Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.


Christmas Spirit

This weekend we finally had some down time and were able to catch up on a few much needed things like sleep, grocery shopping, and most importantly decorating our house for Christmas.

Saturday afternoon after we finally dragged ourselves out of bed we went and picked out a tree. For the first year Landon actually got into it and was really excited to get a tree to decorate. This year we went to Home Depot, but I think next year we might try upping the ante and cut one down ourselves.

Saturday evening Adam and I took Landon to a babysitter for the first time for a much needed date night. We met up with some friends for dinner and then went to Adam's work Christmas party. It was good to get out, just the two of us, and hang out with other adults. The hardest thing about living in Nashville has been not having anyone to watch Landon. We were so used to having a Grandparent to watch him anytime we wanted to go out that it's been a real adjustment and we've been reluctant to leave him with a stranger. With Adam's Christmas party this last weekend and mine this weekend, we finally had a good reason to buckle down and find someone who could watch him. Luckily for us, he had a good time and so did we.

We spent Sunday listening to Christmas music and decorating the house. And just like Landon was all about picking out a Christmas tree, he was all about decorating it as well. He rocked decorating the bottom three feet.

Being the big Kid that Adam is, he decided to wrap the dog in Christmas lights which followed by wrapping the kid in lights and trying to take few pictures. 

I've seen some really cute pictures on pinterest of people who wrap kids in Christmas lights. I'd like to get Landon a cute pair of Christmas pajama's and Kaiser a Santa hat and try this again. I'm all for cute pictures of these two.

This year I added two trolley ornaments from my recent trip to Lisbon. Someday I'll have a chance to visit all the amazing Christmas markets in Europe and have an entire tree of ornaments. For now I'm happy with the addition of these two.

It never really feels like Christmas until the tree is decorated. I wish we could leave it up year round. I just love how our living room looks with a big bright tree in the middle of it. Even though I hate indoor plants, I love having a real Christmas tree. They are never perfect, but you can always find the perfect one for you. Not to mention they smell like heaven! This year ours has a lot of imperfections character, but we love it.

While we decorated the tree Adam set up the gopro and made a time lapse video of the whole process. Gopro's are the neatest cameras. It's always fun to mess around and create videos with it. I hope to get better and more creative with using it in the future. You don't have to be a skydiver to make a great video and while ours won't get a million views on youtube we think it's pretty neat.


This was our first really cold weekend in Nashville so we had to break out the cold weather gear. Landon discovered a new love for mittens which he proceeded to wear all weekend long. We also broke out a few of Landon's hats from last year. Is it possible that his head actually shrank this year? I swear this hat didn't fit him as well last year. I guess they really do grow into their heads. It's definitely a good thing for him. 
I just love those dimples!

Now that the Christmas spirit is in full swing it's Christmas music 24/7, nightly countdowns on our advent calendar, Christmas parties, secret Santa's, gift wrapping, and my favorite Midnight Mass. This year I'm determined not to stress about the little things and just enjoy every second. 

Only 15 days left till Christmas!


Lisbon, Part 2

Click HERE for the first part of my trip to Lisbon...

I woke up early the next morning and decided to spend the first half of my day in the nearby town of Sintra. Sintra is a UNESCO heritage sight and I’ve learned over the years that any place which receives that title is worth the visit. After getting off the metro I found myself lost and in search of the train station. For the first and only time on the trip I asked for directions. Something I’m quite proud of, not because I am too prideful to ask for help, but because there were few times I wasn’t able to figure it out on my own. In this situation, time was my motivator and after some help I was aboard the train to Sintra. As soon as I arrived in Sintra, I knew I had made the right decision. I can say that Sintra alone is the reason I will one day be going back to Portugal. As I’ve traveled over the years I’ve evolved as a traveler and large European cities don’t hold the same charm that they did when I was younger. Now I find more charm and magic in out-of-the-way villages where hidden gems reside. Sintra was quite the gem. With more than three palaces to explore, I decided to spend my time at the Pena Palace. Perched precariously at the very top of the hill town, Pena is as colorful as it is awe-inspiring.

Despite its more recent roots than the other palaces in town, dating back only to the 19th century, Sintra feels magical and untouched by tourist.

The cloister is an elegant sanctuary in the midst of the maze.

The rooms are decorated simply with different themes yet each room is stunning in its own right. Rooms range from elaborate furniture, to start of the art bathrooms, painted ceilings and muraled walls. No single room is too busy or has too much to take in at once, but I found myself wanting to linger in all of them.

There is even an entire room of paper-mache furniture meant soley for enjoyment of the King’s eye.

The views looking down on the thousand year old Moorish castle ruins, the village in Sintra, out to the sea and as far as Lisbon itself could be enjoyed for hours on end.

I did just that. Walking around the castle at a turtles pace and enjoying a late breakfast on the cafĂ© terrace. Pena Palace is the castle I’ve always dreamed of visiting. It feels more alive than Windsor itself and more exotic than those in Japan.

Next time I’m in Portugal, and there will be a next time, I will be sure to allow more time for Sintra including another visit to the enchanting Pena Place. The town of Sintra is charming as well with houses dotted up and down the hillside and an enchanting forest taking you there. In an effort to make the most of last few hours I decided to leave Sintra after Pena and travel back into the city. Given more time I would have loved to explore the ruins of the Moorish Castle and gone to Caboda Roca, the most Western edge of Europe. Had I not been alone and cognizant of daylight slipping away, I probably would have stayed out in the city all night, but there will always be a next time and there were parts of the city I had yet to see.

Arriving back in Lisbon I finished the last of Rick’s walks which started at the old palace square now called the trade square where ships would dock and sell their goods. A large statue of King Jose I marks the middle of the square and Lisbon’s own Arch of Triumph leads the way down the Rua Augusta with many shops and restaurants.

I enjoyed walking the street and seeing the vendors. Popular this time of year are roasted Chestnuts. Vendors roast them on site in their cart with a small wooden fire. All I could think as I passed them was how much my Dad would love them.

I mixed a little shopping with the walk and bought a few things for people along the way.  Part of the walk included the church of San Domingos. Unassuming on the outside this church was left partially standing after the Earthquake of 1755 and was rebuilt on top of the remaining structure.

You can easily make out where the old structure ends and the new one begins. I was not excepting the emotion that I would feel upon entering that church. I assume it is similar to the emotion one feels when visiting Auschwitz or Ground Zero. The Earthquake of 1755 happened on All Saints Day, a Sunday morning around 9:40 am when most of the city was in church and halfway through mass. Most of the citizens were found buried under the rubble of the churches and more than 1/3 of the population perished that day. As I sat in the seat looking up at the enormous ceilings I could imagine the terror that the congregation must have felt as the world collapsed upon them. Of all churches that I have ever visited, this church, with its lack of painted walls or ceilings, tells the greatest story. It takes your breath away in a way that is different than the grand churches of Rome and called for silence in a show of different respect. It was a humbling experience to be inside its walls.

In the same square as the church was a famous Ginjinha bar. A tiny little hole in the wall about six feet deep lined with bottles of Ginjinha, a small wooden bar and two men pouring shots of Ginjinha for 1.50 apiece. Ginjinha is the famous drink of the area made from Ginja berries and is considered a sweet grappa better than all others. I had to try it and after walking past it twice I finally got up the nerve to order myself a shot.

As to be expected, it pretty much tasted like cough syrup and although it may have rude, I decided against eating the two berries that came in the bottom. At least now I can say I know what Ginjinha is. I continued walking around the area and exploring each little square narrated by Rick Steves. Not being with Adam on this trip, I thought I would be able to spare myself of McDonalds, but when I passed one for the first time in two days, hunger, time, and my lack of enthusiasm about eating at a restaurant alone won over and so I continued with Adam’s tradition of eating McDonalds abroad.

McDonald’s happened to be in an area that I had been before and I made my way back to the city top terrace were I had started off my first day. I was looking for an artist I had seen the day before selling his artwork. A local painting of the city always catches my eye as a great souvenir. It’s great to walk past the painting every day in your house and even years later be reminded of the magical places you were. Since I knew I wouldn’t have to fight with Adam’s photography of Lisbon for wall space I bought a beautiful color triptych to add to our wall. I also got one last view of Lisbon just as the sun was setting.

As I headed back down the hill my hands full of bags and the streets growing more and more crowded with people, darkness closed in and I decided it was best to head back to my hotel and call it a night.

My trip to Lisbon would have been better if Adam had been along. I would have seen more, probably never gotten lost, and enjoyed his company tremendously. Had I not missed my connection and arrived in Lisbon earlier I would have had more time and been able to see a little more of each place as well. That being said, I enjoyed the short trip tremendously. I’m proud of myself for getting around and faring fine on my own in a foreign land. The opportunity to see new places and have new experiences was worth the loneliness for a few days. If anything, Lisbon only made my love and appreciation for traveling that much stronger and I look forward to visiting again in the future with Adam by my side.


Lisbon, my first trip...


This wasn’t my first time overseas by any means, but it was my first time overseas ALONE. There is a big difference. My company allowed me the opportunity to travel to Lisbon, Portugal for a few days for a business trip. While I can’t talk about my company on my blog (it is in the handbook) the trip was very little business that ended at the airport and allowed me two free days of sightseeing. As excited as I was for a free trip, the idea of traveling alone was intimidating. With the exception of my first trip overseas that I took with my family, I’ve always had the best travel companion, my husband. Over the years we’ve visited a number of amazing countries and we’ve always been a great travel team. I’ve always done the planning, we’ve coordinated the logistics together and he has always been the navigator. It’s worked great for us. So the idea of doing everything on my own wasn’t the most exciting prospect, but my love of travel outweighed any fears and I signed up.

Lisbon is a city. It isn't’t hard to reach or lacking of people and those are the things that made it the most intimidating to me as a solo traveler. The idea of being in a foreign city, trying to navigate the transit systems and find my way through the mobs of people all while ensuring my own safety is what caused me the most hesitation. On top of that, I’m a planner. I plan EVERY SINGLE detail of every trip. It’s something that I greatly enjoy, but for this trip I found out about the trip less than a week before leaving. As a matter of fact, I received the invite to go on Tuesday afternoon and was boarding a plane Friday morning. Normally for such a short trip I could have found time to plan within the three days notice, but last week was Thanksgiving and I spent exactly no time even thinking about Portugal until I started packing late Thursday night. A co-worker had given me the Rick Steve’s snapshot of Lisbon and another had given me a city map and recommended a good hotel and so I was ready to go.

Friday was a long day for me, as is any day of traveling overseas. I usually don’t mind the traveling part of the trip. The airport, the waiting, and the plane ride isn’t usually as torturous for me as it is some people. I have always been extremely lucky when it comes to traveling, but on this trip my luck ran out (My husband says its because I went without him...). My plane from Houston to Frankfurt was delayed over three hours. We started boarding late, they stopped boarding halfway through, and then once everyone was on board the captain notified us that the mechanics were working on the wing because it was missing some screws.  Once that was resolved he informed us that a plate was being changed out and after well over an hour on board he informed us that “a caution light wouldn’t turn off” so the mechanics were “investigating it further”. At that point they let everyone off the plane citing it would be another hour till take off. By now many people had missed their connections and some had decided to stay in Houston for different flights. Once we were all seated again the Captain informed us that they had to get the luggage of the travelers no longer on the flight off and we would take off momentarily.

Over an hour later our wheels were still firmly planted on US soil. This delay, especially the long search for luggage, caused me to miss my connection from Frankfurt to Lisbon. Upon arrival in Frankfurt, I was rebooked for a 7pm flight. 7pm finally came around only to find out that once again we were delayed. It wasn’t until two hours later that I was finally headed for my destination. I arrived late in Lisbon only to learn that my luggage had not. After almost an hour of dealing with the luggage claim I was finally in a taxi headed to my hotel. Given that it was after 11pm, I decided not to bother fooling with the transit system and get a taxi cab instead. I gave the cabbie my address and about 10 minutes and 15 euro later I was dropped off at the hotel, the only problem was that it was the wrong hotel. The hotel shared the first name of the hotel that I had booked and not being clearly written on the outside I didn’t realize it wasn’t the correct hotel until the front desk informed me of such. A few minutes later a new taxi arrived and this time within 5 minutes and 10 euro less, arriving at around midnight, I was finally in my own room. Day over!

To say my travel experience wasn’t good was an understatement, but I was determined not to let things out of my control ruin this short trip. With my long day and night and day of travel I had been able to read the Lisbon travel book and plan my solo itinerary. After a shorts night sleep I woke up early Sunday to set out and make the most of my day. I spent the early morning hours following Rick’s recommended strolls through the neighborhoods of Lisbon. First up, was a wonderful view down on the city from a high perched park called the Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara.

It was a perfect way to really see Lisbon for the first time and see where the city ended and the water began. There is always something extra beautiful about a city on the water and Lisbon is no exception. With Rick’s good directions I managed to follow his path and found myself at a beautiful church called Sao Roque. I’m not sure there is anything I love more than visiting the churches of Europe. From the grandest of the all, St. Peter’s, to the local parish church that my Grandmother and Great-grandparents attended in Croatia. There is something magical and spiritual in every single one. As was this church with a beautiful painted wooden ceiling that gave the effect of a domed roof, a masterpiece in its own right.

The vast morning light spilled in from the high windows and lit up the gold of the altar seemingly announcing the presence of God. After visiting the church I continued down the streets of Lisbon and into square after square of charm. Many of the buildings of Lisbon are decorated with colorful tiles and just walking the streets and admiring the colors is an enjoyable adventure.

One such square contained the hallow outline of a church that was part of a larger convent. Most of the convent was destroyed during the great Earthquake of 1755 including the churches roof. That earthquake demolished most of the city killing thousands. The outline of the church was left as a reminder of the events that took place.

Afterwards, I took the trolley up to Sao Jorge Castle which offered more stunning views down on Lisbon and a sweeping look across the bay. Lisbon seems to have drawn on other cities for some of their landmarks which include a San Francisco bridge and a small Christ the Redeemer on the opposite side. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the views, but found myself wishing I had someone to enjoy them with. Coming down from the castle I got lost which was frustrating as I knew that it would never happen with Adam by my side. I asked myself what would Adam do and came up with a plan to walk downhill toward the water until I found another trolley that I could hop on. I figured the lower I got the better my chances were to find a metro station as well. I probably spent a good hour lost and riding on trolleys until I finally had my bearings again. I decided to take a break and grab some lunch while I planned the second part of my day.

Only having two days in a place, and them being on a Sunday and Monday, wasn’t ideal. Many places within Lisbon are closed on Monday which meant that I had to pack a lot into Sunday. I was also cautious of it becoming dark and making sure I wasn’t out late by myself at night. Lisbon isn’t known for being the safest of cities and I didn’t want to be alone AND lost in a foreign place. I decided that despite the early closing times I would take the hour trip to Belem. Belem is only three miles outside of the city limits, but I knew with transportation and wait times I wouldn’t have long in Belem before the sights began closing. The major reason I wanted to visit Belem was to see the Monastery of Jeronimos. This monastery stretches 300yards and was built in the 1500’s as a thank you to early Portuguese explorers by the King.  

The monastery alone was worth the trip and time although all of Belem was highly enjoyable. Being a Sunday afternoon I arrived during evening Mass, but it wasn’t just any mass, it was an ordination mass. Since the church was packed to the brim I bought a ticket to tour the cloisters and museum. When I reached the second floor of the monastery I was greeted with an amazing surprise, the high choir and bird’s eye view of the mass taking place below.

I’ve only had the privilege of attending ordination masses twice in my life and neither on this scale. Just like the Jesuit church of San Roque from earlier, the awe and presence of God was immediately felt. Knowing no Portuguese I am normally lost when others speak, but being Catholic and knowing Mass I could follow and respond in perfect unison as the parishioners prayed to the saints. It was the first time that day that I didn’t feel alone.

I spent a good amount time in the church and exploring the monastery. The cloisters were especially ornate and a peaceful area to enjoy.

It was well worth the precious time it cost me and once I left it the sun was going down and the other sites were closed for the day. I spent the sunset walking around the waterfront in Belem. A spectacular monument sits at the edge of the water rightfully titled the Monument to the Discoveries and dusk was the perfect time of day to enjoy the area.

By the time the sun had set I decided it was time to go back into Lisbon and was able to meet a coworker for dinner. We met in an area we both were familiar with getting to, but found it to have very few places to eat. After walking around quite a bit we stumbled upon an American style dinner called the Great American Disaster. In Lisbon not everyone speaks English and despite having American in the title it seemed that no one in that dinner spoke any English. After fumbling our way through ordering we enjoyed great burgers and fries (a rare indulgence when I’m abroad). After getting on the Metro, saying goodbye, and going our respective directions, my first day in Lisbon was in the books.


How To Be Happy

I hate self pity parties. It is rare that I find myself sitting at a table of one, but that's exactly what happened last week at work. It all started because my employer was giving out free flu shots. It was a bunch of little things that happened that day which built up, but after a few hours I found myself sulking at my desk trying my hardest to hold back tears. I hate self pity. I hate it because I know how wonderful life is, but sometimes a dark cloud approaches out of nowhere and I fall victim to the rain. As I tried my best not to cry I found myself sitting at work thinking of ways to snap out of it. Sometimes it is easy. There are days when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed, get struck in traffic, and spill food on our new shirt. Things like these can really make for one miserable day. Days like that happen to the best of us. These days are also easy to snap out of. There are many things a person can do on days like these that can help them regain happiness. Things such as treating yourself to something special,  such as a favorite coffee, dessert, special lunch or manicure. A little pick me up to get out of the dark cloud is never a bad thing. Music is another great way to lift the spirit. People's taste in music is diverse, but I believe that happy music is the best music. A little Nat King Cole will always make me smile. How can you not be happy with music like this?

But amazing music aside, sometimes unhappiness is a much harder to overcome. A guy I use to work with committed suicide last weekend. I didn't know him very well, but needless to say I've been thinking about him a lot. I've been thinking about my day last week of self pity verses struggling with a life of it. I wrote THIS post over two years ago which was my personal story of becoming happy after a horrible event in my life. I realize my struggle was a short one and a I was very lucky in being able to stumble so quickly back into happiness. I said in the post that people have no reason not to be happy. I still believe that is true, but I don't think it is easy for everyone. I've been thinking a lot about happiness and how important it is. In thinking about it I've made a list of ways to overcome and be happy. Some of these may sound stupid or trivial to overcoming true depression, but it life is all about baby steps. It's hard to see that when you are in the middle of something bad and dark, but it's true. One day when enough time has passed all those baby steps run together and what once seemed like a mountain is barely a mole hill in your memory. A single step in the direction of being happier can change your life forever. Since happiness is so important and weighing on me so heavily I thought I would share my opinion on how to become a happy or happier person. Maybe it can help one person.

1.)  Be Grateful. This is the biggest one. In order to be grateful you have to focus on what you have and not what you don't have. Dennis Prager has a concept called the missing tile syndrome. People tend to focus in on the things in their life that are imperfect or missing which leads to fixation and great amounts of unhappiness. Don't look at the one thing in your life that is missing, focus on all the things that are great AND APPRECIATE THEM! The more grateful you are for what you have the happier you will be. It's been scientifically proven. In my post on happiness two years ago it was becoming grateful for the life I still had, not what I had lost, that pulled me out of my depression. Some people have 8 million reasons to be happy and only one to be unhappy yet they are miserable. For others it may be the exact opposite, but the trick is to focus on what you have at the time. Working on changing your situation is great, but if you can't appreciate what you have when you have next to nothing, then you won't appreciate what you have when you have everything. Make sense? And if you need a way to start the process of being grateful try a 30 day gratitude journal. It's amazing to see what all we have to be thankful for when we write it down and watch it grow. Or, even better, watch this video and give this a try...

2.) Be around happy people. Misery loves company and there is nothing worse than a bunch of people trying to one up one another on their woe is me stories. On the other hand, happiness is contagious. Noni is absolutely the most happy person I have ever met and there hasn't been a single time I've gone to visit her and not left just a little happier than I was before I got there. Happy people make other people happier. It's that simple. Don't waste your time with miserable people. Life is too short to be miserable. Surround yourself with people that are happy and your own happiness is sure to be increased. If you are not a happy person this may be particularly hard, but chances are a happy person can find something great about you and will find a way to connect with you. Soon enough you'll not only like them more than you realized, but your happiness will begin increasing.

3.) Change your idea of ideal. I always thought my ideal happiness was being a stay at home Mom and having five children. After having Landon I was immediately told not to have anymore children and soon after realized that being a stay at home Mom wasn't for me. At first it was hard to adjust to an ideal life that I had never dreamed of, but with a little time I was able to restructure where my happiness could be achieved. I started a new job and actually gave it 100%. I found more satisfaction and pride in succeeding than I ever knew possible. I went on a trip that changed my life and the direction of where I wanted to go. When everything you've ever wanted/dreamed of is taken away from you it might not be easy to just redirect and find happiness elsewhere but it's all about baby steps. Try new things. Is there something you've always wanted to try? Take a class. Maybe you'll find your life's passion. You never know where it might lead. Or take your life experiences and use it for good. Volunteer. Create goals both short and long term. Short term goals will help keep motivate and long term goals will create focus. It's amazing that in just a year Adam and I have made huge leaps toward our ideal goal of living abroad. A bunch of small goals together have put us closer and along the way we've both become much happier.

4.) Stop comparing yourself to others. In some ways this goes along with being grateful and I think this is especially hard for women. Comparing what YOU see in others to what you don't like about yourself or life is amazingly detrimentally to your happiness. One of my favorite quotes from Prager is "the happiest people I know are the people that I don't know very well." We look at one quality we envy in a person and suddenly we want to be that person. Just because the person in front of you in line at the grocery store has the perfect body doesn't mean they have the perfect life. You can't amply a single aspect of a person into all categories of their life, but we do. We create this idea that because they look perfect then they must be perfect, their family must be perfect, their life must be perfect. Truth is, that just isn't true. Compare yourself to others in so much as it makes you be a better version of yourself. If you want a great body work for it and use others as a motivator to achieve what you want and not as tool to tear yourself down.

5.) Fake it. Faking it has two benefits, but would the hardest of all. Act happy all day and by the end of the day you'll be happy. It's like making yourself smile until you smile without even realizing it. A woman at the drive thru of a McDonalds once told my husband as she cheerfully collected his money "Fake it till you make it" She then proceeded to ask him which one he thought she was doing. Of course he assumed the middle aged woman collecting money at the drive thru of McDonalds was faking it, but she quickly corrected him that she was making it. Well good for her! Maybe for years she did fake it, but who would know? After repeatingly doing a task it becomes habit or second nature. Being happy is no different. The second benefit of faking it is that we owe it to others. Ever worked with a miserable person? Ever greeted a sale clerk who returned your smile with a dirty look? No one wants to be that person. An unhappy person can ruin the day of all of their co-workers and it isn't right. Or as Prager says, we have a moral obligation to others to ACT happy. If you are down right pissed off all day feel free to scream at everyone in your head, but on the outside smile, say hello, and be nice. Chances are they will return the favor and everyone will be that much better off for it. So fake it or make it, but just act happy.

When I was first beginning to watch tv in the hospital I could only watch about ten minutes of the news with all the sadness and depressing stories they covered. Instead, I watched hours and hours of the family channel including Beverly Hill Chihuahua...both 1 and 2. I think Adam thought I was crazy laughing and smiling at a silly movie directed at 7 year olds, but I needed happiness, silliness, and light hardheartedness in my dark world. Sometimes we can't fully grasp what it is we need when need it. Sometimes hope seems futile in our moments of despair. They key to living life is to find happiness. In the minute, grand, long term, short term, with ourselves, and from others. Everyone's happy place is different and no one's journey is the same. If I had one wish I would make everyone on earth as happy as Noni. I know that this world would be a much better place for it. But since I've yet to find that Aladdin's lamp I'll do what I steps. I resolve to get up in morning determined to not focus on what I don't have unless it's to make me work that much harder to achieve it. To be the happiest person I can be for myself and everyone I meet within the day even if that means sometimes faking it and to surround myself with happy people as much as possible. And the greatest achievement of my life will be going to bed every night with the ability to thank God for everything that I have.


Halloween Weekend

This year Landon was Clark Kent becoming Superman...

My Mom arrived Thursday to celebrate Halloween with us. Unfortunately, mother nature decided to play a trick on us and we had bad weather all day. I had been planning on taking Landon to trick or treat at the Mall since he is still pretty young and I thought it would be better for him overall, but with the bad weather the rest of the city joined us there. When we got there, we immediately realized the lines for candy were very long and as we were waiting in our first line, they ran out of candy. So we got into a second line where the same thing happened. At this point, we decided to go ahead and start walking to the other end of the mall to eat and skip the long candy lines. On the way Landon managed to get four pieces of candy. I felt bad for him because he WANTED candy and was getting into saying "trick or treat", but at the same time I was relieved to not have to battle with him over how much candy he could have. The mall trip wasn't a total bust though because we had dinner at the Aquarium restaurant which of course Landon loved!!

The fish tank in the middle of the restaurant was pretty impressive. It's a great place for kids and I know next time we walk past in the mall Landon will throw a tantrum to go in. Yay! We did manage to sneak in a family photo although Landon had most of his costume off at this point. 

Since Mom was in town for the weekend she kept Landon Friday while we were at working. Luckily little man got to visit the Nashville zoo where he met this guy...

I'm seriously so jealous. I love owls! Mom said Landon loved the zoo so Adam and I are looking forwarding to taking him soon. 
Since Mom was in town we utilized the free babysitting service for a few hours on Saturday while we explored Radnor Lake. Radnor is a picturesque park with a lake in the middle. There are many trails including a 2.6 mile hike around the lake that we walked. The best part is, it's only a few miles from our house. It's a place we will be visiting often. 

And the colors were gorgeous...

Having just a few hours to ourselves was great. It's hard living in a city where you know no one, because you don't trust anyone to watch your kid. I need to get a babysitter lined up, but for now Adam and I will make due where we can.

Afterward our little date we all went downtown to walk across the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge. 

Check that one off our Fall bucket list. It was a great way to get out and kinda of explore the city. When we got downtown it was a little too hopping for a two year old. Broadway is bar, boot store, candy store, repeat and this goes on all down the street. It's always crazy busy and a little rowdy. We made our way into one of the candy stores to check it out and then walked back across the bridge. The walk back and forth on the bridge was great and Landon loved it. Any big area for him to run around and play is a hit.

It also provided great views of the city; perfect for my photographer husband.

All in all, it was the perfect day and it continued into Sunday. Sunday we took advantage of the gorgeous Autumn weather and setting and went out to get some pictures of our boys. Since Halloween was a bust we wanted to a get a few of Landon in his Halloween costume. I tired to convince him to stand there holding his shirt open so Daddy could take pictures, but being a boy all he wanted to do was run around, go figure.

Afterwards we drove up the Natchez Parkway, another bucket list check. I knew the drive would be gorgeous when the leaves were at their peak and was it ever. Adam took this picture from the bridge in Franklin.

Isn't that a gorgeous house? But even prettier are these two boys. By far the best picture of the day.

I dream of one day getting a picture of the four or us all smiling and looking at the camera. Will it ever happen? I doubt it, but maybe we will try again in the Spring. Halloween weekend was great and we all really got to explore a lot of the area while packing it full of fun Fall things. Mom is coming back in a few weeks to celebrate her birthday and I'm going to have a hard time topping this weekend.