London and Paris 2017

London and Paris 2017

We adventured to Europe with Charlotte AND Johnny for the first time; a monumental experience for our little family.  The kids and I took the direct flight to London to meet John after a long work week.  We were able to spend a weekend in London and then Paris for the rest of the week.  It was probably our favorite trip as a family so far.

The trip started off with a pretty flawless flight to London and of course we were all so excited to see daddy after a week away.  (John met me after Customs with a coffee in hand:-))  We enjoyed London’s beautiful parks and great food!  Our most anticipated moment was seeing Lion King live at the Lyceum theater.  We all loved it!  Charlotte danced in the aisle and Johnny, in a moment of complete audience silence, shouted out “Scar is not nice” for everyone to hear.  The kids had their own room connecting to ours and they woke us up at 3 am the first night when they broke into their minibar for a jet lag party with KitKats, Sprite, M&Ms, etc… all memories we never want to forget.

Highlights from London:  The swans, a phone booth, The Lion King, Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens, break dancers in Piccadilly Circus.

Below are pictures from London (Paris follows):

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After London, we found our way to the lovely city of Paris via the Chunnel (not sure the kids totally understood the awe of being on a train under the ocean).  Paris did not disappoint any of us.  We visited a new park every day and planned our meals accordingly.  The weather was warm and sunny but not too hot.  We could wander for hours with the kids while stopping for gelato, a carousel, or to pet the next cute dog.  The parks, food, weather, and the people made five days in Paris feel magical.  Of course, there were meltdowns and Johnny was asleep in my arms by the time we finally made it to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but we thoroughly soaked in Paris on a new level.  Experiencing this together as a family makes it oh so special and I hope we never forget some of these memories.  

Highlights from Paris:  Arriving on Mother’s Day, the top of the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, Tuileries Garden, Jardin d’Acclimatation, Mr. Pistachio, two cute kids named Charlotte and Johnny.

Below are pictures from Paris:

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Christmas in Mexico 2016

Here we are again… escaping the hustle and bustle and/or running away to Mexico for Christmas.  The sun, the sand, the chips and guacamole, the seven days alone as a family is what Christmas means to us (mostly the later).  Santa subtly dropped by with a Barbie and a Captain America, which were both forgotten about within an hour as we made our way to the beach, and so went Christmas 2016.

We spent endless hours in the pool and at the beach.  This trip Johnny’s confidence in the water was at an all time high.  He seemed to think he could swim just like Charlotte (bless his heart).  John and I never took our eyes off of him for a solid seven days.  Charlotte pushes him in every way, which is mostly a positive.  This theme lead into one of our adventures of “swimming with the dolphins”.  Charlotte set the standard and Johnny followed.  They both rode the dolphins, fed and danced with them, and mostly were the coolest kids when it comes to anything new and challenging.

The next highlight of the trip was Charlotte surfing.  John and I had scheduled a day to surf and thought we should have Charlotte join us.  Of course, within minutes, she was up on the board and gliding gracefully to shore.  Her intensity and coordination combined with her inner mermaid made surfing only natural.  I stand amazed.  (Video below)

One more thought to add to our journal is when I tried my hardest to get the perfect “Christmas/beachy” photo of Charlotte and Johnny.  We brought down the Santa hat and the reindeer antlers along with the fancy camera.  After about 20 minutes of enticing them to get on board or just to indulge their mama, I totally gave up and captured everything that is Charlotte and Johnny (also pictured below).  Maybe this means staying in the moment and embracing the chaos – things you slowly learn as a parent.  Thank you, Charlotte and Johnny, for the lessons you give us daily.

I’m especially grateful for the progress we’ve made as a family which made this trip so fun.  I’m also extremely grateful for the opportunity we have to spend this time together over Christmas as a family in Mexico.  It might not be traditional, but this is our Mellor family tradition.  Feliz Navidad!

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Munich, Germany (Nov 2016)

Maybe it’s the charming cities that feel like Hansel and Gretel, the warmth and heartiness of the people, or possibly it’s the beer and hearty food that makes us love this country.  Whatever the draw is, Germany feels close to home.  Both John and I can trace part of our ancestry to Europe, so it’s only natural we have a soft spot in our hearts for this place.

Munich seemed to sum up all of the above plus more.  It was a bit colder than expected but we found great comfort in pork knuckle and beer.  John had a few days off of work when we were able to explore and experience (sans children).  I found plenty to do while he was working… mostly wandering alone for the first time in months.  We loved touring and staying in Munich but then found ourselves on a train to Salzburg, Austria for the day.  We talked, ate, drank, and lived like Europeans for a short while (and also froze our butts off). 

Our last stop was Hamburg where we were both surprised by the beauty and charm this city had to offer.  It didn’t have quite the countryside feel of Munich, but we found ourselves, once again, loving this country. 

John and I had eight days in total together in Germany without our kids.  I started to unravel the last couple of days, but pretty sure the kids didn’t skip a beat.  It was much appreciated adult time and all the things a (young) couple in love needs 😉  Love you, Germany.

Below are pictures from Munich:20161114-jc3a205820161114-jc3a206720161114-jc3a204720161112-jc3a196320161112-jc3a196620161112-jc3a195920161112-jc3a199420161114-jc3a205220161112-jc3a200520161115-jc3a209420161115-jc3a2105img_5427img_5425img_5424

A few pictures from Salzburg:20161113-jc3a2019img_5437img_5439

Pictures from Hamburg: 20161117-jc3a212820161117-jc3a213820161117-jc3a215920161117-jc3a217120161117-jc3a216320161117-jc3a221320161117-jc3a222320161117-jc3a2249

Washington, D.C.

We were beyond excited to see our nation’s capital for the first time as a family.  The intensity was at an all time high with just a few weeks to go before the 2016 Presidential election.  Our dear friends were so gracious to give us a behind-the-scenes tour of the Capitol Building and The White House, as well as experience Washington D.C. sites like the zoo, and the Natural History museum with an insider’s touch.  Thank you, Kennedys.

I suppose our kids will most likely remember the “sleepover” or licking the carpet of the West Wing (a strange urge Johnny had), but that’s okay.  We walked away feeling even more proud to be American.  We’re going to celebrate democracy, hold our heads up high and say thank you for letting us live in this country we call America – the land of the free and home of the brave.  We’re forever indebted to all of those who’ve gone before us to create such an incredible country.   

Love, the Mellors

(Pictures below were taken with an iPhone while managing 2-4 children at a time)

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Mexico in May

Once again, I’m 3 months behind on posting.  It’s been a fun and busy summer for our family but now that school is back in session, I’m hoping to catch up on life.

In May we took a quick getaway to our favorite spot in Mexico – Punta de Mita.  “Mud season” was in full swing in Park City so it was time for some sun and sand.  Our days were filled with the usual beach/pool rotation.  Charlotte and Johnny are getting to such a fun age and becoming more adventurous with all of the above.   I suppose John and I are doing the same  – we took our first surf lesson this trip at El Paredon.  Apparently this spot is not intended for beginners.  It was harder than it looks but both of us loved the experience and are excited to try surfing again.  I’m sure Charlotte will soon join us.

What we value most from our trips is the family bonding that comes after spending a week together without life’s daily distractions.  We caught hermit crabs, dug endless holes in the sand, collected an extraordinary amount of seashells, and requested Feliz Navidad from the mariachi band all while soaking in the time spent together.  I have to say this is the first trip or moment where I think Charlotte and Johnny started to “like” each other – which equals a total success.  Mexico, thank you once again for an incredible week.

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Christmas in Mexico 2015

Ah, Christmas in May!  That’s what happens when I’m 4 months behind on our blog.  But better late than not at all.

This year we headed to our favorite spot in Mexico (Punta de Mita) again to get warm and avoid the hype and chaos of Christmas 2015.  We all (well at least John and I) agree that having this be our present is the best way to celebrate.  We love warm afternoons at the beach while the kids get sand in every crevasse.  With two children under three, the serenity is balanced with sleepy meltdowns, dawn wake ups, and food fits.  We keep telling ourselves we’re “so close” to being able to go out to dinner and not have to look at the waiter and say “so sorry for the mess”.

So, here’s to seven days of sun, sand, chips and salsa, and ocean with our sweet family of four.

A few things worth noting, this was the first trip where Johnny was walking.  He felt like a million bucks strolling around the beach with a shovel in hand.  This also helped develop Charlotte’s relationship with him.  Progress between the two of them continues to be slow but steady.  I tried several times to get the perfect cuddly picture of Charlotte and Johnny together, but eventually gave up on that idea.  I hope to look back at these pictures in a few years and remember the good, the bad, and the in-between.  The days are long, but yet it’s going by so fast.

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Johnny Jr. aka El Jefe

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They’re still getting to know each other.

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Our sugar and spice

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Daddy’s girl

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Another attempt at photographing them together…

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Feliz Navidad

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Sunrise on Christmas morning

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Got this one on about take 34

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Our only picture together – Christmas dinner

Berlin, Germany

After John had been traveling for a couple weeks, Berlin seemed like the perfect place for us to meet up … sans kids.  It was a little hard for me to leave Charlotte and Johnny for 6 nights, but after a long stretch of single parenting, I got over it.

Neither of us had spent much time in Berlin so we really wanted to soak it all in.  The day I arrived happened to be a major holiday in Berlin – the 25th anniversary of the unification of East and West Germany.  The entire city celebrated for days and we were happy to join in.  This tied in perfectly to our history tour where we learned details of Berlin’s history and the impact from the wall dividing the city for 28 years.  One of the major reasons John and I like to travel is to feel the emotions of different cultures and open our minds to different ideologies of the past, present, and future.  The world is a fascinating place.  

We enjoyed our adult only trip to Berlin and tried to feel young and free again even though we still didn’t stay up past 10 pm.  Looking forward to our next time in Europe for new experiences where I hope we have the courage to let our kids join us.  

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Bradenburg Gate

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Holocaust Memorial

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Part of the Berlin Wall

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East and West of the Berlin Wall

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The Berlin Wall

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The Reichstag Building

The Reichstag Building