Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spring Break 2012

This year for Spring Break we decided to go all out and go to Paris.  It was such an amazing week.  We loved every minute of it. (well almost every minute--there were a few rough spots) but it was such a fantastic trip and I hope the girls will remember it forever.

I was really proud of Lauren and Katelyn. They did a great job on the plane and were such great troopers in walking for miles and miles and hours and hours.  They were really great.  Just wish that jet lag wouldn't have been so rough on us while we were there.

We decided an apartment would not only be cheaper than a hotel, but also more fun. We were able to get one that was about a 15 minute walk from Notre Dame. It was really great even though it was only about 25' x 25'. But it was definitely cozy and fun.
The back half of our apartment
(the kitchenette is behind the tv--that's how small it was
and the fridge is next to the bed on the other wall)

And here is the front half
(including futon, fireplace, and fridge)

 On our daily walk, we passed by a really beautiful Cathederal. The first day the girls saw the stained glass windows and asked if we could go in. It was SO beautiful. I don't know why it wasn't on the list of things to see there in Pairs.  We were so glad we went in!

The Cathedral near our apartment with beautiful stained glass windows
 The girls enjoyed walking over the many bridges spanning the Sein. This was probably the most cloudy day. Wished we would have taken another picture on a sunny day :)
Katelyn and Lauren at the Sein
Lauren was really excited to go to Paris because there were so many things there that she had already learned about in school.  The Mona Lisa (from art) and the Code of Hammurabi (from history) were at the top of her list.  Although it was a fun coincidence that we happend to walk by this statute of Thomas Jefferson as she had just finished learning about him in history.
Lauren and Thomas Jefferson
 The city is so beautiful and worthy of all the movies that have been filmed there. There are postcard pictures around every corner.  This was one I enjoyed of being able to see the trees, river, bridges, boats, statues and buildings.
A pretty view
 We tried to visit as many of the sites as we could and I think we did a great job seeing most of them! Here are just a few of the highlights:
Invalides (military hospital)

Katelyn and Lauren in front of Eiffel Tower

Katelyn enjoying our boat ride down the Sein

The family in front of the Eiffel Tower

Katelyn and Lauren in front of the Arc De Triomphe
A view going down the spiral stairs inside the Arc
 Sometimes, the walking got old and we got tired and to help us get as many places as we could as fast as we could, we took the Metro.  I think Lauren and Katelyn really enjoyed riding because most of the time the trains were so full that we had to stand up. I think that made it even more fun for them. I think it was just so novel being able to stand and not sit with a seatbelt on or in a booster seat.

Katelyn and Lauren loving on the Subway or Metro

Notre Dame

One of the Gorgoyles at Notre Dame and the view from the top
(On the lefthand side about half way up is the Cathedral near our apartment;
the dome at the top of the hill was Sacred Heart which is close to Mulin Rouge)

After a long day of walking and touring it was really fun to stop at one of the super markets on our street and choose some fun snacks.
Katelyn and Lauren LOVED the shopping basket/carts at the little markets
We had fun picking out treats to share at night
Some more of our sights included:
Lauren and Katelyn in front of the Stutue of Liberty
I'd LOVE to be able to see ours now :)

James and Katelyn on the Metro
Us girls in front of the Palace at Versailles
(this was my VERY favorite part of our entire trip)
Moulin Rouge
The clock inside the Pantheon
Rodin's house and gardens
Rodin's "The Thinker" statue

The Louvre
All of us enjoying the narrated history of Paris on the
hop-on-hop-off tour bus

Lauren enjoying her dinner of Pizza and orange Fanta
Katelyn and Lauren discover Gelato
(their wold is not the same anymore)
 Unfortunately our time there in Paris came to an end and at the insane hour of 5:30 a.m. we woke up and packed our bags, checked out of our apartment, and walked to the train station to take us to the airport for our flight home.

Walking to the train station
(I love how they always held hands)

Enjoying a movie and breadsticks with Nutella
while waiting for our flight

On the plane

  Katelyn actually cried and said she wanted to stay. I think both Lauren and Katelyn had a fantastic time and enjoyed being in another country where a completely different language was spoken and where things were very much different from our life back home.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

March catching up

I have lost track of time and have neglected my blog for far too long!  March was a good month but I wasn't good at taking pictures.  The highlights of the month were St. Patricks' Day and Lauren's school assembly.

Katelyn and Lauren before our Traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage
 We look forward to our corned beef and cabbage dinner every year. It is also really fun to dress up in all our green.

Lauren's school has a "Show What You Know" assembly every Wednesday morning where some of the classes either sing a song, recite poems, or recite facts they have just learned.  Lauren's class has been learning some fun songs to go along with their curriculum.
Lauren and her friends talking before an assembly
They learned the Mexican Hat Dance to go with their unit in History on Mexico, Yankee Doodle for The Revoluntionary War, and There's a Hole in My Bucket just for fun. It is so fun watching the classes perform. I always love seeing Lauren with her friends and observing her unnoticed.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lauren's 7th Birthday

Seven years ago I was surprised to learn that I was going to have a Valentine's Day baby.  I was surprised because my due date wasn't until March 13th and I assumed I would probably go longer since it was my first child.  However, Lauren had other plans and made her grand entrance into this world on Valentines Day. I think it was very fitting for her as she is a true sweetheart!   However, celebrating her birthday can be a little tricky at times so we decided to make 2 special days for her this year.  We celebrated her birthday as a family on her birthday, then held a birthday party for her friends 3 days later on Friday.  I hope she had a wonderful time and felt as truly special as she is! 

Why break tradition, let's just tell the story in picture form like usual.   Here goes:
Lauren opened her gifts from us first thing in the morning 

a Lite Sprite to add to her collection
 Then she went on her way to school.  It was perfect timing that her birthday fell on a Tuesday as I volunteer in her classroom every Tuesday. That morning she was given her birthday sticker to proudly wear throught the day. Then she was crowned "Cursive Queen" for her great penmanship and received her crown (which she wore all day).  In music, she was "The Big Cheese" and sat on the stool of honor in front of the class to watch the students and award them for their efforts. Everyone also sang Happy Birthday to her as well.   At lunch it was time to exchange Valentines and she received a lot of wonderful cards and treats.

Once home, she was able to open a few more presents that had arrived in the mail while she was at school. 
Guess Who?  Thank you Aunt Julie!!
 That night we had pizza, orange Crush, and cookies and played games and watched movies.  It was a very fun night.  Lauren wanted to visit the Dinosaur Museum at Thanksgiving Point, but due to time limits we set up plans to do that on Saturday.

Thankfully Friday finally came and after school we had 7 of her friends come celebrate and party with us!  We had a movie themed party and a few fun games.
No movie star should be without some red-carpet (pretend the rocks aren't there)

The table all set for treats

The stage for all our movie stars

A few trinkets for the starlets

and some goodie bags to take home and enjoy

The movie stars pose on their stage

And here the movie stars make their own "cars" for the drive-in
movie to debut their performances

Enjoying seeing themselves on the big screen
(and what's a movie without popcorn?)

Enjoying their cupcakes in cones topped with ice-cream and chocolate
and a little bubbly to drink (tropical bunch soda)

Lauren takes her place on the stage to open presents
It was really fun and her friends were so cute and sweet. Seven is a really fun age and we had a great time celebrating Lauren and her birthday.  Lauren is truly such a sweet and special girl. I am SO proud of her and love her so much!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ward Valentine Party

On Saturday Febrary 11th, our ward had it's annual Valentines Dinner for the adults.  It was a super fun night!  The theme was Mexican Fiesta and we feasted on Cafe Rio-like burritos and enjoyed a variety of desserts.  After dinner each table became a team in the amazing race.  It took place in an ordinary neighborhood (our the church's classrooms to be exact) but resembled fun places like a restaurant, a Post Office, a school, a park, an art gallery, a bank, a movie theater, a hardware store,  a campground, and a shooting range.  We had fun challenges like guessing the different pasta shapes, knowing all of our neighbors, playing name that tune, racing oranges, putting together picture puzzles, finding pennies from 1977, guessing popcorn flavors, identifying tools,  setting up a campground (exactly like one pictured) and having to shoot cups off a table with nerf guns. 

Thanks to my wonderful friend, I have a few pictures to post (ok, I stole them off her blog, thanks Mindy!)
The "culural hall" all decorated

The orange race

"The shooting range"
Me & James stop and pose for a quick picture between games
My team was incredible and we were super great at all of the activities. Of course, due to some good natured cheating, we were robbed of our deserved win. But we had a great time regardless.