Day 19: Vondelpark * Rijksmuseum * Houseboat * Tram

We’re getting better at preparing for the day. Each kid carries a backpack and today I gave them each a checklist:

1. Backpack

2. Water Bottle

3. Light Rain Coat

4. Umbrella

5. Something to Read

All of these things are to help them take care of themselves. They can carry their own pack and their own jacket and always have something to drink. If they want to add more, they can, but they still have to carry it all day. Teaching them to take care of themselves while also being responsible for their own stuff!

We were happy to venture out to meet the Petersons again today. We met in the Museumplein and walked over to Vondelpark together. We got a later start than usual, and everyone was already hungry soon after we gathered. I had read about a cooking cafe for kids and both my youngest, and Kris’ youngest like to cook so I thought this would give us a destination to seek out in Vondelpark. I’m good at coming up with ideas, but not always so good with following up with the details! For example, I knew the name of the restaurant in VP (generally), but didn’t jot down the address, hoping to explore the park and venture upon it by chance. Not such a good idea when you have 8 hungry people! Eventually we found it after stopping to ask at least 3 strangers. But I think the kids had a good time making their own pizzas and ham and cheese croissants. It was a fun experience at the Kinderkookkafe.

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After the kids refueled, they wandered over to a playground and enjoyed running around together in a new park. They found some fun swings where 3 people could swing at once. I loved seeing their smiles. The boys then disappeared for a while and we could see their shadowy figures through the trees. They found some tall pieces of wood and were building a teepee. I think they could have stayed for hours.

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Weather reports showed that afternoon thunderstorms were quite possible so we had planned to check out the Rijksmuseum. The good news was that the rain never came. We still were able to walk around and enjoy the art at the museum. Luckily, only a part of the museum was open as the rest is under renovation. This proved well for the kids as their attention span for art is not that high. I actually enjoyed hearing their perspective about what they saw and what stood out. J and I kept trying to determine from what angle the light source was used to paint the layers of light and shadow. We never did agree, but I think that will help us to discover some new art research. Our family favorite exhibit was one from 2008, which was a rather unique and unusual Grandfather Clock, that was in the shape of a tall, grandfather clock, with a frosted glass face with dry erase numbers written on the face from the inside. Behind the glass, it appeared a man was inside the clock and counting the minutes passing by erasing the arms of the clock and re-writing them again. It was to show the passing of time and we all got a kick out of it. Of course we all loved Rembrandt’s Night Watch painting and discussed how the sword looked three-D, how we liked the shadow of the hand on the other man’s jacket, and the element of surprise with people’s faces hiding and peeking through the crowd.

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After our brief tour of the museum, we played in the Museumplein again as the kids love the big, flat swing and wanted to share it with the Peterson kids.

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If the kids are happy, I’m happy and so we stayed for awhile. We then walked to the tram and took it to visit the P’s houseboat, which was very cozy and nicely decorated in a Dutch theme with blue and white and red colors. I think it would be fun to stay on a vacation houseboat. However, I felt a bit sad for them, as the owner’s houseboat was parked directly in front of their vacation boat which completely obstructed the view of the water. They did have a small window portal from the bedroom to look off and see a bit of water, but if they wanted to see more, they had to wander over to the owner’s floating backyard or walk to the top and sit on top of the houseboat. They of course, were gracious and the owner was very kind to them, so no worries… The kids all had fun exploring and being in a new environment with their California friends.

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I had fun sitting with Kris and just relaxing as I felt tired by the end of the day… staying up until 1 am watching the Olympic Closing Ceremonies was probably not such a good idea! Did you watch them too?

The kids and I soon said goodbye and found our way to a new tram stop and journeyed home on the Metro. On the tram, J asked me if I missed California yet. She said she did a little bit but knew that we weren’t going back any time soon, so she really didn’t think about it much. I told her we would feel home sick at times but that we’ll adapt and that we have to live in the moment, which she is doing. She is very smart and realizes that she must manage her expectations, even though she doesn’t know that is what she is doing. I believe that happiness comes from when your expectations are in alignment with your reality. She expects to live here and doesn’t expect to move back home, so she’s happy. Pretty simple. I shared with her the expression that the grass isn’t always greener, and she started to sing a Justin Bieber song about the same topic. It’s amazing, but I think she gets it. We are here now and our job is to enjoy BEING just where we are. As a family, we chose to come on this journey and so we are enjoying our green grass, so to speak, right here, right now. And we’re enjoying keeping in touch with our family and friends back home too. Little C especially loved talking to one of his BFFs this afternoon, as you can see by his smile.Image

All is well and today was another good day. I hope you had a good day right where you are too. xoxo

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