Vancouver, B.C.

Hi there!  Hi! Hi! Hi! :)

I want to start this post off with a little apology.  Majority of the photos that were taken in Vancouver were captured with my iPhone and the quality is horrendous.  I think it’s because my phone was on “portrait mode” which if the subject is not entirely still while the picture is being taken, it’s going to turn out blurry… so there’s that.  Sorry.  BUT, aside from the poor photo quality, goodness gracious!  This was an amazing family trip!

A few months ago, I had a sudden urge to go on a Disney cruise… and not just the easy peasy, catch the boat right here in Florida, go straight to the Caribbean for a few days and come back Disney cruise, because that would just be too convenient… <insert sarcastic voice here>.  No, we decided to be crazy and fly across the country to catch the Disney Wonder out of Vancouver!  We arrived 3 days early so that we could adjust to the time difference, which was actually really smart of us to do.  Then we were on the boat for seven days!

My next post will be all about the crusie but for now, I want to chat about Vancouver and how much I love Canada in general.  I think if I could vacation in Canada every summer I would.  The weather is incredible, the people are SO FREAKING NICE, and there is so much to do and see!  This was my first time in Vancouver.  I had did some research to see what the most family friendly places to see and things to do were and with three days I feel like we didn’t even scratch the surface.
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The first thing we did was explore Stanley Park… isn’t that the first stop for everyone who visits Vancouver?

We visited the Vancouver Aquarium which was located right inside the park.  It’s always such a treat for the boys when we go to aquariums because they are so fascinated with all the fish.  To be totally honest, I don’t think it was as good as the Florida Aquarium which is located right here in Tampa where we live, but… that’s just my own personal opinion.  To me, it didn’t seem as clean and it didn’t have enough unique exhibits.  Overall, it was entertaining especially since it rained almost the entire day, so we made the most of it!

Next, we had to ride the train.  Bennett is currently obsessed with trains.  My mom recently found a bunch of vintage Thomas the Tank Engine figurines that I believe at one point belonged to my brother, and Bennett loves them!  He knows all of their names, we watch the Thomas movies, I even invested in a train table from Pottery Barn so that he could build tracks and store all the pieces in some form of organized chaos.  The Stanley Park Train was a hit!  The boys loved riding around through the redwoods and hearing the whistle blow!

After the train, we got some snacks at a close by snack bar, which there are tons of places to stop and eat in the park.  I wish the weather had been a little nicer for us because I hear that renting a bike and riding along the water is a great way to see the city and the entire park.  It rained almost all day while we were there so we were pretty limited on activities.  We did make it to the totem poles and the light house though!

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The next day we decided to be crazy and walk across some suspension bridges!

Oh, this was sooooo much fun! Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is AWESOME!  To anyone reading this, please go to Vancouver and go there!  The kids (and us adults!!) had the best time looking out over the canopy of huge redwoods and walking across the scary bridges connecting the treetops.  Truly an experience we will remember forever!

**Travel tip- if you plan to go the Capilano, get there right when they open.  We were like the second family there when they opened and had the entire place to ourselves it felt like!  So cool to see without all the crowds which were building when we were leaving.**

Later that day we drove about an hour north to the Sea to Sky highway all the way to Squamish where you can ride a gondola up the mountain to yet another cool suspension bridge and super fun play ground for kiddos!

You guys, go to Vancouver, B.C. when you have a chance.  It’s incredible!


Iceland :: Northern Region (Part 3)

Godafoss Waterfall

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Icelandic Ponies

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Lake Myvatn
Akureyri

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^This picture was taken around 12:30 or 1 a.m.^

The sun never completely went down, making it extremely hard to sleep some nights. During the winter it is the complete opposite, where the sun never comes out and it’s dark 23+ hours a day. That would be so depressing…

Northern Iceland

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The view from the house we rented was incredible.

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Whale Watching

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breaching whale

^Breaching Humpback ^

Humback face

^The face of the humpback^

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^ And of course... the tail as he dives^

This post is WAY overdue.

The northern region of Iceland was probably my favorite part of the trip.  Not only were we able to relax a little bit and stay in one place for a few days, but the weather was absolutely perfect!  We got to see Godafoss & Lake Myvatn on the way in which were stunning to say the least.  Godafoss really takes your breath away as you approach its vastness.  We got there pretty late which ended up being a great time to go because there was hardly anyone there!

When we got to Akureiyi we could not believe the view from the house we rented. It was straight out of a magazine.  The city was so lively with hip restaurants and bars that served local beers.  Walking the streets of this sweet little town, the people are so friendly, there are tons of cute shops and fun things to look at.  I even tried an authentic Icelandic hotdog!

We got to do some whale watching one of the days which was such a treat because the humpback we spotted actually BREACHED!!  It was the first and only time I have seen a whale do that in the wild!   So cool!

If anyone plans to stay in the northern region during their visit, I highly recommend staying in the home we rented.  Send me a email for the listing!  It was such a beautiful drive and stay, I would do it again in a heartbeat!  Don’t skip the north, you will regret it!


Independence Day, 2018

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July 4th

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I think my night time photography skills have slightly improved!  Or is that just my opinion?  Ha ha ha!  None of the pictures above have any filter on them, just slight adjustment for sharper image and straightening.  (Insert pat on my back here)

Our 4th of July holiday was filled with a lot of fun in Naples, Florida.  We had some friends who joined us with their baby daughter, and we were enjoying ourselves so much I barely picked up my camera.  But since this was the first time Bennett showed any interest in holding a sparkler, I had to document.  He obviously loved it!  Remy had fun as well just following along and observing everything Bennett was getting in to.  These boys… they keep me busy!

Hope everyone had a great time celebrating America’s birthday!  I know we did!

xx

 


Old McMicky’s Farm

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A happy belated birthday party for my sweet boy, Bennett.  We had to reschedule his original party due to Bennett being sick and contagious, but we just postponed everything and it turned out great!  We had lots of family and friends there to help celebrate our THREE YEAR OLD!  He got to brush some goats, had the opportunity (but didn’t) to pet & milk a pregnant cow, had the opportunity (but didn’t) to ride a pony, had the opportunity (but didn’t) to pet a baby turkey, DID take a hay ride by tractor, and DID enjoy lots of cake!

It rained a bit but it actually worked out in our favor because being June in Florida, temps can be brutal.  The rain really cooled us off and brought a much appreciated breeze.  I think all the kiddos had a great time being farmers for the day!

Thank you, Old McMicky’s Farm for such a great venue for Bennett’s third birthday party, and for being so easy to work with to postpone last minute!  We can’t wait to visit again soon!

** Cake & cakepops were made by Sweet Tooth Cakery**


Iceland :: Southern & Eastern Region (Part Two)

 

Skógafoss

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Iceland 2018

Unknown location but it sure was pretty!

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Glacier Lagoon

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Svartifoss

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More unknown locations that are just too amazing not to share...

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Renting a car and driving yourself around this country is the only way to do it.  You have the freedom to stop wherever you want, spend as much time as you want, doing whatever you want.  Everywhere you turn there are scenic spots for photo ops.   Also, I highly recommend renting a wifi adapter for your car because it saved us on multiple occasions where cell service was a little spotty.

Skogafoss waterfall was so impressive.  You can feel the spray of water hitting the ground from many yards away.  As you get closer you start to feel smaller and smaller as a human being against the expansiveness of it’s size.  We did climb the stairs to the top to admire the view.  It was worth the (what felt like) million flights of stairs to see all the beautiful greenery and livestock lounging.  From there we moved on to Svartifoss.  Svartifoss was definitely a harder hike to get to.  We didn’t hike the entire way where you can look up from below in the valley at it, but we made it far enough to see a good angle of it at the top of the mountain.  What makes it so awesome is the pattern of the dark lava columns surround it, which is where it gets its name from.

After the waterfalls we made it to the glacier lagoon, where we were totally blown away.  HUGE icebergs actively falling off of the glacier into the lagoon and heading out to the ocean.  When the fall off they flip over and are this incredible shade of indigo.  Please see the ninth photo under “Glacier Lagoon” you will see what I am talking about.  That specific piece of ice had just broken off and flipped.  It was awesome!  We did a boat tour which got us extremely close to the glacier, totally recommend if you go, even if it means freezing your hiney (sp??) off ha ha ha!  If you go across the street you will see where the icebergs move into the ocean side.  The broken ice that comes off the icebergs as they melt wash up onto the black sand beach and look like small diamonds.  It’s truly a sight to be seen!

We also got to see Búlandstindur (pictured above)nwhich is a pyramid shaped mountain in eastern Iceland- so cool!

Oh my, I know I am leaving soooo much out, but if you have a specific question about any of these spots (or any of my posts in particular) just ask!  Next post we are heading north!


Iceland :: Southern Region (Part One)

The adventure of a lifetime. I really don’t even know where to start.

I have been scrolling through almost 2,000 photos trying to narrow them down to make it an appropriate amount for a blog post, you know, enough to keep you entertained, but not too many to bore you… do to the abundance of experiences we had and sights we saw, I have decided to split our Iceland trip into three separate posts just to make sure I don’t leave anything out, and I’m starting with the southern region.  If you click on the titles of each subsections, it will take you to a link of the location.

I must preface this by saying we did not do the “golden circle” which consists of the most commonly visited three spots in Iceland (Þingvellir, Gullfoss Waterfall, and Haukadalur geothermal features & geysers). We decided we wanted to see some touristy spots, but mostly wanted to do what most people didn’t do when they were in Iceland. We drove the entire country. THE. ENTIRE. COUNTRY. It was a big loop around, we drove for hours and hours on end, and it was amazing!

So here I am writing this post, and I’m going to start with the area where most people who visit Iceland stay and really don’t leave. The south. And yes, the southern region of Iceland is incredible. There is just so much to see and do, there’s no way anyone could do everything available in one week, let alone 3 days which is how long Husband & I were willing to stay in this region.

The Blue Lagoon

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We started at the Blue Lagoon, where we stayed in the hotel, Silica Hotel. The best part of staying at the hotel is that we didn’t have to go to the overly crowded big lagoon, the hotel had its own private lagoon that only guests were invited to use. When you are ready to enjoy the geothermal bath, they ask that you shower first. When you get in there are definitely hotter spots than others, but overall the whole bath is very comfortable considering you are in Iceland and the air temperatures are between 40- 50 degrees (in June). Also, there are silica particles that people use as a mask for their face and body all over the bottom of the bath that feels a lot like… what I can best describe it as is… SLIME! I chose not to put it on my body, but most everyone was. I have sensitive skin, so I didn’t want to have a bad breakout at the beginning of my trip. Another thing, DO NOT GET YOUR HAIR WET. It destroys your strands, so trust me, don’t do it as tempting as it may be. Other than the slime and the hair issue, this was a really relaxing and fun experience. Husband & I did it two nights in a row and loved it!

We did eat at the on site restaurant, Lava, one night and the food was very good (pictured above).  The top picture is a view from our room. The terrain of the land almost feels like you are on another planet.  Insane.

Westman Islands & Elephant Rock

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The first full day that we were in Iceland, I had planned for us to visit the Westman Islands.  We took a mini plane from the mainland, and got to see an aerial view of the islands which are spread out around the southern coast.  We planned a tour by boat with Ribsafari and it did not disappoint!  It was AWESOME!  We got to check two things off my list of “Things I MUST See”: puffins & elephant rock.  We also saw something I had never heard of, right next to Elephant Rock there was a rock that the locals call “Dinosaur Drinking”  Do you see what I am talking about in the pictures above?  Look hard :)

Seljalandsfoss

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This was the first of about a million waterfalls we went chasing while we were in Iceland.  The coolest part of visiting this one is that it’s the only waterfall in Iceland that you can physically go behind and see from behind the fall.  Such a cool experience!

Vik

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We saw a lot more of the southern region before we got to Vik, which I will talk about in the next post, but I wanted to put Vik in on this one since it’s such a touristy spot to hit when in the southern region.  The black sand beaches are absolutely stunning against the grey water of the ocean.  The roaring cliffs just steps from the ocean are awe inspiring.  To say that this was one of my favorite spots on the trip would not be a lie.  We spent quite a bit of time here and I would love to see this again with my babies some day…

Hope you are enjoying the trip so far, it takes a long time for me to organize, edit, and publish these blog posts, so bare with me for the next one!


The Matriarchs

This year for Mother’s Day, I thought a sweet little session with my favorite photographer (Laura Gattis) would be the perfect gift for the two mamas in my life. We spent a morning with an extremely uncooperative Bennett, but I still think the pictures turned out gorgeous!  These women deserve the world for all they do to help me.  We all know it takes a village to raise kids!  They love and adore my children like their own and that is invaluable to Husband & I.

Enjoy the sneak peek, mama’s!  Happy early Mother’s Day!  We love y’all so much!

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