We went to California and here is a post about it

The boys and I went to California last week to visit my brother and sister-in-law and niece, and I will never be able to spell “niece” right the first time.

It was a tough decision to go, after we found out that Molly’s services were being held while we’d be away. She was never far from our mind during the trip, especially on Monday.

We arrived Wednesday evening, and were pretty exhausted, so we had some pizza and went to bed. I slept terribly that night, for some reason (oh right because I’m old and have insomnia) but fortunately, we didn’t have a ton planned for Thursday. Ellie and I went for a walk, where we did a little light celebrity stalking. Later, we went swimming in the neighbor’s pool and hit up Target for supplies because Friday we…

went to Disneyland! We got up super early and were on the road a bit after 6 so we could arrive around 7. In the cars on the way there (I was in the girl car with Jennifer and Ellie, and the boys rode with Uncle Evan) we all were on our phones at exactly 6:59:59 to get reservations (or whatever they call it) for the new Star Wars ride. I managed to get them for us, yay!

We spent the entire day at the park. This should really be its own post. We rode a bunch of rides (the Rise of the Resistance was completely worth the stress of getting on it, and we didn’t have to wait in any line at all, which was nice) and walked a zillion steps and had dinner at a Tiki restaurant (so good) and my feet are still disgustingly blistered, but it was worth it.

Oh, and Linus is now obsessed with Dole Whip. Hard to blame him, it was delicious!

Saturday we mostly rested, except we went and got some famous Italian sandwiches from a place down the road for lunch. In the evening, Evan and I took the boys to a LAFC (Los Angeles Football Club) game. It was fun. The food was good. I got a jacket which will come in handy during football season here (they have the same colors as the Saints) and the boys got jerseys and as usual when we go to pro soccer games, the score ended us 2-2.

(I guess we have a streak of draws too.) (When we got home, we watched Season 2, Episode 1 of Ted Lasso.)

Sunday, the kids and I went to visit my friend Robyn who used to work at Automattic, and I made a new best friend who is three years old. We had delicious ice cream after hanging out at her house and eating pizza.

Maybe my favorite picture from the entire trip. My heart was in a puddle here.

Monday was the day of Molly’s service, and I still needed to take the boys to the beach, so we stopped for some flowers on the way and made a little tribute to her at the beach. Now, she probably preferred a more tropical beach, but I like to think she would have appreciated it, even if it was cloudy and the temperature was hovering around 68 degrees.

The boys filled their bathing suits with sand and Miles swallowed half of the Pacific Ocean, so we left after a couple of hours before heading back to Evan and Jennifer’s to relax and pack. (Boo!) A few of us went to the Huntington for a sunset stroll, which was stunning, but also, my feet were still killing me. So kind of painful too.

We came home yesterday after a long day of travel to a heat index of 105 after a week of 70s, but Daddy and Ziggy were very happy to see us!

02/07/2020

While the boys watched soccer in our room, Kiki and I watched the finale of Sex Education (highly recommend, but not with kids around) in her room on an iPad while drinking wine out of plastic cups. Cheers!

(We are traveling for an archery tournament for Linus. More on that coming up!)

Lisbon recap!

It’s been a week since I got home so I’d better post about my trip before I forget everything!

I left on Tuesday, and flew the long leg with Deborah and Erica, which was nice, since I had a five hour layover at Newark. We spent that time doing our nails and I got my boots shined and okay this part isn’t exciting.

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Actually, shiny boots are kind of exciting.

We got to Lisbon Wednesday morning and got a tiny coffee and my first pastel de nata at the airport. Got to the airbnb, but the owner was running late meeting us so we stocked up on groceries in the store below our apartment (very handy, that!) Once we were in and settled, we…well, I don’t remember. Took a nap, I think. I was exhausted. Mahangu arrived and we went to walk around and get some dinner.

We walked down to the Time Out market, where I had another pastel de nata (this one warm from the oven and even tastier than the airport Starbucks one. Go figure.) We noticed flocks of Uber Scooters around, so Beckett, Mahangu, and I hopped on them while Erica decided it was best not to. We found a flat plaza and rode around and around and around.

Then dinner up a hill. It was yummy. There was ham and cheese and various other good food.

The next day was my birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!

We went to the bigger grocery store to get more provisions, and ended up having a very unsatisfying breakfast there. But we did get me a candy birthday cake! And we got followed around the store by security people. Turns out you’re not supposed to take photos in grocery stores. Weird. And then outside the grocery store was a pretty yellow tiled wall, so I made Mahangu take pictures of us all.

Back to the apartment where we got some work done. We were going to have lunch but then we decided to wait for Karen, who was arriving that afternoon. And by the time she got there we just waited for dinner. But that was fine because we had lots of ham and cheese and other delicious snacks to eat.

We had a call early in the evening with some other colleagues around the world, and then it was time to eat again!

Dinner was at a lovely restaurant on top of a hill. We had to climb a lot of stairs to get to it. We dined on delicious Mozambiquan-Portuguese food. Happy birthday was sung to me in Portuguese. We walked around some more after dinner.

Friday was a work day – we left to get lunch at the Time Out market. I had a prego steak sandwich. So yum. Later, Erica and Mahangu and I went to the Benfica game! It was pretty cool, even though I knew the boys weren’t exactly happy with me for going to a professional game without them. I did bring them presents back, at least. Benfica won, thank goodness, but it was close. After the game we got these amazing pork sandwiches (bifana) and Erica and I split the most amazing waffle with Nutella on it.

Saturday we worked. And walked around some more between working. I found my favorite book in Portuguese at a book market and of course bought it. We also found a fabric store (shocking) where I…bought fabric.

After that we went up to this elevator that basically just goes up a hill. The line was too long to wait, but someone told us about a free elevator we could use that didn’t have a line. No brainer! The views were beautiful. Didn’t hurt that it was a gorgeous, sunny day.

We ordered in for dinner that night. And Erica and I finished a puzzle Beckett brought.

Sunday we worked some more, and in the afternoon, Beckett and Mahangu and I went to a different part of the city where he was meeting up with someone. Beckett and I went on this little gondola thing and then over to a mall that was like Black Friday packed. It was nuts. But it had a ginormous grocery store in it as well, and I do love a grocery store. Picked up some souvenirs to bring home (but didn’t take pictures, of course.)

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Beckett on the gondola. So pretty!

Monday we decided to bring our work on the road. We took a train to Sintra, which is west of Lisbon. There’s a palace (Pena Palace). We had a driver bring us around, which was a great idea since it was cold and VERY STEEP. After the palace, we had lunch and the driver gave me a birthday present! (I mean, like I didn’t tell him my birthday was a few days prior? Do you even know me?)

After working for a little while at a coworking spot, the driver took us on a very winding and nauseating ride out to the coast, where you can stand on the westernmost spot of Europe. It was cold and windy, but beautiful!

We headed back to our apartment after that and got all packed up. Karen and Beckett and I had 5:20am flights, which was horrible. I slept for about an hour and a half, and then traveled for 24 hours and then made it home. Hooray!

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Got a frankfurter in the Frankfurt airport.

It was a great, productive trip. Lisbon is beautiful! But thank goodness I practiced for the hills by power walking at Orangetheory. Those hills are no joke!

01/14/2020

Technically this was taken on January 13 (in US time anyway) but it was 3:04am in Lisbon. This is one last view of our street when the Uber came to get us for a 5:20 am flight. It was so quiet. (Because smart people are sleeping at that time.)

At this point I still had 24 hours until my last flight landed in New Orleans, and I had slept about 90 minutes. So that was a fun day.

01/13/2020

It’s impossible to pick a picture for today, we saw so many beautiful things. Don’t worry, the recap blog post will have them alllllll.

I ended up choosing this one from Pena Palace in Sintra, where we spent the day. But wait til you see the ones from the westernmost spot in Europe!

01/12/2020

Beckett and I took an aerial tram ride while waiting while our coworker had a meeting. Another gorgeous day!

01/10/2020

I went to a Benfica game with two of my teammates last night. It was fun but nerve wracking. They are the top ranked team and they played the bottom ranked team and were losing for much of the game. Pulled it off and won 2-1, thank goodness.

In related news, I think the boys are mad at me for going to a game. But I did get them souvenirs, at least.

Enjoy the giant head in front of me, btw.

01/09/2020

Today I am 45 years old. I like sewing and pizza and sweet tarts. My best friend is Kristina.

It was a good birthday. We worked a lot but also went grocery shopping which is my favorite thing to do in foreign countries. We also ate yummy food. They sang Happy Birthday to me in Portuguese at dinner. It was nice.

01/06/2020

All packed up for my work trip to Lisbon tomorrow. I know, you don’t have to tell me, my job is the worst. Oh yeah, and I’ll be there for my birthday. So rough, I tell ya!

The great road trip of 2019, part 1

I already blogged our road-trip-within-a-road-trip, and now it’s time to post about the rest of it. I’d better start with Part 1: Getting to Virginia.

Kristina flew down Sunday night, and we spent Monday getting ready for the trip. Packing, laundry, making sure we had a plan for our roadside attractions. Oh, and eating delicious meals at Picnic Provisions & Whiskey and Molly’s Rise and Shine. Highly recommend both. Also visiting Terry and taking the boys to Dollar Tree to pick out road trip snacks (I gave them each a $5 budget.)

Monday morning, we hit the road with my new cargo bag on the roof. First stop, the giant catfish in Slidell! (Huge thanks to the website Roadside America for all of our stop ideas.)

A couple saw us pulling off to take a picture with the fish, and thought it was hilarious, so pulled over as well and offered to take a picture for us. Thanks anonymous Slidell couple!

Lots more road trip adventures inside!

We ❀️ NY

I’m blogging this from the back seat of Kiki and Mike’s car as we head back to Virginia. We left New York City a couple of hours ago, and while I’ve been terrible about blogging our trip so far (I mean the one to Virginia) at least I can get this one down now, while it’s still fresh.

We arrived yesterday (Sunday) a bit after noon (it’s about 4 hours from their house and we left bright and early.) Got the car parked and dropped our bags off at the hotel (a Courtyard by Marriott that we got for an absolute steal) and headed out to explore.

We decided to walk to Rockefeller Center since it wasn’t too far away, and one of our ideas was to go to the top.

The east coast was going through a nightmarish heat wave this weekend, so we didn’t want to do anything that involved being outside much. But when you are in a city where you walk everywhere, it’s an impossible goal. But at least we could duck into air conditioning as often as possible.

So far, Linus approves.
In front of Rockefeller Center
At the Top of the Rock
Group selfie!

After we baked on top of a skyscraper, we headed to the Nintendo store.

Oh and we ate pizza before going up, and the boys were not happy that it was square instead of traditional NY pizza. It was delicious though. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Afterwards, we walked around Rockefeller Center a bunch because there was ice cream and air conditioning. And then went back to the hotel so we could check in. We rested for a while in our rooms, then headed back out for “real” pizza and to see Times Square.

Went to John’s Pizza for dinner. Was delicious but hot. Like, my shirt was soaked with sweat. πŸ”₯ But the pizza was fantastic. The boys were thrilled to have “foldable” pizza.

It was getting dark by the time we left, so it was time to see the lights of Times Square in all of their glory. The boys loved it.

My favorite part was the group of Sri Lankan men who asked me to take their photo. And then wanted everyone in the picture. πŸ˜€ They were adorable and pointed out a few times that they were politicians back home. I had to get a picture with my phone as well, of course.

Next, we went back to Rockefeller Center to make use of its facilities and got some dessert for the boys. We were all exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel and I slept like a rock. (I have said “rock” a lot in this post.)

This morning, we woke up and went to stand in line for bagels at Ess-a-Bagel, which was handily right by our hotel. I was nervous about ordering, but I did okay and didn’t get yelled at. The boys loved the bagels (they got butter, I got lox spread.) They were totally worth the wait.

After eating, we walked up to Central Park and we all climbed on rocks. The temperature was much lower today, thank goodness.

Ahhhh!

Our next stop was a cookie dough shop that Oliver had been dying to go to ever since we decided to make this trip. We took the subway down to Chelsea, and when we got there, it was closed! 🀬 Poor kid was heartbroken. There was another cookie dough shop around the corner, but it took a while for him to recover. (As an aside, as fond as I am of sampling cookie dough when I make it, these places where they scoop it out to eat raw – it’s egg-free so safe – make me want to retch and I honestly couldn’t even look at it. But I’m weird.)

The next stop was the one I was most excited about….MOOD!!!!!! You know, the fabric store from Project Runway?

No one else was excited, though. πŸ˜† So I very thoughtfully made my choices as quickly as I could. But I mean there are 3 stories of fabric! I had a list of patterns I want to make dresses with and the amount of fabric I needed, and tried to decide fast. It was actually good for me because otherwise that place would have sent me into a tailspin of indecision. I ended up getting a few yards of cotton voile (a light woven cotton) for a dress:

And then went to search for swim fabrics, because I wasn’t thrilled with what I’d bought at Joann’s. And I hit the jackpot! I found these (the blue is for contrast):

And I love it, but after it was cut out, I saw this, and was all 😍😍😍 so got some of it as well.

Dreamy, right? And the blue will work with it as well.

The people at Mood were so nice, but sadly we did not see Swatch the dog. 😒

This was happy Pam:

It was time to head back to get the car and go back to Virginia to beat a bad storm that was coming. But first, more pizza! The boys wanted to try 99 cent slices, and the cheapskate in me was happy to oblige! They said they liked it best of all. Of course.

We made it back to the car just before the sky opened up, and that is the end of our New York adventure! I’m happy that writing this post has taken up a good part of the journey back to Kiki’s. Woo hoo!

Belgrade, in pictures

Just a few pics from my trip so far…

I mean, sure, we’ve done other stuff than eat, but man the food is good here!