The best part about living in Austria is being so close to Holland. Our family is just a two hour plane ride away! Whatever the season, there is always something there to look forward to.
This time, there was turkey.
Somehow, we managed to roast turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans, and pumpkin pie in the tiniest Dutch oven we’ve ever seen.
Those are some pretty talented chefs.
And some pretty cute kids.
Leila glamorously met us on her bike and attempted to sneak us home to surprise Nate. Surprise Nate! Happy Thanksgiving! I’m not sure we fooled him, but we tried. Nate is smart that way. And Hunter has a hard time keeping secrets.
No matter how many times we go to the Hague, it’s also still a surprise that everything always feels so ordered and organized. The windows are perfectly painted and the War Fries are perfectly messy, with peanut sauce, mayonnaise, and onions… who was the genius that dreamed up that?
Even the cheese is organized.
In Amsterdam we had lunch at a little café, where a map of the world was etched onto the side of this old espresso machine. We had cappuccinos and plates of little powdery, sugared pancakes, melting into pools of butter.
Just outside was the Anne Frank House. We reserved tickets months ago thinking that Eli and Jake are the perfect age to start learning about this. We also reserved spots to hear an introductory lecture before the tour, and after three hours, there were still no complaints. Only more questions. It impressed us, in more ways than one.
Back home again in Den Haag, the kids made videos on Musically and walked Sahara and Hunter to school, while Nate, Mike and I shopped at Sligro for the closest things we could find to sweet potatoes and condensed cream of mushroom soup. We didn’t find the soup (I think that is a credit to the Dutch), but we did find fresh roasted chickens and giant tubs of mayonnaise, and some Port that sounded a little… uncomfortable…
In the afternoon we walked through Haagse Bos, past the palace and glassy ponds sprinkled with ducks, and old World War II bunkers which collided nicely with our recent lesson on Anne Frank. So many questions… “Why didn’t people hide in the bunkers so the Nazis couldn’t find them?” It’s hard to imagine hatred and world chaos at the age of 10, when their lessons in school are all about learning to get along. Life is getting a little complicated.
After two hours out in the cold we were ready to warm up with Happy Hour! No family holiday is complete without Happy Hour, and we can always count on Leila to make it fun with trendy cocktail ideas from First Class. It’s nice to have a family member who travels all over the world and brings her discoveries home to us.
It’s nice to have family who doesn’t mind sharing their home with you.
And it’s nice to have some extra people to help you finish the cake.
This year I’m thankful for everything. Stroopwaffles, nieces, cookie monster doughnuts, living on the same continent as my brother, maybe not particularly in that order, but those and everything in between.