Sunday, August 24, 2008

Yet another monistary visit

What do you do on a lazy rainy Sunday? Well if you're an Archer living in Europe, you visit a Trappist brewery. Today happened to be our lucky day, and being only an hour and a quarter drive from fine beer prompted us all to load up in the Subaru and head over to Belgium. Once there we enjoyed delicious sandwiches at the monastery cafeteria, and of course Achel beer- both the blonde and brun for those interested. They also have fantastic soup and soft serve ice cream which W. can attest for. There is a small wooded area with trails, and horses pulling buggies in the street. The monastery property is located in both Belgium and Netherlands, so you really can be two places at once! We weren’t able to tour the grounds- but we did see a couple of monks. What a treat for a Sunday in Europe!

And because I didn't bring my camera with me, here are some shots of W. practicing the backstroke in the tub. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Not all of our lives are filled with travel and adventure every week, but for some lucky members of this family, they get to see the lion's share of Europe. J. had some work to do in Italy last week, and by chance he had a day off when he was there, and was able to go sailing and snorkeling. Here are some pictures from his recent adventure:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Summer fun

Wow, the time is just flying by. I can't believe that it's already August! Only a few short months and the weather will turn and for most of us that will mean sweaters and mittens and steaming mugs of deliciousness. However it is still summer and we are enjoying the spoils of the season. As a family we haven't been 'doing' too much of anything, so we decided we needed to go some where. Luckily we live in such a place where there's plenty of some where’s to go. We really haven't done too much camping since W.'s birth, and so it was decided that now is as good of time as any to go. Off we were to one of our favorite countries; Belgium. Where not only do they have rock climbing- which I've been jonsin' to do, but they have beer.

My first tip that something might be amiss is when we drove into the campsite, and I didn't see any other toddlers. We searched for the perfect campsite by driving in a circle around the park, and choosing one of the three available remaining spots. W. was a great helper while we set up camp. She was in charge of driving the parked car, and is now a master at using the horn, much to the annoyance of her mother. And it wouldn't be camping if there wasn't an abundance of food. J. found a comfy seat in the tent and proceeded to teach W. how to feed him. She is now a master at opening the cooler and rooting for junk food. They both seemed to love this, and who am I to discourage father-daughter bonding?
Sleeping with a two year old is not really my idea of a good time. All night you're getting kicked elbowed or having your blankets removed. Not withstanding the physical discomforts, as a mother I am constantly worried that something might happen while W. is asleep, and I won't know about it. So when she is lying next to me, every time I move, I need to check on her. Sleeping on the ground affords many of these opportunities. But the real obstacle camping with a toddler is getting to the sleeping part. Saturday was very exciting for W.- so much to see and do that she didn't take a nap. (Not for a lack of me trying to convince her to take one) So by 8pm, I thought that she would be exhausted. NOPE! Being in a tent is awesome, and who in their right mind would want to sleep? Finally at 10pm her little eyes shut, and soon after mine did too.

It seems in Europe you need to belong to some sort of mountain climbing club to be able to climb the rocks. So unfortunately we were left on the sidelines admiring the boulders from afar, but we've got a pretty good idea of what to expect for next time. In Belgium almost all of the land is privately owned. In order to climb, you need to get the land owners permission, and pay a fee. However the countryside is beautiful and the rocks are enticing, so we'll be back...

We did however check out the Chimay monastery and sample all of their delicious beers and cheeses. This is one of the nicer Trappist monasteries that I’ve been to. If you’re ever in the area, check them out, you’ll be glad that you did.

Here's a few parting shots from when we came home, and were putting our supplies away. (Many days W. pretends that she's a cat. She'll meow and make slurping noises like she's licking something. As you can see, she is also taking on other feline characteristics!)