Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Aliens Have Landed!


Hooray!  Grandma and Grandpa are here!  They got in from their amazing adventures Friday evening.  They had a great time in Rome, Florence, Venice, Pisa, Zurich and at the top of the world in the Alps – near Mont Blanc (I think that’s the right big mountain – it could have been Kilimanjaro or something…).  They saw castles, monuments, waterfalls and lots and lots of other stuff and had great adventures.  It was really fun to see their photos and hear all about their adventures.  Of course, now we want to go there as well!

On Saturday morning, we went over to the fort/thrift store. They were amazed amini_DSC00409t all the beautiful furniture one could buy for only 40 or 50 Euros.  Here is a shot of us wandering around in the store.  Grandma found some fun souvenirs and we got a push mower for the back yard and a beautiful hand-blown, purple carafe.  We hit some snags as we were checking out.  First, there was a problem with the cash register – no one seemed to know how to change the tape, resulting in about 5 people coming over for consultation.  Then, as the great tape debate raged on,  a truck loaded with cheap furniture that was backing out ran into the little booth where the debaters and the poor customers were standing.  Luckily it was a minor blow and no one was damaged (permanently).  They decided to give up on changing the tape and simply write it down by hand and then, of course, realized they couldn’t even open the drawer to give change!   Luckily I had exact change or we might still be standing there.  As it was, it took 25 minutes to pay.  Welcome to France!

Then, we were off to the Citadelle. We haven’t been there for a long time. The flowers were so beautiful.  I love the tulips here, and so does Griffin as you can tell!  Zander has taken a violent dislike to picture taking – here Grandpa was trying to get a shot of him and he was trying to escape – I snuck in a shot – gotcha!       mini_DSC07803mini_DSC07764mini_DSC07763mini_DSC07770

We wmini_DSC07779alked around and spent a long time looking at the baboons. They had tons of babies and were very active.  We also saw, in the bird cage, that the flamingos were nesting – we could even see their giant eggs.   Then, after lunch, André and I went into the Résistance museum – we hadn’t been able to go before since it is not recommended for children (thanks, Grandma and Grandpa!).  It traced the history of the rise of the 3rd Reich and then the arrival of the war to France and the history of the resistance here.  Very interesting – but also depressing.  The time it took to build up the war machine was incredible.  Hitler started indoctrinating the youth and it wasn’t until they had grown up in the right climate that he was able to wage such a war. One particularly disturbing quote from Mein Kampf said something like - “We don’t want our children to be educated, or enlightened – we just want them to be obedient” Remember that parents, the next time your kids won’t listen – mindlessly obedient drones are the same types that worked as guards in the death camps. 

Then we walked up around the ramparts. Griffin and Zander were ahead of everyone.  They are strong and fast, as you can tell.  The grownups are those little dots along the wall.  In the third shot you can see the ring of trees lining the Doubs – this river is the natural barrier of the city.  Then we headed down the hill to visit the Cathedral and the Roman ruins nearby.  Debbie and Dave went to see the clock as well.

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mini_DSC07826 We walked around the city a bit – showing the visitors such excitimini_DSC07832ng things as Grand Rue, Place Huit Septembre (where the kids rode the carousel) and the 2 Euro store.  Then we had some yummy Greek for dinner and walked along the Doubs before heading home.  We talked about the plan for Paris – turns out May 1st is a holiday so lots of the museums are mini_DSC07835closed that day.  Disney will probably be an absolute mob scene, but it  should still be fun. The next morning (after snuggle time, of course!) Debbie and Dave went to church and we spent some special time with the kids – I also spent time digging through the trash looking for our Disney tickets – turns out I almost recycled them!  Spent the afternoon hanging around the house. They did take a walk around the neighborhood to see the kids’ schools – the lilacs in our neighborhood are gorgeous and Callie conned Grandpa into giving her a piggyback.

mini_DSC07840 Monday morning we ordered a St. Honore’ for breakfast – it was fabulous.  mini_DSC07867Then I took them over to the local grocery store where they stocked up on cheap, yet delicious, chocolates and sausage to bring back home to the Utah family. Then we headed out for a hike up to Fort Chaudanne.  Apparently the Germans occupied this Fort during WWII and the American forces liberated it.  There was a monument in honor of the Americans who fought and died for France

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Unfortunately, it was a kind of gloomy day and chilly – we headed down the hill with whiney and cold kids!  They perked up when we got to the abandoned powder magazine.  We had been meaning to come back with flashlights ever since we saw it on the bird walk in the winter.

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It was pretty large inside.  There were 2 large rooms within another room – there was a corridor wrapping around the large rooms – like a double layer.  There was a stairwell going down that was filled in with broken roofing tiles.  It was really fun and scary to go in there.

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We headed down the hill.  For whatever reason, Griffin was not in the mood to hike today and Daddie had to help him out.  Down at the river we saw a mama duck with about 10 ducklings – how many will make it?

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Then we went and tossed rocks in the river (of course).  Callie, our discoverer, found a dead fish as well as some sort of bug carapace on the side of the river.  We headed for home, passing an exciting ad for EuroDisney, which we will visit Friday. On the way home we left Zander’s jacket on the bus so we ended our day at the thrift store buying him a replacement for Paris.


The Grauke-Collins Experience said...

Sounds lovely! I especially love the photos of big boy Griffin. I can't remember when you'll be here in Philly...when is it?


About Jenae said...

Sounds like fun! Wish we were there! Your thrift store sounds scary and yet I saw the treasures mom brought home and want to go too. What a great family pic!


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