Sunday, June 28, 2009


My whole fam has ADD, I however have never been diagnosed because I never had trouble in school. But, if you ask anyone who works with me or take a look at this picture, there's no way that I don't have a touch of it=) My husband just shakes his head at me when I try to "clean" because this is what happens...

My house was relatively clean yesterday morning, but when Trey got home around 12 noon, this is what he found. You see the problem is that I desperately desire to be super organized, like Martha Stewart organized. Which is ridiculous without a full staff and no kids (at least I think it is.) So I start one project, which leads me to see another drawer that needs to be cleaned out and then when I'm putting something in the closet, oh it is just so messy and then I take something upstairs to the bathroom, and oh that tub is dirty, so I go to the kitchen to get some tub cleaner and start a load of laundry while I am down there and then I get the clean clothes out to start folding them, but then I need to make my bed.... and on and on, so it takes me about 3 days to clean my house, but then its super clean and organized for about 2 days until I start the process all over again. Sigh, I'm not sure if I'll ever change... Better go, baby on the stairs

Things I wish I'd known before going to Italy...

Here is my "Top Ten" List, but it's really more than 10 things. Really it's things I wrote down over there that I wish we'd done differently, or things I wanted to remember for our next trip to Europe. A lot of these things, you just don't know until you go. So, hope I can save someone some trouble and make their travel a little easier. You may not agree with me, but this is what I'll do differently next time.

1. (Personal Preference) Stay at hotels that are centrally located so you can just walk most places you want to go. I think it's worth the extra money to avoid public transportation.
2. A hotel with an English speaking "concierge" or something like that would be extremely helpful.
3. Hotel with a light breakfast or at least coffee, also a big plus.
4. Bring a print out of the train schedule on your travel days so you'll know departure times and prices. Not all trains are the same price, they actually vary greatly. Of course if you have internet access, this would not be necessary I guess.
5. Don't buy train tickets ahead of time, just buy them at the self serve kiosk when you get there (to avoid a service charge). And don't forget to reserve seats. We somehow didn't reserve seats on one train and had to change seats 3 times during the trip and ended up not sitting anywhere near eachother. Also, don't forget to VALIDATE them in the little yellow machines, you'll pay a hefty fine if you don't.
6. Bring a moneybelt and get cash from a Bancomat/ATM rather than Currency exchange places. Better yet, get some from your bank before you go, the exchange rate is better surprisingly (for us at least it would've been) and the service fees aren't as much.
7. Don't try to do too much in one day.
8. Bring good comfy shoes, don't worry about what they look like as long as they're comfortable.
9. Pack your things in a backpack if at all possible. Rolling suitcases are a pain in the you know what when you're getting on and off trains, going up/down steps, riding teeny tiny elevators...
10. Keep valuables on your body at all times (camera, money...) Don't bring any nice jewelry either.
11. Don't carry a purse on your shoulder. Use a backpack and just put it in front of you in crowded places.
12. Definitely do a bike tour in Tuscany, it is GORGEOUS!
13. Piazza Michelangelo (Florence) in the evening/sunset is a definite must.
14. Buy your drinks/water from a supermarket away from touristy places. You'll pay ten times less for it.
15. Bring a converter plug for European outlets, extra memory cards for camera, and battery charger for camera. Keep the memory cards in your money belt.
16. Take a tour at the Vatican Museum. You won't regret it!
17. Don't eat much at touristy piazzas, places on the side streets tend to be MUCH better and not ridiculously expensive.
18. Don't check out of a hotel and leave your bags unless they are securely locked up somewhere and the hotel will be responsible if anything is stolen!

Hope this helps!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


So, it took so long to upload all my Rome pics that I decided to do a slideshow of the rest. It's kind of gappy with not many pictures from Florence, but I tried to pick the best ones. You'll have to stop the music from my blog (scroll down and look for my playlist on the right.)


Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Italy 2009

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Monday, June 22, 2009

4 kids, no problem..

I had a fun but busy night tonight. I tried a recipe (modified) I found on one of my favorite blogs and I kept my precious niece and nephew for my sis! We had lots of fun and I played with my camera while the kids played together. I still haven't even read the manual, one day I guess I will, but for now, it's taking pretty good pictures without me even knowing what I am doing=)

Here are my modified ingredients. Oven preheating at 350.
I think next time I'll slice the zucchini thinner.
Trey requested that I add a smidge more cheese.
Because you can never have too much cheese!

For the full recipe see

While I was cooking, Selah got hungry.
Luke and Sophie played/ran They played "Mommy and Daddy" in the playroom.
Luke said the blessing.

and they "ate dinner."
They wanted to eat their real dinner upstairs, but Trey thought that was a bad idea.
Good call honey=)

They closed the blinds because it was "too bright."

and then they asked me to stop taking pictures,
which I did not. So they took a nap, a fake nap.
Very convincing.
Then dinner was ready! Yummy.
The kids ate pizza though. Well, they played and ate. They must've had some inside joke because they were laughing hysterically throughout dinner. I have no idea what about.
Even Selah got a little pizza to chew on. She loved it.

After dinner, Reese woke up and the babies went into the den to play=)
Selah, pulled the "I'm bigger than you and I'm mobile" card and took Reese's, well... everything.
I kept taking pictures and let them "work it out" between themselves.
I could hear Reese saying in her Bon qui qui ( voice,
"Oh no she didn't just do that to me. Rude!"
Come on Selah, lets share. I can tell Reese is going to be a peacemaker.
She has such a sweet soft spirit.
Selah is like a little wild mustang. She is my "wild child."
I love it, we're jut going to have to be careful how we direct it=)
Then Selah pulled the toys to her side. Little sinful nature coming out already.=)
Reese can hold her own too though.
"Don't make me use this Selah!"
"Don't make me laugh. I am 9 weeks older than you kid."
Meanwhile, Trey was busy "studying."
College World Series just happened to be on...
Luke and Sophie took a break from playing upstairs for a photo op with their little sisters.
Then, Selah tried to swipe Reese's apple juice.Trey gave Reese a little help from the "bully" =)
Selah did a little one armed push up to show her dominance even in defeat!
We're gonna have to watch that girl=)

I had so much fun keeping them all that I've decided that I want twins next, twin boys to be precise. Truly the whole "Reese, Selah" incident was very under control (Elaine) They were precious together. I think twins would be great fun!

I have a hysterical video of all the kids that i'll post tomorrow!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rome - in reverse order

Many of you know that we had our camera stolen while we were in Florence (more on that later). So don't laugh at the ridiculous number of pictures I am posting, just remember that you woulda been getting a lot more if I still had that camera! Without further ado, here are our Rome pictures, the ones we still have at least... and sorry they're in reverse order because of how I uploaded them and I am too lazy to put them back in chronological order=)

Trey digging into a caprese salad.

I was all about taking pictures of the food we ate because it was all so beautiful.

Earlier that day at the Spanish Steps, super crowded and nothing too amazing about them. They are very close to Trevi Fountain which is very cool. No pics from that=(

I love this shot of Trey from the top of Castello St Angelo which was used to guard Vatican City back in the day. The best thing about the castle was the views we got of Rome and St Peter's.

Inside Castello St Angelo. You walked up this huge circular ramp to get inside the main part of the Castle. It was a pretty good incline too!

View of Rome.

Close up of St Peter's taken from top of the castle.

St Peter's Square. It is HUGE! They were setting up for a mass on Sunday. You can kind of make out the chairs up front. Apparently the Pope pulls a pretty good turnout!

Outide view of Castello St Angelo taken from the bridge right in front of it.

The pictures we took from the top were just under that tall statue you can see. Oddly it had a big radio tower thing which you can also see a little bit.

Yet another gorgeous shot of St Peter's basilica taken from a bridge just like the one you see in the foreground. The river is the Tiber River.

This is a favorite picture of mine. This was as we were walking away from St Peter's. I love how St Peter's is kind of framed by the buildings and tree.

Photo op in front of St Peter's, probably one of, if not the most beautiful piece of architecture I've ever seen.

"Pieta" inside St Peter's. Mary holding Jesus after he was crucified. It will surely bring tears to your eyes.

A small portion of the vast ceiling in St Peter's Basilica. This place is so unbelievable, pictures could never capture it. It's just one of those places you have to see for yourself.

The canopy in St Peter's Basilica, also larger than life.

This ceiling in one of the hallways leading to the Sistine Chapel was unbelievably ornate. You think there is a relief (it doesn't look flat) but it is just painted.

This is a dome somewhere in the Vatican Museum. Italy is all about some domes.

We had a few pics in the Coloseum since I used both cameras there thank goodness.

This is taken from the Roman Forum which was kind of where the daily life of ancient Rome occurred. In the background to the right you can see the Vitoriano on Capitoline Hill(building with the statues on top). And right in front of that you can see the Mamertine Prison where Paul and possibly Peter were imprisoned. We lost the closer up pictures of these places.

Cool old church between Coloseum and Roman Forum, not sure what it is.

The Arch of Titus, built to commemorate the capture of Jerusalem in AD70.

Close up of the Arch of Titus.

Lunch right before we headed to the Coloseum. Yummy!

I think we ate almost all of this.

The next couple of pictures are from Campo de Fiori which is an open air market until about 2pm and then a cool place to go at night for dinner.

I loved shooting pics of all the produce. I thought one of these blown up and maybe black and white would look cool in my kitchen one day=)

Look at this tiny little Italian Woman buying meat from this trailer! She really was so small.

Piazza Navona, this was taken on our first full day in Rome.

The ginormous fountain in Piazza Navona

Dolce Vita, "The Good Life"

Fountain in Piazza Navona.

Beautiful windows and flowers are EVERYWHERE in Italy.

This was where we ate dinner the first night in Rome. I came back the next day to take a picture because I thought it was so charming.

Wide view of Navona.

I had this great plan of taking pictures of lots of bikes in Italy and making something cool with them. But I must've taken all the bike pics on my other camera, so this is the only one I have left.

Overall, Rome is a great place to visit because of the rich history and endless churches, museums and ancient ruins. I would love to go back with a Christian tourguide and learn the history of Rome from a Christian perspective. We were pretty sure our tour guide (for Coloseum and Forum) was not a Christian and it would've been interesting to hear things from another perspective. My favorite part of Rome was definitely St Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museum and especially the Pinacoteca, which is the gallery of paintings and tapestries. If you click on this link, you can take a virtual tour of it! You absolutely must do a tour of the Vatican, otherwise I don't know how you'd begin to appreciate its works. It's much more pleasant to hear the information rather than reading it out of a book. We booked our tour at the Vatican through their official webite and the tour guide was phenomenal.

The worst part of Rome is that the public transportation is soooo confusing. We just never really could figure it out. Truly it is just easier to walk most places. We would usually just give up and end up walking everywhere. We did get the Roma Pass though which gives you 3 days unlimited public transport and also two museums free and then a discount at the others you go to. So we got into the Coloseum and Palatine Hill/Roman Forum for free and then got discounts everywhere else. Next time I go back, I am going to try to learn some Italian first!

Stay tuned for pictures from Florence...