home again home again

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We’re home! Well, actually, we’ve been home for a week, but it still feels like we just got back.

As our bodies readjust (or more accurately, our kid’s bodies readjust), I thought I’d share a few more travel pictures with y’all (***edited to add- I was trying unsuccessfully to sort, so it is more than a few). I am working on compiling the tremendous advice we received and the things that worked into a “Travel with Toddlers” post- so watch for that as well.

I should start by saying that we couldn’t have asked for a better time. The kids were travel champs (well, mostly), we saw some absolutely amazing places, we loved spending time with Jordan and her family- all around, it was a seriously great trip!

We started our tripin the middleeast with Jord and her family.

Of course, it was cr-azy and over the top in a way that is unique to Dubai (aquariums and ski areas in malls? Only in Dubai!).

Burke loved seeing the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world right now), the fountain show, the camels near Jord and Drew’s home (though, in that last picture, he looks less than amused- haha!).

We also loved hanging out in Muscat, the capital of Oman (isn’t Sultan Qaboos’ palace something else?).

The Grand Mosque in Muscat is open to the public- wow. Seriously- more over-the-top, craziness (both the chandelier and the carpet were the biggest in the world at one point, but aren’t anymore).

And all of the kids (and the grownups) LO-OVED the beaches in Oman.

But the far and away best part of the middleeast was hanging out with family. In fact, Burke will tell you that COUSINS were his favorite part of our entire trip! It is never easy for me to say good-bye to Jord, and this time was no exception.

Luckily, the islands of Greece were a nice consolation prize.

It’s not even a little bit surprising- my Smooches are beach babies, through and through- they loved every minute of sand castle building, shell and rock collecting, surf riding goodness that we could fit in! We loved those Greek Isles!

Turkey proved to be equally amazing… I think Istanbul is one of the most stunning (and most crowded) cities I’ve ever been to! People were just fascinated with Burke’s and Piper’s blonde hair- by the end of our stay, we were (mostly) used to the staring and picture taking and whistling and kissing (I think Piper thought she was the Princess of Turkey… Burke was less amused, though).

The coast of Turkey was also just so beautiful- visiting the ruins of the city of Ephesus was one of my favorite things we did.

Even Athens, which was pretty low on my list of priorities, turned out to be a surprise hit- probably because my kids loved the National Gardens (we went there every day that we were in town- Piper loved the ‘zoo’ with peacocks, rabbits, and goats) and the Acropolis (Burke loved climbing the rocks). Plus, we had some of our favorite dinners from little cafe’s and street vendors in Athens. Who would’ve guessed, right?

I think I mentioned already that this kind of trip with the Smooches was nothing like our pre-kids travels, and that is true. Whoa different. Amidst the amazing sites and awesome beaches, there were seriously grouchy afternoons, and tears, and whines of “I’m hot… I’m thirsty… I want normal food.” Overall, though, I am so thankful that we had a chance to take this trip together (fingers crossed that this is the first of many such family adventures).

And if you made it through that entire post, you get a gold star. Way to go.

Have any of you been to the UAE, Oman, Greece or Turkey? Are you traveling this summer?ย  Are your kids weasel-y on long travel days like mine are? Also, do any of you still cry and cry when you have to say good-bye to your sister?

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  1. What an amazing opportunity you all had to go on such a trip! Loved looking at all the pics. Never been anywhere in Europe or Middle East, but would love to go. We are traveling this summer from Texas to Colorado for family vacation….in our RV! Should be an adventure! Not quite as exotic as yours, but family fun none-the-less ๐Ÿ™‚ My sis is only 5 hrs away, so we haven’t cried when we left each other, but if we lived across the globe…….definitely! Glad you all are home safe & sound!

    1. Leigh Anne- you’re coming to Colorado this summer? Where are you guys headed? Will you make it to Denver (if so, email me- I’d love to meet up, even for coffee or something)? We hear that RVing for family vacation is so fun!
      Plenty of time for Europe and the Middleeast someday, right?

  2. What stunning pictures! It looks like such a wonderful adventure. The Greek Islands look beyond amazing. I am craving some beach time, now!

    I still cry when I have to say goodbye to my best friend. She’s more sister than friend and it sucks some kind of awful. I’m thankful we live in the age of facetime. Its not nearly as great as being together. But, it makes being apart a little easier.

    1. Michaela, so true about Facetime (and Skype)! Thank goodness. ๐Ÿ™‚
      And yes to the adventure and to the amazingness of the islands in Greece- it makes me crave beach time too (haha!). ๐Ÿ™‚ Funny story- every time we see kids in swim trunks, my kids ask if I can ask them where they found a beach. I’m still trying to communicate how landlocked Denver is- clearly I need to keep working on that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Oh man, what beautiful photos! So foreign to my eyes (especially the ones in Dubai) but truly amazing. What a neat trip, and I’m so glad you got to spend lots of time with Jordan! My sisters all live close, it would be so hard to have them live THAT far away.

    PS – the camel photo is my fave. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. My sweet hubby has been to Oman and the UAE (plus a few other places) courtesy of Uncle Sam but I’ve only seen Europe and Canada. And yes our “kiddos” still sometimes get a little squirrelly on trips and they are 13,16, and 18.

    Love the photos!! I can almost smell the ocean and hear the waves crashing! Thank you so very much for sharing with us!!

    Have a great day!!

    1. Peggy, you guys will have to go together someday (not in the summer, though- haha!). And I don’t know if it’s encouraging or discouraging that your kids still get squirelly- that’s here to stay, huh? ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Your trip looks AWESOME!!! I am so envoius. And everywhere you went looks so stinking clean—all white and pristine…was it really that way or am I just a dirty American used to big cities???

    1. Liz, I love this comment. The middleeast (and the greek islands) were both CLEAN like you said. Very pristine. Istanbul and Athens were not, though- haha! Definitely fun to experience- and definitely good to be home. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. How did you keep your smooches entertained on such a long flight? My husband and I are traveling to UK for a wedding in October and my son is coming too. He doesn’t do very well on domestic flights, hates to be held, and wants to go all over the place. I’m really worried about the flight, the week long trip is very short so he won’t get to adjust (jetlag), and me going crazy and wanting to hulk smash things. What worked for you?

    1. Hey Emma- I am putting together a whole post about traveling with toddlers (mostly tips we got from other people, actually). I will say, it was not as bad as we thought! ๐Ÿ™‚ And the post should be up this week (maybe even tomorrow- I’m off to work on it right now). ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Your trip looks amazing! So jealous. I was wondering if you knew what the fabric is that Piper Jane’s dress is made out of in the last pic? the chevron one. The colors totally match what I’m doing in my girls’ room and I would love to get some. Thanks!

  8. Wow this looks like so much fun. The pictures are absolutely gorgeous. I’ve thought about Greece before but now I’ve got a few more spots to add to that trip. Holy smokes it’s beautiful!

  9. What an incredible trip! I’m still working up the courage to take a country hopping trip now – let alone with kids! I’m used to the prepare-for-3-months-with-one-suitcase-in-a-third-world-country-thing!

  10. Back in my younger years I wanted to travel the world, not so much anymore. I enjoyed your pictures thoroughly, however. I have spent the last 20+ years in the islands of Alaska and can count on one hand the number of times I have seen my sister. So even at 50+ I still cry when we part, it never gets easier. But it sure is wonderful when we do spend time together, seems like we pick up right where we left off. By the way, you are one of my favorite blogs, thank you for all the fun and inventive ideas.

    1. You are a brave soul- the islands of Alaska? What an adventure!!! And you’re right about picking up right where you leave off with sisters (and good friends, too). Thank goodness. ๐Ÿ™‚
      So glad you love the blog, by the way! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Such amazing photos!!! I’m glad you guys had a great trip and that your little ones were such troopers. I’m looking forward to your “traveling with toddlers” post! We just got back from Japan and I will be writing a similar post soon, but I’m sure it’ll be much shorter and less comprehensive than yours :). Thanks for the email BTW. I need a little time to get caught up, but write you back soon!!

    1. Cherie, I didn’t know y’all already went- I thought your trip was coming soon). ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, can’t wait to hear what you have to say- I hope it was fantastic!

  12. Oh, you guys are so cool for taking your kids on a trip like that. Seriously. Your pictures are out of this world amazing. I especially love that close up of the camel. And yes, I cry when I say goodbye to my sisters too. We are spread out all over the US. So glad you had such a wonderful trip, and are home safe! xo

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