Thursday, January 19, 2017


Every morning , around the time that my alarm clock starts playing, we hear the front door opening. Then there's noise of ladders being opened , material carried upstairs, people climbing on the scaffolding in front of our windows.  

After a break over Christmas and the new year, the renovation works have picked up again. We started the year with an insulated roof. In the mean time the south side has been tiled and has its window.  The floor of the 2nd floor has been renewed and walls on the 2 top floors are rising. The plumbing and electricity piping is prepared this week and the first walls are getting closed so we start feeling the "spaces" that have been recreated.

But I have to admit that I only climb up there once or twice a week and it's usually hard to see a lot in the darkness in the mornings and evenings.  It's good to see the progress but it's hard to think it'll still take many more weeks before we'll be able to move the boys into their new rooms....we'll have to continue to camp out together in our bedroom for now, which can be quite a challenge some nights. 

Unfortunately the renovations have invaded our living spaces as well as cables and tubes had to descend to the connections in the basement.  But they do their best to be as clean as you can be when drilling in the walls. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Visiting Beertjes godfather

Even though Beertje is still unaware to concepts of "New Year" and "New Year's letters" and even his godfather, we paid his godfather a visit at the start of this New Year. It's always nice to have a good excuse to go and visit our friends.  It's crazy how little you get to see friends even when they live really closeby.

There were some other godchildren present that afternoon, so we got to listen to their new year's letters and Kabouter ensured he assisted in extra present unwrapping, even though none of the presents were for him.

Beertje enjoyed the quality time with his godfather but at the end of the afternoon he started to whine as it was urgently time for his nap.   We set-up a little baby bed in the bedrooms and I rushed back downstairs to go and get the whining Beertje out of Jan's arms....


I had ran right into their glass living room door and while I saw some little decorations fell of the shelving above the door, I leaned against the wall trying to wonder what had just happened while everyone gathered around me from all directions, worried because of the noise of my crash.

Beertje enjoyed a second breath and started to play again while I tried to grasp my breath again with some refrigerated ice pack on my head.

But fortunately I have a solid head so a little later I could put back the ice pack, reassuring everyone that I was all right and go gently put Beertje in bed for his much needed nap.

the day after

And so all was fine again for a nice evening among friends, with too much good food and a lot of playing friends for our little ones.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Beertjes first snow - sledging with the boys

After a week following the adventures of Witch in the snow at our place, we drove to the Ardennes before the predicted black ice would create chaos on the roads.

On Saturday we only ventured out to do some grocery shopping, also before the rain was in the east and stayed at home.  Unfortunately the fun in the snow had to be postponed as Kabouter had caught a virus that kept him with fever in bed.  So we did lots of hanging around in our pyjama's, family napping and watching tv. It was a cosy day at home with raclette in the evening and a beautiful snow landscape outside the windows (and a visiting robin).

Kabouter seemed a bit better on Sunday so we ventured out for a long sledging walk with the children. We dug up our ski pants that had been idle in the closet for a year and Kabouter and I tested our new snow boots successfully.  It was Beertje's first time in the snow and he took it in very stoically. After a while in the sledge, he even started to nap.  Go figure.  Kabouter enjoyed himself and ordered us to make a really really really long walk.

We walked via local roads and the ravel L48 to the nearby villages and looped back. We were almost alone on the road. I'm so glad we know the local roads so we could avoid the over crowded tourist hot spots a few kms further  (we saw the parking lines at the Botrange / Mong Rigi / Baraque Michel when going home...pfff too busy as soon as there is snow!). After 2 hours both the boys had enough and both were whining big time by the time we got home.  The youngest one relaxed at home once he had had food, the oldest one needed to nap but got up with fever again...not yet cured.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Grocery shopping with the kids

Kabouter loves grocery shopping. For me it's a necessary duty which I try to avoid but Jan and Kabouter enjoy strolling along all the departments of a super market.

We recently got a compliment from other people how well behaved Kabouter is. Well, he runs around with loud enthousiastic shreeks, he dares to disappear from our sight (to go and visit the lobsters or to reappear with a bag of chips to put in the cart), he wants to help push the cart as a sort of kamikaze pilot or he rides along on the sides,   he yells "hellooooo" to unexpecting shoppers, etc... Never a dull moment.

But all in all, I guess he is indeed relatively well behaved.  While he constantly finds new snacks "Mommy , we did not try these", he accepts when we state we already have enough cookies and will not buy them, ....he turns around with a sad face but brings back the bag of chips or weird type of juice he dragged to us to where he found it (and then yells that we need to come help to put it back in the rack).  He hugs the huge M and M's doll that inconveniently stands at the waiting line for the cash registers but he doesn't whine to buy some. He shows in the racks what we have and what we don't have as a walking inventory (or alternatively what grandma has or what daycare has...I get to know your inventory as well!)

His favourite activity is helping us weigh fruits and vegetables.  So I try to buy as much as possible in bulk and then put my assistant on the stand with scales where he tries to find the right button in a real fruit/vegetable puzzle on the touch screen.  

At the same time his little brother is looking around and around and around with big wide curious eyes...until he sometimes crashes asleep hanging on my belly. He can sit in the cart by now, but it's not ideal yet.

Placing his order for Sinterklaas again...he assumes Sinterklaas comes by with a higher frequency during the year

Monday, January 9, 2017

He walks with chairs

He really started to consciously push the little chair forward and walk with it through the living room and then he moves to locations where he can do more mischief ;)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Kabouter's first "camp" in the jungle

Kabouter went to his first toddler camp this Christmas vacation: 5 mornings he and 2 of his classmates joined other toddlers to "explore the jungle". Every time we picked them up we got to see a little "jungle" dance, we heard each day that they still had not found the snake in the woods and at the end of the week we received some crafts (toilet paper roll binoculars and that type of stuff). He seemed to really enjoy himself and was enthusiastic to go.

As for us, these toddler camps are not a very practical way to find care for our children as it's only half days for another 2 years. So for the first time, we had to arrange with other parents to alternate taking care of the children for one or more afternoons.