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I swear this blog is becoming less about writing and more about our sporadic travels. I'm hoping that will change soon - I miss blogging and the community even though my break to write my book was great. I'm still writing but hoping to come here a little more often.

Me and Kev went to Maui last week just the two of us. He finished his first trimester of second year (a huge deal since second year is the hardest of med school) and was fried by the end. Maui was the perfect place to unwind and reconnect and sleep. Mostly sleep.

We went snorkeling, canoeing, swimming every day, read, slept, worked out, and mostly slept and ate a lot. It was everything we don't usually do on vacation - relax. Traveling is expensive and hard to plan and the actual flights and packing aren't fun but it's always worth it. If we don't have a trip planned I get stressed out.

Here are a few pictures if you'd like to see. Kevin got an underwater camera for his birthday last year. (His dream besides being a doctor is to be an underwater photographer. Serious.) I think it's adorable so was so excited he got some great underwater shots. He also took a yoga class with me and I'll always love him for that. He'd kill me if he knew I was posting this but come on - his Warrior II is spot on.



Drew and Lacey

So my sister Lacey and her husband Drew moved to Nashville six years ago as newlyweds. There was nothing for them there but a dream and they followed it and are still chasing that dream even now. They write their own music spending hours getting the lyrics, the chords, the sound just right. They network in the music scene, taking turns watching their beautiful girls so the other can go to shows and meet the right people. They play music until late in the evenings the nights they aren't out and even started a project for those hours: The After Bedtime Sessions which I think is beautiful because it shows that they are parents first and when the kids are asleep, they keep working. 

They're also like, the coolest people ever. They have an entire bedroom dedicated to their instrument collection (they each play like 6+), Drew has his PHD in education, they just got a dog named King George, and they regularly hang out with famous people like it's NBD. Their girls are hardcore hikers and kayakers since that's what they do on weekends, and Lacey is the most easy going, carefree mom. 

I've never really done this before, and my sister didn't ask me to or anything but I just feel like with this online community, we need to help each other live our dreams. They just put together a Kickstarter to fund their next album. It can get expensive, and on one salary it's tough to make it happen. If you like folk or country music, or even if you don't - please consider donating. Their incentives are great - posters, CD's, T-shirts (which I live in) and more for donating certain amounts. It doesn't have to be a lot. I guess I'm just a sucker for people who follow their dreams.

Thanks Friends. Click here to see what their project is all about.



We decided to extend our trip a little longer and spent four days in Paris. We got the Paris museum pass which I highly recommend and got lost in the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, Rodin (my favorite!) and L'Orangerie. We also went to Versailles for one day and rode bikes and picnicked through the gardens. Luxembourg Gardens were phenomenal as well, and we felt like the line to get to the top of Notre Dame was worth it for the gargoyles. My sister Melissa went to Paris for a week in the spring and had so many good recommendations for us.

The food was nothing compared to Italy (we must have hit the wrong places) but the atmosphere and the weather and the beauty of the city made up for it. At one point I asked Kevin if he was wearing cologne. We were walking through Jardin des Tuileries and he said, "No -  It's just the city of Paris."

Bike rides and picnics through Versailles

Our farewell view of Champs Elysees from the Arc de Triomphe

Four days wasn't long enough. I'm already planning our next trip back.



It was my dream to go to Italy. I studied it for four semesters at BYU, and was supposed to go on a study abroad that ended up being cancelled. I met Kevin that summer instead so I was cool with it, but I still dreamt about it, and started saving up for it since we got married. Kevin had his entire summer off and he spent most of the summer planning my dream trip for our third anniversary. We spent 9 days there, and already I'm dreaming about going back.

We started the trip off with 3 days in Rome. It was hot in August! We didn't expect it to be that hot. We started with the Colosseum, went to the Vatican, the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, etc. It was noisy and touristy and probably my least favorite city in Italy. Still, you can't go to Italy and not go to Rome.

 (P.s. my straightener blew up the first night there which was awesome. Please excuse my horrible hair in pretty much every picture.)

Next we went to Florence. Besides getting almost assaulted by a Gypsy woman for not giving her money (all Kevin had was a 20 euro bill) it was nice. We went to the Duomo which was way cooler from the outside than inside, and we toured the Academia. The David was so impressive - I couldn't believe how well-preserved it was. I'm not sure why, but we didn't take many pictures in Florence.

We spent our actual anniversary at Cinque Terre - a 2 hour bus ride from Florence through Tuscany. Cinque Terre was maybe my favorite day we had. It literally translates to 5 cities, all of which are built right on the sea, connected by trails. We hiked from town to town and took a couple of trains. It doesn't seem like an obvious thing to do, but if anyone is going to Italy - please do not miss Cinque Terre. It was dreamy. 

We went to Venice next. I asked a lot of people what to see in Venice, because it didn't seem like there was much to do there from everything we read in guidebooks. Everyone said, "You go to Venice to see Venice." They were right. The view was so gorgeous, we spent hours just sitting on a bench at the canal and looking. One of the days we were there, we took a boat to Murano and toured a glass blowing factory. It was so crazy. These guys spend 25 years training to become a "Master" glass blower. Their creations were stunning. I brought home a tiny whale, since we couldn't afford anything bigger. Someday I'd love to buy a chandelier or larger sculpture there. 

One night we were there, we ordered Spaghetti and Lasagna in a cafe with twinkly lights right on the water. I can't describe the feeling I had that night. It was like this floating joy. I never wanted to be anywhere else or do anything else for the rest of my life. I think heaven must be something like that night in Venice. 

We finished our stay in Italy in Milan. Kevin told the manager it was our anniversary (at every hotel we we stayed at :) but only our hotel in Milan upgraded us to a suite. It was hard to leave our room.  We went to the chapel that houses The Last Supper one day. Out of all of the museums we went to, it was my favorite art experience. Just 15 minutes, about 20 people, and one painting. Truly, less is more. I loved being able to just enjoy that masterpiece without worrying about what else I was missing, or being jostled by tourists.  We also stumbled into mass on Sunday morning at the Duomo and the vocalists were incredible.  I'd like to spend more time in Milan in the future. 2 days wasn't long enough.

Italy was everything. The pizza, the gelato, the charm, the gelato. Thanks Kev, for planning a trip I will never forget.