Day Four Camino de Santiago

Monday, April 21, 2014 Ponte de Lima

arrow in the sceneryI am in the albergue in Ponte de Lima. This is the most incredible location, a room with this view would be considered a luxury. There are 40 beds in this room with about 33 albergue bedsoccupants. The  woman we met yesterday from Holland is here, she is very nice. We met a lot of people in our albergue and it was wonderful having dinner on the patio in the city and saying hello to our “friends” as they walked by. This morning I woke in our beautiful hotel room after having the best night’s sleep I have had since last Monday. We leisurely got ready and had an amazing breakfast buffet served by our hosts. We asked José where the pharmacy was so that we could get ibuprofen and after breakfast he drove us to the farmácia and dropped us off at the Camino. I have learned so much from José and Christina and I pray that I don’t forget their lessons.

view from our albergue 2 view from our albergue

Sadly, one of the lessons learned from them is the beauty of living like you, or your loved one is dying. José has a problem with his lungs, which has moved to his brain, it sounds like cancer, and he expects to live only a few more months. He is expecting his first grandchild in one week. José sees the beauty in life , his wife, his family, and his home. It makes me wonder how I would live and be if Paul or I were dying, which we all are in a sense. Their anniversary is April 23rd, just three days after us (but 24 more years).

path moss covered wall

The firework continued all day again and I can hear barking dogs. We walked a little over 10 miles. I am so glad that we split the 20 miles in half, for a million reasons. My left beauty of the wayknee is quite sore as is Paul’s left ankle, this albergue has no pillows or blankets, so we will make do without. I miss the intimacy that is absent when you are n your own bed and/ or sleeping bag. Again, our bed last night was a gift. Forests and more vineyards made up most of the day’s walking. We heard the song “Sunny” playing from someone’s garage and saw a frenchie today, I miss my baby girl. The church bells just chimed 10pm and someone turned off the lights. Bed time. Good thing my kindle lights up. My wish/ prayer for this trip is to strengthen the bond between Paul and I, to come home a better version of myself, and that God’s will will be done regarding children for us. Is it possible we conceived last night?, we’ll see…

Buen Camino.

Looking at my journal and laughing as after the lights had gone out, I was no longer writing in the lines. I can’t believe I didn’t write more about that breakfast we had. It was the best breakfast buffet I have ever had, or seen. José and Christina had asked us the day ponte de lima bridgebefore if we could wait until 9 am for breakfast, they were worried that we’d want to get back on the Camino early and it takes them 8 hours to prepare the breakfast. But they said that if it was too late, they’d get up even earlier. I am telling you I have never experienced hospitality and kindness to strangers like we did in Portugal. It was unbelievable. A trait that I very much wanted to take home with us. We had a tearful goodbye with José and Christina. We told each other that we would always hold each other in our hearts and I have every intention to. One of the more magical moments of the Camino was when José dropped us off and he asked me to give word to St. James for him. I felt honored to be the bearer of this powerful request.

patio dining ponte de lima 2

Ponte de Lima was my favorite city. It is a place that I would love to live. It has a main city street right on the river with an ancient bridge. Cafés and restaurants lined the street and people walked everywhere. I long to live in a city where people walk everywhere. We also saw people walking their dogs which was nice, because up to this point and throughout most of Portugal, we only saw barking dogs used as watch dogs and they were chained up and did not seem happy. This city was beautiful and the buildings and their windows were trimmed with lights which made the night seem grand.

bridge lit up ponte de lima at night

A fun little side story from this night was that there was a German woman (who we later referred to as  the crazy German lady) who was doing the Camino with her 14 year old grandson. When we met them in the albergue, she was in panic mode as her grandson lost quick resthis passport. She believed it was left in the previous town the day before. I can’t imagine loosing my passport while traveling abroad. While we were eating dinner later that evening, the German woman and her grandson walked by and said hi. She told us, that someone from the previous town had found his passport and driven it to Ponte de Lima, assuming that this was their next stop and they had somehow found them and returned the passport!! This is the kindness that we saw everywhere.

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Day Three Camino de Santiago

Aka Our one year wedding anniversary aka Easter!love you arrow

This moment is so magical, I am almost in tears. We are at the most incredible hotel with the best host ever, who told us that for today, this is our home, and I wish it was. We are at the Casas do Rio, a sprawling landscape of heaven. Green everywhere, it has beautiful trees, it is on a lake, there is a fountain, pool, jacuzzi, swans, a duck pond, chicken area, and a game house with billiards, a beautiful chess table, darts, and foosball. As I am writing we hear church choir music filling the whole valley. This is like nothing else. Our hosts José and Cristina are about to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. When we asked for marriage advice, José (pronounces zho-zay) said that there will be troubles, but we should use our troubles as ways to grow closer. Our room is awesome, it has a fire place, orange canopy and a really nice bathroom. The rug by the couch felt like a cloud under back packinmy sore feet. We talked to José after walking around a bit and he shared their story. He was teaching at the university and worked for a company and he wanted to find a place that touched a river. They found this place, which was really worn down, and have fixed it up over a nine year period. The original Camino route passed right through the property as did a Roman route to an important Portuguese city. Back to their story, the quit their lives and followed this dream. He described it as doing something without knowing why you are doing it, so beautiful! José told us he was once told that there are three parts to our brains; instinct/ fear, pleasure, and affection/ happiness, and that affection and happiness suffer when the focus is on pleasure. Cristina told Paul that we have to come back for our 25 year anniversary. I say “yes, let’s do it”.

hotel beauty amazing breakfast

Our walking journey today: We were hungry when we left the albergue and wanted real breakfast (no more cafés). While asking someone where we can find a ristoranté and gesturing ‘food’ , a man drove up and asked if we wanted “comida” and he drove us to a place to eat. It was cool, but only had café and pastries. I wanted eggs so bad, but oh well. We started our Camino and Paul read from our guidebook, “Ask, and ye shall receive, seek, and ye shall find”. We walked through a pretty vineyard and the things I asked for in my mind were received. There was a café at the perfect moment. After leaving the café, we saw a fellow pilgrim we had met the night before (we think his name was Andreas). We walked with him for a bit and a pilgrim lady from Holland joined us. She dropped off soon, but we walked with Andreas (who is from Austria) until we had to veer off to get to our beautiful hotel. While walking I was in pain. My collar bones and feet hurt from the weight of my pack ad I have blisters on the pads of my two smallest toes on both feet. As I am writing now, we just got back from dinner (where someone who works there drove to pick us up and drop us off). Looking forward to a bath and a good night’s sleep. As we walked past many homes, including our hotel, we saw that a lot of people put flower petals leading up to their door. I imagine this  is for Easter, but want to research this further. Bath time.

Buen Camino!

flower petals to doorstep our dear friend Jose

There is no way I can ever put into words the magic of this day. We heard fireworks all day long, from morning until night. Paul said it was for our anniversary, but Easter may have had something to do with it. While we walked we heard people ringing bells and saw what looked like a priest with a small entourage walking through the towns. Apparently, the

Cheers to one year! In my homemade anniversary top.

Cheers to one year! In my homemade anniversary top.

flower petals leading up to the doors is an invitation for them to stop by and bless your home. So cool. I want to decorate the path to our door next Easter, I imagine the neighbors may think this is strange. At the hotel were other guests, who were dressed like they’d be staying in a nice hotel. I felt so dirty and scrubby in comparison as I only had the clothes I had been wearing on the Camino. I wanted to look nice for our anniversary dinner, but had limited options, so I started playing with the scarf I had brought and, with Paul’s help, managed to twist it into a one shouldered top which I wore with my black leggings. It was small, it helped make me feel like I was “dressed up” for a moment.

This is the coolest one year anniversary I can ever imagine.

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Day Two Camino de Santiago

laundry drying off my packI’m already forgetting to write down details. Paul just reminded me that I was going to write about a cool cemetery we saw yesterday. Last night we ate at the café near our albergue and met a nice woman called Carolina (as I write I am getting a flood of memories I want to capture, if only I could write so fast!) Carolina was born in Zimbabwe, lived in South Africa, now in Vilahreno for a long time. We both had spaghetti (bolognese and carbonara) and there was no sauce on it. We decided that if we were still around when the café opened at 8am, we’d have breakfast there.  That was not the case… I woke up at one point and Paul was wide awake. I asked him what time it was, 3:40 am. The dogs in the back yard barked all night. Even with ear plugs we could hear them. I tried, for a while, to go back to sleep, but ultimately decided to get up. We did some yoga, packed our things and started walking at 5:30 am. This was an adventure… it was still dark (with street lights) and as the sun rose we were walking in the forest and over an ancient bridge (the bridge was before he sunrise).  We thought we’d finish early in the day with such a head start, but we were wrong. At one beautiful scenery day 2 Typical mealpoint we noticed we hadn’t seen arrows in a while and stopped to consult our map. A friendly Portuguese  biker (who spoke French) tried to help us as did a woman (who also spoke Portuguese and French) who had stopped her car. They told us to head down a certain road and the woman offered to drive us 5 minutes to get us back on track (which I declined because ‘our’ Camino is a travel by foot- whether you are lost or not). As we walked down that road, we saw a yellow X indicating the wrong way, but which also meant there would be arrows nearby :). So, we found arrows and started following them, but after a while, we noticed that we were traveling northwest, when we wanted to be going northeast. Paul figured out that we had somehow gotten on the coastal route of the Camino Portuguese- Which isn’t “wrong” really, it is ‘our’ Camino and we were exactly where we were meant to be. We met a man who spoke English in his front yard who confirmed that we were near the coast. We had a decision to make… We were on route to Santiago, but how much longer would the coastal route take, would we be able to get back on track, what about our hotel reservations for tomorrow (I can’t wait for that)? We chose to walk our own path down a road that we knew would get us to the city Day 2 meal after being lostwe were supposed to end today at and get back on track. (“We chose” = I trusted Paul’s judgement even though I wanted to stay with my beloved arrows). It was a long grueling walk back eastward (we had the north part down), but eventually we got to town and saw little yellow arrows again! Barcelos is adorable and has a cool shopping street. It looks like it will light up at night, but I don’t know if we have it in us to venture back out. We are at our second albergue and it is similar to what I imagined (no more double bed and a room to ourselves). We had the choice of bunk beds in separate rooms, or cots next to each other in the main front room where people sign in. We chose the latter which means we let people in when they ring the bell. We walked more miles than planned today, but exactly as many as we were meant to. Very exhausted and very sore and blistered :(. I am looking forward to Easter tomorrow, our anniversary, and being able to eat sweets after giving them up for Lent. I hope we sleep well tonight and have a good journey to our hotel tomorrow. Oh yeah, as we were looking for our albergue, there was a lady who has a ceramic shop who was excited to see us and said that she’d stamp our credentials. There were a couple of people in the shop who spoke English and seemed excited that we were pilgrims. On our way out, Paul went back to give the woman one of his kindness cards and she hugged him and kissed him on the cheek, then she gave him a little ceramic thing with a man, woman and child on it. Did I get an answer on the Camino? Is that me, Paul, and Future Harwood…

Buen Camino

Tulips and bike

day 2 again

We walked down the city street tonight and it was not lit up. I assume the lights are hung for the big rooster festival that starts next weekend. There was a neat little carnival though and we walked around for a bit and Paul got a strawberry filled churro.

our room day 2

What a day this was. The day we got lost. In our frustration at being lost and determination to bet back to the path, we walked harder and faster than we should have. We would pay for this later. I still wouldn’t trade what we did for anything. While we were off the path trying t get back on, we ate lunch at a place called ‘La Bomba’ and it had a logo with a bomb on it. The waiter spoke some English, not much. I ended up ordering some type of meat platter and then being afraid to eat most of it. There was an egg on it, which I trusted, but the description mentioned lingua which made me thing of linguistics and then I was convinced that it was tongue, so I hid it under something else on my plate. Paul asked for salt and was given three different sauces instead, oh well. The waiter seemed impressed that we were going to walk to the next town. It is impressive, I suppose. My Story of the roosterpack was still heavy and it was killing my collar bone, but there was no choice but to carry on. The albergue was where we first saw other pilgrims. We slept in the lobby which was spacious, but had no privacy and there was an emergency light that stayed on all night. To get back in the albergue after leaving, you would ring the bell or get the key from the bar next door. I can vividly picture this place in my mind, but can’t seem to put it into words. Many details from the day were lost by the time I sat down to write at not, or I just didn’t have the energy to write everything down. Looking back at my journal entry made me laugh, the things that mattered to me at the time. It is fun being able to peek into my mindset when I didn’t know what lay ahead yet.

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Day One Camino de Santiago

April 18, 2014

We did it! 16.1 miles from Porto to Vilarinho. We got to hear the choir sing before the Found the first waymarkerservice started at Sé Cathedral. We said our prayers there and started our Camino. I was so excited when a bicyclist shouted “Bom Camino”, it was our first one.  Several people wished us a “bon viaje’ which is very nice. At the café where we had breakfast, Paul ordered us a lunch to bring on our trip (ham and cheese sandwiches). Many hours and miles later we ate them in a field by the side of the road. As we approached Vilarinho, the road was scary. It had no shoulders or sidewalk and the cars went so fast. We are now at the first Camino albergue- Casa de Laura. It is nice, we are the only pilgrims here and we got our very own room with a double bed (and ants). Resting for a bit, then we’ll find dinner and call it a night.

Buen Camino

P lunch on side of road day 1street view day 1

Ha! Ham and cheese, little did we know… The café where we had breakfast was cool, we saw a man sip and espresso and smoke a cigarette for what felt like a half an hour. This was our first taste of how much espresso was a part of life in Portugal and Spain. I remember how excited I felt walking along the Camino. This day was mostly leaving Porto so we walked through city streets. I had given up sweets for Lent and enviously stared in the windows of the pastry shops. I knew from watching the movie The Way and the documentary about the Camino that people would say “Buen Camino” and I was so happy to hear it for the first time. There wasn’t much to the town we stayed in that night, the restaurant that we had dinner at was right next to our albergue. The hosts of the albergue lived in the main house which was separate from the quarters from the pilgrims. They had a nice patio and a place to wash laundry in a sink, which Paul and I did. There were lounge chairs in the grass to relax at. There was a book to sign in and we received our first stamps in our pilgrims passports. While we were out at dinner, the hosts had set out a bowl with muffins and some house wine. The muffins were crawling with ants, but it was a nice thought, our first taste of the hospitality we were about to experience. They didn’t speak English, so they did not interact with us much at all. It felt a bit isolating, but I imagined that we wouldn’t have many other nights alone, so I enjoyed it. I wrote about the rest of that night in my day 2 post, so you’ll hear about it soon.

vineyardhandsome husband walking on the wall

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And Away We Go…

I am excited to share a small piece of the magic that was the Camino Portuguese. I’ll share my journal entry and then any additional reflections that I have about that day. I hope you enjoy it.

Harwoods by the Porto river

Thursday, April 17, 2014

On a plane from Lisbon to Porto. Very tired. We left Phoenix yesterday around noon, flew 4 1/2 hours to Philadelphia, 8 hours to Lisbon, and are now on a 40 minute flight to Porto, where we will start the Camino de Santiago. We are doing this pilgrimage as our one year anniversary/ honeymoon. I have tried to avoid researching and learning too much so that this journey will feel new and surprising. 

My pack feels heavy already and we’ve only walked through airports! I am confident (hopeful really) that the proper adjustments will make my pack more comfortable. If I could go back in time, I would have learned some basic Portuguese and more Spanish (or at least written down some useful phrases). When we land, we will be looking for a shuttle bus to Porto’s city center, we will take a regular bus if we can’t find one. Once we get there, the plan is to eat and find our hostel. I am tempted to sleep right away, but am going to try to stay up until nighttime to help adjust to the time here. I am very excited to be on this journey with Paul and hope to return home as a better version of my self.

Porto

Post from that evening…

Porto is awesome! I feel like we explored the whole city today! The teenager working the hostel desk pointed out a few points of interest, including the bookstore from Harry Potter!! Of course we went (they don’t allow photos inside) and it totally looked like it does in the movie. Who knew those scenes were filmed in Porto. There are beautiful old buildings and the city is romantic. There are a lot of lovers publicly displaying their affection. We fit right in :). Not everyone speaks English, which was expected, and we ordered our lunch by means of animated pointing. We did learn to say “thank you” in Portuguese – Obrigada (for girls) Obrigado (for boys). We walked so much this afternoon (as if the upcoming 150 miles isn’t enough). We ended up taking the light rail (metro) from the airport and walking to the hostel. We’ve managed to stay awake (Paul is “resting” with his eyes closed now) so far. We are hanging out in our room and will probably venture out for dinner and to get water. Oh yeah, in our adventures today we made it Sé Cathedral where the Camino Portugués begins (if starting in Porto). We got to see the first few way markers which was so exciting. We have a huge journey ahead of us, it isn’t going to be easy, but I pray it is going to be a lot of fun. By the way, you can see Sé  Cathedral from our room window.

Buen Camino!

Paul wanted to bring something to share with people we met along the Camino de Santiago. We brought some earplugs, which are very important when sleeping an a room with a bunch of snoring strangers. Paul also wanted to have something to think of his mom who had passed away a few months before we left. When Paul’s mom passed, a dear friend had given us a jar that was filled with 30 small envelopes that each contained a quote or positive message. Paul felt it in his heart that he was meant to bring these alongOur first hostel to share as well. We did not know what each card was going to say, but the right message got to the right people and the experiences were amazing.

We made our first friend on our journey on the plane. His name is Juan and he is from Cancun. Juan was the first recipient of one of these cards and he was nearly brought to tears.

Reading what I wrote in my post from the plane, I can tell that I was tired and hungry and making an effort to stay positive in my journaling despite how I felt, which was fine and excited, but also exhausted.

Porto street market 2Porto was a beautiful. It is located right next to a river and it is the kind of city I dream of living in where you can walk everywhere. Little old buildings crammed together and painted a rainbow of colors. Everyone hung their laundry outside.  There was a touristy spot by the rivers edge where there was a market out on the street. We ended up eating dinner on a patio at a nearby restaurant. It was fun to people watch and we saw a group of people doing a sort of double high-five which I now insist on doing with Paul and will no longer accept a plain old single high five from him.  In retrospect, we probably shouldn’t have walked so much this day if we had any idea of what lay ahead. This was our first hostel, ever for both of us. It was a private hostel and we did not yet know the difference. We had our own room and bathroom, which we didn’t expect to have again, with the exception of our anniversary night. We were so afraid of bed bugs that we slept in our sleeping bags, which was probably unnecessary at this place. Our room was on the fifth floor which it was good this was before we started, I don’t know that we’d be able to walk up 5 flights of stairs any other day of our journey.

It is interesting the things that stuck out to me that seemed worthy of writing in the evenings.

 

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Hold On, I am Still Alive

I wanted to jump in with so many stories and things to share, but when I chose this title for the blog post I decided that I’d jump around in time and start there, the best birthday of my life so far.

Christina Perri concertPenguine selfie

I happen to have the best sister ever. I could, and should dedicate an entire post to this fact someday. For my 33rd birthday, my sister got tickets for us to see Christina Perri in concert on the eve of my birthday. Pretty amazing, right? But, that’s not all, she got us super special tickets that included early entry to the show, and autographed poster, and VIP meet and greet access. Told you, best sister ever.

If you aren’t a fan of Christina Perri‘s music, then there is probably something wrong with you and you should stop reading and get help.

Christina Perri microphone

We were that close!

Early access allowed my friend and I to be in the second row of people standing at the foot of the stage. I am a chicken about pushing through crowds and didn’t know if the rest would be able to get that close and join us, but I have charming and amazing friends that were able to get right up there and start chatting with the people they just stood in front of like pros. The show was absolutely amazing Birdy was the opener and Christina’s talent blew our minds. It was great to hear the old songs that I new and loved and I fell in love with the new stuff.

There was a moment in the concert where she had us break into three sections and each sing a part to the song I Believe. One section sang, “This  is not the end of me, this is the beginning”, our section sang, “Hold on”, and the last section sang, “I am still alive”. Hearing the room sing this song was incredible, the band got quieter and eventually stopped playing while the crowd continued to sing as the band slowly walked off the stage and our voices rang out. It was such a beautiful experience that the memory of it makes me tear up.

I have amazing friends, who are beautiful, but it is their beauty inside that makes me incredibly blessed. These are the friends that truly know me, truly care, and that I can always count on. A work obligation prevented my sister from attending the concert and she generously gave up her ticket to anyone I’d have fun with. Which ended up in the hands of a friend of mine who’s special bad day happened to be that day.

I met Christina Perri

She has a tattoo of a French Bulldog on her left arm. So cool!

Oh yeah, I met Christina Perri!!! While waiting in line for my chance to get an autograph and meet Christina, I tried to think of something clever to say. (I really didn’t want to say something cheesy like I imagine most of the teenage girls would). It hit me right before my turn. I decided to tell her that her cover of Roy Orbison’s crying was my favorite thing ever, which is a slight exaggeration because we all know Paul and Sunny hold the top two positions for that. She lit up, and told me a story about the time she got to sing it in front of the  man who produced that song. I nailed it, I didn’t get a quick “Thank you” I got a story.

We ended the night with a trip to In-n-Out, I was a happy lady. On my birthday, we went to Daily Dose in Old Town Scottsdale, my favorite place for breakfast, stopped by a tattoo shop (love tattoos), went to a movie, picked up a gift card that I won on the radio the day before (more to com on this later), and had dinner at Cibo (my special occasion restaurant of choice at the moment) with my family.

Best birthday ever!

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A Look Back at 2013…

My husband said it best when he said that this year was a year of big gains and big losses. I mean huge gains and losses. Over all it was amazing and I am grateful to have lived it and spent it which such incredible people.

Proposal

I make fists when I am really excited!

So the year started with the best day of my life, my husband’s 35th birthday. At his birthday dinner he asked me to be his wife. I’m sure some people may say that our wedding day should be even better, but not for me. Knowing that this incredible man wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and be married was the greatest moment of my life.

In 2013 we also found a church that we absolutely adore and had many adventures. I ran both Ragnar Del Sol (a 200 mile relay race) and the Ragnar Trail Run. We say Alex Clare, who I’m slightly obsessed with, in concert. And as if my ass wasn’t lucky enough, I won tickets to see my all time favorite musician in the world…. Prince! -The man puts on an amazing show. We went to Vegas a couple times to celebrate with friends entering their 30’s and friends getting married. On one of these trips we walked away with matching tattoos!

Wedding pic 1

We got married and had a reception both here in Arizona and in my husbands hometown in Wisconsin. I hadn’t met most of his family until the wedding and so my family has grown.. a lot.

We lost my husbands mom this year, which was completely unexpected and a big loss for our family. I am so fortunate to have had the chance to meet this incredible woman. The timing of things is always fascinating and leaves me know doubt that we all have a purpose and that I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment. We are so glad that we had her at the wedding and she could see us so happy and let her in on what are plans for the future were (hint: baby).

My husband started his own business this year and is now officially the best handyman and pool service man that ever existed. I ended the year with a promotion at work. This year has been crazy and sad and amazing. Life does what it does and we can just hope to be present in the moment, dream of bright futures and hang on for the ride.

Sunny Unicorn

Let’s see what 2014 brings…

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Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself…

In case you are wondering “Who is this chick? And why should I read her blog”, I’m happy to fill you in. I am 32 years old and currently live in Phoenix, Arizona. I am married to an amazing man, P, and we live with our Frenchie, Sunny, and cat, Thomas. I currently work full time, outside of the home, for a financial institution, but my purpose for working is to pay the bills so that I can live the life I love. I am a life driven person way more than a career driven one.

 me (2)

I have a desire to live in the moment, but often fail to do so as I am always thinking about the future (and what I’m going to eat next- I know). In thinking about the future though, I get so excited! When I want something or am on a kick, I can put all my energy into it. When I get into something, I get a mini obsession with it (hello, pre-baby planning). This can make me a little impatient at times, I don’t like waiting on people or for things when I’m on a mission or super excited about something.  I get inspired by things I see on TV and movies a lot and often think I’m going to start a new career or hobby because something looked cool. I truly believe that I can do absolutely anything I set my mind to. I wear my heart on my sleeve and have a horrible poker face.

Likes…

Love – Love of life, people, and passions. The pursuit and maintenance of happiness is also very important to me.
Disneyland – My absolute favorite place in the world!!!!! I skip around with a goofy grin on my face like a kid.
French things – I am a Francophile. I love French people, French Bulldogs,  French culture, French landscape, the French language, croissants…
Music- I love music. Prince is my absolute favorite, I am currently digging Alex Clare a lot too.
Food- Candy is my favorite food right now (I’m working on changing that to prepare for future baby). I also love sushi and strawberries (not at the same time though, because eww)
Games – I love playing games and having game nights. I also like playing Texas Hold ‘Em
 

Dislikes…

Food- Pizza meats and breakfast meats, also butterscotch
Mean people- no comment needed there
“No” – I don’t like being told no. Usually because I don’t ask for something unless it really matters to me.
 

Fun Facts… go devilsI call these fun facts, because unless you knew me extremely well, you’d probably never guess. I am quiet and not initially outgoing, but once I am comfortable, watch out!

I used to be a Showgirl. I am a dancer and was lucky enough to get a change to do so professionally in Las Vegas. I was a background dancer in an Impersonator show and a variety show and spend a few years as a dancer/ magician’s assistant. My illusion was getting cut into nine pieces!

I tried out for professional Women’s tackle football. Like I said, I get inspired by stuff a lot and I was at a college football game and thought that I should be down there playing because it looked so cool. I stuck out like a sore thumb at this football tryout and made it to a couple of practices before I decided it wasn’t for me. Plus, I wanted to tackle people and the coach took one look at me and said “receiver”.

I skated with the Roller Derby for a while. I watched a movie about roller derby and decided I had to try it. I skated with them for about six practices, but wasn’t very good or extremely comfortable with the speed at which we were going, so when it came time to be drafted for a team, I stopped going, plus I never really clicked with the girls. (I guess you shouldn’t assume that roller derby girls would be especially warm and welcoming)

I have trouble turning down challenges and dares and feel compelled to prove people wrong when they say I can’t do something.

 us (2)

Right Now…

I am a girl who is happy about life and excited for her future. I feel incredibly blessed. My current mini-obsession is (you guessed it)planning for our future baby. I have a hard time concentrating on anything but that subject. I am loving the research and daydreaming about what life and future baby will be like. As much fun as that is, I also want to enjoy this very moment, where I am writing and indulging my passion and enjoying life just as it is.

{Note: If the title made you get a Rolling Stones song stuck in your head, then I think you are cool and we should be friends}

 

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Well I’ve Never Been Spain…

When P. and I got engaged, I did all the things most women seem to do at this time and started brainstorming and planning like crazy (wedding post forthcoming). One of the big decisions to be made was where we would go for a honeymoon…

A while back P. and I went to see The Way. Brief summary: It is about a man who completes a pilrimage in his son’s honor. It was life changing. We were both really moved by the movie and inspired to do something like this one day. The pilgrimage featured in the movie is The Camino de Santiago de Compostella. It is the pilgrimage route to a cathedral in Spain where the remains of the apostle St James are buried. The most popular route for this pilgrimage starts in France and ends at the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

plumbs spain

Photo courtesy of J and N

P is super outdoorsy, I prefer a few more comforts and luxuries. I knew that a fancy European honeymoon was not going to be an option. I also wanted to do something unique, so… what if I combined our styles with a backpacking trip in Europe. Tah Dah!!!! We’ll do the Camino de Santiago!

Photo Credit: my sister and brother-in-law

P was down for the plan and I couldn’t have thought of a better idea. What a great way for newlyweds to bond and really go through something epic together than to walk to a cathedral in Spain for a few weeks. What a great metaphor for the journey of marriage itself, go through the ups and downs, good times and bad, and accomplish something amazing in the end. It wasn’t in our budget to go on a honeymoon right away, so we are planning a one-year anniversary/ honeymoon trip.

Noah Spain

Photo courtesy of my sister, J

After doing some research, I found that the most popular Camino route starts in France (sigh, I love French things) and takes about 5 1/2 weeks to complete. At first I was on board, but then reality set in and it is very unlikely that we’d be able to get that much time off and afford to be away that long, plus, to be honest, I had no clue who could watch Sunny, our French Bulldog (see, I love French things) for that long. So, after more research, I found another route from Portugal, the Camino Portugués!!! This route starts in Porto, Portugal and takes about 1 1/2 weeks, much better :).

I am a city girl and not a backpacker by any means. P, got me, my first official big girl backpack for my birthday, isn’t it awesome! I have a lot more planning to do and thingsbackpack to purchase for this trip. I took out the backpack for a two night camping trip (oh the things we do for love) and I can tell you so far, that 1. I love it, and 2. I need better packing skills, I ran out of room fast and that was only for two nights.

I absolutely cannot wait for this trip, plus, it is our one big out of the country trip that we will take before trying to make a baby (I would love to conceive during our trip). I’ll keep you posted on the trip planning, and post a lot of pictures and journal stories from our trip. 8 1/2 months to go! Buen Camino!!

{Note: If the title made you think of the Three Dog Night song, then I think you are cool and we should be friends}

Where did you honeymoon, and how great was it?

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Baby Hopes…

Above all else, I hope our baby is Happy.  I dream that our child will know that they are loved unconditionally. I want to firmly ingrain in them the belief that they can do absolutely anything that they set their mind to, because I believe that with all of my heart. Of course I want them to be healthy as well.

Baby bunny

Nephew

I hope that my child will be vulnerable and open. I hope that they feel accepted, secure, confident, loved, and encouraged. I can’t wait to teach our baby our family’s outlook on the world and to show them how beautiful it is. I hope that they experience pure joy, the kind that comes from your belly.

I want to be a parent that is kind and understanding. I want to encourage my child to try a million new things until they discover their passions. I want to be a good example for my children. They will develop their understanding of what women, mothers, and wives do based on my actions. I want them to know that women are strong and can do anything, that mothers are loving, supportive, and nurturing, and that wives are kind and loving towards their husbands. I want to demonstrate a good healthy marriage so they know what to look for when finding their own loves. I hope this will be an adventure for my husband and I to navigate through together and that it will strengthen our bond.

boys

Adorable nephews

I can’t wait to see our child smile, and hear them laugh, to see my husband, P, hold our baby and for Sunny to give our baby a sloppy kiss.

 

I read about sleepless nights, cracked nipples, crying babies, and huge responsibilities, and a warm smile grows from inside of me. In a crazy way, I look forward to it all because this feels right to me and I believe it will be so worth it

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