Right here, right now

7 11 2013

Some of the things occupying my mind and time at the moment:

  • V is sick AGAIN! He had a stomach bug end of October and was sent home from the creche on the Tuesday and spent the rest of the week at home with me and little E. I was chasing him to change his diaper every time there had been “an explosion”… I can think of more fun things to do! He now has a terrible cold and an eye infection, which means that he won’t go to the creche this week at all.
  • I have just realised that with V’s sick absences plus the fact that we will be in Sweden the second half of November plus two public holidays, the three (hopefully) days he will actually be at the creche next week will cost us 200 EUR per day (as we pay 600 EUR / month)!! I can think of more fun things to spend that money on but oh well… If he had been at a public creche, we would only have had to pay for the days we used.
  • O came home before 19.30 yesterday – that’s early! He is extremely busy at the moment, finishing a project that will “go live” this weekend. I am really hoping that he will work a little less / shorter days in the future.
  • V seems to be teething again, he is constantly with his fingers in his mouth and drooling like crazy!
  • I am coming down with a cold as well now and little E has had a bit of a stuffy nose for the last few days.
  • Little E turned two months on Tuesday and had a check-up at the local children’s health care centre: she weighs 4,650 kg and measures 56 cm. The doctor was impressed with how much she smiles and observes, her strong neck and that she is so calm (“Madame, it shows that you are calm and that is why the baby is calm” – they haven’t seen me get annoyed with her big brother…). She also got her first vaccinations and only cried for a short while. She had a bit of a temperature during the night following the injections but wouldn’t take the [liquid] paracetamol (and we didn’t have suppositories for her weight).
  • O and V went to Spain for the All Saints’ long weekend last week and V came home saying “huevo” for eggs (he used to call them [gi]!?) and “pintar” (draw / paint) which is his new favourite activity. He also looks me deep in the eyes and pinches my cheek – I wonder if he learnt that from his Spanish grandparents?
  • One of O’s brothers and his German wife are coming to visit us from Munich tomorrow. It’s another long weekend as Monday is a public holiday in Belgium (11th November is Armistice day (World War I)).
  • The weather has finally turned and after a wonderful beautiful autumn it is now grey and rainy. I don’t really mind, at least not when we have to stay indoors anyway because of V being ill.
  • I finally bought a double stroller, after lots of research online and looking at several options IRL, I settled for the double Maclaren Techno. It is not ideal as both children are facing forward and I would have preferred to see little E but there is a small “window” in the hood so that I can check on her and she can lie completely flat which is great. I will only use the stroller to go to pick up V from the creche and for that it serves its purpose.
  • We only have three weekends left in Brussels this year. As I said, we are going to Sweden for the second half of November and on the 19th December we will head to Spain for Christmas. We are driving to Spain over two days and I have booked the same Ibis hotel by Futuroscope outside Poitiers where we stayed on our way home from Spain at Easter. It is half-way between Brussels and Zaragoza, just by the motorway, and has a nice breakfast buffet!
  • O and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary last Thursday (yes, Halloween) but the boys were going to Spain in the afternoon so we didn’t have the time to really celebrate. However, O went to buy “couques” (Belgian French word for “breakfast pastries” such as croissants, pains au chocolat etc) and we had a nice breakfast together. Last year we were in Spain and O’s sister babysat V and we went to a nice restaurant in Zaragoza called “Bula”.

Another Virgo

27 08 2013

I don’t really believe in star signs, but I am surrounded by Virgos. Both O and V were born in September as well as my father-in-law, and even if the new baby decides to arrive in August, it will be another Virgo in the family. I read on a blog that Virgos are “försynta” = considerate* / discreet and are interested in storage. Hm, O and V are definitely considerate but not at all discreet, and it is true that O is obsessed by storage – in our already out-grown apartment that lacks exactly that!

We had my brother, fiancee and 5-month old son M visiting this past weekend and V really showed his considerate side towards the baby (“bébé” as he called him). He wanted to be close-by all the time, help M when the dummy fell out of his mouth, cuddle and the sweetest – he tried to get kisses from the baby: he would put his face close to M’s face, the way he does when we kiss him! Sometimes he would get a lick in the face from baby M 🙂 I hope that he will be as considerate when our baby has arrived!

Our new neighbours, my fellow blogger Anna and her family, have arrived! They are renting our friends’ apartment while they are back in Sweden having their second child. It is the same apartment that we lived in for 9 months last year before deciding to buy a place in the same building! Anna and her husband have two kids, their daugther I is 9 months older than V and H was born in February this year. We are hoping that V and I will become friends, their first meeting was on Sunday at the playground and well, that first contact was a bit tentative – mostly fighting over using the buggy board on H’s pram!

*) I wouldn’t have translated “försynt” as “considerate” but that’s from a Swedish-English dictionary!

Mother’s day confusion

27 05 2013

Mother’s day is not a big deal in my family, nor in O’s family (where no special days are special – not even birthdays!) but we would at least wish my mother “Happy Mother’s day” and maybe she (!) would make a cake. A Friday end of April I noticed that the newspaper Metro, which I don’t usually read on the metro but always see the front page on the copies read by fellow passengers in the metro in the mornings, had an ad mentioning la fête des mères, I thought that it could be a nice occassion to invite our friends and neighbours C & J for a “Mother’s day fika”.

On the Sunday V and I went to the bakery and bought a lovely tarte au frangipane, and I took out my “Mother’s day 1975”-plate (flea market find from last summer). We had a really nice fika together, little M came dressed up in her cute Spanish red boots (gift from us) and V refused to take off his hat (2nd Sunday in a row when we had friends over that he insisted on wearing it indoors!)…

The following Sunday, 5th May, O announced that it was Mother’s day in Spain and I had a nagging feeling that it was the same in Belgium! So, I sent a message to our friends saying that “Opps, sorry but apparently I was mistaken last Sunday but we had a nice fika anyway, didn’t we”. Like most Sundays V and O went to the bakery to buy some “couques” (Belgian French for croissants, pains au chocolat etc), and they came home with this flyer: Moederdag on the 12th May?? Could it be that the Flemish have another Mother’s day than the French-speaking Belgians? Everything is possible in this country!!


Another rectifying text message to our friends who had probably started (?) to think that I was a little Mother’s day crazy… Later on during the day O invited them over for melon and ice cream (and beer!), celebrating Spanish Mother’s day!

When discussing the whole thing with my Belgian colleagues (who don’t have children) on the Monday after, we concluded that it was Mother’s day for the whole of Belgium (also the German part??) on the 12th May! That Sunday we were in Sweden and of course didn’t celebrate Mother’s day (but I read all the Facebook messages of friends in Belgium wishing mothers “Happy Mother’s day”).

And yesterday, it was Swedish Mother’s day and we didn’t do anything special except V and O went to buy our Sunday couques, and then they cleaned the whole apartment while I was relaxing on the sofa! Quite an ok day, and hey, we had celebrated Mother’s day twice already!


My mother became a mother for the first time in 1975 when I was born – but I was born AFTER Mother’s day that year 😉

Moral of the story: get your dates right from the beginning (and don’t trust ads in Metro), or not, this way we got to celebrate several times…

Our little table climber…

30 04 2013

I think that I will go crazy!!! V’s new favourite thing is to climb up on the table and I say “nej!” (no in Swedish), take him down and try to distract him probably 20 times per evening! He has also started to say “no” while he does it… Terrible two’s, here we go! He will turn 20 months on the 10th May.


But he is also the sweetest little boy, who even though he gives most of his attention and hugs to his daddy, also cuddles with me (when O is not at home at least!), blows kisses and loves talking on the phone with his Spanish abuelos and on Skype with his Swedish mormor & morfar. He knows how to turn on the radio, increase the volume and starts to dance!


He loves reading his books about Pelle (Jan Lööf books) and the story about the red apple (Sagan om det röda äpplet) – a Swedish book that O very often reads in Spanish, I am impressed how he (O) manages to guess the story almost word for word thanks to the pictures!

He can take instructions in both Swedish and Spanish (and French at the creche), for example O will tell him to get his gorro (hat) or tonight when I told him to build a tower, he went straight to his room and did just that with his building blocks!


His active vocabulary might not be huge, which is understandable with 4 (FOUR!) languages around him but he asks for agua and pan (bread), banana he has abbreviated to ba, he says ja (yes), titta (look) and tittut (peek-a-boo) in Swedish as well as momma (mormor = grandmother in Swedish). And of course mamma and pappa, which is both Swedish and Spanish (practical!). He is extremely chatty but unfortunately we don’t understand everything he says.


The social bee loves hugging his girlfriends (we don’t know that many boys his age!), sharing sippy cups (despite our protests, exchanging of germs and viruses isn’t such a great idea, we think), picking daisies at the playground and say hello to dogs in the street. I am always on the lookout for dogs to show him that I find myself doing it when I am alone as well, ha ha!


Vacuum-cleaning, mopping the floor, playing with water in the sink and wiping the windows are favourites that I wonder where he gets them from – we definitely don’t like cleaning that much  😀

NB how his father has fenced in the balcony with a net, it wasn’t very child-safe before…

He can also create a real mess… NB Behind V there are 30 litres of Spanish olive oil (in the cardboard box + the two big yellow bottles) that we brought back from Spain!

He has periods when he refuses to go to sleep in the evenings but he sleeps through the night since he was probably around 6 months (more or less??). But usually his routine is to drink his bottle in bed and then fall asleep unaided. He might complain a little bit but most of the time he gets quiet within minutes, otherwise we will go in to see him and comfort him a little before we leave him to fall asleep on his own. He still sleeps in his crib in our room but that will change soon as somebody else is taking over the crib in a few months’ time. He usually sleeps between 20.00/21.00 – 7.00 / 8.00 (we keep him up until 21.00 on the weekends so we get to sleep longer in the mornings!) and has one nap during the day (1-2 hours).

Next weekend, Ascension weekend, we are off to Sweden to meet his first Swedish cousin and my first nephew, little M*. We can’t wait! A cosy family weeekend in the summer house by the Baltic sea is awaiting us!

*) you might remember that I have mentioned that V’s three Spanish cousins have names starting with M!? Well, now he has 4 cousins with names starting with M; plus his two grandmothers, his Spanish grandfather, an uncle and one aunt!

Snow: 14 months apart

13 03 2013

Viggo’s first snow in Genarp (small village in Skåne), January 2012:

Petra och Viggo

Viggo and his father looking out on the snow tonight, March 2013… He has some more hair 😉


Yes, we got more snow tonight… Where is spring??

Isn’t it typical – last week I noticed that the heel on my boot was wobbly and as my mother arrived last Thursday, I asked her to go to the “cobbler” / shoemaker and get it fixed. Apparently he laughed at the state of my [comfy almost flat] boots and said that there was no point in mending them* and volunteered to throw them away, and my mother didn’t protest!! As I don’t want to walk in boots with heels at the moment (too slippery for once and also trying to save my back), I have had to resort to my Timberlands… not the most stylish for the office but it is force majeure…

*) I should have brought them to Spain, which I have done with other boots in a worse state and they were mended without any protests!

Lots of snow in Brussels = chaos!

12 03 2013

After the three days of spring last week (16-18 degrees!!), we woke up to a white Brussels this morning! And it continued to snow until midday… Probably not necessary to explain to you the chaos this caused in the whole country! 1600 km of traffic jams on the Belgian roads!! Most people don’t have winter tyres and don’t know how to drive in winter conditions…

It doesn’t look too bad on the photo and for a Swede it wasn’t too impressive…

I was so happy this morning that I take the metro = underground so no snow. The bus services were cancelled and the trams had huge problems as well. I took several photos on my way to work but for some reason I only managed to send two from the phone to my email.


Getting updated on the situation when I arrived to the office – not later than usual! Oh, and V decided to wake up at 05 this morning…

New trend? Hug your neighbours in the morning!

6 03 2013

That’s what V did this morning when we met two (new?) neighbours in the elevator, a mother and her 8-year old son, he hugged them! I asked if they already knew each other but nope! A third neighbour joined us on the 2nd floor but V only shook hands with him  🙂

Everybody’s talking about…

4 03 2013

In taxis, on the metro, between colleagues… nobody is really believing it but the BIG subject since end of last week: it’s supposed to be 15 (FIFTEEN) degrees tomorrow!!! This morning it was minus 4…


2 03 2013

Home alone this weekend and I am re-starting my life with recharging my iPod that has been dead for I don’t know how many months, and thanks to Brysselkakan’s advice (I think O has mentioned it as well) I am now typing on the wireless keyboard connected to my laptop! I might have mentioned the coffee & milk incident last year, but then there was a water (!!) incident as well and the very important keys: b, n, and the SPACE BAR stopped working!! I have been getting by by using the “on-screen keyboard” for passwords etc but I wouldn’t type anything long with it…

O and V went to Spain yesterday and they are coming back tomorrow evening. It’s so quiet in the apartment without them but I kind of enjoy missing them if you understand what I mean 😉 (especially as it’s only 3 days).

Another reason why I feel this weekend is a re-start is because I am feeling better than I have done in weeks… The photo below might give a hint of why:

and no, it’s not the goat nor my smiley grandfather (morfar)…

2. Blog Advent Calendar: Tell something about your town

2 12 2012

Since 2002 Brussels is “my” town, and I really feel at home here. This is where I met my husband O, where I gave birth to our son V, where a lot of my friends live and where I have my professional life.

Grand' Place by night
The Brussels town hall at the Grand’ Place, where our friends are getting married in May next year!

I also have a hometown in Sweden, where my parents, my brother, my aunt and my grandfather live (my sister lives in the neighbouring town), but my life is in Brussels.


Brussels is messy, dirty, frustrating, crowded and… well, also European / International, heterogeneous, challenging, open-minded, full of history, green (lots of parks), relatively affordable and I [almost] always defend it when other people complain about Brussels, because this is where I have my home!

Manneken Pis on the National Day