Monday, December 18, 2006

A great start to the holidays??

Ah... the joys of children in daycare.

Saturday we had plans to go to bernkastel-Kues, a small German wine village about an hour away to see what we have heard is a beautiful Christmas market.

Unfortunately, just as we were about to get ready to go, Stu had the runs. Oh well, another time, these things happen. We stayed in all day, had lots of fun putting together some Lego that Stu got for his birthday and playing together.

By the end of the day, Stu was MUCH better. But Julia seemed to have a weird diaper rash... more molars coming in?

By late yesterday afternoon Joolsies, who hadn't wanted to eat all day and was a bit lethargic, had a lot more spots. LOTS more. We called the pediatric clinic - they said it was hard to say over the phone, but we could take her to the pediatrician in the morning (ie, we're a little busy).

By 7pm we were just not comfortable with her condition, and I took her to the clinic. 3.5 hours later we left the clinic - after we had seen the doctor, had a blood test, seen the head of neonatal (who just happened to be in) and were told it was viral - most likely (based on the spots on her palms, soles of her feet and inside her mouth) Hand/Foot/Mouth disease. No specific medication, just lots of rest and take her to our doctor if she still had spots after 48 hours.

Fingers crossed we didn't pick up anything else in the waiting room - seeing one little boy who insisted on playing near Julia went and threw up in the garbage can.

Poor Julia had a really rough night, up pretty much every 45 minutes (and she only went to bed at midnight). Not in great shape this morning. Stu woke up saying seeming fine, but the started sayinghe had a sore stomach, but otherwise seeming quite himself. Really... he seemed fine. We have this some mornings - especially if Julia has been sick. Marc took him to school and I tried to go back to bed, but Julia woke up at 9:00.

At 9:30 the phone rings... and it's Joffer Dani, Stu's teacher. Stuart has thrown up all over the desk at school. Ah - will be right there.... oh boy, who feels like a bad parent now??

So here we are, sitting on the couch watching Peppa Pig, hoping no one is going to throw up... or come out in more spots. Or catch any of this. And to add to the fun, they are doing construction in the house next door.... because we have a common wall it sounds like they are coming right through!

So, things can only look up right??

Hope you are all having a good time getting ready for the holidays!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

He's 5!!

How on earth did that happen? Stuart turned 5 last Monday.

It's not like I can't do the math, it's just that 5 is such a big number - the first of those 5 increments that seem to define so much of our life. As in what's your five year plan. I think if someone had asked me that 5 years ago I would never have come up with some of the wonderful (and awful) moments over the past 5 years.

We had a party yesterday to celebrate - 10 kids including my two. Last year was the first year that we had kids that were school friends - ie not kids of my friends. This year was the first time their mums left them here alone - with the exception of two of my girlfriends (thank goodness for Gill! Got to love a guest that helps her child tidy up before leaving) So in theory there were 5 adults (Marc, myself, my mum, Gill and Anneli) to 10 kids, and based on the fact that I can handle two or three at a time it should have been fine... ?

Actually it wasn't bad - I think a lot of it comes down to cultural things. So many of these kids come different cultural backgrounds. The main language was French, but there were Luxembourgish kids, an Italian/Belgian child, Swedish/American, Scottish, Yugoslavian/Portuguese - and one little boy who's father is (I think) Spanish and his mother from Cap Verde (I think - and it would appear they are divorced as he was dropped off with his babysitter - wait that makes it 6 adults - as you can tell she was a lot of use since I forgot about her). This is one of the first times they are all going to a party without their parents, they (with the exception of one little boy) had NO clue what pass the parcel was (that went off better than I thought). We just all have different traditions and it was interesting to see how they intermixed. Or didn't :-)

Anyhow, Stu, despite suffering from a reaction to a booster shot on Thursday, had a great time and was sad to see everyone go. So to make the special day last a little longer, we all went out for Indian food (my kids love Indian food?) and it was a perfect ending to a wonderful (HECTIC) day!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

over due update

I haven't felt much like writing lately - probably because we've been going about Warp 8 for the last few months. (Until the end of last week when I got to slow down and rather predictably got horribly sick... I am at home on doctor's orders not to talk...? something to do with my vocal chords being inflamed)

ANYHOW! What has been going on with us... Stuart started his new school - first real year of school called Spillschoul (literal translation Spill - to play, Schoul - school). After a not so auspicious start he has decided that it's probably ok. The first two weeks were a nightmare of hysterics every morning and being up every night but it seems to be getting better and he likes Joffer Dani (Joffer means young woman, but it's what they call all female teachers). I wasn't so sure for a few weeks -they have up a red and green board in the classroom for the kids who are behaving and those who aren't. Before you ask if Stu was on the red board, I had an issue with labelling them as "good" or "bad" so young. After a meet the teacher night where she spent an hour with the Lux parents and then an hour with the French speaking ones I felt much better... and by that time Stu was off the red :-)

Then today when I went to get him at the daycare (Julia was home sick with me) he didn't want to leave because it was someone's birthday and they were about to have cake... so he wanted to STAY. I had to go back for him. And the other day he wanted to go to Little Gym...Maybe things are changing!!!

Marc had a busy September travelling being in 3 countries in 2 weeks, but all went well and fingers crossed he won't have to travel much more before Christmas. He is currently acting as Programme Manager because his boss got promoted... a huge honor for him.

Julia is well... well she's sick, but other than that well... both kids have been going to Little Gym and Julia is a real little acrobat. This week we had to move her up to an older class (she is now in one for 30-36 months) because she was so much older than the other little ones in the group she was in (it was from 18-30 months, but most of them were around the 21 or 22 month mark). She's having a blast going... not always listening, but loves hanging and catching the bubbles at the end!! At nearly 2 1/2 she is getting rather head strong... she's like the little girl with the curl on her forehead - when she's good she's really really good but when she's bad - ooof!! Good set of lungs on the girl. We've tried instituting The Naughty Step (after watching an episode of the SuperNanny - Brit version) but... well you're not supposed to crazy glue them to it are you?

And a new (and slightly disturbing?) tendency - which is pretty funny.... she likes to take her clothes off. Waiting for Stu at Little Gym yesterday she took off her pants and refused to put them back on. Then today I went to the bathroom and when I came out she was stark naked!!! And quite pleased with herself!!

I am heading to Montreal for 6 days on Sunday - got a cheap end of season AirTransat ticket from Brussels. It's been nearly 2 years since we've been home and given all that's happened I felt the need to get home for a few days. Looking forward to seeing my family and the friends who are close enough, bagels, real drugstores, ENGLISH BOOKSTORES, Cote St-Luc BBQ chicken, Starbucks... just being home :-)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Glorious Turkey

We arrived at our hotel in Turkey around noon - what seemed like a long trip as we had been at the airport at 5 a.m. and it hadn't helped spending over an hour getting out of the airport in Antalya (between visas and a hideously long wait in passport control - which would have made more sense if we'd had any idea that there were bombs going off!)

The road to the hotels was sunny and dusty - everything looked a little parched. But it was WARM and SUNNY - yeah! Then turning into our resort was like entering another world - huge Hibiscus bushes, palm trees, lime trees - green as far as the eye could see. My first thought once we had checked in was that we'd come to one of those resorts you only see on travel shows (I have very limited experience with resorts!!).

We were taken to our room on a golf cart (despite the fact that it was a 90 second walk) and our luggage arrived as we looked around our two room suite (separate room for the kids and a bed for Marc and I that we could all fit on) with a balcony on the ground floor of a 3 floor building.

After changing and a huge buffet lunch we headed to the pools - there was a nice two level pool, water slides and a cool kiddy pool (with a sand-like bottom) full of little tiny water slides - a huge success.

Over the week we got both kids to the big pool, Stu firmly in his floaty (he'd had a bit of a bad experience in the pool on Canada Day that we are still sorting out) but Mademoiselle J proved her water baby status by floating on her water wings alone...

Friday we got a taxi into the nearest town (Belek) for a couple of hours - there really wasn't much to see besides stores selling jewellery and knock-off purses, shoes and clothes. But having heard about the bombs we had opted against the day trip to the market in Antalya (sniff sniff!!)

Marc and I both got to take advantage of the Spa - a Thallaso Therapy one (all water treatments). If you ever have the chance to have a massage that is a combination of water jets and a masseuese/eur - we both recommned it.

To be honest by Saturday we were getting a wee bit bored - okay, maybe just me, this was a really different kind of a vacation for me - so we hopped on the little train to the bigger hotel - there were two, the larger one was the golf club. We drove thorugh a gorgeous golf course (even I wanted to get off and play!) and arrived at a HUGE hotel - with a huge mini club, pools etc... we had hoped to stay until lunch time, but ended up staying until the 7 p.m. shuttle back!! The beach, which had been a little rough at our resort, was really calm, and the kids could get in without any trouble. The pool had a swim up bar... pretty cool!!

Although the larger hotel was quite impressive we were happy to get back to our resort - it was more our size!

The next morning, our last day, we headed back to the calmer beach until lunch, then back "home" for lunch and an afternoon in the pool...

Every night at 8:45 there was the Mini Disco - the kids from the mini club (which Stuart refused to spend even a minute in incidentally) had a little dance on the main stage... they sang about 10 songs (the same ones) every night including Chihuahua, Schnappi, Chocolate... Julia was up there with all the kids (I wonder sometimes if she has any fear) and Stuart knows all the words to all the songs and was up on the stage the last night. Needless to say we took TONS of pictures of it all.

All the staff (at our resort at least) were extremely friendly - and they all seemed to love kids. There was an interesting mix of people at the resort - a few French, a few Germans, some Luxembourgers, some Brits who arrived halfway through the week, and LOTS of Russians... I could write a whole other blog on the Russians. Very interesting.

So here we are back in Luxembourg where it is miraculously sunny (we must have brought it with us :-) ). The kids had a great time but are happy to be home. Marc and I are tanned and mostly relaxed (though between Stu refusing the Mini Club and Jools refusing most every nap unless we were sitting in a restaurant we didn't get quite the down time we were hoping for).

Back to work on Monday ;-(

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Weather forecast...

This morning we saw the sun - wow!! Woke up to a view of fog - usually a good sign in Luxembourg (means the sun might come out).

Of course, the sun was gone by lunch to be replaced with rain. To quote the Stu "But Mum... (insert sigh) it's POURING again!"

At a high of 14 degrees and rainy, we are looking forward to heading to Turkey on Monday... where the forecast is 35 degrees and sunny... Yeah!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

where did the summer go?

Here we are almost at the end of August - where has the summer gone?

Luckily for us, Stu doesn't go back to school until the 15th of September, so we are off to Turkey on Monday!!

Given that, with the exception of our heat-wave (we did have one didn't we??), we have barely seen the sun or had temperatures break the 20 degree mark all summer, it will be nice to head to the sun for a week - and the fact that they have a SPA isn't hurting at the moment!

Then back for 4 days to hang out around home and attend the 666th Schuberfouer - the Fair that was started by John the Blind and is the longest running in Europe. It is a real Luxembourg institution - food, drink and rides, who can ask for anything more!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

And the things they do...

It has been a bit of a rough weekend in the H-T household. Our heat wave of a couple of weeks ago ended abruptly about two weeks ago and we have moved to rain day in and day out and highs of 15 degrees... but I dare not complain. But it has meant that Julia has a nasty cold and that we have not been able to put the boy out to run... so we are all climbing the walls and as Marc just hollered from the kitchen "Julia just hoofed the cat" - she's getting very expressive with her fists and feet. 2 is such a lovely age.

So - let's remember some of the better moments of the week...

One evening as we were doing dishes Stuart wanted to know if Joe (the son of his Godparents) liked the birthday present we sent. I saId that yes, Aunt Jenn had sent an email saying he did. "But how many times has he used it???" Stuart wanted to know. I said I wasn't sure - he'd have to ask Joe. Okay he says, proceeding into the living room and installing himself in front of the computer and pulling out the headset we use for Skype. I asked "what are you doing?" he answers (as if it was clear as day) "Skyping Joe" (Duh Ma!). So I connected him, told him he had to indentify himslef to Aunt Jenn and watched while he and Joe had a conversation for almost 5 minutes... what a little man.

And Mademoiselle has learned how to climb out of her crib. Marc and I are bitterly mourning the peaceful (??) days of being able to put her in bed and know she would still be there when you went back in the room (hollering perhaps, but still in bed). At 27 months old, we got a good 10 months longer out of her than we did out of Stuart. Yesterday morning she was still asleep when Stu and I went down for breakfast... an hour later when things were still quiet upstairs I thought I should check on her. There she was sitting on our bathroom floors counting "1...2" as she took off her pyjama bottoms to try and go on the potty... so quiet, so serene - so grown up, getting out of bed herself. (the rest of the weekend has been hell, she won't go to bed, she's exhausted and sick...)

Any advice on bickering siblings is appreciated - ours have started to fight like cats and dogs (and with the cats as mentionned above) in the last few weeks and it is driving us to distraction (who knew they could both make equally high-pitched screeches that leaves us looking for broken crystal...)

The things they say...

Cute Julia comment of the day, talking to Kyra our black and white cat :"You have belly button?"

Okay, maybe you had to be there but she's so darn cute...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Heat Wave!

The heat here in Luxembourg this week has been incredible - it has (from all accounts on the radio) been getting up to 35 degrees or hotter in the day and not dropping more than a few degrees at night.

We're just not equipped for it - places don't have air-conditioning. And I am not just talking about people's homes, I am talking about malls, movie theaters, grocery stores, offices. Anywhere that does proclaim to be air-conditionned, you find that at best is a few degrees cooler than outside.

Every morning there is a weather warning on the radio: put down all your blinds during peak sunshine hours (with an East/West facing house that is from 5 am until almost 10 pm at the moment), children and the elderly needs to stay inside and spend at least two hours a day in a "cool" place (which means less than 25 degrees - it would be helpful if they provided a list of such places), do not leave the house between 11 am and 3 pm, drink 1.5 litres of water a day minimum... etc etc. It doesn't help that we have a water ban on at the moment and we have been forbidden to fill small kiddy pools.

Last night it was 30 degrees on the main floor of our house. I don't even want to hazard a guess what it was on Stu's floor 2 flights up. Luckily we bought a small mobile air-conditioner a few years back that we roll from room to room to cool things down a bit - but it doesn't do as much as we had hoped and needs emptying every few hours.

I have been lying awake since 5 am trying to think of where to take the kids this weekend to cool them off. Poor Stuart fell off something at the park last Sunday and has a cast on his arm until Tuesday (nothing on the x-ray, but they wanted to immobilze his arm as he was in pain - what a week for it!!) so pools, if you could get into them, are out of the question.

My office probably comes close to the 25 degree mark - about 26 or 27 I would say (we hear regularly about how we have air-conditioning, though I sit near the building managers at the moment and I know one of them was up all night night before last because the alarm in the print room goes off at 40 degrees and it went off all night). Marc has nothing at work - how he is managing to wear shirt and sometimes tie is beyond me.

So - next time I am complaining about how short summer is here and how long and dreary our winters are, and how we long for it to be warm... I have something to refer back to!

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Stu

Stu fell in the park yesterday. Didn't seem bad, he was able to move his arm and not much seemed amiss. This was around lunchtime, so we packed up our stuff and headed home.

Well, by 7:00 last night he was so cranky and clutching his arm so Marc took him (against Stu's wishes) to the hospital. Apparently the x-ray process was pretty scary.

While they found nothing serious wrong with him (though there was some question as to if there was something wrong around his elbow) they decided to immobilize his arm for 8 days...

Poor little guy - what a way to start school holidays!!

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Yesterday was Stuart's last day of school - a lovely sunny summer day, the teacher invited us to a small party at the end of the day in the courtyard playground behind the school where we ate cake and sipped champagne (Luxmebourgish champagne - otherwise known as cremant).

I can't for the life of me understand how the last 10 months have gone by so quickly... this time 10 months ago we were full of angst. Would he be ok going to school? Would he make friends? Would he be able to speak Luxembourgish? Would he like his teacher? With all the schooling options here (Luxembourgish system, European School, International School, French School, Waldorf School... to name only the most common) were we making the right choice?

Well the answer to all of those questions turned out to be a resounding yes - he is heartbroken that the school year has come to an end and seems to think we are punishing him with summer holidays. He just can't understand why he can't go back on Monday morning. He wants to see Joffer Martine he insists (Joffer is teacher - at least female teacher- in Luxembourgish)

Looking around the school yard - cremant in hand ;-) - Marc and I watched him tear about, completely at home in his environment (more so than in our local park even!) playing with his friends and shouting out in Luxembourgish that bears no trace of an accent (unlike his mother's!!) We watched him hug his Joffer and had to drag him home.

Our little boy did better than we ever hoped for and we are so proud of him!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It's amazing how their minds work...

We have been having a pretty hectic spring/summer, and I have not been very good at keeping up to date here about some of our adventures.

My Mum was here the last week of May and first week of June for a visit - and I was able to go with Marc on a business trip to Oslo for two nights. What a beautiful city, lilacs blooming, blue sky (it had been raining here for three weeks at that point), a visit with an old colleague - overall, lovely!! Thanks Mum for the opportunity!!

Another thing we did (to get back to how my kids minds work), my mum and I that is, was to take the kids to a little kiddies amusement park called Didiland near Strasbourg and spend the night in Strasbourg. It's a park geared, I would say, to the 3-8 year old crowd. My kids LOVED it.

Julia tried lots of the rides - insisted in fact (though she usually started protesting "me off, me off!!!" halfway through. The only one she didn't protest on at all was the flume which she thought was great. Meanwhile I was clinging to both kids and the raft (involved using my legs too) thinking "how stupid am I to take two small kids on this??"

Now my mum isn't that big on rides. Stu made her go on one near the beginning that looked really tame (hot air balloon thingys that go up and come down slowly) but in true Stu fashion found a way to make the thing spin in circles - and tested how fast he could make it go. She did venture a few others and was getting quite brave near the end of our visit.

I was still pretty surprised when Stu and I got off the (evil) bumper cars to see Mum and Julia on the caterpillar rollercoaster. Stu of course couldn't be outdone by his sister, so we had to go on. It was horrible!! Fast, bumpy and I got the safety bar wedged between my ribs (or at least that's how it felt). Mum and I agreed that it was not the most pleasant ride at the park. Julia apparently protested the entire ride.

Well, Julia has mentioned several times "Me go caterpillar with Nana, go fast fast round!" with frantic arm gestures. But it has been a few weeks. Then tonight, I was sitting next to her crib watching her. She was at that beautiful stage of almost dropping off... heavy eyes, slow hands, I stroked her cheek and she reached up to stroke mine... really beautiful bonding moment, remember why you had kids...

And then - eyes wide open "Me go caterpillar with Nana!! Round round, through apple, fast fast!!"

So Mum, I don't know what she was thinking about, but the 3 minutes of discomfort left a huge impression on a little person :-)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Here in Luxembourg, and in many parts of Europe, stores cannot merely have a sale. Sales are regulated by the government and happen twice a year - in January and July. This summer's started last Saturday.

Understandably, they are eagerly awaited and can get... well a little busy.

This afternoon I left work a little early (I decided that my lunch meeting *yawn* did not count as a lunch break and skipped out 1/2 hour early) and hit the mall near my office at just after 3:30. The mall was chosen for it's grocery store (needed food) and the fact that there is an H&M where I was hoping to pick up a couple of pairs of shorts for the Stu who is going through a growth spurt.

Well - even after 6 1/2 years of living here I was unprepared for the throngs of people milling aimlessly through the mall - at 3:30 on a Tuesday afternoon! Do they not have jobs? Do they have to wander like unherded cattle blocking any possible opportunity to walk quickly to one's destination??

Inside the stores is a different story. You can feel the tension as you walk in - people grabbing, no change rooms, 10 deep at the cash. I found not a single pair of shorts in H&M so I hit the Zara kids department next door, where I had far more sucess and found young Stu 3 pairs of shorts on sale.

I also found Julia a green top... in fact I don't think I ever intended to buy it even though it is quite cute (and I am hoping big enough!!) but there was this annoying woman who came to sand behind/beside/on top of me as I was looking at white t-shirts and this green one fell off the rack into my hand. Turns out (after a few minutes of me ignoring her and her standing even closer) that she wanted the green shirt in my hand. And yes, I was uncharitable and bought it for my daughter.

I'll be sure to take a picture of her wearing it... really , it's cute...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

My Hockeymom...

Happy Canada Day everyone!!

There was a great Canada Day party organized here in Luxembourg, up at a campground near Larochette. Great location, beautiful weather, barbeques, swimming pool, bouncy castle - what more could you ask for.

It was great to get together with other Canadians, drink a bit of Canadian beer (though sadly no BLUE)... even sing along to a bit of Anne Murray (I KNOW - but when you haven't heard it in a while and it's playing softly in the background, you'd probably find yourself singing along too!). And we sang Oh Canada in French and English (though not the "hockey" version which we are all most familiar with mixing French and English) and generally felt proud to be flying a big Canadian Flag.

But the best thing might have been the expression on the face of the guy wearing the "My Hockeymom can kick your footballmom's ***" - so happy to finally be among people who thought the shirt was cool - and actually got it!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Have we been invaded by aliens?

Nope, just the World Cup.

Europeans take this VERY seriously. And I thought Canadians were fanatical about the Stanley Cup.

I must plead ignorance on how many games there are or who is playing who or who might possibly win. There's just... well SO many games. 2 an evening and that doesn't count the day games. People with flags flying from their homes, cars, desks... one of my colleagues has institued a "No Football Zone" around her desk.

Stuart even came home with a Futtsballenspiller that he made out of clay (football player in Burgish)

We even have TVs set up at work. With chips. And soft drinks. In the middle of the afternoon? All that complaining that we've become so American (translation : we've lost all our perks and have to work harder) since JPMorgan took us over... a quiet revolution by our usually over zealous building facilities team? I wonder if they know about this in New York.

I remember that at the end of first grade the Montreal Expos were playing... okay this is embarassing. I was going to say World Series, but Marc isn't sure that's possible. Anyhow, point is, we were allowed to listen to the game on the radio in class. In French of course, but it obviously made an impression.

Tonight's game is England vs Sweden. Seeing that we have British satellite, we aren't hearing much about Sweden or seeing much of the Swedish players (who are better looking by far).

I asked Marc at the beginning of the game if the would be any fighting (can take the girl out of Canada, but she still likes hockey fights). Nope. They get thrown off for more than one game. Hmmm.

So. Let's summarise:

- I am watching football, where you can't even see the cute players (unless you have a much longer attention span than I do) because they all look like little ants running around (NO, we are NOT getting a large screen TV)

- I am listening to British commentary. Need I say more? I am surprised they even realize that there is another team playing, except that there are people in different coloured shirts singing a different anthem.

- There's no fighting (I know, I keep coming back to that)

Why is this such a European obssession? Ah... Sweden scored!!! Yup, their players are much better looking!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

June 11th is Mother's Day in Luxembourg and this is a good opportunity to tell Tracy that her kids and I think that she is great. There are lots of qualities that make she so special in our lives. The warm smile, that incredible hug and her wonderful heeling ability. In short, she is great and we love her so much.

Nothing beats homemade gifts from your kids - especially on Mother's Day. There are a couple of handmade gifts from Stu and Jools and some very nice water colours that the kids have produced this afternoon. I produced one as well but I do beleive that my children are more artistic then me.

Love you baby, Marc

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Is 4 the new 2?

So tell me - have the Terrible Twos been replaced by the Fearsome Fours?

Stuart seems to have hit a new stage in his mental development - better known as "Ask my parents as many questions as I can in the shortest period of time and see if their heads explode".

Seriously, he can go on for hours. "And what else?" He will say.

And after a few minutes I run out of what else an ant can eat, or what breaks glass or what a bat's teeth are sharper than.

Because you have to be careful what information you divulge. It can be held against you in a court of law - or worse, in the 4 year old tribunal. Contradicting yourself leads to threats of imprisonment for perjury - or a 4 year old's version - MORE QUESTIONS... But Mummy... you SAID... - how on earth can he remember these things when he can't remember to put away a single toy?

We are trying to acknowledge that he is going through some kind of mental growth spurt... really we are. And answers like "Because Daddy is a walking encyclopedia with a Bionic Brain" are meant to challenge him to ask more questions... really. It's not frustration.

And what else?

How big are giants?
How sharp are bat's teeth?
What are testicles (to the babysitter on a city bus this afternoon)
Can you tell me? Why not? How come you don't know? Why? Why? Why?

Why can't I (Because you could hurt yourself). Why? (Why what?) Why could I hurt myself? (Because jumping off the slide from that height could mean that you wouldn't land the right way and would get a boo-boo) But WHY?????

What makes wind?
Why is the rain going up on the windsheield? (phew knew that one!)
Why do you need to pay attention when you drive?

Or tonight's dinner conversation:
Today in school I saw Daddy's plane! (Marc is in Cologne for the night)
Oh sweetie, remember Daddy went in George's car to Cologne?
Because Cologne isn't very far away, so they could drive.
Because there aren't any planes to Cologne because it is so close, it's only 200 km away.
Why what?
Why is Cologne 200 km away?
Well sweetie, that's just where it is - do you want to look at the map to see how far it is?
No, I want to know why it's there...

And so on and so forth...

What's faster than a rocket ship?
I don't know Stu - what do you think?
Maybe the speed of light!!
Yeah, that might be.
Mum, what is the speed of light?

It's good that he is curious... really it is. Why you ask??????

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Well, we're at the end of Easter holidays... and I am serioudly late in describing some of the Easter traditions in Luxembourg!

As we live in a Catholic country, Easter is of great significance - perhaps the most significant being that Stu has been off school for two weeks!! Tomorrow is back to school - yeah!! He is (and we are!!) quite excited.

Easter kicks off on the Thursday - or Grengen Donneschdeg (which apparently means Holy Thursday, but sounds like Green Thursday to me - my Luxembourgish books have been in the car for almost 2 weeks...) On Holy Thursday the church bells all stop ringing because they are "flown" to Rome to be blessed (blessed... not CLEANED as I was convinced). Because of this local children go around for 3 days with lovely (please add sarcasm) wooden rattles called Klibberen to take the place of the church bells (they make way more noise and go on a lot longer). Luckily for us we live in town (yes, in town, even though we have a farmer's field behind our house) so they aren't quite so gung-ho.

Good Friday is apparently a very high holiday - however it is a working day for most of us.

Easter Sunday saw the arrival of the Easter Bunny at our house.... yum yum... given that the children have a chocaholic mother (who they take after!!) they thought that was just amazing... someone hiding chocolate for them to find!! The children with the Klibberen go around from house to house to collect money for all the "klibbering" they have done. Apparently they actually get some...?

Easter Monday is an official holiday here... called E'maischen. It is celebrated with two markets, one in town and one in a pretty little village called Nospelt. The highlight of the markets are small ceramic birds called Peckervillercher (loosely translated by my Lux teacher as "Little birds who peck"). They are hollow birds that you blow into and they whistle... and everyone has to have one, braving crazy crowds and numerous elbows to hand over a few euros. This was the 50th anniversary of the Peckervillerchers being sold - and yes, we have one for every year we have been here :-)

Marc and I both took the week off and have had a relaxing week hanging out with the kids and doing some things around the house - we have flowers in our flower boxes thanks to Monsieur le Jardinier (a.k.a. Marc). We even managed to get to Nancy, France for a day - just the two of us!! It was very nice, had lunch in a tiny creperie we used to frequent in our pre-kid days and did a little (lot!) shopping...

So here we are, Sunday morning... back to real life tomorrow. Blah... end of vacation blues setting in. But who can be sad watching Dora the Explorer?? Have to run - it's Boots's birthday episode and I am being called for to learn how to make a banana cake.. never a dull moment!!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Birthday Week has our family we celebrate a birthday with an entire week of little things - cake, dinner out, movie, breakfast in bed or fresh-squeezed orange juice. This year however, I created a new twist - the Birthday stocking. As Tracy's favourite thing about Christmas - minus the friends, family and religious celebrate is her stocking - so this year, she also had a stocking for her birthday as well.

Happy Birthday Tracy!

Stu and Jools made some great cards and we had a great time last night walking into town and walking off an Indian dinner downtown and stopping off at a pub before catching the bus home. One of my best nights out in a while.

This is day two of Birthday Week and tonight is roast beef dinner and birthday cake...stay tuned for further updates.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Nothing more Canadian than a log cabin

Our 22 month old daughter is just learning to talk and it is amazing to see her put thoughts together, although in short bursts - "Stu's room - NOW!" is a good example. While visiting a local shopping centre, Julia became fascinated with a plastic wooden house. If that does not make any sense to you, then check a kid's store or catalogue for those castles or homes with the outrageous prices - 300 plus EURO in our case. She kept saying, "HOUSE ME!" "Me house!" and so on and so on. It was really hard to get her to leave.

Thinking this would be a one time experience was foolish on our part, as she kept repeating the same phrases all day and I mean ALL DAY. In fact, she would put her coat on and try to open the front door. We live on a pretty busy street and had to deadbolt the door. This went on for days. Tracy sent an e-mail to American Women's Club to see if anyone would be selling a house secondhand to help us out of our misery - but to no avail. But good fortune did smile on us as one was advertised in the English community magazine at a reasonable price. Both parents did a full court press to try and secure salvation.

We were successful. However, Marc took the directions to a tiny village in Belgium - groan now. Yes, it was raining and yes, we got lost. No surprise there...

Upon arrival, we met a lovely British couple who with their 3 children just moved to the area. This log cabin was much bigger than expected and did not fit in the station wagon. Curse Italian cars! Really, why have a station wagon if nothing fits in it? Fortunately, we thought to try their Volvo on the off chance it could fit. Well, of course it did - bonus points for getting a Volvo to replace the lazy Lancia. The previous owner offered to drive the log cabin to our house in Luxembourg - huge, as it about 40 km and Saturday traffic.

Got the cabin home and upstairs to the patio - powerwashed it, while the sun was out, as we have not had sun for about 8 days. Tracy and I tried brute strength to join 2 walls together - no luck. All to the singing of "House me, me house, house now..." God bless the rubber mallet! With quite a bit of pounding, in about 20 minutes there was a very happy little girl, who kept singing "House me, house me!" Her birthday present arrived early, but her parents couldn't wait to make her happy (and save themselves).

And now it is even easier to spot the European-ey Canadians in Luxembourg, as we are the ones with a log cabin on the back patio.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

We're going to try something new...

Okay - we are, for the most part, bad at keeping in touch. Between the kids, work, business trips and language lessons - well things get a little hectic.

So I thought we'd try this blog thing out to see if we could at least let you know what is going on in our little corner of the world - and share some of our experiences with being European-ey.

European-ey? you ask... the term was invented over a few glasses of wine and a good dinner at Hugh & Miche's a few years back. A friend had recently starting working for a company that made some "chocolatey" products - and the explanation of chocolatey (being chocolate like but not really chocolate if I remember correctly) somehow got translated into us being "european-ey". We have picked up a lot of the local habits and customs (some good some frightening) and could sometimes be mistaken as Europeans - but underneath it all we are not (we're just good ol' Canucks!)

So - it seemed a somewhat appropriate title for our blog as we have now had two babies here and bought a house and appear to be staying - Stu and I are both studyiung Luxembourgish (he's learning much faster than I am...).

Most of all we'll try and just post things so that you can know what is going on with us and find out what the kids are up to. We miss everyone at home - don't forget you are always welcome to visit!!