Sunday, October 25, 2009

India 2009

Here are a few pictures from India...

The Taj Mahal... an amazing structure of stone that took 22 years to build. You can Wiki the details, but it is an incredible building.

Traffic in India is unlike anything I have ever seen. No rules, no holds barred... just push ahead through the cars, trucks, tractors, cows (sacred... don't hit them), dogs, children, wagons, bikes, and several other forms of transportation. Lights and signs are optional.

This tractor lost his battle with the bigger truck.

This is in Old Delhi. Street vendors everywhere selling everything imaginable. Only go here if you like really crazy crowded places.

This is me just outside the chaos of Old Delhi.

I found an LDS church in Delhi and went to Sacrament Meeting there. Fantastic experience and a highlight of the trip. My taxi driver joined me for the services and was touched by the spirit of the people there. (So was I... great group.) Met a missionary there from Rexburg... his companion is from Nepal. The work continues to roll forth.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Grateful for Life

We just returned from our summer trip to the states. It was quite eventful and caused me to reflect on how grateful I am for life, family, and friends. We had reunions with both families, reunions with my college friends, visits with grandparents, the marriage of my brother Josh to Jo, and a mix of breakdowns, car disasters, jet ski disasters, and tired children disasters...

The most eventful and devasting part of our trip was the tragic loss of my brother and sister-in-laws' baby girl, Elizabeth. Celeste was 29 weeks along, and we all were soooo ecstatic that she was pregnant with a girl after her first three boys. About half way through the reunion, she stopped feeling the baby move. The day after Josh and Jo's wedding, on the way to the reunion in Pittsburgh, we got the message that they had lost the baby. I cannot think of the words to describe the emotion and pain we all felt for their family, and especially for Celeste. They are both such strong and amazing individuals, and have been tested more than most. I love them both for the example they have shown throughout everything.

All of the events reminded me how lucky I am to have been raised in such a good family. I am lucky to have a husband who was also raised by such an amazing family. I am so grateful to have been blessed by having good friends all of my life. We are blessed to know the plan of salvation and the gift of eternal life from our Savior. I know this baby girl, for whatever reason, is needed elsewhere and the rest of us are given the opportunity to grow from this depth of sadness.

I love you Jake and Celeste. You are in our prayers.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Happy Father's Day, DAD! This a tribute to you for your special day.

Here are the top 10 reasons you are the best dad in the world:

10. You make the best spaghetti dinner in the world. We could always count on it when mom was gone...

9. You are the smartest dad of every dad I know. So smart, I often can't understand you.

8. You were always one of the best looking dads I know. My high school friends were always jealous when you came with me to the daddy daughter dances.

7. You play a mean round of golf. Or a nice round when you offer to pay for broken windows...

6. You are the best "Papa" in the world--Ellie always wants to see her Papa.

5. You are the most avid movie goer and popcorn eater I know!

4. You are one of the most generous dads I know.

3. You are the best "flower photographer" I have ever met.

2. You are the only dad I know who knows TWO meanings for the word "stool."

1. You are the greatest dad in the world, because you are not afraid to show your REAL emotions.

I love you, DAD! I can't wait to see you in a few weeks. Thank you for everything you do for me and my family.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Greek Cruise

Kent and I took the two girls on an amazing family adventure. We went on a 7 day cruise from Venice, Italy to Croatia and Greece. The weather was great, our boat was amazing, and the food an entertainment were incredible. We had stops in Split, Croatia; Corfu, Athens, Mykonos, and Olympia, Greece. We mostly went to the beach, but also had a great time visiting the Acropolis, the Temple of Zeus, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Madison and Ellie loved the formal nights when we got to dress up like we were at the ball. They especially loved dancing with their daddy, and cheering for all the onboard entertainment. I loved that everytime we left our room, we came back and someone had cleaned up for us! My favorite part of the whole trip was watching Kent win the sexiest legs contest at the top deck pool the last day! He even beat out the frenchman in the Speedo!

We had a great time on our trip--one of the highlights was that we were amongst 700 other fellow Americans onboard. It felt like having one extra week back in the homeland. The beauty of Greece was spectacular, but America is still the best!

Ellie's broken arm

Ellie was playing on the couch, trying to balance on the arm of the couch while catching her hat with a drum stick (her explanation). Then she fell and landed on her arm on the tile floor. The result: a broken arm right at the elbow joint. The fix: surgery with two pins put in her arm and a cast for several weeks. We really felt bad for her. She has been a real trooper through all the pain!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Istanbul was Constantinople...

Kent and I had the chance to go to Istanbul for a weekend. I met him there after he had already been there working. What a great experience. After living in our small village of only 1200 people, though, it felt very overwhelming to be in a city with 20 million people. There were people and noises everywhere! We got to go see the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sofia, the Cistern, the Grand Bazaar, and the Main Square. We both found learning more about Islam fascinating. It was always amazing to hear the call to prayer at all hours of the day (and night).
What a great get away without kids, too!
Thanks, Rachel for watching them!!!!


Easter came and went this year without me remembering to post. We had a great easter egg hunt with our neighbors, the Jacksons. It's easy to think about new life, and the Resurrection of the Savior when we live in such a beautiful place...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Our Concert

Emily and I started playing music with some friends a few months ago. One thing lead to another, and we found ourselves performing at a big event in Switzerland. It was a BLAST!!! We wouldn't make it past round one of American Idol, but it was a great time. If you can overlook the out-of-tune singing and basic guitar skills, these videos are pretty fun. These were shot with our home video camera, but there are some high-quality videos on Facebook. Emily also has her picture in the newspaper today with a description of the evening in German. She got good reviews! Enjoy.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Charlie's 1st Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Little Buddy! We love having a little boy in our house. I can't believe it has already been a whole year! Charlie has made our family so much more fun and interesting.
Charlie has an infectious smile and laugh. He often stares people down until they look back so he can smile at them. One person recently said, "he seems to wise." It's true. Already he seems very contemplative and curious about his world.
Charlie loves balls, and it is a good thing, because his dad has been waiting for a boy to throw the ball around with before he gets too old to do it! Better hurry, Charlie! Only a few more years left!

Cheers to you, Charlie! We are so lucky to celebrate you on your birthday!

Happy Birthday, Madison!

Happy 6th Birthday, Madison! We are so lucky to have you in our family! It was quite the celebration since your birthday was on Sunday. We got to go to church and the Primary sang to you and your teacher brought a cake. Then we had lunch at the Pail's house and they also gave you presents, sang and had a cake. Then we had cake and sang and presents at home that night! THEN, the next day after school, every kid from your kindergarten came to celebrate your birthday with you! That was a lot of kids to have for a party...

We ate a delicious butterfly cake, created by your dad (the best cake maker, ever!). We played pin the butterfly on the flower, and since the first kid got his sticker right in the middle, every other kid got it right, too! We also played, freeze dance, musical spots, unwrap the package, and best of all, break the pinata! All the kids had a great time.

Madison, you are a smart, beautiful, talented girl. Sometimes I think you are much older than your years. You are friends with everyone, and not afraid of anything. My favorite memory of you this year is when you got up in front of the entire school (K-12) for the talent show and played the piano and sang Mama Mia. You were a true Rock Star! Thanks for being the best, most helpful, oldest sister. You are a great example for your siblings, and often, for your parents, too. We love you!

Laura's Visit

My friend, Laura, came to visit us with her daughter, Jessi. We had such a great time! We went on a trip to Milan (although, I forgot my camera). Then we also tried to show her the view from the Saentis! Apparently when the snow hits, being at the top of the peak feels like sticking your head in the ice box, eh? Not quite the beautiful view we were hoping for...
After Laura and Jessi went to Paris, we took a day trip to Neuschwanstein castle. This time, Madison, Charlie, and I saw the other castle, Hohenschwangau. Not as ornate by a clear mile, but still cool, nontheless.

We also went up to Appenzell for some great Swiss shopping-knives and cheese! Thanks for visiting, Laura! It was so much fun!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ellie!

The other night, Ellie asked if we could have some "fondue." I told her I would have to check and see if we had all the chocolate and supplies. Then she said, "No, mom. I want fun-do, like watch a movie or play some games. Can we have some?" This is why I love, Ellie. This sums her up to the core. She is full of fun, laughs, and loves. Her favorite phrase is "Guess what, mom? I love you!" She loves to be silly, and is a great friend. She walks up and down the stairs at school saying "Hi, Pia! Hi Charles!" The only problem is then they say, "That's not my name!" But, she doesn't care. She is just a friendly girl! We are so lucky to have her in our family. It would feel so empty and boring without her. And that is why, on this day, we celebrate you, Ellie!

Ellie celebrated her 4th birthday on Saturday. We had a great time, hanging out in Stuttgart with our friends, the Jacksons and the Grovers.

The best part about Stuttgart was hanging out on the military base (Stewart Grover's stationed there), and going bowling with all the friends!

Lake Shore, UT meets Stuttgart!

We made sure to drink lots of root beer and eat Pizza Hut pizza that we can't get in Switzerland.

Ellie loved her "Mama Bluey" from Grandma Kelli.

Always cheered up by her buddy, Danny!

Our princess couldn't go without a crown cake (except it got a little smashed on the way to school). She was pretty sad after school when I picked her up. I asked her why she was so sad and she said she didn't get any of her cake. I thought maybe this was another custom I didn't know about-only the other kids get cake? Then I asked her if they offered her some, and she said yes, but she told them she didn't want any. Hmmmmm, let the games begin about stating one thing and meaning another!

We love you, Ellie! Happy Birthday!