Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A November Snapshot

If it were not for these pictures document that things happened, I am not entirely sure that I would believe that the month of November actually happened this year. It was an absolute blur of wonderfulness.

All dressed up for Adam's company party

Our good friends Jake and Sarah were blessed with a wicked cute baby on October 30th. She was a bit early, so the grandmothers were both in a travel fury to get from Michigan in time for the birth. While Sarah worked on the laboring process, Adam and I were charged with getting the grandmas from the airport to the hospital. It was a really fun experience to be a part of....everyone was so excited. Quentin was patient and waited for their arrival before joining this big world of ours. We joined them a few weeks later for the Lions vs. Steelers game (yeah, we hang out with Lions fans, I know). I was able to get some quality cuddle in. I know this picture triggered quite a response on Facebook, but no worries...we are still perfectly content with not producing our own children. He really is one heck of an adorable kiddo!

Hanging out with the Pennocks

Then came our annual Thanksgiving feast with our crew. This tradition started, wow, a while ago, it's been years now, back in Hawaii, when everyone came together to celebrate family style, since we were all away from our families. It was too expensive to go home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas for most people, so everyone opted for Christmas, leaving Thanksgiving to be celebrated Hawaiian style.

Dinner with the crew

Then it was off to the Mayer abode for Thanksgiving festivities and shipping all of the men off to camp the next morning. This is my favorite meal of the year, I try to consume as many of the feasts as possible.

Mayer men making my dinner

After prepping for the evening feast in the morning, it has become Adam and my tradition to venture over to the Hagerich house for a noon time feast with his maternal side of the family. It is a smorgasbord of all things tasty and awesome, complete with fantastic company. Afterwards, we head back to the house to prepare ourselves for a second feast with the Mayer clan and Aunt Midge. Oh how my belly always aches with happiness.

Thanksgiving at the Hagerich's

After the boys are shipped off to camp for 10 days, we Mayer girls start preparing for the annual sleepover with the maternal females. It initially started after Gram Helen passed away as a way to sort through and divide up ALL of the pictures from a lifetime of love and family, but has continued since that's completion. It is a wonderful evening filled with love, laughter, awkwardness, and making memories.

Slumber party with the Adams' girls

Monday, December 16, 2013

New Hampshire Time!

With Adam always heading to camp the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Years being awkwardly on a Wednesday this year, there was no good time to adequately celebrate the holidays with my parents. We had a four day weekend in November, so to NH we went to celebrate both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

View out my bedroom window...NH welcomes me

We could not have timed it better, we flew into NH and arrived 20 minutes before my dad's flight landed from Phoenix. He had spent a week out there with an old army buddy (we are talking an almost 40 year friendship) before coming back for a weekend with us.
It was a frigid welcome, as we left good ole MD (insert sarcasm here) for the winter wonderland of New England.
There is just something SO relaxing about returning to your childhood is literally the one place on earth that I can leave the bed unmade and an outfit on the floor without absolutely losing my mind. I cannot leave out apartment in the morning unless our bed it made and clothes are either in the wash or in the hamper. I may be firmly in my 30s, but I fully embrace the only child spoiling that comes upon my return to my parents house, where I dwell in relaxation and fatten up on my mom's soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Contrary to Adam's feelings, I thoroughly enjoy that my parents have no internet (besides when I am here and wanting to Skype with them) and we get no cell phone reception. Yes, there are places like that still in the world. My parents live there. I grew up there.
As per standard, we have a huge feast with the aunt and uncles and just enjoy our time together. This time around was celebrating the Thanksgiving meal that Adam and I would not be in the state for. I am bless with an amazing family and love when we are all able to come together. We enjoyed a fantastic feast with family, as we definitely appreciate a good meal and wonderful company.
For part of Adam's Christmas gift, mom scouted out a brewer of beer that Adam has been looking for F O R E V E R. Literally. He finally asked my mom is she could look for it when she was out. The surprise on our trip was that we were going to take a road trip and hit up the brewery for a tour. Yeah, sounds awful and like something that we would hate right??!?!?!
So on the road we went to northern Vermont....ROAD TRIP! Well, we hit the town a bit earlier, and I saw the sign for cider mill, and made us stop. I LOVE cider. I had a nice steaming cup of fresh hot cider, Adam had fresh mini donuts...the world is an amazing place.

And there was a winery across the parking lot?!??! This place was built for us. The wine really wasn't that notable, but still fun to learn about and taste.

So the notable gap you will see here is the missing brewery tour. Due to my cider mill stop, we arrived 15 minutes after opening....the line for the tour was 2-3 hours of waiting long and they had already sold out of the beer. I had a disappointed momma and hubby on my hands. None of us were patient or dedicated enough to wait around, so off we went. We stopped by the Cabot cheese factory store to try and eat the woes away.

Yes, I would like to sample a dozen flavors of cheese

While we did not get to tour the brewery or buy a case of beer, I did manage to buy the last two cans of the beer for which our quest was inspired IN THE ENTIRE TOWN. Not kidding. From a restaurant where they opened and required consumption before leaving. Cheers to a beer at 10am before breakfast.

With a whole day ahead of us, we decided to venture up to Burlington, VT, as we had never been and heard it was a fun little city. We stopped in to tour the Magic Hat brewery (a really REALLY interesting little set up) and another little brewery that I have forgotten the name of.

Magic Hat Brewey

Magic Hat

Love my dad

My favorites at Magic Hat

Love at Magic Hat

Love this sight

After the brewery tours, we ventured into Burlington to walk around and enjoy the city. I bet this place is really awesome in the summer, when the temperature is above well below freezing. We had a very late lunch at The Farmhouse, an AMAZING farm to table local restaurant with delicious food and a craft beer tap list that left Adam drooling. Me too actually, they had cider options!
It was a wonderful long weekend, too short as always.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dublin: The Final Day

Ahhh, the final full day of our trip. It should have been a depressing and sad occasion, but fortunately it was not. My cousin Jessica and her friend Sarah had been backpacking ALL OVER Europe for the previous 5 weeks and we all happened to be in Dublin on this single day of our trips. Talk about luck! She lives in Florida and we haven't seen each other in at least 7-8 years...and of course we would meet up in Ireland. This actually did not surprise me a bit. Everyone is much more likely to run into us on the road!
We scooted down for a really nice and simple breakfast at Cafe Bliss before heading to the bus station to meet up with Jess and Sarah. After dropping their crazy huge and heavy packs at our place, we headed out to explore the city.

Random awesome building

Trinity College

We took them to the previous visited Trinity College and Dublin Castle, so they did not miss it, but also just to enjoy the beauty of the buildings again. I cannot imagine what it must be like to attend class in centuries-old, architecturally-exquisite buildings that contain more history themselves than the classes being taught.

Moose and Goose have arrived

Then LOTS of meandering around the city on our way to do the tour at Kilmainham Gaol prison. So many stunning buildings to take didn't keep track of the names of building or sites, so I am sorry if you are looking for that. I was just taking in the beauty and capturing the moment. Enjoy that with me.

Our crazy crew

Adam sent us girls to the bar down the street to stay warm and relax over some pints while he waited in line for tickets to the prison. It was about a 45 minute wait. I married an amazing AMAZING man.

A toast to family...and a man waiting in line for us

When asking the locals what we "absolutely must do" in Dublin, the one thing that every single person said Kilmainham Gaol to prison we went. It was AWESOME. REALLY FREAKIN' AWESOME. We concur with the locals, this is something that everyone who visits Dublin must do. There is a large museum to look through before the tours start. This is a very popular excursion, so you will have time to look around while waiting for your tour to start. Ben was our hilarious, albeit extremely hungover, tour guide for the afternoon. We all got along very well.

Dragons overseeing the entrance

Prison chapel

A peek through the keyhole

Are prisons suppose to be gorgeous?

The prison yard

To cheer ourselves up from the fantastic but definitely not warm and fuzzy tour, we headed to the Guinness Brewery. We were able to bypass the tour and entry fee to the factory and headed straight up to the Gravity Bar. This the perfect vantage point to view the entire city, as the bar sits atop the brewery and offers 360 degree views of the entire city with its floor to ceiling glass enclosure. That coupled with pints of Guinness, what's not to love?

View from Gravity Bar at Guinness

Hello Dublin, view from Gravity Bar

Overlooking the Guinness Plant

Waiting for our pints

Mmmm, fresh Guinness

Just a prop, holding Jess's beer for her

Warmed and invigorated, out back into the city we went to explore.

Abandoned cathedral

Church + Bar = AWESOME

Final dinner

Our evening winded down with pints and warm food at Farrington's, enjoying awesome company, a rugby game, and bantering with the bar staff. It really was a perfect day to end a perfect trip.
Everything about this trip was amazing and we were both in mourning before we even boarded the plane to return home early the next morning. I have found myself even taking my time to do these posts because I wanted to draw out the reliving of the experience...thus why I am tying this almost 2 months after our return. But here we are at the close of another wonderful trip, I hope that you have enjoyed the journey with us!