The first sunny day of the year

Yesterday it was the first sunny day of the year in Brussels. Blue skies, freezing cold but loads of sunshine. We took the boys to a park and WOW, they could not be happier. While we sat in the sun they ran around, putting their hands in the sand to make piles and throw them over again. They found little stones and flowers to show us. They found sticks and leafs to play with, ran up and down on little hills, felt the trees and plants and looked at ducks. Time flew and we did not feel the cold at all. We go outside everyday but they usually don’t last that long. It’s incredible how much a little sunshine can do. It was like a whole new world outside had opened up to them.

Shoe presents

Sinterklaas has come and gone. The boys were quite impressed, especially with the recurrence of getting presents. They also were lucky enough to meet Sinterklaas in person this year. That was not something they liked too much. Especially meeting Zwarte Piet made them frightened. The reason for this was that Piet repeatedly threw candy on the floor. This caused them a lot of stress, especially when other children started running around to collect the sweets. I explained about Piet being naughty and nice at the same time and how he liked to have fun.
But when they got sweets themselves they started warming up to the idea. One of them even dared shaking Piets’ hand 🙂
But the best surprises for them were the ones they got in their shoes in the morning. Waking up and finding presents to unwrap, a chocolate and some pepernoten to eat before breakfast… that was what made it all worth it for them!


The boys are now old enough to really understand and enjoy my favourite Dutch holiday: Sinterklaas. For those who don’t know this, Sinterklaas is very similar to Santa Clause, but his day is celebrated on the 5th of December. On this day (or a more convenient day around that day) Sinterklaas will bring presents to families. He arrives on a steamboat a few weeks prior and from that day on it is possible to put your shoe in front of the fireplace (or radiator haha) and hope that you’ve behaved well enough for Sinterklaas to bring you a gift.

I love this holiday so of course we told our kids about Sinterklaas and about the possibility to receive presents. This was very much to their liking. They love presents! So we starting by teaching them a few Sinterklaas-songs, which they can now sing by heart.They sang the songs several times… as loud as possible and then they wanted to eat the carrot that we had put in their shoe… yes, the raw and unwashed carrot meant for Sinterklaas’ horse.

The thing I had underestimated about this whole event was the shoe part. The boys took forever to decide which shoe they would use. All their old and current shoes and slippers had to come out of the cupboard. Even their wellingtons. They kept changing the shoe that they wanted to use. When I told them that Sinterklaas would not take their shoe but rather use to shoe to put a present in, their attitude changed. Once more they had a good look at their pile of shoes. One of them decided on the biggest shoe (a boot), the other one rather showed Sinterklaas his nicest shoe. Even for two-year old boys fashion can be a thing…


Back from holiday – elbow pains…

I apologise for the silence here. There was a school holiday in Belgium and we took the boys to a holiday park last week. We had a great time, although with every holiday we somehow don’t end up very rested. Haha, as if!

It was the first time we did not use our buggy at all, we walked everywhere with the boys and they did really well. I did discover something interesting though. You can have muscle ache in your elbows!

It took me a while to figure out how this came about. But in the end the answer was simple. It was the walking of course, one boy on each side holding my hand. You’re not just dragging them because they walk slower… when they get in a mood and don’t want to walk (faster) they will work against you and pull. So this week no pain in my shoulders due to pushing a heavy buggy, no, this week my elbows had their turn… 

The twin shopping trolley

I first heard about twin-shopping-trolleys in a Facebookgroup for twin moms in the Netherlands. More and more moms seem to have asked their local supermarket for one and all over the Netherlands they appeared in the supermarkets. Sadly nothing like this ever happens in the customer-unfriendly supermarkets of Brussels.
So when I visited the Netherlands I was so glad to actually spot a twin trolley and use it before the boys will be too big. I really loved it!

So a big THANK YOU to all the Dutch supermarkets making the life of twin moms easier.

(Our boys liked it a lot but actually prefer walking around the supermarket themselves now…)

Car free Sunday in Brussels

Car free Sunday is not my favourite event in Brussels. Mainly because it always happens in the weekend around my birthday, which means it’s really difficult for my family from the Netherlands to visit.
This year our boys could really enjoy the car free aspect for the first time though. They were big enough to go out ‘cycling’. So far they were not that great at cycling, but now that they had some space they suddenly understood the balancing a bit better and managed to gain some speed.

That said, it was surprising and sad to see how many cars (mainly foreign licence plates) were still driving around the city center. We quickly gave up on the bigger streets and had them drive on the sidewalk again.

© Carien Touwen 2017

Sarcasm does not work

Dinner at home:

When one of the boys spills some yoghurt on the table, I tell him to sweep it up with his finger and lick it off. Enthusiastically he follows my advice, but when he see his ‘dirty’ finger, he has a change of heart.
‘Mommy lick it, clean it mommy please,’ he suddenly pleads with tears in his eyes.

Going out for dinner:

Surprise, surprise… the boys spill some food. I say nothing. Now they decide they do want to get the food of the table. First they use a spoon, then their finger, and apparently it’s great, so they spill some more food to sweep and lick.  Sigh. (Do they not understand that a table at home is completely different from any other table?)
So this frustrated mommy exclaims: ‘Yikes!  Why don’t you lick the whole table while you’re at it!’
And so they do.

© Carien Touwen 2017

Time for me

So the other week I had some time to go shopping. I felt I could use some new shirts and some time to myself.
More than an hour of going in and out of shops later, I realised I had not been looking at lady’s clothes at all. I had seen great shoes for twin A, a cute hat for twin B and bought some new socks for the both of them. I had also been looking at backpacks and lunch boxes for school. Then I saw some really cute shirts, for them of course.
But what about me, I thought a bit later, while wandering the pyjama department. O, that looks great: Nijntje (Miffy), Minnie Mouse and stars. The boys would really like me wearing those.
Wait a minute! I have never looked at Minnie Mouse in my life and now I am suddenly considering pyjamas like that, just because the boys like mice and rabbits? That was just too ridiculous. I fled the scene, quickly paid for the boys’ new shirts and ran to a café. Apparently ‘shopping for me’ is something I have to re-learn.

© Carien Touwen 2017

Indian food

Going out to dinner with the boys can be a lot of fun. We got a list of restaurants and cafe’s we know they like and usually we go to one of those places. But some days we feel brave and try to expand our list. Most of the times I research this carefully and make sure that there is something for the kids to do and to eat. Sometimes I don’t think enough and we just do it…

So earlier this week we went to an Indian restaurant. Silly me forgot to bring some books, crayons and paper, so entertainment for the twins was not easily found. Luckily serviettes and spoons kept them busy till the papadums were put on the tables. The boys absolutely loved them, especially with the yoghurt sauce. That was as far as our succes went…

We had ordered some veggie samosas, thinking they would be a nice and mild dinner for them, but they did not like the spices in there at all. One of the boys even started crying when he had some in his mouth…
We had ordered mild curries to share with them, but after the samosas he did not dare to try anything. Luckily we ordered lots of naan and once he tasted that, he was okay to eat it, but anything that looked more coloured than the bread, he refused.
Our other boy did try a few things, but he got rather red from eating the spices. I felt a bit worried so we decided to give him naan as well. We ate our curry’s quickly, but not quick enough.
“Mom,” they said. “This is NOT a nice cafe. Can we go somewhere else?”
No need to explain that things only got worse after that…

Lesson learned: our next craving for Indian food has to be saved for date night..

© Carien Touwen 2017