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Saturday, October 1, 2016

October 2015 Mini Album

The past two years I have had a blast creating a mini album all about our October shenanigans! My love for Halloween has been passed down to Fox and Jane and October 1st marks the official start of the holidays 'round here. Thought I'd share the 2015 version of our "October Daily"!

First, a quick video flipping through:

And here are some stills and a bit more info about this spooky book:
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I used a 4x4" mini album from Studio Calico that has black cats mixed in with black polka dotties!
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It's packed to the brim with photos and embellishments! I like big books and I cannot lie :)
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I wrapped washi tape around the right side of all 4x4" sleeves which added fun color and pattern to the edges!
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"The first sigs of Halloween at the PX means the start of the holiday season!"
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From picking pumpkins, to class parties, decorating the porch, Trunk or Treat, celebrating Fox's birthday (sooooo happy to have an October baby!), and so much more, it's all documented here.
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Last year I took the kids to Disneyland Paris by myself - we're going again in just a few days but Chris is coming along too! YAY!
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I added tags and journaling cards here and there for an eclectic mix that makes turning the pages that much more fun.
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I have so many different Halloween collections saved in a big bag that I can't bare to part with - this book is a hodge podge of many different lines.
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Sometimes I put stickers directly on the photo and sometimes they're on top of the photo sleeves.
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The end. For now!
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And just for kicks and giggles, here is my October 2014 mini album:
Off to start snapping photos for the 2016 version!!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Crete, Greece

The day after Santorini, we found ourselves in Heraklion, Crete. The island is Greece's biggest and most populous and functions practically as a mini-nation of its own. The port city of Heraklion has a population of 137,000 and is an urban, function capital.
The city has a top notch archeological museum that displays the best collection of Minoan artifacts anywhere. So that was our first stop.
The museum covers some 5,500 years, but the bulk of the collection, and the best pieces, are from the Minoan civilization dating from approximately 2,000 to 1,400 B.C. This culture dominated the pre-Greek world and unlike most early peoples, they were traders rather than fighters. The culture was like one big corporation with a CEO king, accountant scholars, and bookkeeping priests. In fact, the only written records we have from this civilization are meticulous spreadsheets that show every detail of every business transaction. For all those scrappers out there: ancient STAMPING! :)
One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of Minoan frescoes from the lavish palace of Knossos. The Bull Leaper illustrates the popular pastime of vaulting over a bull. It was a happy, fun loving society that enjoyed its leisure activities.
The Minoans revered bulls. While they would vault over them, they never sacrificed them or conducted Spanish-like bull fights. This gorgeous bull's head is a drinking vessel called a rhyton and has jeweled eyes and golden horns.

The snake goddess was a particularly popular deity in Minoan culture. She was depicted as a bare-breasted, snake-handling woman that is thought to be perhaps the guardian of the home, or maybe she symbolized new life and fertility.
Burial urn complete with human remains.
Religious votives and idols.
The biggest clay pots I've ever seen.
In about 1450 B.C. Minoan civilization suddenly and completely collapsed. While no one knows for sure what happened, it is thought that perhaps the atomic-bomb sized eruption of the Santorini volcano caused earthquakes and a tsunami that swept the Minoans into the dustbin of history. The museum was newly renovated, blessedly air conditioned, and served as a fascinating glimpse into this fairly mysterious ancient civilization.

Leaving the cool confines of the archaeological museum, we headed out into the capital city itself.
The city was founded by Saracens and then expanded by Venetians during the crusades. Today, it is a modern, bustling city that feels similar in ambiance to Athens.
Old | New
The main part of town focuses on the Venetian flavored Venizelos Square and its trademark Morosini Fountain.
The streets around it are fun to explore with shopping and cafes. 
One of the first buildings built by the Venetians was the Church of St. Mark, in honor of their patron saint. The church has been worked on, renovated, and changed since it was first started in 1239.
The Agios Titos, or St. Titus church, holds the skull of the namesake saint who was the first bishop of Crete.
The Venetian fortress of Castello a Mare dominates the entrance to the harbor. Built in the 16th century, the fortress served to strengthen defenses around the city.
Other aspects of the old Venetian harbor also remain. There were posters along this vault showing movie scenes that had been filmed in the old harbor.
Little panoramic of Heraklion from near the harbor.
Our family Crete, Greece on Tuesday August 30th 2016.
The next port of call was Argostoli, Greece and we took a side trip to Melissani Cave!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Fira, Santorini, Greece

While Oia may be the prettiest village in Santorini, Fira is the island's main town with the island's handiest service, best museum, and the hub for transportation around the islands. But, just because it's functional doesn't mean it's not incredibly scenic!
After seeing Oia, Chris and I went back to the boat to pick up our little ones to explore Fira all together. We hopped on another tender and made the short trip to shore. 
From the Old Port there are three ways to get up to town: take a cable car, hike up 587 steep steps, or ride a donkey up those steps. We went with the speed and comfort of the cable car.
Fira has a charm all its own with a cozy labyrinth of streets that burrow between the main traffic street and the cliff edge. 
Cafe.
A restaurant sign harkening to the belief that this area may have inspired the legend of Atlantis.
A'door'able doors.

Yummies. We got some baclava in Mykonos that was pretty darn good.

Fira has a pair of cathedrals, Orthodox and Catholic. This is the Orthodox one.

I spy the big big boat.
One of my favorite photos from the day: My guys wandering through the dreamy and scenic streets of Santorini.
If street names exist in these villages, locals completely ignore them.

Not too shabby.
Fox has forgotten he's an LA baby and has grown accustomed to the cooler Bavarian weather. But, he was good to go again after a little break in the shade.
Hotel Atlantis.
Pretty portico near the Orthodox cathedral.
Doors with no walls around them! | Peeping Chris.

Cat.
Restaurants with impeccable views.
Little Jane doggedly refused to ride in the stroller after Chris crashed the stroller with them in it in Edinburgh. She insisted on walking so for several of our adventures we left the stroller behind on the boat. It was nice.
This area is still an active volcanic site. Two little islets in the middle of the caldera have emerged "recently" (at least in geological terms), one as recently as 1707. The last small true eruption occurred in 1950 and there were photos of this on a wall. They were fascinating to look at.
To this day, those two new islets go through periods where they sputter and steam and earthquakes continue to wrack the archipelago. No wonder Santorini is sometimes called "The Devil's Isle."
But, to us it was heaven. Chris watched the sunset from the top of the boat. 
Our boat stayed in port until 10pm so we got to admire the lights of Fira lining the cliff from our stateroom.
Our family in Fira, Santorini, Greece on Monday August 29th 2016.
Then onto a quick stop in Crete!