Every good and perfect gift is from above...James 1:17

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ezekiel 7 months

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Trick or Treat!

Things to do: spend Halloween in Prague. Check...Republic. We went on holiday to the Continent, as the Brits say. As you can see, Prague is a beautiful city. We don't really remember a whole lot of details about it; we took a couple tours, but we didn't really understand the guides. They spoke English, but it had such a thick Czech accent that we didn't soak a whole lot of information in. So don't take my word to be 100% acurate, but pretend like I heard everything right. The city of Prague was fortified in the 12th-14th centuries. This is the Powder Tower, which was one of the towers around the old city. It's called the Powder Tower because they used to keep gun powder in it. There are a lot of old churches because when the city was young there was something like 3200 citizens and 22 churches, including Church of Our Lady Tyn in 'Old Town'. The Jewish Quarter, or Josefov (Joseph's town) houses the oldest preserved Jewish Synagogue in Central Europe, built in the late 13th century. There is a cemetery that holds 200,000 graves but only 12,000 headstones. It is a tiny little cemetery. It holds so many graves because they are layered, with some graves on top of others. Kafka is buried in the New Jewish Cemetery. We took a walking tour through the 'Jewish Ghetto'. Seems a bit of an oxymoron, huh? The River Vltava runs through the city. There are 14 bridges, and the most famous is the Charles Bridge. It is the oldest stone bridge in Praha (the Czech spelling of Prague). There are 30 statues all along it of Christ's crucifixion. It was built during the reign of Emperor Charles IV in 1357 and there is a statue of him as well as his son, St. Wenceslas at the Bridge Tower. At one end of the bridge there are 2 plaques. If you rub one, your wish will come true. If you rub the other your mate will always be faithful, but you can do what you want. I rubbed that one really good! There was actually a queue to touch them. Charles Bridge is a walking bridge only now and always packed with people. The Dancing Building is one of Prague's newer sights. It's nicknamed 'Fred and Ginger.' Check out Daniels' face. (If you click on the picture you can view it full size.) Prague Castle (Praha Hrad) is one of the famous sites. It is one of the biggest castles in the world. This is a view of the castle from afar, and the next shot is a view of the city from within the castle.
It has many buildings inside the walls. It has been home to Czech kings and Holy Roman Emporers, including the current the Czech Republic President, and the government still operates from within it. Little military guys in their dress blues go marching through from time to time carrying their bayonets. There are a couple churches located within the castle. St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert Cathedral was founded in 1344 and took about 600 years to complete. Good King Wenceslas (yes, the actual good king from the song) is buried there. That song will be going through your head for a while, so you're welcome. Our baby is a great little traveler. We just strap him on and go. He enjoys the ride.He likes to stretch his legs a bit from time to time. And he gets tuckered out and has a little sleep now and then.
Since it was Zeke's first Halloween we felt he should go trick or treating. Obviously we didn't know the neighborhood so we decided to stop at every newsstand and street vendor to get some candy on the bustling street along Wenceslas Square. It's a busy place with lots of newsstands and street vendors. But we're good parents so we stopped at every one. We trick or treated and got candy from each. Except we weren't wearing costumes. And we didn't say "Trick or treat." And we had to pay for our treats. And we got a beer at each stand.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Ezekiel 6 months

Saturday, September 30, 2006

We punted and it wasn't even 4th down

It was a gorgeous Saturday morning. Beautiful blue skies, crisp leaves, and football was in the air. A perfect day for tailgating, but not a football game within 3,000 miles to watch. Ah, but what a great day to watch college football on TV...but not a single game on any of our 5 channels. So we decided to take a road trip. Being college football day, we went to the name-sake of an Ivy League town, Cambridge. We first stopped at Lincoln, in the heart of Lincolnshire. Here you see Abe and Zeke at the top of a hilly street with Lincoln Cathedral in the background. It is nearly 1000 years old. There are several places on the outside, on the baptism font, and in the stained glass that have mythical beasts fighting, representing the battle between good and evil. There are 2 huge stained glass 'eyes' in the transepts (see Abe and Zeke standing below). The north window guards against the powers of darkness and the south welcomes the light. Of course our visit to the Cathedral wasn't all fun and games. You can see how somber my boys are, matching the ambiance portrayed by the statue. My baby is so dramatic; he was born in the 'theatre', you know.Whilst in Cambridge, the best way to see the city is to 'Punt the River.' It's a little like Italy where you use a long pole to move your boat up and down the river. We opted to have a professional do the punting for us and give a guided tour, but others chose to do it themselves. As you can see, there were a few traffic jams...rookies. Behind all the punters is the Bridge of Sighs. It's modeled after the real Bridge of Sighs in Italy, where the prison and execution site were on opposite sides of the bridge; in Cambridge there is an exam hall on one side and final grades are posted on the other side. A scene from Harry Potter was shot in this courtyard. It's where they were playing quidditch. The ivy on the walls was really pretty. This is the actual Cam Bridge. The bridge was built and named the Cam Bridge, so they changed the name of the river to the River Cam. A bit backwards thinking, but you know how those Brits are. This is one of the upper class colleges within Cambridge University, but I can't remember which. One night someone, whom one can only guess had spent quite a bit of time at the local pub, crawled up to the top and put a traffic cone on one of the spiral things at the top. The university jumped right on it and after a few weeks began the long construction of scaffolding to reach the top. When the scaffolding was nearly finished someone climbed up in the middle of the night again and moved the traffic cone to the other spiral. It took the university a couple months in total to finally get the cone off. Here is Newton's Mathematical Bridge from the underside. When he created it, it did not need any nuts or bolts to hold it together; the weight of itself was all it needed. Years later some students took it apart and could not reconstruct it properly, so now it has nuts and bolts. This is Queen's College, I think. The building is completely symmetrical except for the eagle's head in the middle because he's looking to the side. There is a round faceless clock on the front. The building and another one across the river were being built at the same time. There was a law that 2 buildings facing each other could not both have a clock, so the race was on to see who could finish first and keep their clock. The other building won so there is just a round blank clock face on the front.

Wrest Park is a mansion in Bedfordshire built in the 1600s.

Wrest Park Gardens was created by Henry de Grey 1st Duke of Kent in the first half of the 18th century. It is set on 92 acres. There are tree-lined walkways and paths and ponds and statues and buildings all over the place. It's not just a colloquialism; the grass is literally greener in England all year long because of all the rain.

Zeke's just thinking of our friends and family back home in America.
On the way home we stopped in Leicestershire. My favorite cheese, red leicester (pronounced /lester/) happens to be made there. But we stopped by Jewry Wall, not so named because of Jewish ancestry, but because of the type of architecture and the Latin root word. The remains of a Roman bath house are here. Their sophistication always amazes me, as this was made over 2000 years ago. The arches are raised up because the floor was level with the bottom of the frame, and the plumbing was in the basement. We also saw some excavated skeletons from the Roman times with their jewelry and stuff buried with them.
"Move it, buddy! It's going to be dark soon and I've got to get home!" Zeke may resemble the Daniels' side of the family, but he's got a bit of Grandpa Hoard in him. :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ezekiel 5 months

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

"Honey, did you get the passports?"

I'm a little embarrassed to admit we learned the hard way. We planned our 3rd anniversary trip for Dublin, Ireland. I had found real cheap tickets on the internet. This was our first big trip with The Boy; all of you veteran parents realize how much kit and kaboodle you gotta bring. I was feeling very boy scoutish because I had all his goods for any situation that you could imagine--2 changes of clothes a day, nappies, wipes, toys, teething gel, pain reliever, upset stomach medicine, blah, blah, blah. You name it, I had it. As we were getting out of the car at the airport I suddenly remembered that I forgot to put in the passports. Abe and I both usually remember important stuff like that. We usually check with each other that we remembered important stuff like that. Nope. Not this time. With only one hour before the flight and a 45 minute trip home and another 45 minutes back, we decided to give it the ole college try and use our photo ID's. Unfortunately I don't have a UK driver's license yet and my Texas one wouldn't work as a proper ID. We tried all kind of options: switching flights, going to another airport, waiting until the next day. The only option that would work was buying a really expensive ticket. I moped around the rest of the day and was quite pathetic. However, we rallied the troops and took a road trip the next day. Since Cadbury chocolate is one of our main food groups we decided to visit Cadbury World. (Well, that and the fact that we were vacationing with an infant, so our entertainment choices were more limited than we were accustomed to.) It was very hands-on and we got lots of free chocolate. Then we continued down to Cardiff in southern Wales. We spent the day wondering around the city and took in Cardiff Castle. The Keep was quite old, but the newest part was built in the 1600s. It was actually a house of a really really rich family. He was the Bill Gates of Wales during that time. The house was over the top extravagant; one room had gold overlays on the ceiling. We also went down to Bath in southwest England. It is a quaint little town. Over all we had a nice anniversary trip, but it was a bit of a let down since we had planned Dublin...rookie mistake.