Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Break in Italy

Well, it's March again and that means Joey got to take his annual trip to Europe. For the past several years he has taken a big group of high school students (and any adults that want to go, too) to Europe. This year they went to Italy. I usually go with Joey (to support him...not for any selfish reasons) but this year I'm immersed in nursing school so I let Gage go in my place. This is Gage's second time to Europe. He went to an Explorica convention in Spain with his Dad about 2 years ago and fell in love with world travel. Just like the rest of us. We love to travel! My sister and brother-in-law went as well to help Joey lead the group. The first stop on the tour of Italy was in Milan.

In the airport....Gage told me he actually likes the long flights! It took them almost 24 hours to arrive due to a 5 hour layover in London.

After arriving in Milan they went directly to the hotel for a good nights sleep. In the morning they woke up and took a boat tour to an island on a lake in Milan. (I me out if I get any of this wrong Tia and Justin. It's hard to blog about something when you WEREN'T THERE!) This is Joey and Gage with their tour director, Luchi. Joey's used Luchi for several years and loves her! (As a friend.)
Verona, Italy: In front of the famous Juliet's balcony (from Romeo and Juliet). It's the balcony on the far left.This statue underneath Juliet's balcony is supposed to help you find a mate if you rub the right breast. I think...maybe it's supposed to bring you luck. Which one, Tia?'s hard to blog about something when you didn't take the tour. Either way, my boys didn't they say.
Joey and Gage enjoying romantic Venice! I went to Italy a few years ago but Venice wasn't one of the cities we went to. I'm slightly annoyed that my son got to enjoy it with Joey instead of me! Dang school!

Joey and my sister...Tia. She's an art major and enjoyed the art way more than anyone else I think. They didn't understand why she wanted to spend so much time just staring at paintings! I would have understood if I was there, Tia.

The staple to Gage's diet was definitely McDonalds. He was so excited because they served curly fries in the McDonald's!

Florence, Italy: This cathedral is made of pink, green and white marble. It's enormous and so beautiful!

It's supposed to bring you luck if you rub the pig's nose. I don't know what happens if you PICK the nose...probably nothing good.

Lots of paintings and such on ceilings.......
Assisi, Italy: Home of the famous St. Francis of Assisi!

I think more than anything, Gage enjoyed all the "older women" on the trip. He's a self proclaimed ladies man and really liked all the attention from the high school girls. I gave my sister strict instructions to keep the girls away from my son! She tried her best and I don't think she made any friends doing it either. Thanks, T!

Rome, Italy: I love Rome! I love everything about Rome. The Colosseum, The Roman Forum...everything! I think Gage really was impressed by it, too. It's amazing!

Tia!? Where are you? Too close, Gage!! Tia!!!! I do NOT like that my baby is growing up and I especially don't like how girl crazy he is.
Vatican City...The Pope was not home unfortunately. Last time we were there he came to the window and blessed the crowd. That was interesting! The people went nuts!

The Trevi Fountain... throw in a coin and you will return there one day. Joey and Gage both threw in some coins to ensure we would be back!
Gage couldn't believe all the nudity in Italy! We constantly drill into him to not look at "bad things" and to keep his mind and thoughts clean. Then we take him to Italy where we proceed to surround him with statues and paintings full of naked men, women and children. How do you explain to a 12 year old boy that it's not okay to look at a picture of a naked woman unless you're in a museum in Italy...then it's considered art. Hmmm? Explain that one!
The boys had a great time and came home safe and sound. Joey had a little trouble with his back but thankfully Tia and Justin were there to help him lead the group. Next years trip is to France and Spain. If anyone wants to go just leave me a comment or email me and I'll get you the info on how to sign up. It's a great price and includes everything (hotel, plane, tours, breakfast and dinner, ect.) The only thing it doesn't include is lunch. Should be fun!

P.S. They also went to Pisa to see the leaning tower but I don't have those pictures. They're on my sisters camera so I will be adding those later.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Strawberry Jam Anyone?

This morning I got a call from my mom telling me that Albertsons had strawberries on sale. She wanted to know if I wanted to come over and make jam with her. Um....YES! How can you pass up homemade strawberry jam? Well, you can't! So the kids and I went over to help. They each had a job to do....
Avery was in charge of cutting the washed strawberries into smaller pieces.Drey was in charge of blending it all up.Delly was the quality control person. She "tasted" quite a few just to make sure they were up to our standards.They were so delicious and it was almost a shame to blend them up!

The kids had so much fun making jam. Drey wants to open a store so he can just make jam all day and sell it!
Did I mention that I love STRAWBERRY JAM!?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The bitter taste of DEFEAT.


Gage was one of the score keepers this year. I think he liked doing that better than when he was in Cub Scouts and actually racing!
Saturday, Drey participated in his LAST Pine Wood Derby. He will be eleven next year so won't be racing again. We knew this year would be our last chance. Joey (bless his heart) always spends so much time with the boys getting their cars just perfect! Yet, every year, with both Gage and Drey, our car was dead LAST! I really was hoping this year would be different. I don't know what the secret to a fast car is...but we do NOT have it. I was watching Drey's face when his car raced for the first run. Not only was he last...he was beat by a LONG stretch. He looked over at me and I gave him a thumbs up and he just gave me a look and put his thumb down. As the races continued, he came in last again and again. I felt so bad for him. Poor kid. He was pretty upset. Last year he didn't seem to care that he was dead last. This year he wanted to WIN! Joey tried to talk to him and perk him up but he was humiliated. Some of the other kids teased him a little about his slow-poke car. We tried to teach him a "life-lesson" and told him that sometimes you just have to be happy for your friend that is winning instead of feeling bad for yourself. He wasn't buying it. He went into the bathroom to compose himself and so Joey grabbed his car and made some "adjustments" to it. He put on some graphite and loosened up the wheels. When Drey came back out it was the final race. Wouldn't you know it....Drey's car came in FIRST place in that run! He was SOOO happy! I could not believe my eyes! His friends all gathered around and cheered with him and slapped him on the back and he was all smiles. He still came in 19th place out of 19 cars but just winning that final race made a little ten year old boy one HAPPY camper!
Drey got the award for "Scouting Spirit". I'm kind of sad we're done with Pine Wood Derbys. Even though we always had the slowest car there, it was fun to watch how into it the boys (and some of their Dads) were. Blue Lightning......