Welcome back to my now quarterly blog! Jeez. I’m just the worst, but I digress…
Our year started off with a bang – Jay promoted!
During the ceremony, the boys pinned on his new rank – and I’m very pleased to report no blood was shed in the process.
I quickly stole the spotlight back from Jay with the advent of my birthday. Because we had a bunch of other stuff going on at the time (as you’ll soon read about), celebrating my tentative entrance into my mid-30’s was not high on my list.
However, I did find myself getting a touch excited/nervous when I found myself locked out of the kitchen one evening by two small boys. After more time passed and more noise rang out from behind the door than I was comfortable with, I was informed that I was once again allowed back into the room.
A clean kitchen (whaaa—-?!?!) and this sign in the fridge greeted me.
Upon reading this sign, I have to admit that my anxiety took an upward turn as I knew I was going to have to eat whatever non-parental-supervised treat the boys had cooked up for me. All I was told was “It. Is. Your. FAVORITE.”
At this point, it should be noted that their perception of my “favorite” things is slightly skewed. As in, they think whatever I do most frequently = my favorite thing (ie. grocery shopping, cleaning, grading papers, etc…).
Anyway, my birthday morning rolls around and Knox ended the suspense and presented me with my pre-made breakfast – a beautiful salad!
Sure, the ratio of roughage to dressing was seriously out of balance (I’m guessing the ratio was 1C. of dressing to 1/4C. of other ingredients?), but I ate it. At 7:10 a.m., I ate it all. While they watched with eager eyes and made sure I didn’t miss one tiny bite.
Garlicky dressing aside… Hands down, that was one of the best and most thoughtful birthday presents I have ever received.
The celebration was short lived however. Soon after I ate my salad, we found ourselves back here – sharing romantic evenings from Jay’s hospital bed!
Yep… more knee surgery(s)!
Peedles hopped on the first flight out and came to our rescue.
Since Jay ended up being in the hospital for a week, it was a MASSIVE blessing to have her here to teach the boys and keep them in their routine.
Clearly they were sick with worry about their dad. Just sick.
Off on a therapeutic hike.
Not to worry… there was plenty of this going on post-surgeries.
And while they were busy catching up on lost time together, I might have gotten out of dodge and jetted.
(Don’t worry. Jay survived just fine with my mom waiting on him hand and foot.)
Sure, it’s no salad, but Jay’s birthday gift to me wasn’t too shabby either. Bummer for him that he has set the bar so high for future gifts…
Since our time over here is drawing to a fast close, we have been cramming in as much travel/visiting with friends as possible.
While Jay was away for work, the boys and I embarked on a roadtrip in January to visit friends in Belgium… and (ahem) to eat.
We also happened upon this little lady (<—— using the word “lady” is clearly questionable).
Meet Manneken Pis’ sister, Janneken. She’s famous for doing what’s she’s doing – hanging out and poppin’ a squat for the world to see. (We met Manneken on this trip. You know… the one where we forgot our passports).
Stay classy, Brussels.
And just in case we hadn’t experienced enough of nudity with the boys, we took it a step further and headed to Italy.
Good gracious – SO. MUCH. NAKEDNESS.
Oh. And art… really beautiful art.
But guess what.
When you’re a four and seven boy, you have zero appreciation for art and 100% appreciation for naked babies, naked men, naked everything. I’ll spare you the pics of the boys belly laughing and pointing at statues though.
Here are some other highlights.
Gladiators fighting in the Pompeii amphitheater.
Turns out that putting Jay on a bike after knee surgery was questionable. Oops.
Althooouuugghhh… he did have Knox to help pedal.
Me? I had this guy who just kept trying to steer us over a cliff while I worked up a sweat to keep up with Knox’s frantic pedaling.
I finally kicked him outta the driver’s area and put him in the front to be my “hood ornament.” He considered this move a promotion and we didn’t go careening off a hill and fall into certain death.
More wrestling. This time at the Forum.
Walking around Pompeii. It was truly an incredible experience for all of us to see an authentic picture of how life was lived around the time Christ was on earth and during Paul’s ministry.
You know what else was cool?
Roman drivers are on another level. Tiny, fast cars. And parking is at a premium.
But seriously? Who does this?
One other highlight from the trip? THE SUN!! The glorious, WARM sun! When we felt it on our faces, it was a bit like we had taken drugs – we felt manic and exceedingly happy.
Unless you’re a very tired four-year-old and you’re trying to watch a movie on the train.
Then you say things like “that sun is really getting on my nerds.” (<— a little phrase his brother has taught him. And that we still refuse to correct. Maybe when they get to college they will learn. But then again. Maybe not.)
But not to worry… After a night of this, they both rallied and were ready to do it again the next day! We are very blessed with easy, fun travelers.
And now we are all caught up! For now anyway… We are looking forward to a beautiful English spring and to more visitors. Until then… we’re out.
(Making gravel angels in the Circus Maximus. Clearly, I should never have dogged Brussels classiness since we are in a league all our own.)