I am officially doing a health challenge!  I am doing the Whole Life Challenge!  This will be very interesting, it costs $49 to do the challenge and right now I need something to motivate me, with all the delicious waffles and gaufres not to mention chocolates, mussels with french fries and beer, I do not want to lose what I have been working on.  They have for different three different of plans to work one 1) Performance; this is very strict and requires a lot 2) Lifestyle; this is in the middle you don’t give up too much and finally 3) Kick Start; this is what I am doing it is a little lenient but not too lenient that you aren’t successful.  You are given points for everything you do and lose points if you eat certain things based on the plan you choose.  Why did I choose this one, well I liked that you didn’t have to go ultra strict.  I live in Belgium for pete sake, I have a bakery across the street!  I want to be healthy and happy not thin and miserable.  I wanted to give myself that boost I needed to continue working on my Crossfit and get to that level of fitness that will carry on throughout my life.

 

I am up for this challenge, something about a challenge like this one  just makes me want to go for it and win it.  Is it worth the $49?  Maybe, but at least I have a goal and will work to reach it!  Check it out and see for yourself!  They have a Twitter account @wholelifeww and Whole Life Facebook Page.  Sign up!  Challenges are not always bad, they can be good things to motivate us to make us better in ways we never thought of.  We face challenges head on and take them down, which I plan to do!  Join a team or grab those close to you!  I joined a team in my hometown of Portland, Oregon Crossfit Dragonfire (that is such a cool name for a box!)  Groups help motivate each other and Crossfit is all about motivating each other and building a community.  Challenge yourself!  Join me!  Let’s face this on head on and crush it and then we move on to the next one and crush that!  Whatever challenge you are facing or might come your way, know that you can conquer and that you are not alone.  If you are looking for something like this to do, join Whole Life!  If this is not what you are looking for, find something that is more for you, maybe you want to read more or learn a new skill, do something!  For me, the word challenge can sometimes be a bad word, but not today, it will be a good, strong and fearsome word to get myself motivated.  What are YOU facing head on?  Are you up for it?

Lost my guts

I love being a Stella and Dot stylist, it is the one company that not only one I believe but one my husband believes in! There is no gimmick, no having to buy tons and tons of product (even though the “product” is super amazing!), no high pressure sales and I have no qualms about talking to my director about anything. I can truly be successful and make this business my own! That is cool and very empowering.

While in Maryland I did okay, I made some money but not a lot.  But I liked how I was doing, but it was never enough partially because I never pushed it.  There is a part of me that fears rejection, I always have that do this day I can never shake.  Today, a friend is hosting a trunk show with another friend who just signed up.  I am upset, upset that I didn’t sign my friend up and set up the trunk show.  It was a missed opportunity and I am kicking myself!  I am happy for my friends, honestly they are both perfect for Stella and Dot.  I am kicking myself for not being the one that was a part of the whole thing.  I missed out because of my fear of failure and rejection.  Self sabotage at its best!  And the fear that I am not good enough as well rears its ugly head.

I need to get out of this mindset and create my path the way I want to!  Stella and Dot is all about that and I feel like I am wasting this opportunity to create my own happiness and business.  I would not have signed on be a stylist if I didn’t believe in myself!  I believe in my ability to be successful, but I have to get over this fear of failure and rejection.  I do that with my Crossfit, just when I am lifting heavy, I am about to PR on a lift and the fear of failure hits me.  I feel defeated when I see the kind of progress I am making and to hit this wall.  Whether with my business or my fitness, I need to break through that wall and defeat the fear.

I am a strong person, I am successful, my life right now is good!  I have two healthy and happy kids, I am an Army spouse living in Belgium!  I have great people in my life who I am proud to call friends.  Why is it in other areas, I falter and can’t seem to shake the fear?  My gut, my compass is gone.  “Sometimes, when we want something so badly, we fear failure more than we fear being without that thing.” ― Matthew J. Kirby, IcefallAnd that is what I am doing!  It stops today!  Failure will not take over my life, if I missed out on an opportunity, it is my own fault!  I do hope my friends trunk show is successful, no matter what!  Stella and Dot is a sisterhood as well, we build each other up! That is another reason why this company is so great, it is about supporting each other.

I also need to get over myself!  No one is out to get me and I need to stop this doom and gloom thinking that people do not like me and if that is true, oh well!  (Sorry if this sounds the same)  With Stella and Dot and Crossfit I am breaking through the wall and overcoming my fear of failure.  My gut will be in check and I am coming out guns blazing!  Fear, you need some of it but not all the time.  For success, fear cannot come first, your happiness does.

 

 

The Battle of Mons

My town of Mons has quite a history!  I touched on it briefly in my last blog post but last weekend, I got a sense of richness from the city.  The first time I ever stepped foot on the Grand Place (the center of the city), I noticed British flags displayed about, I was quickly reminded that the British Army along with the U.S. Army have quite the military history.  We have fought along side each other, but this battle is quite significant for the Brits and for the locals in this area of Belgium.  The Mons battle signified the first engagement between British and German forces on the Western Front, and began on 23 August 1914. The Battle of Mons comprises one of the so-called Battles of the Frontier that took place during August 1914, at MulhouseLorraine, the Ardennes,Charleroi – and Mons. (http://www.firstworldwar.com)

We were able to see re-enactors and see a parade!  My kids enjoyed it since they are attend the British school, they can learn a little bit of British history and share with their teachers.  This was a great experience! This type of celebration is every 100 years and we were lucky enough to be here at the right time.  It is amazing what you find in small places! Little towns like this one and even in the states hold special things that one must discover.  I am so grateful to be living here!  Check out the pics and check out Mons.  This is my town and you will love it!

 

The start!

Belgium is a unique country, divided into two regions Walloon (French speaking) and the Flanders (Dutch and Flemish). I am excited on the few cities we have visited in this land of chocolate, waffles and beer.
The first city we went to was Liege, this city is close to the Netherlands and Germany. Famous for their waffles but also the for their “saint” St. Lambert of Maastricht, the city is quite bustling and urban.  We went to one of the two most well known cathedrals, St. Paul.  Beautiful and quite grand, this cathedral houses a sanctuary for St. Lambert.  You will notice in the picture the beautifully decorated ceilings.  The inside of St. Paul's CathedralLiege also has it’s own coffee that I didn’t try but would like to in the near future the Liegeois.  Looks amazing!  images

 

Brussels!  Known for is summer event, the Flower Carpet is the capitol of Belgium.  The heart of the city, The Grand Place is just that, grand! We took the train which on a Saturday, during a high tourist season was the best choice!  I am excited that we are an hour away from this city and cannot wait till Christmas to come for the market.  Lots of sights are within walking distance including the famous Manneken Pis, unfortunately no picture because well EVERYONE was crowded around it.  Brussels also has lovely lace shops and one bookstore I am dying to take the boys to, Cook and Book!  And to stop by the royal palace and say hello to the King and Queen of Belgium.  They have a constitutional monarchy and a bicameral  Federal parliament.

The Hotel de Ville

The Hotel de Ville

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A panoramic view of the Flower Carpet

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Me in front of the carpet!

10406824_10152292254421476_102502327152997875_n Belgium, known for its chocolate, we had to go into one which well that was hard to decided.  So decided to go into Elisabeth Chocolates, they do not have an English portion yet however, once you see the photos, you will understand the deliciousness.  It was difficult to decide on what we were going to get; truffles, chocolate bars, bon bons.  It is not an easy decision!  We bought truffles, sorry for not having a picture, but we couldn’t help ourselves!  We did snack on waffles, so warm and yummy!buu3zMzZXY0Jmp2Hn1EcN20M7YkAz-FXfPZY6NUiYWoBrussels also has a chocolate museum!  It was small but so much fun, afterwards you got to sample various chocolates from white to dark and see a demonstration on how to make pralines.  They had lots of pretty hot chocolate cups, chocolate is much like tea, it is to be savoured and sipped from pretty china.  They even had clothing made of chocolate; 1932306_10203449818299283_6789750128681967474_n

 

 

Brussels was so fun and I cannot wait to go back!

 

I also got to go out to my new town of Mons.  Mons is the capitol of the Hainaut region here in Belgium, it has quite a history especially during World War i, when the city was captured by Canadian forces from the Germans.  It has had it share of riots and in WWII it was heavily bombed, industries suffered and the city was in turmoil, with the arrival of the NATO Supreme Headquarters of Allied Powers Europe  (SHAPE) from Fontainebleau, France, Mons it has grown and is now know as a university town.  With the anniversary of WWI, Mons has tourists as well.  The Grand Place is quite the place for this somewhat small town, it is rich with history and loved by many Shapians (including me!)

The light show on the Grand Place.

The light show on the Grand Place.

bKu4ilpUEdRwQI0-bR_-N6_ND-jTeHdza4CG9pcpPkwThere is more to this country and I am excited to see what it has to offer.  If you are on your way here, check out Trip advisor and Yelp.  Both have great things to offer about the sights and eats.  Once here, get yourself a Belgium 365, it will have tons of great things for you to do!  Where ever you go, whether you are moving to a knew place or on vacation I am all about finding out where to go touristy or not!  For Belgium, it is not just chocolate and beer that makes it unique it is the history and the people that does.  I can’t wait to take you along with me on this adventure through Europe, where I will re-visit some old favorites and find new ones.  Where do you like to go?

Here’s the program

So back in March, I went through a Crossfit Level-1 training. I loved it and learned a lot about Crossfit. Well, now that we are here in Belgium, we are not affiliated currently and I have been trying my hand at programming WODs. It takes some work but I learn a lot and my body feels the workouts. I am flying solo and a brand new territory. I have also been mentally not challenging myself to increase my weights and become stronger.

Out here, the crossfit community on the military installation is lacking.  I want to become better and stronger but I have hit a wall.  I get frustrated because the spouse seems to be getting more WODs in than me and I haven’t gotten over my fear about not performing well.  I miss my box!  Crossfit Glen Burnie was my first box and will always feel like home, and the coaches there inspired me to perform at my best.

Today was not a good workout and I mentally sold myself short, I was determined to increase my weight and set a new PR (personal record) for my clean and jerk.  I failed!  And I don’t like to fail!  I have to stop beating myself up, it was a a bad day and I have to remember that not everyone has a good day, everyday.  I look to other athletes, like Rory Zambard, Christmas Abbott and Rita Benavidez and they work so hard and make things look so easy and I know that they sometimes have bad days as well.  I want so much to get stronger and to better myself as a person!  So the program for me, to get over the mental block and lift! Heavy, fast and with proper technique.  Also part of the my new program, not to beat myself up when I don’t get a lift.  I will get better and I will meet the benchmarks (they are workouts mainly named after women) I will get stronger, I have to come to terms that I will have not so good days.  That I can’t have a good day everyday!  It is what it is.  I can’t expect to be perfect all the time, because if I do that then when I train others, I will not be able to do my job well!  I will program myself to get over the mental block and to work hard no matter what.  Working the program will not be easy, but I will be better for it.

Two weeks down!

Well we have survived our two weeks here in Belgium. Things have been good, there have been moments where the exhaustion took control but overall it has been good. In-processing here is a little different, in the US and in Germany, you were in and out and moved on to the next item on the list. Here, they take their time, long lunches are required by the staff and if you get there on YOUR lunch break, everything is shut down. I do not stress about it, it is a way of life here. That is something I wish they would do for military especially spouses prior to going overseas, tell them the basics of what life is like in other countries. So many times you have spouses complain and get upset because it is not like the States. Not everything is like the states! It can’t be!

I will say the way they do housing here at SHAPE is different than the way they did back in Germany.  It is not as efficient and you are in a holding pattern.  You see many people wait at the housing office for hours just to see if the house they wanted is still available.  See in Germany they gave you three choices, you went and looked at them you picked which one you wanted and the deal was done!  I wish it were more efficient but it is what it is and we eventually made it through the system and got the house we wanted!   Now to focus on getting a car.

We have been eating well!  We have yet to venture out past SHAPE and the air base, but considering what little we have eaten, we will enjoy eating our way through the country!  Carrefour is a French grocery store, there is one on SHAPE and they cater to the international community.  They have shelves filled with items from specific parts of the world, from salsa from Mexican, Baklava from Greece and Oreos from the States, Carrefour is a bevy of deliciousness!  We have enjoyed their delicious made to order sandwiches on their amazing bread!!  I was never one to eat white bread back in the States, but in Europe it’s almost necessary.  The candy here is also pretty awesome, the kids have salivated every time we pass the aisle.  We have had our fair share of delightful beverages both alcoholic and non!  My kids favorite is a chocolate milk in a can by the brand Cecemel.  The boys guzzle this drink down like water, but it is not thin, it is a thick and rich chocolate milk that I believe deserves to be savored.

SHAPE is an international place, service members from other countries are here as well, Spain, Italy, Slovakia, Turkey, Poland, Canada and Great Britain.  Each nation has its own school and everyone has an opportunity to experience other cultures.  The majority of the nations send their children to the American school, the British School and the Canadian schools so that their children may learn English.  My kids will be attending the British school!  I am so excited, this is a chance for them to meet kids their age from other countries.  Being here is new and a learning experience, I like that they will have friends from other nations.  And I will also develop new relationships, which will be hard to say good-bye to when we leave.

We have gone to the zoo!  Pairi Daiza, is on the grounds of an estate that use to belong to a Duke.  He gave the grounds to a monastery (hence why it also has a brewery or brasserie on the grounds), it is massive! We did not get see everything, it is absolutely beautiful!  We will go back for sure, the kids did not want to leave.  Good walking shoes are needed and all day with nothing to do but just watch the animals and take in the gorgeous gardens.

Living here much like any other duty station will be an adventure.  This adventure will also introduce me to other cultures and traditions, my kids will get to experience and share their culture with others.  I hope to learn and grow from this experience, I am nervous as well but it is expected!  This life, the Army life ( I know I am suppose to say military) is never the same and always full of surprises.  I am looking forward to them!

Pairi Daiza

Pairi Daiza

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Deliciousness!

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The pandas have their own chinese village. Very cool

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This market is awesome! The best sandwiches!

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They come up to you very close! These two were sweet on each other!

We are here!!

It is Saturday and so far Belgium is amazing!  The landscapes of the beautiful yellow wheat  fields and the bumpy roads are quaint.  And the jetlag has subsided!  I have already done two days of Crossfit (more to come on my first try of programming) and have already had a meal on the economy.  So far so good!  Hotel living isn’t fun and I hope to get out of here quickly.  This is the start of the a new adventure!

We have had a few glitches; tired kids, anxious husband ready to in-process, mom ready for some alone time.  This is par for the course of ANY move overseas or within the states.  No one likes to live in hotels, but it is what it is.  I hope we find a home that be ours for the next couple of years.  It will take a while that I know and will surely learning new things while we find the perfect place!

This will be an interesting week and one that will test me and how I handle certain situations.  I do not want to lose my cool over trivial things, I have a tendency of doing that!  It is also not my first time living overseas.  So as I sit here with my shopping list of things to cook my family.  I will also have my list of things to do like, registering for school, VBS (vacation bible school), looking for a new car (posting on that bit soon) and things to do with the kids.  I am excited about what is to come and about sharing our new adventures with you!  So until next time!!