Our slumber party was a hit and I'm not even sure how late Michaela and I stayed awake!  If I started to get sleepy, she was wide awake.  If she started to get sleepy, I was wide awake.  Finally, we conked out at some mystery hour.

Michaela and Jonny went down for a luxury buffet breakfast this morning, we have been stuffing our faces and Ironman and I couldn't eat one more thing.  As soon as they returned to the rooms, we hopped in the hobbit car and drove almost around the entire Donegal area today!

We started by trying to visit the Glenveagh National Park and castle, but it was closed until Jan. 2nd.  Jonny was skeptical about driving "so far" to see the cliffs, even though they are said to be the Grand Canyon of Ireland.  But, we kept driving "just a wee bit" up the road until we decided we might as well go all of the way to the cliffs.  Apparently they aren't used to huge road trips like we are over in the USA!

We stopped to have a late lunch at the Bay View Hotel in Killybegs.  I had fish and chips again, while the other three had the "small" lunch (it was huge) with meat, potatos, rice, gravy and veggies. 

We continued to drive through what looked like the shire of the hobbits and I kept confusing Donegal with Diagon Alley when I was talking (too much Harry Potter).  We finally made it to the cliffs, called Sliabh Liag.  It was breathtaking!!!

It was a steep hike to the top, but the view was totally worth it!!!  Of course I had to whine a wee bit and Ironman helped me climb by pushing me up by my armpit (as demonstrated in the photo above).  It didn't really feel good, but I wasn't going to complain!

It's so crazy because Jonny and Michaela have lived here all these years and have never seen this part of the country!  I know that Ironman and I haven't seen all of the USA, but we got to Donegal in just two hours!!!  Needless to say, Jonny was so happy that we convinced him to take the drive today:)

As the day was coming to an end, Jonny started to worry that we hadn't had any drama for the daily blog post.  But then, as we were taking photos on the cliffs, Michaela slipped and fell backwards in the mud.  However, she was so concerned about the iPhone that she sacrificed herself and saved the phone from the mud by falling on her back and keeping the phone up in there air.  So, then we were all happy to have had some drama.  If you had seen Michaela fall, it would have made your day...I laughed so hard, I almost wet my pants!  Why am I never videoing stuff at the right now.  I would have won millions on America's Funniest Videos by now.  Ugh, too bad.  Right place, right time, not prepared.

Guinness Meat Pie for dinner and another trip to the dirty sauna, then we came back to the hotel rooms to crash.  

Tomorrow we are returning to Belfast and going to a Ceili for New Years!!!  


Road Trip!!!!

Apparently, Jonny found my blog last night and said that he is scared because I'm brutally honest...so he is being very careful NOT to end up on the blog again:).  He said that he is officially one of my blog followers now, so this one is dedicated to Jonny:)

After waking up this morning, we took off bright and early for two nights in Donegal!  It's supposed to be beautiful here, but we have only been inside the hotel room so far, because of the rain.  Since we had to go over into Ireland, we went ahead and got gas and snacks in Northern Ireland.  Everything is so expensive for eating out so we stocked up on chips, sandwiches, cookies, etc.  Plus, Jonny didn't have a swimsuit so we had to shop around until he eventually found one in TKMaxx.  I started out this morning in an outfit with black hose, but I was freezing!  I had to buy some sweater tights and change in the TKMaxx bathroom:).  It's crazy how much warmer I was!!!

The drive was so scenic as we drove through the countryside...everytime we go overseas, I am amazed at what views people are used to every day.  But then again, over here, they think that America is magical.   Guess the grass is always greener on the other side!  But really, I think it's greener over here:)

We arrived at the Clanree Hotel before our room was ready so we had Fish and Chips at the pub (always wanted to say that)!  

Yum!!!  The green stuff on the left is mashed up peas...it was surprisingly good, even though it looked questionable.

Once we got our rooms, we changed to our swimsuits and went down to the "Leisure Center".  It was so dirty and Michalea was horrified because the womens dressing room was one huge changing room:). The showers have the push knobs that turn on for a few seconds until they pop back out and the lockers don't have locks!  The wet sauna about steamed us alive, the whirlpool cooled us down and the dry sauna was "just right".  We actually met a man, while in the sauna, who's wife is from Michaela's church!!!  It's a small world no matter where you are in it:). We would have swam in the pool, but you weren't allowed to swim without purchasing and wearing a swim cap!!!  What?!?!?!?!  So, we might sport the swim caps tomorrow, but we didn't do it today.

So we are back in our hotel rooms.  Michaela and I will have a slumber party in our room and Nick and Jonny can't wait to snuggle in theirs:).  They are just missing their whole roll of toll house cookie dough.  The weather is so awful that the guys went across the street to get snacks.  

So we are pigging out and Nick finally got his Irish whiskey:).  It's pouring rain right now, but we are hoping tomorrow is dry enough to be able to see Donegal!!!



Who knew the same word could mean something so different!  Our time in Northern Ireland was definitely a learning experience...

Nick and Emily-the Americans
Hot Tea with milk-white tea
I don't care-couldn't be bothered
Master bedroom-ensuite
Stag-bachlor party
Hen party-bachelorette party
Crazy-buck daft
Went crazy-had a kitten
In the middle of nowhere-arse end of nowhere 
Y'all-yous ones
Grilled sandwich-toasties
Yield-give way
Tank top-vest
Underwear-pants (this one always gets us)
Cell phone-mobile phone
Gas station-garage
Swimsuit-bathing costume 



We left for a day in the city this morning around 9:30am.  Ironman, Jonny and Rachel went to get breakfast at Franky & Bennys, which is supposed to be an American breakfast because you can order pancakes and fried things...haha.  While they were eating, Michaela and I went to Castle Court to meet her cousin for bridesmiad dress shopping.  That was over so quickly since her cousin bought the first dress she tried!

We went over to get the guys and Rachel and all headed over to the Victoria Square for shopping.  While there, we climbed to up to the Dome to see a 360 degree view of the city of Belfast!!!

Ironman and I went off on our own to do a tour on a city bus and were able to see so much more of the city than by foot.  We saw all sorts of old buildings and streets that we honestly have no idea what we were looking at...but still enjoyed it!

There were just so many buildings and the tour guide spoke so quickly.  Plus, when she would say "the building on the right" and there were 13 buildings on the right, it was hard to know which one she was talking about.  The old courthouse looked like it has been bombed...

There is a tunnel that goes under the street from this courthouse to the jail...we might go tour the jail another day.  And to the Titanic museum!

We saw the Parliament buildings (the Stormont) and the different neighborhoods of the Catholics and Protestants, separated by the Peace Wall.  The wall must have been 30 feet high!  It's crazy that the country was at war against itself for 30 years and now they are all trying to live together in peace.  

The tour really was fun and the tour guide was hilarious.  She was cracking jokes on herself the entire time...and the Scottish...and the English...and the Canadians...not the Americans, though...yay!!!  That's the first time ever!!!

By the end of the tour, the bus didn't want to return to the city center because of heavy traffic, so they dropped us somewhere and we got lost!!!  We had to use the bathroom SOOOOooooo bad and couldn't find a toilet or our way back to our friends.  We walked around until we recognized the TKMaxx (yes, t K maxx instead of tjmaxx) sign and eventually found the street where we boarded our tour.  Michaela saw us and was freaking out, calling my name and waving frantically.  Apparently, Jonny and Michaela found out the tour wasn't returning us to the correct location and we all had no way of contacting each other!!!

Once everyone calmed down, we met up with Jonny's best man, Warren, and had dinner at a Chinese buffet.  I'll sum it up...I found a hair in my food and then saw the chef wiping his nose with the nastiest hanky I've ever seen, putting it back in his pocket and returning to his cooking without washing his hands...yea...true story...

Isn't this mall neat! It is outdoors, but parts of the roof are covered in glass so it feels like we are indoors, except it's still freezing!!!

We met up with some friends from when we used to live on the ship, the Logos Hope.  Sam and Danielle are the photographers/videographers for the wedding and had to go over some of the details with Jonny and Michalea.  The whole evening, Michaela kept saying to Jonny that he needed to move the car, but he kept saying that it would be ok.  So, by the time we got to the car, we were locked out of the parking lot!!!  We tried to break the lock, pick the lock, considered climbing over the fence and under the fence, but because of the surveillance cameras, we were scared.  We called Jonny's friend Warren to come back and pick us up.  Every car in this entire country is the size of a smart car (the largest car by far has been a honda crv) and all six of us had to smash in for the ride home.  At least Warren was able to come back for us or we would have had to walk hours to get back home since Michaela lives out in the country and there are no buses.

We made it home and had a picnic on the floor of the living room...and more Schloer:)

So, they speak English here, but it can be confusing...here are some translations:

Grilled sandwich-toasties
Yield-give way
Tank top-vest
Underwear-pants (this one always gets us)
Cell phone-mobile phone

I guess this will be a running list as I learn new words:)

Honestly, all of the views, the countryside, the streets, the stores and the accents make me feel like I am in a Harry Potter movie!!!

Tomorrow we head to Donegal for two nights at a fancy hotel for some R&R with Jonny and Michaela!  It's a three hour trip and they are dreading it...they say it's the longest road trip ever:)

See you tomorrow!!!


Down Time

I forgot to tell y'all this yesterday, but the dinner was so different than our American family holiday dinners.  We had food that was so fresh and "real"...no casseroles or anything that left you unsure of the ingredients.  You would never have had to ask, "how'd you make this?" or "what's in this?".  It was mashed potatoes, green peas, onions, beets and carrots and a shrimp coctail.  I'm seriously not sure if they even added salt and pepper...each part of the meal was exactly as you find it in the fresh aisle of the grocery store!  The meat was a piece with one layer ham, one layer stuffing and one layer chicken (at least that's what it looked like).  Then the dessert was three options: pavlova, some cherry thing and something like cream filled bread...even the desserts didn't taste like they had sugar!  So weird...everything seemed very bland, but very good at the same time.  We ended with tea/coffee and shortbread cookies.  But everyone was crazy about a drink called Schloer...it is like an alcohol free fruity, fizzy champagne.  Apparently they only have it at Christmas, so they were all really excited to have it:). And the other thing they loved were these gifts called "crackers".  With another person, we would pull them apart at the ends, jump when they cracked open so loudly and then claim our prize that would fly out:). Nick got ear phones and I got a keychain!

So we went to do bed last night around 9pm and didn't fully wake up until 12pm today!!!  That's 15 hours of sleep!!!  We woke up a lot during the night though because there was a HUGE storm...I thought that the windows were going to bust out!!!  Also, Nick and I kept waking up at the exact same time, needing to use the bathroom.  I think we were so jet lagged that we were delirious!!!  Nick, at one time, turned on the lights and started searching the room, the bed, under the bed and even the power cords for something.  I kept asking him what he was looking for.  He kept getting so mad at me (even giving me the death look)  and he kept saying "I keep telling you and you don't understand...I don't know how else to make you understand"....ok???!!!  So I helped him search for a while for who knows what and then convinced him to find it in the morning.  He finally went back to bed and told me in the morning that he remembers doing that during the night, but that he had been confused between his dreams and reality and has no idea what he was looking for, but that it had something to do with a blanket.  Funny!  Plus, each time we woke up (three times), I had taken off my pajama pants and socks and thrown them in different places in the room...so I kept having to turn on the lights and search for my clothes...I was so confused and couldn't figure out what was happening!!!  Such a weird night for both of us!!!!

This was our view from our bedroom window when we woke up this morning...

Beautiful, isn't it?!?!?!?!  They have this view every day!!!  

Once we got up and laid around for a while, Michaela's dad decided to make everyone "an ulster fry" for breakfast.  We had no idea what they were talking about (because they kept asking "do you want fries?"), but after about an hour we had pancakes, fried toast, fried potato bread (not our type of potato bread in the USA), beans, bacon, tiny sausages and all served on plates that he had heated in the microwave!!!  Of course it was all served on fancy plates, with tea served in a teapot or coffee from a French press...everything seems so classy!!!  We laid around all afternoon, having tea and coffee and snacks, while watching movies.  We watched Despicable Me 2 (hilarious), Downton Abbey (which apparently people in the UK do not watch) and some movie with Tom Hanks and his ship being taken over by pirates.

It's after midnight here and we are going to Belfast to shop for bridesmaids dresses in the morning!  So, goodnight!


Boxing Day in Belfast

So, Jonny and Michaela picked us up at the Dublin airport this morning at 9am.  Nick confessed that our flight from Philly to Dublin was the worst flight in his entire life (so far)!!!  It wasn't MY worst, but it was up there.  The drive from Dublin to Belfast took about 1.5 hours, which to Michaela is equal to an all day road trip!!! Crazy.  She would die on one of Nick and my type road trips!!!

As soon as we arrived at Michaela's parents house, we were served a "snack".  It was a boiled egg in a fancy bowl with a spoon, another fancy plate with two pieces of cut and buttered toast with a fork and knife (still used my fingers...) and home made pumpkin spice latte coffees!!!  We visited until it was time to go to Michaela's grandparents' home for Boxing Day dinner, which is their yearly tradition.  We ate so well and when I was stuffed beyond happiness, Michaela's grandfather brought me more dessert, even when I said "no thank you"!  

The entire morning/afternoon dragged on as we tried to force ourselves to stay awake until at least 9pm tonight.  We have now been awake for 32 hours!  Until we pass out, we are watching Home Alone with Michaela (the bride), Jonny (the groom) and Rachel (maid of honor/sister of the bride).  I tried to take a photo...

It is beautiful here, but I have no photos to prove it yet...we will see what tomorrow holds:)



It's Christmas in Killarney

Okay...well...it's the day AFTER Christmas...and we aren't in Killarney...but, that was basically the only time I will probably ever be able to use that title in a blog post...so I did:). We are getting ready to land in Dublin and I figured that's close enough!

The Philly airport really didn't have that many options for food...well any good looking options, that is.  The Chick-Fil-A was closed for Christmas, there was no Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts was sold out except for one crusty doughnut...no thank you.  So we went to the Healthy Market and got a salad and a wrap and had a picnic on the floor.  I was under the assumption (you know what they say about assuming...) that the airports would be like ghost towns on Christmas Day, but they were packed!  We had to search for a good floor seat and a plug to charge this iPhone!!!  Charging this iPhone is TOP priority...can't leave y'all hangin'...right?!!?!?!?!

On Christmas Eve my Grandaddy got a phone call from a man that he hasn't spoke to since somewhere in 1950!!!  It was an old roommate.  Then Christmas morning, we got a phone call from Medehen!  She lived with us while we were living in Ethiopia...I haven't spoken to her in 19 years and she sounded exactly the same:). Random facts, I know, but I wanted to add them...and it's MY blog...so I can:).  Nick would tell me to edit that last sentence out, but he's not reading this right now.

Thinking about Ethiopia makes me remember the good ole days of travel.  We would pack those XL duffle bags and had a weight limit of 70 lbs...AND each person could bring two of those enormous bags, plus their normal carry-on and purse and/or briefcase.  I also remember getting several meals/snacks/drinks per flight, good pillows, real blankets and little toiletry bags with eye masks, socks, earphones, chapstick, toothbrush, toothpaste and lotion.  Boy has international travel gone downhill...take it from a pro, we are all getting ripped off!  THIS trip is our most rigid yet!  The airline has the size and weight of the bags down to no bigger than our old carry-ons.  The pillows lost their fluff, the blankets shrunk and lost their warmth (unless I keep my knees hooked under my two front teeth that I got for Christmas...or you're 3.5 years old...then you're good!), the earphones have to be requested, the toiletry bags have totally disappeared, and the edible items---we won't even go there:(.  I even got to ride in the cockpit with the pilots on a flight from Germany to Ethiopia, as a little girl...never ever never would that happen now!  Anyway, If I wasn't a claustrophobic maniac and Nick wasn't a giant, travel would be wonderful!  Just kidding, I DO love to travel, but I tend to lean towards meltdowns and temper tantrums...Nick (of course) always remains calm and reminds me "this is a small thing in the large picture" or "it's not about the destination, but the journey"...seriously, how can someone always be so patient, so sweet, so calm, so positive...?!  That's why God put us together...when I'm a crackhead, Nick puts me in my place.  This is not a joke.  I'm serious.  Let's move on.

This is what we looked like two flights in with the longest yet to go...almost dead.

So we got on the flight from Philly to Dublin...let me sum it up, very crowded, old plane, dirty feeling/looking (due to oldness), children crying, two VERY giddy/giggly/loud/excited girls next to us in the back of the plane.  Meltdown began and I pulled out my oils to handle the situation before I did something I would later regret.  The girl in the aisle next to me says "I smell Thieves! Can I have a drop?"...yup...I shared my oils on the plane with a total stranger!!! 

So we are now decending into Dublin.  It's 2:45am in Florence, SC and we have yet to sleep (not for a lack of trying)!  We look like death...not warmed up at all...I actually have a dread lock forming on the back/underside of my hair...you'd think this was going to be a bad day.  BUT, we have gum, our loved ones love us no matter how scary we look/act AND we are landing in Dublin, Ireland...it's going to be a good day (and we are going to sleep goooooooooddddddd tonight!!!)!!!!

Good morning everyone!!!!

We're Leavin' on a Jet Plane

...but we know when we'll be back again!!!

Woke up this morning, washed a last minute load of clothes, opened gifts and stockings, had Christmas breakfast with family and said "see ya later"...

We are at the Florence airport waiting for our flight to Charlotte.  I have a front row seat and I'm soaking up vitamin D...it might be the only vitamin D I get until we return on Jan 16th:)

On the way to the airport, Maggie downloaded Instagram to my iPhone after years of begging me to "get with it"...so now you will all have new and improved photos from me along our journey.  Maggie sold me when she said "it will make your Blog better"!!!

So...our next stop is Charlotte, then Philly and finally, Dublin.  I'll see you on the other side!!!


Merry Christmas Eve

So I got my December oils order!!! Yay!!!  If you ordered one from me, you'll be getting it ASAP!!!

And here is what you were waiting for:

Yes, we are packing again...life is short and our bucket list is big!!!  We are off to visit Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland!!!  Stay tuned for daily travel updates:)


Happy Anniversary To Us!

     So, today we are celebrating our 6th anniversary!  Yes, six years!  It has flown by!  Each anniversary has been exciting in a different way...this one is exciting because we have just moved into our first house, like OUR house, like we are BUYING it and will OWN it and be OURS!!!  Sorry, but this is a BIG deal after renting for six years!!!  I just want everyone to know that this is the 35th time that I have packed and moved somewhere!  And actually since the last time I counted, I have remembered some that I forgot to count, so who knows!!!  I'm hoping that unless we go back overseas into missions, or move to another city in the USA for a job, THIS WILL BE MY LAST MOVE!!!!!!  Not likely, but whatever...a girl can hope!!!

     As you can see, it is a work in progress type thing, but we live here now!  We want to have you all over, but don't want to be responsible for anyone falling down the stairs and killing themselves, or breaking their neck and suing us and taking our house.  Bottom line, we will have an open house when we have stairs and rails!