Friday, May 27, 2016

Kabouter conversations - May 2016

  • We walk by a house that gets renovated on our way and they are unloading a truck with new windows.

    G: "Look Kabouter, that house is getting new windows"
    K: "Goed idee, meneer, bravooo"  (good idea, sir, well done)

  • "Vogel in uh dak van de boom"  (bird in the roof of the tree)

  • During an announcement of a super hero movie on tv, showing a blonde female hero
    "Mega Mindy!! ... Lijkt een beetje op"  (Mega Mindy is Belgian child super hero series on tv)

  • "Jaaa jaaaaa Beertje, ja jaaaaaa.   Mama komt. Ja jaaaa"  (when Beertje is crying.  It is very confronting to hear Kabouter imitate us).

    "Beertje weent. Oeioeioeioeioei"

  • "Mama nieuwe pyjama aan?"  while he points to my nice top that I've been wearing the last 2 days.   Great...thanks.

  • "Mama en Kabouter zijn naar bloemetjeswinkel geweest. We hebben niets geneemd"
    (we went to a garden shop but left empty handed again)

  • "ik wil pizza
    ...     op de kleine tafel"

    (pizza is to be eaten in front of tv and he knows that)

  • After Kabouter didn't finish his plate entirely since he was full, he comes to ask for a cookie, which he doesn't get since he was full. So we explain him that there is no more room in his tummy for a cookie.

    After leaving acceptingly and playing for 5 minutes, he returns to us and points solemnly to his armpit, his side and his kidney.
    "I still have room here , here and here for a cookie"

  • We are getting in the car and right away, Kabouter asks for a cookie.   I tell him he will get one when we are on the big road (we have 30 min of local drives and then 1h of driving on the freeway).

    When we've left the many turns of the next village we hit a stretch of approx 500m straight length and we hear from the back seat
    K: "Dit is lange baan, mama"  (this is the long road, mommy)

  • G: "Kabouter, kom aan tafel"
    K: "Wat eten we?
    G: "Worst"
    K: "Ik wil ook frietjes"
    G: "Er zijn vandaag geen frietjes"
    K: "Dat is wel spijtig"

    ("it is a pity" as a reply that we are not eating fries)

  • "Staat een piano op! "   (Kabouter sees a piano on Beertje's outfit since he's got dark blue and white striped sleeves)

  • Kabouter is crying
    "Wat's gebeurd?"
    "Mamaaaaa Beertje wil drinken"

  • He came home from school and hadn't eaten his waffle cookie in the break, so we asked what was wrong with his cookie.
    "Het was gewoon even niet lekker nu"

  • "Wat is me dat nu?" (random question these days)

  • "Ik heb op mijn tong gebijt"   (he bit on his tongue...often conveniently when he doesn't want to eat anymore"

  • We are reading books before bedtime. The first page of the book about Muis states "this book belongs too...."
    G: "Dit boek is van Kabouter"
    K: "Neeee mama, dit boek is van Muis!"

  • He pulls some child sunglasses out of a new display in the pharmacy
    "Dit is coool"

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Made in Belgium: Laura Tesoro

It has become a new tradition that I 'discover' the Belgian contestant of the Eurovision Song Contest during the contest itself.  Last 2  years we were travelling and I missed the festival all together (and didn't miss it for a single bit) but even the years before I seem to have lost my interest.

This year I watched the finale and I was pleasantly surprised by Laura Tesoro and her contagious cheerfullness and energy.  I have no idea where Belgium has dug her up...apparently she participated in the Voice of Belgium. I must be getting old, I have no clue anymore who are the new stars of our country.

Anyway, how do you like her?

Monday, May 23, 2016

School celebrations

There seems to be always something happening at Kabouter's school. Last Saturday was the yearly school celebrations.  As the school is rather small without a big hall to organise events, we were really glad the weather cooperated gloriously for a day of outdoor games and casual gatherings.

Kabouter and his friends seemed a bit too small to be interested in the games journey organized. They were a bit confused why they were not allowed to just go jump or play in the sand box ad hoc rather than participate in a treasure hunt.
While their class teacher had gotten unwell and had to leave, Kabouter was delighted to be able to visit with Mrs Maria who takes care of them each lunch hour. The 2 are clearly getting along very well. Although she was officially off duty, she took the children along with a big smile.

It was a very busy afternoon with lots of people everywhere and with the kids running in all directions, the dad's ended up rescuing and comforting each other's baby's at some point :).

At 5 Pm it was time for the short dance demonstrating show.   Half of Kabouter's class chickened out, in absence of their familiar teacher but Kabouter and some of their friends lined up anyhow with the children of the next toddler class.  It was a short cute dance about their sunglasses. Afterwards the kids of the elementary school did a big flash mob.

At the end of the afternoon it became more quiet and the kids of his class clearly enjoyed the extra space and freedom to race around their familiar play ground and garden. We enjoyed more social time by meeting more parents until we realized that everything had already been cleaned up except for our little circle of chairs.  Time to go home after a very pleasant and relax afternoon!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Paintings for grandad

What to do on a rainy sunday? We've made some paintings to brighten up grandad's hospital room :) . The technique used are carefully placed finger compositions "brightened" up with big swipes across the paper :p. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Staying over at his auntie

At the end of March, my sister has given us some quality time with our newborn by inviting Kabouter over for a weekend at her place.  With a bit of delay I can post some of the nice pictures she made. They show us this was once again a successful weekend for the little man, including fun play time with his cousin and a visit to a petting zoo. No wonder that Kabouter is always so enthusiastic to go and visit his aunt/ godmother.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


May 2016 is not a good month for my dad's family's health.

Apart from my dad's accident and ongoing revalidation, we are mourning the passing of my cousin this week and we got news that someone else has to fight against illness once again.

So in between all these happy pictures of my children, there's also a lot of difficult Skype and phone conversations and reflections going on these days. Stories I do not want and can't share here on this blog. But stories that occupy my mind a lot these weeks and contrast so much with the happy posts here.


Let's switch to June, shall we? Can my family then get a bit of a rest and more positive news, please?

Fortunately I got some good news as well.  Beertje was born with a duplicated ureter. The pre-natal ultrasounds had already shown this to the doctors but I only truly learned what this was about in the examinations they did after his birth. This anomaly (yet not extremely rare) gave him a high risk for kidney infections through probable reflux from the bladder to the kidney. For that reason he has been on preventive antibiotics since his birth.   But today they've tested the reflux with contrast fluids and apparently he's not showing any signs of reflux, therefore the risk for kidney infections isn't as big after all and we can stop the antibiotics. Yeay, that's nice.  He'll be continued monitored during his child growth but it's nice to know that his duplicated ureters will probably not cause any issues to him.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

2 brothers in the evening sun on a red pillow

Dirty hands

The last 2 summers the flower pots on our garden cabinets remained a good intention to fill "next week".  I felt so embarrassed last fall when my neighbour casually asked during a conversation about gardens and renovations , "ah this summer you didn't put anything in there, right, or did I miss that? ".

But this year I'd do better. While I'm spending a few months at home with Beertje on maternity leave, it would be nice to get some flowers in my view out of the window. So I had planned a few weeks ago to go to the garden stores, when we got an invitation for the flower sale done by Kabouter's school. Ha, nice, right timing and much easier.

So last Friday we got to pick up our flowers at school (hence we had to drive to school the full 800m , how ridiculous that felt) and then I could start potting them with a little help from Kabouter when he woke up from his nap again.  The speed of potting got drastically reduced as soon as he was "helping" but hey, I think it's educational to get him to help me.   While we were at it, we bought him some strawberry plant to take care of.

And now I can't wait until the lavender on the wall will start blooming. Yeaay.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A train ride to visit granddad in the hospital!

After a few visits last week, where I got stuck in traffic jams around Brussels every single time, we decided to go and visit my dad by train this weekend.   Knowing that Kabouter is a huge train fan, we'd give him a very fun excursion and I'd have some more time to relax. And I could feed Beertje on the train ride if needed. 

We were a bit early in the train station (well, there wasn't a train leaving right away so we had to wait) and we went to buy something in the Starbucks. The poor little man thought we had changed our minds and that we weren't going to make a train trip anymore.   Sob sob sob.  But fortunately after 15 min our train arrived and we were off, with a lot of hello's and waving to the other passengers.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Back from a vacation trip that Murphy didn't want to happen

My parents have been going for the last 6 years to Spain on vacation, back to the village where many of my childhood vacations have given me really great memories, together with my mom study friend that has property there.

This month they'd go for the 7th time and it was clear for everyone that it was probably the last time they'd do this.  But Murphy probably thought it was already a last time too much.

* On March 22 Belgium was shocked by horrible terror attacks. The explosions also happened in the departure hall of the airport. Afterwards it was unclear until a few days before where their booked flight would take off and whether we could use the booked assistance for them.   In Brussels Airport strict ridiculous (because ineffective and inefficient) ever changing security measures didn't allow my sister to accompany my parents to check-in etc...
But fortunately we got news that their flight would leave from Lille (Fr) and that they would get assistance.

* In the airport, their Belgian friend feels unwell. She also gets some assistance and when she seems to have an extreme high blood pressure she is brought to the nearby hospital.  And so my parents leave alone on their trip, after they've had contact with some other Belgians at the vacation destination who promise to come and pick them up.

* After we got news that my parents had arrived well in Spain that first evening and we see that their iPad had been connected to the wifi well, all news get silent  until the next noon.
The news was not good: after their arrival they had all gone to a restaurant for dinner. When they returned to their vacation apartment, my dad stepped out of the car in a wrong way and fell and couldn't get up anymore.  He broke his hip and was brought by the emergency services to a hospital 40 kms further.  Their unpacked suitcases were brought by their Belgian friends the next day.

So the previous weeks were hard as we tried to help our parents who had a difficult time to communicate with the nursing staff, who had to arrange medical care with the insurance companies, who wanted advice from the neurologist who treats my dad's Parkinson's disease and knows the details of his neurostimulator etc... There was no wifi in the hospital and my mom slept most of the nights in a seat in his room.  All we seemed to be able to do was phoning several times a day. Very frustrating. After 6 days my dad had surgery and a week ago he finally got repatriated with my mother.  Pheww that was a relief.

He has started previous week his revalidation in a hospital in Ghent, which will take many weeks for him to learn back to walk (on stairs).

Sunday, May 15, 2016

More daylight and fresh air in the attic

In 2012 we were quite busy transforming our attic in order to make some rooms there: it got insulated, it got a floor and it got some windows.

And then we got pregnant and Kabouter came and we had no more progress, until we outsourced some reinforcement works (and redoing our previous floor to ensure it could support some rooms).

And then we got pregnant again, but fortunately we didn't wait that long to talk to some contractors. We have the plans for a small bathroom approved but first we wanted to add some more windows for more daylight and fresh air as we realised that our current floor plan would create some dark spaces.
And in my current job I have learned all about the importance of daylight and fresh air for a healthy home.

The before pictures are here  and now it looks like this