Mardasson Hill American WWII Memorial in Bastogne.

Seeing as how tomorrow is Armistice/Remembrance Day/Veterans Day I wanted to visit a memorial this week. Clémence is coming tomorrow and spending the night, so with her and the boys we’ll have our hands full. Actually, it’s going to be one adult/kid since it’s a holiday both Greg and Adeline are home. I decided to go to Bastogne for a number of reasons. On Mardasson Hill just outside Bastogne is an American WWII Monument dedicated to the 76, 890 Americans who were killed, wounded, or marked missing in the Battle of Bulge in the Ardennes that took place from Dec. 16, 1944-end of January 1945. It was a memorial I hadn’t been to. And in Band of Brothers they fought in Bastogne, so I thought it would be neat to go there.

I couldn’t have asked for better weather. The past few days have been grey and threatening rain, but today was sunny. I think it got up to about 18° in the sun, but in the shade it was definitely crisp and cool. I found myself wishing I had brought my mitts this morning. When I was standing on the path leading to the monument reading the information there my hands were pretty chilly. The drive there and back was very enjoyable. The sun made all the crisp reds, oranges, and yellows of the leaves stand out. There wasn’t much traffic either so I was really able to take in the scenery and enjoy the ride.

Also on site is the Bastogne Historical Centre. Unfortunately is closed in March for 18 months so no museum today. When I got there I noticed a bus in the parking lot. While I was standing on the path leading to the monument, reading the info board, a group of what I think were students was on top of the monument. By the time I finished reading they had left and it was just me and one other guy. It’s sort of strange being at a big monument like that all by yourself. It was like that at Vimy as well. Just you and the silence, alone with your thoughts and the incredible view. This monument wasn’t as influential for me because I had never heard of it before coming here. Unlike Vimy, which I learned about in school. In fact, the only reason I knew about it was because it’s in my The Best of Belgium book.

The monument is in the shape of a 5 point star and has the name of all the states along the top – outside and in. Along the outside of the wide columns are lists of the army units that fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Along the inside of those pillars is carved the same thing written on the info board, explaining about the battle and why the monument is there. At least I think that’s what it says. I just glanced quickly at a few of them, but they looked familiar. Inside the start there is grass and some bushes that give it a really warm, welcoming feel. There is also a spiral staircase (I really don’t like spiral staircases) that takes you on top of the monument. The view was amazing. After a while fog started rolling in. It created an interesting effect in some of my pictures. Well, at least it’s interesting to me :P.

It’s a beautiful monument, very inviting with benches all around, nestled in trees and fields with grazing cows. And I really liked how all the states are listed. No names, but the states and army units. It didn’t stir within me the same sense of I don’t know what that I felt while at Vimy. I think it all comes down to the flag. I’m patriotic – not insanely so – but as the year comes to a close I find myself yearning more and more for home. I feel a sense of excitement and longing when I look at a Canadian flag. As close as the good ol’ US of A is to my home the star-spangled banner doesn’t make me feel the same way. I have friends and relatives in the States and I’ve enjoyed all my visits. Of all the cities I’ve been to with school or on family trips, I’d have to say Boston and Nashville are my favourite. I haven’t been to New York so I have no idea what I would think of that city.

All in all I’m really glad I went. It was a beautiful monument, a beautiful place – despite the construction – and a beautiful day. Now come take a look with me.

This star-shaped monument stands as a reminder of the 76, 890 Americans killed, wounded, or marked missing from the Battle of the Bulge.

Inside the monument.

A view from atop the star.

Stars and stripes forever.

 

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© 2010-2011 hollyjb

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Poor baby :(

Poor Sylvain. He’s getting another tooth. He’s only had the one for a while now. He’s got one coming in from up top and he was crying and crying. I don’t hear anything now so it seems he was able to get to sleep with the help of some medication on his gums.

Since today was a holiday Adeline, Greg, Bastien, and Sylvain went to the zoo. It’s like a safari where you travel around in your car. Like the African Lion Safari near Cambridge! I decided not to go. It was another beautiful Fall day. I went for a walk for the first time in over a month. It felt good.

I’m totally falling asleep at my computer here. I was up late last night watching TV and you’d think that I would have spent some time napping today, but I didn’t. So it’s only 9:30pm and already I’m exhausted :P.

                                                                                                                      

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Fall in full swing

Oh man. I know I do this all the time, but I’m wimping out tonight. I went to bed pretty late last night and while it wasn’t a super early morning, I did have to get up to be ready by 10. Plus we shifted the clocks back an hour. I didn’t even realize it until I looked at the kitchen clock and it said it was just after 11 when my iPod said just after 10. Thank goodness my iPod changes on its own (at least if there’s WiFi).

I wore my contacts all day and my eyes aren’t happy with me. Even with my glasses on now they’re still burning and sore. Bah. I took quite a few pictures today of stuff I’ve already taken pictures of, but this time they were pictures of things swathed in brilliant fall yellows, reds, and oranges. Amazing colours. I was in such a good mood. And for the most part we had absolutely beautiful weather today. Around 17/18° and sunny. Later in the afternoon is became overcast, but even tonight I didn’t wear my jacket (although I had it with me).

I absolutely adore Fall when the leaves change and start to fall. When the breeze blows the fallen leaves all over the place and they cover everything foreshadowing the coming winter and snowfall. And when the days are sunny and warm it makes it all seems like a warm, golden paradise!

                                                                                                                    

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Red sky night….

You know that saying ‘red sky morning sailor’s warning, red sky night sailor’s delight’? Well, if it hold true tomorrow should be beautiful! Not that it hasn’t been beautiful for days, but the sun tonight as it was setting was so bright red/orange and full. The sky around it was redish-pink and absolutely breathtaking. What a nice sight to drive home to. And then I got stuck behind a very slow-moving tractor and couldn’t pass because the road was very curvy. I ended up taking an alternative route when I was able to turn off and I beat the tractor! Go me.

Today was spent preparing for my presentation. Well, not the whole day. I wrote out the lyrics to two French songs from the L’orthographe en chansons CD that Adeline lent me. That’s basically ‘spelling in song’. It uses different dance beats/songs (mambo, rock, polka, march, cha-cha, conga, etc.) and each one highlights a different area of rules and spelling in French. Who ever put it together recognizes that French is horrendously difficult to spell and to remember all the rules so they put those rules and exceptions (because for every rule that might make life easier there are a whole list of exceptions that you have to remember) to music to help in remembering them. They’re so fun. I might have already mentioned them, it’s been a while that I’ve had access to this CD. I used the ‘Rock de la cédille’ and ‘Marche des Noms Féminins’ for my presentation. In the ‘Marche’ they have sections where a ‘kid’ (or what sound like one) is saying things like  ‘oh la la! How am I going to remember all of this? My head is full like the belly of a Buddha, and it’s going to explode!’. I find parts of these songs hilarious and highly entertaining. In my speaking part I introduced the songs and mentioned how using them could help with learning French (spelling and pronunciation), but you have to be careful when learning through song because the pronunciation for somethings may be different from when you’re actually speaking. You know, making words and rhythms match up and all that. Plus all the songs are fast so it takes many listenings to be able to sing along with parts of the songs. My teacher liked the CD so much she wants a copy. I think I put more effort (writing out the lyrics and colour coding the words) than was warranted for the presentation, but it was fun. What everyone else has to do (and I could have done) is pick an event from the pamphlet put out by the Cultural Centre in Hannut, give the details of said event and what you like about it/why you chose it. I totally did more work than necessary!

I didn’t have much interaction with the kids today. Bastien ate all his breakfast with minimal prompting. He even had seconds! He was very pleasant after school. Today his class made little green mice. I asked him if they sang ‘The Green Mouse’ song and he said yes. ‘Une souris verte’. Basically, as well as I can translate it, it goes like this”

A green mouse who is running through the grass. I trap it by the tail and show the men. The men tell me to dip it in oil. To dip it in water. It will be a snail, all hot! Then there is just a speaking in rhythm section. I put it in a drawer and it tells me it’s too dark. I put it in my hat and it tells me it’s too hot. I put it in my underwear (umm…) and it makes 3 little poops. 

It’s such a cute little song, but it doesn’t make much sense to me. Maybe I’m missing something….. When I got home from class Bastien was already upstairs; he didn’t want to eat/didn’t like his food. Sylvain was just sitting in his high chair being his cute little self. Then Adeline got a banana and gave him some. He loved it. So did his hair. ^_^

So that’s it for today. I almost forgot! On the radio I heard ‘A Whole New World’. What stuck out at me was hearing Disney in French. It was just odd. For me. Of course if you grew up with that it wouldn’t be odd, but it was an odd experience today.

Adeline just brought me in a little bowl of mango. Oh how I love mango. Mango, mango, mango. Thank you Grandma Jean for introducing me to the wonder that is mango. It was a treat and something I only had at your house. I LOVE MANGO!

                                                                                                                      

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© 2010-2011 hollyjb

Summer decided it wants to hang on after all…

So today when I was outside with Bastien (I had to go out – it’s such a beautiful day!) I had a bit of a nasty surprise. I know Greg said the other night that he ran full on (in the face) into a big spider web. Ugh >_<. I started to take a stroll around the walk way when I stopped for some reason. Then I looked closer and blocking my path was a nice, big spider web, with a generously sized spider perched atop. Oh boy. That was close. I grabbed a stick and broke it apart. I kept said stick with me to wave in front of my face if there were more. I also  stopped to gape at so many webs in bushes. These spiders are huge! Not tarantula huge, but not daddy-long-legs small. I’m totally cool with crushing spiders. I don’t like them, but I’m not afraid of the little ones. The little, little one’s I’ll even crush with my hand if there’s no tissue near by. I did that once in elementary school. We were changing for gym in the washroom and a tiny spider was crawling across the wall. Some of the girls started freaking out and I just went smack! And it was dead. The bigish ones with the bodies you know are going to be squishy, mushy, and gross I will attack with a rock or shoe…if I need to. These I just let be because they weren’t actually bother me/in the house and I’m not always unnecessarily cruel.

Greg, Adeline and the boys have a wedding today. You couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather! It’s warm, but not too hot. The sun is shining, but it’s not hot enough to bake you in your skin. There’s a slight breeze. If you were to be outside for a long time – especially if you aren’t actually doing anything – you might want long sleeves or a very light jacket/cardigan, but otherwise it’s really, really nice.

I also have a start on The Great Room Make-Over Project. Well, it’s not really a make-over – but it sort of looks like one! I’m not planning on changing any furniture around, but you can see all the floor you should be able to see now. Things are tidied. I have to work on dusting and vacuuming, but I’ll leave that for another day. A friend of mine posted this as her Facebook status the other day and even though I’m not a parent I liked it. In some ways it’s just a really good excuse for when you let your house go – Dirty dishes prove I feed my children, full bins prove I change my baby’s diapers, messy floors prove that I let my kids play and have fun, piles of clothes prove I keep my children in clean clothes, a messy bathroom proves that I bathe my kids! So next time you walk into my house and see a mess, think twice before you judge!!! Keep this going if you’re a parent. I don’t know if she originated this or what, but I thought it was great. Maybe that’s just because on most days I’m extraordinarily lazy and any excuse not to have to clean/tidy is a good one by me! Now at least my room doesn’t look like a marauding war party trampled through it on their way to somewhere after a satisfying win.

So other than that and taking an über long time to load a mere 31 pictures to Facebook – it only worked if I used the basic uploader = 5 pics at a time… – that’s what I did today. I also had some music playing and I danced around a little bit.

Click for pics from yesterday’s post!

                                                                                                                

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© 2010-2011 hollyjb

A beautiful September day.

You know how I mentioned the other day that I could probably pack away my shorts and stuff? Well, not yet I shouldn’t. Today was really warm. And tonight still is. There’s a breeze and it’s supposed to rain (feels like a storm coming on ;)), but it still felt warm.

I had a leisurely morning, slept in, didn’t do much. When I finally came out of my room Bastien was just finishing Mulan. Then I went back in my room. We had lunch, the kids went upstairs. I think Sylvain slept a bit, but I don’t think Bastien did. Today for the afternoon Adeline’s friends Sofia and Céline were here, as well as Aurore with Clémence and Maëline. Aurore and the girls ended up staying for supper as well. It was great for the kids to be able to play together, but there were a few incidents with sticks. I did spend a lot of time putting pictures on Facebook and not outside. I’ve almost got all of the Switzerland pictures (from the first trip) up that I want, but that’s on my account, not on my blog page. I’ll have to reload them on my blog page, but right not a lot of those pictures are actually on here. I also keep forgetting that I have to publish my Amsterdam posts. I have the first day written I just haven’t published it yet!

I ended up going out to help watch the kids when Adeline went to buy the meat for the BBQ tonight. She took Sylvain with her so there was only one baby to prevent from eating grass, moss, and flowers instead of two. The kids all ate first and then went to bed. By the time we ate it was going on 8:30. It was yummy. Adeline had bought a watermelon for dessert and Greg cut us all some, but when we bit into it we discovered it was bad. At first I thought maybe it was just me because I’m picky when it comes to watermelon, but then Adeline said something so I knew I wasn’t just imagining it. Out to the chickens we went. They’re sleeping so they’ll discover their treat in the morning. Then we realized that we had left a bunch of stuff outside so we put everything away before it rains.

That’s basically it, at least on my end.

                                                                                                                      

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© 2010-2011 hollyjb

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