Baby Girl left on Friday and although we’ve had a tearful weekend, we’re doing okay.  It helps that her CASA worker reached out to me and said he would keep me updated on how she is doing.  I’m sure she’s fine and I want her to be doing well, although there is that tiny piece that hopes she misses us so terribly that she’s making everyone’s life miserable and they want to send her back.  That’s the selfish part of me.

But this post isn’t going to be all about Baby Girl or even about foster care.  This post is going to be about another love of mine . . . . .



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We really do enjoy traveling, although foster care is making travel a bit challenging.

Our main travel the last few years has consisted of cruises and travel between Texas and Illinois.  The girls and I hit the road a few years ago and went to California, but that’s pretty much it.

Between hubby and I, we’ve seen almost all 50 states.  While in the Army, hubby spent two years in Germany, but didn’t take the opportunity to see other parts of Europe.  Other than Guatemala, Ethiopia and cruise ports, I’ve never visited many places outside of the U.S. and think I would very much enjoy seeing Europe.  I think the girls would enjoy it as well, plus, what a great opportunity for some road schooling.

We currently have a deposit down on a cruise for next year, but are discussing the possibility of canceling the cruise and planning a European vacation.

At one time, we had a European cruise scheduled, but we switched that to a Caribbean cruise because hubby really doesn’t want to waste time on a ship when we could be traveling around Europe.

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Tonight, he asked me where in Europe I would like to go and I didn’t have an answer for him.  There are so many choices!!!!!

Do we visit Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Great Britain, Italy, France, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Spain . . . . the list goes on.

It’s not like we’ll be able to spend a month traveling around Europe, although that would be awesome.  Financially, we just can’t do that, so if we can make it happen, we’ll likely only have 2 weeks.

So here is my question to you.

If you had two weeks to travel around Europe, which countries would you visit and why?




Education Thru Travel

Pretty much everything we do provides a learning opportunity for the girls.  So when we plan travel, we like to make sure it’s something we will all enjoy.

In the past, we have made our travel plans and then simply looked forward to what was in store.  This time I’ve decided to change it up a bit and will have the girls work on some projects leading up to travel time.

For those who have been following my blog since the beginning of the year, you are aware that one of our favorite ways to travel is by boat.  To be exact, by cruise ship.

During our cruise in February, we booked two more cruises.  Since then, hubby and I have spent quite a bit of time discussing our plans and decided to change them completely.

No, this doesn’t mean we’ve cancelled the cruises.  That would be crazy!!!!!

We simply changed the cruises.

Both cruises will be to the Caribbean, which is my favorite winter destination.

This winter we will be traveling again on Allure of the Seas.


This time though we’ll be heading to Haiti, Jamaica and Mexico.

The following winter we will be on Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Symphony of the Seas.

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She is so new in fact, that she is still being built and won’t sail until Spring, 2018.  Cruises will begin in Mediterranean before she sails to the U.S. in October, 2018.

On Symphony we’ll visit St. Kitts, St. Thomas and the Bahamas.

So what kinds of things can the girls be learning between now and our cruises?

  1.  How cruise ships are built?
  2.  History and facts on each of the islands we will be visiting.
  3.  Caribbean sea life.
  4.  Caribbean geography.

The possibilities are endless.



Varied Interests

Reading thru past blog posts, it is very clear that I have three primary interests . . . . .




I lump children and family together, but could also add adoption and foster care into this group.  Adoption brought Lili and Naomi into my life.  They are my children and therefore my family.  Foster care has also been a big part of my life and the children who have come into my life because of foster care are very important to me.  Hubby, my children, extended family, foster children and friends who I consider family are so very important in my life.


Travel!  I adore travel and everything about it from planning to new experiences.  Without travel, I feel like something is missing in my life.

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Gardening is my hobby.  I am in my happy place when my hands are in the soil.  I enjoy the planting a seed and get excited when I see the first signs of life emerge thru the soil.  Picking my first ripe fruit or vegetable gives me a thrill.  Seeing bumblebees and butterflies fly from flower to flower puts a smile on my face.  I get excited about exploring and trying new gardening techniques or growing something for the first time.


(It was windy when I took this picture.)

What are your interests?



Busy Day

I’ve been trying to get into a better blogging routine in the last week and was doing pretty well until today.

We head out on our cruise this Sunday and I am in full cleaning and packing mode.  As such, my blog has taken a back seat.

While we’re gone, I will be disconnecting, so there will be no blog posts published.  I do, however, plan to write a little something every day.  When I return, I should have several posts, with photos, ready to share.

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Hubby and I had a short discussion about seeing castles in Europe.  I jokingly said we should go on a castle tour of Europe.  He didn’t agree.

He did suggest we see the Neuschwanstein Castle (or is it Castle Neuschwanstein) in Germany though.

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And of all the places we’ve talked about visiting in Europe, here are some of the possible castles we could see.


Castle of Coco in Spain

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Brodick Castle in Scotland


Eltz Castle in Germany

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Mont Saint-Michel in France

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Castle Frankenstein in Germany

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Chateau de Versailles in France

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Prague Castle in the Czech Republic

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Like I said, I was just joking when I told hubby we should go on a castle tour in Europe.  Although, maybe seeing a few of these wouldn’t be so bad!



Homeschool Dreams

Lili loves studying history.  Naomi is just okay studying history, but her study of the fall of Rome and the rise of the Renaissance seems to capture her interest a little more.

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Lili is studying Victoria’s Empire currently, and their studies makes planning a European vacation more appealing than ever.

My homeschooling dream has been some book study at home, with travel to help the girls better understand what they have learned.  So completing our history studies this year followed by a trip to visit some of the places they have been learning about will help fulfill my home school dream.

In Hindsight

We all look back and wish we would have made different choices at some point in our lives.  It doesn’t mean the choices we made are bad (although I’ve made some of those), but it’s the realization that different choices may have been better.

For example, in high school, I chose not to take a foreign language class.  I went to a high school, out in the middle of corn field (literally) and really didn’t envision myself ever needing to speak Spanish or German, which were the only two languages offered.

Fast forward all these years and I realize how knowing a second language would have provided more opportunity.  I also realize that being able to speak Spanish would have come in helpful many times.  Especially since we adopted our oldest daughter from a Spanish speaking country.

So hubby and I are trying to learn now.  Which also makes me realize how much easier it would have been to learn another language in my teens.  Seriously, how many times do I have to hear the same word over and over before I remember it?!!!  Certainly I should be much further along in a week 🙂  LOL!!!

Then there is travel.

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I wish I would have done more travel in my life.  Instead, I made other choices, like having babies.  I’m able to do more travel now, but I feel like I’m playing catch up and don’t really see a way to visit all the places I would like in my lifetime.  But really, can anyone truly see everything?!!! Plus, I wouldn’t trade my children in for travel.  However, in hindsight, I wish I would have saved more money so I could travel more now.

I also think I would have enjoyed living outside the U.S. for a little while.

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I wasn’t raised by dreamers.  I was raised by parents who were much more content to stay in one place.  Honestly, I can’t say I understood that really.  I had a pen pal from Belgium which gave me a little taste of what life might be like outside the U.S.  I was not afraid of moving away from the little town that had been the only home I knew.  Although my first move away was to another small town in the same state.  Still, I found moving away exciting.  It was a new adventure.  It was the opportunity to experience a different life.  I was also able to experience life living in California and Washington.  Not quite the same as living abroad.

Hubby was in the Army and was able to experience living abroad for two years.  I don’t know if he would agree or not, but I believe that experience changed him in positive ways.  I think there is something to be said about moving away from the comfort of your home and being able to experience a life unlike the only one you’ve ever known.  It changes a person and gives a new perspective on life.

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My list of things I could have or should have done differently could go on and on and on I suppose, but I don’t want to live a life of regret.  Instead, I want to take what I’ve learned, move forward and experience new adventures.

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Traveling Europe

We’re 6 days away from our next cruise while hubby and I discuss a possible trip to Europe.

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Hubby lived in Germany, but that was 32 years ago and as he tells me now, he really didn’t care about travel when he was there.  He regrets that a bit now and as we discuss what countries we would like to visit, we realize our dreams of seeing Europe will require many weeks of travel.  We’ll likely only have a couple of weeks at a time, so we are beginning to do a little planning around which countries we want to see first.  We are making decisions on what we want to see in each country and deciding the best order in which to see each country.  We’re also checking into the best form(s) of transportation to get from country to country.

Hubby and I are in agreement on several countries . . . .

– Ireland

– Scotland

– Sweden

– Denmark

– Germany

– The Netherlands

– Switzerland

– France

Hubby is also interested in seeing Italy, where I’m interested in seeing the Czech Republic, Norway, and Spain.

At least we have a start and can begin planning our Great European Get Away (GEGA).

We’re also hoping to make a trip up to Toronto, Ontario sometime in the next year.

Great adventures await!

If you have traveled to Europe, which countries are your favorite?

Are there any others you recommend we consider?  If so, why?





Travel Hopes and Dreams

It seems my blog has turned into a travel blog of sorts.  Not a blog where I share about my daily travels across the world (although that would be wonderful), but more about my travel hopes and dreams.

The dream of traveling the world isn’t something I’ve always had.  For most of my life, I simply hoped to see all of the U.S.

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To date, I have been to 41 states, so I have some work to do there.  However, my desire to see other parts of the world is growing stronger all the time.

Canada is high on that list.

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I find it very sad that we lived in Washington state for so many years and never made the drive to British Columbia.  However, Toronto seems to get rave reviews from those who have visited.  Hubby was there several years ago on business and was highly impressed during his short time there.  Of course there is always the possibility of combining my love of cruising with a visit to the eastern coast of Canada 🙂

I would also love to visit Denmark some day.

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I’ve read nothing but good things about Denmark and there is so many things to see.

Germany is another country on my bucket list.

I would love to see the place hubby spent two years of his Army life.  I would like to see the place my friend is from.  Plus, it’s close to Denmark so we can visit at the same time.

And if we’re going to Germany we might as well see Switzerland.

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Maybe on to France.

I’ve spent my life learning European history, reading books, seeing pictures, and movies about all these places I’ve never been.  Now I want to experience the castles, see the windmills, the Matterhorn (other than the Disneyland version), see the Mediterranean Sea, visit museums, see the art, the architecture,  and just enjoy life outside the U.S.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your geography lesson for the day 🙂 and now I’m off to buy a lottery ticket in hopes of winning so I can live out my travel hopes and dreams.

Until then, where have your travels taken you?

What has been your favorite place to visit?

Is there a place which you long to revisit or even stay?

Or maybe you are an ex-pat living out your dream.  Where has that dream taken you?

I’m always interested in learning about new places that I can add to my travel hopes and dreams list.



9 More Days

Have I mentioned just how much I like to travel.  My girls have the travel bug as well.  Hubby has it too, but not as much as the girls and I do.

By far, my most favorite vacation is cruising and one nice thing about living in Texas, is that we are a pretty easy drive to the cruise port in Galveston.  Living in Illinois meant either a minimum two-day drive or a flight to get to a cruise port.  Not that we won’t fly to another cruise port in the future.  After all, I do have my eye on a couple different cruises out of Puerto Rico on our next cruise, but this time all we need to do is pack up the Suburban and drive south.

Our upcoming cruise is on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.

Liberty of the Seas

We leave in 9 days for 7 fun-filled days on the sea!!!!

All four of us are excited and so ready for this trip.  Plus, we get to introduce a friend and her daughter to cruising.  I’m hoping to get them hooked 🙂

My favorite time for cruising is during the winter months.  The cost tends to be lower as it’s not prime travel season plus it’s always nice to go further south into warmer weather in the winter.  Don’t misunderstand me though.  I would be more than happy to try out a summer cruise 😉

Do you like to travel?

Do you have a favorite vacation destination?

Have you ever been on a cruise?