Tag Archives: summer

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!

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!

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. ❤

thumb_IMG_1074_1024

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 😉

thumb_IMG_1031_1024

thumb_IMG_1032_1024

Picnic in the park with friends ❤

thumb_IMG_1035_1024

thumb_IMG_1043_1024

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.

thumb_IMG_1052_1024

thumb_IMG_1077_1024

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

thumb_IMG_1082_1024

Swimming lessons at the outside pool!

thumb_IMG_1095_1024

Sunday Mornings ❤

thumb_IMG_1080_1024

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

thumb_IMG_1047_1024

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!

thumb_IMG_1097_1024thumb_IMG_1099_1024thumb_IMG_1107_1024

thumb_IMG_1102_1024

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!

thumb_IMG_1090_1024

thumb_IMG_1088_1024

Rare shot of all 4 Thomas ladies 😉

thumb_IMG_1093_1024

thumb_IMG_1104_1024

thumb_IMG_1105_1024

thumb_IMG_1089_1024

Because sometimes you just want to match your girl ❤

thumb_IMG_1108_1024

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!

thumb_IMG_1123_1024

thumb_IMG_1116_1024

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

thumb_IMG_1124_1024

Birthday Girl, Lauren, as the Wicked Witch…

thumb_IMG_1115_1024

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.

thumb_IMG_1125_1024

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.

thumb_IMG_1139_1024

thumb_IMG_1138_1024

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

thumb_IMG_1143_1024

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

Home Again, Home Again…

16 Jul

…Jiggity Jig. John always makes fun of me for saying that when we walk in the door from a trip, but my grandmother- on my Dad’s side- always said it and I have the fondest memories of her saying just that as we’d walk through her front door after a morning at the ‘Jockey Lot’ in Anderson, SC…Alas, it always makes me smile even though I have no clue what it actually means!

So I hadn’t intended to write this post today. Truth be told, I’d meant to write it multiple times over the last few days while Neve and I were still in Charleston, but life- the good life- got in the way and before I knew it, our time was done. We arrived back here in Stuttgart this morning after a long day and night of travel, so now my only goal for today is to fight this feeling of death and stay awake long enough to go to bed tonight and pray to stay asleep for the most of the night. (That won’t happen, no, but believe me when I say that sleeping during the day today would only make tonight an absolute nightmare and would start one crummy cycle of getting over jet lag!) Sharing our adventures from the last two weeks at HOME just seemed like the perfect- therapeutic- distraction.

thumb_IMG_0163_1024

Ten hour red-eye flights suck. Doing them with a 4-year-old who doesn’t sleep on planes sucks. Already missing home and your people sucks. But watching the sunrise from 35k feet over the Atlantic is pretty damn awesome.

Neve and I had a fun, low key Fourth of July eating pizza with the fam and then continuing our tradition of spending it with our neighbors, the Mathews, just three houses down from our house (yep, we still own it- it’s just being rented right now). We actually met Lindsey, Joey and Savannah on this very day two years ago, at the holiday block party. Our girls are just a few weeks apart and we were all fast friends. Sometimes, you meet people and you just click. ❤

thumb_IMG_9999_1024

My goodness she loves her Uncle Andy…

thumb_IMG_0012_1024
thumb_IMG_0002_1024

thumb_IMG_0030_1024

thumb_IMG_9997_1024

Coincidentally, John celebrated the holiday next door (that’s our yard on the other side of the fence) with our other neighbors- more people we just clicked with from Day 1.

Later that same week, we celebrated quite a special moment, Neve’s baptism. I can’t tell you how many conversations John and I have had about this topic over the last four years. Religion can be such a tricky thing sometimes- the differences in what things mean, what they represent, how different denominations view the same things…In this instance, John was raised independent Southern Baptist and I was raised Lutheran, which means that there are key differences in what baptism actually is and what it represents. I invite each of you to research these differences if it’s something you’re interested in because there really are some interesting discussions on it. But that’s not my goal with this post. I merely want to share the happy news and some sweet pictures. Neve did wonderfully and was so proud of her accomplishment. So were this mama and her family ❤

thumb_IMG_0039_1024

thumb_IMG_0043_1024

What would a summer be without some fun times at the waterpark?! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Ms. Lori (who was Neve’s first preschool teacher and who has been keeping her in the summers ever since) is one of our absolute biggest blessings. Not only does she love Neve like her own, but she’s seriously one of the best, most nurturing, most creative women- and moms- I’ve ever met. Spending time with her and her two kids was 100% one of the highlights of Neve’s vacation.

And in that same thread, what would a summer be without boating and more boating?! Seriously y’all, I can’t even. Being on my boat on any body of water (I’m not picky) in the sweltering heat with the people I love and listening to some good music…There just isn’t any better for me.

thumb_IMG_0067_1024

thumb_IMG_0069_1024

thumb_IMG_0065_1024

thumb_IMG_0070_1024

thumb_IMG_0074_1024

thumb_IMG_0073_1024

My other happy place? Duh. The beach. I am a Lowcountry girl through and through- and I’m raising one, too! You’ll remember from the last post that we’d done Sullivan’s Island right after we got to town. Well, we got to round it all out over these last couple weeks…First up, Isle of Palms. John’s Uncle Mark, Aunt Kathi and cousin, Lauren, came all the way from Lexington, KY, just to visit with us and invited us to crash with them at Wild Dunes for a couple days. They stay there often when they visit and I’m always amazed at what a cool resort we have right there in our city. It’s everything you want in a beach vacation- crystal clear pools, tiki bars, umbrella drinks, live steel drum bands playing all day long, lots of people, the air full of the sweet smell of sunscreen and five short steps down onto the sand. Yep, it’s definitely the good life and we certainly realize how fortunate we are to have such awesome folks we get to call family. ❤

thumb_IMG_0104_1024

thumb_IMG_0087_1024

thumb_IMG_0090_1024

thumb_IMG_0093_1024

thumb_IMG_0085_1024

thumb_IMG_0095_1024

Poppy got this kite for Neve when she took an interest in big kites after watching some YouTube videos. This one was so cool. But the wind was too strong, the cords snapped and it flew away never to be found again. :/

thumb_IMG_0094_1024

thumb_IMG_0103_1024

thumb_IMG_0110_1024

 

thumb_IMG_0122_1024

thumb_IMG_0123_1024

And then there’s Folly, another of my absolute favorite islands on the planet. There’s just something about its vibe…its realness. It holds a very special place in my heart. I’ll just leave it at that.

thumb_IMG_0140_1024thumb_IMG_0139_1024thumb_IMG_0135_1024

thumb_IMG_0142_1024

And then there were more of just those regular, everyday moments that all too often pass by unnoticed. Those ones I was telling you about before that feed your soul…that tide you over until you get your next fix. ❤

thumb_IMG_0156_1024

thumb_IMG_0128_1024

Mornings at the pool with Poppy…And then Mommy’s bestie happens to see their truck in the parking lot and pops in for a quick catch up 🙂

thumb_IMG_0159_1024

Summertime in Charleston = Humidity Ringlets and Blonde Highlights, just like mama 😉

thumb_IMG_0125_1024

Lazy Sundays ❤

And that concludes what feels like a whirlwind trip to the South Carolina Lowcountry. I knew our time at home would fly by, but I had no idea just how quickly…Nor just how sad I would be for it to come to an end. Just keeping it real here, but coming back to Germany has proven to be the biggest bag of mixed emotions for me…so bittersweet. Of course I’m elated to reunite with John and our pups (Neve even warned me as we were getting off the plane this morning that ‘tears will be rolling down [her] cheeks long before [she] even sees Daddy’- and they were! It was precious.) and to catch up with our dear friends here whom we’ve missed so much (our neighbors even welcomed their second baby just a few days ago!), but there’s a huge part of me that’s very much still in Charleston- still in the house I’ve called home for decades, still running errands with my mom, still soaking up the sun and the sand and the water, still taking advantage of having Netflix available, still stopping by my dad’s latest construction project just to say hello, still playing Team Trivia at a local bar with my best friend on Tuesday nights…Right now, being back in Germany and away from home is hard. I’m sad and relieved and excited all in one. But I’m doing my best to follow my own advice- advice that I believe in so fully that I had it tattooed onto my arm just a few short weeks ago. I feel a bit off right now, until I don’t. It’s a sad time right now in some ways, until it’s not. Sometimes being pulled backward is only to ensure our greatest projection forward. Our minds are the atmosphere and our feelings are just the weather, ever-changing and constantly flowing. That in itself makes me smile. Until next time, Charleston…

thumb_IMG_0137_1024

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!

thumb_IMG_9695_1024

thumb_IMG_9386_1024

thumb_IMG_9389_1024

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.

thumb_IMG_9387_1024

thumb_IMG_9397_1024

thumb_IMG_9401_1024

thumb_IMG_9408_1024thumb_IMG_9407_1024

thumb_IMG_9409_1024

thumb_IMG_9406_1024

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 ❤

thumb_IMG_9704_1024

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

thumb_IMG_9699_1024

thumb_IMG_9709_1024thumb_IMG_9710_1024

thumb_IMG_9711_1024

thumb_IMG_9712_1024

thumb_IMG_9708_1024

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!

*Drum Roll* We’re having a…

11 Aug

Now come on, you didn’t really think it was going to be that easy, did you?  Ha!  Ya’ll should know me better than that by now! Nope, before I let the cat out the bag, I wanted to give y’all just a taste- literally!- of how we told our families the good news earlier today! Well, we wanted a fun, unique way to share our excitement, so I started racking my brain- and doing a bit of online researching- and came up with the perfect way, especially for foodies like us!  We baked cupcakes!  But not just any cupcakes…SURPRISE CUPCAKES! So, we found lots of blogs that said, ‘Oh, just bake pink or blue cakes…’ or ‘Decorate a cake with pink or blue icing and sprinkles…’ Except, where’s the fun in that?!  We wanted our families to have that unbelievable sense of ‘Oh my God, I can’t wait to find out!’ just like we’d had in that ultrasound office this morning.  (Although in all honesty, we had about 23049823 seconds of anticipation since it took about that long for Baby T to quit straddling the umbilical cord and show us the goods!) Anyway, so we took it a step further and baked plain ‘ol white cupcakes… with surprise centers.  Iced in delicious- and white!- cream cheese frosting, they looked just like your average lunchtime treat!

Getting ready to be popped in the oven. Yep, we actually baked both colors ahead of time so we'd have them ready to share as soon as we found out! We're nerds. Don't judge. 🙂

Iced and ready for the party! (The two non-iced ones were just to help us remember which side was which 🙂 ) Coincidentally, I didn't even realize that our 3 month ultrasound was picture bombing in the background!

The whole thing kind of felt like Groundhog Day, actually.  As everyone was biting into their sweet midday mouthfuls of deliciousness, it was just like that moment every February when, for those couple of seconds, you’re waiting to see if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow.  Except this time, no one was secretly praying for a specific outcome!  Oh, and before I forget…We’ve hated not being able to share all of this fun stuff with John’s family in person since they live so far away- we’ve had to rely on snail mail and phone calls mostly.  But this time, we were so fortunate that two of our Maysville, KY, friends- Chris and Khrysten (and their new baby girl, born earlier this week!)- so graciously agreed to bake some surprise cupcakes for us and hand deliver them to John’s parents so they could experience the rush just like the rest of us!  How awesome is that?!   Their generosity really and truly warmed our hearts and we just can’t thank them enough.  Anyway, I digress…

The moment of truth...

So, what was the verdict?  That they were some of my best-tasting cupcakes EVER and impeccably decorated!  Ha!  No, seriously…

WE’RE HAVING A BOY!  We really couldn’t be more excited and we’re so ready to start getting things in order!  You know us, a borderline-neurotic and an engineer- we’re planners, folks! 🙂  We’ve got so many ideas just about ready to go, including names (we’ve narrowed it down to 3!) and nurseries (it’s already decided)- but I’ll save all of that for another post!  Words just can’t describe all that we’re feeling today.

Posing with one of his first gifts, a handmade pewter spoon- topped with a baby chick- from my Aunt Julia in Anderson, SC. It arrived yesterday- the perfect 'mini surprise'- just in time for today's big surprise 🙂

Baby T's first gift- a delicate vintage shirt and a framed baby picture of my dad...It arrived, also from my Aunt Julia, just two days after we found out we were expecting. Nothing could've meant more...And they've been on the dresser in the nursery ever since...

And just to recap since our last chat, our summer has been quite good.  Our mini-vacation with my folks to Myrtle Beach was fabulous- sun, sand, waves, putt-putt, beach food…Yep, just what we’d hoped for.  We’ve been boating a good bit on the weekends, which is always perfect in our books!  A few weeks ago, we even hit up Aquapalooza, which is the largest WORLDWIDE boating event.  This year, it was on the Cooper River with Wilco and the Blue Dogs playing on a barge off Daniel Island.  Good times.

What better way to enjoy a day with a few thousand of your closest boating friends than floating behind the boat with your favorite pups and a nice cold one? 🙂

As for me, I’m FINALLY starting to feel a bit better (knock LOUDLY on wood!)…Nausea comes and goes, but seems to be getting less frequent.  Food aversions (and carb preferences!) seem to change weekly, if not daily.  My skin isn’t cooperating the way I’d like for it to and my tatas are still the size of what feels like watermelons, but what’s a preggo girl to do, right?  *Sigh*  Body issues are still in full swing, although knowing myself, I realize that I oughtta just settle in with those for now.  🙂  In the meantime, I’m doing all I can to make the most of this awesome experience- resting when I can, propping my feet up when they get swollen (yep, that’s already happening), walking my nightly 3, sometimes 4, miles with my mom, and enjoying as much time as I can with my husband and our family and friends…

Weekly date nights with our best friends...What better way to celebrate our last night of 'not knowing,' right?!

So there you have it- all that’s going on in our little neck of the woods.  John’s heading to Rome, Italy, tomorrow for a week, then onto Hawaii for the next month or so…Hey, it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it!  Fortunately, I’ll be heading out to join him for a while next month, so we’re pretty excited. 🙂  Gosh, by the time I start posting from the Pacific, I’ll be starting to verge onto ginormous territory!  Oh, and before I forget.  Our ‘Couple’s Baby-Que’ is going to be Saturday, October 1, so please save the date- invitations to follow!

Sorry, I'm definitely not one to take pictures of myself when it comes to this stuff, but since I don't get to see so many of you during this journey, here's the best I can do! 15 weeks 🙂

%d bloggers like this: