Friday, May 30, 2014

More Marvelous MAY!!

 Yay, for watermelon season!! Anyone who knows me will know how happy I am for this ! Yummm.

 At this Friday Waffle Night there were 6 of us missionaries, 5 YSAs,  and 11 friends that are not members of our church!! We had a blast eating and playing the "water in the face game". All said they wanted to come again.

 Elder Tew cooks waffles in this room next to our YSA room. It is alot of carrying down everything from the kitchen upstairs but it is worth it so the singles can enjoy their room.

 Hope to see these new friends again soon. You can see Sisters Smith & Allman and Siri Lex mixed in this pic  also.

 Elder Tew fixed the Graz Elders bunk bed that completely broke. The Bruck Elders were staying the night also in preparation for the next morning District meeting so I had to take a pic. Elders Tew, Moon, Smith, Martinez, and Spratling.

 Our family will enjoy seeing this. Dad still gets a chance to do yard work! Clearing out all the weeds and grass for a service project for our building.


 Pretty good selfie of the Graz Missionaries!

Here we are ready to begin our Pday hike up the "Schoeckl". This is the highest point in Graz and "on a clear day you can see forever!"

 Elder Tew's new friend on the trail.

 We made it, whew. It was a tough one for me and also on the way back down!!! Baldur (in green shirt) was our fearless leader and suggested that E. Tew and I take the tram up but we refused thinking we would be fine. Now we have earned hiking respect from the Elders and Sisters who wondered if these old people could really make it. (I wondered it too) Oh, unfortunately, it was not a clear day to see very far.

 We drive by this Church on occasion but it looks like some renovation is being done. Hopefully we can go inside someday.

 Our Veggie creation to compliment our Wed. night Institute dinner.

 The sport our YSAs love to play whenever they can is... you guessed it... Ultimate Frisbee. So here is another go at it for Elder Tew.

 A smaller group this time but they had 5 on 5, thanks to Elders Moon and Spratling.

 To end this posting, I have to include pics of our two new grandsons. Baby Jack is doing really well now and is over a month old. They are settling into their new home. This pic is after a full day of moving. Love you Kristy, Dave and Jack.

...and baby Elliot was born on May 26 and his sister Mabel turned 3 on the 28th. Little Elliot looks so much like his daddy that it is incredible. We now have 13 wonderful grands!!  Thanks for the pics, love you Nate, Jess, Mabel, & Elliot.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Visit From the Hunts!

 On May 13, Elder Frank and Sister Shar Hunt came to visit us on their way to Munich to meet two of their children.  They have finished their mission in Romania and will tour some of Europe and Romania with their family. Frank served as Rick's first counselor in the Singles Ward back home, then went on their mission when all were released. They actually went in the MTC with my brother and his wife who are serving in Sri Lanka. We were thrilled to see them and to show them some of the wonderful sights in Graz .Here we are in our apartment soon after they arrived, before we took them to their hotel.

 We then had the early evening to show them some sights. This is the Rathaus (Town Hall)

 Walking by the massive stone wall that lines one of the streets.

 At the top of the K&O store where there is a fabulous view.

 We of course, had to visit the double staircase in what used to be the castle of Graz. (Do you see anyone down below?!?)

 Finishing up the evening we walked across the bridge where the couples can "lock their love". If you look closely you can see the floating cafe on the Mur River.

 The next morning we wanted to hike up the stairs of  Schlossberg, but it was closed for a while because they were filming a scene for a movie. We came back later and went to the top.

 We bought a day pass to the Museums in Graz. This is part of the Cultural History Collection in the Museum im Palais. Here are a couple of interesting artifacts!!

 The Glockenspiel at 11:00 am.

 A visit to the Styrian Armory considered to be the largest historic armory in the world. There are 4 floors containing 32,000 authentic items of weaponry. Enough to outfit 5,000 men!Amazing!

 Now was the time for us to take the tour of the inside rooms of Schloss Eggenberg and we were excited.  This is the inside chapel.

  This is the Eggenberg Crest tapestry hanging in one of the staterooms.

 I loved this mural of two royals playing chess. I hope our grandkids Morgan, Jaren and Brenna see this because they are extremely good at chess and have done well in their tournaments.

 This is the famous Planetary Room which is the centerpiece of the palace. It is also the Ballroom. The paintings for this room showcase the planets, signs of the zodiac, and the constellations which gives this room its name. Grouped around this huge room are 24 ornate state rooms (24 hours in the day). There are also 365 outside windows (any guesses why?  I could only post a few pics of these rooms.

 It was fun to look out the windows so we could get our bearings of where we were from the inside. Here we are looking out from the Planetary Room to  the front entry. The palace is named after the man who had it built - Prince Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg (1568-1634.) Construction started in the year 1625.

 This stateroom is full of magnificent paintings everywhere.

 This is the China Room. These plates and bowls are imbedded into the walls.

 Standing here at this point we could see into several rooms on both sides.  

 A great day!

  We did alot in just a day and a half!! The Hunts left early the next morning May 15th. We had a fabulous time with them. Thanks for the visit. Tell everyone back in Fruit Heights hello from us!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Marvelous MAY!!

 May 1st was a holiday so the ward organized a wonderful hike.  Several people went but we were only able to capture a few of us for the picture.

 May 2-4 was our YSA Sport Days hosted by Graz. Fri. night dance, all day Sat. sports with lunch and dinner, and Sunday Church and barbeque after. We had a good turnout from all over Austria, some from Germany, and a few from Slovenia, but mostly it was the Vienna Stake that had the most representation.
 Lots of good friendships made and renewed.

 We also had a baptism on May 4. Bro. Hofmann (on left) baptized Albert Handy.
 A great day! Elder Martinez, Sister Tew, Albert, Elder Tew, Elder Byers, and Bro. Haas, who invited Albert to be taught by missionaries. It was great teaching with them, and visiting Albert as a couple sometimes. We even Skyped with the sister missionary one time that first taught Albert and his mom many years ago,who planted the seed. She was excited to see him again and congratulate him.

 Since it is a beautiful Spring, we tried to walk every day this week at the Schloss.
 I had to show you just a little of what we saw.
 This is an interesting bush.
 Notice how the leaves are turning into color which makes this so beautiful and unique.

                   Any idea why they call these flowering vines Gelb Regen (yellow rain)?

 Loved this one also.

 These two were so cute. A pair. Notice the male with his leg tucked into his feathers and standing on his one leg just hangin' out!

Don't click on the first video, just enjoy the moving action- click on the 2nd one for  real video enjoyment!
The peacocks were also all in bloom! Wonderful sight- normally in the evening they like to strut their stuff!

 So many bikers everywhere. Cars yield to pedestrians and bikers.

 Farewell to Elder Byers (on left) being transferred. We will miss him. He was Elder Tew's Texas buddy and the last missionary left from our original district when we arrived in Graz. In consolation, all their replacements have been outstanding, just adding more to our missionary family!

 Mother's Day!  Going into the church with our traditional Styrisch clothes.  Yes, we actually bought me a Dirndl dress and now we feel really Austrian. 
 Dinner and visit in the Koelli home
 Walter made the entire meal including this amazing chocolate mousse-strawberry sauce dessert.

And I could not leave this page without showing you a picture of our little man still in the hospital but doing amazingly well.  Baby Jack has made all of us so happy especially his mom and dad, Kristy and Dave.What a special Mother's Day gift to our Kristy.  Kristy was able to get this cute onesie with a tie printed on it, to celebrate his progress.  We love you baby Jack!