Acadia, Maine— Echo Lake

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I think my favorite day of the entire trip was our time spent at Echo Lake. It was a warm, sunny day, the sun was shining and we had the most beautiful setting for our swimming day at the lake. A huge lake surrounds by rocky mountains, soaring birds, nesting loons, and peace. Surprisingly it was not very busy and the swimming conditions were just right for our little ones. Flora had the greatest time hanging out with her cousin (and idol) Elin. They splashed around in the water together all afternoon. My cousin Tish came were her two year old son and it was the perfect time for us to catch up.

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All the little cousins got to play together. Thibault loved playing in the sand, but also exploring the water with us. There was a raft of nesting loons roped off near the swimming area. I couldn’t believe. It was like seeing a rare species up close! The Mama and Papa protecting the little raft and nest the National Park created for them. It was truly an amazing thing to see.

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The day ended with dinner at Jordan Pond. Popovers were a must, of course. And for the grand finale— wild blueberry crisp with Jordan Pond vanilla ice cream. Definitely the best tasting thing I ate on this entire vacation! Maine blueberries have such a unique taste. I savored every second of that dessert. Delicious!

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Family Travel: Cliffs of Moher & Tin Whistles in Doolin

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More “luck of the Irish” at the Cliffs of Moher! Blue skies and sunshine. It was an Irish miracle. Our day at the Cliffs of Moher was powerful. To quote my father, “I’m having a Grand Canyon experience.” My father was praising Jesus a lot that day and how can you not. Look at these views. Pop took a long hike along the cliffs and I’m happy he got to experience it alone. He said it was a spiritual experience and I think that statement makes this whole trip worth while.

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The stars aligned for us that day. The weather was perfect, the kids were happy, and we spent most of our day admiring the natural beauty of Ireland. I’m so happy we got there early in the morning because by mid-afternoon the place was very crowded.

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I love this photo. It appears that we’re hanging off this cliff, but we were safe behind the large barriers they have put up. And below are some shots of Thibault experiencing the Cliffs. He loved the hike and he walked quite far. We had a break near the tower and he just started rolling around on the steps giggling at himself with the sun beating down. It was so cute.

It seems that a trip to Doolin and a visit to the Cliffs go together. We stopped at Gus O’Connor’s Pub in Doolin for some beer and tin whistle playing. We bought some Irish tin whistles and it kept us entertained all day. Here’s Jaap entertaining us with some “Irish” tunes.

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How beautiful is this?

 

As if the day couldn’t get any better, the evening ended for Jaap and I (and Pop) with a traditional Irish music session at Linnanes Pub back in Kilfenora. The music festival was still going on and I can’t thank my mother enough for staying home to babysit while we ate apple pie, drank some Guinness, and listened to some traditional music. It was a memorable experience!

Couch to 5K

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I have decided to run a 5K this spring and I have started my Couch to 5K training. I had such a great training run on Monday night. I really was not in the mood to hit the trail after the kids had fallen asleep, but I’m happy Jaap gave me that little nudge. It was such a beautiful evening.

I feel grateful that we live so close to nature and these scenes are right at the end of our street. We are very fortunate. Spring has finally arrived and it felt so good to be outside exercising. I completely understand why Jaap does this every weekend. It’s also very liberating to know that I am done having babies, done being pregnant, and will eventually be done with the breastfeeding phase of my life. It’s time to take ownership of my physical body again. Yesterday I biked to work and all the way back up that long hill and it felt great. I was actually enjoying it at one point. Sunny weather also added to that mood, but even still. It’s time to get more physically active!

Family Day Trip to the Eifel

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Yesterday was the perfect winter day. We traveled to the Eifel National Park for a day trip in nature. It was picturesque. Walking in the woods, snow covered trail, building tiny snowmen, throwing snowballs, and breathing in the fresh winter air. It was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Thibault and Flora loved walking around in the snow. Little T is such an active little boy. I’m sure he wishes he could run and jump around all day, but it’s still so little and he can barely move in all of his snow gear! But, he still got to walk a decent portion of the trail.

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It’s strange that we have lived near Maastricht for seven years and this was our first time exploring nature in the Eifel. It’s so close. In just a little over an hour, we were in a totally different landscape. Snow was an added bonus. We didn’t expect that when we left our home, so that was a nice surprise.

This family day trip was much needed following another Carnival season. Carnival is very hard for me with two small children. I used to love Carnival in Maastricht, but things change drastically when you add a child or two to the mix. Getting out of the daily routine was a refreshing break this week.

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Our trip ended with some coffee and cake in Monschau. One of the cutest German town’s I’ve ever been to. What a fab day!