Shopping for clothes is definitely not one of C's favorite things to do. Just mention shopping and you'll hear groans & statements like, "Mommy, please I don't want to go shopping. You take TOO long", "No more stores Mommy, PLEASE!!", "Mommy, only three stores and no more." lol! Yes, I think I may have scarred him for life with my 5-8 hour stateside shopping excursions. Lucky for C these events only occur once or twice a year.
The last time we were in Florida we went into Target & C sighed and my Mom told him, "Don't worry, C. Your Mom is going to be quick." His response? "Mema, you don't know my Mom!"
So needless to say I tend to do all his clothes shopping online but recently he needed a pair of jeans and the skinny jeans from the GAP that normally are fine didn't fit him. So last Friday we took a trip to the mall. C & I made an agreement... no more than three stores. Deal!
We struck out at Zara's but found lots of stuff at H&M. C was a trooper and tried on a ton of clothes for me. Of course, I promised to buy him some ice cream. C really likes to dress up & has wanted a tie for some time now. So it was perfect when we found these shirts. He looked so cute and grownup. I just couldn't help but snap a few photos with my phone.
Doesn't C looks so serious. This next photo in particular reminds me so much of when S puts on his ties in the morning. I love how grown up he looks.
Here in Belgium, the 6th of December is one of the most exciting days of the year for children. Why you may ask? Well, on the evening of the 5th children place their shoes near the fireplace or the backdoor in anticipating of Saint Nicolas’ arrival. The following morning, children wake up to find chocolates/candy, Speculoos cookies, oranges, and presents inside their shoes.
Celebrating the 6th of December is a new tradition for us. So Saint Nicolas tends to give C small gifts unlike the larger gifts Belgian children receive. For Belgians, the 6th of December is all about the children and Christmas Day is more about gift giving among family & friends.
This year C woke up to find two “Magic School Bus” books along with a chocolate coin on top of his shoes. According to C, these are the best books because…”they have the two things I love – reading and science.”
Celebrating Thankgiving in Europe is just not the same like it is in the US. The spirit of Thanksgiving is so much more than just the actual dinner.
In the US, everyone is talking about Thanksgiving. It's all over the radio, TV, shops, etc. The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are all about where you're going to spend the holiday and what you'll be cooking. Strangers wishing you a good Thankgiving. Seeing little hand printed turkies taped to windows and doors. And of course there is the famous Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade. I have some fond memories of watching the parade as my Mom cooked and the smell of turkey filled our house.
Since we've been living in Belgium we've celebrated by having a small traditional Thankgiving meal (excluding the turkey of course). My oven just can not handle a big bird - lol. But this year, I wanted to do something bigger. And it all started with a conversation I had with Mademoiselle Strawberry Shortcake, an American exchange student in my French class.
During our break in French class, Mlle. SS sometimes tells me funny stories of her first two months in Belgium. I can completely relate... when you're in a foreign place and don't speak the language normal little things can turn into funny adventures. Like how she arrived late to school and couldn't figure out how to get into the school since here in Belgium they lock the doors if you're late. Mlle. Strawberry Shortcake has a wonderful positive spirit. She has a way of telling stories that make me laugh even when she's talking about her alcoholic host Mom or how her host family hasn't quite adusted to having a new person in their family and she sometimes comes home to an empty house with no notes or message about where her host family has gone. Mediterranean Man & I were horrified to find out her mother was an alcoholic and the director of the exchange program is fully aware of this issue. But when Mediterranean man & I asked her whether her host Mom was a sleepy drunk or a mean drunk we felt a little better when she told us the host mother was the former. I know that sounds dreadful but Mlle. SS will get a new host family in January so let's hope things start looking up for her.
A few weeks ago, I asked Mlle. SS what she was doing for Thanksgiving. She laughed & said, "Oh, I don't know. My host family will probably want me to cook for them and I don't even cook!!" And that's when the seed to have a Thanksgiving get together was planted. I know if C was alone in a foreign country over a holiday I'd love for an American family to adopt him for the day. And technically, I could have a daughter Mlle. SS age so I think my motherly instints came out. ;) But let's keep that info tucked away. lol!
In addition to Mlle. SS, I also invited Mediterranean Man & Backgammon Grrl along with their families and last but not least an American bachelor.
Backgammon Grrl helped me a ton. Luckily, she has a big oven so her husband had the honors of making the turkey. ;) So for three days straight I cooked… my traditional apple, walnut and sausage stuffing with home-made croutons, roasted brussel sprouts with lardon & shallots, garlic mashed potatoes, stuffed mushrooms, cranberry sauce, and home-made pumpkin & pecan pie. I also brewed a few bottles of coquito; a sure sign (in any respectable Puerto Rican household) that the holiday season has begun! lol!
I have to say I put a lot of love into my food. I really wanted everything to come out good especially since this was the first Thanksgiving Mediterranean Man and his family have ever experienced.
I was extremely organized… probably the most prepared I have EVER been for a dinner party. It was nice not scrambling around at the last minute or eating dinner at 9pm. But even though I was organized the time between when the guest arrived and when we ate flew and I just took a few photos.
Everything turned out pretty well & I believe everyone enjoyed the evening. In the end, Thanksgiving isn’t just about the food… it’s about enjoying time with your family & friends and being thankful for all you have in your life. Which I am. ;)