Tales of Wanderlust

American Expats In The Balkans

Albania, Europe, Expat life, Family Travel, Travel

Random jet-lagged musings on our first week in Albania

1. The Albanian people have been so, so kind to us. We’d heard that Albanian landlords weren’t great and getting things fixed could be a headache, but apparently we lucked out because ours came to our home and swept through with gifts for my children (cute little sun hats), potpourri for the house, pretty little nick nacks for our shelves, and the banana candy that their 21 year old son heard William whining about. We asked for a few things, ...
Budget travel, Travel, Travel Gear

Sanity Saving Family Travel Accessories

 We’ve learned a few things on our travels with  kids (many times the hard way). I’m quite minimalist, but while traveling, I have found a few items that are super helpful for having a smooth trip. Lush Shampoo and Conditioning Bars  Why? No liquid rules to worry about! So much better for the environment. Here’s what I suggest: Go to Lush and speak with one of their knowledgeable staff about which kind is best for your hair type. Every time ...
Travel, Utah

The top 5 most instagram-worthy places in (and around) SLC

The Book wall. This one is a bit of a hidden gem. Its located just south of  222 south Main in a little alleyway. 2. The “UP” House 132218 South Herriman Rose Blvd., Herriman,Utah People do live here now, so obviously be respectful, but it is so fun to to see in person! 3. Saltair. The lighting during golden hour never, ever disappoints. Gorgeous. 4. Alta- especially in Late Summer/early Fall. The wildflowers! 5. Eva’s ...
Travel Gear

What’s In My Camera Bag

A question that I get asked a lot is: “What camera and lenses do you use?” I use the Canon 5D Mark II. I bought it years ago when it was top of the line. It isn’t anymore, but I still love it and it takes beautiful pictures. I would love to upgrade to a camera body that does better in low light, but for now, this thing is just like an extension of me. I don’t have to think much, I just adjust and shoot. I primarily ...
Budget travel, Family Travel

How to Save for Family Travel

Cut Back The first thing you will need to do is not fun, like really, it’s not. You may want to get a Diet Coke or a glass of wine (whatever your drink of choice is). Here we go. Print out your bank statements from any accounts that you use to handle your every day family finances, grab a highlighter and calculator, and get to work identifying your bills. Now, break them into two categories: the ones you HAVE to have (a roof over your head), ...
Budget travel, Childhood cancer, Europe, Family Travel, Personal, Travel

Tapping On The Heart

I don’t remember how the feeling came exactly. It wasn’t a lightening bolt like you hear about. It was sort of like a light tapping, the kind that you don’t feel at first because you are so busy with the chaos of raising a family, the kind that gets pushed away. This feeling got stronger, like the way you don’t register something annoying your kids are doing and then suddenly it enters your consciousness and you realize you’re actually ...
motherhood, Pediatric Brain Tumor, Personal

My William

Surgery was Tuesday and it went well. 95% of the tumor was removed. We are in the Neuro Trauma unit. I keep seeing that word each time we go in and out. Trauma, trauma…traumatized. I am, we are, as a family, so traumatized. William obviously most of all. From the first seizure to the MRI that lit up with a big white circle in his brain, to now. When he woke up after surgery, he couldn’t talk, or move his right side. He was so ...
motherhood, Pediatric Brain Tumor, Personal

Love

  We are home. For the first few days in the hospital, William wasn’t doing very well and we thought we would be staying in inpatient rehab for a long time. Tony and I mentioned Scarlett while we were talking and Will’s little heart broke. He started crying really hard. We realized he was missing her so much! We just didn’t want her to have to see him when he was really swollen and in a lot of pain. We brought her to the hospital, and ...
motherhood, Pediatric Brain Tumor, Personal

The Unknown

I came across this picture as I was catching up on editing this afternoon and it took my breath away. Sometimes an image can say so much more than my feeble, clunky words ever can. My husband took this photo of Will and I as the sun was setting after a perfect day at the lake. Now? It depicts my life perfectly, I’m surrounded by waters of the unknown, holding tight to this beautiful boy with everything I have. Trying to find stillness, ...
Budget travel, Family Travel, Utah

Glitter Mountain

Our oldest had a baseball tournament in Saint George, Utah last Spring Break. After it was over we headed out to explore some unique sites nearby. I read about a place about 2o miles away on the Arizona border called Glitter Mountain, and decided to check it out. It did not disappoint! We had so much fun exploring. (If you need a map to get there, follow the one on this site. It will lead you right there. Many of the others I saw were ...