Fall Photos '08

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Jumping back in

News Flash after 18 months, the sloggers are back...
Many minutes have passed since we list posted anything on our blog. Thus, the title given to us by our one follower--sloggers. A quick catch-up. Kiley is entering 5th grade, while Quinn heads into kindergarten. Jacqui continues to be our CFO and COO of our adventure over here. She also just completed one stage of the Tour de France with her slower husband. We've been lucky enough to visit and spend quality time in most major countries/cities across Europe. Our next trip has us going to Moscow, Russia to visit Jacqui's parents who are over there for the next 18 months.

Many thanks to our one follower. We'll be back in touch shortly.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fall in A'dam

We've had a very busy fall.  The weather is a lot like Portland, so no big surprises here.  September was a mix of wet days with many beautiful sunny and 70 degree days.  The sunny days are often spent in Vondel Park on the climbing tree and playing frisbee.  Kiley is becoming quite the little frisbee player.   We spent one of the gorgeous sunny days in September with friends picking apples at a farm near by.  

After a few short weeks of school, Kiley and Jacqui took off for a quick trip to Utah for Aunt Jenni and Uncle Dave's wedding.  It was so great to see the family!  It was sad to leave them behind as the plane flew east over the Atlantic, but the homesickness didn't last for long.  A few days after returning we started getting our first of many visitors come our way.  

Priscilla, a friend of Jacqui's, (but don't tell Kiley that cuz she has laid claim to Pri as her friend),  left her hubby at home and came out to visit for a week.  The sun was out all week which made touring the city a pleasure and Brian hung out with the kids while Jac and Pri snuck in a weekend to Paris.  The kids adore Pri especially playing the burrito game which involves getting rolled up in a blanket and being tossed over her shoulder.  

We've spent time with some friends from club sport.  Deb and Mike were on a 6 week tour around Europe and Amsterdam was one of their stops.   They came bearing gifts from friends back in 'Feverton' as Quinn calls it.  We got together a few times.  One of them being at our favorite sushi restaurant where we had a fight over paying the bill.  Thank you again!   Cindi Murray and her husband Doug who used to take classes with Jacqui at the club made it into town for a couple of days after spending a month in Spain.   So great to see you!  We look forward to having many more visitors.

Kids had 'fall break' mid October so we took advantage of their time off and headed to Tenerife, Spain which is one of the Canary Islands.   We travelled with our back door neighbors Jo and Drew who have two children Megan and Halie.  Our second day at the resort we met another couple, Sarah and Mark who are from the Isle of Man.   They have a son Jack who is Quinn's age and the two became fast friends.  Kiley adored their 2 year old daughter Megan.  All three families spent the entire week together at the pool, the beach, meals, kids disco, the animal park ect. We have been keeping in touch and hope to make it to visit them possibly on our way to Ireland next year.  

The American Women's Club of Amsterdam hosted a Trick-or-Treat night on Halloween since they don't celebrate that here.  Quinn was a cow after much protest.  A friend gave the costume to us a few months ago and he loved it then, but it had worn off it's appeal by the time October 31st rolled around.  Unfortunately for him, there is not a Target or Old Navy around the corner to buy a transformer costume.  Kiley once again didn't really care what she was...it's all about the candy.  She ended up being a witch.

Jacqui's parents flew in on Halloween day and we dragged them around that night till they collapsed.  Over their two week stay we covered all of Amsterdam by tram, bus and walking as well as making weekend trips to Brugge, Belgium and Koln, Germany.  The kids are still asking when Mimi Dori and Papa John are going to come back.  

It snowed this past weekend.  They say it's been a long time since it snowed here in Amsterdam. Word is that about every 10 years there is a deep freeze.  All the canals freeze over and there is a big ice skating race that takes place on the canals.  We're keeping our fingers crossed that it happens while we are here.  

We just got Priscilla back on a plane heading to Portland this morning.  She flew in town on Saturday for the weekend to go to the Tracy Chapman concert with Jacqui.  The tickets were purchased a few months ago however Brian couldn't go with her because he is in sunny Florida for 10 days for sales meetings.  He is enjoying the 75 degree weather from inside the hotel conference room. We've been skyping with him every day which makes the 10 days a little easier to handle.

We hope and pray you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving Day!  The kids will be in school since they don't have it here, but we are planning on getting together with some American friends over the weekend to celebrate. 

We miss  and love you all!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Summer Time

The Sloggers are back after spending time in the A'Dam and beyond. Summer brought us a new understanding of "Holidays"; An extended 2+ week vacation to various countries all over Europe with one goal--complete relaxation.  I know someone who was wondering why people we talking about the winter holiday season in the middle of summer...We, on the other hand, stuck to the classic U.S. one-week vacation with a vow to embrace the European holiday summer-break next year when we have more time to plan.

While our holiday was only one week, it was fantastic.  We went to T
he Algarve, Portugal--Southern tip of Portugal.  We had a small 2-floor villa with the all important pool and a spectacular view of the beach from our place.  The weather was a perfect, sunny 26 degree celsius (double the number and add 30 and you will feel what we are talking about) with a slight wind during the day.

We visited 4 different beaches, a water park (aqualand), a sand park that featured
Hollywood movies and their stars (sandland) and feasted on some great seafood while over looking the sun setting into the ocean

Which earned the all important kid's approval...

Kiley learned how to dive as well as snorkel as she spent 25 hours of the day in her bathing suit.  She also enjoyed the delicious deserts served at all the local
beaches. Specifically, the chocolate covered ice cream bars or sundaes.


Quinn graduated from a yellow inner-tube to putting his entire face in the water blowing bubbles like a crocodile. He also quickly learned the game of hurdling over the waves and splashing his parents with the freezing cold water. 

This created some serious Carpenter Stink Eye moments which he made him do it more.

We all got a little burned as only real Oregonians could (especially translucent Dad) but worked through it with some 1,500 SPF and one cloudy morning...we did some tide pool exploring as well as saw a real life pirate ship.

As with every trip, the end of the week arrived too quickly but we felt well rested as we headed back to A'Dam and started planning our next European Holiday.


Sunday, August 31, 2008


Need to get away?  Why not head to Portugal?  

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


a new word we learned while settling in A'Dam during the past 3 months. The english translation is...slow bloggers. Yes, we have not been blogging regularly but wanted to gather up all our stories for this edition. Big edition.

First, a foot update. Kiley has survived her first real Dutch experience in flying colors. The cast came off two weeks ago and she is slowly getting back to her speedy ways. She continues to bike around town (with or without the cast) and is quite good with her hand signals. School is out for the summer so a lot of her classmates (all five girls in a class of 18 kids) are spending their holidays back in their home countries. We talk about her friends from home as she really misses all of them--Avery, Alexis, Abby, Brandi, Kaleelah, Kaylee--but continues to make new friends on the block. A lot of the kids on our part of the straat only speak Dutch so they are learning how to get around the language thing. She is a huge helper around the house and does a great job watching out for her younger brother (who still thinks we are on vacation).

Our crib is coming together thanks to the creative eye of Jacqui and her memorizing every single page of the IKEA catalog with her trusty tape measure. She speaks in meters and actually knows what she is talking about vs Brian who has absolutely no clue (but doesn't have to since his bride knows the metric system). Speaking of the metric system, it will be coming to the U.S. shortly...

The great weather has allowed us to explore the city and taken in some of the local sites which has given us a pretty good feel of where to show people whenever ANYONE feels like visiting. Staked out some good local restaurants--Tai, Italian, Fancy, Cheap, Bad, Good, Dutch--Tulip garden, hot spots, dutch people, neighboring countries, bikes and parks. In fact, Jacqui has become such a local that she pushes a shopping cart full of groceries from our local super de boer right down the straat to our front door. Sorry if I am peppering in some Dutch words, they are the only four words I know so I thought I would show-off a little bit.

Our neighbor calls us "the Americans" as in--"Oh there are The Americans." Whenever we pull up to our house or come riding up, that is our greeting. Jeanette is a nurse in the emergency room and is quite funny. She just threw her own 50th birthday party out on the sidewalk (complete with a tent) so pretty much everyone was invited; even if you were walking through the party. One of our other neighbors is Dave who moved here 10+ years ago from California. Dave and his wife recently had a little girl, Annika, as well as two older "daughters" of the canine persuasion which Kiley adores. She actually was their dogsitter for a night and took this responsibilities quite seriously as they are very important to her.

Quinn is marching down the steps as we type announcing he only likes Scout because we are attempting to get him to sleep at 10:30pm night with the sun still hanging around (reference blog submission #2). "See, it's still daytime dad." Took about 7 minutes for him to fall asleep after reading his dinosaur book. He still likes to ride on the front of the "Boys bike" with his dad and announce to the people on the sidewalk that we are coming by. He also is the person giving the hand signals on the bike even if his left and right signals get confused some times. His other hobby is to say hi to most people walking by, then quickly ask them their name so he can launch into some story. He usually is able to keep an audience for a few minutes. One announcement he likes to make on a very regular basis is "I tooted." whether he did or not, whether the doors or windows are wide open and our neighbor's to our left are having dinner 6 feet away. According to Quinn, tooting is funny in any language.

Both children still have held onto their personal routine of grabbing your ears when she is next to you (Kiley) or scratching his arms and holding his hand when falling asleep (Quinn). Infant routines are great at any age or in any country.

We took in the European Championship Football tournament (happens every 4 years) which was amazing to experience. The entire city shut down and watched the Dutch national team advance into the quarterfinals. You could tell how the game was going by the sounds of the city.

We jumped in the car and took a family trip to Brugge, Belgium this past weekend. Great european city where the local language is flemish (Dutch launguage, just with a phlemish accent thrown-in), fantastic chocolate shops are on every corner and the world's best beer is brewed. 'nuff said.

The Europeans plan their summer holidays way in advance so we were quite late in the process by the time we arrived in early April. So, we had to first get Scout into a doggy boarding house and then work around those dates to get a place and airline tix which was not an easy task. We just finalized our August trip to Portugal and got pretty lucky this late in the game with a nice villa by the beach. We are now onto fall and winter as well as next spring so we've got to stop blogging so we check out the avails at scout's boarding house...

Until next time we slog...Tot zeins

Monday, May 19, 2008

some photos

7 things you might want know about Amsterdam

1. Don't get your foot caught in the back wheel of your parent's bike..results in a 5 hour trip to the emergency room and a broken foot.
Kiley had a scary experience this past Saturday as we were driving to get our bikes "safe" again. Her back heel slipped into the back wheel of the bike she was on and proceeded to pull her shoe, sock and skin right off her foot. She was extremely brave as her Mom pulled her in and covered her left heel that needed immediate medical attention. Only problem was her parents were on their bikes, in the rain and had no idea of who or where a medical outlet was located. We finally got through some Dutch medical telephone lines to be directed to the Emergency room. Everyone was extremely nice and helpful as we waited the results of the x-rays. In the end, Kiley has a fracture in her left foot and will be in a cast for the next 4 weeks. Not fun, but the other injuries and issues that we saw coming through the emergency room doors left us realizing how lucky we were that day.

2. Don't get fooled by the sunny daylight at 10:30pm...go to bed as the sunny daylight will be back at 5:15am.
Yes, Portland summers are great and you usually wind up with bags under your eyes since it stays light out so long. Well, Amsterdam has PDX beat. We've been so lucky with the weather that it has been sunny for the past two weeks and with that great sun comes an evening that lasts well into the night. And, a sunrise that is here before you brainwaves can get into some serious REM sleep. No complaints, just an observation that I don't need to put my nightlight on since it never really gets dark and scary...

3. Don't go down a one way street and think the other car will move because you got their first...old man will get out of his car and explain in Dutch, then English some local insight.
Long story short, the street signs are a little hard to read some times and in this case, very hard. We were cruising down a tight streeet right by our house when we could see another car coming the other direction. We've naviagted this situation before as you usually work together. Both move over a little and squeeze by slowly but this was a different scenario. There was no room to move over or squeeze. We were just facing each other which was kind of awkward since we had been told "the Dutch rule is whoever gets to the point first, the other person moves." but there was no place to move so you couldn't figure out who go to the "point" first. Well, the old man in the opposite car, pulled up his emergency brake and jumped out of his car. He came over to the window I had rolled down so I could hear what mistake I obviously had made and proceeded to say some things in a rapid Dutch dialect with some slight hand movements. I waited a little bit and then said "sorry, don't speak Dutch." He took a breath and then said--"You are going the wrong way. Have a nice day!"

4. Don't try to walk the canals during Queens' Day...as you will be stuck in a human traffic jam with orange wearing, smelly breathe tourists (the locals stay far away).
A fun day for the family by heading to Vondelpaark to take in some great flea/swap market opportunities as well as discover some local artistic talent (2 young friends dancing to Abba qualifies as talent on Queen's Day). Later on, a little adventure to the more adult part of Queen's day brought us around Museumplein and some interesting sights. Eventually a human street jam let us back to our bikes we were rode up to a block party with a great crooner singing "My Way." A great day for the city that is overtaken by many tourists (we consider ourselves locals now after the one way street incident).

5. Don't forget to plan your Sunday and holiday meals a few days earlier...or you wil be eating peanut butter lolipops for dinner.
Everything really closes on Sunday so you have to plan your full meal schedule out for that day as well as Monday since your refridgerators are so small and you don't have much storage to depend on. So, when you realize you have no meat, chicken, vegetables, bread, milk...Peanut butter on a spoon makes a great family meal that is easy to make, healthy and simple to clean-up. We survived and are pretty certain it will happen again.

6. Don't be surprised when a IKEA's direction still stink...a bad picture in Dutch is the same as a bad picture in English.
Wow. They have great, fun stuff but the worst directions. Bar none. Someone could make a billion dollars if they created a visual aid helper for their directions. I would pay for it and a few other ex-pats from around the world would kick-in.

7. Don't miss out on the beautiful, Holland scenario....because Amsterdam is such a cool city to explore.
The people, city, countryside, weather, food, etc have all been great so we look forward to learning and experiencing more in this country.