Monday, September 21, 2015

Hannah, on Hashtags

"Hey, Mommy?  Let's make a sign for my door.  Let's make it say 'No Boys Allowed.'
And at the bottom, let's put a slashtag 'that means you, Finley.'"


That's excellent use of the pound sign to categorize a keyword into a searchable link on social media.

I think what you mean, though, is hashtag.



Sunday, September 20, 2015

38 and 15

Last week Shawn and I celebrated our anniversary and my birthday.  We were married in the year 2000 and I turned 23 just a few days later.  If you do the math, we've been married 15 years.

And I'm 38.
Which, if I'm being honest, is kind of hard for me to accept.  Not because of vanity or because I don't want to get older, but because sometimes I have this I don't even know what to call it - a lapse in self awareness, if you will, that I am in fact an adult.  

I awoke to the sounds of Shawn and the kids playing downstairs, giggling and whispering to allow me to sleep late.  When I made my way down the steps, this (along with some other surprises!) was waiting for me:

We brunched at a cute little cafe in the city; delicious coffee, American-style pancakes, bacon and cupcakes.  There was some confusion with the reservation that Shawn had booked, which, I'd be willing to bet is due to language barrier.  When the owner of this don't-even-try-to-get-in-the-door-on-a-Saturday-without-a-reservation-cafe found out it was my birthday, she set up another table and brought me a free coffee and cupcake for the mishap.

Chocolate chip pancakes, American style

Well wishes and sweet words rolled in via text and Facebook, as family and friends began to wake in America.  We spent the rest of the day relaxing at home, I went to the gym for a workout and when I came back, I found all three of my people napping - Finn in his bed, and Shawn and Hannah each on a couch.  I joined them and when we woke, we played outside for a bit and then Hannah and I went into the city and got carry-out from one of our new favorites, a Latino/Spanish/Cuban cafe.  

So, my day pretty much went like this:
American food, gym, nap, Cuban food.

I can't think of a better way to spend my birthday, really.

A few weeks ago, one of my dearest friends had a very real cancer scare.  She's fine and healthy, we know now, but the time between discovery and laboratory results was worrisome.  

When the house was quiet, I spent some time thinking about how grateful I am on the first day of my 38th year.

Grateful for my friend's health, my health, for another year of life and another year of marriage to this fantastic guy.

And apparently, when you've been married 15 years, you show up to celebrate wearing matching shoes.

Who knew?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

La Rentree

Thursday was “La Rentree des Classes,” or back to school for Hannah.
She’s in Year 3, which is equivalent to 2nd grade in the US.

During the break, she completed a summer reading challenge, went to art camp, dance camp, saw the Parthenon, waterskied and went snorkeling for the first time.

I’d say it was a pretty good summer.


Finley spent the day looking and asking for “Nana.”  Poor guy, he was a bit lost without his big sister around.  After school, we went grocery shopping for ingredients to make a special back to school dinner of Hannah’s choice.  She asked for chicken cordon bleu, which she calls chicken corn on blue (and I’m not about to correct her) and Caesar salad.


Coolest kids at the grocery store

Here’s to a fantastic year.
We’re so proud of the young lady she’s becoming.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Family That Hikes Together...

Saturday afternoon we drove less than one hour north to the Mullerthal Region, which is also known as Luxembourg's Little Switzerland.

The day was warm and the trails were just begging to be hiked.

Finley didn't last long in the backpack.  Instead, he preferred to run and climb alongside Hannah, giving his all to keep step with her.

We crawled through crevices that were barely shoulder width.

We sat on a bridge and contemplated life...

It was all we could do to keep this little guy out of the water.  Streams, sticks, rocks and dirt are his favorite.

And catching up on some things I don't want to forget:

A group of friends gathered to celebrate a 37th birthday, and I don't know what I loved more, the crafty-crafty piñata-like number 37 or the fact that I am the same age as the birthday girl.  It truly is a great age.

It could've been the Crémant, or maybe the fact that we are both smack-dab in the middle of raising toddler boys, but we found this incredibly funny, even if we were the only ones that seemed to be entertained.

Hannah finished the school year with awards and applause and we couldn't be more proud of her.  

Friends that we made while they were living in Luxembourg and have since returned to the UK came for a visit.  For an entire morning and afternoon lunch, Hannah had her dear friend all to herself.

This summer and last have been full of goodbyes.  When you're an expat, you find friends and tend to bond quickly and deeply and become like family.   You figure things out together, celebrate and commiserate with one another.  You do life together.  And then, suddenly, friends announce that they are moving - moving on to other expat assignments or returning to their home country.  And as regular and natural as the expat ebb and flow, well, it's still shocking and it stings.

As we are likely in the homestretch of our time as expats in Luxembourg, I've felt an overwhelming desire, a sense of duty, really to capture as much as I can of this place and what have become our favorite spots.

Sunday evening,  Hannah and I went to dinner, just the two of us.  We had hamburgers, fries and shared a dame blanche, an ice cream sundae.  We walked along Le Rives de Clausen, a hip and trendy section of the city.

"Hey, Mom," she asked, "Have you ever had a heart attack?"

I could barely contain my laughter for her child-like understanding of how unlikely and serious it would be for me to have had a heart attack.

"Ok, well, then can you start paying me my allowance in American money and euros?"

"Well, I guess, but what's that have to do with a heart attack?"

"Oh, it doesn't.  I just think it's a good idea for me to have some money saved up in both countries."

Monday, July 6, 2015

Baby, You’re A Firework!

Our 4th of July was a little bit more low key than I would’ve liked, thanks to some salmonella poisoning that took Shawn down for no less than a week.  He and I spent all day Thursday at the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg, but that’s another story for another day.

I decided that I would still take the kids to the 4th of July party hosted by the American Women’s Club of Luxembourg, and when I told Hannah that we were going, she told me she didn’t want to go.

”Why? We had fun last year and it’s America’s birthday.  We should celebrate!”

She narrowed her eyes, “Because I’m British.”

Clearly all of my efforts at teaching my kids about heritage, American traditions and instilling a sense of patriotism have been very effective.


Oh, well.
Happy Birthday anyways, America!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Americans For AC

We're in a heat wave over here, you guys.
It's been in the 30s for about a week, which is the mid to high 90s for all my Fahrenheit speaking friends.

In fact, the Luxembourg Ministry of Health put us on Red Alert late last week.

Now listen, I know that doesn't seem all that bad for July, but when you live in a country that has ZERO air conditioning (even in hospitals) well, it doesn't take long for the heat to get to you.

One of my American friends (who is sadly moving back to the US very soon) posted on Facebook a picture of a portable air conditioning unit in their living room.

Then another American friend did the same.

And I knew it was time to come clean and admit, that we, too have a portable air conditioning unit.

Shawn installed it in our bedroom, and when I say "installed" I mean that he plopped the unit onto the floor and CUT A HOLE IN THE HOUSE for the accordion vent.  He explained to me that the vent will exhaust the hot air and I was all uh huh, uh huh cool air.
It's not the arctic blast that we're accustomed to in America, but it will do until Luxembourg returns to its more usual temperatures.

This afternoon I was piddling around in the city while Hannah was at a play date and Shawn and Finn were napping at home.  I popped into Subway to get some water and I almost had to sit down because of the shock of cold air that hit me.

So, to all my Luxembourg friends:
The Subway in the centre, across from Librairie Francaise has air conditioning.
Now, the tourist/man capri/B.O. situation getting from Kneudler to Rue Beck is NOT GOOD.
But, hey.
This is Europe and we're in a heatwave.

We'll take what we can get.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Kid Stuff

I've been keeping myself really busy with family, activities and doing a bit of writing over at City Savvy Luxembourg.  I'm still working out at the gym regularly, eating (mostly) clean and healthy and I feel great.  I have pep and energy and if you're feeling sluggish and tired, I highly recommend making some changes in diet and activity.  I feel like I'm 21.

Hannah, my mom and I spent a few great days in London and then met up with my sister in the English countryside.  I've got some great stories and photos to share soon.

In the meantime, this.  This photo is probably my favorite ever of my kids.  I have a friend here in Luxembourg who does amazing things behind the lens and she captured this completely unplanned and unstaged.

Hannah's just about finished with this school year, and she's done so well.  We're beyond proud of her.    Last week, we were doing some shopping in Trier, Germany and we overheard some people speaking English.
"Hey, Mom?  Those people over there sound American.  We better go talk to them.  It's our job, ya know."
Identifying accents and making friends.  She's such an expat kid.

I so love my days with Finley.
He's wild and active and wears me flat out most of the time.

But deep down, I think he's a man of leisure.