Adventures in Chicago

Adventures in Chicago

You might have noticed it’s been a little quiet around here the last week. I might have forgotten to mention on the blog that I was taking off to Chicago for a week – sorry about that! If you follow me on Instagram, you probably figured it out with all the endless photos of our trip. This was the longest we’ve been away from our kids in a long time! I am SO thankful for my folks who watched them while we were away! The kids had such an amazing time with their Oma and Opa and that allowed me to really just enjoy the time away…because, let’s be honest, the two of us rarely get away together like this! I can’t tell you how AMAZING Chicago was! The first three days we attended an amazing conference in Elgin, IL. It was such a great way to begin the week refreshed and renewed. Day three we headed into Chicago by train – it was a fun little adventure! We walked across the city with our massive suitcase and quickly came to the realization that the pedestrians are crazy! They bravely walked across the streets whenever they felt like and I made the bad choice of being a follower with no fear…until you were playing a game of chicken with the traffic. Never. Again. I started obeying the law and watched the lights. We checked in to our hotel, which was at such an amazing location – walking distance to everything and super close to the “L” for easy access around the city. We were in and out, ready to seize the day! We headed...
Road Trip To Canada

Road Trip To Canada

I can’t explain how excited I am! Months ago, my husband and I requested that we take our three foster babies (soon to be ours) to Canada. I have to be honest, I thought the judge would say “NO”, but I was pleasantly surprised when my social worker said that he granted our request! What?!?!!?! After much figuring out, we finally got everything organized and started our long journey from California to Alberta, Canada.  Let’s just say, it started out HORRIBLY. I might have wrecked our car in a minor accident a few days before we had to leave. We got it all fixed up – so we thought. Turned out, there was more damage than originally told. We had to stop in Nevada for a three hour layover while our car tire and rim were replaced. It was a bit annoying, but we eventually got back on the road again! We finally got out of Nevada and made our way to Arizona when our tire pressure light flicked on. We pulled over, filled it with air and knew there was some sort of problem. Sure enough, 30 miles later it popped back on. Sadly, we pulled over again and made our way to a tire repair shop where we discovered there was a nail in our tire and had slowly been leaking. We got it patched up and we were FINALLY good to go! Not. Fun.  From that moment on it was smooth sailing! Our kids did AMAZING that entire time! We are SO blessed to have such great little travelers. We enjoyed the scenery as I announced...
Instant Happy

Instant Happy

Well friends, I will be gone again for a few days! My summer has started off on a bit of a crazy note, but come next Monday I will be back to a regular schedule! Thank you so much for sticking around and showing your support! While on my trip to Victoria, British Columbia in Canada a few weeks ago, my husband and I went for a nice walk near the ocean. We stumbled upon the Hatley Castle, which one of the X-Men movies was once filmed at. It reminded me so much of our trip to Ireland. It’s truly a hidden gem, but what really impressed me were the gardens! Walks like this always have a way of taking my mind off of any stress and helping me feel rejuvenated in some small way!  The flowers were so lovely! We literally took the time to smell the roses and they were absolutely delightful!  I could have stayed there all day! It is a place I hope to visit again on our next trip to Vancouver Island!  Hope you all have a great 4th of July! Have any fun plans?! We will be in the mountains enjoying more nature and getting away for a while. I think it’s important to take the time to pull yourself away from the norm and enjoy a little more of what life has to offer! See you when I get back!  XOXO,...
Discovering an old world: Newgrange

Discovering an old world: Newgrange

Today, I am taken back to  the oldest thing I have ever stepped foot in. Part of what made our trip to Ireland so special was just the history and ruins alone. It was so neat to visit places like Newgrange, a 5000 year old ruin that still stands today. We walked outside and even had the opportunity to go inside the small chamber and experience it’s purpose to why it was constructed:  Newgrange is best known for the illumination of its passage and chamber by the winter solstice sun. Above the entrance to the passage at Newgrange there is a opening called a roof-box. This baffling orifice held a great surprise for those who unearthed it. Its purpose is to allow sunlight to penetrate the chamber on the shortest days of the year, around December 21, the winter solstice. At dawn, from December 19th to 23rd, a narrow beam of light penetrates the roof-box and reaches the floor of the chamber, gradually extending to the rear of the chamber. As the sun rises higher, the beam widens within the chamber so that the whole room becomes dramatically illuminated. This event lasts for 17 minutes, beginning around 9am. It was a very cold and windy day, but we managed to enjoy it despite the weather! What is the oldest thing you’ve visited? This is the first on my list…. XOXO, Lidy...
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin

We had the pleasure of visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral located in Dublin. It dates back from 1220 (can you believe it’s that old?!) and is a popular attraction for tourists in the city. It’s known today as the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland, built in tribute of St. Patrick himself.  I love the gothic style: the flying buttresses, beautiful detailing, inspiring stain glass windows and intricate tiling. I could have spent all day just taking it all in.  I knew that if this was just the start to our vacation in Ireland, I would be going home a very happy girl!   XOXO, Lidy  ...
Travel Tips From An Amateur

Travel Tips From An Amateur

  I’ve decided that even though I may not be a traveling export, I can still give you some tips on what I’ve learned! So far, my travels in Ireland have been very enjoyable and I am seeing a lot of things in lots of cities and even countrysides.  My brother-in-law and sister-in-law preplanned what we would be doing while we are here on our trip. Each day we go from one place to another, staying in cute little B&B’s in between. We’ve stuck to a pretty tight schedule each day, which  allows us to fit in a lot of different sights! So, here are my thoughts so far, but I am no expert!  Tip #1: It’s important to do your research way ahead of time and plan out where you would like to go and when you would like to do it. Designate time frames of each place where possible. Don’t get too fixated on sticking to plans 100%, leave some availability in your day to stop and take in unexpected sights and events. Why? Well, take my trip for example. We found out while in Ireland that it was the 100th anniversary of the Titanic and there was a huge event going on in Belfast while we happened to be here (this only happened once in our lifetime). Had we done our research, we could have pre-booked tickets and toured the exhibit.  Luckily, we had a very small window to walk around the dock’s and snap pictures of what we could. We left feeling a little more satisfied, but this also took time away from our schedule....
Abstract Design

Abstract Design

Today in Ireland, we made our way out of Dublin and into County Meath. We visited a prehistoric monument called Newgrange, which happens to be older than the Stonehenge and the great pyramids of Giza. It was extremely fascinating! I will post more about Newgrange when I am home! I have pictures and even a few videos to share as well! I took many pictures of the outer area (obviously, you don’t see things like this everyday you know), since taking pictures inside the tomb was strictly prohibited. I came across some amazing carvings in the stones and was blown away by the patterns and designs. A lot of them I recognized and even have around my home on pillows, blankets, rugs and even dishes! Many of which consisted of: Chevron: Trianlges: Spirals:  Argyle: As hard as we try to be original and think of things that have never been done before, we see that even 5000 years ago someone had the imagination to make it happen! It’s pretty amazing how we all think of similiar things and I think it’s something to appreciate and even celebrate. I know that I felt inspired by these ancient designs and feel proud that I have many of these wonderful designs in my home. In a way, we are carrying a part of history around and we don’t even know it! But now you do, so perhaps you will appreciate these patterns and designs a little more than you use to!  Do you have any of these fun patterns in your home? Perhaps you love one of them more than the others, I...
Drink Tea Like The Irish

Drink Tea Like The Irish

Ever since we’ve arrived, I’ve been drinking non-stop tea! I love it, since this is something I have done a long time in my family (we are dutch). I remember when my husband and I first started dating, it was kind of a ritual to have tea (or coffee for that matter). At first, he hated having hot drinks all the time. Now, he loves it!  Ireland is the perfect place for me! I’ve recently learned that the Irish drink more tea per capita than any other country in the world! That means if there are 4 million people in Ireland, 3 million of them are drinking tea. Not to mention, they drink at least 4 to 6 cups a day….sounds mighty familiar, I’m thinking we need to bring tons of Lyons tea home with us, it’s their most popular tea here (been around since 1902).  So, if you are wondering how to drink tea like the Irish, here are a few things you should know: 1. Tea Time: Dending on the time of day, makes a huge difference when and how the tea should be served. There is Elevenses which serves tea 11:00 am with scones and cookies (I’m not going to complain!). There’s the Afternoon Tea, between 3:00 to 5:00 pm. This is usually served with a sweet item of some sort. Lastly, there is High Tea (which I’m sure you are more familiar with) which serves tea at 6:00pm with more substantial food such as meat, breads, fruit and cheese. I prefer to have my tea at random times of the day, but this is a fun...
Day Two: Dublin

Day Two: Dublin

It was our last day in the great NYC. I can now say I truly love New York! We had such an amazing day! My husband and I were able to do SO much in such a short amount of time. We had 8 hours to get around the Manhattan area and hit as many hot spots as possible! We took a tour that drove us through Time Square, the Empire State building, Flatiron District, Soho, Chinatown, City Hall, Wall Street and finally the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, we didn’t take the ferry to see the lovely lady liberty but we were able to see a lot of other neat things in the city. We visited the 911 Memorial The beautiful Central Park (which was HUGE) We walked and walked and walked some more. Definitely burned off all the goodies we ate while there: pizza, cupcakes, gyros and so much more! Including these Waffles & Dinges! Amazing. That is all I can say!  Fast forward and we are finally in Dublin, Ireland. So far, we haven’t seen much outside the airport as we organize ourselves, catch up on some much needed sleep, shower, eat and return to normal again. We’ve rented a bus that squeezes all 9 of us, which has been pretty funny so far! Driving a standard on the left side of the road can be a lot to think about! Wish us luck! In the last two days we have had maybe 5 hours of rest! Feeling pretty tired, but at the same time super excited! I can’t wait explore the city! The atmosphere here is so...
Day 1: New York City

Day 1: New York City

We finally arrived after a long day of planes, trains and automobiles! We drove to LAX, flew to Dallas (almost missed our connecting flight) and finally Newark. We caught a train to the subway and made our way to the hotel in Manhattan! It was pretty interesting lugging our carry-ons and suitcase across the city, but so much fun!   I haven’t seen much of the city in day time yet. By the time we arrived, it was dark. But we walked around for a few hours anyway and had a blast. I’ve decided that Manhattan is one of those cities that comes alive at night. People were everywhere: broadway shows, fancy restaurants, walking the streets, hitting up coffee shops and enjoying the nightlife. We grabbed a few slices of pizza at Famous Famiglia (amazing!) and walked from one street to another. I cannot tell you how many mile we trekked. We walked along broadway, then found a Tim Horton’s (it’s a Canadian franchise), went to see Rockefeller Center and watched everyone skate. It was so beautiful! While walking back, we stumbled upon the cutest bakery: Magnolia Bakery. It was the cutest shop I’ve ever seen. The sweetest decor, the yummiest cupcakes and so much character. Here are a few pictures of one of our many adventures last night! We will be traveling throughout the night to Dublin! The next time you hear from me, I will be in Ireland! Today we plan on going to Central Park and it’s many wonders (including the Metropolitan Museum of Art), the World Trade Center monument and perhaps do some shopping along...
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