D-Day

1.  School started/summer ended

2.  Started potty-training Andie

3.  Ran for 50 minutes

1 comment August 25, 2009

I Know I’m Gonna Like it Here!!

Andie started at a new sitter this week. I was very excited about what this sitter does, but very aprehensive about how my almost 2 year old would do during all of these activities. She was going to have to lay on a mat during nap-time, stay seated in one spot during activity centers, sit still for library time, eat tuna fish, and other things that Andie doesn’t always do for me at home.

Yesterday, when I picked Andie up, I asked her sitter how she thinks Andie’s doing. Her response? “Oh, she’s perfect, she is doing very well!” You can imagine how great this made me feel!

This sitter is wonderful – she takes the kids to story time at the library, has an assigned day for water play, has “discovery stations” and other great learning activities. I know Andie’s happy at her house, and I am definately liking the experience so far.

Add a comment August 13, 2009

Pride Comes before the Fall

I headed back to work this week, complaining the whole way. I found out, though, that one of the assistant principals did the Buffalo Springs Triathlon in June – the same route that I had done in May. I asked his time, and he said, “You would ask, Aten! It was 1:54.” Which means that with my time of 1:51, I totally beat this unnamed administrator! Wa-hooooo!

I went to Step aerobics that afternoon, feeling pretty confident about my athleticism. I was jumping higher, squatting lower, and “over-the-topping” harder. That is, until I didn’t get my foot fully on the step and I fell flat on my face. I didn’t hurt anything, except my pride.

Figures.

1 comment August 13, 2009

A is for Apple

I am so impressed with Miss Andie! Yesterday she pointed to the letter “A” on my t-shirt and said, “Apple!” I said, “That’s right, A is for Apple.” I really thought this was a fluke until she later grabbed the letter A from her Leap Frog fridge alphabet, and proudly announced, “Apple!” for her Daddy and I. Patrick then told me that she had done the same thing when she saw the letter “A” on his shirt. Once, a fluke? Twice, a coincidence? Three times, ….?

I have no idea where she learned this, but I’m sure glad she did! My in-laws must be right – her I.Q. must be at least 150!

Add a comment August 2, 2009

DUUUUUUUUCK!

Remember when people used to say WHATTTTTSSSUUUUUP? in that really crazy voice? This is what my daughter does when she says “duck.” She can’t simply say, “duck!” It’s DUUUUUUUUUUCK! Cracks me up.

I wish I could put more pictures on the blog, but it is almost impossible to catch her still long enough to take a picture right now.

2 comments July 28, 2009

Italy Party 3 – Florence

So, after leaving Sorrento, we made the long drive north to Florence.  But, first, we stopped in Orvieto to see another duomo.  This church was beautiful for many reasons, but my favorite thing about it was that some of the windows were made of very thinly sliced wood rather than glass.  Fascinating.  I don’t have a picture of that, but I do have a picture (Thanks, Bonnie!) of one of the many beautiful stain-glassed windows in the church.

Stain Glass Window

Stain Glass Window

Friends in front of the Orviento Duomo

Friends in front of the Orvieto Duomo

 We arrived in Florence in the early evening.  After dropping off our luggage at the hotel (in the pouring rain), we walked to the Academy and were able to see the amazing statue of David by Michelangelo.  It’s breathtaking. I’ve taught World History for 7 years now, and have always told my students how tall it is – 18 feet – but until you stand in front of it, it’s difficult to imagine.  The museum was strictly enforcing the no photo rule, so we didn’t get any pictures.  But, I do have this picture of a replica of the David, placed in its original location in front of the Medici Palace.

David Replica

David Replica

Forgive me for going all “history nerd” on my readers, but I learned something I did not know at all about the David.  The scene is David immediately before he kills Goliath.  David is supposed to represent the city of Florence – an underdog on the Italian Peninsula – which had just recently (at the time) become an independent city-state.  I had no idea the statue was supposed to represent Florence.
On our first full day we visited THE Duomo of Florence.  The dome of the Duomo is a 2-layered dome that was built without any structure.  It is as big as the Pantheon, (45 meters in diameter, 114 meters high) a design no one had been able to recreate since the Pantheon’s creation 1400 years earlier.  The architect of the Duomo is the renowned Brunelleschi.  The inside of the dome is painted with scenes from the Last Judgement – one of the most beautiful paintings in all of Italy.
Dome of Duomo - so difficult to capture all of church in one picture

Dome of Duomo - so difficult to capture all of church in one picture

In Florence it is illegal to build any building taller than the dome of the Duomo and it is easy to understand their thinking.
The view of Florence and me doing my "Pretty Woman" impersonation

The view of Florence and me doing my "Pretty Woman" impersonation

The baptistry of the Duomo was a separate building.  Once a year, all the babies who had born in that year were brought to the church and baptized together, thereby unifying the citizens of Florence.  The eastern doors of the baptistry, created by Ghiberti are the most famous – they are known as the “Gates of Paradise” as penned by Michelangelo.  They are golden 3 dimensional scenes from the Old Testament.  It took Ghiberti 27 years to complete the doors – crazy!
Paradise Gates

Paradise Gates

 Another historical site in Florence is the Ponte Vecchio, or “Old Bridge.”  This bridge in its hey-day of the 1400s, was the site of many goldsmith shops on the lower level of stores, and on top of the stores sat offices of the important Medici family (they were the McDougals of Florence).  During WWII, as the Allies advanced into Italy and the Germans were retreating, the Nazis destroyed every bridge in Florence except this one.  We heard some conflicting stories about why it was preserved, but the one that I think is probably most accurate is that it was too narrow for the American tanks to cross, so why waste ammo?  The Nazis decided to blow up the nearby buildings instead, creating rubble that would make it more difficult to cross. 

The Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio

We visited another church, the Santa Croce because it is home to the graves of so many influential Renaissance leaders:  Dante Aligheri, Niccolo Machiaveli, Michelangelo (who was originally from Florence), Galileo Galilei, and many others.
Dante Aligheri's Grave

Dante Aligheri's Grave

Michelangelo's Grave

Michelangelo's Grave

Florence is famous for its leather district, so of course we did a ton of shopping there!  We made sure to rub the nose of this boar, though, as it is a sign that you will someday return to Florence.
boar

I have to admit that when we first started walking through Florence, I thought to myself, “Why did Lucy (“While You Were Sleeping”) want to come here so badly?”  But the longer we were in Florence the more my attitude changed.  By the end of our stay there, it was probably my most favorite city.  Maybe it was the safe atmosphere, or perhaps the slower pace of the people, or quite possibly the bathtub in our hotel room (the only one we’d see the entire trip), something made me fall in love with that city!

2 comments July 25, 2009

Italy part 3 – Sorrento, Pompeii, and Capri

The second part of our Italy trip included a stay in beautiful Sorrento, a morning at Pompeii – the sight of the ruined city destroyed by the eruption of nearby Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D., and an afternoon on the island of Capri.

In Sorrento, our hotel was called “Europa Palace” and it truly was a palace – so beautiful!  The only thing, though, is that our showers were incredibly small.  They were incredibly small the entire trip, but this was the worst.  I’m not a big person and I had a hard time maneuvering around in this shower.  We ended up shaving our legs in the b’day (no idea how to spell that). 

europa palace

WHat can I say, I loved Pompeii!  We were able to see a few of the plaster of Pompeiians (most are in a museum in Naples) which was amazing.  The people were covered in 25 feet of ash, then it rained.  The rain compacted the ash on top of the bodies.  As time passed, the bodies decayed, but the empty cavity remained.  As archeologists discovered this, they decided to fill the empty cavities with a plaster, then chip away the ash, leaving behind plaster in the shape of the Pompeiians exactly as they were the moment they died.  You can understand from a history nerd’s perspective that this is significant!  This helps us capture a Roman city exactly as it was. 

Entrance to Pompeii

Entrance to Pompeii

There were many stray dogs around Pompeii.  I think they keep them around out of respect for the former Pompeiians.  The early Pompeiians kept dogs as watchdogs, and in the second picture you can tell that the dog was chained and trying to escape all of the ash
"beware of dog" mosaic at entrance to Pompeiian house

"beware of dog" mosaic at entrance to Pompeiian house

pompeii dog

Plaster of Pompeii Dog

Stray Pompeii dog

Stray Pompeii dog

 One of the saddest sights was a pregnant woman who had fallen face down and was trying to protect herself and her baby.

Pomprii pregnant woman

Pompeii pregnant woman

A few of us also went into a cameo shop at Pompeii to see how they are made.  I purchased a cameo there for Andie.  It shows a mother and her baby with a blue background so I plan to give it to her when she gets married.

At Capri, we mostly did a lot of shopping.  there’s a perfumeria there where they make their own unique perfume.  We also stuck our feet in the Mediterranean, which was painful because it’s not a sandy beach, but a very rocky one.  Ouch!  Of course, we ate gelatto.  We ate gelatto every day in Italy.  “When in Rome (or anywhere else in Italy for that matter)…”  My friend Heather had told me before leaving that Italians don’t drink capuccinos after lunch in Italy.  I found out why that day.  I had a capaccino with my gelatto and had an incredibly rough time sleepy that night.  Man, it was good though.

Fun times!

Fun times!

coffee and gelatto 2

Gelatto and capaccino in Capri

On to Florence!  Passport check, everyone!

1 comment July 16, 2009

Two…..

Andie and I have started a new game.  After changing her diaper, clothes, etc. I sit her up on the edge of her changing table and count to 3.  At 3, I pull her off the changing table and swing her around a little bit.  She has caught on to the game and now when she wants me to swing her, she says, “Two….”.  I’m trying to teach her that 2 comes between 1 and 3, but it is the cutest thing I think I have ever heard!  It absolutely makes my day every time she does it.

Today we were driving around town and I could hear her in the  back saying, “Buy….Two….Pree.”  She said it several times in a row.  We obviously still need to work on one and three, but oh what fun it is to watch your child learn!

1 comment July 10, 2009

Italy Part 2 – More Rome

I’ve uploaded some pictures from my friend Bonnie and student Katie, so I’ve decided to add more pictures of Rome rather than go on to Sorrento.

Add a comment July 10, 2009

Italy, part 1 – Rome

Alright, I believe I am ready to start blogging about my trip to Italy.  It was June 23rd – july 2nd and we toured Rome, Tuscany, Florence, and Venice.  I plan to break things down into 1 city at a time and try to not bore my 6 readers with too many historical details.  As you can probably tell, I loved every minute  of the trip, and I would love to go back someday with Patrick.

We will be starting our tour in Rome.

The first night we were in Rome we were able to have some alone time with our tour guide Adam, a Brit who speaks very fluent Italian.  He took us along the Tiber River (which was very close to our hotel) so we could see some great sights.  I think the highlight was the Trevi fountain, the grandest fountain in Rome (and they have A LOT of fountains).  Supposedly, if you throw 2 coins over your left shoulder, you will return to Rome, 3 coins means you come back with your love.  Our girls added this to the tradition:  3 coins means you dump the one you’re with and return with someone new.

Trevi Fountain - I threw two coins.

Trevi Fountain - I threw two coins.

The next day we went to the Vatican and spent most  of the morning there.  During the Renaissance, one of the sayings goes, “Beauty was everywhere.”  That saying comes to life in the Vatican, and any other church for that matter, because the Italians left no corner of their churches unadorned.  They are complely immaculate.  Our tour of the Vatican included 20 minutes in the Sistine Chapel (“Heaven, I”m in heaven”…) and St. Peter’s Basilica which is covered in mosaics created by little bitty tiles.

In the afternoon, we went to the Pantheon (temple to “all the gods”).  When the Romans became Christians, they tried to stamp out everything that reminded them of their pagan ways.  The Pantheon was preserved, however, because Christians changed it into a christian church.  It’s a good thing, too, because it’s an architectural marvel.  The dome on the pantheon couldn’t be recreated until the dome on the Duomo in Florence was created 1300 years later.

 

 

The next day we went to the Colosseum (one of my most favorite visits of the trip), and the Forum, which pretty much concluded our tour of Rome.  Located in a corner of the forum is a prison where Peter and Paul were possibly imprisoned in Rome.

2 comments July 5, 2009

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