Roos is 17 !

Today is Roos-Marijn’s birthday ! We got up early today and while Roos was still in her PJ’s, we sang for her.

Around noon we drove to Camp Pendleton to go play paintball. This was something that Roos had asked about a few times. We got 500 rounds of ammo each and played on 4 different stages including one with old military tanks and helicopters. It was a lot of fun and everybody got hit multiple times. Roos was wearing Mascha’s old military jacket.

At night we went for sushi dinner tonight and back home Roos got her cake: a donut cake special put together by mom.

End of season banquet

The end of the season for waterpolo is here and it is celebrated with a girls versus parents match and a banquet. The coach has collected the stats for the season and Lexi ranked on the top for attempts at goal (51) and goals (43) this year. She was ahead of her friend Marley who had 36 goals.

Lexie won the award for the best defensive player .. we are still trying to figure that one out.

OC Snow

It has been fairly cold and rainy this winter in Southern California. The drought conditions from the last several years are now virtually gone, although they have been replaced with larger wildfires in the summer and mudslides. Yesterday however was something new for us as well: Snow in Los Angeles and Orange County. As close as a few miles from my house there was actual snow although at higher altitudes there has always been visual snow on the mountains around Los Angeles.

The picture below was taken at work earlier last week and shows the mountains

Baking cookies

It’s not that often anymore that Roos and Alex do things together but today they were baking cookies. The idea sprung up when we were doing grocery shopping yesterday. The cream cheese cookies tasted really good.

Back home on new years eve…

Flight AF072 took Roos and myself home to LAX this afternoon as the last leg on our trip.

It was a relatively long flight: almost 12 hours with quite a bit of turbulence as well. Mascha was there to pick us up from the Airport and took us home quickly. Rusty came over right away and Alex is here as well. Roos jumped in the shower right away and is already asleep. I’m not far behind. Tomorrow a new year…

Zwolle and surroundings

Over the last few stays we have been visiting family and have been on familiar trails in Zwolle. Last night we visited my aunt (Riekie) to have a very Dutch dinner: Boerenkool. My oldest cousin, Carolien, was there as well. I hadn’t seen her in many, many years and I don’t think that Roos had ever met her before. We were both surprised about the resemblance, even though the fact that they wore similar glasses and shirt might have contributed.

Earlier in the day we had taken a day-trip to Almelo. By train it was barely 40 minutes. There was a very nice bookstore there and I added a few pounds to my suitcase with some new books.

Of course in Zwolle, Roos needed to go back to her Dutch roots by eating kibbeling and Hollandse Nieuwe. All the be washed down with a very Dutch drink : Fristy.

Roos also visited Opa en Oma van Dijk a few times. The first visit was kept a surprise: only Uncle Eddie was in on it. He picked up Roos to go make a surprise visit. Today Roos went on a shopping run with Opa and Oma to get fillers for her suitcase.

Christmas dinner with Jans

This morning we departed from Cologne. We stayed here just for the night on our way to Wapenveld / Zwolle. We went to visit Opa Jans first in his new apartment in Rehobot. He was happy to see us. When we were there for about 30 minutes, Ina Zwerus, her husband and son also came to visit my dad.

Since Roos was craving some “kroketten” we decided to go to a local snackbar for lunch. This wasn’t easy as it was “tweede Kerstdag” (second Christmas Day) and many stores are closed. We did however find a place in Hattem where they even had a Fristi. Roos’ favorite Dutch drink.

In the evening I went back to my dad. We had Christmas dinner together at Rehobot which consisted of “brood met kaas” en there was also “warme ragout”.


Yesterday was an unplanned day out of the schedule for us. I was feeling really sick; no idea why because Roos and I ate the same thing. We had Tarte Flambee at a restaurant near the Cathedral the evening before. Roos didn’t mind so much as it allowed her a day in her PJs, drawing on her iPad. In the early afternoon she however was sent out to a nearby Boulangerie to get some nourishment. She skipped over the pre-made sandwiches and came back with one dry baguette (for me) and a chocolate cake (for herself ). The chocolate cake had raspberry filling … so it had fruit I guess. The argument could also be made that a sick person should also have dry bread.

Towards the late afternoon I was starting to feel better. In the evening we had a hot chocolate milk in the hotel. The city of Strasbourg is beautiful at Christmas time. I’ve been here often for work in the past but never around Christmas.

This morning we are leaving for our next stop: Cologne. Wrapping up breakfast before we start driving.


This morning we had a few hours to spare before taking the train to Strasbourg at 4pm. After breakfast we walked over to the Louvre. Roos was interested in the Egyptian section. Jet lag is definitely real however and after about 2 hours we both had seen enough Egyptian papyrus, trinkets and sarcophagi. We stopped to have a hot chocolate milk at a nearby cafe and are getting ready to pack our bags to take the high speed train from Gare D’Est.