Lexi is cooking (again)

This year we will spend Christmas in London and The Netherlands. Next week everybody is leaving with Lex, mom and Gary going to The Netherlands and Roos and myself going to visit the cousins in the UK. Christmas decorations therefore are going to be stay mainly in the boxes. In order to get a little bit into the spirit, Lexi is baking Christmas Red Velvet cakes. Instead of one big one, we decided to go for 3 smaller ones. 

 Cakes are ready to go in the oven and she’s about to start with the frosting. I hope Marco has a healthy Christmas dinner otherwise we might go into January with a few added pounds.. 


Four seasons dance

This Friday was a long day. I typically get up at 6am as the girls this year are doing ‘ 0-period’. They get to do electives at school before the regular classes start. This means that they need to be there by 7.30. From there I drive to work which is almost 100km. Today was extra busy as I had a doctors appointment in Irvine at 3.30  which included running on a treadmill. All the while Lexi still needed to do some shopping for her school dance which started at 5pm. We managed it al just in time and got a cardigan and new dancing shoes for her. I picked her up at 8pm and we had time for a picture in the parking lot of the school.   

 Today we kept things calm. The oranges on the tree are starting to get ripe and they are a nice fresh addition to breakfast for the next few weeks. 

 Lexi also made her famous deviled eggs again today. They were a great afternoon snack. 

Tonight we’re all hanging on the couch playing a game of Splatoon. 

King & Cat

Almost Halloween and we were invited for a party at a friend’s house. It was great fun. Tomorrow the girls will go trick and treat in our old neighborhood. 


Another tooth out for Lexi 

We’re not doing the tooth fairy anymore but Lexi lost another tooth today. We’re counting down fast as they’re not many left to change. Roos just heard this week that she’s up for her second round of braces soon, this time for her permanent teeth. 


Zoom zoom…

Today my ‘ Accesss OK ‘ stickers arrived from the DMV. This officially allows me to drive in the HOV lanes on the freeway. Because my new car is an electric, environmental friendly car, I get these privileges. This is no luxury because traffic is pretty bad when I drive to work in the morning. Being able to use the HOV lanes will cut at least 15-20 minutes from the commute. 


Summer camp at Soka University

This week Roos and Alex are going to Summer  Sports Camp at Soka University in Aliso Viejo. During the entire week they will be practicing and getting instruction in all kinds of sports. From freestyle frisbee to rock wall climbing. It is a very nice campus with a lot of facilities and they can walk home. This means a little vacation for dad as well 🙂 



Running a business…

Last Friday Alexandra had a sleep-over with her friend Juliette. Juliette also lives in Aliso Viejo so she’s literally just around the corner. Juliette and Alex set up a lemonade stand in Saturday. It was very successful: they had well over 40 dollars of revenue. They also tried to sell popcorn but Alex confessed they ate more than half of it themselves !

This week mom was on a ski-trip but the girls share an iPhone now. They can be in constant text contact with both of us now.


Back to California

This afternoon I will be traveling back home from Frankfurt. It has been a quite an intense trip. This work is very different from my old job. I now work very intensely with one country for anywhere from 1 week to a few months. After that is done, I work with another but have to spend a lot of time again learning the specifics of that new country. This week in Germany was intense as it is a complex country. The next trip in a few weeks is already scheduled and includes Kazakhstan. Now that’s a place I didn’t think I would be going to if you’d ask me a year ago. First some time at home though and hearing from Roos and Alex about their vacation in Northern California and Arizona while I was gone.

van den Berg family back in the UK

Yesterday the vacation of Marco, Annette, Saskia, Sylvie and Benjamin was already over. 18 days have flown by and we had a lot of fun. We had a difficult time saying goodbye because it will be a while before we see each other again. Hopefully we can make Christmas work: Alex and Roos both would like to go to England.
Here are the girls saying goodbye just minutes before they left for the airport. The house was quiet after the little cousins left but we are thankful you guys came to visit us this summer !


Aquarium of the Pacific

Sharks, sea horses, jelly fish and even giant spider crabs…. They were all at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach today. Alex and Saskia were able to touch the sharks and rays in the shallow pool. We arrived quite late in Long Beach so the visit was only a few hours. Afterwards we had dinner at Bubba Gump.