Münster, Germany

While Liam and I were visiting the Allens in Wuppertal last month we took a day trip up to Münster for their Saturday market. Now, you guys know I love a good market so I was very keen!

As soon as Liam and Eloise woke up from their morning naps we all packed up our things and hopped in the car. Once there, we strapped our kids up – Eloise in the stroller and Liam in the Ergo – and made our way to the market.

The market itself was great! They had flowers and meats and vegetables and honies. But, what I think was really cool about this market was the massive amount of food trucks they had. I love a good food truck!

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After the market we parked ourselves at the Pinkus’ Müller for some lunch and a bit of a break. Afterwards, we slowly made our way back to the car to head back home.

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I was hoping Liam would get sleepy and fall asleep in the Ergo for his afternoon nap. Nope. This boy had too much to see. This boy loves being outside and observing everything. I was so proud of how he did. However, the real star of the day was my back. It carried that boy like a boss AND didn’t even complain afterwards! Thank you, back :)

I really enjoyed walking around Münster. It’s a really beautiful city.

Fun fact: After the war the Old Town was rebuilt exactly as it looked before the war.

Fun fact numero dos: it’s the bicycle capital of Germany.

I think both of those things heavily contribute to the attractiveness of Münster. I would definitely go back if I lived closer… and try out every single food truck!

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Our Weekend

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I look forward to celebrating it all year long!

Since it’s not recognized here in the UK we celebrate it on the Saturday. We make it a potluck meal where Will and I provide the turkey and a dessert (Will’s mom’s coconut pecan pie!) and everyone else provides the rest. I love how everyone really gets into it! We had friends this year that wanted to run a recipe by us to make sure it was a “proper” recipe! Stuff like that warms my heart – and my belly!

This year we had a “smaller” gathering – 16 people – and had it start earlier in the day than normal. It worked out better that way for Liam. Who, by the way, was an absolute gem the whole time! He’s such a little charmer!

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Photo Credit: Julian thanksgivingweekend2015-3_zpskvt0sgjw

We all ate waaaaaay too much, went around in a circle saying something we’re thankful for, ate dessert, had a little whisky tasting, and just hung out! It was such a great time; probably one of my favourite Thanksgivings.

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Of course, that night was not so great – as in Liam woke up crying at midnight and would not let me put him down. So I spent the rest of the night on the couch with Liam in my arms, sitting up and trying to rock him to sleep. I may have gotten about three hours of actual sleep that night. All three of us have been battling some sort of cold so this didn’t help. But luckily it was Sunday and we were able to abandon all responsibilities that whole day. Will did have to go lead worship in the morning service, but when he came back, with treats from the shop, we ate Thanksgiving leftovers, watched Florida State destroy Florida (as they do), got some extra baby snuggles in, Facetimed with family, and put up our Christmas tree!

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Will ended up putting up 95% of the ornaments while I was messing with the camera’s self-timer and posing for this picture – hahaha! #keepingitreal

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Oh man I love our crooked little tree!

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I’ve never been one to enjoy decorating the tree. We’d always wait until the last minute and I’d purposefully try to avoid helping my mom put it up. Now, I’m always so eager to do it. I think it’s a combination of bringing out our broken, fake tree with not enough branches that we bought our second year here in Edinburgh because we didn’t have a tree our first year; while trying to string up the too-small lights we bought with the tree in a way that make it seem more lit up, but doesn’t; and the process of going through our little box of ornaments that were either gifts from friends, tokens from our travels, pictures of memorable events, and/or handmedowns from our childhood. All of that combined makes me so keen to put up our tree and decorate it!

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It was a wonderful weekend! I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend too!

This weekend will be all about getting ready for our trip to Richmond AND celebrating Will’s birthday!!!!!

Our Christmas Holiday in Richmond

Will and I (and Liam, of course) are heading back to Richmond for Christmas next month! We’re really looking forward to our families seeing Liam, some for the first time. I can’t believe how much he’s changed in these first six months so I know our parents are going to love seeing him again being more alert and interactive!

But, in getting excited about our trip back to Richmond, I realised that I forgot to share about our trip last year (oooops).

So, last year was great. I had JUST gotten over being sick and my belly was starting to show. It worked out really well. It was our first Christmas back in four years so there were a lot of things we were looking forward to: family dinners, family decorations, family christmas traditions – pretty much all things family!
 Will and I had spent the previous three Christmases just the two of us and albeit some of my favourite holiday memories with him, it was nice to spice things up a bit with being with our families. We consider ourselves pretty lucky that both sets of parents not only live in the same city BUT they’re friends and hang out all the time!!

We arrived on the 23rd and unfortunately jet lag kicked my butt and I could barely keep my eyes open past 8pm our whole time there. But we hit the ground running and managed to have joint dinners nearly every night, catch up with most everyone we wanted to, and got to see some FSU football together – go Noles! My brother came down from New York twice to be with us and that was really special – I legitimately can’t get enough of that guy.

I am blessed with two moms that really know how to make my belly happy! Between my mother-in-law’s southern comfort food and my mom’s puerto rican comfort food I pretty much had to be rolled out of Richmond. On top of that, I indulged in corned beef hash and eggs nearly every morning, with the occasional morning of waffles for breakfast. It was bliss! I joked that my bigger belly at the end of the trip was not entirely baby… maybe 75% of it was baby? ;)

One of the more exciting parts of this trip was that I would be spending New Year’s Eve dancing the night away with my closest friends! With three out of four of us not living in Richmond anymore (Tennessee, Oregon, and me in Scotland) it’s unlikely for us to find ourselves in the same place. BUT, this New Year’s Eve it happened. We put on our false eyelashes, curled our hair, applied our brightest red lipstick, and danced the night away! It was bliss! I think that was my most favorite New Year’s Eve EVER!

Deep down inside Will was looking forward to dancing ;)

“I’ve never felt more attractive” – Stacey
“Wow. Our faces move like that.” – Leslie

That night was only made better by dragging Will out of bed at 8am to go to Waffle House the next morning! Will might have hated me that morning, but it was for the baby ;) And it was Waffle House!! Note: I definitely plan on introducing Liam to Waffle House on this trip!

The last time we were back in RVA we didn’t take one family picture. This time we got the talented Amy Robinson to take our pictures. Aren’t we all so beautiful?!! I really do love my family!

Photo Cred: Amy Robinson

I also got my friend, Leslie to take some bump pictures for me. Oh my cute little baby bump!

All in all it was a wonderful trip back to Richmond and a wonderful Christmas! Will and I are looking forward to going back and having Liam with us – outside of my belly this time ;)

Paris On Film

I miss Paris. The food. The markets. The old shutters and wrought iron balconies. The SUN. The HEAT! Oh man I miss it all!

We were hoping to go this summer but are unable to for obvious reasons – good reasons (cough Liam cough cough) but still. So, to tide me over, here are the film pictures I took last summer.

Maybe next summer?!

Café Love: The Chocolate Tree

For chocolate lovers in Edinburgh, or visiting Edinburgh, you have got to visit The Chocolate Tree! It’s such a wonderful cafe AND a wonderful company! The Chocolate Tree not only provides locally made Scottish chocolate but also strives to “better the lives of the farmers and promoting biodiversity” (their words).

I’ve been here a handful of times and just love to indulge. It’s one of those places where you have to. It’s hard to pick between any of their hot cocoas, gelato, macarons, cakes, truffles, and of course, their chocolates. Good luck trying.

I love their white chocolate hot cocoa and Aya and I couldn’t resist trying some of their macarons.

I first discovered The Chocolate Tree a couple of years ago at one of the weekend markets. Will and I bought some chocolate from them to bring back home to our families… which, I’m pretty sure we’re gonna do again. If there’s something the UK does right, it’s chocolate… and sweets in general really.

So, if your’e looking for a little chocolate indulgence, you’ve gotta hit up The Chocolate Tree.

You’re welcome.

Café Love: Piecebox

It’s been too long since I shared with you a cafe here in Edinburgh so let me tell you about Piecebox.

Piecebox  is actually one of the closer cafes to me but I don’t find myself going here as often as I feel like I should. It’s seriously so close and a great cafe. They supply Artisan Roast coffee (which is a must-drink for all of you coffee lovers out there) and Jenier Tea (I love the mocha chai). All of their food is homemade and made that morning; and if it’s not made my them it’s made by someone who’s local.

Another bonus is their seating. There’s a lot of sofas and comfy chairs and it doesn’t feel over crowded. It’s also a great place for parents with strollers because there’s enough space to maneuver around with one (not that I know from personal experience…). Space is a big deal for me because I don’t like feeling in the way and some cafes will litter the floor with tables and chairs thinking that’s how to get the “cozy” feeling. Wrong. Piecebox has got it down right.

And that’s Piecbox for you! I really do need to take advantage of how close this place is (it’s just a five minute walk!). The food is delicious (you’ve gotta try the pancakes!), great hot drinks, and cozy seating! Perfect for Scottish weather!