Thursday, December 27, 2007

Neal, Neal, Neal

Just click the arrow twice for the video to play.

Just a Day....

I love this picture! It was so cold and a bit windy and with that combination it bites. Not sure what Michelle was thinking, but it must have been a happy thought. Brad is looking like he is wondering about all this white stuff, Clark is pretending it is not cold and acting pretty cool. I am not sure what Laurel was thinking, but she is one of the best pucker-ers I know.
Just a cute a picture.
We were all waiting for this momma deer to bite someone, but instead she waited for the boys to pose.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cross Country Skiing


If you you were to be looking through old boxes of pictures at your grandparents house from way back when, I bet you would all come across a picture just like this. I think this is a pretty cool picture. The black and white finish screams "old time"!
But no, these pictures were taken just last week in Waterton. Clark and some friends went cross country skiing and it looks as though they had a great time. Clarks motto these days, "I like the snow, but I don't like the temperature". I think that sums it up quite nicely.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Baby, It's Cold Outside"


I am always so amazed at Laurel's singing and performing talents because this is so not me, it totally skipped a generation. The Cardston Theater put on a Christmas program tonight starring alot of the kids from the summer theater and you are in luck because I remembered my camera AND remembered how to use it!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Little Michelle is 17 years old!!!


Can you even believe it? My 4th child is 17? Way too weird!

She always wants a strawberry cake and if I don't forget, which is weird I know, she gets one. I remembered this year, well, I asked her what kind of cake she wanted, and was suprised that I had to ask. I don't know what has happened to me these past 18 months........hopefully I will be back to my old self early next year. I want "me" back. Anyway, back to the strawberry cake. I live in a small town as you know and for years there was only one grocery store, IGA. There are two now, Extra Foods as well. Usually between the two I can find what I need..........pretty much, except for a simple box of strawberry of cake mix and a container of strawberry frosting. Is that too much to ask for? Apparently in Cardston it is. So I bought a cherry chip cake mix and strawberry mousse for the icing and strawberry ice cream. It was pretty and pink so all was well.


Let me think, where was I and what was I doing when I turned 17..........hmmmm...living in Hawaii going to Kaiser High School, going to the beach in Waikiki or Bellows in Waimanalo, oh and a bat girl for the high school boys baseball team. Yah that was me walking out to the home plate area picking up the bat after the hit. Sorry I don't have the picture for you. Maybe a bit weird but I did get to go to Maui for a tournament, can't beat that!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Leon Nicaragua

Brad didn't serve in this area, but it was a spot he had always wanted to see and are glad we made the three hour trip. The city is very quaint and the streets are dirt but seemed more narrow than other towns. This cathedral was built in 1747 for the Spaniards to see while sailing and is the biggest cathedral in Central America. There are alot of cathedrals in Leon as well as 7 volcanos on one horizon.

This is the burial place of the famous Rubén Darío:
Nicaragua's Bohemian Poet
The most famous of Nicaragua's sons, Rubén Darío remains relatively obscure in the English-speaking world. Renowned as the Spanish language's greatest poet and as a father of modernist verse and prose.

Born January 18, 1867 in a humble dwelling in Metapa, Matagalpa (today Ciudad Darío), Rubén Darío showed signs of talent at an early age. Although the child resisted a formal education, he began reading at the age of three and was composing verse by the age of 10. This attribute earned him the title of El Niño Poeta --the boy poet.
Since most efforts to school Rubén ended in failure, he was sent to Managua, where he was given a position in the National Library. Here he continued his studies of both classical and contemporary literature and was able to virtually memorize the dictionary.

Prize-winning Poet
Darío's first published poem appeared in a Rivas newspaper when he was 13. At 14, Darío was received by President Zaldivar of El Salvador and awarded an attractive 500-peso grant to support his talents.
The young poet squandered the money in one night of champagne revelry at a San Salvador hotel with newly found friends. On hearing of this antic, President Zaldivar sentenced the intemperate young visitor to nine months at a strict boarding school. Here Darío not only studied French, but also became acquainted with Parisian poetry.
Upon his release, young Rubén was again brought to the Presidential Palace, this time for a celebration of in honor of Latin American liberator Simon Bolívar. Darío presented his "Ode to Bolívar," considered the literary event of the year in Central America. Again the teenage poet was awarded 500 pesos, which he disposed of in much the same way as the previous. This time he didn't allow his hangover to detain him and he fled the country the next morning.

Darío was to spend much of his life away from Nicaragua, mostly in situations of financial uncertainty. It was in Chile in the mid-1880s where his first full-length collection, Azul… (Blue…) was published.
This work's importance was recognized immediately in Spain and Latin America. Azul… was a gust of fresh wind when compared to the repetitive, monotonous poetry of the time. Darío was proclaimed the spokesman of the "new school" --modernism-- and Azul… started a literary revolution.


During his turbulent lifetime, Rubén Darío visited many countries, including France, Italy, England, Morocco, Hungary, Germany, Brazil, and Argentina. He made many his home, working as a correspondent in Chile and Spain and serving as Nicaragua's diplomatic representative in Paris and Madrid.

Darío was one of Nicaragua's most notorious drunks. Over the years, he developed a taste for high living, champagne, and exquisite dining. However, he was known to often steal away from the most formal official banquet to share a bottle of cheap Nicaraguan cane liquor, guaro, with old friends. No doubt this overindulgence helped lead to the early death of the nation's greatest poet. Darío passed away on February 6, 1916 in a humble abode in his mother country. His remains were laid to rest in the León Cathedral, in the city where his poetic voyage began.

"My pick is working deep in the soil of this unknown America, turning out gold and opals and precious stones, an altar, a broken statue. And the Muse divines the meaning of the hieroglyphics. The strange life of a vanished people emerges from the mist of time." --Rubén Darío


This cathedral had a number of bells, but his one was the prettiest with writing on it and the two stone statues on each side.

Sorry the picture is a little dark, but here we all are!


The inside of the cathedral is known to be a replica of the vatican. It was very ornate. When we approached the cathedral there was music playing, we walked in and felt the "awe" of it and then it stopped. A graduation ceremony had just ended, darn!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Signs


This may seem like a funny post, but I found these signs different and interesting and afterall, isn't that what we do on vacations? Take different and interesting pictures? Inside MacDonalds it looked exaclty like ours, they even had the play area for kids which Neal enjoyed....you go for it Neal, we'll see you after we eat.

Daniel Ortega, he won the election again. His billboards were everywhere and he even had a campaign song for his election. Brad has explained why he won, and if the other two candidates (which were basically on the same page) had been united Ortega would not be in power. Hope the church survives, he tends to not be very nice.

Neal was so excited to use the pool and Michelle (ok, me too) was dying to lay out and get a tan so when we woke up one morning to see this sign the kids (ok, me too) were not too happy about this sign outside the elevators. We had a little trouble figuring it out though, but we did. "No swimming after 1:00pm". We comprehended that just fine. Thank you very much.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

San Juan del Sur



The roads were great leaving Managua but the closer we got to our destination(3 hours away)the roads got progressivly worse. The potholes were so deep and so frequent and so all over the place it was ridiculous. I really thought we were going to get a flat tire in our nifty Suzuki mini-van. We later turned in that silly van for a Toyota Prado which is equivalent to a Land Cruiser. Brad had warned us not to get the mini-van because it screams tourist and he was right. On our way out of Managua we were pulled over by the police probably because of our huge stickers on the front. Anyway, we could not understand him and he could not understand us but after all was said and done he made about 22 bucks that I bet he pocketed. Whatever, we were free to go. Whew! The next time we were told to pull over we just kept on going. No police car to follow us, no stop for them.

How do you like that fish Mark ordered? It is white snapper and it was delicious. Eskimo ice cream is huge in Nicaragua. These little carts are everywhere and we took advantage of them a few times. Food was the last thing on Brad's mind durng the trip so sometimes the ice cream was our meal.


San Juan was very pretty and we enjoyed the beach for a short time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Here He Is!




Seeing your son for the first time after completing a mission is one of the best moments ever!

Brad met us at the hotel after a 3 hour bus ride and 1/2 hour taxi ride. We were all waiting with cameras in hand to capture "the moment" and here it is. It was the most wonderful moment ever. That evening was a devotional and dinner for all Elders and Sisters who were completing their mission. This is Brad with his mission president and wife, President and Sister Fraatz from Guatemala.

I have so many pictures to share so I think I will try and post a few everyday. Nicaragua is very beautiful and tropical when you get out of Managua and into the small towns. It is a very poor country but the people are happy. The living conditions are very minimal which makes you realize we all have "too much stuff".
STAY TUNED