Happy birthday Papa Michael!
This day started at about 2am when Cade decided to wake up. Luckily Abby stayed asleep and Derek wanted to watch the Michigan St. vs. UConn basketball game online so he took Cade downstairs and got him back to sleep. While he was gone, though, we had another visitor. I thought I had gotten all of the food out of the bags, but I found out the next morning, I had actually missed some. The bag was closer to the bed this time, so I just kept banging on the bag until it decided to leave. I was glad it didn’t take too long and I was able to get back to sleep.
After a few hours, we woke her up so we could go on a canal boat tour. After a tram ride and a walk, we got to the boat tour and saw that it lasted more than an hour. We decided it had been a long enough day and that we would probably be better off holding off on the tour. We walked to the flower market instead. I bought some tulip bulbs to bring home and we walked along the rest of the market. Back at the house we relaxed and the kids played on the back patio. Just before bed, Abby and Kaylin colored eggs and Cade colored (or cracked and drew on) one. The girls had a lot of fun choosing their colors and stirring and splashing! Matt tried out an old family spin, swirl trick which (kind of) worked. It was fun. I couldn’t believe that our time in Amsterdam was coming to an end. I was glad to know that we were coming back on Easter so that we didn’t really have to say goodbye just yet.
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 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 😉 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.
We landed in Dublin, Ireland and made our way into the airport only to find that Cade’s diaper had not held up as well as expected and he was soaked through. We found a bench as there were no “toilettes” to be found. We got out the changing pad, diaper, wipes, extra onesie, and pants… pants… pants… OMG…where are his extra pants?! Oh, yeah, I packed so early that I didn’t have enough pants to put in the diaper bag and thought I would just put some in before we left. Well, I didn’t. So, we made it through customs and security with Cade wearing only a onesie, socks, and shoes. It looked quite strange, but oh well. We found a store and bought some very European looking khaki pants and paid more than I will for his entire summer wardrobe! At least he was clothed. When I asked the clerk for scissors to cut off the tags, she replied, “There are no returns or exchanges once the tags are off.” I realize she was just doing her job, but seriously, we were in an airport and my kid was not currently wearing any pants. What did she think we were going to do with them? Anyway, we made our way to the gate area and had a snack to pass the time. It was drizzly and cold looking outside and it reminded me of our trip just a few years ago. We boarded another AerLingus flight and were on our way to Amsterdam. We arrived early and made our way into the country with no questions asked. We collected our 3 bags and carseat and looked around for Matt. We changed money and ran into Matt on his way into the airport. We didn’t even realize that our flight arrived about 20 minutes early. It was so strange to be in a foreign country and then to see Derek’s cousin. I have traveled to many places, but don’t have family anywhere out of the country. In fact, almost all of my family lives within a day’s drive away. It was so good to see Matt and have a friendly face in a foreign country when I usually feel overwhelmed. I got to sit back and just let Matt take us to their house. We were greeted by beautiful weather and even though we were SO tired, I felt energized to be in the beautiful city of Amsterdam. We arrived at Matt and Sarah’s house and I couldn’t believe how big Shane was. The last time we saw him, he was just a little baby. Now he is walking some and playing and babbling. Kaylin was full of energy and seemed to be happy that we were there. She gave us a tour of the house and then we went to the basement to the toy room to play. After awhile, Abby went upstairs for nap and I joined her awhile later. Later on, Sarah and I took the kids to the park down the street while Derek and Matt rode bikes to the store. I have never seen so many bikes (except maybe in China)! The kids played in the sand, climbed, and went down the slide. It was interesting to watch Abby’s reaction when she realized she didn’t know what other kids were saying.
We left our house at about 12:30pm just minutes after the garbage truck picked up all of our stinky diapers (good that they weren’t stuck in the garage for 11 days!) and then on our way out of the neighborhood, we were stopped by the UPS truck with a kickball that we were supposed to take to Matt in Amsterdam. We made our way to Mendota and met our driver at Mike and Toni’s. I got the inflated kickball stuffed into one of the duffel bags and we pulled out of Mendota at a few minutes after 1:00 and were on our way. We made good time to the airport and the kids took short naps on the way.