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Wow, what an amazing few days! Since my last update we have been having the best time ever! We spent another incredible day exploring Holland by boat (Erol’s Uncle Teo’s house in Walbrougga to Leiden and back), enjoyed a magical beach day at Wit Sands on the north sea, followed by two magical days in Delft, where Erol’s grandfather was born and raised.

It is so so special to be here again with Erol, 7 years later, this time with our two beautiful children in tow, taking them to Erol’s family roots. Every time we drive by Erol’s grandfather’s church or the little attic where Henny was born in Voorhout, Jules says, “there’s where Omi was born!” We visited Erol’s uncle Teo’s home in Walbrougga, and it was so so Dutch – the art on the walls, the design of the house, perched among the fields of flowers and black sheep right on the canal and the boats, smelling so freshly of cow poop in the wind – it reminds me so much of Erol’s mama (not the poop) and I can feel so deeply this land and the family history here. It’s really incredible. Everywhere we drive Erol has stories about his childhood, how when he was 11 he spent 2 months here and biked all the way to Belgium with his friend, alone, and when he was 13 adventures of biking to other faraway towns alone.

Here are a few photos from our time at Erol’s uncle’s house. Om Teo is 87!!! And so present, clear and sharp. He still works in his garden and cooks his own dinner every night. Such a sweet, kind man, even after losing his life partner many years ago and last year his only son ;(


After a sweet visit at Om Teo’s house, we prepared the boat and headed out on our canal adventure. Yves was the captain again. We were a bit worried about the weather on our ride all the way to Leiden by canal, but the forecast said the sun would be out shortly. Due to the unexpected rain, we kept the boat tent up and going under a very low bridge, we ripped the boat cove and had to build a fort to stay dry. It was a memorable adventure!


After our adventurous day of a rainstorm and blustery day on the water, we had the most epic sunny, hot beach day at Wit Sands! The endless beach and sparkling pools of water keep the boys entertained for hours. And there is this Bohemian beach chalet called Tolum with dream catchers everywhere, the best fresh coconut water ever, orange carrot juices to die for, and dope reggae beats blasting from the speakers. We posted up here with Fluer and Lotta, our Dutch girlfriends.




After our dreamy day on the beach, we made the short 45 min. drive to Delft – it was my favorite day of the trip so far. Delft is this quaint, gorgeous little town south of Noordwijk (just south of the Hague). It’s a miniature version of Leiden, which is a mini version of Amsterdam. So many old churches, stunning stained glass windows, incredible doors, narrow brick and cobblestone pathways winding through town, and of course the quintessential Dutch canals, boats, and stylish people on bikes EVERYwhere.



It rains so much here, the landscape is wonderfully lush and deep green! We’ve been driving all through the countryside and cities every day, astounded by the vibrant colors and stunning beauty. The towns and cities are quaint and regal – fastidiously kept and so seamlessly integrated into the agricultural lands with community gardens, fields of flowers, and farm animals everywhere.

Today we went to Amsterdam for the second time. We started the day in the Van Gough museum and then ended up in a toy store where Bas woke up from his nap puking super smelly vomit everywhere. Really nasty. So that was kind of the end of that story. Other than our rough day in Amsterdam today, traveling with the boys has been a dream, we’re flowing together so well and full of gratitude! We never want it to end. Savoring each and every day together! It’s amazing how the kids have been getting along so well here, not like at home where they fight over their toys and their play spaces. How blessed we are.



Oh my goodness, we are having such a dreamy adventure so far – our first little European family vacation! How blessed we are. As I write this, warm winds are blowing outside off the North Sea in this small beach town called Noordwijk, it’s 10pm and still completely light out. It appears that we have a pattern of bringing California heat waves with us to Holland – they had the hottest day of the year this week, on the summer solstice, just two days after we arrived. The last time Erol and I were here in June 2010, it was the hottest week of weather they had had all year. But the massive thunder and lightning storm yesterday definitely blew in a cooler front, we shall see how the next couple of weeks bode.


The flight here was pretty great all things considered – Jules slept the entire way in the middle seat and Bas sort of slept most of the time on me (cozy for him, rough for mama). It was nice to jump right into the new time as we arrived around 12pm and kept the kids up until 8pm when we all crashed hard (and the kids slept til 10:30am the next morning, yeehaw! I think the homeopathics and calm powder helped). Our only rough patch of the trip so far was the day we landed: first KLM lost 2/3 of our bags, then on 2 hours of sleep we managed to find the rental car booth only to find out that they would not rent us a car as my license had expired and I still didn’t have the renewed card. And then whoops, Erol forgot his credit card, so we were shit out of luck. Somehow an angel always shows up during our travels though when we are in need, and of course mid crisis a new woman took over the shift and hooked us up no problem! Hallelujah. Feeling like we just got a get out of jail free card, we then proceeded to get pulled over by a police man on the final stretch to our home. That whole signaling in the roundabout thing. So to complete the stretch of hilarious mishaps, he followed us all the way home on our tail (which made the already exhausted Erol feel like he was, indeed, drunk driving).

Sleeping until 10:30am our first morning here was heavenly – I can’t remember a single morning except the first time we returned from Hawaii with Jules where I got up before the kids, after going back to sleep three times leisurely. Our little huisje (house) is so cozy. It’s called Bungalowpark Puik en Duin and everyone is so so nice. They have a huge grassy play yard for the kids next door with a big trampoline, teeter totters, swings, bars, etc. and we’re surrounded in the most picturesque fields of purple and yellow and white and pink flowers, sheep, horses, cows, vibrant green crops, and sand dunes and nature trails through forest right to the North Sea. The sand is so white and fine, and there are thousands of blue mussel shells scattered along the water’s edge. The kids are in heaven playing in the pools of water 20 feet before the north sea’s waters calmly lap the beach.


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After getting a new outfit for the boys (thanks, KLM, they literally only had the dirty plane clothes) we visited our dear friends the van Kesteren’s in the neighboring town Voorhout, the town where Erol’s mama Henny was born and raised.



Jules and Bas played with the other kids in the heavenly back yard – Niek and Marjan have 3 daughters and 10 grand kids between the ages of 15 months and 17. We stayed with them our last trip. Their home is so full of vibrant colors, we love them!

We also paid a visit to Hein and Nell, Erol’s uncle and aunt. The boys loved all their pig toys and visiting the cows.



We also spent a day in Leiden – a mini Amsterdam – it was just so so beautiful and we had the most amazing morning at a quintessential European coffee shop in a gorgeous cobblestone plaza drinking coffees, hot cocoas, fresh bread and fresh squeezed orange juice.

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Erol’s aunt Marjorie took us to an incredible outdoor market place along the canal where we bought incredible, fresh Muhumarra, pesto, olives, macadamia nuts, and aged gouda. I could spend hours in those open marketplaces along the water! Then we bought too much at the organic “biologique” grocery store and somehow carried it all and the two kids back to the car a mile away ๐Ÿ™‚ It was worth it – the fresh pasta with Muhumarra sauce was orgasmic.

Our first day in Amsterdam was a huge highlight! We found two different organic health food shops, the kids devoured their first smoothie in a week, I savored every drop of my cold-pressed green juice, andย Erol had 3 different coffees and a chocolate croissant ๐Ÿ™‚ We cruised around the Museumplein, had so much fun taking pictures and window shopping, and loved all the sweet musicians. And then we met up with Erol’s cousins Yves and Charlotte and spent the day seeing the spectacular city by water. What a treat! Yves owns the boat and he and Jules were the captain steering us all day long. Such kind people!

IMG_2098IMG_2084IMG_2020IMG_2179IMG_2158IMG_2134IMG_2024IMG_2023IMG_1998IMG_1996IMG_1989IMG_1981IMG_1953IMG_1725Today we go to Erol’s uncle’s, Oma Teo’s, in Woubrugge and go on another day-long boat ride from Woubrugge to Leiden. Unfortunately our heat wave is over, but that won’t stop us from all the beautiful adventuring! Jules has said every day of the trip that he wants to live here, good think he has a Dutch passport and can go to university here for free if he so chooses ๐Ÿ™‚