Friday, July 6, 2007

Bella Bella Bellagio

The most beautiful little city I have ever seen! Well, after a couple month hiatus, I am back to blogging. Things got a little crazy around here and it was hard for me to put into words our life here. But, now with a little traveling, and visits from family, this summer is turning out to be a good so far!

I took the boys with me to meet my mom in Italy last week. Unfortunately David had to work, but we have every intention of going back for a visit soon. In fact I recommend that everyone gets a stop in Italy at least once in their lifetime!

Many of you know that my mom has been traveling throughout Europe this summer on quite an adventure, and somehow I have been lucky enough to meet up with her twice (thank-you David). The first stop was meeting up in the South of France, in Nice and Aix-en-Provence. I spent five days with her traveling about and seeing the sights, the beaches, the hills, shopping...It was lovely, but a bit touristy. The area reminded me a lot of California, only in French and more crowded! But the highlight was last week when the boys got out of school we headed on a plane to Northern Italy, to the lakes district and into a little town called Bellagio. Not the casino resort in Vegas, but the beautiful little town it was built after. And it was stunning!

Taylor and Gavin couldn't even believe it and were sad when it was time to leave. Italy is just something else and I keep wondering why we couldn't move NATO there! But alas, that is why it was a vacation. For all the kind people, great food, breathtaking views, serene lifestyle, good Italian wine, sunshine, gelato, gelato and more gelato, I don't think this is a place we will soon forget. And I hope to take you all with me someday, just say the word! In the mean time we are back to reality, which has actually been a good thing, because our spirits are high and we have been enjoying our really cool home here in Belgium. I'll share more with you soon, but for now here are a couple pics, I think they will speak for themselves!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

On a Positive Note

My dear husband seems to think I have one too many complaints these days. Is it because he wants me to be happy and feels the need to fix everything I don't like? HMMM? Is it because he can still remember the days I was a very pregnant and very overheated weather reporter, reporting on the status of the heatwave every other hour of the day? (And that he could not fix!) Is it because living in Belgium makes just about everyone want to complain?!! As my friend Stacy pointed out today, how else do we deal with it if we can't poke fun and rant about the problems we face here? Because believe me when I say it IS a little backwards, and that's putting it nice. But honestly, I think it's because no body likes a complainer. Wow, that was simple!

So, in honor of David, today I have made a new addition to my blog, as you can see on the right hand side there, so that everyone can see I do have good things to say. My list of things I like about living here. It was actually easy. Everyday I find things I like about being here. And honestly if I wrote a list of complaints I would have run out of space! But seriously, even though I will always be an American girl at heart, I love the grand and subtle life lessons this place has awarded me and my family. Being in Europe has opened all of our eyes to new possibilities. It's been an exciting and sometimes frightening roller coaster of an adventure that has surely brought us closer as a family. The time we have together has been invaluable, and for this I am truly grateful!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Never Underestimate a Sunny Day in Belgium

The usual forcast? Rainy with a chance of sun. In fact, I'm not sure I saw the sun the entire month of January. It was a long winter and I honestly had moments when I wondered if I could stay in Belgium for long. But here we are going on a whole month of pure sunshine and warmth. Everyone seems happier than usual and Belgium seems more lovely than ever. The days are getting long and it is hard to put the children down for bed when there is still a glimmer of sun at a quarter to ten at night. I don't even think I've turned on the oven in weeks, the BBQ is working overtime and David hasn't had to put the top up on his jeep. Just believe me when I say, there is nothing more glorious in Belgium than a sunny day, and I will never take it for granted. But I do apologize to all who are coming for a visit, in advance, because it surely can not last forever!

The sun must also be making my boys grow like weeds. And since I have not been good at keeping you up-to-date on their latest and greatest I figure today I will at least share with you a couple photos taken over the last couple months. I have so much to say about my great boys, but for now just take a look for yourself. Oh, and never underestimate a sunny day in Belgium, because I can even see the joy in my boys when they go out to play on a beautiful day!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Enough with the Peacock Already!

I am going on three nights of relatively no sleep all thanks to the fantastic farm animals. I told you we have cows for neighbors, but did I mention the peacocks? I can deal with the cheese factory churning all night, I understand the rooster will crow and the crack of dawn, but a peacock in my tree screaming like a hurt child at 3am is NOT acceptable! Ever since Easter morning this bird has been carrying on and now has found a comfortable spot in the tree in our yard. The boys seem to sleep through it, David claims he isn't bothered, and even my landlord, Vincent, has no issues with the howling bird. But I just can't sleep through the noise. I'm surprised I can even write a coherent sentence, you have no idea how many times I've had to spell check already. Seriously, I think I had better sleep with newborns, and you all know how terribly my newborns slept!

So, I implore you, no I beg you, please find me a solution (short of running it over with my car) to rid my yard of the peacock! I'm searching the internet and hitting all the wrong sights because I can not find an answer to my problem. I think I may just go take a'd be surprised at how quiet and serene it is here during the day! Seriously, if you loved me at all you would join my secret society A.P.P.P.L. (Anti-Peacock People for a Peaceful Life, or said like apple) and help me get rid of the peacock for good! Then when we have accomplished our main objective we'll move on to more serious issues, like how to reverse global warming, lessing our dependency on all petroleum based products, eliminating hydrogenated oils and MSG from our food for good, solving the dying bee issue, and then of course how to stop David from snoring (which also keeps me up at night, but not nearly as bad as the peacock!) Thank you for your time to let me rant, I promise I will fill you in on more important issues later!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Welcome to Belgium

I though I'd start off with the obvious! Life here in Belgium! Most family and friends know we moved here last August, and most of you know that the change has been a difficult one at times. But, now that we've had a couple weeks of sunshine my head is clearing and I am ready to share. I hope those of you who are planning to visit will find a few of these thoughts helpful, and for the rest of you maybe a couple laughs.

1. Yes, fries come with that, but you have to pay extra for the sauce.
2. Pantelon de Jogging!? But it's not nice for the baker to see you that way!
3. The LARGE coffee is SMALLER than a small at Starbucks.
4. We have bread vending machines, just in case.
5. I have a field full of cows for neighbors, so does everyone else.
6. It's only 15 KM away, but if you get stuck behind a sugar beet truck....
7. You might as well order beer with dinner, it's cheaper than water.
8. Athletic shoes with jeans? Obviously American.
9. And on the subject of dress code, everyone wears a scarf, all year long.
10. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone speaks English, just almost everyone!

So, I guess if you take in the whole experience so far, it has been a good one for our family. We have learned to spend less money, but spend more time. Eating out is a special treat, but eating at the dinner table is a nightly special event. We have learned very quickly that you really can live without your television. Fresh is better. Consuming less equals polluting less. You do not need a hybrid to get good fuel economy, just a European car. You can loose weight relatively easily if you do not have the convenience of fast food. Children are highly adaptable. Family is most important. And no matter how far we go, or how cool it is, we are all just Americans at heart!

I hope each and every one of you get a chance to visit here in Belgium. We miss you and miss being a part of your daily lives. It's been hard at times to keep everyone up to date with our adventures, and our simple day-to-day stuff; but hopefully this blog will give you all a little better window into our very real experience living so far from home.