Tag Archives: ice cream

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.

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

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View from our balcony

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

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One of my happy places 🙂

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

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This lazy river is easily several miles long…

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

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From our balcony…

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Poolside snack…

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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.

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Poolside dinner and a show on our first night…

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

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Northern shore of the island…

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For mom…Lovely trees ❤

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Topless beach for the day 😉 

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Playa de Troya, Black Sand Beach…

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

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

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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.

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With a pencil behind her ear ‘like Daddy.’

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

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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…

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My new favorite shot of my people ❤

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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!

WOOHOO! Weekend, baby!

2 Sep

It’s Friday, y’all! So excited! And even moreso than normal since my mom gets here- FINALLY!- on Sunday! And if I’m pumped, I can only imagine how ready my Dad is. Bless his heart (proud Southerner here!), he’s been here with us nearly a month all by his lonesome. But on the flip side, it’s been SO terrific having him. We’ve never in my life had this kind of uninterrupted time together and that in itself has been priceless- something I’ll cherish for always. ❤

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I’ll go ahead and warn you that this is going to be a photo dump. Lots going on here this week and just about all of it fun. The weather has been nothing short of amazing (maybe a day or two of a smidge hotter than perfect, but I’m not complaining! No, we don’t have air conditioner…) and we’ve been taking full advantage. This was Neve’s second week out of school for summer break, so while I admit it I was a tad bit jealous seeing all the darling ‘back to school’ pictures filling up my social media, I rejoiced knowing that we at least have a few more weeks of the best season of the year 😉

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Picnic in the park with friends ❤

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Because sometimes you’re already in your jammies before you realize you need an ice cream from the mall downstairs…And it’s raining outside. So we roll with it.

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You can take a boy away from HIS yard, but there will always be A yard.

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Swimming lessons at the outside pool!

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Sunday Mornings ❤

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She LOVED this outfit she picked out. Can’t tell you how much I celebrate her individuality…

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John spent last week in the Azores, an island chain of Portugal, but closer to the US than to Germany. He tried to squeeze in some sightseeing around work and would send us pics along the way.

Remember a couple weeks ago when we found that neat biergarten, Barenschloss, at the end of an awesome little lakeside hike? Well this time we took company…and a blanket and wireless speakers! Best Saturday afternoon in ages!

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This family. No clue what we’d do without them. Hallelujah that we’ll all be back in Charleston together at the end of these adventures!

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Rare shot of all 4 Thomas ladies 😉

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Because sometimes you just want to match your girl ❤

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This may or may not be at about Beer #54. HAHAHA!

One of the highlights of Neve’s week was a Halloween-themed (how fun is that?!) birthday party for her friend, Lauren. What made this particular party extra special was that Lauren was one of Neve’s first friends- they met in the German Immersion class back when we first arrived- and several of her old classmates were also at the party. She and her friend, Taryn, even won the Mummy Wrap! Coincidentally, none of them are still going to that school (several switched to German kindi like us and a couple have started elementary school), so it was quite the grand reunion all around! Heck, it was even lovely for John and me to catch up with parents we haven’t seen in months!

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With Estelle (also from Charleston- small world!) and Archer (Neve’s first- and still current- crush!)

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Birthday Girl, Lauren, as the Wicked Witch…

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I just love this picture of them. Archer, who just turned 6 and is starting first grade this week, is just the sweetest little boy and they have had the best friendship since the day they met.

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It’s not often you get to shop with a fairy…Stopping by the commissary after the party 😉

In case you’re not on Facebook or you missed my post on there, I’ll share it here because it’s one of my favorite posts ever- one of my favorite moments so far from motherhood.

As I was walking past a store today, this beautiful, lacy, sparkly, twirly, bohemian gown caught my eye. Without a single thought given to where she’d wear it or for what fancy occasion we might need it, I immediately went in the store and bought it. For no reason at all other than that I knew how much my Neve would absolutely love it. Everything about it just screamed Neve. After dinner tonight, I gave it to her and told her just that- that I got it for her just because. She got so excited putting it on that she got teary- and I did, too, because it just felt so good. She must’ve twirled for half an hour- even had me take a video so she ‘can remember what it looks like twirling even when she’s not wearing it.’ She took it off long enough to take her bath, then asked to put it back on as her nightgown. And as I turned out the light and leaned down for one last hug and kiss, she whispered in my ear, ‘Mommy, I just adore this dress. Thank you.’ Oh sweet girl, how I adore YOU and your feistiness and the little girl you’re becoming and being you mom. These are the moments that reach the little corners of your heart you didn’t even know existed…the ones that make it feel as if it could just burst.

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My current favorite picture of Neve…

Meanwhile, back inside…Have I mentioned how much we love having Dad here??

And finally, this last shot…Nope, not taken the same night as the above pictures- just back in the dress because…well, just because.<3

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Hope everyone has a great weekend- I guarantee it won’t be as great as our’s! Ha! 😉

Summer is (Practically) Here!

9 Jun

Is it the weekend yet, y’all? This week is dragging some serious…Well, let’s just say I’ve been asking that same question since Monday! Ha! I think it’s because I’m in full on Countdown Mode getting ready to go HOME in less than 2 weeks! Oh my God, I can’t wait. For so many reasons. But that’s not what this post about. We’ve had some lovely weather here over the last couple weeks and I just wanted to share some pictures with you of some of our fun times. Y’all know me- keeping it real with our everyday life in between our bigger adventures 🙂

First of all, a little celebration for SUMMER!

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So back to our (mostly) awesome weather…Neve had a day out of school, so that meant we had an extra day to explore a new (to us) park that we’ve been wanting to check out since we moved here! And we got to take our friends with us 😉 The Killesberg Park is a huge urban park (smack dab in downtown Stuttgart!) that covers about 125 acres. Once a rock quarry, it was transformed in 1939 into a hosting space for a huge horticulture event and has remained as such ever since. Today, there’s still the most gorgeous flora and fauna, along with ponds, wildlife (including a petting zoo), observation towers (you can see the main one in the background of that top pic) and ginormous playgrounds. It is AH-MAZING.

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No, that’s not a real tortoise. Duh. 😉

We’ve also been taking full advantage of the biergartens and eating outside as often as we can. I think Neve lives for Friday night meet-ups with friends! Ha! And in addition to the weather, not sure if I’ve talked about it on here before or not, but Germany has ridiculously long days with the sun rising around 5a and not setting until at least 10p. I’m not kidding- you could easily read a book outside until at least 930p! So while that’s not always helpful when it comes to winding down and going to bed, it’s super awesome when you have time after dinners to walk, to get ice cream, to sit in the park and to play ❤

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What do you do when you haven’t seen your bestie in over a week?

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We sure are raising up some awesome- and beautiful- girls. Ellie is 20 months, Neve is 4 1/2, and Emmie is 6 1/2. ❤

So as you can tell, we’re basking in this glimpse we’re getting of the summer ahead. In all honesty, though, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, ‘screw it, I’m going to the SC Lowcountry in a matter of days where the weather really got the memo that it’s June and time for stifling heat and humidity!’ I may not ever have on more than two articles of clothing at any given time I’m there!  Ha! But for now, it really is nice sleeping with our windows open, meandering through the parks and not bundling up to walk to school in the mornings!

We have a buddy coming into town tomorrow just for the night and to hang out on Saturday. Matt and John work together in Charleston (and we’ve all traveled together multiple times over the years) and Matt is on travel this week and next working a few hours north of here. It’ll be so good to catch up with him and show him a bit of Stuttgart- John is really excited as he has so missed his work gang. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Monday Mash-Up

28 Mar

By now, y’all know I love me a good hodgepodge of pictures and stories! Ha! No seriously- I think it’s important to share the normal, the day to day, the routine…The life we’re living here in Stuttgart between adventures. Heck, living here is an adventure in itself!

For starters, PROOF OF SPRING! Not only have they put water back in all the fountains, but we have buds on our tree and green leaves on the bushes around our house!

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So here is the remainder of our week, in pictures. We played tourist, tried a new restaurant or two, played on playgrounds…

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At the Brauhaus across the street from us…

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Always a highlight of our day ❤

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Just a typical walk to school 😉

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They made candles at school as part of their Easter celebrations. Then wrapped them to prevent drips and learned to light them and blow them out on their own.

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Ladies, this fella is single! 

And we finally made it to the famous Wilhelma Zoo here in Stuttgart…It’s HUGE and probably the prettiest zoo I’ve ever seen. So organized, so well-kept, so diverse…My favorite part was the botanicals- building after building, green space after green space of different enviroscapes, terrain and indigenous plants. I LOVED the warm weather houses- the rainforests, the deserts- obvs. What I didn’t love were the spaces allocated for the animals themselves. Don’t get me wrong, the zoo has a wonderful reputation for animal care and I saw no evidence that any were unhappy, but it just seemed to me that with all the land they have, it could’ve been put to better use where the animals were concerned. Less decorative landscapes, more animal spaces. So you’ll see that I wasn’t near as inspired to take pictures in those areas…

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My absolute favorite part of the entire zoo was the Azalea House. Yes, it’s a real thing. And no, it couldn’t have come at a better time. These last few weeks, despite all the fun we’ve been having and despite having one of my best friends here, have been a bit rough for me on the homesick front. I’ve really been missing home- the people, my town, the familiarity…I love spring in the Lowcountry of South Carolina- the days getting longer, the temps getting warmer, the tourists starting to arrive for the season, my hometown in bloom, the Flowertown Festival (where I’ve had a booth for the last 17 years), all of our birthdays…Being away right now is hard. Well, the day before we visited the zoo, I had a mini pity party with John about the matter. Then lo and behold, not even 24 hours later, I stepped into a balmy 80F ginormous glass house filled to the brim with Summerville. Every color and smell of azalea right there in front of my face. Even Neve immediately shouted, ‘It’s like home!’ The Universe knew, once again, what my soul needed and it provided. And I was thankful.

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One of my favorite pieces of artwork- it hangs in our entryway as a reminder always.

And before Uncle Andy had to leave us, we made sure to kick-off the Easter festivities because…eggs. 😉

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No Easter Bunny this year, so we had to make due with a giant LED egg in the mall below us 😉

Which brings me to Easter. This was definitely a different Easter than years past, and even with some awesome planning, it still didn’t work out the way we’d envisioned. We had plans for a giant, multi-family Easter Egg Hunt in one of the local parks. Everyone was bringing stuffed plastic eggs and food. Except last week, the plague struck (ie. the pukes) several of the families and before we knew it, we were down to just us and our neighbor besties. So we improvised and all worked out beautifully. Thanks again, Universe, for providing what we need. Our two girls ended up hunting for eggs on our own terrace followed by a lowkey lunch across the street. And during that lunch, we all realized that what we were missing was ‘tradition,’ so we made a last minute decision to cook a big meal and enjoy the day just as we would have at home- at home with family and fellowship and togetherness. Yes it was different, but it was soul food and we ended the day full.

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Checking out their loot 😉

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First egg she spotted was hidden under a bench. She went running for it and tripped about 2 feet before the bench. Had she hit two inches to the right, it would’ve been a metal corner rather than wood. Very lucky to only have a knot, a bloody spot and a cute bandage.

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The Easter Bunny came!! (Funny side note: John and I hate marshmallows. Neve loves them. We don’t know how or why. But we just knew she’d love Peeps, so we looked high and low for them. We were right. Yuck.

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And there’s our week! Told you we were busy! And yes, we’re missing Andy already. So I’ll leave you with my new absolute favorite picture of Neve and her Daddy, taken one night when nothing would do but stopping for a scoop of ice cream. ❤

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