Family is Everything

Hey hey and happy Monday after Thanksgiving…also known as Cyber Monday! I’m not here to tell y’all about Cyber Monday deals or even talk about shopping though. I’m here to talk about my family and the wonderful Thanksgiving weekend we had. We had too much fun and spent too much time together not to share.

My family is my world. We are incredibly close and I am beyond grateful for that! On Wednesday night, the whole Timmer gang was together for a couple of hours. Last time we were all together was at Ben and Corbette’s wedding in September {which I still need to share with y’all!!!} and we couldn’t pass up the chance to take some pictures!

 Emily and Matt were taking a 6:00am flight to New York City on Thanksgiving morning, so we soaked up the time we had with them before they headed out on their adventure! We grilled burgers, took tequila shots, talked for hours and laughed so hard. Pretty much the perfect pre-Thanksgiving evening.

Side Note: Meens and Em are so mean. We took a picture and they were making silly faces and I was smiling, so I said wait let’s do another so I can be fun like y’all! And this is what we ended up with. Thanks ladies, thanks. {I still love you both.}

We woke up to a big Turkey on Thanksgiving Day! Someone wanted to wear 7 bows and I obliged. She was too cute not to!

We went over to my parents around 10:00am to help get the festivities started! Chloe helped her Nonna peel potatoes and put them into the big pot. She loves getting to do anything with her Nonna!

I made the green bean casserole and deviled eggs because that’s my job every year! Funny story: I don’t eat deviled eggs, but apparently I’m pretty good at making them! {If you want, check out these awesome tie dyed deviled eggs I made one time!}

By about 1:00, we were shooed out of the house for the Annual Timmer Games while my mom and Aunt Dianne finished preparations for Thanksgiving Dinner! Every year we head out to the middle school football field to play some random games. We usually do games of skill, but this year was a little different.

Side note: On our way out, Maggie and Moose got jealous that we were leaving and busted THROUGH a small hole in my parents’ fence! They thought it was great and we spent about 10-15 minutes trying to convince them to come back and stop running around like crazies!

Since Em & Matt weren’t there, we didn’t have quite as many people and I’m kind of down for the count. I may had reinjured my bad ankle at gymnastics the Friday before Thanksgiving. It appears to just be a minor sprain, but it doesn’t feel good. I was on Chloe duty while the others took on a game of soccer! JP was the all time goalie while Ben and Matt took on Dad and Corbette.

It took a while, but Ben and Matt were the eventual champions winning 1-0! Chloe and I walked around the track, played with the frisbee and rolled in the grass.

After nearly 2 hours of chasing dogs and playing around, we headed home for our Thanksgiving meal! I didn’t take a single picture for a few hours because we were just too busy enjoying each others company. We ate an amazing Thanksgiving dinner, took Chloe swimming in the hot tub, started up the fire pit, watched football and put up my parents’ Christmas tree! We do have tree decorating pictures, but those are on my parents’ phones. It was an amazing Thanksgiving day, and it completely wore Chloe out!

The day after Thanksgiving was quite a lazy one. We just hung out at our house and had a slow morning before Dad, Ben, Matt and Corbette came over to our house! Ben and Corbie still hadn’t seen it since they were in Taiwan last year. After the grand tour, we went to shoot some skeet!

JP was on the USA shooting team in 2004/2005 and he won Collegiate Nationals all around in 2005, so he’s pretty good. However, it’s been a few years since he’s shot. He still managed to get a 24 out of 25 missing the last shot on his first round back at it! I think we’ll need to go more often since it made him so happy!

I didn’t shoot much, but I did get a few shots in and even hit 6 targets!

 After shooting, we just loaded up the car and headed to College Station to spend the rest of the weekend with JP’s family!

We had so much fun in College Station! Chloe spent most of her time convincing someone to take her outside to jump in her bounce house! Jojo got that baby a little bounce house and she is totally obsessed.

On Saturday night we went out to Central Park in College Station to see the Christmas lights! Chloe is obsessed with Christmas lights, so it was fun to see her reaction to everything.

She loved some lights and decided that others were “scary.” I’m fairly certain that she wasn’t actually scared, but now that she knows the word, she likes to use it.

She loved getting to hold everyone’s hands and walk like a big girl through the park. I think holding Jojo and Pops’s hands were her favorite. 

 She loved the big tree so much that we had to go back by it on our way out. I’m definitely looking forward to taking her again on Christmas night!

Sunday morning we had breakfast at First Watch…mmmm cinnamon chip pancakes! Then we just relaxed at my in laws! Chloe played outside with Jojo as much as possible in her bounce house. I read my book and rested my ankle. JP and Phil watched football. It was pretty much the perfect ending to an amazing weekend. I was bummed that this weekend had to end!!! The good thing is that the holidays have just begun. I know that every weekend will be amazing and we’ll get more time with our amazing family and friends.

I hope that everyone has an amazing holiday weekend! Now back to the daily grind!
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Miss Maggie Mae

Y’all I’ve been so busy with trying to get my Scandinavian trip pictures up {it’s taking freaking forever!!!} that I forgot to pay tribute to my first born last week!

On November 16th-ish, Maggie Mae Gougler was born into this world on an Amish farm in New Philadelphia, Ohio. From Heaven to Earth Rescue found her and her siblings and brought them back to their rescue to be adopted! JP and I moved to Pittsburgh, PA in the middle of a snow storm in January 2011. My one stipulation upon moving there was that I was going to get a dog. I started looking the moment we got there. I searched through all of the sites and found a picture of Maggie. I screen shotted it, sent it to my sister and mom, and told them that she was going to be my dog. I was kind of joking as I hadn’t met her or even called the shelter yet! I ended up calling and expressed an interest in Maggie. They wanted me to meet several other dogs as well to see which one was the right fit for us. We met four puppies that night and I knew that Maggie was ours. She was drawn to us while the others walked away. There was something about her that I just loved. Her name at the shelter was Maggie which we thought was fitting because Maggie the Aggie since we’re both Texas A&M graduates! So Maggie stuck and she became ours.

Over the years, this girl has been through a lot. She moved across the country, adapted to a new climate and lifestyle, got a baby brother pup, got an actual baby and moved homes! She is one of a kind to say the least. Everyone that knows her knows that she is quirky and that she is definitely my dog. I am her person and I love her so much. Now let’s just take a quick walk down memory lane at the life of my first born!

8 Weeks Old January 2011
Playing in the snow February 2011

Puppy School Graduation March 2011

First Baseball Game June 2011
First Halloween October 2011

First Birthday November 2011

My Girl

2nd Halloween October 2012

2nd Birthday November 2012

Meeting her new little brother July 2013

3rd Birthday November 2013

Christmas Card Pictures November 2013

4th Halloween October 2014

4th Birthday November 2014

Checking on her baby just about a week after we came home from the hospital
August 2015
4th Birthday November 2015

Playing with her baby January 2016

6th Birthday November 2016
Face hugs with Momma Sometime 2017
7th Birthday November 2017

Maggie will always be our first born. Our crazy, spirited, bossy girl! Now that Chloe is here, my camera is filled with more pictures of Chloe than Maggie, but that doesn’t mean we love her any less!

Happy 7th birthday old girl! You’re officially a senior!

P.S. In case y’all were wondering, Maggie is doing much better after our scare a couple of weeks ago. Her face is healing nicely and her fur is growing back. She’s completely back to her normal crazy self! If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can read and see some pathetic pictures of Maggie here!

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A Stroll Down Nyhavn

Happy Friday y’all! I’m back with one more travel post this week! Looking back and editing all of these pictures has me wanting to be back on our adventure. Today we’re moving on to the third country and final city of our trip, Copenhagen!

We took a train from Stockholm to Copenhagen. It was about 5 hours long, but it didn’t feel like it was that long! We had plenty of space and things to keep Chloe entertained. Plus we napped and apparently JP took the opportunity to capture the moment. I’m kind of glad that he did because my baby won’t stay this little forever!

We got to Copenhagen, checked into our hotel, dropped our bags and set off to explore for the evening! First stop, Nyhavn!

We decided to walk through the city to get to the harbor. If you don’t know about Nyhavn, it’s the picturesque canal with all the colorful buildings from the 1700 and 1800’s! It’s known for it’s history of drunken sailors, whore houses and literary exploits. Now it’s known for it’s beautiful views and restaurants.

At the end of the canal is a large anchor honoring the Danish sailors who lost their lives during World War II.

We decided to find a restaurant serving more traditional Danish food. There are tons of restaurant options and it’s definitely more pricey than other restaurants around Copenhagen because of the location. We figured we had to have one meal there! The restaurant we chose was called Hyttefadet and I loved how they gave a history of the restaurant and Nyhavn on the menu!

I can’t remember what exactly we ordered, but it was fish two ways with shrimp, aioli and asparagus. After dinner we walked back down the canal and found an ice cream shop! I think ice cream on vacation is one of my favorite things, and ice cream in Copenhagen is amazing.

We decided to walk back to our hotel along the water instead of through the city and that was the best choice we could have made! Along the way, we found some little trampolines to play on! Chloe was super excited since she’s obsessed with jumping. But let’s be real, I was the most excited and had a blast bouncing and flipping!

And that my friends was our first day in Copenhagen. We were pretty exhausted from the travel and walking the city, so we called it an early night. We had big plans for our first full day in Copenhagen!

If you’re interested on catching up or checking our our Scandinavian adventures from the beginning, take a look:
Sneak Peek | Start of our Adventures | Oslo Part 1 | Oslo Part 2 | Lilleputthammer | Hiking in Norway | Charlotte & Ole’s Wedding | Maihaugen | Gamla stan | Vasamuseet | Skansen
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Skansen, Stockholm, Sweden

Skansen is the world’s largest open air museum! You may remember our visit to Maihaugen while we were in Lillehammer. Maihaugen was amazing and I enjoyed learning about Norway’s history, but Skansen was so much bigger and different in many ways. Skansen was opened in 1891 as a way to preserve the rural way of life that was slowly fading to the Industrial Revolution and the new industrialized way of life. Instead of being lost to history, rural Sweden is preserved in Skansen.

We we entered Skansen, we walked up a crazy huge hill. There was an option to ride a railcar if you can’t or don’t want to take the hike. The first area we came across was the Town Quarter which is designed to look how a Swedish town looked in the early 1900’s. 

The town had a bakery, glass blowing shop, furniture store, industrial works and a pottery shop. The coolest thing is that all of the shops were actually open and selling the goods made in house. The bakery smelled so good and if I hadn’t just eaten, I would have bought several pastries!

My favorite shop was the glassblowing shop. I’ve always loved watching glassblowers at work. The way they can create such beautiful pieces is fascinating. I wish that we had seen this later in the day when I was prepared to spend money on something meaningful! We talked about going back before leaving, but we kind of forgot after a long day of exploring.

The Industrial Works store was awesome for two engineering nerds. {Fun fact: I have an engineering degree that I don’t really use!} I wish I would have gotten some shots of the machines inside, but instead I have one of me and my tiny human!

Outside of the shops was this wheelbarrow that Chloe quickly became obsessed with. Lucky for me, her daddy was the horse to carry her around!

We spent quite a while in the Quarter Town before moving on. We passed by this yellow house that I remember was important, but I didn’t take a picture of the sign to remind me why it was important. Either way it’s pretty, so I thought I’d share!

This next one I did take a picture of the plaque! This is the Seglora Church. It was erected in 1730 and brought to Skansen in 1916. It’s one of Sweden’s most popular places for weddings.

Later we came upon the petting zoo! Chloe was so excited to play around with the animals. She pet the goats and the pigs with her daddy.

Not only did they have a petting zoo, but they had a children’s discovery area which Chloe had the best time playing around!

Around Skansen there were several different farmsteads from the 1600, 1700, and 1800’s. The best part about walking around and learning about everything is that all of the plaques were in Swedish and English. There were also tons of people walking around to tell you more! People were in character from the century of their lodging. They went about their days just as someone would have back when they lived there!

Around the backside of Skansen is actually a zoo with Nordic animals! We saw otters, seals, bears, reindeer, moose, wolves and more! Can you see the swimming seal in the picture below?!

We loved seeing the reindeer! I asked Chloe what they were and she said, “Sben!” aka Sven from Frozen. How beautiful is that white one?

Below is a Sami hut. The Sami people are the only indigenous people to Scandinavia. Their huts were over by the reindeer because they are known for their reindeer herding.

I think the bears exhibit was Chloe’s favorite part of the entire day! The bears were incredibly playful running up and down their playground, wrestling each other and swimming. We had to watch the bears from several different areas since Chloe was in awe.

We eventually were able to peel her away from the bears to visit another farmstead.

The summer farmstead pasture is where the animals were brought during the summer for the farm girls to make cheese and butter from rich summer milk!

This guy was working on a loom in one of the farmstead houses making the rugs that were throughout the house.

The schoolhouse was both the school room and teacher’s accommodations. In the 1800’s, it was determined that every parish should have at least one school. At the school there was a teach that showed us how the children learned reading, writing and arithmetic on their slate boards.

Skansen was amazing. We thought about not going since we had already gone to an open air museum in Lillehammer. I’m so glad that we decided to go anyway! I knew that it would be a different experience. The animals alone made it worth it for Chloe. If you find yourself in Stockholm, this is a must see. You’ll learn so much about Swedish history and culture!
That’s about all we have for Sweden, next up is Copenhagen!

If you’re interested on catching up or checking our our Scandinavian adventures from the beginning, take a look:

This Crazy Life

Y’all. Life is just crazy right now. Every time I sit down to put my thoughts or memories in this place something comes up, I’m totally distracted and it takes me forever to get back to it again. I’m loving every post that I get to share with y’all about our Scandinavian adventure. I do hope that y’all are enjoying them as well. It’s fun going through the pictures and reliving the experience! I know I’ll be so thankful for the posts when Chloe gets older and angrily tells me that trip doesn’t count because she doesn’t even remember it. She’s my daughter after all and I can already hear the attitude!
It’s just taking me so much longer than planned to get them all posted. I think I have about 3 more posts left; one in Stockholm and at least two for Copenhagen! I promise they won’t disappoint and my goal is to have them posted before Thanksgiving. But you know, life with a two year old can be unpredictable.

Also life as a dog mom can be unpredictable. I didn’t post about it last week because it had me so stressed out, but we were at the vet with Maggie a few times after she got into it with my parents’ dog. Don’t get me wrong, I blame neither/both dogs. They’re dogs and it happens, but Bailey got her jaws around Maggie’s face managed to sink her teeth in giving Maggie two puncture wounds. Of course it happened hours before JP left to go to Dubai. {Oh yeah, did I mention that I was single mom-ing it last week? I wasn’t joking about his crazy life!} I kept the wound clean and kept checking on it, but of course Halloween night her face swelled up and her eye swelled shut! We spent most of Wednesday morning at the vet with an infected dog and wild toddler. It was a blast, let me tell ya. Chloe wanted to go. Maggie wanted to get the hell out of there. And I just wanted everyone to chill out. Luckily our vet is amazing and fit us in despite her packed schedule. They drained Maggie’s wounds and got her on painkiller and antibiotics. I kept her in a cone for the first two days just to promote healing, but that was all we both could stand! It’s looking much better and healing now, but last week I was dealing with an agitated pup whose face kept leaking. Here’s a peek at how glamorous she looked post face shave and wound draining!

The Maggie debacle, JP being gone, the craziness of the holiday season, the business of having a two year old, life in general and a few other personal things have kept our family on our toes. Luckily we have each other and the most amazing family and friends to help us out along the way.

So here’s to Friday eve! I hope y’all have a wonderful and not so crazy Thursday. That’s what I’m shooting for.

If you’re interested on catching up or checking our our Scandinavian adventures from the beginning, take a look:
Sneak Peek | Start of our Adventures | Oslo Part 1 | Oslo Part 2 | Lilleputthammer | Hiking in Norway | Charlotte & Ole’s Wedding | Maihaugen | Gamla stan | Vasamuseet

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Weekends are for…

…staying in your jammies all day because you have nowhere to be!

…waking up early on Saturday morning for your weekly long run. This week the heat, humidity and fog made it more like a swim, but I finished!

…celebrating your besties and their babies with the cutest 1st birthday theme on the block!

…chillin’ out and playing with your baby besties. It is a birthday party afterall!

…eating cake! Lots and lots of cake. It is delicious after all!

…being together. Weekends are definitely for being together especially since JP was in Dubai last week. We’re so glad to have him home.

 …taking no pictures and having a football watching, super lazy Sunday at the house. We left only to get groceries since Chloe and I depleted our stores last week!

Weekends are for being awesome and that’s exactly what we did! Lazy days on Friday and Sunday, but the best fun celebrating Luke and Olivia’s first birthday on Saturday! Chloe and I are glad to have JP back home though. Things aren’t the same around the Gougler house without him.

Now our weekend is over and it’s back to reality. So here’s to Monday! I hope yours is as awesome as I know mine is going to be!

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Vasamuseet

Looking back at all of the pictures from our trip brings me such joy. It makes me realize just how lucky we are to have experienced a trip like this. Not only did we get to visit 3 countries and 5 cities, we had gorgeous weather, amazing views and easy travel.

I last left y’all after our first day in Sweden visiting Gamla Stan after a night of no sleep! The next day we woke up and went off to visit the Vasa Museum.

We were going to take the bus, but a little birdie told us to walk out Strandvägen. I don’t turn down advice from a local! So we walked along Strandvägen which is right by the water the entire way. There are gorgeous boats on the water and restaurants along the path. It’s the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon fika.

After a solid mile walk down Strandvägen, we came to the bridge that crossed us over to Djurgarden. Djurgarden is an island packed with things to do! This is where many of the city’s greatest attractions lie. There are tons of museums, parks, restaurants and even a small amusement park. You could easily spend the entire day there. In fact, this wasn’t the only day we found ourselves at Djurgarden!

Of course the true purpose of our outing was to visit the Vasa Museum or Vasamuseet. I have a ton of pictures and lots of fun facts, but I really want to give y’all a brief background on this magnificent boat.

The Vasa ship was a Swedish war ship that was built in the 1620’s. King Gustavus Adolphus made the orders to build the ship to expand their military during the war against Poland-Lithuania. Most ships in the Swedish fleet were small to medium in size with only one gun deck. Vasa outsized all of the ships and boasted two gun decks with heavier artillery. You can see the openings for the guns really well in the image below! Fun fact about the gun deck: The King ordered it to have 72 cannons after construction had begun. Since that was too many to fit on a single gun deck, they just added another one above. This would have been completely reasonable, but after they lifted the ship, it was determined that the center of gravity was too high because of this change.

The best part of the story {and the entire reason this boat is so well preserved} is that only 120 meters from the shore, the ship sank to the bottom of the fjord only 32 meters below the surface. This happened in front of hundreds of people on the ship’s maiden voyage. I find this completely fascinating!
Below are some pictures I took of a 1:10 scale model of the ship in all its glory:

Over the years, pepple made attempts to recover the ship. Divers were finally able to raise the ship from the bottom of the harbor in 1961333 years after it sank. It took a year and a half and a series of 18 lifts for it to finally reach the surface.

The awesome contraption in the drawings above is shown as a model below. This is a diving bell that they used in the 1600s to retrieve cannon balls and guns.

The museum itself is amazing. You walk in to immediately see the Vasa ship in all it’s glory. There are different exhibits around the museum that teach you not only about the history of the ship from building to sink, but also about the people that were involved, the remains of the people who passed away, the weapons of the time, wars of the time and more.

Above are replicas of the sculptures that adorned the front of the boat in the colors they were believed to have been when it sank. They determined the coloring based on other sculptures of the time and the coloring of the wood. It’s amazing how they can do that after 300 years under water.

Another thing I loved about the museum is that there were 5 different levels with exhibits which meant 5 different angles to see the ship! There was also a free audio tour through the museum that we were able to follow along. This is where I got all my info and fun facts!

Chloe’s favorite part was running around and playing with her daddy in the area that mimicked the size of a gun deck!

Mommy’s favorite part was learning about the history of the boat and the backgrounds of the people who perished in the ship’s sinking. Based on where the bodies were found, what they were wearing and the condition, they were able to determine a proposed cause of death. They also were able to give assumptions on their background and what they were probably doing on the boat!

I had an amazing time at the museum. This place is great for people of all ages, and you don’t have to be an obsessive history buff like me to enjoy it. The story of the ship alone is worth going to see it!
Plus the museum is a happening area, so you can do so much while you’re over there. For instance, eat a delicious Swedish meal! 

After we spent several hours exploring the Vasa, we walked back down Strandvägen and found a park to let Chloe run, play and burn some energy. Another amazing thing about Stockholm {and the other cities I’ve visited in Scandinavia} is there are so many parks to just take a break or play!

Here’s some Chloe just for cuteness…

And there you have it folks, a history lesson on this Friday! If nothing else, you can now go forth and say you learned something today. Or you can pull fun, random fact out of your pocket at work. You’re welcome for that. So happy Friday and have a fabulous weekend y’all!

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