Posts in Travel
A Little Mingle Around The Dingle (& Then Some)

My mother’s and my whirlwind (and very scenic) tour of Ireland seemed to be starting off on the right foot (okay, minus the couple “miscalculations” we had encountered while driving)! We were only 24 hours in and had already enjoyed each other’s company and the Emerald Isle immensely. But we were on the move in this next section. It is probably the chapter of our trip when I wish we could have slowed things down and had two extra days to explore everything you’re about to read and see. But heck if we were going to let time slow us down. We were determined to squeeze in every bit of scenery and Irish beer we could in ten days so buckle up as we travel through southern and southwestern Ireland, which includes the Dingle Peninsula...hence the title.

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A Photo Journey Through White Sands Nat'l Monument

We were standing atop the crest of a giant mound of sand and for as far as my eyes would reach were white, wavy rolling hills sprawled out in front of us. With a view as magnificent as this, I fantasized that we had accomplished something grand. It gave me the sense of domination. My hair whipping in the wind, my ankles tickled by the granules that were blowing across them, and us perfectly placed in the middle of it all with 360 degree views of amazing! No trails to hike, nothing to see or do, no hidden attractions. Just here to witness the sand, and only the sand. We were beyond thrilled to finally be experiencing the glory of White Sands National Monument!

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Our Unforgettable Day With Baja's Gray Whales

Many memorable experiences have happened because of this year-long trip. I often wonder if it weren’t for this "pause" that we're on, would we have even seen or experienced this much in our entire lifetime? There are definitely times that have reinforced the precise reasons for why we are taking this year together as a family. One moment that stands out is our remarkable boat trip through Ojo De Liebre, a lagoon that embraces thousands of gray whales each winter. I've reserved this post for them. This was undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime, holy-crap-did-that-just-happen moment. Without further ado, here is our up close and personal day with the gray whales in Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur!

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Baja California, Mexico: Our Entrance into the Baja Peninsula

"Have you ever been? Have you seen the recent news? Read the latest travel warnings? You’re bringing the boys? Be careful. I used to go to Baja back when it was safe, but now, I’ll never go again." These are just a few things people were saying to us before we left for Baja, Mexico. As I'm sure you can imagine, we were not totally psyched given all the "glowing" reviews. In fact, we were so nervous we almost threw our plans to visit out the window. Ultimately, we made the decision to go and are so thankful we didn't cave in to the fear.

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Aloha

I warned you that it wouldn't be long before we were throwing surf, sun, and sea stoke your way. I tried to hold off for as long as possible but with snow in the forecast (on the mainland, of course), now seems like an appropriate time. So turn your space heater on high, throw on that tank top that's been collecting dust since August, and envision yourself seated at the base of a palm tree with a coconut drink in your right hand and some sunscreen in your left.

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Road Tripping: Central Sierra Nevada

This section of California is hands down the best part of inland California. Perhaps the WHOLE state (of what we've seen, anyway). That's a tall order, I know. But since Oregon already won best coastline, we were seeking some new scenery that might win us over in the heartland of CA. And this area did just that!

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Standing Beneath Giants: California Redwoods

We were awestruck by the energy and beauty during our travels through the California Redwood parks, we decided they deserve a post devoted solely to them. The Redwoods have been sitting in my bucket list for over a decade waiting patiently for me to make the trip. I always heard people speak of these grand trees and couldn't wait to be standing at the base of them peering (way!) up. Driving down the California coast we were lucky enough to visit three different redwood areas: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Avenue of the Giants, and Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

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Oregon Part 2: Creepy Campsites, Giant Pancakes, & Puddle Jumping!

If you read part one, you've likely gathered that Oregon has captured our hearts. We have more to share as we wander inland to Portland before being drawn back to the coast. We continue that pattern a few times, experiencing the national/state forests then snaking back out for sun, sand, and sea. In this section of our trip we encountered the rain Oregon is notorious for. Surprisingly though, we made the most of it and at times actually enjoyed it. Or, perhaps that's what sentimental memories do to a person - forget the annoyances and remember the pleasures. Either way, I'm diving in to Central Oregon and just like the northern half, it did not disappoint. 

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O Canada! Part I: Waterton Lakes Nat'l Park

I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again. This place is it! It has everything I love. Everything I love to look at and do and hike and see. Canada, you have outdone yourself. You've taken ahold of my eyes and heart and I won't be the same now that I've gotten another taste of you. Gosh, I love being corny - but it's true!

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7 Family-Friendly adventures in Glacier National Park

Oh Glacier. Our diminishing Glacier National Park. Filled with so much beauty, yet my heart aches as the years pass and the glaciers continue to disappear. Do you know there are only 25 left? With global warming continuing to have a huge impact on these survivors, it is estimated there will be none remaining after 2030. You heard me right. None. Geez, what will they do...change the name?! I

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A Grand Time in the Tetons

As I sit on uncomfortable, patterned carpet that is lining the hallway of our hotel I can't help but reflect on our busy but enjoyable time in Grand Teton National Park. Chip and I are plopped outside our room not because we want to socialize with other hotel guests, but because we are seeking the complete opposite. Silence. Time Alone. Time to decompress. Take in the sights and sounds from this past week (and maybe do a little laundry too). To take a dip in the pool and hot tub (umm, sure we showered beforehand.... a week ago). We learned early on that we need this down time alone and often. Sometimes to escape the kids. Sometimes to catch up on sleep. Sometimes to blog, to work, or to have reliable internet service. And sometimes to simply recharge our bodies' batteries. Joke if you must about taking a "vacation from your vacation", but there it is.

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Belize Part 3: Islands in the Sun

Out of hundreds of cayes, Ambergris Caye is Belize's largest island and located off the northeast coast of the country.  This caye (pronounced key) is known for its proximity to the barrier reef.  The world's second largest barrier reef, might I add.  Our first impressions of this island were of a mixed bag.  The water surrounding the island was the most beautiful azure I've laid eyes on.  But after exiting the plane we were thrown into a frenzied, dusty town overrun by golf carts and loud trucks. 

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Belize Part 2: I'm Walking On Sunshine

I love the tingle of anticipation that builds just before departing for a new locale.  I can never wait to see what it looks like, what it smells like, how it makes me feel, and what memories will be created there.  Today was that point in our trip to Belize.  The long day when we relocate from one section of the country to another.  If you recall, we had just left San Ignacio (aka the Jungle portion of Belize).  And the day started out a bit like the roads around here though. Bumpy. 

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Belize Part 1: Welcome to the Jungle

Why Belize, you might ask? The beaches, right?  I know. I saw those pictures too, before we booked our trip.  The ones that depict silky white sand gently rolling about, pushed by the turquoise ocean that calmly ebbs and flows.  The bright sun shining down on a handsome couple that romantically sips cocktails with a backdrop of a few dozen swaying palm trees.  Yep, I totally wanted that.  I'll admit.  But I knew Belize had a wild card.  Something up its sleeve to offer us, a couple that likes to adventure and explore, but also laze on the beach and sip tropical drinks.

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Exploring Hanoi & Biking in Mai Chau

Hello, from the comforts of our own homes! Where we can drink water from the tap, throw our toilet paper in the toilet (as opposed to the wastebasket), and sleep in a bed that doesn't put gaping holes in our back from the spring coils. It feels great to be back but we're not done blogging yet, people! Teedo and I still have three days in Hanoi, the capital city and one day in Mai Chau, a sleepy village surrounded by mountains to tell you about.

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