Roarr! Ittybot turns four!

ittybotbdaylogoThis past weekend we celebrated Ittybot’s FOURTH BIRTHDAY!

This is his first birthday back in the states so we decided throw him a little birthday party. We went with a lumberjack theme because it coincides with the rustic, adventure theme I planned for his bedroom. Most of the decorations for his birthday party can later be utilized as decoration in his new bedroom! Pretty genius, right?

When I started to plan his birthday, there were still some post- Christmas sales to take advantage of at Michaels so I found a lot of the decorations there for 80%-90% off. SCORE! I really wanted some rustic elements so I ordered a couple wooden centerpieces that I found for a decent price on orientaltrading.com. While I was perusing their selection, I found inflatable axes. I personally thought the axes would be a great touch for the lumberjack theme but I knew some parents may not agree. Well…too dang bad! At $10 a dozen, I just had to. A lumberjack party would not be complete without some mustache blowouts. So naturally, I got some of those from Oriental Trading too ($4/dozen). Another item I had envisioned for the party and his bedroom was a little red lantern. Amazon had several options but I ultimately went with the cheapest option ($6). I found some fake moss at the dollar store and I was able to put together adorable centerpieces at an affordable price.

The party was held at the clubroom at our complex because there was enough space for our guests and the space itself is pretty amazing. Luckily the space was already well decorated that I didn’t need to do much to it at all.

Lumberjack Birthday PartyFor games, I made a bean bag toss game out of presentation board purchased from Michaels and printed out some forest animal pictures I found online. I called my MIL to sew some bean bags for me because I was too cheap to purchase them LOL. The game ended up being a hit with the kids! Another game we did was a simple ball toss game. I purchased 3 buckets in various sizes and some plastic balls from Daiso. Ended up being a simple carnival game that challenged guests of all ages.

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Food was probably the easiest part of the party. To stay true to the theme, we decided on simple camping inspired food such as burgers, brats, chips and a chili bar.

I really wanted to put together a photo booth for the party but I ended up being too busy with work that I had little time to prepare. That is definitely something I’d like to do for his next birthday party.

We are so thankful to have such a great turnout. We really didn’t expect to have that many people show up and and we were so excited that Ittybot was surrounded with so many friends and family. Being so new to San Diego, we weren’t sure how long it would take for it to really feel like home-luckily, it took no time at all. This is home.

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Happy Fall!

Wow, is it really October already!? I blinked, and the next thing I knew it’s fall. Well, the California version of fall which is sun, sun and some more sun. I can’t really complain though because we LOVE it here so far.

A lot has happened lately and I just don’t know where to start. We have been keeping busy by exploring sunny San Diego. And by exploring, I mean we have been doing a lot of eating. There are so many good eateries within a few short miles of us that it is often times very difficult to resist the temptation. So we usually don’t. HA!

The eternal sunshine allows us to be able to do a lot of outdoor activities with Ittybot. Whether it be a walk in the park, a trip to the playground, cute picnics or even movies in the park! And we have definitely been taking advantage of our gorgeous community pool.

While San Diego still feels like an extended vacation we are so incredibly blessed and happy to call this place home.

But enough of my jibber jabber, lets get you all up to speed with a couple vlogs.

We will try to be better about this blog but seriously, no promises.

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Good Ol’ Minnesota

Before we make our final move to California, we did a stopover in Minnesota to spend some time with our family. The Mr was with us for about a month while Ittybot and I stayed an additional 2 weeks.

I’d have to say that “crazy” is an understatement. There was a lot on our list of things to do and time was not on our side. The Mr’s side of the family lives in a small town 3 hrs south of the major city that my family lives in, so we had to divide our time between the families while squeezing in a 4 day trip to California to find a place to live.

All the craziness aside, it’s always amazing to see Ittybot interact with his cousins. I’m a little, ok – a lot, behind on our vlogs but when I get around to getting those posted you can just see the glee in his little face! It makes my heart melt. And the little cousins are fantastic with him. They take such great care of him. There is no shortage of love amongst them.

Take a peek at some of the pictures of our time in Minnesota!

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Celebrating Lao New Year in Minneapolis! Location: Bouasavanh in Brooklyn Park, MN
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A relaxing day of food and fishing at the cousin’s house.
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Hanging out on the new pontoon!

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We’re moving…AGAIN!

California

I have seriously waited SO long to be able to say this….WE’RE MOVING!!!! Yes, again. This time, we are moving to the west coast…SUNNY CALIFORNIA! *Queue the crowd cheering audio track*

This is been in the works since July 2015. Yes, you read that correctly – JULY 2015. It has been a long time coming and I am ecstatic that it is finally happening. The Mr accepted the position back in January and due to some unforeseen company changes, it stalled our relocation process. All that mess aside, we will be flying out of Amsterdam at the end of March!

Our experience here has been unforgettable to say the least. We traveled the world, raised an infant in a completely new country without any family nearby, and we conquered it all as a strong, cohesive family unit. I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am that I have The Mr in my corner. He is the most understanding and supportive person on the face of the planet. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it 1000x over – I hit the freaking jackpot with this one!!

I can’t say that the past 2.5 years was paved with rose petals. I had many, MANY days where the constant Holland gloomy weather got me down. I struggled with self-identity, battled with pseudo relationships, and dwelled in self-hate. I wish I could say that I conquered them and come out the other side a stronger person. It’s not that sort of storybook ending. The melee is far from over but I will continue to trudge on and kick its A$$.

I’m excited for what California has to offer. I have been doing extensive research on all the places we can take Ittybot and of course all the foodie offerings! We go to bed each night talking about all the fun and exciting things coming our way. We have some serious goals and what the bots have next in the horizon is nothing short of AMAZEBALLS.

I’ll conclude this here and I’m sure you will hear from me again in the near future!

JoopJoop,

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A look back at 2015: Part III

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Hey guys! Welcome to the third and final installment of our trip down memory lane! I am in awe of the memories we created together in one short year!

2016 already has a lot in store for us – in which I will elaborate once the details are finalized, so be sure to stay tuned!!

Let’s continue where we left off, shall we?

Florida

At the end of July, The Mr gave me an EPIC surprise. He knew I was starting to get really homesick so he told me that we will be joining the rest of the family in Florida in just 4 weeks!

I can’t even put into words how joyful it was to see Ittybot interacting with the rest of the family. I was worried that he would be attached to mommy, but nope, he peaced out as soon as he could!

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I have to admit coming back to Holland was really tough for me. But this little face makes he so happy – as long as we are together, we can get through it!

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Wandering around Amsterdam on a crisp, fall afternoon.

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In November, we traveled back to Belgium to celebrate my beautiful aunt’s birthday.

Bruges

We have always talked about going to Bruges and we finally made it! Unfortunately, it rained the entire time but that didn’t put a damper Ittybot’s mood!

iceland

Some people would call us crazy for traveling to Iceland in December. Well, yeah we are. Iceland was bitter cold and it was FREAKING FANTASTIC! I’ve said this time and time again, the pictures of Iceland just don’t do it justice!

Minnesota

Iceland was a quick stopover before heading to Minnesota to see the family. I chose a picture of us gathered in the kitchen because that’s what we love doing most – eating. We will find any and every excuse to eat, eat, eat!!

And that brings us to today…we leave for Madrid early tomorrow morning for New Years with The Mr’s side of the family. Squeezing in one last trip before 2016 and it should be a great one!

I hope everyone had a wonderful 2015 and lots of luck for 2016! Lots of love from the bots!

Joop Joooooop

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A look back at 2015: Part II

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Lets pick up right where we left off on the last blog!

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Lisse, Netherlands

After we recovered from our jetlag, we set out to see if there were any tulips left in the gardens nearby. We only found one garden that was packed of tulips but even the sparse gardens still looked incredible.

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In June, we set out on a 2 week trip to celebrate my 30th birthday. First up, Marrakech.

Milan.jpgA quick pit stop in Milan, Italy.

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Lake Garda, Italy

Head stand on top of a mountain? Check.

Venice

Venice, Italy – Seriously, the city looks like it does in the postcards…

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Eze, France

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Monaco

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My loves above Nice, France. Love!

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Cannes, France

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The sunsets behind our apartment during the summers are incredible!

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Cherish moments, not things. These boys give me a wealth of memorable memories. I’m thankful for them each and every day….

Wow, this is much longer than anticipated…instead of inundating you with even more pictures, I will do a 3rd post…stay tuned for a third and final post!

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A look back at 2015: Part I

 

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The year is quickly coming to a close, seriously, where did time go?! As of late, my Facebook timeline has been flooded with year in reviews. So I suppose it’s about that time of the year where we take a look back at what happened in our lives over the past 12 months…

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Leiden, Netherlands

It just so happened that the weather gods were smiling upon us and gave us a beautiful day in January. On nice days, we like to go to La Place near the market for lunch. You get a beautiful birds eye view of the charming city from 4 stories above.

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Alicante, Spain

Before Ittybot turned two, we wanted to jet set to one more country before he would cost an entire plane ticket. We decided to venture to Alicante, Spain to visit The Mr’s side of the family.

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Altea, Spain

The family took us to a nearby town called, “Altea”. Altea is a cute and quaint little town along the coast with whitewashed buildings throughout. We weren’t there for long but we loved shopping the charming boutiques and the bakeries were delicious!

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On February 22nd, our little bot officially entered the terrible twos.

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March, 2015 marked 10 years for Tim & Noot!

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Ghent, Belgium

Before Tim & Noot’s anniversary dinner, we explored Ghent for a few hours.

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Early April, we paid a visit to the Keukenhof gardens. We had to go a little earlier this year because we had an unexpected trip to China coming up!

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Shanghai, China
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Yu Yuan Garden

The Mr was summoned to do some work in China and we HAD to tag along. It was an opportunity of a lifetime!

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Sanya, China

The next stop on his work trip was Sanya, China. One of the guys had a great hook-up on a yacht so we all took a break for an afternoon – baller style.

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Tian Tan Buddha AKA Big Buddha

HongKong

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We decided to hop over to Hong Kong after his business trip. Because I mean, WHY NOT?!

Stay tuned for part II!

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