Thursday, January 30, 2014

Milk bottle

"What is this, mommy? "
"A milk bottle, really? "
"Does milk really come in these strange shapes as well? You must be kidding me? Ok , if you say it's milk, let me test it. "

"No mommy, you can take it back, this is worthless. I think they fooled you. Let's stick to the real stuff"

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Made in Belgium : dEUS updated

After 25 years, dEUS is still an authority among rock bands in Belgium. After their last EP in 2008 at my previous post, they have brought out 2 more recent albums: Keep you close in the fall of 2011 and then they surprised all media by unexpectedly already launching a follow-up album in June 2012. I remember that this sudden new album was hot news on e.g. radio Studio Brussel where music journalists had been unaware that dEUS was already working on new material so soon after Keep you Close.

I must say I quite like  a lot of songs out of both albums. They keep doing it :)...hopefully for another 25 years.

original post: here

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


I've never done a product review before, and I can feel your fear that as of now every baby product I use will get a review on this blog.  Don't worry, I don't belief this will become a habit.  But I remember being very much in doubt before Kabouter's birth whether we'd put a diaper bin on our birth wish list or not. I had heard very contradictory information on them : they were both indispensably as a waste of money and trap of the big commercial baby industry creating unnecessary needs.

Beforehand I had only heard of the Sangenic bins that wrap all diapers individually in plastic in their bin. During my research I had all of a sudden discovered a different type : the Korbell bins.  On user fora , I read positive comments on its functionality to contain the bad odors out while in fact not wrapping all diapers individually but gathering them in one big plastic until the bin is filled. That way you consume way less plastic compared to the Sangenic diaper bins and you need less refills.   The Korbell bin can later be continued as a normal garbage bin. I visited them in the store and was a bit disappointed by their small size (same for the Sangenic by the way), but didn't think of them as very ugly.  

So we put one on our wishlist and as soon as we were using it, we were quite happy about it, in such a way that we've ordered a 2nd one. We now use one in the bathroom next to the bath/changing furniture and one in the living room.  And both are odor free.  After 4 months (!!!) I had to change for the first time a refill for them.  

It's true that a good solid garbage bin eg a Brabantia captures just as well the diapers odorfree (we do that in the Ardennes), yet I find it disturbing each time we use the garbage for our domestic trash. Ouch, it smells when you open it then! Brabantias can be quite big, so your bag will last a while, so the diapers will be in there for a bit as well. Having a separate diaper bin for that matter is an added value to me.  

The use of it is quite easy: open the lid with your foot, drop the diaper on top and the inside lid will quickly open and close so the diaper falls inside. Inside the bin is a big bag that you simply tie a knot at the bottom. When full, you open the side door and pull the bag down, cut off the plastic on top by sliding the bag on the side of the opened door through the special cutting device. Then you tie a knot at the top as well and you can dispose of this filled up bag.  You pull down the plastic again inside the bin from the top and tie a new knot at the bottom and off you go again until it's filled up again.   

So if there's any hesitating pregnant ladies reading this blog, I can recommend the Korbell bin to you :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Introducing Kabouter to snow

While US blizzards hit our news over the last months, our winter has been very very mild so far.  ...5-10C with sufficient showers and sometimes sun.   The temperatures are nice but I am/was hoping that we'd experience also a bit of true winter to enjoy in the Ardennes.

So finally there is a little bit of snow at Belgium's rooftop (>550m) . Good enough to get out for a walk and let Kabouter experience the concept of this white stuff for the first time.  To be honest...although he looked around and tried to absorb most of the walk actively, I am not sure if he quite got it.  It was a nice walk though.

Ready to face the cold outside :)

The beauty of the boglands in the snow

A monument for an Australian pilot and French gunman , killed in WWII in 1943

Jan showed our favourite cows, the local highlanders

I tried to show him the white stuff from closeby but daddy's funny faces were cooler to respond too ;)

Just a few miles further at Belgium's highest point itself, it was still freezing,  transforming the forest in frozen giants.  Breathtaking beauty.

After all this excitement, someone was quite knackered :D

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Made in Belgium: Hooverphonic update

A bit more than 4 years ago I have introduced Hooverphonic to you. Unfortunately at that moment the lead singer Geike had announced to leave the group to persue a solo-career.  For a few years it became very silent about Hooverphonic . The 2 founders of Hooverphonic , Alex Callier and Raymond Geerts organised a contest to find a new lead singer and they took their time.   Finally in 2010 they had found the unique pearl they were looking for: Noémie Wolfs.

Right from the 2nd start, Hooverphonic was scoring hit after hit again. Sure Noémie has a brilliant voice, but I find her ice-cold. She shows the emotions of a pebble and makes me miss Geike for that reason a lot. Nevertheless it's good to have Hooverphonic back on air with new work.

Lately they also organise philarmonic tours and bring their hits in orchestra versions. This shows how Alex Callier keeps on searching & innovating his ever creativity. Being coach of the program "the Voice" clearly isn't enough for him :)

original post : Hooverphonic  with older music and with Geike on voice

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

At the grandparents

If Jan travels for work abroad during the weekends, I tour the family to get some adult conversations.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Gymnastics with daddy

Hey mommy, mooooommmy, mommy look over here what we are doing!

Hehehe, we're having a jolly good time here, have a look

Daddy and I give kisses...

...and we play 'hurray'

and we play airplane

ok let me concentrate now for a second because I need to find my balance

Yipppeee I am standing up, I just love to stand up, look at me, this is so much fun!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Made in Belgium: the update series

For almost 4 (!!) years I've served you each Wednesday evening some Belgian music.  But fatigue, a big belly, a little baby demanding time...but also lack of inspiration have caused the unintentional stop of the series last August.  During the first weeks I had the intention to catch up the missing weeks, but who am I kidding?  There was a time that I had loads of these posts preprogrammed and a long list of new artists that I wanted to blog about but after the years went by, my inspiration for artists that I actually liked was getting smaller (there is still a long list of Belgium music I quite dislike and therefore don't want to blog about).

But I do miss this series on my blog.
And over the last years I often wanted to blog about a great song and then realised I had already posted on that group a year before or so. But in the mean time the group had brought new music that I wanted to share.

So I think I'll bring the series back to live again with new groups or with updates on the previous posts.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Conversation starter & judgement

I still need to get to used to this but I have learned that a baby is a real conversation starter. Over the last months I've been woken up out of my daydreaming while waiting at the traffic light by complete strangers all of a sudden asking me "how old?"  or "A boy or a girl" . It usually takes me a few seconds to realise they are talking to me about Kabouter. In elevators people all of a sudden mumble "how cute, can I have a look?"  and in restaurants couples or children seem to make a detour next to our table and then explicitly wish us a pleasant evening.  At the Christmas markets in Germany Jan was carrying Kabouter on his belly but I was pushing the stroller along anyway as it might come in handy when going to a brasserie or so (bad idea, too much hassle to push the stroller through the crowds while we didn't truly  need it).  For sure 5-6 people commented to me that I had "lost" the baby :) pointing at the empty baby seat.

I'm also learning that you are getting judged constantly as a parent. When children are involved, everyone seems to have an opinion "oh he's not wearing socks, aren't his feet getting cold?" "shouldn't your baby be asleep yet this time of the evening?" "when are you going to start feeding him vegetables?"

The most extreme happened to me in a restaurant in Trier, where Jan who had already finished his meal had picked up Kabouter who had gotten fussy and was walking him a bit up and down in the hotel lobby.  All of a sudden a lady stopped next to me . It  took me a few moments before I realised she was talking English (and for that reason and the rest of her behaviour I assume she had been drinking ) but then I understood she asked me if I was the mother.  When I had confirmed, she all of a sudden started yelling at me and calling me words that I had to be ashamed and that I was the mother and he he HE was walking with the baby and that it was evening and I had to be ashamed!!!    In the split second when I realised that she wasn't exactly going to complement me on my cute baby, I also realised I could not win this discussion in anyway and that any (defensive) explanation would be pointless anyway. My instinctive reaction was to turn my back to her as much as I could and continue my meal completely ignoring her rant...  She then continued her plea and rant about me to some other restaurant people nearby.  Geez.  Anyway, although I have not the slightest doubt that her criticism was not justified,  she threw me quite of my feet and the event haunted me in my mind for the rest of the evening. It also made me realise how more vulnerable you feel when being judged as a mom.

It's good to know as I am also guilty of judging sometimes eg in my pro-breastfeeding opinions that are getting more informed and stronger.  I'd better not, so maybe that evil lady proved me a valuable lesson :p
Meanwhile I do love it when you all comment all behind me back, just audible enough "oooh cute" when I walk by with my precious little one ;)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The first time...

My life changed in a quite drastic way in 2013...I guess you know that if you have been reading this blog even just a little bit :p. Sorry if this became too much of a mommies blog.   Little did I know a year ago that we'd get our biggest present possible in 2013.  Almost a year ago a little line on a stick made it clear our life would never be the same again!

The arrival of Kabouter wasn't the only change however.  The end of 2013 also brought some first time changes in my life:

  • I am owning a car for the first time
  • I am having my own mobile phone subscription for the first time
  • I am without a job for the first time
(they are all linked since I've been so spoiled to have had a company car and company phone for the last 13 years). 

So 2014 hopefully brings me further big changes quite quickly:  a new fun challenging job and maybe in the mean time some good courses and self-study to tickle my brain. And hopefully my aversion for change and fear for uncertainty doesn't freak me out as much anymore as it did when this happened to me.  But fortunately I recovered a bit from the shock already and I also see opportunities in the situation: Kabouter doesn't need to spend full-time in daycare but we get to enjoy each other more and I can breastfeed him longer. And hopefully I'll look like this phase in my life by the end of 2014 as a good learning lesson that turned out for the better.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year's wishes

Happy New Year to you all! I hope that 2014 brings you happiness.

Traditionally we visit in the first weekend of the year our parents to get together with the family and wish them a happy New Year.  
Then it was time for my nephew then reads his New Year's letter to his godmother. 

Kabouter went around on all arms, sucking in all the attention given to him.

After a big delicious meal we went on to visit my aunt who had not met Kabouter yet.

By the time we reached Jans family he was totally exhausted (after crying half an hour in the car) and has not shown them his eyes anymore. Frankly I was also pretty drop dead tired after such a family new year's tour! Fortunately we don't do this on New Year's day itself anymore like we used to do in the past, but we grant us first a few days to recover from celebrating new year's eve :p.