Sunday, July 28, 2013

Headed south for the day

Today we took a little road trip to Axel in the province of Zeeland. It's about 10 miles from Belguim. We visited a friend of Eric at their horse farm. Nathalie, Uri and their beautiful daughter Una, who Gerrit fell in love with. It was such a treat to spend the day in the country. It was also a gorgeous scenic 2 hour drive down the coast. The highlight of the day for the boys wasn't seeing the horses but discovering a porcupine. Gerrit and Thijs were facinated with the thing. The boys were extremely wild and rambunctious. I'm pretty sure they couldn't wait for us to leave!  Here are some photos from our day: 
Icelandic and Friesland pony mix, Helgie. 
Gerrit and Una
Gerrit giving the pony some lovin
Feeding time!
Porcupine friend
20 minute draw brige 
John Deere

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Oostvoorne Beach

A day at the beach in Holland is very different than in the US. Mostly it is easier to get there! We pulled our car up to our spot and set up camp. The sports are different too. Almost every group has a wind surf board or a kite board. There are no motor boats (at this beach), jet skis, surf boards or skim boards and definitely no heavy beer drinking and getting rowdy. There are people scuba diving, camping, sailing and just lounging. People go to the beach here for the same reasons as we do, to relax and enjoy the sun, wind and friends and family.
Also there is tons of trash on the beach. Dogs are everywhere crapping. One small dog even charged at Gerrit last week and bit him on the leg! The tides aren't drastic and waves are pretty nonexistent. But the wind is what people are there to enjoy.
 My first day at the beach last Sunday, I found myself starring at the 40 year old next to us with her boobs all hanging out. It's also weird to see the younger girls running around topless. I just can't see Gerrit's friends letting it all hang out at the beach.
Here are a few pics of our day at the beach today.

We rented a kayak for the boys. They loved it! 
Thijsie napped for an hour
Playing with the fisheye Ollo lens
Gerrit digging

Snack bar and surf shop
Beach side cottages
Dinner at the beach. Kroket met frites
Thijs eating Kaas Soufflé (cheese) met frites
Some sort of oriental dish for Eric. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Hauge (Den Haag)

Earlier in the week we tried to go to The Hauge but ended up at Ikea instead. Today we set out for Holland's government center (our equivalent to D.C.) our intention was to get new Dutch passports for the boys but Eric failed to make an appointment so that didn't work out. We ended up walking around looking at the shops and checking out some tourist sites. After our tram tickets (35€), parking (25€) we were stressed out and ready to leave! 
We took the boys to the Communications Museum. They had a blast at this interactive museum that basically told the history of the telephone, Internet, and the postal service. The kids loved it but I was rather bored because everything was in Dutch and I didn't understand anything. So I parked my butt at the cafe. Here are a few pics of our day in Den Haag:
Cool bench
Inside City Hall
Flower market
Fresh Stroopwafels
In "China Town"
Wine break
Gerrit at the Communications Museum
Part of the Palace from the wrong side of the tram :(

Monday, July 22, 2013

Why my husband makes me crazy!

Sunday morning started with our usual conversation.
Me: "So what are we doing today?" 
Eric: "well, I invited some friends over for a BBQ today. Is that ok?" 
Me: "What? Why? When? Are you f-ing crazy? I have been here for less than 24 hours, I'm jet-lagged, I'm PMSing, I haven't even found my bearings and now you want me to throw a dinner party in a house that has absolutely nothing in it except the bare essentials!?!?!? Are you smoking crack!?!" 
Eric: " you are making a big deal out of nothing. You don't even have to do anything. It will be fun. Would you rather me cancel?"
Me: "No don't cancel. How many people?"
Eric: "including us? Eleven people (5 of those small children)"
Me: "what time?
Eric: "they are coming at 3:00, we will sit and drink coffee while the kids play (with nothing) and start cooking at 6:00. They will be gone by 8:00. I can push it back to 4:00 if you need a nap first"
Me: "whatever. Do whatever you want."

So off to the grocery we go. Me, Eric, the boys (who I'm pretty sure snorted pure cane sugar before we left) and Oma, Eric's mom.

As we navigated through the store I suddenly felt a panic attack setting in. Maybe it was the boys knocking shit over, wrestling in the floor, falling off the buggy or maybe it was the question from my husband "what should we cook?" My answer: "I don't f-ing know! I don't even know what half this shit is!!!!!" Ok, maybe I was over reacting, but I was sleep deprived, crampy and totally in sensory overload with the reminder of what it is like trying to shop with these two Tasmanian devils. 

I went straight to the wine aisle and began filling my buggy. If I was going to do this than I was at least gonna feel a bit tipsy. 

I put on my big girl panties and put a smile on my face as his friends arrived. Don't get me wrong, I love his friends and their kids. I always have a great time with them. I just wasn't in the mood on this particular day to entertain in a house that isn't mine, nor is it even close to being equipped for guests. Think rental condo with 4 cups, forks, knives, spoons, and you get the picture.

We ended up having a good time, although it was hot as hell (with no AC) and the afternoon sun beating down on us with very little shade. This is why we were huddled against the back of the courtyard with only 12 inches of usable shade. 

I survived and we all had fun. Also, my husband owes me a new pair of shoes. ;) 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hey Delta! I want my money back!

The night before my flight to Holland I received an email asking if I wanted to check in online. Why not? As I clicked through the site I noticed an option to upgrade my seat to "Preferred Seating" for only $59. They advertised extended leg room and more recline. Why not? For a mere $60 I can sleep like a baby on this once in a lifetime solo flight. I happily splurged and was super excited about my new Preferred status. With a peaceful vision like this, who wouldn't? 
Check out the guy on the left and then the woman behind him. Look at her smug face. She's thinking "Na Na Na Boo Boo! I have more room than you! SUCKA!" 
As I boarded the plane, I honestly began to worry as I made my way to my row. I was seated at the window with an Austrailian man. I knew instantly I had been scammed! I fumbled over his lap and got situated. Quickly I realized that we were all packed in like sardines. Damn, if this is "Preferred Seating" I would hate to see what the losers in the regular seats looked like. 
As we made our way across two continents, I tossed and turned desperately trying to get just somewhat comfy. Even my trusty feather pillow failed me. After about 6 hours, I tapped my seat-mate on the shoulder, waking him from his apparent coma, so I could stretch my legs and hang out in the closet sized potty for no reason other to regain my personal space. With an hour left in the flight I couldn't fight the sand man any longer and finally dozed off. I looked like this: 
The moral to this story is if it seems too good to be true then it probably is. I hope to convince you all not to fall for Delta's attempt to steal more money from us, whether it's for extra baggage, extra leg room or extra comfort. Those bastards owe my $60 and I intend to get it back. Even if it that means stuffing 60 bags of stale pretzels in my carry on. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

It's that time of year again!

So here I go. Time to start packing up to head to Holland for ten days. This trip is a bit different from previous trips. This time, I am traveling alone. This is bittersweet to me. I have a small fear of flying and the recent plane crash in SF has me a little more on edge. I chose my seats, in the middle, of course! Normally I can hold my kids' or husband's hand if I get nervous. This time I guess I will be getting drunk before the flight so I can pass out and be numb. Haha?
The boys left three weeks ago and left me home to run our new store. They are spending some quality time with friends and family while not feeling like they have to play tour guide with me. We FaceTime almost every day to stay in touch. The boys beg me to hurry and get there. It feels good to be missed and loved.
I have enjoyed bonding with my two teenagers, not having to cook or clean, referee fights, being woken up all night, shopping, taking up horseback riding...I could go on and on. But really I miss feeling needed, I miss the hugs and kisses, I miss the tears and the snuggles.
On Saturday, I will be reunited with my boys again and I am sure once the new-ness wears off we will be back to square one.
Stay tuned to my blog for photos, rants, updates, vents and stories. I always have a good one to tell! Xo