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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mini Family Vacay to the Netherlands: Zandvoort

Last Monday, on Jesse's "weekend", we packed up the whole family and headed to the Netherlands.  Our primary objective was to see the Keukenhof Gardens.  But our other objective was to get me out of my comfort zone and actually take our kids with us somewhere cool.  (Okay technically that wasn't on J's radar... but it was on mine.  We haven't ever done a "real trip" with them, so this was a big deal for me, who prefers to outsource them to friends when we travel.)

I have an aversion to traveling with the girls.  I think it's just cause taking my "job" of Momma on the road makes me feel like it's not a vacation for me... I have a hard time chilling out.  But you can't be always getting a babysitter... and it was just a quick one-night trip.  No biggie.  Lily called it our "date with Daddy" and they had a blast.  Except for when they were crying and whining about being stuck in the car seats or the stroller.  But that's another story.

So I recently discovered this great lodging website called airbnb.com, where you can find fantastically cheap and quaint little bed and breakfasts.  In our case, we found a 50 euro "guest room" in someone's house in the adorable coastal village of Zandvoort.  It was on the first floor of that brick building in the top left pic.  

[side note:  the guy pushing the bike in the bottom right is our "landlord" and his kids... he stopped in to say goodbye before leaving to take the kids to school and head to work.  In classic Netherlands fashion, he was riding his bike!  And I finally *creepily* snagged a pic of this bucket-bike that we saw in Amsterdam last year.  It literally looks like a wheelbarrow in front and there are buckles for two kids.  How cool is that?  In the Netherlands, EVERYONE rides bikes. It's a thing.]

Back to our room... it was a clean, bright, cheerful little room with a private bathroom.  Anita and her husband had decorated it simple, but sweet.  I loved the texture and colors of the small desk... the girls loved the free jar of cookies ;o)  We had plenty of room for our stuff and the pack n play for the girls.  They are probably a little crowded sharing such a small bed, but hey, what else can we do?  Besides, they seem to enjoy snuggling together and everyone slept great.

After checking in with Anita and getting our keys, we found a parking garage for our car and walked around enjoying the town.  (Oh by the way our rental was bright blue and Lily acted like Jesse picked out the color just to thrill her!  "Thank you Daddy for this blue car!  It's my favorite!" hehe)

One of our favorite things about Amsterdam last year was embracing the "fries with mayo-dip" tradition.  (it's not the icky kind of mayo from a jar, PS.  It's like delicious mayo-from-heaven type stuff and yes, that's coming from an anti-fake-food hippie, so you know it's good if I'm excited to eat it!)

So yes, we broke up with our Whole30 diet for the weekend and totally splurged on fries.  And of course a Heineken experience (with our pizza!) was in order.

And we also really enjoyed being able to walk the girls to the beach for an evening stroll.  We haven't been to the beach as a family since Keesler!  It was pretty windy and definitely not all that warm, but we still had a good time. The sun was setting and the girls were beside themselves with glee at finding a playground on the beach.  They also climbed up into some lounge chairs and informed us they were "napping!"

It was one of those peacefully delicious evenings where you just enjoy time as a family.  We had spent a long day in the car so it was really nice to get outside, walk around together (even Sam! She's getting so big!), play, and eat a relaxed dinner.  I wasn't watching the clock.  I wasn't worried about a schedule.  There was no looking at my to-do list. It was great!  A very welcome mini-break from our normal busy-hectic-tiring life.

And the next day?  Keukenhof Gardens!!!  I hope you like looking at pictures of flowers cause OH BOY do I have pictures of flowers!  Stay tuned for all that gorgeous-ness.


  1. what a charming place you had
    and like, of course J chose a car for Lilbear- how could he not?!
    sooo, how soon are you willing to do a fam mini-vaca again?

    1. Haha exactly... not TOO soon ;o) It wasn't bad, but we made it home with exactly one diaper to spare. There was crying, pooping in pants, and all sorts of small human shenanigans that are just SO MUCH EASIER to deal with at home! But aren't the pics great? Love ya.

  2. I'm glad you finally dared to take the girlies with you on your travels! They may not *remember* living in Europe, but they will love the pictures when they get older! And who knows, perhaps they'll have "picture-memories" of this time . . . "I remember going to Keukenhof Gardens . . . oh wait, that was a picture!" (right Bethany???) ;o)

    1. LOL yes! I love that memory of Bethany wrongly telling us a "memory". It will be nice to look back on the pics. For the girls AND for me. Because as time goes on I'll forget how stressful it was ;o)