Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oh what a week!

A week ago tonight I was in turkey-induced coma, eating pumpkin cookies, and watching football. Now, on Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, I just returned from another turkey celebration, and indeed ate more pumpkin cookies. I feel so lucky to have so many people her to celebrate with so far from home. Better said, this place is starting to feel a lot like home...

Celebrating Thanksgiving at Maha's place.
But what I wanted to tell you about was this fantastic week I had, packed between 2 turkey-filled Sundays.

On Wednesday night I went to a concert in Eindhover, the Netherlands. Nevermind that the navi was on crack and I was essentially circling my destination in the fog, I rocked out to Katzenjammer with a few friends from Ddorf. These 4 Norwegian chics are fabulous musicians and gifted performers. They put on a great show.

Of course I got home a bit late and was soooo sleepy when I heard Simon the next morning. Here's where my week got even better. Farmor was there to take care of Simon! I got to sleep in and then meet friends in the city for breakfast. It was the first time my friend Eva and I hung out without our children in tow. Heavenly!

The next morning I slept in again - and so did Martin. He took the day off so we could head to Brussels for a night away from our beautiful bambino. (More here.)

And now we are back to today, Sunday, and my turkey-induced stupor. What a great week!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Romantic Brussels

I was giddy with excitement not only to see a new European city, but to do so without a child in tow. After our road trip to Italy in October, I have begun to realize that it's going to be tougher traveling with Simon for a while. He's no longer content to just sit back in the stroller and take in the sights. So, we left him at home with Farmor.

We stayed at X2Brussels, a gorgeous B&B centrally located in Brussels. We checked in, asked for a lunch recommendation, and were out the door. We cozied up at a little bistro and had an incredible meal of typical Flemish stew and local Belgian brews.

The only problem with our happy bellies is that we had eaten a late lunch, and were very much looking forward to an equally delicious dinner. That means we weren't in the snacking mood, which is a shame when every 2nd shop is selling chocolate and looks amazing. Of course I did not say no to free samples.

We wandered through the streets. For such a short trip we just wanted to experience the city, not worry about hitting any major tourist sites, etc. So we headed to Moeder Lambic to sample the local selection. We each had something that we had never heard of, and loved it.

We headed back out into the city where we discovered the most beautiful carousels I have ever seen. It was the only moment I wished Simon was with us - because I am too big to ride the carousel. They were incredibly artistic and imaginative. What really irked me though, is that they were the same price as the carousels at the Düsseldorf Christmas markets which are, simply said, sheiße. It just didn't same fair. I want those carousels. Maybe next year.

For dinner we headed to a typical Belgian cafe, Spinnekopke. This was one of the best meals I have ever head. Ever. It was the coq spinnekopke, chicken stewed in a beer sauce. It was perfect. I would go back just for that. Enough said.

It was a great time to visit Brussels, alive with Christmas spirit. It kept us plenty entertained for 24 hours and we ate way too much good food. But most of all it was nice to just hang out with my husband, have adult conversation, and not worry about anything other than ourselves. We knew Simon was in good hands with Farmor, so we really enjoyed out time alone together. Next week? Who wants to come watch Simon?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gobble, gobble!

When I walked in to get Simon after he woke up from his nap this afternoon, he did his usual flurry of signs, pointing out animals in the room. Then he flexed his big muscles and yelled "Ti!" and looked around for his uncle Ti. I hated to be the one to break the news that Ti and Lena were on a train headed back home. I think he was disappointed after such a great weekend.

This weekend has been a year in the making. After learning that my Dutch cousin Lena had never celebrated Thanksgiving (her mother is American!), I felt strongly that this had to be remedied. And so the wheels were set in motion...

Their visit was also perfectly timed with the opening of the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) here in Düsseldorf. So the first night we spent under the sparkling Christmas lights, taking in the aroma of bratwursts, reibekuchen, and glühwein. It's such a fun time of year here - it's festive and the food options seem to be limitless.

Sunday finally rolled around and we got to work with the turkey. I should say that I am usually simply a Thanksgiving consumer, not used to being involved in the preparation. So in some ways, it was my first Thanksgiving too! I wanted to keep it simple, so we did turkey drumsticks, mashed sweet potatoes, a goat cheese and pomegranate salad, and Martin did the stuffing. For dessert - pumpkin cookies, of course! Needless to say the meal was delicious. If we use Ti to measure the deliciousness, I think the fact that he had 4ths is a very good sign.

First Thanksgiving for all!
What we had been telling Lena and Ti about Thanksgiving, was that it's very relaxed and mostly involves eating and sitting on the couch watching football. In this relaxed spirit, we introduced out own tradition of wearing sweatpants! It was a huge success, and I think it should be a part of everyone's Turkey Day tradition.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Oops...ER Again!

Yup! Simon's 2nd ER visit in less than a month, 3rd for the family in just over a month. Simon was holding a glass measuring cup that he had dug out of the cupboards in his hands when he fell. Of course it shattered in his hands, with hangs landing in the shattered glass. Pretty soon his hands were covered in blood, and it was difficult to figure out where it was coming from (because it had multiple sources.)

I tend to be a pretty relaxed parent - and I was then, as well. But as I covered his biggest gash with a paper towel and noticed that it immediately soaked through the whole towel, I figured maybe it needed some medical attention. I called Pappa at work, who ran out of a meeting in a panic that his son's hands were completely sliced up.

With Pappa already on his way home, I finally got Simon to the sink where I could really clean him up. There were a number of small cuts, and one that definitely seemed a little deep. I wasn't sure that it needed stitches, but I also wasn't sure that there wasn't glass in there.

This all took place at 11:30am, lunch time followed by nap time in Simon's world. I was worried about taking him to the ER where there could be a wait if he was hungry, tired, and injured. So I put a bandaid on and fed him lunch while we waited for Pappa. Then we walked to the hospital that is 2 blocks away. Twenty minutes later we were seen by the doctor. Simon watched intently as the doctor pinched his cuts and dug into the big one with a tweezers, checking for glass. No glass, not stitche, and no tears either! He got a ridiculously large bandage, which I thought he deserved. The finger hasn't bothered him since and seems to be healing well.

We are hoping to take a long sabbatical from ERs for a while.