Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Our visit to Holland...

This past weekend we drove to a lovely little town in Germany called Braunschweig. This is an area that Brock spent six months of his mission in. We got to stay with the Jobs family who are absolutely the most kind, loving, and practically perfect family! They had the most adorable kids and we just loved spending time with them. While we were there they took us to one of the coolest places we have ever been. It was a windmill park! There were giant windmills from all over the world in this one place. It was so beautiful! This was definitely one of our favorite places we have been this summer. We truly felt like we had stepped into Holland. The funny thing is that there were bus loads of people there from Holland because it is so rare to have this many windmills all in one place and they wanted to see it.

Us with the cute Jobs kids. The little one right in front of me held my hand all day and was reluctant to let go for pictures- it was really cute.

This is from the inside of the windmill looking up. It was so cool to be able to go inside all of them and walk up to the top.

This is the Spanish windmill.

This windmill is from Greece.

These are the water mills.

We were told it brings good luck to kiss across these tables so of course we wouldn't pass up a chance for some love and luck!

There is also a sentimental reason that the windmill park was so special to me. My mom absolutely loves windmills and tulips and anything about Holland. The reason is that when my cute sister Jayclyn was born with Downs Syndrome it was quite a shock for our family and especially my mom. This story called "Welcome to Holland" brought her great comfort throughout the many difficulties that come with raising a child with a disability.

by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome To Holland".

"Holland?!?" you say, "What do you mean "Holland"??? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy"

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills...Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy...and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned".

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away...because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But...if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things...about Holland.

We are so grateful to have Jayclyn in our family and windmills are one sentimental reminder of the great blessing she is in our lives! Love you Jay!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Packing it all in....

Oh my goodness! We have been doing so much lately it feels a little overwhelming to blog about. So here are some glimpses into what we have been up to. The time has gone so fast and I can hardly believe that I will be home in a little over a week. We have been so grateful for the many many awesome experiences we have been enjoying!

The vineyards are all blooming right now so our little village looks gorgeous! Our pictures don't quite do it justice. We have been wishing we could have Camille Garrison just come and take our pictures for us haha!

It is so fun to ride our bikes on the many trails around our house. I am trying to enjoy it all before I have to come home.
This is my new friend forever Esther. I just love her! She is the sweetest, most fun girl ever. I want to be just like her. She also speaks perfect English because she served a mission in the states. I just wish I could bring her home with me.

This is the Muller family. They are such a neat family and we love spending time with them. They have been so gracious to invite us over a few times.
Esther and her brother Micah. Both of them are so great! He speaks great English as well because he served a mission in England. So you can see one reason why I personally love hanging out with them.
This is me on an elderly field trip if you couldn't already tell that I am the only one without the need of a walker haha. The cute lady right next to me is Christa. She is Esther's grandma and since I have some extra time on my hands she likes to invite me to do things with her. So this was quite the adventure! I laugh every time I look at this picture.

We finally made it to the beautiful Frankfurt Temple. I was really grateful that we made this trip. I also realized how grateful I am to have so many temples so close in Utah. I definitely need to take more advantage of this great blessing.
While in Frankfurt, we also got to spend the day with one of Brock's favorite mission companions- Elder Dong. It was so much fun! This is the companion that I thank for teaching Brock how to make yummy Chinese food. We had a blast at this Chinese restaurant where you cook your own food on the grill in the middle.
I completed my German class with flying colors. I definitely understand so much more which has been nice during the moments that Brock talks and talks...and talks to people in German. So I can usually follow the conversation, but not participate as much. I can say a lot as well, I just get a little nervous to say much. As you can see, I was able to meet a lot of cool people from all over the world. Their are six more classes they all have to take to get jobs. So I only got the first introductory course.
We had so much fun in Hamburg hanging out with this awesome couple. This is Steve and Babett. Brock baptized Steve right before he came home and then Steve baptized his wife six months later. It is a really awesome story and they are still doing so great! They are such a neat couple. Babett is also an amazing clothes designer and she specializes in wedding dresses.
Hamburg is known as one of the most beautiful cities in Germany.
On the docks in Hamburg.
After our time in Hamburg we rode a train the the beatiful city of Luebeck. Brock spent seven months of his mission in this city so we had a lot people and places to see. We got to stay with the nicest ward members. I was so grateful that I could meet all the people that Brock had grown so close to throughout his two years.

I absolutely loved Luebeck! It is so gorgeous. Their are many buildings that didn't get ruined in the war and they are so neat.

This is the old hospital.
This is the devil outside the cathedral... can't really explain why I'm kissing him. Don't take it to seriously :)

We got a great tour of the city from the Lutter family. We were so grateful for their kindess while we stayed with them. This is their daughter Sarina and her husband Michael.

We came on the perfect weekend of the big ward party. So Brock got to see all of the ward members he loves!
We had lots of fun playing dominoes with the Lutters. I was proud of myself because even though I don't speak German I still beat everyone by a long shot- dominoes just happens to be one of my families favorite games.
We enjoyed a delicious BBQ with the Lutters and other ward members. Brock said it was cool because it was just like the BBQ they had put on for him before he left that area. We had such a fun weekend and we were sad to say goodbye to all the people we got to spend time with. It has been so neat to see how the church truly is the same all over the world and the members are just as loving and generous.

Friday, July 10, 2009

For your entertainment...

Brock has been making a video of our Europe trip using all of our fun pictures and videos! Here is a little taste of one of them. By the way this is Brock who wrote this and Arrienne had Brock write it as if she were writing it. Brock likes talking in the third person...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

London in a Day

This past weekend we enjoyed a weekend trip in London which was really only one day. We left early Saturday morning, spent the day in London, and went back home Sunday morning. It was a very fun adventure and we packed it as full as we possible could. So here is how our day in London went.

We left our village at the bright hour of 5:00 a.m. so that we could make the bus into the city. Then we took a train to an airport, flew on a very cheap flight, and rode a bus into London. It all sounds like a hassle...which it was! But it was definitely worth it!
First stop was of course Buckingham Palace.
We had to make time to taunt the famous gaurds. I really think that job would stink because there are always crowds of people around them just laughing, taking pictures, and doing whatever they can to get them to move.
The mainstreet down from the Palace.
Our next stop was The National Gallery. This was filled with such amazing art. We saw so many beautiful paintings by Van Gogh, Monet, Degat, and even from Leonardo Davinci.
How could we not go to London and get a shot in one of the red phone booths right!
We stopped for a moment of silence for Michael Jackson by the "Thriller" theatre. This picture is for my BFF Lindsey Scano because of the many many hilarious, crazy, and fun memories we share because of MJ songs and music videos haha.
I am not usually a fish eater, but you can't say you've been to London without eating "fish and chips" there and I must say it was delicious!
Quick stop at The Tower of London which is very cool inside, but since I have already been inside we skipped that part. We were on a bit of a time crunch to get it all in.
A lovely picture moment at The London Bridge.
"Big Ben" tower at The Palace of Westminster
We ended our fabulous day by seeing the show "We Will Rock You." It is a musical based on the music by "Queen." It was so awesome! This was definitely the big highlight of our trip. The best part of the whole show was at the end when they finally sang "Bohemian Rhapsody." The whole crowd went absolutely crazy.

London is such a fun (and expensive!) city. Also keep in mind that we left out pictures of the hours of walking, and rides on the Metro we did! We were so glad we went even though it was only one day.