Sunday, August 12, 2012

Graduation Trip to the Meditteranean!

8 years, marriage, and 2 kids later, I finally graduated with my Bachelor's degree in Business from Utah State. My parents, in an effort to encourage their kids to graduate from college, offered a trip anywhere in the world if we graduated. I gotta admit that little incentive gave me a boost when things got hard! Haha!  Anyway, after much deliberation, I decided on a Mediterranean cruise, with a few extra days spent in Rome.  We were gone for about 12 days and the girls stayed with Lance's parents on the weekends we were gone, and my Aunt Kate during the week.  It was hard to leave them, but it was really nice to get a little break!

First stop was Rome! We got there and had a day and half there before the cruise started. We got there at about 10am (after a LONG day and night of travel!) and couldn't check into our hotel yet so, despite our lack of sleep, we set out to see the sights!
 Inside the Colosseum
 Taking a break while walking through the Roman Forum
 Cooling off with our first gelatto of the trip

After a few hours, we were able to go back to our hotel and take a much-needed nap before setting out again to see more sights.

 Me and my mom sitting on the Spanish Steps.  I'm in the blue shirt at the bottom of the picture and this old peddler man was giving us "free" flowers! Haha!
 Trevi Fountain
Throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain to ensure our return to Rome 
 The Pantheon - the picture does not do it justice! This thing is huge and really magnificent!
Demonstrating how big the Pantheon pillars are
 More gelatto from the famous Giolitti's
 Our little hotel room with a cute little window overlooking a dark alley! Haha
 My mom and I waving from our hotel windows

The next day, after catching the metro to the train station, hopping the train to the port, walking (with our luggage) half a mile to the shuttle, and then taking the shuttle to the ship, we were definitely ready to get our cruise started!  We had a nice relaxing evening with lots of good food. The next morning, we were off and running again in Sicily.  We rented a car and my dad drove us to a little town up in the hills called Taormina.

 Beautiful view of the coast from Taormina
 It was a quaint little town with lots of old churches and ruins
 Lance and my dad eating legendary Sicilian canoli

After strolling through Taormina, we headed down to a little beach called Isola Bella. It was a really rocky beach, but it had a little sandbar that we crossed to this cool island and climed around on all the big rocks.
 We are those three dots climbing on the big rocks
Beautiful views of the Sicilian coast line

The next stop was Turkey. We booked a tour to see the ancient city of Ephesus and man was it amazing!  It is crazy the kind of things those people were able to build! And the workmanship is so detailed! Again, pictures just cannot do it justice, but here are some for you anyway!
One of the more famous ruins in Ephesus
The amphitheater. That thing was huge!
View of the port. You can see our cruise ship in the background

After the tour, we asked around and hopped a local bus to this great beach.  The weather was great and the water was nice. 
Getting some sun in Turkey
Lance and my dad doing some body surfing

Ok, we're halfway through! Next stop, Athens! This was, by far, the most fun port because we got to take a Segway tour!  I wasn't completely sold on the idea before we came and thought it was a little nerdy, but after a few minutes on those things, we were all having a blast!  It was also nice not to have to walk everywhere for a change.  We cruised up hills, through gardens, dodged pedestrians, and crossed busy streets.  We all made it through without injury, despite all the horror stories we heard when we told people we were going to do a Segway tour. After the segways, we went up to the Acropolis and walked around there for a bit before we had to high-tail it back to the ship.
Mars Hill, with the Acropolis in the background
Me and Lance on our segways. Oh how sweet!
The whole gang
Posing in front of the Parthenon
Lance and my dad, listening to Rick Steve's audio tours everywhere we went
We were experts at riding the metro after this trip!

The last stop on the cruise was Crete.  I had always dreamed of going horseback riding on some exotic beach with the wind blowing through my hair, and when I found out they had horseback riding on Crete, I jumped at the chance.  Let's just say things didn't go exactly according to plan! ;) The ride was several hours long and our backsides were definitely not used to riding! Plus, my horse was stubborn and was always wanting to stop and eat. Anyway, we probably won't be riding horses again anytime soon.  The views were beautiful though, and riding on the beach was fun.
All set to ride. Helmets were also not part of my dream! ;)
Me, Lance, dad and mom(on the midget horse)
After the ride, we needed to relax a little, so we headed to the same beach to catch some rays

The next day was a day at sea, and also happened to be my birthday.  We hung around the ship, playing mini golf, going roller blading, reading and relaxing on deck, and of course, lots and lots of eating! When the cruise was over, we still had two days left to explore more of Rome so we went to the Vatican Museum, St. Peter's Basillica, and Castel Sant'angelo.  Then we stayed out until it got dark and got to see Rome all lit up.  It was beautiful!
Vatican Museum
Inside St. Peter's
St. Peter's Square
Castel Sant'Angelo
Lance bought me a rose (how romantic ;) at the Colosseum

Wow, what a trip!  It was so much fun to see all these places and experience so many new cultures.  Thanks Mom and Dad for the trip and for being such great traveling companions!  We could have never done it without you!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back from a Blogging Hiatus

Ok, so it's been a month or two...or six...since I've blogged. I'll spare you the excuses and try to sum up the last 6 months in a few posts...

 We wrapped up February with a princess birthday party for our cute little 3 year old, Abbie.  I, of course, neglected to take any pictures :( We had lots of family, some Cafe Rio lunch, and then got to play some fun games like Pin the Kiss on the Frog, and finished the day off with a princess crown pinata, lots of great presents, and some pink and purple cupcakes.

March brought some warmer weather and we could finally start playing outside again!  The girls loved eating orange juice popsicles, playing in the sandbox, and drawing with sidewalk chalk.

We made out annual trip to Beaver for Easter and had lots of fun playing with cousins, finding eggs, and eating lots of candy!

We got a good deal on some Lagoon tickets and made it a fun family day. The girls surprised me and actually went on quite a few rides.

 The girls are finally in a stage where they will actually play together and playing with babies is one of their favorite things to do together.

In May, we got to welcome a new cousin, little baby Jameson.  Abbie LOVES babies and did not want to stop holding him.

Abbie got to go on a Mommy-Daughter date to the Treehouse Museum, and she had a blast! The little hospital section with the babies was her favorite (surprise, surprise).  She also loved the drums, the garden, and the little farm.

Lance made the girls a little sprinkler from PVC pipe and they couldn't even wait long enough to get their swimsuits on to try it out!  Their favorite part? Drinking from the sprinkler like little dogs! Haha.  Luckily, it's house water!

Ok, I'll stop there for now, but posts about our trip to the Mediterranean and the rest of the summer will be coming soon!

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's Party Time!

I know I'm a little biased, but that little face just might be the cutest thing I've ever seen. I think she was pretty excited for her party! We ended up having two different parties due to calender conflicts and space constraints, but double the parties means double the fun! We got to party with my side of the fam on Wednesday and Lance's side of the fam on Friday. What a fun week!

The birthday girl by her birthday banner


Aunt Kate and Lexi with the birthday girl

Uncle Taylor with Sadie (I love their matching facial expressions!)

Lance was in charge of games for the party and they were a major success. First, everyone took a funny little quiz about Sadie and watched a slideshow of Sadie's first year. Then we played the donut game where you hang a donut from a string and then try to eat it with no hands. The kids loved this! We even used powdered donuts to make things a little more messy. We played Limbo and did a cake walk as well. The winners of the games got to reach into a prize box and pick a careful what you pick though, because some of the prizes were duds! Lance put some soap. tomato sauce, taco seasoning, etc. into the prize box and that made it really funny. Luckily, there were enough good prizes for everyone, so we didn't have any tears!

Abbie, Bryson, Haley, and Jackson playing the donut game

Brandon, Josh, and Lexi doing the Limbo

Present time! Sadie wasn't very interested in unwrapping most of the presents, so she got a little assistance from big sister, who was more than happy to help! Sadie got several new books, a few new outfits, and some new toys! Thanks everyone!

Bryson and Abbie helping Sadie open her presents

It took me awhile to figure out the theme for the party, but I finally settled on a pink and brown cupcake theme. The invitations were little cupcakes that I made with my Silhouette. I also used the Silhouette to make Sadie's birthday banner and cupcake toppers. Man I love that machine! haha! Not a great picture but you get the idea

I researched some tips on how to frost cupcakes and was surprised at how easy it was and how cute they turned out! All I did was purchase a frosting tip at Hobby Lobby, cut off one corner of a ziploc bag, put the tip in the corner and fill the bag with frosting. I just used store-bought frosting and it worked great! I also made the little cupcake stand with some plates I found at DI, some glass candlesticks from Dollar Tree and some super glue. Super cheap and super easy!

Here's the table. Nothing fancy, but I used root beer and lemonade to fit the pink and brown theme. I was trying to find some pink and brown candies but all I could find that I liked were tootsie rolls.

This is the cake for Sadie's party on Friday. The cake for the first party was just a one layer round cake, but she didn't really get into it much, so I tried to make a cake that looked like more fun to dig into. It definitely helped that it was three layers, but the little sprinkles on top were her favorite. She dug into this one a lot more, even though none of it ended up in her mouth.

Here's a glimpse of the first cake, she didn't really get into this one at all. Abbie ended up helping her a little bit after awhile and got a cute little mexi-stache to show for her efforts. Love my girls! Thanks to everyone who came and made it such a great birthday for Sadie!

Abbie sporting her chocolate mexi-stache

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