Unique kids birthday places around Antwerp

Unique kids birthday places around Antwerp

Unique kids birthday places?

This is a frequently asked question from many of my “mom” Facebook groups. We are all looking for that one unique birthday party. No indoor playgrounds (I really hate those), no “let’s just wing it” home birthday parties where the only thing planned was the decorations and cake. (the kids will entertain themselves, right?)

Well, look no further, I have collected here for you loving parents, a list of interesting and unique birthday party ideas for your little special person.

Who’s afraid of Red, Yellow & Blue – Antwerp city

For those little creative souls out there, this place certainly will catch one’s eye.

  • A place where fun and creativity come together.
  • Where an artist’s studio and fine foods merge.
  • Somewhere you can experience a wide range of creative workshops not only children but for adults as well.
  • Here you also enjoy art events every week, such as film evenings, vernissages, and performances.

For the birthday parties, there is a workshop, cake, time to open presents, and even room for free play!

Just contact Nena to see what offers they have that might suit your needs @ Who’s afraid of Red, Yellow & Blue!

Party for kids @home

With Party for kids, you can create your own birthday party by:

Choosing from all kinds of themes and choosing from various additional activities like baking cupcakes, dance party, funny hairdos…the list is impressive.

This company can also provide extra party food.

They equally have options for entertainment, watching over the children, decoration, and of course a present for the birthday kid.

So if you are looking for something fun for at home, without the mess, this website needs a visit from you.

Visit it here @ Party for kids

Unique kids birthday places around Antwerp

Zelda Zorro – Oud Berchem

Zelda & Zorro want to make parents life easier!

They do this by providing workshops for children’s birthday’s in an extremely beautiful setting. It’s building (the former justice of the peace) is situated in the hip “Oud-Berchem” neighborhood.

I just love the workshop themes they have. Workshops like making slime monsters, a jewelry-making workshop. Just such wonderful ideas, even a “designer” workshop for the little fashionista’s. LOVE!

Sprookjespad/ Fairytale path – Brasschaat

The Fairytale Path is a magical walk through park De Mik. During the walk, an experienced guide guides the children to a fantasy world with stories, songs, and games.

The activity lasts about two hours and starts at the Mikerf petting zoo, goes through the park and around the pond to the listed tower gate, where the children can stay for half an hour in the beautiful wishing tower.

There is a sweet little tavern where they sell pancakes or ice cream, but you need to book it separately. But my preference would be having a picnic at the lake with a view over the castle and tower. The children will love this!

Book the walk here : Sprookjespad

Book the pancakes & ice cream here : Mikerf Kinderboerderij

Zoo van Antwerpen / Zoo van Planckendael – Mechelen

Due to the measures taken concerning the coronavirus, birthday parties can not be booked. The parks however are open.

We have done this one too. My son loves the zoo and I though that it was the perfect idea.

You can choose between the toddler safari and the Creepy Creatures theme.

You have a guide who will explain all you want to know about the animals, and the walk ends with pancakes and a drink!

My son even receive a turtle stuffed toy.

I did find it pricey and we were hoping to have a close up of the animals or something special, but it was just a guided (well-guided) walk around. I might be picky, probably because we are proud owners of year passes and visit a lot so it did not feel much different from our other visits.

But still a great idea for the animal lovers! And we love the Zoo all year round.

You can find more info here : Zoo van Antwerpen or the Planckendael Zoo

So here you have it, my list of unique kids birthday places around Antwerp

If you liked my ideas, have a look at my other posts I wrote about fun things to do with kids in and around Antwerp!

Have any other unique fun ideas? Drop them in the comments below please! <3

Camping in the Ardennes- Les Ochays

CAMPING IN THE ARDENNES- LES OCHAYS

Camping in a more “primitive” way has always been my preference. In Belgium (and most of Europe) you can find almost any type of facilities and attractions on offer.

If it’s swimming pools, children’s activities, wellness centers, entertainment, and restaurants you’re seeking, there are plenty of parks ticking these boxes. 

But that was not what we were longing for.

Who is we?

Well, now with the corona restrictions and us, dwellers from the province of Antwerp, we could only really travel with people out of our bubble.

So my bubble was two other mom’s and we all had 5 kids with us, three tents, two cars, and a cute white Swiss shepherd (huge) puppy dog who enjoyed herding us.

Camping in the Ardennes- Les Ochays

This is when Instagram became helpful again.

A friend of mine had posted a picture of one of her sons, eating at a table with a river on the background. Knowing her a bit, I knew that the camping site was probably not going to big the great big recreational type of camping.

So I looked it up, presented it to my friends and we all agreed that this would be it.

The camping site was situated in the Belgian Ardennes and was bout 2 1/2 hours drive from Antwerp. The name: Les Ochays in Mortehan, Ardennes.

We were a bit disappointed that we did not have a spot right next to the river, but instead at the very front, next to the trampoline and the sanitary block. But after our weekend, we all agreed that the spot was actually great for us. The sound of the children playing was not annoying, we could keep a good eye on our children who were on that trampoline constantly.

Even though the idea about being next to a sanitary block might not seem appealing, it was not bothersome at all. There was still a good enough distance between our camping spot and the block, but handy having all these children needing the bathroom often.

We could also get water and do the dishes while still keeping an eye on the kids. No, I think if we would go back, that we would ask for the same spot again.

How we experience the camping Les Ochays

There is no shop there, but there is a fridge at the reception area stocked with life essentials like beer, wine and cava (we ordered the last). Some canned goods were also available and you could order fresh bread for the next day.

One of the appealing things to me about this camping spot is the “NO MUSIC” policy. No playing the radio and things like that.

So it was really peaceful in the evening, even with the children’s laughter in the background and the occasional screaming baby.

Even though our tents were not right next to the River “Le Semois”, it would only take us a minute or two to walk over to it.

The water was low this year. Usually, you could canoe the waters, but that was not possible, but it was great for swimming. Not too deep for the children. They had a hoot, trying to catch fish and frogs. One child even caught a river crab. So we did a great lot of swimming.

I’m not a great fan of it, but for my son, I would do anything, even dip in the slippery rock water. I actually enjoyed it a lot.

Camping in the Ardennes- Les Ochays

A little adventure?

There are a few trails you could do, and some towns to visit near the campsite Les Ochays, but as we were only there for a weekend, we only did a small hike, looking for beaver dams.

We did not actually find the dams (we did find something that looked like one and saw some trees with beaver marks on it) and we probably took the wrong route.

I’m pretty sure we were not supposed to be hiking through the slippery rock river (with 3 women, 5 children under 9 and one dog…)

Not even knowing if there was a hole or something in front of you to then finally have no other option than the send the white shepherd puppy out of the water so he could make a path through the burning thistles and all different types of prickly weeds just to get out. 

Did I mention that I and my half-naked barefoot son got lost for some time? With no phone, no bag, nothing or water in the middle of nowhere?

After my anxiety kicked in and my thoughts dwindle off to us maybe getting kidnapped and murdered by the workers we spotted a way back who were enjoying their lunch, my friend with her dog found us!

So that story ended well.

Finally…

Besides that, we just stayed at our camping spot where the children made new friends, and we got to relax a bit. With some cava. 

And so if you are looking for a great small camping spot, with not too many frills, next to a River and where no music is being played and extremely enchanting then this camping Les Ochays is for you.

Camping in the Ardennes- Les Ochays

Facilities:

  • Clean showers and toilets (clean is a must, there stops the primitivity for me)
  • Laundry room
  • Wash-up area
  • Possibility to buy drinks at the reception area, also some canned goods and fresh bread for the next day. There is a small terras (two tables) across the reception. Cozy!
  • For the kids: Trampoline, table tennis plus bikes and go-carts free to use around the camping. And the River Le Semois of course for swimming, with a little boat.
  • Kayaks (but the river was too low this season)
  • Wifi

And dogs are allowed!

white Swiss sheperd

So there you have it folks. I hope that I enticed you with this post, just writing about it makes me want to go back.

Let me know if you can recommend any similar “no-frills” camping grounds. 

Little eyes watching- How to serve others during COVID

LITTLE EYES WATCHING- HOW TO SERVE OTHERS DURING COVID

Little eyes love watching everything we do and so I try (but I don’t always succeed, far from it) to model positive traits.


During pre-COVID times we would visit a retirement home with a few people from church, but due to the COVID restrictions, we are sending the people some cards with words of encouragement. 


Just a small act, but its something that we both love to do (drawing and crafting) and we can do together.


We CAN teach children compassion and kindness starting from a very early age and help them to develop a heart for serving others And not only themselves.

It doesn’t even have to be difficult. There are SO many easy ways parents can help raise kids who have a heart for others and who want to serve others. They say the children of today are self-centered…let us as parents prove them wrong.

Here are some examples of ways that we can serve others during the current COVID Pandemic:

  • Calling or Video calling people we know are alone
  • Dropping off a meal and a drawing/card at your neighbors, elderly, single parent, or again someone you know living alone.
  • Making masks together to give away freely. Follow this link for the proper way of making a face mask.
  • Think local. Let’s support struggling local businesses.
  • Shop for neighbors and/or friends.
  • Donate games of toys that your child doesn’t play with anymore to a family in need (clean properly first 🙂 )
  • Chalk up someone’s walkway with nice saying, happy pictures, and colorful drawing
  • Order takeout from local restaurants
  • Show an example to your children of saying thank you to the medical care workers.
  • Offer dog walks.
  • Making the effort to stay healthy. Don’t underestimate how much you’re helping by simply following public health guidelines. Even by just staying at home as much as you can and practicing social distancing when you do go out, washing your hands you’re making a vital difference in your community.

While doing all of this, don’t forget, little eyes are watching. Good job!

Playing with kids without having to get up

Playing with kids without having to get up

Playing with kids without having to get up. Sounds too good to be true?”Mommmmmmy, do you want to play?”, I would consider myself a “fun” mommy. I like to join in crafts, building lego, playing games outside, and even do great voice impressions while reading to my six-year-old. But..some days I cannot do much due to chronic pain. And sometimes mommy’s just tired. Can I lie down on my lounge chair for a while?

Time for an inspiration list with simple children’s games: playing with kids without getting up, so ? A bit like games for road trips and plane flights.

So Mommy’s sometimes tired

I tidied up, took care of the lunch, and just installed myself on the lafuma chair outside for a quick read in my Kindle and then… “Mommmmyyyyy!” Does this sound familiar?

Letting my son have some extra screen time does seem tempting, but I have a good screen schedule in place and I don’t want to start making exceptions. (Torrential Storm and having to take him with me to the doctor are already the exceptions)

Playing with kids without getting up

So the kids are basically about their mother’s attention. Me. Maybe I can suggest a few games so I can play with my son without me having to get up.

Let’s give it a try…

Number and word games (guessing)

The classic guessing games are always good for moments like this. You can come up with guessing games by color.

Bumble Bee Bumble Bee 

I see something you don’t see

and the color of it is red

But you can also play with letters or numbers. I’m looking for something in this place and it starts with the letter K… Or something with numbers: Name 3 things in the closet that have to do with getting dressed. Or look for 7 red things around us.

  • I see I see and the color is. What is it?
  • I’m looking for something with the letter K, in this area. Rara, what is it?
  • Name 3 things from this room that have to do with getting dressed. What is it?
  • Look for 7 red things around us. What is it?

Playing with kids without getting up is also possible with fun word games. For example, invent an animal and the other has to invent a new animal with the last letter. Like with: a horse – dragon – kangaroo. Or choose one of the other games below.

  • Word game with animals, invent a new animal with the last letter. Like with horse – dragon – kangaroo).
  • Which number am I? Describe the number. I have a dash and a circle. Or I am two balls on top of each other, but they are not completely round.
  • Turn a string into a number. The other one has to guess which one.
  • Recite the alphabet and makeup words.

Fun fantasy games

A super fun game without getting up is fantasy hide-and-seek. You take turns pretending to be hiding somewhere in the house. The other is going to guess where, by asking yes-no. Are you in the kitchen? Are you in the cutlery drawer? The nice thing about this is that you can choose ALL the places you can think of. And there’s more:

  • Fantasy hide-and-seek
  • Making up a song together
  • Making up a story
  • Draw faces on fingers or toes and add them into a game

Moving on the spot

Finally, some fun motion games. One of my clever inventions is the game “circus”. This is simply that the kids show me their tricks and capers. By the way, this one is always good for the last energy just before bedtime.

The kids are jumping and jumping while I secretly stay on my bed. I can’t deny that this often ends in frolicking, but still ? Other fun games with movement on the spot:

Playing without getting up is short-lived

Enough fun, right?

Well, you can still play board or card games, lego, artsy coloring, learn how to draw animals together, puzzels?….I’ve tried and approved them all.

Oh, wait, I know one more! Do you know this one from the olden days? We’re playing: WHO’S BEEN QUIET THE LONGEST……..?! Ha-ha. Playing without having to get up, hmm? Do you have any smart suggestions?

“Challenge Accepted”

"Challenge Accepted"
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?Say no to violence against women!? Almost every day we're reading news about women and girls being murdered, tortured, or raped. Turkish people have started a campaign, demanding a better law system and a better support system for women. I'm sharing this picture for every girl or women we lost and for the survivors amongst us, and to support their cause. Only the international pressure to the government can help Turkish women (or any other woman in that case) to finally get their rights. Say " NO" to violence against women. My abuser, my ex-husband, received 5 years. But will be free after doing 1/3 of his time. Barely giving his victims the time to heal and leaving me to deal with the ramifications for the rest of my life. But as a woman of faith, I will leave it into God's hands who has already been faithful (despite how many of you feel) and he gave me the fierce perseverance that I and my daughter both share. So…” Challenge” Accepted. Cherishing, supporting, and believing in women is one of my greatest joys. Women loving me, supporting me, and understanding me is one of my greatest strengths. ? Big love to the women who nominated me, all of whom I am enormously in awe of and inspired. I could have never got to where I am now alone & I hope no woman ever feels she needs to. I hope she knows she’s supported. That her fellow woman stands behind her, that she’s worth being celebrated in every victory and has safe hands to hold her when she’s low. We are a sisterhood and together we stand.

A post shared by Miriam (@life.by.mim) on

?Say no to violence against women!?

Almost every day we’re reading news about women and girls being murdered, tortured, or raped. Turkish people have started a campaign, demanding a better law system and a better support system for women. I’m sharing this picture for every girl or women we lost and for the survivors amongst us, and to support their cause. Only the international pressure to the government can help Turkish women (or any other woman in that case) to finally get their rights.

Say ” NO” to violence against women.

My abuser, my ex-husband, received 5 years. But will be free after doing 1/3 of his time. Barely giving his victims the time to heal and leaving me to deal with the ramifications for the rest of my life.

But as a woman of faith, I will leave it into God’s hands who has already been faithful (despite how many of you feel) and he gave me the fierce perseverance that I and my daughter both share.

So…” Challenge” Accepted. Cherishing, supporting, and believing in women is one of my greatest joys. Women loving me, supporting me, and understanding me is one of my greatest strengths. ? Big love to the women who nominated me, all of whom I am enormously in awe of and inspired.

I could have never got to where I am now alone & I hope no woman ever feels she needs to. I hope she knows she’s supported. That her fellow woman stands behind her, that she’s worth being celebrated in every victory and has safe hands to hold her when she’s low. We are a sisterhood and together we stand.

That isn’t God

That isn't God

We love glorifying pain, trauma, and abuse as God’s will. We love making God a violent, manipulative man just so we can make sense of the hurt in our lives. But…

That isn’t God.

That’s the effects of trauma and pain working against us in favor of itself and the ones who harmed us.

Want to heal?

To be clear: to heal, you must be ready/willing to accept that the pain is not the sum total of who you are, who you can become holds the greatest possibilities for your future and that you are not alone as you make the journey to wholeness.

I was not chosen/called/favored to be raped. I didn’t need to accept that to heal from it. Do you see how dumb that sounds? It’s nonsensical and antithetical to God’s heart to suggest that these experiences were sent as positives. 

Just stop.

There are entirely too many sisters (and brothers) whose lives have been transformed by all the pain and trauma they’ve endured. They deserve a freeing, liberating word that is rooted in their humanity and the truth that God loves them and would never cause them harm.

We live in a world where evil is present. For reasons beyond our control, people lean into that evil and cause harm of various magnitudes. It is unconscionable and it is not right. And it is not God’s doing. God is just as upset and heartbroken over what I endured as I am.

Where is God in all of this?

In the darkest moments of our lives, God sits with us and journeys with us through them. God holds our hand as we cry, cuss, question, and scream. And God pushes through with us as we fight for our wholeness and healing.

God is not sending pain in our lives to produce something glorious. We’ve not been “called” to pain and trauma. 

God calls us to community, to hope and to healing. 

God reminds us that God’s intention was always for us to flourish and be well. 

Healing brings us back to that.

The “Why?” question is real.

  •  If God is God, then why did these things happen? 
  • Why didn’t God stop them? 

These are valid questions and those who ask them of God are right to do so. The danger is when folks try to answer for God. 

You can ask why all day, but can I be honest with you? No answer will ever be sufficient. 

There’s nothing that will justify the presence of pain + trauma in our lives. 

Think about what you’ve gone through. What can you hear that’ll make you say “Okay. I get it now”?

Nothing.

I used to ask why. 

Sometimes, when I get mad at my current conditions, I still ask why. 

That’s a real place. But “why did this happen to me” is not my posture. “What do I need in order to heal and move on” is where I land these days. Because that empowers and shifts the focus.

Healing is a beautifully messy journey towards the people we are meant to be. We are called to be healed, whole and well. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise and you don’t have to accept anything other than that truth to be free.

My deepest prayer for all of us is that we truly come to know God’s heart for us. It is big, wide, deep and filled with a love that is beyond our comprehension. We need that love to heal and free us. We need that love to truly live.

Types of people who don’t want you to heal

I (and others) have been sexually en mentally abused (gaslighting) by my narcissistic ex-husband for over a decade. Here I share my thoughts and my healing process and hope to inspire and encourage others. I follow many writers, bloggers, survivors, and share occasionally things that I have read that have touched my heart or rang true.

Like this:

One thing that really shocked me as an abuse survivor was learning that there are some people who don’t want you to get better. And I’m not talking about your original abuser(s). There are others, such as subtle narcissistic abusers, who will try to keep you in pain. Here’s why:

  • There’s the ex-enabler narcissistic abuser. They covered up your abuser’s crimes, but now derive attention and their sense of value by pretending to be a co-victim. If you recover, they feel it discredits their continued charade, or shames them somehow, so they lash out at you.
  • There’s the narcissistic fake advocate. This could be a pastor, counselor, mentor, or activist. They love playing savior. “Helping” you feeds their ego. They claim to want to comfort and protect you. Really, they want you to remain stagnant in your pain and continue to need them.
  • There’s the narcissistic fake friend. Basically, for them, being your friend is a kind of virtue signaling. They like the attention and respect building up a victim affords them. But if you progress beyond victim status, you’re of no use to them. They want you to stay injured.
  • Then there’s the enabler false accuser. They want to exacerbate your pain until you spiral into self-destructive or erratic behavior so they can say, “See? She’s irrational. We can’t trust the sanity of people who claim to be abused. We must protect the careers of powerful men.”

Jennifer Michelle Greenberg

My Self-Care plan

My self-care plan

Why do I need a Self-care plan do you ask?

This past year and a half of my life looked like a badly written sitcom storyline.

  • The finding out that my husband was an abuser and a narcist.
  • The lengthy trial
  • COVID-19
  • Moving twice. Just moved actually last week, during COVID, and whilst they decided to break open my street for waterworks. Was I stressed? What do you think?
  • The ex-husband going to jail.
  • Did I mention COVID? Then lockdown?
  • And then trying to homeschool, move and provide my family with a bit of stability after all of this.

And everything has started to hit me right now. Probably because we are now settling down. Maybe because the restrictions of the lockdown are slowly loosening and I’m not ready to leave my safe bubble yet.

So, it’s due time to do some self-care and hopefully it will look a bit like this.

Ways to Self-Care:

1. Read more. I have bought 10 books this past year and have only read two.

2. Take more walks/bike rides with the dogs and son.

3. Ignoring news that is designed scare to scare me (us).

4. Finally focus on that hobby that brings me joy. (it’s a secret what,shhht)

5. Spending more silent time with God. Just quietness.

5. Taking a Facebook sabbatical as it’s been giving me some stress lately. I’m not deleting it, I will be back as I find it really helpful. But lately it’s been making me feel bad and insufficient. So I need a break. Yet , you can still find me on Twitter 😀

Anything that you would add to this Self-care plan? Lemme know!

Sidenote in reference to Facebook:

Unbelievers may use my story to point out hypocrisy and sin in the church, and they are right in doing so (my husband being a proclaimed Christian), but the very existence of my faith is proof that God is real, for, without Him, I’d have lost my faith a long time ago. And so, by calling out abuse, I proclaim Jesus Christ.

Life by Mim

You will be ok, you will become Wonder Woman!

you will be ok, you will become wonder woman

Tell me, have you cried today? Did you wake up having trouble breathing last night? Did you and your partner/housemate/child have a fight? Did you put your kids in front of a movie just to be able to take a bath and wash your hair? Yeah? So did I.

Times are uncertain. The news we hear every day at 11:00 in the morning is rarely reassuring. Even when we’re being told each day that all is stabilizing. Between health measures, social distancing and fear of the virus, your breathing is quickening.

Belgium is on a break, but you feel like you’ve been stuck in a rut for weeks without being able to get out of it. You’re dizzy, out of breath, you feel nauseous, but you have to pretend that all is well and that you are enjoying it. Posting positive pictures to Instagram with hashtags #TogetherAtHome #MyPandemicSurvivalPlan

So that your brain will finally believe it and give you a break, but also to make your family feel somewhat good or better.

You will be ok, you will become Wonder Woman!

You’re the focal point of your household. The pillar. The one that keeps the roof from falling on your head. The lifeline at the end of each other’s line. The moral support on your keyboard at all hours of the day.

You’re made resilient. Everybody knows that. But then, the incessant “mommmmmy” in your ears, the “what are we eating”, the “what are we doing”, the “how are you”, the “did you take time for yourself today”, the “you should go for a walk” irritate you to no end.

You don’t feel like taking a walk to breathe. You want to go to the spa. By yourself. For a week! You slightly envy your friends in a solitary quarantine. You find it hard to sympathize when others tell you they’re bored… Honestly, you’d just send everyone away.

But you won’t. Because you love them. Because you know it’s just a bad time and you know it’s gonna be okay. You roll up your sleeves, tie your hair up and put a smile on your face so your kids will remember this as their best family vacation ever.

You’ve always been a strong woman. You’re going to be Wonder Woman when this is all over.

I’d like to tell you that your eyes won’t be wet today. You won’t clench your teeth, you won’t smother a scream in your pillow, you’re gonna be okay and that you will be able to wash your hair.

The truth is, I don’t know. What I do know is that Wonder Woman always wins at the end of a movie. It won’t be any different for us.

Let’s not give up! One day at a time.

Life by Mim

How different is this post to the one I wrote a few weeks ago? My positives during self-isolation?

My positives during self-isolation

My positives during self-isolation

In this post, I am sharing with you my positives for us during this self-isolation. We are all in this together to flatten the curve we need #StayAtHome.

The Pandemic

The pandemic crisis we are currently experiencing, I really didn’t see it coming (probably like all of you)! It came from behind, sneakily and suddenly! It has shaken up my life, my daily routine, without me even having had time to prepare for it.

At the time, it was almost unreal. It started with parents not being allowed to collect their children inside of the schools, but wait for them outside. Very unusual for our school and I knew then (and also after reading about what was happening in Italy) that the schools would soon be closing. And they did two days later. March 14th, 2020 was the last day.

The self-isolation

At the very beginning of this isolation, my first reflex was to continue my little routine as before. I didn’t immediately cancel the coffee and play dates I had planned for the following days with my friends. In fact, some of my acquaintances were still posting photos on Facebook of the gatherings they were doing with their loved ones during the weekend. I know, it wasn’t the best idea…

Then, I listened to the news and the press briefings of the Belgian government and I understood how my own actions or behaviors had a real and important impact on the spread of the virus. Respecting public health recommendations and social distancing, even with our close entourage, is essential if we want to save lives. So I canceled everything: playdates, lunch dates, and even our church (a great big part of my social life) had to cancel bible studies and Sunday services. Then began my real confinement.

It’s pretty rare that I have so much time to spend continuously inside the house. The members of my household consist of my 26-year-old daughter, my 6-year-old son, myself, our two Dachshunds, cat, hamster, fish, and turtles. 🙂

At home with the “kids”

My daughter still needs to go to work and so I understand that she wants to relax during the weekend, but when she just sits in the coach, gaming or on her phone while I’m trying to make diner, entertain her little brother and do the washing up, it frustrates me and I can get a bit sharp-tongued.

But she does go out and play soccer with her little brother, she drives me to the grocery store, gives me a big hug every evening. So, overall, it’s been great having her home so much instead of just seeing her briefly during the week and then comes the weekend and she’s off to her boyfriend in Ghent. Looking forward to having a “girls night” this weekend. Chips, wine, and a chick flick.

My six-year-old is such a happy easy-going child, but he is a child nonetheless. After about every 30 minutes he will as me “what can I eat?” hopeful that I would say, “Hey why don’t you go get yourself some ice cream or candy” and is ever so disappointed when I say to get some fruit or something healthy instead,

When I’m having fellowship or women’s bible study via ZOOM, he creeps up behind me, poking me in the neck with his tiny little finger “can I play on the Switch mommy, please, can I?” even though I laid out another activity for him. I usually give in and say yes (and then feeling guilty about the excessive screen time)

And he is very stubborn, we are currently in a trust battle.

Me: “If you promise to do something, I expect you to do it then.”

Mister 6: “No, I don’t want to

Me: “Then you are breaking my trust, I respect that you have the right to choose some things, but this is something YOU promised to do, and now you will not

Mister 6: “I just don’t want to! Now I’m tired of your words and your brain”….

He then walks out of the room…

? He is also learning about consequences —->no screen time until the end of time.

The fun side

But on the more fun side, I’m super proud of his creativity and imagination in inventing new games for himself. In fact, we take the opportunity to get out board games we haven’t played in a very long time or I had the local radio on and it was playing classics from the ’80s and so I was sharing with my son where I was in life and what was happening in the world when a particular song came out. We even looked up the video of the 80’s song “The land of confusion” by Genesis. Sad to realize that most of the world leaders in the video are deceased and it reminds me again how we are only here for a short time.

Spring cleaning

Another positive element that this confinement brings to my life is the possibility of cleaning up. My Lord, how happy I am to have ENDURING time to regain control of my house. I have so often wished that time would stop for a month so that I could clean my house! I feel so bad to be happy about it in the current context but I really needed to start cleaning, packing and sorting things out as we are to move again mid-May. Lord willing.

Big love for technology

ZOOM, why have I never heard about this application before. As a Canadian across the pond from home I regularly Facetime with my mom and sister, and the quality is never great, not even good. But I have been introduced to ZOOM via church. We do our weekly online women’s bible study and Saturday’s we have a prayer group and on most days there is fellowship tome. Meaning that anybody with the need to just not feel alone can join in and we have some chit chat.

I have gotten to know people that I have never spoken to before. I have had deep conversations with friends. It’s just pretty surprising how this damned virus is bringing people together.

Time to reflect

Finally, the thing I appreciate most about this period of isolation is the time I have to think. To reflect on my life, on faith… on my spiritual journey that I have been on for a few years now. I take the opportunity to take stock of my past choices in order to make the best possible decisions for my post-pandemic life. With the help of my family, therapist and close friends, I am learning to think about myself and my well-being instead of all the negative stuff that has been going through my mind due to what happened. Instead of investing my time in those who don’t appreciate it.

I realize as I get older that my time is precious, so I try to choose carefully who I want to spend it with and in what context I want to spend it. It is not always easy to think about myself because I have always wanted to please others, sometimes even at the expense of my own feelings.

Today, I give myself the right to express myself and to protect myself from things that could hurt me or take away my energy unnecessarily. It’s a long process, sometimes easier said than done, but I work on it every day and this episode of confinement gives me the opportunity to congratulate myself for the progress I’ve made and to set new goals to reach in order to be in perfect harmony with who I am, as I am in God!

So let’s all #StayAtHome

I do realize the COVID-19 sets off a financial contagion in the global economy with stock markets in free-fall and the OECD predicting a global recession, but this is needed. Our government (and most worldwide governments) publicly funded health care doesn’t have the capacity to handle even a relatively small surge in acute patients.

So #StayInside, let’s not spread this virus around and try to see the positive. That’s all we can do for now.

How about you? What does this time off bring to your life? What are your positives and most importantly, how can I pray for you?

Life by Mim