Thursday, April 30, 2015

Adventures in Antwerp with Aunt Gretchen and Uncle Matt

The day dawned early and we set out on our adventure to Antwerp! Of course every day with the monkey dawns early...and if  you want to go on a successful adventure with him, we head out first thing in the morning!
We decided that we'd show Aunt Gretchen and Uncle Matt around town rather than the zoo (we were planning on taking them to Pairi Daiza, but unfortunately the day we were going to go - which was their last day with us - was another rough day for the monkey)...so off we walked to town, stopping at the water fountain where the monkey attacked Aunt Gretchen!
Then he decided he'd walk around the water fountain and attempt to scare her from behind...that didn't work though, mostly because he was yelling what he was going to do!
Then it was off to the Grand Place before venturing down to the waterfront. Unfortunately for the monkey there weren't as many pigeons along the waterfront walk - he loves chasing pigeons - so he didn't seem to enjoy the waterfront as much as he did in the past.
So we continued our walk around town and we came across this huge anchor - which was just begging for some little kid to climb and slide on it!
Because it was just there the monkey obliged and a "playground" was created!
He had so much fun!!
After climbing and sliding he realized that there was a chain that he could climb all by himself! And so he did!!
Until the urge to slide came again - but this time a new way, so he could do it himself!
It was a little difficult to get him to move on - especially when the tram came by right next to the anchor - getting to play while watching a tram go right past you: best spot on earth! But eventually he relented and we were able to move on...
Where we discovered that behind these beautiful carved doors was a hidden church and courtyard! There was a service of some sort going on inside so we didn't venture it - but it was pretty from the outside.
And hey, this church even had Han Solo in their courtyard! No wonder it was a hidden church!
After all this walking some in our group were getting hungry, so it was time to move on to find some lunch. (And by some I mean everyone but me.)
I came prepared to feed the monkey - so he was pretty much eating non-stop since we left...plus it's easier to bring food for him than try to find food he can have. But we did find a fresh juice place so he got a special treat of a huge container of fresh squeezed juice...he was happy with that!
Outside the place the others ate was this giant hand sculpture - so we of course took advantage of the picture taking opportunity!
And then we headed back towards the train station because someone was starting to wind down...he was still in a great mood and doing really well, but you know us parents - we like to make sure that the threenager is going to be in a good mood for the entire train ride back home (1 1/2 hrs), which was happening at his normal nap time, and we still had 1 important stop to make - the carnival rides!!
When Ammah and Grandpa were visiting there was a Ferris Wheel, but with Aunt Gretchen and Uncle Matt the Ferris Wheel had been taken down and in it's place were carnival rides!! We told the monkey that if they were working when we were leaving we'd stop and he could ride - and guess what?! They were!!
My little serious kid rode 5 times...pretty much in all the cars - he loved it! Of course the pictures where he's making faces - those have all been posed, because in this instance the posed pictures make it look like he was having fun. If I posted all the natural pictures where he was actually having fun you'd think he was miserable or bored, because he just sits there (I bet you can find the 1 natural picture among the posed ones).
And of course my little clean freak decided to touch and rub his hand on one of the wheels of the car - before discovering that the wheel was in fact dirty, which meant his hand was very dirty...thankfully that didn't ruin the last ride though! And if you were curious - he did great on the ride home, thanks to my iPad!

Aunt Gretchen and Uncle Matt Visit!!

"Mommy. Are Aunt Gretchen and Uncle Matt coming today?" Not today. "Are they coming tomorrow?" These were the two questions that I was given the opportunity to answer almost daily up until the day that I was able to respond with "YES! Today is the day!"
Waiting patiently for the train
It was a day the monkey had been looking forward to - he loves visitors - and since we had been talking about Aunt Gretchen and Uncle Matt's visit for 3 months - he was super excited when the day dawned that they were going to be arriving! Rusty went up to the airport to get them - and let us know what train they were all coming on so we could be at the train station to get them!
"I'm taking a nap!"
Someone wanted to go up early to run around and have a snack at the train station...but apparently we went up a little too early because he then had to lay down and take a nap, since he was so tired!
But he jumped up excitedly when I said "I see a train!!" and he stood and waited till it pulled in. Don't worry - he did what he does with everyone he's truly excited to see - he stood back, refusing to hug them, and shyly said "hi"...and then showed them the way home talking their ears off!
The monkey having a rough day...
Because I'm so on top of picture taking these days (said sarcastically) I didn't get many pictures while they were with us...don't worry I did capture some fun ones when I realized "Hey! I don't have any pictures of the monkey and Gretchen!!" but yeah, it wasn't my normal take pictures continually...but we had a great time - even if it wasn't documented in pictures!
They went off for a few days to sightsee on their own - and since we weren't feeling 100% yet it was perfect! Of course it was also great for them because sightseeing with a threenager is not the optimal sightseeing experience - he sometimes has really rough days...and even on days where he's great - you still have to sightsee his way, which means you see a lot of the outside of buildings! Thankfully one of his hardest days was when they were gone - and I say "thankfully" because really it's not something anyone wants to be around - trust me, I have 1st hand knowledge of every single rough/off day this kid has ever had - you really don't want to have to experience it if you don't have too...
But hey, the day ended with a beautiful sunset and the promise of a better day the next day...or at least the following day when we were taking Aunt Gretchen and Uncle Matt to Antwerp!

Easter

Easter this year was a lot of fun because someone was really into it! Sure we didn't do the whole "dye eggs" fun, or go to the Easter Egg hunt - but that didn't mean we attempted to do egg hunts around the house with "safe" eggs (wood and wax ones)
He had a lot of fun decorating for Easter too - he begged to decorate for Easter for weeks, but I ended up waiting till the week before Easter - I just didn't do it with company over because we stayed busy doing other stuff...so when I brought the decorations out he was ecstatic - I didn't realize I was denying him some Easter joy by not decorating sooner!
He found one decoration that became his favorite - that's right the chick that cheeps when it sits in your palm. I totally forgot I had one...needless to say he was a little excited Easter morning, when he woke up and discovered the Easter Bunny had brought him his own so he didn't have to share with mommy anymore!
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The Easter Bunny must've known how much he wanted his own because Easter morning also happened to be the last day that mommy's cheeping chick's battery died...so we had to have a new cheeping chick!
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But that's getting a little ahead because the first thing he saw Easter morning when he walked out into the kitchen was a car ramp - which he immediately had to show us how it worked! (Can you tell we were sick?)
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We eventually got him to look and see what the Easter Bunny had left in his basket - but really, with a car ramp, do you really need anything else? Sure you do, you need
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And maybe some more train parts - you know so you can make a huge track with loops, turns, junctions, and crossings!
But really, every kid needs a snail that sticks it's tongue out!
 He had fun making the snail "lick" all of us!
And then, after all the toys had been found and played with for awhile, he all of a sudden did this
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and he continued! 
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This kid has got his manners down! He might not know what day it is, 
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but at least he knows to say "please" and "thank you"...and he's finally mastered saying them in French too!
But Easter, just like every day, came to an end...it was a fun celebration of the Easter Bunny and the monkey learning more about how much Jesus loves us, but honestly, for him right now it was mostly about the Easter Bunny, and spending time together.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Some Threenager Quotes and Accomplishments

There are times when I completely understand my kid, and there are other times where I just think WHAT IN THE WORLD?! Take for instance last month when he sat at the table eating lunch...and suddenly says, to the tomato in his hand:
"No please don't eat me, I don't feel good...it's okay, it won't hurt."
And then he ate it...
Or one morning when he woke up suddenly at 5:20 am - which really isn't always unusual - he'll wake up usually once a night either to go potty or because he needs his covers pulled up...but on this particular morning he woke up suddenly and said loudly:
"Mommy, I have a booger...please come get my booger."
And when I didn't respond because he had just woken me up from a deep sleep and I was sure I misheard him or he was dreaming (because seriously who wakes up to pick a booger?!) he yelled:
"MOMMY! I have a HUGE booger!! Please come get my HUGE booger!"
Seriously people, he was awake enough to realize that if I didn't respond to a normal booger I'd have to respond to a HUGE one! 
Of course then he also says things that I understand and can agree with - for the most part...
"Mommy, I love this place! I love Belgium. Belgium makes me happy."
It's all part of living overseas and raising a young kid overseas - they know the country as their home - that's right folks, apparently I'm raising a Belgian citizen at heart!
And then he'll say some of the "sweetest" things in the world...or at least what appears to be the sweetest thing in the world
"Mommy, will you hold my hand? I don't want you to fall. The wood floor is okay, but the tile floor is made of grout, and I don't want you to trip and fall on the grout."
But if you understood the meaning behind the words - and your hand was the one being held - you'd understand that the true meaning of his statement was along the lines of: "Will you hold my hand because I don't want you to get away from me and not do what I want you to do." My little manipulative threenager!
There are times when he takes me by surprise and I just can't help but laugh...like when I asked him what we (as a family) needed from the grocery store and he responded with
"I am all out of peppers and carrots...and I need apple juice."
Thankfully he was correct on all three items!
Sometimes people wonder how he's doing with the knowledge of becoming a big brother...all I know is he likes to talk about singing "Rock-a-bye-baby" to the baby and dropping the baby when the part comes up of the cradle falling...he likes the idea of poking, jumping on, and kicking the baby - and attempts to do it often (which means I get poked, jumped on, and kicked in the stomach both internally and externally as the sibling wars seem to have begun)...And for some reason he thinks he's getting/needing a big brother himself every once in awhile...didn't realize this fully until yesterday when he seriously stated
"Mommy. I have to take Elmo to the market. He's my big brother today."
I think he will be slowly learning that a baby - having a sibling - is not a temporary thing but a permanent thing...when that really dawns on him - I guess we'll then see how he's taking the news of becoming a big brother!
But overall he's taken to mommy not feeling good (all the time) pretty well, and he's becoming better at reminding me of things that I forget (which is everything)...for instance the oatmeal debacle - which unfortunately we have weekly, because I always forget to make him oatmeal! (I cook the gf steel cut oats overnight so they're ready when he wakes up.) Yesterday I forgot to make them - so this was the conversation throughout the day...
Monkey, 1st thing in the morning: "I want oatmeal for breakfast!"
Me: "oh crud! I forgot to make it last night, I'm so sorry!"
Monkey: "Mommy. Do you think you can remember to make me oatmeal tonight?"
Me: "Remind me before you go to bed tonight." (And I put the oats on the counter to help remind me)

Monkey, at lunch: "Don't forget to make me oatmeal tonight mommy!"
Me: "Thanks for the reminder, but it's not bedtime, it's only nap time."

Monkey, after dinner: "Mommy please make me oatmeal tonight."
Me: "Oh! Thanks for the reminder." (Sets the pot on the stove top next to the oats)

Monkey, as I'm leaving his room: "Don't forget the oatmeal mommy!"
Me: "I won't buddy!"

And guess what I still almost forgot to make it!! But I did get it made and this morning as soon as he walked into the kitchen he looked on the stove top and said "Mommy! Did you remember to make me oatmeal?" When I responded with the affirmative - his face lit up and he said "Good job mommy!!"

This kid is just a little bit of a character. Since he's been sick we've had him on some vitamins with zinc and echinacea - which he loves (because obviously to make them taste good they had to put some sugar on it - so they're kinda like candy...but have you ever eaten those things? They taste gross...like bug spray smells gross...so I'm okay with the little bit of sugar in this instance to get him feeling better.) But it's not just those vitamins he loves, he loves all medicine (Benadryl, Tylenol, Advil, Natural cold and cough syrup, Claritin, Sniffles n'Sneezes, etc...). In fact when he's not given a medicine and he thinks he needs it he will do everything he can think of to get me (or Rusty) to give him some...
He also, apparently, can be traumatized by some really odd things....take for instance this orange balloon.
 
I know it looks innocent...but you see, it's not! It is able to strike fear in my little monkey like nothing else. You might think I'm joking, but this little "innocent looking" balloon was once a big balloon (just a little smaller than the globe seen above) - you know before it deflated to that puny size. The big balloon was a fun balloon to play with - we'd bounce and throw it all over the house, we'd bop each other on the head with it - it was so fun! But when it deflated to the puny balloon it suddenly caused my monkey to wake up in the middle of the night crying about how little it was! Now I know you think I'm joking, but honestly there was nothing funny about my little monkey waking up crying incoherently...well it wasn't funny until I figured out that he was crying about how his orange balloon had deflated! And then it was hard to not laugh...but being the good mom I am - I remained serious and calmed him down and got him to understand that we couldn't blow his balloon up again - just like we can't get flowers to bloom again...but we can blow up a new balloon to play with... But yes, he had a nightmare about this balloon - crazy!

Of course there was also his 1st time pole dancing...yeah, we're pretty proud parents!
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Or when he realized that he could get up to the big slide - no matter which way it was - the ladder, the rope ladder, or the "monkey climb ladder"...
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