Saturday, April 4, 2009

This day actually began at midnight because that is when both of the kids woke up. I mean WOKE UP. Within minutes of each other, they both were wide awake. I suppose it made sense because at home it would have been 3pm, which is often the end of nap time. Luckily I felt pretty awake too and we didn’t feel like fighting with both of them for who knows how long in the bedroom, so we took them to the basement to the playroom. They played and had a snack. I had just sent Derek upstairs to the couch at about 1:15am when Abby announced she was ready to go to bed. She still sounded pretty chipper, but I wasn’t going to argue with her about that, so up we went. Cade went back to sleep fairly easily, but Abby stayed awake until about 3am. She didn’t complain and fuss, but was just awake and tossing and turning. Just after she fell asleep, I knew that it wasn’t just the 4 of us in the room. We had a visitor looking for some American goodies. I had read Sarah’s blog so I knew that mice were common in Amsterdam and any time she tried to get someone to get rid of them, they treated her like she was crazy. Derek asked, “Is it raining?” He had obviously heard the noise too. I just said, “No.” He asked again. Again, I answered, “No.” I didn’t want to tell him what it was because I knew he would be a little freaked out. I wasn’t sure that Abby was sleeping, so I finally told Derek, “M-O-U-S-E.” Derek, “What?” I repeated, “M-O-U-S-E!” Derek, “What?” I got tired of spelling it out and said, “How many times do you want me to spell it out. It’s a f*&%$%^ mouse!” Derek was shocked and appauled. I finally got tired of listening to it and threw Derek’s shoe across the room at the bag. Finally it was time to rest.

We woke up to some cool weather for our first full day in Amsterdam. When we woke up I found a hole in the backpack, a chewed through baggie and the corner missing off of a decorated Easter cookie. Stupid me for leaving food in the room. I knew better and just didn’t think about it.
We had reservations at the Anne Frank House and planned to leave the house by 9:00. I think it was closer to 9:30, but we were doing okay. We walked to the tram and then walked some more once we got off the tram. We were on the edge of the redlight district and I can only imagine what the middle of it might look like, but it was early in the morning so it was tame šŸ˜‰ We got to skip the line and go right into the house since we had already purchased and printed tickets online. I read The Diary of Anne Frank before we left and it was amazing to be in the annex and to think that Anne and her family and fellow housemates had walked on the same floors and looked at the same walls. In one sense it felt bigger than I had imagined but then when I thought about being stuck there and not being able to go outside for years, it suddenly felt very small. The bookcase that hid the annex was open and we walked right up the stairs. The kids were patient, obviously not understanding what we were doing there or how long we would take. We couldn’t take pictures of the inside, but I can picture it perfectly in my mind. It was very powerful. I plan to reread the diary sometime soon and be able to create the scenes in my mind better this time. We took some pictures of the outside and then were on our way to the central train station.
On our walk, I was amazed how many canals there are in Amsterdam. I had no idea that there we so many. We made it to the train station and again it was nice to be with someone who knew what they were doing. Matt got the tickets, led us to the right train and we were on our way to Zaanse Schans, which is a traditional Holland village with windmills, woodcarving, a cheeseshop and some other interesting sights. We ate lunch at a little restaurant there and had pancakes. It wasn’t Abby’s favorite (not quite like our pancakes at home) so she mostly just ate her Pringles. Then we moved on to some shops. We sampled some cheese, bought souvenirs, and took pictures in the big wooden shoes. Matt, Derek, Abby, and I went into a working windmill that was grinding pigment and got to go out by the propellers (not sure if that is what they are called or if that is how you spell it, but anyway….) They were going very fast as it was a breezy day. We also kept getting the smell of brownies all day and couldn’t figure it out until we realized that there is a cocoa factory in the town and the wind was blowing in our direction. We made our way back to the train station, walked to the tram and walked some more. We finally made it back to Matt and Sarah’s and it had been a long day. The kids played and the adults relaxed (I think!) It was a great day and we all had a great time.
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