Couch to 5K

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I have decided to run a 5K this spring and I have started my Couch to 5K training. I had such a great training run on Monday night. I really was not in the mood to hit the trail after the kids had fallen asleep, but I’m happy Jaap gave me that little nudge. It was such a beautiful evening.

I feel grateful that we live so close to nature and these scenes are right at the end of our street. We are very fortunate. Spring has finally arrived and it felt so good to be outside exercising. I completely understand why Jaap does this every weekend. It’s also very liberating to know that I am done having babies, done being pregnant, and will eventually be done with the breastfeeding phase of my life. It’s time to take ownership of my physical body again. Yesterday I biked to work and all the way back up that long hill and it felt great. I was actually enjoying it at one point. Sunny weather also added to that mood, but even still. It’s time to get more physically active!

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Spring has sprung!

 

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Our best toy purchase ever!

What a fantastic weekend. 20+ degree weather, sunshine, short sleeves, outdoor play. It was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Our weekend was off to a good start. The kids and I went to Gulpen Friday morning to pick a child safety harness that I purchased second hand from someone. We’re traveling to Ireland in three weeks and I having these visions of Thibault running away from us and jumping off the Cliffs of Moher. It probably sounds ridiculous and a little bit paranoid, but then I saw a toddler wearing one when Flora and I were in Amsterdam. I wanted to high five the mom. I just can’t keep up with T all the time. He gets away quickly and I need some more security with him at the airport and such. Well— turned out to be a nice little trip. Gulpen has a great bakery! Flora and I each had a Berliner bol and Thibault had this delicious homemade pretzel. We’re going back! I can’t stop thinking about the Berliner bol!

Thibault had a great week. He slept through the night several times! It was a miracle. The miracle has now ended. Back to waking up multiple times a night, but fingers crossed that he is trending in the right direction! I think the good weather and allowing us to play outside for pretty much three days straight also helped. The funny thing is— I was still tired! Probably because he was waking up between 5:00-5:45. Here you can see him playing with our aromatherapy diffuser at 5:30 a.m. He loves this, but loves destroying it most of all. My little man is active, active, active! Good for him. I’m seeing toddlerhood in another light this time around. He’s not afraid of anything, which makes me twice as afraid of everything! I love his adventurous spirit. Sometimes I just want to sit down and cuddle. Thankfully— Flora is still a big snuggler. Happy spring!

First Girls Trip to Amsterdam

 

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People watching in Vondelpark

Flora and I had our first (of many!) girls trips to Amsterdam over the Easter weekend. We had a blast! This trip came at the perfect time for me. I just finished a music show at school and have been very busy leading up to its production. It was the perfect way to unwind and relax with my little lady.

The original idea came when Flora showed an interest in Vincent van Gogh. Earlier in the winter, their theme at school was “Art” and learning about van Gogh really had an impact on her. She would talk a lot about it at dinner and such. I told her that van Gogh had his own museum and she just couldn’t believe it. So I thought, girls trip! Jaap and Thibault could care less, so what a great opportunity!

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Enjoying the playgrounds at Vondelpark

We had such a great time. Lunch at my favorite lunchroom, De Bakkerswinkel complete with carrot cake, of course, followed by the entire afternoon at Vondelpark. Just enjoying the speeltuin, taking in the balmy breeze, and watching the people of Amsterdam walk on by.

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Flora also wanted a sushi dinner at some point during this trip. We ended up at a cozy little place near Museumplein for dinner. We’ll definitely go back there the next time we need lunch near the Museum Quarter. They brought us warm hand towels after the main course and we ordered some Japanese green tea and Flora loved it. It’s these small details that are special. Sometimes you don’t think about something or realize how interesting something is, until a little person points it out to you. Our sushi experience was the perfect ending to our long and busy day.

Flora loved the hotel. I knew she would find it fun. Breakfast was a highlight! Citizen M is still one of my favorites too. The mood lighting, toilet and shower in a glass dome, and the feel of modernity. She loved it. The next morning we were off to the van Gogh Museum, but Flora was feeling a little bit under the weather. Our time at the new Japanese exhibit was cut short because she was not feeling good. However, she still had a nice time. For me, it was a dream come true. Walking around an art museum in Amsterdam with my daughter who is correcting my Dutch pronunciation of “van Gogh”, talking to me about van Gogh’s favorite color, and what paintings she likes the most and why. It was definitely a parenting highlight! These are the moments that we live for and what makes life so amazing.

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Friday Brunch

A few weeks ago, Flora and I had a Friday morning brunch, just the two of us. Thibault was at the creche having missed several days from Carnaval and the girls had some down time. I feel so relaxed when Thibault is not around. That sounds awful, but it’s true. I’m grateful for these peaceful moments where I’m still hanging out with my family, but not struggling. A little moment of zen here at Piece of Cake.

How cute is Flora’s admiration for her hot chocolate? We ate pancakes, scones, and took a stroll through Museum aan het Vrijthof. What a fab morning!

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My day ended on a high note— cocktails with the Mamas! This was supposed to be a Cosmopolitan, but my New York self thought otherwise!

 

Me Time

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It’s that time of year again. TEFAF is back in town and this year I promised myself that I would make it there. Saturday was day full of art, culture, and inspiration. Paintings, design, jewellery, antiquities, to name a few. Thank you Jaap for watching the kids all day while I got to float about TEFAF with my friends.

These are just some of my favourites that we saw that day.

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And if the day couldn’t get any better, Jaap and I booked our babysitter to come for date night. No fancy dinners (in fact we ate pancakes with the kids). Just drinks, some live music, and some alone time. The perfect day.

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Weekend Fun: Leuven, Belgium

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It’s really winter here! Temperatures have dropped and it’s been pretty cold here the last week. We even got a little bit of snow on Monday morning. Sunday was our family activity day and set off to explore Leuven, Belgium. What cute little university city.

It wasn’t a day full of activities, just walking, coffee and beer drinking, and admiring the old architecture. The gothic city hall in the city center is quite impressive. Very ornate and stunning. Set against that blue sky—ahhhh! We had lunch in a tavern, drank some beer, saw the church, and walked to the Grote Begijnhof. Leuven’s university is the oldest in Belgium (15th century) and has so many beautiful buildings throughout the city.

Panic set in at one point when Flora realized we weren’t going to a playground. This seems to be her definition of fun, whether it be indoors or outdoors. But, she is such a happy little traveler, we knew she would come around and find the fun or beauty in something we were seeing. She can still be redirected with a game of tag or “I Spy”. This seems to be her new favorite walking game. I love it. We both take the time to see the things around us and really look at what is in front of us.

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And a bonus— we scored some free drinks at the university because they were hosting an open day. I’m happy we took a little adventure out of our region. Spring feels so far away. We’ll see how we keep warm this weekend!

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Rainy day fun

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Flora is now a proud Museumkaart holder. I didn’t realize kids could also get museum cards in NL and after calculating in my head how many museums she went to last year, it was worth it for her to get a card this year.

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We made a trip to Hoensbroek castle and it was a family hit. Flora loved (and Jaap) loved completing the scavenger hunt the castle provides for it’s young visitors. It was a fun way to get us to explore all the rooms. She loved climbing the tower, playing the old games in the cellar, and thinking about all the princesses who have lived here before. It was a great day. A little history, a little culture—happy kids and parents!

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