TBT…BEFORE the cruise…

Before our fabulous cruise in May of 2015, we hung out in London for 5 days and toured the area!  We arrived in April and we were met by my brother in law and his wife and daughter.  They live in Poland and we took advantage of being close to them and arranged a short holiday!  This was our second visit to London and we enjoyed it very much!  We stayed in a suburb all together and did some AMAZING touring!  Here is a photo journal of that visit!

 

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We walked EVERYWHERE and this photo was taken on way to Harrods!

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Windsor Castle – one of our favorite stops! We were rushed in our visit and I cannot wait to go back. This castle is really a fine example of Royal castles and it was a highlight of my stay in London!

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Windsor, Char and Sable – you all haven’t met Sable yet, but this kitty gets around. She even has her own book series in the works!

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Windsor!!!!

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My first favorite thing about this London visit (aside from seeing family, or course) was scoring coveted tickets to tour Highclere Castle – AKA Downtown Abbey. Here, Sable checks out the grounds as “Downtown Tabby”.

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My handsome hubby and I at Highclere Castle.

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Family photo taken by dad. Yes it was cold, rainy and windy – it was April in England!!!

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Kelly and I ate out one night while the kids went back to the flat with the family. We ate at a restaurant in the basement of Harrod’s that specialized in TRUFFLES!!!!! It was SO good!!!!

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Kelly and Freddie Mercury at Madame Tussauds.

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Sable MIGHT have been getting a bit too familiar with the queen. Madame Tussauds.

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Kelton’s hair resembled Albert Einstein’s a bit too much!! Madame Tussauds.

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Oh Char….well this is a statue representing the overindulgence of King Henry the VIII’s court at Hampton Court – another FAVORITE stop of mine – a must see!

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Char strikes again….sleeping next to the famous wine fountain that was created for a treaty meeting in northern France between Henry the VIII of England “and France” and King Frances I of France. This fountain flowed with wine in front of a “castle” built out of golden cloth to represent King Henry’s magnificence. So famous is this amazing tent that the event in history is referred to the Field of the Cloth of Gold. My history buff side shines through!

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Gardens at Hampton Court

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My beautiful rose petal and Hampton Court gardens.

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Iconic Tower Bridge!

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Mind the gap. We got an Oyster Card and used all manner of public transportation throughout London! I love this shot of Char and Sable!

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A view of Parliament from the London Eye.

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Westminster Abbey

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Big Ben!

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These adorable sheep were all over the city and the kids posed with them whenever possible! The sheep were dressed in outfits that represented the area where they stood.

Throw Back Thursday….Growing up Disney

If you know me in real life, you now that if you start talking about Disney World, my eyes light up, my voice raises an octave and I talk 100 miles per minute because I LOVE DISNEY!!!!!  I know people who hate Disney and I am not sure they are human or believe in magic 😊  Seriously, though…I think you either love Disney or you do not…there aren’t many wishy washy Disney people out there!

When we plan our Disney trips (we go every 12-18 months), we start getting pretty psyched about a year out!  We start with the WHEN (we never go during school vacations or holidays), then move to the WHERE (we have stayed at Saratoga Springs, Bay Lake Towers, Animal Kingdom Resort, Coronado Springs, Old Key West, Art of Animation and the Polynesian).  We plan out which parks we will be at which days based on crowd projections, plan our dining experiences and fast passes when the time is right.  And then we wait – probably not so patiently – for our vacation to begin!!

I love helping my clients do all this planning as well!  It is a labor of love – as not all agents take on Disney, but I know it well and love to help bring the magic to others!  Every new trip presents a new point of view and new experience!  I have enjoyed this ritual trip with my family and have enjoyed how, at each stage of my kids’ lives, Disney brings another level of wonder and growth along with the crazy joy that is Disney!

Here are some of my favorite memories from some of our trips at Disney over the years.  This succession of memories are so precious to me!  They are experiences my kids will always remember as times spent with their parents, family and friends.  I hope as they become adults, they will also enjoy bringing their families to Disney and have the same fond remembrances that I do of my own childhood at Disney with my mom.  What an awesome gift!

PS – we ALWAYS wear matching/themed shirts and always will!  That is part of the fun!!

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I have a picture of my kids doing this SAME thing in London in 2013. It is fun to recreate special moments in different locations! EPCOT 2019

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Beef hot dogs. OK – well…what can I say?! We were at Disneyland Paris and needed a pick me up!!! 2019

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From the other side!!! Disneyland Paris 2019

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Finding Eva and Wally – pure joy!!!! Disneyland Paris 2019

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Gusteau’s!!! Disneyland Paris 2019

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Germany/EPCOT 2018

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Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, Magic Kingdom 2018

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Cousin’s Trip – Animal Kingdom 2016

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Magical Christmas – EVERY year!

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Magic Kingdom 2017 – mom and dad’s second trip to Disney without kids!!!!

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France/EPCOT

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Sunset from the Contemporary 2019

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Our first trip to Disney as family. Magic Kingdom 2006

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Magic Kingdom 2006

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Magic Kingdom 2009

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Magic Kingdom 2009

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Polynesian Luau 2013

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Morocco/EPCOT 2015

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Hollywood Studios 2015

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Hollywood Studios 2015 (our favorite time of year to go to Disney is during the Holidays!

TBT…The Best Cruise Ever, Part II – my husband’s pictures!!

Last week I shared with you a photo journal of our dream cruise of the Mediterranean in May 2015.  Here are some other pictures of that fabulous journey and the stories behind them!

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On a 15 night cruise, one collects A LOT of towel creatures!

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Cadiz, Spain. Churros and chocolate!!!! AMAZING!

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Like a garden of Eden – Malaga, Spain

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I *think* this was in Marseilles, France…but I could be wrong!

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Scooting in Cinque Terre, Italy.

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The Roman Colosseum

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Villa-France-sur-Mer, France – this is where we moored and was the port for Nice and Monaco. The town of Villa-France itself is stunning and quintessential Mediterranean. I am itching to go back!

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On board the Anthem of the Seas, moored off the coast of Nice, France.

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Barcelona, Spain – On one of the main promenades. I love how Kelton is fussing with his sister’s hair!

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We always find critters – Barcelona, Spain

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The construction continues at Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

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La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

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Anthem after dark

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Gibraltar – long lost cousins? Oh and behind Kelton in the distance? AFRICA!!!!!

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In the mountains of Gibraltar

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ME! Flying in the iFLY – aboard the Anthem of the Seas

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Suspended in the North Star – a fabulous way to see the Anthem!

 

 

Throw Back Thursday…the best cruise EVER!

When I turned 40, I said to my husband that I would love to go on a Mediterranean cruise.  At that point in my life, I had been to northern and central France, England and Scotland and really had the Europe bug (I still do!)!  I wanted to see more and the best way to do that, is on a cruise!!!  Think about it – you only have to unpack once, your hotel goes with you, your meals are already set and you can see multiple countries in a short period of time.  It was SPECTACULAR!!!!

We chose Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas – this was in 2015 and she was brand new!!!  This was her first REAL voyage (not the quick, work-out-the-kinks 3 or 4 night turn around) and we were beside yourselves with joy.  This was my kids’ first cruise and it was a 16 night out of Southampton, England.  We departed in early May and hit Gibraltar, Barcelona, Malaga, Cadiz, Villa-France-sur-Mer (Nice/Monaco), Marseilles, La Spezia (Cinque Terre), Civitavecchia (Rome) and Lisbon.

Words cannot describe how awesome this cruise was, so I picked SOME of my favorite pictures to share so you get the idea.  The Mediterranean in spring is something wonderful to behold and I hope you get a chance to see it someday, too!!!  Wanna go next spring?

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Barcelona cathedral rooftop. Spain

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Sagrada Familia – needs no introduction!

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Kelton posing in Barcelona.

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We rented scooters in La Spezia, Italy and toured Cinque Terre. It was absolutely incredible!!!

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Cinque Terre

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Cinque Terre

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Malaga, Spain is one of the most gorgeous cities we have ever seen!

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Malaga – breathtaking!

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Malaga

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View of the Med from Alcazaba fortress, Malaga

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Gardens in Malaga

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Char and Sable on a Segway tour of the city – in Europe, kids can do many things they aren’t “allowed” to do in the US.

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View of the Anthem of the Seas from Alcazaba

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Moor doorway at Alcazaba – the architecture was stunning!

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Marseilles Cathedral! Marseilles, France

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Plaza in Marseilles

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Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseilles

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Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon, Portugal

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Atop the battlements of Castelo de Sao Jorge (St. George Castle)

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Outside of Jeronimos Monastery

 

We made so many memories on this trip and talk about it today!  These times with my kids were and are priceless!  I wouldn’t trade them for the world!

 

Throw Back Thursday – Italy 2016

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Sunset in Sorrento, Italy reflected in Aperol Spritz.

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Looking down…..Ravello, Amalfi Coast, Italy

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San Gimignano towers through the window of our tower bedroom.

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Countryside view from Volterra, Italy

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Photo from the top of one of the towers – San Gimignano, Italy

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Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

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San Gimignano in rain

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Zurich, Switzerland – these are our “Polish faces” – my sister in law is Polish, and she said Americans smile too big in pictures – so this is how we imagine the Poles smile!

In April 2016, my husband and I took our first week long vacation without our children!  They went to visit their grandparents on the West Coast (their first time traveling unaccompanied) and we took a long week to Italy!  Let me start off by saying it was everything I thought it would be and I loved every minute.

In a nut shell, we flew into Zurich, picked up a rental and drove to Rimini on the eastern coast of Italy, sitting nicely on the Adriatic Sea.  We spent our first night there and had the most wonderful seafood dinner ever!  The next morning, we headed towards Sorrento – but first we visited the micro country of San Marino and took time to stick our toes in the Adriatic.

We spent four nights in Sorrento and toured the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii and Naples.  We had our most expensive meal ever (the kind of place that doesn’t have prices on the LADIES’ menu!!) and also the best pizza in Naples!

We drove to Tuscany and spent another four nights in San Gimignano and toured that lovely hill town, Volterra, a winery, Florence and ate WAY too much!!!!

Finally, we spent a night in Zurich before we left the next day to return home, just ahead of our kids.  It was amazing and filled with wonderful surprises, character building struggles and joyful experiences that deepened the bond I have with my hubby.  Traveling does all those things for you and it is the main reason we enjoy traveling….it brings us together and challenges us!

Above are some of my favorite pictures from this fabulous journey!