Sunday, June 30, 2013

Another day...another town!

Today we hopped the train down to the wonderful town of Nijmegen.  This town is pure beauty at every turn.   This is quite possibly the oldest city in The Netherlands...there's some controversy between Maastricht and Nijmegen for this title.  Nijmegen sits along the Waal River and is only a hop, skip, and a jump away from the border of Germany.   We loved walking around the small roads and discovering the beauty of Sint Stevenskerk (dating back to the 14th century) and the Valkhof, which dates back to 1000 AD. 

We walked the town centre, enjoyed drinks along the Waal River, and had dinner and the wonderful Pinnochio's.  We found out also that kids eat free on Sundays!  Guess where we are gong to make a standing reservation!?!

Look closely at the picture below.  Those specks amongst the trees are our children sitting in front of St. Stevenskerk! Just to give it some perspective, I had to walk about 1/2 a block away and down a flight of huge steps to get this picture. 
Here's  a wonderful little side street.  I feel like this is a scene from a street in Epcot or Disney World.

 The view of the Waal River from the Valkhof.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


Today we got up early and ventured to Amsterdam.  We parked at the Soccer Arena and took the metro into the town center.  At first, the city reminded me a lot of Times Square in New York City...super crowded and very tourist-y.   Once we got off the beaten path, the city was simply breathtaking!  Canals, little shops, and a ton of history.

Our first stop was seeing the city by water on a canal tour...Roman's request! It reminded me a lot of Venice, Italy.  A lot of little canals and the buildings were chock full of history!

After quickly consulting our trusty Lonely Planet map of Amsterdam, we started across the city to Kayla's request for the day.

Where did our little artist want to go?  To see the Vincent Van Gogh Museum,  of course!  To say that she was in her glory was an understatement.  I think she could have remained in there all day. 
Roman, on the other hand, had other ideas.  Apparently, walking wore him out!

Next, we headed to Vondelpark.  This is the Dutch equivalent to Central Park.  It was beautiful, full of trees, outdoor dining, lakes, and playgrounds!  


We sure worked up an appetite and it was Momma's choice for dinner.  We went out for traditional Dutch pancakes.  Bill and I both had massive pancakes.  His was covered in strawberries and mine had Nutella smeared on it!  The kids split a large plate of Dutch Poffertjes with whipped cream and strawberries.  Basically, they are mini pancakes that puff up.   

We continued our trip through Amsterdam by taking side streets back to the Central Station.  Pure beauty!  We went past the Anne Frank House but didn't go in, as we were all hitting exhaustion. We plan to go back again though and that is at the top of my list! 

Tomorrow morning we hope to sleep in and then go visit the historic town of Nijmegen.  

Friday, June 28, 2013

Exploring the town of Oss

This morning, Bill went into work and the kids and I worked off our jet lag.   We slept in and then went to breakfast in the hotel.  I knew that if we stayed in our hotel room until Bill got home at lunchtime, that would be a recipe for 

disaster.  We donned our rain coats (it was chilly and rainy for a good portion of the day) and went out in town.  Our mission was the find a playground...and we were successful!   We went down several quaint and cozy streets and eventually there was a swing set in the distance.  SCORE!  Even though it was wet and rainy, that didn't stop the children from playing away.  

 After Bill got home from work, we took a car ride out to go see a canal lock...think Panama Canal on a miniature scale!  What a mesmerizing experience!  Who knew that the Netherlands is below sea level.  According to a friend at Bill's work, there are canal locks all over the country to help prevent flooding. 

Next up was a trip to the local pool.  WOW on multiple levels.  The kids thought it was the BEST place!   There was a giant pool with waves, multiple slides, a smaller child section, and even a giant inflatable slide in the middle of the deep end.  I wish I had taken my camera in there because the place was truly incredible!   The downside was that that lifeguard inside of me was having a mini-heart attack!  There didn't seem to be nearly enough lifeguards for this huge place!  There were no lifeguards supervising the top of the three slides.  There were multiple children going down the slides at one time.  I'm not talking two kids...more like 10 at a time and they came zooming down right behind you.   Kayla loved the giant inflatable, especially because rules didn't seem to apply and she was able to master doing a somersault down this slide.  Even our Roman got brave and was swimming away!  Swimming over the past few weeks at the Plymouth Community Center has really paid off.  He was going under water, asking to go on the slides repeatedly, and loved the wave feature!  We'll be visiting this place again and I'll be sure to bring the camera for documentation of the chaos.
Of  course, after all of that swimming, we were hungry.  Where to?   The Golden Arches were calling our names!  We went to McDonalds!  The kids loved their nuggets, fries, and drinkable yogurts.  Momma loved her almond sliver McFlurry!  Dad became King of the World for locating a McD's in the small town! 
After the fun filled day, the kids zonked out almost immediately.  That means that momma and daddy can live it up with beers from our hotel bar.  My first domestic Heineken! 
Tomorrow, we are getting up early and going up to Amsterdam.  Roman is super excited to go on a canal tour!  We'll  be sure to take lots of pictures!

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Well after navigating the Philadelphia airport (no thanks to the less than kind security officer) and making it through the plane ride with a few hiccups (12 bathroom trips, one of which was while we were waiting on the runway.  I had to do some major pleading with the not-so-friendly flight attendant be granted bathroom access for the 5 year old), we've finally made it to the Netherlands. Both kids were very well behaved. Each took a 4.5 hr nap and momma got to close her eyes for a bit.  No sleep for me but I loved cuddling both my babies.  After navigating through customs and baggage claim, we found Bill waiting for us at the exit!  Whew!  We made it and boy were we excited to see him!!   After a little car and walking tour of Oss, we are now relaxing a bit before heading back out for the evening.  Thursday nights are the nights that families go out to the city center and stores stay open.  We're looking forward to exploring our new town over the next few days.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The final countdown

Goodbyes are said and I'm putting the final touches on our packing.  It looks like a closet exploded in my hallway...which has been converted into a suitcase staging area.  Early to bed tonight and then an early wake up tomorrow.  I'm rewriting the saying, "The early bird catches the worm."  It will now read "The children who get up early, goes for a run, swim, and playground play will sleep for momma on the plane...hopefully!"   I am also going to make a valiant attempt to get in bed prior to 2 AM tonight.   Fingers crossed that everyone gets some sleep. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Crunch Time

So here we go. Let's try this blog thing! We are hoping to use the blog to keep our friends and family informed about our summer adventures in Europe.

The tickets are booked and we are in the final countdown now! I cannot believe this trip is actually happening! It seems like such a long time in the making and suddenly, it's upon us and very REAL!

I feel like the majority of the past week has been spent in the car running errands and visiting with family and friends. With it also being the first week of summer vacation, the kids have been anxious to get out of the house, going to the pool, zoo, and museums! Needless to say, momma is a little stressed and the kids are just a smidge cranky by the time the evenings roll around.

Of course, both children are going through growth spurts and the climate in The Netherlands is much different than our hot and humid Philadelphia summers. This means new clothes need to be bought! Tonight, we made some headway though. After several trips to Target, Learning Express, and Barnes and Noble, the kids carry-on bags are packed and ready to go! I somehow also managed to get both children to try on a plethora of long pants to ensure that they fit. Tomorrow, the goal is to find shirts to match all of the pants and to make sure we have a "healthy" supply of shorts, in case we get a warm weather streak or end up venturing south. I am envisioning myself going through a vacation nesting stage over the next few days.