Monday, April 29, 2013

Bluebell Forest Halle Belgium

Spring has finally sprung! Can I get an "Amen"?
The Hallerbos; Bluebell Forest Halle, Belgium
I love this forest in bloom. When people say 'it's enchanted' I have to agree. There no denying the trails lined with vibrant blue-violet blossoms, the wafting of the bluebell's intense perfume among the woods, and the meandering paths are all enchanting enough for an exceptional storybook. It's been a month now of single parenting and I needed a break. I needed an enchanting break.
So as to not miss this year's bloom, I dropped the kids at school and headed off for a couple hours of me time. No spa, no stylist, no shopping excursion needed here- nope, just a good pair of shoes and a backpack will fill the ticket for refreshment.  This might be my favorite place to just get lost!


Friday, April 5, 2013

Bo-Diggity-Dogs traveling around the world

We've heard of people abandoning their pets for a variety of reasons. We're just not that abandoning type.
Nope. For better or worse, we've invested a lot of money, effort, and time, into taking the family with us- the entire family....even the diggity dogs.
We left America with 2 dogs, Dudley, a bearded collie and Daisy, a chocolate lab. Daisy made it as far as Guam and Belgium and then she'd had enough and we had to say good bye to her. Eventually we adopted Bernie, a Bernease mountain dog, here in Belgium. Dudley has hung in there, every step of the way. He's spent more time on airplanes than most Americans and he might very well be one of the United State's most travelled dogs. At close to 15 years of age, he has logged over 40,000 miles in flight.
So it was a bit ironic that he flew home, very close to where he was born, to make a final circle of the globe. We're not going to ask him to do anymore travel by air now that he's landed safely in the US.

We're thrilled to announce that the diggity dogs both made the trip successfully and will staying with a military foster care family that we found through net, a non profit organization dedicated to helping military and disaster relief families with their pets.
This is a huge service for those of us who need a little help with our furry friends during times of transition like this. Please take a minute to note their webpage and consider a donation. We can't wait to have Dudley and Bernie back with us in the same place, but until then, we're incredibly thankful to the foster families who have opened their homes to help military folks like ourselves during this moving season! We've never really needed to depend on a foster family through our travels, so we're very grateful that this program was available when we really did need some help.

We've been kicked out

(for local readers, this cartoon pic is painted at St Catherine's Place in Brussels)

Ok, not really exactly kicked out. But kind of. We asked (three times) to stay until the end of the school year. But the answer was a strong "No"! We asked to for various orders, but the answer was always "sorry". We asked to keep our Belgian IDs for keepsakes (suggesting they might be made defective via a hole punch in the same way our expired passports had been returned to us as keepsakes), but alas, "no can do", which felt more like "get the heck out of here".
We've loved our time in Belgium. We traveled, met amazing people, learned languages, and most importantly opened our hearts and minds to a completely new world. To live in another country as an expat is definitely not the same as visiting as a tourist. We're entirely grateful for our time and experience here. Sadly though, it's time to go. We've been kicked out.

Bo Bella turns 9

We've been absent from the blogging scene lately, as the camera has been in the repair at the manufacturer for quite awhile. Hopefully it's on its way back now. In the meantime, we've been busy with movers, packing, cleaning, sorting, lifting, trashing, boxing, and wrapping our goods. In many ways, it felt like we were trying to talk half of Belgium back with us.
But among all the haste of moving, we had to take time this week to celebrate Stella's 9th birthday.
She wanted to do something as a family, because sadly, this is really the last time we'll be all living under one roof as a family for several years to come. She also chose something that everyone could participate in, and so we headed off to the Wavre Adventure park on this very chilly day in April to swing from great heights, and climb, and jump, and play as a family.
She made a great choice really, and above all, we hope she had a memorable time.

This time, Matt stayed on the ground to help the boys and take photos with a standby camera, while I climbed to the treetops with the girls. It's definitely more fun to be up in the trees and the continuous belay made for a lot more confidence with the kids on each cable line. For me it brought back great childhood memories of a zip line at a friend's house where we'd repeatedly sail through the treetops and then smack into a stop at the bottom.
Happy Birthday Stella! May you have many more candles upon your cake and fantastic years ahead!