Thursday, June 22, 2017

Stoehrs in NL June 2017

Thursday June 8, 2017
Joe woke up bright and early to pick up Jackie's dad, mom and brother from Schiphol around 6am. They arrived at our home with enough time to say hello to Brooklyn before she head to school (peuterspeelzaal) for the morning. The boys recouped while Joe went to work. Jackie dragged jetlagged Sharon along to Caleb's swim lesson. 
Caleb loves his swim lessons, photo courtesy of Grandma #calebdai #waterbug #lovestosplash #kickkickkick 
We spent the rest of the day relaxing, letting the Stoehr family start to adjust to the new timezone.

Friday June 9, 2017
We spent the day relaxing some more while the Stoehrs adjusted to the 6 hour different timezone. 
We crunched the numbers for our Den Haag daytrip. It was cheaper to rent a car for a day than to all (or a partial car worth of people) to train to Den Haag. Hertz on the High Tech Campus is closed on the weekends so we picked it up Friday and returned it before Monday morning, making Sunday morning English mass easier to get to from the new house. We used to be a 15-20 minute walk. If we had to I was going to bike the 2 kids in their trailer from the new house and Joe would drive the 3 Stoehrs in the BMW after removing the kids carseats. 

Saturday June 10, 2017
Today we drove up to Den Haag (The Hague) & took the tram out to Scheveningen strand (beach).
We parked at a Chinatown parking garage. Joe went to get a haircut while Jackie (after nursing Caleb) showed the Stoehrs some historic sites.
Fontein graaf Willem II & Ridderzaal (Hall of the Knights) at Binnenhof (Inner Court), the old historic political heart of Den Haag (The Hague)
Grandma & Brooklyn at Hovijver Lake & The Binnenhof, the oldest Parliament house in the world still in use, located in Den Haag (The Hague) 
Hovijver Lake & The Binnenhof, The Hague
Caleb playing in the sand at Scheveningen beach
Brooklyn & Caleb making sandcastles at Scheveningen beach

Grandma playing in the sand with her grandkids at Scheveningen beach. Brooklyn has seashells
Brooklyn checking out the cold North Sea beach waters with Grandma and Grandpa at Scheveningen
Brooklyn checking out the water with Grandpa. oooh so cold! 
Brooklyn has really developed a fear of the waves since our time in Portugal. Looks like less beach trips in store for us this summer and more beachside lakes. Besides with how cold the water is, we wouldn't be there to go into the water anyways. The North Sea is cold!
Brooklyn on Jackie's shoulders at Scheveningen 

Brooklyn, Jackie, Rick & Caleb at Scheveningen beach
Grandpa and Caleb at Scheveningen beach

Jackie & Caleb at Scheveningen strand (beach) 
Jackie and her Dad at Scheveningen beach
Mama, Caleb, Grandma selfie at Scheveningen strand (beach)

Sunday June 11, 2017
Opening presents from Grandma and Grandpa
Caleb got some Push and Go construction trucks.
Brooklyn got some Melissa & Doug Water Wow books which are awesome! 
We drove over to Sunday morning mass. 
After Joe picked up groceries, Sharon made strawberry rhubarb crumble. 
After naps, Sharon and Jackie took the kids to the playground down the street. Caleb wanted to climb, climb, climb. Up the steps, up the slide, etc. 

Monday June 12, 2017
Today we relaxed while Joe went to work. The kids played with playdough and sidewalk chalk. 
Rick and Jackie made a run to Het Goed to drop off a load of secondhand goods, then the hardware store in search of a putty knife to clean between the patio pavers and finally the liquor store to pickup some nice scotch. I love Stigro with their plentiful taste pours before purchasing. 
Caleb 51 weeks old #calebdai #sockmonkey #51weeksold #11monthsold
Brooklyn joining Caleb where she got smacked by him which apparently he found quite funny...#troublemaker
Brooklyn did not take an afternoon nap today. 
Rick and Jackie also made a run to the dump today to dispose of a few bigger broken items. The new house is starting to feel like a house. 
We had shorma for dinner tonight. 

Tuesday June 13, 2017
Brooklyn's turn to wear the dress Grandma made.  say cheese  
Once Caleb woke up from his morning nap, we went out shopping.
Sharon picked up a few nice knits at the Eindhoven Tuesday Market which has tons of booths selling fabrics. Jackie ran a few more errands.
We ate lunch out at Happy Italy on Catherinaplein in Eindhoven Centrum. 

Jackie forgot how big the pizzas were. We had lots of leftovers for lunch the next day. 
We all dropped off Brooklyn at afternoon school which had a lot of tears. Rick and Andy walked by Jackie's old house and neighborhood before heading to the record store. Sharon and Jackie went to the bakery and the sewing store. Jackie got a call from school that Brooklyn had not stopped crying. She would only stop if she was held but then the teachers couldn't do anything with the other kids. She cried so much, she spit up on her pretty dress. Since she didn't nap yesterday, we figured she was just tired. Jackie and Sharon went to pickup Brooklyn early since she was overtired. It may be that there is a new main teacher in her classroom and she hasn't quite warmed up to her yet. Or its the excitement or having family here visiting and doesn't want to miss out on anything while at school. Jackie wore Brooklyn in the ergo hoping it would help her relax and fall asleep. No such luck.
Sharon helped make lasagna for dinner. We ate dinner on the patio again. 
After the kids went to bed we started a bonfire in the firepit.
Backyard firepit marshmellow roasting, Netherlands style using giant wooden chopsticks #usewhatyouhave #marshmellowroasting #firepit 

Wednesday June 14, 2017
Caleb developed a fever around 101. 
During Caleb's morning naptime, Brooklyn asked if we could paint her toes. She then asked for Mama and Grandma to paint theirs too. 
Toenail painting #dutchbrooklyn #firstpedicure #pinktoes 
An hour after paracetamol, the fever was still at 38.4. He was not nursing like normal, spitting it out like Jackie tasted funny. 
We walked over to Stadswandel Park. Brooklyn rode her bike (hopefully will wear her out for a good nap). Caleb rode in the stroller and Chance got a walk in the new neighborhood. 
Today a walk to the park with these sweeties 

Happy boy swinging with Grandpa #calebdai #grandpasboy 
Leftover pizza and soup for lunch. 
Caleb's fever was close to normal with the aid of Tylenol (paracetamol) so that was good. He had soft messy poops which is very rare for him so it might be GI-related. We had just booked a farmhouse near Bruges, Belgium to stay at for the weekend. Of course a kid decides to get sick then. 
Where did my baby boy go? #calebdai #littleboy #climbingboy #almost1yearold #timeslowdown
Caleb took a third nap today at 5pm. Poor little guy.
Joe made lamb for dinner. We started to eat outside on the patio but the flies were awful. They must know how good of a cook Joe is. 

Thursday June 15, 2017
Brooklyn spent the morning at school. She had a rough time at dropoff with Dad, but 15 minutes later he got a call from his teacher saying she is OK, not crying anymore and playing with other kids.
Caleb's temperature was normal before nap, which was after the paracetamol should have worn off. He still felt warm and sticky though. 
Caleb is happy playing in a box 
With the move, we've left 2 large empty boxes out in the living room on either side for the kids to play with. One for Brooklyn, one for Caleb. They then crawl back and forth between the 2, trading spaces, racing and playing together happily. It's sweet to see them starting to play and interact together now. 
After a quick lunch, Jackie went to High Tech Campus with Joe to pick up the rental car. Joe's car had dark interior, so he agreed to take Chance with him and the boys (Rick & Andy). Jackie and Sharon loaded up the BMW with the 2 kids and started our what should be 2 hour drive to Zedelgem, Belgium near Bruges. It never fails every trip through Belgium takes longer due to traffic and/or construction. We always have to go through Antwerp. We chose to leave separately so the girls and kids could avoid Antwerp at rush, drive during nap time and arrive with enough time to feed them dinner and settle them into bed in a new location. The boys would leave after Joe got off work and a quick dinner. 
Traffic was awful. On the already slow-moving ring road around Antwerp, there was a flipped over car somewhere on the E17 on the south side of Antwerp. We never saw a broken down car. Then there was a truck fire a few kilometers out of Antwerp. It was completely out when we went past so the slow traffic was just from lookey-loos. Once we were finally out of the stop and go traffic, the kids fell asleep. In the end it took an extra hour. There were no other faster routes to take. We just had to sit through it and listen to 2 cranky kids fighting sleep. 
Once we arrived, the farm owners showed us around their cute guesthouse. There was a grill and firepit. Joe was going to be a happy man. The tap water wasn't drinkable so we made a note of that and a few other things to pickup from the local grocery store, a Carrefour. 
The kids immediately took to sitting in these small rattan chairs. Caleb could not be more proud of himself climbing up and sitting like a big boy. 
Brooklyn figured out how to take selfies on Jackie's cell phone.
Andy enjoying a Westmalle Dubbel Belgian beer in Belgium
Joe enjoying our weekend vacay in Belgium

Friday June 16, 2017
Jackie is usually the travel planner and she went off of previous travel plans from the last time she visited Bruges in 2011, pre-kids, pre-internet smart phones for some things. 
She recalled parking near the train and bus station in an open parking lot and took a well-marked bus shuttle into the city center. The cost is included in the price. 
We both put a parking garage address near there. It didn't look right or list the parking plus shuttle deal so we circled around the area for another location and it was on the opposite side of the train tracks from where we wanted to be. We lost each other for a bit. After a few phone calls, we rejoined each other at a parking garage south of the bus and train station. 
We walked in a shipping container information office to get our parking garage tickets validated to use the bus as a shuttle. They bus ride with a little rough twisting and turning through all the old medieval streets of Bruges. We got off at De Dijver. It was around 10:30am so we decided it was best to do a Bruges canal boat tour right away before lunch and the kids get cranky for naps. We must have just missed the last canal boat because we had to wait a bit for the next one. Caleb was cranky and would not fall asleep in Jackie's ergo. She ended up nursing him within the carrier so he would be a little easier to manage while on the 30 minute boat tour.
Ready for our Bruges canal boat tour 

Church of Our Lady Bruges
Bruges canal boat tour, Bonifacius Bridge
Sint-Janshospitaal & Church of Our Lady Bruges beyond on Bruges canal boat tour 
The lowest bridge in Bruges 
Bruges canal boat tour 
Bruges canal boat tour, Belfry of Bruges beyond

Rick got a better picture on the Bruges canal boat tour of the Belfry beyond without people's heads 
Bruges canal boat tour 

Bruges canal boat tour, building circa 1608
Bruges canal boat tour 

Bruges canal boat tour, Brooklyn our budding photographer
Bruges canal boat tour 

Bruges canal boat tour, building dating from 16_7
Bruges canal boat tour

Bruges canal boat tour by Jan Eyck Square 

After the canal boat tour, it was almost noon so we decided to head to a lunch place because the kids would need to eat soon. Apparently all the places Jackie marked from their previous trip, were drinking pubs and not much for eating food. First we went to Brewery Bourgogne des Flandres which had no food. Next we walked up to the Markt and down a small alley to De Garre. From Jackie's recollection, Joe and her tried to have lunch there before but it was too busy for them then. It had great reviews on Tripadvisor. Come to find out they only do cheese and meat plates. We decide to stay put and let the kids munch on this while we enjoy coffee and beers.
Bruges Markt 

Caleb finally settled in for a nap in the ergo baby carrier on Jackie. 
We settled on a restaurant on the market square for lunch. 
Grandpa having mussels for lunch in Bruges Markt
We stopped in the famous German Christmas shop, K├Ąthe Wohlfahrt to shop for a bit.
Stadhuis on Burg Square
Burg Square restaurants with the Belfry beyond
Basilica of the Holy Blood 

Beautiful old buildings in Bruges 

Jan van Eyckplein (Jan Van Eyck Square)

Caleb watching the horse carriages in Jan van Eyckplein
Academiestraat in Bruges

Vlamingstraat in Bruges heading toward the Belfry & Markt

Vlamingstraat in Bruges
Bruges Markt 

Belfry of Bruges

Historic Bruges architecture 

Sharon picked out some Belgian lace for Jackie to give her from a birthday present. Brooklyn also found a nice lace Christmas ornament of the Nativity to put up on the tree this year.
The bus stop originally walked everyone to, did not appear to be heading toward the bus station. We walked toward the Markt to try to find a bus route back to our parked car.  
Steenstraat toward Bruges Markt 
Steenstraat with Belfry of Bruges beyond
We head back home to the farmhouse around 4pm.
Caleb loves climbing and sitting on these chairs 
The horses at the farmhouse we stayed

Saturday June 17, 2017
Today we decided to head to the beach 30 minutes away instead of back into Bruges.
We went to the city of Oostende (Ostend), Belgie (Belgium). It has a long stretch of sandy beach and a nice boardwalk. 
After parking the cars in a parking garage, we made our way to the beach. 
A major sandcastle exhibit was being built on the beach. Apparently it was for a Sand Sculpture Festival opening in about a week's time (June 24) through the rest of the summer. It was Disneyland Paris celebrating their 25th anniversary. It had all kinds of Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel sand sculptures. They truck in special sand and it takes a month to prepare by 40 artists from around the world. 10,000m² of 150 sculptures 2-6m tall takes an hour to circuit through all the sand sculptures. It is the largest festival of its kind (Guinness Book of Records 2010). 

Rick, Sharon and Andy head straight for the water while Joe, Jackie and the 2 kids played in the soft sand. 
Andy & Rick at the beach in Ostend, Belgium 
Jackie's parents at the beach in Ostend, Belgium

Jackie and Joe selfie on Ostend Beach 
Brooklyn playing in the sand 
Caleb playing in the sand 
Brooklyn enjoyed walking through the rippled warm tide pool because it was like a "muddy puddle" like in Peppa Pig. 

Brooklyn filling her sand bucket

Jackie dipped her toes in the Belgian North Sea 
Caleb playing in the sand with Dad 
Caleb watching Uncle Andy at the Ostend Beach in Belgium
Brooklyn buried Grandma and Mama's feet in the sand 
Brooklyn buried our feet in the sand 
Brooklyn filling her bucket some more with the water splashing

Lunch at Oceans restaurant on the Ostend beach boardwalk for delicious seafood 
Someone was so happy to be getting ice cream after lunch
Joe finally got himself a Belgian waffle 
Sharon & Jackie enjoying Belgian waffles with ice cream
Andy enjoying ice cream in Ostend, Belgium on the beach boardwalk 
Grandpa is always happy when there is ice cream 

Sunday June 18, 2017
We decided to head straight back to Eindhoven for Engilsh mass instead of trying to go into Bruges or even Ghent for a mass in different language. 
Once the kids settled down for naps, Jackie and Joe went to return the rental car.  
We spent time together as a family to enjoy Father's Day. 
We went to Stadwandel Park to take some family photographs.
Happy Father's Day Joe! We love you! 

So glad I got to spend Father's Day with my Dad! Love you! 

Grandparents & their Dutch-born grandchildren

Grandma and upside-down Brooklyn
Grandma and Brooklyn
Grandpa and Caleb

Grandpa swinging Brooklyn 

Andy and Jackie riding the tetter-totter like old times
Brooklyn swinging on Grandma's lap 
Caleb swinging on Grandpa's lap
Brooklyn swinging

Monday June 19, 2017
Brooklyn trying out Grandma's hair curlers. 
This morning, we baked Caleb's birthday cake
Caleb 52 weeks old 
Caleb 52 weeks old with Brooklyn 
After lunch, we filled their kiddy pool under the awning shade. It was rather cold water. 
After naps, we introduced the kids into water balloons. Of course Brooklyn did not want to pop any of them. Caleb wanted to chew on them and try to bite them to burst.

Caleb wearing Grandpa's reading glasses 
Bahaha  Brooklyn & Caleb at practically the same age wearing Grandpa's reading glasses 

Tuesday June 20, 2017
See separate post for Caleb 1st Birthday

Wednesday June 21
Caleb had an early morning so we let him get his morning nap in before we took the train up to Amsterdam. Joe would get off work as early as he could, load up all their luggage in the car and meet us at the airport hotel for dinner. 
Uncle Andy on the train in the Netherlands
Caleb and Grandpa on the train

We walked over to NEMO Science Museum to have lunch on the rooftop deck. Everyone took the stairs up while Jackie used her free Museum Pass to get into NEMO and take the elevator up with the kids in the stroller. Unfortunately she took the wrong elevator which placed her at the bottom of the terraced roof deck. Up a few steps and we rejoined together. The offerings for lunch were just eh. Chicken wraps, hot dogs, chicken legs, french fries, and drinks. 
Brooklyn loved running through the water features on the rooftop of NEMO 

Selfie at lunch on the rooftop deck of the children's NEMO Science Museum
Next we walked over to St. Nicolas Catholic Church, which Jackie had yet to go inside.
Church of Saint Nicolas (Sint-Nicolaaskerk) in Amsterdam interior

Next we had a few minute walk over to Our Lord in the Attic, a hidden 17th century Catholic church in an old Amsterdam canal house (Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder).
We decided not to pay the entrance fee and continued on. We walked down Oudezijds Voorburgwal. Usually Jackie walks people south down Damrak because it has a less seedy atmosphere. It is impossible to walk through the old city center and completely avoid the red light district. Today's walk was very uncomfortable. 
We detoured over to Dam Square to get away from some of the coffeeshops (pot shops), sex shops and prostitute windows. 
Next stop was the Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market). Rick needed to rest his legs so Jackie took Sharon into Delfts Blauwe (a Delfts style blue pottery store). She picked out a vase for her birthday that could still fit in her luggage home. 
Next she picked out 3 bags of tulip bulbs. The FDA approved stamp for Americans would not be available for purchase for a few more months (too early in season) so they decided to press their luck taking them through customs and not getting caught. The store clerk said to store them in a cold dark place until planting in the fall.
Beautiful Amsterdam architecture along Vijzelstraat
Rijksmuseum portal
Sharon, Brooklyn, Rick, Caleb & Andy in front of the I amsterdam sign in Museumplein.
We stopped and had a drink at Cobra Cafe. Jackie nursed Caleb.
Museumplein behind Rijksmuseum 
We sat down in the shade in the grass to let the kids run for a bit. 
There was a man blowing massive amounts of bubbles with a large rope wand. 
Caleb loving on Grandma 

Jackie's cell phone battery died in a flash. She caught the bus schedule for where to pickup the bus heading to the Ibis Schiphol Hotel. We walk over to the bus stop. The scrolling cue sign says a few more minutes until our bus. Then, they cycle through with a few trams coming by, but still same bus number dropping down the list and never coming. After 20 or more minutes waiting we notice that all the other people waiting at the stop with luggage had left. Several others begin the wait with us. Jackie asked a tram driver if he knows why the buses are delayed. No clue. Well shit. Jackie's phone is dead. Joe is on his way to the hotel. Do we try and get a taxi with 2 carseat-less children? Tram up to central station, train over to Schiphol station and then bus to the hotel? Jackie uses Rick's work phone to update Joe on our predicament. He is maybe 20 minutes out from Amsterdam, rush hour traffic pending. We decide to meet near the US embassy at the south end of Museumplein. He will shuttle us in 2 shifts to the hotel. Ugh. What a nightmare. First he takes the kids, Sharon and Jackie wedged in between the 2 carseats. Jackie starts feeding them to keep them calm in the traffic in anticipation for a later than planned dinner. We get them checked into their room and bring their luggage in. Brooklyn is running around crazy by this point. Joe heads back to get Rick, Andy and the bugaboo stroller. Sharon, Jackie and the kids order burgers, french fries and beer for dinner at the hotel. The boys eventually join us at the hotel bar/diner. 
Caleb saying goodbye to Uncle Andy 

Jackie had the car prepped with the kids pajamas and lovey/pacifer to help them fall asleep in their carseats on the way home. The end of the trip was a little hectic and did not go exactly as it was planned, but all seemed to have a great time none-the-less. 

Although it's a day early, Jackie's got to wish her mom, Sharon Stoehr, a very Happy Birthday since she is travelling back to the U.S on her special day. We've had a great 2 weeks together in the Netherlands. Today we got to spend the day in Amsterdam gifting her with a Delft vase & more tulip bulbs for the garden. Here we all are taking a selfie at lunch on the rooftop deck of the children's NEMO Science Museum. We sure are gonna miss you Grandma! Happy Birthday!

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