Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back from Italy

We have returned from Italy. It was a wonderful trip. We have seen enough art to satisfy us for the rest of our lives. I thoroughly enjoyed the Ancient Roman history stuff. I don't know why, but I am fascinated by the excesses of the Emperors, particularly Augustus and Nero. Nero built himself a massive palace in Rome that spanned 3 of its major hills. The exterior of the buildings were pure gold. You can see some of the ruins near the forum. The subsequent emperors were so embarrassed by him that they immediately dismantled his palace upon his death.

The powerful families in Florence were the same way. I was blown away by the Medici Chapel in Florence. The mausoleum inside is a massive structure partially designed by Michealangelo that took over 200 years to build. It is pure marble, all the way to the ceiling (it's several stories high). Whitney is concerned when I say I want to be buried that way.

It is amazing to see how high Rome is compared to the era of the Republic and the emperors. It now stands about 25 feet higher, because the city has been built on top of itself so many times.

Whitney's favorite part was eating at a tiny restaurant on a narrow side street in Venice (the food was amazing), and then escaping a downpour under a canopy in a little piazza.

Anyway, we had an amazing time. Here is a link to our entire picture album:
http://picasaweb.google.com/SparhawkRGC/Italy200802

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rome


Cheering death in the Colosseum. The floor has been removed to reveal the passage ways where they kept the animals.


Constantine's feet (and head behind) on Capitoline hill. This is all that is left of the massive statute.

Michaelangelo designed the sqaure on the hill that used to hold the ancient Roman senate. In the middle is a massive bronze statue of Marcus Aerelius made during his reign. It is actually a copy. We saw the real one inside a museum. It is said that its original gold plating will return when the world ends.


The Catholic mothership in the Vatican - St. Peter's Basilica. He's buried (they believe) inside this massive church.


A view of St. Peter's square from the top of the dome of the Basilica.

We also entered the Vatican museum. That place was huge but we loved the Raphael rooms (particularly Constantine's room where Raphael painted his battles and conversion in massive frescos) and, of course, the Cistine chapel where Michaelangelo painted the 10,000 square foot ceiling. The museum can take up multiple days of your time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More from Italy

Some more from Italy.


We spent 2 days in Florence. The dome in the background of the Duomo was built in the 15th century.


These famous bronze doors made by Ghiberti are on the baptistry and face the Duomo. They are actually copies. We saw the real ones in a nearby museum. I loved them.


This I the tomb of Michaelangelo.

We saw his David in a museum. It was awesome. You can't take pictures.


We love the gelato. My favorite is lemon. Whitney's is hazelnut.


Today we arrived in Rome. Whitney is on the famous Spanish steps.


We smooched in front of the fountain of Trevi. It I HUGE and extremely packed with tourists.


A large part of our trip has been spent exploring churches. Random ones with no one inside are filled with Renaissance art. Just when we thought that we couldn't take any more, Whitney found her favorite paintings and artist - Caravaggio. Here she is in front of Caravaggio's paintings of Matthew in a random church in Rome. They are amazing.

I like Lippi.


Today we saw the Pantheon of ancient Rome. It is massive and incredible. Built by Emperor Hadrian in 125 AD.

We spend 3 days in Rome before we head home. It has been a great trip.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROB!!!

Since we are in Italy and I did not bring a present for Rob (although Italy itself is a pretty good birthday gift) I am posting a blog with 50 things I love about Rob in his honor, for his birthday. I promise to get you a real gift when we get home babe, I love you. And to the rest of you, just bear with me. . . and enjoy. I hope you like it.
And I know I am a day early, but Rob is at the pool so I have time to do this now, as a surprise.
50 things I love about Rob: I LOVE. . .
1) that he still is worried about what impression I have of him, so he tries to please me even though I love him no matter what and he knows that.
2) that he makes a fierce distinction between camping and car camping. They are in no way to be thought of as in the same league.
3) that he texted and called me multiple times as he drove to Colorado to hike Mt. Massive even though we had only been on one date.
4) that he followed what he felt, even though he did not really understand it (BYU and a Salt Lake City firm, etc.) and ended up where I was the summer of 2007.
5) that he created all these special moments in his head that happened at the office between us and that I do not remember any of them.
6) that he cares about my opinion of what he wears.
7) that he cleaned the house when he moved in
8) that he speaks Spanish, and like a real Mexican ! :) so expressive.
9) that the Church and the Gospel mean so much to him. He is so loyal to the truths he has a testimony of.
10) that he helps with the dishes after EVERY meal.
11) that he knew how to work our washer and dryer before I did and then had to teach me.
12) that he makes sure we say prayer together every night, never fails.
13) that he never minds, wherever we are, that I hold his hand and kiss him.
14) that he square danced with me at the family reunion.
15) that he opens doors for me.
16) that he cannot live without his sunglasses.
17) that he so sincerely wants to be a husband and father.
18) that his heart started pounding so hard before he asked me to marry him.
19) that he went to Berkeley. (I was very impressed, really)
20) that he was a history major.
21) that he sees right through me and knows and adores my little quirks.
22) that he constantly reassures me that I am EVERYTHING he has ever wanted in a wife.
23) his nose.
24) his hands.
25) that he gets intensely interested in random topics that have nothing to do with him personally or with his situation.
26) that he likes my cooking.
27) that he keeps me connected and informed about computers and such since I am not technologically inclined at all.
28) that he is tall.
29) that he is ticklish.
30) that he wants to run his Honda into the ground before he buys another car.
31) that he kills all the spiders in the house.
32) that he is fascinated with the wasp trap in the backyard.
33) that he knows how to fix in when we blow a fuse in the house.
34) that he is a fantastic conversationalist and I can talk to him about anything.
35) that he loves and admires his mom and dad and cares deeply for all of his family and now mine too.
36) that he makes the bed.
37) that he still gives me butterflies when he kisses me.
38) that he compliments are sincere.
39) that he loves learning and was impressed that my dad is a Ph.D.
40) that he is so concerned for my happiness.
41) that he can talk sports with my brother.
42) that when a bird pooped on me at the train station in Italy he did not laugh. He ran to look for a rag.
43) that he still thanks me for folding his garments.
44) that he keeps the Brita full of water in the fridge.
45) that he wants to be on my schedule and goes to be with me early and gets up early (because I have to go to work) even though he does not have to.
46) that he scoots over close to me in the bed, even though we originally bought a king so we could be far apart.
47) his laugh.
48) that he lets me complain when I need to.
49) that he is a worthy priesthood holder.
50) that I know I do not ever have to worry, he will lead and preside over our family according to the gospel and that I will always be safe with him, the man I love, FOREVER.

I could go on forever. But I will stop at 50. I love you Rob. Happy Birthday.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

From Italy

Here are some pictures of our first week in Italy.


This is a view of the hills of Tuscany. We have been staying with Piero, a friend of Whitney's grandparents who owns a large home in the area.


Here we are on top of the Campinile in Sienna. Sienna is a gorgeous midevil town.


We spent a day swimming on this beach on the Mediterranean on the Island of Giglio. The water was very warm.


At Pisa.


This is the Doge's palace in the Piazza di San Marco in Venice. Behind in the background is the Basicila of Saint Mark. It is an amazing church built in the 10th Century. Supposedly we saw the apostle Mark's tomb inside. Whitney loves the relics (remains) they show off in glass cases of saints inside these ancient churches.


Here we are on top of the best of the three bridges spanning the grand canal in Venice. It's a pretty wild place.

We are staying in a hotel right on the water in Venice tonight. Then we return to Tuscany for one more night with Piero and then we are off to Florence for 2 nights. After that, we finish our trip with 4 nights in Rome.

Happy Anniversary C & C!

It's my turn to remember, right? Happy 4 years, Carly and Casey! No one can deny that it's wonderful to have Casey in the family. You guys are a great couple. I don't think I'll ever forget how happy Carly looked in the temple during your sealing ceremony. You guys are both so lucky to have each other. And you have the most darling, fun and entertaining little girls ever. I sure miss them! Hope you get out and doing something fun together!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Photographía de Sean

More photos (cadence is jumpy so her pics are a little blurry):



Sunday, August 10, 2008

Report

Well, we're having computer issues so I can't post any pics at the moment, but I'll do a mini report of my race here. It was a lot of fun--mostly a downhill course (1000 ft descent) and a pretty cool day, weatherwise. It's a very popular race and there were tons of people. I clocked in at 1:47:47. I did better in my other half several years ago, but I guess I was young and fresh and got lots more sleep back then. Also, I think I should have gotten a few more long runs in for this race, but I didn't give myself enough time. Still, I was fairly pleased with my time, although I wish I could have done better. Those last 3 miles were tough. I was glad to be done. But, I look forward to doing another one sometime, maybe with some of you people. Check here for more details. Look for the pics on our blog later.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Happy Anniversary Lindsay and Ryan!

Yes that's right. I remembered! Only because it's 5 days before ours and you were married the year before. How's that for impressive? ha ha.

Anyway, 5 years right? That's quite the accomplishment. Five years, and 2 cute boys later. We're so glad Ryan is in the family, it wouldn't be the same without him! I hope you guys have a wonderful day today. Go out and party. Ryan, make sure you dust off that Chewbacca suit.

P.S. GOOD LUCK LINDSAY!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Carly's Utah pics

Gone to Italy

Whitney and I are heading to Italy on Friday morning for a little over two weeks. Our CDMA cell phones are useless there so if you need to contact us for some reason, the best (only) way is by email. We get back August 23rd late at night.

I'll post pictures on this blog as we travel around.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Mom, you're the best...

Happy Birthday Mom!! I know you don't even want to talk about your birthday, but everyone deserves a shout out on the blog, ESPECIALLY you. Mom, you are an incredible mother who does so much for us every single day. You are such an amazing example and I hope that one day I can be at least half the woman that you are. We love and appreciate you SO much!

-Cindy

I'd also like to "publicly" acknowledge how truly blessed I am to have you as my Mother.

I know no matter what kind of struggles I am going through, you are always there to let me know I can overcome them; that I'm never alone.

The greatest accomplishment I've had thus far in my life, serving a mission, would not have happened if it wasn't for your unrelenting faith in the Lord and in your son.

Whenever someone asks me how I gained my testimony of the gospel, one of the first things I mention, is the incredible faith of my Mother:

During the years after high school, I struggled to find any amount of my own personal faith in the gospel. But I've always believed that your faith, prayers, and love for me and the gospel, was so strong that they seemed to bridge the gap between my lack of faith and Heavenly Father.

I always picture a large room with thousands of windows, with all of them, except for one, dark and bolted shut. The lone open window, with brilliant light shining through it, being held wide open by your strong testimony that you never hesitated to share with me during that time.

You opened up the opportunity for me to discover what is now my own personal and firm testimony in the Savior and the restored Gospel.

I love you Mom.

-Sean