Saturday, March 27, 2010

pizza girls night, mickey d's and partay!

i went and met the girls downtown by rogier station which is super lively and pretty. we walked around a bit and then headed to flagey. we stopped at an express shop for “jellies” (says roisin) and coke (they are all addicts!) and I got muesli, which I love! then to stopped by mama roma for pizza takeout, they have DELICIOUS authentic italian pizza. at my house we watched 'becoming jane' and ate our yummy food!

the next weekend we met downtown again, i don't remember where actually. probably bourse since the mcdonalds we ate it is close to there. mcdonalds. thats right. i am ashamed. in my defense, me and laurel weren't pumped about it like the european girls were. haha but it had to be documented of course, my first time in europe. and probably close to the last. well maybe it would be IF hadn't discovered the speculoos mcflurrys! speculoos is divine.

after mcdonalds we headed to anya's apartment. oh yeah this gorgeous building is right outside where she lives. anya works with laurel, and all the work kids were there as a going away party for nina. anya and her boyfriend are hilarious! they had this game i had never seen before but matt had and did NOT like it. it has blinking lights and the last person that pushes a button one the color changes gets shocked. or something like that. it was a blast to watch, jess would just throw it down every time. haha i did not partake. not a fan of games like that.

there were tons of treats, we brought chips and the girls brought wine. there was also this tasty banana bread with chocolate that jess made. besides the crazy shocky game we played a british version of like trivial pursuit mixed with catch phrase. and holy crap! europeans are amazing. there were at least 8 different nationalities and languages present and still they could all play this game in english.

it blows my mind how many languages people know here. i feel somewhat ashamed most the time. and honestly i take for granted being able to walk up to some and smile and ask if they speak english. because i have found 85% of the time they do. or something like that.

cooking, cookies, casitas and carnival with cintolesi's

i love to bake! i think its fantastic that they love everything i make because so many things are new for them. so of course of course they needed to have apple pie! it was hilarious, when i went to make it i asked maria for a pie pan...she just stared. they didn't have one, the kind of pie pan we use. so i used a drop out bottom cake pan, it turned out okay. they loved it. next time i will have to do it with michelle's recipe and with an actual pie pan. for valentine's day, well, for a lot of holidays i like the tradition of making sugar cookies and decorating them. i think gigi might have something to do with that. haha so i made a bunch of dough and laurel helped me cut and bake them all. clara and her friend marina helped us decorate them. gino thought it was so great, the best thing they have done with clara yet. i was so happy they liked it. oh and at first trying to find things to decorate with was a mess. haha i bought jam to use instead of food coloring and chocolate sprinkles that they actually use for breakfast toast! when we came back from den haag though gino had found real sprinkles and food coloring! it was awesome. i made one for christopher too!

one day me this week me and clarita were having fun in my room building casitas para mi clarita! and they she tried on my shoes and walked around with them. it was cracking me up i loved it. she managed to walk up the stairs with them on...okay i had to help her a bit. haha.

for carnival i am sad to say i didn't do anything. not a single thing. actually i am not even really sure what people do for carnival that isn't scandalous, but i am sure there are festivals or something. well clara's friend leah had a carnival party for the kids and their families. this is what my adorable dressed up as! even bruno got in on the action as a little sailor! i love the stache! we have good times at home, its really exciting for me to see them growing. i know it hasn't been that long but the fact bruno eats solid food and can sit up by himself almost, and clara gets smarter everyday. it blows my mind.

temple trip to den haag

i knew coming into this whole europe deal that they have like 10 temples over the whole country. okay so there is actually 11. but there isn't even one in the country i live in. its a big change from the 10 minute drive to the mesa temple and my attempts to go weekly. its so impressive to see the sacrifice that the members make here to get to the temple.
well, me and laurel had a rough start getting say the least. haha she spent the night at my house and we had to be at the church at 6:30am. meaning we had to leave my house just around 5:30 due to crazy buses. so we get to the bus and had missed it. in order to catch the metro we had to get there on time and so we ran. 4 stops. in church clothes. hahah i am sure we looked like psychos. but we got there in time, just 3 minutes to spare actually and showed up to the church at 6:27am. and then of course we had to wait around for other people and didn't leave until 7:15. laurel was so annoyed! haha i am just glad we caught it. nick and jess weren't so lucky :( they got stuck.

elder and sister phair drove us in their car and it was nice conversation, for about 10 seconds until we passed out. hah we got to den haag in the netherlands a few minutes before the 1st of 2 sessions started. we had a fantastic session. i was baptized in dutch! changing was maybe the coldest experience of my life though. seriously all of us were shivering and so cold! there was a little bit of a mix up and several people were confirmed in their normal church clothes. so at the end laurel and a boy went in and were reconfirmed for all the ones they had done. it took quite a long time.
after we had a very very quick little break for lunch. problem. no one notified us that we needed to bring lunch. and thanks to our early early departure time we had a tiny breakfast. the phairs were so nice and told us to eat some of their lunch. the next group was ready to get going before we were done and we said for them to go ahead. i really wasn't feeling too good and i think it was due to lack of food/sleep, basically the essentials. plus it was cold. which for me is always a problem. hah
we ventured out to the little and adorable town with shops right next to the temple. it is so clean and lovely there! i loved it! first thing...find food! there was this shop that sold a huge range of food. laurel got herself a good ole' hamburger, fries and a coke. i got chicken wings, fries and a hot cocoa. haha it was so tasty!

then we found an awesome second hand shop where i found a killer deal on a down jacket for 9euro. and i bought an old fashioned dutch plate with a egg cup. who even knew about those little cuppy things?! i didn't. hah but i loved it.
we also went to a sports store and i got myself some gloves and we both had to stop ourselves from buying these fantastic coats that cost too much.

oh! and we saw our first holland windmills!!! okay i actually only saw 1, but it was still exciting! i wish we could have stayed longer then just a few hours, i am so excited to go back.
everyone wanted pictures of the temple, you can see sinoui with the millions of cameras. it was so funny, mostly because everyone was tired and hungry and cold.

i love the temple. i don't think i will ever take it for granted again.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Place Royale. first trip.

one day i was on a bus route that has a stop about 6 minutes from my house. i accidentally missed my stop and went about 2 passed it. i ended up in this loveliness! its the place royale, which is full of museums, a gigantic and gorgeous park, statues, the belvue, and more. i didn't have much time to wander around but i made sure to come back that week and took laurel with me to explore.

we walked around, and i got my first waffle here! these are what the vans look like:

i got a chocolate covered one of course. so good. i went into my first cathedral here, well i think it is a cathedral, now that i think about it it might be considered technically a church. i'm not sure. Notre-Dame du Sablon is lovely. and has the most beautiful stained glass windows. they tell stories which is really neat. i also saw my first confessional? i think that's what its called. which i thought was kind of interesting to see.

near that we found a little pathway that had more modern sculptures in it. the duck one laurel thought was so silly so i snagged a shot of it. also on that path you could see some really cute buildings, "you just took a picture into someone kitchen window"--laurel. and a wall i thought looked so awesome that had the marks where the vines had been.

we also went into this lovely church, Church Saint Jacques-sur-coudenberg. it had the BIGGEST painting i have ever seen in real life. seriously, like bigger than a movie theatre screen. it was beautiful inside but freezing.

there are a few museums there i am definitely going to have to check out, and since its about 20 minutes from home it shouldn't be that difficult to do it. haha

Sunday, March 7, 2010

ice cream, pool and tea time.

the family is awesome! some fun things around the house:

ice cream!--gino doesn't love ice cream as much as i do...but almost! which is impressive all in itself. but on top of it, he loves to make his own! which is fantastic for me! we try new flavors all the time. so far we have made banana (my suggestion of course! its the best!), vanilla, mango, coconut, bitter almond and chocolate.

swimming pool--gino loves to swim. clara constantly asks for 'la piscina'. bruno, well he's a baby. maria used to take a water aerobics class before bruno. so the first time we went was the first time she'd been since she was pretty pregnant, i was so excited for her. its so fun, the little kids are so cute. i was sitting watching bruno, he was sleeping. haha this adorable little boy was playing outside and kept waving at me and telling his dad he saw me.

playtime--i pick up the kids most days from daycare around 4. bring them home. give clara a snack, let bruno nap, play!, bath time, and get ready for dinner. one day me and clara 'baked cookies' (playdough style) and she made me manzania (chamomile tea). she had been obsessed with it since she sees me drink it most mornings at breakfast.

settling in.

i do all the normal things. unpack. exchange gifts. they gave me tasty famous Neuhaus chocolate and a way cute beenie. i made clara a picture frame and gave her a panda beanie baby. bruno i brought a sock monkey. gino and maria i gave arizona playing cards and an native american pottery windchime. i think i won. haha

over the next week they take me around and help me get a bank account, a cell phone set up, stamps, office supplies, etc. they also bought my a coat! okay funny story.

so gino does underwater free diving. nothing too hardcore, but its pretty awesome. he really wanted to go and buy a wet suit, and the place to get them here is called decathlon. its outside of town, i dunno, maybe 20 miles. which for europe is FAR. they invite me to go and the whole family packs in the car. oh gosh. so funny! they hate driving on highways, which are like normal freeways for us. there is a traffic jam, and gino keeps apologizing profusely, like it was the most ridiculous thing of my life. hahah i was just like, haha, this happens all the time at home. no prob. and the store we went to was like the size of a dicks sporting goods, and its definitely HUGE for here. for sure the biggest store i have been in yet and probably will. there were a lot of people there, and again, they proceeded to apologize for the lines and craziness. haha i was like, yeah, we have malls. no problem. hahah

it was a way fun night.