Bastille Day/Ghent Music Festival

Stephen and I made it out to the Bastille Day Fireworks show here in Liege. It was not bad, actually. We had low expectations, and they were exceeded with flying colors (pun intended!). The weather was great, and getting out amongst our "neighbors" was a nice change.

The next weekend we had a holiday (Beglium's "4th" if you will) and so we decided to try and make the most of our weekend. We drove to Ghent on Saturday, which we hadn't yet been to. It was gorgeous. We'll have to go back when there isn't a festival in town. They have castles and incredible architecture, all nestled on little waterways. It was really beautiful.

The music festival was situated in between the major waterway, or canal I guess. In fact, one stage was placed over the river, so the audience was split to either side of the canal. They had decorations to make it seem like we were on a beach in South America, and all of the drinks were your typical island creations. It was very nice. Except that it was 60 degrees and incredibly windy. Not exactly tropical. Of course there was always great people watching, and we were able to get Stephen a sausage! Pretty par for the course concerning European festivals. We danced to a few different salsa bands and had a great time, then decided to try and catch another firework show in Brussels.

There is a "Mini-Europe" park that has all of the major landmarks/buildings/cities in the E.U. done to 1::25 scale. It was really cool, and very interesting. We have actually added to our list of "destinations before we leave." It's crazy how ornate and grandiose some of these buildings are, and to think that they were built hundreds of years ago. It's mind boggling!

The fireworks show there was also a lot better than we figured it would be. We had a nice time, saw the sights, and then headed home. All of these fireworks shows have to wait until it's dark, so most of them don't start until 11pm or you can imagine how tired we were after they were over!

This week was business as usual, and this Sunday Stephen's cousin Sadie comes in town. She's going to be visiting us for about a week before heading back to Kauai! I'll do my best to keep the blogs and pics coming! Until then...

P.S. Check out Gracie's blog to see her in action at the Salsa concert!!

Euro B.O.

I've always noticed it, but I guess we're usually outdoors, so a brisk wind takes it away minutes after contact with my nose. I'm definitely not used to standing in it...submerged in thick, steamy BO like I was today. I take the bus to work. Usually the bus is pretty sparse. It was in the 80's today. Really hot weather when you don't have a cool breeze or air conditioning.

The bus was FULL. Full of large men, wearing jeans and jackets, sweating from the run to catch the bus...permeating the cramped interiors with their full-on stench. Then if it couldn't get any worse, a day-care class decided to make the already full bus their ticket home. We all got out of our seats so that the little tykes could have a place to sit...I mean half of them were in diapers and standing in the aisles while the bus was moving. Tres Belge!

I stood, holding the "Oh Shoot" handle, doing my best to not sway into the open armpits of the man next to me every time the bus driver switched gears.

I made it home without vomiting. Baby steps folks. Baby steps.

There's no place like home...

Being back in the states was a little different this time around. I was overwhelmed with ENGLISH; all of the sudden I could understand all conversations around me. I have to say it was a little annoying. I was unintentionally listening in on everyone around me. I felt like I was being over saturated and I wasn't ready for it. Don't feel too sorry for me, though. I adjusted in a day or so, and I was in HEAVEN.

I arrived in Austin on July 3rd, and was welcomed at the airport by my entire family...babies included. My mom made some REALLY cute signs that said "Welcome home KT" with little holes cut out for Mackenzie and Olivia's was adorable! I can't describe how excited I was to see my nieces. Though Mackenzie was a little frightened by my loud entrance and Olivia was asleep, everything mellowed down and the night ended with gelato and an early bedtime, but not before I "re-introduced" myself to Bella. She had a little trouble remembering me at first, but then she fell back into place!

For the 4th, Dad BBQ'd on the "Green Egg" and we hung out by the pool with 'ritas and tunes. My parents house is really nice to lounge and hang out was awesome! Both little ones sported adorable bikinis and swim gear. It's all just so cute! Mackenzie swam with us and hung out in between naps, and miraculously Olivia slept through most of our shenanigans. Little Mackenzie got over her fear of my loud voice and scary faces, and we actually became little besties. I was able to put her to sleep, feed her, and push her around Nordstrom's and Target. Why is it so fun to push a baby around in a cart or stroller? I'm sure it will wear off when it's mine, but it was so fun! Once Olivia get's old enough, we'll have to test out her shopping skills, too :) She's so mellow, I'm sure she'll dig it!

The rest of the weekend was pretty chill...we relaxed, shopped and ate :) Heaven, right? Mom and I made the trek to Dallas soon after everyone left, and I did almost exactly the same things in, family and shopping! Brooke, who is 6 months pregnant and "glowing," met me for lunch one day, and Lorie and Jesse met me for lunch another day! It was nice to get to see them and catch up! One night Kelly and I went out for dinner and then out on the town! We always have too much fun! Another night we went to a Rangers game with Jeremy and Lindsay, his friends, and Stefani and Jordan met us up there. It was really hot, but I think everyone enjoyed the walk-off home run was pretty cool! Glenda and RP made a special trip up to see me, too. We went to dinner with Kelly and had a great time talking and catching up as well! It was so nice to be back, to see everyone, and to wear summer clothes in summer weather. (It's been averaging about 60 degrees here and raining here, boo!)

The Friday before I left (Saturday), my Aunt Julie drove my grandparents up to Dallas so they could hang out with me and the babies for the weekend. I was only able to see them for dinner on Friday and breakfast the next morning, but it was so nice!!! I hadn't seen them since the wedding, and the time spent with them was amazing! I miss them a great deal...and how cute are they? We had a great time, and of course they were completely spoiling the babies (and the babies loved it).

I arrived back in Belgium (to cold weather :( ) on Sunday morning. Stephen and I had some breakfast and headed home so I could take a nap. We then took a late afternoon stroll, had some dinner and caught up. It was so nice to be back in the states and see my family, it was a treat to see some friends I hadn't seen in a while, and it was wonderful to spend time with my grandparents. A very good trip...and now that I'm home I feel equally blessed to have a husband who loves having me home, a job and a life that's full of fun and crazy European adventures. I don't think if you'd asked me 6 months ago I would be ok coming back...but it wasn't a terrible transition. Of course it was really sad to leave, but this isn't permanent, we'll be back before we know it!

Things are full swing here, I'm busy and enjoying work. Stephen and I are busy booking trips before we come home next summer, and life is good! Thanks for praying for us, loving us, and sharing this adventure with us! A Bientot!