A Letter to Penelope

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Sweet Little Girl,

When I saw you for the first time that Sunday afternoon, I knew I would spend the rest of my life loving you. You were tiny and screaming, wrinkled and perfect. While your entrance in to this world wasn't as I had expected, it didn't matter. You were here. When I held you for that first time {hours after your birth}, I will never forget exactly what that moment felt like. With eyes full of wonder and a tiny yellow bow in your hair {picked out by dad}, I loved you more after one minute together than I have loved in a lifetime.

You brought with you a genuine happiness, and it filled a space in my life that I never knew was vacant. You mean something different to everyone in your life. You are Pops, Penny, Miss P and Poppy Lee; but most importantly, you are uniquely you. Without effort, you already give so much to those around you. Never forget that your purpose here isn't to fulfill anyone else's life. You are here for you; to live a life that you love.

I hope that you travel and see as much of the world as you can. You never know what you are missing until you go and see. Fill your life with new places and adventures, and you will quickly know what it is that makes you thrive. Make friends and be kind. Be generous towards others because I truly believe that giving is always better than receiving. Learn as much as you can about whatever it is that you could spend hours talking about. Be passionate about more things than you can count {you are your dad's daughter after all}. Get lost in books and in the mountains. Learn different languages and be open to different ideas. Go out and experience. Stay home and be comfortable in the quiet moments you spend alone. Be anything that you want to be.

I want you to have faith in something - mostly yourself. Life can be challenging, but if you believe you can, you will. For all the things in this life that seem to go terribly wrong, there are so many more that go perfectly right. You are living proof.

I am so grateful that I get to be your mama. I look forward to all the adventures and firsts that are to come. I hope I never take for granted the little milestones and daily moments that make up our life. Here is to a lifetime of love and support {and probably a few battles, as well}. I love you most, little Boogie.

You, Me & A Flock of Sheep

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Days before Wyet and I found out the amazing baby news, we made one of the most spontaneous decisions in our relationship. We booked a trip to Ireland just three months away. {Now, this may not sound that crazy, but for over-thinkers like us, it was definitely a splurge.} Looking back now, I am so grateful we made that leap. Had we first found out the news about baby bean, our senses {and financial fears} would have kicked in, and we would have missed out on a trip of a lifetime.

This vacation was unlike anything we had ever done before. Generally, our getaways are geared towards rest and relaxation, lounging about, never without a cocktail in hand and ingested. Our retreats are slow paced and calm, and we simply just be. Ireland was on a whole different level!

The country of Ireland is geographically quite small {you could drive from one end to the next in under a day}. This means, that with 8 days scheduled on the island, we toured as much of it as possible. We explored city life in Dublin, coastal life in Doolin, mountain life in Killarney and everything in between. We learned that we love roaming the countryside and have better days when we aren't on a time limit. I figured out how to navigate in a foreign country {where the roundabouts are endless}, and Wyet learned that driving on the opposite side of the road and car takes some getting used to. We saw some of the most gorgeous landscapes of our life and loved every minute of this last vacation as a family of two.

Here are our favorite highlights of the trip {as we took over 600 photos, it was hard to narrow it down to these!}

Newgrange is a prehistoric site {older than even the Egyptian Pyramids}, and it is just as impressive. An above ground burial mound that has internal passages and is built with massive stones around the exterior really left us wondering how these ancient people were so advanced. We were able to tour the inside, and every surface was carved and decorated. This sacred spot truly amazed us, and I am so glad Wyet happened upon it last minute.

The beautiful walkway heading in to the Newgrange tour offices.
After we left Newgrange, we hit the road for our longest day of travel. We traveled from the east coast all the way over to the west. We had only one other stop that day at Trim Castle in Meath County. It was massive, and the ruins were covered in green moss that made the whole place seem extra eerie.
Trim Castle

We hiked up to the old watch tower, and this picture truly shows how massive it is. This overlooks not only the castle but the entire city.
Once we left Trim Castle, we were on the road for the next three hours. While the Irish tend to have a very laid back way of life, the one exception would be in their driving. They all seem to be in a rush to get somewhere {and to get there fast!}. The roads are narrow and twisty, and for non-European drivers like us, it was definitely a challenge!
To show just how narrow these roads are! They are barely large enough for one car, yet they are considered two way streets, and the locals cruise them at speeds of 100 km!

I love this guy!
When we reached Doolin, we checked in to our bed and breakfast called The Maloney House {which ended up being our favorite stay of the whole trip}. We arrived before sunset so we thought we would make the most of our time and visit the Cliffs of Moher and watch the sun go down. We were still planning on spending the following morning at the cliffs, but I am so thankful we went that night. The crowds had already left for the day so we felt completely unrushed as we took in one of the most magnificent natural creations we had ever seen.

The wind gusts are common on the top of this coastal outlook.

The following day, we drove from Doolin to the most quaint town I have ever been to called Dingle. We had a two night stay in Dingle, and even though we got completely rained out on the first day, we had the time of our life. We spent hours in the local pubs where Wyet enjoyed Jameson and Guinness and talking with the old locals about travel. I indulged in one of the best desserts of my life {blueberry and pear crumble} and embraced their laid back lifestyle. We went shopping for jewelry and artwork and succeeded at finding both. It was a little town meant for lovers, and we enjoyed it as such.
One of the most treacherous drives of our life happened on the way to Dingle. These mountains were nothing short of sheer cliff-side, and we had to continually stop along the route to let other cars pass through {coming from the opposite direction}.

Obviously, my most favorite pub.

Inside Murphy's on our first night there!

The Bean is a local coffee shop we went to each morning. It only seemed fitting as that is what we currently call our baby nugget. 
On the way out of Dingle, we decided to slow down and experience more of the scenic routes as we hopped from place to place. Rather than trying to get to the next spot as quickly as possible, we made an effort to stop along the way and soak up every bit.
By far, this ended up being one of our ultimate favorite spots. We happened upon Minard Castle very last minute, and I have never been more in love with a beach. Covered in giant, ocean-smoothed boulders with sheep overlooking the castle ruins, I could have spent the entire day in this spot.

I fell in love with these sheep filled fields!
We visited the historic Rock of Cashel site and really didn't know what to expect. When we arrived, we were awestruck at the magnitude of the massive cathedral. One of the corners was blown off during a battle, and it still lays next to the ruins.

The graveyard behind the cathedral, along with the gloomy sky and hovering crows really was like a scene out of a horror movie!

The overgrown roads were a common sight in Ireland, and they never got old!

Overlooking Killarney National Park at Ladies View Point {over a pint of Guinness}

One of the B&B's we stayed at in Bansha. While it looks serene, it had a really creepy vibe to it!I naturally ended up scaring myself, and made Wyet accompany me every time I went to the bathroom.

Late night snacks after one of the most memorable pub nights of our life! The bartender went above and beyond and made us ham and cheese toasties on the spot {even popping over to the local grocer to buy the ingredients just for us}.

At Mt Usher Gardens just outside of Dublin. This was a gorgeous garden with plants and flowers from all over the world. It had just rained so everything was green and covered in dew. It was relaxing and breathtaking all at once. {We may have overstayed our welcome past closing hours and got locked in! Luckily we found an employee from a nearby cafe to let us out!}

Our final days were spent right back where we began in Dublin. We braved the city life and hopped on the city bus to head downtown. We visited the tourist spots that we truly had waited a lifetime to see; Trinity Library for me and the Jameson Distillery for Wyet.
Trinity College Library

A dream come true! A room full of old books and spiral staircases!

Naturally, we had to visit the Guinness Storehouse and let Wyet enjoy a pint or two!

It was a little bittersweet visiting the Jameson Distillery and seeing all of the amazing history without even being able to sample it! We decided it only seemed fair to splurge and purchase a bottle of Distillery Edition {only available on Bow Street in Dublin}. We plan on cracking it open later this year to finally enjoy together.

Here is to a lifetime of globe trotting and experiencing new places together! ❤

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