Friends in Rome

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This week some of our friends came to Rome to visit the new Rome temple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We got to hang out with them Wednesday and Thursday at some historic Roman sights.

On Wednesday we spent time with our friends, the C’s. We met them in Vatican City, and we got to walk through the Sistine Chapel, which was amazing. My favorite part about it was trying to figure out which painting went to which Bible story. The one that I thought looked the best was the separation of darkness and light in the ceiling panel depicting the creation. After we walked through the rest of the Vatican Museum that was connected to the Chapel, we took our friends to our house, and on our way we stopped and got pizza. The pizza guys were about to close, so they wouldn't make any more pizza so we just bought all of the pizza they had. Then the C’s had to leave after we ate so they could get home before it got too late.

Yesterday we got to meet up with our friends the G’s. We met them at the Colosseum, but sadly we could not go in because it was closing when we got there. The Colosseum is really cool because you can see how thick it was and how colossal it is. It was actually only used as a stadium for about 300 years. After we walked around it we headed to some ancient gardens but they were closed, so we got to watch the sunset instead. While the sun was setting we went on top of the Italian Parliament Building and the sunset was even prettier from there. We got pizza on our way home and we all ate it together at our house. We like Italian pizza! We played cards with them for about an hour while their mom drew portraits of us. I had a really fun time hanging out with my friends and being able to see the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum.

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Traveling Italy in a Car

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A couple of days ago we rented a car. We have been driving around Italy and seeing the things we wanted to see that we could only get to by driving. So far we visited some hot springs when it was freezing outside. We also went to the Ferrari Museum which was really fun to drive to because we drove through snowy mountains. The navigation took us on a three hour route but it should’ve only took an hour and a half but it was a pretty drive. Yesterday was a fun day because it snowed in Florence and on the drive to the Piaggio Museum. At the Piaggio Museum we got to see a bunch of different vespas and cool three wheeled cars and Karlie and I got to ride a mini vespa. After that we went to the Leaning Tower of Pisa which was really cool and then we drove home. Our day trips in the car have been really fun and it’s fun to see things out of town.


Our First Week in Italy

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Last week we flew from London, England to Florence, Italy. These first couple of days that we have been here we have been exploring and getting the feel of it. Our first day we found a couple of stores to buy food at. The second day we went on a walk to get out of the city and we found some gorgeous views but sadly most of the way out of the city have walls on both sides. On the third day we went across the bridge to the other side of the river and walked to a little park. When we got to the park we had a little picnic. The fourth day we cooled down at home. Thursday we went to a Michelangelo Museum and saw the David and some of his other statues. We also got to see the dome of Florence, Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Today we went on another walk and we saw a castle and some olive orchards. It has been fun so far visiting here.


Tavistock Playground

A couple of days ago my family and I went to Tavistock with our friends. While we waited for our friends we went to a little playground that had a lot of fun play equipment. My favorite was called the hurricane. How it worked was one person would sit down on a swing and another person would hold on to a bar on the opposite side. I don’t know how it spun for almost forever but i think it used gravity. Enoch and I tried to make it go really fast but when you are holding onto the bar it pulls you out when you are swinging around so it is hard to touch the ground to get it going faster. When our friends got there we went around town to see all the little churches and pretty bridges. After we saw everything we wanted to see there we all went to dinner. We went to a pub and i got eggs, gammon, and chips (fries). It was a great day.

Christmas and New Years

This Christmas was very different for me. We spent this Christmas in our house, in England, and without Kate with us. I would have prefered being in Hawaii with Kate and my friends but it was still fun. We stayed home the whole day and watched movies together as a family and played some card games. The New Years party that we went to was also different. It was the first time that i was in the place that they were lighting off bottle rockets. One of the bottle rocket shells almost hit us after it exploded! At the party we just talked, ate, and played a couple of British games. There was a game that you had to figure out what four answers all had in common and another one where you had to guess if the way that someone died was true or false. We also played a game where you had to pick up a cereal box with your teeth without touching the ground with anything but your feet and every time we picked it up it got cut shorter. Enoch and I were the only boys that won that game.

Enoch's Birthday

Lamborghini Dealership

Lamborghini Dealership

This week was really fun but also not fun. On Monday we were in Bristol heading back from Wales and we saw a Lamborghini and a McLaren dealership. We looked at them for a bit because they are so expensive and cool. On Tuesday we went to the Climbing Hangar as usual and we went to youth. For youth we went to a Pan-Asian buffet and we all were stuffed. I ate 4 plates and 4 bowls of food and i could hardly walk to the car. On Wednesday I started to get sick so I stayed home while the others went to Lanhydrock. I had to read for 3 hours and then i got to watch an hour of TV. Yesterday was Enoch’s birthday so we celebrated by making food. We had mash potatoes, gravy, Yorkshire puddings, vegetables, and chicken. After we ate my dad, Enoch, and Karlie went to the Climbing Hangar and shopping, and I stayed home with my mom and played games and watched a couple of shows. It was a good week but it was no fun being sick.


McLaren Dealership

McLaren Dealership

This Week

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On Tuesday we got to go caroling in a retired care home. It was fun to see the retired people smiling and having fun singing along. On Wednesday we got to go to Spider man into the Spider-Verse. It was a great movie and I really liked the story line. Last night after I went to band, my dad, Karlie, and I went bouldering. We usually go bouldering every Tuesday  and Thursday for an hour or two so we can get our exercise in for the day. This last time we went with our friend Adam. He taught me some new techniques and showed me how to complete some of the climbs that I was struggling with. He taught me how to keep my balance and coordinate myself right so I could do the climbs without using as much energy. I had a lot of fun learning different ways of climbing but my hands were torn up afterwards and I had a stitch in my side from climbing too much. Today we are going to a ward Christmas party and we are going to assemble little necessities for the homeless like toiletries and socks. This week has been lots of fun.

Kate Leaving

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On Monday we went to London to go to the temple and to drop off Kate. On our way there we passed Stonehenge and there were two rainbows over it. We said it was for Kate as a leaving gift. When we got to London we went to the British Museum and saw the parts that we missed. We went to the America’s section because she wanted to see the hippo campus and she was dissapointed because she thought it would be the size of a real hippo campus but it was just a little trinket. The next day we had to drop Kate off at the airport in the morning and she had to fly to Toronto, Canada and Regina, Canada to Phoenix, AZ. That night we went to a western barbecue for dinner. I got some buffalo wings and fries that were both really good but it wasn’t that filling because the portions were small. We came home and ate some patata de tortilla (Spanish Omelets) to fill us the rest of the way. In the morning on our way back home we stopped at some cool car places. We went to the Thruxton go-kart track and to the Haynes Motor Museum. It was fun to see all of the cool Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s. I had a fun week but it was sad to see Kate leave.

Youth Nerf War

A couple of days ago Kate and I went to youth and had a Nerf war with all of our church friends. My dad and Karlie came and played with us even though it was just for 12 and up. We made a bunch of barricades in the cultural hall out of chairs and turned over tables. I made a little fort out of chairs that I interlocked into a pyramid and nobody hit me with darts when I was behind it. We played the Nerf games with two teams, everybody over 14 was on one team and everybody under 14 was on the other team. The two games that we played was the game in the cultural hall which was just the last team standing and the game throughout the rest of the church which was just endless. We also played another game, two people would hide and everybody else would have to find them and shoot them to win. After the last game we had to clean up all the darts from all the rooms and that part wasn’t very fun. I had a great time at youth and it was a fun experience.

Scotland

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Last week we got to go to Scotland. We took a two day trip to get there because we stopped at the temple in Preston and at Alnwick castle where they filmed part of Harry Potter. On Wednesday we got to see the Stirling castle and learned a lot about Scotland’s royalty. The Stirling castle was originally painted green, gold, red, and blue because it showed that the king was very wealthy. The gold paint was only painted on the king’s buildings because it was the most expensive color. The paint is too hard to maintain these days because it has to be replaced every 10 years so it is only on the Great Hall. We also learned that Scotland’s animal is a unicorn. They had a lot of beautiful tapestries of the king’s men capturing the unicorn. All the tapestries told stories and they were hung from the walls of the Queen’s rooms. It was my favorite castle out of all the ones I've been to and I got to learn a lot from it.

The Frost

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It has been very cold this month so we mostly stayed in and watched movies. A couple of days ago there was a frost that made our outside glass table look really cool. It made it look like frozen vines were growing on one side of the table and the other side of the table was covered in crystals. When the sun was shining on the railing it was really pretty. The grass and plants were covered in white and the grass glimmered when the sun shone onto it. It was cool to see something that intricate and unique like that frost.

Our Normal Day

This week we didn't do much because most of us were sick. We just had a normal week at home, but we still had fun.

A normal day for us is not exactly normal because of homeschooling, but other than that it is pretty normal. Usually we get up between 7:00 and 9:00 and eat. Close to 9:00 we start our math and we finish close to 11:00. After we finish our math then we do one page of writing either about science, history, FHE, or a blog post. When we finish school we just lay around and play guitar, cornet, ukulele, or trumpet. We also have a thirty minute time period that we can use a phone to talk to our friends. That is our first/school part of the day.

After we do everything we are supposed to then we can listen to music and walk around or hang out with our friends. Sometimes we go out and do a hike or go see something cool when we aren’t tired. When we don’t go out after school, sometimes we watch a classic movie on the weekdays but on the weekend we get to choose a fun movie.

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On days we go out we sometimes don’t have to do school, but if we get back early enough then we have to do school. On Tuesday nights we have a church activity with the youth, and this week we played around with remote control cars and helicopters. This Wednesday I had Kate color my hair with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda so now the top of my hair is hazelnut brown. On Thursday nights Enoch and I have band practice at 6:00. We both play cornet in a Plymouth city band.

Because we were sick this week we didn't go out much. I had fun, though, because I got to go to youth activity and band with my friends.


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Surfing in St. Ives

On Wednesday we went surfing. We drove to St. Ives in Cornwall to go to surf school as a family. It was awesome.

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When we met at the surf school the first thing we had to do was to put on our wetsuits. It was fun to put them on because they were super tight, so we had quite a struggle with them. The legs were the hardest part because it was incredibly difficult to get the wetsuits over our calves. We were all laughing while we were helping each other.

The instructor then took us down to the beach and had us each grab a surfboard. Before we got in the water he taught us some of the basics to surfing. He also taught us where the currents are and what to watch out for. He said that there are no sharks at this particular beach but sometimes there are jellyfish. We went into the water and surfed on our stomachs and arms.

The instructor then taught us the most challenging part of surfing: standing up. There were two different ways to get up. The “easier” way had four steps and the other one was “harder” but it was in one quick movement. I tried doing the harder version, but I fell over, so I tried the easy way. The first time I tried the easy way I was too slow so the wave passed me. The next time that I tried it, I stood up and I rode the wave for about thirty feet. Standing up was fairly easy because I already learned how to keep my balance.

I had a great time learning how to surf. My favorite part of surfing was wiping out because I could see my progression when I wiped out less. I loved surfing and I hope I can do more someday.

Xativa Castle

In August, we went to a place called Xativa Castle, which was a large castle about 1 hour south of Valencia. We took a train to the small town where it was located, then we had to “hike” to get up to it, but it wasn't too bad of a hike because the whole trail was paved. When we got up to the top of the hill there was a pretty garden just inside the castle gates. There were a lot of old weapons and cannons on the castle grounds that we had fun looking at. There were some cannons that looked like they were aimed at the other wing of the castle, which we were confused about. We also found a museum-type room that told about medieval times and contained items from that period, including weapons. My favorite weapon was a sword. I liked the sword because the handle of it was very detailed. In the same room we also had fun guessing how much one of the knight's mesh suits weighed (we guessed it was about 30- 55 pounds).  After we were done looking through the castle we stopped and ate a snack and went to our train. Overall I had a great time at the castle.

Lladro Musuem

Yesterday our family went to a really cool porcelain museum called the Lladro Museum. We got to take a factory tour and see the process of making the statues. The first several steps are "sketching" an idea out of clay, creating the molds, putting porcelain in the molds, and waiting for them to dry. After they create the pieces of the statue, these pieces are pasted together to complete the statue. They then get painted and detailed. The last step is the addition of the flowers. The flowers and the detail painting are only done by women because “men don‘t have enough patience”. Once all this is done then the statues are put in the kiln for 24 hours. We got to see some awesome statues and some of them were painted with real gold. My favorite statues were the animals and dragons. There was a tiger, gorilla, and a golden dragon. They also made some lamps, chandeliers, and mirrors that were really pretty. I loved all of the statues that they made because they all told told a story, and they were all different. I loved going because it was interesting to learn about and see the process. It was an awesome museum, and I could go more than once and still be entertained. It was a great experience.

Kate, Enoch, and me looking at some of the mirrors.

Kate, Enoch, and me looking at some of the mirrors.

Our Temple Trip

         Recently my family and I went on a temple trip with our ward to the Madrid, Spain temple. It was a six hour bus ride to Madrid, which is much longer than we are used to traveling to go to the temple. The bus ride was uncomfortable because we had to sit at the back, and it was very hot. It was also in the middle of the night - we met at the church after midnight.  I finally got comfortable laying in the aisle and was able to sleep a little bit on the way.  Once we got to the temple we ate breakfast that we brought with us - baked potatoes and hard boiled eggs - and waited for the temple to open. We got to do two baptism sessions, which was fun, and afterwards we hung out with our friends for 4 hours before leaving to return home. We have met some fun people here, but they only speak Spanish.  We use a lot of Google Translate and talk really slowly. The bus ride back was better because I got to sit in the front with one of my friends and talk.

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Our Cruise

In May, my family and I got to go on a trans-Atlantic cruise from Tampa, Florida to Barcelona, Spain. I really enjoyed it because I made new friends, I got to eat whenever I wanted to, and there was always something to do. It was my first cruise, and I hope I get to go on more!

I made a lot of new friends while I was on the cruise. We were worried there wouldn't be any kids our ages because our cruise was in May (during school) and it was 2 weeks long.  There were a lot of older retired people, but fortunately, there were also some teens. All of the teens met up in the teen room everyday to hang out and do activities. I really liked my friends because they liked to do sports and play card games. When we were in the teen room we would do ship scavenger hunts, dodge ball games, play cards, and sometimes we would play the Wii-U. Almost every day I stayed up with our friends in one of the cafes talking until 1:00 am. My friends were the best, and I wish I didn’t have to leave them.

I was never hungry on the cruise because there was always somewhere that was open that had food. There was a main eating area that had a buffet that was open from 6:30 to 11:00, 11:30 to 4:00, and 4:30 to 9:00. At night there was a small cafe that was open all night, so if you wanted a midnight snack you could get one (curfew was at 1:00 am so I couldn't get a snack past then or I would get sent back to my room). Most of the time for dinner, my family and I went to a nice restaurant that had lots of good food. I loved being able to have all day snacking.

I always had something to do, so I was never bored. I was almost always eating or playing up in the teen room so I didn’t really do other ship activities. I went rock climbing a few times, and I watched a couple of movies in the theater. I went to a cool bike stunt show and got to be a "helper" on stage.  The stunt man jumped and bounced his bike over the top of me while I lay on the ground. It was a little scary but fun too!

I had lots of fun on the cruise. I really didn’t want to leave it because I made friends, and I could eat all day but I had to come back to reality. I hope I can go on more cruises some day.

Shipman's Beach

After the long hike in we were exhausted, so we all piled in the hammock.

After the long hike in we were exhausted, so we all piled in the hammock.

Yesterday we hiked to Shipman’s beach with some of our friends. We got to the trail head in the morning because the forecast said that it was going to rain in the afternoon, and when the trail gets wet, it also gets muddy. The hike is about 2.5 miles of level trail through mosquito infested, beautiful jungle, so it took us almost an hour and a half to get to the actual beach. When we finally got there, Enoch and I jumped right in with our spear fishing gear. Because the tide was super low, we quickly realized that there weren’t any fish that were big enough to spear. The water was very cold because a large spring fed pond just up the hill on the Shipman's property was running into the beach area, and it overpowered the warmth of the ocean. We played on the beach for a while and then a few of us climbed a tree that was hanging over the water. We hung in a hammock for almost an hour and laughed and talked. We kept breaking open coconuts to eat and Enoch and Brady made coconut bras out of them. When we were all worn out we hiked back to the parking lot. We had lots of fun at the beach with our friends. It was definitely one of my favorite beach days yet!

Enoch and Brady were being doofs!

Enoch and Brady were being doofs!

Kings Landing Camp Out

Last weekend Enoch, My dad, and I went to a beautiful “beach” with the scouts. It is called Kings Landing and it has a little grass field and a rocky “beach” with cold refreshing water. It is private property that the owner let us into and we had to drive through dirt roads with lots of potholes to get there. The property is really nice because it is private so the grass is really nice and there is lots of fish in the bay. We caught and bunch of fish there with our spears and spearguns so we made Poke and fried fish for dinner. We made chili and rice just in case we didn’t catch anything but we caught lots of fish so we didn’t eat much of the chili. When we were gutting and scaling the fish, an eel about three feet long and 5 inches wide came up to the pool that we were by and we tried to spear him but he got away. After we were all done getting in the ocean we went to a freshwater pond right by our camp and we rinsed off. In the morning we packed up, watched general conference, and left. We had lots of fun there and we are planning to go again.

Kings Landing "beach".

Kings Landing "beach".

Fish caught by my friend, Lehia.

Fish caught by my friend, Lehia.

Green Sands Beach

A while ago, I went to Green Sands Beach with my family, Brady, Hamblin, the Ay's, and the Beaz's. All of the boys got into our car and all of the girls got into the Beaz’s car (named Kevin). On our way to Green Sands we stopped at Punalu’u Bakery to get a snack and to meet up with the Ay's. The treats at the bakery looked super delicious and sugary. After we ate, we went to South Point and several of the people in our group jumped off the 40 foot cliff into the ocean, but I didn’t feel up to it yet. I thought South Point was too high for me. We then piled back into the cars and headed off to Green Sands Beach, a short 5 minute drive away. When we got to the parking lot for Green Sands, we arranged which people were to ride in Kevin down to the beach and which of us would take the shuttle. I got to go in Kevin, and we listened to music the whole way down. The coolest part about the ride was blasting music from the speaker. We got to the actual beach in about 20 minutes (from the parking lot), and we got all of the things we needed out of the car, including our towels and food. We walked down the trail to the beach.  It was not as green as I expected but it was still pretty cool. There were occasional big waves so we had to watch out for them when we were playing tag in the ocean. The hill that went down to the beach was all sand so we jumped down it and saw who could make it down to the ocean in the fewest number of jumps. When we were all tired we got in the shuttle and Kevin and went back to the parking lot to get our car to head home. On our way home, we went to Volcanoes National Park and we got to see the caldera boiling and glowing in the dark. We saw lava when it popped and bubbled because it was really high up in the crater. I thought it was really bright because it lit up the sky about fifty feet in every direction. When we got home we were super tired, so we went straight to bed. We had so much fun.

This is Brady, Kate, and me at South Point right by the 40 foot cliff.

This is Brady, Kate, and me at South Point right by the 40 foot cliff.