Monday, 25 July 2011

Cosette Alexandria is born

We've had a busy few days. On July 22, 2011 at 4:51 am Cosette Alexandria Plothow was born in Knoxville, TN. She weighed 6 lbs 13 oz., and was 20 inches long. She is beautiful and our perfect angel. We are proud and honored to be her parents. Christine and Cosette both had a healthy delivery, and both are recovering well. Life is busy as we prepare to move to New York in a little over two weeks. Here are some photos of our sweet baby.

Her world debut.

First family photo.

Thanks to Bella Baby Photography for taking such beautiful pictures of our little girl.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Paris Trip

You cannot live in Europe for a while without taking the time to do some traveling. Our most recent adventure took across the channel to the beautiful city of Paris. We took the Eurostar from London to Paris. I felt so European, haha. The Eurostar is amazing not only because you can leave from London and be in Paris in only a couple of hours but it goes under the ocean. I find bridges and tunnels that allow us to travel under bodies of water fascinating! We spent four walking filled days in beautiful Paris. The only down side to our trip was having to spend the night at St. Pancreas, because our train left before any other transportation was available, and having two hours before our bus left for Cambridge when we got back from Paris. But we made the best of it by snagging the comfy chairs at 24 hour Starbucks in St. Pancreas and drinking some delicious hot chocolate.

The first place we visited once we got to Paris was the beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral. It is the oldest Gothic Cathedral in the world. It was stunning and probably my favorite thing we did in Paris. Napoleon was crown emperor there as well as Henry VI of England (but he was crowned King of France). The Rose window was beautiful. All three Rose windows were stunning. I was looking at one thinking it was the famous one (it was beautiful!) and Lyndon tells me to look at the one on the opposite wall which was the main one and it was even more beautiful than the one I was looking at! Inconceivable! Later we made the ascent up to the top of the towers. We were part the last group that they let up in the tower for the day. While waiting in line there was another American couple who barely missed getting in so we let them cut in front of us and they paid our way. We love getting things for Free! We climbed over 300 steps to the top of Notre Dame. I really enjoyed seeing the gargoyles and the view of the city from the top. We also saw the giant 13 ton bell Emanuel. Victor Hugo's novel, Hunchback of Notre Dame, was brought to life. Going down the 300 steps on a spiral stair case was not fun. We both were very very dizzy once we got to the bottom.

Emanuel Bell

Trying to feed a bird.

Our next stop was the Louvre. And yes we saw the Mona Lisa. She is not an attractive lady, sad for her. But Davinci was not trying to paint a beautiful woman. The reason for all the obsession with the Mona Lisa is the chiaroscuro, the contrast between light and dark. We saw some other of Davinci's works. Lyndon was in his element. He was so happy to see some of the art that he studied in his art history class. He was especially interested in viewing David's work. The Louvre houses David's most famous works Oath of the Horatia and The Coronation of Napoleon which we both saw. It was pretty sweet. Another one of the main art pieces we saw was the Victoria sculpture which was on the cover of the text book we used in the class we meet in: so much sentimental value.

Lyndon with the Victory statue.

The next day we spent at beautiful Versailles. The French Monarchs certainly lived in style. Many of the rooms in the house are named after the Greek and Roman Gods displaying beautiful paintings dedicated to each God on the ceilings of the rooms. The artwork was absolutely fantastic. So ornate and detailed. The house is nothing compared to the gardens. The gardens were stunning. We enjoyed seeing the famous Apollo fountain, the Grand Trianon, and  walking all the way back to Marie-Antoinette's estate. Marie-Antoinette's estate was beautiful. It looked like it was straight out of a fairy tale. If you go to Versailles any time make sure to visit her estate. You will not be disappointed. 

We ended the day at the Eiffel Tower. We were ambitious and cheap so we walked up to the middle section to catch the lift up to the top. We learned some interesting tidbits about the Eiffel Tower and other tall buildings in the world as we ascended to the top. While we were up there the sparkling lights were turned on for about 15 minutes. The view from the top is beautiful! We saw some fireworks off in the distance making an even more spectacular view. We were across the river from the Eiffel Tower at midnight and were able to see the sparkling lights turn on again. Paris is so romantic.

Day three was spent walking around the city visiting the Centre Pompidou, Victor Hugo's house, the Bastille, Sacre Coeur, walking around Montmartre, Arc de Triomphe, and checking out the posh shopping on Champs Elysees. We also made a tourist blunder and order what we thought was a dark chocolate crepe and got a crepe with chocolate and coconut. It was still good. Montmartre was the artists sector of Paris. Sacre Coeur and the Moulin Rouge are located in this area. The walk up the hill to Sacre Coeur was a beast. The cathedral was beautiful but nothing compared to Notre Dame and some others in England. It was not as ornate as many of the cathedrals we have seen. The stone was not covered up with decadent art work like most cathedrals. The outside is stunning though. The view from Sacre Coeur was spectacular as well. At Arc de Triomphe we did not have to walk up the stairs because I am pregnant. The French have very traditional values especially about family. Since I am pregnant they were very nice to us. We took the elevator up instead and enjoyed another beautiful view of the city. The traffic around the Arc is insane! There are no traffic lanes. It was fun walking up and down Champs Elysees seeing all the different stores. We found one store that was selling some Star Wars t-shirts. Lyndon has never been so into shopping. 

Victor Hugos house.


Sacre Coeur 

Molin Rouge. Oh la la. 

Arc de Triomphe.

View from the top.

We could not help ourselves. Paris is the most romantic city in the world.

Star Wars!

Our last day in Paris our goal was to visit the catacombs, Hotel des Invalides, another one of the museums, and eating at a French restaurant. However, our last day in Paris was a Monday. Not much is open on Mondays in Paris. So we ended up only visiting Hotel des Invalides and eating at a French restaurant. The Hotel des Invalides is where Napoleon is buried and continues to be used as a military hospital. The dome of the Hotel is covered in gold. Napoleon's casket is huge and a little obnoxious. When you walk into the tomb there is a opening and you look down on the casket. There are also stairs where you can go down and walk around the casket with artwork depicting the eight achievements of Napoleon. Our French dinning experience was a positive one. We ate at this bistro away from the tourist populated area. Now I understand why people rave about French cuisine. The food was fantastic! It also could have been Lyndon and I were surviving on baguettes and cheese during the trip. That tomato tart we ate was divine.

Our trip back to Cambridge was uneventful. We really enjoyed Paris and were sad to leave. If you ever get the chance to go to France, Paris is a must.        

Back to London

Cambridge is a brilliant place to live because London is only a bus ride away! We took another excursion into London one Saturday. Our bus left super super early in the morning, not fun. But it was fun getting into London early and basically having the city to ourselves before to many people came out. The Royal Guard was practicing for the Queen's Birthday (June 4). It was really neat to see them out but then ruined part of our plans to see the Royal Mews where all the royal carriages and horses are kept. It was closed for the practice. Oh well.

Buckingham Palace. Wish we could have been there about a month earlier for the royal wedding. 

We spent some time at the National Gallery. We have been watching a documentary Civilizations on art history to help us get ready for our Paris trip. Lyndon really enjoyed the romantic's seascapes and landscapes. Some of the famous works we saw were Jan Van Eyck's The Arnolfini Marriage,Constable, and Turner's landscapes. I enjoyed this beautiful painting of a horse and Monet's works. The painting of the horse was so beautiful. It was extremely realistic and demonstrated the power of the animal. 

The National Gallery is located at Trafalgar Square and it so happened that day was a major football (soccer) match between Barcelona and London's Chelsea team. There were a ton of supporters in Trafalgar Square and around the city the rest of the day. Periodically supporters would start doing team chants or singing their team's fight song. One time during the day we were getting on the tube and there was a cheering match between some Barcelona and Chelsea supporters. We are on the tube with a group of the Chelsea supporters and the Barcelona supporters are on the car right next to us both groups doing their team cheers or fight song through the open window connecting the two cars. We love football! I think Barcelona ended up trouncing Chelsea.

I am an Olympic junkie. I cannot wait for the London 2012 Olympics! I am starting my count down.

The most of the day we spent at Harrods! It was the biggest most decadent department store either of us have been in. Everything imaginable is sold there. There is even an opera singer serenading shoppers as they ascend the escalators. It even has a Crispy Cream doughnut store. Lyndon had lot of fun going through the furniture department picking out all the furniture for our future home. I liked going up to the Pet store and looking at the puppies. There were some white miniature schnauzer puppies asleep. So cute! Lyndon now is interested in breeding purebred dogs. Any suggestions on breed?

Try and find Lyndon among the mass of people. 

We ended our London adventure this time at the Globe where we saw one of Shakespeare's comedies All's Well that Ends Well. The play was very well done. It took place in Shakespeare's time with the traditional costume and language. The acting was superb! It is not one of Shakespeare's better known plays and overall it is not as good as some of his others. I really enjoyed seeing Shakespeare in England. Last year Lyndon took me to the Cedar City Shakespeare festival for my birthday so it was neat see Shakespeare in London this year. The Globe is not the actual Globe but a replica built exactly like the original (which sadly burned down) and it is almost in the exact location of the original. Being pregnant we got a ticket for me in the stands and Lyndon stood in the yard getting a real feel for what it was like to see Shakespeare back in his day.
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