Monday, June 28, 2010

Hither and Jan

Actually, it's Annemie and Jan (pronounced "yon" lest you not get my pun)...and Bert and Pieter...and they're my parents' amazing neighbors/landlords- Bert and Pieter being their sons. They were seriously the best neighbors great they're practically family. I already miss them! When we arrived, Annemie had already outfitted my parents' house with a crib, colorful kids towels for bathtime, baby dishes, a baby monitor, and a whole host of toys which we got to keep. She's a pharmacist and she gave us all these kids' promotional and bags and travel size products...even a hat and sunglasses! It was like Christmas- we got to open so many new toys. We're still enjoying them now that we're home! They also provided a cooler for our trips and found a car seat for us to borrow, too.

This is how thoughtful Annemie is: they were over one night and I asked about this fruit I'd gotten on a pastry that day I thought was pretty and had never seen before. We figured out what it was, which was really enough for me, but the next morning when we got up there was a little packet of information printed off the internet about this fruit that had been slipped under the front door!

Another night during our visit, they had us all over for dinner and cooked two traditional Belgian dishes for us: stoofvlees and witloof. And they. were. good. Like so good I forgot to take a picture- I just dove right in. To firsts and seconds. And if you know me and taking pictures of know that must be good. I did remember to take pictures of the cherry sundae we had for dessert. :)
It was nice to know when we left that my parents are in such good hands...and that they have some "family" right next door!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Remembering World War II

In Europe, it is hard to forget World War II. And not just because there are reminders of it in the form of monuments and cemeteries's also a big part of the countries' collective memory and it seems the perpetuation of that memory manifests itself in the form of grateful acts of remembrance and care taking even in the younger generations.

The day before America's Memorial Day, we drove (in a cold drizzle) to Margraten Cemetery in The Netherlands and then stood (in a cold drizzle) for their
annual memorial service attended by a number of dignitaries (American and foreign) including the Queen of Holland. There are 8,301 soldiers buried there and each grave is adopted by a local family who, I suppose, visit on occasion and leaves flowers. Very few of the graves were without flowers that day.

We were not the only ones there either. Literally thousands of people attended (in a cold drizzle- with wind). It was such a beautiful thing. A really lovely gesture at which I was honestly overwhelmed.
Later in our travels we were able to visit Bastogne where there is this massive monument and a museum:And we visited the Luxembourg American Cemetery which is where George Patton is buried:This monument marked the site of a temporary cemetery.
And this one marks the place where the 101st Airborne held the line during the Battle of the Bulge. Josh, as a World War II buff and Band of Brothers fan...found all of this particularly fascinating.
All were sobering, but touching reminders.

"Rest on embalmed and sainted dead!
Dear as the blood ye gave;
No impious footstep here shall tread
The herbage of your grave;
Nor shall your glory be forgot
While Fame her record keeps,
For honor points the hallowed spot
Where valor proudly sleeps."
-Theodore O'Hara from "Bivouac of the Dead"

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Our first day trip with Ross (for which we had to rent a van--click here for more on that) was to Brussels, and our first stop there was The Atomium.

"The Atomium was the main pavilion and icon of the World Fair of Brussels (1958), commonly called Expo 58. It symbolised the democratic will to maintain peace among all the nations, faith in progress, both technical and scientific and, finally, an optimistic vision of the future of a modern, new, super-techno
logical world for a better life for mankind.

The peaceful use of atomic energy for scientific purposes embodied these themes particularly well and, so, that is what determined the shape of the edifice. At 102 metres high, with its nine interconnected spheres, it represents an elementary iron crystal enlarged 165 billion(thousand million) times. It was dreamed up by the engineer André Waterkeyn (1917-2005). The spheres, though, were fitted out by the architects André and Jean Polak."
Then it was on to the rest of Brussels- which included a visit to the royal palace:
We (and by we I mean mostly Dad and Josh and Ross) did a lot of this:
Since my Mom is also blogging about our trip- I'm borrowing her posts to save me time and because I certainly couldn't have done better myself! If you don't regularly read her blog, too (and you should)- here are two more links to pics and videos from our trip:
Thanks, Mom! :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Celebration Day

The day Ross arrived in Belgium (the Sunday after we did) we planned to have a "celebration day" where we celebrated all the events in the near future and not-so-distant-past that we wouldn't be together to celebrate:

Ross' Birthday
Mother's Day
Father's Day
Dad's Birthday
Frazier's Birthday
Josh's Birthday
My Birthday

So I guess that makes us all celebrated up March through November!
Happy Everything!

Happy Day-After-Father's-Day!

Once again, I'm a day late posting something, but better late than never, right?

Yesterday, obviously, was Father's Day and while we didn't actually get to see any of the other dads in our lives we appreciated them all the same from afar! Here's to our Dads and grandfathers (click here to see a slideshow about my awesome Dad)- we love you guys so much!!

What we did get to do was spend the day celebrating this fabulous Dad:With Belgian waffles for breakfast. :)
I've bragged on him before, but I'll do it again. He's really more than I could hope for in a husband and father...I don't know what I'd do without him! Frazier's one lucky kid- that's all I'm sayin'.
Happy Day-After-Father's Day!