I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.

8 Jul

when you take a teen to france …

Two of my girls would be heading to summer camp … two down, two to go!

After many conversations with the seven-year-old, she decided she wanted to go to camp too. Piper and Wynter had friends they’d be going with, Hunter didn’t have any. But she bravely decided she would make friends while she was there.

And she did. With a bee. But that’s a different story!

Anyway. Since all three younger girls would be gone for a WHOLE week, that left Taylor and I with a week on our hands to play! I haven’t had but two days without my girls in over two years … so this momma was just a wee bit excited about the possibilities!

After we dropped the girls off at camp, we hightailed it to the airport. Taylor, Talley {tay’s bestie}, and I.

After one long flight, and a layover in Dusseldorf {say that ten times fast!}, we landed in Nice, France!


Exhausted, we made our way to the hotel, checked-in, freshened up {or not}, and set out to explore.

Exhausted after our exploration, I couldn’t have been happier to get into my pj’s and melt into this beautiful bed! I.was.out!

And I’m happy to announce … I slept for FIFTEEN hours!! 15 beautiful hours that I will cherish forever!

Unlike me, the teens did not sleep so well.

They were up, and slept, were up, and slept,

and slept,

and slept,

and slept …

and then for some reason got annoyed with my texts.

Go figure!

Eventually they did, in fact, finally wake up and we made our way to the beach.

A very rocky, crowded, but oh-so-beautiful beach!

In fact, we spent every day at this beach … you know, as soon as I could get the teens outta bed. Cuz that text message over there? It was an every day occurrence.

Seriously, how else was I supposed to get them up-and-at-em? Yeah, I coulda called their room, but for some reason I didn’t figure that one out until the last day we were there … leaving for the airport.

The good news is … this is where we spent most of our vacation. And it was blissful! The weather was beautiful, the scenery gorgeous, and the people watching … well, let’s just say it kept me entertained!

I love Europe. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to live. Not in a forever-kind-of-way. But definitely in a life-experience-kind-of-way! In fact, just yesterday the kids and I were playing “Would You Rather,” and the question was asked, “Would you rather live in Europe or in North America?” With no hesitation I answered, “Europe.”

There’s just something so magical and beautiful about the architecture, stores, restaurants, streets, and yes, even the entertaining people.

One night we decided channel our inner Selena Gomez Grace Kelly and head to Monte Carlo. I’m so glad we did it … definitely a fun treat!

And you know … cuz mommas rarely have proof they were on vacay, I needed to do a few obligatory selfies. What’s a mom to do?

A couple highlights of the trip were:

  • the fish spa! yes, fish spa. the fish munch at the dead skin on your tootsies, leaving it feeling soft as a baby’s bottom! for realz!
  • a pedicab ride! we had the most awesomesauciest driver around. he helped us make tourist fools of ourselves all through the old city of Nice. crazy fun!

I am soooo incredibly thankful I was able to take this trip with Taylor. Quite honestly, it wasn’t the mother-daughter dream trip I’d imagined … understandable with a friend along, and totally okay … I love Talley! she’s been a complete blessing to Taylor!

But you see … Taylor has been like my shadow for the last threeish years. She’s not had a close friend for most of her teens and I’ve pretty much been it for her.

Well … that’s all kinda changed. She has a “life” now and is out almost all of the time. I’m thrilled for her! She’s missed out on a lot over the last few years and it’s warms my heart to see her having fun and having friends.

But at the same time, I realize I’m kinda missing her. And I guess that all came full circle for me on this trip. Not in a bad way at all, just in a your-kid-is-18-now-and-momma-gotta-let-go-a-little way. :)

I love this girl so much. She means the world to me and I’m soaking in every spare minute she has left with me!

Posted in europe, taylor, vacation

8 Jul

our paris adventure

A quick post before we run out to Euro-Disney … yes, that’s right, we’re going to Euro-Disney.  Didn’t visit the Mona Lisa, but we’re going to see Mickey!

The afternoon that we arrived to Paris, we started to take a walk to see the Eiffel Tower, but got side-tracked by a little festival {actually, a pretty good sized festival}.  The kids had a great time and it was in a beautiful park.  When we got back on our way, we walked down the Seine … with a gorgeous view of the Eiffel in the backdrop.  It was exciting to show the kids, although they didn’t believe us that it was the actual same Eiffel Tower they see in Ratatouille, because it wasn’t all lit up!  :)

We never made it quite to the Eiffel, as it was time for dinner, so we took a detour and ended up on the Champs-de-Elysses at an italian restaurant!  After dinner, we went back to the hotel for night-night.

Sunday morning, we walked to Notre Dame … so awesomely beautiful!  We happened in on Sunday mass … awesome.  The kids really enjoyed it too … but couldn’t remember seeing the Hunchback of Notre Dame that we recently watched {yes, I’m educating my kids through Disney films!}.  We had lunch right next to Notre Dame and then headed back to the hotel for naps and swimming.

Sunday night, we taxied to the Eiffel Tower … the line was way too long to go up, so we got some dinner at a street vendor and had a picnic right next to the Tower … fun!  Then we went over to the carousel across the street for a few rides and some ice cream {kids} and crepes {me}.

Monday morning we decided it was time to go up to the top of the Tower, so headed over again.  We stood in the rain and wind for um, over an hour and a half to go up to the top.  The baby was SO done, but hung in there.  But the carousel across the street tempting her made it pretty difficult.  We finally made it up to the second level {which is about half way up}, and it was so extremely windy you couldn’t keep your eyes open.  It was about another half hour wait {outside} to get to the actual top, so we bought a quick souvenir and called it a trip!

Next, we headed across the street to the carousel for some rides, french fries, ice cream, slushies and crepes … then to the hotel for Hunter’s nap, while I took the girls out shopping.  We all ended back at the little festival near our hotel and then to an awesome french ‘country’ cuisine restaurant … yummy!

I have our Paris photos up {minus Disney today} … I was able to get the rest of our Rome photos up too, so be sure to take another look.

Blessings to you all!  We’re coming home tomorrow.  This adventure has been a blast, but I know we are all looking forward to seeing home again.

Posted in europe, vacation

8 Jul

good-bye europe

Some final musings from our trip:

curt is a germaphobic.

hunter’s convinced swiper is hiding in the trees {dora the explorer}.

i like crepes. with sugar. and whipped cream.  a lot.

the girls are obsessed with graffiti {and how people can be so naughty}.

my kids behave for ice cream.

don’t count on weather.com for a 10 day forecast.

when hunter plays with a toy phone, she thinks granny is on the other end.

hunter isn’t getting rid of her nukies anytime soon.

boys look at taylor.

i like to eat. a lot.

hunter has grandsam’s eyes.

my girls like roller coasters.

my girls like souvenirs.

french women are thin.

curt does have patience.

piper loves mrs. steig.

most tourists use canon cameras.

german kids talk loudly.

taylor’s obsessed with the jonas brothers.

if you lose a baby, look at the carousel.

another word for elephant is pachyGerm.

wynter lost interest in layering.

sometimes i pretend i’m katie holmes, and hunter is baby suri. {yes, i’m that lame!}

curt is obsessed with hand sanitizer.

my girls like to kiss each other.

i love to travel with my family.

french people are nicer than italian people.

the girls love odinn.

wynter needs new sparkly shoes {hers are worn thin}.

my girls love each other.

my girls don’t always like each other.

my kids travel well.

i love them more than anything.

Posted in europe, vacation

8 Jul

hotel ritz

I don’t usually talk about where we stay, etc., but this particular hotel has my interest peaked …

When we got to the hotel, there were tourists trying to take pictures {of the hotel}, but were ushered away.  Taylor tried to take pictures in the lobby, but we were asked to put the camera away.  Later told it’s for the privacy of the guests, but if no one is around then she could take a photo.

In doing some research, I found this is the hotel that Princess Diana stayed at the night she died.  Wikipedia has some interesting information if you care to check it out.

Okay, now for some E! News … We were over at the little festival near our hotel the night we arrived and I noticed a woman who looked very recognizable to me, but also very normal.  I finally asked Odinn if it was Sophia Coppola … he said he’d been looking too and he thinks it was.  Man, I wish I had got a casual shot of my ‘family’!!  Missed opportunity.

So the next afternoon we go down to the swimming pool and who do we see but Sophia and her family.  I run back up to the room to get my camera, so I can get that shot of my ‘family,’ but as I’m getting back to the pool area, I get stopped and they take my camera!  No pictures allowed.  I was outraged!  How am I supposed to document our family vacation properly if I can’t take photos of them swimming?  :)

It really was pretty cool though … her boyfriend, daughter, an older child {girl} that my girls were swimming with, and an entourage of grandparents {it seemed}.  The older child isn’t hers, and I still can’t figure out {not that I’m obsessing  with it or anything, although I slightly am} who she is or if she was with them.  Anyway, my girls were swimming with her and we were all in the pool.  Sophia came over with her little girl and introduced the little girl, Romy and asked where we were from.  Curt was privy to this convo, as I was a tad out of reach and didn’t want to make a desperate bee line to where they were.  Gotta play it cool …

Curt tells her Wisconsin and asks where they’re from, California is the reply.  Of course, I’ve learned to never tell Curt when there is a celebrity around, or anything that needs discreetness … definitely not his strong point {case proven when we got up to our room and I finally told him who she was … WHAT?!?  WHO?!?}.  She notes that we have four girls.  I casually wave to the little girl from afar and get a sweet smile, all the while I’m trying to play it cool.

Mom, if you’re reading this, you may wonder who Sophia Coppola is … click here for some info. :)

Anyway, that night … Odinn saw Chevy Chase in the lobby!  Pretty cool, huh?

I have the rest of our Paris photos up.

But right now I’m in the process of trying to get 3 girls to bed, one of which has apparently learned to crawl out of her crib {let’s hope she doesn’t take this trick home with her!} … so gotta

Posted in europe, vacation

7 Jul

piper’s got a new pair of shoes!

We found these shoes in Italy near the Campo dei Fiori and she hasn’t taken them off since …

They are well loved, worn in and full of European dirt!

Posted in europe, piper, vacation