Saturday, August 6, 2011

6 years old! Finally!

On July 23, Caden turned six! He was sooo excited. We started the day with lots of presents and balloons. We had planned on going to LegoLand, but Caden decided he wanted to wait until we could get the line-skipping tickets which were sold out. Smart boy.

Instead, we all hung out, and ate 3 different cakes. Yes, that wasn't a typo. Stellar parenting again resulted in poor planning to research how to get a kid's birthday cake in a new city. (It isn't as easy as running to Kroger here....) The first 2 were too fancy for a kid, although they were delicious! Finally we found a pre-made, loaded with preservatives, buy it off the shelf (not even refrigerated) Toy Story cake which he of course loved.

Here we are two weeks later and he still hasn't had his LegoLand trip, but it will be here soon!

It's so strange that he is six years old. It sounds so old to me. Just 6 months ago in Amsterdam, he was this little kid (far left in pic) in a play and now he is a giant six year old.
Naughty and obstinate, he constantly keeps us on our toes and tempers in check. While sometimes I am frustrated, he constantly reminds us there is literally fun in everything... even getting in trouble! We are a lucky crew.

Here's the pics from his birthday...

(I didn't manage to get an actual video of his birthday, but I did find this video that Scott made of the kids a couple of years ago when I had to leave for business. This is right after Caden and Keali played "hair-cut store".)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The joys of relocation

I'm happy to say that it is over. I am also happy to say it wasn't nearly as painful as the USA --> Amsterdam move. Here's sort of how it went...

Prior to leaving, Scott and I had a quick weekend getaway to Brussels, Belgium. We had a great time just hanging out in the old world streets and squares and drinking a few beers. We had a great dinner and Scott used his frequent travel points (again we benefit from his travels) to score us a great hotel right in city center. What a great city. A definite must for a quick stop during a European adventure.

Following our trip to Belgium, Scott, Caden, Keali and I loaded up on a plane and flew to Manhatten, USA. The attempts to get our UK VISA in Dusseldorf were painfully unsuccessful, but we were bound and determined to make the USA trip work. We arrived in the US on July 4th morning in preparation for our July 5 appointments for fingerprints, document drops, etc. Because we planned to only be there for 4.5 days, we decided to keep the kids on Amsterdam time. I am happy to say we were successful at this, but shocked at how difficult it was in New York City.

Due to the six hour time difference, this meant the kids being in bed at 3:30pm for the night and waking up at about 12:30am. Well for all those fellow NYC fans, the city that never sleeps, well, it sleeps. It sleeps soundly but for the few partiers out running around on their way home. The only thing open at 2am for breakfast are some (sketchy) 24-hour diners. Even the playgrounds are locked until 8am. Well, maybe my kids are trickier than most, but entertaining two kids in a small NYC apartment from 1am to 8am is impossible!

So we did what anyone would do... Ate breakfast every morning at around 2-3am at the local diners (gathering stink-eye glances from on-lookers for not having our children in bed at that hour)...

We crashed Central Park and their climbing rocks, careful to avoid the homeless people asleep every few feet (you don't see homeless people overseas very often), took a much recommended cable car ride to Roosevelt Island (opens at 6am!) and played at the local parks (you can tell we have become more European by the picture below where the kids have very little clothes on...).

Once everything opened, we played in the water parks and went to the top of Rockefeller Building and checked out the amazing views, all while we were waiting on the British Consulate to either give us a YAY or a NEE (Dutch spelling).

We generally had a pretty good time, once the sun came up. The flight back, I have to say was fantastic. We flew business class (my first international business class trip) from EWR to AMS. Let me just say: Wow. After I sufficiently fed my fat on a four course dinner, my seat laid all the way flat like a bed. Amazing. What a treat!

Then came the move. Literally. Four days after our arrival back in Holland, the movers went to our house. They packed for one day, loaded the next, and arrived in London at our new home the following day. My saint of a husband handled ALL of it as I had to attend my first meeting as "boss".

We have settled in nicely and the kids are loving it here. It seems much warmer than Holland, and it's nice to understand the menus, signs, and mail again. I already miss my new friends in Holland and miss the no-car transportation style, but I think we will settle nicely into London.

In nineteen days, we all flew to the USA, were issued visas, returned to Holland, were packed and moved to London, unpacked AND had Caden's 6th birthday (which gets its own entry). Busy. Very busy.

All in all, a successful relocation with a few hiccups along the way, but sooo much better than our last that we won't complain a bit!

Here's the video of pics...

Honorable mention:
Belt and suspends in real life

Entertainment can be many things in the wee hours of the morning - even stickers on a toothbrush...

Beautiful kids...