Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Day in Delft

The morning we arrived in Delft felt like a dream.  Partly because I was so tired after a ten hour flight with two kids.  But mostly because it was just magic.  We took a train from the airport and the sun was just rising.  Everything looked golden.  Out the window there were farm fields, windmills, old churches and changing fall leaves.  As we arrived to our hotel the sun was breaking through the stained glass windows of the Old Church across the street.  The hotel staff opened the door and said, "Good morning madame, you must be the Gregory’s, we've been expecting you."  They helped us down a narrow cobblestone street with a keystone above a doorway that read 1650.  We passed by a fresh fruit stand, and many people biking to work  as we walked to the resident quarter of our hotel.  We put our things in our room and went down to the empty dining room for a traditional Dutch breakfast where we ate the best fresh bread of our lives.   After we went back to our room we closed the blackout shades and all took a good two hour nap from our jet lag.  John went to work, and the kids and I explored, chased birds in the city square, and played with the other children on the statues around town.  We met John at the city gate at 5:15 and walked to an outdoor cafĂ© for dinner.  James ran around with some other kids in the streets while we ate and enjoyed the perfect fall night.  We had chocolate cake and hot cocoa for dessert and headed back to our hotel.  We gave the kids baths, put them to bed, and John and I stayed up to watch a movie on netflix.   Then we just repeated the day, with only slight variation for the next two and a half weeks.  It was like the movie Ground Hog Day…Just Holland style, and much more heavenly:)... 
The location felt like we had stepped back in time.  For transportation we rented this three seater  for the kids and I.  Everyone in town gets around on bikes and this is how the moms and dads carry the kids who are too young to pedal.  

Many days we were able to meet John for lunch at an outdoor cafe or for a picnic in a park.

This was always our meeting spot.  The old city gate and drawbridge.

With hotel room service and housekeeping I was able to spend more time and energy playing with the kids.  
 Here are a few of my favorite memories...
Rissy going wild for Indian food.
James saying, "mom, dad, you're my best friends!"
Exploring the town's old Cathedrals with the kids and watching them wander back and forth between the pews.
Riding the bike all over town and being able to kiss Rissy on the head as I peddled
Rissy ringing the bell on the bike.
Playing toys with James in the room on rainy days.
Watching the kids play in the city square.
Rissy saying"wow, wow, wow" at the beautiful store windows.
What a big help James was and how good we was on the plane.

 We stayed right next door to "The Old Church."  The location felt like a fairy-tale.
 The town square.

 As I mentioned before, the paparazzi were camped out in front of our hotel for an entire Saturday.   It all looked exciting to me so after a long family bike ride I grabbed my camera to try to capture the commotion while John took the kids back to our room.  I was on my tiptoes behind the crowd trying to see what all the fuss was about when a tall gentleman took pity on me and let me stand in front of him.  Then somehow over a period of an hour, one by one, the paparazzi noticed my picture taking enthusiasm and let me inch my way forward until I was standing right behind the barricade.  Being surrounded by photographers talking about their iso settings and natural lighting was so exciting. I didn't know who I was taking pictures but I clicked along with them.  After the fact I realized I took pictures of Bono, Desmond Tutu, and Kofi Annan along with the Dutch royal family.  It was an experience I will never forget.

                 The week before we came home the town turned into a winter wonderland with lights strung above the canals and the church bells playing Christmas carols. 
 John and I kept saying how this trip reminded us of  when we traveled to the small towns with his old job.  Holland has more photo opts than Helper, Utah but we were just as happy in both places.  We lived simpler, had more time to focus on each other, and soak up the beauty of this world. I will always wonderlust for times like these.  XOXO, Jess

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Scenes From Our Sunday...

Happy Monday in Shanghai sweetie.  XOXO, Jess and the kids.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

My Love and Joy...

Rissy prefers running to walking these days. 
I love quiet Friday nights at the zoo.
It is looking very merry and bright.  
A perfect evening stroll in the park.
 Playing in a "blizzard" of bubbles before bed.

 A surprise skype with Daddy as he scaled The Great Wall of China.  All is good at the Gregory house. Goodnight:)

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