Living in Europe, Bonus Parenting & Baby – Oh my!

You know what happens when you have several active social media accounts? Sometimes – you neglect your blog. Or down right FORGET it. 

And for that, and to all our followers, I APOLOGIZE. There is something so special and unique about a blog. I LOVE that it is almost limitless. We can be free to share our story in many words, fonts, colors and multiple forms of multimedia….photos, videos, GIFs, & so on, that many other platforms just don’t allow.

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been a storyteller. I was the kid who would create an entire Tony award winning stage performance of The Lion King (with music from my cassette and costumes from my mom’s closet) just for my parents – or anyone else who would watch. Which typically meant at least Grandma – who lived next door – and my Care Bears.

And now, I have the honor of having y’all as my audience. However, I also love to have you as my participants. I get SO excited when I get a notification that one of you has written me a comment or a personal message. So please, keep them coming! I really love to discover what YOU love about our blog and what you like to hear – especially all things living in Europe, bonus parenting and my first pregnancy!

Speaking of ALL those things, here’s a quick update:

LIVING IN EUROPE

I just celebrated by 8th month living here in Europe….although when I tell most people that now I share: Ik woon in Belgie voor 8 maanden. Basically, besides just LIVING here, I have acculamated quite well!

I was in Dutch classes from the beginning of September until last week. It was about 7 weeks of intense, fast-paced language learning like I’ve never experienced before. Not only had I not been in a classroom since college (9 years now), but this was my first class EVER taught in a language other than English. My teacher is VERY knowledgeable in English, but as I was also the only native English speaker in class, about 95% of the class was taught in Dutch. That means for 12 hours a week this Fall, I was becoming “Dutch-ified”.

It was amazing to speak with my classmates in Dutch, as that was our common language, and struggle to find the right words & sentence structures…together. Many of my classmates came from all over the world – such as Turkey, Syria, Morroco, India, Angola and even Ukraine! I took my final tests this past week (listening, writing, reading & speaking) and should find out my results NEXT week. I’ll keep y’all posted!

BONUS PARENTING 

Wow, what a PRIVILEDGE it has been to get to know and be loved by my bonus girl. It hasn’t been a perfect road – but truly, no relationship ever is. She has taught me so much about courage, bravery and true love.

As much change as I’ve experienced this year, she has too. She went from having her Daddy exclusively to herself, to sharing him & her home, having a new parental presence in her life, and having to listen & aim to understand me in a language that is not her own.

She’s taught me so much of how LOVE truly is the most universal language. Over these past 7 weeks, when she is with us (and not her mom), I take her to school by bike before I then would go to my own classes. I even started taking her on days I didn’t have school, because I enjoyed the time with her so much.

I’ll never forget the times she asked me, in Dutch, to pick her up from school – even though, she didn’t NEED to too. Typically, she takes herself home. However, this strong-willed & independent girl with the biggest heart, has given me the honor to do so. This often is then followed by adventures at the park or home in the kitchen cooking together. She’s helped me adjust in ways I never imagined!

I am so happy to take this journey with her of me, becoming a mom, and her becoming a big sister. We get so excited talking to each other about decorating the baby’s room or what name will Daddy and I chose for her brother/or sister.

Perhaps – the most precious memory I hold on to lately with her are the 5 simple words she’s spoken to me every day when dropping her off to school, “IK HOU VAN JOU, Cheyke.” I love you too, beautiful girl.

FIRST PREGNANCY 

I STILL cannot believe that we are already about HALFWAY into my pregnancy. This past week, we celebrated 19 weeks of growing this precious baby. I am having a very pleasant and happy 2nd trimester…which really reflects a lot of my 1st trimester. I thankfully never had morning sickness or any heart burn. I am however making the bathroom my new office (as I am there quite often) and enjoying my every expanding belly. This week I have most defintely popped!

It has been a true adventure for me, mentally and spiritually, to learn to love my new belly. It truly HAS been a learning curve. Being that I am someone who has losst 100 pounds off my body, and struggled with my weight for most my life, I’ve never been able to celebrate WEIGHT GAIN before. I know it’s healthy and necessary, but BEFORE, whenever I put on weight, and saw excess fat on my body, it was from over eating, not caring for my heart, self-loathing, and not honoring my body with movement.

 

Now, as I “eat” and move for “two, I feel I have TWICE as many reasons to eat well, fuel my body mindfully and discover new healthy, and nutrient rich recipes. I also am twice as sure to get in my daily workout – even if that means more Yoga lately – as I am strengthening my body for a whole new reason now – for baby and for our at home birth (more on that later too!)

I am very blessed to have the most excellent support in my husband, Kim. With all this change that’s happened in my life this year, he continues to point me to God’s goodness and faithfulness, and how me being the “youest of yous” is enough for him – and EXACTLY who I should continue to be.

 

 

Next up on my plate? I’m heading back to the States! I wanted to try to travel to the USA one more time before baby came – and God helped the desire of my heart come true!

I leave this week to travel to New York to visit most my family (Even my parents are coming up from Florida), and even have a baby shower. Many many photos & stories will continue to follow.

HUGE hugs from me, and my family here in Belgium & know you are ALWAYS in our thoughts & prayers. XOXO,

Cheyanne

Published by Kim & Cheyanne Cleyman

Married Belgian-American couple living in Europe helping families connect through fitness across cultures and continents; with a passion for well-being - mind, body, heart and soul.

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