Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Rest of Our Home and Thanksgiving

I finished cleaning our home and getting pictures set up on Wednesday! I was so proud of myself. I tried not to overdo it, but I had to get it done! We can't hang the pictures on the walls by ourselves. We have to call the Embassy to place a work order for maintenance to come hang the pictures up for us. I don't think I want to bother since we will only be here for another 32 months.

Our entry hall. The open door leads to the basement. I didn't take any pictures of that area, there is only the garage, food storage room, and my craft room. There's also a "water closet" off of this entry hall. The stairs to the bedroom area are also off this hall.

Looking into the living room from the entry hall. Our television isn't watched much, but it keeps us entertained in the evenings.

Looking from the fireplace and piano into the main living room area.

The living room is "L" shaped. This is looking from the Office/crochet/reading alcove.

I love having a fireplace! This one sits in the corner of the living room. We don't plan on using it since our home is nicely insulated and stays comfortable, unlike our drafty Italian home.

The piano in the living room. We are waiting for the first of the year and things to kind of settle down before we find a piano teacher for Kaitlyn. I hope we can find one that is reasonablly priced.

Office/reading/crochet alcove of the living room. Aren't the doors to the dining room cute!!

The "office" in the living room alcove. We finally got the internet hookup so we don't have to "piggyback" off the neighbors wireless. I keep our family history books here so that I can work on them whenever the mood strikes me.

My crochet/reading corner! I love it! The cabinet holds extra blankets.

Sneak peak from the office/reading/crochet alcove into the dining room. I love these doors! We can completely shut off each room on this floor to keep them warm!

Looking from the living room area side into the dining room. The glass door going to the big backyard. The back patio has a retractable awning!
Looking into the dining room from the kitchen. I LOVE the china hutch! A small painting by Aimee.

Dining room looking from the glass doors to the back door. Those are some of my souveniours from Italy. The painting is one that Aimee did of Cinque Terre, Italy.

Here is our kitchen. The stove, like our in our Italian home, is "Barbie" size, it barely fits one 9x13 pan.

This is our European frig. It is barely six feet tall, the freezer has three drawers in it and is on the bottom half. The top half is barely big enough to hold a weeks worth of groceries. It's a good thing we have another one exactly like it downstairs.

This is the door from the kitchen to the entry hall. The white cabinet hides a microwave.

So this year we had two sets of missionaries that are assigned to our ward over for Thanksgiving dinner. One set had to go to France for a meeting or something and they didn't get back to Brussels until about 630 pm, so we didn't eat until 730! It was great! We really missed having or family with us, but we made do.

I really enjoyed cooking this year! I know that's a shocker, but I did! We have relied on Wendy to do all the cooking and stuff, because that is what she loves to do, for so long that I forgot how much I enjoy cooking. I realize that some of what I made wasn't "homemade," but why put myself in more pain than necessary? If it comes in a box and is good tasting, I'm okay with that. Dave helped me with a lot of the cooking, so that I could enjoy it as well as everyone else.

Oh thank goodness for pumpkin bread in a box! It made the house smell so yummy! And it was delicious!!

Thank you "Mrs. Smith" for the delicious pumpkin and apple pies!

Our Thanksgiving Dinner 2010. We had ham, real mashed potatoes, grean bean casserole, stuffing, Belgian rolls, crackers with hot spinach dip, vegetable tray with dip. It was so yummy! And the best part, NO leftovers! ALL the leftovers went home with the missionaries! We hope that your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Rest of the Week

Okay, so bare with me here. I put a ton of pictures and tried to organize this post in chronilogical order, but it didn't work that way. So I did the best I could, I hope you can understand it. Enjoy it any way! ;0)
I did so good and got half the house cleaned this week, a major feat if you know me well. LOL Dave was so sweet and helped get the last couple of things done, like make Kaitlyn's bed and take laundry downstairs to the laundry room, boxes that needed to go to the trash out, and boxes that needed to go to the garage or storage room space under the stairs in the basement. He had been at ward leadership meetings all morning and decided that since he knew that I had been trying to get the house clean for the holidays he would bring home a yummy treat for us. PASTRIES and BREAD!! There is a bakkerij (bakery in Dutch) or broodverkoop (breadstore in Dutch) in Moosel on his way home from the church that has REALLY good baked goods.
This building above is the city hall! It is huge, built in the 1400's. There are carvings ALL over this building that are depicting scenes from the Bible, Belgian Kings, the city's Chiefs (equivilant to a Mayor I think). In the basement of this building was statues with the clothes of the times from about 1930 to current day and yearly pictures of their "city council" since 1890!
These pictures are of the church, Saint Peter's, across the square from "City Hall." It too is huge! (Hey Mom! The sky is blue today!!) We went inside the church and immediately could tell we were in a VERY OLD building because of the musty smell, most older buildings smell the same here.
I have no idea what this is, but it is solid wood and has carvings all over it. Inside the church it appears that they televise mass because there were industrial lighting and teleprompters near the alter.
This is looking from one end of the building to the other. It was so weird to see people (teenagers) RUNNING through the church. We didn't ever see that in Italy or in our church buildings in the United States.
We are going to have to check out the churches in the area next month to see if they have Nativity scenes set up like the churches in Italy did. Just as Dave was making that comment we turned around and there was this Nativity behind glass. I am so glad this picture turned out!!

Once I got cleaned up Dave took us into Leuven. There is a yarn, quilt, cross stitch store that I have been wanting to check out. I think I'm in love!! It had yarn, fabric, floss, and everything I could possibly want for my hand crafts! Of course, being in Europe the prices are not what I'm used to and it is a little bit more expensive. So I will only be going there when I'm in desperate need and won't be building up my "stash." The store is in the middle of the city, just off the city square, and we just happen to have my camera with us and it was "market" day. We were a little bit later then normal for the market, but we were able to walk around a little until we found the shop I was looking for. Here are some pictures of downtown Leuven.
The center of cities and towns all over Europe look like this on "Market" day. I love going to the market! There are vendors selling everything you can think of, food, clothes, crafts, shoes, junk, antiques, and everything inbetween. We see kids in uniforms, school or scouts, of some kind running all over the place, playing games, chasing their friends, and just being kids! It's great, but at the same time it's crazy because their are no parents with them. These kids are as young as 5 or 6!! We can also see street performers, musicians, artists, and gypsies!

Here are pictures of our upstairs, bedroom area, that I just spent the last two days cleaning. I feel so good about getting at least half the house done. Next week I get to get the rest of the house done before Thanksgiving. There's nothing like having a clean beautiful home for the holidays. Now I just wish we had more family around. Oh well, the missionaries will have to do for the day.
These are pictures of Kaitlyn's room.
These are pictures of Aimee's room.
These are pictures of Wendy's room.
These are pictures of the our bedroom.

I believe this was actually taken on Monday morning.

It was such a beautiful day today! The sun was out ALL day! It made me so happy and I was able to get so much done!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Amazing week

This week has been fun.

Monday we got our internet hooked up!! We have been piggybacking off the neighbors network, they were so kind in letting us do that. Now we don't have to!!

Tuesday was Kaitlyn's Drama Club. That is moving along, well as well as can be expected since it's a group of third, fourth, fifth and sixth grades. Forty-five students in all. The play they will be doing is Sleeping Beauty. Kaitlyn is a member of royalty!! She is so excited. Because there are so many children and the advisor wants all of the children to have a speaking part, there have been some rewrites. Since I can't do much I volunteered to do any typing that needs to be done, so I will be working on typing up the rewrites!! I think I can handle that. The parents all decided that each family is responsible for their child's costumes. Now how in the world do I come up with a costume for a member of royalty?

Today was Parent/Teacher conferences. Kaitlyn got all A's and B's!!! Her teacher says she is a great student and he loves having her in his class. Did I ever mention that there is only one fifth grade class with only 23 students? Well, there is. She is learning Dutch this semester in Host Nation class. She's constantly correcting our pronounciation of words. Maybe by the time we leave she will be able to speak Dutch and French? We'll see.

After we were done at the school we decided to drive up to Schinnen Air Base in the Netherlands! That was SSSOOO much easier to find and return from then Chievers Air Base. It was still an hour away, but it was so much less stress!! Groceries were a little bit cheaper, which is always a nice bonus. The base is really small, but AAFES and the commissary were much bigger and there were so much more facilities than here. We were able to get a couple of things for Christmas for Kaitlyn.

Once we got home we sat down and watched TOY STORY 3. Oh my heck, it is so stinkin' funny!!! I loved it! We all laughed so much.

The rest of the week will probably be boring since we need to clean for the holidays.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November 7 thru 14, 2010

This last week has been a week of sickness! Poor Kaitlyn, I don't think she actually completely recovered from her last illness because she came home Tuesday from school really sick. We spent the rest of the week sleeping and in bed or on the couch! I felt so bad for her. I think next year if the school requires the flu vaccine, I'm going to listen to my instinct and sign the waiver so she doesn't have to get it. It might mean she will have to spend a week or two at home because everyone else is getting the flu, but at least I won't have to deal with her being sick!!

We heard from Aimee on Tuesday which is her P-day and she is doing well. We sent her a care package through and she LOVED it! Her and her companion had a wonderful meal of nachos and some wonderful goodies! She is learning a lot and trying to grasp the Vietnamese language. She will get it with the Lord's help.

We also talked with Wendy on Thursday to check on her and she seems to be doing really well. She is applying for work and working on getting her schooling done. She was also able to get the Driver's Learner's Permit!!! So Grandpa is teaching her how to drive. I hope she does better than I did when my Daddy was teaching me!!! Remember that Daddy?

I taught my first Relief Society lesson today! I wasn't a bit nervous or antsy. I guess that's the advantage of actually being called to the position and being set apart for the job. I have missed my girls, but haven't shed too many tears. I guess it just must be time for them to be out of our house. Of course, it probably helps knowing that they are where they are supposed to be and doing what the Lord wants them to be doing.

Dave took this last week off from work to get some things done that needed to done, like getting Wendy's things scheduled to be shipped. We weren't able do what we really wanted to because Kaitlyn was home sick the whole time as well. Oh well, we will have two weeks at Christmas.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

October pictures and the 1st Week of November 2010

As soon as we got out of the car, Wendy took a bag of popcorn and as soon as she walked across the path, the geese wanted to be feed! It was so funny. It was like the geese knew instinctively that that was what Wendy was there for, to feed them a treat. Kaitlyn was a little scared and it took a little coaxing to get her to feed them too. Now we know what to take to the park with us.
Wendy and Kaitlyn feeding the birds popcorn at the the park the first weekend in October.

General Conference weekend, the first weekend in October, we went to the park. We spent a couple of hours walking, resting, reading, and enjoying the sunshine!! The leaves were just starting to change. The colors are amazing!! I hope I am able to get some pictures this next week before they have all fallen.

Happy Halloween!! Kaitlyn went as a sorceress this year. Isn't she cute? Wendy spent two hours curling Kaitlyn's lasted an hour.

Trunk or Treat at the Garrison in Brussels, Belgium. There were some really cute cars all decked out. There were about 35 cars to "trick or treat" at. Kaitlyn was so excited to go, so we spent Friday the 29th at the Garrison. There was food, a haunted house, and trunk or treating.

On October 27 Kaitlyn had to have a mandatory flu shot for school!! Personally, I think it's stupid to make it mandatory, but who am I. They say you can't get the flu from the shot or even the nasal mist, which is what she actually got. Well, Kaitlyn ended up getting the flu and spent last weekend doing exactly this, sleeping! Poor thing, she was miserable and wanted to cuddled and loved on all the time.

Wendy spent the week excited and getting ready to leave home. We only brought four suitcases with us when we moved over here and she took two of them. I guess that means we have to buy a new set of luggage before we go back to the states. I don't know how many times she pack and repacked to make sure she got as much in her bags as she could. Her orders didn't get processed until Thursday so we thought she would have to postpone her leaving, but they were printed and ready to go.

Friday Wendy spent all day with Kaitlyn. Doing fun things like watching movies, tv shows, playing games, coloring, reading, painting each others fingernails. It was so good to see them spend so much time together and really bond and make some good memories.

Saturday started way too early!! Pam barely fell asleep about 2 am, Kaitlyn woke up at 3 am from a bad dream, Wendy got up at 4 am to get ready for her long flight, Dave got up at 5 am to get ready for the day. We left for the airport at 6 because Wendy had to be there by 715 to catch her flight to Atlanta at 915. We had time before leaving for Dave to give Wendy a father's blessing, such sweet words and a few tears. We made it to the airport in plenty of time, got Wendy checked in, checked her bags and get her to security. We hugged her good-bye, told her we love her and sent her on her way. We waited for her to get through security and waited for her to turn and wave. She walked through security and didn't see her after that. I think she was afraid she would start crying (she has to be brave ya know) if she waved good-bye to us. That was a very hard thing for us to do, sending her on her way to live her life. She is very excited about going to live with Grandpa and Grandma.

We are so grateful for loving parents who are so willing to let the girls live with them, when they can't move around the world with us. We love them so much and can never repay the generosity they have shown toward us and our family.

After leaving the airport we went home so we could take naps. At lunchtime we took off for our journey to the commissary in Chievres. The drive down is beautiful and long. We actually managed to make it back home without haveing to go ALL the way AROUND Brussels like we have in the past. Thank goodness for a map, we were finally able to get one yesterday. Traveling is so much better with a map!!!

During dinner we got a phone call from the missionaries letting Dave know what time their appointment was tonight with a new member. He totally forgot that he was gonna do that tonight!!! It's okay though, it's keeping him busy so he doesn't cry all night.

Kaitlyn and I are watching a movie and spending quality time together. I don't think Wendy being gone has really hit us yet. Yeah, we are sad, but we haven't broke down and shed any serious tears yet. It might be Monday morning when I actually take Kaitlyn to the bus stop for school and then be alone all day.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

News from our Missionary

okay so the highlights for this week.
last tues elder scott came and spoke to us in the tues night fireside. ugh i'm in such a rush i cant remember what he spoke on, but i did take notes!
then during laundry time sister erekson almost took an elder's clothes. XD we joke that laundry time is the worst time because everything usually goes wrong then...and well its true.
we got 4 new sisters in our room, they are all english speaking going to kirtland. they are pretty quite but we are slowly getting to know them.
ack! yeah i would carry my room key with me all the time except the smart person who invented skirts didnt think to add pockets! *dead*
Uwah! something really sad happened on saturday. one of the elders in our district went home. :( it felt like i was losing a brother, but somehow we all managed to pull ourselves together and press on.
my favorite part about being in the mtc is gym time. Sister erekson and i are together during that time and we usually play volleyball with the elders going to thailand/japan or we play lighting with the elders in our own districts. and we usually kick thier butts ;P
*headdesk* i forgot my journal in the other room and i had so many things to tell you....
ah!!! before i forget could you please send me pics of the family? i miss seeing you all and i want to show everyone my awesome fam! :3
*flails around* tomorrow anh ca jones va anh ca hoopes va toi will be teaching our first lesson in vietnamese.... i feel so unprepared. T_T i feel like i cant keep up with them in the language. :(
at the very least i can listen carefully and bear my testimony i guess...
um lets see what else can i tell you about?
ah!! if wendy decides to get her endowments before i leave she should just happen to come to the provo temple....on a tuesday...around 3 ish....i'm just sayin...
man i miss you all so very very very much! the other day they served funeral potatoes and i was thinking of you mom the whole time!! *cries*
dad, i wish you could be here to teach us. you've always been the best teacher because you make it so personal and understandable.
wendys! i miss you so much! there are random times when i want to hold sister erekson's hand because she is walkin next to me and i forget that she's not you. T_T *cries*
Kaitlyn!! ack! sister erekson has a little sis named kaitlyn too! i miss you so much! i hope school is going well for you! how is the play coming along???
*noms feet* i'm starving but there is still 3 hrs til lunch!
okay well i'd better write gma and gmpa now!
i love you all!! SOOOOOOO FLIPPIN MUCH!!
thank you so much for everything and all the support!
*hugs and loves*
Chi ca Holloway