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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ireland Day 3 and 4

On the morning of Day 3 I booked another spa treatment. This time I got an oriental head massage! I've never heard of it before but my absolute FAVORITE thing is having people play with my hair. So I knew I'd enjoy it and I was right :) I also really, really love fruit water. I never have it at home because who has time to make it? But I LOVE having it at a spa. So after I got done with my treatment I took my time and enjoyed the "serenity room." I sat and relaxed and enjoyed the pretty view and sipped my fruity water ;)

I also went and enjoyed the indoor pool for awhile. It was SO awesome! I felt like a mermaid because it was all very dark and had real swarovski crystals in the bottom! Can you say fancy?!?!?
While I was at the pool I, of course, ended up chatting it up with some other Aflac wives. President's Club is the smallest group of people on a trip so you do tend to get to know more people because, typically, it's pretty much the same group that makes it each year. So naturally our topic of discussion was other Aflac trips haha. Next year's President's Club is to JAPAN. Y'all! JAPAN! I mean is that not insane?!?! Everyone who I talked to about it who had the opportunity to go to Japan last time Aflac did it for President's Club said it's the BEST trip EVER. But, obviously, there are some reservations about going. Hello. Longest flight! Super, mega far from kids etc. It was nice to sit with other Aflac wives and discuss all the pros and cons :) We all agreed if our husbands qualify we will find a way to make it work b/c it's a once in a lifetime opportunity for sure! We also talked a good bit about Hawaii and the pros and cons about my situation. If Zach qualifies for this Hawaii trip our new baby will be roughly 10 weeks old. Childcare for three kids is tough. Pumping is tough. Even imagining bringing the baby with us is tough to fathom! It's still something we're just kinda waiting on to see how things work out. Hopefully we are able to go...and go kid free b/c that flight is a BEAST and I can't imagine attempting it! Although in Ireland a couple had their 7 week old baby! But they also had a nanny and she didn't breastfeed haha ;)

Refreshed and relaxed from my spa morning!
While waiting for my massage that morning I ended up sitting with one of the people who help plan and coordinate the Aflac trips. This is another super sweet job! They get to travel ahead of time to the locations and plan out all the activities, lodging, etc and then they also get to go on the trips with us! Everyone is SO nice and a big benefit of me having so much down time on this trip by myself was that I did get a chance to know several of them pretty well. I told some embarrassing Zach stories haha! When she and I were talking I mentioned how we didn't drink and she said that they ALWAYS offer alternate activities and gifts for people who let them know they don't participate in alcohol related things! WHY didn't we know this sooner?!? I mean Mr. Rusty's been with the company for 20 years and he never knew it either!!! SO glad to find it out! She told me I could trade in the bottle of whiskey we had gotten as a gift from the night prior and that they'd give us something else :) And she said from now on when Zach qualifies for a trip to let them know on the registration forms and they will arrange other activities for us to participate in if there are alcohol themed ones! YAY!
The day prior after our tour Zach and I talked to the tour guide about finding something nearby to do on Day 3. He and his dad would be done golfing at lunch time and we had the awards dinner that night so we only had roughly 3 hours to do something! But we wanted to take advantage of the time we did have and we wanted to spend some time with Mr. Rusty. She gave us a map and told us a way to get to some cemetery thing that was supposed to be neat so we went for it!

On the way there the tour guide told us to go this long route in order to see some of the beautiful views. It was a CRAZY long route but it was also SO beautiful and we def didn't regret going that way. Although we did keep laughing about how we saw like NO people and how it would be an excellent place to bury a body haha. Be warned...lots of scenery shots ahead!


















Once we arrived at Glendalough we had about an hour or so to check it out before we headed back. It def wasn't a leisurely visit but we could NOT risk missing the awards banquet that night! Luckily all three of us are pretty speedy ;) 
We walked up to the building and saw this sign waiting for us on the door. I mean kinda hilarious. If they know people are stealing stuff then why the heck don't they do something about it...like catch them?!?! Mr. Rusty was SUPER nervous about leaving our stuff in the rental car because they had both of their golf clubs in there and other valuables. He and Zach ended up going back to the car and getting several things to carry with them. At one point they even debated just waiting and not going in so they could protect their clubs haha. 
It was free to enter the area and look around so we decided to go that route since we didn't have a  whole lot of time anyway and couldn't really take the time to learn about it all. We did buy a little guide book so we'd be able to read and understand more about what we were seeing! Of course sitting here now writing this I have like 4 info packets from St. Patrick's Cathedral but can't find the one we actually paid for about this place haha. Typical!

Good ole Tripadvisor is helping me out though :) We were at Glendalough Monastic Settlement...which is actually the #1 top rated thing to do in Wicklow County (where we were staying). Taken from Tripadvisor: "This historic site, whose Gaelic name translates to “valley of the two lakes,” consists of the 6th-century monastery founded by St. Kevin and the famous round tower, standing 112 feet high with a base measuring 52 feet in circumference."    




I didn't realize how quickly the guys would get to the hotel that morning from the golf so I wasn't fully ready to go when they arrived and didn't have time to eat lunch! I was STARVING. So the first pit stop on our little mini-tour was to grab me some grub. They had a stand with some cheese fries so I tore that junk up ;) 
You assume that being in Ireland we'd see a TON of red headed people. Kinda the Irish stereotype right? It's funny b/c I told Zach later that we should have taken a picture of the red headed guy sitting near us when I got my fries b/c he was the only person with red hair I'd even seen in Ireland! Great minds think alike b/c Zach had snapped this of him already haha




Zach and I both think cemeteries are so cool. It reminded me of when we went to the catacombs in Paris!



















Had to get a pic with Emily's headstone. It was interesting how SO many of the people buried there died so young



It was all very, very beautiful and awesome. But my favorite part? The little lamb we saw! Omg y'all he was SO ADORABLE. And he had the cutest little "bahhh bahhh" and came running up to the fence bah-ing at me :) I wanted to steal him!




Such bffs that they even bought matching Nike golf rain suits for the trip :) 




We had to head back but totally made time for a little ice cream ;)


Another top tourist attraction near where we were staying was the Powerscourt Waterfall . It was a bit of a walk for us to try to make from the hotel, but was a close drive. So on the way back we stopped by to check it out. We were pretty shocked that they wanted 5 Euros PER PERSON to see it. I mean for real?!?! We explained that we were staying at the hotel and they hooked us up and just charged us 5 Euros for our entire car. Which I mean we literally drove up, got out, saw it, then got back in and left. But still we were there and I wanted to see it dangit! It is actually the tallest waterfall in Ireland!







We got back in the room with about 30 min to get ready for dinner! I even managed to remember to take my weekly pregnancy picture :)
It was another very long bus ride to our dinner location. Honestly I was super, mega sick of riding around. The tough thing about the awards night dinners is that they have a cocktail hour. Usually if the awards dinner is in our hotel (often the case on National Conventions) we skip the cocktail hour and just go down at dinner time to be seated. But we were kinda stuck in this situation with the bus ride and all so we had to be there for the cocktail time. It worked out totally fine though because the castle (yes, I said CASTLE!) where we ate had so many beautiful rooms to check out and we ran into the dr and his wife again so we just visited with them some more :) Plus they had some pretty comfortable couches ;) 
Luttrellstown Castle is actually the same venue where David Beckham and "Posh Spice" got married!!! You know I love me some celebrity scoop haha! 



We had some great music greeting us when we arrived! Here's a video!
When we walked in I loved hearing the harp! When I visited the area back in middle school we went and watched a harpist perform and were all given copies of her cd that she signed for us. I still have mine somewhere! For a long time I used to want a harp at my wedding :) Here's a video of it
We enjoyed walking around and checking out the place!



I didn't know it at the time but this is the actual room where David and Posh got married! :) 
View of our dinner set up!
So many cool secret passageways




We couldn't believe the AMAZING set up for our dinner/awards banquet. It was the BEST Aflac dinner we have yet to ever attend. It was beautiful! And delicious food! And FABULOUS entertainment. Usually it's some rock band or something and we try to dip out early but even Zach enjoyed it all this time! I think a lot of the reason we liked it was that the singers were acapella. We don't have musical instruments at our church so I think we naturally enjoy the sound of singing without instruments :)

Menu and Awards!
The lady in the front left of this goto was actually part of the original River Dance. Here's a video of some of their performance. 


I didn't get a picture but another group also performed and were awesome! This is a video of an Irish anthem they did. They also ended up getting down off the stage and singing to the girl sitting beside me haha. She was MORTIFIED! It was so funny! 
I chugged water like CRAZY time during dinner. I knew it'd be another long night and I figured if I was stuck sitting for that long I might as well use it as a chance to hydrate ;) I, legit, had to get up and use the bathroom 5 times. The guy who was stationed at the bathrooms kept laughing at me and every time I'd go by him I'd say "this is for sure my last time for the night" haha. I did run into a few friends in the bathroom as well as on the walk to and from the bathroom so it was a good chance to stretch and visit with people too :) 

During one of my bathroom encounters I actually had someone be RUDE to me about being a stay at home mom. Which has, surprisingly?, never happened to me before. I guess because she works for Aflac (and obviously does well with the company since she was on the trip) that maybe she looks down on women who don't work? She looked me up and down and said "oh you totally stay home with your kids don't you." Um. Yeah. I. Do. And my friend who was in there as well the lady said to her that she could tell how smart and put together she was that she must work some outside of the home. I mean really lady?!?! And then she was ALL over my friend and being super nice to her and completely ignored me and gave me the cold shoulder. Def bruised my self esteem a little bit! I mean I feel like I'm smart and put together too dangit! I brushed it off but am thankful that I've been blessed to never feel like people judge me for my job as a stay at home mom! 

My water collection :)
Amazing dessert!!!
Dan Amos the CEO of the company
Zach accepting his award :)



How about the #1 agent in the entire company wasn't there!?!?!? It was SHOCKING to me that you could be the #1 person and not show up! I mean it's a HUGE honor to qualify at all but to be #1?!?!? I thought it was super rude of the dude not to come...and on top of that he's from our Aflac area so that's embarrassing for the management he represents ya know?!?! 

It was a really wonderful evening! We had a great time and it's always fun to get dressed up :) That night we had another gift waiting for us in the room...it was a MASSIVE CRYSTAL picture frame. Which we appreciated but could not take back with us. I mean we had to fit all of our stuff in one checked luggage remember? That beast was def too heavy! I was pumped to see all the info about the Tokyo trip next year! 

The next morning was our last day in Ireland. Zach and Mr. Rusty started off the day, shocker, golfing. So I slept. I was WORN OUT. This trip I had planned on doing a LOT of sleeping and resting but really ended up not doing all that much of either!!! We had late nights, busy days, and early mornings! The Aflac free breakfast ended at 10:30 so I had to be down there to eat prior to that each morning. The latest I got to sleep in was that last day at I finally made myself get up at 10 to go down for breakfast! 
At that point in the trip Zach and I both were just WORN OUT. Zach really had TWO vacations. He had his golf vacation with his dad, then he had all the Aflac stuff with me. Mr. Rusty and I only each had one vacation...Mr. Rusty had the golf side and I had the Aflac side. So poor Zach was beyond tired. He was staying up late with me and then leaving mega early for golf with his dad each morning! He didn't regret any of it, of course, but just hit his wall on that last day.

Also the night prior Zach had accidentally knocked my camera onto the floor. When I got up that morning I realized it wasn't working. I ended up spending a good bit of time working with the Aflac photographer (yes, another awesome job! Dude gets to go on all the Aflac trips to take pics! I sat with him on the plane ride home actually and he's super nice!) and did decide the lens was broken :( I did so great not getting upset b/c I knew if I got upset about it all that it wouldn't fix anything and would only cause our trip to end on a bad note. So I used my phone for pics and was thankful I'd purchased the extra warranty to fix the lens when we got home :)

When they got done golfing we ate at a pub in the hotel for lunch. 

Yes. I got the ham and cheese kids meal AGAIN. Third time on the trip haha but it was GOOD!

Mr. Rusty decided to go golfing MORE that afternoon. I think he golfed 7 rounds total?!?! Dude got a work out for sure b/c that's a LOT of walking!!! Several of the guys on the trip were smart and brought their wives for Ireland and then left Ireland and went to Scotland together to golf for a week after our trip ended and their wives all flew back home. I can't imagine trying to fly solo that far along pregnant nor could we ever afford for Zach to miss two weeks of work but it was a great idea!

I had been looking forward to some down time with Zach and wanted to check out some of the property of the hotel as I had heard they had some cute little shops. It was actually a rainy day so it worked out to be indoors and they hotel was so sweet to offer us a ride over to the shopping area!
Gotta have rain boots in Ireland!
Zach was just too exhausted to even be very enjoyable. I usually LOVE shopping with him but he ended up just sitting in a chair the whole time while I looked around. It was the only time on the trip that I did get super disappointed. I still didn't get upset about it and I understood how exhausted he was but it was frustrating that the only real "US" time wasn't really very fun! I did take advantage of his sleepiness and treated myself to a present haha. I loved the hand made necklaces from locals! I loved the details of the Irish lace and the cute little bird and I like souvenirs that I can wear and enjoy :) And Zach couldn't really say no so I totally got it haha!

That night we were supposed to go back to Dublin again for dinner. Neither of us could imagine another 40 min one way bus ride or getting back mega late when we had to be packed and out the door early the next morning. So we skipped it and instead just watched Parks and Rec and got pizza from a place down the street :) We were both SO tired and just needed the down time!!! 

I love our last gift from Aflac! We actually hung it up in our guest bathroom :) 
And in exchange for the whiskey they gave us some cute glasses!
That morning Aflac had breakfast for us to take with us on the van to eat on the way to the airport. Mr. Rusty met us there as well with the rental car! We lucked out and sat with the dr and his wife on the van over to the airport so it was nice to visit with them again before heading home!
The flight home was WAY better than the flight there! We went to the check in desk right away and requested help. Knowing how friendly everyone was to pregnant women I knew they'd be helpful and they were! They gave me an awesome exit row seat! Zach and I were separated but didn't mind it. It was also a through-the-day flight rather than through-the-night so it was much, much easier. When we landed in Atlanta (it was direct too!) I actually did NOT feel well. I had to sit down for a bit and was a little nervous about things. I was sitting near the Aflac dr on the flight and didn't want to embarrass myself and let on that I didn't feel well at landing but once I rested and got some water I was fine! 

Of course our flight from Atlanta to Valdosta was delayed. And then once we got to Valdosta they had left Zach's golf bad in Atlanta. We ended up being awake for a solid 24 hours! Yikes!!! We were thankful to get home though and I was SO pumped to see the kids!!! Kye had school the next morning so we met up with Mrs. Charlotte at school to see him before he went in and to pick up Britt :) 

I guess our pool got the Irish love too b/c it was lovely GREEN when we got home!
While it's always so hard to leave them and I miss them so much when I'm away, it also gives me so much appreciation for my children. I am so blessed and thankful to have them in my life!!! Sometimes a break is needed to help feel renewed in my role as mommy :) 

I am very glad I decided to still go on the trip to Ireland! It may not have been very romantic or a lot of bonding time for Zach and I but I enjoyed the experiences I was able to partake in and am thankful to Aflac for yet another amazing travel experience!!! 

2 comments:

  1. Love seeing your pictures. We went to Glendalough when we were there and thought it was so neat. Your pictures have me itching to go back. By the way, I think you are a very with it, put together stay at home mom. Not sure why other women have to be so judgemental.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice pics, how's your foot doing? I may be getting a sesamoidectomy also. My doctor has told me about a compound cream I can use for the time being. Hopefully you're pain free now!

    ReplyDelete

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