Sunday, August 31, 2008

New York and Europe

11 pm we flew from San Diego to New York with kids 7 am (4 am California time) we arrived in New York with Grammy and Papa to greet us. 9 am we had breakfast at the Kitchenette, a very cute home-food boutique in the Tribeca area of Manhattan. 11 am we checked out the Statue of Liberty. The kids were so exhausted, but we dragged them out of the car to check it out. They were happy. 12:30 pm we jumped out of the car at a stop light after kissing the sleepy kids goodbye. The kids went back to Grammy and Papa’s. Our big plans of shopping and walking around the City faded away as we saw a nice grassy patch in Central Park and took a long nap. 4:00 pm we took the subway from Central Park to Penn Station and then the train to the airport 7:00pm we flew to Budapest 11:00am (2 am CA time and 5 am NY time) we arrived in Budapest and took a crazy taxi ride (aren't they always crazy?) to Kelli and Jared’s place in the heart of the City. An hour or so later Kelli and Jared left to go to church, and we took a nap. When they got home, we were off to the festivities! We stopped at a local sidewalk café and tried our first Gyro. They were delicious! Of course we had to finish it off with some fantastic Gelato. After dinner, we went to a Hungarian folkloric festival on the nearby Chain Bridge over the Danube River.
We went back to the house and got ready for the Sziget Festival. We took a ferry to an island which had been taken over by this festival, about 30,000 people. People were everywhere! It was like a Lollapalooza on steroids. They had stages everywhere, magic shows, street shows, make-shift discos, side shows, bungee jumping, rock climbing, bands playing, food and fun. I climbed a rock wall barefoot up about three stories high. Then I climbed this sketchy rope latter up another story or two. When I arrived at the top, this guy said something in Hungarian, and then said in broken English 1 2 3 and pushed me off the edge. I went clear across crowds of people on a zip line. It was a blast! I then met up with everyone to catch the Killers concert.
It was a lot of fun! We rocked out for a couple of hours, and then took the ferry and street car back home and crashed. Monday we rented a car and went to Vienna. What a beautiful City! The cobble stone streets, old churches and buildings make the city look frozen in time. We started the day off with Gelato, walked around, took in some shopping, lunch and more Gelato. When we were leaving we had some $Euros left that we needed to get rid of so we had to get one more Gelato for the road :). We drove home and crashed again. Tuesday I woke up and ran 17 miles (had to get rid of some of those Gelatos) around this smaller island near Kelli’s place, which has a running track around it. It was one of my long runs that flew by because there so many historic and beautiful things to look at. After breakfast, we took the car to the Balaton (lake) about 2 hrs from Budapest. I felt like I was watching an old movie or something when we got there. It was a grassy and shaded park that led to a marble tiled boardwalk that ran along the lake. The lake was about 3 ½ to 4ft. deep for about the first 200 yards. I had never seen anything like it before. We spent all day sleeping on the grass and playing in the water. We even rented a little peddle boat with a slide that Scarlett loved. We took a ferry to the other side of the lake and explored a quaint little town with a beautiful church that used to be a monastery. We watched the sunset and had dinner at this restaurant with an incredible view of the lake and valley. We tried pork and dumplings with this great red pepper sauce and cherry fruit soup with ice cream. It's always fun to eat new foods. Wednesday Ryan and Jared came with me on a 3 mile or so run around the island. We met up with Kelli and Scarlett at the island park and then headed off to celebrate with the people of Hungary. It was St. Itsvan Day (like our Fourth of July). We walked the shopping streets, and stopped for some drinks and watched some Olympics. We also checked out the Basilica church where they would later in the day bring out St. Itsvan’s skeletal left arm in a glass box for the parade. We met up with Kelli and Scarlett by the Chain Bridge to watch the Red Bull air show.
The small planes were racing over the Danube River, in and out of obstacles, competing to see who could run the course the fastest. We then walked and took a street car to Castle Hill where we explored the castle and festivities. Ryan decided to have some Hungarian sausage with Jared and loved it. We sat on the top of a grassy hill and watched Scarlett play with the kids while we ate. We then watched the incredible firework display that was done off the bridge. Budapest is amazing! The view we had of the fireworks and the amazing City below us was unforgettable. We went back to Kelli’s place and crashed. Thursday we ventured off on our own and took a train to the City of Prague in the Czech Republic. Clint, if you read this post, I thought of you while I was there :). We stayed in the heart of Old Town and our hotel, The Grand Hotel Praha, looked right out onto the city’s famous Clock Tower. The architecture was ridiculously old; some go back to the early 1400’s. The history of the Gothic castles and bridges as well as churches and synagogues along with the cobblestone streets filled with people rather than cars takes you back and really makes you wonder what life was really like back then. It was incredible! Friday we explored Prague more as well as the small cafés and searched for the best Gelato in town, it was a tough job but somebody had to do it. Saturday we took the train back to Budapest, about 7 hours, and met up with Kelli and Jared for dinner at this great restaurant where we enjoyed apple soup, stuffed peppers, gulosh, and more. It was delicious. Sunday we woke up early and took a street car and subway to the Szechenyi Bath house. It’s a natural spring that was opened up in 1896 and is said to be very healing. We soaked in warm water outside, sat in saunas and steam rooms inside, and took a dip in the cold plunge. I was even lucky enough to get a “relaxing massage”. It included dance music, therapists talking to each other through the curtain in Hungarian and only using one hand to massage. It was definitely an experience! We took a beautiful walk back to the house and caught a taxi to the airport. Sun. 1:15 pm we fly to NY. 5 pm (11 pm Budapest time) we arrived at JFK and rented a car and drove to Montauk. 8 pm arrive at the Montauk beach house. Greeted and hugged the kids, Charlie was so happy she started crying. We stayed at the beach house for 6 nights. We enjoyed the beach, saw how the rich and famous live in the Hamptons, saw what we decided was the Montauk Monster, explored the lake by boat, went to a farm,
and most of all enjoyed each other. We hadn’t all been together for quite a while so it was really fun to get to know each other again. Thanks to Ann’s amazing planning and preparing the week was a huge success. It was a great vacation.

Mom and Grandma

We got some bad news that my Grandma Shirley who lives in Queensland, Australia has terminal lung cancer. It’s inoperable and the dr. gave her 6-12 months. She flew over to the states to visit family and of course we headed over to St. George to visit with her.
It was bitter sweet to see my Grandma. I love her so much! Growing up in St. George my Grandma lived with us for a time and we shared a room and bed. We would pillow talk at night and read together. I have great memories of her and her endless generosity. It was great to visit and I was really happy for the chance to say goodbye to her.
A couple days after we had left St. George we found out my mom had congenital heart failure and the outcome wasn’t looking that good for her. I was able to get a babysitter and drove back to St. George. With the help of a lot of prayers and fasting and an excellent surgeon, she has come out of it okay and is already starting to be on the mend. As tough as that was, on the flip side I was able to see my Grandma again. We were bed buddies again and spent a lot of time together in the day and pillow talking at night. This time I didn’t say goodbye, only see you later. I love my sweet Grandma Shirley!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Max gets Baptized

Our little max is growing up. He chose to get baptized and become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints on July 18th. It was a great event! Grammy and Papa and Nana and Papa traveled quite some distance to witness and join the special day. We had a lot of friends and family attend and enjoy the day together. The baptism was simple and sweet just like our Max. Papa Mike gave a heartfelt talk on baptism, Ryan baptized Max, Randy and Uncle Nathan sang a beautiful duet (A Child's Prayer), Max’s confirmation by Ryan brought tears to my eyes and Ann gave a beautiful talk on the Holy Ghost. The after party was at our house. With fantastic food, family and friends you can’t help but have a good time.

We love you Max and are very proud of you!