Monday, November 21, 2011

a couple good weekends

ok we are slackers, mc dackers.

we have two weekends that are worth talking about.

Two weekends ago our good friends Joe Kane and Emily Lutz got hitched! We had planned a month before the wedding that Taylor, Morgan, Landon, Catherine and us would go down to Kansas City Friday night to hang out in the Power and Lights district. So Friday, Taylor and Morgan came over to ride to Kansas City with us. Yes it felt like a long drive but yes it was a fun car ride. We were meeting the Massoths there because Landon had the high honor of being an usher in the wedding and they were going to the rehearsal dinner. Once we got to Kansas City we went to eat at Gordon Biersch. Great food: Pulled pork sandwich x2, "healthy" pizza and stir fry, but mostly great beer. Then we went to the Flying Saucer bar and hung out until the Massoths showed up. Then came Joey. Then Kok. Then the groom. It was an awesome night celebrating Joe's last night of single-dom. For some reason, we all had a round of Irish Car Bombs. And a round of jager bomb. It was nasty and miserable. Thank you Taylor. We'd rather take shots of mintz any day than that. But all in all the night was glorious while we felt like we were back in highschool. But older.

Layne and the to-be groom on Friday night.

Saturday we all went and got some diner food breakfast. It was so yummy. After resting and getting ready for the wedding we finally headed out to the ceremony place. It was so pretty. Quaint, cute stand alone chapel with the perfect touch of rustic decorations. The ceremony itself was great. So sweet. They wrote their own vows and they were perfect. They also wrote all the music and lyrics that were played during the ceremony, which was also the "Thank you" gift. So creative. The reception was great. Live band and great food.

Some engagement photogs inside the chapel.

Personal-pan wedding cakes.

Bow-tie by Layne Culhane designs, fyi.

They look great even when blurry.

Sunday was no funday. Woke up early to drive the 4 hours home. Once we got home, we {as in K, bc L is still hurt} got ready for our last indoor game of the season. We got 1st place! Boom baby. And then right after the soccer game, L took K to the airport to fly to H-Town for the week. It was a crazy, fun weekend.

That week L and her mom flew down to H-Town on Wednesday to finally figure out where L&K were gonna live. We went to almost every apartment complex around his work, eating all the yummy food in between. Thursday after K's class, we went to this one last apartment place to look at {by this time L was getting confused on all of them and they already pretty much knew where they were gonna live, so she thought it was pointless to go to this place.} Thank goodness they went, because that turned out the be the place they are living at! Beautiful 2 bedroom apartment with an awesome kitchen, living area, laundry room and balcony. Plus the apartment complex has a dog run on site. Not just any dog run, but an awesomely huge, nice one were Charlie will not only be able to be left off her leash, but to where she can run [ITS THAT BIG} about 60 yards. Charlie will love us even more. No all we have to do is furnish it. No rental car mix-ups during this trip to Houston, so that was a plus.

Alrighcha'll. We won't wait long before our next post. Be on the lookout.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

there goes our training

So we've been training for the route 66 half marathon because we've been hankering for another long race and the route 66 race is in T-town. Last Friday we ran a 12 miler along the creek turnpike. It was a brutal run for Kyle, but Layne killed it, as always. There's a huge hill that we normally run up to get those extra hill muscle stretched out. It's about 2.5 miles from home and Layne was the only one that had the strength to get up the hill during our 12er. Mainly because Kyle was about 10 minutes behind. He was strug like a mother truckin' bug. Regardless, K got the mileage.

Also, over the past year, we've been playing indoor soccer with Layne's fam in a coed league. It's been really fun, but people have been randomly getting hurt, here and there. Pastor Andy sprained an ankle, Rion came down with a bum knee, Kyle rolled his ankle. It can get rough out there.

Anyways, this past Sunday during our game, Layne got the worst ankle sprain that Kyle's ever seen. No joke, it was sick nasty. K immediately wanted to go get an x-ray. L could barely look at her ankle without almost throwing up. Leaving soccercity, Kyle gave Layne a piggyback ride and everyone who saw her ankle cringed. When we get to southcrest hospital, the ladies in registration take one look and declare it broken. Second opinion from another lady: oh yeah, broken. Natch, we were pretty pessimistic prior to x-rays. Fortunately for us, it is not broken. And fortunately for you, here is a montage of the episode. What a beaut.



The last picture is very embarrassing for Layne. This is her first personal encounter with cankles and she doesn't like it.

This weekend is Joe and Emmy's wedding in Kansas City. Will our heroine be able to wear heels?! Or will she be doomed to doing the dougie in a robo-boot?! Stay tuned to find out...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

oktoberfest and beyond


We're gonna start this post off with the most adorable photo we've seen in a while. Briggs and CharMar taking a snooze.


Ok folks. So it's Sunday night and we are finally at a point where we can relax. It has been a whirlwind week/weekend that included and not limited to all of the following: picnic tables, thunderstorms, crazy cab rides, pitchers of beer, catching up with friends, post-Oktoberfest hikes across Tulsa, soccer games, birthday parties, chicken dance, desi wok, great cousin night, dog parks, cancelled shows, and naps.

It was Oktoberfest weekend and the whole shebang got kicked off on Wednesday night at corporate night. We met up with the Villain and Villain, Sr. and got reacquainted with the grounds. We met a lot of VSr's coworkers and had some good chicken dances but other than that it was a fairly low-key night [which was perfect because we knew we had three more nights at Oktoberfest].

Thursday was Kyle's birthday and he was supposed to have a show at Elwood's that night, but it was cancelled due to brisk, typical mid-October, evening weather. It was 45 deg F and it was cancelled yet they were still open that night. Oh well. So we met up with Villain and Tanee for some pizza and a drink before we made our way to Rusty's and then on to Oktoberfest. It was another great night full of dancing and ziggy-zaggy-ing, but was still fairly reserved considering the next two nights.

Friday was great and was pretty relaxed before we met up with Callan, Kelly, Cameron, Nicole, Haley, Andy, Cole, Racheal, Max and Casey at Haley and Andy's house. The plan was to get some pizza over there before we all headed to Oktoberfest together. We'd been planning this for a while and it was great for Cam and Nic to come in town and hang out with everyone.

Unfortunately Haley, Andy, Casey and Max couldn't come out to Oktoberfest with everyone, but after Oktoberfest we headed back to Haley and Andy's for circle of death and other assorted games. The whole night Callan kept talking about how he was gonna get up at 7am to make an 8am soccer game. Everyone was skeptical, except Callan.

He didn't make the game.

Cheers to Racheal for driving us to-and-fro. We rocked out to RATM on the way back. Throwback jam, y'all. While planning this shindig, we knew we needed to order extra pizza. And believe us, we neeeeded it. We scarfed. Between the two of us, we probably had a medium pizza during round two.


We got up fast on Saturday morning and promptly took a nap at home before we met up with fam at junkyard dogs and watched the pokes stomp the tigers at Mar and Joe's for a little bit. While we were there, Char and Stilly [Cam and Nic's pup mcgruff] had some last minute play time.

We also got a glimpse of a sleeping Sonny.

Lemme tell ya we were so exhausted from the previous nights at Oktoberfest and lack of sleep so we were not thrilled about doing Oktoberfest on sat night. However, Taylor and Morgan, Hugh and Jessica, Jill and Chris, etc., had come in from out of town to attend the festivities. And it was T&M's first time. And Rob was gonna have to miss but actually was gonna make it. And it was the last night. And...it was Oktoberfest, after all. So we put our party panties on and rode down to Tanee's house with T&M as the torrential downpour started. Luckily though, almost everyone we needed to meet up was there with us, so it was still a good time even though we were waiting the storm out. At first, we were super nervous because word around town was the Oktoberfest was cancelled, but after a bit of time, they actually re-opened with free admission. Big time, y'all.


There were waaayyy more people there than we thought there would be so it actually was a great time. The necessary pitchers, chicken dance, and cheers were all over the place and I think that everyone had a great time. From Oktoberfest, T&M, Rob, Tanee, Tanee's sis, and us all took a cab back to Rusty's house.

Why did we go there and not to Rob or Tanee's? We have no idea. As soon as we got there, we immediately set off on a hike back to Tanee's house [from 4th and Delaware to 25th and Harvardish]. Fortunately, the Villain had a typically devious plan to stop at QT and grab some quick Mickey Ultras. And taquitos. Stellar idea. It took a while to get back to Tanee's because everyone was chitty-chatty and takin' their time [it literally felt like 15 miles or 15 hours]. But that's all good cause it's always great to talk to those people. Taylor's daddy Dave came and picked us all up. So nice of him and it was great to see him.

Sunday was slow. We had to recoup quick 'cause we had an indoor soccer game and then we planned a dinner with L's family at Sr. Tequila's for K's b-day. We won our soccer game, which was a fitting end to the sporting weekend cause Arsenal won, OSU won, Man U got thrased, Chelsea lost with 9-men and Tottenham tied. Love it.

Kyle has a show this week but other than that, we plan on chillifying this weekend. The following pic of Charizard is an example of our attitude right now:

Tired. Seriously tired. And also, this:

Except we most likely won't be falling asleep with a tennis ball in our mouths.

C'mon out to Elwood's [19th and riverside ish] on Thursday at 7pm to hear Kyle and Callan play songs. See ya there!

Monday, October 10, 2011

larynx


Well this past weekend was packed.

Since Friday's are halfsies at work, we went to WhichWich for lunch then picked up our nephew, Sonny, for a fun filled day (3 hours). Almost every time we go out to eat, Layne figures out she likes what Kyle ordered more, and then therefore eats his before her own. Almost everytime {There are those rare occasions Kyle wants to swap dishes because what Layne ordered was out of this world}. The reasoning: Layne seems to always go to her go-to at places and Kyle usually orders something new. And then L wants to try, and then figures out she really likes and eats it all.

Soo... back to the main point of this blog: the weekend.

After that lunch, we picked up Sonny. We took him to Pumpkin Town. He loves pumpkins. Could be because it's part of the greatest season, or more likely because of his orange hair. We first went to this one pumpkin place in Bixby, but it was a bust. Absolute no fun, no slides, no ponies, bust. So before Sonny could say "Pumpkin" we turned the car around and went to our usual go-to pumpkin patch, Pumpkin Town. Since we are the coolest aunt and uncle we stopped by QT and got some goodies. Sonny was so talkative, funny and hyper after one piece of chocolate {don't tell his Mom & Pop} so that was all we gave him. When we got to PT we headed straight to the small, handsize pumpkins. Sonny grabbed one and didn't put it down until we took it from him. After browsing for the perfect pumpkin, we went to the small playhouses/shed {what L's mom would call them}. Sonny walked straight up to one and rang the doorbell {guessing to make sure no one was in there}, then walked right in and made himself home. Sonny then proceeding to show Kyle his house. After the walk-through, we then went to the small slide. Sonny loved it and probably coulda stayed there for hours while just chit-catting with us. Until this cute little girl came and Sonny went mute. Flirt. Finally Sonny gave in, and went back on the slide with her. After visiting the ponies we went to pick out another, bigger pumpkin to paint. Sonny had "the one" picked out and no other one was good enough. Just standing there pointing at a specific one in the pile of pumpkins saying "pumkin! pumkin!". So we tried to figure out which one he wanted by picking up the ones we thought he was pointing too..... they weren't the correct ones. So finally about picking up about 10 pumpkins we finally picked up the one. He just smiled and said yes.

We went back to our house to paint it. Layne helped him while Kyle was the paparazzi. He did great at first, putting one finger in paint and then touching the pumpkin. Then he realized his belly was as big as the pumpkin and then proceeded to paint his belly. His belly had more paint on it than the pumpkin did. He was a regular Van Gogh with his tummy as the canvas {think we found a piece of his ear at our house...}. Oh well, at least he had fun. After a shower {which ended up with our entire bathroom soaked form him splashing us} we went to the park. First to the trucks, then the train, then the water park {which was a bummer because it wouldn't turn on} then back to the trucks, and then on to the slides. We were all over the place. He didn't want to swing {which L was upset because swinging is her favorite pastime}. Once everyone was tired we took him home. After that we rewarded ourselves by going to get a sno cone {probably that last one of the year so we went with our usual flavs: Love on the Rocks and Silver Fox}.


showing k his house


there's the "finger" painting


realizing his belly is a good canvas... L obviously not opposing





We went back to home and went straight to get ready for the night. We met Sarah, Eric, Elaine and Daniel for dinner at Dalesandro's. We'd never been but we had heard some amazing things about the restaurant so we were stoked to go and try out this place. We got up there for drinks with S&E and said hello to Sonny {the owner} before E&D made it and we took a seat in a booth. For the sake of brevity and the fact that this isn't truly a food blog, we'll be brief. The bread was soft, the caesar salad was unique and appetizing, the pesto was fresh and cheesy and the dessert was divine. In essence, we loved it; Layne is still dreaming about the meal, especially the pesto. Sonny came over and chatted with us for a while and we had a great time with everyone. Afterward, we headed to Sonny's house to meet up with KFed, his boo, and the rest of our dinner party. We met Rocco, a massive 165-lb english mastiff. His bark made us think he was gonna rip us apart, but he turned out to be the biggest softy with massive slobber. We had a great time with everyone. Sonny has an awesome yard which is a must for that massive pooch {and a yard we would love for Charman}.

We woke up on Saturday and went for a 9-miler. Layne killed it. It killed Kyle.

After we recovered, we took Charizard to Biscuit Acres and then ran a bunch of errands. But first, to fill our hungry stomachs, we hit up Fat Guy's Burger Bar. Then we walked around Utica for a tick, went to Garden Ridge, IOMetro, Target, Home Depot, Dog Dish. Lotta locations. Lotta things to do. After all the running around, Layne started packing up the house. Yes, for our move to Houston in December. The early bird gets the worm...

We had been planning to meet up with Katy and Leigh on Saturday and we got a text from 'em to meet them and Alyssa up at Andolini's pizza. We got the pizza du jour, some sort of combo of mozzarella, arugula and cherry tomatoes. Way tasty. We went over to Leigh's house after dinner, which happens to be two blocks away from Haley & Andy's house, and had a tour, met another puppy named Riley, watched some rain-delayed baseball, and played some golf {the Villain's fave game}. After a little bit of time at her house we ended up going to White Owl to have a beer and chat each other up some more. Just us five and one of Leigh's co-workers named Brandon. Nice guy. We ended up leaving relatively early 'cause we were exhausted.

Sunday we had a relaxing morning before we went to the dog park with Charizard and then on to Kyle's outdoor soccer game. They won, but the real victim was Kyle's throat. He took a soccer ball to the larynx. It was practically a cannonball and he was trying to head it. He obviously missed. He says it was dipping. He also says that he still has a lump in his throat the size of a basketball.

Then we went straight home, taped L's ankle, said hi to Joey who happened to be in the neighborhood, then straight off to our indoor game. We lost that game, 5-2. It was close but a freakin' tough game.

After the game we showered and then started relaxin' after a long weekend. We decided to give in to our old stand-by dinner vice...Hungry Howie's.

Large. Half-sausage. Half-cheese. Cajun crust. Howie bread. Two ranch packets. Boom.

We hadn't had HH is fore-eh-ver. It was deliciously delicious. We of course had leftovers and they're just as good as the fresh pizza.

Now we are hungry again talking about HH and watching Chopped, so we're gonna go eat.

And since our pride and joy hasn't been on here in a while, here ya go! That's her taking over Kyle's spot on the bed while he was in Houston.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

#humpday


This is the hump day entry. We're watching survivor right now. Brandon has good intentions but he has no idea how to go about things. That's all we've got to say about that.

This is probably just gonna be a catch-all post. So let it begin.

We're trying to come up with Halloween costumes for a party this year. Layne's cousins {Haley and Andy} and their friends usually have an annual H party and it's one where people go all out in order to win the best costume prize. However, they're not doing it this year {and they didn't last year, for that matter} so we gotta start the tradish with our friends. We kinda don't wanna reveal our ideas that are developing in our collective mental womb, but we're open to any ideas that you'd wanna throw our way. Or if you see us irl, we can talk spook...

Tonight Layne made a mexican lasagna, of sorts.


It was onion, jalapeno, shredded chicky {impromptu addition}, corn, scallions, black beans & cheese layered between tortillas and baked for mas o menos 15 minutes. L got the recipe from Pinterest and it's another winner. L loves that site for recipes, fashion, future babe stuff & tons of other things. Kyle has a pinterest but he's been a little busy lately to pin a bunch of stuff. Plus L has waaayyyy more followers and is waaayyyy more popular than K, so he's kind of depressed.

Speakin' of social media, twitter is hott at the Culhane household. L threatened K three days ago. She said she was gonna Unfollow K if he doesn't become more proactive on twitta. So he has heeded her warning and been all over that shnoz.

Our dog is psycho and wants to play ball, frisbee or hide & seek pretty much every second of every minute of every hour of every day. She won't eat unless she's caught the frisbee at least 10 times. We can't even say frisbee or ball anymore because she freaks out {frisbee is the true "F word" in the Culhane home}

K so that's pretty much it. Laterz. Give us ideas for Halloween costumes thankz. {Thinking of going as the Villain +1, but we wouldn't be able to actually party. We'd have to be in bed by 9pm}

Sunday, September 25, 2011

houston we have a problem.

Last week Kyle had a class with his job in Houston. He had to miss the last game of the indoor season to catch a flight, bummer. But he went down on Sunday and Layne came down later in the week. When he got to the hotel, he commented that all his traveling went really smoothly, contrary to the whole Delta/Barcelona experience. What a relief.

Since we're moving down to Houston at the end of this year we decided to make this a little exploration trip to figure out where we wanna live. Kyle will be at two different offices over the two years that we're there, but we're gonna try to find a place closer to the office that he'll spend 18 months at. We found a few apartments in the area, but holy carp it's expensive. We kinda just drove around the area between 10 and 59, bounded by 610 and 45 to get a feel for the area that we'd wanna live/hang out, and it's expensive, but hopefully we find someplace close to Kyle's work so he can walk or ride his bike to work. That is the ideal sitch.

We found a lot of cool restaurants and bars while we were there. When Layne came into Houston on Wednesday, we went straight to happy hour sushi at Aka sushi house, a sushi place that Hal suggested. It was a great suggestion 'cause the sushi was pretty dang good and we also munched on some tasty apps.

From sushi we drove down Westheimer and almost stopped at the Royal Oak before we decided to hit up a place called the Grand Prize, another suggestion from Hal Tour Guides, Co. This place is at 59 and Montrose and we get inside and we're immediately kind of intimidated 'cause it's kind of grungy, but kind of charming too.

Warm red lights and comfy furniture, but it also had that goth feel to it. So we get a couple beers, have a nice catch-up chat, tweet the Villain and then decide to call it a night. We get to the hotel {K kind of pointing out buildings/stuff along the way} and start to unload Layne's luggage. Rephrase. Try to unload Layne's luggage. We opened the trunk and her luggage was gone. Stolen. Right out from under our noses. G-O-N-E, gone.

Welcome to Houston, Layne.

So we call the cops, file a police report, talk to Thrifty, Geico, parents, etc. Needless to say it's a long, long night and following day.

Side note: when the police officer got to the hotel to take our statement, he immediately asked what kind of car we're driving.

"It's a Chevy something."

"Oh yeah, Chevys and Ford trucks are super easy to break into. I'll show you how they did it."

Sure enough, scum just stuck a screwdriver into the key hole, wiggled it, and boom they're in the car. Pop the trunk, grab the goods, and then they're out. 2 minutes tops. We never had a chance. Cops basically said don't hold your breath for the luggage to turn up. All of Layne's clothes plus other random things were taken {but random things that add up}. What a freakin' bummer. Thankfully no jewelry was packed in there.

The rest of the trip was spent with one eye looking over our collective shoulder, buying some clothes at old navy, and trying to forget about the terrible welcome that Layne received. We're def gonna like living down there, we just have to make sure it's a safe area. We tried a few cool places {Cafe Brasil, Empire Cafe, Crave Cupcakes, etc.} that make us excited to get back down there. Deets: at Cafe Brasil we got the hummus and pita bread which was so tasty. We also got a pizza there that had figs, prosciutto and arugula. So good we almost went back the next day to have it again. We can def get used to the food down there.

So, once again a nightmare experience during some travels. I mean, we're not going anywhere for a long time. We won't promise that, but right now yeah we're not going anywhere.

PS - Harvest Beer festival was last night downtown and we had a great time with Mar, Joe, Callan, Rob and Tanee. It was awesome trying out a bunch of different beers and we even got to try Back Alley Blues BBQ. Great pulled pork there. We ended up at Patrick's out South and ran into some old time friends and some OSU peeps too. It was a great Saturday that was bolstered by wins for Arsenal and OSU.

Pic of the fam, followed by the picturesque Saturday morning featuring Arsenal, pumpkin spice lattes and naps.




Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

an evening with probst

Kyle got back from the field today. He was there since Monday. He's glad to be back. We decided to celebrate/relax with:


Watermelon-Lime Gin Martini. Balvenie 21 Portwood.

Survivor Season Premiere is on right now. We already like the red team better but we also like Coach, so this should be an interesting season. Cochran also seems like he's gonna be a hilarious character. Beeteedoubleyou, Russell's nephew is on the cast and it seems like he plays the game much differently than his uncle. That's all for now. Toodles.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

culhane family cruise

Ok now that you have been in our shoes for a while through that last post, we are actually going to talk about the vacation.

Kyle's parents took us on an awesome mediterranean cruise. The cruise left from Barcelona on a Sunday and we decided for our one year anniversary we would go up a few days early to celebrate while hanging out in Barcelona. The day we got there we walked around the streets near our hotel. We ran onto the street Las Ramblas, which is the trademark street. Then we found our way into the market, La Boqueria. It was amazing. Fresh fruit, fish, meat, veggies, etc. We tried to find some turkish delight but there was none to be found, unfortunately for Layne {t.d. is her favorite sweet and she's been obsessed with it since she first had it in Istanbul last year. It's nowhere to be found in Tulsa...} Next we went for a stroll down a side street and stumbled upon our to-be stomping grounds for the next day and a half. Pastry shops, awesome boutiques, rustic taverns all next to typical Spanish squares. We walked all along this area and explored all of the cool alleys {and eventually found an Irish Pub on the last day we were there..have to go there next year with the Dulleas}.

La Boqueria

So, it's our first day there and we're just walking around, checking the sights, and of course we've done our due diligence, we read all about pickpockets and sneaky Spanish thieves. We read about the people who drop money in front of you and a cohort takes money from ya pockets. We read about the who bird-poo on ya shoulder trick. We read 'em all and believe me, we were aware...

So we're walking along, down a busy little street and all of the sudden, this crazy dark haired, mini-Spaniard wearing white linen Hammer pants confronted us and did a quick hip shake, double side-step and mumbled some crazy sounding Spanish phrase {we would swear that he said "how do you like my dance moves?" in a thick catalan accent}. If you see us, ask us to do our impersonation of the rogue dancer and see if it matches with what you imagined. Natch, we stopped dead in our tracks, half flabergasted and trying not to burst out laughing... and half making sure we had our wallets. I mean, the last thing we wanted was to end up on a travel blog being the first victims of the new dance-inspired theft. No worries, we still had everything intact.

After the dance encounter, our evening wound down. We got some quick food and some clothes to wear for the next day {see previous post for deets} and then hit the hay. The next morn we got up, had an awesome breakfast complete with potato omelette, speck ham, salami, all kinds of cheeses, coffee, pastries, a variety of jams and, much to Layne's surprise and joy, nutella. We got our luggage from the front desk then set out on our journey to the Sagrada Familia. We love to walk all over the cities that we go to 'cause that's the best way to see a city, in our opinion. So for our day of Gaudi, we made the trek to Sagrada Familia and on to Park Guell after that and finished the tour by walking down Passeig de Gracia and seeing La Pedrera. Gaudi was certainly one weird dude, totally reminds us of Alice in Wonderland stuff.

At Park Guell

Sagrada Familia is one amazing place. The detail all over the place is astounding and it's so different from any other church/basilica that we've seen. Instead of all kinds of gold/silver/jewel embellishments, the architecture really takes center stage. We could stay in there for days and can't wait to go back. Park Guell is cool too, a little fairytale-esque, but had great views of Barca.


Ceiling.


After walking all over the city, we went back to the hotel and then got a quick bite for dinner. After we eat, since the weather was just astounding, we got a couple pastries and a bottle of cava and headed up to to our hotel rooftop. It was the perfect ending to a busy day about the city.

Favorite pastry shop.

Hotel Terrace on our last night in Barcelona.

In the morning we went running down Las Ramblas, got some great breakfast, walked about the city and then headed to the port to catch a boat. Holy carp the boat was way huge. It was docked next to the boat we took for our honeymoon cruise {which, at the time, we thought was massive} and our new boat dwarfed our ex-boat.

We were on the Norwegian Epic, and it had so much stuff to do. A rundown of the things we did: watched a cirque show, went to a teppenyaki, hung out in an irish bar a lot, hot tubbed it like crazy, relaxed in the spa often, sang along to some howl at the moon, froze our feet off at the ice bar, ate at myriad restaurants, went to a jazz and blues bar, etc. It was a great boat. The two best things about the cruise ship were the spa and the cirque show. Kyle's parents got us access to the spa for the week as an anniversary gift. It was a much used gift because we were there pretty much every day {& all day on days at sea}. Steam room, sauna, massive whirlpool, hot tiled beds and awesome sea-side beds. It was sooooo relaxing. The cirque show was called cirque: dinner & dreams, and was a show that went on during a dinner {obv} but it was so hard to eat because we were watching the show the whole time. The people were 100% muscle and had incredible balance. It was one of the most amazing shows we've ever seen, and the food was pretty good too.

The jackets they give you to go into the Ice Bar. It was -12 degrees.


Funny story. Since it was the first formalish night {the Epic has "freestyle" dining, so you don't ever have to dress up, but you can if you want} and Kyle wore a bowtie, natch. Layne and Kyle's parents were joking that because he was wearing the bowtie, he was gonna get called up onstage during the Cirque show to participate. Sure enough, about 25 minutes into the show, Kyle gets a tap on his shoulder and it's a performer asking him to go up onstage. He had balloons placed in his hands and between his legs, was blindfolded and the ring master used a whip to pop the balloons...K not really. They used a pin to pop when Kyle couldn't see. But he was wise to it.

So our first port was Livorno and we went on an excursion to the Cinque Terre. There were some amazing views and the towns were picturesque. In Vernazza we got some fresh pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella and pesto and it was probably the best pizza we've ever had. We still dream about that pizza. We had some time to walk around Monterosso and it was such a cozy town.


Our next port was rome and so we went to a couple churches (San Pietro in Vincoli and Gesu) and then hit the pubs. We first went to Scholar's Lounge right next to Gesu and then headed to Trinity College, after walking through Piazza Navona. We had to go to Trinity College because that's the pub that we got our first drink in Rome on our honeymoon! It was a pretty fun, relaxing time in Rome 'cause we love to just casually walk through cities. Coincidence: in Trinity College pub, we ran into a guy named Brooks who was from Ft. Worth, went to OU and now works in Saudi Arabia teaching Engrish. What a crazy coincidence, eh?

Pantheon had no scaffolding!


Our third stop was Naples and we had a hired driver by the name of Paolo who was so funny, witty, informative and accommodating throughout the day. We first started off the day by worrying about what time we would get back to the ship and if we'd have enough time to return. Paolo advised not worry because if we miss the boat we can stay with his grandma who "makes air emissions in the night just like the queen." He also mentioned that street signs are merely suggestions. Our first stop was Pompeii and it was crazy to see how huge the city was. We both thought it was a tiny little town but it was actually a huge complex.



After Pompeii we drove to the Amalfi coast and stopped in Positano for some quick shopping and amazing lunch. This was Paolo's suggestion for lunch because it had everything: the best italian food we've ever eaten, an amazing view of the sea, affordable, and great wine. It was family style and there were probably ten appetizers to eat. Meatballs and beans, fresh mozza and speck, grilled cherry tomatoes, roasted eggplant among other things. All of them were just so tasty. For entrees we got pumpkin pasta, lasagna, gnocchi and another type of homemade pasta. It was all so good but the pumpkin was especially scrumptious; we're definitely gonna try to recreate it at home. Dessert was huge and amazing, just like everything else and then we got shots of limoncello. Yuck. That shnoz is the most disgusting alcohol ever created. It's like they put a half shot of everclear on top of a half shot of lemon simple syrup. When you tilt the glass you sniff the potent alcohol and sip the super sweet syrup. It's truly wretched. It's supposed to help digestion. Hmm, yeah right.


We kept driving and saw Amalfi and Ravello, bought a couple souvenirs and then headed back to the boat. It was about an hour and a half drive back, and Paolo kept us entertained with his antics the whole time. Topics ranged from Italian history, wine, transvestites {"lady boys with surprise parts"}, our Aunt Kim, tomatoes, Vesuvius, etc. Melissa also had the idea to try to teach him some english slang. We think she's just a little behind on her current slang because she started with "da bomb" and then moved on to "word up." So we took the lead on this and taught Paolo "that's what she said." He didn't get it at first but when after a couple examples, he thought it was hilarious. After our trip with him ended we kept thinking that he's back at an italian bar with his buddies trying to relate this joke..."these are the things she says to him...", "she said that to him...", "he heard her say that..." We hope he remembers the proper wording.


The last port we stopped at was Palma, Mallorca. When we docked, we had heard that it was a slow 35-min walk from the port to the city center. We love to walk all over the place in cities that we go to so we we're all like, "oh yeah, 35 mins for grandma and grandpa is like 20 for us...this will be great!" Plus, we could see the cathedral {inside designed by Gaudi} from our room and we were a little skeptical, but we decided to go for it. So we set out for the cathedral and as we start grinding, the cathedral doesn't seem to be getting any closer. In fact, we regretted choosing to walk as soon as we set our feet on the sidewalk. But, eventually we made it to city center {a hour later, so whoever said 35 mins was crazy}. Turns out, there's some great shopping in Palma and Layne was in love with all the shops {this was kind of the story of the trip for all of the cities}. So we walked around, got some pastries, Estrella and then met up with Kyle's parents to check out the cathedral and grab some lunch.

Side note: at the place where we ate lunch, Layne spied a jug of nutella that was literally the size of her head. Scratch that. Bigger than her head. Swears.


We walked back to the ship {more like trudged along, but we got to look at some sweet sailboats and yachts while doing it} and then got ready for our last dinner on the boat. Sad, we know but we were excited to get back and see our dog {k, that actually might be more sad}. The cruise was really great though and we saw some amazing places. We're very blessed to have great parents/parents-in-law that do this for us!

Fortunately, there's no crazy story about the plane rides back home. We made all of our connections. We weren't held up in customs. Our luggage made it all the way home. We've never been so relieved for a normal flight experience. Only bad note: we left our bathing suits on the cruise ship.. and they don't know where they are. We'll get it figured out though.

So, our two last posts have been essays and if you're still with us, God bless you. We'll hit ya with some pet-centric posts pretty soon. Perfect.