ireland ----> london -----> home {finally}

It's been a long long week, let me tell you. We had a great time away from our kids in Ireland and London but it was harder than I could have ever imagined. I mean, don't get me wrong, I was celebrating every moment I got to sleep in, eat in peace, get dressed up, brush my teeth without rushing, and not have to say "no" to anything, really!  I never worried what time it was - nap time, school time, meal time, etc. - and I didn't even have to COOK while I was there. {Wow} 

All was pretty fantastic and it wasn't really until we turned on the news the morning of the Tsunami in Japan that I started crying and really missing my two babies. It was these images that we were seeing in our hotel room. 

After hours of watching the TV and discussing our options, we decided to just try and enjoy the last few days of our trip despite and amongst all of the chaos, guilt, prayers and sadness. 

What was especially hard for me to see were the images of people running away from falling buildings during the earthquake. A few days before we left for London I had a dream that there was a massive earthquake coming -- you know, the "big one" -- and that it was going to kill off a LOT of our population. I couldn't find my kids anywhere and everybody just started running for their lives away from all the big buildings. I was running and totally far from my kids. I woke up scared and sad and convinced that I couldn't go on our trip! I was so worried {I do a good job at that}. But after a few days I got over my dream/fear and commited myself to getting away for a week on this lovely vacation we'd planned. 

So, you can only imagine the terrible feelings that I was having after seeing that my dream wasn't too far off. All I had wanted was to be back in my house with my kids that very moment. 

Our last few days in Ireland were lovely despite it all. In fact, it was the Japan crisis that made me realize really how lucky we were and so we decided to hit the town and just LIVE our lives - we toured the Jameson Whiskey factory, took tons of pics of the area {parks and streets}, went to the Guiness factory as well, had a HUGE dinner and some drinks with friends and co-workers and then ended the night pretty late. 

I can't even begin to explain to you how amazing Ireland really is. The cliffs {see below} were breath taking. The food was absolutely nothing like I had imagined. I thought for sure I'd find NOTHING to eat and was worried that there was only beer to drink {ha}. But in fact they had healthy, gourmet, super fabulous restaurants. I had Guiness my first day there, and it was how I want to remember it. I only had one and probably won't ever have another. But we went to a few beautiful wine bars as well. Chilean Malbecs were for sure my favorite over there. 

One of my favorite restaurants in Dublin, which is where we threw a huge dinner, was called Rustic Stone. There was everything from steak and fish {that you sear on a hot stone at the table} to hummus, roasted cauliflower, green superfood salads, and even tons of vegan and gluten free dishes. In fact, each dish has symbols showing you which dish is what. Their deserts used agave nectar as well. {didn't try any, darn}

Then, the next day, we were off to London for the last and final day of our wonderful time away!------>

Here, we just RELAXED! And enjoyed our hotel {Morgan's Hotel Group is the BEST by the way} and had tasty and healthy Japanese food that night. This Japanese place, called Roka, had these really fun drinks on the menu made with Japanese liquor that reminded me of sake. The drinks had crazy fun flavors that included ylang ylang, lychee juice, lemon jasmine, elderflower, orange bitters, fresh ginger, lime, cucumber, almond and more. The liquor was really mild so you could drink a few and not feel 'drunk' ;)

London was SO hip and gourmet that even McDonalds looked like a place you might want to grab a drink. {seriously} There were healthy options on every corner. Hippy juice bars, trendy modern frozen yogurt and cupcake shops. The list went on and on. I wanted to snap a photo every 10 steps. 

Even the cabs are cool. 

As hard as it was to leave London, it was finally time to say goodbye to what was a perfect trip, really. I was officially DONE! READY! HAPPY TO COME HOME!

All we had left was one really long travel day ahead ---->

It wasn't a bad flight home, let me tell you {you wouldn't believe the Virgin air beds, the airport lounge's food, there was even a full BAR on the plane} ;) but I couldn't wait to see my boys and have them in my arms again. I had never been MORE ready to see their smiling faces and the little laughs they make at the simplest stuff. I was ready for the tantrums. The Terrible Twos. The boogers. The diapers. The potty training. The fighting, time-outs, lack of sleep, meal time, bath time, mornings at the park! THOMAS THE TRAIN?

We were home! And oh SO happy to be here. Nothing, not even Ireland or London's finest places, could even COMPARE to coming home to your kids. The anticipation was crazy and the moment we arrived I felt like I let out a huge sigh! 

"We made it!" {despite a few scrapes, some terrible food, lots of TV, our boys were just FINE}

Another perk: my sister was in town visiting from Oregon with her new baby - my niece, Finley! She is beautiful!

And a BIG HUGE thank you to Wes {my man} and of course Vector / Cutco for making this trip happen {as you do every year}!