Sunday, July 19, 2009

Greetings from Mike and Gloria

Dana and Jillian up at Lake Alpine in the Sierras.

Hi Everyone,

Thanks to Dana, I am now trying to start blogging again! It's HOT here in Discovery Bay! Dana is here visiting with Jillie for a couple of days, and yesterday we decided to take a drive to the Sierras. It was a long drive for a little 7 mo. old, and I'm afraid that we didn't plan very well when we went to the lake, so we didn't stay very long. Next time we will be more prepared! It was beautiful scenery. Aaron is out of town, so I'll be going back with Dana to watch Jillian while she is at work. Dana goes to the Dr. on Tuesday to get her stitches out.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Normandy & Paris

Springtime in Paris! We arrived last night after leaving Normandy. What a beautiful drive across France. Flowers are in bloom and everything is so green. Talk about contented cows! They just lay around in their lush pastures. Yesterday, after checking into our hotel, we took the subway near the Eiffel Tower. It was a breathtaking sight seeing it (SO BIG!) for the first time, and then we toured to the top! What a view! We took lots of pictures, so we will be sending a few soon. By the time we started down from the Tower, the lights had been turned on. What a sight with all the lights! This morning we are visiting museums, and will be pretty much for the next three days. Friday we will be visiting Versailles! The weather is great. Should be 70 degrees today, warm and sunny. We are having such a good time with Jesse & Diane.

We didn't get a chance to email you from Normandy, but it was amazing. We went around with a guide one full day and visited the beaches (D-Day), and we saw a lot of remnants left over from WWII. It was really exciting to be there and to realize what our soldiers did for our freedoms. The American Cemetary is absolutely awesome. 11,000 American soldiers are buried there. It is a plot of soil that was donated by Fance to the Americans, so we were standing on American soil. Very spiritual place.

We send our love and hope that all is well back home. Love to all of you,
Mom (see below)

Thoughts from Dad

I had no idea the D-Day Beaches stretched for 73 miles--it's hard to fathom. Mom did not mention but on the way to Normandy we stopped at a small town called Ypres, Belgium. It was the center of a major four year long battle between the French, British, Belgians and American against the Germans in 1914. There were over 500,000 men killed in an area the size of the Temecula Valley. We saw the remains of some trenches and shelss that are still being found. In one battle over 4,000,000 artillery shells were fired. They find 3-4 bodies every year still and a man was killed last year after he picked up an old shell and threw it in a fire he had started to clear his fields. So the last few days have been a history trip and I hope everyone was not too bored. We love you guys. During the few days I was in the area I tried to think of what was going through the mind of Alvin Dryden as he awaited German attack in the trenches of 1917-18 and what went through uncle Ray Smith's mind as he nearly froze to death on the battlefields near Bastone, Belgium in 1944. It's hard to understand the sacrifcies so many have made for how all of us now live our lives. It's important to remember. Your mom and I will be back to study this more in the years to come. We love you. Love, Dad

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thurs., May 1, 2008, Belgium

Yesterday we arrived in Belgium. After getting settled, we took a train to Brussells. We ate a Belgium waffle with strawberries and whipped cream -- so yummy! We saw the famous statue of a little boy peeing! Pretty funny! We saw lots of beautiful Belgian lace and the famous Belgian chocolate. Today we went to Brugges. So beautiful. It was their holiday -- they had a 3-hr. parade that told the whole story of the Old and New Testaments with beautiful costumes and actors. So wonderful. We love you all! Love, Grandma & Grandpa

Tues. April 29, 2008, Holland

We saw so many fields of tulips yesterday and they were just beautiful! We saw a big NBC truck filming some of the tulips -- so look for that NBC special! We saw so many beig wooden windmills and a lot of wooden shoes that people just hang up on their doors outside. So cute! It is very beautiful here. Today we are driving to Belgium. Last night we ate at Hard Rock Cafe Amsterdam! Today is called Queen's Day , because it is the Queen of Holland's birthday. They are having big celebrations all over Holland --lots of carnivals and loud music and bands playing in the streets -- people dancing and wearing orange because that is the Queen Wilhemina's favorite color. It is going to be a wild and crazy place today and tonight so it is good that we are leaving today. We are driving to Belgium this morning. Oh -- we went to the Anne Frank house two days ago and I had to fight back the tears. It was very moving. Then yesterday we drove over to Haarlem and visited the Corrie ten Boom house and that was really inspirational. They had secret hiding places in their home and they hid lots of Jews and helped the Jews get out of the country during the war. I bought her book called THE HIDING PLACE. We are happy to hear from all of you and wish we could be taking you here to these places with us! It is really fun traveling with Jesse and Diane. We miss you and love you so much! Love, Mom and Dad

Sunday, April 27, 2008, Amsterdam, Holland

Hi you guys!
We are having such a wonderful time. We arrived late yesterday afternoon (Saturday), as our flight out of NYC was SIX HOURS LATE! But it was a nice flight afterall. We had exit rows, and lots of let room! Still uncomfortable when you can't lay down, but here we are in beautiful Amsterdam. Thank heavens for Marriott points -- as that is paying for our stay! We checked in and then took a lovely canal cruise around the city. We did that yesterday, and after the canal cruise we went looking for dinner. We found an "Irish pub" and were able to eat outside -- fish and chips. There was a group of men there who were semi-drunk -- they were all from Ireland, but work here in Holland for Nike. They were funny as heck! They were so friendly to us and so interested in everything that we were doing, where we were from, etc., etc. Then, we went to sleep at 9:00 pm and slept so soundly until 7:30 a.m.! We went and found a Mormon Church that started at 10o:00. We enjoyed it so much, and, of course, everyone is so friendly. We used headphones so we could understand everything, but half of it was in English. During the hymns -- singing time -- they just give you the page number, and if you know English, you sing it in English -- otherwise you sing it in Dutch. It sounded really pretty all together like that. Jesse recognized a girl there who was touring Amsterdam with her mother. (She works in the eye clinic office he uses in Provo) and she had won two trips on the Price is Right! After Church, we went out to Kuekenhof -- a town about an hour and a half away to see the beautiful tulip gardens and flowers everywhere. It was amazing! We took bus to the train station, then took a train, then another bus to get there. It was so wonderful! You would not believe all the beautiful tulips in bloom -- fields and fields of them. The place that we went to in Kukenhof was an 80-acre park -- set up much like Disneyland without the rides but same amount of people, just full of different gardens of different flowers -- flowers of every variety mixed in with the tulips in all these beautiful gardens, along with beautiful walkways, fountains, waterfalls, little rivers, and there was even a big wooden windmill that we got to climb into and go up in. We were there for at least 4 hours, but could have stayed longer.
Tomorrow we are off to the Anne Frank House, art museums, etc. Lots of walking. Yesterday and today have been nice weather. We expect some rain tomorrow.
We send our love!. Mike and Gloria

Thursday, September 27, 2007