Wednesday, August 31, 2011

a perfect Sunday

One of my favorite things to do is look out my window and watch the boats going to and from Ischia. I especially love when the boats turn orange as the sun goes down.

All summer, I have spent hours daydreaming about being on one of those boats with my hair whipping in the breeze and the taste of salt water on my lips. I imagined myself jumping out to snorkel. I imagined sitting in one of the natural hot pools, and then eating seafood at one of the magnificent restaurants that are only reachable by boat.

As fate would have it, I got a call from a friend saying he'd rented a boat to spend Sunday boating around Ischia and he wondered if we wanted to join him and his family.

Obviously, we said yes.

The waters were "a little rough," as our friend's two-year-old kept reminding us, so I was very happy when our friend told us he has a boat captain's license. More than once, I thought I was going to toss my cookies, or that we were going to capsize, or that I would just get swept away and fall out of the boat. I noticed  my kid screaming, "Wahoo! Weee! Ahhh! Yeeehaaaw" with every bump we hit. I decided to join him and just sit back and enjoy myself. Churning pregnant stomach and all. Remembering that the guy driving the boat had some experience and knew what he was doing allowed me to enjoy it all the more. 

I think this might be a good time to interrupt this riveting story to tell you that the photos in the post were taken with the iphone because I didn't want to risk the camera on the boat.  I blame the finger on the waves.

We did make it to a restaurant where we had to park the boat, but the waters were so rough that I thought we wouldn't make it. I was worried we might bash our heads into the rocks or lose a kid to one of the waves (pregnancy and motherhood cause me to have strange, sometimes dramatic, and always irrational fears). Little did I know that our captain was quite innovative and determined. Before I could even begin to think straight, he got that boat parked and got us all (including an infant) onto dry land without any injury. Don't ask me how he did it. All I know is that I was of no help and that 007 was a good assistant to the captain.

Thanks to Will and 007's innovation and determination, we were able to eat an obscene amount of delicious seafood amongst good company.

Then we snorkeled in the waters, and I spent some time in a natural hot spring and all was right with the world.

Thanks again to Captain William for giving me a perfect Sunday.

Monday, August 29, 2011

moves like Justin Bieber and Uncle Michael

While I write about our exciting weekend, let me entertain you with another video of our dear son. This was back in May when we were in Istanbul. I think I had turned on the video simply to capture the sounds and sights and hustle and bustle of Istanbul, but ended up getting something much more interesting.

Hope this puts a smile on your face for a minute today.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Rolling in Amsterdam

Here's a little something for your entertainment while I rest my tired, pregnant brain that apparently forgot how to put numbers in the correct order...

Something to think about while watching the video: Graham absolutely thinks he is going a hundred miles per hour down this hill. Just listen to his excitement.

Have a happy Friday!

Monday, August 22, 2011

what do to with 6 short hours in Amsterdam when you are pregnant and have a 4-year-old in tow

1) Find a spot near the canals to eat some delicious international cuisine. We chose French, and we were very happy, but I think I saw almost every part of the world represented in restaurants in Amsterdam. We even saw a Tibetan restaurant.


2) Frantically search for a bike rental place with the best deal in town. Then, after walking for an hour or so, decide to just rent one from the next place you see. Make sure they have a good helmet for your kid. The brighter, the better.

3) Ride your bike across town and make sure to go through the parks and take a whiff or two of the marijuana at the coffee shops. Try not to let the smell make you throw up.

4) Drag your 4-year-old through the Van Gogh museum. Literally. Grab him by both hands, let him slide his feet on the floor, and drag him.


5) Act a little weird, because anything goes in Amsterdam.

7) Swiftly ride past the home of Ann Frank and glance at it, but don't bother taking pictures. You won't have time.

6) Stop at a flower shop and yell at your husband to hurry up and get some bulbs before your bikes are due back at the rental shop.

8) Enjoy the sights of the house boats as you make your way on foot back to the train station. Again, do not take pictures, because you won't have time.

9) Plan another trip to Amsterdam, because you need more time to see it all and enjoy it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

a favorite thing

If you asked Tony or I, "What is one of your favorite things to do," we would both reply, "Hiking."

We haven't had the chance to live near mountains since we've been married, so, needless to say, but I'm going to say it anyway, we really miss mountains.

So, we decided to spend as much time as possible in the Alps on our road trip. We wanted to teach Graham to love the great outdoors, too, so we slept in barns in the mountains and enjoyed as much fresh air as we could.


In the end, I think it's safe to say that if you asked Graham now, "What is one of your favorite things to do," he, too, would reply, "Hiking." 

We were actually pretty surprised with how much climbing and walking the little guy did. We made it to the top of two pretty good-sized trails. Other hikers noticed him. We would hear them talking to each other saying, "Whoa! That kid walked all the way up here!"

Our hearts swelled with pride.

You see, Tony loves being in the mountains so much that when he was a good little Catholic school boy, he chose Saint Bernard, patron saint of alpinists and skiers, as his confirmation saint. Since then, he has dreamed of crossing the Grand Saint Bernard pass between Switzerland and Italy where Saint Bernard built a hospice for weary travelers a long, long, long, long time ago.

Um, yes. The altitude combined with pregnancy left me feeling a bit woozy. It's the first time I've ever experienced any sort of altitude sickness. I mean, I was raised at 6,240 feet! You would think I could handle it.


 They've been raising St. Bernard dogs (you can guess their namesake) on this pass for quite awhile, too. The dogs were, and still are, used to find and rescue lost travelers.

Tony has always wanted to meet these dogs.

For him, the whole experience was a wonderful dream come true.

He got to stay in the hospice, hike the trails where Saint Bernard once walked, and teach his son to love the great outdoors.


It just doesn't get much better than that.

Monday, August 15, 2011

stopping for picnics

There are entirely too many cool places to visit in Europe. To see them all is almost impossible, but boy do we try. One of the things we like to do on road trips is to find a neat town along the way and stop for a picnic. Sometimes, we end up staying longer than planned, but it is always worth the stop.

Here are three of my favorites from our recent trip.

First up is Lake Como, Italy.

We found a nice, little park right in the center of town where we could look at the water, watch all the people, soak up some sun, and enjoy a delicious lunch.

Next, we have Lucerne, Switzerland. Wow. What a beautiful and orderly place.

Again, we found a spot right on the water and enjoyed some of the local delicacies from the grocery store in town.

Finally, we stopped in Trier, Germany, which was once part of Rome a long, long, long time ago. This was a surprisingly neat little tourist spot with an old Roman gate and the Dom St. Peter.

Clearly I'm not in the mood for much commentary.

We'll blame it on the pregnancy.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

... and, we're back

Stork Photo Source

Well, we were just welcomed home to a disgusting refrigerator on account of the fact that the electricity went out in our home while we were gone. When that happens in this house, it just trips the breaker, so even when the electricity returns, it doesn't come back on in the house until someone switches the breaker switch. That means we had a bunch of rotten food.


I can't wait to tell you about all our exciting adventures over the past two weeks, but I simply cannot write another word or sleep another night or take another breath without announcing here that we're going to have another baby! Yep, I'm pregnant, which actually adds quite a bit of context to our adventures once I get around to telling you about them.

Meanwhile, Tony is stuck cleaning up the fridge while I attempt to not breathe in any of the rotting scents for fear that I will vomit.

Wish us luck.

We'll see you tomorrow.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

quick update

The Ramblin' Fam is fine and well and enjoying the Air Force base in Ramstein, Germany.

I won't lie. I have no photos for you, yet, because I am too lazy to put them on the computer. Don't worry, though. they will come.

The laser operation went as well as expected and 007 is in full recovery mode. We plan to drive to the Netherlands tomorrow, but it all depends on his pain level. So far, so good.

You haven't heard from me this week, because I did actually spend a glorious 3 hours with Ben Harper, and I did actually frolic in a meadow on the top of a mountain in the Alps, and I did actually sleep in some straw in a barn.

Tomorrow's mission: eat some German potatoes and sausages.

I'm pretty sure there's still time on this trip for me to swim in a freezing lake, too, and maybe get some fondue.

Life is good.

Go enjoy it.