hawaii

You could say that my life changed in Hawaii. I lived on The Big Island for a few months in 2007, living and working on an organic coffee farm. It was there, spending my days working the coffee fields with nothing but my headphones and thoughts to keep me company, my nights reading, knitting, and writing, and my weekends hitching to explore the island that I found myself. I learned to rumba from a 70 something year old man. I learned to surf from the son of the first governor of the state of Hawaii. I woke before the sun every Sunday to swim with the dolphins at a local hidden gem of a beach. I woke up on my 27th birthday in a tent on that beach. I camped in Volcano and ate the best thai food of my life in Hilo. I spent countless hours hand sorting green coffee beans and learned to roast using a drum roaster. I wrote to my future husband from my studio there and never would have imagined that I would later walk the fields with him and our children. 

Last April we were lucky enough to take a trip back there with Stijn's family for his mother's retirement. There really aren't words that could do the beauty of the island justice. In trying to describe it I've always said, "it's like you've never seen color before." I am so very grateful to my in laws for making this trip happen, for giving me the opportunity to share this magical place with my family. 

St. Augustine 2015

we had only just arrived back in cincinnati from hawaii before i decided to make the solo drive down for our annual trip to florida. it was worth it!

st. augustine part 1

there are so many photos from our trip to florida last week and most of them are some version of eleanor running on the beach or towards the beach. i just wanted to pop in to share this series. this was our first day on the beach and e wasn't at all timid about checking out the ocean. these little ones of mine are fearless.

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more later...

dubai in photos

we were in dubai last week for the wedding of a dear friend. dubai is not a place i would have had on my list of must see places but i'm glad we had the experience and i'm so glad that the babes were with us. the wedding was beautiful, the bride was stunning, the groom and his family remain some of my favorite people on the earth, and the food was insanely good. we left the kids with oma and opa for the wedding and mama and papa got all dolled up and went on a proper date. the whole family came along for the brunch the next day and it was so relaxed and lovely. side note: arabic music should be played at every wedding (so much fun to dance to) and day after wedding brunches are always a good idea. here are some photos of our time there.

dubai

>>>driver-less metro

dubai

dubai

>>>this photo perfectly captures their relationship

dubai

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>>>wedding brunch at the ritz. we had so much fun eating the best food, beachfront, on the most beautiful day!

dubai

dubai

>>>at the dubai mall, the largest mall in the world. we were there for 4 hours and only saw 1/4 of the mall. (it was way too much for me)

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dubai

dubai

>>>a day in old dubai in the gold, spice, and textile souks.

dubai

>>>nightfall and the coolest moon i've ever seen.

swiss bound

Lake (Lutry)

today we are returning to lausanne for a short 24 hour trip. when we left switzerland for the u.s. a year ago i couldn't imagine a time in the near future where i would have a desire to return. it's not that i didn't like it there, i just wasn't in any hurry to go back. we made some beautiful memories but my time in lausanne was also marked by a lot of loneliness and feelings of being somewhat lost. it wasn't until a few months ago when a friend was planning a trip there and asked for recommendations that i started to miss it or at least was aware that there were details of our life there that i missed. there is something truly magical about living in another country and i am beyond grateful that i had the opportunity to do so. i'm looking forward to returning to the place where i wandered and had to find my way amongst a language i didn't know, the place where we were married and the first home we made together as husband and wife, the place where i began my journey to motherhood, the place where we welcomed our daughter into the world, the place where we became a family. i'm looking forward to tea and croissants in the cafes i sat in missing my family and friends. i'm looking forward to walking the hilly streets of the city that kept me in shape while i filled myself with unpasteurized, full fat dairy products. i can't wait to hear the whispers of french and to see that beautiful lake with it's surrounding mountains. photo from my mr.

weekend in chicago

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we had a lovely weekend in chicago! we ate lots of ethnic food (thanks matty), walked tons, shopped for the house a bit, and played in a park. it was the perfect weekend away. hope yours was just as lovely!

a day at the zoo

a few photos from our trip to the lincoln park zoo.
there is something so cool about looking at tigers and gorillas
with a big city all around you.
and it's free! how is that even possible?


lincoln park zoo

zoo

lincoln park zoo

were back

our little family of swimmers

we are back from a week's vacation in st. augustine, florida! it was such a lovely week spent with my parents and my grandparents. we spent everyday at the beach trying to keep eleanor from eating the sand, we swam in the pool and e loved it, i got to read a book!, we ate some delicious food, visited with my grandparents, and walked through the streets of old st. augustine. it was so relaxing and a lovely getaway before we dive head first into home renovation.

lots of photos on flickr.

london 2012

olympics

on stijn's list of things he wants to do before... has been to take his parents to the olympics. this summer is the year that he will do just that. we will be in london in august watching judo, beach volleyball, and soccer. still hoping to see some swimming and to be honest i don't know what judo is but it should be an awesome time.

how rad are these posters created by some british designers for the 2012 games? you can see all the posters here and purchase them here. i think one of these will have to adorn the walls of our new house! which one is your favorite?

not so wordless wednesday

bulb

the first leg of our journey was completed today as we said goodbye to switzerland and took a short flight to belgium to spend the day with stijn's family. as usual eleanor was a gem on the plane. for the first half of the flight she occupied herself with the vomit bag and then spent the last thirty minutes desperately trying to free herself from the infant seatbelt. when it became evident that her efforts were futile she decided it was better to just eat it. now you may be thinking, "seriously megan? buy that kid some real toys." but if the safety features card, vomit bag, and seatbelt are interesting enough to keep us from being the family with the screaming baby that you glare at, then i figure why mess with a good thing?

tomorrow is our big journey to the u.s. and the beginning of our little families next great adventure. see you from the other side of the ocean...

big news

i've been a firm believer that things always work out and over the last two years i have found myself speaking those words over and over again to reassure myself and stijn as we just focused on the next thing.

stijn had been looking for a job in cincinnati pretty much since i moved here and with a few leads we decided to set a date for our move to the u.s. and trust that things would fall into place. some may call making a decision to leave a job to move across the world without knowing if there will be a job waiting there for you crazy but for us it was a logical risk. sure we had some fear, after all it's not just the two of us anymore. what if none of the leads came through? how long could we live off of savings? and then just three weeks before our move stijn's hard work and our trusting paid off. stijn was offered an amazing opportunity...

what do these three images have in common?
holland

if you guessed holland, michigan; congratulations! here's what i know about holland. it was settled by dutch immigrants (there is a windmill, a wooden shoe factory, and a tulip festival to prove it), home to hope college, it's a two and half hour drive from chicago and thirty minutes from grand rapids, it's a tiny town on a lake, it's cold and snows, and they make good beer. we will be moving to holland for stijn to work for herman miller. no it is not cincinnati but it is a dream job for him. we are relieved and incredibly excited to start the next chapter of our life there as a family.

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kenya

when i moved to switzerland a year and a half ago i brought with me only two suitcases worth of clothes and one very adventurous dog. initially i worried about how she would do on the long flight over the ocean but she seemed fairly un-phased. once we arrived and began to settle in here i think kenya adapted quicker than i to her new home. she loved it here; long walks through parks, chasing the miniature dogs everyone in switzerland seems to have, and going for swims in lake geneva. my little world traveling dog has now been in switzerland, belgium, and france. i am so grateful that i was able to have her here with me; such an important piece of my life back home to help me get through some of the feelings of loneliness and isolation that accompanied being in a foreign place. because of restrictions on pets flying in winter we brought kenya back to cincinnati with us when we came home for thanksgiving and for the last two months she has been having the time of her life with my parents and her buddy bronx. but it hasn't been the same here without her. i miss her so much and cannot wait to see her again in just a few short weeks.

2011 in review

14 weeks
january: we announced some exciting news.

february: we discovered that the little peanut growing inside of me was a girl.

Trail (Wadi Rum)
march: we traveled to jordan where we rode camels, camped in the dessert, and floated in the dead sea.

april: we celebrated easter in zurich and found out that our little one was going to have a cousin!

la sagrada familia
husband and wife
may: we traveled to spain, celebrated my 31st birthday, and were married in switzerland

romily
june: we celebrated stijn's 33rd birthday and took one last, very pregnant trip home to see dear friends marry.

july: we not so patiently waited for the arrival of our baby girl.

eleanor faye
august: we welcomed our beautiful eleanor faye (after 32 hours of labor) and began to see how much joy and love a little person can bring into our lives!

september: eleanor received belgian and u.s. passports and stijn was granted a green card.

eleanor and moemoe
october: my best friend came to visit, eleanor took her first trip to paris, and we traveled to belgium to introduce her to her family.

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november: we flew to the u.s. for thanksgiving and to introduce e to her american family.

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december: we took the train to zermatt where eleanor saw snow for the first time and we traveled to belgium to celebrate her first christmas.

2011 was another amazing year of love. a 365 day lesson in being open and adaptable, the year taught us what it means to be a family. it brought weddings and babies, and adventures to places only dreamt of. it brought new friends and tested friendships with old ones. it brought motherhood, and with it many more dreams for the future. when i look at the summary of what each month brought i am amazed by the themes of family and travel. i believe that these will always be the focus for our little family of three. my wish for this next year and all the ones that follow is that they be filled with more of the same!

gent

gent

yesterday we took eleanor on her first college visit in gent. one of the many advantages to her having dual citizenship is that she can attend university in europe if she so chooses. (we are hoping for this as it's nearly free and also an incredible education!) all kidding aside gent is one of my favorite cities. we were there two summers ago for the gentse feesten and i fell in love with it's old world charm. this was also the place where stijn proposed. i cannot wait for my parents to make their first trip to belgium so i can take them there as i know they would love it. the cobblestone streets crowded with walkers and people on bicycles, the great little bars and cafés, the incredible architecture, and the beautiful rivers running through the town make it the best of europe. if eleanor decides to attend her father's alma mater i would be happy to have an apartment here.

weekend bits

zermatt1

what a wonderful weekend indeed. we traveled to zermatt for a weekend of snow, skiing, pots of piping hot cheese, cuddles, card playing, hot chocolate, and just all around swiss loveliness. zermatt is a village in a valley surrounded by the highest peaks in switzerland, including the matterhorn. to prevent air pollution that would decrease the view of such peaks zermatt is car free leaving only little electric taxis and horse drawn carriages to roam the streets. we laugh about how living here at times is a bit like stepping right out of postcard but to be perfectly honest i have never seen anything so beautiful in my life.

saturday the weather was quite bad by a skiers standards (beautiful if you're just a snow bunny like myself) so we spent the day walking through the streets, building a snowman, playing rummy 500 in the hotel, napping, and eating cheese fondue. sunday was a skiers dream. it was no longer snowing, the visibility was good, and the sun even made a quick appearance. stijn and jan took full advantage and headed out mid morning while eleanor and i slept in. in the afternoon us girls took the the gornergratbahn train, the highest open-air railway in europe, through the mountains to gornergrat to meet the men for lunch. the entire 20 minute ride up i was awestruck. it was indescribably beautiful! once at the top, 3100 meters and -16˚C with a view of the matterhorn, we warmed up and filled up before stijn and jan went back out for more skiing. up until this point in my life my only relationship to skiing was perfect north so you can see why i never really cared for the sport. i can now officially say that i want to ski. i cannot wait for our next trip when eleanor is old enough for us all to ski together. (she and i will probably be starting out at the same level)

zermatt2

coming home on the train through switzerland i thought about how grateful i am for this last year and half and all that i've been able to see and do. switzerland sure is making it hard for us to leave!

friday

zermatt

a while back, i mentioned to stijn that there were a few places i still wanted to see before we left the beauty of switzerland. zermatt was at the top of that list. i was regretting the fact that i had not been in the mountains during ski season as my pregnancy and the lack of snow prevented us from going last year. well, we leave tonight after work for zermatt where it is already a snowy wonderland. stijn is quite the avid skier and to say that i am a novice would be a vast understatement. after an accident a decade or so ago that left me unable to walk for a week i have been terrified. the last time i attempted to ski i stood at the top of the hill (yes hill not mountain) and wept. thankfully i have a 4 month old baby as an excuse to just be a cute snow bunny. sooner or later i will have to get over it and relearn as i'm sure eleanor will be on skis almost as soon as she can walk. until then i will be in the warmth of the cabin sipping whiskey and knitting while the mister does his thing.

have a wonderful weekend friends!

photo by diana gurley via pinterest

cincinnati in photos: part 3

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our final days in cincinnati were spent doing lovely things. we went to the train display now at union terminal. i am always so impressed with that building. eleanor met her friend alice and they got along splendidly. we made the trip up to sichuan bistro for some deliciously spicy food. (eleanor did not appreciate this) we left e for the first time for a couple of hours with my folks while we took a trip to the bakery and to the yarn shop to stock up for some upcoming projects. and we brought e to a bar strapped in the ergo carrier to hear her uncle aaron perform. i got quite a few looks and one young man even asked if he could pet her.?!? for those of you that are concerned her little ears were protected and she slept through the whole thing.

once again, we had a wonderful time making it that much harder to get back on the plane. but i expect the coming weeks will go by quickly and before you know it we will be back.

oh and here is my brother and his band, alabaster army, performing their song "man from the moon."
if you're in cincinnati they will be back at the drinkery in otr on the 16th.

cincinnati in photos: part 2

cincinnati2

the second week of our trip brought with it my favorite of holiday traditions. picking out a christmas tree. for years my family has driven to big tree plantation to pick out and cut down a tree. when we were much younger (much) we would listen to the chipmunks christmas album on the way. thankfully we've grown out of that! it was raining and muddy this year but that didn't stop aaron and chelsea from "frolicking" or us trekking to find the perfect tree. (my mom is pretty picky) once mom found her tree and my dad and stijn cut it down we went inside to enjoy hot chocolate and to see the reindeer. it was so great to introduce stijn and eleanor to our tradition and i can't wait to pick out our own tree next time.

cincinnati in photos: part 1

cincy1

we are back on the other side of the ocean and whilst we attempt to recover from jet lag here is the first week of our trip to the u.s. according to my iPhone. week one included introducing eleanor to the whole family, chopping my hair off, celebrating my brothers' 26th birthdays, preparing and indulging in a thanksgiving feast, and frequenting a few of my favorite cincinnati gems.

part 2 and 3 to come...

weekend bits

weekend

after a 9.5 hour flight we made it to the u.s. in one piece. eleanor was a champ. she didn't cry once on the flight and as we left multiple people told us she was the best baby they'd ever seen on a plane. it was such a relief! kenya seemed a bit stressed but after one day was fully recovered. i will say that traveling with an infant and a dog is exhausting. obviously the amount of luggage we had was quite a bit more than normal and the amount of time to get through customs and security was at least doubled. stijn entered on his green card visa and is officially a permanent resident! eleanor met her uncles for the first time and couldn't stop smiling. i'm pretty sure she is the best birthday present they've received.