Sunday, June 29, 2008


The train and tram systems are very efficient. I think this is an exciting thing to experience - when you are used to traveling by car everywhere. 
While riding on the train, Rachel revealed to us that she had her own supply of condiments for the day. It is not common to have ketchup in restaurants there - or at the pommes frits (french fry) stands on the street. So Rachel took matters into her own hands which thrilled Hannah who has an addiction to ketchup. We found this out from friends at school who give her all of their ketchup packets at lunch. They are only allowed to take 2 packets with their meals. The other tip-off to this addiction was the ketchup splotches on her clothes every day. . . Back to the train - Rachel acquired (stole) these from the breakfast buffet at the hotel. 

This is the memorial to Anne Frank. It is located right by the church that Anne could see from the window in their secret annex. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the Anne Frank house. If you ever get a chance to go there - I highly recommend it. If you can't get there - and want to see it - the website is very well done.  The thing that stayed with me the most from the tour - was the last thing you hear before you exit the museum. Anne's father is on video and he says that he didn't really know Anne before he read her journals. He encouraged parents to have their children write about their lives, their feelings and their dreams. He didn't address the challenge of sharing those journals with each other while we are still alive - I guess that is up to us.
After the tour we headed to PC Hoofstraat. It is the "Rodeo Drive" of Amsterdam. We were not going shopping - but we were eating at a restaurant not far from there. Rudy, Kellie, Mom and Dad, Jenni and Rick met some friends for Indonesian food. Steve and I took all the kids to a Pizza place across the street. We ate outside and Brock and Steve enjoyed the show of the high-end luxury cars going by. After lunch we did stroll down Hoofstraat. We oohed and ahed at some fancy things - and more cars. 
This is the park area right behind the Rijks Museum. That is me and Hannah by the M. We went to the Van Gogh museum by the same park. I have always liked Van Gogh's paintings - probably because my Dad loved Van Gogh. We had several prints of his hanging in our home while growing up. We saw the originals here.  

Cousins in Holland

Eliza And Natalie

Hannah, Natalie, Rachel and Eliza in Kampen

Brock, Eliza, Rachel, Jenni and Hannah. Do you think Brock would fit in this car?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


The Cheese Market. Once a week in the town of Alkmaar, they hold the cheese market. This picture doesn't show all the pageantry that goes with the cheese selling and weighing. We got there a while before it started. I told the girls to follow me because I thought we could get a better view on the other side of the square. I was on a mission for a good view. I wasn't paying attention and walked right through the middle of a public urinal. And yes, there was someone in it - using it. (The urinals are 6 foot tall half cylindars with a drain in the ground that give someone a little privacy as long as no one walks through. . .) I backed out of my shortcut before the girls knew what was happening. They had a good laugh after I explained why we couldn't take the shortcut. 

This is the best canal ride in all of Holland. The bridges are so low - you have to duck to make it under without hitting your head. We were all laughing so hard - we hardly heard the tour guide.
We were actually on the floor at times. Our boat wasn't full - so we had room to spread out. When our boat was docking - we saw a boat leaving that was completely full. I don't know how they all got low enough to not hit their heads.

Steve and Jenni ducking for their life and laughing
Views from the boat


This is the 9 passenger van (stick shift) that Steve got to drive all over Holland. On our first day with the van, the girls named it the party van. I think it was a valiant effort to make it a fun ride. Somewhere in the two hours of being stuck in traffic our first outing - we realized that it didn't have air -conditioning as promised and paid for. It did have great windows which allowed for great views and it was fun to ride together as a big group. . . and the driver was handsome. So no complaints here. And when you think that $4 a gallon is steep - think of the Europeans. Its been over $9 a gallon there for some time. 

This is Delft - where the blue china is made. More importantly, it is where my great - great grandfather was born. When we arrived - most of the shops were closed. Like I said - we had been stuck in traffic for a while due to an accident. The walk into the city was beautiful. We probably have 40 pictures of this town. Details if architecture, window boxes with flowers, church towers, canals, bridges and a few funny signs. But it takes a while to load - so these are my favorites. 
There were unique rooftops and facades in every city we visited. My favorite pictures in every city include rooftops. Every shape, size and color.

Arriving in Amsterdam

We were greeted at the airport by my parents who brought the girls tulips. After the "all night" flight we were happy to see them and know there was a bed to crash into not far away. 

There is a chime that goes off in the Schiphol airport that sounds just like a clock my Grandma Van Kampen has in her house. So the airport felt very welcoming.  

We checked into our hotel and slept for a few hours (we love the starwood heavenly beds) and then headed into Amsterdam by train.

We met Rudy and Kellie for dinner at a food court type place and then headed to the flower market. A whole street of beautiful flowers.  We thought the marijuana starter plants would make interesting gifts for everyone at home - but would send mixed messages - and we knew we couldn't get them through customs.

We ran into the missionaries after we left the flower market. One was from Park City and the other was from Missouri. Rudy made several trips to the grocery store. As we walked around we marveled at all the bikes, quaint storefronts and how easy it was to get around. Amsterdam is a big city but feels relaxed.
This is the Dam Square in Amsterdam. The architecture is beautiful and the people were very friendly and helpful. 

Friday, June 13, 2008

8 Days a Week

I know, I said I would post info about our trip - but this is funny and I have to write it down.

Last week, Tanner was in the tub and he was trying to wash off a tattoo he had on his leg. It wasn't coming off. He looked worried. I asked him what he was doing. He said, "I have to get my tattoo off by Sunday or Tuesday or Latter-day."

We have two years before kindergarten to get that cleared up.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Happy 49th Mom and Dad!

This month marks my parents 49th wedding anniversary. We celebrated in a big way - because next year my nephew will be serving a mission. My parents wanted us all to be together in Holland. My father's grandfather was born in Holland. He (my Dad) and my brother both served missions for our church there and speak Dutch.

So for my Dad and Mom who have traveled there many times - it is a special place that they wanted to share with the grandchildren. We had 4 wonderful days together - 13 of us - seeing the beautiful Netherlands. 

A highlight for my parents was going to the Temple there with all their grandchildren who were old enough. (Grace and Tanner stayed home with our dear friends and had as much fun as we did.) We were able to join a group of youth from the international branch in the Amsterdam Stake. It was great to be there together doing temple work for Dutch people. When my Dad served his mission there - it was common for the missionaries to serve as District (smaller than a stake) Presidents. My dad was the District President of the Amsterdam District and to see the growth of the church and to now have a temple there is a great blessing.

In the days to come I will write about our other adventures - but I just want to say Thank You Mom and Dad for a wonderful experience! Thank you for sharing your love for travel and other cultures with all of us. You are incredible parents. We are so glad that you are "ours"!