Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Still not really updating, but you have to listen to this song!

So, I realize that I haven't posted for a while and this is really just a cop-out but oh well...  I love Mika and this song is my [not-so-]new obsession.  It's such a great song for a dance party - preferably one late at night in the kitchen, or whenever you happen to be cleaning...  Turn. it. up. LOUD!!  :)

Oh, one more thing - I'm completely in love with the different wall papers about halfway through the video.  :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Get ready for some laughs!

Have you heard of Kid History?  I stumbled across these little gems some time ago, but then forgot about them.  When I found them a second time I figured I had to share them.

The first time I saw them I laughed so hard tears were streaming down my face!  :)

PS - you should enlarge the videos for the full effect.  

What do you think - are these fantastic or what?!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ukrainian Adventures part 2 - Holy Water

On our way home from the potato cellars in Stilske, Igor took us on another little adventure.  Apparently there's a little spring of Holy Water in a big field where people picnic in the summers.

Lap number 5!
People go there to bottle their own drinking water from the icy fountain.  While there, many people "take the plunge" and circle the submerged cross in the lower pool seven times, bending down to touch the foot of the cross on each lap.  From what I understand, if you do at least seven laps, it will cure you of whatever might be ailing you (allergies, illness, etc.)

It was a hot day, so we all decided to give it a try, even though walking barefoot in the snow is the only thing that might be as cold.

It was too cold for Anne, so she played in the little trickle where people were filling their water bottles.

 I was holding Mary and she loved splashing in the little waterfall on each lap, so we just kept going around and around.
I ended up doing my 7 laps and then 7 more with Meagan and a few more in between.

 Ella even did a couple laps with us!  

I was actually really enjoying it, but it took quite a while to thaw afterwards.  

The first lap all you can think about is getting out.  
If you make it to the second, your thoughts are the same and you start to wonder if you've gone mad.  
At the third lap you start checking to see if your feet are bleeding - because the pain you're experiencing must be accompanied by copious amounts of blood! 
As you round the bend on lap number four, things start looking brighter as all blood leaves your legs.  Completely numb by laps five and six, you think it really isn't so bad and you could probably keep going for quite some time.  
As you totter out after the seventh lap, you'll go through all the pain of your legs coming back to life, so if you make it that long, you may as well just stay in.... a few more laps won't hurt, but they will put off that awful tingly sensation.  

Don't worry - I wasn't the only crazy one there.  One guy went wading in nothing but his underwear!  When someone does that you know they're going to do something great - you can't strip down to your skivvies and not put on some show for all the attention you've attracted.  He did fun little tricks like underwater push-ups between his laps!

Just going in up to my knees is more than enough for me, thank you.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ukrainian Adventures part 1 - Stilske cellars

Last week we went on a couple little excursions out of Lviv.  Together with our driver/bodyguard, Igor; Ella, Anne, Mary, Meagan and I decided to brave an hour's drive to find an "ancient settlement."  It was located in a little village called Stilske that was positively charming.  We saw people driving around in horse-drawn wagons and beautiful gardens, chickens on the side of the road, and people out walking their geese!

The tourist website it was listed on had a picture like this one, and gave this description: "We start our trip at 9 A.M and depart to the Stilske complex which is located near Mykolayiv in about 40 km from Lviv. That is definitely a unique place, as its' origin comes from VIII – middle XI centuries. Despite of the magnificence and historical value, this place isn't so popular among tourists. The capital of the Great (White) Croatia was located right in this area. The city was really huge at that time: fortified square came up to 250 ha, length of the arbor and defense walls – about 10 km. To compare, Kyiv of that time was only 9,8 ha in square. The difference is gigantic."

It made it sound like we were going to visit some ancient caves that people lived in centuries ago. Stilske was not easy to find, and after stopping for directions multiple times, we finally found it...

The "ancient settlement" was a bunch of root cellars cut in the side of the mountain where people (currently) store potatoes and other vegetables for the winter. So maybe they were caves that people lived in once upon a time, and finding a farming community's vegetable storage might have been a bit disappointing when we were expecting the former, but it was still pretty cool.

More pictures of Stilske....

The village


 The local church

Cool Houses

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What's your type?

Yesterday was hot.  I mean, almost unbearably hot, and since we didn't have our driver we decided to stay home and do as little as possible, so as not to sweat any more than absolutely necessary.  :)

Sitting inside like that led to some great discussions, one of which was nature vs. nurture and personality differences.  We decided to take a personality test.  Have you heard of Myers-Briggs?  It's a really good personality test.  We took the test here.

In one of my Child Development classes, we discussed the idea of Nature vs. Nurture in great detail.  Personalities are all different and while some aspects are learned, others are most definitely inborn.  Understanding them better helps us to better understand ourselves and in turn become better people.  It's easier to see our weaknesses and work to improve them.  It's also nice to see our strengths laid out in front of us.  I also think that understanding the different personalities of our children can make us much better and more effective parents.

I don't believe that taking a test like this is or should be used as an excuse for doing (or not doing) certain things.  Saying things like, "it's just how I am" or, "that's just my personality" is incredibly immature and irresponsible.  However, I do think that it can be beneficial to learn and understand more about your "personality type."

My Myers-Briggs personality type is INFP - the Dreamer.  A few descriptions of this type are here, here, and here.  It's actually really interesting - I feel like it fits me almost to a T.  However, I've definitely noticed other "learned characteristics" not on the list that have helped me overcome improve some of my weaknesses.  Some of the lists are fun because they list some famous people - real and fictional - with the same personality type.

Just a couple from my list are: Homer, Mary (mother of Jesus), Shakespeare, Neil Diamond, and the one that excited me most (from the fictional list)... Anne of Green Gables!  (ok, I am a little obsessed)

So, what's your personality type?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Shevchenkosky Grove

On Saturday we went to this great little park called Shevchenkosky High.  There are all sorts of old Ukrainian log cabins from the 1800's.  They are absolutely charming and I couldn't help but think how fun it might be to live in one for a couple months in the summer.  (Yes, I know it's not all romantic and there are definitely downsides to no electricity/plumbing, but I still think they're great!)

I did a whole post with pictures on my design blog here.  Check it out!

As a side note, Meagan and I are reading Anne of Green Gables (my second time this year) and I just have to say how much I absolutely love those books!  If you haven't read them, you most definitely should.  Meagan was teasing me about how obsessed I was after reading them for the first time.  Now we're not even done with the first book and she's already planning her trip to Prince Edward Island.  :)  (Thanks Becca for the recommendation!)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A little bit of Everything

Lviv is truly amazing. There's so much to do and see here!  Here are just a few of the things we've been up to.

Ballets at the Opera House

The Creation of the World and Act I of Swan Lake

When we left Swan Lake, Annie started dancing like a "swan princess" - ballerina arms and everything!  :)

There's a market just a few blocks down the street from us.

The fruit and veggies are great:

I love the tubs of spices and spice blends - it smells so great!

The plucked chickens with the feet left on is a little odd, but what do you expect when there are whole pigs hanging up in the meat/dairy tent?

Down by Center we found a cute Book Bazaar.  Now if I just spoke Ukrainian...

Igor (a friend from church who's also helping with the laundromat) brought us a huge box of strawberries from a local harvest... twice!  They were absolutely delicious.  The second time around we had fun squishing them all and making strawberry sorbet.  

Remember those darling mini strawberries we got at the market?  I ended up using them in a strawberry cake with a lemon glaze.  Yum.

I love seeing all of the local talent at the souvenir bazaars.  

The art is beautiful and some of the matryoshka dolls are positively amazing!  

The hand-made textiles are stunning

I'm kind of a sucker of these hand carved wooden plates and boxes. 

Along with all of the traditional tents for people to display their goods, there are also tarps laid out with all sorts of things for sale.  You never know what treasures you might find.  :)  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Life in Lviv

We've been in Lviv for almost a week now.  It's been something of a whirlwind adventure getting here - I drove to Utah with Meagan and the girls and got to see my family for a couple days.  Then I met back up with Meagan and Benj at the airport and we were off to Paris.
Sunset in Kiev

Paris was great, but I have to admit - I sometimes feel like it's a bit overrated.  Especially when you look at the prices!  But regardless, I had a great time there and thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of the incredible architecture and eating delicious food.

After Paris, we flew into Kiev for a day before continuing on to Lviv.

Before we got here, I was a little bit worried about where we'd live, what we would eat, where we would shop, etc.  I don't know why I worried.  This place is incredible!

Around the corner is a "Metro" - a huge Costco-like store with everything you could ever want or imagine.    There is a whole aisle solely dedicated to noodles (this is especially great since Meagan and the girls like to eat them at least once a day)!  What's really cool is that they sell small/regular sized packages, and two of these wrapped together, as well as huge bulk packages.  It's the same way with cheese - normal sized blocks of cheese all the way up to cheese wheels roughly the size of a small tire!  Half of Metro is dedicated to food, while the other half has clothes, kitchen equipment, toys, exercise equipment, you name it!

Today we went to a food bazaar.  It was amazing - and it's only Wednesday!  It gets really crazy on the weekends.  There were long lines of tables with people selling all sorts of fruit and vegetables. On other side, there was a whole meat and dairy room with every animal body part you could need - and then some.

 We bought some peas and the most adorable miniature strawberries I've ever seen!  I can't wait to make something with them.

Between Metro and the bazaars, we're pretty much set for life.

We had a fun experience on Sunday.  Since I was here last, Lviv now has it's own free-standing LDS meeting house - the first in Ukraine!  The branch is pretty small and there were a few key people missing, so when we went to primary, there was only one other family there, and no teachers.  We all jumped in - Benj taught a lesson, two-year-old Annie said the prayer, and I played the piano.  (Actually it was an electric keyboard that they brought in for me!)  :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer Plans

For those of you that don't already know, Ben and I have some pretty great summer plans this year.  Ben was hired as a legal intern in San Francisco and I'm so proud of him.  Internships for first year law students are like gold, so this is wonderful.  He's learning a lot and really enjoying himself.

Before Ben got the internship, our friends - the Beckers - told us they were moving to Ukraine and starting a business.  They invited us to come over with them and help out.  We thought it would be fun and decided to go along... and then Ben got the internship.  Since we had already accepted their offer to go to Ukraine with them and help out and Ben was going to be really busy with his internship, we decided that just I would go.

It was a hard decision, since that meant we'd be apart for about 2 1/2 months, but the opportunity was too incredible to pass up and with Skype, we thought we'd make it through.  Ben will also be coming out to meet me at the end of the summer and we'll get to spend some time together in Europe before starting back into "real life."

I'm currently in Lviv, Ukraine and absolutely loving it!  Honestly, this place is incredible! It has everything you could ever want or need!  I can't believe how much it's changed since I was here last.

For photo highlights of Paris, check out my design blog!