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THE NETHERLANDS 2017

January 01, 2018

I am so far behind on writing about what we've been doing! So here's a probably messy post missing lots of things, with more messy posts missing lots of things to follow. Last year Stefan's parents moved to the Netherlands, and we found cheap flights to go visit them in September. Turns out ten hour flights with an eighteen month old are my perfect form of torture, moving on!

Stefan's dad gave Peter a bubble bath just about every evening we were there - heaven for everyone. 

Peter loved feeding bread to the dozens and dozens of birds at the Dam in Amsterdam. He was also very good at holding on while we rode the tram.

The Dutch ride bikes just about everywhere, and Stefan's parents were nice to let us use theirs a lot. PETER LOVED IT. There are not enough capital letters in the world to convey how much MY BABY LOVES BIKE RIDES. He called them "kwy kwides" and begged to go all the time and was so cute about wearing his helmet. One night we rode to a nearby town to get some poffertjes, and sweet baby fell asleep on the ride home - in the rain. I'll never know how, but I will always love the memory. I should say that for as difficult as the time change was, Peter really handled it so well. The first couple nights were rough, but it honestly didn't take him very long to adjust and I got lots of extra snuggles out of it and overall he really was just the best baby the whole trip.

We also rode bikes through the woods and along some canals to a cute, tucked away restaurant where Peter only wanted to play outside on the pretend digger truck the whole time. And we rode into the city and through Vondelpark, which I love.

This whole photo op went a lot better than expected! We were in and out quickly, and I think our picture turned out great. This is one of those cute, silly things Stefan's whole family has done, so we were excited to join the club and get our own family picture in the traditional Dutch outfits.

From our walk around Alkmaar with the kindest family Stefan knows from his two years spent as a missionary over there. They had us into their home for dinner and cooked me my own personal little steak! because they were serving everyone else fish and I cannot stomach pulling bones out of my food. They also had toys ready for Peter - he kept trying to sit in the little Barbie car - and took us for a tour of their town. One of the daughters also helped me pick out my new glasses! I had been planning on getting some from Warby Parker once we were back home, but when she told us she worked for a similar company and could get us a deal on some great glasses we decided to do that instead. The sweetest people, you guys! Also that same daughter carried Peter around outside for a solid twenty minutes and he was happy as could be, it was so cute. We ended up visiting her at work twice and went out to dinner with her one night, too.

Church! We were able to attend church in two different cities - Amsterdam and Breda - and see lots of people Stefan knew. He actually went to classes and spoke to people, and I mostly ran around with Peter. The second Sunday after church in Breda, we drove over the border to Belgium to spend the afternoon with some of Stefan's favorite people ever ever ever - Henry, Petra, and Benedict. We planned to have lunch with them, but ended up having lunch and visiting and going for a walk and visiting and before we knew it we were eating dinner, too! More of the world's sweetest people, and I am so happy I was finally able to meet them.

This picture by the canal wasn't taken far from where we got our glasses at Ace & Tate, which wasn't far from where we got some really yummy chocolate cookies with warm gooey melted white chocolate in the middle. Need more of those in my life, stat. Stefan and I also did a boat tour one afternoon, which we had done before but had apparently forgotten that the pre-recorded English tour guides are the cheesiest and actually so painful to listen to. Still love riding around on those canals, though.

Stefan's parents were so sweet to watch Peter a lot so we could do a couple non-toddler friendly things. One day we were in the city with his mom, all heading to find the tram and go home. She casually mentioned she could take Peter while we stayed and shopped - and the next thing I new she had grabbed the stroller, jumped on the tram without out us, and was gone.

One day we all drove up to visit Giethoorn, this little village with only canals and paths for walking or riding bikes - no cars. It was so quaint and calm and even though we were a little cold on the boat, it was nice to have almost no other boats on the canals.

THE BEST ice cream. De Hallen is an old tram depot in Amsterdam that not has lots of good food and shopping - but in a low-key kind of way. The restaurant area reminded us of Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia - kind of cafeteria style - and the shopping was a lot of locally-made products that made my heart flutter. Within the restaurant area we found I-Scream Waffle (well okay I saw something about it on instagram and went searching) and basically skipped lunch altogether so we would have room for the huge ice cream cones.

From our last day, right after I picked up my fancy glasses. Also my scarf is from the most beautiful store in the little town where we went to get poffertjes. I walked into the store, instantly loved it, went to find Stefan, walked back with him and it was closed! But the owner saw us standing out there and re-opened just for us. We chatted while I shopped and she told us all about finally opening her dream store after she turned forty and realized she didn't want to wait any more. She was kind and inspiring and I would like to be more like her.

Okay now I'm going to come right out and say it because this is my blog so I get to and I think I should for memory's sake: this wasn't my favorite trip. One reason being that we didn't plan enough for it. We were going to be there for over two weeks so we kind of had this mind set that there would be plenty of time to do everything we wanted and this could be a more laid back trip. I admit I was a full supporter of this plan, and I also admit that in the end I hated it. It made me feel like we were wasting time, it made me feel stressed trying to plan things on the fly. I swear there's psychology behind it - how it's hard to make that many decisions on the spot. Anyway, there were a bunch of problems we ran into and I won't go into it all, but there it is as a reminder to myself. Oh, and the trip home was brutal.

But luckily Peter is always cute, even when things are rough - and I have lots of video of him being cute while we were over there, I'm going to work on the video for all of this soon!


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