Friday, April 25, 2008


You've done GRAND over the years. Thanks for the many trips across the country, all the skiing and boating and just being the best model of a father anyone could ask for, not to mention you picked the best wife and mother to help you along your way.

Sorry, it just made me laugh... again. The adopted son, Steve.

Dad, You're the best! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! We love you!

Worldwide Birthday Celebration today

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!! Annie and I stopped in a small village last week in Holland and noticed that the local church was planning a Birthday celebration for Papa John. At least that's what I think "KERKENVEILING" means in Dutch. I must admit my Dutch language skills are limited so I may be wrong. Sometimes I would look at an advertisement on a bus or writing on a commercial van and it looked like someone fell asleep and had their head or hands land randomly on the keyboard. Update: according to our resident linguist, JWE2, Kerkenveiling means 'auction' - and I was sure it meant Happy Birthday Party for Papa John.

Enjoy your special day and don't forget to do your exercises!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Emily's neck of the woods (aka Vermont)

I spent last week in Boston at a geography conference. One day we took a road trip to Vermont and New Hampshire. We stopped to take photos of the Boston (actually in Belmont) Temple

We saw many covered bridges and white congregational churches along the way. Our primary destination was the Joseph Smith birthplace in Sharon Vermont. The granite pillar is one huge piece. It is 38 1/2 feet tall--one foot for each year of the prophet's life. The home where Joseph Smith was born is under the white birch at the far left of the photo. The Smith family lived here from 1805-1807

The Smith family lived in several homes in Vermont and across the Connecticut River in New Hampshire. A Congregational church (photo) sits on the village green of Norwich. The last place the Smith family lived before moving to Palmyra.

The dairy farm (photo) is in Turnbridge. This is where the Smith (settled here in 1791) and Mack families (settled here in 1799) lived when Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack met and married. Later the Smith family lived here from 1807-1808.

From 1811-1814. the Smith family lived in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, which is just a few miles south of Hanover, New Hampshire the site of Dartmouth University (photo). One of the Doctors at the Dartmouth Medical school was the only doctor in the US at the time who was wiling to experiment with leg operations. He was sable to save the leg of young Joseph.

The two covered bridges are in South Turnbridge and North Turnbridge. Mack relatives ran a saw mill along the stream.

The last photo is a home a few miles north of Norwich and is the probable site of the home where the Smith family lived just before giving up on farming in New England and moving to greener pastures in New York. The left because of crop failure caused during the "year without summer" which was caused by climate changes and a very cold summer brought on by the eruption of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia. Had the volcano not sent so much climate changing ash into the atmosphere the Smith family might never have been compelled to give up farming in Vermont.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Kuekenhof - the model for Grandma and Grandpa Fife's garden?

You be the judge.......

European Vacation

Annie and I enjoyed a week long trip to Europe. We visited France, England and Holland in a hurried eight days. I had a couple of days of business meeting in the London area and I talked Annie into joining me for the trip. We had a great time. I found out that luggage was over rated. Air France lost my luggage the first day and finally returned it to me in Amsterdam one week later - the night before we flew home. I was able to buy a few items and then spent many evenings doing laundry in either the sink or the tub of our hotel room. Such fun. Annie's suitcase was also lost for our stay in France but was waiting for us at Charles De Gaul before our flight to London. We were both very disappointed that I didn't have my suitcase. I was quite impressive at my meetings in London wearing jeans, a complimentary Air France t-shirt and my thin golf jacket (which I kept on for my meetings).
An early start in Paris. After staying for one night at the Paris Hilton, we are off to Hertz to pick up a car for the drive to Normandy - the highlight of the trip for me. It was so awesome, I'm going to put up another post on that part of the trip.

Out for an evening walk in London. Here we are on the pedestrian bridge over the River Thames between Embankment and Waterloo stations. If you look close you can see Big Ben over my left shoulder and the London Eye (aka Millennium Wheel) over Annie's right shoulder

Next Stop was Amsterdam. Here is Anne Frank's house viewed from our canal cruise. From her secret room in the attic, Anne listened to the radio with news of the Allied landing at Normandy on June 6, 1944. Her hopes of returning to school in the fall were soon crushed as she and her family were found and sent to concentration camps.

Venice of the North

I think I may have worked with these brick layers....
The Van Gogh museum was closed when we got there so the best we could do was have me poise in front of this nearby shop selling prints. You may recognize my outfit from the photo in London three days earlier.....
Tulips everywhere - Here is Annie inside the greenhouse at Keukenhof. Normally tulips can be found in bloom from mid-April through the end of May. This year due to global warming, winter lasted longer than normal so the tulips are a little late, but we found plenty in bloom during our visit on April 17.
Wind mills were not every where. We spent most of an afternoon looking for windmills and castles but with limited success. We were not very happy with the Avis GPS (tom tom). The Hertz 'Neverlost' GPS we used in France was far superior.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cabo Wabo on the Baja

Lorie and I had an almost private cove for snorkeling. We were undeterred by the "attack of the jellyfish."

Katie, Lorie, and I enjoyed swimming with Ende the Dolphin.

We hiked in to this amazing "cascada" in the desert. I opted for the low dive.

Tandem parasailing rocks.

Gordo, famous for buck fifty carne asada tacos and serenading as the "fifth Beatle."
"I... should of known better with a girl like you . . ."

"That I could love everything that you do . . . and I do . . . hey, hey hey . . ."

Dos Senoritas bonita!

El Rolando Viejo.

New Bike!

Well, it is new to us! Lorin's sister has a neighbor with a little girl & they get all their hand-me downs. It works out great for us because we get whatever they don't use - including clothes & now a bike! It doesn't have training wheels, so Lorin is going to pick some up after work & see if we can get them on tonight. Polly was so excited to just sit on it, I had a hard time coaxing her to come inside. I can't believe she is old enough to have a bike - not that I think she will get the hang of it right away - but just the fact that her legs reach & it's something she is excited about makes me wonder where the past 2 years have gone!

*After looking at picture from Lake Powell - Erin said she hoped Polly would wear her Spider Man hat everywhere she went - trust me, she does.