When I created the list almost a year ago, I didn't actually believe that I would be able to cross 8. Visit a New State (or Province or Country) off of it.  I've already been to 31 of the 50 states, so in order to visit a new one, I'd have to travel pretty far west. I do get to Ontario, Canada, fairly often, but again, to visit another Province it would be a long drive for me. And a new country? With our stage of life it seemed impossible.

But then we were invited on a trip to Portugal with a few of our friends. We weighed the pros and cons -- Pro: Carson flies free until age two. Con: Flying to Europe isn't cheap. Pro: We had enough of credit card rewards to cover one of our tickets entirely and at least half of the other ticket, so we wouldn't be paying a lot out-of-pocket. -- and decided this was the year, we would go!
Our church is associated with a church in Sintra, Portugal. The main point of the trip was to spend time with the people there, to encourage one another and build relationships, but we also helped out with a few work projects in the sanctuary that is being remodeled, and of course we did a bit of sight-seeing as well.
Portugal has a vast amount of history, along with beautiful castles and palaces and coastlines to go with those stories. And the food... don't even get me started. Let me simply say this: I've never had such good bread or so many pastries served at every meal before. Carb overload.

We spent 10 lovely days in Portugal, and as much as we did love it, we were excited to head home again. Herm and I both share a love of travel, and we both tend to be homebodies as well. (How does that even work?) Trips like this are such a joy, but the saying is true, there is no place like home.
On our way home we had a 11 hour layover in Brussels, Belgium. We got a hotel for the night, then early the next morning took a train in to the city for a quick breakfast, before heading back to the airport for the final leg of our journey home. It was pretty dark out and we didn't have much time, but I feel like I can now at least say that I've been to Brussels. =)
We had such a wonderful time there. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to travel with my two favorite men. My hope is that year after year we will still be able to travel and visit new places, even as our family grows. This world is such an amazing place, and I feel like I've barely experienced it.


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