With Sabrina and Summer both far away and not interested in proms any longer, I find I have several modest prom dresses that someone might like to borrow. I have posted the photos below with the sizes. All I ask is that you have the dress cleaned before returning it so someone else can borrow it next time.
first adventure was finding our bed and breakfast. We rented a car and
set off for Sintra--a place Sabrina had never been--and discovered the
amazing vertical-ness of Portugal. I felt like I was either driving
straight up or straight down (on switchbacks, of course!). Sabrina did an amazing job navigating,
especially considering that neither of us had a GPS, a smart phone or a
decent map. Heavenly Father truly blessed us and kept us out of major
accidents. We certainly came close! Here are some pictures of our
After finding our bed and breakfast, we braved the terrifying road in and drove out (there is no where to eat there so adventure may not have been our strongest motive). Our first stop was the Atlantic Ocean and Praia Grande.
Then we drove south to Cabo da Roca, the western-most point of continental Europe. It's about 5 miles away from Praia Grande but about 500 feet above sea level--again those narrow, vertical switchbacks!
We made it back to the bed and breakfast (before dark, of course) and started our next day touring the Castelo dos Mouros. This was built in the 9th Century by the Arabs occupying Portugal and was eventually taken over and used by the Christians after the Arabs left the Iberian Peninsula. I can't imagine building something this immense in such hostile terrain but the views were fantastic.
Inside one of the turrets.
And, no, we have not reached the top yet.
Here's the top (finally) and it was pretty windy and more than a little precarious. I didn't want to stand up, that's for sure!
Next we headed back down this mountain and up the next to the Palacio da Pena. This was a much newer place (built in 1847) but still shows the influence of the Moors who had abandoned the area 700 years earlier.
This place is enormous!
After driving back down that mountain, we headed to Montserrat Palace, also a relatively new home (1858) and were stunned by the beautiful carved walls and arches. This was not nearly as large as the Palacio da Pena but was a lovely home with extensive grounds.
Before leaving Sintra, we visited the Quinta de Regaleira. The acreage was small but they had built a beautiful mansion and the gardens were almost terraced into the mountain.
This place had everything: waterfalls, grottos, caves, underground passages, towers, formal and informal gardens, gazebos--you name it.
We finally left beautiful Sintra and headed back through Lisbon and then south to the beach. Here Sabrina is showing off the boardwalk in Sesimbra.
On Saturday we headed back to Lisbon so we could visit some of the families Sabrina knew and loved while serving. Here she is with an adorable family at church on Sunday. The building was so full it was hard to find somewhere to sit in Sacrament Meeting! It was so great because that was the last Sunday they would all meet together. The following week they were going to split the ward!
We went to visit these adorable kids on Saturday but did not find them because they were at a Super Saturday Seminary activity. We finally caught up with them after church on Sunday. Sabrina was so happy to see them and discover that they are very active and planning on missions.
As beautiful as all the castles and scenery were, I would have to say the highlight of Portugal for me was to see how much Sabrina loves (and how much she is loved by) these wonderful people. They have had an enormous impact on the amazing young woman she has become.
Last winter Sabrina decided she was going to go to Europe this year.
We had not gone to pick her up from her mission and I wanted to be able
to visit some of the families she taught so we decided to go together.
Since we would be in the Iberian peninsula and I have always wanted to
go to Spain, Sabrina indulged me and we included that in our itinerary.
Then we decided, since we were going to be so close and might not have
the opportunity again, we should go to England as well. This turned in
to a wonderful vacation although we were definitely running out of clean
clothes by the end.
We began our adventures in Madrid.
The weather was perfect and the people we met were delightful. We kind
of OD'd on museums here and sort of avoided them for the rest of the
trip but we saw fabulous art as well as the Palacio Real (largest royal
palace in Europe) and other wonderful things. Here's a taste.
El Parque del Retiro
The Crystal Palace outside...
A beautiful rose garden in the Parque del Retiro.
It smelled heavenly!
The Botanical Gardens
On our way to church. That was one of the best things we did!
We found the temple but it was closed for cleaning.
Super windy so our clothes and hair were everywhere!
El Palacio Real
The creepiest cat ever accosted us in the Plaza Mayor and then insisted that we pay him for taking his picture! Really?
La Catedral de Adumena
It was like a dream come true after all these years. When we came back, I told Mario we could move there any time.
After we settled on a home and before we moved, Maggie and Clarke stopped by to visit on Mother's Day! What a treat that was. Maggie was driving from Florida to her sister's home in New Jersey so they spent a few hours with us so I could hug Clarke.
Wow! Can you believe it's been nine months? Just about nine months ago, I received a call to teach Seminary. The teacher for the juniors would be moving to Arkansas before Thanksgiving and could I please pick up in the middle of the year? I feel like life kicked into high gear all of a sudden. The best part was I got to teach my freshman class that I had to leave in the middle of two years earlier. They are such great kids! What a treat!
Aren't they the cutest class ever?
Then, we were able to have the whole family here for Christmas. Maggie, Alex and Clarke flew out on the same flight as Sabrina; Summer had come a few days earlier and was able to stay a few days later. Here we are in our traditional matching jammies on Christmas Eve.
It was so great to have everyone together. This was absolutely my favorite thing of the whole year. We were even able to see Maggie's family because they drove to DC to do some sight-seeing while visiting Maggie's sister in New Jersey. Loved this Christmas!
Around March, Mario decided we had paid enough in taxes and it was time to get back into the housing market. We spent Spring Break looking at houses and found one just two streets away. It had everything Adam wanted (except a bedroom in the basement which we still need to build) and he would not have to change wards or stakes so we put on offer on it. We were very blessed to be able to move in two weeks after I finished teaching Seminary for the year. Here's a picture of the front.
Now that we're homeowners again, we have lots of projects on our agenda. Sabrina flew out a few days early for our vacation (more on that later) and helped us move. Adam was amazing--so tireless and helpful. I don't think we could have done it without them.