Houmas House Plantation and Gardens

Houmas House Plantation and Gardens

Recently my sister came to visit us at our new place in Louisiana, giving us a perfect excuse to play tourist ourselves! Since we only recently moved here, and we have been in the midst of unpacking, working, and life, we haven’t had much of a chance to get out and explore our new area, which is a shame. Long before we moved here, plantation visits were on my radar. Some have been converted into B&Bs that you can stay in (many of which are haunted!), others you can visit for a small fee, but some are still privately owned. Turns out, Baton Rouge, on the east bank of the Mississippi River, is right in the heart of plantation country. After some brief internet research, we chose Houmas House to visit. It’s only 30 minutes from our house and had tours on the day we wanted to go.

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Building Our Village

Building Our Village

We’ve never had the experience of living near family while having children of our own. Being able to call them up with only a few hours notice to babysit because our sitter canceled has never been an option. To those of you living far away from family - whether by choice or circumstance - you know this is a luxury, a luxury you don’t really get to experience. Instead, having family babysit requires careful, and often expensive, coordination, and is something that most are not able to do very often. But we still need date nights. The girls still get sick and have to stay home from daycare. One of us (usually Aaron) still has to travel for work. So instead of having the built in village of family to rely on, we have had to build our own. And that’s something that takes so much work.

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Life Lately and Some News

Life Lately and Some News

Guys, it’s been a little nuts around here. Either Aaron or I has been traveling just about every single week for work since June….of last year. Peppered in there was some fun travel too: Michigan, dive training in Florida, an amazing (but short) trip to Germany, Czech, and Austria, spending part of the holidays in Michigan with family. It’s been crazy and stressful around these parts. And amidst all that craziness going on, we had one more thing that we had to tackle: we had to buy a house.

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Diving Into History: Exploring the Depths of a Decommissioned Atlas Nuclear Missile Silo

Diving Into History: Exploring the Depths of a Decommissioned Atlas Nuclear Missile Silo

In a dimly lit passage, line with corrugated metal some 50 feet underground, we donned our dive gear: pulling on our dry suits, shrugging our arms through the harness on our backplate and wing, tugging our hoods down and over our heads, and pulling our gloves on. Fins in hand, we then walked over to a set of stairs - 48 in all - suspsended precariously 75 feet above the surface of the water. We were in a giant concrete tube about 60 feet in diameter and 200 feet tall. Above us, access to the surface was sealed off by a set of 25 ton nuclear blast-resistant steel doors. Below us, 100 feet of inky black but crystal clear water. Carefully, we placed our feet on each step, gripping the handrails for dear life, and made our way down first the wooden steps, which gave way to metal steps, and finally a metal ramp, to a floating dock.

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Our Experience With Hiring a Travel Photographer

Our Experience With Hiring a Travel Photographer

On our last trip to Europe, we’ve done something that I recently only discovered was a “thing” thanks to some family travel Facebook groups I’m in: we hired a travel photographer to take some family photos. And you know what? I don’t regret our decision one bit! I also now know what celebrities feel like with paparazzi following them!

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Diving the Straits of Mackinac

Diving the Straits of Mackinac

Back in June, you may recall that we spent two days diving at the Flower Gardens National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico. After that trip, Aaron and I remembered that we loved diving, we loved diving together, and realized that we need to do more of it. The only way to ensure this is to book another trip. So we did. On our way back home from our Flower Garden trip, we booked a shipwreck trip in the Great Lakes with the dive shop we use back in Michigan. I won’t lie, I was STOKKED about doing some shipwreck diving in our beloved Great Lakes again with one of our best friends!

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Visiting Burg Eltz - Rick Steve's Favorite European Castle

Visiting Burg Eltz - Rick Steve's Favorite European Castle

In September 2017 (omg, this was way over a year ago!), when I was pregnant with Julie, we made a trip to Germany to celebrate two of our friends getting married. It was a perfect excuse to visit Germany during one of the best times of the year, and a perfect excuse to play tourist in our former country of residence. We tried to do some things that we hadn’t done while we were living there as expats and one of those things was visiting Burg Eltz. See, Burg Eltz is one of the most famous castle in not only Germany (after Nueschwanstein of course), but in all of Europe, and has the unique designation of being one of Rick Steve’s, the well-known host of the aptly titled Rick Steve’s Europe, favorite castles in Europe. Needless to say, I had high hopes for this castle!

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