Tag Archives: spring

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!

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

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

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Bedtime Stories ❤

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Fruhlingsfest

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Chocolate-covered fruit on sticks…

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

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Morning waves from school ❤

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Mother’s Day Breakfast at Kindi…

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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!

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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 🙂

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

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Waiting out the storm at the biergarten, overlooking Stuttgart…

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Good Lord. He is mine. ❤

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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!

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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!

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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.

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

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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.

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Birthday Flowers (with a Boston Terrier photo bomb!)

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Driving to Burg Eltz

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Burg Eltz

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Driving to Burg Eltz

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

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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?!

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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. ❤

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Stuttgart Postcard Heart on a random fence…

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

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The beautiful face of a big girl bike rider!!

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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 ❤

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

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

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

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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!!!

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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. 😉 )

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New pants, vintage boots ❤

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

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

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Thumbs up for new house shoes at school!

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

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Afterschool Tea Parties ❤

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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!

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(German) Breakfast of Champions

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Tulip Trees are my favorites ❤ (And Redbuds…)

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Sunrise from my side of the bed…

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Nothing better than homemade frozen yogurt pops after school!

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Slumber Parties ❤

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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.

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Saturday morning farmers market ❤

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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…

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Pretty impressed with myself for creating this Stuttgart skyline…

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Beauty and the Beast in 3D ❤

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She loved this outfit she picked all by herself ❤

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Stuttgart Opera House

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New Palace

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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. ❤

Next Stop…

18 Jun

…Charleston, SC! Y’all, I can’t even. I’m like a little kid on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to come down the chimney- only rather than the jolly big guy, there’s a very long day of travel standing between me and the awesomeness! Ha! But that’s OK- it’s like I’ve told my mom both times she’s come over- the time WILL pass, the flights WILL be over, you WILL be home, and it’ll all feel like blip. OK, maybe a very long blip even after some time recuperating, but a blip nonetheless! 😉

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How we’ve been counting the days until our trip! This has been a great visual on time passing for Neve…

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My thoughts on the travel portion of our trip…And about leaving John behind 😦

Today’s post is just a quick hello with some last pictures from here in Stuttgart before we hop the pond for a bit…Y’all know how I like to keep things organized and all!

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How nice it is living next door to one of your besties ❤

So for starters, that awesome summer weather I was bragging about last week has completely disappeared. I’m talking rain for days straight, some days not getting out of the 50s, howling winds…*sigh* Really not cool.

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How is this June attire?!

Our buddy, Matt, who works with John in Charleston but was working a few weeks here in Germany- a few hours north, came to stay with us last weekend and couldn’t believe how gross it was for us to trek around the city! But regardless, it was so nice having him here. Like a little slice of home. Neve flirted her face off (Lord help us) and John was in absolute Heaven- staying up late to play video games and drink beer, stopping by the pub to watch a EuroCup game…It was SO good for him and couldn’t have come at a better time.

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Remember how I told you it stays light forever here? I took this shot as I was heading up to bed after 10p!

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And every so often, we get a glimpse of the sun for a few moments- sometimes even up to an hour!- and that’s when we all quickly head outside to bask…

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This is deceptive- it was freezing and they’d just stripped off their coats as they walked out of school. Two seconds after this shot, they had them back on!

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Then, just as quickly as it appeared, it’s gone…And we’re back inside stripping off our wet clothes (that’s how quickly the weather changes!) and warming back up :). Looking at pictures like these, I just can’t believe how grown up she is. Time is passing so quickly. I just need a pause button every now and then…

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Which brings us to this special weekend…Happy Father’s Day to all you awesome dads, stepdads, granddads, stand-in dads, and soon-to-be-dads! The world is a better place because you’re in it! Special shout-out to the two most important men in my, and in Neve’s, life- today and always. John, I could not ask for a better father to our Neve than you. You go above and beyond for us every single day and with each passing year, I’m more aware of just how fortunate we are to have you- how crazily blessed I am to call you mine. I love you more than you’ll ever know. And Dad…You will always, always be my hero, my knight in shining armor. I know without question that no one on this planet could’ve been a better dad for me, then or now. And most importantly, they say that the best thing a father can do for his child is to love her mother. Nearly 44 years later, you’re still setting that awesome example. I love you more than words can say.

And since Neve and I are flying tomorrow on the actual day, we decided to celebrate John today instead- the whole day devoted our guy. What a terrific day we’ve had together as our trio. And while we’re all going to miss each other terribly (it really is difficult parting tomorrow…), we know exactly what’s waiting for us here when we return. How great it is to have such wonderful love waiting for us on both sides of the Atlantic ❤

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And that’s it! This time tomorrow, Neve and I will be high over the Atlantic (knock on wood!) making our way to Atlanta, then on to Charleston. Our bags are just about packed, our backpacks are sitting by the door, and now it’s just a matter of crossing the last things off the list and getting through the worst part- ‘ripping the bandaid off’ saying goodbye in the morning at the airport! Next stop, HOME ❤

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Happier at the thought of the travel portion being behind us!

 

 

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!

Weekend Mash-Up

23 May

Happy Monday, y’all! After looking at the forecast, I purposefully saved this post until today for the total irony of it all. The weather here on Friday, Saturday and Sunday was to die for. And we were outside just about every single hour possible on those days, welcoming Spring (er, isn’t it technically almost summer??)…for the third time this year. Jeez. As I type this, it’s pouring down rain so hard that I can barely see the TV Tower that I wrote about yesterday and it’s a frigid 53*F, two degrees colder than when I walked Neve to school earlier this morning. Yeah. FML.

What better time to reminisce about warmer, sunnier times, right? Yep, join me as I reminisce all the way back to this past weekend, when we ate every single meal outside, when John and I had our first date night (to the oldest restaurant in Stuttgart, btw) in months, when we strolled through the farmers markets, when we loaded up the pups and headed out to the country side to feel the cool grass beneath our feet and the sunbeams on our faces…

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Showing off her toy store find (Princess Elsa) that she bought with her own piggy bank money…

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Oldest restaurant in the city…

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Not sure how I’d get through my Sunday ride without her enthusiastic support… 😉

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Searching for the missing tennis ball…Coincidentally, in the distance on the left, you can see the TV Tower. I told you it’s pretty visible from wherever you are! Ha!

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And now here’s the silver lining for this crummy weather that moved in here since some of these were taken just yesterday: Friday we are beach-bound and headed for Portugal for 6 days! It’ll be our first time in the country and it’s one that’s been on our Bucket List for forever, so to say we’re excited is an understatement! Months ago, we decided to combine Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Memorial Day all into one big Portuguese celebration. We’re staying right on the beach outside of Lisbon, so hopefully it’ll be the perfect spot to do some sand lounging (pray for good weather, please!) and some city seeing. And hopefully that means that some pretty pictures- and fun blog posts- are pretty much a given 🙂  Stay tuned!

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Lovin’ Us Some May!

15 May

Happy Sunday, ladies and gents! We are having a glorious lazy day in our jammies here in Stuttgart, so I figured it would be the perfect time to touch base with everybody before another week gets underway!

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Windows rolled down, little hands making wave motions down the road ❤

May has gotten off to a lovely start for us and we’ve stayed jam packed busy. Most importantly, we’ve had some awesome, awesome spring weather! (With the exception of this week that has gone back to frigid- just long enough for Mom’s visit :/) We have taken FULL advantage of getting outside, soaking up that Vitamin D and feeling the grass under our feet.

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On the playground outside of our house…That’s us behind her, on the left 🙂

We got to celebrate Mother’s Day, which actually felt more like Mother’s Week between school celebrations and a whole weekend of pampering ❤

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Walking to dinner for a double Mother’s Day celebration.

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Thanks for my new outfit, Grandma!

Our swim lessons are continuing and Neve is becoming more and more fishlike every week. Ha! We switched pools for this session, to one that’s a tad bit further from our house, but it’s a way larger and nicer facility. Pools here are no joke! The indoor portion has 5 huge pools and 5 whirlpools, in addition to a massage area, infinite saunas and glass atriums galore. The outside portion, which looks like it’s set to open any day now, is absolutely ginormous with no less than 5 Olympic-size pools, umpteen waterslides, playgrounds and endless grassy knolls. Can’t wait for summer 🙂

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Our final visitor of the ‘season,’ Goddess, arrived last week and we are having the best time. She’s only staying 12 days this time, which is already feeling like a tiny blip. Having her here is just so easy. We can walk the city, we can shop, we can cook dinner, we can walk to get Neve from school, we can watch movies…It’s just like normal, only more fun ❤ Neve is in Heaven, obvs.

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Walking out of school to see that Goddess arrived that morning. BEST.

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And finally, I spent yesterday morning throwing a dear, sweet friend a baby shower. It was an especially shower for most of us 11 women, though, because each of us only knew one or two other women. Some of us knew each other from the hotel when we first arrived, before we spread out to each find our home. Some of us have been introduced through mutual friends. Some of us are in Bible Study together. It almost felt like the shower was doubly beneficial- a celebration of Abigail, but also a coming together of women all experiencing similar paths in this season of our lives. A making of friendships. And it was perfectly lovely. ❤

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She doesn’t know what she’s having. You don’t get many surprises as an adult, right?!

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Y’all know I love any excuse to bake! Homemade Devil’s Food Cupcakes with fresh Buttercream Icing.

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The first thing I made for the shower…I went with ‘French Countryside’ as an ode to baby’s heritage…

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And while we sat around sipping mimosas and laughing, my girl spent her morning running errands around the city with Daddy. The most important stop? The toy store to spend her money from her finally-full piggy bank! ‘Twas a very good day all around.

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And if I could ask each of you a favor…Please send us some good weather juju! This Southern girl is ready for flip flops and sundresses already! Jeez.

Family Photo Dump

18 Apr

Happy Monday, y’all! I thought about waiting until this weekend to do a post because it’ll be a terrific, juicy one with lots of pretty pictures. Afterall, we’re headed to Rome on Wednesday for the rest of the week! Or I could’ve waited until tomorrow since we’re headed to FruhlingsFest tonight (the Oktoberfest spring equivalent- WOOHOO!) But I just couldn’t wait. We are having the BEST time with family- Mark, Bethany and Norah. We’ve been so excited for their visit- and have missed them terribly since we left last summer. At home, we spend alot of time together, so the distance has definitely been felt in that regard, especially for Neve and Norah who  (usually) gracefully straddle the line between cousins and besties. 😉

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Night One ❤

This is their time in Europe, so it’s been so great to experience some of those ‘first time wonders’ again through their eyes. Things that we don’t really notice anymore, customs that we’ve just gotten used to, scenery that has become our norm…I just love those little nuggets of newness! And we love being part of this new experience for them.

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First night in Europe. What better way to kick off than dinner at the nearest biergarten?!

Just a quick aside for those of you not as familiar with our family tree. John is the oldest of three children- Mark is four years younger and Christina, who was here last month, is in the middle. He and Bethany are high school sweethearts (Bethany had just turned 15 when I met her! She and Mark started dating a few months after John and me), who then both graduated from University of Louisville. Mark lived with us one summer in college while he interned at SPAWAR with John. Once he graduated, he moved to Charleston to accept a full time position as a civil engineer (John is an electrical engineer). Bethany soon followed and they bought a house just a few miles from us. Norah came along in 2013, making her just 21 months younger than Neve. And that’s our quick run down 😉

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For our first week, we’ve been super busy, both exploring Stuttgart (y’all know I love playing me some tourist!) and venturing out for some cool day trips. So far, though, nothing that I haven’t already posted about, so I won’t go there again. 😉 If you happened to miss the posts about the famous Wilhelma Zoo, medieval Rothenburg or Schloss Lichtenstein, just do a quick search of the site and it’ll take you right to them! But for now, just some shots of our adventures, our time together, some awesome spring-welcoming weather, some not so awesome weather, because…Germany. HA!

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John’s newest toy! Several of the guys ride to work each day and John’s been dying to join the fun! It’s less than 10 miles, but half of that is straight uphill! Ha!

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Spring has sprung at Wilhelma!

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What are the odds?! We met a family on the train en route to the zoo…who are also American…and who live across the street from us! The boys are 4 and 6- and the three of them were instant friends! We have plans to hang out next week 🙂

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Where did my little baby go?

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If you look closely at the roof of the building at the far end of the alley, you’ll see a stork sitting in her nest. Storks return to the same nest year after year- and they meet their lifelong mates there, too. ❤

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Lichtenstein Castle is always one of our favorites, even on days the clouds and fog are so heavy it makes it look like the Evil Queen’s castle instead of Snow White’s.

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Just a little patience…Grabbed some lunch before heading home and the weather cleared out- just temporarily- and long enough to get the perfect shot ❤

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Two birthday celebrations in less than a week! And yes, this is a real cake this time- an ice cream cake, actually! My attempt to write his name ended up completely not centered, so I added a ‘y’ for extra pizzazz. Ha!

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See, I told you so! We really are having a wonderful time, strengthening our bonds and making such lovely family memories. The sad part is that this coming week is sure to go by even quicker than the past. Not even going to think about that yet! Just going to focus on the Fest tonight, a quick trip back to the Sonnenhof farm tomorrow and then we’re Italy-bound for five days! I know, I’m tired just thinking about it, but SO pumped! Go big or go home, right?!

Spring has Sprung!

4 Apr

And yep, we’ve been doing the happy dance for days! Last Wednesday was the first day since September that we had sunshine AND temps in the mid-60s. I even texted my good Michigan friend, Sue, as I was walking to pick up Neve that afternoon that I must be acclimating because I only had on short sleeves and felt great! At home, I’m usually the one in a jacket until we at least hit 80! Ha!

So yeah, our whole weekend was about getting outside, breathing the fresh air, letting the sun hit our faces and the scents of spring wafting through our open windows. *HEAVENLY*

We kicked off the weekend at the Paulaner Biergarten with friends. Hallelujah for it finally being biergarten season again! One of our absolute favorite things about Europe! It’s a way of life here and we are ready, willing and able to embrace it!

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And of course, after a delicious German meal, you’ve got to have a little stroll, a stop off at a playground, an ice cream cone…and some selfies. 🙂

Sunday was by far the prettiest day of the year so far. It was mid-70s and not a cloud in the sky. We slept in (yay!), John fixed us breakfast (yay!) and then we through on our tennis shoes and headed out to trek around our city (woohoo!). Flowers in bloom, the fountains back flowing (they drain them empty for winter, obvs) and plenty of folks just like us looking to take advantage of such an awesome day. Schlossplatz, the main square in the city, was covered in sunbathers, picnickers, people watchers and relaxers. We claimed a perfect little spot just for us ❤

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Schlossplatz

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Afternoon snack while we’re out…

Looking ahead at this week’s forecast, it doesn’t look like Spring is quite ready to make a commitment (tsk, tsk, tease), but we’re still moving in the right direction at least! Temps in the 60s mostly (I may or may not have seen a high of 54 on day, but I refuse to talk about it!) and some spotty sun. Today was chillier, but the first thing Neve asked when I picked her up from school was, ‘Can we stop in the bakery and eat a pastry on our walk home?’ Absolutely, sweet girl. That’s one of the reasons here. ❤

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Gettin’ Down on the Farm

3 Apr

One of the many things we love about living here in Germany is the unfamiliarity. I know, I know, I was just talking last week about missing the comforts of home- and yes, there are definitely those moments peppered in each and every week- but one of the things we’d truly looked forward to was the unknown. The newness. The feeling our way in the dark. What I mean is that, in Charleston, it’s rare to find ‘new’ things. We know the best restaurants, we know where to go if we want to see flowers, we know the good beaches, the best day trips, and where to get an oil change. We know where to go when we’re sick and where to buy party supplies and the perfect rainy day spots. Here, we’re figuring all of that out and even though it’s frustrating at times, it’s exhilarating and it gives this neat sense of pride when it actually works out.

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Where am I going with all this? Well, spring (finally) arrived here at the end of last week. (Not sure if it’s here to stay quite yet, but it doesn’t matter- this weekend had a beautiful forecast and that’s all we cared about!) We were determined to get outside and explore, but we didn’t want to go far. Back at home, we would’ve known our options- downtown to Waterfront Park, out to one of the beaches (probably Folly, though, because it’s the best, duh), over to one of the Gardens on Hwy 61…But here, what did that even look like?? Luckily, I remembered my hair stylist telling me about a farm she’d heard about just 30 miles outside of the city- she’d heard it had animals and stuff for kids and lots of nature. SOLD! Sonnenhof, here we come!

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I know, right?! Look at this place! The most beautiful countryside with the greenest grass and the prettiest flowers. You could literally feel the Earth waking up from its long winter slumber. Blooms and buds and vibrancy and LIFE.

So Sonnenhof is a private farm that opens its door- er, gates- to the public so city folks- like us- can experience nature and beauty and simplicity when they need to. Their slogan is, ‘Here, nature still feels real.’ And that’s so true. The best part is that it’s hidden and secluded. Tourists haven’t found it and articles haven’t been written about it. They don’t advertise. So you really feel like you’ve found such a gem.

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You’re free to roam about the property however you’d like. I don’t know how many acres it is, but it’s plenty. Definitely more than 100. Nestled in the rolling pastures are fields of farm animals, buildings with a cafe and a market, barns, gardens and meandering pathways.

One of Neve’s favorite parts was snuggling with the bunnies and the chicks. She got to learn about how they interact, how they build their beds (we watched a rabbit for nearly 20 minutes ferrying hay into her box and gently mash it down into the perfect half bowl for her body), how they ‘sun’ themselves under the heat lamps…

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Out in the pastures, we visited with sheep, goats, horses and cows. Neve was in love with one friendly sheep’s wild hair, so we used it as an opportunity to talk about the wool can be shaved off and made into the clothes that we wear. (By sheer coincidence, we passed a window display on our way to dinner last night that had cotton stalks, so we got to continue the conversation with another example!)

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On the opposite side of the farm were adventure courses with zip lines (two for kids, two for adults), a ropes, trampolines with trapezes and playgrounds…There’s truly something for everyone!

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As you can probably see, the sun was hit or miss while we were on the farm and the temperatures didn’t reach their highs until almost dinner time, but it didn’t matter. Sonnehof ended up being everything we wanted it to be and more. The folks there are so generous to open their space to strangers- and I say generous because so much of it is free! No admission fee at all. Good people right there. So yeah, it was everything we NEEDED it to be. Mostly, it was just happy 🙂

Be sure to stop back by tomorrow for the rest of our outdoor Spring-welcoming weekend!

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