Thursday, July 9, 2015

A New Home

It is finally time for an update! This might not be an update for some, as this "new" life of Robert's and mine has been going on since June, but it is time to actually document what has been going on with the Lews! Long story short...we are officially Texans again! But if you know me, you know I cannot keep it short and I have to fill you in on all the details, so let's dig in, shall we?

We said our bittersweet goodbyes to Poland in the middle of May, only two days after we returned from our European Adventure. From there we headed to Kansas for a couple of weeks to spend some sweet time with family and then from there to Texas to spend more time with family! Lots of traveling and lots of reuniting and fun times with those we loved, it was a great start to our summer. And then June came and our new adventure began!

We have officially moved back to Texas (!), Midland to be exact and we are so excited. Our time overseas was everything we imagined it to be and so much more. We were able to spend the first two years of our marriage in a foreign country and adventuring our little hearts out together. We got to spend almost all day together every day. I tell people that overseas we had to get used to spending so much time together (which we eventually did and seriously, it was such a blessing!) and now we are having to get used to spending much less time together. This whole working woman thing is a whole new ball game, very different than my stay at home wife gig BUT gladly welcomed! Which brings me back to our move back to Texas and all the little details.

Back in December, Robert and I started discussing the possibility that this could be his last year of basketball, We started to feel like it might be time to move back home and start our next chapter. So we prayed and discussed lots and lots. Then at some point we felt like it truly was time for our next adventure. After lots of phone calls and plenty of brainstorming, everything started to fall in place pretty perfectly, God had a plan indeed. Robert got a job with an oil company here in Texas, and then once we knew exactly where we were headed, I applied and got a job as a labor and delivery nurse at a hospital here! We were both very excited and thankful and now that we are here it is even better than we hoped. We both are truly loving our jobs so far, which we are so,so grateful for.

So our past month (and a half) has been busy, busy, busy but in the absolute best way! We moved to a new city, started jobs, and we are in the process of settling (and decorating!) our apartment, visiting churches and hanging out plenty with new and old friends...all of the fun stuff! And all of which are reasons we are so glad to be back in the good ole' USA.

Do we miss Europe?? Of course. We knew we would. But we are also completely enjoying our new adventure. We truly felt like God was leading us back home and we feel so grateful to be here. Plus, Robert promised plenty of future European vacations- whoo, whoo! I am saving those dollars now! Europe holds such a special place in our hearts and always will. I feel like living overseas made us grow as individuals, as a couple and in our faith...our time there taught us more than we could ever imagine, and I believe and truly hope we are better people because of it. And now it is time for a new journey and we couldn't be more excited.

Of course I cannot end a post without a few plenty of pictures...

We said goodbye to Poland, way too early one morning and with plenty of luggage.

We made it to Kansas! We were able to see Rob's brother and sister graduate...

From there we visited family and picked up all our wedding gifts..yes from two years ago! They have been in storage the entire time we have been overseas and it has been the best to open it all and finally put it all to use...it's like Christmas!

Next stop our new home! Tons of unpacking and shopping with this guy...

My brother is staying with us for the summer while he has an interniship and at the beginning we had plenty of picnics...

We have more than enough household items, thanks to all of our wedding gifts but started out with zero furniture...so picnics in the living room it was. In the past few weeks though we have slowly been furnishing our apartment, thanks to lots of good deals...DIY projects coming your way soon!

 Snapchat...it is just so fun. Follow me @bailewandowski.

We have been cooking lots and let me tell you...shopping at an American grocery store?? It has been the best, too crowded, but still the best. So many choices and complete with every single ingredient I need...very different from the Polish grocery stores.

A few sneak peaks of our apartment, lots of decorating and DIY happening. I have big plans for this estate sale find...

Our first big boy and girl purchase? A king size bed...best decision ever

In the middle of June, we celebrated our second anniversary! It consisted of a nice dinner out, sweet gifts and plenty of time with my handsome man.

My Dad, step-mom and brother and sister came into town to celebrate Father's Day! They were our first to host in our new apartment and it was wonderful. Lunch was just an hour late...I'll get there. 

We went to Lubbock a couple of weekends ago for a wedding, my cousin's baby shower and for lots of family time.

And then we celebrated the fourth at a friend's ranch with a cookout and fireworks. And for your entertainment, .01 seconds after this picture was taken we went crashing to the ground, broken hammock and all.

And now here we are...it is July, it is summer and we are ready to soak up every moment! Also, if you made it through this whole post, I am sending you big hugs and a huge plate of my mama's chocolate cake...you deserve it.

Happy weekend, friends!

Linking up with Five on Friday and Oh Hey Friday.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Barcelona Tips and Tricks

Planning a trip to Barcelona? Robert and I put together a little list to make it the best adventure possible! Want to know where to stay, where to eat and what to do?? Read below and enjoy!

Where to Stay:

So far we have had really great experiences with Airbnb. We used their website to find an apartment in Barcelona and it worked out really well for us. Want something low key? In the best and most lively neighborhood (El Born!)? Want to feel like a local? Then we would recommend this apartment! Our hostess was great, the apartment was small and nothing fancy, but perfect for us and for a fun stay in this lively city!

What to Do: 
  • Park Guell. This parked is covered with Gaudi's architecture and is definitley worth the trip. It is full of tourists and beautiful vibrant colors. Book your tickets ahead of time here

  • La Sagrada Familia. This is another Gaudi creation and is pretty incredible. It is unique and different from other churches in Europe. Construction was started 100+ years ago and it is still going on...like I said very unique. Pay a small fee to go inside and get a glimpse inside his mind.
  • La Rambla. A bustling street full of little trinkets! Just be sure to watch your pockets. And right off of La Rambla is my favorite...
  • La Boqueria. This market is the best...read more below!
  • Barceloneta Beach. Going during the summer?? Enjoy an afternoon on the beach! It is a great way to relax those aching feet. Maybe even take a picnic to enhance the experience (that's what we did!).
  • The Neighborhoods. One of our favorite things to do was explore neighborhoods while popping in and out of fun shops. Our favorite neighborhood by far was El Born...it is so lively and full of shops, places to eat and beauty!

  • Shopping. You have to go to Art Escudellers. This place is full of beautiful pottery in the most vibrant and beautiful colors. This was our chosen Barcelona "souvenir". We bought beautiful bowels that we have already used with dinner...functional and stirs up great memories! They package it where you are able to take it on the plane, which is what we did, or if you want to go crazy and buy lots of pieces, they will ship it all the way to the USA!
Where to Eat:
  •  Must Try? Tortilla de Patata (Spanish Omlette), churros con chocolate and a favorite of mine, Magdalena, a Spanish muffin.
  • La Fabrica- for incredible empanadas! The ham and cheese is the best, as well as everything else on the menu, you can't go wrong. It is in my favorite neighborhood, El Born, and is the perfect afternoon pick me up. 
  •  La Boqueria- probably the best market in Europe. It is full of fresh fruit, juices, pastries, seafood, meats and everything else you can imagine. It is such a fun and delicious experience. Either go for a meal or snack, either way you will leave full and very happy.

  •  A picnic at the beach! It was a little too windy (ok way too windy) the day we went, but if you have a beautiful sunny day? Grab food at local shops and enjoy a relaxing afternoon.
  •  Milk. Robert and I love brunch, like love love brunch. This place is the perfect stop. Our favorite? The fruit and granola, soo good and so fresh.
  •  Le Cure Gourmande. Delicious cookies and the perfect souvenir for all those loved ones back home.

  • Travel and Cakes. An even more perfect brunch stop. Probably the best banana bread you have ever had and french toast donuts... need I say more? No, but I will! They also had plenty of savory options that looked incredible as well.

  • Bo De B. A fun and unique stop, especially among students. A sandwich is the most popular option, it is heavy and good and definitely worth a stop!

  • Eyescream and Friends. Yummy ice creams, plenty of toppings to choose from (hello caramel and oreos) and a really cool presentation. We enjoyed this place so much, we stopped twice!

  • Euskal Etxea. Pinchos...a yummy bite of food presented on a toothpick. Choose from an assortment, how ever much you want, enjoy a drink alongside and at the end pay per toothpick. It is a very fun experience, but beware it is not super filling and adds up quickly. 
  • Quimet and Quimet. We were not able to stop here but heard it is the best for Tapas. It is in El born neighborhood and when we passed it, it was packed full and looked like such a fun atmosphere!
Enjoy your adventure!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Silence is Broken...A Barcelona Adventure!

The silence has ended! Man, it has been almost two (?!) months since I have been around here, aka way too long. For good reason though! Our summer has been very busy, very fun and full of lots of change. A complete and total update is coming soon,  since I finally (I think) have a new rhythm down and have adjusted to this new schedule. BUT, first I want to recap our European Adventure that happened back in May! To remind you, Robert's basketball season ended in Poland at the end of April, so the beginning of May we were off to explore. Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona were in the books and it was such a wonderful trip...I mean it is traveling, my happy place for sure.

First let's recap the vibrant, the fun...Barcelona!
(stay tuned...tomorrow I will share the nitty gritty, all the details you need to know if you are planning a trip to Barcelona)

We arrived in Barcelona very late one night, so crashed as soon as we arrived at our Apartment in the El born neighborhood- our favorite by far! The next morning we slept in a tiny bit and then were off for a packed day. We started our morning off with brunch, plenty of walking through quaint neighborhood streets and then off to Park Guell.

The Park is pretty and very interesting. I would not say it was our favorite stop- but it was worth. The colors were beautiful and it was neat to get a look into Gaudi's mind and style- very unique.

Of course, we enjoyed plenty of delicious food. It was great to stop for lunch, rest our feet and leisurely enjoy our meal in the shining sun while chatting about our day so far and what was ahead.

I think the best way to describe Barcelona is to say it is lively. The Spanish culture fully embraces the siesta in the afternoon and enjoys the city late into the night. They sure know how to enjoy life to the fullest. It is lively,vibrant and very fun.

Day two we made sure to walk down La Rambla, a very fun street, and then headed to the main attraction, the La Boqueria Market! This place is incredible. Fresh fruit, juices and tons of other fresh, local food...it is very fun and quite the experience. We really loved it here.

Then after plenty of walking,  it was off to the beach to enjoy a picnic! We stopped at some local shops to grab our grub, and then made camp on the beach. We enjoyed our picnic in the very windy and very cold weather...we had good intentions, but sadly it was a bust. But hey at least we tried!

After we finished our food and couldn't take the cold any longer, we decided to fully embrace the culture and take a little siesta ourselves:) After a nice, little nap we got ready and headed out for the night.

Good food, strolling through a beautiful city and this handome hunk...it doesn't get much better.

On our last day, we made sure to enjoy the beautiful neighborhoods and their fun shopping and check out La Sagrada Familia. We did not go in (but have heard it is incredible), but instead just walked all around the outside. The building of this church began hundreds of years ago and is still being built and they say it will not be completed for a very long time. So it was pretty neat to see and admire it's unique beauty.

Barcelona was a great first stop on our European Adventure! It was so nice to get a little taste of Spain, explore a new city with my husband (my favorite), try new and delicious foods and soak in the beauty of an incredible culture. Robert and I are so grateful for this trip. Traveling together is one of our favorite things and we are so thankful to have the opportunity to do so...and I am so thankful to all of you for reading my blog and posts...means the world!

Planning a trip to Barcelona sometime soon? Or want to go one day? Come back tomorrow for the ins and outs... Robert and my tips and tricks for this fun city!

Linking up with Bonnie.