Hola, Canary Islands!

9 Jun

OK y’all, summer is officially HERE! And we’ve had the most glorious week of sun and sand and surf to prove it! I can’t say enough good things about our time on Tenerife, the largest and most populated of the Canary Islands. I’m not going to get into the history and the story here (please stay tuned over at Treats, Travels And Truths over the next week as I get everything posted- I just couldn’t wait to share our pictures with all of you guys first!), but the Canary Islands are a part of Spain, although they’re WAY south, right off the coast of Africa. And trust me when I say that we could certainly tell just how far south- on the equator!- we were by that blazing sun! Casper to lobster in less than an hour and I’m not even exaggerating! Ha!

Canary Island Map

But on a serious note, this trip was a bit extra special in that it had been planned for nearly two years- one of the first ones we booked after we moved here. My grandmother had wanted it to be our family vacation since we’ve missed our annual trip to Myrtle Beach, so to get the best accommodations, etc., she booked it early and we all got to planning. It was to be an awesome beach week for us, her and my parents. But then some health stuff came up and the trip had to be changed. My grandmother and parents tried their hardest, but in the end, they couldn’t come. My first inclination was to cancel altogether- it just wouldn’t, *couldn’t* be the same without them. And besides, for what would we need a three bedroom suite for just us? But Grandma insisted that we go- it was important to her. So we invited our best friend, (Uncle) Andy, and we went. And we are SO thankful we did. No, it wasn’t the same as it would’ve been with my family, but it was wonderful. And fun. And relaxing. And the perfect refilling of our tanks. So thank you, Grandma, for the loveliest vacation. It’s one we will never forget. ❤

Tenerife Map

We stayed in the south, in Los Christianos, but spent time at lots of the different beaches, including along the north shore at Puerto de la Cruz. A highlight of our trip was our day in the middle of the island, though, exploring the volcano and its national park.

Alright, without further adieu, here is a pictorial account of our fabulous week on Tenerife, including lots of beaches, pools, a water park, a volcano, some giant cliffs, a little putt-putt and alot of just plain ‘ol FUN.

Processed with MOLDIV

IMG_5649IMG_6015IMG_5704IMG_6074IMG_6032IMG_5741IMG_6062IMG_5769

IMG_5861343BF682-9368-4950-A2F0-513FBA22C8E3IMG_5980IMG_5709IMG_5719IMG_5840

IMG_5987

Los Gigantes- these cliffs are thousands of feet above the water…

IMG_5757IMG_5970IMG_6010IMG_5755IMG_5716

IMG_5664

View from our balcony

IMG_5899IMG_5776IMG_5768IMG_5944IMG_5738

IMG_5855

Voted World’s Best Waterpark on TripAdvisor…Definitely the nicest we’ve ever been to!

IMG_5919IMG_5838IMG_5972

IMG_6068

One of my happy places 🙂

IMG_6044IMG_6066IMG_5839

IMG_5872

One of the best steaks we’ve ever had. Oh. My. Gawd.

IMG_6020IMG_5863

IMG_5864

This lazy river is easily several miles long…

IMG_5653

Same ‘ol breakfast even on vacation…but with an awesome view.

IMG_5937IMG_5677IMG_5779

IMG_5782

From our balcony…

IMG_5807

IMG_6072

Poolside snack…

IMG_5911

The most visited national park in Europe, 8th in the world. El Teide is the highest point in Spain and the 3rd largest volcano in the world.

IMG_5982IMG_5689IMG_6035

IMG_5650

Poolside dinner and a show on our first night…

IMG_5817

IMG_5850

In case you were curious, it costs 1 euro to make a call these days…

IMG_5898IMG_5890IMG_6063

IMG_5751

Northern shore of the island…

IMG_5638

IMG_5700

For mom…Lovely trees ❤

IMG_5893IMG_5656

IMG_6039

Topless beach for the day 😉 

IMG_6001

Playa de Troya, Black Sand Beach…

IMG_5814IMG_5699IMG_5859IMG_6079

IMG_5906

They say Tenerife is the most similar landscape to Mars on Earth…So much so that they test Mars Rovers here. Totally believe it.

IMG_5679

Like riding a bike! She was a fish within 10 minutes of getting back in the water! Woohoo!

IMG_5793IMG_5760IMG_5913IMG_5784

IMG_5824

Laying in the sun on a perfect beach, listening to the blue waves crash, the smell of suntan lotion in the air…YES. YES. YES.

IMG_6047

With a pencil behind her ear ‘like Daddy.’

IMG_5706IMG_6014IMG_5791IMG_5920IMG_5748IMG_6058

IMG_5953IMG_5868IMG_6007IMG_5949

IMG_5858

Standard lunch for every single day of the week. Not even kidding.

IMG_5736

IMG_5878

IMG_6017IMG_5995IMG_5745IMG_5910IMG_5943IMG_5960IMG_5869IMG_5785IMG_5690IMG_5832

IMG_6077

IMG_5946IMG_5985IMG_5848IMG_5927IMG_5749IMG_5819IMG_6016IMG_6053IMG_5672IMG_5669IMG_6037IMG_6059IMG_5886

IMG_5789IMG_5956IMG_5877IMG_5721IMG_5862

IMG_5976

Coming down from the volcano, we came to a grove of pine trees with a picnic table beneath…Lunch was served. Not a soul around for miles and miles…

IMG_6042IMG_5880IMG_6080IMG_6006IMG_5670IMG_5759IMG_5912IMG_5742IMG_5849IMG_5837IMG_5846IMG_5676IMG_6073

IMG_5777

My new favorite shot of my people ❤

IMG_5683IMG_5812IMG_5705

IMG_5947

And that’s it! What a terrific week and one that we’re already missing like crazy. Hoping to start getting things posted over on TTT starting on Monday, so be sure to check that out. The only saving grace is that my Dad got here this morning and will be here for the next two weeks! Our hearts are full. Hope everyone’s summer is off to a great start!

Happy (Just About) Summer!

25 May

Greetings, all! Fancy seeing you here- it’s been a while! Let me start by saying a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has made the move with me over to Treats, Travels And Truths– there’s absolutely no other place I’d rather start the journey than with you guys who have been following our shenanigans for all this time right here.The new site is coming along so nicely- growth is slow, but steady, and I’m learning more every day about the ins and outs of blogging on a larger scale. Most importantly, I’m having a really good time with it and that’s really all that matters, right? Please, please, please continue to help me spread the word and get the site out there- sharing it on Facebook or Instagram, sending the link to friends in emails or just telling them about it. I SO appreciate it. And you. ❤

So I just wanted to share some pictures from our last month or so. We’ve been really busy- and in a really good way for the most part! Y’all know we’ve had some visitors- my mom came for my birthday at the beginning of April and then John’s sister, brother and his family came a few weeks ago when we all headed to Greece (phenomenal vacay, btw). Other than that, we’ve been kinda all over the place- waiting for spring to arrive and taking advantage of days when it teases us (see the snow pictures below that were taken mid-April!), getting Neve registered for Kindergarten, Fruhlingsfest (the largest spring festival in the world!), rock climbing (Neve is in LOVE), celebrating Mother’s Day…Have a look!

IMG_4470

IMG_4484

IMG_4486IMG_5438

IMG_5247

She’s really taken an interest in drawing- and is pretty darn good!

IMG_4533IMG_4534

IMG_5303

Anybody else think these are the best kinds of lunch EVER?!

IMG_5304

Bedtime Stories ❤

IMG_5254

Fruhlingsfest

IMG_5252

IMG_5273

IMG_5271

IMG_5269

IMG_5268

Chocolate-covered fruit on sticks…

IMG_5278

IMG_5275IMG_5276

IMG_5286

IMG_4538

IMG_5302

What better last weekend in Germany than homemade pizza from scratch?!

IMG_5336

Morning waves from school ❤

IMG_5368

Mother’s Day Breakfast at Kindi…

IMG_5358IMG_5355

IMG_5391

Found a huge rock climbing gym less than 20 minutes from the house! Neve has really started showing an interest and is really good at it!

IMG_5394

IMG_5483

What do you do when you’re out walking the pups on Sunday afternoon, but a storm is rolling in? Find the nearest biergarten and wait it out 🙂

IMG_5475

IMG_5480

All doing our best impressions of the ‘Ears Up’ pose 😉

IMG_5476

IMG_5481

Waiting out the storm at the biergarten, overlooking Stuttgart…

IMG_5485

Good Lord. He is mine. ❤

IMG_5462

Just finished with Kindergarten Orientation on base. Safe to say that all three of us like the school, the teachers…and the playground! September can’t get here soon enough for this kid!

IMG_5493

We make Countdown Chains for so many things. This one marks when Daddy gets home this Saturday (the link with the stars) and when Uncle Andy arrives (the link with the smiley faces). This is the first chain that Neve made entirely by herself 😦

I told you we’ve been pretty dang busy! Lots of fun, though, and some pretty exciting stuff (how do we have a Kindergartner?!). And I’m happy to report that the weather is *finally* cooperating for the most part- we’re at least reaching 70/75F most days! Ha! I swear summer can’t get here soon enough! Speaking of which, our next adventure begins in just 5 days! We’re headed for the Canary Islands next week to do (hopefully) a whole lotta nothing- sun, sand, waves, drinks with umbrellas…Ha! This family needs some summatime, dammit! My little bit of planning is officially done (see selfie below where I reconfirm that I’m a nerd and must write down everything!), John gets home Saturday (he’s been in the States for work since last weekend), and Uncle Andy gets here Monday (he’s needing some Canary Islands in his life, too!) Life is good, friends. Happy Memorial Day weekend!

IMG_5452

Thomas Family Greek Vacation

8 May

Hello, y’all! First of all, thanks to all of you who have made the switch with me over to Treats, Travels and Truths! It’s so exciting for me to really get things rolling over there. But like I said, I want to keep this space as somewhere to continue sharing our personal pictures- the stuff that we want to share with our family and friends. And that’s just what I’m doing today. John’s brother, sister-in-law, niece and sister have all been here for the past couple of weeks and we decided to use a week of their visit to take on our latest adventure, Greece! What a wonderful place and what a fun, fun time we had exploring its capital, Athens, as well as two of its islands, Mykonos and Santorini. Over the next week or so, I’ll have several posts up on TT&T all about each of these spots and how we spent our time there so please be sure to stop by there to read up if you’re interested. But in the meantime, here’s our adventure as described by pretty pictures ❤

Processed with MOLDIV

IMG_4556

First up, Athens…

IMG_4623IMG_4577IMG_4599IMG_4620

IMG_4603IMG_4602IMG_4616

IMG_4627IMG_4593

IMG_4634IMG_4609

IMG_4598IMG_4620

IMG_4631

IMG_4648

IMG_4653

Library…

IMG_4685

Top of the Acropolis

IMG_4706

Erechtheion Temple- next to the Parthenon and smaller, but much better preserved…

IMG_4683

Enter a caption

IMG_4686

The Parthenon

IMG_0610

IMG_4672

Temple Erechtheion- right next to the Parthenon and much smaller, but much better preserved…

IMG_4695

IMG_4642

IMG_4681

IMG_4694

Parthenon on the left, Erechtheion on the right…

IMG_4626

IMG_4606

IMG_4636

IMG_4688

View of the south from the Acropolis

IMG_4702

Erechtheion

IMG_4671IMG_4667IMG_4704

IMG_4662

The original theatre where Plato and Socrates both spoke…

IMG_4677

IMG_4627

Mt. Lycabettus

IMG_4708

Legend has it that Poseidon (brother of Zeus) and Athena (daughter of Zeus) were fighting over the city when Athena cast her spear down and where it sparked, an olive tree grew. As a result, she won the city (thus its name) and Poseidon was given a smaller village nearby…This is the original olive tree from Athena’s spear…

IMG_4650

A girl and her espresso…

IMG_4724

When in Greece, eat….pasta! Ha!

IMG_4643

GYROS!

IMG_4725

IMG_4659

IMG_4732IMG_4723

On to Mykonos…

IMG_4751

First morning on our balcony…

IMG_4749IMG_4748IMG_4747

IMG_4759

IMG_4754IMG_4757

IMG_4764

IMG_4778IMG_4779IMG_4776IMG_4782IMG_4768IMG_4794IMG_4801

IMG_4798

The walk to lunch…

IMG_4771IMG_4770

IMG_4833IMG_4803IMG_4792

IMG_4817

Chocolate faces!

IMG_4806IMG_4812IMG_4814IMG_4824

IMG_4834IMG_4836IMG_4788IMG_4805IMG_4809IMG_4800

IMG_4808

IMG_4852IMG_4880

IMG_4850IMG_4838

IMG_4858

When you’re not sure if you’re on a road or someone’s (poorly maintained) driveway! Ha! *It’s a road!*

IMG_4857IMG_4851

IMG_4882

Mom, see the fava beans?

IMG_4871

IMG_4843IMG_4859IMG_4867IMG_4864IMG_4883

IMG_4860

IMG_4743

Siblings ❤

IMG_4853

IMG_4959IMG_4903

IMG_4913

IMG_4923

Mykonos Town

IMG_4901

IMG_4886

IMG_4910

IMG_4941IMG_4915

IMG_4899

IMG_4955IMG_4928IMG_4916IMG_4944IMG_4927IMG_4921IMG_4911IMG_4965

IMG_4909

IMG_4919IMG_5197

(Neve’s first crush…On our waiter…Raphael…Who played along beautifully…In case any of us were wondering how she’d react her first time ‘in love’ and planning to ‘marry him…’ ❤ ❤ <3)

IMG_4944IMG_4948

And finally, to Santorini…

IMG_5102

Taken from our balcony…These blue domes are some of the most photographed items in the world…

IMG_5031IMG_5070

IMG_5050

From our balcony…

IMG_5184

IMG_5019

IMG_5068

IMG_5028

IMG_4993IMG_5017IMG_5043

IMG_4976

Our front door…

IMG_5218

Grape Vineyards…They have to keep them cut very short or they can’t withstand the high winds…Wine is a staple industry on Santorini…

IMG_5193

IMG_5042

IMG_5200

IMG_5037IMG_4929

IMG_5022

IMG_5138

IMG_5008

IMG_5016

IMG_5004

IMG_5069

Castle Ruins…

IMG_5194

IMG_4985IMG_5044IMG_4982IMG_5041

IMG_5072IMG_4983

IMG_5053

IMG_5159

IMG_5026IMG_5155IMG_5078IMG_5035

IMG_5148

Black Sand Beach…About 5 min before she was naked and in the water!

IMG_4979IMG_4930

IMG_5161IMG_5188IMG_5130IMG_4988IMG_5042

IMG_5085

IMG_5135IMG_5131IMG_5032IMG_5012

IMG_4969

IMG_5128

Downtown Fira…

IMG_4911

IMG_5002IMG_5121

IMG_4980IMG_5166IMG_5202IMG_5185

IMG_5216IMG_5182

IMG_5187

IMG_5170

Red Sand Beach…

IMG_5195

Only brewery in the Greek Isles, on Santorini…

IMG_5231IMG_5209

IMG_5028

IMG_5124

IMG_5237

IMG_5070

IMG_5143IMG_5208

Processed with MOLDIV

I really can’t say enough good things about our time in Greece. Athens was terrific, the islands were terrific, the sunshine and the (mostly) warm temperatures were terrific, the food was terrific, the people were (mostly) terrific…Time most definitely flies when you’re having fun! Can’t wait to share more over on TreatsTravelsandTruths.com!

Thanks for following along!

Erin’s New Venture

21 Apr

Hello and Happy Friday! I don’t know about you guys, but this girl is ready for the weekend! Seriously- between my mom heading home, two straight days of (super wet and messy) snow, and a zillion things to get done mixed in there, a laid back, lowkey couple of days with just my man and my little sound just about perfect. Other than a date night tonight (Neve’s gymnastics program is having a Kids Night Out), we’ve got nothing on the books and I can’t wait.

So you may have realized that yesterday’s post was a bit different than most in that it talked about our visit to a Bucket List castle that we’ve been waiting for ages to see, but didn’t have many pictures and none of the story (y’all know I’m all about the story!) Well, that was by design. There actually ARE lots of pictures and there IS alot of story to share, but they’re over on my new little corner of the Internet: Treats, Travels & Truths. That’s right, I’ve finally made the decision to take my blogging to the next level- to really make use of our current situation living overseas, of our years of travel, of our current adventures, of my passion for food and cooking and baking, of my personal trainer certification, of my Southern roots, and most importantly, my unwavering penchant for keeping things real.

TTT-300-Large

Now, I realize that some of your are like me and you follow various blogs, so you know how it works. I follow lots of different kinds of blogs- some for healthy recipes, some for baking, some for travel, some for fitness and workouts, some for fashion, some for self-care, and even a few for things like writing and photography. It’s where I get ideas about what to cook for dinner, where to stay when we travel, how to get a certain effect in a picture, etc. But I also realize that some of you aren’t as familiar with the blogging world, so I’ll do a quick 101 just so we’re on the same page. (And honestly, I’m still very much in the learning phase myself, so if any of my fellow blog friends are interested in sharing your tips and secrets, PLEASE! Ha!) Blogs are not only wonderful ways to connect with likeminded folks, but they’re excellent research tools. There’s a blog (or a thousand of ’em) for everything! For example, if you ever look something up on Google, say ‘pimiento cheese recipe,’ most of the results that will pop up are, indeed, blogs. Or ‘what to do in NYC’ or ‘lower body workouts.’ Yep, alot of what you’ll see are blogs, much like this one, just on a larger scale. They are just regular folks who have taken their passions and put them to work, just like I’m doing now.

Blogs earn money various ways- through ads, through sponsorships, through guest posts…The growth of a blog is directly related to its number of followers- the more followers it gets, both through blog subscribers and on social media (like Instagram and Facebook), the more attractive the site becomes to potential advertisers and sponsors. Ultimately, the largest, most successful bloggers can end up with huge corporate partnerships, publishing deals, etc.

IMG_4064

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! Yes, y’all know that I’m a dreamer and that I’m an entrepreneur at heart so all of those things sound wonderful to me and are definitely on my radar for longterm goals, but for right now? I’m just excited that two years’ worth of ideas swirling around in this head are finally coming to fruition. And to finally be focussing my passions into something, and in a way, that I genuinely think is needed in the blogging world.  My goal is talk about my two biggest passions- travel and food (and a tiny bit of fitness thrown in here and there)- in a way that most ‘regular’ people can relate to. Some travels will be all out Bucket List adventure while others will be a budget overnight trip. Some food will be healthy and quick and perfect for weeknight dinners while some will be all out gluttonous. There’ll be talk about how good it feels to workout every single day, but then days (or weeks) when you just plain don’t feel like it. The goal here is to let people know that it’s not only OK to think both ways, to act both ways, to enjoy both ways. And that it’s normal. We’re ALL in the same boat of trying to find that balance in our lives. I’m creating a zone of no judgement, no stigmas, no harping on one thing or another. I’m calling things like I see them and inviting visitors to do the same!

TT&amp;T FB Cover

And just to answer a couple questions that you may have…This new venture was officially born about 3 months ago after years of just thinking about it. I spent the first month getting my thoughts- and business plan- in order, coming up with my business name, networking with folks, researching, etc. Eight weeks ago, I teamed up with a graphic designer to design my logo and to build my new website, then I got to work on the content itself (because who wants to launch a website with no posts?!). And here I am! The site went live just a few days ago and I absolutely couldn’t wait to share it with all of you!

Tres Leches

I haven’t exactly decided yet what I’m going to do with this space. For the next little bit, I’ll be posting here like usual and linking things over to Treats, Travels & Truths. Once things get rolling, I’ll likely keep this space to continue sharing our personal (non-public-blog) pictures, but make it private (subscribers only perhaps?). This site has been such a blessing to me for the last 8 years- can y’all believe we’ve been doing this that long already?! It started as a way to keep in touch with our family and friends during our first stint in Germany, then during my pregnancy and subsequent world travels. It’s been a way for us to share our adventures, to connect with loved ones far away, to make new friends…Heck, it’s even stood in as a therapist here and there! Ha! And along the way, we’ve grown to more than 800 followers (!), which makes me so excited to take it all to the next level!

IMG_4103

I think that’s about it! I’m in the process of figuring out *if* there’s a way for me to transfer all of my current subscribers here at Thomas Wanderings over to TT&T as that would make things the simplest for all of you. I *think* it’s possible, but I’m not sure. That being said, it’s SUPER easy for you to subscribe to the new site if you’d like to just go ahead and do it yourself. Just go to www.TreatsTravelsandTruths.com and on the homepage, you’ll see a teal ‘Join Me’ button right there in the header at the top of the page. Click it and enter your info. Then it’ll be just like it’s always been right here- when there’s a new post, you’ll get an email. Easy peasy! You’ll also see a few social media buttons, so if you’re on Instagram (treats_travels_and_truths), Facebook or LinkedIn (Erin Thomas), please follow along! And please, please, please help me spread the word! Feel free to share the site with any and everybody on your email blasts! 😉 Thank you all SO MUCH for all your support over the years, and for continuing to stick by me with this new venture. Means more than you know.

Oh, and back to yesterday’s post. Head on over to check out all the medieval awesomeness that’s Burg Eltz– I wouldn’t label it as our new favorite for nothing! Ha!

Happy Easter, Y’all!

20 Apr

OK, a few days after the fact, but I hope all of you had a lovely Easter! We sure did! For starters, my mom was in town- she surprised me a few weeks ago with a last minute decision to come for a quick visit that just so happened to include my birthday and Easter. Both weekends were terrific. For Easter, we finally made it Burg Eltz, John’s bucket list castle that Rick Steves had named as ‘Best in the World’ (we attempted to see it last fall, but it ended up closing for the season the week before our trip :/). It was well worth the wait and has most definitely become one of our favorites, too! Birthday Weekend was terrific, too- the first night we celebrated with a Grown-Ups-Only night out with our tribe (woohoo for 2 babysitters + 5 littles!), then spent Sunday doing what we love the most- cooking, baking, and just being together. Meant so much getting to share it with Mom.

IMG_4153

IMG_4228

IMG_4224

We made pizzas from scratch- the crust, the sauce, the toppings…DELISH!

IMG_4230

This is my absolute FAVORITE cake on the planet and I get it once a year, when my sweet husband- and now sweet daughter- make it for me on my birthday. It’s a take on the classic Tres Leches, but with fresh homemade whipped cream and Oreos. HOLY COW.

IMG_4232

IMG_4167

Birthday Flowers (with a Boston Terrier photo bomb!)

IMG_4371

Driving to Burg Eltz

IMG_4324

Burg Eltz

IMG_4329

IMG_4369

IMG_4374

Driving to Burg Eltz

IMG_4397

Waterfront in Koblenz, Germany, where we stayed to visit Burg Eltz…

IMG_4391

Deutsches Ecke- the merging of the Mosel and Rhein Rivers in Koblenz, Germany…

Mom and I also did a little daytrip over to Burg Lichtenstein, which is another of our favorites. It’s small and quaint, yet so charming and regal the way it’s built right on top of a giant rock overlooking the foothills all around. How is it possible that this is Mom’s first castle?!

IMG_4252

IMG_4259

IMG_4256

IMG_4255

Other than that, we’ve just been doing a whole bunch of normal. And it’s been awesome. It’s crazy how much of a boost the regular, day to day stuff gets just from having your mom around. We dyed Easter eggs, we met up with friends at the biergarten when the weather was pretty, we celebrated the Easter Bunny’s delivery (via a clever scavenger hunt set up while we were gone to Burg Eltz!)…Oh, and BIG NEWS! Neve learned to ride her bike all by herself, no training wheels! BURSTING. That’s the only way I can describe the love and the pride her Daddy and I- and Goddess, and Poppy from afar!- felt. ❤

IMG_41622DD5BD8A-B691-4B9E-A1E9-6E1647E16BEE

IMG_4210

Stuttgart Postcard Heart on a random fence…

IMG_4209

IMG_4203

IMG_4269

IMG_4265

IMG_4273

B80F288D-66A5-4064-A2F3-16C2B2CE9531

Trying to get a picture and I keep saying, ‘Turn around, no the other way, no the other way…’

IMG_4161

IMG_4292

The beautiful face of a big girl bike rider!!

IMG_4301

When you take your American- little-bit-European- new bike riding girl for ‘whatever she wants’ and she chooses strawberry ice cream and an espresso with extra milk ❤

IMG_4157

When you get to be there to open the care package you sent before you knew you were coming! Ha!

IMG_4220

Do you ever stand at your grill flipping burgers and get the feeling you’re being watched?

245B4856-3B35-42C5-94D5-995960586943

IMG_4402

Taped to the door when we got home from the castle on Easter Sunday…

IMG_4406

We really did have the loveliest of times with Goddess here visiting and saying goodbye to her earlier this week was difficult all around. But at least our hearts are full and our souls are happy. ❤ Funny thing is that Mother Nature must’ve known we were prepared for a crummy few days because she brought back the snow! In April! This is the third time it’s snowed on the day Mom is leaving. Maybe it’s a sign…Ha! As pretty as it was and as unexpected, I’m pleased to report that it seems to have passed again and the forecast is showing slow improvement throughout the weekend. This Southern family is ready for WARM!!!

IMG_4470IMG_4484

And that’s it for now! Lots of fun over these last couple weeks and even more to come as John’s brother, sister-in-law, niece and sister arrive on Wednesday for their annual visit- and this time, we’re headed to Greece! A first for all of us!

But in the meantime, remember that big news I teased you with a couple weeks ago? Well, the time has arrived to share it- finally! Stop back by tomorrow for the big reveal 🙂

Spring in Stuttgart

4 Apr

Hello again! I go from MIA for nearly a month to twice in a matter of days! Sheesh. I’m sorry about that. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve got something big in the pipeline- a project that’s been taking up a good bit of my time and that I’m really excited to share with all of you in the very near future. *And before some of you start jumping to (crazy) conclusions, nope, I’m definitely not pregnant, nor adding any living creature to the family 😉 But in all seriousness, it is a venture that I’m pretty damn pumped about and that I’m feeling so, so good about. I promise to share more in the coming weeks!

That being said, let’s consider this a photo dump post because we haven’t had one in a really long time! March was a really busy month around here- you already saw the Retro Classics Car Show and that we had Uncle Andy here to join us for the Bunkerhotel– but we also spent a heckuva lotta time welcoming spring, hanging out with friends, welcoming biergarten season back (hallelujah!), exploring new (to us) haunts in our city, etc.

So in completely random order, I present to you the, ‘Thomas Family Month in Pictures…’ (*warning: it’s alot, like alot alot. 😉 )

IMG_3657

New pants, vintage boots ❤

IMG_3640

The 70s called- they want their look back. Never.

C5D2FD2D-9B9B-4DEF-9404-4A6697B5ED10IMG_3635

 

IMG_3637

You know a carwash is the bomb.com when you have to take a picture.

IMG_3759

Thumbs up for new house shoes at school!

IMG_3797

IMG_3796IMG_3794

IMG_3790

One pup took the other pup’s treat. Can you guess which is which? Ha!

IMG_3925IMG_3916

IMG_3915

IMG_3861

Afterschool Tea Parties ❤

IMG_3894

IMG_4071

When you’re still in a funk from yesterday, but you have to walk the city…1. Ear buds in so no one will talk to you – > No explaining that you don’t speak German. 2. Sunglasses on so no eye contact. 3. Ball cap on to erase any doubt that you’re American. Ha!

IMG_3921

IMG_3886

(German) Breakfast of Champions

IMG_4007

Tulip Trees are my favorites ❤ (And Redbuds…)

IMG_4013

Sunrise from my side of the bed…

IMG_3884\IMG_3866

IMG_4049

IMG_4044

Nothing better than homemade frozen yogurt pops after school!

IMG_3800

Slumber Parties ❤

IMG_3907

IMG_3893

IMG_3863IMG_3798

IMG_3795

IMG_3792

When you don’t know if it’s because you just got out of school for the day, or if it’s that it’s finally feeling like spring, or if it’s that the sun is out for the fourth (!) day in a row…You’re just…THANKFUL.

IMG_3785

IMG_3766IMG_3748

A96746F7-79EF-4A43-8EE9-F3F8A0C91C27

IMG_3692

IMG_3923IMG_3920

IMG_3918

Saturday morning farmers market ❤

IMG_3826

When you see one of these in your mailbox, it’s a great day. When you see 5…It’s like freakin’ Christmas! Bring on the packages!

Sunday afternoon at the Stuttgart Planetarium. Neve’s first such experience- she LOVED it.

Another Sunday afternoon at the local biergarten with friends…

IMG_4020IMG_4006IMG_3999

IMG_3998IMG_3993IMG_4003IMG_3990IMG_3992IMG_4019

IMG_4021

IMG_3912

IMG_3914IMG_3892

IMG_3885

Pretty impressed with myself for creating this Stuttgart skyline…

IMG_3807

Beauty and the Beast in 3D ❤

IMG_3764

IMG_3729IMG_3705

26F7616B-4FE3-477C-98AA-80498CB0B6DF

She loved this outfit she picked all by herself ❤

IMG_3720

IMG_3744

Stuttgart Opera House

IMG_3742

New Palace

IMG_3741

IMG_3745

IMG_3655

Whew! I warned you it was alot! Ha! Thanks for sticking it out with me. I promise I’m going to try to do better this month. For now, I’m going to try to contain my excitement as my mom gets here in 36 hours!! Total last minute surprise trip just in time for my birthday this weekend (and Easter the following) and I simply can’t think of a better gift than having her here. In many ways, it’s been a very challenging season for my whole family (will elaborate on that in due time…), so having her here for just a couple weeks is a really good thing for me…and for her. Can. Not. Wait. ❤

Stuttgart Bunkerhotel

3 Apr

Greetings, y’all! And happy April! My goodness, March just got away from me I suppose as it’s been over three weeks so I posted! As always, that’s a good sign- just means that things have been hoppin’ and there’s been little time for my therapy, ie. writing on here to you guys 😉

Wanted to share with y’all something we’ve been waiting to do since we heard about when we first arrived and finally got around to doing last weekend. Once a year, every March, Stuttgart holds its ‘Long Night of the Museums,’ where ALL the city’s museums (more than 110 of ’em!) stay open until 2a. Visitors buy one ticket for regular price (about 18 euro) and can then get into any and all museums they choose. Quite a steal!

IMG_3929

Waiting in line isn’t near as bad with friends ❤

IMG_3930

The line is no joke! Entrance is over by the white and red ‘pyramids’ and we’re opposite…

IMG_3932

Nearing the entrance, looking back at the line where we started on the far side of the square…

Well, we’ve had our eye on one museum in particular- the old Bunkerhotel. This one is special in so many ways, but mainly because it’s open ONLY on this one night of the year- if you miss it, you’re out of luck until next year! Here, let me start by showing you a picture of the farmer’s market at Marktplatz that we happened to be walking through earlier that day…

IMG_3918

If you look closely at this shot and the one right above, you’ll see that I’m standing in nearly the same spot. Well, once the market clears out in the evenings, you’re left with Marktplatz, one of the biggest public squares in Stuttgart. The neatest part? Underneath the ground, running the entire length of the square, is an old WWII bunker. And not just a plain ‘ol bunker, but one that was then converted into a hotel for over 20 years! Here’s a look at yesteryear…

hotel 2

IMG_3952

The bunker was completed in June 1941 for 1010 persons, but sheltered up to 3000 people during the WWII air raids. As more and more peoples’ homes were destroyed, the number of bunker tenants rose. In 1945, a local Germany hotel company purchased the bunker with the purpose of converting it into a hotel, with 80 single and 10 double rooms. One night cost about $5. In addition to the sleeping facilities, there was also a restaurant and a conference room, which were equipped to host groups of 180 people. The visit of public figures led to national importance of the resort and it quickly became one of the “leading bunker hotels in Germany.”

hotel 3

IMG_3933

Heading down into the bunker…

IMG_3956

The Bunkerhotel operated from 1945-1985, using ventilation shafts instead of windows. By the late 1980s, new regulations meant that the hotel no longer met safety codes and that it would cost too much money to make that not the case, so it closed and sat empty until 1995 when someone had the idea to include it in the ‘Long Night of the Museums.’ Today, the hotel sits beneath the Marktplatz just as it did all those years ago- retro peeling wallpaper, antique rusting fixtures and all. Yes, it’s decaying and it’s moldy (you have to sign a waiver before you can enter!), but it’s just beautiful…

IMG_3935IMG_3940IMG_3941

IMG_3950

Exploring a guest room…

hotel 1

Original guest room…

IMG_3959

IMG_3954

IMG_3953

IMG_3963

Bunker Door

IMG_3964

Heading back up…You go inside at one end of the square, out at the other…

We really thought it was a neat, neat experience- just feeling those bits and pieces of history, picturing it at three times its capacity during the terrifying air raids, imagining it in its splendor as a swanky, modern hotel…Definitely never done anything like it before. And it was even better that we got to share it with friends- our besties, the Horans, met us there, and then Uncle Andy and his colleague, Kevin, happened to be working in Rome for the few weeks prior and came up to spend a long weekend with us, so it really was win-win all around. And as if the bunker wasn’t happening enough, we finished the night at one of our favorite cafes for cake, coffee and maybe a little absinthe 😉

IMG_3972

IMG_3965