• Florida,  Travel

    St. Augustine Getaway

    A few weeks ago, hubs and I escaped to St. Augustine (the oldest U.S. city!) for a night. It was the 2nd time ever away from the kids and the last one was 18 months ago. It was time, haha! We were looking forward to sleeping in past 6:30am, but oddly we both didn’t sleep great at our little bed & breakfast place. Oh well, we’re used to it 😆. However, it was easily made up for by having just each other to ourselves for a hot minute! We had a super tasty dinner at Harry’s restaurant…and yes, those are bacon-wrapped scallops—DROOL. Afterward, we meandered the historic streets and got…

  • Family,  Florida,  Travel

    Timucuan Preserve – Theodore Roosevelt Area

    Here I was with my babes in the woods, spattered with bug spray and heading down the trail in the surprisingly pleasant Fall weather that Northeast Florida had given us that day; slightly overcast and not too muggy with a breeze in the air. We were exploring the Theodore Roosevelt area of the Timucuan Ecological & Historical Preserve. It’s a nice little trail! Along the way there’s a fork to the right over to the marsh and you might even spot a Great Blue Heron. If you’re interested in learning more about the preserve and surrounding historic area, check out this website. And taken from what I had posted on…

  • American Samoa (Tutuila),  Travel

    Our Return To Samoa 2019 — The First Days

      Well, we’ve been off the communications grid for the past few days, including internet access, social media, etc. Man, traveling internationally with our 7 year old, 4.5 year old, and 1 year old twins is no joke! In a 4 day span, we’ve passed through three times zones and spent 17 hours on a plane—2 of which were 6+ hour non-stop flights. We’ve been getting settled here in American Samoa and dealing with some emotional outbursts from the kids (which is to be expected, but doesn’t mean it’s easy!). Thankfully we’re finally catching up on some severe lack of sleep and getting onto the Samoan schedule…just in time to…

  • American Samoa (Tutuila),  One Year in Samoa,  Travel

    Pola Island & Tuafauna Trail

    American Samoa is probably one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Not even probably…definitely. I may be biased since I was privileged to live there for a year and take in the full cultural experience and witness tropical beauty on a daily basis…..buuut you’d be crazy to agree that it’s not gorgeous, right?? Here you can see Pola Island, a great natural nesting area for sea birds. It lies across Vatia Bay, where the snorkeling was always on point with something exciting to see. We had friends who always saw rays, while I always seemed to miss them, darn! It’s hit or miss with the snorkeling….you never know…

  • New Zealand,  Travel,  Utah

    New Zealand Countryside

    “The land of the long white cloud” is the nearest translation of “Aotearoa”, the Māori name for New Zealand. I took hundreds of breathtaking photos during our vacation 18 months ago and I’m dreaming of the day we can return to the land of the long white cloud. Scenes like this, or “The Shire” as I liked to call every single hillside while I busily snapping away photos during our cross country drives, definitely add to the numerous reasons of why I will be returning someday. And the cows! The cows are everywhere. It’s no wonder “New Zealand Grass-Fed Beef” is desirable stuff because it’s wild and free all over…

  • American Samoa (Tutuila),  One Year in Samoa,  Travel

    The Latest: Moving to Samoa!

    Wow. There have been a loooooot of life happenings since I’ve last updated this little corner of the internet. And usually I ruminate and stress over the most *perfect* way to start anew when I’ve missed several months of blogging, but just to make it easy, I’m going to be nice and straightforward. Hi. My name is Hope…I think my blog profile mentions that somewhere….yep, okay–check. Next: I have a wonderful husband, 2 darling (but not always angelic) little girls, ages 4 and almost-2. We lived in Portland, OR for 3 years while my husband completed his residency after medical school and NOW…the greatest news as of late…we are living…

  • Food,  Oregon,  Travel,  United States

    Food Pods in Portland, OR

    I wrote this journal entry back on August 23, 2013 when the format of my blog was a little different and more personal.  One of the highlights, was a crab melt I had for lunch that was purchased at one of the many Portland food cart “pods” downtown. They are located throughout the city, but the most popular area of consecutive pods is located between Southwest Alder and Washington streets, from Southwest Ninth to Southwest Tenth avenues. But rumor has it that it is going to be replaced with one of Portland’s largest hotels! Oh, such a shame….I’m hoping there will be a relocation solution for the food carts. It’s…

  • Family,  Oregon,  Travel,  United States

    Goodbye, Palm Trees. Hello, Pine.

    Packing, packing, packing, packing…..this has been my life over the past week or so in preparation for our big move to Portland next week! And while I have been playing mover’s Tetris, i.e. compartmentalizing things into boxes, the hubs has been putting in some long hours during his LAST WEEK of intern year. Woohoo! Woohoo for the last week of intern year, not the long hours part… I have mixed feelings regarding the move: sad to leave behind dear friends & family, sentimental places, and THE BEACH.   But excited to move onto the next phase of our lives and experience new adventures with new people in a NEW place…AND we’ll…

  • California,  Fitness,  Travel,  United States

    Walnut Creek Half Marathon Recap

    The Walnut Creek Half Marathon up near San Francisco, CA was my first half marathon after my first baby. So we traveled from Los Angeles up to the Bay Area (a long drive with a 6 month old!) and subsequently ran into a few snags throughout the experience. Here are some of the problematic occurrences: My running sunglasses snapped in half on our trip before my race during a short hike in Big Sur.  Little C woke up at 3 AM the morning of my race and kept us awake for an hour, which was NOT typical of her sleeping routine at this point (e.g. she slept like a quiet little…