london here we come…

sunday.  nov 18.  2018

we got up at 3:45am to catch our 6:30am flight from dublin to london.  we got great tickets-cheap tickets on ryanair-but our small american luggage is way bigger than their small luggage allowance-and i was worried we were going to get nabbed and have to pay a large fee…but the lady was nice and gave us a warning.  hopefully every flight they’ll just warn us, because it’s a hefty 50pounds fine per bag-jeeze!

we got our rental car-free upgrade to a mercedes-that’s a first:), and headed to our townhome we are staying in for free through lovehomeswap.  we found our place, which is so lovely and across from a beautiful park.  the owner left a basket of yummy food to get us started.  we napped, watched movies, and just relaxed today.  we are anxious and excited to start seeing london, but the exhaustion just got the better of all of us today.

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northern ireland…

saturday nov. 17.  2018

we got up early, packed our stuff, loaded the car, and headed up to northern ireland starting in ballycastle to see carrick-a-rede rope bridge.  the cliffs and water were simply stunning.  the chill winds made it a little uncomfortable, but we bundled and made the best of it.  the beautiful walk along the cliff’s edge was calming for the soul.  we crossed the rope bridge, and soaked in the views.

we next headed about 15 minutes west along the northern coast to the giants causeway-a natural phenomenon.  we caught some lunch at a nearby cafe near the giant’s causeway-authentic ireland food…which was pretty good.  listening to the waves crash and the stunning views was again so lovely.

we then continued west about 10 minutes along the coast to the dunluce castle, which we viewed from the parking lot-took a few pictures of the castle and sheep, and left for the next stop.

the dark hedges are beautiful, and apparently in the game of thrones…they were beautiful, mysterious, and had great character.  we took a few pictures and headed back down to belfast-an hour’s drive, to get to the christmas market.

we parked at the marriott where we had stayed, and walked half a mile to the belfast city hall, enjoying the sites and sounds of belfast, ireland.  we made it to the market, astonishes at how gorgeous it was, how amazing the food was, and how festive it was…and it was all Merry Christmas-which was great to see!

we then had an hour and a half drive from belfast down to dublin, which was hard to make, as we are still adjusting to the time and jet lag, but we made it to the clayton hotel near the airport, dropped into bed at 10:45, and got up early at 3:45 for our morning flight from dublin to london…this was the morning i was most concerned about, but everyone did pretty good.

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Belfast and the Titanic Museum…

Wednesday-Thursday-Friday.  Nov 14-15-16.  2018

we flew from denver wednesday morning of the 14th to boston, then an overnight flight to Dublin arriving on the 15th.  we thought we’d be ready to go touring after sleeping overnight on the flight, but we were completely exhausted.  We drove our car rental 2 hours north from dublin to belfast, fell into our hotel beds, and called it good for thursday, sleeping the whole day away.   jarom and i woke up for a bit to find food for everyone, a ginormous pizza, and then we went back to bed until friday afternoon on the 16th…and finally felt rested enough to go do something.  having only 1/2 day left today and a whole day tomorrow to tour.  we spent our half day on friday visiting the titanic museum, and walking along the waterfront both ways.  it was a lovely time.  after we headed back and got some food at taco trucks, we headed back to the room for relaxation and back to sleep-we have an early morning tomorrow.

 

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the beauty of bali…

may 5-june 7th, 2018

we had such an amazing family adventure for a month in bali…i wanted to share a few things we learned from our trip.  if you ever visit, i hope these tips can be helpful.

It’s really really hot-like summer in Georgia hot.  Like really uncomfortable sweaty hot.  So if you ever come to Bali-make sure you are near a pool to cool off throughout the day.
Lots of people and windy roads with no numbers-just names.  Thank goodness for google maps.  Or, book an Airbnb with a person that offers a driver.  Ours is very reasonable-about $48 for a full 8 hour day of driving us all over.  Much easier than renting a car.
Bugs…face
Good stuff…
Things are cheap…food, activities-if done right-and spas!
We got a couples massage, in the open air jungle for 90 minutes, and it was $40 total.  $20 a person!  Honestly, that is the second best thing here, besides not having to cook dinner(because it’s cheaper to just buy from restaurants).  For a family of 5, we usually spend $20 total.
Food
Spa
Scooters
Chef
Laundry
Beautiful things to see-we love being out of the people packed touristy areas and in with the locals.  It’s just fantastic.  And laid back.  And the people put out their offering and incense daily, which is so lovely to watch.  The culture here is pretty awesome.  The people are some of the kindest we’ve met.

renovating our home…

2017-2018

we have traveled around and moved around a lot.  we were blessed in buying this home, and once we closed, i was ready to go.  i really enjoy seeing the changes and transitions.  we were also blessed to find a contractor who saw my vision, and was able to help me accomplish the feel and style i was going for.  i love decorating, and loved seeing it all come together.  i also love furniture…thank goodness there’s a restoration hardware outlet near us!  here are the after photos:

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thanksgiving in the mountains…

november 2017

thanksgiving with some of the olson’s in northern arizona-outside of young, az- it was such a lovely time.  13 hour drive, no exact address with written directions, because jarom thinks gps always will get you there, even if you don’t have wifi…at midnight, and lots of dirt roads through the trees-can’t believe we ever found the cabin!  but we did.  thanks to prayers!  we got to spend a day at the compound before everyone else came.  we really enjoyed pizza, games, pajamas, walks, bb guns, lounging…it was a great time just our little family for a day.

then we had 3 days of hanging with extended family doing the same thing…walks, food, games, more food…it was really a great thanksgiving.  we brought all our gluten free stuff, made our own additions to meals, and it didn’t faze us at all.  it was great!  good memories were made:)

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20th anniversary in europe-

august.  2017

oh how we love to travel.  and oh how i love a deal!  we used alaskaair to use our british avois points, and flew $150 r/t for me and hubby from jfk to london, and venice back to jfk.  $150!  we had found a house swap site too, lovehomeswap, that we signed up for, received points upon sign-up, and stayed our 4 nights in London, and 6 nights in Venice for free!  well, there was a sign up cost, i think it was $450/year.  so for our 10 nights we used lovehomeswap, it cost us $45/night figuring in the yearly fee we paid.  which is pretty awesome.  the three nights in dubrovnik we used airbnb and found an awesome place!  the rental car we got a deal on, but decided to upgrade to an automatic, because driving in london was overwhelming enough being on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road.  i couldn’t deal with the thought of shifting left-handed too.

we spent five days in london, 3 days in croatia, and 6 days in venice…which by the way, you only need 2 days in venice.  but since my health isn’t great, it was nice just lounging together eating junk food, watching movies, and having absolutely nothing to do.  it was dreamy!

nottinghill and london proper…and the famous blue door from the movie “nottinghill.”

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stonehenge & bath…

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stratford-upon-avon(shakespeare’s home town) & oxford university…

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dubrovnik…was a desert!  don’t let the filters fool you.  we were hoping to drive four hours to the falls, but croatia’s country has bosnia cutting into croatia for coast access, and getting through security in and out of bosnia we were told can be up to 6 hours of waiting at each border.  so we just hung in dubrovnik for 3 days…which was ok.  it’s basically desert.  we got off the boat too soon on an island, and had to wait 1 1/2 hours to catch the next boat to continue to the fortressed city 5 minutes away.  we swam and ate food and hung out and really just didn’t do much.  and my sister kelly caught up with us for the three days which was a lot of fun.  but i wouldn’t go back to dubrovnik.  nothing there, at least for us.  there are other places i would visit in croatia though, especially the hanging falls.

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venice…the city you only need 2 days in, not 6.  but nevertheless, we enjoyed the down time!

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