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Cole

As you open this newsletter, I’m in my VW bus driving my dad to France.  I know, I know, poor me.  But I’m dreading it all the same.  This past week has been such an incredible whirlwind, I think life always is, but this week has been extra whirlwind-y.

It started with one of those phone calls, ones no one likes to get. My uncle (Kees, age 82) had passed unexpectedly from a massive stroke.  82 is not normally unexpected, but Oom Kees was very active in mind & body.  As Dane said at the funeral, looking at his photo,

“He looks so young.  Why did he die?”  Regardless of age, death is a loss and I miss him.  He will always be in my heart, he was a kind, gentle man.  The kind of uncle always willing to stop & play, to read a story, to climb the cherry tree out back with us.  He was the uncle who explained the tough stuff, who answered endless questions about life, and death.  He was the uncle I needed last Friday to answer all of Dane’s questions.

The phone call was hard.  The drive up to Holland was long (Dave was out of town, and it was just me & the younger kids).  The funeral was beautiful, and sad.  Seeing so many of my family members in one spot was a wonderful, treasured bonus.  My dad flew out from North Carolina, and then drove home with me and the kids on Sunday.  When he leaves tomorrow to visit my sister in France, my house will have a very empty spot.  Having him here, staying just down the hall, even for only three nights, makes it feel like home.  I’m going to hate driving back without him.

His visit is much shorter this time, partially because it wasn’t planned, and partially because my mother is having a birthday next week.  Celebrating a birthday alone is no fun.  How I wish we could all fly back with my dad and surprise her!  Thankfully we did spend a wonderful day in Maastricht shopping for her birthday.  She’s getting a fantabulous statue of Saint Servatius, patron Saint of the city of Maastricht.  I got a clock!

I got a wonderful, kitsch-extraordinaire, faux French clock that says “Rue d’Antoinette” on it. I’m in love.  I don’t care it’s faux, I care it says “Antoinette” and fits perfectly on my wall.  And my dad bought it for my birthday (in September LOL).  And that Cole got stuck lugging it through Maastricht for most of the day in exchange for a pair of real, Dutch, yellow, wooden clogs.  Clogs he wore down the streets of Maastricht, while busloads of tourists snapped his photo. Saturday was a perfect day.

24JUL13

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Santa

by Toiny Westberry on 19 December 2012
in Cole,Dane,Personal Notes,Tessa Pin this scrappy stuff!

On Sunday we ran out of tape.  A pretty big deal when you are stuffing all your worldly possessions into boxes.  Boxes that are going to be driven through snow, sleet & rain to a brandnew (to us) house thirty minutes away.  I really needed tape!  Luckily I also needed a break, and thankfully we are close enough to post to do a quick drive over. Double thankfully… the PX on post is open on Sundays!

I also didn’t feel like cooking. I’ve been working hard to eat only the food in house, less to move that way, and we were all tired of canned fruits, veggies, packaged rices & potatoes and mystery meat out of the freezer.  Stuff that normally tastes pretty awesome when planned as part of a cohesive meal is just not as yummy when randomly mixed.  I’m a little confused on how the Top Chef and Iron Chef contestants make weird food combinations work, because, for me, it’s not working.  Thankfully the PX also comes with a food court.  Maybe not the most nutritious meal, but definitely food I didn’t have to cook, and definitely flavors that go together.

Added bonus?  Santa was there!  Surprisingly, only the big kids were thrilled.  Dane was, shall we say, less than thrilled.  My chatterbox went quiet and hid behind me.  He wasn’t about to go sit on Santa’s lap and ask for anything.  In fact, he was ready to get nothing for Christmas.  And then, for the first time in a long time, Cole went sweet.  He got down to Dane’s level, talked gently to him, then picked him up & carried him to Santa.  Dane still didn’t talk to Santa but he did let Cole put him on Santa’s lap… as long as Cole stood right there to protect him!

Sometimes running out of tape is a very good thing.

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I got some absolutely beautiful fall pictures during our long weekend in Holland, but this one below tells the best story.  Each of the kids are in a different country: Tess is in Holland (the Netherlands, NL); Cole is in Germany, and Dane is in Belgium.  We took a little bit of a tourist break and went to the  Drielandenpunt (three country point) and climbed the big, super scary, tower to see far & wide.

The tower itself is new & much sturdier than the old, ramshackle wood one I last climbed with Soren 18 years ago.  However, the viewing balconies are all metal grates.  See-through, as in all the way to the bottom, metal grates.  Like I said, super scary.  I inched my toes out & wiggled onto the platforms so I could see & take photo’s…. much to the amusement of Dave & some total strangers.  However, there were quite a few tourists too scared to even do that!  I have to say, the view is breath-taking, especially in fall, and I highly recommend it to anyone.  If you have a fear of heights, like me, you can take the elevator up & see quite well from inside the tower without braving the metal grate balconies.

The park itself has expanded to be quite a tourist location.  It’s no longer just a tower, with just a view and the old 3-country marker.  It is also a fabulously fun labyrinth, big playground, pub, restaurant, coffee & cakes as well as amazing walking, horse and bike paths.  I realize it’s my country but it is an incredibly beautiful part of the world.  Well worth a visit.

 

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About Trains & Soccer

by Toiny Westberry 13 June 2012
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I can’t believe I’m late again.  I completely blame Cole.  After three years in Germany, with trains as his main means of transportation, he really shouldn’t be getting on the wrong train.  It never crossed my mind that this would ever happen with him.  Christian, sure.  Tess, of course.  Even Soren.  But Cole? Cole rides […]

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Puntbroodjes are for Ducks

by Toiny Westberry 19 April 2012
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I have lots of beautiful photo’s of my kids.  I love them!  But I also have some awesome shots of the wildlife at Beekse Bergen over Easter Break.  My favorite, of course, are the giraffes, I still get giggly like a schoolgirl when I look at those images.  I also have a beautiful one of […]

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GQ Cole

by Toiny Westberry 4 April 2012
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Between the changes on the site, and the changes on the home front, it’s been an absolutely whirlwind two weeks. Luckily I thrive on excess energy and being spun about is my favorite state of being. That doesn’t mean I get everything right! Far from it. Not only have I not taken a picture in […]

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Cole in Black & White

by Toiny Westberry 1 February 2012
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My newsletters tend to be filled with stories & photos of my two youngest, Tess & Dane. They are the two I spend the most time with, share the most moments with, and the ones who like to pose for photos. I really do like sharing photos of my crew, it brings a little life […]

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The Perfect Light

by Toiny Westberry 30 March 2011

Ever have the absolute perfect light?  You can see it through the view finder on the camera.  You can see it just by looking around you.  And inside you are just bursting to take that perfect picture.  This happened to me this week.  Perfect light.  I so wanted the perfect picture.  For me the perfect […]

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At the Wilhelma Zoo

by Toiny Westberry 26 March 2011

The most exciting part of our week is about to happen.  Tess starts horseback riding lessons today.  I was an avid horseback rider my whole childhood, into my teens and even as a young adult.  I only stopped when we got to 4 kids.  Four boys.  I think it says it all LOL.   I’m hoping […]

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