Thursday, August 26, 2010

Last Thursday

Tomorrow we leave for Utah.  Cali came home from her last day at Costco and finished up her packing.

We then headed out for one last evening of fun before she went back to school.

Our home teacher, Gary Nees, loves exploring fun and funky places in Portland as much as we do.  Tonight he introduced us to two  new fun places.

We picked Gary up (Sara couldn't join us because she had a RS event) and we headed across the river to North Portland.  We were having dinner at Christophers.  Christopher's definitely fits the description of a hole in the wall.  But we have discovered that holes in the wall usually have the best food and this was no exception.

Christopher's is a BBQ joint.  I had also read on the internet that they had amazing Philly Cheese steaks so that is what I had and so did Jim.  Gary and the girls had ribs and even though my cheese steak was delicious  I wish I had had the ribs.  They were amazing.

The red velvet cake looked pretty amazing too but we refrained but I regretted it later.

I tried to get Gary to smile but this was as good as I got...
From Christophers we headed over to the Last Thursday held on Alberta Street.  They close down the street for about 20 blocks and there are vendors and street performers of every shape and size.  I think it is from the Last Thursday that the phrase "Keep Portland Weird" originated.

We saw all kinds of weird and wonderful things!
There were lots of muscians and street performers.  Some of them were actually even good.

Then there were those who thought they could dance....
 I loved the gal selling aprons from her wagon....

And then there was the guy painting in the middle of the street....

I loved the little girl telling jokes for money....
and the hula hoopers were quite good too....

I thought the girls dressed up like gnomes should get an award for the quirkiest get ups....
And I absolutely loved the bronzed fairies.  When Jim gave them some money they curtsyed for him.
We had lots of fun watching and listening....

Portland is definitely a weird and wonderful place!  Thanks Gary for introducing us to even more of it!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Katy Jo

We have had a couple parties around here lately. I still need to share the baby shower I hosted here on the family blog.

Last night we hosted a birthday party for Tessa's good friend, Katy Jo.
We had a yard full of teenagers - I love a yard full of teenagers.
 We had badminton and a few other yard games set up which they played a bit but they really just prefer to hang out and talk!
Here's the birthday girl!

Tessa's friend Katy Jo turned 17! We love Katy Jo at our house and were excited to throw a special birthday party for her.
As soon as it got dark they built a fire and made s'mores.  I put together a fun s'mores bar for them.  Lots of fun choices!

After a little more hanging out they watched a movie in the backyard.  We borrowed a projection screen and an infocus machine and they watched Katy Jo's favorite movie - Little Rascals under the stars.

For the movie we had a popcorn bar - with 5 kinds of popcorn and of course movie candy!  It was the hit of the party.
And of course there was birthday cake.  Katy Jo chose chocolate and I couldn't resist making a cute little cake bunting for the top of the cake.

Happy Birthday Katy Jo!

Paris}Arc de Triomphe and Sacre Coeur

After we left Versailles, we took the train back into Paris and got off near the Arc de Triomphe. It wasn't really that close but we had fun walking the streets of Paris and enjoyed some more of this prettiness....


I am not sure I could ever get enough of this....



And then there it was - the Arc de Triomphe. It really wasn't on the agenda for the day but Cali insisted we couldn't leave Paris without seeing it up close (we had seen it from a distance). "It's in all the movies," was her reasoning! I must admit it is pretty impressive and big up close!



The Arc is a memorial to all those who fought in behalf of France.



It is also the home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


From there we hopped on yet another train/tube/underground/subway/bus and headed out to Sacre Coeur which is located in the Montemartre neighborhood.


Sacre Coeur is a beautiful Roman Catholic basilica and is located on the highest point in Paris.


From there we wandered through the hilly Montemartre neighborhood - home to lots of fun shops and restaurants.




And also lots of other beautiful architecture. I don't think I will ever get tired of old windows and doors....



And another must see on Cali's list was Moulin Rouge so we walked through the streets until we found it. It is located in one of the more "colorful" neighborhoods in Paris. Check that one off the list!

It was time to leave Paris. I had seen just enough to make me want more. More Paris, more France. I love everything about Paris and I can't wait to go back.

We took the Chunnel back to London and we found our way to a hotel at the airport for our early flight out the next morning.

What an amazing time we had.

The best part of the trip was definitely getting to explore and experience it all with Cali. I think I need to do again with Tessa!

Au revoir Paris! J'taime!



Our second day in Paris we got up early and took the train out to Versailles - about an hour outside of Paris. Versailles was the home of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette.

Remember how I said the Eiffel Tower was HUGE, well, Versailles is HUGE too! Just in a different way.


There is nothing little about the palace. Everything is large, grand, opulent and dare I say overdone!

Versailles is really a museum with amazing artwork covering every surface.


Not only is there artwork covering every wall but the artwork covers the ceilings too.





Look at Marie Antoinette's bed!


It is easy to get lost in the grandness of everything! The Hall of Mirrors was spectacular.



It is easy to miss some of the simple details that are so lovely.

Even the hardware on the windows is pretty.


And the views out into the garden were amazing and breathtaking.


More lovely windows with more lovely views....



and lots of lovely stairways too....


After the tour of the palace we headed out to the gardens. Now I thought the palace was HUGE but it is nothing in comparison to the gardens. They went on for miles. In fact they are so large that we decided to rent a golf cart to drive around!


French gardens are so different than English gardens. Much more formal, tight and rigid but still beautiful. Not many flowers but lots of lovely manicured and sculpted lawns and trees.



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After our morning in Versailles we hoped back on the train and headed back into Paris for a few more hours of sightseeing before we took the Chunnel back to London to head home the next morning.

Vive la France!