Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of School

First day of the 2009-2010 school year! Not sure if I'm :) or :( probably somewhere in the middle. Icky is starting his first day of third grade in the Spectrum program in Ms. Merrill's class.
I guess Sam rules the school this year, being in sixth grade and all. He's in the Spectrum program also and has Mrs. Higley this year.

Caroline is off to 8th grade wearing the latest fashion. . . She's at Mueller Park again this year and is taking three honors classes. She's walking to and from school with her pack of girlfriends.
Jake is excited to be a sophomore class officer this year. Half of Jake's classes are honors or advanced placement classes and he's playing football. He's loving it all though. He's off with Evan every morning.
My senior. . . Evan is decidedly not taking hard classes this year. Only AP Statistics and CE English. His other classes include yoga and guitar. . . I guess that's his reward for making it to 12th grade. I'm hoping the hair on his chin is gone soon and the hair on his head grows the color out fast. He's playing football too.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Paris and 20 Years of Marriage

Craig and I celebrated our 20th anniversary in Paris this past week. It was a wonderful trip: relaxing and educational and fun. Here are some of my favorite pictures in no real order.

The day we visited the Palace of Versailles, it was 90 degrees and really, really crowded. I stopped caring about the sweat marks on my clothes after about 10 seconds. The palace was beautiful, but I am now associating it with crowds, heat, a lot of walking and a bee sting from a mean French bee.
This picture was taken by some Japanese tourists who were very surprised when Craig asked them in Japanese if they could take our picture.

We found this quaint covered walkway in a city north of Paris called Troyes. We explored the streets and found lots of these old half-timber houses.

Two more pictures in Troyes:

We visited this city called Rouen. The cathedral here was painted over and over again by Monet. This is clock tower hundreds of years old.

One of the most visible churches from everywhere in the Paris is Sacre Couer:

This cathedral is in Reims. It is the place where all the kings of France have been crowned since the 13th century.

We visited the Place de la Concorde, a beautiful square in Paris with fountains and obelisks, on our last night in the city.

No trip to Paris is complete without the obligatory stop to see the famous Moulin Rouge.

Out and about exploring Paris:

The backside of the Cathedral of Notre Dame:

The inside:

And the frontside:

We rented a car for two days and visited the Normandy region:

Back to Paris. This is the beautiful Museum d'Orsay. I liked it better than the Louvre. It has many beautiful masterpieces. The building is an old train station and is stunning.

Out in Normandy we stayed at Mont. St. Michel, a walled island abbey with narrow cobblestone streets and stairs leading up and up to the abbey. This is the highest steeple on the island:

Taken from the abbey looking out into the Atlantic Ocean:

On Mont St. Michel near our hotel:

And a beautiful picture of the whole island and abbey.

The Luxumborg Palace in Paris:

The Louvre:

Paris, overlooking the Seine River:

The streets of Paris:

A beautiful cemetery in Paris. Chopin and Jim Morrison are buried here:

Inside one of the many cathedrals we visited (I can't even remember which one this is). I do know that the flags are very old and were captured during conquests (nothing gets by me).
More Paris. Loved the gardens here. Napoleon's tomb is behind the camera inside a church here.
More Normandy. This is the WWII German cemetary:
And this is the beautiful American cemetery which overlooks Omaha Beach. It is very well cared for and a very peaceful place.
We had friends in our ward recommend this amazing restaurant. We ate here twice, once on our anniversary. The only thing on the menu is steak and fries. You can pick how you want your steak and order dessert, but those are the only choices you have to make. The sauce served with the steak is pretty amazing.
No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower. We went the first day we got to Paris. The line to take the elevator up to the top was hours long. I'm really afraid of heights (last time I was in Paris I rode the elevator up one of the legs and turned around and went right back down), so Craig walked about halfway up the tower and took some pictures. I was so jet-lagged I tried to go to sleep on a park bench.
This is the inside of a church in Troyes. The churches all start to look the same for me after awhile, but this one had beautiful interior work.
This is the inside of the Conciergerie, which was once a prison where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before she was executed.
This is an old French town called Chartres.
The famous Catacombs of Paris. We walked down under the streets of Paris and then passed millions of bones. A little spooky.
All six nights we were in Paris we stayed at the Marriott right on the Champs Elyesse. The first night we were there, they upgraded us to the presidential suite, which rents for $4,000 a night (free for us)! This is the beautiful view we had of the famous Avenue Champs Elyesse and the Arc de Triomphe. We also had a view of the Eiffel Tower, which sparkles at night.