Trip Out West

I thought I’d spend a little more time this morning highlighting some of the other great aspects of our trip last week. In my previous post I shared our Bottle Feeding Experience at Yellowstone Bear World. It was awesome! That came early in our trip though and we spent three days in Montana afterward.

Our time spend in Idaho Falls was quick. We flew in to a fairly small airport, especially compared to MSP. The flight was just over two hours and was pretty easy. I was slightly nervous about flying, well, I am always nervous about flying, but this time around due to the fact that I still have a little nausea every now and then. It is very minor, but who wants that on an aeroplane? Not me!

Seriously, where is everyone?

Once we made it towards our hotel we decided to stop for lunch since it was about 11:30am and we were both pretty hungry. We stopped by a place called Snake Bite. They had amazing waffle fries (obviously! It is Idaho after all.) and I enjoyed shrimp tacos made with fresh corn tortillas. Yum. Justin started out vacation right with a flight of local beers. Lucky.

Snake Bite.
Snake Bite.

After lunch we strolled through a local farmers market and then went to check in at our hotel. We ended up using our points and stayed at Marriotts while on vacation so nothing too crazy to report there. We are always happy with Marriotts and know what to expect which is nice.

Before heading back for a quick nap before dinner we stopped by the Museum of Idaho. They were featuring, The Race to the End of the Earth exhibit. It was a nice exhibit and we learned about the first two groups to make it to the south pole, which has nothing to do with Idaho. 😉  We had dinner at a recommended spot, Jakers. They had a separate gluten-free menu which I was happy to see, and I had a massive baked Idaho potato and was happy as can be!

Before heading to Bear World the next morning, we stopped down to the falls that give Idaho Falls its name.

Really gloomy, but pretty falls.
First of many selfies.
Gimme all the potatoes.

Bear World is recapped here so after our eventful afternoon we drove to Bozeman. Unfortunately we did not stop for any pictures on the beautiful drive. Not even through Big Sky!!! That is our one regret, but both agreed we would be back and spend more time in Big Sky. The drive was amazing and took about 3.5 hours. We had dinner at Montana Ale Works. We shared a gluten-free spinach dip with tortilla chips, and I enjoyed some fish tacos and a pomegranate No’jioto! Our waitress also is also dating a guy from Afton, MN. I haven’t cracked open my yearbook to find him yet, but talk about a small world.

Cheers to Bozman!
Cheers to Bozman!

Waking up and seeing mountains out the window is by far one of my most blissful ways to wake. For our first full day in Montana we decided to head to Livingston. It had a nice and quaint downtime with a beautiful view. It was labor day so perhaps that is why it seemed like it was also an empty town. We did some walking around though and then enjoyed lunch at Rib and Chop House. They were donating part of the proceeds that day to the Wounded Warrior Project and we couldn’t pass that up. They also offered us 25% off since Justin is in the military. How awesome! They also had a separate gluten-free menu. Wins all around.

Downtown Livingston.
Can’t get enough bear time.
Sacajawea Park.
Paradise Valley.

Before heading back to Bozeman we drove through Paradise Valley which is on your way to an entrance to Yellowstone National Park.  It was amazing. Once we returned to Bozeman we took a nap (such a great vacation theme) and went to the Museum of the Rockies.

Museum of the Rockies.
Museum of the Rockies.

In an effort to wrap this post up before it gets way too long, I will end with our final full day in Montana. We decided to head into Gallatin National Forest and hike to the Palaside Falls. I researched it ahead of time and it was only about a half mile hike to the falls. Nice and easy for this newly pregnant lady.

Gallatin National Forest.
Palisade Falls.
We made friends with wildlife.
Top of the falls. 
Trees for miles and miles.

Hiking at that elevation while pregnant turned out to be slightly more difficult than I expected. It took me awhile to catch my breath, but it was a fairly easy pace and we brought plenty of water and snacks. Justin made a nice chipmunk friend and we really enjoyed the view. On our way back to Bozeman we stopped by a little river since we didn’t feel ready to leave the beauty of it all. While we were sitting there having a quick snack, Justin noticed some black animals coming out of the woods. His initial thought was black bears, but we were happy to see they were just friendly cows looking for a bite to eat.

Cows. Not bears. Phew.

As we left the forest and received cell service again, I messaged my parents to let them know we’d be in a tent by the river and they should start driving out with Selby. We LOVED it there. The Gallatin National Forest was about 25 minutes outside of Bozeman and offered other hiking trails as well. It was gorgeous.

For the rest of the afternoon we toodled through the shops in downtown Bozeman. The rest of the evening was spent just relaxing and taking in the last few hours of our vacation. We got a lot of reading done (I finally finished Wild and LOVED it!), took plenty of naps, enjoyed the company of each other and of course, enjoyed the beauty that is Montana. We are already talking about when we will go back and what we will do.


Bottle Practice

Justin and I just returned from a trip out west and it turned out to be one of the most beautiful vacations we have ever been on. We debated driving out west for quite a while but when realized how long it could take we decided to fly. I need to really focus on saving my PTO days for the spring!

We ended up starting our trip in Idaho Falls to try to complete an item on my 30 Before 30 list. Really, this was the sole reason for our vacation. #6, hold a baby bear, is kind of an odd bucket list item, but I was bound and determined to get as close as I could to completing it. As it turns out getting someone to let you hold a baby bear is kind of difficult, but I do believe it is possible. However, I didn’t think at this point, with a baby on the way, it was going to happen before the big 3-0 came along. So, I decided it was ok to settle and found a place in Idaho that would allow us to bottle feed cubs. We flew in to Idaho so we could visit, Yellowstone Bear World.


And for those that don’t know, I will provide a very brief back story about why this item was even on my list to begin with. When I was a young kid at Lily Lake Elementary I repeatedly checked out the same book from the library. It was a book about bears, my favorite animal, and inside had a picture of someone holding the cutest and cuddliest baby bear. Ever since then, I have always dreamt of holding one myself.

On Sunday morning we checked out of our hotel in Idaho Falls and drove about 25 minutes or so to Rexburg, Idaho. It was a bit rainy, but all in all, it was the most prefect day to bottle feed some baby bears. We got there about an hour before feed time, which was recommended. We had some time to kill after checking in so we bought some gifts from the gift shop, including baby Bradshaw’s first teddy bear, and spent a lot of time watching the bear cubs play before their feeding.

I probably wouldn’t survive, but look, I still fit into my jeans!
The cuteness was overwhelming.
Playing and rolling around.


The bears were born in late January/early February so they were already about 70 – 80 pounds. Picking one up at this point in the year was clearly not an option. I have trouble with my 40 pound goldendoodle, so a seven month bear cub would have been real tough. I was still beyond excited to get up close and personal during feeding though.

They brought about 10 of us into the first enclosure that had three cubs. Unfortunately we weren’t able to take any videos or photos while we in the enclosures because it tends to distract the bears from the task at hand…eating! The youngest person in our group was four and a half, and the oldest was probably in his 50s. They allowed us to feed the bears a half bottle each to hopefully allow each person to meet and pet all of the cubs.

Once the handlers got the bears situated, they would invite us forward to hold the bottle and pet the bear’s adorable little heads. Some of the bears would just stare right up at you, while others had their eyes closed as they quickly downed their bottles. Once the three went through their allowed ounces, we moved to the next enclosure with three more cubs.

By the time we got next door the bears were crying and pacing. They were definitely done waiting for us and wanted to be fed immediately. They were so loud and much closer to us in this enclosure, but still staying behind the wire. Some of the bears, in both enclosures, were quite aggressive with their bottles and made it hard to hold sometimes. The handlers were sure to remind us that they weren’t being aggressive in a mean way, but rather they were just trying to get the milk to come out as fast as possible. One bear, Zeus, looked like he was foaming at the mouth because he was drinking so fast.

Justin with Zeus.
Me with Jake.

Once all the bears were fed we had a few moments to ask some more questions. As a woman who sees breast-feeding in her nearish future, I was interested and terrified by the way the bears were treating the nipples on the bottles so I asked if they were that aggressive with the mama bear. The answer…yes. :/ Poor girls. I also found out that mama bears can have babies from multiple fathers in the same litter. As I was told this, I was petting Ziggy, whose half twin brother is Zeus and said, “You’ve got yourself a scandalous mama, Ziggy.” The reason behind this is the mama bear hopes the papa bear will remember mating with her and not kill her cubs. :/ Again, poor mama bears.

As we finished up, the bears were all nooking and getting ready for a nap. Nooking is simply sucking on the arms of the handlers. They were making purring noises like crazy as well. Once we left the enclosures all of the bears kind of cuddled up and took a nap. So sweet.

The pictures came with the feeding experience so once we received those we drove around the park which takes about 3o minutes or so. There we saw the bigger bears, moose, wolves, and a few other animals roaming around.

IMG_1456 IMG_1460

We both felt like the experience exceeded our expectations. Everyone on staff was so friendly and helpful and the bears were very well-behaved and beautiful. If you ever find yourself in the area, and you have a thing for bears, I would recommend stopping.


London, My Love

A year ago today I was spending my first day in London as a student. I cannot believe it has already been a year. Going to London was not just a fun experience, but it was also an experience that really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I’ve always loved the thrill of traveling, but I had never done it alone.

Experiencing life in a dorm room, and having a closer to traditional college experience than I had ever had before, was really what I was looking for. It was just kind of awkward that it was happening at the age of 27 and as a married lady.

Luckily I was blessed with a lovely 19-year-old roommate who wasn’t a mess and understood my old lady ways. Her innocent, up for anything attitude was inspiring.

The Adventures of Brighton and NighttimeI loved spending some of my days exploring the city by myself. I got a lot of thinking done as I navigated the tube or walked through the beautiful parks. Life can be so beautiful.


IMG_1452IMG_1442But walking around alone has its negatives. Like awkward selfies.

Me and Buckingham Palace
Me and Buckingham Palace
Princess Diana Memorial in Hyde Park- So Artsy.
Hanging on for dear life on the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

I had a lot of fun with the other students though as well. Like our trip to Brighton, on the Harry Potter Studio tour, Zoo Late and Silent Disco-ing.

Harry Potter Tour
Zoo Late
Silent Disco

And of course I wasn’t really alone when I arrived to London. My friend Jenny, from high school, was living in London so we had some great times as well. Like when we saw the QUEEN!!!

My name is Elizabeth too!
Sweeney Todd

I could go on forever, but I won’t. I will just remember the good times I had, with the good people I met.

Big Ben
Regent’s College

Vacation Aftermath

It has been almost a week since we arrived home from our first road trip together. We pulled in Monday evening after stopping by my parents house to pick up Selby. She had a lot of fun with Grandma and Grandpa and all reports on her behavior were great. Despite all the fun she had with Grandma and Grandpa, and Auntie Bailey, she was ready to head home the moment we pulled up.




When we arrived home there were four things on our minds. 1. Save Money 2. Eat Clean 3. Do Laundry 4. Catch up on Work.

We had a fabulous time eating our way through the south but knew we needed to get back on track. That means working out again and not stuffing our bellies full of BBQ and alcohol. (I know, sounds miserable.) We also spent a lot of money and have some things we’d like to purchase this summer so that means less eating out and more saving our monies.

I made a trip to the local grocery store shortly after our arrival home to make sure we had lunches for the rest of the week. I also decided to try a new breakfast recipe to make my mornings a little easier.

Overnight Oats                                                                                                                          

1 Cup Oats                                                                                                                                            1 Cup Milk                                                                                                                                            1 Packet of Chocolate Shakeology

You mix it all together and let it sit in the fridge over night. The next morning it is ready to go! I warmed up my cup of overnight oats, because I like something warm in the morning to help wake me up. I then sprinkled a little PB2 over the top, and added sliced banana. Yumm.



If you aren’t a Shakeology drinker you can add your favorite protein powder to the overnight oats. It is an easy recipe to play around with.

I hope to recap our vacation to Nashville and Louisville this weekend so stay tuned. But first, I must tackle this project!!!



What is your least favorite thing to come home to after vacation? Mine is definitely the laundry!!


All Good Things Come to an End

It was hard to decide what we wanted to do on our last day in Ireland. We knew we wanted to get out of the city, we just weren’t sure how far out. The Cliffs of Moher, Galaway, and Bray were all recommendations but we decided on a 30 minute train ride to Howth, which was also highly recommended. Howth is a small fishing village on the coast of Dublin County. 

The train ride was quite quick and easy. What was hard was actually finding the train station to leave from. We were given a map with the DART station on it. Unfortunately, we were a bit confused at where we were even starting so we ended up walking for about 15 minutes, turned around and walked about 5 minutes back until a nice delivery man noticed our sweaty, wrinkled up faces staring at our map. He gave us directions and as it turned out we turned around about two blocks away from the station. 
When we arrived we walked along the harbour. It provided a gorgeous view of a lighthouse on the other side of the bay as well as an island they refer to as, Ireland’s Eye.
Ireland’s Eye
We scoped out the different restaurants to figure out what we wanted to do for lunch. For obvious reasons the restaurants specialized in seafood. We were sure we would be getting something fresh and nothing short of amazing. We settled on a fish ‘n chips stand that was served the traditional way, in a paper bag. It was greasy, fresh, and awfully yummy. 
Ireland’s Eye with Howth Light House
Well fed Sea Lion
Happy in Howth
Bag of Fish ‘n Chips
Light House of Howth
Lovely Howth

We only spent a few hours in Howth, but we were very happy with our decision to visit. That evening we had plans to go to the famous Temple Bar area for dinner at Gogarty’s Pub. It came highly recommended from my classmates. The first two floors have live Irish music, while the top floor is their restaurant. The bar was packed by the time we got there so we had food in the restaurant. Once again, we left full and satisfied! They even gave me an Irish CD.

The Temple Bar
After dinner Justin had his heart set on going to O’ Donoghue’s, the famous Irish pub known for their famous Irish music. We were told it is the most talked about pub in Ireland. As we approached the pub it was quite small, but Justin remained bright eyed as we entered. There was no live music and it wasn’t that full. I immediately thought, “This is the wrong O’ Donoghue’s.” And as my thought turned into words I heard Justin exclaim, “This is great. This is exactly how I imagined it!” 
As I giggled and made my way to the toilets without working faucets, Justin ordered us our first round of ciders. We sat for a while, guzzled a couple more ciders, and enjoyed the ambiance of the candle lit pub. Then Justin leaned in to talk to one of the bartenders. He said with a proud smile, “Sir, I heard you are the most famous pub in Ireland. Is this true?” The bartender then had to break the news, “You’re thinking of the O’ Donoghue’s on Merrion Row. They are famous for their music. We are famous for our pints, and that is what really matters.” 
The “Famous for our Pints” O’ Donoghue’s
We had a good laugh afterwards and made our way back to our hotel to end the night with an Irish Coffee and Irish Hot Chocolate. I can’t wait to enjoy more of those this fall/winter.
Irish Hot Chocolate

We headed back to England the next afternoon for one last night. After a very long tube ride, trip through Victoria station during rush hour which resulted in a brief separation, and the Gatwick Express, we made it to our final hotel near the airport in the evening.

As we concluded our time in Europe together we felt so happy. Happy that we have the means to travel, happy that our time in Dublin and London was nothing short of amazing, and we were happy to just spend time and live life together. 


Many Old Things

We were eager for our second day on the sight seeing bus tour. We had plotted out which stops we wanted to get off at and which ones we’d get picked up at. Our first order of business was a little education at Trinity College. Trinity College houses The Book of Kells, and has a library with over 2,000 first editions. It was marvelous. 

Trinity College Campus

The Book of Kells
Illegal Photo of the Library

Although our experience at Christ Church was less than amazing we decided to check out St. Patrick’s Cathedral. After all, the cathedral was named for the man we celebrate every March 17th by consuming loads of green beers. As it turns out they don’t think St. Patrick ever step foot in the cathedral. However, it is rumored that he often preached from the garden outside of it. 

Blurry Photo at St Patrick’s Alter


Keg Full of Coins

St Patrick’s Garden

After experiencing a little spiritual tourism we needed some food. We were both really looking forward to lunch at Ireland’s oldest pub, The Brazen Head. The food was spectacular. We both enjoyed some Cottage Pie, which was a special that day, as well as some Irish Cider. 

Waiting Patiently for our Pie 
Behind the Bar 
Outside Seating
The Brazen Head

The Irish Cider didn’t wash down the cottage pie well enough and it was decided some Irish Whiskey was in order. We headed towards the Jameson Distillery. Like Guinness, I wasn’t a huge fan of whiskey heading into the tour, but hoped to leave enlightened. I wasn’t a Guinness fan by the end of the brewery tour but maybe Jameson would be different. 

This tour was guided which we much preferred over the self guided Guinness one. We were also able to take along a special 4th of July drink on our tour. Tours are always more fun with whiskey, right? I ended up enjoying the drink much more than I initially thought. The tour was about an hour and just like Guinness, Jameson has been around since the 1700s! 
Jameson Tour

Jameson Tour

Happy Birthday America, Love Jameson

During the tour the guide asked for four women and four men volunteers. The volunteers would participate in a whiskey tasting. The tasting would feature the best selling Scotch Whiskey, Johnnie Walker; the best American, Jack Daniels; and of course, the best Irish, Jameson. I think it was the whiskey already in me, not to mention the ciders, but I quickly volunteered and was accepted. I didn’t know a thing about whiskey and now was my time to learn.

At the end of the tour we were given our free glass of Jameson that came with our tour. I had mine with sprite and a lime wedge. Justin had his his favorite way, with ginger ale. Justin hung out in a different area of the room while I participated in the taste test. Some of the volunteers still preferred Jack or Johnnie over the Jameson, but I certainly loved the smoothness of the three times distilled Jameson. Who am I? Do I really like whiskey? Turns out, I do.
Whiskey Tasting

Official Whiskey Expert

We Love Jameson!

On our bus ride home we enjoyed the sunlight. We reflected on our first 4th of July out of the country. Even when Justin was deployed he was home for the 4th. We were happy to celebrate it with such wonderful people. The Irish love America and were happy to wish us a Happy Independence Day often. We even saw an airplane towing an American flag over the Dublin sky. 

Happy Birthday America!
Enjoying our Ride on top of the bus.
Irish Sun

I was certainly happy to be a citizen of the best country in the world, but with roots going straight back to Ireland.


Hello Ireland!

Today was the day we were to part ways with England and head over to Ireland. We had a fantastically long tube ride to Heathrow Airport. We were both happy to finally get there and check our luggage. You really get to understand why “backpacking” is more favorable than “suit casing” through Europe.

Our flight was delayed by about an hour. Weird, that hasn’t happened at all this trip! The flight was about 50 minutes. It was like we were flying to Chicago from Minneapolis. I love short flights! When we arrived we were greeted by our first Irish man in customs. He made customs a breeze and wished us the best and hoped that we would enjoy his country.
We were then greeted by another Irish man, our cab driver, Brian. He was fantastic! He took us through the city center on the way to our hotel to point out some of the things Dublin has to offer. He didn’t even charge us for the detour. He gave us some great travel tips, recommended a place to eat near our hotel, and again wished us the best and hoped we would enjoy his country.
The Barge
Four Levels of Great Pubness

It was recommended to us by many that we take advantage of a Hop on, Hop offbus tour. We recommend the red bus versus the green bus if you ever find yourself in Dublin. We also had a super fantastic driver pick us up every morning named, Brendin. We didn’t get him for the whole day, but he gave us a great discount, and provided some tips on what we should see and do and when.

City Sight Seeing Dublin
Check out Those Seats!

Our first stop was Kilmainham Gaol. We started at this prison because the guided tour provided a lot of information regarding Ireland’s history. Including the war with Britain to gain their independence as well as their civil war. The prison held many prisoners during the Irish potato famine and political prisoners during the different wars.

Outside Kilmainham
Narrow Paths Outside Cells
Center of Prison
Justin Looks Happy to be in Prison
I Should Remain in Prison for This Photo
A Painting Done by Mrs. Joseph Plunkett

There have been quite a few movies filmed inside the prison, as well as a U2 video, to help pay for the restoration of the prison. Some former prisoners even helped with the restoration when it was opened for tours.

After becoming a bit depressed and scared from the prison (they talked about ghost sightings!) we headed to Christ Church. We also toured an exhibit called, Dublinia, which is attached to the church. Dublinia is the name of Dublin when it was first established by vikings. Justin was more impressed by Dublinia than he was the church. I was the exact opposite.
Justin at Dublinia
Christ Church Sanctuary
Lighting a Candle
Christ Church
Christ Church

The most logical place to go after visiting a famous cathedral is of course to the Guinness factory! I am not a big fan of Guinness, mainly because I have never really tried it. I started the tour with high hopes of becoming a Guinness lover. The tour was not guided which left a lot of reading up to the visitor. This probably wouldn’t have been a problem if we weren’t absolutely starving. After a level or two of reading about beer making (you don’t actually see any brewing there), we decided to bolt and head directly to a cafe a few levels up. Here I was able to get my first taste of Guinness…in a stew!

We decided to not go back down to read the rest of what they had to offer, but we did stop on the advertising floor to see the history behind the Guinness ads. A free pint came with our tickets and I was advised by a couple of classmates to wait until the gravity bar to get my pint or you can learn how to pour the perfect pint. I was interested in having more of an experience so Justin and I learned how to pour the perfect stout!
Pull Tap Forward and Fill to Guinness Text
Let it Sit
Push Tap Forward and Fill to Top
Result- The Perfect Pint
Certified to Pour & Enjoy

I didn’t become a Guinness lover after the tour. I enjoyed it, but Justin did help me by taking a few sips otherwise we may have been there for awhile. We made our way to a very packed Gravity Bar, and I was more than happy that we didn’t wait for our pint. We did get a few nice pics since the Gravity Bar overlooks all of Dublin.

Gravity Bar 
Gravity Bar
The Mountains of Dublin

We had a fantastic dinner at a pub called, The Hairy Lemon. It was recommended by our hotel staff. The service was great, the bacon and cabbage was great, and overall the atmosphere was great!

The Hairy Lemon
After our first full day in Dublin we were in love. We loved the city, but even more than that we loved the people.