Wednesday, December 1, 2010

We Are Family - Going Back to the Roots!

"Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts." ~Author Unknown

*Sidenote: We have a lot of nuts in this family... in fact, we're all a bit nutty. I like it that way. It gives us character - a little something extra.

"I don't care how poor a man is; if he has family, he's rich." ~Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford, M*A*S*H

About two weeks ago, my family touched down at the Dusseldorf International Airport. We rented a car, packed up, and drove all around the Netherlands and Germany for an eight day escapade. It was pretty fantastic, and somewhat epic. I mean, that many Struiksma's in a foreign country could cause a little havoc, but I think we did alright.

So... I'm just going to give you a little sneak-peek as to what we did while my parents and sister were here in Europe.

Sidenote: My dad has lost almost 80 pounds in the last few months and I am very proud of him... My new, skinny dad is below! Well, he's gettin' there!!! :) There's a really cute picture of him and my mom in front of some windmills, and you can't tell, but his coat was HUGE on him - very cool for him.

First, we ventured off to the Netherlands where we saw a TON of extended family and had a great time seeing Amsterdam (I had only driven through a TINY bit of it, but this time we drove through almost the entire thing) and Northern Holland. We even stopped at this really touristy little town called Zanze Shanze, filled with wooden shoes, old-fashioned windmills, little homes, and everything else in a tourist trap location... and I loved it! It was fun, AND my family and I got to take pictures inside of a giant, wooden shoe. It's a winning situation all-around! Haha...

While there, we spent time with family and I got to see one of my favorite cousins, Klaas, again and spend time with him and his kids - Douwe and Hetie (not sure if they are spelled right...). They are two of the cutest children and so funny. I just adore them! On Saturday, he took us around to tons of random sights in the Northern Netherlands that our family originates. It was amazingly sweet of him, and nice to see some new and "obscure-to-tourists" places. We went on a drive through the country-side of Northern Holland, and through a few smaller town (one where we stopped and got some Dutch cuisine - haha!)... Here are a few tender moments captured:

On Sunday, we all went to lunch at his parents house (I love them!) and them Klaas took ME to a pro soccer game! The Friesland (a "state" in the Northern part of the country) area's team, Heerenveen was playing a Southern team and we defeated them 5-0... It sounds kinda like a boring game, but it was SO good! I actually caught THREE of the goals on my camera (alas, it would not load the videos)... I'm that good. The picture to the right is the Friesland flag in the stands during halftime - the flag has a bunch of hearts on it, yep.

My FAVORITE part of the whole trip up, aside from seeing all my family, was going to the Struiksma Bakery! Yep. I have been before, but this time I got to go with my parents and enjoy the trip together. It was really nice... I don't know, but it always makes me feel like there is a piece of myself halfway around the world from my home, and I'm proud of it. It seems simple, and it is just that - a simple pleasure.

This mini-trip was a great way to start off the time with my family... the perfect way.

Song of the Day: Okay, so I am completely in love with this new song by Justin Beiber... Yea, yea, say what you will, but I'm still gonna be jammin' out to it on my new 160GB Ipod, courtesy of my parents for my Birthday/Christmas gift - a little shout out there. Haha! So, here is Justin's new song, Pray. Don't knock it till you try it... Enjoy!

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