I’ve missed you guys!
We came back from our summer vacation on Sunday night and I have approximately 4 billion pictures to share with you. Settle in friends :). Here’s our trip by the numbers:
10 days on vacation.
2 different countries visited.
1 birthday girl was celebrated.
About 18 whales were spotted.
0 times I threw up on a small boat (quite the little miracle!).
1 black eye came home.
4,596 games of Crazy 8s were played.
2 to 3 hours a day was all the darkness we experienced (holy sunshine!).
4 fjords were explored.
8,569,235 times Ashby said “I miss Bowen”
Too many laughs, hugs, kisses, cuddles and time together as a family to count. It was such a special little vacation.
So, I’m always telling you how Andrew and I plan our family vacations way in advance. We plan, save, prepare, and decide typically two years before we depart. That being said, this trip has been in the works since 2011. Way back then, we decided that we wanted to visit Norway and specifically its fjords. That being said, that’s a vacation for bigger kids (and in 2011, we had two babies). So, the years went by and we waited for the perfect time to take our family to Norway…and landed on this year. This trip was especially fun because of how much my big kids enjoyed planning and preparing for it. We all watched Rick Steves videos together preparing, my kids checked out books at their school library on Norway the entire month of May (which was funny because their little elementary school doesn’t have that many books on Norway, so every week they would come home with the books the other one had just turned back in), we studied the Vikings beforehand and talked a lot about World War II and the Holocaust (especially about Anne Frank). We even watched The Diary of Anne Frank as a family (with the big kids only) and a documentary on the Holocaust. So, needless to say…we were all super pumped and ready to leave. And we decided to leave…
…on Ashby’s FOURTH BIRTHDAY! Woohoo! This was the morning of June 9th, otherwise known as this girl’s birthday. Our flight didn’t leave until that evening, so we slept in, opened presents and then met my family for brunch on our town square…
…everyone knows that Ashby doesn’t enjoy breakfast but she totally digs brunch! My parents, grandparents, Sean and Catherine all met us to celebrate sweet Ashby.
Pink cupcakes to celebrate our sweet Ashby.
After brunch, we all came home and showered up (because we knew it would be a long time before we had the chance to shower again…) and headed to the airport.
Three excited travelers at the airport!
Love exploring with this guy.
(And pssst: because I just don’t know a better way to do it, I’ll link to random things below pictures when I think you’ll ask me what we’re wearing. Like this shirt for instance is that linen-like Lush shirt I can’t stop wearing. Love it so much because it doesn’t wrinkle…which is good because I’m about to wear it for two days!)
And off we went! DFW to London was our first leg of the trip.
And here we are! Some 10 hours later…eating breakfast in the airport in London waiting on our connecting flight to Amsterdam. Remember when we took our kids to Amsterdam when they were babies? We ate here with them while waiting for our connection…
…look at baby Kensington! This was July 2010. Same breakfast for the same connection.
But this time around, we’re a family of FIVE headed to Amsterdam!
So, we took the short flight from London to Amsterdam and arrived right after lunch. We checked into our hotel and hit the streets to explore. First stop, a meal outside…
And then we walked (and tour guide Andrew pointed out things ;)…love this guy!).
Crazies on a canal.
All the wooden shoes make this girl happy!
The last two times we’ve been in Amsterdam (2010 and 2012), I’ve bought these little houses to sit on the shelves in my office by Royal Delft. Here we are in the same shop buying three more. I love having little trinkets from trips around my house.
Ordering his crepe outside of Rembrandt Square.
She hasn’t slept in over 24 hours but she’s happy and excited to be on vacation!
And this Nutella Crepe made me extremely happy!!
We continued walking around Amsterdam until about 7:00 and then we were tired and ready for long showers and bed. The next morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel…
And it made me reminisce about the last time they were here…
…same hotel just six years earlier. Sweet babies! They get big so fast!
My favorite little sidekick :).
After breakfast, we took to the streets of Amsterdam for one more walk (in the rain) before our car arrived to take us to Rotterdam for…
…our Norwegian Fjords Cruise.
So…if you want to see the fjords…you gotta be in a boat, right? And we all know that I don’t do boats that well (to say the least!), so after lots of careful consideration, planning and research, we found a cruise that stopped inside the fjords PLUS toured them each evening. Win, win, win.
We got on board our Holland America Line ship at noon and were so pumped! Inside each elevator, they change the rug daily to what day of the week it is and for some reason, we LOVED this. I’m going to need to get these rugs for my house :).
Because we have a family of five, we had to get two cabins…which at first we thought was a big bummer (because we enjoyed having one cabin on our Disney Cruise), but they were right next door to each other and having two cabins meant having two bathrooms, tubs, showers, etc and it ended up being really nice. I took pics of this cabin on day one before it was destroyed by our presence. This is us right after getting inside.
It was the exact same size as our cabin on board the Disney Magic but…we had two of them, so there was plenty of room and two big balconies on the aft (rear) of the ship so we could see the fjords from both sides during our scenic cruising.
Balcony number 1 ready to depart Rotterdam.
We explored the ship the rest of the day. This is the kids’ area…on board this ship were about 2000 passengers and only 10 of them were kids. Needless to say, our kids got the run of things!
Woohoo! Ready for FUN!
On the fifth deck, they had faux Terracotta Warriors all the way from Xi’an, China…just like this girl! Remember when we went and saw the actual Terracotta Warriors? One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen!
On one of the balconies leaving Rotterdam. It took about 3 hours to leave the Rotterdam port because it was so large (one of the largest ports in the world!). We watched with binoculars as the Netherlands went by. Next stop, the fjords!
So, that’s the beginning. I told Andrew that one of my favorite parts of this trip was all of the hand holding I did. As long as I live, I’ll remember the hand holding. Walking as much as we did on this trip, there were always two people holding my hands…and that was just so sweet.
On my foodie blog today…
My kiddos and I made these out of vanilla Greek yogurt and they were so GOOD! Perfect for an easy summer snack! See the recipe here.
Love you ladies! So happy to be home!