May the stilts be with you.

Today was actually quite relaxing. Bastien was a lot more chill and Sylvain was calmer as well. I think we’re past the worst with him. His spots still look sore, just fewer and fewer look like they’re ready to explode. Adeline and Greg were in Namur today I believe. I actually forget what they said they were doing exactly, but I think this weekend is part of the Fête de Wallonie in Namur. That’s the Walloon Festival. In case you’re not sure, the Walloon region is the French region of Belgium (as opposed to Flanders –> Flemish). They were invited to some pretty exclusive stuff and were gone all day. They actually got back a little earlier than planned.

So apart from a little time outside, Sylvain’s treatment schedule, and happy boys, nothing extraordinary happened for me today. Nothing out of the ordinary. It was a good day. Bastien had a few loud moments and fancied himself a pig during lunch today (at which I threatened that he’d have to eat outside because of course pigs don’t eat at the kitchen table), but both boys ate well, slept well, and were generally in good humour the whole day. Just after lunch we listened to one Henri Des CD, and before/during supper we listened to one of his live CD’s. No jokes, I think I’m going to put them on my computer. At least the live one anyway. It’s fun to listen to! The more I listen the more lyrics I catch and the more I’m beginning to understand. Funny how that works….

I also (sorry if I’ve mentioned it twice now) have three more kid songs memorized. I can now sing 5! That’s quite the accomplishment. Pft. I should know a lot more. My favourite is the one about the mouse, a green mouse!

The kids went to bed late tonight. It was about 8:30/40. They had late naps this afternoon and we all want them to sleep as long as possible tomorrow so I wasn’t too concerned about getting them to bed  at the normal time. Of course tomorrow is different because Bastien goes back to school Monday! And so do I. It’s official, my school term is starting up again Monday. I’m not sure about the teacher situation. I’m not even sure if that was the issue or not. I hope it’s the same teacher because I want her to see how much I’ve improved over the summer. I still make a ton of mistakes, but that’s not unusual. Mostly it’s when I’m not quite thinking it through and I’m just letting my mouth run away with me. But hey, that happens in English too! Here’s looking forward to my (hopefully) last few months in school. Although who knows. Not that I plan on going to get my Master’s or another degree or anything. You just never know when it comes to job hunting if I’ll need to augment my studies at all. I sure hope not. Full time student might be what I know and am used to, but it’s not something I want to continue forever.

Below are links to two videos of people fighting each other on stilts. The first is video of the Walloon Festival in 2007 and an event that has been in existence for 600 years (1411-2011). The second is sort of an advertisement (I’m assuming) and is just plain awesome.

Echasseurs
Jedi Stilt Wars

Hope you enjoy the videos!
                                                                                                                     

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Turtle Ice cream Cake

I bet some of you are thinking about Turtles (the chocolates) now! This wasn’t a ‘Turtles’ ice cream cake, it was just an ice cream cake made to look like a turtle. The body was ice cream (coffee flavoured) and the shell, legs, and head were made out of marzipan. The reason for said cake was because we had Dominique and Stella over for lunch today. Dominique’s birthday was yesterday. And next weekend is the big party! Lots of dancing. I’m not very good at ‘free-styling’. I’m decent at choreography. I look really silly though when I dance. I always feel like I’m working a lot harder than it looks like I’m working. When I was little I took ballet and jazz. While I figure skated I did some off-ice dance. In university I took a Musical Theatre dance class at my old studio and then went on to do two years of tap there. I also took 3 semesters of jazz at university. That was super fun and I loved my teacher (she was also one of the choreographers for the musical theatre club which is how I met here and got up the nerve to join her class in the first place!). Honestly, dancing (a dance class anyway) is my favourite form of exercise. Adeline gave me this program for a town near here that has dance, guitar, potter, acting classes, etc., and I’m thinking about joining one. Except that the one’s I’m most interested in are Monday nights. They start at 7, but I’m only ending my class at 7. Adeline said that maybe I’ll be put into a different class this term because of my level. Let’s hope so, because it would be really interesting to take a Contemporary dance class. Although that one who have to pay for the full year it doesn’t give a semester option so we’ll see what happens. Woah, everybody say it with me: off topic much? Let’s just say, now I want a Dairy Queen ice cream cake :(.

I can’t believe I almost forgot this. It’s actually the best reason for mentioning the cake in the first place! So like I said, it was in the shape of a turtle. Dominique mentioned that there was also a cow and a lady-bug. Bastien – who likes lady-bugs – asked why he got a turtle…or why he didn’t get a lady bug. I was doing other stuff, so I’m not sure. Regardless of how the question was phrased, this was Dominique’s answer (paraphrased): ‘Well Bastien, you know how lady bugs fly?’ (I’m imagining a nod from Bastien here) ‘And cows, they can run away’ (another nod maybe) ‘but turtles, turtles are very slow. That’s why I got a turtle so it couldn’t escape!’. That was the general gist of the conversation. And children are supposed to be the one’s with the active imaginations! I don’t think I would have come up with a story like that in his situation.

We had a lot of fun watching Bastien draw Dominique, Adeline, and Greg. I think I may have mentioned this before, but let me refresh your memory. When Bastien draws people (when he’s not drawing ladders) they always have a very large head. Small stick legs and arms that come out of the head, ears, eyes (sometimes 2, sometimes 4), the occasional nose (which looks just like the eyes – a dot – and is sometimes right in between them), and a mouth. And a little bit of hair. I always think Mr. Potato Head in these instances. I must say though, Bastien draws very good circles/ovals.

Dominique also came up with something to do when Bastien constantly asks to watch a cartoon; he kept asking him if he had heard of a certain story. After about 4 or 5 times Bastien asked him – forcefully – to stop saying that all the time. Dominique said then Bastien needed to stop asking for a cartoon all the time. It didn’t sink in. I tried a somewhat different spin on this, but it backfired on me. When he’s in a certain mood he loves giving hugs and kisses. When Bastien is tired or in another type of mood, he won’t do that if his life depended on it. So when he started asking for a cartoon again and everyone else was talking I asked for a hug. And I kept asking for a hug until he started to complain. Then I kept asking. This stopped and he played for a bit. Then he started asking for a cartoon again so I asked for a hug, but this time he gave me one! While it was nice it didn’t help prove my point. He doesn’t understand the concept of not always getting what you want, but really, what 3-year-old does?

Before supper was bath time. Sylvain kept standing up and of course putting everything in his mouth. When Bastien was his age he liked building things. Sylvain just breaks them (block towers and the like). Sylvain also puts more things in his mouth than Bastien did. Bastien is fine in the bath until you go to wash him. He doesn’t like getting his head wet. I’m not sure if it’s that or if it’s just the shower head. He doesn’t like getting water in his eyes and mouth, obviously, but it’s his own fault because he won’t keep them closed even when we’re not finished. And you give him fair warning every time and wait till he has them closed. I say ‘keep them closed, keep them closed’, but he’ll open them and then he’ll cry. Today when I started soaping his hair he started crying. So I said ‘ok. You can stay in the bath all night by yourself, I’m leaving with Sylvain. If and when you’re ready to get washed you can call me’. The next thing I heard was ‘I have to poo!’. I’ve decided never to fall for this again. So, I went into the bathroom, cleared out all the toys from the tub (with cries of ‘I want to play, I want to play!’ and told him he could stay in there until he was ready to get washed and if he poo’d that would be his own problem. I explained that every single time he says he has to poo while in the bath he never does. All that happens is the floor gets all wet and time is wasted. I left him alone again, no toys, hair full of soap, lights out (there was still light from the window) and then he called again. At least I think he called, I don’t think I went in there on my own. I can’t even remember! Eventually his ‘trial’ was over and he was in his pjs.

During supper Sylvain fell asleep. One moment he was wanting another cookie, the next Adeline looked over and he was asleep! Normally he’s so quiet (unless he’s really tired, hungry, or needs a change) you can forget he’s there, and this was one of those times. It was cute. He woke up a little when Adeline put him to bed, but it didn’t take long for him to fall back asleep. Tonight I actually read Bastien his bedtime story. And yes, he did correct me a few times, but it’s helpful.

Wait! This morning Bastien helped Adeline make a cake (it didn’t quite turn out how she wanted it) and was in a long apron and everything. Cute! When it was in the oven he came and told me the cake was all finished. So I responded that we could eat it, but he said we had to wait until Grandpa was here. Of course I was trying to get at the fact that in fact, it wasn’t finished because it still had to back. That’s what limited vocabulary gets you…

Rush hour and hostage situation make for a wonderful journey.

Ok. So today I picked up Bastien from the babysitter’s and took him to the hospital in Namur where Adeline and Greg were with Sylvain. A normally 27 minute journey took me 1.5 hours. Most of that (at least an hour, but probably closer to an hour and 10-15) was spent in stop and go traffic in Namur. Bastien was pretty good about it – although every time someone honked their horn Bastien would say ‘oh! an accident!’ – it was cute, but of course not true. I had to ask him a few times to not make random loud noises because  I was trying to concentrate in a huge traffic jam in an unfamiliar city with a GPS that I couldn’t hear (and couldn’t find the volume button on). Most of the way was straight, but there were times I had to be really careful.

Because I don’t have a working phone at the moment and my radio was off (although, being in French I wouldn’t have understood them anyway) I had no idea that this kind of traffic was not normal. In fact, at the hospital Greg informed me that there was a hostage situation somewhere in Namur and so a bunch of roads were closed, thus causing the horrendous traffic. I sat at one light and watched it go from green to red to green to red to green to red and finally to green again before I moved. Lots of fun :D.

Greg was actually at the entrance when I pulled up and saw me when I was getting my parking ticket out of the machine and he took Bastien upstairs while I parked. Then I had the daunting task of finding the pediatric section. I knew it was on the third floor and I had the room #, but there were so many doors to go through. Actually, in the grand scheme of things finding them in the hospital was the easiest part! I didn’t even have to ask for help.

So, now I know that I do have the ability to keep my cool and not succumb to uncontrollable road rage…not that that’s ever happened before. :S All in all, a good experience. The drive home was awesome. There was almost no traffic, even in the city. It was clear sailing. I got home, gave Bastien his bath and was reading him a story when Greg got in. Greg came upstairs and Bastien went right to bed. He was actually very well-behaved in the bath tonight. Normally he hates when you wash his hair and get him wet with the shower head in the tub, but tonight he just went along with it really well. Also, in the car on the way home he was going through the -vers again. Holly-ver, Mamma-ver, Pappa-ver, etc. I didn’t even bring it up, it was all him.

So Sylvain is still at the hospital tonight, but he hasn’t gotten worse so that’s good.  He’s so cute when he sleeps. Aren’t all babies adorable in that state? Of course, Sylvain is ‘si mignon’ all the time!

Desperados!

Tonight I was transported to Mexico, a land flowing with tequila and burritos…Just kidding. Obviously. *insert ‘thank you Captain Obvious’ here* We had burritos tonight, but without cheese! They were really good. And Adeline bought this beer from Mexico that is flavoured with tequila…I’ve never had tequila before.

In other news, the baths went very well tonight. Bastien was quite well behaved all in all, and was very gentle with Sylvain (sometimes we have to remind him a lot, but tonight he was good). Also, after the bath he actually asked me to play with him. I don’t think he’s done that before…He’s said I could when I’ve asked, but I don’t think he’s actually asked me himself. It was nice.

Also, it snowed today! Not much, but eventually there was enough that some stayed on the ground. I took Sylvain for a walk today (the same walk I did on Monday) and it was quite cold and windy. I was kind of bundled up…maybe I’m getting soft with all this warm weather. I don’t know what the actually temperature was, but it was colder than it’s been in a while. And a bit of snow is nicer to walk in than rain. Although when we were walking it was very spotty. It didn’t stay at that point, it was just enough that you could tell that it was snow. It wasn’t until later in the afternoon when it actually started being noticeable on the ground.

Adeline and I brought down the couch from the attic and rearranged my room. I really like it. 

I’m standing in the doorway and what you can’t see is the wardrobe (that’s what I’m calling it) with my clothes in it. It looks a little smaller now, but I like how it’s sort of separated into two different rooms with the couch and the bed. Now I won’t get that afternoon sun shining on my computer screen making it hard to see and I can use natural light to read on the couch. Win win situation!

Verb Conjugations, City Hall, & the Pharmacy

So this morning I wrote out the present/past/future conjugations for 10 verbs and did my homework (it wasn’t much homework, but now I’m done!). It actually took a while, but I want to do more. Writing them out helps me remember them (theoretically). At least I should do that with vocabulary. I had to do that in Spanish in high school; write out each word three times with the translation. I remembered a lot more vocabulary then than I did when I took university Spanish!

I also took Sylvain with me for a walk to the City Hall (the Commune de Wasseiges). I had to go sign some papers for my identity card. They were very nice and patient with me. Then I went to the Pharmacy to pick up some soap for Sylvain that Adeline ordered yesterday.

I finished giving the boys their baths and got pee’d on by Sylvain for the second night in a row! Well, to be fair, yesterday it wasn’t on me, just on his towels. Today it was on my while I was washing his face. Oh the joys of boys! At least it’s not that much when they’re this small.

Hope you’re all enjoying the snow! Or the daffodils, depending on what part of the country you reside in ;).

Rain

So today it rained. Again. 😛 This is a common occurence in Belgium, but I’ve been told it does not rain as much as in England. Good news though, it’s not supposed to rain this weekend! I have to say, my rain jacket has so far been one of my most valuable purchases for this year! (Thank you Mom ;))

Today Adeline, Sylvain, and I went to Louvain-la-Neuve. I got to see Adeline’s Dad for the first time since 1997! It was great. We talked choir stuff, lots of fun. Before that we went shopping. It is Greg’s birthday tomorrow after all ^_^. I got to try a real Belgian waffle…I forgot to take a picture! I’ll have to get one on Saturday again when we go back :D. I mean, it looks like a waffle…but the kiosk where you buy them is so cute ^_^. All the stores in the mall have these amazing sales on till the end of the month and it was nice to just take our time walking around because there weren’t that many other people there…in comparison to the first time I went!

Tonight I went up with Adeline to give the boys their baths. Adeline left because she had to go to the bathroom and when she came back I had things pretty much under control so she left again. I managed to get Bastien’s hair washed, him out of the tub, and in his pj’s with less effort than last time. He still cries when I’m helping him (only with some stuff), but we’re making good progress. He knows he has to let me help, but he’s going to let me know he doesn’t always like it! At dinner I mentioned that I had fun with the baths…it’s been a few days since I’ve helped (it’s nice to wash Sylvain because he doesn’t cry at me ;)). Greg said they were really going to enjoy this year. I hope so, that’s what I’m here for! They can go to the movies now and lots of other things. Yeah for built-in babysitters.

Bastien is a good kid, really, it’s just he’s 2 1/2 now so…you all know what that means! But really, I’m having a great time and I’m starting to be able to have more conversation with him which is good. And of course I’m learning some really cute kids songs. I need to learn more!

T-minus less than 48 hours till ‘Wine and Cheese’ party!

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