Friday, October 25, 2013

The Bucket List - an update!

Brandon calls it the dump truck list because I am always saying I want to go here, do this, do that, so this summer I made a list of what must happen in my life before I die.  Let's hope I have at least 50 years left to accomplish these things.

1. Go to Russia.  THIS WILL HAPPEN in 2014. Holland America has multiple cruises to St. Petersburg and my plan is to use our tax return to book one. Whether all 3 kids will be going has yet to be decided, but I am getting on a giant boat with delicious food and will be standing in palace square. I have always wanted to go to Russia and it always seemed like such a far away fantasy but not anymore!  We extended until 2016 so this is happening in 2015. My dad is also coming back that summer and is going to go with us!

2. Catch a halibut in Alaska.  You would think after living there for 18 years I would have gone deep sea fishing, but I did not.  So now when we go back that will be on the Alaska trip things to do. Who knows when that will happen, but I have seen everywhere Brandon grew up so now it's his turn.

3. Catch a marlin and mount it on the wall.  This will happen in Florida or Cabo.  Both possibilities when we live in Florida in 8-10 years.

4. Visit all 7 continents. This goal came about when I made it to Africa, so now I have three left. Antarctica, South America and Australia.  All great cruising possibilities.

5. Go to Ireland. Because it's beautiful and we are already in Europe.  It can't be that much harder to go a little bit further. People do it all the time.

6. Visit all 50 states. I only have Vermont left.

7. Go on a cruise every other year. This started in 2009. We won't be able to go next year but waiting one more year is fine. In my opinion cruising is the best way to spend a vacation and I want to do it as much as possible.  We didn't go on a cruise but we went to Greece!!  Cruising will resume in 2 years!

8. Live on the beach.  Hopefully in 8-10 years.

9. Finish my Bachelor's degree.  This should be done 14 months. I have exactly the right amount of money in my GI Bill as I have classes to pay for so it should work out perfect. DONE, DONE, and DONE.  Will brag blog about this when the paper is in my hand.

10. Learn Spanish.  For when we move to Florida. And because I want to work for the Federal government and it can't hurt.

11. Go to Greece. Maybe before we leave, maybe after we retire. There's plenty of time for this especially since we can hop from the states for the rest of our lives as long as Brandon survives the next 8 years. Also done! 

12. Go to Egypt. Let's let things settle down over there first.

13. Visit 50 countries. I need to add to the list and see where I stand.

14. Find a sand dollar on a beach. Brooke says go to Corpus Christi and it will be easy.

15. Find some actual sea glass on the beach. After reading the book Sea Glass I want some of my own! Found some in Greece!

Skydiving used to be a top priority, but I turned into a big wuss when Brice was born and I don't know if I could handle it anymore. I think I could do a tandem jump but I just don't know. My Grandpa flew skydiving planes and I rode with him one, even had to wear a chute, so we will see.

It's a short list, not so much a dump truck, but those are the things I really want to do!

Getting so big!

Kyle is in the 98th percentile for his height, and 80 for his weight, I am scared to see how big he is going to be!  He is almost 8 months old but has been wearing 9 month clothes for two months and is quickly growing out of those. He started army crawling this week to reach for things, and today while I was in the kitchen he made his way under the couch!  He wakes up every morning smiling and laughing and just began saying da da da da da da ALL THE TIME. I love this little man so much! 

On his knees!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Many hills and 2 million olive trees

Welcome to Greece!  We spent a week on the island of Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea. Brandon had just happened across a picture of Shipwreck Cove when he was on the internet one day and it was listed as one of the top 10 beaches in the world. So he started planning the trip!  We went at the very end of the season, a little too late actually because the season was over, but we wanted to coincide with the fall break and our anniversary. So if you want to go, go before the 3rd week in October to be safe. There is a ton of stuff to do there when everything is open, but we still managed to take a boat tour to the Shipwreck, the Blue Caves, and Xigia Bay by bus. That bay has naturally occurring sulphur and collagen in the water so if you scrub yourself with the sand you end up very smooth!

Ryanair only has flights to Zakynthos on Monday, out of Charleroi in Belgium, so we had to stay a week. (darn) We rented a car from Sixt and stayed in an apartment hotel that has a restaurant attached. Armonia Studios in Ammoudi, with Dionysis as the manager and his mother as the chef!  It was a two bedroom with a fold down futon, so Me, Brandon and Kyle were in one room, Brooke and Brice in the other, and Cody in the living room. There is also a microwave/stove, a fridge, a coffeepot and a hot water pitcher. I ended up buying instant coffee at the super market and just using the hot water. We found a couple bakeries and bought food and drinks for breakfast. Lunch was always out somewhere and most of the time we ate dinner at the hotel. Once or twice we ate dinner somewhere else just for more variety. Food was VERY cheap, you can get a gyro pita for 2€ and be full.

Brandon and I want to go back next summer for a long weekend so he can dive and we can do a kayak and more water stuff without the kids. They did have fun and we took out friend Brooke (her blog is here) to help which was awesome, she held Kyle while he slept at the waterpark, helped entertain them every night, held hands when going up and down stairs, watched them so we could go to dinner, and must have done something right because Brice wants to marry her and doesn't care what her husband has to say about it!

Ok, now for some pictures!  Day 2 there was a thunderstorm and Day 3 was super windy, so there are not as many pictures as normal for a Marsteller vacation, plus Brandon took A LOT on his big fancy camera so we can print some for the wall.  I also took some of my mom's ashes with me and spread them in two different parts of the island; once off the top of a cliff in Keri and once into the water on Ammoudi beach.  Those pictures are on the other camera.

Day 0 - October 14th
Covered Pita. This thing was monstrous. Brooke and Brandon both got one and neither of them could finish it.

This boy almost ate an entire plate of tzatziki. My new goal is to make mine own that is just as good!!

Day 1- October 15th

Day 2- October 16th
Day 3- October 17th (Cody's Birthday)

Day 4- October 18th

 Apparently I took no pictures this day. This must have been when we went to the waterpark. Everything is on Brandon's phone :( 
Day 5- October 19th

Rubbing the sand all over!!
It's milky white from the collagen

Rabbit stew!!!  He actually liked it. Tastes like pot roast.




First time on a boat!!

Day 6- October 20th Happy 5 year anniversary!
Turtle Island
Day 7- October 21st Time to go back home :(

This was definitely an awesome vacation. It can get to be in the 100's in the summer and it is very packed according to Dionysis. The main tourist towns are Laganes, Tsilivi, and Zakynthos Town (Zante Town). We drove around almost the whole island and could tell that these are the tourist towns. The main road in Laganes is lined with bars and clubs and can't be driven down in the summer because it is so packed with people. After the tourists leave people shut down their businesses and work somewhere else, mainly at olive presses making olive oil. There are 2 million olive trees on the island used to make the oil. It is the island's largest export. We were given a giant can from the hotel to take home, and I brought home two small bottles of garlic and rosemary infused olive oil from a local lady.
Sorry for the terrible picture layout, it never does what I want it to! I will try to update more often from now on :)