Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Throwing it Back to Summer ~ My Summer Breeze

Throwing it Back to Summer
My Summer Breeze

As I sit here in Texas on a crystal clear blue sky kind of day, it’s hard to remember that it’s actually winter. I’m wearing a t-shirt and jeans and my daughter is here with shorts on. We’ve got 4 dogs romping around in the backyard playing and the door is open a tad just to let a little breeze come into the house. It feels like a lazy day in summer. Not quite the blazing hot days of summer here in Texas but the beautiful summer days in The Netherlands.

It’s funny, but as an expat you get an assignment for a certain amount of time. Some just a few months and some very long. Ours we were told would be about 3-5 years. It truly felt like we had all the time in the world. But as news of our departure finely came to be there were so many mixed emotions for me. The first few years really our time back to the States was once a year and only at Christmas as I wanted to be with my whole family for the Holidays. We were held to only certain times during the years as my daughter was finishing her high school in The Netherlands. After she graduated, yes it’s true… I went into the Empty Nest Syndrome. Not only had she left to go back to the United States for college, she was my friend, my buddy, my best friend who had gone through all the struggles and triumph of our adventure of living abroad.

Months passed and as she fell totally in love with her school, my anxiety of having her so far away eased. But then... White tulle, lace, flowers and cake took over our lives. With two of our daughters getting married within a few months of each other a lot of time was spent back in the States planning for the weddings. One of our daughters got married this past summer but we were still blessed to be able to have best friends visit us.
Having too much fun in London!

First our friends Chris and Kathy, from my husband’s high school days came for a visit. It was their first trip to Europe and London was their choice of cities to see. So we took a fabulous weekend visit across the pond.
The Guys
As stories from High School and just good ole’ life took over the conversations, it was such a joy to see the “boys” stride side by side as they have throughout their lives. Friends for life!

The Girls
After my daughter’s wedding, I headed back to The Netherlands as our best friends Scott, Dawn and their son Trevor, who were also at the wedding would be arriving in a few days. Dawn would be arriving a few days later as grandbaby #5 would be arriving any minute. My husband had to work, so the boys and I took off for Normandy, France. Scott had booked our stay with Airbnb.com and we truly had no idea what we were getting.
Our villa in Normandy!!
Wellllll.... ummmm yes! It was stunning. We had the run of an old stunning Normandy house set on about 5 acres of beauty.
Scott and Trev in front of the stunning
garden shed.
I absolutely love Normandy and the beauty that surrounds it.

Scott, Trev and I enjoying a little "Happy Hour" outside our Villa in Normandy.
But above all the beauty for me,
American Cemetery Normandy
is the love that was poured out over the beaches and countryside of this stunning region as our US boys stormed the beaches and air during World War II ready to save people in need of our help.
Omaha Beach Normandy
This reverent land will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Heading back to Amsterdam to pick up Dawn from the airport, I started to feel a little not well. I think throwing a wedding, traveling overseas, jet lag then driving to France and back was taking its toll.
Our apartment in Rome.
But... that wasn’t going to stop me going to Rome with my besties! I did take one day off while they went roaming around Rome,
Scott and Dawn on tour at the Vatican
but the next day I rallied for the Vatican and a few other fun stops. Again, we stayed in amazing Airbnb.com just a few blocks from the Vatican City. 

Rome is amazing to me, with all the history and artistic architecture everywhere you look. I will say it was a tad hot in Rome during the summer,
Trev and I enjoying Ribs at The Hard Rock Rome

but that was to be expected. It’s just an amazing city.
St. Peter's Basilica

After we dropped the boys off at the airport, Dawn and I were excited to have just a girl’s week to explore The Netherlands. I took her to all my favorite places... The Kinderdijk to enjoy the windmills, in and around my little village of Leende, off to Nuenen where
The van Gogh Windmill in Nuenen
van Gogh lived and painted and of course my love... Monschau, Germany. It was a great, low key girl’s week and I’m blessed to have shared it with
one of my best friends.
Dawn getting some puppy love.

It was a crazy busy summer... but the kind where a summer breeze... makes me feel fine.
Enjoying the Texas Heat

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