Thursday, September 25, 2014

Soignies Park

We have many parks...but our local park is not just called "our park" it's called "Soignies park" - not to be confused with "Brussels park", "Chapel park", "Playhouse park"...granted not all of these places are actual parks...the "chapel park" is the playground that is across the street from the chapel and is really the school's playground, but during the summer when the school is not in session we can play on it. The "playhouse park" is the park in Amsterdam that was close to house we stayed in (the house he refers to as the "playhouse" - because the room he stayed in was a kids room/playroom...and it's one of the things he loved about Amsterdam). But Ammah's last full day here we sent her off to the Neuhaus Chocolate warehouse in Brussels and the monkey and I went to the park - we needed a "down day" but I wanted mom to be able to do something fun. (There was no way I was taking him on a train ride because he had been being horrible since Rusty and I got back from our trip to Ireland.)

When we got to the park he decided he wanted to play on the swings first...um, buddy, those aren't the swings...those are the posts holding the swing set!
He seemed to get bored of the "swings" rather quickly - I'll let you figure out why so it was on to the playground with the slides. Now before you watch this video - he had climbed this about 10 times before I decided I felt comfortable enough to stand back and video it...but the whole time I was praying "please don't slip and fall...if you fall and get hurt I'll never hear the end of it...please don't slip and fall!"
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It's amazing how kids pick things up so quickly! Rusty had taken him and told me the monkey could climb it on his own - but on every previous trip he couldn't...some of it might've been he just didn't want to try...but suddenly - BOOM! He's turned into a climber! And of course the only way to get down is to slide (he's not comfy climbing back down yet)...
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He was sliding down the slide so slowly - it was hilarious! I think the boots were stopping him from going fast...but every time he'd slide down he was slow...most of the time he gave up sliding and just stood up and ran down, stopping to jump off. But after all of that fun - we played there for awhile...it was time to move on to "the train". Which I have no clue what it's suppose to be - but the monkey calls it a train and he loves climbing up, walking down, and then either climbing off or jumping (while holding a hand for help).
The playing on this day also included singing one of his bedtime songs...although we've changed the lyrics from "Itty, bitty, baby boy" to "Itty, bitty, stinky boy"...sometimes he corrects me because he wants it the original way, but since he's not a baby anymore - I thought the lyric change was suitable!
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After playing and singing "on the train" he then decided he wanted to move on. So he stopped suddenly and said "Want to go to the tennis courts mommy?" And really when do I not want to go to the tennis courts?! Which, where we were going is on the same side as the tennis courts but it's actually a basketball court/indoor soccer field - that's outside...and we can go run, roll around (because dogs can't poop in there, whereas in the grass - even though technically people are suppose to pick up after their dog they don't...because outside the park it's not a rule so people don't really follow the rule in the park)...and then pick flower - make them into "basketballs", and attempt to throw them through the hoop. So of course I want to go over there! (side note - when going down any "hill" you must always say "WEEEEE!!!")
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Once on the other side of the stream, he decided he wanted to walk by himself on the little path, while I took the bigger path down below...can you see him up there? He kinda blends in - but if you look carefully, you might see his green boots.
Once we got there he decided he wanted me to walk like this...and he didn't like the idea of me chasing him
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Of course just because he didn't want me to chase him, doesn't mean I complied...nope I still chased him! And then he chased me...and then this happened.
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And then we chased some more - taking turns...and then, when it was his turn to chase me, I got away a couple of times and he threw himself to the ground and this happened...little trickster!
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But we finally had a good day! Maybe all he needed was a little time alone with mommy.
That night, since it was Ammah's last night, we went out to "our restaurant" for mussels (that's the name the monkey's given the restaurant we go to that is across from the train station). We can sit outside and he can watch the trains and buses...
Of course sometimes he's just so tired he falls asleep...but he continues to feed himself - because hey, he's still hungry!
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Yeah, you know those kids that fall asleep everywhere/anywhere...the monkey is the opposite of those kids...he will not fall asleep unless he is in his pitch black room, with his music playing, after being tucked in!

Bonus Quote: As we were walking back out of the park - we crossed the bridge (he had said "WEEEE!" going over in the video)...he put his arm out in from of me to block me from moving and said "Wait here Mommy...I will protect you." and then proceeded to go over the bridge making sure "all was well"...before coming back for me and then pushing me over the bridge!

Medieval Festival!

Seriously! A Medieval Festival within walking distance of home!! AND if you go in costume I think it was free entrance (or else it was super cheap)...It was our 1st Medieval Festival, and really if you're going to go to one you should definitely do it in Europe! This one didn't have jousting or things like that, but the food stands were great, you could buy costumes, swords and shields, games...there were musicians walking around playing instruments and singing...there was a magician...there was the camp where people were sleeping in tents with furs and cooking out over the fires (Medieval camping), there was archery, metal workers...I'm sure I'm missing a few things. We went early in the day - when it was starting up - so I'm sure if you went later or even in the evening there would've been more things happening. But yeah...it was lots of fun!!

It took place on at a chateau - and while the chateau itself wasn't open to the public, the grounds held the festival.
The musicians just meandering and playing...
It's not everyday you see a cross of the crucifixion with a little cherub...it was on the side of the chateau...
The magician...someone was entertained!
He sat for the entire show!! Granted it wasn't that long, but still.
Then we wandered through the stands to see what we needed to buy...and no we didn't buy the guy...he did have some beautiful wood sculptures/carvings that he had carved. Instead we bought some macaroons, cheese, and soaps...we attempted to taste and possibly buy the basil wine - but the wine merchant wasn't interested in customers because whenever we walked up he either walked away or he turned to call someone else over to talk to...so I went with my initial thought which was "basil wine?!" and just left it for someone else to enjoy.
While Ammah and I continued wandering through the encampment and spied on people...
Or outright stared and took pictures...
The monkey and daddy wandered for a bit - finding this gate and someone didn't ever want to leave it!
We discovered where they were...and honestly I can kinda understand why he didn't want to leave the gate...it was covered in moss!! Oh, or the fact that he could open and close the gate as many times as he wanted and no one said "Please stop playing with the door."
But it was a beautiful gate when you stopped and looked closely at it.
But someone was getting super hungry and starting to get tired...and I hadn't packed his lunch because we honestly didn't know how much fun it was going to be...(and "festival food" isn't food he can eat) so it was back home. Although the monkey didn't want to go home he wanted to "go to consploring!" It took a good part of the walk to try and convince him that "exploring" is what we do - it's not an actual place and we can explore anywhere. I don't think he believed me though!

Shapefest

So once a year there is a festival- put on here - that all the countries in NATO participate in. There are stands of food and other goodies - some to buy and some given out as samples - but you can taste things from everywhere. (Okay, not everywhere because it's only those countries that are part of NATO - but still...) And then there are other stands where you can buy wine, beer, spirits, honey, jams/jellies from local places, olive oil and vinegars from Greece...chocolates...sometimes oranges...clothes, gifts, cheese - all stuff you could eat/drink there but more for you to take home with you...you get the point right? It's one of our favorite things! And this year it was even more fun with the monkey because he loves rides!! And since mom was here - it meant we could leave him at home for a nap with her and go on our own...or go back in the evening when he was sleeping and she could stay and relax at home...that's not to say that we didn't all go because we did and had a blast!
However - remember how I said the monkey loves rides? Yeah...he went on the rides on Friday and loved it...but Saturday came and Rusty took him over, the monkey got in a car and rode it till the ride stopped (because someone stood up and wouldn't sit down), then got off (even though the ride wasn't over), and refused to get back on! And Rusty had bought a lot of tickets (and each ride uses different tickets so it's not like I could go ride a ride with his tickets)...so we found some of his friends and started giving them rides - so the monkey would see his friends on the rides and want to join...and finally it worked!
After that you couldn't get this kid off the ride!!
Yes, those are the looks of his love for this ride! I know it looks like he's scared, bored, not that interested...but honestly - whenever he gets on rides this is the look he gives! Granted some of the vehicles are "better" than others - like the firetruck always wins because there is a steering wheel, a button with the siren, and a bell!
But really he's just a very serious carnival ride rider. It takes him forever to choose the vehicle he wants to ride in...it's like he's actually buying the vehicle!
He looks at them from the outside (all of them), opens the door to check out the inside - if the button with the siren/horn/music doesn't work he's out of there, if it does - he'll sit down and slide around before deciding if it's truly comfortable and worth the token you give the man.
Then if someone else decides to join him in his vehicle - if it's not a friend he's immediately unhappy and gets out and starts the process all over! Thankfully even though the kid in the front of the firetruck we didn't know - the monkey was okay with sharing this vehicle - but he wouldn't share the bells!
I think he rode the firetruck 3 or 4 times...so my guess is that he did really love it!
He wasn't too happy when it was time to leave - but he didn't throw a fit...so we ended it on a positive note at least...I'm wondering if he'll be this picky and serious when he's old enough to do bumper cars...and then will he get upset when people bump into his car!
I guess there's only 1 way to find out...
No silly - we didn't put him in a bumper car! Although it would've been entertaining...although I don't think it would've been as entertaining as this ride...since he would've most likely been in tears...
We were entertained...that's the important thing right?!
But it did come time to leave...and that's when he decided he wanted to climb - maybe work off the plate of paella, and the mixed meat kabob he ate! (Yeah...he ate a lot of food!)
So we let him climb...
And then daddy decided he'd go join the climbing fun...

And they became monkeys!
Yeah...we all had fun at Shapefest this year!