Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mediterranean Sea

We loved our afternoon at the beach! The water was cold, but it was still wet, and there was plenty of sand. Thankfully we were able to find a spot that wasn't too "European" if you catch my drift.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Rock of Gibraltar

I'm grateful we took the trip out to Gibraltar to see and experience such a famous landmark in history. We took a tour bus into the city center, and from there, we took a private van tour which was a cool thing because of the info from the tour guide, and access to more sights. We went inside a cave with enormous stalactites and mites, and saw where they put on acoustic and classical concerts. Imagine going to a concert inside the rock of Gibraltar! Pretty sweet! We also entered another cave/tunnel where the British had chiseled away their bunkers, and shot their canons. It was impressive to look out from inside the top of the enormous rock. The greatest part for the kids was obviously the apes. They hang out all over the top of Gibraltar because that's where they're fed. They're wild, so we don't touch them, but they're all around you, jumping on the cars, crawling on the walls, free to roam, and the kids couldn't get enough of it!

When you're with Mom and Dad how can you not go bowling? A bit different in Spain, but lots of fun on a rainy afternoon. Sunday we went on a gondola ride up the mountain, then came down and played at an amazing park! The next day we went to the most beautiful zoo I've ever seen. It's small - squashed into the crowded town of Fuengirola, but it's like an oasis with beautiful foliage, habitats, and gorgeous natural settings. Definitely one of the highlights. Henry was ecstatic to discover his favorite...the Nile Crocodile...was a resident of this particular zoo. Later on, he also spotted a Gharial! I didn't even have to read hime the sign! Afterwards we went to the mission office where we had cupcakes and blew out a candle. Ever since Mom said we would go to the zoo, Annie has insisted that she's having her birthday party there! While we didn't exactly make it happen at the zoo, we still made sure we sang and celebrated. Elder Halverson is the missionary holding up the candle. Thanks to the missionaries for joining us in a round of "Happy Birthday!"


Mijas is a cute little town on the hillside with lots of whitewashed buildings, and of course, donkey taxis! Ellie rode one of the donkeys, AnnieKate declared how cute they were, Henry thought the whole carriage thing was pretty cool, and I was the unfortunate one positioned right behind the ass! Personally, I was thrilled when our little jaunt through town was over. Thanks Mom and Dad! We also visited the local bullring which was rather small, but at least it was a sturdy permanent structure. :) The kids had a great time pretending to be bulls while they chased each other around in the ring. This was the town where Ellie found her Flamenco attire for the evening, and is positive she's never owned a dress so nice before, (except for her baptism dress). We also took time to play at a park overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Overall it was a delightful morning in a beautiful place!

Night at the Fair

We were lucky enough to be in town the same weekend as the fair. Fuengirola, the city where the mission home is, was having a great time with festivities that the kids were more than excited to be a part of! The girls got ready in their Flamenco dresses, a very popular tradition amongst the women of southern Spain, and Henry wore his bull shirt. We walked the streets and enjoyed the rides! A few of them, anyway. Some didn't go over so well, but it all worked out in the end. :)

Espana! We Made It!

We finally made it Spain! It was so great to see Mom and Dad - even AnnieKate ran to hug Grandma at the airport. After a day and night of traveling, with not much sleep to speak of, all the kids wanted to do was swim. Swim, swim swim! They LOVE the pool!

Monday, September 13, 2010

New York Part 4 - Final Day

Our last day we just enjoyed being together - playing at the beach, going to the park, walking down the street to the local ice cream shop. We also celebrated Meredith's retirement from teaching where the girls put on a show/dance, and had a good time!

"We are the silly Ashtons...please leave us a message!"

New York Part 3 - Niagara Falls

Today was such a fun day! Who knew that Niagara Falls could be so fun! Just seeing the falls is overwhelmingly impressive, but there's so much to do. Definitely worth the price of the day pass to experience the falls!

I just had to throw in this picture of Annie. She couldn't go anywhere without her "stuff."

Getting ready to enter the Cave of the Winds. This was the best surprise of the day! You buy your ticket and they give you a poncho and some water shoes, then take you down an elevator to the bottom of the American Falls. From there, you can venture up a staircase as far as you're able, and if adventurous enough, all the way to the Hurricane Deck. You can choose if you want to enjoy a bit of misty spray, or be completely drenched as gallons of water are hurled at you from the falls. It was tons of fun, and I would recommend it to everyone!

AnnieKate is a little unsure about this whole poncho business.

Getting ready to make the ascent with Grandma.

Wind and water can be rather exciting!

Ellie completely wet after dancing on the Hurricane Deck. She didn't feel the need to wear a poncho - which, unless you had it secured super well, you pretty much got drenched anyway! The Hurricane deck was a portion closest to the falls, and it was surprisingly exciting as you felt the force and power of the falls as it's thundering around you, and practically knocking you over as the spray dumps on top of you.

Me and Henry - super soaked!

Henry not too thrilled with the idea of getting wet...again. After the Cave of the Winds, we took a boat ride on the Maiden of the Mist. The famous boats that take you to the bottom of Horseshoe Falls. It's a fun little ride, but I'm not kidding when I say the power of the falls is both awesome and terrifying!

AnnieKate loving her Daddy.

Me and my boy in front of Horseshoe Falls.

Ellie - again without her poncho.

Me and my hubby. We loved being able to take our family to such great places! It's such a blessing to be loved and looked after. Thank you Matt!

New York Part 2 - Palmyra

Our visit to Palmyra was a fun and exhausting day. The kids loved running around outside, and did pretty well as we trooped through the tours of the Joseph Smith homes. Our tour guide, unfortunately, was not tuned in very well to the fact that we had mostly young children with us, and it was somewhat difficult for us to get her to move things along quicker than her script. Oh well. The sacred grove was the favorite spot for just about all of us, and after sitting through the lectures it felt great to walk through the cool trees.

Me and Ellie who is all too excited to get her picture taken!

Playing on top of Hill Cumorah.

Cousins outside the Joseph Smith home in Palmyra.

The Joseph Smith Manchester home and the longwinded tour guide. The kids were all pretty good sports about it.

Me and Annie. She's wearing her princess backpack she got for the trip, and has it LOADED with stuff. It really is heavy, but she insists on carrying it where ever we go.

The kids were excited to find a bench to sit on for a family photo in the sacred grove.

AnnieKate has a pretty fierce growl. Here she informed us she is a baby chinchilla. Ya, I never heard of it either, until we discovered Diego - cousin to the infamous Dora the Explorer.

Henry told us that Ellie is his "best girl!"

The Sacred Grove was the best part of the day. The kids loved the peaceful walk through the woods.