Wednesday, November 4, 2009

LONDON!!!

I was at the airport tonight trying to trade my voucher for a flight to NJ for Thanksgiving. Over the PA they announced a delay in a flight to London Heathrow and a pang of memory flooded over me. London was such a wonderful trip and it went by too fast. I am going to post some pictures of London, just a few of my favorites.

One of our first stops, and one of my favorites, was the Tower of London. This is the prison that was primarily reserved for traitors to the crown or high treason crimes. This is also where the be-headings occurred. The first picture is a view of it from the Thames River, but you really can't tell how big it is from that picture. There are actually 20+ towers inside and you can see and walk through almost all of them. They are all connected by walkways between each tower. What I loved about this place was it is completely run by retired military. There are 35 retired military families that live and work onsite. It is considered a pretty prestigious honor to be able to work there with strict qualifications. The second picture is a picture of one of the Yoeman Warders - caretakers of the Tower. Many of them have prestigious military records with the British army. And yes, that is their official uniform they are wearing. The last picture is where they keep the queens crown and jewels. To get in you have to walk through a vault door almost a foot thick. The largest diamond in the world is there on display. You can see it only from a moving walkway that goes past it. It was pretty amazing.



My next favorite was Hampton Court Palace. We spent the whole day there. This was the only palace we visited that was not still occupied by royalty, so we could take pictures freely. It is hard to imagine the granduer of these places without having been there. This palace was primarily used by Henry VIII in the early 1500's and sits right on the Thames river. It is absolutely HUGE - if I could scan in the map / layout I would. We spent all day there and still didn't see everything. The first picture is one of the sides of palace and the garden. This is the small side. If you look at the palace and look at the bottom row of windows, then look at the second picture. The hallway in the second picture is the one that runs along the bottom row of windows in the first picture. Clear as mud? How would you like to stroll down that everyday and look out into those beautiful gardens. The last picture is the ceiling in super huge dining hall. It was simply stunning. Below the windows in that picture hang two story tapestries, some that were original from that time period. Wow.

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One of our last stops was Windsor Castle. This is where the current Queen Elizabeth spends most of her weekends and uses this for quite a few state functions, etc. Because it is still occuppied and in use, we couldn't take any pictures inside. But it was amazing, much more grandiose than anything we saw at Hampton Court. It is absolutely huge and all the staff live and work onsite. It was unbelievable that people still live in that much splendor. The video above is just of the entrance to Windsor. It was raining pretty good so we didn't get to see a full changing of the guard, but a smaller version of it.

It was a wonderful trip and I would go back in a heartbeat. I have over 600 pictures to share (most are of the weird outfits people wear over there). So anyone that has a couple of hours and wants to see them all - just let me know!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fall

It seems we have moved too fast from Summer to Fall. And in Colorado, Mother Nature is determined to skip Fall all together. Just when the leaves were starting to reach their peak color, we were hit with a Canadian cold front. Garrett did play football that weekend with a high of only 23 degrees. All the leaves have since turned brown and fallen off. It turned out to be a very bland remainder of fall. That didn't stop Mallory from attending homecoming with some of her girlfriends. Thank you Miriam so much for helping us find a dress and that jacket! The jacket was a lifesaver! Here are some of her pictures:





Then just two weeks later we were hit with a snowstorm that reminded me more of what we see in the spring rather than fall. It started raining Tuesday night (during Garrett's football practice), turned to snow overnight and didn't stop until sometime in the night Thursday. I shoveled a path for the dogs in the backyard and it was over 18 inches, then had to go back and shovel another 6. Needless to say, the ward trunk or treat was cancelled that night. The kids were a little disappointed that they wasted what probably would have been 2 snow days during their fall break. But I think they were happy I was able to be home with them for a day and a half. I keep wondering when they will be too old to trick or treat, but that wasn't this year. Mallory went with her friend Emma and Garrett took his little sister Callie. We did ok on the costumes this year:

In the middle of all of this, I did manage to squeeze in a trip to London. It was fabulous!! I will have to post more on that later! Happy Winter!


Saturday, August 1, 2009







Also while we were in UT we attended the 24th of July parade downtown. It was wonderful and brought back a lot of memories for me of living there and always going to the parade. My kids don't get the opportunity to go to a parade that often. Actually ever, now that I think about it. So thank you Dad for encouraging us to go! We were also very lucky that Andrew once again picked a home that is right on the parade route and facing west. After a long day at Lagoon, Andrew camped out all night and saved us some great space, in the shade right up front! You are a saint Andrew! Here are some pics of all the family enjoying the fun!







So I am doing better, it has only been a month since my last post. Last weekend we spent in Utah visiting family and friends and celebrating Heather's birthday and the 24th of July. Heather's birthday we spent at Lagoon in the 101 degree heat. Andrew and my fearless children decided they wanted to ride the sky coaster. That is where they strap you into a harness, pull you back and up about the length of a football field and let you go. It is like a giant swing, only you are laying on your stomachs. I checked with several of the official Lagoon workers and they assured me no one had ever hit the ground. Here are some pictures from their ride. On both I am way zoomed in so you can't really appreciate how high up they are.



Monday, June 29, 2009

Ok, one more thing about our trip to New Jersey...Paige LOVES ME!! She doesn't love the ocean so much, it takes her a couple of hours to even get brave enough to let me put her down. This video is of her the first hour of our first trip to the shore. In case you can't understand her, she is saying "Jenni, Jenni, Jenni..." over and over again because we were too close to the water.


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We are leaving the beautiful state of New Jersey in the AM. It has been a wonderful trip that included a three hour boat ride into the Atlantic in the hopes of seeing a whale, three trips to the Jersey shore, one movie, one dinner out with my sister, and of course the base (or post depending on if you are army or air force) pool. The pool has a wicked new waterslide that I would recommend to anyone except those subject to neck problems. We have had a wonderful time! Allison and her girls have been so patient hauling us all over the country side. We are hoping we will get one more trip out here next summer to play in the ocean.


When we returned from the shore tonight, Allison had a letter from the Office of the Seventy waiting for her. Of course when she left it open laying on the kitchen counter I had to read it! (I take comfort in knowing she would have done the EXACT same thing!) It was a very touching letter from Elder Robert Oaks, letting her know that he knew Chris was overseas serving our country. He thanked Allison for her sacrifice and let her know of the prayers and blessings that go with those men and women who choose to defend our freedom. Not much brings me to tears these days, but reading those tender words, and seeing first hand how much those girls, especially their mother, miss Christopher made my eyes water. I am so grateful for the sacrifices they are making on all our behalfs. The letter brought home to me the seriousness and reality of this 'war business'. Please keep Chris and all the service men and women out there in your prayers, that they will be able to return home to their families that miss them and need them.




Ok enough of that I am going to attempt to post some pictures of the shore - there are about a hundred, but I will pick the top two. The first one is of me and Mallory challenging the waves. Then Garrett and Mallory heading out on their own.




Saturday, June 13, 2009




Really, would you let this girl out of the house? This is Mallory going to her first stake dance. Did I mention she was a little relieved that I was not going to be chaperoning?? All of the sudden Dad storming into the church pulling her out doesn't sound like a bad idea.

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So we are moving on to another phase in life. Garrett is done with elementary school and moving on to middle school. Mallory is on her way to high school and is just wrapping up her first youth conference. This video is the shortened version of Garrett's continuation. There were a few tears shed, but not by me. Mallory is going to her first stake dance tonight. I told her I was chaperoning and you should have seen her face. She was seriously mortified! I let it go on for about 10 minutes and when I finally told her I was only kidding, she threw her arms around me and said, "Oh Mom, I love you!" I am trying not to take that personally. After all she has not personally witnessed my incredible dance moves including me kicking my leg over my head...

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One year later...

Mallory has finished Middle School, Garrett is done with Elementary. I am trying to load some videos from the cool new video camera we got for Christmas. This one is from our trip to New Mexico to see Daniel and Miriam. The first night we got there it took the kids awhile to warm up to us. But after dinner Bubba and Garrett found something in common. Make sure your volume is all the way up. Bubba is trying to burp and Garrett is really burping right back at him. You gotta love boys.