Friday Faves – Countdown to Europe Edition



Countdown to Europe Edition.

T minus 7 days until I board a plane with the hubby and three teens and travel off for springtime in Europe!

The first flight my kids have been on in over 10 years!

The first time 4 of us have ever left United States soil!

We’ve got lots to finish taking care of… but here are some of my favorite things this week.

Son & Mother-In-Law

My Mother-in-law’s Birthday

Last Sunday, we celebrated my mother-in-law’s birthday.  She’s actually an April Fool’s baby.

I’m not allowed to tell you her age. I will tell you that she looks Ahh-Mazing for her age and I hope my skin looks as lovely as hers as I age. This is her with my 17-year-old, my firstborn. His height to the cabinets is not an optical illusion. He is 6’6″ with his shoes on (if you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you’ve read about some of my observations about having a tall child. And that we’ve purchased extra legroom seats for him on the extended legs *see what I did there* of our flight.)

Amy Lyon Smith's daughter playing soccer


The girlie’s soccer schedule has definitely been keeping me busy. As of yesterday, her middle school team is 7-0!

New Mattress and Box Springs.

One of my big faves happened today.  The delivery of a new mattress and box springs!

Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. The side wall is two colors.  The bedroom is in the process of being painted my favorite color- Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams.

I really shouldn’t claim how old our last bedset was… but I’m always keeping it… it was 16 years old.

I know…I know… they are supposed to last 7-10 years.  But there wasn’t anything wrong with the last one…until there was.

We had what I consider a family bed when the kids were little.  The oldest took naps with me, and sometimes slept with us after feeding in the night.  I knew that we would do the same for the next child. The boys are 18 months apart.  So that would mean two in the bed with us.  So we got a bigger bed.

I also believe in children being able to crawl into your bed if they awake frightened in the night. Or if they just need comfort. It wasn’t that long ago in the scheme of the world that we slept in the same space huddled together (and is still the case in some parts of the world).

It was hard for me to let the bed go because it held precious memories.  Reading stories…giggling… tickle wars…nursing my final child…moving its way through a lifespan of seven homes.

But it finally became tired.  It had given all of the life it had to offer.  My back began to suffer and so the shopping began. Culminating in the new mattress that I hope serves me as faithfully as my last.

Roanoke Mountain

I finally had a chance to get up to Roanoke Mountain and watch a spectacular sunset.

I’ve shared a couple of shots on Instagram and will continue to do so.


If you caught my last post, then you know that spring has sprung here in Virginia.

Spring Crabapple Blossom Pollination

I’m especially taken by the crabapple tree blooming in my front yard.

But there are beautiful signs of life and color everywhere.

I stumbled across this field of yellow next to the fields where the girlie practices with her travel soccer team.  Of course, I only had my phone to capture the awe of the expanse of color.

Europe to do list

To Do List.

And of course in the midst of all of this… taking care of things before our travel to Europe.

We are getting down to the little details.

I’m very visual so I like to jot them down.

Carry-On Luggage


We did do a trial run and will all be traveling with only a carry-on.  This may or may not be a literal carry-on.  We are flying Lufthansa and their dimensions are somewhat wider and shorter than the other averages that we had used to purchase prior carry-ons.

3 of our 5 bags may end up under the plane because they may be 1/4″ too long.  It’s hard to tell and perhaps when the handle is squished, they will fit.  I was originally concerned about the girlie’s being too big, but given that it was slightly shorter and wider, it was the only one we didn’t have concerns with on this specific flight.

The main reason that we still opted to travel with a carry-on is that we will be toting them through Amsterdam and Paris… on trams, trains, buses…whatever method of transport we find ourselves on and we didn’t want to lug giant bags around.

We considered getting backpack luggage, but in the end, it was a cost-efficient choice for us.  Traveling with 5 people to Europe is pricey enough.  We already owned 4 carry-ons, so the sensible choice was to add a 5th carry-on.

I found a nice Timberland, which is what the boys have well.  We have an aging Eddie Bauer that’s been all over with us but is still holding up nicely.  The girlie has Roxy, a nod to our coastal origins.

Countdown to Europe "to do" list


I was really concerned about the weight of my DSLR and given the fact that I still have a lot to learn about photography, I really considered not bringing it.

In the end, though, I think that I’d be disappointed to travel to these amazing places and using only my phone.

Anne Frank.

And yes, we are going to the Anne Frank museum!

It was one of my main “must-sees” in Amsterdam.  When people tell you to purchase tickets well in advance, they mean it.  I checked three weeks in advance and they were sold out.  I did not know that they are released two months in advance.

I was sorely disappointed!

You can get in line for tickets on a first come-first serve basis at 3:30, but I read that it can be a 1-3 hour wait.  We are only there for 2 1/2 days, so while I could have had everyone wait for an hour, 3 was unlikely.

However, they also have tickets which are released two weeks in advance which includes a 30-minute introduction to the life story of Anne Frank before the included museum visit.  I made sure to be online when they became available.

I also need to plan for international cell phone usage (which is very pricey x 5) and alert my credit card so that I don’t have denials due to fraud concerns.

I’m steadily checking things off on my #CountdowntoEurope.

I hope that you all are having fabulous weather.  It was spitting ice this morning and snow flurries on the other side of the mountain.

I’m not letting that change my perspective.

It’s springtime!  I am growing and I am spreading my wings!

How about you?


So lastly, I song that I’m loving this week


I think it’s so important remember to spread kindness, smiles, and love no matter how chaotic life becomes.

I hope that you have an amazing weekend and that you spread your wings a little more.

Like wildflowers; You must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would. - E.V.

Let your light shine!


17 thoughts on “Friday Faves – Countdown to Europe Edition

    1. It is exciting! I’m hoping that I’m able to do the sites some justice with my photos. I’m suddenly wishing I’d spent more time honing my skills over the winter. 😉

  1. The flowers are gorgeous, and that sunset!! WOWZA!

    Sounds like you’re just about ready for your trip. Extra leg room for your #1 looks like a great idea! He’ll appreciate it I’m sure.

    1. Thanks so much! We are getting closer to being ready, but it feels like there’s still a lot to do. I suspect he’ll be very happy for that extra legroom 🙂

  2. Well I am just over the moon for you! (And excited to read stories and see pictures!) 😀 😀 😀

    We had our first bed, a double which had been my bed, for… 1996-2004. It was a terrible bed. Just awful. I made it through two pregnancies in that bed, and when we finally upgraded to a queen, oh-so-high bed with a pillow-top and extra-thick mattress, I almost died of joy! lol
    Then we went a totally different route in 2013 and bought the low-to-the-floor, stay-cool-no-matter-how-hot-he-gets memory foam, no-box-springs platform bed, I thought I’d die of joy again!
    So I’d say we’re 7-8 year people, but when the bed is done, it tells you. Or, you know, lying on another one whispers that maybe your bed is done… 😉 It’s always exciting stuff!
    And you know how I feel about Sea Salt 🙂

    1. Thanks Joey! We are getting down to crunch time so I’m trying to remember all the things I need to do to prepare! 🙂
      The bed has been amazing….and yes, they will tell you when they are done. I didn’t realize how heavenly a new one would feel.
      Sea salt is amazing. I’m so happy that it came into my life. 😉

  3. oh wow…will be looking forward to seeing your pics…very brave going with carry on. my medications fill my carry on when i travel. so I have to have checked in baggage.

  4. Very brave taking carry on with teenagers…braver than me 🙂 my backpack is full of my medication lol looking forward to your blog on the trip and your pictures..

    1. 🙂 The teenagers should make things interesting. I don’t think I’ll be as worried about them getting separated and lost as I would if they were little.
      I’m hoping to take lots of pictures to share when I return! 🙂

  5. Oh, Amy, so excited for your and your family, and your trip! Sounds as though you’ll have an amazing time, and you’re visiting some of my favourite places. I’m glad you’re going to the Anne Frank House – it’s worth seeing and very moving – hard to believe such things were real. Safe travels and have a marvellous time, can’t wait to see your photos! Also, props for travelling with only carryons – I’m impressed!

    1. Thank you Helen! I think it will be lots of fun. I was very happy to get the Anne Frank tickets since not only would I like to see it, I think it’s a great opportunity for the kids to be able to put a reality to things that they’ve learned about.
      I’m hoping that I won’t regret the carry-on choice. lol.

      1. Well, you can always do a bit of shopping while you’re here 😉 And yes, a fab opportunity for your kids to see something so historic. It’s a sobering yet very worthwhile experience.

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