Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekend Bits

This weekend was packed with friends, family, food (and a lot of wine). An old friend from my childhood summer camp days decided, at the last minute, to drive up from Cleveland to see us. He and I spent Saturday morning sampling Farmers Market fare at Evergreen Brick Works - an old brickyard that's been restored and converted to a "community environmental center that inspires and equips visitors to live, work and play more sustainably". In the afternoon, we celebrated Ina's grandmother's birthday over lunch with the family. That evening, we invited a few friends over for a pizza making party, where we utilized ingredients from the farmers market including lamb sausage, roasted garlic, salami, mushrooms, tomatoes, basil... and more. We stayed up late eating and drinking and catching up.

Here's a peek, if you'd like to see:

I hope the springtime has found you, wherever you are... I'm finally feeling hopeful that winter is behind us. Have a wonderful week!

Monday, March 18, 2013

5 Months

Dear Didzette,

Between all the packing and moving and traveling and adjusting and unpacking and all the rest of the hullaballoo lately we nearly forgot to acknowledge that you're five months old today! You've been such a trooper during this hectic transition - smiling at flight attendants and strangers in airports, sleeping in new places, meeting new people and getting passed around to many sets of arms. It's pretty incredible how well you've been handling it all, actually. You've gotten through all of this in much better shape than both your daddy and I. So thank you, little bug. We promise one day soon we'll settle down and you'll have a room to call your own with a proper bed, and the travel crib you've been living in will go into storage.

Now, it might be because all this change is too much, or it might just be cause you love me, but the past couple days you've been super clingy. Yesterday you wouldn't even let your daddy hold you. You strained your whole body with arms outstretched to get back into my arms and nuzzle your head into my neck and let out an audible sigh of relief. I know how you feel bug, sometimes all I want is my mama, too. I'm 30 years old, and there are still times when all I want to do is snuggle up with her and know that everything will be ok. I'm sure there will be a phase during the dreaded teenage years when you'll be embarrassed to be seen with me, but I hope you always know you can rest your head on my shoulder and know it'll all be alright.

Because it will be alright, bug. You don't have to worry about a thing. I know you miss napping in your stroller along the bumpy cobblestone streets, and the familiarity of our tiny little Belgian apartment. And you really don't like being put into your new car seat and your grandparents' little dog chewed up your stuffed chicken toy. There's a lot to take in - new sights and smells and people. But as long as the three of us stick together, we'll be ok. Hang in there, it'll get easier. For all of us.

These past five months have been the happiest (and the hardest) five months of my life. Every day brings something new, and every day we love you more... and more... and more.


Friday, March 15, 2013

The Honeymoon is Over

A year and a half ago, I married my best friend and left on my honeymoon. A couple days ago, we returned (with a little baby in tow)... and it all feels like a dream. I know it happened, I know we were there, but I already feel so removed and so far away from it all. My heart hurts a little, and yet I'm looking forward to new horizons, a new place to settle down and call home.

For now, we're enjoying our time in Toronto (despite the fact that it's FREEZING). It's been great catching up with Didz's family. They are positively smitten with Ina, of course, and she has been such a trooper being passed around from one set of arms to the next getting to know everyone. Once this jetlag wears off and we're all sleeping through the night again, it'll be even better.

We're also taking our time adjusting to the culture shock - which might not ever truly go away for us. We're constantly comparing things and missing things, and after watching about five minutes of garbage on TV and sitting in traffic for an hour we realized we were way better off not owning a TV or a car. It's still strange hearing people speak English around us, being greeted with "hello", and leaving tips at restaurants (tipping isn't standard in Belgium - neither is good service).

I can't honestly say I'm happy to be back yet, but I imagine that's typical for most couples returning from their honeymoon.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Things I'll Miss

Yesterday, over lunch, our friend Pieter asked us what we'll miss most about living in Belgium... It was such a simple question, but Didz and I sat there stumped. It was nearly impossible to answer - there's just so many little things that have added up to such a wonderful experience for the past year and a half.

Here's a few things I'll miss most:

the cafe culture. the architecture. 
the cheese nazi - who refuses customers he doesn't like, called my mother a capitalist, and makes the best darn goat cheese i've ever tasted.
the beer. the tulips. 
the butcher. best cuts of meat, fresh from the farmer. 
the bug's first bedroom (in a small corner of our room).
the cheeeese.
brussels. and paris. and amsterdam. just a short train ride away. 

This list just barely begins to cover it. There's so much more. It'll be so sad to say goodbye on Tuesday. I'll probably cry. 

I'll definitely cry.

(I'm crying now.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Our Parisian Getaway

We spent the past five days in Paris. It was so good. It was good to get away from our mess at home, clear our heads, eat croissants, drink wine, take long walks, and just hang out together without the worries that have consumed us lately. It was refreshing, to say the least. 

This trip, of course, was very different from past visits. There was a tiny human dictating our days, so there were no fancy dinners or evenings at bars. Instead there was a pizza picnic in the living room and evenings curled on the couch watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle (Ina was MESMERIZED by the sparkle!). There were afternoon drinks and early bedtimes. There were long walks, and long naps. It was perfect. 

Here's a glimpse:

I am forever grateful to our friends who let us stay in their beautiful flat while they were away - you guys are the best. We'll miss you... and that view!

I was sad packing up to head back home - but Didz promised we won't stay away too long. I'm already looking forward to our next trip... and doing some casual apartment hunting :)