Eliza’s First Football Game

Last weekend was Homecoming at Purdue, so we headed north and spent the weekend in West Lafayette.  We were especially excited to take Eliza to her first football game, and she was such a trooper and made it through the entire game despite it being her normal nap time.  We were lucky to have seats in the first row with lots of space for her to move around and play while also being able to see the band and cheerleaders, which she enjoyed.  She can already say “football!” and it’s definitely her favorite sport to watch.

The weekend was also a great chance to see my family, see some of our great friends, visit the fraternity, and wax nostalgic at Kokoro in downtown Lafayette as we walked around our old neighborhood.  Purdue also won the game which always guarantees a good Homecoming!

Drew Brees – Bobblehead Big Ten IconIMG_1616

We got into the stadium really early so that Eliza could take it all inIMG_1632

Eliza loved yelling into the megaphone!IMG_1647


Eliza loved being in the front row where she could see the actionIMG_1668

Cool ladies in their cool sunglassesIMG_1681

I think she’s trying to read the banner upside downIMG_1701

Eliza made a few friends during the game and had fun clappingIMG_1739

Eliza loved the world’s largest drumIMG_1764

We definitely had great seats to watch Rob Henry (quarterback) and Dan Dierking (running back) dominate the gameIMG_1773

Fake the hand-off and get a huge block from a little guy…IMG_1782

…and that’s a touchdown Boilers!IMG_1789

The extra point is good (even though this picture totally makes it look like the Minnesota player got a hand on itIMG_1792

Kawann Short with the monster sackIMG_1802

Boiler Up!


Extreme Makeover – Garage Edition

We are so excited to have our garage back and looking better than ever.  It took over two months for the demolition, tree removal, construction, and door installation.  It also took some time reinstalling all the tools and equipment I had strategically hung in the garage, but it gave me a great opportunity to build some overhead shelves for seasonal storage.  Here are the pictures of the process and what we had to look at for the last few months.



Keeping it dry




Protect that wood






The final product. We love the look of our new fancier garage doors.


This can also be a little illustration on the impact different times of day/positions of the sun have on your photographs. :)

Paris – Day 6

Our Friday in Paris began with a short half-block walk to St. Sulpice, an amazing church that we were fortunate to live near.  We were awestruck by the morning light beaming in and the great organ.  St. Sulpice is the second-largest church in Paris, only slightly smaller than Notre Dame.  It’s also a more functional church that is kept in regular use (and less for gawking tourists like us), so it isn’t as well kept as Notre Dame but rather represents a more realistic French cathedral.

Église Saint-Sulpice

Église Saint-Sulpice

Église Saint-Sulpice

Église Saint-Sulpice

Église Saint-Sulpice

Next, we headed to the Musée Rodin, which is located near the Hotel des Invalides and not far from the Eiffel Tower.  This may have been one of our favorite museums on the entire trip.  It was interesting to learn about Rodin, his sculpting process, and the controversy surrounding some of his works and then to see so many of them on display in the museums beautiful gardens and grounds.

We love this photo of “The Thinker” with the Eiffel Tower in the backgroundMusée Rodin-Le Penseur

The famous “Mask of the Man with the Broken NoseMusée Rodin-The Man with the Broken Nose

This sculpture is one I did not previously know but loved learning about, “The Burghers of Calais.”  That’s some sacrificial leadership!paris day 6

The “Gates of Hell,” which depicts scenes from Dante’s Inferno.  I could study this for hours and still notice cool new things.paris day 6

Musée Rodin-Le Penseur

After the museum, we walked through a cool antique street market.  It sure puts the term “antique” in a different context when you are in Europe and looking at pieces from the middle ages and renaissance.  Also, it was a bit surreal to see such valuable treasures for sale under a tent on the side of the street.

We then headed to Rue Cler, a quaint street that we had read a lot about, for lunch and shops.  I had read amazing reviews of the Cafe du Marche online and in travel guides for a delicious and authentic Parisian lunch experience, so we had to find it.  It lived up to expectations as being really affordable, too.  I enjoyed the duck confit, and when I say “enjoyed,” I really mean I could have eaten four plates of it and had it again for dinner.  It was perfect, and the people-watching was fantastic, too.

Our next stop was the Hotel des Invalides which houses the Musée de l’Armée, Musée des Plans-Reliefs, Musée d’Histoire Contemporaine, as well as Napoleon’s tomb.

paris day 6 293Musée de l'Armée Napoleon's Tomb

Napoleon’s tomb is ridiculously large and made of red porphyry on a green granite baseparis day 6

Musée de l'Armée

Musée de l'Armée

After all of the museums, it was time to be just like every other tourist and visit the Eiffel Tower.  It was fun for me to watch Lynne marvel at it, since it was her first time there.  When I visited in 2000, I literally ran up the stairs to the second platform (as high as you can go on foot), which was a lot of fun.  Lynne definitely impressed me with her willingness to bypass the elevators and make the long walk, even after being on her feet all day.Eiffel Tower at Sunset

Eiffel Tower

It’s such a beautiful view from the top, and this was only at the first platform!Skyline from Eiffel Tower

I can see my house from here! (behind les Invalides, where you see the crane – that’s our street at St. Sulpice).  The other building the juts out is the Pantheon.Skyline from Eiffel Tower

I get a little dizzy just looking at this pictureEiffel Tower

Montmartre and Sacré Coeur in the backgroundSkyline from Eiffel Tower

Skyline from Eiffel Tower

Skyline from Eiffel Tower

We really enjoyed being there at sunsetEiffel Tower at Sunset

Champs de Mars gardens, where hundreds of people had set up for picnic dinners, locals and tourists alike

Parc du Champs de Mars

After the tower, we went to a local grocery store to get cheese, snacks, wine, and beer both for our trip to Giverny the next day and to keep at the apartment for late night snacking.  The store was completely sold out of baguettes, and while there were great French and Belgian beers still on the shelves, almost all of the beer that were normal to me (Heineken, etc.) were sold out, likely purchased by picnickers we had just passed.

We returned home and ate dinner at a great relaxing place near our house, including risotto with mushrooms and some other pastas.  Our feet were sore, but we were really looking forward to a train ride and seeing a different part of France the next day.  Overall, the day was a great way to celebrate my birthday in Paris!Eiffel Tower


Paris – Day 5

Our fifth day in Paris started out the way that every good day should start – amazing breakfast pastries at Gerard Mulot.  We were so fortunate to live one block from this high end boutique – a fabulous patisserie, boulangerie, and chocolatier.  Every morning should include a pain au chocolat of such caliber.

After breakfast we walked along the Seine and returned to the Cathedral Notre Dame to get in line for the tower tour, such a popular attraction that lines can be over 2 hours long later in the day.  There wasn’t so much a “tour” as much as a self-guided experience going up the tower, seeing the giant bell, and getting an amazing view of Paris.  This was our first aerial since we hadn’t yet visited the Eiffel Tower or Arch de Triomphe. It was a beautiful morning and a perfect view of the city.

Cathédrale Notre-DameCathédrale Notre-Dame


So many amazing things are contained in those streets below.  If you look to the left, the large church steeples with the crane are on the street where we lived.

Skyline from Notre-Dame

Cathédrale Notre-DameSkyline from Notre-Dame

This is Kirk having fun with his gargoyles in Photoshop

Cathédrale Notre-Dame

Cathédrale Notre-Dame

Cathédrale Notre-Dame

After the tower tour, we went into the Notre Dame Crypt, which honestly sounds much cooler than the actual experience.  It was interesting, however, to see the original structures, despite it being underwhelming.  For lunch, we picked up some gigantic quiches and a la religieuse pastry (delicious!), ate in the park, and then slowly made our way to our next planned museum stop.  On the way, we visited the Palais Royal, where we enjoyed the modern art installation, garden, and shops.

Palais Royal

Palais Royal

Next, we walked over to see the Louvre and get some pictures, in case it was rainy for our official visit later in the trip.  Lynne was amazed by its size, and it really was a perfect day for pictures, but we’re saving some for a later post.  Just past the museum is the Jardin des Tuileries, which was beautiful, and we enjoyed sitting by the fountain (even though we already had a lot of sun from watching tennis the previous day).

The Louvre

The Louvre

Our next stop was the Musee de l’Orangerie, which is located right along the Jardin.  When I (Kirk) was in Paris in the summer of 2000, the museum was closed (from 1999 through 2006!), so we were both quite excited to see it.  The museum’s main claim to fame is its collection of Monet’s large water lily paintings (Nympheas).  It also has a lot of other impressionist paintings, including those by Monet, Picasso, Renoir, Cezanne, and Matisse.

One reason for the lengthy remodel was to present the paintings in the way Monet intended.  When you first enter the water lily gallery you find yourself in a completely silent white chamber with the intention to deprive all your senses prior to viewing his paintings.  Inside, there are two rooms with an enormous canvas on each wall.  The paintings are all viewed under direct diffused light, another nuance that Monet desired for his works.  I can’t really do the art justice in mere words, so enjoy the pictures below.  We highly recommend everyone visit this museum at some point in their life (and the other works on the lower level are fantastic as well)!

Musee de l’Orangerie

Musee de l’Orangerie

Musee de l’Orangerie

Musee de l’Orangerie

Musee de l’Orangerie

Musee de l’Orangerie

Musee de l’Orangerie

After the museum, we walked further past the gardens to see the Petit and Grand Palais.  We had heard the Petit Palais was free to enter and worth a look inside, but due to a Yves Saint Laurent exhibit, it was a bit too costly for us.  At least we got some cool external pictures.

Galeries Nationales du Petit Palais

Galeries Nationales du Petit Palais

Then we walked along the banks of the Seine, looking at all the colorful boats, crossed a bridge and decided it was a good time for a snack (or early dinner).  We finally did the “customary” Paris thing by sitting outside at a cafe facing the street (instead of each other).  We enjoyed some delicious onion soup, a fantastic goat cheese and bacon tartine, wine, and some French beer (Kronenbourg 1664).

After we ate, we walked a couple blocks to the Musee d’Orsay which was open late into the evening on this particular day of the week.  unfortunately, photographs are not allowed inside (they were back in 2000 when I visited, so that was quite a bummer).  The museum is housed in a former train station, and it’s really a breathtaking site.  There is a ton of art to see, including major impressionist paintings, post-impressionist works, and lots of sculpture.  It was nice going in the evening hours because it wasn’t terribly crowded.  The only disappointing aspect of the visit was the fact that the impressionist wings were being remodeled, so hallways were turned into galleries, and since there was limited room, some of the collection (including some key pieces) were travelling and currently located in San Francisco.

After the museum kicked us out (literally, we were the last handful of people to reluctantly leave), we decided to walk home and see more of the city.  We ended up getting a bit lost, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  By the time we found our neighborhood, it was 11pm and we were really hungry.  We passed by a small side street just two blocks from our apartment, and it was bustling with tons of people and many quaint little bars and eateries.  Little did we know this all existed so close to our place (and though it was pretty loud, you couldn’t hear any of the noise from our apartment).  We found a great little place that had some amazing calamari and stuffed grape leaves and enjoyed those with some house wine.  Every time we ordered wine at a restaurant we went with the house wine – it was pretty inexpensive and delicious every time.  It was a short walk home, and we were ready for sleep after a fun-filled day.