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Tuesday Travel Tip #141

Wind up toy are a BAD idea to keep kids entertained on an airplane.

~when the boys were little they loved wind up toys. I thought perfect small toy to entertain them on a 9 hour flight, we got in the air I wound the toy up, let it go on the tray table and above the airplane hum all I could hear was tick tick tick….. the unwinding of the toy that sounded eerily like a tick tick tick of a bomb counting down….. and glaring looks from the people sitting around us…..

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Mexico Summer 2015 Photo Gallery

A quick little photo tour of our week in Mexico.

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5 Epic Family Bike Rides

5 epic bike rides with the family that you should start planning today!

Le Petite Train du Nord Quebec

Kettle Valley Rail Trail & Myra Canyon British Columbia

photo courtesy of kettlevalleyrailtral.com

Cape Cod Rail Trail Massachusetts 

Costa Brava Rail Trail Spain

The Old Milk Route Norway

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The Best Ice Cream In The World

When our munchkins were little we started to develop “code” words for certain activities i.e.: carp (park) PITA (pain in the a**) and the list goes on. One of the most used when traveling was fagylalt (it is the Hungarian word for Ice Cream, and like melted ice cream, it stuck). Now that the boys have caught on  we have to relay on mental telepathy when we need to communicate with out the boys hearing us. – honestly the telepathy doesn’t work that well, if you have any suggestions let me know…

In the meantime here are some of our favorite ice cream shops around the world:

Dublin Ireland

Murphy’s Ice Cream

Try The Dingle Sea Salt Ice Cream (the Sea Salt comes from the Dingle Sea, it doesn’t get more local then that!) 

Murphy's Ice Cream Dublin

Murphy’s Ice Cream Dublin

Wassenaar Netherlands

Luciano I Jssalon

Best for when you can’t decide between ice cream or coffee – your coffee will come with a small ice cream cone! Amore!

luciano

Ice Cream = Joy (until the sugar high ends….)

Boulder Colorado

Glacier

A Local Favorite!

Glacier Boulder Colorado

Glacier Boulder Colorado

Crested Butte Colorado

Third Bowl

Most amazing selection of dairy free ice cream I have ever seen (hint, try the non dairy cinnamon… heaven on earth)

Third Bowl Crested Butte Colorado

Ahhhh delicious!

Amsterdam Netherlands

Make Your Own Magnum Bar – clearly the most original ice cream idea we have came across!

I have no photos of this experience, but found a great blog that does,

Lifestyle Hunters

When you are in the mood for ice cream and feeling creative

When you are in the mood for ice cream and feeling creative

Steamboat Springs Colorado 

Lyon Drugs Soda Fountain

Best old fashioned ambiance!

Lyon Drug Soda Fountain

Lyon Drugs Soda Fountain

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Pacific Science Center

Mix together cousins a sunny day and a science museum and you have the recipe for a fabulous time.

We left British Columbia to spend a few days in Seattle with cousins. One day of picnicking and swimming, which I forgot the camera for, OMG a day of life not documented in pictures, does that mean we have to remember the day in our minds. I don’t know if that is possible now that life seems to be documented on cameras, blogs, Facebook every day!

Day 2 was the Pacific Science Center. We love the hands on nature of a science museum and had a great time.

Matt got in on the hands on action.

Before we left on vacation, Matt got himself a new bike. Now he might be second guessing that purchase and wanting to trade it in for something like this…

Do you think this will catch on as a new type of velodrome? How strong is that net below if he falls?

Do you think this will catch on as a new style of velodrome?  How strong is that net below if he falls?

 

Steady now, don't fall....

Steady now, don’t fall….

The cousins & Aunt Sally.

Hello

Hello

Cute girl, she hung with the entire gaggle of boys for 2 days straight, poor thing! That is 2 days of sword fighting, water gun fights, and just boy stuff

Cute girl, she hung with the entire gaggle of boys for 2 days straight, poor thing! That is 2 days of sword fighting, water gun fights, and what ever else it is that boys do and talk about.

hmmmm interesting

hmmmm interesting

Zoli is giving me that look that says, "mom if you take one more picture of me..."

Zoli is giving me that look that says, “mom if you take one more picture of me…”

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White Water Rafting in Squamish B.C.

Fantastic day with Zoli and Seamus, rafting on the Cheakamus River with Canadian Outback Adventures in Squamish B.C.

Listening to the pre-rafting instructions, even more frightening then the pre flight instructions on an airplane! At the end they ask if anyone wants to ride back on the bus…..

ummm.... can I sneak back on the bus, these safety instructions are scaring the pants off me!

ummm…. can I sneak back on the bus, these safety instructions are scaring the pants off me!

Or if you are like Seamus, you don’t want anything to do with the instructions, you just want to get on the river!

enough with the scary safety warnings, can we just get on the river!

enough with the scary safety warnings, can we just get on the river!

And we are off, down the river, lots of smiles!

so glad I didn't sneak back on the bus, this was awesome!

so glad I didn’t sneak back on the bus, this was awesome!

Zoli at the helm, just in time to go over the biggest rapids of the trip.

Now you see us…….

Captain Zoli!

Captain Zoli!

Now You Don’t!

Nice Oars!

Nice Oars!

On a mellow part of the river with Seamus up in front!

Look mum, NO HANDS!

Look mum, NO HANDS!

We all loved rafting, luckily we live in Colorado and can do it again when we get home!

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A Perfect Day

It has been said that a picture is worth 1,000 words, so this post will have very few words, and LOTS of pictures.

Last week we had (in my opinion) a perfect day on vacation. Of course it involved all things I love with the people I love!

The day started with an early lunch at The Happy Pear in Graystones, sometimes I think we go to Ireland just so I can eat at their cafe.

After lunch we stopped at the Powerscourt Waterfall. I didn’t know what to expect, as you can see it was STUNNING!!! The boys loved playing in the stream at the bottom of the waterfall and climbing on the rocks

waterfall

View of the waterfall from above (this was taken when we were hiking)

quinn_waterfall

Quinn saying “Ta-Da” I am the king of the waterfall!

Q_Z_waterfall

Zoli trying to say no, I am the king, Quinn looking like he is going to push Zoli off to regain his kingdom! Boys will be boys…. right?

Matt_S_waterfallagain

Seamus & Matt having some guy time on the top of a very high rock that mama didn’t want to climb up… once again, boys will be boys

Matt_S_waterfall

Still up on the really high rock, I’m trying not to think about them falling or how in the heck they are going to get down. Did I mention it was high!

Matt_S_uphigh

At least I thought it was high and sheer… maybe I just worry too much, what do you think? Sheer rock face, raging waterfall behind, slippery rocks, two of the people you love climbing around on there..

waterfall_picnic

getting ready to leave the waterfall and fueling up for our hike.

boys_me

Me and my boys after everyone was safely off all high slippery rocks!

We left the waterfall and for our hike on the Wicklow Way. Have I mentioned how beautiful it is in Wicklow!

street_signs

I think we are in the right place!

Wickow_way_sign

Entrance to the trail. I wonder what we will see along the way…

wicklow_way

Let the adventures begin!

boys_hiking

I felt like we were hiking in a magical forest

boys_hiking_downhill

Downhill…. you can’t see it in the picture but when the boys got to the bottom of the hill there was a sheep on the path!

Wicklow_Way_View

One of the stunning views along the trail. What beautiful weather we had

Wicklow_way_flowers

I loved the purple and yellow flowers

stone_fence

last scenery picture, but how perfect is this stone fence

 

notice the dry shoes on the rock in the left, notice the boy on the left, imagine how boy on left could “bump” shoes on left…. into the river and Seamus had to hike back to the car with wet shoes! ick!

 

4_leaf_clovers

A patch of clovers along the side of the trail – I think they must have brought us good luck, since right after we saw them Seamus was walking on a log that stuck out over the edge and the branch cracked, he was able to grab onto another branch! Yikes, what a moment!

seamus_branch

Here is the branch Seamus was walking on right before it cracked/broke!

And that was our beautiful, perfect day.

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A Sneak Peek

Boarding the plane for Ireland I knew we would have a great time, that it would be wonderful to be back. Honestly, I thought what would I have to post to the blog. We did and saw so much last summer, there can’t be anything more that is “worth writing home about” I thought at the end of the trip I would post a few of my favorite pictures and that would be that.

Holy moly was I wrong, we have had so many more adventures on this most wonderful Island, I don’t even know where to start or how to pick what to blog about first, so here (in random order) is a sneak peak into what we have done the last 8 days.

Viking Boat Tour – great fun! There are a handful of the boats used around the world for tours. All boats were all built in Pontiac Michigan by women during WW2 our boat “Loki” is the only one of the Dublin Fleet that they know for certain was not used during the D-Day Landings, the tour that left before ours, “Thor” is the only one of the fleet they know for certain was used on D-Day. I had no idea we were going to be riding in a part of history. ~Seamus want’s to do a full blog post about the Viking Boat tour, but he is supposed to be falling asleep right now.

Seamus & Nana Kathie after getting drenched in rain! Yikes, glad I got a seat under the roof on the tour

Seamus & Nana Kathie just before getting drenched in rain! Yikes, glad I got a seat under the roof on the tour

DSC_0345

darn, Zoli and I really can pull off the Viking Hat Accessory…. maybe we can bring it back as a new trend in Colorado…

Riverdance at Gaity Theater – after Quinn said, “mom we should do this every summer” I’m so glad we stayed for the second half, the theater was a tad stuffy and I wasn’t sure that the boys were enjoying themselves. To be honest the 2nd half was even better then the 1st and the “dance off” was awesome.

I would like to tell you that we are cultured and sophisticated attending the theater... but the honest truth is the boys were in soccer pants and t-shirts... no civility for the wild men.

I would like to tell you that we are cultured and sophisticated attending the theater… but the honest truth is the boys were in soccer pants and t-shirts… no civility for the wild men.

Played At The Beach – skipped stones, Seamus is even nutty enough to go in the cold cold water, silly boy! He loves it.

I know, you can't see the ocean in this picture, but look at this face, just so cute.

I know, you can’t see the ocean in this picture, but look at this face, just so cute.

Stayed in the best cottage in all of Ireland, seriously it was amazing, I loved Leabeg house, Matt almost had to drag me out of there kicking and screaming!

Just laughing with my brother. Check out the cows in the background!

Hanging out at the cottage, just laughing with my brother. Check out the cows in the background, our new BFF’s

Wicklow Way – we spent an afternoon hiking the Wicklow Way, I don’t think it can get any more Irish then hiking with views of the green mountains and the blue sea in the background, oh and sheep grazing on the trail. Stunning, it was like hiking in a fairy tale.

Moments after I took this picture a sheep walked behind the boys on the path! Although they called it a goat, I think we need to visit more farms so they can learn their animals!

Moments after I took this picture a sheep walked behind the boys on the path! Although they insisted it was a goat, silly boys!

Powerscourt Waterfall – we stopped there on a whim and wow, amazing, another fairy tale setting!

Taa Daa - at the base of Powerscout Waterfall

Taa Daa – at the base of Powerscout Waterfall

Glendalough – the camera battery died right before we got to Glendalough so I didn’t get to take any pictures there.  The boys were equally fascinated and disturbed. Fascinated that the door that was 12 feet in the air so that the munks could use a ladder to get in and then pull the ladder up to escape from danger. Disturbed to be walking on “ancient” grave sites.

Avoca – I want to wrap myself in the georgous blankets they make. I could have spent all day watching the process of the weaving. The boys couldn’t last that long, so we had to leave…..otherwise I would still be there, well they would probably start to think I was nuts and kick me out.  Matt was kind (smart?) to not look to closely when they rang up the bill at the gift shop.

DSC_0448 DSC_0451

 

Oh, and we had dinner in a real castle, stopped (3 times) at my absolute favorite cafe anywhere, The Happy Pear and went horseback riding, but the WIFI (pronounced WEE FEE like a true european) is so so very slow in the hotel and I need to go to sleep. So this sneak peek will have no pictures of the castle or horseback riding… but they are coming

What vacation have you taken where you thought you would have a great time and then had even more fun then you expected?

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The Road Home

It has taken me months to get around to writing this post. In part because we have had so so many things going on and, in part because I was disappointed that our grand adventure ended sooner than we expected it to.

The quick recap of the story is there were some issues with work permits/visas and all that incredibly boring legal stuff that you have to figure out if you don’t want to be living in a country illegally! There may have been some ways to work around the issues, but none of them left us feeling comfortable enough to stay. This was all happening in late August, and we made the painful decision to pack the bags and fly back to the states. Other than knowing we would be back in Boulder we didn’t have a very detailed exit strategy!

Quinn - I love the pout on your face, I felt the same way about leaving!

Quinn – I love the pout on your face, I felt the same way about leaving!

Matt had driven our bags to the hotel, then he drove the car back to the house.  We took a few photos of the boys and walked to the bus stop, where it appropriately started to rain. We enjoyed our second to last double-decker bus ride into Dublin to get some dinner and ice cream before heading to the Bwelys Dublin Airport Hotel for our last night in Dublin.

Burr it's cold and wet and rainy in Ireland in the summer, but don't I look good with dads sweater over my head!

Burr it’s cold and wet and rainy in Ireland in the summer, but don’t I look good with dads sweater over my head!

After months of looking for good mexican food in Europe we found it in Dublin at Acapulco’s on South Great Georges Street in Dublin 2! If you are looking for lively, kid friendly Mexican food in Dublin this is the perfect spot. Quinn was the photographer at the restaurant, most of our pictures from there look like this:

Now that is a good looking picture, Thanks Q!

Now that is a good looking picture, Thanks Q!

Traveling with food allergies can limit us to where we eat, especially desserts.On the bright side, it also leads us to discover great places like Murphys Ice Cream. Ice cream that is handmade in Dingle of all natural/real ingredients it can be found across Ireland and most important the taste is melt in your mouth delicious.

IMG_6712

OK, you have to admit there is nothing more adorable then the boys on this little swing with flowers on the ropes at the ice cream store!

One last ride on a double-decker bus, I know if they had these everywhere they would become as boring as a trip in the car, but there is something about sitting in the front, on the top of a double-decker bus!

A few hours of sleep later we were up and at the Dublin Airport ready to board our flight to London then across the pond and back home. Just to keep things exciting, about 30 minutes into our flight from London the flight attendant came on and announced, “I’m sorry folks, we have detected a technical issue (LONG DRAMATIC PAUSE, giving me enough time to think yes this is it we are crashing for sure) then he continues on to say with the entertainment system! Total heart attack when I thought it was with the plane! Then a minute later I thought, Oh My God 9 hours on a plane with three kids and no entertainment system what are we going to do.A quick reboot of the system and we were all set. Entertainment for Everyone! I do love British Airways

****************************************************************************************************************************

Quick Recap after coming back to the States.

1. A week in FL – greeted by Tropical Store Isaac and a trip to Disney World

2. Moved into our new house, boys went back to school

3. Boys playing hockey – Go Jaguars, had a great time at our Tournament in Vail and the Pond Hockey Tournament at Evergreen lake. If you are ever in Colorado during the winter a trip to Evergreen Lake is a must. Well, unless you are from Canada or Minnesota where skating on frozen ponds is not unusual at all! Up next a hockey tournament in Chicago – did you know you can skate at the top of the John Hancock Tower or at Wrigley Field, I don’t know what one sounds more exciting. Maybe we will get a chance to try them both!

4. LOVE being able to shop at Whole Foods again and know what I am buying 🙂

5. Hopefully planning a ski trip to Winter Park sometime this winter and something small for Spring Break….. tossing around the idea of another European Trip as soon as we can (next summer????) Where would you go?

P.S. If you made it to the end of this post you have a longer attention span then I do! I had to sit down three times just to finish writing this!

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Croagh Patrick

 

Croagh Patrick, the holy mountain, a place of ancient history. It was on the summit of this mountain in 441AD that St. Patrick, the holy saint of Ireland, fasted for 40 days. – lucky for the boys we only planned on hiking to the top and back down again…. not to mention the multiple snack breaks along the way!

The summit of Croagh Patrick from the parking lot – it didn’t look too bad from here……

Somewhere in the last few weeks the boys have found out just how much fun it is to give each other bunny ears…. not to mention the activity is portable and can be done anywhere….. even at the bottom of a sacred mountain!

Trying to give each other bunny ears just never gets old!

The hike was a rocky one…. which means one awesome thing, lots of rocks to smash against each other! Super Rock Factory all the way up the mountain!

Hey Mom, “This Rocks”!

Even though the boys snacked all the way up we still had to stop for an official “lunch break” If only the view was a little bit better 🙂

Half Way Up, boys still smiling – most of the time!

Yum, those are some delicious cheeks!

The final push up the mountain got a bit tough…. the boys started to lose their smiles, especially when we thought we were at the top, and it was a false peak….luckly it wasn’t much further and then we were at the top…. and what a view it was. I think the boys were all impressed with the view and with themselves for sticking with it and making it to the top! I know I was proud of them! It was quite a hike!

Yeah! The Top! – And Their Smiles Came Back!

 

Wow, look at that view of Clew Bay! Stunning!

Although it was a sunny day when we left when we made it to the top we were in a cloud!

Hey Mom! I’m In A Cloud!

 

My Love!

Quinn has proclaimed that if I’m not too old for him when he gets older he is going to marry me….. he likes to sneak into my arms anytime Matt and I are together 🙂 He’s a handsome kid so I don’t mind 🙂

Quinn likes to weasel his way in between Matt and I :)!

After admiring the views we headed down…. the kids spirits lifted on the way down and they started to get silly!

It’s A Lot Easier To Be Silly On The Way Down!

I have no idea what lead to this picture, but it cracks me up!

AHHHHH……

Matt, Shea and Quinn made it down before Zoli and I, so I only Z was blessed enough to get his picture taken with St. Patrick

Zoli on the way down

 

After we made it down the mountain we were all STARVING and headed into the adorable town of Westport (my new favorite town in Ireland) for dinner! The stars just kept aligning, we found a place that served Gluten Free Pizza! With a movie in the car, a hike and gluten-free pizza for dinner Zoli may have had his best day ever!

Despite all the fun we had, I think next weekend might have to be a little less physical activity!!! The boys were pretty exhausted from the hike! I think we will be looking for a swimming pool or amusement park for our next adventure!

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