Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Final Countdown

We are in the final countdown now!   Bill was home for 10 days for Thanksgiving and flew back to Amsterdam on Sunday evening.  His plane tickets are booked now for his final venture home...in exactly two weeks he'll be home for good and working back at the West Point buildings....10 minutes down the road from our house.  

While it's been crazy single parenting it, I am so thankful to all of our friends and family members who have offerred their help, love, and support.  Simple kind and encouraging words have meant so much to me.  I must say that even though I am running ragged, all of the sports and activities that the kids are involved in are certainly keeping me busy.   By the time that I sit down at night to catch up with a book, paperwork, or my DVR, I'm exhausted and the day has flown by. 

Sure, there has been a few times when I want to throw in the towel or I wonder why we made these choices but ultimately, this is my husband's dream job!   This was the position that he has talked about since we met!  If you were to ask him 10 years ago or even 5 years ago where he wanted to see his future at work, he'd say working internationally - hands down.  Guess what...CHECK!  He's done it and it's now a permanent part of his work experience. 

I have to hand it to him, while I was going nuts with how quickly the whole experience happened after the ball got rolling (there were quite a few several months that we were in waiting limbo), Bill really had his ducks in a row.  Working in trips back home every 4 weeks in the fall was AMAZING.  It made our time apart go by a little bit faster - and he isn't missing any holidays.  If only he had thought about getting first class written into that deal...

Tonight, I took a walk down memory lane, looking back at all of our blog entries from this past summer.  I still can't believe that this is my life.   I cannot  believe that the kids and I were able to go spend the summer abroad.  The only thing that I really think about is that I wish I would have known ahead of time how much I would love it over in The Netherlands.   Had I have known that I would fall madly in love with the country, I would have tried to work out a way to stay there through Bill's entire job assignment.   I did things this summer that I never would have dreamed of.   For starters, I flew internationally with two children TWICE!  I get anxiety just thinking about flying.  I also took trains, lived without my cell phone for 10 weeks, and somehow managed to figure out how to order beer, buy cheese, bag groceries at Albert Heinz (it's much harder than it sounds), and busy myself and the children daily while Bill was at work...without the use of a car!  

The sights we saw - breathtaking - Eiffel Tower, Liege, windmills, national parks, MANY historic churches, Disney, holding monkeys (that is still my hands down favorite)....   

I still cannot believe that this is our life.   I cannot wait to see where our next adventure takes us...trust me...I'm already plotting how we can top the "Summer of 2013."

***Editted note 2 minutes after the initial post - I find it very fitting that without even thinking about it that this post title is the exact same as my very first post title back in June - The Final Countdown ***

Monday, November 4, 2013

Where did the time go?

I cannot believe that we have been back in the states for over 2 months now!   Time has flown by!    The kids are keeping me very busy with their sports and lessons.  We have some type of activity (at least 1, if not more) 6 out of 7 days a week.    All this running around is keeping my mind off of Bill not being with us that much.  There sometimes isn't a moment to rest.   I've begun to accept the help offered by some friends and family members.  I've realized that I am not Wonder Woman.    

Bill has made it home for two visits already.   He came home for our 10 year wedding anniversary and also again for Halloween last week.   We bumped up Roman's birthday celebrations also to while Daddy was here and we are so glad that he got to celebrate with us.   Bill flew back to Nijmegen last evening and he has already booked his flight home for Thanksgiving!    Let the turkey countdown begin!

Somehow I have still managed to squeeze in a few runs and my half marathon is just 5 days away now!   I haven't trained nearly as much as I should have but my goal is to follow a run-walk-run method and simply to finish.  I do not care about times this go around.   AHH!  I still cannot believe that I am doing this!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Last Night

The song Leaving on a Jet Plane seems very fitting right now...with some minor wording changes.  All our bags are packed but we are not ready to go! 

Tomorrow morning we'll get getting up bright and early to drive to Amsterdam.  We'll be leaving behind an amazing town and country...and husband!  This truly has been a summer to remember.  We've met so many kindhearted individuals and loved living the expat life.  Who would have thought that this sheltered PA girl would actually be jealous of her husband staying in a foreign country for a while longer?!?!  Today marks 8 weeks since we first stepped off the plane into The Netherlands.  It sounds like a long time but the summer flew by.  There is actually so much more that I want to see and do in this beautiful country...so for now I will live vicariously through Bill.  I'm even leaving my new camera with him so I am expecting some great pictures!       

I am so thankful for Bill!  He followed his dreams and goals and that brought us on this amazing journey of a lifetime.  His drive, dedication, and commitment is exactly the type of modeling that our children need.  Without him and his goals, we would have never had this summer that will provide memories for many, MANY years to come!  I remember when we first started dating that he commented that his career goal was to work internationally.  Here we are, just a few days shy of our 11 year dating anniversary, and he's crossed it off of his bucket list!!!   

Not too many kids can say that they spent the summer gallivanting around Europe.  We desperately don't want to leave Bill but we are anxious to see our friends and family back in the states.   I'll continue to update the blog as we transition back into our PA lives.  I'm sure that the next few weeks will go by in a whirlwind - once we recuperate from our jet lag.     

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pannenkoekenboot

Bill's birthday is on Sunday.  The kids and I are leaving on Friday.   While he was at work last week, the kids and I had a pow-wow and decided to celebrate his birthday before we left.   I let them pick out what we would do.   The kids agreed that they wanted to take Daddy out on the Pannenkoekenboot - The Pancake Boat!  http://www.pannenkoekenboot.com/    We went out on an hour long cruise from the docks in Nijmegen.   It was a beautiful trip up and down the Waal River.  I have run the bridges in and out of the city several times and stopped to take in the breathtaking views BUT there's something about seeing the city from the water that is simply wonderful!!    Tonight was no exception...we saw wild horses running along the beaches, cows wading in the river, the new bridge being constructed, and our wonderful cityscape!   

The pancakes on the boat were delightful.  There were three types - apple, natural, and bacon!!!  There was also a wide variety of toppings - plenty of sprinkle options, fruit, sauces, cheese, meats, hard boiled eggs, and so much more!!!  Each of the kids got to top their own pancakes and we all had a great time!  

Roman's masterpiece

Kayla's deliciousness

Bacon and cheese pancake

Wild horses

Another view of our city 

Yup!  There was a giant ball pit for the kids
   

Flipping About

Last night Kayla took her first class that was instructed completed in Dutch!   What type of class did she take?!?  GYMNASTICS!!!   One of Bill's co-workers teaches gymnastics in the evenings.  He arranged for Kayla to participate in an hour long girls class for her age.  To say that she was ecstatic was an understatement!  She looked forward to last night for a week!  Even though the class was completely in Dutch, she kept pace with the other girls and even did assisted front and back flips off of the trampoline!!!



video

Monday, August 19, 2013

Full of hot air

One thing that I have loved since we got here is seeing hot air balloons up in the air.  If you are my friend on Facebook, I'm sure you've seen pictures that I have posted.  Besides my family, I think they have been my favorite subjects to snap pictures of with my new camera.

After arriving home after a day of sightseeing in Utrecht, the kids suddenly started shrieking from their bedroom.  Taking off, thinking somebody was hurt, I came upon one fantastic view!

There were 20 hot air balloons sailing across the Nijmegen sky....all directly above our apartment!   Some flew close enough that the kids waved and we were able to see the occupants waving back to us!   Some of the balloons were so neat - Garfield, a bunny, a girl with pigtails, a child with headphones, and a giant monkey...just to name a few!

I think Bill is going to have to send me pictures of hot air balloons weekly, just so I can get my fill.









Utrecht

On Saturday, we hopped the train and headed 50 minutes away to the wonderful city of Utrecht.   It is described as one of the nation's oldest cities....it seems that there are quite a few of those nearby!  The canals in Utrecht are different from the rest in country.  They are down below the street level and lines with small walkways with warehouses, homes, and restaurants.   We took time to walk around the town, taking in the beautiful sights and stores (our favorite store was one that sold Willy Wonka candies!  Bill got his craving for SweetTarts fulfilled), and then went on a canal boat tour.  We continued to window shop and Kayla made the only purchase of the day - she bought a new field hockey stick for when her season starts up in November.   Afterwards, we walked up to a popular restaurant and had some drinks while sitting right above the canal on a bridge.  The scenery and atmosphere was amazing in this small province.  

Utrecht's old canal

The Domtoren


Canal side 

The view from our pit-stop for beverages  

You buy it, you carry it!  Kayla toting around her new field hockey stick.