Thursday, December 31, 2015

Holiday week 2015

Dec 23-Dec 31

Nikki finally arrived on Tuesday Dec 23 afternoon (our time) after a rather long travel situation at the airport in the States. She took the train in from Schiphol and Jackie and Brooklyn met her at the Eindhoven train station and walked her back to our home.
Dec 24

We drove down to Maastricht for the day since it was one of the few local places with a Christmas market still open on Christmas Eve.
First we stopped at Bisschopsmolen for pie and coffees.
Onze Lieve Vrouwebasiliek (Basilica of Our Lady)

Next we stopped in the Derlon Hotel to see the old Roman Ruins.
We walked through the Christmas Market in Vrijhof. It was like every other Dutch market we've been to, it just doesn't compare to Germany.
Brooklyn had to say hello to the dog in the bookstore in the old Dominican Church.
The view south of Maastricht from the Sint Servaasburg (Saint Servaas Bridge)
Brooklyn walking across the Sint Servaasburg (Saint Servaas Bridge)

Mommy and Brooklyn selfie on the Sint Servaasburg (Saint Servaas Bridge)
Selfie on the Sint Servaasburg (Saint Servaas Bridge) in Maastricht
Another view south of Maastricht from the Sint Servaasburg (Saint Servaas Bridge)
The girls in Maastricht by the Sint Servaasburg

At lunch at Benice Eetcafé
Lounging post lunch, someone's getting a little too comfortable
Cheesin post lunch
Chilling in Maastricht on Christmas Eve #dutchbrooklyn #maastricht #christmaseve2015
We continued our Christmas tradition with Brooklyn of getting to open one present on Christmas Eve.

Ooo the Fisher Price Little People Nativity Set!

We spent the night assembling the Ikea play kitchen and wrapping the remaining gifts.
Looks like Santa stopped by our house tonight for Brooklyn

Dec 25
Merry Christmas everyone!
Christmas morning gift opening with coffee, presents and A Christmas Story movie
Merry Christmas baby girls
She wants everyone's phone

gift opening
Nikki and Brooklyn
Ooo a bike
My own Nativity
Brooklyn opening gifts

Brooklyn's goat Christmas ornament from Vienna
Brooklyn's new winter hat from Nikki
Ooo a shopping cart full of crates of wooden food
Christmas morning selfie! #MerryChristmas #Christmas2015 #redoverload #familysnuggles
Dancing to the music on the Nativity Set
Nap time in the travel tent in preparation for our trip to Barcelona
We skyped the Shugarts household for gift opening (our afternoon, their morning). Since we were busy watching the ipad screen, we didn't get any photos of her opening her gifts from them.
Trying out her bike...she needs to grow a few more inches...
For Christmas dinner Joe made smoked chicken on the grill, green beans, Sharon's country loaf of bread, and Nikki made mac and cheese.
After Brooklyn went to bed we played Rummy 500 & watched It's a Wonderful Life.

Sat Dec 26
Loving her new baby doll from Grandma & Grandpa
Thanks for the new outfit Great Grandma Stoehr #dearlyloved
We went ice skating in Son, well Nikki skated, we watched and escorted Brooklyn to walk on the ice.
Nikki ice skating

Nikki holding Brooklyn on the ice
Brooklyn and Momma watching the ice skaters
Momma walking Brooklyn on the ice

Nikki holding Brooklyn on the ice

Brooklyn found a hole her height to peak through and watch the ice skaters

Nikki, Brooklyn and Jackie at the ice ring
Brooklyn on the ice with Nikki

Brooklyn fell asleep in the car so we drove around a little showing Nikki the windmill in Neunen and the Helmond castle.
While Brooklyn continued to nap in the car, Joe & Nikki walked to Eindhoven Centrum with Chance.

Sun Dec 27

We drove to Brussels, Belgium for the day. As we circle around for a parking garage, we drove by the famous Manneken Pis, peeing boy statue.
Grand Place

Horse-drawn carriage in Grand Place
We had lunch at Le Roy D'Espagne: mussels, lasagna bolgonese, etc.
Momma and Brooklyn selfie in Grand Place, Brussels

Selfie in Grand Square

Next we walked around a bit and then enjoyed drinks at Delirium Cafe.
Final stop before getting back in the car: Belgian waffles at Maison Dandoy

Brooklyn fell asleep in the car on the way to the Atomium. Joe stayed in the car with her while Nikki and Jackie went in the museum.
The Atomium is now a symbol for Brussels. It was built for the 1958 World Fair.
A few shots of the exterior of Atomium at dusk.

We walked from exhibit to exhibit in many of the atom spheres, connected by escalators and stairs with many viewpoints outside.

There was a permanent exhibition about the history of the building. Then there were a few temporary exhibits that really didn't really compare to the permanent one.
At the end we took an elevator to the top atom with a panorama view.
A few shots of the exterior at night

Monday Dec 28
While Joe was at work, Jackie and Brooklyn took Nikki on the train up to Utrecht.

Domtoren, Domplein and Domkerk, the only remaining functioning part of the church that still stands after the 1674 storm that took down the nave that connected the tower.
Domkerk Interior (St Martin's Cathedral)
Domtuin Cloister
While walking, Brooklyn fell asleep in the stroller before we got to lunch.
Nikki and Jackie ate lunch at Restaurant Oudaen, which was an old medieval castle now brewery.
Playing with her new Ikea play kitchen, Thanks Grandpa and Grandma (Sharon)

Tuesday Dec 29
Cutest Christmas jammies, Thanks Sharon!

Jackie and Brooklyn went to morning swimming lessons while Nikki slept in.
We went and ate lunch at La Trappe Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven, one of the few Trappist brewing monasteries outside of Belgium.
Brooklyn finally fell asleep in the car on the drive to Kinderdijk. She needed a longer nap so Nikki went to explore the windmills of Kinderdijk while Jackie stayed in the car for her to get a decent amount of sleep.
Nikki wearing wooden Dutch shoes at Kinderdijk
Brooklyn trying on shoes at Kinderdijk

Wednesday Dec 30
We took it easy today so Brooklyn could get a decent nap at home. We went to Praxis in search of cheap tulip bulbs and then to see the raised bike circle, the Hovenring.
We had to drop-off Chance early due to the New Years holiday, but it was well-worth it because it let's her avoid the crazy fireworks in the city centrum that takes place in every Dutch town. She will be much more at peace out in the countryside at Joekelz.

Thursday Dec 31
On New Years Day we drove up to Amsterdam to explore. We parked at a parking garage and walked over to Anne Franks House hoping for a short line early in the day.
Prinsengracht canal
There was a 2 hour line at the Anne Frank House. We journeyed on to explore Amsterdam.
We saw Niewe Kerk, Dam Square, and then walked through the Red Light District.
For lunch we went to Chinatown for some of the best duck at Wing Kee
Brooklyn now wants to try to use her own utensil herself at every meal
After lunch we went to take the Gary Line #1 Canal Cruise tour departing from the Damrak

Brooklyn walking around waiting for Canal Cruise time
Brooklyn trying on mommy's sunglasses
Amsterdam canal boat
Amsterdam canal cruise selfie
Girls on the Amsterdam canal tour

Mint Hotel, now a Doubletree by Hilton
Montelbaanstoren, a tower built in 1561 as part of the Amsterdam wall
canal houses

Brooklyn insisted on holding the selfie stick for most of the tour which created some interesting shots...

Brooklyn listening to the commentary
The Golden Bend of the Herengracht canal where you can see 7 bridges in a row

Mansions along the Herengracht canal

Brooklyn sticking her head out the window like a dog
Huis van Bartolotti whose facade curves with the canal
along the Herengracht canal

EYE - New Dutch Film Institute by Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, represents the visual landmark of the new Amstrdam Noord quarter.
Muziek Gebouw Aan 'tIj & Bimhuis

St Nicholas
Amsterdam Centraal station
We took a tram down to the Van Gogh Museum.
First Jackie and Nikki in front of the iamsterdam sign
Inside the Van Gogh Museum
With an early morning flight out the next morning we were rather lame on New Years Eve and went to bed well before midnight. Our crazy Dutch neighbors made sure we knew it was New Years with their endless fireworks throughout the night.

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