Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Denmark on the Cheap

Denmark is not cheap!  But we still did it for cheap.  This is the story of how...
  We embarked on our cruise from Copenhagen.  We drove up through the night, spending about 3-4 hours sleeping in a truck sleeping spot and then continuing on in the morning to our boat.  The parking by the boat docks had just recently been redone and so were free at that point.  We stayed in the parking for over 9 days without paying a penny- that doesn't happen in Europe very often.  When we came back we downloaded Rick Steve's Best of Denmark with the ports free wifi and then took his self guided tour backwards half-way and then drove to the end and did it front ways, half-way.  We somehow found free parking there as well, because we didn't have a cent in Danish money!  We only brought dollars for the boat and Euros and credit cards for everything else.  This caused a small issue in Russia, but everywhere else we had zero problems.   We started in Kastellet Park and saw the 
Little Mermaid
Then the Gefion Fountain.  This shows the Goddess Gefion who turned her four sons into oxen to carve out a chunk of Sweden to make the main island of Denmark.  She was given one night to do it in and she accomplished it.  Supposedly Sweden's biggest lake is roughly the same shape as Denmark.

 Frederick V near Amalienborg Palace- I don't believe the Queen was in.
 Although we did see a couple people get yelled at that were too close to the doors.
The Cathedral of our Lady
 Peter with the Keys- each of the 12 apostles carried a symbol that related to them, we didn't understand quite a few of them.  Instead of Judas they had Paul for the 12th- which of course isn't right either!  Poor Matthias.

The Christus that can also be seen reproduced in Salt Lake City Temple Visitors Center.  President David O. McKay was so impressed by this one in Copenhagen that he bought an 11 foot replica.  The original is 10.5 feet tall. 
 Copenhagen University
Rob had to pose with the bust of Niels Bohr.  After getting a degree in Nuclear Engineering he has learned all about this Nobel Prize winner, his Bohr's atom and his help with the atomic bomb.
 Hans Christian Anderson
After we finished the self-guided walk, we found a plate to buy for our growing World Traveler's Table Setting and drove 4 hours across the border and spent the night in Germany.  We filled up  at the last Esso in Germany before coming across on the way up, but we still had to put a couple liters in the tank to make it back across.  As soon as we could we completely filled up again at the next Esso.  We ate lots of snacks that we had brought and waited for dinner across the border.  Our total out of pocket in Denmark was about $100 with the plate- the plate was super expensive!!  But for 6 people, that's not a bad days excursion.  Staying cheap and seeing the world- that's how we roll!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Why a cruise and Russia

As a family we have taken the opportunities to travel while we have been in Europe.  All of the trips have involved seeing cities and their famous sites.  This summer, I decided that we needed to mix it up a little.  Couple that with a great way to see northern Europe and Russia for a relatively cheap price and that equalled a cruise for us.

Since coming back we have had several people wonder at our taking our children on a cruise.  We genuinely enjoy our children and spending time with them.  We also want them to have as many experiences as possible while we are here.  I don't know that they will ever have these kinds of opportunities again.  Emma shocked us by saying that she wants to marry someone that won't move, because she doesn't want to move again.  Emma is so easy going and never complains about our moves, but I guess deep down, she is tired of it.  This last move was pretty hard on her.  The boys all still talk about joining the military, so they still might have travel and experiences outside the US.  I personally hope they don't join the military, however, for many reasons, which I won't get into now.
We decided on Northern Europe, because of how expensive it is, how hard it would be to get there
by car, and because the cruises all included St. Petersburg, Russia.  We were afraid that with the whole Ukraine crisis, we might not be able to go to Russia too much longer.  Rob had to fill out a ton of paperwork, but in the end, he was allowed to go.  St. Petersburg was by far my favorite stop.  We had to do a tour there or get a visa- which cost more and took a long time to get.  We ended up signing up for a 2 day highlight tour through SBP
  We absolutely loved our guide.  Besides getting some very interesting information about Russia and St. Petersburg, we learned about the politics in that city and their thoughts on the Ukraine.  They believe that Ukraine really is Russia and should be part of it.  She also talked about all the things they were doing for Ukraine, how much money they were spending on it and it's people.  They feel like they are truly helping them out, even to their (Russia's) own detriment.  
 One of the first places we went was to the subway.  I was a little confused at first about why we would want to go to the subway, but look at the beauty of the place!
Our subway "tickets"
 Chandeliers in the tunnel

 Soviet Union era train- still running strong.
 marble and glass columns 
 We also took a trip out to Peterhof.  Here the kids are playing in the trick fountains.  Peter the Great had a wicked sense of humor and put trick fountains by benches and other "resting" spots!

 You might get in here to sit down, but getting out dry might not be so easy!
 If you throw a coin and get it to go inside his boots, all your dreams will come true- they had a lot of things that would make all your dreams come true.  We started saying that phrase before she could finish.  Sam made it in the boot, at least twice!
Lighthouse celebrating Peter the Great's victory over Sweden to obtain rights to the Baltic sea.

The Hermitage 

Our lunch- St. Petersburg pies, one beef and  one some kind of berry.

Super yummy!

 Hermitage peacock clock given to Catherine the Great- it was pretty darn cool!

We found Anastatia.  She didn't survive.

Church of the spilled blood.
We also saw Catherine's palace and the amber room and Peter and Paul's fortress.  It was truly an amazing experience.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

More Pictures of Us

 Cherry picking at a friend of a friend's house.  We picked huge basketfuls- all of us, but didn't even make a dent in her tree- there were just so many cherries!
I made cherry cobbler with a few of them.  It was super duper yummy!

 The Army Ball, celebrating 50 years since the Vietnam war (I think.)  I am wearing heels, so I look like I am towering over Rob.  They did a wonderful job.  The food was good and so was the entertainment.
The speaker was this guy- Sgt. Sammy Davis.  He was in an artillery unit and was awarded the medal of honor for continuing to fight after serious injuries to himself and then crossing a river twice on an air mattress (since he couldn't swim) to save two other soldiers while being fired upon.  He gave a wonderful talk all about why soldiers do these things and his conclusion was Love.  To our surprise he showed up to church the next day.  He is a convert.  He and his beautiful wife were very gracious.
Max, playing with Mom's phone and taking selfies- oh this generation!!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Pictures of us

 Max goes to a birthday party on his birthday and wants to be part of it, because after all- it is his real birthday!  Dad kept him in check most of the time.

 Sam's last track meet.  They won 1st for their 4x400- they had never been beaten.  He also got 2nd in long jump- which is crazy, considering how short he is compared to all the other jumpers.  He got his only second in the 800.  He raced against a guy he had raced before.  The guy wanted to try to get him to pass him early, so he slowed down more and more.  Sam had been instructed not to pass him until the last 100, so he stayed behind.  The other guy won by a half a foot, but their times were 20 seconds slower than they had ever been.  Very annoying race!
 Last meet!!
 Party time for middle school track- We love the playground - the kids did not love the playground after they got caught jumping the fence to get to it.  Besides getting yelled at twice, they had to do extra workouts.  We actually had one girl turn blue, eyes roll back in her head and her heartbeat drop while they were doing their I love the Playground workout. Freaked me out.  Luckily, we had 3 nurses there that day.
 Blue icing on everyone!
Some of the coaches 
 Max finally gets to celebrate turning 9!  We had a spy party.  They each chose a name based on their favorite color and favorite animal.  They did training around the park and then did a hunt for the weapon that Goldeneye had- Joseph informed me that Goldeneye was the weapon and then he told me what the company really was called, but I can't remember anymore.  Guess I just don't know my 007 as well as my 11 year old.
 Brother Naylor and Max's favorite friend Sir Joe- as Max calls him.  (His real name is Serjio and he is from Portugal.)

The weapon, found and ready to destroy!
 Hiking in the Black Forest with our friends the Hewins
 Longest waterfall in Germany

 Max actually did the high adventure ropes course.  I was so proud of him!
 Joe up there.  Sam and Kyndall were the only ones that could go on the highest one, but Joe did the next highest.
 They are all so cute!  We betrothed Sam and Kyndall while they were up in the trees.  They are such good friends and we love their parents, so it seemed like a good idea.

Max's last track meet and party.  I just helped out at every practice, so they treated me like an official coach.  Very sweet!