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Summer Sabbatical - Europe Edition

Hawaii

New York

Netherlands

Norway

Poland

Switzerland

Greece

Ireland

Iceland


This is where you can find us this summer.


We’ll be leaving town in May, first headed to Hawaii to commemorate the one year anniversary of Brian’s death, scattering some ashes and returning him to the sea that he so loved. This is going to be an overwhelming festival of emotions as we return to the island for the first time. I will never forget riding to the airport in my dear friends Robert & Linda’s truck, plastic totes filled with our most sentimental possessions in the back and Brian’s ashes – in various urns – tucked in a bag under my arm next to my very pregnant belly. It was a 10 minute drive as we only lived 2 miles from the airport, but those 10 minutes were excruciating as I fought to permanently cement every single memory we’d made in the house we were driving away from, to remember all of the times we’d driven that same Nimitz highway as a couple on our way to have lunch together and as a family headed to the North shore for a fun Saturday morning. I cried more tears than I thought I had left on that 10 minute drive and I know seeing those familiar street signs, the homeless man who lived at our intersection and continuously walked out in traffic, and the brown shudders of our house at 3073 Bridges St is going to be excruciating. But in a strange way, I’m also looking forward to it. I feel like the one year mark is going to be a big one for us, it will cement the fact that time is moving forward but we’ve survived and we’re back to remember and honor the special person Brian was to all of us. We will be hosting a memorial dive to include 16 scuba divers from all over the country –friends, peers and colleagues of his -who are joining us to pay their respects to this incredible life lost. It will also be a time of healing and of laughter, spending time with dear friends and people living on the island who have become extended family to us. Visiting some of our favorite places on the island, making more memories – albeit in a different capacity- and giving Adeline some time to see where she came from. She might have been born in Idaho, but she’ll forever be our little Hawaiian baby and I want her to feel a connection to the island.


From there we’ll be heading to New York to spend some time with my little brother and his family. After living in New York City for a short period of time, it’s always a weird experience to be back. Living in a walk-up loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with a handful of the best people I’ve been lucky enough to call friends these past 14 years is not something I ever take for granted, however our friendships were forged over the loss of one of our own. At the age of 21, our roommate and friend, Brandie Bailey was hit by a truck and killed while riding her bike home from work in May 2005 as we all slept soundly in apartment 407. Our lives changed that night, and have continued to change as a result of that devastating loss which we weren’t prepared to deal with so young. I’m confronted with these memories and that time of my life every time I return, but it gives me a sense of strength now – knowing we got through that together and I’m getting through this loss with these same girls by my side is something I’m so incredibly thankful for. Shoutout to Mo, Colette and Marina! I love you girls forever. From New York we’ll be flying over night to Amsterdam where we begin the European leg of this journey. We travel through 7 countries during the course of this adventure, finally ending up in Iceland before flying home at the end of August.


I chose places I’ve either never been before or places that I’ve loved and want to go back to. I took Izzy and Hudson to Iceland in 2017 while Brian was busy getting our boat, Stay Gold ready for his transpac adventure and it just feels like I need to take Adeline there to see it as well so it’s a memory and a place they all share. Ireland is hands down one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been to so that needed to be on our destination list. The others were places I’ve never been but am interested in seeing or have a specific thing I want do there: I want to see the Anne Frank museum (and show it to the kids) in Amsterdam, I want to see Auschwitz in Poland, I want to take the ferry from Athens to Santorini in Greece, I want to see the Matterhorn in Switzerland and I want to soak up the beauty of Norway because Brian said it’s his favorite place he’s traveled to. We have traveled with the kids since they were babies; Hudson was 3 months old when we first took him to Portugal and he and Izzy have already been to 5 countries outside of the US. I’m not worried about their ability to travel, or our ability to travel together as a family- the kids have grown up with travel as a way of life for them and we’ve demonstrated we’re quite competent in this area. Granted, I’ve added another baby to the mix and we’ve typically done 1-2 week trips, as opposed to the three months we’ll be gone this summer, so perhaps I have a false sense of confidence in this undertaking but honestly – at this point I feel like I’m capable of pretty much damn anything. We will get tired. We will get homesick. We will lose our patience. We will have meltdowns. But you know what, we would experience each of those feelings regardless of where in the world we were, including sitting on the couch from the comfort of our own home. This trip is for healing, for each of us as individuals and us as a family.


I know some of you think I’m crazy for doing this, but frankly I don’t care. This is what I need, what I want to do for my family and just because you wouldn’t do it doesn’t mean anything to me. As we continue to learn time and time again as we lose those people and relationships most important to us, we only have this one chance at life and I fully intend on living it how I want to. I sincerely believe I’m offering my kids the best childhood, the best education and the best gift I’m able to by exposing them to and including them in experiences like these.


SO, if you happen to catch yourself in Europe this summer, give me a shoutout and we can meet up for a cup of coffee in Switzerland, or a hummus plate in Greece! If you've been to any of these places and want to fill me in on things we HAVE to see, please do! If you've daydreamed about any of these places, knock this one off your bucket list and meet us there! One Life, One Chance! I’ll be keeping you all updated throughout our journey. xo




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Lessons of turning tragedy into triumph 

from a military widow

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