Posts Tagged With: travel

9 Reasons Why Kids Will Fall In Love With The Magic Of Ireland

It’s easy to see why this magical island will become your childs first true love. Ireland offers the illusion that just around the next corner there could be a leprechaun, fairy or pot of gold waiting to be discovered. Become mesmorized by all this country naturally offers. Travel, Explore and fall in Love with the Magic of Ireland. xx
RUSH HOUR CAN GET A LITTLE HAIRY
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“Honey, I’m going to be a little late getting home tonight, traffic is a little hairy”

WATERFALLS EVERY WHERE YOU LOOK
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I’m convinced if you look hard enough you will find fairy houses at the Powerscourt Waterfall

CASTLES AROUND EVERY CORNER
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Feast like a king at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

UNLEASH YOUR INNER VIKING
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From the Viking Museum to Viking Boats your little one will learn how to raid and pillage like the best of them.

DOUBLE DECKER BUSES
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Twice As Fun As a Normal Bus!

SEARCH FOR THE ELUSIVE POT OF GOLD AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW
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Sometimes the end of the rainbow happens to be at the Leprechaun Museum on Jarvis street in Dublin

 THE SHOW MUST GO ON
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 Gaiety Theater for a performance of River Dance… but the honest truth is the boys were in soccer pants and t-shirts… no civility for the wild men.

TAKE A HIKE
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Running downhill like a mountain goat

GREENER FARM MAZE
Irish Man Cave

Irish Man Cave At Greener Farm Maze 

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Categories: Dublin, Family Travel, Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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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?

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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

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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!

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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..

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

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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!

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I think we are in the right place!

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

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Let the adventures begin!

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I felt like we were hiking in a magical forest

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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!

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

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I loved the purple and yellow flowers

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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!

 

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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!

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

And that was our beautiful, perfect day.

Categories: Family Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

Categories: Dublin, Expat Life, Family Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A Sunday Afternoon in Heidelberg

It started out like any other Sunday, we drove by the International School the boys would be shadowing at the next day…. oh wait, that is not how most Sundays start out……… in fact nothing the last few weeks has been like any other we have known! (both the good and the bad!)

To say everyday has been an adventure since we left Boulder 3 weeks ago would be a serious under statement! However, this specific Sunday started out with us driving by/getting lost on the campus of the international school the boys would be shadowing/interviewing at the next day and ended with a beautiful hike up the Crooked Lane to Philosophenweg in Heidelberg, but lets explain how one activity led to the next.

It has been an amazing opportunity to travel around and see so many different countries and cultures over the last few weeks, however, Matt and I (and the boys) are all feeling the pull to know where we are going to settle down, get a house and return to “normal”. All of us were excited to get into Frankfurt and know that this week we would look at schools in Frankfurt, Berlin and Freiburg. We like to drive by places to get a feel for them before we need to be there for “real”. On Sunday we drove around the campus, in Frankfurt, felt a bit deflated from our excitement, when the campus was not exactly what we thought it would be, but were still excited to see it “for real” the next day.

**and incase you were wondering how the school shadow visit went…. I should have picked up on the fact that graffiti was all over the campus and right near the primary building someone had spray painted fuck, was not a good sign.Then when we picked the boys up and Zoli said (in his scratchy little voice) “it was horrible” and Shea said, “it was so boring, the math class was working on things I did in 1st grade”(two years ago!) We knew it was not the right place for us!!**

Ok, back to Sunday, sorry to jump around so much. When we left  the campus, we saw a sign for Heidelberg and it was only 49K, (yup, I am so Euro now talking in kilometers, of course I have no idea how far a kilometer is…… ) Matt said, “I have heard Heidelberg is a cute town, want to go?” so we made a quick turn away from Frankfurt and headed toward Heidelberg. Kids singing in the backseat of the car. They love that I can video tape them on the iPad, and they try to out perform one another.

(insert video)

We get off the highway at the ausfahrt (or exit ramp, but you can imagine how much the boys like any word that sounds like it ends in fart) and with in seconds Matt got a speeding ticket from the “lightning”a speed camera (sorry Matt, that I am sharing this story, but since you posted it on Facebook I assume it is public knowledge” and, the ticket relates to the rest of the story) Feeling pretty deflated from the crummy school, the rain, a speeding ticket etc… we parked and headed up to the main square. We were sitting on a bench while the boys played tag, (yup, most of my photos on the blog are of the boys playing tag in different public squares in Europe) and played around in the town square.

Na na na na na na you can’t catch me!

I just love this smile – even if he is probably scheming behind that cute face!

Hmmm… no matter how much I think about this, I can’t figure out why my parents are dragging me all over the world, can’t we just stay home!!

Ahh well, I guess if my parents dragged me all the way over here, I might as well be silly and have some fun!

As we sat watching the boys play tag, this kind women sitting near us started talking to us, she has three granddaughters who live in the US, and thought our boys were adorable. We got to talking and Matt brought up that he just got a ticket, and she pulled out a HUGE bottle of beer from her husbands backpack and gave to Matt to make his day brighter and when he refused to take it she insisted “in the name of her relatives that have passed on.” Her and her husband were originally from Romania, and she told us that there is a Romanian phrase that people say when they offer a gift to another is they are offering the gift in honor of fmaily that has passed on. It is considered a sign of great disrespect to refuse the gift. She also told us about the famous Crooked Lane that leads up to the Philosophers Way with beautiful views of the city and castle.

Matt’s thinking to himself…. it’s been a loooong morning, will anyone notice if I drink this now? 🙂

After hearing about the Crooked Lane & Philosophers Way, named for the University Professors and Philosophers that were said to walk along this path years ago, we headed across the bridge to check them out.

I bet all our friends in Boulder (where the weather is hot and sunny) are jealous of all our sweaters :)! Seriously will summer EVER come to Europe?

Hmmmm……I wonder how cold that water is???? And why has no one ever built a slide into it, now that could be fun….

Quinn’s thinking, “it’s great they built this bridge with peep-holes for someone my size”

The view of the Heidelberg Castle as we crossed the bridge:

The boys wonder, Mom, “how did the castle get bombed?” I wonder….. I wonder what the dresses looked like at any great events held in the castle…. just one of many differences between boys and girls 🙂

The view from the base of the Crooked Path that lead up the hillside to Philosophers Way

We started our walk up the crooked lane:

It felt like we were walking into a fairy tale!

The view of town from halfway up the Crooked Lane:

If only I could find a nice view around this place 🙂

The boys halfway up – one of the many benefits of having “Colorado kids” is that they don’t balk (too much) at having to climb hills!

Bunny Ears Have Been Very Popular This Trip, They Never Get Old……..

We reached the top of the Crooked Lane and were rewarded with this stunning view of the city, well Matt and I loved the view, I think the boys were more interested in attacking small bushes with sticks as we walked along Philosophers Way….. boys will be boys right???

Turns out that Heidelberg is a pretty great place to spend a Sunday afternoon! Matt, I’m glad you took us there for the day!

He’s been working on his smile (for pictures) it’s getting there! What a sweet kid 🙂

Categories: Family Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Celebrating 10 Beautiful Years

**I was trying to keep these blog posts in chronological order…. somehow that idea got steamrolled and now they are all over the place (time wise). I think getting out-of-order had something to do with crappy “spotty” internet access and wanting to get Shea’s Harry Potter Birthday Post up right after his birthday and Zoli’s Eiffel Tower post up in time to share with his classmates before the end of the school year. Now that we are all out of chronological order, watch out things could get really crazy 🙂 and just for background information, our 10 year anniversary was on May 18th 2012**

You may now kiss the bride!

Wow, It really has been ten years since the “Great” Rent-A- Reverend, (AKA Revrend Love Joy) officially pronounced us husband and wife, at the beautiful Peaceful Valley Ranch and Chapel outside of Boulder Colorado. Over the last ten years we have survived the birth and first nine years of being parents to three handsome,most of the time well-behaved little men, as well as surviving at least 5 moves, and countless travel adventures together! ~Shea keeps saying to me, but mom can’t we spend a summer at home. I think there is a good possibility the boys may grow up to live in a quiet little suburb and never go further than their own drive way since we are dragging them all over the place. Or I guess they could grow up to all live in different countries around the world……but then I would miss them sooooo much I would have to follow them everywhere and their future wives/girlfriends would think wow, you have a crazy mom (AKA too much baggage, and I mean emotional baggage that the kids will have not, my bags filled with all my shoes)

Thanks my love for all the great memories thus far, I can’t wait to see what we do with the next ten years!

Although we didn’t get a moment away from our three little men on our anniversary we did get to spend it in the English Countryside.

I woke up in our lovely stone cottage,

Of course it has one of the adorable half doors, it’s a stone cottage in the English Countryside!

to a bouquet of  beautiful spring flowers that Matt had purchased  at the neighboring Hartley Farm Shop & Cafe

Why Yes, I Do Have a Fabulous Husband

Of course I can’t pass up an opportunity to explore a farm shop before we headed into the town of Bath, Matt took us all back to the farm shop. While I ogled over the fresh produce the boys spent some time with Norbert & Jeremy  the guinea pigs.

But mom, why can’t I have a guinea pig for a pet?

and said ‘allo (trying to sound British while saying hello) to the horse

‘allo horse.

We may not look quite as good as we did in our wedding picture but, I wanted to have a photo of Matt and I together on our anniversary. Quinn was our photographer of the moment. I think for only being 4 years old he didn’t do too bad… or at least it is better than the other shot he took of us, from our waist to our knees…….

Oh, what a cute couple 🙂

Of course no ones tenth anniversary is complete with out a rousing game of mini golf with the kids. (Matt had a meeting for work so he had to head back to the cottage) Yup, mini golf is as “awesome” in England as it is in the US…. hmmm…. I wonder if mini golf in Holland has extra windmills on the course…..

The flag is a very important job in mini golf. Zoli is taking his position very seriously.

A hush falls over the crowd as Shea prepares for his final putt at the third hole.

Even though my mom hadn’t given me a bath in days she still thinks I look adorable in this pic 🙂

Then the boys and I checked out the traditional English phone booth, I mean really no trip to the UK is complete with out two things, riding a double-decker bus, (checked that off our list in London) and checking out the red phone booths. Of course first I had to explain to the kids what a phone booth is and why they have them when people could just use their cell phones to make a phone call, and were penny loafers really made so you could carry two dimes to make a phone call if you needed to? – OK, getting off topic, quick insert a picture and stop typing…..

hmmm… is this a time machine?

Our chauffeur for the day, oh, I’m sorry, I mean Matt, picked us up and we headed back to the cottage. Before I made dinner, with groceries from the farm store 🙂  I was able to got out for a run on this amazing country lane. It was distracting, every few minutes I had to stop and gaze at the beauty around me, stone fences covered in ivy and raspberry bushes, fields with sheep. Amazing!

This is my happy look how beautiful it is here pre run pose.

Wow, I sure do look blazing fast in this picture (yes this is dripping heavy with sarcasm)

So, there we go, a beautiful way to celebrate 10 beautiful years.

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Play Date At Pointe du Hoc

The boys running wild through Pointe du Hoc, up and down crater holes carved by the fierce bombardment from years ago, and in and out of what is left of the damaged German bunkers. The boys may always remember this as the greatest play date ever!

**A little history behind this play date, the boys go to school with two brothers, one in Zoli’s class, one is Shea’s class, and we seem to always be vacationing in or around the same area as their family, our travel plans so randomly cross paths that I think in a past life we must have traveled in a covered wagon caravan together across the great plains. Needless to say when I found out they were going to be in France not far from us, I was not all that surprised, very happy about it, but not totally surprised!**

This morning, we left our serene country cottage, or Gite as they say in here, in the heart of Frances Brittany Peninsula and drove up to Normandy where we would meet up with the Hanson Family.

All I can say is this place was Awesome!

First stop Pointe du Hoc. Of course in true Brady fashion we were late…. I would like to blame it on the kids, but I’m not really sure I can this time around! We easily found our friends, remember I told you we have this weird travel connection thing.

**Quick little history lesson, see how educational this blog is 🙂 , Pointe du Hoc is the location where the newly formed United States Army Ranger Group had to scale 100 feet cliffs in order to destroy the German guns that were in striking distance of both Omaha & Utah Beach, and would threaten the landing of allied forces on these beaches.**  

Of course much of this history was lost on the boys, but they loved running around with their friends. I think it was their best day of our trip/move so far!

I’ve got my eye on you, no funny business in there!

After the boys ran around for a while, we left Pointe du Hoc so that we could stop by the Omaha Beach Memorial Museum. Once again I am sure much of the significance of the museum was lost on the boys. However, they were pretty enamored by the “big guns” that they saw, I don’t know what it is about boys, we are certainly not a “gun loving” household and yet they are still in awe of tanks, and canyons and anything that blows up or causes a big boom. It’s possible I will just never understand this fascination.   I will admit that I thought the museum was really well put together and to be honest very moving. Reading the stories and reflecting on the sacrifices made by so many men, I couldn’t think about it too much or I would have been a crying mess. It is a place where it is easy to let your emotions overcome you!

WOW, that cannon is a LOT bigger then I am!

After the museum we took the boys down to Omaha Beach where they had a blast playing in the sand,the surf, building sand castles (that were being defended by plastic army guys, thanks museum gift shop) and they even had their first glimpse of “Naked Girl On French Beach”

Just having a play date in France

Why yes, this photo does show off my true photographic skills…. it showcases five boys that are all looking at the camera with smiles or near smiles on their faces. I am not sure this has ever before happened in all of the photographic world :)! ~Thanks boys for putting up with “just one more picture”

Much too quickly, our play date in Normandy had come to an end. Thanks so much Hanson Family, it was great to see you guys and get a little “taste of home”! Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

Au Revoir Mes Amis

Categories: Family Travel, France | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Zoli’s Travel Journal – The Eiffel Tower

*** mom’s note. In Kindergarten this year Zoli learned about the Eiffel tower. When we told the boys we were going to Europe, one of his first questions was, can we see the Eiffel Tower…. turns out it was as awesome as he hoped it would be. Here is Zoli’s version of our visit to the Eiffel Tower. ***

Ready To Explore Paris With My Mom & Brothers!

My first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower was from the train going across the Seine River, My brother Quinn was the first to spot it. I looked up and couldn’t believe it was really the real Eiffel Tower. WOW!

LOOK Mom! The Eiffel Tower!

The train stopped at the train station, we got off and followed the signs. There were guys trying to sell mini Eiffel Towers. These guys were talking really loud & fast. My mom told me and Shea and Quinn we had to wait until we were at the official Eiffel Tower gift shop. We kept walking and got closer and closer to the Eiffel Tower, The first thing I noticed was the arch was bigger then I thought it would be and that the color was different then I thought it would be. I thought it would be a darker black. At night it is all lit up, I didn’t see it lit up but I would like to go back at night so that I could.  Even the ground it was on was also bigger. I thought there was enough space to play a really big game of tag with my dad brothers and all my friends!

I was really excited to go to the top, the elevator line was super-duper long (2.5 hour wait) ! So we decided to climb the stairs to the second floor,  We walked to the second level and it was 669 steps! I was passing people, my mom called me and my brothers mountain goats!

669 Steps, No Problem For A Colorado Kid!

After we walked the stairs up to the second level, we got to take an elevator the rest of the way to the very top! The view from the top was really cool, the It people looked like little toy army men! My brother thought the boats on the river looked like the size of a ruler from the top of the Eiffel tower!

I’m At The Top Of The Eiffel Tower!

View from the top of the Eiffel Tower

Looking Down From The Eiffel Tower!

 

I thought there was going to be a pizza restaurant on the top, but I didn’t see one. but I did get to share some Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream with my brothers. Yum!

Yup, Ice Cream Does Taste Great On The Eiffel Tower!

Did you know in the winter they have an ice rink on the Eiffel Tower! Maybe I will go back around Christmas time and skate there!

Zoli has a friend going to Paris soon and I asked if he had any tips for his friend when they visit the Eiffel Tower, he said, “Bring a sweater is’s cold here, and try to get Ben & Jerry’s ice cream when you are visiting the Eiffel Tower – beg your mom for some if you have to”

Me & My Brothers At The Eiffel Tower!

 

Categories: Colorado, Expat Life, Family Travel, Paris | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

Shea’s Travel Journal – Harry Potter Studio Tour

For my 9th birthday my mom and dad took me and my brothers to the Harry Potter Studio Tour just outside of London, it was really cool!

There was a long line, while we were waiting I saw pictures of the characters in the Harry Potter Films, and there was a flying car,with one blinking headlight, hanging from the ceiling.

hmmm… I wonder if I can take a flying car to school some day… then maybe I won’t be late like I am when my mom drives me!

The line also went by Harry’s cupboard under the stairs. It didn’t look comfortable, and I learned that a cupboard in England is what I would call a closet at home in the States. I would hate to have my bedroom be in a closet!

Well, at least it wouldn’t take to long to clean a bedroom this size!

After we got through the line (or queue as they call it here) we went into a room where it showed some scenes from the making of Harry Potter. Then it was time to enter the great hall. The doors looked just like the doors to Hogwarts in the movie. I heard some one call my name and I found out that because it was my birthday they chose me to open the doors into the Great Hall!! It was a little bit embarrassing to be in front of that many people. It was also a little bit cool, the doors were surprisingly light, but at first I thought you were supposed to pull the doors (in the movie I remember them opening out) it turns out at the studio tour they pushed in!

When my mom told me I was going to be going to a new school when we move, I never thought it would be Wizarding School!

WOW, the Great Hall!

The tour was split into three sections, two indoor and one outdoor.

The Great Hall can fit 28 double-decker buses of people! Wow that’s a lot of people. In the Great Hall there were the 4 house tables and some of the original costumes from the movies. The Gryffindor Common room and Harry’s Broom were my favorite things in the first section.

Then we went out side, where we had our first ever taste of  butter bear. My brothers loved it and I thought it tasted horrible and way too fizzy!

ICK! That is nasty!

My crazy brother actually likes this stuff! Weirdo on Wheels

Quinn also thinks this fizzy butter beer is good, both my brothers are Weirdo’s! Thank god I am the normal one in the family!

After drinking butter bear I got to drive the flying car – hmmmm maybe that was the wrong order, I always see signs that say don’t drink and drive…… what were my parents thinking!

Drinking Butter beer and driving a flying car… what a birthday! I wonder what it will be like when I turn 16 or 21!

In the last section of the tour we went through Diagon Alley, that was my favorite part. I loved to see where Harry, Ron and Hermionie would go and buy their school supplies, their wands and their pets.

Mom, can I get an owl PLEASE………

At the end of the tour we got to see a huge model of Hogwarts, it was so cool!

On the way out there was a gift shop. I wanted to get a Harry Potter broom as a birthday present, but then I decided not to, it might be hard to take with me on the train to Paris.

**My mom said since it was my birthday I had to add a couple of pictures of me as a baby, she is so weird **

Don’t mess with me, I have extra oxygen and I’m wearing clothes with bugs on them, the true sign of a tough guy!

 

Categories: Family Travel, London, Shea's Journal | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Proof Is In the Pictures

**The internet connection at our cottage near Bath is (as the owners put it) “Spotty” what that really means is it only works in 5 minute increments. So I am sitting at the adorable Caffe Nero in the town of Bath to write this post. Matt has the boys, I am alone in a beautiful coffee shop in a beautiful town… I need to take my time writing this post**

If I didn’t have all the photos for visual proof that we are actually in England, I’m not sure I would belive it! This experience feels very surreal. Shea and I have been talking about how strange it is that we are not going “home” at the end of a vacation. I know that we will find a new “home” but there are times when knowing that we won’t be back in Colorado soon makes me feel homesick. However, that has not hampered us enjoying ourselves…. and this post is a little picture heavy, a little proof to myself that we really are here and wow, what a great time we are having!

On Tuesday, the boys were really into the guards at Buckingham Palace. On Wednesday we took them to the Royal Guard museum, One of the most interesting things I found there, was to read the British version on the American War of Independence. Same outcome but certainly with a twist from what I have learned at school. At the end of our visit, the boys got to try on a Bearskin (the tall fur hats, that the British Royal Guards typically wear as part of a ceremonial uniform). Although Quinn has adamantly decided he wants to be a member of the Royal Guard for Halloween he would not try the hat on for a photo.

Do You Like My Hat?

We couldn’t find any guards to get up close to and make funny faces at, but we did come across this guy….

This Guard (Statue) Wouldn’t Crack A Smile!

Near the Guard Museum we got to see rows and rows of guards practicing for Trooping The Color & The Queens Birthday on June 16th. ~The Queen is going to be busy in June, on the 5th of the month is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee  celebrating her 60 years as monarch. They have all ready closed down many of the streets around Buckingham Palace in order to prepare. I hope to see some of the celebration on TV, I think it will be fun to know that we were there just before it happened.

Practice Makes Perfect – Preparing for the Queens Birthday Parade

The boys legs were getting tired from all the walking so we had to double up in the stroller:

Doubling Up In The Stroller On The Streets Of London

When we were leaving on Sunday, it felt crazy  to bring a big jog stroller with us when we had so, so, so much other luggage, it turns out the big jog stroller has been one of the best things we have with us! (and to date, I have only crashed into one really old Abby door… not too bad considering)

The crappy ten dollar stroller we bought last summer at a drug store in Montreal would never hold two kids, or roll over cobblestone like the Urban Mountain Buggy does! ~best stroller EVER~

A little time spent feeding the ducks in St. James Park:

And a few from the bridge looking back at the London Eye and some other awesome building that is probably very historic and important but I have no idea what it is 🙂

For us, a golden rule of travel is to remember that after about two days of activity the boys need to have a “down” day. Time for them to unwind and not be running around a –lot. We didn’t even  make it to the end of the second day when it was more then evident that Quinn was ready for some down time…..

Serious pouting in Hyde Park….. mom I can’t walk another step

So we knew this was the perfect time to pack the car up and head to the English Countryside…. Yes Matt is driving on the “wrong” side of the road/”wrong” side of the car, with a stick shift, OMG it is crazy, I am trying to remain calm in the passenger seat and I am not doing a very good job…

WTF this is all on the “wrong” side!

Although London is amazing and there are so many more things we could have done there, I think a wave of calmness came over all of us to be in the countryside. The boys certainly look happy playing tag in front of the stunningly beautiful Bath Abbey

Tag – your IT

Mom – this is way more fun then all that walking you made me do in London!

I love this photo, you can just sense how happy Zoli is!

Run Matt Run! Don’t let Shea outrun you!

And one more picture, look at the love of a daddy and his big kid.

Love This Picture!

We found out that the Olympic flame arrived last night from Athens, and is only a few hours away from where we are. There was some serious consideration of going and seeing the running of the Olympic torch, but then we realized that it would be too much driving for the boys. Ahh well… I guess we can’t do it all! If you want to follow the Olympic Torch, here is a map of its route

Well, I am sure Matt is ready for a break from wrangling the boys on his own! I better leave this cozy coffee shop and head out into the rain.

Categories: Expat Life, Family Travel, London | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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