Theo’s Second Birthday

The Traveling Runner's Blog

The Traveling Runner's Blog

The Traveling Runner's Blog

The only family picture we snapped was on a phone! We really need to get better at taking pictures, although you can see that Theo was over posing at this point!

The Traveling Runner's Blog

The Traveling Runner's Blog

My mom found THE TRAIN from my childhood online and ordered it for Theo along with all of the little people and animals!

I can’t believe my baby boy is already 2! Where has the time gone?? I have loved the 18-month to 2 year stretch. It’s been my favorite phase so far. We have so much fun as a family and Theo always keeps us laughing. One of my favorite things about Theo is that he still loves to be snuggled. Often, he’ll wake up from a nap cranky, so I’ll carry him over to the rocker and hold him while he sleeps a little longer.

For Theo’s birthday, we decided to forgo the birthday party since we just moved and we threw him a big first birthday party last year. This year, we spent the day doing all of Theo’s favorites including making pancakes for breakfast, a trip to the Disney store, Chick-Fil-A for lunch, presents, homemade pizza, and of course, cake!

This was my first time making a cake from scratch… ever! I used a recipe from the Sprinkles Baking BookThe cake was delicious, just not as pretty as the one in the book. BUT Theo didn’t care and that’s really all that matters. I’m so glad we had a simple, fun day together as a family, and I think our 2-year-old feels very special and loved.

Happy second birthday Theo! Mommy and daddy love you!!!

-Makenzie

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Utah, Summer, Moving to NC

The Traveling Runner's Blog

The Traveling Runner's Blog

The Traveling Runner's Blog

Theo’s first movie- Cars 3! He was a huge fan of all the snacks and the recliner seats.

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The Traveling Runner's Blog

The Traveling Runner's Blog

The Traveling Runner's Blog

Snooze French Toast from one our date nights. So delicious!

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Lagoon Day with the Hardy family.

The Traveling Runner's Blog

The Traveling Runner's Blog

The Traveling Runner's Blog

This summer has been a whirlwind for our family! We packed up our lives in Houston not knowing when or where we would open our boxes. We spent so many nights stressed out waiting for the right job opportunity to work out after Todd’s year long fellowship ended. At literally the eleventh hour, or in our case the day before we had to move out, Todd was offered a position in North Carolina!

It was a huge wave of relief after months of not knowing where we would be and putting everything on hold while we waited. The next day, we celebrated Todd’s 29th birthday with a stop at Sprinkles (of course!) on our way out of Houston. We stopped in Dallas, then drove the remaining eleven hours to Colorado.

From there, we spent time in Huntington Beach, CA with my family, surprised Todd’s family in Utah for a few days, and snuck in a few dates in CO before Todd had to leave to drive the car out to start work. Theo and I stayed in CO for an extra week and a half because our rental home wasn’t ready. Although it turned out to be a HUGE blessing that we not only found this home but that we were able to move in two weeks sooner than we had expected. Originally Todd and I thought we weren’t going to see each other for three and a half weeks. I was super depressed, but then the morning he was leaving we got a call from our landlord saying that the current tenants were moving out and we could move in sooner! This made it was easier to say good bye.

I flew out with Theo as a non lap child for the first time and it was a dream. He did so well watching his movie and playing with his cars the entire time. As lame as it is to have to pay for another seat, I loved not having to hold someone in my lap.

We’re extremely grateful for our friends on this end that helped us move in, gave Todd a place to stay for a week, and that just made moving back feel so right. We’ve had a fun and eventful summer, but we are excited to finally be settled into our home.

-Makenzie

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

My dad grew up in Orange County so my family spends a lot of time in the area, specifically in Huntington Beach. Needless to say, this beach will always be one of my favorite places in to visit in California.

We didn’t think we would be going on this trip since Todd was still unsure about his job situation coming out of his fellowship in Houston, but at the last minute everything fell into place and the stars aligned so we could go!

This trip was so fun because we got to take Theo to Disneyland for the first time, spend lots of time on the beach, eat cinnamon roll french toast at Ruby’s on the pier, and spend lots of time playing games and eating good food. We also loved our AirBnB because it was walking distance to main street and the beach, but far enough away that we could avoid the crazy crowds on the Fourth.

The beach is was pretty crazy on the fourth, but what public beach isn’t going to be that has a fireworks show? We love participating in the local 5K, watching fireworks, and my mom and aunt fought the crowds on main street to bring us Wahoo Fish Tacos for dinner. YUM!

We had such a fun time, it was a great way to unwind, relax, and celebrate Todd accepting a job in NC, finding a cute house to rent, and everything FINALLY falling into place after months and months of prayer.

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

This sun shelter from Light Speed is the best! It’s a few years old, but they have similar ones available.

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

How we felt going into dinner at Ola Mexican Kitchen in Huntington Beach. YUM!

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Is it possible to eat frozen bananas and not think of Arrested Development??

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Always with Grandma.

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Spike ball for the win!

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

No time to stop for posed pictures in front of the castle on a busy day at Disneyland!

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Theo’s first Disneyland ride!

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Todd’s favorite picture from the trip… I guess that’s my screaming face?

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Huntington Beach, CA for the Fourth- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Hope you had a wonderful July 4th weekend!

-Makenzie

Magnolia Market in Waco, TX

Magnolia Market in Waco, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Magnolia Market in Waco, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

My jumpsuit: Anthropologie My mom’s pants: Anthropologie

Since our time in Texas is coming to an end, my mom flew out for a weekend trip to Waco. I’ll admit that I have never seen a full episode of the show Fixer Upper, but my mom is a HUGE fan. We had a blast during our visit and my only regret is not having more time to do one of the little Waco tours. Next time!

Magnolia Market in Waco, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

We stayed at the Hotel Indigo because of its close proximity to Magnolia Market (less than half a mile). In the morning, we walked over which was great because we didn’t have to pay to park or find parking because it’s always crazy packed. We got in line for the store though I wish we’d showed up at 7 a.m. to get in line for the bakery!

Magnolia Market in Waco, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

They don’t cap how many people can go into the store and it’s definitely wall-to-wall people everywhere you go even if you get in line early. Fortunately it was a girl’s trip and I was able to leave Theo at home with Todd because pushing a stroller through the store while keeping Theo from touching/breaking everything would have been impossible.

Even though most of their stuff in store is available online, the store was AMAZING! Everything is beautifully displayed. I purchased one of their beautiful platters, measuring cups, a bar of soap, a kitchen towel, one of their signature candles, and a Magnolia Market bag. I also purchased some of Chip’s jerky to give to Todd for Father’s Day.

Magnolia Market in Waco, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Magnolia Market in Waco, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Magnolia Market in Waco, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

After the store, we got in line for the bakery. Even though the line is long, they are very efficient. The staff hand out menu cards before hand so by the time you get up to the register, you can just hand them your order. My mom purchased one of their cute aprons and a cookbook for each of us. Naturally we had to try every cupcake flavor. As you know I am a HUGE Sprinkles fan, but these cupcakes were my second favorite!

Magnolia Market in Waco, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Magnolia Market in Waco, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Another thing I love about Magnolia Market is the outdoor area. It’s so cute with the swings, Corn Hole, and big bean bags to lounge in. It’s a very family-friendly atmosphere. My favorite part, however is all of the food trucks! The best one is the Cheddar Box, they have all different kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches! We also grabbed watermelons from the Luna truck.

Magnolia Market in Waco, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Magnolia Market in Waco, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Magnolia Market in Waco, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Magnolia Market in Waco, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Whether you love the show or just beautiful things and good food, a trip to Magnolia Market is definitely worth the trip!

-Makenzie

Austin, Fifth Wedding Anniversary & Moving

Texas Capitol Building- Austin, TX

Austin, TX- The Traveling Runner

Austin, TX- The Traveling Runner

Austin, TX- The Traveling Runner

Austin, TX- The Traveling Runner

Austin, TX- The Traveling Runner

Austin, TX- The Traveling Runner

Life has been a little crazy for us over the past couple of weeks. We spent some time in Austin for Todd to compete in the Cap Tex Triathlon over Memorial Day Weekend. He CRUSHED and fortunately the weather cooperated for the race since the day before it was extremely humid and storming on and off all evening.

Surfside Beach, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Surfside Beach, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Surfside Beach, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Surfside Beach, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Surfside Beach, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Surfside Beach, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Surfside Beach, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Surfside Beach, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Surfside Beach, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Surfside Beach, TX- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Surfside Beach, TX- The Traveling Runner's BlogSwimsuit: AlbionFit

This past weekend, we celebrated our FIFTH wedding anniversary! Unfortunately Todd was gone on our anniversary at a job interview, so Theo and I celebrated at Chick-Fil-A and I made lava cakes for Todd and I when he got home that night. On Saturday, we spent the day at the beach. Theo loves the water and Boston spent most of the time in the back of our open car watching us play from a safe distance. He hates the water, but we managed to drag him in a few times and he loved rolling around in all of the washed up seaweed.

Lately we’ve been pretty MIA because we are moving this month, though to where we aren’t exactly sure yet. Our apartment is in boxes, but we don’t know our end destination. Lots of changes and uncertainty, but we are trying our hardest to stay positive and patient while trying to stay cool in the extreme humidity of Houston’s summers.

Hopefully we will have a better idea in the coming weeks where we are going to end up. We have plans, back up plans, and back up back up plans in place! Whatever happens, we feel really lucky to have our little family of three (two if you count the fur babies!). Good thing we love adventures because life definitely keeps us on our toes!

-Makenzie

Ghent, Belgium

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

As much as people say that Ghent is very similar to Brugge, I highly disagree. Ghent felt like its own city entirely. For starters, the walk from the train station is longer and less breathtaking than Brugge. I recommend taking the bus into the main touristy area. If you plan to walk, it’s a good 20-25 minutes if you’re walking quickly.

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

The churches are huge and of course beautiful to see both inside and out and all in close proximity to one another. We went inside Saint Bavo’s Cathedral and discovered that they had some of the most beautiful art, specifically the Mystic Lamb. They have tour guides or you can purchase one of the little brochures that maps out the art and gives you the name, artist, date, and a brief description.

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

We also went inside the the Gravensteen Castle on a self-guided tour. They have old weapons and suits of armor on display as well as a mini torture exhibit displaying some of the devices and methods they used to interrogate prisoners. The best part of the cast is the top. You get a beautiful view of the city. This was the first sunny day of our trip (and sadly the last day of our trip) so we spent a lot of time taking in the views. We had a lot of fun and the castle wasn’t very crowded, so I think it’s well worth the fee to get in.

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Remains of the first stone house dating back to the 11th century!

Since this was our last day of our Europe day we spent the day eating. No joke, we stopped everywhere! We found a Paul’s for lunch and grabbed baguettes and a little pizza for Theo. Todd also had to have ice cream from the little stand outside of the castle. I found my favorite dessert place while walking down the street and spotting someone sitting outside eating a massive milkshake outside a chocolate shop called In Choc. I knew I had to have one. Todd accidentally ordered a hot chocolate first (oops) but when we finally got our shake, it was well worth it! They had tons of funky flavors, we went with Oreo because that was the one I had seen outside. The larger Oreo is a mini ice cream sandwich! I highly recommend going with a group and trying all sorts of flavors, we just split the one. Plan on a longer wait, it takes them about 20 minutes to make it.

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

 We were definitely worn out by our last day of the trip from being on the go plus we had an unfortunate encounter on the train. However, we still enjoyed our day and Ghent and our last day of our trip in Belgium.
Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog
Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog
Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog
Ghent, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog
Like I said in my Brussels post, I’ve got MAJOR post travel blues. Where should we go next?
-Makenzie

Brugge, Belgium

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge is one of my favorite places that I have ever visited! Second to the tulips in Holland, this was one of the best days of our trip to Belgium. Not only was this small, picturesque town quiet and much less touristy on our weekday visit, but every street was full of charm and the small, vibrant homes and businesses made it feel like you were walking through a movie set.

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge is only a one-hour train ride away from Brussels. There are plenty of trains running throughout the day, so you are safe to go to the station and purchase your ticket the day of your trip to Brugge. If you are planning to travel on a weekend, be prepared for larger crowds. Also, make sure you get in the right car, there is a first class car and you will be kicked out if you do not have a first class ticket. There’s usually a number 1 on the door, but not always.

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Our “theme song” of the day was Belle’s opening song from Beauty and the Beast. We found ourselves getting lost in the streets with hardly anyone else around. When you get off at the train station, the short walk to the main square is stunning. We avoided the main shops and spent most of our time weaving in and out of the quiet streets.

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Our favorite chocolates in Belgium.

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Per Rick Steve’s recommendation, we stopped in for chocolates at Dumon. We went to the original, family run shop and purchased a delicious box of assorted chocolates for only 7.50 euro. The chocolates were amazing and half the price of the chocolatier shops in the more tourist areas. I later bought a smaller box in Brussels at a different shop and it was double the price. If you are in Brugge, you need to stop here.

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

We ate dinner at Lizzie’s Waffles and I HIGHLY recommend it. They make giant waffles and incredible hot chocolate. Plus, they are so friendly! When we walked in, one of the employees kindly asked two women to switch tables so we could fit our stroller in. She then talked with us about her daughter and made sure to bring out little snacks for Theo while our waffles were cooking. Lizzie was sick and home, but her husband was cooking the waffles and took the time to talk to me about the giant waffle makers and how often he has to clean them. It was sweet, people like this make travel all the more enjoyable and places more memorable.

 

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

We also purchased frites, though again since we were in the main square, they were very over priced. Still good though, we asked for a slightly spicer sauce on the side so we could share with Theo. We also made a few stops at the waffle carts throughout the day.

We had delicious hot chocolate at this little chocolate shop by the water. The woman running the shop filled the cup with cream and hot water then put a spoon with a huge block of milk chocolate into the drink. AMAZING.

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

The BEST hot chocolate in Brugge.

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

We had planned to pay to climb the tower in the main square for the beautiful views, but we arrived there at 2 p.m. and they told us that they were no longer selling tickets. Visits to the top end at 3 p.m., but I guess they already had a line of people waiting, so if you want to climb the tower, plan to get in line with your tickets by 1 p.m. to be safe. We were bummed, but it probably would have been toughing carrying Theo up all of those stairs. Instead, we played in the little courtyard and let Theo run around.

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Naturally we ventured off to find a park for Theo to play in. This park had a beautiful green area and a nice playground right by an old church. We were the only ones at the playground, so we just let Theo run crazy and burn some energy. We also went inside some of the churches, including the Church of our Lady, which was stunning on the inside.

Brugge, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

I highly recommend a visit to Brugge, you won’t be disappointed!

-Makenzie

 

Netherlands- Amsterdam & Lisse

Lisse

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

While planning our Belgium trip, we knew we wanted to plan a day trip to the Netherlands to see the tulips. Since we planned our trip for the first week of May, we knew our visit would fall at the end of tulip season. While some of the fields had already been clipped, I was still overwhelmed by how beautiful the rows of tulips are in person! The tulip fields in Holland are even more beautiful in person and should be on everyone’s travel bucket list.

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

We decided that the best way to get to the tulips from Brussels was by car. I’m so glad we did because I love driving in a new country, and by driving I mean sitting in the passenger seat taking in the views while Todd drives. I loved all of the green and  the windmills dotting the countryside as we drove to Lisse. We rented our car through Sixt, a European car rental company, and we had a great experience. We picked up our car at Central Station and had no problems dropping it off at their parking garage later that evening. They also provided us with a carseat for Theo. We opted to pay the fee to avoid having to gas up at the end of the day because driving around the streets of Brussels can be overwhelming and we never saw a gas station the entire time we were there!

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

We made a rookie mistake and forgot to write down our address so our GPS took us to an airport! Fortunately we pulled over and asked a nice Dutchman for directions. He pulled up the address for us and handed us his phone so we could put it into our GPS. There are so many wonderful people in this world! Once we had the correct address for Keukenhof, we made it there no problem.

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

I had read that there are tulip fields around Keukenhof, the popular tulip gardens,  and that there is a bike rental shop in the parking lot. Parking is 6euro, but worth it to have your car in a safe, well monitored parking lot. Plus, we parked right next to the bike rental. The employees were super nice and helped us get our baby seat strapped down properly and outlined the different routes we could take to see the most tulips. Naturally we got lost, but what better place to get lost?! We brought our own bike helmet for Theo. It was a pain to pack, but if you want your child to wear a helmet, you’ll need to bring your own.

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

This was hands down the best day of our trip! I’ll never forget turning a corner on the bike trail and seeing this beautiful field of hot pink tulips! I kept saying, “This is what heaven looks like!”. It was so beautiful. We even found a little playground for Theo. At first Theo didn’t want to get off the bikes, then he was starving, cold and cranky, then he fell asleep and Todd had to constantly reach back to lift his head. Traveling with toddlers, it’s always an emotional roller coaster.

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

By the time we stopped for lunch we were STARVING. We ate at Het Tussen Station, a little train station converted into a restaurant that’s on one of the biking routes. When we asked our server what to eat, she told us we had to try the croquettes and they did not disappoint!  Theo loved watching the trains roll by out the window.

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

After more riding around, we decided not to go into the gardens since it was almost closing time and we didn’t want to pay the admission fee. After we dropped off our bikes, we drove to Leiden. I wish we would have had time to walk around, but Theo was DONE at this point. So we just did a loop around the town and drove back. I would like to go back someday, I have a newfound obsession with quaint Dutch towns!

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Tulips in Holland- The Traveling Runner's Blog

 

Amsterdam

Amsterdam- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Amsterdam- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Amsterdam- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Amsterdam- The Traveling Runner's Blog

We hadn’t planned on going to Amsterdam, but once we arrived in Brussels, we impulsively decided that it was worth a trip since we were so close! It’s about a two hour train ride from Brussels, so we woke up early  and arrived in Amsterdam midmorning.

Amsterdam- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

I really wanted to do the Anne Frank House, but again with Theo that just wasn’t an option. The line was already down the street. Instead, we walked along the canals, visited the flower market, and ate our weight in stroopwafels. I was surprised by how many food carts were selling burgers and hot dogs. We were also surprised by all of the cheese shops, I had no idea cheese was so big in Amsterdam. We stopped in for hot chocolate and lunch in a small bakery. We also had an early dinner at a restaurant in Dam Square called Pluk. They make delicious apple pie and fresh sandwiches. We loved sitting upstairs, though Todd hit his head going down the tiny staircase. The employees were kind enough to watch our stroller downstairs while we ate.

Amsterdam- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Amsterdam- The Traveling Runner's Blog

We also spent time in Vondelpark letting Theo run around and play. They have bike rentals, but we were worried about leaving our stroller. The “I Amsterdam” sign is near the park, but we totally missed it! I recommend grabbing food on your way to the park and having a picnic because the food in the park is not good.

Amsterdam- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Amsterdam- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Our day in Amsterdam was spent wandering around getting lost along the canals and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Well, I would have liked to rent bikes and ditch the stroller! The crowds and narrow sidewalks make it tough for strollers. Thank goodness we brought our Graco jogging stroller, we were up and down the side walks and somehow Theo still managed to take a couple of naps.

Amsterdam- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Amsterdam- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Amsterdam- The Traveling Runner's Blog

I would love to go back to Holland and spend more time in the countryside. I would definitely go back for the tulips in mid April to see all of the fields completely full of tulips.  I would also love to see the windmills at Kinderdijk.

I’m so glad we planned this part of our trip, it really felt like a dream seeing the tulips and spending time in Amsterdam. We’ve had a picture from Ikea hanging on our wall of a red bike along a canal in Amsterdam. Naturally I tried to replicate the picture because we have stared at it our entire marriage promising that we would go there someday! Five years later and we made our dream come true!

-Makenzie

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

We just returned from a week long vacation in Belgium and the jet lag, post vacation blues, and persistent waffle cravings are very real. Getting back into a groove after vacation can be a bummer, especially with a mountain of laundry and a to-do list a mile long. Fortunately, I have all of these beautiful pictures from our trip to edit and enjoy. We LOVED Belgium and traveling together as family made the trip all the more memorable, exhausting, and perfect.

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Seriously, this is what dreams are made of!

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Since we were bringing our almost two-year-old along, we wanted to stay in one place and do day trips. After all of our research, we concluded that Brussels was the perfect city to do this. Not only is Brussels a vibrant city full of history and good food, but its many train stations make day trips very doable.

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Grand Place in Brussels

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

We selected an AirBnB near Grand Place and it was perfect for our needs. It felt super homey and the owner provided a huge portable crib for Theo. We also had access to his Netflix account which meant long Big Bang Theory marathons when Theo went to sleep. We stocked the fridge with yogurts and bread for breakfast each morning to save some money and keep some of our daily routine with Theo.

We spent a day and a half exploring Brussels. Now that Theo is a toddler, it’s harder to go into museums and staying out for late night entertainment is not an option. So for this trip, we planned to just wander around and pop in and out of things that looked interesting. I loved this because Todd and I are super fast walkers and made it all over the city (minus one mishap on the metro where we went in the wrong direction and almost got separated jumping off!). We visited the European Parliament building and made our way up the surrounding streets and stopped at a chain bakery called Paul’s for lunch. It’s the simple things that make Europe so wonderful, like fresh pastries and ham and cheese baguettes!

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

I stopped to take a picture with this piece of the Berlin Wall and as I was posing, this big lab walked by and stopped to pee! I was dying, so funny!

We also wandered in front of the royal palace and didn’t realize that’s what we were looking at until Todd pulled it up on the map! We were honestly more excited about the beautiful park across the street. We let Theo run around and play on the playground despite the light rain.

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

We have a deep love of churches and every time we see one, we have to go in! I love the reverence, the burning candles, the art, and somehow Theo always manages to be somewhat quiet. The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula is beautiful and a must see if you are in Brussels. It reminded us of Notre Dame in Paris and I loved being able to see it in the distance as we walked away.

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

We also made our way through Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert drooling over all of the window displays for each of the chocolatiers. We tried truffles and chocolates at a few different places, but our favorite thing we tried was the hot chocolate from NeHaus. The lady who helped us dumped straight milk chocolate chunks into the cup and mixed it with hot water and cream. Amazing! Somehow they make it so it’s not too rich. Todd and I had some almost everyday since it was pretty chilly.

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

To have a break from all of the waffles and frites one night, we had dinner at Bia Mara, a fish and chips restaurant in Brussels. Our waiter was so kind and made room for our stroller. I was a little stressed out being in there because it’s a small place and Theo was being super cranky. Somehow Todd rocked him to sleep and laid him in the stroller, so it felt like we were on a date! The food was so good, our waiter told us that the time from the fish being caught to being served is only 36 hours! You can definitely taste the freshness.

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Since we stayed so close to Grand Place, we spent a lot of time taking pictures in the square. The best time to visit is early in the morning. We walked through on our way home and there was hardly anyone there! During the day it can get pretty crowded with tour groups, vans dropping off food, and tons of people. We also ventured off to see the famous Manneken Pis a little ways off the square, which is a little underwhelming since it’s so small.

Brussels, Belgium- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Todd: “That’s it?! It’s so tiny!”

Overall, our trip was so much fun! Read more about our day trips to Brugge and Ghent and into the Netherlands to Lisse and Amsterdam. I’ll also be putting together a post with more tips for traveling with toddlers and some of the new travel products we used and loved on our trip.

-Makenzie

Easter Sunday

Easter 2017- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Easter 2017- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Easter 2017- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Easter 2017- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Dress: Anthropologie

Easter 2017- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Easter 2017- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Easter 2017- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Bunny banner from Pottery Barn

Easter 2017- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Hand Towel from Anthropologie

Easter 2017- The Traveling Runner's Blog

Easter 2017- The Traveling Runner's Blog

I love Easter Sunday and celebrating it with our little family of three. I was so excited to get dressed up and have a fun day. However, even with all of my planning, the day went a bit rougher than I had hoped.

I spent last week in Colorado with my family and I went Easter dress shopping with my mom and sister. We had an awesome week relaxing which was much needed since we have been pretty stressed out. As a  result of all the stress, I haven’t been able to sleep great. I woke up on Easter after a horrible night’s sleep, burnt the crepes and set of the fire alarm, etc. A few more rough moments throughout the day, but we ended up having a wonderful dinner and most importantly, remembering the purpose of this holiday by reading our scriptures and listening to Easter hymns.

Theo loved his Easter basket! He came out of his room and when he saw it, he started saying “Wow, wow” each time he looked picked up something from his basket. He’s at such a fun age, we are still trying to teach him how to use the Legos we got for him.

I’m so grateful for Easter Sunday, my Savior, and my family! Happy Easter, I hope you had a wonderful Sunday minus the burnt crepes!

-Makenzie