Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gotta love the McD's in Italy

McDonald's in Italy got it right. The train station in Mestre outside of Venice has the bar inside the McDonald's. What a hoot! Does Ronald look happier or is it just me?

Italia - Aviano Swim Meet

We had a terrific time. Italy is like a postcard at every turn. Remember the scenes in Mary Poppins when Burt, Mary and the children jump into the chalk pictures? That's what it's like all over Venice and Verona. We were awed by the beauty of these towns. Stepping off the Ferrovia train into Venice, the grand canal directly before you. No more cars just boats to take you around the town. The basilicas, the piazzas, the palaces, the bridges.... We spent 2 days in Venice. The first day we rode the vaporetto taxis around the city, then we walked San Marco square, toured St. Mark's basilica with the horses and went to Murano Island to see the glass makers. The next day we walked Calle Bernardo, and ate at every little side cafe on our way through to the center of the San Marco area, rode a gondola with Marco as our gondolier and walked back over the Rialto bridge past the countless stalls of vendors. Abi's favorite was the candle maker and mask makers. N's favorite was the Beatles store, he bought John Lennon shades! B's favorite was a little side store that had the best pannini in Italy just for him. We all had to go back for one, the lady was laughing after our last trip back. (See the sandwich) We tasted a different flavor of gelato each day, oh wait, N had vanilla every time. We swam a little on Sunday at the Lignano Jr. Olympic Village pool for our meet, the reason we traveled to Italy. N had an amazing 100meter breaststroke race, he took 17sec off his last time & won by a touch. A won her heat in the 50meter freestyle. After a night of celebration and deep sleep we headed to Verona. Verona was amazing with it's Roman Arena, walkways from the 14th century, walled city streets on a point of land surrounded by a river, Duomo basilica, Juliet's balcony (where you are to "rub" Juliet's breast to have luck finding your true love) and the stitching machines. We even got the older sib's names stitched too by going from one store to the next. Aren't we clever. We stayed at a cute little hotel, Ventolosa Hotel in Bergamo on our way out of Italy and had a traditional meal. The trip was wonderful! And imagine no one wanted to go...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween 2008

Well, it was a stormy-rainy night but the trick or treaters were out in mass. Mostly Spanish came to our barricades at the top of the street. The Spanish just love our American candy. All 10 families gathered to hand out our candy together. We potlucked, 3 crock pots full of warm yummy dinner, and passed out el caramelo or la dulce. It was a great evening even with the rain. Fun is fun however it's wrapping. A, JF and KC were the 3 blind mice, I only have a picture of 2 blind mice. N was Marty McFly from Back to the Future, he's standing on his board. Dad even had someone dress up like him! Too funny. The quote of the evening "Como se dice 'beat it' in Spanish?" Guess who I'm quoting? (We had some very persistent trick or treaters not in costume.) A went to Jams for the party, after treating, until 10 pm. They line danced and played games. We hung out with our friends. Halloween fun in Espana.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Braces for AAM

Isn't she adorable! Yesterday she was very excited. Black and blue bands for halloween fun. Today, she's sore and eating soup. Growing up...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Madrid 2008

We took the train to Madrid Friday a.m. and came home Sunday p.m.. Dad left his hanging bag on the train! Therefore we got extra travel into Cadiz to pick it up. Never a dull moment with our family. Sooo it took us a little longer to get home but the trip was fabulous. We stayed at the US Embassy. Dad has all the connections. Way to go Dad! We attended the Navy League of Madrid's Navy Ball. Nate & Abi stayed at the Embassy and had french fries and pizza delivered. B and M met fabulous people and looked maaahvelous too. We saw the artwork in the Prado (picked up postcards for Masterpiece, game on), toured the Palace in Madrid (we are going to keep track of our palatial touring), rode the red bus (again) and ate at the Hard Rock Cafe of Madrid. The pulled pork sandwich was good for N, consensus was:food better in Madrid, rock memorabilia better in London. Although Michael Jackson's red shoes, size 9.5 were on the wall as well as John Lennon's beaded jacket. There was an hour wait for a table so Mom outwitted the line of patient people and snagged a table in the bar where we sat down right away! Mom rocks at the Hard Rock, ha! We saw the historical section and the modern sections of Madrid. It is amazing how these old cities blend all the architecture into neighborhoods. We had delicious ice cream Sat night after visiting and meeting new families. Everyone is so kind and generous in the network of military families abroad. It's worth the pains of leaving loved ones behind, at times. We were awed by the Palace, the views, the rooms and it's grounds. Hard to imagine living there. I believe it's larger than Buckingham Palace. The stone guard shack was a favorite of the kids, they are peeking out of it. There is art all over the city, buildings, fountains and statues galore. Christopher Colon's square was terrific with huge blocks of granite with the names of all the sailors listed. Bill had to read all the inscriptions in Spanish of course. The Plaza Mejor was beautiful and the artists painting in the square were so good, it was exciting to watch the paintings being painted. Abi wanted to buy the acrylic floral paintings we watched being painted. She was jumping up and down, with amazement as the artists painted. It's a joy to watch her excitement. We ate lunch at the Museo de Jamon in the plaza, B and N love their jamon. Men are so thrilled by simple things like jamon!!! Another trip accomplished with frustration, tiredness, map reading and great pleasure. Europe is still calling our names. Italy is our next stop.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Homecoming DGF

Our team won and the dance was fun. I made breakfast for N and his friends after the dance. The Sophmore theme was the XMEN and they decorated their locker area in a competition with the other classes. Theirs was the best but as protocol goes the Seniors won. The parade was fun to watch too! Those large military trucks are great for decorating and riding on. Isn't he handsome...

Flocked (Relay for Life), San Lucar outing

Well, it's been a busy week since I returned from Virginia. I've included photos of our grilled chocos (squid) and the favorite of the region the tortillas camarones (shrimp crisps). We were at a San Lucar venta called Casa Balbino on the square in San Lucar. It was a beautiful setting, the tortillas were delicious, and I can pass on the grilled chocos next time. The Relay for Life group is sending around a flock of pink flamingos!!! You get flocked at night and then as a fund raiser pay to remove the flock, send the flock to another address and pay insurance not to have the flock return. It was great fun having the flock to visit. What a great idea and fun too. We hope the flock returns! The picture of the blue tahoe shows why I sold our big blue suburban! We were up on the curb, pinned next to the tree and it took KG 15 minutes to find a suitable spot and then another 10 min to finagle or finesse her large American truck into the parking spot. It was worth a chuckle or two. We are continuing to enjoy our new friends, finding out how American we are and being treated so kindly by the Spanish. Hasta luego mi amigos y familia.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

VMI Parents Weekend 2008

I had a terrific time with CAM at VMI! He is happy and succeeding as a Brother Rat. His year has gone on with much training, drilling, yelling and education. His classes are small and he gets much individual attention from his professors. I met many of his fellow rats and his dyke, who is a 1st class. They were all so very polite and seemed to actually like us parents. I met his other family from Virginia Beach who take care of him when we're not around for VMI events. T and John have been very kind and generous to C. They were a pleasure to be with at both pre-game and post-game tailgating. Their son has the same dyke as C. J is pictured with Clay in front of the tailgate tent and VMI banners; their big brother, D is between them. I met a bunch of parents too who were proud of their Keydet sons. What a great time the 3 days were. MLM and her friends came up for the football game and were glad they attend UVa. We won the football game which is a mixed blessing as a Rat because they have to do push ups for every point. The Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains were fabulous to be in at the turning of the leaves, my fav time in Virginia. I'm already planning our adventure next year when C is a 3rd Class and a true part of the Core. Go Keydets!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Londres Swim Meet

What a terrific time. Ryan Air is slow but gets us to our destination. We did London in a day, whirlwind... Big Bus Tours, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Tower of London, Queens Jewels, Sherlock Holmes store, Beatles store - plane, bus, train, ferry, taxi, tube (Underground) all in a weekend. Crazy fun. We saw the musical Wicked, still pondering some of it's message; but thoroughly enjoyed the music, sets and costumes. Jersey Boys is the next musical I'd like to see. NJM LOVED Abbey Road. I was over-joyed to see that he is not the only crazy Beatles fan; many others were taking their shoes off for pictures there too. Abi enjoyed the London Eye scenery. We saw a couple get engaged, with champagne being served, in the pod next to us while riding high in the sky. What an idea! We hope to do some museums & other cathedrals next visit. We went to Lakenheath AFB for our swim meet and brought home 2 4th place ribbons in the 100 meter freestyle. Go swimmers! We finished off the weekend with a visit to a cathedral at Bury St. Edmunds and lunch at the Queen's Head pub for fish & chips. Wonderful trip. Cheerio!