Friday, January 11, 2013

You say "Goodbye" and I say "Hello."

The day finally came that we packed up our essentials to begin our new lives in Pennsylvania. We made so many great memories in our home in Minneapolis. It is amazing how attached I became to it as we began the process of moving. This blog is a testament to our love of Minneapolis and how it will always be an important part of our lives and our relationship. We got engaged, bought our first house, got married and expanded our family with Cider all in Minnesota. We met a lot of wonderful people and I reconnected with some very good friends from college. We saw so many things that we would never had seen if we were still in Ohio. It has been a wonderful adventure.

Just a note: the weather was not bright and sunny as in the picture of our home. We took this family picture back in the summer. 

The weather was cold, cold and cold. Cider enjoyed her last walk on the parkway. I can't say I am going to miss walking her in the snow and ridiculously cold temperatures.

And so a new adventure begins . . . 


One of our last stops on our Farewell MN Tour was to visit our local gun range to try my hand at shooting a gun. I had never shot a gun before and was a bit nervous. At first, I held the gun and put it down softly and stepped back. You have to respect the gun. 

Alex took his turn shooting a few rounds and then I tried again. This time I shot my first gun. Wow! It wasn't anything like I thought it would be. I actually had pretty good aim and got closest to the bullseye. Pretty good for a first time.

Merry Christmas!

With our days numbered in Minneapolis and a long trip ahead of us, we decided to spend our Christmas in Minneapolis. I am glad we did. It was low key and simple. 

We chose to make reservations at one of our favorite restaurants downtown, Manny's, for dinner. We hadn't officially celebrated Alex's new job and my resigning from Aveda, so we thought we would do so over a delicious steak dinner.

Although, we had little room left in our bellies, we took a deep breath and enjoyed a Bailey's Chocolate dessert anyway.

We finished the evening off by changing into our sweats and going out to the theater to watch Les Miserables. With our elastics we were able to make even more room for popcorn. We didn't need to eat for a few days after.

Baby, it's cold outside!

Another stop on our Farewell MN Tour, was a romantic carriage ride downtown Minneapolis. It could not have been colder out. It was a good excuse to cuddle up under the covers. 

It was very peaceful and the city line was beautiful lit up at night. It was a nice memory as our days became numbered in Minneapolis.

Thank you for the Memories Aveda!

The announcement of my leaving Aveda let alone moving to Pennsylvania shocked a lot of people, especially since my boss announced his leaving to another company a few days prior. My last couple of weeks at Aveda were crazy busy as I transitioned our work to the new team and tying up loose ends.

I had a lot of mixed feelings about leaving Aveda. Mostly because of the people. I will miss them the most. Despite a lot of personal differences, primarily in politics, they are all good people and we made a lot of great memories.

Alex and I went to a local Irish bar to celebrate my last day. Luckily they had my new favorite beverage to toast with, Magners (Bulmers) Irish Cider.

I look forward to new adventures in Pennsylvania as I begin to reflect on my experiences and dream about the future.

Do you believe in miracles?

As you can imagine, with the announcement of Alex's new position with The Hershey Company in PA, we organized our Farewell MN Tour. Visiting places we never got around to or doing things we should have done in the past 4 years of our MN residence. Nothing like leaving things to the last minute.

During the long weekend of Thanksgiving, Alex and I drove up to Eveleth, MN to visit the US Hockey Hall of Fame. Why would it be in Eveleth, MN? Well, according to the museum, Eveleth produced some of the top US Hockey players of all time.

Everything was very interesting to see. What caught my eye and what I thought was probably the neatest thing was the actual hockey puck that was in play when the US Hockey Team beat the Soviet Union in 1980 Olympics.

I believe this thing should have a case of its own so that it could be revered, much like the crown jewels. However, it was put in a case with a million other things which could easily be overlooked.

Another sight to see in Eveleth is the World's Largest Hockey Stick and Puck. You Betcha!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Alex and I are in for some sweet adventures ahead. Alex accepted a position with The Hershey Company in Hershey, Pennsylvania. We are excited to be moving closer to home and to explore another part of the country together.

Minnesota is Romney Ryan Country!

It was a last minute stop to Minnesota in the 11th hour by Paul Ryan before Election Day and Alex and I were able to get tickets to get in. There were over 6000 people that showed up to the Sun Country Hangar at the MSP Airport. The hangar couldn't hold all of the people so the majority of them waited outside with no view of Paul when he showed up. It was very exciting. Minnesota had turned purple and there was real hope that Minnesota would vote Red in the following days.

Thank you Martha Stewart!

For some reason, I got into the Halloween spirit more this year than any year in the past, which isn't saying much. We went to our usual pumpkin patch with the most unusual pumpkins. I worked really hard on picking out 3 pumpkins that worked together proportionately and in tonality of color. (The drawbacks of being a designer.)

Alex and Cider were excited waiting for the trick-or-treaters.

Alex's excitement wore off quickly when my pumpkin got the most compliments. Thank you Martha Stewart! I had seen this in her magazine years ago and had always wanted to do it. I figured this year would be the year.

I filled in a couple of times for Alex to hand out candy. For the most part, I was impressed. The kids were not as greedy or rude as they had been in the past. The parents weren't asking for candy as much either. At the end of the night, Alex came in and showed me what one of the trick-or-treaters left in his candy bowl. It was refreshing to get a blessing on such a greedy night.

Walk with the Animals

This past summer, Alex and I visited the Como Zoo in St. Paul. It was a place that I wanted to visit because they had gorillas, my favorite animal growing up as a child. 

Como Zoo is pretty small and was an easy visit. We ended up going on a beautiful Sunday in September. The sun was out and so were the animals. Even the cats, albeit they were sleeping.

Walking through the zoo, I got the usual guilty feeling of watching these poor animals roam their very small fenced in areas. They are meant to be in the wild, but they are stuck in Minnesota with goofballs like me gawking at them. I think I was taken back the most with the gorilla habitat. To give Como Zoo credit, they are building an outside area that is larger for our ape friends. However, it was still unsettling to see them confined to such small areas. I couldn't believe how close I got to this Silverback. He was clearly annoyed with the kiddos banging on the window at him. Obviously, the parents haven't watched National Geographic to see what these male gorillas can do when angry. I just wanted to give him a big hug.

a chuisle mo chroí (pulse of my heart)

We spent a week split between France and England. Our second week was to be spent in Ireland. We spent the week driving clockwise around the island hitting a lot of the highlights of the beautiful country Ireland. This was my family's second time visiting Ireland and Alex's first. We enjoyed sharing our experiences and memories with him and making new ones together.

We travelled from England to Ireland via a ferry. We landed in Rosslare and stayed at a cute B&B along the coast. We walked along the property and visited with the farm animals.

The next day we began our tour of the island with a stop in Waterford to tour the Waterford Crystal Factory. 

It still amazes me how they make the glass. It is truly artwork. We enjoyed seeing and learning their process. As well as shopping.


Next stop, Blarney so that Alex could get the gift of gab by kissing the Blarney Stone.

Surprisingly we got up to the top of the castle quickly. Which was good because Alex is not big on heights. I got my gift of gab for the second time.

Alex went for it and did great!

We ended our day in Kenmare. It is a cute little town located on the Ring of Kerry.

We opted to take a bus tour of the Ring of Kerry this time around. Before the drivers weren't able to enjoy the majestic views of the peninsula. This time everybody was able to watch the scenery. We were able to stop and hop off the bus to take in the sights. 

We even got to meet a real sheepherder and and his sheepdogs. It was an amazing demonstration. The dogs were intent on the sheep. With a whistle hear and there, the sheepherder got the sheep where he wanted with the help of his dogs.

The next day we headed up the coast to the Cliffs of Moher. Just like the last visit, it was cold and rainy. We stuck it out and saw some amazing views.

We ended the day at Kylemore Abbey. It is a beautiful home that was built out of love by a husband for his wife. It has since been turned into an Abbey. The contrast of the white against its green backdrop was breathtaking.

The next morning we headed up to Belleek. We crossed over into Northern Ireland and visited the Belleek Factory. Just like Waterford, we did a tour of their workspaces. Again, these pieces are a work of art. It is amazing that all of it is done by hand. We ended our visit with a bit of shopping.

We started towards our last stop before Dublin to the northern tip of the island to view the Giant's Causeway. The rock formations were amazing. Never seen anything like it before. 

Our last leg of our trip began once we arrived at the Kilronan House in Dublin. The main reason why we saved our pennies and packed up for two weeks was to cheer on Notre Dame as they played the Naval Academy in Dublin. We enjoyed our sightseeing but it was down to business.

We got in some irish dancing and music.

Even got to pour our pints of beer. Dangerous!

I discovered Bulmer's Irish Cider. Yum! In America it is called Magner's Irish Cider. I have never been a beer person, but Irish Cider hits the spot.

The next day we set out to visit some of the sights and sounds of Dublin. We viewed the Book of Kells and headed over to the Guinness Storehouse. The city was crawling with Navy and Irish fans. It was a lot of fun.

The boys toasted the Irish to victory a top of the Guinness Factory. The stuff will put hair on your chest.


GAME DAY! Here come the Irish! We visited the Tailgate Party that was outside on Grafton Street. I even tried a bit of Irish dancing myself.


The game was played in Aviva Stadium. This is home to the Ireland's football (soccer) team.

What a great time!

Cheers to the Irish and their victory over Navy!

On our last day we travelled outside of Dublin and visited Powerscourt. This home is considered to be the Versailles of Ireland. The grounds and gardens were beautiful.

We bought a picnic lunch at Powerscourt from all of their goodies and ate our lunch by the tallest waterfall in Ireland.

Sadly, our trip ended. It was a great time. It is hard to believe we were there just a few short months ago. It still boggles my mind how much we did and saw. Even as I post these pictures.

Slán go fóill Ireland. Goodbye for now Ireland. We miss you the most of all.