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Doing a whole lot of catching up…

I’ve been busy inhaling summer time freedom. Before taking off to see the fam in Arizona, Joe and I rented a boat and a cabin you could get to only by boat. It was three days of just the two of us living in what felt like the middle of nowhere, but we were hidden off of one of the Netherlands many canals. What a fantastic way to detox from the 2021 school year!

I also did a day trip to Durbuy, so that I could buy some special perfume gifts for Kaylene and the boys’ girlfriends.

We caught Belgium fever and had friends over to watch Belgium play the EuroCup.  Sadly, we watched them lose to Italy while we were in the states.  We got Torin to cheer for them, but it didn’t work this time around.  We’ll cheer harder for next year’s World Cup.

And then finally, we got to fly home!   It was a bit of an ordeal with getting tested and filling out forms and whatnot, but whatever.  It was totally worth any hassle to get back to the states to see my babies (and their babies)!

Our first few days were hectic, but we got to see some of Joe’s family and catch up with some of my crazy friends.  Once again the crew flew in Monica to surprise me with a weekend of debauchery.  Tis a good thing we live so far away from each other now because I don’t think our livers can take much more of our abuse.

And then FINALLY all of my kids and their significant others, Joe and me, and all of our goodies made our way to our vacation rental near Huntington Beach in California, where we spent a glorious 6 days being a family again.  I cannot tell you how much I treasured this time.

Poor Kendra fell during a rock climbing adventure with Kyle, but she was such a trooper riding her scooter or crutches every where we went. Joe and Kaylene planned a family photo shoot with a great photographer.  We’re waiting on the final photos but the group (after the pic below) is a sample of what she caught of us.

I will never get enough of my beautiful family. I’m so happy my children have also found partners that fit right in and help my little adults find their way in this world (and they them).

The day after we returned to Arizona, Joe and I drove up to Prescott to catch up with some Belgium peeps: Mini and Lorayne. Again, fun times were had.

Then Joe had to return to Belgium to take care of Badger, and I soaked up plenty of time with Torin and Kaylene. I’ll fly home with bald spots and bruises thanks to all the wrestling matches with Torin. Never, ever underestimate the force of an almost three-year old’s “Hulk Smash.” He looks harmless in photos, but watch out he’s quick.

I’m in the midst of my last week in Arizona and sad to see that it has flown by so quickly. I have a two-day trip to Vegas to catch up with Jordan and Wilber, then I’m back in Arizona for two days before flying off to Virginia to catch up with folk, and then back to Belgium to continue my adventure there.

Hopefully, the next time I pop in, I’ll have more time to find the right words and pics to share. Right now, I’m too busy doing the family thing to mess with the right words and tones. Do know that my heart and soul are embracing all the love and wonder that comes with being with your tribe. I needed this time so berry, berry much (as Torin the Terror would say).

Fall Break!

I’m off for a week and spending most of it in Germany.  Woo hoo!  I sooooooo need this time off to breathe and reflect and enjoy the beauty of living.  Joe and I joined some friends for a long but fun drive to Munich where we spent the weekend sipping, strolling and eating.  Today, Joe is off to Prague with the friends, and I am off to Hamburg to spend time with family.

I always love being in Germany, and I still hope to one day find myself getting transferred to a school here.  It won’t be much closer to most of my family since none of our locations are up north, but Stuttgart is near my niece and sister — so, fingers crossed, one day.

That is not to say I don’t also love Belgium.  Germany is just so much easier for me since, well, some of it is in my DNA.  I’m more at home here.

We were blessed with beautiful weather yesterday.  Munich is ablaze with autumn colors.

But the long, dark, cold, wet days are right around the corner.  I’m okay with those too because it means candles, hearty stews and soups (a fat girl’s heaven), and the holiday season — whoop whoop!

My sister Angie and some of her family are visiting from Virginia; we’ll meet up again today.  Her first few days here I was so busy with work I didn’t get much chance to enjoy time with them, so the next few days will be all about fun, family time.  We head back to Belgium on Halloween where I’m sure more fun will be had, and when they leave Shannan arrives to spend a few weeks with us.

Sooooo, I’ve got plenty of cheer ahead of me.

My only complaint is I won’t get to spend Halloween again with this little guy..

But, isn’t he adorable in the space suit I bought this summer?!  Cannot wait to see him in December!  He’s hobbling along now, so he’ll be running all over the Christmas markets.

Well, I’ve got to pack up and get myself ready for the train ride to airport.  Happy Halloween and Harvest cheers to all of you!

p.s. I’m including this photo only because it’s a rare good one of me (lol I’d make a terrible model with my crazy facial expressions).  Thanks to Joe for knowing the right angle to snap his wife at! AND, hello?  I’m outside in Munich this time of year without a jacket on — in short sleeves!

There’s no place like home

The thing about having moved too many times to count is you’re perpetually homesick for somewhere.  This ache for a place you once called home and then the joy of revisiting it is a constant see saw of emotions and memories.

We returned to Belgium on Sunday, and we’re so glad to be back.  We missed our dog, our bed, our life here.  But, it comes at a cost because we will now go back to missing our loved ones ‘back home.’

I cherished my time with my kids, and I’m glad Joe and I got to travel around so much of the U.S. this summer.  I have not been on American soil for that long of a time since I moved overseas.  In 5 weeks we got to visit our nation’s capital, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Indiana.  Here’s a quick rundown of our highlights.

Arizona

Staying in Phoenix in the summer at homes without pools is tough.  I missed my pool more than ever during this visit.  I’m an outdoor kind of girl who loves to sip her coffee with the birds and, well, the bees (or flies).  It’s hard to do that when you’re melting (I used to sit in my pool and sip coffee), but it’s all good I did get a little pool time in during our vacay.  Besides this trip was truly about soaking up family time, and I got to spend time in each of my children’s homes.

I also got to sip coffee outside in northern Arizona over the July 4 holiday weekend (at a lovely house we rented in Oak Creek Canyon) and another weekend in Flagstaff.  I loved that I got to whoop up the 4th with this crew!


For some reason I can no longer format the way my photos post — argh.  I’ll figure out how to fix that next post.




It was also fun visiting Flagstaff, Williams and Prescott.  It’s just way too hot to stay in Phoenix in the summer.  And, I did get to play with Torin in a pool.

Little monster is just too too cute.  I miss him dearly.

New Mexico

We drove from Flagstaff to Santa Fe, New Mexico where I got to catch up with an old friend.  We stayed at a lovely hotel in the art center area.  It was beautiful, and we so wish we could have stayed an extra night.

I’m really annoyed by photo editing right now, so it’s messing up my writerly vibe as well.  But, oh well,  you see that plate full of green goo — OMG I crave that  now.  I’ve discovered hatch chiles and christmas sauce.  I may have to go back just to eat that meal again!

Colorado

It was so good to visit Kyle and Kendra in Castle Rock.  The only thing missing during our July 4 feast was these two.  Plus, you can’t go wrong visiting the big C during summer.  It’s always gorgeous there.

Kansas

From Colorado we headed to Indiana to visit Joe’s sister.  We spent a night in Kansas next to a truck stop.  Lol there’s really not much I can say about Kansas (although we didn’t explore much).  The highlight for me was taking a side trip to the Oz museum and Oz winery.  Those snazzy slippers that start this blog were bought there — love them!

Indiana

Before reaching Indiana we spent a night in Missouri near Columbia.  We regret not taking an extra day to explore the Ozarks (especially since we love the show set there), but perhaps another time.  Again we didn’t do much sight seeing, but we did spend a lot of time having fun with Joe’s sister, who lives in a Disneyesque town called Carmel.  LOL I swear they even pipe in the wildlife because while we were sitting at the fire pit we were entertained by racoons, foxes and a possum.  During the day blue jays and cardinals stopped by to peek at us peeking at them.  No need to do much exploring when it’s all right there.

I loved the artwork all over the town center, and a cool restaurant had my favorite bathroom ever. Who knew Indiana was so progressive?!

We spent a day sitting waterside sipping bevies, which was wonderful.  It made me miss living by a lake (but that was several lifetimes ago!).

And then our road trip was over.  We flew back to Phoenix for a few days, packed up and returned to Brussels.  Luckily we totally missed the heat wave.  I cannot imagine attempting sleep in my third-floor, non air-conditioned apartment in 106 degree temps.

I wish I would have taken the time to write the many reflections I’ve had during this trip, so that I could share the good ones with you, but I didn’t and now that I’m typing I can’t think of any of them.

I am torn between wanting to move back to the states to be closer to my kids (and their kids) and staying here where I’m in a bipolar relationship of peace and wonder and frustration and WTF (you never get used to eets a problame, which basically means “bitch you’re gonna wait another week, two, three or maybe four before this shit gets fixed”).

But, I do so love my home here and my job and the life, so it’ll be a while before I go back (unless my employer has other plans for me).

I am also heartbroken and enraged that a few days ago I messaged my children that I loved them and to please, please be safe and vigilant. All of the places where mass shootings take place could include any of us.  We love festivals, shopping, drinking and getting educated.  The story of the young mother dying in Walmart while shielding her infant crushed me.  The only saving grace is that wouldn’t be my daughter since she probably owns stock in Amazon by now, but why oh why are we so violent?  America I love you, and all my people there.  I truly believe there are more good of us than bad, so please, please, please let’s get our shit together and quit letting shit talkers stir it up (and noooo I’m not blaming politicians for the murders, but our leaders aren’t helping make change for the better, and we’re getting caught in the web with our own arguments and circular reasoning.  Bottom line: conservatives and liberals want the same for their children:  safety, growth, freedom and opportunities).  We know how to get along and play nice in the sandbox, so let’s get to it.  And, yes, that includes me.

Okay, this isn’t a blog about my country’s issues, so let me get back to the whole point of this post.  It was great to go home for a bit, and it’s just as great to come home!  I loved time with my people, but most of all my absolute favorite thing was rocking and singing my grandson to sleep.  OMG it is amazing how much a baby can fill your soul with love and hope. (um, maybe we need to all rock babies before problem solving?)

 

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