Good Ol’ Minnesota

Before we make our final move to California, we did a stopover in Minnesota to spend some time with our family. The Mr was with us for about a month while Ittybot and I stayed an additional 2 weeks.

I’d have to say that “crazy” is an understatement. There was a lot on our list of things to do and time was not on our side. The Mr’s side of the family lives in a small town 3 hrs south of the major city that my family lives in, so we had to divide our time between the families while squeezing in a 4 day trip to California to find a place to live.

All the craziness aside, it’s always amazing to see Ittybot interact with his cousins. I’m a little, ok – a lot, behind on our vlogs but when I get around to getting those posted you can just see the glee in his little face! It makes my heart melt. And the little cousins are fantastic with him. They take such great care of him. There is no shortage of love amongst them.

Take a peek at some of the pictures of our time in Minnesota!

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Celebrating Lao New Year in Minneapolis! Location: Bouasavanh in Brooklyn Park, MN
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A relaxing day of food and fishing at the cousin’s house.
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Hanging out on the new pontoon!

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We’re moving…AGAIN!

California

I have seriously waited SO long to be able to say this….WE’RE MOVING!!!! Yes, again. This time, we are moving to the west coast…SUNNY CALIFORNIA! *Queue the crowd cheering audio track*

This is been in the works since July 2015. Yes, you read that correctly – JULY 2015. It has been a long time coming and I am ecstatic that it is finally happening. The Mr accepted the position back in January and due to some unforeseen company changes, it stalled our relocation process. All that mess aside, we will be flying out of Amsterdam at the end of March!

Our experience here has been unforgettable to say the least. We traveled the world, raised an infant in a completely new country without any family nearby, and we conquered it all as a strong, cohesive family unit. I cannot even begin to express how thankful I am that I have The Mr in my corner. He is the most understanding and supportive person on the face of the planet. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it 1000x over – I hit the freaking jackpot with this one!!

I can’t say that the past 2.5 years was paved with rose petals. I had many, MANY days where the constant Holland gloomy weather got me down. I struggled with self-identity, battled with pseudo relationships, and dwelled in self-hate. I wish I could say that I conquered them and come out the other side a stronger person. It’s not that sort of storybook ending. The melee is far from over but I will continue to trudge on and kick its A$$.

I’m excited for what California has to offer. I have been doing extensive research on all the places we can take Ittybot and of course all the foodie offerings! We go to bed each night talking about all the fun and exciting things coming our way. We have some serious goals and what the bots have next in the horizon is nothing short of AMAZEBALLS.

I’ll conclude this here and I’m sure you will hear from me again in the near future!

JoopJoop,

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Jetsettin’: Girls Trip to Lisbon, Portugal

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Several weeks ago, several beauties and I headed over to Lisbon, Portugal to get away from our normal, everyday lives. The husbands, kids, and fiances were left to handle things on their own for a few days. We chose Lisbon due to weather and affordability. Little did we know, this hidden gem would be a trip of a lifetime. I went in assuming we would do a little sightseeing and spend the rest of our time sipping wine at the apartment or at a local restaurant. Nope, we spent almost the entire time exploring all that Lisbon had to offer.

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Seems as though we brought the rain with us from Holland and Belgium so we spent the first day on a Greyline tourbus (26 euros for 48 hrs, if you were wondering) taking notes on where we wanted to see once the rain subsided.

On our second day, we headed over the Sao Jorge Castle to soak in the views from the top of the hill. I was a little bummed that the fog was so heavy but it was still pretty cool to see the April 25th bridge peek above the fog. Of course, I managed to do a little shopping. Souvenirs in Portugal are ADORABLE and AFFORDABLE. The combination of the two was dangerous for someone like me.

We ended up cramming a lot in on our last full day. We took the long tour bus ride (~2 hrs) to Boca do Inferno, Jeronimo Monastary, and Belem Tower.

Can I just say the the restaurant right by Boca do Inferno is probably the best seafood I’ve had in a long time…maybe EVER! It was so fresh that they didn’t have to do much of anything to it. I was on cloud nine with every single bite. We never had a mediocre meal in Portugal – and the way to my heart, is food.  I don’t know if it’s because we were so hungry from our long treks, but I’m pretty sure the food was just THAT good. Granted, we ate at restaurants near the monuments which are probably considered tourist traps – but they were still scrumptious.

I didn’t vlog nearly as much as I should have but enjoy what I got!

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Jetsettin’: New Year in Spain!

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For New Years, we decided to head over to visit the Mr’s aunt and uncle in Spain for the first time since we have moved here. Took us long enough, right?

They graciously offered us a room in their home for the 3 days that we were there. Their kids were also in town so it was a full house and we couldn’t ask for more! We had a fantastic time hanging out drinking delicious wine over tapas.

Let me tell you, the food, OH MY GOOOODNESS. The food was amazing.

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We spent an afternoon walking around the old city of Avila. The city is enclosed within walls built back in the 12th century. Unfortunately, most of the shops were closed because it was New Years day but we got to see the beautiful cathedrals in town.

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The Mr and I got a virus of some sort and we were out of commission the rest of the time. We felt terrible for being in bed all day but they were so kind to watch Ittybot while we tried to rest up. Ittybot loved playing with his cousins that he didn’t even notice that we weren’t around!

We tried to explore Madrid on our last day in Spain but we were still feeling quite ill where it wasn’t even a pleasurable experience 😦

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BUT we do have some vlogs for you to check out – what we got of it at least 🙂

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Jetsettin’: Reykjavik, Iceland

Before we even left Florida, we found an amazing deal with IcelandAir to go back to MN in December WITH a 3 day layover in Iceland for under $500. Of course we had to leap on that deal!

People thought we were INSANE for doing Iceland during the winter but they seem to have forgotten that we were born and raised in the arctic known as Minnesota.

I scheduled a tour for each of the three days we were there. Northern Lights tour the first night, the blue lagoon the second day, and a southern coast tour on our last day.

The reason I scheduled the Northern Lights tour for our first evening there is because of the unpredictability of the Aurora Borealis. If there are no sightings on the first night, Grayline Tours will reschedule us for the next night. Unfortunately, the outlook for the first two nights wasn’t very good so they cancelled the tour on Friday and Saturday. Luckily, on our last night in Iceland, the tour went on as planned AND we got to see the northern lights!! To watch the lights dance through the sky was such an incredible experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.

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Aurora Borealis

On the second day, we hopped on the shuttle to the Blue Lagoon at 10am and got to there at 11am. It was a rather cold and windy day (it was negative single digits!) but it was PACKED. We opted for the premium package so we got a robe and slippers to use during our stay.

As soon as you step out to the lagoon you are first greeted with the bitter cold but you are so consumed in the beauty of the milky blue water and snow-covered mountains backdrop that you hardly even care that your toes are slowly going numb. I’m sure you have seen the pictures of the beautiful women taking what looks like a graceful dip into the pool – I was probably the most ungraceful person RUNNING into the pool trying to get warm with Ittybot. Yes, we brought Ittybot. I’m sure 98% of the people there thought we were NUTS for bringing him but how can we deprive him of this experience?! The water in the lagoon ranges from 100-102 degrees so that first dip was heavenly. Ittybot LOVED the experience as did we. We later found a grotto that kept us warm for the remaining time we had there.

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Blue Lagoon

On our last full day in Iceland, we did an 8 hr southern coast tour. We stopped by several larger than life waterfalls and even a black beach! It was a pretty long tour but we got to see some pretty remarkable sights.

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If you guys are wondering, we booked practically everything with Grayline tours since I had a 5% discount. Anything helps right?? They have everything from shuttle to/from the airport and many other tour options. The only gripe I had with them is that they were rather uncoordinated at times. There was a lot of confusion around bus transfers which left us out in the cold for longer than we would have liked.

Enough of my babble – here are the vlogs for your viewing pleasure!

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A look back at 2015: Part III

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Hey guys! Welcome to the third and final installment of our trip down memory lane! I am in awe of the memories we created together in one short year!

2016 already has a lot in store for us – in which I will elaborate once the details are finalized, so be sure to stay tuned!!

Let’s continue where we left off, shall we?

Florida

At the end of July, The Mr gave me an EPIC surprise. He knew I was starting to get really homesick so he told me that we will be joining the rest of the family in Florida in just 4 weeks!

I can’t even put into words how joyful it was to see Ittybot interacting with the rest of the family. I was worried that he would be attached to mommy, but nope, he peaced out as soon as he could!

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I have to admit coming back to Holland was really tough for me. But this little face makes he so happy – as long as we are together, we can get through it!

Amsterdam

Wandering around Amsterdam on a crisp, fall afternoon.

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In November, we traveled back to Belgium to celebrate my beautiful aunt’s birthday.

Bruges

We have always talked about going to Bruges and we finally made it! Unfortunately, it rained the entire time but that didn’t put a damper Ittybot’s mood!

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Some people would call us crazy for traveling to Iceland in December. Well, yeah we are. Iceland was bitter cold and it was FREAKING FANTASTIC! I’ve said this time and time again, the pictures of Iceland just don’t do it justice!

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Iceland was a quick stopover before heading to Minnesota to see the family. I chose a picture of us gathered in the kitchen because that’s what we love doing most – eating. We will find any and every excuse to eat, eat, eat!!

And that brings us to today…we leave for Madrid early tomorrow morning for New Years with The Mr’s side of the family. Squeezing in one last trip before 2016 and it should be a great one!

I hope everyone had a wonderful 2015 and lots of luck for 2016! Lots of love from the bots!

Joop Joooooop

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A look back at 2015: Part II

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Lets pick up right where we left off on the last blog!

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Lisse, Netherlands

After we recovered from our jetlag, we set out to see if there were any tulips left in the gardens nearby. We only found one garden that was packed of tulips but even the sparse gardens still looked incredible.

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In June, we set out on a 2 week trip to celebrate my 30th birthday. First up, Marrakech.

Milan.jpgA quick pit stop in Milan, Italy.

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Lake Garda, Italy

Head stand on top of a mountain? Check.

Venice

Venice, Italy – Seriously, the city looks like it does in the postcards…

Eze

Eze, France

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Monaco

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My loves above Nice, France. Love!

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Cannes, France

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The sunsets behind our apartment during the summers are incredible!

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Cherish moments, not things. These boys give me a wealth of memorable memories. I’m thankful for them each and every day….

Wow, this is much longer than anticipated…instead of inundating you with even more pictures, I will do a 3rd post…stay tuned for a third and final post!

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