Monday, September 30, 2013

I AMsterdam...

Thanks to John's mom being willing to watch our kiddos again, I was able to join John on his business trip to Amsterdam.  
My favorite day was visiting his office in the town of Delft.  His colleague offered the company bike to me so I was able to explore the town like a true Dutch girl.  John compared the town to Bell's from Beauty and the Beast.  It was encircled by a moat, city wall, and castle gate.  Several famous Dutch painters lived and studied in this town.  Johannes Vermeer, the artist who painted Girl With a Pearl Earring is among them.

We were able to meet for lunch at an outdoor cafe.  This clip was taken right before he tried to give me a ride on the back of the bike and we almost ended up in the canal.  That would have made for a good story.


Delft was also made famous because of it's Delft pottery.  I visited a city museum explaining the history and now I am completely fascinated by the stuff.

This might be on my top ten favorite moments ever!  I paid five dollars to see the inside of the town square church and it came with a token to climb a 350-step wood spiral staircase to the steeple.  It took me about twenty minutes and I was the only tourist in site.  When I finally got to the the top I opened the old door to a stone balcony with church bells and the most breathtaking view of the city below.  It made me cry.

Another unforgettable experience was visiting the secret annex of Anne Frank located on a busy street in Amsterdam.  On the right is the actual bookcase that led to her family's hideout.  The museum was thought-provoking and moving and it helped me understand her story on a deeper level.   
We enjoyed lots of cuisine from all over the world (and lots of talk of pipeline).  Anything for escargot!
Every other street in Amsterdam has a canal.  And everyone bikes the  cobble stone streets.  It is surprising to see girls biking to work in high-heels and men in suits.  John kept humming the Wizard of Oz because there were girls everywhere with high buns, black booties, and straight backs steadily pedaling beside us in the streets.
John had Saturday off for a little sight-seeing.  Museums are always more fun holding hands with him.

We took a canal cruise to the Van Gogh Museum.  It was three floors full of his paintings.
This is his actual  palette.  We learned he made the decision to become a painter at the age of 27.  He only painted just over ten years before his death.  It was inspiring to see what he accomplished in that time.
He changed art forever with his unique style and use of color.
After the museum we continued our canal cruise around the city.  This wasn't the boat, but Van Gogh had me seeing complimentary colors left and right.

The next day John's colleague took us on his personal boat around the canals of a smaller town, Leidenberg, outside Amsterdam.  It was so picturesque and perfect...

There were lots of old windmills on the shore and the waterlilies on the edges of the water were gorgeous.  
Oh to have a canal in my backyard and a beautiful boat to cruise to a cafe for lunch.  Sometimes ignorance is bliss.  My city isn't going to be quite the same after this Sunday afternoon. 

I  learned on this trip that I am definitely a Holland girl at heart.  So many great juxtapositions...High-heels and bicycles, canals and cafes, artists and engineers.  I will never forget my Dutch date in Amsterdam!  Thanks honey, and thanks a million to my mother-in-law for making this trip possible!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

1 Week Before Rissy Turns 1.

This week Rissy cut her first tooth, took her first steps, and learned how to drive. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Enjoying Nature...

Introducing our kids to a banana slug:)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Beautiful British Columbia...

This past week we pushed our double stroller to the limits.  We pulled it up mountains, off trails, along rivers and through waves.  It is like our Thingamajigger from the Cat in the Hat... always ready for when James asks, "Mom, dad, are we going on an adventure?"

Picking up local fruit at Coombs for our journey across the island.

Stacking up the kids.  We could have three more kids, easy with this thing;)

We watched a salmon run where thousands of salmon swim up river (and up a waterfall) to spawn.  It was an awesome phenomenon to see in person.

Getting outfitted to ride the waves.  

View from our hotel room in Tofino.

Tofino is so enchanting.  It is easy to see why they filmed the movie Twilight here.

A sandy face only a mother could still smooch.

We were in awe by the old tall Douglas Firs in Cathedral Grove.  This is my happy place!
On the way home from the airport last night I was noticing our stroller was a little a lot worse for the wear.  But, ahh, if those wheels could talk.  
What a week we had exploring the Russell's stomping grounds.  Thank you so much for opening your beautiful home to us, feeding us impeccable meals, and taking us across the island!  Your scenery is so sublime!  Love you guys!
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