough to pick up plastic balls and place them on assigned locations.

Stella bounced around, experiencing what weightlessness might feel like. (I think she liked it.)
Addie tested her running speed against that of multiple animals. I'm not sure she fared so well, but A++ for trying, right?

Arleigh could really get hung up on certain stations, like this one, where he seemed fascinated by the movement and momentum of the silver balls.
And this- Stella with a pool stick and billiard ball? Scary- it's just plain scary. 10 years from now she could have a cigar hanging out of her mouth and a beer waiting on a nearby table while she takes down everyone at her game. Ugh- dreadfully frightening!
That may well have been our last visit to Technopolis, but who knows. I say that every time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hofstade

Hofstade domain park today- picnic at the playground, beach time at the lake, and now rest time for 4 very tuckered out young folk....

This is how we 'do' sunblock these days. Otherwise they spend an hour in line, waiting on mom to slather them up. Now mom just does a once over to be sure everything is shiny and SPF'd. It's a good time saver!

The park is nicely divided into a playground, which is also nicely divided into areas for older and younger kids. Addie and Stella prefer the zip line....

 While Emory and Arleigh take to the job of construction in the sand. They really play as if it's their job too!
Wasn't long before we headed to the beach (on a lake).
Arleigh worked SO very hard to 'rescue' this wooden whale. He said he was "saving it because the fish is thirsty and hot". Much to his surprise though, by the time he'd filled his little water can unpteen gazillion times and sprinkled the whale, the hot sun would dry it out again. Arleigh wouldn't give up.
Do you see potential as a biologist for marine life rescue someday? It sure seemed that way.
Meanwhile, Addie's tweenage years seemed to hover me at our towels. She claimed the water was "yucky","not like Guam"(they are SO spoiled), and she creatively tattooed her name over her legs with sand....
But of the crew- this guy was the coolest. It was his "pick" to head to Hofstade today. His hard work to dig out all the sand toys and prep everyone for the trip. Emory was the one to pack sunglasses and carry his entourage along. So I couldn't resist a photo op when he had his towel slung over his neck and was sucking down his ice cream cone with such wild abandon. Truly- he seemed so "cool".
We hope you're having a really cool summer too!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Aqualibi

Water park today~

Since no one wanted to leave- it was a definite thumbs up experinece.
 (minus the hairy men in speedos and foot baths)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Robinhood, theatre production for stars

Theatre camp. Yeah. As if we don't have enough drama around this place? Nevertheless, there were 3 spots available and I have 3 kids who needed something to do. So, for 1 week, they sang, danced, learned lines, observed backstage work, rehearsed lines, and, dare I say, gained a teeny bit of acting skill? Stella was about to throw in the towel on night 1, when she went to bed crying that "those acting guys are weird! They have shaved heads, talk funny, and wear armfuls of bracelets...." Emory was in tears as well, stating that he didn't have anything to do all day. Addie continued to offer daily consultations on the lunch served there. "Today it was pizza and a Coke. That's much unhealthier than the ham and cheese sandwich with chips they gave us yesterday..."
Albeit, pizza and Coke, shaved heads, and boredom, they all survived the week. In fact when I offered for them to quite camp midweek, they all declined the offer.

So on Friday, we attended the debut (and final) performance of their drama camp, "Robin hood".
Addie was a horseman. Stella played the part of a forester. Emory was, a stinker- I mean, a skunk.
At the entrance of the theatre, our kids had write ups on the preformace and a bit about themselves. Here's the summary:
and from Stella who was "soe excited".
(And I soe can't wait for my kids to attend an English speaking school and learn to spell correctly).
I love line 4 and 5 as well....


It's probably safe to assume that you aren't going to find anyone from our circus act on screen anytime soon.
But Addie and Stella did actually play the part of extras in a movie now called "Little Glory" which we are still waiting to see. (It's still opening around Europe and has been to a few film festivals but anticipated release isn't for awhile yet). Here's the trailer (our favorite extras are not in the scenes featured here...) Looks like they'll have to wait awhile longer for the 'big break'

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ommegang 2012


We came. We saw. We left- with great memories. Front row seats this time around, which were perfect for the royal treatment. When the bakers paraded their tarts around, the first stop was to us. The girls each delighted in share of the tarts and passed pieces around to others. The peasants carrying flowers also spotlighted us and we all left with a sweet bundle of flowers in hand. For photography however, this was not crown seating and I’m glad I got the shots that I did last time around. The lighting shed such a color cast over the scenes that it was difficult to capture the show nicely when everything was lit up in reds and oranges.

A few highlights from the "walk about" in the Grande Place~




Always a favorite- the stilt jousting. You never can tell who the last man standing will be!


If you ever happen to find yourself in Belgium in the first week of July, be sure not to miss the Ommegang. Steeped in tradition and colorful costumes, this is a display that's well worth the evening.
For more info on this event you can  CLICK HERE

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

4 leaf clover- Lucky

It’s been oppressive. Planning an international move with 4 children, and 2 dogs all the while husband is stationed in a dessert land for a year is altogether no fun. Moving in the school year, finding a roof to cover our heads, logistics, timing, and money, money, money….it’s all weighing down on every spare thought. Then, I came across this, in our yard, while playing hide and seek with 3 year old Arleigh.

During our time in Belgium we’ve actually stumbled upon several 4 leaf clovers. Lucky indeed. Lucky to have been here. Lucky to have such great international friends. Lucky to have our health and extreme happiness. Lucky to have experienced so much of the world in such a variety of ways.
Lucky lucky, lucky. And so in this spare thought, I consider us rather lucky.
Everything else will come.

Now - off to hunt for more luck, cause we’re gonna need it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Love letters

I hope with all my heart that my kids never stop writing love letters. There something so simple and incredible about getting these notes tucked onto my pillow at night. It means the world to me.
If those letters aren't meant for us, as parents, someday, that's OK too. But boy oh boy, when I find them on my pillow, I'm thrilled. I truly hope those letters continue, at least for someone.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rain Rain Go Away...

The weather in Belgium this summer has been quite unseasonable, chilly, wet, and uncooperative. Now we wouldn't want to let a few drops of water ruin our fun, but the forecast sure has led to a lot of rainy day adventures, puddle jumping, rain coat wearing, not to mention wet photos.
Here are a few favs for the last week....













Really, there isn't anything much better on a rainy, chilly night than curling up with a good story...


The kids don't seem to mind the rain either. They are getting reacquainted with their toys when we're not outside, wandering about in rain boots and stomping through puddles.
Next week is "theatre camp"! As if we didn't have enough drama around here? The oldest 3 are heading out each day to camp just for a little change up. Arleigh and I will be meandering on our own. Always something new with the littlest shadow in tow. Stay tuned...sunny days must be ahead.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kayaking in the Ardennes

This weekend's adventures took us to the Ardennes in the southern part of Belgium, near Luxembourg. Beautiful, stunning, picturesque hillsides and forest in an area that was once ravaged by war. This is the place for outdoor adventure and the small town of La Roche en Ardenne was filled to the brim with other families, scout groups, and couples seeking all sorts of thrills as well. From horseback riding to rappelling, jeep tours to paintball this region hosts it all.
Event of the day for the Hill crew? Kayaking with the kids. No camera allowed, but trust me, watching Addie pump her fists after a slide down a little waterfall and  hearing Arleigh cheer with glee from underneath his life jacket made for a ton of smiles. The kids were begging for us to return, sooner than later.
 On the way home, I spied one of those big rolling hillsides and begged Matt to pull over for a pic.
This summer has offered few days of such blue sky and sun that it seemed imperative that we jump out to get the kids placed on that big blue backdrop of sky.

Surely, the next adventure is just a weekend away and we're all looking forward to it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Have a Super Duper Happy 4th of July!

No fireworks today in Belgium, but we managed to have fun anyway. Great weather, food and friends (albeit British friends) and a splash in the pool -almost as good as sparklers and fireworks. Have a Super Duper 4th everyone!