Thursday, August 19, 2010

field trip!

each Friday for pre-school we do a little play day. this week, i thought AMY was a fun idea. they always have great hands on exhibits. right now, it's Jump into Japan, and Baseball. Madeline spent her time in the tea room:

Anna was more interested in buying and selling comic books:

and of course, we spent a fair amount of time in the play area, baking cupcakes:

washing dishes:
building "humongous castles":

climbing and jumping:

then we checked out the Baseball exhibit:

it was fun to have all three girls there, and to see Avery is old enough to really enjoy herself here now. we'll definitely be back!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

a quiet day.......too quiet!

i know every parent has moments like this one. there i was, making dinner while the girls watched a show upstairs, the normal routine. i took a deep breath feeling uncommonly relaxed. it was quiet.....too quiet. i called out, "Anna?" and heard guilty footsteps move too quickly over my head. i ran upstairs and was met by this face:she had found the scissors! i wanted to cry. my sister's wedding is in only a few weeks. i assessed the damage. it's not too bad. she cut a massive amount of hair as evidenced by the mound i found in the trash can. (next to my empty coconut m&m's bag, which are too good for words.) but luckily she has long hair and most the damage can be hidden. we just need these bangs to grow out a bit. and i've got to be okay with the slightly seventies flair she'll have to have since her bangs now start from the middle of her head a la Toni Tennille of the Captain and Tennille. oh well, it was bound to happen some day. hopefully the lesson is learned and there will be no more repeat offenses.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

hurray for school!

Anna is doing preschool this year with 3 of her friends. each of the moms trade weeks teaching in our homes. so far, so good. it's really great for the kids to have such personal attention. this was my week. i was a little busy, and nervous that i wouldn't be as great a "teacher" as the other moms. (i have a lot of creative ideas, but not about preschool.) but, i think it went well. i'll definitely be able to handle this one. our letter for the week was C, so we picked Cucumbers from the garden. that's Cute and Creative right?

Monday, August 16, 2010

my girls' weekend!

this was the weekend of my cousin's wedding. we went back and forth trying to decide to drive, take the kids, not take the kids. finally we decided on me flying alone. i got a great deal on a last minute flight through priceline, and made a plan to crash with my parents and brothers. until thursday, when a call from the lovely and talented Erin T, changed it all. see, Erin is my cousin, she and her sister Bonnie may as well have been my sisters we're that close. these two ladies were planning on attending the wedding sans husbands and children as well!!!! what, the 3 of us alone for the weekend, for the first time in mayber 11 years? amazing! i bailed on the 'rents, arranged for Corb to pick me up form the airport, and spent a lovely weekend with the girls! what a nice surprise. to top it all off, i got so second shoot the wedding with the aforementioned Erin T! also, i got to spend some quality time with my baby sis, Corbynn and her fiance Tyler. i'm so excited for her, but i hadn't really gotten to know Ty yet. that all changed this weekend as he proved her is a good fit for my sister. he drove patiently as i got us a little lost in SLC, smiled and laughed with us as we stayed up way too late eating ice cream and gluing wedding favors, and didn't complain once on our jeans-shopping trip! good pick Corb!
to see more pics of Corb and Ty, check out my photography blog here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

a day in the life

today was a typical day in the life of the Earl family. we took Anna to preschool, went to the gym, (i got my rear kicked by zumba and boot camp), ran some errands, had quiet time, and waited patiently for the UPS man. in the meantime, Anna dipped into my makeup and plastered her hair to her head with nearly an entire can of hairspray! she was so pleased with the results it was hard to be angry. plus, my new lens arrived so i was sufficiently distracted!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Austria 2010

Jason and i were lucky enough to travel to Austria this week. State Farm has a travel-rewards program providing an awesome trip each year to qualifying agents. we stayed in Vienna, a city rich in history, some i knew and some that was new and fascinating to learn. we got in on Sunday around noon, so we hit the ground running. i would not let Jason sleep, insisting that we acclimatize to the Austrian time as soon as we could. (i am kind of a jet-lag natzi) we began our trip riding the Ringstrasse, a street that basically circles the center of town. there is something about Europe that really speaks to me. i love the architecture, the unique influences of each culture, each century. America, as such a young country, just doesn't have the same flavor. a note about the weather: the days before our trip it was 90 degrees in Vienna. everyone who went before us sweated. the forecast on called for more of the same. as a "just in case" we each packed 1 pair of jeans. i don't think it cracked 70 degrees our whole stay! and most the time it was a little gloomy and sprinkled. don't get me wrong, we loved the weather, it was beautiful. we just weren't packed properly.
on day two we headed to the center of town and took a tour of the opera house. this may have been my favorite part of our whole trip. our tour guide was awesome, and we got to go back stage to see the inner-workings of the opera. they truck everything in for the sets, they can park 4 semis in the back stage! wow! then we went to St. Stephen's and climbed the tower. even though it was overcast, we saw the whole of Vienna sprawled out before us. on to Shonbrunn Palace, the summer palace of the Hapsburgs, the ruling family of Vienna. (many many European monarch were offspring of this family.) this quaint summer home boasts over 1,000 rooms! it was LARGE. we did the "small tour" and it took over 2 hours. the grounds are the true jewel of this palace. they are lovely, and crowned with the Glorietta, the Empress's version of a gazebo. up on a hill outside the palace, this was an even better view of Vienna. that night we had a fun reception back at the hotel for first time travelers.
day 3 was dedicated to art! there are so many museums in Vienna! i had to whittle it down quite a bit for the sake of time, and Jason's sanity. he doesn't quite share my passion on this one. luckily the museums themselves are so beautiful he can inspect the architecture while i wander the galleries. we started at the Hofburg, or regular palace. by this time i was intrigued with the Empress Elizabeth, and so we went to the Sisi Museum, which was basically her house in Vienna. man, this was one complicated woman. i'm about halfway through her biography right now, but man getting married at 15, moving from Bavaria to Vienna, holding court with a bunch of stuck-up aristocracy who hated her, losing her first child, all did a number on this girls head. she was a mess!

then we hit the Albertina Museum and got to see an amazing collection from Monet to modern photography! fun for me. on our way to the Kunsthistorisches we serendipitously found Schmetterling Haus, a butterfly exhibit! in case you don't know, i have a minor obsession with butterflies. i used to nanny for this German family and the kids taught me how to say butterfly, "schmetterling" so when i saw it on the sign (plus the huge butterfly) i knew i had to go in. it was basically a photo safari for me. i spent way too long frolicking among children (pretty sure this is a children's museum) chasing the perfect shot, trying to capture each individual butterfly. i had a blast!

the Kunst is basically the Austrian Louvre. it is large and comprehensive. it was lovely and exhausting, by the time we left my feet were in the shape of my shoes and Jason was about to pass out. (he had not followed my anti-jetlag plan). so, against my better judgement, we went back to the hotel to rest. on the upside, i got to catch up on some East Enders and catch a little Jonathan Ross! British tv is truly a delight. once Jason was back from the dead, we hit the Prater. a park made famous in the Orson Wells' movie The 3rd Man. there's a cool ferris wheel that circles around really slowly, offering amazing views of the city. we ate fun fair food and Jason drove the go carts!

day 4. State Farm was kind enough to take everyone on a Danube cruise. and by everyone, i mean 15 buses full! we went to Melk, toured Melk Abbey, and then cruised along the Danube to Krems. along the way, we saw so many interesting churches and castles, many of which are privately owned. so, i added to my list of things to do: look in to owning a castle.

Day 5. a dream come true. on Thursday, we rented a car and went to Salzburg. that's right Mozart's birthplace, and the city of the Von Trapp family. this was the day that we really regretted poor packing. when we woke in Vienna it was warm and sunny for the first time. so, we slipped on a sundress and shorts respectively and were on our way. Jason even took his sweatshirt out of the backpack, big mistake. about halfway into our drive, it started pouring! and it didn't really stop all day. also, the storm followed us back to Vienna. so, we missed the only sun of the trip!

on our way to Salzburg we stopped at the Mauthausen concentration camp. i'd been to one in Germany before so i knew it was a great experience i wanted Jason to have. no matter how much you know about WWII and the Natzis and their systematic extermination of Jews, and others who didn't agree with them, it makes such an impact to see first hand an instrument of their evil. though i'd seen Dauchau, Mauthausen was bigger and served as a hub for all the Austrian camps. as Jason noted, the organization and planning that went into this kind of death and destruction was monumental. after paying out respects, we got back on the road.

have you ever been electrocuted? okay, so it was more like being shocked. but i saw this gaggle of geese on the side of the road and just had to have a photo. i jumped out of the car and in my haste did not notice the little rope about 6" off the ground serving as an electrified fence. it got me. it wasn't pleasant and as a result my photo is not to my liking.

Salzburg however, was simply wonderful. i wish we could have stayed here all week. one day was simply not enough time to ramble through it's cobblestone streets. it was enough time though for a quick glimpse of my favorite Sound of Music sights. our trip back was marred by rain, and a wrong turn. we got into Vienna at 10:30pm but didn't make it to our hotel until 1:30am. ouch!

day 6. wow, i'm exhausted just posting all this stuff. no wonder i still haven't quite gotten life back to normal. our last day in Vienna was dedicated to shopping! and eating!! and we had one more spot which we hadn't hit on art day. the Belvedere Palace was beautiful and my favorite gallery by far. i'd been dying to see Klimt's Kiss in person and it didn't disappoint! we got the girls some dolls, got my parents some yummy, yummy chocolate, strolled our favorite strasses, ate some bratwurst, and got to bed early since we had a 2 am wake up call! yes, this was the only disadvantage of the trip, not being able to plan our own flight. we drew the short stick and had the earliest one. oh well, we survived!

so long, farewell, auf wiendersehen, goodbye!