Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rome - Day 8

 On day eight we traveled from Florence to Rome by bus.  I loved seeing the Italian countryside.  We all took some time to journal during this bus ride - one of the things I will cherish from this trip is my journal.   I'm not typically a "journaling" type of girl - what you see here is about the extent of my journaling.  But with my quickly fading memory, I knew it would be important to write down things as they were happening - plus I have so many little things tucked into the journal like ticket stubs and such.  This is Julia jotting down a few things... 

 It's not everyday you get to see road signs pointing you towards Rome -- "all roads lead to Rome", right?  We threw out so many "Rome" sayings while we were there - "when in Rome, do as the Romans do", and "Rome wasn't built in a day".  
 Our first stop was at a Italian pottery factory - they had some beautiful pieces. 
 They also had some Italian sausage samples which seemed to attract the kitties that lived about the warehouse - ha! 
 Driving up towards Assisi to visit St. Francis of Assisi Basilica.  This was one of the highlights of the trip for me.  The little village in Assisi is so quaint and so Italian!

 A few of our boys with the fabulous Marianna! 
 The stunning Italian countryside. 
 At the Basilica 

 The lovely ladies on our trip - it was so nice to go on this adventure together - our kiddos have grown up together and this was a culminating highlight for the mommas!  We didn't go because we didn't want our kids to go without us - we went because we all wanted to go and experience this TOGETHER! (and with our kiddos too of course). 

 Love these girls!

 While on the bus, our kids would often start singing.  Our kids love to sing! Marianna would enjoy their singing and would make a request here and there - I remember her asking them to sing Amazing Grace and she was so surprised to hear EVERY verse of the song.  She had the idea of having them sing a short piece while standing in the Basilica.   It was a moment I will never forget - standing in such an historical place and hearing my baby girl sing so beautifully - I will remember it forever!  (pardon the terrible quality - I tried to take pictures and video at the same time!) 

 We wandered off the beaten path in Assisi and did a few "band pictures" - haha - these kids are so fun. 

 I just loved these yellow flowers - they looked like some sort of pansy but I don't think I've ever seen these before - anyone know what they are? 
 Geraniums with the Basilica in the background.

 The streets of Assisi. 

 We then had a lovely little Italian pasta lunch. 
 Marianna (our tour guide) and Julia (the kids teacher)
 So many motorcyles and scooters in Italy - I think it's safe to say there seemed to be very little "rules to the road". 
 That evening we visited the famous Trevi Fountain. 
 Legend says that if you toss a coin over your shoulder you are ensured a return to Rome.

 This fountain dates back pre-1629 and was part of the aqueduct system in Rome. 

 Then we visited the Pantheon - this place was incredible - known as the best-preserved of all Roman buildings, it was commissioned during the reign of Augustus (126 AD) as a temple to all the gods of ancient Rome. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. 

 The most fascinating thing to me was the opening in the top of the dome, also called the oculus.  So, when it rains, it rains right onto the floor - the reason for this is actually in the building design.  Since there were no steel beams at the time, it acts as a compression ring for the building tension and helps support the building perfectly - AMAZING - how did they think of these things back then?  We also could see  birds flying through the hole as there were lights shining above the dome.  Grace and I stood there with our cameras pointed straight up trying to catch a bird flying across.  It never failed - as soon as we would give up, a bird would fly over - we finally succeeded in capturing a bird through the oculus!! What an incredible memory. 

This is part of the aqueduct system as well - part of the underground inner workings - also called the "machinery".  Next up - day 9 at the Vatican and Colosseum!  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

NCCS Soccer 2013

 Our middle school girls soccer team has been great this year.   That's Little Miss Anna Mae on the team this year!

 Ally right after a head butt - way to use your head Ally! 

 Hannah has been playing goalie this year and it's a perfect fit for her.  She has been awesome at jumping up high and stopping the ball.  Her buddy Ally has been playing Keeper and they work so well together - love these two pictures above and below - looks like Ally was giving her some telepathic support by helping her kick that ball! 

 My man is one of the Assistant coaches this year. 
 Love this pic of Anna and Daddy giving Hannah lots of encouragement right after she blocked a goal. 

 Alexia can control the ball like nobody's business! 

 This play was one of the highlights of the game - this ball was rolling so quickly towards and goal and somehow Hannah made it back in time before they scored - way to go HANNAH BANANA!!! 

 Hannah has some mad punting skills too!

We are so proud of all our girls and especially of our own Hannah Banana!