Thursday, May 26, 2016

Manual Mode

Well, my friends, I finally got up the nerve to move the dial to 'M' on my camera. This is going to be a slow, slow process, I can tell. The pictures are mostly not worth sharing, yet I am going to put them out here to help document any progress that I might make.

Her face is in the shadows. She was not really thrilled about the impromptu photo shoot.


I may go back and try to crop this one a bit

This one may actually be in auto mode. I took two pictures, one manual and one auto. Now can't remember which was which. Oops.



He kept spitting at the camera, so I started questioning him about what he wanted to do.

I found this wax Madonna and child at the flea market. It looks like baby Jesus scraped his forehead and she is comforting him.

Picking her up from band practice this morning. Their spring concert is tonight.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

How can we possibly do school on a day like today?

Spring is here! The sun is shining, the breeze is gently blowing, and the kids have made their own "city" in the backyard. I just don't have the heart to call them in and make them sit at the table and open a schoolbook.

The sign says "Welcome to Bushville".

My apron is the city flag on the left there.

This is the entrance to "Yellow Grass Park".

I think they very appropriately named this little corner of Bushville....

"The Junk Yard"

Picnic lunch at Yellow Grass Park



They even drew in the streets, the crosswalks, and stop signs.

You will understand then, if I take up my knitting and head outside to join them!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Yarn Along

I finished Therese's sweater this morning! Here is a link to the pattern on Ravelry. She is in love with it, so all is good. I think the yarn pooled up too much, but she just thinks it is beautiful. I am mid-project on a baby gift too, but will not share pictures yet, because I am reasonably sure the mom reads this blog every now and again.

I just started a new read aloud with the kids yesterday. Mr. Popper's Penguins. I have never read it, yet the reactions from the kids after the first two chapters lead me to believe that it is going to be a good one.




Joining Ginny.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Sunday in Santa Margherita Ligure

I was reasonably sure that there would be a Mass at 10:00 am down in the town, so we drove down the mountain and found a parking garage. Parking on the street was darn near impossible with a minivan. Then we walked to the church without much trouble thanks to being able to see the spires. The church was gorgeous inside and out, so it was quite a shock when the Mass began with a guitar and folk singers. Plus, a long sermon in any language is still a long sermon.

After Mass, we wandered down to the waterfront. Tony went back to the car for something, and the kids and I browsed restaurant menus, which were posted outside every eatery. Pricy, and most did not look kid-friendly. I took lots of pictures. We wound our way to the train station to plan out the rest of our week's trips. Then we went back to the house and got ready to go on a hike mentioned in Rick Steve's book. It said we could walk to Portofino, the next town over and it mentioned some fun sights to find. Well, we had trouble just finding the trail. We went on what we thought was the trail, though it was very wild and overgrown. We had just about decided we were lost when we came to a cross path that looked much better maintained and was full of hikers. We continued on the actual path, but took one more wrong turn. I am so glad we did, for I took one of favorite pictures on that wrong turn and the kids found one of the best climbing trees ever. Anna also found a lemon from one of the many lemon trees we saw. I don't know why that lemon was so amazing to the kids, but it was.

We never did make it all the way to Portofino, but it was very clear by the group meltdown that we should start heading back to town to find food. Dinner was unimpressive food in an impressive atmosphere.

San Giacomo

inside San Giacomo

after Mass, enjoying the view

not that his voice needs amplification, but he does this frequently nontheless

San Giacomo


Santa Margherita Ligure

Add caption


little did we know just how many steps we would be climbing and descending




"While we wait for Dad, let's take a group shot. It'll be cute." My uncooperative crew!

Peter still being uncooperative




Jack and I loved all the tiny cars.


The view from the house. Lunch before the big hike.

Oh, that water!

This bike has an amazing story, I just know it.

That climbing tree I mentioned
silliness with Dad

These were on the window outside an abandoned chapel. Inside, everything was covered in dust, but looked ready for Mass.
 
 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Morning Musings

On my morning walk, I passed under a tall, old tree. The sidewalk underneath was littered with the detritus of a dead limb that had fallen. As I prayed the rosary's Glorious Mysteries, I began to reflect on that tree. I had noticed that even among all that debris, which looked dead and useless, there were plants with delicate, tiny flowers pushing their way upward, striving for the sun's light. It made me  think about all of us who, at times in our lives, have had suffering and hardships fall on us like that limb. We must not let that crushing feeling overwhelm us, but continue to seek the light that is Christ, our Savior and Comforter.

My thoughts then took another path. That tree is like me. I have sinful parts. Parts that need to be pruned in order that I may continue to grow closer to God. When I am able to break free of a certain sin, it is like letting that dead branch crash to the ground. As that sinful branch breaks down, it no longer holds me back, but helps me, for my roots are nourished by the rotting away of sin.

Lord, I am so grateful that You have planted in my mind these thoughts this morning. May they help me on my journey to you.













Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Yarn Along- the travel edition

This week's yarn along will be combined with my continuing story of our travels to Italy. Why? Because I did more knitting on this trip than I have in a good long while and because I can.

Not having my international driver's license turned out to be very good for Therese's sweater. Tony ended up doing all the driving and I did a whole bunch of knitting. I was able to finish the body of the sweater and then I was ready to work on the sleeves. Except one thing. On our last trip (that awful trip to Portugal), someone sat on my knitting and broke one of my interchangeable needles. Let's just say that broken needle was needed to complete the sleeves. I also discovered that in Europe it is very rare to use 3.75mm needles. Sure, they use 3.5mm and 4mm and they will tell you that it is not much of a difference when trying to sell you some new needles. But my perfectionist self just could not do it.

I tried using the Magic Loop to work on the sleeves, but found it very frustrating in the car.

After driving through Switzerland and those amazing mountains (literally, for we were in tunnels as frequently as we were out of them), we made it to Italy. It was no less mountainous. As we neared the town in which we were staying for the next 5 nights, we called the owner of the house. He met us at the exit and took us to the house. A good thing, for I don't think we would have found it on our own. He gave us a tour of the property and told us all the little things we might need to know, such as don't use the washing machine and the oven at the same time. I was so mesmerized by the view that I was only half listening to such trivial details.

After he left, we unloaded the luggage and made our way back down the hill into town to find groceries and dinner. We wandered around, looking for a place to eat, but most restaurants did not open until 7:00 and the grocery store closed at 8:00. So we got groceries first, and then picked a place to eat. The pizza was delicious, the wine was terrible (who chills red wine?), and the waitress was not exactly a cheerful gal. We paid the bill, headed back to the house and got everyone ready for bed so we could try and figure out where to go to Mass in the morning. We had originally thought we would drive to Turin, but it was almost 2 hours away and we were tired of being in the car. It was decided to spend our Sunday in Santa Margherita Ligure and go to Mass in one of the little churches.

As for reading, all I read on this trip were travel guides. I liked Rick Steves' Italy best, followed by "Back Roads Italy" as a close second. I really did not find Fodor's book very helpful.

our view from the house

Simply breathtaking, I tell you

The amazing house

Joining Ginny's Yarn Along.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Spring trip- getting there

Trying to plan a trip while in Europe is daunting. The possibilities are endless. How does one choose? Well, we started by looking at all the destinations where Ryan Air has cheap flights. After all, we have to buy 7 tickets, so we don't want to blow the entire budget on getting there. Next, I consulted my bucket list of places we want to visit while we are here. There were a few matches. Finally, I wanted sunny and warm. Germany was beginning to get very depressing with its never ending grayness and cold.

Italy seemed to be the place with the most possibilities. We narrowed it down to Rome or Sardinia. However, Rome is big and huge and busy and I had been extremely stressed and anxious. Just the thought of trying to keep everyone together and safe in such a big place made me panic. Sardinia, with its beautiful water and more laid back environment seemed perfect. Until. Tony was told he might have to go on a gig. We couldn't book the tickets until we knew what day we could leave. By the time we had that information, the tickets were no longer cheap.

Plan B was to find somewhere warm and sunny that could be reached by car. We ended up choosing the Italian Riviera town of Santa Margherita Ligure. OK, I had never heard of it, but it looked beautiful, and it was a good central location to take day trips to Pisa, Turin, and the Cinque Terra. But with 7 people in a 7 passenger car, we knew we should break up the driving into 2 days. A good halfway point was Lucerne, Switzerland. So that is where we stopped.

It was still cold and rainy in Lucerne when we arrived. We could not check into our room for several hours, so we strolled down the rainy streets and covered bridges, taking in the sights we had looked up before we left. I used an app called Tripomatic, which was suggested to us by a friend. The hotel just happened to be located one block away from most of the tourist attractions listed on the app.

After checking in, we ate a very expensive dinner with some really, really good wine. In the morning, we ate a small breakfast and headed on to Italy.

outside our hotel

rainy sidewalk

"Who cares if it is raining?"

one of two covered bridges we walked through


the other one


This bridge is prettiest of all.


"Can I get one?" Umm, no.

Court Church of St. Leodegar

rain covered tabletop

lit a candle and prayed

my kids are so weird

Lion monument to commemorate the deaths of the Swiss mercenaries during the French Revolution

the view while driving from Switzerland into Italy

more driving scenery