Friday, July 31, 2015

The Tower that Towers Over ALL..

To my amazement, this tower really does tower over all, let alone be seen from nearly everywhere in Paris.. All it takes is looking up, and turning til you find it :-) 

I had the privilege of going to Europe in late July and aside from all the preparation nerves, I'm so glad to have went.. This trip will forever be great memories to us! To know that it was something we really had hoped to be able to do sometime, and to say that it ACTUALLY happened is awesome! 
Over the course of several posts, I hope to let you in on some memories and experiences we have had.. but I'm sure it will take awhile, as I'm already nearly 2 months late! What is it that they say, "Better late than never?"

I thought I would start out by sharing just a few of MANY snapshots of the Eiffel Tower. This first one may just be the first one I snapped, as we walked to our hotel. I went back and forth between the cell phone and the camera, so who knows. I have to say though, I've been hesitating even posting pictures yet, as my love clearly has better snapshots and wanted to use his!

To see the tower in person is quite amazing, to say the least. It definitely was the biggest highlight for me! I mean, when one thinks of Paris, the first things that pop into my mind is Love & the tower! To be here with my Love and enjoy this beauty together was incredible! Paris has a lot more to offer too, which I may get into at a later date.. but for now, here are just a few shots.

...Paris By Day...

This shot below was while we were at the Eiffel tower itself waiting to go to the top! What an incredible moment! Tim has a group shot of us & the couple we went with, and when I can, I will insert also.)

...Paris By Night...

A painful focus..

When one thinks of going on vacation, especially females, :-) we dream about our outfits to take with us, our MANY options. We want to look cute and have cute shoes to go with each outfit! I bought this pair (below) a while ago now, and have worn them frequently with very little issues! (A side note) I seem to have an issue with the muscles to my arches that flair up and get tight, causing a LOT of pain when walking. This problem I became aware of probably 4 years ago.. and it was not fun nor has it been since... Forcing myself to walk great distances, with minimal support to the arches and a  lack of relaxation to the muscles (tightening my muscles to keep my shoes on my feet) etc is just asking for trouble, so in preparation for the trip, Tim & I searched high and low for some good sneakers with great support to take along! We knew we would be walking ALL over these cities and wanted to eliminate the potential of this flareup. This was a priority for Tim, as he took me all over to find just the right shoes.. You ask? So why these shoes? I wanted to look cute for when I saw him upon arrival :-) I love these shoes, and thought they would be a safe choice since I've worn them a lot here and felt great! Due to some itinerary complications in starting my trip that I'll elude to later on, I had to do some running.. and ran just fine in these too! They treat my feet well, most times... until I arrived in Paris and started walking in their HEAT! Within 5 minutes, I had 3 decent sized blisters in the locations of the straps that became my focus most of the trip! I tried so hard to block it out of my mind, and focus on capturing pictures and enjoying every moment, but the pain and irritation was almost too great.

I anticipated this problem and brought a few band aids and ointment as a backup, 
but what is seen here, is NOTHING like the collection I ultimately had. The blue/greenish hard cases of specialty band aids are the BEST.. They have this thickness to them that truly provides comfort, decreased irritation and are the utmost of quality. Regular band aids did no good. We visited their pharmacies several times a week, buying a couple packages of these specialty 6 count band aid kits that cost between 8-10 euro each time. Yea, definitely not a way I wanted to spend money. It was my only hope of relief I received. I should have saved them all for the final count and picture, but didnt.

So, you ask.. "Surely, you thought to wear those wonderful new sneakers that you spent so much time  looking for to help with some added relief?" I did, but the problem was.. I never thought to try breaking them in before taking them on the trip. Growing up, when we would get new clothes and shoes for our first day of school, we were not allowed to wear them until THE FIRST DAY. This has been ingrained in me, and never thought otherwise! When I thought they would provide me the relief I needed in the areas of the blisters, I was just greeted with new ones to my heals :-( My feet were plastered with band aids - top of my feet and back of heals, and at some points to the bottoms too. I was a mess to say the least and the heat didn't subside until we got to Switzerland, more than a week later!  Each day became this dilemma of which blisters do I want to give more relief to? I was alternating shoes every day and sometimes going back to the room to try the 3rd pair. 

Traveling with another couple that had each day packed with things to do and see, I didnt want to be the one to alter their plans! We had discussed these plans before hand, but they had taken the reigns of planning initially since we weren't sure if we were going to go! The plan was to pretty much walk to each place if possible, as you can clearly see so much more than hiding out on the subway. We were there to experience the city, so why not. I had expressed my concerns of walking so much with the history of my feet to Tim prior, and he always expressed if we had to stop and rest etc. we could do just that, however often I needed. Believe me, I didnt want to be the cause of slowing anyone down, and the idea of it bothered me greatly, but I had to different times. Every break was my moment of relief, but they were just too far gone to benefit from each break when starting to walk again. :-/ It was so sunny and hot each day that I wore sunglasses.. The sun glasses actually benefited me in the sense that they hid my tears.. I did all I could to not get emotional, but unfortunately I couldnt hold out. It was embarrassing to me to cry because I just couldn't walk anymore.. We would be so far away from the hotel and the thought of having to get back about killed me. The muscles in my feet were also tightening up on me and I was scared of a full blown flare up. When this happens, I can hardly be on my feet at all for 3-4 days, icing the arches and wrapping them, massaging them, before everything subsides. Yea, I clearly didnt need that. Luckily, I caught that in time, and ended up canceling on some evening plans of dinner and a cruise on the Reine River to try and rest up! I felt terrible, but knew this is what I needed to do that evening. Tim & I ate some of our snacks and protein bars for "our dinner" that evening. He was such a good sport about it. I told him he could have gone ahead and ate dinner with Tony & Meghan and I would just rest. He wouldnt leave me which was so sweet!

This brings me to an experience that I will never forget! Our canceled plans the night before were attempted the next evening after I rested... We had been out all day, and once again was feeling pain and discomfort, so instead of walking back to the room to rest/get ready before our evening out, I asked Tim is he minded that we take the Subway back towards the direction of the hotel to save on some walking. We did just that, while Tony & Meghan decided they still wanted to walk the distance back! We set up a time to meet back in the lobby to go to dinner later and went our separate ways. We had already taken the subway a couple times by now I think, but not necessarily because of me.. so we took it again this time. We got on and found there to be minimal seating, and ended up sitting facing a couple next to the doorway, where as most seats go in one direction. We always figured out our route and tried to familiarize ourselves with what the stop we needed to get off of looked like or what we even thought it sounded like. Everything was announced in french so never understood it. We always went off of sight. So, Pasis' subways are a bit older than other country subways and their doors are a bit harder to open. We arrived at our stop, stood up and Tim attempted to get the door open! After struggling for a moment, the french couple across from us leaned over to help him open the door and successfully did so. Tim got off and at that time, as I was trying to get off, the door to the train closed before I was able to get off myself. Apparently, they dont stay open long for unpopular stops! I stood in pure fear seeing Tim on the other side and the train starting to move. In that moment, our eyes were doing whatever communication a quick moment would do and I had to try to translate what Tim's was to mean quickly. He motioned with his pointer finger in the direction the train was going...I thought, "What was that to mean?" The french couple realized real quick what had happened, and attempted to help me. They tried talking to me in french and all I could do was shake my head no and shrug my shoulders, They pointed to my cell phone also thinking I could just try calling him, but clearly I had no service to use it. I was carrying around the phone primarily to take pictures :-) They grabbed the door to try reopening it and got it about 6 inches or so, and then the door forcefully shut the rest of the way. I was on my way.... Everything you could imagine went through my mind. I didnt have a map, nor did I have the name or address of the place we were staying. I didnt even have money on me to get a taxi if I had to. I didnt know when or what the next stop would be... I just was on my way. Anyone that knows me, knows Im absolutely terrible with directions and would never find my way. I knew I just had to get off. I couldnt stay on getting farther and farther away... so the very NEXT stop, which was a desolate stop, (LITERATELY, NOTHING OR NO ONE WAS THERE)  I stood up, and just said "I'm getting off." I struggled to get the door open and finally did. I had everyone on that train looking at me like I was absolutely crazy. A young female, in her orangish/red dress getting off at this stop was pure craziness! I saw it in their eyes... I knew what they were thinking. The french couple initiated conversation with the other people in the train car about what happened.. and all eyes peered out to watch. I now was standing there twirling around with my hands over my eyes, about ready to explode with tears/ My heart was racing so bad, and all I could do was pray. I prayed that I would be protected and that my translation of what I saw in Tim was correct.. I prayed that I wouldn't have to wait long and he would come after me. I knew it was more of a danger for me to try taking a train back to his location... I would never of gotten there. We would have been passing each other all over the city depending on what I had done if I hadn't gotten off. Within a few moments, I heard another train coming through the tunnel and went running. I scanned as many windows as I could to try spotting Tim. When I did, I was afraid he wouldnt have seen me and wouldn't get off. I waved my hands to get his attention.. In that moment, the train stopped and Tim jumped off real quick! I ran into his arms shaking and balling my eyes out. I was so scared and relieved at the same time! If I hadn't gotten off when I did, this could have been a very difference situation. In a moment of fear, one doesnt always think clearly, thus the decisions arent the best. I knew that God had impresed the idea in me to just get off. After I calmed down a bit, I mentioned that if only we had a plan for something like this, it wouldnt have been so scary. It was then, we made a plan of who would do what and where they would go if this happened again. From that moment on, I hated about every subway train we went on, and shook about every time we went to get off. I always latched onto Tim's clothes and knew I was always going to be real close to prevent from happening again. When we would be carrying our luggage on the trains, we made sure to step off at the same time or Tim would take my luggage so I didn't struggle getting off.
It wasnt until Switzerland when I got use to ridding the trains a bit more. They were very updated and we didnt have to struggle at getting the doors open. They opened with a push of a button.

This whole experience happened because of my discomfort and wanted some walking relief.. and in the end, received the scare of my life. I came through it and thats all that matters now!

I have to wonder if you all think that this wasn't necessarily the best trip after all. NO! We had a great time.. most good times, also have some negative with them. I dont mean at all to make this post or my experience seem negative! It just was part of the experience for me. I promise, we had a great time and made many fun memories!  This is just the start to 2 weeks of adventure and fun!

To be continued at a later date... :-)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Just a little fun ahead..

Today was to be a blog post kind of day, or at least that was my hopes and was excited when thinking about it! I guess today had other plans...  I thought I would go ahead and upload some mini posts just to feel like I'm not so far behind, even though until I really get my Europe posts done, Im sure I will feel the same.

Here are a few posts to enjoy!

July 4th x 3!

With so many to choose from and well, so many events and fun times that have been left behind, I thought I would grab a few celebration shots to represent each year! There are WAY too many for IN, so just chose a selected few :-) to share! Love fireworks!

July 4, 2013

July 4, 2014 Weekend

What a great job Lynette did in decorating!

Oh, the delicious food too ;-)



Such a great time was had! Found myself reminiscing several times this year over last year's memories! 

July 4, 2015

We had a mid afternoon meal at Phil's BBQ with Tim's friend, Mark! It is by far the BEST restaurant we have ever come across for pulled pork! Believe me we have tried many.


Happy Birthday to Me :-)

"Happy Birthday to Me."

 My husband is so good to me! Each and every day I feel more blessed than the day before! I love that he listens to even the smallest of things. Growing up, we always had a birthday cake or some other form of dessert of our choosing! It would be consumed by all, and all enjoyed. Since being away from home, desserts are a bit different with it just being the 2 of us. We prefer to not have tons of sweets sitting around waiting to be consumed, so on our birthdays for the last 2 birthdays, we would head to a delicious bakery/diner where on display would be TONS of options of delicious pies to choose from. We would each decide on what we wanted, buy a slice each and then sit to enjoy it together! I've loved it.This year though, for whatever reason I just wanted cake, my favorite chocolate with white frosting cake, and happened to mention it in conversation several days prior about craving it! To my surprise, Tim brought home just the cake I loved, and personalized for my birthday. I could have cried. After going out for dinner, we came home to this delicious dessert!

We certainly enjoyed this for a few days, but that was ok! It's not very often that we have it! 


I thought I would share just a few of the items I received. Other gifts came in the mail afterwards, but don't have shots of them right now. 

I have been eyeing this at Michael's for awhile, with may things that it could be used for.
I thought it might be a cute option for transporting smaller crafty things home if I wanted or needed to work on a project, or had a shower to help decorate for! Love the quality and polka dots!


Clear rubber stamps! YAY. 

I received some other clear rubber stamps and framelits from Mama too, which I have already so enjoyed! Thanks so much!.

A small Gerber pocket knife.. This will be great to take camping!

It was a great day.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Today's the day :-)

Today is the day that I reach out and take on an opportunity that was given to me... 
One never grows without going out of their comfort zones, and as nervous as I am, I am willing to do just that! Life has so much to offer, but you will never know just what, if you aren't willing to go for it! I'm looking forward to first and foremost meeting up with my love in the "City of Love," and then taking on these countries we have chosen together! 

Here we come, Europe! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The day before...

The DAY BEFORE has finally arrived.. 

I find that I'm nearly pinching myself when I think about the adventure I'm about to embark on...
Each passing moment brings on more of the nerves, but also pure excitement...For me, it's just crazy to think about. 

This WILL be a great adventure and a good learning experience for me! :-) Im frequently reminding myself of this... I have taken the advice of Rach to get a travel journal for this trip in particular. Growing up, I always had journals of sorts, more of ones that I shared between friends! I would have a notebook/journal for 1 week and give it up the next week! We wrote all that we wished to, whether about boy crushes we were having, "secret" conversations.. that clearly weren't that secret when written in a plain notebook, but ya know we thought they were! :-) I then felt really cool when I'd be able to get those lock and key journals, ya know the ones that you hardly needed the key to open the poor thing? Yea, those! So, I've had a few journals in my day.. and have in times past enjoyed opening them up to see just what was written back then.. what crushes or conversations were had with friends, whether in church or at camp.. Yup, I did that too. I fooled around in church :-/  I have a small notebook that primarily Tina and I had at Victory Grove Camp back in 2000/2001 when THE Montgomery family came into the picture for me :-) Yup, those were some good memories too, and I'm so glad to still have that notebook. They provide some good keepsakes. 

I have since then, the past several years, made digital entries off and on more of the fun times and activities that Tim and I have had so that we can look back and see just all that we have done together. For this trip though, after Rach mentioned about doing a journal, I thought a digital entry being saved in a file just might not cut it this time around. When I came across this travel journal with the magnetic cover.. I was sold! Just early this morning, I wrote my first entry.. and found it very fun and relaxing to do. Looking forward to capturing my thoughts, feelings and adventures over these next couple weeks in this "secure" magnetic journal. haha! I'm clearly not worried about the secure part. 

So, today I thought with things winding down... I needed some comfort food to get me through the day :-) Every gal needs her comfort food every once in a while! ;-) 

Pieology & 85 Degrees "Sea Salt Iced Coffee" it was! 

It was great! Ya, see.. I just found out about 85 Degrees less than 2 months ago, and if it weren't for being so invested in Starbucks with their Gold card and such... I probably would go to this coffee place a bit more! I guess for right now, I will just consider it a treat when I do have it :-)
And, no... I didnt have the full pizza in one setting. :-) I will have it in 2 though! ;-) It looks bigger than it really is.

So, now I better get back to finalizing the packing and binder with all itinerary, tickets, maps etc
and then finishing up the last minute laundry, mopping, vacuuming, scrubbing, and dusting, so that when we come back with little to no energy to do much.. we can just throw our things down, and not feel overwhelmed! 

I have this. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Coffee...

Making time to have a cup or two of coffee and chat with my love is quality time for me... The weekends especially are the perfect time for this to happen! 

So, today our conversations consisted of several topics, but one of them being about Europe. :-) During this time, excitement is in the air as we make preparations for a lifetime experience in my book, to Europe. Yup, we are making it happen this year, and I can hardly believe it! Having never been off this continent leaves much to my imagination of what I will experience, what sights I will take in, and all the stories I will bring back from this. I wouldn't be honest if I said that I didn't have any fears, but I know that with this great opportunity that, unfortunately not everyone will get to experience, will exceed and hopefully soften my fears I have. 

I have never been on a flight more than 5 1/2 hours and now will have to experience about an 11 hour flight one way. Sometimes, while here in San Diego, I feel like a minority due to the language barrier, but at least there are PLENTY of English speaking people around, still. It will be interesting when attempting to communicate within some of these countries we go to. Because so few people will be able to communicate with us at times, I guess I also struggle with "trusting" the people around us. We will be using several forms of transportation to get around too, which I am not use to.... Subways, trains, more flights, taxis, on foot.... I try to pretend I will just be traveling between the states here, but for some reason it just doesn't seem the same... I know that focusing on these fears will take away from my experience, so I'm trying hard to set those aside and make the best of everything. :-) I mean, it likely will be my once in a lifetime opportunity to go to Europe!

For so many reasons, it  makes sense to take advantage of this Europe trip next month! Our potential itinerary hasn't been fully planned out yet, but we are working on it... We will being going to Paris, France for sure, some possible cities in Spain (Madrid & Barcelona), Switzerland (Zurich & Murren) and Italy ( Venice & Naples)! 

It all kind of seems like a dream... a dream that will become reality soon!


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Beauty...

I find when I ACTUALLY sit down to either blog or make a massive mess with my crafting supplies, it is medicine to my soul...but who has time to do this whenever they want to? Sometimes it's not always about the time, but the idea of actually making a mess or sorting through photos that I just dont feel up to sorting when I am so far behind with them anyways. I remind myself frequently though, that its not all about the mess etc, but surrounding yourself with things of interest that bring great pleasure, especially when it's been a tough week.. Sometimes, you just need to make a mess.. :-)
I plan on doing just that this weekend, while Tim dives in on some of his projects he's creating/working on.  I thought I would get a head start before Tim got home from work tonight with the blogging... I had intentions of posting Zoo pictures from a recent trip, but as I uploaded pictures, there was a folder with Sunday afternoon shots of when Ange & Steve were here in March... ( Yes, I still have all of the other ones to blog too at some point... Don't remind me. :-) ) and thought that I would start with these, as I love capturing the beauty of the ocean with my own eyes and my camera happy self:-) I chose a few to share!

We love going down to the ocean (not frequent enough) taking in the the sights and sounds of the ocean. Watching the waves crash up over the rocks with such force at times, feeling the mist, looking for crabs etc just brings great peace and joy anytime we go! Ange loves being near the water and finds that she would do it more often if she had that opportunity. We hadn't taken them to see the ocean or this specific beach yet this trip, and they wanted to go, so we thought this would be the perfect Sunday afternoon activity while they were here. 

Ange enjoying herself..:-)

....Just as much as we were too.. 

Having one of my sisters out here to visit was such a special time for me.. and it was far too difficult that same night to see her/Steve head home...

After we were finished at Ocean beach, we thought it would be neat for them to experience the "Sunset cliffs" attraction that happens each night, before leaving. Without fail, each night vehicles pile in along the cliffs  to watch the sunset and as soon as it's over, they all leave. The thing is, we ended up getting there about an hour early... and had toiled with the idea of just heading back to our place to fix something to eat before they left. We ultimately did just that, but got distracted in the meantime with THIS... 

There were 2 young guys that seemed to be at a special someone's home waiting for 2 special ladies to arrive to surprise them. It was soo funny watching them for the next hour... Putting out the banners, pacing back and forth from being inside to checking for the girls outside. We watched them pick up their bouquets of flowers and carry them around, put them back down, go over to their banners and figure out how to pose for when they arrived etc.  This happened for 1 hour at least!! Ange and I sat chatting in the car about how we had to give them credit for trying and being creative about it... as not everyone would do that! I would have preferred being asked personally, if it were me... (it wasn't though nor did I even go to my prom.)  In the end, I actually think they missed the pose or seeing them come down the sidewalk and all... as they were probably too nervous inside. I'm pretty sure they both said yes though, as they giggled and screeched with delight. It was interesting to hear/see walkers pass by interpreting these banners and their comments they had for them.  I think I would have hated to be Lauren... :-) Thats pretty terrible to be known for or have something like that written, even if it were a joke of sorts.. 

Watching everything unfold, brought us to the beautiful sunset we went there to see.

This day tied together the great week we had together. It always seems to go too quickly.