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Big Island, Hawaii🌴

I’m a little late on getting this up because of school, but Helen and I got extremely lucky and we got to go to Hawaii with our aunt, uncle, and cousins who live in California. The best part was that we didn’t make plans to go until about 2 weeks before, so it was kind of like a surprise vacation. I had been trying to find my way to a beach for awhile, so I had no complaints about spending my last week of summer on the Big Island.

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View from our bedroom balcony

One of my favorite things was that I woke up early every morning (and got to look at this view from our bed!!) because of the time change and I got to sit out outside and read. I decided I like waking up early in the morning… As long as I’m not tired 😉

We also loved morning walks on this lava trail that looked out over the ocean

We saw several of these little guys INSIDE our house

On the first day we got there, Helen snorkeled in the pool😂 Cutest snorkeler I’ve ever seen

We had access to a neighborhood pool called the Grotto. It was one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen and we had it to ourselves every time we were there

Helen celebrated her 12th birthday in Hawaii with a brownie sundae and coffee ice cream (her favorite)

Hawaiian ice is the type of food that I eat once and crave for at least a year after… seriously


The stars were amazing because the Big Island is a “dark island” because of the observatory

I don’t know if I have ever seen such clear ocean water before. It was pretty amazing

I usually don’t like swimming in the ocean or wearing goggles, but I knew I would’ve been missing out if I didn’t swim

The truth is, I really can’t float at all and this is the closest I will probably ever get. If this were a video it would not look cool at all because it would show how much I was really struggling😂

These girls really should’ve been born as twins. They are absolutely inseparable and they are the definition of “two peas in a pod”

Uncle Jeff, Michael, Owen, Helen, and I went parasailing in Kona. We got to go up 1,200 feet and the guide told us thats about as high as you can go anywhere. This adventure is how my GoPro got lost. I know I can buy a new one eventually, and I am sure I will, so I didn’t let myself get too sad about losing it. It is just a thing and it can be replaced. We were in Hawaii and I had better things to do than think about my GoPro… Like the fact that I had just been attached to a boat by a rope and flying 1,200 feet above the ocean… or that I was in Hawaii…

This whole post is kind of a picture overload, but I love them all


We took a day to go to Volcanoes National Park


The night Helen and I left, we got to see the first half of Jack’s football game against a school that had a perfect ocean view from their field. That might be the only time I ever get to see him play a high school game, so that was really cool.

We took a redeye to LAX and then we flew home to Colorado. Helen had no problem taking a little nap in the airport 🙂

On our second flight, we flew over the Grand Canyon

This isn’t a great picture, but it is one of the only ones we took together. I loved every moment that Helen and I got to spend together because it is very rare that I get to be with just her. My little sister is getting so old, so I want to spend as much time with her as I can before she grows up and realizes she is way too cool to be hanging out with me. I also realized while I was typing this that I need to take as many pictures with her as possible before she is taller than me and I look like the little sister…

We had a such a great time on this trip and we are so thankful that Aunt Jane and Uncle Jeff were willing to bring us along. Hawaii is the only state I have been to before that I wasn’t old enough to remember being in, so being there on this trip felt like the first time for me. I have been back at school for almost a month now, but I am still wishing I was in Hawaii. It was a dream and I can’t wait to go back…



Weekend Trip to Tucson ☀

Over the weekend, I flew to Tucson to visit Kat and Walker. I was there for about two and a half days total, but we squeezed in as many activities as we could. I’ve decided that weekend trips are one of the greatest things ever because I know I don’t have time to waste going into them, so I make the most of every moment. It is something for me to look forward to before it happens and it keeps me going for awhile after it’s over.

We went downtown to The Hub for ice cream. Sprinkles are pretty much the only thing that can make me get ice cream that doesn’t have chocolate.


One of my favorite things we did was an eight and a half mile hike to Seven Falls! We were lucky because it rained everyday for about two weeks before I came to visit, so there was plenty of  water for us to swim and we got to walk through the river to cool off several times 🙂


You can see the waterfalls and the swimming holes in the background

Kat also took us to a cactus and succulent farm… one of her favorite discoveries since moving to Tucson.

The last time she was there, she did’t buy anything, but this time, she got a cactus for her living room and succulents for her kitchen table. There are not a lot of things that make her more excited…

They look like they’re straight out of Dr. Seuss and if I could’ve found a good way to bring one on the plane with me, I probably would’ve.

Kat and Walker (well mostly Kat…) wanted me to take some more engagement pictures for them. Walker cooperated (almost) the whole time and these are just some of my favorites 🙂

Thanks to a stranger for this beautiful front door that we borrowed…

Of course we had to get some pictures out by the cacti🌵

This is one of my favorite pictures… Have you ever seen two people look more excited??

It’s crazy that they’ve already been engaged for 8 months and that they’re getting married in less than a year!! We are so excited 🙂

I’m so happy I could go visit for a weekend. Kat and I always have the best time together… We literally wake up singing in the morning 🙂 I’m so thankful to fave a sister who is my best friend and who lives in a place where it is warm year round. Hopefully I can escape the cold and come visit sometime during the winter 🙂


June & July 2017

My family spent the end of June and most of July traveling. We spent one day in Colorado after moving Kat to Arizona before driving to Chicago. While we were in Chicago, we did a little sight seeing and went to a White Sox game because we have never been to that stadium before. Mom, Helen, and I were pretty much on the “Stadium Tour” to try food in all the different stadiums. 

After Chicago, we stopped in Cleveland to go to an Indians game since we had never been to a game there either.

This is where I decided to start photographing the stadiums and my food 🙂

After Cleveland, we went to Grandma and Papa’s house in New York for a couple of days. The day we got there, Dad and Papa helped the boys build a soccer net in the West lawn. We celebrated Theo and Jeff’s 14th birthday while we were there and I spent a lot of time working on homework for my summer classes…

After we left Grandma and Papa’s house, we went drove through Vermont and New Hampshire to go to Boston. This we the first time we have driven that way and I loved the drive. We stopped in a small town in Vermont for ice cream and we stopped in New Hampshire and had dinner at Roger’s Pizza with Dad’s relatives.

While we were in Boston, we went to a Red Sox game and did a little sight seeing.

After Boston, we headed to New York City for a night. No baseball teams were in town while we were there, but we went to a NYC FC soccer game in Yankee Stadium. It worked out perfectly because we have been to the Mets’ stadium and to Yankee’s games before and the soccer game was one of the best games we’ve been to.

We stopped at Shake Shack in Chicago and it was too good not to stop again in New York City!

After NYC won the game, there was a celebration in the street. The boys and Helen started out just watching, but it wasn’t long before they were in the middle of the crowd… This picture was taken before Theo and Jeff had their shirts off…

After New York City, we drove to Virginia to visit our grandparents and go to Holly and Russell’s wedding!

We love Mrs. East!! And Mr. East too

One of the days while we were there, we went to Arlington Cemetery and then went to Aunt Kim and Uncle Andy’s house and made homemade pizza’s on the grill!

After spending the 4th of July in Virginia, we drove back to New York. When we got back, Aunt Sherry, Kendall, Jackson, Aunt Jane, Jack, Owen, and Lucy were all there. We spent most of the week relaxing, hanging out, and eating ice cream. We also did another Amazing Race game for the 8 youngest cousins.

This picture isn’t the best quality, but the boys tried to shave lines in each others hair and when they didn’t turn out how they had hoped, they asked me to fix them…

Dad helped us make a volleyball “net”

I didn’t get many good pictures of the amazing race, so Mom sent me this picture of the teams doing the egg toss

Our trip this summer wasn’t as crazy as our trip last summer, but we got to spend most of our time enjoying simple things with family. Trips to Europe are fun, but this summer was a good reminder that very little is needed to make a happy life. All we really need is family… and ice cream 😉


Germany, Denmark, Sweden

The last part of our trip was spent in Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. We spent a few relaxing days in Germany, visited Anne and went to Labori (a week long festival with music, food, rides, and shops), saw our Great Great Aunts who still live in Germany, and went to Marieke’s house for dinner, before we went to Denmark for the weekend. We stayed in an airbnb outside of Copenhagen. When we got to the village where the house was, we were a little confused because everyone parked their cars in a parking lot and walked to their houses… Then we got to our house, which was very cute on the outside, but when we walked in, Jeff saw a spider within the first minute. Something you should know is that Jeff is terrified of spiders ever since he got a bad spider bite a year ago… the spider sightings continued for the whole three days we were there and Jeff only begged to sleep between Hannah and me once. Also something that should be noted is that when we walked in the house, there were 2 plastic Tupperware containers on the kitchen table with a note that said, “Please do not kill the flies… Catch and release”… So that was entertaining for about a day, but then we started having contests to see who could kill the most. The village had a really cute park with a soccer field, zip line, trampolines, and pond and all of the people living there were very friendly. A neighbor came over to see if we needed help with anything and she asked us how we liked the eco-village… when we found out is was an eco-village, the fly catching, the no car rule, the compost bins, and the spiders all made more sense. For the record, I do not support keeping flies or spiders living inside a house. No, thank you.


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That nice decorative bowl in the middle of the table was actually a compost bowl…


We thought about getting one of these for the house


We drove into Copenhagen for a day and the 6 “kids” walked around alone for most of the day and Mom and Dad walked around on their own. We went to the Little Mermaid Statue, to Freetown Christiania, past Tivoli Gardens, by the water, and through 9 miles of streets. Theo wore his slides the whole entire day and we had to stop and wait for him to rest his feet because they hurt from walking so much. It rained for pretty much the entire day and we were soaking wet. I don’t remember the last time I was in the rain for such a long amount of time. Theo and I were walking next to each other and we were talking (I guess you could call it complaining…) about how wet we were and how our fingers were pruney and how we couldn’t even look up at the view because rain would go in our eyes. About two seconds later, we walked past a brown paper bag that was soaking wet on the ground and it said “It’s a good day” on it. It was the best reminder and I have thought of those 4 words every day since! Who would’ve though that a soggy paper bag would be so inspiring? We even laughed when a lady tried to dump a bucket of water on us from her apartment… Joke’s on her because we were already wet.

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One of the many breaks Theo took for his feet

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Theo after Jeff pushed him down this wet hill


Between the slides, the bird that pooped on him, sliding down the hill, and getting this beautiful scrape, Theo was killing it

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Take a look at this fit man riding his elliptical/paddle board around the water

We drove across a super long bridge to Sweden. The bridge was very impressive and we maximized our time on it because we had to pay a steep toll to go across… 108 Euros to be exact. And 54 Euros on the way back because we got lucky and they made a mistake. We went to Malmö and went to the beach. It was a little chilly, but we put our feet in the Baltic Sea. Helen got all the way in the water, but after I saw a jellyfish, I was too nervous. I’m still scarred from our experience in Italy. We went to Lund and walked around for a few hours and got lunch before taking the bridge back to Copenhagen for the rest of the evening to go on a boat ride.

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Helen, fully submerged in ankle deep water

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I was using her as my model for the day and she was clearly over it

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On our way home (to Germany) from Denmark, we stopped to see Peter and Vera and baby Jakob! We had a short visit with them at their house. The last time we saw them, they were getting married and now they have a cute little baby 🙂 We spent some time back at  the Thiele house and went to Wuppertal and rode the suspension railway with Anette before heading to Frankfurt where we stayed on our last night in Germany. We will miss adventuring through Europe, but we are excited to be heading home to sleep in our own beds!


Budapest, Kraków, Berlin

When we were driving from Italy to Hungary, we were in 5 countries in one day. We started in Italy (1). Our next country was Austria (2). When we drove across the border to Austria, there was a sign for all cars to exit and for some reason, Dad thought it was optional, so we skipped the passport check and border control and drove straight on into the country. We drove through Slovenia (3) and we stopped at Lake Bled. We had a picnic lunch and Theo, Helen, and Dad went swimming in the lake. After Slovenia, we drove through Croatia (4). We stopped in Zagreb and met Desi, another one of our cousins. She walked around Zagreb with us and showed us her house before we left. We finally got to Hungary (5) late that night. I fell asleep in the car and when I woke up, we were driving into Budapest. It is one of the prettiest cities at night… All of the bridges and buildings were lit up with white lights and it looked like a movie.

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Kat met us in Budapest and we spent a full day doing everything we could there. We were there 6 years ago, but we liked it so much that we wanted to see everything again. One thing that we saw this time that we didn’t see last time was Saint Stephen’s Basilica. It is beautiful and huge. We got Goulash, which is traditional Hungarian food, at a really cute restaurant… They had the best lemonade I’ve ever had in my life. That night Hannah, Kat, and I went to a ruin bar. It’s basically just old ruins that have been turned into a bar, but it was so cool. I obviously don’t have a lot of experience going to bars, but I have a feeling they aren’t all that cool.

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Oh yeah, also we took a boat ride and we saw these crazy people on top of the bridges


They’re either being sweet and having fun, or they’re plotting something… It’s hard to tell

Our next stop was Kraków, Poland… We got a tour of the Jewish Quarter, took a walking tour, saw the castle, went in the churches, ate dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe (because we are Americans and we love refillable drinks and good burgers), went to concerts at Mercy Festival (the week before World Youth Day), danced with nuns, joined a conga line through thousands of people, went to mass in Saint Mary’s Basilica, and went on a carriage ride through the city at night. The main square and streets of this city are stunning and it is full of incredible history.

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Here we have a picture of some drunk guy in a costume who was convinced Dad was Tony Hawk and wouldn’t stop talking to the fam… He kept hugging Dad and that is what is happening in the back of this picture 😂


Every time someone walked past, this cute boy smiled so huge at them… How could you not give him money!?



And here’s a picture of Mom… With a crooked smile and one eye open… that’s how she used to think you were supposed to smile when she was little and we made her show us on the carriage ride

On our way to Poznań, we stopped in Wroclaw, Poland. It was a short stop, but the buildings here are so colorful and they have dwarf statues all over the city that were a Polish anti-communist movement, so that’s pretty neat.


We got to Poznań just in time for dinner and we all had pierogis… a real polish meal. The square was all lit up at night and some of our relatives from my mom’s side of the family came from Poznań, so it was such a cool opportunity to be able to go there.

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The next morning, we drove to Berlin. We stayed walked all around the city during the day and we went for a walk to the Brandenburg Gate because it was close to our hotel. We took a 7 person bicycle (we made it fit 8 people) around the park and through part of the city before working on our diving and synchronized swimming in the hotel pool that night. In the morning we went to Checkpoint Charlie, one of the crossing points between the East and West sides of the Berlin Wall. There is a museum there that I could spend a week walking through… well actually I couldn’t because it’s unbelievably hot in there, but if they installed some air conditioning, I could spend a long time reading everything in there. There is so much history in Berlin, but I think that the highlight for the boys and Helen was getting to sit in a Lamborghini… of course.

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We had been country and city hopping for a couple of weeks and we were so happy to be headed back to Remblinghausen. It doesn’t have an 8 person bicycle like Berlin, but it has our family and that’s where we like to be 🙂




Italy: Italian driving, Italian food, Italian cities

On our drive from Switzerland to Italy, we drove past Lake Como. The roads were super narrow and the people there drive like crazy. We told dad it was too obvious that we weren’t from there because he wasn’t cutting enough people off or honking his horn whenever he felt like it. After that, he started driving down the middle of the road and honking his horn every few seconds, so that we seemed experienced.

We drove to Milan and got there early enough to walk around at night. We had been in the car all day, so we walked around the fashion capital in our tshirts and running shorts.


We walked up the stairs from the subway station and this is what we saw. It is unreal

The next day Kira took the train from Vincenza, where she is on vacation with her Grandma, to Milan. We finally found her in the train station and then we got to spend a full 24 hours with her!!


We got pizza for lunch because we wanted to culture ourselves 😉 Not all of us looked this good while we were eating it




In the square by the cathedral there were guys throwing bird seed around to attract all of the pigeons. Kira was chasing them and trying to catch them and we were telling her how gross she was. The guy came over and put the bird seed in her hand and she became a bird lady…


It was really gross, but I felt like it was necessary to try since it’s not every day that I’m in Milan with the chance to feed pigeons. I don’t know what I was expecting it to feel like, but pigeon claws feel disgusting… I was standing there screaming in the middle of the square causing a huge scene as pictured below.




That night, we drove to Vincenza and we were going to stop by the house Kira was staying at, so she could pick up a few things, but it was dark when we got there and Kira was navigating us. We got a little lost and Kira couldn’t figure out where we were and finally she said “It looks different here when its dark… I don’t need my stuff”, so we just went to our hotel. Hannah, Kira and I all stayed in one room. We usually only have sleepovers before sunrise hikes, but we made an exception for Italy 🙂


A little stop at Lake Garda on our way to Vincenza


In the morning, we dropped Kira off and drove to Venice. It was pretty crowded in Venice and it is definitely a popular place to go, but it was one of the most unique places I have ever been. We walked through so many alleys and over so many canals. I think you could walk around that city for a week and not walk through the same alley twice.


That would be Jeff in the background…



While we were in Venice, we actually stayed at Aviano Air Force Base, which is about an hour away. It was so nice there and if any one in the Air Force wants to get stationed somewhere really awesome, this would be the place to go. We had to drive back and forth, but it was fine because the rooms were nice and Dad is a professional Italian driver now.


Bucket list item: ✓


One day were supposed to meet Mom and Dad at a boat dock. When we talked to them before they left, they weren’t sure if they were going to meet us in line, or if they were going to get on the boat at a prior stop and already be on the boat when it got there. We had to sit in line for awhile and while we were sitting there, Han and I got pooped on by a bird. The boat was about to come and we were getting a little nervous because there was no sign of our parental units and they had our tickets… When the boat got close enough to the dock that we could see it, we saw dad leaning off the edge of the boat yelling to us and waving… If you know our dad, you can picture this happening. If you don’t, just trust me it was funny.

We took the boat to Lido where we went to the beach. It was so fun, but Hannah and I both got stung by jellyfish… It was our lucky day.


Still smiling because a bad day in Venice is still a great day 🙂

On our last day in Venice, we took the boat to Burano. We were’t sure if it would be worth the trip, but it definitely was. Every house on the island was a bright color. It  looks so happy there!


How could you ever go home sad if your house was one of these colors??



Milan and Venice are 2 cities that I had never been to before, so I’m excited that I can finally check them off of my list! Kaitlin flew home to California from Venice and our group is feeling tiny these days. We miss the days when our car was packed with 11 people in Dublin. Just kidding… we like all the space we have, but we do miss the people.



Germany & Switzerland

Every time I plan to go back to the hotel and write about what we have been doing, I get back and realize how tired I am! So… now I am going to have to catch up on everything we have done in the past several days. We flew from Dublin to Frankfurt, Germany. When we got off of the plane, we were so happy to feel the sun shining!! We stopped at Rammstein AFB and went to the commissary to stock up with snacks for the next several weeks. We basically bought the entire store, so I don’t think any of us will be starving while we are in the car…

That day, we drove to Remblinghausen to the Thiele house! The Thieles are our cousins in Germany. It’s kind of complicated to explain, but their mom is our grandpa’s cousin. Their house feels like another home to us and we always love being there. We got to see Ronald, Martina, Marieke, Anne, George, Pauline, and Matthias. We are hoping to see Peter, Vera, and baby Jakob (who was born on July 4th!) when we are back in a couple of weeks. We got to eat home cooked meals, swim in the Henesee, watch the Euro cup final, go to the bakery, and walk around their village. One night I even let Hannah give me cornrows… We just wanted to try it out. Theo and Jeff told me that I looked like Rhonda Rousey… There are pictures, but I will not share any because you will never be able to unsee it. We had such a good and relaxing time that I actually hardly took any pictures there…


We went on a walk that overlooks Remblinghausen… If that view doesn’t make you want to move to Germany, then nothing will


We were so happy that the weather was nice enough to go to the lake. We had a lot of fun in the water and we tanned and ate waffles simultaneously on the beach. Please, judge us. We don’t care

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This is my new favorite picture of Theo. He is so funny and in this picture he was giving Jeff a hard time and cracking himself up

After Remblinghausen, we drove to Heidelberg to visit Kat and see where she has been for the last 5 months. If I were her, I don’t know if I would come home in a few weeks. It is such a beautiful city with some pretty great gelato and schnitzel. We also got to see Walker there before he flew home!



Here’s the whole fam checking out the view…


It’s a view worth checkin’ out

We took Kat with us and left Heidelberg to drive to Strasbourg, France. We took a little detour because we wanted to get baguettes, croissants, and macaroons. Dad took French in high school and he ordered the food in French… He kept reenacting it in the parking lot because he was so proud of it, and then an actual French lady heard him and came over and corrected him. It was so funny, but you really had to be there. She was very surprised and impressed when she found out he was American though. We walked around Strasbourg for an hour to stretch our legs and we were back on the road.


Hello, beautiful France


We basically bought the entire bakery…

All 7 kids fell asleep in the car for awhile and when I woke up the most beautiful view of Switzerland was out the windshield. There were huge mountains surrounding a turquoise lake. If the others hadn’t woken up right after I did, I would’ve woken them up because it was a view worth waking up for. We drove to Täsch and parked our car there and took the train into Zermatt. There are no cars in Zermatt, only a few electric taxis and buses. It was a little chilly, but we walked around that night. It was cloudy and misty, so none of the mountain tops were visible. Everything is so expensive in Switzerland… We brought our own food, so we didn’t have to buy anything while we were there. Except for Swiss chocolate. We did buy some of that 🙂


This is one of the electric taxis. They are so quiet that you actually can’t hear them until they are right behind you honking their horn


We love the Alps. I mean look at them!! They are very lovable…

In the morning, we woke up early and it was a little sunnier than the day before. We went for a walk before breakfast and we could see more of the Matterhorn. We felt like we could see a lot, but we asked some guys who were hiking and they said that it was only about 2/5 of the mountain!! We wanted to see the top so badly, but there were so many clouds around it. It was really testing our patience and we were afraid to leave because we didn’t want it to come out while we were inside eating breakfast. We ate and when we went back outside, most of the mountain was out of the clouds! We could see that there was clear blue sky coming, so the 7 of us  sprinted up the street until we had a good view. Mom and Dad walked and met us there… We were so excited!! We were yelling chants and singing and people probably thought we were crazy. After we saw the top, we felt like we could leave Switzerland with no regrets.


All 7 of us together 🙂



Three boys and their mom were herding these goats down the street. It was so funny to watch because the goats were trying to eat every plant in sight and they were jumping all  over the place. All of the goats had bells on and they took up the entire road. We walked with them for a while… We really had no choice because they took up the whole street, but we loved it

I have yet to go anywhere that I don’t want to go back to again one day… I’ll save all my pennies so that next time I’m in Switzerland, I can buy a meal (I could live off chocolate though). Next up, Italy… Where the weather actually feels like summer!!


Ireland: 50 Shades of Green

I was going to split our week in Ireland into two shorter posts, but I changed my mind, so prepare yourself for one long post. On our plane ride to Dublin, we slept so well. I’m pretty sure there is no such thing as catching up on sleep at this point, but it still felt good. I woke up just in time to see all the green fields below us before we landed. Everything is so green!! I wasn’t surprised because I’ve heard that tons of times, but it was so cool to see it for myself!


When we landed in Dublin, we met Aunt Kim in the airport. The rental van we got this time was black (aka Black Beauty) and this time Dad had to drive on the left side of the road. He’s driving like a champ, but it really is entertaining sometimes. We drove into the city and met up with Kat and Walker, who flew in from Germany. Yes, we keep meeting up with people as we go. We had a very full car for a few days, but thats the way we like it 🙂 I should also note that I have not seen my sister in what feels like forever, so I have been looking forward to seeing her in Ireland for months now and it did not disappoint!


These were the 8 kids for the weekend 🙂

Funny story. When we were trying to park in downtown Dublin for the first time, there was a 2 meter height limit on the parking garage. Our van is taller than two meters, but the guy standing outside insisted that we would fit. When we drove in, and every time we drove under a cement beam that was about 6 inches lower than the rest of the ceiling, we would hear the roof scrape against it. We could not hold it together in the backseat. It was so funny!! We drove all the way up to the first floor and turned around the first chance we got. At that point we had already heard the top hit at least 10 times. To get out of the garage we still had to take a ticket and pay three Euros… We were finally about to get out of the garage and we stalled under the barrier gate. Rookie mistake with the manual car. For a second, we were sure that is was going to come down on the car and we were going to have a smashed hood… Luckily it didn’t and we made it out of the garage with minimal damage and found a parking spot on the street!

We walked all over Dublin that day. We went to a pub and our waiter there was so nice and funny. We all ordered waters and he said “Thats the best thing you can drink… besides whiskey!” and the food was so good! We saw Trinity College, tons of pubs, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It started raining 13 times during the day and it was kind of cool, but also a little annoying… I get why Ireland is green now…


Here’s a picture of Hannah and me from about a mile away. Our faces weren’t exactly presentable.



Just taking cover from one of the 13 rain showers that day.

The 11 of us squeezed into the 9 passenger van and we drove to the cottage that we were staying at for the week. It is so cute and quaint. There were a few spiders that needed killing and I will admit that I was not brave enough to kill any of them.

We got up early the next morning and went to the Cliffs of Moher! Mom has been begging to got there for a long time, so today was an exciting day for her. It didn’t disappoint. The sun was shining for most of the time that we were there, but it was so windy. We ate a picnic lunch there, stopped to see the ocean, and then we drove back to the cottage because we wanted to watch the Germany vs. Italy soccer game. Germany won in penalty kicks, so we had a great day in every way.


Just a little bit windy…



Hannah and I goofed around all over this little town.


Example 1…


Love this quote and love this picture.

On our second full day, we got up early again and drove to Killarney. We took a carriage ride through the town, through the national park, and to the lake and castle! The Gaelic championship was going on that day, so the streets were crowded and festive. We googled the rules to Gaelic and it is basically a combination of every sport. It’s complicated to explain, but I would recommend googling it. Kat and Walker had to go back to Germany that afternoon, so we dropped them off at the airport before coming back to the cottage.




The next day, we went to Bunratty Castle, which was really close to our cottage. It was was really beautiful and interesting and afterwards we ate at Durty Nelly’s. We had the sweetest waitress and the food was so good. We went and walked around Limerick and saw the river, the castle, and several churches. I wish I could give you a better description of what we saw, but Jeff was our tour guide for the afternoon and he showed us around talking in an Irish accent and gave us 100% false and made up information about the entire city. It was not a very educational tour, but it was very entertaining, so I’ll give him credit for that.



We went to Blarney Castle and kissed the Blarney Stone!!! Just like the other castle we went to, Blarney Castle was beautiful. It had gardens everywhere! To kiss the Blarney Stone, you have to lay down and bend over backwards. It was really cool and I feel like I should mention that it is the must unhygienic tourist attraction in the world… And we all put our mouths on it… That afternoon we drove to Dingle. It’s a cute Irish town that is on the water. We ate at Dingle Pub and listened to Irish music. Jeff was a little unimpressed with Dingle because he claimed it was just like every other town in Ireland and he kept asking when we could leave. Dad said “Why do you have a date or something?” and Jeff said “Yeah with my pillow… I’m sleeping with it tonight… How bout that for a first date?”… so that was the dinner table quote of the night…




On Wednesday, we just had a day to relax. It was so nice after a lot of early mornings, hours of riding in the car, and being tourists. The only thing I did all day was go for a run and I was perfectly okay with that.

Thursday morning we got up early and left our cottage. We had to take Aunt Kim to the airport before going to Dublin to meet Dad’s cousin Shannon. She is from Texas, but happened to be there at the same time as us. We got to meet her son for the first time and he is the cutest kid I have ever seen in my life. We had a picnic in the park with them and walked around the city for a little while before heading to our hotel. We opted to get to our hotel early because we had to be up at 3:30am for our flight the next morning…


We will miss you Ballymorris Cottage 🙁



How cute is this boy chasing the birds around in his little sweater??

I was not looking forward to that early wakeup, or leaving the beautiful green hills and lovely people of Ireland. Hopefully we are leaving with a little bit of Irish luck (as if we aren’t already lucky enough)… We will be back one day Ireland. I am sure of it.


Iceland: Ice, Ice, Baby


2 years ago, I spent 24 hours in Iceland and it was one of the coolest days of my life. This week we spent 48 hours in Iceland and it was even better than the last time. We met Hannah at the Baltimore airport and I was super happy because 1. I hadn’t seen her in 2 weeks, which felt like forever and 2. My best friend was about to join our family vacation, so how could I not be super happy?? When we took off, I was so excited that I teared up a little… yes, that happens occasionally. We landed at 5:00am in Iceland, met Kaitlin in the airport,  got our rental van, and that’s when the party started.

When we got our giant van (it’s basically a bus), we started driving around and we got lost (typical). We pulled into a parking lot to look at a map, and that’s when Dad realized he didn’t know how to put the van in reverse. It was almost too hilarious for that early in the morning and we thought we were going to be stuck in a dead end forever.

Luckily we were able to figure it out and go into Reykjavik for the day. I have so many pictures from these 2 days, but I tried my best to narrow it down…


It is the cutest city and almost every building is painted a bright color!


We were starving by about 11:00, so we ate at our favorite cafe. We went there when we were there two years ago, and I have been waiting to go back ever since. The inside is so cute. Grilled cheese and tomato soup never tasted so good…

After lunch we were all exhausted. We convinced my parents that it was absolutely necessary to drive to our hotel and take a 2 hour nap. I’ve never slept so hard or well in my entire life. We all woke up and felt like it was a new day! Safe to say there were no regrets on the nap…

After our little nap, we went to the Blue Lagoon. There is nothing I can really compare it to because there is really nothing like it. It’s a geothermal spa,  the water is really warm, and they give you silica mud mask to put on your face. It’s pretty neat.


As you can see, we look super attractive with mud mask on our faces…


Here’s a picture of Jeff being Jeff. I am aware that he appears to be naked in this picture, but I can assure you that he is not.


We went to the Blue Lagoon on my parent’s 25th wedding anniversary. I can only hope that on my 25th anniversary, I will be cool enough to be traveling somewhere around the world with my kids and their friends 🙂

 After we left, we drove to the water and watched the “sunset”. It was 11:00pm and it never actually got dark, but it was so pretty.


This was about as dark as it got all night!


I love this picture of Theo because he looks like a little model, but the real reason he isn’t smiling is because he shoved an entire Oreo into his mouth seconds before this picture…


Our toes were frozen in this picture. Flip flops were a mistake.

The next day, we got up early and drove the golden circle…Yay for more pictures!!


Oh, look… it’s my best friend sitting on the cutest bridge with the most beautiful backdrop ever! Here’s a story about this bridge though… You can’t see it, but there is one board missing from this bridge. When we were walking back down, Helen and Hannah were behind me. I told Helen to watch her step and about 1 second later I heard a loud noise. I looked back and Hannah had fallen into the hole from the missing board… I don’t know how her body got into that position, but it looked like it really hurt… After she got out and I knew we weren’t going to have to cut her leg off or anything, I couldn’t help but laugh! She was the last person I expected to fall though the bridge, so anyways… there’s a picture of Hannah sitting on the bridge before she fell through it…


We took a wrong turn, but it was okay because we saw these cute sheep and the old shipwrecks that are way out in the background.


Moral of the story: Do go chasing waterfalls.


Another one because I really love my mom and little sister 🙂


This was one of the many highlights of my day. I made my family pull over on the side of the road because I was dying to pet an Icelandic horse. We actually pulled over twice… This picture is from the second time, which is why I am a little more calm. Also, don’t ask about my hair because I don’t know.


This whole country is amazing… There is black volcanic rock everywhere, there is moss all over the rocks, tons of shrubs, volcanos, mountains, geysers, millions of purple lupins, a sun that never sets in the summer, waterfalls, glaciers, sheep, and Icelandic horses. At one point on the drive, we all fell asleep in the backseat. When we woke up, we were lost… again… but it was the funniest thing and we couldn’t even be upset about it. There is no place I’d rather be lost. If you ever find yourself lost in Iceland, consider yourself lucky. This country is unreal and definitely one of my favorites. 10/10 would recommend. I’ll let ya know if we feel the same way about Ireland in a few days 😉


East Coastin’

After 26 hours and several dance parties in the car, we made it to the east coast and have been here for over a week now! We got to spend time in New York and Virginia with our grandparents and cousins. We have done a lot in the last 10 days, but I will try my best to keep it short.

Britt, our favorite professional soccer player, is playing for the Western New York Flash and we got to go see one of her games! She even got to come to Grandma and Papa’s house for the weekend 🙂


We have really missed watching her play and having her live in our house.

One night, we went and got ice cream at Watts and then we went to Lake Ontario to watch the sunset. I brought my new camera and I am obsessed with it… Plus, how could anyone take a bad picture when the view looks like this???




It would seriously be impossible to take a bad picture.

We went to Letchworth State Park! We had never been before and it is so pretty and green. I am weirdly fascinated by how many trees there are here… They are just so different than in Colorado! I’m also super unamused with the amount of bugs and humidity on the east coast…


We made an “Amazing Race” game for the kids to play at Grandma and Papa’s house. We had them running through the fields, all around the property, writing poems, podding peas, and eating popsicles as fast as they could. Pure entertainment for the kids and for those of us who were watching 🙂


Oh yeah, and we had them eat a plate of whipped cream with no hands.


In this event they had to run five laps, but after every lap, they had to eat a popsicle. This was on the first lap, and Theo and Jeff are probably in the middle of yelling “anything for the W”…

We drove to Virginia, and let me tell you, 7 hours in the car feels like nothing these days. For the last few days we have been hanging out in the “penthouse”, watching tons of soccer, and pretty much living at Top Golf. We got to see all of Dad’s high school friends and we also got to see Holly and Russell. We miss them a lot, too. We need all these people we love to move closer to Colorado…


Top Golf is awesome, but it is a very public place for me to be swinging a golf club…

We celebrated Theo and Jeff’s 13th birthday… I officially have teenage brothers, so thats scary, but I sure do love them!


They love pictures…

Last thing. I promise. If you actually read this far, you deserve to hear this story. My brothers have long boards and they are super good. Sometimes, I think I want to learn how to ride/think that I have the coordination to ride… The boys were long boarding and everyone was outside watching them (literally everyone…)  and I asked Theo if I could try. He told me no, so obviously I tried it anyway… I was going super slow and it’s kind of hard to explain, but somehow I flew off. I landed on my butt and hit the ground so hard… I have a bruise, so that should be super comfortable every time I sit down for the next week… Oh and Theo didn’t even help me up… He laughed at me, took the board, and walked away. It was quite the reality check and karma… I apologize for not having a video to share.


We watched sunsets, had campfires, ate s’mores, told stories, rode bikes, played golf, saw old friends, and had a really simple and laid-back week with family. It is almost time for this part of our trip to come to an end and for us to go on our next adventure… This time by plane 🙂