Monday, June 25, 2012

This & That




Okay, so I haven't been very diligent about posting while on holiday. The truth is that running after Sam and Luka all day leaves little time to edit photos and post on the blog...I know I know this is reality some of you are saying. I miss daycare, school and babysitters. I know I know I am spoiled. But the first step is admitting it right, ha ha.

Well, just wanted to bring you up to date. Today we leave Holland and head off to our new adventure in Chile. I don't know why but I woke up today kind of nervous. I think I am feeling strange about moving to a first world city...is that crazy or what. I guess I got used to living in 3rd world countries and all the negative and positive things that come along with that. Living in the 3rd world is unique and I have grown to love it. Quiet, less traffic, not many places to go, easy to visit family and friends, distances are shorter....now we move to Santiago de Chile...probably one of the most modern cities in South America and expensive! But don't get me wrong I think I will love it, but the change is just a little strange. We will be living in a city with highways!!!! Wow! And I can probably buy everything I need in one grocery store and we have a every store imaginable (this might be dangerous).

Just wanted to let you know what was going through my mind this morning...

Oh, for those of you that subscribe to the blog I will be making retroactive updates on things that happened in the past so if you receive the update and think, "Is Melissa crazy wasn't Father's Day a while ago!" Just make sure to look at the date...I will always post it with the correct date and it will be in order on the blog, but you might not necessarily receive it in your inbox in the proper order. I will try to use some time this week to get caught up. 

I have so many things I wanted to share about Bolivia before we left that I didn't have time to do and things about our vacation...so stay tuned!

For now I will finish packing our SEVEN suitcases, car seat, booster seat, stroller and two carry ons for the drive to Schipol (Airport in Amsterdam and I am really sorry if I spelled that wrong).

Next time I post it will be from Santiago...okay, I need a new name for the blog people!

PS The photo above is of the boys and their cousins Benthe & Olin...aren't they cute?!??!?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pannenkoeken Saturday (Pancake Saturday)

Oma Coby doesn't really like to cook, but her specialty is making Dutch pancakes, or as well call them "Pannenkoeken." There are thicker than a crepe, thinner than an American pancake and they are DELICIOUS! You can eat them sweet or savory and my kids LOVE them. But they especially like making them with Oma Coby.

Dutch families all over the country eat pancakes for dinner. In the states we are used to having them for breakfast, but here they are lunch or dinner. I don't think they eat pancakes for breakfast. 

But you don't hear me complaining. I love something sweet in the evening!

Here you can see Sam's excitement as he shakes the batter and prepares it for Oma. He really wanted to be part of the festivities.
Oma Coby's special technique for making the perfect pancake.
I think Luka might be the future pancake maker in our family. I am not really good at making them. I have tried, but nada.

Thanks Coby for such a delicious dinner! Luka had three pancakes and Sam had 2.5...too bad we can't have pancakes every night.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Luka's Favorite Place in Holland: Nienoord

Today, finally after a much anticipated wait we made it to Nienoord - a kid's park in Holland. It is a very simple park with many different playgrounds, sandboxes, a petting zoo and some (but very simple) mechanical rides and of course the BIGGEST slide Luka has even seen. We went three years ago with Luka and that slide is something he talks about ALL the time...really he mentions it at least once a week all year long.

So we couldn't leave Holland without another visit. I wish I had taken a close-up of Luka on the slide, but here you can see JJ & Sam and Luka sliding down in all their glory. I think Luka went down this slide like 15 times. He couldn't get enough.

I did manage to get a shot of Sammy's face as he slid down with Daddy. I think he liked it don't you. The boy just turned two but is a dare devil to say the least. He will try anything, especially if his brother did it. Oh, in the corner of the photo you can see Luka's joy...ha ha ha. You will see Sam wearing his Bumba outfit in all the photos. He doesn't want to take off the costume. Bumba is a Dutch kid's television show (really its from Belgium, but really popular in the Netherlands) that he loves and his aunt Marielle bought him this costume and I can't seem to pry it off him. But he looks so cute, right?
After the slide it was off to the races! 
It was very special to be there with Opa Jan Erik - JJ's Dad. A couple of months ago we almost lost him and it is amazing and very emotional to see him playing with the kids and enjoying life. 
Luka didn't like it so much, but Sam LOVED the petting zoo. 
Here you can see THREE generations of van Herksen men! Don't JJ and his father look alike? 
Sam especially loved the mechanical tractor ride. Here you can see him waving and saying, "Ciao." 
Well, Nienoord until next year or until Luka grows you out...but I guess Sam will ask to come for a couple of years after that!

Addicted to Aquaplay

For the last three years every time we visit any country in Europe JJ talks about buying Aquaplay for the boys. He talks about it so much I really think it is more for him. Finally this year was the year for Aquaplay to make its way into our lives. JJ went online to Maarkplaats - the equivalent to Craig's List in Holland and bought this ginormous set (side note: we are supposed to fit this into our suitcase to Chile...ha ha ha) for half the price. These toys are pricey so half the price is a good deal.

This afternoon JJ, Opa and the boys put the set together that we picked up two days ago. They loved it. I am sitting outside with Sam at the moment and posting as I watch him play. 

I highly recommend this toy. Not sure if you can buy it in the states. It is a Swedish company, but take a look on the website. It is a great way to teach kids how canals and water systems work. Sam is more concerned about watering the plants in the garden with the water from the canals, but when Luka was out earlier he got a kick out of using the levys and pumps to move the water along.

Here is a video on Aquaplay. Isn't it great!

I just had to post about it because JJ didn't give up until we had it...let's see if it makes the trip to Chile!??!?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Taking It Easy in Bedum

Okay, it has been over two weeks since my last post and since we left our home in Bolivia. We are on Holiday in Europe and I haven't had one spare second to update the blog, edit photos or just relax. People always ask me, "How do you do so much? kids, blog, volunteer, work, send thank you notes, etc." I thought I was wonder woman...no, not really...I just have a nanny when I am home. Now on holiday with a very active two year old and a five year old I see that I am very very blessed to be able to have help when I need it and without the help of the nanny I wouldn't be able to do any of the other things. So I salute all those moms out there that do it on their own and for those that I know blog as well...well you really are super women in my book.

So what have we been up to. We landed in Holland on the 27th of May and then on the 30th we flew to Mallorca where we spent an amazing week in an island that feels very much like home to me and the boys (including JJ). My grandmother is from there, so I have a special connection to the place, but as a family we have shared so many good times there that I think we are going to make it a tradition to visit once a year or every two years if that is possible. This was our third trip to Majestic Mallorca. This trip was extra special, Anniek, JJ's sister accompanied us....I promise to back track and make a post on that very soon. 

So now we are back in Holland and that is fun as well..a little colder and cloudier than Mallorca, but spending time with family is very important to us and since we only do it once a year we try to enjoy every minute of it. 

We are staying in Bedum...the small village where JJ's father and stepmother have their house. JJ lived here for four years when he was very little and but always visited on the weekends and this is basically his childhood home, well the only one still in the family. His mom's house was sold a couple of years ago and I know he also misses that beautiful house that was in the city.

But here we are in Bedum and this morning we explored a little and JJ showed the boys some of the things he used to do when he was little...feeding the ducks...exploring outside the house....riding bike, etc.

Here are the horses that Sam and JJ saw this morning during their bike ride with Opa Jan Erik. Unfortunately there aren't enough bikes for the whole family, but Sam was able to hitch a ride on Papa's back using our favorite Ergo Baby Carrier (for those of you with babies we highly recommend it). We don't leave the house without it (since Sam was born and Luka was about 2). Sam loves riding bike on Papa's back. For my American friends reading this blog...yes, they are very lax here when it comes to bike safety. At first I could cringe when Luka would ride without a helmet, but their Dutch father insists that it is safe and they don't need it. Well, today they were only riding in the village with NO traffic, but this week when we rent bikes as a family the boys will be wearing helmets and have proper bike seats. Although not sure who will ride with me...but they will probably be safer on Papa's back with the Ergo...ha ha ha.


Great, we found them...and there were tons of ducks. Next time we will bring a little more bread.
At the top of the post you can see Sammy and his look of joy when feeding the ducks. He was extremely excited and couldn't contain himself.

I promise to make more updates from our trip and keep you posted on our arrival to Chile. We "move" to Chile on June 26th. Kind of strange to "move" directly from your holiday. This life is just strange sometimes.