Cooking with Jean-Go

The little munchkins are sick again. Poor Sylvain is coughing like crazy! Kind of reminds me of when I was a kid. Every fall I got bronchitis – I think that’s what he has. So no more school or babysitter till the new year. That kind of puts a kink in my plans as far as getting my To Do list finished. I’ll make it work though, I don’t have a choice!

Tonight I finally went to Jean and Valerie’s for a cooking lesson. Valerie had to work a little late so it was just Jean and I who made supper. We made Waterzooi, a Belgian dish from Ghent. It can be made with fish or chicken, but Jean prefers it with fish so that’s what we did. I really liked it. We used a white fish that starts with an ‘L’ as well as craw-fish (crayfish?). It was super tasty. We also made stuffed bacon and leek croissants for Valerie’s family dinner on Saturday. I have pictures to prove I helped. I actually rolled all but, um, 5 or so. There were 32…before Jean and I each ate one ;). Waterzooi is so easy to make and is something I think is possible for me to handle as long as I don’t overcook the fish!

It was fun hanging with those two. They have this really awesome idea for Christmas tree ornaments. They have these mini crowns hanging from the branches. Hanging from each crown is a double-sided, laminated picture of different family members. Such an awesome idea and so creative!

I was right. My list keeps getting longer. >_< I have to go to the Commune again and get a piece of paper saying I’m leaving. Then I need to make a copy for Adeline to keep and send the other to the health insurance company here saying I’m leaving and they need to stop my coverage. So complicated. Not really, it’s just more work than I was planning on and I’m worried it won’t be very easy. Plus I have to write them a letter…in French. I wonder if this will be resolved before I leave? It’s all my fault for not taking care of it sooner. I know that.

                                                                                                                        

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Blogging Everyday Is Hard

My To Do list went from 12 items to 16 today, but I’ve already completed 9 items. And yes, finishing the last 2 posts about London is on my To Do list. I don’t know why I keep putting that off. The pictures are up for Day 2. I don’t have as many for Day 3, so it really shouldn’t be so much of a problem. But apparently it is.

Oh! This morning Sylvain said something else. Sort of. When you want someone to give you a high-five you say ‘top la’. Sylvain vocalized something that sounded a lot like that and raised his hand to Bastien. It was awesome. And this afternoon – after I got back from picking him up – Adeline was going through the bag with the gifts in from Sunday and she took out mine, gave it to Sylvain, and told him to give it to me. I was sitting in the coat room taking off my boots. She didn’t point him in any direction just told him to give it to me. He figured out where I was and handed me the box! Then he walked back towards the play room and she told him to go take off his boots. So he came back to me and the bench to take off his boots. He’s starting to understand and respond now! So exciting.

Wow. I just got a little sad thinking that this time next week I will be home and won’t be waking up and seeing them the next day. I’m afraid I might smother the boys a little this week. It’s going to be…odd being back home. Not more odd than it was coming here and being in a different environment. It’s all just change. I wonder what it will be like fitting back into my ‘old’ life and how long it will take for my parents to get sick of me and want me to move out ;).

I want to share with you all my new desktop picture courtesy of the folks at WordPress. This is mainly for my non-blogging followers. I think it’s really cool!

                                                                                                                        

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Last French Class

And my last day of school. I won’t say forever because even though I have no plans of going back to school, you never really know what the future will bring. I’m not making hints or anything, I just don’t want to say never because if I do than I’ll end up going back :P.

We had a nice little going away party. I’m the only one leaving, but it was also the last class before the holidays so it was a nice reason to have a party. Everyone brought something. We had some wine, bread, cold sausages, salad, and lots of cheese. Most Belgian, but two kinds from Holland. My taste in cheese has really changed. I will now eat, and enjoy, some cheese that a year ago I would have thought were not very tasty. Yeah for developing taste buds! There was also an apple-banana cake that was apparently fat-free and was very good and I guess so easy to make. We all (all 6 including the teacher) went around and talked about our family’s Christmas traditions and how they differ from traditions adopted from Belgian culture. We also (during the class part of class) wrote out Christmas cards. Patricia (a women from Holland) gave hers to me – which reminds me, I have to say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to Greg, Adeline, the boys, and my family from her – as well as little porcelain “wooden” shoes! They are so unbelievably cute and beautiful. And so unexpected, but much appreciated. Patricia and I exchanged email addresses. We decided it was easier – and cheaper – than writing snail mail (although that can be fun once in a while). This will give us both a chance to practice our French. Maybe I can pick up a little Dutch too. Madame Colette said that when I come back to visit I need to send her a text and if possible, visit the class. Oxana (she’s from Russia) also said I should visit. Here’s hoping we can come back in June, maybe I can swing by the class if it works.

It was a really nice time to just chat and learn some new stuff and I took a couple of pictures. Our class has been slowly diminishing so it was a very intimate setting. Lots of trying to figure out what some of us meant when we couldn’t find the words we were looking for. Like me trying to describe Mennonites. When I said Amish Madame Colette and Patricia (I’m not sure of the others) had at least heard the term and sort of new what I was trying to say. Except that I’m obviously not Amish. I had a good time and despite not liking ‘school’ that much (I do like to learn though), it will be odd not going and I think I’m even going to miss it a little.

I finished writing and sending off my letters today. I have one more to write, but since they’re not going to be home for Christmas I’m going to cheat and just stick it in their mailbox once I’m home. As it is, I don’t think the others will get theirs until the day I actually get home or even the day after. I forgot about Boxing Day :P. I have another To Do List, and I’m almost half way done it just after today. Go me!

I forgot to mention something last night. On the way home from Adeline’s aunt’s house (we were close to home at this point) we were driving through a town. So the speed limit is 50km/hour. We were behind one person and there were two or three cars behind us. Well, one was very impatient and passed us on a bend before cutting in front to wait to pass the person in front of us. And then speeding out of sight. The next person behind us had the same idea. The vehicle in front of us slowed down and signalled to turn left into a driveway. The car behind must have thought we were just slowing down for the heck of it and decided to pull out. They did this as the car in front was making the turn. The car in front was dark blue I think and the other was silver. The silver car stopped, literally, inches (or cm) from hitting the dark blue one. It was so close. I mean, like missed the other car by a hair close. I think Adeline backed up a little and the silver car didn’t waste any time in backing up and pulling out in front of us and around the dark blue car. What was his hurry I wonder? Was it for a legitimate reason? I don’t care what kind of emergency you have, if you can’t follow basic road rules and drive safe and fast, you shouldn’t be driving. I bet he was just an impatient…guy. I don’t want to let my emotions get the better of me by calling him a mean name. It was scary. People can be so irresponsible. I just need to remember this the next time I want to speed somewhere. I’m not saying I never do it. I’ve only ever had one speeding ticket, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t deserved more. I just speed in places like the highway, or country roads where no one is there and if something happens it’s only me that gets hurt (and maybe a few trees). Mind you, I’ve never driven a car that can go super, super fast so I’ve always been in control. Except for the occasional icy moments, but even those I wasn’t driving that fast, the roads were just slippery. And the last time I ended up in the ditch it had nothing to do with speed – I was crawling. Well, not crawling, but I was going below the speed limit. Below 50km in fact. I’d like to think I’m a decent driver. I make mistakes, but so does everyone. Wow, when did this turn into an analyses of my driving abilities?

8 more sleeps!

                                                                                                                        

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2 Down, 3 To Go

So today was #2 of 5 Christmas gatherings I will be participating in. The next is Christmas Day here. Than it’s Christmas with my parents, sister, and sister’s boyfriend, and finally Christmas with the Roth family on January 1. I know that the 28th the Brenneman side is coming over for supper, but I think that’s more of a welcome back gathering instead of Christmas.

I had planned to get up around 9 to eat breakfast with everybody and make sure that things were ready to go when we had to leave. Well, at 9 Adeline’s aunt showed up to help us finish clearing stuff away. So before noon we had all the tables and chairs folded (and table cloths obviously, as well as the decorations on the tables cleared off), the rest of the dishes rinsed and put in their respective buckets/trays, and the main floor vacuumed and mopped. Whew. Then it was off to Adeline’s aunt’s (Sybille’s sister) house for the Duchateau Christmas. This wasn’t as overwhelming because there weren’t as many people for one, and secondly I’d seen everyone there at least once before. I ended up sitting at a table with Adeline’s cousin Coralie and her husband. They’re the one’s that got married in May. I guess the read my blog post on the wedding and thought it was neat to see their wedding from a Canadian point of view!

Greg didn’t come because he wasn’t feeling well, but we took his car. His new car he got in August. His new car that has power seats (this I discovered when trying to straighten the back and move the seat forward) and a built-in GPS. It’s a nice car. There’s lots of room; enough that the boys can’t touch the back of the front seats with their feet!

Of course all the kids we all over the chips before lunch and left the veggies alone. Sylvain made a grab for a carrot, but I stopped him. I took one and let him take a bite. This resulted in a lot of drool. Plus he only has front teeth so after he bit off his morsel it would have been challenging to chew the rest. Hence the drool. Then he moved on to the chip/cracker type snacks. There was one kind that had processed cheese inside, those were easy for him to eat. Of course he would try to take more than one at a time or he’d put his hand in the dish and move it around. He took one of the other snack items (I don’t actually know what it was), but he wasn’t having much luck with it. This one was as easy to chew. It wasn’t going anywhere, it just caused him to drool even more all down his shirt. So I took it out of his mouth and threw it out. Then we took him upstairs for his nap and what do I find in his mouth? Yes, another one of the hard to chew morsels. This time he managed to get somewhere with it and by the time he was all ready to go down it was gone. At one point (before all this excitement) I was sitting on the one end of the couch and Sylvain was just doing what he does best; walking around and looking at everything and everyone. Then he started coming in my direction and once he noticed me he picked up the pace a bit and grabbed my hand. He held on to it for a while. This was shortly after we got there, so maybe he was a little overwhelmed with all the people and I was someone familiar and safe. Or maybe I’m just telling myself that to make me feel special. It does make sense though, I do live and spend a lot of time with him.

Shortly after that he became very independent. I have to get all the hugs and kisses I can out of him and Bastien before I leave! I told that to Bastien when he wouldn’t give me a hug. Then he gave me a hug. 😀 This family gather also included a gift exchange. Adeline’s aunt didn’t know I was still going to be here so I wasn’t included (I think that’s what happened), but that’s ok. So I wasn’t expecting anything. But her aunt gave me a really nice picture frame. The glass is on a mini easel type thing so with a picture in there it mimics a painting. I really like it. She didn’t have to get me anything, but it was definitely very nice of her. Everybody in this family and the other have all been so welcoming. Adeline said tonight that one thing about the huge De Coster family is that if you find yourself alone in a corner or something you have to go and find someone to talk to. If you don’t, you’ll stay alone. This isn’t because they’re not nice, it’s because with so many people it’s impossible to tell who is socializing and who isn’t. Who may be moping in a corner and who is the life of the party. So if you’re moping you’ll stay that way unless you do something about it. I wasn’t moping yesterday, and I didn’t feel shunned, she just made that comment as a matter of fact. It makes total sense.

I also tried something new today. Cheese. Ha, ha, not just any cheese. A really strong cheese. A very strong cheese. I don’t actually know how to spell the name, but I’m going to do it phonetically, at least phonetically the way I heard it: Rochfort. In French fort is strong. I tried the tiniest bit and it definitely tops my list of things I never want to eat again. Coming in 2nd is French onion soup, but that’s another story. I don’t really know how to describe this cheese. I think I’ve tried my best to block the taste from my memory. But now I can say I’ve tried it. Valerie told me that a lot of people buy this cheese at the beginning of winter as a natural defence for their immune system. I think she said it has some penicillin type elements or something. I don’t think I was paying very close attention; I was still trying to get the taste out of my mouth! But there you have it. It’s all what you’re used to, what you’ve grown up with. Which is why what Adeline tells Bastien at every meal (you can’t say you don’t like something if you’ve never tried it) is very sound advice. And just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean it’s bad or disgusting. It’s just different. I can emphatically say that I do not like it and will never willingly (or unwillingly if I can help it) eat it again, but I will do my best to not say bad things about it other than that I don’t like it. This is something I’ve always tried to do and realize, but it has become more important to me since spending the year here to make sure I’m as diplomatic as possible when comparing or dealing with cultural differences. When it comes to food or other cultural stuff, there’s no right or wrong, good or bad, there’s just differences. What you’re used to and what’s new. I think any culturally new experience (or any new experience for that matter) will be more enjoyable if everyone were to keep that in mind. I guess this can be a little tricky when religion plays a very important role in culture. Hmmm. Well for the most part it works. Moving on…

I think the kids all had fun with the gifts. They especially liked little cousin Juliet’s one present. Especially Bastien, Clémence, and Sylvain. Especially Sylvain. You put a little ball in a whole in the top and it slides down coloured planks and goes through holes to go down either side of the main board before ending by ringing a little bell at the bottom. Neither boy had much of a nap. They slept for a little bit (maybe 20 minutes) in the car (it was an hour ride), but not at the house at all. They slept for about half, maybe a little more, of the ride home, and both were ready for bed when we arrived. When Sylvain gets really tired he’ll cry at anything. He’ll fall on his bum, or knees, and he cries like he just cracked his skull open. Or something else really minor. It’s not hard to handle though because the solution is simple; give him his bottle and put him to bed. Being tired and hungry are relatively easy for us to fix. Once he had his bottle he hardly made a peep. Putting him down is simple as well. He might spend a while talking to himself, but he rarely ever cries when you leave. Unless it’s the morning and he wants out of his crib. Then if I come into his room, but have to leave again to get him some clothes he’s not happy. I’m spoiled. If I ever have kids I won’t be surprised if they’re not as easy-going as Sylvain.

Tonight I put all the chairs back on their cart type contraption (which we actually used as a coat rack because the delivery guy forgot it because to get it out-of-the-way Jean put it in the coat room…or maybe it was left on purpose so we could put the chairs away :P), and gathered all the buckets of plates in the toy room with the tables and chairs. After getting Sylvain in bed (Greg was reading Bastien his nightly story) Adeline helped me transfer the cups and glasses and the cutlery. Now when mister delivery guy comes tomorrow everything is all right there and should be easy to load up. Hopefully he comes in the morning like he said he would. I have a lot of stuff to do this week and not all of it is at the house. 😛 My current To Do List is at 13 items and possible counting. And it really is all stuff I have to do this week while I have free time. It has to be done before I leave and I don’t know how much time I’ll have this weekend! #1 on my list: To bed!

                                                                                                                        

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I Used To Think I Had A Big Family….

Now I know better. When you have 6 kids, 28 grand kids, and 12 great-grand kids, you have a big family. And that’s not even including boyfriends/girlfriends, fiancées, and husbands/wives.  My Grandma Roth has 5 kids, 9 grand kids, and 2 great-grand kids. My Mom had a great idea getting a table made that can seat 22 – but with spouses, significant others, and now grand kids that isn’t enough space. For tonight they rented 4 tables, a crap-load of chairs, plates, cups, glasses (bubbles, water, wine), and cutlery. As far as I understand the rental place actually washes them because all we did tonight was rinse them and put them back in their buckets. We just have to rinse the glasses tomorrow. And fold the tables and chairs. Most of the clean-up (minus the house itself) is done. It’s almost 1am.

Bastien didn’t actually go to bed until just after midnight. He was really well-behaved tonight. He had kids to play with! I read him two stories. I rotated with Adeline and Jean’s cousin Marie and some others to watch them upstairs. Sylvain was really good too. He didn’t even get cranky when he did have his bottle till almost, or just after, 8. Normally by 6:30 he’s ready for it. Maybe it was the late hour he had his snack (almost 5, normally he eats it around 3:30-4) combined with all the people to interact and play with. Actually, all the babies were pretty good. Bastien even buttoned up his pyjama shirt ALL BY HIMSELF! Woah. He also undid the buttons on his vest alone. I had to undo his shirt because those buttons were a lot smaller. Although the pj buttons weren’t that big…but maybe the holes were a bit bigger, I don’t know. Either way, I was proud and surprised, as were Mom and Dad.

Now, maybe you’re wondering about the food. Because 50 people, that’s a lot to feed. I know with my family whoever hosts the meal usually makes the meat and some other hot stuff. Others bring the dessert and cold sides and buns and things. Adeline ordered bread from the bakery, but the rest of the meal was brought by everyone else. Including all the wine and bubbles and pop and stuff. So in that way it was less stressful than our Thanksgiving even though there was way more people. A special thanks go out to Jean and Val Ou who stayed to help us clean up. Others helped gather plates and things before they left, and of course everyone took their leftovers. And it was all buffet style so there was no need to set the tables or have room for food on them. This made things a lot easier.

I am now in my 3rd or 4th wind of the day which is the only way it’s possible for me to write this lengthy post. Plus I’m actually on my computer which makes it a lot easier. Cousin Marie – she’s about 13, 14…I don’t actually know and I’m horrible at age guessing – is a huge Justin Bieber fan. She’s great with little kids too. She had the kids sitting on Bastien’s bottom bunk while she read them a story which involved some actions on their part. I filmed it. After supper she approached me in the kitchen – “You’re Canadian? Do you know Justin Bieber?” – all excited like. Of course I know of him, I said, and I did actually see him once. She asked me if I preferred his hair longer of shorter like now. Since I’m not a fan I don’t really pay enough attention to him to have an opinion. The not being a fan thing is mostly to do with my age and his. And the fact that I think singing about something you know nothing about – *cough*love and relationships*cough* – when you sound like a young girl is a little ridiculous. Maybe I’m being overly judgmental. Shame on me. I said – in regards to the hair – somewhere in between. She agreed with me. I told her that if I happened to see him again I would tell Jean and he could let her know. She thought that was great. Who knows, maybe it will happen. Maybe I can ask him to say ‘hey Marie’ so I can tell her he said hi. I think she would like that. I could be all ‘dude, can you say hello to one of your biggest European fans for me?’. Don’t ask me why the dude is there.

Tonight was – at times – a little overwhelming. Definitely not as overwhelming as it would have been a year ago. Considering more than half of the people who were here tonight were people I was meeting for the very first time it could have been a little much, but I just took it in stride. I forget most of their names. I didn’t even learn a lot of them. I will say coming back home and meeting new people is going to be strange. I’ll have to remind myself not to go in for the mock-cheek kiss and shake their hand instead. I guess in my family we greet with hugs and well, yes cheek kisses. But those cheek kisses are real kisses. Here you touch cheeks and kiss at the same time. It’s just different. The only reason I did that with these people was because they’re family. If I was just meeting someone on the street or something there wouldn’t be kissing involved. Not the first time. I remember when I went to London and I met Martha’s flatmates (who were both Canadian) it was odd shaking their hands. Culture shock!

And tomorrow we get to do it all over again. Well, not exactly. Tomorrow is the Duchateau family get together. Tonight it was the De Costers. And we’re not hosting tomorrow. And it’s for lunch not supper. Tonight we didn’t actually start eating to going on 9 o’clock I think. I have a busy-ish week ahead of me. There’s all the last-minute stuff to take care of, the 21st I’m going to Jean’s for the cooking lesson we talked about at New Years, the 23rd we’re all going to Sybille’s for a farewell to me gathering, 25th is Christmas, and I leave the 27th! Oh, and Monday we’re having a Christmas/goodbye party in my French class. Today was my 2nd last Saturday in Belgium. This is just as odd as it was when I was waiting to come here. It seems like it’s so far away and then suddenly BAM! it’s here.

Well, considering it’s almost 1:30 in the morning and we’re leaving at 11:30 and I should be up for breakfast and all that I should really go to bed. I hope everyone had a great Saturday!

Oh and I forgot. There was actually snow left on the ground, some cars, and rooftops this morning. At 9:30 still. When the sun came out and starting really shining it all melted away, but I was surprised to see it all the same.

                                                                                                                        

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Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.

It’s actually snowing! It rained off and on today and according to my weather app there was supposed to be a rain/snow mix which we finally started getting tonight. Non of it will be on the ground in the morning…non of it’s staying on the ground now, but it is floating around in the air. Despite the stri g wu dd this morning it felt quite warm in comparison to yesterday. Tropical in fact.

I am again typing via iPod, but that’s because I’m way too tired to wait for my computer to load and to open the page and all that. It’s only 10, but I’ve been going to bed late for a while now and with busy day we had today I just want to go to bed. Aurore and Jean-Go were here helping Adeline and I. We just have to mop the front hallway and coat room and finish setting the chairs in the dining room and maybe a couple of other small things and I think we’re all set for the big dinner tomorrow. It’s the big De Coster Christmas and there will be about 50 people here. To make things easier it will be buffet style so allwe had to do was set up the tables and chairs. There’s the table in the dining room, two in the play room, one in the library and one in the basement. We vacuumed pretty much the whole house,tidied, organized/put stuff away/hid stuff 😉 and made sure everything is in readiness.

I also cut up a bunch of vegetables and put them in the freezer. After that I fed the chickens, gathered the eggs (3, but one broke on me :S) and cleaned out the chicken house and put fresh straw down. This was tricky for many reasons. I was wearing Adeline’s rain boots which are too big for me. The backyard is basically a mud pit (half of it anyway) so gettig to the chicken coop was fun. Then I had to get the stuff to clean out the house. This was in the garage. The part of the garage that is currently (again, half of it) a big whole. I had to climb through this (not really that bad, just a bit deep) and try not to get in the way of the guys working. Finally it was finished. I had to go back in there later to put away the glasss bottles, but I went through th basement so it wasn’t that bad.

I think we got a lot done today. It’s amazing what a group of people can accomplish in a day! It’s just me and the boys tonight as Greg and Adeline are at Greg’s work party. Bastien was being a stinker and was still up sining to himself when I started this. I’ll check on him when I’m done and then it’s off to bed for me. Wow. I did’t actully turn on my computer today….

I forgot to mention; with all the mud outside a lot of it is bound to get inside. Especially from Shanga. Her little paw prints were all over the library floor and the window sill where she sits and stares for u determined periods of time. In the hallway and kitchen too. While cute, it’s not a lot of fun to have to worry about cleaning that up as well.

Dear Computer…

As soon as the extra funds become available you will be replaced. This may take me a few years, but when I manage I am going to have a lot of fun smashing you to smithereens. Does thus reveal something unsavory in my character? Note to all readers: any rage will be directed only at uncooperative technology. It deserves it. 🙂

My laptop is reaching the end of it’s lifespan and no amount of reformatting will do anything to save it. It has turned on me Bd now I must rely on my friend iPod to talk with you all this evening.

Today I folded a bunch of laundry and cleared out the laundry room to make way for things on Saturday. I offered to keep overflow (strollers, garden shoes, etc) in my roo
For easy transport back. There’s not actully that much…or it just doesn’t take up a lot of space. The weather is starting to cool down noticeably, but still not cold enough for snow, only rain. The work out front and back continues. If I can manage some sort of truce with my laptop I might Bd able to post some pictures to show you. There’s a lot of mud, which makes it hard to keep it clean inside.

Well, tomorrow is s very busy day getting everything dine fir the weekend so I should really get to bed. Don’t want to fall asleep on the job! On another note we finished the first season of The Event. Interesting.

Je m’appelle HULK!

Today was like most other Wednesdays, nothing special or different. At least it started out that way. This morning I went to the Commune to inform them I will be leaving and what date. It was a simple affair, I just had to write my Canadian address, today’s date, my full name, and then sign the sheet. All finished. I still have to go to the bank and contact the insurance company. We want to make sure everyone knows I’m leaving so Greg and Adeline don’t keep getting mail for me :P.

I spent a while this afternoon watching Adele YouTube videos. Listening to her radio recording of ‘Someone Like You’ helps me understand why she has all those voice problems. I mean, the smoking doesn’t help, but that’s a whole other can of worms. It just felt like she was reaching out of her range, or at least her belting range, and you can hear her voice break. Now, that’s just what it sounds like to me, BUT I have no idea really because I don’t know her. For all I know that was just a random occurrence (I haven’t heard it on any other recording/live performance) and for authenticity’s sake they kept it there. I truly do think she’s amazingly talented and I really love her voice. I hope she gets better and stays better so she can keep doing what she loves and is so good at. 😀

Tonight at supper Adeline mashed up some food in a bowl for Sylvain. We had spinach, fish, and potatoes. This was as we were finishing so we were able to focus on Sylvain. She let him take control of the spoon (once she put food on it) and try to feed himself. Success! I don’t know if it’s just because he was hungry, or what, but he would grab the spoon from her every time and stuff it in his mouth. In between spoonfuls he would put his hands in his face. He was quite green all over. Leaps and bounds that kid, leaps and bounds. At least that’s what it seems like to me, but my close, personal baby experience is limited to Sylvain. As far as teeth go, he has 4 or 5 on top and almost 3 on the bottom. The third looks to be just breaking through. I can’t believe that in 2 weeks today I won’t be getting regular hugs and kisses from these two little munchkins.

                                                                                                                        

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Pillow Fight!

Well, not exactly, but the other day the boys were wandering around the house with little pillows from the couch. Much giggling ensued and much fun was to be had. It’s so cute watching the two of them play together. Sylvain has this habit of making motor noises and then laughing. And now he’s got a toothy – instead of gummy – grin. His little nose scrunches up and his eyes close; just like Bastien. They were doing a bit of that with the pillows tonight as well.

They were also both really tired although I’m not exactly sure why. Both of them had dark rings under their eyes. They were also both fast asleep by 8pm tonight which doesn’t usually happen. Normally Bastien is still up talking to himself or singing at 10. Stinker. 😛

So after having a few days of relatively nice, sunny weather today we had rain and a lot of it. Wind also. I had to be careful getting in and out of the car. I didn’t want the door to get wrecked because of the wind! Today was also the day that I met Becky in Brussels. Traffic was crazy in the city, but I think that was because of construction and not the time of day. I could be very wrong. We mostly walked around the Grand Place and wandered in the alleys around there. They’re setting up for the holidays in the Grand Place, it will look awesome when it’s all done. I know Adeline said they’re going the 28th. I’ll have to check out their pictures since I’m leaving the day before.

I was able to tell Becky the stories Dominique told us about the statues on the buildings in the Grand Place as well as the Manneken Pis (Manneken = little man, Mann=man, eken=little). While standing near the peeing boy statue we saw these two women putting a plastic Manneken Pis  figure (like the one sitting outside of a waffle place eating a waffle) in their car. This reminded Becky of the time when some people stole a baby grand piano from Laurier. How does one accomplish that without anyone realizing it? This was before our time so I forgot about it, but she made a point of saying if you see someone taking apart a baby grand for transport you’re going to assume that a) they know what they’re doing and b) they’re supposed to be doing it. So no one stopped them. How many people do you know who would try to steal a baby grand piano from a university? The elevator in the music building is big, but not big enough to take it away without taking the legs off first. So she thought this could be the same thing…who would move a figure like that in broad day light unless they were supposed to be doing it? We had a good laugh over that.

Like I said, we did a lot of wandering. She bought a small box of assorted chocolates from Neuhaus for her Aunt and Uncle she’s been staying with in Holland. It was so awesome that we were able to meet up like this. Liverpool may be far away by European standards, but we still managed it. Isn’t it amazing how these things happen?

                                                                                                                        

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Dude, Only 15 More Sleeps.

Where has this year gone? I know, I know, I keep asking that question, but I’m curious.

Work was started in earnest today in the backyard and the front. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned it, but they’re changing almost the whole backyard. Expanding the patio area so they can actually have a table and eat outside, building a new garden shed, and changing around some other stuff. The old garden shed/mini brick building has been torn down and there is now a gaping whole in the stone wall surrounding the backyard. No worries though, the area it opens out onto is gated. And they’re also tearing up the front stones. It was really noisy. Especially outside my window when the were tearing it up out there. It will be interesting to see the difference when I get home tomorrow. Today I was able to document the whole process, but tomorrow I’ll be in Brussels so I’ll be surprised.

Adeline won a contest with the radio station she listens to in the morning which allows her to go to the station during the morning show and bring someone with her. So her and Greg have to be there – in Brussels I believe – by 6am. So it will be just me getting the boys ready tomorrow. Thankfully, as long as he cooperates, Bastien doesn’t take that long to get dressed and other than breakfast and getting his snacks for school in his bag there’s not much else to do. Adeline bought croissants and chocolate bread (pastry with chocolate inside) for breakfast tomorrow, yum ^_^.

As of this afternoon there was an 80% chance of rain in Brussels tomorrow. I really hope that’s not the case, that would suck for Becky. I’m excited to see her. She’s my friend from university who is working in Liverpool right now. She flew to Amsterdam for a while and decided to come to Brussels for a day and wanted to know if I was able to meet up with her. It’s awesome that it’s all worked out. We won’t have that much time, just about 4 hours, but what I’m going to show her is all really close, within walking distance, of the train station. She’ll hang around for a bit after I go, do some wandering or something before taking the train back to Amsterdam where she flies out tomorrow.

I can’t believe the amount of people I’ve been able to meet up with over here. There’s actually one other person I know from Laurier who is living and working in Brussels. We only made contact with that knowledge (that both of us were here) last week so I don’t know if we’ll have a chance to meet up, but just knowing that it could have happened is cool. I guess except for Martha in London, all 4 (5 if you count the one in Brussels…6 if you count the one in Austria) people I’ve met up with or am going to meet up with or wish I could meet up with are all from WLU. Laurier grads sure do get around ;).

                                                                                                                        

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