Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Day

This was the kids 1st christmas without any family around, other than their dad and I. I thought they would miss their cousins more but no, they were quite happy with how christmas turned out. It could have something to do with the gifts.

We had a very quiet christmas dinner on Thursday evening, just the four of us. So quiet in fact, I forgot to bring out the crackers. Then I spent the rest of the evening doing the little elves work (lazy little buggers never wrapped the presents). While Brad was sleeping on the couch. He had to sleep on the couch all night to protect the presents / santa from the dogs. I'm glad to report that none of the presents were chewed up or peed on during the night.

Christmas morning started very early 5:30 to be exact! I tried to go and get back in bed after the presents were all opend but that didn't work.

We were going to friends for christmas lunch despite the fact that Rourke has chicken pox (it's not been fun let me tell you) they decided that their youngest is bound to get it at some point. (and we love them for it cause it would have been very boring to stay at home all day). So after doing the turkey we hit the road to Duffel.

Everyone had a great time, the kids got on grand, the parents did as well (why would we not?) and so we got back home at about 21:00. Needless to say Lulu and Duke were very happy to see us, I on the other hand was not so happy to see them as they did their usual trick of destroying everything in sight.... one day when they are really old and decrepid and spend all their time just haning out and not destroying my house I'm sure I'll love them more.

And that was christmas, and we'll have to wait a whole year to do it all again. I wonder who'll be around for next christmas?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

45 Life Lessons by Reg Brett, age 90

This is something we should all read at least once a week!
Written By Reg Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio
To celebrate growing older, he once wrote the 45 lessons life taught him. He said-------

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch...
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25 No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27 Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time... You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come...
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Friends are the family that we choose for ourselves."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas.... 1 month to go!

I LOVE Christmas! and living in Europe is great cause it's cold and all Christmas and you can have a fire and holly and maybe even snow.... I heard someone playing carols in the metro station yesterday and got this warm feeling.... Christmas is coming! Brad always says that I should have been American cause then I could really go over the top and not seem strange.

My kids still believe in Santa, and the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny etc. and I'm very glad cause it means they are still innocent enough to believe in these magical creatures of childhood.

In Belgium, on St. Nicholas' Eve, December 5th, or the weekend before, children put their shoes or small baskets at the hearth or beside the door with carrots, turnips, and a sugar lump for the saint's horse and a glass of wine for the saint. There may also be a picture they've drawn (or a list) showing what they would like. They believe St. Nicholas rides on horseback over the rooftops, dropping his gifts down the chimneys. In the morning shoes have been filled with chocolates, spiced speculoos cookies shaped like the saint and Piet, oranges, marzipan, and toys. In the spirit of St. Nicholas, treats are meant to be shared, not hoarded. Bad children, of which there are none, would find twigs. Since the sixties, however, such negative and frightening aspects have faded away in Flanders. In French-speaking Wallonia St Nicolas comes, as well, where he is often accompanied by a donkey and Père Fouettard, as in France. Some places celebrate similarly to that in Germany. Everywhere in Belgium speculoos shaped like the saint is very popular.

Since our kids go to a French school they are very much aware of this event (not that you can miss it, it's everywhere you go) so they get presents twice in December. (on a much smaller scale for St. Nicolas, but they still get something).

So, like all kids they have been busy writing their letters to Santa (cause he's the one who brings the most presents) asking for all the things they want. All the shops advertisements are being read from cover to cover and pictures cut out to send along with their letters. The other afternoon while driving home they were having a discussion between the 2 of them as to what they would all like when Riley mentioned that she would really like a piano.

Well Riley how do you suppose Santa would fit a piano down the chimney I asked (thinking I've just found a very good excuse for not buying her a piano) O that's no problem she replied, don't you know that Santa can do magic. He makes everything very small to fit down the chimney and then it pop's back to normal size!

There goes that excuse!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The big tooth fairy / mouse debate

Riley lost another tooth today, and on the way home tonight her and Rourke had this whole discussion with me about the tooth fairy vs the tooth mouse.

She wanted to know if the tooth fairy or the tooth mouse was going to bring her some money. Then she told me that there best friend Caroline did not only get 2 euro from the tooth fairy but she also got a book. Well now, I did not have a book to throw in so I was racking my brain to come up with a good reason why the tooth fairy / mouse would not have a book for her....

Rourke solved it by asking how a tiny little fairy would be able to carry money and a book.... which lead to the two of them discussing that a fairy might not be able to carry a book but a mouse could carry a book on it's back.

This debate lasted the entire trip home (a good half & hour) and it was declared that she would only get money since we're not sure that there will be a mouse around to help carry a book and should it rain the fairy will not be able to fly so she'll have to get a lift on the back of a mouse which means that the mouse will not be able to carry a book and a fairy carrying the money on it's back.

phew!

O and then they told me that their cousin's in South Africa said that the tooth fairy / mouse does not exist and that it's really the parents who swap the tooth for money and then when you are big they will give the teeth back to you.

Well that's the cousin's for you, as for my kids they still firmly believe in the tooth fairy / mouse, Santa, the Easter bunny, St Nicolas and Jack Frost

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Eye of a Tiger

Rourke came running into the kitchen this morning:

"Mommy I'm a tiger, look....!"

"I have speckles in my eyes look"
Me: "Yeah you do"
Rourke: "See it means I'm a tiger"

When I walked passed him a bit later he was sitting in front of a mirror practicing growling.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Obsessed

My kids are crazy about Halloween, in fact, they really should have been raised in America just to justify their obsession with this holiday. Ever since September they have been talking about it and trying to decide what costumes they would get this year.

In the preschool section of their school they get the opportunity to dress up on the last day of school before the mid-term break, however since Riley is now in
year 2 she doesn't get this opportunity anymore. This however, did not stop her from declaring that she too needed a Halloween costume.

Rourke has been asking me when it's going to be Halloween every day for the past month and when I explain to him that it's first his birthday, then mine then Cliff's and then Tracey's and then after Tracey's birthday (29th of October) it's Halloween he get's really upset with me -- 'you're joking!!! how can it still be so long?'

Last year my brother took my 2 kids and his son Trick or Treating in Brussels but since then my brother and his family have moved back to SA and we've moved to the sticks! .... the result to my poor kids disgust: no where to go trick or treating. They are not impressed with this at all.

Rourke even suggested that they dress up and go and see if the farm animals don't have anything for them.....

I've noticed that there are a couple of houses in the street close to our house has some Halloween decorations in their window, so I might just pop round and see if they would mind if the kids came Trick or Treating on Saturday night.

But first, tonight I have to ice my Halloween biscuits.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Only In Belgium....

Found this article in one of the local newspaper's .... this really is a strange country...


Belgian 'Miss Homeless' wins a year rent-free
58-year-old Therese Van Belle from Schaarbeek, Brussels, won the first 'Miss Homeless' contest.
Related Articles
The final, which took place on Saturday evening in Brussels, saw 10 finalists vying for the place of Miss Homeless, along with the prize of a rent-free year in a flat.
The aim of this remarkable initiative is to call attention to the problem of the homeless.

Organiser Aline Duportail of the company Artefix said that "with this ‘Miss’ contest we want to expose the problem of homelessness in Belgium. This is certainly a very good way to boost the contestants' self-confidence."
There were five different parts to the Miss Homeless contest, including a talk with each contestant. The jury judged the candidates based on their "will to get themselves out of a difficult situation."

"Their inner beauty and strength, motivation to take part in the contest, personal story, and solidarity were also decisive factors," said a competition official.

flandersnews.be/Expatica

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Today is Belgian National Day

You know when you've been in Belgium too long when ...

1. You always stop your car for traffic from even the tiniest little road from the right.

2. You consider breaking the speed limit normal, and honk and flash at people who don't.

3. If you have had less than 10 beers you drive your car home, but you still don't indicate when turning or respect the speed limit.

4. If you have a car, you consider any other means of transportation slightly suspicious.

5. You know the names of at least 10 different sauces for chips.

6. You catch yourself ordering a "Supplement Frites" with every single dish you have in any kind of restaurant.

7. You give other foreigners lectures on the difference between fake and real monastery-produced beer.

8. You don't drink the last two centilitres of a Westmalle trippel.

9. You never wear any colour brighter than dark green. You automatically assume anyone who does is either a. Dutch b. Scandinavian c. American or d. Extremely childish or rude

10. Just one day without rain even in July and August can make you happy.

11. On Saturday morning and Sunday evening of any sunny summer-weekend you accept spending more than three hours stuck in traffic jams on motorways in order to get to and from 100 km's of coastline that are completely cramped with high-risers 20 meters from the beach.

12. You don't mind that bouncers have to be given at least 20 euro when you leave a disco as a bribe for letting you get in next time

13. You consider it normal that even the train to and from the airport has announcements in both Dutch and French, but not in English. You don't react when all the foreigners storm out of the train at the announcement of Brussels North when coming from the airport.

14. You do all your grocery shopping in either GB or Delhaize, and you don't understand anyone who shops in the other supermarket chain.

15. You consider it normal to go out to a restaurant at least five times per week.

16. You think it is logical that shops are closed Sundays and evenings, but buy the booze you consume in night-shops between 4 and 5 AM Sunday morning.

17. You use and understand abbreviations like NMBS/SNCB, MIVB/STIB and SMAP/OMOB.

18. You only buy the most up-market chocolate brands, and feel sorry for the geeks who buy "white products".

19. You start going to Quick instead of McDonalds and you have actually tasted the Quick Bearnaise Burger.

20. You think it looks nice when the type of pavement tiles in front of each house are different, and you don't mind falling over lopsided tiles occasionally.

21. You take dog-shit on the pavement as just another challenge on you daily walks.
22. You keep three colours of bin-bags for different kinds of waste, and remember which days to put out which kind of bag on the pavement in front of your house.

23. You don't mind when most streets are full of bags that have been put out on the wrong day, not even in the summer when the combination of the sun and intrepid dogs makes it a very interesting experience.

24. You automatically assume that everyone else speaks at least three languages, but refuse to speak more than one yourself.

25. You have given up on any sensible political discussion on the language divide in general and the Brussels Capital Region and the future of Belgium in particular.

26. You consider politicians and the police worse than criminals, with the possible exception of paedophiles.

27. You consider it perfectly normal when the names of towns on road signs change from French to Dutch and vice versa every 5 or 10 kilometres of motorway.

28. You have understood that the hassle of monthly visits to the municipality to obtain papers or residence permits is reserved for recently arrived foreigners who move every 6 months, and you therefore don't complain over your own annual visit where you wait in line for an hour or two.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

UUUGGGHHHH!!

My frustration levels are SOOOO high at the moment it's not even funny. It's been the afternoon from hell!!!

  1. Our train just did not arrive... not early, not late NOT AT ALL!
  2. The next train was only in 1 hour
  3. I have to talk to Riley 6 times before she maybe listens
  4. Rourke tried to steal a chocolate in the shop

Really can you blame me for feeling like I need a whole bottle of wine, never mind a glass. Brad is leaving for 3 weeks in South Africa in the morning and if this is what they are going to be like for the entire time I might just become an alcoholic.

So excuse me if I try to calm down and relax before my very had working husband comes home to a bitch of a wife on his last night at home.... not how I envisioned tonight.

Friday, May 29, 2009

If surreal had a nationality, it would be Belgian

Thought you might enjoy these weird and wonderful things that have happend in Belgium during the past 3 months:

Nepotism? Nooo...

One in ten politicians hails is either the son or daughter of an existing politician. The proportion is an astonishing four in 10 for francophone federal ministers. The Brussels Parliament recorded the lowest number of family ties with only one in 20.

No joke, really

Pigeon fanciers can sleep better at night knowing that their prize birds can now be insured against theft. The insurance company Marsh also insures against fire, predators, during transport and electric shock for €20 a year. Last week also saw a pigeon called Jonge Supercrack sold for a record breaking €110,000 in an online auction. Ludo Claessens from Putte sold 72 pigeons at the auction, averaging €10,000 per bird.

Window rent rise

Prostitutes occupying the windows around North Station in Brussels are feeling the pinch of the credit crisis. While they pay between €150 to €300 a day to rent a window, the price is set to rise as Schaerbeek commune ups the taxes on the specialised ‘waitresses’ from €2,500 a year to €3,353. Last year, this tax brought in €450,000 to the commune, its third biggest source of revenue.

Testers sought

The Michelin Guide of prostitutes in Belgium is hugely popular with 20,000 active members who exchange tips and ratings. The owner of hookers.be wishes to stay anonymous but says that there's a real demand for the website's services. There are 100,000 registered users and the site has had over 500,000 hits, he says. Anita in Rue de Livourne? Tania in Aarschotstraat?

Stamped and still delivered

Avid letter writers have taken to hunting down batches of old stamps at the country’s flea markets to save on postal costs. La Poste/De Post confirmed that it will post letters using stamps from as far back as 1962. One woman is even drawing on her batch of stamps from 1936, apparently unnoticed by La Poste/De Post. "I’ve got thousands of them," she said.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Elevated" Lunch Company

I'm not sure how much you know about Belgium.... After all Belgium is a very small and often neglected country.
The reason I'm asking is actually cause I wanted to know whether you knew that Belgium has a royal family?

You didn't? No worries I'll give you a quick over view of the "Royal Situation"

Since it was founded in 1831, Belgium has been a hereditary constitutional monarchy. The King, whom the Constitution places above ideological and religious considerations, political opinions and debates and economic interests, has a role as arbitrator and guardian of the unity and independence of the country.

King Albert II, sixth King of the Belgians, took the oath on 9 August 1993. He is married to Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria.

The King and Queen have three children: Crown Prince Philippe, Princess Astrid and Prince Laurent.

Prince Philippe and his wife, Princess Mathilde, have 2 daughters, Princess Elisabeth and sons, Prince Gabriel and Prince Emmanuel and then Princess Eléonore.

Princess Astrid and her husband Prince Lorenz, have five children: Prince Amedeo, Princess Maria Laura, Prince Joachim, Princess Luisa Maria and Princess Laetitia Maria.

Prince Laurent and his wife, Princess Claire, have a daughter, Princess Louise, and two sons, Prince Nicolas and Prince Aymeric.

Prince Laurent is a bit of a black sheep and often is in the news over some sort of a scandal while Crown Prince Philippe and his wife are much loved.

Anyway, the whole point of this is to tell you that I had lunch with Prince Laurent today.

Me, lowly Belgian that I am, hardly able to speak any of the countries 3 official languages..... Can you believe it?

Let me tell you all about it:

The Time: 12:00 - 13:00 CET
The Country: Belgium, Population 10,414,336 (July 2009 est)
The City: Brussels
The Place: Pizza Hut

Yip you read it. Pizza Hut - good enough for royalty

We had a team lunch at the Pizza Hut across the road from my office on Tuesday and there having lunch with someone who was not his wife (i'm just saying not accusing him of anything) he was. Even stood in the next to him.


And no, just like everybody else we all went about our lunch without saying anything to the man. This is not England or the States people, we find living with the famous normal.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Future Schmuter.....


Have you ever wished that you knew what the future held for you? Well, let me tell you knowing what the future holds is totally overrated!

Tonight I saw what the future is going to be like in mmmh lets say about 10 years, and let me tell you it's not pretty.

Screaming, stomping upstairs, doors slamming, crying and claims that this is the worst day of her life, that I'm a horrible mother and I never want her to be happy and I'm mean to everybody.... Wow it was something

To add to this Rourke was crying non-stop and didn't know what he wanted (let me tell you, telling a tired child that it's ok you know they are crying cause they are tired is not, let me repeat that it's is NOT a good idea).

What I do know is there is no way Riley is going to be an easy teen, I just hope I'll be able to handle her as well as I did tonight. (even if I have to say so myself, didn't even raise my voice and managed to stick to my guns. ).

On a lighter note, Rourke added to the decorations on display in the house, he brought home 4 new stones (ugly, dirty, muddy stones, one which I'm not even too sure if it is an actual stone or hardened cow dung...). These are now proudly on display next to some of my candles.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The joy of cleaning


I don't know how many of you have tried and succeeded in getting your kids to tidy up. My kids don't particularly like doing it and every time I decree it to be cleaning/tidying day I'm greeted by moans and whining that would impress just about anyone. Then after my usual threads of no playing Mario Kart (Rourke's favorite game to play on the wii) and no more going out to the horses (Riley's favorite thing to do) they sort of give in with somewhat bad grace.... o the joys of having kids :-)

I must say that once they start cleaning they really get into it and I have to watch out as Riley will try to use the dish cloth to wash anything from the floor to the van. For some strange reason Riley wants to wash the car all the time. Now, it may sound like a good idea but when you see what she does you'll understand why we object. Imagine this: big van, little girl and a wet cloth that's all folks she wets the cloth and wipes the bottom of the van with it .... not a pretty picture.

Rourke likes to have things ordered, when cleaning his room he will line everything up on the floor all along the walls of his room, in single file. Pens, cars books soft toys paper.... you name it. .

Another thing they love to clean is the bathroom wall. They love to use their face cloths and bath gel to "wash" the wall. I mean we all know how dirty the wall gets.

So Rourke was washing the wall the other night and then moved on to other things. I found him in the bathroom washing the floor....

Friday, March 6, 2009

A new baby in the family

Matt & Jac's baby, and Thys's little sister, was born today - Ciara Grace Benadé

I have no further details but we are thrilled to have a new member in our family, Riley really is thrilled to at last have a girl cousin. Now, we only hope that we'll be able to meet her one day before she's o lets say 18. Adelaide sure is far away and I don't see us going there any time soon.

So with Ciara's arrival there's only one more baby due any day... the arrival of Richard and Marié's 2nd.

Will keep you posted

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Public Transport

If there is one thing that really pisses me off it's how people seem to forget all basic principals of logic and good manners when it comes to public transport. I mean, it just strikes me as being logical - but would you not think that before you push and shove your way on to the metro that it might be better to wait for those people who are on the metro and who needs to get off to get off first.

Really, these are educated people, all dressed in their power suits acting like my 4 year old. Or they seem to lack basic respect for anyone else and just think of themselves, regardless of who they might walk over in their attempt to get on/off the metro.

Anyway I just thought I would get that off my chest

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Life Lessons....

I had barely put my foot in the door tonight when the kids bombarded me with news about blood and babies and cutting the stomach open.... all very jumbled and hard to understand.

Turns out that they had witnessed their first cesarean section today... luckily it was on a cow and not a human being. They were suitably impressed. Riley especially with the vet for first sticking his whole arm up the cow's bum to feel where the calf was before doing the cesarean. Then she wanted to know if it's the same for humans, do the doctors also have to stick their arms up your bum to feel where the baby is before cutting the baby out the mommy's tummy? (Rourke was born by cesarean so they know that babies can be cut out of the mommy's tummy. We haven't yet covered natural birth yet.)

Cliff was not so impressed with it, said it was rather gross. I thought it might have made them want to become a vet but Riley wants to be a teacher and Rourke wants to be a racing car driver....

Needless to say life on the farm is teaching the kids quite a bit. Makes me wonder what they are going to be telling me about tomorrow.

Friday, February 20, 2009

So much for the golden rule

Probably from the day after she was born Brad has been telling Riley that she will be allowed to date when she's 35 or he's dead, whichever comes first (and he has no plans to die early).

When she was 3 there was a little red-head boy at church who caught her eye. She would follow him around (he's about 3 years older than her and his parents and us used to joke about the two of them running off together. I'd say Bevan was her first love. Alas, after going away on a 2 week holiday to granny's house she was devastated, upon return, to find out how fickle a boy can be because while she had been away he had gotten a new girlfriend. That was it, her heart was broken. This callous boy of 6 had broken my girls heart.

But time heals all things and she's happy to talk about it now, if not still a bit bitter and when you ask her what daddy's rule is she will say "I can have a boyfriend when I'm 40" (Que rolling of the eyes)

Yesterday on the drive home the following conversation took place:

Riley: (in a dreamy voice)"You know what mommy?
Me: "What Riles?"
Riley: (still in the same dreamy voice)"I'm in Love"
Me: "What?"
Riley: "I'm in love"
Me: "With who?"
Riley: "A boy" (duh! not said but clearly said in by her tone of voice)
Me: "A boy in your class? Rafael? (she's been to his birthday party recently) or Alejandro ?(also a boy's at who's house there was a play date not to long ago)?
Riley: "mmmmh I don't know, I just had it in my head but Rourke took the name out of my head"
Me: "Hey Tige put the name back in your sisters head"
Tiger: "ok here you go and points his hands at his sisters head gjoop! all done"
Riley: :"Juliano" (said in dreamy voice and with a dreamy look on her face)
Me: But Riley what about daddy's rule?"
Riley: "I know, I know, no dating till I'm 40 ..... but his lips taste like strawberries"
Me: "How do you know that?" (no shock here, I'm as cool as a cucumber)
Riley: "He kissed me, on the lips"

Good thing it was her grandfather driving and not her dad he might have driven into something. I wonder if I should tell him about this before he gets back from South Africa or over the phone while he's still there?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

General Update .... no news

I feel really bad for not having written in ages, it's part being too busy and part being too lazy.

So while I'm watching a bit of tv I thought I'd take the laptop and catch you up with what's been happening.

1. O'Mally is back... thank goodness. It turns out that Brad had locked O'Mally up in the shed without realizing it. Cliff (Brad's brother) had to go get something in the shed after about 9 days and there he was. Shame the poor thing was really traumatized. But, after a couple of bowls of food and some loving attention he's back to normal.

2. Brad is going back to SA to sort out some stuff for the Granite business he's opening. We're not sure if it's going to be for 2 or 3 weeks yet. Life is going to be very different without him here. We have quite a routine worked out.

3. Cliff is going back to SA. We've loved having him here. He's been here since early December and we've really enjoyed having him here. Now we're just hoping he gets his studies sorted out so he can come back in August.

4. My parents are going back to South Africa. Indefinitely. My mom is really not happy about it but on the other hand if she wants to be with my dad it's the only thing for her to do. Hopefully my dad will be able to sort out his business and life so they can come back and settle here permanently.

Well, that's about it in a nutshell, not much else to tell.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

O'Mally

O'Mally has gone missing.

It's not strange for our cat to just take off and disappear for a couple of days in a row, but he's been gone for a whole week now and I'm starting to fear the worst. He settled into like on the farm so well, picked up weight, calmed down, became affectionate and now he's just gone.

My bed is empty, that warm spot left behind after one of his naps no longer there.

I've imagined hearing his little bell a couple of times and stormed outside calling him checking all the doors and windows, only to find ..... nothing.

I don't think I'll be able to convince Brad any time soon to get another cat, and the fact that I'm sad about him is strange to everyone else in my home so I decided to write about it and at least share it with someone, anyone.

In the mean time I'm finding house training the puppy to be harder than potty training the kids.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Polar Bears and Snowmen

Mommy come look, quickly! There are polar bears outside!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning.

So, as I mentioned Monday was B day - as in Back to school and Back to work after 2 weeks of holidays. I got up early on Monday to take the dog out for her business, a job a dislike under normal circumstance, never mind in the cold and dark. The moment I opened the door I knew this was not going to be a normal Monday morning. The whole entire world was covered in a thick white blanket of snow. Needless to day, Lulu did not like the idea of going out in the snow to do her business, in fact she refused and the moment she was taken back inside rewarded me by doing it in the kitchen.

Telling the kids that there was snow outside helped with getting them up. And we manged to be ready on time. Lulu had to go into town with Brad as we could not leave her home alone all day, as much for her sanity and ours. So there we were all 4 bundled into the van with an extra blanket for the kids to sit under and Lulu, only we didn't move. Brad tried for quite some time, to drive out but we ended up side ways in the drive way. We couldn't revers out or drive out forward. We would just move about a meter in either direction and then just spin the tires (and we have snow tires on the van).

So after trying to get out for about 20 min we called it a day and moved back inside. I called my boss who guess why I was calling the moment I mentioned having a slight problem and called my dad to call the kids school.

We spent the day sitting in front of the fire drinking hot chocolate, watching DVDs. I took the kids out to build a snowman but Rourke was not too interested saying that it was too cold outside. Riley didn't much care for my snowman and would not even let me take a photo of her next to it.

O and the polar bears, yeah Rourke spotted these fluffy white things walking around in the field next to the house and decided that they were polar bears and no matter much many times his sister screamed at him that they were just sheep he did not want to believe her.

It's been a whole week now since it snowed and everything is sill covered in a think white blanket. This has been the coldest winter in something like 20 years in Belgium with some places reaching -20°C . Even this morning when I took Lulu out again it was -11°C. But they promise that it would start warming up by the end of the week, by then we should reach +1°C

Polar Bears and snowmen



Mommy come look, quickly! There are polar bears outside!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning.

So, as I mentioned Monday was B day - as in Back to school and Back to work after 2 weeks of holidays. I got up early on Monday to take the dog out for her business, a job a dislike under normal surcomsance, never mind in the cold and dark. The moment I opended the door I knew this was not going to be a normal Monday morning. The whole entire world was covered in a thick white blanket of snow. Needless to day, Lulu did not like the idea of going out in the snow to do her business, in fact she refused and the moment she was taken back inside rewarded me by doing it in the kitchen.

Telling the kids that there was snow outside helped with getting them up. And we manged to be ready on time. Lulu had to go into town with Brad as we could not leave her home alone all day, as much for her sanity and ours. So there we were all 4 bundeled into the van with an extra blanket for the kids to sit under and Lulu, only we didn't move. Brad tried for quite some time, to drive out but we ended up side ways in the drive way. We couldn't revers out or drive out forward. We would just move about a meter in either direction and then just spin the tires (and we have snow tires on the van).

So afer trying to get out for about 20 min we called it a day and moved back inside. I called my boss who guess why I was calling the moment I mentiond having a slight problem and called my dad to call the kids school.

We spent the day sitting infront of the fire drinking hot chocolate, watching dvd's. I took the kids out to build a snowman but Rourke was not too interested saying that it was too cold outside. Riley didn't much care for my snowman and would not even let me take a photo of her next to it.

O and the polar bears, yeah Rourke spotted these fluffy white things walking around in the field next to the house and decided that they were polar bears and no matter much many times his sister screamed at him that they were just sheep he did not want to believe her.

It's been a whole week now since it snowed and everything is sill covered in a think white blanket. This has been the coldest winter in something like 20 years in Belgium with some places reaching -20°C . Even this morning when I took Lulu out again it was -11°C. But they promise that it would start warming up by the end of the week, by then we should reach +1°C

Friday, January 2, 2009

Holidays are over.

Well that's it folks the holidays are over, ok we still have the weekend but today is the last work/school day that we are off. It's hard to believe how quickly the past 2 weeks have passed. We've got some friends/family coming to stay over for the weekend, meaning it will be a busy one.

We didn't do anything special or go anywhere special. Brad was working up until the 24th and went back to work on the 27th. At least he's been off a couple of days (went back to work today). It's been really cold here, in fact I'm watching snowflake's gently fall down to the earth at the moment. So we did what should be done during cold winter days....we slept and watched tv and drank coffee (no don't worry didn't give the kids any of that). We did have a great New Years party at The Bok, only got home after 7 yesterday morning. My parents went out for the day so we played tag watching the kids for ½ the day while the other one/two (Cliff is still visiting us) slept.

There has been one big change to our family though, we got a dog.(photo's to follow later) She's a boxer puppy named Lulu (Riley picked the name). Lulu loves Rourke and follows him everywhere, they spend ages running around the house chasing each other. Riley loves her in theory, but only when she's sleeping and not chewing her papers.

O'Mally is not to sure about this new addition and is dealing with it by staying upstairs sleeping in my room most of the day. Only to come down at night since the puppy has to sleep in our room. I feel as though I've got another child in the house what with having to get up and take her out several times a night.

Monday morning will be back to usual, getting up way too early