These kicks were made for running!



In efforts to start getting serious, Stephen and I visited the "shoe guy" to see about getting shoes that would support our feet for the marathon. Stephen was running in shoes he "got a good deal on" and I was running in shoes that "worked with my Nike+ running gear." You can imagine that neither of us had great shoes. When we had travelled to Brussels to visit Eric (the shoe guy) before, we were turned away because he was too busy. So, we crossed our fingers and were able to see him on Saturday. It was awesome.

He began by having us run a short distance in his shop. Instantly he was able to tell us things about our feet and strides we had never noticed before. It was pretty incredible. Then, we jumped on this treadmill and ran in our shoes, while he videotaped our strides and how our feet hit the ground. We were able to watch it on the computer, and he showed us problem areas and ways to train to help us in the long run (no pun intended). He then brought out shoes that he thought would work, mind you knowing our sizes by just looking at our feet. We put the new shoes on, which felt like walking on clouds compared to what we had, and ran on the treadmill again. The difference was unbelieveable.

After a few alterations to mine, and a few shoe changes for Stephen, we were out the door with new kicks, socks, water belts and smiles! Yesterday, we tried them out on our long run (9 miles) and both of us escaped without a blister or pain. Pretty awesome! You guys need to find yourselves an Eric...he's pretty cool! Or, just come visit and get some new kicks :)



Soccer Schmocker

Stephen and I started, at one point, to get into soccer. Until we realized what happened after a big win.

Please view the video below, taken after midnight last Thursday when Turkey beat Croatia. It's rediculous. People hanging out of cars, a TRAFFIC JAM, it's nonsense. The effort it would take to get up of the couch, get into your car, grab your neighbors and country flag, find your national "music" and drive around town is WAY more than I'm willing to do for the sport.

If the unnecessary acting on the soccer field doesn't kill me, this will!



video

Summer Solstice



Saturday we had dinner at the Cross', a family we've gotten to know really well from church. We had a blast playing games outside, like a mean game of Monkey in the Middle and Power Ball. It was great! I think everyone had a great time, although Stephen is sporting some battle scars from my "over-excitedness." Michelle prepared a very "English" dinner, including a pork roast, baked butternut squash, stuffing, green bean casserole, steamed carrots, roasted potatoes, and rounding out the meal was an apple crumble and a fruit "roly poly" for dessert. It was incredible...we were FULL to say the least. And, for all of you out there wondering, Stephen ate ALL of his potatoes, some of his green beans and even some carrots and squash. I was proud :) On our way home, after catching the Holland/Russia Euro 2008 game, we were able to catch the moon in all it's glory. Since it was the summer solstice, it stayed lighter for that much longer, so we still had relatively lighter skies until 11'ish. The picture I took of the moon was around 1am...isn't it incredible?


In case you were wondering...


















This haircut is in style for the summer. If you or your loved ones would like a similar 'do, take a hint from this guy before you make an appointment at your hairdresser's. The side burns and faux-hawk are very precise...get it right! And if you can rock the earring...make it happen!


p.s. One of these days I'm going to get caught, and it's not going to be pretty

Do you still love us?

I promised I would update soon, like two weeks ago. Sorry. I guess the blog was easy to update when I wasn't busy. Now I'm going to have to really make it a priority. I promise I will do my best!



School is going great! I teach M-F, and the hours are very flexible. Some days I teach mornings and have afternoons off, some days I teach in the afternoons only, and some days, like tomorrow, I teach in the morning, afternoon and evening with breaks in-between. I really like the school and the people I work with. Everyone has been really nice and inviting, and the students have been great. It's such a blessing to FINALLY have a job; one where I am able to meet new people, have a great schedule to travel and enjoy time off, and one where I can have a sense of independence and purpose. Things are great! Thanks for the prayers.




















Stephen is staying busy with work, and keeping me sane while I adjust to working life again. It's silly, but I haven't worked in 13 months, so I have to "get back on the saddle" so to speak...it's been fun! The weather is finally starting to warm up a bit, albeit with rainy cold days intermittently. Today was 66 and partly cloudy. Nice. Since it is sunny'ish until 10:30pm or so, we are able to really enjoy the evenings with Gracie on a nice walk or on a patio somewhere. And on "training" days, we can enjoy a nice jog with cooler weather from 8-9 and still have about 2 hours of daylight to enjoy. It's really crazy, and we love it. Well, not the 4:30 sunlight in our windows in the morning, but the ability to enjoy the sunlight for as long as we can! I'm rambling, but you get the idea!






















We're still on for the Cologne Marathon. Stephen hasn't worked out in over a year, but in the last week and a half he's logged three 3 mile runs and one 5.25 mile run. I'm really proud of him. Of course the training is going to get tougher, but he's a trooper right now! Encourage him, and me! Ha!

I'm heading home July 3rd to see the family. I'm SO excited to be able to meet my nieces...and see the whole gang for July 4th! I'm really excited to see "real" sunshine, too! I joked with Stephen that I will have to put on SPF 50 to sit outside, and I'll probably still get burned. Lack of sunlight for 10 months will make a girl pasty white! I'm proof!






As you can see, nothing terribly earth shattering or exciting is going on around "Chez Dotson" but that is a good thing. We are finding our groove and starting to enjoy life as Belgians. We spent Sunday after church with our friends Richard and Michelle (and their girls Gabrielle and Nicole) at their house. I learned to play chess, we played UNO, listened to music, and then played EVERY sports game on the Wii. We had such a good time, and are embarrassingly sore from pitching in Baseball and punching in Boxing...but it was awesome! We might need to invest in one soon!! More importantly, it's nice to be able to spend a lazy Sunday with!

Well, I'm going to close by saying this: I WILL POST MORE from now on, and I will post more insanely "Europe" adventures for you...don't get bored! Stay with me :)
*Pics are from the last few weeks around here...

RIP Aaliyah. Sorry I have been MIA lately! I got a job teaching English at Berlitz. I was originally hired to teach in August of last year, but it's taken 10 months for me to be "legal" to work. Stupid, I know. But, here we are. I started training last week, and will finish at the end of this week. It's been tough, I leave at around 7 in the morning and it takes 2 hours in traffic to get there, then I'm in training from 9-5:15. At rush hour, it's time for me to make the trek back. So, you can imagine how tiring the 4 hour driving days could be, then on top of homework and life, it's pretty exhausting. So, I'm sorry!

If you saw the last post, you that I'm now an Aunt for the 2nd time. Sweet Olivia was born on Tues. of last week...so excited to meet her and Mackenzie this summer! It's hard not being there!

I have a lot to share with you all, but it's going to have to be when I'm clear in the head! Just a sneak peek: For Memorial Day we went back to the American Cemetary and watched a very moving Ceremony with quite a few WWII Veterans, we participated in a Pub Quiz last night in Brussels that was a good time, and we also have decided to run a marathon in Cologne this October. So, things are staying busy in the Dotson household these days!

Until next time...Au Revoir!

OLIVIA BELLE KAMPEN




Andy and Natalie welcomed baby Olivia on Tuesday, May 27th. She weighed 7 lbs. 13 oz. and was 20 inches long! Mom and baby are healthy and at home...surviving I'm sure! Can't wait to meet my 2nd niece this summer!