Visiting Friends

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After Christmas, we traveled to Emmeloord to visit an old friend of mine. We stayed in a cute little house in Woudsend (Friesland) and spent a rainy day indoors at this huge Orchid nursery complete with playgrounds, theater shows, and animals. What a bizarre little place. The kids loved exploring this huge playground complete with sand and water play.

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It was great seeing my friend Erika again. A true friendship can last decades and long distances. I still can’t believe we both married Dutch men and live here now. Too bad we live on opposite sides of the country! If only I could see her more regularly.

I’m surrounded by transient internationals and expats here and it’s always hard when a friend leaves. It’s happened a few times now and I’ve accepted that this is just the way it is. Luckily, I have a strong group of Mama friends here that are (for the most part) here indefinitely. But, it really helps me value my other friendships. With my friends that I only see once or twice a year, or maybe every couple of years. I’m thankful for this.

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Lots of ME TIME this Autumn break

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Dessert at Tanta Roba

I’m not sure how I got this lucky for Autumn break, but I ended up with a lot of much needed alone and me time. Two nights away (KID FREE!) with Jaap in Den Haag and one night in Rotterdam with a good, old friend from New York. It was really the dream week.

I’m following a course for professional development at the Conservatorium in Den Haag. It’s been such an inspiring experience and I’m feeling very invigorated and challenged. Truly— a lovely experience. However, it forces me to be away from my family at least one full Saturday a month and in some cases a whole weekend. I can’t say I’m complaining though. Sitting on a train for three hours by myself with a good book is heavenly. Followed by choral singing, a Kodaly inspired music theory class, singing games, and discussions about music education. It’s simply fantastic.

We had the greatest weekend in Den Haag. I love that city. Dinner at 21:00, movies, and long interrupted conversations. I’m so grateful to have in-laws who allow us this free time, while they watch the kids.

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Our corner spot at the bar @ Walter Benedict

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Cube homes in Rotterdam

Fast forward to the end of the week— I had another night free from the kids. This time meeting up with my friend Erika in Rotterdam for a mini-girls night away. Dim sum, non-stop talking, reminiscing about our former New York City life, colleagues, and fun times, discussing motherhood and all it’s challenges. We had such a fabulous time. Not to mention— Rotterdam is pretty cool. I must go back with the family and explore some more. And a special thanks to Jaap to had lots of extra cuddles with the kids that weekend!

As if the day couldn’t get any better, we ended the night was some INCREDIBLE music and dancing at BIRD. I have never seen a DJ this good since living in NL. The party was electric. The entire room could not stop moving. It was such an inspiration. We were completely free and it felt so good to be alive. We heard five DJs that night and I’m pretty sure the entire place would agree the female DJ was the best. And I have never in my NL life seen such a diverse group of people, white, black, brown, gay, straight— it was all there. What a celebration for us. GIRL POWER!

Girls Weekend

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Not a bad view!

I have fallen off the blog bandwagon again. My intentions to consistently blog throughout the holidays did not happen. Life was too much fun, busy, sick, and exhausted to blog! I want to upload a “snapshots” post soon, just so I have the photo memories of our Christmas season somewhere. We had such a great holiday season complete with the cookie baking days, Christmas and NYE with friends, Christmas with the Jansens, a day trip to the Spoorweg Museum in Utrecht with friends, and the flu! Overall, a fantastic holiday! Flora has fallen in love with Christmas and there’s just not much more you can ask for.

Back to normal life and I was lucky that my friends and I had something fun to look forward after the back to work/end of Christmas slump. The Mamas had a weekend getaway planned! We planned a “spa” weekend in the Ardennes (Malmedy) at a house in the countryside complete with a relaxing sauna. 48 hours, no children, no mess to clean up, nobody to take care of in the middle of the night, late dinners, lots of coffee and wine, and hours of girl chat! Not to mention a couple of hours drinking beer in the sauna, hopping in and out of the cold in our towels and reheating again in the sauna. Thank you to my Swedish friends who taught us how to properly “sauna”. I am converted and a big fan now!

It was a fantastic weekend and I have nobody but my amazing husband to thank. Thank you for letting me recharge, regroup, and mostly RELAX! After 48 hours I actually missed my family. That’s a good sign! And I feel grateful for this life. Cheers to friends and family  in 2018!

Our Week in France– Vézelay

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Perhaps the most relaxing day of our week in Burgundy was our day trip to Vézelay. The Oma and Opa creche was up and running and we were off for a day without kids. My main goal was to have a relaxed lunch of yummy French food. Mission accomplished.

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We had a delicious menu for lunch outside on the main street. I just love how everything tastes better in France. It was so nice to chat with Jaap and Mieke and have a relaxed meal without having to entertain small children. My coffee and accompanying sweet treats was a great ending. These tiny homemade pink marshmallows were delicious!

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Afterwards we took in some sites, visiting the basilica and checking out the views. Vézelay is a tiny town situated on a top a large hill and the few from top was beautiful. I’m so grateful my in-laws were willing to give us this relaxation time. Whew.

Our Week in France– Living my best life

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This summer has been quite the journey for me—and it’s not even finished! When we decided not to travel to the U.S. this summer, our original plan was to book a European beach vacation. Somewhere in Spain, Portugal, Italy or Greece. With the busyness of day to day life and my fear of not finding/booking the perfect family vacation, plus the idea of traveling some where super hot with a baby. I couldn’t decide what was best for us. I had set my summer vacation expectations too high. In the end we decided to stay in the Netherlands, plan a last minute trip somewhere and have some day trips around the area.

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First night at the gîte

When my in-laws found out we had no formal travel plans they invited us to France for the week. As a gift to us, they booked a gîte for the week. I was relieved that we had a summer holiday planned, but was still disappointed that we chose not to take advantage of a summer in Europe and have a beach vacation. As our trip approached, I was getting very excited, but being reasonable with my expectations of traveling with a baby and small child. 1.5 hour day trips everyday was not possible, wine tasting throughout the countryside will have to wait till next time!

When we arrived in France I thought—-we’re on summer holiday in France! How was I not more excited about this trip!!! Pinch me—I am living my best life. Exploring the Burdundy countryside, drinking French wine every night, exploring castles and abbeys, eating delicious food and French baguettes everyday, hearing French and listening to Flora trying to learn French, and spending time with our family. It truly was a fabulous week. I was so thankful to be on this trip and it made me think how fortunate I am to be living this life with my loved ones.

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Beautiful sunny day

7 months with T

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Seven months old and getting big! Look at this cuteness. I hope this love they share for each other remains forever. Flora is completely in love with her brother and Thibault is fascinated by her. She walks in and it lights up his world. These moments are precious.

 

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A lot has happened since my last post. Thibault is now 7.5 months old. He’s rolling around so much that we have to keep an eye on him. No more chilling on the bed because he must might roll off one day! Solids seem to be getting better. Here you see him enjoying some Wheetabix and kiwis.

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We have had a lot of firsts—swimming, lots of new foods, new babbling sounds, and a new clothing size! But with the good, there are always rough patches. This weekend was his first sick day, more like TWO sicks days. So, we’re basically exhausted right now.IMG_3983

Thank God Grandma is still in town! We’re starting to slow down and get ready for her departure in 10 days. I will be sad to see my Mom leave. I love having family this close. It feels like it should be this way always. But, I am extremely grateful for the all the quality time we got to spend with her this spring. It has been a wonderful visit. XOXO

A cold and frosty morning

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Eijsden Castle

We enjoyed a cold and frosty morning on the last day of 2016. It was a beautiful cold day and left everything around us covered in frost. We grabbed Flora’s bike and headed to Eijsden Castle to walk the grounds and enjoy the frosty, winter air.

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