Saturday, June 28, 2014

Yabedabedoo time in Joshua Tree National Park

Do you still need to visit Joshua Tree National Park if you've just crossed the most dense joshua tree forrest in the Mojave National Reserve?  That was the question we were pondering on the evening before.  The idea of sneaking in a simple pool relax day into our planning of the California tour we did in the first half of May was tempting. 

But I'm glad we went as in some way I found this the most fun National Park we've visited.  Probably because I couldn't get the feeling out of my head that I was walking around in Bedrock and anticipated to see the Flinstone's car on one of the parking lots.  The park is named after the Joshua Trees that grow in the Mojave desert, but I found the rock piles just as outstanding.  Additionally the park seems so accessible as you can do a loop in and out from Joshua through the park to 29PalmTrees back to Joshua in probably 2 hours if you don't stop anywhere.  So when you are in the park and you gt hungry, you just think that in an hour you can be at your hotel pool outside the park.  In between that ride there are many smaller and bigger hikes available so no need to drive long distances in between.

(ok I am omitting here the road to Cottonwoods Springs south but there were construction works there, so we did not even consider going there).

First we drove to the furthest point with the viewpoint up the mountain across the next valley with Palm Springs. Then we took some easy hikes along some huge boulders and up to a tiny dammed water pool (read puddle). 

To answer back the first question: yes the Joshua Tree population is much smaller here but the trees are much more fully grown and way more beautiful. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Pheww it's weekend

It's been a hectic week.   Kabouter was ill  (no, in the end it's not tooth # 5 that is pushing or at least not responsible for a few days of (high) fever boosts) and I had to take care of him, get doctor's appointments after work, to pharmacies on evening duty, find someone to take care of Kabouter the next working days...
all when Jan got stuck in Sweden for an extra 12 hours due to a strike of air traffic controllers in Brussels.

Yeayy it's weekend now, so I can catch up a backlog of work

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Damn you future tooth # 5

The tooth really isn't quite there yet, but is announcing itself in advance with some fever. Hopefully it passes quickly after a hopefully good night it did with previous teeth.    Fingers crossed for this poor little boy 

Monday, June 23, 2014

9 months

Dear son,

For 9 months we witnessed the growing belly and trusted the doctor's word and the gymnastics shows that were apparently going on on the inside, to belief you were a happy active developing boy.  It was an exciting period full of hope and joy. It was hard to understand and belief at what incredible speed you were changing and growing.

9 months ago we held you in our arms...our little miracle.

For 9 months now we've witnessed you developping in such a happy active boy.  It's incredible how fast you learn and change and discover.  It is so precious to be able to follow this adventure with you.  Even though we can see it happening, it is still hard to understand and belief at what incredible speed you are growing up and learning.  It's even more such an exciting period full of joy.  

I can't wait to spend the next 9 months with you and those after! 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

World Cup fever got a bit higher again

Kabouter and I joined the crowd on the old Market Square in Leuven for the game Belgium - Russia.
Honestly , it were 80 boring minutes (and part of the 2nd half I even thought the Russians were better and would deserve a win)....And then there were 13 mad minutes at the end where the Belgians pushed attack after attack and all our hearts stopped again and again. And we won!!! Gooooaaal in minute 88!
Which means we're already qualified for the 8th finals after the group phase :)

GOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL  (and a shower of beer over us)

Time for a samba party

Bye bye garden house

I was still a little kid when my parents bought a little garden house to place all garden equipment and garden furniture in.  It was a cute little house with a small terrace, with red/white squared curtains in front of the little window and always a box of "vlijtige liesjes" flowers in front of it that I had to water regularly.   Many family portraits were taken in front of it, and it was such a big part of the garden.

Although not visible at first, after a few decades, despite all the maintenance my dad had done in the past, it had become unstable and in poor condition so this winter it was decided that my parents would buy a new garden house.

We all had to block some weekends in our agenda for this joint family project and yesterday was the big house destruction day.  In its condition that went actually quite quickly and after a few good knocks by the men, they were already preparing to load all the remainders off to the city's container park.

In mean time we had unwrapped the new garden house packages and made the inventory of this giant puzzle that we need to master in the coming weeks. First step is a first layer of paint ...which turns out to be much more work than anticipated.  We'll have quite some more family painting hours to come before we can do our "barn raising" excercise. Hopefully the weather will be as cooperative in the next scheduled Saturdays.

In the mean time Kabouter enjoyed getting spoiled by attention from his cousin and grandmother.

Friday, June 20, 2014

World Cup Fever: will it implode or rise next Sunday?

On Tuesday evening I went to pick up Kabouter at the daycare and I picked up a baby with black yellow red stripes on his cheek. On the walk home, I came by18 houses with a Belgian flag out the window,  8 decorated cars, 4 people dressed up in black/yellow/red in 12 minutes. The roads were calm as the traffic jams in the evening had started much earlier than usual and the local fries shop was closed.  In the afternoon my colleagues had done a dressed up photoshoot while I was in a meeting, in our national colors to cheer for the team. Since that game the number of national flags out of the windows and cars has just increased. I think there's now on average per 2 per 100m houses.

Belgium is going through an unseen world cup fever. While we usually mock at the orange fever of our Dutch neighbours, we now have joined the disease as well in black, yellow and red.

This display of national feeling is quite strange in a country where our national holiday triggers as much nationalistic enthusiasm as e.g. Whit Monday to say something.  If it's nice weather we think "oh great, we don't have to go to work tomorrow, maybe we can have a BBQ with some friends" and if not, we might use the time to clean up the attic.  Belgium is the country of surrealism with RenĂ© Margritte painting "Ceci n'est pas une pipe".  Well, this is not nationalism .  We can easily combine a huge electoral win for the regional seperatistic party at May 25 (33% in Flanders)  and then all drive around in our national colors the week after.

Anyway, it's contageous and it's fun.  I personally still don't feel the excitement of the world cups to the same degree as I did as teenager.  My interest in international soccer died after 2002, the last time Belgium was able to participate in a big tournament. Since then their results were just too sad to track in any way.  But the last years a new generation stood up, a generation that plays in a lot of foreign leagues at top level and that is very talented.  And so we made it quite succesfully through the qualifications much to my sceptic surprise and we are in Brazil now.  And Belgium's young generation is totally hyping the team and all marketing joined.   And it's contageous and it's fun to see all these numerous fan events getting organised.

So with some fear I had the tv on on Tuesday, hoping that a loss would not make implode all of this enthousiasm.  After a horrible first half, we managed to turn the game for the better and succeeded just barely to turn it into a win.   Yeaaaay, we can cheer again for the next game on Sunday!! Maybe I'll join the crowd downtown somewhere to get the vibe stronger.  Do you want to join me here at the market square with over 100 screens and 8000 people sheering?? or inside here??

Thursday, June 19, 2014

In evacuation mode

In the last 3 days he has refined his standing up skills so he all of a sudden managed to reach & grab anything on the table ....since today he all of a sudden took up crawling so now he can go to any table/chair/cabinet to go and grab something.  

And now we are catching up and in constant object evacuation mode to put things out of his reach. Laptop cables, telephone, remot controls, decoration, documents, candles, our shoes under the table, ....we all need to search for a new spot for them. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Made in Belgium: Stoomboot

I have recently heard a couple of times a sensitive song "Nina"  from Stoomboot. Stoomboot is a new Dutchspeaking singer-song writer from Leuven area who debuted this winter.
I can't find "Nina" yet on youtube but find some of his other songs.  haha, "bindingsangst " where he comments on the new loves from his divorced parents, is cheeky & original in text.  I do think you must listen to the lyrics well, if not, the different songs start to feel a bit too much of the same to me.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Varnishing windows

The label "renovations" has been hardly used over the last year.  Last summer I hardly did more than some small correction paintings with my big belly...forbidden to stand on ladders and to breath paint fumes.   

However we already bought some varnish to reprotect & feed the woodwork on the house.  And this weekend I started, Kabouter nap at a time, ... 
It's not a big change, no visitor will state how nicely we've done the windows, but I can see the difference, especially when compared to the neighbours's windows just next to it. The wood looks much "fatter" fed.  

And now the entire side wall in wood remains to be done....that'll take a hell lot of Kabouter naps to achieve ;). And then the whitening of the walls can be refreshed, then the roof and of course we still need to renovate the attic.  ha houses, you are never bored with them .