Liam loves smoothies. LOVES smoothies. His current favorite is an orange-pineapple-mango one that is just to-die for. But in a pinch, this’ll do.


1 banana
1 fistful of pineapple
1 or 2 fistfuls of frozen berries

Add pineapple and banana to the blender.

Get caught in the act of tasting the banana. Smile goofily to get out of any potential trouble.

Add strawberries and fasten lid tightly.

Run from room, covering ears, when mom says she’s going to turn on the blender. Return when given the all-clear.


he sleeps

I DON’T NEED A NAP, MOMMY! I’m too old for a nap! I’ll never sleep…. again…

two days ago


Of course, these surprise naps mean that at 9PM I’m pulling my hair out trying to get him to sleep. We’ll reach a happy medium eventually. Until then, I’ll just look at these pictures and say “awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.”

All aboard!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s been hot and humid around here lately. As you can see, we’ve all had lots of energy:

However, rather than stay home today and languish away the heat of the day, we decided to go out and, if not make the most of it, at least enjoy the time. With our trusty little TomTom as a guide, we made our way to the town of Thuin, Belgium, home of the Centre de Découverte du Vicinal — the Discovery Center for the Rural Tramways. The center is a step back in time to the days of the Belgian rural tram system. Tables upon tables of information, historical documents, and magazines for train/tram afficionados. There are also about thirty cars on display — some you can board and explore.

Liam poses with a surprisingly life-like painting of an old tram.

For a measly six euros each (Liam was free — ahh the joys of having an “under three”), we also got nearly an hour of rides. The line between Thuin and its neighboring village, Lobbes, is apparently the last true electric tram line left in Belgium. First, we boarded the diesel, pictured here. The tram takes you through the village of Thuin and out into the beautiful countryside. This is definitely an area of the country we plan to explore further. Only half an hour from home, yet so green and lush and completely removed from the coal-mining appearance of the Mons region. This was a nice ride, and the longer of the two. But it was loud, as Jesse surmises the gearbox was on its last legs….err, gears. It was also the smelliest.

Liam and I save our seats while Jesse snaps a shot of us before setting out.

The diesel ride lasted about twenty five minutes. A few minutes later and we were off again. This time we took the electric tram. What a difference! Much quieter, and a much more pleasant trip. Liam was fascinated by the old electric lights on the ceiling. And we were all fascinated by the elderly man, probably one of the original drivers, jumping off at intersections, standing between us and oncoming traffic with his little signal stick. This man was eighty if he was a day, and he jumped on and off the moving tram as if he was eight. Here Liam and Jesse share a laugh on the electric tram.

This was a very pleasant trip, and we’ll definitely be back! Some time this week Liam and I plan to make another excursion. Be watching for it!


My apologies to those of you who remember with longing the days of daily updates. Liam keeps me too busy for me to do update more than once a week or so. We’ve ousted his daily nap entirely now, which means I am at m’lordship’s beck and call from 7AM til 8PM. Lucky for YOU, he went down “relatively” easily tonight, so I’ll fill you in quickly.

Much of our time recently has been taken up with the job search. In less than eight months, we’lll no longer be in the military. We have no clue where we WILL be, but answering to the USAF will not be involved. We’re finding that prospective employers aren’t looking as far ahead as we are, so it will probably be some months before we get any real job leads. Watch your local papers, and if you hear of a job that has Jesse’s name written all over it, let us know!

About a week ago, I got my hair cut. I hope you like the pic, as it’s one of the few you will ever see of me on this site!

This month is our niece’s birthday. I don’t even want to say how old, because it makes ME feel old just to think of her being a teenager! Liam, Jesse, and I made her this great card!

Today we went to our favorite store in Belgium, IKEA. We weren’t searching for anything special, but found this great canopy for Liam’s bed for only 5 euro (about 6 dollars). He loves his “rainbow tent,” and his bed is now his favorite space in the house.

We recently added to Liam’s tractor/digger collection. The little yellow digger is a thrift shop special — I think we paid 50 cents. The front loader tractor he’s clutching comes from the Belgian version of Toys-r-Us, and cost a whole lot more. He loves both equally.

Expect to see more frequent updates in the upcoming weeks. It’s just occurred to me that this may be our last summer in Europe, so Liam and I are going to start doing a lot more traveling and venturing into the great unknown. Of course, since I’m designing these trips around the interests of a two year old, chances are you won’t be reading about us exploring an old abbey’s ruins. You’ll be seeing lots of zoos, nature parks, and recreational centers. But Liam will be starring in all the pics, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy!


Today Liam and I stopped at a natural food market and picked up some fresh fruit. I’ve never done that before (organic, health food store), and wanted to compare the quality to our normal fare from the commissary and other local chain grocery stores. We haven’t sampled the peaches or apricots yet, but Liam specifically asked me to buy him some “twabwewees,” so we tried them out immediately. It’s the first time I’ve ever bought them berries here and had every one in the container be good, and edible, and free of mould. But how did they taste?

Liam posing with his second strawberry; he ate the first in the car on the way home. You can see the fresh berry juice stains on his nice light-colored shirt. Good move, Karena.

This is Liam’s third berry. He popped number two into his mouth in one giant gulp. This time I asked him to go slowly and take at least two bites. One…


The next photo in the series is hilarioius, but I won’t post it here. Liam’s got gobs of berry juice exploding out of his mouth and onto his shirt. I won’t post it because, combined with the expression on his face, it kind of looks like someone smacked him and it’s blood. Rest assured, it’s just berry juice, and it’s a look of ecstasy.

When we finished the photo shoot, I sampled one myself. Heavenly.