Oh. My. Have you missed me? I feel I’ve barely been gone. It’s been a whirlwind two weeks. The kids came (Soren, Christian & Lindsay). We went to fest, Amsterdam, Keukenhof, the sea. I picked up my parents, visited my aunt & uncle and my cousins family. Dave had his retirement ceremony. We went to Italy: Cinque Terre, Pisa, Tuscany, Rome and Venice. Our beloved van, Veronica, died on the Italian/Austrian border on the Brenner Pass. I dropped my parents off in France and now… now I’m sitting here sad & lonely with 2.000+ pictures in my lap.

I can’t complain. We live within driving distance of an untold number of amazing, stunning, gorgeous places. Places on my bucket list. I’m beyond lucky to be able to visit many not just once, but multiple times. I am a travel bug. I live in the perfect location to go any direction and travel to bucket list places. And once a year, I get to do this with my big kids. I am blessed that even at 25 & 26 they come home once a year and indulge me and my travel bug. What is wrong with me that I want more? I miss them.

Enough of the maudlin. Let’s talk good stuff! The kids were home! For two, amazing, perfect, fabulous, memory-searing weeks. The only one not home, working hard at his job, was Nicholas. Living this far, across half a country, an entire ocean, makes coming home hard. I hold on tight to our memories just last October, but how I wish I would’ve had the full gaggle (herd? pack? nest?) here.

They arrived bright & early on a sunny Monday morning. I couldn’t sleep the night before, I’m like a five-year-old sometimes! I slept right through my alarm, scrambling out of bed a half hour before the plane was scheduled to touch down. I hustled Cole, Tess & Dane into the van and raced to the airport. I parked right out front, speed-walked across the parking lot, the street, groaning when “my” entrance was under construction, and practically jogged to the next door down. Only to realize Cole, Tess & Dane stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. I turned in exasperation, we needed to GO, only to find six laughing faces staring at me. They were here! Out of the plane, through customs, on the sidewalk, waiting for me!


After hugs, and a couple of happy tears, we packed everything & everybody up into Veronica and headed off to Frühlingsfest, aka spring fest/carnival/fair. It’s the start of fest season, there’s a fest for everything, ending with Volksfest/Oktoberfest in the fall. The kids had never been in the big beer tents, and while day time is nowhere near the same as the craziness of nighttime, at least they get a taste. And a taste of beer. Poor Lindsay could not finish the whole liter of beer, and we both struggled holding up the massive “Maß”.

After chicken & beers we explored the fest, me just basking in the happy faces & excited voices surrounding me. I felt, as trite as it may be, complete. The kids went in the funhouse, rides, and played games. Bumper cars and that machine where you make quarters (fake euro’s) fall down were favorites. Christian & Dane were once again inseparable. They have been best buddies since birth. Wingmen. Anything Dane wanted, Christian got him. Together they rode rides, slid down the big slide. And drank blue slushies. The whole day they weren’t more than a foot apart, except when chasing each other in the bumper cars. My heart just melted.

My Rock Stars: Cole, Soren & Lindsay, Tessa, Christian & Dane

Soren thought he’d be funny and blow his beer foam at me… I dodged. Ha!

Getting Soren to smile is impossible… Lindsay is much, much more cooperative ❤

Sigh. I want to proost (aka cheers). They think they’re funny.

This makes me happy beyond words. Look at his smile!

In Dutch we say: “mijn dag kan niet stuk” It means: my day can’t break. And it can’t. Not with all the kids smiling ❤

Dane takes archery very, very seriously.

This photo is just creepy. Not Christian. He’s not creepy. But can you find Cole? That’s creepy.

My favorite ride. This one & the exact same one that is a bazillion feet off the ground. Love.

Tess & Dane love the slushies ㋡

The Wingmen. Christian & Dane. Together again ❤

I think this may have come straight out of the woods by Hansel & Gretel.