Our Big News

11:27 AM Mallory Nicole 2 Comments

7 months pregnant. Yes. We have waited a long time to put it online, but with only a couple of months left and the bump being a bit more obvious, we decided it was time. Our wee Wiese is due in the first days of October.

We are a mixture of excitement and nerves; for a long time the pregnancy was surreal (I didn't really start showing until a month and a half ago), but now that this baby will be here in 9 weeks or so, we're nervous.

The morning of the anatomy ultrasound we decided to find out if we were having a girl or a boy, with the intention of keeping that to ourselves until baby showers. Now our family knows, and with that friends in San Antonio, but we still have a couple of showers in Houston.

So, in two months we go from a family of three (we count Samson), to a family of four!


Ephesus, Turkey

11:09 AM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

Ephesus. It's beautiful! Turkey is beautiful! This was our favorite port. We booked a tour since the drive from port is about 1.5 hours. It was the four of us and our tour guide; very personal. While planning this vacation, I thought I'd be wasting 3 hours driving around, but our tour guide told us all about the country, culture and history on the way. He pointed out ancient buildings propped on hills, and was so knowledgeable.

I didn't throw in a picture of it, but we were able to see the temple of Artemis, one of the ancient wonders of the world. The tour guide told us enough history to make it interesting without overwhelming us.

 The library at Ephesus is amazing, and it has been restored so beautifully.

When you get the the ancient city, you are able to walk through the ancient marble city, and it takes about an hour and a half when you include time to stop and admire the place. We were able to get an idea of what life was like for the people living in the city, including seeing the public bathrooms that were used.
Ephesus was lost from the third century AD til the mid 19th century, so only 10% of it is uncovered. While we were walking through the city, we were amazed that all we were saying was 10% of it.

Advice for Ephesus:

1. Visit it. Go when you are steady on your feet, but visit it!

2. Take a tour, especially if you can do one that is so personal. It was worth the extra money, and we got a free lunch with typical Turkish food at the end of the tour.

The only theater mentioned in the New Testament.


Dubrovnik, Croatia

10:54 AM Mallory Nicole 2 Comments

Old Town from the wall

Dubrovnik, Croatia has spectacular views of the Adriatic Sea, especially from the wall surrounding Old Town Dubrovnik. This city is trying to build up tourism to stabilize their economy/ During the Serbo-Croation War (1991-1995), Dubrovnik was bombed though they held no military force.in an effort to destroy morale of the country.

There is still evidence of the war as you walk along the wall; destroyed homes were transformed into gardens, and much of the Old Town is being rebuilt. Daniel and my experience was with the Old Town alone not the main city. I couldn't resist the photo opportunities that descriptions of the wall depicted. Despite the war, Old Town Dubrovnik is still a beautiful city.

 The rest of Dubrovnik can be seen past the wall.

The wall around Old Town was built in Medieval times and is about 1.25 miles around. Due to the fact that some areas of the wall are thin tourists can only walk around the wall one way. If you go, you'll be thankful for that. In keeping with my Athens post, I wanted to share some things for you to know when visiting Dubrovnik (Old Town):

1. The stairs you climb to get up to the wall are as old as the wall itself and people are ascending and descending. It doesn't seem important, until you realize the steps are not very wide, uneven and slippery due to traffic. My parents did not see the wall like we did, and I was thankful; my mom doesn't have the best stability, and she is afraid of heights. Which brings me to...

2. The wall is high, and as I said before, some parts of the wall fit 1.5 people across. There is some security in the walls that border the walk way all the way along the wall, so for someone like me, who is not afraid of heights, I felt fine. Daniel on the other hand, had to walk across these parts fast, until he felt more secure. I would often lag behind and take photos while he went to an area that made him feel safer.

3. Take photos. It's beautiful. How often do you get to walk along a Medieval wall with spectacular views?

4. I mentioned that we spent our time in Old Town only. My parents took and excursion, through our cruise line, which was much different than our experience. They LOVED it, a highlight of the whole trip. They took a bus through the scenic country and saw just how beautiful it is. They spent some time with families who make their living off of oyster farming and the production of olive oil. It was really neat for them to see the less touristy part of the country. The Croatian families were very hospitable, showing them just how their day looked, and giving them lunch, and allowing them to try everything. My mom bought me a bottle of the Olive Oil they made. I can't bring myself to open it, until I have a delicious bread worthy of dipping.

5. If you like coke (or diet coke), buy some there. In Venice and Athens (and even the cruise ship) we were paying from $3-$6 for a can of soda. In Croatia you could get a bottle for about $2. I know that seems silly, but when you're drinking tap water in these countries, the little things seem so great. Later we wished we would have bought an extra bottle for the ship.

6. Buy something from the locals. Daniel and I didn't know what sort of struggles the city has gone through until the next day when we spoke to our cruise director (who is awesome) and he told us all about being in the first cruise ship to return to the city after the war. The locals appreciation for their stop was heart wrenching.

I don't know what it is like to stay in the city overnight, but it would be worth researching, especially with views like the one below.


Athens, Greece

1:19 PM Mallory Nicole 0 Comments

Wow, I have really neglected this blog. There was so much going on that I wasn't ready to share, so I didn't share anything. Now, after being back for over 2 months, I want to tell you a bit about the Mediterranean Cruise my husband and I went on.

I've decided to share our trip by port, going in alphabetical order starting with Athens.

The "Front Porch"

The Acropolis in Athens was amazing; our US history is not so old, so this was quite an experience.

While looking at the detail in the architecture, I wondered if we could create such masterpieces by hand these days. The task seems daunting, now that we are so comfortable with our machines.

  A theater before you begin your ascent to the Acropolis.

The Acropolis is on a hill, but surrounded by the city. While walking through the city, you find a lot of pieces of ancient Greece surrounded by modern structure. I love that history is so imbedded in everyday life, not just stuck in a museum.

In Athens itself, the photo above is a common sight. The beauty of the Acropolis is not matched in the city, as I had imagined. The current Greek economy is in duress, and that is reflected on every building of the city. That is not a reflection on the Greek people we met, though. The shop owners we spoke to, and our waiter at the restaurant we ate at, were sweet and helpful.

There are somethings that I think all people should should know when traveling to Athens:

1. Make Athens a one day stop to see the Acropolis. Some friends of ours were planning on staying there while traveling around Greece, but after seeing their hotel options, and the state of the city, they opted to leave sooner then originally planned.

2. Wear a money belt. Never did I feel like someone was about to take my money, but I felt better knowing that my purse couldn't be grabbed off of my shoulder. While at the restaurant, a man, not originally of Greek origin, tried to sell us a cheap piece of plastic that threaded a needle for you. Our waiter warned us to ignore them, because when we pulled our money out for him, he would grab all that he could. The security of the money belt was really nice after that.

3. Visit the Acropolis while you are young. Not only do you walk up slanted steps to get to the acropolis, but once there, you are walking on centuries old, smooth marble, uneven paths and masses of tourists squeezing by trying to keep up with their tour group. Once you get by the "front porch" and Parthenon, the place opens up much more, and you really only deal with slippery marble.

4. We did not have a tour guide, and I was happy that we didn't spend the money on one. I do think my dad (who, with my mom, traveled with us) would have liked one, but he is all about hearing every detail about history. So that is to say that a tour guide is a personal decision.
BUT with the acropolis being about the only thing I really wanted to see in Athens, I was happy to just book a ride on an "On and Off" bus. These buses had set stops that took us from port, to the Acropolis (with stops in between) and from there you could take the bus around Athens. They provide headphones for you to plug into a station (with many language options) that told you about the sites you are driving by. It was enough to satisfy me, and I could stay or go, and wait for the next bus when I was ready to head somewhere else.

It was amazing to be in such an ancient place, and we are so glad to have been able to visit!