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2017 in Review

So, this post is 6 weeks late, but here’s a review of my 2017!

January 6: Meet Gabriela!
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January 13: Meeting Rick Steves
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January 27-28: Toronto
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February 3: Snowy Day Photo Shoot
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February 6: More Snowy Friends
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February 8-12: first trip to Disney World
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February 14: Jam Session
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February 17-19: volunteering at Girl Scout camp
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March 4: New Maplelea outfits
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March 14: Pi Day
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March 17: Puppy Love
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March 29: Sun! Maybe spring is coming!
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March 30-April 6: Peru
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April 6: my neighbors had babies!
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April 20: fun with kittens
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April 23: Tulip Festival
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April 28-30: Oregon
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May 3: Mismatched Shoes Day
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May 5-7: Salt Spring Island
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May 11: Book Signing
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May 12-14: Zion National Park
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May 26-29: second trip to Disney World (Flower and Garden Festival)
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May 31: clearance price on Lea’s Rainforest House
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June 9-19: Belgium and the Netherlands
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June 30-July 4: a Disney World birthday
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July 8: a little picnic
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July 14: Pho
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July 17: new dress! Flying Space Unicorns!
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July 19-23: Caroline goes to upstate New York (eventually I’ll write a post about it)
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July 25: weird stuff we sell at our store
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August 5: oooh, Grand Hotel
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August 11: Welcome Nanea!
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September 1-4: fourth trip to Disney World (Food and Wine Festival)
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September 19: I join the Sinfonia
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September 20: more weird stuff we sell at work
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September 28: Autumn is here
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September 29-October 1: Salt Lake City (that’s where I bought Z!)
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October 5: Z’s off to the doll hospital
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October 6: I got Tenney
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October 20-22: Chicago
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October 25: Z is back from the hospital
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October 27: a group photo
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October 31: Happy Halloween
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November 4: we did glass fusion for my sister’s birthday
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November 10-12: Olympic Peninsula
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November 13: power outage
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November 27: Christmas tree’s up!
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December 8-10: San Diego
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December 15-17: tree lighting in Leavenworth
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December 21: Last day to work before Christmas (I made all the snowflakes!)
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December 22: Four cheese spaghetti
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December 25: awesome Christmas gift
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December 29-31: New Years in Disney World
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In memoriam

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Good news: I got some new dollies! Here are a new Samantha (an ebay find, she has a pre-Mattel body and a Mattel replacement head), #37 named Patti, and #26 named Pearl.

Bad news: I got these dolls from my Mommy. She died in October. She was my biggest ally in doll collecting, and now it feels like a bit of me is missing.

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I didn’t make any plans for my last day of vacation. I wanted a cushion day in case I needed more time to see what I planned to see. Well, I didn’t need any more time, so I had to decide where to go on a whim. Since it was a Sunday, I started at church.

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I went all the way out to The Hague so that I could attend a service in English!

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But the Netherlands Temple is in The Hague too, so I didn’t mind the trip down so I could go see it (Amsterdam to The Hague is about 45 minutes on the train).

Temple Grounds:
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And after church I went a little further on the train to Rotterdam.

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Rotterdam felt completely different from the rest of the Netherlands, and I’m so glad I went! Rotterdam was bombed by the Nazis in WWII, so the architecture is much more modern than that in Amsterdam.

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This shopping center was delightfully mid-century. I don’t have a lot of photos of it, but it was like time travelling back 65 years and going to the mall!

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And check out this really cool modern architecture! My guidebook named these buildings “the pencil” and “the UFO”

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This weirdly-shaped building provides shelter for a market, and actually contains apartment homes:

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And here’s what it looks like from beneath:

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These are apartment homes too!

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And I walked along the riverfront

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Parade of Flags:

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and more weird buildings:

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Rotterdam was cool. I didn’t do anything other than walk around and take photos, but I had a great time. It was so different from the other 8 days of my vacation; such a colorful end!

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And it really is the end. Back to Amsterdam for a little dinner, and left for the airport early the next morning!

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We’ve been home for a few months now, but how fun is it that American Girl’s new travel outfit features an Amsterdam-like city?

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and this Seattle backdrop?

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This trip was amazing. Longer than my usual vacation, full of beautiful weather, beautiful landscapes, beautiful art. And it was just the beginning of my fantastic summer! 3 trips to Disney World (Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day weekends) and a trip to New York that I’ll tell you about soon (I brought Caroline dressed in Caroline clothes and she looked adorable!) But now it’s time for the weather to cool down and for tourists to get off my island, which isn’t so bad either.

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The eighth day of my vacation was another day to explore Amsterdam. I started my day with some pancakes in a building that used to hold a grand carousel! Now it just has a little one:

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I continued on to the Tropenmuseum (In English, Museum of the Tropics). The museum has an intriguing history. It opened in 1871 (and has been in its current building since 1926) to showcase artifacts from Dutch colonial holdings. Sounds like a promising collection, but I didn’t find it very engaging. Maybe because there were parts that weren’t in English. The most enlightening exhibit was a photograph collection from Aleppo, Syria.

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Next stop, the Dutch Resistance Museum. This one was quite engaging, teaching that the Dutch are not Nazis, and sort of apologizing for things that happened during WWII.

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The resistance museum was a nice prologue for the Big Daddy of all Amsterdam attractions, the Anne Frank House.

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Even with a time-reserved ticket, I waited in line with tons of other tourists to walk where Anne Frank and her family hid for more than two years. I’ve read Anne’s diary and seen several different films, so I don’t think I learned anything I didn’t know. But I’ve been in the Secret Annex!

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And in the evening, I wandered the streets and canals behind my hotel, with the guidance of another audio tour. Vacation is coming to a close–just one more whole day!

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Sorry to leave you hanging for a few weeks, but it’s time for me to tell you more about vacation. On this 7th day, I left Haarlem for Amsterdam. I checked out in the morning, dropped my luggage at the hotel, then followed an audio tour of the city.

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The tour pointed out many highlights, like Dam Square

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and this hidden church. Catholicism was illegal for quite a while, so the churches had to be pretty inconspicuous. This one is sandwiched between retail shops.

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I paused the tour to check out the Amsterdam Museum.

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then continued the tour to the Begijnhof

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and the flower market

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The tour ended at the museumplein, where I paused briefly before a museum-packed afternoon.

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By museum-packed, I mean that I visited three art museums. First the Rijksmuseum, a grand collection of the Dutch masters, like Frans Hals

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Jan Steen

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Rembrandt

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and more Vermeer!

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This angry swan, painted by Jan Asselijn, is quite eye-catching

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Beyond remarkable paintings, the Rijksmuseum has a gorgeous library

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and a couple dollhouses!

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Upstairs, the collection gets more modern.

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And if you look closely at this one, you’ll find another dolly sighting!

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I explored the Rijksmuseum pretty thoroughly, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed a lot; it’s huge!

Next stop, the Van Gogh museum! The museum did not allow photography, but I snuck a photo in the lobby!

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And the final stop of the day was Stedelijk Museum of modern art.

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It had pieces by Andy Warhol,

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Chagall,

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and Piet Mondrian. This is a well-known Mondrian:

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but he also painted all of the paintings on these walls. I had no idea he had such a range.

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I stopped for dinner on the way back to the hotel, but this was a full, exhausting day. I loved the art. In fact, when people ask me now what I saw when I went to the Netherlands, I say “canals and art.” Both were beautiful.

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Thursday was a day to explore more charming Dutch villages. We started in the harbor town of Hoorn.

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You can tell it’s a harbor town because there’s a boat on the steeple.

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The main attraction in Hoorn is the Westfries Museum. Tons of artifacts from the Dutch Golden Age, a time of great trade and art and life.

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Hey look, dollies!

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And it’s always fun to see historical paintings of places you visit. Here is the main square in Hoorn:

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And for whatever reason, there is a dodo outside the museum. I took a photo, of course.

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After the museum we rode a few more stops on the train to Enkhuizen.

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And the main attraction in Enkhuizen is the Zuiderzee living history museum. The museum was founded in the 1930s, when the sea was diked off, in an effort to preserve pre-dike ways of life.

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There are all sorts of exhibits, like the barber,

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the sailmaker,

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the butcher,

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and my favorite, the pharmacy!

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I found this living history museum a little lacking in life. Most of the staff was either at lunch, or speaking Dutch.

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Once we had poked around enough of the museum, we grabbed a ferry back to the train station. Back at the hotel just in time for dinner.

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A few final photos. In the “you don’t see that every day” category, Goats in a Boat.

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and a little taste of home at the train station!

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Are you ready to hear about another beautiful day in the Netherlands?

On Wednesday we took a train to Amsterdam, then transferred to a bus to Edam. I had read that Edam has a cheese market on Wednesdays, but discovered it’s only a big deal in July and August. And we were there in June. The market was just a few stalls selling produce.

But don’t worry, Edam was still a beautiful town worth visiting. We started our day at the Edam museum, located in the oldest house in Edam.

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And then we walked around the village. Gorgeous.

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I strolled by adorable homes…

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…and was a bit surprised to see that most of them had cows in their backyard!

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I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; it’s not like cheese grows on trees!

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From Edam we got on another bus to Marken, a charming fishing village. A bit sleepy, but amazing.

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Then we headed back to Haarlem. Here’s a nice photo of the church that dominates the main square.

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Dinner was Indonesian food. Did you know that Indonesia is a former Dutch colony?

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And as I was walking back toward the church, I noticed that it sold ice cream! All hail the church of Ice Cream, in the name of frosty treats, amen.

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