28 September, 2005

Labyrinths and emergency planning measures

Just got back from a hellish trip to Antwerp. My Dutch passport has expired and I had to go to the consulate to renew it. That building is absolutely impossible to find! The street it's on actually stops in two different places and resumes several streets further up!

Which brings me to my newest conspiracy theory: I'm thinking this is a very effective way for Minister Verdonk to weed out foreigners seeking Dutch nationality. Only the bravest and strongest (or luckiest) actually find their way through the maze of one-way streets and dead ends that is Antwerp. Darwin would be proud, actually!

S just asked me point blank what I would do if I ever found a giant squid in the bathroom. I have to admit that one stumped me. If any of you have any suggestions I would be grateful-- it can't hurt to be prepared.

25 September, 2005

I'm baaaa-aaaaack!

I just got back from a training session to further my career as a paragon of internet safety. Couldn't think of a better location-- Thessaloniki.

Luckily we had some extra time to look around as well. Wandered around downtown with friends and spent a hilarious evening at a club absorbing Greek culture.

But it's also great to be home. I've missed my boys! (all of them!) That, and M's morning smoothies...

B's word of the day: Obstacourse (a fun contraction of "obstacle course")

(Hi Willem! ~wave~)

20 September, 2005

Dubious birthday party plans

S and B are nonstop busy planning their birthday party lately. They go over guest lists and menus ad infinitum-- I feel like the mother of a couple of debutantes! Last weekend S came up with an innovative birthday party idea (probably inspired by the facepainting adventure)-- I tried to play it down and hoped he'd forget about it, but it popped up again yesterday.

He's decided that he wants to have an Incredibles-themed party. We can paint masks on all the kids and then they can take off all their clothes and we can paint red Incredibles suits on them all.

OK. Right. Well, at least that would save us money on spandex...

17 September, 2005

This seems to be a recurring theme...

There was a block party in "downtown" Perk this afternoon. All the other kids at the facepainting booth were asking to be transformed into butterflies, clowns and princesses.

Of course my children had to be the undead...

14 September, 2005


It is breakfast time. B is cramming peanutbutter sandwiches in as fast as he can. At some point his mouth is so full that he cannot, in fact, chew or swallow further. (This is, unfortunately, a normal occurrence) He begins to mumble and cry.

S: Braaaaaaa- haaaaaam! Why is your mouth so full?
B: Because it was dark in there.

S is completely satisfied with this explanation for some reason and goes back to his breakfast. B drinks a glass of milk and slows down. Me? I'm still confused...

13 September, 2005

Master Yoda, is Darth Vader my father?

Sometimes I forget how weird and wonderful a kid's imagination can be-- and then I go upstairs and stumble upon intricately choreographed struggles with the Dark Side...

12 September, 2005

Monster is *not* the tooth fairy!

S and B were having a very deep discussion this morning over breakfast:

S: I miss Monster (our cat), but he's dead.
B: The tooth fairy has a stick, and if she died she could tover herself back to life again
S: Yes, but Monster is *not* the tooth fairy.

Indeed. And I'm reminded that I'm not either-- what I wouldn't give for a magic wand these days! S is still extremely nervous about school. This manifests itself in a lot of Jekyll/ Hyde moments. He's such a perfectionist and is so sensitive-- and he's so worried about doing anything that might set him apart from everyone else. Am trying not to think about how he's going to deal with the transition if he has to change schools...

Coen and Annemarie visited this weekend, which was a lot of fun. Stijn is growing so fast and he's fascinated by his cousins! I'm afraid that he's going to be taking back some souveniers from Brussels: S and B were giving him expert lessons in sofa-jumping and reckless tricycle riding.

M took apart the voyager this weekend to remove the towing hook. I guess I don't even have to tell you how cool the kids thought this was!

07 September, 2005

A "he-man" favorite!

God I love James Lileks! I have no idea where he finds this stuff, but it never fails to crack me up and make me shudder at the same time!

06 September, 2005

Back to school (and a mini-vacation!)

School started on September 1st. S. was very nervous about first grade and all of the new expectations everyone has for him. It's scary for him that there are no toys in the classroom and that he's expected to sit still for long periods. But then yesterday he came home with his workbooks and proudly showed me everything he'd been working on. Have a feeling that this transition won't last very long.

B., however, was estatic! He could barely contain himself-- he was clapping and dancing and mauling his best friend.

Soccer season has started again and I'm trying to morph back into a soccer mom. Never did quite get the hang of it last year-- does one need special shoes or a different mindset? At the moment it's no problem because it gives me an excuse to be outside but think I'll be whistling a different tune when the notorious Belgian autumn strikes.

We went camping in Groningen this weekend. Drove up to meet my parents-in-law and spent a lot of time hiking in the area and just generally relaxing. I actually came back feeling refreshed! We've been getting so bogged down under the stress of everything and really needed to get away! I love getting back to basics-- told a friend at work yesterday that I wished my life could be one long camping trip. He was kind and didn't say anything but I think I'm just reinforcing my reputation as an eccentric about the office.

S. has been pondering marriage a lot lately. (between people he knows and even with family pets!??) And yesterday he came up with this postulate: If you're going to marry someone you should probably ask them first, otherwise the wedding will be a surprise...

Final picture says it all-- Michiel and boys plot to compose the perfect first-day-of-school picture. What do you include? Both boys, backpacks, dog and 300 C Touring, of course!