Evening Walk

This post was supposed to be a wordless Wednesday but apparently it did not go across as planned so I’ll elaborate a bit.
Moose, Lil Bit, Scarlett (puppy) and I have been taking afternoon walks (late afternoon because it’s so very hot) following dinner each evening. I keep feeling down and restless lately and this has helped. I miss my grandmother a lot lately. I get busy and then think about calling her and realize I can’t. We’ve always done some “back to school” type shopping together this time of year even when I wasn’t in school, even if we didn’t buy anything and just walked, talked and had lunch. This particular evening (2 nights ago) I was particularly down while we were walking and the storm clouds looming in the distance reflected my mood. We decided to turn back and head towards the house. As we did I noticed a rainbow and shared it with my family. My Nana loved Hawaii where she and my Papa had gone a few times and the culture. She had told me about (how she was told) that the rainbow was a pathway to heaven. Now I don’t know how true this is but When I saw it a few days ago it brought me comfort of a kind memory maybe even as a sign from the heavens, however you may take it. Either way it brought me a little peace as we walked home together.

Dublin Part 2

It is sooo incredibly difficult to narrow down our adventures to a few photos for you guys but I’m trying to limit it to things you don’t typically see in the travel magazines or on travel sites.

After we left Trinity we headed towards Guinness but stopped by a very hole-in-the-wall pub where we had some amazing food and beer.

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Mmm..brown bread and Guinness beef stew….

I saw some awesome historic buildings along the way (I’m a sucker for the old school architecture and the modern lines just don’t work for me)

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We also found this place hilariously (and aptly named) as it was super tiny on the inside.

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We became side-tracked by passing alongside the Dublin Castle and were intrigued so we stopped and did the tour. Of note, if you are looking at doing several historic sites while there, it may be worthwhile to consider the OPW card for 25 Euros that includes many of the sites we visited and you don’t have to worry about paying each place you go and is good for 1 year. The castle was interesting and the manor area was also worth seeing once but I really loved the cathedral best.

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As you can see, little bit was less than excited about the dank underground castle wall. The view from the courtyard, inside the manor and then the beautiful church and some of its intricate detailing is shown next. None of the people are us or related so nevermind them. 🙂

The Guinness tour followed and by then we were both excited but tired. It had been a long day and because it was staying light so long compared to where we live, we lost track of time and it was getting late.

If you are quirky and have a good sense of humor you will enjoy some of the exhibits (yes, that is a whistling clam and a fish riding a bike), if not you will probably still enjoy the 360 bar with your free pint at the top. The best view in Dublin by far. We stayed up there until last call and when everyone started migrating back down the stairs. It was just lovely. (For those of you like me who don’t really do dark beer, they did have Stella Artois Cidre there and it was yummy!)

The next day was a little less fun as we were driving across country to Tralee and before we could even make it out of Dublin we got in a fender-bender. Everyone was ok (and thank God for rental car insurance) but we had to wait forever on another car at the rental car agency and the family was tired and cranky as we made it out of Dublin until we hit the countryside. Another post for another day though! *Suspenseful music plays in the background*

 

 

Airplane Travel with Lil Bit

I told you I would let you know what worked well for us and what didn’t.

What we’ve tried:

Snacks

  • dried apple, pear and strawberry/banana slices that are in individual serving packs
  • almonds
  • carrots
  • raisins and craisins
  • a cheese stick
  • animal cookie/crackers
  • Cliff Bars

I packed most of her snacks into a plastic, clear “tackle box” that we bought for just this purpose.

Toys

  • Ipad with:
  • Her small pillow
  • Nintendo DS with a few age appropriate games
    • Nintendogs
    • Horsez
    • Cooking Mama (I even like this one)
    • Spyro
    • A few others like Mario and Kirby that she likes to try but can’t really play well
  • Coloring/activity books
  • Highlights High Five magazine x 2 (for younger kids)
  • A few small story books
  • Child headphones
  • A “comfy” animal (stuffed)

I left the tackle box in the fridge on the way to the airport but the dried fruit and cliff bars as well as the bags of crackers and animal cookies were awesome both there and the way home.

The Disney movies and iPad games were life-savers. She slept most of the long flight to Europe but on the way home really needed the iPad. Every 30 mins she was asking if we were there yet :). She did play the Nintendo some but honestly Josh and I used it to play retro nintendo games on there more than she utilized it. The coloring and activity books helped as well while we were actually in Ireland. She colored when she was up while everyone was getting ready and packing.

I don’t feel like we shouldn’t have brought any of the things we did but I maybe think there were some better choices. We also bought a lot of stuff while we were over there because it was way cheaper than we had planned for originally. I had packed an extra travel duffle and we ended up buying a second with wheels there for all of our souvenirs (many).

Exploring Dublin

We’ve officially spent our first full day in Ireland and Dublin. We arrived to the airport and then went to pick up our rental car which took quite awhile. Little Bit did AMAZING on the flight there and slept most of it (unlike the 3 adults). This was our first peak out the airplane window!

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We don’t plan on using it much through Dublin but will be using it to drive to Tralee in 2 days. My first impression once we got to our hotel was that the food was way better than anticipated. We drove to find a hair dryer and straightener from the pharmacy and it took 3 tries before we ended up all the way in St Stevens Green shopping centre where we then met a nice merchant who suggested we get out of Dublin ASAP and head towards the countryside, lol. We told him our plans and he made a few recommendations and suggested we avoid Kilarenny and go ahead towards CO Kerry that there was some beautiful places to visit and see “although the roads aren’t brilliant” and the drive might take closer to 5 hrs than the 4 we thought.


We left there and swung by the mall at St Stevens Green which is another beautiful piece of architecture. We found it especially humorous that TJ Max is TK Max over there. Not sure why they feel the need for the letter change but there you have it.

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On the way out we stopped by Butler’s Chocolate Cafe where I bought one of the best cups of hot chocolate I’ve had in my entire life for €3.50. They also gave me a free chocolate to go with it and I got the Butter Praline which was good as well. The next day however when we stopped by and ALL got a cup (The Princess, my sister, got a white chocolate and Moose a Mocha which they use the hot chocolate with the coffee)we tried the shaved white that was phenomenal.
We were exhausted by the time we got back to our lovely, rather nicer than expected room with a Queen bed and two singles. We didn’t really eat dinner and all of us proceeded to sleep 11-13 hours each.

We woke up the next morning and were at it again bright and early to try to get both breakfast and to make it to Trinity College and Guinness to play true-to-form tourists for the day.

I loved Trinity College but then again I’m a nerd. Here you can enjoy the back of my head along with views of the courtyard facing those gorgeous 200+year OREGON oaks. Lol.

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It was beautiful, the tour was fun, interesting and I got to go to the library…the only thing I cared about why we were in Dublin.

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Incidentally, we have discovered a new challenge. Apparently this gold snitch-like sculpture has brothers/sisters around the world.

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My family and I hope to have our pictures taken with them all at some point or another. At least we like the idea of it. We very much enjoyed the tour and left to explore some more of downtown Dublin and head towards Guinness.

To Be Continued….

Travelbug

We have been packed as I said but I’ve been trying to compile a nice amount of activities for the little one. We are also bringing snacks! I know I showed you my carry-on before but little ones is ready to go.

We got this porter series from REI on sale after not being able to find something we liked. 


It folds down nearly flat when there is nothing in it which is necessary for storage let me tell you. It also has multiple carry handles and backpack straps. Again I’m in love with these at this stage but I’ll let you know how it goes.

Our carry-on for her is the comet from them as well. Again I promise you Osprey had not given me anything! But we do love these.


The sticker/coloring books are where a laptop would actually go nicely. 

Her carry-on will include:

  • Snacks
  • 1 coloring book
  • 1 activity book+another sticker interactive book
  • Crayons/colored pencils
  • Nintendo DS we got used at our local gaming store + charger
  • iPad + charger
  • Highlights High Five magazine x 2
  • A few small books
  • A double-sided toy story book


I’ll add a few pics of the snacks when they are ready tomorrow. We are also bringing an empty water bottle for spill saftey.

On Hubby

Have you just been doing some mundane task say laundry or the dishes and talking to your spouse and realized you absolutely got it right with them for the millionth time? I mean seriously, who else gets your quirky sense of humor and sideways movie/music references like your spouse?

I always tell him that I’d love to be married to me because I’m awesome (jokingly of course… mostly) but truth is I’m very lucky. Do not get it twisted, he’s not perfect but he’s pretty wonderful as a husband and a dad. He’s also the romantic in the relationship. I’m usually the one who struggles to pick a present or choose somewhere to go, he on the other hand seems to have some endless source of awesome surprises at hand. I’m the practical one (to a fault in many cases) and he’s the dreamer.

I feel like while we may have that a bit backwards, we also just…work. In lieu of all that lovey-dovey mush, I’m once again admitting I’m terrible with presents and have been told by the Moose that he didn’t want anything for this past birthday nor does he want anything specific for Father’s Day because we will be out of the county but I can’t help feeling I’d like to do something for him with Lil Bit of course. Any good ideas out there?

Countdown

As I write this we are 8 days out from our very first trip “across the pond” I have had some serious education on travel packing and I hope it’s worth its salt. 
The Moose is the researcher and vacation is the one aspect of my life I try not to be a control freak over. I’m not sure if my hubby is that awesome at vacation planning or if I’m in that much of need of a vacation by the time I get one…

I’ll  tell you what we bought and will put the links in only if it ends up working well because no one is paying me anything or giving me anything for free so I don’t want to advertise for something if I don’t love it and find it worthwhile. Something I am totally in love with however that the Moose bought are these backpacks by Osprey and unless they disintegrate (they have a warranty if they do) I can only foresee us using them regularly for trips. 


I also packed a rather large and softish purse full of fun things and my makeup. I love that I can carry the backpack with the shoulder strap, the side handle or as a backpack. We did the whole packing cube thing and I’m glad because I like them for OCD and squeezing purposes if for nothing else.

 


I’m most nervous about flying with Lil Bit because she’s 4 and the international flight is overnight. If I can get her to sleep then I will sleep otherwise this mama bear will be exactly that by the time we land.

We are loading the tablets up with games and a couple of Disney movies that we love, taking a Nintendo and coloring books and as many snacks as they will let me bring. 

I’ll post more once I find out if any of this is worth it! Lol. 

Good for the Soul Kinda Weekend

Friday ended up being a surprise date-night for hubby and I when I called to invite a friend and her daughter to dinner with us and she said yes but then called back and said that her hubby was getting off of work early and didn’t really want to go out so why didn’t she keep Lil Bit and let her play while we went out. This is probably something normal for most folks but we don’t go out much without Lil Bit despite the fact that we know we should. I think we have that duel-working-parents guilt so time not at work should be spent with our child.

Anyways, the stars continued to align and we made excellent timing to a restaurant that my husband had made a reservation which apparently ended up being pointless as we walked right on in, something usually unheard of on a Friday night. I guess the ran or threat of had held everyone off….

Then Saturday baby girl and I made excellent time to go to the local Farmer’s Market, got everything we came for, grass-fed, free-range milk, fresh goat cheese, handmade pastas, and Merlot salt. The weather, normally hot at the time of day we attended the market, was gorgeous. When we came home the rain came down, we spent a lovely evening with my husband, curled on the sofa watching old Disney movies and eating popcorn.

My good fortune continued when the rain had stopped the next day, the three of us headed to do some volunteer work for our local state park. Afterwards we headed to the beach where we thoroughly enjoyed all the beauty and relaxation that pre-tourist season and cloudy weather offer.

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When we’d all had just a little too much sun and not enough food in our bellies, we drove back to civilization and enjoyed another quicker-than-normal meal, it started raining on the way back home but the rough weather held out until we were home and bathed. That night after hubby and I put Lil Bit to bed we heard the whippoorwill crank up outside and opened the backdoor to our own little serenade….I think we just all have to be grateful for small blessings like these. Those moments we hold onto in the weariness of days coming when it’s all we can do to make it through the work day, kick off our shoes and start cooking dinner, caring for kids and albeit crawling into bed. I hope it gets me through this work week before our family mini-vacay. Anyways, here’s hoping your weekend was a good.

A New Year of New Mondays

Today was our first “Mommy and Lil Bit day” of the new year.

You know how on very rare days you manage to stretch out the minutes and fit everything in that you intended to accomplish into those precious hours? Somehow I managed to do that today and if this is any indication of how the new year will go I am looking forward to living it up. I have about 12 hours or so one day a week to try to pack in as much mommy time as possible and it is a lot of pressure especially if Lil Bit is having a bad day.

I have found in this brief but enlightening journey as a mom of a now 3 year old, that I have set up my idea of being a good mom in such a way that I will never know a guilt-free moment. Now this guilty train of thought is not necessarily in a mindful way, but almost completely subconscious, likely based on my nursing/medical background, pinterest, mothering books and my OWN mother–all of these things adding pressure and driving my already overachieving brain to be the best sort of mom. So much so that I sometimes catch myself being a crappy mom in the process….

Not going to lie, I totally googled “working mom guilt” and after flipping through a few articles I found this. The article is from a few years ago but it feels all to fitting, however she herself seems unable to offer a solution to the problem.

Looking back at my beginnings as a mother, I set my alarm when my infant slept through the night so that I could make sure there was (barely) enough pumped breastmilk to get her through the next night I worked (12 hr night-shifts wreak havoc on your prolactin levels) and cried when I spilled a 2oz bottle the first week I went back to work after pumping–in the breakroom because we did not have a lactation room. I probably would have made more milk and been a better, kinder full-time working, graduate-school-attending mom if I had gotten a good night’s rest instead. I get so preoccupied with how things are supposed to be, trying to find decent prices/coupons on organic food or meal-prepping for the week so that we can eat “cleaner” that I miss an opportunity to play with my child or teach her something new. I KNOW in my heart that it is better to be one-on-one with her and to give her a kind, caring, mother rather than a completely organic and balanced diet and every Barbie for her bless-ed dream house but my head tells me these are things that matter.

After today, where I actually spent the majority of the day WITH my daughter and not just in the same household as her, I remember why I went down to a 4 day work week and I think that this may be why the whole household has been more balanced today. Today also gives me pause and makes me consider an underlying, additional New Years Resolution…to be a mom to the best of my REALISTIC abilities rather than those that I have superimposed on myself. Wish me luck!

Happy New Year/The 2014 Wrap Up

Every year has it’s ups and downs and while overall 2014 was a fairly good year I’m hoping for my family, and yours of course, that 2015 will be very good to everyone.

So far at the start of 2015 I have 5 pregnant friends, some with their first, others with their 3rd. I’ve already started knitting again to be able to send off baby blankets to the newbie parents and instead of donating some of Little Bit’s baby toys, I’ve set them aside in case some of them have girls.

Work seems to be going okay; I’ve always loved what I actually do but I’m not a fan of office politics and sometimes they make going into work difficult.

Little Bit is growing like a weed. Santa was exceptionally good to her and the Moose and I had to rearrange her room to fit the gigantic Barbie Dreamhouse in there. I think it’s hilarious that she’s also playing with my late1980s/early90s Barbie Camper and some actually Barbies (which are made of significantly higher quality than the newer ones and this bums me out as a mom). Also the old clothing is still in good shape and is also mainly cotton vs nylon hoochie disasters from Target.

The Moose is continuing his mission of fitness and wants 20 inch arms by July. He ended the new year with 18 1/2 inches. All looks the same to me….I am still on/off my fitness plan. I think the universe wishes me to remain short and fluffy as every time I get into a good routine I end up with bronchitis or injury some body part. I’m currently confined to yoga and upper body as I literally tore the medial aspect of my calf muscle playing tennis. Fan-damn-tastic right? Especially in the middle of the holidays where goodies are everywhere. I’ll get back on track though–my mother-in-law and sister-in-law want me to do a Disney Princess 1/2 marathon with them in 2016 so I’ll have to be able to jog/run part of the way to get to take pics with the characters.

Our family and my personal New Year’s Resolutions consist of the following: paying off some debts, saving money for our Eurotrip, and being happy!

I leave you with the pic of Little Bit picking oranges at her Aunt’s house…she ate nine, NINE! oranges on this particular day. 🙂

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