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17 February 2014

Holidays in Connecticut

Okay I'm almost caught up on posts. These snow/sick days definitely give me time to sort pictures and catch up. Rather than write a long post, I'm just going to do a pictures highlights of our time in Connecticut from Thanksgiving to Christmas. We had a great time with family and friends!

Fall and Thanksgiving
Second Thanksgiving
Cranberry Orange glazed turkey, on the Turkey plate!

New Hampshire Getaway
Missing Moose Farm

Owen and Matt hike Mt Washington round 2

They made summit!!
Spent my day hanging out at the farm with Tom
Went for a drive around town to see the mountains
~27 years later :)
My mom, Wis and Tom around my 1st bday
Early Christmas Present from Brunettis, starting our Willow Tree Nativity :)
Lunch with Sarah Bouckoms

CamTu and Thao (AUC friends) visit for the weekend! 
They even got a proper New England snow storm and we played in the snow like little kids

First snow ball fights
First time building a snowman

Homemade pizza and cookies - later the table was covered in fruit and sutures, oh medical school life
Christmas party at my Great Aunt's nursing home  

Early Christmas present for Owen & Jared
a build it yourself muzzle loader pistol (pics when finished)
Wrapping wars continue

 Christmas Eve 
Valley at Christmas
High School youth group friends :)
Tons of baking

Christmas Eve with the Brunettis

Tons of Christmas Decorations
(a little grainy, from my iphone)


So many fires during the holidays :)
New Years Eve
Our "new" car

10 February 2014


Okay I finally had some time (aka getting snowed in) to sort through 600+ pictures from our trip to Ireland. It was so fun getting to go back through all the pictures and remembering the wonderful time we had. After not being able to travel outside the UK during the second half of our stay, we decided to chance it during our last weeks and make the trip to Ireland. Thankfully it was well worth the risk, we had the best time and no immigration issues on the way back! This was actually my 3rd trip to Ireland and Owen's 1st, but it was of course my best visit so far! While I had been to Dublin before, there were lots of firsts and new experiences for both of us, such as Northern Ireland, the west coast, and long road trips through the rolling green countryside. I divided this point by location and pictures, with a link to more pictures at the end.

We left the day after Owen's last shelf exam and flew into Dublin. We stayed the first 2 nights in Dublin, about a mile outside the city center and were able to walk to the center. Thankfully the weather held off and we even had a little sun! We spent 2 days exploring all of Dublin, shopping, walking along the River Liffey, seeing Dublin castle, several churches, the Guinness factory (though we skipped the tour), going to church and having lunch with some friends of friends, and of course wandering the city at night and seeing the Temple Bar area and all the bright lights.

Temple Bar
River Liffey
The Spire
Christ Church

Four Courts Building
St Patrick's Cathedral

Northern Ireland
After a few days in the city, we needed some quiet time in the countryside. We drove up to Portrush, Northern Ireland. It was interesting how different the two countries are, with it being so clear that Northern Ireland is the UK. Portrush is a cute little seaside town, which was very quiet in November, but a great break from busy London. We stayed in an adorable bed and breakfast overlooking the bay, and enjoyed some time by the fire each night. We went for some long walks along the coast at night, had dinner at a great restaurant with amazing desserts, and hiked along the coast towards Giant's Causeway (though eventually having to turn back and drive the rest of the way around due to time/light concerns, unaware of how close we actually were to begin with). The weather was a bit extreme, very windy and rough seas, so it was a little tough to explore too much. It was the perfect escape from city life and time to relax before moving again. 

View from our bed and breakfast in Portrush, Northern Ireland

Hiking along the coast towards Giant's Causeway

Where we turned around, Giant's Causeway just on the other side of that middle set of cliffs
Such a beautiful place
Giant's Causeway

The very narrow roads throughout much of Ireland

Doolin/Cliffs of Moher
After Northern Ireland, we spent the day driving down the west coast of Ireland to a tiny town called Doolin, just north of the Cliffs of Moher. Thankfully this was the only really rainy day we had all week and we spent the whole day driving anyway. The countryside was so beautiful, with streams and rolling hills everywhere. We got to the hostel and spent the evening relaxing by the fire and enjoying some of the best fish and chips we've ever had in this quaint little pub, one of three in this tiny town. The best part, it was so dark on the walk to the pub! The next day we hiked on the new portion of the coastal walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher, about 8K (5miles) one way just to the cliffs (plus wandering around and out to the point)! Seeing the cliffs has always been a dream of mine and I just had not been able to work it out on either of my other trips, though I'm glad I didn't because this was way better than taking the bus tour to see the cliffs and of course being able to share it together! We planned the whole day for the hike, so we were able to take our time and really enjoy the whole trail and sites along the way. It was incredibly windy, especially along the coast and at the cliffs. The wind could practically hold us up while leaning into it, and the last portion of the trail was right on the edge so Owen ended up doing the last bit out to the point on his own, while I waited for him. It was truly one of the most beautiful places and the hike was great! We would highly recommend it to anyone and would love to return someday. After hiking back to Doolin (total of about 12miles) we relaxed by the fire again and had dinner at another pub with live music. It was a really great end to a great week!

View of Doolin (and our car)
View from our hostel, the start of the coast walk to the Cliffs of Moher
Our trail along the cliffs

Looking south along the cliffs
Near the visitor's center

Looking north along the cliffs

One of the most beautiful places I've ever seen
Beautiful rays of sun just as we turned around on our hike. Perfect end to a perfect week.

Okay so there are all my ramblings about our trip. Everyone should go to Ireland at some point in their lives! I've posted a few highlights from our trip here but have So many Ireland pictures! on our picasa page, so enjoy!