Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things

Every time I get the Sundance catalog in the mail, I admittedly get very excited.  It's page after page of beautiful, jewelry, home items.  It doesn't hurt that the company was founded by Robert Redford (*swoon*).  This morning while sitting with my coffee and having that rare quiet moment, I flipped through the pages of the holiday issue and dog-eared the following beautiful...don't you agree?

Love this Stardust Leather Cuff. It's out of my price range, but a girl can certainly dream.  And besides, who doesn't like a little sparkle?

This might have to be my one splurge item this December.  I love this Rise & Shine Sweater and can almost feel the softness and warmth.

The Soft Tones Pullover looks like the kind of sweater you would slip into after a day on the slopes or, in my case, snowshoeing.
These holiday tokens might have to find their way into stockings...

I decorate with reds and tans and I can already feel the warmth and coziness of this Missoula Red Plaid Flannel Fireside Throw in our family room.

So what holiday catalogues are you enjoying this season?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Turkey Trot - Are You Registered?

This may be one of the most exciting races for me.  I first raced in 2003, my first year in Cleveland.  This year will be my 11th! Holy crap, I've been in Cleveland for 11 is that possible?

I usually race the 5-mile distance, but downsized to the 1-mile fun run while pregnant with B.  A couple years in between, the girls, Greg and I have walked, jogged, and ran the 1-mile fun run together.  But this year, I'll go back to the 5-mile distance solo.  I don't think I'll best my time of 47:52 from 2011, but I'll damn well try.

So don't be a couch potato.  Get out there and run on Thanksgiving! It's my way of justifying the debauchery of food that will follow.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

And Hawaii Makes 50

Since both the girls are in school, we knew the 50th (and farthest distance) state would have to wait till summer.  Secretly, I knew the race I wanted to tackle.  After thinking about it a lot (I mean, A LOT), I finally shared my crazy idea with Megan.  She agreed that if we were going to finish this insane challenge...this huge travel and racing commitment...then we needed to do it big.  Not a 5k, not a 10k, not a costume-y kind of race.  I then got up the nerve to tell Greg.  To my surprise, he said he was in.  He would race with me...

I had to do it now.  I've been wanting to do this for a long time.  And so I registered.  I emailed Greg my confirmation.  And by the next morning, he, too, was registered.

On May 31, 2014, we will close out this wonderful challenge by racing Ironman 70.3 Kona.  This will be his second half will be my first.  Together, we will swim 1.2 miles in the ocean, bike 56 miles along the same course that we've seen on TV, and finish with a half marathon.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a trip to my local bike shop to pick up a second CycleOps trainer as there will be two of us cycling through these cold winter months.

Wish us luck!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween 2013 - A Frightful, Fun Night

Not even the 40mph winds or the sputtering rain was going to keep B from trick or treating! She dressed up as a cheetah and was cute as can be!

Doing their best Edvard Munch impersonation (top left).  Nightmare before Christmas pumpkin (bottom left).

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Columbus Half Marathon

I'm not sure it could have been ANY colder at the starting line.  It was 36 degrees with brutally cold wind (and that comes from a CLE girl). Brrr...

Greg dropped me off around 6:30am. The race had strict rules that all athletes had to be in their corrals by 7:00am for the 7:30am race start.  I wandered my way along Broad until reaching High to drop off my jacket in the clear bag.  I've never wanted to hold on to a possession like I did my jacket! I paced for a good 10 minutes before finally succumbing to the line and handing my warm Northface jacket over to the kind volunteer.  Thank goodness my gloves and I would not be parting.

7:30am came and went.  I was in Corral C, but there was no movement.  Usually in large races it takes about 5-10 minutes before movement occurs.  Sometimes as much as 20 minutes (Kentucky Derby 1/2, Marine Corp Marathon).  I heard fireworks but couldn't see anything around the buildings.  Come on, folks, let's get this thing started!

7:45am and still no movement.  Finally at 7:55am my group started moving a few steps forward.  It wasn't until 8:00am that we were fully released into the streets of Columbus.  By this time, I had spent a half hour fidgeting and jumping around to stay warm (a relative term).  Would I have the energy to do well or did I just expend all I had?

The first two miles were miserable.  Walkers 3-4 wide blocked many stretches. It was tough finding my stride between feeling arthritic from the cold and scooting between runners to find an open space.

Miles 3-6 were nice taking us past the Governor's Mansion and some breathtaking homes in Bexley, before spending some time on Capital University's campus.  Eventually we were back on Broad Street (pretty boring stretch).  It was around mile 8 that I had an "uh-oh" moment.  Now where were those port-o-potties? I saw them EVERYWHERE when I didn't need to go.  Then they were nonexistent.  Damn...this is going to be awkward and a serious change to my running stride! Finally, I found one between mile 8-9 and spent a quality 3-4 minutes.  Prior to finding the port-o-pottie, I was worried I would spontaneously combust.  When I was inside one, took what felt like forever to do my business.  But when I was done, I had a little sprite in my step and knew I would finish. 

German Village has always been one of my favorite places.  Meg and I spent many Saturday nights at Cup-O-Joe's and the bookstore next door wandering room to room before finding just the right kids book.  Finally, we were back to High Street for our final 2-mile stretch.  Now how did that incline get here? High Street always seemed flat to me until I was having to run it.  Oh shoe is untied.  Great.  Better stop since I have the coordination and lightfootedness of an elephant. 

Is that the corner? Can we really be at Nationwide Arena? Oh, thank goodness.  And just like that, another half marathon was completed!
Me and my girls post-race.  Look at that medal - it's a weapon!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Life Without Limits: A Great Read

What an excellent book.  While on my flight to Austin, I started reading Chrissie Wellington's A Life Without Limits: A World Champion's Journey.  It was such an easy and inspiring read that I found myself getting up early, heading down to breakfast by myself, and devouring more pages with my morning coffee.  I have tackled a handful of sprint triathlons and have always thought about training for something more challenging.  But what I liked most about this book was learning about her dedication to nonprofit work and various causes as well as her travels.  She was an accidental triathlete and ended up being one of the best in her field, while also inspiring many with her kindness.

Never, ever give up - and smile.  What a great mantra that we should all adopt.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Her First 5k: The Great Pumpkin Race

When I started this crazy race-all-50-states thing, I wanted to find a way to get my girls involved in the races as well.  For Bridget, that meant using the jogging stroller for many races, but this year was different.  This year, she raced a full 5k ON HER OWN!

The first year we decided that Halloween races would be our thing was 2010.  We raced our first 10k together in costumes.  Her favorite book at the time was Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy.  So she picked the costumes with her starring as Ladybug Girl and I was Bumbleebee Boy (errr Girl).  We raced in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the Day of the Dead 10k.  Thanks to United, our stroller didn't arrive in time for the race (it actually was delivered 2 hours after the race - thanks, but no thanks).  Fortunately, Greg secured us a rental (he made the arrangements from Ohio - what a great man). We totally rocked the course and ended the day with a visit to the Children's Discovery Museum.

In 2011, we added Megan to the mix and raced in Savannah, Georgia around beautiful plantation homes.  B and I went as witches complete with tons of tulle and witch hats.  Meg dressed up as a cheetah and even won her age group!

Last year, we ran in Seattle and braved the drizzle that Seattle is well known for.  This was B's first race solo and she ran the Kid's half-mile fun run.  We dressed as draculas, but she made her dad carry her cape while she ran!

This year, we ran side by side in her first full 5k.  She dressed as a cheetah and I went as Robin (Batman's sidekick).  We held hands crossing the finish line.  The best part was hearing her tell me as soon as she saw the Mile 3 sign that she didn't think she was going to be able to finish the race when she started.  But now she knew she could do it and was beyond excited.  When she finished, she told her dad that her legs didn't even hurt!

She's still moving at Mile 2!

Top left 2013, top right 2012 in Seattle.
Bottom left 2011 in Savannah, bottom right 2010 in Albuquerque

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Austin City Limits and the Monsoon

A weekend of amazing bands...with no kids.  Sounds awesome and it least until the monsoon hit (that's my unofficial weather term).

The trip started with a funny challenge.  Because flights to Austin are not price-friendly, Greg cashed in miles for my flight and he used a voucher to offset part of his flight.  He booked my flight problem.  When he booked his flight, he couldn't get on my route.  United was more than willing to help us...for a fee of "ouch" dollars.  Ok, so we will play the game of who-gets-there-first.  I flew from CLE through O'Hare then Austin.  He flew through Houston then to Austin.  Would you believe we arrived within a half hour of each other.  It was a gamble because O'Hare doesn't exactly have a good on-time arrival. We left Cleveland in 30 degree weather and arrived in a sweaty, humid 95 in Austin. Phew!

We checked in our hotel and began the sweltering 2.5-mile trek to Zilker Park to enjoy the afternoon and evening's lineup.  Friday was amazing.  Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, Muse, Depeche Mode. Friday did not disappoint.  We ended the evening with a margarita and chips and salsa...and a good night's sleep.

On our way to Zilker Park, I noticed a cool yoga place, Wanderlust.  After a quick bowl of oatmeal and coffee, I headed over or a hot yoga session.  Wow - loved this place! Great vibe, small room, really good and interactive instructor.  I sweated through every layer of clothing during the 95-degree hot yoga session. Greg met me after class and headed off to Frank's for the most decadent and not-at-all-healthy hot dog.  He had the Notorious P.I.G., a jalepeno and sage sausage dog with mac-n-cheese and BBQ sauce drizzled on top.  I had the Southern Belle, which a basic dog with a spicy pimiento cheese drizzle and fried green tomatoes.  Simply yum! Best of all, they didn't mind seating us with me being a seaty mess.

Saturday was equally as amazing musically as Friday. We enjoyed Wilco and Kendrick Lamar, before being treated to a kick-ass show by Kings of Leon.  I was in complete awe of their live performance. And I definitely can't wait to see them in concert for a longer performance.  But here's where the evening turned on us.  As we were walking away from the Kings of Leon performance and heading over to listen to the last few songs by the Cure, a downpour hit.  We ran to a big tree, which provided ZERO coverage.  We knew we couldn't walk back in this mess and the pedi-cabs were hiding.  So off to the bus we went.  We stood in line for about a half hour before loading onto one of the most freezing cold buses.  We probably would have enjoyed the A/C had our clothes not been wet and hanging on us.  We managed to walk the mile back to our hotel from the bus unloading zone, took a hot shower to warm up and ordered room service.  That may have been one of the most appreciated meals yet!

We woke up Sunday to the bad news that Sunday's lineup was cancelled.  Bummer! Phoenix, Atoms for Peace, Franz Ferdinand, Lone Bellows and Eric Church would have to wait another time.  In spite of it all, we can hardly wait to go back!

Taking a break in the shade...Wow, it was hot!

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Soft Feel of Autumn

Loving these cooler temps...they're making me want to wrap myself in big, bulky, warm sweaters and slip into well-worn boots...


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Roll Tribe

Going to an Indians game is a must for every kid and adult in northern Ohio.  We attended a Sunday afternoon game a couple weeks ago and had so much fun at their "children run the bases" event!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Another Triathlete in the Family

What an amazing weekend! Bridget and I made a much too quick weekend trip down south to see my brother and his family for the weekend.  It was my brother's first triathlon - and he decided to tackle a half distance triathlon as his first venture into the sport!  There was no way I was going to miss that.  I mean, come on, you remember your first big endurance event, right? It was super special, of course.

My first marathon will always be the most special event and I was hoping that my brother would feel the same after crossing his first big finish line! And I'm pretty sure he did.

My sister-in-law, her 3 kids, me and Bridget all made the best of 8 hours in perfect weather in one of the most beautiful places in the U.S.  The older kids made signs to cheer on my brother, which he really appreciated. It was so funny to see their rendition of a medal - so doggone cute!  My sister-in-law and I were able to catch up and it felt like I was sitting in her kitchen back in Athens all over again.

And Outer Banks? He couldn't have picked a better place to make his day special. The swim portion, while it certainly looked long, was beautiful. The weather was perfect and it was as if the sun danced off of the waves. While we only got to see him mounting and dismounting his bike, he said the bike portion was gorgeous meandering through Manteo and, as every triathlete experiences at least once in a race, he learned to change a flat tire pretty quickly. The run portion was in the hottest part of the day, but he managed to excel and finish well under the time cap. So proud of him!

Just look at how beautiful OBX is in Autumn!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

First Day of First Grade

Megan began her first day of her sophomore year on the same day that Bridget began her first day of first grade.  My little girls are growing way too fast!

Below is Bridget on her first day of first grade (left) and Megan on her first day of first grade (right, vintage).

Monday, September 23, 2013

Gentlemen of the Road

We were lucky enough to score tickets to the Gentlemen of the Road stopover in Troy, Ohio back in February.  Fast forward 7 months later and we attended one of the most enjoyable lineups of bands on a Saturday afternoon in a wonderful little southwestern Ohio town of Troy.  The townspeople were amazing and full of hospitality.  The businesses were a delight to support.  And Mumford and Sons? They gave one hell of a concert!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

And Now It Was My Turn to Race

Let me tell you, I was not half marathon race ready...but hey, am I ever? Nope.  When Greg first asked Bridget and I to join him on a trip to SLC for business, of course I searched to see if there were any Idaho races.  And yes, there were two - one in Burley and one is Mesa Falls.  I opted for Burley because it was closer and had a kids event. The downside is the shortest race distance was a half marathon...ouch! But it all worked out.

The night before the race, I was hard pressed to find a pasta experience.  However, we checked Yelp and Stevo's was highly recommended AND they had the best potatoes in Idaho.  Don't have to twist my arm.  Greg had the largest, messiest baked potato topped with so much yumminess that I don't know how he was able to sleep through the night.  I had the BEST rainbow trout sandwich I have ever had. It was a win in our book!

The Fairfield Inn opened their breakfast at 5:00 a.m. for the Triathletes who had to get set up early in transition.  I had a nice 8:00 a.m. start time so I was able to sleep a bit longer and didn't have to rush through my bagel and PB.  There were only about 10-12 of us racing the half marathon - most of the girls were there because their spouses were competing in the triathlon and they were killing some time.  Met several nice people, one of which is a park ranger in Zion National Park.  What a cool job!

We had a hot hot hot sunny day, but the race volunteers and small town experience made this race one of my favorites.  And would you believe, I was FIRST in my age group and won an award? (Shhh...if you don't tell anyone, I was also the ONLY one in my age group.)  My award was a slab of granite that was so heavy I could barely carry it through the airport.  Oh, but I did with pride (and sore arms)!

And just like that, Bridget and I together raced through our 49th state!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

And Idaho Makes 49

Unbelievable...just unbelievable to think we're this far into our little family fitness challenge.  Along the way, I co-opted the kids into racing with me (or even racing their own races) and it's been wonderful seeing them excited when they cross that finish line and realize how strong their bodies and minds are.

Friday evening in Burley is not a hoppin' kind of place or town.  The people are so friendly that they almost compete for best customer service with South Dakota.  I simply can't say enough wonderful things about the Fairfield Inn hotel staff or the townspeople...or the race organizers...or the race volunteers.  Everyone made this race experience wonderful.

So not to be shortchanged on knocking out states, Bridget lined up at the kids 1-mile race alongside Greg.  The race organizers had the animals from Madigascar lead the kids in pre-race exercises before hand.  So fun to watch.  And then she was off (with Greg racing by her side). I managed to snack some great pics of Bridget finishing before Greg.  This was super important because they had bet (at least a week prior to the race) that if he beat her, then she would have to eat whatever he chose and Bridget would have to give him kisses and hugs.  If Bridget won, then she could eat whatever she wanted whenever she wanted and watch whatever show she wanted whenever she wanted.

I'll let the pictures below tell who won...


Friday, September 13, 2013

A Day in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City? Yep, Utah.  Love that place.  In order to knock out Idaho, and to keep our travel expenses under budget, we flew in to Salt Lake City. Had our flight not been delayed, we had planned on seeing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform.  It's kind of a big deal to see the Choir and their Thursday evening practice is open to the public.  Both Greg and I were pretty pumped about this, but we just couldn't get United to share in our excitement...go figure.

The next morning, before making our trek to Burley, Idaho, we managed to kill a few hours at Discovery Gateway, the kids museum in SLC.  What a wonderful place! Best of all, Bridget got to be treated to her kind of fun, rather than boring old adult fun.

Had to drag her out of the place...but we had packet pick-up and she had a 1-mile race to run!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Stuck on the Tarmac, But Happy at 49 States

Friday and Saturday marked our completion of a race in 49 states. Forty-freaking-nine! In short, Bridget and Greg ran the 1-mile fun run on Friday and I knocked out a half marathon on Saturday. Even won my age group and, oh boy, is that a funny story!

After we get off his Tarmac and home to my computer, I'll write a proper post with pictures. Needless to say, we had an awesome time!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Columbus Half Marathon, Here I Come

I'm pretty excited about this race.  I've wanted to run it the last few years because many of my running friends rave about the course, the volunteers and the fans.  However, the last 3 years, I've been traveling during the month of October because air fares are at their lowest and I can knock out a few states in one month.  But this year, since I'm closing in on 49 states, I am free during October.  Yay!

I am following a formal training plan (Hal Higdon) because I need focus and discipline, if I'm going to do this right.  So far, all body parts are in working order and nothing hurts.  Let's hope that lasts!

So here's to training for 13.1 miles of fun and a PR!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Austin City Limits

Yesssssss!!!!!! We're going this year.  It's our second time at ACL and I'm beyond excited.  What a lineup - Cure, Depeche Mode, Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon, Muse, Atoms for Peace (I love me some Thom Yorke), Queens of the Stone Age, Franz Ferdinand, too many acts to name! Our hotel and flights are booked.  Now let's hope that we don't have the mudfest that we had the last time!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Hello, Miss 49!

I just registered for the 49th state! I can't believe we've accomplished so many states in such a short period of time.  What started out on a bar napkin as a silly challenge has turned in to some of the best family memories and fun with my husband and two kids. 

Later this month, I'll be tackling Idaho.  I'll be running/walking a half marathon and laughing the whole way as I check off state 49 on a Saturday morning.  The evening before, my youngest will be running the kids 1 mile race, in which she will receive a medal.  I think one of the best things about this challenge has been seeing my two daughters take part in races and actually enjoy running.  I'm one lucky girl!

Now, elusive 50th's time to start thinking about you!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Chicago Weekend Getaway

I've always said I love living in Cleveland. We are within a day's drive to so many major cities and destinations.  Within 8 hours, you could be in New York City.  Within 5 hours, Washington, D.C.  And within 6 hours, Chicago.  For my birthday, Greg surprised me with 4 seats to the Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z concert.  Not sure who I was more excited to see as I've been a fan of both for a VERY long time.  I saw Justin when he was with N*Sync in Pittsburgh in 2001 and again when he was solo in Cleveland while 9 months pregnant with Bridget in 2007.  I have never seen Jay-Z in concert, but was over-the-top thrilled at the thought of seeing him live.  And let me tell you, both were AMAZING! Absolutely electrical performances. 

Chicago is just a kick-ass town for a weekend getaway.  Plenty of shopping, food, bars, nightlife, you name it.  We managed to get in some Magnificent Mile time and introduced Bridget to her first full experience at the American Girl store.  She opted to pick out her own doll with brown hair, blue eyes and freckles - just like her. She shopped for her doll's outfits and I even sprung for a pet for her American Girl doll. She was thrilled.  Meg enjoyed the shopping as well and managed to snag some great deals at Nordstrom. Even Greg found a new murse (excuse me, man bag) at Tumi.

If you've never ventured out to Kuma's for their burgers, you really must.  May possibly have one of the best craft beer lists in Chicago as well.  Worth the trip!

And if you stay in Chicago, be sure and check out the Kimpton hotels.  They get customer service right. The manager's reception included complimentary Sangria and the morning coffee is to die for.  I love the in-room yoga with complimentary yoga mat and they provide maps with distances for runners.  Greg and I enjoyed a nice 3.5 mile run along Michigan Avenue to the Lakeshore.  Hot, but so worth it.

Great weekend and great family fun!

Meet American Girl McKenna, the newest addition to our family.
Right before the concert.  We made sure that B wore the Bose headphones to limit the sound.  She was a trooper hanging in there till midnight.  She was so excited that this was her 4th concert this year - Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, and now she can add Justin and Jay-Z to her list.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ashford Castle and Learning to Fly Falcons

Our Ireland trip started in Dublin, moved south to Cork and the Blarney Castle, headed off the beaten path to the southwestern corner of Ireland to Kinsale, then moved north above Galway.  Since we had visited Galway during our last trip to Ireland, Greg (our trip researcher) decided on Cong as our next overnight stay (well, two nights, that is). I could have stayed much, much longer!

Cong was the sight of The Quiet Man, the 1952 film starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara as well as being home to the 5-star, luxury resort, the Ashford Castle.  We enjoyed Ashford Castle's "servant's quarters" as our hotel at the Lisloughrey Lodge.  This may have been one of the most enjoyable and beautiful places I've stayed during our travels.  With the short walking distance to the town, the amenities, and beautiful morning view, I highly recommend the Lisloughrey Lodge.  The grounds of the Ashford Castle and Lisloughrey Lodge are joined by a path, which we enjoyed walking to find our Falconry lesson. Yes, falconry lesson.  We felt so "Harry Potter" and wondered if Hedwig would be sending us an owl post!

Ashford Castle. This picture is so postcard perfect that it's hard to believe it was taken with our iPhone.

We came across a couple, who offered to take our picture.  As we chatted with them, we found out that the wife went to Ohio State and her brother-in-law was from our town.  Small world! What I also love about this picture is that Bridget, Meg and me are wearing our new Hunter wellies. Love B's pink ones!

Can you tell how intimidated she was to have a hawk sitting on her arm? She was so brave and eventually started enjoying herself. Her smile in this picture kind of says, "I don't know about this..."

After a few minutes with the hawks, this "bird lady" couldn't get enough.  In this picture, both birds decided to land on Meg's arm at the same time.  She was so excited - just look at her smile!

The view outside our hotel, the Lisloughrey Lodge, that we woke up to every morning.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Cliffs of Moher and the Burren

I remember when we visited the Cliffs of Moher in 2003 and how cold, windy and rainy it was.  For this trip, we were much smarter travelers and made sure we packed our rain jackets.  And, boy, was this a smart decision.  Just look at our picture while we were walking along the Cliffs.  So cold, windy and rainy - not a lot changed in 10 years!

Everyone bundled up, including sinching our hood strings!
You can see how windy it was with our hair blowing all over. Pretty colorful family picture.

All of us doing our best to look into the camera while being blown all over - great family picture.

Darting back to the car to warm up, we decided to brave the Burren and visit Ailwee Cave. Perhaps the best part about visiting the Burren was that Meg and Greg took a picture in about the same spot as they did 10 years ago.  Look at how much my little girl has grown!

Evidence that they really do grow up way too fast!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Kinsale, Ireland - A Great Little Coastal Town

While wandering the Irish countryside, we stumbled upon the most amazing little coastal town of Kinsale, Ireland.  We had been traveling for several hours from our little adventure at the Blarney Castle.  It was pouring rain and we were tired, exhausted, wet and hungry.  Greg had read somewhere that Kinsale was known as a foodie kind of town so we were set of finding it.  And so glad we did!

We arrived late and caught a nice dinner.  Meg offered to watch B so Greg and I could join his parents in a local bar known for not being touristy and having locals gather for spontaneous music. Our B&B owner recommended Dalton's Bar and what a wonderful place this was!  Maybe later I'll upload the song I recorded - it just makes me smile from ear to ear thinking about how much we enjoyed this little pub - the atmosphere, the people, pints and, most of all, the music.

The next morning, we joined up with Greg's parents and took a one hour tour of the town. Our guide had the best blend of sarcasm spun with history.  The town is ruch in stories and beautiful to see.  Might have been one of my favorite moments on this trip.

On our walking tour of Kinsale - such a quaint, coastal town.

I loved how the houses looked like they were stacked on top of each other from a distance, yet up close they were spacious. Beautiful pastel, seaside colors.

How could you not fall in love with this country - the warmth and love that one feels makes you want to come back and visit again and again. The bar was maybe 30 feet long by 10-15 feet wide.  So small and cozy that you could stay all evening and feel like you were visiting family.

Greg snapped this colorful picture of Bridget and I think it's one of my favorite pictures from this trip.  She loves pink and it shows!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Kissing the Blarney Stone

Greg, Megan and I had previously visited the Blarney Castle in 2003.  On that trip, Meg was a little too frightened to kiss the Blarney Stone.  Since this was Bridget's first trip to the Blarney Castle, Meg decided to join her and together they would kiss the stone.

We were able to snag some incredible pictures during our day trip to Blarney, thanks to Greg's good camera skills.

On our walk along the castle grounds.

Such a brave little 6-year-old as she kissed the Blarney Stone!

Redemption 10 years later as Meg kissed the Blarney Stone!

Absolutely love the spiraling of the stairs and the way Greg captured the girls in this picture.  Just look at those beautiful smiles!

Me and my guy :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ireland in 7 Days in June

Ireland was such a wonderful whirlwind of a trip that it's hard to describe in print or pictures. And I've been quite delinquent in uploading photos.  Over the next few days, I'll post different days/themes.  We had so much fun visting Dublin, taking in our first pint at the famed Brazen Head Pub, playing in the park with the kids (and the bigger kids), sightseeing around the town, and enjoying a tour of both the Jameson Distillery and Guinness.

Great little park outside our hotel in Dublin (we stayed at the Clontarf Castle). Greg and I were caught playing around while Meg was laughing hysterically (probably at how ridiculous we must have looked!).

At the Guinness Brewery, we learned how to pour the PERFECT Guinness.  What a great experience - even Meg learned how!

When you entered the Jameson Distillery Visitors Center, this amazing chandelier greeted you.  It must have been about 10 feet in height hanging high over our heads.  Wonderful entry piece.

Love this picture and love this girl! Just spending some mother-daughter time in one of the oldest pubs in Dublin on our first day.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ohio University Alumni Event

Two degrees, adjunct faculty position, consulting at the Voinovich Center and I still had not attended an alumni event until the other night.  I only went to see one particular professor and I'm so glad I went.  I enjoyed the networking, ran into some old friends and colleagues and totally loved the effort the university made to make its alumni nostalgic for college again.  Great job, Ohio University!

Large canvas for Bobcat graduates to stand in front of and snap pictures. How awesome is this?! Loved eating at Lucky' many good memories.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Indians Game, Family Time and Fireworks

On a whim, we decided to get tickets to the July 5 Tribe game to enjoy the fireworks.  Meg had 2 friends join her from college, so the 6 of us loaded up and headed downtown to see how many dollar dogs we could eat while enjoying an evening of wholesome Americana. While the Tribe didn't win, we did have a fun time, ate too many hotdogs (damn you, stadium mustard for being so yummy), and enjoyed a great round of fireworks.