Friday, December 26, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Credit Crunch.... affecting everyone

Riley had been lamenting all year long about the fact that she still had all her teeth while her cousin and friends at school all started losing theirs. She would make us feel them every other day trying to talk us into telling here that they are lose.Then, all at once she had not one, not two but four loose teeth. The front four.

Last Saturday morning her dad asked to feel them and the next moment he had pulled both of the bottom ones. After a couple of tears over the blood she was totally thrilled about it. Every phone call or person who we saw or spoke to had to be informed of the loss and she would show her gap off with pride. She was a bit disappointed when she realized that she was no longer able to bite her finger nails (something I'm thrilled about).Come night time we put the teeth in her slippers, one in each for the Tooth Fairy to find and reward her for.

Fast Forward to Sunday morning................

A very excited Riley came running down the stairs waving her money in the air,

"Look look what the Tooth Fairy left me, all this money." and then

"This money smells like The Bok"I was starting to think that she might have woken up when her dad came home from work and put the money in her slippers.

"All money stinks, cause so many people touch it." " Anyway do you think daddy is the Tooth Fairy?" I asked her.

" No" was her reply still frowning.

"Well how do you think it is that the money smells like The Bok then, maybe it's just other money"

"No I know that money is out of daddy's wallet, I saw it in there, the one has a little mark on it." "What do you think happened then?"

" I think the Tooth Fairy didn't have enough money so she had to get some out of daddy's wallet"

It seems even Riley is aware of the credit crunch, damn kids of today, can't keep anything from them for longAnd that was it, she had solved the mystery of the Tooth Fairy's money smelling like The Bok all by herself.....

Long live the legend of the Tooth Fairy. Now we just have to wait and see if she'll recognize her dad this year when he makes his annual appearance as Santa.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Getting Settled

Wow what a week, we moved all our stuff (and you would not believe how much stuff we have) into the new house in the rain and snow. Let me tell you it's not the best weather for moving house. However, I have the worlds greatest husband who worked his tail off to get us into the house by Saturday night despite having to work at the pub as well. So last Sunday my mom (who's a god sent) and I started the huge job of unpacking and finding a spot for everything.

Now it's Saturday night and we have a fire blazing, furniture to sit on, my computer up and running and the boxes, well all I can say is "out of sight out of mind" . That is until I need something in one of those boxes....but a girl needs some down time too.

It's great having all this extra space but believe it or not, I'm finding myself thinking that we should have gotten a bigger house. I know, crazy. I've gone from living in a 2 bedroom apartment with a tiny kitchen to a huge old farm house with 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 toilets, a huge kitchen and laundry you'd think that we'd have ample space for all our stuff.

But I'm starting to get cold and the fire and beckoning so I'll have to tell you more about the house some other time.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Leaving my beloved city behind

We are in the midst of moving from the city (which I love dearly) to the country (dearly loved by Brad & the kids)
As you can imagine, spending time on the computer has taken a serious step or two back on the list of priorities
So until I can find the time/energy to catch you up, spare me a thought as I still have loads to pack

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

If this happens at 4 what is going to happen at 16?

The school called Brad today, asking him to please come and collect Rourke from school as his been vomiting and is clearly quite sick.

Fast Forward to his conversation with me:

B: "So the school called and told me that Rourke is sick, been vomiting all over and that I need to go and pick him up"

J: "Really. what the hell is wrong with him, he was dead fine this morning?"

B: "O his perfectly good, nothing wrong with him. Turns out he had a boat race with Fabrice and as a result he vomited all over the show. He did win the race at least"
(boat race is if you both drink the same amount of liquid to see who can drink it the fasted without stopping)
J: "The kid's only 4, don't know what we're going to do with him when his 16"

That's right folks my 4 year old son is having boat races at school until he vomits but is very proud about the fact that not only did he win the race he also got to spend the rest of the school day at Ouma's house.

Wonder what he's going to get up to tomorrow.......

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Child of our time

The following conversation took place in the van while driving home after watching Brad play rugby:

Me: (to the other adults in the van) "I'm sure these kids are going to sleep like logs tonight, what with all the running around they did today"
Brandon: (my brothers kid, aged 6) " Not me, I've got so much energy left I can run home from here."
Me: "Really?"
Brandon: " Ja (yes) but you'll just have to give me the gps so I will now where to turn left and where to turn right"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Strange Habbits

I don't know what it is about going out for a meal that does this for my kids but it happens every time, without fail. It doesn't matter if we're just popping down to the Snack down the road or if we are going to a proper restaurant (I use the term proper very loosely, a proper restaurant just means a restaurant where you don't get your food served to you on a tray).

They always need to poo.

Both of them, sometimes more than once during our time there!

It drives me crazy. It doesn't matter whether I make them go to the toilet before said trip out the house, they still claim to need to go to the toilet.
What really get's me is it seems they know it's something I can't argue with them about, it's not like I can tell them, no you can't go. I mean what kind of a mother would that make me?

At least I know that if either of them ever suffers from constipation I just have to take them out for a meal, and hey presto, problem solved!

Monday, October 13, 2008

About a mommy

I found this "questionnaire" on one of the blogs I read and decided that since she put out a general tag I'll consider myself tagged, so here it is. I hope you find it informing/interesting:

Here's the low-down on me as a mommy:
1. How long have you been a Mom?
I can’t believe how long it’s been: 6 years and 1 month.
2. How many children call you Mommy?
3. Girl? Boy? or both?: Girl then a boy
4. Did you know what you were having?
Yes, found out as soon as it was possible for me, I wanted to be able to pick a name and get all the stuff.
5. How old were you when you became a Mom? 26 and 28.
6. How long were you in labor? The first time: 1 week (very little pain but steady contractions every 10 min and then 4 days of intense pain and contractions between 2 min apart and 40 seconds apart and it ended in a natural birth after being induced and my water broken to try and speed things up. The second: 9 hours. I was induced with Tiger at 38 weeks cause the Dr didn't want him to get any bigger. Only I didn't dilate past 5 cm and he went into distress and they could no longer pick up on his heart beat so I was rushed in for an emergency c-section. The Dr even nicked him on his head in her rush to get him out.

7. What’s your favorite thing about being a Mom? There are so many things, but my favourite would have to be when they crawl up onto my lap for a hug and a snuggle and the way they smell.
8. What’s your least favorite thing? Again, so many things. Least fave, I suppose, is them not listing, it drives me crazy!

9. Do you want more kids? No - we've talked about it a lot and when I wanted more Brad didn't and when Brad wanted, I didn't but I would say we've decided not to have more. We have 1 of each and they are potty trained and all the other things so having to do it all from scratch again just seem to daunting.
10.Do you plan on having more soon? No - if it happens it will not be planned
11. How many times have you been pee’d on? This is something I didn't keep track of, Tiger did it a couple of times but Riley poohed on Brad one night just as he was on his way to work and he had to change his shirt, pants and shoes - as you can imagine he was not .
12. Barfed on? A couple of times and so has my cousin. Riley was sick once and then got sick all over me but she wouldn't let me put her down so I could get cleaned up (she was very little and just putting her down would just have made the situation worse). I called my cousin to come round and try to help me by taking Riley while I got cleaned up, only Riley got sick all over my cousin as well.

13. Is your child named after anyone? Yes, both of them. Riley's middle name is Catherine after my gran, and later we learned that Brad's great grand ma's maiden name was O'Reilly so she's got 2 family names. Because Brad and all 3 his brothers are names after their dad we decided to continue the tradition but I drew the line at naming the poor kids after his grandfather, his father and then adding his own name to Tiger is called Rourke (I'm a fan of Mickey Rourke) Douglas (after Brad's dad as well as being 1 of Brad's middle names) a James after my dad (James being the English version of Jacques)
14. How did you come up with their name? Even though Riley is used as a boy's name we saw a TV program with the Olsen twins and one was called Riley - we liked it. I wanted to continue using the Irish name theme with Rourke and also like Mickey Rourke which is how we came up with Rourke's 1st name.
15. When your child gets in trouble, who is the bad guy?
O I don't come anywhere near Brad apparently I'm a really push over although I really don't think I'm all that bad. I'd say we sort of balance each other out, he takes some things more seriously than me and visa versa.
16. What is the longest you have been away from your children?
2 weeks. I went to the Dominican Republic on holiday with a girl friend in March. The kids stayed home with Brad and my mom helped out. They loved it, wasn't very impressed with me when I came back. It seems my kids are quite independent…
17. Bedtime routine? We brush teeth, have a drink of water and then read a story or two, it all depends on how tired they are and what the time is. They have a night light and a cd player for music. Most of the time they stay up reading or coloring in bed till the fall asleep. Once again this depends on how tired they are. They also, often sleep in 1 bed.

18. Are your toes painted? Not at the moment but they are most of the time.
19. Last movie you saw in the theater?:
Death Race” a girl friend and I went and watched it purely for Jason Statham and he did not disappoint.
20. One thing you will not give up just because you’re a mom? Having a social life and going out for a good meal and dinner with friends. My mom has the kids every Saturday night giving me 1 night off a week and then Brad also watches the kids about twice a month so I can go out with a friend or two.

21. One thing you did give up now that you’re a mom: One thing? I'll mention 2 big things: Not having to cook dinner when I'm not hungry and a tidy house.
22. Best Mom perk: Watching and listening to them playing when they don't know they are being watched/listened to.

23. Snack, do you sneak bites from your child? Only when they’re not looking else all hell will break loose.
24. When the kid is napping, you are: At work or doing
laundry, surfing the net, reading a book watching TV often all of the above simultaneously.
25. Where is your child(ren) now?
In bed, asleep.
26. Favorite place to buy maternity clothes? H&M in Belgium and Woolworths in South Africa.
27. If I could do it over…
I’d have had the kids later in my life. I love them but only discovered life and what all I could do after having them. Having said that, I'll still be young enough to enjoy life by the time they leave home .
28. Did it turn out the way you expected? Not at all but that's good life should be full of surprises.

I tag anyone who wants to participate. Please link back.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Helping Out

I'm not about to pretend that I harbour feelings of love and adoration for my husband at all the times. In fact, there are times when I wish I could fit my hands around his neck and just squeeze. Don't get me wrong, I love the man but boy or boy there sure are times when he really pushes that love to the limit.

Now, this is not going to be a blog about all the things about my dear husband which annoy the life out of me or all the things I love about him, maybe on another occasion, it's actually about single parents.

I honestly don't know how single parents cope. Really, the idea of doing this, working full time, trying to run a house and trying to raise 2 normal, balanced and happy kids on my own totally freaks me out!!

It I were a single mom, my kids would be at school from 8 o clock in the morning till 18:30 at night, 5 days a week. They would live in an apartment (much smaller than the one we now live in). They would see me when I was tired and cranky after a long day at the office and they were tired and cranky after a long day at school. We would have a real problem getting stuff for school from the shops if the teacher doesn't send a note at least a week in advance. We would even have very little time to do fun things.

I would more than likely resent the fact that I never had any free time, and then take it out on them even if it's not their fault. There would be no one to help me when they are sick or when I'm too sick to look after them. All of which does not result in happy, balanced, normal kids, in my opinion. In other words, for those out there who are doing it and making a success of it all I can say is:

I really don't know how you do it.

So, Brad and I may have a bit of a unconventional marriage, but it works for us. We are raising these kids together(and they seem pretty normal, balanced and happy to me), helping each other, each doing his bit, while at the same time giving the other person the time to go out every so often and decompress.

Man, I am so glad that I don't have to do this on my own. Now I just need to remember that the next time I feel like strangling my husband.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

And the Tiger turns 4

It's hard to believe that it's already 4 years ago that Rourke made his rather dramatic entrance into our lives. And it's maybe even me who thinks that it was a dramatic entrance but since it didn't go at all the way it was planned (as far as you can plan a birth) but there you go. The fact of the matter is, my baby turned 4 today.
"They" say at 4 a child is "Energetic" and "imaginative. Often impatient and silly, they discover humor and spend a great deal of time being silly and telling you "joke."

Well, that is just part of what Rourke is, he is also very daring and completely fearless. Loving and affectionate, in awe of his sister most of the time and totally and absolutely obsessed with all things fast. Planes, motor bikes, but most of all cars.

Rourke is totally nonchalant about his birthday too, compared to Riley. Riley planned her birthday all year long, making plans and list of who to invite. When asking Rourke how old he turned today, he would answer, ask Riley she knows.

He was very happy with his racing cake, to take to school this morning and even more impressed with his gifts, which consisted, out of cars, more cars and a electric racing tract. (not sure if it was for him or for his dad). When we asked him what he wanted for supper it was very simple, Mcdonalds. I know, very healthy, but it was his birthday after all and the last 4 th birthday we will be celebrating....

Now we only have his birthday party to look forward to, and then we are done with birthday parties for the year.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I nearly had to walk to work today

The 3 biggest trade unions in Belgium have gone on strike today, to protect wages & the workers purchasing power. This means that there is no public transport, no busses, no trains no trams no metros. It's also affected the schools, the retailing sector and all administration services.

I don't know what other people do on days like today. Because we live in Brussels I had no problem coming in to work. Brad felt sorry enough for me to drive me to work, else I would have had to use his bicycle or Rourke's scooter. My mom is watching our kids which means that Brad can also carry on with his work and not have to take the kids along to the house he is renovating. However, what about the other people who may be able to get to work but have no one to look after their kids so they have to put in leave to stay at home, meaning that they lose one days leave due to the strike.

I'm also not sure how this strike is going to improve things. The whole entire world is busy going through an economic crisis. How is demanding bigger salaries going to solve the problem? I mean if companies have to pay bigger salaries they are going to have to cut cost to be able to do that. How are they going to cut costs? By cutting down on the number of salaries they are paying out, in other words this strike action could result in bigger salaries for a couple of people because a couple of other people are no longer receiving salaries. I'm just saying it seems like a pretty stupid solution to me.

It's Rourke's birthday tomorrow so I popped out to the shops during lunch time, (There is a huge supermarket very close to my office which is very convenient since the supermarket closes to our house is not quite as big.) only to discover that they were closed. Really even if you have to operate on a skeleton staff I would stay open. They are so busy everyday, I can just imagine how much money they are losing today by being closed. Now I just hope that my supermarket has enough of the cake mix that I need to bake a cake for Rourke to take to school tomorrow.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

How Does is work?

This might not be a good topic for everyone but there is something that I would really like to know/understand. Also, I write this while fully knowing that I could very probably come across as very shallow and vain.

Anyway, here goes:

I go to the gym after work every day, it ,very conveniently, is right next door to my office. Also, if I decide not to go I have to walk past it and will more than likely feel very guilty knowing that I really should be in there. But that's not what I want to write about.

Belgium has a very big muslim community and we have all types/kinds here. So what I can't understand is this, there are a couple of muslim ladies who come to my gym. They wear full muslim gear out in the street but when they come in to the gym and change into sweats like all of us. How is it ok for them to dress like that? (I have no problem with it, I was just wondering how it's ok according to their beliefs), it's just that it's not a ladies only gym it's a mixed gym. How is it ok for them to uncover their heads in the gym but no where else?

If I "had" to wear traditional clothes like them every day I would so not be in the gym either. I mean if nobody is going to see you or your figure for that matter what does it matter if you are not 100% toned or even 80 % for that matter. I go to the gym to try and look good, ok, reasonable in the type of clothes I like, but really if I wore a bag all day every day I don't see the point in going to the gym every day.

Therefor, if any of you have any ideas about this, don't be shy, tell me what you think

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Does my daughter suffer from Nomatophobia? (that is the fear of names, in her case her own name).

Okay, so maybe not actually suffering from it but, okay let me stop right there and tell you what this is all about.

The other day the kids were playing in the park and I over heard some of the girls call Riley "Caroline". At first I thought I miss heard but then I heard it from another girl. Still I thought they must just have confused her with her friend.

Then this afternoon Riley walked down to the shop with me and on the way back a little girl said "hello Caroline" and Riley answered back. So when we walk on back home I ask her about this. Turns out, Riley has been telling kids that her name is Caroline cause it's a far nicer name than Riley, and she would have liked it far better if we had called her Caroline.

Well, I tried to explain to her that grandpapa's Harley is called Caroline, so we couldn't call her Caroline and besides, we wanted to call her Riley. Riley is unique and pretty and very few girls are called Riley. Also, if she doesn't like Riley she has a middle name, Catherine or Cat, which she can use if she really doesn't like Riley. But, there you go, she likes Caroline and wants people to call her that, at least for now.

To be fair, I don't use the name my parents gave me. Only, well because to be called Marie-Jeanne in Belgium, is the equivalent of being called Gertruida Johanna in South Africa (my apologies to anyone called Gertruida Johanna or any version of it. I know you didn't chose your name either). So, I use a version of the name my mom and my aunt call me, Mary-Jo which, has been shortened to Jo. My parents totally understand where I'm coming from since my mom also got very traditional South African names (Alberta Hendrika), luckily for her, her mom decided to call her Alta.

So, here we are 3 generations of women, all not using our "birth" names. What does it say about us? Not much other than the fact that even though our parents like Riley's parents thought they were doing a pretty good job when they chose names, it doesn't mean we're going to like them.

Do you use the name your parents "saddled" you with? Or do you love your name and thinks it suits you to a "t", let me know.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I think I'll just sulk for a while

You will not believe what my darling son told me tonight, I still can't believe it and his dad thinks it was very funny.

"Mommy, you are going to have another baby" "Why?" I asked very surprised by his comment, "in your bum" ha ha " cause it's so big"

So excuse me while I sulk for a while, obviously going to the gym is not paying off.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bowling with the 6 year olds

Phew, 1 party down 1 more to go. At least I have a couple of weeks before the next one.

We took Riley, 5 of her school friends, her cousin Brandon & Rourke Ten Pin Bowling. On the one had it's easier than having a party at home but trying to keep 8 kids busy and off the furniture of the bowling alley, while all the while they speak French vs my English, is quite a challenge. But it was fun as well, they get really excited even if they only hit one pin and get really excited whenever anyone hits anything.

One thing that I've found very funny is the number of times they have to go to the toilet. They all went to the toilet at least 3 times within 1½ hours. And they don't go alone, they go in little packs. They talk & giggle a lot too.
There's the little diva, dressed in a pink dress, pink leggings and pink shoes. She's got her handbag & cell phone and actually phoned home after 45 min to give feedback. She's even more bossy than Riley.
There's the curious girl who has a million questions about everything, from how the balls get back to them, to why do they get to play with a railing while Tracey and I don't.
There is one little girl who is a little bit of an outsider but never the less, makes sure that the other girls don't forget about her.
The one little girl is the second youngest of 6 kids and quite happy to just do her thing and talks the hind leg off a donkey, or should I say, off Tracey.
Then there is the best friend, she and Riley sat under the table looking at a book about horses which she got Riley and walk hand-in-hand down to the Pizza Hut.

Riley told me tonight that it was the best day ever and she would love to have it over again and again. I think I can wait until next year but then we'll do it again and hope that it will be the best day ever, again.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Random ramblings

I have very little to blog about tonight, really my life is rather dull at the moment. I go to work, I come back home and & try to stay on top of the washing and tidying, and general up keep of my family. In between all of that I try to find some time to relax and do some reading.

Rourke has been asking a million questions and if he's not happy with the answer he just keeps on asking. Like tonight, he wanted to know from me why Bumblebee (character from Transformers, which he has a dinky toy version of) is fat? I mean, I really don't know. It could be because he is a camaro which transforms into a robot, so yes, that might make you a bit heavy.,but according to Tiger that is not a good enough answer, so he just keeps on asking me, thinking that in the end I might just give in and give him the "right" answer. There is no outsmarting him by telling him that I just don't know the answer and that he should ask his dad because that, is not a good answer either. So he just starts asking even more questions about Bumblebee like why is he so fast? why is he a robot etc etc etc.

(for pictures of Bumblebee click on the link, if not interested, just skip and read on),

Then Riley is drawing, and dancing, and talking non-bloody- stop. Really, this child never ever stops talking.

Brad's been stomping around the house as well, he's working waaaay too hard. He's renovating a friends house and it's turned out to be a far bigger job than anticipated. He's juggling this as well as picking the kids up at 3, and managing the pub and playing rugby.

Speaking about rugby, he came home last night telling me that he had to visit the emergency room. The good news it, it wasn't one of his knees (thank goodness about that, don't think I could handle another broken knee). He had a hole in the top of his head, not huge but quite deep. The strange thing is what they did, they didn't put stitches in his head, or a staple, they poured glue down the hole. Glue!!! I ask you? what is this world coming too?

Anyhoo, I have some more boring things to do, like hang out the washing, ensuring that Brad has clean dry clothes for rugby practice tomorrow. Hope he won't need another visit to the er.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Question on my mind

This is not a blog about the kids or anything like that. I'm just telling you about this questions I would love to have answered, because in my mind it just does not seem possible:

How do you stay skinny if you eat a foot long baguette every day for lunch???

I wish I knew the secret for just about every Belgian women I know and or see at lunch times eat bread for lunch everyday yet stay skinny!!!

Aah for a great big peanut butter syrup sandwich, which does not go straight to my thighs!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The "Cosmic Twins" turn 6

Just a couple photo's of Riley's party with her "cosmic twin" Allanah.
Can't believe the girls are 6

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Super Mom? I think NOT!

I was being super mom last night. Came home cooked dinner plus two extra lasagne's to be put in the freezer for future use. I bathed both kids, caught up on what happened during the day, check with Brad on what was new in his world etc etc etc...

I put them to bed (the kids, not Brad), read a bed time story, house hunted on the internet with Brad. O I also did a load of washing and hang it out to dry. Cleaned the kitchen (including the dishes).

Now, I realize that most of you would think and or assume that all of this is run of the mill for every mother. BUT, Do not be fooled into thinking for one moment that I'm your run of the mill mother. If I manage to do ½ of this I am proud.

Today was a different story, I went to the gym after work, came home and fed my family in procession. Rourke was asleep, Brad was off to rugby & Riley was starving so she ate her school sandwiches (which would explain why she was starving, she gets a packed lunch for a reason).

Now I'm shouting at them to go to bed, and stop asking for things which they are just to lazy to get for themselves. See, I knew being super mom last night was not going to last ... it just makes the next night seem like hell.

Tomorrow night I have to bake a cake & make up party packets to send to school with Riley for her looong awaited birthday. After hearing about it for the past year I wonder what she is going to "fixate" on next. Will keep you posted.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Back to School

Today was the big day: Riley started 1st Grade. I can't believe how time has flown. Just the other day we brought this (not so pretty) tiny screaming bundle of joy home and this morning she started a brand new stage of her life. She really is a big girl now.

She woke up at 4 o clock this morning wanting to know if it was time to get up yet, yes, I'd say she was excited about going to school. She even managed to get dressed without any fuss & was very worried that her dad would not wake up in time to take her to school on time.

The moment I walked through the door this evening she was beaming and bursting with excitement to tell me how fantastic it was. All her friends are back at school, her teacher is very nice & tomorrow they are going to the chocolate factory. Her teacher also said that she has to do her home work every night and that she has to go to bed early (to think I've been saying it all along yet she never gets so excited when I tell her that).

She also came home with a 5 page list of instructions for us from her teacher. Brad took it to work tonight to have it translated for us, by a friend.

Rourke also enjoyed being back at school. He has the same teacher as last year so there has been very little change for him.

In short, I would say today was an all round success. I started working in my new team today and even though the work might as well be in Greek I'm sure I'll catch on in no time.

PS. I also found a house I really like (we've decided to rent as buying is just out of the question at the moment & we really need to get a bigger place). Now all I have to do is convince Brad that this is the house for us.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Rules of the Road

We walked over to my mom's house on Friday and the trip was slightly longer than usual.... It takes an adult, walking at a normal speed, 20 min to walk from our house to my mom's. With the kids, on a good day, it takes roughly 35 min. On Friday it took an HOUR!! Really coming near to the end I was starting to wonder why on earth I ever decided to have kids, etc (come on you have to admit that most of you have wondered that as some point).

The reason it took so long was this: Rourke's scooter broke on Thursday which was a terrible loss as he is very attached to his "speed machine". Brad, knowing this came home with a brand new one which he was very excited to try out on the way to Oma's (Flemish word for Granny) house. The problem came with the fact that Riley's scooter was at oma's house so they spent the whole time arguing & making deals as to who gets to ride it when and for how long.

At loooong last we had reached the last traffic light, the end was in sight.... While waiting for the light to change so we could cross a young guy came and stood on the other side of me. Right at the same moment Riley got tired of waiting for green stepping off the side walk this guy did the same. Only, I spotted what Riley was doing and told her: "Hold on, get back on the side walk we only cross on green, you really should know better." The guy, stepped back onto the side walk and waited for me to give the go ahead: "ok, now that the light is green we can cross".

Riley is starting "Big school" tomorrow, can't believe it..... Not sure how I feel about it either, will post and let you know how it all went.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Getting Dressed for Dinner

I wasn't planning on writing 2 blogs in a row but my darling daughter has driven me to it.

My mom is off to Ireland for her friends brothers wedding & my brother and his wife are expecting their 2nd baby any day now so we have decided to go out for dinner (despite being on diet).

Dinner is about 3 hours from now & she's busy getting dressed.

Have I ever told you that my Riley has a flair for the dramatic? Well, as a friend described her the other day, Riley is a bit of a Prima Donna. (which is very true, only I have no idea who she gets it from).

So, out she comes having put on a flower girl dress, she wore to her uncle's wedding 2½ years ago. Only, she's gone through a growth spurt recently so it was very tight. She also informed me that she was planning on wearing her mask (she made it at school & is, true to her style, very elaborate).

My daughter is very annoyed with me now, lying here next to me on the bed in a pair of jeans & a lovely purple knit top. So much better suited to Pablo's (the Mexican restaurant we are going to tonight).

Food Glorious Food

You know how when you really try not to think about something, it's all you can think about? Well Brad is on diet (a much needed one but that is neither here nor there). Him & one of his barmen have a bet on with each other, whoever loses the most weight by a certain set date will receive 300 euros from the other one. This is quite a good incentive & one that is much needed.

I have decided to join (also cause it's much needed) unofficially.

All our conversations are about food, what we feel like eating, when we can eat, what we'll eat for dinner/lunch. It's all we can think about, all the time....

I used to have really good self control and watching what I eat has never been hard for me until recently, now I'm as bad as Brad at it. Wonder if it has anything to do with being married to him for this long, after all these years he is starting to rub off on me in stead of me rubbing off on him.

Now, I need to find something to do to take my mind off the cake in the kitchen the kids had made at my mom's today.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fickle Kids....

"Daddy is the boss & you're an ugly mommy & I'm not going to sleep in your bed cause you have a funny bed!"

All of this just cause I was not going to give Tiger another biscuit.... and then just about 3 min later he was asking me to carry him to the lounge cause he was too lazy to walk the 3 meters from my room to the couch.

This is not the only time, both of them repeat something like this a couple of times a day only to want a favour a couple of minutes later. The whole day long they seem to switch between loving me & finding me to be the best mommy in the whole wide world to disliking me & telling me how horrible I am & how they wish I was never their mommy.

You would think that by this time they would have cottoned on to the fact that my usual response is "fine if that is the way you feel but I still love you and always will".

Here we go again, only this time it's Riley because I wouldn't let her watch another dvd

Fun fun fun.....

Friday, August 8, 2008

My love hate relationship with the hairdresser

I lurve going to the hair salon, if I had the time & money I would go every day. Lying back, having my hair washed for me, my head massaged, it's pure heaven!

But with all things that seem to be too good to be true, there is a down side.....

I came out looking absolutely dreadfull today, much like any other time I go for a hair cut. Why is it that hairdressers are unable to understand what I want. I mean it's not like it's rocket science, is it? I asked for a bob, I mean that's simple enough isn't it? Instead I have a mullet! A freaking mullet!!! The shortest part of also too short for me to cut the rest of my hair that length so until it gets longer I'm going to have to put up with this.

Pity it's summer so I can't hide it all under a cap. I guess I'll be avoiding the rain cause getting this lot wet and curly would be even worse!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

6 Strange Things You Didn't Know About Me

6 things you may not know about me:

  1. I have a total irrational fear for moths, I can handle any other creepy crawly but moths freak me out!
  2. I can't make myself vomit, no matter what... strange thing I know but a friend & I decided to become bulimic (yes I realize it sounds crazy but we thought we could have it all, eat what we wanted without picking up weight. We were very young & stupid)
  3. I hate me knees & if I could afford it would have lipo done to my knees
  4. I think Bruce Willis is beyond gorgeous (Brad knows & understands)
  5. I'm a sucker for celeb gossip
  6. I LOVE Christmas & would go totally over the top if Brad would let me

Monday, July 28, 2008

Electricity: How Riley understands it

Brad took Riley to go and watch the fireworks at the royal palace on the 21st, in celebration of National Belgian day. To say she loved it would be an understatement!

On Sunday we happen to drive past the palace & she was very excited to tell us about the fireworks:

" Hey daddy this is where we came for the fireworks hey? Mommy the man from the electricity cut the electricity to make it all dark so we could see the fireworks. When it was finished he fixed it all again with some cello tape" (scotch tape / sticky tape)


Friday, July 25, 2008

Embarrassed Mom... very shallow I know

Despite the risk of you'll all thinking that I'm a terrible mother I'm going to admit this...

even though I love them to death, I'm sometimes ashamed of being seen with them....

Ok, let me try and explain: They are loud & pick their noses (I know all kids do but it's still disgusting!)

Riley has the worst dress sense in the whole entire world. I know all kids like to dress themselves & can wear pretty strange combinations but I swear my daughter has no cooking clue of what goes together. Most of the time she looks like a what I imagine a chameleon on a smarties box would look like. According to her, the more colors & motives you wear the better. The other day she left the house wearing a beige, pink & black pair of cords under a denim skirt with a army green trim and a picture of Winnie the Pooh, a black Adidas t-shirt with Adidas in gold lettering. A blue & orange rain coat & to round it all of, a pair of pink & grey shoes. Seriously would you not be embarrassed to be seen with that??

She's also cut her own hair, way beyond me or any hairdresser being able to fix it without resorting to cutting it all short (which her dad threatened to do).

Rourke at least has a better sense of style & not only because I still pick out most of his clothes cause even when he dresses himself he does a pretty good job. If only now I could do something about the dirt.

Wait I haven't mentioned the dirt yet have I?

In Belgium kids are clean. I mean at any time of the day, at school, or in the park the kids are clean. My friends kids & strangers kids they all clean. Then come along my two & it's just shocking! When we leave the house & you tell Riley to get her shoe's she does, only she carries them in her hand not on her feet. Then they also lie down in the middle of the shop or on the side walk or climb up everything. This is just what they do, they like to touch everything & to my absolute horror put things in their mouths aaarhg!!!

I've tried to explain about germ & dog pooh (which is every where Brussels being a lot like Paris in that regard), yet they just can't seem to help themselves.

I actually can't believe that they are not in hospital dying (I'm very happy about it, just can't understand it). They are in fact, very healthy....

All I'm saying is just once do I want to go out with my kids & be proud of how they look, so people can admire them. Very shallow I know.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The joy of summer holidays...?

I never thought I would be saying this: "I'm bored out of my mind at work" It's been a very hectic & busy 14 weeks & now that the project wave is over I have 2 more weeks to kill at work before my long awaited holidays. Which is going to be for the whole of August.
Yeah, I know, eat your heart out!!!

However, until that time I have to keep busy at work making sure that everybody on my old team is implementing the new way of working sticking to the new procedures etc etc. I have discovered that I thrive on urgency and stress here at work cause when there is no stress
I find it very hard to stay motivated. I really do prefer things to be busy & hectic & crazy, (at work not at home).

At home I want the total opposite

At home I want things to be calm and quiet & ordered. Not that that ever happens. Not with 2 little energy filled monsters running around and jumping up & down.

I'm not sure how Brad is going to survive this week. Since my mom will be in South Africa till Sunday at 14:12 (yeah he's counting the hours), he has not 2 but 3 kids he's looking after. Yesterday, they found some eucalyptus oil, meant for the steamer and decided to "oil" the floor.
Our whole apartment was still smelling like it when I got home last night.

Then there was the incident of the pudding.... They have a VeggiTale DVD with a recipe for Petunia's worm pudding. They decided that they were going to make it, so wile we were having a lie-in (yes in general we manage to have those at least 1 day of the weekend) they watched the
recipe and copied it. Only, we didn't have all the ingredients and it was all a bit quick for themm never the less, they brought their creation for us to taste.

Here is how they made it: 2 eggs
countless spoons of Nesquick??
not so fresh cream that I forgot we actually still had in the fridge
all mixed together in a bowl

They both were very disappointed when I declined to taste it and proceded to poured it all down the toilet before flushing it away. Luckily I could tell them is was because the cream was off.

Brad's taken the 3 of them to Plankendael today & is going to meet of with a friend with a daughter as old as Riley & Brandon so at least I don't have to wonder about what the house might smell or look like when I get home tonight. Only have to worry if my husband is still going to be sane....

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

School Holidays & Birthdays

School holidays have started and the kids are loving them. They've spent the last 2 days with my mom and will spend tomorrow with her as well cause she is leaving for South Africa tomorrow night for 3 long weeks. Okay, so both her and my dad think "3 short" weeks since they haven't seen each other since January, but how o how am I going to live without my babysitter??

Don't get me wrong I'm fully aware of the fact that it sounds terrible, however in my defence, I live for my Saturday nights. It's the one night I get to go out with my friends, have fun and not worry about getting home on time and then to sleep in the next morning (not that I manage to do that too often, the habit of getting up early is just too engrained). Also, both she and the kids love their Saturday nights & Sunday mornings together.

We have a totally crammed weekend ahead of us. It's Brad's birthday - the BIG 30!!

We have a friend coming to visit us from Holland, been invited to a wedding, a 1st birthday party, not to mention the party that we've arranged for him. We have another friend who's birthday is on Saturday as well. To make life easier we've decided to have a combined party to avoid forcing people to choose who's party to attend. We starting off with dinner at Caprice accross the road from the Bok & then the party will move back accross the road. We have another friend who will DJ so I think it will be a blast.

Now, if only I can come up with an idea for what to buy the man. Sure he's given me hints: a mustang, or a motorbike, preferably a Harley Davidson... doesn't ask much does he?

Rourke recently asked for a hair cut and explained to Brad exactly what he wanted.....

Since the haircut we have to "do" his hair every morning to make sure it stands just right.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Cold and wet in Brussels / Warm and sunny in Portugal

I'm totally knackered! Can't even explain why since I slept for more than 12 hours solid, and no, before for you say it's from too much sleep that is not true. I've been averaging about 5 hours sleep everyday and then 10 hours at the office. Meaning, the one thing I don't have is too much sleep.

Brad just called me to tell me that he has spent most of the afternoon sitting next to the pool enjoying the sun. He is in Portugal on rugby tour. Just the fact that he is there is making me quite happy cause I've earned 100 euros. Some of the rugby guy's were so sure that he was never to go away on tour with them they actually made a bet with me. Hence the fact that I was very keen to let him go. But to be fair, I spent 2 weeks in Punta Cana so a weekend in Portugal is nothing.

The kids are also not too upset that he is away, as this means that hey are allowed to sleep in our bed with me. The have been complaining quite a bit the last while cause they never get to sleep there. It was such a treat for them I didn't have the slightest problems getting them to go to bed. They must have been rather tired as well cause they were asleep within about 5 min.

Tomorrow, if the weather is better (it's been cold and pouring with rain the last couple of days) I'm planning on taking them to the St. Anthony's Faire, which should be fun for them. I'm sure that if there is face painting the Tiger will want a Spider man face. Even Riley is starting to wonder why he always wants the same thing painted on his face.

Anyway, the Euro Cup football is not proving to be too exciting so I think I'll be off to bed and try to catch up on some more sleep.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Stay at home Friday

The kids stayed at home today cause Brad felt like keeping them at home. When I left for work this morning Riley was lying in bed with Brad and Rourke was trying to convince me that he wanted to go to church, rather than school and that he wanted to wear his pj's. Riley just wanted to stay in bed. I guess they convinced their dad.

They did a bit of tidying at The Bok and Rourke helped Patrizia set up the chairs for the patio at The Coolock. Meanwhile Riley went for a hair cut. I'm quite surprised by this cause she's been trying to grow her hair for ages. But I looks gorgeous and she is thrilled.

She's going to the stables with her friend Yoko tomorrow and came and asked me if her hair will still be short tomorrow cause she wants her friends to see it that way. "How do we make it stop growing, mommy?"

O and Brad gave himself a hair cut and a shave so he is looking very handsome indeed!

Now only the Tiger and I need to do something with ourselves.

I clean forgot that it's fathers day on Sunday and never got Brad something. I'm feeling terrible about it. If you have any last min ideas please let me know.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

3 Home cooked Dinners in 1 week...

Our e-mail connection is up and running, yeah!! We've been struggling for quite some time to get it sorted out and so at last we had a technician come round and fix the problem. So you know what this means - no more interuptions.

The last couple of evenings the Tiger has been taking ages to fall asleep and calling me to tell me that he can't sleep cause he doesn't like his room. No further explanations just that. Or he'll tell me that he can't sleep fast, which is his excuse when I tell him to lie down and go to sleep quickly. Tonight it didn't go too badly, after their story and some water they fell asleep in no time. It would be great if I could find out what makes it all go well some nights as appose to others

Riley on the other hand was her "emotional" self. Asked me to put O'Malley on the bed with her only to start crying about 10 min later cause I didn't hear her calling to ask me to take the cat off her bed. She honestly drives me crazy by thinking that she needs to cry of every little thing that doesn't go her way.

She was very happy tonight to be my "sous" chef. She eagerly stirred the bolognese, dished up and served everyone. Now if only I could get her to eat the food as well. Rourke on the other hand complained about the food the whole time only to end up eating it all.

And to think I have cooked 3 dinners this week already, the only night I missed was Wednesday night and that was cause I went out for dinner with Tracy. Who knows I might just turn into a better mom after all. At least, I would say this is a step in the right direction. Brad says this must mean that we are a regular family now...I don't think we'll ever be a regular family.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Weekend News...

Riley got me really worried on Saturday morning, she took a good look at me and told me: "mommy you are really getting old, look at your face here and here..." pointing to my forehead and cheeks. I mean that must be one of the worst things a child can tell you! Or am I wrong? At least Tiger was quick to tell me that it wasn't true, "you're just brown mommy not old" Bless his little heart. I am working very hard at forgiving Riley for her comments though (ha ha).

We had a great visit with some friends whom we haven't seen for nearly 6 years. They lived in Brussels when we lived here the first time but moved back to the UK shortly after Riley's birth. It was a real treat catching up with each others news and finding out that after all this time we still had loads to talk about. They seem to enjoy being back in Brussels so much they even said that they would love to move back.

Speaking about friends, I must admit that our friends back in South Africa is the one thing we really miss. Don't get me wrong we love our friends here and our lives would be very dull without them but some friends just can not be replaced.

Friends in SA pop over to visit you at your house unannounced, they'll come over for a bbq or just a visit and the kids will just run amok in the back ground while you are sitting back having a good old "kuier" visit. Here, you see friends for dinner or at the pub or make arrangements to meet somewhere. To have them visit your house, or visit them at theirs, takes planning and invitations. Then again, at least you don't have to worry about people dropping in when the house is looking like a bomb site...(which may be a good thing in my case)

So to our friends back in SA, we miss you guy's and wish you were closer, and remember just cause we so far away doesn't mean you can't pop over for a visit at any time.... you'll just have to put up with a untidy house.

O and some celebrity news...the Baa-Baa's were in The Bok on Thursday night. (The Baa-Baa's is the international rugby team called The Barbarians aka the Baa-Baa's). Yes, ladies and gentlemen my husband's humble establishment played host to some international rugby players. I must admit that he came home a little disappointed "they really are not as big as you would think" "some if them are even smaller than me". Shame, poor man but at least he had a good time entertaining them.

Time to get back to picking up after everyone, never know who might pop in un-announced...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy News and Bureaucracy

I was so excited to hear from my friend Charmaine today that their baby girl was being born on the 30th, which means that next weeks after years of dreaming of becoming parents their dream will at last come true. The fact that they have found this baby girl to adopt is a true miracle and no one deserves being parents more than the 2 of them.

Yeah Char you are going to be a mommy next week!

You really need to have lived in Belgium or be living in Belgium to truly appreciate how bureaucratic this country is. It's incredible!

Brad's brother Cliff would like and come and stay with us, while studying here in Belgium. In order to get his study visa we need a number of documents from our local commune. The commune is Belgium's version of the local municipal office for each and every neighbourhood. For any documents you then have to go to your local office in person to pick it up. Brad went to go and pick up our "family set-up" document today only to be told that he will not be able to get it. Because he is in the process of registering as "an independent" self-employed he is considered to be unemployed and thus not in any poss ion to get the document on his name. This means that I'm going to have to take a day's leave to go to the commune to pick-up this document on my name. And no, no one is allowed to pick-up documents on your behalf, not even your husband.

I had to go and sign some documents at the bank today and even that was quite an effort. Like in most other countries the banks here are open between 9 and 4 and they are also closed for an hour during lunch. The one good thing that has resulted from this is the fact that I've activated my on-line banking so at least I'll be able to do all my banking from the comfort of my couch from now on.

The next thing to achieve would be getting my kids to eat their dinner without tears and tantrums. Why or why must dinner times be such a torture session? I mean, lasange is really not the worst thing ever to eat, is it? Normaly Rourke has no problem eating and will eat just about anything. On the controry Riley ate it all with the least amount of fuss. Some days you feel like you just can't live with them but you also can't live without them can you. All that's left is to love them even when they drive you insane.

And I do, they really are great!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wacky Wednessday

My kids firmly believe that I'm a mean and horrible mom, but I've just had enough. At bed time tonight I discoved half the bedroom floor sopping wet and sticky with a couple of books lying in the sticky mess.

I love books and really want my kids to learn to love them as well and part of loving books means taking care of them, so when I saw that I just got really annoyed and decreed that no liquid was allowed in the room from now on. So this is where the mean and horrible mom comes in. Up until tonight they have gone to bed with a sippy bottle filled with juice, or water or milo (a chocolate malt drink) but no more. I can't even blame them cause it might have been the cat who knocked over the bottle of water and a bottle of juice to create the mess and as you can well imagine both kids swore high and low that they did not create the mess. So the only way to avoid it from happening again and for mean mommy to make an appearance we shall have to stick to the new rule.

I've had a really bad head-ache all day long and spending most of the afternoon working on my presentation for the meeting tomorrow morning hasn't helped much. I normally have no problem speaking in public but I received so may comments after last weeks meeting that I'm starting to feel rather pressured to perform. Two of the navigators (people navigating us through the project) told me that I'm totally over performing and the one even took my notes away from me before I left the office tonight. At least my head is feeling better now.

The one side effect of working on the project is that my eating habits have taken a terrible turn for the worse. I've been eating so much junk it's disgusting and it's starting to show in my clothes which I hate. Only problem it's a bit like a bad circle cause you get to a point where you or at least I think what's the point of trying and then I hate myself again for giving in so quickly when I know I'm going to regret it later. What I wouldn't give for a magic potion to keep my weight where I would like it to be with the least amount of effort from my side.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Love Tuesdays

I LOVE coming home on a Tuesday, I mean seriously it's just this really great feeling, knowing that it's the one day of the week that I'll walk through the door into an extremely clean and tidy house. Tuesday is when the cleaning lady comes and makes my week.

I would love to have my house look like this every day but I don't live alone, so it only looks like this for about the 1st 2 hours after we all get home. After that, water is spilled on the bathroom floor by two "swimmers" splashing in the bath while Thomas O'Malley the Alley Cat walks through it leaving his paw prints all over the side of the bath and all around the basin. He just loves sleeping in the basin.

Then there are the school bags, discarded shoes and jackets, pictures drawn during the day and toys. Mail on the dinning table, property magazines keys, sunglasses wallets and handbags.

I love my life, my kids and Brad but I would so love to have a more "museum" look to my house. So for those couple of minutes I'm in museum heaven!

Riley had some really exciting news to tell me when I saw her this afternoon. She was bursting to tell me that she had spoken to Carson and Caroline is was going to go to South Africa with her and Tiger on holiday. Carson is his best friend Caroline's dad. And even before I was able to say anything about this she also informed me that it will be no problem for Caroline to go with cause she understands both English and French and can act as translator between Nanna and Caroline. Then so proceeds to show off her translating skills by repeating a couple of sentences in both languages.

I think I'm going to leave the explanations as to why Caroline can't go on holiday with her to Brad. I know it's a bit chicken of me but let's face it I can't always be the "bad cop"

Monday, May 19, 2008

At long last, I'm blogging again

It's just after 9 in the evening, I have a kitchen full of dirty dinner dishes to do, washing to sort, a bathroom to tidy, and that's just the most urgent of the things which need doing around the house but I've decided if I don't get blogging now I'm never going to get back into doing it.

I never have time but I really want to get back to doing it cause I really enjoy it. So, I guess the washing-up and cleaning-up will have to wait a little longer. Not to mention the fact that I'm totally brain-dead by the time I get home at night. The new project that I'm working on at the moment is taking it's toll...One of the directors at my work said to me the other day that now that I've finally started using my brain at work I'm I really interested in going back to my old job once the project ends. Now, I never thought I would say this but I've become quite ambicious and have no desire to go back to my "brainless" job. You'll have to watch this spot to find out where my working brain takes me.

With the arrival of the warmer weather (apart from the last 4 days) we've done up our patio with a nice big table and chairs for entertaining (bbq's) and some potted daizy's. Which brings me to the tail about our christmans tree. We threw the afore mentioned tree out after christmas waiting for it to die, only it never did. so we bought a nice big pot and re-planted it. What we didn't expect though was that we would plant it, water it and kill it, all in 2 weeks. We are still watering it hoping for a re-vival but I must say I'm not feeling to hopeful at this stage.

There is a total train strike on in the entire Belgium starting from 10pm tonight for 24 hours. This means that I have to meet my boss at 7:15 tomorrow morning for a lift to work (as you can well imagine the kids are not going to be too happy about being woken up, fed and dress before that time, so I'm considering letting them sleep later and getting Brad to get them ready for school). The one day of the week I have to work at the remote site is the day of the strike. Now, I'm just wondering about the trip back cause my boss is even more of a workaholic than what I am and I really don't want to stay at work as long as he does. I guess I'm going to have to beg a lift back into town off someone else. This is one of those times when I miss having my own car.

Now I really have to get myself into that kitchen and start cleaning, and do excuse any spelling errors but for some strange reason my spell check is not working?