Sunday, June 29, 2014

Working in Amsterdam: First arrived

I arrived in Amsterdam on Thursday evening to some of the best hugs and greeting of my life! I absolutely LOVE my girlies and am so happy to be here working and playing with them.

I wasn't exactly sure what living here and nanny for them would entail, but I have quickly figured it out. It is basically me being a mother to 3 girls under 7. I will show you a glimpse of my first day!

But first- look at the place I get to live - this is nicer than anywhere I have lived in the past year (save my parents house). I get the room all to myself (although I am sure little buddies will find their way in..!)
** Editing to add: yes they have :) ** 

My first day, I woke up before anyone since they were so jet-lagged, and got myself together. I unpacked, went to the kitchen and cleaned up, put a load of my laundry in, checked my e-mail, and hung out. A few hours later everyone else began to wake up. The girls trickled downstairs between 10-11 (but no mom or dad were awake yet). We hung out and cuddled, and even played a few games of castle building.

Then it was time to get them fed breakfast. Monkey requested two over-easy eggs. It only took me 4 tries to get those right, as well as nugget's 2 scrambled, the toast with butter, and fruit. While they were so wonderfully wrestling on the kitchen floor. Jet-lag apparently didn't affect them.

Breakfast done, their mom called down that they both needed baths. Dishes and into the bathtub it was. Dressed, and ready for the day. We went down to play when the baby was brought down. Then while Mom and Dad had breakfast and I played with older girlies and fed the baby.

Then we were ready for the day. Off on a boat ride through the canals. Great way to get the acquainted with the city. The girls did pretty well. After 75 minutes we wound our way to the I Amsterdam letters, climbed around, and hit up a bit of a playground to run off some energy. The girls hit a wall so I took them home and got them lunch while mom and dad took a nap. Downtime for me, then I was asked to get them out of the house again so I took the two of them out on an adventure to another playground and to fly some paper airplanes.

We came home then had to get all of them out to dinner at a restaurant where the baby cried and the girls both had epic meltdowns. It was a long day.

Came home, and was in charge of getting older girls to bed whilst the mom put down the baby.

They finally passed out and I was finished. Except it meant that I was so tired I just crashed instead of actually doing anything I needed to get done.

So yes I am now in Amsterdam being a mom. It's going to be a wild month.

 I get $1,000 a week, room and board. But that is not why I am really in it. I am in it because I got to hear the screams of joy today when monkey saw the I Amsterdam sign for the first time. Because I saw every smile and glimmer in Nugget's eyes as she watched the canals pass us by.  I am in it because of the snuggles, the kisses, the laughs, smiles, joy, giggles, and the 50 "I love you's" I get a day from these perfect little people.

I cannot wait for the fun we have ahead of us!! Welcome to Amsterdam


Friday, June 27, 2014

Flashback Friday: Harry Potter Studio Tour

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not been to harry potter studio tour then this will give away some of the magic.

So 3 summers ago when I did my first trip through Europe with one of my best friends. Our first stop was london - and mostly for this tour. As massive HP nerds it was a dream come true.

It took us an overground train and then the "night bus"- a service offered by the studio tour to get there.

When we arrived first we were ushered into the studio and shown a movie and chatted with before they led us around the corner. Once around the corner, we saw the Great Hall doors. Mind-blowing!

The next sections included a collection of sets from the great hall, snape's office, potion's classroom and more. It was self led so we just took our time going to see everything and having our mind blown.

After the interior was an exterior portion with private drive, the bridge, the night bus, the flying car, and a cafe that sells butterbeer.

Back inside was a look at lots of behind the scenes portions and looks at special effects. It then turned the corner into real life diagon alley!! WOAH.

Following that was the most stunning part- the real model of the Hogwarts. I can't deny the fact that I burst into tears. It was magical in every sense.

We finished off at the gift shop to get some chocolate wands and post cards. Quite a perfect day.

If you like HP- DO IT DO IT DO IT

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Quick Stop-over in Budapest

How many times is it for me visiting this city? I think I am 6 separate visits now (and cumulatively 45+ days spent in the city I love!!)

One of the main benefits of having my best mate work at a hostel there is that I can leave heaps of stuff under his bed. That means that Budapest makes an epic home base for me for the summer. So after my month in Turkey I spent 4 days in Budapest just saying hello, exchanging clothes and shoes, and getting some of my last party in before a quiet "recharge" month nannying in Amsterdam.

As usual, my love for the city continues to grow. I hear myself calling in home constantly. When people asked me where I was headed after Turkey I repeatedly responded- oh I'm going back home to Budapest. That's how it feels to me. And I love it.

It breaks my heart every time I leave even if I know I'll be back home in 4 short weeks.

Love you BP.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Budapest Chirstmas Adventure

As I have mentioned in the past, I spent Christmas in Budapest last year and it was easily the best Christmas of my life. It was just such a good reminder that when you travel, all those traveler friends can quickly become your family and being homesick doesn't have to happen.

This Christmas didn't include any presents or real Christmas trees. I didn't open a stocking and gorge myself on chocolate and sweets. There weren't any Christmas movies.

But there was a big Christmas dinner, and eggnog. There were laughs and games. There was an all you can eat BBQ and wine extravaganza. There was santa hats, antlers, giant thrift shop Christmas sweaters and more holiday cheer than I have ever experienced.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

One Month

Today, I have been gone for one Month from the U.S.

Month one out of eight has been perfect! I LOVED my two weeks back in Budapest with all of my friends. That city continually breaks my heart. I just can't believe how much I love it.

And the next two weeks were spent here in Turkey which I am adoring as well. The sun, rock climbing, amazing people, and an incredible relaxed atmosphere which is perfect for me!

One month down, and cannot wait to see what the next month brings. Only good things ahead for me.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What to do with Kids in Nashville

 So I nanny in Nashville for a family there- and so I have spent endless hours doing just about everything possible to do with kids in the city. Here are my suggestions for the best kid activities in the city!


There are SO Many awesome parks in Nashville. But here are some of the best (and our favorites!)

Sevier Park-
This park on 12th south in a children's heaven. It has an adorable creek running through it which is fun to explore. Then there are also 2 different playgrounds, one of which is dubbed the little kid playground with smaller equipment and such. Behind the playground is a giant hill for climbing and playing on. In addition to that, there is a little walking path that goes through the entire park. Bonus that Las Paletas popsicles in right across the street so you can walk over a grab some and bring them to the park. There is tons of green space and trees. This is by far our favorite park to visit. Also in spring summer and fall there is a fabulous farmer's market there on Tuesdays which is extremely well done.

Dragon Park-
This park is known for its dragon like ceramic statue thing that is a blast for kids to climb on and enjoy. It also has a pretty neat slide and climbing structure on the backside of the park as well as some unique things to climb on like a moving platform. It has a small sand pit as well, and plenty of picnic tables in the shade to sit in.

Elmington park-
 This park is in front of a school, and doesn't have very much shade. Therefore we don't go there all too much, but if we do go we go for the colorful tunnels which are pretty fun to run through.

Green Hills Park-
This one, again, is attached to a school. It's not an awesome park since it has not a ton of playground space and is kind of secluded. However it does have an awesome like spiderweb type thing that you can climb which is a favorite of my kiddos to visit and play with. We also go there to watch everyone play tennis which is extremely entertaining to them. Kids...

Centennial park-
This is a well known park in Nashville that we tend to visit quite a bit. We love the large open spaces, and walking paths. Often we play on the pantheon steps. But the best part is by far the pond and the ducks. We will walk laps around the pond, enjoy, and feed the ducks whatever snack I might have in my car. It is always so much fun.

Woodlawn park-
This park is small but so very cute and intimate. It has green space, a playground, sandbox, etc. It is in short just a fun place to take a few friends and hang out. it has a nice picnic table, some shade, and is never super crowded.

Adventure Science Center
This is MUST do in Nashville. The girls have a membership and I cannot remember the last time we went a week without visiting this fabulous wonderland. There is so much to do that we never get bored of it. It is fun for kids 2 till 12. They have some stable exhibits like the body world but then there are others that change 2-3 times a year to include all kinds of new and exciting things to do with kids. This place in a mecca of happiness, and is never very crowded in the after school hours when we go. When it's too hot, or too cold, you have to go check in out!

However, if you get better weather the Nashville zoo is pretty fabulous. One of the best things about the zoo is it's size. It is a very small and accessible zoo for kids since it is not overwhelming and you can see everything in just 2 or so hours. It can be pricey but it is worth it. They have a critter encounters area where you can pet and brush goats. There is also another section with kangaroos that you walk through and occasionally they will let you pet those. The other interactive part is feeding and playing with the parakeets which will gladly land on you. They also have a fabulous carousel, and a great playground for kids to explore. So, in short, go to the zoo!

Gymboree Play and Music
This is an indoor play space for infant through 5 year olds. They offer developmental classes that you enroll in but they also ofter open gym at different times almost every day of the week. You pay $10 and can stay the whole time if you would like! There is tons of soft equipment to crawl, climb on, jump over, etc. This makes it so very perfect for a rainy day with really little ones. The 3-year-old I work for raves about it on a daily basis.

Bounce U/Pump It Up
This are almost the same thing. They are those big places with tons of different types of bounce houses. We prefer bounce U but they are essentially the same thing. The staff at these places are what makes it seriously SO great. They want to play with the kids, will let the kids jump and climb and play with them for hours at a time. Its awesome if you get tired of jumping and chasing after 20-30 minutes like me.

Sky High Sports
This is one of those massive trampoline parks where the walls and floor are all continuous trampolines. They even have one of those giant foam pits you can jump into. it is not great for really young kids but for kids that are a little bit older, it is a great option to get out your energy!

Parnassus Books
This is another activity perfect for the colder or too hot days. Parnassus is a small bookstore on Hillsboro across from Green Hills Mall. It is awesome because it has an amazing little children's section in the back that you can visit. They have a train table, tons of books, and a carpet. My kids will go in there, and read and play for about 1 hour or 2 hours. It is more like a library than a bookstore and sometimes we go home with a book, sometimes we just play and then leave. They also have a great story time at 3:30 on Thursdays. They serve popcorn and the girl who runs the story time is so sweet and great with kids as well!

The Frist
Normally this would not be thought of as a great place to go with kids but this art museum actually has an AMAZING children's section called art quest. There is painting, blocks, movies, and tons of other crafts that constantly change. It is good for kids as young as 3 but also works for those getting up to 12 years of age because some of the activities can be as advanced as you want them to be. We spend 2 hours there easily but could probably spend a bit longer!

Brushfire Pottery-
Paint your own pottery is always a fun adventure for us. Brushfire is great with big tables- its never too crowded, and it's right next door to Gymboree so when we are done painting we can go there to get our energy out. They have a fun selection of pottery!

Phillips toy mart-
This is an incredible toy store! It's got a train table, and a part where you can climb up into the train and be the conductor, and then another portion where you can play with doll houses and other toys. We go in a lot and don't even buy anything but just look and explore around! Also, for easter they bring in adorable live bunnies so we always visit and pet those. That is such a treat for my girlies.