polka dots

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Doomaflautchee (doo-ma-flaut-chee)

Wes and I bought Ashlynn a gymset for Christmas. Yes, I know it's May, but the only time Wes and Austin could be off on the same days it either snowed or rained or was freezing outside. Finally, yesterday was the day! The guys knew it would be an all day affair, so they started out early.....
Ashlynn really wanted to know what they were building. We didn't want to give away the surprise because we knew she would get frustrated with the slowness of it being built. She even saw the slide leaning up against the house. She asked Granddaddy if it was a slide. He said, "Well, it may be a doomaflautchee." She asked what he was building and he replied, "It's a doomaflautchee holder."

The doomaflautchee holder is coming along nicely!

Once we got to this stage, Ashlynn came in screaming, "They've built a house! They've built a house! Will I be able to play in it?" Her daddy assured her that she would but that she must wait until the doomaflautchee was completed. She was quite satisfied with that answer and we continued to play.

We had "picnics" in the doomaflautchee boxes. Boxes are such great things to play in! The bigger - the better!

Ashlynn even grabbed a hammer and helped.

After 11 hours and two very sweet but exhausted men, the doomaflautchee and holder was complete.

After it was all over, I told Ashlynn that it really wasn't a doomaflautchee, but a swingset and that it was just for her. She quickly corrected me and told me that her slide was a doomaflautchee and that the rest of it was the doomaflautchee holder. Who knows, she might call it that for the rest of her life.
The guys did such an awesome job! It was a HUGE undertaking and they were in the sun and heat most of the day. But both of them agreed that it was so worth it to see her smiles and hear her giggles. She even told them, "You guys did a good job!" Yeah, they did an awesome job. Thanks, Daddy and Granddaddy, because not only did you make this little girl's day, but you made one Juju very, very happy.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Austria - Day 2 - My Favorite Day!

I grew up watching "The Sound of Music" and even though it's not my favorite movie, I do know it by heart....I know all the words and all the songs....could probably answer most of the trivia questions about it. So, we decided to take The Sound of Music Tour to see all the movie sights. What we didn't know was that it would also provide us with a breathtaking view of the area. This is Leopoldskron Castle. This mansion was used for all the scenes where you see the back of the von Trapp home (the porch scenes and lake scenes).

What's unique about all of this is that Austrians know the story of Maria and Georg von Trapp very well. But the movie has "hollywood-ized" the story...in other words, there are quite a few parts of the storyline that just didn't happen that way in real life. The Austrians don't know "The Sound of Music" at all....they don't know the storyline or the music. So it is a little puzzling to them to see all the people come from all over the world to see these sites. (Yes, the movie has a cult following!)However, it is a huge tourist attraction and they are very thankful for that!

Here's the view from Leopoldskron Castle. My, to have to look at that every day!

Our guide, Peter, standing in front of the gazebo where Leisel and Rolf sang "Sixteen Going On Seventeen."

Lake Fuschlsee........indescribable beauty. Wes is pretty cute too!

The Mondsee Cathedral. This is where they filmed the wedding scene for the movie. Because...

how incredibly beautiful it was on the inside! Georg and Maria actually got married the the chapel at the Abbey.

We stopped at the Cafe Braun for a little apple strudel and "ice". Oh man....to die for....it was that good.

One gorgeous view after another.......I just walked around in awe. God outdid Himself on this little country.

Mirabellgarten. Where Maria and the children danced and sang "Do-Re-Mi." They told us we need to come back when the flowers were blooming!

Notice Hohensalzburg Fortress in the background keeping watch over the little city of Salzburg.

A view from the fortress.

The Abbey where Maria would never become a nun. It was built in the 700's and still has nuns living in it today. All the Abbey shots in the film were filmed inside.

This is how you end your day. You go to the town square, everyone brings their dogs, and you enjoy the evening eating and drinking with friends. And what do you eat?

Bratwurst and Sauerkraut! Well, Wes did anyway........I left the sauerkraut off!

Salzburg, Austria

Austria - what can I say? I was totally overwhelmed by the beauty of this little country! Being in Salzburg, we also got to enjoy a taste of a "quaint little town." Austria is known for its music and Salzburg is at the heart of it all. So no matter where we went, music was in the air. This is a picture of The Old City.....where Salzburg began.

Mozart's Gerburtshaus or birthplace. I've played many (and I mean MANY!) of his concertos for piano recitals. These folks are very proud of their "hometown boy" and celebrate his life with his music.

We were even greeted with a little parade.

The cathedral - in the heart of the Old City.

Hohensalzburg Fortress. Built in the 1100's on a sheer cliff. I cannot even imagine how it was built!

Looking down the River Salzbach. That's the Mozart footbridge....very famous in the movie, "The Sound of Music." Maria and the children danced across this bridge while singing "Do-Re-Mi".

Paris - Day 5

Our last day in Paris we headed to St. Germain, or the Latin Quarter. This is where all the "hip" people hang out....particularly the university students. Even though we are right across the River Seine from Notre Dame, each little area will have a huge "little" church for their area. This is one of the MANY in Paris and it is just as ornate and beautiful on the inside as Notre Dame.

Just about everyone drives around Paris in a little car (particularly a Smart Car, Renault, or Peugot), motorcycles or Vespas. You'll see bikes parked all the way up a street on every street corner. The first time I saw a gal in a nice dress and stillettos driving a Vespa, I was a little shocked....but after seeing it over and over for 5 days, you get used to it!

We had lunch at a little cafe......everyone eats outside so you can watch the world go by. No one rushes you....you can stay as long as you wish.

It was time to get to the train station for our trip to Austria.

We went by "sleeper" train to Munich, Germany and then took another train to Salzburg, Austria. Our compartment had bunkbeds and our own little bathroom (complete with sink, potty, and shower). A breakfast was brought to our "room" as we watched the beautiful German countryside go by.

No matter how small the town......located directly in the middle was a church.

Yep! We're in Germany! We were a little overwhelmed because neither one of us knew any German words! Have NO idea what this sign says....I was just amazed by how many letters each word had!

Paris - Day 4

Day 4 - The Louvre. The largest museum in the world. If you walked through all of its exhibits, you would walk 8 miles! Fortunately, we had a fabulous guide (who had been coming to the Louvre since he was 5 years old!) who took us to see their prized possessions:
Mona Lisa......I don't know why people are so facinated with this picture....how did it become so famous? I don't know. But it was so cool to see her in person - something I've seen in pictures all my life. I never thought I would see her in person. By the way, yes, she does smile at you and her eyes do follow you no matter which way you go. She is a lovely lady and I'm very glad I got to see her.

The Venus de Milo.....created 1000 years before Christ. Good grief - she's in pretty good shape considering her age!

The Louvre was a castle and then a palace before becoming a museum. Here's a model of what it looked like. They actually still have the original stones still set in place in the basement of the museum.

We ended day 4 with a dinner cruise down the River Seine. You couldn't have asked for a more perfect way to end the day. All the sites are even more beautiful at night when lit up. Paris really knows how to put on a show!

Paris - Day 3

The Palace of Versailles was our adventure for Day 3. It's about a 30 minute train ride outside of Paris in the small town of Versailles. King Louis XIV made his dad's hunting lodge (WHAT A LODGE!) into a palace that also housed all the government offices. Once I saw this, I understood why the French Revolution occurred. Such opulence for some and extreme hunger and poverty for others.
The chapel inside Versailles. The king ordered everyone to attend mass everyday. He was said to be a very "religous man". However, when you visit each of the main rooms in the palace, the huge ceiling paintings contained all the Greek myth gods. Hmmmm...very unique religion he had going!

This is the hall of mirror. A huge room where the ceiling is completely covered in paintings, the walls are marble, covered in gold and then mirrors.

The gardens - emmaculate and absolutely stunning. They go for miles - all the way to the horizon. Just hard to fathom - even when it's right in front of you!

Versailles brought about some very mixed emotions in me. It was lovely in places, gaudy in others, and ridiculous in most. By the end of the tour, I was so thankful to be through. I just couldn't believe someone would choose to live like this while others were struggling to survive. But I could also hear the Lord tell me that Versailles is nothing even close to how beautiful heaven will be.
It was a good day. I loved the train ride. Wes is the master subway dude! He knew how to get us around everywhere by subway and it was such fun! I was even picking up a little (and I do mean LITTLE!) French.