Tuesday, March 27, 2012

And We are here...

After one final goodbye toast at the airport our adventure was under way.  
Our flight to Amsterdam in November taught us that sitting in one row of an airplane with two small children was not a good idea. So- this time we decided to divide and conquer.  
Can you guess who won?
Certainly not me or the people around me. Luke was asleep before we even reached the airport. Audrey- not so much. She was the life of the plane- until take off- and then- she was the nightmare of the plane! We were just glad that we were not on The Today show the following day for being asked to leave the plane. After 20 minutes of ear piercing screeching Miss Personality was fast asleep and remained so until Amsterdam.
Here's our first view of our temporary new homeland-

and a glimpse of the inside of our house- I'll do a post on that when our belongings arrive. 
For the last (almost) three weeks we have been trying to grasp what it truly means to live abroad. We've learned a few things about Dutch Culture (that's a post in itself)- but here are a few glimpses of what we have experienced thus far:

Flower Markets on every corner
Fish shops every few streets

A weekend Market at the end of our Street every Saturday

Beautiful canals filled with ducks to feed...

New foods...
The kids have had quite the adventurous spirit. Luke ate Thai food the very first night and Audrey devoured this bright orange concoction that the bake shop called and American Filet (I thought I was ordering a burger!
 I on the other hand enjoy the comfort food from home-
Photo courtesy of Luke- such a fun travel partner!

Spring in Amsterdam...

Checking out the playgrounds...
 there are over 400 according to the book Play Amsterdam!
I am going to try (TRY) to play in most of them- so far we have found 10 and they all have SAND, 
some have farm animals, and my favorites have full restaurants!
(Luke is wearing wooden shoes!)
Testing out our newest form of transportation... 
(this was for photo sake only- but families do ride like this!)

It truly is unbelievable the amount of bikes here- and everyone has one! (I can probably do a post per week just of the types of bikes you can get for yourself and your family)

spending time together as a brood abroad...
when you don't have many belongings with you- you have to get really creative in ways to entertain yourself and the kids...

We received our first shipment of belongings- and the kids instantly reached for their favorites- they played for hours with their lost best friends!
The reality of living here really is beginning to sink in!

We are grateful for this time together as a family and know that it will truly strengthen us- 

Look how we found Big brother protecting his sister on the first night in our new home!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bon Voyage

Thanks to my dear friend Kristy I will be able to attempt to blog our adventures in Amsterdam! We are two weeks into this adventure and I finally have our computer to start the blog- now if only I could translate the settings from dutch to english I could do this a lot quicker! Maybe one day I will learn the "chinese language of Europe" as one of Derek's coworkers calls it. 

Well the adventure could not begin without saying our goodbyes- or as I would rather say- "see you in a while" or as luke would say- "see you on the puter"

We truly are so blessed and we felt so loved during the leaving process. We cannot even begin to thank everyone for the love that was shown, the encouraging words that were shared, and the drinks (including the Wiedel Jameson shots) that were consumed to celebrate our journey.
 We know that time away from family will be challenging. We will dearly miss family gatherings and impromptu cousin playdates. No computer screen time can make up for hugs and kisses, but they will do for now. So PLEASE!!!! skype us, tango us or send a good old fashion care package :) (andy and kimmie- i can't find photos with you in them- I'll devout an entire post to you later!)

And to our friends- new and old- we are truly going to miss you- life is so much better with close friendships- and we have amazing ones! 
From childhood friends...

to college friends....

 and new and dear mommy friends...
you make life easier and more enjoyable. We look forward to visits home and hope that if you are in the market for a European vacation- you choose Amsterdam. Maybe we can relive some college memories (just kidding- we are mature grown ups!)

There are mixed emotions in leaving- 
I wanted to act like a kid kicking and screaming, begging to stay.... or begging you all to come with us
But we have all we need (each other) and a few bags- so OFF we go!