Thursday, August 18, 2016


Jeff's sister and her family moved to Belgium! A week ago. They hadn't even beaten jet lag yet before we were bouncing on over there, energetically. I mean, because who doesn't want a whole clan of visitors 5 days after moving to a new country? ;) It became painfully obvious how desperate for family time we have been. On thursday night, we jokingly entertained the idea, but it wasn't long before a very last minute road trip to belgium was on our agenda. We hopped into the car the next morning and drove the 7 hours (plus stops) to the small little village of Chatre; 30 minutes outside of Brussels in the Belgian countryside.

Jane barely even grazed or glanced at her cousins as she bee-lined straight to the trampoline. It wasn't long after that though, that she realized that having cousins to play with beats jumping on a trampoline by far!

^^ As with any toddler girl friends, a love hate relationship ensued with these two cuties ^^
 ...Mostly love, though.
Zoe stole my heart. She'd steal yours too.

The next morning, we took it slow (which was SO nice). We got ready, ate breakfast, and then drove to Brussels. It was a nice change of pace to not be on the go 24/7, like we usually are when we travel.
 ^^ can you tell that Jane idolizes Sam? I loved that Kim's kids all LOVE getting their pictures taken. They were the most willing and adorable little models :)
We got to Brussels, miraculously found parking next to each other, and took a full 30 minutes un-packing strollers, baby carriers, and 5 children out of our cars! Ha! 
Had to document Lyla's first time in the bigger carrier. (Jane informed me that, out of all the pictures of this trip, THIS ^^ one is her favorite. Further proof of her undying adoration for her baby sister.)
 I've never seen a European city so crowded and busy! #august #touristseason
 ^^ this airplane stole the show for all the kids. Forget the old, enormously ornate buildings surrounding us.
 As it turns out, we picked a good weekend to come to Brussels because they had their annual "Flower Carpet" in the main square! It was made entirely of grass, flowers, and mulch. Really incredible!
 trying to get a picture with the flower carpet in the background, without the obstruction of a selfie stick, was a serious task. 
If there is one thing that Brussels taught me, it is to never, ever say no to a famous Belgian waffle. Particularly when topped with strawberries, a mound of fresh cream, and sinfully delicious caramel syrup. Jeff shared with Jane, I shared with Lyla and he got the short end of the stick because that girl had a hard time letting any ounce of 'her' waffle go into somebody else's mouth.
It was actually as delicious as it looks. Maybe even more delicious than it looks.
Lyla!! Creamed in the face, in the best way possible. The only complaint I have is that the forks were about the size of my pinky (if you squint, you can see it in jeff's hand...ha!), which made it a bit more difficult (but not impossible) to wolf down.
 Her face when she realized the waffle we were sharing was gone. I felt the same way.
YUM. There's 22 reasons to return to Brussels, just in this picture! ^^
This little weird statue is the most famous in Belgium. Nobody knows why a little boy peeing has captured the hearts and interest of the entire country. But he has, and you can't seem to escape it. The peeing boy is to Belgium as the statue of liberty is to the United States. And it's perplexing.
 After the waffles, we went to the museum which so conveniently had a balcony we could stand on to see an aerial view of the flower carpet. Jane exclaimed "wow, it's so beautiful mom!" and begged and begged for me to let her sit on the ledge. It was as if she wanted to drop 100 feet to her death. So yeah, a little tantrum ensued up here.
Jane picked the white chocolate truffle. Which, to me, sounds gross. But to her, tastes like heaven. Lyla just licked the chocolate off of my fingers after I ate the chocolate mousse truffle. While us adults were trying to decide which chocolates to get, Jane was in the corner with the sample jar, sneaking piece after piece, and also handing pieces out to all her cousins. One of her favorite things to say is "Haha mommy! Am I being SO sneaky?!"
 We finished by grabbing some fries with all sorts of different sauces. So we basically just ate our way through the city, if you haven't caught on by now. The kids were all really good, and not terribly whiney. So for having a small army of children with us, it went pretty smooth!
 This cracks me up. Jane was singing and talking to herself in the car mirror. Realllllly getting into it there.
 Jeff unpacking Lyla; and Jane, lost in a deep conversation with herself. After exploring Brussels, Kim wanted to go to IKEA which is always a good idea if you ask me. I love that place. Jeff hates it. But because it was Kim's idea, he was on board and didn't even complain too much. I had fun walking around with Kim, because she appreciates it the way I do :) On our way back we drove by this awesome monument where the Battle of Waterloo happened. Apparently the only battle Napoleon ever lost, and Jeff was about to pee his pants over it so we had to stop for a picture!
 And I'm grateful we went to IKEA and stayed awhile because if we hadn't, I wouldn't have been able to snap this beauty on our drive home.

The next day was sunday so we got up, got all dressed up, and went to church. Afterwards, I had to force the girls into a little photo-op because they were all wearing these adorable dresses that Kim got for us in Cambodia. Couldn't handle the cuteness.
Wasn't lucky enough to get a pic of all 4 girls smiling, but had some real close calls. I just love all 4 of those sweeties so darn much!! 

 There it is again: the scowl. 
And: the smile.

After a relaxing afternoon, and eating dinner, we went on a long walk around the neighborhood. Their neighborhood kinda reminds me of the small german towns so we felt right at home :)
The bumble-bee and her scooter :)
 What a cute little clan :)
We saw geese, horses, and cows! Almost like a zoo, as far as the young kids were concerned. 
Lyla staring, and saying "mooooo!" at the cow. She just sat there and said it over, and over for a good 15 minutes. Completely mesmerized. This girl is so obsessed with animals. Her greatest thrill of any day is whenever she spots an animal. Dogs are her very favorite, but after this little encounter, I'd say cows are a close second. 
 Jane and Zoe, both trying to stick their tongues out like the cow. He was licking his nostrils, and they both put forth their most valiant effort to do the same. Didn't quite make it though ;)
 In a cow trance. And Zoe was so obsessed with Lyla and would always want to push her in the stroller. It was so adorable.
 Jane and Eliza ran most of the way home! This was taken right before Eliza biffed it.

I so enjoyed this little trip. I always ask Jane what her favorite part of our trips are. This one, she quickly replied with "Playing with my cousins!" As I suspected. We are all SO happy to have family nearby. Trying not to clobber them, but no promises. 

On monday, we ate breakfast, and Kim and I went on a run while jeff packed up the car. (Which I really appreciated) Then we started for the drive back home. We stopped at the Chipotle in Frankfurt on the way home which was a delicious and much needed break. Jeff took both girls and let me walk around the mall for like 30 minutes by myself. Isn't that the perfect thing to do in the middle of a long road trip: a pit stop to eat and shop? Well, in my mind it is :)

1 comment:

  1. I love this!! Wish I was there to explore Europe with y'all! So glad you both have family somewhat nearby now!



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