• Stella Wren – The Growing Pains of Being (Almost) 2 Months Old

    Everyone says having a baby changes your life and I’m a total believer now.  Stella has been the best thing to ever happen to us, but also the most difficult endeavor we’ve ever taken on. I thought that the actual birth process was hard, but in comparison to the next (now almost) 8 weeks, the… [Continue Reading]

    Stella Wren – The Growing Pains of Being (Almost) 2 Months Old
  • Springtime in Seattle

    I feel fortunate to live in a place with such beauty.  Upon moving to Seattle in late winter, I was really eager to get out and begin exploring my adopted city, especially when the weather started changing for the better.  I started first in my neighborhood – West Seattle / Alki Beach – and then moved… [Continue Reading]

    Springtime in Seattle
  • Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

    Two years ago, Bobby and I traveled to The Netherlands specifically to see the famed tulip festival.  Unfortunately, we were a little trigger happy and showed up a bit too early to see any blooms.  Today, we made up for our disappointment by visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival near Mount Vernon, Washington, about an… [Continue Reading]

    Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
  • The Southwest’s Best – Upper Antelope Slot Canyon and Zion National Park

    We spent our last weekend before “the great move north” (AKA Seattle, the final leg of this tortuous PCS) on the Northern Arizona/Southern Utah border.  We planned to go to Page, Arizona to tour the Upper Antelope Slot Canyon, probably the most famous slot canyon in the world, but decided to tack on Zion National… [Continue Reading]

    The Southwest’s Best – Upper Antelope Slot Canyon and Zion National Park
  • Tour de (Southern) France

    I haven’t blogged much lately because Bobby and I have been spending most of our last few months of our Olmsted journey here in Firenze.  We officially have just 4 weeks left.  Yikes! Last week, however, we took our last “international trip,” a five-day trek through southern France.  Initially, I wasn’t very excited about traveling… [Continue Reading]

    Tour de (Southern) France
  • Greece Sailing Trip 2014

    We returned to Greece to sail the Dodecanese Islands for the second time.  This summer, however, we took off from the port of Kos (instead of Rodos), and traveled north to the islands of Kalymnos, Leros, Patmos, and Lipsi.  We took the “road” a little less traveled this year and ended up with a very… [Continue Reading]

    Greece Sailing Trip 2014
  • The Croatian Coast

    After Bobby took over duties for the last few blogs, I figured I should get back to my normal blogging routine (although he is a better writer than me)!  Last week, we took a ten day trip down the coast of Croatia, through Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and then back to Italy.  It ended… [Continue Reading]

    The Croatian Coast
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp

    Where to start?  Last year, Bobby and I visited Dachau Concentration Camp and it was a sobering experience.  However, our trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau was even more horrifying. It is commonly said, due to the robust rail network built by Nazi Germany, “all roads led to Auschwitz.” It became the number one extermination camp for Jews,… [Continue Reading]

    Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp
  • Reykjavic Adventures – Whale Watching & The Blue Lagoon

    We’ve officially made it to Iceland, our 30th country since this Olmsted Scholar experience began (almost) two years ago.  It’s been quite an incredible journey.  After leaving our car in Oslo, we booked a late flight into Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.  Our first day, we took a tour with Elding Whale Watching, the oldest… [Continue Reading]

    Reykjavic Adventures – Whale Watching & The Blue Lagoon
  • D-Day in Normandy

    Being an American, and especially an American who has a family member in the military, there are several historical/military sites that are sacred.  These places give us perspective, give us a better understanding of our past, and allow us to be thankful to live in the best country in the world.  One is the Normandy… [Continue Reading]

    D-Day in Normandy

The Baekje Cultural Land and Naesosa Temple

This was actually my favorite structure in the complex (it's not the actual temple. This houses the large drum)

When Stella and I finally got on Korean time, we were ready to take our first trip (albeit small) to some of the neighboring temples.  Our first jaunt was to the Baekje Cultural Land near Buyeo.  A fellow Air Force spouse had mentioned this complex and considering it wasn’t a very long drive (just a little over an hour), we decided to check it out.  Our second trip came the following weekend to Naesosa Temple in the Byeonsanbando National Park, south of base…. [Read More]

Our Korean Adventure Begins!

The Koreans' simulator building

At 10 weeks, Stella finally started feeling better.  We changed her acid reflux medicine to first-omeprazole/Prilosec, which is a bit stronger and ended up working a lot better.  She seemed to finally calm down and I felt good enough about it to make the plunge (i.e. agree to take an infant on a 14 hour plane ride across the Pacific to go see dad).  I heard a lot of “wow, you’re brave” and “that’s crazy” and “that’s a really long flight,” all of which I can understand.  However, as a military family, you have to be willing to do some things that aren’t incredibly easy.  I’m not going to lie….  I gave myself a lot of pep-talks and told myself that if the flight went absolutely terrible, it was only one day of my life.  I was pretty terrified that I was going to be on a flight with a screaming baby for who knows how long and everyone was going to hate me.  However, I put on my big girl pants and I got all my paperwork in order to take the military “rotator” or “Patriot Express” (great name, right?) from Seattle to South Korea…. [Read More]

Stella’s First (mini) Road Trip – Mount Rainier

It was a little windy, so we didn't get a perfect reflection.  Beautiful nonetheless...

Although we live in West Seattle, I would still consider Mount Rainier a road trip when it involves an infant. In the last week of our Seattle stay, before “moving” across the pond to Korea, my mom, dad, Stella and I drove down to Mount Rainier National Park.  We decided to do the scenic loop of the park, entering at the northeast corner on 410, passing by the Reflection Lakes, visiting Paradise (yep, it’s a place!), and exiting at the southwest corner before heading back home.  When it was all said and done, we were gone for 8 hours and drove about 225 miles.  Stella was an absolute trooper and had her first diaper changed in the trunk.  (We have since perfected that technique)…. [Read More]

Maternity Photos

Stella bean

I must admit, when I first started searching for a photographer for maternity photos, I felt a little silly.  Most people get maternity photos with their significant other and since Bobby was (and still is) in South Korea, I was worried I’d look a little silly having them taken by myself.  After thinking about it for a while and even posing the question to the photographer, I realized these were keepsakes I wanted to have for years to come.  What if I forget what I looked like pregnant or what if I never have another child? I also figured it would be pretty cool to show Stella what she looked like in mom’s belly.  So, I got over my insecurities about feeling a little strange, about feeling really swollen and big and decided to do it anyway. And turns out, I’m so glad I did. :)  Thanks again to Meredith Dickens for the photographs. These were taken at 34 weeks and I gave birth to Stella at 38 weeks and 5 days…. [Read More]

Documenting Stella’s Birth

Weighing in at a whopping 6 lbs and 11.2 oz!

When I told the story of Stella’s birth, I believe I mentioned we had professional photos taken along the way.  After doing an internet search and finding out several of my hometown friends recommended her work, I hired Meredith Dickens to document my pregnancy via maternity photos (see next post) and take photos of Stella’s birth and as well as her newborn photos.  After seeing the final product and working with Meredith three different times, I HIGHLY recommend her for anyone seeking truly professional work in the Ashland, KY area.  She spent about two hours on my maternity shoot, came to the hospital at 1am to shoot the birth in action, even returned the next day to capture Stella’s first bath and spent almost 5 hours at my parents’ house taking Stella’s newborn shots.  In hindsight, I was even more thankful for the photo documentation since Bobby missed Stella’s birth.  They are truly keepsakes we will treasure for years to come.  Since I already wrote about the birth, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:… [Read More]

Stella Wren – The Growing Pains of Being (Almost) 2 Months Old

Someone still thinks she's in utero - 2 weeks old

Everyone says having a baby changes your life and I’m a total believer now.  Stella has been the best thing to ever happen to us, but also the most difficult endeavor we’ve ever taken on. I thought that the actual birth process was hard, but in comparison to the next (now almost) 8 weeks, the birth was a piece of cake…. [Read More]

Stella Wren’s Birth Story

Baby girl finally made it into the world!

Stella Wren Flammia was born on June 22, 2015 at 2:37am.  I can’t believe she is finally here and we are now a family of three.  I think it was difficult for me to imagine what having a baby would be like on a day to day basis and it has certainly been a fun adventure so far trying to figure out a routine, all the baby cues she tries to give us and our strengths and weaknesses as a family…. [Read More]

Getting Ready for Baby – 30 Weeks

"Well Nested" crib bedding

I have reached the 30 week point of my pregnancy (7.5 months for you non-baby speakers out there) and that means I’m officially 3/4 of the way there.  Or, at least theoretically. :)  30 weeks means that I’m now seeing my OB every two weeks, so I’m gearing up to leave Seattle and move back to Kentucky for the remainder of my pregnancy.  30 weeks also means that baby girl is almost 3 whole pounds and the size of a large cabbage.  She is routinely opening and closing her eyes, has distinct sleep and wake cycles and some scientists believe she can even dream at this point.  How awesome is that?  The baby’s lungs and digestive tract are almost completely developed, although her sight is still pretty rudimentary.  I can feel her punching and kicking, flipping and flopping every day, which is an amazing feeling…. [Read More]

O Canada! Venturing to Victoria…..

View of the Empress Hotel

I have been pretty bad about blogging lately, but I’m trying to catch up.  A couple weeks ago, my mom, dad and I drove from Seattle, around the Puget Sound and back up the Olympic Peninsula to Port Angeles, where we caught the ferry to Victoria, Canada.  I know this is going to be strange, especially considering our extensive travel in Europe, but this was my first time visiting our northerly neighbors.  So far, I can say that Canada did not disappoint and Victoria is absolutely beautiful.  Some people say it’s a sleepy town, with its quaint tea houses and the small bay based on sailing and sea-plane tourism, but I found it charming.  Granted, I’m not sure I would want to actually live there, considering you are rather isolated.  The only way off the island are ferries to mainland Washington or Canada or a small airstrip at the north end of Vancouver Island…. [Read More]

Springtime in Seattle

Downtown Seattle from Kerry Park

I feel fortunate to live in a place with such beauty.  Upon moving to Seattle in late winter, I was really eager to get out and begin exploring my adopted city, especially when the weather started changing for the better.  I started first in my neighborhood – West Seattle / Alki Beach – and then moved on to other famous landmarks and neighborhoods – Pike Place Market / Seattle waterfront, Kerry Park / Queen Anne, Green Lake and the U district to name a few.  Of course I chronicled my findings (although mostly with my iPhone, so the photos aren’t of highest quality) and I figured now is as good as time as ever to showcase my new home.  I feel like I’m finally getting my bearings straight and can navigate about 70% of the time without directions, so at least I’m heading in the right direction…. [Read More]