Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Story A Day Until Christmas (compiled from the Ensign Magazine)

As I'm sure many of your families do, our family has a tradition of reading a special "Story A Day Until Christmas".  There are numerous versions of this, but I wanted to send Bryan one that would work for missionaries.  I know there are rules about what reading materials they are allowed, so I spent some time combing through past Christmas Ensign issues and gathering Christmas stories that would work.  I know they are allowed to read the Ensign, so these should be perfect!  I printed one for our family too, and plan to tell Bryan that we will be reading the same story as him each night.  Hopefully that will help him to feel more connected and less homesick during the holidays.  I'm putting each story inside an envelope numbered with the day - one for each day in December leading up to Christmas, and will include all of them in his Christmas package.

My kids like to tease me because each year when I read our current "Story A Day Until Christmas", I can't get through even one without crying.  When I was deciding on which stories to include in this version, that was how I decided.  If I read the story and it touched my heart to the point where I cried, I included it. :P

Anyhow, I thought you guys might enjoy this too, and maybe your missionaries or your family would want a copy.  Here is the link to download it.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Italy! (Day Nine) VENICE!

Time to go home :(  It was really hard to leave!  We were picked up by a water taxi right outside the front door of our hotel.  We enjoyed the ride through the canals, leaving Venice behind as it wound its way towards the Venice Airport.  So glad we got to take this trip with Bryan!  We will remember it FOREVER!

Monday, June 2, 2014


TODAY WAS MY BIRTHDAY...IN. VENICE. HOLY. COW.  Best birthday present EVER!  Today we started with a tour of the Doge's Palace on St Mark's Square.  The Doge was the leader of the Venice Republic.  There were BEAUTIFUL rooms here, but we weren't allowed to photograph most of them.  Our tour also took us across the Bridge of Sighs, which was used to transport prisoners from the courtroom to the dungeon prisons.  It was named after the lamentations prisoners uttered as they made the walk.  On a somewhat different note, Venetian lore says if two lovers kiss on a gondola under this bridge, they'll be granted eternal bliss.

 This is the St Mark's Clocktower...

 Next we walked to the Rialto Bridge for some pictures of this famous bridge going over the Grand Canal...

If you look close, you can see Mark and Bryan standing to the left of the bridge, straight up from the front tip of the gondola...

Mark waving from the bridge...

Of course...more GELATO!! YUM!!

 Next was a REALLY fun activity.  We got to go to a Venetian mask making shop and make our own Carnevale masks!  First we looked around the shop to get ideas, then we were off to make our own.  We picked the style of mask we wanted, then got started painting them...



We had the afternoon on our own today, so Mark, Bryan, and I headed out to "get lost in Venice".  We didn't bother following the map, and we had no preconceived ideas of where we wanted to go.  We just went exploring, walking wherever we wanted to go.  First we found this Venetian glass shop, owned by a husband and wife.  The husband would make glass gondolas, and the wife would make glass animals.  At the time, the wife was making an octopus.  We filmed her.  It was really neat!  We bought 4 of the octopus, and 5 gondolas to take home. 

Late that afternoon, we met for demonstration of how they make Murano Glass.  This guy proceeded to make a vase in under a minute.  Then he made a cat in the same amount of time.  Incredible!

After the demonstration, I wanted to get some pictures from up high of Venice.  Mark and Bryan decided to stay in St Mark's Square while I rode the elevator up to the top of Campanile di San Marco.  Incredible views!

That evening was our Farewell Dinner at the hotel.  We met in the lobby, where a guy all dressed for Carnevale came in and proceeded to start the evening.  He led us into the banquet room, which was decked out and beautiful!  He told us our masks we had made that day were waiting for us, and had us put them on.  There was a little string trio playing during the whole night.


We were all supposed to partner up to go into the banquet were supposed to lead the ladies...


After we were done with dinner, and everyone had ordered dessert, I got a surprise!  The string trio started playing Happy Birthday and the servers brought out my dessert with a candle!  Then our Master of Ceremonies Carnevale guy had me come to the front so everyone could sing to me.  So sweet!  Our Disney guides gave me a Happy Birthday card and a Happy Birthday Disney pin to add to my Italy pin collection. 


 We finished the night with some funny entertainment, taking pictures, and a slideshow of our trip, presented by our Disney guides.  They both had been taking pictures of our group the entire time!  We exchanged emails with everyone in our group.  We really had SUCH a fabulous group and made lots of new friends!

Time to say goodbye!  We leave tomorrow morning!