Sunday, July 15, 2012

feels like home . . .

A couple weeks ago we were lucky enough to have visitors from Georgia -- my BFF Jane and her son Mason came to stay with us for a few days while Spencer worked in Amsterdam. Jane and Spencer were the first of our friends to meet Liam when he was mere days old, and it was awesome to have them back again to visit, especially because our "nephew" Mason got to come this time! They planned to do a little European vacation and spend time in Amsterdam, Eindhoven, and Paris. I was lucky that they got to spend three whole days with us, but boy was it not enough!

I picked up Jane and Mason from the train station Wednesday morning, and we first headed to our Winkelcentrum Woensel so they could experience the market and fresh stroopwafels. They agreed that it's probably one the best things you can put in your mouth. We did a little grocery shopping, walked around the centrum, and then headed home so they could get settled and take a little [ahem] nap. Mason's "nap" turned into a two hour sleep on the couch, with us begging him to get up so he wouldn't be jet-lagged. Jane and I got to catch up and play with Liam, and it really felt like no time had passed since we'd been together.

The next day we had planned to go to Cologne, so we headed out the door around 11:15, hoping to have lunch on the River Rhine in a little over an hour. We were making good time and were just a few exits into Germany (side note: exits in Germany are called "ausfahrts" -- 'nuff said). And then we hit traffic.

Like, standstill traffic.

People hanging out, outside their cars, and chit chatting while we sat there kind of traffic.

This does not bode well when you have a hungry baby in the backseat. So I literally had to pull over to the shoulder when I had the chance so I could nurse Liam for a few minutes . . . then traffic started moving . . . very. slowly. It literally took us an hour and half to go a couple miles to the next exit -- where they were rerouting everyone off the highway. Many cars were following the detours to get back on the highway, but we all agreed that we had spent enough of our day in traffic so we turned around and headed home. We spent three hours in the car with nothing to show for it, so we headed to the Centrum to eat lunch and walk around, trying to salvage what was left our day.

That afternoon I really wanted to take Mason to De Splinter park, down the street from our house, so we headed there in the blazing HEAT so that Mason and Liam could look at the animals and play around for a little bit. Mason was in AWE of the park and could not believe all the animals he saw (his favorite was a little baby goat that kept following him around), and the massive playground structures for kids of all sizes. Unfortunately the park closed at 6 pm, so we had to head home after only being there an hour, but man did he have fun!


We thought about going to Cologne again the following day, but Spencer was working in Eindhoven that day and was getting off early, so after a couple errands around town, we went to pick him up and grab lunch (at La Place once again). They ended up having to head back to Amsterdam because they had an early train the next morning, so our dinner plans are taking a raincheck until we get together in Georgia in a few weeks!

While of course it was awesome to be with Jane again, perhaps the best part of the trip was watching Mason and Liam interact. I really don't know who loved who more -- Mason was SO great with Liam, playing with him and entertaining him, making up songs to sing to him, helping with his bath, and feeding him his bottle!

Liam was constantly looking for Mason when he wasn't around and his face would light up the minute he saw him. Each morning they were here we would take Liam into the guest bed to wake Mason up, and the sweet boy always woke with a smile when it was Liam patting him on the back -- or head, or butt, or whatever he could reach :)

After dropping all three of them off at the train station on Friday, we got home and Liam immediately climbed every single staircase in our house, calling out for Mason on each floor. When he reached the top floor, he crawled into the guest bedroom and seemed so confused about where Mason could be hiding. It made me smile and broke my heart at the same time.

But this just proves to me not even distance can change true friendship, and I look forward to the many years we'll have together after we move back. Mason has promised to baby-sit for us, and I know he and Liam will become good buds over the years. :)

I know not everyone can make it out to Europe, so I really appreciate it when friends or family can spend even a little bit of time here with us. It sure is nice to have a little bit home here. :)


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