Friday, January 4, 2013

December in Amsterdam & Christmas with the Lees

December was full of fun activities.  We love living in a place where there are always so many things to do.  Some things we did in no particular order:
  • We celebrated Sinterklaas Day on Dec. 5.  We had a nice dinner, we each got a chocolate letter (tradition) and a little present.  Andy got a car, Cameron got a few diet cokes, and I got a bubble bath ball.
  • The most important event of the month was Cameron's glamor shots he had taken at Dell.  They show off his successful November beard.

  • We went to an event titled "Turn on the Lights," in Dam Square.  We weren't sure what it was until we got there.  It wasn't very Christmas-y, but it was so cool!  Very modern and Amsterdam-esque.  It's hard to describe it all, but some of the coolest parts were when a crane lifted this singing lady above the entire crowd and then later lifted a man riding his bike and playing a violin with all these angels (they were fat, man angels...weird) around him.  Yeah, I'm not doing the best job describing it.  But it was very cool.  It all culminated with the Christmas lights at de Bijenkorf (a big dept. store) turning on.  
  • The end of November and beginning of December were pretty freezing cold.  We even had some snow for a few days.  It doesn't snow every year here, so this was a big deal. 

  • Claire had me over to her place for a delicious dinner.  She's the best cook!
  • We made a trip to the market with Amadine. 
  • Amandine had Andy and I over for lunch.  I spent most of the time chasing Andy around stopping him from destroying everything Amandine owns, but it was still great to see Amandine and little Faustine.  
  • Andy and I took a trip to the Nemo museum, and also went back to the Stedilijk Museum to see the top floor.  
  • Andy tried out a Little Gym class and loved it.  Too bad his parents are too cheap to pay for a weekly class. :)  
  • Andy and I took a trip to TunFun (a huge underground playground) with Amsterdam Mamas and had a blast.  It was amazing to see how much stronger and braver Andy got within just one month from our last visit there!
  • Andy and I continued to go to our two weekly storytimes at the library and the English Bookshop.  We got to know our new friends Stephanie and little Ashley and had fun lunches with them a few times.  We might be taking a break from our English Bookshop storytime for a while until Andy can get over his obsession with climbing their stairs and grabbing books off the shelves, which is not allowed.  
  • We had Dave and Abby over for a games night.  We had a lot of fun playing Scattergories and Rummikub. 
  • We visited the Sissyboy Christmas Market.  We thought it would be bigger than it was, but it was still fun.  We got some great ornaments and little knobs for a dresser.   
  • Cameron and I finished a wonderful BBC miniseries called "The Paradise."  It aired this past fall in England, so I don't know if/when it will get to the US. If it does: watch it!  I also watched a lot of "The Middle," which is quickly turning into my favorite show. 
  • We made our neighbors cookies for Christmas.  Neighbor gifts aren't really something they do here, so everyone was very surprised.  "Wow, no one here does anything like this! How nice!"  It was fun and made it feel a little more like Christmas.  


    • When Cameron was in London, Andy and I went to Christmas boat parade on the Prinsengracht (one of the main canals here).  It was beautiful and so festive! Andy loved seeing all the lights and loved pointing at the boats. 
    • It's not really something we did, but the most important event of the month was the birth of our first nephew, Samuel.  We love him so much already.  He and Andy will be best buddies!  

    Of course, all the fun activites in December culminated when Greg, Kathy, and Brendan arrived.  It was so fun for us to all celebrate Christmas together.  A little synopsis of their time with us in Amsterdam:

    They all got here on a friday; after a little nap, we all (Rachel, too) went to dinner at Va Piano's. Saturday we did the Christmas Markets in Cologne, which I've already blogged about.  Sunday, I dropped Rachel off at the airport, we went to church, had a pasta dinner at home, and then went out to see the Amsterdam Light Festival.  It's the coolest thing.  It's this path you walk on through Amsterdam that has about 20 different points you stop at that have creative light displays.  A lot of them are interactive.  It's here just for the month, so we're glad Cam's family got to see it, too.  Monday was Christmas Eve.  Greg treated us to a delicious breakfast at Esprit Cafe, then we headed off to the Hermitage Museum to see all the Van Gogh.  That afternoon, Greg, Brendan, and Cam all took a bike ride to see Cam's work while I prepped for our Christmas Eve dinner.  We had a nice Christmas Eve spending time together at home.  Christmas morning, we had a yummy breakfast casserole.  There weren't many presents to open--we'd all agreed to do a "no presents" Christmas because of our big Italy trip.  However, Kathy and Greg spoiled Andy with tons of presents; he loves every single one of them.  We went on a boat cruise that morning, relaxed in the afternoon, and then Greg treated us to a fancy Christmas Dinner at Humphrey's.  The next morning we left for Italy, which is a story for another post.  We had so much fun showing Cam's family around beautiful Amsterdam! We didn't take enough pictures, but here are a few.

    Amsterdam Light Festival:

     Christmas Boat Ride:

    Christmas Dinner:


    1. I sit in anticipation awaiting your Italy trip update. You are so cute with the neighbor cookies, better than me!

    2. You're just as great of a cook!

    3. I love that you are banning Andy from storytime. I picture him climbing the stairs and all the ladies just shaking their heads. So funny! I can't wait to hear more about Italy, get on that :) Being an aunt is so much fun! I can't wait for you to meet Sam. You are such a good neighbor taking treats. They are going to miss you!

    4. Ok Andy is so cute and so big. I can't wait for him and Sam to meet!

    5. You are the sweetest neighbor! Can't wait to hear more about your Italy trip!