Monday, October 31, 2011

The Horde

Lori's sister, Carol, and her husband, Ray, came to visit at the end of September.  They made it a family vacation by bringing along their daughters, son-in-laws and grandchildren as well -- so we had 10 guests with us!  Ray affectionately referred to the group as "The Horde". 

Typical of all Ryerkerk family visits, the weather was begin with at least.  So we gave folks a true Holland introduction -- we went to the local pannekoeken (Dutch pancake) house and then walked to the beach.  The weather was warm enough to let the kids play in the water (i.e. North Sea water) while the rest of us relaxed on the sand and enjoyed the sunshine.

Getting 10 people around is never easy, especially when 4 of the 10 are age 5 or under.  But The Horde did a very impressive job of getting out and seeing Holland.  They traveled to the Burger's Zoo, Zaanse Schans, Delft, Haarlem, Scheveninghen and Amsterdam.   In addition, the younger adults took sidetrips on the weekend -- Joy & Tamir went to Copenhagen and Mandi and Kevin went to Paris.  That left Ray and Carol on their own with the grandkids for two days.  They did pretty well keeping up with the young ones, but everyone was glad to see their parents return. 

Joy and Tamir in Copenhagen

Changing of the Guard

Mandi and Kevin at the top of the Eiffel Tower

In front of Notre Dame

I hope this Danish restaurent isn't named after the infamous Donner Party. Or maybe they meant "donor". Either way, it's not a very appetizing name.

Graber was in heaven having all these people around to play with.  He especially enjoyed the kids -- they were the same height as him, they had interesting toys and they dropped a lot of food when they ate.  Unfortunately, he confiscated a few of the toys so he had to go to time out several times. 

Graber gets left out of coloring on the floor. The day before he ate 10 of Damian's crayons.

These were Graber's favorites. There used to be four of them. In addition, the middle one is now tailless and the bottom guy is footless.

By the time everyone left 10 days later, the normal Dutch fall weather had returned.  It was cold, gray and rainy when folks flew home -- now at least the Ryerkerk family will realize that it's not all paradise over here.   Things were pretty quiet in the house without The Horde.  Graber moped around the house for two days wondering where all his new friends had gone. 

Carol enjoying the Dutch weather

The boy's favorite store

Joy & Mandi in Delft

Joy and Oren by a Dutch canal.

Liora was a fantastic traveler.

We celebrated September birthdays with another great Tuxedo cake from Lori. 

Kira tries stroopwafels, two small waffles with a butter/caramel filling in between. 
One of the favorite Dutch treats, dark chocolate milk.

Another satisfied Chocomel customer.  His dad liked it as well. 

Ray and Carol with their girls.

Another Dutch experience -- biking to the market. 

Joy, Mandi and Kevin enjoy my favorite vendor at the Market, the Bakery.  They're eating huge pastries filled with cream. 

Mandi & Kira explore the zoo.

Carol demonstrates her biking skills

In front of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. 

The author takes on all comers in a fast paced game of Sorry.  Given the age of the participants, the rules were pretty flexible.