It’s My Birthday!!!

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Today I turned 27! Wow I still can’t believe it. I always felt like 27 was the line that once you passed you were considered “older”. That could just be my “twenty-something” year old brain still thinking dysfunctional about age. I only have one choice but to embrace it! Today was a lot less painful than I expected it to be though. It could be the ample amounts of distractions due to a fun filled camping trip to a Jelly stone Park. I didn’t plan to be camping on my birthday, it just happened this way because of Tom’s work schedule. It all worked out because we are having a nice time here. It’s amazing how different Texas camping is vs. well any place Tom and I have lived haha! This camp ground has a water park with a jumping pillow, lazer tag, arcade, and much more. I was so shocked to see that they have entertainment planned for kids with a new event starting almost every hour. It reminds me of an all inclusive resort in Mexico, except you camp! Audrey is being her social butterfly self, attempting to move into anyone’s camp that contains children. She’s been having a lot of fun and I’m happy we ended up coming. It will make this birthday even more memorable.

Tom was so good this year! I actually wrote in my journal that I thought Tom didn’t have anything planned because I told him I didn’t want anything (not true ever……). If I say I don’t really want anything it means that I don’t have a desire for any gifts, but would still appreciate some celebratory act on my birthday. Tom always surprises me because I can never tell if he will bomb or ace an occasion. This year he did wonderfully *Big Smile*. I thought he would never be able to plan something since I had been the one to plan the camping trip. I like to think I can read people so I usually know when Tom has planned something. In addition to that 80% of the time I can guess what he’s planned and what gift he bought. This time however was a complete surprise. I figured he would do the ‘guy thing’ and take my previous statement literal and do nothing.  Luckily he knows me pretty well. Today after lunch he and Audrey kicked me out of the camper to “prepare”. It was so cute that they were working together! Tom and Audrey came out with a plate of ice cream sandwiches – PERFECT because I don’t like cake. He even snuck away to the camp store and bought some cute yogi bear candles to light. After blowing out my candles I received cards from both him and Audrey. I adore that he got a card for Audrey to give me! I would have been thrilled if this were the end of it, but he pulled out a bag and told me to open it. He bought me a GoPro! What a wonderful hubby I have. All I really wanted was memorable special moments to remember my 27th birthday with, and he delivered that and more. I am blessed!

Our Weekend In Corpus Christi!

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We went to Corpus Christi last weekend because Tom had a conference at the Omni. I didn’t think it was going to be as refreshing as it was because we weren’t leaving the state. I guess I didn’t consider it a ‘trip’. Other than the Omni being a less than average hotel, we had a great time. I still pinch myself that we live in a new state where we can drive to the beach instead of the mountains. It’s a nice change of pace and the people in Texas are just the friendliest around. We arrived Thursday afternoon and quickly discovered that the Omni wasn’t quite as nice as we were used to. Our room would have been wonderful if it had adult sized beds. The room had two DOUBLE beds which are 54×75 inches versus a queen which is 60×80. These are the beds that furniture stores sell for KIDS rooms so why is it in a hotel??? I was almost too long for this bed so I can’t imagine how a 6’ tall man would fare. Another HUGE con was the WIFI. Note only did you have to pay $11-$14 it didn’t work! I called the front desk and their response was “sometimes when the hotel is really full the WIFI doesn’t work well”. Correct me if I’m wrong but shouldn’t a hotel be prepared to accommodate a full house?! The room service meals were very good though. The pool was nice except it should have been twice as large because it was getting a little crowded. All in all we gave the Omni a 2.5-3 out of 5. I wish Corpus invested in tourism more. They need a nice strip of land by the ocean with nice hotels and restaurants on the water. The beach in Corpus is nice, I wouldn’t call it a destination mostly because the city really needs to construct a ‘destination area’. I would skip Corpus all together and go straight to Port Aransas if we were looking for beach time. On last night the conference had a reception that we attended. The food…..well let’s be honest it was pretty gross. Tom even got food poisoning from it! They had two protein dishes, chicken and Mahi Mahi. The chicken still had it’s skin but it was soggy instead of crispy. It tasted like they just boiled it and tossed in hot sauce. The fish was so dry that it became chalk in our mouths and that’s never a good sign. But they did have a live band and we spent most of the night dancing. It was fun dancing with Audrey. You can see some of her ‘dance moves’ in our vlog! It was great being able to dance as a family. The wall facing the ocean was mostly glass so it was lovely being able to look at the water as the sun went down – too bad the food wasn’t on par with the ambience. Over-all a nice low key weekend that I enjoyed more than I thought I would.

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The Sunshine State?

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We have been in Ft. Lauderdale Florida since Monday. Tom had a big conference to attend here and we thought it would be a nice opportunity for a get away. Unfortunately we came during a rainy week. We haven’t had too much time in the sun and that STINKS! How is this called the sunshine state after this week lol? We have one more full day here and it’s the only “partly cloudy” day in the forecast. I hope we can soak up some sun tomorrow, but we will see. Yesterday we were on the beach with black clouds and rain……. That didn’t stop us from sitting in the sand and making sand castles. Audrey Godzilla had a lot of fun putting us to work and then smashing it. Last summer we took Audrey to Mexico and she was not a fan of the beach. This time she LOVES it! She asks every day if we can go to the beach and it makes me mad that it’s RAINING! She finally wants to go play at the beach and it rains every day. Too bad. I’m still so happy we live in Texas where we are a drive away from water. I want to plan a trip this summer to South Padre Island to participate in the sea turtle release. This is something I’ve wanted to do for years and I am just giddy that we can do it in our own backyard YAY!

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San Diego!

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Yesterday we went to the San Diego Sea World. Now Tom and I have been to ALL the Sea World parks YAY. I remember being a little girl and thinking Sea World was THE park for me. I told myself I would go all the time when I grew up, and here we are. I’m all grown up and I get to go whenever I want, especially now that we live in San Antonio! If Sea World San Diego merged with Sea World San Antonio it would be AWESOME! I think both of these parks are great. We had a lot of fun seeing all the shows. The weather could have been better though. So far this San Diego trip has been good. The hotel we are in is amazing! Tom’s conference is in the more expensive Hyatt across the street, and it was all booked up which made us choose this Embassy Suites. It’s perfect for a family because it offers free wifi and breakfast. The “higher end” hotels across the street were much more expensive for a basic small room, AND NO free breakfast or WIFI. Plus the hotel we are in has suite rooms which gives us all the space we need to spend some down time. Sometimes I dread travel because it gets so cramped and inconvenient, especially with a toddler. My body doesn’t tolerate eating out a lot because it tends to be really heavy, unhealthy foods. Even a salad at a basic restaurant can be as unhealthy as a greasy cheeseburger. By the end of the trip I usually live off of granola bars because my stomach hurts. Luckily this hotel has a refrigerator and microwave in the room so we were able to buy some healthy foods at Ralphs.

Switzerland!

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My hotel

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After Munich I split up from the group. They were headed back to Barcelona and then to the USA. I wanted to make a few more stops before heading back to the US. Everything is just so close in Europe and I felt like it would be a waste if I didn’t take advantage of that. Plus Tom really wanted to save Spain for a trip together. I decided to take a tour of Switzerland since it was only a short plane ride from Munich. I stayed in Zurich at a hotel called The Adler, which I highly recommend. It was very cozy in the center of the city. There were shops and restaurants all around it, and it was only a 10 minute walk from the main train station. My room was really small but it was very cozy and I slept well. The first day there I toured Zurich and did some shopping. I didn’t bring enough sweaters with me to Europe so I ended up buying a light jacket. Our trip was wonderful but 85% of the time it was overcast and/or raining. Zurich was so cute. It reminded me of Amsterdam a little bit. The next day I did a tour traveling from Zurich, Lucerne, Bern, and Geneva. It was a long day, but it was nice being able to relax on the bus. If I ever went back I would love to go see more of Bern and Geneva. Zurich and Lucerne were very similar. I would visit Lucerne for a day of shopping if that’s what I was interested in. Bern is a smaller town with a lot of charm, our tour didn’t get to spend too much time there. Over-all Switzerland was very scenic and EXPENSIVE! The shopping is fantastic, but everything costs more so I don’t think I would go here to shop. I did of course by my Swiss Army Knife there, how could you not!?

Berlin and Munich, Germany

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Our authentic German evening

 

 

 

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I would describe these two cities as opposites. We really didn’t like Berlin, at all. The people were scary rude. We were going to take a cab to the hostel and the first cab we came upon rudely responded “Take the bus!’. WTF…… so we ask another cab, and he says “Walk”. Ok a-holes, we understand that we can walk but it’s 10pm and we have tons of luggage. We weren’t about to walk 2 miles with all the bags our group had. That started the trip with a sour taste definitely. Once we got to the hostel – very small room with 6 beds and one bathroom, we changed and went out to dinner. We had very good Indian food that night. For some reason I wasn’t feeling that great so I couldn’t finish my meal. At this time I was missing Amsterdam more and more. After dinner we decided to go to a club called Matrix…..well because it was the only one open. First off, they carded and half of our group left their ID at the Hostel. They had to take a cab back to the hostel to pick it up and then come all the way back, what a pain! And who cards in Europe!? It was 6 Euro to get in and once we made it in we noticed that the music was bad. We are talking about 90’s music and then the occassional song from 40’s, 50’s, oh heck 60’s and 70’s too. It just made no sense. There were 2 rooms so we expected that each room must be playing a different type of music. The room we “thought” was the EDM room was fun for the first 3 songs……..and then it happened…..they played the Jitter Bug! Like WHAT? How the heck did they move from EDM to swing? Then we moved to the other room, where we noticed that all the guys were just dancing together. And there was a cage where all the men were in, dancing together…..straight men. The other side wasn’t much better with the music. They played “Blue”Eiffel 65 TWICE! That is a rookie move for a DJ. The club sucked in other words. I spent a lot of time outside breathing fresh air and trying not to piss any othe other club goers off. Even if you accidentally walked in their path they would snarl. It just wasn’t my scene at all. The night before we had so much fun in Amsterdam and everyone was so friendly, so this contrast was so painful. Ok I am going to stop here about this night because it just kept getting worse…..

Next day we wake up and head out for breakfast. It was beautiful and sunny so we sat outside at this cute cafe. We started to notice that there were bees everywhere. I’m not talking about 1 or 2 every once in a while, there were like 5-7 on our hands, food, in our drinks EVERYWHERE! They were all over the place. I swatted at one in my drink and it stung me…… We finally moved indoors where there were only 1-2 bees around constantly. Later that day on our siteseeing walk my cousin found a bee in her coffee!!!!!! The locals said this is normal for that time of the year….. We walked around site seeing and we weren’t too impressed. For the most part the people were rude, the places were crowded and industrial looking, and we just didn’t enjoy it. We left the next morning – thank God! We were so happy to leave Berlin. I’m sure others have visited and just loved it, but our visit this time didn’t go well.

We took a bus from Prague to Munich. My cousin Amberlee had been to Munich before so she was excited to go back. We knew we had to visit a concentration camp because it is a MUST SEE experience. It is such a black, evil part of history that I cannot even believe happened such a short time ago. We went to Dachau just outside of Munich. Upon arrival we really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Before visiting Dachau I thought I knew so much about the Holocaust and I thought I would be so interested in every detail. Actually I was planning on making a trip to Auschwitz in Poland because that was the camp I had studied the most. It’s very different reading about something and looking at pictures, because the real intensity comes from being there and walking the halls that those innocent people lived and died in. It was intense. I can’t believe how heavy this visit was. We  all know about the Holocaust, but actually seeing it in person was another level. We could hardly speak the entire tour, actually no one but the guide really spoke at all. We were led through the rooms and given the history and it was horrible. I never want to see another concentration camp again. It was really hard to be there and to realize that all of this evil happened only a few decades ago. How can humans be so evil? Our guide mentioned that the children were murdered once they arrived. I couldn’t handle the thought of Audrey being taken from me and murdered in front of me. They just murdered these infants and toddlers and piled them up.  What kind of crazy would you need to be in order to murder a baby!? That was it for me. I couldn’t take my mind away from seeing Audrey in these horrible places. I think mothers experience these tours through the eyes of their babies, well at least that was my experience. Ugh I can’t even think about it without getting teary eyed.

After Dachau we really needed a break to relax because we were not in any mood to site see or be social. Eventually we were ready to emerge from our rooms and do some walking. We went to the Palace and around the City Center. We ate some German food and we decided to have an authentic German evening at a Beer Garden. None of us really drank beer but we felt like we HAD to in order to complete our German experience. The glass was HUGE! And the pretzels were even bigger. The rest of the night was lots of fun. We met some people from Italy and we all went to a bar to hang out. I had to call it a night at 3am in order to go back to my room and pack. The next morning we all had a very tired breakfast together at 7am. I was heading to Switzerland and they were going to Barcelona that day. It was sad to split up with everyone.

Praha! Prague

 

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I DEFINITELY had to pose with this haha!

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Our first beautiful meal together in Prague!

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Yes that is totally a Golden Eagle that I got to hold in the castle gardens! She was 15lbs and my arm was shaking under her weight. 

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We loved our time in Prague. I can definitely see myself staying in Prague for another visit. Prague is a lot cheaper than other countries and they are not part of the Euro. The city is beautiful and cozy. We also rented an apartment here from Airbnb.com but this apartment wasn’t nearly as nice as the one in Amsterdam. Can you tell I’m partial?! It was still nice but it was kind of claustrophobic for me because it was an attic apartment so the ceiling slanted steeply in every room. There wasn’t as much light either. But it was better than any hostel. We spent a lot of time walking around Prague. We took a free walking tour from Prague Royal Walk Free Tour. It was tiring and it took a long time. We barely got to the castle and cathedral before they closed. We walked through the castle gardens and they had exotic birds there. My cousin took a picture with an owl and I got to hold a Golden Eagle! She was HUGE! I was shaking because my arm wasnt strong enough to hold her, about 15lbs. That was a lot of fun, and now I can say that I did it. I was scared though because she could have easily poked my eyes out. Of course we ended our last day in Prague with a bar and nightclub. There were plenty of options and the people were great. We actually met 4 men who danced for Thunder From Down Under in the club BAWHAHAHAHAH. That is too funy because we just tried to get away from them all night. The next day we hopped on a bus to Munich! A long motion sickness bus……..

I loved Prague. I think it’s the most liveable city I’ve visited on this trip. I would like to go back one day with my baby girl.

Amsterdam!

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Enjoying some Heineken Beer since it is brewed in Amsterdam!

 

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A great experience visiting the Anne Frank house. Trying to walk in her shoes during the visit was so hard to imagine. What a black spot in history.

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I loved seeing all the bikes with different child seats. It’s a different way of life when transportation is mainly on bike! How cute is this double seat for some little bums!

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BYE Amsterdam we LOVE you!

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WOW, that is what I have to say. This city is pretty and fun! I can see how some people could think it is “dirty” but that is mainly around the tourist areas. The red light district in particular is covered with litter and overflowing trash cans………and I don’t even need to mention the other dirty things in that area. We went out there and it was so crowded everyone was there to see what it was all about. We did some touristy things before finding a nice bar. None of the locals in the red light area are locals, just tourists. The best part of our trip to Amsterdam was out great apartment! We rented an apartment on Airbnb.com and we were definitely spoiled by it. Going to a hostel after that place was a hard transition. Our apartment was in a convenient location with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. It was nice and open so even though the space was small we were very comfortable. The wifi and entertainment area was great! We had movie nights. There was also a kitchen and a washing machine. We met our landlord when we checked in and he was awesome. Him and his friend actually took us around town on our last evening. It was so much fun, and one of the highlights of our trip. They were gentlemen and they really took care of us.

Ah Amsterdam I thought I wasn’t going to like you but instead I love you! We did so much here and let’s just say we had a wild time! The canals and trees, the peaceful brick apartments right by the water, the house boats lining the canals. Once you get past the “tourist” area its really a pretty place. I will definitely be going back!

Belgium!

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Hello from Europe! The last 3 days we were in Brussels, Belgium. How exciting right…..well it was wet but fun. We enjoyed out bus tour and saw all there was to see. Of course we had Belgian chocolate and Belgian waffles! WOW they were so good actually. I am not even a fan of chocolate but this stuff was good. A medium size box was a whopping 65 Euros!!! WHAT! I know, that is crazy expensive. There are literally dozens of chocolate shops all over the place. It’s hard to choose which one to go to. Today was fun. We made our way from our hostel in Brussels to the train station to head to Amsterdam. My cousin Katrina basically killed her bag. She pulled the handle off so she ended up tying a sports bra onto it in order to pull it. After asking several people which train to take and which way to go, we eventually found our way to Amsterdam. We got to our apartment which wasn’t ready yet, so we waited outside. We ended up making friends with some of the neighbors………well they tried to make friends with us more likely. Honestly Brussels was pretty crazy when it came to the men. They literally would howl at us as we walked down the street. And the constant, OBVIOUS staring was a little intense. Anyways, back to Amsterdam. We are here now and our apartment is very nice…..once it was ready for us. The cute little owner greeted us and actually helped us with our bags. He was very friendly and my cousins were flirting with him. They actually invited him out with us. So now we are here! Updates coming soon! xoxo – xo

Camping Trip!

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This last weekend we went camping at Devil’s Head in Colorado. It’s a great little camp site close to Denver so it’s wonderful for a short trip. This would be Audrey’s SECOND camping trip. She is so at home in the woods. She is impossible to keep clean. On the drive down Tom had the great (not really) idea to get milk shakes. I’ve gotten Audrey milkshakes before and she has had no issues eating them in her carseat. Well this time she thought she needed to rinse her hair with her banana cream pie milkshake……… We discovered this mess once we took her out of the carseat at our campsite. It was baaaaaad. We are in the middle of nowhere with no running water and my toddler needs a serious bath now. I ended up warming some water and pouring it over her head. She was not happy but it had to be done.
The first night there we had neighbors who were pretty obnoxious. I can’t stand camping with close neighbors. Especially if they like to make tons of noise. Lucking they left the next morning so we reserved their spot for our friends who were driving up Saturday afternoon. Saturday was pretty bad because it rained the whole afternoon. WHAT IS UP WTH THE WEATHER THIS SUMMER? Usually it rains in the spring, and maybe a few times in the summer, but this summer it has been raining almost every day. It’s so different from the last 2 years when we had so many forest fires all around Colorado. I’d much rather have rain than fires I guess. Sunday was fun because we decided to go floating down the Platte River. This was our first time but wont be the last. It was so fun. There were many rocks we ran into and lots of ice cold water spraying us. Poor Audrey wasn’t happy. She was due for a nap so she cried half the time. The poor baby actually fell asleep on Toms lap in his inner tube. She was so cute in her little life vest though. We made it our of the river just in time to race back to the campsite and pack up.
Tom and I (well I) had to work fast to get things washed and put away because we are leaving for Cancun tomorrow! Getting home from a camping trip is hard because everything is SO dirty. Plus I am super OCD so I do inventory on all the supplies and write packing lists and organize everything. It’s nice when we leave for a trip because we just load the camping boxes and go. There is no need to make a shopping list to buy things like lighter fluid, matches, or anything because it’s already pre-packed. It just means that I have to organize it again after the camping trip. AND LAUNDRY…..oh everything smells like smoke so it takes some time to get rid of that. But it all got done Sunday night and Monday. Then I spend Tuesday packing and cleaning for our departure Wednesday. YAY Cancun.