May 21, 2015


A long time ago, sixteen years in fact, Frank and I went on a trip of a lifetime. We were interns in France, working on vineyards for 5 weeks, then spent another 5 weeks taking the euro rail from country to country climbing and camping along the way or staying in hostels. Boy did we have a good time. That trip gave us both the travel bug big time and made us want to live in Europe. We searched for years and finally ended up over here in Germany, just like we dreamed of all those years ago. Back then, I had just started climbing. Our first stop on our European adventure? Fontainebleau, France. The mecca of bouldering. It was better than I could ever have imagined and brought us back no less than eight times over the last sixteen years.

Last weekend was our eighth trip. While driving there, Frank and I reminisced all our visits, especially our first time way back in 1999. Then again for our honeymoon in 2004. Frank so kindly exclaimed "Cooper is closer to your age of our first visit to Font then you are now". I think I might have had a mild heart attack. Yup. 16 years ago for me, and only 13 years for Cooper to reach age 19. Not sure if I am more upset about how I can possibly be so far from 19, or how close Cooper is to being so grown up. Freak out moment.

The 30s, these child rearing days, they are so wonderful and precious, but gosh darn it, why do they go so fast! Everyone always tells me "enjoy these moments with your kids while they are little, they don't last long." I know that people. I know to live in the present and all that good stuff, but no one ever tells you really how hard that is to do, or the best way to do that. This past weekend in Font with the kids, bouldering in the woods all day outside, I really tried to live in that moment. The joy of spending full days, from morning to night with my family, worn out from fresh air, good food, and laughter.

April 21, 2015

Deer losing antlers and more randomness

Did you know that deer lose their antlers every year? I remember this fact from ninth grade biology, but what I didn't remember hearing or learning was how painful it looks. Cooper and I were so sad for the deer we saw last weekend. To be nice to you all, I left out the gory photos of blood running down their heads. Ow! And the poor boys looked like they felt scared and sad, almost like a dog wearing the cone of shame. Cooper was determined to cheer them up though and did a great job feeding them and chatting with them sweetly. I tried to research it some bit, and researchers believe the bucks build up enough endorphin to mask the pain. I'm not buying it. And I'm Dr. Doolittle and speak deer, just in case you were wondering how I became the expert.

 These days, Cooper is in the amazing imagination phase of life. We became space warriors attacking aliens that were hiding in forts while sitting in this net. We were pretty awesome at defending our spaceship I must say. Even Lily.

Yeah, he pretty much has endless energy. Still. He jumps circles around his sister all the time. Glad that soccer season has started up, and tennis in just a week. And it's finally warm enough to climb outside! Gotta love spring. 

April 17, 2015

Into the Woods

 “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”  Henry David Thoreau

Although Lily wasn't feeling her best yesterday, a walk in the woods was just what the doctor ordered. We've both been under the weather with some type of flu bug that has zapped all our energy. But being outside, the sunshine, warm fresh air and wildlife all around made us all the happiest people on the planet. Everything is turning green and wildflowers are coming out and I just can't get enough of this type of time with my kids. The "influence of the earth" is amazing indeed.

Deer tongues tickle!

She even dances when she walks

Saying goodbye to our new friends
I challenge you all to a walk in the woods this weekend. You will be a happier person, I promise.

April 3, 2015

Friday I'm in Love

Happy Friday everyone! This picture from last Easter cracks me up every time I see it. Cooper was on such a mission to collect eggs. Hoping the weather warms up this weekend so we can hide them outside again. I'll also prepare some fun clues for a scavenger hunt that will lead them to their Easter baskets. Plus have homemade orange rolls :) Wishing I made Lily a new dress for Easter. Maybe I can still tonight and tomorrow. My mom always bought or made us new Easter dresses for church.  Traditions from my childhood. How about you all? What are your Easter traditions? Do you do a scavenger hunt and an egg hunt every year?

Links for the week:

Happy Easter everyone!

March 31, 2015


Some days, I get really lucky and catch an awesome article on the news while running errands in my car. Last week, I heard this one about three spices in Zanzibar and thought wow! I never knew that about any of them! So, I feel inspired as part one of blog changes, to post weekly about spices or trees or something else cool about nature that just makes you smile and want to stay in your car until you hear the whole thing! Except, in this case, read the whole post because you are learning something so neat and new.

So, I'm starting with vanilla. I knew it was an orchid, and the most lucrative one at that, but did you know it only blooms a flower once a year! If the bloom hasn't been touched by noon, it dies and then no vanilla pods can emerge! So, hand pollination is required. The word vanilla is derived from the Spanish word vaina which means little pod.

Once the pod emerges, it is not ready to harvest for six months! Each pod ripens at its own time, requiring a daily harvest. Each pod must be picked by hand just as it begins to split at the end to ensure the best flavor and commercial value. Thus the reason vanilla is the second most expensive spice at the store. Wow. I just had no idea how labor intensive it was, and now I understand the price tag.

In any recipe that calls for vanilla, I almost always double the amount required. I love it! I even add it to my pancakes made from scratch. Next week, I'll let you in on another spice I use in everything! How about you all? Do you use extra vanilla, or stick the amounts listed in recipes?