Monday, February 25, 2013

The White City

With a move back to the States on the horizon, Keith and I want to take advantage of our weekends here in Europe and do a little exploring while we still can. This past weekend we decided to go to a little town about 40 minutes away called Thorn. Keith had been there before but this was my first time. Thorn is different than most villages here in that the whole town is white-washed, so it's really neat to walk around the narrow streets surrounded by all white brick buildings, cafes, and antique shops. It is known as The White City, even though it is not exactly a city, but a village. The church is big and beautiful, located right in the center of town, as it is in most villages.

view of the church from the pancake house
However, I think we made a not-so-great decision to go on this particular day because it started snowing on our way out there, and didn't stop until we were back in Eindhoven that afternoon. It was COLD and WINDY and SNOWY and we got there at a time when nothing was open yet. We tried to check out the church but there was a service going on, so we didn't think it would be prudent to bring an energetic 18 month old into the sanctuary. Everyone raved about the pannenkoeken huis (pancake house) so we headed there just as they were opening. I swear y'all . . . best decision we made that day and worth the drive there and back just to eat there!

First of all, they were SO child-friendly (much different than Barcelona, ha!) and Liam was able to play at a Lego table with a bunch of blocks, and even hang out at a touch-screen monitor where he could play games, "color," and be entertained while we waited to get our food. The menu at this place was ridiculous too -- every kind of pancake you can imagine with all kinds of savory or sweet options. Everything on the menu was numbered and it went up to the 800s! They made the typical Dutch pancakes, very thin and big, but these were just a tiny bit thicker than usual and man, were they good! Keith opted for half ham and cheese and half blueberry (kind of like having lunch and dessert on one plate!), I had a cinnamon and sugar pancake, and we got Liam an apple, raisin, cinnamon, and sugar kids pancake -- we all were VERY satisfied with our choices. Liam loved having raisins in his pancakes, so it definitely gave me the idea to try it at home for him.

After lunch we just let Liam walk around a bit on our way back to the car, but it was so cold and snowy that we just decided it was best to head home. I wish we could have enjoyed more time in Thorn, but perhaps we will be able to make it back on a nicer day. I still don't regret it though because those pancakes were to die!


Monday, February 18, 2013

saying goodbyes . . .

I'm not gonna lie . . . it's been a rough couple weeks here in the Netherlands. We've been having to say goodbye to some of our best friends here as they move back to the States. First there was Jennifer's family, who are going back home to have their third child. It's possible they will be back after the baby is born, but there's no guarantee we will be here depending on when they come and when we go. Jennifer lived right down the street from me and we were always getting together, plus it was easy to catch a ride with her to other play dates on days that Keith needed the car. Most car rides started with Liam and Abby holding hands in the backseat and ended with them fast asleep, heads back, mouths open. Here are just a few of the pictures as evidence:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

. . . Liam lately (18 months)

Well here we are . . . Liam is officially a year and a half old. It is so bizarre how quickly time flies -- he is no longer a baby but a toddler, slowly but surely turning into a little boy. As usual, these are some of my favorite pictures of Liam this month.

We had snow for about two weeks in January -- Liam loved it!
Liam in his new snow pants

Bien venido a Espana!

You all know that we have loved living abroad and try to take full advantage of our surroundings while we're here. One way we do that is by planning trips to cities we wouldn't normally get to go to. The first week of February Keith had to go to Barcelona for work, so we thought that would be the perfect time for a family weekend away. It happened to coincide with Carnival, which meant that most people had off work in the Netherlands that following Monday and Tuesday, so it was easy for Keith to take off as well. Keith's birthday also happened to be that Friday at the end of his work week, so what better reason to take a trip??

Day 1 - Friday

lunch in the airport
Liam and I flew out Friday afternoon (all on our own, God bless me), and met Keith at his hotel to pick him up and head to our apartment for the next five days. The location was perfect, walking distance to several sites we wanted to see, on a busy shopping street, and close to plenty of restaurants (more on that later . . . ).

I am SO glad Keith got an apartment that was in conjunction with a nice hotel in Barcelona. We had two bedrooms, a bathroom, a living / dining room and a full kitchen -- plus maid service every day. It was the perfect arrangement to have with a toddler. Once we got settled at the apartment we walked a block away for dinner at a local tapas restaurant. We all got something delicious for dinner (the chicken and veggie risotto -- OMG), and kept Liam fairly busy while he sat in the booth because there were no high chairs. Turns out, we would come to find that no restaurant had high chairs. Like none. Zero. And we tried, oh did we try! On our very last meal over the course of five days we finally lucked out with a high chair. We figured either there were no toddlers in Barcelona or people just didn't take them out to eat. The latter I suppose . . . sigh.

We put Liam to bed as soon as we got back as it was already getting late, and he went right to sleep, exhausted from the day's events.

. . . futbol, not football

Last year Keith and I went to a soccer game and were lucky enough to have friends in town to go with us. It was our first European futbol game and we've been saying ever since that we want to go to another game! With the impending departure of our close friends Lindsey and Josh, we decided we needed to take advantage and make it a double date night before they left town. Turns out we were able to score tickets to the same exact game we saw last year -- PSV vs. Den Haag.

We decided to order pizzas for dinner and stay at home to get the boys ready for bed before our sitter came to stay with them. Everything went smoothly and we headed to the stadium with plenty of time to get our tickets and scope out some cool gear in the merchandise shop. The ticket package we got comes with vouchers for merchandise and food or drinks inside the stadium, so we all got a little something, including t-shirts for each of the boys at home.