Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dear French People, I’m Sorry for Butchering Your Beautiful Language

Last week, a light on the dashboard of my car lit up and made a demanding ding-ding sound at me when I started it up.  I got out the manual and found that I was low on coolant, so today I went to an auto shop to pick some up. 
I was a little nervous going in because the last time I was there to have a bulb replaced in the taillight, I ended up crying twice, all in the same visit.
First because the man working there was incredibly rude and it was just so frustrating.  Then another man stepped in and was ever so helpful and nice to me and my kids and it made me cry all over again.

So today I went in, guns blazing and ready to get a jug (or the European equivalent) of coolant.
Nothing was going to stop me.

Except I didn’t know the French word for “coolant.”

So I did what I often do when I don’t know a French word and said the word in English, with a French accent.  (Now listen, a lot of the time this is a good strategy and it works.)

Just as the word escaped my mouth, I realized that coolant said in a French accent sounds almost exactly like the French word for tights.
Yes, tights.
I corrected myself the best I could and pulled it together enough to come up with “liquide de froid,” cold liquid, which is what I should have said in the first place.  The man chuckled a bit and told me to pull my car around and he would put the liquide in my car for me.

In other, unrelated news, I’m going to be writing over at City Savvy, an online lifestyle magazine for English speakers in Luxembourg.  You can check out my gallery of springtime photos around Luxembourg and follow us on Instagram (City_Savvy_Lux) where I’ll be posting more pictures of this beautiful city.

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I’m so excited about this – I’ll be starting with some bits about traveling Europe via RV and the theatre scene in Luxembourg, and if you know me, you know that I love both travel and theatre.

The best part of all is that I’ll be doing this all in English.
So there’s no chance of me butchering the French language.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother’s Day 2015

We overflowed the coffee machine at a rest stop, Finley ate a smashed dandelion in a parking lot and for about six minutes, Shawn and I were in a panic because we thought our car had been stolen.

That’s how the weekend started, and if you know us, it’s a pretty typical way for us to begin a road trip.

Saturday morning, we loaded up the kids and the car and drove to the Netherlands.  I’ve been wanting to go in the spring for as long as we’ve lived here, but each year something has gotten in the way.

We saw the famous cube houses.
And bikes.
Lots and lots of bikes.
Did you know that there are more bikes in the Netherlands than actual people?

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Sunday morning we got moving slowly and I sipped coffee as my kids ran around the hotel room, jumped on the bed and watched boats out the window.  It was Mother’s Day and I couldn’t help but think that I love these two with a fierceness I never knew until I became a mom.  

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After our leisurely morning, we drove to Keukenhof Gardens, which is in the bollenstreek, or bulb growers region.

The Dutch are serious about their tulips.

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And also, clogs.

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Motherhood is exhausting, scary, messy and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left the house with cereal smashed in the bottom of my purse, a 2 year old wearing his t-shirt with one arm through the neck hole (like a toga, because he insisted) and both kids eating candy before 9AM, because this was the only way we were all going to make it to school on time and in one piece.

I hope that my kids won’t remember a childhood with a mom who was frazzled and anxious and they’ll forget all the hurry ups and straighten ups and remember their mom laughed a lot, had patience, taught them well and showed them the world.

A mom who saw the humor in being photo bombed by a goat…

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And willingly stood in the enormous, touristy wooden clogs in front of a windmill in Holland just for her kids’ amusement.

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I’ve been a mom for a little over seven years, and frankly, I feel like I’m an all-over-the-place-mess. 

I’ve birthed a baby in America and one in a foreign country.
I’ve celebrated healthy deliveries and I’ve grieved a miscarriage. 
I’ve breastfed and bottle fed, worn my babies close to my heart and pushed them in strollers.
I’ve been a stay at home mom and I’ve worked full time and part time.
I’ve judged other moms and have been judged by others.

I’m trying my best everyday to teach my children to be gentle – one with his little hands, and one with her words.  Every night when I fall into bed, I pray Lord, protect them.  And please cover up the mistakes I made with them today.

We stayed in Keukenhof longer than planned and returned home pretty late Sunday night.  All of us were exhausted and Hannah hadn’t finished her homework yet, so I declared that we’d all sleep in and take her to school late the next day.  In the flurry of events the next morning, which included window washers showing up first thing (that I had forgotten about) I asked Hannah if she could pack her own lunch, so that we weren’t too too late.  When we got to school, I peeked in her lunchbox to find nearly a pound of salami, a yogurt cup and two peppermint lifesaver candies. 

Clearly, I don’t have any part of this gig figured out.

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But despite all the mess and chaos, they’re mine and I’m theirs.
I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Oh, dear.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve updated around here. 
But I’ll be back.  Promise.

I’ve got lots of catching up to do.
And lots of exciting stuff coming up…