It has taken me awhile to get to blogging the Venice portion of our trip. We were only there one day, so I don’t know why I haven’t written about it sooner, but I am known to be a bit of a procrastinator. You can read about the Rome portion here and the Florence portion here.

We only stayed in Venice for one night because we had heard it was a bit overrated and kind of dirty. I will say that it was not super clean, the water was stagnant and there were a lot of smelly areas. However, it was beautiful and really cool! We arrived in Venice by train, and upon exiting the station, our Hotel Antiche Figure, was right across the river! That was super convenient. It was a quick walk over a bridge. Jake carried all of the luggage, while I carried Crew and a backpack. Unfortunately for Jake, we couldn’t use the stroller because it’s all steps. Its hard to know what to expect regarding hotels in Italy based soley of outside appearance because the buildings are so old.  But when we entered our Hotel in Venice, it was such a charming boutique hotel! The front desk was very kind and helpful.  They provided us with tickets for two free drinks, which we used to purchase cappuccinos at their in house coffee bar.  We left our bags in the room and quickly left to explore the city since we only had one day to do it.

Lots of people told us not to take a stroller because there are so many steps, stairways and bridges with steps. So, when we left to go exploring, we didn’t take it. We should have. There really weren’t that many steps once you get on one side of the river. Granted, there are a few bridges, but nothing like we expected and our backs were hurting something fierce from carrying Crewbie everywhere. She also decided that she only wanted ME to carry her and so I got very little relief from jake.  Haha, I survived…just barely!;) We walked to St. Mark’s Square which is the main attraction in Venice. It’s a large plaza area surrounded by the Basilica, St. Mark’s campanile, and lots of restaurants and shops.

Live music was playing and there were HUNDREDS of pigeons. Crew about lost her mind trying to chase, grab and talk to each pigeon she saw. It was ADORABLE.  The church that was located on one end of the square was such an amazing sight.  That was the case with all the cities we visited.  They all had amazingly built churches at their center.  We were in awe of the construction and the amount of time those churches would have taken to be built.

One complaint we had regarding our visit to the square was the unwanted contact with locals trying sell you birdseed and roses.  I don’t have problem with them selling it, my problem was how persistent they were in trying to get you to take whatever they were selling.  For example, they had guys walking around with handfuls of birdseed for the pigeons. One guy took Jake’s hand and filled it with bird seed. Jake said “no thanks.” But he kept trying to make Jake take it and feed the birds.  Its a ploy to get you to give them money in exchange for more seed. Immediately pigeons started flocking to him and so Jake just tossed the seed back to the guy and said, “no” more firmly. That was the start of about 7 guys coming up and trying to do the same thing. I almost smacked the bottom of their hand to cause the seed to go flying, it was ticking me off so bad. Another guy stuck a rose in Crew’s hand, AFTER I had already said no….and she’s now thinking it’s her rose. I gave it back to him and said I did not want it, with my eyes starting to twitch from frustration (I’m kidding, but internally they were wanting to twitch). Not that I should care so much, because they’re just trying to make money. But I did care! I don’t like being forced to do something after I said negative.

You’ll notice Jake is wearing Capri’s, which I had SO much fun mocking. I talked him into getting them, because I really do like how they look. But I still had to tease him a little…or maybe a lot! I Told him that he was wearing the same pants as Crew…asked him if he wanted a ‘Capri-sun?’ I was really proud of that one. Man, I had too much fun with those jeans…and he hasn’t worn them again since we’ve been back in the states. I think it’s because he knows I’ve been building an arsenal of jokes solely for the day he walks out in them!

After St. Marks Square, we walked around for a couple hours, and finally found a place to sit down and eat pizza. Imagine that, I ate pizza again. 🙂 After pizza, it was close to 6 or 7pm and we noticed that it wasn’t near as busy as it had been. Shops closed up early, people disappeared to wherever they were staying for the night and it was a much different city compared to the others that we had visited.  And of course, I’m sure you will not be surprised, but we stopped to get gelato on our way back to the hotel…which, if you’ve read my other Italy posts…you know is the norm for me. And finally, I should be embarrassed (but I’m not)…..because around nine o’clock….I felt hungry!  I do not understand how or why I was hungry again, but I’m going to blame it on the walking.  Jake found a restaurant that served food to-go and I got spaghetti. Not all restaurants will serve food to-go which was so odd to me! Especially because I love my leftovers! I’m not above wrapping my stuff in napkins and shoving it in my purse like a desperate woman. Haha. We finally made it back to the hotel and crawled into bed and crashed out.

The next day we got up to go look around a little bit more before we went to the train station to head to Milan! We weren’t disappointed that we only stayed one night in Venice. It was a really cool and unique experience, but we felt we had done all we would have wanted to do while we were there. Well Except for a gondola ride. We would’ve liked to do that, but only if the weather were warmer. It wasn’t cold, but on the water it probably would have been chilly. I would also suggest taking a stroller if you have a child. Any steps you happen upon…you can both grab a side and walk the stroller over them without any problems.

Jake wanted me to mention that the best cappuccino he thinks he enjoyed in Italy, was in Venice and he captured it in the pic of him drinking the cappuccino above.  He went back twice the morning we left Venice to get seconds.  He loved it and it was a really cool coffee shop.  Very unique! And Jake loved the Italian trend of standing and drinking his coffee at their counter.  He also wanted me to point out that Venice was the most touristy place we visited.  Gobs of tourists all over the city.  We had to walk across the city to get to St. Marks square and we were able to get there without a map by just following the loads of tourists headed in that direction.

Alright! This is the Venice portion of our Italy trip! Let me know if you have any questions!

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So today, Jake will be writing this post. I wanted him to give his perspective on the Florence portion of our Italy trip. He was reluctant and accused me of being lazy. He said that I was only using him to get out having to write this post and that he will not be manipulated. I tried convincing him that he is a better writer and that readers will enjoy his perspective. He still didn’t buy it, but he agreed in exchange for some homemade cinnamon rolls. That’s a tough bargain because those suckers are not easy to make! Jake has become a pastry eater over the last year and Italy and Florence did not help suffocate those recent cravings. With that being said, I will now turn the post over to my wonderful husband, whom I love deeply, and appreciate immensely for taking time out of his busy schedule to write this post. I’ll just be over here on the couch eating chocolate and drinking soda. What??

Yep, Jake here, and I brokered a deal in exchange for writing this post. I refuse to admit that I can be manipulated. I also know without a doubt that Emily does not actually think I’m a better writer.(Emily here..I absolutely do think Jake is a better writer.)  She just really wanted to get out of writing this blog and she knows that you attract more flies with honey! If I’m being honest, writing a post is not an easy task. By the end, you are tired of writing. You don’t care that your grammar stinks. And every time you reread it, you realize there is something you left out. In fact, its not much fun at all. Emily, get over here and finish this! Kidding, I really need you to actually go start making those cinnamon rolls.
Well, back to Florence. The most difficult part of the Florence trip was getting from the train station to our first hotel. I’ll get to that story in a moment. But Let me first say, the speed trains in Italy are awesome! I so enjoyed traveling by train. The Seats are comfortable, plus there is a food car. And you just sit back and enjoy the ride. It took about an hour and half to get from Rome to Florence. This was our first of many experiences on the train and they all went so smoothly. Florence is the birth place of the renaissance, and it was truly a city with an entirely different feel. It felt like we were in another ancient world. But then outside of the city, you have the beauty of the Tuscan horizon that is so famous in movies. It really is two different environments. Florence gave us a little bit of everything and was probably the most visually stimulating city we visited.
First, upon arrival into Florence, we exited the train station into a downstairs area that looked like a mall. Emily google mapped our hotel and found that it was located 0.03 kilometers away. In my head, that sounded like walking distance to me. I should tell you that we didn’t pack heavy, but we didn’t pack light either. Emily had a large suitcase on wheels. I had medium suitcase on wheels. I had a leather duffel bag and we both had a backpack, plus the baby stroller. My normal routine would be to roll the big suitcase with my duffel bag on top in one hand, while I pull my medium suitcase with the other hand. I would also wear both back packs while Emily either pushed Crew in the stroller or carried Crew in her arms. On this particular day, Crew was in her stroller and I was carrying everything else.
After walking several blocks in the underground mall, we finally came out on the street level. We get our navigation situated and we start heading toward the hotel. However, in Florence, her phone GPS would not always work and so we started heading in the wrong direction. We realize we are headed in the wrong direction and we re-navigate our GPS. Don’t forget, I’m carrying the entire set of luggage. I’m slightly warm by this point. Sweat is starting to drip from my forehead.
Florence sidewalks are extremely narrow and the streets are cobblestone making it impossible to pull the bags. We begin heading toward our hotel again. I can’t pull the bags; the sidewalks are so narrow that I can only pull one bag behind me, especially with oncoming people. So, I find myself having to carry the medium bag in the air by its handle in front of me while dragging the big suitcase behind me. Not a light item at all, while pulling the other bag behind me. I have a full sweat happening. And my shirt is soaked. I have to ask Emily to stop multiple times so I can readjust the bags and I’m not even sure we are heading in the right direction at this point! I cannot express the level of frustration I was feeling during that walk. At one point, I think Emily tells me, “I’m not hot at all.” (Emily again…I’m roaring reading this because I can remember innocently saying that and seeing the look of smoldering frustration deep in those baby blues) I seriously think I lost 5 lbs on that walk alone and all Emily could do is laugh during it. Not helpful.
We finally arrived at our hotel. I was a sweaty mess walking into very nice and clean hotel. I chose two hotels for our stay in Florence. The first was a hotel and spa named Palazzo Castri 1874. I made my decisions based on Trip Advisor and it had a traveler ranking of #5 or #6 out 421 hotels in Florence. I really do depend on Trip Advisor and Expedia when I choose my hotels. They have yet to let me down. And Palazzo Castri 1874 lived up the ranking. It’s funny because I met a British couple at the hotel, and they said they chose Palazzo based on Trip Advisor as well. During our entire Italy trip, we stayed at two hotels with spas. And the spa at Palazzo Castri was amazing. The pool was half indoor and half outdoor. There was a lounge area in the pool where you push a button and jets massage your body while you lay in a lawn chair position. Emily also booked a massage at this hotel, and returned very happy! She loves her massages, so I was happy to pay for one if it meant I was free from providing it.
The Rooms were very clean and we had a wonderful view from our window on the 4th floor. I love that almost every hotel we stayed at in Italy had huge open windows. Palazzo Castri also had a wonderful breakfast every morning. Why didn’t we take pictures of the breakfast?? Italy was the first time in all my travels with Emily, that she made a serious effort to get out of bed in the mornings so she wouldn’t miss breakfast. The Palazzo also had a wonderful patio area. It was very green and the perfect place to enjoy a cappuccino. The pictures of me drinking a cappuccino above are from the hotel patio area. If Emily didn’t tell you, I’ve become a cappuccino addict since Italy. Italians drink them regularly and everywhere. It’s a different experience than in the United States. In Italy you drink them at an espresso bar while you stand and eat your pastry. Nobody sits down. And they are so much smoother and richer. When I got back to New Mexico, I ordered one from Starbucks. Complete disappointment!!
The city center of Florence has an old beautiful church that was decorated with green, white, and red marble on the entire outside. It’s different from any other church I have ever seen and made Florence even more unique. Florence is also known for its leather goods and huge outdoor markets attempting to sell leather goods. My goal was to find a leather messenger bag for work, but I was unsuccessful. It’s hard to know what’s real and what’s fake. I regret not making a more concentrated effort to find a bag. I also regret not finding a pair of leather made shoes. I had determined I was coming home with one or the other and I returned with neither. We also found an open food market with tons of vendors on the second floor of an old building. We ate there twice. I had fried rabbit the second time. I can now say I’m not a huge fan of rabbit. Emily ate two pizzas by herself and a bowl of pasta. She ate and ate and ate her weight in pizza. I’m not even joking a little bit. (Mrs. Piggy here to tell you that the pizzas are a lot smaller in Italy than in America. Just in case you were thinking I stuffed two larges down my gullet.)
From the Palazzo Castri 1874, we moved to a villa in Tuscany outside the city. Florence is one of the primary cities that makes up the Tuscan country side. I chose the Art Hotel Villa Agape for the view. Yep, that was my only criteria (along with a high rank on trip advisor). And did it ever! It was beautiful and old and well preserved. I wasn’t sure if Emily would appreciate me making us switch hotels (it tends to frustrate her that I like to book multiple hotels in the same city), but when we arrived, she loved it. You couldn’t help but love it. If you look at the pictures above that show the hills and beautiful scenery from the garden, they were all taken at the Art Hotel. The staff was also very friendly. They went out of their way to make sure we had everything we needed. I wish we would have been able to stay a second night just to enjoy the view.
Overall, Florence is a must see city. If you have an opportunity to visit, I would recommend both hotels at which we stayed. I really can’t describe to you the beauty of the Tuscany, nor can I describe the atmosphere of the amazing streets of Florence. It’s just something you have to see in person. What I can describe to you is the frustration of carrying my bags to the hotel while my wife laughs and the tremendous amount of food my wife consumed. I love you. You are welcome. Where are my cinnamon rolls?

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Our Italy Trip: Volume Rome

Day 1

  

Day 2

Day 3

        

Day 4


Several months ago Jake was sitting at his computer,  and out of the blue he asked me if I would prefer to go to a beach, or go to Italy. Every year since we have been married, we have been blessed to be able to take an annual trip.  Year one was our honeymoon and we went to Orlando, Miami, and the Florida keys.  Year two was Hawaii which was awesome!  However this year, I really wanted to save money, I was fine staying home because I didn’t want to spend a ton of money. And we now have a 17 month old child that will be traveling with us.  Plus Italy?  That just sounds expensive. So I told Jake lets stay home or go somewhere inexpensive.  I should also tell you that when Jake makes suggestions on travel, I don’t get overly excited because they sound expensive and I probably come across a bit frustrated that he is even talking about going to these places. But when it comes time to leave for the trip, I’m beyond excited and have yet to regret one of them.

Well, about two days later he tells me, “Guess who’s going to Italy!” And that’s exactly how it happened! I was shocked and I made him explain exactly how this was going to be an inexpensive trip, even though the nonrefundable tickets were bought and there was nothing I could do about it. He responded with, “I found tickets that were the cheapest I have ever seen!” My husband is very good at selling something that he wants to do. 🙂 But I have to admit, the tickets were very very cheap.  About as cheap us flying to a destination within the US.

If I haven’t already told you, it needs to be said that Jake loves researching and planning trips.  He will spend hours researching reviews and picking top hotels that are affordable.  So from that point on, Jake researched and planned and itinerized(I know that’s not a word) the ENTIRE trip! He booked amazing hotels and then emailed them to find out what train stations were nearest their hotel so that we could walk right to them.  We didn’t have to worry about transportation, because he bought all our train tickets before we left the US. He uses Trip Advisor for everryyyything! If you don’t use it, you need to. For the last several years, this is how we’ve picked hotels, restaurants…activities. It’s never let us down! We also try to review everything we do and everywhere we stay. It’s wonderful because you can avoid going somewhere you’ll regret. It’s kind of our travel Bible.

Now onto Rome! Getting there was rough, to say we were exhausted is a huge understatement. I literally could NOT keep my eyes open by the 3rd plane transfer.  But I had to because of Crew! I’m so glad we have a well behaved child that made the flights go perfectly and smoothly. Umm…not! It was torture for crew and for me.  We need our sleep. 🙂 We stayed up most of the night driving to Dallas to catch our flight. We slept for four hours in a hotel in Dallas.  Then we got up for our first flight to New York. Very little sleep. From New York, we flew to Paris which was 6 hour flight. Crew slept for a chunk of it and I watched movies. Jake kept telling me I should be sleeping. I didn’t listen. When we reached Paris I was done and ready for bed, but we still had two more flights ahead of us. Paris had customs and we had to go back through security. A tired mother and a tired toddler probably didn’t make for the friendliest flight companions. Then we flew from Paris to Milan. By this point, I kind of wanted to hurt Jake for putting us through this sleepless nightmare. Finally, we flew from Milan to Rome.

Once there, we went to get our luggage and immediately spotted my suitcase and the stroller, but not Jake’s bag. That was a depressing feeling but better his bag than mine. Is that wrong for me to feel that way, after all I had all of Crew’s clothes in my bag.  After waiting a few more minutes and watching the baggage claim area clear out, there were only two lonely bags left….neither being Jake’s. He immediately talked to the baggage claim lady and she got his address and said IF(not when) they find it, they would send it to the hotel. Luckily Jake is very responsible and had packed an extra outfit in his carry-on. And THANKFULLY his suitcase did arrive on the second day and we were so relieved! (Jake didn’t have a lot faith it would come to the Hotel, so he snuck in some shopping for a few new shirts.)

From this point, Jake had arranged a transfer from the airport to the hotel. He used Blacklane.com which is a fantastic service and doesn’t cost much more than a taxi. They wait for you after baggage claim with sign that reads your name.  They take you directly to your hotel in a Mercedes. I would highly recommend using them in Europe. During the drive to the hotel, I couldn’t even take in the beauty, Crew and I were out the second we got in the car. Jake woke me up to look at the Colosseum as we drove by and then I was out again.

Jake booked The Building Hotel and it was really cool! Our room was super modern, and had a staircase up to the second floor where we had a round bed and Jacuzzi bathtub out in the open. At this point, we learned that Italy does not use a/c this time of year. Heh heh, the upstairs was a SAUNA. We opened the huge window downstairs (I’m sitting in the window in the pics above) and immediately the entire room cooled wonderfully. There was also a small skylight window upstairs that we opened and it helped some! Crew and I finally crash out around 8pm and I’m expecting it to be the best sleep I have EVER had because I’m so dang exhausted. Nope. I start drearily realizing that I’m sweating like a stuffed pig. All the covers are on the ground, and I squint through the darkness to see my skylight window is closed(Jake had done it for safety reasons, well screw safety with that level of heat). At some point in the night, I notice Jake isn’t in bed with us anymore. My wonderful husband was downstairs sleeping with the windows open and it was so cool! So I grab Crew and make my way down to an amazingly cool room perfect for sleeping. Jake rearranges everything on the little duvet/couch and we all crash back out. Except now I’m freezing and uncomfortable because it was so small. After turning into a Popsicle for a few hours, I made my way BACK up thinking it would even out with the heat and I slept for a few more hours. I roasted. But I did get 14 hours of sleep total. Luckily that was the first and last heat stroke we had to endure.

Day 1

This would be our first exposure to an Italian breakfast! And it would be the start of an amazing morning routine. The funny thing is they call it an American style buffet breakfast at most hotels, but it is so much better than any breakfasts at American hotels.  They sent a tray to our room with tons of breads and pastries, different cheeses, fresh tomatoes and scrambled eggs. It was GOOD! Jake also got his first of MANY cappuccinos. We packed up the room and left our luggage at the hotel so we could go explore. The hotels let you leave your things so you can explore, which is really convenient. It was really warm and dumbfoundingly gorgeous. Every building was incredible, the streets were all cobblestone, the doors were MASSIVE and had really pretty details. It was like we had stepped into another world. I was dying to try gelato and so we quickly used Trip Advisor and found an adorable place tucked into a back street that was ranked really high. It was immaculate and so cool looking and I got two heaping scoops of pistachio and dark chocolate. Blegh. Hated it. The pistachio there tastes just like the nuts!! Not the kind we eat here in America that has an almond extract flavor. So be warned! It’s different! I was a tad bummed, but made up for it soon after by trying another place. I got better flavors more in line with my palette.

After looking around for awhile we went to our new hotel, The Barocco Hotel.  This Hotel became our favorite hotel for the duration of our entire trip. They were SO friendly and wonderful, and we felt like we knew them by the time we left. One particular employee, John Franco was so kind to our family.  He gave us so much helpful advice and treated Crew so sweetly.  He showed her pictures of his dog. But the entire staff was amazing and helpful. I would stay here for sure if you are in Rome! Their breakfast buffet was INSANE as well. They had every kind of pastry, bread roll, juice, cereal, jam, cheese, fresh fruit, warm foods, tomatoes, cold cuts of meats. I mean pretty much anything you can think of was set out. And of course Jake and his cappuccinos. We plowed through food every morning! That’s what got me out of bed so easily. We ate Pizza for dinner, which was different. They use less sauce in Italy, and tons of mozzarella cheese. I ate probably 15 pizza’s by myself the whole trip. Jake genuinely thought I was going to come back to the states weighing 10 pounds more. I ate like a COW! Momma likes her food…what can I say?

Day 2

Jake had booked our hotels so they would be centrally located and near places he wanted to visit, such as the Colosseum. It was maybe a 10-15 minute walk. It was PACKED with people, we didn’t even go inside because there were so many tourists and we had heard that the outside was where the real beauty was anyways. This is probably where we felt the most vulnerable to getting pick-pocketed. Jake wore a backpack the entire trip that had snaps and a pull strap that would cinch the top closed. Well we were there and this large African guy came up and said he wanted to GIVE us these bracelets, we tried to say no, and he kept saying, “Just take them, it’s a gift! I have a young daughter too! Take them!” So finally we take them and are walking away and he then proceeds to drop two small plastic ham bones in Jake’s hand and says it’s for luck. Ehhhhhh, no tanks! As we walked away, we looked for a trash can because we feel like it’s stuff they use for Voodoo, and we’re Christians and not about that life! Then the guy appears again and starts asking for money!!! It irked me, like, stop the acting with “the gift” crap. But Jake gave him a couple Euros, and the guy asks me for money, which I really didn’t have and then we walked away and tossed our treasures and I noticed Jake’s backpack was undone!!! Nothing was missing, thank God! But I’m guessing they do all that to distract you while someone else tries to steal! Ticks me off. But that was it, we never really felt threatened again, and we were on full alert. I was REALLY firm in saying no to anyone from then on out! I was like, “I said NO!” Bahaha, Jake said that I was convincing. People are so persistent there and don’t take no for an answer pushing things into your hands. So I had to take cur of bizness! 🙂

Day 3

We got up around 6:45 and went and had a dynamic breakfast. Then a guy came to pick us up to take us to a tour of The Vatican at 7:30. Wow. Wow wow wow. The Vatican is mind blowing! There’s so much to take in, and it’s so ornate and detailed. Very gaudy, but very cool! Super religious too. Every single decoration, wall, picture, statue, pillar, etc. was related back to some sort of religious reasoning. The Vatican is rolling in the dough, especially with the number of people touring it! It was a cool experience and really interesting to learn about from a historical perspective. We had headphones and our tour guide explained everything and the history behind it. I would suggest doing that if you are going to go, otherwise you will have NO idea about the significance regarding different areas of the Vatican.

After the Vatican, we went back to the room and napped while Jake went out and got us food. He’s so good about that, he loves going and looking around and always brings me back delicious food so we can just relax and eat it in the room. Then at night, we would walk across the little square outside our hotel and go and get Gelato. I think I ate there 5 or 6 times and Jake was embarrassed that we went back so often for Ice Cream. Hahaha. I was not embarrassed at all! Crew loved going out, we would push her in her stroller. If we came to a stop, Crew would start racking her body like a bucking bronco for us to start pushing her again. She would wave and smile at everyone and it was just pretty stinking adorable!  She also started to learn the word “CIAO” pronounced “CHOW.”  Its the local hi and bye. She also loved the bath in our hotel. We took like 3 baths a day, and the floor right outside the tub was heated, it was just super cool and fun for us since we’re bath people. Jake didn’t care as much.

Day 4

Our final day in Rome. We slept in past breakfast and you could feel the mourning and despair in the room. We had to settle for a little sandwich shop right outside our hotel and I got my first tomato and cheese sandwich! They have yummy toasted bread with tons of mozzarella and fresh juicy tomatoes and I loved it!!! That is very common in Italy, simple and delicious! Of course gelato was involved(for Crew and I…not so much Jake) and then we went to the train station to head to Florence. This was our first experience with trains and it was easy and very simple! The trains leave on time, and a worker would come by and scan the tickets. That was it! Very spacey seats, plugs at every table, and a food car. We enjoyed the train rides a lot! I wish there was an option for it where we live!

Crew slept with us the whole trip, and she would nurse falling asleep, and then she wouldn’t nurse again until morning! It was wonderful, we all slept really well! I of course didn’t have access to my Diet Dew, so Coke Zero and Coke light became my new best friends. In the mornings, I would get a latte Macchiato and add 4 packs of sugar and one packet of brown sugar and it was delicious! I found that I needed that boost to survive! So that was our few days in Rome! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and didn’t want to leave, but we were excited to see Florence. If you are thinking of going, you should! And if you have any questions about anything…our itinerary, places to eat, etc…just let me know in the comments! Jake might should get on here and explain it all.

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//My shirt is Old Navy($11)/Jeans are Express(sold out)/Crew’s shirt is Old Navy, sold out. Similar one here($8)/hard bottomed, leather version of her shoes here//


If you’re looking for a last minute gift…this tunic shirt-dress is only $11! They’re selling out quick. Mine is a small and it’s a little baggy, an extra small would’ve been perfect! I like super hug shirts. I bought it to wear as a dress originally, but it was too short for me to feel comfortable in. Alright, continuing on from my last post about our time in Houston!

Jake always wakes up before Crew and I do when we stay in hotels and he sneaks out to go workout. Then he brings me back breakfast. Being that I don’t get out of bed til 10 or 11…I don’t know if breakfast is the correct word. But he knows that food will always entice me out of the cave of blankets. I had packed up the room the night before so I didn’t have to stress and jam everything into my suitcase last minute and pray that all of my things made it out of the room. I’m known to do that. I tell myself(and Jake) that I’ll wake up at an early enough hour to bathe, get ready, neatly pack my things in an even more organized manner than when I packed at home for the trip, and be ready to walk out the door BEFORE check out time.

Reality is…I call the front desk and give them some lame wad excuse and request a late checkout. Jake hates that! And I hate that he hates it! Like…if they cared, they wouldn’t have agreed to it so sweetly. Then we’re all tense with each other because Jake is frustrated that I’m running late and I’m frustrated that he’s hounding me to hurry. It’s a cycle that needs to be broken. But I want it to be broken with Jake becoming super patient and understanding about why I’m running so late and not so much that I get up earlier. (I’m not vacation and should be able to be as lazy as I want.) But by the time we get everything packed in the car, we’re usually back on “holding hands” terms.

Jake wanted to walk around and see the area around our hotel. It was super sunny and warm, it felt like a spring day more than a winter one. There were two parks nearby and it was like all the people there were workers that were cleaning, planting flowers, building things. As if they were little energizer bunnies! We got to talking to a security guard and she said they were trying to get everything ready for the super bowl that is taking place in Houston this year. We kinda had an “ohhh, makes sense now” moment. They had a huge football mounted in the park with a countdown on it. There were 61 days left when we were there and it will be fascinating if they can get everything done by the time it happens. I’m guessing with the arduous laboring we witnessed, they will.

We saw a few of the Houston Rockets players walk from the gym to the parking garage which was pretty cool. They’re flipping tall! We were hoping Hardin would walk out, but he never did. After a bite to eat at chick-fil-a, we hit the road for home! It was a screech-filled vehicle for several hours as Crew made sure we knew how unhappy and miserable she was, but finally around 9:30…she fell asleep and we were able to drive the next 5 hours in peace. Poor Jake drove the whole way, fell asleep at 3:00am and went to work at 7:30 the next(well same) day! And not a single complaint. He’s such a good man.

Needless to say we are glad to be home and are all “tripped out” for now!

 

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//My Boots are Unisa/ Crew’s dress in hot pink version here//


The wedding Jake was in a few weeks ago, I talked about in a couple posts back, was a two weekend event. The first weekend was in Michigan, and the next one was in Houston. We decided to drive to Houston instead of fly, to save money, and not have to rent a car, and go through the hassle of keeping Crew content on a plane. Welllllll, let’s just say we signed ourselves up for a 10 hour drive with a child that did not want to be in her car seat. We left at 3:45am so Crew could sleep…hopefully most of the way. False. Around 7, when the sun was bright and shining, and I was JUST drifting off to sleepy land, Crew bear decided to wake up. The rest of the drive was me leaning back to give her treats, juice, toys, daddy’s ipad, my phone, and the list goes on. Everything kept her happy for a good 1-2 minutes and then it got tossed overboard. It was adventure for sure(insert x-eyed emoji).

The first night in HUGE Houston, we just stayed in our hotel room, and chilled. Crew loves playing in the rooms, like…she LOVES it. And I let her have at it while I ate Panda Express(the Beijing Beef is tha bomb) and watched It’s a Wonderful Life(first time and I loved it). The next morning was pouring rain. It rarely rains there and we got hit with it most of trip, so we stayed close to the hotel and explored the grounds. It was really pretty and they had the whole hotel decorated for Christmas. Crew loved the outdoor pond. That night was the wedding dinner, and it was held at the NASA Space Center. It was a unique place to have a reception, but it was awesome. I went around to all the little stands and tested them out. I’m pretty sure I’m ready to be an astronaut now. The drive from our hotel to the reception was ONE full hour! Houston is no joke! We were shocked how big it is!

Jake looked up Houston Rocket’s tickets while we were there. We switched hotels on Monday, and the hotel we stayed at was RIGHT next to the stadium, so we decided it was sign and went. Jake always watches ticket prices for the games and if you buy them on the day of, you can get a great seat for super cheap! We sat close to the court, and paid about 40 bucks. But we were so disappointed with the game! We’re OKC Thunder fans, and those games are electric! The stands are full, everyone is involved, it’s such a fun atmosphere. At this game, there were a ton of empty seats, it was a very ‘blah’ environment. But it was nice to know that we are fans of the right team;)

I’ve been wanting a pair of over the knee boots and I found these at TJ Maxx. They sold out online, but you can get them at DSW in the link above. I want a higher length pair, but these were fun to start out with. They’re very comfy and stay up. They don’t sag down but stay nice and snug. If you have a TJ in your area, they may still have black or brown pairs. They’re a lot cheaper in store than online. I hope that one day we can get a TJ in the town I live in, because I’m pretty sure that I alone, could keep it in business!

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