Wednesday, April 30, 2008

You just flew to Belgium, where are you going now?

Our first Saturday here we went to the Netherlands answer to Disney.
What are the differences?

In Efteling, we had easy parking, very few people and a more nature oriented landscape.

Efteling had "hand-powered" carousels.
"Mom, I'm a horse rider!"

Buttons LOVED the swings.

This ride could have been called "It's a Small World Part 2" but instead it's called Carnaval Festival. Buttons did not like this ride and the "China" portion scared her the most with a big smokey dragon. The big difference between the two rides? I didn't have the song running through my head the rest of the day and that is a good thing.

We really loved it and may even go back before we leave Belgium.
We had a great time and I may share some more pictures.
I do recommend this park for anyone coming to this area with small children.

Now for some sleep...

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Friday, April 25, 2008


Well, we are in full swing in northern Belgium and enjoying it so much that I'm thinking about how much I'll miss it when we have to leave. There's so much rolling around in my head and I'm too tired to get it out coherently, so I'll give you highlights and pictures.

Buttons enjoys her first taste of a "Belgian waffle", which is actually called a Brussels waffle in Belgium. She ordered hers with ice cream.
I ordered mine with strawberries and cream. Mmmmmm.

While we're in Belgium, we're staying at a Bed & Breakfast owned by these lovely people. They have treated us so well, we'll never want to leave. Today they drove Buttons and I to several stores, took us out for those fabulous waffles, showed me how to make delicious mussels and those are just a few things from today.

They have 3 grandchildren and Buttons is having a blast with all of them, especially the cutie shown above. I made fast friends with the boys much to my surprise. I think that bringing this helped. It's a great game and there is no language barrier. Anyway, they are sweet kids and Buttons is having a blast.

Did I mention our apartment is right next to a farm with cows and horses? Yeah, Buttons is completely smitten with this place. Of course, there's the stink that comes from farm animals and Buttons is not too fond of the smell. One time I told her that the cows were ripe and that's her favorite new phrase.

Here are the infamous mussels*. They were delicious and I was amazed that I could make them. Thanks to my "landlady". We're definitely in the honeymoon phase of our Belgium stay and I'm just feeling sad that we'll only be "married" for 2 months.

*I was told that mussels should be served with frites but I haven't purchased any yet but since I had some leftover boiled potatoes, I sauteed them with olive oil and onions and we dipped them in mayonaisse and ketchup. Mayonaisse is traditional, but I still like a bit of ketchup.

We're thinking of going here soon. Crazy?

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

We're Here!

We're in Belgium now and enjoying ourselves. We're doing pretty well with the time change, but I think we still have a few more days before we're truly settled. There's so much to post, but for now I just wanted to let y'all know that we're here and doing well.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008


First day of pre-school 2007-2008

Last day of pre-school 2007-2008

The hair is longer, the face is older, the backpack fits better and she's more relaxed as she gets ready to enter her pre-school on her last day of this school year. It's wonderful to see how much she's grown over this past year and bittersweet knowing it's all flying by so fast. She was brave but sad her first day but after that she loved it. She's going to miss her teachers and her classmates and I will too. We've had many transitions over the past year with a big girl bed, potty training, and we're going over to the dark side of nap free days. Our world just keeps getting bigger and now it's time to expand it even more with our big trip. However, after we leave, a couple of our very best friends are moving to San Francisco and we're going to miss them terribly.


This may be the last post for a little while until we're in Belgium. Currently, you'll find me packing, planning, running errands, prepping our house sitter and looking a little like a deer in the headlights.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Notes on Packing

I've never packed for an extended stay anywhere. The thought that goes into this adventure is taking up too much of my brain power lately. I have many questions and many people have helped with the answers.

How do I pack when the temperatures will vary depending on the country I'm visiting?
Don't take too many clothes, but make sure they all work together and layer.
Black goes together.

What kind of toys should I bring?
Send a box to yourself over in Europe and have Buttons pick out a portion by herself.
I have yet to do that, but as the packing reaches its climax, I'm thinking it's a good idea.

What should I pack so I don't stand out too much?
Black clothing always works and avoid sneakers.
Well, I'm not taking tennis shoes (probably) or jeans and I have a fair amount of black which is European, but is also good for hiding stains. When I told Buttons we won't be taking jeans she asked why and I told her that people in Europe don't wear jeans as much and she said "but I do". Yup, you do and we'll take a pair for you. I know when she's 13 her need to fit in may be in high gear, so I'm definitely going to honor her desire to be herself and not conform. It's a good lesson for me too. Besides, when I told a friend I was trying not to stand out, she gave me a look that said "who are you trying to fool, you will stand out no matter how much black you wear". Yes, a large blonde woman with a thin, handsome man and a dark-haired Chinese American daughter full of questions and silliness is not going to fade into the woodwork (or stonework) and I'm ok with that.

How much should I take?
Pack like you're going away for 2 weeks, not 2 months.
Ok, I put that in a previous post and I'm putting it here again to try and get it into my head. It's not easy advice to follow, let me tell you. I refuse to take less than 7 pairs of underwear and am a little inclined to take 10. But you know I'm going to do laundry at least once or twice a week since I'm not taking too many clothes.

Anyway, I could go on, but I won't because at this point, it all seems rather boring and annoying and I'm just ready to be on that plane. Save me now from my crazy list of things to do, to remember and to pack. Please.*

*Ok, I realize now I'm asking for a bit of sympathy about packing up for a fabulous long trip to Europe and Russia. Yeah, I don't expect the comments to be too nice. I'm very lucky and thankful, but also a bit crazed right now.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday Morning

This morning started out with a whine. We were in a rush to get to church and we were all too tired. Buttons couldn't decide what to wear and everything was wrong and she let us know it. At a certain point I almost gave up trying to get our buns out the door. We were very late and I couldn't wait to sit down with Hubby for a bit of peace with my knitting while Buttons went to Sunday school. The service was good and with my nerves settled I was looking forward to reuniting with Buttons.

So I went to her room and the teacher informed me that the topic of the day was families and that included adoption. When the teacher asked the children about adoption, Buttons raised her hand and answered...

"Adoption is love."

Um yeah. I melted in a puddle of happy tears when I heard that.

Before I met Buttons I read many books on adoption and one of the things I remember reading was how adoptive parents can have difficulties discerning typical behaviors from adoption issues. I don't claim to speak for all adoptive parents, but for me I think I'll always have that small part of me that wonders sometimes. We've discussed adoption with her and now she seemed focused on pretending to have babies, sometimes "from China" and sometimes a biological child. I know she's processing and I was just hoping the big message would come through. I don't think we've ever phrased it quite the way she did in Sunday school, but her answer gave me the knowledge that she understands the most important thing about adoption and for that I am thankful.

Yeah, I'm glad we went to church.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Welcome to the World Miss M.!

Remember Rocco and Rita? So, Rocco and Rita are one of those couples in the folklore of adoption who get pregnant after getting pretty far in the process and Miss M. was born March 28th with much joy and jubilation. So, yesterday we went for a visit to meet the divine Miss M. along with Rocco's parents. Do I have some lovely pictures to share? No, because I forgot to bring my camera. (Aaarrgghh!) Let me just tell you that Miss M. is lovely and I was able to hold her while Buttons looked over my shoulder with the sweetest joy and hubby was able to feed her while Buttons adored the cutie-pie.

As I said, we met Rocco's parents who are also from the mid-west and I must say I miss the people from that area. They were welcoming to us after their long trip, fed us the home-made lunch they brought with them and talked with us like we were old friends. Rocco and Rita were relaxed and thoroughly enjoying parenthood. Buttons had a blast seeing Miss M. and being entertainment for the adults. We had veggie soup, salad and yummy cookies all made with love. It was a warm, sunshine day. Outside it was nice too.

On the way home, we told Buttons she could sleep.
Her response was to ask "why".
I told her "then you won't have to take a nap when we get home".
"Ok Mom, goodnight."
And then she went to sleep.
Rocco and Rita, it'll be a while before Miss M. succumbs to that.
I was a bit floored by it yesterday.

(Buttons asleep in car is a "stock" photo.)

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Thursday, April 03, 2008


Yes, I know it's almost three weeks after Easter for this post,
but I had to post my favorite pictures from the day...

The bunny ears didn't last too long, but the goggles
were on her head for the good portion of a week.

She wants to take her Barney guitar to Belgium.
Am I a bad mom to say no?
(Either way, I'm not taking it.)

Ham is traditional on Easter, right?

She loves phones.

Outfit and smirk by Buttons.

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