Monday, January 21, 2013


Many of our friends (as well as our families) have been asking about our plans: When are we coming home? When are we leaving Belgium? When do they get to squeeze Ina's fat cheekers? Where are we going next? What's our timeline? What are we waiting for?

To put it simply: We don't know. We're working on it. It's complicated. And to be perfectly honest, we're a little tired of thinking about it. But believe me, once we know, I'll be shouting it from the rooftops.

Basically, when an American and a Canadian have a baby halfway across the world, and then want to move back, it gets complicated. Between necessary visas, and passports, and citizenships, and dealing with two different countries' immigration departments, and transplanting our lives across the ocean with a baby - it gets tricky. We're sorting through it, but for the time being, we're stuck.

It's more involved than that - but that's the simplest way to put it: we're stuck here :)

Ideally we'll be living the California dream sometime early spring. We're starting to sort through our stuff, and showing our apartment (though it's hard to rent it when we don't know exactly when we'll be gone). We're looking forward while trying to enjoy the time we have left here in Belgium. I'm so grateful we get to spend all this time at home together as a little family - it's so special to us. Soon there will be long hours at work, and less hours at home, more people to see, family to visit and schedules to coordinate... so we're savoring this time as much as we can. And who knows if we'll ever have the opportunity to live abroad again - so there's a big part of me that's in no rush to leave.

So there you have it. We're anxious to share our plans with you, we just have no plans to share yet.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Sketchbook Project

Yesterday I sent away my sketchbook to go on tour with thousands of other books as part of The Sketchbook Project. As part of a global community of artists, part-time doodlers, painters, illustrators, children, housewives and other creative-types, I spent the past few weeks illustrating my life as a new mother. My black and white doodles (often drawn with one hand while holding a baby in the other) aren't as elaborate as previous sketchbooks I've drawn in, or as bold and beautiful as some of the other participating artists... but it was a wonderful way to keep my creative juices flowing, even when sleep deprived and covered in spit-up. 

The travelling exhibition of sketchbooks begins and ends at the Brooklyn Art Library - where, at the end of the tour, the books become part of the permanent collection. This year, the tour will hit Austin, Atlanta, Toronto, Chicago, Portland, SF and LA. Hopefully this summer we'll be in one of those cities at the time the tour comes to town and we can spend a couple hours thumbing through different books while looking for my own. 

Here's a few pages from my book, if you'd like to see:

My favorite page was the very last one in the book. It was drawn by Didz, and was an illustrated list of the things he loves. He won't let me share it on the blog - so you'll just have to go find my sketchbook while it's on tour at a city near you and see it for yourselves. 

(A big thank you to Allyson for signing me up this year - I wouldn't have gotten around to it otherwise! xo)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Snow Day

It doesn't snow much in Belgium, winters are rainy and relatively mild. In the past year and a half that we've lived here we've seen it snow twice - a light dusting both times that melted and was gone by noon. Waking up today to see fat fluffy snowflakes was a surprise, and while I'm not the biggest fan of the cold or the snow, it made my Canadian husband feel right at home.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Weekend Bits

Our dear friend Kirsten was in town from London over weekend. We met up with a few friends for lunch on Sunday and Ina spent the better part of our outing sitting on Kirsten's lap (not letting her eat, and slobbering all over her). I was only slightly worried that Kirsten would stash the bug in her purse and take her home to London when I wasn't looking. We had such a lovely afternoon together (thank you, baby, for being so well behaved at the restaurant), and we miss our friend already. I think a trip to London is called for in the near future.

Today, we're sending big, huge, birthday love across the world to Allyson... We'll toast to you this evening and we'll have a little dance party in the living room in your honor :) We love you!

Have a wonderful week! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Family Photos

When I found out I was pregnant I spent a lot of time thinking about the future - specifically, what kind of future I want for my baby. In my (almost) 30 years I have had the opportunity to live in some of the best cities in the world: Boston, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Madrid, San Diego, Brooklyn, Toronto and Leuven. I thought I wanted a similar upbringing for my daughter - filled with big cities, diverse experiences, interesting people and new places.... that is, until I found these incredible family photos by Alain Laboile. 

They document his family's life in the French countryside - making childhood look like the idyllic adventure it's meant to be. Whether they're naked and splashing in mud puddles, swinging on a rope swing, riding bikes, or playing with their kittens - these photos convey such a sense of happiness, humor, wonder and nostalgia. It makes me want to move to France and give my little bug these same childhood joys.

See the rest of his family album here.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

12 Weeks

Dear Didzette,

You just rolled over! Just now! Twice! It's a very good thing your daddy was right there to catch you, otherwise you would've rolled yourself right off the couch. Twice. Whoops.

I was going to start by saying how much you've changed in just a short month, but you rolling over just perfectly illustrated my point. It's really amazing to watch. You're getting so strong, trying to sit up by yourself, holding your head up more confidently each day. Didz calls you his little bobblehead doll... because you'll be holding your head up high, then it'll start to wobble, wobble, wobble... and then sometimes it just flops right over. You're really trying, though. And it's really cute.

You've been drooling. A LOT. I'm talking non-stop leaky faucet drool. Like a St. Bernard puppy. Some days we don't even bother dressing you because you just soak right through your shirt in a matter of minutes. But I think you prefer to be naked anyway. Whether we're changing your diaper or changing your drool-drenched shirt, you always smile that big beautiful smile when we take your clothes off. I hope your enjoyment of being in the nude isn't foreshadowing future career or lifestyle choices... :)

A couple weeks ago you discovered your fist. It was flailing around in front of you, and suddenly it became the center of your world. You love your fist. You try to stick the whole thing in your mouth, and the whole thing just gets soaked in drool. You watch it, you lick it, you suck on it. You have absolutely no idea that it is attached to your arm, which is attached to the rest of your body, but you'll figure it out eventually.

The biggest, most wonderful change happened right around Christmas... when you started to consistently sleep through the night. Oh bug, you make us so happy when you sleep all night. Waking up at 6am isn't nearly as painful when we aren't getting up every couple of hours. Your daytime naps have been becoming more regular, too (though we're still working on those), which makes you a pretty happy baby when you wake up, and makes me a very happy mama.

You're such a sweet bug. Keep it up. We love you.


Monday, January 7, 2013

2013... so good

Free beer!

When you aren't working a regular job with regular hours, the days have a tendency to blend into each other... weekends, weekdays and holidays are all the same. On more than one occasion I've had to ask Didz what day of the week it was, and since I stopped wearing my big clunky watch when the baby was born I've managed to lose all concept of time. I know I'll have to rejoin the real world eventually - where deadlines matter and Monday is the worst - but for now, I'm enjoying my schedule being dictated by the little bug. Long walks last as long as the baby is happy, and (according to Didz) when you've been up since 5am, it's not unreasonable to want a beer by 11am. We live moment to moment, rather than minute to minute. If there's a table open at our favorite breakfast cafe, we'll pop in. If there's a celebration happening in the town square and they're handing out free beer and cake, we'll stop to partake. If it's raining and all we want to do is be warm and dry at home and read stories, that's what we do.

These are some moments as of late:

I hope the year has been off to a good start for you... and that you take time to savor some moments, instead of always having to worry about the minutes.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

Well, friends, another year has passed. Is it just me, or do these years keep flying by faster and faster? Last year was wonderful - we continued to travel and enjoy our little Belgian life, we played tour-guide to a handful of visitors, Didz completed his MBA, and most importantly, we welcomed our little Didzette into the world. Towards the end of the year, I started getting excited about all the good things in store for us in 2013... a new city to explore and call home, reunions with old friends and meeting new ones, and watching our little bug grow into a little girl (which is already happening way too fast). 

So let's drink some bubbles to new adventures, to friends (both old and new), and to a healthy and happy new year!