This is my simple photo journal. I like to take pictures and once a month or more, I load them onto this blog so that we can remember some of our family highlights.



It was the perfect Mother's Day! 

I got to see and talk to this guy for an hour.
This mission thing is doable if you can email weekly and Skype twice a year. 
The moms that had to wait for snail mail have my respect.  That would have been tough.

These cousins.
I was strong until I watched them say goodbye to one another.

The girls performed in their choir  Broadway Review 

 They both got to choreograph their dance numbers.
Meg's number was from Hairspray

Summer's choir performed numbers from
A Chorus Line

Summer is still taking piano lessons and loves her new teacher Carly Porter Walton
She is teaching her music composition and theory as well.  
There is nothing better than a really great teacher.

Meg and Summer are also taking voice lessons and had the chance to perform 
for their recital.   I was really in awe at how comfortable they were performing solos.
I would rather swim with sharks.

Are we ever grateful for Dana.  Not only does she help train them vocally, but we also joke that she is their therapist, helping to motivate and work through confidence issues.  

Isaac decided the violin wasn't big enough so he moved up to the Bass.
I got a kick out of him feeling the music in his school performance.  

He is also very determined about golf.  He heads to the driving range by himself to hit balls.
He got invited to be Tom's caddy for a Memorial Day golf tournament.
I love that they matched.

Our lucky Luke graduated from high school.
Oh how I have loved watching my little glow worm grow up.
We will miss him when he leaves to serve his mission in the Argentina Buenos Aires South mission.

These were our dinner guests in May.
Debbie and Theresa (flanking Meg)
 got to meet the Shills and McDaniels.
Tyson (in the center back) just
got home from serving his mission.  We loved reading his letters.  
He was such a good writer and story-teller and always shared such a strong and inspiring testimony.

If your tired of scrolling... I understand.  
This blog post is way too long.

After school ended, the girls and I joined
 Summer's English class on a trip to London, Paris and the Normandy region.
We traveled with the nicest group of students and parents.  
I also loved our English tour guide Claudia.

We flew into London and spent a very busy 48 hours trying to see as much as we could.
Thank goodness we had time to nod off while riding the Tube.  

Our view from the London Eye just off the River Thames.

We enjoyed cool weather and very little rain.  

This was my attempt to get Meg to do fun poses at every little thing we saw...she was done at the telephone booth and I don't blame her.  This little leg kick was all that was left in her.  
It is a pain traveling with a mother and her camera.

We did a lot of riding on the Tube and one thing you can't miss as you
load and unload is the signifiant space between platform and train.
A friendly voice constantly reminds you to "Mind the Gap."

This is the square in Mary Poppins where they filmed the scene "Feed the Birds."

Taking a little hot chocolate and sushi break on the steps of St. Paul's cathedral.

We got tickets to see Wicked and I think the whole group slept through the first half.
Jet lag was catching up to us.
When I was done napping, I loved the second half, the actor playing Elphaba had the best vocals
out of the four times I have seen this play.

Does this look good to you?  It may not be pretty but it was fried goodness.

The tower of London was a surprise to me.
It is not so much a tower as it is a small fortress city with 
several buildings for prisoners and prison officials.

A window in one of the prison rooms.  I think my favorite part were the scratched 
figures and words in the stone walls.

These hats-  hehee

On our last night (well the second night) in London we headed down to Buckingham Palace at night.
We arrived at the perfect time.  The crowds had all gone home and we could look all around at empty streets and walk ways.  It was my favorite stop in London, partly because this group allowed me to set up the self-timer on my camera.  Like I said, they were a nice and patient group.

We took the Eurostar or
 what Americans like to call the "Chunnel" to Paris.
  We left London after breakfast and arrived in Paris for lunch (2 hour zip through the 
English channel and French countryside.)

Our first stop was the beautiful
Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre

We got to know the Metro very well.  
I think we spent about 4 hours of traveling on it the first day.

 Arc de Triomph
Napolean's tribute to his soldiers returning home

The Palace of Versailles

We first explored the gardens in the back.  There are acres and acres.
I saw people driving around in golf carts and wished I had known that you
could rent them.  It would have made it possible for us to see the grounds 
in the short time we had allotted.

I loved that we felt like we were strolling them alone

Just trying to be fun

The French have a saying
"King Louise XIV built Versailles, King Louise XV enjoyed Versailles and
King Louise XVI paid for Versailles (beheaded)"

The Hall of Mirrors 

Eiffel Tower

We climbed the stairs to the second level and got a beautiful view of Paris at sunset

Summer with Kristen Smith

When we came down, the tower was lit up for the night.
For 5 minutes at 10 p.m., not only is lit but it sparkles with
strobe lighting.  Absolutely fantastic!  

Notre Dame

I recently read an account of the life of Joan of Arc and the author said it well:
"Had her life been fiction, 
we would have accused the author of straining our suspension of disbelief."  
-Michael Wilcox 
10 Great Souls I Want to Meet in Heaven

The Louve

Our first stop was to pay for a restroom break.

We had a hostess escort us to our "cabin" to make sure it was spotless before we entered.
I"ll pay money for that any day.

I sent this one to Tom 

 Outside the Louve there was this man playing crazy salsa music and juggling pigeons.
The contrast was hilarious.  Louve and then juggling pigeon man.
He had these feathered friends trained to land all over people in the crowd when he would clap.
We stayed far away from that.  The thought of a flock of pigeons landing all over me...
Of course this is all Ike wanted to hear about when we got home.

The River Seine

I was not expecting to love Paris as much as I did.  
I fell in love with the markets, food, architecture, lighting, flowers, chestnut trees.  I also thought
the Parisians were very helpful and polite.  It was such a beautiful 3 days.
The weather at the end of May was perfect.  I slept with my hotel windows open at night and woke  to the nightingales song in the morning.