We’ve had some great walks in Zuid Limburg this Autumn. Plenty of time on our hands to explore hikes and places I have always wanted to visit in the area. Hikes with friends in Meerssen, a hilly hike in Gulpen, exploring the Brunssummerheide, a visit to Kasteel Hoensbroek, and our usual favorite— a bike ride to the American Cemetery in Margraten. I must admit. When musuems, theaters, and zoos are closed I am happy that we live so close to nature. At the same time, I miss the Hudson Valley so much this time of year. Nothing beats the colors of Autumn in NY. Of course.
Some traditions are surviving the pandemic. Autumn walks, outdoor dining (well not anymore), and the Pompoen Parade in Aalbeek.
When we’re able to continue the fun through this pandemic—it brings us joy. The pompoen parade is always a highlight. This year I chose a glass of wine instead of pumpkin taart. Good switch! And this little beer garden at the brewery in Gulpen is so gezellig. Delicious cheese! In fact I can’t stop thinking about it.
The Holidays are here! Yikes! Sinterklaas is in one week, Thanksgiving flew by, what is happening to the time. Oh and Thibault had a horrible cold (which— knocking on wood here– we all seemed to fight off). Well into my 5th year of being a mother here, I have learned to keep my expectations for the holidays low. Pretty much anything that we do now, I approach it with low expectations. Even Jaap said it the other day, “Oh, it’s Thanksgiving, somebody in our house is sick.” Completely true. It’s like clockwork. Every year, somebody in our family is sick that week.
Through all the hustle and bustle of the holidays (which I completely love) I am to be mindful this year. I will be present. I will be grateful and most importantly show compassion for myself. It feels really good to type this out right now.
There have been some beautiful family moments here. I want to write this on this blog, to have them in my memory forever.
Walking to school a few weeks ago Flora says, “Wow, Mom. Look at the sky. It’s so big! It looks amazing.” Amen girlfriend. Her statement gave me goosebumps. The sun was rising and the sky was pink and purple. My little daughter stopped to recognise the beauty of this world. That same afternoon Flora was picking up, throwing the leaves, and running through it while we were leaving the school yard. Pure joy.
Sometimes on a Friday morning Thibault and I go for a walk after dropping Flora off from school. It reminds me of when he was a newborn. We walked everyday while I listened to a podcast. We stop and take a peak at the horses and also discovered two sheep. He loved it.
And last weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving with our friends Ann and Didier. It feels like a real home Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is such a hard week for me. I always feel homesick and sad because it’s such an important American tradition. But, I survived! I made it through the week. Only a few more days of Sinterklaas (another day I really hate— more about that in another post) and we are moving on to Christmas.
I am thankful for my health and my family. XOXO XOXO XOXO
Here’s a quick look back at our Autumn break. I love October stay-cations. It gives us time to relax, refuel, and find fun things to do not far from home.
First off, a Lunch date with Flora in Maastricht and a trip to the Natural History Museum. We’re getting good use out of our Museum cards this year!
Photo shoot in the city centre.The Valkenier was still open. A nice day in the sun with friends.
Brussels for the day trip! We sat in traffic for 1.5 hours while some EU diplomats were making their way into the city. Surprisingly, the kids were in really good spirits. It’s possible we saw Angela Merkel in her motorcade whizzing by. haha.
Despite the delay and some obnoxiously loud pre-teens at the playground, our Brussels day trip was fab. Lunch in the Sablon neighbourhood while Thibault took a nap and a visit to my favorite little spot the Petit Sablon garden. Of course— there was plenty of beer and chocolate to keep the spirits high for Mom and kids. 🙂
Friday was a hike in the woods with friends. It was the perfect fall day for a stroll in the forest. Lunch at the Higend Hert and no meltdowns. Happy kids and parents!
Thibault is always excited to hop in the bakfiets. I think he’s even more excited now that we took out the baby seat and he can sit comfortably on the bench. We had a beautiful ride this morning. More like breathtaking! It was stunning. There were lots of precious moments on our little ride through the countryside. Jaap showed me this great route. It’s a perfect 30+ minute bike ride to do with the kids in the bakfiets.
There’s always horses grazing at the end of this street. This horse came right up to us and then started galloping around. It was quite the show.
And of course, we had to stop and admire the cows. We sat here for a good five minutes. Thibault munching on rice cakes, the cows eating grass, and slurping their water. What an incredibly beautiful fall morning. I love the feel of Fridays.
The annual Pompoen Parade! I love this day. There is a lavender nursery in Aalbeek that hosts a “pumpkin parade” weekend every year. It’s a nice family activity to do on the weekend. I find the whole place aesthetically pleasing. The entire property wafts the scent of lavender, beautiful multi-colored and weird shaped pumpkins are scattered about and there is a tiny play area for kids. Throw in a piece of poempoentaart and the afternoon is complete.
Flora had done some exploring of her own and was excited to show a little quiet place she said was a nice place to sit and relax. 🙂