Sunday, August 26, 2012

I'll be back....

I know, long time no post. The graphics card went out/burnt out in my desktop computer {which is where all my photos are stored} so I won't be blogging for a bit. This week is also the start of school so we're busy busy! I'll update as soon as I can!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

One of my favorite Italian towns...Lucca!

 On Wednesday we made the short drive from Pisa, to Lucca. I love Lucca...I'd say it's my favorite walled city in Italy. We (or course) rode the bike around the wall, then after sight seeing, we hit up the market that is there each Wednesday followed by more sight seeing, riding the carousel, lunch, shopping and gelato.

 It was a long, hot hot day, but we all did quite well. And the silence on the drive home was wonderful! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How about seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa on your 50th birthday Mom?

Alternately titled : Yes, I am the coolest daughter in the world. 

I kid, I kid. But seriously, there are some perks to having your daughter move half way around the world!

On Tuesday, Nanaw's 50th Birthday, we woke up, she opened up a LOT of cards and memories from her nearest and dearest friends that I had mailed here, as did my Dad for his belated birthday. {Thanks again to everyone who helped!!}

Then we hopped in the car and drove the almost three hours to Pisa!

 Happy 50th Birthday Mom!!

After Pisa, we headed to the beach:

 After  bit of swimming and playing, we packed it up and headed to dinner. We wanted to watch the sunset while we ate...

Hope you had a great birthday Mom!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Exploring Italy with Nanaw and Papa: Venice!

On Sunday we opted to stay near home. We went to the big open air market in Camisano, then Papa and B went to see the new Batman movie. We were all still a little tired from the day before and we knew that Monday we were going to....Venice!

I love Venice. I don't love the crowds or all the tourist crap, but I do love the back alleys, the canals, the's adorable!

While we had been to Venice before, this was our first time taking a gondala ride and I have to say, we loved it! Our gondalier spoke English and talked enough to point on interesting buildings but not so much that it took away from the experience. We rode in one gondala and my parents rode in the other. It was fascinating to see them maneuver these long boats through tiny canals alongside other gondalas and boats. It was on my ''must do/bucket list'' while in Europe and I'm so glad I can cross it off. I'm not sure if we'll do it again as it's pretty pricey but it was well worth it for the experience!
Another pricey but well worth it stop in Venice was Hard Rock Cafe. I love Italy, I really do but I'm a Kansas girl. I'm used to meat and potatoes. I like pasta and pizza and tomatos and paninis but there is only so much one can eat before practically shouting ''I JUST WANT A CHEESEBURGER". A bacon cheeseburger that is so juicy it drips down your arm when you take a bite, kinda burger. Not a frozen patty ''maxi burger'' that they sell in other restaurants.

So when I was telling a friend about my craving she said "go to Hard Rock Cafe, it's truly American and their cheeseburgers are perfect''. So while in Venice, here I am insisting on a cheeseburger. {I do justify this by saying, it's not like I'm a tourist only here for 10 days seeking a burger...we've lived here almost 8 months, I just wanted a taste of home!}. We get there and it's like I stepped into a HRC in Chicago...I no longer felt like I was even in Italy! The staff spoke English, Styx was on TV and I was given a buzzer to wait til the table was ready! We were seated very quickly and I immediately opened the menu and there it was! The "Legendary 10 oz Cheeseburger" is €16.95...or almost $22. For a burger and fries. I didn't even care. I ordered it, cooked medium, and waited. When it came...oh my gosh was it everything I had hoped for and more! I didn't get a picture of it, I was so excited to dive right in. And I'm not even ashamed to admit that I ate damn near the entire thing. I don't think it was the lack of having had a burger in so long either ,as it was truly delicious.

So we ate at Hard Rock and wandered around St. Marks Square:

 All in all, we had a blast in Venice. And it wasn't even that crowded!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sissy is 22 months old!

Sissy this is the first time I have forgotten to take your monthly pictures on the fourth; we were in Germany and I completely forgot until we returned home and I realized it was the fifth already. Time is flying by! At 22 months you....

  • are finally weaning. You're down to nursing just one time, about every other day! I think once your brothers start school and our routine changes, you'll be done all together. 
  • use your silverware correctly and without being reminded (most of the time). 
  • know all of your body parts; including tricky ones like ankle and elbow.
  • love to play pretend. In your playhouse, with your kitchen or with your dolls you will bring me a 'ringing' phone, you will make your brothers eat the cookies you 'baked'. You will meow like a cat and crawl around or run real fast like a car. 
  • are moving up to size 6 shoes. Still in 18-24mos clothes and size 3 or 4 diaper though.
  • can say 'ciao' 'arrivederci' 'gelato'
  • still aren't a big talker but you're getting better! You can say ''where's *insert name here*" you say ''i love you'' ''night-night'' ''want that'' ''what they doing?" and foods such as ''apple, banana, juice, milk, cheese". we're working on saying ''please and thank you'' clearer. you can say objects like ''car, bug, shoe''. 
  • are bossy, and demanding and spoiled rotten but you're also very lovable, gentle and kind. 


Having Nanaw and Papa here was a LOT of fun! However, it was also a lot of running around, a lot of late nights, a lot of traveling and very little time for blogging. They were here for 16 days and in that time, we went to 14 different towns, 3 different countries and 3 different regions of Italy. Whew! I took a ton of photos! (600+) So I'm gonna try to do a daily recap, it may be slightly boring to read but I'd like to remember and I know it'll help Nanaw and Papa too. It may take me several days but I should be able to record everything but I did get some nice pictures so skip the write ups if you'd like!

Day 1, I shared photos already. They arrived, we went up to Mount Berico and had dinner.

Day 2, B had to work. So while he worked, Nanaw and Papa, the kids and I went to the Italian mall, ate paninis, let the kids play at Baby World, then had gelato. We met B at work and went to dinner at one of our favorite little restaurants, Regina's.

Day 3, we were getting a late start waking up and trying to decide where we wanted to go. We were contemplating if it was too hot for Soave, when we got a phone call from the PX...we had won a Step 2 Playhouse giveaway! I had put my name and pertinent info on a slip of paper two weeks prior and we actually won. So we headed to post to pick it up! They wanted photos for their little paper of the kids in the playhouse, then they cleaned it up, we ate a quick lunch at Burger King and we were able to bring it home.
We opted to grill at home for dinner, so the kids could play.

Day 4 we decided to visit the nearby zoo and the towns of Marostica, Nove and Bassano del Grappa. Nove is known for their ceramics. The zoo was up first.

After the zoo, we attempted to go to Nove. Nove is known for it's ceramics. Many of the shops make/produce collections by Tiffany and Co, Lenox, William Sonoma, Ralph Lauren, etc as well as their own pieces which obviously look more Italian. However, those crazy Italians and their schedules....everywhere was closed by 1:30 on a Saturday so we ended up eating in Nove, then moving on to Marostica.

Marostica is a walled city with 2 castles, that is known for it's Live Human Chess match which occurs every other year, on even years. They're preparing for one this September and while Mom and Dad won't be here then, we took them so they could see the town, the huge Chess board painted on the town square and to explore the medieval city.

After walking around Marostica for a few hours, we moved up the road to Bassano del Grappa. Bassano dates back to BC, so we wanted to check it out. Though we didn't spend much time there as the kids were tired, the adults were grumpy and hot and we still wanted to try to return to Nove. {which the places were still closed and it was a bust}. We definitely plan on returning though. It is very rich in history and was a big part of WW1.

 After Bassano del Grappa we headed home. Our local little town was having a Pizza in the Piazza cookoff. There were 6 or 7 pizzerias/restaurants from our local comune all in one spot; seeing who would get the most orders. It was a lot of fun but unfortunately I didn't take my camera.