The day after we went to Bruges, we took a day trip to Amsterdam with the Bakers. (Kim, Caleb, Sam, Eliza, and Zoe) Amsterdam! A perplexing mixture of still & peaceful canals, weed-filled alleyways, colorful charm, delicious food, and aggressive bikers. We got to a park n ride and rode a train into the city center. The train was definitely one of THE highlights for the kids.place I went to last time. It was an innocent, empty alley-way last time with hardly anyone walking around. But this time, with 5 kids in tow, I realized how incredibly non kid-friendly this little area was. Sandwiched in between stores that were either explicitly inappropriate or selling weed-flavored everything, we sat and ate our pancakes with our kids; trying desperately to divert their eyes away from, well, nearly everything. Let's just say, we were not about to start a game of I Spy With My Little Eye.
I'm so in love with the canals, and tall skinny buildings. The house boats, the peacefulness of the canals; especially in contrast to the center of the city which can be chaotic, crowded, and overwhelming.
The Biking Baker Bunch. I tip my hat to them. Especially since riding a bike WITH a trailer carrying 2 children (one of them being mine) makes this excursion exponentially more difficult!
She finally moved, and it was worth this gorgeous shot!
Gooey warm caramel dripping from her chin; the BEST kind of a messy face.
They had so much fun with the bubble guy too.
Seriously, these children deserve a standing ovation for braving those busy city streets like a couple of champions. We all clapped and cheered as they rode their last few meters up to the bike rental.
We drove home that night after picking up some ham and cheese croissants and some bananas (the holy grail of all food as far as Lyla is concerned) for dinner. This is our go-to on trips; getting most of our food at bakeries or grocery stores; we hardly spend more than we would on a regular at-home basis!
I remember driving away from the city just as the sun was setting, and a peace came over me as the sky gave us a colorful farewell. Jeff and I marveled at the silhouettes of the old, giant windmills on the horizon; the gleaming kaleidoscope of colors pouring out behind the cracks of trees and old brick houses. It was the vision that pairs perfectly with the deep breath of relief and gratitude you take after a long day of exhilarating, yet exhausting, travel. I remember feeling a sense of gratitude for what we are experiencing in this phase of our lives. I love it all. I treasure it all. There is nothing sweeter than the realization, day in and day out, that I am truly living the ultimate dream. Raising my 2 daughters with my husband as my trusty sidekick. Seeing the world. Trying out best. It's fulfilling and joyful; so thanks to the sunset for bringing it to the forefront of my mind on that beautiful drive through Holland.
The next day was sunday. After church, and a multitude of bribes, we wrangled the girls into the back yard to take pictures with their matching skirts that Grandma Andersen made for them.
SQUAD GOALS. AM I RIGHT?
You can see Lyla's flushed cheeks. The poor dear was sick, sick, sick that day. She even resorted to falling asleep on the hard, rough carpet at church. But I could hardly complain because she spent the whole day cuddling with me or sitting right by my side; tired and defeated. All 5 of these girls are absolutely bursting at the seams with the very own and unique personality; but together I'd say they mesh pretty well. Each of them bringing something new and good to the table. I'm glad they will always have each other. And I hope one day in 10 years, they will go out and buy matching clothes (or better still, wearing yet another article of clothing sewn with love and tender care by their sweet grandma,) and eagerly try to recreate this picture :)