Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wintergreen...

A few weeks back we headed up to Wintergreen to avoid the craziness surrounding Inauguration Day. We brought Mark, Kathleen, Olivia and puppy Holly along with us and enjoyed a great weekend in the mountains. 


The (older) kids had so much fun playing in the woods most of the time. The weather was really nice and they even had a picnic in the woods just the two of them - so cute how well those cousins get along. 

Harper had fun exploring the house and going for a hike on the golf course where Andy got to fly his drone. We also stopped at a few of the overlooks and snapped some great pictures of the mountains peaking out from what seemed like an ocean of clouds - it was pretty cool. 






We enjoyed some fun meals, a lot of laughs, and a few house issues - but that's par for the course (sorry Mom & Dad!). 


Sadly once our weekend escape was over we still had to return to the reality that is #45....sigh. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Netherlands - My Weekend in Amsterdam...

Wow - what an amazing city Amsterdam is. It was never really on my radar as a city I'd want to visit - not sure why it just hadn't really crossed my mind - however now that I've been - I'm already looking forward to getting back there (and hopefully with Andy in tow!) :) 

The weather was chilly but not unbearable - we actually got quite lucky on that front. We had a great hotel right across from the train station and basically in the city center. We did a lot of walking and just taking in the city. We would stop for coffees every now and again - which of course over there are sooooo much better than here. We also enjoyed some more amazing food. My colleague Mario was our tour guide, however he is actually from Portugal so he's also still a bit of a tourist in Amsterdam. He did take us to a Portuguese restaurant though where we had a fun and delicious dinner. We got to talking with the wait staff as well and enjoyed hearing their travel stories - talking with people from different countries is always a highlight of travel for me. 


















We walked off our dinner by taking a stroll through the Red Light District. Woah. That's an experience. We didn't spend too much time - just walked through long enough to say we did it. Walking past some of the things you see with two male colleagues definitely ranks high on the "awkward" scale!

We also visited the Van Gogh Museum which was very well done and filled with so much beautiful art. There were several pieces I wish I could have taken with me - ha - but I refrained. After that we took a long walk down to see Ann Frank's house - only to find that the house itself has had a museum built around it - so not really much to see - oh well maybe next time I will plan to visit the museum. 











For our last evening in Amsterdam we went on a river cruise and took in their holiday light show. It was one last festive activity before I had to officially say goodbye to Christmas - haha - I was able to hold on tight for an extra 7 days though! :) It is amazing to see the city from the water - so beautiful. 







Finally it was time to head home and I couldn't wait to see my boys. A long 9.5 hour flight was endured but happily it was smooth and on time! I was greeted at the door by two wagging tales, and happy Adam and a full on walking Harper! Wow - he had flipped a switch while I was gone and I was so proud to see him using his feet as his main mode of transportation. Gifts were given and hugs were shared all around. A fantastic trip and experience but of course there's no place like home!





Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Netherlands - First Stop - Almelo....

I had a great opportunity to head overseas at the beginning of the month to attend our European sales meeting at our Euro headquarters in Almelo which is about two hours outside of Amsterdam. My colleague Adrian and I were excited to be asked to represent the US at this meeting as it was going to be a great chance to get to know our European colleagues better, find out what's been working for them and also have the opportunity to play tourists - nice work perk! 

I left on New Year's Day on a flight that took off around 6:30 p.m. I'll admit I was pretty anxious about the travel as I was going to be gone for a whole week and it was the first time being overseas since the kiddos were born. A champagne toast before I left and some wine at the airport helped with those nerves - ha! It was also nice that the plane was practically empty which meant I had my row to myself - bonus points! 







After a smooth 7.5 hour flight I arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed (ok, maybe not but I did find myself with a second wind once I was able to stretch my legs, brush my teeth and refresh my make-up) and after clearing customs and grabbing my bag I only had to wait about five minutes before Adrian had arrived. We then headed for the train station so we could start making our way to Almelo. Unfortunately there was a slight issue with the trains that morning which lead to us hopping in a cab (a Tesla no less) and heading to the main train station in Amsterdam where we were then able to get on a train. Two train rides later we finally arrived safely in Almelo where one of our colleagues scooped us up from the train station and dropped us at the hotel. It was a beautiful hotel that was still decked out for Christmas and while seeing the bed upon entering my room was a bright spot - the best site to see was the miniature Christmas tree - this trip was already off to a great start! 







We then spent the next four days in Almelo where we combined work and play. Work and meetings during the day and amazing dinners and fun at night. The food we had was top notch - we enjoyed everything from traditional Netherlands fare like bitterballen, uitzmijterz (a open faced sandwich with eggs that was insanely good) and french fries with mayo (they love mayo over there) to daily doses of carpaccio, wonderful European breakfast spreads, and even a Middle Eastern dinner one night. So much variety and all of it was delicious. We also got to go to an Escape Room one night which was a bit challenging as the clues were all in Dutch and we only had two people with us that could speak Dutch - but our teamwork paid off and we escaped with time to spare! 















It really was a great week spent with our European colleagues - how cool to get to share ideas and challenges with people from Germany, Poland, England, France, Czech Republic, Portugual, and of course The Netherlands - all in one room and all with one common goal of success for our company. As an added bonus I got to see my old colleague Desire who met up with us one night. I sure do miss working with her but thanks to social media we've been able to remain friends and keep in touch even two years later. I hope she'll come visit us again in the US soon! 






Next up - we get to spend the weekend in Amsterdam!