Day 277: Hanging in the Trees

It was such a gorgeous day in Amstelveen today. Luckily the sun was shining, even though it was still very cold and we needed three layers! We decided to go on an adventure to Fun Forest in the Amsterdamse Bos. The have ropes courses high in the trees for us to climb and explore on small wooden platforms and cables and clips. I have always wanted to do a ropes course and never have. We were out hanging around and climbing for 4 hours and had the best day! We are all exhausted, so I’d say it was good!

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Life is good. The kids can’t stop talking about their fun day. We all had a great time being together out doors.

Namaste.

Day 270: Beautiful Day in Amsterdamse Bos

 

 

Sometimes not having a plan is the best plan of all.

This morning we were up early to get Jeff to the airport by 7:45 am on a Sunday morning!  He has meetings back in the States this week. I wished he could have taken me along, as I’ve felt a bit home sick, and I hate the feeling of him being so far away, even though I’m fine on my own. Jeff and I were commenting how strange it is that the roads from our house to the airport are now second nature. When I first arrived, I was afraid to even get in the car to drive less than a mile to the grocery store. I couldn’t read Dutch, wasn’t used to traffic circles and couldn’t tell what the traffic logos meant. Now, it’s all good and I got him there on time, and back home again without the Navigation system! Oooh….ahhh… just kiddin’.

Charlie had a friend sleep over last night and they had fun eating American pancakes, playing Mine Craft and video games and loved being in their pajamas all morning. I was liking just hanging out too, procrastinating shopping and cleaning as we have a house guest tomorrow night.  Luckily Patti Beth suggested we get out and go for a bike ride since the weather was so nice, otherwise I could have easily wasted the day away being lazy. I’m soooo glad we went out as you’ll see the highlights below from our wonderful, unplanned day.  What I thought would be a short ride, turned into a 6+ hour adventure in the sun!  Life is good, especially with family, friends, and good weather!

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The cherry blossom trees all bloomed since last week and Blossom Park was gorgeous today!

 

The location of the trees is known as Bloesempark (Blossom Park), located in the south-east of the Amsterdamse Bos, between Burgemeester A. Colijnweg and the pond that’s known as De Poel. At the time of planting, each tree was given a name: 200 have Japanese women’s names, while the remainder have Dutch women’s names.

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peaceful

 

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I noticed two trees that had pink blossoms on opposite sides of the park. The rest appeared to have white blossoms.

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white blossoms with lots of people out today enjoying the gorgeous weather

 

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The entrance to the park is over a footbridge that we are standing on. As you walk behind us, there is a large circle with a half wall for you to sit and enjoy the views.

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The boys were playing catch in the circle grass area between all the trees. We saw one woman explaining to her child what my boys were doing, as I don’t think many people play baseball in Holland. There are baseball teams of course, but most children play field hockey and soccer (football). Can you see the ball in the air?

Thanks to Chris and Patti Beth for bring a bag full of sports equipment and snacks to entertain the kids!  After playing catch, the boys ran off to play hide and seek in the bushes. Don’t you love hide and seek?

On the opposite side of the Amsterdamse Bos is a place they call Fun Forest. They have ropes courses for use, however you have to have a reservation to do the serious courses with cables and helmets. Today was so beautiful out, that of course they were fully booked. The kids still had fun playing on this small version that exposed them a bit to what they can look forward to next time when we plan ahead.

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focused and curious

 

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even the big kid liked climbing around and playing!

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This one was crossing with a cookie in her hand!! 😉 They were very hungry as we hadn’t planned on being out so long and lunch was long overdue.

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We ate lunch at De Bosbaan and had a great view of the racing waters. There was a rowing competition going on today.

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After lunch we rode our bikes through the forest again and let the kids play on the workout equipment. Charlie loved playing on the rings and doing flips, and I loved watching the horses go by.

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There is so much to see and do in the forest. This part has an adventure island where the kids can pull themselves across the water to the island and run around and climb and swing and cross bridges and platforms over water. The kids had a blast!

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Look at them all working together! I love this kind of old fashioned fun.

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This windmill is part of the infamous restaurant, the Jonge Dikkert, in Amstelveen which is on our way home as we headed out of the forest. What a gorgeous site.

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Queens Day is coming up and the children of the town are preparing their places on the streets to sell their second hand goods. It’s the one day of the year that people are allowed to have a “garage sale.” They are not allowed otherwise, so this is a big deal! Up and down the road as we rode our bikes, we saw tape and chalk lining areas for upcoming sales! I can’t wait to go see them all!

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The red part of the road is the bike path! How great is that? Where the lady is walking her dog, is for pedestrians and is where the children are claiming their space for Queens Day sales.

After 6 hours of wandering through the city, we finally came home in time to get to the grocery store before it closed. Most stores are closed on Sunday. When I got to the store today, many of the shelves were empty. All the fresh bread was sold and so were all the salad fixings.  Crazy!!  But we were able to make do and find other items to start off the week, fresh!

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This is a picture of the kids checking out Charlie’s class’ art work that we purchased last night at the Art & Wine & Cheese Fair. Charlie was so excited that we won the auction for this piece and was proudly showing his sister the part he created. I LOVE this Mandala piece and all it represents and can’t wait to take it back with us to America!!

A mandala can take many forms, from elaborate Buddhist sand works to the stained glass windows in Catholic cathedrals. Mandala means “circle” in Sanskrit. Typically they are created in the shape of a circle because the circle is a potent and universal symbol of wholeness and eternity.They are also most commonly symmetrical and are used to aide spiritual meditation. These mandalas have a focus on color, shape and pattern to create a sense of symmetry and wholeness. Each student created a piece of the mandala and they were put together to create a whole.

I am truly blessed to be living in Holland right now, soaking up the sun, enjoying my friends and kids and all that is good.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend and get outside!  Namaste.

 

Day 77: Enjoying the Kids

Yesterday I enjoyed a girls night out in Amsterdam and left the kids at home alone. They are old enough and we’ve done it several times, and yet I still carry some of that mommy guilt and fear. Not that fear and guilt change my choices or decisions, but those feelings do creep in and take away a small bit of the fun factor. At the same time, it makes me appreciate the time by myself to be more than a wife and mother, which sounds so cliche, but true. I am happy when I do things for myself and I think these choices make me a better mother and wife because I get reenergized and refreshed and ready to give again. Agreed?

Charlie asked me before I left, why I had to go and didn’t I love him and his siblings? Good question and I turned it around and asked him when he spent the entire day and dinner with his friend whether he loved me. And of course he then understood and explained his and my answer for himself. He was content again.

They are such good kids and when I came home, they were happy and enjoyed a night out of their normal routine too. I wanted to reward them for cooperating with each other, and for taking care of one another while I was away. So today I had a couple ideas about what to do after school to surprise them and reward them. I believe in positive parenting and rewarding the behaviors I want repeated But I was also open to what they might want to do that could possibly different than my idea of fun. And it was slightly, and was even better. The little ones invited their friends to come home with us for a snack, to do homework and to play. And instead of bike riding to dinner, as I had planned, we all went together to this magical and fun place – called Farm Lake or Boerderij Meerzicht in Dutch. There is an animal farm, playground, beautiful garden area and a restaurant. Here they serve savory as well as sweet pancakes for dinner and they were delicious and fun to experience, and a much different flavor and texture than American pancakes.Thanks to Sally for telling me about this little gem. Check out the photos.

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I loved today and playing with my monkeys! Just missed the big one who had homework! Life is good. xo