Day two of the kids visit home (The Kids are Home!), we loaded up Veronica again & drove to Holland. As I type this I realize I forgot the entire first afternoon in Holland, my aunt & uncle, the American Cemetery in Margraten, dinner with Berna (of Berna’s Playground), a night canal tour in Amsterdam, oh my! I’ll need to write that up for a future babble. What a second day for them. For me!

Poor Christian caught a bug on the plane. He stayed home, much to Dane, Tess & Cole’s delight. I’m not positive Christian was super sick, I think he wanted some time at home being loved on by the wingman. By Dane.

Soren, Lindsay & I headed to Holland first thing Tuesday morning, by lunch we were tucked in with my aunt & uncle, and both my parents, in my grandparents old living room, now their dining room. We had a wonderful Dutch lunch,  complete with vlaai (a regional type of pie), zult (headcheese?), hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) and those fabulous, soft, squishy white rolls you can really only find in Holland. We were reluctant to say goodbye, with overflowing  happy tummies, but we did. My mom came with us,  my dad stayed behind to visit more with his brother.

Soren begged to stop & pay his respects at the American Cemetery in Margraten, it’s literally next door to my uncle’s home. It is a gorgeous cemetery, meticulously maintained, and every grave is adopted and cared for by a Dutch family. The gratitude and respect for the Americans is still very strong here and it is beautiful. Standing there. Seeing row after row of American graves is very powerful, profound and heart-breaking. Many of those boys were younger than Soren. Than Christian. I am so thankful God brought Christian back home safe.

I am off topic again! This is about our visit to Keukenhof. I already spent half a week digging through my 500+ photo’s of tulips & kids, trying to find just the right ones to share today. Really? It was an impossible task. Nothing can prepare you for the beauty & wonder of Keukenhof.

Keukenhof is an ode to Hollands tulips. It’s history is a fascinating piece of Dutch culture, per the website itself:

The history of Keukenhof, the name of meaning “kitchen garden”, goes back to the 15th century. Countess Jacqueline of Bavaria, Jacoba van Beieren (1401-1436) gathered fruit and vegetables from the woods and dunes for the kitchen of Teylingen Castle. Keukenhof Castle was built in 1641, and the estate grew to an area of over 200 hectares.

Landscape architects Jan David Zocher and his son Louis Paul Zocher, who also designed Amsterdam’s Vondelpark, redesigned the castle gardens in 1857. That park, in the English landscape style, still forms the basis of Keukenhof.

In 1949 a group of 20 flower bulb exporters came up with a plan to use the estate for a permanent exhibition of spring-flowering bulbs, signaling the birth of Keukenhof as a spring park. The park opened its gates to the public in 1950 and was an instant success, with 236,000 visitors in the first year alone. In 2017 the 68th edition of Keukenhof is taking place, with Dutch Design as its theme. During the last 67 years Keukenhof has grown into a world-famous attraction.

Despite busloads full of tourists, we found many peaceful, quiet corners. Keukenhof is big. I am fairly positive we didn’t even see half in our short day there. Around every corner there’s a new grouping of flowers, mostly tulips, but also many other bulbs, plants, bushes & trees. Some are done by color, some by type, some have art work woven throughout in the form of statues, sculptures and traditional Dutch “stuff”.

Much to my delight, my big manly son spent the day taking gorgeous photo’s of tulips, tulips, tulips with the amazing new Samsung Galaxy S8. I want. I need. I’m slightly jealous. That thing is amazing! The picture clarity & vibrance is fabulous. It can take rotating pictures, time-lapse video, and so much more. Soren took as my photo’s as I did. He really is my child.

My mother was as much in awe as I was. While this was my second visit, Dave & I had taken Tess as a baby 14 years ago, this was my mother’s first visit! It’s rare to do true touristy things in your own home country. Finally visiting Keukenhof, with me, with Soren, was a perfect day for mom. I know just what to send her for Mother’s Day tomorrow.

Getting stroopwaffels at the entrance

Fresh from last nights rain

The colors! Swoon.

A mini windmill. I might need.

More rioting colors!

A peaceful canal… the tulip fields in the distance.

My mother kissing the unofficial Dutch boy mascot

There’s a windmill in the middle of Keukenhof

And of course she had to ride the “bakfiets”. Flat tires and all.

Tulips. Tulips. Everywhere!

Mom & me ❤

Lindsay & Soren ❤

Other tourists & tulips ❤

50 shades of red.

One for me. One for Dave.