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toddler transitions

We returned to the United States at a crucial juncture in Munchkin’s development. Not only did his linguistic abilities explode soon after we arrived home, but also his personality and mannerisms went through a noticeable transition.

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back in action

After three weeks exploring the great Southwest, we have returned home. As with our road trip in California two summers ago, we saw a whole lot of awesome. Here’s how this trip stacks up compared to the last one.

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off the grid

The hardest decision we faced this home leave was whether to take some time out for ourselves or take Munchkin along on all of our travels. Last home leave — before Munchkin entered the picture — we spent three weeks road-tripping around California, hiking and camping in various state parks. D wanted to do a similar road trip this year, which was a hard sell with S, who did not want to spend several weeks away from our baby boy.

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a day in Dublin

We only budgeted one day for Dublin, preferring to spend the bulk of our time, limited as it was, in the countryside instead of the city.

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stop and smell the Irish coffee

Ireland, perhaps more than any other country we have visited, teaches the casual traveler about the importance of taking things slowly. Some of the top tourist sites are memorable; many others are much less so. Ireland, however, is much more than the sum of its tourist destinations. What is truly worth seeing in Ireland is the countryside itself — the rich palette of greens that comprise the landscape, the small, colorful towns, and their residents, who are friendly almost to a fault and whose speech tends to be equally colorful.

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of castles and ancient ruins

“First time in Ireland?” asked the friendly immigration official as D presented his passport, “Well, you’re in luck. It should rain hard for the next four or five days.” So much for auspicious beginnings.

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scenic perambulations along the Irish coast

The southwest corner of Ireland is comprised of several peninsulas that jut out into the Atlantic Ocean. The rugged terrain is tempered by verdant scenery and dotted with small, colorful towns and cute seaside villages. Killarney makes a great launching point for exploring the oft-visited Ring Of Kerry, but S’s family decided to head a little further north to the Dingle Peninsula instead.

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exploring the Emerald Isle

S left Moldova without much fanfare, silently slipping out on a night flight to Dublin with Munchkin. It was the wee hours of the morning when they laid their heads down and not long after that they were up again to start the family road-trip.

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