Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Few more Europe Photos

So here are a few more photos of our journey!

These first ones are all at a bombed out abbey in Cherbourg





In front of the Mona Lisa Eating croissants in Cherbourg
In front of Ann Hathaways cottage in Stratford Having tea in Stratford
Chocolate on the ferry
The traitors gate at the Tower of London....Elizabeth the first entered here when imprisoned by her sister Mary (Bloody Mary)
The engraving on the monument to Latimer and Ridley

Pub where C.S. Lewis and the Inklings met
The courtyard outside Christ's Church College

This video is rather funny...it is end of the ceremony of the changing of the guard at Windsor....notice how the one guard is awkwardly tries to put away the folder behind the other guard.


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2010 Trip to Europe (France)

So we took a ferry, which was more like a cruise ship, across the english channel to Cherbourg where Doug and Nicole live. It took about 5 hours, but it is was very enjoyable, we got to watch the sun set into the ocean.

In the couple weeks that followed we visited a ton of things in northern France...in the Normandy region.


Of course we also ate our body weight in croissants and baguettes! Doug and Nicole live in a furnished home that sits on beautiful wooded property and overlooks the channel, I spent a great amount of time at their dining room table enjoying the view.

The whole town looks like it is from a WWII video game, (I guess b/c it is used for them as Cherbourg was close to ground zero during the Normandy invasion) It is all stone buildings..in fact there is village after village of stone homes and buildings. (pix below)I just want to drive around and take pictures of them. One of Nicole's friends who has lived there her whole life once remarked to Nicole that she heard in America that homes are built out of "sticks"...she told Nicole she would never want to live in one of those!! How funny!!

We visited:

The American beaches, Omaha and Utah...Omaha has the famous cemetery and memorial. It is actually American soil. We learned all about the invasion and the involvement of England, and the French resistance...it was really cool.

Pont du Hoc...this was a beach that was invaded by army rangers, and they have left it as it was, including the huge artillery holes and barbed wire. Amazing!! (pix below)

Etretas...huge white cliffs.


Rouen...city of spires and double timbered buildings (think tudor) This is where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake and where Monet painted his cathedrals (pix below)

St. Michel...a huge fortified city/island with an abbey on the top. Looks like something out of a movie. You actually climb the winding cobblestone roads to the top. There are shops all the way up...loved it because you feel like you are stepping back in time to the medieval period. (2 pix below)

Loire Valley...Nicole and I took a girls trip to the Loire valley which is south west of Paris to visit the chateaus (2 pix below)...these are where the kings and queens of france lived during the Renaissance. They are over the top gorgeous...there are probably about 20 of them along the river valley, but we only visited 3. We stayed at an authentic french bed and breakfast out in the middle of the country. We actually were given old fashioned keys that got us into the home and our room. Beyond quaint!!

At the end of our time all of us, minus David, went and spent the last weekend in Paris. We were concerned about the greves (strikes) going on, but in France they are very orderly. In Paris we did all the usual stuff...I think the girls liked the Eiffel Tower the best...they went all the way to the top. I finally got to go to the Rodin museum (it was closed last time when David and I went).
The girls and I took a train back to London and then flew home from there...fortunately it all was very easy.

Above...in Cherbourg
Above...Omaha Beach
Above...Notre Dame in Rouen...yes, it seems all french cities have a notre dame
Above...view from the top of the Eiffel Tower
Above...view out Nicole's window of the English Channel
Above...Pont du HocAbove and below...St. Michel

Driving through the cherbourg area
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Chanting in the abbey that is at the top of St Michel
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A wall of chocolate in the grocery store...yes, the french take their chocolate seriously!!
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Approaching the Eiffel Tower...

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2010 Trip to Europe (England)

Ok, so I am not going to write about every day in Europe...If you want to see lots of pictures, log onto facebook :) It is so much easier to deal with fb than to blog...for me anyways. We went the last week of Sept and returned mid October...since my kids have a 2 week fall break, they only missed 3 days of school...worked out fabulous!

A few bits and pieces...I spent 3 weeks there with the girls and David could only spend 2, because of work. We went to England for the first week and then down the France to stay with Doug and Nicole. Highly recommend England...especially the time of year we went. It was a little rainy but not too cold and there were hardly any tourists!! So we could totally take our time seeing all the sights, with no lines.

We learned a ton about English history before we went (didn't want to repeat the same mistake what we made when we went to France last time...not understanding what we were looking at!!) And more while we were there. American history makes a lot more sense when understood in the context of English history, I might add.

Everything in England costs money...even the churches...so it gets pretty expensive really quick.

BTW we spent a night in NY on the way out and back...will always try do this in the future, as it seriously helps with jet lag and grouchy-ness.

In England we saw (not in order):

Buckingham Palace (just the outside...the park/gardens are beautiful)

Windsor Castle (could not take photos inside...saw the changing of the guard, actually is pseudo-cool, it kind of felt hokey...although lots of britian seems hokey!)

Stratford upon Avon (super quaint town...but the sights weren't worth the $)
Tower of London (crown jewels were pretty cool and standing in the site of where lots of people were beheaded was pretty crazy)

Tower Bridge (this is the one you probably think of when you hear "london bridge"...london bridge is plain and ugly, this one is the tall beautiful one)

St. Pauls Cathedral (went to evensong and heard the boys choir! The best way to see it and then it is free :)...again was not allowed to take any photos...I don't get it, it is not that way in France, just England....go figure!!

Westminster Abbey..my favorite! We went at the end of our time in London, perfect, so after we understood the history we could appreciate it. The history there is insane...been there since 960 AD...ALL the kings and queens have been crowned there, and many of them are buried there, along with a hoard of other famous peeps, such as Chaucer, Darwin, Dickens, Handel...in fact Messiah was first performed there...the whole thing made me overwhelmed and emotional!! But go when there are no crowds, otherwise it would be difficult to enjoy.

Oxford...a personal pilgrimage of sorts. I wanted to see the pub where C.S. Lewis hung out. Which we did...the food looked typical yucky english, so we didn't eat there, but went to the very seats that he and Tolkien and the others hung out for years and wrote many of their books. Super cool for me. We also saw where Latimer and Ridley were burned at the stake, and on a lighter note...Christ's Church (college) the great hall where Harry Potter was filmed. Oxford was beautiful, but it felt too touristy for a college town...next time I go to England I want to see Cambridge which is supposed to have less of a tourist feel.

We also, of course, saw Big Ben, Parliament, rode a double decker bus, and took our pictures in red phone booths...which, by the way, can be functional...We also ate lots of fish and chips (note: old cool looking pubs serve yucky slimy fish and mushy peas...where as new, not as cool looking pubs, serve yummy fish and chips and fresh vegetables :) And we rode the Tube (the underground) everywhere....everything is very spread out!!

Another note, take trains when traveling outside London, buses may be cheaper, but they are a slow nightmare!

Christ's Church College...the hall that was used in Harry Potter


Above...Windsor Castle

One of the girls favorite things in England was the British voice on the Tube reminding you to "mind the gap" here is Abigail's rendition of it!!
Once while we were waiting for the Tube there was an announcment over the loudspeaker at the station telling everyone that the train was delayed due to "a man under the train"...what the heck??!!...they would never be that blunt in the US... We were all pretty aghast and then Abigail says..."well, I guess he didn't Mind the Gap" that was actually pretty funny...

Oh...and Hannah wanted me to post one with her too :)

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Our naughty beast...

Charlie, as it turns out is a very, very naughty kitty. He has waits till night time when no one is looking and jumps on tables and counters (when we can't get him with the spray bottle), so now he sleeps in the utility room for the night.

He also decided to find the places in our new carpet that weren't completely tucked in and claw them to death. Even with those little claw covers you put on. I have smacked him and sprayed water on him and he still does it, again...he waits till I am not looking and runs away as soon as he sees me coming!!! I have actually chased him around the house with a spray bottle.

So our very naughty beast got de-clawed. I know it is "inhumane" but... he can't go outside in arizona and I think it is just as inhumane that I would have to replace my carpet!! :)

Here he: His Naughtiness..so he can't lick his healing paws!!

New House

So here are some pix of our new home. We love it! It is smaller, but is working out great. I am getting to purge us of lots of un-needed stuff!

Hannah's room, the industrial look...it will have a corrugated metal head board...but havn't gotten there yet :)
I must say this electric blue is the most difficult color I have ever painted, (after red)...so hard to get coverage! Those of you who ever ever used red paint know what I am talking about!

Abigail's room...going with the bright modern look...hopefully will last into her teen years


Her not yet on the wall art work...
Our back yard and view of the golf course...I fell in love with the view :)



View looking out our french doors, I can see it when I sit at the kitchen table

Our apple green office...I wanted to go with a fun color that I have never used and have nothing to match. I love it!!
family room...to the right of the pix (can't see :) is the french doors to the patio
Living and Dining...not quite done with all the walls, but slowly getting there

Anniversaries and Injuries

Ugg, so our 18th anniversary was Aug 22nd. The kids were away at a friend's house and we had a nice weekend planned. Spending the day together, going out to a nice dinner and staying at a hotel in Fountain Hills. Well....David has been coaching a soccer camp and this was his last day....he walks in the house dripping with sweat and looking like someone ran him over, and announces "I think I did something really stupid, and I can't move"

That something "stupid" was showing the kids a bicycle kick and he landed on his upper back, neck and shoulders and couldn't move...guess he hadn't thought that one through..hmmm -"I am forty and already have 2 shoulder injuries" didn't cross his mind (do men ever grow up?).

So there he is standing in our bathroom and can't move his upper body. We promptly went to urgent care, hoping nothing was broken. After many hours of mostly waiting, and xrays and poking and prodding, we were told he had nothing broken and nothing dislocated, just a very inflamed back, neck and shoulders and got some potent painkillers.

Thank goodness it was nothing more than that! It made for an interesting weekend. We still made it to dinner and to the hotel... but he kind of walked like Frankenstein, which would have been humorous if he wasn't in so much pain.

I have to admit I wasn't very happy, given he couldn't lift anything for a couple weeks and we were moving...but he gradually got motion back and was able to help on moving day. That would have been good, him ordering around our friends to move our crap...haha....

I think he is finally starting to admit he is growing old....:(


View from our balcony


View from restaurant


My yummy brie cheese in phyllo appetizer....


hmmm...where is my husband...? haha...no pix together this year...I guess we have not only gotten old, but lazy ;)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Photos!

Ok so here are some pictures that relate to my most recent post :)

First Day of School!! July 26th...yes we start in the middle of summer!










It was a tad windy....




Oh yes, I almost forgot...Nicole and Micah and Rebekkah were able to come and visit for 2 weeks in July. The cousins love eachother so much and it was great for them to see eachother again!! We had fun bowling :)

















Hannah getting her braces off.....it actually didn't hurt, it just looked like it did to me. And then to Sephora for make-up! My sweetie is growing up!








AND our new kitty Charlie....he likes to sprawl on the floor and have his stomach statched like a dog!!!