Tag Archives: rock climbing

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

Fall has Arrived!

18 Sep

Greetings from Stuttgart, where the weather has finally started to resemble more of what we know and love for this time of year! I kid you not, it wasn’t until just a couple days ago that we didn’t have a heat index of 90*+. In mid September?! Every time we’ve been here in the fall- including last year when we didn’t even unpack our shorts when we arrived in mid-August!- the temps are already dropping steadily, mornings and nights warrant a jacket and the leaves have tinges of yellows and oranges on their edges…I think Mother Nature felt like she owed us one this year for giving us the never ending spring (we were in fleeces for Memorial Day!), knowing that this southern family needed some decent hot weather! Ha! And she was right- I haven’t minded one bit- bring on the sweat and sunshine! Yep, this has been me ;):

And speaking of sunshine, the downside of German fall? With it comes the rain. Endless, constant dreary. Blech. Today is the perfect example- we went to bed with it raining, woke up to it raining, and it’s still raining now. Hasn’t let up NOT EVEN ONCE. Guess I’ll need to think about getting out my sun lamp 😉

Anyhoo, I guess what I’ve said before holds true- when I go weeks between blog posts, it must mean we’ve been having too much fun- and we have! So I thought this would be a good time to share some pics ❤thumb_img_1243_1024

thumb_img_1241_1024

One of our all time favorite festivals is Pumpkin Fest. It happens every September in Ludwigsburg, a suburb of Stuttgart, and lasts for almost two months, which means that we normally hit it up at least a couple times. Some of you probably remember my posting about it last year (and also back in 2010 for those of you who have been with us from the start!), but if not, be sure to search for past posts 🙂 There are so many things that make Pumpkin Fest so neat. For starters, it sits on the most beautiful palace grounds and surrounding park. Seriously- you’ve never seen such green grass, such bright flowers and such majestic trees. Second, it’s super family friendly with an entire section of the park designed for kids. Third, you just can’t beat the pumpkin cuisine! And I’m not talking froo froo lattes either- I mean real, top notch food made using pumpkins and gourds! Jambalaya, ravioli, pumpkin fries, squash flatbreads…And yep, pumpkin beer and wine. Duh.

thumb_img_1244_1024

thumb_img_1248_1024thumb_img_1251_1024

You’ve also never seen so many pumpkins and gourds! This festival has the world record for the most pumpkins in one place, and it holds the contest for the World’s Largest Pumpkin. (It’s something like 650lbs. and taller than me!)

thumb_img_1253_1024

thumb_img_1257_1024

In Rapunzel’s tower…

thumb_img_1256_1024

thumb_img_1259_1024

thumb_img_1260_1024

Look who we ran into! And just in time for the kids’ park! They loved this boat ride through the forest.

thumb_img_1265_1024

thumb_img_1264_1024

Last week had two pretty cool events. First, we threw an end of summer BBQ for our tribe. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: being here, in this situation, would be so much different- so much more challenging, not to mention just plain sadder!- without these people. Together, all of our families make up one big family of friendship, of love, of support, of comfort…Love getting to share this extended family with my folks, too. Wish I had more pictures to share from a super fun night, but we were all too busy ‘feeling American’- eating pulled pork (yep, my dad can even do killer pig in the oven! Ha!), laughing and watching football, complete with American commercials! It’s the little things ❤

thumb_img_1284_1024

thumb_img_1283_1024

thumb_img_1282_1024

The other big milestone was that our girl started her last year of preschool! Holy cow, how is that even possible?! It feels like just yesterday we were walking into Ms. Lori’s class at Bethany UMC, Neve with a backpack bigger than she was and this mama with tears in her eyes. Oh how she’s grown in just these last few years and oh what a trailblazer she’s becoming.

thumb_img_1273_1024

thumb_img_1272_1024

thumb_img_1280_1024

When you’re trying to read along on the Kindle, but your Poppy gets distracted…

thumb_img_1276_1024

thumb_img_1287_1024

View from our bed. I absofrigginlutely love living in the heart of a huge city.

thumb_img_1288_1024

What this southern girl does with leftover pulled pork…

thumb_img_1296_1024

If everyone could say a quick prayer for my girl, Dulcie. She’s been having some pretty serious health issues this last week and we’d sure appreciate as many prayers as we can get!

And finally, this weekend marks the ‘end of Fest Season,’ which meant that we celebrated the only way possible- going to not one, but two, fests! (Still not sure how they figure the ‘end’ as they’re in the process of setting up the next one as I type, but who am I to question a good thing…Ha!) Nothing better than being outside all day long surrounded by pretty scenery, artists, crafters, games and deliciousness!

thumb_img_1310_1024

thumb_img_1309_1024

Gerber Fest, just out of our front door…

thumb_img_1314_1024

Y’all, this girl was a ROCKSTAR at the rock climbing wall! Seriously, John and I were so shocked and so proud. She made it all the way to the top completely unassisted AND with the wall tilted in at the top! Need to find her a gym stat!

thumb_img_1315_1024

Perfect space for a fest, right?

thumb_img_1318_1024

thumb_img_1324_1024

thumb_img_1322_1024

She was as fearless here as on the rock wall! All the way across the lake- going fast!- all by herself!

And there you have it- a glimpse into our last two weeks of fun, of saying goodbye to summer, of taking care of sweet Dulcie, of enjoying the life that’s filling our walls (still so nice to have my parents here for a couple more weeks), and of looking forward to all that’s still to come. Speaking of which, on Thursday, we’re headed to Munich to meet friends for Oktoberfest! And no worries, zillions of pictures to come! 😉

Hope everyone has a great week!

Olomana Ridge

14 Feb

Mount Olomana

That’s Mount Olomana…and we climbed it.  ALL the way to the tip-top pointy peak.  And we thought Koko was a cardio workout?!  Ha!  You’d think a mountain like this would have a switchback-type of trail, zigzagging its way up, but nope…We parked at the base (to the left of where this picture cuts off) and went straight in and up.  From car to peak, it’s 4.5 miles and 1643 ft. elevation.  WHEW!!

Mount Olomana, about 45 minutes from Honolulu on the windward side of the island, is a spectacular three peaked mountain that stands apart from the larger Koolau Ridge.  The striking peak is often referred to as ‘Oahu’s Matterhorn,’ while the translation of the Hawaiian name is actually ‘divided hill.’  From the top, you get spectacular 360 degree views of the windward coast from Kailua to Makapuu.  Looking south from the summit, you see the Koolau Ridge, including Mt. Olympus.

Legend has it that Olomana was a renowned warrior that was over 30 feet tall and ruled the lands from Makapu’u to Kualoa. The mountain was formed when the King of Oahu, Ahuapau, sent one of his foremost warriors, Palila, to confront Olomana. During the ensuing battle, Palila, gifted with supernatural powers, sliced Olomana in half with the top portion landing near the ocean while the bottom portion became Mount Olomana.

OK, onto our climb!  Because the trailhead is actually hidden in a gated community, you have to park on the side of the road about a mile beforehand and hike in to actually start the hike!  The guard is super friendly and quite helpful- afterall, he warned us of the wild boar we may encounter, which prompted John to quickly research the subject.

‘Surely you aren’t texting right now, are you?!’ I asked as we’re nearing the trailhead and he’s glued to that tiny screen.

‘No,’ he replied sheepishly.  (After hesitation and realizing how nerdy it would sound coming out) ‘I just think it would be helpful to know what to do if one encounters a wild boar.  Run? Play dead?  Stop, drop and roll?’  My husband, MacGyver 🙂

Glad we were paying attention or we would've missed the parting of the trees that is the trailhead!

The first part of the trail is fairly easy, comparatively.  It’s pretty wide, lots of clay (ie. MUD because of all the rain lately!) and nearly completely shaded by tropical canopy.

First part of the trail...

About a half mile in, we came to one of our favorite spots, a grove of Ironwood trees.  At first glance, Ironwood looks much like a Pine tree with their needle-like foliage and woody fruit resembling a pine cone. However, the deciduous tufts of long jointed and grooved bluish-grey ‘needles’ aren’t true leaves, but actually small jointed twigs that perform the same functions as leaves.

The only part of the trail where you could truly hear the wind talking to you. It was fantastic really...

The middle part of the hike started to get increasingly more difficult…Much narrower trail, much more blazing sun exposure and much steeper ascents…In fact, I would say it was equal parts ‘stairs’ to ‘ladders…’  Oh yeah, we’re talking down and dirty using all fours to climb this mountain! 🙂

John, at the top of a 'ladder...'

The picture doesn't do justice to just how steep of an incline we're talking, but at least you can see the narrowness...and more mud!

We can't have all work and no play! 🙂

The third section of the trail was definitely the most labor intensive as it was just about all about rock climbing.  Thankfully, hikers of days past have left their ropes to help along the way!

It's a long way down! 😉

We could submit this to Rock Climbers Digest! Ha!

The view from the top is SPECTACULAR.  Seriously, it makes all the ‘cursing the minute we decided to do this damn thing’ moments disappear.  As promised, we got 360 degree views of the island.  WOW.

Looking toward the North Shore...

We made it! Drenched and shaky-legged, but we made it! 🙂

Koolau Mountain Ridge in the distance...

I just love this picture. Plus, it pretty much sums up how we were feeling finally reaching the summit!

And to prove that I wasn’t kidding about the peak being like a ‘tippy-top pointy rock,’ here’s proof!

John thought it would be funny to snap this picture of me stretching at the top...I really like it, too, because it's another one showing just how we felt when we finally reached the top! Ahhh....:)

As you might guess, the hike back down the mountain was pretty challenging, too.  No, not as strenuous as the ascent, but definitely noteworthy between the rock faces, the slippery mud and our already-spent Jello legs!  Let’s just say that our calves and quads were definitely feeling it long before we got back to the car (and no, don’t even get me started on how they’re feeling by this morning!)  Our total trip, from the car to the summit and back to the car, took about 4 hours.  Definitely worth every second of it :).

Muddy from head to toe = Great day in Hawaii 🙂

 

%d bloggers like this: