Wednesday, December 5, 2012


We went to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving this year after facing a difficult decision (we are still hoping for forgiveness from a certain party).  In wake of that, the flight was really rough and practically everyone got sick on the flight out.  However, on a layover in San Francisco we bough Ghiradelli chocolates and a fellow family of passengers gave us some magazines they had read after we struck up a conversation about Disneyland and travel.  Consequently, we finished a crossword puzzel on the way down.
In Vegas the weather was beautiful and balmy.  We watched Bugsy Malone (Julia's first time).  We tried to clean out some my old files and possessions from growing up.  We ate out at Roberto's Taco Shop and Baja Fresh.  We also had some fun watching several Studio C clips and trying to fix the paintball guns.
Thanksgiving was at my parent's home.  Julia (and I) made two of her AMAZING apple pies (Aunt Jackie even called them "earthy looking") and helped out with a few other things. The dinner was fantastic including a bevy of delicious pies, turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes/turnips, beets and beeted carrots, green beans, stuffing, pomegranate juice, Marco's rolls, soups, etc.  There were new babies there including niece E and D & A Reynolds' baby girl A.  The settings were lovely and the company was spectacular.  We also enjoyed having friends Katya (from Russia) and Aswin (from India) present.
Later, we reconvened at the church to play a game of Yoga Ball, knock-out, and then basketball.
Over the week we went to see Wreck It Ralph (most of the family liked) and Lincoln (everybody loved).
Later still, the Meservys got together for a smaller round of Christmas poems.
Dad took the boys golfing on Friday.  On the first tee-off one of the brothers accidentally threw his club easily 200 feet.  There were a handful of par holes had and plenty of disappointing bouts but it was still fun.  And, afterward we went to get wings before coming home to a baby shower being thrown by the women for sister E's best friend B.  The shower looked great and the chicken sandwiches were excellent.
Sunday we took some family photos and then did the traditional BLTs with the priesthood.

Friday, November 30, 2012

David Archuleta & The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Julia and I attended this live when we were dating.  Thank you for the free tickets Grandma Behra.  The dancing and singing was very impressive.  This was, indeed, a very classy performance.  I recommend it and now you can watch it.


The best Abraham Lincoln film around is the new Spielberg film.  It is very well researched, quotes from his life extensively, and a great film.  It also focused on Lincoln's role in the passing of the 13th Amendment (outlawing slavery as the first constitutional mention of slavery) and his family life.

Some quotes:

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

"I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice."

"We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing."

"Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong."

"We begin with equality, it’s the origin, isn’t it? That’s justice. See, we’ve shown that if people can endure awful sacrifice and yet cohere."

Another terrific reference--
Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years by Carl Sandberg
The book was a Pulitzer Prize winner and Sandberg interviewed people who knew Lincoln personally in compiling his account.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Gem Amongst the Suburbia

A few weeks ago I found this on my walk:
Nestled among the many houses and apartments, this little gem seemed calm and serene. It's always nice to find a little patch of countryside close to our home.


This Halloween we had "secret plans and clever tricks," to quote the Roald Dahl book we read recently at Barnes & Noble about a mastermind crocodile who wants to eat " nice, juicy" children. We planned for Joe to be Jonah from the Bible story and for me to be the rainbow fish from the children's book (much thanks to Elise for the idea). We were going to make our car into the whale with big white teeth in the trunk and a tail in the front so that Joe could sit inside while we passed out candy to the kiddos at the ward trunk-or-treat. However, the weather was rather bleak and rainy that day and we ran late so it didn't quite work out the way we planned.
Joe did dress up as Jonah though and I threw together a rainbow fish costume the night before so we were Jonah and the fish or as one girl guessed the old man and the sea. After the ward trunk-or-treat and chili cook off we went to a fun Halloween Party where we got to chat with some friends.

Joe said, "We look like rockstars!" I think by that he means he looks like a rockstar. I look like a fish. haha - Joe got tired of wearing most of his Jonah costume pretty quick.

On Halloween night we had no plans. We had gotten some candy and hoped some little ghouls would stop by trick-or-treating. Joe wanted to get a movie so we stopped off at Hastings where we ran into two couples from our ward! Joe invited one of them over for games at our place and they accepted! After pizza, jenga, and lots of fun they left and Joe and I were excited to have just had our first guests over to our apartment (besides family). Alas, there were no trick-or-treaters to be found, but that didn't stop me and Joe from eating all the candy in the house. Happy Halloween!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Miss Atomic Bomb

My wife is the real Miss Atomic Bomb...unfortunately, she also dropped a bomb on me and left to the Relief Society social tonight...I'll forgive and make up...

Thank you Brother Flowers and company for the poetic synthesis.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Joe's Favorite Halloween Movies

Signs (2002)
What Lies Beneath (2000)
Arachnophobia (1990)
Vertigo (1958)
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

**Although I have yet to see it I have heard good things about The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966)**

Monday, October 15, 2012

Support Parlor Hawk

Click here to pre-order the new album, buy a limited edition t-shirt, or find another creative way to support the band.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Legislation in Washington this November 2012

In addition to the election of local and national leaders, Washington state citizens will be presented with some local state legislation to vote on.  I believe that the two most important pieces are those found below.

Referendum 74 - Please Vote that this be "Rejected"
*Thirty-two states out of thirty-two have voted to keep marriage as between one man and one woman dating back to 1998.  This is a moral question and indeed each American can and should hold fast to the principles of morality and the blessings of freedom sought here for families with children and without.

Initiative 502 - Please Vote against this
*This initiative would legalize marijuana in WA and have farming of the drug monitored by the Washington State Liquor Control Board.  Consideration should be given that children and other Americans should not be subjected to second-hand marijuana smoke.  Moreover, if marijuana is made legal and more readily accessible it stands likely to reason that there will be more DUI's caused by this drug's readiness to potentially irresponsible parties.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

O America, My America

On the first page of the United States Constitution read the words “in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America”. American’s have long since regarded these choices as “by the people” but too seldom recognize the carefully crafted language and selfless commitments of the people in order to form “a more perfect union” and to “secure the blessings of liberty”.

Sitting in the eating area of the law school at Gonzaga University I had an experience you might find interesting. A fellow law student was complaining about a politician’s comments on the middle east and so I joined his conversation having read a couple books on the candidate which I felt might give me...wisdom and an ability to clear up the truths. His response was to bring up two other issues which were on the ballot in the November election--marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage recognition. I will support neither despite the alleged support of my fellow student.

My fellow student and fellow American tried by subversive means, which I do not believe he recognized to be subversive, to argue my stance away--my stance being that marriage is ordained of God and that marriage should be defined as being between only one man and one woman.

He tried to shake me with comparisons between same gender relationships and interracial relationships. This approach was surely not intended to “ensure domestic tranquility” in a country where slavery once existed. I have heard African Americans claim that such a comparison is, to them, offensive (e.g. Harvard Law alumni E. W. Jackson) as no homosexual has ever been enslaved in this country (to my knowledge). My qualm with this perspective is that in the one instance no marriage--man and woman was previously permitted whereas in the other a non-marriage of a man and a man should not be permitted and never before has been "by the people".

I was blessed after being born into a family made up of a man and a woman married lawfully who with responsibility loved and cared for each other and their children. Who would deny that this means that the “blessings of liberty” were secured for myself? My mother stayed home and taught me to read and write while my father went to work as an accountant. In the summers we took vacations. My parents paid taxes, voted regularly, bolstered their friends, and donated to church funds and charities the best they knew how in addition to caring for their children and supplying us with a home with a swimming pool.

My law school friend and I briefly discussed these blessings of liberty. I can point out now that children would be adversely affected if the laws regarding guardianship should become confused and dishonest. In the case of two homosexual women who enter a relationship there may already be children involved from a previous heterosexual relationship and then legal rights to the child as a guardian could potentially be invested in the two but what would happen if the “natural” mother became incapacitated or died? I read a real story of such a case in California. The “natural” father of the child wished to regain custody of the child and was facing a wall. This scenario would be essentially hopeless if marital status had been given to the homosexual partners. And, how would you like to be the judge who refuses to choose to allow such a daughter and father reunite? How would you feel about it?

When the argument is made to me that “it’s just two people who love each other trying to get married” it seems repelling and I am offended. I am married to my spouse, we are yet childless, and she and I try each day to love and respect one another. I am repelled by the call for my love to be compared to some relationship which may never directly naturally produce children (even given various forms of hormonal and scientific pathways to aiding the creation of children with help from family medicine).  Even the Supreme Court of the United States has recognized the sanctity of the family unit-- in the family is where values--morals and culture are traditionally best taught.  These values include religion. I do not advocate for the the establishment of a single religion contrary to our Constitution.  Additionally, it can be offensive to me to hear this comparison when I have read in the Bible Almighty God state that homosexual relationships are abominable in His eyes (Romans 1). At this point, hasn’t my faith been silenced and my belief been offended?  Hasn’t the most sacred part of my life been compared to something difficult to understand as a lost lamb?

Prior to the first judicial panel determining to allow same-sex marriage in Massachusetts on twenty six out of twenty seven occasions Americans had voted in their respective spheres of influence to define marriage as between one man and one woman. In fact, since 1998, thirty-two states have held votes on state constitutional amendments regarding same-sex marriage, and all thirty-two states have opposed it. Think briefly of the arrogance of that court.  How could a court begin to unravel charitable statuses for churches sustained by American people which protect the sanctity of marriage--this is a viable concern which I won't discuss briskly at this time.  How could a court not see the discouragement that could add to problems with civil marriages, declining families, and perhaps birth rates.

My discreditor may or may not like to invite others to gawk at my uneasiness with the topic or to describe me as a racist or a dishonest or unfair person. In my judgment the truth is that his perspective is not clear or is not a long term perspective. Or, perhaps he is just wrong. This is a moral choice. America’s constitution was written by anglo Christians.  Over the years America became legitimately diverse and we are now not an anglo-Christian nation but a Christian nation of free people. We all go by “Americans” and we all pledge allegiance to “one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all”. I seek to secure that liberty for my family and the future children I intend to raise in a goodly manner. I stand firmly on my faith and hope and my love for others that marriage will and should be defined as it has been since before the inception of the country as one man and one woman aiming to improve based upon the lessons learned from the previous generation and lessons inspired by He who used to be referred to as the American spirit.

I would also like to add that I do not presume to speak for God at this time, although, I believe that His wisdom is available to us today to examine and re-examine and learn from. I am grateful for the spoken words of prophets (Amos 3:7).  One of those prophets is Thomas S. Monson.

Ultimately, to allow same-sex marriages could also complicate and confuse genealogical record keeping significantly for children entrusted to the guardianship of such partnerships including records regarding more remote generations (perhaps more than one generation back), and other religious practices regarding genealogy.   

Now, onto the legal issues--
1) No Constitutional "fundamental right" to "homosexual marriage" exists or has existed in the history of American jurisprudence.  Thus, liberty interests under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment do not apply to "homosexual marriage".  The Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on this issue.  If it does it should consider it's own words about the family unit in American tradition/history and the dissemination of morals:
“Our decisions establish that the Constitution protects the sanctity of the family precisely because the institution of the family is deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition.  It is through the family that we inculcate and pass down many of our most cherished values, moral and cultural.” Moore v City of East Cleveland, Ohio
   2) The Constitutional level of scrutiny for sexual orientation under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment is merely the Rational Basis Test.  Romer v. Evans.  This means, that a state government need merely assert any legitimate government interest rationally related to their state promulgated law.  This standard is very broad and should be easy to meet--the state can simply refer to its police powers -- maintaining health, safety, morals, etc.      

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Truth Resonates Even When It's Embroiled In Politics

I came across this video on a political site I read from time to time.  I watched the video with my wife.  EW Jackson's words resonated with me.  I loved his use of Romans 1:16 (one of the scriptures I have fully memorized from my early morning seminary days).  While I don't believe that the Democratic Party is evil, I agree that the platform which he specifically addresses is.  So, check out the video--I recommend it.

Also, I did a quick search for his biography and learned EW Jackson is a Harvard Law School graduate, a former Virginia Senate candidate, co-founder of S.T.A.N.D., a political contributor, and also a leader in a church I am not familiar with.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cereal Extravaganza

A few weeks ago our local grocery store had a 13 hour sale on cereal and milk. Naturally, we attended and bought 23 boxes of sugary cereals and 2 gallons of milk. Not 5, not 10, but 23 boxes. Our supply of cereal is going strong and to celebrate I would like to share my favorite videos about cereal and milk.

I used to love this video back in the day.

And one I think is slightly disturbing, but kind of funny...

Bonus: A picture of Joe eating cereal behind our flowers. :) Silly boy.

Bonus bonus: Because I think it's hilarious and breakfast related. I couldn't resist.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Labor Day in Rexburg

The Friday before Labor Day I realized that all of my immediate family, besides John Michael, would be in Rexburg for the weekend! Joe got home from school and we made the spur of the moment decision to drive the 7ish hours there to see them since we might not see any of them again till Christmas 2013. In our fierce frenzy we threw our clothes in bags, tossed the bags in the car, and drove till 2am to get there. Jameson and Emma graciously allowed us to stay in their apartment for the weekend.

We had a blast with the fam and got to do the following:

Go out to eat at the Yummy Texas Roadhouse

YUM! Thanks parents! I can't ever get enough of their rolls and cinnamon honey butter. Somehow, my leftovers mysteriously disappeared though... Afterwards we went out of our way to look at a bunch of puppies that were for sale. They were so cute and I spent far too much time trying to convince Joe to get me one. Sadly, no puppy yet, but there can be no doubt that we are all dog people.  

Go to the East Idaho State Fair

We mosied around the fair looking at everything from an arm wrestling tournament to a quilt show. I loved seeing the cake decorating contest, it's amazing what some people can do with frosting, all the animals, and the photography. We even got to see some of my Uncle Sherwin's ribbon winning photos! About halfway through the day it started pouring rain so we hid in a plethora of buildings looking at animals or shopping. When we realized it wasn't going to lighten up we made a run for the car. All and all, we thought this venture was a success. Joe was very proud that he got to milk a cow, hold a baby pig, and eat some Nacho Libre corn.

Emma and I sitting sheepishly on a bench.

Joe and I at the petting zoo - sheep!

Texas Longhorns - I swear he almost poked my eye out...

Joe got to hold the baby piggy! Awww...

Play lots of Settlers of Catan

Soaked through and freezing, we headed back to Grandma's house for some games, snacks, and movies.

The Sears family doing what they do best - hanging out and playing Settlers.

Go to Nursery and Play with the Kiddos

We all went to church in Rexburg where Jameson and Emma have callings in the nursery. Luckily, they were short handed so we all got to help out aka play with little kids for two hours - my favorite!

Try to Catch a Rabbit and Find a Dog to Play With

After church we went over to my Grandmas to eat dinner. Apparently there's a bunny living in her yard so naturally we tried to catch it! Sadly, it was too quick for us so we proceeded to go on lots of walks in pursuit of a dog to play with somewhere in the neighborhood. None were found. :( 

Go to a Great Labor Day Picnic

Aunt Jill had a bunch of the family over for Labor Day where we ate, played games, and chatted. It was so good to see everyone - it had been so long! Plus Aunt Jill looked at some of Jameson and Emma's vinyl to decorate one of her new granddaughter's rooms with - she's going to have them put some cute owls in the baby room. They are really good and can make almost anything, especially if you have a picture! Joe and I have some Mitt Romney vinyl on our car and a little Eiffel Tower in our study room which look great! We love it! If you're interested in getting some vinyl check them out here. Okay, blatant shout out ending now.

More Settlers anyone?

Me and Joe at Aunt Jill's house for the Labor Day Picnic.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Friday Night Dates

After moving to Spokane we discovered the entertainment store, Hastings. We love it! So naturally, we bought four movies and rented the other two. Plus, they always give us these nifty scratch cards to see if we win deals to the store, which we did. Just normal life at the Meservy home - living our lives as winners.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Cookie Fiasco

A few weeks ago Joe and I decided we would take cookies to the neighbors so we could introduce ourselves and get to know them. We could already tell that a lot of the neighbors weren't the happiest we moved in because we are a younger couple, but we thought we could win them over. Just to preface, majority of our complex consists of elderly people. Shortly after moving in an older lady told my mom they had been "invaded," to which my mom asked, "By people or by bees?" haha You go Mom. Later an uptight resident paced back and forth in front of our apartment until we took our trash to the dumpster that had been sitting by our door for less than 5 minutes. We understand it isn't nice to look at, but can we get some shoes on before we take it out? We were about to I promise! My Mom promptly told him to take a chill pill. At first I was embarrassed, but I have to admit, he deserved it. 

Anyways, we made tons of cookies and we were off to deliver them. We knocked and knocked, but at  most doors nobody answered. At first I thought, well, nobody must be home.... but in over half of the entire complex? No way! We finally caught our upstairs neighbors, the Birch family, and gave them a plate. Them and their kids are cute and we are glad to have them as our neighbors and in our ward. We chatted with them a bit and then found a few more people who would open their doors to us. This included one lady who almost looked like she was going to cry, she kept saying how nice we were, and a man on a diet who couldn't have them.

Finally, we arrived at the last door. I was wondering where the weird ponytail man was, the one from the chill pill story, and was a little worried to run into him again. Well, this was his apartment and his door was open. Joe called in, "Hello! We brought you cookies. We are new and wanted to introduce ourselves!" The reply, "Go away! I don't want them!" We stood there for a moment not realizing what he just said so he got up and slammed the door. Ouch. 

Anyways, the moral of the story is: Don't bring cookies to the old crotchety man who lives in your apartment complex. You can't win him over. However, one nice guy did bring us peaches in return for the cookies (yum... the fruit of our labors!), so do bring everyone else cookies. Then you will be able to gauge who to avoid - the crazy ones.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

While Reading my Book of Mormon Manual for Class Today...

I stumbled across this passage:

         1 Nephi 2:11–15 - Murmuring
• One reason Satan encourages murmuring is to prevent us from following living prophets, inspired leaders, and parents. Elder H. Ross Workman of the Seventy explained that “murmuring consists of three steps, each leading to the next in a descending path to disobedience.” First, when people murmur they begin to question. They question “first in their own minds and then [plant] questions in the minds of others.” Second, those who murmur begin to “rationalize and excuse themselves from doing what they [have] been instructed to do. . . . Thus, they [make] an excuse for disobedience.” Their excuses lead to the third step: “Slothfulness in following the commandment.” “The Lord has spoken against this attitude in our day: ‘But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a  commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned’ (D&C 58:29). . . .
“I invite you to focus on the commandment from living prophets that bothers you the most. Do you question whether the commandment is applicable to you? Do you find ready excuses why you cannot now comply with the commandment? Do you feel frustrated or irritated with those who remind you of the commandment? Are you slothful in keeping it? Beware of the deception of the adversary. Beware of murmuring” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2001, 104–6; or Ensign, Nov. 2001, 85–86). 

I was struck by his invitation to focus on the commandment we have the most trouble with. I want to commit myself to not murmuring, complaining, or gossiping in any way - I believe this is one of the hardest commandments for me to follow. No doubt I will have to start over and over again daily, but I know it will be worth it and I will be so much happier. Let's see if I can go just 24 hours without saying anything negative or complaining about anything. Can you?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The City of Lights (France Part 3)

After our jaunt through southern France, we were off to Paris, the city of lights! We traveled by train very early in the morning, which took just under 3 hours. Once there we braved the subway (or should I say metro? - my first time ever on a metro/subway, by the way) till we made it to our great hotel for the week. It was so nice to stay in one place for awhile. 

Then we were off! There was so much to see! OOO LA LA! PARIS!

"Paris holds the key to your heart!"

Joe got to hold Evie as we walked through the streets of Paris to Notre Dame.

Our first stop was lunch and then Notre Dame! It was huge and there were so many paintings and stained glass to see - most of which were faded, but they were still magnificent. The gargoyles were creepy and all identical - as far as I could tell. Inside we talked to some nice British people who were there to escape the craziness of the Olympics.

Me and Joe outside of Notre Dame - one of my favorite Paris stops! Might be because one of my all time favorite Disney songs is 'Out There' from Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Inside Notre Dame - beautifully gothic.

After Notre Dame we walked through Paris, right past the Louvre and through some gardens, to get to the Arc de Triomphe. We walked right along the Seine river watching the people hustle about and seeing cute little book stands with overpriced French books and mini beaches with bocce ball, beach chairs, and sand castles. It was adorable. We saw a few break dancers on our way as well.

It took a lot longer than expected to reach the Arc de Triomphe which honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. It has all of the names of the French victories and generals inscribed on it's surfaces and also includes the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War under the arch. We got to go on top of it the Arc which provides a great view of Paris. 

While up there Joe received the answer to a prayer. Earlier, he had messed with Will's camera for a few seconds in order to take a picture and the camera - a very nice camera, I might add - stopped working. Unbeknownst to anyone else, Joe prayed that we would be able to find someone who could fix the problem. On top of the Arc, we ran into a Swiss couple on holiday who had the same camera! Luckily, they spoke English and Mom asked them if they would be able to fix Will's camera! He tinkered with it and told him that it was probably the lens and then told Will how he could fix it!

The view from the Arc de Triomphe. We yelled "TIOMPHE!" off the top of the Arc.

Joe and I on top of the Arc - our first view of the Eiffel Tower!

Kristen next showed us the best spot to take pictures with the Eiffel Tower:

The family in front of the Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, Dad was taking the picture.

Mom and Elise looking snazzy and cute.

Baby Evelyn is in Paris!

Victory is ours! We found it!

"A little romance in the spring?" Uh, I mean... summer?

After dinner, Kristen, Will, and baby Evie headed back to the hotel and the rest of us headed to the Eiffel Tower! Elise and I wanted to walk the first part and then take the elevator the rest of the way to the top, but we got in the wrong line so we all ended up taking the elevator up to the first stop and then all the way to the top! In retrospect this was probably a blessing since it took hours. A few of us were a little nervous about being up so high, but the view was unmatched.

Me and Joe on the Eiffel Tower - this was the first level. The bars made me feel a LOT better about being up so high. This level was actually my favorite, but it was cool to go to the tippity-top.

After getting down we had another prayer answered. We were separated from the rest of the family and didn't know whether to look for them or just head home. Apparently, Mom prayed that they would be able to find us and we were reunited for the journey home in the cold rain.

The next day we went to DISNEYLAND - PARIS! Joe and I woke up early because we were so excited and were on our way! Unfortunately, we got on the wrong metro and had to circle back to where we started, but we did get there! I think we went on the most rides and attractions ever done in one day - 16. (This includes Adventure Isle, Indiana Jones, La Cabane des Robinson, le Passage Enchante d'Aladdin, Pirates of the Caribbean, Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Les Mysteres du Nautilus, Space Mountain: Mission 2, Star Tours, It's A Small World, Peter Pan's Flight, Big Thunder Mountain, Phantom Manor, Crush's Coaster, Tower of Terror (x2), and Rock'n' Roller Coaster). We did so good and it didn't hurt that at Disneyland if a member of your party gets sick or injured during your visit they will let you pick 5 rides in any of the parks that you want to have faster than fast passes to! We were able to have each of us go to the exit of the 5 different rides and get directly on the ride - faster than the people with fast pass tickets! Unfortunately, the reason we got these passes was because one of Mom's legs were swollen and red! But Disneyland was great - they drove her to and from the hospital and gave us the great passes! Luckily, it turned out to just be a bad bug bite. Ouch!

Evie's first ride, "It's A Small World." 

Before our last ride we watched some of the parade in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle and then after the ride we watched the awesome water/light show on the castle. It was MAGICAL and AMAZING!

The following day was Louvre day! It was GIGANTIC. I was blown away - I felt like you could spend weeks in this museum and still not see everything. I was totally overwhelmed, but there were many nice pieces to look at, including the original Mona Lisa. Joe's and my favorite parts of the Louvre were the Roman and Greek sculptures. Joe also loved the Egyptian section and looking at the more religious paintings with his dad.

Me with some sculpture heads.

Joe with the Code of Hammurabi - the first written law. How fitting for the new Law School student.

After we had all had our fair share of the Louvre, (I hate to say it, but as much as I want to be, I'm not too much of an art person - but it was still enlightening and fun!) we walked past the bridge with all the love locks on it. I don't believe we did anything else this day because we were all so tired, but the details are a bit fuzzy so if I'm wrong let me know family!

Mom and Dad on the Love Bridge. Awwww...

Me and Joe on the Love Lock Bridge. Love. True love.

Our second to last day was half spent in Versailles seeing the palace where King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette lived. It was remarkably kept and very posh. My favorite was the gardens - beautiful. Joe picked some small flowers from them for me. Shhh... don't tell anyone. Once again, we were separated from everyone, but after much struggle and many misdirections we found the train and made our way back to Paris.

Elise, Dad, and Ned at Versailles.

At this point we went back to the hotel to see if the family was there. They weren't so we made our way to Sacre-Coeur because we knew they were going to go there at some point that day and we found them! But first, as we crossed the street to the church a large man grabbed my wrist and kept asking me where I was from. He was speaking English, but I was in a cross walk and caught off guard so I had no idea what was going on. I tried to get away, but he wouldn't let go of my wrist. Joe noticed what was going on and shouted at the man to let go of me. It turned out that this was one of the many men selling cheap trinkets and string bracelets around Paris and he was trying to tie the bracelet around my wrist so I would pay him for it. Anyways, I got away and Joe was telling him he was going to punch him in the face! The man and his friends, a bunch of them had gathered at this point, started yelling back that they would punch him in the face! At this point I was half way up the stairs and shouted for Joe to come up with me. We darted up the stairs and got away. Whew!

We found the family - they had just finished going through the church and were getting the string bracelets tied on their wrists! haha It was nice to see them, but they were going to head back to the hotel at this point and call it a night so we separated from them again and went in to Sacre-Coeur. I wasn't too impressed with it; partly because all of the peddlers everywhere and partly because of what happened prior to us entering. However, the view of Paris from just outside Sacre-Coeur was gorgeous. On our way out we slipped out the back way... just in case those men were watching for us.

That night we wandered around Paris looking for the Pantheon - no one could tell us where it was! On our way we found the Paris Opera House, Saint Madeleine church, some government building with guards all around it, the Palace of Luxembourg, some yummy gelato, and, finally, the Pantheon! This building is the resting place of Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, and many other famous Frenchmen.

Our last day in France we arrived at the entrance to the catacombs, but the line was hours long so Elise, Mom, and I decided to go shopping instead, while Joe, Ned, and Dad went to the catacombs. It was a successful shopping day with many cute pieces of clothing bought! As for the catacombs, Joe told me it took about 45 minutes to get through and there were piles and piles of bones lining the walls. He had to lean over the whole way through and apparently there were a lot of pessimistic comments written on the walls like, "If you've seen a man die a painful death then you know what awaits you." There were also some biblical phrases. He says it was weird, but he's glad he did it. He got to talk in Japanese to two Japanese girls while he went through it about why Ned was in France, so he really enjoyed that!

After our shopping spree and the boys brief dance with death and a quick tour through the Museum D'orsay we met up at Berthillon, an ice cream shop, which supposedly has the best ice cream in France. The hard thing was that there were maybe 10-20 ice cream shops on this island with this same name! We eventually found each other though and met up with Will, Kristen, and Evie and got some yummy ice cream. Joe especially loved the salty caramel flavor while I enjoyed granny apple. 

When I think of Paris, especially the Eiffel Tower, I think of this song.

Our trip to Paris was drawing to a close so Joe and I decided to make one last trip to the Eiffel Tower to see it's lights illuminate the sky. We had awhile to wait so we spent as many euros as possible on cheap street food and desserts, headed to the best view of the Eiffel Tower and waited. This was my very favorite moment of the whole trip - we ate, we laughed, and we kissed. We had a wonderful time waiting for the lights. In front of us a little French girl name Madeline danced around, she was so excited to be at the tower. Her family took pictures of her with the tower and we laughed and told her she was cute. She then gave us each kisses on our cheeks and said au revoir. 

One of the most beautiful sights - the Eiffel Tower sparkling at night.

It was a truly beautiful night and a beautiful trip. I am so grateful to the Meservys for taking all of us to France. Joe and I had a wonderful time. Au revoir.