Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Let's Rome together

I hope you have a minute... because this may take awhile. :-)

I told you I would put lots of pictures up, and I wouldn't want to disappoint you. Take a stroll with me, or should I say "Rome" with me as I tell you about our trip to Italy. 

We spent a mere two days there and took in just as much as we possibly could. When we arrived to the apartment we rented, we did the natural thing and looked around and checked everything out. The kids explored and then we took a couple of pictures out on the balcony.

Shawn and Melanie (she  looks a little afraid of heights)

Braaten with Cooper (left) and Grant (right)
It was all going smoothly until we met

These guys...

I think we are a little ignorant or perhaps naive. As we were walking alongside the Colosseum, we bumped into these guys, or should I say they practically grabbed us. We, being the nice people we are, obliged and posed with them thinking they will be really cool souvenirs to have one day. They have this posing thing down to a science I might add. I think we shot 6 pictures in 2.2 seconds. Anyway, Shawn and I were quietly discussing that we would be more than happy to give them 1 euro each for being so kind. As we were handing it over, the guy on the right says we would like 5 euros each. Huh? What? Oh, no, here you go. As we quickly walked away, he said something like... "You are vetty nice-a people!!!" in a very sarcastic way. He might have even been tempted to throw those euros back at us. 

That taught us a valuable lesson for other dressed up people in the very near future! 

Let's move on, shall we?

This is just outside the Colosseum. It reminded me of Washington Square Park in NYC.

Time for a little shade. It was really hot there. You can tell by how flush they all look. In England, the high temps are around 75 or 80... maybe. It had to be between 90 and 95 degrees. Not that I'm complaining.

We found a double decker bus to ride around the city as our friend, Phil, had suggested we do. He said we could then get off at the places we really wanted to explore.



Austin and Cooper

Shawn and Grant

We got off the bus to see some really great places.

If the kids could have swam in there, they would have.

We caved and bought these cute parasols,

and ate at cafes like this one.

We had great Italian food, which is my absolute favorite type of food, at this cafe. It was pizza or calzones for all of us.  Right before eating, we visited


What a quaint area to walk around at.

That was a real guy dressed up. Can you imagine how hot he must have been?

Local artisans were selling paintings and sketches. If we weren't heading on a cruise, I would have gotten one. They were beautiful.

I love all the architecture and the warm colors of the buildings.

This is quite a fountain!

Look at the seagull on his head

Shawn and I 

Good family photo

I'm really bad to not know the name of this beauty. 

Isn't it a sight!

Loving the colorful flags.

After walking lots, taking the bus on occasion, and stopping to go to the bathroom, we stopped here at the


The inside of it was covered in marble and gorgeous paintings

This was outside of the Pantheon

Hopefully you aren't tired of "Roming" with me yet. Because it's time to try and cool off at the 
Trevi Fountain

Pure, delightful, cool water...
My kids wanted to jump in, but if you so much as put your finger in it, you get a loud 
whistle blown at you. Ask me how I know, huh, huh?

Don't do it, Coop. You're going to get that whistle.

My lovely girls and I

And my handsome men, of course!

After the whistle was blown at us, it was time for a different kind of cool.

Ah yes, ice cream!

Towards the end of our day, and before our bus pass ran out, we practically ran to see our last sight. 

The Spanish Steps

I think we spent all of 3 minutes here. Our kids get tired after awhile when we are sightseeing so much. I'm just sayin'.

We had the idea to have an "Italian" breakfast at the apartment; one that included ham, salami, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, bread, and then we threw in a watermelon. It was all so good.

Thanks for taking the tour with me. Ciao Bellas and Fellas!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Travel (b)Log

I'm the kind of person that likes to do things with excellence, aka I'm perfectionistic. That's a derogatory word and one that needs to be dealt with. I am trying to move away from that because you end up not even starting things for fear that it will not be done completely. Case in point: these are the first set of photos you are seeing because I have hundreds and I didn't know where to begin.

So let's start at the beginning.

These couple of gems were taken at the airport. It just so happens that right before the security stop there is a coffee shop. And when it is 6 a.m. and you need coffee and the kids need some water with their breakfast, you inadvertently buy 3 of them. You come to find out that they were not that thirsty and so you have an entire bottle of water that you now have to pitch in order to get through said security. 

Any frugal person would grab their receipt and return the water. I couldn't fathom just throwing it away when it cost an arm and a leg at the airport to begin with. My hubby enjoys this apparently and shoots a couple of photos of me somewhat dreading trying to return water.  I'm standing there thinking, "Please don't stand alongside me as I ask for my piddly pence back. Oh shucks, there comes someone now." It is then my turn, and the woman happily obliged. She totally understood why I would want my money back. All that stress for nothing.  Whew! 

That looks like £1.64 thankyouverymuch! Nan from "Moms the Word" would be really proud right now.

And since I have not had a lot of time this week to blog, I only included the first couple of photos from Rome. I'll have to do a series of posts to get them all in with the stories that go along with them. Bear with me, I'll get them on here. 

When in Rome... takes lots of pictures. 

This is when we first noticed the Colosseum and were really excited.

Some kind gentleman took this one of us. He was from Boston. 

That's it for now. I have lunch to make and we are having small group tonight at our house. Lots to do...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Doing major catch-up

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are well and are enjoying some serious summer fun. We got back from our cruise on Sunday which was amazing. I'll follow up with loads of pictures soon. Putting all of these photos on our Mac is making it very slow. I think we are going to back them up soon onto an external hard drive to free up space.

The laundry situation was out of control and I am about 3 loads away from finishing up. With the small washer, it makes 8 loads turn into about 14!! No kidding. I am getting it put away with the help of the kids and we're finishing up school, too. Braaten and Melanie are the only ones still taking tests. Austin has a few book reports to do over the summer and I have the task of ordering new books from Abeka and Sonlight. Cleaning up and reorganizing the school room is a must. Doesn't that all sound like so much fun? ;-)

Gotta run. Just wanted to say hi and let you know that I am slowly catching up on your blogs. 

Blessings to you.  

Thursday, June 11, 2009

3 A.M. Comes Quickly!

Well my dear friends and family, I need to hit the sack because our taxi is coming to pick us up at 4:00 in the morning! That'll be approximately 11 this evening for most of you. 

I don't think I'll be blogging since I can't use my dear hubs' laptop. It belongs to his office. If the cruise ship has internet access, and they probably do, I just might check my blog out. Chances are, though, that we will be too busy. You know how blogging can suck you in, right? :-) I'm not going to let it! 

Be blessed and I look forward to seeing how things are going for each of you upon my return. Prayers and hugs!! 

(Pretty soon I'll get a real signature)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wordless Wednesday!- Sleepy Boy

Normal Resting Dog...

Crazy Sleeping Dog!!

To check out more of these "Wordless Wednesday" posts, visit "5 Minutes for Mom" over here. 

Country Life


Not exactly the "country life" I had in mind. Although, since we're looking at a picture of it, this is some delicious butter. It's what I buy here and we use more of it than we probably should. It's a creamy English butter that we like to spread on toast, put on mashed potatoes, or smother over our veggies.

That's all well and good, but the country life I am getting at is the one my children dream about and love to talk about. They are constantly reminiscing about time in Indiana at their grandma and grandpa's. In fact, just this afternoon, Grant and I were on a walk with our dog, and he said, "I wish I was home". He was generally talking about being in Michigan, but then it quickly turned into Indiana talk again. Can't blame the kid. His grandma and grandpa along with about a gazillion cousins are there.


Austin misses playing with Lance, Tony, and Adam, going fishing in Grandpa's pond, playing basketball and baseball, and hot dog roasts... 

Braaten misses hanging with her cousins, Natalie, and Rachel to name a couple, playing house with the kitty cats as her babies, eating Grandma's cooking, and just being in Indiana where a kid can be free...

Melanie misses the same cousins, playing with lots and lots of kittens, riding a bike on Grandpa's driveway, giving Grandma hugs and swimming at the pond...

Grant misses playing in the mud, playing with Lexi and Adam, playing ball with the boys, riding bikes, and Grandma's cooking...

Cooper misses playing baseball with Lance, Adam, Kreigh, and Austin, running around, swimming, and eating Grandmas's cookies and her meals...

And they miss a bunch more than that.  

Shawn misses his mom and dad and his family in general, playing with the kids in the yard, spending time with old friends, and just relaxing where he grew up...

As for me, I miss spending time with my sisters-in-law, April and Jill, seeing my nieces and nephews, also visiting with my cousins, hanging with all of the family, eating my MIL's cooking and not having to cook for awhile, and just seeing the joy that my kids experience while there.


Country Life.

Have you ever seen the episode of "Little House on the Prairie" where Nellie calls Mary and Laura, "Country Girls" in a very derogatory way and with a really mean voice? Our kids don't mind being country kids at all. So there, Nellie!

Last summer I painted my mother-in-law's bead board in the kitchen.

Braaten on the front porch.

Melanie giving Nicole a kiss.

Braaten and Rachel on Grandma and Grandpa's paddle boat.

My cousin, Becky's, daughter, Anna, got married and we happened to be visiting at the time. It was a blessing to see her marry Tucker last August at Tim and Jill's home.

My little froggy boy, Grant, playing in the mud. Can you believe they set up a stand and sold this stuff to people driving by? I think they made a dollar.

Austin and Kreigh messing about at the pond.

We went to visit my in-laws' neighbor who had gotten a new horse.

Austin shooting hoops.

And last, but not least, the same picture I posted here with Paul and Leona ( I call them Mom and Dad) and our kids taken in August, 2008.

God has blessed us with so much. Our faith in Jesus Christ, family, friends, and lots and lots of good times.