Sunday, September 27, 2009

A New Look for a New Semester

Well, it is time for Brandon to head back to classes and in honor of her dad, Rocky has decided it is time for a new look. She thinks the glasses make her seem more intellectual even though she doesn't need them. I told her just to hang on for a couple of years and the genes she inherited from us will make it so that glasses are a necessity whether she wants them or not.

The next option she has been experimenting with is a more direct imitation of her dad. She spent almost the whole ward party trying to win the cakewalk and on the final round came out victor with a cupcake that helped her create this stunning mustache.

We also gave the 'wet' look a try, but unfortunately, the hair only stays wet for about 5 minutes.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

These Boots Were Sort of Made for Walkin'

Rocky strutted her new boots around church today. It is amazing how a new outfit can even please a kid who is too young for nursery. She looked pretty fly despite the fact that she could hardly walk.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Road Trip Rocky

Question: What does Rocky do during trips from Utah to Oregon?

There is also several long naps and the occasional pit-stop at classy trucker joints.

Rocky says thanks to both her grandmas for the treats and toys.

P.S. Today marks 4 years of marital bliss. It's been a good time.

A Note

I posted a bunch of entries today that cover our trip to Spain. I tended to be quite verbose and included a lot of pictures which may be boring to most. I don't want to be one of those people that corner their friends to make them look at the slides of their trips so feel free to skip them. I wanted to make a record of what we did for myself and I hope that it is interesting. If you think I put a lot of pictures up, you should see the hundreds that I left out.

La Boqueria

La Boqueria is a huge open-air market that has a great variety of goods for sale every day. We walked through and saw so many surprising things. I am not going to say much about it because the pictures will say it all.

A Mix

These are pictures that I really liked but they didn't seem to fit anywhere else.

This is a very important work of Joan Miro, who is one of the most famous Catalan artists of all time. It is called Dona i Ocell or Woman and Bird. I've seen a lot of pictures, but I had no idea it would be so huge.

I thought that this ice cream looked beautiful, especially the blue which is called Pitufo -- the Spanish word for Smurf. I wonder how it tastes.

We took the next few pictures in Barrio Gotic or the Gothic quarter. It has all the oldest structures in the city and it makes you feel like you are walking through a mideival town.

This church was damaged by a bomb during the Civil War and they decided to leave the scars to remind everyone that war really hurts.

The Cathedral of Barcelona is under construction so we didn't get any great pictures. I did notice this sign on the door though, which basically banned 99.9% of the tourists and Spaniards that wanted to get in. Luckily it was on the honor system so everybody just ignored it and wore their skimpies in.

There is a big road that has one lane of traffic going each way and a big plaza that runs through the middle. The Ramblas is usually completely full of people and performers.
This man was dressed up as the Ronaldhino of the Ramblas. Ronaldhino is a Brazillian soccer player who used to play for Barcelona. He, unlike the street performer, is black. No problem for this guy though, he just painted his face black and nobody noticed the difference. I wonder what would happen to this guy if he tried to get a job in San Francisco.
This fountain has a sign that says that anyone who drinks from it will fall in love with Barcelona and will return someday. Brandon says he drank from it every chance he got on his mission.

This time he also filled a water bottle just to be sure. I drank too but I had already fallen for the city.

This vending machine was in the Metro station and it was the biggest I had ever seen. There were whole packages of cookies and big boxes of milk and juice. The milk always comes in boxes and doesn't have to be kept cold.

This man was a friend that still remembered Brandon as a missionary. He runs a souvenir shop by the Sagrada Familia and he always gave the missionaries a discount. He was one of the nicest people I've ever met.

We went to the Barcelona soccer game. The stadium holds 100,000 people and we barely were able to get tickets before it sold out. I've seen some pretty crazy fans in my day, but I've never seen anything like this.

This was the Barcelona airport, which concludes our tour of Spain.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


One of the places that we visited seemed to have a very special feeling. Montserrat is the highest peak in all of Catalonia and the Benedictine monks who built the monastery could feel a special spirit high in the cliffs.

We took a tram up to the top.

The cathedral is very famous because of the black Madonna who is the Virgin of Montserrat. She and St. George are considered the patron saints of Catalonia. The legend around this icon is that she was carved in Jerusalem during the 12th century and eventually was buried in the cliffs of Montserrat. The story says that the monks who were building the cathedral found her and because she couldn't be moved, decided to build the entire edifice around her. You can't even really see it in the picture but the statue is in the lighted window in the middle.

There are a few other black madonnas throughout Europe but this one by far is the most famous. She carries the Christ Child on her lap and is surrounded by gold.

I personally don't know very much about Catholic traditions, but I found this statue to be very intriguing. Although I don't believe in worshipping Saints or the Virgin Mary I found this statue amazingly beautiful. I even bought a medallion with her picture.
We waited in a long line in order to take our turn to peek at her and when we finally did I was really touched. Maybe it was because I was missing my little Rocky so much but when we were in that little room I started thinking about what it was that the statue was really representing. To me, it seemed a symbol of the beauty of motherhood.
In my life I have experienced a lot of really neat things, but they all pale in comparison to the enjoyment that I have found in being a mother. I also thought about how nice it is to have a mother. There is something very sacred about the opportunity to share that bond with a child.
So you can think I'm funny for carrying around a medallion with a symbol that comes from a religion that is not my own but I hope that whenever I look at it I will take a second to remember how blessed I am.

The cathedral was adorned with amazing pieces of craftsmanship inside and outside.
The twelve apostles stood above the door and each one carries a symbol of his job. Peter, for example, holds a set of keys which represent the priesthood. I guess that traditionally Judas carries a money purse because he sold his loyalty.

We spent the day exploring the cliffs and wandering along the many faith walk paths that surround the central structure.

During the reign of Franco Montserrat became a place of refuge for artists and students. It was a sanctuary where everyone was safe from the politics and danger of the day. Franco's men used to wait a few miles down the road to catch fugitives, but while they were on the mountain they were safe.

While we were hiking around and enjoying the natural beauty and traquility of the area I felt a special spirit.

Now, just to be sure that I don't have a completely smarmy post I will include the symbol of Montserrat which also just happens to look like a certain obscene gesture.

This mailbox was also very interesting and we used it to send a few postcards that didn't arrive until we'd been home about a week. Apparently the cliffs are great for views, but not for speedy delivery service.
We decided that we would walk down the path to the closest town where we could get the train. After looking at a map we figured it was about 2 kilometers to the bottom and should provide some amazing views. Somehow we got on the road and missed the unpaved path and ended up doing 12 kilometers instead. We ran about half of them because we didn't want to miss the last train that left at 6:30. Maybe it was because we were descending from a holy place but we miraculously made it. I swear, we can't do anything without having some sort of crazy adventure attached.