Bug Tuns SEVEN!

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Okay, so I’m a little behind over here. With another Birthday coming up this weekend I figured I needed to at least catch up on birthdays because birthdays most definitely deserve their own blog post! I wish I hadn’t waited so incredibly long to post about Bug’s birthday! — She has been 7 for nearly two months now! One of these days I’ll be all caught up.

So Bug turned SEVEN which is just insane to me. I remember when she was first born my Dad told me to treasure every moment because before I knew it she’d be in her 20’s and having kids of her own. I also remember during those long months of little sleep and mountains of poopy diapers thinking to myself, “I really am okay if this part goes by fast.” It seemed like an eternity. Now, though, I have a seven year old and I realize that my old man was right! I think somewhere along the lines we must have skipped an age or two. And then I realize that Baby is going to be FOUR this year which means it has literally been years since I’ve had sleepless nights and poopy diapers! Well, the diapers part anyway!

As much as I hate my girls getting older and older, I really do love it and love celebrating another wonderful year of their life! It is such a joy to be their Mom!

Bug’s birthday was extra special this year because my parents and sister timed their visit in order to be here to celebrate with her! Despite living SO far apart for SO many years, they’ve managed to celebrate with her on her actual birthday 4 out of her 7 birthdays — 5 if you count her actual BIRTH day. I think that is pretty impressive if I do say so myself!

Here is a fun little side-by-side we did. What a difference 7 years can make!

One of the most exciting parts of Bug’s birthday was that she got her ears pierced this year! She had been asking and asking. Towards the end she was having second thoughts and decided she didn’t want to, but then somehow my sister convinced her it wasn’t so bad and she decided she wanted to do it!


My amazingly talented friend, Deanna, made her the coolest Jurassic Park cake! Oh my soul. She was so surprised and was on cloud nine!

Amazing, right? Did I mention it was the best chocolate cake of all time?! It was. Bug made out like a bandit gift-wise too! Grandma Lunchbox renewed her Highlights subscription which is a highly coveted magazine in our household! My Dad (and mom technically) got her an awesome pink tool belt with real tools and so she got to help Papa do some projects while he visited. My sister got her an adorable fashion scarf and earrings — what else are Aunties for? And Andy and I surprised her with a WWE championship belt and her two favorite wrestler action figures. So, yes, we have a very unique child was an eclectic taste.

 

We simply love our sweet Bug to pieces! She is such a fun kid whose heart is so full of kindness and love for all those around her. She is a reading machine who is so excited about learning and going to school! Did I mention she loves Jesus? That is probably my favorite part! Our little independent Bug had been inquiring a lot about what it means to be saved and then one day, out of the blue, let us know that she had prayed and asked Jesus to be her Savior — All. by. Herself. In true Bug fashion, of course. It has been so fun to watch her appetite for learning more about God and reading his word grow these past few months! I know that He has big plans for her little life!

Autumn Lovin’!

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Autumn is my very favorite season of them all. So, naturally, it is hardly even a season here in Alaska. I’ve been told it lasts about two weeks, give or take, around here. Winter should be rolling in at any time. BUT! That won’t stop me from enjoying the beautiful colors while I can! Which is why I decided that today my girls all had to match and pose in the frigid morning air to take some fall pics before church! Enjoy!

Happy Autumn!

Anchorage, Alaska!

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I’m going to take a few minutes today to play a little bit of catch-up! If you missed my crazy “this is what we’ve done the last six months” post a couple weeks ago you can get a brief update HERE.

Today, though, I want to share more in-depth about our little excursion down to Anchorage that we took in June. Mister needed to have a medical procedure done (nothing scary or serious, just something he couldn’t get done at the hospital here) and so his employer covered our travel down to Anchorage. It was a pretty sweet deal!

The drive down was absolutely gorgeous. For my WA friends, the best example I can think of is the stark difference between the West side of the mountains and the East. Fairbanks isn’t Eastern Washington, by any means, but the contrast between Fairbanks and the Anchorage area is similar as far as weather (Fairbanks is much dryer) and foliage (Anchorage has more evergreens).

We were really hoping to see Denali since we drove right past the entrance of and along the edge of Denali State Park. However, both our trip up and down proved to be extremely foggy, rainy, cloudy days and so the majority of our views looked like this:

Still pretty, but obscured by clouds just a bit. The drive took us about 7 hours with some potty breaks, a lunch break, etc. We thankfully didn’t hit any construction. It really opened our eyes to just how different living here will be. Fairbanks and Alaska are the two biggest cities and yet it takes the majority of a day to get from one to the other. Alaska is huge. People joke about Texas being huge, but Texas is a little tiny baby compared to Alaska. Fun fact, land-size-wise, Alaska is bigger than Montana, California, and Texas all put together. And then the population of the whole state is roughly that of Seattle. It truly is the last frontier!

On our first night in Anchorage we took the girls to see Finding Dory since they had been asking and asking. They really loved it — and it was a fun way to spend an evening together.

One thing that Fairbanks really doesn’t have is chain-anything. We have Old Navy, McDonalds, and Walmart here and it doesn’t go much beyond that. Thankfully, though, spending the past three years in Germany really prepared us for doing without. However, Anchorage HAS. IT. ALL. So we really enjoyed getting to eat at some old favorites that we haven’t been able to in quite some time! Mister got a big, ole juicy steak at Texas Road House and the girls devoured insane amounts of ice cream from Marble Slab Creamery…. just to name a few!

We (and by we, I mean I) also made sure to visit Target. It is kind of sacrilegious to be near a Target when you don’t live one and not visit.

On our first full day in Anchorage we visited the Alaska Zoo! We are totally zoo people! We visited countless zoos while we were in Europe. It is just a great activity for our entire family at this stage in our lives! One thing that is special about this particular zoo is that while they don’t have a lot of big-animal attractions, they are a zoo that really exists just to care for injured and abandoned animals who wouldn’t survive in the wild. They also re-home a lot of animals out to other places throughout the country. It was neat to see that they have sent a lot of animals down to NW Trek since we had just visited in March when we were in WA!




Never a dull moment with our crew! So much fun. After a long day of driving the day before it was so nice to let the girls out to run and burn off some energy. Plus, the Zoo itself has some gorgeous scenery that proved to be a great back drop for some shots of my girls. Someone please tell them to stop growing up so fast!

I have a friend who I grew up with (literally K-12!!) who currently lives in Anchorage and takes amazing pictures! So it was super, super fun to meet up with her one afternoon for coffee and catch up! She is super, super adventurous and has done and seen amazing things in Alaska and provided me with a great, family-friend hike idea to go across a river on a hand-tram. I think I’ve mentioned before that we aren’t super outdoorsy people, so this was big for us! The girls had a blast, the hand tram was seriously a cool experience, and we can now say that we’ve hiked in Alaska, right?

Did I mention that Alaska is so stinkin’ beautiful? Oh. But wait. There is more! So, in order to even get to the trail we had to drive a bit and that forced us to drive to Beluga Point… life is rough with views like these!

I’ll just leave that right there. You’re welcome. It is unreal, right? Totally takes your breath away. The blistering, chilling wind helps with that too. But seriously. Even on a super cloudy, cold, rainy day this place just amazed us.

The Northern Lights.

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Let me take a moment to be brutally honest about our first hour or so (read week or so) in Alaska. We are from the ever-beautiful PNW. Mister and I both grew up gazing upon the majestic Mt. Rainier daily (weather permitting) and just the beauty of Puget Sound, evergreen trees, and so on and so forth. When it came time for us to leave Germany things were a bit chaotic and last minute and the decision came down to Hawaii or Alaska. I can’t even begin to count the number of people who thought we were insane (I’m sure you’re thinking it too right now) for choosing Alaska over Hawaii. For us, though, it was so much closer to home and we felt like the closest we could get to living in the PNW again. We had these visions of gorgeous views of nature surrounding us. Surely we’d have a beautiful view of Denali from our house. Fast forward to April when we actually arrived in Fairbanks. Hello wide open spaces, no mountains in sight, and everything was brown. BROWN! We lived through brown in El Paso and surely we hadn’t come to Alaska to see more brown. Thankfully we quickly learned that the grass was still dormant and it sprung back to beautiful, green life shortly after we arrived. However, to say that this was a shocker compared to what we idealized in our minds is a bit of an understatement. After visiting Anchorage I think I can easily say that Anchorage is more what we had dreamed Alaska would look like. So it took some adjusting.

However, we have grown to love this beautiful place. We haven’t gotten snow yet, but I am sure we will just be crazy about it when we have a beautiful snowy view. I love snow so much. We have truly grown to love the slower-paced, easy going life style. Its a good life here.

Why do I share all this? Well, basically, because we had a lot of preconceived notions about Alaska before we came. So we had created a sort-of “bucket list” for all these amazing things we’d do and see here. These included, but were not limited to, seeing Denali, seeing a moose, and seeing the Northern Lights. So, mixed in with our adjusting views of Alaska were the fact that NONE (yes, zero) of these things were happening. We even drove all the way down to Anchorage and back and because of the weather didn’t even get a peak at Denali despite driving right past it. Andy has seen a moose, but I am still somewhat convinced that it is all just a big conspiracy. However, this past week was a big game-changer for us. We actually had somewhat of a perfect storm-lucky day!

As we were driving to meet Andy’s family at the airport, guess what? Beautiful clear day… beautiful clear view of Denali! Our first! And we’ve had the pleasure of seeing it a few more times since. I’m also pretty sure we have a view from our house! It might be another mountain. Or something far in the distance that is white and round. But I’m still claiming it is Denali. It might not even be the right direction, but it counts.

THEN! That evening we just randomly happened up…. drum roll please…. a moose. No, just kidding. STILL haven’t had the pleasure of meeting one of those yet. Unless the zoo counts (it doesn’t). We got to experience the NORTHERN LIGHTS. And it was an amazing show. I was out with my neighbor and she just kept saying how lucky I was to have this good of a show for my FIRST. Did I mention we were just in the backyard?!? The Northern Lights were above our house?!?! How insanely cool is that?

So, this week Alaska completely surprised and bewildered and amazed us — just like we always knew it would! Cameras, even super fancy ones, don’t do the lights justice. I’ve yet to see a picture that even begins to capture how incredible they truly are. To have them dancing over head, swirling beautiful colors. It is breath taking! However, I can’t just tell you all about them and not at least attempt to share. If you follow me on Instgram/Facebook some of these are going to be repeats. And they were all just taken on my phone because I didn’t want to leave and get my real camera that I really don’t know how to use that well anyways. So, you’ll just have to deal with them. Or maybe come visit. But only if I actually know you.

Pretty incredible, right? Now times that by 1 billion and you know what it is like in person. Special thanks to my amazing neighbor who tipped me off to them being out, gazed with my on the trampoline in the cold, and didn’t judge my girl-ish squeals of delight!

Hello from ALASKA!

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Hello there, it has certainly been a while! I have really struggled with the decision about whether I should, or shouldn’t, continue on with our family blog. It felt easy and necessarily when we lived in Europe and were exploring amazing countries and places all of the time. It truly felt like an adventure. While Alaska has proven itself to be insanely beautiful and full of adventure, too, the adventures available are of a much different kind. Initially we felt like, okay, we are here we have to dive in and embrace this life. However, I think we very quickly came to the honest truth about what life is like in a house full of women who don’t like bugs, getting dirty, or being physically uncomfortable. We just aren’t hikers, fishers, hunters, or wilderness campers. We prefer adventures that include walking around ancient castle ruins or admiring the beauty of a centuries old piece of stained glass in a cathedral. So I haven’t written and I haven’t posted because I felt like there wasn’t really anything worth sharing about our lives here in Alaska so far, nor did I think I would have much worth sharing.

Until…… I came to the realization this week that adventures are simply exciting tidbits of life waiting for us to claim them. Our adventures may look a lot different now — they may not be checking wonders of the world off our bucket list — but they are still adventures. We may not be traveling much anymore, but we are still growing and exploring what it means to be a family in this new, beautiful place we are calling home-for-now. And I think it is worth sharing — even if my sweet Grandma Lunchbox is the only one who cares about reading it. So, Grandma, if only for your sake, may the blog live on!

(Warning: This will probably be a LONG one.)

In February the girls and I bid Deutschland and all our many friends there farewell! It was so tough and full of lots of tears. It was a long day of traveling many, many miles with three little ones on my own. But we survived — and no one puked! So I consider that a success. And, really, moments like this where we are reunited with family make all the stress of moving and traveling completely worth it! :

We had many, many sweet moments with family. The girls and I were lucky enough to get to spend just shy of two months in the PNW!

We were able to be there for lots of birthdays while we visited which was a real treat since we normally miss out on celebrating those (and most holidays) with our families. I think one of my favorites was being there for my Grandpa’s birthday. This has to be one of my favorite pictures of all time:

I got to go on a Ladies’ Retreat with my Mom and what we consider our home church in WA. It was located in the beautiful Leavenworth which I had never visited before! It was a beautiful and super fun weekend.

We got to attend a fun round-up that our home church put on! The girls loved dressing up… Baby insisted on going as gangster Sassy Kitty, naturally.

We also took the girls to see the musical ‘Hairspray’ put on by the high school I graduated from that has an absolutely incredible drama department. Baby slept through it, but the older two loved it to pieces. They even got to get autographs afterwards — which I think may have excited the actors and actresses more than my girls!

Naturally Grammy & Papa spoiled them and loved on them with every ounce they possibly could. Papa, knowing Bug is super into dinosaurs, buried some mini-dino skeletons in their garden and let her play archeologist. Consider her life-made at this point.

My Christmas present from Mister had been his blessing for me and the girls heading out of Germany ahead of him so I could be apart of so many special birthdays, ladies retreat, and other happenings. As well, it made the move slightly less stressful for me since he took care of cleaning and handing back over our home as well. After three long weeks, though, we were beyond ready to have him with us to enjoy a month of family-time!

We enjoyed so many fun things while we were in WA. We took the girls to the Great Wolf Lodge for a mini-vacation. We visited the Children’s Museum in Olympia which was incredible. Mister and I got to go on our first ever sibling-date with my siblings to see Ben Rector in concert in Seattle:

We also got to visit with a lot of Mister’s family on the eastern side of the state, most of whom we hadn’t seen in 3+ years. Many who hadn’t even had the pleasure of meeting Baby yet.

Another bonus of our trip was that it fell over Easter Sunday and we were able to spent an actual holiday with extended family!

Easter Sunday was an especially special time with family because we were also able to help my Grandparents celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary! SIXTY! I am so thankful to have grown up with such an amazing example of marriage!

Our time home was simply incredible. It was refreshing, full of love, and joy. It was so hard to leave. I know I cannot wait until the day when we fly into Seattle and just get to stay. Until then, though, it was time for our Alaskan adventure to begin!

We spent almost exactly a month living in a hotel before we got our home here. I will be honest, it has taken me some time to love our home. Our days still occasionally are filled with little ones asking when we are going back to Germany. Moving is never easy. BUT! We have been so blessed in so many ways. We have great neighbors. God led us to an incredible church that simply feels like home to us while we are here. We have started making amazing friends. It hasn’t all been butterflies and roses, but slowly and surely the positive and the good that awaits us here in Alaska has outshone the tough stuff.

One perk of our new home is a giant basement that provides us sweet relief on the rare-hot Alaskan summer days. Family camp-outs in the basement have become a fun tradition!

In June we needed to head down to Anchorage for a medical procedure mister needed done. We got to spend the whole weekend there despite only actually needing to be there about about 2-3 hours total. It was a nice mini-vacation getaway for us. A break from the unpacking and settling in. And it sure was a beautiful drive and beautiful weekend!

A couple weeks ago my parents and sister came up for their first visit. What a huge blessing that we are only a short, 3 hour flight away now. We are thrilled to be getting to see family more often these days! We did a bit of local sight-seeing with them. We visited the pipeline for the first time, the Alaska bowl company, the Farmer’s market, and a few other places around town. We mostly just enjoyed their company, though.

Lots of snuggles were had during their week with us. We also visited North Pole, Alaska and got to see Santa which was a fun little trip. My sister is a Christmas-crazed woman and so it was a little slice of heaven for her, I think.

So fun. And another perk of their visit was that it fell over Bug’s birthday! She turned SEVEN! We had so much fun celebrating her! She got her ears pierced and had an insanely cool Jurassic Park themed cake.

I simply cannot believe our Bug is already 7! She even started 2nd grade last week! How do these things happen so quickly? I seriously blinked.

And! Mister and I celebrated our 6th anniversary this past month, too!

So thankful for this sweet guy. Even though our adventures are changing, I am so thankful that I get to share them with HIM. Life is never dull with him by my side!

We are looking forward to more family visiting this upcoming week! And I will do my best to continue to share our new and different types of adventures these days in a more timely manner. Like how crazy light summers are in Alaska! We had 22 hours of daylight on the longest day of the year — I will definitely have to share about that phenomenon next summer! In the nearer future, though, we are about to enter into our first winter here. That will surely be a new and mostly likely comical adventure for our family! So stay tuned!

 

 

If you would like to see more of what we have been up to, you can visit our Photo Share Site HERE.

Auf Wiedersehen Deutschland

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I cannot even begin to express the strangeness that comes with writing this particular blog post. Who knew that 1,133 days could go by so quickly. When we began our adventure in Germany the idea of three years in a foreign country seemed like an eternity. Now, though, I feel like I blinked my eyes and it is now time to say good bye. Oh, what an adventure it has been.

This farewell is a bittersweet one. It breaks my heart to leave this amazing country. I don’t know that I will ever be able to enjoy pretzels, fries, or brats again in my life. I don’t know that playgrounds will ever hold the same wonder for our kids. The amazing sights we have seen and places we have visited will forever be some of our most cherished memories. And the friends we’ve made here, who have really felt more like family, feel impossible to say ‘see you later’ to.

I think our future will hold some pretty amazing adventures ,too, though. Was are so excited  to explore Alaska. What a treat it will be to be so much closer to our family! So, as we say so-long-for-now to this amazing country and the amazing people we’ve known here, I will do my best not to be overly sentimental as I share some of my favorite memories from our wonderful German Adventure.

I found this one especially fitting since Valentine’s Day was our last day in Germany. The girls on our first Valentine’s Day in Germany. We’d only been in our home a couple weeks. My, oh my. They sure have grown!

Our very first exploration in Germany to Heidelberg. It is seriously a wonder that we survived this trip! We had no idea what we were doing! The internet and travel resources have come a LONG way in three years!

Another hilarious novice travel experience. We paid a lot of money to basically watch a family show us their farm animals. And it was all in German so we had NO idea what was going on. It was still a lot of fun, though!

Stuttgart Zoo was also quite the learning experience. All that separated Lily from being a tiger-snack was a chain-link fence.

Trier was our very first Cathedral and completely took our breath away and started our Cathedral obsession!

Trier also fully made us aware to just how stinkin’ cool our German adventure would be. Here we are playing soccer on the grounds of an old Gladiator stadium… amazing!

Walking along the Rhein in Koblenz. The Rhein was SO flooded that year. Those are the tops of trees sticking out of the water!

Another from Koblenz. We literally just hopped in the car that day and wound up in front of the palace. I’m not sure what we were thinking. We didn’t even have a diaper bag with us!

Our first German Fest in down town Wiesbaden. Completely blew our minds! Nothing will ever compare!

Posing with some awesome graffiti in Frankfurt!

Our very first Christmas Market! Christmas will never be the same with out the markets!

A date night at the Wiesbaden Christmas Market and perhaps our best selfie of all time!

Bug went through an obsessive Tangled phase. So one day we dressed her up, hopped in the car, and found the tower that inspired the Grimm brother’s story of Rapunzel!

We went on a getaway with our closest couple-friends here to Cocheim… kid free! The past part, hands down, was being serenaded in the morning by Randy singing ‘The Sound of Music’ of their room window to the beautiful Moselle River valley. Never a dull moment with these friends!

And then there was the Koln cathedral. I literally gasped the first time I saw it. The Christmas Market and being on a date with my handsome Mister only added to the magic!

We went to the Black Forest and bought a Cuckoo Clock! Oh, and this was the first (of many) trip where one of our kids inevitably barfed during the road trip!

The Hannover Zoo! We went to A LOT of zoos! This one was definitely in my top 3!

We ate hamburgers in Hamburg! It was a fun little British place… they served the burgers on english muffins rather than hamburger buns!

And visited the Miniature Wonderland in Hamburg which was arguably one of the coolest things we’ve ever seen!

We visited the Berlin Wall. It was one of the many “I cannot believe we are HERE” moments of our time in Germany.

And saw the tallest dinosaur skeleton in the world in Berlin! If only this trip had happened AFTER Bug became obsessed with Jurassic Park and all things dinosaur!

Our first trip out of Germany was to Luxembourg City, Luxembourg! We love, love, LOVE Luxembourg! We even took a second trip back here because we love it so much!

And Chateau Vianden in Luxembourg might still be my favorite castle we’ve ever visited!

Somehow I convinced my husband to let me go to Milan with out him?! It was amazing and I wish we had gone as a family!

The Hays family took on Prague and fell in love! The Czech Republic might be my favorite country… its a tight race though!

… and lets be honest. Whats not to love about Prague?!?

We went cave exploring in Homburg! We are terrible at researching before we go. They weren’t doing any English tours that day. But instead of making us ‘suffer’ through the German one they were just like “Have fun… go explore!” Amazing.

This was our 3rd trip to Playmobil Fun Park! I think we took 5 total! It was definitely one of our favorites! There have already been MANY tears shed over not being able to go back here again. A certain 6 year old might just think this is actually a happier place than the happiest place on earth.

Nuremburg was also pretty spectacular! And having a friend from back home to be our local tour guide was an added bonus! We also got to experience just how much Germans LOVE their soccer that night. As we went to dinner restaurants had TVs place outside with huge crowds around. Every goal resulted in the city erupting with cheers. And when they won — WOW! Lets just say I am really grateful that we got to experience Germany winning the world cup in Germany! That was insanely cool!

We visited the Nazi Rally grounds and stood where Hitler address his troops. One of the more somber visits of our trip. I’m glad we can visit these historical places, though, that we’d otherwise only have ever read about in books.

Playing at the beach in Kolobzreg, Poland! Not a soul here spoke English. It was truly a hidden gem!

We went on a Reisling Rheingau Tour. These views. How can this be real life?!?

Our first trip into France — to Metz! Is it any wonder why we are Cathedral junkies?!

We went to Rome! Serious. We went to ROME! Another “is this real life?” moment!

Rudesheim is definitely one of my favorite places! And getting to share it with our family was an added bonus!

I love this picture my sister snuck while she visited. This is us traveling Europe in a nutshell!

Burg Eltz. If I could sum up Germany in a single word it would be MAGICAL.

The Olympic Park in Munich! It was so much fun. One of those places I can’t wait to tell the girls about when they are older. How many kids can say they have run around, playing tag at the Olympic Stadium in Munich?!

Neuschwanstein Castle. I love Bavaria. I want to move there after Alaska.

… and us squeezing onto a tiny, crowded bridge trying to get a picture with it. ha ha

Rothenburg Ob der Tauber! An old medieval town that we love to pieces.

My Dad at I at The Cavern Club in Liverpool, England. Taking my Dad on this Beatles trip was seriously one of the high lights of my time in Europe. It was SO stinkin’ cool. I can’t even.

Mister and I went away for our anniversary… and stayed the night in a castle! No big deal.

My sister took our family pictures downtown… right outside our favorite Gelato shop! Now every time I look at it hanging on our wall I can be reminded of how I am completely ruined and can never eat American ice cream again.

Playing at the beach in Oostende, Belgium! I love that we have touched the ocean in some many different places around the world.

We went to two billion Christmas markets. This one was the first of our second Christmas season in Germany — in Bonn! I will totally miss it being socially acceptable to be drinking a mug of warm wine at 10am.

Strasbourg, France! Exploring new places AND going to Christmas Markets are the best combo!

When you grow up in Germany you spend afternoons exploring castles. This one is in Konigstein.

Maastricht, The Netherlands. It was one of our favorite markets!

Brussels, Belgium and an insanely cool light show! …. and then later this night at the hotel we all came down with a stomach bug. It was awesome. Only not really.

Colmar, France. A random, hop in the car on a sunny day trip. I’ll miss being able to just visit France for the day.

Amsterdam! Another one of our more sporadic, unplanned trips. It was SO much fun though.

Keukenhof Tulip Festival! It was really very high on my list of places to see, but I am SO glad we made the time to go… other than Lindsey ending up being SUPER sick that day.

Reims, France! Nothing like taking a break on a long road trip to eat lunch next to this beauty. A lot of French Monarchs had their coronations here!

We surprised the girls with a trip to Disneyland Paris! Oh my word. It was SO much fun. When traveling with kids we didn’t always see all the famous sights or museums, but we had a lot of fun seeing and doing the things we did! I wouldn’t trade this trip in for the world!

This one still makes me pinch myself. We went to Thessaloniki, Greece!! Just the two of us. We went to literally every museum and saw so many things that just blew my mind. Things THOUSANDS of years old just sitting out for you to be able to touch. It was insane. I love Greece.

We visited Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora (aka- the bone church). It was a must with a Rad Tech for a husband. And this begun our long road trip in the Czech Republic. We stayed at a house in a tiny village in the middle of no-where Czech Republic. We didn’t really see any ‘big’ tourist sites… I think we came across Americans/tourists at only one of the locations we visited. I love just being and experiencing corners of the earth we never even knew existed.

We hiked around Velka Amerika in the Czech Republic! We didn’t need strollers! It was so awesome. Traveling has gotten increasingly easier and easier as our kids have gotten bigger.

Mikoluv, Czech Republic. We literally just picked a random city on the map… and it was seriously incredible. The drive there was breath taking. The city was amazing. We ate the BEST food here.

The Brno Zoo in Czech republic and THE best photo-bomb of all time. (Also probably my favorite zoo we visited in Europe!)

This was in Dresden. You can’t really see any of Dresden here, but this is traveling Europe with a two year old in a nut shell! Whether it be through barfing on the side of the road due to car sickness or leaving shoe prints on the wall… I think it is safe to say we left our mark on Europe!

Saafelder Feengrotten aka the Fairy Caves. Quite possibly THE best hidden gem we ever explored. I know, I saw that a lot. It was seriously amazing, though. The girls got to run and explore an awesome park area that was Fairy themed and got their faces painted by real fairies. And these caves… wow! Not for the claustrophobic, but completely worth the trek bent over through hallways barely wide enough for one!

Den Haag. Embracing our European life and enjoying the beach in undies… well, the kids anyways! I have no idea why we didn’t wear our swim suits to the beach this day. We are seriously the most random travelers of all time.

And these are just a few of my favorite memories. Can you imagine what I hold in my heart?

To all the friends and wonderful places and adventures… we will miss you!

January 2016!

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I am a little behind on the usual monthly update for January. Can you blame me though, being in the middle of moving half way around the world?!? Amazing. The majority of our earthly possessions were packed up a few weeks ago and are currently on their way to our new home in Alaska! January was our last full month here in Germany and it flew by much quicker than I was willing to let it. We are so excited to start our new adventure in Alaska (and visit family and friends on the way there), but it will be really tough to say good bye to a country that has really become our home-away-from-home.

Thankfully January was a month full of lots of fun for us! I am so glad to be ending our time here on such a positive note!

Bug and a couple of friends at the Skate Party at school!



Baby all dressed up. She wears this dress every time it is clean. So if you notice her in the same dress in every picture that would be why!


We took a little trip to see Kung Fu Panda 3 and eat lunch with some of our bestest friends! SUCH a fun day!

Princess and her future husband at the movie!


So thankful for such great friends!


My favorite girls in the world!


If you ask her she’ll tell you that she’s Mama’s girl & Daddy’s little minion! We sure love her!

THIS girl is now six and a half! Hard to believe!

My silly girls!

Winter got a little confused this year and didn’t come to Germany. So we’ve had some great after school park dates — in January?!

The whole gang!

They are WAY too cool.

This photo explains why my life is literally never boring. ha ha

Baby playing trains with one of her favorite buddies!

I couldn’t resist. This head band was just too fitting for our Princess!

If you’d like to see more of our January fun, you can view our entire photo album HERE.