Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gratis Suikerspin!

A few days ago there was free cotton candy at Hesseplaats.

This was Jimmy's first time eating cotton candy...can you tell? He thought the best way to eat it was to lick it!
I'd say not much beats gratis suikerspin op een warme dag!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Colorful Day

The boys were in heaven when I let them paint each other. They thought that was so cool.

I've never cared for mustaches, but Jimmy, I think you wear yours well!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Our New Pet

We found this cute guy in our back garden. The boys wanted to keep him but I don't think he would've lasted long between Jimmy trying to feed him sticks...

...and Glade trying to touch his eyes! Poor thing. He was only our pet for about fifteen minutes but I'm sure he will never forget the experience. He'll probably think twice before hopping into our garden again...sadly.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Thoughts

Easter in Holland

One small difference I found with Easter in Holland is that they don't hide plastic eggs. In fact I couldn't find anywhere to buy plastic eggs. They hide chocolate eggs instead and usually do their hunting indoors since the weather is often rainy.

I collected a few plastic eggs from some random toys we had...like the kind you get from kinder egg toys and the vending machine type eggs. I filled those with candy. We had about 5 plastic eggs and the rest were small chocolate ones. Jimmy was so excited to search for eggs. Glade ate each chocolate egg as he found it, wrapper and all. He had to stop and swallow each time his mouth got too full!
So our Easter dinner was interesting! I tried to get a small ham at Albert Heijn and they only had very large ones. So I ventured over to C1000 and there was some mystery meat that claimed to be ham. When I picked it up it was very gooshy and gooey. Don't know what it was! So no Easter ham for us, but the scalloped potatoes with ham cubes and the fresh pineapple were yummy. Jarom claims that you don't eat ham for Easter anyway. He said Thanksgiving is turkey, Christmas is ham and Easter is whatever you want. Hmm, not what I thought! What do you think?
Look at those brown eyes! Today we will finally dye the eggs I boiled last Friday. Happy Easter everyone...it's still Easter here in Holland. Today is Second Easter day so most everywhere is closed and Jarom has off work. Gotta love those extra days off in Holland!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Jimmy Deprived

Jimmy's cute face hasn't been on my blog for the past 5 posts. I will make up for it in this post! Last week we had some very nice days. The weather was gorgeous. Sadly this week has been rainy again. Last week we enjoyed playing at a few different local parks.

We also walked to the Mall. It's only a 25 minute walk...not so bad. The Toys 'R Us has been completely remodeled and the boys had a blast in there. They now have a huge play area. Oh, and you should be proud to hear that while in Toys 'R Us a young boy asked me two questions in Dutch and I understood him and answered back in Dutch! Impressive huh? I ignored the fact that a lady asked me something five minutes before and I had no clue what she was talking about..."Sorry? Pardon?"

Glade thought it would be a good idea to use his cookie as a shovel. Jimmy found a few soda cans that some teenage boys left at the park. He thought it was so cool to pick them up and find the trash can to throw them away. Every time he sees a can on the ground now he wants to find a trash can to put it in.

And just a warning for you grandparents...Jimmy has grown up. He no longer uses sippy cups, the diapers are long gone, he pours his own drinks (sometimes even successfully), he makes his own bed, he goes to the "big kid" church class, he makes his own sandwiches and even eats his cereal with milk (huge step, I know). Don't worry though, he still is just as silly, ticklish, and picky as he's always been!

When we got back from the park and emptied our shoes of all the sand, the boys were a big help cleaning up. Jimmy did the dishes for me...

...and Glade mopped my floor. What exceptional helpers I have!

On Saturday the little boys enjoyed helping Jarom mow the lawn and trim the bushes. Our lawn mower is very cute and tiny and it's electric so we had to run an extension cord into the house. While the boys worked, I stayed inside and studied Dutch. It's coming along. I'm excited about learning it so I'm trying to study as much as I can while I'm excited! It's funny some of the strange things I can say when I don't even know many of the basics. For example, I can tell you that my friend's gynaecologist examined her uterus but when the store clerk asked me if I wanted a bag I was completely lost! It was quite a simple question, "Wil je een tas?" I'll be prepared next time. "Ja, graag!"

Friday, April 03, 2009

Burning the Fallas

Two more things:


Here's a picture I found of a burning fallas...

"The event is thought to have evolved from Pagan rites that welcomed the onset of spring by burning the wooden posts that held the streetlights used in winter" (msnbc).

And here's a video of the amazing fireworks...

Valencia

We ended our fantastic vacation with 5 days in Valencia. The first day Jarom arrived in Spain on his mission he was in Valencia and it just so happened to be during Las Fallas. This is a festival that occurs just once a year. It is quite unique. During the many months before the festival, paper/cardboard sculptures ("fallas") are made. We saw some that were as large as 6 stories high! They are usually satirical and some of them are a little risque.

The fallas above won first prize. It was neat but I liked a few others better than this one. The crowd surrounding this one was huge! You had to pay 5 euros to get closer. We took pictures from here and used our 5 euros to buy candy instead!

The close up of the lady in this fallas made me laugh. I feel like she looks FAR too often! It made me think of my upcoming flight from Holland to the US...alone with 2 boys...I'm sure I'll more resemble the baby in this fallas after that flight. Pray for me please.

Many people wear the bandanas that you can see us wearing in some pictures. They have parades and everyone from the little babies to the elderly get all decked out in their Spanish clothes and walk the streets.

The fallas are set up all throughout the city of Valencia and the roads surrounding the fallas are closed off to automobiles. We did quite a bit of walking trying to see as many fallas as we could. It got quite tiring but was pretty exciting each time we found one. The fallas above is the Phantom of the Opera...very cool.

On this trip Glade discovered pigeons. He figured out that if he threw his food on the ground they would come very close and eat it. He found this hilarious! In fact his whole Happy Meal ended up on the ground and the pigeons were practically choking on the whole chicken nuggets!

On the last day of the festival there are parades and incredible fireworks...so much that your ears ring afterwards. Around 10 pm they burn the small fallas and then starting at midnight they start to burn the larger ones. Just imagine a fire five stories high. Started on purpose! During the burnings there are even more fireworks going off. I thought it was interesting that they give their small children fireworks to set off. I've always been kind of a baby when it comes to lighting fireworks myself....it scares me and I don't like to get too close. These little 3 year olds (no joke...3 years old) were letting off fireworks. Their parents give them a rope that is lit on one end and the kids just pass the burning rope around to light their fireworks. We saw kids blowing up coke cans and whatever else they could find in the street. It was pretty amusing. One brave (yet sort of unintelligent) boy was lighting fireworks and then putting his foot on top of them until they went off. Luckily he only complained that it hurt once. :)

Poor Bush!
We also enjoyed seeing a few old cathedrals and really neat buildings. One of them is in the background of the picture above. Within three minutes of entering this quiet sacred cathedral, Glade started screaming hysterically. As soon as he was outside on the grass chasing pigeons, he was just fine. He obviously found the bugs on the ground more interesting than the cathedrals.

I really enjoyed our days in Valencia but boy was I tired when we were done. We were SO ready to come home and in fact sort of wished we had booked a flight a day or so earlier. 10 days was a long vacation away from Jimmy. We missed that little guy so much! And of course a vacation isn't complete without a little M.I.C.K.E.Y...M.O.U.S.E. And a post isn't complete without a cute video.

video

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Tarragona

Tarragona was by far my favorite of the three cities we visited in Spain. It was just so gorgeous and had incredible views, very friendly people, ancient Roman ruins (it's built on ruins), and has that small town feel with cute old people that gather on the park benches all day to chat. I fell in love with this place.

Jarom served his mission in Spain, btw, and he was in Tarragona for 6 months. We met up with the sweetest elderly couple that Jarom converted. Sadly they are not active any more. I adored our visit with them even though it was all in Spanish and my Spanish skills are limited to "Hola, Adios, Gracias." Thankfully Jarom speaks very well...even better than I thought he could.

Here was Glade's favorite part...the park! The parks in Spain are mainly dirt. You're generally not supposed to walk on the grass.
Getting frisky with the statue...I couldn't resist...sorry!

Okay, so here's the full statue of the human pyramid. You can see live human pyramids in mid-August. Usually a child is at the top of the pyramid and often they start moving down the street!
The Cathedral of Tarragona...WOW...it was absolutely gorgeous. We spent quite a bit of time in here. They still hold worship services there and we saw many people lighting candles and heard chanting. The architecture was stunning.

You can see ancient Roman amphitheatre ruins off to my left.

Glade was a major stinker in this museum! Oh and do you wonder why you haven't seen any pics of the Jimmers? He got left home! Don't feel bad...I know he had much more fun with the American family of 6 than he would've in all those museums and cathedrals.

A little doll artifact.

Another little doll.
I found these bones to be very cool. Glade was less than amused.

Next on the list...Valencia...it was busier, louder, and more exciting.