Monday, October 31, 2011

an abbreviated recap of our road trip

Since we're about to head out on another trip on Wednesday, I thought I'd better finish telling you about our last trip. Sorry it's taking me so long to fill ya'll in. I'm just having way too much fun gabbing and touring with Grandma and Grandpa to take the time to sit down and write.

After perusing Venice for a couple of days (where we did not get lost), we skipped on over to a quiet beach town on the Adriatic coast called Pesaro. By quiet, I mean completely boarded up and closed down for the winter. Italians do not touch the beach if the temperature is below, say, 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It's against their religion.

So, we had a smashing good time with the sand all to ourselves.

 As my grandparents were planning their trip, they pretty much told me I could take them wherever I wanted to go. They said they trusted me. The only request my grandma made was to see any place "where miracles occurred." One time, she sent me an email asking if we could go over to Lanciano, where it is believed that a Eucharistic miracle happened a long, long, long time ago.

So, that is where I took her.

Lanciano turned out to be another little quiet town. We managed to show up right at "riposo" time, which is when all businesses and churches shut down from 1pm to 3pm or so. It was a struggle to even find an open lunch joint, but we did it! That's where we met up with a pilgrim group from Singapore. All the pilgrims fell in love with Graham and started snapping his photo, and the priest took a liking to my grandma, and before we knew it, we were attending a private mass with them right under the miraculous Eucharist.

I'm pretty sure Grandma will write about that experience in her journal. Or her non-existent scrapbook. What I'm trying to say is that she will never forget it. It was very memorable.

Well, geeze, look at the time! I need to go make this crew some dinner.

Have a good time eating lots of candy today!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

scenes from Venice

Here's a little taste of what we saw during our two days in Venice.

I would like to mention that we did not get lost at all. As you can see from the photo above, Venice has really good street signs and indicators pointing you right where you want to go.

That's my kind of town!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

lost in Orvieto

I didn't want to talk about it. I thought that talking about it would cause me to focus on it more. I was trying to just forget about it and pretend it didn't exist. I should have known better. With six years of education in psychology and counseling under my belt, I should have known that talking about a feeling helps one to process it and cope with it.

Had I listened to my own counseling advice and actually expressed to ya'll how terrified I was to set out on a road trip to several unknown, never-before-visited-by-me towns in Italy without my trusty navigator/partner/love-of-my-life, then I may not have gotten myself and my grandparents utterly lost in Orvieto. I'm talking like, totally, completely, had-no-clue-which-side-of-the-town-I-was-on-and-couldn't-understand-the-map-L-O-S-T   LOST!

Then, it got dark and I got scared, so I made my grandparents climb up and down yet another hill with me, even though they were dog-tired and pretty frightened themselves. Then, all of a sudden, I was sure I knew where I was, so I told them to sit down while I went and got the car. I told them I would be back to pick them up. I had to walk back to them with my tail between my legs, because I was wrong. I had no idea where I was.

I felt defeated.

Finally a couple of angels appeared and walked with us through the streets and hills of Orvieto one last time and guided us right to my car.

They say this town holds evidence of a miracle in its cathedral.

You can believe in miracles if you want, obviously. But, if you ask me, the fact that I stopped and asked a couple for help after being so frustrated with everyone else in the town leading me in the wrong direction, and that the couple happened to speak perfect English and happened to be natives of Orvieto and happened to know exactly which parking garage I was describing to them, is, well,  nothing short of miraculous.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

all the things I need to tell you

 Have I told you about my internet fiasco? Stop me if I've already mentioned it. The short of it is that we are being penalized with a very slow connection for exceeding our download limit that I never knew existed. I was under the impression that my connection would be back to normal by now, but it is not. I know I'm being whiny and ungrateful by saying this, but the slow connection really is making me go insane. I can't talk to anyone on skype. It takes years to upload pictures to blog about. And, worst of all, Googlemaps takes FOR EV ER to load, and I really need Googlemaps in my life as I plan these Italian adventures with my grandparents. Okay, I'm done. I know. I sound like a spoiled brat. Sorry.

Then, there was the license plate fiasco. Oh my goodness gracious, people. Somehow, my rear license plate fell off while I was driving to Rome to get my grandparents. We got pulled over on the way home from Rome, so I went straight to the motor vehicle office on the base the day after we got home from Rome (I rhyme) thinking that they would just simply give me a new plate. But, that would be far too simple for this place. The MVRO lady told me I had to make a report to the security office before I could get new plates. After adding all possible details to the story of my missing plate in the security report, the security officer told me I had to then make a report with the Caribinieri (the Italian officials), which required making an appointment with the crime investigator office on the base so that someone could take me to the Caribinieri office. Well, I just didn't have time to do that on that particular day and the security officer assured me there was no hurry, so I drove away without a rear plate. I got pulled over again and the police officer told me I was not allowed to drive in the city without a plate. Duh. Eventually, I made an appointment, reported everything to the Caribinieri as if some crazy crime had happened to me or something, then drove to Assisi. Got pulled over again in Assisi, because, you see, I still had no plate, because, you see, the MVRO office did not have time to get me one on the day I made the report. Fast forward a few days after Assisi. I walk into the MVRO with aaaalllll the proper paperwork and my front license plate, and the lady says to me, "Um, do you have Power of Attorney for your husband, because he should really be the one to sign the papers." I think steam was coming out of my ears, but I kindly replied to the lady, "Well, I don't know if it's current, but I've had Power of Attorney in the past. My husband has absolutely no time to come sign these papers. Will you please just let me do it?" I think she sensed my desperation, because she allowed it, and finally I got myself some dadgum license plates.

Which reminds me. I need to tell you about Tony's work fiasco. He's been working until well past 10pm each night this week, then getting up and leaving by 7 am. One night, he didn't make it home until 2 am. Tomorrow, he leaves for Africa where he will work his heart out for a week. It's been crazy. I really do feel sorry for him.

In the meantime, I've been entertaining my grandparents with things like ultrasounds! They got to see their great-grandbaby wave to them on the screen. It was quite magical. Neither of them had ever seen a live ultrasound (only pictures). I think it really blew their minds to see that little heart a pumpin' away in there! It blew my mind, too! I am happy to report that our baby currently has two arms, two legs, a heart, a brain, a spine, kidneys, and fingers and toes. Whether it has a penis or a vagina will not be known until the day it is born. Sorry, Aunt Libbey. You'll just have to wait.

Hmm, what else was I going to tell you? Oh, yes, Assisi. It was, well, awesome is the word that is coming to me, to see the looks on my grandparents' faces as the stories of Saint Francis and Saint Claire were unfolded before their eyes. It's exactly why I told them I wanted to be their tour guide and did not allow them to go on any bus tours of Italy. I want to see them experience this place and soak it all in.

Then, there was Perugia and the giant chocolate festival. Pure insanity. Totally crowded with lots of wind. Not a good combination, but my grandparents took it in stride and we all managed to have a really good time. We sampled some good chocolate and ate the famous sandwiches from a street vendor. My grandpa just kept looking around and exclaiming, "Amazing!"

Whelp, I think I'll leave it at that, folks. I've got some laundry to fold, a husband to talk to, a trip to pack for, and a bed to get to so I can take my fancy new license plates and drive to Orvieto tomorrow.

Have a great night, ya'll.

And, as usual, thanks for listening to me ramble on.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Assisi and Perugia through the eyes of my grandpa

 Welp, guess what, folks? I went all the way to Assisi with two dead camera batteries.

I know.


Guess what else, folks? I'm really quite tired. This 12 ounce little bundle inside me sure does suck the energy right out of me. I don't remember ever feeling this fatigued when Graham was only 12 ounces.

Anyway, the point is that I don't have any pictures of my own and I don't have energy to write much, so I've taken it upon myself to steal pictures from my grandpa's camera, touch them up a tiny bit, and share them here with you.

Um, that just took about half a century to get these pictures on the blog, so I'm just gonna head to bed, now.

In the morning, when I have energy, I will actually tell you about our time in Assisi and the insane chocolate festival in Perugia. Also, remind me to tell you about my internet fiasco. And my license plate fiasco. And our ultrasound.

And, guess what else, folks?? Tomorrow (October 19th) is my grandpa's birthday! He's turning 72 years young.

To celebrate, I am taking him to the heart of Crazy Naples.

I better go get some sleep!

Bouna Notte.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

love love love this kid

Last night, my grandparents were having a discussion about how I ought to go into the cookie-baking business, because I make some pretty good chocolate chip cookies. I don't know. It's a gift, I suppose. What can I say?

I told them that I'd never want to make a business out of doing something I love. With the exception of counseling, that is. I said something along the lines of, "Someday, I will be a professional counselor. Just not while I'm here, I guess." For a second, my mood started spiraling down as I thought of how difficult it will be for me to get a job after taking these three years off in Naples. As if sensing my sadness, Graham piped up and said, "Mom. I changed my mind. I don't want to be a firefighter when I grow up anymore. I want to be a counselor. Like you." Instantly, my mood was lifted as I imagined Graham and I running a counseling clinic together someday.

When he grows up...

Take your time, though, sweet boy.

There's no need to hurry.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

snapshots of Rome

Just a little proof of all the adventuring my grandparents have been doing.... In no particular order, because that is the order in which they uploaded and I do not want to take the time to reorder them (type A I am not)...

See beyond all the golden hoopla and there is a piece of wood from the manger of Baby Jesus (if you believe). Located in Santa Maria Maggiore.

Having some fun on the famous Spanish Steps

A neat Roman moment.

An accidental neat picture of a neat Roman moment. Thank you sunshine and dirty lens.

Trevi Fountain with tourists.

Cute kid with a slinky in a crowd in Rome.

Cute kid with a slinky in a crowd near the Pantheon in Rome.

Long, crowded Deacon ordination mass at St. Peter's in Rome.

Christine!! With giant child and mother in St. Peter's in Rome.

School of Athens painting inside Vatican Museums. In Rome.

Ancient ruins at the Roman Forum in Rome.

Cute kid next to large doors at San Giovanni in Laterno, the actual cathedral for the diocese of Rome.

I am told that these are the original doors from Rome's Senate House.

Cute kid with parents inside the Colosseum in Rome.

Really great family outside the Colosseum in Rome.

Cute kid..... In Rome.

Trevi Fountain sans tourists in the morning.

The bridge where people lock their love and throw away the key in Rome.

On the way to Castel Sant' Angelo in Rome.

Cute kid with great-grandparents in St. Peter's Square. In Rome, of course. And, yes. Grandpa did wear the same clothes every single day. I told you they were light packers!                  

Monday, October 10, 2011


Well, folks. We made it.

When I told people that my grandparents were coming to visit, the fist reaction I'd get was, "Whoa. Wait. Your grandparents? Are they able to get around?" I'd laugh and respond by saying, "Oh, yes. They are quite young. But, we will probably have to change our usual pace a bit..."

I was right. We did have to slow down from our usual city exploration pace, but trust me when I tell you it was only a little bit. I am still in awe of the amount of "getting around" my grandparents did while we were in Rome.

I picked them up from the airport, drove them through the madness of Rome, and made them lug their suitcases (not many suitcases, though, because they are amazingly light packers) several blocks to the apartment I'd rented right smack dab in the middle of all the craziness. I woke them up bright and early the next morning and made them sit through a 3 hour mass at St. Peter's. Then, since I'm cheap and don't like to spend money on cabs, I made them navigate the Rome city bus system. They not only endured all the bumps, confusion, and standing-room-only on the buses, but they did so with smiles. Aaand, let's not forget to mention how much walking I made them do. Incredible. Almost unbelievable, actually.

Obviously, they impressed me with their strength and ability to get around a giant city, but what really puts the cherry on top is that my grandma was clever enough to bring several little gifts for Graham. We decided to let him earn one each day by cooperating and going through all the churches and museums. That kid will do anything for a slinky, I guess, because he was an absolute saint during the entire trip.

One of the gifts she brought for him was a snap bracelet with the word "Rockstar" written in large letters on it. I think I need to find two more of those bracelets so my grandparents can proudly wear them around, because when it comes to touring Italy, they truly are rockstars.

Stay tuned for more photos from Rome and more adventures to come. The plan is to hang out here in Naples for a few days and then head to Assisi on Friday.

So, rest up and get ready!

Ciao, for now!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Pack your bags and saddle up! We're going to Rome today!

If you're not familiar with the story that goes along with the image above, you can read about it here. Gotta love Wikipedia, right?

I need to go get myself packed and make sure I know where in the world I am driving to. I'll be without Navigator 007 today, so please pray for me that I don't get stuck in some tiny avenue in the middle of the city. Or worse, end up in Florence or something.

Peace out, ya'll!

Monday, October 3, 2011

exciting week ahead

Today is the beginning of a very exciting week for me. First of all, in a few short hours, I am going to meet Tony Horton. You know, the creator of the P90X workouts. He's coming to the base where Tony (Blaine) works to promote something or another. Those of you who have experienced his workouts will understand why this is so exciting in a comical way. Let me know if you'd like his autograph.

On Wednesday, I get to drive to Rome and pick up my Grandma and Grandpa Kelly from the airport. Finally, some family is making it out here to visit us. They will be over here until the middle of November. They want to see Italy, so I am going to be their tour guide. That means you have to get ready to tour Italia via the blog. We'll start our adventures with five days in Rome. Get excited.

While in Rome, I am going to get to meet up with Christine, a good pal from Gonzaga! Another familiar face to help me combat this awful homesickness I've been feeling! Yay!

On Thursday (while in Rome), I will celebrate my 29th birthday. This means it will be time to start enjoying every minute of my last year in my twenties. It's gonna be a good year.

I guess I better go rest up, though, huh?

I think I'll leave you with a quote from the one and only Tony Horton:

"Do your best, and forget the rest."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

17 weeks

I've asked around and the consensus seems to be that I should absolutely, most definitely, positively, please, please, please, put belly pictures on the blog.

Soooo, since I got a little dolled up for an afternoon birthday tea party and was actually wearing something other than comfy shorts and a frumpy tee shirt, I thought I'd take the opportunity to get some pictures of my growing belly.

And now, without further ado, I give a belly shot.

At my 16 week check-up, the doctor said I wasn't big enough to measure, yet. I beg to differ. I see a solid bump.

What do you think?