I'm a stay at home mama living in PDX with the hubs Chris, our two boys and two cats. We are living in (and slowly fixing up) our first house, a midcentury ranch. Jesus has captured my heart, and I am so thankful!
This little blog is mostly about our adventures as a family of four, with the possibility of a recipe or craftiness sprinkled in there.
I'm finally blogging about our trip to Europe! It's a daunting task, as I took a million pictures (europe in autumn is amazing, how could I not take pictures of everything I saw?!)
but I am making myself blog about it before I start forgetting, even if my posts aren't exactly how I want them to be. You see, I'm a slight perfectionist and things don't get done until I can do them perfectly...which means they don't get done most of the time. So here I am blogging about our trip now that we've been back for three weeks. (I'm giving myself a pat on the back for that one.)
Also, everyone asks if it was hard to leave the boys for 9 days. Yes, it was hard especially in the beginning (the initial goodbye was the hardest part) and I cried a few times during our ten hour flight but once we landed in Amsterdam my adrenalin kicked in and we immediately started go-go-going so we really didn't have much down time to think about it. Of course we missed them and thought about them a ton but I knew I had prepared them as best as I could and they were having fun with family and friends, it was like a vacation for the boys as well. We were also on complete opposite schedules as them (Portland is 9 hours behind) so it was easier knowing that they were sound asleep for most of the time we were awake. We did get to Facetime a few times which really helped all of us I think and we kept a photostream of the pictures we were taking so they could see us whenever they wanted to.
I love technology!
It was difficult, but not as hard as I thought it would be and I honestly can say that I don't remember the last time I have felt so at ease and stress free, and I definitely came back a better mom (and wife!) because of it. Don't let the fear of leaving your kids hold you back from adventuring with your love! ... September 21, 2013.
Coffee in hand, we headed into PDX to catch the longest flight either of us had ever been on. It was the afternoon and we'd be meeting our friends in Amsterdam at 8:30am with a full day of exploring ahead of us.
Obligatory airport pictures:
I highly recommend only taking carry ons, it made travelling so much easier.
We made it to Amsterdam!
After meeting up with our friends (who live in Germany but were gracious enough to come travel with us and show us some of their favorite spots in Europe), we headed to some vintage shops. Neef Louis was amazing and I'm pretty sure I walked around the entire warehouse (yes, warehouse) with my jaw on the floor.
One of everything please:
I've always been on the lookout for an old school poster and they had a ton of them:
This is the one we brought home:
Their chair selection alone was amazing:
And to top it off they had a great cafe where we sat and had our first European meal.
Apple pie in Europe (served with fresh whipped cream, not ice cream) somehow outdoes the good ol' American version: (that's Gage, Jessica and their daughter Remi our gracious hosts looking longingly at our slice of pie)
Europe also know a thing or two about hot chocolate: (they just pour hot milk over chocolate chips!)
This fancy ham and cheese panini came with jelly for dipping and it was amazing:
Us with Remi, isn't she adorable?!:
After vintage shopping, our friends showed us around Amsterdam. We were so exhausted, as it was technically the middle of the night for us, but we still had the rest of the day ahead of us!
If you look closely, you'll notice that this is a bike parking garage: (it's no doubt that Amsterdam takes biking seriously and we learned quickly that you don't dare step in the bike lanes when one is coming)
A few interesting bike facts about Amsterdam (thanks to wikipedia):
- There are far more bikes than people in Amsterdam. There are 1.3 million bikes vs. 800,000 people.
- Bikes get stolen all the time, so nobody rides fancy bikes. In 2005 about 54,000 bikes were stolen.
- Each year about 15,000 bikes are retrieved from the canals!
Enough about bikes...
I had read so many reviews trying to find the best rated places to eat in each spot we were traveling to. One place I knew I wanted to find in Amsterdam was Vlaams Frite Huis. There are a ton of places that sell fresh cut fries in cones in Amsterdam but this little hole-in-the-wall fry window was so good. Fries in Europe are commonly served with mayonnaise instead of ketchup, but Vlaams is known for their selection of 55 different sauces so we decided on a curry sauce which was pretty darn good.
Fries are my love language:
One thing I noticed is that Amsterdam is amazingly clean for the amount of people/tourists that were there. And everything and everyone is gorgeous. You can tell that the Dutch people take pride in the way they carry themselves, how they upkeep their homes and the way they dress. Everyone is effortlessly stylish, even the old ladies.
I was constantly in awe of the architecture and just how pretty everything was:
Even the shopping areas were amazing:
And not surprisingly, the Euro is beautiful as well: (especially when you compare it to American dollars)
After some shopping, we checked into our cute little "eco-cabins" at Camping Zeeburg just outside of the main part of Amsterdam.
Ours was the yellow one:
It was essentially a dorm room but it was perfect (and cheap!) for sleeping and holding our belongings.We had to share bathrooms with everyone else, but it wasn't that bad really. I'd say everything about this place blows Oregon camping out of the water. Somebody needs to build a campground like this in Oregon, there was even a restauraunt with a bar for the night owls (which was definitely not us). There was also a little store that had some basic grocery items and they baked fresh bread and pastries each morning, but more on that in my next post!
The "wagonettes" that were across from us:
The cute restaurant:
Eventhough we spent most of our time in Amsterdam out of all of the places we saw on our trip (we also went to Germany, Paris and Switzerland) it's the one place we know we'd like to come back to someday.
It's like Portland on steroids and we loved the heck out of it!
Stay tuned for Amsterdam p.2 coming soon...hopefully!
The weekend before last we went to the pumpkin patch. We bundled up because we figured that it would still be chilly even with the sun out, but we actually ended up taking off our layers because we got too hot!
We have been going to this little pumpkin patch for years and we have pictures of Bennett and Buckley as tiny babies in front of this sign:
Waiting to get on the hay ride:
It was so bright:
Headed back with pumpkins:
After pumpkin picking, we did some of the activities before heading home for nap:
The boys were more interested in the hay:
All the guys have matching boots and it's pretty much the cutest:
Oh and the next day Chris ran a marathon in 3 hours and 14 minutes...no big deal:
Speaking of Chris, today marks 10 years since we started dating, so here's a few of the first pictures I have of us on the computer. (yes, this is back when people actually used to print off pictures)
On our first official date before the Azalea House dance in 2003: (yes, those are root beers...we were 19 and 20)
First Christmas together: (matchy matchy...glad that didn't last)
In his asian-inspired room at stinky Varsity house at OSU: (He asked me to be his girlfriend and also proposed to me in this room...when you live in a house with 50 guys, you gotta do what you gotta do. I said yes both times obviously.)
Chris and I just got back from Europe (!) and I can't wait to share all about it, but before I post about our adventures I wanted to share about what we were up to in September.
It was a crazy month but so much fun!
Chris ran Hood to Coast and we met him at the finish line in Seaside. It was pretty crazy and there were so many people. It was hot and we had just played in the sand for an hour while waiting for Chris to come in, which explains naked Buck.
Classic family photo:
Bennett and this apparently "famous" dog: (according to the owner, it has a facebook page with tons of followers)
The Hardesty's know how to take a great family photo:
We had really great weather all month, it was unseasonably hot actually.
We took advantage and got in some time at Jamison Square:
Bennett turned 4 on the 4th so we took him to his favorite restaurant, The Old Spaghetti Factory: (how is it that I have a 4 year old?!)
We were seated at a table by the river and we were able to watch the boats go by as we ate:
Bennett was bummed that we ate dinner before the balloon animal guy arrived, so on our way home we stopped at the store so he could pick out his own balloon.
Bonus treat that they got to ride in the race car cart: (Chris was a good sport, and the boys loved it)
Since we had such great weather, we also went to the park a lot:
I got the boys some cooler weather clothes, and I decided they make Buck look so much older:
I was a bridesmaid in one of my best friends weddings in Southern Oregon, so my mom rented an amazing house for us and her for the wedding week.
The house in the hills above Ashland:
They had some pretty sweet vintage Fisher Price toys that the boys (and I) loved. (including an immaculate Family Camper and a Hospital)
If I weren't an honest woman, this horse would've come home with us:
The boys while we were out looking for lizards:
Buck took his first steps while we were staying there. Both Buck and Bennett took their first steps the week they turned 16 months...pretty late in the game but I don't mind at all!
Me and the Bride getting ready:
The wedding was beautiful and at the last minute I decided to ditch my super stylish platform wedges for more sensible flat sandals and I'm so glad I did...walking in those things on the bumpy grass for the rehearsal was not pretty.
Bennett at the wedding:
It was hovering around 100 degrees while we were down there, but we ventured out in the mornings to cool off at some water parks:
Buck giving me sweet kisses when he should have been napping:
I also turned 30 on the 18th:
30th birthday girls night for my friend Kelli and I:
and then two days later we left for Europe for 9 days!
I'm not sure how I'm going to break up the posts yet, but I took a ridiculous amount of pictures so expect a photo overload soon!