This is not to start a debate...

but I love the "Ellen" show and I think this video is hilarious! Give it a chance, and it's in Duncanville! Shout out to the Crabtree's!

Click here for the video :) Go to about 6:30 for the good stuff...

My sweet little niece...

For all of those out there curious to see what my little niece looks like, here's her latest pic! She was dedicated at church on the 18th! Below are the proud parents with adorable Mackenzie! Isn't her dress lovely? It's a Belgian lace ensemble :)

I've got to have Space, Space, Space...

Things around the Dotson house are trucking along as usual. I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while, although I guess no news is good news, right? I know, some of you look forward to randomness from me, so I hope I deliver. We spent the weekend shopping in areas of Brussels we hadn't conquered. It is such a large city that we feel like we're never going to see all of it. But we did see inside quite a few shops this trip, so my craving has subsided (for now!). (The pic is of Gracie and the toothpick-looking sculpture in the heart of the shopping district!)

One thing we have learned over our stay here is that personal space in public is something you covet, a lot! We've had some recent experiences that you just laugh at, they are so awkward. First, we found a chicken shack on the street in Brussels and decided to try it out (they had chicken tenders, need I say more?). Not only were there two women talking EXTREMELY loud directly behind us, but another couple rediculously annoying behind them, practically pushing them forward so they could get food quicker. Now, this pushed the two women talking into Stephen, who I'm sure is already worried about what to order and how to order in French, etc. It was awkward, but we just had to laugh it off. Until we sit to eat and another lady comes and drops her stroller off by Stephen, child in tact. Later she decides she wants the stroller by her, so she pulls it alongside our table and parks it resting on my chair! Space people!!

The second experience was the other night at the Parking Ticket pay tower thingy. Not even sure what you would call it, so go with it. Stephen puts our parking ticket in, and begins to put money in to pay for it. About this time two elderly women get off the elevator and go to stand behind him, to insure they are next (there weren't any other people within 20 feet). The problem is they are both jockeying for position, and they are both touching Stephen. One is angled a little to see when he will be finished, the other is looking directly into his armpit (both were about 5' tall). It was hysterical. Not only to watch it happen, but moreso to see how awkward Stephen was with the whole thing. It was great!

Another thing I have learned is that bathroom attendants are usually old women, and they are ALWAYS cranky. I have seen some throw downs in our stint here: man walks in movie theater bathroom with a 20, lady yells in Dutch he owes .30, he doesn't have change, she can't make change, he leaves and she SCREAMS obscenities at him as he walks out laughing. It's terribly funny and wrong at the same time. You pay for the movie, why do you have to pay to use the facilities. Are you with me? You HAVE to use the restroom...why do you have to pay? I digress. We learned very quickly to always have change handy. These ladies are ruthless. I was at the Chicken restaurant (it was an adventure) and we noticed the lady left. I hate to say it, but gut reaction was GO, GO, GOOOO! So, I got up and went to the restroom. I was so cautious and aware of the time I was taking, hurrying so to miss her. I thought I had made it, but after opening the door, Satan grabbed my arm and yelled something in French followed by .40!!!! So, tail between my legs I retrieved the change. Don't worry, though, she was smiling big and offered a big "MERCI" as I hadn't her the change. Satan 1-Katie 0. Better luck next time, eh?

In other news, to quelch my boredom I have now turned to more activities/hobbies/past times of geriactrics. Not only am I knitting, but I'm making jewelry and painting. I perused the shelves yesterday at my "Hobby Lobby" and found some cool things, so I tried my hand at being crafty! What do you think? And for those out of the loop, the "D" is for Dotson :) As I was painting, I heard a boom outside. Instinct is to grab your head and say, not again. But I knew Stephen had the car, so were out of the woods. Unfortunately, there was an accident on the other side of the street. It was a three car pile-up, involving a Smart car in the middle. Aimee, these things hold up nicely! I thought for sure it would have been a goner...but alas, it's hardcore! The first car checked his goods and left...assuming no damage. The smart car driver, however, gets out and slams his door in frustration. It's at this moment that the culprit, driving the Mercedes, gets out and starts rocking on his feet. YES!! Drama Street! It's so great! I'm not saying "yes" to a drunk driver, we all know my stance on that. But I do love drama! I'm my mother's daughter!! For about twenty minutes I'm shamelessly leaning out my window taking pictures of the drunkard heckling the Smart car occupants. It was amazing! Then, finally, the cops show up. In true fashion, they dispatch for no less than 5 more cops to show up. In the end, a paddywagon much like we are used to (see here and here) picked up the drunk guy and carried him off to neverland! It was an amusing afternoon!

Funny Video

While Hayley was here, we celebrated my birthday (and had a little dance party!) before heading to Paris. I made her a little video of the trip, and thought you would like to see it. Don't worry, I asked permission first! Enjoy...and no making fun!

video


P.S. Song: "Parce Qu'on Ne Sait Jamais" by Christophe Mae (a little pop ditty from the summer)

A few days ago...


I was invited to accompany Ava and Francoise (two great ladies that work at PFSweb with Stephen) to go "swimming." I really didn't know what to expect, but thought it would be a fun adventure. It sure was! They took me to the Carolus Thermen Wellness Center in Aachen, Germany, one big relaxation spot! There were three or four main pools indoor, and two outdoor pools, all heated with natural spring water. They all had waterfalls and massaging spouts, bubbles and even a whirlpool spot. We enjoyed each pool, the mint sauna, and even the pebble walking water (supposedly to massage your feet, it was painful). Afterwards, we made our way upstairs to have a bite to eat! The food was awesome, and the whole experience was extremely affordable. It's only two hours away, and from looking at their website they have so much more to offer that we didn't even tap into! We are definitely going to go back, especially because Ava filled us in on the WAL-MART down the street, complete with American food. I was beside myself! I'm so excited about these two new finds! Very cool! Thanks Ava! Please browse the website, and get your tooshies over here and enjoy a swim with me!!


Happy Valentine's Day

Ok, a day late, but you know I love you! Stephen and I decided to cook dinner and go see a movie for V-Day. He picked me up after work to go to the Carrefour (like a Super Target, only not at all) to find tomato paste, so we/he could make a tomato sauce from scratch. As we were walking down the aisles, a song came on overhead. It was Jamie Cullum's "Everlasting Love." That was the song we had our first dance to on our wedding night, the song that we love. In Belgium. In the grocery store. It was a cool moment, and nice that it was on V-Day. The spaghetti was awesome, and we saw P.S. I love you...cried almost the whole time, I wouldn't recommend it (even though it's been out for like 3 months for you guys, ha!) if you are an emotional type. And I read the book, totally different. I was disappointed, but we had a great time! Hope you all had a great day as well!

A Day at the Beach...

Saturday morning, we had the pleasure of meeting Wade, my good friend from High School at the Brussels airport. He had a three hour layover on his way to Rwanda for "Official White House Business." He's kind of a big deal! It was so nice to see him, and get to have some waffles. I hadn't seen him in a while, so catching up was a treat!




The weather had been so nice on Friday, and Saturday was no different. As we were leaving the airport, we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do. There are still a few towns/villages we haven't seen, and as we were brainstorming, Stephen offered up the beach. Who turns down the beach? Especially when it's sunny!!


So, off we were, eager and excited about seeing some waves. Oostende, the town we visited, is in the middle of the Belgian Coast off the North Sea. The harbor was beautiful, and housed dozens of yachts and large sailboats. They even had a boat that was used in Battle ages ago! It really was gorgeous.


We followed the water to the sea, stopping for a quick glance at St. Petrus Cathedral. It was a gorgeous cathedral, with amazing stained glass. Gracie was quiet, thank goodness!!


We then continued on to the water, passing Fisherman's Wharf and vendors selling fresh fish and gumbo. We couldn't really figure out what fish it was they were selling, but a lot of the locals were eating it, so maybe it was good?? Once at the beach, we were in heaven. It's so crazy seeing beaches here and comparing them to the ones in the states I've been to. I'm used to greased girls laying out on towels with loud music and volleyball, etc.


Here, we were greeted by sweaters, gloves, scarves and the like. This didn't stop people from going, though. The beach was packed, with families, girl/boy scout groups, couples, kids, it was great! Gracie LOVED the sand and getting to dog-watch. She wanted nothing to do with any of the "fetchers," but wanted to see what was going on with the "barkers."

We made it down to one of the rock formations and took some great pictures. We wanted to see how Gracie would take to the water. We didn't get any action shots, but she didn't prefer it, let's just say that! The weather truly was perfect, warm in the sun but not too chilly! Much like San Diego! Along the main beachfront were tons of restaurants and outdoor patios, gelato places, shops and places to sit. It was really nice!


They have a casino on the main beach, but we went inside and it was vacant. Not sure what was going on there, letdown for sure! We ended our day having a nice Chinese meal overlooking the harbor.


It was an amazing, impromptu day...just perfect! We can't wait to go back sometime this summer. I'm sure there will be better people watching by then anyways!





Video of our day at the beach:




video

To see all of our pictures, visit: http://picasaweb.google.com/katie.dotson/OostendeBelgium

She deserves it!


The last two days Gracie has been able to soak up the sun she has missed so much being away from Texas! It was too cute not to capture it!


Confession...

I am a blog stalker. I admit it...I'm not ashamed. I began innocently, looking at friends blogs, checking their updates. Then people started adding "Friends who Blog" sections, and I would check those out. Now I find myself looking at blog's of people who are friends of a friend of a friend...you see how it happens. It's addicting. I will venture to say that there are some fellow stalkers that read my blog! Welcome.

All kidding aside, now, I came upon this blog. In a strange twist, I found it on a strangers site who had it under "I don't know this couple, they are from North Carolina, but pray for them." I was intrigued, so I went. I'm captivated by the story. In awe of their struggles, and humbled.

Please, check it out...and Pray! http://cfhusband.blogspot.com/2008/02/fast-track.html
*The link will take you to their "fast track," so you can get the gyst of their story. The homepage is simply www.cfhusband.blogspot.com.

"The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:16

No Excuses...

He listened! 40 degrees, sunshine, little wind. I usually reserve the "Perfect Day" title for Saturdays on a patio in Uptown with 85 degree weather...but this came pretty close! I ran my best mile to date (8:10) and maintained an average pace of 8:50 for the 5 miles I ran. I'm pretty happy with that, and my new start! Thanks for your encouragement! Day 2 was a success! Now if I can keep shaving time off my runs in the cold, wind and better yet on race day...I'll be one happy girl :)

New start...

I don't like to say "Lent," because to be honest I don't know anything about lent other than freshman year of college learning the girls in the dorms gave up beer, chocolate, or late-night only to break "lent" 10 days into it. So, I'm going to simply enforce a "new start." I read a verse today that caught me off guard and got me thinking:


"Make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love" 2 Peter 1:5
The idea of supplementing your faith is humbling. I do a lot of things surface level. I "get by." Why? I think it is a lack of faith in myself, more now in new surroundings than ever. I have excuses for every venture possible, put off things to do tomorrow instead, and find time to waste three hours of my day on the internet. Yes, you read that correctly...three hours. If I feel like I might be challenged, or questioned, I usually avoid. That's not me! What's gotten into me. I let the weather, sometimes the language, and most often my thoughts defeat me. This is not my usual nature, and somethings gotta give.
"Self-control with endurance." I have a race in 5 weeks, a 1/2 marathon. More than I have ever run. And I've never raced. Yet I can make excuses not to run on training days if it's raining or bitter cold. What? Why? I'm a fighter, I love competition. I hate that I rely on adrenaline to complete something. Why not for myself?
So, with all of this being said...my "new start" is NO EXCUSES. My inner thoughts are being demoted, and I'm going to start attacking life...expecting MORE. There is no excuse for not making the best of every day, no excuse for avoiding life because of rain, or trying new cafes for fear of eating alone, or avoiding confrontation because of the language barrier. I will tackle each obstacle as best as I can, and have no regrets. Each day is done when I go to sleep, and I want to know that I did all I could. No excuses.
Please feel free to hold me accountable, I need it. Especially in training in the TERRIBLE weather lately!!
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us…And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." Nelson Mandela

Carnaval

video

I've decided to tell the story in a music video! Hope you like!


P.S. Yes, they threw candy, apples, popcorn and hard-boiled eggs (which is what Stephen is eating) from the floats...different!