“When the teacher said Belgium, I didn’t know too much.
Is that where they have a lot of waffels and such?
Looked at a map, saw a country north of France, that’s when I started…
I started to sing and dance.
Oh, if you want to have fun with me, oh Belgium is where I’ll be.
Waffels for breakfast and lunch and dinner too.
We’ll take the train in the rain on down to Waterloo.
Kick off our shoes and socks, cuz you know that BELGIUM ROCKS! …”
Lyrics for the “Belgium Rocks” song from an episode of the great series about a talking dog, Martha Speaks.
Belgium does rock.
We’ve been there quite a lot. And we’ve been singing and dancing to this song almost as much. (Especially the month we thought we’d be moving to Belgium.)
Imagine the horror to open Jacob’s homework folder and discover this:
WHA? How is it possible for anyone not to love Belgium? This is not my child.
Interesting note: Belgium has more castles than every other European country. They’re just not what we expect them to be—closer to estate or manor houses. Even in Germany, which is known for their castles, most are reproductions build in the late 1800s. I talked a little about that here.
Worst snowman ever? Possibly. The day after it snowed Matt rolled the trampled down, melting snow into a dirty, leafy, lumpy snowman. With walnut eyes and nose, Christmas tree branch arms, a leaf for a mouth and bicycle helmet. So ugly. So funny.
The kids delayed destroying him long enough for me to get a picture. Then they ripped his arms out and stabbed him with them. They kicked, punched and stomped him into a mound of dirty, leafy, melty snow. Then came inside and watched “Frosty the Snowman.” Kids rule.
Note Matt kicking his head off in the picture below.
M O R E P H O T O S From Snowman. Shot December 9, 2012
Been a relatively mild winter for Germany (so far). We had approximately two days of snow and now are back to lower to mid-40s temps. That’s how winter should be, right?
It snowed on a Friday; the kids were up at 6:30 the next morning to play in it. I made them wait until after 8 to go out for their scheduled snowball fight. I didn’t participate (this time) and snapped a few photos instead. Too early to get all dressed weather appropriate. And I probably enjoy throwing snowballs at them a little too much. (Try it. It’s fun. More fun if you put a rock in the middle. Just kidding!)
Jacob has also not taken off the snow boots since. The other day he wore too small, tight red fleece pants (tucked into the boots) and a camouflage hooded sweatshirt with a gray zip-up jacket over it. It was quite an outfit. But who am I to stifle his creativity…or, worse, have to pick out his clothes.
M O R E P H O T O S From Snow Day. Shot December 8, 2012
Nicholas’s Christmas concert was last week. It was interesting. I went fully expecting to hear the kids belt out the standard “Frosty the Snowman,” Jingle Bells” etc. Instead they sang songs about Ramadan and Kwanzaa, and the Hanukkah song was not “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel.” Weird huh? It is an international school and I do appreciate the inclusiveness. But no surprise Nicholas didn’t know the words to most of the songs. And when he saw me he, he watched where I was more than he sang.
Note how elaborate some of the costumes are. See that big Christmas tree? There’s a kid inside it. Some parents go overboard. All I did was sew some white strips on a red shirt.
M O R E P H O T O S From Nicholas' Christmas concert. Shot Dec 6 2012
It’s been a long time since I posted anything. So what have we been up to…
Jacob lost his first top tooth on the 15th. It was was barely hanging on and so gross. At one point there was a piece of pepper or something stuck inside it so it looked like it was black. Once he closed his mouth and it was sticking straight out from between his lips, hillbilly style. I was so happy when it finally fell out. It was dis-gus-ting.
The tooth fairy brought him a euro for the tooth. And Jacob gave it to Nicholas (he wanted to sneak in and put it under his pillow while he was sleeping). Jacob said he already had 6€ and that’s enough to buy 2 Lego Hero Factory guys (one of those two for Nicholas). Was there a mix up at the hospital? Sometimes I wonder how he got so nice. I would never have given money to my brother or sister.
Here he is, in desperate need of a haircut, at the Borefts Beer Festival on Friday (more on that later). His drawing says “Oh! this beer is heavy!” I believe that is the start of a drawing of De Molen windmill off to the side.
In other news: I got a job. It’s advertising/graphic design. Not very challenging and not great pay, but does it feel good to get back to work! One thing I never talked a lot about was how hard it was when we moved here—going from running a department to managing two toddlers. And there’s no amount of personal satisfaction to be gained from spending your days doing things like laundry. (Which is probably why we travel so much. And why there’s a big-ass pile of unfolded and unwashed clothes in the basement.) I was really looking forward to doing some things on my own while the kids are in school, but I guess now with a job, we can afford to do more. Like…
Go to Morocco! Seriously. Some friends volunteered to watch our kids, so we’re thinking maybe a week in the spring. I should probably do more than just think about it. This year has flown by. I feel like I woke up yesterday and it was August. Tomorrow it will be October. We’re pulling out the sweaters, and the leaves are starting to turn. I hate to think I’ll wake up again and it will be spring. And then it will be time pack up and start a new adventure somewhere. Somewhere much less interesting, I’m sure.
We’re starting to get a routine down between school and work. So look for more regular posting soon.
Nicholas is my idiot-savant. He showed his teachers the savant part last week during a literacy assessment. Then, presumably, the idiot part during the motor-skills testing the next day.
We sat in on the literacy and skills testing. It’s fascinating to see the logic of little kid’s minds. It went like this.
Teacher: I’m going to give you a block, and you tell me what color it is. So, if I give you this block, you’d say… Nicholas: Orange. Test begins. Teacher gives Nicholas a yellow block. Teacher: What color is this? Nicholas grabs a red block. Nicholas: This (red block) and this (yellow block) make orange. Teacher: What color is that one? Nicholas: They mix together and make orange. Teacher: That’s correct. Nicholas: They mix together. Teacher: But what color is this one? Nicholas: Yellow.
Teacher: For this one, I need my timer. Nicholas points to a bin labeled “time.” Nicholas: There’s time over there. It says time over there.
Teacher: For this one you have to watch closely… Nicholas bugs out his eyes and moves his head around in circular motion. He’s “watching closely.” (It was hilarious. It took everything not to laugh disruptingly loud.)
Teacher: Can you sing the ABCs? Nicholas: Yes, I’m very good at it.
(He is. And distinctly said each letter: l, m, n, o, p. As a kid, I don’t how long I thought “elem-en-toe-pee” was a letter.)
After each activity, Nicholas clapped and leaned over to read what the teacher was writing on the score card. (I warned her he could read.) He didn’t do everything perfectly; scary if he did. He thought his knuckles were his shoulder or shin. He thought a picture of a shoe was a computer mouse, couldn’t put one block “between” two others, etc.
Then when it was over, he tried repeatedly to put his backpack on sideways. He whined, “Eeeeh!” every time he couldn’t get his arm in the sideways-backpack strap. That’s how I imagine thee entire motor-skills test went. A lot of “Eeeeh! Eeeeh! Eeeeh!”