Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Last of the May long weekends

What a great weekend. The weather played along perfectly. It was hot and sunny and the sky was pure blue.

We did next to nothing all weekend long.

The kids slept over at my parents on Friday night. Meaning we could go out for dinner with friends and not worry about getting home at a reasonable hour.

My mom took this picture on Saturday morning before they woke up. Love these kids! Especially whey they are asleep

Saturday we just hung out at home, doing a bit of this and a bit of that, but mostly trying to be outside.

We were up at 7 on Sunday morning but for a change it was not for the dogs. We went antiquing.  There is a huge antique market every Sunday at the big shopping mall parking lot during the summer months.

We didn’t buy much but we may have found some chandeliers for the restaurant.

Since we had some friends with us and Isabelle had never been here before we took a drive past the Butt de Lion (where the battle of Waterloo took place.) Strangely enough they didn’t feel like walking up the 226 steps to the top of the hill. They were far more interested in having brunch in our garden.

A couple of hours later we had our regular bunch of friends over for a bbq.  It was perfect.

Himself took the kids to the movies yesterday afternoon, leaving me at home to lie out in the sun.  

My friend Kim popped over for a visit and when Himself and the kids came back he cooked dinner for us.

Honestly, we could not have asked for a better weekend.  It was tough getting going this morning. Not to mention I’m coming down with a summer cold. Ugh so not happy about that.

Anyway, hope you had as good a weekend.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Book Club Friday

Friday, YAY! Can't wait for the weekend to start!
And it's a long weekend, again!
And the weather is great!

Anyhoo, as I said, it's Friday so I'm linking up to:

I’ve just finished Hot Six and loved it as much as the first 5 books in the Stephanie Plum series.

Honestly, if you haven’t read these yet I would highly recommend that you pick them up. They are perfect for the beach.

Stephanie is the most unlikely bounty hunter ever yet she manages to get her man, even if by accident.

This time:

Her granny moves into her appartment .....
She 'adopts' a dog ......

Not to mention the drool worthy Joe Morelli and Ranger … two hot guys.

I don’t want to give the plot away so all I’m going to say is:

If you want a light hearted, funny series this is it!

Now, go one and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Random me ... WWKT # 58

Yay! it's Wednesday! Which can mean only one thing:

I'm hooking/linking up with Crazymamma and Mamarazzi!


This week's questions:

This will be a little bit of a random mish-mosh of questions. But before we get started i REALLY need to apologize for not getting MY answers out there and not visiting blogs last week. i was having MAJOR internet issues and my service is still patchy, but not for long hopefully. i miss y'all. I hope you play this week and I PROMISE to do my super best to get around to everyone this week.
{1} Tell us about your job/daily routine.

I get to work anywhere between 8 and 10:30. All depending on how quickly I can get Himself out out the house. The kids, they are not the problem, the husband.... well lets just say he likes his sleep. 

The first thing I do after logging on to my computer and getting a cup of coffee is to check Facebook and my emails.

The rest of the day I work. I edit and review newsletters, and other client communications. I edit user guides and operational information pages on our company web site.

As a 'side line' I am also working on a Tone of Voice project. This involves writing and reviewing a training syllabus. Taking part in staff training sessions. Extra couching of staff who have already taken part in the training sessions.

I usally only take about ½ hour lunch. Depending how busy I am and what time I got to work I will leave between 4:30 and 7:00.

Then it's the train home before doing all the other mommy and wife duties.

{2} What is your favorite place in your home to relax? (bonus points for a pic)

In summer or lets say when it is warm enough and there is enough sun I like to sit outside. It's pretty quiet where we live and I can keep an eye on the kids and the dogs.  Our dogs need a lot watching as they like to jump the fence.  In winter it would have to be the couch or my bed.

{3} Summer cool treat...popsicle or icecream?

Popsicle / icecream or a long cool drink, especially a Kriek (cherry beer, my favorite being Lindemans)


{4} Be sweet to yourself, list 3 things you LIKE about YOU!

1. my hair
2. my eyes ... they change color
3. I'm pretty much a happy person

{5} If someone saw my __________ I would likely die of embarrassment!

office - I'm really organized at work, at home our paperwork and filing system hovers somewhere between non-existant and a mess.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bloody Peacocks!

Peacocks are pretty .... pretty damn noisy!
They also wake up at the crack of dawn which was 4:30 this morning!

We don’t have said Peacocks but our, not so close, neighbours do. Thanks to them the dogs woke up extra early this morning meaning that I woke up extra early this morning.

So after letting the dogs our for the ablutions I got back into bed and just lay there …. sleep lost on me.  This is when I decided to do something constructive rather than just lying there obsessing about the fact that I would rather be sleeping. I got up, got dressed as quietly as possible and climbed out the window.

Yes, I climbed out the window because if I opened our room door and went out the front door the dogs would have woken up again!

And I went for a run.

I know, you didn’t see that coming did you!

After running the route I sort of had in mind I was starting to enjoy it so I carried on running!

I have no idea how far I ran, probably not far at all. I was done in like 20 min but it felt good. Now the only question is: will I be able to do it again?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

What does your hair say about you

Went to the hairdresser on Friday ..... went a little crazy and this is what I look like now:

 Needless to say I've been getting a lot of stares in the shops ... you'd swear no-one has ever dyed their hair red

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My A B C

I saw this over on Kenzie's blog Crazy, Beautiful, Mommyhood .... and since it's a long weekend here in Belgium and I don't feel like doing much thinking here we are:


Age - ugh do I really have to admit how old I am? ok I'm 34 

Bed size - Queens size but since it broke we might go up a size

Chores that I hate - You mean to tell me that I'm meant to like chores?

Dogs - ugh not happy with them at the moment - 3 Boxers: Lulu, Duke & Gus 

Essential start to your day - a shower, need it to wake up
Favorite color - Green, Blue, Pink, White, Black it all depends on my mood
Goal - Get my butt in gear start jogging
Height - A little over 5'1"
Instruments you play - The fool :) Naw I used to play the piano as a kid
Job title - The job I get paid for? Editor
Kids - Two: Cat 9 and Tiger 7
Live - Alsemberg, small village close to Brussels Belgium
Mother's name - Alta
Nickname - Jo, Josephine, Easy-Peasy-Lemon-Squeezy (don't ask about this one)
Overnight hospital stays - Too many to list, tonsils, appendix, kids etc etc
Pet peeves - Toilet paper rolling down the back i/o the front, people who litter and many more
Quote from a movie or TV show - Up your ziggy with a wah wah brush! From the movie All I wanna do
Right or lefty - Both, well I right with my right hand but do most other things with either
Siblings - Younger brother, Gustav
Time you wake up - Between 5:30 and 6:00 depending on the dogs
Underwear - Yes, I wear underwear
Vegetable you dislike - Archichokes
What makes you run late - Himself, the kids, the dogs, never ever me :)
X rays - My right foot, my lower back, right hand ... mmm think that's it
Yummy food you make - According to my family: my Mac & cheese
Zoo animal - Giraffes & Zebras

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A friend like you

Yah hoo it’s Wednesday, last day of the working week for me this week and time for WWTK hosted by Crazymama and Mamarazzi.


Crazymama sent the questions for this week. Here is what she sent:

"I realized last week i have amazing friends so i'm wondering about yours. we want to know about your friends. tell us about them, name names or don't,  link up if they have a blog."

{1}I have found myself jealous/envious of this friend because...

Crazymama sent me the questions for this week. Here is what she sent:

"I realized last week i have amazing friends so i'm wondering about yours. we want to know about your friends. tell us about them, name names or don't,  link up if they have a blog."

{1}I have found myself jealous/envious of this friend because...

Vanessa – I mean, I would just about give my front teeth to have a body like hers?

{2}I admire Kim for listening.

Honestly, Kim has listened to me whine about the same things and she still wants to be my friend and hang out in my kitchen or on our patio …. that is a true friend!

{3}I really love this blog friend because...

Amber – even though we have never met and live on the opposite sides of the world we can chat for ages without realizing it

{4}I was stuck on a desert island I would want to be with this friend...

I’m going to have to say these three friends: we’ll never run out of things to talk and laugh about and I’m sure between the four of us we’ll be able to make coconut beer or something like it which will lead to even more laughing.

Kim - the most non-Belgian Belgian I know & Love

Noreen & I a couple of years ago when we were young and beautiful ... now we are just beautiful

Dette - because she lives in South Africa we don't see nearly enough of each other but when are together its magic!

{5}I think the best qualities in a friend are...

* loyalty
* honesty
* the ability to really listen
* to be available even when its not the most convenient time 
* a real friend realizes that true friendship is ‘double sided’. You can’t expect your friend to always be the one to stay in contact, call, hang out …..

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sleepless in Alsemberg

You know it was a good weekend if you need a weekend to recuperate from your weekend.  Good thing this is only a 3 day working week.

We had a 30th birthday part to go to on Friday night. Let’s just say we partied like it was 1999 – we walked through our front door at 6 am on Saturday morning.

Four hours later I was up sorting out the dogs (yeah I just love having dogs … I mean who would not love to get up for dogs after 4 hours of sleep!).

Then I had to fetch the kids from my mom, stop and buy a birthday present and drop Cat off at a birthday part.  After a quick late lunch Himself dropped me off at the train station so I could get to Duffel. One of my best friends and I were going to go watch Imela May.  The opening act was a local Belgian band called the Slipmates and they weren’t half bad either.

Concert rocked! She is about six months pregnant and is still amazing on stage.  Other than the show there are people watching opportunities galore! There is an entire sub-culture of Rockabilly’s and they all turn up for the concert dressed up to the max.   The hair, the dresses, the two tone shoes, you name it.

Because the concert was in Turnhout I stayed over at Noreen’s. And then she brought me home on Sunday along with the turtles. Yip, we now own 2 turtles.  We have a pond at the bottom of our garden. Since the turtles have out-grown their tank the pond will be perfect for them.

As you know it was mother’s day  and I don't cook on mother's day … so I picked up some rotisserie chicken and we had lunch outside. As long as the sun was out it was lovely but every time the clouds covered the sun you had to put your coat back on.  But we actually saw the sun so we are not going to complain.

Needless to say after a weekend of not much sleep I was ready to crash last night, which I did as soon as I put the kids to bed.  Old age is catching up with me J

Friday, May 11, 2012

Book Club Friday

It’s my first time linking up for Blond Undercover Blonds Friday Book Club …. and I’m so glad I found her blog and this link party!

I LOVE reading honestly I secretly fantasize of being locked in a bookstore (with coffee and cake) and to read and read and read.

That being said, my book is: Love you more, by Lisa Gardner



The crime appears open-and-shut: Pushed to the brink by an abusive husband, state police trooper Tessa Leoni finally snapped and shot him in self-defense. But Tessa isn’t talking–not about her dead husband, her battered face, or her missing six-year old daughter. Now, Detective D.D. Warren will have to race against the clock to unearth family secrets, solve a murder and save a child.

What did I think:

It was the first time I read a book by Lisa Gardner but it will by no means be the last. It was excellent.  The plot is full of twists and turns and just when you think you’ve figured it all out, boom! You find out you and Detective D.D. were wrong.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Random Ramblings

I woke up with ‘We three kings’ stuck in my head.

Now you are also singing it J

On the way to work this morning a garbage sanitation worker said ‘good morning, have a nice day’ to me.

I have nothing against H&M, in fact I buy most of the kids clothes from them. But, I'm not to sure about this:

There is a lady in my office who is in denial about being pregnant.  She seems to believe that as long as she pretends that she's not  no-one is going to notice .... huh?

Say what?

 ‘ I think that one of the greatest mistakes America made was to allow women the opportunity to vote’.

‘ You walk up to them with an issue, they freak out right away. They go nuts. They get mad. They get upset, just like that. They have no patience because it’s not in their nature. They don’t have love. They don’t have love’.

And last but by no means least a friend sent the following to me this morning.  It might have happened last year but that does not change the fact that it happened!

South Africa: KwaZulu-Natal,  MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs Nomsa Dube called on the national department of science and technology to investigate the causes of lightning after seven people died in lightning strikes.

"We will do an investigation and talk to the department of science and technology on what is the cause of the lightning, and if it only happened to the previously disadvantaged as I have never seen any white people being struck by lightning." said Dube.

She was visiting Mpumazi in Eshowe where seven people from two families died after being struck by lightning on Sunday.  "Scientists from the department could perhaps help us and come up with instruments that could help community members protect themselves against lightning. "The department has dealt with floods and fires, but lightning was new to us," said Dube.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I blog, you blog, we all blog ...

Wednesday - ½ way there and of course as always I'm pretending to working but I'm actually linking up with Mamarazzi and Crazymama for their weekly:


Mamarazzi says: 'I have had my blog on my brain lately. It has changed so very much since my first post in 2007. I am also starting a new private blog to journal our adoption journey so I thought I would ask some blog inspired questions this week.'

I haven't been blogging for a year yet so I am by no means an expert but since its all about our blogs for this week's WWTK this is what I can tell you:

{1} Please describe your blog. Does it fall into one category or many? How has it changed from post one?

Honestly I don't think it falls into a category but since I'm a working mom and I blog about our life in here in Belgium, if anything I would say it is a: Working mom brain dump - kinda blog.

I was blogging for quite a while before I had any readers but I don't think my style has changed much.  Now that I have some followers out there I can't actually believe that there are people out there who will take the time to read it.  I get so excited about every new follower - thanks guys you are crazy to read it but I do appreciate every one of you!

{2} What 3 things do you LOVE about blogging?

1. 'meeting' other women. It seems that you have to be a blogger to get that you can be friends with someone even if you have never met.

2. I like knowing that one day when my kids are big they will be able to go back and read about the things they said and did. It's a virtual diary of our lives.

3.  Very few of my friends here in Belgium have kids. Reading other blogs is a way of being reminded that there are other women our there trying to do it all. It's a way of staying sane and connected.

{3} What 3 things do you DISLIKE about blogging?

1.  That I don't get paid to read blogs, it would be the perfect job for me!
2.  When I have nothing interesting to blog about.  There are so many bloggers out there who are funny and entertaining and I love reading their blogs. Then there is me ... with a pretty boring life. Then I have to remind myself that I'm not blogging to impress anyone, I'm blogging for myself.

3. When I can't take part in things because I'm an international blogger :( I do get it but it can be annoying!

{4} What 3 things do you WISH OTHER BLOGGERS would do? Any tips for them?

1. Comment - even if it is to say 'Hi'

2. I  know it's hard because some of you get loads of comments but it is so nice to get a reply to a comment that you left on someones blog. I know I love know that someone took the time to read my comment.

3. Word verification! Get rid of it!

{5} I know we all have lots of blogs we read, but what are 3 blogs you never miss?

I can't list only 3! I have a whole list of blogs that I try to really hard to read/check for new post every day or every other day.  So I'm going to give you my top 5 - go check them out!

How to survive life in the suburbs
Blue skies at Dixie Creek
Working on a  project
So much to say

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Free and Fair elections

Thursday, 3 May London had it's mayoral election .... and if you didn't know if Boris Johnson was re-elected.

Sunday, 6 May France had their general elections .... and if you didn't know, Francois Hollande beat Nicolas Sarkozy by 52% to 48 %

Sunday, 6 May Greece also held general elections ... and if you didn't know Greece's conservative New Democracy and socialist PASOK parties failed to get a majority vote.


In Belgium all companies with 50 or more employees are obliged to hold social elections every four years.

Tuesday, 8 May ... we had our social elections at work.

Not only are the companies obliged to hold elections but as employee you are obliged to vote. Honestly what is democratic about it if you force people to vote?

It's bad enough that you are forced to take part in the countries general elections now we are forced to take part at work as well!

Anyway, my colleague Kristina & I took our election letters down to the board room where we had to hand it our letters and show our work (photo id) badges to ensure that we were who we said we were (I didn't have to, someone working at the polling station vouched for me). We were given 2 ballots and showed to the little voting booths, complete with a curtain where we could cast our votes.

Once you made your choice you had to verify that you were putting valid ballots in the box by showing the polling station workers the back of the ballot where a date stamp was to proof validity. And in the box your ballots went.

Voting done!

I have no idea who I voted for, I just ticked 2 random boxes. I understand that unions are important and that without them our working conditions would not be what they are but they make such a fuss over stupid things most of the time that I just couldn't be bothered.

Vote for your friends ... might come in handy :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Super sloths and missing togs

We had a super sloth weekend and it was BLISS!

The weather was anything but spring like (cold, wet & windy). Which is why we spent the weekend in bed/on the couch watching movies.

The kids played for hours on their own making up their own version of Star Wars and other games. With out fighting!

I had to go out to buy provisions (bread & milk and pizza) but other than that we were happy to wear nothing but our pjs. Don't worry, I showered and put some actual clothes on before going to the store.

O and our bed broke! No jokes! On Sunday morning just as we were waking up the middle strut which keeps the bed together broke.  So we are now sleeping on the floor, untill Himself has the time to go to Ikea to pick up a new bed.  Can't complain too much the bed has lasted us a good 5 years.   

Then this morning at 4:30 I got up to let the dogs out and realized that the dishwasher really needed to be packed if we (the kids) were going to have clean plates for breakfast. Two minutes later it was sorted and I was back in bed.

The only frustrating thing was that this morning we couldn't find Cat's swimming bag anywhere. It had nothing to do with our weekend but it was not the way to start the week.  Honestly, forget about the sock monster, I think we have a swimming togs thief in our house.  It's the same story twice a week.  We have one place where we keep their swimming bags but come Monday and Thursday they are lost!

And for something totally random, my dad got back from South Africa last week. So the kids were very excited to go see my parents on Friday evening. No, not cause they love their grandad that much but because it meant that he brought gifts back with him.  Only he didn't.

Well that's not true either. He did but he didn't have it with him cause his suitcase was confiscated at the airport for containing a concealed weapon.

Tiger had asked his nanna to please send him a spud gun, which she did. Said spud gun went into my dad's suitcase and then set off the alarms when it went through the x-rays.  So rather than missing his flight my dad gave up his bag and hopped on the plane without it. They were going to remove the 'gun' and send then send his suitcase over to Brussels.

I just got a message from him saying that the airline dropped his suitcase off on Saturday afternoon.

Right, I better get back to work before somebody notices that I'm blogging and not working. Hop you have a great week!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Strange kettle of fish....

In total I have lived in Belgium for about 8½ years. And even after all this time there are things that I still find strange about Belgian culture and behaviour.

Don't get me wrong, Belgian people are nice and friendly but they are the least spontaneous people I know!

Point & case:

There is a man that I have seen at:

  • birthday parties when picking Cat up
  • scouts
  • the school gate
  • the train station
I was pretty sure that this guy worked for the same company as me but since he never showed any signes of recognition I was never 100% sure.  You see there are more than 1500 people working in the same office building as me so I could be wrong.

However, yesterday we happend to leave the office at the same time and walked along to the train station.  So I say to him. 'You know, I'm sure our kids go to the same school'.

You know what he said?

Yeah they do. They are also in the same scouts group. In fact, I also did my 'getting started' traininig with you in 2008. You were not new to the company but you still had not done the 'training'. Also, you used to have long blond hair.

What the !!!

Here is a guy, who I could not shut up after this, who for about a year saw me at all these places and never said a word to me. He didn't even nod his head! Who does that???

As we sat on the train chatting we discovered that years ago we both worked for The Bank of New York Mellon.  In fact, he knew some of my colleagues.

The strange thing is that this is not an isolated event.

A couple of years ago I used to take the bus to work. For about 8 months I would wait for the bus with the same two ladies. Every morning I would turn up at the bus stop and say hello. Nothing, not a peep.  Only after doing this for 8 months did they finally say hello back to me.  8 months people!

One of my best friends is Irish but she has been living in Belgium for about 13 years now (in the same village).  The same thing has happend to her.

This would never happen in South Africa!

Like I said at the beginning, Belgian people are lovely but they are very hard to get to know. Of course there are the exceptions to that rule and I love my 3 Belgian friends very much!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mother / Mom / Maman / Ma / Mummy - WWTK 55

Heya, so I'm just going to pretend that  I didn't miss out on more than a weeks worth of blogging. That way we can all just pretend that I've been writing funny & entertaining entries (and I know we are going to have to pretend since funny & entertaining entries are not found here).

Anyway, it's Wednesday which means we can all link up with Crazymama & Mamarazzi for this weeks instalment of WWTK:


Mothers day is around the corner and instead of waiting for the last minute let's give our loved ones a little hint on how we want to spend it.  The first 2 questions are from Crazymama and then she has a little help from the reader/linky participant question list.

{1} What would be your ideal way to spend Mothers day?

I would love not to have to get up and 6:00 to let the dogs out.  In fact I would love to be able to sleep in while someone else sorts out the dogs.

Then at around 10:00 I would love to be woken up with breakfast in bed. Then when I got up I would love to find that the kitchen had been tidied and that no trace of said breakfast could be found.

I would then like to spend the rest of the day just hanging out with Himself & the kids. Maybe go for a drive, stopping to have lunch out on a terrase.

In short, a relaxing day with my family.

Hey a girl can dream can't she?

{2} Which would you rather receive actual gifts or gifts of service?

Gifts in service! It's one out of two days a year (my birthday being the other) on which I would like to be spoilt by my family in this way.  I love getting gifts and Himself is better at buying gifts than anyone I know. But  if they did the little things I do every day (getting up early to let the dogs out, feeding the dogs, making breakfast, cleaning the kitchen) for me I would LOVE IT!

She wants to know:

{3} How do you juggle it all? How many different 'hats' do you wear and how do you accomplish all you have to do?

To be perfectly honest, I don't.  I just do what I can and we live with what I can't.

I often read other women's blogs and is amazed by how they seem to manage it all.  Running a house hold, home schooling 3, 4 sometimes 5 kids. Have an on-line business, do loads of DIY. Then they post photo's of their picture perfect homes and blog about super healthy meals which they have made which their husband and kids loved. HOW???

We all leave our house at 7:10 in the morning. Most days we get back between 18:30 and 19:00 (some times I end up working late and only get home after 20:00).  This means that no one was home all day long yet there always is cleaning to be done.  The kids have to be in bed by 20:00 which means that wonderful healthy home cooked meals are not always  a top priority (bad mom).

I now have a cleaning lady who now comes twice a week to clean and do the ironing and I'm so glad for this.

Despite this I still don't manage to do DIY, run an on-line business, home school my kids or go to the gym.

I don't even have time to sort out the paperwork at home so I end up just moving the ever growing pile from one spot to the next. 

I'm sure that I could do it all or more at home but then I would have to spend every waking moment 'working'. I don't want to live like that. I want to spend time with Himself & the kids. I want to have fun & a social life.

Vandy wants to know:

{4} What was your 'Oh no, I'm turning into my mom' moment?

I couldn't remember where I had put an important piece of paper.  I knew that I had put it in a safe place only that safe place was so safe that even I could not find it again.

My mom used to do that all the time. I remember her & my dad arguing about it on more than one accastion and how I said to myself that I would never do that ... yeah right!

Natalie want s to know:

{5} What should you be doing right now instead of participating in today's WWTK linky?

I should be working! But lets face it I don't get to blog at home since I'm last in line when it comes to using my laptop.

Hope you're linking up today!