Saturday, August 16, 2014

Playground, Brussels Style

If the monkey could go to 1 playground every day for the rest of his life, I have a feeling he would choose "The Brussels Playground". He asks to go to Brussels because he wants to go to the playground there! Other playgrounds can be nice and fun for a few minutes, but the Brussels playground we have to drag him away from. It's located in Brussels Park - which is across the street from the Royal Palace - and it's a beautiful park! So today when we went to Brussels for the Brussels Flower Carpet we promised him that we would also go to the park and playground!
You might wonder why he likes this park over all other parks...I think it the simple explanation that he can do everything. The slides he can climb up to, the swings he can swing on, there's a sand box, there are ropes he can hang on/attempt to climb...there are areas where he can just play...there are pigeons he can chase, and it's a closed playground so he can open and close the doors not only for us but for everyone else too...and if you know the monkey you know how much he likes to open and close doors!
Today, since there weren't very many kids there he got brave and tried "the nest"...he "climbed"/crawled across it to where I was standing and then he was DONE with it!
After playing on everything a few times he decided he wanted to go back to the rings...
He loves hanging on them...and he can hang for quite a while...unfortunately daddy also loves the rings...
As you can imagine it can sometimes pose a problem - for the monkey...
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But they did work it out and then it was time to move on to the next thing!
Unfortunately after a few hours playing it came time to go...someone was tired...so we did 1 more round
and then we left
But boy was it a fun day!! Oh yeah, and one last picture...it's the Modern Carillion clock on the arch in the Mont des Arts...which is what we walk under when we walk back to the train station from the park and I always forget to take a picture - today I remembered!

Brussels Flower Carpet

WOW - did we pick the right year to move to Belgium! Seriously, if we had picked a year before or even next year, we could've possibly missed out on this spectacular phenomenon...hmmm...I think I just blew it a little out of proportion...But every 2 yrs Brussels has a crew of people come in and set up a "Turkish Carpet" in the middle of the Grand Place - and it's made out of begonias! (Go Google 'begonia' if you need to) It started in the 1970's and it happens on Ascension weekend (which is a National holiday here) - so this was the weekend! I have to say I was SUPER excited!! I was sad that my mom was missing it by a mere 3 days (I thought about changing her ticket in fact)... I mean these people plan 1 yr in advance by making a drawing of what they want the carpet to look like, blowing it up (the "carpet" is 75 x 25 meters), figuring out what colors and how many begonias they're going to need and then they put the carpet together in 1 day (well really less than a day) and it's up for just the weekend! How crazy, amazing is that?!

Looking at the weather we decided that today looked like it might be the best day for it (rain showers were expected off and on all weekend)...so we went 1st thing this morning - you know so we would miss the crowds and all...
Really there weren't many people there - but I don't know if later on there are tons or not...there was a long line for going up to City Hall's balcony and looking down, figure that line is probably always long...
But I have to be honest and say, it was pretty, but it wasn't something amazing...
Don't get me wrong - it's definitely a work of art...the people who created it are artists, and there was a lot of work that went into it...
But I guess my expectations were really high...I thought it was going to be incredible and really, it was pretty but it wasn't anything I would travel to see (obviously now that I've seen it)...and had I traveled specifically to see this, I would've been disappointed...(so I was glad I hadn't switched my mom's ticket after all because it definitely was not worth the charge for a ticket change)
I am glad I was able to see it, but I'm glad it was only a short train ride (30 min) and that there were other things to do as well...
Especially with the monkey - who was excited to see it too, and then as soon as he saw it he was done and was ready to go to the playground...
We did walk the whole way around it...you know to see all the angles...and to see how long the line was to get into City Hall...you know - see if it would be worth it to wait (send the monkey and Rusty up to the park)...but honestly people were just standing up on the balcony there wasn't any movement and the line to go up moved just a little but not much...and I know it would've been pretty...but I just didn't feel like standing around waiting because I just didn't think it would be worth the wait...
But I did learn a couple of things while walking around...the 1st was that you can create all this color in your own yard!! They gave the secret of the carpet out!! Okay, so you'd have to do a little more work that just planting the flowers for the actual carpet to take shape...
Without actually creating the design of a carpet prior to planting your flowers you might just end up with something like this...
And while beautiful and full of vibrant colors - it's definitely no Turkish carpet...(there was a little flower stand on the side of the carpet selling flowers...a normal Saturday market in Brussels - just pushed to the side)

OH, and the 2nd thing I learned was there is now a Starbucks coffee on the Grand Place!! Maybe it's been there for awhile, but today was the 1st time I've ever seen it...
We did have fun. I'm glad we went...because it's one of those things that once I learned about it I wanted to see it...but now that I've seen it, I feel like I can check it off my list: "Seen it!" Even though I know every year it's a different design - so it would be different...to me fields of tulips are more impressive...but I know that's just one perspective. I'm sure there are other people who find this to be absolutely breathtaking and something everyone needs to see...it just didn't resonate with me. If you're in Brussels when it happens - it's worth checking out, but if not, don't be upset that you missed it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Big Shirt Day

He woke up bouncy...literally bouncing in his bed. When I opened his car door (how else can he get out of his "car bed" the door must be opened first) he literally bounced off the bed and onto the floor and kept bouncing...he was pretty much Tigger! As I changed his diaper he started screaming...not like "Aaaahhh" but more like "AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" When I asked him why he was screaming at the top of his lungs, he looked at me and said, quite seriously, "The babies are all awake so it's okay to scream mom." You see, I usually keep him quiet when he first wakes up - I mean I don't want him waking all of our neighbors up, and their kids, at some insane hour in the morning...but he's been sleeping in till almost 8 am the past week, so not some insane early hour that I have to keep him quiet... (It might also be helpful to know that when he gets upset and just needs to scream - he goes to his room to scream and then he'll come back out once he's calmed down again...this way he's not sitting at the dinner table or doing some random thing screaming his head off...and he's in control too...I just say "If you want/need to scream you can go to your room and yell and come back out when you're done." and he does! It's great!! But I guess he now thinks he can yell in his room whenever!) 
He decided he wanted to wear his new shirt from the summer library reading program...it's a little big, so he decided he didn't need to wear any pants...and since it was raining at the time I figured we weren't going to be going out anytime soon so I'd let him go pantless...but when he sat down to eat breakfast this is what happened.
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Please don't be alarmed at the green lips...he was eating powdered green barley by the spoonful - which he loves - before he decided he was ready for breakfast.
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I just kept doing short videos so they'd be sure to upload on here...so you could experience what a breakfast with a fully charged monkey was like...it was seriously like someone gave him a shot of espresso before I got him out of his room!
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That's not to say most mornings aren't like this...but he's not always as ramped up as soon as he gets out of bed...sometimes it takes 15-20 min for him to get to this point...
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And yes, he locked Oscar in the garbage and then danced around like a crazy kid to clean his head off...but that's just normal...he's always locking Oscar in "his house" and he hates being dirty!
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Don't worry though, he finally calmed down enough to eat 2 bowls of cereal and a peach...but then the fun started again...seriously I was sitting on the floor (while he ate I sat on the floor and drank my coffee) and we were playing when all of a sudden he came up to me, looked me in the eye and said "What's going on mom...what's going on?" so I of course had to try and get it on video because it was just too cute! Of course he then became camera shy - but he did say it!!
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Then out of nowhere he looked at me and said "Don't give up mom...don't give up!" Now you might be wondering where he came up with that and it's all because I get exasperated with him (at times) and I say "Bubby, I give up, if you're not going to feed yourself - then you're done...I'm not going to sit here and try to feed you anymore." or at other times when he wants to help and then he refuses to listen - which happens quite a bit - but at certain times when that happens I say - "I give up, if you're not going to listen you don't get to help."...but I guess I say it more than I thought because he's now repeating it back to me at times when he gets upset with me "I give up mom...I give up!" but today's "Don't give up mom" was priceless!
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Of course after sitting in the kitchen for awhile (almost 2 hrs - some days he eats forever) the rain had stopped - so I was trying to convince him to go outside so we could stomp in mud puddles - but all he wanted to do was "Chase" - which is where we run around the house chasing each other and "scaring" each other...
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So that's what we did...and then I tried to convince him again to go outside...but nope that didn't work, instead he decided he was hungry and really all he wanted were "coconut patteries" (paleo peppermint patties, which is made with coconut and monkey approved - keep them in the freezer and they taste like peppermint patties) but he never remembers the name!
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He gets a little upset when he wants sometime immediately...but thankfully he does calm down super fast and actually talks - it's one way to keep the initial tantrum short "I can't understand you when you scream and cry" but it doesn't mean the tantrum won't return...if you, for instance, say "no" to what he wants the tantrum is back unless you can distract him while saying no...but this time - it was lunchtime and I figured, "hey we've had a fun morning he can have a little treat while I get lunch ready!" so I was fine with giving him a "coconut/chocolate pattery" before lunch...but it is definitely not something that happens often...
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You hear that? No not the sniffles, the silence...ahh...coconut/chocolate patteries make everyone silent!
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They also have the ability to make you zone out, stuff your face, and dance...
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Yeah, the dancing...honestly who needs music?! Oh and notice at the end his key phrase right now: "No I can't." usually followed by mom or mommy...
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Seriously, these things are that good (okay and he's never had a regular peppermint patty, but they are pretty good)
We did eventually change clothes...going on the deck and stomping in the teeny, tiny puddles didn't even mean he had to change clothes (yes I convinced him to do that at least while I got his lunch together - since I videoed him eating rather than get his lunch together earlier!), however sitting down on the deck meant we had to change clothes...and with a change of clothes came a change of scenery (and lunch). After lunch he said "All done. I'm going to a party...I'm going to a party!" so I asked if he was going to a dog party (like in Go Dog! Go!) but he responded with "Nope, a different party." With that he picked up a church brochure I had picked up in Amsterdam and he sat down to read it!
Obviously his parties are very different from the parties I think of...
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No question about it though, this kid liked Amsterdam - he keeps asking to go back...I don't know if it was that he didn't have to take naps or if it was the place we stayed (which he calls the "Play house") but he loved it, and heck I don't blame him - I loved it too...just the next time I go I don't really want to take him with me - so I can actually see the insides of the buildings!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Packing for a trip

Tray Travel - the newest and best way to travel
This morning the monkey decided he was going to go on a trip! And really who am I to stand in his way - especially when I didn't have to do anything. Okay, okay, I had to help put the "pen" back in the holder on his "computer"...but really other than that he packed everything himself!
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Okay and I had to help clear a spot for him to sit...
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But when I asked him what he was taking - I mean I wanted to make sure he was ready for his trip he said "I have snacks, a drink, computer, camera phone, medicine for allergies - just in case, bag..." WHO is this kid and where did my baby go?! Seriously - "medicine for allergies - just in case"?! Um, yeah - he's prepared and ready for a trip anywhere! Can you tell he's gone on lots of trips - especially day trips out?!
This was our conversation (the video wouldn't upload) as he sat down on the tray next to his things for his trip with his green turtle bag on his lap - it's the only place it would fit.
Me: Where are you going?
Monkey: Brussels, not Pairi Daiza...Pairi Daiza is very crowded for you...it has a ramp for yeewww.
Me: It does? Are you going to go up the ramp?
Monkey: Nope, not yet. When it's not too crowded Owen can go up the ramp..."
Me: That's true
Monkey: When it's a holiday you can't go in it.
Me: When it's a holiday it's very crowded
Monkey: Uh-huh. When it's a holiday it's very crowded.
After he went on his trip he was ready to sit down and eat breakfast - a huge breakfast...guess he didn't take as many "snacks" as he really needed.

Today was such a great day! We've had a rough couple of weeks - not horrible, just rough - but today was great! We played and cooked and played and the next thing I knew it was lunchtime! Then after his nap we had a great afternoon and evening I'm SO hoping that this is the trend for at least a couple of days, but if not at least I had 1 great day! I'm thinking it's because the full moon is now behind us...oh and the full moon last night looked like this...
and then like this...the picture on the left is from the same spot as the picture above...and the picture on the right is the moon shining right in my face at bedtime...
 

Bonus picture: This afternoons storm and tonight's sunset...because I know you wanted to see them

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sleep deprivation, teething...oh yeah, and there's a full moon on the 10th!

In life there are those weeks that seem to drag on and on and on and on...this was one of those weeks for me, and I think the monkey thought so you! Every morning he'd wake up and within 10 min he would be throwing a tantrum - tears, throwing his body around, screaming...that's right, so fun. And then the rest of the day would just flow from there - tantrums, fun and laughter, tantrums, fun and laughter...honestly it wasn't that we were having bad days it was just that they were long, never-ending days...Friday was the best day of the week, not because it was Friday (to a SAHP - stay at home parent - all days are the same) but I think his final 2 year molar broke through so he was in a little less pain...but I'm not 100% positive because trying to look in his mouth is really hard to do - I usually have to tempt him with the idea that he'll be able to bite my finger! Yeah, see - it's not something I do all the time, but every once in awhile I have to take a look to see what's going on. I find it hilarious though - he has no problem, and actually begs to brush his teeth...but when I ask if he can open up so I can just look at his molars you'd think I was trying to pull a tooth out by his reaction. Kids...

So Friday - because it was the best day of the week I decided to take videos when he did cute/funny things...of course like most of the time - I didn't catch it right when he started but more towards the tail end. Take for instance this video, for about 5 minutes he was talking and chatting about everything he saw on the bookshelf and around the room...just talking to himself, not needing any dialog...but I just enjoyed him talking and didn't video at first - I just sat and laughed internally.
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He was supposed to be sitting in his chair, facing the table, and eating his lunch...
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Don't worry if you don't understand all of what he says there are times I have to have him repeat something because it sounds like something else - or he's made up a word and I have no clue what he's talking about...
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But there is an Aardvark song - it's on his Philadelphia Chickens cd...if you were wondering what he was talking about - there really is an Aardvark song.
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It's a lot like the Cow song - so he thought he'd sing that song instead, and then since he was singing - he just kept going!
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Yeah, we were having fun!
After lunch he got down and started looking at books, he came across a book that had a cover that matched one of his nighttime cd's...And then the excitement really came...
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I don't know if he gets more of a kick out of making connections between things or if I do...but he sure is cute when he does!
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Of course a little bit later - I learned a new term...
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I kinda like "hopping ball" but it's not like the hopping balls I remember from growing up...you know, the ones you sat and hopped around on...but hey - I might call bouncy balls hopping balls from now on, just because!
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Can you tell someone was getting tired? He starts to laugh hysterically and whine more when he gets tired...of course he also throws a fit when something he wants gets taken away...like when he took a bite out of his "hopping ball" and it was taken away. Luckily this was one of those times when I could distract him out of his fit...I'm not always that lucky.
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