Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Black and Orange Stuff

Happy whatcha-macallit. I've never been much in to the spook show, but here are some sweet pumpkins for you. The Queen Mother and I discussed one time why we were never in to Halloween and we decided that it was because we don't like the colors black and orange together. The kids will go out trick or treating tonight and we'll pass out candy and that will be that.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Netherlands Nuesday 3

Today we have a very special Netherlands Nuesday complete with a video clip of a man in Bedum biking with his dog along the Boterdiep.

As I've said before, they are serious about their biking. Here is a still shot for you that I remember being very excited about when I tried to get the picture.
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He is definitely riding off the photograph.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Last Race


John & I have enjoyed watching Edward run for 4 years on the Cross Country team. He has made many great friends in the process and we have also. Yesterday could not have been a more beautiful day for running and I felt like all the cross country people we loved were there. Edward ran his lifetime personal record of 18:26. When it was over, I asked him if he was sad, and in typical Edward style, he said, "Uh, yeah, I guess." He knows that the most important race isn't over yet, and in that regard, cross country has been the best training for the life ahead of him.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Breakfast at Panerra

This morning I met my friend Annette at Panerra for our "monthly" breakfast which has turned in to more of a biannual affair. We recounted our last breakfast during the great February blizzard of '07 where we drank coffee oblivious to the churning white maelstrom outdoors. When we finally became aware of the great distress outside, we decided that Panerra would not be a bad place to be snowed in - they have coffee, bathrooms, good food, and a fireplace. It is, as the Dutch say, gezelligheid.

So this morning, we sat by the fireplace, my baptist-buckeye-turned-reformed-prematurely-widowed friend and I, trying to comprehend life here in GR. A lady seated near us who was reading a book commented what a gift it was to have breakfast with a friend. And so it was, as 3 hours later we realized it was time to move on with our days. See you next month, Annette.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


The Queen Mother sent me a couple pictures of their trip to Pennsylvania. Evidentally, she & her friends decided to do the camo look.

She also sent this picture of a mountainside covered with trees of many colors.

And I'm reminded of what John Calvin said, “There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fall's Coloring Book

Uncle Alan sent me these pictures of their glorious fall in New Hampshire.


Beauty seen is never lost, God's colors all are fast. - John Greenleaf Whittier

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Leaves have not Left Yet

Today in my neighborhood

I was reading something Jerry Seinfeld said about the first joke of his that got a laugh. It was about lefties - and I was interested since my mom, John and Bridget are all lefties. He was talking about how left handedness and left things are associated with the negative - like 2 left feet, or you go to a party and nobody is there, where did everybody go? They left.

So sorry Mom, John, Bridget, when the leaves fall, that means they left. Too bad.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

More Trees to Hug

It seems the theme of trees is running through my weekend. John & I came across a great tree sale so we got 4 Maple trees, 2 Pear trees and 2 Azalia bushes for our yard.

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John with the first of 8 holes he had to dig

Sunday morning in church, Pastor Amy talked about 3 trees - the one in their backyard that their neighbor cut down stirring up feelings of revenge, the Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, and tree where Jesus died - His way to counter revenge. Then, this afternoon, Edward & Maria were carrying on an animated discussion about a piece they are doing in Orchestra called "The Creaking Tree." You should hear the sounds the violins make! Maybe I shouldn't wish that on you. Supposedly, the cellos make quite a sound too but Edward hasn't played it for me yet. Good thing trees are mostly pretty quiet.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

October Cookout

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We enjoyed the unusually warm October weather by eating hamburgers out on the deck Thursday evening. Since the kids have a couple of days off of school, they were very relaxed and they let me take their picture for the 10,000th time!

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Bridget, Maria & Edward in their Hard Rock Cafe Amsterdam shirts

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Running for the Prize

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John & I went yesterday to watch Edward run in his last XC meet at Johnson Park where his school usually has their home meets. This was the last time I'll see him run across this field in a race. The start of the late fall colors added to the beauty of the moment. Ed ran fast enough this season to get a varsity letter, but not fast enough to be in the top 7 who actually run varsity, so he ran in the reserve race at the Conference meet.

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I savored watching them - and him - run by!

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And run by again. And then, when I saw him run by again, I did so without a camera in front of my face.

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The South Christian reserve team had 7 runners in the top 10 and came home with the trophy for 1st place.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. I Corinthians 9:24

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Maria Will Love This Story

I was checking my e-mails after work, and a friend sent me a link to a blog of a friend of hers and told me to read it. I got so caught up in the story of the leap of faith this young couple took. As I was reading, my watch alarm went off signaling the usual time, 2:55, I pick up Maria from school and I left to pick her up. As I was sitting in the high school parking lot, I remembered that she is tutoring till 4:00 today.

Anyway, read this story about the Evans Family and maybe you can leave them a comment or send them a card and pray for them!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

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Windmills in Holland, 2007... Dutch people are so smart.

Get Well soon, Bridgie!
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I picked my faithful little blog reader up from school today at 10:30am with a sore throat & headache. She is resting now.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Driving to Church

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S-curve in the Rain

Maria has recently gotten her Driver's Permit and has to complete 50 hours of driving supervised by John or me before she completes segment 2 of her Driver's education. Sunday morning is a great time for her to get experience on the highway - and a chance for her to prepare for the 4 hour Christmas journey to Celeryville!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Moving On

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I'm sure you're all excited that I'll be going back to blogging about day to day life here in Grand Rapids. It is very exciting, just not quite as picture-worthy. The excitement is more underneath it all like when the girls are looking at Maria's homework quietly together.

You can re-visit our trip anytime by clicking on the link in the little Royal Orange box at the right.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Last Dutch Evening

After the Rijksmuseum, we did a little shopping and then ate supper at a cozy little place on one of the narrow streets in Amsterdam. Afterward, we enjoyed some of the sights at night. I have to add that I never enjoy being anywhere near the sad red light district. However, the lights reflected on the canals in the city were a beauty to behold:

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The old historic buildings are lit up like ghosts at night.

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I LOVE this picture of Mar & Paula doing Amsterdam hard core. It makes me laugh every time because I don't remember it really being like that at all.

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But this is probably my favorite picture, maybe even of the whole trip. I think I had a dream like this a long time ago.

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Soon, we got back on the train and headed for the hotel to rest for the big journey home. Our colorful trip was over.

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So that concludes the story of our Netherlands 07 adventure. I noticed in my pictures there are still little things to tell, so I think I'll institute a new feature in the blog called "Netherlands Nuesday" which will run on Tuesdays. It was either that or "Holland Haturday".

Flash Back Friday 38


Gezelligheid in Gouda, 2003

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dam Square

We headed up the narrow Dam Straat toward Dam Square (That's pronounced "Dom" for the American readers) looking in some stores along the way.
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Dam Square is always filled with people and pigeons and street performers, and a trolley runs right through it - it is a very exciting place to be. On one end stands the National Monument, which is in memory of those who died in WWII, and at the other end is a royal palace which you can see behind the orange street performer below.
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In 2003 we stayed at the Krasnapolsky which is on the Square. This time, we ate at a restaurant next door and had a very festive time in there keeping dry and discovering what fun things we ordered.
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When we left, the rain had stopped, so Paula burst into a musical on the steps of that restaurant on Dam Square.
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We walked down to the Rijksmuseum after lunch which I blogged about a little before. I could have stayed there for days, but time only allowed us a couple of hours. We saw the Night Watch by Rembrandt and The Little Street, Woman Reading a Letter and The Love Letter by Vermeer. I think they said The Kitchen Maid was out on loan.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Griswolds Do Amsterdam

We got up early on our last full day in the Netherlands to spend the day in Amsterdam. Though it was raining, our spirits were not dampened. Did you ever wonder how many Americans it takes to buy a Dutch train ticket?

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Well, the 7 of us finally figured it out, so we were soon on our way to the big city.

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Since it was raining, we decided to see the city first of all by a canal boat. You can take a canal cruise right from a place near Central Station.

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You can see below, we got all gezelligheid aboard the 1-1/2 hour cruise - settling in with the waters they gave us. Our Captain & Tour Guide were both real characters.
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This turned out to be a great way to see the city on a rainy day. Whenever I opened the window to take pictures though, the lady behind me reached behind her to shut my window. Oy. I didn't take as many as I wanted to, but below are a few. We saw many house boats along the canal.

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And this is the part of the cruise where you supposedly can see 7 bridges - maybe on a clear day.
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I didn't get many chances thus far in the week to take pictures of windmills - can you believe it? In desparation, I took this one of the biggest, and I think oldest, windmill in Amsterdam from behind the rain drop-smeared window.
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The canal houses are such an interesting part of the architecture in Amsterdam. When they were built, they had to pay taxes based on how wide their houses were, so they learned to build up. To get their furniture in the house, most of the houses protrude out with a pulley at the top to pull their furniture in on a rope.
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When our tour was over, we began walking the streets and Paula & Mar posed in their Bedum Boots. The picture below came out a bit blurry in the low light so I used a filter and entitled it Amsterdam on a Rainy Day.
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Amsterdam on a Rainy Day, 2007