Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Europe Part 1: Ireland

We finally did it! And we decided to do it within a month of leaving. Lisa and I were on a hike in Spanish Fork canyon on our anniversary (August 22), and we were talking about our favorite trips. I mentioned that we should go to Europe. I had just gotten out of a 10-month training for the Air Force Reserves, and all of a sudden we had a LOT of free time, with no job offers in the works. We had some money saved, and if I started a new job, I likely wouldn't have much time off for awhile. It all made sense in my head, and I slowly (or quickly) convinced Lisa. By the end of the hike, we were already making plans!

So I'm dividing this up into the different areas we traveled: Ireland, England, Benelux (Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembourg - minus the Luxembourg), and France. Then I'll end with some planning advice and things we learned from our trip!

Part 1: Ireland - 14-17 September

We left SLC early on the 14th toward Dublin, with a long layover at JFK in NYC. We went into the city during the layover (because why not?), had dinner, and walked around Central Park. We hurried back to the airport and boarded our red-eye flight to Dublin. We arrived around 3am Mountain time--local time 10am (15 Sept). We picked up our rental car, and immediately headed out to our first site, the Rock of Cashel, while jamming to Irish-born U2 and Enya. Everything was so green! We spent a few hours exploring the castle and grounds, and ate an early dinner in the nearby town of Cashel. We then headed back to Dublin, and checked into the Glashaus Hotel in Tallaght, on the southwest side of Dublin.

We woke up early the next morning (16 Sept), and grabbed breakfast and snacks for lunch at the Tesco supermarket across the street from our hotel. Then we hopped on the Luas (light rail) to ride into downtown Dublin. First, we picked up our hop-on hop-off bus tickets, and then rode the double decker bus a few stops to our first sight-seeing stop, Trinity College. Our main interest was the Book of Kells, illuminated manuscripts of the four Gospels that date back to 800 AD. Above the exhibit, located in the Old Library, is the Long Room. This room was awesome; it holds thousands of rare books and artifacts in a room 213 feet long. I wish I could have that room in my house.

Next, we hopped on our bus and headed over to the National Museum of Ireland, had a picnic lunch at St. Stephen's Green, and then visited Kilmainham Gaol. This was the jail where many of the Irish revolutionaries were held and executed in the early 1900s. We also explored Grafton Street (a giant pedestrian way), Dame Street, the Dublin Castle (didn't go in), and the Temple Bar neighborhood. We finished the night with dinner at the Porterhouse pub in Temple Bar, then headed back on the Luas to our hotel. After all that walking, we slept very well that night. We headed back to the airport the next morning, dropped off our car, and boarded our Aer Lingus flight to the London Gatwick airport!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

D Planned it, I loved it

When my sweet husband gets something in his head that he wants to do, he will go ALL OUT to make it happen. I love that about him…most of the time (syncing slut – you know what I’m talking about Babe). So when he had the brilliant idea to plan a snowboarding trip for part of his Christmas this year, he made it happen. I literally did nothing for this trip. Other then nod my head and say, “sure honey, that sounds like fun”, and go on a shopping trip with him to find snow clothes for the trip. It was glorious. I love it when he plans, it’s always so much better than when I do it.

He found a ski resort in Colorado called Telluride. At this ski resort there are 127 runs! So cool! Granted, I only snowboarded on one run, pathetic I know, but I’m still learning. This was my 4th time going in 4 years. It’s hard to develop any kind of skill if you aren’t practicing more than once a year. But anyways, Denis went on a handful of runs, he’s much better than I am, and he had a blast. That is really all that mattered. Truthfully, I was there for the last half of the trip where we relaxed in private hot tubs on the rooftops, rode gondolas to go eat fantastic food, and took walks around the cute village and town. It was a beautiful weekend full of sun, fun, and flaming octopus’s.

Presenting Telluride

Hot tubbing

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Snowboarding2015-01-17_12-39-33_IMG_6712 EDIT2015-01-17_15-29-46_IMG_0431 EDIT2015-01-17_16-28-46_IMG_6722

Exploring2015-01-17_18-31-20_IMG_6741 EDIT2015-01-18_14-17-24_IMG_68172015-01-18_14-23-24_IMG_6794 EDIT2015-01-18_14-27-36_IMG_6799 EDIT2015-01-18_14-19-21_IMG_6793 EDIT2015-01-18_14-31-35_IMG_68222015-01-18_14-32-57_IMG_68192015-01-18_13-43-10_IMG_68142015-01-18_14-01-19_IMG_6816

Gondola Riding

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We’re totally rad

So Denis and I might be the coolest Aunt and Uncle on the planet…no, I’ve decided, we are the coolest. I had a brilliant idea to throw a Halloween party for some of our nieces and nephews the night before Halloween, mostly because I was SO excited that I actually got to celebrate Halloween with them this year. It took about four shopping trips to the dollar store, one trip to Michaels and a scavenger hunt the day of the party to five different craft/party stores in Lehi to try and find the right color tissue paper for my last minute brilliant idea for decorations. But it was all so worth it.

Funny story, when Denis and I were scavenging for the right colors of tissue paper, we were walking around Hobby Lobby (doing some side Christmas decoration shopping too) and Denis would be like, “Oh I’m going to get some of this for the party too and I think we need this and I want some more of this….etc” Until I finally was like, “Ohhhh who’s getting into the awesome Halloween party now?!?” As I poked him teasingly, to which Denis responded, “I was always going to make sure we did it right.” Classic D. Love him.

Denis and I had a blast baking, decorating, and dressing up for the party. The first thing we did with the kiddos is paint the outside of mason jars, later they would draw on jack-o-lantern faces and we would stick a plastic tea light inside to make the perfect little everlasting Halloween lantern. They loved those and some of them used them as their night lights. After that we played a game called, “Grab the Ghost”, which was so fun. Then they ate some treats. After that we headed outside for some glow in the dark ring toss. And we ended the night with the game, “Find the Monster”, which is sardines. It was so fun, I love those little people, they all have my heart. <3

Here’s some pics of our fun!

Halloween InviteSent these invites out in the mail a few days before2014 0012014 0022014 0032014 005

2014-10-30_22-12-09_IMG_60032014-10-30_18-16-56_IMG_6020Painting our Halloween lanterns 2014-10-30_18-22-37_IMG_60082014-10-30_18-20-49_IMG_6006TREATS!2014-10-30_18-22-53_IMG_60252014-10-30_18-24-52_IMG_60222014-10-30_18-30-06_IMG_60242014-10-30_18-34-17_IMG_6023Grab the ghost game2014-10-30_19-13-42_IMG_59982014-10-30_19-14-41_IMG_60022014-10-30_19-14-38_IMG_6026

Monday, October 20, 2014

Has it really been 10 years?


Do you remember the very last time I saw you in this life over ten years ago? I do. Today, I tried to keep the memories at bay until I got home from work and could enjoy them to the fullest, but it didn’t work out that way. I was on my way back to work, on my lunch break, when for some reason Cold Stone jumped into my head, which then triggered my very last precious memory of you.

You asked me to come down to your little white house on the William’s farm and babysit the Buddy boy while you took Cathy out on a date. And of course I did, because Bubby is my guy, so full of love and life, just like you. You didn’t get home until nearly 11pm, Braden was already asleep and I was watching TV. You came in with a half eaten cup of Cold Stone ice cream and asked me if I wanted the rest. “REALLY?! You’re giving me your ice cream?!” I was shocked, because I know how much you love good food. Then came an even more shocking thing, you talked to me like a person…like a friend, instead of your little sister. You listened. I loved it. It meant so much to me. Then you and Cathy gave me hugs and thanked me again for babysitting. That was the last hug I got to give you in this life. I cherish it. I look forward to our next hug.

Tonight, Denis being so kind and wonderful, knew that today, like every year, is always a more emotional day for me. And so he asked me if he could take me to get some ice cream. There is a Cold Stone within walking distance, we enjoyed sharing a cup together while I shared memories of you with Denis. He listened, asked questions, and gave me hugs in all the right moments. Tonight, I miss you John. Like crazy and it’s wonderful because I get to remember all the awesome things about you and I get to look forward to when I will see you again. Of course my heart aches today, but I wouldn’t change that for the world. I love you forever and ever <3

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Here’s our trip summed up in pictures, because after all that’s the best way to describe Hawai’i…with gorgeous photos!


Kazumi's houseWaikikiWaikiki BeachWaikiki Beach


Denis’s brother, Erick and his family just moved to Hawaii with the Air Force. Great to see them and to meet Grant finally!

View of Diamond Head from the plane on our way home

Our goodbye view of Hawaii as we left Sad smile 



Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

Pearl HarborPearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor


Kuliouou Ridge TrailKuliouou Ridge TrailKuliouou Ridge TrailKuliouou Ridge TrailKuliouou Ridge TrailKuliouou Ridge TrailKuliouou Ridge TrailKuliouou Ridge TrailKuliouou Ridge TrailKuliouou Ridge Trail


beach on the west side of Oahubeach on the west side of Oahubeach on the west side of Oahu


Turtle Bay ResortTurtle Bay ResortTurtle Bay ResortTurtle Bay ResortTurtle Bay ResortTurtle Bay Resort, horseback ridingTurtle Bay Resort, horseback ridingTurtle Bay Resort, horseback ridingTurtle Bay ResortTurtle Bay ResortTurtle Bay Resort


Waimea ValleyWaimea ValleyWaimea ValleyWaimea ValleyWaimea ValleyWaimea Valley