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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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!?

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

Tikal Guatemala!

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We spent the last 2 days here in Tikal Guatemala. It’s a REAL jungle here. There are wild jaguars, crocodiles, and monkeys in the area. This place blows the ruins in Mexico out of the water. Here you can really imagine and see a whole Myan city. The pyramids are so tall and you can climb the stairs to the top of a lot of them. Our hotel is called the Tikal Inn and it’s so cute. Most guests get their own private hut with a grass roof. The inside is nice and clean with two beds and a bathroom. Each hut has its own porch which is nice. It only takes a few minutes to walk into the park with the ancient Myan city. The city is HUGE. You have to use your imagination to get an idea of what it would have looked like in its heyday. The jungle has completely taken over and covered the ruins. They say only 20% of the ruins have been excavated and the rest are still covered by trees and soil. It’s amazing that these trees have grown over stone. Their roots wind in and out of the ruins like veins. Every hill we see is a ruin that has yet to be excavated. It would be pretty amazing to see the whole thing if it ever gets completed. After spending a few days walking around looking at the temples I can see why it takes 6-10 years to excavate a single temple. Getting rid of the trees that have grown over the ruins probably takes half the time. As you walk through the jungle you just wonder what ruin you are walking over because every square inch of this place is part of the city. It’s a bit frustrating that we know so little about the Myan people. It’s hard to know what everything here REALLY was. Tom took a sunrise tour and we took a sunset tour together. On both tours you walk to the top of a temple and sit to watch the sun rise or set. There are so many ruins in the park. You could easily spend 2 days seeing everything. It would probably take 2 weeks if they had the whole city uncovered!

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On our way to the airport we stopped in Flores. Flores is a little city on a very small island. It’s a good place for tourists because it’s small and easy to walk around. There are plenty of shops and excursions you can book while on the island. Although it was cute, I am glad we decided to stay in Tikal. A lot of the reviews said to stay in Flores and I really don’t see why. We took a Tuk Tuk back to the airport. The Tuk Tuk was SO cute! I’ve used this form of transportation in other Asian countries before, but I’ve never seen them outside of Asia. Tom had seen them before too, but he had never ridden in one. He used to be a “tour group ONLY” type of traveler before we met. So I assume his traveling was pretty limited due to the nature of the typical “tour group”. I don’t like traveling in a regimented group because it takes away your freedom and the ability to discover the area you’re in. Plus you save a LOT of money when you find local transportation and book your own excursions. When we were in Scotland Tom was trying to book us on a tour group and it was going to cost over $1,000 per person for THREE days! I talked him into renting a car for $200 for two weeks and we got to see the whole country. We saved money and we got to see every bit of Scotland. We even got to stay in a castle!

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I can tell we are missing our monster baby Audrey because we keep copying her NO’s. Actually she says “NO” like “DOE” so it’s extra cute. She usually sticks her hand out while she yells “DOE”.  So anytime Tom and I have to say no we just say DOE! Even though we miss her so much it’s probably better she didn’t come this time. She’s a very busy baby. I think she would have had so much fun here, but the traveling would be excruciating for her……….and us. When she gets to a more travel friendly age she’ll come with us. Last year we took her to Nicaragua with us and that was nice. She wasn’t mobile yet so she was content to let us carry her the whole time. Now that she walks she doesn’t want anything to do with us! I know she’s having fun with her grandma. She’s getting spoiled that’s for sure!

Santa Fe Trip

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We went to Santa Fe, NM for a week in April. We were looking forward to warm weather…………… yeah, that didn’t happen. It was cold and windy most days. We stayed at the El Dorado hotel for the first half and moved to the Hilton for the second. The Hilton was SO MUCH NICER. We wished we had stayed there the whole time. We roadtripped in down from Denver. It was about a 6 hour drive, but we stopped a lot to give the baby time to stretch her legs. Audrey hasn’t been much of a talker, well not English. She talks plenty, we just don’t understand it. This week she was talking a ton. She was pronouncing words perfectly like she’s been talking this whole time. Words like doggy, bubble, ball, cool, bye bye, car, but she says it twice like ball ball. It’s so cute hearing her start to speak Eniglish, but I know it will never end now haha! She has gotten so big. I just can’t believe how fast my little baby has grown up. Now every time I see a little baby I think “I WANT ONE!’

Santa Fe was a cute town but I think a week was too long to spend there. If the weather was nicer we would have been able to do more. Audrey also caught something so she wasn’t feeling too good. We stayed in the hotel room a lot, which I didn’t mind too much once we moved to the Hilton. One day we went to the Plaza area and there was a band playing. Audrey just LOVED it. They should have given us a portion of their tips because people were stopping by to watch her dance! You can see her dancing in our vlogs of Santa Fe. She also learned how to jump on this trip! Now she can open doors, which is pretty scary. She would run out of the hotel room whenever she could.

The drive wasn’t too strenuous. Audrey napped for half of it and then a good portion was spent watching Yo Gabba Gabba on the iPad. It was highway driving the whole way so we didn’t hit any traffic. But I definitely would not have wanted to spend any more time in the car for one day.