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Family Adventures, Traveling Europe

Around Town in Oberammergau

January 6, 2017

It’s been well over a month since we toured around this little German town called Oberammergau, and these photos have been edited and basically just sitting on my lap top waiting to be published for almost as long. So, here they are! This has been one of my favorite German towns so far because it is small, quiet, and full of Bavarian flare. And we were there just before Thanksgiving, when all of the Christmas decor was either freshly displayed or just going up. Thane will roll his eyes if he happens to read this, but it’s true that the holidays are magical in Germany!

So, first of all, do you see that gorgeous window?! Just like living in Hawaii spoiled my perspective on the Atlantic ocean, living in Europe will spoil my view of the standard American window.

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Family Adventures, Traveling Europe

People Watching in Prague

November 29, 2016

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Merry Christmas-market season! We spent the weekend in Prague and saw the opening of it’s market. It irks me that I can’t take better large scale city-scape photos, especially of the Tyn Cathedral Dracula’s castle (that’s what I call it, hahaha), because it is absolutely the most magnificent thing I’ve seen in all of our time in Europe. Go HERE to see photos that actually look good.

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So, yeah, I took a bazillion mediocre photos that will never do justice this enchanting city. Without a landscape lens, Iphone photos can be better than DSLRs in some cases! But this time I did try something a little new with my photography. Instead of attempting to cut all of the people out of them, or only snap the tops of buildings, I did my best to incorporate the crowds into the pictures in a way that is truer to the atmosphere of the busy city center. And it was kind of fun! I definitely noticed a lot more about the people around us.

For instance, this lady below had a umbrella signal plan to help her find her travel-mates.

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This man looked pretty sharp in his black fur collared coat, his matching black backpack, and his tweed hat. I seriously wished I looked that put together while traveling. I walked around wearing the one white sweater I’d brought that was basically covered in pick strawberry sauce, courtesy of Finn.

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The smile on this bubble-mans face. I’m sure there are lots of days that he thinks about getting a “real” job, but I’m sure there’s a lot of simple joy in watching people smile every time he does his bubbles.

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And look at this couple!

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Then there was this Irish street performer in all of his grungy, kilt wearing glory. We didn’t stay to watch his show but he’d basically start cracking his whip on the ground and yelling to get everyone’s attention when he was about to start.

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But anyway, we had a really wonderful trip thanks to Thane for planning it and getting us there, and thanks to our friend Ashlynne who tagged along to help us with the kids. (I don’t think we’ll ever be able to travel anywhere else without her, seriously!) I feel blessed that we got to spend the weekend in my all time favorite city, and that Thane and I actually went out together without the boys a few times and got to truly enjoy it. Praise God for the start of this beautiful Christmas season, and for these once in a lifetime opportunities to see parts of the world that we never dreamed we’d see!

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And if you happen to go, eat one of these! The center is coated in warm chocolate sauce and it is delicious.

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And just one more….because a post on people watching wouldn’t be totally complete without at least three of my favorites!

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Biblical Womanhood, Family Adventures, Motherhood, Pregnancy

Surprise Babies

March 5, 2016

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I always thought the idea of a surprise baby was really sweet and romantic. Asher, our second baby, and then Silas were not surprises, and I assumed we’d probably never have one that was. Then we got the news that Finn was on his way a mere two and half weeks after Thane got home from his last deployment to Afghanistan, and though we definitely wanted him, we certainly didn’t anticipate him coming so quickly! So, he was a semi-surprise.

Then…

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Oh my goodness. I’m not sure I would have been more surprised had a literal stork crashed through my bathroom window with a packaged newborn. We generally planned on remaining a family of five and were very, very happy and content with our three little boys. I’ll admit that I had no idea what I was going to do when Finn was no longer a baby, because he is my snuggle bug! But I assumed that any additional babies- if they ever came- would be a surprise a ways down the road. A ways.

But January was not that far down the road at all.

It all started with Thane making a few very silly comments about me being pregnant, which I adamantly denied. I thought there was- maybe– a 1% chance that he was right, but 1% might as well be zero so clearly he was just making silly comments because he was bored and had nothing else to talk about. Then we had a weirdly serious conversation about it one evening, so just to put it to rest I decided to take a test when I woke up the next morning. I had one sitting there on the bathroom shelf, about to expire. Knowing it would be a complete waste, I almost didn’t take it. Then decided that $1 down the drain was worth getting this crazy idea out of Thane’s head.

Well… When two pink lines showed up on that thing so fast that I couldn’t even process what I was seeing, I dug the box out of the trash to look at the instructions. This is far from my first round with reading pregnancy test results but extreme shock + pregnancy brain aren’t a great combination, so I just stood there, dumbstruck. Later that day I decided it must have been a faulty test (since it was old) and so I bought a new one just to be sure. Two more pink lines. By then it was starting to sink in, but it was very bewildering in the beginning. I truly did not see it coming, at all, and I’m not used to be caught so off guard!

It took me a little while to get used to the idea… I can’t say I felt ready for another big life change, not in the slightest. We stepped onto one giant roller coaster ride last April when Finn was born, rode it all the way to Germany when we headed overseas six weeks later, and then spent six months trying to put all the pieces of our life back together once we got here. And as of January, I was just starting to feel on top of things again. I guess that’s why God thought it was a good time for the next curve ball, hahaha! One thing is for sure; He’s thrown us lots and lots of big surprises these past couple of years. One of these days- perhaps- our life will get more predictable again. But until then, I guess we’ll just go with it!

It’s definitely been a struggle to keep my head above water these past couple of months, I can’t deny that. I shared a little bit about what it’s like to be taking care of three very active little boys in the dead of winter while enduring the first trimester in my last post. But I’m doing my best to trust in God’s plan, to stay focused on the big picture, and to remember what a gift this is. Whether this is another little boy that I wouldn’t trade for the world or the little girl that I never expected to have, wow! I never pictured myself as a mom of four, but I guess one of the great thrills and blessings of life is never knowing what’s around the bend.

And on that note, please pray for me. I need it!

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Family Adventures, Motherhood

Belated Birthday Wishes to Asher + His Party Fiasco

February 23, 2016

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Asher turned five last week! This belated birthday wish would have come sooner if our internet hadn’t been down most of last week…but such is life, and better late than never! I posted a little bit about him on Facebook so I’ll go ahead and repeat it here:

“Happy 5th Birthday to our happy, smart, and spunky Asher! His favorite things right now are superhero Legos, his new bike, Where’s Waldo books, Ninja Turtles, and- of course- candy! He’s a social butterfly, he loves to tell jokes and make us laugh, and he’s super excited to be starting school in the fall. He’s a very kind and considerate big brother and a real joy to us all! He gets to pick what we do tonight, and it looks like it’s going to be Burger King (for the ice cream) and bowling. Good choice buddy!”

Now that I’m writing this after his birthday weekend, I have quite the tale for you. We didn’t end up going to Burger King after all, because of all the terrible things I’ve heard about it making people sick. We went to McDonalds instead, and guess what? A couple of hours afterwards I started getting a terrible, terrible stomach ache that kept me up most of the night. I assumed it was food poisoning at first, but by the next afternoon when I still felt like death, could barely walk, and was a bit feverish, it seemed more like a stomach virus. Still, the irony is not lost!

Anyway, Silas was starting to seem like he didn’t feel good either, so Thane decided to take Asher to his party while the rest of us stayed home. The terrible thing is I was so sick that morning that I didn’t get half of the food I’d planned made, I couldn’t find the bag full of all the party decor, plates, napkins, candles, balloons, etc anywhere (and I still haven’t, how bizarre!). So poor Asher went to his party with very little to show for it. Praise God for a few friends who were able to take a few things to help out!

Then there was the cake fiasco… I sent him and Thane with two cakes, and Asher knocked the nicer of the two off of the table at the party location and sent it breaking and spilling all over the floor. Towards the end of the afternoon, Asher didn’t even want to eat any of his cake (which is VERY UNLIKE HIM), so Thane basically had to cut things short and bring Asher home before he opened his gifts just to make sure he didn’t also get sick there at the party. (For the record, he wasn’t sick, he’s just been having weird reactions to sugar lately).

But anyway, what a day. Thank you to all of you who showed up, brought fantastic gifts, and helped Asher make the best of his big- though extremely ill fated- fifth birthday celebration!

And now, enjoy his most recent photo session of silly faces;

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Family Adventures, Germany, Traveling Europe

Afternoon Exploring in Eschenbach’s Holzweg Forest

January 9, 2016

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The forest has always held a special place in my heart, and there is nothing more refreshing to me than the peaceful, still serenity of the woods. So you can imagine how excited I was when the boys and I went out looking for an adventure last week and stumbled upon a forest gem; Eschenbach’s Holzweg forest reserve, conveniently located right off of route 470 just outside of the town of Eschenbach (scroll to the bottom of the post for a map of the location). I’ve driven past the “Holzweg” sign on my way to Weiden a hundred times and I’ve always wondered what it was, so we were so excited when we pulled in and found some absolutely stunning forest scenery and a really fun playground not too far from the parking area with a large, long zip-line that even I had fun on! It was a chilly, December day, but we didn’t mind! It’s been hard finding enough outdoor activities to do with the boys these days, especially with the serious lack of affordable or accessible indoor playgrounds in this area. So new options that are close by, free, and have parking (hahaha) are good! And sometimes, the chance to get outside, stretch our legs, and be surrounded by the quiet majesty of God’s creation is balm to the soul.

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Here is a map showing the location of the Holzweg forest. If you’re driving down Route 470 going away from Eschenbach and towards Weiden, there are two (possibly three?) entrances on the right side of the road. They are wooden signs with “Holzweg” on them. Parking is located in the area close to the main road where the map of the reserve is, and the playground we found is down the walking road to the left of that map. If you haven’t already, I hope you get to explore this place too!

Map to Location of Holzweg Forest and Recreation Center

On another topic, just in case you missed my last post I’m giving away a free weekly calendar print! If you’ve been wanting to get more organized lately, it’s a great little tool. All you have to do is right click the image, save it to your computer, and print.

Have a great weekend!

Family Adventures, Traveling Europe

Hrad Locket, A Medieval Castle in the Czech Republic

December 18, 2015

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Well I think I just figured out why it takes me two+ months to get around to posting our photos. Because I take an ungodly amount of them. Then the task of sorting through them, editing them, and compiling them into a blog post becomes like a part time job. But here we go- better late than never, right?- a rather large batch of photos from our trip to see our very first castle called Hrad Locket in Locket, Czech Republic!

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It was too dark to get a good picture of, but the boys’ favorite feature of the castle was a large dragon that lived in the bottom of the tower. There was also a pretty spooky torture museum that we adults took a gander at.

As if touring the castle wasn’t neat enough, the views from the top were stunning!

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The little town of Locket, located right at the foot of the castle, was also a treat to stroll through. The architecture was gorgeous and the roof lines looked like they were designed to compliment the beautiful fall foliage. October was the perfect month to be here! And don’t miss my previous post devoted to showing off the exterior of the beautiful little Lazy River Hostel.

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This is maybe a third of all of the photos I took, but I’ll stop here. Note to self: cool it with the camera next time.