So many things to tell you!

(shorts, bra, my new pretty shoes)

Hello! Yesterday’s post was a little jumbled with our time in Madrid and I had some time later on to write a more detailed summary while on the train, so here we go!

Shockingly, there wasn’t one tear (including from me!) the whole way to Spain. The kids were thrilled to have unlimited screen time and snacks but none of us slept more than two or three hours. We arrived to Madrid and dropped off our baggage at the Airbnb (much cheaper than hotels and it had 3 rooms) and headed to a restaurant a few blocks from where we were staying.

When I travel, I ask the server to bring me whatever they are known for and this egg, potato, and cheese dish was absolute comfort food.

We then went to the Airbnb and passed out. We really wanted to stay awake until the evening but we were all about to have meltdowns so after a few hours of sleep and we went out to explore. Beck slept longer in the stroller but the rest of us felt pretty good.

We walked 6ish miles that afternoon/evening to see the Plaza Mayor, Royal Palace, fountains, and roamed every street that was calling our name. Brooke was twirling around the whole time.

We went to the mercado de san maguel for dinner which was amazing. We had pizza, empanadas, fruit, and ice cream. This place is a must!

More walking! The weather was a little chilly in the evening but was absolutely perfect. We all felt amazing in sweatshirts and coats (and shorts for the boys).

We got back to the Airbnb and I’m surprised we made it to our beds and didn’t just fall over from exhaustion.

Before I get into all of the highs from my birthday, there was a low. I really missed not having a birthday text from Mer. Nobody was more on top of keeping track of everyone’s birthday than Mer and I really missed having a witty text with plenty of emojis to wake up to that morning from her.

We woke up at 9ish and I went out for a 6-mile run and came home to cards from the family. We jumped into a bolt (uber) to go to a breakfast spot with great reviews. We got there and saw that a Chocalateir was next door and made the executive decision to go there instead. I won’t ever be able to eat a churro again unless I have a cup of warm thick chocolate to dip it into.

I am pretty sure the entire day we were pointing at every building we saw and oohhhhing over the architecture.

We were thrilled that City Sightseeing (ps not sponsored by them but I won their competition for Hungary and then they invited us back to their next marathon in Seville) just started in Madrid so we were able to take the tour around the city. The bus (Beck was in heaven on a double-decker bus) took us around the entire city and we were able to jump off and back on wherever we wanted.

The Retiro Park was a highlight for us all. It was massive and the paddle boats in the lake were so much fun.

We could have spent an entire day in this park.

PS it’s fun to be the one packing the suitcases so I can make them pack as much as possible haha.

Back on the bus to see more! We saw the whole city from here and listened to the tour.

We stopped at El Rey de los Tacos for lunch and a mountain of guacamole that brought so much happiness.

Our next stop was the Royal Palace.

This type of tour was a first for our kids and they were shocked over how large the palace is and that people actually lived there.

We then went to a Flamenco show that was incredible. The dancers, singers, and musicians were beyond talented. Beck slept for most of it but the other three kids didn’t blink and now I want to take a dancing class.

We then had the best meal of my life at My Pasta. I’m afraid another meal will never top what we ate there. When we walked into this restaurant they told us that because we didn’t have a reservation, we would only have an hour to eat. Andrew and I looked at each other and laughed because we weren’t sure we had ever stayed in a restaurant for longer than 45 minutes with all of our kids. Something I admire about the people of Spain is that they know how to live. They take time to really enjoy meals together with their people and experience life to the fullest.

Beck loved it too, we had never seen him eat so much in his life.

The next morning I went for a 32-minute run, packed up as fast as we could and then we were off to the train station. We checked off Beck’s biggest dream. He saw dozens of trains and then took a high-speed train to Seville. The views were breathtaking the entire way.

Thanks for letting me share with you guys. It’s time for me to carb load and get ready for a marathon as much as I can without it affecting our sightseeing and family time ha!

I would love to hear something you admire about the people of a place you have visited!

What is your run today?

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What a beautiful city! So glad you all are enjoying this trip to the fullest.
Those first milestones after loosing someone special are so tough. But you were with your crew all day, so I’m sure that was heaven.
Keep sharing pictures! Have a great day Janae


Thank you, Wendy! That means a whole lot and it truly was heaven! Hope you are doing well and enjoying some beautiful weather and time in your beautiful backyard.


Sorry about the sadness of not having Mer to text on your birthday. I can totally empathize. My grandma would call and sing us happy birthday each year (and she didn’t have a singing voice- haha!), a few years before she passed I missed her call and she sang to my voicemail and left a message saying how much she loved me. I still have it and listen to it (and cry) each year now. I have a version that I muted my name and send it to my kids on their birthdays. It is the best gift.

We have only traveled outside the US to Mexico, but even there I am impressed by their work/life balance. It seems like almost everywhere has that figured out better than America. We are too busy chasing dollars or “what’s next” to truly enjoy life, sadly.

Your trip looks amazing, I love that the kids seem to be soaking it all up. They are so lucky!!


Thank you so much for sharing this with me, Mindy. I am so happy that you have that voicemail with her singing to you and I would cry listening to that too! So sweet that you send it to your kids on their birthdays too. EVERYWHERE understands it better than the states and this has been so good for us to see. Thank you friend, I hope you are having a beautiful day!


I am loving all things Spain!! I am ready to book a Europe trip asap now!!
It seems like the kids are truly loving the adventure. Beck must be in train heaven!! I want him to rank all transportation by the end of the trip.
I loved your approach to restaurants and ordering!
I’m glad you had a great birthday. What a treat to have Mer for so long in your life.


Train heaven is right. Hahah I will have him dictate a post for me to write with his transportation heirarchy. Thanks Molly, hope your day is a great one so far!


You are making me want to go to Spain. I only went to Barcelona for a few days back in 2017 which was amazing but never researched other places. Madrid looks beautiful and I love the high speed trains around Europe. I took the train from London to Paris to Southern France and then Barcelona. So convenient.

Random question but what camera are Brooke and Skye using. It looks like the perfect travel size.


I bet Barcelona was incredible! We need trains in the states, it was so easy to take and the most amazing views. Your trip in 2017 sounds like it was amazing, you saw so much. The girls are loving their camera, here is the link and I hope you have the best rest of your day.


It is so fun to see the places you are travelling to! Also super fun seeing your kids enjoying the travel :) we have taken our two toddlers to New Zealand twice (from Canada) and we are all about the snacks and screen time on those long flights! Can you share where your sweater is from in the last pic? I love that colour! Good luck for your marathon!


Jessica! Two toddlers to New Zealand twice… that is brave and so incredible. But truly the snacks and screens save us all, they were just on cloud nine to have no limits on screen time haha. I love this sweater so much and I hope you do too. Have a beautiful rest of your day!


City Sightseeing is the BEST! When my wife and I were in Madrid and Seville last summer, they arranged for hop-on-hop-off bus tours for us in Toledo, Cordoba, Cadiz, and of course Seville. Even though they had not yet begun their service in Madrid, they arranged for a tour with another company. They even arranged an all-day trip to Granada from Seville. I can’t overstate the love I have felt from them.
I’m so glad that you can share this experience with your family. Even though your kids are young, they will definitely remember this trip of a lifetime.


Of course they did all of that, they are truly the best humans out there. That is amazing. Thank you so much, I am pinching myself to be here. Let’s all come back next year! Thanks Gerard!


I’m loving all your pictures. Your kids will never forget this trip. I want to dive right into that hot chocolate! Sorry you were missing Mer on your bday.

We loved how people were talking to each other and not looking at their phones in restaurants in Italy!

I’m giving my legs a break today – long trail run tomorrow.


Thank you, Kathy! That is exactly what me and Andrew were talking about today. Nobody is on their phones here. It is amazing. I want this to happen in the states! Hope your trail run tomorrow is amazing!


I love hearing people talk to each other in foreign languages and am so impressed when people speak multiple languages! (Have you ever read Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime”? He speaks 6 languages – or maybe 8 if you count all of the different South African dialects.)

I wish my kids’ schools taught foreign languages more intently, since the younger you start, the easier it is to learn/retain. (My high school/college Spanish recall is very feeble). Maybe I just need to travel more and get some foreign language conversation partners!


Mel, I totally agree. I find it so fascinating to sit and listen to them speak all speak and it makes me really want to learn another language. I haven’t read that, but I will now and EIGHT languages?! Amazing. I was just telling this to Andrew tonight, we need to get all of our kids going now on another language. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day, Mel!


Wow, sounds like an amazing trip so far. I really need some good food now, you’ve made me hungry.
I’m really looking forward to hearing about your race.
I’ve just started getting back in to running as of a couple weeks ago. I’m hoping to be able to do a half marathon in June. Today I’m going for a short run along the waterfront where I live. Running by any type of water is my favorite, and there is tons of it here in Washington.


I’m nervous to find out how much money we have spent on food so far haha. A HALF IN JUNE! Cara. I am cheering for you and here for you. Please keep me updated with your training and running next to water is truly the best way to run… you are so right and you live in the perfect place! Thanks Cara!


wow. the food sounds incredible! and the trip sounds so fun. i love the entire atmosphere that you set around running. and that you include your kids. super inspiring!


Thank you Jo! That sure means a lot, I hope your day has been really great so far!


I love hearing about this trip! We are headed on a similar trip in 2 weeks to Portugal and Spain with our 3 kids and would love if you shared your packing list and hits with the kids. It’s so helpful to see what the kids are wearing. Also, how many shoes did you bring? Haha! Just thinking about the running sneakers I need to bring feels like a lot!


NO WAY! I absolutely will! I bought most of the kids clothes at Mango kids and Abercrombie kids… two of my favorites right now. Do not make the same mistake I did. I had each kid just bring the shoes they were wearing. They got soaked in the rain today and without any type of dryer, we found ourselves at Vans getting all new shoes for them tonight. I’ll put together more of a packing list and things we learned when I get back. So thrilled for you guys. This place is unreal.


I just love this trip so much for you all!!

I adore learning about other cultures. Last summer we visited an indigenous tribe and it was amazing. My favorite part of the day was the little kids who came over and played with us. All humans can speak kindness, even without speaking the same language.

Today is a rest day. I sprained my ankle (again) a week ago and I’m just so thankful that I am not in a boot!


Marissa, I bet that was incredible. I would love that experience and you are so right about that. You can feel it, we don’t even have to speak it. I am so sorry about your ankle. AGAIN! I hope the healing is sped up and thank goodness for no boot. Have a beautiful rest of your day!


I try to “travel” to far away places once in a while by reading! I love the easy-going nature that many other countries seem to exhibit. I need constant reminders to be more like that & not get caught up in the busy-ness back here in the states. I would be just as surprised as you guys to hear an hour was considered an incredibly short amount of time to spend at a restaurant.
Beck’s smile next to that train is so great – without him along you would not have known how exciting those train rides are! And that palace looks like someplace a princess would live!
I am scrambling today to pack everything I should have been packing for all week. :) We leave for our mini-trip tomorrow! Gotta find all of the car-activities and see if we can cram 5 people’s stuff into a single car… I love to overpack so this is a real challenge.


SO excited for your mini-trip! I hope you guys have the best time and good luck with packing, that is the hardest part! Thanks Katie!


no run today… in hospital, life goes on
Seattle….I know weird. but I was in an accident there years ago, and could not believe how helpful everyone there was. I was a mess and in trouble, but from the cops to people on the street to the hotel I was in the guys that fixed my car and got me heading home, it was amazing….even after seeing Heart live the night before, that was kind of the highlight…yes, there are good helpful people in the world…


First of all, the trip looks amazing- props to you and Andrew for giving your kids this unforgettable experience .

We have two young kids (4 & 2) and want to plan International travel. When taking the Ubers there, do you carry your car seat everywhere for Beck? That’s a huge hesitation of mine- how to handle car seats everywhere without a one time install rental car. Any tips you have would be greatly appreciated!

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